The Art of waging War

BY : Triyune
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Dragon prints: 192
Disclaimer: I do not make money of writing this fiction and I don't own Batman nor the characters from that universe.

The Art of waging War - A safe place

 

 

Gotham was laughing.

Every single soul bursting with laughter, crying, screaming with joy or despair, it didn’t matter in the end.

Gotham was laughing and I wasn’t. It felt strange, finally having accomplished what I had been trying to do for years, for decades almost. The master plan of poisoning Gotham had finally worked out; I could hear them through shut doors and windows, through the cushions of the bed, through the water in the bath tub.

 

I stared into the dark, but I couldn’t see anything. There was only deafening laughter around me. Were they seeing what I see? Probably, they were all laughing at different things. But in the end, that didn’t matter either. Suddenly, I had no clue anymore what the appeal of that plan had been. What had I expected to happen? Had I expected to feel satisfied, knowing that every stupid inhabitant of this boring city would eventually throw up his lungs and die laughing? I didn’t feel satisfied at all.

 

Contrary, the laughter was getting at me because it reminded me of getting laughed down on the stage I had been claiming years, almost decades ago. This laughter had no reason, no joke as a trigger. It was just empty laughter. That city deserved to die.

My head was starting to itch. With a sigh I got up and went to the bathroom to wash my hair.

Would I end up as a normal man now? Go and get some milk from the grocery store under my apartment for the coffee in the morning? Had I really been so inconsiderate to build my entire life to that moment of killing everyone in this city?

 

No, there still was something else, something which would keep me from dressing in jeans and a shirt, going to get some milk from the grocery’s. Something I had always kept in the back of my head where it was safe.

I left the bath without drying my hair; it would dry on its own. I wasn’t in the mood for getting pretty because I saw no reason what for. Hesitantly, I went to the window to take a look at the burning city but I saw no flames. It was calm and peaceful since everyone was busy trying to calm down.

It was too calm.

 

I opened my eyes and found myself surrounded by darkness. I was used to that kind of darkness; it was the same one as in my cell in Arkham, reeking of old stones and various chemicals. However, it was just a shallow echo of that scent but enough to unsettle me. When I sat up a shiver ran down my spine from the cold chill. The sheets were wet. One moment later I was asking myself what the hell had driven me so mad that a hint of panic was still lingering in the back of my head. It had always been a dream of mine to poison Gotham, but I didn’t necessarily need to put it into action. I liked playing with the thought.

 

Or I just liked the thought in theory because I knew that all the fun would be over once I did it. That was the moment when I asked myself whether I was still dreaming.

In order to shake off that nasty feeling I got up and left the room to check on my mail box. I was fully aware of leaving my room naked and I didn’t give a fuck. I didn’t expect anyone to be up at 4 am anyway.

 

Someone had left me a letter. There was no postal mark on it or anything; someone just had dumped it in my mail box himself. No address, no words, just a blank envelope. I took it with me and opened it in my room.

 

“We need to talk. Come to the 5th Sheary Road, B building, tomorrow midnight.

                                                           - Two-Face”

 

That was nothing special. For the few occasions we had teamed up we had always been communicating that way. Nice, old-fashioned notes. Paper doesn’t lie.

That gave me something to look forward to and a reason for staying up and evading these dreams. I was already looking forward to it and even thought about getting flowers for him.

 

The next night I got me a taxi. It was an industrial site, left a long time ago but still in good condition. The B site was a kind of warehouse. We had often chosen such places because we knew that no one would disturb us there when we were discussing the details of our plans.

My plans.

 

I opened the door and saw nothing except a small ray of light coming through a door at the other end of the hall. Being used to such situations, I confidently pushed the door open and entered the building. It was dark inside and instinctively, I reached inside my pocket to grab the knife. Although I knew him well I never forgot to be cautious.

 

In the end, Two-Face never had been easy to deal with but everyone could probably say the same about me. I preferred to work alone but I could cooperate if it was necessary. And it was necessary when it was to my own benefit. However, I wasn’t a great team player. That minimized the risk of things going wrong and admitted, they did go wrong often enough with me working alone already. Chuckling at some memories surfacing at these thoughts, I made my way across that warehouse towards the tiny ray of light.

