Joker skipped around in glee, twirling and skipping haphazardly in mid-steps as he waltzed himself across the strategically chosen rooftop, arms spreads out and fingers splayed. He felt like some sort of panel – absorbing all the heat from the inferno bursting into life all around him. Buildings, some decrepit from neglect, simultaneously in utter random order began to detonate, destructive blooms growing out and throwing their pollen of debris as if to pass it on. The stench of burning wood, oil and various other metals rose up like an invisible fog, and Joker inhaled deeply with distracted content.
After a simple horrific lapse in security the Joker had slipped from the truck designated to custody along the route, having to claw, bite, kick and thrash his way through the heavily armoured men who were too instantaneously hesitant to kill him. Except this one guy, whose eyes shone with this familiar gleam – but he had to let him go. In the hench sense that is – couldn't have a psycho who wanted him dead on his own little team. And as officials went cold at the catastrophically simple error, Joker had danced his way to a safehouse to begin all over again like he hadn't been upheld in the first place.
Turned out the mob had more money coming in – a sleazy drug dealing joint concentrated heavily in the Narrows. They got hundreds of citizens a day hooked and entrapped in their little money making scheme, leeching from their own society – clever ol' chums. But they purposefully left poor old Joker out of the loop, therefore never claiming to give him 'half'. It probably was all a little pretend session to convince him they were truly appalled by his price. Cept that one greasy Russian – gah, such a shame he had to be mutilated, he really had potential to be a partner in business. But Joker took it lightly – afterall, one prank deserved one in return! Which involved blowing them all sky high.
And as usual, the added bonus of his favourite costumed anti-hero paying a visit! A little rough play to spark his seemingly endless masochism, a lot of growling and snarling to confirm his quips were doubtlessly clawing away at his sanity, and then a tantalizing finish which left him twirling away tauntingly in hopes of only enticing his rage further.
Time slushed together beautifully – all he could feel was the pressing heat beating at his body in gusts, singing at the hems of his clothing, embers stinging his nose and the roof of his mouth as he breathed it all in with relish. The night swept upwards into the heavens, appalled by the destruction below, and refused to be illuminated. It reminded him of Batman recoiling and brooding at a constructed comment or myriad of gestures, and he spun on his heel with a giggle.
It felt like he'd only been dancing for a few minutes before he heard a familiar grating tone grinding its way roughly up a throat and surprisingly translating into barely intelligible English.
"Don't like the joke being on you, do you?"
His eyes flashed around, utter awareness filling the black pools immediately and fixating on the object of his patience. He saw the dark stoic figure almost swallowed by roaring fires – his explosions had all gone off quite a few dozen minutes ago, it seemed, but were still devouring everything around. Batman was in mint condition, having swooped in almost magically without burning himself. Of course Joker had left a few haphazard escape routes without explosives (not really checking, didn't want to make it too easy now) but Batman didn't seem the walking type.
Joker lathered his constantly moist lips, a habit he had no control over and which also made the Batman inwardly twitch from disgust at the strange click. Especially when he tongued at the infamous contusions rippling his cheeks. He half skipped over a few steps before changing his mind and halting smoothly with a suave sway of his long coat, one hand tinkering restlessly with a switchblade. After remaining there undecided of his destination, peering curiously and thoughtfully at the Bat, he finally erupted back into movement, throwing his arms out to gesture the glory around.
"Can you blame me, hmm?" He spurted indignantly, initially meaning his revenge, before cocking one foot up, ankle to the ground, and bent his spine in a parody-like bow, drawing out his words with an exasperated, sheepish little grin. "Can you blame me for wanting to have a little fun?"
"Funs over, I'm taking you in, you're over, Joker. If you're lucky you'll get several life imprisonments in Arkham Asylum." Batman ground out, wasting no time and surging forward in strong, precise strides.
Joker slumped his shoulders, obsidian pools looking around lazily in detached boredom, licking again irritably at his lower lip as his attention bounced back to the storming black figure without retreat, imploringly. "Been there, done that," he huffed, then began gesturing with his hands, fingers splayed, knife kept in his hand by a taut thumb. "It's the authority in that place that are really the crazies, I was in a state of mental neglect!" His momentary sincere-sounding comment was steamrolled over, not even giving Batman a chance to consider. "The décor is astoundingly boring!" He bore his teeth in an emphasising grimace.
Batman ignored him utterly it seemed, and Joker sprang back as he came too close. But black gloved fists uncurled and swept out at him, snatching the loose ends of his front and snagging him back roughly. "It's were you belong!" He informed throatily with that just expression in his eyes.
Joker grunted as he was swung back forward, having no further comment but to smirk with utter impish mischief manifesting in his black eyes, burying the blade in his hand into what he estimated was one of the weaker folds of Batman's little armoured costume. He met no strong resistance, feeling the metal melt straight into flesh, hindered only by a layer or two of fabric. Batman spat out a groan and an agonised pant, jerking forward in his spot, hands fisting in Joker's vest and shirt. Joker sucked his lips into his mouth softly and smiled just for him, almost as if to mock 'oopsie!'.
