Chapter 1: Indigo
Bruce takes in a refugee from another universe. In conversing with the Joker's 'good' alter-ego, he learns some uncomfortable truths about himself.
Yeah, this has no real beginning or ending, and I haven't explained how and why the Jokester ends up in the other universe, but like, put on your coping goggles and dive into Lake Deal. Umm... [insert plausible plot here]
"He's lost between universes."
Jason narrows his eyes within the domino mask. "We can't take him back with us."
Batman's cloak twists in the wind as he walks away, leaving Jason standing with his fists clenched. "He's not the Joker, Robin. Keep reminding yourself that. In his universe, we're the bad guys."
The sound of Jason's motorbike revving up is his retort.
First, he reminds him of the Joker.
The effect is so eerie that Bruce can't stop staring, can't help but notice how exactly like his scars are, two deep canyons in the landscape of his face, the same as those belonging to the man whose pictures flicker from screens in the batcave. They end in the same upward flourish, the work of individuals accomplished with the use of a blade.
The same patchy covering of white base, the hollows of the eyes deepened with spitblack. He looks like he even uses the same brand of lipstick – something waxy and aggressively red. His hair is dyed a different colour at the ends - sickly purple instead of sickly green – but the texture is the same, lank curls which appear to be a brassy shade of dark-blond at the roots.
He has the same tics: the fat pink tongue drawing a ceaseless circuit around chapped lips, red-raw from the action, jaw working from side to side like that of a coke addict. He stands in the same way, shoulders hunched and head down low as he stares from beneath his brows, watching, evaluating. There's something of a wolf about him: watchful, wary, quick.
There's the same bitter humour, the love of puns and wordplay, the broken-down magician persona. He does card tricks that don't seem to work until you realise that it was a ruse to distract and he's stolen your wallet.
"Why. so. glum? Why so glum, chum? Hm? You look like you need a smiiile... why don't you, uh, take mine?"
Bruce finds himself holding a pair plastic wind-up chattering teeth, a relic from a joke shop in another universe. He dashes them to the ground and gets an apologetic moue and the shrugging of rounded shoulders in response. The Jokester turns away with a flare of his coat. "Suit yourself, tough guy."
He cuts the same flailing capers, he sings and hums and repeats things under his breath. He steals things, pocketing priceless knick-knacks and he leaves playing cards, dirty plates and glasses, and chaos in his wake through whatever room he trails. Bruce feels rage slowly consuming him, having this man in his house. He tells himself over and over again that it's just logical paradox compressing his brain, but he can't help feeling that 'the Jokester' is doing this on purpose to irritate him. Somehow imitating a man he has never met.
Bruce knows that has never been good at hiding his emotions or controlling his temper, and he just feels so angry, looking at that nightmarishly familiar face – the one that has committed a thousand atrocities – haunting his private home. He has to resist the urge to hit him, to bang his head off tables. He feels his hands repeatedly curling into fists by his sides; the tension in his muscles becomes an ache.
After a few hours the impression gives way and he starts to realise that while the 'Jokester' and the Joker may be physically almost identical, they are completely unlike.
His eyes are unexpectedly soulful, holding a sad, desperate quality which is at odds with his twitching, grinning mouth. The irises are purple, but changeable: beneath the electric lights they appear a violet which is bright and translucent like stained glass; in the shadows they become a dusky indigo.
His tics mask moments of indecision, Bruce realises – he is gauche and awkward. While the Joker loves getting up in people's faces, making them shrink from his physical presence – exulting in his ability to paw and breathe over people when they don't want him to – this man can be sent skittering across the room with just the brush of a shoulder against his own. He will shriek his puns louder than ever to distract the viewer from his discomfiture.
He doesn't carry knives. His pockets contain a variety of concealed weapons, but none of them are lethal, used correctly. His lapel is adorned with a tear gas-emitting boutonnière in the shape of a yellow carnation.
He doesn't tell scar stories. He doesn't seem to wear his with pride – in fact, Bruce has to ask where he got them, and he is stunned to discover that his own counterpart, 'Owlman' gave them to him in retribution for some unflattering stand-up comedy.
"Worst review I ever got, a-ho, a-ha, a-hee," Jokester deadpans.