 

Something hard hit me on the head. Too hard than to be ignored, too soft than to die instantly and hard enough to lose my balance. I toppled over, trying with all my strength not to, but it was impossible. The moment I hit the floor the lights went on and I closed my eyes, blinded. It was then when I realized that I was in serious trouble and I opened my eyes again to see the danger coming, but I still couldn’t see anything. A nervous laugh escaped me, then I felt the tip of a shoe colliding hard with my guts so that I rolled over. If it started out like that it surely was going to end in a disaster. While I was curling up from the acute pain I could finally opened my eyes.

 

And I didn’t believe what I was seeing.

I was surrounded. In the dim light of those lamps which had been in use for about a 100 years, so it seemed, I saw one silhouette after another: Two-Face, the plant Lady, Scarecrow, Freeze, the Riddler, Black Mask, the Fishman – Two-Face appeared over me, grinning at me with that butt face of his, very amused.

 

“Tail we let you go, head we party tonight”

 

In a sudden fit of sarcasm I shifted to lie comfortably to mock them and looked him straight in the eyes, sneering, “You dumbass, everyone knows that your imbecile coin-“

I couldn’t end my sentence because a fish was thrown at my face.

 

“Gentlemen,” Black Mask interfered, ”Patience. The night is young.”

 

“We have been waiting so long,” Scarecrow whispered. I had always been wondering how he could breathe through that rotting jute bag on his head.

 

“I know, I know. But let’s flip the coin.”

 

“Now, really, Joker’s right, there’s only one-“

 

“Let’s flip the coin, I said!”, Two-Face shouted.

 

I couldn’t hold back anymore and burst into laughter, benumbed from the wound on my head, stupid enough to tease them even more with my sick kind of humour.

The next moment I had Black Mask’s boot in my mouth.

 

“Scare is right, you can flip that coin yaself, we take care of him now before he pulls some flying armature out of his ass and magically escapes.”

 

“Mmt!” I tried to remark, unable to hide that smirk yet again.

 

I was painfully aware of the sticky end of all this. The crowd was hungry for revenge, it was just in the air. The menacing vibes, their eyes, gleaming with hate, their voices full of loathing. It was obvious. I didn’t know exactly why they were hating me that much but maybe I’d find out. Anyway, I was used to getting beaten up; the Bat seemed to take great pleasure in punching me bloody and he was a heavily muscled boy. Those were kids compared to him.

 

Now Black Mask stepped aside and the Croc stepped forth. I had to admit that I was a little terrified, imagining that heap of stinking meat being mad at me, but to my surprise he just bent down and tore my jacket to pieces. Not without collateral damage, but it could have turned out worse. Finally, when I had gotten used to the headache and could think a little more clearly again, it occurred to me that I should at least attempt to defend myself.

 

Croc obviously wasn’t done yet and I tried to reach his eyes with my hands, trying to stick my nails into his eyeballs, but I was still a little uncoordinated so my hand landed in his mouth. And Croc took advantage of that, how couldn’t he. The massive mouth went shut and a scream escaped me, feeling bones cracking.

 

“Now, now, keep some of the fun for us!”

 

Croc was fixing my eyes. Tiny slits, framed by yellow. I was desperately trying to ignore the pain wandering up my arm but it was hard to do so with a wild animal munching away on my fingers.

 

“Dear friends, welcome to an evening full of wonders and miracles!” the Riddler exclaimed enthusiastically.

 

Croc finally let go and I clenched my teeth, determined to not let them know that I wasn’t enjoying that at all.

 

“That’s just disgusting,” I whispered with a shaky voice, wiping my hand clean from the slobber.

 

“Well, if that shall be your gravest problem tonight,” Ivy laughed.

 

Croc got up and made way for the Riddler.

 

“What is black and blue and stays with you for weeks?”

 

I was opening my mouth to mock him but I couldn’t say a word because he started thrashing me with his cane. It must have been such a teasing sight that Two-Face felt invited to join him and they kicked and hit me, laughing and making fun of me.

