Nightwing continued to race across town. He knew as well as anyone what a threat the Joker was and was worried about Tim going up against him himself. He knew Batman was rushing but would never make it, it was all up to Nightwing to help his little bro. He threw out a line and swung to the next building. He suddenly had an idea.

"Oracle, you there?"
The link buzzed. "Right here Boy Wonder. What's up?"
"Robin's at the Bank of Gotham trying to stop the Joker by himself. Can you access the security cameras to see what's going on." Nightwing hated bringing up the Joker with Barbara but he had to know what was going on. There was a short pause over the link.

"Uh yeah. Okay I got it.......oh no." She tuned in just to see Robin hit his head on the counter and fall unconscious. "DICK, HURRY!" Oracle screamed.

That was all Nightwing needed to hear. "Hold on Little Bro."

*************************************************************

"Hurry up with that bomb Chuckles or I may get bored with you." Joker threatened his henchman.
Chuckles gulped hard and turned to Joker. "It's all ready. When do you want 'er to go off?"
"Excellent. Set it for four minutes." Joker was practically gitty.
Chuckles finished setting the bomb. "Okay it's all set."
"Great. Then you are no longer needed." Joker laughed again and shot an unsuspecting Chuckles right between the eyes.

"Okay boys grab the loot. Our work is here is done. Ha ha ha. Bye bye Boy Wonder." Joker left the bank laughing. He made sure he closed the safe door, locking the unconscious Robin in with the bomb. Four minutes left.

*************************************************************

Nightwing finally arrived at the bank entering the same way Robin had through the roof.He scanned the room not spotting his "little brother" anywhere. The Joker and his men were long gone.

"Robin you here?" Nightwing could tell there had been a fight, he just didn't know who won. He turned on his com link.
"Oracle, Robin's not here."
"Yes he is, Joker threw him into the safe. It's right around the corner. Hurry."
"On it. It's nice to have eyes in the sky." Nightwing turned and waved into the camera knowing Barbara could see him. He raced to the vault. He began to open it up when his ear buzzed.

"Wait Dick don't open it yet." Oracle had noticed something on the video. She magnified what she saw. "Damn. Dick there's a bomb attached to the door. You open it and Robin goes boom."

"Well what do I do?" Nightwing was getting frantic. He knew there was only so much air in these vaults.
"The only thing I can think of is to call Tim."
"What?"
"He may be able to disarm it from the inside. It's our only choice." Oracle pleaded.
"All right. Patch me through to him." Nightwing heard his link with Oracle terminate. He was now talking to Tim whether he was awake or not to hear it was another matter. "Robin. Robin are you there? Wake up."

*************************************************************
Robin's eyes fluttered opened and he looked around him. He did not know where he was. The walls were metallic and shiny and they had lots of drawers. Bills scattered the floor every few feet and Robin realized he was in a vault and began to remember what had happened. Robin's ear had been buzzing, it was what had woken him up, so he tapped on his earpiece.

"...you there? Wake up." He heard Nightwing's voice. Robin was about to answer when he realized how much pain he was in. His head was clearly throbbing from the hit against the counter, but his ribs felt as if they were broken and probably were, his vision was blurry due to the concussion, he couldn't move his left arm hardly at all, his head was bleeding from the bullet wound, he was generally sore and finding it hard to move and last but not least he was pretty sure he was running out of air. The Joker's henchmen had probably not been too happy with the beating Robin had laid on them and got him back when he was unconscious. He finally responded to Nightwing.

"I'm here Nightwing. Where are you?" He asked weakly.
"I'm outside of this vault you're trapped in. I can't get you out." Nightwing told him, his usual humor escaping him at the moment.
"Why not?" Robin just wanted to get out of here and have Alfred take care of him.
"Look towards the door." Robin did as he was told and saw the bomb attached to the doorway. "Oh. So I suppose I have to disarm that?"
"Well if it's not too much trouble." Nightwing knew Tim must be fine and was aware of his disarming skills so lightened his mood a degree.
Robin painstakingly got up and limped to the other end of the vault which wasn't very far but seemed a mile when you're as hurt as Tim was.

"Okay, I'm at the bomb. I just gotta unscrew the lid." Robin thought Nightwing should have the benefit of a play by play of what was happeneing in the vault.
"Don't forget what Batman taught us." Nightwing joked.

"Red you're dead."
"Blue you're through."
"And black you'll be coming back." The two "brothers" quoted their mentor simultaneously. They both began to laugh until Tim got the lid off.

"Oh no."
"What's wrong Robin?"
"I'm dead."
"What?" Nightwing asked perplexed.
"Joker never has been one to follow tradition. He's got a green a white and a red wire." Robin began to sweat and felt himself losing conscious. He was using up air talking to Nightwing.
"Damn it. Hasn't he ever heard of the rhyme. Think you can disarm it anyway?"
"Yeah. I just gotta find the wire for the detonator." Robin had his pliers out ready to cut the wire he was going to choose.
"Robin, just out of curiousity how much time is left?" Nightwing was starting to sweat too.
"Oh about 25 seconds." Robin said nonchalantly.
"Well no rush or anything."

