‹ Prequel: Give Me a Smile
Sequel: Smile With Me
Status: Finished

Smile for Me


“Please, I’m sorry!” The Joker was angry, tugging me by the hair through the base. I whined and tried to pull away, but his grip just tightened. I tripped and spilled coffee over some papers, plans of his now soggy and ruined. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please!”
“Shut, ha, up, Quinnie,” he muttered, shoving me into the kitchen. The men there quickly scurried out, casting anxious backward glances at Joker. “Stupid Quinn.”
I waited, trapped, as he flicked the stove on. He was standing in front of the only exit. I looked from the stove and back to him.
He grinned before grabbing my left wrist to hold my hand over the stove top. I could feel the heat already as I squirmed uselessly.
“Stay still,” he ordered, using his hips to pin me against the edge of the stove. I turned my face into Joker’s shoulder as he forced my hand down onto the burner. There was a moment of nothing before the pain set in, and I howled into his jacket.
After a few seconds he released my wrist and stepped back, chuckling. I slumped against the counter, cradling my hand. I didn’t dare look at it yet.
“It hurts,” I sobbed, looking up at Joker. There was no pity in his eyes.
“Whatever. Don’t mess up my plans again,” he said, leaving the room.

I ran out of the base, crying like a little bitch. I had no idea where I was by the time I collapsed against a brick wall, sliding to the ground as I rocked my hand. The skin was raw and red, dotted with sickly yellow blisters. The detached part in the back of my head began reciting what I should do to take care of it. Apply water, use bandages...
Something landed in front of me with a whoosh. I looked into Batman’s blue eyes and gasped, scurrying back without thinking of my hand. It brushed painfully against brick, and I yelped, holding it close again.
“Please go away, just go away,” I hiccupped, looking away from him.
“Quinn. I’m not going to hurt you, Quinn. Relax.” I peeked out at him. He was crouched in front of me, hands empty at his sides, cape pooled at his feet like water. There was something akin to pity in his eyes. “I won’t hurt you, Quinn. I promise.”
I loosened my shoulders and faced him.
“H-Hi, Batman. Long time no, no see, huh?”
He just sighed and held out a hand, palm up. “What happened to your hand, Quinn? Can I see it?”
For some reason I decided to trust him, so I put out my hand.
“Please don’t hurt me.”
He examined my palm, turning it over before reaching for his belt. I snatched my hand back and he grimaced.
“I’m just getting burn salve.”I let him take my hand again. His gloves were rough against my skin. He sprayed something foamy on my palm that made the pain go away instantly, then bandaged me up. “See? I didn’t hurt you, Quinn.”
“Th-Thank you. Please don’t arrest me.”
He hesitated before nodding. “Alright, I won’t. What happened?”
I shrugged and turned away from him. “It’s not your job to help me, Batman.”
“It’s my job to help everyone, no matter what they’ve done.”
I smiled for the first time. “You’re such a superhero.” Batman’s eyes didn’t dart to my scars, stretched by my smile. It was like how Joker saw me, only me.
“I know.” Batman stood, keeping an eye on me. “You should get away from the Joker, Quinn, or you’ll end up like Harley.”
He was off before I could answer, although I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.

Joker was all smiles when I returned, acting like he didn’t notice my bandaged hand.
“Quinnie...Quinn, c’mere. I have, ha, something to show you.” I made my way towards him, ignoring my anxiety. Joker rolled his shoulders before turning to look at me. His chin and hands were spotted with blood. “Quinn, you’re, ah, you’re a good little nursie, right?”
I nodded slowly, watching his eyes, but there was only laughter and the usual cruel, cunning glint. “Yeah...I guess.”
“Good, then, haha, get in there.” He motioned towards one of the rooms off the main part of the base, where the men slept in groups. I’d never been in there, so I looked sideways at him.
“In there?”
“Yep!” He grinned and shoved me closer. I shrugged and headed back inside, followed by his, “Stitch him up, Quinnie!”

The men’s room was disgusting, filled with trash and old food. They slept on dirty mattresses spotted with filth. I wrinkled my nose at the smell and headed towards the mattress that held the injured man. He was dark skinned and burly, covered in scars and tattoos.
Once I would’ve been terrified of him, but now he was just another henchman, weakened further by his wounds. His hand clutched tightly at his stomach, doing nothing to stop the blood that leaked through. A First Aid kit rested by his side. I ignored it, seeing immediately that there was nothing to do for him. The man was dying. I turned to go, to tell Joker this was a lost cause, when the man grabbed my ankle. His eyes were glazed.
“Please...” I sat down despite myself, putting a hand on his head. If I was kind here, no one would see to hold it against me, so I began speaking.
“What’s your name?”
“Giggle,” he rasped, than shook his head. “Tom.”
The smell of blood got stronger each second. “Hi, Tom. What happened?”
“Penguin. His umbrella, the one with the spikes...got me.”
“I see.” Tom, the first henchman whose real name I knew, looked at me like I was everything. I wondered if he’d ever been one of the men who jeered at me. It didn’t matter now.
“Am I gonna be okay?”
I decided lying was best here, and nodded. “Yes. Yes, of course.”
He gave me a half-hearted grin. “I’m dead, then. Shit.”
“I’m sorry, Tom.” He nodded tightly and went quiet. There were no speeches, no heartfelt last words, just his breath slipping away as the pool of blood beneath him got larger. When he died, I began crying, the first time I’d cried over a death since my father’s.