A Note About the GCPD: Just so no one gets confused, here's what's going on. Every character that is actually a police officer comes from some form of the Batman Mythology. The comics, the movies, and the cartoon TV series' are all fair game. Generally their rank will remain the same as they do in their regular appearances.
A Note About Gotham City:
Again, I have to point this out. Nothing's off limits in this story.
Comics, movies, TV series, anything. But I will let loose some (not all)
of the stuff that will be referenced (as of right now) if readers want
to see what whatever's from. So far big ones include: "Batman: The Long
Halloween", "Batman: Dark Victory", "Robin: Year One", and "Batman
Begins". Once again, readers do NOT have to have an inside knowledge of
these books or movies to understand the story. I'm just putting it out
there in case anyone's interested.
Chapter Ten: This Is Gotham
office was mostly empty. No wonder, half the squad was at the bank.
Ethan knew, though, that the Commissioner was still up on the roof. His
car was still right outside and he'd wait till ol' Bats showed up.
Grabbing a coat, Ethan walked up the steps. Gordon's figure stood
looking up into the sky. The younger officer slightly wondered why
Gordon would do such a thing. After all, they were pretty sure that
Batman couldn't actually fly like Metropolis' Man of Steel. Maybe Gordon
was caught up in the small sense of hope that they all had when they
kept their fingers crossed.
"Why aren't you at the bank, Bennett?" Gordon asked, turning to him, the Bat-signal's light illuminating his face and front.
got off from that Wayne Enterprises thing and Ellen's on her way. She
had to stop at home for something and said she'd meet me here." Ethan
Gordon nodded and turned back away from Ethan. They never
knew which way the Batman would come up to the rooftop, but Gordon
always faced the signal. You couldn't even leave a bet like that to
chance. The signal was where he looked out to.
"How long have you been waiting?" Ethan asked.
"Compared to most times." Gordon answered.
hated when the man was late. Batman was never late without good reason.
Then again, good reason could mean trapped, fighting, or dead. Well,
maybe not dead. Gordon just couldn't picture that. It made him fidget
and want to grab a pack and start again. But he had quit smoking and
Barbara hated it when he did. So he kept his head up and searched the
sky. There was a whip of fabric in the wind and Ethan swiftly turned
around to see Batman's imposing figure. Like a demon or a vampire. Cool.
Gordon spun around at the sound, "You're here."
"You sound surprised."
"No, you're just normally..." Gordon searched for the right words, "... Here sooner."
"I had to deal with something. What is Freeze threatening?" Batman asked.
Ethan blinked at hearing that Batman already knew it was Freeze, Gordon
continued on the conversation, "He's got the bank inside fortress of
ice crystal. The people inside are getting hypothermia and he keeps
threatening to kill them off or make it worse."
"What does he want?" Batman asked.
"To walk out with the money. No real reason for it," Gordon answered.
"So there's no real reason why we shouldn't go stop him?"
and Ethan both spun this time around to see another figure, a brighter
one. Gordon turned back to Batman in surprise and then back to Robin.
"I'd say long time no see, but I only saw you a month or so ago?" Gordon remarked, with a questioning in his voice.
"Well I'll say it then, 'long time no see'!" Ethan answered.
"Thanks. It's good to see you too, Bennett, but we'll talk more once we stop Freeze. Want to give me the download?" Robin asked.
couldn't begin to fathom how it was that teenagers could make that
sound 'cool', but when an adult used it, they sounded like they were
part of some cheesy movie.
Gordon brought him out of his trance, "He's back, so soon?"
Batman sighed, "Yes, temporarily."
"Why only temporarily?" Gordon asked.
he never liked to meddle with what was mostly Batman's decisions, he
couldn't help but draw back on old memories. Ones where Robin had first
come in. Ones where Robin had just left. And then the last time he had
been here briefly. And now 'Only temporarily'? He hated how Batman could
be like a computer sometimes. No emotion could distinguish whether the
man was happy or sad about that or even if the man didn't care.
