Time seemed to freeze around us.
The Joker's kiss was everything I'd ever imagined, and at the same time, nothing I'd ever felt. It was almost as if he'd sucked the air right out of my lungs with the first graze of his lips, because I felt so lightheaded while he kissed me that I feared for a second I might float right out of the room.
The shock of his actions rendered me completely unresponsive to the kiss at first, however, and the only thing I could do at that moment was to stare with my eyes wide open. The Joker had his eyes closed, but when he didn't feel me respond, he increased the intensity of the kiss by pressing his lips harder on mine, and shoving one hand in my hair to keep me in place.
THAT got a reaction out of me. I couldn't fight the low mewl that escaped my lips, and the noise allowed his tongue to slip between my lips and explore my mouth. To my surprise, he tasted somewhat sweet as his tongue swept around inside. Finally, my eyes fluttered shut from the sensation, and that's when I began to kiss him back.
My sudden responsiveness made the Joker growl and snake his free arm around my waist, pulling my body flush against his so that I could feel every inch of muscle through his expensive deep black tux, as well as the growing hardness between his legs.
Our lips melted together perfectly as we moved in sync and our tongues battled for dominance. The weeks of temptations and innuendos and barely repressed sexual desire came boiling to the surface through our lips, and the passion of it all absolutely swept me away.
The kiss made me see bursts of light behind my eyelids, and in the back of my mind, I realized that I couldn't for the life of me, remember my name, or anything else for that matter, because apparently, my brain was melting. I couldn't get over how good it felt; I didn't know that kisses could actually make my knees weak and my heart threaten to leap out of my chest. THIS is what all the romantic novels and smutty books that Roxanne was obsessed with were writing about. THIS is kissing.
The duration of the kiss felt like hours to me, when in reality it was just enough time for every single guest in the room to get over their initial shock. I had time to process a dark energy approaching me from behind before a pair of strong hands grabbed me by my waist, and threw me down hard on the granite-tiled floors.
Nothing would have worked better to shock me out of my hazy state of mind short of dousing my entire body with cold-water shot from a fire hose. I then raised my head and turned just in time to see the Joker get cold-clocked by none other than Bruce Wayne.
The look in Bruce's eyes were nothing short of feral as he glared ferociously at the man I'd been kissing passionately not three seconds prior.
It was then that I'd noticed the room had been completely silent throughout the entire ordeal. Every guest was looking on as if they'd just received box-tickets to the world's most highly anticipated event. The women all collectively gasped at the sight of Bruce punching the Joker, and the men flinched.
Bruce stood over the Joker who was clutching his chin, a large, triumphant, unmistakably sleazy grin plastered onto his face. Bruce's body was coiled tightly with barely restrained fury, and I could even see his fists shaking with adrenaline.
"No, no, no no, Katherine, YOU IDIOT. What the FUCK have you done?!" I berated myself. I desperately urged the world to stop spinning and my limbs to quit imitating heated jell-o because I had to do something to fix this, dammit!
My head snapped back to the scene between Bruce Wayne and the Joker when I heard everyone in the room gasp and shriek with terror.
The Joker was now fully smiling up at Bruce, his hands no longer covering his face, and I, just like everyone in the room saw the absolute last thing we wished to see.
Whatever make-up the Joker had used to camouflage his scars were wiped off and smudged all about his face, revealing the hideous marks trailing from the corner of his lips almost to his ears. And the fact that the Joker was smiling so wildly only emphasized his scars, and strained the stitched skin that held his smile together.
"Ha, Ha, Ha," The Joker said, smile still in place. "Hee hee. Oh ho, ho, Ohhhh, Brucey-boy . . . why the uh, long face?" The Joker mocked. He seemed entirely unfazed by the fact the Bruce looked murderous.
Bruce's fists were clenched even tighter. "You like taking advantage of innocent women, Joker?" Bruce sneered. "Or should I call you Jack?"
The Joker raised an eyebrow at that, glanced at me still lying on the floor, struggling to regain my equilibrium, and then glanced back at Bruce, his grin expanding further as his eyebrows furrowed.
"Hmm, strange. I don't appear to recall any uh, resistance when I kissed your date there, Mister Wayne. How interesting that you say that, though. Maybe you and I aren't referring to the same kiss . . ." The Joker paused, and relished in the twitching of Bruce's mouth the more he spoke.
"This like watching the countdown of a ticking time-bomb," I thought to myself as I observed their conversation. "If I could just get myself up on my elbows, I could . . ."
"But then again, YOU weren't the one kissing her—"
"AGH!" I wailed, falling back to the cold floor. My right shoulder throbbed painfully and I realized that when I fell it must have been dislocated.
