The birthday of billionaire Bruce Wayne was never a small occasion. The elite section of Gotham kept a vigilant eye on the mailbox for the white-and-gold invitations, eager to be on the playboy's A-list. There was always tasteful music, an elegantly decorated ballroom, balloons, and champagne. People of status came from all over the world, dressed in their finest clothing to mingle and network in style. Bruce Wayne knew how to throw a party.

Actually, he didn't. Every year Alfred Pennyworth sent out hundreds of white-and-gold invitations to places across the globe. Every year he elegantly decorated the ballroom of Wayne Manor, hired a respectable high-end band set, and ordered real champagne from the vineyards of France. Alfred Pennyworth knew how to throw a party in a way Bruce Wayne would never know. And every year, Alfred would inform his master that his birthday was approaching, and every year Bruce Wayne went grudgingly to his birthday celebration to mingle with faceless women and tactless men, to drink too much champagne, and to leave early to become the Batman.

And his 35th birthday was no exception to the rule. Two days before the event, Alfred gently reminded him of the pressing date, and Bruce (as usual) arrived in a simple black tuxedo with a model on his arm. Down below at the front gate the press gathered to see the upper class walk the red carpet to Bruce Wayne's party, each one presenting their white-and-gold invitation to the doorman before entering the fray, quickly leaving his or her date to chatter with impressive successful people from successful, impressive places or businesses, eating hors d'ouvres and downing expensive alcohol from trays circulating, ghost-like, through the crowds.

Bruce Wayne, coming home from Wayne industries, felt isolated and alienated as he approached the house. The press, expecting the Billionaire to be inside, ignored him as he approached. Most of his guests barely knew what he looked like- a majority of the men contained within the building also had dark hair and blue eyes, with striking features, this being the current 'trend' among the rich and famous. Bruce's looks differed only in the lack of botox and his chiselled build.

He entered Wayne manor through a side door, unnoticed at his own party. Like most of the people within, he left his date within minutes.

Working his way through the crowds that filled his home he made his way over to Alfred, fidgeting with his bow tie as he took a crab puff from the platter the older man was sporting.

"I don't think this was such a good idea."

"You say that every year, sir."

"But this year I mean it! I don't fit in with these people, and while I'm here gallivanting, Gotham is unprotected."

"You say that every year too, sir. You need to be Bruce Wayne every now and again. How else can the Batman remain under cover?"

The men paused for a moment as an older gentleman retrieved a few crab puffs from the platter. They exchanged polite nods, neither Bruce nor the man recognizing the other.

"But Alfred-!"

"Don't be so shy, Master Bruce. The papers expect a jovial playboy, and who are you to deny them?"

"I'm not shy… I'm bored!"

Alfred rolled his eyes. Only his master would be petulant at his own birthday party at thirty-five years of age.

"Push through, sir. I'm sure at the stroke of ten you'll be out on the streets as per usual."

"I'm taking your word on that," Bruce replied. "I can't stay like this for much longer."

The next two hours passed awkwardly, his façade feeling particularly thin as nine o'clock came around. Bruce felt exhausted, but his guests made no indications of fatigue or intent to leave- indeed, they were more energetic since all had arrived and the music had turned upbeat. The grandfather clocks located around the manor began to chime, each one distinct and different.

He sipped his flute of champagne lightly, enjoying the familiar ringing. The clocks were terribly melodic, light and deep and every tone in between.

Bruce sat down on an uncomfortable chair by the grand arching doorway, sighing as he let himself relax into the sound of the clocks.

One chime. He let his eyelids droop ever so slightly.

The ringing echoed in the halls, clearer now that he was near the entryway.

Another chime. His eyes closed completely.

It was for this reason that he missed it when the lights went out. He was stirred instantly from his reverie by the shrieks and gasps, but opening his eyes to utter darkness confused him, put him off-kilter. In this moment, when he was vulnerable and dazed, he was seized roughly around the middle by more than one person.

"Whoa-!"

He struggled valiantly, grunting and scuffling to the confusion of those around him. When the lights went back up, he went limp, perceiving the need to mask his combat skills.

"Over here, Boss!" barked one of the thugs holding him captive.

Boss? So there was more than these two (as it was indeed two holding him). The dark haired man looked around, seeing only his guests, shocked and frightened.

