2012-02-07 - No Joke

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No Joke
Summary: An Irishman, an American and a Tibetan walk into an alleyway... No, that's not it. What did the mute vagrant say to the flying pyromancer? Nope. What do you get when you cross a clown with a bat? Oh, never mind. Nobody's sure of the punchline anyway. This just keeps getting more complicated!
Who: Batman, Cassandra Cain, Ember, Joker
When: 2012-07-02
Where: Gotham City - Upper West Side


The air is crisp in Gotham tonight, darkened clouds nestling low against the skyline, a slow, cool wind gently buffeting the streets. All but the most resilient are decked out in heavy coats against the chill, though it's not so frozen that mittens and bobble-hats are on prominent display. In this part of town it's unlikely most people even own such things; this is not a wealthy area, but one packed with those simply trying to survive within whatever small niche they've managed to carve...

From the air, Cassandra Cain is just another of these unfortunate dots, moving about the cold in a large coat of her own. Suspiciously new, and expensive, it's rather too long for the dimunitive girl, dragging slightly on the paving-stones behind. As she wanders down an alley between two busy streets, a couple of youths perched atop a nearby set of cellar steps glance at her with some envy. Her dark eyes slide sidewards to match their gaze, a certain tension slipping momentarily into her frame as she pauses to meet them levelly across the filthy street.

The teenage runaway certainly doesn't seem scared, standing mute and solid within the warm confines of her garment as the two boys grin to one another and rise to their feet. Her impassive eyes watch both of them at once, partly shaded beneath the tangled ebon mess of her hair. Her stance spreads faintly, the motion, hidden beneath the coat's hem, as the rough youths begin to circle her.

It's just the sort of time a hero normally turns up, isn't it?


Ember was in a strange world but had lucked out who'd she run into. Ember had been given help by the league and protection. There had been one thing she wanted to do, go for a flight for the first time in her life, and not worry about trouble too much. She'd taken a league tracking device with her so they know where she is. She's not that foolish but she's just been flying along, goggles down and going for a heck of a joy ride. Not putting anyone at trisk however she's distracted at the city. There's a seagull she doesn't see and WHAM. She slams right into the bird, she loses her focus and is going down and going down somewhat hard. She's going down trying to regain focus and she's heading for an alley way. It seems her father's saying about Seagulls being evil is still true in this universe. This is somewhat oddly comforting but she's going down hard and well one of the two teenager is going to find her just slamming into him like a bullet, at least he broke her fall, She bounces once or twice and skids to a halt on the ground leaving the teenager knocked the hell out.


It may be Ember's first week in a brave new world, but if you ask Cass, it doesn't get a great deal easier with time. Whether the problem is an evil seagull or an ill-omened albatross, life is a struggle when it's not outright painful... though today, of all days, she'd be most likely to add that it's not all bad. Once in a very great while - every decade or so - something can come along that makes it a little better.

Unfortunately, this thought is far from her mind in the instant before the homo-magus comes crashing to earth. Cassandra isn't frightened, stressed, or even resolved; she's simply resigned, preparing to defend herself as best she can, causing as little pain as possible for these two boys whose lives have likely been no better than hers. If she hadn't been doing this so long, she'd feel a touch of sadness as she half-turns in preparation for the impending acceleration of the smaller, rangier of the pair. Her mouth opens a little as she draws in a breath, body relaxing, attention focusing until the entire world seems to slow.

And then it happens. The crash. The thump.

A cry of pain assaulting the crisp, quiet air.

Cassie reacts swiftly to the falling blur, hopping backward about a foot, her sneakers creaking against the floor as she flips into a cat stance beneath her encompassing garb. Her assailant is rather less graceful and alert, his impending charge becoming a stumble, and then he's falling, throwing out a hand...

The raven-haired runaway is there before he can tear open the tender flesh of his palm, catching him upon her surprisingly solid shoulder, one arm around him as the other clasps his wrist. He's startled, believing Ember to be some kind of terrible airborne superhuman assault; the kind he's read about in the news, heard about on televisions mounted in shop windows. As the girl he was moments from attacking sets him down, he is already set on making a getaway, only stopping when she catches his eye and gives a single shake of her head.

