Joker: Arkham – Chapter 11 – Riddles of the Mind

There’s a chair in my head on which I used to sit
Took a pencil and I wrote the following on it

Now there’s a key where my wonderful mouth used to be
Dig it up, throw it at me
Dig it up, throw it at me

Where can I run to, where can I hide
Who will I turn to now I’m in a virgin state of mind

Got a knife to disengage the voids that I can’t bear
To cut out words I’ve got written on my chair
Like: Do you think I’m sexy?
Do you think I really care?

Can I burn the mazes I grow
Can I, I don’t think so

Where can I run to, where can I hide
Who will I turn to now I’m in a virgin state of mind
Virgin state of mind
Virgin state of mind
Virgin state of mind

~ Virgin State of Mind (K’s Choice)

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“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Moving the scalpel in close to the dead man’s body, Joker paused just long enough to be sure the nurse was watching.

She swallowed hard. “I – I don’t know.”

Crouched close to the corpse where it lay on the floor of the treatment room, Joker cut neatly into the chest, making precise cuts to form a famous literary word.

With a smile, he whispered, “Poe writes on both.” Finishing, he glanced at it. “Is it legible? Go ahead, sweet pea, read it out.”

“Nevermore.”

“There’s my good girl. Okay – here goes nothin’…”

Whistling a jaunty tune, he moved the blade to the throat. Trying to keep one smooth cut going wherever possible, he slowly began to carve the face off, with the flap of neck skin and most of the scalp attached. Setting the scalpel down in a minimal mess of old blood, Joker started to half-mutter, half-sing his tune.

“If you’re happy and you know it, steal a face…”

The goon squad member formerly known as George was soon staring up at them, his face peeled away and held gingerly in the Joker’s hands.

“Darling, you look positively green with envy.” Clucking his tongue at the nurse, he attempted to reassure her. “Don’t worry, I’ll let you do the next one, if you want.”

When she broke and ran to be sick, his laughter burst out in her wake. The misshapen face trembled as it hung on his fingers, as if it was laughing, too.

“All the best jokes are lost on her,” he told it. “Tsk, tsk.”

Laying the face on the table, he dragged the corpse back to its hiding spot and stuffed it in over the body of the other nurse. Retrieving the face, he took it with him for a shower in Dr. Arkham’s office and washed both of them clean. When he got out, grabbing a towel that had appeared on the rack, he whistled as he dried off.

Brenda waited for him on the black fainting couch like a patient, as patient as ever. Greta’s makeup had been set on the good doctor’s desk in front of a larger mirror on a folding stand. His pet nurse was nowhere to be seen but clearly she was still trying to impress him with her usefulness.

Taking particular pleasure in applying the makeup, his only regret was the need to paint a woman’s face, rather than his own. His fingers twitched at the corners of his ruined mouth, stilling before they could run the scarlet lipstick up the jagged proud flesh of the scars.

When it was done, he leaned his chin on his palm and stared into the lie that was reflected back at him. Peering out from under ridiculous long lashes, bright chartreuse eyes were accented instead of blackened all around. They shined like mirrors themselves, impenetrable, far from windows to a soul. Functional only, the eyes were a tool as surely as the rest was – if they managed to haunt the bat, then yet another purpose would be accomplished.

He lifted his chin and glared at the mirror, tongue flicking out to taste a dead woman’s shade. It was time to bring to heel the man who had attempted to burn out the light behind those eyes.

As he drew on Brenda like a warm coat, he turned and blew a kiss to the mirror before heading upstairs through the tunnel to see what mischief he could stir to draw his prey.

In a pocket of the white skirt, the scalpel waited. In the other, the stolen face was tucked away – carefully and lovingly rolled like an old-fashioned scroll. The message there was unwritten, yet painfully clear.

~ ~ ~

Two different voices, hushed and agitated, were talking down the hall from the abandoned nurse’s station – guards, and not anyone he had to worry about. Their topic was about disappearances – two nurses, one orderly, and the most dangerous prisoner Arkham had ever housed.

I hate to interrupt them – it sounds like a good story.

Following the next impulse, he sat in the chair in front of him. Someone had cleaned up Greta’s mess. Plucking the brunette curls from his head, he dropped them on the desk.

Carefully, touching it like a skinned lover, he took out and slid on the face. It tore a little at the back going over his wavy hair, but Greta’s curls would hold it securely. With the wig back in place, he palmed the scalpel level with his white-skirted thigh and kicked a drawer with the white shoe.

“What the hell was that?”

“Could be Irene – wasn’t she coming in?”