When he starts to unburden himself of his history – the dead loved ones, the training, the gadgets – the Jokester starts to remind Bruce uncomfortably of himself. He sees that they have both donned a mask to hold their fragile selves together. They are both desperately striking back at a world which has spurned them – where evil is allowed to prosper and ordinary people do nothing to stop it. He sees that underneath it all Jokester is angry and afraid and it terrifies Bruce, because the emotions are so plain and obvious – he hopes that he himself is not so transparent.
Through the Jokester's stories, he starts to become familiar with Owlman, the privileged child who was tossed onto the streets and became a monster. The man who has committed atrocities worse than the Joker's because, at least with the Joker, nothing is ever personal. Because... the Joker thinks of himself as an auteur, a philosopher, an artist, and this Owlman just grimly cuts down anyone who challenges his authority. That's why he has a clown for his nemesis... only a clown can challenge a power so absolute and malign.
The very word 'nemesis' carries the sense of a response both opposite and deserved. Bruce wonders what Batman has done to deserve the Joker. Does he have a hint of Owlman's authoritarianism, perhaps? The same lack of humour about himself?
In a moment of blinding clarity, Bruce snaps out of his solipsism long enough to realise that the Jokester might sense these similarities too, might be made angry and unsettled by them. Might find him – Bruce – disgusting, even. For one hysterical moment he wants to grab the Jokester by the shoulders and shout: "I'm not like him, I'm not like him, I'm not like him! I could never be like him!"
Except that, just because of a twist of fate, in another universe, he was. The revelation is so shattering he can't even think about it, he just tries to push it to the periphery of his consciousness. If there's one thing he's good at, it's repressing uncomfortable truths.
"How did he do it?" Bruce asks.
A green-gloved hand flies self-consciously to the scars. "An 'owlarang'," the red-painted mouth twists into a bitter smile, "it's a... curved piece of metal for, uh, for throwing." The purple eyes rise to meet Bruce's blue. "He has them too, the scaaars?"
"Yeah, exactly like yours."
"Did you give them to him?"
"God no! Nobody really knows how he got them. He likes to tell stories about them to his victims... a different one every time."
"What does he sound like?" the Jokester smiles his fragile, facetious smile. "His jokes aren't better than mine, are they?"
Bruce lifts a steak knife and holds it near his own cheek, licking his lips like the Joker. "You look nervous. Is it the scaaars?" He copies the falsely earnest look the Joker does when he's at his most dangerous as he asks: "wanna know how I got 'em?"
"Sounds like a reeeally bad impression of me," the Jokester comments, one eyebrow cocked.
"What does Owlman sound like?
Bruce is stunned when he hears an uncanny impression of his gruff 'Batman' voice. "Shut up! Shut your filthy mouth, clown!"
They talk about their enemies more than themselves. Bruce finds himself getting frustrated when the Jokester tries to make light of his evil doppelganger; needing him to understand somehow the irrepressible, rank chaos that the Joker embodies.
"You know," the Jokester observes, cutting through one of Bruce's tirades as he drinks coffee at the kitchen table, "you talk about him like he's a former loveeer or somethin'. Serious-lee, what's up with that?"
"It's like, when you go on a reeeally bad date – the chick's yakking on and on about her mean old ex, you know? And she's angry but she's still obsessed. That's exactly what talking to you is like: 'blah blah blah Joker this, Joker that'. I mean, what the hell, Brucey? Seems like you got... entitlement issues. In faaact, If I didn't know better I'd say maybe there's an element of, uh, un-re-quited crush!"
"...You knoooow, you should see a shrink. Bats, aha, bats in the belfry!"
Bruce growls, before he even thinks about it he has dragged the Jokester over the table by the lapels of his green jacket. He brings his face close and hisses: "what makes you think you're any different?"
The Jokester lies limp and crumpled across the tabletop, smirking at having caused this reaction. "To him... or to yooou? Well I dress better than you both, that's just for a start."
"You think this is a joke? He's a monster." He feels himself sneer, feels his cheeks blazing and his eyes glowing bright with rage. He suddenly longs to be in his costume with a malefactor to pound into the pavement.
"God, thaaat look. You're so like him..." Bruce hears the note of soft wonderment in the other man's voice and knows intuitively that 'him' means 'Owlman'.
"No, I'm not. I'm not, and we're not. We're not like either of them."
Another flicker of uncertainty passes over the Jokester's face. "How do we know?"
Because we have limits. Because we know how to be weak sometimes... still know how to be human. Because we became freaks just to fight people like them. Bruce thinks all these things, but he knows they will sound cheesy and the Jokester will deflate them easily with a cutting retort.