The voice that filtered in from the hallway off the doorway next to him made his blood run cold. It's familiar falsetto tones sent shivers creeping down his back.

"What kinda party is this? There's no popcorn, or candy apples, or a magician or even any balloon animals!" The Joker whined, striding into the room as if he'd been invited. "Good thing I'm here, I mean, what's a party without clowns?"

In swaggered Gotham's most dangerous. Behind him, his purple-clad goons shoved guns in people's faces while the Joker took a good look around at his audience. Gotham's swine. He made his way nonchalantly to the snack table, examining the champagne bottle carefully.

"Hmmmm. 1979 was an excellent year." The cap was still sealed, and the Joker didn't want to waste time drinking anyways. He shoved it into the hands of his nearest accomplice as he retraced his steps back to the door, where Bruce Wayne was held. This was what he'd come for- some absurdly expensive bait.

"And our gracious host Mr. Wayne procured it for us! How generous!" The pale man looked down his long nose at the furious billionaire before him. "Now lets find out if mister Wayne is generous in matters other than wine! I'll let every single one of you go Scot free if Brucey baby here will come with us with no fuss!" He eyed the other man, who glared daggers back. "At ALL."

Whispering broke out, some relieved but some frantic and worried. Many curious.

"SHUT IT!" The Joker hated being interrupted. "I don't think you're taking me seriously. It's the tie, right?" He asked the tux-clad man standing closest to him. "Or is it the flower? It's a daffodil, you know. Very fragrant. Care to give it a whiff?" The grinning man offered it out, and the man hesitantly leant in. The Joker's cruel smile stretched wider as the punch line neared, glee mounting and-

"STOP IT!" A strong voice rang out.

It was Bruce. He'd seen this joke too many times, done in a dank alley or a dark carnival, the victim always screaming and crying and disfigured.

"What!?" The Joker demanded. "Can't you see I'm busy here, mister party-boy Wayne? Or have you made your decision so soon?" Pushing the man he'd been toying with away, the clown prince sashayed back over to Bruce, a leer on his dark lips.

"Yes I have. Let these people go and I'll comply." He was taking charge of this, this was familiar. Parties were strange territory to the Batman, but hostage situations were his turf.

"Good decision, rich kid!" The harlequin cackled. "Alright boyos! Escort our esteemed guests off the premises!" The goons had anticipated this, and began shooting rounds into the air, allowing the terrified partygoers to see themselves out.

"And as for you, Brucey. We're gonna have one hell of a time."

The clown's awful smile was the last thing he saw before a sharp blow to the base of his skull sacrificed him to the welcome dark of unconsciousness. It didn't last long, but he kept up the charade of forced sleep.

"I'm a little disappointed." The Joker lamented. "I was sort of hoping he would struggle just a bit. All these rich pricks are so soft." He retook the bottle of champagne from his lackey. "Oh well. I hear this stuff goes well with hot dogs."

-------------------------

He went quietly, but not without analysing every detail of every minute. Bruce was blindfolded and shoved into the back seat of a car, and drove for exactly thirty-seven minutes and twelve seconds. (He'd timed it by counting in mississippis). The car was spacious (he'd slowly, cautiously stretched out) and older (Manual window rollers). He'd figured out two of the men's aliases, but was not sure that one of them was in the car. (The other one was Ken.) When they arrived, he walked up four stairs to a creaky door and walked six paces until they turned right to descend down ten stairs. He was sat on a chair, and finally the blindfold was removed. When struck across the face, he feigned coming to.

"You may notice, Brucey boy, that you aren't tied up. This is because I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, and I'm warning you right now- DO NOT prove me wrong in thinking you aren't stupid enough to try to escape me. You know that even if you escape this one time, I know who and where you are, and I will come after you." The Joker sat across from him, backwards on a chair. A single bulb on a wire illuminated a large concrete room, which appeared to be painted green and purple by fast, shaky hands. There was a king-sized bed in one corner, and a refrigerator hummed quietly across from it. Apart from that and the two chairs the men currently occupied there was not a stick of furniture. The Joker waved his goons out, their usefulness spent.

Bruce played it like a civilian. "Where am I?" It was a stupid question, but most kidnapped hostages asked it. As if their abductor would actually tell.

