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03 October 2009 @ 05:15 pm
Slipping Into Entropy - Part 52  

Swallowing hard, Joker licked his lips nervously as he listened to Bruce's pulse. "...are you alright, Bat? I didn't hurt you, did I?" Stupid... and I don't even know how it happened.

"I'll live." The larger man pulled back slightly. He would have quite a few bruises by tomorrow, and there were already deep scratches that laid across his chest and face, but no serious damage. "What happened?”

"I don't know. I was fighting you and then I suddenly wasn't here. I was back with my... father, the last time I saw him." Joker didn't want to go into the details of what exactly those memories entailed; it was bad enough that Bruce knew he'd killed his father. He didn't need to know how. It would only make him worry more, become more paranoid.

Bruce gave a sigh and laid his head against the Joker's shoulder, forehead down, collapsing into him. This hadn't happened in so long. Bruce hadn't thought twice about putting the Joker in this situation. He'd expected the Joker to anticipate his moves, to learn about his partner, to feel Bruce, to become aware on some instinctive level of what Bruce fought like and who Bruce was....... Suddenly his heart sank. His breath stilled, and his head raised carefully to gaze at the Joker out of the corner of his eyes. Is that what happened? Had the other man instinctively felt something from Bruce that made him decide.......decide to literally see Bruce as someone else?

Watching the shifting expressions on the other man's face, Joker frowned in worry. Great. Now I not only screwed up my chances, Bat's sunk into a mood again. "I didn't mean to, Bat. I just-" The clown paused, his eyes darkening as the realization hit him. "...you hit me, and I felt so angry, and then the room changed."

"If you want to train with me, I'm going to wind up hitting you a lot." That was an obvious fact, but Bruce's face remained the same. "What did you see?" He wanted to know. He wondered if it was the same as all the other times. Joker was remembering this one better than some of the episodes he'd had in the past. Perhaps they were all different scenes of the same show. Still he wanted to know.

"You don't want to know." Joker swallowed again, the details of that memory echoing in his mind. Bruce already considered him dangerous, even without knowing all the details of everything he'd done over the years. Joker wasn't keen on enlightening him about the rest of his past.

"I do want to know," Bruce countered flatly. He was here, he was involved, and he didn't know what to think. Joker sounded nervous, and Bruce didn't care. All he wanted to do was to know what was going on in the Joker's head.

"No, you don't." The thin man's jaw set in a stubborn line, his gaze turning inward. His muscles unconsciously bunched and flexed as he reflected upon everything he'd done. "I finally had enough, and everything snapped, and I killed him. That's all you need to know."

Bruce rolled off of the Joker and onto his back, lying next to him. Only their arms touched slightly. He stared up at the roof of the cave, high up there to where he could barely see. His eyes wandered aimlessly over the rock formations.

Joker turned sideways and curled around Bruce, lacing one leg through his thighs and draping an arm across his chest. They laid quietly in the silence, each of them thinking. Don't make me tell you, Bat. I don't want to ruin this.

Bruce had a feeling it wasn't pretty. Bruce also had a feeling that it would be difficult to hear after the Joker had placed Bruce in the other starring role in his head not five minutes ago. Did Bruce want to know? Yes. Did he want to press this? ......he wasn't sure. He remained still with the other man's limbs lying across him, with the Joker's skin which felt a lot cooler than it actually was against his own. Hold the truce, or learn the truth?

Truth be told, as much as he'd been shocked out of the hallucination, the anger was still there beneath the surface, smoldering. He wanted to reassure and patch things up with Bruce, but the rage also wanted an out. What if it was the fighting? Has it happened before and I just didn't notice, didn't remember?

As close as they were, there remained a barrier between them, palpable as Bruce's own lips, lips that refused to open and speak his mind. Every question he had, he knew the Joker would find insulting. It was not his intention, but a clinical observation would set the Joker off when he held back so much roiling emotion at the memories. Bruce supposed it came down to this: what would he gain by asking these questions? He did not know. It was possible he would lose more than gain. But knowledge, to him, was everything. "Tell me, Joker."

"...I didn't kill him right away, once I figured out I was more powerful." he admitted in a whisper, his hold tightening around Bruce as if the other man would recoil and slip away, never to be regained. "...I did... things. Before I began to really explore outside, before I left for good and went south."

Bruce's body remained still and lax. His eyes still gazed unfocused at the ceiling. Only the slight increase of his heartbeats betrayed that he'd heard the Joker speak. "What things?" His voice was low, but soft.

