The Looking Glass

Batman Begins. Joker/Crane. NC-17. ~2000 words. Breathplay.
Joker fit his fingers one by one to Jonathan’s throat.

Joker sprawled on the low bunk, back against the stale concrete wall, hands folded casually on his stomach and that smile on his face. Not the one carved into his flesh, or the garish smear of slick greasepaint, but the one that said he could see straight through Jonathan’s tidy navy suit, through the flimsy paper reports and the steady hand they’re written with to the obsession that beat inside his skull like the fluttering and screeching of a startled bat.

“And how are we feeling today?” Joker asked.

He felt naked, exposed, without his briefcase, though as a symbol it was a sad, flimsy shield and what he carried in it meant nothing here, now, with this man. He suspected a mind like the Joker’s would revel in his world of toxic chaos.

“You need to learn to relax, you’re very tense,” Joker said. “Just take a moment to breathe.” He dragged in a deep, exaggerated breath and let it free on a gusty sigh. “Now there, you try it.”

“I find it hard to believe you requested this session over concern of my well-being,” Jonathan replied. With nowhere to sit, he crossed his arms over his chest and waited.

“I find it hard to believe in being well, but all right,” Joker said, shoving away from the wall and smacking his palms down on his knees. “Let’s have a little chat about why you like me so much. It’s good therapy. Positive thinking works wonders.”

Tension cramped Jonathan’s shoulders. His pulse had spiked the moment he’d walked into the cell, had juddered erratically when the door sealed shut at his back, and now it danced to the Joker’s tune. A thin layer of sweat gathered at the base of his spine. “What makes you say that?”

“Narcissism of the highest order. Everybody likes it when the popular boy comes over to play, and you’re very popular around here. Not that I get out much.” He darted to his feet, jerking Jonathan’s heart along for the ride, and did a wobbly twirl. “I even dressed for the occasion.” Sticking both hands in a frame around his face, he batted his eyelashes and asked, “Do you like it?”

“Do you?”

Joker frowned. “You could at least lie, you know. And spare my feelings.”

Less than half a dozen feet between them now and a thick metallic taste coated the back of Jonathan’s tongue. The viewing shutter was open but the hallway beyond the door sat silent, empty by his word. The slick smell of greasepaint stuck in his nose.

“I’ll tell you why you like me, doc,” Joker said, his voice dropping to a soft, scratching intimacy. “Why you can’t get those big baby blues to go anywhere else.” He paused, scowled, smacked his lips and puffed irritably. “And speaking of, doc, why’re you- Why’re you hiding behind those?”

Jonathan flinched as Joker’s hand shot out.

“See, what’d I say,” Joker said, wriggling his fingers in front of the lenses, “you’ve got to learn to relax.” Gently, he slid Jonathan’s glasses down, lifted them free and folded them, tucked them safely away in his breast pocket, even gave them a fond little pat. “There. Easier to see when the looking glass isn’t in the way.”

Scarred fingers ruffled Jonathan’s hair, skittered down to curl under his chin, tilt his face upwards. Flesh showed through the jagged cracks in Joker’s painted face like long-healed wounds. “Not going to tell me what you see, doc?”

Jonathan swallowed a breath, his insides a twisted, squirming mess at the slow-burn gleam it brought to Joker’s eyes. “Why don’t you tell me?”

Joker fit his fingers one by one to Jonathan’s throat. He smiled while he did it, blood-red lip caught between his teeth and a muffled, humming laugh trickling out to fill the stale inches of air they shared. Jonathan’s pulse fluttered fitfully under the press of his thumb.

“No, no, see.” Joker jerked away, shaking his head and waggling his finger. “That’s too easy. I don’t think I want to make it that easy for you.”

“For me?” Jonathan smoothed the front of his tie. “This is about you.”

Joker froze, blinking madly. “Wrong again!” he crowed, slapping his hands together as he straightened. “This has nothing to do with me, it’s all about you, doc. It’s always about you. You, you, you. Ah okay, you’re right, it’s about me too.” He made another low, considering noise. “How to explain?”

Bracing a hand on the door, though it was his chest and not his knees that rattled, Jonathan said, “Why did you stop?”

Joker cocked a brow. “Hmm?”

“You could’ve hurt me, killed me,” Jonathan went on, ignoring the loud fizzle of the overhead light as he pushed away from the false security of the door. “You still can.”

Wobbling a hand back and forth as if it didn’t matter one way or the other, Joker shrugged.

“Fine,” Jonathan, closing the distance Joker had put between them. “I want something from you.”

Joker took a mincing step back, then another, goading, leading. “Ooh, another trade? A little tit for tat? Do tell.”

“This. This is what I want.” Grabbing Joker’s hand, Jonathan smacked it to his throat, pressed rough fingertips bruisingly hard to the mad trip of his pulse. ” I need to know why I’m afraid of you.”

“Why, doc,” Joker said, his voice a whispering grate on Jonathan’s skin, “I never knew you felt that way.”

Air exploded from Jonathan’s lungs as Joker swung him around, slammed him up against the wall with one hand still at his throat and the other scrabbling at his belt. The toes of his shoes skidded on the warped tile floor as he dug at Joker’s wrist with blunt nails, choking on desperate panic for the thin scraps of air teasing his lips.