Robin felt his body slipping away. He had to do something before he lost consciousness. He followed each wire's path and chose what he thought was the right wire. He snipped it and the timer stopped.
"I got it. With a full 3 seconds to spare." Robin's voice began to trail off.
"Good going man. I'll have you out of there in a few secs." Nightwing ran to the front of the vault and was about to open the door. Meanwhile Robin was beat. He had run out of air and the mixture of pain, injuries and oxygen deprivation had taken it's toll. He was out cold.

Nightwing had stopped to make one more joke. "Now Rob, you're sure this door isn't gonna blow up in my face if I let you out?" He waited for the usual "shut up" or "just get me out of here" reply from Tim. He got no response. "Robin? Tim are you there?" Nightwing got nervous and immediately opened the door to the vault. His heart almost jumped into his throat when he saw Robin sprawled on the floor unconscious. His head was bleeding, but Dick couldn't tell what other injuries he might have. Nightwing immediately checked his pulse. It was relatively steady and Dick breathed a sigh of relief as he picked up Robin and removed him from the vault. He layed him on the floor and waited for Batman, what else could he do, Batman had a car.

*************************************************************

In the Batcave, Bruce was waiting for Tim to wake up. He had arrived a few minutes after Dick had gotten Robin out of the vault and driven them both to the Batcave after dubbing Robin fit to be moved. Dick was driving Dr.Leslie home. She had given Tim as clean a bill of health as possible. She set his broken bones and had been thankful he was unconscious. His head was patched up and his arm would need a sling but the rest of his injuries were cuts and bruises, some rather large but he was stable and not seriously injured.

Bruce was kicking himself for not being with Tim. The Joker was on the loose and he had Tim just go off on his own patroling the city. In his trance of self pity he almost didn't notice Tim waking up. He approached the cot he was resting on and stood next to his bed. Tim rolled over a few times and opened eyes. Bruce smiled caringly.

"How are you feeling?" Asked the Dark Knight.
"Like crap." Robin moaned.
"Watch your mouth."
"Sorry. The Joker got away didn't he?" Robin knew he did but wanted to find out for sure.
"Yes he did. But he never got a chance to use his Joker gas." Bruce was attempting to lift his spirits.
"That's something. Sorry I couldn't stop him." Robin had a look of shame in his eyes.
"Don't be so hard on yourself. I watched the footage of the robbery. Oracle sent it to me. I was impressed with the way you handled the situation, up until you knocked yourself out."
Robin smiled. "Yeah that wasn't the swiftest thing I've ever done was it?"
"Just don't let it happen again. Get some rest Dick should be back soon."
Robin nodded his head and fell back to sleep.

*************************************************************

"Oh come on Bruce. I feel great. Just let me go out patroling. Please. I've been cooped up in here a whole week." Robin pleaded with Batman to allow him to go. He had been so bored this past week.

Bruce finished suiting up. "Not a chance Tim. You're ribs aren't near 100 percent yet and you're still having trouble with that left arm. Joker's still out there and I'm not going to chance you going up against him again. Especially if you aren't in peak condition."
Robin knew Bruce was right but needed to make a final protest. "Alfred tell him to let me go."
Alfred looked up from his cleaning. "I'm afraid I must concur with Master Bruce. You are in no shape to begin patrol just yet."
"Alfred you're supposed to be on my side." Tim whined.
Batman jumped into the Batmobile. "Stay here. You can do monitor duty and make sure you finish your homework."
Tim nodded and sulked over to the computer chair. "Humph. He'd go out even if he was injured." Tim thought as he flicked on the Batcomputer. Bruce pulled out of the Batcave, leaving Alfred to deal with the depressed teenager.

*************************************************************

After deserting Robin Batman was about to go on patrol when he saw the Batsignal.
"I guess Jim has something better for me to do." Batman turned around and sped to Gotham Police HQ.

Commishioner Gordon had been waiting only a few minutes when a voice startled him from behind.
"What have you got for me Jim?" The Commishioner jumped. He had been on edge in an attempt to try and hear Batman's approach, it hadn't worked. He faced the Dark Knight and passed him a report.
"It's about the Joker. We know he hasn't pulled anything since that bank heist but we checked into what clues we did have. Those cannisters didn't contain Joker gas."

Batman looked through the file for a moment. "Then what was in them?"
"Plain old helium. It wouldn't have hurt a thing. It doesn't make any sense to me."
"It might to me. I'll let you know. First I want to be sure of something. Thanks Jim." Batman leapt off the roof and disappeared as silently as he came.
Gordon walked to the ledge to find Batman already long gone. Jim wasn't surprised. "They must walk on air or something." He told himself and headed back in.

*************************************************************

"Tim are you there?" Batman was speeding through Gotham. He wasn't really going anywhere but felt the urge to step on the gas.
"Right where you left me. Bored, alone, hurting a bit, little more bored." Tim said sarcastically.
"Anything else?"
"Did I mention bored?"
"Yes."
"Well that's all then."

Batman smiled to himself. Tim always could brighten up his day a bit.
"Well if you're through with the self pity I've got a job for you."
"Great!" Tim exclaimed as he jumped from his seat and ran for his Robin costume. "I can be ready in two minutes. Where do you want me to meet you?"
"Hold it. I need you to look something up for me in the database."
Tim's face dropped as he replaced his Robin costume to it's closet. "Oh. You mean a boring job."
"Well you can take it if you like or I can call Oracle. It's your choice." Batman was tormenting him in that way that only he could.
"Well no need to get hasty. What do you need?" Tim resumed his post at the Batcomputer.
"I need you to get the footage of Joker's breakout from the Arkham archives. I'll need to take a look at it when I get back." Batman was now heading back to the Batcave knowing Tim would have the tape in a matter of moments.
"That shouldn't be too hard. Are you headed back?"
"Yes. I'll be there in a few minutes. Have the tape ready for me. Batman out."
Tim hit a few keys and had the footage in a matter of moments. He watched it once not noticing anything of great signifigance. "Wonder what Bruce wants to see this for."

