Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Batman or the Joker in any way, or any related franchise.

Hey! Long time no see! I know, almost two months. :( Sorry, but as a lot of you well know, writing the Joker is hard. I hope I did him justice with this chapter. Which brings up an important point. I'm not sure what you guys would prefer here, and I'd like to give you what you'd all prefer. The story is at a certain point here, where I decide something very important: the Joker's personality. Do you guys want him to be absolutely evil and torture Mary, and a whole host of other terrible things? Or would you prefer him to be more indifferent, and only really pay attention to her occasionally? Or how about something in between? You want him to struggle with his feelings for Mary, or appear, for all intents and purposes, to be just as evil and brutal to her as he is to everyone else? Do you want a horror, or a romance here? This is important, and I really, really need your feedback here. So pay attention! I'm trying to give you what you want, so please, let me know!

Anyway, many thanks to M92, XPyschoBabyDollX, , Lady Augustin, Jorda96 and allthelovers for your wonderful, awesome reviews! And thank you to everyone for your patience. Busy lives make for slow fanfics, sadly. :(

Anyway, enjoy! :)

Chapter 2

Mary shivered in the cold, as she tried to make her stiff fingers work the key into her door. She had alternately run and walked all the way back to her apartment, about two miles, and her arms were killing her, after carrying that heavy case for so long. The adrenaline that had kept her going for so long was gone, and without it, she was about ready to collapse. She finally got the door open, stumbling gratefully into her tiny apartment. It was about 30 years old, and the carpet was thinner even than the carpet in the Joker's apartment, but it was home. Until Hawaii, at least.

Mary dropped the case on the floor and flopped down on her bed. She still couldn't believe she had faced the Joker – even pointed a gun at him! – and gotten away alive, and with his property in her possession. Still, she wouldn't feel safe until the weapon, whatever it was, was safely fenced, and the Joker had forgotten all about her. Tomorrow, she would go talk to a gun dealer, maybe the one she'd gotten her Browning from. He'd seemed like a pretty decent guy. He hadn't tried to rip her off, which, for a gun dealer in Gotham, was saying a lot. If she could just remember his name...

Mary's thoughts drifted, as her eyes slid closed, all of the night's terror an exhaustion finally catching up to her. She curled up on the bed under the thin blankets, wishing she hadn't left her coat in that alley.

"What do you mean, you won't take it? Do you have any idea what this is worth?"

"Lady, I don't give a rat's ass what it's worth, as long as you got it from the Joker. That's all I need to know. Now, why don't you get the hell outta here, before you get me killed?"

Frustrated, Mary snapped the case shut, giving the fun dealer a glare, which he returned wholeheartedly.

"Fine, asshole. Your loss."

"Whatever you say, lady. At least it's not my life."

She stomped out into the street, sighing as she noticed the thick snow covering the ground. Now, she was missing her boots too. Great. Just great. Fuck, what was wrong with these people? This was the fourth gun dealer she'd talked to today, and they all said the same thing. They didn't want none of the Joker's property. Bunch of fuckin' cowards. They weren't the ones who'd had to break into his hideout and steal it in the first place. Mary sighed. She might as well talk to at least a few more dealers before she gave up and went home for the day. She thought there might be one a couple blocks away...

"Hello, there. Doug... is i-t?"

The gun dealer looked up, as a man entered the gloomy basement where he kept shop. He had a hat over his face, and a dark suit and trench coat. Easy, he thought, plenty of guys with trench coats in this city. No reason it had to be him.


"That is your name, isn't it? Doug?"

Doug straightened, and fingered the shotgun under the counter. This guy was actin' real funny, and you couldn't be too careful these days. "Yeah. What's it to you?"

"Oh, nothing. I just heard some rumors about this... new weapon that's out on the streets." He stepped closer, though his face was still in shadow. Doug tightened his hand on the gun. "But see, that's funny, because... Last I heard, some clown named Joker had this weapon. Now, don't you think he might be missing it right now?"

Doug brought the shotgun over the counter just as the man's face became clear. Joker moved like lightning, smashing the gun to the floor as he grabbed Doug by his shirt, pulling him over the counter, and held a knife to his throat.

