Obsession

Can't Let Go

Everything all seemed hazy to Xack. Before she knew it, she was on the surface of the carnival once more, sirens of many ambulances and police cars could be heard from all around. Batman had taken her up to ground level, along with Joker and his husky henchmen. For some odd reason, the captives of Joker remained motionless, as if they knew their master had been defeated. Batman left before the police arrived, saying to her that he needed to make a medicine for the people Joker kidnapped. He knew he had to make it soon, for there was a time duration as to how long the innocent people can remain stable with the chemicals going through their body.

As Xack huddled under a blanket one of the medical team supplied to her -- and leaning against the bumper of an ambulance vehicle -- she watched as police carried away Joker to a separate truck; strapping him to a stretcher as so he couldn't get out easily. She watched dozens of reporters arrive on the scene, interviewing the police and medical workers about the situation. No one wanted to talk with her though; not the reporters, the police -- well, a few of the medical people examined Xack for any injuries, but all they found was slight bruising to the sides, which she knew she did to herself when trying to get away from Joker. Overall, no one really cared for her. She was just a nobody…after all. Xack's head tilted downwards as she listened intently to what everyone around her was saying…

Vicki Vale, who was one of the few reporters to arrive at the carnival before anyone else, held a microphone close to Chief Rojas' face. "Chief Rojas, can you tell us what happened here tonight?"

Chief Rojas scratched his mustache and replied somewhat irritably, "We are not at liberty to discuss the events of this early morning. Once everything here has cleared, and all the captives be taken to medical facilities, we will answer all media questions. For now though, all reporters -- media alike, must clear the way for the ill! Move it!" Vicki Vale and her camera crew sidestepped out of the way as stretchers of the ill captives were taken to the ambulances.

While police were helping out with the medical crew, Detectives Yin and Bennett cautiously guided Punch and Judy into their own armored truck. "We got here just in time," said Yin in a much more cheery attitude.

Bennett shrugged slightly, "I don't know Yin, I think without the Batman, all those innocent kidnapped people would have been done for. I think the Bat is the one we should give our thanks to."

Yin scoffed softly and rolled her eyes, "Bennett, it's people like the Batman that bring out these crazies, don't you realize that? I think he's to blame for all of this."

As Detectives Bennett and Yin hoisted the two henchmen into the truck, Bennett shook his head. "That could be true, Yin, but what if it's the other way around? What if these 'crazies' are the ones that bring out the Batman?"

Yin put a few fingers to her forehead. She could feel a headache coming on. "Who knows, Bennett. I guess time will tell…"

Bennett shrugged a shoulder. "Maybe..." he mumbled quietly, and with that, the two didn't speak a word about the subject anymore. Just as he and Yin began walking away from the transport truck, Bennett smiled inside as he saw Bruce's limousine pull up at the carnival. As Bruce exited his vehicle, Bennett waved a hand in the air as he walked over to the limo. "I see you got my call," Bennett called over to Bruce.

Bruce nodded, "Yes, is Xack...is she alright?"

Bennett, too, nodded, "Yeah, she's fine." He jerked his head in the direction she was at. "She's over by one of the medical vehicles. Just...sitting there." Bruce turned his head away and glanced over to see Xack sitting on the bumper of an ambulance. Bennett is right though: Xack was just sitting there, appearing to stare into space. Deep in thought...about something.

"Is she...still coming home with me?" Bruce wondered without looking at Bennett.

Bennett sighed sadly, "Only for a day. Once everything is back to normal here and Arkham -- once Joker is secured, Xack has to go back there until she's cured..." Bennett put a hand on Bruce's shoulder for comfort. "I'm sorry Bruce, I know how you feel. That poor girl, and still, she has to go back to that hell-hole and see that mad clown..." Then, Bennett had to leave Bruce and help the other officers and medical people with the ill victims.

Bruce breathed out heavily. How sad he is to hear that Xack has to go back to Arkham, and to top that off, going back to Joker. Bruce just hopes the two will be separated from each other. Otherwise... No. Bruce didn't want to think about that now. Not now... He walked over to Xack and kneeled down slightly to her level. Xack looked up and was somehow relieved to see him.

"Bruce..." she whispered quietly. "If...if it wasn't for you -- if you didn't find us...Joker would of--"

Bruce shook his head, "No, Xack, if it weren't for you -- those drawings...'Batman' wouldn't have known to look back at the carnival..."

Xack smirked slightly, but quickly faded to that depressing look again. "But...I wish you would of believed me before. I told you to check out the carnival again. I just knew Joker was there..."

