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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Nausea and chills overwhelmed Chloe as she continued to bleed in the chair. Swallowing dryly, she tried not to vomit, tried to focus on what was happening in the room around her as it spun out of control.
"Joker, let the girl go," Batman snarled.
"Now, now, Batsy, why can't you ever play by the rules? Miss Sullivan and I were playing an awfully fun game just now," he said idly as Harley struggled in his arms, "and you know why it was so fun? Because she played by the rules!"
"This isn't a game, Joker!" he half-shouted, and the clown only laughed manically at him.
"You know, I always thought you took things too seriously." He rolled his eyes, grinning maliciously nonetheless. "Here's how we're going to play," he continued. "You pull off the mask, or I put a bullet straight through her head."
Harley started crying. "Mr. J, I don't like this game!" she protested.
"Shut up!" he barked at her, pressing the barrel harder against her head. Harley released a pitiful little sound, but otherwise kept her thoughts to herself. Turning back to Batman, the Joker's smile couldn't have been more grotesque. "We're waiting," he reminded in a sing-song voice.
Then, quite suddenly, to the surprise of everyone in the room–except Chloe, who had finally passed out–Harley vanished into thin air, a gust of wind the only thing left in her wake.
Before any of them had a chance to react, a green dart landed itself in the Joker's shoulder. The Clown Prince swayed, and, like a ton of bricks, crashed to the ground.
Chloe woke to a horrible pain in her leg. She groaned, trying to roll over, but a hand reached out to still her, and her leg seemed to be caught on something.
With effort, she forced her eyes open, to see several familiar, welcome faces hovering over her. "Hey, guys," she said weekly, noting that her leg was now in a cast, suspended about a foot and a half, which was why she hadn't been able to move.
Oliver chuckled at her, shaking his head. "See if I ever send you on assignment by yourself again," he rolled his eyes to the ceiling.
"You had us all worried, Chloe," Clark said seriously, and Chloe reached out to squeeze his hand reassuringly.
"I'm fine," she told him, meeting his concerned eyes.
"All I can say is you sure know how to attract 'em," Dinah said, amusement coloring her voice.
Chloe raised an eyebrow and Dinah just smirked.
"The Joker?" she said. "Really? Why do you always get the cool kidnappers? You know who the last person was to try kidnapping me? Toyman. How boring is that?"
Chloe laughed, wincing when her leg moved slightly as a result. She shook her head. "What happened?"
Before they could answer, Bart popped into the room, carrying about ten bags of chips, undoubtedly the result of a hospital vending machine. Said bags of chips immediately went flying when he saw Chloe was awake and he raced to her side, crushing her in a hug. "'Licious!" he exclaimed. "You're up! Are you hungry? I'll get you some food!" And he disappeared again.
Chloe chuckled under her breath. She glanced around the room. "Where's Victor and AC?" she asked.
"They're back in Metropolis," Oliver explained. "Someone had to look after the homefront, I'm afraid. As soon as Bart gets back, I'm going to send him to let them know you're fine."
"They've been calling every hour," Dinah explained.
"Lois?" Chloe questioned weakly.
"She's outside," Clark said with a cryptic glance at the door.
"As is Bruce Wayne," Dinah added smugly.
Chloe's face turned bright red. "Oh?" she said meekly. When no one said anything else, she dodged the issue by asking, "So…what exactly happened after I passed out?"
"Well Batman found you first," Clark explained.
"Thank God," Dinah muttered, shuddering at the state they'd found Chloe in and cringing to think what would have happened if the Batman hadn't gotten there before the Justice League finally did.
"We weren't exactly as familiar with the Joker," Oliver explained in a rueful tone. "It took us a little longer to figure out where he would take you. "Though we should have guessed he'd pick something like an abandoned fun house." His mouth pressed into a thin line, his distaste for their slowness evident.
"But after we found you, I got busy taking out all the guards to the entrance," Clark continued, "and cleared the path for Dinah, Bart, and Oliver."
"Oliver sent Bart in to save the harlequin-woman," Dinah explained.
"And I knocked out the Joker," Oliver finished.
Chloe let this sink in before finally asking. "And Batman?"
"As soon as the Joker was down, he rushed to untie you. At first he wasn't going to let go of you to us, but I promised we would take you to the hospital, and told him he should be the one to bring in the clown," Oliver said.
"He seemed awfully concerned about you," Dinah said, still smirking at Chloe as she leaned comfortably against the wall opposite Chloe's bed.