'No'. She doesn't say it, not out loud. Her eyes say it for her.

Giving no further reassurance - she's compassionate, but not a saint. He WAS about to attack her. - the dimunitive girl rises and moves across to the tangled heap of Ember and her unwitting prey. For his part, he's throwing his arms about and trying to get free, struggling to escape whatever imagined fate he thinks he's met. Cassandra sweeps him over, seems to immediately realize he's not any more hurt than his cowardly partner-in-crime, and then... she smiles. It's furtive, but it's the closest equivalent she has to a jovial grin, an actual hint of friendly humour sparking her dark eyes as they settle on Ember. A hand is stretched out, her calloused grip easily strong enough to help the other girl up.


Ember isn't quite sure what happened, she crashed slamemd into someone and isn't fully aware of just what happened yet. Still she's alive whatever she hit is alive. Also she's on top of the tangled. She's dazed and trying to get up, she's kinda strange blue hair, a blue jagged line of a tattoo on one side of her face. She does get up however, with the hand offered by Cass. "Thanks, I need to watch where I was flying." She's looking embrassed but well the girl's offered her a hand up.

"So just what happened here?" She looks down at the teenager who was her landing pad.


Cassandra watches from beneath her messy bangs, considering Ember as the other girl considers her. It's an odd stare, at once distant and piercing, intelligent yet curiously empty. If not for the faint twinkle added by the rare smile she's giving the fallen homo-magus, the coat-covered drifter would seem almost inhuman. It doesn't help that she says absolutely nothing, her mouth not even opening as though she means to.

Instead, she nods. Once at Ember, that tiny smile intact, and then twice again; this time her mouth pulling to a taut line, all solemn and serious as she mutely acknowledges both boys in turn. The one struggling upon the ground kicks himself backward through the dirt of the alley until he has his back to the wall, the other scrabbling across to join him before they begin hurriedly conversing.

"What's that girl's problem, man?" "Are you kidding? It's not the little girl I'm worried about! It's Supergirl, there!" "That ain't Supergirl, man... I think she's blonde..." "So what is she? Bluegirl? Opposite Girl?" "That's not funny! Let's get out of here!"

They continue bickering as Cass turns back to Ember, shrugging her shoulders and lifting a sleeve-wrapped arm. The coat's far too big for her, falling away from her hand as she shakes it out in order to jerk a thumb back at herself - indicating some relationship between the boys and she. It's not that obvious what she means. She shrugs again, though, and then tilts her hand upward, pointing at the sky. An eyebrow raises in query.

This meaning's a bit clearer: 'How about you?'


A lot of people will tell you that the stealthiest place to be is always the darkest, the most concealed. A lot of people are morons. At night, one of the finest hiding places is directly -behind- or -beyond- the brightest sources of light in the vicinity. In this case, that's the lights on either end of the alley, directed out onto the street, and the sconces half-illuminating the alleyway itself. For one thing, not too many people look up and into the light for long; for another, once their eyes adjust to the dark, it's one step shy of impossible to make out anything meaningful if one -does-.

Along the ledges of the buildings, Cassandra is shadowed. Professionally. Perfectly. Without a rustle, almost without disrupting the /wind/. There is no air of hostility to trip instinct and empathy, his mind is clear, alert. His step perfect, patient, unbelievably agile for a man his size.

The Dark Knight is ninja; his kung-fu is strong.


Bluegirl? Bluegirl, tis a silly name. She does push her goggles up out of her eyes. She's thankful and realises hte other one isn't talkng but that's fine. Some people don't have much to say. She looks at the pair for a moment, they seem all right. She then gets somewhat of an idea Cass isn't with them. She's giving them a look and she says, "Just what /were/ you two doing? If you were troubleing this young lady. Well i might have to do something about that. I'm certain your getting on your way to other business." She'll give them a chance to clear out. She looks to her "I'll live, I should have watched where I was flying, I hit a seagull." She's unaware of Bat's being about but she is certain he might be about. This is his city after all.