“Not much point, all we have left to guard down here is the screamer.”

“Stay on post, I’ll check. If she’s still sick, I’m going to send her back home.”

Joker sagged in the chair and fell still, a corpse looking for a chalk outline, as footsteps came closer.

“Fucking hell! Irene? What the fuck is that?”

He rushed over to help and the little blade made a big mess when he leaned in to shake the nurse. The warm splash of blood from the gut wound baptized the skirt as pleasure spiked and hardened under it.

Joker rolled the writhing guard to the floor and rose, grabbing the club from the fellow’s belt as the other man came running. Smashing the club between that one’s legs, he smiled behind the flesh he wore and watched the second body crash to its knees and fall over.

“Good night, gents.”

Two more strikes to their skulls, and it was quiet once more – except for the distant screams of his old stereo, still locked in a cage.

I should let him out before I leave here. Perhaps … I should let ‘em all out, above and below. Hmm… Setting the club down on top of the desk, he found the alarm switch under it. Come and play, Dr. Tanner. He jabbed a finger into the button and retrieved the club.

With blood dripping from the mess on the skirt and the scalpel in his hand, he moved into the hall. The alarm was silent but small red lights had begun to flash at intervals along the ceiling. Wherever the doctor was, he would know where he was needed.

Stepping carefully, the Joker went to the hygiene chamber connected to the treatment room near his old cell. Faithful as always, the plumbing gave him the echoes of the screams that had always soothed him. He pocketed the scalpel, tucked the handle of the club in his white belt, and grabbed up the hose – just in case the doctor brought along any of his dirty friends.

It was more guards first, brought by the silent alarm, but the hose knocked them higgly-piggly in short order. He shut it off and danced among them, whirling the club, as the world seemed to sink below the tuneless music screaming away in his ears through the pipes. Whacked unconscious, immobilized or dead, he was soon surrounded by groaning, cursing, and twitching figures.

Quite the tableau – the place never looked so good.

“Joker!”

A chuckle warbled up his throat as he spun and faced Dr. Tanner, staring at him through the eyeholes of loyal George. “Oopsie. Daddy’s mad.”

“My God!” the doctor cried out, as he stumbled back into a wall. “What have you done?”

“I’ve turned your borrowed little fiefdom into a veritable Land of Cockaigne – Bruegel the Elder would be so proud. I would claim I worked so hard but really, it was boringly easy. Still … do you like it? Be gentle.”

“Damn you to Hell!”

“Oh, I have missed you…” Spinning the club in his fingers, he skipped clear of the guards on the floor and stopped, cocking his head to one side at the doctor. “I think these old rocks may be Hell, don’t you? We’re just two fiends in the pit, doin’ what we do.”

“More guards are coming!”

“Tsk, tsk, we both know that’s a fib. The budget won’t hold many more than this – you’re rrrrrunnin’ low.”

The long white coat was as spotless as ever and he looked the same, beyond dark circles under the eyes. His hands were raised, palms out, but there was more to be seen than the surface.

“Tie askew, belt undone, and the zip two inches lower than regulation demands. So I interrupted Nurse Alice – mmm, such a pity.” Hissing in eager delight, he took a step closer.

“Stay back!”

“No. You’re blocking my way out, Doctor. Let’s dance, shall we?”

He rested the club on his shoulder and began to step to one side, to drive the man from the door. As he went, he shook his head slightly to settle the eyeholes better over his sight. It had the desired effect of horrifying his prey into retreat.

Knowing his reputation preceded him, he also knew that this man wasn’t the type to stand bodily in the path to prevent an escape. Of course, escape wasn’t his goal – yet.

“You look exhausted, Doc. I can help you with that. When I’m gone, it all gets simpler.”

Driving the doctor far enough away from the door, his muscles tensed. Before the man could react, he leaped right at him.

Dr. Tanner stumbled over and into his guards, trampling on some of them before he lost his balance and pitched over backward to lie on both people and the floor.

The wet and grime from the dirty white tiles and blood from both the wounded and the dead smeared over the perfect white coat until it was hard to determine where one filth ended and the other began.

Letting the club fall beside them, he wrapped his long fingers around the hated neck, pushing thumbs against the windpipe. Strong but frantic hands gripped his wrists, pulling with futile desperation.

“Others will come,” he struggled to threaten, “so will the police. Run while you can.”

“I have a better idea. You’ve shown me such a good time, how could I go before returning the favor?”

He tightened his grip to hurry things along and watched with glee as the man’s eyelids fluttered, the mouth falling slack as the hands loosened on his wrists.

