Disclaimer: I do not own Batman or Joker. They are the property of DC Comics. If I did own them, the stories would look a lot different. Also that whole Adam West thing would have never, ever happened.

Batman was not having a good day. The rictus-grinning maniac sitting across from him on the uncomfortable couches was not helping the situation either.

After a long day of his playboy alter ego negotiating contracts with Lex Luthor, he'd spotted the bat signal in the sky. From there, Commissioner Gordon showed him a video from Harley Quinn. The little blond lunatic was flouncing around a comically over-sized bomb. They were always comically oversized, weren't they? There was an accompanying letter threatening to set it off, which was considerably less funny, unless Batman went and met with the Joker who was currently at Arkham.

And that was how he ended up sitting across from the clown who, even out of his usual flashy fair and in Arkham whites managed to look intimidating.

The Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight. The latter of which was unmoving and rigid, a dead and heavy weight glaring at the animated, fluttery clown.

"I'd offer you some tea, Batsy" said the Joker, his green eyes sparkling. "But I'm afraid they don't let me near the stove anymore. "

"Imagine that," grunted the Bat. He crossed his arms, irritation radiating off of his square, stiff shoulders and narrowed eyes.

"Highly unfortunate! Perhaps I can fluff your pillow?" He lowered his eyes, fluttering his lashes coquettishly. "I've been told I'm very good at fluffing."

Batman growled and stood in one swift movement. "Quit the games, clown. You wanted this little meeting. I'm here."

"And so punctual! Do your virtues know no limit?"

Batman ignored him. "What do you want?"

"Ah, this is pleasant. The Bat asking me what I want instead of simply ruining my hard-earned plots and schemes. Do wish I had a camera. It's a Kodak moment!"

"I'm warning you-"

Joker's smile disappeared all the way down into a frown. "No, I'm warning you, Bat-fart. Sit down and listen or Harley will blow half the city up."

"How would you contact her from inside here?" Batman said, reluctantly sitting back on the couch. His posture was rigid, like a black statue.

"I have my ways, Batsy." He spread his arms across the top of the couch and leaned his head back, the pale white sinews of his neck hideously vulnerable. "Even here, in the pits of hell, I am omnipotent."

"You're insane."

The Joker raised his head, his green eyes sparkling like cheat emeralds. "I know. Isn't it just wonderful? Doesn't it just justify everything?"

"It's no excuse-"

"Tut-tut, they seem to think it is. And you obviously do, too. Else why haven't you killed me, hmm? You've had plenty of opportunities." Joker paused, examined his manicured nails. "Then again, maybe you've just gotten used to me. Dare I say," he looked up, a half demented smile on his face. "That maybe you've even grown to like me?"

"You disgust me."

"Do I?"

Batman did not deign to answer.

"Oh, no fun if you don't speak, Batsy .It takes two to have a conversation, two to tango, at least two to murder. Really, all the fun things come in twos."

"Where. Is. Harley?"

"Oh no, no no no! That simply won't do! I didn't bring you hear to talk business. We do that all the time. It gets so tiresome. No, I want a real heart-to-heart with you, dearest."

Batman grunted, but as Robin had yet to tell him that he and batgirl had located the bomb, he figured he might as well play a along. "In return for what?"

"Playing quid pro quo? Even Stevens?" Joker narrowed his eyes, but his grin was back. "Alright, so long as it amuses me. You have a real conversation with me, and when I'm satisfied I'll tell you where the bomb is. I'll even throw in the bonus of the shut-down sequence. Aren't I a doll?"

Batman gritted his teeth. "I have one question."

"Only one? How disappointing."


Joker gave a bark of laughter and rolled his eyes. "Why what?"

"Why… this. Why a conversation?"

Joker fell dramatically onto the couch, placing one arm over his eyes and the other over his heart. His feet were propped up on the arm. "Oh, because I've fallen in love, don't you know! You're just too cute."

