Joker: Arkham – Chapter 8 – Dying in Pieces

Walking, waiting
Alone without a care
Hoping an’ hating
Things that I can’t bear
Did ya think it’s cool to walk right up
To take my life and fuck it up
Well did you
Well did you?

I see hell in your eyes
Taken in by surprise
Touching you makes me feel alive
Touching you makes me die inside
I hate you!

I slept so long without you
It’s tearing me apart to
How to get this far
Playing games with this old heart
I’ve killed a million petty souls
But I couldn’t kill you
I’ve slept so long without you

I see hell in your eyes
Taken in by surprise
Touching you makes me feel alive
Touching you makes me die inside

~ Slept So Long (Jay Gordon/Orgy)

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Joker shuddered as the chill sank into his bones. When his body was covered, first by the bulk of the bedmate pressing against his back, and then by blankets up to his ears, he pulled himself out of a deep and troubled sleep.

Full awareness snapped in when warm fingers of flesh and bone closed around the rampant erection he’d only vaguely been conscious of in dreams. Eyes widening, he banished the nightmares and let the data pour in unfiltered through every sense he possessed.

A hard and rounded part of the armor was touching his shoulder near the bed, but it stopped halfway down the chest to allow sculpted muscle covered by vulnerable skin to touch his back. A soft brush of hair on bare and equally muscled thighs almost tickled as the legs fit against his. The shaft of the thick cock, hungry again, was nestled slightly between the cheeks of his ass and no painful edges of armor plates were present.

The fingers began to squeeze and stroke him. They were still clumsy but better from that angle.

As if he’s pretending he’s stroking himself. Devil below – did he take off the mask?

Before he could turn his head, his stomach in freefall, lips moved his hair with their breath as the hard line of the cowl around the mouth brushed his ear.

“Your meds are on the tray, there,” the bat whispered, “if you want them.”

Joker couldn’t see where he’d indicated but it had to be either the table or still in the slot.

“Not … just now.”

Breathing deep, he could smell the stale musk of their earlier romps mixed with a ghost of spiced soap and fresh sweat.

Having opened his senses fully, the rest of the sensory data that had only lingered in the brain’s margins pushed in to distract him.

The Citadel was never silent. Water dripped incessantly from the faucet he’d drunk from before and from inside the tunnel hidden in the wall at their backs. Other noises that might have seemed menacing to someone else could all be categorized. A rat under the table scuttled about. In the distance, the nurse was shutting the door to the staff quarters. Overhead, an almost audible groan of stones fluttered in his ears as the weight of the world above threatened. It was downright metaphoric.

“Are you… Is this … helping or not?”

Dragging his attention back, Joker swallowed hard before forcing his body to relax. “Bit of a surprise attack, Bats, to say nothing of the costume change – was I out long?”

“A couple of hours.” Puff of breath at his ear. “If you’d rather I stopped…?”

“Mmm, no, ‘rather’ you didn’t. Tell me – did your impromptu lobotomy hurt much?”

“You’re the one with all the theories on why I want this.”

“Huh – that’s not really an answer, though, is it? Still fixated on want, too… Never mind. Look, listen – don’t move your hand. Keep the one grip and slide it, hmm? Don’t treat yourself to this much, either, do you?” When he abruptly got it right, Joker sucked in a sharp breath. “Ooooh, well, retracting that comment. Grip harder, precious, there’s a good boy.”

“I’ll hurt you –”

“If wishes were horses…” Curling his lip as it all hung on the edge of getting him there, he hissed. “Oh, just jack the shit outta the thing, will you? Have you noticed I like it rough?”

When the bat attempted to comply, the grip increased again, making pain bloom in the hungry abused organ. The noise Joker made almost stopped the hand but the snarl that followed kicked it into gear.

The body behind him pressed in closer, the fingers of the other hand slipping into his hair at the top of his head. The instant a leg moved to pin his, he began to tense – it was one straw too many.

As he neared his climax, Joker gasped out, “Stop, stop, stop… Let me up.” Confused, the bat hesitated, the hand pausing. The trapped feeling grew, threatened to make him thrash against it. “Damn you, let me loose!”

Falling away to his back, the bat released his hair, cock, and legs at once. Joker twisted, tore bedding out of his way and moved to straddle the man’s bare hips. Ignoring the shocked look on the masked face, Joker’s eyes devoured the heavy and sculpted Adonis beneath him. His fingers reached down to wrap around his frustrated cock and jacked it, neglecting the twin erection that lay on the hard abdominals.