So he shows the Jokester that he knows how to be gentle. His hands release their grip, uncurling and flattening out. He brushes a ruined cheek with the backs of his fingers and slowly leans in. As he kisses the other man, Bruce closes his eyes and lets him taste his pain.
When he pulls back he finds that he doesn't have anything left to say, so he goes to bed, leaving the Jokester standing there in the kitchen, still watching him with those shrewd, evaluating eyes.
Some hours later he wakes up to a naked body scrambling over his own in the dark. Chapped, malformed lips clumsily press against his jaw and his cheek before finding his mouth.
Bruce doesn't really know what to do with a man so he only uses his hands, but the Jokester doesn't seem to mind. He makes appreciative sounds and Bruce can tell it's been a long time since anyone was kind to him, since anyone even looked at him as anything other than a freak.
When roughened fingertips with long nails brush against his chest he feels a strange wave of homesickness, which is absurd, because he is home.
When a mouth that tastes of tobacco and coffee meets his in another deep, wet kiss, he tries to remember that it isn't the Joker because he isn't going to let him ruin this by intruding upon his thoughts. He's still not quite able to dispel the paranoia that their enemies are in bed with them: within his own mind he keeps brushing the Joker and the Owlman aside, batting them away as if they were cobwebs, obscuring his vision.
"Jackie," he murmurs, to remind himself that this man has a name, that he's something more than a symbol.
They lie on their backs in the darkness and Bruce's arm is around the other man's shoulders, hand laid flat on a scar-riddled chest. The palm moves sideways and Bruce makes a soft, curious sound. "Your heart is on the wrong side."
"Right side." the Jokester corrects, Bruce can hear the smile in his voice. He stretches luxuriantly and gives a yawn that almost splits his head in half before observing: "this is a niiice universe, you know. You're lucky. Mine's, uh, mine's kind of a dump."
"You want to stick around?" Bruce offers, as if he is the ambassador for this reality. "I'd kind of like to see you take down the Joker next time he escapes from Arkham."
A soft laugh tickles his ear. "I do sort of want to meet the guy. Morbid curiosity, maybe... but nah, can't stay. Gotta find a way baaack – can't leave my Gotham all deee-fenseless against old bird-brain."
"Yeah... why don't you just admit that you miss him?"
"Ha heh heh, haven't we done that joke already, Brucey?" a hand reaches up to ruffle his hair.
Finally, Bruce realises that the tics, the habits, the words and intonations, the fall of wavy hair against his shoulder – they don't make up a being who is a composite or patchwork of others, they make a wholly unique individual.
He feels himself slowly relax.
Chapter 2: Stirring
Owlman/Jokester - He has never really been interested in sex – not in a simple way, at least'. Owlman reflects on his desires.
DARK. Brief allusions to non-con (observed). Violence, death, destruction etc. BDSM fantasies with no safe word.
He has never really been interested in sex – not in a simple way, at least.
Sex, like money, is a thing which the small-minded tend to confuse with power.
When he was growing up by Joe Chill's side, he encountered a lot of men who liked to surround themselves with molls and topless dancers, as if the bought smiles and gyrations of bleached-blondes meant something. He had also known men who liked to force themselves on unwilling women – their enemies' sisters, girlfriends or daughters; frightened and friendless hard-luck stories; or hard-faced bitches who probably reminded them of the girls that spurned them at school.
In smoky pool rooms, parking lots or abandoned warehouses, the spectacle was always the same – a ring of men laughing at the screams and flailing limbs of a fragile form pinned beneath a stockier one. Predictable. Pathetic.
He simply watched and observed, his shell hardening against the world.
He had lost his virginity at the age of fourteen. He hadn't particularly wanted to, but Joe was doing his debauched father routine, slinging an arm around his shoulders, breathing whisky in his face and saying 'c'mon kiddo, why don't you let this lovely lady make a man out of you?'.
The woman in question was a tired-looking brunette, just the wrong side of thirty. She was a whore, of course, and he respected that she didn't bother to pretend that she liked him. Her hips were flecked with silvery stretch marks and low down on her belly there was a semi-circular scar from a c-section, curving upwards like a smile.
It was over quickly and afterwards he didn't feel any different.
He was fifteen when he first killed someone: medium range, a shot to the skull. He watched the guy's head snap back, the balletic way in which the form twisted as it fell, and he felt something, a stirring... like the indefinable emotion that wells up in the chest along with the sweep of an orchestral crescendo.