 

Something fell from the ceiling, I could see it from the corner of my eye. Turmoil, whispering, shouting until they made way and I could see a black spot moving.

 

“Don’t move!” I heard a shattering voice shouting across the hall.

 

The black spot froze. Steps coming closer. It was Deadshot, aiming his gun at the Bat’s head.

 

“What is that about?” the black spot demanded to know.

 

“What does it look like, Latex boy?” Ivy replied teasingly.

 

The look of the Bat hit me like thousand needles. Heat spread on my cheeks. I was used to getting beaten up by him, spitting blood and getting off with broken bones but I didn’t feel comfortable having him witnessing these assholes beating the living daylights out of me. He fixed his eyes on mine and I couldn’t tell what I saw in them. It was a strange moment and I felt embarrassed. Truth be told, the only one who could’ve helped me out of that was him but Deadshot was keeping him at distance.

 

“Nice to see you,” Two-Face remarked and turned around to approach him, “You see, we’re having a party tonight. I am sorry to say that we did not invite you, but you can stay, nevertheless. The Riddler wanted to send you an invitation but he was sure you’d come anyway. And here you are, predictable, faithful and reliable.”

 

The Bat remained silent. I didn’t know what to make of this because he was the one to talk about everything, every little shit in this world, and if it was just a “You need not do this, I can help you” phrase but he never kept his mouth shut.

However, this time, he did. And I didn’t know why. It was rather that which unsettled me and I forgot my embarrassment and tried to prop myself up to get his attention.

 

“You want some piece of the cake?” I shouted into his direction, feeling my lungs ache from the punches, “You see, it’s my birthday and everyone’s come to congratulate me!”

 

“You say it. Teatime!,” the Mad Hatter shouted with joy.

 

“Yes, it is,” Scarecrow gnarled and fished a syringe out of seemingly nowhere. I sank back on my back and tried to get some more distance between me and that creature. Images of dark walls and awful feelings exploded in my head and I clenched my teeth again to hide my emotions.

He approached me and knelt down, gripping my arm. I knew that too well. Blinding panic filled my head and I found the strength to kick at him but he parried.

 

“What are you doing to him?!”

 

“Calm down, bro,” Deadshot smiled at him, “Nothing bad. Treatment for the insane. None of your business.”

 

“I think you could need some help, don’t you.”

 

“Yeah, violence is not my cup of tea,” Scarecrow replied.

 

Again, I made his boot’s acquaintance, this time it was my head. It effectively spoiled all of my attempts at keeping them from dealing me that shit.

I felt the needle pushing through my skin, unable to raise just a finger, benumbed by the collision again.

 

“No…” it escaped me in a pathetic voice I was so embarrassed of that I closed my eyes to not see them grinning. Helplessness was an experience I couldn’t handle. I had always been the one in control of things, even when they were getting out of control and this was nothing I had been prepared for.

 

“He’s got some real issues with needles, doesn’t he?”

 

“It’s because they use benzodiazepines in Arkham.”

 

A familiar voice. Though, I couldn’t believe that I had just heard it. Not here. I abandoned the thought.

 

“He is ready now.”

Scarecrow beamed with joy.

I didn’t feel ready at all, rather queasy. It was none of the stuff they used in Arkham, I knew that right away. Even there, they had been facing problems finding something which would sedate me due to my uncommon blood characteristics but they had very creative men there who soon found quite some nasty shit to make me drool and see the Easter bunny.

I was not so confident that I would see the Easter bunny when it was Scarecrow dealing me some of his stuff.

 

And I was right.

The walls were closing in at breathtaking speed only to wobble back into position and strange colours took over. I was used to hallucinations but that was something different. Usually, I knew that it wasn’t real, but I had never been forced to go on a trip outside of Arkham, somewhere where padded walls didn’t tend to close in on me.

It was a nightmare. The taste of my own blood made me panic and the many legs in front of me turned into giant towers, greedily stamping for justice.

