You and The Joker just finished eating dinner in front of the TV, trying to ignore the depressing news that shows the death toll climbing each day since the virus killing everybody once they turn 40 was unleashed upon the overpopulated Earth 12 months ago.
The King of Gotham is quietly sipping on his grape juice, debating if he should tell you or not; he’s been struggling with the decision for a while and being the way he is doesn’t help the matter.
“Pumpkin,” he starts the conversation,” did I ever mention my birthday is on July 13th?”
“Hm?” you turn your head towards him, not sure you heard right; you had a huge fight this morning and barely managed to patch things up enough to tolerate each other’s presence by night fall.
“You always wanna know when my birthday is and I’m telling you now it’s on July 13th.”
He keeps on staring at the TV, disregarding your gaze that seems to burn through him.
Why is he suddenly sharing such an intimate detail? You tried several times to get it out of him without any reaction besides that of him getting mad and emphasize it’s none of your business. Unless…
“J…” you hesitantly ask. “How old are you going to be?…”
The Joker takes another sip from the can before placing it on the coffee table and nonchalantly enunciates:
He hears you sniffle it’s not difficult to predict you’re going to burst into tears in a few seconds.
“I’m only saying this because I didn’t want to drop dead without any warning; I’m sure you would hate me forever and we can’t have that happen: I do the hating part. That’s a sacred rule.”
And there she goes, he sighs as soon as Y/N begins bawling her eyes out next to him on the couch.
“…July 13th is in…in 5 days,” you manage to utter while crawling on his knees, your arms tightly going around his neck. J doesn’t stop you and actually hugs you back even if he promised himself he won’t tolerate any kind of emotional rubbish from his girlfriend.
“Yeap, coming up,” he buries his face in your shoulder, inhaling the perfume he likes and for some reason it’s not very comforting today. “You have three more years to go so make it count, ok?”
Y/N can’t stop crying and plans to blur out a million sentences yet the disclosure is overwhelming for the heartbroken woman.
“W-why didn’t you…” and The Joker can’t understand the following word but he comprehends the meaning.”…earlier?”
“I didn’t share earlier since it would have been atrocious to watch: when you cry you get these wrinkles in the middle of your forehead. Uggghhh”, he shrugs with fake disgust. “It makes you… how should I put it nicely?… Super ugly! For 5 days though…I believe I’ll be able to endure it.”
Y/N’s faint snorting noise prompts his smile too, aware she is not fighting back the stupid remark like she would usually do and that’s fine with him.
“P-please don’t leave me,” you kiss his cheek and cuddle to his body, panicking at the thought he’ll be gone in a few days.
“I don’t have a choice, Pumpkin. Nobody does. Not anymore. It’s inevitable and you’ll have to deal with it…”
“What am I supposed to do without you?” you bring up the painful fact bound to become reality in such a short notice it physically hurts.
“Survive,” the candid reply advises. “You’re The King’s Queen so live for both until your time will come.”
J wishes to elaborate on the topic and you cover his mouth, upset.
“You’re not a King and I’m not a Queen. We’re just a man and a woman that screwed up over and over again; still…here we are. That’s it…That’s all there is…No King and no Queen,” you shake your head in denial. “Only us…” your voice dims under the burden of grief.
Your fingers slide off his lips, revealing a stunned Joker that seems to see his girlfriend for the first time. How come he didn’t realize sooner?! She loves him. She really does.
“Only us…” J repeats in a trance, pulling Y/N into a soft kiss that somehow feels more intimate than everything else they did before.
You glide your hands down his chest, the way you grind against him making it clear you want more than a make out session.
“Does this mean you’re not mad at me for the moment?” he tests the waters although the answer is logical.
“U-hum,” you take your t-shirt off and The Joker gropes you, the typical mischievous smirk lacking from his part: he just wants you close. Despite vehemently denying the hunger for your touch, the thought gives him an unexpected sense of loneliness. When all your life you’ve been nothing more than a walking contradiction, it’s hard to battle the inner demons caging your desire to the point of no return.
That’s why J wipes your tears and doesn’t have a smart ass comment regarding the smeared mascara: he craves the distraction with such intensity it makes the rest fade.
“I have some requests,” you whisper and he stares into your eyes, kind of lost and finding himself unable to resist the tempting lips pouted one inch from his.
“Oh yeah?” the curiosity takes over.
“No fighting,” you trace the tattoo on his abs and The Joker never agreed to anything faster:
“I want to talk about stuff we never talk about…”
“I want us to make love as much as possible,” you negotiate wondering if he will fuss about the spontaneous list summarized in a hurry.
“OK,” The Clown Prince of Crime consents without arguing to your terms because the truth is he has no intention to do so today.
“And I want some sort of proof that you like me,” Y/N boldly demands since he unfortunately indicated the opposite on numerous occasions in the past.
J frowns, not mumbling the OK you are expecting. The awkward silence continues and The Joker notices how hard you’re trying to hide your disappointment when actually he’s straining to conceal his own emotions. He shouldn’t indulge the urge of making you happy before it’s too late, yet the demons in his mind are quiet now: the accidental clarity could make a person finally act against their usual judgment.