"Don't ask, Bat. It won't do you any good to know." There was a slightly audible strain in Joker's voice, an undercurrent of worry.

"I am asking." Finally, Bruce's head turned toward the Joker just so. Not enough to look at him directly, but enough to mean something.

He felt a piece of himself withdraw, scurry back into that dark place inside himself where nothing could touch him anymore. "Then remember it was you who asked," Joker sighed, turning his eyes away from Bruce's face so he wouldn't have to see the reaction.

"I overpowered him and stuck him in the same chains he'd kept me in. I did back to him everything he'd done to me, and more, and just listened to him scream and watched him cry and bleed. Except he wasn't sorry, not that he'd done any of it. Just that he didn't kill me before I figured things out, perhaps, or that he hadn't made better restraints.

I didn't know how anything worked. He'd always brought down food and drink before, and I was afraid to go outside for a long time, afraid there were others out there. I got hungry, and there was nothing else, and his blood tasted good, so I-" Joker swallowed again, not sick to his stomach because of what he'd done, but full of anxiety of what Bruce might do. "I kept him alive, and I ate him, until I started to run out and couldn't keep him alive anymore, and I couldn't stand the way the holes and the bones looked at me, so I cut everything into pieces with his saws and knives. But it still wouldn't leave me alone and I was still hungry and thirsty, and when I found the swamp outside I threw all the pieces in and learned to live in the woods."

Bruce lied still. And the strangest things ran through his mind. "In some cultures, eating parts of the dead is a sign of respect." That was only one of them. He turned toward the Joker, placing a hand on his side. He was not visibly shocked, and even he wondered why he was not feeling more so underneath his own exterior. "Joker......" he began quietly, slowly. "............I won't ever be sorry for loving you."

The smaller man flinched, still not entirely certain that some sort of reprisal wasn't coming. "I didn't want you to know, after I remembered everything. I didn't know what you'd think." He laughed, a crazed hyena's call without humor. "You're the only person whose opinions I actually give a damn about."

Bruce swallowed, petting lightly up and down the man's side. "What I mean is.........I don't know why he wasn't sorry. But that is why I'm not. If you did manage to restrain me, try to kill me, when you're seeing him in one of these rages, I don't think I could tell you I was sorry. At least, not completely. "

"I'm not sorry either. I just know that it's one more thing that puts people off. Normally I wouldn't care, but I didn't know how it would affect things if you knew." Joker's gaze shifted sideways. "Now that I know I can pin and hold you down... if I get stuck in a memory again, promise me you'll knock me out. I don't want to wake up and find out I ripped you open."

A small smile pulled at the corners of Bruce's mouth. "Don't worry, I shall do my best to stop you from killing me." He propped himself up on an elbow, feeling the tension ease slightly. He was fairly sure of his abilities to fight the Joker, not because the man couldn't actually kill him if he wanted to, but because that was simply the way Bruce had to think while putting his life in danger. There wasn't much time to spend on worry or doubt in himself, at least not in the physical way. There were plenty of other ways for that.

Joker wasn't that comforted. In one way it was pleasant to know he could wrestle control away from Bruce whenever he wanted or needed to, confident that he couldn't get trapped into submission. On the other hand, it also put Bat in danger; the man was used to putting complete trust in his ability to beat and subdue criminals. I don't think I could handle waking up to his corpse.

Sighing at the look on the Joker's face, Bruce pulled himself into a sitting position. He felt tired, but not drained. The Joker just looked haunted. "Whatever's going through your head, you should stop it."

Sunken eyes turned up to look at the other man. "Says the one who broods over things for days, if not years," he teased, his voice hollow. "I'm simply rather that I die instead of you, if it came down to it."

Bruce had to run those words through his head twice before he actually heard them. That was......something the Joker did not say, something he had hinted at for a long time, even all but spelled out for Bruce before, but....they were still words that should not come out of this man's mouth. Bruce knew the Joker lived for himself and himself alone. It was still hard hearing otherwise. "I won't sit back and let you kill me, no matter what state of mind you're in."

"Good." He didn't relish the thought of dying, but it didn't fear it either. There were worse things than dying at Bat's hands. "...did I just ruin my chance of training with you?" It was a question worth asking, but Joker wasn't certain he'd like the answer.

"No," Bruce said after only a short pause. "But it's going to be difficult if this happens whenever we get too close or too far into the fight. The point of all of this is to learn control, to react in specific ways, not to waste energy when you lose yourself in it. With time you might, just might, be able to avoid this reaction. We'll just have to see."