Bruce's eyes shifted to the side, to avoid staring at her in the face. In some way, he felt ashamed of himself. "I'm sorry Xack, it's just..." Bruce didn't know how to finish.

Xack did though, she muttered, "But no one believes a crazy person..." And she turned her head away from him. She was mad now. "If only he would of believed in the first place. Maybe none of this...would of happened..." "Not all crazy people tell lies, you know."

Bruce apologized again, "I am...deeply sorry, Xack. I know I should of believed you..." Suddenly, a thought came to him, and he went into his suit pocket to get it out. The girl looked at him once more as Bruce withdrew a ring box. "This is for you," he said to her softly, presenting the ring box.

"Are you...proposing to me?" Xack asked, starring at the box oddly.

Bruce chuckled, "No, Xack, it's just a present; from me to you." He then gave the ring box to her.

"Oh..." Xack gazed down on the little box for a few moments before she finally opened it. She gasped, shocked to see what's inside. "This-this is the ring, from Lord of the Rings! How...why... It's...it's beautiful!..." She gazed at him with a sweet smile on her face. "Thank-you..."

"I'm glad you like it," said Bruce, smiling also. She and the handsome billionaire gazed into each other's eyes for the longest time, not even knowing it. Suddenly, Bruce caught a glimpse of Vicki amongst the crowd of police men and medical personnel. He gave Xack a quick smile. "I...have others to talk to," he told her, and just like that, Bruce left Xack alone again.

Xack sighed depressingly and examined the ring within its box. As much as she loved the ring that Bruce presented her with...but she truly loved the necklace...that Joker gave as a gift. The girl got up and began looking for Joker. "He has to be around here somewhere... I don't think they've taken him away yet." For some strange reason...she felt the need to see him again. Why did she have these feelings? After all the horrible things he's done -- to her, to her family...and even to the innocent people...why does she want to see him again? She didn't know, and she knew the answer wouldn't occur any time soon, so she just dropped it.

Then, she saw him: Joker; strapped down to a stretcher, which the thing itself, is leaning up against a transport truck to Arkham Asylum. All Joker appeared to be doing was starring straight ahead, with having that disturbing grin on his face. It's as if he doesn't even care of the recent events. When Xack approached him, Joker slowly tilted his head down to look at her; that grin never left his face. "Aaaah...I didn't think I would see you again," spoke the Joker in a nonchalant way. "Why are you here anyways? Oh, I know why, you came to get an autograph from the clown whose plans got flushed away!" Xack's expression became nervous as Joker's tone rose with anger. Even though Joker wanted to be comical -- desperately, but he just didn't feel that way right now.

"Um..." Xack fidgeted with her fingers, remaining quiet. "I just...um..."

Joker cackled lowly in his throat, "Miss me already, dearie?... Don't worry, we'll be back in Arkham together soon..." A mischievous smile appeared on the edge of his lips as he saw Xack gasp softly. "Hey! That was a heck of a time we had together back there, eh Xackie?"

"Not...really..." Xack mumbled. "Why did you...why did you make me...kiss you?..." She shuddered in revulsion as she remembered how horrible the feeling was.

Joker laughed, which made Xack feel offended. "Why Xackie, I just wanted to be the first 'clown' to make out with you!" Turning her head away, Xack frowned when he started making smooching noises with his lips. "Oh come on, don't tell me you didn't like it... I know how to kiss women! Just ask all the ones I gave grins to!" The girl covered her ears as Joker laughed manically. "I had to punish you someway before. I would never hit you, Xackie... You're...precious..." Her eyes widened with some fear as a menacing smile came to him.

"I...I..." Was all Xack could choke out.

"Oh, that reminds me," the Joker blabbed out, and started to shake within the straps he was bounded in. A few seconds of waiting, and a necklace fell out of his sleeves. Xack left her mouth agape as she bent down and took up this jewel in her hands. She recognized it immediately: a little silver castle fused with a crystal. This is her necklace! The necklace she loved dearly. "You dropped it..."

"Thank...thank you for returning it to me..." Xack said ever so quietly as she held the trinket close to her.

Xack and Joker's head turned in one direction as they watched a few of the police head their way. As they got close, the clown looked at Xack with wide, worried eyes. "You're...you're still going to see me, right?..." Xack didn't answer, nor did she look at him. When the police grabbed a hold of the stretcher and began to load him in, Joker repeated, "We'll still see each other at Arkham...won't we?..."