He had stared at the corpse for some time afterwards, still marveling at how instantaneous and absolute the change was – from alive, talking, scheming, walking around to nothing, a heap of decaying organic matter. Just an object now, with no more power or influence in the world than a rock or a coffee table or a trash can. Amazing.
But it wasn't enough somehow.
The first time he felt hot entrails slithering through his fingers as the victim still uselessly flailed and babbled on the concrete floor the stirring feeling came again, much sharper than before.
There are things that are much more terrible and more intimate than any sex act – and he has done them all.
The thing with Superwoman, it wasn't about sex. Not for him and not for her – for her it was simply 'I'm getting away with this because I can'. She was determined to have an affair just to prove that she could have anyone and anything that she wanted.
He had been genuinely surprised when she first kissed him. As he watched her perform the act of seduction – the looks from beneath her eyelashes, the sweeping back of her thick, dark hair – he wondered why she had chosen him. What did he represent to her? Betrayal, he decided, a big 'fuck you' to Ultraman.
Well, he was up for that.
Their physical encounters were nothing more than acts of regular maintenance (sex being, unfortunately, the sine qua non of an affair). It was always more athletic than it was gratifying: he didn't concentrate on anything except working up a sweat. She would scratch at his broad shoulders and mutter cut-and-paste porno dialogue like "you want me, don't you, stud?" and "come on take me, you animal!" and he would do his best to tune it out. Half the time he didn't achieve orgasm, and when he did it was through imagining other people and scenarios.
Often these visions were of the freak, the bad comedian. He especially loved to replay the moment he had marked him – recalling the supremely good feeling of the bladed knuckle duster cutting through flesh and extending the lines of the smile, blood streaming onto his hands and making them slippery. Who's laughing now?
Violence was all in the details.
Sometimes he would remember the look that came on in the comedian's eyes just seconds before he passed out – the bewildered expression he had worn throughout had suddenly died, a new demented certainty taking its place as he spluttered and choked through all the blood: 'HA HA HA!', spraying flecks of it onto Owlman's lips, which he had then licked, almost unconsciously.
This memory alone was usually enough to get him there, shuddering and biting his partner's shoulder to stop himself from groaning out 'freak, you fucking freak!'.
Lois would take the credit, lying back and smiling with self-satisfaction.
Once he had the freak at his mercy, pushed into a corner with his back literally against a wall, the blood trailing from his split lip looking almost black in the dimness. Owlman remembers his long shadow falling across the freak's pale form, the grin spreading inexplicably across that ruined face and some facetious aside about 'bleeding again – what's up with that!'.
He doesn't know that he would have killed him. Not right away, anyhow.
The freak's friends turned up and spoiled it, so he'll never know, but often he dreams about the limitless possibilities of that moment.
First he would have cuffed him to something sturdy, he thinks.
After that the fantasies tend to diverge, depending on his whim...
Sometimes he traces his symbol into the freak's skin with the tip of a knife over and over, until the welts are raised and will chafe against his garish clothes.
Or he tortures him for names, then kills everyone the freak has ever known, touched, passed by in the street; leaving him all alone at the centre of a crop circle of corpses.
Sometimes he makes it so that the freak is broken; so that he crawls on all fours and lays his head in Owlman's lap. Owlman brushes his gloved hand through tacky strands of purple hair and tells him in a low voice what he wants; then the freak obeys.
Sometimes he dreams that the freak is curled up like a dog at the foot of his bed, waiting for his master to come home and feed him, and pet him, and chastise him – to give his pathetic existence meaning.
But always, after he has reduced his adversary to a slave, he plays the fantasy out from its beginning again, so he can experience the thrill of hearing the freak saying 'no' and laughing at him.
He wishes he could do it in real life – kill the freak and then summon him back from the dead in order to perpetuate an endless cycle of torture and resurrection, of breaking and remaking – yielding by turns both acquiescence and defiance.
Sometimes – not often – it's something more conventional he thinks of. He unpeels the varicoloured clothes discovers all the hidden places where the freak is soft and vulnerable. He hurts him, but not too much – only enough to make bruises begin to bloom and a little blood run, for visual effect, mainly (his fantasies are always graphic). He doesn't usually picture a context – the wheres and whys and hows aren't important – but it always feels real and immediate...
Sex – simply the push and pull of two bodies. Clacking teeth and wet mouths; a cock trapped against the taut muscles of his belly. Just to rock his hips and penetrate deeper into a heat that clenches around him...