"He's here to help with the homicides. We believe there might be a link to some crimes occurring in Jump City," Batman answered.
blunt. He glanced over. Robin had grown a bit, hadn't he? When Robin
had left, while already incredibly strong, still looked pretty scrawny,
even though Gordon guessed, that was probably genetics. But now, he
could see that Robin was maturing a bit. His muscles were more prominent
and his jaw had jutted out a bit more, the result of his kid face
growing out of that stage of life.
"He has to go back to the Titans?" Gordon asked.
"When this is over, he will," Batman told him.
that because Batman wanted him to or because Robin wanted to? He hoped
it wasn't the former. Ethan finally turned to Gordon and Robin did the
"Ready?" Batman asked.
Robin's stance shifted only slightly. But only so slightly. Only Batman saw it, "Yeah."
be off then," Batman turned his back away. Who knew how long those
people would have to be in the hospital now? "Good evening, Commissioner
The two vigilantes dived off the roof and into darkness. Ethan let out a laugh, "That kid, he sure is something."
walked over to Bat-signal where light surrounded the edges of the Bat
on top. The light was just so bright, but once it was gone, everything
would be engulfed in darkness on the roof. He sighed and turned it off.
"Yeah, he's something," he answered, and they both swiftly went down and out to their cars where Ellen was waiting for them.
Time ticked away.
the Fortress of Solitude, the bank was encased from the inside.
Impossible. Robin scanned around the building and met Batman on the
"There's no way to access it on this side, your's?" he asked.
"Nothing," Batman answered.
"What about from underneath?" Robin suggested.
used the digital hand held to search above and get the city
construction lay outs. There was a way to get in from above, nothing
below. It figures, why put a bank underneath a pipe anyway?
"The roof's the only option," Batman announced and Robin sighed.
"That's a trap," He stated. Great. He hated traps. Why did they always have to be traps?
Batman looked over at Robin for a moment and Robin looked back, "Wait a minute... You want to..."
"I'll go into the trap, while he's distracted, free everyone subtly," Batman told him.
"He's ready to flash freeze everybody. There's no way that he wouldn't do the same to you," Robin shot back.
"Freeze likes to talk. He'll keep me awake to let himself talk," Batman responded.
"He took up the talking routine?" Robin asked, an eyebrow raised.
"Sadly," Batman answered, almost regretting the fact. Those talks could be quite boring...
"Fine, let's go," Robin said, as though being resigned to another fate.
grappled over, reminding Robin of when Speedy would slide from
buildings on a rope and bow. Turning on the spikes of his shoes, Robin
easily got over the ice crystal before Batman, his youth once again an
advantage. There were sirens blaring around them. They could hear Sawyer
yelling out at Freeze, hopefully distracting him from Batman and
Robin's ascension into the bank.
Batman opened up the vent. It was
so small compared to him. Robin nodded over and pointed to himself.
Batman shook his head. As the Dark Knight disappeared, Robin could hear
the quiet, few sounds of ever so careful movements. He cringed and he
knew that Batman must being so as well. The vent was so small. After ten
or fifteen seconds, Robin also lowered himself inside. Already, it was
extremely cold and, annoyingly slippery. He kept his mouth shut, though.
He could only barely make out Batman ahead of him.
But that was
enough. At least, it was enough to see Batman stop. He'd choose the
first slightly visible but unlikely place to get out. Freeze would
expect it. Opening the vent slowly, Batman got out and began to hide in
the shadows. Robin held his breath. Hopefully Freeze wouldn't...
"Batman!" No such luck.
the bank, the walls were blue with frost and people shuddered madly.
They had to get to a hospital. Batman faced Freeze openly.
"Let them go, Freeze," He ordered.
who are you to be giving orders?" He held up his hands, the big suit of
his clunking around.
Batman dodged as Mr. Freeze sent ice crystals
hurling out his way. He attempted to get to the hostages, but Freeze
soon caught one part of him. The cape. It was always the cape, wasn't
it? While it didn't stop him, it certainly slowed Batman down and Freeze
eventually hit the man's shoes and began to work his way up. From the
waist down, Batman couldn't move.
