Who: Jonah and Sadie What: Resting after a trip to the ER Where: Sadie's apartment When: Several hours after this. Warnings/Rating: Fluffy friendship sweetness and very brief mentions of violence.
For all of her quirks and personality flaws, taking care of people that needed it was something Sadie was actually good at. And, as she should be. For Sadie still wanted to be a kindergarten teacher one day and part of caring for brats was knowing they’d fall in a thorn bush during recess. And, oh boy did Jonah fall in one giant thorn bush. Trouble might have been a hobby of theirs that they took once meeting up in Vegas, but the addition of the Riddler and Joker proved to make the whole thing just plain dangerous. Sadie should be worried, she knew that, but in a way she was relieved. Jonah might have been stuck with the craziest apple in the basket, but at least it was an apple that didn’t plan on kicking Riddler’s sweet little butt any time soon. In fact, from what Sadie could tell, the Joker and Riddler had a sort of symbiotic relationship. Joker would blow things up and Riddler would create little tiny problems all along the rubble. They didn’t rely on each other the same way Sadie and Jonah tended to, but they could co-exist. Riddler could co-exist with anyone who admitted he was a genius.
So, Sadie calmly took the drugged up Jonah back to her apartment, let him sleep in her fluffy brightly colored bed (first time she had a boy in that particular bed, mind you) and sat next to him while he slept. Her apartment wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. It was decorated more like a manga store with brightly colored posters, grinning star lights lining the ceiling and unabashed cute stuffed animals on all the couches, chairs and of course, the bed. In her fuzzy green PJ’s, Sadie looked natural in the place, but Jonah’s generally darker presence seemed to clash with the neon colors and the cheerful atmosphere. She was blind to the contrast, blind to the torment that Jonah so aptly hid from her. The guy she was friends with had some problems, sure, but he had this incredible ability to act as though there wasn’t any of that holding him down. They were similar spirits in that sense, even if she was farther away from what anyone considered normal. How could she ever be normal? Especially now with the Riddler rolling around in her brain?
Sadie pondered this and her conversation with Batgirl as she snipped pieces of thick, purple fabric with tiny scissors. The bed was nearly covered with pieces of the Riddler costume as his hat with a glowing question mark stared at her from the coat rack. He could have made the costume himself, but Sadie wanted to do it for him. Do you still care for me, sweet Sadie? Even after the things Batgirl said? Riddler asked gently from a spot in her head near her right ear. Of course. Batgirl didn’t understand just how special the rogues gallery was because her dad never really made it. Not like Riddler did. Not like Joker, either.
Wake uu-up, Sleeping Beauty. The Joker's voice wheezed and cackled inside his head, reverberating and rattling against his skull like a lead ball dropped into a tin can. A tin can stuffed full of cotton batting. Jonah groaned into consciousness before he managed to open his eyes, wondering blearily if anyone had gotten the license plate number of the steam roller that had flattened him like a cartoon character. After a full five minutes of drifting in and out of awareness, he managed to crack his eyes open and peer around at his surroundings with a furrowed brow, entirely confused as to precisely what he was doing inside a tie-dyed cotton candy machine.
"Sadie?" He murmured, squinting at the shape in the chair beside the bed until she came into focus. He looked down at himself for the first time and frowned at the sight of his bare chest with a bloody bandage taped over his shoulder, the bright neon of the comforter tucked around his waist, and the frightening array of stuffed animals that surrounded him like an armed guard.
"Am I naked? Please don't tell me I'm naked," he implored, shooting her a look of such confusion and worry that he probably would have looked comical if he wasn't so pathetic. Even as he lay there, flashes of the previous night started to trickle their way to the forefront of his brain - aided by the Joker, who was rather reluctantly sharing the images with him. Jonah remembered staggering down the hall outside his door in Passages, leaving a trail of hot red blood in his wake. He remembered a blonde woman. He remembered punching Sadie's name into his phone and begging for her help, and he remembered when she had said that she was his only friend. She was right, of course. Jonah had his share of one-night stands and gambling buddies filling up his contact list, but only Sadie's number made it to his Favorites. Only Sadie had a special place in his heart, one where they trusted and relied on each other.
