I'm a big believer in writing the characters in character. There's nothing more frustrating in reading a fiction where everyone acts completely different from what they would normally do. By the way, I just voted.
"How many bats does it take to fill a shower!?" The Jokers voice rang in the lounging room of Arkham Asylum. It was plain to everyone there that the Joker was heckling a new inmate.
"I-I don't know…" The poor man mumbled terrified. He had no clue who this clown was, him not being native to Gotham City. He also was unnerved at the amount of time the clown was spending to talk to him.
"Not this again." The Riddler scoffed in Harvey Two-Face's direction. Nygma was the only one who remembered all of the Jokers jokes in detail.
"Of course you don't know! No one KNOWS- because-" here the Joker took a deep breath and put his arm around the frightened inmate, "JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS-"
"Sing something different for gods sake!" Screamed Ivy, who was visibly on her last ion of patience.
It was December 21, and the Joker had been coming up new ways to introduce the opening of the distorted "Jingle Bells" song for 45 straight days. The repetition was so teeth-grindingly annoying that even Jonathan Crane thought to say something about it once or twice.
"Lighten up itchy!" The Joker shouted with a mischievous grin. "Just spreading a bit o' the holiday cheer." He then broke out in maniacal laughter, making the new inmate as uncomfortable as ever.
"We've all decided we want you to spread it by singing a different song." Grumbled Two-Face flipping his coin.
"Oh- sure- Pick on the little guy!" The Joker exaggerated. "Go on- next you'll be telling me I'll never be a star." He put his hand up dramatically to his forehead.
Before anyone could respond the door opened and a man with a clipboard walked in. A shout of protest reverberated in the room as the TV was shut off.
"Wellll hello Doc!" The Joker greeted, jerking his arm off of the new inmate.
"Hello." Arkham responded tersely, obviously irritated at the Joker's gesture. "Listen up everyone, someone from the state is going to review this asylum today, and I need you all, and I mean all of you to be on your best behavior. Even you Joker."
"Why Doc, I'm shocked! You know I've been a good boy." The Joker said with his usual maniacal grin.
"No you haven't Joker. On the contrary, you've been worse."
"Oh, well, it's all in the eye of the beholder!" The Joker did not suppress a fresh wave of laughter in front of the administrator.
"As I was saying," Arkham spoke with a warning in his voice, trying to discourage the outburst, " Everything should be in order, and I don't want to have to explain to the state any difficulties. Understood?"
There was soft mumble of half-hearted reply scattered around the room, which ultimately meant nothing, as everyone could care less of the reputation of Arkham Asylum.
"Good. Enjoy the rest of your free time."
Bruce Wayne struggled to take off his mask after his usual round. It was getting more and more difficult to transform himself into society. At points of the day, he felt himself wrestling, trying to tie up the Batman in his head.
When it became dark outside, he could feel the chains snap as he slipped into his suit. However, he had to remain two people.
"Harvey and I aren't that different." Bruce had thought while eating a quiet dinner alone that afternoon. The thought scared him. He was different. He felt a choking pressure in his chest that had cut off his appetite.
Alfred had been noticing the slight personality change. As much as Bruce loathed admitting it, he had seen it too.
"Perhaps you should sit out a couple of nights master Bruce. If you don't mind my saying so, you're starting slouch in your step." Alfred had said to him as he made his way to the batcave.
"I understand your concern, but I made a promise." Bruce said without looking back as he passed his friend in the hallway.
"Very well master Bruce." replied the defeated butler.
The nights had been relatively quiet since he had captured Gotham's finest criminally insane. However, Batman wanted to check up on new headlines before he officially called it a night.
Making is way to his computer; he tiredly slumped into the black, cushioned chair. Tapping a couple of buttons he went through tomorrow's newspaper headlines. Nothing too alarming, and nothing completely local he decided after reading an article on how deep-fried Christmas turkeys were causing house fires.
"What's this?" He wondered out loud coming upon an official Arkham schedule.
He had a weekly schedule mailed to him, just in case.
" 'Dec. 25, brief visiting hours and gift giving. Please keep gifts safe and appropriate.' Good luck." Batman half-laughed skeptically. Just before clicking the schedule off, something caught his eye.
" 'Dec. 23, inmates out-of city event' " Batman read. " 'Inmates out-of-city event'?" He was starting to turn the idea in his head, but the mental images just got worse. "Something's not right here."
Batman jumped up and put his cowl back on with newfound energy.
"Leaving again Master Bruce?" Alfred questioned, coming down the stairs just in time to see Batman jump into his car.
