Chapter Five

"I'm not dropping the gun until you tell me where Audrey is." Lacey said keeping her eyes trained on the face-painted man.

He narrowed his eyes and raised an eyebrow at the stupidly bold doctor. "Shoot me, and you'll never find out."

Lacey cocked the gun. "I'm losing my patience, Joker," she said, then beginning to grind her teeth in a bit of nervousness.

The Joker giggled and smirked at her. "You won't shoot me," he said. "You don't have it in you." He slowly progressed towards her and she just backed up a few steps.

"Why don't we find out?" Her hands shook ever so slightly and beads of sweat began to form on her forehead. "Just tell me where she is and no one gets hurt."

"Go ahead! Shoot me!" The Joker laughed, grinning widely at her. He wanted to see what she'd do even though he was pretty sure she wouldn't pull that trigger. "I want you to do it."

Lacey licked her lips and began to slowly squeeze her finger down on the trigger until finally a shot was fired, but it wasn't from her gun. She screamed in pain and fell to the floor, clutching her side with both hands.

The Joker turned to see one of his goons holding up a gun. "What was that?" he asked, frowning a bit.

"I, um… She was going to shoot you!" he stuttered.

He growled in anger. "No she wasn't. She never would have fired that gun!" he looked down at Lacey, who had her teeth gritted in pain and her eyes shut tight. "Now Batman has an even bigger reason to kill us."

Lacey moved her hands and looked down at the bleeding bullet wound. Her breath was caught in her throat at the sight of the blood seeping through her dress. She lifted the folds of her skirt and pressed them against the wound in attempt to slow the blood

"Lacey?" a masculine voice called and footsteps were heard. "Lacey!"

The Joker looked at his goons. "We have to get out of here! Let's go!" The goons rushed out the nearest exit, opposite of where the other man was coming from. "

"Where's Audrey?" Lacey choked out, just before the Joker disappeared out the door.

He squatted down in front of her and put a gloved hand under her chin, lifting it so she stared up at him. He smirked and laughed, "You think I'd tell you?" Then he ran out the door, leaving her there.

The man rounded the corner, seeing Lacey on the ground. "Lacey!" he knelt next to her, seeing the wound. "What happened?"

"Bruce," she groaned in pain. Her vision was going blurry, but she kept her eyes on the billionaire. "Bruce… Joker and his men, they-" She was cut off as she shut her eyes tight in pain. She opened them, blinking out a few tears.

He looked back at her, his gaze not leaving hers. "Lacey, I want you to keep your eyes on me. Okay?" he said. "Keep your eyes on me."

Lacey looked back at him, her vision growing worse every second. Eventually, she fell back, lying down, still in immense pain but was beginning to lose consciousness. "Bruce…" she breathed.

"Lacey. Lacey keep your eyes on me!" Bruce knelt over her, patting her cheek a bit. "Listen to me, you're going to be fine, Lacey." He moved and slid a hand underneath her back, propping her up, laying her head against his chest.

Her eyelids began to close and, just before the blackness overcame her, she heard him yell her name one more time. "Lacey!" Then her world faded into nothingness.

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~Six Hours Earlier~

Lacey nodded and folded her arms. "Yeah, yeah! Kate, I'm working on it," she said to the woman. "I'll get the paperwork done. Calm down."

Kate sighed. "You'd better. I know how you hate paperwork."

"Don't we all?" Lacey replied, then she shrugged a bit and walked off. She ran her patients through in her head. She had to see…Becky Johnston next. That little girl was adorable and Lacey hoped she'd get out of the hospital soon. She hated to see children be admitted into Gotham General.

She walked to the elevator and went two floors up and into Becky's hospital room. She knocked her knuckles on the door gently and opened it quietly. "Knock, knock," she said sweetly.

Becky was holding a book in her hands and she looked up at the doctor. "Hi, Lacey!"

"Hey, Becky," Lacey said kindly, closing the door and walking over to the girl. She had her hands in the pockets of her white coat now. "How're you doing?"

"Better…" she said. The girl looked pale- paler than usual, at least.

"Are you sure?" Lacey asked, just to double check.