So ordinary a desire it almost embarrasses him to entertain it.
He sees the tendons flex in the freak's neck and the rolling of his eyes, damp strands of purple hair clinging to a white temple. He imagines for a delirious moment what it would feel like to have bare hands clenching at the shifting flesh of his back, for his adversary to urge him closer, to want him.
To not laugh for five fucking minutes. Or to laugh, but at someone else for once.
To want him. That part is important, somehow – it makes the blood pound in his head.
It would prove something – though what exactly remains elusive.
In the Crime Society they mockingly refer to Owlman as 'the detective' when they think he is out of earshot.
Salvatore Maroni used to smile whenever he saw him, opening his arms and calling out: "here, Brucey my boy, come and sit by your Uncle Sally!"
He recognised Owlman's potential back when no-one else did.
"You listen to me kid," he would say, lightly tapping Bruce's cheek with his fingertips, "you're gonna go far in this racket, you know why? 'Cause you're always watching. You know everybody's business – what they want, where they've been, who they know... you watch long and hard enough and you'll see their weaknesses. And then you'll take 'em down, am I right?"
Then he would laugh, and Bruce would offer him a juvenile smile and say "sure thing, uncle Sally."
And even though when it came time he had so many people in Maroni's circle that any hour of the day or night he could've put in a call and the guy would have been dead within five minutes, he paid Sal the honour of killing him personally.
"It's business," he said. He likes to think that the other man respected that, even though he was too busy trying to hold his slashed throat together to give his successor a benediction.
Maroni was right – he has always been a watcher, a detective. He does his research.
There are things he knows about the freak that he thinks no-one else does: his eyes aren't really green; they're hazel, but in certain lights they absorb the colour of his emerald jacket. One side of his facial scars has healed differently from the other, so when he smiles it's always lop-sided.
Owlman keeps files on him in his database: a tap of his computer keys will bring up an array of grainy images caught on CCTV. His real name is Jackie and he was born in a tenement in the narrows. His father had convictions for DUI and child neglect – Owlman probably would have gotten around to killing the bastard had not cirrhosis done the job for him just weeks before he finally managed to track Jackie Snr. down.
There are hardcopy files, too, a whole filing cabinet drawer of them. He has a playbill from every night the freak played a gig – he sent henchmen to collect them from the offices of local comedy clubs then had each and every establishment burned to the ground.
A blood-stained report written on carbon paper says that a hospital psychiatrist diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress and a possible bipolar disorder, recommending he be remanded to a secure psychiatric ward for his own safety, but the freak absconded from intensive care after ripping out his own stitches.
None of these things satisfactorily explain to Owlman why the freak won't stay the fuck down when he smacks him; why he alone has the tenacity to keep springing back up like a clown-faced punching bag.
Or why he doesn't try to erase or hide those shameful, ugly slashes on his cheeks – instead highlighting them with lipstick.
He has just made particularly uninspired love to Lois in one of her apartments in Metropolis when his cell phone rings. His contact at the Gotham Gazette informs him that the Jokester has just hijacked a local television network.
When he starts to get dressed, Lois shoots him a murderous look. "You're going, just like that?"
"Sorry, weren't you done?" he sneers at her. "Did you want to cuddle or something?"
"Fuck you, Bruce," she retorts with a sort of bored malice.
He looks over at her, taking in the vertical lines made between her eyebrows by her frown, the ugly set of her mouth. He should be placating her and reassuring her that she is desirable, but he doesn't have the patience. He will deal with the consequences later.
He pulls the bottom half of his suit on, hating that Lois is watching him. There is a dull ache in his loins because what little arousal he had earlier has long faded, but he remains unsatisfied.
Then he thinks about the fact that within a couple of hours his fist will be connecting with the freak's laughing face, and suddenly there it is again - the familiar stir.
Chapter 3: Placeholder
'Now Owlsie, I don't believe that you really, uh, counted to a hundred his time.' A two-player game on the streets of Earth 3 Gotham.
Uncensored clown porn. PWP, dub-con and hints of BDSM. Because Owlsie is not a nice man.
A man in a green velvet suit hurries along a flat roof. He pauses to shake the drenched purple locks from his eyes and a tongue darts out to lick a circle around pulpy red-painted lips; then he disappears over the side of the building, sliding down a fire-escape ladder with his feet braced on either side. When he reaches the bottom, he shifts his grip to catch the last rung with both hands, then swings back and forth, building up enough momentum that when he lets go he lands on the lid of a dumpster with a resounding clang. From there it is an easy hop to the ground.
