Obsession

What Once Was: part two

People say..."things happen for a reason." Should I believe that? Should I believe that my parents were meant to die, and that it was decided for me to go to Arkham Asylum and meet this Joker? ...No...I don't think so. None of this...was supposed to happen, and...I will say...that this is happening, but for what reason?

Anyways...the Joker and I...we started to like each others company more than before. Is that a good thing? I told Dr. Bagley this...and he doesn't seem to like it. Even though he is happy that my behavior has improved, he told me to think about this; that Joker...can get to be an extremely dangerous person...and that I shouldn't really talk to the clown anymore...

I don't know what to think, but if my behavior is getting better, isn't talking to Joker a good thing? I don't see what the problem is...at least, at the time I didn't...

Right now...Joker was telling jokes to me in the recreational room. He was trying as best as he could to make me laugh, or at least put a smile on my face. It just wasn't working though...

"...and the patient asks, 'Oh dear, what's the bad news?' The doctor turns to his patient and replies, 'You have only twenty-four hours to live!' 'My, that's terrible news!' Says the patient, 'but how can the other news possibly be worse?' The doctor answers, 'Well...I've been trying to contact you since yesterday!'...HAHAH! HA HA HAH..." The Joker broke out into fits of laughter, and he even had to hold his gut for somehow comfort.

Xack merely blinked, but then she slowly began to clap her hands a couple of times. "Wow..." she said rather dully, and didn't sound the tinniest bit happy of the joke. "Really funny joke there..."

Just after she said this, Joker immediately stopped laughing, and his expression turned disappointing as he looked at her. "Then why aren't you laughing?" Joker asked depressingly, and his usual grin became that of a 'sad clown'. "Why won't you laugh -- or even have just a little smile on your face?"

Xack shifted around in the couch she was sitting on and shrugged. "I...don't know how to be happy anymore..." she turned away from Joker, and now her focus was on the TV above.

"Hmm..." Joker began to think as he tapped his foot at an annoying rhythm. "How about...you tell me a joke?" He smirked as Xack's eyes shifted back to him. "Yes...tell me a joke of yours... You do know jokes...don't you?"

Xack frowned and crossed her arms, "I know some jokes," she answered defensively, and now she started to think of one to tell. "Um...I...think this is a joke, so here it goes: What's black, white, and red?"

Joker rolled his eyes and answered sarcastically, "Obviously, a newspaper! Everyone knows that one --"

"No..." Xack shook her head and said, "It's a penguin with a sunburn."

Silence endured. Sighing quietly, Xack had thought her joke had no humor. Suddenly, the ends of Joker's lips began to twitch, and before the girl knew it, Joker broke out into a state of laughter once again. "Good one, Xackie girl! 'Penguin with a sunburn'! HA HA HAAAAH! I gotta tell that to old Pengy when I see him again." He wiped a tear away from his eye and beamed at Xack. "What else you got?"

Thinking for a brief moment, Xack cleared her throat. "Um...that's about it... I know some others but...I don't really remember how they go..." She scratched her shoulder and shied away from looking at Joker once more; feeling a bit embarrassed that she only knew one joke.

Joker merely smirked and stretched his arms up on top of the couch. "Heh...don't worry about it, but that's why I'm here; to teach you the true meaning of funny." Xack coughed somewhat harshly as he patted her back roughly. "So...besides not knowing hardly any jokes, what else you think is...funny?"

Xack sat up and breathed out heavily. She gazed around the room until her eyes fell upon the TV above. On the screen, Xack could see that the media was interviewing Bruce Wayne about Wayne Industries. "What do you think of...Bruce Wayne?..." Xack asked in a dream-like state.

Joker looked up at the TV and twitched his shoulder slightly. "If he ain't funny, I don't care," he answered flatly, and now gazed at Xack a bit irritably, "You still didn't answer my question."

"Fine..." Xack gestured to the TV and replied, "I like to watch SpongeBob. I think that show is funny...and also Andy Mika-Mika -- ah, I don't remember his last name...oh, I like Family Guy --"

"Really?" Joker squealed with delight, and Xack was a bit surprised to see his eyes go so big. "You really like SpongeBob...and Family Guy?..." Xack didn't move, but nodded her head. As she did this, Joker laughed with contentment and hugged the girl close to his side again. Xack immediately shoved him away though. "So I ask, who do you like on Family Guy?"

"Peter of course!" Xack answered with delight. "He's dumb, but hilarious! So, who's your favorite person, Joker?"

Right before the happy clown could answer, a rather thin, male patient approached Joker and asked in a weak voice, "Hey...Joker, want to help me build this bridge out of Legos?..." Joker and Xack turned their bodies to see a couple of other patients trying to construct a bridge out of Legos, but the two could see it wasn't going very well. "So...will you help us build the bridge?"

Joker and Xack turned back around, and the clown snapped rudely, "I rather push you off one!" With those harsh words, the patient slowly trudged back to the other bridge-building ones; sadness came about in the thin patient.

Laughing... wait -- laughing? Who was laughing? Joker heard this all of a sudden, and wondered why -- then he saw it; it came from Xack! He leaned to one side and watched as Xack tried to hide her cute giggles, which soon came to be heart-filled laughter's. "'Help us build a bride?' 'I rather push you off one!'" As she repeated the words spoken by the two men, she couldn't stop laughing so hard.

