A/N: Before I go on in this story, let me get one thing straight – Harry is NOT the Heath Ledger Joker, not entirely. He is not fully a "mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown". He is 50 the Heath Ledger Joker, 25 the Jack Nicholson Joker and 25 the original, comic-book Joker. The reason I chose this will soon become clear.
GRINGOTTS LEFT HALF-DESTROYED BY CLOWN PRINCE OF CRIME!
The headlines were bold and wide across the newspaper, as the Joker read through it silently before breaking out into laughter. "AHAHAHAHA! I like it – it has that certain ring to it, wouldn't you say, boys?" he raised his hands dramatically. "The 'Clown Prince of Crime', the Joker!"
His goons, who were doing an assortment of activities, like playing cards, looking through tomes on magic or cleaning their rifles and dueling acknowledged him with a series of laughs and agreements before returning to their respected activities.
Unperturbed, the Joker sat back in his chair, folding away the Daily Prophet before beginning to play with his wand.
He wasn't insane – he was just too clever for his own good. Because he was too clever for his own good, he was…bored.
The Joker stuck his wand back in his pocket before picking up the Daily Prophet again, and noticed the article in smaller headlines, FUDGE REFUSES TO GIVE DUMBLEDORE FUNDING FOR WAR!
Oh, the dear Order of the Phoenix – sitting together in their little group therapy sessions, cowering in fear at the big bad Lord Voldemort…
The Joker giggled at the thought – 'group therapy sessions'! He would have to remember that for later.
He looked at the picture of Dumbledore, and licked his lips, brushing his hair back with his switchblade. He was only a man – just the same as him.
After all, everybody, in the right circumstances, were just as…refined as he was.
"I have called an emergency meeting today," Dumbledore began, "After a series of unfortunate events. You are all aware of the disaster at Gringotts?"
"But Headmaster!" Hermione called out. "Nobody's ever attacked Gringotts and lived to survive – surely…"
"In normal cases, Mrs. Granger, you are right," Dumbledore acknowledged. "However, this new criminal does not seem to desire money. Rather, he destroyed the sections containing the largest and oldest vaults in the bank, such as the Malfoy, Black, Lestrange and Potter vaults."
At the mention of 'Potter', everybody except for Snape visibly stiffened. Dumbledore had all told them the tragic tale of his death at the hands of an unknown assailant, possibly one employed by Voldemort to kill his arch-enemy.
Because of this, everybody who knew him well had sworn to destroy Voldemort, becoming members of the Order of the Phoenix.
"But why would he do that?" Ron asked with a frown. "I mean all that money…"
Dumbledore looked down at the redhead through his half-moon spectacles. "Ah, yes, but here lies the problem – many criminals and villains, Voldemort…" everybody took in sharp intakes of breath, "included, are not motivated by desire for merely money, or property. Voldemort wishes to kill all muggleborns and half-bloods, and this 'Joker' character seems obviously quite psychotic – no regard at all for people, only destruction. And furthermore…" Dumbledore reached into his multi-coloured robes, pulling out a Joker playing card. "With Molly and Arthur's permission, Bill Weasley, his wife and Auror Roger Davies were killed."
"Blimey!" Ron gasped. "So that's why mum and dad were so down this week!"
Molly was attempting to hold back tears and barely doing so as she made strangled sobs, and Arthur was trying to comfort her with soothing words while Hermione shot him a poisonous look for his outburst.
"Indeed, Mr. Weasley, this is a tragic happening," Dumbledore said. "It would normally seem that Bill killed his cheating wife and Mr. Davies in a fit of anger, but things do not seem to fit – why would Bill kill his wife with a muggle weapon?"
At their silence, he took this as a sign to continue. "It seems our Joker took the liberty of manipulating Bill Weasley into killing his wife and her lover, and took credit for it by leaving this card." The aging Headmaster raised the Joker card for all to see.
It looked like a regular muggle Joker playing card, aside from the fact that the Joker was depicted stabbing a phoenix with a knife.