The figure dusts himself down and gives a quick glance around, then stands with his shoulders hunched and his head cocked to one side, intently listening for any sounds which might overlay the ever-present ones of traffic distantly rumbling and the dull hiss of rain on asphalt. He pauses, hearing something, perhaps – or maybe feeling something: a tell-tale rush of air. A secondary grin spreads across his face within the brackets of his grotesquely elongated mouth and suddenly he is off again – as fleet as an urban fox.
His boots click rhythmically on the pavement as he weaves his way through the decaying boxes and overflowing trash cans which strew the alley, as if Mother Gotham herself has decided to add tension to the pursuit. His green overcoat streams out behind him as he runs, trailing and billowing like his incessant laughter.
As he turns a corner and passes within the compass of a street lamp his white-painted face seems to flash into being for a moment, until a long, strangely angular shadow falls across it and blots it out. Still running, he shrieks and throws his hands up in mock-horror before a shape composed of greys and inky blues hits him from above, propelling him against the pock-marked brick outer-wall of an abandoned tenement.
Winded, he tries to laugh, but it comes out like a series of dying gasps. A gauntleted hand seizes the fabric at his throat, lifting him so that his toes dangle an inch off the ground.
"You're mine, clown."
The smaller man's voice comes out choked, but the tone is sardonic: "now Owlsie, I don't believe that you really, uh, counted to a hundred his time."
"Shut up." A square, masculine jaw is visible beneath the mask, with its ridiculous pointed ears and nib-like nose. A thin-lipped mouth twists into a snarl as the other man is lowered back onto his feet; the grip on the yellow shirt collar relaxes.
"You didn't peek between your claws, did you? Naughty, naughty."
"You just weren't trying hard enough."
"Well ya know, it's not like I can fly. And it's kinda hard to be in-cog-nito in this get-up," the clown rolls his eyes to indicate the outlandish outfit he wears. "You wanna call it a dress-rehearsal and take it from the top, big guy?"
"No. It's good enough... for now." As the words are spoken, the clown is roughly turned and shoved face-first into the wall. "Now get your pants undone before I tear them off."
The command provokes a slightly muffled snigger and the metallic jingle of a belt buckle. The hushed sound of fabric hitting the ground yields the sight of bare white skin and the aggressor steps back as if to admire before reaching up to touch. The eyes behind the mask are so obscured as to seem sightless, but the a tilt of the head shows that they avidly follow the path of the caressing hands. The finger ends of the gloves narrow into curved points, their tips coated in steel, drawing trails of pink in their wake as they map the lines and curves.
The clown arches and bends in response to this attention, his eyes rolling and showing pink at the corners like those of a whipped horse. The tongue appears again as he comments: "like it rough, huh? Not that I'm complaining... I mean I like a little–" a yelp and a deep groan as metal tips dig into the flesh deeply enough to produce five thin trickles of red.
A hissed retort: "I don't give a fuck what you like, freak. Stop running your goddamn mouth before I fix it so that it needs to be wired shut for the next six months."
The threat prompts another giddy laugh.
The gauntlets come off and are abandoned on the ground, one bared hand going to the assailant's own belt, the other to the clown's jaw. A thumb traces the path of the scar, digging deeply into the furrow and running up and down: there is something almost fetishistic about the way the action is repeated. The masked man grunts quietly, the other hand unseen as it works at something behind the screen of the cloak.
A half-glimpsed movement, then a moment of frozen inaction; the clown's head thrown back and spine curved inwards, the larger man caught at the apex of shoving his hips up and forwards. One groans deep and fervently and the other lets out a soft throaty whine, then both begin to move, the slighter man seemingly content to let himself be pushed, pulled and directed by the movements of the more active participant.
The taller, broader form almost eclipses the other completely, the only details remaining visible are one white knee and straining calf stuck awkwardly out to one side, a trembling green-gloved hand pressed to the brickwork and a sweaty forehead coated in greying foundation where the black and white have run together, to which a purple kiss-curl stubbornly clings.
"Look at you," thin lips twist into a triumphant smirk next to the clown's ear. "You want it don't you? Want me to give it to you..."
The other makes a swallowing sound and seems almost to struggle for a second – though the action is useless, since the body behind him is hardly less solid and immovable than the building against which he is pressed. In response the masked man smirks and presses closer, grunting in satisfaction as he flattens the clown against the wall.