"You're in a safe house of mine, PLAY-boy. I've sent the police a notice, so they're on your trail, don't worry."

Alarms flashed. Clearly the Joker was twisting his mind, trying to make him feel safe. Bruce wondered if he did this with all of his victims. "Why would you tell them where you are?"

"Well of course I didn't go into detail! But I gave them a good clue, so someone ought to figure it out!"

The emphasis on 'someone' sent a chill down his spine.

"Why me? Why am I here?"

The Joker giggled. The harsh illumination made his already gaunt features green and ghoulish. "You're here, Mr. Wayne, because you're Gotham's little wonder-boy. You're here, Mr. Wayne, because you donate millions of dollars annually to charities. You're here, Bruce, because Batman will know you were taken immediately."

So it was about the Batman. Of course it was about the Batman. When was the Joker ever after anything else, really?

"What did you tell the police?" Now he was serious. This was a problem. He needed information about his circumstance and fast. If Batman wasn't out looking for Bruce Wayne when all of Gotham was, someone with half a brain would piece it together. The Joker would certainly notice the dark knight's absence.

"Oh, nothing much. 'Blah blah blah hostage, blah blah blah batman, blah blah blah twelve hours'. That's it!"

Bruce felt blood rush from his face. "Twelve hours?" This didn't sound good.

The sick man's smile grew, predatory and unnerving. "Oh, you caught that, hmm? Well, I told the Batman that if he didn't find me within twelve hours…well, I'm sure you can figure out the rest."

"So you're going to go looking for Batman?" He was hopeful; maybe he could get the clown to leave so he could escape.

"Gosh no." The criminal replied smoothly. "I'm going to sit tight and wait for my dearest to come! He always does!"

Bruce grimaced.

"What if this time he doesn't?"

"Y'know, everyone asks that one. And he always comes. So you're probably in the clear, Bruce-boy."

Bruce didn't answer. His mind was reeling, and try as he might there seemed no escape to the situation. He put his head in his hands.

"Hey, Bruce! Maybe we should play a game to pass the time!"

The Joker's eager voice seemed juvenile and ill suited to the situation. The purple-clad man stood, taking Bruce's hand and leading him to the bed. The clammy feel of the pale hand on his made the man's skin crawl, and the scene felt almost romantic- the thought made him nauseous.

"Poker! You like poker, right Wayne? Sure you do, you big-time city boys always do! But we won't bet with chips, we'll bet with time! Anti is a half-hour, and you can bid up to twelve hours!"

Bruce was a little confused, but was getting it. "So at the most I win twelve hours? That doesn't seem fair- you could have stacked the deck!"

"Oh, I didn't say I was limited to twelve hours- I can bet as much as I want! And as for the deck, I'll let you see 'em first!" The clown sat cross-legged on the bed, indicating to Bruce to do so too. It was strange to sit cross-legged in a tux, so he removed his outer jacket as he took the joker-themed cards from his captor, tossing the garment to the side.

The cards appeared to be in fine condition so Bruce handed them back, growling something about the other man not cheating as he made himself comfortable.

"So what'll it be? Craps? Texas Hold 'em? Or good old fashioned blackjack?" The green-eyed man asked gleefully.

"I'm a blackjack man myself." He was trying to sound cool now, his poker face falling into place as easily as his cowl usually did.

"Of course you are. Anti up!" it was then the larger man noticed the small whiteboard lying on the table. So the joker had planned this game of cards. The whiteboard had a blue '24' on the left side nearest Bruce, a purple 'infinite' sign on the right, and in the middle was a large box. The Joker wrote in '1' and directed his "guest" to do the same.

"We'll play in units of half an hour, thus the '24'."

"I got that. I want to shuffle." It was already understood that the Joker was the dealer.

"Fair enough, I suppose. One can never be too careful in your situation, Brucey." That predatory gleam was back in those forest-hued eyes. It made him nervous, but damned if he would show that to this villain.

The vigilante tried to ignore the dark undertones and leer by focusing on shuffling the cards. When he was satisfied, he handed them over and the game began.

The Joker won the first hand, and Bruce's time went down to 11 hours.

Bruce won the second hand, and won them back.

Then the Joker won again, down to nine and a half hours.

Then again, down to seven hours.