Without a word, he drove it to a frantic finish, letting the slick cover those muscles as they began to move with a faster, shorter breath. Following it with his mouth, he bent down, curling his back to claim the small but hard nipples below the edge of the armor’s breast collar. Lips, tongue, and finally teeth, he worked the nipples until the man winced at the next touch there, gasping from both pleasure and the shock of pain.

His hand let his cock fall to strike the bat’s, both hands moving to smear the slick up and all over the shuddering muscles.

One pair of fingers readied his body for the next round but the others had a different goal. When he was all set, he smiled at the fogged expression on the bat’s face. The man hadn’t even noticed most of what he’d done.

Avoiding the edge of the cowl where it was still anchored to the breast collar, he caressed the fingers of his other hand up the armored neck until he could press them, sticky and warm, to the open and soundless cry of the lips.

“Suck ‘em,” he whispered over him, the words almost a hiss.

Below, he moved his body to trap their cocks – his softening, the bat’s an iron rod. The dark eyes pulled back into focus, narrowing, as he tried to speak.

Joker interrupted the effort. “Suck ‘em – if you wanna have that thing down south sucked on, Batty.”

Pushing the fingers past the lips, he felt the hot mouth and the tongue, winding and unsure, and regretted that he couldn’t come again instantly at the feel of it. Watching avidly as the bat sucked his fingers wet and clean, he grinned down at him.

“There, not so difficult, is it? I’m both salty and sweet. You, if you wanna know, have a delicious tang – almost as if the chemicals on that armor worked right into your balls. Actually, you might wanna look into that, in case it hinders future baby bats, hmm?”

Sliding down and off, he lay between the legs and curled one hand around the other man’s cock. Dipping his head lower, he licked the scrotum once before he began to work it into his mouth. Unable to smile at the noises their owner was making, he batted the balls around inside the sack with his tongue.

When the bare hands grabbed his shoulders, he released the scrotum and gripped a wrist, pulling the hand up so he could put three fingers in his mouth and toy with them instead. The expression he was given was well worth putting off the main event. Now, whenever he suckled the gloved fingers, the bat would remember what it felt like on flesh.

As he dropped the fingers, he was in range again and darted down to put the head of the cock in his mouth.

“Wait, slow down – oh, God, wait…”

Ignoring his entreaty, Joker started to swallow it, working his throat to accept it, to caress it. One hand slapped down onto a bunched thigh for balance as the other went down between the legs. Waiting until the man was lost in the throes of what his throat was doing, Joker aimed a forefinger, wet from the bat’s mouth. Pressing it against the viciously tight anal ring, he worked it in slow and careful.

Dismissing the curses as mere noise, he pushed in deeper, crooked the finger and brushed it over the bump of the prostate. Increasing the pressure on the prostate and then swallowing to constrict his throat around the cock, he began to gauge how much time they had. As the climax neared, he tore his finger out of the man’s body and reared back to release the cock.

Twisting and pushing his body up beside him before the bat could move or react, Joker rolled to his belly and then rose up on hands and knees.

“Take it,” he urged, his voice rough and strained. “Take what you need.”

When large hands yanked his legs open wider, he bit down on his tongue to muffle a cry. Too far gone to worry about making anything easy on him, the bat simply impaled him and began to thrust.

As it had been before, Joker knew it would be quick. He was grateful for that when his muscles tensed like bunched wire, radiating pain like heat.

He used it, the pain and the burning pleasure, all of it – to convince himself it was real … he was real. As it went on, he almost believed it.

I’m alive – damaged … but alive. They did their worst and I survived. They did their worst…

Behind and over him, the Batman groaned – that magnificent sound of an iron control shattering. Inside, need burst, and he collapsed under the man’s weight.

With a grunt, mere moments later, the bat withdrew and moved. His back pressed to the stone wall, he watched the Joker warily.

Joker winced and rolled on his side to face him, laying his head on an outstretched arm. “You know, I do like the new look: bondage kink meets vigilante exploitation film.” Giggling at the mental image, he added, “You should use ‘Sugarlips’ as your porn star name.”

Glaring, the bat ground out, “Do you really want me to add a few broken bones to your bruises?”

“Now, now … temper. Gimme a pet name, then, if you like. How ‘bout one of my old favorites: ‘Daddy’s Little Cum Dumpster’. No? Pick your own, then – go nuts with it.”

The bat didn’t reply but the glare darkened. Joker sighed and fought to stand up, weaving just a little as he went to retrieve a paper cup and envelope full of pills from the waiting slot.

