A/N: CO-WRITTEN WITH GLASGOWSMILE. Hope you enjoy chapter 2! :)
CH 2: Therapy Begins
Still sore from the Joker's administrations, Babydoll was rather sulky the next morning when Skinny came to fetch her for her group therapy session. As she expected, he didn't even say anything about her busted lip or black eye, for he more than likely assumed that his buddy Pervert had been the one to rough her up. Irritated by his lack of concern (was no one safe in this damned facility?), Babydoll made herself go limp so that Skinny had to do most of the work in dragging her to the rec room.
"C'mon, ya stupid bitch – I know you can walk!" he groused, jostling her arm to the point of pain.
Yet still Babydoll refused to pick up her feet, her glower only deepening when he finally was able to dispose of her with a rough, inconsiderate shove that sent her nearly sprawling to the floor.
Looking up toward the group of inmates surrounding Dr. Pritchard, the blonde released a barely audible sigh through her nose and cautiously stepped forward. She could see the Joker out of the corner of her eye, but she naturally refused to acknowledge him.
"Ah, good morning, Babydoll – so glad that you could finally join us!" the middle-aged woman returned, her greying red hair pulled back so tight that she almost looked as though she had a facelift. Now pointing toward the (naturally) empty seat beside the Joker, she added "If you'll just have a seat, you can start finger-painting what you're feeling like the rest of us."
With a weak smile (which she almost immediately lost), Babydoll miserably glanced at the open canvases and finger paints with disdain. What was she, twelve?
The Joker hadn't slept a wink, and how very well could he after sneaking off into that insufferable, yet intriguing woman's room with the golden pony tails that framed her face? That angelic, baby face he still longed to carve and ruin...but for now, he would settle for "finger-painting."
Sighing irritably and rolling those dark eyes skyward, he mumbled at just how ridiculous this situation was. In fact, he couldn't remember a sillier situation he'd ever found himself in, other than when he was a kid in school and forced to participate in class activities such as this. And on that note, did he even go to school? Had he? Was it important at this point? Snarling, he reached across the table, briskly with enough dexterity to make the other occupants flinch and gasp at the quick fluidity. Their petrified looks of stone only earned a loud crow from that disfigured maw as he smiled smugly to himself, then went about dipping a paw into those ugly-ass toxic liquid plastics, and smearing them onto the blank white page.
The Joker didn't expect anyone to open their mouths at him for anything, not even a bit of conversation at that table (except for maybe Pamela Isley), and sure enough, the redhead was once again rattling off about her boring schemes to him as though he actually gave two shits about her or her bush. Schemes about how once free from the Asylum, (she used a professional label) her plans were to blow up the two chemical plants of Wayne Enterprises, and ironically enough those towers were bringing harm to her own precious plants.
"And you are going to help me, although I am not helpless I assure you, Joker-dear," she smiled at him, her cold emotionless smirk coy and just as smug as her words. Then she dipped her fingers along the paints, and began to make a picture... of a woman, beside a tree in an Amazonian forest, but the Joker simply rolled his eyes, snorted and laughed. He could honestly care the fuck less what the hell she wanted from him, or was painting pictures that were obviously of herself. What was this anyways, were they a bunch of fourth graders? And besides all that, he worked alone. Was she dense?
"Pammy, I ah, think you are forgetting that I don't do favors," he sang with incredulity, which almost sounded like a melodic nursery rhyme from the depths of the underworld. "Everyone does favors for me," he grinned, shark-like and Pamela's pert mouth down-turned into a hateful-scowl and the red-head was just about to open up her inlet and smart off to him, when everyone was alerted to a commotion. The Joker's dark eyes shifted in the direction of the double doors of the day hall towards the guards who were gruffly leading around, to the Joker's surprise, an actual persistent "Babydoll," who seemed to be struggling against their gruff ministrations.
They continued to scream at the girl, chiding her when she wouldn't listen to their commands, and the Joker pressed his lips together, holding back that bubbling mirth that was rising within, those urges to laugh at how Blondie Bear was being man-handled by other men, and then something else began to manifest inside of him, which was causing him to grow increasingly more agitated. It better not have been jealousy. He was only with the broad for one night, and they didn't even do anything. He never fucked her, and hell they still had their clothes on, and jealous and the Joker didn't mix; however, he didn't like anyone touching his "things."