Joker saw this, and couldn't help but smile. Deep down though, he just didn't smile for the sake of innocents around, but he seemed to actually be smiling from ear to ear; he was actually happy. He joined in on Xack's laughter and slapped her back playfully. "I knew you would come around!" Joker said with glee, and as he was beginning to calm down, he added, "See, with Joker around, your bound to have a smile..." As the two kept on practically laughing to their deaths, unbeknownst to them that Doctor Hugo Strange was watching from the other side of the doors. Watching...with a glean of curiosity.

Wow...I never knew...how much I had in common with Joker! We love the same shows, practically laugh at the same things...and best thing of all, we enjoy each others company. Having attention from another...is something I wanted since I was very little, and now I have it. It's still hard to believe...that Joker is the one to give me all this.

Although...I've noticed these past weeks...that someone has been watching us talk to each other. Something inside of me...keeps telling me that it's Joker's doctor: Dr. Strange, but why would he be interested in us? It's not like...me and Joker know any secrets about each other...wait a minute. To tell you the truth, I know nothing of Joker's background! Where he came from, what his parents were like...and the most important of all: what was he like before his transformation! It makes me wonder...why Joker wants to avoid this kind of talk. I know he tries to avoid it...for he never talks about it, or at least brings it up. Should I...mention something? My head is telling me no, but for myself...I'm just curious. It couldn't hurt to ask...right? I mean, Joker and I have known each other for awhile now -- close to a month...I think, or is it over a month? Or longer then a few months...I don't know.

Since recreational time was basically the only time Xack could actually speak with Joker, she waited until then to bring up the question that's been racking at her dark mind. "For a while..." Xack began rather nervously, and she even couldn't bring herself to look at Joker, while the clown sat on the couch and listened somewhat intently. "There's something that's been bugging me..."

Joker crossed his leg and slouched into the couch more, trying to get more comfortable for he knew this might be long...and boring. Sighing with slight boredom, Joker replied, "So...what has been on your tiny mind?"

Xack shuffled her feet around. "Um...we've known each other...for a while now, and I've been thinking..." She took a quick glance at Joker to make sure he was listening, and by that peek, he seemed to be. "We don't know nothing about our past lives..." Joker raised an eyebrow now, becoming just a little more amused. "So, I want to know...what was your past life like?.."

If Joker had any color left in his body, it would of drained away. His past life? His? Even to his closest doctor, Joker was skeptical talking about himself; especially when it came to his past. "Uh..." Joker darted his eyes to practically everything in the room before his eyes halted to Xack. A mischievous grin came to his face. "If you tell me about your past, Xack...I'll tell you mine..."

Xack didn't seem at all surprised to hear this. She knew he wouldn't fess up about his past so easily, but would want to hold onto it as long as possible. The thing is, is he really going to spill what went on in his life before? Xack would find out...

"My past..." Xack said, saying this as if to hear herself first. "My past life...was very depressing. Ever since I was little...my parents hardly paid any attention to me. I don't know why that was, but it's just the way...they were. Even when I was growing up, I never got any attention, and I wanted it badly. I wanted somebody to notice I was there. To talk with me, care about me...to just listen to me..." Xack paused for a moment to make sure Joker was keeping his focus on her. When she was positive on it, she continued, and trying to hold back many tears that her old memories were bringing up. "About my parents...they divorced while I was really little, so my dad stayed the rich one, while my mom became...the poor one. I lived with my mom because she was less bossy and mean than my dad was. My dad hated me living the poor life with her; he found it to be beneath him and me. My parents always pushed me around when I was growing up, and even though I love them because they were my parents...but I hated them! Hated them...because they never paid any attention to me! Why couldn't they show...that they cared about me? All I ever asked...is for some to know I was there. All I wanted...is attention. No attention...leads to depression after all, and I was a very depressed person...and I still am... No matter how happy I am, I always be depressed inside...and I became severely depressed...when they died -- a year apart! What are the odds of that happening?"

As Xack wiped away some tears, she was stunned to see that Joker remained a 'straight' face. And as if feeling depressed as it is, the Joker clapped his hands slowly as if applauding a great story. Xack felt very insulted by this. "My story shouldn't be amusing to your ears!" Xack stated very angrily to Joker, and then crossed her arms and turned her body away from him.

Joker flinched at her anger, but frowned as he saw her turn away from him. "Geez, do you always get this angry as you are 'blue'?" He tried to put a hand on her shoulder for reassurance, but Xack rudely shrugged it off, and still not turning back to face him. He sighed disappointingly and faced himself forward on the couch.

"Fine...do you want to hear my sad tale now?" Joker asked grumpily. Xack didn't answer him though, for she was still a bit aggravated with him. "I'll take the awkward silence as a yes..." He answered for himself.

Joker cleared his throat rather irritating to anyone's ears, and began to tell his past life. "Ever since I was just a little jester, I always lacked the attention from my parents..." His eyes caught sight of Xack shifting around slightly, and turning her head as if to listen more to his story. He started to grin, and then he went on with his tale, "My father was a drunken lummox, while my dear old mother was the one to just stand by and watch. Even when I was a little tike, I always wanted to make people laugh at my hilarious jokes and my stances. For a boost in my career of comedy, I would tell a joke or two to my father...and as a reward for it...he would beat me..."

"My God..." Xack whispered with shock, and now she fully turned her attention to Joker. Her eyes were wide with some fear.

"One day in my childhood, my parents took me to the circus. There were elephants, those freaks, and even clowns -- ooooohh, how I loved that place! Never thought I would become one... heh heh." Joker chuckled sinisterly for some apparent reason. "On that day, when we all returned to our cozy home, my father was so drunk...that he took a gun and shot the mother...and then himself..." Xack gasped and left her mouth agape.

