"You know, if you weren't a criminal, you could go to a real doctor for this." Bree said. She was currently in her apartment operating on Gotham's most notorious villain at the moment, The Joker, or Jack as she called him, with only a Johnson Johnson first aid kit. He was lying on her kitchen table drinking most of her bottle of Jack Daniel's, trying to convey with the pain. He had done a job dealing with the mob. He knew it was sketchy from the beginning but he wanted to test them.
"Just work." He would've been more abrasive if he weren't:
1) On a fast path to being drunk
2) Fond of Bree Johnson.
He had met her almost two years early at a club where he was handling some… business.
The notorious Joker walked into The Penguin's newest façade, a gentleman's club. It was empty now but it wouldn't be in an hour in a half when the so called 'respectable' men of society would come in for their dose of seduction via untouchable dancers. He walked to the back where their usual business took place. A tall scruffy man with log arms let him through to a 'waiting area'. It was a VIP room with a large seating area along one wall and a stage with poles on the opposite. He hated having to wait on Penguin. The bird man did this at every meeting, trying to show he controlled everything from the place to the exact time they met. He sat down and looked around, taking a look at his watch. Suddenly the door opened and a woman appeared. She was about 24, 25 maybe, and dressed solely in lacy, dark purple lingerie that accented her skin amazingly well.
"You owe me fifty dollars." She laughed with someone outside of the door. She was a looker with large, curly, dark brown hair that went just past her shoulders, brown eyes, and a rich ebony complexion. There wasn't much else left to the imagination. She was toned thanks to her profession; her breasts looked good in the skimpy pieces and so did her ass. Her five-inch heels added the long leg affect. She was a knockout. Her heels clicked as she shut the door and walked into the room.
"Is the fifty dollars for a little more, ah, activity?" He asked suggestively. The woman looked at him, finally noticing him. She stopped for a moment at the sight of him. Joker waited for the fear he loved so much rise into her eyes, but it never did. Instead, she acted like he wasn't notorious for murdering people and bombing things.
"What was that?" She asked.
"What do you do for fifty dollars exactly?" He leaned back, spreading his arms across the back of the red sectional he was sitting on. "Do you give a little…extra? I have a couple dollars to spare." He flicked out his tongue and licked his scars as his legs spread.
"I gamble sometimes. If you want someone to warm your bed, ask Penguin." She walked over to a gadget on the wall and pressed play, immediately starting a sensual instrumental with a beat. "I'm Marina, I'll be your dancer and here we have a 'you can look but you can't touch' policy." She walked to the stage and gripped the pole. Swinging around, she began her erotic dance. Joker never usually got a huge turn on from strippers or dancers. They didn't have faces, lives, or emotions to him. But this one, he could have fun with her. She danced, glancing at him once or twice but not paying much attention to him. He leaned forward, resting his fore arms on his thighs and watched her slide down the pole. The only thing missing was the fear.
"You know, sweet cheeks," He licked his scars, "Someone like you really does things to a guy like me."
"Is that right?" She asked before doing a tricky swing around the pole. Joker sprang up from his seat, startling her a little.
"Oh yeah, Gorgeous," He licked his scars once more and slicked back his hair, "You're not the same as the others."
"How is that?" She asked him, still dancing, obviously not very into the conversation. She had heard it a million times before by people with one too many drinks in their systems.
"You didn't ask me about the scars." He stalked closer.
"We all have scars, even if they aren't on our faces." She swung around, "Every scar has a story. If you'd like to tell me your story, go right on ahead. Everyone like to from time to time." She told him, her curls bouncy lightly with every move. Joker jumped onto the stage, making her stop dancing.
