Ship: Joker/Harley, Batman's thoughts on the ship.
This was a prompt posted a while back.
Dark gloom and the white noise of talk. The usual words are exchanged. The same grimaces. The same cackles of discord. He has to admit that after a while it gets tiring. May souls forgive him but after a while…it gets numb. He is numb. Void of feeling…just floating. But then, the white noise pierces into pain. And the anger…the ANGER flares up again and the white face is strained underneath a black covered hand. And he wants to so much. He wants to. It makes him feel like glass inside and the stoic demeanor breaks and is turned into wrinkles of rage. All the lines that are so deep set they might as well be scars start to show, and it is revealed…he is human.
Then she pops up, always ready to defend it…him. Him, the white, writhing, naked pile now on the hard floor, the clothes in shreds. Under the sticky yellow light bulb the form wheezes and chuckles, a white pulp of tapioca…
“Puddin’!” The living doll speaks. The puppet.
Batman’s stomach recoils and spreads to a deep set area of his pelvis. His face is stone again, but it is not numb as before, he feels sick.
Harley Quinn grasps the wailing pale thing in her arms like a mother protecting her child. But this creature isn’t wailing in pain, instead it is a shrieking laughter that rattles off the walls. Off the bones. Off everything. She grasps at the alien like being as he slips between her arms. It is like trying to hold on to some natural force… like water…or air…or trying to hold …
“Puddin’…oh, it’s okay…I’m here…just breathe.” The loving form embraces firmly and caresses the smooth forehead…tight not with sweat but with the speckles of blood. The dark knight continues to stand there stricken…he isn’t entirely sure how The Joker from moments before became the bony limbs that now resemble a chicken carcass. He can still feel the tingling in his hands…in his knuckles. He isn’t entirely sure for how long he has been standing there either, because his knuckles are still tingling after what seems a long time. It seems that Harley has been comforting the soft shape for too long now. Or maybe it just seems that way. He can never stand the mere thought of anybody’s hands doing what Harley’s have done…what they were doing now.
The little porcelain figure holds her Mr. J…her Jesus…like the Pieta. Batman is brought back to a similar image. Of a place of screaming shadows and corridors. Young, bright, Dr. Harleen Quinzel. Big wet tears in her baby blues. Hate in her eyes. At him. Joker buried in her shoulder while he just stood there and she just stared…with hate in her eyes. At him. He should have known…but even later he did not know and perhaps that had been the problem. Perhaps he could have saved her somehow. Warned her. Perhaps she wouldn’t have fallen prey.
But here she is now. Chalky makeup covering every bit of her features…so unlike the unnatural smooth skin of the ugly thing she holds beneath her face. Her face…Batman notices something odd about her face. Even the getup she’s in cannot hide the fat lip…caused by The Joker no less. And Batman wonders what else the makeup and mask hide.
He knows that she truly owns baby skin. He knows because he felt it that night she had kissed him. She had done it as a sort of thank you. Her cheek was soft like a peach and her pursed lips gave a child’s kiss albeit with intent. She was like a little Lolita in that way. The way she always acted as if walking her to the asylum was like walking a high school crush home.
Batman didn’t think of the occasion with any sort of particular feeling. He always felt sorry for her. All the times she tried to redeem herself. He knew of struggle. He wondered what else the Harlequin image was hiding. If her scalp had scabs from where the hair had been pulled. If her supple body carried welts and thick scars.
He should have known. But he did not know. Not even later. He found her as just another hired goon. Not another thought. It didn’t matter that The Joker touched this one in that way. It was an act. A way for The Joker to show off. It was a joke.
And then he’d gotten a bit more insight. He remembers the tank with the frowning fish inside. Well…to him they were all grins. He remembers hearing it from her…her unwavering love for her Mr. J. It was so pathetic. So silly and idiotic. He laughed. He laughed and stopped as haltingly as he had started because it had reminded Batman of …him. And he remembers her face; slapped and stricken as he said what he said. As he manipulated her. Just like her beau. And it hurt her more than The Joker ever did. And it made him want to throw up; it was a feeling far beyond the fact that he was chained upside down.
But that problem was soon solved by The Clown Prince himself...and what followed after….Batman couldn’t believe what he was viewing could be called a domestic dispute. It was her first law; she had had lessons before …but here was her first LAW. All other things depended on the monster’s mood. All other things were constantly hanging in the balance but here was his first rule. Batman felt sorry for her. Worse, the rule was that that defined The Joker...Batman himself. Batman felt sorry for the piece he played in all of this.
But he knew better. If Harley was a Lolita then The Joker was no Humbert. He knew. Harley was instigator and victim all in one. The Joker didn’t have to do much. Everything may have revolved around him but only because she let it. She enjoyed it. Even Bruce Wayne had fought this fight. By setting her free. And she was good. And then she went back. She always went back. And that he did know.
All at once Batman was snapped out of his thoughts at a scream, a raging scream, loud and hurt. So much love. So much love radiated from this being. And she was up now, on her feet. And The Joker was silent. Silent. A still mound on the floor. And Batman saw the gun. It was a rather ridiculous looking gun. Big and shiny like a toy gone wrong. It suited her. And for half a second Batman wondered if his mother died protecting him the same way. Stance stiff in front of her love.
“You’re my little love Bruce…”she used to say. He wanted to remember but then he didn’t want to see her as he usually did…like in all his dreams…dying.
And then he saw the flapping flag in his shoulder. It had hit with such force he was pinned to the wall. When had that happened? The ringing of a shot still resonated. It was all so quick. He knew it must have happened the moment Harley yelled her anguished cry. He knew it must have. He saw the smoke streaming out thickly in Harley’s face. It almost hid her fat tears. The baby skin shone through. Batman felt sorry for her…and …he didn’t feel sorry for her. Because he couldn’t.
His shoulder was bleeding profusely and he was losing what was left of his muddled thoughts. Batman watched the little bright colored flag with hazy eyes. “BANG,” it said. It was all he could see now. “BANG”…and color. He hadn’t even felt it…felt it come in. “BANG.” It was numb. He was numb. Void of feeling. Just floating… “BANG,” it sang.
He knew he had to call for help. Backup. Call for help…his mind drifted to a cave…a shelter. He led his eyes to the frozen figure in front of him. A paper cut-out; her midsection crumpled, she collapsed into herself. It was a beautiful thing to watch really, graceful in falling…but he knew that already. She was on her knees now; next to the jointed mush. A construction paper doll; crumpled in color.
He was slipping…fading away. The Batman was slipping. His eyelids were flapping. Flag. Fading…The Batman was fading. Fast. He had to get help before he blacked out. He concentrated on Harley’s limp form. The discarded doll. The rag doll. Her eyes were huge and unblinking like plastic buttons. Like glass. A porcelain stand up ballerina. Broken.
Batman couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. His eyes were slits in a cowl…Harley’s were wide marbles. Batman couldn’t stand up anymore. He had started slipping, he was falling now, the knife still holding him The only thing holding him up. He was sliding to the side, blood streaks revealing themselves on the wall. Batman’s eyes shone through slits. Light and dark shifted and everything was blurry.
A wiggle; a wavering rattle of bones. Scraps of clothes moving, bloodied…purple, white and green…skin and veins and bruises and clothing and hair. It strained close to the still paper doll. And Batman’s breathing lowered so that the world went dizzy. Finger-paint and paper; nothing was said but a dabbing of colors as the pudding pile fell in the lap of the doll. And Batman felt the world go black even though his eyes widened at the horror, horror, horror as it was revealed that he was human.