Batman groaned tiredly as he pulled the Batmobile… damn, was he really calling it that now? He muttered dark curses under his breath at the Joker for having dubbed his precious Tumbler with such a horrid nick-name.
As the top pulled back, Batman emerged stiffly from the… Tumbler. He had spent a long, fruitless night trying to find out where Schiff had disappeared off too with no luck. The homing beacon had been working fine, leading him straight to Arkham, and then the signal just disappeared.
He had tried interrogating a few of the prisoners, but no one claimed to have seen the man.
Batman ground his teeth in frustration as he shed the various pieces of his costume before making his way back up to the mansion. At least Schiff did not seem to be creating enough trouble to raise any alarms on the police channels yet.
Now if he could just sneak in a hot shower to himself without-
"What the fuck?" Bruce gawked.
"The Joker said this place was entirely too dreary and could do with more color, sir," Alfred explained, seeming to appear from the ether. "This was the 'simplest' thing the two of us could agree on."
"But… but… how? Where? In the middle of the night? Where?" My , but isn't he an intelligent one right now?
Alfred sniffed a little priggishly. "Well, with the right amount of money, there are few pet shops willing to remain closed, Master Bruce," he explained, going over to dust the… monstrosity fastidiously with a feather duster. Bruce frowned. Since when did they start using feather dusters? They were hardly hypo-allergenic.
"Clown fish, Alfred," Bruce finally managed to get out once he had his thoughts back in order. "There is a 1000 gallon aquarium full of clown fish in my study."
"You should see what's in the master bedroom, Master Bruce," Alfred suggested brightly. Perhaps a little too brightly.
Bruce Wayne actually paled and made a mad dash for his precious bedroom. As he pounded up to the top of the steps and rounded the corner, he slipped on the hard wood floor. Crashing to his knees, Bruce realized he probably should have at least put on a pair of slippers before leaving the cave. Running around in his stocking feet was not the brightest idea he had had so far in the past month.
His yelp of agony brought the Joker skipping out of the bedroom. The deranged clown was wearing… oh, dear god no.
The Joker was dressed as Ariel the Fucking Little Mermaid. "Batsy!" he squealed, running to his lover's side. "Are you alright? Where does it hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital?"
Bruce bit back his instinct to push the clown away. "No, no. I'm fine, just a banged knee," he griped, rising to his feet with some help from the Joker. Once he was upright, he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Do I want to know what you did to my bedroom?"
"Our bedroom," the Joker corrected him with a tsk and a wag of his finger. "And what did you think of my little addition downstairs?" He pressed himself in close to his bat, cuddling the arm as he wrapped himself around said arm. "I didn't want our little babies growing up without proper stim-u-la-tion!"
Bruce posed for a minute outside of the bedroom door. "Clown fish, though?" he queried. "Isn't that a little, I don't know, obvious?"
The Joker twittered. "I saw them after the bedroom purchase and I just couldn't help myself!" he crowed gleefully.
Bracing himself, Bruce entered the bedroom with an armful of clown. "What. Are. Those?" He knew what they were, but his mind and eyes just weren't connecting right now.
"Barracudas!" the Joker declared proudly. "Aren't they beautiful?"
Bruce's left eye twitched a couple of times. He was torn between screaming, "Oh, hell no!" and demanding the Joker let him know where he found that many barracudas in Gotham. In the middle of the night, no less.
"They're… lovely," Bruce finally bit out. "And you got this all assembled so quickly." His mind was in a complete daze.
"Yup! And tomorrow, some men will be coming to install the floor tank in the children's playroom!" the Joker continued on happily, pulling Bruce over to the bed. "I ordered all kinds of fish. Then our babies will be able to go in, play and look at all of the pretty fishies!"
Bruce jumped up from the bed. "And you did all of this without asking me first?" he demanded.
The Joker's eyes started to tear up, but who knew if they were real tears. "I thought… It's for our children," he whimpered.
Shaking his head, Bruce pointed at the Barracuda tank. "And this? What's your explanation for this?" he growled out, the Batman coming into play. "This isn't your house, Joker. It's mine. You can't go doing shit like this without my permission!"
The Joker leapt to his feet, stabbing Bruce in the chest with a swollen, water retaining finger. "Well, maybe if you were around more, I would be able to ask your permission!" he shot back. "And while we're on the topic, at least I'm taking an interest in the upbringing of our children!"
"Excuse me!" Bruce sputtered. "In what way am I not interested? I'm not 'interested' just because I don't want to play house with you?"
Lightening quick, the Joker slapped Bruce across the face- hard. He watched with some satisfaction as Bruce's head snapped back a little bit on impact. "I'm not playing," he snarled softly.
Blinking in shock, Bruce stared at the Joker. "I… er, I didn't mean-"
"Oh, yes you did," the Joker ground out, clenching his fists at his side and turning away in a huff. "I've been trying to make this work, but you're just too fucking stupid to see it. Well, it's obvious I'm going to have to do something bigger to get you to realize I'm in this for the long haul."
Rubbing his eyes in frustration, Bruce groaned. "Look, we both need to calm down before we talk about this any further," he finally said. "And it's clear we have a lot to talk about. But from now on, promise me no changes to the house without consulting with me first. These are the types of decisions we need to make as a-" Oh, hell, the Joker looked like he was about to squee for joy. Well, no going back now. "Decisions we need to make as a couple," he bit out.
The squee was released as the Joker threw his arms around Bruce's neck and covered his face and neck with kisses. "Oh, you're the best!" he squealed happily. "You'll see! This is going to be wonderful!" He pulled back when Bruce stumbled a bit.
"Sorry," Bruce apologized sheepishly. "I'm a bit exhausted."
The Joker fussed and helped Bruce the rest of the way out of his clothes then into a pair of sleep pants. The two men curled around each other under the covers.
"Hey, have you seen Schiff?" Bruce asked.
Author's Note: Holy shit! After three years, the story returns! I hope y'all enjoyed it! Now, go review and let me know you're still with me. Also, I have a bit of writer's block: what crazy schemes would the Joker come up with to "prove" to his Bats he's "gone straight"? I'm moving him toward a more "Jokester" like persona by the end of the story.