Our Lips Are Sealed
Batman had parked his Batmobile hidden in the shadows of an alley as he thought on this. He was getting exhausted from chasing Joker. Why couldn't he figure it out? Why?
"Sir?..." Batman heard Alfred's concerned voice coming from his communicator. "Are you alright?"
Batman sighed and replied solemnly, "Yeah, Alfred...just thinking -- hey, how is Xack doing?"
Alfred was silent for a moment before he spoke, "Why don't you come on back to the manor and speak to her yourself about it?"
Batman shook his head and revved up the engine, even though, Alfred could not see the Batman's actions from where he was. "I don't have time for that. I have to find Joker before his latest scheme comes to hand."
"Sir...you need to talk to her," Alfred spoke more sternly now. "You have agreed to watch over these children and take responsibility for them. I hardly seen you speak to them since they have come into our lives." He heard Batman sigh once more. "Please sir, just come back home and talk to her. She is terribly frightened by all this. The least you can do is to try and calm her yourself. I have tried to reassure her of the matter, but she keeps leaving me in the dark."
"Alright... I'll come back..." Batman muttered, and then he spun his Batmobile out of the alley.
Alfred cleared his throat. "Master Bruce, Miss Hathaway is becoming more and more suspicious of your disappearances. She is suspecting that you are the Batman. Are you going to discuss the matter with her, or shall I just tell her the truth?"
"No," Batman answered, "Don't tell her. I don't need other people finding out my identity. Just let her keep suspecting...and hope for the best."
In a matter of hours, Batman had returned to the Bat Cave, and now he hung-up the cape and cowl to become Bruce Wayne once more. It was all quiet in Wayne Manor, and Bruce suspected that everyone was in bed due to how late it was now. He was nervous about waking Xack up, and even talking to her gave him a bit of goose bumps, but he knew it had to be done. He knows she needs someone to talk to her about the problems everyone's facing, it's just not going to be that easy. Bruce was used to chatting with high-class people and socialize with beautiful women, but talking to an Arkham Asylum patient was so much different than what Bruce was used to being with.
Bruce stood outside Xack's bedroom door; thinking on how he should approach all this. He took a deep breath, fixed the collar of his suit and knocked on the door firmly. He waited -- no answer at all. Bruce blinked and tried again, this time a bit harder. Still, no word from Xack's mouth.
"Mr. Wayne?..." Bruce was actually relieved to hear Xack's voice. For a moment there, he thought something might of happened to her.
"Xack..." Bruce thought of the right words to say to her. "I -- um, I want to talk to you about...everything that's been going on..."
"Now?" Xack groaned from behind the door. "Do you know how late it is?"
Bruce sighed, "Yes, I know how late it is, but I feel we really need to talk about this now..." He waited behind Xack's door until she gave him an answer to that.
"Fine..." Xack mumbled, "Come in Mr. Wayne..."
Bruce opened the door to Xack's bedroom. The first place he looked for her was the bed, but was surprised to see that she wasn't there -- in fact, he could tell that she hadn't even went to bed yet since it was still made neatly. He gazed around the whole room until he saw the girl sitting in the corner of the place; to the left from her bedroom door. Bruce saw Xack drawing in her sketchbook that he had given her earlier today. He approached her slowly and asked, "If you really knew how late it was, I presumed you would of been in bed..." He stood in front of her and continued to watch her doodle in her book, even though Bruce wished he could of had a better look at what she was drawing; too hard to see since the lighting of the room was pretty dim.
"So...what do you want to talk about?" Xack asked without even looking up at Bruce. As he got down on his knees to get closer to Xack's line of vision, the girl quickly closed her sketchbook to prevent him from seeing what she was drawing.
"I'm sorry, but I have to ask...what do you draw in that sketchbook?" Bruce asked her, most curious about her drawing book. Xack just merely blinked at him. "Why so secretive about your works of art? Are you embarrassed that people will make fun of it?"