The sound of my agonized wail caused every head in the room to turn to look at me. Bruce however, was the only one who actually paused and lost his guard when I screamed. The Joker, ever the opportunist, took advantage of Bruce's momentary lapse of focus, and tried to kick Bruce's feet out from under him.
Bruce didn't turn in time to dodge the onslaught, but he did manage to impressively cushion the blow by spinning mid-air to land on his hands instead of his back. The Joker got up quickly and made a move to kick Bruce in the ribs. Bruce caught the Joker's foot, however, jumped up to his feet, and shoved the Joker backwards.
The Joker then began to laugh, and pulled out a knife from a secret pocket within his tux.
"You know." He growled, licking his lips. " You fight awfully well for a pampered rich kid."
Bruce pulled up his fists to his body in a boxing position. "Yeah, well. I've picked up a few tricks."
The Joker grinned. "Ooh. I do like tricks." He purred. He glanced to the side of the room where I sat, before looking back at Bruce.
"Speaking of tricks . . ." The Joker's hand shot in and out of his inner tuxedo pocket with lightning speed as he pulled out a handful of pellet-sized balls. The joker burst out into his signature laughed as he tossed the balls into the air.
The room was filled with panic as the balls exploded on the floor, and smoke billowed up from each small pellet as the room filled with dark gray smoke. People began screaming and scrambling to find the exit before some terrible catastrophe went down.
But before the smoke could obscure Bruce's vision of the Joker, he launched himself at the clown and tackled him to the floor.
Bruce straddled the Joker and reared back his arm to unleash a series of blows to the Joker's face.
Finally, Bruce stopped and grabbed a handful of the Joker's tuxedo, forcing the Joker's face up.
"Cute trick, but did you really think that it would succeed in distracting me?"
The Joker's eyes rolled in his head for a few moments before he began to laugh. He looked at Bruce, and smiled.
"Who said anything about distracting you?"
Throughout the entire ordeal, I had been clutching my arm to my body and struggling to regain my balance. Finally, the sight of the Bruce attacking the Joker forced enough adrenaline through my veins to allow me to stand up with minimal difficulty.
"Oh, God." I thought desperately. "Bruce is going to get hurt, I need to get—"
My thoughts were interrupted as two cloaked, masked figures flocked each side of my body and grabbed me by my arms.
I screamed as the masked figures then proceeded to manhandle me and force me in some direction, away from Bruce and the Joker.
I tried kicking away from them with everything I had; I was using my arms, my legs, my feet, my head; anything and everything I had. Hot, and severe pain shot through me when my struggling only served to dislocate my arm further. Any movement I then made caused tears to well up in my eyes and a scream to rip from my lips. I had no choice but to allow the figures to lead me away as my right shoulder throbbed angrily for fear that I would pass out from the pain.
Bruce heard me scream and reflexively turned in the direction of the sound. The Joker's legs then came up around Bruce's torso and the Joker used Bruce as leverage to swing his entire body up and pin Bruce to the floor, sharp little knife still in hand.
"Oh, Brucey, Brucey, Brucey. Such amateur-like behavior . . ." The Joker scolded. "Didn't your mommy ever tell you to uh, stay away from women?" The Joker then pretended to pause before gasping dramatically.
"OH, that's right! Your mommy was murdered!" The Joker laughed hysterically, and Bruce growled as he fought to free himself from the Joker's hold.
"Whoa! Hold on there, big boy," The Joker said, grabbing Bruce and slamming his head on the hard floor. There a small knife still poised in the Joker's hand, and he pressed it against Bruce's throat.
Bruce coughed and glared up at the Joker. "And what about you?" Bruce asked.
The Joker tilted his head. "And uh, what about me?"
"You don't usually go around dressed up in your Sunday best and kiss other people's dates." Bruce stated. There was a steel glint in Bruce's eyes as he remembered the kiss.
The Joker seemed to be remembering it too, because a slow grin crept up one of the corners of the joker's mouth.
"Hmm . . . and uh, why don't I do that again?"
Bruce smirked. "You like her."
All signs of amusement vanished from the Joker's face as he stared into the Brown eyes of Bruce Wayne. Bruce's smirk grew.
The Joker scoffed, and that scoff then turned to laughter.
"Oh, Bruce. Grasping for straws now, are we?"
"You LIKE her, don't you?" Bruce accused. "That's why you kidnapped her and that's why you kissed her."
The Joker licked his lips and his eyes narrowed in a rare expression of genuine fury. "You're treading on veeeeery thin ice, Mister Wayne . . ."