"That really was very rude of you, you know," Freeze answered.
merely growled. He reached for his belt, but Freeze wouldn't have any
of that. Freezing everything except for Batman's head and neck, he got
all of Batman's full and undivided attention. And thus Freeze returned
the favor and focused on tormenting his captive enemy with obvious
delight. All of this plus, he was getting paid to do it. Things couldn't
be better than this.
Robin tensed, but knew it was his turn to
get out there. As Freeze talked, he crawled away from the already opened
vent. It got tighter, but he was okay with that. He could still move.
Finally, he found a vent behind a column and ducked out. Quietly, he
glanced around, satisfied when he saw Freeze still focused on Batman.
Creeping around, he caught site of the first worker. They were
half-conscience, but when they saw Robin, their eyes opened wider. He
hushed them with a finger to his lips and he slowly cut with a tiny
laser their ice encased hands.
He stopped when the layer was so
thin, the accountant could break it easily, even in their weakened
state. After holding a hand to motion them to wait, Robin continued
onward. Freeze kept talking, mouthing up a storm about how he would
finally defeat the great Batman. While at the moment, Robin wasn't
entirely concerned with how Batman was doing, knowing that Batman's suit
was keeping him alive only for a short amount of time. Freeze would
willingly entirely freeze Batman.
"And now, after all these years,
you'll meet your demise for a stupid bank robbery. This is what will be
your downfall," Freeze announced.
Robin could tell Batman was
ready to smack Freeze. Now he just had to blast a hole in the doorway. If he could do this without alerting Freeze... He gently tossed the few
mini bombs at the door. They clattered on the icy surface. Freeze
turned, suddenly surprised.
Robin activated the
bombs. They exploded sending smoke and ice everywhere. Robin ran back
and began to help the weakest get out first. He could hear the GCPD
outside, urging people to get away and getting ready to get the hostages
out. Batman immediately increased the heat in his suit and struggled to
get out at the first chance he got. When the smoke dispersed, Freeze
caught sight of Robin.
"You? You!" He lashed out sending ice crystals his way.
dodged out of the way, but icicles began to litter the ceiling and the
floor. Batman broke free within seconds and began an attempt to get
Freeze's focus back on him. Meanwhile, Robin continued to help the
"Get out, go!" He yelled, when he heard the sound of ice crystals thickening.
he saw Batman fighting Freeze. Running forward, Robin leaped onto
Freeze's back and began to pull out cords keeping Mr. Freeze's ice-suit
from working, but also earning an alarmed look from Batman.
"No! You little..." Batman caught him off guard with a sharp upper cut to the face and Freeze went down.
glanced at Robin, but Robin refused to look the look. He knew what
would come later. But he was distracted when flashbulbs started to pop
in his face. He looked over, horrified. No! There were photographers everywhere. Taking pictures. Of Batman and him. Of Batman and Robin. No, no, no!
Batman gave them no heed and walked out, grappling away. Robin felt a
knot in his stomach churn for the second time that night. Great. He then
grappled away as well. It was the end of a very long night and not just
for them. In the smoky remains of the townhouse, Slade gazed down at
the damage. Trigon had taught him one thing. Devastation was indeed,
But fatigue and the needs of the human body
could demand so much of one's attention. The next morning, Bruce was in
the dining room eating eggs and Alfred's famous hash-browns when Dick
came down, furious.
"You know how perfect this is?" He asked, throwing down the newspaper in front of his Guardian.
On the front page in big bold letters it read "DYNAMIC DUO BACK!" and below there was one of the millions of photos that were taken last night.
only draw back is that there's no longer that element of surprise,
which would have been lost anyway once Freeze got back to Arkham," Bruce
said in a rather sarcastic and blunt way.
Dick scrunched up his face, "That's not funny, Bruce. I'm being serious."
"And this conversation doesn't get anything done," Bruce commented.
Dick felt a fury build up, "So I'm not allowed to voice disappointment or annoyance?"
mean complain? Well, yes. You were the one who decided to come back
here and honestly, you shouldn't be so wrapped up in yourself," Bruce
told him, drinking down a glass of juice.