Tim filed the tape and waited for Bruce to come back. He hadn't waited long when a figure entered the cave. And it wasn't Batman.

"Hey twerp. How ya feeling?" The intruder removed his helmet.
"Hi Dick. I'm better. Bruce will be here in a moment, he's on his way back." Tim greeted his "brother".
"He's not going on patrol?" asked Nightwing approaching the Batcomputer.
Tim just shrugged. "He went but a little later he called and told me he was coming back, and to get some footage ready for him."
"What kind of footage?" Dick stood looking over Tim's shoulder.

A voice echoed from the steps leading out of the Batcave. "Joker's break out of Gotham."
Both boys turned and saw Bruce gliding down the steps. "What do you want that for?" Dick asked. He was full of questions tonight.
"I need to check something in the footage. I may know why Joker hit that bank." Batman began typing keys as Tim and Dick watched him. After watching the footage and zooming in on, what Tim and Dick thought were pointless details, Batman swung around and faced his young counterparts, who were staring at him curiously.
"I know why Joker robbed that bank, and why those cannisters were full of helium." Was all he would say.

Tim and Dick just looked at each other and then turned their attention back to The Dark Knight. Dick finally broke the silence.
"Well are you going to tell us or just leave us guessing?"

Batman was no longer facing them and smiled slightly.

"He's broke!"

Dick and Tim just stared at each other.
"What do you mean?"
"Well Dick. This breakout has to be one of the worst planned and most low budget jobs I've ever seen. It was pulled off with the fewest amount of men possible even Harley was there. The breakout used low cost materials and hardly any big machines. That's also why..."
"Why those cannisters were full of helium. Joker gas is expensive to make." Tim interrupted.
"You're catching on. Since he's broke he'll have to make a few more robberies before he can do whatever he's planning. Most likely planning something big and needs lots of cash, the most he could have gotten from that bank job is half a million." Batman continued, never actually looking at his partners.
"So all we have to do is watch anyplace that has anything of any value. No problem." Nightwing rolled his eyes.
"Well we'll have to do our best to try."

Robin suddenly got an idea to get himself out of the Cave sooner that planned.
"All this checking around town you'll need as much help as you can get right?"
Batman knew what Robin was thinking. "Yes I suppose we will. Dick why don't you call Batgirl and see if she can help."
Dick caught on to the joke as well. "Sure Bruce. I'll make sure to tell Barbara to keep her ears open too."
"Is the Huntress doing anything we could call her in."
"I think she's busy. But we might be able to call Green Arrow. He could do some Detective work."
Tim was aawestruck and Bruce finally put on the final touch.
"Do you think that Impulse kid is doing anything?"
Tim erupted. "Well gee. Why don't we just call Wonder Woman or the Flash or Superman or the entire JLA for pete's sake?!"
Dick just looked at him as if they were having a normal conversation. "Nah. They're probably busy. But what's Young Justice been doing lately?"
Tim stormed out of the cave muttering something about homework.

Bruce and Dick just laughed. Yes Batman can laugh. Even in the midst of evil you had to have a sense of humor or you'd be doomed.

*************************************************************

It had been a week since Joker's robbery of the bank. He had managed to pull off three more roberies since then, each time Nightwing and Batman arriving a fraction later than Joker left. He now had an easy three million. More than enough to pull off whatever he was planning. Robin was also still pent up in the cave. He'd tried working out but it was just too painful, he couldn't exactly perform his moves with amazing grace or anything either, so he was left with monitor duty and homework night after night. It killed him to watch Dick and Bruce suit up every night and head out to stop crime while he sat staring at a computer screen, but he was forbidden to go out.

"Come on Bruce. It's been a whole week. I stay here any longer and I'll go insane."
Batman finished suiting up and faced his young protege. "Tim you're still hurt, maybe in a few nights."
"You can assist me in the preparation of some desserts for Master Dick's police banquet." Alfred offered.
"There you go Tim."
"Dick, baking cookies is not exactly what I call fun." Tim remarked sarcastically.
Alfred stopped dusting and crossed his arms. "Am I to assume young sir, you believe my tasks to be futile and boring."
"It's not that Al, it's just I'd rather be swinging off rooftops." Tim tried feebly to cover for himself.
"Well Master Tim, I will remember that next time you wish your laundry done." Alfred left the Batcave in fashionable British style.
"Thanks Dick, now I'll be wearing the same clothes for a month."
"No prob Tim. Don't worry about it just make him some tea or something." Batman was waiting by the Batmobile. "Uh we gotta go. Have a good night." Dick jumped on his bike and followed Batman out of the Cave.
"Oh yeah, I'll have a blast."

*************************************************************
After an hour or so of homework Tim was utterly bored. Finally he received a message from Nightwing after only about three hours of waiting for something to happen.

