𝐀 , 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐. “there will come a ruler whose brow is laid in thorn smeared with oil like david’s boy” duty. strength. resignation. arthur was told to do things and did them. the world is something that was put into his hands and that he must deal with - so he will. he has a rigid back and steady hands, either metaphorically or physically. is it nature or nurture ? he doesn’t know. he is tired of being steady. he dreams of feeling alive. not that he isn’t, but, sometimes, it’s hard to remember that there is a heart between his ribs. his love is where he breathes. come on, breathe. in. out. it starts now.
tagged by : @banschivs love u <33 //tagging : @arachnai @andolini @clowniefish @draculyr @hermarks @movrningbride @painmade @hamlt @sacramort @wasworthy && you !!
☻ BANSCHIVS. ⋆˚✩
Careful not to allow Lilac to fold backward when she kneels, Nix collects the tube from the floor and flips it over to inspect its back side. While reading she nudges the side of the baby’s face with her own. “ This is your fault… ” Lilac can only just twist her neck to catch her mother’s face with one big eye. “ Rip me in half, choke your father… you’re a menace, we can never let you out. ” Like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Nix wrinkles her nose in ostensible distaste. Lilac, unphased, just shoves another fistful of hair past her gums, at which point Nix sweeps her hair around her neck so it rests on the opposite shoulder, forgoing the brewing grizzle it will beget.
“ The warnings are for if the kid eats it, ” She announces, louder this time so Arthur can hear her over his apparent distress. “ Not if you mistake it for mouthwash. ” Clearing the modest bathroom is easy, she does in few steps until she’s stood alongside him. The baby’s face has folded in on itself while she holds her breath ere crying, a notion that stiffens her mother’s shoulders while she reaches with her free hand to spin Arthur toward her. The sight in his mouth makes her blink. “ Woah, ‘frost her like a cake’…! ” The stuff is surprising durable, though she daren’t find the humour in it with his eyes flashing fire. Her brow pleats, supposedly a display of sympathy, before she reaches for her phone in her jeans. “ Give me a minute, ” She hoists Lilac higher against her chest. The two-month-old has taken to gnawing at the collar of her shirt instead. “ Try not to swallow it. ”
He already has. And it’s declared war on his digestive tract. The faucet’s rush kills Joker’s stomach grinding and the burn snaking through his intestines. He lays a hand over his lower abdominals and growls at the sight of Lilac’s Desitin tube lying side by side with the toothpaste. He likely left it there. The bathroom’s disturbingly immaculate, yet the diaper rash cream was out of place enough to leave a thick film over his teeth and tongue. Joker avoids catching his reflection while reaching for the Waterpik charging dock and grabbing Nix’s, which he all but stuffs inside the real toothpaste tube before attacking his teeth and tongue with it. The water rolls right off. Joker slumps over the sink, spits to no avail, then grunts. Steam shoots up into his face, leaving tiny droplets that melt the white base right off.
“It’s fucking water resistant!” Werewolf barks in the direction of the kitchen…or wherever Nix whisked Lilac off to. The infant’s cries have tempered. Joker drags Nix’s Waterpik over his tongue like a scraper with the intensity on 10. It somewhat breaks up the crud, though his teeth appear doomed for the time being. When he pockets his tongue in the upper right slot of his mouth, the cream’s filled what should’ve been a gap from his missing molar. “Fuck me — Phoenix?!” Not that he expects her to do anything, but Joker grips the sink’s lip and runs the brush head underwater to try and get rid of the white crust before plunging it back in to continue scraping at the inside of his mouth. “They’re gonna send me…” he spits, then holds his mouth open and runs the mechanical brush over his teeth, “-right the fuck back to Crane over these fucking teeth!”
☻ BANSCHIVS. ⋆˚✩
Lilac’s scooped from the floor by a pair of less-experienced hands, though she doesn’t grumble any more than the hard-hitting knocking from the bathroom gives her cause to. Nix has propped her chin against her shoulder, splayed her working fingers between the baby’s shoulders like she’s seen, and is soon found in the bathroom’s doorway. “ Hey— Jesus, what did you do? ”
The mirror she’d replaced the last one he attempted to put a limb through with betrays him— Arthur’s features are screwed up in disgust while he tries to scalp something off his tongue and from behind his teeth. She remains, haunting the doorway with a baby hanging from her shoulder. “ Snack on some ass cream between brushes? ”
Joker wheezes, “Diaper cream!” like it’s his final breath. His right ankle bashes the Desitin tube. It skates along the tile and lands on Nix’s toes. Unamused by his gagging, their daughter remains calm over her mother’s shoulder…until a fistful of blonde hair whets her appetite. Lilac guides a fist towards her mouth and gums the pale strands. Nix may not hear it over the roar of the sink and Joker’s frenetic noise that vaults him so far forward he near-shatters their medicine cabinet with his forehead.
