Hello people! I'm back! Hehe.

Ok, so… I wasn't able to recover my lost documents… But everything is okay. Mostly.

The chapters for this story are always short, which is why this one is being updated first, but expect an update for The End of One Life sometime within the next few days.

Love you guys! Thank you all so much for the support!

The_life_of_a_line_is_dull_and_grim.

The Joker laughed happily as the building on the horizon exploded.

The booming sounds likened to thunder mixed with the crumbling of brick and the screeching of metal was like a beautiful symphony. The music of destruction was punctuated by a chorus of wonderful screams and sounds of terror.

It was magnificent. Absolutely magnificent.

He punched a button and another building, more to the east of him now, followed the previous onto the jaws of death in a mighty and wrathful explosion. He cackled with joy, and pushed the next button.

This one did not explode. Ah. Well that was his cue to leave then.

With a grin still on his face, splattered with blood as it was from the unfortunate security guard of the empty building he had chosen to watch his masterpiece from, he rushed down the flights of stairs and skipped through the lobby of the building. There was a car outside; one of his clowns in the driver's seat.

This plan had been beautiful. Usually his plans involved coming face to face with the bat. He did it that way so as to taunt the man and tempt him into killing the Joker. The bat never took the bait though, and then he would end up in Arkham. He couldn't afford that yet though. Lamb wasn't ready to be left without him yet. He was too weak.

Thus his plan had involved taunting the bat from afar. He told him of a school with a bomb in it and gave him three possibilities along with a few hints. The bat would have to figure out which school held a bomb.

But the truth was that all three were rigged to blow. Not that the bat knew that. Well, NOW he did. The Joker giggled joyfully to himself as he slipped into the car. It was an old black thing, though he wasn't sure as to the make or model. Not that it mattered. What mattered was that it was rather plain and easily ignored. The windows were dark enough that no one within would be visible, and the particular clown he had in the driver's seat was one of his more competent minions who knew how to stay calm and obey traffic laws when they needed to remain unnoticed.

He sighed and smiled to himself, beginning to hum a song. He pulled out his handkerchief to clean and polish away at his knife, but he didn't bother with cleaning the blood from his face. It would dry on his skin slowly like mud on the back of a pig. He was so used to blood; he was more likely to be delighted by being covered in it than he was to be bothered.

He absentmindedly thought of Lamb. His clown's idea of a doctor involved dragging scarecrow in. That had been a problem. He scowled at the remembrance; the rage still fresh in his mind. He would need to punish the good doctor again when he got back.

Scarecrow was not insane like the rest of them. Not really. He was unhinged, certainly, but he was not out of his mind. He was a sadist in the darkest form, though his sadism only manifested itself in his delight in his fear toxins, and in the way he didn't seem to care at all about human emotion. Even the Joker could feel things for others. Those feelings were limited mostly to vague interest and possessiveness, but still.

Still, despite being a psychologist, the doctor had agreed to help. He knew enough about the human body to get them started at least. But then…

Then he had gone and tested his new batch of fear toxin on Lamb.

The Joker growled to himself. It had been a horrible way to learn that regardless of his silence and sewn lips, Lamb was not actually mute. He had screamed. The sound had been loud and harsh and had echoed off of the walls throughout the factory building.

Joker had heard them from a different room. At first the sound had made him smile and he had come wandering after the source in search of entertainment. But then he had opened the door the room Scarecrow had been using. He had seen Lamb curled into the corner covering his eyes and screaming.

Joker was the kind of man who could kill for sport, for fun, out of boredom, for whatever damned reason he could think of. But he was rarely a man to kill out of rage. He nearly had though. At the knowledge that it was Lamb curled there screeching in terror rather than some random low life off the street he had been filled with fury.

And there was nothing quite as terrifying as the Joker when he was pissed.

He hadn't killed Scarecrow. No. The doctor was far too valuable to just kill. But he had made him give Lamb the antidote before beating the doctor into a mess of wheezing purple bruises and bloody split skin. He had only stopped when Lamb had grabbed onto him.