Dick was taken back, but
Bruce continued, "Otherwise you would have gotten past page one and
seen the devastation done to Mrs. Clara Thompson and her townhouse last
Dick took the paper back violently and flipped open to the
next page to see the article about the woman. She was a widow and lived
alone. But last night, somehow, her house went ablaze and she was lost
to the smoking inferno. Dick down and bent his head down. They'd lost
"It proves your theory though," Bruce said, taking
that as a positive note, but barely, "These people are using others for
Dick didn't look up and instead he sat down and
waited for Alfred to bring in a dish, "Guess I'm proving a lot to you,
Bruce didn't acknowledge him and Dick was positive that
he was right. The man wasn't a fan of how he had worked last night.
Tackling Freeze so 'recklessly', yeah, Bruce was really impressed.
Alfred brought out his dish and could automatically sense the tension in
"Master Bruce, Fox just called, wants to have a word
with you about that security system WayneTech's been working on," Alfred
said as he put down a fresh waffle in front of them both.
"Thanks, Alfred," Bruce said, taking another sip.
"Did you sleep well, Master Dick?" Alfred asked, turning his attention to the younger of the two.
"Pretty good, thanks," Dick replied.
good," Alfred answered back and then he turned back to finish his
conversation with Bruce. "I told Fox that you'd be down there this
afternoon. Why don't you have Dick go along with you? With a project
that interesting, it may be useful to show him."
"Show me what?" Dick asked.
a security system that Gotham City's buying to upgrade their file
protection for things like social security and permanent records, stuff
like that." Bruce said, "You don't have to deal with any Titans business
"No. They can handle things themselves," Dick said coolly.
would always be brighter mornings to say the least. Jump City's
mornings were always warm. It was like a rule. They couldn't go below
forty degrees Fahrenheit. But that also meant that it was always
slightly muggy. Raven felt her turtleneck grab at her skin. She hated
this. It felt like Trigon's domain. The sun was barely making its
presence known. It wasn't yet over the horizon. She was on patrol
because she couldn't take the night. Too many nightmares. And
thankfully, flying could always ease her worries. It did that to
At this hour, most people were asleep. But she could
feel the emotions of those who were still up. A male in his forties was
angry that he had to go to work this early in the morning. A husband was
coming home to a worried wife. Some college students were coming back
home from a long party. A child was sleeping and dreaming a wonderful,
innocent dream. She was knocked from her present state of hypnosis from a
sound coming from a dirty alley way.
A trash can got knocked over
and she heard the ripping of the trash bags. Yelling. She slowly got
down low and landed. She blended herself into the shadows. There didn't
seem to be anyone there. There was only light from the slowly coloring
sky and a street lamp at the end of the alley perpendicular to the one
she herself was in. This didn't bother her. But still, she could have
Raven gasped as she felt her mouth being covered and her
hood being pulled down over her head. Someone kicked her back and she
grunted painfully. This certain annoying someone then grabbed her wrists
and wrestled them behind her.
"Take me to the tower," He told her roughly.
Raven shook her head and he gripped her wrists tighter, "You owe me, come on!"
eyes widened beneath the hood and she muffled her response. She could
get free anytime. But who was this guy? He let go of her wrist and
lifted his hand to her face and pulled off the gag. Whipping around,
Raven saw the black, red, and white mask facing her. She heard yelling.
Something about getting him. She hit the alarm on her communicator and
then allowed for the cold encasement trap her.
Within moments, she
and Red X dropped to the floor of the main room. Red X, who wasn't used
to this, panted and attempted to shake off the bone-chilling sensation,
only to find his hands surrounded by Raven's telekinetic energy.
"You didn't think I'd just teleport you here to let you run ramped, did you?" Raven asked with an air of satisfaction about her.
"Not really," Red X answered.
as though on cue, the other three Titans raced into the room, all
jerked from their beds and still looking thoroughly shaken by the alarm.
"Raven, what the...?" Cyborg started, but at the sight of Red X stopped, "Oh, goody."
"You caught the Red X, friend Raven?" Starfire asked in disbelief.
"Who says I'm caught?" Red X asked indignantly.
Beast Boy snorted, "Dude, you're in a cage. Not like you can really get away."