A faint whistle starts to fill the alleyway as the /other/ most notorious being in all of Gotham starts to walk down it, taking casual notice of the girl on mugger on girl action. If ol' Batsy were anywhere around, the caped crusader just might find a way to make this The Joker's fault! (Even though somehow it generally is.) In his hands is a seemingly harmless bag that is apparently filled with groceries. (Good luck trying to bust him for that Batsy).

Of course, in all pretenses of innocence, the bag is dropped as the Clown Prince of Crime suddenly prances towards the girls and the would-be mugger. "Oh goody! Just what I love to see! The people of this city taking the law into their own hands! Then again.. there does seem to be a LOT of that lately..." A casual stroke of the chin leaves the casual observer wondering just what might be running through the most insane individual Gotham has ever seen's head.

"You know.. You girls look like you could use some help.."

It would almost seem like the right thing to do, if it weren't for that damned grin that grows across The Joker's face.

One might start to get worried at this point.


"Besides, blue isn't even the opposite of blonde, you moron." "My fist'll be the opposite of your face in a minute!"

It might be worth noting at this point that the thicker and slightly older of the belligerent youths has a heavy Irish brogue. It's not uncommon in this part of town, but it does go some way to explaining why he's so willing to get in a fight at the tiniest provocation. He's probably drunk, too, but who's counting? That part will probably get censored when this episode is shown on Saturday morning.

As they're spoken to sternly by the fallen super-mage, the pair stop their squabbling and turn to her as one, the immigrant with his fist still raised and open mouth pulling to a sneer. Cassandra takes a sudden step forward, drawing level with Ember and turning with smooth, slick grace. It's a simple motion, but forceful in a particularly polite way, her arm lifting to bisect the other girl and her two assailants. It does nothing to calm the latter, but Cassie seems to really not want any help, her gaze meeting the blue-haired young woman's with a hardness somewhere between warning and commanding.

Her mouth DOES open then, in tandem with the next sequence of events; the sudden standing of both boys, and the arrival of the Joker, swinging his shopping bag all bold as brass. That facepaint, that hair, that /suit/ - it's all so horrifically recognizable to anyone who's spent time in Gotham. Let alone grown up here. Scampering feet are all Cassie needs to hear to take her attention away from her would-be molesters.

Now she has a new concern. After taking a quick glance upward to check for falling feathered corpses - stranger things have happened, and all in all she feels a bit bad for the poor seagull - she's all business, using her outstretched arm to keep Ember back as she seeks to take up space between she and the Joker. But she doesn't take a stance, or otherwise appear threatening...

Quite the opposite. Cassie's arms fall to her sides, her body language actually making her seem intimidated as she glances shyly at the Prince of Crime, shaking her head back and forth. Help? She seems to think she doesn't even deserve it. And she can't possibly be hoping he doesn't notice her newfound acquaintance is a fish out of water who might be easy victim for something cruel and unusual. She's just a poor little vagrant.


/Joker/. The Dark Knight's teeth grit, his muscles tense, and every instinct says to drop out of the sky and just snap the Clown Prince of Crime's neck right then and there; ... but that's always the initial rush of sensation. This isn't about emotion, it can't be about that. The Dark Knight waits. To stop the Joker before he even begins to act would give away his interest in one or both of the girls, potentially. Leaving a far greater threat for the future.

Instead, the Caped Crusader lurks directly above, instants away, his hand lingering in his utility belt as he observes, and waits, and improvs a bit of brooding time. /Not good/. Of more positive interest is the way Cassandra insightfully positions herself between the Joker and Ember, and.. /fakes/ being afraid? The eyeslits of Batman's cowl narrow, as he focuses in. Is he reading her right? He has to be. She reminds him of one of his own teachers, so disarming and so natural in every motion, deceptively deadly at every instant.


