WHO: Jason and Lissa WHAT: Not so fun arrival time! WHEN: Evening. WHERE: Graveyard. RATING: PG-13 at best. NOTES: *Joker dialogue taken directly from Red Hood & the Outlaws, Vol 3.
The Joker wasn't dead. No way. No how. He'd come back, just like he always did, because the Clown Prince of Crime - annoyingly - somehow always got away. The others could delude themselves into believing it, but Jason Todd was a born and raised skeptic. Until he was standing over the Joker's cold, lifeless body, he'd never really believe that he was gone for good. And even then? Who was to say he wouldn't make a grand return from the grave? Considering he was the poster boy for all things zombie, Jason wouldn't be surprised. Homicidal clowns had a tendency for being pesky that way. But, for now, it was over. The Joker would need time to lick his wounds. As for Jason? Being back in Gotham, surrounded by the family he'd once called his own, seeing Bruce again - well, it was pretty safe to say that he needed to exit stage right before he started opening some old wounds of his own.
Roy and Kori were waiting for him outside (probably being heckled by Damian). It was time to hit the road. Get as far away from Wayne manor and Gotham city as possible. This place used to be his playground, but he'd moved on. And while that stung, he could accept it. At least he was walking out on his own instead of being carted away to Arkham Asylum this time. And he hadn't even tried to kill anyone on the A-team! Well, mostly. Sort of. It was a momentary thing. Still, bonus points.
Jason lifted his trademark red helmet over his head and slid it on. As he did so, the world around him changed - in more ways than one. He'd been transported from the stairwell of Bruce Wayne's mansion to a graveyard. It wasn't the location change that had grabbed his attention; big as it might have been, a hologram of the Joker shooting out of his helmet kinda was a bigger grab to the guy who had been murdered by him. The hologram projected itself into a night sky, the Joker's maniacal laugh echoing wildly into the air.
"IF YOU CAN SEE ME, YOU ARE STANDING TOO CLOSE! HA, HA! YOU HAVE TO LOVE THE CLASSICS!"
He'd gotten hold of his helmet and modified it. How in the hell --?!
"But, seriously -- if you are watching this, it means I'm either dead or staged a really elaborate finale and I'm presumed dead (wink, wink!) Unfortunately, you know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? You died that one time -- but then you came back!" The Joker leaned in close, a malicious grin plastered across what was left of his face. "You played a joke on me, Robin. Only I'm not laughing!"
No, no, no. This was bad. Very bad. If the Joker had messed with his hood, then --
"You were supposed to be my masterpiece from start to finish. But you were too stubborn to stay dead. So here's what we're going to do..."
Jason stepped back, hands yanking at his helmet.
"You're so determined to be your own man? Fine. Let's start you with a clean slate."
It was too late. Green toxin exploded into his face, leaking out of his mask, burning every inch of his skin. Jason had endured his fair share of pain - the Joker had beaten him to a bloody pulp with a crowbar and then blew him up, for crying out loud - but this? It hurt. Jason let out a cry and stumbled, the Joker's hologram moving in the air as he clawed at his helmet. The back of his leg hit a grave and he went tumbling, back arching as he hit the ground. It was blinding - it was like the toxin was ripping his face off - and all Jason could do to battle it was writhe and howl against the sound of the Joker's laughter matching him in volume, growing louder and louder, filling the graveyard with a joke that only he would ever understand.