He hadn’t missed the fact that the table was covered by a dark pile of oddly shaped objects – the armor, the material he wore beneath it, the cape – and the utility belt full of weapons and toys.

Smirking at the other man’s focused yet roving stare, he fished out all but the sleeping pill. After giving them a quick glance to see what they were, he downed them all at once with a swig of water.

“Fucking things won’t kick in for another half hour,” he complained. Moving to the table, he set the cup and envelope on the edge of the black pile and turned to face his brooding companion.

A few slow drips ran down the inside of his thigh and he reached to smear the slick trails into his skin, tossing a wink at the expression of disgust he got from the Batman.

Leaning one hip on the edge of the table, he crossed his arms over his chest and met the man’s hard stare.

“Penny for your thoughts, precious.”

“It doesn’t bother you?”

“What a loaded question – might need to narrow it down a bit.”

“This, all of it.”

Joker slid one foot back and let his toes play with one of the boots under the table. Probably a blade or two in those… “Huh – no, uh, not quite narrow enough.”

“Being with … another man – being so … violent about it.”

“Ah. Um, no, it doesn’t bother me, one or the other. I hate labels, remember?”

“Do you … seek out … women?”

“Seek out? You make it sound like hunting season. Besides Nurse Alice, right? She doesn’t count in your pat little reasoning, since she ‘forced me’, hmm?”

Joker shifted slightly, his back in pain. He could have returned to the bed or sat in the chair but he was enjoying the discomfort that his displayed post-coital nudity was putting the bat in.

“Here and there,” he replied to the original question, “when opportunity knocks and a female of the species collides with the desire to copulate with one. Mostly, they’re a lot of work. Males are such simpler creatures – at least the ones I usually spear; the more insane the better. It’s practical – when minions have little to do, they still gotta purpose.”

Smirking again at the gathering frown the bat was sporting, he anticipated the question that the man might never get up the guts to ask.

“I don’t bottom for many, Lamb Chop – you’re special.”

“Why did you panic and tell me to stop, just to start again the minute I did?”

Joker narrowed his eyes at him, trying to gauge why he was asking. Chalk it up to the old game of ‘curious about the crazy person’, I suppose.

He flicked his tongue out over his lips to buy a moment to regain his aplomb.

“I’m sure Dr. Arkham would attribute it to PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder, for the city park janitors in the audience. According to our oh-so-helpful Nurse Helen, Dr. Tanner had me strapped in without a sedative or muscle relaxant before he electrocuted my brain. While confinement never did appeal, complete immobility is considerably less entertaining, with or without the added torture.”

“Perhaps it’ll give you insight on how your victims felt.”

“Perhaps? Oh, you’re cute,” he responded with a sneer. “Empathy is for the weak and the soon to be dead; amazing how often that’s the same batch of morons. Dr. Tanner took something from me that I might not ever get back; he’s gonna pay for it and that’s between him and me. Victims – a.k.a. wastes of space – don’t have shit to do with this.”

“You’ve taken and survived a stunning amount of damage before –”

“Try being tied down and cooked sometime, darling – see if you think it’s an utter giggle-fest.” Sighing, Joker lifted one hand to rub his temple with gentle fingers. “My brain is my greatest weapon, Bats; imagine launching into battle with chunks of your armor missing, hmm? Or jump off a building after a sadist has ripped off your wings. Just tell me before you do – I wanna watch.”

“You’re a sadist and it’s not the same; I wasn’t strapping you down.”

“Just getting clingy with the insane freak, huh? Trying to get close, seeking all that yummy intimacy. Maybe we should be asking what the hell you were trying to accomplish with that stunt.”

“I was trying to help you relax.”

“Here’s a clue for you, Sherlock – wrapping yourself around me like a hungry squid: Is. Not. Relaxing.”

“You prefer to be in control.”

“He gets it in three.”

“I’m not going to hurt you, Joker – I wouldn’t have then.”

Chuckling, he shook his head. “Not gonna hurt me. You hurt me a lot – can’t wait to, some nights. Oh, I like it, for the most part … but it’s still a ridiculous thing to claim. For instance, the bone breaking threat over a bit of teasing – ah, how quickly they forget.”

As the bat watched him in silence, Joker struggled with the transition from seductive play to threatening vulnerability. It made his palms itch, longing to hold something sharp. The alluring scent of chemical coating shifted his attention, giving infernal inspiration.

What sorta potential mayhem might be sitting right there, I wonder, in this jumble of crime fighting goodies?