"In a way, yes...but it's more complicated than that. I just...can't show anyone..." Xack started to trail off and held the sketchbook closer to herself.
Bruce shrugged. "Very well, then let's talk about you..." Xack seemed somewhat startled when he had said this. "How are you holding up to all of this -- with Joker, I mean?"
Xack hugged her knees close to her chest. "I don't look it...but I'm terrified. I'm terrified that Joker will find me. I'm terrified because I don't know why he wants me so badly. I'm terrified...because I don't know what he wants to do with me..." Bruce could easily hear that her voice has become much more shaky and somewhat high-pitched, as if she was going to have a breakdown about it. "I just don't know what to do!..." She shrieked silently, and she clutched her head in her hands. "I'm afraid that even if I get transported to another asylum that Joker will still come after me..." Xack then began to mumble insanities that Bruce could not make out on what she's saying.
Bruce patted her knee and said, "Maybe you should take your medication, so you can calm down about this. Joker does not know where you are Xack, and the police are still looking out for him even as we speak..."
Xack started to breath in and out heavily. "I hate taking that stupid medicine; drugs that make you calm down...I hate it! And the police don't care about some crazy girl. I don't matter to them at all..."
Bruce frowned at this. Alfred states that Bruce should talk with Xack, but it seems it's not going very well. Every time Bruce would try to reassure her on the subjects, the girl would still throw out negative things, making it more worse then it already is. "Speaking of police, the department has informed me that they want to talk with you tomorrow about Joker," Bruce spoke a-matter-of-factly. "They say you know things about Joker that even the asylum doctors don't..."
Xack merely shrugged her shoulders. "I guess...but it's nothing that will help capture Joker, or even find out what he plans to do..."
Bruce cracked a smile on the edge of his mouth, "Every little bit counts Xack, and you never know; whatever you have to say about Joker just might help out the police."
"I guess..." Xack whispered, and sounded unsure about all this.
Bruce looked down at a watch on his wrist and got back up on his feet. "It's really late Xack. You should think about getting some sleep before we go to the Gotham Police Station..."
Xack raised an eyebrow, "'We'?" She sounded a bit surprised to this.
Bruce nodded, "Yes -- we, meaning I am going to the station with you."
"Oh..." Xack had a strange expression on her face, as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing. "I guess...I'll go to bed now..." She got up on her feet as well and slowly made her way to the bed with the sketchbook still in her arms. Bruce was still really curious as to what she could be drawing in it, but for now, he thought he would just let it slide.
As Xack crawled into bed, and as Bruce was heading for the bedroom door, he turned around and said in a concerned tone, "If you ever get scared -- anytime at all, just come see me..." then he left the room, but not before hearing Xack mumble quietly, "If you're ever around..." Bruce sighed depressingly to this. She was right after all.A middle-aged woman came knocking on her teenaged son's door. "Joey...are you done with your homework yet?"
"No mom! I'm not!" Complained Joey from his room.
"Well..." Joey's mom bit her lip and breathed out. "You really should get some sleep now. It's really late and I don't want you missing school again just because you can't wake up in time."
Joey, who was at his desk doing his homework, rolled his eyes and replied sarcastically, "Fine, I'll just do this in the morning..." The mother smiled in relief and continued on to her own bedroom so she could go back to sleep.
Joey's room was basically how any teenage boy would decorate a bedroom, but the exception that it was full of his favorite cartoons and anime knick-knacks. Most of his clothes were scattered all over the place, which made it difficult to tell which ones were actually clean and ones that were dirty. Even Joey's bed was messy and looked as if it hadn't been made in a couple of weeks! As this young man got himself into his pajamas, his attention was suddenly drawn to his window, for it was wide open. He thought for a moment to see if he remembered anytime today that he opened it, but he couldn't recall. Joey didn't think too much of it, so he just shrugged and walked over to the open window to close it. He locked it though, just in case it might happen again...just might.