Ember pauses for a moment as the clown prince of crime arrives she pauses looks like she knows him. she's not caught up on the whose who list. At least not yet and she's about to. She looks peering at him. "Jester?? What's up with the new outfit?" She's got no idea to panic yet. Then she sees Cass freaking out, about this man's arrival. She's confused why is she so worried about Jester? She seems to be quite confused. Still unaware of Batman.

"Well don't worry about us we're all right." She tilts head heaed but she's becomming a little concerned...


The lack of a Bat so far leaves The Joker a bit interested, especially since one of the girls decided to try and act as a meatshield, albeit covertly. Then the other girl has to go and call him a Jester?! This causes the Joker to frown. Immensely. Which he does not like.

"Jester... Why I aughta... No, I promised myself today I'd not kill someone for calling me something like that.. Then again promises are so easy to break..."

There seems to be a moment where he seriously considers this fact, only to start grinning once more, as if this never even occured.

"You know girls, these alleys are pretty dangerous, especially to kids. But your dear ol' Uncle Jay might have something to make it a bit better! They say giving is always better then receiving, and no one can't say I'm not a real giver." A loud laugh suddenly escapes the clown's mouth, especially as he spins in the tip of his feet back towards his fallen grocery bag.

"Now let's see what I have in this bag.." The Joker's right hand plunges into the unsuspecting bag of 'groceries', pulling out extremely mundane things like apples, bananas, tomatos, a loaf of bread, a crowbar with a red and green bow on it, with a very heartwarming card attached, some eggs, and two cans of soda that for some reason rumble violently every so often.

A slight frown appears on his face as he doesn't seem to find what exactly he's looking for.

"Oh poo. I must have grabbed the wrong bag by mistake. I could have sworn I had a few grenades or something in here..."

A look of mild surprise suddenly appears on the clown's face, only for him to frown. "Oh. Right. I gave them to this nice old lady... I hope she doesn't try to pull the stem.."


Jester? It's not a name that Cassandra recognises, but she's a seventeen-year old drifter who spent eight years in complete seclusion from the world. There are a lot of things she doesn't know. A frown appears on her own brow, however, before she can stop it; though under the circumstance it just makes her look confused and petulant rather than cautiously concerned. She's a good actor. She's had to be.

With the Joker's attention diverted by his own breed of dangerous tomfoolery, she is a little more free to watch him with a discerning gaze, head tipping a bit lower to cover her eyes with raven tangles as she sizes him up. There's nothing about him that says she should relax, no sign that everything's going to be okay. And that crowbar, those cans-- she silently draws in a breath, sharp night air searing her nostrils.

Much more visibly, she shivers, huddling more deeply into her suspiciously expensive coat. Playing at nerves, she tosses out a scared, wet smile to the Joker as she reaches backward, groping for Ember's hand. Or at least, she looks like she's groping - so long as the other girl doesn't outright avoid her grip, she'll get it easily enough. And then she tugs gently, with the insistence of a younger sister, bobbing her head to the Crown Prince of Crime as she seeks to steer Ember away to the cellar steps recently abandoned by the two fled youths.

Just the kind of place two runaways would be looking for, to spend a night on the cold streets.


There are several hundred appealing ways in which to snap this or that important part of the Joker, the little voice in the back of Batman's mind reminds him. He's almost within reach. A discerning eye takes in every object that the Clown Prince of Crime draws out. An alert eye... and then some. His cowl cycles through every detection spectrum available to him, examining the cans, examining the Joker, looking for what's hidden, and what may be an imminent threat.

... the Dark Knight doesn't immediately find one, it's almost worse that way. Again, the glass is half full thanks to Cassandra thinking quickly... moving to shut up her new friend and get them both out of the line of fire, let the Joker move on to more interesting prey. At least, if that's the way the clown's psychosis sways tonight. The Caped Crusader remains poised, ready. Hidden just above the ledge, stealthily mirroring the Joker's position.