"All right, so my circumstances are dim. But at least they're better than they are out there," Red X gestured to a window.
all glanced in the direction of his gesture and then back at him, "All
right then, X, we give, what's so bad about 'out there'?"
looked torn between his pride and his will to live, but answered
honestly to Cyborg, "Remember the other night? Well, basically, Kitten
put the word out that it was all my fault that you were there last
night. She's basically going ballistic because I wasn't paying attention
"Don't blame ya," Beast Boy added.
doesn't exactly help me now. Someone's put a bounty on my head for it,
or rather whoever told you guys about Zenith's," Red X told them, "And
you owe me. I need to lay low."
"And you expect us to let you just hang out here in Titan's Tower?" Raven asked in disbelief.
"Would you mind?" Red X asked.
"Forgive us, but yes," Starfire replied, "And Robin would not approve of such a thing."
it was because this was the first time that Red X noticed that Robin
wasn't present, but he seemed generally happier, "Look, I'll make you a
deal, you have anything, anyplace that you can put me on lock down? I
don't really care. I'll give you the belt and I'll stay there whenever
you guys get bored of playing watchdog, how's that sound?"
four Titans looked at one another, wondering what on earth they were
supposed to do with this guy who was practically begging to be locked
up. Raven glanced at him and Red X gave her a very blank but very 'you
owe me, be guilty' sort of look as well. She sighed.
"We could put
him in the lock-down room. The one that you guys kept me in when Trigon
attacked," Raven suggested, "Either way we might just have to send him
to jail anyway."
"Raven, what are you doing?" Beast Boy asked, "This creep..."
us information," She used her telekinesis to take the belt away from
it's possessor, "Let him keep the mask and just take him to the room.
With that Raven handed Red X over to Cyborg and slowly
walked out of the room. The remaining Titans looked at each other and
then at Red X who seemed very pleased with himself. That is, until
Cyborg gave him the pep talk.
"You realize what you've gotten yourself into?" He asked.
Red X shrugged, "Two chicks nearby, a safe house, and uh, free pizza?"
the former, Starfire gave off a resounding 'humph' and stormed off, but
Beast Boy could only let his smile broaden wider, "Not really, what you
got is Stankball and lots of it."
Red X looked at the two Titans like they were crazy, "What?"
only he had thought this all the way through. If only, if only, if
only. But he didn't and now he was in for who knows what. Come on, what
on earth is 'Stankball'? Red X shuddered. He sort of didn't want to
Dick sort of just kind of wished that he wasn't
riding in the limousine down to WayneTech or was in a suit. Dick hated
tuxes. They always grabbed at his throat and the tie wasn't exactly very
welcome, either. Not that he'd actually say anything about it. Bruce
would call it immature. Or rather, he wouldn't say it, he'd just give
one of those oh-so-famous looks. And come to think of it, it was
immature for someone his age.
Adjusting himself in his seat, Dick
glanced out the window as the limo slowed to a halt. There was still a
dull overcast left over from yesterday that just begged to cry.
WayneTech was, granted, much cooler than Wayne Tower. There were more
practical uses for the building and there were a lot less offices. But
of course an office would be their first stop. Bruce got out and led the
way into the building, heading on a course that only he would be able
to remember because no one but Bruce would waste his time remembering
the layout of all of the buildings he owned. But Dick couldn't blame
him. Batman had to stop burglaries down here all the time. They really
needed to upgrade their...
"Mr. Wayne! Dick!"
Dick finally looked up to see the familiar face of Lucius Fox, "Hi, Mr. Fox."
The man smiled and replied, "Haven't seen you in a while. Do you like that school I recommended?"
"Oh, yeah, it's great, really," Dick said, feigning happiness.
Bruce cleared his throat. He didn't want this to take too long, "Lucius, you said that Project Firewall is functional?"
uh, yes," Lucius looked back up at his employer, "We just ran it this
morning. Brought in the best hackers and stealth experts. It's
full-proof. Care for a demonstration?"
"You know me, Lucius,"
Bruce answered, as though looking for popcorn for the upcoming show.
"Very well, it's right down the hall," Fox motioned the two and led the
Dick's curiosity had already been peaked, "So what's the big deal with this security project?"