Bruce made a small comeback, all the way back up to eight and a half.

Then the Joker won again.

And again.

And again.

When the billionaire was down to a single hour, he started to really sweat.

"This doesn't look too good for me…" Bruce forced a grin, trying to conceal his panic. One hour was not enough time to distract this man and escape, but he wasn't sure if he could win this.

"No, it reeeaally doesn't, does it? Of course, maybe there's something more than time you could wager…" It was unnerving, that constant wicked stare piercing him.

He gulped. "What do you mean?"

"I really do like your bow-tie."

His bow tie?

"You…want my bow-tie?"

"Sure…lets call it an extra hour, hmmm?"

He considered it. Even the detective couldn't deny it was a good deal. One little bow tie for a whole hour would definitely get him out of a tight spot for at least a little while.

"Alright. My bow-tie for an extra hour." He said, untying the knot and handing over the silk band.

The cards were dealt again.

Bruce lost. Again.

"Boy, for a guy with lots of time and money to spend on gambling, you stink!" The Joker chortled, his high voice mocking.

"I've still got an hour and a half." The larger man pointed out petulantly.

"But not for long. Goodness, if the Dark Knight doesn't show up soon you'll be out of luck and out of time! Unless…."

"What?" He couldn't help but feel like the Joker wanted him to ask.

"Is that belt real Italian leather?"

"Yeah," Bruce said, forming a plan. "It's yours for two hours."

"One and a half."

"Deal." The belt slid off, and was passed over to the clown prince, who examined it with his long fingers.

"So I have three and a half hours now, right?" The billionaire was almost far enough away from zero to start making more strategic plans.

"Oh, of course of course." Gloved hands gave them each two more cards. Bruce won.

"Ha ha, getting a little of my own back!" The blue-eyed vigilante shot.

Green eyes were not amused. "Don't be cocky, Mr. Wayne. I'm giving you this game. I could so easily take it away."

Which was what he proceeded to do for forty minutes, winning game after game, trading cufflinks, shoes, socks, and finally the starched dress shirt Bruce wore for additional time. Dressed then in a form-fitting t-shirt and his dress slacks, the boy billionaire was forced to rethink his plan.

He lost again. Down to an all-time low of one half hour, he observed the mischievous man before him, eyeing him intensely.

He sighed. "Shirt?"

Joker nodded. "Shirt." By now it was established that each article was worth one hour. Removing the white t-shirt left him with only his slacks and boxers, and only an hour and a half with which to gamble. He wondered if the Joker was being respectful in ignoring his scars, or if he truly didn't notice. He decided it didn't matter, right now he needed a plan.

Then an idea. "Can I trade more than one article at a time?"

The demented comedian considered it. "I suppose, it is your choice after all." He said "choice" with a sneer. Both knew it wasn't true.

"I'll give you my pants now, then." He declared, the finality in his voice more to reassure himself than anyone. Bruce had to take a deep breath before removing his pants, dreading the clown's reaction to what was under them.

He really wished it wasn't his birthday. His birthday was the one day he wore these particular boxers. These boxers stayed hidden in his extensive closet all year, for propriety and identity's sake, but as luck would have it these were the boxers the Joker saw. And they clearly delighted him.

"Bat signals!? I thought they only made underpants like these for the kiddies!" He cackled away as Bruce flushed, determined to remain cool in light of his embarrassment. It was a lot harder to do when not wearing an intimidating cowl, or even pants.

"I like these…they're...comfy." It was lame, and both of them knew it. Why did it have to be his bat-signal boxers?

"Alright…sure, comfy…" The Joker was clearly unconvinced, and the sparkle remained fixed in his cunning eye. "Shall we continue? Now that I've seen them I'm determined to get them!"

The raven haired man had two and a half hours as the Joker dealt him exactly sixteen points. That was the obligatory hit line, and Bruce sucked in air. This wasn't looking good, he needed a five or under. His cobalt eyes darted to the other man, who had a nine showing. Could he bluff this? Did he dare?

"Your bet, Mr. Wayne."

"All in." it was a ballsy move. The clown was impressed.

"Card?" He asked innocently.

"Hit me." Bruce replied, lowly.

"I'm sorry, didn't catch that?"

"Hit me!" This was it, either make it or break it.

