God Is a Man!
It’s all right
Everything is fine
You live the perfect life
Never one immoral thought inside your mind
What they say
Does it make you feel ashamed?
Isn’t everyone the same?
Does it matter that it wasn’t your idea
God is a man
You know for sure
The knowledge in and of itself
Is more than we deserve
So you’ve tried
And you’ve made up your mind
Something’s still not right
The devil you don’t know is still outside
~ Devil You Know (Face to Face)
It was the dark dream again, the blackness that breathed. He used to think it was his breath, locked in a coffin, buried deep – buried alive.
That was before the bat came. Now the dark was alive, more than just the absence of light. It had a pulse, a beating heart … and breath cold on the back of his neck.
He heard the door but didn’t care about it. Sinking deeper, miring himself in the inky black breath, he tried to swallow it, to make it fill him until it leaked like smoke from his pores.
Even in the midst of the dream, data poured in through the senses. It battered his mind relentlessly, leaving him both charged and scattered.
Beneath him was thin wool and cold stone: the lump of loyal clay was gone. Somewhere in the breathing dark, he had shifted away from it; had they taken it then? It didn’t matter. He was ready – his clay was ready, too: to spread malice like seeds, like smoke…
They were in the room now, speaking quietly, but there were too many breaths and not enough voices. Too many breaths…
His freshly molded clay had cried out when they took it, hadn’t it? It had screamed and called the name that meant nothing. He remained still, unresponsive – then as now.
The dark beckoned, lured, and he followed: as eager to let it whisper its secrets as to make it bleed.
Had the clay screamed?
Go, he thought, the word loose, fluid – it shined. You’re ready – you’re my perfect instrument…
Hands touched him, hard but careful. Something said the other name. The dark – it said it. He was half lifted, head lolling onto his shoulder, but the night, the breathing black, didn’t let him go.
“Joker! How long has he been like this?”
“He was out cold when I arrived on shift, I swear! He’d snatched the orderly, I heard; they drugged him to remove the man before he was killed.”
“Where did they take him?”
“He was treated and taken home to recover, sir. They said he got into the cell while the doctor was treating the patient. I don’t know much more about it, I’m afraid; I caught him talking to him last night and shooed him off. The man wasn’t that sensible.”
“He was unstable?”
“Appeared to be, to me. I often thought he should be in his own cell, not working here. Plus, he’s on shift all day, which isn’t generally allowed, let alone hanging about half the night.”
“Call the police, now – someone needs to examine that man, talk to him; they shouldn’t have let him out of their sight! God only knows what the Joker’s done to him; what he might be ordered to do. Now!” A gentle shake. “Joker?”
Joker. That’s … me. The darkness in his mind split into a black sun, its blinding, humming voice calling his name.
“Joker, wake up.”
“Sir? I called them. Do you want the night nurse?”
“No. What did they drug him with?”
Drug him … dragged him … me? No, it was gas. A puff in the face, and then all the clay could do was scream. It had been beautiful, the twists and coils his thoughts had taken … but the darkness was leaving him.
“Precious, is that you?” he whispered, his throat a scratchy mess.
Silence, even the breath stilled … then, “What is your real name?”
He tried to laugh but choked and wheezed instead. When he thought he could speak, he muttered, “Aw, Bats – shame on you for such base tricks.”
Opening his eyes slowly, he realized he was half in the man’s armored lap where he’d knelt on the floor to pick him up.
Smiling blearily up at the masked face, he asked, “Oh my – are we in love? When did I miss that?”
“You were either drugged or poisoned. What do you remember?”
“Gas, a puff of it to the face – it gave me beautiful dreams…”
“Do you know what he’s talking about?”
“Well … the night nurse, Helen, said that the orderly wouldn’t stop screaming after just getting a whiff of it.”
“Sounds like … Scarecrow’s fear toxin! The doctors here use an illegal neurotoxin, a poison gas, to control their patients?”
