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A Valentine Gift

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What do you get the saviour of the galaxy who has everything?

Joker had spent the last three hours surfing the inter-universe web, desperately looking for the right gift for Valentine’s Day. Nothing seemed quite right. Everything he looked at was either cliche, twee or overly fluffy and sentimental. None of those things would be a fit for Kira Shepard.

He thought about buying her a case of that ridiculously expensive whisky that she liked, but that would just seem like he’d made no effort at all. She wasn’t really into perfume or fancy clothes, and as for flowers? He’d bought her some once. She’d held them like they were a grenade with the pin out and drawled, “Gee, thanks for the dying plants.”

Lingerie? No, she’d accuse him of buying it for his own gratification. And she’d be right.

He found a site where he could buy a star and name it after her. He was tempted for a moment, thinking that they could have fun trying to find it and blow it up. Truth be told, though, Kira had seen enough stars to last a lifetime. They weren’t special any more.

“Gah!” He rested his forehead on the screen, on the verge of giving up, when the idea came to him. And it wouldn’t cost him a penny. All he would need was some paper, a pen and a stapler. Joker smiled, pleased with his plan.

Kira had cooked for him. That was her great surprise. She didn’t cook often, but when she did the food was always good. Hearty, filling food - steaks and casseroles and stews, full of seasoning and heavy in the stomach. She’d prepared a couple of enormous rib-eye steaks today, with fries which were crisp and greasy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inner. She’d made fresh slaw to go with it, and the whole plate looked like it had come from a restaurant. Joker’s stomach rumbled just looking at it.

There were candles, too. That was her attempt at being romantic. She’d forgotten to light them, which he found even cuter.

As they sat down to eat, Kira grinned across the table at him. “I’m still waiting for my present, Jeff.”

“Later,” he said with a smile. “I hope you won’t be disappointed.”

She snorted and shook her head. “Talking it up, I see.”

“You know me,” he said, “always modest.”

“So modest,” she agreed, “maybe the most modest person I know.”

“That’s what you love about me.”

“Oh, absolutely. That and your incredibly talented hands.”

Joker choked on his steak.

They reclined on the large squashy sofa, stomachs full, sipping wine.

“Here,” Joker said, passing over a large card. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Kira frowned. “Where’s the gift?”

“So impatient,” he said, rolling his eyes. “It’s in the card.”

“Huh?” She tore open the envelope, her eyes twinkling as she read the hand-made card. There was a crudely-drawn picture of a corpse dressed in black on the front of it, heart hanging out of his chest, with the inscription underneath: Roses are red, violets are blue, Kai Leng is dead, thanks to you.

Kira snickered. “A-mazing. Better than anything in the shops.”

“I never really did art at school but I thought I’d have a go,” Joker said. “And your reaction to that bodes well for the gift.”

“Ooh,” Kira said, opening the card hurriedly. A small white booklet fell out, on to her lap. She picked it up and began to leaf through. Joker watched her intently as her smile widened.

“You like it?” he asked.

“Like it? I love it,” Kira said, grinning up at him. “I’m gonna have to use some of these straight away.”

He’d put together a book of “IOUs”, each page a token that she could redeem from him for various things. He’d promised to clean her hamster cage, to take her out for an expensive dinner, and to let her watch TV all day without complaining about her choice of programme. There were tokens which promised that he would dress up as a maid and clean the house, and that he would cook dinner naked except for an apron. And then, there were tokens for other things entirely.

Kira’s eyebrows raised. She must have found one of those tokens.

“For as long as I want?” she mused, lifting up sparkling eyes to meet his. “Your tongue is going to seize up, my love.”

“A promise is a promise,” Joker replied, smirking.

Kira looked at him, her eyes narrowing. “You know I said I was going to use some of these straight away?”

“Uh-huh,” Joker said, his cheeks turning pink.

“Come on, you,” she said, unfolding her legs from the sofa and beckoning Joker to follow. “Bed.”

Joker saluted and eagerly trailed after her. “As you wish, Commander.”

Kira sighed happily. “Man. This is the best Valentine’s ever.”