Merry Freaking Christmas
A Batman Fanfiction by Zellie T.
Author's Note: In honour of that most tarted up of festive seasons, I present to you my own twisted take on the holidays. Yes, I have sunk in to that inescapable pit that is the American Winter-style Christmas Special. Never fear, as usual I promise the bizarre cuteness and offbeat humour you all love me for.
This is also the written debut of my Batman OCs, so enjoy.
JayJay ripped the World vision Christmas card sales flyer off the front of his locker with a frustrated grunt. Some idiot had decided it would be a good idea to sticky-tape it across the front of his locker diagonally, in a way that half-covered the lock and made it extremely difficult for him to open. People were always doing that to him.
His girlfriend Limerick snickered. He turned to her and glared.
"Somebody's pissed." She said sarcastically, strapping a black guitar bag over one shoulder and a red canvas book bag over the other. "I figured you'd be used to the stupid things people do to you at this school."
"Well I'm not." JayJay snapped, yanking his backpack out of his locker, shoving it full of books and papers and throwing it over his shoulder.
"You know you're asking for it." She replied frankly. They headed down the hallway towards the school gates. "You don't even make an effort to be normal."
"I'm a Napier." JayJay snorted. "Normal doesn't apply to me." He paused. "Besides, it's not the stupid school that's got me down."
"For once." Limerick let out a humourless laugh.
"It's stupid Christmas." JayJay said. "They've been shoving holiday cheer down our gullets since September and I'm sick of it."
"Your problem is you pay attention to things that annoy you." Limerick concluded. "Just ignore it."
"Easier said than done." JayJay shrugged. "You sound like my mother."
Limerick smirked. "I consider that a compliment." She turned around. "On that subject…are you getting picked up or taking the bus?"
"Stupid question." JayJay chuckled. "You know I take the bus every day."
"I know." Limerick said. "I just wanted to check. I have to do some shopping before I go home today."
Limerick bent down to JayJay's height-she was quite tall for her age-and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before heading off.
JayJay climbed up onto the school bus and grabbed an empty seat. Immediately after sitting down, he pulled out his I-pod and set it to shuffle. He hated taking the bus in winter. He lived many blocks away from the nearest bus stop, far out on the outskirts of town, where he would meet his little sister Leslie who got the bus from the local elementary school. From there they had to walk down the path, down a nearly abandoned old dirt road in the freezing cold to where they lived. JayJay envied Limerick sometimes- she didn't have any siblings to take care of, and the bus stopped right outside the block of flats where she lived.
JayJay and Leslie did not live in conventional housing like most kids. Their usual residence was an old carnival, several miles outside of downtown Gotham, surrounded by thick evergreen trees and a rusting old wire fence originally designed to keep people out. Sometimes JayJay liked living there, with all of the big statues and mirrors and secret places to hide, but in the winter sometimes it got quite cold. He and Leslie shared a room that had originally been used as a bumper car track, with flashing colourful lights all along the walls and an electrical grid running across the ceiling. They didn't have a TV, and no phone line aside from mobile phones, although JayJay had figured out a way to hack into a wireless network and get free internet for his laptop. Out in the front garden were a gigantic ferris wheel and a large carousel, which Leslie greatly enjoyed playing on. The canteen now served as the family kitchen, and the lost property locker served as a shared wardrobe. JayJay's parents' room had once been the hall of mirrors, and his father made a workshop for himself in the haunted house. In the centre of the park was a large roller coaster, which served no real purpose. Nobody knew that the Napiers had been living there for quite along time. Most people tried their best to avoid the place, as the sounds of ghoulish laughter from the family 'pets'- a striped African hyena named Lucy and an aviary of upwards of 10 kookaburras- had given birth to a widespread belief that the place was haunted.
The first thing JayJay did when he got home was head to the canteen and check the refrigerator to see if anyone had been considerate enough to buy him something for afternoon tea. He pulled out a can of soda and was just about to go to his room when he noticed a note taped to the door.
Taking the helicopter to be fixed. We'll probably be back before 8. Please remember to feed the animals- there's a bone in the fridge for Lucy and some sliced ham for the kookas. Make sure Leslie does her homework.
JayJay sighed, re-opened the fridge, opened up the meat tray and pulled out a large leg of what was probably mutton and a pack of sliced leg ham. He chucked the leg in Lucy's steel food bowl and headed out the back to the aviary with the sliced ham. Afterwards, he went back to get his backpack from the kitchen and went to his room to get started on his homework.
JayJay sighed. It was almost impossible to get any kind of peace in this family. The Napiers were typically the kind of people who would rather scream across a large area than actually go to the person they were speaking to. Leslie was no exception.