The raction the clown prince of crime has to her words. She now seems to be getting concerned. She realises okay this man has only the look in common with the Jester she knows of. Also less fashion sense. She looks at the stuff in the bag, she now frowns a little bit. She looks horrifed at what Joker's said she may be about to do something very dumb. She doesn't know how the Joker's wired but is he feeding her a line or did he really give an old woman a grenade disgused as food. She shoot a look to Cass and she starts to take focus, there's a faint black arua about her fists now as she's tugged. She realises Cass is someone caught up in this and gets the idea it's time to pull out. She doesn't know what the this guy could do. If she was on her own she's be far more likely to confront them. Right now Cass needs to get out of harms way. She doesn't need to be pulled along too hard she's moving along following the other getting the message. Cass wants to get out of here, and she's not going to slow that down.


A slight frown once more appears on Joker's face as the girl in the very big coat goes to pull the girl with blue hair away. This doesn't bode well. I mean, girls with that color of hair or wearing that kind of clothing is generally up to no good themselves, and yet here they are, trying to run away from the king of mischief. It's almost heart breaking in a way. Of course, he doesn't notice any of this because there are more important things at hand. Like finding out where the heck he put that shotgun. That is a bit important if one truly thinks about that.

"Now its around here somewhere..." One of the cans of soda is idly tossed over The Joker's shoulder, slamming into the ground...

A violent spray of carbonated beverage and aluminum shrapnel suddenly flies forward, leaving some poor guy's car just outside the alley with two flat tires and a broken window.

"...Whoops! I hope he has good insurance.. I'd hate to leave him in another sticky situation.."

Once more a loud laugh escapes the Clown's mouth, only for him to reach into his overcoat. "Normally, I don't believe in arming minors.. but these streets are just so dangerous. You never know what sort of madman is going to pop up.." An extremely long barreled revolver is retrieved, as the madman's grin grows to epic proportions.


Cassie fights the urge to quicken her step as she feels that energy manifest around Ember's hand, and by extension her own. Almost eerily calm, she glances sidelong - and just a bit upwards - at the other girl, the side of her mouth not facing the Joker quirking upward as if to say, 'Trust me.'

When that can goes off, the hairs at the nape of her neck stand on high, her shoulders rolling beneath the coat as they tense and relax in rapid succession. The Joker is a maniac; she knows that much, she's heard the whispers and even glimpsed what seemed to be some of his thugs at work. Few ever pay much attention to the ragged brat lurking in the shadows, or even notice her enough to make the choice... she's seen things. She's seen enough.

She reaches the steps in time for the Joker's terrifying laugh, and as the revolver emerges she's forced to move more quickly. There's a point where 'calm' just doesn't cut it, and suddenly she's /yanking/ on Ember's arm with enough force to move a small mountain, her hips rolling and shoulder tucking inward as she seeks - with a mentally uttered apology - to plow the metahuman down the steps and into the door at the bottom. It's unlocked, she thinks; at least the padlock is hanging limply. A collision of a hundred and twenty pounds, plus, should serve to blow the sub-basement wide open, and get the fallen superheroine inside.

Of course, she doesn't know what Ember's capable of; but she's damn quick, and ridiculously strong for her size. If the other girl breaks free before she can complete the throw, Cassie will be as surprised as anyone. And a good deal more worried. If all goes to plan, she sinks down herself at the top of the steps, watching Joker with wary dark eyes and controlling her breathing. She might have to move-- fast!


Okay a gun? This has got more serious, far more serious. The energy is more of a reflex, it's not hurting anything doesn't seem to be some sort of an attack. However she's not going to fight this stranger seems intent to help her and she's not going to argue. She's not even going to sass, you don't sass the crazy man who surives Batman. She's not that good hand to hand, she's plowed quite easily with a suoprised cry. The energy field did fade out and reformed part way down. She boucnes through the door and inside.


Oh, what a predicament. To intercede plays his hand, potentially invites more Joker attention to the young women, and prevents him from figuring out what the Clown Prince of Crime is up to. That, and he could easily escalate the situation quickly, just because it's always more fun to cause mayhem when the Dark Knight is around, according to the Joker.

