A/N - This is a morbid, slightly disturbing one-shot based off of a beautiful watercolor that I'll link you to at the bottom. Rhomboidius is an amazing artist, so if she's not on your watchlist on dA, SHAME on you! ;)

"Death's Last Kiss"

Her eyes were cold, blue, and unbearably lifeless, now no longer the brilliant September starlight that had once been the envy of many an onlooker. Although her sweetly curved lips were still finely shaped, their natural color had receded into a macabre blue and had needed a delicate touch of rouge, the proof of this now lying hastily uncapped by her unmoving hand.

Humming an almost imperceptible tune, the Joker continued to stare at his formerly unwilling conquest, the hint of a sneer curling across his lips as he admired his handiwork. Beautiful, beautiful Rachel Dawes had been the face that had launched 1,000 ships – or at least 1,000 Bats and White Knights – and had earned her the tragic role as a modern day Helen of Troy. But now that she was his and his alone, he found that he no longer stayed up night after night trying to figure out why it was this woman who'd been able to ensnare not only Gotham's DA, but its illustrious knight in shining Kevlar. What was so special about her? So alluringly irresistible?

At first the Joker had decided to take the easy way out and just ask her, but then she'd been scared of him, and that just wouldn't do. His natural instincts had taken over and he'd cut her shapely neck from left to right, her lovely choking sounds still playing in his ears like the strains of an old, crackling record.

Giddily rising from his perch, the Joker ran a calloused hand across Rachel's chin, thus causing her head to loll limply to the side and strain the stitches on her throat. And oh, what a marvelous stitch job he'd done! With Rachel he'd been able to take his time and perfect his work – unlike the telltale scar tissue across his own cheeks – and this almost made him jealous. What he wouldn't do to start over and have a perfect smile of his own!

Wiping a smudge of blood from the corner of Rachel's mouth, the Joker grinned once he decided that his newest protégé was finally ready for her debut. All of his guests were bashful at first, but once he allowed them to partake in the artistic process, all resistance gradually ebbed away into an eager anticipation. Rachel had been different from the others – she had such fire, such spirit! – so he knew her contribution to his piece would be quite special.

Propping her up to the best of his ability, the Joker gave the assistant DA an appreciative onceover before moving to uncover the canvas on his easel. Like a magician unveiling a miracle, the clown prince beamed with pride as a gory, macabre surface was revealed to his unblinking audience.

"Bee-eaut-ee-ful, isn't it?" he asked, nodding his approval as he appraised the piece. "That glob right there in the middle is from Senator McDonald, and over there is Maria Alvarez…oh! And this little number right here is that child molester who disappeared three years ago. I'll bet you any amount of money that nobody's missing him right about now." Giggling at his own twisted humor, the Joker trailed his gloveless hand down the blood stains with an almost reverent fondness, his serpentine tongue flicking across his paint-cracked lips with a sigh. Turning to give Rachel a meaningful look, he earnestly added, "And you, my dear Miss Dawes, will now become a part of my pride and joy. I suppose it's a little abstract and a taaaad unethical, but that's what makes it art. Art is the unexpected, and because of this it's everywhere around us. It's in the sky, the trees, the atmosphere......our very blood and bones."

When Rachel stared blankly back at her host, the Joker sighed and got down on his knees in front of her, his calloused hand encircling her smaller one as he gave it a condescending pat. "Now I know this might be a tad "difficult" for you lawyers to understand, but I'm an artist. I create masterpieces with my chaos – each explosion and grating scuh-ream adds to my contribution to Gotham's broad canvas, and I don't intend to stop until I'm finished. And you know what?" Grinning and tapping Rachel's hand with his own, the Joker smugly purred, "I could've stopped with you since Batsy now has nowhere to run – no one to turn to – but I decided that no masterpiece is truly complete without its primary focus. As soon as I kill your de-light-ful little boyfriend I, too can die. I meant it when I said Batman and I were destined to do this forever, but the thing is, I'm tired of trying to prove to you "civilized people" that you're all rats in a never-ending maze. Sadly for you and your mindless friends, I think good ol' Bats is tired of it too, so consider his impending death my gift to him for all the laughs we've had."

Lips curling back into a yellowed sneer, the Joker admired the pallid features of his victim and licked his lips. The clear blues of her eyes didn't reflect the bruised shadows of his own, but he knew he was inside her; he was in all of them. It was why he felt the need to show he controlled them even in death, and to prove once and for all that they were powerless to control their own destinies.

Running his fingertips along Rachel's stitches, he traced the trail of dried blood until he reached a dark, sticky bloom that starkly contrasted with the jade of her evening gown. Since it was the life force of Batman's true love, the Joker found himself endlessly fascinated by the dark stain; he wanted to cut her open and bathe in her blood, to see if immersing himself in the essence of someone so adored could make him feel any different. But most of all, he longed to leave his portrait as a present for his caped rival, "affectionately" signing it with the message 'Love J and Rachel'. The very idea had the clown prince whooping with laughter, his dark irises every now and then observing Rachel to see if she got the joke.

Finally weary of her unresponsiveness, the Joker irritably withdrew his Cupid and held it up to the light, its coruscating majesty leaving him with a warm, giddy feeling that swelled from deep within his chest. Bouncing on the balls of his feet, the clown prince tapped the blade against his thigh as he circled his victim, his predatory eyes drinking in her slumped posture as he gave a shark-like grin. "Well what's wrong, Rrrrachel? Am I boring you? Should we, uh…just skip to the fes-tiv-i-ties? Hmm?"

