Laughter in the Dark

BY : FlameWolf
Category: DC Verse Movies > The Dark Knight
Dragon prints: 8021
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Dark Knight or the Batman franchise. This story is just for fun and no profit will be made from it.

Author’s Note:  *hides under a desk* Yeah.  I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with a certain Clown Prince.  Other fics will be finished, don’t worry!

Laughter in the Dark

By: FlameWolf

Chapter One: New Patient


    Marie sighed as she looked down at the patient file that had been placed on her desk that morning.  Moving a lock of her dirty blonde hair behind her ear, she picked up the manilla envelope in a purple nailed hand as she practically threw herself into her large, leather desk chair.  Her gray eyes slowly roved over the mug shot of her new charge, a dark brow rising slightly as nervousness began to fill her.  There was no way, there had to be a mistake.  The director couldn’t seriously be considering giving this case to her!  She had only been here for five years, not to mention what had happened to the last woman who had been assigned to this man’s case.  Shooting to her feet, she charged out of her small office and straight to her boss’.  Yes, this was just an oversight!  There was no way in hell they could expect her to treat the ‘Clown Prince’ of crime.

    A tall, rather lithe looking male looked up at her neutrally as she slammed into his office, not even raising a brow at the panic on her face.  “Good morning Miss Jovian, is there something I can help you with,” he asked in a mid tone voice that held a light scottish brogue.  His long, black hair was tied back in a ponytail and he was dressed in a black business suit.  His dark eyes met her gaze steadily as he rested his clasped hands on the top of his desk.

    “I think there’s been a mistake Mr. Mickleson.  I found this on my desk this morning,” the frightened looking woman replied, slapping the light tan folder on his mahogany desk.  After giving the object a cursory look, he merely shook his dark haired head.

    “There’s been no mistake.  You are to meet with him at noon today,” he replied, gently pushing the thin object back across the desk towards her.

    “Wh-what?!  But I’ve only been here five years!  I’ve just barely started working with the more dangerous patients like Dr. Crane and Miss Kyle!  Surely there must be someone more qualified to put on his case,” Marie protested, hysteria slightly slipping into her voice as panic began to fill her in earnest.  She had heard several horror stories about the man from the nurses in her years at Arkham, he was an expert at getting into people’s heads and he never stayed in lock-up for very long.  Her boss only looked up at her sympathetically before letting out a quiet sigh.

    “I’m well aware of this but I feel you are the most qualified.  From the reports that have crossed my desk, you have made significant progress with your two Level 5 patients; especially Dr. Crane.  The man speaks of you quite fondly when asked about his treatment with you, no small feat as I’m sure you know,” he replied, continuing to meet her smoky eyes steadily, regret shining in his dark orbs.

    The older male’s words gave her pause.  Dr. Crane had been acting a lot more personable compared to the first time she had entered the man’s cell.  She remembered that first time quite vividly.  The once doctor had been huddled in a dark corner of his cell, only a silhouette of his body visible.  When she had introduced herself as his new Psychologist, he had charged her and pinned her to a wall; revealing he was wearing his infamous ‘Scarecrow’ mask.  He had nearly choked the life out of her before the guards had come rushing in to her rescue.  Now, he greeted her politely and without the mask; asking her how her day had gone and generally treating her like a well trusted friend.  Still, she had done nothing special; merely treated him like a human being despite the fact he wanted to kill her for the first few weeks.  “That doesn’t mean I’ll have the same success with this guy!  The man is in an entirely different league than either Dr. Crane or Miss Kyle!  He doesn’t even have a name beyond his persona!  Not to mention what happened to Dr. Quinzel,” Marie protested, panic still tinging her voice.  She desperately wished the director would just give the case to someone else, anyone but her!

    “I’m sorry Miss Jovian, my decision on this matter is final,” her boss sighed out, regret tinging his voice as he slid the file closer to her, a clear dismissal.