"I want to keep trying." Joker could be just as stubborn and persistent as Bruce when he wanted to be. "I'll do it as long as it takes." He couldn't actually see himself ever believing in the drivel that Bat did, but having a physical outlet? That was a whole other story.

"Then lets get up." Bruce offered the other man a hand. "You'll need a break if you want to do this tomorrow and get anything out of it." He pulled the Joker to a standing position. "Walk around, stretch again while I put the mat away."

Expression falling as Bruce confirmed they were done for the day, Joker reluctantly did as he was asked, pacing the cave as the other man cleaned up the training area. "How many years did it take you? To get to the point where you actually went out as Bat?"

Bruce looked over his shoulder from the supply cabinet. "A long time. I'd started when I was young, and had been doing it for most of my adult life. I didn't know that I was going to become "Bat-man" until I returned to Gotham. I knew I wanted to fight, to learn how to take down criminal societies. Tried several ways. Nothing seemed big enough, made enough of a difference, until this."

"What did you try before you decided to play Costume Party?" Joker looked up, eying the handholds in the rock face and reminiscing about the first time he climbed that wall. It proved to be too much of a temptation; he began pulling himself up towards one of the hidden crevices while Bruce was distracted.

Frowning for a moment before he answered, Bruce closed the cabinet. "I learned how to work as a detective. I learned how to fight, constantly. I went into their world and tried to fight them there, like I was one of them. I wandered a lot. But I had never thought to live both lives, as Bruce Wayne and as what I wanted to be. I thought I'd have to get rid of Bruce to become that person."

"Ah, so that's when you did your little 'disappearance' off the face of the earth. What, you don't think I dug around for info on you like you and the Commish did for me?" Joker asked with a grin as Bruce raised an eyebrow. "I think you got rid of him anyways. There's barely a few shreds of the person you playact still residing in you." The clown considered for a moment, stretching up until his spine popped. "You in a life of crime, eh? How'd you do at that?"

"Mostly what I'd told you before. I needed to see how they lived, how they operated, why they operated." Was that something Bruce Wayne would do? "I'm not so sure I'd call what I present to the world "Bruce Wayne"..... It works for me. The image does what I need it to do. But even when I was only a "Wayne", that was never what I was."

"And a good thing, that. The Bruce you present to the world doesn't interest me, except perhaps as a toy. I'd have been very disappointed if that had turned out to be your true core." Joker eyed the mat-less floor, wondering whether he should try one of those fancy martial arts flips one always saw in movies. He decided against it; better to give it a try when Bat wasn't looking to see if he could accomplish it. He had a feeling the man would scoff either way. Joker had never seen Bat zipping about like a Jackie Chan.

"We'll come back tomorrow," Bruce said as he noticed the Joker's gaze. "I'm going out tonight, but when I get back, you can tell me what you want to learn." He knew he was going to be pushing himself tonight, having just spent a fair amount of time working with the Joker, and nearly fighting for his life at the end of it. On the other hand, he wasn't about to stop either.

"Alright. I'll warn you now, I may have quite a list when you get back," the madman chuckled, his mind already buzzing with ideas. Maybe he'll let me in on how he does his famous disappearing trick.

Bruce nodded, toweling off the sweat from his neck and chest. It would have to be good enough for now, a shower before leaving would be pointless. He stretched out quickly, and called up Alfred to inform the butler he would be out and to keep ear open if Batman were to get in trouble.

Roaming around the cave in search of something to take the edge off his boredom, Joker contented himself with finding all the little gadgets Bruce had secreted around the lair. Locks were picked and the contents of every drawer and container were prodded and rifled through. Eventually the slender man happened upon one of the grappling guns he and Bat had put together. Too tempted to resist, he snatched it up and began promptly hooking his way across the large room, using the device like a movable swing.

When Batman left, he did so with the Tumbler. He liked to lurk the streets at first, watching, waiting, inspecting before he ever acted. He could hide the tank, inconceivable as that was, and make an escape with it when needed.

This wouldn't be the first time the Joker had been left alone in the cave, but nonetheless it didn't happen very often. Bruce was fairly protective of his things, especially in the hands of someone like the Joker. He was trying not to be. He wasn't so sure how well that was working out.

The clown was relishing his unsupervised time amid Bat's playthings. After wandering about for a bit, finding all sorts of interesting gadgets whose purpose he could only guess at, Joker hit the jackpot of all jackpots. A wide grin split his face, his expression slightly tinged with disbelief as one of the locked cases along the wall slid open to reveal another batsuit. It must be one of his old ones...