"A story? Let's see, do you want to know how I got these scars?" He flipped open a pocketknife she didn't even see him get out. She backed up into the pole only to have the Joker come closer, leaving less than a foot between them. "I was a strange kid way back when. I was quiet and," he cocked his head briefly like he was trying to think of a word, "strange. I didn't play sports, I liked reading, I was always getting picked on, and the list goes on. My mother, she told me I was perfect, that I meant something!" He growled. "But my father, he hated me. I just wasn't good enough. I didn't play enough sports and I wasn't always happy. So, one night, he uh, he was drunk. I was sitting at the table reading my book and he was on the couch and he looked at me and said, 'the least you could do is smile'." Joker chuckled bitterly. "He got up and spit at me, threw his bottle on the floor. I watched it break into a million pieces while he walked out the door. I just wanted him to be happy with me for once. All I had to do was smile. So I picked up a wedge of glass and put it in my mouth and went." He moved his tongue around across his scars. "My mom found me first. I was lying there. She screamed and cried over me. When daddy finally got home and he looked at me like I was a monster. He said to me, 'you are not my son'. He left and I never saw him again. Is that a good story?" He pressed the knife against her cheek. She slowly reached up and grabbed his hand.
"Hurting me won't fix your problems." She slowly pulled his hand away.
"But it will sure make me feel better." He twirled the silver knife in his hands.
"But for how long?" She asked him. He stopped twirling the knife and looked at her before bursting into a fit of laughter.
"Now I tell you how pathetically sad I really am and how I regret everything I've done and how I wish I was different right?" He continued laughing but Bree pressed her tongue against her cheek in annoyance. Of course she didn't think that but she wouldn't stand there and be laughed at.
"You started talking to me sir." She slid away from him and off the stage. She reached the door handle before turning back. "By the way, bring back up to whatever the hell you're doing with Penguin. He has a habit of pulling out that knife when your back is turned and the law's coming."
In the end she was right, which he would come to find out was not uncommon, and he did need backup, which he had. He followed her home one night and scared the hell out of her but she didn't kick him out. She gave him the couch, claiming that working for the Penguin meant dealing with criminals. After that, she told him her real name and he kept coming back. Bree didn't say anything for the remainder of the time she stitched him up. She broke the excess string with a quick snap then finished up.
"I'm done." She let him know after putting a bandage on it. Joker sat up slowly and grabbed her chin tightly, giving her head a good shake.
"Thanks doll." His words were beginning to slur0. She pulled her face out of his hand.
"No problem." She started cleaning up the bloody tissues and alcohol covered cotton balls. "Should I burn the evidence?" She asked sarcastically. He didn't say anything as he watched her clean. She turned her back to him and threw everything away. He always wondered how she was so content with him in the room. He was so used to the screaming and the crying and the pleading. He silently came up behind her and slid his hand over her mouth. She sighed then said something but it only came out as muffles. He couldn't help but smirk.
"What was that?" She pulled his hand off her mouth.
"I said that you always try to scare me even though I know if you wanted to kill me, you would when we met." She answered logically. That was something he almost hated about her. She rarely got a rise out of anything. He had never been too mad or even too happy. On top of that, she was honest and accepting, which was strange for someone like her. It did lead to his favorite thing about her. She was a lingering challenge. He liked her but he couldn't help but think of ways to break her. On the other hand, he wanted to keep her around.
"Jack!" Her voice interrupted his thoughts. "I've been asking you the same two questions for the past minute."
"What?" He sounded impatient, as usual.
"I asked how long are you staying and do you want me to wash your clothes?"
"Are you suggesting I won't need my clothes while I'm here?" He smirked provocatively. Bree returned the look.
"If I were suggesting that, I'd have to be suggesting that I won't need clothes either, correct?" She raised an eyebrow. He advanced on her.
"You are absolutely correct." His close proximities forced him to look down at her.
"Well I'm not suggesting that." She turned and walked into her bedroom. "You've already seen me naked and almost naked, can't you just use your imagination? Plus, you have clothes here." She called out from the room. She walked back out in flip-flops, a long, blue, flannel shirt that stopped just above her knees with her hair pulled up into a ponytail and a laundry basket resting on her waist. "You haven't answered either of my questions." Joker started taking off his clothes. "Alright, that answers one question, what about the other?"
