Author's note:

JokerxBats – SLASH. Ch. 1 = G/PG, Ch. 2 =

As canon as I could possibly get it, given the circumstances. I mean, there are some seriously slashy moments in TDK and in certain comics so you know, even though it makes sense, not everyone agrees.

Keep flames to yourself, please but also feel free to R&R

All chars belong to DC. Sadly, I don't own Joker.

I like to imagine my Batman from the DC All-Starsverse, but you can conjure up whichever you want. Same for Joker. Everyone loves Nolanverse but Allstar's tattooed Joker works too. (I suppose it makes a dif. for the more intimate scenes and scars/paint vs. bleached/lipstick or hell, you could even go so far as Batman Confidential Joker who has both bleached skin AND scars, because you see, Batman got him with a Batarang and… OMG, stop me now.)

I also looked to ThunderTori's Deviantart work as my inspiration. I hope she doesn't mind.

This is done pre-RIP because post, Joker knows Batman's identity, though he apparently does not care. Timing is everything, I suppose.

I'm probably justifying too much but I really don't think Batman's actions are all that OOC.

Chapter one – The Way we Were

The chase ensues; Batman's boots slosh in a standing puddle near a dumpster as he pursues the Joker down a narrow alleyway between apartment buildings. The dance they do, time and time again, relived night after night in the streets of Gotham. Sometimes he wondered if it would ever end – if he had the wherewithal to finally put an end to it: kill him. Though it is against his principles. Wouldn't there just be someone else to follow, to chase, to destroy? No, this one was different all right. Gave him meaning, a purpose. He knew it, didn't want to ever admit it. But somewhere in the deep recesses, he knew that it was all very true.

With a rustling of fabric, he landed on the roof behind Gordon, seeing the man flinch at the movement. An admission:

"Not tonight."

"I don't know how he keeps evading us." Gordon said through clenched teeth.

"Me. Evading me."

"What do you mean?"

"This time it was my fault. I… I got held up; I saw someone being accosted in the alley and I stopped."

Gordon's face showed obvious disappointment.

"Next time." Batman vowed. And into the night he disappeared.

"Long night, Master Bruce?" Alfred asked, setting down a platter of food on the bedside table. Bruce was icing his neck in bed, perusing the police blotter on his laptop.

"Same ol', same ol'… Joker kills someone arbitrarily, I get the call, I give chase. I try to multitask and lose sight of my man, I mean, mission. Either way…"

"Don't give up hope, sir. You've done a lot of good in Gotham; this is just another kink in the chain, that's all."

"I wish it were that simple."

**********

Unlike each night for the past two years, the Bat signal was not present in the dark sky. Bruce sat atop the fire escape of the Heights apartments, 38th and Grant. From here, he could see the exact place where he was slowed and where the Joker slipped into a doorway to a warehouse. Batman contemplated what he could possibly be doing there, what tricks he was pulling from his sleeves this time. Midnight came, the Gotham tower struck the hour in succession, echoing out amongst the streets, to the quiet homes and to the ears of all still hanging about, causing trouble, making his job all that it was, and is.

Hours passed and at 3 AM, he decided to go to Gordon anyway, check to make sure that there was a reason for the lack of call. Was it really possible that no one in Gotham needed him this night? He tried not to sneak up on the man but it was his way. Immediately, Batman saw the problem: the Bat Signal was… missing.

"They either dismantled it and rappelled down the side of the building or airlifted it – our men are working on the issue but I have no earthly idea."

"Do we know – " Batman was interrupted by Gordon's hand showing him the important evidence: a small playing card, silhouetted jester. In the relatively silent night air, Gordon could hear Bruce's teeth grinding as he calculated his plan. The things the Joker did just fired him up. He knew that it was all part of the plan to bait him, to goad him into his multitude of snares so that Bruce would fall to the man's evil whims. It's what he got off on, what he needed to thrive as a Gotham villain, the rogue that he is.

With a rush of air, Batman leapt from the rooftop and landed on a lower roof, running and jumping between buildings, towards 38th and Grant. For a long time he skulked in the shadows of night, waiting for anything that may give clues. Killing innocents was one thing but stealing the Bat signal was a person affront. Also, he wondered, how come Joker hasn't thought of it before? That's a good one…

A large metal door swung open and a rag-tag group of lackeys exited, some nondescript bags in their hands. He knew these were Joker's hires – they were boisterous, idiotic in their banter. Just the kind of dopes Joker would use. The thugs made their way out to the street and towards what was anybody's guess. With the Joker, he never knew.

He crept along behind them, standing in door frames if one looked over his shoulder. He trailed them all the way to yet another warehouse, this one near the Gotham docks and a whole lot dirtier and rundown. The thugs went inside and slammed the door shut. Meanwhile, Batman scrambled up a light post to peer into a dirt caked window some twenty feet up. Inside, the henchmen gathered around a sloppy pile of money nearly seven feet high and out from behind it sauntered the Joker, assault rifle in hand, a huge grin plastered upon his face.

"Gentlemen, you did not fail me and for this you shall be rewarded. Eternally, of course."

"I thought we got ten percent – each!" one of his men piped up.

"Yes well…" Joker held the gun at shoulder height and casually loaded a new magazine. The men looked nervous, shuffling from one foot to the other and backing away, slowly, towards the green metal doors behind them.

"…you thought wrong." And with that, he quickly and efficiently eliminated them. It happened so fast that Batman couldn't get down there. Even for some lowlifes, he thought that was his duty nevertheless. He scrambled to silently find an opening to that window but when he could not, he hopped down and tried the door, another side door, and one more window, to no avail. However, at the last window, he spotted something, something that glinted silvery off the dim lights in the warehouse. In a corner, behind a blockade of sandbags, he could swear he saw the Bat Signal.

Immediately, he was angry beyond reason, seething. But this was how the Joker wanted him to feel. Calming down and formulating a plan of action, around to the front of the building he ran, thinking he could just possibly burst in and take the Joker by force. No no, that would never do – he had bullets and though the Batsuit's Kevlar can take a few, the M4 Carbine Joker was packing would slow him down too much. With that thought, Batman made the quick decision to give it another night and plot a course. He knew now where the Bat signal was being stashed and so long as Joker didn't change the loc, there was time to make a better go of this, perhaps without taking some bullets.