Disclaimer: I don't own the DC characters nor am I profiting from this. Warning: Disturbing content
Note: Based on Ledger's Joker and Bale's Batman: Enjoy
That night had been the worst of them all. The heat was almost stifling in his bat suit, the warm air blowing from the fires at his side a nuisance as he hurried to the rapidly crumbling roof. The ladder gave way beneath him just as he jumped to a more stable ledge. The air outside was at least thirty degrees colder he noted gratefully. With little hesitation, he leapt onto the adjacent roof, the breeze from the cold night air cooling his flushed face as it lifted his cape. The sidewalk below was lit golden by the reflection of the flames on the newly dampened ground. A crowd had begun to gather at the base of the five-story building that had gone up in flames at the hand of his nemesis. Curious by-standers huddled nervously on the side-walk, just yards away from the fire-fighters as they shot arcs of water into the heart of the disaster.
After scouting the perimeter, batman slipped warily back into the shadows as the smoke twirled in the faint breeze that blew by. It was then that he heard the faint clap of heels stumbling along a smooth surface. He followed the sound ahead of him, leaving the flashing lights and frightened pedestrians behind. He leapt onto the roof of the next building, taking note of the trail of blood that marred the edge.
So the man was bleeding. He'd have to hurry now.
The blood trailed to the end of this roof as well. Peering over the side of the desolate building about one level down he spotted the man on the far end of the roof below. Quietly, he slipped down, his steps silent as he followed the stains, making his approach.
The pale man was on his knees, palms pressed to his temples, breathing heavily. The dark avenger kept a watchful eye on his movements as he took a moment to study him in his oblivious state. He clenched his teeth, frowning beneath the mask. There was no sign of the item he'd come to take back from him. To think that he'd been chasing him half the night only to find him empty-handed. He could hear the copters in the distance, swarming around the fire. It was only a matter of time before their attention focused in search for the one responsible.
"Joker.." he spoke unexpectedly, low voice exasperated.
The other man stood quickly, knife in hand as he stumbled backward.
"Stop right there," Batman demanded.
"No no no…."
The Joker shook his head, the action disorienting him as he took a step back and immediately lost his footing. The other man sprang into action, reaching forward and grabbing him by the rapidly tearing left arm of his purple suit. He dangled over the edge for a moment, his enemy refusing to let him go. The seams finally gave way at the shoulder, the sound of the expensive material ripping loudly in the quiet alley as he landed on the cobblestone several feet below.
He couldn't quite remember how he'd ended up in that alley the night before. From his slightly foggy memory he did recall the feeling of falling followed shortly by a pain in his left side. He'd fallen from somewhere that night, vision swirling as he lay on the damp cobblestone of the old city. Just moments after his initial impact, he could remember the dark shapeless figure coming toward him as the dark clouds above began to cry. He'd felt weightless in someone's arms as he was lifted and then something in him had finally given out and he had fallen unconscious, fingers loosely clutching his favorite knife.
He had expected to either reawaken in that alley or not awaken at all. Rousing slowly in new, dim and cold surroundings was more of a shock and less of a comfort. It didn't really matter at that point anyway. He'd done what he needed to do that night. He'd gotten away with…
He looked to the ceiling for a moment, craning his neck in thought. Come to think of it, what had he been doing hanging from the edge of that building last night?
Someone had brought him here and from the comfortable look of things, it wasn't Commissioner Gordon.
The Joker sat slumped in the corner, the skin of his back numb to the cold of the hard cement wall that seeped through his jacket as he leaned against it. He hadn't lost the feeling in his toes as expected, the shoes keeping the cold air at bay. His legs were spread casually, arms resting on either side of his body as he kept his eyes fixed on the locked door in the corner to the far right. There was one soft light in the center of the room that did little more than send a glow to his ashen features, illuminating the already pale complexion and shattering the illusion of eyes that were less hollow than his usual make up made them appear.
The dark carpet beneath his legs was more forgiving than the wall. He did register a very comfortable looking couch opposite him, as well as a small coffee table. He wouldn't allow himself such comfort for it would surely drop his guard. In most circumstances he would unabashedly cast himself into the middle of games played by people whose rules he did not know. However, this was different. He'd never reawakened in a cold but comfortable room in clean clothing and missing his face paint..
His thoughts had been getting clearer and clearer as the hours past and he concluded it was best to simply let his mind wander in his current predicament. He briefly glanced at the left-hand corner where surprisingly there was a dark screen roughly 30". It had been blank ever since he awoke, the reflective surface paired with the light allowing him a mirror to his features.
It was only hours ago that he'd discovered the white foundation and dark rings around his eyes were gone, his thin lips a pale pink, followed closely by the scars which were smoother, the skin raised a little more. He wasn't too used to seeing his face like that in the reflection the screen offered. Just the thought of someone else removing his makeup made him want to break the electronic device. He needed to be distracted by something other than the image of the naked skin of his face .
