Hello there my lovely readers! As the summary states, this is a Joker origin story. I have been messing with this idea for quite a while now, and I finally have enough of a story in my head, and enough chapters already written to feel good about posting it on here.
I do want to clarify that my Joker is not the one that we see in the movies. This story takes place in the years before Batman Begins, and I intend for it to give some insight into how he became the way he was in the Dark Knight. My character is probably crazy, but he still has reasons to stay alive, and he isn't set on killing thousands of people. I just wanted to clarify that, so you all know that I am trying to capture the deeper side of his character, not just the homicidal maniac that we all love. That said I am trying to do justice to Heath Ledger's interpretation of the Joker, and he is pretty Joker like, at least in my opinion...
I also feel like I should warn you all that this story will be fairly dark. There is bound to be plenty of violence where the Joker is concerned, and my OC doesn't exactly start off in the best of circumstances. I said in the summary that it was rated M for language, violence, consent and non-consent, etc, and I meant that. I will try to warn you when a chapter is going to be particularly dark, but I just want you to be aware that I might slip up.
OK, I have now written the longest author's note in history, so I'm going to slip back into a corner and let you guys read. Thanks!
- I do not own any of the Nolan characters used in this story; I only own my original characters and ideas. I am not making any money from this story.
Chapter One - Drop
I touch the tongue to see, A devil's face in front of me, A sad man in front of me, You blow your nose then cry, And the clown demands a sad good-bye, A sad man and sad good-bye.
Black below the tree, White horse dead in front of me, A sad man in front of me, A scar below the cheek, Where there's a sweaty man with a bloody sink, A sad man and bloody sink
- Blue October
Jack stood on the side of a nearly deserted highway, his thumb eagerly held up in the air as yet another car flew passed him. He figured it was nearing midnight and in his experience few people were willing to pick a man up from the side of the road at this late of an hour, even if the temperatures were frigid. He hadn't really held much hope for a ride when he had heard that car coming, but he still had to try. He trudged steadily north for about ten minutes before he heard the sound of another car in the distance. He stopped, placed his duffel bag on the ground beside him, and pulled his scarf more tightly around his lower face. There weren't very many people out there that would pick up a person that had a face like his, regardless of the hour.
Jack was pleasantly surprised when the car slowed as it approached him and finally pulled to a stop about 100 feet down the road from him. He picked his bag up and quickly jogged to the the driver's window of the car. There was a burly black man with a bushy beard that was heavily shot with grey driving the old car, and he seemed to be alone. Jack's voice was muffled by his scarf, "Thanks for, uh, stopping. You're a rare soul."
The man eyed Jack somewhat suspiciously, but without malice and then nodded his head slightly. His voice was warm and carried a slight southern accent, "Well I wouldn't feel quite right lettin' a man freeze to death... So, where you headed?" Jack noticed that the man had his right hand lightly resting on a revolver, and understood his greater willingness to stop. He felt that he was protected from the crazies of the night. Of course that wasn't really true, but Jack was willing to let it slide. He just wanted a ride after all, no need to hurt the guy and take the car.
"I'm headed to Gotham. I've got some, uh, work lined up there. I'm willing to split gas costs with you if you need it..." Jack actually had plenty of cash in his bag and he could have most likely bought his own car for the trip, but it had seemed like a waste of money. Not to mention that he really didn't want any way for people to trace him to his old life, he didn't need that. Hell, that was why he was on his way to Gotham, he was starting a new life. Not in the way that most people did, no clean, fresh start for him. His ideas of a new life were much more... fun.
The large man looked him hard in the eye and seemed to consider if he posed a threat, until after a moment he seemed to conclude that Jack could make a decent companion. "Well buddy, you're in luck, I'm on my way to Gotham as well. Put your bag in the back and jump in. I'm on a schedule... want to get to the warehouse district by dawn." He shifted his pistol into his lap and rolled his window up. Jack opened the back door on his way around the beat up car and tossed his bag into the back seat, before slipping in the passenger seat.
As Jack settled into the seat he adjusted his scarf, so that it was a little more comfortable, but it still assured that the other man wouldn't be able to see his face. "Thanks for the ride." He shifted slightly in his seat, trying to get comfortable for the ride ahead. He hoped that the man wouldn't be chatty, as he really had nothing to say. He cleared his throat and when he spoke again his voice was slightly deeper and rougher, "I'll give you some cash for the gas when we, uh, get to your destination."
The man glanced over at him as he set the cruise control on the car. He nodded his assent and turned back to the road, attempting to focus on the drive ahead. "That's just fine. So, where you from?" Jack could tell that the older man was rather uncomfortable for some reason, but he didn't feel like he was the reason for the man's discomfort. He wondered what the cause could be, assuming it wasn't him, and considered the man's destination. The warehouse district was well known for it's criminal activity and it only took seconds for Jack to put two and two together. The man wasn't necessarily one of the good guys and he was probably on his way to do something unsavory. That was perfectly fine with Jack, he didn't care what people did with their time. It also made it much easier to deal with his host.
