I said I would be better at updating :D I'm sad to say though that we've reached the end now, but this is the first story I wrote and the first I've finished, so I'm proud of the milestone. The chapter was kind of short, so I decided to attach the epilogue to it, as it seemed to flow better that way anyway. Just for reference, the epilogue is written from Jim Gordon's point-of-view.
"Was Jack your name then?" Harry asked, looking at The Joker seriously.
"Oh yes; so dull, isn't it? Almost as bad as Harry, but then again, that's two syllables of boring. But they say we should keep our living close and our dead closer," Joker told him with a smile, and Harry laughed.
"That isn't the saying," he corrected, leaning slightly into the psychopath, "but I like yours more."
"Well of course you do; it makes much more sense. Gotham will understand it later, oh, but I just hope they like fishing. I'll suppose it might be easier to let Croc into the water to clean up the mess."
"What mess?" Harry asked, but Joker shook his head.
"It will be a chaotic surprise. I do love surprises; especially of the homicidal kind. And this, this will be an experiment that will blow Batman's mind, hopefully not literally of course, but hey, maybe he'll snap too. Harvey Dent has certainly seen a different side of things now," Joker said with a cackle, standing suddenly and darting from the room. He came back in not much later changed into his usual gear. "Would you like to come and watch the show? Let's leave baby here; don't want him to be having nightmares just yet."
Joker seemed very excited, and Harry was intrigued to see what the man had prepared.
"Luna, watch Teddy for me please," he requested of the blonde girl, stepping outside to meet her. He bent down so he was face to face with the baby. "I'll see you later Teddy-bear. You be a good, good boy and I'll bring you a present." Teddy smiled a toothless grin at him, his hair turning a bright red colour. "Aren't you a cutie, smiling? Who is the cutest boy?"
"I think he wants blood as a gift," Jack said darkly, pointing to the red hair. "I can certainly give him that."
The psychopath grabbed hold of Harry's arm to drag him the way he wanted to go. A car was waiting for them by the side of the road, a clown mask on the driver's face. He stood from the car and held the door open for The Joker, who stabbed him through the stomach as he passed, signalling for Harry to finish the man off in a stream of fire.
Harry got into the passenger side and watched the streets as Joker sped through the city. It was night and though the streets seemed less busy than usual, it was still crawling with scantily clad women and hooded figures hiding under doorways.
Joker finally pulled up next to a large building site by the water, where two large passenger ferries were sat in the middle of the water, unmoving.
"All the way to the top, we go," Joker sang as he pulled Harry into the unfinished building and up the stairs until they reached the top floor. "I've had some, uh, friends, take care of the folks who were in here. They're just gonna have to miss the show." Joker laughed maniacally, jumping in glee.
"Can't you tell me what's happening now?" Harry begged, trying to make his eyes as big and puppy-dog looking as possible.
"I suppose so, seeing as you've been so good," Joker grinned, leading Harry to the open side where the wall should be, where both ferries were in view.
"One of those boats has our kind of people on it; the other has the boring folk on. They both have detonators to blow up the other boat with by midnight, otherwise both of them go boom. I think so anyway; I may have got the detonators mixed up, but who knows? We'll be finding out very soon," Joker told him, a cruel but gleeful tone to his voice.
It wasn't long to go until midnight, and Harry wasn't sure which ferry would go up first, though he was hoping for them both to go. He grinned at Joker, who smiled back, his scars contorting before he whistled, causing three vicious looking dogs to come running towards them.
"I love dogs; loyal creatures," Joker muttered, petting one on the head with the slightest of touches. "These ones have a particular taste for human blood, but what can I say? I spoil my puppies."
Harry wasn't sure if Jack was joking, but he supposed feeding human remains to dogs was better than Joker being a cannibal and eating them himself, although his taste for Harry's blood meant he couldn't rule out that possibility.
"The Bat will be here soon," Harry pointed out, taking his eyes off the dogs and putting them back on the boats.