Joker scoffed and tried to veil any sadness that was left in him. "Well, that's all water under the bridge now. Childhood wasn't the worst of my life, after all... Over the years I became a crime boss; the best their is, and of course, I had my sense of hilarious humor to follow. I was the best, but I also was in debt to another crime boss, and so he made me his little errand boy for a job to destroy the Van's chemical factory in order to build...uh...well I can't remember, it was stupid anyways. Of course, when me and my boys got to the factory, those pesky police showed up! Everyone panicked, but the police shot at me and I fell into the vat of chemicals!" Joker smiled at this, and became somewhat surprised that Xack didn't seem to give expressions of concern no more.

"Well...I could look on the bright side of things: I had a rotten day and a chemical bath, ah ha ha ha hahahah!" Joker laughed out loud hysterically, making Xack cringe and her ears throbbed from his laughter. "And that's my life, Xackie girl!" Was how Joker concluded his sad past life, and he looked at Xack to see if she would respond.

Xack merely blinked at this, and she slowly shook her head, as if she couldn't believe that Joker's life was that horrible. "Wow, I...I don't know what to say..." She barely got out.

Joker smirked and nodded. "Yep...my life was definitely not comical, that's for sure...but tell me dearie, what do you think of my former life?..." He grinned childishly as he waited for his answer of remorse.

Xack still blinked and thought of the right words to say, "It's just... Joker..." she whispered softly. "That story -- your past life...is just...it's just..." She shot a dirty look to him and snorted, "Your story is full of CRAP!"

If Joker was a piece of glass, then Xack took a sledgehammer and just busted him. This sudden reaction shocked him so badly that he nearly fell off the couch. He starred at her dumbstruck by this. "Wh-what do you mean by that?"

Xack rolled her eyes and scooted herself to the other end of the couch. "I'm saying your story is crap! I know that whole 'hooplah' of a story of yours, is just a lie!" She crossed her arms once more and turned away from him angrily. "I can't even look at you..." she hissed quietly.

Joker's mind was all a-scramble right now. He didn't know what to think of this. How did she know he was lying? How? "How can you be sure I'm lying to you?" He asked her sternly, and got somewhat upset by her behavior. "What are you, a lie detector or something?"

"As a matter of fact, I am!" Xack snapped back at him boldly. "I can detect when people are lying to me or not!"

"How?" Joker whined stressfully.

Xack twitched her shoulders as she thought of how to explain her odd 'thing'. "Well...I...don't exactly know how it works. When someone's talking with me, and they lie about it, there's like this...buzzing sound, or even mumbling sounds that go through my head...and that's how I know someone's lying to me. I can't always detect lying people, especially the strong-minded ones, so I don't know how it happened to you...but it did." She narrowed her eyes at him.

Xack growled and stood up from the couch. "I can't believe you lied to me! After all this time we've known each other, and even when I told you how my hell-of-a-life was!" She stormed up to an Orderly and asked if she could return to her cell immediately. When the Orderly man questioned this sudden action, Xack replied harshly, "I want to get away from the lying, maniac clown!" The Orderly sighed tiredly at this, but escorted the girl out of the room, while a bewildered Joker sat on the couch alone.

That night, I heard Joker crying and screaming insanities that rang in my sensitive ears all through the darkness. Why does Joker keep crying and screaming like that over my actions? Why does he care if I like him or not?

Then again, he wasn't the only one that went crazy that night...for this...was the beginning of when I started to have those...hallucinations...or delusions, or whatever those doctors call them!

I...had a delusional state...of where I thought both my parents were alive. I'm still standing by where I said I hated them...but they were my parents, I still loved them too!

"...I saw them! I saw them! They're alive! They're not dead! -- no! Don't touch me! Let me go! Nooo...!"

The Orderly and Dr. Bagley came into my cell and they had to hold me down to inject some sort of serum into me to calm me down...and so I would go unconscious throughout the night, and it wasn't till I woke up again...that I felt better. I was very embarrassed of myself that something like this can happen, but Dr. Bagley had said to me that it's common for these things to happen to a patient that has lost its parents. Even if it is common...but now that my 'nature' has gone from okay to worse again, it looks like I would be staying at Arkham...even longer than I wanted.

In Dr. Strange's psychiatric office, the doctor himself sat in a most comfortable leather chair possibly made, while his patient was at the front of his desk, and sitting in a chair that seemed to be quite the opposite. The doctor's office was everything but relaxing for any asylum patient. The room was somewhat of a dim state, and the atmosphere of the place...was just too business like. A room where attendants, business women or men would prefer to be in rather than Arkham's patients.

Dr. Strange coughed into his clenched fist and adjusted the small glasses on his face so that his view was less crooked. "Your behavior..." Dr. Strange began calmly and slowly. "Seems depressed more than usual...Joker..." Dr. Strange watched as Joker lifted his head to stare at the doctor in a most intimidating way. For the doctor, he was not threatened nor intimidated by Joker's expressions.

Shifting around uncomfortably in his straight jacket, the Joker replied sarcastically, "Hmph! Of course I'm depressed! This sad clown just wants to go free, but yet, you shrinks just want to keep me in this asylum like a caged mouse..." Joker slightly smirked and leaned to one side to try and get comfortable, but for him, it wasn't working.

Dr. Strange cleared his throat quietly, and quickly jotted down some notes in his files. "Yes, perhaps that, but I have noticed you are not talking with your little friend. Uh..." He flipped through file papers until he found what he was looking for. "Miss Xack Hathaway, correct?" Joker's face saddened a tad as he heard her name. "I believe you are having...communicational problems with her, yes?"

