A/N: After much fangirling and much horror when I realized that there were not enough fanfics about these two, I decided to pause my obsessive compulsive Naruto fandom-ness for a moment. :D But I mean really, how can you ignore such a perfect couple...? So ta-da! I don't know how many chapters it will be, but this story has infected my head. Enjoy, my pretties! X3
Disclaimer: I own nothing. But if I did… -faints from the possibilities-
Evening air, sweet with thick tension, rustled the letter folded in Bruce Wayne's hand. He'd read it several times already, wishing that it might go up in flames if he stared at it with loathing long enough. The messy writing was enough to recognize who it was from even without the signature added at the bottom.
Batsy, Batsy, Batsy…
Really now, how are you? It's not the same without me, is it…?
You wish I was still around, don't you, Batsy? Now, now. Stop pretending, won't you? I can tell. It's no fun without any laughter.
Well, here's an interesting tidbit for you, sweetie. It might just make your day, Batsy. By now I think you know me well enough that you can tell I hate being stuck in one place for too long, hm?
Guess what, Batsy?
When I don't like somewhere, you can't stop me from leaving.
Surprise! I'm back, Batsy-poo.
So come find me.
Attached had been his infamous playing card and an address to an old factory far away from the heart of the city. It was falling apart, the roof caving in. Bruce stood alone outside it, shivering once with nerves. He didn't want to know how that letter had found him so easily. More importantly, he didn't want to know how the Joker had escaped high security even while being in a straight jacket. Mostly though, why the hell was he actually feeling sort of…excited that he was seeing him?
Drawing his cape around himself to guard against the wind, he glanced warily around. Even though the Joker had miraculously found his mailbox, he didn't feel comfortable without all of the weapons and protection tucked away inside Batman's suit.
On his way there, he had come to the conclusion that he might have to kill the Clown Prince if it was a trap of some sort.
Still, he wasn't sure if he had it in him.
Somewhere along the line he'd started feeling a sick enjoyment out of the pursuit. Maybe it was all of the things the Joker kept saying to him, things like "You complete me."
Every time he put on the mask, he started feeling a little too comfortable. He started understanding, he thought, what he'd meant by that comment. Inside it he had a purpose, finally. But Bruce could only truly find it around him. Not the petty, simple criminals, only around him. And he didn't know if it was because the Joker was a challenge or some other thing about him…
Shivering again, trying to bring himself out of his nervous corner, he closed his eyes tightly for a second. He shouldn't have done that, because as soon as he did, a shrill "Boo!" from the darkness rocked him with surprise. Shit!
A familiar chuckle seeped out from the throat of a man who seemed to melt out of the dark and into view. Bruce felt his body tense. It was surreal seeing him again. Had those few months away from him been false security after all? Was Gotham going to shudder with explosions and gunfire once again?
"Miss me, Batsy?" His voice was coated with an overly sweet grin. The scarred cheeks twisted into a wide smile as he held up a purple gloved hand and waved cheerfully. "Ooh, strong and silent as always, aren't you…? Awh. I was hoping for a bigger reaction…"
His brain said kill him. That's what he should have done, if he was a proper protector of that beautiful city. Justice, right? The Joker was definitely crazy, but he sure as hell knew what he was doing. The courts couldn't seem to quite get that through their heads.
Kill him, god damn it!
But he didn't. He just stood there recoiling after a moment of shock. Caught off guard, Bruce forgot to change his voice to fit the costume. "How did you get out?"
"Hee! Having an identity crisis, are we?" Joker giggled, eyes bright as they stared steadily. Those eyes could see right through him. "Please, pick one. Go ahead, be Bruce Wayne, petty boy and billionaire if you care to. It, ah, it's not like I don't know. Remember at the festive little trust fund party for poor Harvey Dent, Batsy? And the, ah, girl…?"
He winced. Rachel…
"Aha, of course we remember!" The Joker nodded, happy to have struck a vein. "Well, who else would have been so eager to save the pretty thing but you, hm? Yeah…sorry Batsy, I don't forget much…"
Damn it. Rachel. Just another reason why he should have killed him during the game he played with the ferries.
But he didn't.
The truth was, he was almost happy to see him again. Like he had something to fight again.
"How did you get out?" Bruce found his tongue and asked again, not bothering to replace Batman's deep, intimidating tone. There wasn't much of a point now anyway. He couldn't hide anything now.
The ever-present smile answered, pleased with itself. "Honey, it isn't that hard to escape from Arkham." Then, with a slightly suggestive edge, the Joker added, "And besides, I missed you." He pulled a knife from his pocket and absently twirled it around his fingers.