The little girl nodded. "Yes."

"If you feel any worse, just call for a nurse and I'll come up and check on you, alright?"

Becky nodded. "Okay."

Lacey smiled softly. "Okay. I have some things to do, but I'll be back soon. I promise."

She nodded. "Bye, Lacey."

"I'll see you soon," Lacey said as she walked back out the door.

A nurse ran up to Lacey quickly and said, "Doctor Wright, can you take a look at this patient?"

"Of course," she replied. "Just give me a moment." She pulled out her cell phone and quickly called Ethan.

"Hey. What's up?" her boyfriend's voice said.

"I have somewhere to be tonight, and I might work late," she said.

"Where do you have to be?" he asked.

"I- Ethan, I have a patient to see. I can't talk right now. See you tomorrow morning?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow." On that note, both people hung up and Lacey turned back around to look at the nurse. She walked over and met the nurse outside the patient's room. "So what do I need to look at?" Lacey winced from a pain in her head and the nurse knitted her eyebrows in confusion.

"Dr. Wright, are you okay?" the nurse asked.

"Yes, I'm fine," she replied with a forced smile. "Just a minor headache." 'Minor' was an understatement. These headaches had been happening for at least two months now and she knew exactly why. She'd have to deal with it soon, too.

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"Do you know how much I hate to see people without a smile?"

Audrey turned her head, brushing her red hair out of her face. "Sorry to ruin the moment, but I honestly don't care." Her voice was edgy and unwelcome, yet it still carried a sound of fear.

The Joker raised an eyebrow. "You should care," he said. "Smiling is good for you." He gave a wide, eerie grin after this.

The red-head looked away, wiping away the tears that were threatening to fall. She wanted to go home; she wanted to get away from this…monster. She hated it here.

"Nervous?" Now he was just teasing her; he wanted to see the fear in her eyes.

She swallowed and cleared her throat. "What do you mean?"

"You look uncomfortable," he said.

She shook her head now. "No, I'm perfectly comfortable with being abducted by a delusional clown who goes around killing innocent civilians."

His tongue darted out of his mouth for a moment and then he said, "That's insulting."

Audrey felt like saying, 'That's the point,' but decided against it. Instead, she didn't say anything.

Her hands were tied behind her back and she sat on the bed, feet bound as well. "Why must you always tie me up?"

He shrugged a bit and licked his lips. "Don't want you running anywhere, do we?"

"No we don't…" she grumbled sarcastically, through clenched teeth. She sighed and looked at the ground. She repeatedly flexed her fingers and moved her wrists around, as if she was trying to slowly escape the uncomfortable duct tape that, once more, irritated her skin.

"Well, I have, um, business to attend to," the Joker said, looking at Audrey.

"Really? Who're you gonna kill this time?" she snapped at him, looking up. The tears were gone from her blue eyes and she masked her fear with a bit of courage.

He gripped her chin with a rough hand and leaned his face down close to hers. "Do I have to remind you what will happen if you don't mind your own business?" he growled.

Audrey stared back into his eyes, hers wide with…fear. The courage had left and she saw something in his eyes- rage, madness, and- Pfft! No, she was wrong. She could have sworn she detected a glimmer of sorrow in his eyes, but, obviously, she was seeing things. This man was a cold-blooded killer! Sorrow was not to be associated with him; well, that's what Audrey thought at least.

Instead of agreeing to his terms, she said, "What happened that was so bad, it turned you into…this?" Immediately, she had regretted the words that had come out of her mouth.

He looked surprised by this question, but he merely smiled widely. "You really want to know?"

She didn't respond, afraid of the consequences if she did.

"You know, people tend to regret asking the very question you just did," he said. His grip on her chin didn't loosen. If anything, it got tighter! "So do you want to know?"

Audrey inhaled a shuddering breath through her nose, keeping her mouth shut tight. She slowly shook her head, eyes traveling over every inch of his face until they reached the scars protruding from the edges of his mouth.

"No?" he questioned, lips parted a bit. He stared back down at her, catching her eyes staring back at his scars.

