Notes: I read a review of the Dark Knight that said the Joker was such a presence that whenever he wasn't in a scene the viewer missed him. I certainly agree. Just my thoughts on what the Joker might have been up to when the scene was focused elsewhere.

Part one: before the fundraising shindig.


The light above the cracked mirror was dull, and grime coated the stained basin beneath. Not exactly the Ritz. But, he told himself, that's what you get when you arrange for low calibre henchmen to find rooms from landlords that take cash and don't ask questions. He wasn't bothered by the surroundings anyway, not when he was getting all dolled up ready to go to the social event of the year. He took special care in applying his exaggerated smile, tracing the red greasepaint along the bumpy, uneven surface of his scars.

'Not every day you get invited to a hoity-toity party thrown by Mr Bruce "Playboy" Wayne himself,' he told his reflection, pursing his lips to check the coverage. 'Not that we're strictly "invited" of course. But those do-gooder charitable types are all so boring, and every good party needs some entertainment!'

He wondered whether he should bring a few of his toys to demonstrate to Dent's little high society followers. Guns were useful but rather lacking in style – he'd prefer to leave them to the hired help. Maybe something more explosive? He spent a pleasant moment imagining what fun it would have been to smuggle some devices in with the catering. Exploding canapés! Corrosive cocktails! But it was too late for that now. He'd have to settle for his usual methods of persuasion if the do-gooders were reluctant to give up their new "White Knight".

The Joker checked the many pockets of his purple suit coat, brushing his fingers lightly across the variety of blades he liked to carry stashed on his person. Sure he could only use one or two at a time, but he didn't want to pick a favourite and make the others feel left out. 'I love all my jagged little razor-sharp children equally.' He announced to them 'You know I do.' He shot a quick glance around to check no one was watching and pulled a short knife from his right pocket. It appeared to be a modified vegetable peeler, worn down from being sharpened along both edges. The Joker lowered his voice and whispered as he cradled it close to his painted mouth, tongue darting out as if to lick the edges of the blade. 'Shh – don't tell the others, keep it secret… but I love you the most. We've been through so much, you and I, from the very beginning…'

He was rudely interrupted by a cough from the direction of the corridor. One of the more bold of his new henchmen; one that actually had the balls or just the slow-witted stupidity to be willing to disturb him when he was having a private conversation with a very sharp implement, appeared in the doorway of the grungy bathroom.

'We just got the call boss – Dent's arrived at the party, with his girl.'

The Joker's grin widened, stretching his scars as he spun on his heel to face the nervous looking thug. 'That means it's time for the fun to begin!' He replaced his favourite knife back in the safety of his coat pocket. 'Bring the van around and get everybody masked up.' The man nodded and stumbled in his haste to disappear back down the corridor.

Tie properly adjusted, coat brushed down, faded half-dyed hair brushed back with his now gloved hands; the Joker was ready for his big entrance. None of the clown-masked thugs were willing to fight him for the front passenger seat of the van. Calling shotgun while holding a loaded weapon of the same name was enough to convince them they would travel best in the back of the van out of the way of their new boss.

As the city lights flashed by the Joker couldn't help feeling disappointed that he wasn't in three places at once to see all three schemes come together. Reading about it in the paper the next day, or even seeing footage on the news just couldn't come close to smelling the smoke of the explosion, feeling the terror in the air and hearing the last gasps. He lived for those electric moments, when the fear of others set the blood coursing through his veins.

Dent better put up a fight, he thought, stroking the barrel of the shotgun and absentmindedly getting far to close to the trigger for the nerves of the driver sitting next to him, the same nervy guy as before. The man fidgeting and sweating behind his clown mask couldn't distract the Joker from his thoughts of what was to come. Not that he wanted the Golden Boy of Gotham dead yet, of course – that boy had such places to go! But it would be so much more fun if there was a struggle along the way. He even dared to hope that Batman might have heard about the plan and turn up at the party for a couple of canapés himself. That would be delicious…

'This is it.' The driver said as he mounted the kerb outside the Wayne building, interrupting the Joker from his thoughts again for the second time that evening. The man clearly had a death wish the Joker felt he would be satisfying before the night was out if these interruptions kept up. As the van came to a halt the back doors swung open and the thugs piled out like a circus act with a strangely large clown car. They burst through the doors of the tower building with guns drawn, their leader following a few steps behind with a grin on his face. The security guards at the front desk were soon dispensed with, and a cop the Joker recognised from Lieutenant Gordon's little Dream Team stopped as he blindly walked through the main doors. Honestly the Joker almost felt insulted; Gordon had evidently deciphered his little DNA threat and only bothered to send one cop to protect the White Knight he held so dear?

While waiting for an elevator to open and whisk them up to the party he decided to have a few quiet words with Detective Wuertz. He could smell the rotten core within the man as clearly as he smelt the fear emanating from beneath the cop's cheap suit; this one was in Maroni's pocket for sure. And he had several spare pockets of his own if the man didn't mind sitting alongside some rather sharp implements. It never hurt to have a good working relationship with a few of Gotham's finest.

The elevator finally came and they all piled in, leaving one man to guard the entrance now dressed in a recently spare and only slightly bloodstained security uniform. The Joker bounced up and down on the balls of his feet as he whispered each floor number that passed by on the screen above the doors. He could feel the excitement growing as he got ever closer, trying to focus on there here and now while his mind was so eager to ponder what might be happening across town and at City Hall. No, no, no – Dent first, he was the key piece at had to be properly set up on the board. No use focusing on the pawns being blown up like battleships! The chequers pieces already taken and going directly to jail, not passing Go.

As he fondled his favourite knife with a gloved hand he heard the sirens inside his head start to grow in pitch... he was ready.

The elevator pinged, doors sliding open to match the wide red grin on the face within.

'We made it.'