"I'm afraid so." Batman said. Within an instant, the batmoble roared to life and was gone.
"I'll just leave your dinner in the fridge then." Alfred sighed watching the dust settle.
Batman wasn't at all surprised to see the bat-signal in the sky. Commissioner Gordon was pacing on the roof, obviously something heavy on his mind.
"Oh thank god, you're here." Gordon said as Batman stalked closer towards him. " I wasn't sure you'd be up this-"
"What's this about Arkham?" interrupted Batman.
"Arkham called us in a panic, the whole station is buzzing about it. He was raving about how the state is forcing him to do some ridiculous trip."
"Why?" Batman questioned.
"You know, it's almost Christmas. Apparently some softhearted nun inspected Arkham and started asking what the inmates do in their free time. Figured it wasn't humane to lock them up from the outside world for the rest of their murderous lives." Gordon scoffed.
"But they're criminally insane." Batman said crossing his arms.
"Yes, we know that. And…you don't have anything to do one the 23rd, do you?" Gordon asked. " Arkham specifically asked for you to …uh… monitor."
"He wants me to babysit."
"Well it's going to be a good deal more tense then babysitting…"
"Where am I taking them?"
"An aquarium, it's out of the city and it's the closest one to a police station. Does that mean you'll do it?" Gordon asked.
"Looks like I'm going to have to." Batman mumbled. "What time should we show up?"
"I'm taking Robin with me."
"Oh. Well, I told him you'd be there at 7:00am. It takes three hours to get there, and the aquarium opens at 9:00am." Gordon said lighting a cigarette. "You know, I'd hate to be the one stuck in a car with the Joker for three-" Gordon looked up, suddenly realizing that he was talking to himself.
"What!? Are you serious?" Tim asked.
"Do I look like I'm joking?" Bruce replied, rubbing his temples. "Apparently they left the best for us. The Joker, Harvey Dent, Edward Nygma, and Jonathan Crane. They tried to stick us with Maxie Zeus, but he enjoyed the electroshock safety precaution; him coming was not an option. "
"Good for us, I think I'd go mad myself listening to his 'I am a god' talk." Tim mumbled.
"Just remember to get up and meet me here at 6:00am."
"Meet you here at 6:00am? That's so early! I need my sleep too. Alright, alright." Tim said wincing under Bruces serious glare.
"Are they all in there?" Batman asked the orderlies looking at a very gloomy van.
"Everyone except the Joker. We're having…difficulties…"
"Woooo- I call SHOT GUN!" The Joker's voice rang. He then made noises to imitate shots.
Batman swiftly turned to come face-to-face with his nemesis, who was visibly struggling in his straight jacket.
"Well hellllo big boy! How's it hangin'!? Come to play field trip with us?" The Joker's obnoxious laughing made Batman unconsciously ball his fists.
"Not that I doubt your abilities Batman, but in case of any problems we have these." An orderly handed a panel with four buttons on it to Robin. " Each button is marked with a name on the control. If you press a button, a painful shock will administer to the matching name."
"Have you tested this?" Robin asked.
"Oh yes, and let me be the first to tell ya', it hurts like the dickens!" The Joker said eyeing the panel evilly. Orderlies dragged him into the van, this time with his cooperation.
"Is it safe?" Batman asked the orderly.
"Well, it's effective." The orderly answered looking a little uncomfortable. "The shockers are placed on the inside of the inmate's elbows and the underside of their knee's. Um, I think that's all. Have a good trip."
"Why can't I have my hands free? What was the purpose of giving me all these crossword books if I can't even move my hands? What did they think I was going to do with them? Stare at the cover?" The Riddler complained as Batman climbed into the drivers seat.
"Where are we going?" Asked Two-Face.
Robin had sat himself next to Crane in the back. The Riddler and Two-Face were in the middle, and The Joker was up front where Batman could see him. All of them were strapped tightly to their seats, their hands included.
"Quiet all of you. We're going to the aquarium, and this is going to be a silent car ride without any problems." Batman barked.
"Good luck with that." The Scarecrow moaned catching sight of The Jokers wild green hair up front.
"Cheer up Batsy, I know lots of fun car songs." Joker said as Batman pulled out of the icy parking lot. "How about one to start off the season!?"
"My god- not again- here we go again-" The Riddler said through gritted teeth. He was generally pissed off that his crossword books had fallen on the floor and were now sliding behind his seat.
"JINGLE BELLS! BATMAN SMELLS! ROBIN LAID AN-"
"Shut him up Robin!" Batman growled through the horrible singing.