“Mmm, so angry, and in my honor? Am I blushing? I can’t feel my face.”
“Out. Cameras off – leave that door unlocked.”
“You think I’d let him get away from me?” Footsteps receded. “I’m going to lift you. Ready?”
“Ready and willing, big boy,” he slurred.
“You’re out of your head.”
“Oh, I am – I am … but still willing.”
The strength of the body as it effortlessly picked him up, blanket and all, stunned him. The bunk was a bare cushion; the clothes that had been folded there had fallen to the floor.
He didn’t worry about his treasures as he was placed on the thin padding. He’d tucked them away before going back to molding the clay.
Slouching where he sat, he swayed alarmingly. Then the bat landed beside him, holding him upright with one arm around the middle of his back. With a sigh, he shifted into him and laid his head on the broad shoulder.
The blanket was wrapped loosely around him and before it could fall open, the bat caught it and swaddled him up like a baby.
“I showed you mine.”
“You’re covered in bruises and cuts.”
“What did you do to the orderly?”
“Gave him a shot of self-esteem.”
“I’d rather not add to your bruises – what did you do to him? Did you send him off with orders? Tell him to hurt someone?”
“I taught him a magic trick.”
“The police will find him, bring him in.”
“Hopefully, it’ll be too late. I did warn you that I’d find someone to take it out on.” His hand fisted in the bit of cape he could reach – the fingers were weak. “You didn’t come back. I got bored.”
“I’m here now. They’ve been abusing you – who is responsible, this Dr. Tanner?”
“It’s true – you are jealous.”
“What he’s doing is wrong.”
“By definition, that means you’re wrong, too.”
The masked face looked away from him. “There’s a difference.”
Joker tsk-tsked as his fist opened. “So take me out of here on your white bat – or do you want me to let down my hair? Arkham Asylum has never been a place of model behavior, on either side of the locks; it never will be. Still, your concern is touching – even if you’re only upset that someone else marred my fair complexion.”
“You’re staying – but I will have someone investigate your treatment here.”
“Ooo, who? Your lapdog, Gordon? You can’t fool me, either of you – he can chase you ‘til his bloodhounds bleed, you still share a hairbrush.”
“Someone will investigate – you have my word.”
“The word of an outlaw flying rodent – lucky me. I’d rather have you.”
“This … this thing, whatever game you’re playing – it’s just an attempt to warp my judgment, to worm your way into my head. It won’t work. I know what you really want – you want to get free so you can destroy this city.”
“Not destroy, remake.”
“In your image?”
“No, Batty, in chaos, in anarchy – it’s not about me, it never was. Rules and laws are shackles that all too often only bind the so-called ‘just’. Criminals pay no attention to ‘em, have you noticed? No. You. Haven’t. Punch first, ask meaningful questions later, hmm? The criminals and the law-bound citizens all want the same thing: an even break. Chaos can give ‘em that – you and Gordon can’t. Kills you, doesn’t it?”
“In the end, it’ll kill you … and maybe me, too.”
“Yes, well, your trouble is, you never really bothered to understand me.”
“You want to see the world burn.”
“Oooh, I like that, I do – but that’s only a poetic bit of over-simplification, isn’t it?”
“That’s what you want.”
“Tell you what, precious, how ‘bout you stop telling me what I want and ask me instead. Besides, it’s not about want, it’s about need. Now there’s a difference for you: stand on want and yell over to need – you’ll hear an echo.”
“What do you need?”
“You – let’s get back on the floor, mmm?”
“No. No, no, no. Not mad, not crazy – at least no crazier than you are. I am … frighteningly … brutally … sane.”
“I have to go.”
“Coming back? Or do I have to pick another random target?”
“Tomorrow night – I’ll be here. I want … to try … to understand you.”
“Progress at last.”
“Dr. Tanner should be removed – is there any other doctor here that you trust to treat you fairly?”