Joey turned off his lights and got into bed. As his mind was just starting to drift onto dream land, he suddenly heard strange noises, like...someone shuffling around in his room. Joey shot straight up and looked around, but it appeared that nothing was there. Within a few moments of gazing at every thing in the room, Joey slowly laid back down in his bed. Probably about a few minutes later, the same sounds were heard again, which made Joey growl as he sat back up; this time though, he carefully scanned all of his things and surroundings to detect anything out of the ordinary -- nothing. Nothing appeared to be abnormal, so as before, the young man plopped himself back down.
Then...again, those strange shuffling noises once more. Joey did not hesitate to get up again. All he did was turn himself over and put a pillow over his head for he was tired of hearing these sounds. Unfortunately though, as his head was turned over, his eyes became wide with fright as he saw a strange figure to the side of his bed. Joey couldn't quite make it out until he focused his eyes better. He gasped. Wild green hair, bleached skin, blood-red lips, and red eyes with piercing yellow pupils. Joey knew from the descriptions of the news, that this was clearly the Joker. Joey couldn't scream and was even too frightened to call for help.
Joker snickered quietly and said lowly, "Say cheese..." The last thing Joey remembered was the Clown Prince snatching him out of the bed.In the morning, Bruce was surprised to see Xack in the living, all dressed up and ready to go somewhere. Her, Alfred, and Eddie were sitting on the couch watching the news on TV, and they all seemed to be oblivious to Bruce's presence. "What's going on here?" Bruce asked in a slightly cheery mood. Eddie turned his head towards Bruce and slowly pointed up to the plasma TV. Bruce looked at the screen to see what kind of 'news' was to be heard.
There was a man TV reporter out in front of a town house of sorts, with a middle-aged woman standing next to him. This woman's eyes were somewhat red and bloodshot, probably from all the crying that she has done before. "Since last night, several disappearances have occurred -- ranging from young teenagers to adults..." The reporter cleared his throat and continued to speak. "There has been a witness that called into the Gotham Police Department, and this witness declared that the Joker was seen off in the night with an adult struggling to get away from him." Then the TV reporter turned to the sobbing woman beside him. "This woman next to me is Linda Range, who says that her sixteen-year old son, Joseph Range, was taken from his bedroom, just minutes from which they had last spoken..." The reporter held the microphone for Linda to speak into.
"I...don't know why, I want to know why..." Linda sobbed, and her voice was very shaky which made it hard for people to understand her. "I was just getting into bed when I heard things crashing from my son's room. I quickly ran to his room...and when I went in there...he was gone. His dresser and desk were thrown to the floor, and the window...was wide open and broken...Why did Joker take my baby away from me?..." The reporter handed her a handkerchief for her to cry in. She quickly took it and wiped her eyes as best as she could. "Please Joker..." Linda pleaded into the microphone. "Please don't hurt my son... Give him back to me..."
Now, the TV reporter spoke again, "This is Henry Scord of channel 8 news, signing-off..." As this was said, Alfred shut off the TV. Xack and Eddie looked over to Bruce with worried faces.
"Is Joker gonna come and take me away?..." Eddie asked meekly. Xack patted her brother's back, partially for support and for reassurance that she is here with him.
"No one's sure that was even Joker that kidnapped the people," Xack pointed out. "Even the TV reporter on -- uh, TV didn't sound so sure of that. It was dark out when this 'witness' saw Joker kidnap someone, but how do they know it's even him?"
Bruce gazed down at a watch on his wrist and then turned to Xack, "We should be going to the police station now...but..." he handed the girl a leather jacket, some sunglasses and a baseball cap of sorts.
Xack took these items and frowned down on them. "What is this?" She asked somewhat disgustedly.
Bruce smirked, "Unless you want Joker to see you and I going together, this 'disguise' should throw him off. You never know when he's watching the streets of Gotham. The cap is for you to tuck your hair in, so you look more of a...young man than a woman..."