"... Sick, pathetic little comedian," he growls, slipping two fingers between the garishly painted lips as if seeking a new way to violate the body before him. The gravel and barbed wire voice seems to warm, becoming almost tender as he pauses his movements to whisper: "you know what's funny? I could kill you right now – snap your fucking neck... if I wanted to." The fingers come out of the clown's mouth, straying to the scars again and kneading the flesh there as if it is something that can be moulded into new shapes, like clay. "You like that don't you? Getting my full attention..." the emphasized word is accompanied by a hard thrust, the larger man sounding breathless now as he hisses: "it's what you've wanted all along."
"Ye-ah," the clown replies in a curiously flat tone. He tosses his head imperiously, glancing back over his shoulder as he moves his hands apart to get enough purchase on the wall to regain his footing and push back.
The alley echoes with the grunts and heavy breathing of both men as they move together in a brutal, mindless rhythm, as if determined to remind themselves that humans are only a species of animal.
"Say it, say it you worthless... little... freak," each insult is punctuated with a undulating roll of the hips.
"Say it. Say who owns you, who you owe your miserable little life–"
The answering voice is steady, with just a hint of artful quaver at the end: "you!"
"Yes, that's right... good boy." The rhythm picks up again. "Tell me what you want..."
The tone becomes sobbing and histrionic: "Use me, fuck me, please –"
The masked man slumps forward and shudders, the hand slipping from the scars to clench around the bare white throat: "mine."
There is a moment of stillness – the only sounds that can be heard are soft panting and distant traffic. The larger man slowly eases himself back upright, placing a steadying hand to the small of the other's back as he fixes his costume, once again screened by his cloak. He steps back and touches the scarred flesh again, brushing his fingertips lingeringly against the insides of the quivering slim thighs.
"That excited you, didn't it? Hmm? Let me see." The larger man moves back further in order to give the clown room to turn. He pulls the shirt tails apart to expose the way the other man's cock lies up and against his belly, slapping the underside of it lightly with the back of his hand. "Yeah, thought so – you're a fucking fag for me, aren't you?"
"Yeah, for you," the other repeats, as if prompted.
The hand reaches out, then draws back again. "Beg for me to touch it."
The face twitches as if it wants to smile and the green eyes narrow, glittering. "Oh puh-leeease. Pretty please."
The masked man looks infuriated – he corrects the response with a backhanded slap that splits the clown's bottom lip. In response, the clown spits blood at his assailant, aiming for the portion of face left unguarded by the mask and succeeding in spattering the bright red fluid all across one cheek and the corner of a stern-set mouth. A large hand wipes it away reflexively before lunging out to grasp the smaller man's throat, lifting him off the ground again.
"Such a small thing... and yet, so much trouble," the lantern-jaw clenches with a kind of grim pleasure and the covered head cocks to one side. "Tell me, why is it I haven't killed you yet?"
The clown pretends to consider the question, letting his tongue dart out again and interrupting the rhythmic, slow drip, drip of blood from the pinnacle of his ragged lip. "Gee, I dunno big guy, maybe you're just... senti-mental."
The larger man sets the clown back on the ground, then kicks his feet wider apart, leaving the narrow hips canted outwards and the long torso curving in on itself, shoulders braced against the wall. The hand on the unevenly make-up stained throat relinquishes its grip to slide upwards so that the fingertips can find the scars again; almost as if drawn there magnetically.
"Ungrateful little bastard. Remember, I gave you purpose. I made you who you are." The clown closes his eyes and nods, one of his hands curling around a flexed bicep as his assailant adds: "now, are you going to be good, or do I have to cut you a new smile?"
The threat makes the other man shiver in a way that doesn't entirely suggest fear, but he achieves a better approximation of sincerity this time, his grey-black eyelids fluttering and his voice low and throaty: "please."
The masked man spits into his palm and reaches down to close his fingers around the cock which is still hard and twitching against the tails of the garish yellow shirt; the thickly-muscled arm jerks as his hand squeezes and tugs in a rhythm which seems like it must be too rough to bring pleasure. The other man lets out a long, high whine, his brow-lines deepening and mouth falling slack, the very red tongue making its inevitable appearance.
The growl becomes soft and darkly intimate: "Is this what you think about at night when you're all alone, hmm?"
"When you're touching yourself?"
"What do you do – tell me how you do it."