"How does it feel, Jack?" Bruce said, the Joker flinched at the use of that name. "How does it feel to be weak?"
With that, Bruce forced his head up and it made contact with the Joker's nose with a sickening crack. Bruce then used his leg to land a blow to the Joker's ribs, effectively forcing the air from the Joker's lungs.
The Joker kneeled on the floor, clutching his ribs, and wheezed, trying to get the air back in his lungs.
Bruce took this opportunity to get to his feet.
"You see, Joker," Bruce began, not sparing the gasping clown a glance. "The thing about love . . . is that it leaves you vulnerable; It makes you human." Bruce said human like one would say cockroach. "You can't even defeat a 'pampered playboy' like me, and you know why?"
Bruce turned around to face the Joker and deliver the final blow only to see him pull the trigger.
A loud gunshot reverberated within the walls of the elegant dining hall.
There was no sound from either man save for the Joker's soft wheezing as he clutched the rifle gun in his left hand.
Bruce touched the small hole in his suit with his right hand, before collapsing to the floor.
A few moments went by before the Joker finally had enough oxygen to pull himself up from the marble floor, and get to his feet. He staggered forward, slowly heading towards Bruce's body.
Without a second glance, the Joker picked up his feet a bit more, hurried past Bruce, and headed to the door. The joker leaned on it heavily, before chuckling quietly to himself.
"You know what's funny, Brucey?" The Joker asked, a smile crawling across his face. "I've never been referred to as a . . . human."
With that, the Joker exited the room with Bruce still facedown on the floor; the sound of the heavy mahogany doors closing echoing behind him.
I winced and hissed loudly as the goons continued to drag me around, and the pain was starting to grow unbearable.
I had no idea why the goons were leading me UP the stairs to the top of the building. It didn't look like the plan was to necessarily LEAVE the building, and I wondered why, but I was in much too much pain to be concerning myself with it at that moment.
My momentary lapse of focus caused me to slip on one of the infinite stairs, and the goon holding my injured arm pulled me up, exacerbating my pain to the point where I couldn't stop myself from crying out loudly.
"AY! Robbie! Be a bit more careful, dipshit!" The other goon hissed angrily. "She's the boss' so don't break her."
'Robbie' scoffed indignantly. "The bitch fell, what am I s'posed to do? Fly her up the stairs?"
"Stop bein' a smartass. You wanna piss off the boss?"
Robbie didn't answer.
"That's what I thought. Now shut up and stop bein' an asshole."
I think that Robbie must've muttered something about the goon's 'mama' under his breath, but it was ignored and we continued up the stairs.
The persistent throbbing in my arm died down to a low thrum of pain by the time we reached the roof of the building, yet I couldn't risk injuring it more by trying to escape the two goon's iron-like grips.
The goon on my left open the heavy door and shouldered his way through, pulling me behind him by yanking on my uninjured arm. When all three of us were through the door and to the roof, the goons started pushing me forward.
My eyes widened dramatically, and I opened my mouth to yell out or scream when I realized that we were approaching the edge of the roof.
The height of the building was DEFINITELY enough to kill someone three times over, so there was no hope of getting out of THAT alive.
THEN I began to pull and writhe and twist out of the goon's grips, ignoring the sharp, white-hot pains in my right arm.
The goons didn't budge, though, and they only continued to pull my body at the same pace.
My eyes were closed during the struggle, however. So I failed to notice the dark green and purple couch near the edge of the roof and shrieked at the top of my lungs when the two large goons suddenly flung my body in the air, only to land safely on the furniture.
My head was spinning and my breath was coming out in short gasps as I filled my lungs with the air that had whooshed out suddenly from screaming so loudly. It was then that I absorbed the reality that I had not been flung off the roof and sent to my inevitable death, but was seated within a somewhat strangely . . . casual living room setting?
Alongside the green chair was a deep purple loveseat and a small brown coffee table resting upon a giant red-spotted white rug.
To say that I was confused would be an understatement. Curiously I glanced at the two goons who stood a few feet apart from one another with their hands behind their backs and their legs firmly shoulder-width apart.
They said nothing, nor did they even grace me with a look as I sat there awkwardly.
Since it appeared that I would be waiting for a moment, my mind wandered in a direction that I truly resisted.
I stood up straighter as the hairs on my arms rose. Fear and anxiety bubbled in my stomach as I contemplated what might be happening to Bruce at the hands of the Joker. Was there any chance that he'd survive the encounter, or would his name be added to the exceedingly large list of casualties at the hands of that . . . maniac?
I had no doubt in my mind that Bruce would be harmed, though. With literally nothing and no one to defend him, the best that Bruce could hope for would be to get knocked unconscious and left relatively alive.