"You mean he hasn't told you yet?" Fox asked, looking at Bruce in question.
well, I didn't want to bore him with what's going on with work," Bruce
quickly answered, yet somehow, that playboy mask stayed tightly in
"Oh, uh, in that case, it's a top-notch project. When
Gotham's City board saw the proto-types, they instantly took a hand at
it. So WayneTech sold them the first set to be installed into all of
their files, buildings, and such. It's quiet an advancement. Hopefully
it will prevent a couple break outs in places like Arkham, though I
don't think that Blackgate will need it..." Lucius trailed off in
"So when you say 'firewall' it acts just like the name, right?" Dick asked, bringing Fox back to the here and now.
yes," The three of them got to the demonstration room and Fox
continued, "It's a wall. Nothing can get in or out after it's set up. So
it acts both as a cage and also like a gate. Unless proper license is
used, files and high security buildings will be impenetrable."
As they watched the demonstration and it's impressive results, Dick further questioned, "Couldn't that be a bad thing?"
no, it can't be misused unless the codes are given to someone
untrustworthy. Even then, there's an override system built in that only
WayneTech can dismantle and or use. Like it?" Fox asked.
"Can I get it for my laptop?" Dick asked, "You'd never believe how many dollar-eyed girls have found my email address."
"How many what...?" Bruce started.
Fox, however, laughed, "Unfortunately, I don't think this is the type of software you're looking for, Dick."
over the sudden revelation, Bruce complimented Fox, "This is
outstanding, Lucius. I'll call the Mayor and Commissioner Gordon.
They'll be thrilled about it. And you'll email me the stats on Firewall
and those other projects?"
"Of course, Mr. Wayne," Lucius
answered, "Oh, by the way, Detectives Yin and Bennett commented
yesterday that you might want to take into consideration some extra
security for this project because of Gotham's interest. Apparently, the
Mayor mentioned it to Gordon."
"I'll call around. I might have a cousin who does that sort of thing," Bruce mentioned.
"Wait, you have a cousin?' Dick asked.
"Not sure," Bruce pondered it for a moment, "Ah, well, suppose I'll get it done eventually."
"I'm sure you will Mr. Wayne," Fox told him, "You know the way out, I presume?"
thank you, Fox; I really appreciate this," Bruce told the genius and
Dick realized how much stress this could possibly remove from Bruce's
shoulders, "We'll see you around."
"See ya, Fox!" Dick called as he and Bruce walked away.
"Enjoy your break!" Fox called back.
walked back to his office and began pulling up files to send to Bruce.
He had to admit, most would say that Bruce wasn't a fantastic boss, but
he did genuinely seem interested in what was going on. And goodness
knows, they needed this updated security in Gotham. So much so that the
crazy 'freaks', as many would call them, might actually stay in Arkham
and Blackgate. So the freaks wouldn't have reason to wait for the little
drizzle that would turn into a pounding rain. So the freak wouldn't
kill the guards and waltz right out and into the open.
Because it seemed to happen everyday.
It was happening right...
doors burst open knocking several SWAT members to the ground,
unconscious from the impact. The smoke slowly drifted to the sides.
There was barely a sound. At least, not until the other SWAT members
breathed in the smoke. Someone giggled. Another snickered. Three fell
into fits of laughter and more were on the way. They laughed like there
was no tomorrow. Like someone had repeated every inside joke they knew
and sent them into hysterics. Then they coughed. They couldn't breathe.
They tried to stop laughing. But they only stopped when they had passed
out and laid on the ground , wide grins plastered onto their faces.
"Aw, why'd you stop?"
knew this too well. What came next... The insane laughter. The one that
laughed as he murdered an entire onslaught of people. As he scalped his
best friend. As he robbed a bank and shot his accomplices. He loved to
do it so much, he just... had to laugh.
The Ace of Knaves bounded forward, that insufferable wide grin cemented
to his ghastly face, his green hair in a mess of curls and waves,
unkempt for so long.
Gordon knew what would happen next, "Joker! You're surrounded, get down on the ground!"
