Ahoy hoy. Friendly neighbourhood disclaimer guy here. I do not own Batman or anything related. Nor do I own several bits of dialogue, as I've been sneaky and used some direct quotes. This is my first ever fan fiction, so R&R is appreciated. Thankyou!
"This is a nice suit." The man twirled theatrically in front of the mirror, giggling slightly. "Put it on my tab, won't you?"
The shop assistant groaned, hand clutching the wound in her side, trying to stop her innards from spilling out.
"That's the way!" He grinned, licking his lips. "Although I do recommend you clean this mirror. I can barely see a thing."
With that, he removed his silver knife from the neck of another shop assistant, using it to pin something to the blood-stained mirror, and waltzed out of the store. The girl with her innards spinning out began to sob, desperately pulling her feet out of the way of the flames now engulfing one of Gotham's ritziest boutiques. Blood trickled from the fatal neck wound of the dead man. Flaming Italian suits crackled and disintegrated, thousands of dollars worth of silk and hand-stitched seams that would never be anyone's perfect fit.
And, stuck to the mirror, slightly worn, slightly bent, slightly bloody, a jester, a harlequin, a fool, a playing card. A Joker.
Bruce Wayne relaxed into his luxurious bed for the first time in months. He felt a new-found appreciation for swan down and Egyptian cotton. Maybe Wayne Industries should make some investments in manchester.
Bruce reached out a fumbling hand for the alarm clock; mid-afternoon. Yawning, he rolled onto his side. Then, wincing, onto the other side; he'd forgotten about those stitches. But hopefully, they would be the last. Hopefully, with the Joker safely locked away in Arkham Asylum's most high-security ward, in an especially designed cell, Gotham might not need the Batman anymore. Without the Joker, wasn't Gotham just another American city? Sure, it had its problems, but so did Chicago, New York, Washington. Nothing the feds couldn't handle, right?
Wrong, of course. Bruce grimaced. Gotham had needed Batman before the Joker had even arrived on the scene, before the day when the first seeds of Batman had even planted themselves in the mind of a young Bruce Wayne. But surely, with Gotham's most dangerous criminal behind bars, Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy and eligible bachelor could have one weekend of sleep-ins and supermodels?
Wrong again. The long serving butler to the family Wayne, Alfred, entered Bruce's room bearing a silver tray. Bruce was pleased to see what appeared to be breakfast, but disappointed at the crisp, neatly folded newspaper that accompanied it.
"Even on my day off, Alfred?" Bruce complained, propping himself up on his elbows. "Bats are nocturnal."
"That may be, but even for billionaire playboys, three o'clock is pushing it." Alfred replied in his bracing Cockney accent, setting the tray down.
"Can't the world take a break for one day? I'm tired of having to always pay attention. I have a board of executives for that."
"Begging your pardon, sir, but I don't think this is one for the board of executives."
Bruce took a sip of scalding coffee as he shook out the newspaper, which he promptly spit out angrily, spraying the huge grainy black-and-white image of a madman with premium Brazilian roast.
Madman Escapes Again
Will We Ever Be Safe?
Once again, Gotham's most dangerous criminal is back on the streets, begging the question, exactly where was the Joker put this time? Police claimed last week that he was placed in a specially built ward of Arkham Asylum designed to be inescapable. Apparently not.
A well-known tailor's store of some repute on Main Street was broken into and torched last night, with the store workers both horribly murdered. Pinned to the mirror was the Joker's calling card.
Workers at Arkham refuse to confirm or deny the escape of the Joker, but this reporter thinks it is clear they are merely trying to cover their backsides for yet another piece of administrative failure. (story continued on page 3)
Bruce scrunched the paper up and threw it aside. One of the Joker's eyes stared madly at him from the corner of the room, its pupil dilated and the iris rimmed with white.
"How did this happen, Alfred? How can he be loose again?" Bruce stood angrily, grabbing a pair of pants off the floor and pulling them up over his boxer shorts. "Why didn't you come wake me as soon as the paper arrived?"
He tore out of the room, pulling a T-shirt over his head. Alfred gazed at the silver tray with Bruce's untouched breakfast on it, going cold; bacon, French toast and a freshly squeezed orange juice which he still made for Bruce every morning, even though his hands were now arthritic and the motion caused him pain.
"I didn't wake you, Master Bruce, because you're right. Everyone deserves a break every once in a while. Even superheroes." Alfred sighed, then shuffled out after his master.
Back on the streets of his beloved Gotham. In Gotham city, anything goes. They say that America is the only country in the world where a poor black boy could become a rich white woman. Well, Gotham was similar. It was the only city in the world where a scarred madman could become the Clown Prince of Crime, villain extraordinaire, the worst/best of them all. Of course, the Joker liked to think that every city in the world was susceptible to his particular brand of charm. Blow up enough buildings, kill enough women and children, and any city was your oyster. Kill enough politicians, maybe even the pope, and the whole damn worldwas your oyster. Not that the Joker was particularly concerned with the rest of the world. Right now, all he cared about was bringing Gotham a better brand of criminal. Smarter, madder, more ruthless. And funnier, too. Add to that his boyish good looks and charming personality and who could resist? Hee hee haw haw...
Of course, there was that one person who didn't seem to understand. He was so similar to the Joker, why didn't he get it? The purple-coated madman glared at Batman's symbol through the rain, illuminated against the clouds in a yellow spotlight. The Bat-man was the only thing stopping him from bringing Gotham city to its fullest potential. Despite that, the Batman was the one thing the Joker couldn't resist. No matter how many times you threatened him, he never backed off. No matter how many times you hit him, he never fell down. No matter what you did, he always came back.
The Joker looked back at the symbol in the sky, but this time with respect. As irritating as the Bat-man was, he was a real man, not one of the countless snivelling hordes the Joker usually dealt with. The ones who cried and begged and wet themselves. Not that they weren't fun, but the Batman was truly something else. The Joker raised a gloved hand in mock salute.
"Maybe if you meant it, we wouldn't be in this situation." A deep voice growled behind him. The Joker whipped around to see a figure in the shadows. A flash of lightning illuminated his silhouette; a flowing cape with jagged ends, a muscular body enhanced by a Kevlar suit and bright, angry eyes. Those eyes...
The Joker grinned, spreading his arms as though expecting an embrace. "Miss me, Batsy?" He cackled, hysterical laughter mixing with the sounds of the night, rain and thunder and screeching tyres. Here they were again, madman and vigilante in the greatest city on Earth. Maybe this would be the last time, but probably not. The Joker didn't particularly care. All he cared about now was this moment, the rain causing his make-up to run down his face in rivulets and his greatest enemy swooping towards him, eyes flashing, rain gliding over his armour.