Out on the streets of Gotham the night was becoming more and more interesting. Bruce hadn't been joking when he'd said there were still impersonations of the Joker and his goons going on in the city. Currently he was tracking several armed men in clown masks and getups through the alleys, unbeknownst to them. Their business was the weapons they carried, picked out from the ones they were trafficking.

Batman had mixed thoughts as he picked them off one by one. They were organized, enough so not to be in the same place at the same time as the others, a good tactic if they had been chased by the police. Unfortunately for them, they weren't. He took them down as they set up, without the others realizing. In the middle of it all he wondered whether any of these men had once been led by the Joker himself.

By the time Batman was finished, he was thoroughly convinced that they had not been working for the Joker. They just weren't.....his type. And the fact that Bruce could guess at his type of hench-goons was only slightly surprising. He took their masks away from them, somehow wishing to keep this away from the police as much as he possibly could.

Joker pulled down the pieces of the suit, taking it apart and figuring out how the different model fit together. A giddy sort of cackle escaped from his lips. All the pieces were built for someone bigger, true, but it was still Bat's costume. Picking up the cowl and pulling it on, he dashed across the way to look at himself in the mirror.

Pleased with the look of the cowl, the madman scurried back to try on the rest of the pieces, finding more of the black greasepaint to make his eyes properly shadowed before putting the cowl back on. How does he put this on by himself so quickly? Joker wondered as he pulled the armor on, trying to make it fit as best he could.

The end result was a bit childish, the armor obviously too big and the cape dragging slightly on the floor, but it pleased the skinny man anyway, sending him cavorting around the cave.

Only one thing made Joker stop playing and hit the ground, listening intently: a brief flickering of sound that sounded like footsteps to his ears. If there was one thing he didn't want, it was the damned butler coming down and spoiling his fun. Slinking to a hiding spot, the cloak dragging and rustling conspicuously, Joker waited to see if his paranoia panned out.

Alfred hadn't intended to sneak up on the Joker, he did not even know the man was still down in the lair. All he meant to do as he entered at a casual stroll was to check up on Batman's status and prep the area for his return. Fortunately for him, he did not catch sight of the Joker as he hid. Alfred calmly made his way to the computer station, and began checking for Batman's arrival.

Watching him from the shadows, Joker's eyes narrowed in suspicion. Part of him wanted to sneak up on the elderly man and scare him in retaliation for coming down and snooping; another part wanted to wait and see what he was up to. Debating with himself briefly, he decided there wasn't any reason he couldn't first do one, then the other.

For Alfred, this was by no means snooping. Once he found Batman's location, he began checking for police signals, then the surveillance system of the grounds and that they had set up in the far cave entrance. He opened the doors and made ready for the Tumbler's arrival, likely with a very tired Bruce inside.

Joker moved as quietly as he could, trying to flank the elderly butler so he could surprise him from behind. Following him as Alfred went to the doors, he waited until the man had unbolted and opened the portal. Deciding to jump him while he was distracted, Joker sprang out at him with a shout.

The whirling black form came suddenly, and Alfred spun. There wasn't enough time to get a good look at it as it came at him, but belatedly his mind recognized individual pieces of the armored costume. He stepped back with haste and a small cry of his own, throwing his arms out to fend off the attacker and expecting a blow.

A physical hit never came; the black-clad assailant stopped just short of Alfred, crouched slightly as he peered up at him. Kohled eyes were green instead of blue behind that mask, the exposed mouth fighting back a tendency to curl upward instead of down.

Recognition hit the butler as he stumbled backward. "YOU." He stared the wild man up and down, and once again as he crouched on the floor. "What are--what do you think you are doing?" Alfred's eyes were wider than they had been in a long time, and the color that had drained from his face was seeping back into it in a bright red color.

"I'm having fun. What do you think you're doing, sneaking up on me down here, fiddling around with the computer?" Spying, that's what. He opened the doors for Bat, but I know there's lots of cameras and security feeds on that thing I haven't found yet.

"I'm not the one running around in, in, THIS," Alfred gestured to the ensemble, "while no one's watching!" His face was definitely taking on a shade of purple at this point. He'd put up with a lot from the Joker over his stay, and even with the the stunts he'd already pulled, this was a bit of a surprise.

"In, in, th-THIS," Joker parroted back in a mocking tone. "What are you so uptight about? You didn't even make this big of a fuss when I repainted your room." Joker stood a little straighter, the edges of his mouth turning down in distaste.