One guard grabbed the yellow silken hair, twisted it, and hauled her over to the table, nearly slinging her into the chair. The guard met with the Joker's dark eyes, whose were at this point locked onto his, as he slowly moved to lick his chapped lips and give the man a crooked grin.
"I could have just walked on over there and fetched her myself, y'know, to save you some trouble so you could get back to your other freaks you seem to like to beat into submission" he announced with a drawl, as though it were the most casual thing in the world, then giggled a bit, the orderly only glaring daggers back into those abysmal black pits.
Babydoll tried to mask her surprise when the Joker actually came to her defense, but she assured herself that he wasn't doing it out of the kindness of his heart. His gaze had almost retained a sort of…possessiveness, and although some women would be flattered by such a reaction, the blonde was rather irritated that he acted as though he owned her.
Returning his dark gaze with a scowl, she ignored his comments about "enjoying" their little encounter and pretended to be engrossed in her painting. She was smearing the entire canvas with whatever paint she could get her hands on, thus resulting in a massacre of colors. In a way, it represented how she was currently feeling: lost, overwhelmed, and alone amidst a dark sea of turmoil.
When she heard the Joker's laughter her scowl only deepened, her patience wearing thin as she found himself wondering why he enjoyed her animosity and discomfort so damned much. Was it that amusing to hurt others?
"To hell with you today," Skinny snarled, then began to fasten restraints on Babydoll, handcuffing her in such a way which only allowed her to move her hands a good five inches apart. The Joker's eyes wandered to the metal around her wrists, then to her always sullen-looking face and he scowled. Did she think the goddamn, rodent infested world owed her something?
She was so...boring.
"I am all for bumps, bruises and cuts, but ah, that is no way to treat a lady and she is clearly a lady. Well…last I checked she was," he remarked cynically, then winked nastily at the guard, eluding to his lil' rendezvous with the blonde, if he wanted to even call it something like that. The man quickly caught on, then pushed Babydoll to the side so he could glare at the clown some more. It was so funny to the Joker because this was all he really could do, unless Skinny wanted to hit him (which he did); most of them were so weak it was all they could resort to ever doing with a man like him, because they had no control or will power – just like the Batman – and the Joker wanted Skinny to wallop on him in front of all of these good people.
"And if you ever break out of your cage again, psycho, I will be there to put you back in, but I can assure you that you won't like the results," the orderly threatened, his jawline tight as the Joker merely smiled, that sardonic smirk cracking at the corners of the marred mouth at such complete boldness on Skinny's part.
Just before things could become more heated, that doctor, the annoying one who kept asking questions about the Joker's past, came around Skinny and placed a hand over the man's shoulder, cupping it firmly and leading him away from the table.
"I think you have rousted the patients enough for today," Dr. Pritchard spoke calmly, as she cast the Joker a surreptitious glance out of the corner of one eye, wondering if this was all a rouse, until she saw the Joker was actually interested in the finger-painting activities and the calm of the storm was finally under tow. Sighing and pressing her fingers to the bridge of her nose, she ushered the orderly from the day hall with a wave of her fingertips and turned her attention back to the table with the others.
For the most part the Joker seemed to actually be content with the menial arts and crafts session, so with a sigh of inward relief, Pritchard began to make her rounds to the next table, leaving the Joker with the green-skinned woman, the man who sported a monocle, and the newest addition to the Funhouse, Babydoll.
A woman without many words, the Joker took note, however, that her expressions held different tales behind those deep set eyes, and he only wanted to get closer into that mind and find out just what it was that made the blonde with the piggy-tails tick. This time, if she refused to answer his questions, Pritchard or not, he would slice that ethereal countenance into ribbons.
"So," the Joker prodded, sucking on his lower lip in what seemed like aggravation, but perhaps that was just some form of habit. "Did you enjoy that?" he asked, grinning widely at her, some obvious menace to that smile as it stretched even farther across his jaw. The Joker was undoubtedly referring to their lil' run-in last night, with him on top of the squirming soft flesh, which he would have gladly sliced into and bled dry right there on the dirty floor; however, something else occurred. He just wanted to make damn sure nothing like that was ever going to happen again.
