Disclaimer: So, we all know that these characters don't belong to me; totally wish they did.

Please don't hate me too much if they're a little out of character; I'm new to the comic book world, and this was just something random I came up with while procrastinating on one of my final papers. Enjoy :)


For the first time in awhile, Bruce Wayne had had a night completely to himself. Alfred was visiting family for the weekend, there had been no significant parties or events that his alternate-playboy persona had to attend, and the Bat-signal hadn't gone up once. For once, he'd had a small, quiet dinner, and a chance to sit down for a quiet evening in his study with a long-unread book, in his pajamas, of all things, before getting to bed early.

He was just about to get to that last part now, when the door-sized balcony windows suddenly flung themselves open in a very melodramatic, thriller-type manner, a blast of cold air and a spray of rain assailing him.

Is there ever a night when it doesn't rain in this city? Bruce wondered, annoyed. He was about to get up to shut them, when the dark silhouette of a hand reached out from behind the red velvet drapes and closed them for him. Aw, shit . . .

The letter opener in his hand was an afterthought, as second-nature as breathing, but the uninvited hand was there, white-gloved fingers lightly closed around his wrist, holding the hand up near his hair, useless.

"Good evening, cupcake." Bruce's eye twitched, knowing that voice instantaneously, as if the nickname wasn't disturbing enough to tip him off. Spoken so closely, so softly, into his ear, it made him shudder.

"What do you want?" He growled, deciding he wasn't all that surprised. "How'd you figure it out?"

"Oh, darling." How the hell that psychotic bastard's voice could manage being sultry, Bruce could not fathom, but there it was. "I've known for awhile now."

The Joker slipped the dull knife out of his hand and strode leisurely around in front of him, for a moment giving Bruce his back. Bruce took the opportunity and lunged, knocking the Joker to the ground. The two of them rolled across the floor, both struggling to get the other hand. Bruce finally managed to pin him to the floor, but without the usual protection of his suit, managed to scrape his bare arm on a thorn of the red rose the Joker was wearing. Moments later, that arm lost all feeling, and he lost his balance, hitting the rose a second time and wiping out his upper torso.

Panting, the Joker grinned up at him from inches away. "Not that I'm complaining," he pointed out. "But if you want to keep any control of your limbs, you might want to get off me."

"Not a chance," Bruce muttered, then snarled when he felt something poke through the cloth of his pajama pants, rendering his whole right leg useless.

Smirking, Joker used Bruce's lack of control to roll him, hovering closely over him. "I promise, I'm not here to cause trouble. I just want a chat."

"Yeah, right," Bruce muttered.

"Cross my heart." Joker helped him to stand, acting as a crutch to get Bruce back to his desk chair. Despite the obvious worry of the situation, Bruce decided to just go with it for the moment, seeing as he was half-useless and all the weapons were located on the side he couldn't use.

"So talk," He said. "What do you want?"

How often had he been in this situation before? Tied up or otherwise disabled at the Joker's hands, awaiting the help of Robin, or some brilliant thought to spring to mind. Unfortunately, he was currently between Robins, and no ideas were forthcoming, save perhaps to let the bastard talk and hope the . . . whatever it was wore off.

He studied his foe, who loomed in front of him, returning the attention. Deep violet, sparkling suit smartly pressed, hiding any possible weapons. Bowtie as red as Dorothy's slippers fixed over white silk shirt-maybe he could strangle him with it? Metallic green hair slicked smartly back; still grinning like the madman he was. Fierce ruby eyes gleaming from the dancing flames in the fireplace, the room's only light.

As if it couldn't be predicted, the Joker began to laugh softly. "I never thought you'd be so easy to catch off guard in your own home. I should have tried this sooner . . . We won't be disturbed by anyone, will we? No noisy little birds, perhaps?"

"Why, you sorry son of a . . ."

