Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.

Can't Afford It

"When people go in circles it's a very – very mad world," the Joker giggled, sing-songing as the Batman hoisted him up by the front of his shirt and forced him up against the brick wall.

"I am not in the mood for your games tonight," the Bat hissed, the forced gruffness of his voice leveling for a moment, Bruce Wayne almost shining through.

"You never are," the clown pouted mockingly. "Never ever."

"I'm better than that," the Bat almost rolled his eyes, but that would have been extremely unprofessional.

"No, you're not," the Joker said in all seriousness. "You think you're so high and mighty, self-proclaimed Dark Knight of Gotham city," he motioned with one hand to the dirty alley. "You think you're better than the rest of them – better than me. But you're not. In fact, I'd say you're worse."

The Batman growled as he tossed the clown against the nearest dumpster, just hard enough to knock the wind out of him.

"The rest of us lowlifes, we can change if we really wanted to," the Joker continues, one hand to his stomach, the other keeping some of his weight off the dirty pavement. "But not you. Oh, no. You can't. You can't afford to be innocent now."