[EU][TT] Batman travels time to learn The Joker's origin. He discovers it is more horrifying than even he could imagine.

The apartment was bleak. The soft light of the television distracted away from the discarded wrappers littering the floor, and the darkness was the only respite that let Johnathon ignore the discoloration on his bathroom tiles and unused kitchen stove. The cereal was bland and tasteless, the milk had been watered down. Munch much. He couldn't hear the words on the television over the crunching of food, but he could see. And really, they never did put on anything terribly complicated. The camera switched over from the anchorman, focusing now on some reporter in the field. Behind her were the usual: some police, some 'no crossing' tape, and the alternating lights of red and blue. Another poor tragic incident, involving some more tragic people, which now worries everyone and their terribly important, poor tragic lives. But wait! This is new... Johnathon thought, as he observed the figures suspended in the back. Their faces were covered in black ski masks. and though they hung from their feet, they were squirming. Alive and well, the would be criminals had been apprehended beforehand. That, in itself, was mildly interesting, but caught nowhere near the attention as the artwork behind them. Burning in the wall, lighting up their figures, was the symbol of a bat. "Heh," Johnathon laughed. "Hehehe." He let the spoon fall from his mouth as he was overcome with joy and hope. "Haha! HAHAHAHA!" His voice pitched up as he fervently ran about his apartment. This...this is something interesting. He found some mascara, an ex-girlfriend's? Oh! I can use this! He scrounged about his wardrobe, and chose a nice tuxedo, complete with a bow tie and vest. "Finally," spending close to an hour in front of the mirror to get his appearance just right, he grabbed a lighter and tossed it behind him as he walked out. "Someone who will understand..." The door to the apartment was left wide open, the flame within growing steadily. From the shadows, the tall, athletic figure of a man stepped out. It perused through the papers on the sole desk, ignoring the fire. "Johnathon Doe..." Batman whispered "Even here, he's just a stranger." From behind, the tongues of fire licked at his cloak, trying desperately to set aflame the resistant cloth. Satisfied with the clues he had collected, Batman strolled out, leaving the flame to consume all else. After all, he knew better than to tamper with the past. His parents, his life, the corruption of Gotham. Countless times he had traveled through time, and these were constants he couldn't change. There was nothing he could do. He wasn't here for that, he was here for knowledge, for answers. What made the Joker tick? Just a little bit further into the past...

Another dark day, further obscured by the heavy rain. With each drop, Batman felt the weight of it all. His responsibilities, his sin, his trials. And yet, all of that felt so far away compared to the scene before him. There he was, The Joker, lying on a pile of trash bags in an alley, beaten, bruised, almost looking like a different man. Almost. His sadistic grin and unbridled laughter had that same unnerving effect. Before the violent clown stood a healthy man, fit, athletic, and strong. Dressed in dark unconventional clothes, it was apparent that this man was vigilante, like Batman himself. How far back have masked crusaders been around? How far back had Joker been around? By all rights, he should be a young boy at this time, but here he seemed aged, almost older than before. "HAHA-oof!" The mocking laugh of the disheveled Joker was cut short by the mysterious hero. It took Bruce all he had to restrain himself, seeing a blade now protrude from the chest of the madman. The Joker had less reservations "Heehee..." Pain had never discouraged him before. "Your reign of terror ends here, Joker." The masked hero growled, every word laced with fury. "The people of this city are now safe from your madness." The Joker, knowing how fatal his bleeding was, simply smiled up at him. "Ah! Is it someone else's turn now?" Quickly, the man grabbed the aged Joker by the collar and screamed at his face "NO! As long as I stand, no one else will do these things! There will be no more madness! No more murders!" The dying villain wagged his finger "Uh uh uh, little shadow man." The finger slowly turned to point at himself. "There's one murder happening...right here." With a roar, the hero threw Joker back down on the garbage pile "I am NOT like you! You are dangerous! I protect! I am your opposite! A Guardian!". "Are you, really?" The Joker continued, his voice getting softer as he grew closer to his demise. "Both of us...run around, dressed like idiots. Doing things ...make no sense..." His smile grew as his words gradually dropped to a whisper, and only a few of his last words were even audible "You...just like...me...anyone, really...just...like...us." His eyes never closed, his smile never dropped. Batman stood by vigilantly, watching to the end as the hero unmasked himself, showing the youthful face of Johnathon Doe.

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