Batman clenched his fists. "Joker-"

The clown cut him off. "Oh, you're so easy to rile up, it's almost no fun." He stretched his arms over his head, the ivory white of his flesh looking yellow in the artificial lights of Arkham. He criss-crossed his hands under his head and stared at the ceiling. "Hehe, I lied, it is still fun. You want the truth? Fact, Bat, I've come to a realization being cooped up in this hellhole you keep throwing me in."

"What's that?"

Joker's grin was large enough to tear his face in two. "That I'm the only one who's touched you in years, really, really touched you."

Batman glared and silently cursed Robin for not finding the bomb quicker. "That's a lie."

"Nu-uh. Scout's honor. I've seen it. The others, Freeze and Ivy and Crow-boy, they might touch you, similar to me. They might tear your flesh off, rip it off with their various shades of yellow teeth. And maybe the little bird-brain and pussy-cat touch you with their hugs and high fives and manly pats on the back, their kisses and their roaming hands, but you don't feel it."

Joker looked at the Dark Knight and contemplated him for a few seconds before continuing. "You've shut yourself off from all stimuli. I can tell, you know. Nobody fights like you do, with such focus and determination and bloody-mindedness unless there were no distractions allowed. When's the last time you smiled? Hell, when's the last time you laughed?" He paused, apparently waiting for an answer.

Batman sat, a silent statue.

"That long ago? Yeesh. What's a man without laughter? And yet it's so fascinating, you see? Because I'm the only one who has broken that shell of yours. I've gotten in you."

"There's nothing of you in me."

"Oh, but there is, isn't there? I force you to feel something. I have to go to such extremes, you really make me work hard, but in the end it's all worth it. Like in Ethiopia with the second birdy. My, how you were furious. It was magnificent, it was a force of nature, a work of art! And all it took was a few bam bam's with a crowba-urk!"

Swift, moving at speeds even Clark would have been proud of, Batman was on the pale man. His large, gloved hands grasped that delicate neck and pulled the Prince of Crime to a sitting position. And then he applied the pressure. "Don't you dare. Don't you ever, ever bring that up. You worthless piece of filth!"

Joker coughed. "Temper," he managed to squeak out. "Temper. I die and Harley… sets off the bomb."

Batman glared so hard he felt his eyes would pop out of his head. He gave the neck in his grasp a final squeeze before releasing.

Joker coughed and laughed, then managed to choke for a few moments while he caressed the soon-to-be-bruised flesh. "Gonna look like a hickey," he said when he could talk without wheezing. "Wanna give me a real one?"

"Drop dead."

"I could, you know. You'd have to do it, though."

Batman returned to his couch and glared.

"See! Hee Hee, there it is, there it is!" The Joker grinned, his teeth all ivory and points. "Back to the stoicism, the statue, the Batman. But just for a moment you were the man underneath the cowl, someone who breathes and bleeds and bleats! A real boy, Geppetto!"

Batman grit his teeth.

"How many of the others make you feel anything? Do make a point to be honest, Bats."

"All of your… associates make me angry when they commit crimes, when they hurt innocent people."

Joker waved his hand flippantly in the air, his spindly white fingers curving with disdain. "Oh yes, your archaic sense of justice just flares up, whoopee-dee-do. But I've hit that blue-eyed man you are under the mask, I've felt you, I've really felt you."

Batman narrowed those blue eyes. "So?"

"So!" Joker threw his arms up and stood, raised his eyes and addressed an invisible audience. "So! Don't you get it, Bats?"

"Get what?"

"The bloody point – and how bloody it's been!"

"Why don't you tell me."

"You've made me, Batman, you –"

Batman cut him off. "Don't give me that load of trite. Made you. Always blaming someone else, the insanity, society because they don't get the joke, your fantastical alcoholic mom and abusive father, me, all because you're a cowardly man too afraid to take responsibility for your life."