Reaching behind him, he let his fingers do the walking and found a treasure – one of the bat-shaped throwing blades. It had been knocked loose from somewhere in the apparent hurry to get down to flesh and blood tacks.

“Drop it or I’ll break your hand.”

“See what I mean? You must be so fun at dinner parties.” Bringing it forward, his long fingers toyed with the sharp edges. “I have one of these, you know – a souvenir from one of our evenings together; none of ‘em as fun as lately, of course.”

Keeping his movements slow and casual, he held the weapon in one hand and gathered up a bunch of his hair in the other. Slicing through it was easy – the feel of the blade in his fingers enough to stir his cock a little. Methodically, he grabbed another bunch of sandy-green locks and cut it, and then another.

When his hair hung raggedly at his shoulders again, he lowered his head and glanced up at the bat from under the locks that covered half of his face.

The blade was held carefully yet firmly in his left hand but the bat obviously wasn’t fooled – he knew he was just as capable of using it in either hand.

“Come on, Lamb Chop – dance with me.”

“You’re barely keeping on your feet. If you’d rather salvage your pride and your body parts – drop it.”

“No fun, no, no, no.”

Sighing again, knowing he wasn’t up to it yet, he set the blade down on the table – his fingers loathe to leave it. Tearing his gaze away from the dark shine of it, he took the shorn hair to the toilet in the alcove.

He heard the bat rise and approach under the noise of the flushing water. One slight tilt of his head would make the man aware of that but he wasn’t using stealth.

“What time is it, precious? We’ve been chatting a while.”

The footsteps didn’t falter and then the hands gripped his shoulders. “Nearly dawn.”

“Looking to get ‘one for the road’, mmm?”

“I’m going to put you back in bed so your medicine can do you some good.”

Joker turned, breaking his hold on him. Without the boots and armor, ignoring the bat ears, he gauged that he was an inch taller. The Batman was heavier, his muscles more developed, but not by much.

No use – too weak yet, which he was kind enough to rub in. Might be able to whack the nurse but not this chunk of raw fiesty. “I find it interesting that you assume I’ll keep your little secret forever and ever.”

“You’re conveniently insane – no one would believe you.”

“That’s a tad thin, even for you.”

“You want to keep it to yourself; you’re a very private person, aren’t you, no matter how blasé you are about some things. This is – personal, for you.”

“Not bad. Gonna sweep me off my feet and carry me to bed?”

“What do you get out of this mess? Why are you going along with it at all?”

Joker’s hands lifted, the fingers and palms touching the bat’s abdomen and chest, caressing over them. One of them went lower and cupped the soft cock and vulnerable scrotum. Leaning in, his head ducking down, his lips brushed over a nipple.

Straightening, he replied, “Beyond the chance to get laid by the Batman? I get to kill you.” Smirking at the startled expression that won, he chucked the bat lightly on the chin with scarred knuckles. “Didn’t you know that the French call an orgasm ‘la petite mort’, the little death? We’ve died together many times in this dank tomb.”

“That’s not an answer –”

“Of course it is – just not the one you ‘wanted’ to hear. Stick around, hmm? We can have a nap and then fuck again, since you don’t wanna fight.”

“I’d rather not educate the nurse; she’d probably go straight to the tabloids.”

“Oooo, wry humor – is that a first? It’d be your fault, too, since you didn’t want me to kill her. We could call her in – ménage à trois in an asylum; I’d get another mark on my list.”

“Hush,” the bat whispered, his hands grasping the Joker’s shoulders again.

The grip was surprisingly loose, until he noted the glow of lust in the dark eyes. Joker opened his mouth when the bat leaned close to kiss him. If he planned to stand there and let him massage his junk much longer, the nap wouldn’t be necessary.

“Stay,” he whispered against the smooth lips, shivering when the tongue licked over the scar in his bottom lip.

“I can’t. Go back to bed – you’re going to freeze and you need sleep.”

“I’ve had more rest than you have, Batty.” Pushing to deepen the kiss, he plied his best tricks to make the man groan the moment it broke. “I’ll hit the sack if you will – just for a few hours.” Working the cock slowly erect, he smiled to see that his own wasn’t too far behind. “You know, precious, you should let me fuck that vise you call an ass – save me the trouble of sorting out how to make you later, yes?”

“No.”

“Sure? Didn’t see ‘exit only’ tattooed on it and my finger curled your toes nicely; imagine what the whole dick could do to you.” The bat’s expression might have killed a lesser fiend. “Hmm … doomed to bottom here, am I?”

