Joker: Arkham – Chapter 10 – Come Undone

You could’ve been the real one
You could’ve been the one enough for me
You could’ve been the free one (the broken down and sick one)
Remnant of a vacant life

You come around when you find me faithless
You come around when you find me faceless
Fuck me like you hate me (dig it up, tear it down)
Dig it up and whore me out
Fuck me like you hate me (dig it up and tear it down)
I love the sound when you come undone

You could’ve been the next one (God only knows)
You could’ve been the one to comprehend me
You could’ve been the only one (the broken down and sick one)
You could’ve been the one who I lie with

You come around when you finally face this
You come around when you find me faceless
Fuck me like you hate me (dig it up, tear it down)
Dig it up and whore me out
Fuck me like you hate me (dig it up and tear it down)
Don’t make a sound ‘til I come undone

You’ll never break me
You’ll never break me
You’ll never break me

You could’ve been the real one
You could’ve been the last one I’d lie with
You could’ve been the owned one
I should’ve been the one who died

Fuck me like you hate me (you’ll never break me)
Fuck me like you hate me (dig it up, tear it down)
You’ll come around when you find me faceless

~ FMLYHM (Seether)

*****************************************************************

Something woke him, something far too subtle to be the nurse. It moved against his skin like smoke leaking out of his dreams. With a start that sluiced away muzzy sleep with a shot of adrenaline in his blood, he felt the focused and hostile stare.

“Been there long?” Joker stretched but remained prone on the rumpled bed.

The memory that he’d opted to scrub the makeup off, just in case – since the bat responded better to his naked face – made him irritable. Then his blood warmed at the sound of the low hum under the voice as the shadow spoke from the table he was perched on.

“You heard me come in, even in your sleep; you can’t turn that off.”

“Yes, well, some things weave themselves into my skull and end up part of a dream instead of getting categorized properly as here-and-now input.”

“Why is it you always insist you’re not insane?”

“Ha ha. Hyper-aware to the point of overload at times does not crazy make. My philosophies, goals, etc. are all legitimate; if Joe and Jane Doe call ‘em ‘draconian’, that’s not my problem, is it?”

“Most call you ‘psychopath’ and ‘terrorist’.”

“No vision.” Joker sighed. “Try to save ‘em and they just don’t appreciate all the work involved… Well, silly me, you know all about that. You try to save ‘em from me and Harvey; I wanna save ‘em from a dying and polluted system – and they just run around wringing hands and clutching babies, don’t bother to thank any of us. Sheep are too simple to see the big picture; if they could, they’d be wolves – just like us.”

“What about the orderly? What you did to him would classify you as insane.”

“Charlie? He was your fault, Batty – I told you to come back or else – he was the ‘else’.”

“Why him?”

“In a place like this, one can’t be too choosy. I’d have preferred a challenge … but he was nearly the only option on the menu, unfortunately. He was easy and uh, quite boring.”

“He was harmless – why was he easy?”

“Harmless?” Joker winked at him. “Bet you’ve changed that estimation. He suffered from a grab bag of neuroses, most of ‘em mild to severe phobias. Luckily for me, coulrophobia wasn’t in the mix. Although, I’ve gotten a few ‘fear of clowns’ cases to do odd jobs for me before – it’s all in how you draw ‘em in.”

“How do you do that?”

Wagging a finger at him, Joker admonished, “Ah, ah – what did I tell you about getting hard-won secrets for free?”

“So what did the orderly suffer from?”

He flicked his tongue over his lips as he recalled the top of the list. “Gymnophobia, genophobia and, uh, traumatophobia, primarily.”

“So you stripped, raped, and cut him.”

“Exposure therapy – very effective. He had a few others, but there aren’t many bridges in Arkham – or dogs, worms… What?”

“Therapy? It was torture!”

“Tomay-to, toma-to. How ‘bout you, Bats – got any entertaining fears? Fear of not getting there in time, perhaps? Wonder what they’d name that … chronoslowmotophobia?”

The glower on the masked face darkened. “Enjoying the pain and death of others is psychotic.”

“Wrong. You make a better Holmes than a Freud. Psychosis is merely the state of being out of touch in one way or another with reality. My uh … enjoyments … were deemed the product of antisocial personality disorder, the new PC term for a sociopath. Trouble is, it’s nothing but more labels, hmm? I can slip in and out of any label they try to slap on me. Fact is, like it or not, these fools in white coats simply don’t have a classification yet for what I am – and they’ve only scratched the surface of what I’ve chosen to show ‘em.”

