A/N: Sobs. Last chapter. I can't actually believe I finished this bastard.
Sorry this took so long. Technical difficulties meant I got to write this twice.
"The Batman did not murder Harvey Dent. He saved my boy then took the blame for Harvey's appalling crime so I could, to my shame, build a lie about this fallen idol. I praised the madman who tried to murder my own child but i can no longer live with my lie. It is time to trust the people of Gotham with the truth..."
Lucy watched Commissioner Gordon's speech from the main floor of Iceberg Lounge, which had recently passed into her hands. She had no staff aside from a couple goons she convinced to stick around to act as security. She had a few half-hearted ideas about how to expand the business, but mostly she was just concerned with getting the club up and running by the time the boss got outta the joint. In the meantime, she had to keep the club afloat which meant acting as waitress, showgirl and mob-affiliated club-owner.
Tonight the only patron was a well dressed man at the end of the bar. He had finely manicured hands and wore Rolex, which Lucy thought was a bit stupid considering he chose to drink at a notoriously dangerous place like the Iceberg Lounge. But she wasn't about to be picky about customers, and continued to fill his glass with expensive scotch while she attempted to take stock of the bar. No one had bothered since Louis had been killed months earlier, which made the task monumentally boring but necessary.
The man with the Rolex waved Lucy over for another shot and she obliged, adding it to his tab and wondering how he'd put away half a bottle without looking the least bit intoxicated. It didn't matter. She would keep the club open until 2am just like they always did whether there were patrons or no.
Absorbed in her assessment of the Rolex man, Lucy failed to notice the kitchen doors open and close softly as a person slipped in, silent as the grave. Turning away from her top shelf liquor count, Lucy jumped in surprise upon finding none other than Victor Zsasz sitting at the bar watching her with a sly smirk. His face was horrifically bruised and swollen as though he'd recently had the shit kicked out of him.
"Hello, Lucy," he greeted her, offering a strained smile.
Lucy groaned in exasperation. "Oh for Christ's sake! What the hell do you want? Penguin's not here. Joker's not here. Harley Quinn's not here. No one is fucking here if you haven't noticed." She waved an arm around at the empty club.
"I need a job," Zsasz told her plainly, folding his hands together on the bartop.
"Well isn't that nice," Lucy muttered sarcastically. "Guys are comin outta the woodwork now that the boss has gone away."
Before Zsasz could reply the man at the end of the bar finally spoke up. "It doesn't look like many people are interested in jobs here to me."
Lucy glared back at the Rolex man. If someone had said that to the boss he would have blown their head off in an instant. "Careful how you talk in here, buddy," she told him with narrowed eyes.
"Thomas Elliot," he corrected her coldly, moving down a few bars tools to sit next to Zsasz.
She didn't miss Zsasz raising an eyebrow as he took in this new character in his well tailored suit with the top button of his shirt undone; all relaxed confidence that screamed of money and privilege even louder than his fancy watch. But Lucy could not deny that despite his shiny outward appearance, there was something that could only be described as off-putting about this man's presence.
"What do you want, Thomas Elliot," Lucy replied icily, pleased when Zsasz silently but purposefully removed his gun from its holster and placed it on the bar between himself and Elliot.
Suddenly the idea of having Zsasz as her personal body guard didn't sound so bad.
"I want the Batman," Elliot informed them, his eyes lighting up as the words left his lips. There was a hint of madness there.
Lucy snorted. "Yeah, get in line. Plenty of people want to take down the Batman."
"Not anymore," Elliot sneered bitterly. "Not now that Gordon has informed the city about the Batman's miraculous sacrifice for Harvey Dent's soul. All of Gotham loves him. Even the Joker." His face folded into an ugly scowl.
"The Joker is fuckin' crazy," Lucy interjected. "You ever meet that guy? He's fully nuts."
"I don't care. I need men." Elliot snapped and when Lucy quirked an unimpressed eyebrow he added the magic words: "I have money."
"Oh, really." She crossed her arms and forced herself to look impassive. If they needed anything at the moment it was most certainly cold hard cash. "Well in that case, we may be able to work something out Mr. Elliot."
He grinned crookedly, somewhat deranged. "You can call me Tommy. Or Hush."
