Lyla shot up from her sleep in a cold sweat. The Egyptian cotton sheets clung to her silk night gown as she gasped for breath, now wide awake. For so long, Lyla had hardly had one decent night's sleep. Not even tonight; her wedding night. Her nightmares wouldn't spare her this joyous occasion.
This time in her dream, she was running. Running down a dark hallway. She was wearing a long, black dress and deep red lipstick. At the end of the hallway was a lighted mirror. Upon seeing the mirror, her steps slowed. Lyla reached the mirror and stared for a long time. For only a second, she looked down at her hands, and when she lifted her head again, she saw the Joker standing behind her in the mirror. To her surprise, Lyla was not startled. She simply turned around to him and smiled. The Joker smiled too and lifted his hands to reveal a knife resting in his palms. Lyla willing took the weapon from him and turned towards the mirror. From there, Lyla stuck the knife in mouth and grinned. She woke up just as she cut the inside of her cheek like a permanent smile.
Lyla had dreamed that same dream many times before and always woke up at the same time. Sometimes the dream varied, but this particular dream was the most popular and would always come back to haunt her in her slumber. It had been a year since her encounter with the Joker. Every night she was reminded of him with her dreams. "I will find you and I will have you; one way or another." His last words to Lyla ran through her mind every spare second of the day. No matter how hard she tried to erase him from his mind, she could never forget.
Bruce, who had been sleeping beside his newly wedded wife, jumped from his sleep as soon as he heard Lyla sleep. "Lyla, what's the matter?" he asked frantically. Lyla said nothing, staring down at the sheets she was clinging to so tightly. "Did you have another nightmare?" he continued. He watched as Lyla slowly shook her head and gently took her hand in his. "It's ok, he's gone now. You don't have to worry about him any longer. I'm here now and you're safe with me. That's all that matters."
Lyla gazed up at her husband in adoration. She was happy now. Happier than ever before. Happier than she would have been with the Joker; or at least she hoped so. With eyes fixed on his, she brought her lips to Bruce and kissed him with incredible passion. The two laid back down on the bed and held each other in their arms, their lips almost glued to the others.
Suddenly, the dark bedroom soon shown with a bright light coming from outside. Bruce and Lyla both sat up and glanced out the window. Shining high in the Gotham City sky was the Bat Signal. At seeing the beckon, Bruce turned back around and buried his head in his hands. "Not tonight," he said softly. "Any night but tonight."
"Bruce, it's alright," Lyla said, hugging his shoulders. "Gotham needs their hero now."
"But I don't want to leave you."
"Bruce, you need to go. It's your job. I understood that when I said 'I do.'" Lyla took Bruce's head in her hands and gave him a small kiss. "I'll be waiting for you when you get home."
Bruce smiled at his wife. He couldn't be happier to have found someone how would still love him as Batman and himself. Without saying another word, Bruce leapt from the bed and head towards a secret compartment in the wall. He didn't look back, and Lyla didn't mind. She knew what had to be done.
After he was gone, Lyla stood up, turned on the lights, and slipped her robe over her silk nightgown. Heading towards the kitchen, she glanced over at the chair near the bed. Her wedding dressed was perfectly draped over it without a crease or fold in sight. It had been the perfect day for a wedding. For once, no clouds filled the sky, and the sun was shining high over the ceremony. And all of Gotham had been there to witness their wedding. But for Lyla, the only person she paid any attention to was Bruce.
Entering the kitchen, Lyla picked up the remote to the television and tuned into GCN as she fixed herself a cup of coffee. Airing at the moment was a discussion on the public pardon of the Batman which Commissioner Gordon had issued the day before. Many people agreed with the decision to allow the vigilante to take part in official crime fighting, while others were still furious over the incident involving Harvey Dent. Even though they didn't see it now, Lyla knew that all the citizens of Gotham would soon see that Batman was the only hope to save their city from total destruction.
Once she had finished up her cup of coffee, Lyla decided to head back to the bedroom and wait for her husband to return. She walked easily back to the room, rubbing her eyes in exhaustion. All of a sudden, she heard the front door slam behind her. Lyla quickly turned around to see who was there. No one was there. She continued to look around, but there was no sign of anyone entering or exiting the room. Everything was in place and where it should have been, and no shadows were being cast by the lights reflecting from the windows. Thinking it was all in her head, Lyla turned back around and opened the door to the bedroom. She slipped off her robe and crawled back into bed. She laid her head down on her pillow and closed her eyes. Before she fell asleep again, she opened her eyes again to take a last look on her wedding gown. To her surprise, something was different about it. Because of the darkness of the room, she couldn't make out exactly what it was, but there was a small object resting on the dress. Slowly, Lyla curiously walked towards the dress and picked up the object. She brought the object up to the light and stared in horror.
In her hand was a playing card with the picture of a Joker on one side and writing on the other; blood red HAHAHAHAHA's surrounding a single quote.
"I'm still watching you!"