Remus stated the obvious. "He's taunting us."
"It would seem so," Dumbledore said gravely. "I must ask you to tread with caution around this man. He is not to be taken lightly."
"Nobody messes with my family and gets away with it!" Ron hissed. "When I find him, I'm going to kill him!"
Ginny sighed as she looked in the mirror, delicately dabbing at her eyes with a wet cloth to removing her eye-liner.
It had been yet another dating disaster. Her blind date was yet another pompous prick, demented with visions of grandeur and defeating You-Know-Who, and like all of them, wanted to have sex with her on the first date.
Needless to say, her bat bogey hex worked extremely well in convincing him otherwise, as it did the numerous other suitors competing for her love.
But it was what he said that hit her strongly – he had called her a whore.
A whore…was that what she was? Someone who didn't want to have sex except with the right person, and she was branded a whore?
Really she didn't even want to be here. She wanted to join the war, but dear old mother wouldn't let hear, ranting on about Weasley women and delicateness.
Deep down Ginny knew that she was deluding herself in basking in the presence of eager men to please. She knew that they were only there to attempt to replace the feelings of true love.
Her eyes became slightly watery from this train of thought, as it brought up memories of a familiar dark haired, green-eyed boy…
No – there was no use musing on the past.
Ginny put down the cloth and smiled sadly as she finished removing the remnants of her makeup. It would be yet another lonely night.
Voldemort emotionlessly looked at the Daily Prophet's main article, before incinerating the paper and sitting comfortably back into his dark throne to contemplate this new piece of information.
After planning out a possible action, he snapped his fingers.
Lucius Malfoy appeared before him, bowing. "What is your bidding, my lord?"
"I wish for you to gather a team of Death Eaters," Voldemort hissed. "Not our Inner Circle, but able duelers nonetheless. I want you to hunt down this 'Joker', and destroy him – have some fun with him and his lackeys first, of course," he added off-handedly.
Lucius nodded. "As you wish – but my lord, if I dare ask…this man destroyed half of Gringotts. Would it not be wiser to recruit him?"
"It is obvious that this man is completely insane," Voldemort replied coolly. "And he degrades himself to use foul muggle means of destruction. Why should we associate with mere scum like him?"
"As you wish," Lucius bowed.
Voldemort leant back into the throne. At this point in time, any unknown variables could seriously jeopardize his plan – even mere thugs like the Joker. It would do well for a show of force to string his dead body out above Diagon Alley, to prove that they should fear no one but the Dark Lord.
'Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore, has demanded many things from our delightful Minister Fudge, but this preposterous request dwarfs them all.'
Rita grinned as she finished up this sentence and dipped her quill into the inkpot. Oh, this would be a positively nasty piece of work! Perhaps she would win the Article of the Year award for this one (Which she had done so for the straight past three years).
'The aging wizard requested – no, demanded – that Fudge was to loan him Aurors for his own personal army to be used to fight the Dark Lord.'
The journalist turned to her notes and scanned for an appropriate outburst of anger made by the dear cumbersome Minister himself…
Suddenly there was the sound of a pot breaking in the kitchen.
Rita turned around and frowned as she got up, wand in hand, to investigate the disturbance.
She went into her homely kitchen and found a smashed cup on the floor.
"Oh dear," she muttered. How did this happen? Oh well, a simple repairing charm will do the trick…
"Good evening, Miss Skeeter," a sing-song voice said.
Rita whipped around to see a cloaked man standing in her kitchen. "Who are you?" she demanded. "How did you get in here?"
"Oh, don't be so rude, darling," the man said as he walked towards her. "After all…" he took off his hood. "You're an agent of chaos, like me!"
Rita gasped as she lowered her wand. "The Joker!" the Joker, was here, in her kitchen! Quick! She should…
"Looking for an exclusive?" the Joker cackled with a grin. "Unfortunately not today, I've got a few things to take care of later…but I'm here to offer you something better."