Rising, he clapped his hands before reaching down for the club and tucking it in his belt at his back. Glancing around at the human devastation, he laced his fingers together and cracked his knuckles.

Time to clean up.

Joker moved to the edge of the groaning mess and bent again to grasp a guard’s wrist and haul him off toward the doorway. He dropped dead ones over live ones to hold them down until he could fish out the good doctor. After tugging his unconscious prize across the floor into the hall, he looked up at the nearest cell door.

The next delicious impulse hit him in the gut and spread, warm and savory, through him. Screaming away in another cell, his stereo inspired him to drop the doctor’s arm. Lifting his hands and moving them as if he held a conductor’s baton, his body began to sway.

Oh, yes – delightful … and such fun for all. In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…

Joker pushed up imaginary sleeves and got to work, just in case any wayward law enforcement did happen by – if any were left who gave a damn.

~ ~ ~

Nurse Helen was pacing in the Citadel treatment room as the Joker stripped down his prize.

It was later than expected – covering up his tracks upstairs had taken quite a bit of effort. He had not been surprised when the police remained absent – Dr. Arkham had an arrangement with enough of them to ensure that his kingdom could be run sans outside interference.

By the time he had dragged Dr. Tanner back down the tunnel stairs, the solitary wing was pristine again, with brand new residents stuffed into the empty cells along with the corpses of their fallen comrades.

They can scream all they like – with the good doctor missing, the whole system will fall apart.

“You didn’t kill the other guards?”

“All good things to those who wait.”

“That alarm you pulled will put most of the asylum on lockdown,” Helen complained. “The damn bat is going to figure something is up.”

“Perhaps, perhaps not – but he only cares about the interesting inmates, myself and those I helped him catch. Solitary currently most resembles an abandoned post. Lots of turnover here, you know that – so does he. I’m bettin’ Batman will think Dr. Tanner and his minions skipped town – in a valiant attempt to outrun the long arm of the law. Leaving chaos in his wake slows down the hunt. William, Dwight, and your lovely Alice remain yet, however – do you think they’ll keep meals going or let the ones left up there starve?”

“Why on earth would you care?”

“I’ve got limited resources – waste not, need less, as it were.” Tapping a finger against George’s lips over his own, he hummed for a moment. “Will lockdown stop the bat from getting in?”

“I doubt it, since he has a guard in his pocket – and possibly more than one.”

“Good, good. So many fun games left to play…”

Looking down at the stripped doctor on the table, Helen smiled at last. The skin where she had been burned pulled to make the expression.

The Joker moved to stand at her side and clucked his tongue. “Do you want to take him for tonight? We can move him to the rolling gurney, tied down and gagged.”

Christmas morning joy shined in her wet eyes as she looked at him. “You’d let me have that?”

“Well, I can share my toys a little. His life and sanity are mine, but you may certainly play. One could say you’ve earned it.”

“Nothing is free, not with you. What do you want in return?”

Wrapping one hand around the back of her neck, he squeezed until she shuddered. They both stared down at the helpless doctor.

“I want you to leave me be tonight and in the morning. No breakfast, forget I exist ‘til I come find you. Food and pills for dinner, and then amuse yourself. I don’t mind if you practice damaging a person… Hmmm?”

She reached out to touch an ankle of their new plaything. “No problem.”

Grinning, Joker released her. “Let’s get him moved to the gurney before he wakes up. After that, ready my tray and meds while I get cleaned up, and I wanna paper cup for water I can actually set down, not those pointy ones. Tuck him in your bedroom out of sight; I’ll fetch him sometime tomorrow.”

“Do you want fresh clothes?”

He nodded absently. “Take care of Brenda and George before you retire.”

“What about the others – they could run?”

“Oh, don’t you worry ‘bout them. They know Dr. Arkham is a-comin’ home. Currying favor can be rewarding if you don’t leave his house a mess too much.”

“So there’s a plan for them already.”

“Plans are a weakness, pet – and boring – but I have good games for everyone. I always do.”

~ ~ ~

He was feigning sleep on the bed in the nude when the metal door opened and slammed shut. Opening his eyes, he watched as the bat glared and paced.

“What has you riled this time, precious?”

“I do enjoy making you bleed – but not like that.” The words were clipped, half-gnawed with disgust and self-loathing.

“Ah, I see. Hmm…” He rolled and sat up, delighted that the man still winced and cringed at his blatant shameless nudity. “There’s no harm in taking home a souvenir, a little reminder of your rather bumpy fall from grace. Would it help if I told you I liked it? I did. I do.”

“That is insane.”