"Hand on my cock, like that... a little tighter, ye-ah. Fingers inside– oh, fuck!"
"Ah! Oh yeah, fuck, just there..." he hisses and then makes a curious, deep sound in his throat that is almost inhuman, eyes screwing shut, throat bobbing as he swallows. The hand on the bicep clenches, the other slides upwards over a broad shoulder to touch the angles and planes of the mask, brushing over the point of one earpiece. "Please."
"You don't get to give orders."
"Please, it's so like... I need the voice, I can't–"
"... can't get off unless I tell you you're a sick, dirty low-life–"
The larger man steps back as the clown slides down the wall to sprawl on the rubble-strewn ground. He shakes fluid from his fingers in a brisk motion and stares at the other man for a long moment before telling him: "cover yourself up – you're disgusting."
The clown half-heartedly rearranges his clothing, shifting his weight to pull the green velvet trousers back up before relaxing back into his former position: slumped with his legs apart. "Soooo... are we 'done' now?"
The masked man turns his back. "What do you think?"
"It's okay to, uh, break character then?"
"You're a lousy actor anyway."
"You seemed pretty into it," the other comments, scratching at his hairline before pulling the purple wig off and throwing it on the ground, then searching inside his jacket for something and coming up with a cigarette packet.
The masked man turns back to him and watches inscrutably as the other begins combing out strands of stringy green hair with his fingertips. "I had to use my imagination."
"You have an imagination?" the clown raises his white-caked eyebrows as he strikes the flint of his lighter and puffs out wispy strands of cigarette smoke. "Wow, the differences really are amaaazing!"
Owlman stands on the corner of a block and barks "twenty-fifth and Wilkes-Booth" into a cell phone before snapping it shut again.
The Joker slowly approaches, his eyes half lidded and his cigarette smoked down almost to the filter. He observes: "this city smells different to mine, you know – more rotten... and the people – they all have this look in their eyes like, heck, there's just no tomorrow!" he laughs, brightly. "You must've really done a number on this joint - somehow you beat the Pollyanna right out of it."
Owlman grunts in acknowledgement of the compliment and folds his arms over his chest.
The Joker stands beside him, then bobs onto the balls of his feet and back down again, giving the other man a sly, sideways glance. "Sooo... what was all that about? Y'know, the 'who's your daddy' schtick... that kinda thing really gets you off, huh big guy?"
"Ya know... speaking of which, it's kinda un-flattering having to dress up as some goody-two-shoes version of myself just to get some action... I mean, what's he got that I don't?"
Owlman turns his head, his lips quirking into another of his snarl-smiles. "Self-respect."
"Oh, I seeee," the Joker retorts, raising a finger to his chin and inclining his head in an attitude of thoughtfulness, "because no self-respecting person would actually want to fuck a creepy stalker like y–"
A fist flies out, connecting with the clown's face with a sharp crack. The Joker sprawls on his side on the pavement for a moment before groaning and rolling onto his back, raising a hand to rearticulate the hinge of his jaw. He spits blood and laughs again, his eyes bright and vicious as a knife slips from his sleeve into his palm.
"You know, I like you Owlsie, I really do. You're so... un-in-hibited!"
A/N: [AKA cracktastic epilogue] 'meanwhile, on a rooftop nearby...'
Jokester: Hey, hey, what's going on down there? Yo Bruce, make with the spy-glass.
Jokester: Are they making fiendish plans? I can lip-read... sorta. Come on, let me see! I won't break your stupid bat-noculars.
Jokester [grabbing binoculars and almost strangling Batman with the strap] OH MY GOD!
Batman: ... [quietly] I know.
Jokester: WHAT AM I DOING?! Oh my God nooooo, don't let him put that THERE!
Jokester: [soberly] That's the most sick, twisted and evil thing I've ever seen.
Batman: Fiends like the Joker will stop at nothing.
Jokester: He can't get away with this. I mean, does he really think he can pull off green?! And those boots are all wrong – mine have a cuban heel!
Jokester: [cocking head to one side] Well, whaddya know – I guess old bird-brain really isn't compensating for anything... won't be able to use that joke again. [pause, as he looks at Batman speculatively] So... I'm pretty sure I have a purple suit at home somewhere.
Batman: ... You're not proposing–
Jokester: Oh come on... don't be such a prude, Brucey!
Batman: I hate this reality. [sobs quietly in existential despair]
Jokester: [brightly] Would you prefer a nurse's uniform?