Joker stomped his foot and turned the other way slightly. "She just won't talk to me anymore!" He shrilled, and even Dr. Strange was appalled by his cry. "She keeps avoiding me, and all because I lied to her! Tcht -- what a baby she is!"

Dr. Strange raised an eyebrow, "Lied to her? On what matter?"

Joker was speechless, but under his depressed exterior, he began to chortle. "Unfortunately for you, my dear doctor, I'm not telling!" Like a child resisting the parent, the Joker grinned on this. "What I tell Xackie, stays with Xackie."

Dr. Strange did not respond to Joker's behavior, but remained silent and folded his hands on his desk. Joker sighed sadly and lowered his head to a point, where his dreadlock hair draped over his shoulders. "All I want is for Xack to notice me again... To not be mad at me anymore..."

"...If telling her what she wants to hear means making her mine again, then so be it!"

"Be careful Joker..." Dr. Strange warned him. "I would hate to think you are driving yourself to obsession over this young woman."

Slowly rising his head once again, Joker had a grin of malice come to his face. "But doc, I believe I've gone beyond that point already..."

Xack sighed depressingly in her cell, as she sat on her bed and drew in her drawing book. Usually the girl was excited to go to the recreational room for she loved talking to Joker, but now that he's lied to her about his past, she just doesn't have any motivation to talk with him anymore. With her legs draped over the bed, Xack waited for the Orderly to come and get her, and escort her to the recreational room like all the other days that had gone by.

Xack shook when she heard a loud 'click' from the cell door, and an Orderly slowly opened it wide enough to see her. "Alright Miss Hathaway, you already know the drill," he stated exhaustedly, and waited for Xack to get off the bed and follow him to the recreational room.

Taking Xack's arm to make sure she wouldn't run off or anything of the sorts, the Orderly walked down the dingy, narrow halls of Arkham to their destination. As the two were nearing the room though, alarms suddenly blared through the building at an ear piercing pitch. Both the Orderly and Xack frantically surveyed all around themselves to see what was the matter.

Then, from over the intercoms, a low, panicked voice was heard, "Joker's loose! Joker's loose! Engage lock down for the whole district! I repeat: Engage lock down for the whole district!"

"Sorry Miss Hathaway," the Orderly partially apologized, and now turned the other way to head back to her cell. "It seems your free time will have to wait --"

Since Xack wasn't much of a screamer, she gave out a loud gasp as the Orderly was knocked unconscious by a club to the head. The girl backed into a wall as she saw Joker standing over the body.

Joker stood there for mere seconds before his focus came onto the frightened Xack. He grinned manically as he advanced towards her. Xack watched him come closer and she coward in fear. "No! Don't hit me too!" She pleaded, and shielded her face with her arms as if he was about to club her over the head.

Joker chuckled to this and grabbed her arm tightly. Leaning in towards her, he said hastily, "I'm getting rather annoyed of you ignoring me, Xack."

Xack gazed into his large red eyes and shivered with fright. "Then why did you lie to me?" She squeaked nervously, and shook against him so he would loosen his grip on her.

Joker growled breathlessly and replied very lowly, "I am not going to lie to you...now..." Xack's eyes widened as Joker's narrowed threateningly. She had never heard him be so serious before, and this was really scaring her. She didn't know if Joker was going to do something to her, or perhaps worse. Oh, she didn't want to think of anything worse than abuse.

Joker quickly scanned the surroundings and jerked the poor girl down the halls swiftly. "We need to talk in private..." He muttered to her, and when he found an open door of a cell, he practically glided in and shut the door behind him. He dropped Xack to the floor, and immediately she crawled into a corner and wrapped her legs close to her chest; shivering hard with fear. Joker turned around and kneeled down so he was level with her.

"If you're worried about security, dearie, I cut all the power to the cameras..." Joker grinned in triumph to this, but all it did was give Xack more anxiety. "After all..." he added sinisterly, "I'm about to share with you that no doctors -- no one, knows of..." Xack breathed out heavily and didn't say a word to him.

Then Joker began, "Everything I told you before was not all a lie, you know... My old mother and father hardly did pay any attention to me, the little jester of the family. My father was never the drunken one, but he sure did act like it all the time -- kind of...funny when I think about it now..." He gave a few slight chuckles and continued, "When I was younger, I really did go to the circus, Xackie...but my dear old parents didn't die of murder or suicide...no ...It was...me..." Joker paused for a moment as he heard Xack gasp with shock. Xack wasn't going to even bother asking how, for she knew Joker would explain.

"At the circus, I saw my favorite clowns and freaks breathing fire from their mouths, and even jumping through it! Who would of known I would try something so dangerous, but I didn't care at all! After all, they say children shouldn't play with fire!" He cackled evilly as he thought of the fire that killed his parents. "That very fire I toyed with burned down my house, and took my parents too!" Joker leaned so close to Xack that she can barely feel his breath on her skin. Xack's skin tingled from that fiery touch.

"But do you want to know something Xackie? I never cried...when they burned..." As Joker started to laugh psychotically, Xack began to whimper with fear from his past life. She hesitated, but shot straight up and went for the door to get away from the crazy clown. Joker grunted irritably and caught the girl before she could leave the cell. "I'm not finished!" He hissed at her, and he forced her back down to the ground. "How rude of you to just run away when I'm telling a great story here!"

"I...don't want to hear this anymore!" Xack cried softly, and she backed herself against a wall. "I know you're not lying to me, but I...just don't want to hear it anymore!"