Six months. Two weeks. Three days.
That was how long Jonathan had been locked up in Arkham. First under the care of the sadistic Dr. Madeline Corrigan, and now that of the much kinder (but irritating) Dr. Joan Leland. If it was possible to be happy about anything as an inmate at Arkham, Corrigan's death would have been the trigger. Unfortunately, Jonathan had also been shot and beaten half to death the very same night of Corrigan's murder, so his celebration was marred somewhat by subsequent weeks of painful recovery.
Then came physical therapy courtesy of Leland's humanitarian approach to patient-care.
Jonathan found it unbearable - as though Leland mocked him at every turn with her compassionate words about getting him back on his feet.
Back on his feet and back into his cell, he thought bitterly.
But then they brought in a physical therapy nurse named Natalia - a young woman with auburn curls and heavy black eyelashes who had grown oddly (obsessively) attached to Jonathan.
It hadn't taken long to win her over, and they soon began planning his escape in a what Jonathan could only imagine was a similar fashion to how the Joker had conned Harley into freeing him.
Of course, he would kill Natalia once the opportunity presented itself, instead of turning her into some sort of twin partner in crime as the Joker had done to Harley.
Their opportunity came the day Oswald "the Penguin" Cobblepot was brought into Arkham. Wrapped in a straitjacket, the Penguin screamed and fought as he was dragged through C-Wing. Now that Leland was in charge, orderlies were discouraged from using force or drugs to subdue aggravated patients, and Penguin's loud curses drew more orderlies than could have possibly been needed to placate a cripple completely lacking in physical prowess. Without his goons or his guns, Penguin was impotent.
Jonathan smirked smugly as he watched his former ally struggle past through the small glass window of his cell.
Natalia slipped into his room soon after, the sounds of Penguin causing a commotion growing briefly louder when the cell door swung open and shut with a clang.
"Wow," she gasped, wide-eyed. "That was the Penguin?"
"Are you scared?" Jonathan asked her bluntly, pale blue eyes narrowing behind his glasses.
"No," she replied quickly, confidently, and reached into the pocket of her lilac-coloured scrubs.
A smile tugged at Jonathan's lips when she offered him a small pistol. It wasn't much, but it would be enough to get out of Arkham.
At first the tap water in Metropolis tasted strange to Ed, but then he realized it was actually a lack of taste which was likely due to the city's far superior plumbing and sewage systems. Those little upgrades made Metropolis a much more desirable location, hence the high price of real estate. But money wasn't a problem for Ed.
There was also, he noted, a very weak crime-network in Metropolis as a result of the city's judiciary system. Also, the lack of police corruption and social out-reach programs to help kids before they turned to crime or drugs probably helped. Mob families were a thing of the past and gun laws were so tight it made street crime virtually non-existent. The real criminals lived in the corporate and political spheres, not on the streets.
Not long after Ed arrived in Metropolis he decided he would test the city's police force with a very low-key convenience store robbery. It went well, though he'd had to murder the clerk and actually forgot to take the cash from the register, instead leaving a series of clues that could have led the police straight to his new apartment had they been smart enough to figure it out.
It seemed Metropolis cops weren't up to the task.
To Ed's great frustration his robbery wasn't even mentioned in the papers the next day. No, the headlines were smeared with the news that the Scarecrow had escaped Arkham Asylum and was on the loose in Gotham once more. The Metropolis journalists bemoaned Gotham's social problems in the hands of a corrupt system that refused to do anything proactive about crime, effectively leaving the city in the hands of vigilantes.
Ed decided he would just have to try again, and this time he would make sure the Metropolis Police Department knew his name.
As Harley had predicted, Ivy had literally vanished in the middle of the night, leaving a partially brain-damaged Armie for Harley to adopt has her new bodyguard. Unfortunately she accidentally killed him in a fit of paranoid rage after learning Jonathan had escaped Arkham. Then Nikolai had attempted revenge by attacking Harley so J had to shoot him in the face before any real damage could be done.
"What a waste," Harley sighed, looking down at the twin Ukrainians, dead as doorbells, blood soaking through white carpet.