For a moment, he considered attempting to turn it on before concluding it wasn't a problem. It was no matter if the screen in this room did not work. He had more important things on his mind. His right hand came up, rubbing over the suit-clad spot on the underside of his left arm just below the inner elbow. He could feel the bandage underneath.
His gaze shifted back to the door on the right. He was only interested in confronting the person who he suspected had dragged him from that dank and dark alley half-dead and brought him here. He needed to see the man who had dressed his wounds and given him clean clothing in the style of his choice which was surprisingly well-fit. His captor had gone through the trouble of having new clothing tailored for him, as if they had been expecting his arrival. It was an unexpected and harmless gesture that was actually kind of flattering.
He waited patiently for the door in the corner to shift slightly as he knew that it eventually would. To his delight, the door in the corner finally creaked and a faint blue light poured in. His eyes narrowed at the unfamiliar and tall figure of a man as he stepped inside, alone and masked. The man wore a simple choice of clothing, navy dress shirt tucked into dark slacks with shiny black shoes. However, he wore a black mask, which left only his mouth and eyes exposed, preventing The Joker from attempting to identify him. The man carried two simple silver treys, one set up neatly with a large lightly toasted and buttered croissant, glass of juice, and several choices of sliced fruit. The second, held a new set of clothing. Joker watched him cautiously as he set the food on the coffee table and the clothing on the couch before spinning on his heels and heading for the door.
The pale man shook his head, his voice halting the man.
"Wait!" he practically hissed.
The masked man turned to him and spoke, voice low, soft and slightly familiar.
The paler man slowly stood, taking his time in brushing imaginary dust from his purple suit before approaching him.
"I... Just want to know... what I'm doing here," he declared.
The tall man nodded, struggling to keep his mind undistracted by the site of the crime lord's bare face. Without all of the make-up, he looked surprisingly younger. His eyes had a natural dark tint around them, but that could have been attributed to anything from sleepless nights to poor nutrition. His hair was dark and fell about an inch past his ears in messy waves, dark brows drawn toward the center. His face was smiling, but the corners where his mouth naturally ended were turned down in a stern expression.
The man behind the mask smirked. The Joker was used to knowing where he was and what he was doing. Being kept in the dark, no matter how well taken care of, clearly did not sit well with him.
A voice suddenly jarred the masked man from his daze.
"Look. Are you deaf under there?" the Joker was squinting and peering up into his face questioningly.
The taller man shook his head, keeping his distance as he headed for the door. "Eat."
The disturbed man looked up at him menacingly from under dark lashes, turning his face away slightly in mistrust as he watched him exit.
"You'd better be back with answers."
Bruce smiled beneath the mask as he exited the room. Alfred was right. The man did look significantly less threatening without all of that make up. First things first, he would let him have breakfast and then they would talk.
Or…. his eyes briefly lit up as he took the secret elevator up to the first level where his manservant was just arranging his coffee on a trey beside a steaming roll stuffed with scrambled eggs and sausage.
…Why not join him…
The older man had just arranged the trey when the coffee disappeared.
"Don't worry about it Alfred, I'll take that," Bruce offered as he swiped the piping hot mug from the trey and did a 360, grasping the roll with the other hand and heading back toward the elevator.
The older man raised a brow.
"Master Wayne, it was my understanding that you would take breakfast up here."
"Yeah, but then I realized that I wanted to get started as soon as possible on this case. We've already lost an entire day yesterday waiting for him to come back to consciousness. Now, that he's conscious, I should start questioning. If we're going to find out what he was doing with that device, I've got to start probing now."
Alfred nodded, a look of concern on his features as he watched the tall man walk back into the dark elevator.
"I know you're old enough to take care of yourself but I still feel it's my duty to tell you to be careful, Sir," he smiled warmly.
The taller man nodded in appreciation.
"I've been telling you since I was a teenager, I'll be fine, Alfred, thanks," with that he disappeared into the elevator.
He found himself picking at the layers of the perfect croissant and peeling them carefully. The bread was soft and still warm, its smell pleasant. He glanced around the entire room once before focusing on the trey in front of him.
It couldn't hurt to have a bite, besides he hadn't eaten for a while.
Tentatively, he peeled a corner of the bread-like main course off before pushing it into his mouth, feeling the slightly crisp shell melt against his tongue. Almost of its own volition, his jaw began to work the soft food, his mouth salivating in response to his hunger. It was actually quite good, so good that he didn't even remember shoving the last piece into his mouth, moaning softly in content before swallowing it.
He reached for the plate lined with strawberry slices next, pinching one ruby disc between his right index and thumb before gliding it against his lips and tongue in preparation for consumption. He was so caught up with the food that he barely heard the door slide open, the man he'd greeted earlier strolling in with a cup of coffee. Just what he needed…
"I see you took to the croissant…" the masked man spoke.
"Yeah, well," Joker shrugged his shoulders, "lt was calling."
The taller man stepped toward the relaxed figure on the couch, pausing for a few seconds. The Joker made no move to allow him space on the left, so he simply took a seat on his right.