Her eyes snapped up to his and she meekly said, "No…"

"That's what I thought," he said. The Joker's hand left her chin roughly, almost tossing her onto her back. She craned her neck and rubbed her chin on her shoulder, her skin burning. He patted her cheek with a purple-clad hand and grinned. "You are to stay here and not make a sound. Understand?"

She nodded quickly and said, "Yes." Her voice was quiet and her eyes began to grow hot with tears.

"That's just what I wanted to hear," he said with a satisfied smile. On that note, he turned his back to her and headed out the door of the room.

Again, Miss Audrey Bernier was left alone, but she told herself that no company was better than his company. On the bright side, Audrey, no one'll threaten you if you're alone, she thought to herself, trying to brighten her mood. It worked for a mere second, until she remembered that she was still here.

The door creaked open and it made Audrey look up to see one of Joker's goons come into the room. He stood in front of the door, silently.

"Can I help you?" she spoke up, looking at the man with the plastic clown mask.

"Joker told me to keep an eye on you," he said flatly.

She looked around the room, and then back to him. "Uh… I don't know if you know this, but, um, I'm all tied up at the moment," she said. "I'm in a room with no windows, too. I don't think I'm going anywhere."

He scoffed. "Boss told me you'd say that, and that I shouldn't believe you."

She cursed softly to herself. "How much is he paying you?"

"What? I don't see how that's-"

"No man, in their right of mind, of course, would willingly work for a guy like the Joker," she pointed out. "He must be paying you some pretty big bucks to get you to do this."

"He might be, but why should I tell you that?"

"I don't know what you're so afraid of; I have no one to tell." As she was talking to this guard, distracting him, she was wiggling her wrists around and could feel her hands slipping out of the duct tape. "Do you have a family?"

"Maybe."

"Are you trying to take care of them? Is that why you took the job? To get money for them?"

"That's none of your business."

"I understand you want them to live happily, but are you happy? Go get a decent job and stop dealing with this maniac."

The guy scoffed and shifted his feet. "I'm not supposed to be talking to you."

"Why?" Audrey pressed, still moving her wrists. She could feel the duct tape slipping.

He didn't respond, obviously sticking by the word that he wasn't supposed to talk to her.

She huffed and shook her head a bit. "If you're not supposed to be talking to me, then just get out of the room. Like I said, I'm not going anywhere."

He stood still and silent for a moment, as if he was thinking it over. After a few seconds, he turned around opened the door and left the room, closing and locking the door behind him.

Just as he closed the door, Audrey's hands slipped out of the duct tape. Her wrists were red and irritated, plus a few scratches. She massaged them, one after the other, teeth clenched. She then reached down and got the duct tape off of her ankles. It took some effort, but she got it off.

She threw the duct tape aside and stood up, walking over to the door quietly. She put her hand on the knob and turned slowly, learning it was locked. She cursed to herself and looked around the room again, for good measure. One door, no windows. "Great…" she muttered.

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"He dislocated his shoulder," Lacey told the nurse. "Just put it back in place and give him a sling for his arm, and he should be able to go."

"Yes, Doctor Wright," the nurse said, turning around and heading back towards the patient.

Lacey walked out of the room and walked down the hall. She looked at her watch to check the time, then she looked up.

Something caught her ear and she poked her head into one of the hospital rooms, where a television was on. She folded her arms and watched the television with interest.

"Tell them your name," the eerie voice said.

She looked at the screen in disgust when she saw the man dressed as Batman tied to the chair.

The man whimpered a bit, not looking up at the Joker, who held the camera. "Brian…Douglas."

The Joker giggled and shifted the camera in his hands. "Are you the real Batman?"

"No…" Brian said meekly.

"No? No?" he laughed. Then he ripped the mask off of the man and held it in front of the camera. His voice dropped to an angered growl. "Then why do you dress up like him?" he demanded firmly. "Woohoo-hoo-hoo!" He moved the mask in front of the camera, and Brian was silent.

That's when the Joker turned the camera on his own painted face. "You see, this is how crazy Batman's made Gotham!" he said. "You want order in Gotham, Batman must take off his mask and turn himself in. Oh, and every day he doesn't, people will die. Starting tonight." The camera got closer to his face as he said, "I'm a man of my word-ah!" Then he let out a maniacal laugh, leaving Brian screaming as the camera shut off.