"What is it Leslie?" JayJay yelled back.
"Do you know where Lucy's brush is?"
"Why do you need it?"
"Because she needs to look pretty!"
JayJay rolled his eyes. Pre-teen girls were a totally different species.
"It should be with the rest of Lucy's stuff."
"But it isn't!"
"Oh for the love of….LOOK AGAIN!"
"Alright!" JayJay could sense that Leslie was doing her mock sarcasm face, rolling her eyes and shaking her head melodramatically.
JayJay sighed and returned to Algebra 2- quadratic equations unit 6.8.
"Eddie, C' mere. You're the genius, you do this."
Edward dropped the bag of popping corn onto the kitchen counter and turned around to see Harvey Dent standing on a stepladder under the doorframe of Edward's apartment, fiddling with a tangled string of green fairy lights. Edward smirked.
"These fucking things hate us." Harvey said, the unburnt side of his face twisted into an expression of frustration. Edward snickered.
"Here, I'll do it." Harvey jumped down from the stepladder and handed Edward the roll of tangled wire and bulbs. Edward turned it around, looked it over and started to pull at it slowly, until the whole thing was untangled.
"See, easy." Edward said with a self-satisfied smile.
Edward climbed up on the stepladder, grabbed the sticky tape and started to hang the fairy lights with no problem at all.
"Ta-Dah." He said jokingly. He jumped off the stepladder and stretched both arms to the ceiling like an overconfident gymnast.
"This holiday is stupid." Harvey said cynically. "Why couldn't you have gotten Crane to help you with decorating or something?"
"Oh come on," Edward said, rolling his eyes. "You know Crane; He won't do anything that doesn't involve sitting in a dark office reading psychology journals, screwing around with his human lab rats, watching horror movies or smoking god-knows-what."
"This is true." Harvey laughed.
"And besides," Edward moved so that he was standing right behind Harvey and slung both arms over his shoulders. "I like having you all to myself."
"It's spooky how you just automatically make sense."
"I know." Edward shrugged and returned to the kitchen. "Well, I'm making popcorn."
Limerick stumbled under the weight of the bags she was carrying. Her guitar-which she had affectionately named 'Sphinx' was in its black bag, strapped over her left shoulder, and her red canvas book bag was slung over the right. She had 3 heavy shopping bags in each hand. She didn't like doing the shopping after school. Limerick hated having extra bags- stumbling around, shifting the bags up her arms ruined any feeling of gracefulness she had left.
Limerick lived with her dad in a small apartment closer in to downtown Gotham. It was one of those big buildings with a small shopping centre on the bottom floors, and a little room with a wall of letter boxes and a lift where you could buzz up to the units on the corporate and residential floors. Limerick struggled with the shopping bags to reach the key in her pocket. Eventually, she was able to scan the code on the key ring, get into the lift and press the button for floor 16.
Limerick had put the bags down and was just about to turn the key in the lock of her apartment when she realised it was already open. She smirked. Limerick just couldn't get how someone like her dad could be smart enough to program interactive holograms, mind-reading technology and time-sensitive exploding puzzle cubes, but was too scatterbrained to remember to lock the door.
She pushed open the door and took off her shoes before putting her guitar bag on the floor next to the coat rack, taking off her hat and long grey overcoat, and turning the corner into the kitchen.
"Hey dad." Limerick said. She put the grocery bags up on the kitchen counter. Her dad was testing the new popcorn machine- an early Christmas present from one of his relatives that had come in the mail earlier that week.
"Hey Ricky." He said, turning his head and adjusting his glasses. "I didn't hear you come in."
"You left the door open."
"Sorry, that was us." Somehow Limerick had failed to notice Harvey Dent, who was currently fiddling with the tiny light bulbs on a string of green fairy lights. "You know what sucks about fairy lights? If one bulb goes out, they ALL go out."
"It's a series circuit." Edward added matter-of-factly from the kitchen. "So, Limerick, how was school?"
Limerick shrugged "Adequate."
"How was everyone?" Edward switched off the popcorn machine and started pouring the popcorn into a large metal bowl. Harvey looked up and immediately forgot about the fairy lights, finding the popcorn to be much more interesting.
Limerick bit her tongue thoughtfully. "Well, Jamie's leaving school a week early to avoid being picked to play the piano at the Holiday concert. Stephanie's playing cello for the orchestra again this year. Alex was in the hospital getting his tonsils out today, so I couldn't talk to him."
"Are you going to be in the Christmas concert?" Edward asked through a mouthful of popcorn.