Robin looked at the panel that was handed to him and pressed the button labeled 'Joker'.
"BATMO- buzz OWW! FU-"
"You deserved it." Robin said cutting Joker off.
"WATCH OUT- TRUCK!!!!!" Joker screamed at Batman.
Batman tensed up, and quickly stood a side-glance around, every nerve alert. He thought to swerve out of danger, but from what he could see, nothing was heading his way. Still he had fishtailed a bit in his lane, making the drivers around him speed past him nervously. Batman felt a tad bit stupid letting the Joker get to him with such an obvious trick.
"April FOOL!" Joker screamed before erupting in a fit of abhorrent laughter as the van was pulling up to stop light.
"We're going to die." Crane groaned from the back seat, his fingers gripping the armrests painfully hard.
Batman, thoroughly annoyed, grabbed Joker's neck, choking him.
"Listen Joker," Batman said squeezing. " I don't know who told you this was a game, or why your sick mind justifies your sadistic humor-"
"-Alright." Joker managed to choke out, his grin never fading.
"Batman." Riddler said, trying to get his attention.
"What?" Batman said, not bothering to hide his irritation as he withdrew his hand from the Jokers throat.
"What has eyes but can't see?"
"Potatoes." Batman grunted.
"What has ears but can't hear?"
"What has legs but can't walk?"
"A table; or you, if I have to come back there." Batman asked visibly annoyed.
"Well I'm bored!" The Riddler snapped, shaking his hands in his restraints showily.
"Now I'm hungry." Crane complained.
"Let's grab a burger!" The Joker said enthusiastically.
"I want tacos, but we can flip on it." Harvey chimed in.
"We're not going to stop for burgers or tacos 7:30 in the morning." Said Batman.
"What about 7:31 in the morning?" heckled Joker. "Come on darling, you couldn't have gotten those meaty muscles eating cereal."
"Well then can't we stop for pancakes?" Crane asked hopefully.
"We're not stopping until we get to the aquarium." Batman said ignoring a strange look he was getting from a person in another car.
"Such a cruel world! They either starve us to death or force us to eat gruel. Gotham's hero and his boy blunder won't even go the extra mile-" Joker accused.
"-Shut up Joker." Batman interrupted, his patience wearing thin.
The whole van was eerily quiet as Batman was nearing a Taco Bell.
"I haven't had a taco since I was thrown in Arkham." Harvey reminded everyone quietly.
Batman, as much as he hated Harvey for it, couldn't resist a pang of guilt. The food at Arkham had to be terrible. He looked in the rear-view mirror and saw everyone was staring at the back of his head, completely silent, and somewhat tense, wondering what he was going to say or do. Batman sighed heavily.
"This is ridiculous." Batman thought as he pulled in the drive through. He looked in the rear-view mirror again and saw everyone's faces light up with excitement, save Robin who was rubbing his temples.
"What do you all want?" Batman asked tersely. "Hurry up and make up your mind."
"I can't reach my coin…" Harvey said trying to shift his body towards his body.
"I'll have seven taco's with everything on it, four ice-cream cones, the Green Party, a rough draft of the Koran, a pony, a rocket launcher with a dancing hula girl on top, 10 U.S senators, a bucket of sand, three wonders of the world, Confucius and a pear tree." Joker said. "Don't forget the toy Batsy, or I'll be really upset."
"I'll just order you the most disgusting thing on the menu." Batman growled at Joker.
"I hate salad...." said Joker scowled.
"That'll be twenty five dollars and ninety five cents…uh, sir." A girl at the window spoke. She gave Batman a distrusting look, and shifted uneasily under The Joker's alarmingly demented smile. The Joker rang out in ear-splitting laughter, causing her to jump and drop some change.
"Sorry about that." Batman said to the girl. He turned, glaring at Joker.
"No, it's okay, just pull up to the next window." The girl said, staring at the Batman. "Are you guys going to a convention or something? Your costumes are really creepy."
"Something like that." Said Batman pulling away from the window.
"Scoring it with the broads- eh Bats? I do love a man in tights. Say, how do the ladies react? Is the boy part of your hook-line?"
"Filthy degenerate." Batman sneered.
"Flattery will get you no where." Joker said wistfully. (Sorry, I just love that line.)
Robin went up the front to get all the food, trying not to trip over everyone's feet or step on anyone.
"Excuse me." The Riddler said in a monotone voice. " But how are we supposed to eat with our hands-"
"Will you shut up with the hands?" Two-Face said irritated.
"It's a perfectly logical question, one no one else thought to ask!" The Riddler snarled.