This little bit of understanding made it much easier to answer the question the man had asked. "Different places, same as you probably." He shrugged his shoulders to show that it was inconsequential, then he squirmed in his seat, still trying to get comfortable. It was a constant thing with him, he was almost always uncomfortable and had a very hard time holding still. He had always suffered from the affliction, which had proved to be a real problem for him as a child. Much to the dismay of those around him, it hadn't vastly improved as he grew up. No one wanted to hang around with a mutilated freak that couldn't hold still for more than a minute.
He glanced over at the man beside him and could see the next question formulating in his mouth and knew that he needed to put a halt to that. "I'm pretty, um, tired. So, I think I'm going to try to get some shut eye. Hope you don't mind." He didn't wait for the man to respond before he sank further into his seat, tucked his face into the collar of his wool jacket, and closed his eyes to feign sleep. Though he knew there was no way that he would actually sleep in a moving vehicle with an unknown man driving, he figured it was the easiest way to avoid unwanted conversation. The old man grumbled unintelligibly for a second, and then fell silent for the remainder of the ride.
Jack opened his eyes when he felt the old car come to full halt, and had been surprised to see that he wasn't in a warehouse district. The old man had brought him to a low income commercial district, and he sounded weary and irritated when he addressed Jack, "This is your stop, buddy. Boss wouldn't like me bringing strangers around. Twenty ought to cover your portion of the gas." Jack looked over at him and smiled under his scarf. He climbed out of the car and grabbed his bag out of the back, unzipping a small zipper compartment on the side and pulling a $50 out.
He shoved the bill at the man, "Keep the change, buddy. Thanks for the ride." He didn't wait to hear a response, though he did see the shock cross the old man's face. He would have gladly paid more for the easy ride that he had just enjoyed, but the old guy hadn't asked for more.
He strolled down the quiet street, analyzing the area around him. He saw an old fashioned diner about half a block down on his right and decided to head in that direction, in spite of the fact that it was closed. Food was always a consideration when you were exploring a new place. One didn't want to set up residence in an area where decent fodder was unavailable.
When he reached the diner he was disappointed to find that they didn't have a menu posted outside, but he peered in the window anyway. In his brief survey he found that the place looked clean, and the layout was about the same as all the other old diners he had seen. There were booths placed around the edges of the building, a bunch of tables in the middle and a low bar that surrounded the center of the building. Behind the bar there was a semi-open kitchen, and he figured their menu would be the standard diner fare. He mused that it might make a respectable place to get a bite to eat, if he found lodging and a corner market nearby. So, he continued down the block.
The nearest hotel was two blocks down and on the other side of the road, but it seemed like it might be his kind of place. It was 5:37am according to his watch and there were still two haggard prostitutes standing outside. Not that he was interested in the hookers themselves, just the fact that they were parked outside this particular hotel at that hour. It indicated to him that this was the type of establishment that didn't notice their guests, and they wouldn't have any trouble accepting cash with no credit card. He figured the rooms would probably be filthy at best, but he could clean his room up himself if it was necessary. So after a pause to make sure he was fully concealed he approached the grungy hotel.
The lobby was dark and dank, the air smelled of old mold and it was thick with the scent of sex. The carpet was threadbare and it had so many stains on it that he couldn't be sure what color it was originally. Maybe tan, he decided. There was a balding man, with wire rimmed glasses, slouched behind the front desk. The man didn't even look up at him until Jack rang the little bell on the counter, and then he seemed genuinely surprised that there was someone there. His eyes narrowed as he took in Jack's tall, lanky frame, chin length hair, and dark attire, including the black scarf that concealed his face. The man seemed annoyed that he had to work and he let out a huff before he spoke. "Hey mister, how many hours are you needing?" His tone was bored and he simply oozed discontent.
Jack was amused by the man's foolish attitude and a smile played across his face. His tongue flicked out and teased the corner of his mouth as he pondered what to tell the portly, little man. After a moment he decided that this hotel would be ideal, the man behind the counter was too annoyed with his job to do it properly, so there should be very little trouble with him and he figured that most of the employees would be of a similar mind.
Jack clicked his mouth and replied, "I want to rent a room for the month." His grin grew when he saw the other man's eyes widen in complete surprise and his tongue slipped out again. It was a habit that was more prominent when he was put into social situations, though he did it at least a little bit all the time.
"Well... well that's most unusual. I guess we can accommodate you for... say $800?" The man's eyes had shifted up to the ceiling as he thought of a fee, and Jack knew that he was just trying to figure out how much he could get away with for himself. Jack didn't care and was willing to pay that amount, money was not of great importance to him. It was easy to get more when you had the specific skill set that he did. Jack reached into the small pocket in his bag once again. Feeling the bills within it and pulling out exactly 16 of the 50-dollar bills that were inside of it. He placed the wad of cash on the counter without a word and glanced at the man to see the look of astonishment that flooded his face. Jack loved surprising people, he thought the way that people's faces would flood with their emotions was incredibly interesting.