"Oh my god…" Lacey said in shock. She turned and walked out of the patient's room. That laugh echoed in her head, and she couldn't get it out. She shook her head to clear a bit and walked down the hall. She had to leave the hospital for the day; she had a party to get to.

A nurse bumped into Lacey and quickly apologized. Lacey forgave them and kept walking.

"Lacey!" she heard a familiar voice. Obviously that bossy tone was Kate.

"Kate?" Lacey turned around and saw Kate standing in the doorway of a patient.

Kate nodded and motioned for Lacey to follow her. Lacey gave an exasperated sigh and followed after the woman to her office.

"Leaving again?" Kate questioned as they entered the room. "It's only seven."

"Exactly," Lacey said with a slight nod.

Kate waited for her to elaborate. "I'm afraid I'm not following."

"You know how I went to see Bruce…Wayne, the other day?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm going to a fundraiser for the new district attorney." She ran a hand through her hair.

Kate looked surprised. "Really?"

"Yes," Lacey said. "So I have to go and get ready and all that jazz. I have to leave for the night."

"Alright… You'll have paperwork on your desk in the morning," the doctor said, folding her arms.

Lacey nodded. "Yeah, I know…" she sighed. "I'll see you in the morning, Kate."

"See you, Lacey," Kate turned around as Lacey left the office. She needed to get her mind off of that video she'd seen on TV. As she thought about it, that sadistic laugh echoed through her head again.

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She pushed the door open after unlocking it and turned the light on in the apartment. "Ethan? You here?"

When there was no answer, Lacey shrugged and took her jacket off. She threw it on the couch and set her keys down, heading into the bedroom. She opened her closet door and rummaged through some things, shoving black skirts and multiple blouses out of the way until she found what she was looking for at the back of the closet. She took the dress out, a beautiful dark violet color, with only one shoulder-strap and a silver design on the strap. She had bought it maybe…two years ago, when she was out with a few friends. She was finally getting the chance to wear it.

In a few minutes, she had changed into the beautiful dress. She looked at herself in the mirror; the gown made her feel insecure, but she'd have to suck it up for one night. She didn't pay for this dress to keep it in her closet forever. Next, she moved onto working on her hair. She pulled it out of the pony-tail it was in and brushed it out, then pulling it back into a nice and neat braided bun. She put on some makeup, and looked in the mirror again. Lacey managed a weak smile and she put her heels on underneath the floor-length dress.

She walked out of the bedroom and grabbed her coat once more, taking her keys off of the table. She took a breath and headed out the door. "Let's go."

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Wow, that's a lot of people… Lacey thought as she stepped off the elevator. Classical music played, people talked and drinks were passed around. Lacey, you're fine. You're great. Everything will be perfect.

"Ah, Miss Wright!" A voice made Lacey turn around and look at the friendly face of Alfred. She gave a warm smile. "Oh, Alfred."

"You came," he said.

"Yeah, I-I did," she said with a small chuckle. "How many times will I get the chance to go to a party like this?"

"You're very busy, I presume. I don't believe you'd agree to come to many things like this."

"Normally, no, but this was an exception, I suppose."

Alfred offered her a drink, but Lacey declined and he made his way, walking away from her. She looked around, until two people caught her eye- Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent.

"Rachel?" Lacey smiled a bit and began to walk towards them. Yes, she and Bruce had broken up because she knew Bruce had feelings for Rachel, but that didn't mean she had to hate the woman. They were actually good friends, believe it or not.

"Lacey?" was Rachel's response. She rushed over to the doctor, leaving Harvey to talk to Alfred. "Is that you?"

"How are you?" Lacey asked.

"I'm good. I'm really good. You?"

"Great. Job's great, too."

"Yeah, you're a doctor at Gotham General, right?"

"That's right."

"God, it's been…what? Ten years?"

"Ten years," Lacey echoed with a small smile.

"Well, you look great," Rachel said, smiling.

"So do you," she replied.

"We'll have to get together and catch up sometime," Rachel suggested.