You watch him pass his fingers through his locks, confused when he brings the longer strands in the front of his face. J carefully plucks one green hair out of his head, gesturing for your left hand. You hold it up and he twists the neon colored token at the base of your pinky, explaining his action while finalizing the project with a couple of knots:
“I guess you can say you have me wrapped around your finger.”
The girlfriend’s stunned expression is certainly worth the trouble of affirming it loud; The Joker savors the outcome and you take off your bra, tossing the lacy garment behind the sofa:
“Abandon all hope Mister Joker,” Y/N’s instant evil grin changes the mood. “You belong to me now.”
“I can’t sleep,” you stretch next to him on the couch.
“Me neither,” he yawns. “Even if you exhausted me,” J adds, yanking you in his arms again. You kiss his collar bone, restless at the question about to echo in the stillness:
“Are you afraid?”
The Joker has no idea on how to verbalize his inner views on the matter, but he doesn’t leave you hanging either.
“Maybe …I’m not thinking about it…”
“I am,” you squeeze in the important topic he probably didn’t even consider. “I’ll be here for you when it happens, but when I die…I will be alone…”
J feels this sharp pain in his heart that makes him realize a critical element: he didn’t have the opportunity to weigh in what dying before Y/N will mean for her.
“I’ll be here,” he pecks your forehead and you cling to him, discouraged at the obvious lie.
“I promise I’ll be here, alright?”
“We are both aware how well you keep your promises,” you admonish in a way that doesn’t trigger his anger.
“I’ll keep this one, hm?” he reassures Y/N and she snickers at the impossible to fulfil vow, but appreciates his passionate response nevertheless. You nod a yes, drawing invisible circles on his skin.
“Do you want to dance on the terrace?” you suggest on a whim.
“OK,” The Joker quickly consents and gets up, grabbing the sheet from the floor. He takes your hand and guides you on the patio, unfolding the thin fabric as soon as you’re outdoors. Despite the cool breeze, it’s nice and warm in the middle of the night.
“No music?” you tease as he wraps both naked bodies in the sheet.
“We dance to our own tune, Pumpkin,” he winks and slowly moves while tightly hugging you.
“We always did,” you play along, brushing away the horrible sentiment of regret clouding the peaceful atmosphere.
“It’s a jungle out there,” J stirs the dialogue in order to address his concerns. “This whole virus business is turning the world upside down. You saw on the news they might release the antivirus sooner than anticipated, but there are no guarantees. You have to find a way to survive no matter what.”
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine…”
“After I’m gone, please don’t do anything… reckless. It won’t be easy, but you can’t give up.“
You know what he’s referring to and mutter:
“I won’t… I swear…”
J starts spinning faster, chuckling at your excited screams.
“Stoooop!!!!”you beg laughing, trying not to trip and fall.
“Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” he bites your ear and you squeal, jumping out of the sheet that’s sliding to the ground since he’s not holding it anymore.
“No,” you giggle and J lifts you up in his arms, delighted to have found a small piece of heaven in the hell surrounding the gloomy future.
“Good; there’s a first time for everything,” he abruptly halts for a kiss before reprising the crazy pace while Y/N can’t remember the last time the two of them had so much fun.
July the 13th, 8:45am
“I couldn’t help noticing you didn’t wish me a happy birthday,” he watches you comb your hair and the reflection in the mirror depicts a tearful girlfriend that struggles with so many emotions it’s difficult to speak. “I was hoping you’ll mention it while we took a shower.”
“Thanks,” The Joker simply replies and you finally put the brush down and attempt to flee the bathroom when he blocks the exit. “Are you avoiding me?”
“Ummm… I’ll make breakfast…” you sniffle and he glares at you, understanding your reaction for once.
“I was planning to have sex, but I might kick the bucket right in the middle of the activity and I believe you might take it personally although I don’t consider you boring in bed.”
“It’s not funny…” you scold and he agrees:
“It’s not because it’s not meant to be,” the harsh reality strikes a chord within Y/N. “It literally can happen at any moment and I don’t want to embarrass myself like that. Can you imagine? Rumors spread all over town that The Joker couldn’t finish.”
He detects the faint smile and sulks at your verdict:
“You’re an idiot.”
“That’s fucking rude,” he scoffs. “What if these are the last words I hear?! What if I check out precisely this second, huh?! Would you be thrilled that’s the last thing you said to me?!”
Instead of a sassy remark J gets a remorseful apology he wasn’t aiming for:
“I’m sorry… I don’t know what to do…”
“Me neither,” he sincerely underlines. “In the meantime, you should…” and pauses since he suddenly feels out breath, “you should make breakfast.”
“Are you OK?” you inquire, worried he almost lost his balance.
“I’m fine, just need my coffee to wake up,” he sighs and steps away from the doorway, heading towards the master bedroom.
“Aren’t you coming downstairs?” you catch up with him and The Joker tilts over for your support.
“I’m a bit dizzy; I’ll lie down until you finish the food. Don’t look so panicked: after I eat I’ll be better.”
You gulp and place him in bed, your pulse so enhanced it gives you the impression you’ll faint soon.