"I'll leave in a couple of days." He threw his jacket and shirt into the basket.
"I'm not rushing you." She swore before going to the bathroom and coming back with a towel. She threw it at him and he caught it before removing his boxers.
"By the way, I don't like leaving such fun activities to the imagination." He put his last of his clothes in the basket. She walked towards the door.
"Alright, but if we're going to do this, you need to shower and for god's sake wash that paint off, it gets everywhere." She left on that note. When she walked out into the hallway, the first thing she recognized was the dead silence and the dim lighting. It was always this way. If she didn't hear the shutting of doors every once in a while, she would swear she was the only person living there. She went down to the creepy washroom at the end of the hall on her floor and saw her favorite washer was open. It was the only one that actually produced hot water. She began putting clothes in the wash, checking pockets as she went. It was all pennies and receipts until she got to his pants. There were a few bullets, a silver ring tab, and a silver zippo lighter, her lighter. She had been looking for it for the past couple of months. She had went and bought a new one after declaring it gone forever. She put her basket on the washer before returning to the apartment. The shower was on when she walked in. Dumping the contents on the counter, Bree picked up the lighter. She opened it and a flame shot up.
"Still works." She mumbled then closed it. The water shut off and she made her way to the bedroom. As she leaned against the doorframe, Joker stepped out of the steaming bathroom.
"Jack," He looked at her when she called him, "why did you steal my lighter?" She held it up in her hands. "I was looking for this forever. I had to go buy a new one." He shrugged.
"I needed a lighter and I still do." He warned. She opened and closed it again before bringing it up to her ear and shaking it.
"Do you even use this? You took it months ago and it's barely half gone." She looked up at him, confused. He stalked towards her and snatched the lighter out of her hand. He let his Joker side show a bit. She always liked to separate his personalities. The Joker was testy, too violent, too threatening. Jack, however, Jack was the average man, a bit eclectic and would probably do something like work in a thrift store or a coffee shop. She did have to admit, it added a sort of excitement to the mix when he played Joker with her.
"You need to stop stealing my things." She tested him. He tossed the lighter aside, she heard it hit the floor but it didn't sound like it broke.
"Sometimes you just talk so much." He tsked her before roughly pushed his lips on hers before she could protest.
"I still want it back." She mumbled when she came up for air. He picked her up and threw her on her bed roughly. She let out a breath and looked up at him.
"What? No foreplay?" She reached up and pulled her hair out of its bind.
"What did you have in mind?" Joker's voice got husky at the thought.
"How about I be the Joker for once and you can be the Batman." She chuckled at the look on his face after she said this. She stood. "You don't think you can be the Batman?" Joker gripped her tightly and pulled her to him.
"I'm better than the Batman." He growled.
"Prove it." She challenged before kissing him roughly. He pulled her shirt off, leaving her in only underwear, no bra. He gripped her hips tightly again and kissed her.
"Wait," She pulled back, "I'm going to need you to play nice. I have to work tomorrow and bruises aren't sexy. "She placed her hands over his.
"That sounds like a personal problem." He kissed and bit down her neck.
"You also have fresh stiches." She reminded him.
"I can handle it." He sucked on her collarbone.
"Do I need to make house rules?" She cautioned him. He leaned back and looked at her.
"No guarantees." He made no promises before hitching her leg onto his waist. She got the picture and wrapped both legs around him as she kissed him more feverishly. They fell onto the bed and Joker began his attack on her neck again, lightly this time. He actually listened to her. She sighed at the teasing nips at her collarbone. His hands began to roam, everywhere. He left no traces but that didn't mean he was mild. He never let her have control so he could tease her endlessly in punishment for not letting him have his way with her like he usually did. She hadn't begged like that in bed before, he loved it. They also had never spent so long in bed before. When he was finished with her, she was exhausted and so was he. They lay next to each other and looked at the ceiling.