"No!" he screamed. "Don't hurt me! I don't have it! I don't have it, I swear!"

"But you know who does, isn't that righ-t?" Joker's eyes were murderous. His licked his lips, and Doug's eyes followed the action helplessly.

"Sh-she was j-just here a minute ago!" he burst out. "W-with a big case! Some kind of gun, in pieces inside! Please, don't kill me!" Tears tracked down his face, as his sentences became nearly incoherent.

"A name," Joker said softly.

"I... I-"

"Give me a name!"

"I don't know!" he sobbed. "Wait!" he cried when he felt the knife press into his neck. "There is someone who might know. Larry, he, he owns a gun shop, over on Hudson! Hudson and thirteenth street!"

Joker smiled. "Thanks, Doug. You've, uh, you've been very helpful."

Joker cackled as he roughly slashed the knife across Doug's throat, not even glancing at him as his body slumped facedown over the counter, blood pouring from his neck. He rolled his shoulders, looking around the room appreciatively, at all the various explosives and firearms. He strolled around the room for a minute, humming a random tune, before picking up a Micro-Uzi from one of the counters. He cocked his head, looking at it for a second. Then he shrugged, stuffing it in his trench coat.

Joker stopped at the door, and looked back at the corpse on the counter. He tipped his hat, and said, "Sorry, Doug. No hard feelings, right?"

He cackled again as he ducked out the door.

Mary walked up the steps to her apartment, exhausted, but not quite as gloomy as she'd been earlier. Finally, after more than twelve hours of talking to various people around the city, she'd found a prospective buyer. It was late, about ten p.m., when one dealer had told her that he knew someone who might actually be interested in buying this device, whatever the hell it was. If she came back tomorrow, he'd arrange for this person to be there, and they could set a price. Needless to say, she was excited, not only for the money, but just to get this stupid thing off her hands. She'd finally begun to get spooked about the possible consequences of stealing from the Joker, possibly because of all the people who had nearly pissed themselves when she tried to sell his stuff to them.

At any rate, Mary was glad to be home. She figured she'd catch a few hours sleep, before she got ready to meet this big shot. When she got up to her apartment, she reached for her keys, but then she noticed the door was open slightly. Heart pounding, she pushed it open slowly, and there he was, just strolling around her tiny living room. Her eyes widened and she reached for her gun as he turned around.

"Ah-ah-ah..." Suddenly, there was an Uzi in her face. "Drop it," he said, motioning toward her gun. It fell from her hand with a clatter, along with the case, as she raised her hands.

"So... You're the girl who walked off with my toys." He walked towards her, unsmiling. He was in his full getup this time, with greasepaint applied, and his usual suit. When he was about a foot away, he put away the gun and took out a switchblade, flicking it open. Mary looked at it warily, and started backing up unconsciously. "No, you don't. C'mere."

Joker grasped the back of her neck, and she whimpered as he pulled her forward roughly.

"So..." He licked his lips. "What makes you think you can just come into my home and take my things? Hmm?" She tried to squirm away from him, but he put the knife to her throat. "I asked you a question."

"Fuck you!" Mary spit in his face, as she tried to knee him in the groin. He laughed, and twisted, making her miss, then threw her onto the floor, facedown. He held her down with one knee on her back and pulled her head up, twisting her hair viciously. She screamed, struggling wildly, but weight on her back made it impossible to move.

"Criminals in this town... They used to have some respect, maybe even a little fear. You see..." He put the knife to her throat. "I think, that they need to be taught a, uh... a little lesson, in fear. And consequences." His voice deepened ominously.

"No!" she screamed, as he dragged her up by the hair. "Let me go! Let me go!"

He cackled, dragging her out into the hall, where she saw a couple of men standing there.

"All done, boys. Get the case. You..." He paused, waving his hand at one of them.

"Danny," he supplied helpfully.

"Danny," he sneered, "put her in the trunk." He picked her up and tossed her at one of them, before he headed downstairs, humming.

