Things were not looking up for Bruce. When he finally found the black site, Bane had the best timing for finding him. He suspected Bruce being the mole and knocked him out. Dragged back to the pact's hideout, Bruce was sitting in Harley's office, trying his best to not look suspicious. It didn't seem like he was being interviewed, because of all chitchatting, until Harley stopped playing nice and went straight to the point. Asking if Bruce was a real bad guy or not. Bruce wasn't expecting to hear Tiffany's name and he was more shocked to hear that John was the one who told her. That slimy maniac. He promised not to tell anything but no. He had to impress Harley, even though it meant betraying Bruce's trust.
Bruce sat up from his seat when Harley said the laptop's gone. He waited for her to say that the only two people she hadn't interviewed yet were him and John. But the other one wasn't John, it was Catwoman. Of course. John was safe. What if he had told everything to Harley? That it was all "Bruce's fault" and now he was going to get killed? Bruce sweated. He was hopeless in this situation.
"John, get in here!"
The door opened and the grinning man stepped in. Bruce wanted to punch him so badly but kept his anger under control. John's eyes were locked on Harley.
"When I told Puddin' I narrowed it down to you two, he begged me to let him interrogate you. I gave him some pointers. And now this is his chance..."
"Hi, Bruce!" John greeted as usual," You potential rat!" he pointed and glanced Harley to check if he was going well.
"Have at it, John," Harley gave her gun to him. Bruce saw a gleam of excitement in John when he took the gun.
"Harley, do you mind? Can't learn to ride with training wheels on forever, you know?" John explained and Harley granted his wish.
"I'll be right outside," Harley closed the door after her.
Now it was only two of them. Bruce hoped the man had a good explanation here because he needed one. He was opening his mouth to speak but John was faster.
"Admit it, you rat scum!" John pointed him aggressively,"You're the...the rat!"
A punch flew in Bruce's face and he stumbled back. He didn't expect John to hit that hard. Was he seriously going to interrogate him and act like he wasn't part of stealing the laptop? Bruce wasn't going to accept any of that. John put a hand over his mouth when he realized his mistake.
"Sorry, I have to make it sound good," he whispered.
Bruce grabbed John's gun and threw it in the corner. John let out a shout of protest but Bruce took his both wrists and gave a painful squeeze on them. John hissed under his breath.
"B-Bruce, buddy, calm down...This is just-"
"Why did you tell Harley about Tiffany?" Bruce growled.
John's expression changed. He was nervous, Bruce could tell. He squeezed harder on the man's wrists and John gritted his teeth in pain. He wasn't struggling yet which surprised Bruce. But the green haired madman was always into violence and pain. He looked deep into John's eyes.
"Ohh...Bruce, I have missed this side of you," John nearly purred but understood that this wasn't the time,"B-But anyway, why I told her... I couldn't, Bruce. I couldn't keep a secret from her. You know Harley, right? That Tiffany girl could be a possible threat since she knows you and you know her..."
"She is no threat! She is just an innocent girl. And Harley is going to hurt her if I'm not doing as she says. This is serious, John, and you broke your promise."
"I'm so sorry, pal... I didn't know things were going to lead into this! But no worries. I have an idea: Catwoman must take the fall. This has been on my mind since Harley found out about missing laptop. Think about it, Bruce! She was going to steal it. You only have to admit it was her and not you," John grinned.
Bruce answered with a glare. He kicked John's feet under him and made him fall on the floor. John let out a cry of pain but shut his mouth. Harley was still waiting outside. Although they didn't have much time, Bruce wanted answers. He put his leg against John's chest and pressed it down. John squirmed under him. Good thing the man wasn't making loud noises.
You have to take responsibility
How much did you tell Harley?
I'm going to make you pay
"How much did you tell her? Did you throw me under the bus like nothing?" Bruce asked with anger.
"No! I didn't say it was you! She made that conclusion on her own since only you and Catwoman are left. I promise you, I didn't tell anything about your plan," John looked at Bruce and the door concerned," Harley might come in any minute. Let's talk about this without violence, okay?"
Bruce raised his eyebrow. He got John cornered now.
