He didn't know if it was God's cruel joke, or karma kicking his ass as he stared, quietly at the bars of the cell, and wondered what the hell went so wrong to land him here. Bright slants of sunlight, mutilated by the shadows fragmented over the floor, as he squinted. Wincing, he felt the scars tug at muscles as he abscently scrubbed a hand over a cheek, and then through his tangled curls. He supposed he looked little more than a monkey in a zoo picking at a flea. From the way the attack dogs they called prison guards were posed and eagerly smacking their little night sticks against their palms in challenge...he knew they would need no provocation to bring him down and beat the piss out of him. He gave one a coy grin, licked his lips for good measure, and wagged a finger. "Big sticks,boys. Compensating for something"
He wagged an eyebrow with a leer. The attack dog nearest him whirled, clubbed his hand with a loud clang, and a satisfied snirk at the sounds of bones splintering. The Joker yelped at the pain, cradled the busted hand to his side, eyed it with a sneer. "Good aim." He chuckled. "Very, very nice indeed." The flesh had literally been smashed to a pulp, already wilted and purple from the blow, and he knew every bone between the wrist and the knuckles was nothing more than useless mush.

It mattered little, though. The pain was just one more reminder of his current predicament.Hours had crawled by, time seemed to slow from the sheer burden of thought, and then, the choking realization that they were literally, finally going to wring his neck. His hands swirled over his throat, and he chuckled in perverse amusement at the ironic play on words. It seemed as if the joke was finally on him, and he could not help the cackle. Apparently the sound of laughter was either aggitating or unnerving to his sullen guards. One flinched, another stared, yet another, the one who had broken his hand, only clubbed the bars again, barked an order for the 'freak to shut the hell up before he came in there and broke his jaw, too."

The Joker only raised an eyebrow, in mocking fear, as he feined a tremble, siddled up to the bars, and whispered,one finger lacing over the cracked corner of his mouth, "And do you think that damn stick of yours can possibly do any more damage to my face than what's already been done, meathead? Go ahead. Whack me senseless.Club out what brains I have left."

He waved an arm in invitation, spread arms wide in welcome. "I'm lonely. Won't you come...play?" It was a hideous purr, and it clearly unnerved the already tense guards. He was suprised that none of them pissed their pants when he glided away from the cell door, after the guard lurched forward, inches away, and only glared at him, with a snarl. The Joker shook his head, mutely sat back on the bench in the middle of the cell. It was boring, and he was already irked that they didn't at least give a condemned man a last meal, a play thing...some sort of send off. He wondered if there were fireworks in hell as he idly drummed fingers against the metal bench. He smirked at the loud clang, and the startled cringe of the guards from the unexpected noise. The guard that broke his hand..honestly, he looked more like a pitbull in a uniform than a man! whirled to face him, the club smacking his palm in hideous promise as the other guards smirked and one unlocked the cell door.

'So, you're bored? Is that the problem?" The guard snickered. "Maybe ya need a bit of entertainment to liven things up,eh, boys?"

The Joker felt his gut clench in warning as the merry chuckles of perverse mirth fell around him like breaking glass. Eyes squinting into the darkness around the haloed light, he only shrugged. "I don't get the joke." And then he cackled.

"Ya got a visitor,freak. One who has a lot in common with ya. You two should be bosom buddies before the nights over with.
if ya live that long. Bring him in, boys."

The Joker's scars winked even darker. He rose, warily, clapped his hands in slow, unwavering stacatto. "Oooh, goodie, a toy! I love toys!" He cooed as he heard the sound of sliding chains and shuffling footsteps. He squinted to see the figures moving in the dark, less than ten feet away from his cell.
There was little to see except the golden mop of hair, over the face that was bowed to the floor, and the strange, majestic stride that seemed perversely out of place for the figure in the blue jumpsuit. The figure said nothing, only waited in resigned silence for the guard to unlock the cell.

The Joker's mocking words froze in his throat when he saw that bowed head suddenly shoot up from the darkness with a jerk.
"Harvey...Dent?" The Joker fumbled in disbelief for a long moment as the eerie, dark chuckle exploded in sickening glee,
as Harvey shook his head with the tremors of laughter and some other emotion the Joker could not place.
"Not any more." Harvey hissed as he slowly raised icy eyes seering with hatred and tilted his head so that the Joker could see at last.