“Matter of preference, really.” He rose and blocked the bat’s path, smirking when he stopped with a twitch. “Do I have to fight you to give up what you need tonight? If you wish to take it by force again, by all means.” He reached up to touch the unyielding armor, almost able to feel the tremble of the yielding flesh beneath it.

“We have things to discuss, Joker.”

“You have things to beat outta me, I hope.” One hand dropped to cup and squeeze a cock that couldn’t feel it but no doubt wanted to. “Fuck first, ask questions later, and you’ll find me far more tractable.” Shrugging languidly, he winked and smiled. “If you’re into that sort of thing.”

Joker brought a hand up fast as if to strike that frowning mouth and laughed when the wrist was caught in the hard glove. The grip ground his bones painfully, making him pant with lust.

“Empty balls can clear the head, Batty. C’mon – make it hurt or not, I don’t care which.”

He twined his body closer, ignoring the pain in the wrist, and licked those lips with a wet tongue. It only took once before the mouth opened and let him in.

The bat broke the kiss and yanked him in the direction of the table before letting go of the bruising wrist.

“Lean on that and shut up.”

Clapping his hands once to annoy him further, he yanked the waistband down to his knees and obeyed. This time, the fool needed no more prompting or manipulation to get to it, though he seemed determined to be easier about the force he used.

Such a damn shame… Then again, leading the horse to water gets easier and easier, too. He’s learning this need can be met – solely by me … perhaps. Odds are good, after all, that he now accepts this due to a guilt-ridden belief that it is all he deserves.

Even though gentler wasn’t particularly his speed, he made himself pay attention and feel it all, every thrust, grunt, and grip of it. The bat had taken more care in slicking and opening him for it, too, and that had been telling – he knew how to do so properly, though spit was all he had to offer as lube.

Maybe sweet Rachel did like all of her holes spelunked? A pity I never had a chance to play with her myself.

The bat’s cock succeeded in distracting him as it got closer to release. Fingers, already bruising his hips, began to push and pull his body to stab into it deeper. He hummed encouragement as urgency tore concern away. The last thrust burst a sweet jagged pain across his pelvis that made him gasp.

“Oooh, yes, that’s it…” The dark whispered hunger in his tone surprised even him. “Grind it, dig in, darling.”

“No.”

Yet he didn’t immediately pull out. His weight was making the table edge press a mark low into Joker’s belly. The hands let go first, one of them flattening on his back to push until the bat stumbled barely a few inches away. One rough breath went in and out behind him, and then the delicious weapon left his body.

As soon as he could manage it once he was released, he turned to steal another kiss and got the giant brooding rodent out of the mood for talking at an amusing rate of speed.

Hmmm… I wonder if I could push him to crave a deeper connection? Take the guilty acceptance and blend it with a ghost of what he used to seek from dearest Rachel? Am I that good? Tut, tut, of course I am – if I can avoid dying of boredom. Pucker up, Batty, my lamb.

~ ~ ~

When the muddled fool finally began to remove armor and pile it on the table, Joker silently declared it a victory – his second of the night … so far. Once the cowled creature was naked, Joker approached and embraced him from behind. The strong hands clamped around his wrists to stop him from stroking him.

“Now, now, Lamb Chop, don’t start being gentle again. Bruise the other one – I like a matching set.” The cute little stiff bat ears lowered, but the dick was growing stiff. “Once I finish helping you know yourself, being rough with me is a perfect way to say thank you, you know. Just a thought.”

“Is this the only way you do this – with pain and abuse? Hatred?” the low buzzing voice muttered, head lowered in self-loathing.

Gotcha.

Joker kissed the muscles of the broad back and smiled when the hands hurt his wrists to stop him – or so the bat mistakenly hoped. Letting the pain flush his body with lust all over again, he kissed the back a few more times. He hadn’t come while bent over the table. He was saving himself.

“It’s not the only way,” he answered, his tone languid and sensual. “Sometimes the pain and abuse are being doled out, instead.” When his wrists were let go, he moved away but then snagged the bat’s hand and tugged. “Let’s go to bed, precious. Those balls aren’t nearly empty enough yet for my taste.”

His tongue flicked out over his bottom lip to illustrate the point as the bat’s dark eyes began to glow with hunger. Leading him off and lying down to draw him in was perhaps easier since sucking face with the strapping brute had gone so well.

The things I do for the sake of a good game…

~ ~ ~

Ready for the next round, Joker kissed and licked his way down the bat’s nude body before pillowing his head on the toned abdominals that hid his no doubt pretty pink intestines.