"What exactly are you planning to do with that suit?" Alfred ignored his mockery and crossed his arms over his chest, suspecting just as much foul play on the Joker's part as the madman did for him.

"Nothing. Just trying it out and having a little fun while Bat's out playing. He never said I couldn't," Joker pointed out gleefully. "Why do you want to know? Does my dressing up like your surrogate son make you angry?"

Alfred looked him up and down again, then around the room without moving his head, only his eyes swiveled back and forth. Nothing else seemed to be moved or tampered with.....much. There was a lot of stuff scattered around on the floor, cases opened here and there, but the vehicles looked untouched. If the Joker had been planning to make a run out into the night as Batman's double in disguise, he would have gone for them first. Probably. Unless the butler had intercepted him before he had the chance. "Is that all, you say? No plans on joining said dearest Bruce on his night out?"

"None whatsoever," Joker agreed. Yet. Where better to learn how to put his lessons into action than out on the streets, after all? "No plans on poking your nose where it isn't wanted using the computer?"

The butler "harrumphed" in distaste. "If I needed to check up on Bruce for whatever reason, I would not have to do it behind his back. And if he felt he had to hide anything from me for whatever reason, he would not have let me access his computer, now would he?" He was having a difficult time looking at the Joker in Batman's suit. It was the strangest juxtaposition of forms, personalities even, as if the suit still carried some of Batman's presence inside it and when laid over the Joker, seemed.....wrong. "He's on his way back, which was what I was checking to see, and he will be no doubt furious if he finds you in that."

"Really? Why?" Joker was legitimately curious, tilting his head questioningly. "Is it because he'd think I was stealing his face, like the 2-bit crooks outside have started stealing mine? He doesn't like to share? He'd think I'd break it?"

Alfred glared. "You should know well by now how he is." He unfolded his arms only to place them stiffly at his sides. "Good luck." His voice was clipped as he walked briskly past the Joker, still trying not to look at him. The outfit was too big, it made him look bulkier than he was, not like himself. Almost like Bruce. But not quite. The size and the mouth, and the eyes were all wrong.

Joker grinned, sensing as much as seeing the man's discomfort. He didn't quite believe Alfred that Bruce would be all that upset. He wasn't trying to sneak out and pretend to be the Bat, after all. "And why would I need luck, Freddie?"

"Did I not just tell you?" The butler kept walking, obviously not wishing to be there when the real Batman arrived to find the Joker there standing in his armor. "Bruce will not be happy you've been playing with his things." He turned once inside the gated elevator and clasped his hands together, giving the Joker a look that clearly did not wish him any luck whatsoever.

Smirking as he watched the stern butler, Joker shook his head. "I think you're exaggerating. I've played with his toys plenty of times before and nothing's happened yet." When will he be back, I wonder? His eyes drifted for a moment back to the computer, contemplating whether he'd be able to figure out how to track Bat's location.

As the elevator rose out of view, the computer on the desk began emitting a series of short beeps. The screen blinked, the lights lowered for a moment, and then the doors at the far end of the cave opened to the rumbling purr of the Tumbler sliding inside.

Joker turned his attention from the elevator more thoroughly to the computer, frowning at the fuss it was making until it became clear what the noises meant. He whipped around to face the incoming vehicle, trying to ignore both excitement and uncertain fear that were warring under his skin.

Beams of light from the Tumbler fell upon the Joker, bathing everything in sight but the long shadow that sprouted from his boots up to the wall of the cave. Behind the dark shield of the hulking vehicle Batman's face remained expressionless as it usually seemed under that mask. The roof rose, folding into itself, and Bruce pulled himself up and over the car in one sweeping motion.

Somewhat blinded from being subjected to the intense light, Joker blinked and tried to get his vision back as the headlights died with the car's engine. "You weren't gone for too long. Slow night?"

"What. Is. This?" Bruce deadpanned as he stalked up to the Joker, standing there so casually in the old Batman uniform. He stopped at most three feet apart and looked the Joker up and down, from the tips of his boots to his pointy ears.

"What's what? I was just playing around with your old stuff while you were gone." Joker tilted his head, not quite able to understand. "I wasn't trying to steal your face. Why are you mad?"

Bruce frowned. If the Joker could have seen his eyes behind the mask, his brows would have been furrowed together. "It's just.......I spent the entire night tracking down clowns trying to look like you."