"You can leave..." the Joker shifted his ears to the door briefly. "When I'm finished, dearie... Now then, where was I? Oh yes...since you already heard enough about my awful childhood tale, it's time I tell you what really happened as an adult. I was never a crime boss -- wish I was though. No...I was always sitting at a desk; answering the phone, calling people...it was so boring! Everyday my life drained away, and all I wanted to do was make people laugh..." He sighed dreamily, for even the present time, his wish was still this.

"One day though, I was in debt with payments...and I became desperate that I took up a job: to help with destroying the Van's chemical factory..." Joker then went to the door of the cell they were in. He tilted his head in Xack's direction and shrugged, "The rest...is explained, just look at me..." Xack turned away with guilt, even though she did not know why she felt this way. Joker grinned and opened the door. He gestured for the girl to leave. "Now...if you don't mind, I need to make my getaway. I still get tired staying at this looney bin you know!" Joker watched as Xack got up slowly and made her way to the door, and never taking his eyes off of her. She was hesitant to leave, but Joker shoved her out of the cell rudely.

"You know I don't like to apologize; it goes against...my nature, but I am sorry for rough housing you a little..." Joker's voice rose to a high pitch, as if he seemed to be joking about the whole ordeal. He gave a small wave and an odd smile, "Bye-bye, Xackie!" He called out as he took off down the halls.

Xack just stood there in the doorway, with her eyes still wide and shocked by his story. She just didn't know how to cope with his...bizarre and morbid past.

Dr. Strange coughed into his hand and began to fiddle with his recording machine to try and make it work. A small smile came upon his face as the power surged through the device and he quickly flicked the recorder 'on'.

"I find Miss Hathaway's relationship with the Joker to be quite fascinating," he said into the microphone of the tape recorder. "It appears she knows more about the patient than myself, and I happen to envy her for that. I am not sure if the relations between the two is 'love', but I do feel that they know more than what they are telling anyone else." Dr. Strange thought for a moment, but then he carried on, "Joker seems to see Miss Hathaway as a precious object to him, rather than a human being with emotions. I want to find out more about Joker...and the only way to do so...is to make Miss Hathaway my patient..."

Dr. Strange jumped in his chair as he heard knocking come upon his door. "Come in," he announced, and he watched as Dr. Bagley came into the room.

"You wanted to see me Professor Strange?" He asked somewhat curiously to the senior doctor.

Dr. Strange nodded, "Yes, have a seat Dr. Bagley."

Dr. Bagley was suspicious to why Dr. Strange wanted to see him, and Bagley knew it wasn't good; just a feeling the good doctor had. Dr. Bagley walked to the open seat and sat down across from Dr. Strange.

"I want to discuss with you about one of your patients..." Dr. Strange began, and leaned slightly forward in his chair.

Dr. Bagley frowned, "It's about Miss Hathaway, isn't it?" Saying this as if he already read Dr. Strange's mind. "What do you want with her?"

Dr. Strange smirked, "As of today, I am to be her new doctor. All you have to do is sign these forms stating that you are releasing her to me now..." Dr. Bagley looked down on the desk as he saw Dr. Strange shove papers across the desk to him. Dr. Bagley looked them over but it didn't seem he wanted to sign them. Dr. Strange rocked back and forth in his chair slightly. "You really don't have much choice, Dr. Bagley, after all, I am the senior resident to this asylum."

"And what happens if I don't comply?" Dr. Bagley asked curiously, a bit agitated that Dr. Strange wanted the girl.

Dr. Strange was silent for a moment, "I could remove you from this asylum. I do have that authority."

Dr. Bagley left his mouth agape in shock, "You wouldn't dare! You do these actions just to have Miss Hathaway be your patient? This is absurd!"

"Perhaps absurd to you, but to me, she is a vital key to Joker's secrets," said Dr. Strange. "Now please, sign the forms."

Dr. Bagley growled furiously to this, but he knew he had no other choice or this ridiculous act would cost him his job. He gave in and took a pen out of his suit pocket and signed the forms. "You must consider her feelings, rather then vacuum information on Joker," he said angrily with some concern. "She will not tell you what you want. She is too loyal to Joker." And with that, Dr. Bagley stormed out of the room.

Dr. Strange chuckled in his throat and took up the forms in his hands. "We will see about that," he mumbled quietly.

A new doctor? Why? I thought Dr. Bagley was just fine! Why in hell do I get Dr. Strange? From what I heard, Dr. Strange is a bit...well, 'strange'. He seems to take more interest in secrets from the patient, rather than take the patients feelings into consideration! Well, it doesn't matter, but I know why that doctor wants me as his patient: it's because I know about Joker more than he does; so...he wants to get the truth out of me, but I won't tell! I'm trusting and loyal to Joker! I will never tell anyone...no matter who they are or what they do...

After my last talk with Joker, the clown didn't 'return' to Arkham until a few days later. He was caught by Batman of course, but for some reason, I think he wanted to be captured. Oh well, but I can't wait to see him again! At least...I think I'll be glad to see him... I just don't know now. Something inside is telling me...that I really shouldn't be around him anymore. He seems to 'into' me now more than ever. I hope he doesn't get too 'attracted' to me...otherwise I'll have to stay away from him...

While in the recreational room, Xack sat on the couch all by herself, and waited for the Joker to arrive. After some time went by, Xack started to sadden a bit, for she thought Joker didn't want to see her today.

Just then, a necklace appeared at her face. Xack gasped and wondered who was holding it from behind her.

"Do you like it?" Joker asked with glee, and he came from behind the couch to sit next to Xack. "I thought of you and decided to break in at this one joint. Forgot the name, but doesn't this little jewel scream you?"