“The director – Dr. Arkham; alas, he’s gone AWOL.”
“I’ll find him.”
“My, my, aren’t you a darling.” As the bat moved him over and stood, Joker slumped farther. Lifting a hand to his red mouth, he kissed his fingertips and blew. “Toodles, Lamb Chop.”
Embodiment of his darkest dreams, the shadow slipped away, locking the door behind him.
When the silence descended again, he slid down to lie sprawled on the bunk. “Ah, young love…”
~ ~ ~
Joker leaned against one wall with his bare foot up on it behind him and watched the bat pace.
Since it bothered him to see another man’s marks on his pale skin, he’d stripped his shirt off before midnight, working up the discipline to stop shivering by the time his visitor arrived.
Dr. Tanner had found a way to make the hall and cell frigid, as well as starting up a daily session with his least favorite patient.
“Paging Dr. Arkham, any luck?”
“No, but we’ll find him.”
“We, hmm? Does Gordon know why you’re looking?”
“Yes – he owes me. He sent someone to talk to Dr. Tanner this morning.”
“I figured. It made him cranky this afternoon.”
The bat stopped and faced him, fists clenched. He was keyed up and exhausted at once – a volatile mix.
“He did that to you because the officer asked some questions?”
Joker ran his fingers down his chest and stomach, brushing over the blue and purple bruises. “I do look good in purple. Don’t worry, precious, it was tit for tat – I bit him. Oh, and his nurse tried to fuck my strapped-down brains out before. I’d bet he’s more annoyed ‘bout that, really.”
“The nurse raped you.”
“No, no – you can’t rape the willing.”
“You were tied down; that doesn’t let you be ‘willing’.”
“Mmm… Sheltered, are we? Force is sexy to a guy like me. Why do you think I like you so much?”
“You’re thinner, too.”
“Watching my girlish figure? The new orderly is terrified of me … and sane – so boring. Did you catch the other one?”
“Yes. He tried to kill his grandmother, but she’ll recover.”
“Oh. Well, can’t win ‘em all, can we? I’d ask for details, but you have ‘shut up’ face.”
“Help me understand. Why hurt a sick old woman, or her mentally ill grandson, for no reason?”
“You assume I had no reason. This is gonna take longer than you’ve got if you keep jumping to conclusions; aren’t you supposed to be a ‘brilliant detective’? Or is this blind spot reserved just for me?”
“Explain it, then.”
Joker sighed. “That ‘old and sick’ woman is the reason Charlie is mentally ill – or at least the reason that what he was born with got worse without any help, ‘til he was ripe for my tinkering.”
“He was sent to Arkham because he almost attacked her – considering his size, she couldn’t handle him.”
“That lump of clay blew up at her because he was cranked hard enough to break with all of his natural drives subverted to the point of insanity for a sane person, let alone him. Dr. Wilson treated him, decided he needed something constructive to do to build self-worth, and set him up as an orderly down here.”
“A mistake, letting a person that susceptible be anywhere near you.”
“Noooo, no. His main flaw was letting him go home to the old bat – pardon the expression – so she could get her claws into him again. Your mistake in this, Batty, is a sadly common one. Labels like ‘old’ and ‘sick’ define conditions; they don’t bestow nobility or innocence.”
“How do you know she wasn’t a good person to him?”
“Because I asked him – funny how they all miss the simple route. Being crazy doesn’t mean one can’t express oneself. Oh, he tried to defend her, that’s the tragedy of her control over him, but I’m old hat at between-the-lines scrutinizing.”
“If he believes he cares for her, how did you make him want to hurt her?”
“There you go again with ‘want’. He didn’t wanna hurt the crusty cunt; if I’d asked him to, he woulda refused. He needed to help her – to make her well, so she’d keep being his whole world. Keep wrecking him, too, but he wouldn’t see it that way. We had a conversation about magic and he begged me to teach him how to do it, so he could use it to heal her.”
