“Bats! Just the hero I've been looking for!” Joker sauntered over towards Bruce, his arms outstretched as if expecting a hug. Bruce snorted, pulling his cape around himself and giving off an aura that screamed touch me and I’ll punch you. When the clown saw his reaction, his usual smile fell into an exaggerated pout (then again, was there any part of the Joker that wasn't over-the-top?). “Bats,” Joker drawled, “We've known each other for ten years, and I don't even get a hug?” The clown placed a hand over his heart, the other fluttering up over his forehead. “I'm hurt!”
Bruce decided not to react to that statement, his fingers tightening its grip on his cape. The vigilante was starting to feel like a child about to present a project in front of a group of adults, and he couldn't, for all of his intelligence, figure out why. It wasn't like Joker had never acted dramatically before. In fact, Bruce was so used to Joker's over-the-top attitude that he would've been more surprised if the clown hadn't been acting up. Even so, Bruce still couldn't shake the anxiety, and he forced himself to focus on taking deep breaths. In his frazzled state of mind, he nearly missed what Joker said next.
Proffering a small box from his purple coat, Joker beamed. “You may not wanna give me my hug, Batsy, but that doesn't mean I can't spread the joy of Christmas!” The clown held the wrapped box in front of Bruce's face, the present obnoxiously close. Bruce eyed the present warily, deciding to follow the course of logic. There was no way in hell that he was opening a present from Gotham City's most notorious criminal. Bruce tore his gaze from the present so that he could give Joker the most skeptical gaze he could muster—
When he noticed that the clown was frowning once more. And it wasn’t even an act; as far as Bruce could tell (and he liked to consider himself a good judge of Joker's emotions), Joker was actually getting upset that Bruce wasn't accepting the rather poorly-wrapped present. If Bruce wasn't panicking before, he sure as hell was now. There were a million thoughts speeding through his head—what if Joker retaliated for Bruce not accepting his present, what if this was all just an act and Bruce just thought it was genuine because he was feeling out of sorts? But the most pressing thought in his mind was that he wanted Joker to be anything but sad. If it was anyone else, Bruce would've felt something akin to being heartbroken. Bruce made a mental note to visit a therapist later on. The tension dragged on at an excruciating pace, and Bruce decided to make up an excuse on the spot: “I don't have anything to give you in return.”
Joker snapped out of his pitiful state of melancholy, his jaw opening and closing in shock. Bruce was slightly amused by the fact that Joker was, for once, speechless. After another moment of wordless mouth movements, Joker began babbling, shoving the present at Bruce's Kevlar-bound chest. “Well, Bats, that's--There's no need—Was that a joke? It was an awful joke. You don't have to—you’re just—“ The clown ran one gloved hand through his bright green hair, sending his locks sticking out every which way. Bruce felt his heart warm at the sight as his anxiety neared its boiling point.
It took all of his willpower to stop himself from shaking. Finally, the clown managed to get himself back in control, his signature smile returning to his lips. “Well, Bats, what's a free gift between friends?” He held the present before him. “Merry Christmas, Batsy.”
Bruce hesitantly reached for the present, grabbing onto the green bow. Joker nodded with vigor, encouraging Bruce to open the present. Gathering up his courage, Bruce gingerly opened the present, and once he saw what was inside, Bruce could feel his blood rushing up to his face. Bruce slowly lifted the object out of the box. “What… is this?” Bruce felt his stomach tighten.
Joker laughed nervously, running his hand through his hair once more.
“They're handcuffs, Bats.” Bruce shot a glare at the clown, taking note of Jokers reddening cheeks. So even the Clown Prince of Crime had some decency. Bruce took another look at the handcuffs, which seemed to be the least intimidating pair in the world, what with the fuzzy cheetah print motif. He briefly wondered where the hell Joker got the fetish cuffs, then decided immediately that there were some things better left unknown. “They're to replace the ones I broke last night.”
Bruce felt himself blush brightly once more. He knew Joker didn't mean it (probably), but that didn't make the innuendo any less ambiguously sexual. Joker began to laugh and point at Bruce's expression and Bruce reminded himself that Joker had just given him a present, and it would be rude to punch the clown in the face. Instead, Bruce hastily shoved the handcuffs back into the box and tucked it under his arm. The faster he could hide it in the Batmobile, the safer everyone would be. Joker stared at Bruce expectantly, and just to get the conversation going, Bruce said, “Well, I've got to get you something now, so I'll just go and—“
Joker held up a hand, grinning like mad. “No need, no need. Although…” At this, Joker leaned towards Bruce. “If you really wanted to give me something, a kiss would be nice.”
Bruce would like to say that he came up with a sassy comeback, but reality had other ideas. Instead, Bruce flushed red, and the churning in his stomach began to exceed his limits. Just what the hell was he so nervous over, anyway? He was the fucking Batman, for god's sake! He felt like a high school girl talking to her crush--
Joker noticed Bruce's hesitation, and he rolled his eyes, sighing exasperatedly. “Fine, Bats, you prude. I'll find something else you could give me. Hey, some dynamite sounds good this time of—“
Bruce shoved all of his anxieties away, deciding that getting Joker to shut up for five seconds sounded good right now. So, his heart racing in equal parts excitement and agitation, Bruce pulled Joker into a deep kiss. After a moment, Bruce pulled back, smirking at Joker's quickly reddening face. “Merry Christmas to you too, Joker.”