"Now that you mention it, that sounds like fun. What do you say to letting me gear up again and getting a 10 minute head start?" They enjoyed the game of predator and prey, and they both knew it. It was just one more way the more primal sides manifested themselves.
The knight's eyes lit up in a way that likely no one but the Joker would notice. They had both had a long day, but more often than not neither noticed when they pushed themselves too far physically. Bruce was staring the Joker down. He would say no in a minute. But. "Only if you don't leave the grounds."
Joker's grin widened, becoming something toothy and feral. "Done. There's a lot of grounds to be had. Don't think I'm going to make it easy for you to find me, much less catch me... and I'm not going down without a fight." Pulling the underarmor back up over his bare chest and arms, he shot Bruce a smoldering look before stooping to the ground, picking up the armor plates that the other man had removed.
Bruce had to will himself not to grab the Joker then. What a game he promised to provide. Wayne manor had seen its fair share of the Joker's games, and sometimes the both of theirs combined. Alfred never wanted to stick around for the latter once they got into it. Bruce took a step back as the smaller man re-strapped the suit back together. His own suit was becoming uncomfortably tight around his waist. "Ten minutes. Then it's game on."
Slipping the cowl back over his head, tightening all the armor straps so the suit fit his slight frame as well as it was able, Joker shot Bruce a cheeky grin. "I know. Now turn around. It's no fair if you watch me leave." He waited until Batman's dark form turned, then ran for the exit. He knew exactly where he'd be going. And you're going to think I'm weighted down. I'll reach the woods with plenty of time to ditch the plates.
Waiting until he could no longer hear the Joker's footsteps, Bruce went to the desk, looked at the time, and waited. Ten minutes was an eternity. He forced himself to relax, to find his strength again after the night's previous activities, just to breathe. In his mind he followed the Joker, imagining well the look on his face when Bruce would finally discover him. How they would spar afterward. He pulled away from that train of thought, too distracting, to remind himself what tech the other suit was equipped with. The Joker would be able to see just as clearly as he could in the night now. He would also have a significantly heightened state of hearing.
Joker made for the woods. It was an obvious choice, but the open, grassy lawn surrounding the mansion wouldn't do and sneaking would prove difficult inside the house. The clown ran until he was deep into the brush before stopping, stripping off the armor plates and stuffing them into the hollow of a rotting log. He kept all of the gadgetry, however; what he was most concerned about was the weight of the armor slowing him down. Come and get me, Bat.
Back inside the cave, Bruce sprang at the ten minute mark. He left on foot, knowing it would provide more of a thrill, and wanting to keep things on relatively even footing between them. With his much larger frame and lighter armor, he had no trouble leaving it on as he went.
Reaching the surface, he glanced to the mansion. Only a few of the windows were lit, Alfred keeping a light on for him when he returned. It was still and quiet, standing like a castle in the midst of a snow covered world. Across the ground however, led a telltale trail of boot prints heading away from the warm house. Bruce followed until he reached the woods.
Things were both easier and more difficult to track in the wilderness. If you knew the right signs you could look for bent branches and crushed foliage, marks in the dirt. Some terrain didn't lend itself to leaving clues behind, however. Stands of evergreens kept away snow and carpeted the ground with spongy needles that resisted the imprint of tracks. Joker was well-versed on how to keep someone off his trail in such a setting and had backtracked several times over the places that did leave prints before taking to the areas that didn't.
As soon as Bruce, with cowl set back in place now, stepped into the barrier of the forest, he was on guard. It would be obvious that he'd follow the Joker's footprints first, and the man had more than enough time to double back and lie in wait for Batman to come following where he knew he would be. It wasn't the Joker's style to lie waiting to be found if Bruce came too near to his position. He would attack if given the chance and Bruce was constantly watching his peripherals for movement. He kept his hearing turned up. His own breath came softly as possible, footsteps unusually quiet as he moved ahead.
Joker worked what he knew, keeping to rocks and ice and evergreen patches that resisted leaving footprints. A few times he stooped to pick up small stones, hurling them in another direction to create noise confusion. He reached the canopy of a pine tree that was particularly thick with needle cover and began to climb, laying in wait for an ambush once he reached an adequate hiding place among the branches.