Cassandra makes the decision easier, taking ready cover for the both of them. Enough risk is enough, though; tracking the Joker back to his hideout, and taking the whole crew into custody is a nice hat trick, but keeping the clown off the streets is nice on its own. He drops from the building above almost silently, coming to rest with a flourish behind the Joker, away from the girls, looming with his arms hidden in his cape, which along with cowl is about all one can readily discern of the shadowy figure. That, and his frown. "/Joker/." That's all there is, that, and about four strikes.

Chest, kidney, knee, and ankle. The first is a lunging elbow, the second a swift, low uppercut; the third comes from the rise and -abrupt- fall of his booted foot, looking to reverse the bend of the clown's leg, a strike that seems to come in tandem with the two from his upper limbs; then he drops low, looking to take the white-faced maniac right off his feet, harshly. It all happens as one continuous motion, with Batman's momentum and center in perfect step to flow from one to the next in the blink of an eye, all while his own stance is compact, mutable. Cassandra would recognize it as highly defensive, and adaptable, to say the least. A mingling of a myriad of styles into one nigh-perfect whole, western and eastern meeting in devastating tandem.

Batman would call it the best way to get the Joker's attention.


"HEY! WAI--" The words are cut short as his name is called out in that ever familiar growling banter. "Oh Batsy! I was wondering when you would sh--"

Four solid blows bring the Clown down to the ground, leaving him dazed and confused for the briefest of moments. Of course, if there is one being on the face of this planet that is use to Bat-Beatings (TM), it is The Joker. Of course, it truly only was a matter of time before the Dark Nugget showed up to plant a boot in his face.

"Aww.. Batsy.. That wasn't very nice! All I was doing was helping those poor girls..." He sits up slightly, glancing around only to frown slightly, hand grasping for that beautiful crowbar.. (Is that bloodstains on it..?)

"WELL, while you're here.. I got your young friend a present, I mean, you are all about passing the torch.. so to speak, right?"

A faint laugh eminates from The Joker's mouth, only to be cut off as he starts wincing. "I think you bruised a rib or five this time!"

"I mean.. I was just here minding my own business.. Doing my grocery shopping, and you just drop in and assault me. I'm going to press charges. Tell me your address so I can send you the papers."


As if Cassie's combat maneuver wasn't warning enough to the wild Clown Prince, the splintering protest of the somewhat flimsy door is preceded by the heavy metallic ring of a steel padlock striking hard concrete. Virtually any girl her age would at least flinch, but the raven-haired runaway seemed utterly prepared for it. The way she crouches, enveloped in that coat, brooding but alert... well. If the Joker weren't immediately distracted by something a good deal more threatening than she, it would form a bizarrely familiar vision.

Which is precisely what Batman provides for her. His initial apparition actually brooks a reaction, her forehead creasing and eyes narrowing as she coils taut against the unyielding step. Ready or not, trained or not, the Batman is a predator-- the natural reaction to such is fear, and a desire for safety. Nature is a difficult thing to overcome entirely. Cassandra has made great strides, there, her gaze settling quickly to track the man's movements rather than the man himself. She looks past the cloak and the darkness.

What she sees, tips her head to one side, the angle giving her the air of a wary predator herself.

Her stare slips to the side, seeking Ember in the basement. Hopefully she's still visible.

A hand lifts, staying her with an open palm, and a nod that Cass hopes will be reassuring. It's as close as she can come right now to offering an apology, and telling her that everything will be alright. Even if she's not fully sure it WILL. But this dark interloper, he's helping her. He's helping them. And there's something she has to find out.

As quickly as she turned her attention away, it's back-- and faster still, is the way the girl /moves/. One instant she's perched upon the step, the next a hand brushes the floor and she's sliding across the alley in quick, low steps, twisting at the hip as she speedily nears the fighting men. From beneath the hem of her oversized coat, a sneaker slides out, clamping down with deceptive weight over a length of dull iron. The Joker's crowbar, caught beneath her full body-weight as she sinks into something approximately a horse stance, tense but springy; powerful without being entirely divorced from the possibility of motion.

Hazel eyes, averted from the blinding light at the alley's head, seek that cowled face now scant feet away.