The grip on his throat eased. He sucked in a harsh breath, most of it lost again as Joker’s fingers wrapped roughly around his cock and pulled it free of his clothes. He sagged against the cold brick and breathed deeply, tried to stretch and fill his lungs before he missed his chance.

Joker’s hand tightened like a vise, trapping dead air in his chest, the pressure growing, squeezing his clattering heart until it slowed, calmed. He grasped at the front of the Joker’s ugly orange jumpsuit, pictured it the vibrant clash of colours he’d come in with as it crushed beneath his fist.

“Oh,” Joker said, and laughing, leaned in. “Oh, oh, I know what you need. Trust me, I really do.” The scar twisting his bottom lip was slick, smooth, and left a tickling smudge of paint at the corner of Jonathan’s mouth. “But I’ve just got to wonder, you know, which one you want more.”

Without the breath to answer, Jonathan kicked uselessly at Joker’s shin, yanked weakly at the stiff cloth tangled in his fingers. The taste of cheap greasepaint lingered just out of his reach.

His hold loosened, and so did the Joker’s. Air rushed in and he coughed into the ragged press of Joker’s mouth, fighting his body’s need in an attempt to learn the texture of the rest of the scars hidden beneath sloppy paint. His dead heart sputtered back to horrified, terrible life. He strangled a moan before it could escape when Joker gave his cock a casual tug, dropped his head back against the brick and closed his eyes as if that would erase the dense, oily paint smeared across his lips.

He didn’t anticipate the jagged, bright spike of pain as Joker’s teeth dug into his throat. It ripped a startled noise free, too sharp, too quick for him to stifle, and one of Joker’s hands clamped over his mouth while the other slid smoothly, precome slick, down the full length of his dick.

“Remember to keep it quiet, dear Dr. Crane. You don’t want anybody to ruin it now, do you? Hm?” Joker nuzzled under his jaw, licked a wide swath from there to his ear, bit at the lobe lightly, playfully. “Make those teeny tiny noises again for me, beautiful. Those lovely little choking moans.”

Jonathan shook his head and shuddered, arched into the rise of pleasure as Joker worked him closer to an edge he wanted to be shoved over, forced into like a nosedive off a skyscraper. Lank hair brushed his cheek and he opened his eyes, saw the kiss Joker pressed to the back of the hand tight over his mouth and groaned at the phantom echo of it.

He wanted that stillness back, that sure, dark certainty, not the frantic rush of blood through his veins, the shuddering in his chest. He tried to shake Joker’s hand free, sank his teeth into flesh and Joker carved a smile like the edge of a knife against his face.

He came with his gaze locked on the dank, water-stained ceiling, his bottom lip caught between his teeth to block his groans and his tongue pressed to the layer of paint lingering there, the taste of it flooding his mouth anew. For one brief, glorious moment, everything stopped, went silent, empty.

“Nothing to fear,” Joker said, and smiled, tsk-tsked. He caught Jonathan’s face with both hands, one wet with spit, the other with come. “Nothing to fear but fear itself, little boy, don’t you know that.”

Disgusted with the shaky rattle still plaguing him, Jonathan pushed Joker’s hands away. “Platitudes,” he said, wiping his come and the smear of the Joker’s smile from his face. “Trite and useless.”

Joker gave his cock another of those fond little pat and tucked it away, zipped up his slacks. “Well, I feel better. I love these little sessions, doc, honestly, I do. Same time next week?”

“Move,” Jonathan said, and shoved at Joker’s shoulder.

Joker seized his wrist, mouth and eyes flat as a snake’s under the shadows and the smears. “You make me feel so cheap. I think I like it.”

A sudden slick lopsided smile cracked into a real grin and Jonathan wrenched free, snatched his glasses out of Joker’s pocket and shoved a hand through his hair as he went for the door. He pounded on it twice, paused and then pounded three times more. The loud clack of footsteps echoed through the hall.

“I’ll give you one for free, doc,” Joker said, gnawing on the jagged edge of a fingernail. “It’s not me you’re afraid of.”

Metal screeched as one of the orderlies cranked the release. “So what am I afraid of, then?” Jonathan asked.

Joker stood tall, spread his arms wide, a maestro in a silent pit. The orderly glanced from him to Jonathan and back, shifted uneasily.

“Get it?” Joker said.

“Close it,” Jonathan said, snapping his fingers to get the orderly’s attention.

Joker’s eyes flashed wide. “Wait, doc. Wait a second.” Seeing him move, the orderly swung the door shut hard, the harsh clang still echoing in Jonathan’s ears when Joker slammed up against the inside, face pressed to the reinforced glass. “Leaving so soon? But didn’t you bring me a present? Ah, ah, don’t make that face, you said you would, and the last one was oh so very nice.” He ran a fingertip over his lips to fix the cracks in the red, pressed them together in a loud smack and blew a kiss.

“Nothing and no one goes in that cell except food and water,” Jonathan instructed, his gaze locked with the Joker’s.

Joker blew a lank string of hair out of his face. “Okay. All right.” He tapped the glass twice. “Whether or not you let me pretty myself up, I’ll be out of here like mist on the river soon enough. Ain’t that right, Johnny boy?”

Calmly, Jonathan closed the viewing slot. He fixed the skewed knot in his tie as he walked away. “Nothing,” he repeated, his voice loud enough to carry.


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