With a tinge of regret, I doubted that Bruce would be able to find it in his heart to forgive me for that kiss, though.
"What did you possibly expect letting THE JOKER, kiss you like that?" I asked myself.
There was a split second of denial. A moment where I fought against the truth; that I, Katherine Quinzel, let myself fall prey to the Joker's lips.
But in my heart, I knew that I honestly just couldn't help myself. The act was just so forbidden and taboo and sinful—My mind simply short-circuited and I was helpless against it all. The feeling was like nothing else I'd ever felt. Not with Bruce, and not even with my first, Malcolm. I've never had every nerve in my body simply catch on fire from the sheer intensity of just one kiss.
And I let him kiss me.
But what does this mean, exactly? Against all odds, do I truly hold feelings for the Joker?
I wasn't aware of the amount of time that had passed before my contemplations were once again interrupted as a loud BANG erupted from the other side of the roof.
My head swiveled around, and my eyes instantly locked with the almost glowing onyx pools of hate that were the Joker's eyes.
His face twisted into the nastiest snarl, and at that moment he looked like a demon from hell, and growled furiously.
"Jesus, who THE FUCK'S idea was it to make these buildings so GODDAMN TALL, with so many fucking STAIRS?" The Joker fumed.
His chest was quickly rising and falling, and his right hand clutched his torso tightly as he began to stagger over to where we all were.
No one was stupid enough to say anything about his injuries, though. And my heart dropped like lead into my stomach as I realized that he must've been injured fighting Bruce.
Whether or not my concern was aimed at the Joker, or at Bruce, I didn't want to think about.
The goons parted so that the Joker could walk over to the purple loveseat, where he fell unceremoniously into the chair.
He spent a good minute or so just breathing with his head craned up, staring blankly at the night sky before tilting his head to acknowledge my presence across from him.
He flung his arms wide open and gestured to the quaint little arrangement.
"Do you, uh, like the digs?" He asked.
I looked about the arrangement once more.
"It's . . . tasteful."
It was best to say very little in the moments where the Joker's mood couldn't be determined.
The Joker scoffed and lowered his arms. "Yeah, What a uh, dumb question. Of course you like it! That couch is the only thing between you and thousands of feet of . . . no-thing."
I couldn't resist the urge as my head began to turn and I saw that the couch was, in fact, the only thing in between the roof and me.
'Is this how the Joker wants to kill me?' I thought morbidly as I slowly turned back around and met the Joker's eyes that were dancing with malice.
The Joker licked his lips. "You know, Kitty. I think it's been too long since you and I've had a little . . . heart-to-heart chat, dontcha think? I mean, look at you!" The Joker's eyes roamed slowly over my body and left a trail of goosebumps everywhere that his eyes met my exposed skin. "You landed yourself the most highly desired date in the city, AND you uh, made out with Gotham's most notorious criminal—all in . . . one day!"
The Joker smiled. "You must be feeling quite . . . special, hmm?"
My lips curled sarcastically. "I'm not quite sure about the choice of the word 'special' . . ."
The Joker grinned before looking away mock-thoughtfully.
"Well now that just uh, that won't do, now will it, Miss Quinzel? Hmm . . ." The Joker looked back up at me, and this time, his onyx eyes searched directly into my hazel ones.
"See, ordinarily, I'd ask you to uh, put in your two cents, but you seem to be a bit . . . distracted . . ." The Joker licked his lips without breaking eye contact with me.
"Now, uh, why. Would. THAT. BE, hmm?" The Joker asked with a devious smirk. He stood up slowly from the purple loveseat and began to saunter over to where I sat on the green couch.
"What could have possibly dragged your attention away from this, uh, mysterious and dastardly-handsome mad-man, Kitty?" The Joker flopped down right next to me on the deep green couch, and leaned in so that our faces were only about a foot apart.
"Shh . . ." The Joker said, placing his purple-gloved index finger on my lips. "Don't lie to me Kitty, you KNOW I don't like liars . . ."
I blinked rapidly. 'He's going to do it again.' I thought, excitement bubbling up from my stomach. 'He's going to kiss me again, and help me, God, I'm going to let him.'
He was closing the distance between us until our lips were literally inches apart, and I fought. I fought against my feelings. I didn't want the butterflies to be fluttering in my stomach, or for the warmth to spread inside me. I didn't want my muscles to relax around him, or to be pulled so deeply by him.
I wanted none of it, yet even with every inch of my willpower, my body would not obey my commands, and soon I felt my eyelids begin to flutter shut as I waited for the electric jolt that resulted from such contact.