"What happened?" He asked, staring at her when he was struck by a moment of panic, terrified by the thought that she may have gotten hurt. That he might have hurt her. He couldn't stand it if anything happened to Sadie, and so he had kept the Joker a deep dark secret, locked away inside. Only he was kidding himself. The Joker only pretended to abide by Jonah's rules, flexing his control whenever he saw fit and leaving Jonah to clean up the mess.
Sadie stopped her scissor work when Jonah woke, reaching over slowly to peck a kiss on his hollow cheek. “I let you borrow some of my Hello Kitty PJs.” She lied just to see him squirm (when he looked down he’d be shirtless with bandages, but still wearing pants, even under the covers), putting the scissors and fabric down on her nightstand to crawl onto the bed next to him. She didn’t know a whole lot about medicine, but Sadie was informed enough to make sure that he wasn’t bleeding out in his sleep or ripped his stitches. Reaching her fingers under the covers just enough to touch his chest and shoulder, Sadie seemed satisfied.
“Harley Quinn shot the Joker because-” She gave him a look like he had the answer to that stored somewhere in his brain. “I dunno. Because she hasn’t fallen head over heels in love with him yet? Because she’s riding the red wave?” Sadie made some educated guesses without Riddler’s help, leaning back on her headboard as she looked down at the injured Jonah. “Anyway, Joker had the good sense to throw you through this door so I could get you to a hospital. I figured it’s easier to take care of you at my place than your bachelor's pad, so now you’re here.”
Shit. You told her, dummy. At that exact moment, Jonah couldn’t say for sure whether the voice that sneered in his head was the clown’s or his own. He reached up with his good hand to scrub at his closed eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose just like Jonah’s grandfather had always done since the beginning of time. It was the sign of a man who was exhausted, and worried, and maybe more than a little sad.
“I’m sorry I never told you,” he turned his head and whispered into her hair when she lay curled up there beside him. His nose filled up with the smell of pears and sunshine and candy apples, which could either have something to do with a magical new shampoo or the bottle of Percoset that he saw on the night stand. “I was trying to protect you. He hurts people...”
Jonah trailed off before he mentioned that sometimes the Joker made him hurt people. That sometimes Jonah woke up with blood on his clothes and skin under his fingernails, and no memories of the last few hours. That sometimes he blacked out for days at a time.
I didn’t want you to get hurt.
Sadie waved the apology away with her tiny hands. “No, no. Jonah-” She turned her body towards him, reaching to cradle his jaw so he’d look at her. “It’s going to be fine, we’re in this together. Right?” Her eyes shifted a little, as if they saw something else besides Jonah. She knew since day one that it’d never just be him and her, but it wasn’t until she knew that Joker was in there too that she had to acknowledge it. The clown saw everything, didn’t he? He was strong, too, stronger than Jonah was and that meant he could probably wrangle influence over her friend just as Riddler did over her. But, then why didn’t Joker try to hurt her? Sadie was easy prey, after all.
“I think he likes me.” Sadie said past Jonah’s eyes as if she were looking into a shark tank. She could see the clown’s teeth snapping under red velvet lips. She could practically hear him grinning. “And, he should.” She looked back at Jonah, eyes focusing away from the clown as she let go of his face. “Because I think we can make the best of having two bad guys in our heads.”
“Two?” Jonah’s brow creased and he raised an eyebrow at her. What was she talking about? As far as he knew, his friend hadn’t ever given him a clue as to who she shared her head with. As if on cue, his gaze was drawn to the snips of fabric that covered the parts of the bed that weren’t taken up by Jonah’s legs and stuffed animals. Whatever that meant, it couldn’t be good. Anything that drew so much focus from Sadie the human jumping bean could only be dangerous. “I swear to God, Sadie, if you are making me a man-sized Beanie Baby costume I am going to scream.”
As soon as the words left his lips, he spotted something that glowed faintly in the corner of his eye. He strained to lift his head off the unnaturally comfortable pillow and whined in protest at the pain that somehow shot through his shoulder at the slightest adjustments of his muscles. She never gave you a clue, huh dummy? Not even like... that? The bowler hat. Yes, Sadie sometimes made questionable fashion choices and sometimes Jonah was a little embarrassed to be seen with her if she was wearing something that involved animal ears (okay, except for that one time they’d gone out in matching animal ears, that had actually been a lot of fun) but still - a fluorescent bowler hat?