"Hey Tim good news, we stopped some of Joker's guys from taking out one of those high class jewelery shops."
"That's great. Any sign of the Joker?"
Nightwing's voice came back on over the com. "No he wasn't with them, but Batman was quite persuasive and got one of his goons to tell us where Joker is we're on our way over there now."
"Hope you catch him."
"We will, no prob. Huh." The com was silent but Tim could hear whispering in the background. "I gotta go, we got to get to Joker's place. Later." The com went dead.
"Oh man." Tim expressed his disappointment just as Alfred entered, the earlier arguement quite forgotten.
"May I ask what is wrong Master Timothy?"
"Hey Al. Bruce and Dick found out where the Joker is."
"One would think that is splendid news young sir."
"It is. It's just I wanted to be there when they caught him. Just to I don't know..." Tim trailed off.
"See that's he's brought to justice."
"That's part of it." Tim sighed again and layed his head on the computer console, careful not to let out the grunt of pain he felt when he moved.
"I am sure Master Bruce and Dick can handle the job sufficiently." Alfred was always so caring. "Why don't you get some rest. I shall notify at once if either of them check in."
"Yeah. That's a good idea, I'm beat. Night Al." Tim left the old man alone in the dark cave.

*************************************************************
Meanwhile Batman and Nightwing were racing around town in an attempt to reach the harbor. They knew the Joker was always up to date with his robberies and it wouldn't be long before he found out they'd managed to stop his burglary. They needed to get there before he moved out.

"Batman, do you think Joker will still be around when we get there?" Nightwing was only a short distance behind the Batmobile.
"I don't know Dick. Hopefully he won't have to time move out before we get there. We may even be able to get the drop on him if we're careful."
"Are you kidding? Careful is my middle name."

Little did either of these crimefighters know what was going on at the harbor.

*************************************************************
In a large, once luxurious and expensive, building on the harbor front, a mysterious figure sat in a chair in the shape of a huge smile. He was laughing hysterically.

"Ha, ha ha ha ha. They fell for it, I know they did. Ha ha. Soon the big bad Bat will be the big dead Bat. Ha ha ha. And it's all thanks to my brilliant plan. Ha." The Joker was having a great time that night. Just him, his henchmen and his foolproof plan.

One of Joker's henchmen spoke up. "You mean you want the Bat to find ya?"
"Yes. Because you see you nincompoop, I planned this all. I knew Batman and one of those little sidekicks of his, would show up and bust up my little robbery of a petty jewellery shop. I also instructed the unfortunate men I sent to tell Batman, after some persuading, where I was. He has no idea we're waiting for him." Joker stopped laughing and suddenly became very serious. "This will be a night he'll never forget, and one he will never live through." Joker began to convulse with laughter once more.

*************************************************************
Batman and Nightwing finally reached the harbor. They left their vehicles a few blocks away and ran across the rooftops of several buildings until they finally reached the right building.

GOTHAM HARBOR
HAPPY LAUGHER TOYS STORAGE

laugh and the world laughs with you
smile and you're still happy

The place was lit up like a christmas tree with neon smiles and glowing laughter.

"Kinda redundant, isn't it." Nightwing, always the kidder.
Batman was always focused though, especially when it came to the Joker. "Let's go." They both leapt from the roof and landed silently behind the building across from the storage building. There was no one guarding the doors, but that didn't fool Batman. He took out his binoculars and spotted the guards inside. There was at least a dozen, armed to the teeth, Batman handed the binoculars to Nightwing. They didn't need to speak, they both knew what happened next, except for one small discrepancy, Nightwing clicked on his comm link.

"Tim you there?" A few moments later the unmistakeable British voice of Alfred came over the link.
"I'm afraid Master Tim has retired for the evening. May I take a message.
"Just tell him we're right outside Joker's place, Happy Laugher Storage. We should be back within the hour."
"I'm sure Master Tim will be delighted. Good luck sir."
"Later Al."

Nightwing nodded to Batman that he was ready to go. They both made their way to the front of the building, you wouldn't have known they'd been there if they walked right by. They stood outside the front doors ready to bust through.
But someone was ready for them.

*************************************************************

Alfred walked up the stairs silently, he did not wish to wake Tim up if he was all ready asleep. He slid the door open and found only an empty bed and open window.

"Oh my."
Alfred opened Tim's closet to find his Robin costume he kept in his room gone. The sound of tires squealing blared through the air and made Alfred race to the window in time to see The Redbird haul out of the Batcave at top speed.

"Master Bruce will not approve of this at all." Alfred sighed.

Robin was gone.

*************************************************************
The door of the Happy Laugher Storage building bursted open and two dark figures entered. The men inside were utterly shocked to see the two men and immediately raced for their weapons. The huge figure of a Bat stopped four of the men before they could even get out of their seats. A punch to the jaw and a kick in the stomach from a normal man would not cause serious injury, but from Batman if you weren't fast or strong enough one or two shots and you were headed to the hospital, the same could be said for Nightwing.

Eight of the men were out cold but the other four were able to reach their guns and fired upon the duo. The Dark Knight leapt in the air and a flurry of metallic disks seemingly fly from his fingers. The batarangs all hit their targets and the men dropped their guns. They began to run for the door when they were stopped by the younger of the two figures, another barrage of kicks and punches and only the mysterious shadows were left standing.