"Oh. So you were hoping to come home and find another one?" Joker asked, stepping closer now that he thought the coast was clear. It was... disturbing, the way Joker's mouth and eyes didn't quite match up to the armored shell he was inhabiting. It wasn't just that it clearly wasn't Bruce's face behind the mask; it was that his insanity was apparent even when wearing the hero's clothes.

"You're not trying to be me now, are you?" Bruce breathed back, his mind a little unnerved at the contrast of the mask over the Joker's face. He stood still, staring into those eyes.

Joker's spine bent backwards as he laughed, his hands catching hold of Bruce's waist so he could keep his balance. "Be you? Why would I want to be you? I have you." Still chuckling, he tilted his head up to meet Bruce's gaze. "I told you, I'm not trying to steal your face. Besides, if I did, you'd have to take mine as a replacement. I don't think it suits you."

"Neither do I," Bruce agreed barely able to put an image to the thought. "This," he lifted the cape on the Joker's smaller shoulders, "doesn't suit you either." With a yank, he pulled the cape out of its clasps and it fell to the floor.

"Just the cape, or the whole thing?" Joker asked, watching the fabric hit the ground with a twinge of regret. The cape was fun. "You don't think I look good in armor and a cape? Or just your outfit? I didn't think it was that bad..."

"It's not a bad outfit, it just isn't you." Bruce continued unclasping pieces of the thing, one by one. The Joker looked sadly disappointed. Bruce imagined it would be even stranger to see him in the other man's getup than this though, he should perhaps be thankful.

It was something to think about; Joker had assumed that if Batman would ever let him stalk the night with him that he'd insist on a similar costume, or at least something that wouldn't make it obvious who he was working with. "What would you like to see me in, then, if a bat doesn't work for me?"

Bruce's head darted up in surprise. "You want to be a vigilante now? Just like me?" He had assumed the Joker would snatch up all the neat little gadgetry he could pilfer off of the cave, but flat out refuse to act as Batman's sidekick. Perhaps he should say "partner" when voicing that thought. "I thought you wanted to work entirely undercover, taking back your old thugs, running business like you used to."

"You assume too much. I don't want to run around the streets in tribute to some idea of morality." Or as a way to lessen pangs of misplaced guilt, Joker thought, but didn't voice his opinion; it would only distract Bruce from his point. "You know I don't believe what you do. It does, however, look like fun. And a team can be safer than working solo. What happens when someone finally catches you and nobody's there watching your back?"

"How thoughtful of you." The knight almost snorted. Once more he imagined this new little plan of theirs going badly in at least ten more ways. Yet once again it still sparked an iota of hope, excitement, within him. He stepped back for a moment to look the Joker up and down. "You'll need armor. These plates are lighter than the suit I made before. If you intend to keep your contacts in the underground you'll want to consider a disguise. At least hide your face and all this color."

"Any suggestions?" Joker asked with a grin, stepping forward to close the distance again. "What goes well with a point-eared freak?" Perhaps he'd come up with a costume anyways, just to see what Bat's reaction would be. "Do I have to hide all color?" His fingers reached out to start picking at the armored plates of Bat's suit, returning the favor of stripping him down.

Bruce considered this as he watched the Joker's nimble fingers move over his own suit. "It would have to be something other than purple and green." Never before had he considered having a partner to match the Batman. Even in the League of Shadows, they worked as one black clad mass, moving like mercury. If he had to choose a theme, that's what he would have picked. Something dark, fitted to the Joker's smallish figure. The man liked his knives so well that Bruce could see the form hiding nothing but sharp, tiny edges.

Joker tsked, letting another plate drop to the ground. "Those are my favorites, but fair enough. Don't want to give the game away before it even starts." He eyed Batman's cowl for a moment, eyes glittering as he thought. His hands continued to work, quickly disrobing Bruce until he was bare to the waist, just like Joker.

"Are you going to stop there?" Bruce asked with a hushed tone. His senses were always a little more keen after Batman returned from a night out. The Joker knew this, having experienced Bruce coming back more often than not with his blood still running hot. His mind should have been on their new plan, but he had to admit that he was a little distracted now that the Joker had taken his hands away.

"Do you want me to stop there?" Joker licked his lips, obviously reminiscing over the same memories as Bruce was. Taking in the other man's expression, he chuckled. "And here you had me thinking I was going to get punished for trying on your clothes."

A smile pulled at Bruce's lips. "If you had left with them, that might have been another matter. Why? You didn't want me to be angry, did you?" He stepped closer. And closer. "You didn't want me to catch you? To chase you down and take them away from you?" He'd pressed himself up to the smaller man by now, chest to chest.