"You just told me you can't keep a secret from Harley. How come you can lie to her about the laptop but couldn't keep your mouth shut about Tiffany? Isn't you stealing the laptop a bigger problem?"
John looked both puzzled and upset. He looked over the side, apparently thinking an answer. Bruce couldn't believe him. He truly wished John was genuine with his words. Perhaps he wasn't so naive after all. Maybe John was hiding something from him, possibly from everyone. Or was he? John was sweet and his friend. He was definitely strange but Bruce has gotten used to it. If John was playing mind games, Bruce wouldn't know what to do after that.
"Bruce..." John started," I wanted to impress Harley. She still doesn't quite trust you and we talked about it. I told her about Tiffany, so she could use that information on you. I know it's...a pathetic way to make her see me, but I couldn't help myself. But I don't wanna lose you, Bruce. I helped you because I wanted to. Because that's what friends are for... It's hard to lie to Harley, but when it's about you, I'm ready to do it."
Bruce blinked a couple times. The man was good with his words. But he wasn't done yet. Bruce kept his leg in place and lowered down.
If I take the blame, you do the same
You're lying to me
Fine, I believe you
"If I take the blame as the mole, you do the same."
John was surprised. His mouth curved down and his eyes looked more wicked. John always did that face before he boiled over. Bruce removed his leg and took a few steps back to let John stand up. When he was back on his feet, John opened his mouth:
"Now hold on. Are you saying that you're going to tell Harley the truth? There is no need for that, Bruce! Just tell her it was Catwoman and this problem is solved."
"Let me put this in a different way: if I tell the truth, would you do the same?"
"So are you going to tell-!"
"Just answer the question, John," Bruce commanded.
There was sudden knocking on the door.
"Puddin'! How long is this going to take? I ain't got the whole day!" Harley shouted outside.
"Just give us a minute, okay!" John shouted back, clearly irritated.
Bruce waited patiently his answer. John rubbed his neck and thought. He thought for a few seconds and looked back at Bruce.
"What you're asking is would I die with you, right? I...I have never, ever thought this. Would I die with my best buddy? The answer for that is..." John walked around the room," You really got me, Bruce...I'm not ready to die yet. I'm sorry, but I'm not as strong as you. I can't die knowing how disappointed Harley would be. If the situation would be different, then maybe the answer was yes," John walked back to Bruce.
Bruce didn't know what to say to that. He couldn't demand John to die with him, but he needed to know. Maybe John was speaking the truth. He wasn't as strong and willing to take responsibility for his actions. It was understandable. But since Bruce had gone this far, he couldn't come out as the mole. He had to blame Catwoman, no matter how wrong it was. So he couldn't judge John's decision.
"I...accept your answer. I just hope you could stick up for me like I would..." Bruce looked away as he said it.
John was silent. He moved his palm on Bruce's cheek and gave a soft brush over it. Bruce winced to sudden touch and turned to look at John again. The madman's gaze was deep and his eyes stared right into Bruce's. He was upset, but there was something else Bruce couldn't read. He felt butterflies in his stomach. That touch got Bruce off guarded and now he wasn't sure, what to do next. He wanted to ask so much more but there wasn't enough time left.
You can call Harley here
Is there anything else you want to say?
Bruce leaned in and took John into a warm hug. John let out a small surprised sound, but soon after he put his arms around Bruce, too. It was such an odd yet tender moment between them. It was Bruce's way to apologize and tell that he cared. He cared for John Doe. Bruce wanted to embrace the other man and press his face against John's neck. The desire to show affection was getting stronger but Bruce was capable to resist. That could wait.
Bruce was ready to pull away but John kept hugging him.
"John, now would be the right time to stop and call Harley here..."
"Not yet, Brucie... I haven't hugged much in my life and it feels so right with you~"
"Okay, okay!" John pulled away," And remember, it was Catwoman."
Bruce didn't have time to argue when John called Harley back. He only had to say "the right answer" and John handled the explaining. Harley didn't question anything, so Bruce was safe, for now. He still felt uneasy. Something was off with John. Bruce decided to wait another chance to talk with him in private. Bruce hoped he was only being delusional, but he knew better. John Doe wasn't the man he blamed to be.