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The Echo of You

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[Dear readers: New and old, before we begin please note chapters 1and 2 will be polished and reworked. Finally that rust on my writer's brain is starting to ware off so Im polishing these up before we get too deep. ;)]

 

 

 

 

‘Sleep in peace when the day is done, that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me
For me
Stars when you shine
You know how I feel
Scent of the pine
You know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
you know how I feel,
It’s a new dawn,
It’s a new day,
It’s a new life, For me

And I’m Feeling Good.’

 

Every muscle in your body throbbed and begged for rest, and If it were even the slightest bit within the realm of possibility you would have laid down right there on the street and slept. Even if you'd wanted to it would have been impossible. The trash strike had gone on long enough that the piles of garbage had grown until they toppled over to gather on the sidewalks. Worse areas spilled out into the streets becoming so dangerous that a rise in traffic accidents kept you pulling frequent double shifts to assist in the ER. Not to mention the fact that you'd only been able to leave work early due to the exponential rise in rioting. It somehow had flooded during the evening out into parts of the city a few miles from where it had started and been contained for the past few weeks.

The scene grew before you with a creak of heavy hospital doors as they slowly slid open and the horror and surrealism of it all settled in your chest and gripped it tight. That image….your eyes settled over the street in utter disarray, you couldn't fathom it, you knew it would be branded there behind your lids forever. A place where you kept many secret horrors, a photo album for your subconscious, scars on your memory. The place things no amount of suppression would allow them to be forgotten. Chaos unfolded in every which way, and the familiar street you took to work and back every day was unrecognizable. Debris scattered as far down as u could see, people ran screaming under the sounds of glass being broken, metal being smashed, and somewhere far enough away to almost be indistinguishable there was chanting and clapping. What the hell could have motivated the riots all the way to this lower-class neighborhood so far from the city center, was all u could manage to think before you heard the doors of the hospital close behind you, and click. FUCK! The key was in your locker, with your regular clothes, somehow you'd forgotten to go to get them before u left. Without further hesitation you found yourself having to head down the chaotic road leading toward your apartment. The brisk pace turned into a run as the riots began to surround you.

Even in the terror of navigating your way through it all, you recalled that when you left for your double shift at the hospital the previous morning the rioting was still focused at the heart of Gotham, the area made up of government buildings, elitist banks, and of course Wayne Enterprises. It was only an hour ago you'd heard that the rioting had spread to the entertainment district several city blocks from here, but last you heard was still being held at bay.

So that left you horrified as to what the hell was capable of turning the city on its head in such a short time. Up until you'd left the safety of the hospital walls you'd been soaring on the idea of nice cool leisurely walk before you got home and sunk into a bath. Any idea of leisure was replaced with a gut-wrenching fear that sent adrenaline flooding through your veins. The only thing you could think now was to just run, run as fast as you could and just make it home alive. The city seemed to go up in smoke and violence all around you and only got worse as you tried to find a safe way through the frenzy. People in clown masks were everywhere causing havoc, some held signs and screamed their protests others carried weapons and smashed anything in sight, panicked citizens like yourself sought refuge in desperation. Screams and sirens pierced the air growing in their already deafening volumes, and you ran faster and faster managing only to catch what seemed to be the aftermath of a violent car accident in the direction you’d been heading. A crumpled cop car was left smashed beneath an ambulance, both of which still somehow flashed their reds and blues despite being left abandoned. The smoke rising from both vehicles was thick in the air now and you tasted burnt oil and other chemicals as it filled and hit ur lungs with a force that threatened to bring you to your knees. You felt yourself suffocating, and your legs begin to buckle, but a deafening explosion sends fire and rubble flying everywhere from somewhere behind you, the force shaking the ground and sends you sprinting with everything you have left. Despite your eyes burning from the smoke and ears ringing from the blast you somehow steer yourself into a small dark alley tucked between two brick buildings, and you sprint until your as far from the street as possible. There you give out, praying as you crumple to the ground that you’d be safe for a moment. There you stay on your knees, chest heaving and gasping for oxygen which felt like hot knives scraping your throat and lungs....a few minutes pass until finally, the world began to stop from its erratic spinning.