Pawing at his teeth fails to remove his new enamel. He doesn’t dare to look. Fog’s taken over their mirror anyway — scalding water tends to remove the most grime, why wouldn’t it do the same for his mouth? A hand towel’s draped over the basin, half-soaked and partially crusted in white cream that remains hard on his tongue, too. Panic leaves him shaking, gagging nothing but his own spit, and blitzed by multicolored dots swinging and swirling around his head. He’d faint were his fingers not rooted to the sink. “It won’t…” he breaks to snarl, then use his tongue to try and pick off the water-resistant shield over his crooked teeth. “It’s stuck!”
A moderate bang fires from the bathroom. Then hacking. The water pressure is amplified, dulling Joker’s retches. The heel of his hand slams the porcelain basin repeatedly. Lilac follows the din from her cushioned mat in the living room. Her cheeks are reddened from tummy time…which should’ve ended minutes ago. Instead her father’s hunched over the sink sticking a finger down his throat and clawing at his teeth. Lilac’s Desitin tube lies on the tile alongside a red toothbrush, which has now calcified with diaper rash cream.
☻ @banschivs ⋆˚✩
☻ 𝙲𝙾𝙻𝙾𝚁𝙴𝙳 𝙾𝚅𝙴𝚁𝙻𝙰𝚈𝚂
arthur’s being a butthead about it as a defense mechanism given that there are many layers of shock, surprise, bewilderment, confusion, betrayal….he has had dyslexia all his life — brain injuries as a baby likely triggered his processing disability and PBA — and no one did a thing about it as he noted aloud. he’s been institutionalized countless times and no one bothered to diagnose him or acknowledge that he has a learning disability. he was also bullied and belittled and ignored into believing that he was something he wasn’t when in reality his intellect is genius-level.
by explaining to arthur that he very likely — she’s not a doctor, but actually is correct and lives with him so she has context regarding his struggles — has a processing disorder and giving him tools to try and help it, nix is helping him more than anyone has likely in any form of media. he’s giving her attitude because clamming up is a learned behavior. there’s so much he needs to unlearn regarding the ableism he’s faced his entire life, but by breaking that barrier i’ll go on a limb and say no one anywhere in any media has helped him more than nix.
he doesn’t realize it yet, clearly it’s not a pretty conversation and it’s mostly confusion and deflection from arthur, but it’s the most genuinely helpful gesture i personally have ever seen regarding him. she’s not qualified to diagnose and aid him ( and she hasn’t, she just lives with him and witnesses what he goes through and did hours upon hours of research ), but those who had the ability to do so never cared to. she’s helping by leaps and bounds. arthur will be carrying the overlay that works best for him in second addition so he can use it in everyday life. it is not a cure or a band-aid. just a tool.
he won’t know it’s dyslexia even though that’s the ringer, but because of nix he’ll accept that he has processing disability and has a tool to help improve his overall quality of life even if it wasn’t handed over by the oh so ‘qualified’ who did nothing for it.
𝚃𝙷𝙴𝚈 𝙱𝙾𝚃𝙷 𝙲𝙰𝚁𝚁𝚈 𝚃𝙷𝙴 𝙱𝚁𝙰𝙽𝙳 𝙾𝙵 𝚃𝙷𝙴 𝙹Ö𝚃𝙽𝙰𝚁． varúlfur bears it like a deep-night moonglow washing through the crannies of his humanized maw, a spoiled snowy tinge topped by green like the steep walls of maelifell. the trickster, too, has a pair of twin serpentine marks climbing from the line of their jaw above the furrow of their brow. they both carry the same strength, too, but loki says nothing behind their sting-sharp smile. they don’t try to remind him. they look almost shrunk: a red blanket, the color of blood, clings at their shoulders — though they are not cold. they’re sitting, legs crossed, waiting for something to shift. varúlfur protests again, and loki howls in laughter. “you’d ask this humble fisherman to move miðgarðr alone? are you mad, wolfspawn?” there is clearly a delighted edge to the god’s voice, and something like the cackling of fire in their next intake of breath.
varúlfur knows nothing, but they do not blame him. life on grímsey is slow and simple, dictated by the raising of mist from the arctic waters and fish supply. people believe in draugar, in the again-walkers, and bury scissors with their dead and hid twigs in their hair to prevent them from rising. they know the truth about their guardian, but they pretend not to. a magical feat would destroy their blissful act. “don’t be so dramatic. you know you can do it.”