Every once in a while Bruce heard the rocks fall. Right away it caught his attention. He moved almost five feet off the path he was following to investigate until he heard the fading clatter of it bouncing off of the trees and into the snow. That was not a sound a person would make. After the second one he was absolutely sure of it, and began following both the stones, away from where they were landing, as well as the path. When the prints ended, Bruce looked for broken twigs, scattered pine needles, and scrub bushes that had been brushed free of snow by a passing body to follow. This trail was much more difficult to track, but he could manage it well enough.
Eventually, having not yet been attacked from behind, he reached the base of the Joker's tree.
Joker waited until Batman was just close enough, then leapt from the branches in an attempt to crash into Bruce, trying to use surprise to both wind him and knock him to the ground.
The moment his foot left the bark of the tree, Bruce turned his head skyward. The Joker came down breaking through the smaller branches on the way, which didn't much deter his forward motion. Bruce had barely enough time to step to the side and flare out his cape next to him, attempting to use the billowing fabric to net the other man.
Joker saw the move and tucked his limbs closer, rolling as he hit the ground and using the momentum to leap back to his feet, pivoting back to face the Dark Knight. The madman moved quickly, striking out with arms and legs, trying to find an opening and keep Bruce off-balance and on the defense. It was apparent at a quick glance that he'd removed the majority of the armor plates.
Bruce was on the defensive for much of this. He moved back and further back as the Joker came at him until they entered a very small patch of the forest with less ground brush. Here he began attacking, suddenly moving forward and into the wildly fighting man.
Bruce was fast with his lighter armor, but Joker had the speed advantage from losing the majority of his armor - he was able to use his lithe frame to the best of his ability, ducking and weaving around Bruce's heavier frame. The disadvantage was that, though he was quick, Bruce could strike with more power; the moment he landed a blow Joker went flying, rolling across the ground until he hit a tree trunk. The clown scrambled back to his feet and out of the way, but the blow had been slightly disorienting.
Bruce nearly ran into the tree himself after the Joker moved out of the way. He was tiring, but he was certain that the Joker was too, even if he was ignoring it. He was slowing from the fall. As quick and as hard as the Joker had been fighting, without his knives he wasn't inflicting any debilitating damage through Batman's armor. Every swing did still slow Bruce down however.
Batman was right; Joker fought like a maniac, but his stamina could only be strained for so long before even his muscles refused to respond. His tactics required an enemy to go down after being overwhelmed by hard, fast hits, but Bruce's armor resisted fists easily and just bruised the madman's knuckles. Joker was beginning to breathe harder from the effort, his breath misting in the air.
Finally Batman lunged forward with all of his weight and a good amount of force, tackling the Joker to the ground and pinning him there by simply lying on top of him. They were in a thicket of pine needles and disturbed dirt and twigs from all of their thrashing about, so besides the ground being frozen hard it made for a relatively soft landing.
The man thrashed about beneath Batman, snarling and twisting and trying to get a hit in so he could slip out of the hold. Joker's pulse was racing a mile a minute, his mind stuck somewhere in between wanting to be prey and predator.
Bruce on the other hand knew very well which he wanted to be. With one quick motion he dove in, biting the Joker's now exposed neck. He licked at the taut muscle there and then bit again, moving at the same time with his lower body to keep the Joker from wriggling out from under him.
Joker moaned and paused in his struggling every time teeth closed on his neck. He was still trying to resist and break free, but it was beginning to look very unlikely he would succeed, and Bruce was quickly wearing away at his will.
When his limbs slowed their mad struggle, Bruce knew it was working. He bit harder and his hands closed around the underside of the Joker's thighs, half to hold him in place and half to distract him more. He growled in pain every time one of the blows landed between an armored plate, but willed himself to hold on.
Glorious pain washed through Joker as teeth pierced the delicate skin and a fierce pressure restricted his breathing. When that was joined with the sensation of gloved hands grabbing his thighs, pulling his legs apart and his torso closer, he mentally gave in. Joker still put up the appearance of a fight, glowering at his captor, but the lines of his body sheathed in the tight underarmor betrayed him.