 

In this utter state of confusion I then was made aware of my helplessness again when cold air hit my thighs. My pants were taken from me and disappeared in the dark. The cold floor made me shiver.

And it turned even colder. Ice-cold.

I couldn’t lift my arms anymore; they were glued to the floor. It was an odd feeling and only served to intensify the panic. I was completely at their mercy.

 

“Step aside.”

 

The crowd parted. A pair of heavily dressed, black boots stomped towards me. I knew that scent. Mixed feelings claimed my mind but mostly glee and terror. I had enjoyed doing that back then. I could watch myself doing it, I could feel the blood hitting my face. I was so bold to admit that I had enjoyed beating him to death, yes. Time to face the consequences now.

I felt something cold touching my shoulder. No doubt, it was a crow bar.

 

Freeze had been so pedantic as to even glue my dick to the floor; a fact I got aware of now because it was trying to retreat wholly into my body at the fear I was experiencing right now. Surely, the boy had been going through the same.

Well, not exactly the same because I had been decent enough to keep him dressed.

 

I was abruptly interrupted by a bone-shattering noise coming from my shoulder blade. It was no coincidence that it was the same arm Croc had worked on before and the pain was excruciating.

The Bat flinched. He turned his head to the side to avert his eyes.

It was going to be a long evening.

 

When Jason was done he spat on the mess on the floor and left, dealing the Bat an agitated, furious look. Applause followed him until he finally disappeared in the dark.

 

“Our special guest, Jason Todd, ladies and gentleman!” Two-Face commented the performance, “Wasn’t that refreshing?”

 

The world suddenly had a tinge of red. Everything was moving, like liquid. I couldn’t tell anymore whether it was just inside or outside as well; it felt damp and raw. Disillusioned, yet still hallucinating, I coughed. Red dripped on the floor.

The warm blood seeping from my body had made the ice melt so I could have moved again, had I just been capable of doing so.

 

“What a show. He’s pretty much done, huh?” Sionis laughed.

 

“I’m not done with him yet!” Penguin screamed manically, “no fair you could beat the shit out of him and I just watch!”

 

“There’s plenty for everyone!”

 

It could have been me saying that if I just hadn’t been busy drowning in blood.

The fishman bent down, sneering at me. I couldn’t move anymore at all, my limbs hurt; broken, contused, bleeding. I was not interested in his concept of fun at all and I just wanted to go home, take a bath and do a line of coke but I understood that this wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

 

I heard something clicking then. Heads flew around to look at the couple behind them. Deadshot had made himself ready to shoot any second the Bat was doing something Deadshot didn’t approve of again.

 

“Don’t you think it’s enough now?”

 

“You are not to decide that,” Deadshot replied with a smirk.

 

“But you are?”

 

“Yes, we are,” Two-Face shouted, turning around on his heels and approaching the Bat theatrically.

 

“What puts you in that position?”

 

“His deeds. Not heroic, not noble, not good at all. You of all should know.”

 

In that chaos of pain, fear and despair I had to chuckle inside. The words rang familiar in my ears. History was repeating itself. Loudly, I emptied my stomach. More blood spilled on the floor.

 

“That doesn’t justify-“

 

“It does. We have decided that they do. Every single one of us has been toyed with-“

 

“Has been fucked with!” Sionis interrupted him.

 

“Been fucked with, fooled and betrayed. Some of us have even spent time in Arkham because of him and it’s no cosy place per se. We could forgive him,” Two-Face smiled at me with the human side of his face, then showed me his burnt side, “but we don’t.”

 

“Sure as hell we don’t!”

 

The Bat realized that talking didn’t help the situation at all. He took a step back again and stood calmly. The others turned to face me again and the fishman continued with his plan. With sheepish delight, he took a fish from a plastic bag and shoved it into my mouth. The taste was so gross that it made me gag, but he soon removed it and disappeared.

 

I flinched when something cold and slick forcefully wormed itself through my anus and I jerked again when I felt it touching my prostate. Everything was a quivering mess now, waves of blue washing over the scenery, the floor still claiming to be the walls and the ceiling dripping from the sky. It was too much.