Stone-faced, the runt of Hróðvitnir remains still as the sphere as if to argue, ‘And so can you.’ Without effort. Without thought. Doubtless their little village has already been taken by surprise with his presence: drizzled with black fur and crawling on all fours. The isle has no native land animals nor can any survive the Atlantic to visit. Peat moss dredges beneath his claws — human hands would suit this maneuver ill, so Varúlfur keeps both his claws and tail intact for traction and balance. Eyes like gnashing oceans scale the marker, he braces, then bows his head and approaches the rock. Malnourishment has atrophied him, exacerbating the distended shoulder on his left. It stabs the wind until his right side is parallel to a curve…and then he leans. Sharp teeth bare and snap again while he uses the earth as an anchor. One twiggy leg crosses over the other.
Naturally the pole’s shifted uphill. All four legs splay and flex to avoid any use of magic, though electric green filaments dance between each toe and immolate within his irises. The pole marker groans when he pushes again. All eighteen-thousand pounds of rock begin to roll towards an inevitable drop into the sea by a monster a fraction of its size. “Hope you have a hearty catch waiting for me!” growls Varúlfur, angling his head so the crown guides the enormous structure up and away from Loki, who is neither too weak nor too cold to continue tradition. “I hate fish,” and Loki will likely tell him that’s all there is lest þat hunt him a seal. Perhaps he should bark a request for whale calf or seabird.
Lilac is two months today! She likes to chew on her hands and smack things, naturally. Also has a habit of pulling hair, but that’s to be expected— preferably dad’s because it’s bright in colour and he allows it to go on for a little longer. Tummy time also produces less screaming, which Nix in particular is thrilled about. Bug can lift her head too. She was a little slow and a little behind the regulars up until recently, but she now smiles, and squeals and grumbles like she’s trying to start her own conversation… and Nix is sure she saw her swear at her own reflection the other day, possibly thinking the baby in the mirror mom put on the side of her crib was an imposter. Could still be, all parties remain uncertain.
Nix doesn’t baby-voice, she’s no good at it and that kind of thing doesn’t come at all naturally to her— she doesn’t and never did speak to Evie like that or change her manner. She doesn’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but she knows that’s all she’s got. Not that she’s speaking to the bug about taxes, but while Lilac’s there gargling away, Nix talks back like it’s casual conversation. All ‘round she’s getting a little more comfortable, and a little more at ease, though the screaming and crying still stunts her motherly instinct… that which was and never will be particularly strong when compared to what’s expected of mothers in general. She still doesn’t fit the typical portrait but that doesn’t take away from the love she has for her kids. Evelyn’s a big help, too, the two of them are best friends and have been almost since they met. They click, and she will with Lilac at some point to.
𝙿𝙰𝚁𝚃 𝙸 𝙾𝙵 𝙸𝙸𝙸.
after reading part one of director todd phillips’ commentary, i’ve compiled a list of things both that i didn’t know and will incorporate into my portrayal and already did know/assume and will continue on this trajectory. this is for act one of the film.
𝚃𝙷𝙸𝙽𝙶𝚂 𝙸 𝙳𝙸𝙳𝙽’𝚃 𝙺𝙽𝙾𝚆 𝙰𝙽𝙳 𝚆𝙸𝙻𝙻 𝙰𝙲𝙺𝙽𝙾𝚆𝙻𝙴𝙳𝙶𝙴:
𝚃𝙷𝙸𝙽𝙶𝚂 𝙸 𝙰𝙻𝚁𝙴𝙰𝙳𝚈 𝙸𝙽𝙲𝙾𝚁𝙿𝙾𝚁𝙰𝚃𝙴𝙳 𝚃𝙷𝙰𝚃 𝚆𝙴𝚁𝙴 𝙲𝙾𝙽𝙵𝙸𝚁𝙼𝙴𝙳:
☻ BANSCHIVS. ⋆˚✩
Ridiculous, he calls her, and then something else she won’t bother to ask him to translate. Waste of her breath. He has softened her edges enough that the pleating of her brow isn’t so conspicuous in displaying her disappointment. Briefly, once he’s drawn back from her mouth far enough, she wrinkles the bridge of her nose. “ What I am… is trying to help. ” While the expected outcome was rejection, at least initially, it still pinches a nerve in her chest. That itch she seeks to dispel by dropping her shoulders that the multiple coloured sheets are flattened between them once again. Smoke betides her tongue— he hasn’t snubbed out his cigarette, just placed it in the saucer for another time. It’s impossible.