Wait? No, that doesn't seem to be on the agenda. "You killed three guards escaping." He'd go into their families, but that would just please his quarry. No, the Dark Knight instead is down on Joker in a flash, even as the clown reaches for the crowbar. Even as Cassandra interjects herself to keep him from being able to pick it up. Even as she subtly spurs a change in the Bat's stance, no longer preparing to disarm the Joker and restrain him as he swings the crowbar in. Yes, even in this hectic situation, he's living in a moment that spans about eight moves at a time, apparently on muscle memory and reflex alone.

The new course aims to haul the Clown Prince of Crime up by his fine threads, wrap a gauntlet around his neck, and slam him back into the nearest wall. Batman would then step in, using his elbows and side to pin the Joker's own arms. He has little time for blank, white cowlslits to meet Cassandra's gaze, as they are locked on the Joker's. The Dark Knight's jaw clenched, tight, angry. Press charges? "Add them to the /list/." He growls. Lawful Good, the Batman is -not-. He doesn't even engage the clown on the implied murder weapon, doesn't even flinch. He -does- sound extra pissed, though, doesn't he? "Get /clear/." He doesn't look back to Cassandra, but he's probably not talking to the Joker. It's just that he has to let loose a minute if he's going to further unbalance his quarry by dropping him to the street /again/, ideally buying a moment to recover restraints from his belt, which the unattentive eye would note just kind of appear in his gloved hand like a stage magician's wand.


Loud coughing escapes the Joker's mouth as The Batman slams him into the wall, only to drop him. Three guards? Thats it this time? He could have swore there were more of them. Then again, the number of bodies one is responsible for ending up in Gotham Morgue does get blurred after a while.

Of course what is shocking is that the fact that The Joker isn't even resisting. He holds his hands out, lowering his head as if he's been beaten. "This is the LAST time I ever go grocery shopping. I mean, you come across two kids being attacked and try to do the right thing.. and out comes The Bat, to rough you up.."


Ember has been thrown down the stairs bounced through the door and come to a halt finally. Wait what did that girl throw her down there. She was suposed to protect her. She starts to get up, She's a little off balanced and the energy fields gone again. She dosn't call out however as she starts to stalk back up. She can't leave the other girl out there and she doesn't know Bats has dropped in just yet.


The League's errant prodigy wasn't looking for absolution or acknowledgement; and what her upturned gaze observes is enough for what she was. Her posture relaxes from the urgency of impending immediacy as the formidable Bat seizes control of his eternal quarry. She bends forward, deft fingers darting from coat-sleeves to pluck up the crowbar, and with her subsequent rise to full, unimpressive height she flicks it toward the shadowy gutter to one side of the alley. It bounces and rolls noisily before coming to a stop.

A contrast to the mute girl, who responds to the vigilante's brusque command with a solemn nod. Not taking her eyes from he or the pinned Joker for so much as an instant, she slips back toward Ember, meeting the other girl as she reaches the head of the stair. Cassie doesn't smile any more - though neither is there a hint of hostility in her gaze, as she silently greets the homo-magus with a twitch of her head toward Batman.

'He's got this,' she'd say if she could - would - speak. Inhaling then, she releases a breath before lifting a hand in what appears to be a wave. Any suspicion is confirmed as she takes a step toward the alley's mouth, placing herself with a view of both Ember AND the entangled pair of man-monsters. Quizzically she turns her hand up, pointing at the sky for the second time in this unorthodox meeting. There's nothing commanding about it. She's asking. 'Are you okay to fly?'


The Dark Knight accepts Joker's outstretched hands in surrender. At least, for as long as it takes to grip one wrist, twist the clown around the other way, and bind it to its partner /behind/ his back instead. Sirens fill the street at both ends of the alleyway at about this time, as if /someone/ tipped them off before the encounter ever took place. They come in force for the Joker, easily six or seven cars that waited for /ample/ backup before closing in. Gotham PD isn't stupid or inept, now that they aren't completely laced with the corrupt and stupid.