“Why do you want to die?”

“Did I say I did?”

“I’ve nearly killed you often enough to see a pattern; you always look delighted – right before I stop.”

With a languid smile, Joker pillowed his cheek on folded arms. “Mmm… Call me a thrill junkie.”

“Dr. Wilson called it ‘suicidal tendencies’.”

“The esteemed Dr. Wilson isn’t around anymore and therefore unable to support or further report on his exciting and career-making theories.”

“Did you kill him?”

“No, no, how very plebeian. He’s here – locked up – like so many of his highly respected peers. Don’t bother trying to find him to pelt him with questions ‘bout me, either; he doesn’t know who he is these days, and if you mention me, he’ll only start screaming. Tragic, really.”

“That just means you drove him insane instead. I told you I read his file on you.”

“The file in Dr. Tanner’s office upstairs?”

“Yes.”

Joker tsk-tsked at him, shaking his head. “Poor Lamb Chop – you’ve been clinging to that sad little clutch of notes, haven’t you? Like it’s the answer to … me.”

Grinning at the shadow of doubt on that angry and disgusted face, he licked his lips and worked to school his expression into something more sympathetic.

“Did you notice how wide and battered the file folder is, yet how few papers were stored in it?”

The glare was priceless. “Where is the rest of it?”

Joker shrugged. “How should I know? When they committed Dr. Wilson, it was already a shell of its former file. Maybe he ate it all.”

He winked at the bat and then clicked his tongue at him when he slumped a little in his vulture pose on the table.

“Aww, cheer up, precious – you can always do all that exhaustive research again from scratch to get your answers. After all, you’ve found a way to get me to talk more freely than those fools ever managed.”

Joker grasped the edge of the covers and pulled them down, displaying his naked body as he reposed on his belly. Shifting over a little, he patted the spot beside him.

The shadow moved but only to go to the door. “I came back to prove to myself I could stop. Whatever sick hold you thought you had on me … it’s broken now.”

“Come over here and say that, hmm? Better yet, let me touch you … then see if you can still say it.”

“I won’t let you soil me any further.”

“Oh, I do enjoy how you think those little barbs will insult me. It’s so kick-sand-on-playground – quite boyishly charming, you know.”

“Goodbye, Joker.”

“It’s just a couple hours before dawn, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“I see.”

In the act of turning away, the bat paused, his shoulders stiff. “What difference does it make, in here?”

“Difference? The fact that you waited ‘til nearly dawn to come here, to tell me you’re through, that my ‘hold’ is broken? The difference is, precious, you’ve deliberately left almost no time for yourself to fall from grace in. I’m surprised you didn’t wait for the newspaper hucksters to start crowing, just to hedge your bets. I’m curious, though – did you think I wouldn’t try to make you fall? This is your timetable, not mine. I’m not the one who flees from the sun.”

Joker rose. Knowing his nudity would spur the bat to leave, he slowly pulled on the orange pants that hung on the footboard pipe. Watching the shadow as the creature stared back, he moved across the cell to lean against the table edge, his hands gripping it.

“You still need … desperately.” His tongue flicked, almost able to taste the heady tension between them. It was intoxicating. “Go now if you can believe your lie, that you’re free of this.”

“It’s not a lie. Dr. Arkham will be here in less than a week and this sick … debauchery … is finished.”

“Oh, is that how it’s gonna be – I give you the secrets of your subconscious dilemma and you think it’s all over, hmm? Because ‘knowledge is power’? Guess again, precious – knowing may be half the battle but you’ve still got one helluva fight on your hands and what ails you won’t give up easily. It’s not me you’re fighting, either – it’s yourself. No running away from that.”

“I’ll solve it alone.”

Joker couldn’t stop the smile that stretched his lips. “Alone – even though I can provide a far more satisfying game of ‘punch the clown’ right here and now?” Drawing a deep breath, he sobered. “A creature like you should never have to do that, you know.”

The Batman was silent, haunted eyes already warming; the longer he waited, the further he’d tilt.

Joker lowered his head and slowly looked up from under his ragged hair. The fall is inevitable; all it’ll take is a little … push. “Did you notice, my sweet lamb? You’re still here.”