“ Spent hours, ” She continues, flattening her palm and thus the overlays against the centre of Arthur’s chest as a another lure for him to, perhaps, listen to her. “ You know how many websites there are for this shit? ” Beyond that it wouldn’t be so bad to see him try, or humour her, though the notion of simply being placated by him irks her plenty. Thus, she treads backward, until the base of her spine knocks against the breakfast bar. For a moment the only sounds are the humming of the frog’s terrarium, and Goblin glubbing away. Nix side-steps, swipes her hip alongside the bar’s boundary, and places herself on the opposite side. “ Would it be so terrible to take it seriously for two minutes? ”
“ — Just two minutes, Baby. ” Her lips purse, masking how terse her jaw’s become in preparation for yet another swift rebuttal. When it comes to helping himself, Arthur lacks the same energy he has for anyone else. She’s different— It’s the first time she can remember spending all that time and spent energy on someone else. Her palms lay flat, ere one lifts to spin a menu toward him; a black and white copy of their favourite Chinese place. The overlays she’d left on his side of the bar, allowing him to pick from the scattershot of colours in front of him. When at rest again, her working fingers patter a useless beat against the surface she’s shelved against. “ You can take me seriously for two minutes. ” She’s quiet, hiding her head between hunched shoulders. “ I put the time in, y’know. ”
Joker takes the canyon she’s dredged between them personally. His starstruck, drunken simper is lost in the death mask. Kissing her had scraped away at his face, scattering pink lines over his lips and nose. Nix has managed to wedge herself between two barstools. Hi-hat lights complement every angle of that beautiful face, even when she’s sour. Still too far from him. Joker shifts his weight and slants his shoulders like a breeze breathes through him, though his winged scapula must make that maneuver clunky. He continues to admire her without blinking. The wound is stronger. Stained teeth flash. Lack of a painted-on expression makes him appear ghoulish; dead as the wraiths filling their apartment behind her. Murray holds his arms out like the studio audience is late to laugh…so Joker does. Whether it’s Nix or the slain talkshow host with a hole in his skull and another in his chest is to be determined.
“But why?” there’s a grin on his face, but it doesn’t leave Joker’s mouth. Eyes scream a murkier story: confusion, apprehension, self-consciousness…he is yet to blink, thus Nix loses definition. Those winter oceans trapped in his irises have hemorrhaged. He doesn’t show it. The primer slowly fades when he turns his attention downcast towards the counter. Great Wall’s pamphlet menu lies close to fifteen different overlays. Joker does read the title without struggle, though the fine print is missing pieces. Every missing line is another hot poker pressed to his eye socket. Squinting makes him laugh — louder, close to shedding the tears that just cling to his waterlines by some surface-tension miracle. “Nixie, I-I…” Again Joker lifts the cigarette, sets it between his lips, and then inhales. “I don’t — do you know…how many times I’ve been committed to a fucking mental institution?” He tilts his head, speaking to her like one of their baby daughters, “Don’t you think they’d have known that I can’t ‘process’ or whatever…?”
Deep green wavelets dance over his shoulders and hang in his face as he stares at the menu. “Besides…” he gestures towards the plate of Kung Pao chicken on its front panel. “I already know the pictures.” Joker lets the cigarette hang between his teeth like a dog with his favorite bone and taps the square with his left ring finger. “Isn’t that cheating? I-I-I can’t just…” eyes downcast, he shrugs, “—un-remember where everything is.” A dull ache tightens his groin from her absence. Joker leans forward, driving his pelvis and defined cum gutters into the counter to allay it, but she’s still too far to grasp…so he stubs his cigarette in the tray and extends his left arm for her return. “I don’t get a god damn minute with you anymore and this…” it stings his eyes and throat to mute his laugh, “—is what you wanna do?! Arts and crafts won’t make me literate, *Лапочка.”