"He's meant to be here soon; I hope that rich upbringing of his doesn't mean he turns up, uh, fashionably late, as they say," Joker commented, twirling a lock of Harry's hair around his finger and tugging.
"Where would my manners be if I turned up late?" a voice growled, and Joker turned, the look on his face making even Harry slightly scared.
"Ah, Batman, you're here; how wonderful," the madman said, not sounding pleased at all. "Go play, boys," he ordered the dogs, who immediately responded to their master's request by pouncing at the vigilante.
Batman threw the first dog aside easily, though the other two managed to take him to the floor. Joker grabbed a metal beam from the side and ran to the billionaire, hitting Batman with it hard, despite the fact the suit was made from thick metal.
The psychopath soon threw the beam aside and used his fists to hit with instead. Anger was radiating off him in an uncontrolled rage. Harry had never seen Joker lose his composure before. Clearly, although Joker enjoyed the game he played with Batman, he wanted to cause him pain, both psychologically and physically.
"He is mine," he heard Joker hiss at Batman, and he turned his head to watch as he wondered if Joker meant him.
Joker was saying no more though, and Batman had managed to kick away another dog, so he was fighting Joker back much more effectively. Harry turned his focus back onto the ferries; he had done his fighting with Voldemort and he didn't particularly care for it anymore. That was why he liked using fire; it gave him the control and ability to sit back and watch the damage from afar without getting too personal.
He heard the sound of fabric ripping behind him, and as he looked back, Bruce had managed to stand, only to be pushed into netting by The Joker.
The clock was ticking nearer to midnight, and Joker had managed to push Batman to the edge of the building, where he would easily be able to see the ferries and any explosions in the area.
Harry frowned as the clock hit twelve and no explosion happened. Joker had frozen too, looking almost unsure of himself before a dark expression crossed over his face.
"You see?" Batman growled. "You've not twisted this city. No matter how demented you are, you can't turn everyone into you, no matter how hard you try."
"Never mind," Joker tutted, "always gotta have a back-up; gotta do everything yourself." He pulled a detonator from his coat pocket, but as he fumbled with it, metal spikes flew from the Batsuit, and then the vigilante's arm was coming up.
Then Joker was gone, the sound of crazed laughter getting further and further away. Harry screamed, running to the edge of the building as he saw Joker falling. He collapsed in pain as fire flared from his arms, reaching far out and engulfing the ferries in flames, but he couldn't even care about that, tears prickling at his eyes. He contemplated jumping after Jack.
But Batman was tugging at a wire, and then Joker was back up, a hook attached to his clothing, causing him to dangle upside down from one of the beams.
"Thanks for that Acey; knew I could count on you," Joker laughed, winking at Harry. "Oh, don't look so glum; it was only a near-death experience. I told you the first time we met him, Bats, that you scared him and now you've done it again."
"Shut up," Batman hissed, throwing his arm to the side and punching Harry as he tried to set Bruce alight. The force knocked him to the floor.
"Let Brucey have a turn now, Ace; it's only fair, what with all the cheating we've been doing," Joker reprimanded. Batman didn't even flinch at the sound of his real name. "I just knew you'd play along, Bats. It's in our nature. You're much more like me than anyone else in this city."
"I'm nothing like you," Batman growled. "I believe in good, and justice, like so many people in Gotham, and while we're here people like you will never win, only you'll never get to see it, because you're going to be locked in Arkham Asylum for the rest of your life; I'll make sure of it."
Joker laughed dramatically. "Oh, that did make me laugh," he cackled, licking his lips. "By the way, Harvey Dent is my secret weapon. Surprise! He was so easy to break. Gotham's White Knight turned to the dark side; now that is going to shake things up."
"What are you talking about?" Batman demanded, and Joker smiled cruelly.
"I'm afraid after your girlfriend blew up it sent him a little crazy. In fact, right now I think he's punishing Commissioner Gordon and his family."
Harry's ears perked up, as did Batman's. The vigilante took one last look at Joker before he stormed away. Harry could hear officers hurrying up the stairs. Harry made a move to create a barrier but Joker called for him to stop.