"I can't move." She whispered to him after she tried. Her limbs were heavy with exhaustion.
"No house rules." He prompted her. She suddenly started laughing and put her hand on her forehead.
"You would not have followed my house rules." She knew him too well. They lay quietly for a while after her laughing ceased. "I have to get the clothes and I'm starving." She said the words but didn't move. He looked at her expectantly and she sighed, mustering up the strength the get up. Slowly she climbed out of bed and walked naked to the bathroom where she cleaned up before coming back out naked still. He watched her. She was attractive by most standards, especially his.
"Like what you see?" She teased as she pulled on underwear. He didn't answer; letting his eyes roam over her instead. "Don't get any ideas." She pulled her flannel back on with a chuckle and headed for the laundry room. She wondered if any of the neighbors who never showed their faces had heard them. She got to the laundry room and paused. Her basket was on a dryer now and there was a note in it. She looked around before approaching it. She took out the yellow paper that read, 'moved your clothes'. She looked in the dryer and found her clothes dried. It was a little creepy that someone actually touched her things but at least the clothes were dry. She gathered them and headed back to the apartment.
Putting the basket on the kitchen table, she went to the bedroom. "Jack, I'm not folding your," She stopped when she saw him sleeping. She had to admit, if she had never heard about the things he had done or his reputation, she would think he was just some hipster. It was the scars that ruined it. She had heard all the stories about what happened whether he told her or someone else did. In the beginning she wondered which one was true, then if any of them were. Now she wondered if they were all true. What if he did have a wife who didn't appreciate what he did for her or a father who didn't love him or whatever else, what if all those events led up to the pivotal moment where he had to take control the only way he knew how. She had come up with that when she saw his scars for the first time over a year ago. It was the same time he told her to call him Jack. It was an accident on her part to be frank.
Bree walked into the bedroom where Joker was sitting with the lights off and his back to her. The only light was coming from the opened door.
"Hey, dinner's ready." She informed him. He didn't respond at all, not even acknowledging her presence. She walked up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder gently. "You okay?" He rubbed his face where his scars were and she immediately knew what he was thinking about. "I'm sure they aren't that bad." She insisted. Suddenly he shot up angrily.
"Really?" He faced her and her eyes widened. His face was bare; his hair was clean. "This isn't bad?" Bree slowly came out of her state of shock. Not shock from the gruesomeness of the scars, but that he showed her his face. She reached up and ran her hands over his cheeks, cupping them in the process. It was obvious that they hadn't healed evenly but they weren't as scary as she thought they would be. In fact, there was probably some cosmetics things he could do to hide them. She ran her thumbs over them repeatedly. Joker was getting restless with her lack of speech and anxious that she wasn't reacting the way he had expected. She looked from his scars to his eyes where he was clearly awaiting her comments.
"They aren't bad." She was answered with certainty now. "They really aren't, Joker."
"Jack." He corrected her.
"What?" She wasn't prepared for this moment.
"My name is Jack, not Joker." He trusted her. She nodded through her astonishment.
"Okay. Uh, dinners ready." She repeated again before leaving the room.
Bree shut the door quietly and went to fold the clothes.
Joker woke up the next morning to the sound of low chatting. He leaned down under the bed where he knew she kept his clothes. He pulled on some boxers and pajama bottoms before getting out of bed and looking for the mysterious sounds.