“When I get out, eventually, I might even send you a Valentine; I could always tape it over Gordon’s bat-shaped spotlight on top of the MCU. Or did he upgrade that sans bat, since you two have to pretend to be mad at each other?”

“Valentine’s Day?” the bat asked with disdain.

“Don’t get your little discarded bat panties in a twist. They don’t have Nemesis Day, darling, so we’ve gotta make do. Although, give Hallmark time, I’m sure it’s in the works.”

“When Dr. Arkham returns, I’m going to convince him to sweat you for an interrogation while I watch.”

“I like how you do it better – all this yummy fuck sweat.”

“He’ll know the right mix of drugs to get you talking, and then we’ll find out who you really are, your history – your real name.”

Joker smiled and rubbed his scarred cheek on the bat’s taut abdomen before laying his head on him again, his hand casually holding the semi-soft cock below his lips.

“Dr. Wilson tried that once. Sodium Pentothal – quite a fun little trip it was. Didn’t work, though, which you already know, if you read what’s left of his file on me.” He glanced up, leaning his chin on a scar that he was fairly sure was one of his. “What did happen, precious?”

The bat frowned. “You recited Shakespeare.”

“What, exactly? C’mon, prove you did your homework: a sonnet, soliloquy, ‘To be, or not to be’?”

“Lines from Much Ado About Nothing. Dr. Wilson wasn’t amused.”

“Yes, well, Dr. Arkham thought my little jape was hilarious, if that tells you anything. Sodium Pentothal, thiopental to its friends, is probably one of the goodies Dr. Tanner neglected to give me when he parboiled my brain.” Lifting his head higher to meet the dark stare, he smirked at him. “Tell me, Bats, do you regret saving me? That man mighta hit on the only way to ever ‘cure’ me – by burning my skull out to a smoldering husk.”

“No.”

“No? You’re willing to pass up your best shot at stopping me – without breaking your silly little ‘one rule’?”

“I have stopped you. You’re here.”

“Temporarily, even if it takes me years to find a way out – think about that, ‘bout what I’ll do out there. Wouldn’t you let ‘em do it to me?”

“No – it’s wrong; it’s torture and tantamount to murder!”

Joker bent his head down enough to lick the head of the cock between long fingers, keeping his eyes locked on the bat’s.

“You know, the, uh, people I will eventually kill when I’m free – if they could see you now, they might accuse you of being a touch biased.”

Slowly, the dark eyes closed, the lax hands fisting tight on his chest. When Joker nibbled the head and then suckled it, the bat swallowed a groan.

“I’ll find a way to keep you here,” he murmured, and then gasped, his back stretching, straining.

“You’ll try, my lamb … I know you’ll try.”

Joker blew a warm puff of air on the wet head and then caught it in his mouth, sucking it until it grew hard again. Wanting to see if he could turn the creature into a limp rag before he let him come, he backed off and began to let his tongue toy with it.

“Let’s give you another taste of what you need, shall we? You always race to the finish and never savor it. Intense deep intimacy can be something shared without sentiment.”

“That’s impossible.”

“Of course it isn’t, don’t be a pessimist. Relax… I’m gonna almost make you come, make you wait, and then start again. Let go of urgency, let sensation heal your craving.”

“Is that how I get rid of needing this?”

“You have to try to find out. It’s different for everyone. For some, edging works.”

Batman didn’t answer except with his body – as it slowly unclenched and tried to be still.

Good as his word, he went slow and skillfully brought the man to the edge, over and over again. If he began to tense, the pleasuring stopped. When he stilled and let it wash over him, the pleasuring continued.

Inspiration made the Joker turn his head and rub the glans and shaft against his scars, aware the bat was watching him do it. Turning the other way, he did it again, satisfied when it began to leak more of that delicious clear fluid. His hand gripped the base, manipulated the angle, and held the bat’s stare as he made it coat the brutalized crevices between the lumped proud flesh edges with the dribbling slick.

“Would you ever tell me – anything – about you?”

“To quote Shakespeare’s Balthasar – again… ‘Note this before my notes: there’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.’”

“Just like Dr. Wilson, I’m not amused.”

Joker smiled. The bat was exhausted and flagging. He must not have listened to his advice about getting rest during the day.

“Lie on your side and I’ll finish you off.”

“Not the most relaxing thing you could say,” he whispered, his eyelids drooping to half-mast.

Chuckling softly, Joker shifted when the man moved to do as he had asked. Reaching for the little paper cup of water he’d left on the floor, he sipped from it but made a show of swallowing. “All this licking and sucking makes a fellow a mite dry.”

“Here,” the bat said, reaching for it.