"I want the coffee," the dark purple-suited man suddenly demanded, eyeing the mug the man grasped.
"You have a drink right there," the masked man kept his tone stern.
"Well then, let's trade."
"Your coffee for my…" he picked up the glass full of orange liquid with a look of distaste, "whatever..."
"No, your body needs the vitamins if you're going to be of any use. You had quite the ordeal a few nights ago."
The Joker shook his head.
"What is this, the kids meal breakfast? I don't want juice. I want the damn coffee."
"You have a drink."
The paler man leaned back comfortably into the couch with a sigh.
"Tell you what," he started as he pushed himself back into the seat a little more, "I'll drink the juice first, but when I finish, I want some coffee."
The man in black shook his head as the other man casually tilted his head back and proceeded to guzzle the orange liquid. The masked man found himself once again studying Joker's features, eyes tracing the slight undulations his throat made as he received the fluids. He cleared his own throat.
"Let's cut to the chase. Last night, you were pulled from an alley after falling almost a story off of an office building. You were carrying something important with you… What did you do with it?"
In seconds, the glass was empty, the smiling man hooking his tongue into the smooth interior and licking the traces of juice from inside. He stretched his tongue further, making a noise of frustration as he was unable to reach the bottom of it before setting it back on the trey, his visitor sipping his own coffee as he waited for a response.
"Ohhh…. Did you say something?" he leaned closer to him.
"What did you do with the device you were carrying last night?"
The wavy-haired man shook his head.
"Ugh… what device?"
"The one you stole before falling from that building."
It was then that the soft laughter began. "Listen, I don't have a clue what you're talking about."
"Yes you do. I'm not in the mood to play games but I'm doing this the nice way. Is this enough, or do I need to put on the bat suit?"
The other man's eyes suddenly narrowed as he stretched his neck toward him, squinting sharply.
"The- No…" he shook his head as understanding gradually filled his features. "The bat- You'd better not be toying with me…"
The man in the dark suit shook his head, voice lowering into that of complete familiarity.
"No…You know who I am, Joker…" he assured him, taking a sip from his coffee.
The way the other man's eyes widened for a second almost made him wish he had a camera.
"So its you…." he leaned forward slowly just as Bruce was lowering his mug. "I didn't think you liked me enough to get me a new suit."
"I don't. It was out of courtesy."
"Sure it was," he smirked. "You say you hate me now, but soon all of your friends will be calling me Uncle Jack…" he surmised.
He shook the shock from his mind, suddenly gesturing toward the man's mug.
"Batman or not," his voice became dangerously even, "All I know is that I need some coffee…" he waved his hand for emphasis, "then we'll talk."
The businessman nodded slowly. Before he could extend the mug toward him, the wild man rushed forward in one swift but calm motion, Bruce's left hand halted in mid air as he waited for him to strike, the Joker surprising him by simply stretching his neck and putting his lips to the mug. His eyes were heavily lidded as he dragged his tongue across the rim.
The short-haired man swallowed, unsure of his next move.
The Joker pushed down a little, Bruce taking the hint and tilting it.
The long-haired man never imagined he'd ever find himself in his archenemy's company clean, comfortable and sitting on his couch drinking his coffee. It hadn't occurred to him that things could get so exciting so quickly. The thought of being so close to batman was amusing, but the thought of sharing a coffee with him was just plain exhilarating. It was something he'd never tried before and oh how he loved new things…
Cautiously, Bruce tilted the mug, trying to hide his disgust as the pale man took three large gulps. He had begun to lower it carefully when the dark-eyed man shook his head, voice breathy.
Bruce stiffened. "This was my drink, remember?"
Joker smiled a smile that just looked like trouble. "I know," he swallowed. "We both know its mine now." He kept his gaze locked with his foe's, breaths heavy as he took several more gulps of the steaming contents. "We both know you think I'm a monster which would make drinking after me out of the question. I know you can't stand the thought of me using your dishes which is funny because despite what you think, I take care of myself."
"That would explain the rings around your eyes that don't come off with soap and water…"
"No that's the result of-… never mind," he rolled his neck before turning his attention back to his foe.
Batman kept his reserve as the madman continued.
"So, I guess it bothers you that I put my mouth on your cup, doesn't it…"
The short-haired man was silent.
"You worry too much. You don't see me jumping back like you have cooties," he admit as he licked the rim, eyes appearing to glaze over. "I know you're worried, but stop. I don't bite everyone I meet. You'll see. In a few days…. you'll be comfortable with me."
Bruce tilted the mug quickly, forcing him to drink in an attempt to distract him.
"In a few days, you'll be back in Arkham Asylum."
Soon the only sound in the room was the disturbed man's frantic slurping, his mouth making a loud smacking noise as he pulled away. With a slight sway, Joker put some distance between them, licking his lips and settling back down into the couch. His smile favored his left side as he scooted back into the plush upholstery, turning toward him before adding quietly, "In a few days, you won't want me to leave."