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BatJokes Advent Calendar 2016

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It was just another night on patrol. There wasn’t much going on. Just the usual muggings and petty crime. Small things that Bruce never had to put any thought into stopping. Night was rapidly becoming day, and as the sun began its ascent higher into the heavens, rays of light reflected off of the skyscrapers’ windows and the freshly-fallen snow on the ground. It was such a calming image that Bruce would’ve stopped to admire if he wasn’t so dead tired. Bruce leapt the spaces between the roofs of buildings as he hastened to the location where he’d hidden the Batmobile. There was a thermos of hot chocolate in the Batmobile with his name on it.

Bruce quickly unlocked the Batmobile, flopping gracelessly into the driver's seat. He tucked his legs beneath the steering wheel as he reached to shut the door—

When someone slid into the seat next to him. Bruce cursed, quickly reaching for a batarang. The person next to him held his arms up, grinning in what Bruce assumed was supposed to be an innocent smile. Bruce doubted this person even knew how to smile innocently, though Bruce certainly had to give the other man five stars for effort. Bruce loosened the tension in his shoulders, but only slightly. “Joker,” Bruce growled by ways of acknowledgement. The Joker grinned, but he looked decidedly more exhausted than usual. The Joker's vibrant green hair was stiff and frozen in patches, and his normally finely pressed suit was ruffled and torn and sopping wet along the hem of his pant legs. Bruce also noticed that the Joker appeared to be missing his left shoe. Bruce decided that the best course of action was to stay silent on the matter of the Joker's appearance. Instead, Bruce inquired into a more relevant vein of discussion. “Why are you in my car?”

The Joker let out a bark of laughter, but it sounded forced even to Bruce. “Batsy, a girl's got her secrets, you know? Now, why don’t you be a true hero and drop me off someplace nice and warm?” The Joker smiled widely despite his voice sounding strained and rather thin.

“No,” Bruce replied immediately. The Joker pouted. Bruce felt… bad for his nemesis—he looked like he literally climbed out of a frozen river—but he still had to set boundaries, and going for a joyride in the Batmobile was one of them. “I'm not a taxi,” Bruce concluded, albeit a beat late.

The Joker sighed. “Fine fine fine fine, Batsy.” However, even as he said that, the clown snuggled even more deeply into the Batmobile's leathered seat. “Just let me warm up a little, Bats,” the Joker murmured, letting his exhaustion show in his voice.

Bruce reached over to shove the Joker out of his car when he noticed that the other man was shaking slightly. Bruce sighed and turned to reach for his thermos of hot chocolate. Bruce unscrewed the cap and handed the thermos to the clown. “Here. Drink this.” The Joker took the thermos with quaking hands, sniffing it experimentally. Bruce tsked. “It's just hot chocolate, Joker.”

The Joker looked at Bruce with an almost soft gaze before he took a sip of the hot chocolate. “Thank you, Bats.”

Bruce sat back in his chair. “Think of it as your Christmas present.” The Joker chuckled softly at that.

Bruce and the Joker stayed that way for a while, and Bruce memorized the calmness. It probably would never come again, and Bruce wanted to engrave this moment into his heart. He didn't know why, but the thought of having more moments like this with the Joker made his heart sing.

The sunshine cast its warm glow onto Gotham City, lighting the buildings and the snow in a beautiful array of warm colors.