Joker frowned, and it was as ugly as his manic grin. It pulled down his entire face, making him look long. He ran a hand through his messy green curls. "You pushed me over the edge. At the chemical factory."

"An edge you had already fallen over years before. I just made the outside reflect the inside."

"Ahhh, heehee," the grin was back. "A reflection. Yes, maybe the skin and the hair and the lips are a reflection of my inner beauty, but I'm a reflection of you."

"That doesn't make sense."

"Doesn't it, though? We're mirror reflections. You protect, I destroy. I hurt, you heal. Without me, there wouldn't be any reason for you to exist."

"There would be the others. You're not my only adversary."

"Not like me there wouldn't. None like me. Hah Hah! I'm one of a kind!"

"You don't get it, do you," said Batman quietly. "Are you really so dense as to think I enjoy this?"

Joker was silent for a time. "Don't you?" he asked.

"No." Batman stood, the whole of himself, the muscles and the leather and the rubber and Kevlar of his costume making him seem larger than life. "I don't enjoy this. I don't enjoy being Batman. In a perfect world I wouldn't do this. If I had a choice I wouldn't ever go out into the streets and put people like you away."

The Joker threw his head back and laughed. "Liar liar pants on fire!"

Batman growled.

"Oh, I've seen you, Bats, don't you dare lie to me! Remember what I said? I've gotten close to you, I've smelled you, I've felt you, I've even tasted you! I know you enjoy it, your sweat gives it away."

"I don't enjoy-"

"Oh but you do! You get a perverse sense of accomplishment when you put me away, when you ruin all my jokes. I can feel it in you, the way your arms stiffen in pride, the way your chin lifts just a centimeter higher, the grave but firm way you speak to Gordon, yesssss, I know all about your pride."

Batman said nothing.

Joker cocked his head to the side. "When I'm with you, you feel it, don't you?"

"Feel what?"

"The rush. You feel a rush when you're with me."

"Annoyance. Or adrenaline."

"No no no, chemicals aren't real, bats, I would know. No, you see, let me tell you a theory I've had about you for a long time now." He moved closer to Batman, and when he was an arms length away he began to circle the Dark Knight. "Your identity, whoever the hell you are, isn't a real person. It's a sham, a day-glo sham. Whoever he is, he's not alive, is he? Probably some boring old accountant who used to 

get his kicks crunching numbers before he decided that dressing like a winged-rabid-rodent would be much more fun. But even then he found that it wasn't as much fun as he thought it would be, no, not until he went out and beat the shit out of some evil-doer. That's when his heart began to beat. And me, well, nobody makes it beat like I do."

The Joker paused in front of the Batman.

"You need me to feel alive," he said softly, tilting his head up.

Batman turned away from the Joker, and walked to the far end of the room.

The Joker made a small noise of disappointment. "Must you always ignore me? It hurts my feelings."

Batman continued to face the wall.

"Why do you ignore me like this?"

Not even the cape, a thinner material today, gave any indication of movement, of listening.

Joker gave a little whine. "I am so kind to you, bats, I really am. I kill all those people to give you a purpose, I escape from Arkham time and time again to give you a reason to run, to work out those very prominent muscles of yours, and there you go, ignoring me, like I'm nothing at all."

Nothing, still.

Joker growled. "Is this the thanks I get? I touch you so many times in every manner that I know how, but you don't deign to touch me, do you? Mr. High and Mighty won't touch his reason for breathing unless the whole city is under a threat of impending doom! Is this the thanks I get? Is this the thanks I get for giving you a fucking reason for getting up in the morning?!"

Batman turned then, and the Joker stopped whatever it was he was about to say next.

The Dark Knight made his way over to the clown. The Joker's eyes widened, but whether it was from fear or excitement, or both, was unclear. His Adam's apple bobbed heavily in his throat. "Bats?"

"You think I need you?"

Joker swallowed hard. His eyes sparkled with joy, and his lip quivered. "Yes."

"How badly do I need you?" Batman leaned forward.

