Disclaimer: Not mine. DC's. Follows no canon but general Batman lore.

They rarely laughed at Batman.

There might have been a few snickers here and there. Nervous chuckles, always hidden in the shadows with a shifted glance, as if to make sure the bogeyman hadn't snuck up behind them for the blasphemy.

Whenever his name was mentioned amongst the good citizens of Gotham, people tried to laugh. It would have been good to belittle the man that stalked their city, the man they didn't quite know whose side he was really on. After all, who felt safe with Batman? It wasn't like Metropolis after all. Krypton's last son seemed more human than Gotham's long shadow. People preferred not to think of him at all. Laughter was an acknowledgment.

Deep in the darkness of Arkham someone laughed at Batman, cackled, loud and insane. But he laughed at everyone.

No one laughed at him like she did. It was the only laughter that seemed to grate him on a consistent basis.

"Lurking again, are we? I'd begun to think you didn't care at all."

"I don't."

He hated the way she laughed at him. Deep and throaty, like she knew something he didn't. Like she already knew what he'd only begun to suspect.

"I've had suitors who wouldn't take no for an answer before. You have to use a firm hand."

A slash in the darkness, but he dodged, and she laughed again, her voice lilting into a purr.

"But then, you don't experience much rejection, do you, Bruce?"

This time he attacks.

She moves too quickly, though, spinning with him in a whirl of cape and leather. Her claws grate his back, and he pretends not to notice.

She does, though, and she laughs again, like it's a game. It's always a game to her. Not the life- she couldn't survive if she thought it was. But with him, like he was hardly a challenge. Like she was only indulging him.

Her claws are bared as she swipes at him again, but this time he's waiting for it. He catches her wrist in a heavy hand, squeezing hard- too hard- as he drags her close enough that the next blow will be ineffective.


Her lips curve into a smile again, stinging like the end of her whip, but she doesn't laugh this time. "Stop what?"

He just stares down at her, grey eyes boring into the green. Her smile deepens.

"Stop what?" she breathes again, and he can feel it against his mouth for a fleeting second before her lips just brush his. His grip tightens even more on her delicate wrist. If she feels it, she doesn't show it.

"I'm not doing anything," she taunts, teasing for another instant before she kisses him. Her mouth presses to his and for all its softness, it's not gentle. It's teeth and tongue and his eyes close as he tastes her, pressing back.

"Mm," she murmurs, drawing away moments later, and he doesn't have to see her to know she's smiling again. Her free hand trails along his chest, nails catching the thick fabric intentionally. For just a second, he almost leans into her again and she laughs.

"Nope." She takes a step back, smiling as she shakes her wrist free from his grip. "Maybe next time."

He tells himself there won't be one, and his expression must say as much, because she turns on her heel, grinning as she drops out of sight, a lithe figure in the darkness.

He stands there for a while, but it's only when he's halfway home that he can shake her mirth from his ears.