"Well that was easy." Nightwing said as he tied up the men.
"We'll see. Come on." Batman led the way through the only exit out of the room. They walked through and found themselves in an empty room. It was completely bare with hard metal floors, and was no bigger than the first room they had entered. There was also no door leading to another room, which left the team to wonder what to do next.

"Well I think we hit a dead end." Nightwing scratched his head.
"There must be a secret door or somethi.........." Before Batman could finish the floor fell from underneath them. Batman and Nightwing both leapt in the air but had nowhere to land and only fell into the hole. They both pulled out there grappling hooks and shot for the ceiling. Just as they pressed the trigger the floor moved back into place, resealing the opening. Their grappling hooks hit the roof but the metal was too strong and their hooks could not get a grip. They both hit the ground.

"Well we found the something." Nightwing and Batman turned on their flashlights. They didn't like the look of the room they were in. It appeared to be an old fasioned torture chamber, complete with all the furnishings, the rack, the iron maiden, you name it Joker had it.

"Can we find a way out of here, like right now? I'm starting to get a bit freaked out." Nightwing asked.
"Good idea, let's try over here." Batman once more lead the duo through a door near the far end of the room. The room was pitch black except for the lights from their flashlights and that wasn't helping much. This room was much bigger than the first but held a great resemblance. It was dark and musty, and kept the torture chamber decor, the only difference was this room held only one machine, one which Batman did not recognize. Just as they were going to take a closer look the door slammed shut behind them, once more it was made of re-inforced steel.

"This is starting to get old." Nightwing commented just as the lights clicked on. All that could be heard was the sound of maniacal laughter, and that seemed to be coming from all around them. Joker appeared on a balcony far above their heads, with the lights on, it was now clear they were trapped, there was a huge sphered dome around them, Batman knew better than to even try to break it, Joker had been getting better at these things.

"Ha ha ha ha ha. Look who fell into my big bad trap. None other than the Fatman himself, and you brought company, good, this wouldn't be much fun all by ourselves."
"What's the game this time Joker?" Batman would have to follow his rules for awhile.
"Ah Bats you have to be patient. Actual I can't stand it myself, this time there is no game. Believe it or not I'm sick of games, now I just want you DEAD. Ha ha ha ha ha."

Joker held a remote control in his hand and hit the red button. The dome Batman and Nightwing were in filled with knockout gas, it was fast, but they both managed to put on their gas masks in time. Unfortunately with all the gas they couldn't see a thing, they only heard the darts heading for them. There were a thousand if there was one. Hundreds of knock out darts filled the air, and even though Batman and Nightwing could dodge almost anything when there's nowhere to go and too many to dodge they both got hit. Eventually the darts found their mark and Batman and Nightwing fell unconscious. The last thing Batman saw was Joker laughing from high above them.
"Man I hate that laugh." Was the last thought to pass through Batman's mind, then it was just black.

*************************************************************
Meanwhile Tim had changed into his Robin costume and was racing to get to the Harbor. He had no intention of assisting Batman and Nightwing he knew that would just make Bruce more mad that he'd left. Besides he it was pretty obvious Bruce and Dick could handle it, but for some reason Tim had to be there when the Joker was brought in. Maybe it was because of all the times he'd escaped a burning or exploding building, or all the breakouts he'd managed but most likely it was all the people he'd killed. This time Tim was going to be there and make sure Joker didn't slip through the cracks the way he usually does, this would be Joker's last night. And maybe Tim could pull it off without Nightwing or Batman seeing him. He stepped on the gas. If he didn't hurry he may be too late.

*************************************************************
Batman woke up and immediately viewed his surroundings and didn't like where he was. He was still in the room he had been knocked out in but with some changes. Nightwing was hooked up to the machine Batman had been unable to recognize, he still didn't know what it was but he was getting an idea. Nightwing was laid out on a table strapped down tightly and there was a huge blade swinging over his head. Batman was being held in a 2 meter area by a force field, he could see Dick struggling against the bonds but there was no way out, especially since both their utility belts had been taken away, Joker had been very thorough this time,there was nothing left in Batman's glove or boot compartments either. He had no gadgets and no plan. And Joker was still laughing.

"Morning Batman. Glad you decided to join us, we were just about to kill your little friend. It's not much fun if I don't get to see the look on your face.Ha ha ha ha." Joker held Nightwing's fate in his hands, Batman had to play this right.

He analyzed the situation from all angles. Dick would never be able to free himself, Joker was determined to kill them both and was now sure he would, and Batman was trapped behind a force field. He would have to test the strenght of the field. What Batman really hated was the blade hanging treacherously over Nightwing's head. The huge blade was hanging only a few feet from Nightwing's head and the only thing holding it there was a metallic cord tied to a post. The rope was actually only a meter or so away from Batman but he couldn't reach it from the force field.

"I thought you said no more games Joker." Batman was still viewing the situation. If that rope snapped or came undone Nightwing would be sliced in half.

"Well I did, but you see this isn't a game, its a test." Joker grinned evilly.
"What kind of test?"
"Oh the usual, strength, nobility, honor, courage. But have no fear you will both be dead in the end." Joker's smile broadened. "Now Batman how fast do you think you are?"

The question caught Batman somewhat offguard but not completely. Joker pressed a button on a small remote he held in his hand. The rope holding the blade over Nightwing's head, snapped and began to fall.