'What the hell' The Joker could only breathe at the naked bone, the charred remains of flesh that clung to one side of his face in one neat line, the cerilian eye the only trace of the man that Harvey used to be. It was peering into the face of a corpse. Harvey turned his face, the human side, and the Joker could only gape as the features twisted in anguish for a brief moment, before Harvey only chuckled again.

"And I thought my face was bad. What happened...did you get drunk and stupid with a blow torch?"

The Joker felt the explosion of a fist against his own face, felt the spit flying from the bared teeth, felt himself being hauled off the floor, and slammed into the bars with a bone-jarring thud. He tasted his blood, hot and wet on his lips,warily siddled away, and gave them all a leer. He heard the steady thump of nightsticks over flesh, Harvey's grunts from the blows and then that feral snarl as Harvey was eventually subdued and left to bleed a few feet away from the Joker.

Heaving, Harvey planted himself into a resigned flop on the metal plank that served as a bench, turned to the Joker with a smirk. "And what do you think your face is going to look like in hell, clown?" The mask had twisted itself, the human side of Harvey's face scowling, the other side nothing but a cadavarous grin.

The Joker stared at his hands for a long moment, lip curling in distaste at the sight of his blood-sullied fingers, and then the nasty, sticky gore adorning his throbbing nose. He had felt the bone splinter and was fairly certain it was broken.
"Do you think it will be hot enough to pop popcorn, Dent? Or will they just put a stick through us and roast us like little weenies? Curious thought, hmmm?" His fingers resumed their drumming clang against his own bench as he crossed non-chalant arms, and stared at Dent, with a sullen, bored glare. "Seriously, though...what the hell happened to you?"

There was no answer but a growled hiss, as Dent flung a hand up, dug it in frustration through what was left of his thatch of golden hair. Indifferently, he peered over at the Joker's tousled, greasy curls, and recoiled.His fingers flinched at the feel of his open bones, lingered before they curled into a fist that he lay sedately in his lap. Sighing, he stared skyward, took in the metallic gleam of halogen lights that hummed down so loud...Of all the places in the world, of all the thugs he put away over the years...Numbly, he took in the cage he was now living in, the frail scrap of blanket, the slab of concrete floor. He shivered in misery.

He heard the soft, understanding grunt behind him, as Dent's head snapped up, pissed and oddly violated from the Joker's unwanted observation of his mini-nervous breakdown. He saw the Joker's lithe form gliding in the shadows as he lowered himself to the bars between them, lowered himself to the floor, cupped his chin in one hand, languidly waved the other in the air.

"Maybe the more accurate question would be what broke you, hmmm?"

Dent's eyes turned to ice and narrowed even more, as the Joker quirked his shoulders in a little shrug. "See, I'm not head-doc, and I don't have a PH.D behind my name. All I have is the scars." The last word was almost purred as the Joker pointedly ran one finger over the crevice adorning his mouth,tongue darting out to lace saliva over his lips.

Dent shivered in disgust. The Joker only chuckled again in perverse mirth. "You have no idea how dry they get.And...what, do ou expect me to carry lip gloss?!"

Dent quirked an eyebrow, as the Joker went silent again, his storm dark eyes glittering with some emotion he could not name.
"I guess not." The words were heavy as Dent tilted his head to see the latice work that was laced over the Joker's face with undisguised curiousity.

The Joker flared hands over his cheeks with a mockingly debonaire swirl. "Take a picture while you're at it.It may just last longer."

Dent said nothing, only stared at them, hard,his eyes far away and almost sad as he leaned closer for a better look. The Joker obligingly slid cheeks into the light. Dent warily noted the calculating glint of the Joker's eyes as he, too, ventured a bit closer to take in the gleam of bone and smouldered flesh that clung to the half of Dent's face. Face scrunching up as if he had eaten something distasteful, the Joker shudddered, puncuated the cruel reaction with a theatrical, "EWWW!"

Dent only snorted. "And you really think that hack-job over your face is any better?"

The Joker only offered an indifferent shrug. "It doesn't matter. They're not going away, for you, or me, and you know I'm not just talking about cruelty's handiwork, either."

Dent snorted. "And what happened to you? Did you get drunk with a knife,or is that possibly the worst tattoo job in the world?"