Note: Raz was having troubles posting the chapter, so i did instead.
COMIC BOOKS; THE MARIJUANA OF THE NURSERY.newbluemoon on October 3rd, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
COMIC BOOKS; THE MARIJUANA OF THE NURSERY.newbluemoon on October 3rd, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
The whole thing is beyond amazing, in fact. But I have to say this HE ATE HIM?! :O I read this whilst watching You, Me and Dupree with my mum, and at that bit I literally yelled OH MY FUCKING GOD and then burst into giggles. That was perfect. Seriously. I was expecting the whole brutal torture-revenge thing, but that was the icing on the cake, so I absolutely aplaud you for that. And, was that the 'L' word I saw in there? I think it was *fangirlish delight*. PAHAHA> very subtle, girls, I like it.
And Joker running around in the batsuit was honestly the best mental image I have ever had the good fortune to see. And Alfred's whole WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK-NESS at the scenario was perfect.
I simply adore how this chapter is absolutely riddles with the lulz, whilst at the same time maintaining the serious as well as the sexy elements. I wish I could take the plot development and characterisation of this story and turn it into , like, a cake or something. Haha. It'd be the most kick-ass cake ever.
Where the crap do I come up with these images? :p
Anyway, I seriously cannot thank you two enough for this update- I was having a freaking awful day. I literally speant my entire Saturday doing essays WITH A MIGRAINE! So when I checked LJ and saw a SIE update, I pratically squealed like a chipmunk. So THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHAAAANKYOOOOOOUU!!! :D
~*Lucifer*~ Scumbag with a Vision: Bat-pod by idril_earfalas.loony_lucifer on October 4th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Fucking Heathus on a unicycle.......now that is quite a nugget for the imagination. o.o
Razoth RedFire: Basement Buzzingrazothredfire on October 4th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
And now I have delightful little inappropriate rhymes going through my head like Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

"Would you, could you, on a...unicycle?~"
(Deleted comment)
~*Lucifer*~ Scumbag with a Vision: Bruce by idril_earfalas.loony_lucifer on October 3rd, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
Pheh, that first comment was meant to be to rdallyn. XD But yah, haha, at least it wasn't a plot cliffhanger?? I don't even know.
(Deleted comment)
~*Lucifer*~ Scumbag with a Vision: Bat-pod by idril_earfalas.loony_lucifer on October 3rd, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
Hurr hurr hurr.
Razoth RedFire: Batman and Joker Pairrazothredfire on October 3rd, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
Auuuuuuuugh I don't sees some Italics for the thought bits. D: Not that I should complain. It's finally up and we're finally past the log-scramble bit, I think. Now if my computer will just stop exploding.
~*Lucifer*~ Scumbag with a Vision: Bruce by idril_earfalas.loony_lucifer on October 3rd, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
Naaagh, sorreh. You know how my gosh darned aim logger doesn't take bold/italics. Which parts are they? I'll fix em.
Razoth RedFire: Bone Fluterazothredfire on October 4th, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
I shall read and, um, send you the bits to be fixed. In emails. >_>; Yesh.
dea_caelesti on October 4th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
...gives a whole new meaning to "you are what you eat". :D

As for the Joker in the old batsuit? Awww. Just awww. I know he's probably not going to appreciate being called cute, but it brings to mind little kids playing dress up in their parents clothes and, well, awww.
bloody cape: Actors: Bale 2batsyx on October 4th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
my jaw literally dropped when i read the whole "eating the dad" bit. i mean it's the Joker so I shouldn't be surprised but damn.......i didn't see it coming! excellent chapter though. AH THE ENDING! i need the next chapter ASAP. :D :D :D
Victorrikaz2 on October 4th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
You can't stop there! Photobucket
fear and desireoutcastspice on October 4th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
yay update!! i liked this chapter, it's so exciting to watch their relationship and characters grow. :)
PhoenixJustice: S80 FTWphoenixjustice on October 6th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Had to comment on your icon *_*. That's from American Psycho, right? I kinda wanna see a TDK/American Psycho crossover fic...it'd be all kinds of wrong (and awesome.)
fear and desireoutcastspice on October 6th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
so, the image is originally from AP but it's been altered, it was originally blood! i don't know who turned it white but i love them :)

there IS AP/TDK fic! check out http://community.livejournal.com/knivesandsaws/, there's all sorts of good stuff there. :D
PhoenixJustice: joker jumpingphoenixjustice on October 6th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Sweet Heathus that was awesome. As if you all would put out anything less than fantastic!