As if it were no longer you at that moment you hear yourself begin to frantically laugh, which turns into hysterics, the sound is guttural, animalistic, and you can't stop it. The affliction only escalates until it had you gripping at your throat choking on your sobs and tears. The trembling slowly eases after several minutes and the laughter fades to hiccups. At last your panic was fading and your body was suddenly left numb, weightless and without bearings as if it were being swept up with all the fumes of the burning city and you push your palms into the ground, a dull pain digs into your fingertips while you claw at the gravel below. I'm alive I'm alive, I'm alive…. You repeat until blood begins to gather under your nails. “I'm real, I'm alive, I'm alive….” The whole situation felt so far away, but you were alive that's all that mattered, and suddenly you could feel every fiber of our body light up and vibrate with that notion. And a smile curves ur lips when u feel a sense overwhelming liberation from the exhaustion and fear that had almost crippled you until then. It was empowering, and something you hadn't ever felt before. And you basked in it until you were interrupted

“Alive is right Sweetheart.” A soft voice, confident but hoarse, yanked you out of your head and had you scrambling away on your ass and heels. Somehow you had missed the figure leaned up against the opposite corner of the walled-off alley, He stood in the larger part of a shadow but you could plainly see the outline of him lit up by a dim security light overhead. You shot to your feet, ready all over again to sprint for your life if so much as flinched in your direction.

But as you went to turn and take off before he had the chance to move the figure spoke again “Please wait-I..” His voice was ragged and the sound of pain pulled you to glance back at him, he was cut off as a cough shook him, and even in the dim light, you could see him falter from the force. You couldn't help but evaluate his stance for a moment, and what you could gather just from the way he held himself, was that he had been injured and it could very well be serious. Had he been in the car collision which left that mass of vehicles and wreckage in the street a ways back? If that were the case he was lucky to have lived. “If you’d be so kind, I could use your help. Y-your a doctor, is that right my dear?" He said holding back another cough. “I swear I won’t hurt you, I just need some patching up, and then I'll be off” He added with what almost sounded like amusement.

Something made you uncomfortable about the man, despite being wounded and barely visible, there was something in his voice which was vaguely distant and familiar, but felt off in every way. "The hospital is down that way,” you told him with a gesture, he didn't respond for a long moment and instead chuckled the sound strained, and you'd already realized in the same moment he had how idiotic you'd been. If he could have gone there by now he probably would have at least started that way, or at least asked you to help him get there, no this man had been hiding and not from the riots as she had been.

“Can't go to the hospital darlin’, or the police,” He couldn't hold back and lost it before even finishing the word police, his laugh was heavy with mockery and it cackled and stuck you with anxiety though you guessed that it was aimed at the police more so than you. The laughter was soon replaced by harsh coughing and blood leaked from his mouth. Of course, that was his response ...why else would he have asked you after clearly having hidden for some time in the dimmest spot of the dimmest alley. It was sheer coincidence, dumb luck, that a fumbling resident of Arkham stumbled right into his lap, and you felt extremely idiotic at that moment. You were still in your scrubs for fuck's sake, and you cursed yourself for your forgetfulness.

 

Before you could stop yourself you were already turning to face him completely, “ I'm no- I'm doing my residency over at…..” you paused realizing how stupid explaining anything was at a time like this. “ Almost, a Dr. Yeah,” you said shakily. You could just leave him there, it's not like he’d be able to stop you in his battered state, he'd be a burden just getting him to your home safely. He would have a hard enough time walking judging by his posture but even at the passing idea of ditching him there had you sick with yourself. You were never, not once, in your life the kind to just abandon someone in crisis. You knew too well it shouldn't matter who they were, what was in their past or how they acted. If they needed help it was your moral code to help them, so why let the burning garbage and the shit city keep you from doing what you believed was right just because you were frightened. You began to lift your hand and It was then he took a step forward and into the dim orange light flooding in from the street ablaze behind you, and you could start to clearly make out his features. He wore a bright red suit which, with a yellow suit vest speckled in blood, it looked tailored but now hung over his injured body messily. From what you could tell he had shoulder-length hair also in a total mess but the color was strikingly green, but none of that was anything compared to the most terrifying feature which was his face. It was thick with paint, sweat, and blood which had smeared and mixed. It bled color down his sharp almost gaunt features and you could barely make out that there was a man somewhere beneath the haunting image. The only assurance was the look in his eyes, you could barely make them out and initially you read that there was something in them that sent a shiver dancing up your spine, but it was the genuine plea silently shown in their intensity which kept you. That plea, plain and painfully written in them finally brought you to approach him and you offered him a hand which he took gratefully. He was in terrible shape and just hoped you could do enough to help him so he'd be out of your hands as quickly as possible.