"What?" Rita asked in puzzlement. Why would a wanted terrorist come here?
"You see, Miss Skeeter," Joker walked further towards her until they were only inches away from each other. "I'm a man who likes to make, uh, profit. And I believe we could both profit if, uh, we formed…a mutual alliance."
Skeeter crossed her arms. "And what would I do?" she asked, still unconvinced.
The Joker gave off another deranged laugh. "Why, nothing new! You see, I'm an agent of chaos, just like you. I introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos! I bring the men way up here…" he gestured up with his hand. "Down to our level. And you're just like me – but you prove that the pen is truly mightier than the sword!" the Joker gave a twisted grin. "You see, darling, all you have to do is this – introduce a little chaos. Write some slander, make public scandals and filth, while I go around blowing things up. And we will watch, as the whole world collapses in on itself!" he laughed – long and hard.
Rita frowned. While she was all for a good scoop, was it worth it to trust the word of a wanted terrorist?
The Joker seemed to hear her thoughts as he raised a finger. "Don't worry, you'll be getting the inside scoop on everything a knowledgeable man like me finds out," he said. "You see, every white knight has black stains on their suit. It's up to us to find those stains – every time I see something, rest assured I'll pass it on to you. I'm a man of my word, and I can genuinely promise that once we're finished…" the Joker laughed heartily, "All of the Ministry will never be able to walk out in public again! Everybody will know what they did, what affairs they had, what scandals and lies they did! And it'll be because of us. Everyone is a schemer, caught up in their own little worlds…Fudge is a schemer, Dumbledore is a schemer, Amelia Bones is a schemer! And it's up to people like us to burn all their little schemes down." The Joker raised a hand. "So, whaddya say?"
Rita grinned – this was her chance to make her mark in history as one of the most well-informed journalists in the world – but more than that, to completely decimate, destroy and embarrass the biggest officials in Wizarding Britain! "Done."
They shook hands to seal the deal.
Lucius consulted his dark arts books in his personal office in Malfoy Manor.
He smoothed out a fading page with his gloved hand, looking over the formula for magical explosives.
Magical explosives were, in a word…unstable. Even the slightest hand tremor could set off the magic in them and detonate the volatile mix of substances in each explosive.
As he finished reading over the full description, he looked back up to the newspaper clippings and photos that he had gathered of the elusive Joker.
There were few clear ones – only blurry outlines and shapes, except for one that showed his insane face perfectly, albeit slightly blurry as he was in the middle of moving.
Whoever this was, he didn't use magical explosives – the explosion that had been set off that destroyed half of Gringotts was much more potent and would require huge amounts of magical explosives to do so.
Perhaps muggle explosives? Lucius immediately dismissed the possibility. It was near-impossible that foul muggle explosives could ever create such havoc. So perhaps a new type of magical explosive?
"Ohohohohohoho," a soft, menacing voice laughed. "Ahahahahaha."
Lucius stood up, whipping out his wand. "Who's there?" he demanded.
"Ohohohahahaohohohahaha!" the Joker walked through his door, dressed in his usual outfit with one hand behind his back and a sadistic grin etched – literally – on his face.
Lucius's eyes widened. "Avada…"
The Joker raised his silenced Glock-17 and blew off his hand.
Lucius gave off a scream of pain as his hand blew off in a mass of red and clutched at where his hand once was pathetically, dropping to the ground in pain.
The Clown Prince of Crime grabbed him by his shoulders and dragged him across the floor and into the main hallway as the regal Death Eater writhed around on the floor, still in shock from losing his hand.
His men were in the main hallway, and had also captured Draco and Narcissa, chaining them and keeping their weapons trained on them.
The Joker threw him into the middle as his goons formed a circle around the three of them.
Lucius looked up at the deranged clown with pure venom and malice in his eyes. "You…you freak!"
The Joker's eyes suddenly became icy cold, and Lucius realised that he said something extremely foolish.