"Surrounded?" Joker asked and he looked around as though playing dumb, "I'm not surrounded, I can just walk over you!"
didn't want to see what Joker had planned now. The man took out a pair
of yo-yos, adjusted them, and began to use them. And by use them, he
used them to knock the tranquilizer guns (due to court orders, they
couldn't use regular guns on Joker, to many people's dismay) out of the
remaining police officers and swing over the cops into the open. How did
he even get yo-yos? Gordon looked at Sawyer and Bullock who were both as stunned as he was.
take a unit out to try to find him! Bullock, get those SWAT members to
Gotham General Hospital! They need help fast!" Gordon ordered, "Is
anyone at the police station?"
"Flass might be, but Ethan is sir," Yin came forward, "He had to wrap up with the..."
"Call him, tell him to turn Bat-signal on," Gordon interrupted, "I'm not waiting on this one. Flass better not hold him up..."
it was too late. It almost always was with that one. Joker leaped
through the air, using the yo-yos like the mad man that he was. The rain
poured down his broken straight jacket.
This was Gotham.
he landed on a dilapidated outer staircase. Stepping in through a
window, the Joker began to make himself at home when his host spoke.
"It took you long enough."
"Oh don't rush me! You know how much I like to get away from it all in Arkham," Joker brushed off, "It's an insane asylum!"
a happy hotel! Don't forget that one," Joker added, hanging up the
straight jacket on a hook as though it was a normal business coat, "Besides, you know you're happy to see me."
"Don't kid yourself. I'm no happier to see you than you are of me." Came the depressed sort of moan.
"Ah, come on that's..." Joker stopped when his host turned around in his chair.
was very handsome. Clean cut, nice shave, neat appearance. He was
hideous. The skin on his face threatened to peel off instantly and his
hair stuck up as though he had been electrocuted and his clothes looked
like that out of a freak show that had been washed in mud. Two-Face
glared at him.
"Alright, you got me there, but come on Harv', the night is young in Gotham! Plenty to steal and plunder!" Joker exclaimed.
"You're an idiot," Two-Face barked.
"And you're a party-pooper. Doesn't stop me from liking you."
Harvey Dent's eyes narrowed as he reached for a pocket in his jacket, "You don't like me."
Joker smiled, "You're right... I don't!"
reached out of his pocket and in an instant the two both had loaded
guns pointed at each other's heads. How many times had they done this?
"Well how original is this?"
two maniacs looked across the room to see a third party presence. He
hid in the shadows and kept his gaze focused on them, not in the least
bit intimidated by the Gotham terrorists. Almost as if in some weird
comedy, Joker and Two-Face looked at each other and then quickly turned
both their guns at the intruder.
"Come on out, Bats, we won't hurt you," Joker teased.
flattering, but I'm not the Batman," Their guest stepped forward into
the light, "Honestly though, I could have shot you both. What kind of
amateurs are you?"
Two-Face wrinkled his nose at the insult, but
Joker just laughed in recognition, "You! The guy from Luthor's gig.
What's up? I love your threads. Much better in these lines of work."
"Deathstroke the Terminator?" Harvey asked.
"I go by Slade," He told them, "And I'm conducting some business in Gotham."
What kind of business?" There was a blank but interested look on
Joker's white face, but Two-Face couldn't help but show his hesitancy.
not disclosing that information. I just want to make a deal with the
two of you," Slade said, striding forward and between the two of them.
"And what can we offer that interests you?" Two Face asked.
nothing really, except your... rank in this city," Slade answered, "I
need the Batman and his partner alive, for the time being."
"And what makes you think we'll agree to that?" Harvey responded.
"Wait, his partner? That doesn't even fall under our territory! The baby bird's in California!" Joker exclaimed.
Two-Face rolled his eyes, "Forgive him, he hasn't caught up on the latest news."
"What do you...?" Two-Face threw a paper with the Dynamic Duo on the cover at Joker, "Oh... never mind."
directed his attention back to Slade. He didn't like this man. He just
didn't. Anyone that the Joker took to instantly was someone to be
avoided. He'd heard of Deathstroke. And he didn't like everything that
he heard. He was like The Demon's Head. If you didn't have all of the
information up front, why trust them?
"You never answered my question," Harvey continued.
