WARNING! Graphic violence and swearing.

Beauty and The Beast

'Click'

Another pool of dirty light flowed over the cracks in the ground drawing long inky shadows over the grass as the large wood fronted building burst into elderly life. Rows of small bulbs outlined the darkened doorway and broken down mannequins in glass cases began to sway lazily, waving their arms haphazardly around them. Crossing the front of the attraction the Joker stared into the dim foyer. She could have quite easily hidden in here.

Stepping onto the old wooden boards he quietly made his way towards the next doorway, towards the dirty mirrors. Leaning on a thick, peeling frame he glared at the mirrored maze before him. Could Jess have made it through here? As the thought of Harley stalking his Jester played on his mind something caught his eye. To his left a patch of darkness within one of the mirrors called to him. Jagged edges were haloed with a spiderweb of shattered glass. Normally a broken mirror would not have seemed so important had it not been for the thick red smear slicked across the glass. She had been here. Or at least one of them had. Turning back to the maze he bit his lower lip. Was she still here? Taking a step forward he stared at the small round drops of crimson dotting the dusty floor.

As he pondered the thought of entering the maze a loud shriek split through the mirrors. Jess! Starting into the maze he was stopped immediately in his tracks by yet another loud scream. This time the sound seemed to be all around him. Was it Jess, or was it Ivy? Again the noise rang in his ears. Shaking his head he knew he did not have the time to waste trawling through a Hall of Mirrors when Jess could be anywhere. It would take him forever to work his way through the place by which time Harley could have already killed her.

"Grrrr!" he slammed his fist against the nearest mirror before turning on his heels and heading outside to be greeted by the hurling black mass of Batman as he hit the side of the building. "You're supposed to be killing him, not playing with him!"

Picking himself from the broken boards the caped vigilante armed himself with a stun gun. Joker raised his eyebrow quizzically before making a run for it to the next attraction. He didn't have time for this. Especially now the Bat in his infinite wisdom had thought it a good ploy to bring the brute along to him once again.

Running headfirst towards the great hulk Batman flung a baterang at his face. If he could blind him he may just have a chance. The silver bat struck Bane across the forehead but failed to even slow him down. Trying to take the drugged man from behind Batman thrust the two-pronged gun into his side. As the electricity began to flow through him, the brute's skin tightened and his body stood rigid. Veins pulsing manically as the torrent of pain surged through his ribcage. Holding the weapon hard against the scarred flesh the Bat clung to his adversary like a limpet on a rock. Surely the man would fall? Grappling at the tubes adorning Bane's lower jaw the cowelled hero pulled sharply freeing two from the gaping holes in his throat. Thick, black oil ran down over his pale skin and onto Batman's gloves. At first Batman thought it was the brute's blood but the smell was less than savoury and the flow was constant. Pulling the tubes harder Batman fell to the floor. As his body tumbled Bane swung his heavy arm hard into his torso sending the Bat once more sailing across the theme park. Tubes still in hand Batman collided with the Hall of Mirrors once more.

"NOOO!" Ivy screamed as the flesh surrounding the remaining tubes tore free and each clear tube followed the vigilante towards the building.

Black poison mixed with thick blood slicked through his thick fingers as Bane's hands clung to his face. This was pain but he had no way of dealing with it. The blood tasted sour on the remaining parts of his tongue. Rank acid pouring from his jaws and teeth as his lifeline was ripped from him. Glaring at Ivy he glowered in confusion. He felt overwhelmed by fear and pain and rage. The pain in his face was suddenly joined by unbelievable pain in his chest. Pain he had felt before, some time in the recent past. Running his bloody hands over his chest he saw the tubes tear from between his ribs and up through the muscles in his neck. This Bat, this thing was tearing him into shreds.

"Please!" Ivy wailed, throwing herself at Batman. "You're killing him! You're killing him!"

"He was already dead," the Bat growled.

"No! I wont let you do this!" Ivy clawed at the darkened eyes beneath the mask as she desperately tried to give her 'baby' a way out. Digging her manicured nails deep into Batman's face she ordered her monster to run. "Bane, go! I can fix you! Go now!"

For a second the brute almost obeyed before Batman peeled the woman from his body and threw her hard onto the floor. The rage surged through his searing chest and Bane charged.


"Wake up!"

The words were accompanied by a sharp blow to her face as Jess felt her eyes pried open forcefully. Harley's hands were all over her, forcing her face to comply.

"I want you awake for this!" the crazed woman grinned. "Wake UP!"