"I don't know." Limerick shrugged. "Maybe not this year. We sing the same songs every year anyway." She rolled her eyes and laughed. "There's only so many times one can sing 'Away in a manger' before they start to go insane."
"I thought you said all of the elective music students had to do the concert." Edward said, raising one eyebrow. Harvey grunted in agreement while shoving a handful of popcorn into his mouth.
"Oh no, the holiday concert is….optional this year." Limerick's voice trailed off, as she tried not to pay attention to the fact that a few bits of chewed-up popcorn were spilling out of the hole in Harvey's left cheek. She shook her head and continued talking. "It's a new thing at school. Attendance is still compulsory, though."
Edward nodded like he wasn't really listening. "Harvey, God, stop hogging all the popcorn!"
"Speak for yourself." Harvey replied hotly, shoving more popcorn into his mouth.
"Don't I get any popcorn?" Limerick asked.
Edward sighed and handed her the bowl.
"Here, just have the rest." He said. "We probably shouldn't eat any more anyway."
Bats shuffled overhead, only slightly startled by the rhythmic pounding of armour-clad-fist against sand-filled punching bag clearly audible over the Kings of Leon CD playing in the background and the rushing of the underground waterfall nearby.
Bruce Wayne continued to beat the living daylights out of the punching bag, mouthing the words to the songs as he did. It had been a long time since he'd used this punching bag, and he'd almost forgotten how fun it was. He'd actually forgotten it was even here, it was barely noticeable against the dark purple of the cave walls.
The vibrant strains of 'Sex on Fire' were cut off mid chorus by the buzzing of the intercom. Bruce picked up the remote, hit pause, then picked up the phone. He wiped the sweat from his brow and breathed a pleasantly exhausted 'Hello' into the receiver.
"Enjoying the punching bag, sir?" Came the dryly-humorous reply of his butler, Alfred from the other line.
Bruce laughed. "You know it." He blew a strand of dark brown hair away from his face. "So, what's up?"
"There's someone here to see you, sir." Alfred answered.
"Cool beans." Bruce took a swig from his plastic water bottle. "I'll get ready and be up in a sec. Who is it?"
"Miss Kyle, sir."
There was a brief silence.
"Oh." Bruce said. "Well, tell her I won't be much longer."
"Very well sir."
Bruce turned off the dim hanging lights of the batcave before hopping in the lift to the mansion's upper levels.
Alfred hung up the intercom phone and turned back to the guest.
"Master Bruce says he won't be long now. Please, come in."
Selina Kyle, who had been standing somewhat awkwardly in the large, intricate doorway for some time now, hastily stepped inside, handing Alfred her long black overcoat and flipping her blonde plait over her shoulder. She decided she would wait in the parlour and reached for a nearby door without thinking.
"The coat closet, miss." Alfred said with a slight smirk, tapping her on the shoulder and pointing her in the right direction.
Selina blushed. "Oh. Okay…y'know it's been so long since I've visited…this house is so big you forget where everything is….do you ever get that feeling?"
"Not at all, miss."
"Oh. Yeah, right."
Alfred showed Selina to the parlour, which was a bit messier than usual, where she sat down on a large antique armchair. Dick Grayson, the eldest of Bruce Wayne's two adopted sons, was lounging on the couch with both feet on the coffee table and both hands preoccupied with his Nintendo DS. He gave Selina a short casual wave without looking up from the game.
Bruce eventually got to the parlour where Selina was waiting for him, half of the buttons on his shirt undone and his hair still greasy from working out.
"Hey Selina." He said breathlessly. "Sorry I'm kind of….not clean….but yeah, I've been working out and Jesus, that armour takes bloody forever to change out of…."
Selina laughed, stood up and faced him. "I know, you complain about that allot."
Dick looked up from the game for a brief second and rolled his eyes.
Selina put both hands on Bruce's shoulders playfully. "It's good to see you again, regardless."
"Likewise." Bruce smiled. "So…I thought you were out of town?" He asked.
"Well, obviously I came back." Selina said nonchalantly. "I wanted to ask you what you were doing for the holidays."
"Nothing." Bruce sighed and shook his head. "You've planned something, am I right?"
"Whatever it is, he can't make it." Dick interrupted loudly, shifting his sitting position slightly and sinking even more into the satin cushions.
"You shut up." Bruce snapped. He paused and looked around the room. "Why is it that every time you come in here, stuff gets messed up?"
"Because I'm a lazy bastard." Dick replied sarcastically. He suddenly sat bolt upright and started madly stabbing at the DS screen with the small black stylus "SHIT!" He screamed frantically. "SHIT, THESE FUCKING VAMPIRES JUST WON'T DIE!"