Surrendering it, Joker watched avidly as he drank the rest of it down. The man made a face at the taste.

“I warned you it was brackish, they never fix things here – patients or plumbing. Good enough in a pinch, I suppose.” He sucked on his finger, making sure the bat saw him do it. “Never fear, precious – this will do the trick to relax you. Yes?” he asked, as his other hand gripped the cock and returned to stroking it.

“Yes…”

Humming with quiet delight, he rubbed and pressed, coaxing the tight muscle to allow him inside. Mouth on cock with finger crooked and massaging the sweet spot, he kept it up as long as the bat remained still – until he finally relaxed enough to calm and let his mind drift as his body was manipulated into a quiet and gentle release.

Pearly and perfect, it flowed into his mouth without spurting, like the milk of a dark god. Careful to catch it without swallowing, he let it fall from his ruined lower lip into his palm.

“This will help, too, precious. It will feel good … yes?”

“Yes, it does…”

The dark eyes closed and didn’t open when he used the mix of saliva and cum to turn that luscious hole into a lubed slick mess. Playing with the prostate again as he did it, he observed in silence as the heavy body fell into sleep and took the normally sharp mind with it.

He released the soft cock and withdrew his finger to watch the comatose bat breathe. After maybe fifteen minutes, he whispered, “Precious, are you a goner?”

Hands moving with care, he guarded the cock as he eased the body onto its stomach. Getting up from the mattress, he tested things by picking up each arm and stretching them out over the head.

Joker’s gaze ticked over to the paper cup the bat had tossed away onto the floor. “Brackish … and laced – I warned you not to trust me, Lamb Chop.”

Stifling a giggle, he skipped over to the table and wasted no time digging into the pile of dark toys – the sharp ones and the restraining ones.

As he returned to the drugged and prepped creature lying helpless on the musty bed, the fingers of one hand stroked the cable and cuffs he had found while the other held a bat-shaped blade.

A soft smile stretched his scars as he whispered, “‘Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’”

~ ~ ~

“Wakey, wakey, Bats.”

Watching gleefully as the eyes fluttered and the toned body’s muscles flexed, he caught the look of misgiving when the dark eyes snapped open, and witnessed its metamorphosis into a sickening fear.

Discovering he had fallen asleep here was probably frightening enough, but then he found he couldn’t move. The cowled head looked up, saw the black cables and handcuffs, and the whole body froze.

Ah, the fear of finding out the new limits one has been subjected to. I remember it well – and sometimes fondly.

Joker stood near the bed, holding one of the gauntlets in his hands as he grinned down at him, amused by the baleful stare that tried to hide fear. He still couldn’t see how to remove the cowl, neck armor, or breast collar – even with the gauntlet – but that wasn’t too disappointing anymore.

“Amazing, your clever little suit: all those tiny indentions, keyed by a sensor in the ring finger of this one gauntlet. Better than the forefinger, hmm, for avoiding the odd accident? Though you know, Batty, it would be a scream if you went to scratch your balls in the middle of a scrap and ended up flashin’ poor Harvey.”

“What did you do to me?” His face twisted as the truth became clear. “The brackish water – hid a drug…”

“Pay attention, now, or you won’t learn a thing.”

The glorious rage crested all at once, a shattering of jagged ice. “Release me!”

“I’m going to teach you how to release yourself. I can’t make you learn – that’s up to you – but I can make you endure the lesson. Thrash and yell or try to grasp this; it is what you need to understand yourself, to let go of what is blocking you.”

“Fuck you!”

“Mmm, delicious. The blocked mind doesn’t know how to free itself. Dr. Wilson used to tell me to ‘empty my mind’ – an amusing therapeutic method from such an empty-headed fool. I was to imagine a simple wooden chair and learn to sit in it quietly as I listened to him tell me how to become, well, less crazy, I suppose. It was boring, so I stopped listening at all, but I did like the chair imagery. It was all ‘bout letting go, you see, to find a new and calmer place within – a virgin state of mind. Try that, if you like – it might help. It’s all about removing the blocks of want and need, and then you can see how to fix yourself. First, of course, ironically, you’ll ‘need’ a distraction. Far easier to go seeking peace if you’re fleeing from somethin’ else – fleeing metaphorically, of course.”

With an elastic stretch of lips, the smile bloomed in anticipation of the real game at last.

“My God, you are insane…”

“Hmm, well, uh, we shall see? You or me? Here – we – go.”

“Joker, stop.”