    Giving Mr. Mickleson one last, fruitless, pleading look, the nervous female reluctantly picked up the file and left.  As she walked back to her office, she tried to mentally prepare herself for her first meeting with a man only known as ‘Joker’.  A man that did things for no reason and was an expert manipulator.  A man who had already ruined one doctor, turning the poor woman into a crazed fangirl that did his every bidding at the slightest urging.  She would have to be on her guard the entire time, something she wasn’t entirely used to.  Sighing, the blonde plunked her head down on her desk with a dull thud.

    After a few moments of putting up her mental shields, the black suit wearing woman got to her feet to head to her first appointment of the day.  Her morning patient was always Dr. Crane, mostly due to her finding out that he was a lot less in control during the night.  As she approached his cell, Marie tried to shove her lingering nervousness about her new patient to the back of her mind.  Dr. Crane was an expert people reader and would pick up on her unease right away, she certainly didn’t want to deal with the questions or his reaction to her new charge.  Taking a deep breath and nodding to the guards that stood on either side of the steel door, the Psychologist opened the door and went inside.

    The rail thin man was already waiting for her, a smile on his gaunt face as she closed the door behind herself.  His smile wavered slightly, his glasses hidden blue eyes roving over her with slight concern.  “You seem nervous, is something wrong?” he whispered, getting to his feet and moving toward her slowly.  His hands were held out at his sides with his palms up to show he meant no harm as he stopped within a couple feet of her.  Inwardly cursing his powers of observation, the blonde forced a reassuring smile onto her face.

    “I got a new patient today and I’m just a bit nervous about meeting with them.  They’re a Level 5 like you but they have a much more terrifying reputation,” she replied, knowing it would do her no good to lie to him.  In fact she had a suspicion that if she tried, it would shatter the hard won trust she had earned with the former doctor.

    “Anyone I would know?” he asked, gazing down at her with concern and a faint protectiveness that shocked her.

    “That’s a good question.  I’m not sure if you know them personally but they’ve certainly been in the news enough for you to hear about them,” she replied, inwardly wondering if they really did know eachother.

    “May I know their name?” he replied, worry stark in his ice blue eyes as he looked down at her.

    “You know that information is confidential Dr. Crane,” Marie replied, starting feel even more nervous the more her patient pried.  What would he do if he found out she was treating the Joker?  What would he do if he found out she had been hiding that information?  Either way, it seemed she was pretty screwed.

    “I doubt very many will be asking me for information on your patients in here,” the former doctor replied, a hint of exasperated amusement in his slightly deep voice as he gestured to the cell they stood in.  Knowing he was right and that it would only make things worse to hesitate, she took a deep breath and braced herself for his reaction.

    “You should probably sit down,” the black clad woman sighed, lowering her head as her patient moved to do so.  Once he was seated on his small bed, she looked up to meet his eyes.

    “I have been given Joker’s case,” she whispered, inwardly steeling herself for the storm.

    Instead of the violent outburst she had expected, Dr. Crane only looked up at her with a shocked, incredulous look.  Then he was on his feet, pacing like a caged wild animal as he began to grow agitated.  “Dr. Crane, calm down,” she whispered, not daring to move as the man’s movements steadily grew more frenzied.

    “Calm down?  Calm down?!  Do you have any idea what that man is like!  What he does to people!  People are his toys, women especially!  What the hell were they thinking?!” he screamed, worry stark in his eyes as he stopped to fix her with his frenzied gaze.  Then he was moving towards her swiftly, making her back up until her back was against the cold, concrete wall.

    “Do you know what he’ll do to you?!  He’ll get in your head, make you over in the image that suits him best!  He could easily have you at his feet within days, acting like a loyal puppy!” he hissed, his voice growing rough and throaty as his alter ego began to rise to the surface.

    “I know how to handle myself.  I did survive all of our encounters,” she reminded quietly, not moving an inch and keeping her eyes locked on his.  If this escalated much further, she would have to call in the guards to restrain the former doctor; something she hadn’t had to do in months.