When she refused to answer him again, he bit back a giggle, his mirth rising and his rage continuing to grow with that damn twit's persistence. Sighing exaggeratedly, an eyeroll and clank of his teeth, he reached across the table, nearly knocking over Babydoll's fingerpaints in the process.
"Say there, ah, Babydoll?" He coined the new nickname for her, on the account of her babyish features and golden pigtails which drooped around her heart-shaped face. "You ever play…Rorschach?"
Flinching when he reached across her personal space, Babydoll leaned far away from his hand when he nearly knocked over her paint set. With a glare of distrust in his general direction, she decided to play along for the moment and shrugged her shoulders. "No" she coolly began, "I can't say I've ever played Rorschach…I'm not really familiar with that character, anyway."
Immediately holding her tongue, her pretty features scrunched up in distaste since she'd realized she'd let her guard down. Of all the time they'd ever spent together, this was definitely the most words she'd ever uttered to him.
Not wanting to wait for his most likely dangerous game, Babydoll sought Dr. Pritchard's gaze and was rewarded when she took the hint and approached them.
"And how are we doing over here?" she asked, her hazel eyes crinkling around the edges as she smiled down at the pair.
"Fine" Babydoll muttered, now surrendering her painting for the doctor's ever-present perusal. She didn't even seem bothered by the troubled expression that crossed her physician's features, her blue eyes gazing up expectantly as she waited for the diagnosis.
"Are you feeling lost, Babydoll?" Dr. Pritchard inquired, now ignoring the Joker as she gazed intently down at the young girl. "This painting really speaks to me… It's telling me you need help."
'I'll bet you tell that to all your patients' Babydoll glumly thought, yet she shrugged her shoulders and sent a cold look toward the Joker. "No, I'm just feeling that this facility needs to take better care of its patients. Maybe up the security a bit? A girl should be able to sleep without fear." Now folding her arms, she leaned further back in her seat and stared straight ahead, thus indicating that the conversation was officially over.
If the Joker hadn't been so absorbed in the obvious fun from the finger-painting excursion, his eyes surely would have popped out of his skull at the words muttered from Doll's mouth. In fact, he figured the blonde for a deaf mute for a while there on the account she never spoke. Not once since he first locked eyes on that vacant stare of hers, from what he could recall, did she ever say anything to him. But here she was, now finally talking to him, and not only that, but the other words that came from her mouth were almost an act of defiance towards Pritchard.
Oh, just how amusing, not to mention how fun she was going to be, after all!
As though waiting for some sort of cue for Pritchard to move to the next table, which that annoying nosy pest of a woman finally did, the Joker suddenly snatched Babydoll's hand, grasping onto it firmly, casting her a dour look of warning that if she even dared to open her mouth again, that he would gladly rip her arm from its socket. He couldn't deny that it would have been fun to tousle with the blonde once more. Hell, this was the most fun he was having since he almost blew up Wayne Enterprises, which ironically was the reason that landed him back in Jerry's Craphouse Of Crazies, so Dollface was keeping him busy almost enough to the point that he didn't start cracking skulls.
"Well, at least you know some things, don't you?" he asked, eyebrow raised in question and cracking a crooked smile over marred features. "Rorschach isn't just a character, but a man behind those ink blot tests the doctors show you and make your mind see some sort of picture," the Joker explained, words deliberate, his hand still wrapped firmly around Babydoll's as he spoke to her. "Your mind processes whatever you are seeing when they flash the cards in front of your face, like ah, a puppy dog for example," he grinned broadly at her, excitement almost brimming through that ghastly countenance, even minus the paint. That voice with hypnotic qualities continued on as dark eyes kept her pretty brown ones pinned.
"Then the doctor will go and write it down on their little notepad however your mind sees it, so sometimes you don't see a pretty butterfly or pretty doll. Y'see, maybe you do see blood or some kind of massacre behind the real picture." His eyes flitted down towards her painting, different colors incorporating with one another and making muddy brown reds, and he smirked almost knowingly, his eyes returning to her heart-shaped face once more.