*************************************************************
Robin finally reached the harbor. He jumped out of his car and began to search the area, he had to find the Joker, he wasn't gonna slip out the back way, while Batman and Nightwing were busy beating off his goons, again. This time Joker was covered, even if he knew Batman and Nightwing were there, he didn't know Robin was. He soon found the right building.

GOTHAM HARBOR
HAPPY LAUGHER TOYS STORAGE

laugh and the world laughs with you
smile and you're still happy

The neon lights and glowing laughter still shone brightly, this was definitely the right place.

"Man Joker's hideouts are getting way too easy to spot. I could have seen this place from across town. Maybe it's a bit too obvious, I mean Joker may be a psycho, but he's not stupid. I better get inside." Tim thought to himself as he ran to the back of the building.

*************************************************************
Nightwing clasped his eyes shut as the immense blade fell from overtop his head. After a few seconds he opened them realizing the immense weapon had been stopped in midfall. He looked to his side to see Batman holding the rope which held the blade. He was struggling greatly to keep the blade from falling.

Joker was laughing hysterically, he had released the field trapping Batman at the exact moment he had released the blade. He did not expect Batman to reach the rope in time to keep the blade from falling, but his speed was unimaginable as he ran from his confine and grasped the rope. Joker loved seeing Batman struggle to keep the rope from letting go, the blade had to weigh at least 350 pounds.

"Ha ha ha. I'm impressed Batsy. But I think there's something you should know." Joker managed to say in between laughter.
Batman's face was frozen in an expression of strain and anger. He gritted his teeth and planted his feet firmly in place. "And what would that be?"
Joker leaned over the ledge of the balcony and jumped into the room with Batman and Nightwing. He strode over to Batman casually, knowing he wouldn't dare release the rope in order to take a swing at him.

"Well, there just happen to be some land mines buried directly where you are standing. They're weight activated so won't go off unless you move from that spot you're standing, or somewhere within a one metre radius. One step further and KABOOM! It should all be quite messy and fun." Joker continued to walk around Batman tauntingly, still having a good chuckle.

"Doesn't sound like much of a game if you ask me Joker." Nightwing had finally joined the discussion. He knew Batman had to concentrate on holding onto the rope. Joker spun around, not expecting an answer from Nightwing.

"Well the fun part about this game is watching. And Batman also has a choice, those bombs under his feet are not yet armed, all he has to do is let go of the rope and move away from the area within thirty seconds and he'll be fine, he could even catch me and take me into custody, but to do that he would have to let go of the rope. So what do you think Bats, are you going to come after me or save your friend, well keep him alive until your strength runs out." The timer was slowly ticking down, Joker was so damn irratating. "Tick, tock, tick tock Batsy." The timer clicked down to it's final seconds and Batman showed no sign he was about to let go of the rope. The timer hit zero.

The mines beneath Batman's feet could be heard arming. "Well Batman it seems you have taken the noble, yet stupid choice of trying to keep that blade from falling forever. This should be fun, just think when your friend is sliced in two it will be because you were unable to keep him from being killed. He will be cut in two all due to the fact that you weren't capable of holding on to that rope. Oh how tragic it will all be." Joker wiped away a fake tear.

Minutes passed. They felt like hours. After only ten minutes or so of Batman struggling to keep Nightwing alive Joker became quite bored.
"Oh just let go of the rope already Batman. You can't hold on forever." Joker was becoming unamused. "Oh what the heck, I'm just going to shoot you where you are." Joker took aim for the Dark Knight.

"Wait!" Batman spoke for the first time. "You said you were sick of games, but I don't believe that. This is just one big game to you, you can't change the rules when you get bored. Besides you want to see this game through." Batman gritted his teeth, he could only hold on for so much longer, but he couldn't let go. He couldn't lose someone else.

"You know Bats you're right. I'd much rather see you kill your own friend, it makes the game so much more interesting. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha." Joker put away his gun and continued his own amusements, little did he know he was really annoying another young crime fighter.

*************************************************************
Robin had climbed onto the roof of the building and found a skylight, he slowly crept down. It was very quiet which worried Robin. He had expected to arrive and hear Joker and his men moaning in agony or struggling against arrest but Robin could hardly hear a thing, he listened carefully.
"Come on guys where are you. You couldn't have ditched me."
That's when Tim heard it. That maniacal, psychiotic, irratating, unmistakeable........LAUGH.

Robin's fists clenched. Joker was here and if he was laughing, that was bad. Robin looked around him and couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from.
"Come on Joker. Where are you? You can't hide from me." Robin realized the sound was coming from beneath him. He entered a small room and almost fell into the trapdoor.

"Whoa! I guess I know what happened to Batman and Nightwing." Robin stared into the hole, the laughter was definitely coming from down there.
"I got you now Joker. You've had your last laugh." He jumped into the hole and followed the sound of the laughter.

He came to the room where Batman and Nightwing were. He saw Dick strapped onto the table with the huge blade overhead and Batman struggling to hold onto it. Robin's first instinct was to rush to Dick's aid but quickly stopped himself. He had the edge, they didn't know he was here. His only choice was to stay put. The laughter started up again.
Batman had said something which Robin couldn't hear, Tim only wished he knew where Joker was, he couldn't see him.
After forming somewhat of a strategy for a few moments Robin noticed that Joker had stopped laughing to say something else.

"You know Bats. I only wish Bird Boy were here, but I suppose he's still a bit on the hurt side is he? Oh if only I could have made this a family affair."