Bruce raised his head to catch the Joker's glare. He smirked back, and feeling the pinned man's reaction, he twisted his hips to match it. He didn't even need to hold on any longer, but he did. He knew the ground would be cold against the Joker's back, but his body was warm above, and the Joker was radiating waves of heat himself from all of the exertion. Alfred would kill him if the Joker got sick. Bruce couldn't bring himself to care right at that moment.
"So, you caught me. Congratulations," Joker growled, jerking his arms again in an attempt to get them loose. "Now what, Bat? Going to tie me up, take me prisoner, and shove me back in a cell again?" It was all a game, pretending things were the way they used to be... but not quite. It was an odd sensation, to be freezing on one side and immersed in warmth on the other.
"Not quite," Bruce answered, digging into one of the belt's pouches. "I think I'll just take you back to the Manor and tie you up." He brought out a long length of twine rope, hooking it around the Joker's hands, and this time not stopping there. He knotted it at the wrist and then ran it back to the elbow, looping it around and around again, knotting it, and then connecting each side behind the Joker's back, across the shoulder blades, essentially pulling the man's hands up and back to his shoulders. He had to flip the man over to do it.
Grunting as he got turned face-down and almost got a mouthful of dirt, Joker continued his half-hearted twitches and struggles, keeping up the illusion he was actually resisting. "Oh? And then what? A Manor hardly sounds like an ominous place full of punishment, unless you consider tea parties to be torturous."
"Don't you?" Bruce asked in mock confusion, breaking the facade for a moment before hauling the Joker up from the ground and shoving him out in front. The woods became pitch black at night, even with the moon high above them. In the distance Gotham's light pollution could be noticed against the dark sky, but here there were faint stars shining overhead. Not quite as bright as they were further away from the city, but enough to enjoy. A thrill rippled through Bruce as he led the Joker at a marching pace toward the manor, pleased with how well his legs were doing, having captured him, that Bruce was able to see through the lenses of the cowl, and at what he would get to do to the man back inside the mansion.
Joker kept trying to feint, pull away or trip up the man behind him, but to no use; Batman had a tight grip on the knots that bound him and wasn't going to let go anytime soon. "So if it isn't tea and crumpets, what did you have in mind?" The clown was having a wonderful time. He'd hoped to elude Bruce for a longer period of time, and he'd lost the fight quicker than he'd expected, but it looked like the outcome would be more than pleasing.
"I've chased you down fair enough. Be quiet," Bruce whispered in his ear before pushing him forward again. He had to stop himself from grinning until the Joker was turned away from him again. They trudged back through the snow and up to the manor, the faint light from its windows beckoning them closer.
"What if I refuse to be quiet?" Joker couldn't stop himself from pushing the line. Not ever, but especially not with Bruce. It was almost instinctual for him to push people's buttons and pull at their strings until they broke; he was just very, very careful not to break his dearest toy. "You can't make me be quiet."
"Well then....." They entered one of the side doors in a blast of cold air, washed away with warmth as soon as the door shut behind them. Bruce spun the Joker and moved him backwards through the house and down the hall, their boots leaving wet, muddy trails of melting snow as they went. "I'll have to give you something to scream about." One more shove and they were in Bruce's bedroom, who kicked the door closed behind him.
The madman just grinned, confident despite the restraints binding his hands behind him. "Screams, is it? I find that hard to believe." Joker bolted forward, testing Bruce's grip on the ropes, but he didn't get anywhere; Bruce yanked him right back. "Not even going to untie me? Do your worst, then..."
Bruce didn't stop himself from smirking then. He uncoiled the rest of the rope from his belt and tossed it over one of the large wooden beams running across the ceiling of the master bedroom. The Manor had been rebuilt as sturdy as ever. Quickly, Bruce undid the knot at the Joker's back, and with quite a bit of a struggle, looped his arms over his head, still bound from hand to wrist to elbow, with the rope attached to the ceiling. Once the man's arms went up, Bruce kept his eyes level with the Joker's green ones, never moving out of view.
