Bruce knew that when he landed the Batwing in the Batcave that Alfred would immediately tell him to take care of himself. He hadn’t eaten all night or slept yet. It was a longer night than usual but it had to be done when there was a bounty set on his head. Not Bruce Wayne’s head, but Batman’s head. The whole night he was trying to figure out who would go to that extent to want him dead and have the money for the reward. The last thing he wanted was to have another criminal in his town and one of the most unstable ones.
Alfred was waiting for him and when Bruce got out he followed him all the way to the bench and watched Bruce sit down to start searching about the Joker. “Master Bruce, the sun is rising, the night is over and I think you should eat some breakfast and then go to bed.”
“No, I need to find out more about him. He’s nothing like what I’ve encountered before.” he said shaking his head but Alfred soon moved to turn off the computer. “Alfred.” he growled.
The older man didn’t even flinch or budge when Bruce turned around trying to intimidate him. “I believe it’s time for you to eat and rest.” he stated with a firm voice. “You may have other people in fear of you but I am not afraid of you Master Bruce.”
Bruce’s face slowly softened and he moved to take the cowl off. “I’m sorry Alfred, I wouldn’t want you afraid of me.” he assured him as he set it aside. “Out of everyone who needs rest tonight it’s you.” he reminded him.
“I’m alive and it’s thanks to you. That’s all I need as motivation to make sure you eat and go to bed.” he explained as he stepped forward to help Bruce out of his costume. He was also looking over his body for any injuries that were serious and would need to be taken care of immediately. Alfred let out a sigh of relief to see just bruises and a tattered costume. “I’ll have your costume fixed tomorrow before nightfall.”
“It’s alright Alfred, don’t push yourself.”
Alfred was glad to have Bruce back and fixed his suit a little bit before he led the way upstairs to the kitchen. He then got the food out to warm it up making sure to make it quick by having two plates made up for them. He got Bruce’s done first before warming his up and made sure all the food was out for them to have seconds even though he would be done after one plate. After sitting down the two ate in silence. Alfred felt his body starting to give into exhaustion and barely finished his last bite.
Bruce was able to see how tired Alfred was getting and before he could even try to get up, grabbed both of their plates and put them in the sink. “I can put everything away.”
“Master Bru-“ he started but was instantly interrupted.
“You’ll barely make it up to bed, I can take care of it.” assured Bruce not wanting Alfred to do anything else for him after dealing with him all night long, especially when he got angry enough to push him out of the way. It didn’t matter if he saved his life the night got to him and he reacted badly toward Alfred, the only family he had left.
Alfred nodded as he got up and Bruce turned to watch him. He wanted to make sure Alfred would make it up okay and Alfred did have just enough energy left to get him upstairs. The night was very long and it took a toll on the both of them physically and mentally. Alfred was glad that Bruce cared so much for the city but even more for him. His faith in what Bruce was trying to accomplish was tested to the edge of his patience and in the end, he found himself pushing Bruce to get back out there. He hated having the boy out there fighting by himself but Bruce had a mission, a good mission and he would help him any way he could.
Bruce finished up the dishes and put the food back in the fridge before he went to bed himself. His body was starting to ache and he nearly fell onto the bed glad to be back home and in his room. He moved a little on the bed to get comfortable and closed his eyes, quickly falling asleep.
The next few months went without many incidents and Bruce thought that he would be able to get a nice break from any of the supervillains. He really was hoping for a long break from Joker more than any of them mostly because he had nightmares…then again he couldn’t call them nightmares. The dreams he had didn’t wake him up with a startle or scare him. His mind was just repeating what had happened on Christmas Eve and sometimes, he even heard Joker’s laughter. Alfred hadn’t noticed how he would look around reaching for his belt yet but he just couldn’t get the Joker out of his head. Everything changed and there was no going back.
Joker was keeping himself busy and having a good time fooling the doctors and guards into thinking he was playing the nice prisoner. He wasn’t there to be treated and he would never be ready because there was nothing to treat. He wasn’t insane, he wasn’t mad, and he wasn’t crazy. The inmates got the news and he heard what people were saying about him. It made his smile disappear every time he heard bad things or someone trying to say Batman would always win. His informants began to learn how he hated bad news, how it was better to keep a smile on his face so some of them tried lying. Lying only got them a one way ticket out of the asylum, on a gurney in a nice black bag just for them. He was able to make it look like someone else did it so his image of being complacent wouldn’t be compromised.
Harleen Quinzel, Harley as he came to know her was still his doctor and just playing the role so she wouldn’t lose her job. He didn’t think she’d be useful after getting him in control of Blackgate but he would see if he could get her to help him again, to do so he had to be interested into her. As the months went on, he got better at flirting with her, knowing how to get her to work for him and he knew that when he needed it to happen, she would be his ally in escaping. Joker wouldn’t play his trump card yet but he was getting tired of people beginning to look down on him like he needed help, how he wouldn’t stand a chance in winning, and how his life would be better if he would get better.
All of his planning was finally coming to a close as he got ready to break out of the Asylum. As much as Harley wanted to know more about what was keeping him busy he wouldn’t tell her anything. He had to keep her out of the loop until he was ready to use her. The last time she was very helpful and he found a way to keep her help in it a secret but this time, he wanted to prove just how good he was and how determined he could be. Joker was keeping an eye on the guards, doctors, and the warden, how each one moved through the asylum every time he was transported on the upright gurney. He didn’t have much to do in the asylum so he watched, watched, and watched. The day he would be escaping he was giving out jokes to everyone and everything, the remarks just kept coming.
Cash really didn’t like leaving Joker in his cell alone by how he was acting and eyed him up. “If you keep staring, I might blush.” teased Joker.