A soft sniffle escaped the girl, and she didn't even glance at him once more, as she left Joker with the police. "Hey, hey, hey!" She heard the Joker speak sarcastically, irritably. "Be careful, I'm fragile you know! You break it, you buy it!" His words were followed by fits of psychotic laughter that filled the carnival...and as Xack walked away, she felt that this was the last...she would hear or see of him.

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That day at the carnival -- when I talked with Vicki, she found out that Xack was staying with me, and accused me of having an affair. I told her the situation was not like that at all; Vicki thought otherwise. No matter how hard I tried to explain, Vicki refused to believe it. I would never betray Vicki like that. Never. I have a feeling...my relationship with Vicki...is going to end soon.

What about Eddie? That poor boy who fell victim to Joker's chemicals? I spent the rest of that day making an antidote to cure him and the rest of the victims, and it was a success! At night, while everyone was calming down, tired...taking breaks, I slipped into Eddie's room and injected him the medicine...and the results showed within a few hours. His skin...his hair...everything was returning to normal. I left the rest of the antidote for the doctors, and with the visual proof they've seen, they gave the rest to the victims. With everyone recovering...hopefully, their lives will go back to the way it was.

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Bruce entered the hospital with a few presents for Eddie, and although Xack wanted to see her brother, but she couldn't. She can't leave Arkham Asylum until she was 'cured'. The man sighed, and thought with a hopeful mind, that Xack will be departing the facility soon enough; just as long as she didn't have contact with Joker. He already knew where Eddie's room was, for he has visited the boy at other times. Talking to the doctors and nurses was no trouble, since they knew the boy had stayed with Bruce previously.

There were many people at the hospital, both employees and other families. The place was so full of them, that Bruce had trouble trying to avoid being run into. It surprised Bruce that Joker had kidnapped so many people to make experiments out of his chemicals.

Then, he found it: Eddie's room. Bruce stood outside the door and breathed out. Happy to hear that the boy is recovering, and soon enough -- hopefully, he could somehow adopt Eddie. Just as he was about to enter, someone from behind said, "You can't go in there." Bruce turned around to see a man, looking a big younger than him, sitting in a chair across from Eddie's door. This man appeared to be much more handsome than Bruce ever would be, but the attractiveness would fall short, for the man was dressed more of a punk. The man glared at Bruce in a suspicious manner. "Who are you?"

Bruce turned around and introduced himself, "I'm Bruce Wayne, and I've been watching Eddie Hathaway and Xack Hathaway while the Joker was loose."

Suddenly, the man felt more relieved to hear this. "Oooooh...so you're the rich boy that's been taking care of them...heh."

Bruce seemed confused. "And...you are?..."

Without getting up, the man replied, "Well, I'm Shaun Hathaway, their older brother." Bruce's eyes widened. He couldn't believe what he heard. He didn't know that Xack and Eddie had another brother. Now he wonders why the two children failed to mention the older one. "I'm guessing by the way you look, they never told you about me..."

"I'm afraid not," spoke Bruce glumly. "Would there be a reason?"

Shaun leaned back in the chair, smirking for some reason. "Well, I haven't been the best brother to them or the rest of the family, but I'm trying hard now. Ever since our mom died, I've been taking care of him while Xack has been transferring all over the place. It's hard enough to take care of my own daughter, but since Ed's father wouldn't take him, I have to. I'm not gonna let Eddie go to someone else--"

"Don't you mean, your father?" Bruce questioned.

Shaun shook his head, "Xack and I have the same dad, Eddie has a different one..."

"Oh...I see..." Bruce grumbled, taking his gaze off of Shaun now. "Well...it looks like adoption is out of the question." "You seem...young, to be a father," said Bruce, deciding to share what he was thinking.

Shaun laughed, "Yeah, everyone thinks that, but I know for a fact that I'm older than you." Bruce raised an eyebrow to that. "I'm going on thirty, and I've heard about how young you are. Yeah, those reporters, saying you're probably the youngest man out there to run a huge business on his own."

A small smile appeared on Bruce's face. "Yes, you've heard right." He found a chair next to Shaun and decided to sit next to him. "So, what's the reason why we can't see how Eddie is doing?"

Shaun scoffed in frustration, "Those doctors say Eddie needs his rest now, and that no one can go in at this time. I would go see how Xack's doing, but I really want to be here incase he wakes up. My daughter's fine right now. She wanted to see the rest of the hospital, so a nurse is showing her around..." He sighed, "None of the doctors or nurses told me how this happened though... How did Eddie...end up like this?..." Shaun turned to Bruce. "Do you know?"