The bat frowned. “Magic?”
Sliding his hand lower past his waistband, Joker cupped his slowly waking cock and winked at him. “It was magical, too.”
The Batman launched at him, the fists raining stone dust on the floor as they struck on either side of his head. Joker didn’t flinch.
“You had him do … that … to her?”
“Didn’t they tell you? Or maybe he never got that far? Poor baby; he tried so hard. Did he just take something sharp to her? That was part of it.”
“He cut her back up! Where did you get ‘something sharp’?”
“From the nurse – oh, they took it, don’t worry. It was a gift; Charlie stole it just for me. Mmm, Bats, you’re simply overpowering when you’re angry. How ‘bout a punch, for old time’s sake?”
Leaning in close to his face, the dark eyes glaring into his, the bat’s lip lifted in a snarl. “You can’t bait me.”
“Anyone would agree that I just did, darling. Of course, there isn’t anyone – we’re all alone.” Lifting one hand, he placed it on the side of the masked face, his thumb rubbing over the bat’s bottom lip. “You could gimme a little more color and no one would ever know.”
Rearing back away from his touch, one gauntlet grabbed his throat and squeezed. “Don’t lay a hand on me again.”
Choking, he struggled to gasp, to speak. “Harder … make ‘em stick this time!”
The hand released him instantly but as he began to back away, the Joker followed and caught his mouth in a rough kiss. It was a moment full of promise – of violence, of lust – and then, with a broken sound, the bat pushed him back into the wall, urgent mouth pressing him, nearly crushing him, beneath its need.
Riding the wave with a laugh hung up in his throat, Joker pushed his tongue into that mouth. After a moment in which he couldn’t breathe, it was met and joined by another – wet, winding, and hungry.
Snaking his hands down between them, he felt the armor with eager searching fingers. He found the indention that had opened the plates before and pressed it, but nothing happened.
Groaning into him, he broke the kiss. Licking the bat’s lips, he fumbled with the catch again, hissing when it wouldn’t open. Guttural and savage, he demanded, “Give it to me!”
“Damn your eyes, I’ll have it,” he threatened.
Grabbing one of the gauntlets, he forced it down, manipulating the fingers in his to make one of them press the catch. With a click and slide, it opened.
He reached in and pulled out his prize, only to leave it hanging hard and bobbing. Curling his fingers around the warm scrotal sack snug inside the material, he massaged it, feeling the soft springy hair that dusted it and toying with the vulnerable testicles it protected.
“You don’t mean that, darling, and I’m going to prove it to you.”
Releasing the balls, he grasped the cock and pumped it twice. Pushing up off the wall to bump him back a step, Joker twisted to face it, dragging down his waistband at the same time.
Stepping back, he shoved his bare ass at the cock, almost catching its already slick tip between his cheeks.
A count of breaths, three, four – the groin pushed in – but then the body froze. Joker cursed.
“No… I can’t … I’m not –”
Pushing back, Joker twisted again to face him. The only thing keeping his pants on his hips was his straining erection. “Spare me your motherfucking labels. I need you to fuck me!”
He growled when the bat started to retreat and yanked his dick out. Seizing both of them in one hand, he jacked them hard and rough. The other hand trapped the wrist of the gauntlet in a grip like a vise, not allowing him to escape. Setting his feet apart just to keep the pants mid-thigh, he jerked on the wrist to make the man stumble closer.
The Batman nearly fell to his knees. One forearm striking the wall, pushing Joker back into it, was all that kept him on his boots.
Joker’s grin brushed the other man’s lips as he whispered, “Told you I’d prove it; they never listen.”
“Shut up,” the bat ordered, and blocked his mouth with his tongue.
It was all he could do to keep up working them both in his fist as the mouth forgot they were enemies and began to explore his. When the tongue licked his bottom lip, finding and mapping the hard twist of the scar at its center, Joker shuddered.