"Robin will watch you eat one at a time." Batman said before chaos broke out again.
"Oh no, I couldn't possibly eat in front of you darling!" Joker said rather melodramatically to rile up annoyance.
"But who goes first?" Crane asked. "I think I should go first, because I've been the most behaved one on this trip."
"Agreed." Robin replied sorting through the food.
"Since when does the Scarecrow become a brown-noser?" snapped Two-Face. "I say we flip for it."
"You always say that. You and your stupid coin." Crane spat maliciously.
"Robin can decide because Robin will be watching you." Said Batman. This trip was a total disaster, he was already regretting giving into their plea for fast food.
"Alright…Crane first, then Two-Face, then Nygma, then Joker."
"My food is going to be stone cold by the time I get to eat!" The Riddler protested.
"If you don't stop complaining, you won't eat anything at all." Batman said. He was tired of all the petty quarrels.
"Promoting anorexia? Tsk, tsk, contributing to America's ruined self image." Joker said feigning offense.
"Just hurry this up Robin." Batman snarled.
The next hour passed a lot faster than the previous one Batman decided. Crane had enjoyed his meal so much he was completely harmless and oblivious to all around him. Harvey and Nygma, despite their previous elegant reputations, didn't hide their passion for the change in their meal plan. In fact, they were so good that Batman decided the hand restraints weren't necessary. The only one who was any trouble was Joker, and that was expected.
"What is this? Brains?" Joker said pointing to the sour cream on his taco.
"It's sour cream. Now eat it." Said Batman.
"Sour cream? I'd rather eat brains." Joker said. He was being difficult on purpose. Before Batman could stop him, he was already wiping the cream off on the dashboard.
"Don't. Do. That." Batman said grabbing The Jokers hand hard.
"Don't be such a wet blanket Batsy."
"Clean it up. Now."
"If I must." The Joker sighed. Joker grabbed a part of Batman's cape and wiped off the sour cream.
Batman noticeably swerved to the left, causing the Joker to hit his head on the window.
"OW! What's wrong with you?"
"Funny, I was thinking of asking you the same thing, although I know they don't have a cure." Batman growled.
"Can't I eat one meal in peace?" Joker sighed. "Say, Batsy, if I kill you, would another Bat-pest take your place? Because it seems that you're never short of Bat-boy's."
A muscle twitched in the corner of Batman's mouth unpleasantly at the reminder of Jason Todd.
" I don't suppose you have a school training them-"
" -Robin if you please." Batman said.
"Got it." Tim said pushing the button
" I know this one. It's easy." The Riddler thought just about to write in an answer in his crossword puzzle. For a shocking instant, The Riddler lost all control of his motor skills. A jolt made him convulse and drop his pen. "OW! buzz Stop!"
"What the heck?" Robin said pushing the button a couple of times. Joker's laughter rang loud, obviously unaffected.
"STOP! buzz STOP YOU IMBECILE! buzz YOU'RE SHOCKING ME!" The Riddler shouted between each terribly painful press of the button.
"This thing's busted Batman. The buttons are all mixed up! It was working before…" Robin said looking closely at the labels.
Crane was casting a worried look at the control, anticipating the next shock to be his.
"Find out which buttons match with who." Batman said with a smirk.
"NO!" all the inmates protested except Joker, who was now in stitches.
"buzz OW! buzz STOP! buzz QUIT IT ALREADY!" The Riddler screamed, looking very indignant.
"They all seem to match with the Riddler…" Robin said thinking out loud.
Another buzz was heard and the Scarecrow let out a yelp of pain.
"Oh wait, this button randomly changes ownership if you press it."
"Then keep pressing it until you get to Joker." Batman said trying not to enjoy the incident too much.
Harvey's two faces were both noticeably sweating bullets as shocks passed from the Riddler to the Scarecrow. Finally the Jokers maniacal laughter was cut off by a shock.
"There. Crazy thing." Robin said putting the control down.
Harvey relaxed and wiped the sweat from his brow.
"Oops." Robin said as he accidentally pressed a button, causing a shock to go through Harvey's body. "Sorry." Robin said smiling at Two-Face's murderous glare.
Authors Note: Okay. I liked that chapter. This is kind of a happy, silly chapter, but of course there's going to be a lot more blood spilling in the next because our bad guys aren't always happy, silly people. So review, because reviews amuse me, and I love the homage. ...I am Maxie Zeus, worship me!
The next chapter is going to be about our favorite villains activities in the aquarium. And I'm quite sure they'll all be planning on killing Batman.