A breath of air escaped her throat as she took up the necklace in her hands. Her fingers turned the jewel slowly, and the necklace itself had a little castle with a very large gem attached on the end of it.

"Th-this necklace...I had one...exactly like it before, but...how did you know?" Xack's voice was full of shock, and even her eyes were wide with surprise.

Joker shrugged and an odd smile came to his face. "I didn't know you had a necklace like it, dearie. I only thought you would love something like this." He grinned with delight as he watched Xack hold this jewel close to her, but to his dismay, she did not wear the necklace. Instead, she quickly placed it in her pants pockets.

"I'm sorry Joker," Xack said apologetically, and her voice quivered some. "I can't be seen wearing jewelry, or someone might take it away from me. When I first came here, the people took all my jewelry away..."

Joker crossed his leg and replied in a nonchalant way, "Heh...no biggie."

Xack briefly smiled, but soon faded as the memories of Joker's past tale came across her mind. She looked down on her feet and remained silent for a minute or two. "Joker..." Joker turned her way and blinked. "That story of yours...that you told me a couple days ago..." Before she could finish, Joker placed a finger to her lips to shush her for a moment.

"My story is the truth, Xackie," Joker stated proudly, and a smile cracked on the edge of his lips. "Did your little 'lie detector' go off inside your head or something?" Xack slowly shook her head. Joker scoffed and wrapped an arm around the girl, even though he knew she hated to be touched by others. "Then it has to be the truth..."

Xack gave a slight head nod in agreement, although Joker knew she wasn't quite positive with him.

"Well...in any case, I've made something for you," Xack said a bit cheerfully, changing the subject away from thinking depression. The girl then grabbed her drawing book and flipped a few pages until she found the picture she was looking for. She very carefully tore the page out, making sure that it wouldn't rip the drawing itself.

Xack handed it to Joker with a shy smile on her face. "Even if I didn't get this cool necklace from you, I still made the drawing for you anyways."

Joker squealed with glee as he quickly snatched the page in his hands. "Ah, how thoughtful of you, dearie," he replied in a rather unusual, charming voice. "So...you're actually giving me one of your art? Oooohh...I feel honored..."

Xack blushed, but not enough for Joker to see that she was. She was flattered that someone appreciated her art, even though she drew the character that admired them. "It's alright if you have it, because I photograph every one of my pictures. Just in case of...someone tries to steal my work...or it gets lost."

Joker smirked at her, "Good thinking there, girly. Now...lets see what I've got here..."

Joker held the page firmly in his hands as he observed it. It appeared she had drawn a circus, or even a carnival in the background, and the clown could easily see she was not very good at drawing such things. In the picture though, there were many Jokers -- himself in it, but none of them look like him. The Jokers all wore different costumes and were all in odd poses.

"Are these clowns supposed to be me?" Joker asked, a bit disgusted that none of them look like him. "Because none of them look like me!"

Xack seemed shocked to Joker's rude compliment. "I'm sorry if they don't, but any Joker I make can't exactly look like you every time. Why don't you think of the picture this way: there a bunch of Joker people in the drawing -- yeah! You can picture this as how people would look if they fell into a vat of chemicals." She bit her lip and waited for Joker's reply on her hopeful thought.

Joker looked as if he was in deep thought to it, or rather, this was the expression he had on his face. "That...does...sound...interesting..." he mused, and his eyes shifted upwards as if still thinking about it. "Hmmm...never thought of it that way..."

Xack seem puzzled now, for she wasn't sure what he meant. Did he mean her drawing, or something else? "Is my...drawing good then?" She asked a bit cautiously.

"What?..." Joker shook out of his thoughts and now gazed back at her. "Oh yeah, the drawing's good..." Hearing this, it did not sound convincing to Xack's ears.

"Maybe some other time...I could show you the photos of my family..." By the look on Joker's face, it didn't seem he wanted to see Xack's family life any time soon. "Okay...maybe not." She sighed disappointingly and slouched forward.

Joker saw the depressed look on Xack's face, and wanted some way to cheer her up. Even though Joker knew she would be happier if she could show him her photo album, but the clown just didn't have the patience to look at things like that. Joker started to think of something else. "You know...my old name rhymes with yours..." He grinned as he saw her turn his way in partial engrossment.

"It does?" Xack asked, wondering what name it could be. "The only name I can come up with is Jack --"

Joker quickly slapped his mouth over hers and shushed her harshly. "Not out loud!" He whispered furiously to her, and then took his hand off Xack's mouth slowly. "It was an old name -- my nickname, since I wouldn't tell anyone of my real name..."

"Wow... I guess you really don't want anyone to find out who you really are," said Xack, who was surprised that the clown would most likely go to extreme lengths to keep people from knowing who he really was. "So...is there a birth certificate of yourself, or --"

"No...not anymore, heh heh..." Joker chuckled triumphantly there. "I told you before, I wanted to start my life a new clown!" Saying this, he began to chortle uncontrollably.

Xack smiled to his odd phrase, but this expression was nothing like she felt underneath. There was still something inside of her -- nagging at her brain about Joker. A feeling inside telling her to stay away, or rather, telling her that she's too late...to turn back.

But...from what?

One day, Dr. Bagley confronted me before therapy session started. The doctor to discuss our thoughts was not in yet, so my former doctor had to be quick on what he wanted from me.

"I didn't want this to happen, Xack. Professor Strange practically forced me to sign the forms, releasing you to him. He only wants you because of Joker. Professor Strange is jealous of you!" Dr. Bagley quickly glanced to the sides before he continued. "Please Xack, get away from Joker before it's too late. The other doctors can see that he is becoming obsessed with you. Get your schedule changed -- do anything to stay away from the mad clown. Xack...I'm telling you this because I am concerned of your feelings; your mental state. Joker and Professor Strange do not want you to get better!"