Naturally not responding, Rachel's blank gaze almost seemed to mock the Joker as he yanked her to her feet, her petite form slumping against his as he raised the blade to her palm. Slicing from her thumb to her pinky, the clown prince admired the stream of carmine before dragging his tongue across it in a slow, appreciative lick. Her blood left him with a warm and heady sensation, a feral growl escaping his lips as he licked the remaining blood from his knife. She was perfect, indeed – a little too perfect for the Joker's liking – but the purest of pure always had the most intoxicating blood. They were untainted in every possible way, and in so doing tasted of a ripe innocence that the Joker had never had; of an innocence that he subconsciously craved.

Digging the knife deeper into Rachel's palm, the clown prince used her hand to smear a scarlet arc onto the canvas, her precious blood blending into the other smears and dripping downward in its own unique pattern. Breathing heavily with excitement, the Joker continued to hold Rachel's small form from behind, his fingers now linking around her wrist and forcing her hand to his face. Rubbing his scarred cheek against her crimson palm, he reveled in the erotic sensation of her blood against his skin and purred, his eyes closing in utter rapture as he felt her paint his face with the stark red.

Grinning over his twisted ritual, the Joker turned Rachel around so that she was finally facing him again, her head sagging against his shoulder as if they were in a lover's embrace.

"Why Rachel, are you asking me to dance? You women of today are so forward!" Giggling uproariously at his joke, he lowered his lips to her ear before purring, "But don't you worry, beautiful, I won't tell Batpoop or Harvey-Big-Chin-Dent – this'll just be our little secret, hmm?"

Slipping his hand into hers and moving his arm around her waist, the Joker grinned as he led Rachel into the beginnings of a surprisingly graceful minuet. With her head tilted backwards and her stitches straining, Rachel looked more like a comatose Frankenstein's creature than a dance partner, her high-heeled feet dragging across the floor only serving as a mild inconvenience.

Whistling a classical piece as accompaniment, the Joker swayed Rachel down into a dip as he admired her bleeding stitches – perhaps he hadn't made them tight enough, after all? – his lips hovering over hers as he whispered, "Y'know something, you really are beautiful, Miss Rachel Marie. It's a pity it took Batsy and all this blood for me to finally notice you, because we could've had some real fun together. Do you like chaos, cutting yourself, and nude beaches by any chance? I always ask women this up front to see if we're compatible." Giggling at Rachel's lack of response, he touched her cold cheek while pressing, "Well what's wrong, gum drop? Clown got your tongue?"

Still not responding, Rachel seemed to grow heavier in his arms as she sagged, the Joker grunting as he hefted her back up into his embrace and continued his morbidly cheerful version of acupuncture. When he carved into her skin a little deeper than he originally intended, he giggled while chanting, "Ooh-hoo-hoo, and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Rachel together, again! What love-uh-ly blood you have, peaches!" Admiring the crimson rivulets streaming from her wounded wrist, the Joker looked at her laceration before training his gaze upon the canvas, his lips pursing once he decided that it still wasn't complete.

Tilting his knife, he peeled back a layer of delicate skin and exposed Rachel's muscle, a manic grin cracking his lips as he forced her hand to jerk upwards. "Oooh, well look at those tendons move, beautiful! Don't you just love anatomical research? I find it so, uh…hands on!"

Giggling at his terrible joke, the clown prince began to repeatedly stab into the wound like a slab of meat, the words 'Don't play with your food!' ironically running through his mind as blood began to spatter his face. The grisly paint of Rachel's plasma streaked his cheeks and forehead, yet this failed to serve as a distraction since he reveled in the sensation of his miniature bloodbath.

Holding his captive steady, the Joker continued to obliterate Rachel's wrist and arm until the knife suddenly slipped, the sharp blade slicing into his own wrist and severing the major artery. Lifting his arm up in surprise, a spray of red hemorrhaged onto the canvas and caused the Joker to regard it curiously. There, in the center of the piece a gigantic bat-shaped blob seemed to rise out of the gore, the clown prince shrieking with laughter at the irony as he repeatedly slapped his thigh.

"Y'see, beautiful?" the Joker acknowledged, now looking down at Rachel with a grin, "Guano Man really does complete me – he's in my very blood!" Giggling amidst his delirium, he fell to his knees as a delicious feeling of lightheadedness took over, his grin stretching almost unnaturally as he began to gasp and wheeze in between his laughter. "Even though your darling Batsy couldn't save you this time around, you should know that no one's innocent and deserving of being spared anymore. In this world, the bad guys can and will win, Miss Dawes, and your unnerving hope in justice and goodness helped bring along your premature demise." Grinning, the Joker crawled over to Rachel with a mad look in his haunting irises, his voice now pitching to a whisper as he crooned, "If you learn nothing from your pa-thet-tic mistakes, at least understand this, beautiful: 'some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall'. Even the purest of the pure lose sometimes, so I guess today just happened to be your lucky day!"

Shrieking with laughter, the Joker toppled over onto his side as tears of mirth streamed down his cheeks, his eerie expression of glee echoing throughout the room as darkness swirled across his eyes and painted him out in a sea of black.

A/N - Due to the major BUTTLOAD of work I've got to do during my final month of school, I'm not so sure that there will be any updates for me for a long while. I apologize about that in advance, because I've got 2 projects, a 6 page paper, a 10 page paper, and some other paper to finish...all in ONE month! ARGH! Why do my professors ALWAYS assign things at the same time!? I swear, it's a conspiracy! -sigh- But anywhos, here's the link to rhomboidius' beautiful picture (just take the spaces out): h t t p : // rhomboidius . deviantart . com / art / Joker-and-Rachel-116668966