“Are you listening? You’ve been opening your mouth like a baby bird nearly every night to know how … to stop. The precipice of knowledge is before you, and tiny birds all must leave the nest to learn to fly – even if they have to be kicked out. So here we are. Time to fall fall fall.”

The bat struggled, trying to manipulate bound limbs. When the cables showed him that his legs were secured rather widely open, he fell still and silent.

Pale, haunted … and finally paying attention. “This is the thing. Most of the time, want is a liar and need is mute. Choice is supposed to serve both of ‘em, but it takes the easy route all the time, only listening to the loudest voice. The secret to achieving sanity is a two-parter – are you ready? Here goes: get what you need, not what you want. For speedier and better results, line up the two; when need and want become focused on the same thing, choice is set free.”

He moved off to set the gauntlet back on the table, trading it for the bat symbol blade.

“You said you need me, to fight – to give you a worthy opponent. I can’t do that if you…”

As he turned, holding the blade as reverently as he had the man’s cock, his student fell silent on a hard swallow.

“Dark, sharp, and beautiful – like yourself – but you know, the most valuable works of art often have … cracks, imperfections. Scars.”

His fingers turned the weapon and ran the tip of it within and around the treacherous path of one of his facial scars. It knicked the proud flesh in a few spots and the blood ran, thin and warm, down to his jaw. He closed his eyes briefly, tongue flicking over his bottom lip, and then opened them to meet the fear and disgust in the shining eyes that locked on his.

“Even … missing pieces,” he continued. “The damage can deepen the worth of the whole, a testament to trials faced and survived. It’s downright alarming how much the body can do without, really.”

The baleful dark stare – equally sharp and beautiful in its fear – didn’t waiver as he approached. As he stumbled back over the thread of his earlier thoughts and the lesson began in earnest, his words hummed with pleasure.

“This is why dear Harvey is doomed – he can’t get what he needs. Therefore, he runs full-steam-ahead chasing want and even sublimates his choice with the toss of a coin. Fractured and doomed, the poor fellow.”

“I want the same thing he does. That means I’m doomed, too, so why waste your time on me?”

“Look, listen: you ‘want’ the same thing. Did you even hear yourself? Oh, you may want sweet Rachel, but she’s not what you need. I’d wager she never was. Plus, you’re sane enough to grasp that having her is impossible – unless you intend to rival me for twisted games and dig her up.” He peered down at him a moment, curious, before clucking his tongue with a disdainful sniff. “Unlikely.”

“You can’t know these things for me. I still need her. Being sane … knowing … that I can’t…”

Joker tap-tapped the sharp edge of the bat blade on his scarred lower lip and waited him out. Filling the abrupt silence, he whispered, “You aren’t one of the cattle. If you were, you’d be lowing in a field breeding your little cow, content – not flying ‘round our fair city risking what I suspect is a rather tenuous sanity at times, in order to catch various nefarious persons.”

“No – you don’t know me, you can’t.”

“Oh, but I do. Being the Batman is all the evidence necessary that one little lawyer with a slit is not what you need. She was a balm at times when your obsession became a burden oh-so-hard to bear, perhaps – yet if she truly was what you need, you would have lain the burden down and chosen her. You. Did. Not. No, no, no – she was an excuse, a distraction, a stall – similar to this attempt to waste the time we have for this crucial lesson.”

“Tell me, then. Explain it.”

“Hmm, yes. I shall, with both words and deeds. Your subconscious has already found a replacement need, one that suits your … busy schedule. Wanna know another secret? A shortcut? Choice is binding; the absence of choice – now that’s freedom. Do you see? Harvey clings to choice, and so with every toss of that coin, he ratchets his chains tighter and tighter. One day, he’s just gonna pop.”

The bat winced when he made his lips pop on the word.

“How are you going to teach me? Tell me how.”

Moving closer, he sat on the edge of the bed next to the bat’s hips. “Oh, I think you know – quite the staller, hmmmm?” He touched the tip of the blade to the heaving ribs, drawing a little red scratch between two of them as he smiled. “To answer – I’m gonna show you how the removal of choice can set you free.”

“That’s crazy!”

“No … it’s not.”

“Don’t do this.”

“What will you threaten me with, precious? I’m curious. Will you try to frighten me by threatening to beat me or to lock me up and throw away the key? Same old song… Or you could tell me you’ll punish me with your cock, make me bleed from it.”

He held the blade to a rib while his free hand slipped long fingers between the clenching asscheeks and forced the bat to endure the feel of fingertips rubbing his slicked-up and already opened hole. He let the fingers play, dipping in and out, making him feel how open and ready it was.

“All these things, you’ve already done … to me. Eye for an eye…”

“Joker … don’t.”