He pointed to the multiple scars running up and down on his face. "You wanna know how I got these scars?" he asked, pulling Lucius up to his feet and flicking out a knife.
Lucius's fearful eyes looked into the maniacal green eyes of the Joker as he recounted his story. "My uncle was a drinker…and a fiend. One night, he goes off crazier than usual, so he decides to take it out on me. He takes the kitchen knife… 'Why so serious?' he sticks the blade in my mouth: 'Let's put a smile on that face!' And…" he frowned at Lucius's cold face. "Why so serious?"
"PREPOSTEROUS!" Fudge burst out in anger. "I will not be swayed by that…senile old fool!"
In his hand he was holding yet ANOTHER letter from Dumbledore, requesting reinforcements, funding, etc, etc.
He groaned and held his head in his hands. As the 'unofficial leader of the light', Dumbledore had extreme influence in the affairs of the Ministry, and many people had taken an interest into this political war between the Minister and Dumbledore.
There was a knock on his door.
"Come in," he called in an impatient tone.
Amelia Bone stormed in and threw a set of photos onto his desk. "Is this why you pulled funding from the Auror department?" she demanded.
Fudge picked up the photos and promptly dropped them in shock – he felt sick.
The photos showed the gruesomely torn bodies of Narcissa and Draco Malfoy. And dear Merlin, their faces… "And…and…Mr. Malfoy?" he stammered.
As if on cue, Fudge gave a girlish scream as a heavy body slammed into the sole window in the Minister of Magic's office.
Amelia immediately sprung into action – "Aurors!" she roared, before quickly moving over, opening the window and pulling the body in and throwing it onto the desk.
Before Fudge could protest about his paperwork being messed up, he suddenly saw what had happened. "Dear Merlin…"
It was the senior Malfoy, but with the grim clown make-up on it would be difficult for most people to recognise. His face was badly mutilated with bruises, and noticeable scars on his cheeks that were carved into what appeared to be a smile.
Aurors immediately burst onto the scene before looking at Lucius's mutilated body, their eyes lined with shock.
"Secure the office, and lead Minister Fudge to a secure area!" Amelia yelled as she focused her attention on the body.
She frowned as there was a muggle video cassette taped onto Lucius's bloodied formal robes. Who would use a muggle tape?
Reaching over, she pulled it off of Lucius's robes. "Get me Arthur Weasley!" She snapped tersely.
With Mr. Weasley's help, Madam Bones, Minister Fudge and several other people were now in a muggle objects storeroom containing very little magic in the air, and were able to operate the video without much fuss.
There was a burst of static suddenly before Lucius was there, strapped to a chair and badly bruised and scarred.
"Are you a Death Eater, Lucy-boy?" a sinister, sing-song voice asked.
Lucius quivered slightly before replying. "No! I would never…"
"Then how do you explain this?" The camera zoomed in on Lucius's arm, where the Dark Mark was clear and for all to see. "I mean, it's not like having a Dark Mark on your arm is a fashion trend, is it?" the voice laughed at an extremely high-pitch.
The screen shook for a moment as the camera was placed down before a man walked onscreen.
Amelia gasped. "The Joker!" she cried.
The Joker grinned for his shocked audience. "Hello to you, Minister Fudge. You see here before you…" he pointed over his shoulder behind him. "The source of old Voldy's charity funds. But we're not here to talk about him today…" the Joker gave a twisted smile as he leaned in closer to the camera. "If the members of the community club the Order of the Phoenix don't give themselves up in…sixty minutes, then I will kill someone. And then the next day, and then the next, and then the next, and the next. The Order of the Phoenix is to reveal their identities to the public, and turn themselves into the Ministry if you don't want me to kill anybody. It's only a simple request from an upstanding member of society like myself. After all, I only want the same thing as you…" The Joker laughed harshly before the camera was suddenly assaulted by a storm of fuzz. The only things they could make out were screams and gunshots.
As the tape cut off, the room was silent for a while until Madam Bones voiced all of their thoughts. "I do believe we have a serious problem."