Joker's expression kept flickering between giddy anticipation and a sulky pout. Even he didn't seem to quite know whether he was happy or irritated that he was still tied up. He quirked an eyebrow at Bruce, then tensed his muscles, actually managing to lift himself off the ground. He tried to twist himself and catch a foot around the rope to turn himself upside down.
"Trapeze artist, are you?" Bruce shed the cowl, then reached up and took hold of the Joker's ankle, working it away from the rope in an attempt to flip him back down. He could see the restraints at his arms digging into the skin. They'd dig through soon if he kept this up. These ropes were not forgiving.
"I learned a few things from living tied up all the time." Joker squirmed and tried to continue to work his way up to the beam. His plan to get to safety and untie himself was all for naught, however; Bruce finally got a good hold on his foot and tugged him back down. Red marks now patterned the madman's skin where the bonds had rubbed.
There would be many many more when the knots come undone later. For now Bruce could only see redness forming around them. Once the Joker's feet were planted on the floor again, Bruce ran his hands up his thin hips, across his back, searching for the zipper to the undersuit. He found it, and pulled it down the Joker's back. "Still sure you want to get away?"
"Depends on what you plan on doing. You said screaming was involved." Following Bruce's movements with his eyes, Joker gave up on trying to see what his hands were doing and settled his gaze on the other man's face instead. "Doesn't look like I have much choice, either way."
"No, I suppose not." Bruce ran a gloved hand through the Joker's hair and tilted his head with a winning smile. "But you must have suspected that when you challenged me to catch you." He found zippers at the shoulders of the suit too. Made for easy undressing when Batman needed to get out fast. He certainly did not regret it now. "You're welcome to try and escape me," he whispered again, peeling the black fabric down the Joker's body.
"I could escape you any time I wanted," Joker murmured back, not sounding truly convincing; it was like listening to an addict swear up and down that he could be clean by tomorrow if need be. Shivering as the underarmor fell away and exposed his skin inch by inch, he licked his lips, oddly solemn. "I just don't want to."
"Of course you don't." Bruce sounded very convinced of this part at least. He moved around behind the Joker to pull the suit the rest of the way down. It rested at the tops of his boots. The man's skin was still damp with sweat and snow, but Bruce's hands, once they were freed of their gloves, were warm and dry. He shucked a few pieces of his own armor so that he could better run those hands over the Joker's cooled skin.
The clown's eyes slid shut, and he wavered slightly as his body reacted to the touches. The warmth was very welcome after all the hiding and tumbling about in the winter cold. He leaned forward only to find Bruce was a little too far away for him to lay against his chest, the rope binding him just a little too short.
That made Bruce grin. Finally he stepped into the Joker's sphere of movement, allowing their torsos to come together and the Joker to rub up against him. He moved away a moment later, circling around behind the smaller man, trailing his fingers across his skin as he went. Once behind him, Bruce wrapped his arms around his chest and held for just a moment before bending his knees and biting his way down the knots in the Joker's spine.
A series of shivers and gasps were Bruce's reward. Joker's body writhed against the bonds holding him in place, not really trying to escape the sensation so much as jerking unconsciously in response. A low moan left him when Bruce reached the small of his back and stopped. "...you just going to tease me to death?"
"I might," Bruce whispered back as he paused, just above swells of the Joker's round flesh. "You wouldn't like that very much though would you?" He dug his fingers into that soft flesh. His nails twisted in just a moment before he let go and rose back up to bring their hips together from behind, rocking slowly.
Joker exhaled softly, closing his eyes and letting his bound hands hold the majority of his weight. "No. I wouldn't like that very much, and you know that very well." It was a different sort of torture to have Bruce spooned against him from behind, warm and pressed close... but not yet close enough. A line of concentrated heat was trapped between them, brushing against the lower part of his spine.