"Well, it's not really like I'm here to compromise or negotiate," Slade told him, "I'm here to... reason."
"Reason! Ha!" Joker laughed, "Reason doesn't exactly compute with me."
"What's the opposite of you Joker? Sanity? Or insanity with a drive to preserve humanity?" Slade asked.
"Well that's easy!" Joker replied. "The Bat..."
"The Batman, exactly," Slade finished. "So what happens when you kill the opposition?"
Joker's eyes suddenly narrowed, "You... You! Oh, I like you."
more Batman. No more games. No more fun," Slade allowed, voicing the
realization, "I'm just asking that you not set your sights on Robin. I'm
planning a big game, but we need him alive to play it."
Tapping his chin in mock thought, Joker revealed his teeth, "All right, you win, I like games."
smiled underneath his mask. The easy part was done. He had already
known that Joker would never kill Batman. He wanted to let the 'game' be
on-going. The point of that was just so Joker didn't feel like he was
being outdone or his city would fear someone other than himself more.
Now for the hard part. Two-Face.
"So you want to keep the Dynamic Duo alive. For what purpose? For what 'game'?" Two-Face questioned.
no, it's not a game. It's never a game. I just want your word that
you'll keep your distance. Just lay low for the next month or two. I'll
make it worth your wild," Slade answered.
These two men both had
appearances split down the middle. And both understood the duality of
knowledge and character. It was a battle of wits. Slade knew that
Two-Face could never turn down a bet. He knew that Two-Face was indeed
two people, Two-Face and Harvey Dent. He had to play to each of these
two people's needs when the timing was right. It was all about timing.
like a intriguing bet," Harvey said in good heart, "Let's flip for it.
Scarred, I don't have to do anything. Clean, I'll lay low."
was not the best word for Two-Face to describe Slade as. More like a
question. Repressing a fear that this man may very well act like
Riddler, Two-Face took out the scarred lucky double headed quarter.
Placing it on his finger, he was about to flip it when Slade interrupted
Oh how he loved to pull all of the strings, "Harvey Dent's first real case was the 'Holiday' killer, was it not?"
Two-Face looked up, "What do I care?"
"I'm not flipping for this," Slade announced.
Harvey seethed, "But everyone plays."
Two-Face's anger finally manifested itself outright. Yeah, he didn't like Slade at all, "Every. One. Plays."
the ones who have figured out the Holiday case. I know who was Holiday,
Dent. I know it wasn't just Alberto Falcone or you," Slade stated.
"There was Gilda Dent too."
Two-Face's eyes shot up and Joker laughed insanely, "Oh, this is getting good!"
"You leave my wife out of this," Harvey barked.
stay out of harms way," Slade ordered, "I'm going. If I hear anything,
see anything from you two that I don't approve of, there will be no
games and Gilda won't get that fair trial."
Joker smiled, "Oh, you know how to play your cards, Slade. Any chance we can play again?"
"Perhaps," Slade answered over his shoulder.
looked at the mercenary. There was something that just bothered him.
Batman and Robin. Batman AND Robin. Robin. There was something that
wasn't right here.
"You're from Jump City, right?" He asked.
barely nodded. Robin had been in Jump City. He could tell something
wasn't as it seemed. He wasn't here because of Batman. The two
appearances couldn't be coincidence. Was there a... grudge? He couldn't
Harvey continued, "You're playing with the big boys now.
Robin and his Titans are mere practice compared to the Dark Knight. Are
Slade let out a low chuckle, "Two-Face, Two-Face, Two-Face. I am the 'big boys'."
that, Slade walked over to the window and dove off the balcony and into
the alley way below. Two-Face went to the window and looked out. Not a
trace. There was no denying it, Harvey was a bit confounded by Slade's
attitude. But then again, Deathstroke was a force to be reckoned with.
Going back inside, Joker was squatting on top of a chair, gleefully
balancing on the thing that would surely break soon.
"You have to
admit, he's good," Joker commented, the grin distinctly wider than
normal and his red and yellow eyes wide in expansion.
Two-Face only sneered at his guest while Slade smiled as he held Gotham in his pocket.