A/N: Okay so this lovely joyride took me almost a year to complete and though it will be lengthy I swear it will not disappoint. I'm never one to brag but this work in particular I am extremely proud of and have watched the Dark Knight to study characterization far more than the healthy limit. There are things that happen in this story which will disturb, possibly make you laugh, and maybe even cry because if anyone has read from me they know I'm a fiend for the dramatics :). The title of this story stemmed from the epic poem of the exact title by John Milton. I present both Batman and the Joker in a way I feel is most true to their nature and may even surprise you with their actions, so I hope this is as thoroughly enjoyed as I have enjoyed my year writing this. I will answer any questions when posed if it won't give away the plot, and I do ask for patience because I guarantee every single question is answered sooner or later within the story. Most likely you and the other characters all have the same questions :P. Anyway, it's finally here, happy reading. It's going to be a very long bumpy ride! xoxo -Vermi

Paradise Lost

The lone click of high heels along concrete was the only sound that could be heard as Detective Patricia Fisico steadily made her way down the lower east side of Manhattan past two in the morning. Her usually chocolate hair was covered by an auburn shoulder-length wig and her caramel eyes wore green contact lenses to compliment her prostitute getup. Her gun was hidden under her long brown coat and her partner stood nearby speaking to her through a small microphone in her ear.

Splayed out in the black Chrysler was a huge map of the east side of Manhattan with red dots triangulating a pattern of locations by Detective Randall Viper, using only a small flashlight to keep his location hidden as he traced Patricia's route. The headlights were off as was the engine, leaving Viper in uncomfortable silence as several night-crawlers passed his parked vehicle, eyeballing it suspiciously.

Taking a deep breath and lifting the New York Times which headlined, 'Minx-Jinxed: Absconds with Seven Million in Soho', Viper's beady blue eyes narrowed at the best shot photographers managed to nail of a small female in a black lycra/spandex skintight romper with flirty faux-fur trimmings at the wrists and hood, and a plunge zipper which was undone straight down her large chest all the way to her navel. A long life-like cat tail curled inward on its own while feline claws which seemed to grow out of her very bare hands extended pretentiously as she glared directly at the photographer; posing. Her straight, lengthy raven hair contrasted her icy skin while glowing eyes pierced right through the camera.

"Bitch" he grumbled at the young woman pictured, but forgot that the handheld microphone was still on and Patricia heard him.

"Excuse me?" her Canadian accent replied sharply, keeping close to a graffiti-covered brick wall before turning to the right and heading down a different avenue, "I don't think the rest of Manhattan heard ya, Randall"

"Oh no no, sorry not you! Not you!" Viper cringed while clenching his teeth; secretly damning himself for the idiot move, "Just keep moving"

"Well, I think I'd like to know-"

"Minx…is that enough for you?"

"Why? You see her?" Patricia asked while keeping a single hand over the spot under her coat where her gun was rested.

"No" tossing aside the article and re-evaluating the map he tried to figure out her location, "Where are you?"

"Clinton and East Broadway" Patricia curled her lips while checking the signs above her head.

"Make a left"

With an eye roll Patricia headed in that very direction, "I know where I'm going"

"Oh really?" he raised his eyebrows with a wry smirk, "And what brings you to that conclusion?"

"Because cats hate water, Minx won't be within a hundred feet of the Hudson"

"She's not running shit or they'd never allow her picture to be taken so easily"

"She was POSING, Randall" Patricia spat while heading down a few side streets and ignoring any movement from drug dealers and homeless, "She WANTED that picture to go public"

"She's smoking hot, why hide it from the population?"

"And I'm gonna turn my mic off now, bye" Patricia groaned, and with a click Viper was out of her ear.

Sighing and letting the wind lift her wig off her shoulders a bit, Patricia continued her route when she heard a soft, high-pitched feminine giggle followed by a thick Italian accent. Immediately she kept close to the wall and followed the sound, navigating through the shadows to get to the narrow passage between torn-down residential buildings where the petite, sweet-voiced Minx actually purred like a real cat and approached the older, fine suit-wearing Italian man. The feline was so short she didn't even clear five feet with those boots on.

"Minxy…" exhaling, the mob leader ran a hand down a hip-length piece of raven while staring deep into the piercing ice-blue eyes with feline slits for pupils which glowed from underneath her raised hood, "you know I'm good for it, when have I ever blown you off?"

"My boss thinks differently" she chirped with a slight giggle; tracing a claw down his chest and snipping the buttons off his suit, slowly backing him against the far wall.

"Well" he chuckled faintly, pulling at his neck collar nervously, "I mean, who sees your boss, Minxy? He don't even live in this city"

"Uh uh uh…!" the claw moved from his chest to his nose and she slowly shook her head, puffing her disproportionately massive chest out and smirking though he couldn't see her shadowed lips, "Let's not talk like that, sillybuns…okay?"

