Pretty In Pink

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Shelf Life" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 6 July 2010.

It was the flashiest, most expensive and undoubtedly the most exclusive social event of the year: the wedding of Carmine Falcone's eldest daughter to the handsome star pitcher for the Gotham Knights. Anyone who was anyone had fought, cheated and sold firstborn children to get an invitation, and as the champagne flowed the crowd networked as only the power-hungry could.

A generous donation from a 'friend of the family' led the Gotham opera house to host the reception. As the speeches began the guests were focused on the stage bearing the top table, and far above from the dizzying heights of the catwalk there was a clear vantage point for the theatrics to come.

"I do love weddings," Harley sighed wistfully. "Don't you Puddin'?"

Craning over the edge of the platform to get the best view of Falcone begining his speech, Joker was determinedly ignoring her.

"It's all so romantic," Harley continued. "And the food looked great – y'think they hired an outside caterer?"

Joker was focused on an ornate white basket on the stage, decorated with pink roses and containing a dozen white doves to be released at the end of the father-of-the-bride's speech. The schedule dictated the doves would be released in a cascade of white feathers and exit through an open skylight above the catwalk.

Joker never had been a fan of being dictated to.

"I think it's cruel keepin' them shut in a box." Harley had befriended the doves when, disguised as their handler's assistant, she planted the canisters inside their basket.

"Cruel maybe. Corny as hell? Unquestionably." Joker scoffed at the mass of toadying guests. "It's a hackneyed end to the most tasteless wedding of the year. They should be grateful I deigned to step in and liven things up."

As he spoke Falcone gestured to his daughter and new son-in-law to general applause, and off-stage the dove handler moved into position and prepared to pull the release ribbon. Joker depressed the detonator with a merry chuckle.

Instantly clouds of gas billowed from the basket, causing those near to the stage to launch into fits of coughing. These should have been followed by the beginnings of helpless laughter and delightful convulsions, but something seemed to be wrong.

For a start, Joker toxin was not usually bright pink.

"Harley, you addle-brained twit," he hissed furiously, "what did you do with the toxin?"

Harley stared at the pink-tinged chaos with wide eyes. "I don't know! I just used up what was leftover from the carnival gig last year."

Joker ground his teeth with frustration. "The formula has an extremely short half-life – it's practically useless beyond a few months old."

As the smoke cleared leaving the guests woefully unharmed, several dazed-looking doves appeared from the basket, their feathers now a delicate coral pink. As their wits returned they took flight to the bemused claps of the guests who assumed it was all part of the entertainment.

"On the bright side, it did make them really pretty, huh Mistah J?"

Author's Note: The white doves released at weddings, funerals and other such events are usually "white rock doves" aka white pigeons, since your traditional white doves don't have much of a homing instinct and tend to go and sit in a tree/get eaten and don't return to the breeder's aviary.

I am sure that someone, somewhere has probably tried to deliberately dye release doves pink to fit in with a wedding colour scheme. Woe and despair.