Another slap across the face roused the poisoned doctor just enough for her to roll her eyes into some kind of consciousness. Attempting to focus on her attacker she noted the alternating red and black catsuit the woman was wearing. Who was she? And where had she brought her? One minute she was in the hospital the next she was here. How had she got here? Twisting to look at herself in the mirror to her left her body doubled in pain. Clutching her ribs she felt the uneven curve of the bones. They were broken. The coppery taste in her mouth was not good, she figured she had a punctured lung too. Bringing her other hand to her head she watched the girl's reflection in the mirror. She was horribly disfigured. She looked like him…like the Joker. Thick scars ran along her cheeks, splitting her face effectively in two. The edges were raised and the girl had an awkward look in her eyes. She felt she could almost recognise the girl but yet her identity escaped her.

Watching as gloved hands sifted though broken glass Jess felt her heart freeze in her chest. Standing to gaze at the crumpled woman the harlequin girl grinned sickly. Holding a long jagged piece of glass between her velvet covered fingers she approached her before dropping to her knees.

"Did you save me?" Jess questioned simply with a half smile.

The girl laughed at her face, "Save you? God no! You're really losing your mind aren't ya? Poor little Jester; doesn't know what's going on. Here let me help ya!"

Running her gloved hands through Jess' damp hair the girl gripped her at the scalp and forced her to look in the mirror. Pressing her face hard against her own reflection the scarred woman forced the shard of glass between Jess' lips.

Suddenly Jess' heart leapt into action. Adrenalin surged through her body as tears poured down her bruised skin. Terrified to the core she stared at the dirty blade sliding over her tongue. What was this girl doing? And why? Jess didn't understand. Closing her eyes she tried to block out the world.

Suddenly her head was pulled back sharply and slammed against the mirror hard shattering the surface. Opening her eyes to stare at the distorted view of her tear stained face she trembled violently.

The harlequin slowly pulled back on the blade, whispering in her ear like a childhood nightmare, "You thought you could really get away didn't ya? Well now I'm in charge and you're dead bitch. You know what pisses me off the most? Huh? He hate's that fucking scar on your face and then he does THIS to me! You're just so…PER. FECT. Well I think we can change that cutie pie!"

Suddenly pain split through Jess' face like a bullet through her flesh as the shard sliced through the muscles in her right cheek. Pulling hard the girl sliced roughly through the fleshy part of her face, brutally hacking away at her face. Blood poured fro the jagged edges like a waterfall and the girl laughed manically as she pulled back to stand over her victim. Pain seared through the whole of Jess' head as fire ripped through her muscles and nerves. Shaking in agony she tried desperately to hold her face together. The lower part of her flesh hung lower than her teeth and incessant crimson slicked her hands, pouring through her fingers and onto her open blouse.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Not so fucking perfect now are ya?" the harlequin shrieked.

An unfamiliar noise seemed to drown the girl's manic raving out as Jess became aware of her own heart-wrenching wails. The sound filled every mirrored corridor and escaped out into the night.

"Shut up! Shut up or I swear to God I'm gonna take it to your throat!" the girl growled. "I swear…"

The world shattered into a thousand pieces as the wall beside Jess exploded and brought with it chaos and two men. The first sailed through the air effortlessly slamming hard into the harlequin girl, flooring her in one blow. The second much larger man stormed through the opening like a bulldozer, grabbing anything in his path with blood smeared hands and hurling it at the black clad man. Watching as the beast flung the girl across the shattered room into a mirror on the far side of the 'room' Jess tried to stumble backwards. Pain encompassed her entire body now. As the brute turned to look at her familiar eyes bored into her own. She was in no position to deal with this. Searching in her brain for an answer flashes of dreams, or memories, hit her at the back of her eyes.

Like frames from an old horror movie, faded at the edges, she remembered those eyes. Those eyes that judged her, victimised her, bullied her, tortured her. Those eyes that she watched fade away as the Joker repeatedly hammered sharp blows into his body. Those eyes were her nightmares. Those eyes.

"No," the word betrayed her fragile mind and something clicked between the two of the them. She knew him and he knew her. She had to go. She had to get out. She had to get up. Willing herself to stand although she knew she couldn't Jess' prayed for a miracle. She would rather bleed to death alone than let him get to her.

Suddenly her prayers were answered as a tough but gentle gloved hand pulled her to her feet. Agony cracked through her left leg as her joints crumpled beneath her weight but the masked man supported her firmly, "Go."