☻ HAMLT. ⋆˚✩
LAUGHTER , a thought away as an amused smile touches lips, and hasn’t YET made commitments to staying. EYES the infant as hands hold coffee closer, and the LEATHER JACKET that sits on shoulders is brought tighter as shoulders haunch. ‘ She’d kick my ass … ’ WORDS caught by wind as he shrugs shoulders, ‘ Sworn to secrecy that sort of SHIT. ’ CHANGES the subject as he nods in direction of CARRIER. ( TWO FATHERS THAT’S WHO THEY ARE. )
‘ Kid givin’ you a night of rest ? ’ ODD in a way, that they have BONDED over FATHERHOOD, and women who proved to the rest of the world that they were ENIGMAS. ‘ Not easy shit , … ’ CRASS language remains, he could never CURB that particular behavior, ‘ Nixie and Mia have evaded death as often as WE have ’ WIND blows and his cheeks become flushed, ‘ Like CATS y’know ? Nine lives and all that ’ LAUGH finally gives and it’s SOFTER than one would imagine, ‘ Amazing what you can get away with ’
“Well if fingers are anything to go by…” he pauses to take a hit, then flips the cigarette carton around so only one stick juts from the pack: a modified parlor trick from clown school. Too often he forgets to breathe. Joker makes himself a septic tank of tar and rat poison. Lilac grabs for a greyscale fox dangling from her mobile. Her vision’s sharp enough to track objects now. Were the nearest sad excuse for a table not rusty and wedged upright with a square of cardboard, Joker would’ve set her bucket on it to demonstrate some air of fraternity. Instead he turns his attention downcast to bare teeth and succumb to a brusque chuckle-like noise that leaves his hands shaking. “Nixie’s down two.” The scarlet eyebrows painted on his forehead vanish when his real pair lifts. “And everyone fuckin’ knows it.” Eleven million on livestream.
Joker’s likely a nuisance alligator to both the café owner and ‘normal’ Gothamites who need to breeze around him. Doesn’t matter who’s in a clown mask or lurks nearby with a blade in their pocket, he’s disconcerted; angling so the broadest escape remains to his back, but foggy eyes allow Jax to blur. Only now does it dawn on him that a bike’s parked nearby — hardly anyone in this godforsaken town can afford a motorcycle let alone that beautiful a model. Likely custom. Forty seconds too late, it resonates that he was asked a question. He squints an eye for some sort of pre-cringe, errant in his quiet answer, “I know she does sleep, though,” he minces his own anxiety by forcing a grainy sound out his nose, “Most nights are me and the bug.” Lilac’s eyes turn skyward like a dolly’s to watch her father’s Adam’s apple bob. “This one’s usually good for three or four hours once she’s down…and my two-year-old’s always been easy.”
☻ BANSCHIVS. ⋆˚✩
He’s torn at her scalp again, left tangled knots of hair and a stinging sensation upon her skin. Humiliation’s made worse that bite and burn, until it crawls down her back and spikes the base of her spine. The wind has drawn his hair across his painted face, making bright his eyes, like shards of glass he’d seek to throw at her were it possible. “ You subscribe? Any good? ” She asks, already treading away from the door he thinks he’s barricaded her from; in truth she no longer has the need to cross that threshold. What good is an empty hotel room and an informant having fled for his life? “ Catch up on the latest when the chasing doesn’t do the job? ” Again her voice is quiet, meant for him where Arthur’s collared the entire street without realising — or perhaps he has. That notion makes tight her stomach and drops a rock down her throat.
She covers her dread well enough despite how pallid her features have become. He does a good job at shrinking her, moreso than he had already, at least in his own eyes. Nix’s are glossed, though she doesn’t cry. Hasn’t made an attempt to count all the heads having swung their way, either; she’s too preoccupied in widening the gap between them. She guides him away; let the wolf stalk his presumed kill, limping away and delaying the inevitable bleed out. She sniffs. Garbage and sweat and just her own perfume now. He’s too far and the wind too bitty — not that the proximity served her any, she’s seen what he does with an arm’s reach.
“ You wanna broadcast where I’ll be in an hour? Fill in the blanks of the day? ” It’s matter-of-fact. The lure of her embittered tone has worked enough to draw them away from the nearest ears, though she’s sure they’ll seek to follow in earnest if they think they can. Kindness might dissuade some. “ What about screaming our home address at the top of your lungs? Will that make you feel like the man? ” A corner, somewhere out of direct line of sight and away from anything thinking they could get a two-for-one. She waits, this time reaching her arm out, and enclosing her fist about his lapel. Arthur’s hauled by her around the bend, and planted flat against the concrete wall. Nix’s forearm barely holds him there for a second before he’s released, and she treads back and away again.