Xack sighed and did just that: put on the stupid baseball cap and started to tuck her hair into it. "I already look tomboy enough as it is, but now I actually have to look like a guy for the public. Oh yes...I just feel so much better..." she stated sarcastically. Xack saw Bruce crack a smile on his face, and she looked shock to see this. "Why you smiling for?" She asked rudely. "Just because I'm tomboy-ish, doesn't mean I actually want to look like a guy!"
"Didn't notice..." Bruce muttered teasingly, and he chuckled when this seemed to enrage Xack a bit more. "Alright, let's just go..."
Eddie cocked his head at Bruce, "Is Xack going to jail?" He asked a bit worriedly.
Bruce shook his head quickly, "No Eddie, she's not. The police just want to talk with her about Joker..." Xack heard this and just shrugged her shoulders lightly. "She'll be back here after this is over. It shouldn't take that long." Then he gestured for Xack to follow him out of Wayne Manor. As Bruce turned to look at the girl walking next to him, somehow, he could feel that this meeting with the police was not going to go well. By the expression on her face, he could see that she did not want to go, but he just wasn't sure why though.
Bruce took one of his many fancy-highly expensive cars out for a drive, and of course, Xack sat in the passenger side with the sunglasses on her face, wearing the ugly leather jacket, and her hair tucked in the baseball cap. As she looked at herself in the little mirrors on the visor, she could see that people would probably mistake her as a young man rather than a girl. Just as long as the leather jacket was buttoned up and everything, the public would go with this theory, otherwise if they saw her figure, then the disguise would be blown.
Xack gazed out the windows and asked Bruce, while mumbling, "Are we almost there?..."
"Yes," Bruce replied.
"When we get there, can I at least take off the stupid hat?"
Bruce smirked, "Yes, and you can remove those sunglasses if you wish."
Xack nodded to that. "I am, definitely! I wore sunglasses into a store once and the people there thought I was actually blind. I told them that I wasn't, but they didn't believe me."
Bruce chuckled softly, "Why did you do that?"
"Because we -- my family had a cat, and I'm allergic to her. Our cat gave me red, itchy eyes, and I wore sunglasses so people wouldn't see that..." Xack sighed depressingly and folded her hands in her lap. "I miss our cat."
"What happened to your pet?" Bruce asked a bit concerned.
Xack was silent for a moment. "The asylums wouldn't let me keep her...when mom died...so... they gave our cat away to the pound for other people to buy... " She wiped a small tear from her eyes. Then she and Bruce stayed silent for the rest of the trip to the Gotham Police Department.
When Xack was starting to drift away to her own happy day dreams, she was suddenly snapped back into reality when Bruce had parked the car close to the police department's doors. He unbuckled his seat belt and turned to the girl to say, "I wouldn't take off your disguise until we get inside. You never know where the Joker can be these days..."
Xack nodded and raised an eyebrow slightly at Bruce, "Speaking of things, I meant to ask you..." Bruce waited. "Are you the Batman?"
Bruce scoffed. "Why do you ask?" He chuckled slightly.
Xack frowned and crossed her arms. "Oh well, it's just that when Batman had come to beat-up Joker in Best Buy, I gotta good look at the guy, and his facial features look exactly like yours -- besides the fact, by the looks of it, you two resemble the same built..." She waited for Bruce's answer.
Bruce glanced over to the police department and then back at Xack. "Let's not discuss this now. We'll talk more about this after we go back to the manor."
Xack's eyes grew wide, "So you are the Batman! I knew it!"
Bruce said nothing more though as they both got out of the car and walked casually but slowly to the department, and then they went inside.
As soon as they walked in, Detective Yin was already waiting for them by the entrance doors. She smiled briefly at them, "Good day Mr. Wayne, and I presume this is?..." She raised an eyebrow at Xack's weird disguise. "That this is Miss Xack Hathaway?..."