 

He removed his little flipper and replaced it with the fish. Disgust and panic spread in my head and I tried to reach for the fish in my ass but Sionis quickly ended that attempt by stepping on my hand.

 

“Everyone gets the chance to enjoy this,” he stated, noticeably amused at what they were doing to me.

 

Penguin was dancing an odd dance around me, clapping his tiny hands, squealing with joy. What a pervert. Jerking off at a fish in an arse. Pathetic. I coughed, almost able to laugh.

 

“You done now, Peng?”

 

“What a fishy question,” he replied, dancing on.

 

“Fine then. Let’s finish him off.”

 

The voice filled with the most hatred belonged to the plant Lady. I couldn’t remember what I could have done to vex her; just scenes of a garden and a watering pot came to my mind – something which I couldn’t trust right now anyway, but it really was a burning question to me right now what I had done wrong.

 

“Ffwah…” I started, feeling my jaw ache from the hits with the crow bar.

 

“Silence! He wants to say something,” Two-Face shouted at the crowd, indicating with his finger on his lips that he seriously wanted them to be silent.

He was quite the funny guy.

 

“Wha…you…”

 

Colours exploded in front of my eyes. Two-Face was undergoing an interesting transformation: His burnt side was dripping on the floor while his human side was gleaming.

Magic.

I swallowed blood.

 

“Whave done t’you…?”

 

“Who?”

 

“Me?”

 

Two-Face’s face was lying on the floor, grinning at me. I threw up the blood I had swallowed before. It was mingling with his skin and only made things worse. I was lying in a puddle of saliva, blood and molten Two-Face. What a distraction. I couldn’t concentrate at all.

 

“I...v…a”

 

“Me! What you have done to me?  You don’t even remember? You’re just worthless.”

 

Oh what news. Daddy’s words.

Ivy lifted her arms and closed her eyes. I knew that trouble was on the way again.

Vines of a plant I could not identify broke through the floor. In my current state, it rather looked like tentacles but my reason, the part of it which still was working at least, told me that it was vines.

 

I had often seen her tying police officers up with them or doing some other funny things with them so I thought I could enjoy the show when the vines were winding towards me.

However, I was terribly wrong, assuming that she’d tie me up. The wood forced itself through my lips, down my throat. When I realized what was happening and when I was beginning to understand what was about to happen I wriggled and bit down on the vines but it was no use.

 

I could feel them moving inside me, filling my stomach. Horrified, I grabbed the vines and tried to pull on them but soon gave up. When I was close to suffocating the vines suddenly condensed and I was able to breathe again.

 

“You’re quite the sadist, Lady,” Two-Face grinned at her, getting a smile back in return.

Laughter filled my ears and it was the first time in my life I felt humiliated. But the situation didn’t permit me to wallow in self-pity because the vines now crept through the pylorus and advanced into my bowels. It felt too odd than to be true, but the pain reminded me of that being much too real. Wherever I looked I saw rows of teeth and teeth, loud laughing.

 

I tried to move to keep them from wandering through my body but it didn’t help at all, it just made it worse because it triggered cramps in my bowels. It was impossible to hold back anymore and with the vines almost filling my entire mouth I whined and let the tears flow.

 

The worst day of my life. I had always been a self-confident man, laughing at the world, taking from it, not aware that it could be taken from me as well.

I squinted my eyes and yelled with pain when the wood broke through my ass, pushing the fish out of it. Flashes of bright light made me open my eyes though. Someone was taking pictures of this.

I gave up then. I gave up resistance and went slack. It was no use fighting a mob which was avid of satisfaction; I didn’t stand a chance. 

 

“Look, ya broke him!” a shrill voice echoed in the hall. Not that again.

 

The crowd was cheering and applauding, satisfied.

 

“Deadshot, your turn!”

 

I prepared to face death now.

 

“No!”

 

Deadshot hadn’t moved at all. He was still looking at the Bat, ready to shoot at the slightest move.

 

“Easy, man! Calm down! Still so tight. You act like he’s your toy boy!”

 

The Bat didn’t reply anything. The laughter around me grew and I felt feet kicking me again. By now, the pain had made me go so numb that I didn’t mind anymore.

