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contagion (a landscape of twilight and thorns)

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It's always blood that leads her to the Joker. Like inkblots on a map, it forms a trail on the dusty floorboards of their latest funhouse.

Yo-Yo finds her in the tub – suit, gloves, shoes, and all. She's shaking, with mirth rather than pain.

It's contagious. Yo-Yo giggles, discarding boots and gloves. Funny to think that after years of studying her, Yo-Yo would end up as her confidante. True, she'd imagined a more clinical setting, but therapy sessions with the Joker were bogus anyway.

Now this, being allowed to strip her down, draw a scalding bath, and climb in behind her, this is the kind of intimacy she never could've dreamed of at Arkham.

"Did you ever want children, Yo-Yo?"

Yo-Yo's knees jerk against Joker's sides."With you?" she stammers. A flash of heat makes her skin prickle.

"Isn't it crazy to raise a child in Gotham?"

Loss of a child, the defining issue. How disenchanting it had been to uncover this mundane origin. Mother turned mad.

"By extension," Yo-Yo muses, cursing her own stupidity. The soap she's working into Joker's blood-caked hair is slowly turning pink. "I mean, staying in Gotham's crazy enough."

In the end, whatever had provoked this woman to snap mattered little in comparison to her mind's scintillating transformation.

"No one should be raising children here."

"It's irresponsible, isn't it?" Yo-Yo agrees, wondering if she's proposing to murder parents for this, as punishment. Or children, as an act of revenge.

Everyone should suffer like she did.