"Man, couldn't you guys have killed them in the fucking kitchen?" Lonnie bemoaned, never one to hide his contempt of their taking over his penthouse. "I'll never be able to get that shit out."
They celebrated Gordon's revelation of Harvey Dent's guilt with a tremendous crime spree - blowing up a few fire stations (but not any buildings that would require fire engines - hilarious!) and kidnapping the recently retired and disgraced Mayor Garcia. They tortured him for a few hours before growing board and put him out of his misery.
Batman and Black Canary did their best to track down Harley and the Joker with varying degrees of success. Dinah managed to break J's nose during one encounter and the Batman tore out a chunk of Harley's hair whilst hauling her to the tank they'd aptly named The Batmobile. On another occasion, J and Harley stole the Batmobile, drove it through a bank (man that thing was sturdy!), crashed it and disappeared into the sea of panicked bank patrons before the Bat could catch them.
It was all quite good fun, especially now that the Batman was seen as a savior while the rest of Gotham's establishment (including the MCU) were cast in a far less trustworthy light. The new mayor was as crooked as they could have hoped for and Gordon relied on the Batman to keep the city safe more than ever before.
One Friday night, J was pacing through Lonnie's condo, practically bursting with pent up energy while Harley lounged on the sofa watching the Real Housewives of Metropolis. She allowed herself a quick fantasy about living in one of those luxurious Metropolis mansions, dripping in diamonds with nothing to do all day but shop and inject herself with botox. She giggled quietly and tried to picture J as one of those scheming corporate types in a plain grey suit with his natural dirty blonde hair. Harley wrinkled her nose in distaste.
"Move," J snapped, appearing at her side. He gave her a rough shove so he could sit beside her, and Harley kicked her legs over his lap, ignoring his this-is-business glare while he changed the channel to cable news. Three pretty middle-aged women sat around a coffee table arguing about the Batman in shrill voices.
"The Batman is the only thing holding Gotham together - the city is a disgrace." One woman announced with a sad shake of her head.
"I disagree, Claire," said another, looking despaired. "He's inspiring vigilantes across the country. Look at Central City - reports of a man in a mask have been cropping up all summer!"
"Yes, but this is about the city of Gotham - Central City and Metropolis would never birth psycho-criminals like The Joker or Harley Quinn."
"But you also have characters like this young woman Black Canary - she's an inspiration to girls everywhere!"
J chuckled wryly under his breath and Harley slid into his lap, slinging her arms around his neck and straddling his waist. "Where do you think they'll be tonight?" She murmured, pressing her lips to his neck and enjoying the sudden sensation of his fingers slipping roughly into her tangled blonde hair.
"Wherever we are," he muttered gruffly, then shuddered when she ran her tongue up the column of his throat.
Harley grinned and did it again, slower this time, giggling happily when she felt him grow hard beneath her.
"As long as you're with me, we'll be just fine," he purred, standing suddenly and pulling Harley up with him. She shrieked in surprise then dissolved into laughter as he carried her bridal style towards their room.
Before they could reach the threshold, the latest incarnation of Happy peaked tentatively around the wall separating the living room from the kitchen. "Um... boss?" he coughed, looking as though he wished he were anywhere else in the world as he wrung his hands.
Harley noted he was addressing her instead her instead of J so she raised her chin imperiously, trying to seem scary despite being bundled up in the Joker's arm like a new bride. "What."
Happy inhaled deeply through his nose. "Scarecrow was seen at the Iceberg Lounge half an hour ago. We thought you should know."
Harley looked up at J, her eyebrows raised in a silent question and he ran his tongue across his teeth, considering her.
"Waddya think, boss?" He growled.
Grinning coyly, Harley tugged on a matted green-blonde lock of his hair. "I think we were in the middle of something, Puddin"
When Bruce returned from Asia with the intent to fight crime in Gotham, he had not pictured himself on the back of a motorcycle, hanging onto a tough blonde teenager's waist as they sped down a dirty side street at dusk. He had not imagined his greatest foe would be a theatrical psychopath, who was presently tearing down the road ahead of him in a stolen police cruiser while his notoriously murderous girlfriend shot out the back window to aim a mean looking AK-15 at them.