"Minx" both his hands went up and a cold sweat trickled down his face, "I got your money, alright? I got it all for ya; I told ya where to go"

"And my friends are checkin' it out so I know your boys aren't gonna double-cross us" she nodded while poking her tongue between her teeth, tantalizingly running a claw close to his eye sockets when Patricia turned her back and whispered harshly.

"Call for backup I've got Minx and Ervolino right here!"

"Where are you, Fisico?"

"Ahhh…" clenching her teeth she looked for street signs and swallowed hard, "I'm in an alley between fourth and Stevens, hurry! They're talking about the armed robbery in Soho!"

"Minx herself came out of that empty-handed" Viper replied while staring at the headline photo and starting the engine, "but I knew Ervolino had something to do with all that. His record was too clean for a while; it was starting to rattle my cage"

"Well hurry up, they're not stationary!"

"Over and out" Viper picked up his radio receiver to get every cop in Manhattan to help Patricia right on scene.

"Minxy, when have I ever done the big man wrong, huh?" Ervolino continued to bargain with her.

"Whoop-dee-damn-ding-dong!" her claws dug deep into his tailored suit, "Grovel to someone who gives a fuck."

A shadow loomed over the entire alley so naturally Patricia whipped her handgun out and held it close by, pressing her back to a brick wall and shivering.

The only illumination became Minx's icy glowing eyes as she made a purring sound before slinking into the shadows. Shivering, Ervolino felt all over his front and panicked.

"Minx?" his head whipped about in fear, "Minxy? Minxy you BITCH stop" his breath was stole as a large hand grabbed his throat, the light returning so he could face a burly man whose face was hidden by a clown mask. Patricia gasped, scrambling for her digital camera when she realized the alley was too dark to get the right shot without a flash going off, which would blow her cover for sure. "Hey! Tell your lackey to put me damn down!" Ervolino panicked, gasping for air as his face became red from lack of oxygen, "I ahh…"

"What?" Minx giggled from a distance, floating a good ten feet in the air and giggling as she did so, "You what you what you what?"

"Minx!" Ervolino gagged.

"Hey!" the lackey in the mask turned and shook his head at her paternally, "Get lost before you hurt yourself"

Ervolino raised an eyebrow as Minx landed; giggling manically when moments later his best men were tossed to the ground as if they were weightless by a group of other men in clown masks armed with heavy artillery.

"They're heavier than they look" one of the masked goons ribbed while pulling a purring Minx under an arm, sheepishly awaiting the man holding Ervolino's reaction when police sirens cut them off.

Exchanging glances with the rest, one of the men whined, "Already?"

With a scowl, the chubby one who had Ervolino faced Minx disappointedly and shook his head, "We need a muzzle on that one"

"FUCK you, mojito!" Minx hissed exactly like a feral cat when the masked men alternated with who shot what prisoner dead before the guy with his hand on Ervolino's throat glared at the others.

"Let me deal with THIS one"

"OW!" Minx yelped as she was grabbed by the tail and a bullet was fired their way along with a shit-ton of police vehicles skidding to a stop right on location. Patricia's disguise came off and she shouted to the group.


Taking a moment to prepare, the line of masked men stepped forwards towards the onslaught of police and the little woman holding the gun with their hands in the air.

"DROP YOUR WEAPONS!" a cop shouted through a bullhorn and they all did so, just standing there when from underneath each vehicle came a massive explosion killing each and every officer except the young detective duo immediately, for Viper had found Patricia and pulled her into the alley just as the gust of flames appeared from under the parked cars. The group then disappeared once they admired their victory, leaving Patricia and Viper to gasp in horror at the result of their planned bust.

A large color photograph of Minx laughing over flame and burning police vehicles was slammed to the table so hard that Patricia gasped and backed a step, being steadied by her partner as the Chief glared at them hatefully through his glasses. Pinching his nose for a second and curling his lips in, Viper nodded along before holding up a hand.

"Look…" Viper exhaled calmly as not to excite the room full of officials with their arms folded across their chests, "you sent us out to track Minx…" he swallowed hard as Patricia's eyes glossed over from fright at what could possibly spew from his mouth that she'd have to bail him out of, "and we found her"

"And lost twenty-five cops in the process!" the Chief roared, "Your ONE assignment for MONTHS has been to track down Minx and that gang of masked murderers!"

Patricia finally spoke up to her partner's defense, "There's A LOT of them!"

"And they wear masks and carry heavy artillery we KNEW all this, Fisico!" the Chief denounced her potential finding, "I didn't send you out to PISS them off!"

"What would it matter?" Viper snapped with a slight sneer, "How possible do you think it is to physically stop them when they've got people brainwashed into turning themselves in to vindicate the organization?"

Though his face hadn't regained any of its natural color, the Chief's voice dropped low, "Maroni's men in Gotham were able to turn"

"Oh! And look what happened to them!" Viper's voice rose accidentally, "They're all DEAD because they trusted that anarchist psychopath—Minx doesn't actually KILL her employees!"