Like that, he swiftly left the group therapy room. I was shocked, stunned, and even more nervous then I ever felt before. I didn't know what to think. Joker was...I guess he was my 'friend', but why would he be obsessed with me? I'm just a nobody... Nobody important to the society.

Fearing this, and becoming rather paranoid of the situation, I was about to go to the a nurse or some doctor (rather than Dr. Strange) to change my schedule, but I stopped. Joker wasn't obsessed with me. Maybe he just sees me as some kind of friend to him...or just someone to talk to...yeah, that must be it. Dr. Bagley must be the paranoid one. Nothing's going to happen to me...

Joker was gone again, and this made Xack feel lonely, for she did not like to chit-chat with the other patients at the asylum. There was the Alyssa woman she had met when she arrived, but that crazed lady became seriously jealous of Xack, since the girl heard Alyssa had a crush on Joker. Besides that, the other patients...were just too crazed to start a normal conversation with.

Sitting on her favorite couch as usual, Xack rested herself against the arm rests, and sighing depressingly to her loneliness.

"Hey...never seen you around here before," stated a gruffly, rather scratchy voice to Xack.

Xack turned her head to the side and jumped in surprise as to who was in the room. The Penguin smiled at her happily, and was glad to see her nervous about him. "So, who are you?" He asked.

"Um..." Xack glanced away from Penguin before her gaze went back to him. "Why are you here?"

Penguin grunted and plopped himself down next to Xack on the couch. "Er, having problems with the other guys on my schedule, so they switched me over here for now." He eyed her oddly now. "I hate to ask your name again..."

"It's Xack," Xack quickly replied, and didn't want to upset or anger Penguin in any way. "And I already know who you are: you're Penguin, or your real name, Oswald Cobblepot."

Penguin was surprised, but happy to see that she knew his name. "Ah, so glad to hear that, even kids know my name." Xack frowned when he thought of her as some 'kid'.

"So, Black, what you in here for?" Penguin asked, but didn't seem to care if Xack answered or not.

"It's Xack," Xack said without getting agitated with Penguin, "And I'm here because I've had...problems with depression, and besides that, I've been having delusional states lately." She growled when she noticed that Penguin didn't seem to be listening to her, or even paying attention. "Did you hear anything I've said?"

"Huh -- what?" Penguin sounded as if he's been off in his own world. "Something about...guitars, right?"

Xack sighed irritably. "No..."

After a few moments, Penguin's eyes suddenly got wider than what most people would see. He slowly looked back at Xack with a paralyzing expression on his chubby face. "Wait a sec. -- Xack? As in, Xack Hathaway? Joker's girl?"

Xack was astonished to hear this from him. "Yes, I'm Xack Hathaway, and what do you mean by 'Joker's girl'? I'm not his girl!"

Penguin slowly got up from the couch and began to back away from the girl. "Ah...Joker's told me a lot about you..." He said nervously, and his voice was a bit shaky with fear.

Xack became even more confused by this situation. "He has -- and, why are you backing away from me? What's wrong?"

Penguin continued to get away from her, "I don't want Joker to know I'm with you! He'll beat me up if he finds out!"

Xack shot up from the couch and glared at Penguin with questions going through her mind. "Why, but...I don't understand! Why would Joker beat you up?"

"Because you're his girl!" Penguin spat out fearfully. "He says he owns you! That you're his to torture and taunt with!"

Xack gasped. She didn't know what to think or say about this. Before she could realize what had happened, Penguin spun around and quickly walked away from the girl; fearing to be anywhere near her again.

I-I can't take it anymore. I'm tired of this. I really am tired. I will not be treated as if I'm some 'thing' to Joker, like an object that he can play with over and over until he finally gets bored and moves on! No...I won't be treated this way at all! I'm sick of him! I really am, and I mean it this time! This has to end, and it is going to end now!

As soon as I could, I talked with a few nurses, doctors (other than Dr. Strange) about my problem with Joker, and they gladly obliged to change my schedule around so that I may never see him again. I needed for this to happen, especially if I'm to get better. Who would of known that things do not get better...but get even worse than before.

After my schedule changed, by delusions have decreased greatly, and before I knew it, they weren't happening anymore. Did these...only come along because I was with Joker? No...I...just don't know. Besides that fact, Dr. Strange has been telling me that my behavior has improved, and that I may be able to leave Arkham Asylum soon! Oh, no one could know how happy I was to hear this! I was so happy!

Then...I heard my older brother Shaun was moving to New York -- to Gotham, because he wanted all of us (which basically only included my little brother Eddie) to be together again as a family. I'm hoping I can leave Arkham in time before my older brother gets a place here. If I leave, we can all move back to Illinois...or some place else. In the case of moving here though, my annoying little brother wanted to see me at Arkham! I don't believe him! I just don't understand Ed! Why would he want to go to Arkham because of me? Well...in any case, Shaun made special arrangements for Ed to fly over here before Shaun would get there, so...Ed should be here in a just a mere couple of hours...

When I thought things couldn't get much worse...they did...

Xack was tired of counting days, or even months on how long she has stayed at Arkham, but she didn't care. Not that long ago, Dr. Strange had announced to her that she is to be leaving as a sane patient in just a few days! She just hoped her brother Eddie doesn't go crazy or anything.