The Joker darted his eyes back and forth. "Very badly."

Slowly, the Batman lifted his strong arms up and placed them gently, but very firmly, on the upper arms of the Joker. His arms were thinner than he remembered, but he could feel the jumpy muscles trembling underneath the leather of his gloves. "Tell me."

Joker snapped his eyes up from that mouth that seemed to be so damn slowly inching towards him. He looked like a child who found out he had gotten just what he asked Santa for. "What?" he asked, distracted.

"Tell me where the bomb is."

"Oh, oh uh, no." His eyes were trained on those lips again.

Batman leaned his head down. Joker could feel them now, those lips, so soft and feather-light on his jaw line. He groaned and squirmed, shaking very badly.

"Up," said the clown. "Up up up. Kiss me."

"Tell me where the bomb is."

"Oh, no, no no. Come on, just kiss me. I want it as much as you. I've always wanted it."

Batman arched his head lower and trailed his lips down the jaw onto that soft neck which already was beginning to bruise from the earlier strangling. His tongue lapped at the place where his shoulder met that long, smooth stretch of skin.

"I knew it would come to this," Joker said softly.

The Prince of Crime yelped and shrieked when he felt the Dark Knight's teeth.

"On my lips, damn you! Bite me, tear me up! Rip me apart! Cleave me in two and rip out my spine with your wings! Chew on my eyeballs! Just touch my lips before you bite them off, touch them!"

"Tell me where the bomb is, and I will," was that sibilant whisper in his ear.

Joker shook his head back and forth and tried to escape from his human prison, but Batman was too strong.

"Ohhh! There is no bomb! That's just old footage. Harley's probably off with the Fem-nazi. Now. You promised. And I promise not to tell if you're a bad kisser, heh heh."

The Joker looked very young then, very childish, his eyes looking up, the green irises sparkling with a mirthful anticipation.

"I did promise," said the Dark Knight. He moved his head up and looked into the Joker's eyes. The green glass, usually as unfocused as a kaleidoscope, was a pinpoint of attention. Batman lowered his face slightly.

Joker thought he might have possibly felt something warm and wet on his lips before he was pushed away.

"What?" he stammered when his back hit a wall. It took him a moment to realize what had happened. "You… you dirty lying bastard. You tricked me."

Batman stood with his arms crossed.

This only enraged the Joker more. "You TRICKED me! How DARE you!" He clenched his long fingers into fists. "I'll kill you for this, I'll rip off your limbs and shove them down your throat and tape your lips to your ass!"

Batman walked towards the large double doors that separated the inmates from the sane. As he was about to pass through he stopped and craned his neck to face the man who looked like he was indulging in fantasies of stabbing Batman in millions of different ways, with millions of different implements.

The Batman allowed himself half a smile. It sent the inmate of Arkham into a rage, and he flew at the hero with all his speed. Batman was out the door before the Joker could touch him, however.

Batman leaned against the door, listening to the hissing and spitting and pounding and shouting of the man from the other side of it. As privately as he could, he placed his hand on the armor that covered his chest. He could feel the rapid tattoo of his heart even through the heavy rubber and Kevlar, it beat so fast and furious.

A/N: Well. I've never written this pairing before. I usually don't write slash, I read more than I will ever write, however this pairing intrigues the hell out of me. I've only started reading the comics a little while ago (I've been more of a manga fan for awhile) and I've been really shocked at how almost-canon this relationship is. Not that they're ever going to kiss and huggle and adopt some orphans (and we don't want them to) but it's amazing how their relationship is both parasitic and symbiotic – and for people who don't know one another, and who hate each other so fervently, they're practically the best of friends. If friendship was painful and twisted and cruel.

Anyway, I hope I'm not entirely off with this. There needs to be more Joker/Batman out there. Seriously. It's really hard to find.

If you liked it, if you didn't, if you want to recommend me some good Joker comics, please leave a review!