Bruce is functional when he’s compartmentalizing. He can handle being held at gunpoint as Batman with robotic discipline and self-restraint, even though if he were just Bruce with the metal of a barrel pressed between his eyes he’d panic and have… flashbacks. He can handle bodies and gore and stress and injury as long as he has the cowl on, even though as Bruce he has a very hard time sleeping through the resulting nightmares. And, somehow, he can manage to be in love with the Joker, even though the clown is a reformed murderer and the longtime archnemesis of the Bat. He just compartmentalizes, and suddenly it isn’t at all cognitively dissonant that he wakes in the morning to the warm gentle touches of his de facto husband, who is also criminally insane. Suddenly it doesn’t bother him that he can look in the face of the Clown Prince of Crime and yet, somehow, only feel affection and trust.
They’ve lived together for two years now. It is the happiest Bruce has ever been… and the ever-present darkness, the guilt for falling in love with an evil being, it doesn’t exactly detract from Bruce’s sense of fulfillment. There is a part of him, deep under the surface, that likes the wrongness of it.
One summer morning when Bruce has returned from his rounds as Batman, exhausted and precariously divided between one identity and the other, Joker presses something hard against the small of Bruce’s back through the loose cotton fabric of his nightshirt.
“J?” asks Bruce, tense. The room is still mostly dark even with the sunlight peeking through the blinds.
“This is – heh – this is a stick up,” Joker whispers through what sounds like a grin. “Hands up, buttercup. Forehead against the wall.”
“It is.” The pressure of the hard something against Bruce’s spine increases, nudging him forward.
It’s a. It’s a gun. Joker has brought a gun into their bedroom, their bedroom. And Bruce would be able to smoothly transition into the Batman mindset if this was a genuine threat, if Joker’s voice were shaky and fast like the old days, if he were having a manic episode, but. Joker sounds so calm, even sensual, and that sets Bruce on edge, that keeps him from retreating into his mental safe space of dark caves and armor. “Is this your idea of foreplay?” Bruce asks, keeping his voice level.
“Mmhmm,” Joker hums, and then giggles to himself, “Locked and loaded. Get the blood pumping.”
“I don’t like this,” Bruce says, and his throat catches on the last syllable so it turns up almost like a question, no, he thinks, I need to sound firm, “I don’t like this,” he repeats, “Please stop.” Joker’s right about one thing; Bruce’s heart is pumping faster. Not for anything good.
Then he feels Joker’s forehead come to rest gently between Bruce’s shoulder blades and the clown sighs out an affectionate, “Brucie... do you trust me?”
Bruce huffs a half-laugh. “Only as far as I can throw you.”
Joker snorts and nuzzles closer, “Hah! No, no, I’m the one who makes the wisecracks here. No stepping on my toes, darling.” A pause, and Bruce can feel the tip of Joker’s nose pressed against his back and the heat of Joker’s breath trailing down his spine. Joker finally repeats, gentler, “Do you trust me?”
Bruce swallows. Joker, with a gun. Does he trust Joker with a gun? He doesn’t want to offend him, but, “J… did you take your medicine this morning?”
Joker hums, nods, his hair scratching against Bruce’s nightshirt, “Yes, I did.” And then his lips press against Bruce through the fabric, and he says quietly, “Sweetheart, I promise nothing bad will happen. Please trust me.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“A hunch,” says Joker cheerfully, “A belated hunch about the type of man who enjoys sleeping with monsters, and what he might like in bed.”
“I don’t like this,” Bruce says, and his fingers are curling in the air, tense by his sides. “I can tell you I don’t like this.”
“You haven’t tried it yet.”
“Joker," snaps Bruce, and he can’t quite stand still, and the barrel of a gun is pressed right up against his spine and he can’t even see it, and all he can hear is echoes of phantom shots firing, loud like thunderclaps in his ears.
For a moment, Joker removes the gun, and Bruce breathes a little easier, but then Joker pulls back completely and all that Bruce can feel is the cool mouth of the gun pressing against the nape of his neck and – “What are you afraid of?” lilts Joker’s voice, softly. “Are you afraid of me?”
Bruce grits his teeth, rests his palms and forehead against the wall as Joker nudges him forward. “I’m not… afraid of you,” he gets out.
“No,” agrees Joker, “You’re afraid of the gun.” And Joker lazily slides the muzzle of the gun down Bruce’s neck to the knot at the top of his spine, and then down his shoulder, and with each slow centimeter of movement Bruce tenses further, his breath shorter. “Don’t worry,” Joker croons, and drags the gun back up to rest at Bruce’s neck, “it’s not going to hurt you.”
“It’s – it kills people.”
Joker chuckles warmly. “Not this gun,” he says, “This gun won’t hurt anyone. You know how I know that?”
Bruce holds his breath and shuts his eyes. Just endure it, he tells himself. He only has to last a few minutes and then Joker will put the gun down and they can talk this out, just keep still, it’s all going to – shit – it’s all going to be okay –
“I know,” says Joker, “because I’m going to pull the trigger right now.”