It took the front desk man - Bill, according to his cracked name tag - a moment to compose himself and count the money, but then he was back to business. "I'll need a name for the record. That and a signature." He placed a guest book in front of Jack, with three columns in it. He could see that it was full of room numbers, names and signatures. His assigned room was 307, and he was pleased that he would be two levels above the lobby. He could only hope it meant he would be away from the main action during the night, but he doubted that any of the hotel was really fully away from all that. He filled in the name portion with the name, Jay Reipan, and signed something completely indistinguishable. That wasn't his name of course, but he couldn't go leaving a paper trail, not even in a place like this one. When he was done he pushed the book back at the clerk and held his hand out for the key. He walked out of the lobby without a word.
Jack had been pleasantly surprised by his room. It was small and old, but it was surprisingly clean and he supposed that the clerk had given him a room that was generally reserved for real guests. The bed was twin sized and obviously too short for him, but the sheets were clean and had minimal staining. There was even a small desk in one corner and a tiny dresser with a very old looking TV resting on it. The bathroom had a full size tub with decent water pressure and a single towel that seemed to have blood stains on it. Jack tossed his duffel bag on the bed and pulled a long sleeved, black tee shirt and a pair of black slacks out. He wanted a shower before he lied down for a little nap.
Jack stepped into the cold winter wind, pulling the collar of his jacket closer to his neck to combat the icy fingers of the frigid breeze. He had left his scarf in the room, because he couldn't wear it while he was eating anyway, but now that the cold was pricking at his face he regretted the decision. It was nine and the night was completely black, the moon hardly willing to peer through the haze that filled the sky of Gotham. Jack had been surprised by the late hour when he awakened from his nap and noticed immediately that he was ravenous. He knew it was time to check out the little diner he had passed that morning.
He walked the distance without any trouble; the three people he crossed paths with were quick to look away once they saw his face, and he stepped out of the cold and into the warm diner after only a few minutes in the cold. His eyes scanned the building, noticing immediately that it was a "seat yourself" kind of establishment. With that piece of information he looked around trying to decide on the section that would best suit him. He was quick to assess that there were three different waitresses, one was actually a waiter, but that was of little importance to him. He was mostly interested in who was the most proficient, and who wouldn't bother him with obnoxious small talk or stare at him. He simply wanted to eat in peace.
Jack looked at each section and the person working in that section for a few moments, while chewing the inside of the scar on his left cheek. He immediately discounted the man that seemed to be in charge of all the tables in the place, when he saw that there were no condiments on any of his tables and the salt and pepper shakers were nearly empty. He was not a skilled employee and would not serve the purpose. He then surveyed the bar area that seemed to belong to a woman, and noted that all of her customers seemed well tended, but she also seemed to be a chatter. She was actually the epitome of the "movie" waitress; bleach blonde hair that was up in a messy bun, slightly overweight with big breasts and a shapely rear, and she was noisily chewing gum. No, no, no, she would never do.
He sighed through his nose, just sure that he would have to move on in order to find an appropriate place to eat. Then he turned his head and glanced at the area with all the booths, belonging to the other woman. The waitress herself was dressed in black slacks and a long sleeved white blouse that was buttoned all the way up under her chin. He had noticed that seemed to be what the uniform was supposed to be, though the other two had modified it to suit their tastes. Her dark hair was about to her waist and cut in a rather ragged style, hiding her face from his view. She had a nice figure, though she was a little thin in his opinion. He noticed that all of her customers seemed to be well tended, but she most definitely was not engaging in idle chatter with them. In fact, as he was watching her, a man tried to engage her in small talk and she completely ignored him, walking away before the man was able to finish his question.
A small smile played across his face as he shuffled toward the small booth that was unoccupied in her section. He sat down and removed the black gloves from his hands before picking up the menu that was waiting on the table in front of him. He only needed to scan it to determine that the fare was exactly what he had expected, and so he mentally decided on something simple. The waitress was quick to notice him and he awaited her approach with mild apprehension. He expected to be in the area for some time, and in spite of the dismal offering in the food department, he felt that this place would serve his nutritional needs for the duration. That was if he found the staff to be acquiescing to his needs, and if they were smart enough not to stare. It annoyed him when people stared… sometimes his annoyance would turn into something else… something deadly. Deadly was something he just couldn't let happen right then, and so he had to find a place to eat where that wouldn't be a problem.
When the waitress finally reached his booth he was prepared for the curiosity that was sure to fill her gaze, and then the pity, and then, if he was lucky she would just move on and take his order. What actually happened was not at all what he expected though, and he was therefore somewhat unprepared. She looked at him with tired eyes, surveying the permanent smile that graced his cheeks briefly, before returning her eyes to his. Not a single flicker of emotion moved across her face and she simply intoned the obviously required message, "Hi, my name is Madeline, and I will be your server tonight. What can I get for you, sir?"
Jack was thrilled… he knew he had found the perfect dining experience.
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