"This is just the next move of the game; I have so many ideas for Arkham, just you see," Joker said, staring intensely at the teenager.
"I'll wait for you," Harry said, trying to keep his composure cool in front of Joker.
"I know; I'm counting on it," Joker said slyly, and then Harry ran as the footsteps and lights got nearer.
Harry had always been speedy, and Batman was weighed down by his suit, allowing Harry to catch up with the Caped Crusader before he could leave the scene.
"Wait" he cried out, and Batman responded by turning and wrapping a gloved hand around Harry's throat.
"Why should I help you?" the man hissed, the force of his hand lifting Harry from the ground. "You just blew up two boats of innocent people. You're obviously following some order from that psycho friend of yours."
"It was an accident," Harry rasped, struggling against Batman's grasp. Batman had clearly made his suit fireproof as the flames he was creating around Batman's arms seemed to be doing the man no harm. "You, you threw him o-off a building; I was upset," he managed to say, and the vigilante's grip loosened, though the hand stayed around his neck. "You know I care about Gordon; I need to help him."
"If you come with me now," Bruce started, dropping his hand, "you only leave me on my orders. You're willingly turning yourself into me if you join me, and it's up to me to deal with you as I see fit."
"Fine," Harry agreed. "I knew we'd be proper friends one day," he added with a grin.
"This doesn't make us friends," Batman growled, but Harry only smiled further.
"You're right; we're more like best friends, considering all we've been through together, as well as all the secrets we share. Joker figured out who you were himself by the way," he added as he followed Batman to his strange looking vehicle.
Batman drove them silently but quickly through the empty streets. He didn't know how Batman knew where to go, but he guessed Bruce must have figured the place of Rachel's death would hold the most significance for Dent. Harry was quite excited to go back; any reminder that the bitch was no longer alive and had been blown to pieces was pleasing to him.
They arrived at the scene in quick time, and Harry hoped it wasn't too late for Gordon and Jimmy, but late enough for the female members of the family.
He followed Batman through the shadows of the building remains until they reached the family and Dent. Harvey had his arm wrapped around Jimmy, a gun placed against his head, while Gordon looked on helpless. The mother and daughter were cowering like pathetic cowards behind Harvey. Batman stopped Harry with an arm, keeping him pushed behind him.
"You don't want to hurt the boy," Batman commanded, making Dent turn towards them; his face was horribly burnt and disfigured on one side.
"No, I don't want to, but this is the only way to make things right," Dent argued back, shouting towards the end." There's no being good or bad anymore; it's just down to luck and chance. I tried to be good and look what happened; in a 50/50 situation Rachel lost her life and I kept mine, but in the process I lost everything. There's nothing left to lose now."
"That wasn't chance; that was choice. We chose which ways to go, but we didn't want it to turn out like this," Batman countered, but Dent shook his head. "Leave the boy out of this, and hurt the ones responsible."
"No. This is the only way." Dent aimed the gun at Bruce and held up a coin, burnt on one side, and held it ready to throw in the air. "Your turn first, Batman."
Dent flipped the coin and it landed burnt side up. Dent pulled the trigger and then Batman was on the ground, allowing Dent to see Harry for the first time, but the man was too busy spinning his coin with the gun to his own head. The coin came up clean.
As the gun came to rest on Jimmy's temple, Harry decided to speak up.
"I killed her," he stated, and Dent turned to look at him, not quite as angry as he wanted. "I killed her," he repeated louder, noting the way the gun had shifted from Jimmy slightly. "You were the last person she spoke to, but I was the last person she saw, right before I sent a spark into the room to blow her to smithereens. I gave her exactly what she deserved, and I'd do it again now if I could, just so you could see her life obliterated in a second."
That had done it, and now the gun was pointed at him. Jimmy was shoved to the side where he scrambled to his father, watching the scene fearfully.