And suddenly the gun presses sharply forward against Bruce’s throat and Joker pulls the trigger.
Bruce shouts. He hears the shot go off – did he hear the shot go off? Was that his mind supplying what he thought he should be hearing? – and something warm and wet dripping down into his shirt collar and Bruce knows he must be – he must have been shot he must be dying, he’s waiting for the pain to come, and the hole in his throat to make it difficult to breathe and blood, blood everywhere –
There was no shot. There is no pain. He’s not dying. “See?” says Joker, smugly, somewhere, and with a whimper Bruce sinks to his knees, huddles against the wall, breath coming too fast and dizzy-sick.
It was just a water gun. If he opens his eyes he can see it, blurry in his peripheral vision, bright green and blue, a children’s toy.
“Never,” growls Bruce, “never do that again.”
Joker kneels down to the side of him, reaching out to smooth down Bruce’s hair and offer a crooked smile. “That was a double negative,” he points out, and then he leans forward to kiss Bruce.
Their tongues meet, mouths hot, Bruce’s panting breaths captured in Joker’s mouth. Joker hums into the kiss and presses even closer, smiling and sweet. Bruce pulls away and tries to push the water pistol out of Joker’s hand. “Put it away,” Bruce demands.
“No,” says Joker, “No, I want to-”
He jabs the gun against Bruce’s ribs and pulls the trigger again. Bruce’s breath hitches. Warm water soaks through his nightshirt and he whispers “Fuck ,” somewhere against Joker’s lips.
Joker grins and pulls back to look at Bruce, thoroughly amused. “What did I tell you?” says the clown, “It gets the blood pumping.”
“Motherfucker,” says Bruce, and his eyebrows knit tight. He can’t get in a full breath, his head feels crowded. “Stop,” he says, “Joker, you need to – stop. Put it away.”
“You’re still scared of it,” Joker slides the gun up Bruce’s chest, dragging the wetness along. “See, this is why I love you,” he mumbles and presses a kiss to the side of Bruce’s neck, “You’re still scared of it, even though it’s demonstrably harmless, because you, you know what it really is. Just cause it’s harmless doesn’t mean it’s not – doesn’t mean it can’t be – dangerous. ”
“You’re talking about yourself,” Bruce observes, staring at the dark ceiling, trying to get his breath under control.
“Bingo, smartypants.” Joker grins against Bruce’s skin and levels the muzzle of the gun in the general direction of Bruce’s nipple and pulls off the shot without hesitating this time – Bruce flinches, his whole body tensing in Joker’s arms. “That’s me,” says Joker in sing-song, “your toothless psychopath husband. Hah! Aren’t I quite the son of a gun?!”
Bruce pleads “Put it away,” and tries to let his earnest distress seep into his voice. He can’t think straight, he’s shaking, he doesn’t feel well, Joker isn’t listening to him and… Another trigger pull aimed at Bruce’s lower abdomen, and Bruce’s hips lift off the floor, water dripping down past the waistband of his pajama pants.
Joker’s free hand slips down to cup Bruce through the fabric. Bruce is soft, and he hopes that fact will somehow surprise Joker out of his reverie enough to quit tormenting Bruce, but… as it is, the friction of Joker’s hand makes everything go to shit. Bruce is hard within moments and canting his hips up into Joker’s hand. He can hear his own heartbeat in his ears, too fast, too fast. Joker slips his hand under Bruce’s waistband and takes his length in hand skin-to-skin, grinning up at Bruce all the while, the cat with the canary.
“Stop,” pants Bruce.
“Not yet,” Joker says. “All this adrenaline…” A firm upstroke of his hand over Bruce’s cock coincides with him pulling off a shot of the pistol right above Bruce’s heart – Bruce cries out again. “You like it,” Joker licks his lips.
It feels like a hundred volts to his system, over and over again with each spray of water against skin, each tiny twitch of Joker’s finger against the trigger. And now Bruce's cock is hard and weeping because at some point the fear turned into arousal and dear God, he is overwhelmed. Wound up too tight. Heaving breaths as Joker strokes him, far too close to the precipice for such a short amount of time. Reluctantly, Bruce nods to Joker,Yes I like it, even though he can’t manage to say the words out loud. Can’t manage to say much of anything.
He does. He likes it. Every time Joker pulls the trigger, Bruce can feel the visceral, phantom pain of a bullet wound. The sharp crack of the discharge, the way a split second can violently tear apart his skin and vital organs, gushing lifeblood onto cold pavement. And it turns him on. The fear sets his nerves alight like a chemical fire, noxious, searing arousal, bitter in his mouth. He wants to come.