"…well maybe if you two weren't fighting so much you would have been watching her." Bree was on the phone with someone who was clearly upsetting her. She wiped away tears when she saw him. He didn't see her get too worked up about anything and times when she did made him glad she didn't. He couldn't hide the fact that he didn't like her upset. It was somewhat bothersome to have her crying. "It's a little too late for that don't you think? I'm coming down there tomorrow; I have to work tonight. Don't you dare pin this on me." She looked angry. Joker leaned against the counter and watched as she talked. "Don't kill her while I'm gone." With that she hung up. She took a deep breath then pulled herself together. "Claire got hit by a car because my parents couldn't stop fighting for two seconds to teach her to look both ways before she crosses the street." She explained. This wasn't surprising to him. Claire was Bree's nine-year-old sister, and the only person who could make Bree feel an extreme amount of emotion. She cared for her deeply and regretted leaving her. Her parents weren't fit to be parents but she couldn't do anything about that. Bree knew she was in no position to take care of anyone but herself even if her parents did hand Claire over. She had expressed her feelings about her to him before while he acted as though he didn't care, which he didn't. But he still remembered everything she had said.
"She's dead?" He asked bluntly. She shook her head.
"No, thank God. Now, what do you want for breakfast?" She changed the subject.
"The bridge in which the Joker destroyed not too long ago has been fully restored." An anchorwoman stood a distance in front of the bridge as cars passed.
"Why would you blow up a bridge?" Bree suddenly asked. She wanted to hear the reason for this one.
"Why not?" Joker chuckled but Bree shook her head.
"All those people died. I mean, what if I had decided to go and visit someone on the other side of that bridge that day and then KABOOM!" She clapped loudly. "I'm dead and you wouldn't even know until you came looking for me and I wasn't here anymore. All because one day you said, why not blow up a bridge?" She sighed like it was exhausting even talking about it. She waited for the 'what makes you think I'd come looking for you?' but instead there was silence. After knowing him for a while, she knew silence meant thinking.
"Good thing too, who else would wash my clothes." He finally responded. She smacked his arm and turned the channel. She liked the day after he showed up more than the others. He was 'Jack' most of the day.
Bree walked out of the bedroom that evening in shorts and a tank top with her curls on full display. Joker looked up from the TV at her.
"I'm going to work." She answered his question before he asked it. He glanced out the window, seeing how dark it was, then stood.
"I'll take you." He grabbed her keys off the counter. She was a little shocked but followed along.
"Alright." She went along with it. He held the door open for her as they exited her apartment to her car. It was an old black Toyota but it worked. She thanked him when he opened the car door for her, another surprise. He closed it after her then went to the other side, immediately starting the car after getting in. "You don't have to drive me."
"I'm going to anyway." He pulled out into the night. She leaned over and kissed his cheek.
"I don't know if this is a pre-apology or a thank you or whatever but I'm glad you're doing it." She sat back and turned up the radio. They turned into the back way of the Gentleman's Club after a 20-minute drive.
"You look so classy." He complimented her mockingly as he watched her put on heavy eye makeup.
"Thanks, I do it for the cash." She smoothed red lipstick expertly onto her lips.
"I have money." He reminded her.
"I'm not going to ask you for money. That's cheap and dangerous. No offense but if that's not selling my soul to the devil it's the next best thing." She looked at him and gave him a half shrug.
"Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" His voice was low and threatening. Sometimes he did make her shiver. He saw the look in her eyes and grinned. He loved it. "You're right, stripping is much safer." He agreed.
"Dancing is safer than most things. Sometimes it's the business aspect that gets risky." She closed the mirror. "Plus, I don't always strip, occasionally I'm entertainment." She got out the car. "I get off at three. Please don't be late it's kind of scary in this part of Gotham." She blew him a kiss and headed inside.
"Ouch!" Bree jumped away at the touch of alcohol on the cut under her eye.
"Don't move." Joker was serious. He had picked her up and she looked like she had gotten into a bar fight. Now she was sitting on her bathroom sink getting the first aid treatment she usually gave him. "What the hell happened?"
"I was dancing for some guy in the VIP room and he got handsy. I told him about our policy, he didn't like it and he gave me a shiner. Then Jones came and pulled him off of me. I had to report to Penguin who was not too happy to see me." She shortened her story. He looked pissed at the news. "It's no big deal. I'm off until I'm presentable anyway."
"You took it like a champ." Joker soaked a rag messily with alcohol.