"Are you worried about Bruce?"
My eyes snapped open and my mind was shocked into alertness.
"Wha—wait, wha—" I spluttered, trying to make sense of the unexpected question.
The joker's eyes were burning holes into my skull with the sheer intensity of his gaze.
"I saw you with him, kitty." The Joker growled furiously. "The way you laughed with him, the way he fucked you with his eyes . . . I saw you giggle and flirt, as the playboy took my things."
The Joker's hands shot out and grabbed my face tightly, tangling themselves in my hair and completely messing it up.
"Joker," I pleaded, fear polluting my mind—I couldn't get any words out.
"YOU BELONG TO ME!" The Joker roared. His chest rose and fell and he was heaving angrily. "He CAN'T touch you because you ARE MINE!"
With that, the Joker crushed his lips to mine. This kiss was NOTHING like the first one. Everything was so raw and passionate. I tasted blood in my mouth as I felt the Joker nip and bite my lips ferociously before using his tongue to lick the injuries.
I whimpered at the pain and put my hands against his face to try and push him away from me.
Something wasn't right. The Joker had never acted this way with me. He was rough and violent, but almost . . . crazed. Desperate even.
The Joker growled when I almost succeeded in pushing his face away. He then removed one hand from my hair to snake his arm around my waist and pull me to him tightly, making me extremely uncomfortable because I was leaning really far back in his arms.
"MINE." The Joker growled against my lips, making my face flush and my heart race.
I didn't know what to do. He was everywhere. I could feel every inch of his body, regardless of all the clothes he was wearing, and the scent of gunpowder and something spicy that coated his body threatened to consume me.
When his tongue finally swept into my mouth, I moaned loudly. All of these emotions, these feelings, my senses, EVERYTHING was too much.
I couldn't handle what I was doing. How many people I was betraying.
People like Bruce.
My eyes shot open, and with a strength I didn't posses, I shoved the Joker away from my face and down onto the couch.
I was panting and heaving, and my entire body was coiled, and ready to, if necessary, fight.
But the Joker just laid there where he fell, with his eyes wide open, panting as heavily as I was. He just looked so . . . disoriented. He stared up at the night sky and blinked from time to time.
I realized I'd completely forgotten about the goons' presence on the roof with us, but when I looked around it seemed as if they'd left sometime ago while the Joker and I were . . . doing what we were doing.
I had no clue as to what I might've been expected to do in that moment. The Joker wasn't saying anything. I wasn't saying anything, and anyone could've cut the tension with a fucking knife.
After a few minutes of dead silence, the Joker let out a small chuckle.
The sound instantly put me on even higher alert.
The chuckle was soon joined by another, and then another, until finally, the joker dissolved into a borderline crying fit of laughter.
"Look at me!" he exclaimed, flinging his left arm to cover his eyes. "I'm weak! The playboy . . . that asshole was right. She's made me weak . . ."
I had no idea what he was talking about, or whom the joker was referring to, but the mention of Bruce sent a sharp pang in my heart.
My hands began to shake, and I looked down at the floor.
"Is he alive?" I asked quietly.
The Joker snorted crudely. "Not unless the poor bastard's immune to bullets."
Moisture began to collect in my eyes as the numbness began to spread. The Joker's words couldn't be clearer: Brice is dead. I killed him.
Bruce is dead, and it's my fault.
I'm responsible for the death of the man that rescued me, and allowed me a place in his home. Oh God, Alfred, he—I killed Bruce and I—
The tears began to fall in earnest now. There was nothing I could do about this. I KILLED A MAN all because of my deceptions.
Will Roxanne ever be able to look at me the same way?
Huge mistake. The Joker flung himself up into sitting position so quickly that I actually screamed.
The Joker looked disgusted. His face with curled with repulsion, and he regarded me with so much hate that I flinched away.
"You're . . . crying?"
I didn't respond. I couldn't look at him, and I still couldn't stop the tears.
There was a pause.
"Did you love him?" The Joker asked me. His voice was quiet, and seemingly calm. And he sounded so sane in that moment that I managed to glance up at his face, which was now a mask of indifference.
Did I love Bruce?
I admired his power and charm and way with people, as well as his strength that emerged from the death of his family.
I liked the way he smiled, or how he would say my name. I felt a great debt to him for giving my best friend and me a place to stay in our time of need. I liked his sense of humor, his sense of style, the almost mocking-quality to his voice . . . but did that mean I loved him?
"No." I said, just as the thought crossed my mind. I didn't love Bruce. I couldn't love him.
I couldn't love Bruce because I was already in love with the Joker.