“...YOU?” He would have yelled it if he’d had the strength. Instead he settled for using the height of his eyebrows to emphasize the all-caps volume.
Sadie rolled on the bed with a giggle, picking up a piece of fabric shaped like the top of a question mark and a tiny little dot to go with it. “Pretty good disguise, huh? I’m not naturally genius at math or counting cards. Edward does it for me.” She gently placed the fabric on her face, letting the punctuation cover her nose and chin. “I’ve just been telling everyone I’m Booster Gold because no one cares what happens to that guy. People think I’m just running on Asian math powers.” She gave a laugh like blowing bubbles in milk and closed her eyes gently.
“Riddler and I coexist nicely. If he was stuck with some brainy jerk, he’d probably spend all day trying to destroy him instead of Batman.” Her head turned, the little dot of the question mark sliding off her face and onto the bed. “Joker is a little different. He’s a wild card. But, so are you, Jonah. That’s why I think it’s going to be okay.” Sadie liked the idea of the two working together and the fact that Riddler hadn’t made an attempt to stop her from giving away their biggest secret made her believe he felt the same way. “It’ll be fun messing with Gotham. Just like it’s fun messing with Vegas.”
“Huh,” he let out with a whoosh of air from his lungs, not realizing that he’d been holding his breath for a minute. “I hate to admit it, but I haven’t ever thought of it that way.” And indeed, he hadn’t ever considered trying to coexist with the Joker, preferring instead to deny the frightening level of control that the clown held over him and then freaking out when he woke up to the carnage. “You know what? I think you’re more of a genius than you give yourself credit for.”
Jonah actually managed a smile this time, crooked and small but a smile nonetheless. He and Sadie did have a lot of fun messing with Vegas, whether they were impersonating cops at a rich guy’s party and harassing civilians, counting cards at the high stakes blackjack tables, or getting drunk on lychee liqueur and playing Dance Dance Revolution at five in the morning.
“Thanks for rescuing me,” he added lamely, picking up one of the question marks from the bed. “It would have been really stupid if I had died in a dirty old hotel because some of that crazy bitch on the other side.” He laid it over his upper lip so that it became a lopsided moustache, arching an eyebrow. Then he reached out and took Sadie’s hand, giving her fingers a gentle squeeze to punctuate how grateful he really was.
“Hey, on the plus side - at least my gimp leg doesn’t hurt as bad as my shoulder. Also, Percoset is amaaa-aazing.”
Sadie smiled brightly at the thank you. She was the type that didn’t have much of a barrier between her feelings and expressions, but there were moments that seemed more genuine than others. As if she had a private reserve of the strong stuff just for times like these. “We have to look out for each other.” She said, lightly rubbing his fingers with her thumb before sitting back up. “That’s why bad guys in Gotham get in trouble. They don’t know how to work together like we do.”
She crawled back up towards the head of the bed, snuggling down on one of her stuffed animals before reaching for the remote control under it. “Take some more painkillers, I got the clinic to give you a free refill after that one is toast.” Sadie pointed the controller at the tv in the corner of the room and turned on some cartoons. “And, sleeeeeeeeepp sleepy heaaad. You can go home when you feel better.”
After Sadie had rescued him from the hotel, driven him to the ER and literally taken him into her bed to nurse him back to health, Jonah could hardly argue with her. He obediently grabbed the bottle of painkillers off the night stand and popped another couple of pills into his mouth, washing them down with a glass of water provided by his best - and only - friend. He was already exhausted, and just those small movements had used up his last reserves of strength.
With a sigh and a soft mewling sound that was something akin to a noise his contented cat would make, Jonah wrapped his arms around the nearest stuffed animal (a large Miss Piggy, who wore a string of pearls that would undoubtedly leave an attractive row of circular marks on his face) and cuddled deeper into Sadie’s bed. He was safe. For now, the Joker seem subdued. Sadie would take care of him. Being shot was turning out to be the most relaxing thing that had happened to him in a long, long time.