Lacey nodded. "Yeah. We will."

"It was great to see you," Rachel said, looking back at Harvey for a moment. "I'll see you later."

She nodded again and watched as Rachel walked off to talk to some other party guests.

Lacey folded her arms, looking around again, still feeling insecure in her dress. She exhaled slowly to calm herself until she heard the whirring of a helicopter. Everyone turned and looked out at the window as the helicopter landed. And- who could have guessed it?- Bruce Wayne stepped out, helping two models out of the helicopter as well. Lacey gave a soft scoff and she smirked a bit. "Wow, Bruce…" she muttered.

Alfred opened the doors so the billionaire could walk into the building with a model on each arm. "I'm sorry that I'm late. I'm glad to see you all got started without me," he apologized, walking to the middle of the crowd. He clapped his hands together softly. "Now, where is Harvey? Where-?" Then he spotted the district attorney and gave a meaningless smile. "Harvey Dent, the man of the hour." He looked around and gave a smile, with a bit more effort. "Where's Rachel Dawes?"

Rachel stood at the front of a few people, arms crossed and she had a scolding look on her face.

"Rachel is my oldest friend. Come here," he said, looking at Rachel.

She reluctantly began to move forward towards Bruce.

"You know, when Rachel first told me she was dating Harvey Dent, I had one thing to say: 'The guy from those God-awful campaign commercials?'" he teased. "'I believe in Harvey Dent?'" He gave a thumbs up in Harvey's direction. "Yeah, nice slogan, Harvey."

Weak laughter was heard from the crowd and Harvey was obviously embarrassed now.

Lacey scoffed again and shook her head at Bruce, but didn't take her eyes off of him.

"But, it caught Rachel's attention," he continued. "And then I started to pay attention to Harvey and all that he's been doing as our new DA. And you know what? I believe in Harvey Dent. I believe that on his watch, Gotham can feel a little safer, a little more…optimistic."

The doctor was honestly surprised at Bruce's words. They seemed…sincere, which was oddly different.

"Look at this face. This is the face of Gotham's bright future," Bruce said, looking at Harvey. "To Harvey Dent. Let's hear it for him." He began to clap and the rest of the crowd joined it, including Lacey. She smiled a bit, impressed by the speech.

Everyone soon went back to their talking and chatting, ignoring anything else around them.

Lacey looked around and stood back against the wall, not paying attention to much. A little bit of her was happy she had come, the other part of her wanted to go home.

"Lacey." Bruce walked over to the woman, a smile on his face. "You look nice. I'm glad you came."

She turned and looked at Bruce with a small smile. "Thanks. It's better to be here than doing paperwork."

"I'm sure it is," he chuckled. "You know, I'm glad you came."

"I'm glad I did too," Lacey replied with a small nod.

"How are things at the hospital?"

"It's a hospital. What do you expect? People are being rushed in and out every day."
Bruce shrugged a bit. "Having fun at your job?"

"I'd be lying if I said yes," she admitted. "I like my job, it can just be a little depressing sometimes."

"I can't imagine what it's like," he said. "My dad was a surgeon, but I never had an ambition to be a doctor."

Lacey laughed a bit. "I don't think you'd make a very good doctor, Bruce."

"I agree," he said with a smile. He exhaled and licked his lips. "I'll talk to you later, okay?"

She nodded and smiled. "Okay."

He gave one last smile and turned, walking out to the balcony.

Lacey sighed and looked around, taking a deep breath. She began to walk into the crowd thinking, Okay, let's socialize. Or try… She looked around at everyone until someone bumped right into her.

"Oh, I'm sorry," the voice said. It was masculine, that's for sure.

Lacey chuckled. "It's alright," she said. Then she turned and recognized the face of Harvey Dent. "Oh, Mr. Dent."

He laughed a bit. "Call me Harvey, Miss…"

"Lacey. Lacey Wright." She extended her hand out to him and he smiled a bit, shaking her hand.

"It's nice to meet you, Miss Wright," he said politely.

"Um, doctor actually, but call me Lacey," Lacey responded with a small laugh.

"Alright," he said. "You said doctor. What kind?"