Even though Eddie wasn't the one going crazy...the Joker was. Joker just didn't understand why Xack had changed her schedule all of a sudden. He didn't lie to her again...he doesn't think he did anything 'bad' to her, so what could it be? Joker was tired of waiting around and thinking about what he could of done to upset her. Even if he did, he was just too rotten to the core to care about her feelings or what she feels for him. He knew though, he just had to get her alone again in order to right some wrongs with her.

Joker is clever, and knew taking to the girl won't be a problem in the asylum.

Joker escaped from his cell to hide in the shadows and waited until she had therapy session. His devilish eyes squinted as he watched Xack being escorted down the halls to the therapy room. Only a few Orderly men with her, it was not a problem for the Joker.

When the timing was right, he jumped out from around the corner, and appeared right behind the three. Shoving Xack aside, Joker brought out his gas and quickly dispersed it around the Orderly. Xack gasped with fright as she watched the men laugh uncontrollably, and then the two bodies collapsed to the ground with semi-permanent grins on their faces.

Right when Xack was about to cry for help, Joker grabbed her arm tightly in his hands and jerked her away from the hall and swiftly into an unoccupied cell. Joker nearly threw her in and shut the door quietly as to not attract attention.

Xack didn't even have the courage to cry for help now, for she was too frightened as to what the Joker might do if she did. Escape didn't seem like an option, for the cell was somewhat cramped, and Joker was blocking her only way out. She knew she should just suck it up for now and see what he wanted from her.

"Haven't seen ya in a while, dearie..." Joker spoke eerily, almost murderous. Xack knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant talk. "I've heard from a certain 'bird' that you changed your schedule..."

Xack stood her ground, but that was only because she was afraid to move. "Y-yes...I have..." her voice was stammering badly, "Because Penguin -- you told him that I was yours."

Joker cackled menacingly, "Of course you're mine--"

"I'm not yours!" Xack spouted angrily, and she wished she could feel as brave as she sounded. "Whatever made you think that?"

Joker clasped his hands behind his back and continued to keep that annoying grin on his face. Obviously, Xack could see that he couldn't care less at what she felt about him. This...only made the girl feel more angry inside. "Xackie, you were mine ever since we met." Xack left her mouth agape in shock. She couldn't believe what she was hearing; she didn't want to believe it. "Now answer this: what made you think that?"

Xack took a few steps back. Her head was dizzy, feeling lightheaded -- she just didn't know what to do, or what to think anymore. "I...I can't believe what I'm hearing..." she whispered, her voice quivering with the hint sounds of sobbing. "They were right about you... He was right about you..."

Joker eyed her oddly, "Who's 'they'? Who's 'he'? Who have you been talking to?" He asked rather sarcastically. "Is it the flunkies? The nurses? The shrinks? Or is it...that ugly little bro of yours?..."

Xack's eyes widened to this. She was tired of hearing this. Suddenly, Joker held out his hand for her. "Come with me."

Xack blinked and was now more confused than ever. "Escape with me. You do know what escaping is, don't you?" Joker gritted his teeth as he grinned at her. The girl remained speechless. He sighed, "I brought you here, and I wanted to discuss this with you before, but -- anyways, I made a plan...for the both of us to escape together..."

Xack gasped slightly, and ever so quietly. Joker smiled proudly as he thought of his plans. "I usually don't escape with another, after all, they just get in my way. I rather waltz out myself, for a partner is just too hard to tango with." Xack narrowed her eyes at him. "I thought on this...for a long time, Xackie girl, and it's perfect! I can escape...and take you along with me..."

Joker held out his hand again for her, "Now...will you come with me? Escape with me? Leave...with me?" He grinned innocently at Xack as he waited for her reply, for her answer, and he knew he would be 'heartbroken', if she said no.

The girl looked disgusted by his proposal. "No! I'm not leaving with you!" She seemed hesitant on speaking. "Dr. Strange...is releasing me in a few days...as sane. I don't want to go with you anyways!"

Now Joker was the one to be shocked by this news. "You're...you're leaving?" Joker questioned, and was furious to hear that she was to be leaving the asylum.

"Yes...I am." Xack felt a little bit bolder now. "And there's nothing you can do about it. I am...better... I am...going to leave this place..."

Joker's expression both expressed sadness and surprise; perhaps even, angry, and jealous of all this. She wouldn't leave with him -- escape with him. This made him feel angry inside. Before he could express his anger out on the girl, many guards have appeared around the cell holding clubs and even tranquilizing guns.

"There he is!" One of the guards called out. "And he does have the other patient with him!"

Xack jumped as guards burst into the cell and circled both patients. Immediately, the guards focused on capturing Joker and bringing him back to his cell. Surprisingly to everyone, Joker did not struggle, and seemed almost willing to let the guards drag him away. The Joker didn't even fight them off when they tangled him back in his straight jacket!

"Are you alright?" Asked one of the guards with a concern tone to Xack.

Xack was too stunned at the moment to answer the seemingly kind guard. Her attention was still focused on the depressed Joker, but within moments, he was out of the cell and the other guards whisked him away.

Xack was lost in thought, and felt the world around her became this thick fog. All words were blurred, and even her vision became slightly hazed. The girl shut her eyes tightly as a few tears came down her cheeks.

Like on some other nights, I heard the Joker hollering and crying in his cell, and it was louder than I ever heard before. He was upset with me; upset that I didn't agree with him on escaping. He was upset...because I was leaving Arkham Asylum. I don't know what to think of him anymore. I felt the need to still be a...a 'friend' to him, but another part just wants me to move on with my life. Even if I did leave the asylum, would I be able to move on with my life and forget about him over time?

...no...I couldn't forget about him. No matter how hard I wanted too, I couldn't hate him...forever.

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