Bruce smiled as well and nodded, while Xack removed the sunglasses and baseball cap. "Yes, this is her..." he replied, and then he went to shake Detective Yin's hand. As the detective offered her hand for Xack to shake, the girl merely looked at the detective's hand, but nothing more. "Sorry..." Xack replied in a slightly rude tone, "I just don't...like to be touched. Nothing personal and all, but I just don't."
Detective Yin withdrew her hand. "Alright then, follow me Miss Hathaway, Mr. Wayne..." The detective walked on ahead, while Bruce and Xack followed behind as the woman guided them through the police department, and to a room that Xack knew to be an interrogation room.
As Detective Yin opened the door and gestured Xack inside, the girl bit her lip and felt a little nervous about this. "Why...do I need to go in here? I'm not in trouble am I?" She asked nervously.
Detective Yin shook her head, "No you're not, it's just that Chief Rojas wishes to ask a few questions about the Joker. He thought this would be more of an appropriate place for it..." Xack still hesitated for a moment before she finally went inside. Detective Yin closed the door behind the girl, and then took a few steps and opened a door right next to the interrogation room. "Mr. Wayne?..." she gestured him inside and Bruce walked in. As Bruce had gotten into the room, he realized that this particular room was used to see what was going on in the interrogation place.
Bruce smiled as he saw Detective Bennett in the room as well. "Yo Bruce!" Detective Bennett greeted his friend in a happy mood, and he shook Bruce's hand with a firm grip.
"Good to see you Ethan," Bruce replied, and then he looked into the interrogation room and saw that Chief Rojas was already in there, and the husky man gestured his hand for Xack to sit down in a chair across from a table. The girl quickly did what she was told and sat there quietly with her head bowed and hands folded in her lap. Bruce looked back at Detective Bennett and asked, "So what's going to happen now?"
Detective Bennett shrugged, "Rojas is just gonna ask Miss Xack a few questions about the Joker. It shouldn't be long; after all, it's not like she knows what Joker's true intentions are, right?" Bruce shrugged as Detective Bennett had done.
Detective Yin put her hand on Bruce's shoulder in a reassuring manner. "It should be okay, Mr. Wayne. It shouldn't be long at all..." Bruce still didn't seem so sure of that as he looked back into the interrogation room and watched...
Chief Rojas had his hands behind his back, and paced slowly in front of the table as if he wanted to make Xack feel more fretful than she already was. Xack still just sat in the chair quietly and didn't want to look up into Chief Rojas' stern face. "So..." Chief Rojas began, "How long have you known Joker?..."
Xack sighed and shrugged, "For quite a while I guess...we met in Arkham, but...I guess you can't really count all the times he's been in and out of the place..." she replied quietly, and began to fidget with her hands.
Chief Rojas stopped pacing and leaned against the side of a wall, "Were you...in love with the Joker?"
Xack shuddered in slight revulsion and quickly shook her head, "No! I can't believe you people actually thought that! I'm eighteen -- and Joker's gotta be like -- what, in his early thirties maybe, but I don't know. The fact is though, me and Joker never loved each other. I don't know if we were considered friends either, but not loving. I think we were just...interested in each other, but...nothing more than that..." She then calmed herself down to the quiet state once again. Xack had never really burst out defensively before, but the girl never wanted to be in a relationship with anyone; but to believe that people thought she and the Joker loved each other, now Xack just thought that was ridiculous. For starters, Joker was probably close to being twice her age, and she could never fall in love with someone as twisted and demented as he was -- no way.
Chief Rojas' mustache twitched and his expression became more serious and stern. "So what do you know about Joker that the Arkham Asylum doctors don't? What has he told you?..."
From the other side, Bruce put a hand to his chin for he was interested to know this as well. Xack hugged herself and answered so quietly that Chief Rojas had to lean in towards her to hear. "I...I'm sorry, but I can't tell you. Joker told me not to tell anyone..."
"Not tell us what? His plans? What he plans to do with the missing people?" Rojas' voice became more agitated but impatient all at once, and even his eyes got a bit wider.
