The Joker shook his head. He ran his fingers through his hair and down his face. The scars.
Suddenly, he remembered:
Walking through an alley. The only thing keeping him from tripping over empty boxes or stepping on needles of high's past was a single streetlight. He walks quickly, as if he has a purpose. A place to go. He's just lost everything. The only thing he knows to do is walk. Walk until he can't feel his feet anymore. Walk until someone comes out and robs him. Or kills him. He doesn't care at this point. In fact, he'd prefer to be dead versus the feeling he has now. Empty.
He drops to his knees and cries out, "Harley!"
His fists form balls as tight as his heart and slam the ground in front of him. He begins to cry, then sob.
"Oh my dearest Harley, my darling. I've done this to you."
The moments before his emptiness ran through his head, just like they had a thousand times before in the past few hours. He and Harley sat at a restaurant, one of the fanciest in town. It had taken him months to reserve a place for them to sit. They had just finished their meal, and were talking about their future. They had finally found an apartment that they could afford on the little income they had. Harley was just getting out of college and had yet to find a job anywhere. For a major in psychology, the only job openings in all of Gotham was at the asylum. He didn't want her working there. It was too dangerous, something could happen to her. Especially since he'd personally put some of the inmates into their prisons there. He was a lawyer for a small firm. His plans were to eventually open up his own firm, but of the few cases he got, his higher ranking employees seemed to always get the credit for his job well done.
Harley excuses herself to the bathroom. He slips a hand in his pocket, and feels around for the little box. He opens it with his thumb and feels to make sure the ring is still there. It had taken him almost a year to save up for this, but he was finally able to buy the one she had wanted so badly. A small, half-carat diamond in a gold setting with a few, small diamond chips around it. It wasn't much, but it's the best he could. He smiled to himself and closed the box back. Harley loved when he smiled, as did he when she smiled. He knew she'd smile when she saw this. He breathes in deeply, and exhaled.
Suddenly, a scream comes from behind him.
Three masked men enter the restaurant. Two of them grab women who sat nearest to the door.
"All of the money in the register or they get their heads blown off. Understand?" The lead man cocked his gun. The women scream, but it's quickly muffled by their captors hand.
He panics, mumbling to himself, "Where is Harley? Please, dear God, let her stay in the bathroom. Don't let her come out." He quickly looks towards the door of the restroom and sees it open, just a crack. Harley. He makes a jester to her, shaking his hand as if to say "go back in," but it was too late. The lead man sees his motion and smiles at him through his mask. His teeth are disgustingly yellow and decayed. This money was for meth, and these men were not to be bargained with.
The lead man walks to the bathroom and yanked the door open. With a rude jerk, the man pulls Harley out into the restaurant. Harley grunts and tries to fight him back, but she is too weak to even put up a challenge.
"So this is yours, hm?" A crooked smile again. He forcibly walks Harley over to him and points a gun at her head. "I guess this means you'd be willing to do anything to keep her alive." A harsh laugh follows. The man's voice is raspy. He coughs.
Adrenaline. He can feel his heart beating too fast as his brow begins to sweat. He gets up out of his seat and knocks the man as hard as he can square in the mouth.The man falls backwards and scrambles to get up. Harley is startled and backs away from both of them. The man props himself up against a chair and then pulls himself up to his feet.
"Bad decision." The man sneers and spits out a mixture of discolored spittle and blood towards him. The man takes Harley by her arm and begins to lead her out the door. He chases them, but the one of the other two men hold a gun to his head as the other carries the sack of newly earned profit to the car parked outside. He can only watch as his beloved Harley is shoved into the back of a car.
"Please don't worry about me. I'll be okay. Don't let this keep you from smiling," she manages to scream before the door closes.
"Heh. Good luck smiling after this." The man holding the gun uses the hilt of it to knock him out. He falls to the ground as his vision goes blurry. He sees the man retreat to the car and close the driver's door.
"No, Harley," he barely chokes out before he slips away.
"Sir? Sir!" Someone is standing over him shining a flashlight into his eyes. "Sir, please respond to me if you can." The woman talking taps his hands and eyelids, looking for a response. He stays as still as possible. As soon as she walks away, he opens his eyes and surveys the scene. He's on a gurney. There are flashing lights, an EMS vehicle he assumes. The woman who had been talking to him had retreated into the vehicle. He sits up and hangs his feet over the side of the gurney. He pushes himself off and steps to his feet. His head hurts. He brushes his fingers over his forehead and winces. A dry substance is on his forehead and he assumes it's dried blood. He walks around a bit. After a quick check he assumes that's all that's hurt. He sits back on the gurney, trying to fathom what had happened to him for him to get the injury he received.
Soon, a man in a uniform comes up to him and begins to question him about the happenings. The man asks for a description of the men in question and their getaway car. He remembers nothing until one name is mentioned: Harley.
He jumps off the gurney and pushes the uniformed man out of the way. He runs out into the street and then turns down an alley.
He sits up and takes his head into his hands. Her last words echoed in his brain, "Don't let this keep you from smiling."
So be it. He suddenly becomes angry. How could she think her disappearance would allow him to smile?! Stupid girl. She wanted him to smile? Fine. He looks around, grabbing for anything that would assist him in the grizzly task he was about to partake in. He finds a pocketknife. He pricks his finger to make sure it's sharp enough for what he wants. The sight of his knife entering his skin disgusts him, but he grins.
"She wants me to smile? I'll smile alright."
He puts the knife in his mouth, bites down, and smiles.
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