“You talk too much.”

Heedless of the grasp he had on delicate parts, the Batman’s fingers dug into his shoulders painfully and turned them both to put Joker’s back to the bed. Moving forward, he propelled the Joker back until he could push him down onto the bed.

Joker let go of his cock just before he might have injured it and allowed himself to fall onto the blanket and tangled bedding. The meds were kicking in and he was eager to play.

Spreading his thighs, he shook the chopped hair out of his face and grinned up at the bat.

“I like the scars, darling – any of ‘em mine?”

“A few.” Reaching down, the bat grabbed a wrist and yanked it across his body, pulling him onto his belly with a huff. “I have to touch you to do this – I’d rather not look at you.”

“Afraid you’ll see yourself looking back?” At the sound of the man spitting on his fingers, Joker squirmed a bit. “Slip a couple in first, hmm? Open me some, for once.”

“I’d rather not.” The fingertips barely touched him to smear the spit on his hole.

Smirking into the blankets, Joker waited as the bat set his knees on the bed, straddling his closed legs. When the cock pressed its head in, he stretched his back straight, hands gripping the blanket.

Faking a good approximation of a pained struggle beneath him, he timed his vocal performance for the first full thrust. Letting loose a harsh scream, he scrabbled, trying to get away.

Straining and panting, he cried out again on the next thrust. “Stop! Please, Bats, please stop… It hurts!” Shocked that he was serious, the bat stopped and started to withdraw. Joker reached back before he could and snatched his wrist. “Psych! Pound away, precious, I’m just joking.”

“You bastard…”

“Aww, can’t a guy have a bit of fun? Didn’t wanna be on my belly for this.” Peering over his shoulder, he laughed at the stricken expression on the masked face. “Convincing, aren’t I? Hear that sorta feminine caterwauling enough and it starts getting easy to mimic.”

“Mimic…” He wilted a little, looking a bit green. “Meaning, you’ve raped…”

Joker tossed a wink back at him. “Just figuring that out, are we? Boy, this ‘innocent ‘til proven guilty’ trip you’re on is a real scream.”

When the bat tugged at his claimed wrist, Joker shook his head. “Ah, ah, ah – you’re no quitter; shove it back up and let’s go, mmm? I’ll behave.”

“Would you ever admit it if I really did injure you?”

“Probably not – you’d stop if I did.” Bucking up, he made the cock push deeper, smiling at the grunt of surprise he got. “Focus, Batty – asses to fuck, then places to go. Stop trying to be careful while you’re in there, too, hmm? I prefer the ‘gonna press charges’ kind of buggering!”

“I can’t do this.” The wrist tugged again. Even as the body was eager, on fire, the mind that governed it was disciplined enough to command it to stop.

“It’s all too weird for you, is it? What can we do ‘bout that?” Grinning over his shoulder at the bat, he dropped his tone low and leered. “If you need to call me Rachel, big boy – I don’t mind; whatever it takes for you to get your frrreak on!”

He laughed with delight when the bat’s anger used his cock to punish him for that taunt. The brutal fuck that followed was everything he liked and more. It lasted longer, too – likely because he’d dropped an anvil on the bat’s libido. Lingering seemed to be almost traumatic for the flying rodent though, which added yet another layer to the Joker’s enjoyment.

By the time he climaxed, his dick buried in a pile of bedding, it hit him so hard it left him dizzy. Then he had a non-distracted chance to feel every nuance of the bat’s mixed-up lust as it sought release in hated flesh. Exploding with a guttural cry only a few breaths behind, the man collapsed. Pressing down on the Joker, his body taut and trembling with wrath, the bat fought to breathe.

Muffled by the bedding he was almost buried in, Joker murmured, “Devil below, precious – the madder you get the better you fuck.”

The Batman got up and away from him as fast as he could but his trademark quick exit was hindered by the fact that his armor was in a pile on the table.

Joker rolled to his side and gleefully watched the whole process. Piece by piece, it was reassembled over the black material, all of it covering up the smooth yet randomly marred skin until only the mouth and eyes were visible again.

Without a word, the tall shadow strode to the door, taking the key out from one of those clever little pockets on the utility belt.

Pitching his tone and manner to mimic a petulant mistress, Joker quipped, “I’ll just wait here, shall I?” The bat didn’t even pause to turn and glare at him. Feeling smug, his changeling voice became low and soft. “See you tonight, my lamb – after you’ve worked up another fresh head of steam.”