Robin saw Batman falter. Tim had no idea how long Batman had been holding that rope, he would have to move before his strength ran out. Robin ran to the edge of the hallway. He was covered from view from there, he took a quick peek into the room and saw Joker on the balcony.

"Wouldn't that have been wonderful, Death of the Bat-Family all at the same time. I suppose I'll just have to kill him when you're both dead. Well I will need someone to torment." Joker continued rambling on like this for a while.

Meanwhile, Batman with his skilled eye, had caught sight of Robin in the hallway. Robin saw him looking in his direction and made a few movements trying to explain his plan to Batman through sign language, he only prayed Batman understood. Batman was at first confused, albeit relieved to see the Boy Wonder but quickly got over it. He was getting weaker.

"Thank God Tim. Where have you been?" Bruce thought to himself.He understood what Robin was planning but had no way to tell him that. Tim pressed closely to the hallway wall and removed something from his belt.

"I wonder if I should kill him right away or toy with him for awhile over the fact that you're both dead.Oh maybe I will...AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!" Tho Joker screamed with pain and covered his eyes.

Robin had thrown a flare bomb. The rays would blind a man staring directly at it when it went off. Joker had been turned partially away but was still writhing in pain, holding his eyes. Robin made his move.

Tim ran to Dick, knife in hand, and freed him from his bonds.
"What took you Bro?" Dick quipped while being cut free.
Robin smiled. "Traffic. There." Nightwing was free, as soon as they were clear of the table Batman dropped the blade, easily slicing the table in two.

The Joker was still screaming. "AHH MY EYES. I CAN'T SEE. WHAT HAPPENED?"

"That looked heavy." Robin said as he approached Batman.
Batman caught his breath in time to yell out to Robin. "Stay there, Robin. There's weight activated mines around this area."
"How are you going to get off?" Robin asked backing away slowly.

"You! You'll wish you had stayed in your little corner! Boys get out here!" Joker had recovered from the flare bomb. Even though he was still blinking furiously.

The entire chamber quickly filled with men who were armed to the teeth.Normally the course of action in this type of situation would be duck and cover then take they guys out one by one but that wasn't an option.The men began to open fire they primarily aimed for Nightwing and Robin who were running around taking out guys as quickly as possible. None of them thoght of the fact that Batman was practically defenceless.

Batman could only maneuver within a one metre radius so was trying to dodge bullets as best he could, he threw batarang after batarang, each one hitting their target right on, and would then quickly duck a stray bullet.

Nightwing and Robin were taking care of the Joker's goons easily enough, even though it was more Nightwing than Robin. Robin was still hurting from the his ribs, not to mention he saw two of every guy he was fighting thanks to his concussion, so he tried to do as little as possible while helping as much as possible. They also had the problem of staying within a close range of Batman without stepping on any mines themselves, and drawing the fire if the men.

"How you doing Rob?"
"Just peachy keen, Nightwing. But could we discuss it later?" Robin was fighting a particularly large opponent and trying to find a take down area.
Meanwhile Nightwing easily flipped his henchman with ease."Sure thing. Whenever you wanna talk, my door's always open." Another goon down by Nightwing.

Robin finally got the goon down and turned to Batman. He was still launching batarangs and dodging bullets. Robin noticed one of the Joker's guys aiming right for Batman. Batman didn't see him and wouldn't be able to dodge.Robin ran across the room and did a flying leap just as the trigger was pulled. He managed to kick the gun away but the autofire kicked in and shot a dozen rounds through the air, Robin fell to the ground motionless.

*************************************************************
Joker knew better than to stick around and was running blindly through the hallway. The flare bomb had not totally worn off but he had seen for a brief moment and clearly saw Robin enter the room and free Nightwing.

Joker was stumbling around idiotically."Stupid Bat brat. I swear he ruins my fun even more than Bats. And how many times will I have to kill this kid? I should go back there just to see if I can finish him, who cares if Bats catches me, Arkham's nice this time of year."

A huge thud resounded through the walls of the corridor as Joker ran into a door.Joker was now simultaneously rubbing his eyes and head. "Then again trying to find a way out of here could work." He stumbled blindly down the hall, having no idea where he was going.

*************************************************************
"ROBIN!"Batman stood by helplessly as his sidekick hit the ground. It took all his will power not to move from where he was standing and run to his aid.
Nightwing heard Batman shout and turned to see Robin laying unmoving. Nightwing sideswiped the last of the henchman and ran to Robin's side, and attempted to wake up the Boy Wonder.
"Robin, Robin answer me. Come on Rob wake up, you have to." Nightwing pleaded. He got his reward. Robin coughed and looked up at Nightwing.
"What happened?" Robin asked sitting up.
"You little jerk, you're okay." Nightwing gasped, relieved he was all right.
"Yeah I'm fine. What do you think we wear kevlar suits for. I have a lot of padding where I got hit, the force just took me by surprise." Robin got up dusted himself off and maneuvered himself around the unconscious henchmen. "Let's try to disarm these mines."

Batman was his usual calm self now that he knew Robin was fine. "Yes I would like to get out of here before the police show up."

