A pending one shot on how the Joker came to be...

Mutilated...

Shaking fingers ghosted over the wreckage left behind . He winced, slammed his eyes shut in tearful denial when

he felt the raised lines of strange marks that were not there before, gliding viciously over his mouth and cheeks. He tensed as the

vicious memory of a silver knife and red blood washed over him, took him down to where the dark things were. So much history

written on flesh. So much brutality worn like a badge of honor . He stared for a long, disbelieving moment at the carved out arc of his

cheeks, the splintered skin, now held together by the stitches. The shattered state of his mind, or the forced acceptance of his mutilation

was not so easily done.

Why?! Sickened by the sight of his own face, he wrenched away, shoved palms over the scars. He shuddered when he felt their presence

anew, raised, worm-shaped monstrosities burrowing under his cheeks. Unclean things that he had to bear.

People may lie, but mirrors could not. Something inside him broke that dark moment, fragmented as neatly as the shards when he shoved a fist

throught the glass, and watched with glee the mirror cascade to the floor in so many pieces. He grinned at the mutilated versions of himself.

Somehow seeing what was left of him was easier to digest when it was in shattered shards of the floor. He said nothing to the aid who had

come at the sound of the breaking glass, only gave her a nod, and a smile. She stared at him, wide-eyed, and looked nearly ready to either

bolt or piss herself as he chuckled. It was an ugly, eerie sound as he hunched over the glimmering pool of silver around him, tilted his head to the

left, considering. He heard the aid's shaking breath, as she stood, tormented in the doorway. "Why so serious?" He hissed, rising.

"Never seen a freak before?" She faltered in the attempt of glib, hollow comfort. "Sir? They can reconstruct things like that. You might-"

He bared his teeth back, and pulled the mouth into a dark scowl, his eyes brewing over with anguish. "Will you look at yourself? Open your eyes,

really wide, alright? A knife did this." He almost spat as he jabbed a finger at his cheek. Idly tapping the scar, he shrugged, "I needed a new

look. What do you think?" The question was mocking, and she paled, saying nothing, only scooping up the broom and the dust pan to sweep

away the glass. His face was still impassive as she gave him a panicked glance and fled.

He winced with a grunt as the white ache of pain whiplashed over the violated muscles that could no longer twist his lips into a frown.

The stitches throbbed in warning at the strain. A mask, he thought bitterly. A mask of flesh that shows the world how hideous it can be. A mask I can

never take off.

Vaguely, he remembered the tortured moments of the attack, the random, senselessness of the whole thing. Three fierce young men, with

nothing to lose but time and a snarl, as they slank out of the bright arc of the streetlight while she cowered in terror against his side. The

throbbing whine of panic as his muscles tensed and his fear sent surging adrenaline, propelled by the sound of her cry and the thug's touch.

It was a moment of lightening, as the metal blade glinted against his throat, and she scrambled to safety. The storm roiling in his gut was almost

too much to hold back when he felt the metal caress his throat and linger. His dark eyes rose to meet the blade, and he trembled, fought the urge

to crumble to his knees and beg. There was no way he could fall, anyway. The other two were holding him upright, his arms rigidly jerked upward against

his spine, to the point of a bone nearly snapping. There was only blinding pain, white heat as they cut his mouth along the jaw, severing his cheeks,

hot, scarlet blood gurgling out from his lips as the other cheek was hacked away, and he was flung down into the dark red of his own blood.

He felt the concrete scrape against his forehead, bright stars glittering down on his suffering like more blades. Pain that grew teeth and consumed

him alive. Darkness that swallowed him alive. Corruption waiting to consume, and hatred churning in his gut as he closed his eyes.

Smile and the world smiles with you. The eerie words were sung almost in a hymn like prophesy from the music that was pumped out of the

radio somewhere out in the darkness of the hospital hallways that surrounded him. He was laying prone on the gurney, staring in disbelief at

her anguish as she nibbled on her lips and glanced awkwardly at the clock, before her eyes swept over his face, then away. Cringing, he

bit back the questions. He knew it was coming, bowed his head in acceptance, steeled what was left of his shattered nerves to not

break down completely.

Cry and you cry alone...

His name was softly breathed... Her last kiss held the promise of salvation while he lay literally in pieces on that lonely gurney , and

then damned him with the next words...

I'm so sorry, but I can't bear to see you like this...I know, it's selfish, it's shallow, it's cruel, but it's the truth, and I...I'm leaving.

Bright words from her searing eyes. Brighter tears had spilled from his own as he wailed like a dying animal and curled up

in the sheets. He flinched when the stitches around his lips stretched raw and angry at the reminder of the violation. His heart broke

when he realized that he could no longer even kiss her. And something in him died when she shuddered with revulsion at his attempt.

It was gut-wrenching. Her eyes were brewing over with guilty tears, and she was obviously in agony at her own tangled noose of emotions

and obligations of a love she no longer had. He heard her whisper his name like a requiem, felt her fingers swirl gently over his quaking spine

as he wept, then abruptly halt and depart when they stumbled over the beginning of his scars.

Forgive me, please. I can't... Her lingering, and hesitation only drew out the agony to its finale as he snarled, hands fisting into his hair.

The words broke over him, felt like shattering glass, felt like he was being hacked to pieces again. He never knew that the heart could ache

more than the flesh.

But, he never knew that faces were little more than deceptive masks of skin and bone that could hide intentions.

And, as a possible future chapter...

His teeth were bared in a glittering smile, the lips garishly painted in his own blood.as his grin grew wider than the gates of hell, the eyes

glinting with dark promise of something hidious before the night was over. His tongue bled scarlet over the silver as he licked the blade with

a suggestive eyebrow waggling. He saw her pale, sweating fear, and cackled.

"You're a pretty thing, you know that. I like...pretty things."

"Scars are pretty things. Bright things, that leave a trace of their existance, the one thing that draws the eye when you don't want to

see. After all, what would I know about scars?" He gave a shrug of humorous irony as he languidly swirled a finger down his marred jaw.

She whimpered, cowered like an animal beneith him, scuttling back into the refuge of the shadows like a roach. Amused, he only cackled, tilted his

head, consideringly.

"Now there's all sorts of scars, you know. Each one unique in its pain, each one so perversely honest, each one a memory that carries

a reminder of the dark things that so many wish to forget...tell me something, What catches your eye the most, the sick act that cut up a human face,

or the fact that you're transfixed, and you just ...can't turn away?"

His unmarred hands crept over the flesh of her face with ironic gentleness, and she gaped to see something almost human shimmering in those eyes before

the mad glee broke through like a bloated corpse flung to the surface of the churning waters.

"I'm sorry!" The apology was little more than a panicked squeal as she writhed under his iron grip and ground out a pleading whimper when she felt the cold

blade against the corner of her mouth.

"Maybe we could put a smile on that face, eh? A bright, happy, ear to ear smile that never goes away. A wonderful, delusional grin to let the world see those

pearly whites. What do you say?" The knife danced over the corner of her mouth, plunged between her teeth, and slid back out again, leaving her with a mouth full

of blood, her face intact. She slumped in relief, as he smirked.

"The truth? Truth and lies, only one truth, and so many lies around it all. Interesting paradox, but they say the road to hell is the distance in between.

A road that I walk on quite proudly. After all...with a face like this..." he hissed, as he drew the blade over his cheek,"what would I know about hell?"

His chuckle was light and dismissing as he waggled a coy eyebrow and finger. "