The Prince of Crime snapped down a card. It was a Joker. Bruce stared at it.

"What is this!?" Bruce demanded, fear flaring up inside of him. This was not a good sign.

"You bust, Brucey boy! Too bad, we were having ssssuch a good time! But I'm so very tired of waiting for dear Batsy and honestly, did you really think you could win?"

"That's cheating! You said I could win back my time!"

"And you didn't! So sad, so sad!" He really didn't sound sad at all. "It's too bad you weren't better company, I would so have liked to have more fun!"

Fun? Of course, the Joker was all about amusement! He could escape if only he could amuse his nemesis and drive him to distraction! What was fun? What could he use to distract the clown? A swift look around him yielded nothing, and the deranged man, suddenly toting a gun, was creeping across the bed towards him like a jaguar stalking its prey.

The Joker lunged, and Bruce's mind made a connection it never had before. His martial arts training told him to use the Joker's momentum against him, so he took hold of the man's lapel to swing him around, crashing him backwards against the headboard. At the same time, the answer to his question clicked in, and he dove into the throw after his captor, crashing their lips and teeth together ferociously. What better way to keep a psychopath busy than physical gratification?

The Joker grunted as he hit the headboard, but the sound changed completely as he felt the larger man attack back in such a forward manner. The surprised squeak made Bruce grin and the clown could feel it against his own lips as they were brutally molested. But then, he couldn't complain, the billionaire really had something here. Maybe they could still have some fun, after all…

Mouths battled for dominance as the two writhed, long white fingers painting dark scratch marks over bulging biceps and pectorals. In return, string fingers fisted in forest-like hair, muffled grunts and noises arising from unexpected movements and suggestive touches. Huh, Bruce thought. This wasn't really so bad, either. He found himself enjoying the Clown's ministrations, heat spreading through him as tongues clashed.

He worked off the Joker's purple jacket and made short work of the orange shirt beneath. Fuck him, he could re-sew those buttons. His hungry mouth moved lower to engulf a pale trachea and gnaw at his collarbone. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the billionaire wondered why he was so good at this harsh, combatant foreplay while his usual fare of supermodels and actresses played so softly. Never before had he been with another man, and certainly he'd never been so aggressive as now. As the man beneath him made a wanton sound when Bruce's hand clamped over the base of his jaw he supposed that maybe the release of his pent-up frustration (Both sexual and basic hatred for this criminal) cause the shift in his methods. Certainly that must be it, he was simply venting.

The plan he'd formed was falling apart as they moved against each other. It was supposed to be simple- kiss and run. But now, with his nemesis beneath him and blood pooling in his nether regions he couldn't find it in himself to leave, even though this was sick and wrong, and against his ideals and morals and how could he?

Even with these thoughts and reservations running around his head he still couldn't deny that it felt ever so good when the villain's skilful fingers found the waistband of his embarrassing boxers and slid inside. His chest heaved as he fought off a moan. How long had it been since he'd actually felt release? Certainly he had sex, but not like this, not liberating and animalistic and angry. He bucked as the stroking started, firm and erratic over his pulsating shaft. Bruce growled deep in his throat, reclaiming those crimson lips fiercely in an attempt to regain control. The Joker giggled lightly as quick hands removed his plum-coloured pants to reveal…

Batman boxers.

No way.

Bruce looked back and forth between the Joker and his underpants, speechless.

"Surprised?"

"And you were teasing me about MY choice in undergarments!"

"Hey, everyone expects me to wear them! What's your excuse?"

"Touché. Well, one of us is going to have to change." He mimicked a teen girl's facial movements and syntax, causing his opposite to chortle.

Off came both pairs, leaving the men exposed. Bruce found himself staring at the emerald locks of hair that adorned his enemy's engorged prick.

"Take a picture, it lasts longer."

"It's green."

"You expected maybe purple?" an eyebrow quirked.

"No, but…green?"

The Joker was impatient. "Staring at it isn't going to get you anywhere." He pulled the vigilante back in, redoubling his efforts on the other man's cock.

Bruce, in turn, fisted his hand around the harlequin's piece, mischievously dragging his palm over the soft flesh slowly. His partner quickly began to whine, thrusting against the pressure trying to coax the warm hand to pick up the pace. White eyelids drooped as his eyebrows furrowed in frustration. Finally Bruce sped up, and a pleased smile appeared on the clown's face.