"Mind explaining Ervolino?" the Lieutenant slapped a photograph of the slain mob leader, "You were saying" his eyes lifted to Viper's, "Master Viper?"

"Ervolino tried to double-cross Minx and she called her buddies for backup" Viper spoke up when Patricia's head whipped to his and she ripped her Chanel glasses off her head ready to kill.

"Really?" the Lieutenant snapped at Patricia, "You know where their hideout is? You know their real names? You're aware of how long it is going to take to return the city's faith in law enforcement because you decided it was okay to let that freak brigade make a barbecue out of our best men?"

"You KNEW the risks" Viper snarled when the Chief charged from behind the desk and grabbed the scruff of his neck, "We were told to come for MINX and ERVOLINO! NEITHER have the ability to turn an entire police force into a pile of ash!"

"I want this madness to end" the Chief glared at the duo, "and by the way things with you two are going this is obviously too much to ask from two of the city's finest agents"

"She's fucking superpowered what do you want us to DO?" Viper growled, "I'll go roll around in radioactive paste if you'd like!"

"Randall!" Patricia hissed to make him shut up, but Viper had blown his top.

"How can two ordinary cops come after these freaks? They're obviously out for a lot more than money, they haven't spent a god damn dime of it; they're simply hoarding to piss us the fuck off! We're in shark-filled waters here with these sick-minded fucks who obviously want a lot more than seven million dollars from the people of New York!"

"They could murder every elected official in this city and get away with it scot-free; that's power you can't buy" Patricia spoke up again, looking the room of angry men in the eye, "Minx obviously wants a lot more than money"

"She wants control" Viper finished the sentence, "Control of what, obviously no one knows jack…but between you and me, this shit is way beyond our grasp-beyond anyone's grasp."

"Not anyone" the Lieutenant shook his head stiffly before facing the room, "Once this gets to the Commissioner I suggest a conference…" lastly Patricia and Viper received a nod, "this truly is out of your hands, guys. Turn in your guns and badges, then get out of my sight."

As a bleary-eyed Patricia wrapped in a cream-colored fleece blanket made her way to the couch in her twin sister's Park Avenue penthouse with a steaming mug in hand, her tiny twin with hip-length raven hair frowned and extended an arm towards her.

"Nawwww my Trisha Anne…" her plump lips pouted as a sniffling Trish plopped next to her and stared into the crystal coffee table, "you gotted fired."

"Can it, Meem" Trish snapped before taking a sip of her mug, ignoring her tiny twin's manicured nails playing with her thick chocolate hair, "It's not fair."

"Did they fire fagtown?"

"Yes" dipping her head to rest on her icy-skinned sister's shoulder, Trish frowned.

Soaking that thought for a moment, Mindy nodded with pursed lips, "Then it is fair."

"MEEM!" pulling her head up and shaking her head at her sister, Trish pouted, "I came here for…" she moved her hand in a circular motion while crying, "moral support, ya know?"

"Ohhh" Mindy took in a deep breath and sighed, "yes. I understand. Nobody likes stupid Lurch anyway-"



"S-" she short-circuited, "Stop calling him that!"

"But why, Trisha Anne?" her lips pouted and she frowned innocently, "I only speak truth"

"Then call him by his REAL name, Meemsicle."

"Not my fault you married Victor Frankenstein's ugly brother"

"Speaking of…" frowning, Trish glanced about, "how are you dealing with-"

Mindy glanced about with a shrug, "I do not care."

"I still can't believe he's been dead for so long now" Trish frowned and followed her sister off the couch and all the way upstairs into the master bedroom, where Mindy's eyes bugged out at the faux-fur trimmed black romper with a hood and long cat tail lying on the ivory carpet.

"Well…" sighing and kicking the outfit under the lavender comforter of the king-sized bed, Mindy clamped a hand in her hair and swallowed hard. She naturally extended her own nails into cat claws to fix her slightly tangled mass of straightened raven hair before Trish appeared behind her and the claws retracted so she couldn't see, "Would ya like to go out and dig him up wherever he may lie?"

"I suppose I could…" Trish sighed, "Being that I'm on unemployment anyway until-"

"Ohhh Trisha Anne" Mindy sighed while double-checking to make sure her catsuit was under the bed before following her twin out, "well you could always take MY place"

Trish snickered while going downstairs to pour herself yet another cup of tea, "I don't think so, Meemsicle. You've kinda got me one-upped"

"Oh Trisha Anne, singing is easy I could always teach you"

"You're a prodigy, Meem" Trish rolled her eyes before sitting on the black granite counter by the steel sink, "No way could I fill your shoes."

"I got a concert in Gotham soon if you wanna be my road bitch" Mindy smiled warmly, approaching a wall of glass which overlooked Central Park, "I can use the company now that you are on the food stamp line"

"Seriously Meem, if I get ONE MORE unemployment joke from you I'm gonna-"

"Ha, I love you Trisha Anne. Just do not bring Ronald anywhere I hate him."