    “That was different.  I only tried to kill you, not play games with your head.  The Joker... he knows how to get to people, how to get under their skin,” he hissed, more of the ‘Scarecrow’ slipping forward as his eyes began to darken.

    “Jonathan, I promise I know what I’m doing.  Besides, I doubt they’ll let me be alone with him; not after what happened to Dr. Quinzel,” she replied soothingly, trying to diffuse the quickly worsening situation.  If ‘Scarecrow’ came out, there was no telling what would happen.  Unlike his normal personality, ‘Scarecrow’ didn’t seem to hold any regard for her.  In fact the secondary personality only seemed to tolerate her on occasion, attacking her on the times he didn’t feel like dealing with her.

    “Dr. Quinzel is exactly why I’m worried!  I can’t let him harm you,” he snarled out, a deadly edge to his steadily deepening voice as his hands shot out to grasp her bare upper arms in a tight grip.

    “Jonathan, Jonathan!” she fairly screamed until he snapped back to himself as if in a daze.  Then he was stepping back from her, his hands twitching slightly as he avoided her gaze.

    “Forgive me Dr. Jovian, I just...  When I think of what he could do, what he has done,” he murmured, shuddering slightly as he struggled with himself.

    “Dr. Crane, as much as I appreciate your concern, I can give you every assurance that I will handle this as cautiously as possible.  I am not unaware of just what the Joker can do to me and I intend to take proper precaution,” the blonde assured quietly, keeping her stormy gaze locked on the man across from her.  The former doctor only sighed before sitting back down on his tiny, thin bed.

    “Just promise me, if you feel him starting to get in, you leave,” he whispered, his voice holding an odd edge as he clasped his hands between his legs.  Watching the former murderer with a stunned look, the young Psychologist moved cautiously towards Dr. Crane and placed a tentative hand on his jumpsuit clad shoulder.

    “I promise,” she replied softly, trying her hardest not to jump or flinch when the criminal grasped her hand gently in his and brought the appendage briefly to his surprisingly soft lips.  Then he released her before she had to pull away, heaving a deep sigh as he focused his gaze on the floor.

    “I didn’t mean to cause you such an upheaval today Dr. Crane.  I think the stress has been enough for one day.  We’ll talk tomorrow,” Marie declared, breaking the heavy silence as she began to move toward the door.  A hand gently grabbing her wrist nearly made her scream out loud and she barely restrained herself from jumping and yanking away.  Turning to look at the former doctor with the best curious smile she could muster, the blonde tried to slow her galloping heart.

    “No, please.  Our talks, they help me get through the nights.  Having the memories of just acting... normal, they help keep him at bay,” Dr. Crane whispered in a small, quiet voice, his blue eyes full of fear and a hint of desperation.

    “What would you like to talk about Dr. Crane?” the Psychologist asked, moving back towards him so he would release her wrist.

    “Call me Jonathan today Dr. Jovian,” he semi-requested as he smiled up at her.

    “As for what I would like to talk about, why don’t you ask me some questions?  I always like those,” the former doctor continued, scooting over on his bed in a clear offer for her to sit with him.

    Marie eyed the spot with some apprehension.  It wasn’t that she hadn’t sat that close to him before, she had many times.  She just found herself unsure of him due to the recent news.  Still, if she took too long, Dr..., no, Johnathan would more than likely take some offence.  “Alright, I believe we left off on your day patients.  Why not start out with a favorite story of yours?” the suit wearing woman asked in a cheerful voice as she sat beside him.  Smiling widely at her, the rather young looking man launched into a long tale about an unfortunate nurse, an ill tempered mental patient and a bedpan.

    By the time she had left, Dr. Crane had retreated into himself; almost seeming to go catatonic.  She was supposed to ask questions about ‘Scarecrow’ today but with everything that had happened, the Psychologist wisely decided to keep things light hearted.  Before the end, the man had been relaxed; leaning back and smiling just before he slipped into a sort of catatonia.  “Miss Jovian?  I gotta escort ya to yer new patient.  We just brought him in but Dr. Mickleson wanted you to meet on his first day,” husked an east coast accented voice from her right, drawing her attention to a rather grandfatherly looking man.