"Well you can walk around the area with the mines and they won't go off unless you leave there. So all we need is something about the same weight as you to put there in your place." Nightwing reasoned.
"Sounds reasonable but what did you have in mind?" Batman asked.
Robin thought of it first."What about all that stuff in the first room over there that looks like a torture chamber."
"Yeah that'll work. Come on let's see what's in there." Nightwing and Robin started for the first room when Robin stopped short and looked back.
"Rob, come on." Nightwing urged.
Robin turned to Nightwing, looking more focused than Dick had ever seen him."Nightwing can you help Batman by yourself?"
"Well I guess......Hey wait. Where are you going?" Nightwing yelled at Robin who had taken off in mid-sentence.
Robin fired a grappling hook and climbed onto the balcony Joker had been on."I'm gonna find Joker." He yelled before he disappeared and left a confused, worried but very proud Nightwing and Batman by themselves to work out their own dilemna.

*************************************************************
We last left Joker attempting to find a way out of the building to escape the clutches of the Bat family, which is quite a task,even if you're not practically blind. Well Joker has since gotten himself in a considerably worse predicament.

"I should have killed him. I should have shot him in the head in that bank and have been done with iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...."

In Joker's rage and near blindness he failed to realize he was heading directly into a trap he had set for Batman in case he came in through a different entrance. Joker hung helplessly on to the ledge, desperately trying not to lose his grip and fall into the acid vat.

"Look what he's done now. This kid nearly blinds me, ruins my plan and now he makes me fall into my own trap. Somewhat ironic isn't it. I'll be killed in my own acid vat." A gloved hand grabbed Joker and pulled him to safety.
"Harley is that you. I thought I left you at the hotel.Uhhh!" Joker felt a fist slam into his face.

"Sorry Joker. But you're not going anywhere this time." Robin stood over the fallen criminal triumphantly.

Joker began to laugh. Not just any laugh though, he was going into complete hysterics, he held his sides and gasped for breath. Robin was not amused.
"I wouldn't be laughing if I were you Joker." This only caused Joker to convulse, he eventually opened his eyes carefully and looked up at the Boy Wonder.

"You don't get it do you? Ha ha ha ha. You can't stop me, because you can't kill me. He he he. I figured it out a long time ago,not one of my men has ever been killed by you masked meddlers, and you've never done more than rough me up a bit. Ha ha ha. You can't kill me and that's where your weak link is. HA HA HAAAAAAA! I'll just keep going to Arkham and you'll keep putting me back I after I break out. It's all an endless cycle of death and laughter. It's what I live for kiddo. My next capture or my next kill."
Joker's voice lost all humor on the last word of his speech. He looked into the eyes of the Boy Wonder and continued enjoying his joke.

"STOP LAUGHING!!!" Robin picked up Joker by the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the wall.

"What are you going to do Boy Wonder, put me out of my misery? Ha ha ha ha ha?"Joker laughed until he saw the seriousness in Robin's face and the solemness and confidence in his movements as he raised his arm, his palm laid out flat in a defensive strike position. A position used in many killing techniques. Joker's face went whiter than usual.

"Ha ha.Can't you take a joke kid? " Joker's desperation in his voice was clear.
Robin pulled back his arm even farther. "Yes Joker I can take a joke. But personally yours aren't very good, frankly they suck and I'm sick of listening to them. I'm not going to put you out of your misery I'm gonna take you out of mine. Personally I really Hate That Laugh." A slight smile formed on Robin's lips as he struck the devastating blow.

*************************************************************
Robin was walking to down the hallway when Nightwing and Batman appeared in front of him. He walked to them confident but weary. He was sick of this and just wanted it all to end. He met the stares of his mentor and older brother with eyes empty of emotion. No one spoke. Robin had done something, and he wasn't being forthcoming with the information.

"You all right Robin?"Batman asked, not giving off any sign of emotion.
Robin nodded. Nightwing couldn't stand the erie silence in the hallway.
"Did you catch up with Joker?"
Robin nodded once more.
"Well where is he?"
Robin jutted his thumb and indicated behind him, down the hall. He walked silently between the two men he called family and said only.
"I'm going home."
He left the warehouse without so much as another word. He was proud of what he had done, he just didn't know how the others would react. But at that moment he didn't care, he just got into his car and drove back to the cave.

*************************************************************
"So you're the new guy eh? Little nervous about working here." Bob had been a security guard for years and loved to hassle the new guys.
"I guess so. It's a lot different than my lost job." The nervous youngster answered.
"Don't worry about it's not as crazy here as some people say, mostly just annoying as hell. Some of these guys just go on and on."
"Yeah I heard about that. they just scream and scream eh?"
"Yeah that's it mostly. But there was this one guy, laughed his ass off every night. You'd think he was in on the biggest joke in the world."
"He break out or something? I've been here a week and haven't heard any laughing."
"No he's still here. Joker's his name. He had a run in with one of those Bat freaks, they brought him in from the hospital wing a few nights ago. I'd feel bad for the guy if he hadn't killed so many people, imagine having your voice box shattered. The guy's never gonna talk again according to the doc. Can't say I'm sorry. I really Hated That Laugh."

*************************************************************
Joker sat alone in his cell, wrapped in a straight jacket. Anyone walking by would have noticed the unnatural silence, but to Joker the noise would never stop. He heard it day and night, even in the little sleep he got and in his dreams. He would have done anything for some peace and quiet but he would have to accept his situation because it was obvious that the laughter he heard day and night wasn't going away any time soon.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA......"

Was all he could hear. Joker was really beginning to Hate That Laugh.

The End