Those purple eyes had looked up at him with fear and tears had fallen freely from them. The boy had made a sort of sobbing noise and clung to him. He had stopped him, not because he cared about the doctor's fate, but because he was scared and wanted the Joker to reassure him.

So the Joker did.

He had picked up Lamb's frail form and held him close and let him cry. It wasn't really his style to do something like that, but he had done it. It wasn't the first time he had done such a thing either. There had been a time or two in the past where Harley would have a nightmare and wake up crying. He had done the same for her then despite how tedious it seemed.

It didn't feel so tedious with Lamb though.

Lamb had had nightmares. He had woken up shaking only to calm within moments. He had seen the Joker beat, maim, torture, and kill right before his eyes without any semblance of fear. He may be weak physically, but mentally, emotionally, he was not. He was strong in that respect, and fearless.

So to see him terrified and crying was a shock to the Joker.

More than a shock, it was unbelievable. It made the Joker question what was terrible enough so as to make Lamb this afraid.

What was the boy who was unafraid of murder and mayhem afraid of?

Scarecrow was now chained up in one of the smaller buildings near the warehouse. Joker wouldn't kill the man, but he would give him many, many new scars.

He would suffer for hurting the Joker's little Lamb.

The_life_of_a_line_is_dull_and_grim.

Lamb smiled absently as the pretty plant lady taught him.

She had taught him so much. He knew all the names of her flowers. Even though they all had more than one name.

Like the pretty Angel's trumpet with its' trumpet shaped flowers. They were beautiful with their golds and pink tips. But its' other name was Brugmansia, and he was not allowed to eat it because it was bad.

The plant lady called it a hallucinogen, and said that it could kill him.

Not that he would ever eat it anyways.

It was too big to fit past the threads, and he couldn't bear the thought of cutting it up just to eat it. The flowers were too pretty for that.

A lot of the plant lady's plants could kill him.

Even the one she was teaching him about now. Oleander. Nerium oleander. The flowers came in white, red, pink, and even a light purple. They weren't as pretty as the Angel's trumpet. But they were more deadly.

He liked them though. He liked all the plants. But especially the special ones the plant lady had made that could think and move. They liked him too and would sometimes pick him up and play with him; throwing him in the air and catching him again or bending and acting as a swing for him.

They were very nice.

He looked up at the sound of metal slamming together and grinned, the threads stretching taut. That was the sound of the door in the corridor.

His laughing man was home.

The_life_of_a_line_is_dull_and_grim.

Batman angrily slammed his fist into the metal desk.

He glared up at the computer screen that couldn't seem to give him any answers. He had hunted down the officers that were mentioned in Arkham's report. The names and badge numbers were fake, but hunting back through the security footage had allowed him to run their faces against the GPD's database. He had matched the faces.

Only to learn both officers were dead.

They had both been killed on the same night, a week after bringing the John Doe to Arkham, in some back alley. They had been out on patrol at the time, and they were shot point-blank twice each; once in the chest, and the second time in the center of the head. It had rained that day, and any evidence that might have been present was washed away.

Which meant the Batman no longer had any leads available to him. He had no pictures or footage of the John Doe's face because of the hair, so he couldn't cross-check his appearance with the system. He had tried to scan the drawing for prints, only to come up empty. There were marks like being touched with gloves on the paper, but no fingerprints. It made no sense, because he had seen the John Doe's bare hands touch the paper, and yet he had left behind no fingerprints.

It was frustrating.

It seemed as though any effort to uncover the truth about the John Doe was met with a dead end. Then, on top of his lack of information, the Joker had struck again. The schools he had blown up had been mostly empty at the time, with the casualties in the single digits. It had been notably less horrifying than the Crown Prince of Crime's usual escapades. Not that the numbers mattered so much. People had still died.

What bothered Batman though was the way the Joker had played his game from afar. There was no direct physical confrontation with the man like he was typically prone to. He didn't understand why.

He needed to hunt the Joker down, and he needed to find the John Doe. He needed to find the truth.

But everywhere he looked, there were no leads to be seen.