"It isn't the first time, occupational hazards and all that. Jack, ouch!" She jumped back when he not so gently applied it to her arm. She asked she was getting frustrated. She took the towel and made quick work of her wound before slapping on a Band-Aid.
"You know, gorgeous," He grabbed her chin and turned her face to him, "I don't really like when people rough up my things."
"I'm assuming you mean me when you say 'things'?" She asked him but he ignored her.
"You should avoid this sort of thing. After all, what's gonna happen when this face ain't pretty no more?" He let go then patted her cheek. She hopped off the counter, standing toe to toe with the Joker.
"I guess you'll have to figure something out for me." She walked out of the bathroom. Sometimes she wondered how she tolerated being around him. He was a near sociopath who killed hundreds of people. Yet here she was letting him stay with her, sleep with her, rub off on her. It's not that she felt that he was right but part of her, the part that had gotten the worst of Gotham when she hadn't deserved it, that part of her understood his motives. She hated when she admitted that.
The next morning, Bree wasn't there when Joker woke up. That wasn't so surprising seeing as it was 2 in the afternoon. He suddenly heard the door slam shut. He knew it was her, but she didn't come in and check to see if he was still there. That meant she was upset. He walked out of the bathroom and into the empty living room. Slowly he made his way to the window that led to the fire escape. There she was. Her head was in her hands, one hand holding a smoking cigarette.
"Still sucking in cancer." He leaned on the window sill.
"I thought my parents weren't complete irresponsible idiots." She ignored his previous statement. Sitting up, she sniffled from the cold breeze. "They let her break her leg in three places and now she can't start in soccer. Well, that's what Claire was worried about anyway."
"I deliberately stole your lighter so you would stop tasting like a damn ashtray." Joker confessed to her after watching her blow smoke in the air.
"What?" Bree's thoughts were pulled away from Claire for a moment. "You stole my lighter because you thought I would stop smoking?"
"Yeah," He nodded, "I heard it kills too." He didn't want her dead, as much as he seemed to not care. Bree's eyebrows rose. She didn't know he cared that much about her smoking.
"Sorry." She pressed the white stick into the metal step. They sat for a moment before Bree began to chuckle. "Why do we do this? She asked him.
"I need a vacation." He shrugged.
"I'll tell you something though; I'd marry you for your money." She nodded at the thought.
"I'd never marry you for money, for sex maybe, you're good at that." He responded in a way that would surprise no one.
"Well you're not wrong." She slid past him through the window and back into the apartment. They didn't spend the rest of the day doing much. He had decided to leave in the morning. He didn't tell her though, he never did. However, she could usually tell.
That night, Joker thought about the girl sleeping next to him. He usually wondered why he kept coming back to her but tonight he knew why. She did mean something, as much as he hated to admit it. Maybe she didn't mean the world to him, but he wanted to keep her around. He'd never stop being the Joker. There was no stopping that. But he could put away the theatrics and close the show, even for only a couple of days, just to be with someone who didn't actually expect anything. She didn't expect a romance, a criminal, money, happiness. She just let him be Jack.
Joker pulled on his purple coat and looked around. He was leaving before it got too light for people to recognize him. He was back in his iconic apparel. Bree was still sleeping, or so he thought.
"If you're looking for that lighter I've got it." She mumbled with her eyes still closed. She reached behind her to the bedside drawer and grabbed it, holding it out to him. He took it and slipped it into his pocket. She sat up on her knees and finally opened her eyes so she could shuffle across the bed towards him on her knees without tripping. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he let her as his hands rested on her waist. "Don't forget to take out your stitches." She reminded him sleepily before kissing him. "And don't forget to have back up." She kissed him again. "And don't forget Penguin's getting sloppy." She kissed him again. He reached up and rubbed some of the makeup that had gotten on her off.
"Go back to sleep." He pushed her back, only to have her lean forward and kiss him again.
"Don't be a stranger." She lay back on the bed and watched him leave before drifting back to sleep.