The response was short and sharp with anger. “I won’t be back.”

Seconds before the door closed, he goaded, “Oh, yes you will.” A shrill burst of laughter on the heels of the words chased the man away like a scalded bat.

~ ~ ~

Torn between the lure of sleep and the call of adventure, he finally decided to make use of the false vigor lent by meds and try out the main tunnel. There would never be a safer time to explore, with day breaking in the world above and the bat off nursing his wounds devil-knew-where.

Pulling on the orange cotton clothes and thin white shoes, he got down on hands and knees on the stone floor and flattened onto his belly to crawl under the bed.

After a little bit of feeling around for the seams and the screws that otherwise bolted the side of the bed to the wall, he began touching and counting them off. It was the center seven and each one had to be loosened a specific number of turns in the right sequence before the opening would unlock.

It wasn’t simple or quick but he was complex and patient and had all day. About fifteen minutes of cramped effort later, the tiny click sounded, allowing his spirits to rise with anticipation. Palms flat on the section of stone, he shoved at it. Eventually, he had to shift and get his feet around, kicking it solidly twice, before the narrow cut opened. Moving back to where he’d started, he rolled up and over the thin slab of stone to enter the tunnel.

From the inside, the stone had an iron handle for putting it back into place, which he did carefully. Rising to his feet with one hand on the wall, he suppressed a shiver. This tunnel was not dry, being too close to the pipe system of faulty plumbing, and he was half soaked from rolling onto the bottom of it.

The tunnel was pitch black and claustrophobically narrow and low, forcing his six-foot-one frame to stoop a bit as he walked confidently along it on memory alone. Now and then, he brushed through an unseen spider web or ducked under a low-hanging pipe – warned in time by the sound of water rushing or trickling through it.

Listening closely to the sounds in and outside of the tunnel, he abruptly stopped and touched the wall again, feeling for a seam before finding a second iron handle and horizontal row of rusty screws. Opening that coded lock, he yanked on the handle to pop out the back wall of Dr. Arkham’s office closet. Humming happily, he stepped out of the tunnel onto dusty green tiles.

A few white coats hung on wire hangers and he took one down and slipped it on.

Fingers busily unwrapping the hanger a moment later, he opened it up into a bent length of terribly useful aluminum wire. Grinning, he bent it in the middle and hung it around the back of his neck.

Leaving the tunnel door hanging open, he entered the office itself, closing the closet door behind him. A blacker hulk hunched in the dark in front of him: the large and heavy metal desk with its imposing leather chair. Beyond that was a smattering of file cabinets, a sideboard, and of course, the preposterous dark leather antique fainting couch.

Joker made a rude noise. Never saw the backside of a patient in a real session, so why keep it? Not for appearances; the few people that know the Citadel exists know that it only houses patients that are far too gone for a mere couch. That’s the official story, anyway. I wonder how long it’s been since this place was used to actually treat someone? Perhaps it misses it – might have to remedy that.

Switching on a small lamp on the desk, he ignored the few files piled near it and began searching the contents of the drawers. One of the first treasures found was a scalpel in a leather case. Joker popped that into an interior pocket of the coat and began feeling around on the tops of the spaces after pulling the drawers out almost all the way.

Doc, I could kiss you, he thought, when his fingers brushed over a tiny key under paper.

Slipping it out of the envelope that was taped in place, he held the brass key in his fingertips and rose from the doctor’s chair. Heading for the large steel wall cabinet over the sideboard that held all of the fun medicines, he was soon rifling through it.

He worked quickly, stuffing a few specific meds into the coat pockets. Tearing the paper wrapper off a syringe, he found needles and used one to draw an injection of succinylcholine. Capping it securely, he slid the muscle relaxant in, cap up, next to the leather scalpel case.

After locking the cabinet, he returned the key to its envelope and closed all of the drawers. In the distance, he heard the hum of the dumb waiter operating.

Nurse Helen is having our breakfast sent down – time to thank her for taking such good care of me. The depth of my gratitude will depend on how helpful she is, of course; otherwise, we’ll be checking the depth of a scarlet puddle and to hell with what Bats thinks.

One hand gripping the wire around his neck loosely, the other grabbed the main doorknob and turned it, opening the door into the lighted foyer without a sound.

A ghost might have made more noise creeping up behind the woman, after slipping through the door she’d left open to the smaller office.

Holding the wire in both hands, he waited until she was focused on watching the little platform move to the bottom of the shaft. Before she bent to grasp the tray, he looped the wire over her head.