"You ever hear of Joker?" Bruce asked.

Shaun nodded, "Yeah, he's that damn clown I've heard been on the run in this city for a long time--"

"He wanted your sister," Bruce interrupted. "He kidnapped so many people, including Eddie."

"Are you shitin' me?" Said Shaun, his voice raised. "I sure hell didn't hear that from the police. Why does that clown want my sister, and what did that have to do with Ed?"

"I believe Joker was jealous of Eddie because of Xack, and so..."

Shaun sighed once more, "And so...he did this to Eddie..." The two men were silent for awhile, but Shaun broke the silence again. "You know...I should thank you for watching over Xack and Eddie; especially her, she needs to be with other people again, and not be at that asylum... I hope she can leave soon..."

"I hope so too," said Bruce, trying to sound reassuring. "I really do..."

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I didn't know Xack had another brother... Why didn't she tell me, or Eddie for that matter? Was he such a bad person in her family to not mention? Perhaps I'll never know, but Shaun is here now, and he's going to stay; said he bought a house using the inheritance money from their father. Shaun wanted everyone to be a family again, even if it meant moving to another state. Speaking of fathers, why -- no, it's not my place to pressure the children. I'm sure everyone from that family has reasons for keeping things quiet.

Now Xack: to my experience, is a much different girl than I would see in the city. She can be happy one minute, and than the next...she'll cry. I'll probably never, truly understand depressing people like her...unless I was one myself. I hope that someday, her suffering of this will go...along of what she felt for the Joker.

It's been over a month now since the carnival incident. I heard from Shaun that he'll be picking up Xack. He bought for the girl, her own apartment. "She prefers being alone," he had told me. "I know she wouldn't want to live with me, Eddie or Victoria. Hopefully, that'll make her happy." She's leaving Arkham today...that's all that matters now...

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Joker walked solemnly down the asylum halls, with having many guards accompany him to the recreational room. He hasn't actually escaped since the event of the chemicals and the kidnapped people. He'd been trying to come up with another plan on getting revenge on everyone -- including Xack's family, but he thought of nothing; didn't want to escape until he could think of something good. Something Evil. Something that would make Gotham City laugh to death. He's been somewhat depressed, but no more than usual. Why was he depressed? -- Well, he hasn't seen Xack in such a long time, and within that time, he was heard crying on some nights; although Joker would never admit to crying.

A few of the guards opened the doors to the recreational room as Joker came closer, and when the clown entered, those same guards hurriedly shut the door behind him. There were guards in the room, but many of them stood outside the doors incase Joker tried to escape.

Joker groaned miserably as he sat on the couch to watch TV, but suddenly, his eyes caught on someone sitting on the other end: a girl with her head bowed and drawing carefully in her drawing book. He knew only one other person who would do that. Could it be Xack? "Xackie?..." The Joker barely squeaked, hoping it was her. The girl sitting next to him slowly turned her head, with her hair covering most of her face. Even though the facial features were mostly obscured, but Joker's eyes lit up when he knew it was her. "Xackie!" He cried as he scooted himself close to her.

Xack put down her drawing book on a nearby table and turned to him. "Hi...Joker..." she said quietly, her eyes avoiding his surprised gaze. "I, um, wanted to see you again..."

"What took you so long?" He wondered sarcastically "I heard you're leaving here today...as 'sane'."

Xack nodded. "You heard right, but I...wanted to see you again before I left..."

"Hmph." A smug look appeared on his face as he sat back and crossed his leg. "Couldn't get enough of me, huh?" He chuckled through clenched teeth.

"Joker..." Xack sounded serious. "I promise -- I promise I'll come visit you everyday!"

Joker smiled. "You better, or else I'll come find you...hee, hee..."

It wasn't long after that when a few of the orderly came in and told Xack it was time for her to leave. She said her goodbyes to Joker and left the asylum. Joker knew it wouldn't be long when she would visit him, but now, he was planning on his escape. Planning on a whole different scheme. To plan on how he could make Xack want him, to love him, and above all: to find a way to make her his, forever. If only there was some way to make her go insane...but what could it be?

Finally, Shaun came and got Xack out of Arkham Asylum. While in the car, Shaun explained to her that all of her belongings were in the apartment he bought for her. He also told her that she got inheritance money from their mom. "It's around ten thousand dollars, but I think you should put a lot of that money aside incase you want to go back to college. Otherwise, it'll pay for the food and other stuff. I'll pay off the apartment. Dad's money will definitely cover that." Xack nodded to Shaun's words.