Xack shook her head slowly. "No...his past life..." Bruce heard this and raised an eyebrow slightly. "He told me about his life before...before he became this Joker."
"How do you know he wasn't lying to you?" Chief Rojas crossed his arms and glared at Xack.
"Because...I can tell when people lie to me, and when they don't. I know Joker wasn't lying to me of when he told me this..." Xack looked down on her feet and wished she could leave this place now.
"So what did he tell you?" Chief Rojas asked more demandingly, "What did he do in his past life?..." Xack didn't answer nor move. He sighed and approached the table to get closer to Xack. "If you tell us what his name was, or maybe what he had done, then perhaps we can finally i.d. this mad clown and find out what his 'secret' plans are." Xack still didn't say anything, which made Chief Rojas become more angry with her. The girl jumped in her seat though when he slammed his fists into the table and roared, "What does Joker know that we don't? Tell me!"
"I can't!" Xack shrieked, and she began to cry and clasp her hands to her head. "Joker told me not to tell anyone! I don't know what his plans are, but I can't tell Joker's secret! I promised I wouldn't tell!" She started to sob even louder when Chief Rojas seemed to be growling at her in anger.
Bruce started to head out the door. "I have to stop this!" He declared angrily. "Chief Rojas should not be interrogating my guest so roughly when she has done nothing wrong!" Just when he barely touched the doorknob, Detective Yin stopped him.
"You can't do that Mr. Wayne! It's against regulations! You can end up in jail for a day for interfering with this... " Detective Yin warned softly. Bruce grunted, and he didn't like this at all, and he couldn't bare to watch Xack being treated like that. It just wasn't nice at all. Even Detective Bennett was getting irritated by his boss's actions.
"Miss Hathaway! Do you understand what kind of information this could mean to the police force?" Chief Rojas's eyes looked almost murderous to Xack, that is, she would of thought this if she looked into his face, but she just couldn't. She was sobbing too hard to care anymore, but she still didn't want to break her promise to Joker on what secrets he told her. "Tell us what you know about him, now!"
"Please! I can't!" Xack begged and cried to the chief. "Please, just let me leave! I can't tell you Joker's secret! He told me not too! He told me no..." She buried her face in her arms and continued to do so when Chief Rojas began to threaten her and such.
Detective Bennett couldn't take it anymore. He rolled his eyes and burst out of the room. "That's it, I can't take it anymore. Rojas has to stop now!" Both Chief Rojas and Xack were surprised to see Detective Bennett barge into the interrogation room and gently grab Xack's arm. She didn't like to be touched, but at the moment, she just didn't care. "Go Xack... Just go back with Wayne. Your questions end here..." he said a bit demanding. Xack starred up at his face for a brief moment, but then got out of the room while still crying her eyes out. Just as she walked out, she heard Chief Rojas slam the door behind her and begin to chew-out Detective Bennett with his sudden actions.
Xack just stood there crying in the police department until Bruce quickly caught up to her and hugged her close to his chest. "Don't worry, we're going back home..." he murmured to her, and then he slowly guided her towards the doors to the station.
"I'm sorry Mr. Wayne..." Detective Yin called out to Bruce, and then to Xack. "I'm sorry Miss Hathaway... This wasn't supposed to go that far... I'm sorry..." The two both heard these apologies, but didn't bother to answer, especially with the sobbing Xack in Bruce's arms.
As Bruce brought Xack to his car, the girl spoke, but her voice was very wearying. "I can't tell... I promised Joker..." she sobbed quietly to Bruce. She looked up into his face and asked. "If someone told you their secret, and told you to promise not to tell, do you still tell anyways? Even if the police ask you to break it?" Bruce just sighed but didn't answer. "I promised Joker... I can't break promises to secrets... I just can't..."
Bruce helped Xack get back into the car, and replied softly, "I understand Xack...trust me...I truly do understand..." Even though he had his own secrets that had to be kept that way, but Bruce couldn't help but wonder what kind of secret that Joker didn't want Xack to tell. just what could it be?