Sniffing, wiping her nose with her sleeve, she avoids his eye. “ Who’d have thought I’d be the leading brain on fucking subtlety. Clown. Are you trying to get me JFK’d? ”
Joker neither braces nor remains pinned out of bewilderment. Should he twist, ‘CLOWN FOR MAYOR’ has been spray painted bright red in massive block lettering amongst a sea of other doodles and phrases that would cause him far too much strain to read given the…penmanship. She knocked the wind out of him. White and red-painted cheeks puff and flatten when he bares teeth mid-peel forward. The Smith & Wesson will stay stashed in his pocket for now. A sweep of the leg carries him over some kind of broken folding chair that a homeless person has left near the wall — they’ve likely since moved. Turf wars among those with nothing to their name have become commonplace. Sewage tumbles from an old drainpipe, providing a feast for rats in the alley adjacent to them. Instead of tearing her into it, Joker thrusts a hand into her hair again.
This time, Werewolf’s claws retract. Fingers best served on the keys of a piano furl and wrench her over. She may stumble over debris in those clumsy combat boots, but he catches her waist. Joker’s right arm crops like a wing to reel Nix close to the near wall without flipping and pinning her. She can still drive a boot into his groin to show their respective audience. Cars almost graze each other to both try and beat a nearby traffic light and catch a glimpse of Joker. Dull humanoid silhouette after dull humanoid silhouette mills across the street and around them. He doesn’t notice. Again he’s buried his hand to her scalp, grasping at the roots and climbing the back of her skull so her chest can flatten to his. He might’ve knocked the wind out of her. Joker’s still catching his own breath from the initial slam…and a throbbing wave blitzes whatever’s left of his brain.
“I’m sorry!” he barks from the crook of her neck. He’d kiss her had daylight not glinted off of those metal fangs: a subtle reminder that she could sever his tongue. Joker rocks from foot to foot, tangling Nix in the sway so his fingers can anchor at her waist and hold her so close that he struggles to inhale. One blue stripe paints her lower neck. She’s gelid to the touch, stoking his need to fuse. Long green hair hangs over her shoulder and sticks to his lips when he kisses her clavicle. “I’m sorry…” he’s exhausted himself, blind to the mobiles and bloodshot eyes capturing such a breakneck surrender. Another hard kiss leaves her throat and that stupid misspelled tattoo running across it sticky. “I’m sorry!”
☻ MOUNTEBCNK. ⋆˚✩
HIS NOSE WRINKLES IN UNDENIABLE DISGUST as the assorted viscera squelches onto the countertop. with the edges of his gloved fingers, he angles the license to better see the name of his latest would be betrayer. no one of great importance, as it turns out. but also not one he’d suspected of such a thing, and it causes his insides to dip briefly. oswald’s eyes narrow, unable to control the flash of unfettered anger that appears across his face like a fork of lightning. time to clean house. again.
❛ you’ve mentioned it once or twice before. ❜ his voice is bone dust dry. without diverting his eyes from joker, he tilts his head to the side, angling his voice backward. ❛ marco, ❜ he pronounces, and the dark curtain behind him parts as one of his blank-faced bodyguards partially emerges from it. oswald gestures toward the remains. ❛ clean this up. ❜ ‘marco’ vanishes momentarily, before reappearing, this time in full, to carefully scoop the eyes and tongue into a paper bag and wipe the glass down with disinfectant. then disappears behind the curtain again, without a word.
oswald remains silent through the whole affair, his gaze crawling over joker in frank scrutiny. something about the other man’s hangdog demeanor seems to satisfy, however, for he gives another little tip of his head, almost a nod. ❛ i suppose i should thank you. ❜ a glance to the wallet, now caught in the circle of his hands. ❛ any thoughts on how i might do so? ❜
It takes godly restraint not to respond with, ‘Polo.’ Nevertheless, Joker giggles under his breath; batting primed eyelashes to mop away how his body tends to wrench whenever that skin-rending noise brews. The next elongated inhale he treats as a small clemency. Instead of blasting Oswald back via sonic boom, Joker fries the walls of his lungs. A cyan track bleeds under his left eye. The river runs over his second smile and drowns there. Everything does. Werewolf keeps his teeth flashed, albeit angled towards his handiwork. Morbid curiosity does beg the question when an unfamiliar redwood emerges from behind that black velvet curtain. Perhaps Bruno’s on basement duty…or serving as a mover. Fencer? Oswald’s the fencer…he’s rusty.