"Medical," she said. "Psychiatry never interested me. Especially now after Crane's…rampage."

He smirked. "I don't blame you. It's sad that Crane went so crazy."

Lacey nodded. "I knew him too. From high-school and a few years after that."

"That must've been hard," Harvey admitted. "Seeing someone you knew do something like that."

"It was certainly a sight," she said with a breath of laughter.

He cleared his throat. "I should, um… I should find Rachel."

"It was nice meeting you, Harvey," Lacey said politely with a smile.

"Likewise, Doctor Wright," he replied.

"Lacey," I corrected him.

He chuckled and nodded. "Lacey." He gave one last smile and turned, walking away.

She smiled and watched as he left her. He was nicer than she thought he'd be. Lacey believed he'd be very serious all the time, but she was wrong.

Time began to pass at the party, rather quickly, too. Lacey made her way to talk to other people and actually start to make a few friends. People asked her about what it was like to work at Gotham General and if it was as nice as they'd heard. She'd simply say it was certainly a great experience and that it had its perks. She'd lost track of where Bruce, Rachel and Harvey had gone, but she hadn't been thinking about that. She'd been regretting the fact that she hadn't asked Bruce if she could bring Ethan. She felt bad now that she hadn't. Lacey even felt bad that she hadn't told Ethan where she'd be tonight.

Lacey looked around at everyone talking and having a nice time until a loud gunshot was heard. She whipped her head in the direction of the shot and she saw the Joker and some of his goons heading into the room. Thugs went around to the people at the front of the crowd and pointed shotguns at them to stay back.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," he said, walking around the crowd. Something clattered to the floor, but most people seemed to ignore it since their attention was on...him. "We are tonight's entertainment!"

Lacey swallowed and took a few deep breaths, remaining silent and doing her best to remain calm as she could tell everyone else was.

He stole a piece of shrimp from the table and quickly popped it in his mouth. "I only have one question," he said. "Where is Harvey Dent-ah?"

There was silence throughout the room and the Joker's gaze swept around the guests, waiting for someone to speak up. He turned around and walked around to some guests, pointing his shotgun at them. Then he grabbed one woman's drink fiercely that the actually drink flew out the glass, yet he still lifted it to his lips.

The Joker set the glass down and tapped a woman's cheek saying, "Do you know where Harvey is? Do you know who he is?"

Then he moved on to a man and grabbed the man's face. "Do you know where I can find Harvey? I need to talk to him about somethin'. Just somethin' little, huh?" When the man didn't respond, the Joker pushed him away. "No."

Next, he walked up to an older man, getting close to him. "You know, I'll settle for his loved ones," he said with a slightly threatening tone.

"We're not intimidated by thugs!" the man said bravely.

The Joker narrowed his eyes, studying him. "You know," he began, setting his shotgun down on the table, "you remind me of my father." Then he grabbed the back of the man's neck with one and brought knife close to his face with the other. "I hated my father!" Only did he turn when Rachel's voice was heard saying, "Okay, stop."

The assistant DA walked out from the crowd bravely and the Joker began to walk towards her. He brushed some of his dyed-green hair back, as if trying to impress her. "Well, hello, beautiful," he said coolly. He gestured to her with his switchblade and said, "You must be Harvey's squeeze. Hmm?" Then his voice lowered as he got closer and looked her up and down. "And you are beautiful…" He began to circle her, like a vulture, and Rachel kept her arms crossed and wanted to stay as far away from him as possible.

He circled around so he stood in front of her, bringing himself close. "Oh, you look nervous? Is it the scars?" he said. "You wanna know how I got 'em?" He gave a small nod and then grabbed her neck with one hand and held a knife to her face with the other. "C'mere. Hey."

Rachel struggled to escape his grip but was unsuccessful.

"Look at me," he instructed, turning her head so she looked him in the face, yet she still looked at the ground or off to the side.

Lacey watched, horror in her eyes. She wondered what he'd do, if anything, to her.