"Oh, honeycakes, don't get your bat-boxers in a twist!" Joker glanced below Bruce's waist; Bruce hadn't realized that creepy grin could get any wider. He was suddenly very aware that he was wearing absolutely nothing but that pair of trousers. "No chance of that, then." Responding to Bruce's scowl, the pale man actually reached out and pinched his cheek. "Loosen up, sweetie. I'm only teasing."

"You still haven't answered my question," Bruce growled. "How'd you even figure out who I was?"

"Oh, that." There was a peculiar glint in the Joker's eye. "Batsy, honey; when someone knows you as well as I do . . . Has spent so many nights in such violent dances . . . Learning every inch of you . . ." Wait, what? "Well . . . It was just so obvious!"

Great, that makes me feel better. "And that other part?"

"You are so very impatient, love. You, who've taught me so much about being patient . . . Which brings me to the moment at hand . . ." The Joker chuckled. "You see . . . Just the other day I had an epiphany. All this time, I've played the passive side of the game, you see. I kill a bunch of people . . . You rush to the rescue . . . All that . . ."

The emerald-haired man paced thoughtfully in front of him. "But then it occurred to me: perhaps I should take the initiative and visit you. As much as I love the thrill of anticipating your arrival, of waiting to see just how you will pummel me into the pavement, it occurred to me that there is so little quality time involved in this arrangement."

Oh, what the hell? "Quality time?" Bruce repeated skeptically, raising a brow at the other man.

"Well, of course, my dear," The Joker replied, seating himself on the desktop with a little kick of his shiny purple shoes. "What long-lasting relationship can survive without it? Of course, nights out on the town are nice, but they make for so little substance."

"Okay; do you even have any idea what the hell you're talking about?" Bruce asked. In response, sharp red eyes narrowed, and the Joker reached out to cup Bruce's cheek, tilting his head upward. "Have you lost you mind?!" He blurted out in surprise, sending the Joker into a fit of wild laughter while he realized what a stupid question that was.

"So intelligent," Joker mused, tongue clicking with the slow emphasis of every syllable. "And so, so filled with denial. All these nights we've danced together, and you really haven't figured it out yet?"

Sliding off the desk, the Joker closed the short distance between them, leaning over Bruce with a hand braced on either armrest of the chair. He lowered his face until their cheeks actually brushed, and the other man's scent suddenly filled his nostrils. He knew it, of course; how could he not? Soft and light with the sweet scent of the flowers he always wore, beneath it the brisk breath of soap, almost managing to erase the dry tang of old, spilt blood. It thrilled through his body without reason; so many nights. So many nights of adrenaline, of sweat, of movement and blood.

"How much I adore you?" The Joker murmured into Bruce's ear.

Bruce flinched and pulled to the side, staring at the Joker's face only inches away, grinning in such a way as he always had, but that had now taken on a whole new cast. How could he have missed the heat in those bloody eyes? How could he have ignored that?

"There is nothing else in the world but you and me," Joker whispered. "Nothing else matters. I was born for you, that night so long ago. Created to pursue you." Bruce's eyes widened a little. Joker laughed. "Don't get me wrong, sweetling; I'd kill anyway. I love it, but even more do I love you. Everything about you. And when I found out the other side of you . . ." He continued to chuckle, running a hand through Bruce's hair in such a way that it made Bruce shiver, trailing his finger down the paralyzed man's neck, then chest. "You are just perfect, aren't you?" He purred. "You must know that I live for you. I always have."

Bruce blinked, trying to think past all this. Something about that sharp, oddly handsome face, edged with golden firelight; those dangerous eyes gleaming with desire. "But . . . Then . . . Why do you kill . . . if I . . ?"

"Oh . . . They are nothing . . . Gifts to you. Macabre flowers I send to you, hoping that you will notice me. If I must kill, I do it in homage to you."

"That . . . Is the most horrible thing I have ever heard," Bruce said honestly.

Joker laughed yet more. "Isn't it?" He sighed, as if this notion fretted him. "Yet that is my purpose. I am to cause carnage for you sake; you are to stop me. This is the game we play; our eternal dance. There is nothing in the world but this."

