Author: Gladrial and RisqueSno
Beta: Jericho Pryce and RisqueSno
Spoilers: There ain't none y'all. It's not at all necessary for you to have read the first 'Roadtrip' to enjoy this story, but we still hope you'll find it worth a read.
Disclaimer: DC owns all these characters and WB owns DC and Time Warner owns WB and I'm pretty sure the rest of the world.
Gladrial's Notes: While writing the first Roadtrip, RisqueSno and I came up with too many ideas to fit into one story. It became quite clear that we'd simply have to write another. Seeing as the original was one of our most enjoyable pieces to write, we were super excited to get going on the next one which we think may be even funnier than the first.
RisqueSno's Notes: This story is a bit less down to earth than the first Roadtrip. A bit of unrepentant wackiness. Forgive me, darling readers, for…a bunch of these crazy jokes were mine. Like, two years or more ago. Sorry for the wait. (We got distracted by liquor and ponies.)
No riddles were left behind this time. Not a solitary clue. The item was so coveted by the man few knew as Edward Nygma that he would not risk being caught in the act, and thereby losing his prize, not even to match wits with the only man he ever deemed worthy of the task. It wasn't easy to ignore his compulsion when after something so grand (and it didn't help that he had an absolute doozy of an idea), but he told himself there would be other nights for such things.
The Riddler opted to only bring a couple of henchmen as he had no reason to expect any trouble. The security system he had already gone over in detail and was no match for him. After that it was only a matter of making the pick up and walking out the door, which is why he was very surprised to find a costumed vigilante crashing through the window and quickly taking out his few hired hands, all the while angrily yelling much louder than he thought necessary.
It wasn't one of the Gotham regulars; that much he picked up on, but not much else before the woman was standing toe to toe with him. He looked up at the sneering face of the most intimating female he had ever had the misfortune to cross. She was at least a full head taller than him with the shoulder width to match. The word 'Amazon' did not seem quite adequate.
Unfortunately, the sight was so overwhelming that his mouth reacted before his brain had truly processed what was going on. "You must be the biggest woman on the planet," he uttered, dumbfounded.
"DID YOU JUST CALL ME FAT?" the woman bellowed, while brandishing a blunt golden rod that he was very concerned might soon be meeting with his face.
"NO!" he insisted, but she didn't seem to be buying it. Thinking quickly (a bit too quickly) he added, "I, uh, like big girls?"
He heard a mighty "YAH!" from the woman as she swung the rod toward his direction. Then everything went black.
"Thanks for the assist Barda," Barbara offered to the woman over a headset as she casually dragged the Riddler behind her to the police station by his ankle. "We got an anonymous tip about the heist not an hour prior. Talk about cutting it close and no one was free to handle it."
"No problem, Oracle," Big Barda responded. "I felt like hitting something anyway."
Barbara giggled slightly at the comment, wondering if a day ever went by that the woman didn't feel that way.
Some quiet groans began to emanate from the figure Barda was dragging. "I think our friend is waking up," she alerted Oracle.
"Just to let you know, he likes to talk. Don't let him get to you," Barbara warned.
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure you have more pressing matters to attend to. This guy isn't going to be causing anybody anymore problems."
"You're probably right. Let me know if you need anything. Oracle out."
The first thing that occurred to the Riddler (other than he was being transported against his will in an uncomfortable manner) was that it had recently rained. This was not difficult to deduce as the back of his jacket, as well as his hair, was soaked from being dragged through multiple puddles that had formed where the sidewalk or asphalt wasn't quite even. "Oh, my head!" the Riddler spoke up for the first time behind her.
"Congratulations," Barda greeted him. "Few men wake up so quickly after meeting my Megarod. But then, I did go easy on you. You looked so frail."
"Thanks," he offered sarcastically, while trying to rise to his feet. The woman wouldn't allow for it though, keeping up her pace with wide strides while he comically and futilely tried to push himself up with the three limbs he had free. "Say, is there any chance you'll allow me to walk?" he asked irritably.
"No," she answered shortly. "You will be dragged. It makes me feel good. Watch out for that curb."
"What cur-OW!" he exclaimed in pain. His tormentor smiled wide. After a few moments of thought he continued, "Let me ask you a question. Why is-"
"No," she interrupted simply.
"…No, what?" he asked.
"No riddles or any of your silly word games," she elaborated. "I know you are used to matching wits with the resident Gotham heroes. I'm not one of them. I prefer to hit first and ask questions later, if at all."
"Well, aren't you a barrel of fun-Oof!" He had collided with another obstacle on the sidewalk and, what's worse, was sure he heard some pedestrians snicker when it happened. His predicament was embarrassing enough without having onlookers.
"Watch that newspaper stand," was all the sympathy his captor had to offer.
"Uh-huh. What if I told you the answer to my riddle would save lives and you are jeopardizing them by not listening? What about that?" he asked triumphantly.
"Go ahead and tell me if you want," she replied with a shrug. "I'll pass it on to the eggheads. You might as well get it through your head that I'm not interested."
"I'm so glad you aren't one of the regulars," he stated genuinely, before being dropped off at his final destination – prison, wondering how things had possibly gone so wrong.