For propriety’s sake, the cigarette’s removed from his mouth to rest with the heels of his hands at the counter’s edge. Joker seldom can hold still. He fidgets from the balls of his feet to his hands and shoulders. He lances in place, though the oscillations might elude one not looking closely enough. Sans his primary vice, Joker turns his own tongue over in his mouth and looks up, unblinking; collecting the illumine of each and every light fixture. Broken records scratch at his ears. Oswald may not notice the ghastly silhouettes lurking behind Joker of different shapes and sizes. His skin crawls when the temperature plummets. Is his breath frosting? He did just expel smoke from his nostrils.
Ere he makes a scene when a drag behind him slugs closer, Joker asks, “Why?” His posture stiffens. Half-bent fingers reel closer to his body, taking the disintegrating cylinder up with them. Bronchitis leaves Joker’s voice grainier than intended, so he coughs into a closed fist. “You didn’t give the order…and even if you did…” Joker shrugs. The cigarette’s slotted between his crooked teeth once again so he can force himself to try and breathe without gagging. “I think you know by now I’m not transactional…”
my personal interpretation, but instead of relying on the unreliable narrator trope for continuity errors such as the bullets in his revolver, i lean more towards the phenomena that joker is not entirely bound by the laws of our world — or so it appears. he’s rooted in humanity, yet changed. he’s something bigger and brighter. joker recognizes that there are five rounds in his revolver…but he fired eight in the subway and all eight connected. there is no logical explanation, but he did. kind of like how he makes no sound when he moves. logic cannot be made of him. he resists it to the point that it seems like he’s lying, but in truth he can’t make sense of it either. many things about him are larger than life and rather spellbinding.
☻ BANSCHIVS. ⋆˚✩
That makes him laugh, though not to a degree that the concrete surrounded them can steal the noise and throw it back at them. Grant’s back is to the oncoming wind, which races between tall-rise buildings to batter his spine and shoulders, so he adjusts to square against it. In her carrier, Lilac is largely unbothered, though had rolled those large eyes of her mother’s in her head to hearken to her father’s splitting laugh. Now she still proceeds to stare, bringing her fist to her mouth so she can suck on both her finger and thumb. She’s far too young to chew, but gums at her hand as though deep in thought.
“ You let me know if you see any of them, won’t you? ” That dry timbre steers his mouth to a thinning line. Grant takes a sharper breath that hitches in his chest like a cough that won’t present itself, then he eyes Arthur with a sceptical look. “ Don’t you think you’d have met some by now? With or without her help? ” Nix doesn’t see him, she won’t; would sooner leap from a window ledge than set her eyes on him. It’s quite the same in reverse, too, in regards to broader relations. Pinching the bridge of his nose doesn’t allay the stress he has permanently pulling behind his face.
“ No, Arthur. ” He finally declares, some sting pinching in his throat if only briefly. “ There’s no one who’d come near her. Us. ” Countless, in fact, who wouldn’t. From the day of that fateful party, the details of which plague still, they’ve been alone. He regains himself, catches his son-in-law’s eye so he knows the perceived wound isn’t due to his questioning, and confirms. “ It’s just us— and not even. ”
The cigarette’s wedged between Joker’s teeth so he can cup the back of his neck. Then his eyes avert, tracking cracks in the asphalt and the faded paint that divides parking spaces. Mixed wool meets the underpinning of his chin as Werewolf pinches his brow. A tremor betides his feet. The momentum might just trigger seismic shifts. Then his torso sways. Joker roots at the hips, but it isn’t long before his chin starts bobbling in true
pathetic form. Glass sets over his eyes. Blinking webs those droplets from lash to lash, skewing his vision of the ‘empty’ lot and what creatures might be lurking in it, around it, in the windows surrounding them and even behind the very doors they exited through.
“Then can you come?” he’s errant, fidgeting. Lilac’s carrier rattles in his grasp. She doesn’t coo or cry in distress, thus it goes virtually unnoticed by her father. Crooked teeth create a piercing gritting noise as the predator’s jaws lock. Smiling only makes it worse. He bares them anyway, prepared to lash and bite whatever drifts too close. The wind minces his blazer. Joker’s cut right to the bone from a chill that doesn’t fully register with him. He yanks the filter from his mouth and lets it hang opposite Lilac instead. “I want her…” dies like candlelight after a gust, “I want her to have her day, you know…?” Joker nods in the event that his father-in-law doesn’t.