Pairs of legs were rushing past me, leaving me, disappearing until there were only 4 legs left.

 

“You behave. You move and I’ll shoot you.”

 

Deadshot walked backwards, almost tripping up on me while fixing the Bat so intently until he had disappeared in the dark as well.

And there he was. A silent black spot. His cape was merging with the floor, covering it, reaching out to me. Then he moved, coming closer until I could see his eyes.

I was a trembling mess, not feeling any shame anymore. I was past that, past everything, ready to die.

 

He kept looking at me in silence. My eyes met his and a strange feeling suddenly spread in my whole body. He knew that any word he would have said now would have been pointless, any question he would have asked leading nowhere. He crouched down and examined my face with his eyes.

It felt so familiar. He wouldn’t need to beat me up anymore because someone else had already taken care of it. That took some of the pressure from me. Could I have laughed I would have laughed.

 

I could barely breathe with the vines filling up my mouth and the lack of oxygen was taking its toll now. Black spots grew larger in front of my eyes and I felt that it was safe to let go now. He would take care of me.

 

He would.

 

I closed my eyes and surrendered.

Warmth spread on my skin, silky and soft. He had taken off his cape and cloaked me with it. Then he cut off the vines behind and in front of me.

Warm hands gently lifted me up, careful not to hurt me even more. Whenever we had fought he had not shown any sign of tenderness, it had never been the place for that and I had not thought him capable of such behavior at all. He was my enemy, I was his enemy. No need to be tender.

 

My limbs hung from his arms, broken and bleeding. I would have liked to cling to his chest, to his armour, to anything, but I was too weak. I had to trust him not to drop me. Trust was an issue, but not now. I was not myself anymore, I had given up, I needed other people to take care of me now if the world wanted me to stay alive.

 

He left the warehouse with me and the night felt cold. The door of his car opened automatically and he carefully dropped me on the front passenger seat. Lamps were flashing and there was a strange smell but I couldn’t protest at all.

 

He’d deliver me to Arkham. I hated that place but currently, I had no choice. Things flew past us, flashes of light. It made me feel sick so I closed my eyes and did not open them anymore. Eventually, the car stopped, I felt him taking me, the cold air on my skin again, ready for the nuthouse.

 

“Sir?”

 

I knew that voice.

 

“Don’t ask, Alfred.”

 

I was oscillating between 30% of consciousness and 70% unconsciousness, hearing some things, feeling some things, touching and smelling but never getting the full image. Alfred had been waiting for me in Arkham. What a good boy.

A chilly breeze made my hair move and I tried to snuggle up to that warm armour but I was dropped again. Bright light shone through my closed eyelids.

 

“Why didn’t you bring him to hospital, Master Bruce?”

 

“I doubt that they would know how to handle that.”

 

“And you do?”

 

“I know more about these things than they do.”

 

“Do you think it is right to bring him here?”

 

“He knows about that all anyway. Don’t underestimate him just because he never showed up here. He knows very well who I am.”

 

“If you think so, Master Bruce.”

 

“Give me some lube.”

 

“Master Bruce?”

 

“Either you do what I tell you or you leave, but you are not much of a help right now, Alfred.”

 

“Yes, Master Bruce, I am sorry.”

 

I was moved on my side. I let it happen. I had no choice, no say.

Then I felt him pulling on the vines and I cringed with pain. Until now, I had not thought about how they ever should leave my body again but if Master Bruce had an idea I would not object to it.

 

“Alfred, help me.”

 

Two hands were resting on my thigh and flank now.

 

“It’s gonna hurt.”

 

The first words directly addressed to me. Typically, they were of rather negative connotation.

After a forceful push which felt like it would bring my guts to my mouth, he pulled and the two hands kept me in place. It certainly was one of the worst experiences ever, getting Ivy vines pulled out of my body, basically from head to toe.

 

They moved. I feared they had already connected with my body but they moved. Gladly, I felt them leaving my mouth and I gasped for air, coughing and gagging. They wound themselves through my stomach until they were gone for good. What a feeling.