Barda gave a brief explanation to the shocked officers on duty when she entered the police station, but didn't mince words long before leaving again. "I've dropped off the package, Oracle. Unless you need anything else, I'll be heading home."
"Thanks again, Barda. We're all good over here."
"Feel free to…oh no." Barda started patting herself up and down, frantically checking all pockets.
"Oh no, what?" Barbara asked, voice edged with concern.
"My mother box! It's not here!" Barda explained, frantic. "I was going to use it to teleport home, but it's not here!
"What?" Barbara screeched. "How could you lose that? I didn't even think that was possible!"
"Neither did I!"
"Retrace your steps quickly. In the wrong hands-"
"I know! I know!" Barda exclaimed, bolting from the front of the police station backtracking the way she came.
"Mr. J, you're a genius," Harley beamed brightly as they entered onto the scene of Riddler's failed crime through a skylight, followed by some hired goons.
"I know," the Joker preened under her adoration. "Fortunately, Ozzie owed me a favor. After I found out what Eddie was up to, it was a simple matter of informing the proper authorities like the good citizen I am. No one will expect a hit on the same place twice in the same night and now we're free to take…whatever it is."
"You don't know?" Harley asked, surprised at this lack of foresight.
"Some new scientific doodad. Honestly, who cares? If Eddie wanted it, then it's valuable. Just grab whatever you see with lots of buttons," he directed.
"I like buttons," Harley chirped.
The inside of the building seemed to be made of stainless steel and shone even through the darkness. The fact that the room seemed to be pulled from the set of a cheesy science fiction movie was only amplified by panels with switches that held unknown possibilities and blinking lights that indicated god knows what, which were clearly still powered even though the main lights were off.
"Boss, there's a lot of gizmos in here. Which one ya think we're after?" one of the goons asked, scratching his head.
"Grab all of them and we'll sort it out later," he instructed. "I'm sure they're all worth something anyway." At that moment they heard a crash nearby of something that sounded delicate.
"Oops," Harley offered. "It was just so shiny. And this one has lights!" she announced triumphantly picking up another.
"Put it down before you break it too!" Joker barked.
Harley did as she was told, but quickly jumped to another object and pressed the biggest button she found on it. It shot a red laser creating a hole through both a support beam and the midsection of a henchman, who dropped the loot he had collected, along with a large portion of his intestines, before he fell to the ground himself.
"Eww!" Harley grimaced.
"HARLEY! Look what you did! He better not have broken anything when he collapsed. I should have known better than to bring you along." Joker pointed to a center point in the room. "You sit here and do nothing while we clean this place out."
"But-" Harley whimpered.
"NO BUTS!" he shouted.
Harley fell with a pout where he pointed and began to kick her feet in annoyance, while grumbling to herself about how unfairly she was being treated, when she saw something sparkle a few feet from her. She looked back to her Puddin' and saw that he was busy, so began to scoot in a sitting position slowly toward the something sparkly on the smooth floor. When she reached it, she saw it was a small metallic box with a button on one side…and she did love buttons. She bit her gloved fingernails nervously with thought before deciding to scoot across the floor over to the Joker before she did something stupid.
She reached him to find he was completely consumed with directing the henchmen in the task at hand. She tugged on the tail of his purple jacket. "Puddin' I found something."
"That's nice," he mumbled, pushing her away. "BE CAREFUL WITH THAT! God, what a bunch of apes."
She tugged on his jacket again. "It has a button," she said with yearning.
"Yeah, that's great," he dismissed her again, removing her hand from his coat.
She reached up and tugged on him once more. "I want to push it," she pleaded.
"For Christ's sake, Harl! Stop fidgeting with me! Didn't I tell you to sit over there?" he bellowed.
Harley sighed and resigned herself to the inevitable, pushing the button. Instantly, the two infamous clowns vanished.
The henchmen gaped at the sight where their boss had previously been standing and looked at the boxes they were carrying full of trinkets they didn't have a prayer of understanding, wondering which was responsible for this phenomenon.
"Da boss…da boss disintegrated…just like in that Marvin da Martian cartoon," one of them whispered in awe. This led to mass panic as each of them dropped whatever they were carrying and ran screaming from the building.
"For Christ's sake, Harl! Stop fidgeting with me! Didn't I tell you to sit over there?" He was about to physically make his point and Harley instinctively took a defensive stance, when they both noticed something amiss. Was it the gentle breeze that first triggered something was wrong? The sound it made rustling through the leaves? Perhaps it was the sudden heat or the fact they were no longer surrounded by a man-made construct.
Regardless, it took only a second before they realized they were no longer inside the building they were robbing…or any building for that matter. There was a few seconds of shocked silence as they tried to process their new surroundings, after which panic set in. This panic displayed itself with Harley screaming at an alarming pitch and running around frantically, without apparent purpose, while Joker continuously bellowed at her to shut up so he could think.
Eventually, he was mercifully given silence based on Harley's need of oxygen. Her breaths came quick and shallow as she backed against the trunk of a tree. Her eyes darted back and forth looking from some unknown danger that might be in store for them from this mysterious wilderness that now surrounded her. Joker, in the meantime, tried to piece together what had befallen them.