Bruce watched the blade carefully, unsure. "Missed me?" Hearing that brought a sudden glow to his face. A glow he most certainly did not want there. It didn't belong there, especially not because of something that fucking monster was telling him.
"Mhm…" Now his gaze changed to look at something far away, like a memory he wished he could change to more fit his liking. "I thought about you, Batsy. About why I couldn't change you into a person like me, buy Harvey came so easily… And why you can't stop being so nice all the time. Urk, you're like a teacher's pet, Batsy! Ha…! A pet bat…!"
He bit his lip. All he wanted to do was go home and see Alfred and go to sleep and forget he ever had to deal with this freak, this clown freak that would never leave him alone. "Get to the point, would you? I'm really not in the mood."
"Testy tonight?" The Joker frowned some. "Well, fine. I will, if it will make you happy. But only 'cause I'm actually feeling nice tonight, too. I mean, it's not every day you break out of an asylum and get to see your favourite bat, is it?"
"The point, I said!"
The grin came back. "Oh, you're actually very adorable when you get angry. Like a spoiled kid stomping his foot, hm? Ahhh, that's right. Batsy is a spoiled kid." He continued to play with his knife as he finally went on. "I know I won't corrupt you that way. Also, that's why I like you…that's why I think you're so…ah, fascinating?"
Bruce pretended his skin wasn't crawling. "Is that all you made me come here to say?"
"Mmm, not quite." He took an inquisitive step forward, and Bruce's heart stammered the closer he got. Paralyzed no matter how much he tried to make his legs leap away, Bruce couldn't do anything when the Joker snatched up his hand and slipped in the knife. (Joker's hand was warmer, firmer, than he thought it might be. Almost pleasant to hold if there wasn't a knife in the way…) His wild, disfigured smirk egged him on, and soon enough his hand, now armed with the knife, was resting tediously on the Joker's jugular.
"Wh-what are you doing?" Bruce stammered, eyes wide in total confusion. He really is, he really is insane! Maybe I was wrong—
"I want you," the Joker whispered happily, "to kill me. 'Kay, Batsy? Here, let me help you!"
Tightening his grip around Bruce's hand, he was about to sink the knife into his own throat when the other man took over control, and ripped away, taking the knife with him.
"What the hell?!" He snarled, panting. All the mad clown did was laugh uproariously, throwing his head back in complete amusement. "Stop! Stop laughing; how is that possibly funny?! You could have killed yourself, you—"
"And why," he howled, grinning away, "why would you care, Batsy-poo? I thought you wanted me to be locked away forever and ever and ever, hm? No? Really? Really! Ha! Ha! HA! I think, Batsy, you're a little contradiction, hm?" Wiping away a stray tear, smudging his make up some, the Joker nodded at the knife. "Take a closer look at it. Go ahead."
Dumbstruck, he curiously turned the knife over. Pressing gently on the silver blade, he let out a small gasp when it collapsed into the handle. "It's a theater prop?"
"You're…you're telling me I saved you from a fake knife…"
"And you did, Batsy…" His tone was soft now, musing, mulling over the interesting results of his experiment. "That right there is why you fascinate me, Mr. Dark Knight. You aren't like anybody. Nobody…"
"I'm definitely not like you." Raw desperation almost seeped through. Inside himself he had to be reassured he wasn't.
"…How can you live like that, Batsy?" The Joker blinked, and something close to wistful longing showed. "How do you keep breathing like that? It's impossible. You're impossible. I've never met an actual human being before… One who lies that they care about everyone… An actual human being…!"
He shifted, unnerved. "Okay, that's enough talking. You're going back to Arkham. Right now." He wasn't going to take any more chances. Just listening to this guy talk was making him wonder too much to feel safe. Intoxicating words, they were. Now safe to stay around, not safe at all. Not safe at all. "Do the doctors know you're gone? If you come quietly, I won't tell them, I'll just lock you back up without any trouble and—"
"Nope, nope!" Suddenly alert and with a dangerous half-smirk, he jumped away. "Sorry sweetie, nobody can drag me back there!" He scrambled away, but before Bruce lost sight of him in the vast midnight darkness, he heard him playfully suggest, "But if, perhaps, you, ah, care to play another game with me, I'll see you again soon! Hee, like a date, like a giggly pair of high school lovers…! Ha! Oh, Batsy, you're a riot…! You make me blush, you're such a riot…!"
"I should go after him…"
But he didn't.
Oh, he should have. Then his heart never would have felt itself wanting to go after him in an entirely different way.
So, you think I'm a riot? No, you got it wrong that time. The right answer is you… Bruce found himself thinking as he left, a fresh headache and a few brand new worries in tow with him. A gigantic riot, because he was shaken, right down to his bones.
That psychotic clown was not going to leave.
Bruce Wayne wished he wanted him to.