Summary: Everything burns eventually. Some people just help it happen sooner rather than later. / This is a new story about a girl who set out to Gotham to find her father, but found a Clown in his place and a Bat desprate to keep her away from him.

Disclaimer: I do not own Batman or the Joker or the DC universe. I only own my OFC, Kida Novak.

Warnings: mentions of sex, strong language, Joker's demented mind, and sporadic updates

Author's Note: This is just a preview chapter. All other chapters will be far longer and contain more action. I just had to get this up today. Kida, the character, has been haunting me for weeks now and I haven't found a true place for her until today. I hope that she is happy here, where the spotlight will always be on her.

All the World is a Stage: Scene 1: The Beginning
by Vaughn Tyler

Sunday, May 03

As I filled out the witness report I allowed my mind to drift back to my middle school years. Mostly my eight grade speech class. I remembered our first assignment: the dreaded standard introductory paper. After committing the speech to memory for the presentation I've never forgotten it.

"When some parents are asked where babies come from they answer with something along the lines of, 'When two people love one another very much they hug a cretin, special way. Then, nine months later, they become the proud parents of a bouncing bundle of joy known as a baby.'

"I did not come from such a union. You see alcohol can compel a man and a woman who barely know one another and are intensely drunk to have fumbling sex in a back ally. Through this scenario of child conception only the woman is left with a squirming, fleshy reminder of why it is very bad to do that. This is where I come from. I was both a mistake and a miracle to my mother. Her pregnancy gave her enough of a backbone to stand up to her parents…"

The speech went on for a bit and into a description of how my mother stood up to her parents, forced the entire family to move away from Gotham, and raised me into a decent human being. But, honestly, it wasn't important right now. Delilah Shaw was more important.

From what I understood, Delilah was a single mother without the backing of the rest of her family. The proud woman had spent the last eight years raising her daughter, Lily, alone in a small apartment just on the right side of the Narrows. She scrapped by working long hours at her secretarial job at Wayne Industries and did her best for Lily.

I knew all this because Lily has been hanging onto my arm since I witnessed her mother's mugging four hours ago. A man had knifed Delilah in the side for her cranberry red handbag that contained seven dollars and fifty-two cents, a trashy cell phone, some make up, and her 99' Saturn's car keys. Jeffery Skyes was the nineteen year old assailant and the police had already caught him due to my description. It was an open and shut case, but such a case that would ruin a bright little girl's life forever.

Child services came and took Lily away twenty minutes later, and some nameless blonde cop thanked me for all my help. Just like that I was back out on the streets like I had been for the past month and a half.

One month didn't seem like an appropriate measure of time for how long I've been in Gotham City. 19 fires, 3 bank robberies, 9 deaths, 2 mass breakouts, and no clues about my father seemed like a more appropriate measurement. It was slightly terrifying and more then slightly exciting to be in such a city. For the past fourteen years, I've dreamt of coming to this crime ridden place and finding the man that helped conceive me, but my dreams now seemed like silent black and white films in comparison the loud and bright reality I live in.

Cars blared by and down the street sirens sounded, people were everywhere, talking, laughing, living, and all I could do was bight the inside of my cheek to keep from grinning. Even with the death, and the lack of leads, I loved it here. With a vague sense of elation I wondered if MIT would be anything like this.