"No!" she screamed, so high that the man holding her winced. "Somebody! Help me!"

Suddenly, the man, Danny, slapped her in the face, and she saw stars, her ears ringing loudly. Before she could start screaming again, a gag was stuffed in her mouth, and a strip of duct tape went over it. Her wrists were tied behind her back with a zip tie, so tight that she could feel her hands going numb. He tossed her over his shoulder, and headed downstairs after the Joker. She tried to kick him in the stomach, and he slapped her on the ass. She let out an indignant, muffled scream, and struggled harder.

The air left her lungs sharply, as he tossed her into the trunk of a large, black sedan. He slammed it shut, and her eyes moved wildly around the pitch black interior, as she tried to calm her breathing. The last thing she wanted was to run out of air in the trunk of damn car. Although, now that she thought about it, that scenario actually sounded better than some of the other ones going through her head. The car shook, as several people got in, and rumbled underneath her, as the engine started. She was jolted uncomfortably, as the car pulled out onto the road.

As she saw it, there were four possibilities at the end of this car ride. One, the Joker would let her go; extremely unlikely. Two, he would torture her and then let her go; still unlikely. Three, he would torture her and then kill her; that was a fair assumption. Or four, he would just kill her; also quite possible. Honestly, Mary was leaning towards three. It seemed unlikely that he would go to all this trouble just to kill her, and letting her go was hardly more likely. No, death and dismemberment was in her future, odds were.

Fuck, how did this happen? He wasn't supposed to find her this quickly. She was supposed to be paid already, in cash, and halfway to Hawaii by now. Fucking pussy gun dealers. They acted like Joker was some all-powerful deity, who only had to point a finger and the earth quaked. Then again, maybe that wasn't too far off.

No! He was still just a man! A powerful man, yes, and intimidating? He personified the word. Mary certainly would make the mistake of underestimating him, not again at least, but neither would she quaver in fear before him. Would she have a choice, though?

Mary felt like they'd been driving for hours now. Her hands had gone completely numb some time ago, which was somewhat of a blessing, as she'd cut up her wrists trying to squirm out of the ties. Recently, she'd begun to find it difficult to catch her breath in the stuffy compartment, and her whole body felt bruised. The car turned suddenly, smacking her head against the side, then jolted to a stop. The engine idled for a second, then shut off. The car shook as several doors were slammed, and she perked up, wondering what was happening.

Footsteps crunched on hard pavement, and two voices spoke quietly. Suddenly, the trunk flew open, and Mary groaned, squeezing her eyes shut as a flashlight was shone directly into her eyes. Someone grabbed the back of her shirt and dragged her out of the trunk. It was Danny, the one who'd backhanded her. She glared at him and growled past the gag. He wrenched her up from the ground by her hair, and gave a cruel smirk when she shrieked in pain.

His hand slid down to the back of her neck and he led her forward like a misbehaving child. The Joker was nowhere in sight, strangely. The other gloom led the way with a flashlight, which seemed much dimmer, now that it wasn't pointed at her face. They were still in the Narrows, Mary realized. She recognized the ancient, rotting buildings of the lower slums. Which was why she didn't bother screaming; no one would help her here, even if they could hear over the gag. And her struggles were quickly met with another brutal slap across her face, leaving her jaw aching, and her eyes stinging with unshed tears.

They walked up through a grimy alley, until they came to an unmarked door, hanging open a few inches. Danny kicked it open, and forced her inside. There was a short set of stairs to the right, and he pushed her towards them. Mary stumbled, unable to catch herself with her hands tied, and tumbled down the steps. Her head cracked against the stone edge of the last step, and she cried out. A wave of nausea swept over her, but the fear of choking on her own vomit helped her keep it back. She saw stars for a minute, just barely making out several voices talking, about her, she realized.

"Whoa, dude, the boss just said to lock her up."

"Yeah?" That was Danny. "Well he didn't say nothin' about keepin' her comfortable. I ain't gonna kill her, and the boss won't care if she's a little bruised."

"I dunno, Danny. You know how touchy he is."

