Arkham High

Chapter 14

"I think we should call ourselves the Dynamic Duo," said Joker, as he and Bruce patrolled the corridors. "It's just kinda catchy."

"Shut up," growled Bruce. "Or I'll hurt you."

"You ain't in any position to hurt anyone," retorted Joker. "That Kent kid gave you quite a beating. If anyone needs to be beat up, I'm gonna have to do it."

"Our job is not to beat up people," growled Bruce. "It's to prevent other people from beating each other up."

"And you did such a fantastic job of that at the football game," agreed Joker, nodding. "Oh wait, that's right – you started the riot by punching Kent in the face."

"No, you started the riot by sabotaging the game!" snapped Bruce.

"The chaos was already building because you were losing to Superman – any idiot could see that!" snapped Joker. "I just provided the catalyst needed to release that madness."

"I wasn't losing to Superman!" snapped Bruce. "And stop calling him Superman! Kent's no more of a superman than me!"

"Oooh, title envy, is it?" chuckled Joker. "I guess the name Batman doesn't have quite the same ring to it as Superman. I mean, you can imagine the ladies saying he's such a superman in the bedroom. But a batman in the bedroom? Doesn't really work – just implies some kinda weird fetish…"

Bruce grabbed him by the collar and slammed him against the lockers. "One more word outta you, and you won't be able to smile for a long time, get me?" he hissed.

"Thought you said it wasn't our job to beat people up!" chuckled Joker.

"It's my job to maintain order and control in this school at all times!" hissed Bruce.

"Heil, Batman!" exclaimed Joker, saluting him.

"That's right," growled Bruce. "And now you're gonna be taking orders from der Führer, like the good little follower you are."

He dropped him to the ground. "I ain't no Nazi," growled Joker, picking himself up and following him.

They rounded the corner to the sound of commotion. Billy Dodgson was shouting furiously at Jervis Tetch, who he had held a few feet off the ground.

"Listen and listen good!" he hissed. "Alice is my girlfriend! So you stay the hell away from her in future or I'll kick your ass right back to England, you got it?!"

"Billy, what are you doing?" demanded Alice, who had just arrived on the scene.

"Putting the little runt in his place!" shouted Billy, dropping Tetch to the ground.

"I didn't see you saving me during the riot!" snapped Alice. "You should be thanking him for protecting me while you were off starting fights with Metropolis thugs!"

"Thank him?!" repeated Billy, furiously. "For trying to take my place?!"

"You're such a jealous creep!" shrieked Alice. "He's not trying to take your place! He's trying to be a gentleman! And it's adorable!"

"Adorable, is he?" growled Billy.

"Yeah," retorted Alice, firmly, coming over to Tetch and dusting him off. "And you know what else, Billy?" she snapped, rounding on him. "I'm gonna go to prom with him!"

Billy stared at her. "W…what?" he stammered.

"I'm gonna go to prom with him," retorted Alice. "How do you like that, you self-centered jerk?!"

"Alice, you're…not serious!" gasped Billy.

She glared at him, and then bent down, taking Tetch's face in her hands and kissing him passionately. "That serious enough for you?" she demanded, turning to face him.

Rage seized Billy, and he started forward to beat Tetch again, but was restrained by Joker putting his arm out. "Now just calm down, Billy…" he began.

"Outta my way, clown!" shouted Billy, shoving him aside. He raised a fist to punch Tetch, but his arm was seized by Joker.

"I said cool it, sport," growled Joker.

"You stay outta this, or I'll beat you too!" hissed Billy.

"You fight J, and you have to fight me too," growled Bruce, coming over to stand next to him.

Billy gaped at him. "Bruce…what are you doing siding with that jerk? You and he have always been worst enemies!"

"Things change," retorted Bruce. "Now he's helping me keep order in Arkham. You go against him, you go against me. And if you go against me, you'll be dropped from the team. Is it really worth it, Billy?"

Billy stared from Joker to Bruce, and then slowly backed away from Tetch. "This isn't over, runt!" he growled at him. "You and Alice are going to prom over my dead body!"

"Be careful what you wish for, pally!" chuckled Joker. "Somebody might take you seriously one of these days!"

Billy stormed off. "Are you all right, Jervis?" asked Bruce.

"I…think I might be having some form of…hallucination," stammered Tetch. "Or possible mental breakdown…"

Alice giggled. "Aw, Jervis, you're so cute!" she said, kissing his cheek. "I gotta get to class, but I'll see you later, ok?"

Tetch stared after her. "Did she just…did I just…did she say we were going to prom together?" he stammered.

"Yep," agreed Joker. "Nice one, Tetchy! Ya got a cheerleader! You see, miracles can happen! Gimme a high five!" he said, holding up his hand.

"I don't know what that is," retorted Tetch. He stared down at his books, which had fallen to the floor when Billy had grabbed him. "Alice is going to prom with me?" he repeated, looking up at them.

"Yeah," replied Joker, nodding. "You ok?"

"Am I…ok?" stammered Tetch. "No, I'm…absolutely elated!" he cried suddenly, beaming. "That gorgeous, exquisite creature is going to prom with me! Me! It's nonsense! Wonderful, miraculous nonsense!"

"Come on, Jervis, we've got chemistry class in five minutes," said Jonathan Crane, appearing from down the hall. "What's keeping you? You're usually seated before me…"

"Oh, bother chemistry, Jonathan!" snapped Jervis. "Bother everything!" he said, kicking at the textbooks. "I'm going to prom with an angel on earth, and I couldn't give tuppence haypenny for anymore academic achievements! If you need me, I shall be seeking out a tailor to fashion me a new suit for the occasion. Excuse me," he said, disappearing down the corridor.

Crane stared after him. "What on earth is going on?" he demanded.

Joker shrugged. "Your best friend's got a hot girlfriend now, so he's gonna be ignoring you for the rest of the year. But cheer up! At least it means you get to be valedictorian! Y'see? Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window!" he chuckled, patting him on the back and heading off laughing down the hall.

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