In the course of his speech, the Joker had managed to inch closer, and finally, his bright crimson lips brushed Bruce's. "We touch only so briefly, but how badly I do want to close the distance. Eventually, every relationship must move to the next level . . . And I figured . . . Why should I wait for you to initiate . . ."

He pressed his lips to Bruce's, kissing him with an agonizing gentleness, but Bruce jerked away. "You can't be serious!"

"Actually . . . I can," the Joker countered. "On a few subjects, anyway."

"No . . . no . . . Joker, seriously. You can't love me."

"I do believe I've heard this before." Joker slid onto Bruce's lap, and when the other man tried to move, pricked him on the other arm and leg. He put his arms around Bruce's numb shoulders, stroking down all that bare skin, which Bruce could only barely feel. "Remind me why, again?"

"Because . . . Because you're a psychopath! You can't love anything!" Bruce stammered. "You didn't even love Harley, and she lived off the air you breathed."

"There is only room in my heart for one love, darling," Joker sighed against Bruce's neck. "And it simply must be one that exists."

"But everyone exists!"

"Not to me." Again, he moved closer, stroking gloved hands up Bruce's cheeks. For the first time since they'd met, the Joker slipped his gloves off, then returned to his unwelcome caresses, touching Bruce as if intoxicated with the feel of flesh.

"Please, stop this," Bruce whispered. Parts of his body were beginning to regain feeling, and they only served to contribute to the whole mass of him that was becoming dizzy with this touch. He'd been with countless others, all women, but this was different. It was more than that this was his arch-nemesis, though there was something to that distinction, surely.

"Begging, my love?" Joker chuckled, actually stroking his sharp nose along Bruce's. "Never thought I'd hear that . . . Do it some more . . ."

But, actually, he couldn't, because Joker kissed him again, and with hands pressed firmly to his face, this time Bruce couldn't get away. Joker kissed him with the same drowning relish he had when touching him. Kissed him like the only air in the world, the only nourishment to be had, came from Bruce's mouth, and he was famished. And as much as he tried to resist, Bruce found himself kissing the Joker back.

The pale man shifted in his lap, straddling him, pressing closer as he ran his palms down the rippled muscles of Bruce's chest. Bruce groaned without meaning to, which was rewarded with yet another low chuckle.

"Joker . . ." Bruce panted between the touch of the Joker's lips. " Joker . . . stop."

"Stop," The Joker repeated against his mouth. "Stop?" He sucked Bruce's lip into his mouth, stroking it with his tongue. "You always hesitate . . . Never allow yourself the final release . . ." Finger's regaining feeling, he felt the Joker press something long and cool against his hand. "Killing and this are not so different . . ."

The Joker moved against him, arched up over him, slid his hands around Bruce's waist, sliding roughly up his bare back. "Oh, how I would love you to kill me . . ." He growled lustfully into Bruce's mouth. "Do it now . . . Kill me . . . or fuck me . . . or something . . . Do something, I beg you . . . my darling Batman . . ."

Bruce managed to pull back finally, startled by that. Able to move his limbs a little, he raised them limply and pushed the Joker away. "I'm not Batman," he protested. "It's just a disguise I wear, a role I play. I'm not actually Batman."

The Joker stared at him with a hard, intense gaze, then shook his head. "Do you think the two are different? Do you think you can separate yourself from the Batman? That's who you are, my sweet. That's who you were meant to be."

The Joker leaned forward to kiss him again, and Bruce drew back this time. Joker lowered his head, and never before had Bruce seen anything remotely resembling defeat on the man's features before. Yet, when he lifted his head again, he wore that maniacal grin once more, and his eyes gleamed with mischief.

"My offer still stands, sweetheart," He said, but seeing that Bruce did not make a move towards either course, he slid off the other man's lap and stood, bowing before Bruce. "I ever await your action," He said, stroking Bruce's jaw with a card that he left on the desk. Then he turned and left the way he had come, disappearing into the night.

Minutes later, when he finally felt like moving, Bruce reached out and picked up the card. A joker, naturally, with a red rose held gracefully between it's teeth.