Status: i'm abroad right now, so it'll be difficult to upload chapters - i'm still writing them though :')

Coffee Republic

Goddamn, ***ing Brave

"I've been worried about you, you know." Cynthia remarked, trying to remain casual. "You hadn't been to the cafe for a while, after you wrote about that... monster. That wasn't like you at all - I was worried that he had gotten to you again."

He had. Avery felt the urge to yank her shirt up, expose the discoloured skin blossoming around her ribcage. There was a similar bruise, creeping just underneath the cuff of her shirt, and another hidden underneath her thick hair - undoubtedly from when he had slammed her against the doorframe. She wished they would just fade, so she could pretend like the encounter had never happened. But instead she was greeted with panic and bile rising in her throat whenever she undressed. A reminder of what she had to do.

"Well, I'm fine. Just a little shaken up." Her voice rattled out in a hoarse whisper, eyes cast to the ground as she curled her toes into the soft fabric of her carpet. Anything to stop herself from meeting Cynthia's insistent gaze.

"Your mom called me yesterday, you know."

Eyes narrowed slightly, Avery peered up at her from her thick bangs, bitterness spiking her voice. "Is that why you came?"

"No. God, no. I was just scared to come, you - he tried to rape you. I just - couldn't."

"I know, it's okay. Sorry." Her voice died down, became hushed as it usually was.

Why was she so angry and suspicious all the time? She hated that she had changed because of him.

"You don't have to apologise. None of this is your fault."

Yes it is. Her lips twisted into a frown, arms wrapping around herself and squeezing in a half-hearted attempt at comfort.

"...Do you want some coffee?"

Avery snickered a bit. "It's my house. I'll make you coffee." She made an attempt to sit up, but Cynthia quickly shooed her back down, like an over-protective mother.

"No, you won't. I'm the waitress, aren't I?" A relieved smile curled her lips as she began hustling and bustling in the kitchen, happy to be doing something that she was actually good at. Comforting people? Not her forte. She could make damn good coffee though.

"There are two eclairs in the fridge." Avery added as an afterthought, tucking her legs underneath herself and reaching across the sofa for the remote.

"Now that's more like it."

Her face broke into a grin, but it quickly faltered as she heard the shrill ring of her landline. She was gripped with a sudden fear that if she answered it she would hear him on the other end of the phone, voice nasal and high-pitched and yet still managing to be absolutely terrifying.

However, a quick glance at the phone number confirmed it was her mother.

She let it go to voicemail.


"Avery, I have your dress ready for you. I'll send it over." The voicemail was crisp, cool, and as detached as her mother usually was. The wall had been stacked up again.

A sigh whooshed out of her lips, rustling the crumpled strips of wrapping paper strewn across the room. It had been a day since the Joker had threatened her. One day left. Unfortunately enough, the deadline was also the date of the party. Suspicion and revulsion churned in the pit of her stomach - she felt as if he had planned this. He wanted her to not say anything, just so he could saunter in and make a scene, theatrical as always. The parade ambush had been his opening act, but this - this was his goddamn star performance.

Her fingers nipped and ripped at a small section of the pale blue wrapping paper, eyes glazed over as she thought. To be honest, she wanted to piss him off, just to prove that she wasn't as spineless as he thought.

And she had been so close to spilling everything when Christina came over. But the shame and complacency kept her rooted to her spot on the couch, drowning the bitter truth with sugary sweet coffee and creamy eclairs. It didn't look like she was going to say anything to anyone. She couldn't - she was so, so frightened of the consequences that whenever she tried her throat welded shut.

Just like he had predicted. God, she wished she could be braver, wished she could live her life with her throat and wrists and rage and gnashing teeth. But instead she huddled in her pastel cushions and blanketed her sorrows with monotony and routine and cups upon cups of coffee. Normality was therapeutic to her - maybe that was to be expected, when you're a citizen of Gotham.

Even now, this was her own special pity party.

Be brave. No, be goddamn fucking brave.

Avery inhaled deeply, hands slipping under the soft fabric of her dress and pulling it out of the box. Ironically enough, it was coffee-coloured - a deep brown, tight at the top but loose at the bottom, with little spaghetti straps. She twisted one of them around her index finger, pensive, forehead creased with worry.

No, not worry. It was alright. Everything would be alright. She was going to be brave. She was going to face that clown, without having to humiliate herself, without having to submit to him.


Avery, lost in thought, stroked the thick metal clasp snaring her wrist. It wasn't there for the sake of fashion - it was merely shielding the bruise that still hadn't faded enough to be unnoticeable. She had tried to put foundation on it, and it had helped a little, but she needed that little bit of extra security.

"We're here." The taxi-driver interrupted her train of thought, fingers rapping against the driver's wheel. "This is where Mrs. Williams told me to drop you off."

"Thanks." she mumbled, thinking just how sad it was that her mother insisted that everyone call her Mrs. Williams when her father was dead.

"Enjoy your night, Miss."

"You too."

Tentative, she slipped out of the car, tugging the light brown cardigan closer to her chest and hurrying up the marble stairs of the Town Hall. The icy air bit at her exposed flesh, completely different from the stifling day of the parade. That was barely two weeks ago - they were only in August! It seemed that the weather had grown more gnarled and bitter ever since he had returned.

Her stomach leaped at the thought. If she entered this party, that would be it. She would be committing herself to this. Sucking in a reassuring breath, she focused on the two bodyguards hovering next to the set of double doors.

"Your name?"

"Oh. Avery Williams. My mother's Jasmine Williams...?" She trailed off as he scrutinized his list, waiting with her hands folded behind her back.

"Alright. Go in." he waved her off, and for a split second Avery hesitated, swaying slightly in her high heels and peering at the grandly-decorated doors as if they were alien to her.

If she went in she would be committing herself to this - but she would also be endangering everyone else at the party. Her mother. But - there would be a better chance of survival for herself if she went in and faced him in a large crowd, rather than all alone in her little house.

Was this really even the brave option, or was it the selfish one?

"Well, are you going in or what?" Annoyance seeped into his voice.

Brave or selfish or stupid, Avery took it.

"Yes, I am."
♠ ♠ ♠
I actually really hate Avery as a character. xD That sounds awful coming from the creator of her, but I purposefully made her have not-so-lovable characteristics (or, rather, tried to make her seem like a realistic Gothamite). Some of the things she does are justifiable, but she is fucking everyone over by going to this party. And ppl are going to payyyy.

It's been two months, and I'm an asshole. I was focusing on my other Joker story and I was sidetracked by it - I apologise.

Speaking of which, I've gotten a few questions about whether or not my Joker stories take place in the same universe, and if my ocs exist in both of them. They do, actually! (I've dropped a few hints in future chapters, so I'm curious to see if you'll spot them). I'm not giving them cameos, though, because despite being in the same story universe they are in completely different sections of Gotham and thus wouldn't ever meet.

I just felt like creating one universe, where I detail the lives of two, maybe three girls getting their lives fucked over by the Joker, rather than writing loads of different Joker fics where he meets loads of different girls and falls in love and they have no correlation between them. Feels more realistic.

/end longass speech