The apartment complex itself was not all that grand, but Xack knew it would do for her. After all, it wasn't like anyone else was going to live with her. She didn't want anyone. She just wanted to be alone. Shaun gave her a tour of her apartment, which was a pretty decent size for her. The room itself was all one large room, which had the living room and kitchen being connected. The bedroom and bathroom were the only rooms that were all to themselves. During her few first days at her new place, all Xack did was mostly cry. Crying close to her bedside...and clutching the necklace that Joker gave to her. Why was she sobbing? No one will really know except for the depressed girl.

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What did happen between Xack and Joker? The way he looks at her -- I've seen it; it's not human. I may not know what happened in the past, but I have a feeling Joker won't give up on her so easily. He'll do whatever it takes to have her. He's obsessed with her. They're opposites, I just...I just don't know what the connection is. Well...even though she'll never admit, but I know Xack...is obsessed with Joker, just as much as he is with her. I think I may know of someone that helped them get to that point...

---------------

Doctor Hugo Strange hummed to himself as he sat in his office at Arkham Asylum. Filling out a few forms and papers that were sprawled out on his desk, but he took a moment to glance out his windows that were set close to the ceiling. It was relatively dark outside, but Dr. Strange didn't mind at all. Even though he was no vampire, but he preferred the darkness over light. He wrote in his files about the patients he had met with today, including the Joker. When it came to the clown's profile, Dr. Strange became more enthused to write about him.

Suddenly, he stopped. Dr. Strange sensed a mysterious presence in the room. A small smile cracked on the edge of his lips. He knew who it was. "Ah...it makes me wonder how you can enter rooms without being noticed," said Dr. Strange, sounding slightly amused. He turned in his seat to spot the Batman hidden in the shadows. "An honor to have you visit my office at this hour..."

Batman moved out of the shadows and stood in front of Dr. Strange's desk. He did not look happy. "I looked into the security cameras and medical files at this asylum."

Dr. Strange sat back in his chair, folding his hands together. "Oh..." he didn't sound interested in what Batman had to say.

"Apparently, the day Joker escaped from Arkham, the orderly and yourself have gave statements that it was Xack Hathaway who let everyone out of their cells because she fell into a state of delusion. Joker had somehow got out of his cell first, and drugged her with certain medicines that caused her to do this." Batman eyed the doctor angrily.

Dr. Strange nodded. "That is correct."

Batman grunted softly, "As I checked the footage on the cameras, Joker's been in his cell all night, before Xack had released the locking mechanism on the cell doors. Therefore, Joker couldn't have drugged her." Dr. Strange 'hmmd', but continued to listen to whatever the Dark Knight had to say. "I also checked the medicines used to cause her to breakdown, and according to records, they can only be handled by certain doctors... You're one of them, Dr. Strange." Still, Dr. Strange remained speechless. "I concluded that you're the one who entered Xack Hathaway's cell and drugged her, and left her door open as you left. I know for a fact you tried to erase the footage on the cameras, but I have ways of retrieving it..."

Dr. Strange smirked, "Where is the footage now?"

Batman looked away shamefully. Not ashamed of Dr. Strange, but himself. "The evidence was hard to retrieve, and thus, after just one showing, it burned away."

Dr. Strange made his paperwork and such into one neat pile on his desk. He leaned in forward to say calmly, "A theory is just a theory, unless one has evidence to prove otherwise..."

Batman's face contorted to anger. "I know why you did this, Dr. Strange. You don't want Xack to leave the asylum. You knew she talks with Joker, and that made you jealous, for he won't share what he tells the girl. Thinking that keeping her here will reveal what's she heard from Joker, you drugged her to make fall into a breakdown. You don't want her to get better..."

Dr. Strange made a strange sound in his throat. A sound of being irritated by another. "Hmm...but I am standing by what I said before, Batman, you have no proof of this..."

"Even if I don't have the evidence anymore, I am going to keep watch over you, Dr. Strange. I've seen your methods, and I don't approve of them..."

Dr. Strange turned around as he started to put his papers into filing cabinets. "The police don't approve of your methods either, Batman, but I do not see you listening to them. As such, I will not take your words seriously at heart." As he turned around once more to look at Batman...the caped crusader was gone. The doctor formed a small smile on his face. "You perplex me Batman... I fear that I may be growing an obsession over your ways of justice..."

I know now, that our lives are going to change. For the better or worse? I guess time will tell of that.

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