A/N: Um, okay. This is a story within the story, something outside of the current Jay and Gracie storyline, which I'm blocked on. In fact, it is technically a crossover with the Arkham Asylum game in which Jay and Grace wind up in that world. So it will be Joker vs. Joker and Gracie vs. Harley, not to mention all the other fun characters from our favorite home for the mentally disturbed, IE: Victor Zsasz, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Bane and Killer Croc, plus a supporting cast of some several hundred Joker henchmen, Asylum inmates and staff, with a cameo by Commissioner Gordon. But no Batman. Probably not, anyway. I've been blocked for so long and written nothing at all and I had to do something. So I hope all of my readers will enjoy this look at them from a different perspective.
I own nothing and am not getting paid for this.
The Joker was miffed. No,it was worse that that. He was irked, and possibly on the way to being ticked off. Here He had set up a delightful play date with Batsy—even if Batsy didn't know it yet—with lots and lots of fun surprises in store including violent death and ten-foot tall monsters—and Batsy had not shown. Moreover, the Gotham PD had shown a little smarts for once, and actually caught Him. Caught Him! Yes, He had been trying to make it easy, but that was so the Bat would be sure to catch Him, not the Keystone Kops. So now He was sitting on His ass in the vehicle they used to transport inmate/patients to Arkham Island, and quite uncomfortable thanks to having His hands cuffed behind him rather than in front.
Maybe He shouldn't have killed His lawyers after all. They might be useful in a situation like this, but that was all blood under the bridge at this point. Literally… And the transport was not only stuffy, it was smelly and hot. He was offended, and said as much to the guard.
"Shut up," the man explained.
This really was annoying, and worse, boring. However, something did come along to alleviate the tedium, at least momentarily. Someone banged on the side of the transport. "Two more for the bughouse," said a voice.
The guard slid the door open. "What'd they do?" he asked.
"Ran afoul of the Bogue-47s," said the police officer who stood there, naming a famously vicious independent street gang. Independent in the sense that they didn't belong to one of the many supervillains, that is. Chemical dependencies were another thing entirely.
"And they're still alive?" the guard asked.
"Yeah." The officer helped a young woman into the vehicle, making sure she didn't bump her head—not out of chivalry, but because her hands were also cuffed behind her. "Six of the Bogues are dead."
"Seven," the young lady corrected.
"There were only six bodies," the officer told her.
"Seven dead, though. My shoes—well, they were hungry." The Joker looked at her feet. The transport could easily hold twenty-four, but before this He had had it to himself, and He had taken the padded rear seat rather than the uncushioned benches at the front. She was not so far away that He couldn't see her, though. She had on a pair of pink high-heeled shoes. Even in the half-light inside the transport, the color was astonishing, like a couple of exotic flowers that happened to be shoe-shaped. Well, of course. They're lady-slippers. He giggled at the thought.
"Uh-huh. According to her, her shoes ate somebody, so she's going to be your guest for a while. And as for him--you're not gonna believe who he thinks he is....." Whatever the officer whispered to the guard, it must have been hilarious--at least to them.
"So what are their names?" asked the guard.
"No idea. She didn't have any ID or anything, not even a purse or a cell phone. Nothing in his pockets but knives and a little money."
"You, uh, forgot the lint," said a slightly nasal male voice.
"Nothing in the system on them either. It's like they don't exist."
"So what is your name?" the guard asked.
"Uhmmmm, lemme think--James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree." said the male voice.
The girl came back at him with another line, "'Took great care of his mother. Although he was only three'. It's a poem by A.A. Milne--he came up with Winnie-the-Pooh."
"Riiiight." said the guard. "Okay. John Doe. What about you?"
"I'd claim I was Kayako Saeki if it wouldn't go right over your head." she replied. The Joker looked at her more closely. She had the shiny, straight black hair He associated with Asians, but He couldn't see her face.
"Jane Doe it is." said the guard. "Okay, load him in." The officer shoved the young man in, the guard slid shut the panel separating the passenger compartment from the rest of the vehicle, and a moment later the transport's engine rumbled to life.
As the vehicle made a turn in the parking lot, the young man said, "I don't want to sit up here. Let's go to the back." Changing seats in a moving vehicle was awkward even when not handcuffed behind the back, but they got up anyway. "Crap, somebody's already there--."