As the coin spun in the air, Harry threw a wall of fire along the ground, causing Dent to jump backwards and drop his coin onto the ground. Harry walked through the flames, picking up the coin that was now burnt on both sides.
"Pity; what are you going to do now?" Harry taunted, smirking as the gun was placed against his forehead, ironically right over his scar.
"You're going to be seeing a lot of flames where you're going," Dent hissed, and Harry got prepared to knock Dent off his feet with more fire, when a black blur moved in front of him, and then it was gone, along with Dent.
Harry ran to where the men had disappeared. Dent's body was a long way down on the ground below, unmoving and bent at impossible angles. Batman was hanging from the edge with one hand shakily holding on to a piece of metal.
Harry offered one hand downwards. "Friends don't let friends fall," he said. "And friends don't let friends see friends fall."
Bruce smiled, or perhaps grimaced and after a moment he threw his dangling hand up towards Harry and allowed the teenager to pull him up, both of them resting on the ground after the effort.
Gordon came to kneel beside him, placing his hands firmly but comfortingly on Harry's shoulders. "Thank you," the man said, "both of you."
"Even the worst of us can do what's right," Batman stated, glancing at Harry, his eyes lingering on Gordon's hands.
"Joker won though," Gordon continued. "Dent was the man Gotham looked up to, and Joker turned even him into one of them. He was Gotham's hope and he crushed it."
"No, he hasn't," Batman said defiantly. "Dent didn't kill those people; I did. I'm the one Gotham should be hunting, while they mourn the loss of the best man this city has seen for a long time."
"I told you," Harry muttered softly, "I told you you'd be hunted, despite all the good you've done. Gotham made you a villain without you doing anything wrong. I tried to warn you but you didn't listen."
"Look after him, Gordon," Bruce said, standing up from the ground. Gordon copied, pulling Harry up with him. "He knows how to hide; keep him safe. The Joker will be locked away so Harry can be freed. Make sure of it. We've seen good become evil, so I trust bad can become good."
"I will. You wanted a godfather; I'll give you one," Gordon promised to Harry, with a nod to Batman.
The Caped Crusader turned to flee, but Harry pressed a hand to Bruce's back to stop him from leaving. The vigilante turned back towards him, and Harry threw his arms around his neck.
"I guess now you're a villain too, you can't arrest me for being bad," he whispered into the man's ear. "I'll see you around, Bruce."
This time the man actually did produce the smallest of smiles, but then he was gone with the shadows.
"Why is he running? He isn't bad," a small voice asked, and Jimmy was beside them, clutching on to Harry's hand.
"Sometimes the hero has to make hard choices to save everyone else," Gordon answered, and Jimmy clutched Harry's hand tighter. "Come on now, let's go home."
Five months had passed since that fateful night of Joker's arrest, Harvey Dent's death and Batman's exile.
Gordon had taken Harry into his home, though his wife, Barbara hadn't been too happy about it, saying she didn't want a murderous and emotionally disturbed teenager around their children, but Gordon insisted that Harry was good deep down, especially considering he had risked his own life to save Jimmy, and when the young boy begged her to let Harry stay she eventually gave in.
Barbara and Harry never really got on though, and after Harry described the aunt who neglected him, the woman who murdered his godfather in front of him and the female professor who tortured him by forcing him to carve words into his own hand, he understood why he didn't trust older women.
At first, Harry kept to himself, only talking with Gordon and Jimmy, and he had set small but controlled fires in the room they had set up for him, but as time went on, he appeared to get less depressed by the day, and even began helping Barbie with her homework and cooking for the family. Eventually the fires stopped too.
He opened up to Gordon more and more each day, telling him stories about his school life and his parent's lives. He wasn't sure how much of it was true, considering he still believed Gordon to be the re-incarnated form of his dead godfather, and told stories of broomsticks and monsters, but he listened and nodded and allowed Harry to talk without judgement.
He noticed Harry had made good friends with Bruce Wayne. Apparently he had known him before Joker's arrest, though the playboy didn't know who he really was; he simply knew him as Regulus, the public name and identity that had been given to Harry to protect him. Bruce seemed good for Harry though, and he was at the penthouse an awful lot of the time.