Batman's eyes rose painfully back to the Joker, wholesome black and swirling, his own hardening with thought. Then the corners of his mouth twitched upwards just a tad, ending in a small but astoundingly vivid smirk. Joker's own smile skittered, eyes darting back and forth to Bat's eyes and the only skin revealed by the cowl, hitting a roadblock in his thoughts. His constantly moving body ground to a halt, only twitching erratically here and there, floored by this subtle, unanticipated return. He was also growing overwhelming curious as to what exactly brought it on.
After all Batman must be in pieces – he had left in a horrified rush after hearing the saviour of Gotham, Harvey Dent, had been warped drastically, and had probably encountered him already. Safe to say Harvey had re-evaluated where to channel his furies and his grief. That and he was obviously torn by the now microscopic debris that was once….oh damn…what was that one dame's name..? Well, that one girl he blew up, Harvey's little miss. The one that just might be two-timing the Gotham's white knight for the dark one!
Maybe Batman had gone crazy; all that stress finally clawing under his Kevlar and raking away at the man underneath – there was a man underneath – and driving him over the edge of sanity into the little pit called insanity that everyone fancied Joker was inhabiting. But Bats couldn't have gone crazy yet – it was too early in the game!
His face was still roughened and contorted by a grimace, but Batman was most definitely smirking now – in fact, it was growing into a sneer. Joker's gaze halted, arrested, thoughts not connecting together. Babble to spark some stronger reaction was initiated.
"Mmm Bats, you really are gonna loose it, hmm? All these explosions reminding you of a certain little affair with, ugh, that one girl…you know the one, you know..?"
The offended and outraged and desperate expression spreading over his features, followed by a confirming 'RACHEL!!' was not provoked, not in the slightest.
"I'm not here, Joker."
"…Well we'll get to her later, the cheating blushing bride to be is old news, how's little Harvey doing? I hear he's felt a little heat recently, I had a chat and even pretended to play a little game of Russian roulette with him but, you know, I, ah, misplaced the bullets…"
"I'm all in your imagination."
Joker stopped flat, his tongue darting back into his mouth mid-lick and his gaze snapping straight to the Batman's. He was still smirking softly – his eyes, they had this knowing look to them.
"You imagined me."
The uncharacteristic words and expressions didn't click in his mind, and coherent responses lagged in their construction. He scoffed.
"I don't have the time to play I've Got Dementia, Bats, I'm too young for that kind of game."
The soft smirk lingered. "You don't even know your own age."
Hmm, now that was interesting, how did Batman know that? No, wait, he did know his own age. Kinda…no, no, he was sure he a good approximation…
Batman carried on with a ruthless pace. "Stop fooling yourself, Fool. You can't even prove firsthand people even acknowledging my existence." His tone was growing less grating, less rough, more man less Batman. It threw Joker even more off his rhythm. Batman widened his eyes in mock theatrics, raising the tone of his voice mockingly… "When you did last see someone exclaim 'Oh gee, it's the goddamn Batman!' when you and I have been in the same vicinity?"
Joker's lip twitched, his smile having melted away as the discord in his mind ran ragged with all these new concepts, considering donning a scowl. That was just ridiculous – Batman had exchanged eye-contact with the GCPD – not that he'd actually seen it, but it was obvious they had communicated outside his interrogation room back at the newly appointed Commissioner's hidey-hole. Joker cocked his brow.
"Oh I seeee what game we're playing now, I guess you're insinuating I imagined everything, hmm? That I'm going to wake up and this'll all be a bad dream?"
Batman's smirk broadened, eyes crinkling in pitying mirth.
"Oh no, the rest is real. You really did blow up this place, you really did corrupt Harvey Dent and you really do dress up like a demented clown gone wrong. But somewhere along the lines you got bored. You needed a 'freak like you' to play with, someone who was opposite was so very similar so you could get kicks. So in that insane little mind of yours you made a man, dressed up in a Batsuit for god knows reasons why, to chase you around and try and 'foil' your little schemes. You associated me with justice, so, when you did something unjust, you triggered me to swoop in. Then this whole associating thing happened so it seems like you can draw me out by being a bad clown..." He chuckled and turned his head as if the whole matter was so ridiculous and too complicated for him to explain.
Joker was frozen, eyes widened and teeth grit in a silent snarl. His mind was stalling. Batman was not being Batman. This was wrong. This being a bad dream was becoming increasingly appealing, since that would also mean he'd gotten a mammoth sleep. He struggled to make all the psychological ends meet, still hanging in Batman's grasp, eyes darting across his face and his gaze.
"Ah…heh…heh…ok, ok, if you're not real and I'm imagining you, how come you're not acting how I want you to?" Joker snapped, trying to find a loophole in this distasteful game, fingers twitching.