"Jay--do you see?" The girl did not finish the sentence. She didn't have to. Everybody knew Him on sight. The Joker sat up a little straighter and waited for them to express their honor at being in His Glorious presence. Or cower in fear, which was even better.
...but they didn't. "Uh--isn't this interesting?" asked the young man rhetorically.
They sat down next to each other about a third of the way down from the Joker. Now that He could see them more clearly, He quickly dismissed the boy as boring and the girl as having potential. Despite the tasteful pattern of fresh bloodstains, the boy's suit had no style, no style at all, being grey and very ordinary. Nothing like His majestic purple suit or His orange waistcoat, let alone His natty white spats. Not everyone could be gifted with a sartorial sense like His, though, and He was a big enough man to feel pity for those less fortunate on that front. Poor young man, to be so dull so soon.
On second glance, however, the Joker percieved that the young man's hair was tinged with green. Nothing at all like His sleek, sophisticated emerald locks, but better than just plain brown. The girl showed off some shapely leg below the frothy hem of her dress, which was a rather attractive sour-apple-candy green, but most of her face was obscured by her hair. Her mouth looked bruised, but her demeanor was not that of a cowed victim. If she had been in a fight, she had not come out the loser.
If He was studying them, they were studying Him. The boy giggled irritatingly. "Are you, uh, wearing make-up?" he asked.
"Are you?" retorted the Joker. Come to think of it, there was something odd about the texture of the young man's face.
"I asked first," retorted the youngster (the Joker judged him to be about fifteen years younger than he).
"So you did... The answer is no. Perfection cannot be improved upon, after all." He lifted His chin so they could admire His profile better.
"On the other hand, there are certain lilies that could use a bit of gilding." murmured the young woman derisively.
The Joker snapped His head back down and glared at her. "And some people could use a belt in the kisser." he stated with a growl.
"Too late!" she declared in a cheerful voice, her tongue flicking quickly over her split and discolored lips.
"But there's always room for more--what are you doing?" His attention had been hijacked by the young man, who had started to squirm in his seat, chafing first one side of his face and then the other against the shoulders of his suit. His skin was peeling off in strips--no, it was thin pieces of latex or something like it, stuck down with some kind of adhesive and then daubed with make-up.
"To answer your question," His face now bare, the insolent puppy locked his eyes on the Joker's while turning his face, the better to show off the messy scars which pulled his mouth into a perpetual smile, "I was wearing make-up. You, uh, wanna know how I got these scars?"
"I will admit to being mildly interested. You may go on," said the Clown Prince of Crime magnanimously.
"Uh. Okay," The young man grimaced, looked down and scuffed his foot along the transport floor in boyish embarrassment. "It's kinda stupid, actually. I had this normal childhood, see? Brothers and sisters, big yard, lots of friends. We used to play make-believe a lot. So one day, we decide we're going to play pirates. And what do pirates do when they attack a ship? They swing over on ropes with these, uh, cutlasses between their teeth. So I got this knife from the kitchen--the big butcher knife, actually--Thing is, I never noticed they put them in their mouths sharp side out, so when I tripped...." He winced.
The Joker didn't. "I don't believe a word of it."
"Why didn't your parents have your face sewn up properly, then?" the Joker pressed.
The boy shrugged. "No health insurance."
"Is he telling the truth?" The Joker turned to the girl.
"I've heard him tell the story of how he got his scars many times." she stated. "He always tells the truth."
"Yes, but do you?" the Joker asked. He was beginning to suspect that these two were in the supervillain game, too. They had moved so smoothly despite the restraints, and there were other signs. He had never encountered them before, but there were so many--they weren't greenhorns, for those who were entirely new to it tended to swagger brashly, insecure young bucks trying to take down the King Stag. The cool effrontery these two displayed said they were at least middleweights. They weren't Punch and Jewelee, he knew them... Were there any other couple supervillain duos other than himself and Harley? "Who are you, anyway?"
"Me?" she asked. "I'm nobody."
"Then I'm nobody's fool." the young man returned immediately. "And I like to hold a grudge...." He clearly thought that was rather funny, because he laughed, but the girl made a huffy sound.