“This has to stop…”

“It will – when it has run its course. Go now and find the world as empty as you left it. Hard, cold … ugly and perverse.”

“Everything I’ve known here.”

“Ah, but here, you don’t have to be alone.”

“You are insane.”

“I’m as insane as you are. What waits for you out there? Don’t you see? If there was anything, even the palest shadow of what you once reached for, you never woulda let me touch you.”

“You’re the reason there’s nothing left.”

“That’s a lie, precious, and you know it. She chose Harvey. I – I spared you having to watch ‘em together! There, that – the pain in those dark eyes refutes the next lie gathering on your tongue. You’d already been tortured by it, hadn’t you? I stopped it; I … spared you that pain.”

“No, you’re wrong. She was going to wait for me – wait until Gotham didn’t need Batman anymore. Harvey was going to take his place! Harvey was … and then she… She promised…”

“Shh … shh … shh… Oh, I’d be very careful just now were I you, darling. The pretty and successful lawyer was gonna wait for her city park janitor in shining armor to fold up his cape and settle down? Harvey was gonna take ‘his’ place? You’re starting to sound like you belong here.”

He paused to let the man answer but the stunned flying rodent said nothing.

Perhaps he knows how close he just came? Dear Rachel might have a short list of former beaus, after all. “I’ll give you one for free, Batty – I’m the guy you’ll regret giving away clues and secrets to, in case you’ve forgotten. Also, it’s all a moot point … she’s dead and Harvey’s a new man – two, in fact. You’ll just have to keep being ‘him’ for now, whoever you are – for Gotham, if not for me.”

“Yes … and out there, I fight for this city. Yet here, with you … this is wrong – it’s … sick.”

“Labels won’t save you, sweetheart, they won’t. They’ll choke you to death.”

“Stop … please.”

“Come here, my lamb – you have to convince me you don’t need me to save you. Lemme taste the lie on your tongue. If it tastes like truth, I will stop. I’ll leave you to your fate.”

“I can’t. It has to end.”

“Prove it.” Lifting his arm, he held out the hand, palm up. “Come to me…” He watched the gauntlets tighten into fists and licked his lips. “Strike me if you need that, too; I’ve ached to feel your hate, such delicious pain – but come.”

The shadow moved between one sharp breath and the next, advancing like a man sent to the gallows. The Joker didn’t reach out farther, forcing him to cross the cell, to slip hard and cold fingers into his.

Grasping them, he pulled him in close. The bat’s breathing was short and sharp as lust rose, coursing in his flesh, sharpening it as well. Bringing their lips together, just a strangled gasp apart, Joker smiled, slow and soft.

“Gimme your lie, precious … please.”

His desperate kiss bent the Joker’s torso back over the table, the clasped fingers pulling free so that the arms could circle and crush.

As soon as he could tear his mouth away, Joker whispered a question against the parted and hungry lips.

“What do you want, my lamb? You need my touch but tell me how you want it. Don’t be afraid – shame and guilt are mere lies the broken and rotting world has poisoned you with. Tell me … whisper… What is your desire? Should I take you into my mouth, let my throat caress you? Come, precious, no need to hesitate; whatever it is, it’s already yours for the asking – for the taking.”

“No… You … your body…”

“Release yourself, darling… Oooh, yes, it’s yours, just for you, but you have to…”

The arms relinquished their painful grip and the Joker’s hands moved, guiding the hard fingers as they opened the armor. Long pale fingers reached in, freed the swollen and aching cock, and stroked it. The broken sound at his ear slid into his blood, his bones.

“You’ve sparked a need in me, too, precious – do you know that? The world is truly a rotting husk, but now I ache to save it again. Before you, I was lost, no hope of an equal to vie and strain against – a dark light to match my bright dark. Without you, I just don’t know how I could stay the course … and now, to save Gotham’s wounded soul, I first have to save yours.”

Before the bat could speak, he claimed his mouth again, firing need into a poisonous passion that could choke and injure – if it wasn’t fed.

This time, the bat broke the kiss, only to duck his head and set his teeth to pale skin where neck and shoulder met. They bit down on the edge of a mottled blue bruise and the Joker gasped, rising on the balls of his feet to push into the pain.

“Don’t wait, darling, no no no – take what you need in the form that you want; do it now.”

