Summary: Chloe is on a recruiting mission, trying to pin down Gotham's infamous Dark Knight. In order to learn more about him, she begins interviewing those he's captured. What will she do when the Joker escapes and begins targeting her?
Warning: sexually explicit content, moderate violence
banner by cheryljluv
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Chloe swallowed tightly, her anxiety amplifying at the presence of the Joker.
"Hiya, Harley," he said to his girl in a sticky-sweet voice that made Chloe think of poisoned syrup. "I brought you something," he said, pulling out a box from behind his back.
Harley squealed in absolute delight, snatching the box and ripping it open. Chloe watched with something akin to nausea as Harley produced a set of throwing knives painted bright red to match her costume. Harley sighed in a disgustingly love-sick manner. "Some girls like diamonds. I like stainless steel."
The Joker laughed in amusement and allowed her to fling her arms around his neck and smack his cheek. Chloe wondered how you could be demented enough to find that man attractive. "So, Harley," he continued, his eyes turning on Chloe as if he could guess her thoughts. "How was our houseguest? Did you girls enjoy your slumber party?"
Chloe kept her mouth shut, determinedly meeting his malevolent stare. She wasn't going to try to rationalize with him. Not with this one. There was no point. She had to count on stalling for time long enough for someone to find her.
"Oh, we had the absolute best time," Harley said, bouncing over to her hyenas to give them breakfast. "We stayed up almost all night talking."
The Joker leered at Chloe and she tried not to quake in her straightjacket. "Did you? Whatever about, I wonder?"
"Boys," Harley drawled.
In her peripheral, Chloe watched Harley toss the snarling beasts a few steaks, and she counted her blessings that they were being fed yet again. Clearly Harley had not yet guessed what purpose they would really serve. But as much as she wanted to keep her attention on the many teeth and claws that might be slicing into her flesh in the immediate future, the Joker was walking closer to her, and somehow he managed to be still more frightening than the hyenas. Leaning right down into her face so she could see every detail of his marred features, he spoke to her. "Do you know who I want to hear you talk about, Chloe?" he asked.
She didn't respond, hoping she didn't look as terrified as she felt.
"I want to hear about the Bat. What do you know about him?"
Chloe steeled her courage. "Nothing," she said through her teeth.
Without warning his hand smacked across her face so hard it sent her entire body flying. He clucked his tongue disapprovingly, his face almost gleeful, as if by resisting she were just making it more fun for him. Water welled up in her eyes from shock, and she felt as if she could trace the burning outline of his hand on her cheek. Harley looked up from her pets to watch, her painted face unreadable.
"Let's try that again. I know you've figured out who he is by now, Chloe," he said with a manic kind of cheerfulness. "So why don't you just drop that little ol' name for me?"
"I don't know who he is," Chloe said resolutely. "I'm just doing a study on the criminal psyche. It has nothing to do with Batman!" she yelled, earning a strike to the other side of her face. This time she kept her eyes closed, her face throbbing and the exhaustion weighing down on her. She struggled against the straight jacket to push herself back up but was saved the trouble when the Joker snapped his fingers and the lackey with the machine gun walked over and dragged her to her feet, then slammed her down into a hard wooden chair. At the Joker's direction, Harley tied Chloe to the chair and then stood back to watch the fun begin.
No longer smiling, the Joker told the henchman to aim a pistol at Chloe's left foot. "Now, now, now," Miss Sullivan," he said, pacing around her like a shark circling its prey. "You've just got to give me more credit than that. If you want, we can make a game of it though–"
Chloe's eyes landed on Harley, pleading with her. But Harley's eyes were fixed on the Joker, watching him reverently.
"–How about 'truth or dare?'" he suggested mildly. "See, I'll ask you a question, and if you don't tell the truth, I'll dare Bill here to find a place to shoot you that won't kill you. If you bleed out or pass out before the game is over," he said with a malicious grin, "then you lose. If you tell the truth before the game is up, then I win!" he said, and began laughing hysterically. "But just to show you what a nice guy I am," he said, in a tone of self-devotion, "I'll let you have two questions to start, so you can get the hang of it," he added for her benefit.
"Harley," Chloe said with a desperate note in her voice. "Stop this."
Harley was looking distinctly uncomfortable. "Puddin'?" she said meekly, but the Joker seemed not to hear.
"Question Number One," he announced loudly, "What are you really doing in Gotham?"