"This isn't anything like any hallucination I've ever had, so I'm going to rule that out," he declared, looking around. "Besides, you're here," he directed at Harley. "Why would my subconscious want that?" She was too busy being frightened to acknowledge the comment. He forcibly massaged one of his temples, trying to reach something deep in his brain. Something he was sure he had been trying to ignore. "You," he turned to face Harley, "You were saying something."
She suddenly remembered the device she still held in her hand and clenched it tighter as she cringed inwardly.
"-Something about a button," he continued. He stopped rubbing his head and glared at her with realization in his eyes. "What did you do?" he hissed.
"N-nothing," she stammered. "How could I do this?"
He glared at her even harder.
"I didn't mean to!" she blurted out. "I mean, how was I supposed to know?" She held out her hand, revealing the tiny object to him.
"You!" he pointed at her with purpose and half-lunged in her direction, but didn't seem to be sure what action to take or what he should say, which was a very rare position to find himself in. Some part of him realized that nothing he did was going to improve the situation. "YOU!" he screamed even louder than before.
"I'm sorry," she squeaked.
"Oh, you're sorry, are you? Tell me, Harley, how the hell your remorse is going to help us? I mean-," he gestured grandly around him, "Where the hell are we?"
She shrugged meekly in reply while looking down at her feet. Sniffling noises signified that she was on the verge of tears.
Joker clenched extended hands at her as though he was thinking about strangling her and wondering if he'd actually get through to her by doing so. "Why? Why do you have to touch?" he asked, indicating the device still in her hand. "You can't just look; you have to touch! You couldn't just provide me therapy, could you? You just had to get in my pants!"
Harley suddenly perked up, having a great idea. "Maybe if I push the button again, it'll send us home!"
"AARGH!" Joker growled, snatching the object from her, having clearly not made his point. He threw it as hard as he could into woods. It landed in the darkness without a sound, muffled by years of fallen leaves and pine needles. Without another gesture, Joker turned away from her abruptly and stalked off into the woods with a scowl on his face.
"Where are you going?" Harley pleaded, unmoving.
"As far from you as possible!" he returned sharply, his voice beginning to fade away as he ventured further off.
Harley made it a habit to follow wherever the Joker led. More than a habit, it was her life's purpose. Even so, she remained where she was momentarily, considering his words. She wasn't quite sure she could get 'as far from herself as possible', but eventually she made the attempt, jogging to catch up to him.
They had been walking in silence for some time. It didn't take long for Harley to reach him. Joker hadn't been in any particular hurry, probably because he didn't know where he was trying to get to. This issue was chief on Harley's mind. He had tolerated the return of her presence so far, but she had been too afraid to attempt any kind of conversation. Unfortunately, night was coming and she wasn't looking forward to being stuck in the dark in this unfamiliar environment without a plan.
Harley cleared her throat experimentally, gauging his response. If he heard her, he didn't take any note of it, which was enough reason for her to attempt a question.
"So…what's the game plan, Puddin'?" she asked, trying to sound more chipper than she felt.
"Right now, the plan is walking in this direction," he pointed ahead, "And apparently sweating to death." He stopped long enough to rip off his purple jacket dramatically and threw it at Harley. "Make yourself useful," he said as she felt the cloth meet her face. She folded that jacket neatly, draping it over her arm.
Harley agreed about the ungodly temperature. She had already pulled off her head piece and it hung down her back. Grease paint was dripping down her face and she desperately wished she was wearing something that breathed, rather than spandex.
"Hopefully we'll run into something. Unless you have a better idea." he scoffed, pointedly. "We should find some sign of civilization eventually. There's only so much wilderness left in the world today." Harley noted that he was enjoying the sound of his voice, as he continued talking, which suited her fine. She hated when he was angry and quiet. It seemed unnatural and felt like the calm before some terrible storm. "That's if we're not somewhere else entirely," he added eerily.
"What do you mean?" Harley asked nervously.
"Well, we really don't know what that device you were messing with did. What if we're off planet?" he suggested.
Harley looked around. She didn't know where she was, certainly, but nothing around her looked alien. The ground, the sky, the trees all looked familiar. Even the few animals they've seen weren't anything out of the ordinary. "There's a squirrel," she pointed out, in an attempt to vocalize this point.
"Could be an alien squirrel," he offered. "Or perhaps we've traveled through time. Stuff like that happens every day. Trust me."
Harley was under the distinct impression he was trying to scare her, so she did her best to play along as they kept walking and the sky kept getting darker.
Gladrial's End Notes: For those of you that are not addicted to DC like I am, you might be wondering, "Who's Big Barda?" or "What the hell is a mother box?" Please don't worry about it beyond the fact that a mother box has teleportation capabilities. I promise that's all you need to know.
On the flipside, for those of you who are addicted to DC as much as I am, you might be saying, "A mother box doesn't work like that!" While the information on them you can find is rather limited and vague, I'm inclined to agree, but this is what needs to be in order for our story to work. I theorize that it's broken…or something. Let's all agree not to obsess about it.