Overall, he was pleased with the way Harry was progressing. They still had some barriers to cross; no matter if they called him Harry or Regulus, he still really only responded to the name Ace, and his delusions were still there, though they seemed to be causing no harm to anyone. He had caught the teen cutting himself on occasions, which had caused a lot of screaming and crying incidents, but Gordon did understand that Harry had been though a lot; he had been in love with The Joker after all.
The psychopath had escaped Arkham after the first two weeks incarcerated, and went back two months later for a week before escaping again, but he had been suspiciously quiet lately. He had kept an eye as best he could on any contact Harry was having with the outside world, but nothing suggested that Joker had been in touch.
He was now driving Harry and Jimmy to the mall; Jimmy had wanted a new deck of cards after Harry promised to teach him loads of games he learnt at boarding school.
It was as they were leaving the mall that his phone rang.
"Hello?" he answered, stopping to listen.
"Gordon? It's Johnson. There's been an accident at your house," the voice sounded over the line, and Gordon felt everything freeze.
"W-what happened?" he asked, trying to stay calm in front of Jimmy.
"There was a fire. We-we don't think Barbara and Barbie have made it; I'm so sorry, Jim, please try and get here as soon as you can."
Everything seemed to shatter around Gordon. His wife and his little girl…he glanced over at Harry in a moment of paranoia, but the boy had been with him the whole time, and the look on his face seemed to be showing true concern.
"We need to get back to the car. Now!" he ordered, running to his vehicle with the boys trailing behind him.
"What happened?" Harry asked as he jumped into the front seat beside Jim.
"There was a fire at home," he told him quietly, and both boys gasped.
"Are Mom and Barbie okay?" Jimmy asked.
"Oh Merlin, I hope they're okay. I swear I had nothing to do with it," Harry said almost pleadingly, like he was begging Gordon to believe him, and the man couldn't blame him.
"I know you didn't," he answered, but he didn't tell them about Johnson's suspicions about the other family members.
He didn't care how many driving laws he broke as he sped home where fire engines and ambulances were waiting. The flames had been doused, but all Gordon could focus on were the two black body bags on the ambulance stretchers.
"Oh my God," he breathed as he collapsed to the floor. Harry had wrapped his arms around his chest to comfort him.
"Excuse me, sir, can we talk to you all a minute?" he heard a female say, a twinge of an Irish accent in her voice.
"Of course," Harry answered for him, pulling Gordon up and into a waiting ambulance.
The doors were shut behind them, and Gordon blinked away his tears to see what was happening.
The ambulance was rather cramped; two women were sat in the front seat, while the one who had spoken to them was climbing over into the front to fit between the pair, somehow rather gracefully, taking a bundle off a hooded figure sat on the bench as she went.
"What's going on?" he asked, nervously looking at the shut door, when he felt a prick on his arm and almost immediately he felt himself start to grow weak.
He blinked as Harry took the needle from his arm, and then the ambulance was moving.
Gordon collapsed to the floor, eyes watching as Jimmy opened the card packet, flicking through the deck to eventually bring out the Ace of Spades card, twirling it between his fingers.
What horrified him the most however was when the mysterious figure pulled it's hood down, to reveal a horribly familiar scarred smile.
Harry clambered onto the lap of The Joker, pressing his lips hard against the psychopath's, whose hands automatically trailed down to grope his behind.
"Keep it PG-13, boys," a female laughed from the front, causing the two males to grin into the kiss. Harry finally pulled away to speak.
"We're home, Jack."
Oh my gosh. My baby is finished and I feel so happy but so sad at the same time. I hope you enjoyed the story, even with the long waits. I have no current plans for a sequel, but who knows? Inspiration may hit me one day, but I like where it's finished for now. But maybe after The Dark Knight Rises comes out I'll get an idea to fit in with that. No promises though.
Thank you to everyone who has read; I couldn't have finished this without you.