"So, I had a wife. She was beautiful, like you, who tells me I worry too much; who tells me I oughta smile more, who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks. Hey." As Rachel craned her neck backwards to get away, he simply tightened his grip and forced her to look at him again. "One day they carve her face. And we have no money for surgeries. She can't take it. I just wanna see her smile again. Hm? I just want her to know that I don't care about the scars! So, I stick a razor in my mouth and do this-" he drags his tongue from one corner of his mouth to the other, "-to myself. And you know what? She can't stand the sight of me! She leaves… Now, I see the funny side." He began to step away from her with a grin. "Now I'm always smiling!"

That's when Rachel took her chance and kneed him in the groin, but he seemed almost unfazed. He bent over with a struggled laugh and looked up at her, quickly straightening up. "You got a little fight in you," he pointed out. He pointed to her with the knife. "I like that."

The Joker was caught off-guard at the gravelly voice that said, "Then you're gonna love me." He turned to see the Batman standing off to the side and the vigilante quickly punched him, sending the Joker off balance.

A few of the Joker's goons rushed forward to aid their boss, but Batman quickly took them out.

The Joker then got one of his goons to punch Batman when he wasn't ready and then hold him back, having the Joker kick him repeatedly.

Lacey gasped and looked around as guests began to rush for exits. Wait… she thought. Audrey!

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Audrey groaned and began to complain quietly, "Oh, when is he going to get back?" She sat in the black van with two other goons, one who was asleep. Luckily the other wasn't paying attention to anything but the shotgun he held. To make sure, the red-head looked down at her feet and saw they weren't bound this time. "Huh…" she said in surprise.

Then she slowly began to reach for the door handle with her bound hands, trying not to draw attention to herself. When she got close enough, her hands darted forward, pushing the door open and she jumped out of the car, racing away from the van.

"Hey!" the goon yelled, jumping out after her. "Get back here!"

She gave a breathy laugh. "No way, chuckles!" she yelled, keeping her legs going. This was it! She was finally escaping! Three days she had been imprisoned by that crazy clown and she was finally getting away from it all!

Audrey turned the corner sharply, hoping to lose the thug, but she heard his yells and his heavy footsteps still behind her. She groaned and kept running, tearing the duct tape with her teeth as she ran. She turned another corner, and hid in a crevice between two buildings. She kept her breathing soft and didn't make a sound. She heard the man's footsteps stop and then she heard him groan in frustration and take off again, thinking she was still running.

Audrey poked her head out and watched the thug run off, and then she stepped out and ran back towards the black van. She had to get into that building and into that party.

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The Joker laughed and shot the glass behind him with the handgun, positioning Rachel to hang outside the window, only his hand holding onto her arm. He looked back at Batman, waiting for him to do something.

Batman stood there, eyes dark, then he said, "Let her go."

The criminal narrowed his eyes. "Very poor choice of words," he said, with another laugh. His hand let go of Rachel, sending her falling. He stepped out of the way as Batman leaped out the window to save her.

The Joker made his way around the crowd to get out of the building, pushing a door open.

Lacey watched and then did what she knew would be a bad idea. She walked by one of the fallen thugs and grabbed his handgun, following after the Joker and the one or two goons that were left.

"Hey, clown!" Lacey shouted as she chased after them. She held the gun up in front of her, both hands on it.

The Joker slowed his pace until he came to a complete stop. He turned on his heel, staring back at Lacey. "Hello there, gorgeous," he cooed smoothly. He gave a smile and stepped towards her, but she simply tightened her grip on the gun.

"I want you to answer one question," she said.

He grinned again. "Anything for you, doll."

"Where is Audrey?"

"What's it to you?"

"Answer the question!"

"Ooh, demanding, aren't we?" he laughed.

"Where is she?" Lacey said, articulating every word.

"Why should I tell you?" He moved towards her again, and reached for the handgun she held, but she pulled it out of his reach. He raised his eyebrows. "Are you gonna shoot me if I don't tell you?"

"I'm definitely considering it," she said.

"You know, shooting me will only bring you down to my level," he pointed out. "Just drop the gun and we can talk this out like adults-ah."

"Stop the small talk, Joker," she said angrily. "Tell me where she is?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"That's none of your business!"