He tried to slow his hand, tried to make it last, but their heat demanded more. Increasing his grip, he sucked down the air of the bat’s gasp against his mouth as they rolled haphazardly over the edge.
Thick and hot, their seed spilled from twin founts to mingle over his fingers, splattering and dotting wetly on his pants as it dripped onto the black armor plates.
“Mmm… The way you kiss, Bats. It’s as if you were trying to lick my soul.”
“If only you had one,” the droning voice muttered as he tried to breathe.
Giggling, he whispered, “My little black tattered rag wouldn’t fetch much – only reason I’ve still got it, I suspect.” Harsh huffing breaths in rapid-fire at his ear threatened to weaken the Joker’s knees. Best to just get down on ‘em, then. “Back up a tad, precious. I know you have to go, but we’ve made a little mess…”
The bat seemed stunned, so Joker let go of his wrist and pushed at him to make him step back.
Sinking to his knees slowly, he put his tongue to the plates over the thigh. Before he began, he glanced up and caught the man watching him as he leaned most of his weight on the forearm that was still pressed to the wall.
“Mmm, yes … I do love an audience,” he murmured, and licked the plates clean. The taste of the armor’s material was a sharp chemical tang. It was coated, probably Kevlar beneath. “You can’t feel this, can you? Aw, poor starving thing.”
Rising a bit, he licked some of the mess from the underside of the softening cock. The bat grunted in surprise before letting out one of those amazing groans.
“How ‘bout this? Ooooh … you are delicious.” Another lick, a brief gentle suckling of the head, and he whispered, smiling, “I completely renounce ice cream cones.”
With a hiss, the bat began to move until Joker put the whole thing into his mouth and sucked. It was too soon for another round, which told him more than the Batman probably wanted him to know.
Well, he’s not some stripling kid. Sack’s too high and tight for a man in his forties, though – late twenties, early thirties, perhaps.
Both black fists crunched against the stone wall as the bat moaned, his cowled head hanging low between slumped shoulders.
“There, all clean.”
Fingers sliding, touching it as much as he could, the Joker tucked the semi-hard marvel back inside the black cloth. Rucking his orange pants back up, he shoved his cock away sticky inside them and rose, letting his chest rub up the armor on the way.
“What a shame there’s no mirror – we must look like Halloween trying to eat itself.”
Slipping his arms around the bat’s neck, he reached up to hold his head, tilting it up for a kiss.
“Huh. You know, Batty, I think I may have an inch on you – topside, I mean, minus your cute little bat ears. Below the belt, we’re a good matched set. I might curve a tad more.”
Growling, he started to pull away, but Joker held his head, his lips brushing a growing frown.
“Don’t tell me you’re squeamish about tasting yourself? The Batman is a princess? Such a sheltered creature you are. Don’t worry, Lamb Chop, I won’t tell a soul.”
Flicking his tongue out, he licked the frown, teasing it until the mouth relented and let him inside.
Surprised when the thick arms encircled him, he gasped when he was pressed into the stone by the full length of the heavy body.
When he finally got free of the hungry mouth, he giggled. “Tick tock, Bats – unless you wanna try again and shove that thing up my ass, we’re about to linger past the changing of the guard. Can’t say I care if we’re discovered in flagrante delicto, but it’d be a wrecking ball on your reputation, outlaw or not.”
He was released so fast that his head bumped against the wall. A gauntlet lifted, grasped the lower half of his face. Two of the hard fingertips slid across one of his scars, the feel of it making him shiver with newborn lust.
“Not one word – I wasn’t here.”
Smiling stiffly around the hand, he answered, “As long as you’re ‘not here’ again tomorrow night, mum’s the word, Bats.”
As the man turned to close the open plate, Joker giggled again.
“Aw, he’s shy – after all that.” He let the wall hold him up, head turned slightly to one side. Just before the bat struck the door, Joker added with a purr, “I’ll be waaiitiiing.”