He ever so gently gave yours a squeeze as if to say thank you. “Phew, I thought I was a goner” He sighed and leaned backward with a theatrical flourish, his free wrist pressed against his blood matted forehead. From under his hand, he stole a look at you, one that ate you up from your head to toes, making you swallow. Then straightening himself before sending you a wink accompanied by a grin that was far too wide to be one of simple happiness. “Where to my dear?”

Again this feeling of nostalgia took over you, at some point you'd known this man, or at least heard his voice enough to know for certain he wasn't a complete stranger. You'd forgotten he’d even asked you a question by then, and you looked up into his dark eyes to search for a person you could recognize but frowned, “What’s your name? You just seem so-...I feel like I know you from som.._” You blurted out, clapping your hand over your lips in a flash, but it was far too late. You needed to to keep reminding yourself about the fact that he was a criminal and didn't have any clue as to how dangerous he really was. Even if there was a chance you knew him, it would be insane to ask him who he was, not only would that make you a potential threat but would also put yourself in a position to be pursued by the police yourself. Just knowing who he was made you accountable for his actions until he was no longer in your care. You couldn't help but feel like what little control over your life you'd only managed to find for yourself over the last few years was slipping away before your eyes. Same cycle different day... you think to yourself and wonder if building a life simply to have some sort of control in it was even worth it. Your whole life had been fighting the things beyond your control, and hating yourself for trying when it came back to bite you more often than not. Perhaps control and your dreamy ideas of normalcy would only leave a bad taste on your tongue at the end of it all…. You weren't sure how long you both had stood there wordlessly exploring the other's eyes for answers. Not a sound between you could be heard but the air was thick with the sound of words that neither of you chose to speak, and god the look he gave you had a frequency all its own. As if he wasn't searching your eyes to find whether or not he did know you, but more like he was looking into them to see who you'd become. Like he was forming a list of ways you had changed for better or worse. This idea made you swallow hard, and you could suddenly feel how parched you were.

He must have picked up on your anxiety and discomfort at that moment and he lowered his eyes before turning away from you in a gracefully slow way as if he were leading up to a dance performance and he outstretched his arms as if there were an audience sat on the street “You can call me Joker. Since that is MY name.” he only turned his head to take a peek at you while choosing his next words, he took command of every syllable and stretched each with intention, letting them gracefully roll from his mouth in a seductive way that would pull anyones ear at full attention, “However, y/n, the old me you had known fairly well, in fact …” he paused and turned back to the way of the street. Before he spoke again he allowed his arms fall to his sides as if he’d become weak, “You knew him far more than most ever had or ever would ....” Joker’s words seemed to weaken as well and had lost their theatrics, the sound was barely more than a whisper and held an old sadness in it, one you knew so well. What the hell, why was it that you couldn't recall a thing, anything in your past that would help to remember! You had that sick feeling as though his name was about to roll right past your lips, so strong it made you ill not to be able to just say it.You opened your mouth as the right name started to form in your subconscious and was ready to be freed, but before you could even make a sound the feeling died as soon as it had started.

Both Joker and you were stricken with alarm when you picked up the very faint sounds of police sirens heading in your direction and growing in volume as they approached far too quickly. “Time to go!’ He said too matter- of-factly, his far too amused tone had found its way back into his voice and demeanor, and he hooked your elbow into his, “Now then, which way love?”

 

You wiggled free from his grip and let out a long sigh before heading toward the street you’d only just managed to escape moments ago, and guided Joker toward your apartment. You thanked whatever higher power that looked out for you that you had the weekend off from work. It took the better part of the night to navigate just a couple blocks while dodging cops and struggling through the aftermath left by the rioting. The closer you came to being at home the more a feeling in your gut grew, one that screamed your life wouldn't be the same again, and that this man was going to be the end of you.

 

 

x x x

 

First, sorry for errors, I had to type this out as fast as I could while the idea was hot off the ol'brain press. 
Second, that's it for this chapter, as for how our dear reader knows Joker, well I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

If you enjoyed the doodle and would like to see more in future chapters then feel free to let me know.  

   Thank you all for reading!♡

Song Quoted at the beginning: 'Feeling Good' By Nina Simone