Plot: Villains need a savior too.
Disclaimers: Not mine. None of it. Well, some of it.
Feedback: Give it to me, give it to me.


"I am mortal."

He barely heard himself say the words, so gently they crossed his lips. A moment passed and he lifted his eyes and said it, whispered it, again.

"I am...mortal."

And this time, even though it still stung a little, it felt good just a second later – like warm scotch when it's going down. It burns. And there's something about the burn that makes it soothe that much more.

The night was thick around him. Everything basked in the dull, sick yellow of the light flickering from a rusted-out lamp in the next room over. He'd begun his night like all others...they were often very much the same: He would enter to him room, wherever it may be, close the blinds and search the room for any breaches of security, like the occasional recording device. He'd inventory his weapons and ammo, clean or count them (as the case may be), and put them away. He'd disrobe, hanging his clothes with fastidious care. He'd run a bath, or not, but always, always he planned. On scraps of paper, in notebooks. It his mind he'd plan. Planned for the next time, the next chance, the next forced opportunity to maim, to kill, destroy and bring Gotham to its trembling, sniveling knees. No matter what the scheme, there was always really only one goal.

Kill Batman.

And this time he thought he might. He'd come very close.

But he hadn't. And here he found himself with another night on his hands – not as the Victor, the Emperor, the reigning Clown Prince in all his glorious, rampaging insanity. But here, humbly foraging through the wee hours of the morning like he'd done so many other humiliating times before. And then, rage overcame him. Searing, blinding rage. It had started slowly with the cackling howl that exhilarated and fueled him before rising to a crescendo of hurled furniture, shattered glass, and a brilliant display of firearms being pumped into the night. If he'd been any closer than the absolute middle of nowhere – a forsaken cabin in the woods – he might have raised more suspicion. But here, no one could find him, no one could quip on his mental state or conjecture on his evil.

Completely wrung out in every way, hunched and exhausted, his rampage had ended here in the bathroom.

For the first time in a half hour, maybe hour, he'd broken from his stupor and surveyed the wreckage around him. A purple vest was crumpled in the corner. A green silk shirt was sprawled on the john. There were guns and stray bullets, but mostly knives, lots of knives, strewn on every surface. And his trousers were balled up at his feet. Completely naked, opposite a foggy, floor-length mirror, his battle-worn body – lacerated, burned, oozing and throbbing red, even hours later – told the story of the day. The day he almost

He'd survived though. He always did. He always would.

But it had been very, very, very close.

The realization of which sucked something from him. Made his throat dry, his eyes dark and his laugh wither. Made him wonder if for all his genius and biting wit, for all his plans and concoctions, and for all the ways that he truly got it (and that wannabe blackbird in tights absolutely did not) that maybe his world, the world of the Joker, would never be bigger than this dark, dank cabin in the middle of the woods. Unlike that other character, the Joker realized, with a sickening dread, that maybe he really was ionly/i a man.

Glancing in the mirror, he realized that the makeup was all that was left. Removing that ironic, gleeful, facetious mask was the final frontier to the humanity he had refused to succumb to. The final act of this harrowing night.

And then he could kill himself.

He dropped to his knees and, spotting a washcloth feet away, he gently dipped it in the cool toilet water before dabbing it to his scarred face.

"Don't," she said. He looked up and over his shoulder in the mirror; it was Harley. Slowly she crept forward before lowering herself next to him and taking his face in her hands. Cradled in her fingers were his white powder and red lipstick. He tensed up before ceding to the tugs of her fingers. She gently dabbed white in the bare spots as he looked on.

"How did you find me?" he asked agitatedly, but acutely curious.

"I will always find you," she purred. He slammed his fist.

"How did you find me!?" he demanded, grabbing her arm. She shuddered.

"We've been here before, remember?" she began. "No one knew where you were. I asked every henchman I could find. But no one knew anything. I knew you couldn't be very far, not with your injuries." Her gaze dropped for a second. "I'd heard you were injured. I was hiding nearby and heard the gun blasts. I thought it might be you. I had to know. I had to come." He released her arm, turning away as he did. "Don't be angry, Puddin'," she added. She turned his face towards her own and slowly brought her lips to his. Hungry and desolate, he responded. Their entanglement - something like passion, but mostly lust - escalated rapidly, and he found himself devouring her before suddenly pushing her too the floor and, kneeling over her, ravished her; it was feral and dirty and hot. He suddenly stopped, remembering something from the not too distant past.

"I am the villain," he cooed in her ear. She opened her eyes, breathing heavy, and waited a beat before replying.

"And the villain shall rise again," she said.


The next evening, with a fully loaded car and Harley riding shotgun, the Joker drove into a blood red sunset, leaving the abandoned cabin there as he'd found it - alone in the woods - with a demented cackle that echoed into the brisk dusk air.