The Joker's eyes went from merry, easy black to glittering obsidion and dark promise in one hidious moment. Hissing a barking, sick, little laugh, the Joker rose to his full height, clutched the bars between betrayingly white knuckles. Dent felt a chill that did not come from any room temperature as the Joker only stared at him for a long,long moment. He looked more like a demon than a human with those scars and those teeth glistening from his bleeding mouth. There was no sound but Dent's hitched breathing,as the Joker's eyes went cold and narrow as a knifepoint.

"The other guy wound up in pieces." Dent's eyebrows arched downward in confusion, as the Joker smiled slowly, ran fingers over the mutilated flesh. "My first kill." He explained, with a shrug, as Dent's mouth fell open and hung there.

The Joker leaned back against the wall, casually, as if they were having little more than a normal chat. "What,would you feel better if I let somebody who does this to somebody else go?"

Dent could only shrug, and breathe out, "How?"

For one moment, the Joker's hand unwillingly ventured up, ghosted over his cheek, lingered there. His dark eyes looked only sad and lost, and Dent saw the shattered remnant of broken humanity before the Joker choked it back down with curled lips and a hand waved in dismissal.

"It was my first kill...the one that I remember the most. The one out of all of them...that actually deserved it. I used to be...a good boy. Quiet.A bookworm, nerdy and polite and all-around sweet, obedient little sheep.Fresh meat for the jocks, too intimidated by the snotty high school girls to even talk to them. Hell, I was either ignorned or roughed up. Not a pleasant existance, but highschool taught me more about depravity than any stint in prison." The Joker snorted, the brutal chuckle breaking from his lips as his shoulders hitched up in a shrug.

"So it went on that way..for years.See, back then, I was naive enough to believe that it was me who had the problem.It was me that deserved the beatings, it was...me...who deserved to have that meathead of a jock make my life a living hell for no other reason other than..he could." Dent noticed the chill that had risen again from the Joker's words, the way his fists clenched into his lap, in helpless, furious little knots. The snarl errupted into a sadistic smirk, as he scraped the curls away from his forehead. "So, one day, meathead and a few of his cronies thinks it might be funny to follow me home,right? Only, that night, they wanted to see if they could make me squeal like a stuck pig." Dent flinched at the reference. The Joker smirked, wryly.

"So, they surround me, right? Rough me up, a few punches, a few bruises, break my glasses...typical high school assault, right? Or, it should have been, until the head meathead pulls a knife, and yanks it to my throat. Spits in my ear that I was making eyes at his girl, some stupid bullshit, I don't remember. That freaks the cronies out. Apparently, it just upped the anty enough to scare them shitless, and they're panicking, and pleading for him to put the damn blade down, while I'm squirming, and screaming and pleading for him not to cut me. Promised him the moon, and the stars, whatever else he wanted, if he just...let me go. That's not good enough, though. My screaming freaks him out. He's in the middle of an alleyway, holding a freaked out little screamer whose bawling loud enough to wake the dead. His friends hotfoot it away, they don't want to be around when Meathead really snaps. Meathead jabs the blade in my mouth, threatens to cut my throat out if I don't shut the hell up, tells me he's gonna cut me open from neck to nuts without so much as a prayer if I don't stop the noise. Then he smiles, this eerie little smirk. Tells me that he's thought about it, and decided that he's tired of seeing me never smile.
And then..."

The Joker's words halted as Dent exhaled, the tension in the room fraying like a noose,before the body drops. Dent's eyes widen to see the brief glitter of what looks like tears in the Joker's eyes for a brief moment before that splintered mouth pulls itself into a smirk. Dent scowled as the Joker only shrugged. "Forgive me, it's a boring story."

"Did they cut you up? Is that how you got those scars?" The Joker slid his eyes over into a sideways glance. "That's a personal question, don't you think?" Dent's lips twisted. "Is that a lie, then?"

The Joker only smirked again, swirled fingers over the mutilated flesh, shrugged, unapologetically. "My scars are real enough, aren't they?"

Dent huffed in annoyance, didn't deem it necessary to argue with such a clear point. "Well, how did you get them, then?"

The Joker shrugged again, turned to him with a sad, weary smile. "You can assume I got drunk with a knife, or you can draw comfort in assuming that somebody did this to me, and that's what sparked my downward spiral into hell.
Does that make you feel better, Dent?"

Dent shook his head, as the Joker snickered again. "Reasons, reasons, everybody has to have a reason why. Does it make any of this go away?"