(A/N: Something I found in my notebook (cuz I'm always writing and forgetting that I've done it) don't own Batman. Character death and slight slash.)
Batman's head spun, but he couldn't let himself die in the gutter, he had promised Alfred so many times that he wouldn't let himself die in the gutter. But part of him knew, probably the part most aware of the rapid pounding of his heart and painful gasps rattling his chest, he wasn't going to keep that promise. His body gave him such trouble that he collapsed against a wall; at least the alley way stood a chance of hiding him. Alfred could find his corpse by way of the tracking beacon in his suit before anyone could consider Bruce Wayne as the storied Dark Knight.
Pain lanced his chest again, and unwanted tears bled out of his eyes as he sank slowly to the ground, feeling useless and weak. The gunshot wound, bleeding so heavily had been a lucky one on the gunman's part. The bullet had clipped him low on his right side, between plates of Kevlar, just above his spare ribs. Likely, the slug had torn right through his liver, and he knew the blood loss was killing him, but for some reason he didn't want to believe it. He had been stabbed and shot so many times, how had his luck finally run out?
He laughed weakly at the irony, spending his adult years fighting to stop crime only to end up suffering the same fate he had been spared as a child. Truly he didn't know why he couldn't get up this time, so many times he'd been injured, but the will to keep going had left him. Actually, he was happy to die, and he came to terms with that as he laid there, his eyes half open. The last four years as Batman had taught him that nothing would change for Gotham, it was determined to be a black hole of moral corruption. He knew the laws of physics as well as anyone; an object in motion tends to stay in motion. He had tried to stop that motion, and that law about equal and opposite force had finally caught him.
At 29 years old, both Batman, and Bruce Wayne, were disenchanted, depressed, and ready to leave the stage to those better equipped to deal with crime.
"Ha, ah ha haha, Batsy what the…" a long pause and Batman lifted his head. "Batsy?" the Joker sank beside his enemy and pulled the Caped Crusader into his lap. Batman forced his eyes to focus, he small man was wiping blood from his jaw. He couldn't understand, that hurt and pain in the Clown Prince's eyes, why was he behaving that way? Was it because he hadn't gotten the drop on the Bat? It must have been.
"Joker, I—wish that I could ask you to behave when I'm gone,"
"Bats, hush, don't talk like that," Joker said and pulled his gloves off, seeming desperate. He utterly abandoned his composure as he began to physically break parts of the Kevlar suit away. Oh he was sure that it wasn't designed to function like that, and that his Batsy was going to have to get a new suit, but he just had to get at the wound. But he did give the Batman the courtesy of leaving the mask on, the hero deserved as much.
"Joker, you should be happy. Stop trying to prevent the inevitable," Batman breathed and tried to pull the clown's hands away, hoping to prevent him from getting at the injury.
"No, I'm saving you!" the Joker's voice was broken, fierce and angry. He tore his hands free of Batman's grasp and continued to shred away at the suit, he was desperate. Nothing could happen to the Batman on his watch, he was all the Joker had.
"Don't, just let it go," the Caped Crusader pushed the small man, but it had no effect, and he winced, feeling the pain shoot deeper. Why did it have to be like that? He could have been fine dying alone, the Joker complicated things.
"Bat's I'm serious, I'm not letting you go out like this!" the clown's voice had become a horrid shriek of denial, his eyes bulging with panic. It was poorly contained, he didn't want to let his enemy die, and he never wanted to stop fighting him.
"Why would you want to save me? I'm your enemy. Besides the blood loss is too great," Bruce found his voice faltering, a gasping and weak tone that he hated the sound of. It was the tone that death spoke in, that same gasp uttering from his father's lips as he told him to be strong.
"I want to save what's mine. And you are mine Bats, you're mine!" the Joker all but wailed as he finally managed to press his hands flat against the hole in the vigilante's abdomen. He couldn't bring himself to let go of his way of life, all of it rested on the shoulders of the man in the cape and cowl.
"Joker," Batman used all of his strength and grabbed his enemy by the face, pulling him as close as he could before the pain struck sharply. He met the tormented green eyes and smiled the first real smile that had crossed his lips in years. But what he saw in the clown's face was genuine fear, pain and misery, as if he was genuinely affected by the loss of his enemy. "I'll still be yours, even when I'm gone," his voice was failing him at last, and suddenly, in his heart he knew that he had found the real Bruce Wayne. Alfred would never get to see it, but at least Bruce knew he was still a real person.
"Please, please, let me…I can…" the Joker was silenced with a finger to his lips as Batman pulled his mask off. But Bruce did not see shock in the younger man's face, there was a strange mix of awe, love and compassion that he couldn't really understand. He didn't even flinch when the Joker brushed his hands over his face, tracing the cheek bones and nose still red from the pressure of the mask.
"I'm yours now, all yours," Bruce breathed, his lungs were so close to quitting, he felt numb and he knew that passing out was in the near future.
"Thank you Bats," the Joker said and gently embraced Bruce, crying softly, "I'm going to miss you so much. I…loved you, you know that?" the broken clown added in a whisper that Bruce barely heard. But he understood, and it broke his heart. Of course he knew, it was the only reason the Joker got up in the morning, the desire to see his Batsy.
"I'm sorry Joker, I didn't want to leave you," the billionaire gasped and tried to fix his eyes long enough to finish speaking "I loved you too," he managed before it became too hard to draw enough air to speak. With a soft touch, hesitant but loving, the Joker kissed his Batsy and the older man closed his eyes his body going slack.
(A/N: Well there it was. Reviews? A bit sad I guess.)