”What are you up too?” he asked having a weird vibe about what was going on and wondered if he should just stay outside his cell to make sure he wouldn’t do anything.
”I’m offended! I have been nothing but good since I’ve been here.” said Joker holding a hand to his chest as he sat down on his bed. “I’m just in a good mood because my therapy session went so well!”
Cash wasn’t impressed and his frown deepened as he continued to watch Joker. If it wasn’t for his face being permanently white, red lips, and green hair he wouldn’t even look like the Joker in the asylum uniform. He really didn’t want to know what he would look like as a normal person because he’d be able to hide from everyone, even the Batman. There were a couple other villains that would probably be able to hide if they didn’t wear mask or wore question marks all the time but no one knew Joker’s past. No one would be able to pick him out of a crowd if he looked normal. “I’m watching you Joker.” he warned before he decided to leave and just check on the security later.
Joker’s smile slowly faded away as Cash left the wing and he got up stretching. My good streak is about to end. He pulled out a security card that he snatched from one of the guards who started to fall for his good behavior act and let him get too close. There weren’t a lot of places he was able to go past his cell and therapy room but he got permission to take a walk with Harley a couple of times for therapy. As long as he answered her questions, she didn’t care which way he wanted to go and he found a couple of places of interest. One of those places would have his effects and he had a great map that no guard could take from him.
Time passed as he waited for everything to calm down and get late enough to where the security was minimal. He didn’t feel tired at all as hours passed even though he was just sitting on his bed making sure he had everything memorized, the route he would take, the guard positions, ways to get around the guards, and how he would take care of them until he had his belongings. When it was time he went to the bars leaning against them and sticking his arm out, waving it. No one appeared to be paying attention before he grabbed the card and went to one side of his cell. Luckily since he hadn’t caused any trouble since Blackgate they didn’t put him in a cell that would take much effort to escape. He reached as far as he could to move the card in a circle and pulled away at the sound of the beep. His smile was back on his face as the bars slid open and a fit of giggles escaped as he swayed on each foot. “Time to get out of here.”
Cash looked up at the clock and it read five to eleven. He yawned as he got up and grabbed for his radio. “Security 1 to Wing 4.”
One of the guards grabbed his radio to respond not noticing that behind them, Joker was starting to creep up on them. “Wing 4, come back.”
”How are things? Joker is still in his cell?” he asked.
Luckily the guard that was answering was Joker’s “friend”. “Yeah, he’s fine, haven’t heard anything from him since we brought him in.” he assured Cash.
”Good, see you tomorrow, Security 1 clear.”
The guard didn’t respond and didn’t need too as he put his radio back on his belt. “I think Cash is a little too paranoid.”
Joker’s smile widened as he got up behind them and reached for their heads to push them forward into the ground. He then took turns in slamming his foot down on each of their heads to make sure they weren’t getting up again. “Thanks for the gun.” he smiled as he took the one from his friend and headed down the hall. He didn’t go around the corner since there were more guards and set down the gun to grab a corner of a vent. He pulled the corner of the vent until he could yank out one screw, then worked on the next until he had all of them free and set it aside. Joker went into the vent staying to the right making sure he didn’t get too far from his destination and soon came to an end. He did his best to look around the surroundings and he was passed the one set of guards. His luck was on his side that even without the map of the vents he got to the area he needed. The elevator up and out of here was in the Intensive Treatment Lobby and he found the way there.
It was too soon to attack the exit so he turned around keeping to his right again and going down into another area that was close to the storage of the inmates effects. He didn’t mind having the gun he had now but it would just help him get inside of the room. There was five guards here and it was mostly because of shift change. He couldn’t see Cash and wondered if he had already left, which was sad because then he couldn’t have fun with him like he would his guards. Joker moved around in the vent to put a foot up against it and slowly pushed on the left side, middle and right before he kicked it hard. The vent cover flew out and startled the guards.
Joker moved a little back in the vent with the gun pointing at the opening to wait for one of them to get curious. One guard wasn’t too scared so he went over to the vent without much argument to see what was going on and met Joker holding a gun to his face. He froze and didn’t think of grabbing his gun to shoot. Joker’s smile widened as he motioned him to stand up. “Don’t try anything funny now.”
The other guards started to question what was wrong as he stood back up and moved so Joker could get out of the vent. He instantly grabbed the guard around his neck and held his gun to his temple. “Joker!” shouted one of them as he reached for his radio but was shot dead.
Joker sighed and shook his head. “Now, I thought it would be obvious, I have a hostage, I want out, and none of you will be in my way.” he explained as the group was trying to figure out if they should check on the guard he shot or help the one with a gun to his head. “Promise if I turn my back you lot won’t try to kill me or call for help?” he asked.
No one agreed at first but as he tightened his finger on the trigger nods came quickly and they even set their guns on the ground. Joker shook his head as he pushed the guard away. “You guys are no fun.” he said before he them all down and dropped the gun. It was time for him to get his belongings and leave. He used the card to get into the storage room and looked around at the boxes that were on shelves, on the ground, some opened, and some with mold. They better have kept my possessions in decent condition. Joker walked through them slowly looking around for his box and soon spotted it in the back, in the corner. The box was sealed shut which was nice and after he opened it he was glad he didn’t have to specifically hunt someone down during his escape. His suit was in the same condition he left it, his modified hand buzzer was inside, and so was a deck of cards. The cards weren’t in a box because he never put them back in once he took them out.
It didn’t take long for him to get dressed into his suit and run his hands through his hair. He wanted to look his best as he took down the guards blocking his exit. Joker was glad to see no one had caught on that he had escaped yet when he left the storage room. He then headed toward the next door meeting no resistance and used the card to open the door to Intensive Treatment Lobby. “I’m outta here, do your worst.” he smirked.