Where are you? And I'm so sorry.

I cannot sleep. I cannot dream tonight.

I need somebody and always.

This sick strange darkness comes creeping on so haunting every time,

And as I stared, I counted the webs from all the spiders

Catching things and eating their insides

Like indecision to call you and hear your voice of treason.

Will you come home and stop this pain tonight… stop this pain tonight?

Don't waste your time on me. You're already the voice inside my head.

I miss you… I miss you…

from I Miss You by Blink 182

XX The Voice Inside My Head XX

Joker was becoming restless and agitated.

The plan was flawless, so well drawn out, so indestructible that it was practically the picture of perfection itself. The clues quite obviously pointed directly to him. It was so obvious! A dead body here, an exploding building here, a few joker gas bombs going off right here. Batman should be getting the hints any second now. The punch line. There wasn't a single way in earth, heaven, or even hell that the plan could fail, but doubt was beginning to crawl into the clown's mind. What if Batsy didn't show?

But he had to come! He was the Batman for crying out loud! There was no possible way that he couldn't show up!

Then what was taking him so long?

The Clown Prince of Crime slumped into a metal chair and studied the dark remains of the abandoned warehouse surrounding him. It had been weeks since he had escaped from Arkham, yet he hadn't even caught a glimpse of his favorite little flying rat. He had figured that just placing one foot beyond that blasted asylum's threshold was good enough reason for the dark-clad vigilante to come swooping down to the rescue, but no one had shown.

Where was Batsy?!

Batsy… Please don't keep me waiting like this…

With a growl of frustration, he raked a hand through his greasy, dark green hair and kicked at a nearby wooden crate. It was a good thing he had left Harley back at Arkham. Who knows how annoying she would be?

It wasn't that he hated Harley. No, that wasn't it. The kid meant good, even though she could sometimes get out of hand. Most of the time. No, he had left her back at that hellish asylum to focus. To focus on the bat, and only the bat, his true obsession.

Did you know that, Batsy? I'm obsessed with you. I miss you dearly. Why don't you come out to play? Hmmmmmm?

The Joker cocked his head back and let out a crazed cackle only a true insane madman could deliver. His voice rang louder as the laughter echoed against the warehouses rusting metal walls.

Back at Arkham, he had always mused about Batman and his relationship. Yes, a relationship, even though poor Batsy didn't realize it. The only reason he escaped from Arkham every time was because he was obsessed, because he loved the game he and his bat played every time. The fighting and battling. Batman was the one who crazed him, the one who drove him insane, and he loved it. He couldn't help but come back for more. And deep down inside, he knew that Batman loved it too.

He knew Batman was just as obsessed as he was.

Another laughing fit came, and he welcomed it gladly. If the dead victims around the city didn't draw Batsy to him, the volume of his laughter certainly would.

And where was good old Batsy? Certainly he wasn't this slow. How could he keep good ol' Mr J waiting like this? Didn't he know that his clown was just dying to see him once more?

Hahahahahahaaaa! Where are you Batsy? Hmmmm? I miss you. I can't sleep after all these nights of not seeing your lovely, grimacing face.

He set his gloved hands on his knees and leaned forward dramatically, eyeing the metal door of the warehouse. Batman could burst in at any second, and Joker would make sure to greet him happily. He could hear his voice now, how he would yell at him. He could imagine every grunt he would give off as he punched his face, and the sound was like music to Joker's ears. It was the same voice that came to him every night in that asylum.

And Joker was sure that good ol' Batsy was haunted by his own laughing voice just as well.

Suddenly there was a sharp ring behind him, like a sword being drawn. Then there was the unmistakable Batarang being held at his face from someone standing behind. Joker's smile grew.

"So you finally decided to show up! Hey Batsy! Do you even know how depressed I've been ever since you locked me back up at the asylum all those months ago?" A high giggle escaped his lips, and his body began to shake with excitement. The bat had finally arrived!

"It took you long enough." Another giggle. "How could you keep me waiting for that long? I've missed you." He could hardly suppress the guffaws that were bubbling in his throat now. His body remained seated, though it quaked.

Batman's whispered quietly behind him. "What do you want, Joker?" The icy coldness of his breath against his ear made Joker shiver pleasure. He had waited so long to hear that raspy, gravelly voice again.

"I want you, Batsy. I want youuuu…"

A pause. Joker kept his eyes fixated ahead as he listened to Batman's breathing behind him. His own heart was thumping crazily with excitement.

"Nothing else? No money? No jewels?"

Joker dared to let out a snicker, then another. "No money. No jewels. Only me and you, Batsy. Doesn't that make you feel special? Heeheeheeheeheeeeeee…" He held out the last giggle for effect.

"What about those innocent people that were murdered?" the voice growled.

"That was only an invitation… so you would come… and I just knew you would," he seethed. His body began to shake more violently with anticipation.

"And how did you know that?"

"Because I know you're obsessed with me, Batsy. You've just never admitted it."

"…"

There was a dark menacing chuckle, and Joker turned in his seat to face Batman. Oh how he loved that beautiful mask. He'd practically died not seeing it for so long.

"I've missed you so much, Batsy. Are you glad to see me?"

XXXXX

"Master Bruce?"

Bruce managed to pry an eye open, and then the other. He squinted at bright lights pouring in through the windows.

"Master Bruce?"

With a moan of pain, he turned to his right, where the butler was hovering over his bed.

"Master Bruce?"

"What, Alfred?"

"You have a conference at eight o'clock."

He turned to the alarm clock on the desk to the left of his bed. 7:27.

"Why didn't you wake me earlier?"

"You came in rather late last night, sir," came the short reply.

A pause. "How late?"

"About four this morning, sir." Alfred turned to the closet to get out a suit for his master while Bruce attempted to sit up in his sore body.

What a strange dream… Joker had been locked up in Arkham for the past three months and this is what he got? Strange dreams about that psycho maniac? It sent shivers down Bruce's spine.

I'm obsessed with you, Batsy.

With a sigh, he stared down at the thick black sheets of his bed. How could a sick, demented dream like that manage to find its way into his head? I've missed you, Batsy. Seriously? How could that be possible.

What if that was what Joker was thinking right now in his cell? Another shudder ran through his body. That insane madman could be doing anything in there, and Bruce thought it best not to dwell on things like that. He was probably scheming on his next escape.

Are you waiting, Batsy? Are you obsessed? Do you miss me? Am I the voice inside your head? Hahahahahahahaaaa!