“This is a gift – therapy, if you will. Together, we will help the need deep within you … to find its voice.”

Rising, he moved to clamber over him as the bat struggled, straining to get free. He began to kiss down the spine, stroking the skin everywhere on the way down before licking his tongue back up it. The blade played with him in shallow scratches and little nicks.

“Remember what happened to Charlie – a scratched and sliced back, an abused hole full of cum? He learned his lesson quite well. You should be so lucky.”

Getting into position, he set the flat of the blade down over the spine at mid-back and patted the ass as the body began to tremble.

Stoic now and determined to endure it without giving him what he imagined he wanted – the bat was almost droll in his predictability. That simply would not do.

“Here’s something to really bake your noodle as we both anticipate this lesson – telling me ‘don’t’ … how do you know I haven’t already fucked into this loose slick hole, for hours, as you slumbered?”

Joker smiled at the instant curses and rage when he stuffed three long fingers into him, shoving them in as rough as he could manage with such little resistance, pushing all that silky slick in deeper.

“You don’t know that, Bats – and I’ll never tell. For me, it’s all new anyhow, to experience this with you awake and aware. Yet it may comfort you to think about it. What you fear to lose … maybe it’s already lost.”

The pillow, rather flat, had been folded double to prop up the hips. Slipping the fingers out, he used them to rub and massage up the lower back as his other hand pulled the cheeks open wide.

“If your lower back aches, it happens. Now let’s see if we can teach you … how to find what you truly need.”

Underneath him as he set his cock against the slick loose hole, the body froze and the cursing stopped.

“Precious, if you’ve decided once more to be stoic and refuse to scream, you’re simply missin’ the point. I’m not trying to make you scream – I’m trying to set you … free.” He shoved in on that last pointed word, and the bat’s body convulsed. A guttural sound of rage and horror was torn from his throat. Pure music, the sweetest of songs…

Deep inside, the earlier mess made it all easier. The Joker hummed over the tight and shuddering back, landing the occasional kiss to flesh that grew clammier with shock and sweat. The hole he thrust in, as if trying to expel him, tightened down.

Another sound, another siren song, was cut off short when the bat buried his face into the blankets over the thin dirty bed. He couldn’t be sure if it was a curse or a sob, so he strove to recreate it. Pushing in with a bit more rough strength, he smiled when the messy tunnel tightened again.

“Oh, my lamb, oh my,” he whispered over the back as the broad shoulders began to shake. “That feels soooo niiiice…”

 

 

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Author’s Note: The immortal Heath Ledger didn’t have green eyes, let alone chartreuse green. However, I was falling in love with fan art images while writing this chapter, and comics tend to portray Joker with bright intense green eyes, generally a rather neon and striking shade. So I decided to toss in a cliché mirror reflection indulgence (Mea culpa!) and mention his crazy bright green eyes as a tribute to the comics Joker.

The Land of Cockaigne (pronounced Cock-kayne) is a 1567 oil painting by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It depicts an uncommon vision of Cockaigne (a medieval mythical “land of plenty”) as an illustration of the spiritual emptiness brought on by two of the seven deadly sins, gluttony and sloth. The painting shows villagers, surrounded by a feast, lying passed out and helpless.

Shakespeare bits: “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene” is from the prologue of Romeo and Juliet. “Note this before my notes: there’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting” is from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, Scene 3, spoken by Balthasar to Don Pedro. “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest” is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2, spoken by Horatio after Hamlet dies.

Hopefully the story has enough warnings for those who may be triggered. I wanted to add here that rape is still rape even if the victim’s body is manipulated to feel pleasure involuntarily. I am not portraying Batman feeling pleasure because he “enjoyed it” by any means. If Stockholm Syndrome symptoms occur, or the victim is confused and doesn’t understand their own reactions or even feels they deserve no better, a crime was still committed and the victim is not to blame. This story is a challenge because I’m not in Batman’s POV, and the Joker will use rape to achieve his twisted goals. He enjoys it because it causes psychological damage and he knows that forcing pleasure makes it even worse. So that’s my two cents on this scene (which continues next chapter). I don’t judge how anyone else writes a rape scene; we’re writing fiction, and it’s a “you do you” situation. I just ask others to use appropriate warnings and tags, and I hope I have done that.

Blame the plot and pacing for the awful cliffhanger – I do. This story is about to get a lot crazier in the last two chapters. Thanks for sticking with me on this one when Sabretooth distracts me, and for reading and commenting – y’all are spoiling me. It all feeds the muse. – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic, anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)

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