"Ignore him." Bruce said flatly. "Dick, I think you should take your 'fucking vampires' and go back to your room." He motioned to the stairs with his head.
Dick snorted, closed the screen, grabbed his socks and headed upstairs.
Bruce sighed and shrugged. "I have no idea what we're going to do with him."
"He doesn't have to come with us." Selina reasoned.
Bruce suddenly felt a sense of overwhelming dread. "Come with us where?"
"I've been thinking…" She said slowly, biting her thumbnail like she often did when thinking. Her voice trailed off and she seemed to contemplate the ceiling for a moment.
"You've been thinking….?" Bruce prompted, gesturing with his hands.
"I've been thinking…We should go somewhere." She played with her plait while talking, stroking it and wringing it out occasionally. "Somewhere nice and warm and miles away from Gotham city." She looked up at Bruce hopefully. "Like…Bermuda, or Hawaii or…Australia."
"Australia?" Bruce said, somewhat confused.
"Yeah, like…the north part." She pointed to the ceiling. "I heard it's nice there. We could go to the beach and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and find a really nice hotel…" Bruce's expression looked unimpressed. Selina pouted. "Oh, come on Bruce, you're such a workaholic." She swayed from side to side playfully. "Even Batman needs to take a holiday once and a while. You've got Babs and Tim and Dick to take care of things for a while…I'm pretty sure Gotham could survive 2 weeks without the Dark Knight. And I really don't think anyone would care if I took a holiday."
Bruce went silent, considering Selina's argument.
Selina nodded eagerly. "What's your verdict?"
"…I'll consider it."
"I'M HOME, PEOPLES."
JayJay snorted awake, startled by the sound of a pair of boots being kicked at a wall and wondering why the hell his dad had to make so much noise. He had fallen asleep in his maths homework again, and had small red indents going down the side of his face from being face down in his spiral notebook for about the past 30 minutes.
"Aren't you going to say hi to me?" The Joker was like a ninja the way he could just appear places without warning.
"Hi dad." Jayjay said. The greeting was totally devoid of emotion.
JayJay's dad made a disapproving sort of choking noise, brushed off his jacket for no readily apparent reason and left JayJay alone with his schoolwork.
There was a brief moment of silence, which with the Napiers was never a good thing.
Just as JayJay was about to return to his homework, a small hard object- a glasses case- shot into the room and hit him in the face without any warning. JayJay swore loudly. This was followed by a raspy, high-pitched cackle from outside.
"I MEANT TO TELL YA, YOUR GIRLFRIEND LEFT THAT HERE A FEW DAYS AGO. IMPROVE YOUR REFLEXES."
"OH GEE, THANKS DAD." JayJay yelled sarcastically, rubbing his head and holding Limerick's glasses case in the other hand.
JayJay slammed his maths book shut angrily and dragged himself out to the kitchen, kicking up pebbles along the way.
"Hey Puddin' Junior." JayJay's mother Harley waved to him. He reluctantly waved back. JayJay pushed open the glass door to the kitchen. Leslie was sitting on the floor, teasing Lucy with some kind of stuffed animal. His mum was at the stove, making dinner- it smelled like some kind of soup- and his dad was sitting on one of the many small tables in the eating area. No, not sitting- crouching. Like a frog.
"How was school today?"
"You always say that." The Joker snorted apathetically. "Jeez, kiddo, Why so serious?"
JayJay shot him a glare. "Don't ever call me kiddo."
"Don't start this again." Harley moaned, waving a wooden spoon at them.
JayJay and his dad looked at his mother, then at each other. The Joker shrugged, and from his crouching position on the table, launched himself into a mid air flip, landing expertly in the kitchen.
He leaned over Harley's shoulder and looked down at the pot on the stove.
"What's cooking, good looking?" He smirked. Harley giggled.
"Beef stew." She explained, ignoring Leslie's gagging noises. "Good for cold nights like this."
"Cold nights, eh?" Joker said with a sly smile. He took off one white cotton glove and dunked his equally white hand into the pot, pulled it out and licked it clean.
"It's good." He commented, nodding. Harley grinned.
"Leslie, tell us about your day." Harley asked her youngest child sweetly.
"We made gingerbread houses today." Leslie announced proudly. "And we put tinsel up around the classroom." She gestured with her hands to indicate putting something up. "And in music we were singing Christmas songs. It was really fun."
"That does sound fun." Harley said. "That reminds me, I bought some Christmas decorations today. They're in the…"
Harley's sentence was cut off by a rather loud scream from JayJay. Subsequently, everyone in the room turned to stare at him.
"CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT!" He continued screaming, pointing accusingly at the rest of his family. "THAT'S ALL ANYONE CARES ABOUT! STOP TALKING ABOUT IT, FOR GOD'S SAKE I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS!"
With that, JayJay stormed out, still screaming.
There was a long silence as the other Napier family members were left stunned for a few moments.
"WHAT IS THAT CHILD'S PROBLEM?" The Joker exclaimed, pulling at his long green curls in frustration. "I AM SICK OF HIS ATTITUDE PROBLEM."
"Uh, Mistah J…"
The Joker turned to Harley and stared at her in a way that made it look like her was about to shoot her through the head. His lower left eyelid twitched slightly.
"What is it Harley?" He said, gritting his yellow teeth.
Harley extended a plastic bowl filled with lumpy reddish-brown liquid as a peace offering.
The Joker seemed to completely forget his frustration at his son and changed character completely.
"Yes, thank you." He took the bowl and slurped from it gleefully.
"Here Leslie, you have some." Harley handed Leslie a bowl and a spoon. Leslie shook her head in protest.
Harley sighed. "Alright, then you don't get any desert…"
Leslie grabbed to bowl without any further thought and dug her spoon into the stew, eating fast so the taste didn't have time to register in her brain.
"So, puddin'…." Harley flipped her short strawberry-blonde pigtails flirtatiously. "Got any big plans for the Christmas holidays?"
Joker tilted his head and looked up at the ceiling with one eye closed.
"No." He concluded, shaking his head. "Not this year, no."
Harley looked shocked "What? But we always plan some big caper for the Holidays."
The Joker shrugged. "That gets boring." He sighed. "Sometimes even the clown prince of crime needs a break." He drew out the vowel sounds of the word 'break' and stretched his arms out in front of him.
"I'm thinking." The Joker turned around, framed Harley with his fingers and stuck his tongue out thoughtfully. "We should have people over."
"For what?" Leslie asked from the nearby table, scratching Lucy's head with her bare toes.
"For a Christmas party, of course!" The Joker announced. He stretched out his arms to either side of him and twirled around like an ice skater. "We'll have a tree and presents and we'll steal a TV so we can have a singstar competition." He paused and stopped twirling. "And there shall be antipasto plates. With waterthins and pate and fancy cheeses and those tiny little sausages with coloured cellophane on the toothpicks." He let out a small squeal of delight. "Harley, grab a pen and paper. Help me write a guest list."
"Right-a-rooney." Harley said and grabbed a nearby pen and a plain paper napkin.
"Hmm, well obviously we'll invite our dear friend Dr. Jonathan Crane." He smiled wickedly. "I know he hates this kind of thing, so we might have to blackmail him."
Harley nodded and scribbled the name onto the napkin.
"Who else should we invite?" She asked. "Penguin?"
The Joker snorted. "No. He's 'too good for us', remember?"
Harley shrugged. "We should invite Ivy." She suggested.
The Joker sighed. "Well, alright. Let's also invite Eddie Nygma."
"And Harvey Two-Face…."
"Of course, can't have one without the other."
"Just to be fair, we should invite JayJay's friends as well…"
"Oh, come on he sees them at school…. Don't give me that look! Alright, FINE."
"And what about Jervis Tech?"
"Redhead. English accent, glasses, freckles. You know him."
"Mad Hatter? Oh yeah, yeah sure" The Joker paused, distracted by a moth flying in front of one of the ceiling lamps. It cast an odd shadow on the floor, almost like…
"And one more person." He snapped his fingers.
The Joker turned to look at Harley with a mischievous grin.
"You know, in the spirit of Christmas and peace and stuff." His eyes glinted. "Hell, why just Bats? Why not his whole freaky little family?"
Harley smiled slyly. "That's the Joker I know. I knew you had something up your sleeve."
"No tricks." The Joker said, rolling up the sleeves of his purple dinner jacket and seeming shocked that Harley would even CONSIDER that he was up to no good. "Batsy's my BESTEST BUDDY IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD, Harls. It's be a CRIME not to invite him."
"…Alright…" Harley reluctantly added 'Batman' to the guest list.
"Don't forget to add the others!" The Joker corrected. "Catwoman, Batgirl, Nightwing and Robin all get invites, too!"
Harley stared at him briefly with a look that said 'He's acting even less coherent than usual.' But thought it best not to question the Joker's decision, and wrote down the names.
"And no tricks." The Joker assured. "I'm merely inviting them out of a spirit of holiday goodwill."
"Alright, puddin', I'll believe ya." Harley folded up the napkin and put it in her pocket.