Lilac babbles followed by a squeak so shrill, it visibly unsettles Joker. He tilts so he hangs like a mobile over her, scrunches his face, and waits for her to smile before reeling upright. Another hit of smoke fails to untangle his stomach. The split diamond running from his left eye flows south, further throwing the balance of his paint. “Y-you don’t have to watch with binoculars if you don’t want to, but…” a soundless, breathy peal of laughter calves his confidence, “Could you take the girls afterward?” Lightheadedness makes him sway. Degraves, who already stands as a hazy silhouette before him, further blurs when fog thickens behind his eyes. “Sh-she deserves…” he breaks for a laugh-hiccup hybrid, “Far more than I could ever give her, but…” when Joker’s head drops back, a grey cloud makes for the sky from his mouth, “I love your daughter, Sir. From the moment I saw her…” he pockets his tongue in his cheek, “I wanted to marry her.”
Staring at the screen, he scoffs, “‘EpiPen store’—“ then twists to correct her, “You mean the pharmacy?! Big Pharma? They love people like me.” Uninsured, unprotected, deathly allergic. Joker slips a new cigarette from the pack, taps it on the carton, then cradles the flame while lighting up. The pink octopus on his shoulder is lowered to the crook of his arm so she doesn’t directly breathe the fumes. The great white shark to his right dives into the tub of Cheese Balls to pop another fistful into her mouth. “If it were you or the girls, they’d be haggling with United instead of just charging full price.” The sliding glass door remains open a sliver. Joker exhales smoke in its direction and bats it away from the girls.
He’s lost track of where in the world they’ve tracked the fish farms to. Millions of sick salmon swim in their own filth somewhere in the Pacific — or at least, that’s what the British narrator is discussing from his top secret mission. Evelyn’s engrossed. Her head plops against her father’s side so the teeth jutting from her shark suit quasi-swallows the octopus resting near her face. Lilac blows a bubble that Joker sticks his cigarette in his mouth to wipe away with a soft cloth he’d draped over the coffee table. Then he reaches for Nix. Three fingers curl in her long blonde hair, tugging her from the couch so her head comes to rest on his shoulder. Joker’s arm drapes around her shoulders and loops back around to pull the cigarette from his mouth.
“Still want Vaadhoo…?” Joker flares his nostrils and clamps his lips around the cigarette with a pouf of blonde hair close to his face. He holds his breath till his lungs singe, then vents through his nostrils towards the sliding door. “I read the sea of stars-thing is best in June…if you want to wait a month after the wedding.” He pleats his brow as the scene shifts onscreen and errantly adds, “On second thought…” he slides her a sidelong glance and pretends to cringe, “There may not be much of an ocean left by then at this rate.”
Though he’s steered her face toward the television, Nix hardly takes any of the documentary to heart; every flashing image is just as lost to her as the one that came before it. She wrinkles her nose when an imperceptible thread of cigarette smoke itches at her nostrils. She inhales it, though knows she shouldn’t be— along with the rest of them. A certain Great White doesn’t appear to be suffering from the thin, nigh-constant veil hanging around her head, though something in Nix’s chest fidgets at the notion. She settles herself against Arthur’s shoulder nonetheless, softening at the edges enough to appear moulded against his side. Her bottle of beer is balanced on her knee in a loose grip, though instead of stretching her leg to shelve on the coffee table, she’s planted the ball of her foot on the floor beneath.
“ I’ll take my chances, ” She says, lifting her gaze until her chin knocks him and she can mark the margins of his profile. Even in the lowlight, he seems to expel light as opposed to being swallowed by it. Her features, however, are swathed by shadows; they hollow her cheeks and make steep the upturn of her nose— steeper with every turn of the screen opposite. Evening sits waiting outside, though Arthur seemingly rejects its blanketing existence. “ Besides, ” Craning her neck draws her closer, so her next exhale kisses beneath the line of his jaw. “ If I can’t swim in the damn stars, what’s the point in going? ”
She concludes by setting her grin against the side of his neck, so close that her canines graze his skin. Arthur’s warm, despite the spring rain hitting their deck outside with the door peeled open a ways to let the air in as opposed to out. Her beer trades hands, so she can lean closer and pluck the cigarette from between his fingers. He’d lasted just a few minutes with a pretzel rod in place. She doesn’t know what she expected. “ You know, these things, ” A television, like it’s a wonder of creation, “ Can be paused, ” She says, bouncing her brows. “ If you wanna go outside for a smoke. ”