Then suddenly she was sitting very close to the Joker. He flinched a trifle, instinctively. He hadn't seen her get up and move. Not that she had scared Him, for nothing scared Him. He was startled, that was all. She leaned closer. Her face was still mostly hidden by her hair, and she swayed with the motion of the transport. "He really isn't wearing any make-up and his hair isn't dyed. Also, he doesn't smell right," she said.
"Well! There's no call to get personal here!" the Joker said, offended.
"What, uh, do you mean by 'not right'?" asked the young man.
"Not entirely human," she said, slowly. "There's acetone...and carbon tetrachloride, I think--and it can't be cleaning solvant from his clothes because that suit hasn't seen the inside of a dry cleaner's shop since the day it was made."
"Pfah!" the Joker exclaimed. For a moment He was simply 'he', in the lower-case, as He glanced down at His suit, which was patched in places with fabric that didn't quite match, and mottled with stains of various kinds in others. The fabric flower pinned to it was limp, bedraggled, and His shoes were scuffed. An uneducated, unenlightened person (such as this girl) might, on first glance, see Him as...shabby. And old. And ridiculous--not in a good way either,with His long spindly limbs and flamboyant mannerisms. The boy still had his eyes locked on the Joker's, with an infuriatingly calm expression on his face. Very few people could keep their calm in His presence, and He did not like it. He began to think of ways He would like to kill them, separately and together. "Remind Me to kill you very slowly, when I get around to it."
"Too late!" she said, cheerfully, as she had when He mentioned punching her in the face.
"These cuffs will be coming off soon enough. Just you wait....Again, I ask--who are you?"
"Now this is where it gets, uh, complicated," the young man said. "I prefer to keep things simple and this one evades explanation anyhow. I am the Joker, and this is my lovely wife, the Grudge."
The Joker nearly laughed His last meal onto the transport floor. "You? You're the Joker? With that drab suit and your pink skin and your hair that's a poor excuse for green? You're saying that you--you! are Me? No wonder they're sending you to Arkham! And they call Me crazy! This is just too good!"
"I, uh, never said I was you. I said I was the Joker. In another universe, that is. This suit is what I wear when I, uh, like to be incognito, although Gracie sometimes gives the game away. As for the hair and the make-up--is that all that makes you the Joker? Just a case of hypopigmentation and hair that, uh, looks an awful lot like a lawn divot on top of your head?"
"You know what they say," added the Grudge, or Gracie, or Kayaky Sack or whatever she had said earlier, "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone." That did it. He really was going to have to kill them in some painful and humilliating way, and an idea was beginning to form in his mind.
"And there's another reason why you couldn't possibly be The Joker," He said to the impostor, the pretender, "because little wifey there would know better than to run her mouth like that. It could be fatal, you know."
"That's my sassy girl. Gracie wouldn't be Gracie if she wasn't snarky," the pretender replied.
"The two of you ought to have a joke-off to see who wins. That's spelled J-O-K-E, not J-E-R-K, so spare me the smutty comments," suggested the so-called wife.
"Say--that's an excellent idea!" the Joker exclaimed with genuine enthusiasm. "You see, I had this wonderful party planned out for Bats, and I was absolutely devastated when he stood Me up. Months of planning down the drain--but now that the two of you have turned up, maybe it won't have to be canceled after all."
The faux Joker and the Grudge exchanged glances. "Sounds like, uh, fun," said the imitation. "What do you say, Sassy Girl?"
"As if I had a prayer of stopping you," she retorted. "What kind of party is this--why am I even asking? It wouldn't be fun for you if there weren't a double digit body count at the end of the night."
"No, no, it's a good question--Let's see. This was My latest, and greatest plan to crush both Gotham and Batman for good, so I'm just going to go right ahead with My plans while you try and stop Me. How does that work for you?"
"Hmmmm," said the impostor. "You'll have lots of henchmen on your side, plus all your plans and plenty of toys, while I'll be all on my lonesome except for Gracie here, without even a knife to my name. Sounds fair enough to me."
"Splendid! This is going to be such fun!" The transport had passed the Asylum gates and crossed the bridge to the island. Slowing as it drew near the front doors of Admissions, it came to a halt with a sigh of exhaust fumes. The sound of the door opening was a snap remarkably like the breaking of a spine.
Kayako Saeki is the name of the ghost in the Grudge movies. Tomorrow I will be working like mad on getting caught up on reviews. See you soon!