Nurse Helen gasped, failed to get her hands up into the wire as it was pulled tight, and flopped against his torso like a gaffed fish. Just for fun, he let it press into her flesh a bit so that when he decided to let her breathe, she might appreciate it more.

As she struggled, her blunt nails trying to scratch his thick wrists, he bent his head down to whisper in her ear, “Shall we dance, my love?”

He pushed her forward into the wall next to the shaft of the dumb waiter in the same instant that he let go of one side of the wire. Dropping it behind him, he pulled her around to face him. Hands over her breasts, he slammed her back into the wall and held her there. Grinning at the sight of her wide and horrified eyes, he opened his mouth and licked the flat of his tongue up the burned side of her face.

“How –?”

“Yours not to reason why, yours but to do – or die.”

His hands squeezed the small breasts, hurting her.

“I’m exactly the wrong sex to turn you on, aren’t I, sweet pea – story of my life around here, really – but that would just make it, uh, extra fun for me.”

Tilting his head, his lips stretched into a leering smirk. He lifted one hand and gave the nipple under it a vicious pinch, almost purring at her tiny cry of pain.

“The bloody bat doesn’t want me to kill you but you still need some sorta comeuppance, hmm?”

Fighting to speak around her terror, she confessed, “I screwed up, I know that – but I had no idea Dr. Tanner would go that far. I thought his usual petty cruelties would just amuse you.”

She tried to press into the wall when his raised hand closed on her throat. The strength there was enough to kill her, even weak as he was, and she knew it.

“Amuse me.” Arching one eyebrow, he considered it. “I did quite like his shiny needles; they made my tummy go all fluttery – and the sticky end result was delicious.”

“It was that whore Alice – messing with her; his goons were gossiping about it. Anyone messing there makes him furious … makes him…”

“Insane?” Giggling, Joker slid his hands to her shoulders. “He’s in the right place for that, with a long list of psychiatric predecessors trading places with their patients in cozy bouncy rooms before him. He’s not gonna end up locked in his own ward, though – do you know why?”

Tears gathering in her dark eyes, she whispered, “Why?”

“‘Cause he’s gonna get dead,” he ground out in a low rough snarl of hate. Fingertips lifted to gently stroke her burn scars as his tone turned light and whispy. “Wanna help?”

Overwhelmed with a collection of fears and hatreds, she tried to swallow a sob. “It was him, he did it,” she whispered, “almost a year ago, when he first came here. That bitch was sentenced to a cell upstairs – a real nurse but involved in the death of her husband. The lawyers got her ruled insane to keep her out of Blackgate Penitentiary. The minute Dr. Tanner read her file, he had her transferred down here but not as a patient. No one pays attention … or cares … in this place.”

Leaning in close, pressing into her, his lips brushed her marred temple. “So when she got bi-curious, you just had to play…”

“He walked in on us; she knew he would, knew he was walking there when she started…” Tears fell, a warm wet stream of salt over old wounds.

“Oooh, shh, shh, shhh…” Kissing her temple, he jerked her shoulders up away from the wall and wrapped her in a tight embrace. “I misjudged your marks, then – they aren’t as old as I thought. Don’t fret, sweet pea, no – the scars make you interesting and that’s better than beauty.”

She was stiff and afraid in his arms but warming to their common hatred.

“He took a welding torch to my face and she watched. She … she was … touching herself … when he burned me.”

Clucking at her, he reached to pet her black hair. “She throws herself at others to enrage him, to make him damage people. Not everyone gets caught, simply because she likes to fuck a helluva lot more often than Dr. Tanner can get it up.” Mulling it all over, he felt a frown take over his face. “I’ve made up my mind about you, darling – you’re worth more to me alive than the fun it would be to kill you. Pity.”

Pulling her back from him, he wiped away her tears with one long finger before he released her and stepped back. When he put the finger to his lips to taste her pain, the smirk growing around it, she slumped back against the wall and watched him warily.

“I want … to help, Joker – I promise I will.”

“Uh-hmm… Fine, fine.” Turning away, he strolled to a small desk and sprawled in the wooden chair. “I’m gonna rest up today, I think, after a quick jaunt upstairs. Back before lunch, I promise. Tomorrow, I’ll be that much stronger. Then we’ll start to take ‘em down, yes?”

“How? What will we do with them?”

She dared to stand away from the wall and even took a few hopeful steps closer to the desk.