"What happened here?" Joker questioned tersely, rubbing at the scars along the inside of her wrists, his expression serious before the clown gave a derisive snort, then made as if to look over his shoulder, eye contact lost for a fleeting second then closing back in on her as he leered, his upper body nearly hovering over the table now like they were confiding in some sort of big juicy secret.
If he was going to get answers she should start yapping away like she was earlier, because the Joker was starting to feel eyes on him, burning into the back of his skull, and that alone was enough to make him want to retaliate with a swift punch to whomever dared to even hone in on his personal space. Scowling quite irritably, and letting out a sigh of exasperation, he finally released Babydoll's wrist, not being gentle with his ministrations, those eyes rolling skyward in annoyance with the obvious psychiatrist looming over him like some unwanted predator. Yes, if he wasn't so inclined to not rouse the table, he would have hauled off and punched Pritchard square in the jaw, woman or not, he was that irate with her presence invading his.
Babydoll pretended to keep her interest on Dr. Pritchard, who every once in a while would send them a surreptitious glance, but her false reverie was rudely shattered when she felt the Joker wrap his hand about her wrist. Turning about with a frenzied whip of the body as though she might actually attack, the blonde only murdered with her eyes as she glared up at the clown prince's fiendish face.
Nobody touched her without her permission.
But instead of ripping him limb from limb like her features clearly desired, Babydoll remained mute and slack, her eyes turning upwards to meet with his as she began to listen to his odd speech on ink blots.
Finally, she spoke up "Is there a point to this life lesson, clown? Because I'm really not interested...", but that's when his hand stroked along a familiar section of her wrist.
Scowling when he ran his fingers along her scars, she tried to jerk her wrist away from him, but he held fast to her like glue. "Let me go" she commanded, her voice surprisingly calm.
Surprised when the Joker actually did as she asked, Babydoll soon came to the realization that it was merely because Pritchard was now acting as his shadow. Bemused and worried that the doctor had heard everything, the blonde then turned her head and prevented all possible eye contact.
"What did I tell you about personal contact with the other patients, Joker?" Dr. Pritchard asked the clown sternly, her arms crossed as she gave the clown prince a look a mother would give their child if they were misbehaving; that look of a mixture of disappointment and frustration, and this only earned the woman a loud laugh from that marred mouth of the Joker.
Joker lifted his shoulders into a light shrug and smiled cordially at the woman. "We were just holding hands was all, I mean Jerry did say that I was to bond with the other patients, and what better way to do that then get real nice and close to your pals, hmm?" His tone was caustic as he squinted one coal black eye at her, waiting for her retort, and sure enough she had one. They always did.
Dr. Pritchard was neither amused nor thrilled with the clown's actions and simply sighed, her mouth drawn in a tight line as she observed the scene, the blonde girl who seemed withdrawn about something, and the madman clown who thought the situation laughable (which was no big surprise, considering his character).
"Okay, this session is over and we can begin again tomorrow. Why don't I show you back to your room, Babydoll? And Joker, you can go with Skinny – he needs to make more friends," she smirked back at the Joker, then put an almost protective arm around the petite blonde as she ushered her as far away from that unpredictable beast of a clown, feeling an almost motherly need to protect the girl from the madman.
Keeping her gaze firmly on the floor, Babydoll listened to the two banter back and forth, her nails subconsciously digging into her thighs when she heard that the session was over. Did that mean the Joker would seek her out again? He did before...
Barely even taking note of Pritchard's hand on her shoulder, Babydoll ignored the clown prince's gaze as she rose and followed the older woman, realizing that she was once more becoming withdrawn and mute. It wasn't that the man scared her – not really, anyway – but something about the way he acted as though he controlled her made her uneasy. She'd had to deal with an overbearing stepfather for most of her life, so the oppressive nature of the Joker made her meek and furious.
Feeling Pritchard's hand against the small of her back, Babydoll barely even reacted when she realized she was being nudged into her small cell with the nailed down furniture. She wasn't out of her mind, so she wished people would stop acting so damned sympathetic towards her.
When the door locked harshly behind her, Babydoll immediately dove under her bed and began to search for her hidden shank. If that damned clown decided to come back, she'd be ready for him this time...
A/N: Whew, done! This went by faster than I expected, so go us, right? :P And as always, feedback is much appreciated – thank you so much for reading! ;)