AUTHOR'S NOTE:

I know it has been FOREVER, but I am back with some 'Gotham Skies'!

WARNINGS: None in this chapter, but it's a little dark and Joker's in it, and there's a bit of violence.

ENJOY!

xxxx

Bruce hadn't been expecting Tara to ask him about something as trivial as a Gala, but at the same time he had to admit that he was kind of glad. The two of them had been spending a lot of time together recently and honestly he had really enjoyed having the company…he had enjoyed seeing her kind of happy. At the same time, he knew he really needed to be focusing on the task at hand and not his Bruce Wayne Gala.

"Of course I will," Bruce told her, smiling at her. "I don't know how much of a date I'm going to be with this Joker threat looming over us all though."

Tara waved it off. "That's fine, I understand that. You can rush away whenever you need to and hey, I'm like the perfect date in that respect—you don't have to lie about where you're running off to."

"I never really thought about it like that." Bruce admitted, smiling and nodding.

He had to admit that he loved the idea of not having to hide anything from the people that he was with. Tara knew everything about him—she even knew him better than he knew himself—and it would be nice to be able to be around her instead of some model that he picked up for his image. Besides, spending more time with him would make him happy and bring him out of his funk.

"I look forward to being your date." Bruce told her with a nod. "Now…the Joker problem?"

Tara smiled and then nodded. "Right, the Joker problem…what exactly is it that makes you think he's…oh, I see."

Tara frowned when Bruce showed her the note and a picture he had sent and then she had to look away. Bruce immediately felt bad that he had just made Tara look at such a bloody picture when Joker had hurt her parents and taken them from her. Granted the torture and the car accident were two separate occasions, but both had been done by Joker. They were moments that Bruce regretted more than anything and he couldn't take them back.

"Sorry, Tara." Bruce said as Alfred took the picture and the note and Tara just smiled weakly and then walked over to the table in the enclave that Bruce worked at. "You don't have to help me with this."

Tara laughed softly. "Oh, but I do. There are all sorts of things I have to do to make things up to you, Bruce. Jess is bringing Ed to the Gala, remember? Not to mention the letter makes it seem like he's after me—the girl he didn't kill in the car accident."

"I don't want you to be anywhere near him, Tara." Bruce told her, walking up to the table and leaning on it, looking at her. "I'm not going to let anything bad happen to you."

Alfred was going to weigh in on the conversation and tell Tara how much she meant to him as well, but the look that Tara gave Bruce as she slowly lifted up her eyes to make contact with his, he kept his mouth shut. Tara smiled a little and blushed, nodding slowly and then looking back at some of the information that Bruce had on where Joker might possibly be.

"So where do we start, Master Bruce?" Alfred asked him, sitting down next to Tara and looking over the papers. "Shall we fire up the Batmobile?"

Bruce nodded slowly. "Yes—and keep the comm open."

xx

"I wonder where Tara is going to be…" Joker said slowly, looking at the man tied in the chair. "Last man I talked to wasn't as accommodating as I think that you will be."

The man looked up at him. "So…are you going to kill me?"

"Are you going to give me my information?" Joker asked him.

"Tara…Bruce Wayne's Goddaughter?" The man asked the villain.

Joker smiled a toothy smile that made the man shrink a little bit, and he took a deep breath when Joker nodded. He wanted to know all of her haunts and where she liked to eat out—he knew she would be at the Wayne Mansion. As much as he wanted Tara, and wanted her dead, he didn't want to have to deal with Bruce if he didn't have to—he didn't have a beef with Bruce Wayne.

"Besides the mansion?" The man asked.

Joker sighed loudly. "Yes…besides the mansion."

"She eats at Hudson's once a month." The man told him softly, shrugging through his restraints. "It's the Italian restaurant on Main Street."

"That's very helpful…has she been there this month?" Joker asked him.

"She was planning on going there the day after the Gala that Bruce Wayne is throwing." The man explained to him. "Can I go now?"

Joker nodded slowly, and walked away from the man, the man realizing that he wasn't even getting out. He had been lied to and he should have known, but at the same time he didn't understand why he was being hurt—he didn't understand why Tara was so important. Shaking his head and pleading, the man watched as Joker approached with a knife, and then he got his throat slit.

xx

Heather smiled as she entered the diner that night, Jessica, Marie and Tara at a table in the back, having a nice little dinner. The girls wanted to get together and talk about the Gala and catch up with each other and the diner was one of Tara's favorite places. She got her coffee from the diner in the mornings as often as possible, and tonight she was glad to see her friends.

"You seem happier than normal tonight." Heather told Tara as everyone greeted her and she sat down. "What happened that I'm missing out on?"

Marie laughed a little. "Tara and Bruce are going to the Gala together."

"And they're even calling it a date." Jessica said nodding. "However, we've all agreed that they're not actually in a relationship."

"It's just a mutually beneficial partnership." Tara said with a shrug. "Doesn't mean I'm not happy to be going with him though."

"Well of course you are!" Heather exclaimed, taking off her coat as sat there next to Tara and across from Jessica, who was next to Marie. "You've had a thing for him for ages."

Jessica laughed loudly. "Speaking of crushes that have been going on for ages…you asked Jim to the Gala yet?"

"Is this what you guys all gossip about?" Heather asked them, her cheeks flushing crimson.

Tara shrugged and smiled. "We have to gossip about something and it's not going to be Joker and what he's up to."

"I heard he was at it again." Heather admitted with a nod.

The whole table fell silent because it wasn't really a topic of discussion—everyone knew that Joker was behind Tara's parents' death, and they knew it was hard for her to deal with. Still, it was nice to have a change of discussion when Jim Gordon walked into the diner to buy himself something to eat. Suddenly the table was loud with conversation and they were sending Heather over to talk to the Police Commissioner. They wanted her to be happy to, and to have a date to the Gala…maybe even a new boyfriend.

Note: And there you have it: some darkness, and do I sense some Bruce/Tara in our future? The Gala will be next chapter. Feedback is always appreciated!