"I'm doing a study on criminal psychology!" Chloe barked at him, determined to stick to her story to her last breath.
"AAAAANNNH!" he made an obnoxious sound like a buzzer right in her face, causing Chloe to cringe. "Wrong!"
Bill cocked the trigger on his gun, and Chloe heard a small, depraved giggle slip from his lips beneath the rubber mask that made her blood run cold.
"Question 2, Miss Sullivan," he said in a cold whisper, the twitching at his mouth indicating part of him was hoping she wouldn't answer just so he could watch her scream.
Chloe could feel the sweat beading on her forehead. Her eyes now watching the barrel of the gun unblinkingly, she called for Harley again. "Harley–Harleen. Please!"
The Joker ignored her. "Who is the Bat?" he demanded.
Chloe didn't say anything, pressing her lips together.
"Answer the question!" the Joker shouted at her and Chloe shook, her mind flying to Bruce, wherever her was. God, please let him get here. Let someone find me!
The Joker brought his attention back to him with another sound slap to her face. "Play the game, Chloe!" he warned.
"Just answer him, Chloe!" Harley said, and Chloe felt the slightest twinge of hope at the sound of encouragement in her voice. Harley wanted to keep Chloe around.
"I don't know who he is," Chloe said quietly.
The smile that spread slowly across his face made Chloe want to vomit. "Bill," he said in indication.
The crack of the gun split the air, mottled by Chloe's shriek of pain. She gasped at the white-hot pain in her left foot, tears springing from her eyes.
In the background, Harley whimpered nervously, though the sound no longer registered with Chloe, whose breathing had turned ragged. She swallowed the plea on the tip of her tongue, not wanting to give him the satisfaction.
"Let's try this again," the Joker said gleefully, obviously enjoying himself. "Who is the Bat?"
"I told you I don't know!" Chloe shouted through her tears. "I don't know anything about him!"
He heaved a dramatic sigh. "Bi–"
"What if she really doesn't know?" Harley interrupted.
"Oh, she knows!" the Joker said with confidence. "It's plain on her face that she figured it out."
"But–" Harley stammered. "But just say she does–AH!" she cut into a shriek that mingled with Chloe's when the gun went off again, this time sending a bullet through her left kneecap.
Chloe swore under a sharp intake of breath, her eyes now squeezed shut.
"Let's try this again," the Joker said, "just as a review," he added, "every time you don't tell me what I want, you're going to get hurt. Pretty soon I'm going to let Harley put her new knives to use so she can paint a smile on that pretty little face of yours. Won't that be fun, Harley?" he asked Harley, a warning note in his voice.
Harley quailed under his stare and nodded feebly. "Uh huh," she squeaked.
Chloe dropped her head back in anguish, resigning herself to the fact that no one was coming. So this was how she was going to go? Victim of a deranged psychopath and a girl who was so blindly in love with him, she would go along with anything he said.
Even in this state, she still managed a sarcastic little smile. Figures, she thought.
The Joker was talking again, probably asking her the same question, but Chloe started tuning him out. There was no point anymore. Silence rang heavy in the air when she made no reply to whatever it was he had asked her.
He threatened her again, but Chloe insistently tuned him out, forcing her mind to think of pleasanter things like the League and Bruce and summers in Smallville with Clark.
She winced as another shot sounded in the air but then opened her eyes in surprise, just in time to see the Joker send Harley flying. It appeared she had tried to stop Bill from shooting Chloe again, throwing off his aim and earning her a brutal blow from her 'Puddin'.'
And then, as if the world were suddenly tilting completely in her favor, Batman finally showed up. Dropping out from the rafters, he kicked the gun from Bill and sent a hard punch to his jaw, Harley's scream of surprise and the Joker's mad giggling in the background.
"I was wondering when you'd come for her, Batsy," the Joker mocked, backing towards Harley as Bill sent an uppercut to Batman's chin. Chloe cringed at the sight, pain and loss of blood starting to tug at her consciousness. She struggled to stay aware, trying to see if she could get the ropes loose, though she didn't what she'd do if she did get free. She couldn't even walk.
Bill, who was of considerably larger size than Bruce, still only got in a couple of hard blows, no match for Batman's intelligent fighting style. But when Bill was unconscious on the floor, and he turned to face the Joker, both he and Chloe received a shock.
The Joker had snatched up Bill's gun and was holding a confused, trembling Harley hostage, the barrel pressed to her temple.