It had started with the brushing of bodies, with panted breaths in the crisp Gotham night. This in itself was not uncommon, the bodies in question moving as though in a dance only they knew. And oh, how well they knew it! Night after night, they moved in unison, fists swinging and legs kicking, each grappling desperately to make contact with the other.

Cobalt blue eyes met poisonous green, wild with reckless abandon and held, a deep voice growling out as a large body pinned a lithe one beneath it against the hardened brick wall. "Why?! Night after night you seem to try to outdo yourself! Don't you ever tire of mayhem? Don't you ever run out of energy?!"

A wicked laugh was the reply, a pink tongue darting out to run slowly over sinful ruby lips. "Now Batsy…" Came the slow purr, as the Clown Prince of Crime pressed bruised fingers to the hard Kevlar encased chest of the vigilante. "Why would I get bored when seeing you is so much fun?"

The mischief in those eyes drove the vigilante to madness every time he saw it. Never before had he so thoroughly ached to break his one rule, to put a final end to it. And yet…

"You'd never do it, cupcake, don't try to kid yourself." Joker interrupted, as though he had read the others very mind. "Without me, there is no you. Haven't you gotten it yet? We're soulmates, you and I. Getting rid of our little fun would break you." Another laugh followed, and despite the mocking tone, the Batman felt the words chill him to his very core.


The Joker was even more mad than he had thought. "We are not soulmates, or lovers, or even friends." He snarled, a little harsher than even Joker deserved.

And yet the Clown Prince remained unphased, merely raising a brow and cackling. "Someone's a little deee-fennn-sivvvvve there, Batsy. I don't think I brought up the term lovers, that was you, although…," The wicked smile on his lips only grew as he inched forward, pressing his body tight against the bigger man, running his fingers back up the Kevlar chest piece. "I think I might be able to be persuaded to the idea, cupcake."

Before the vigilante had time to process the words, the Joker lunged forward with all his strength, flipping their positions and pinning the man, the sharp blade of Joker's knife resting at his throat. "After all, I've always wondered what you look like under all that black. Tall… Strong.. Those I already know… But the rest…" He licked his lips slowly, watching as a shiver ran through the man he so leisurely pressed against. Whether it was from disgust or the close proximity, Joker was unsure, although he'd lean for the latter. It didn't matter. All that mattered was getting under his darling cupcakes skin.

"The curiosity makes the game a little more fun, wouldn't you agree? Even still…." The green haired man's free hand lifted slowly, slipping under the edge of the cowl and pushing upwards until the lower half of the vigilante's face was exposed, fingers caressing the firm jaw he found there with sickening sweetness. "I wonder how many of my scars adorn your body… I wonder how many more it'll take for you to know…" Acid green eyes narrowed possessively, tongue darting out to lick his lips once more. "You're mine. Not Dent's, not Nigma's, not even that bitch Catwoman's. Mine. We were made for each other, cupcake." Leaning forward, the Joker brushed their noses together playfully, before pulling back with a manic laugh, lowering his knife.

The fist that collided with his face was swift and expected, and all the Joker could do was laughing, wiping the first few drops of blood from his nose with the back of his hand. "What a shame, Batsy babe. Maybe I'll have to find someone else if you won't play along." He pouted, shooting the vigilante a wink, a plan already forming in his mind, before jumping over a ledge and vanishing.

Lunging towards the edge of the building, Batman tried to spot the wild green curls he was so familiar with, but it was no use. The Joker had gotten away, leaving the Caped Crusader both angry with himself and more irritated than normal. Oh well. There would certainly be more opportunities to catch the clown.

"Master Bruce, please. I understand you are upset that he got away, but tonight is the charity gala for the children's hospital. I would like to remind you that it is being hosted here, and as such, you are required to make an appearance. Please, sir. Go get ready." Alfred's voice was stern as he urged the other away from the large computer and towards the spiralling staircase that led to the main manor.

"... You're really going to make me do this?" Bruce questioned reluctantly, slipping the cowl off slowly to reveal black locks, plastered to his forehead by droplets of sweat, blue eyes miserable and tired. As if he could argue with Alfred. As if Alfred would let him.

"Tuxedo and all. After all, I did raise a respectable looking man, did I not? Go on now. Guests will be arriving in an hour."

With a defeated sigh, the raven haired man nodded, dragging his fingers through his hair as forced weary feet up the staircase. Some days, it felt as though Bruce Wayne were the mask. After all, it was so much harder to focus on being him, on smiling and keeping up the spoiled rich boy act. Gotham's Prince. Yeah, right.

He could only imagine how the city would feel if the truth were ever revealed. Gotham's Prince and its knight? It was a burden to say the least. Still, he forced himself into the role, all thoughts of the joker and that strange possessiveness the criminal had shown slipping from him for the time being as he stepped into the shower, washing away the night.

Bruce heard the guests arrive before he ever saw them, remaining in the hidden safety of his bedroom as he drug out the process of getting ready, making sure not a single hair was out of place, that everything about his appearance was impeccable. Perfectionism, he would call it. Alfred would call it stalling.

Finally, he made an appearance, calm smile plastered on his lips as he made his way to the stairs, trying to ignore the clapping from those attending. God, how tired he got of these functions. Of having these egotistical people try to boost his ego just to mooch money and influence off of him later. All the same... this gala was for a good cause, even Bruce couldn't deny that. It was in these small ways that he could help Gotham without his mask, could heal her wounded and her desperate.

It was something he prided himself in. It was just one more way she needed him, and he lived up to this role as he did to his other. Sometimes he found himself wondering; if Batman was a mask, but Bruce Wayne felt a disguise too… then where did the real Bruce lie?

Ah, but now was not the time to think of those things.

"Ah, how lovely to see you again!"

"Why yes, of course I would love to attend your son's birthday."

"Darling! Have you lost weight? You look stunning!"

And so it went, the billionaire moving through the crowd shaking hands and flirting with high society's most beautiful women. Hollow, it was hollow.

And then, from the back of the room, came a loud, echoing cackle he knew all too well.