"Stop bein' a pussy! When's the next chance you're gonna get to hit something like that? And her looks are gonna go real fast once Joker gets his hands on her." He chuckled darkly.

Mary could tell the other man was quickly becoming convinced, and her heart sank. Not to mention, his casual implication made her heart race, her worst fears confirmed. She shook away the overwhelming dread and focused on her hands, still tied together. She squirmed desperately, wincing when her head was jostled. She probably had a concussion. Disregarding that, she continued her struggles, and wrestled her hands over her feet, leaving them still tied, but in front of her.

Her situation was improved, but only marginally. She still had no way to defend herself from those beefcakes up there, and attempting to would undoubtedly only get them angry. She heard them thumping down the stairs, and tore the gag from her mouth, wanting to be able to insult them, at least, if they... Fuck! If only she had some kind of weapon. Mary closed her eyes briefly, her eyes stinging again. She knew they would win, and they would rape her. It was unavoidable, but at least she could try to fight them, even if it was hopeless.

They reached the bottom, finally, and Danny sneered at her obvious attempt to free herself. Then he laughed and grinned at her.

"C'mere, sugar," he cooed, stalking toward her slowly. The other man hung back, clearly still unsure about whole thing.

Mary backed away instinctively, and ended up trapped in a corner. Her heart was beating out of her chest, and her eyes darted back and forth between them, settling on Danny.

"Come on, baby, you know you'll love it."

Mary shuddered in disgust. Despite his broad, muscular frame, he was far from attractive, with his greasy, lank hair drooping in his face, and that unwashed odor that drifted off him in nauseating waves. He walked closer, and she tensed her muscles. One more step...

He put his foot forward, and Mary kicked him square in the balls, catching him with a double-fisted uppercut when he doubled over.

"Bitch!" he spat, through a bloody nose. "You little cunt, you're gonna pay for that!"

He straightened, murder in his eyes. He grabbed her by the hair and smacked her across the jaw. Mary screamed and he tossed her to the floor. He kicked her in the ribs, then straddled her hips. Tears flowed from her eyes as she begged him to stop, but he just laughed.

"Bastard!" she spat.

He covered her mouth and thrust his tongue inside. Mary nearly gagged at the sour taste of his mouth on hers. She tried to desperately to push him off, but he held her bound wrists above her head with one hand, while the other crept under her shirt and mauled her breast. She squirmed and twisted, until he ground an unmistakable hardness between her legs. Mary froze, and he took the opportunity to rip open her jeans, pulling them down to her knees.

"No, don't-"

He backhanded her again, and she yelped, then was quiet, tears flowing unchecked down her face. He smiled cruelly. He ripped her panties straight down the center, and paused to unzip his


The bang of a gunshot nearly deafened her, and sent ringing through her ears.

Mary screamed as Danny's brains splattered onto her face. His heavy body collapsed on top of her, and she found herself staring into one sightless eye, the other one blown away, along with about half his face. She screamed again, until she choked on his blood. It was everywhere, pouring into her nose and mouth, covering her tightly shut eyelids, soaking her hair, and flowing down between her breasts.

"Get it off, get it off, get it off!" Her voice rose in pitch, until she was shrieking, barely intelligible.

Suddenly, the weight of Danny's body was gone. Mary opened her eyes to find the Joker standing beside her, revolver still smoking in his hand. He was frowning intensely, and she shivered, until she realized his gaze was on the bloody corpse he had just kicked onto the floor.

"You just can't get good help these days," he muttered to himself, seeming to have forgotten her presence.

Mary sobbed quietly, curling into a ball on the floor, and his gaze shot to her. He grinned.

"Uh, sorry about that," he said unconvincingly. "You know how it goes with these henchmen. Leave 'em alone for two minutes, and they're dippin' in the cookie jar again." He laughed at his own joke. "Whaddya say I, uh, make it up to you, huh?" He licked his lips and eyed her shirt where it had been pushed up.

"N-no!" Mary scrambled backwards, until her back hit the corner.

"Y-yes," he mocked. He flicked out his switchblade. Mary's eyes shot to the knife as if glued there. She watched helplessly, as he advanced.