It's cool to see that Bruce didn't overly freak out over The Joker's admission (the whole "ate his father" thing is like ewww, but yet is perfectly canonical.)

Oh, and I have to say that I LOVED to see the Joker dressing up in Batman's gear. (I seem to have a growing fetish for BatmanDressUp!Joker lol, though Nurse!Joker is still the hottest *_*)

Great, great job. ...but why did you all stop at teh sexytimez?! Still, it was a GREAT chap.
acht_achtacht_acht on October 6th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
"I didn't know how anything worked." Jesus, my heart bleeds for little Joker as always. How dark and strange his world was, and the things he had to do to survive ... no wonder he isn´t all that fussy about his diet!
And Bruce ... it´s just great how he negotiates between loving the Joker and staying alive, how he feels his way through Joker´s twisted brain, all for love.

"What. Is. This?" Bruce deadpanned as he stalked up to the Joker, standing there so casually in the old Batman uniform. He stopped at most three feet apart and looked the Joker up and down, from the tips of his boots to his pointy ears.

Aw. Kind of sexy how fragile and skinny he seems in the Batgear (I imagine). Please let him at least have a cape to prance around in.

memoryofgravy: winers!!1memoryofgravy on October 23rd, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
But fuck it. (Butt fuck it?) 21 Comments is a DISGRACE for this chapter. So I'm helping. Two years too late. Shut up.

This was so cute! The first time J has really cared about anyone's opinion, and Bruce didn't even wig out about it. <3

But argh!

I didn't know how anything worked. He'd always brought down food and drink before, and I was afraid to go outside for a long time, afraid there were others out there. I got hungry, and there was nothing else, and his blood tasted good, so I-" Joker swallowed again, not sick to his stomach because of what he'd done, but full of anxiety of what Bruce might do. "I kept him alive, and I ate him, until I started to run out and couldn't keep him alive anymore, and I couldn't stand the way the holes and the bones looked at me, so I cut everything into pieces with his saws and knives. But it still wouldn't leave me alone and I was still hungry and thirsty, and when I found the swamp outside I threw all the pieces in and learned to live in the woods."

I'm glad you ended up telling me about that part before I read it, Raz, cause I swear if that had hit me unprepared I don't know that my mind could have taken it. I'm still being haunted by the images this throws up at me.. Of poor J trying to find food on his own but not knowing how. I'm stuck with this image of J finally realising what he has to do, the only option he has left.. and that dreadful bastard lying there chained, being watched with mad, desperate, hungry eyes. *shudders*
Nothing less than what he deserved.

Onto nicer subjects... THE L WORD! BRUCE SAID IT! AND IT WAS NO BIG DEAL. Yknow, just the freakin' moment we've all been waiting for for the last 51 chapters, nothing to worry about! But as I said earlier, I like how you did it. As if it wasn't the first time they've said that to eachother, almost implying that their first 'ilu' has happened during the time-lapse that we didn't see. I like how many hints we've got of the progress that they've made in the unknown months we weren't around for. :)
And I liked the fact that Bruce was trying to pull J out of his worrying for a change.

I enjoyed learning more about Bruce, again. He is such a joy to read and really shines in these last few chapters. You're walking a very fine line that not many people acheive, having him open up and be relaxed in himself without falling off the edge into OOC land.

Other notable chapter bits:

J swinging about with the grappler always brings a smile to my face!

HENCH-GOONS! The little details in this scene make it seem so real.

BATSUITED J-NESS! And scaring Olfrod - priceless! Really, really easy to see it playing out behind my eyes. The whole scene infact, is just a great big ball of brilliance.

Two Bats sizing eachother up? I like it. Now all we need is to force Bat into a clashing suit thats far too tight for all his bulging ---guh.

I enjoyed their discussion about costumes too, I can't wait to see this plan followed through to the end. But yknow my favourite part?

"If he had to choose a theme, that's what he would have picked. Something dark, fitted to the Joker's smallish figure. The man liked his knives so well that Bruce could see the form hiding nothing but sharp, tiny edges. "

But oooh... imagine that. A costume made entirely out of hidden blades. Right up J's street, he could be a whirling hurricaine of papercut doom!
Though they wouldnt be able to rub up on one another quite so much, for fear that J's costume would slice Brucie's nipples off....

I might need to go to bed now. Before this gets weirder...