Chapter 22

Joker examined the small piece of metal that had been removed from Danielle's arm after the incident at Ace Chemical Factory. He turned the piece side to side between a pair of tweezers, examining it thoroughly until he took a moistened cotton swab and proceeded to mop the metal chunk with it. The metal had stains of Danielle's blood on it still, but he refrained from swabbing those areas and only concentrated on the clean spots. Joker then took the swab and wiped the tip of it onto a viewing slide before placing it under a microscope lens to examine.

He looked into the eyepiece and adjusted and scanned until he could see parts of something very faintly.

Jasper walked into the lab after coming back from his visit with Flame, "I've got information on Penguin, Joker. I think I know where he is."

Joker looked out from the microscope lens and concentrated on Jasper, "Really? And how did you manage to accomplish that?"

"When you said Penguin was behind this, I checked up on an old friend of mine. He used to work for Oswald. Figured he'd know more than us on where he could be hiding. Turns out he knew."

"Ah, interesting," Joker said before looking back into the lens. He focused the scope slightly more and tilted his head at what he saw. "Jasper," he said still looking at the slide, "in the cooler behind me, I need you to find me a sample of something labeled as 'Ace Chemical'."

"Alright," he said and eventually retrieved the vile Joker wanted. "What are you doing?"

"Dannie seemed to go major buggo after our little trip to Ace Chemical's, so I figured I'd try my hand at examining the piece of rafter scrap metal that got into her skin."

"What would that have to do with anything?" Jasper said as he handed Joker the vile.

"I thought that too, but after looking at the metal further, I'm not sure it was the rafter metal at all that cut her."

"What else could it have been then?"

Joker took another moistened swab but this time took a sample of the contents inside the vile Jasper had handed him. "I think it was a piece of the vat she was in."

Jasper sat down beside Joker, "Okay, and what does that have to do with anything?"

"There may have been acid on it still."

"Wait, what kind of acid? That factory's been closed down for decades. Even if they missed a spot when cleaning up that place, how could an acid stay around that long?"

"Well," Joker started, "if it's the acid I think it is, then it's got a pretty hefty life expectancy."

"What acid?"

Joker, after examining the two swabs contents, and confirming his suspicion, pushed himself back in his chair and looked at Jasper. "It's the same acid I fell into."

"You're saying that Danielle got acid into her blood stream? The same one you fell into at Ace?"

"Yes."

He squinted an eye, "I don't understand how that'd affect anything. She's got your blood. She would have received that chemical anyway, why is she just now having a reaction like this?"

"It takes two to tango Gumball, I wasn't the only contributor to her DNA."

"So?"

Joker sighed, "My you're acting dumb today. In other words," he stood up and bopped Jasper on the head, "she did not receive a direct dose of the chemical, it was diluted. When she received it via the metal, it wasn't diluted. Therefore, even with the small amount that she took in, she had side-effects from it." He perked his brows up, "Like hallucinations! That must have been what happened in the bathroom when she cut herself, and in the back when she- well you know."

"Makes sense, I guess. So what now?"

"I went through the same kind of experience when I took that plunge. It hurt very badly if I recall. Hallucinations and the whole bit happened. Next time I really grasped what was going on around me was about a month later. We just have to give her time, and keep a close watch on her."

Jasper nodded, "So about Penguin, what are we going to do there?"

"I've made a promise to my daughter to work on something else before that."

"What do you mean?" Jasper questioned unsteadily. "We've got information on where he's hiding! We have to jump on that!"

"Not yet," he said sternly. "And if I catch you doing anything else about Penguin, I'll kill you personally. You work for me, Jasper, and that means you follow my rules."

"Right, you're just going to off your daughter's boyfriend because he was going after Penguin? The guy who ordered his men to torture your daughter? Doesn't sound like earning brownie points to me, Joker."

"And you think that she'd be upset with me for doing it huh?" Joker smiled, "Do you think, if it came down between you and I, that she would hesitate in even the slightest way to choose who she'd go to?"

"No, I don't. She'd go to you, and I know that. But don't you assume for a second that I'm worthless in her eyes. I saved her that day, Joker. I saved her while you sat in the safety of your Arkham cell. And do you honestly think she wouldn't remember that for the rest of her life? Let alone the fact that you ordered me to keep her safe while you sat in an eight by eight cage."

Joker wrinkled his nose and grimaced as Jasper went on.

"And look at you, you can't even tell her the truth about you hiring me six months ago. Because she'd know you were a coward."

Joker pulled out his gun quickly and pushed it straight into the middle of Jasper's forehead, "I will shoot you, Jasper."

"No you won't," he said fearlessly.

"What makes you think I won't?"

Jasper grinned and shrugged, "You aren't even The Joker. Look at you. You used to be the talk of the world. When villains wanted to scare other villains, they'd tell Joker stories, now they talk about me, Two-Face, little nobodies even! You're washed up. You're nothing anymore. You aren't even concerned with Batman, your once prime objective. I'm going after Penguin and everyone affiliated with him for what they did to Danielle. Also, you're not even funny anymore."

Joker aimed the gun into Jaspers gut and pulled the trigger, watching him fall to the ground as he did.

"Jesus Christ! You fucking shot me!" Jasper hunched his body into the fetal position as he pressed his hands against his wound.

Joker leaned down to him and pointed the gun back to Jasper's forehead, "I will shoot you."

"Then do it!" Jasper coughed and spit up blood, and looked into Joker's eyes grinning. He chuckled up spurts of blood and tilted his head still looking to Joker.

Joker tilted his head too and furrowed his brow.

"That's the first time I've ever seen The Joker in real life."

Harley ran into the room at the sound of the gunshot and saw Jasper piled on the floor with blood pooling around him. "Oh my God, what happened!?"

Jasper pulled himself up onto one knee, "You know, I always looked up to you when I was a kid." He coughed and stood up, steadying himself on Joker's shoulder. "I wanted to be the greatest super villain just like you."

Joker picked Jasper up, and threw him over his shoulder. "Shut up, Jasper."


An actual update here! Looking forward to working on this story and getting it finished guys! Thanks for reading!