Batman beamed at him patiently, becoming infuriatingly patronising. "Let's just say I'm the manifestation of your own doubts," He smiled broadly, and Joker twitched hard in growing lose of control and understanding over his spiralling situation. "In fact, I can prove it to you!" One fist detached and slipped into a fold of one of the layers he was wearing, pulling out his cellphone (Joker grunted in growing alarm as he realised Batman knew exactly which pocket it was in) and dialled 911 with his thumb and pressed it to where the level of his ear would be against his cowl. "After all something imaginary can't be made of anything more than what you've already experienced, or already know." He added brightly, before changing his attentions from the Joker, who was twitching and stiffening up in a disorderly distress he hadn't felt in a long time, to the person on the other line asking him what his problem was.
"I'd like the police, please. Halderny Warehouse, the Narrows." Batman informed calmly with a pleasant smile.
"The police?! Halderny Warehouse…the Narrows….here?!" Joker shrieked, the building distress filling his being making a hasty escape to establish more control. He clutched at straws, hands shaking erratically in accusation as Batman promptly hung up. "HA! Ha! You called the police, you imbecilic Bat, don't think I didn't see through that, you'd have to be in this itty realm of existence to be able to tell them the address!"
Batman looked at him with an innocently challenging look as the phone was tucked back in its pocket. "You said it, not me. And by the sound of your voice they'll know it's an emergency."
Joker's eyes bulged. This was going out of control, this was just crazy! AHAHAHAHA! AHOO! AHA! SHIT!
"Though if the police have any brain cells they'll be scouring the city looking for you, and a figure dancing on the rooftop next to exploding buildings has got to draw some attention….you probably just narrowed down their search…"
Joker's vision was sparking, blurring, nothing made sense anymore. The inferno eating away at the structures surrounding him should be something he should be delighting in, Batman should be struggling for control as he sprang around, goading, Batman beating the crap out of him when he caught him! He should be pumped with glee, excitement, lovely pain and triumph. But his world was crashing and collapsing in around his ears. In a last feral attempt to stop this madness, Joker shrieked and threw all his weight forward, flooring the Batman. He tore out the knife, blood spitting over his face from the sharp withdrawal, earning a contorted grimace from his supposed beloved enemy. He stabbed down again blindly, glancing off Kevlar, struck again, glanced off, struck again and dented it, thrust it down again and finally nicked deep into flesh again, and sheathing all the way to the hilt.
Batman grunted and panted out a cry in agony, jerking hard at the second stabwound, shuddering. Joker pressed it deep, as if searching for the real Batman under all these layers of confusion. He rocked back and forth hard, his slim frame stocked with a frozen weight from his locked up muscles, keeping his wounded adversary floored.
"I'm – not – crazy!" He snarled, a sound crawling up from the depths of his body to emerge twisted and guttural from his lips.
"If it makes you fell better." Batman ground out with effort, fluttering gaze rising to over his shoulder. Joker stiffened up even harder, like metal rods had been placed in the core of all his bones, in response to the infuriating–
Joker lurched backwards, hands gripping hard at his arms and his shoulders, and like a snagged animal he began to thrash his limps, having kept a grip on his knife and flailed it around to wound his assailants. He suddenly became aware of the heavy thump of a helicopter, the drone of sirens. Shouting, barking orders. Fuck. He threw himself around as he recognised his plight, further enraged by the goddamn Batman, struggling against the officers that swamped around and pinned him. His wrists were shackled, and he glanced over hastily to what was going on with his adversary; he didn't want him to be locked up away from him, that'd mean he'd have little reason to escape and play some mo—
They hadn't touched him. Batman remained sprawled on his back, chest rising and falling painfully as he panted, the space around him empty. Not a single officer glanced in his direction; their attention zoned utterly on Gotham's most wanted. No recognition, nothing.
Joker let out a roar, thrashing and tossing with renewed effort, dragging a few of the armoured officers in each direction in his mad unleash of burning strength bundled in his wiry limbs. They fought for control, slowly dragging Joker closer to the thump of blades, and he struggled manically all the way, peering in alarm through the throngs to try and see Batman, to make sure he didn't go up in smoke.
He had struggled to his feet, it seemed, because he was stumbling, hands over the wounds on his chest and stomach, towards where Joker was being dragged.
Joker huffed and panting and screamed, tossing every inch of strength in his lean frame to thrash himself free, skin being rubbed off ragged from his wrists, some shouting, and a needle entered the skin of his neck. He tried to struggle harder to gash himself, to break the needle, to make them miss, but several hands held his head as still as possible as the tranquilizer anaesthetic was applied.
His erratic movement was hurrying the fluid along his blood vessels in betrayal to his true goal, and he grit his teeth, until his entire head began to ache with the crush of jaws together.
Batman was still limping after him.
Helicopter had banked and landed, and he was being forced and strapped down into some sort of bed, insured with more shackles. He tossed his head, shrieking at his immobilization, turning his head so sharply to seek Batman that his neck cracked. "FUCK YOU, BATMAN! FUCK YOU! DAMN YOU! BATMAN!"
The helicopter began to hastily rise, to take him away into custody, back into Arkham Asylum, to rot, like all the other nutjobs in there. Batman just smiled weakly after him, rendering him stiff and frozen once more.
"I'll explain later!" He offered with a big smile, waving goodbye as the Joker was taken away from the inferno, from the Bat Man, from what felt like the remainders of his sanity.