The coughing made me feel light-headed and the bitter taste in my mouth returned. I would have liked to understand where I was, but currently, I was rather busy with staying awake. And I didn’t succeed too gloriously anyway. Seconds later, I passed out.

 

“Master Bruce, I think he fainted.”

 

“Prepare the guest room next to my bureau.”

 

“He shall stay with us?!”

 

“Listen, Alfred. I have been thinking about that for a long time already. He’s the Joker. I catch him, deliver him to Arkham, he escapes, I catch him, he escapes, forever. Nothing of that ever helped, neither medication nor ignoring him. Trust me, even if it is difficult for everyone of us. Trust me.”

 

“As you wish, Master Bruce.”

 

 

__________________

 

 

Consciousness eventually returned but I didn’t. Nor could I tell where I started or ended; everything was an aching mess, throbbing, stinging, itching. One of my eyes was so swollen that I couldn’t open it at all and for safety’s reasons I kept the second one closed as well. I couldn’t tell where I was or whether I was at all. Ugly scenes turned up in my head. Gross, humiliating, painful and unreal.

I moaned and tried to turn my head to the side to escape these images somehow.

 

“How are you?”

 

That made my eyelid spring open. I was looking at a man with black hair, neatly combed back, dressed in a black shirt and black jeans. My mouth dropped open, but just slightly. It must have looked really dumb so I closed it again, now being reminded that even my jaw hurt like hell.

 

“I took care of your fractures…and some other things,” he said matter-of-factly, yet with the hint of a smile.

 

I was confused. I admitted that I was confused. That was not the world I was used to living in.

 

“Some…” I started, yet stopping at feeling the pain raging in my head so that I had to close that one eye again.

 

“You’ll recover. Sleep. I’m in the next room.”

 

Either the drug was still working on me or I was dead and another option simply was impossible. He left the room and I was alone again. Lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, which, in fact, I couldn’t see at all, I was trying to figure out what was happening right now.

I fell asleep when I had almost solved that mystery.

 

The next time I came back to this world it was slightly brighter in this room. Not too much, but enough to tell that it was morning or midday already. That man really was needing some lamps in his castle.

As for my bodily condition, nothing had changed. I was frustrated at that because usually, I could at least walk on my own and after some sleep most of the pain was gone, but that was too grave than to be slept away. I depended on that man and it drove me crazy. Just the thought of drinking that water he had put on the tablet beside the bed made me shiver with discomfort.

 

Was that his new strategy? I hated him from the bottom of my heart.

Just when I was about to think of a way how to escape the devil entered.

 

“Nice to see you awake again. Have some breakfast,” he casually said while coming closer.

 

I looked daggers at him.

 

“I’d rather be in Arkham,” I managed to pronounce slowly and carefully.

That was a lie. I felt it and I knew he felt it too. But I had to state that, for the record.

 

“After you’ve gotten well again you can straight go to Arkham.”

 

I sucked in the air and turned my head away. That man was annoying the holy daylights out of me. And he was so darn right. He pursed his lips, then left again.

Our little encounters started to irritate me. He wanted to play with me. Make me trust him and when I didn’t think it possible anymore he’d stab me. I’d be careful. For now, anyway, I closed my eyes again and planned to doze through the day. He certainly wouldn’t do it while I was asleep.

 

In the evening, the butler came in and asked if I needed anything. I told him that I’d need about three tons of napalm, a lighter and some butter for the bread I didn’t have. Without batting an eye, he had left again. I hated him. Maybe even more than that man.

When it had gotten dark later on and when the house seemed to calm down I tried to sit up. Every inch of my physical body hurt, not to mention my mental on, but I was used to that kind of pain now. My left hand was put in a plaster cast and there were bandages everywhere. As if they’d help. Maybe he liked the sight of it.

 

Tentatively, I turned around to put a foot on the floor, but I felt that it was too early to try walking on my own. I’d fall from the bed and would have to spend the night on the floor. I wouldn’t deny myself the comfort if I could have it and so I lay down again. The time for escape would come.

