Sometimes, the Joker would forget the rules.
He'd forget that he was a psychopathic mass murdering clown. He'd forget all of Gotham trembled in his wake, forgot that he could reduce near any person into hysterics on a mere whim.
Some days, he would wake up, pull on a pair of pants, sneakers, a band tee and a scarf and walk to the supermarket.
Only he didn't shower regularly, and his makeup was still on. People ran screaming and he didn't know why. He just wanted to buy some vegetables.
That next day he'd burned all his band tees. Why the hell did he have band tees in the first place?
There were times when the Joker couldn't tell dreams from reality. They were both basically the same, he would reason. After all, reality is all in your head. You make your own reality.
So when he woke up standing outside Wayne Manor, covered in blood he'd thought it was a dream. In his dreams, Bruce knew he knew.
He found Bruce's room easily enough and after crawling gingerly in the empty bed he tangled himself in the sheets that smelt of detergent and just a hint of sweat.
When he woke up, he was in the asylum. Interns were screaming. The night guard was lying mangled in the Jokers cell. It took ten minutes for a doctor to see the Joker, lying inexplicably in the adjacent cell swaddled in Gucci sheets and blood.
The Joker wouldn't answer any of their questions, but he growled and nearly ripped off an interns arm when they tried to take away the sheets.
It had taken a month to find the Joker, a month that included the death of 23 random civilians, 2 large explosions, a fire, and a hostage situation at a local Dairy Queen.
When he did locate him it was completely anticlimactic. The Joker was on a swing at Gotham Elementary. The sky was black with just a sliver of the moon shining. It was pouring.
The Joker was dressed casually, if that were possible. He was in purple corduroy pants, a partly singed band tee and red trainers. His hair was a dirty blond, matted heavily to his makeup free face. He looked pathetic, and Batman just stared.
The Joker looked up, through the Batman.
"I'm so cold." He whispered, and it jolted Batman. "I…….. I don't know who I am…."
He knelt down before the Joker, stopping the gentle swinging.
"I mean.. I know. But I don't…" And he looked into Batman's eyes, and everything stopped. His tongue darted out.
"..Bruce….." The Joker whimpered, and Batman pulled him into an embrace.
"…I love you……"
Bruce clenched his eyes closed. He lifted the Joker up and carried him, sobbing, to Arkham.