"Oh, I think it is," he said. "See, I have Audrey hidden somewhere. I haven't hurt her, yet, at least, but she's safe. If you want her back, you're going to have to tell me why you want to save her."

Lacey's grip slacked on the gun and she swallowed.

"That's it," he said. "Set the gun down, and I'll tell you where she is."

She considered setting the gun down, but she had a feeling he was lying. "You're lying."

"What?" the Joker seemed hurt by her assumption. "Lying? Would I lie to you, doll?"

"You'd lie to anyone," she said quietly. "You're a criminal."

"I'm hurt," he said. "How could you say that?"

She groaned in a bit of frustration. "Where is she?"

He smirked. "Like I said, put the gun down and I'll tell you."

"I'm not dropping the gun until you tell me where Audrey is." Lacey said keeping her eyes trained on the face-painted man.

He narrowed his eyes and raised an eyebrow at the stupidly bold doctor. "Shoot me, and you'll never find out."

Lacey cocked the gun. "I'm losing my patience, Joker," she said, then beginning to grind her teeth in a bit of nervousness.

The Joker giggled and smirked at her. "You won't shoot me," he said. "You don't have it in you." He slowly progressed towards her and she just backed up a few steps.

"Why don't we find out?" Her hands shook ever so slightly and beads of sweat began to form on her forehead. "Just tell me where she is and no one gets hurt."

"Go ahead! Shoot me!" The Joker laughed, grinning widely at her. He wanted to see what she'd do even though he was pretty sure she wouldn't pull that trigger. "I want you to do it."

Lacey licked her lips and began to slowly squeeze her finger down on the trigger until finally a shot was fired, but it wasn't from her gun. She screamed in pain and fell to the floor, clutching her side with both hands.

The Joker turned to see one of his goons holding up a gun. "What was that?" he asked, frowning a bit.

"I, um… She was going to shoot you!" he stuttered.

He growled in anger. "No she wasn't. She never would have fired that gun!" he looked down at Lacey, who had her teeth gritted in pain and her eyes shut tight. "Now Batman has an even bigger reason to kill us."

Lacey moved her hands and looked down at the bleeding bullet wound. Her breath was caught in her throat at the sight of the blood seeping through her dress. She lifted the folds of her skirt and pressed them against the wound in attempt to slow the blood

"Lacey?" a masculine voice called and footsteps were heard. "Lacey!"

The Joker looked at his goons. "We have to get out of here! Let's go!" The goons rushed out the nearest exit, opposite of where the other man was coming from. "

"Where's Audrey?" Lacey choked out, just before the Joker disappeared out the door.

He squatted down in front of her and put a gloved hand under her chin, lifting it so she stared up at him. He smirked and laughed, "You think I'd tell you?" Then he ran out the door, leaving her there.

The man rounded the corner, seeing Lacey on the ground. "Lacey!" he knelt next to her, seeing the wound. "What happened?"

"Bruce," she groaned in pain. Her vision was going blurry, but she kept her eyes on the billionaire. "Bruce… Joker and his men, they-" She was cut off as she shut her eyes tight in pain. She opened them, blinking out a few tears.

He looked back at her, his gaze not leaving hers. "Lacey, I want you to keep your eyes on me. Okay?" he said. "Keep your eyes on me."

Lacey looked back at him, her vision growing worse every second. Eventually, she fell back, lying down, still in immense pain but was beginning to lose consciousness. "Bruce…" she breathed.

"Lacey. Lacey keep your eyes on me!" Bruce knelt over her, patting her cheek a bit. "Listen to me, you're going to be fine, Lacey." He moved and slid a hand underneath her back, propping her up, laying her head against his chest.

Her eyelids began to close and, just before the blackness overcame her, she heard him yell her name one more time. "Lacey!" Then her world faded into nothingness.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Author's Note: Dun, dun, dun!

Well, there's Chapter Five. :) Today was my first day of highschool so don't expect me to update this regularly, but I will work on Chapter Six whenever I can. I promise.

What did you think? Was it good? Bad, maybe? I'd really love to hear your feedback, whether it's through a PM or a review. Please tell me if I can improve on anything and I'd love to hear your opinion.