Chloe blushed again, eyelashes turned down. "Yeah, well," she said. "You know how heroes get."
Oliver snorted and Clark rolled his eyes at him.
"So we're just gonna get out of here," Dinah said as if informing the men of the fact. "And let you see Lois and Bruce. Oh, and I'll let one of the staff know you're up."
Both Oliver and Clark remained stubbornly in place.
"Boys," she warned.
"I want to debrief her," Oliver said.
Dinah raised an eyebrow at Clark, who didn't seem to have an excuse, but didn't want to leave either. "Oliver, you can question her about everything later. Let her rest for now. We're not the only ones who were worried," she reminded.
Oliver sighed and gave in. Leaning down, he hugged Chloe genuinely. "Glad you're all right, Watchtower," he told her.
Clark bent over and brushed a kiss to her forehead. "Let me know if you need anything," he told her.
Dinah opened the door and let the two men lead the way out before exiting herself. A second later Lois burst in and flung her arms around her cousin. "My God!" she said. "I was so freaked out when the police called! I'm so glad you're all right!"
Chloe patted Lois's back, laughing. "Thanks, Lo. I've missed you," she added.
Releasing her, Lois collected herself a little more. "So how are you feeling? Is your leg hurting? Did anyone call the doctor? If you need some more pain meds, I'll go get someone right now."
Chloe's leg was hurting her, admittedly, but she wasn't ready to let Lois leave just yet. "Dinah said she was going to get the doctor," Chloe promised. "How are you, Lois?"
"I'm good. I want you back home like crazy, though," she said. Then, with a glance at the door, she got a sly smile on her face, "Although I suspect we won't be seeing you around Metropolis for a little while, yet. Wanna explain the hunk outside to me?" she asked.
Yet again, Chloe could feel her ears growing hot at the mention of Bruce. "He's…we've been sort of…dating."
Lois squealed. "Ugh, I knew your awesomeness was wasted on Metropolis men. Way to go, cuz. He's totally gorgeous!" She high-fived her cousin. "I suppose I'd better send him in," she added regretfully. "He's been pacing like a caged-tiger out there. It's ridiculous."
"Um…yeah, okay," Chloe said nervously, tucking her hair behind her ear absently.
Lois smiled at her and reached over to smooth her cousin's messy locks. "There," she said, straightening back up. "Total hottie." She winked at Chloe before heading out to get Bruce.
He appeared in the doorway, looking pale and tired, worry etched on his brow. "Chloe?" he asked. "Hey, how are you?"
Chloe smiled automatically at the sight of him. "I'm good. Or, at least, I'm better now," she corrected. "Thank God for Batman," she added, watching his face closely.
Bruce glanced out the window. "Yeah," he deadpanned briefly.
Chloe took a deep breath. She needed to talk to him about it. She opened her mouth with every intention of coming clean, but Bruce cut her off.
"Chloe, do you know what he wanted with you?" Bruce asked. "Why would the Joker go after you?"
She studied him carefully, not answering for a long time. Then, with a sigh, she said, "I think you can guess."
He looked at her grimly, and it was all the confirmation she needed.
"If it helps," she said quietly, "I didn't tell him anything."
Bruce raked an agitated hand through his hair, looking away from her. "It doesn't." Her stomach clenched. "Why don't I just pretend I've never asked this question before," he said wearily, "What are you doing in Gotham, Chloe?"
She swallowed the lump in her throat. "Looking for Batman."
He still wasn't looking at her, and Chloe wished the ground would swallow her. "I work with a team of heroes based in Metropolis who want to recruit…him."
He was quiet for a long time, obviously piecing together who the people in her room earlier had been. Then he asked, "How long have you known?"
"Since…after we slept together. I swear I didn't have a clue before that!" she added hurriedly. "I never would have–" she hesitated, "I mean, I wouldn't…cross that line. Not intentionally."
Bruce was rubbing a hand over his face, looking miserable. Finally he looked up at her with a pained expression. "So you're telling me that you knew who I was for less than 24 hours before someone kidnapped you to use you against me?" he asked her.
Chloe's throat constricted and she didn't know how to respond. "It…that wasn't your fault. I had been interviewing the patients in Arkham. I should have known better than to approach the Joker. I was bound to get myself in trouble. Hell," she scoffed, giving him a brave smile, "it's wasn't the first time and it won't be the last. It comes with the…with the job…" she trailed off, realizing he didn't look remotely relieved to hear that.
He opened his mouth to say something else, but the doctor finally arrived at that moment, and Bruce left them alone.
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Next (Chapter 17)