Batman and Joker: Blood Ties - Version 4

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This fan fiction short story, the fourth in this series, continues to explore how Batman and his nemesis, Joker, came to have characteristics which are the exact opposite of each other. Is this a coincidence? Or is it due to some sinister link between the two characters or between their origins?

She checked on her phone and cursed under her breath.

Her father was again late.

After 17 years of being disappointed, she knew that her father not keeping his word shouldn’t bother her this much, but it still did. It hurt like hell.

Especially since he was all she had, after her mother had got enough and packed up left.

And also, because it was her high school prom night. He had promised her that he would pick her up on time and drop her off at her best friend’s house. Her two best friends hadn’t wanted to go with the boys who had asked them out for prom so the three of them had planned to go together. Plus, Barb had a feeling that her friends had both turned down those guys since Barb had no date and had only been asked out by the biggest weirdo in their grade.

Barb was far from popular in school, partly because of what her father did for a living, which didn’t make him popular with the parents of most of the other kids in school. But partly, Barb knew that it was her own fault, her lack of social skills.

Barb’s train of thoughts were broken by the beeping of her phone. Her friends were messaging her asking her when she would get there.

She called her father. It went straight to voicemail.

Dabbing at tears of frustration pooling in her eyes, she called her friends asking them to pick her up. It would be detour for them but that couldn’t be helped since her father had screwed up as usual.

* * * * * **

His daughter had not spoken to him the entire week.

James Gordon felt guilty but there was nothing he could have done.

Her prom night had been a disaster for the Gotham Police, of which he was the Commissioner. The crime wave, which had been picking up had hit an all-time high that very night.

Plus, the damned Batman had turned uncharacteristically violent, near killing and beating into a coma a gang of four criminals who had killed a man and raped and nearly killed his wife in an alley. None of them had regained consciousness for days. The viciousness of the attack had surprised Gordon. The Mayor and a bunch of powerful people had again started their periodic call for Batman to be put behind bars.

But Gordon was realistic. He knew that although Batman’s actions were far from perfect allocating a good amount of his force to hunt the caped the crusader would be pointless. Firstly, they would never catch him. Secondly, it would put more pressure on his police force, already spread thin. They were heavily under-staffed and under-resourced. But he had again had to go about calming down people at City Hall calling for Batman’s head.

He had been called for an urgent meeting with the Mayor at the time he had been supposed to pick up Barbara. Although he had tried to explained it to Barb she had been sulky and withdrawn. In hindsight, Gordon knew that he probably should have left out Batman in his explanation, given Barb’s contempt for him. He knew that Barb blamed Batman for a lot of things – including for his wife leaving them.

She wasn’t exactly wrong either. The night his wife had left she had tried calling him half a dozen times to try and have a final conversation, to sort things out.

But Gordon had instead been with Batman, sharing the recent intel he had gathered on Penguin, who had gone on a killing spree a day earlier.

Leaving aside the city’s criminals, Barb probably hated Batman more than anyone else in Gotham and made it known at every possible opportunity. He knew that she also used it to get under his skin, to get back at him. He couldn’t really blame her.

He pretty much sucked at being a father.

His phone rang and he picked up.

“Gordon here.”

It was a cop at the other end of the phone, sounding very apologetic.

Barb had just been arrested for shoplifting.

Gordon slowly put down the phone.

He picked up the glass that he had been sipping his whiskey in, smashing it into pieces.

He put in head in hands, in frustration and shame.

Barb was clearly in no forgiving mood and was out for revenge.

His phone beeped again. It was a message from Batman.

Gordon was torn, but he needed to know what was going on with Batman, what had unsettled him. He had to know that Batman could be trusted, that he would not beat up random criminals into a coma every time he felt like it.

Reluctantly, he called his best friend and colleague to go in his place instead and asked him to go and pick up Barb from the station.

* * * * * **

The disappointment in his face haunted her.

He had not spoken a word to her about the shoplifting incident. Instead she was told that he had been working.

It had been a Sunday night when she was arrested and when he came back, Barb saw that her father had not gone out in his uniform.