Then he realised that this was his chance. With the Joker vulnerable and distracted, Bruce could easily jump off the bed and get to the stairs even before the harlequin realised anything!

But the hand on his member and the lips on his chest were awfully convincing, too. And they said to stay.

The Batman closed his eyes, trying to stay sentient as the Joker moved lower, trailing a hot tongue down over his hipbones until his lips took over on his manhood, causing a white-hot surge to his groin.

"Nng!" The battle was lost, and the dark knight allowed himself to lose all thought as he felt himself reaching his peak. A warm tongue swirled over his head; hands kneaded his rump, the stimulation was overwhelming. He felt pleasure spiral low in his navel, growing and twisting until he couldn't bear it and with a small sound he came, spurting in the Joker's mouth. He bucked and ground and rode out his release as it took him over, warm and all-consuming. His breathing, so erratic, began to slow and steady as his vision came swimming back. The caliph slid back up to eye-level, predatory. When they kissed, he could taste himself on those cherry lips.

Bruce prided himself on never leaving a lover unsatisfied, and the same went for the clown before him. Following example, He lowered himself to take the other man in his mouth. Unsure but determined he bobbed, feeling out of his environment at giving his first blowjob. He found it difficult to suck, bob, and move his tongue all at once, and it took all of his concentration to keep it up. Although he felt awkward the result of his efforts came through as the villain moaned, fisting his fingers in dark hair. This encouraged the playboy, so he sped up his movements. A few moments later he felt the clown tense up and gasp, hot liquid filling his mouth. It tasted awful, but the Joker had been obliging so Bruce swallowed, still bobbing, before letting the newly flaccid member slip from his lips.

"Well, well…" The clown panted. "I may have to let you live just so we can play again, sometime, Brucey!"

The billionaire drew himself up, propping his prone body against the headboard next to the Joker before replying. "Next time, I deal."

"I'll count the cards anyways."

Why, that-! Bruce gave him a disapproving look. "That's cheating."

"When dealing with The Joker, you should be prepared to be dealt from the bottom of the deck!"

Bruce sighed. He should've known.

--------------------

True to his word, the clown let him go. Lamenting as they rode back to the manor about the Batman's unusual absence, Bruce consoled him by suggesting that not enough had been done to lure him, and really he hadn't been kidnapped for much more than a few hours anyways, right? The Joker agreed dismally.

The billionaire was dropped off at his home with a sly "I'll be in touch." Before the criminal drove off. And as much as Bruce wanted to get the plate number, or arrest the man, he couldn't bring himself to. That was the Batman's job (which, Bruce figured, was about to get a lot harder with his newfound 'bond' with the Clown Prince of Crime).

Later that night, Bruce found himself typing away at his computer deep in the bat cave. Alfred had retired for the night after they squared away his story involving his daring escape from the madman's clutches for the newspaper. He hadn't told his closest ally what exactly he used to distract the Joker in order to make his real "escape", because somehow that part of his story felt too close to tell anyone. Besides, he figured, who would believe him?

He brought up the Joker's file, staring at the picture. It was a mug shot in which the Joker's omnipresent smile leered out at him. He stared at it for a while. 'Take a picture, it lasts longer' the Joker had said. Somehow, Bruce thought, a picture could never last as long as the image of a naked, needy Joker would in his mind, even as they battled as the Batman and made love as Bruce Wayne.

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A/N: I'm really tired of all of the Heath Ledger batslash. Honestly, I think the original Joker is so much better, so I'm contributing what little I can to the purist Joker fiction. I may write a companionfic, if so moved by requests. (hint hint). Also, for those of you who intend to review just to be like "Heath Ledger is smexy! Rite about him!1!!" No, I won't. If you do try to convince me of his superiority or need to be written about I'll just thrust evidence of how Ledger's Joker was completely COMPLETELY off-canon into my next bat-fic, detailing (with references) why The Dark Knight raped the Joker. Now, I don't want to leave it on that note- Ledger is an amazing actor who will be missed. I personally blame Christopher Nolan for the Joker abuse. So please, if you're not going to give me either constructive criticism or ideas for fics or things like that, please make it short.