A Return to Hell
by Melissa Minners
Disclaimer and Other Information: It should be noted that all of the characters and many of the locales in this fan fiction are not mine. They are owned by The WB. This fan fiction is somewhat of an homage to the series, though I have used a little liberty here with events. The story takes place some time after No Kill Policy, so if you haven't read that particular fanfic, I suggest you do before reading this one. Warning: Parts of this fanfic may be graphic at times. Reader's discretion is advised. I hope you enjoy.
The Joker looked up just in time to see thousands of shards of broken glass, followed by a shadowy figure, raining down on him. He had just enough time to crouch, covering his head in a lame attempt at protecting himself from the inevitable. Each shard that found its mark elicited a shout of pain and anguish as it burrowed deep within the skin.
So engulfed by pain was the Joker, that he barely registered the thud that marked the landing of the shadowy figure. As the last shard fell to the ground, the figure loomed over the Joker, casting him in its shadow. The hunter loomed over its cowering prey…and smiled.
* * *
“SHIT!!!” Carolyn cursed heartily as she struggled to move faster through the air duct. She could see the grate a good five yards ahead of her and if she didn’t pour on the speed, she’d be too late to act out her role in Batman’s plans. The results of such a late arrival could be tragic.
* * *
“Now!” Huntress yelled, and the two raced toward the side entrance of the warehouse. Dinah waved a hand and the door crashed inward, slamming into a startled guard and knocking him unconscious. Huntress and Dinah bounded through the open doorway and ran down the hall. The door at the end of the hallway burst open before five of the Joker’s henchmen who raced straight toward the two approaching women at top speed.
“Go!” Dinah yelled. “I can handle them!”
Huntress needed no further encouragement. She vaulted over the five men, landing a scant few feet behind them and continued on down the hallway. Before any of the men could stop or even think about pursuing Huntress, Dinah was on them, hurling two away effortlessly with the wave of a hand. As she fought the remaining three, she caught a glimpse of Huntress as she raced through the door at the opposite end of the hallway.
“Find her, Huntress!” she yelled into her comms. “Find her,” she whispered to herself as she blocked a blow to the head and delivered a crippling right cross to an opponent’s chin.
* * *
“What the hell was that?!”
A startled Harley Quinn stared expectantly at one of thugs leaning against the wall across the room.
“I dunno,” replied the equally startled man.
“Well, don’t you think you ought to find out?” replied Harley, testily.
Mumbling something about bossy bitches under his breath, the thug signaled to two others and left the room.
* * *
“Get up, Joker.”
Three words spoken in an even, measured tone sent a chill up the Joker’s spine. Batman had arrived as scheduled, but on his own terms. The Joker convinced himself that Batman’s chosen entrance mattered little. Pieces of glass tinkled to the floor as the Joker raised himself to full height and faced his enemy.
“Batman! As I live and breathe! And look! You’re still wearing the same old costume! This is truly a surprise! I would have thought you might select a much more suitable color to wear on your return visit.”
As the Joker spoke, waving around his bloodied hands, he slowly and carefully edged backwards. Batman stood as still as a statue, fixing the Joker with an icy stare.
“I mean, really! Always so dark and dismal. Why not update the attire to match your new tactics? Might I suggest something in a bright shade of yellow?”
The Joker let out a high pitched cackle that filled the cavernous room and echoed off of the walls. Batman only stood and stared. Slightly unnerved at the reaction, the Joker decided to try a different tactic.
“How was the funeral? I would have liked to attend, but I was rather busy playing host. Harley is a sweet girl, but she’s a tad lacking in the hospitality department. I didn’t want to deprive Barbara Gordon of my undivided attention.”
He was scant feet away from his destination, yet Batman still hadn’t made a move toward him. The Joker stopped and frowned. This was not the Batman he was used to.
“Ha! Look at you. Pitiful. Make a dashing entrance and then stand there like a lump. Figures. I should have realized what you were about all along. I never cowered in the dark of the night. It wasn’t me who ran from Gotham. I was forced to leave.”
Anger mounting, the Joker actually took a step forward.
“You robbed me! You took my empire! I’d worked so hard to build it and you took it from me! And then, when I try to avenge myself, you rob me of what I wanted to see most – your reaction to my revenge. You captured me and had me carted off to Arkham. I never got to enjoy your pain. Never got to watch you wallow in your guilt. I had to hear second hand that you had left Gotham!
“You used to love to play the hero! Now look at you. You stand there looking at me with distaste and scorn, but who’s the loser here, huh? I came back! I came back willingly. What about you? My escape from Arkham wasn’t even enough to bring you back! I had to have your daughter murdered and torture your former protégé to motivate you!
“I feel cheated. This has all been a waste of time. Perhaps you would feel more motivated if you witnessed the death of a loved one first hand. Would that do it? Only one way to find out.”
With that, the Joker spun on his heel, turning his back on Batman, and strode to the door. Slapping a panel to the side of the door, the Joker reached for the doorknob. An alarm blared loudly throughout the warehouse.
“Oh, Barbara, dear!” Joker crooned. “I know you’ve missed me! I’m coming, Sweetheart!”
With that, the Joker yanked open the door and came face to face with a woman clad in a black leather bodysuit, fishnet stockings and black leather boots. Behind her, lying in a jumbled heap on the floor, were two of the Joker’s henchmen. The woman brushed a blonde strand of hair from her face.
“Everything okay in there?” she asked.
“Just fine, Canary. Thank you.”
Black Canary glanced to her left as a door flew open and men armed with bats and other assorted hand-fashioned weapons entered the room. She flashed a smile.
“Great! So you wouldn’t mind if I continued playtime in here?”
“Have a ball. The Joker was leaving just a tad bit prematurely. We still have quite a bit of catching up to do.”
The Joker stiffened as he realized that Batman’s response came from just inches away from his ear. A hand clamped on his shoulder and he was thrown backwards into the room, the door crashing closed as he fell to the floor.