“You want some water?” you offer and he adjusts his pillows, collapsing on top of them afterwards.
“Yes,” J musters the strength to grumble, this weird sensation of total exhaustion creeping up in his brain.
You rush out of the room and bump into the bookcase, numb at the soreness. The Joker barely perceives your stomping, digging under the cushions for a small envelope he keeps in his fist for you to find in case you don’t return before he loses consciences. He wrote the note yesterday and it would be a shame to chicken out at the end and not proceed as planned.
“Here’s the water,” you barge in with the bottle and run by the bed, nervously touching his face. “How are you? Can you stand up?”
His eyes go in the back of the head and he tries to concentrate on your voice as it fades into nothingness.
“Hey, I’ll make your favorite pancakes,” you shake him, startled he won’t snap out of his apathy. “J, look at me. Come on, let’s go downstairs…Can you at least drink some water?” you start sobbing seeing he’s not receptive to your encouragements.
The Joker’s lips are moving without sound and you fall on your knees, scared to see him frantically breathing:
“I know, alright? I already know. All I ask is that you come downstairs and eat your stupid pancakes, deal?”
The Joker’s eyes are closing and he deeply exhales, releasing the small piece of paper that rolls on the floor. You don’t even pay attention to it, desperate to witness an event you aren’t prepared for.
When The Joker came into this world 40 years ago, there was nobody there to love the newborn; his own mother didn’t want him.
But when he passed away at 9:03 am on his birthday, someone that loved him was there.
Three years later – your birthday, 6:07am
You turn off the TV, annoyed they continue to depict the terrible results after to the official release of the antivirus last week: it’s not working and people are still dying. What did they expect by opening Pandora’s Box? So much turmoil on the streets, protests and demonstrations…
The governments will be voting tomorrow on implementing the martial law since the public outcry makes it impossible to contain the escalating damage after the huge failure they neglected to speculate.
Y/N drags her feet on the carpet, watching the snowflakes dancing outside the windows.
“We shouldn’t postpone this any longer…” you talk to yourself, removing the precious message The Joker left behind out of the hidden drawer on top of the fireplace.
You unfold the envelope, reading the hand written note for the millionth time:
Inside you’ll find my real name.
You’re the only one I trust with this.
Destroy the evidence.
You don’t glance at the name it contains and his memory immediately makes the isolation unbearable. You flick the envelope on the burning logs, enjoying the flames consuming the last trace of who he really was.
“Done… I kept my end of the bargain; where’s yours?” you lecture The Joker’s framed picture decorating the dinner table. “Liar…” Y/N pats her hands together, feeling cold even if the fire is very warm. The ticklish sensation in your fingers intensifies, making you shiver. You stare at your knuckles, no other jewelry besides the strand of green hair still wrapped around your pinky; it’s infinitely more valuable than any present J ever gifted you.
A gush of wind makes the curtains fly inward since the sliding glass doors leading to the terrace are wide opened. The sky is still dark, matching the general mood hoovering over Gotham these days.
You decide to take a stroll on the patio, this way you might be able to clear your mind from the impending doom you can’t escape. The snow squeaks under Y/N’s socks and the chill gets her out of trance since evidently she didn’t bring a jacket either. Another step and you stumble, finding it difficult to regain your equilibrium.
“Shit…” you choke on the strong air filling up your lungs.
Why is it so difficult to walk?
You take a seat on the nearest chair by the pool, not bothering cleaning up the snow; for some reason a break is more than welcomed at this point. You’re growing restless and try to disregard the anxiety building up in your chest: are you dying? Or is merely stress after living with this burden for so long?
Maybe if you shut your eyes and rest for a sec, you won’t be this tired. Yet the moon is shining so brightly it’s impossible to ignore; last time it was this beautiful you danced with the devil on an that unforgettable summer night. Seems like ages ago for the worn out Y/N.
What if you take a nap? Only five minutes. That should be helpful and then you can resume your morning routine because you refuse to accept this could be the end already. Your eyelids close, not realizing you don’t feel the cold anymore; it’s nice and comforting, just like the touch of someone you love.
You wiggle in the chair and rub your eyes, refreshed after the well-deserved snooze: hopefully you didn’t waste too much time from your last day on earth. Your gaze wanders off around the terrace and you suddenly freeze: there’s someone leaning over the railing, watching the city from the 30th floor.
You rise from your spot and hesitantly walk towards the person, gasping when you notice the familiar fur coat.
“There she is,” The Joker turns around to greet you, smirking when you cover your mouth in disbelief. “Told you I’ll be here.”
You can’t make a single sound and he opens his arms, waiting for you to run to him.
“You didn’t miss me?” he laughs at your baffled reaction, bundling the coat around Y/N as soon as she finds herself in his embrace.
“I did miss you; I missed you so much,” you inhale his scent and the smell of your favorite cologne confirms he’s truly there. You hug him so tight he would normally complain, but there’s no bickering coming out of The Joker. “I can’t believe you’re here,” you smile and he kisses your lips, whispering:
“You have me wrapped around your finger. Where else am I supposed to be?”