    The guard was a bit overweight but still carried a lot of muscle.  He wore a cowboy style mustache and his short, white hair was combed back neatly.  Worry lines were grooved deep in his wizened face, as if he had seen far too much in his long lifetime.  Considering how long it was rumored he had been working at Arkham, it was probably a fair assumption to make.  “Now, I gotta warn ya lil missy, he is in a foul temper.  Intake hosed his make-up off of him which has only made him more violent,” he warned, gently taking her bare arm in a loose grip and leading her out of the Level 5 Ward.

    “Why the hell would they do that?!” Marie nearly screamed, incredulousness in her voice.  Even when they had brought in ‘Scarecrow’, intake had let him keep his mask.  Granted he had killed ten orderlies when they attempted to take it from him.  Yet just turning a firehose on the Joker would have been a lot easier that trying to physically take a mask off an armed psychopath.

    “The same reason they try to take all of their disguises, to try to show them that they are not their persona,” he sighed in a weary voice that was slightly tinged with sympathy as he released her arm to allow her to follow on her own.

    “Well it’s ridiculous!  Ripping away the only escape from reality these people have just as they enter this place only makes them harder to work with, more aggressive,” she hissed in irritation as she ran a shaky, purple nailed hand through her dirty blonde locks.  How was she supposed to met with the man when his mask had been so cruelly torn from his face?  It would be like Dr. Crane all over again, except she was certain it would be about ten times worse.

    “Don’t worry, he’s been jacketed and shackled in the holding cell,” the old guard reassured her, unknowingly fueling her ire and anxiety with his well meaning words.

    ‘So he’s not only vulnerable but chained up as well.  This is gonna go greeeaaaat,’ the Psychologist thought to herself bitterly, taking a deep breath before putting all of her mental shields in place.

    All too soon, the tired looking man led her to a large room that had a barred, locked gate separating them from getting in.  On the other side of the gate was a large cube made out of metal bars that had several swat uniform wearing men surrounding it with their guns at the ready.  In the middle of the cube was a thin bed and sitting on that bed, strapped in a straight jacket and dressed in the dull gray jumpsuit of Arkham, was a green haired male that had his head hanging down to hide his face.  Glaring at the two guards that stood outside the gate, Marie showed off her I.D. before they unlocked the heavy door and slid it open for her.  “All of you can wait outside the gate until you’re needed.  At least give my patient some semblance of privacy,” she hissed at the military looking men.

    As much as she really didn’t want to be even close to being alone with the man in the cell, she knew she needed to try to establish some sort of trust with him.  Thankfully, the black wearing group slowly filed out of the room to stand on the other side of the heavy gate.  Trying to calm her now racing heart, Marie cautiously approached the large, barred cube.  As she got closer, the man jolted slightly, the sound of a deep inhale filling the room.  “Really, you’d think they’d uh, learn not to send a woman in to see me.  You see, I’m a bit of a heartbreaker,” he hissed out in a smooth, mid tone voice that was tinged with an insane amusement.

    “Joker?  I can’t apologize enough for how our institution has treated you so far.  Our aim is to help you become normal people in society, not make your trauma worse,” she apologized, eyeing the shut door that kept her from entering.

    “Your idea of what ‘help’ is seems sorta... one sided.  As for trauma, what sort of ‘trauma’ do you think I have suffered?  Oh no, so far I’ve had a marvelous time,” he sniggered before barking out the eeriest, most darkly insane laughter she had ever heard.  There was no joy in that sound, only sheer, unadulterated madness and she had to get in the cell with it.  ‘Mom was right, I shoulda just been a fucking dentist,’ she thought to herself sardonically as she moved toward the gate to get the key from one of the SWAT officers.

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