Growling, the teeth let go, the hands gripping his shoulders. Joker gave the thing in his hand a final squeeze and dropped it. As the bat hesitated again, he struggled to remain in control, his stomach knotting.

Leaning close to the mask, beside the open and shocked mouth, he murmured, “Use me…”

Strong hands turned him, shoving him over the table and down onto his belly. The fingers yanked at cotton prison clothes, almost tearing the pants.

With a grunt as the force of the manhandling nearly knocked the breath out of him, Joker asked, “Remember when you used to be shy?” He gasped and then laughed when the hands grew rougher. “I do. It was delicious, but this – this is exquisite.”

In the barest concession to decent treatment, he felt spit fall on his tailbone. A moment later, it was rubbed down into the crack of his ass. The alien feel of those gloves trying the tight muscle, slicking it up, always made his cock twitch and swell, even as it was trapped between his abdomen and the table.

“I’m the S but also the M, darling – it’s sweet but I’d take you dry in a heartbeat.” The silent desperation of the conflicted man behind him made him smile. “Do it, precious – it’s not a crime if I want you to.” The fingers moved, the thumbs spreading his cheeks wide – and then nothing. Frustrated lust drove a growl up his throat. “Come on, Bats, this ain’t our first dance – fuck me!”

A strangled groan met his crude words and the first strike of the heavy cock was followed by a gut-wrenching push. The fingers hadn’t worked the muscle open much and the pain set off fireworks in his vision.

“And they’re off,” he murmured, giving up on speech in favor of breathing after that. Once the bat was in, it was always a frantic race to finish, to be done and gone. Gonna have to work on that. Can’t tweak his brains inside out if he won’t stick around for a cuddle.

Thrusting deep and rough, no longer shy or careful, the bat strove for release with a mindless abandon, though his strength and endowments more than made up for his lack of finesse.

When it ended, his only regret was that it had; presumably, the flying rodent had a few more regrets than that. Yet, to the Joker’s surprise, he didn’t latch up and escape the moment his cock slipped free.

Adopting again the soft seductive manner that had melted in their heat, he tried to lead the bat to the mattress but traded for sitting him down in the chair when he balked.

The man appeared to be stunned or even going into shock. He watched with a wince as Joker hitched up the rumpled and now stained and wet orange pants.

Pulling himself up onto the table, he sat before the magnificent brute could realize he’d made him bleed. The feel of it and the lingering pain were delicious. He also had to sit on the urge to get some on his fingers and smear it, red and dripping, across those lips. The thought of making the bat lick it clean almost woke his cock up a little.

With a tiny shake of his head to rattle the fantasy out, he rested elbows on knees and bare feet on bat. Long toes toyed with and rubbed over the plates that protected the thighs, just close enough to the softening cock to remind him that he hadn’t locked the errant thing back up.

It’s tinged with a bit of red, too. Best that remains hidden, for now. Let him find it when he’s back – wherever he goes. Joker smiled when the gauntlets moved and armor clicked – the man hadn’t had the guts to look down at it. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re quite hard-headed? Apart from the cowl, I mean.”

Head lowering, the bat muttered, “Did I hurt you?”

“Mmm, only a little. Most of that mess is my doing; you’re terribly yummy – fires me off without the need of helping hands.” Pursing his lips, his tongue zipped out to lick them a moment later. “What’s on your mind, precious?”

“You said you want to save Gotham – by destroying it?”

“Ever make a proverbial omelet without breaking the eggs? I don’t recommend it – too crunchy. Also, never let one of the schizophrenics in your employ do the cooking; now that’s good free advice, Batty.”

“Corruption can be changed. The city’s problems can be fixed without razing its laws to the ground.”

“Doubtful. Besides, uh, my way is faster.”

“I used to think you had no motive.”

“Hmm, I remember – but I did like your ‘watch the world burn’ observation. Call it method, though, not motive. We both want the same thing, you know – we just don’t agree on how to achieve our common goal.”

“I want to save the people of Gotham from men like you.”

“Well, I wanna save ‘em from men like Gordon and his crooked police force – from men like that tarnished but admittedly quick mayor, too.”

Glaring up at him, the bat growled. “Gordon’s a good man and not all of his officers are dirty.”

Under that hard gaze, Joker shivered, partly from the cold stale air on bare skin and partly from the vivid memory of how that smoldering rage could spark so fast into lust, violence – or if he was lucky – both.