Bruce smiled against his neck, inhaling deeply even though hygiene was still mostly lost on the Joker. When this whole 'thing' between them started, Bruce had ceased to care. It seemed fitting at the time when he hated this man that he should smell bad. When that feeling had shifted and changed, it seemed silly to Bruce that he should start caring. He'd smelled as bad before once upon a time. He ran fingers through greasy muddy green hair from the base of the skull upward and enjoyed this for a moment longer, then finally began stripping the rest of his armor.
Joker stared dreamily at the room through half-closed eyes, content to let Bruce stay hidden behind him. His trust of Bruce was, at this point, unshakable. He didn't need to keep an eye on the other man; he could just relax and enjoy the sensations without wondering what would happen next. His Bat could kill him in the next minute and he would accept his fate with a smile.
Fortunately for him, Bruce only stepped to the drawer in the bedside table to retrieve a bottle. He came back with nothing more sinister and stepped up to the bound man, making eye contact as he coated his fingers. He licked one, then reached down, stroking the Joker until he was hard. When he shed the last of his suit and there was nothing between them any longer, Bruce stepped behind him again.
Joker was already flushed and breathing more rapidly than usual. A spot of crimson welled up on his lip where he'd bit it while Bruce's hands had roamed over him. When the other man stepped behind him and nothing happened for a couple of seconds he craned his head, impatiently trying to see what the hold up was.
When the Joker squirmed, Bruce waited. When he twisted, Bruce waited longer. When he twisted further, Bruce finally slipped the well oiled palm of his hand where his captive wanted it. One finger, then two quickly after, pushed inside. His free hand slid over a hip, dipping down through rough curly hair to find the rod of flesh he'd left earlier.
Joker's spine bent back against the inserted digits, then forward as Bruce's other hand found him, a shaky moan leaving him in a whisper as his body was torn in two directions. The hero had learned all the tricks that left him breathless remarkably quickly. Fingers moved in a coordinated effort, brushing over a sensitive internal knot of muscle while others moved over ridges. The combination was almost overwhelming, and soon enough Joker's frame was twitching involuntarily as he panted.
This meant that just as soon Bruce had to retract those fingers. He could feel the Joker move to find them again when they were gone, so he placed himself where they had been instead, lining up, and just waiting for the other man to shift downward, barely within the rope's reach.
The clown had to strain to the end of his bonds to get what he wanted, whimpering quietly as he moved by feel. He had to drop down even further, shifting more of his weight off his feet and onto his arms and shoulders, but the dull ache of his bound limbs was vastly counterbalanced by the pleasure and satisfaction as Joker slid them together.
A small gasp from Bruce let him know that the man behind him felt it just as much as he did. The taller man stepped forward with a thrust of his hips, taking the Joker almost off his feet after he had to put himself off balance to get to Bruce. Hands on his hips held them locked together however; even if he did lose his footing, he couldn't swing away.
Squirming to try to get Bruce to move, tendrils of Joker's hair fell down to shadow his face. It was so quiet in the manor; all he could hear was the creak of the rope, the sound of flesh on flesh, their stilted breathing and, over it all, his own rapid heartbeat. "...don't stop..."
Bruce moved slowly, then snapped his hips, again and again, listening to the Joker's breath hitch with the motion. The beat of the criminal's heart pressed against him and seemed louder than anything else in the room. It was amazing how his focus would narrow to a few points of extreme sensation when joined with this man. Bruce could never explain it to him, if he tried he knew he would fail. But he had a feeling the Joker felt some of that himself.
Joker's hands clenched above his head, trying to find something to hold onto. His knees were weakening, Bruce was controlling their rhythm completely, and he felt more than a little exposed tied to the beam in the center of the room. His hands finally caught hold of some of the rope and he held on for dear life.
That didn't slow Bruce down at all. He planted is feet on the floor and kept a hard, fast pace going. His hands moved all over the body spread out before him, nails digging in here, hand sweeping there, clenching tightly over previously bruised flesh, only half aware of what he was doing with them. Most of his focus was concentrated in between their hips. For Bruce to lose focus on any part of the environment around him took more than a fair amount of stimulation.
A long, low cry was pulled out of Joker as Bruce moved. He was only kept standing by virtue of the rope binding him upright - his knees didn't want to work properly and the other man's hands were only making things worse. When teeth sunk into his neck he stopped thinking about anything but the sensations flooding him.