Which only meant one thing.

He had gone to see the fucking Batman, instead of coming to pick her up.

Barb had felt so betrayed and hurt that she had not even apologized to her father. The more she thought about it, the less she felt bad about it. Served him right.

Her mother. So many nights he had not turned up or not been there to pick her up from school. Prom. And now this.

Barb seethed with rage. The Batman had taken first her mother and then her father away from her.

Her phone beeped.

She had not been getting on with her own friends recently. They had tried lecturing her for acting out against her father and especially about the shoplifting incident.

So Barb had been spending more time with a new gang. She knew that they were bad news. It was one of them who had made her do the shoplifting.

But Barb had not snitched.

That had earned her the respect of her new friends.

Apparently, her new friends were going to a rave at some warehouse.

It was really not Barb’s thing.

But then again, she pictured the disappointment in her father’s face.

That made the decision for her.

She would go. Fuck Batman. Fuck James Gordon.

* * * * * **

One guy was thrashing around.

His eyes kept darting around, his mouth was foaming.

Barb didn’t know what it was but she knew that it was bad.

They had been passing around some pills a few minutes ago and the boy had taken some. Luckily Barb had just slipped hers into her pocket. She was probably the only person in the group who wasn’t high or wasted.

“We have to call for an ambulance,” she said again, this time her voice more insistent.

“Fuck that. We will all end up in jail.”

None of the others were willing to do anything, but Barb saw that the kid was getting worse.

She made the call.

Or at least tried to.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“Our dads are not bigshots in the police like yours, we can’t end up in jail.”

They had grabbed her phone away from her.

Just then the boy wheezed loudly one last time and seemed to stop breathing.

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What are we going to do?”

They were all starting to panic.

“We have to call for help. They might still be able to help him.”

Barb was terrified. Her voice was breaking. But she was not willing to just let the kid die.

“No.”

It was the leader of the gang, who had appeared out of nowhere.

He was not a guy to be messed with and everyone knew that. No one else would question his authority.

“We just get the fuck outta here.”

The others didn’t seem to have an issue with that.

“What about the Commissioner’s daughter?”

“The bitch is going to rat us out.”

The leader looked at her. Barb felt chilled to the bone, a sense of dread unlike she had ever felt before.

“Hold her and open her mouth.”

Barb tried to fight them, she tried to scream but it was over in minutes.

They forced a bunch of pills into her mouth and forced her to swallow them.

The pills hit her nearly instantly. Her eyes turned blurry, she started wobbling. She was struggling to breathe.

As she lost consciousness, Barb saw the blurry image of the other kids running away, making their exit, leaving her to die and making it look like she overdosed by accident.

Even with her thoughts in disarray, Barb felt hatred for them and contempt for herself.

She had tried to do the right thing that her damn father had been talking about her entire life and it had done no good, for her or for anyone else.

Her last semi-coherent thought was that this cruel world didn’t deserve heroes, it deserved villains.

 * * * * * **

It was the last happy memory Barb had of her mother, nearly 10 years ago.

They were at a carnival. They were both happy.

It was a good day – cool but not cold.

The music was loud, but not unpleasant. It was bright, colourful.

Kids were running around playing, while their parents were seated talking among themselves, keeping an eye out on what the kids were up to.

Barb pulled her mom towards one of those shooting games, where you could win prizes by shooting targets. Her mom wouldn’t usually let her shoot but she was in a good mood and allowed Barb to do one round of shooting.

She was pretty good at it.

The keeper of the stall offered her the options she had for prizes.

Since it was a game that mostly boys played the stall only had action figures, most of them of Batman and already by then Barb was fed up of the caped crusader.

She asked the stall keeper whether he had anything else.

The man scratched his head and started going through the stuff in big cardboard box.

“Sorry honey. This is the only other thing I have.”

It was a bit scratched and dusty but Barb preferred it to the other prizes.

She looked at her mom, who smiled and nodded.

Beth picked up and inspected her prize.

It was an action figure of a clown with a huge smile on his face.

 


Submitted: November 01, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Saminda. All rights reserved.

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