Howdy hey, mates. Back again at the ole paper and quill. Enjoy.

...

"Why hasn't your playboy delivered yet?" hissed Joker, his body bent over the side of the parking garage wall, breeze tussling his hair.

"He'll deliver," assured Selina. "I know how much this little brat means to him. He'd die for him."

I looked up at the two of them. Die for me? I guess I knew Bruce would do whatever it took to protect me, but death had never crossed my mind. Kind of funny to die for someone you didn't even love enough to adopt. Not to say I didn't appreciate everything Bruce did for me. In fact, I rather worshiped him as a role model. But it always bothered me that I was still Richard Grayson, not Wayne. Not that I was very good son material. If I was my guardian I probably wouldn't adopt me either.

"You're certain the Batman won't show," said Joker, his posture admitting nervousness. I'd be nervous too if I thought Batman was after me.

"Very certain," said Selina, smiling. "I've suggested a...friend to him. I'm sure they'll be enjoying themselves well into the night."

"You had better be very sure," said Joker, glancing sideways at Selina, "because if I see so much as his shadow, I will shoot you right between the eyes."

Selina licked her lips and leaned in close to Joker, "I'm sure you will."

I raised an eyebrow. Why was Selina lying about the Batman? If she was working with Joker, wouldn't she have told him about Bruce? My mind flashed back to the night I'd seen Selina and Bruce in the Batcave. Selina had been dressed in the least amount of clothing I had ever seen a woman in real life wearing. Bruce had been holding her upper arms, looking exactly like he didS right before he would grab my ear or lecture me about something.

"I'm promising you protection," he'd said in a voice similar to Batman's. "Protection no matter the cost. Just for the sake of my name. Promise me, Selina."

"On my life, Bruce," she'd said. "I'll never tell a soul."

Maybe protection meant more to Selina then the Joker's death threat. Whatever her reason for staying quiet, I was relieved that Bruce's secret was still kept.

I jumped when the Joker's face appeared inches from mine, his tongue licking his lips, smudging the paint a bit. I wondered if it tasted gross. "Where. Is. Daddy?" he hissed, each word emphasized. Despite being scared out of the ability to speak, I wasn't sure what he even expected me to say.

"Look."

The Joker and I turned to see what Selina was referring to, and both of our eyes fell on the long shadow stretching across the cement lot, the moon causing each edge and corner of the figure to appear clearly in the blackness. The sound of a cape catching the wind reached my ears and then the moon was blocked out by a completely black figure and the Batman dropped directly on top of Joker.

For the next few minutes, my point of view was slightly scewed since the two of them managed to roll into the shadows, but I was distinctly aware of the fact that Batman was not fighting as hard as he was certainly capable. In fact, he was failing quite badly. I could see the shadowy outline of the Joker pounding mercilessly on him, and Batman was grunting and struggling under the bigger man's weight. I squinted at the two of them, pulling on my handcuffs to get closer. I could have sworn Bruce was bigger than Joker.

"Dick."

The whisper in my ear scared me half to death and I gasped, jumping.

"Sh! Sh!" soothed the voice. "Hold still."

Bruce. That was the voice of billionaire Bruce Wayne in my ear. How on earth...

"Bruce?" Selina's voice sounded equally confused through the darkness. "What...who is..."

"Well, well, Mr. Wayne."

Bruce had just finished unhandcuffing me, and he pulled me to my feet and behind his back as the Joker approached us from the darkness.

"Its a pleasure to see you," giggled the man. "I'm not sure what that Batman stunt was about. The real Batman would never cry while I pummeled him. Your money can't even buy a good faker. Real Batman out of town? Too bad for the Wayne family." Joker reached into his coat and took a knife out, the blade glinting in the moonlight. "Ahhh I thought about being sly and tricky with this, but I think straight up killing you will be more fulfilling. I'd like to do the boy first. My love," he grinned at Selina, "bring the little darling over please."

Selina's arm wrapped around my bicep and she hissed in my ear, "Obey my every word."

My heart thudded like a train in my chest. What on earth was going on. Who was that Batman? Why was Selina acting like this?

"Please," said Bruce, a hint of emotion in his voice, "leave my boy alone. Let him go. He's just a child."

"Ah, I know, but I haven't practiced on a child in so long," Joker sighed. "Give him to me, my kitten."

I could feel the blood pounding in my ears as Selina's grip loosened and the Joker's hand tightened around my wrist. I saw the blade flash across my face as the Joker yanked it up to his face for the momentum to plunge it into me. I was dying. I was going to die. Realizing your life is over is one of the most surreal feelings in the entire world.

I closed my eyes.

The next sound I heard was not, in fact, my scream as the knife cut me open. It was, for the record, a gunshot followed by the sound of the knife clattering to the ground. I opened my eyes and saw the Joker fall straight backwards, his hand releasing my wrist. I stared in shock as he hit the ground beside the knife; then Bruce's arms were wrapping around my body and picking me up, crushing my body against his. I could feel his body shaking slightly. He was scared. Scared that I could have died.

"Dick," he whispered.

And suddenly there were flashing lights and voices shouting and policemen swarming, but I was barely conscious of any of them. I wrapped my arms tightly around Bruce's neck.

"Bruce," I hiccuped, fear hitching my voice. And for the first time since I'd met him, I realized I loved Bruce Wayne.

...

Tada! A chapter! How exciting.