They had no purpose other than chaos which made them unquantifiabley dangerous. The Joker had made his purpose known before he had been locked in Arkham, and Gotham only just managed to survive his influence then. Now there were two of them. With Harley Quinn in the picture, no amount of fisticuffs or outsmarting the Joker would do, not now that he had her watching his back.
She was his partner in chaos and Gotham quivered in the face of their very existence. Bruce was the only thing between the clowns and anarchy.
A grenade was lobbed out the stolen police cruiser and Dinah swerved sharply to avoid the blast, forcing them both to roll sideways off the motorcycle. Bruce threw himself on top her out of instinct, shielding her body with his own. The grenade exploded, sending a wash of heat and white noise over them while the back of the police cruiser shot up in the air, sending the vehicle flying and crashing upside-down on its hood.
Bruce felt deaf and dumb, struggling to find his center of gravity in the wake of the explosion.
Dinah fought to get to her feet and staggered over to the wrecked cruiser, dropping to her knees next to the back window and ignoring the broken glass and flaming bits of metal as she fished Harley Quinn out from the wreckage. Harley released a shrill shriek of pain when her body snagged on an errant piece of jagged metal, but Dinah continued to drag her through the glass, ignoring her wailing.
Gunfire spat into the concrete as the Joker stumbled around the wreck from the driver's side, the AK-15 clutched under his arm. He was bleeding from the temple, the blood matting the white of his warpaint as he scowled furiously down at Dinah and let off another blast of bullets. One struck Dinah in the shoulder, sending her flat on her back with a shout of surprise.
Bruce watched, feeling sick as Dinah quivered on the pavement while the Joker finished the task of hauling Harley out of the wrecked cruiser.
"Come on, Honey Bunny," he snarled at her, but Bruce could hear emotion colouring the Joker's normally cruel voice. He pulled her roughly to her feet and held her against his side with his free arm around her waist, mirroring how he held the machine gun in his other.
Harley swayed against him for a moment, dazed, and then looked over her shoulder to examine her injury. "Ah, shit! This is my favourite leotard!" She exclaimed, before bursting into hysterical laughter as though the wound was nothing more than an inconvenience despite the blood dripping down her back and landing in fat drops on the pavement by her ballet slipper-clad feet.
The Joker dropped his gun abruptly and grabbed Harley's face in both hands, kissing her roughly. She returned the kiss enthusiastically, ignoring the flames licking at the hood of the wrecked car as she pressed herself against him and slid her arms around his neck to draw him closer. The lewd display distracted them long enough for Bruce to crawl to Dinah and check her pulse.
"Aw," Harley cooed, pulling back to show her mouth smeared messily with scarlet. She sent Bruce a wink. "They look so cute together, don't they puddin."
"Hmm," the Joker agreed, retrieving the AK-15 from the pavement. "Come on, doll. We've got places to be," he replied, sending Bruce a wayward glance.
Bruce tugged Dinah into his lap, examining her shoulder while her eyelids fluttered. "I'm okay," she breathed. "Go after them."
Despite her injuries, Harley began to skip away from the site of the wreck with the Joker on her heels. He turned once to send Bruce a sly smirk and a friendly wave before jogging to catch up with Harley and grabbing her around the waist.
"You have to go after them!" Dinah hissed, her eyes slipping shut.
Bruce hesitated, tempted to go after them as his protege insisted, but in the end decided he had a duty to get Dinah medical attention instead of engaging in what felt like an endless game of cat and mouse.
"I'm getting you out of here," he rumbled to Dinah, gathering her up in his arms.
Bruce looked up one last time to see the Joker and Harley Quinn had linked their arms together as they escaped, gliding away into the sunset.
A/N: Well woah. I can't believe that I finally completed this. Thank you to everyone who has followed/ liked/ reviewed the story.
Did anyone see Suicide Squad? In my opinion, Jared Leto's Joker doesn't even to Heath Ledger's performance.
Please review! :)
**Updated A/N: I might - *might* - re-work and finish 'Black Mischief'. I would need rearrange my brain for writing those very different versions of the characters so...
If anyone would like to see that happen, and has any... requests... for that story... please leave a review / comment on either story.
I'm also working on a Red Eye story because Evil!Cillian Murphey characters are so fun to write. So keep your eyes peeled.