“I know, I know, I shouldn’t bash your little playground pal. I won’t – don’t have a brick handy, anyway.”

“You’re cold.”

Joker grinned. “Among other things, yes.”

“No, I meant… You’re shivering.”

The bat rose but before he could turn to fetch anything to remedy the problem, Joker caught his masked face between his hands and licked his smooth lips.

“I knew what you meant, darling; can’t resist having a bit of fun with you.”

“Don’t –”

“So hard-headed! Just kiss me, precious, that’s all I want.”

“You want me to stay; I can’t.”

“Actually, unless you want breakfast with the nurse and I, you do need to go. Wouldn’t wanna be in the middle of round two and have her wonder ‘bout the noises, hmm? Not her cup of sin but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t figure out what’s what.”

“It’s a little early for breakfast.”

“I have a busy day ahead; no hanging upside down in city park caves for me.”

The bat frowned. “Busy with what, from in here?”

“Plotting how to get out of here. Would you respect me anymore if I didn’t at least try?”

“I don’t respect you at all, I –”

Silencing him with a stolen kiss, Joker had the satisfaction of melting him again in no time flat. Pressing his forehead to the bat’s when he broke it, he smiled when he noticed the hard gloved hands actually resting on his hips with an amusing familiarity.

Drawing in a deep breath and letting it go as a wistful sigh, Joker whispered, “I don’t need your respect, precious. I need you out there – fighting the good fight.”

“Why?”

His confusion and conflicted emotions were delicious – but time was slipping away. Reluctant to skip on round two, leery that it might be a while if the man got stubborn again, Joker freed himself and escaped.

Moving to the door, he peered through the glass and listened. “She’s up; that noise is the dumb waiter with the breakfast tray.” Turning his head slightly to gauge the bat’s reaction, he teased, “Gonna leave her the main door key and have her fetch latex supplies worthy of a squeamish gentleman?”

“No. Answer me, Joker.”

“I want you out there fighting so I’ll have someone to spar with when I do find a way out. We’re destined to try to not kill each other forever, remember?” Sighing again, he added, “This is the part where you threaten not to come back – go ahead.”

The Batman approached with a malevolent scowl on his mouth that matched the formed and permanent one that was a part of the mask. Stopping just short of the Joker’s taller, leaner frame, he glared at him.

“I’ll be back tonight. I am going to dig out what makes you tick and once I do, I’ll use it against you.”

Joker turned to face him, his shoulder brushing the armored chest before he could lean his back against the door.

“Straightforward and brutally honest as usual. Sounds like fun, Lamb Chop – count me in. You might wanna go hang upside down in the park now, though – you’re bound to hit the red line on sleep deprivation before long.”

“Any weakness you can exploit in a pinch?” he responded, a challenge in the harsh humming tone.

“I think I’ve exploited you enough for the moment,” he replied, his hand sliding down to cup the sticky front of his distressed and filthy pants. He slid out of the way with a dark chuckle. “Off you go.”

The startled and then angry expression that quip won made him laugh as the bat tore the key from one of his little metal pouches – the third one over the left hip, in point of fact. The noise as the heavy door slammed shut and locked echoed in sonic ripples through the piled stones.

“Oh, precious,” Joker whispered, shaking his head as he leaned back against the door. “Soon you will fall even deeper. I do hope you won’t make it too easy for me – that would be a shame.”

He had heard the nurse’s steps before the echo of the bat’s retreat had faded; so she had seen him leave or at least heard the succession of doors he had slammed in his wake. Turning to speak to her through the window as she pushed the breakfast tray through, he chuckled.

“Curiouser and curiouser, sweet pea?”

The nurse shook her head in an emphatic negative. “I don’t want to know why he comes here or anything about what you two have to say to each other all damn night. I figure, the less my business it is, the safer I am.”

“Probably.” Taking the tray out, he turned his back on her. “Be in the treatment room in two hours, there’s a good girl.”

“What are you going to do?”

“It’s time for Georgie Porgie to face his greatest fears.”

“George is dead.”

Joker set the tray on the table. Looking over his shoulder at her silhouette in the window, he schooled his face into a mask of regret.

“Huh. I suppose he would be, by now. A shame, isn’t it – that you can only kill people once?” Adjusting his dick under the wet pants as he sat down to eat, he huffed out a breath. “I suppose I’ll just have to face his fears myself, won’t I?”

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