He sniggered. The knowing smiles, the private glances, the smoothing down of her skirt ... Could it be that his dear little Doctor was developing a crush on him?

The Joker instantly screwed up his face in disgust at the turn of phrase. Yeuch. Where did that come from? Nausea swept over him and he had to perch on the edge of his bunk and compose his mind for a few moments.

Crush. Crush.

What a horrible, infantile word that was, something he would expect to leap out of Dr Quinzel's mouth. A word that children taunted each other with whilst huddled in tiny groups around the bike shed at break time. Not a phrase to carelessly spring into the mind of the Clown Prince of Crime. He breathed a sigh of relief, grateful that it had at least stayed in his mind and not manifested itself in recreation room conversation. Not that he would be spreading his private thoughts around, of course. One had to be careful in such a compromising place. Doctors were everywhere, just waiting to pounce.

But of course, when used in the right context, the Joker mused as he fiddled vaguely with the sleeve of his Arkham pyjama top, crush was a very pretty little word indeed.

To crush.

A grin sidled over his lips. Newly adapted as a verb, it could dance quite beautifully in the middle of any number of situations. And oh, to crush Dr. Harleen Quinzel would indeed be delicious.

To shove her against a wall and pretend to be consumed with lust, then press both hands into her ribcage, just below her breasts, and watch her sweet doll face tighten with horror and despair. Air is forced from the lungs. Breathing becomes constricted. Apprehension becomes reality and slowly, one by one, her ribs snap and pop under his long fingers and he quite literally begins to crush her beating, passionate little heart beneath his palm. The screams, the sense of internal bleeding, the flickering light in her wide blue eyes...

He'd closed his own eyes in bliss and excitement and was breathing hard, kneading his trousers with one white hand.

And suddenly a noise filtered through the cries in his fevered imagination; tiny footsteps pattering on the concrete floor, heading his way.

The Joker cracked his eyelids open, very slowly, and saw the object of his desire pop into view just outside the cell window. He leapt to his feet and darted over to the glass with a smile and a wink, never one to miss an opportunity. He was gratified to see her blush and drop her gaze, then peep up at him like Bambi from under long lashes.

It got him every time. Stupid, childish gesture. Goddamn you, he thought, and resisted the blinding urge to smash his fist through the glass.

Instead, he merely grinned.

He knew what had to be done.

First he would crush her mind.

Her body would come later.