Joker raised the knife. Mary flinched and squeezed her eyes shut, raising her hands to protect her face. She waited for the slash of the knife blade, but nothing happened. Then he grasped her wrists and slit the zip tie between them. Mary gasped, and looked up to his face in surprise. He looked into her eyes for a moment, and Mary looked back, caught helplessly in his inky black eyes. Then he grinned, showing a mouth full of yellowed teeth, and Mary shuddered in disgust.

He crouched, putting his face inches from hers. "Like what you see?" He cackled, and Mary turned her face to the side. Then she realized. His breath, unlike the late Danny, was actually... Minty.

Before she could ponder that curious inconsistency, he wrapped his hand around her arm and yanked her to her feet. She dug her heels in and tried to resist, but his fingers were like steel bands, and he easily dragged her up the stairs behind him. At the top, Mary saw the other man, the one who'd been so reluctant to rape her. He was pale, and when Joker's gaze snapped to him, he flinched.

"There's a, uh, bit of a mess down there. Take care of it."

The man nodded and glanced at her, before he took off down the stairs, nearly tripping in his haste. Mary thought she caught a look of disgust from the Joker, but it was gone before she could say for sure. He didn't even glance at her as he headed to another set of stairs, running up them quickly. Mary struggled to keep up. She had no idea what he would do if she tripped. Probably just let go, and laugh as he watched her fall.

Once they reached the fifth or sixth floor, Joker left the staircase, heading down the hallway. Mary quickly realized they were in an old apartment building, the numbers on the doors her first indication. Probably, it was abandoned, like many buildings in the Narrows, and the Joker had simply walked in and set up shop. After she had simply walked into his old hideout and back out with his property in hand, he'd probably decided a new hideout was in order. And Gotham was hardly short of abandoned apartment buildings.

He stopped at number 603, and pushed open the door, which had been left ajar. Inside, it was nothing special, just another old apartment, like any other you might find in the Narrows. The wallpaper was a faded dark green, and it curled up at the corners. The carpet was an innocuous blue-gray, and nearly bald with wear. She had plenty of time to study it when he headed to the bedroom and tossed her in head first.

Mary whimpered when her bruised ribs were jarred, as she caught herself with her hands. She tried to roll over to face him, but he picked her up again, by the scruff of her shirt, and tossed her onto the bed, following her down. He flipped her over and swung his leg over both of hers, straddling her hips, just like Danny had. Only, when she tried to fight this time, she felt a cold sting under her chin. The knife. How could she have forgotten? Mary froze, and he laughed. He bent down, his dark green hair hanging in her face, and licked a wet trail up her neck.

Mary shivered again, but not in disgust, as he swirled his tongue just beneath her ear. He lifted his head, and hovered, just above her mouth, his eyes glittering with malice.

"Looks like someone wants a kiss," he whispered, lips nearly touching her mouth.

"No," she breathed, her racing pulse belying her rapid refusal.

It was lucky that he ignored her and did it anyway. One hand slipped beneath her neck, and drew her up, while he licked along the tightly pursed line of her lips. His teeth nipped her lower lip sharply, making her squeak and open her mouth, where his tongue quickly thrust inside.

His lips were velvet on steel; so soft, yet totally brutal and demanding, and his scars were rough against her cheeks. He sucked her tongue into his mouth, pressing her to him so hard, their teeth smacked together.

Suddenly, he drew back, leaving her dazed, not sure what just happened. Had she just enjoyed a kiss with the Joker?

So... Yeah. Remember, I need to know what you want out of this fanfic, and rather than trying to guess, I believe direct communication is always the key. :P

In other news... Leave a signed review and you will get a signed reply.

Badass in the Blood readers: Chapter 10 is in the works! But stalled for now, until I feel finishing the most graphic sex scene you'll ever see. It's surprisingly hard to find a place to write smut where people won't look at you weird. I mean, you can't exactly write it on the bus... ;) Anyway, I'll get around to it. Patience is a virtue. :P

Until next time, my minions!