“Take ‘em apart, of course – one by one, piece by piece. Wanna save Dr. Tanner for last, but better steal him first if I get a chance; can’t risk the bat or Gordon dragging him off. Without him, the others will be ducks, ducky – sitting pretty and lost ‘til I snatch ‘em.” He grabbed the air in front of his face and fisted it.

“It’s all tunnels and secret doors, isn’t it – can you escape?”

“Not yet. Too much to do here.” Letting his eyes rove over her simple white nurse’s uniform, he grinned as he sat back to relax. “Gotta spare set of whites?”

“Y-yes…”

“Good. I’ll want another set of these, too.” He plucked at the orange scrub shirt under the doctor’s coat – it was still damp and probably quite soiled. “I know you don’t bother with makeup but if you would make the effort to find me something…? Most of your more feminine peers have been issued those little silk zippered bags for keeping bits and bobs in?”

“I will.” She stood a little straighter, as if she was beginning to believe she might survive their partnership after all. “What will we do to the doctor?”

“Gotta few grisly ideas up my sleeve, never fear. We’ll fix sweet Alice, too – maybe I’ll sew her cunt shut.” Flicking his tongue out in anticipation, he asked, “What do they think happened, with me? Up there? Or you, for that matter.”

“Rumor is, Dr. Arkham arranged your transfer to a ‘secure location’ in the asylum after a report was made about Dr. Tanner’s lax security on the solitary wing. Since the incident with the orderly, something had to be done. You were the only reason I was there at all, so Dr. Arkham reassigned me to care for you.”

“Who made the report? Did it make the news?”

“It did. Commissioner Gordon wasn’t at liberty to say; he just wanted to quell the rumor that you’d escaped. The reporters were all over that idiot Charlie’s arrest.”

“Ah, poor Charlie – he ended up useful after all, though. No one knows the director is AWOL, yes?”

“No one outside the asylum – until you told Batman. They haven’t publicized that; the city was in enough of an uproar.”

“My dubious fate caused a stir, hmm? Was the report the bat’s idea or yours?”

“Batman’s, but I wrote a real one up after the fact for him. He went to a surprising amount of trouble for you.”

“He’s a peach … but I’d bet most of that dog and pony bullshit was to save his security guard sycophant from being blamed for my disappearance. I suppose he’s talked Dr. Arkham into backing up all of their lies?”

“I guess he did. The staff here is stirred up about the director coming back but Dr. Tanner doesn’t seem a bit worried about it, the arrogant bastard.”

“Does he believe Dr. Arkham transferred me here?”

“His goon squad said he did. They knew it meant the Citadel, too.” She paused, her eyes widening. “That means he knows where we are!”

“He can’t get in. On the other hand, I might be able to use it to our advantage if he actually attempts to come calling.”

“I want to watch you hurt that man … and his whore.”

Joker steepled his fingers and sat up to lean his elbows on the desk.

“Do you know how to administer a saline drip, to keep someone alive after they’ve lost a lot of blood? Or … while they happen to be losing it…?”

Staring at him, she stood very still. Her abruptly rapid breathing told him she’d just remembered that all of this camaraderie didn’t mean she was safe from him herself.

“Yes.”

“That’s my girl; you just keep on being useful and we’ll see ‘bout letting you off the hook indefinitely, mmm?” Beaming at her, he sat up straight with his hands on his thighs. “Psst … come here, darling, come close – daddy’s gotta secret to share.”

Sweat popped on her brow and upper lip as she slowly approached him. He took her hand and pulled at her until she bent down to let him whisper in her ear. In the first few moments of silence, he could almost hear her heart slamming against her ribs.

Lips touching her hair and the curve of her ear, he whispered, “I’m hungry, sweet pea … what’s for breakfast?”

 

 

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Author’s Note: In the line, “Yours not to reason why, yours but to do – or die”, Joker is cribbing from the poem The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which refers to the “noble six hundred” making a brave if futile charge at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. The original line is, “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die: into the valley of Death rode the six hundred”. As the poem tells of the futility of noble men taking on chaos in war and dying for it, I imagine it would appeal to the Joker a lot in a twisted way. I also like to give hints that he is well-read in addition to being quite intelligent. In my imagination, I like to view him as being capable of higher education but unable to take that path. So he is self-educated with a vengeance and has a habit of cribbing lines of classic writings, perhaps to keep people guessing – or to freak them out. He is probably often disappointed when the people he is dealing with don’t recognize the quotes anyway. Blackgate Penitentiary is Gotham’s prison, where the sane criminals are locked up. Thanks for reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic, anongrimm-blog.tumblr.com)

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