One of Bruce's hands slid over his neck, lingering there dangerously, until it moved up to his mouth. The fingers sought entrance while Bruce's mouth bit and licked at the clenched muscle in the Joker's neck. His other arm wrapped itself around the Joker's waist, pulling them more flush together, allowing him to pump deeper still.
Joker gasped at the sudden increase in depth and Bruce's fingers took advantage of the moment, slipping inside and slightly muffling his cry. Had it been anyone else, the madman probably would have bitten the digits off, but he let Bat do whatever he wanted.
Once they were thoroughly wettened, they slipped back out of the Joker's mouth who seemed almost to distracted to fully notice until Bruce wrapped them around his arousal. The strokes were slower than Bruce's thrusts were at first, and he knew it would drive the Joker mad. Part of him wished he had a mirror in the room, just so he could see what they looked like, together, doing this. That thought caused the strokes to go faster.
Bruce knew him almost too well, by now; the asymmetrical rhythm, with deliberate pauses and mismatched thrusts and strokes, drowned out everything but an increasingly dire need for more. Joker's muscles tightened and he writhed against his lover, trying to use what limited movement he had to get what he wanted.
Bruce gradually gave in, not because it was difficult for him to do so by any means, but rather because he liked toying with the Joker that much. The longer he could keep the man in a state of aggravation and arousal, the harder he could make him either beg or fight, the surer Bruce was that he had the man where he wanted him. That the Joker still belonged to him.
It was a sort of begging that finally got him to relent, the man in his grasp whimpering and finally murmuring his name in a whispered, pleading tone. He'd pulled and twisted in the ropes so much that damp, red lines trickled down his arms from where the bonds had cut through.
Thrusts became harder, more sporadic, and the strokes of Bruce's hand became quicker. He growled with a voice that approximated Batman's when he was close, and it was really the Joker's only warning. Hips snapped hard into the strung up man, becoming frantic as Bruce reached his breaking point. The Joker's backside was red at that point, and there might be a light bruise tomorrow, but Bruce only reveled in the idea before it fell away and he was caught up in the moment of pulsing heat and bliss.
Joker threw back his head and screamed like a wild creature, eyes shut tightly as he poured himself out. The burning in his muscles just made it all the sweeter, all the more intense.
It brought Bruce's attention outside of his own euphoria for a moment. The shared experience never totally ceased to amaze him when it happened. Sometimes he wondered if the Joker was just waiting for him to reach his climax, though he never, ever, seemed to be capable of that much control when Bruce had him like this. Perhaps it was simply another way in which he was bound to the vigilante.
When they were both spent and catching their breaths, Bruce had to lean on him for support. He pulled out after a moment, and then noticing the small amounts of blood here and there where the ropes held, he retrieved a knife from his suit on the floor and cut the Joker down.
The clown hit the floor once the bonds were no longer holding him up. Still breathing hard, Joker lay still, looking more than a little bit dazed and tired. He didn't even seem to comprehend what Bruce was looking at. "...what?"
"You," was all Bruce had to say in return. After a moment of catching his breath, he bent and scooped the Joker up. His legs had taken a lot of stress that day. After being bound, it was no wonder they had given out. The man could still use more muscle on him, Bruce thought as he laid the Joker on the bed and moved the sheets back.
Joker didn't even protest being manhandled like a child. He let Bruce carry him and place him on the bed, even tuck him in, but finally resisted when he attempted to move away. Pale arms clung weakly to the other man's tanned limbs, not wanting to let him go.
Bruce glanced back at him, then at the armor strewn all over the floor, littered with most of the now red tinged rope. He wouldn't normally do this, but after a moment's decision, he turned back to the Joker and slid into the bed with him. Evidence of what they'd just done remained scattered between the bed and the door. One piece of the rope even hung from the beam in the ceiling still. Alfred didn't normally walk in on them for breakfast in the morning since the Joker had started sharing a bed with Bruce, but he would have a heart attack if he did tomorrow.