Joker flushes, his eyes dilating as he watches Bruce squirm. “I want to ride you,” he whispers urgently, and that has Bruce nodding again, eyes shut, completely focused on the sensation of Joker’s fingers and the wetness seeping down his chest. Joker pulls away, but only for a few moments and Bruce falls back against the floor as he waits, dares to open his eyes and stare at the ceiling again. He lays there on his back, completely disarmed and panting. When Joker returns it’s with lube and a condom. He holds the handle of the water pistol between his teeth as he prepares Bruce. Joker, Bruce realizes in a way that makes his stomach curl with heat, has already prepared himself before Bruce arrived home. And Bruce can see Joker fucking himself on his fingers waiting for the Batman to return from patrol. So eager… planning everything so carefully, so maniacally. A hardly harmless son of a gun.
Joker sinks down onto Bruce’s cock and the colors of the world saturate around them like a fever dream. Both of them feel the urgency now, Bruce covering his eyes with his hands just to restrain himself from coming too soon, he can’t handle this, it’s too much, the tightness too warm, and-
And then Joker presses the gun against Bruce’s chin and Bruce makes a keening sound and slams his fist against the floor. God. God damn.
“It’s… It’s good, isn’t it?” Joker pants, grinning like a loon, “You love it.”
“Fuck,” groans Bruce, “Fuck yes.”
“Poor Brucie’s got a gun kink.” Joker slams his hips down, pulls the trigger against Bruce’s chin. The water streams down the sides of Bruce’s neck and he moans. “Oh honey,” Joker whines, “you’re mine. Mine.”
“Yours,” comes out of Bruce, worshipfully.
“Can I – Can I put it in your mouth?”
Bruce could scream. He could scream but he can’t even breathe. “Please,” he chokes out, nodding too fast, chin knocking against the plastic. Joker’s hips stutter and he clenches down around Bruce, taking in the sight of Bruce, eyes screwed shut, undone, waiting with his mouth open. Shaking. Tears running down the sides of his heat-flushed face.
Blind, and trusting. A million worlds away. Delirious fever dream. Aroused, yes , so aroused, but… terrified.
Joker bites his bottom lip and feels his heart twist. He slows his pace on Bruce’s cock, smooth and tight and the friction exquisite, drawing out the sensation. “It’s just… water,” he whispers to Bruce, although he doesn’t know if Bruce can hear him anymore. “Darling,” Joker says, and nudges the muzzle of the water pistol between Bruce’s teeth, “It’s… it’s just water. It won’t-”
Bruce moans around the plastic, lets it sink back into his throat, deep into his mouth, licking up the sides of it, every nook of plastic, eager and full. It presses against the back of his throat. His fingers seek out Joker’s hipbones, and suddenly Joker is pulled down to the hilt of Bruce’s cock and fuck.
He cries out; it feels like fireworks set off in his bones. “Yes,” Joker whines, “good , good, Brucie, so… so…” and he starts to laugh breathlessly.
He pulls the trigger of the gun, shoots water down into Bruce’s throat.
Bruce chokes on the water, can’t breathe, eyes rolled back into his head, he bucks his hips and comes inside Joker soundlessly, and with a squeal Joker comes as well, painting Bruce’s flushed chest and face with splatters of cum.
Time dilates. Joker stares between one breath and the next at this snapshot of a moment. Bruce’s body squirming between pale thighs, cock warm and and throbbing inside Joker. His sweat, his soaked wet shirt. The vulnerability of this position and the fact that Bruce allows it.
Joker loves this man. So much.
High in the afterglow, Joker just stays there for a moment, grinning. But Bruce squirms and throws Joker off of him with force, so he can roll over and cough, cough, and get the water out of his lungs. It drips from his trembling lips to the hardwood. When he manages a breath, he braces himself and whimpers “fuck,” in the general direction of the floor.
Joker, jolted out of his post-coital daze, reaches out for Bruce and pulls the shivering man close. Bruce doesn’t protest, collapsing against Joker’s abdomen, dead weight. Trailing fingers through Bruce’s hair to comfort, Joker muses aloud in a scratchy voice, “That was absolutely stunning.”
“God damn,” is the most eloquent thing Bruce can manage in response, still hoarse, wrapping his arms around Joker’s middle and nuzzling closer into the warmth of his lover’s stomach, pressing his cum-soaked skin into Joker’s shirt.
“You were lovely,” Joker coos, finally setting the pistol aside and petting him instead. Gentle, soft touches. “So good. So good for me.”
Bruce groans halfheartedly and tightens his arms around Joker. “Don’t… don’t you ever pull shit like that again. Give me a heart attack.”
“You liked it,” teases Joker, rocking Bruce a little roughly to cajole him to smile.
“Doesn’t make it okay,” Bruce mumbles, trying to belay the rocking by pulling Joker to the floor with him, to snuggle and shut their eyes a moment. Joker allows it, smiling still against Bruce’s shoulder.
“I guess…” whispers Joker, “I’m still a little dangerous.”
Bruce huffs, presses a kiss against Joker’s cheek. “Yeah,” he says, unenthused, “I guess you’re right.”