 

Gotham was laughing this night again. Louder than ever I heard it ringing in my ears and it was no joyful laughter but gleeful. Their faces were contorted, some of them molten, some of them everywhere and some only consisted of sharp-teethed mouths. Gotham was a dark city; the lanterns barely served to illuminate that pit of hell and when the night chose to be extraordinarily dark they had no chance giving a hint of light even.

 

And it was such a dark night. No other sound was heard but the laughing. When the buildings were closing in on me like the padded cells of Arkham I wanted to scream but no sound would leave my mouth. I wasn’t getting heard and no one would notice me. The faces and walls were still coming closer and I was the center of that nasty attention, screaming in silence.

 

Then I was able to leave. I opened my eye, bathed in sweat like in my apartment, panting harshly, still feeling the claws of my subconscious reaching for me.

I didn’t need to look to the side to tell that he was standing there; I could feel his eyes on me. The last thing I needed now. Pity from B.W.

I must have been screaming though. Silently, he disappeared again, leaving the door open.

 

He drove me crazy. Still dizzy from sleep but awake enough to feel furious I threw myself out of the bed and hobbled after him, screaming, “You sick asshole, you goddarned spoiled rich aristocrat, you retarded dipshit, you-“

 

All of a sudden, he turned up in front of me, shocking the hell out of me. Batman could do that perfectly.

 

“Finished now?”

 

I grabbed his shirt, absolutely not aware of how close we were at this time already.

 

“You dare drag me into your verminous guano hole at the arse end of Gotham, then stick me in a luxury bed of yours and serve me breakfast with orange juice – are you mocking me?!”

 

“I’d never dare do that.” he said, trying to hide that smirk I could even see in the dark.

 

“I can’t believe…”

 

I had to stop, the fury vanishing and pain taking over again. For a second, I had felt alright but now that the adrenaline was fizzling out I wished I had stayed in bed. My knee gave way and I helplessly slid down.

He took hold of me.

 

It was dark around us. And silent.

I’d never forget that moment.

No words would come to my mind and even less to my mouth and he remained silent too.

No one saw us, no one heard us. The aisles were empty, the lights out. I looked up at him but I couldn’t see his features.

 

I didn’t know what to do. Somehow, that situation was unsettling me. He was doing that on purpose and I knew that he wouldn’t be the one ending that. So I ditched the magic of that moment and wiggled free, muttering further curses until I got short of breath. How could he come so close? He had always been close when beating me but that was something else.

 

With my hand pressed against the wall I tried to walk back to my room. It wasn’t my room but it was a room where I could stay.

 

“Would you like orange juice for breakfast tomorrow? I thought I wouldn’t serve you juice yet because your stomach still must be sore.”

 

“How considerate of you, mother,” I mumbled into the dark.

 

I wished mother had served me orange juice just one morning. Instead, she had fucked her way through Gotham till I lost track of her. As a young boy, I had followed her, hoping I’d find her and be able to convince her of staying with me but I failed. My entire life, I had been losing people. Mother, dad too early, my wife, my girlfriends. I had learnt the lesson and there was nothing left inside of me which was longing for love anymore.

Or was there.

 

Angry at him bringing back such thoughts I pushed a vase from a commode. It fell to the floor, breaking to pieces with a noise resembling the laughter in my dreams. The entire world was mocking me.

 

“Does that help? You want another one?”

 

I could kill him. But not in this state.

Ignoring that obvious joke at my expense I went on to disappear in my room. The room that was prepared for me. After sitting down on the bed I listened for him to follow me, but it was silent.

I’d call a taxi tomorrow and if the driver had to carry me out of this house on his darned hands, I’d leave. Someway, somehow. I refused to be his private prisoner, his guinea pig or whatever he considered me. This affair was just getting absurd.

 

With a snort I lay down and pulled the luxury blanket up to my neck. To cap it all, it smelled of lavender.

I was going to kill that man.

 

 

Behind a wall, Bruce Wayne was listening for a sound.

When he didn’t hear anything anymore he slid down and leaned against the stones, closing his eyes.

This affair was just getting absurd.

 

 

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