The Batman guides the Joker, rather roughly, towards the mouth of the alleyway, shoving him clear with enough force to potentially take him off his feet /AGAIN/, for easy pickup. Then he turns towards the two women, nodding once and extending a hand that extends smoothly skyward, holding a grapple gun. He doesn't seem to be planning to give a statement for the police, just their fugitive. ... not that he's likely to leave the convoy behind on its way back to Arkham, either. His free hand, less obviously, lurks within the borders of his cape, punching out an intricate code on a series of buttons revealed near the buckle of his belt.

The Dark Knight simply nods to Ember, showing no recognition despite the fact that he -must- recognize her. He doesn't greet, or engage in any sort of conversation beyond a similar, acknowledging glance to Cassandra, accompanied by a simple, deeply intoned utterance. "Nice coat." It sounds as the grapple line fires skyward with a hiss and a rush of reinforced fiber, sounding a distant clank as the ultramodern hook sinks into Gotham stone. Then the Dark Knight does fly, smoothly up into the sky, using the momentum of the ascent to leap to the rooftop like it was second nature. The attentive ear would hear, disguised in the intermittent gusts of wind, a quiet but intense hum of... turbines? There's /nothing/ visible against the gathering clouds, however.

Including, as of now, the Batman.


Ember has got back up the staris by the time Batman is swinging away with the joker. Sheshakes her head a litle but and looks at the mute girl over for a moment she's rubbing her head. "Thanks I think. I'm sorry... I knew of someone like him. He was crazy but protected people. That wasn't him at all..." She's still getting over the fact Batman's protecting people but he's been honest to her, firm but honest.

"Does that sort of thing happen often around here... oh...ya? Name's Ember. Thanks, just point next time all right I'll get the message.


The steps are near the alleyway's edge, where comparatively bright light filters through the chill air. It's not far from the corner that Cassie pauses to meet Ember, lowering her hand once the unspoken question is asked. Not quite leaning against the dirty brick, she nudges near enough to the wall that she might as well be, meeting Batman's shrouded gaze as he addresses her. Beneath the dark tousling of her fringe, solemn eyes slowly blink, then flicker downward. She snuggles a little deeper into the garment, not defensively or with pride - it's warmer than that, as though it's not the physical comfort of the coat she appreciates.

As though it... weren't a nice coat just because it's a nice coat.

She comes dangerously close to smiling as she looks up, and finds the Bat gone. Abruptly. More than. Cassandra's fast; a tight little bundle of grace and speed, more than most could handle were she really trying, and for the second time in a few short minutes the vigilante has shown himself her peer. The surprising part isn't that this is the case at all - it's /how/ it's the case. The manner of his motions, that particular fluidity, body moving in crescents and circles even when it seems otherwise... hm.

The raven-haired runaway's head tilts as Ember explains her earlier exchange with the Joker; or 'the Jester'. It's not really a birdlike, insinctive tip - but she's found people often don't believe she's listening unless she makes some external gesture, and it comes easier than a lot of the other options. Mentally, she's filing away facts about the friendly young magus. What occurs most is the way she holds herself, as though she doesn't belong. It's something they seem to share. But-- well, it's hard to be sure of anything, yet.

It's been a couple of days since her last meal, but she'll be able to feast on her thoughts tonight.

In response to the question, Cassie thinks for a moment, and then her lips gently part in what looks almost like a laugh, though no sound comes out beside the faint whisper of a soft outbreath. Then, she nods, lips pursing in consideration of the fact that yes, in Gotham this isn't exactly the rarest way to spend a night. She has no reasonable way to communicate that she normally doesn't put herself in the middle of it, which leaves Ember to wonder - what with the way she reacted, the way she /moved/.

Harder yet is how she goes about introducing herself. A sort of panic crosses those dark eyes.

"..." Her mouth opens again, soundless, but a small struggle takes place on her expression, mouth twisting into a grimace and a frown passing her brow. Glancing aside, she shakes her head as though to scold herself, then looks back to Ember with a sigh. Flustered now, she quickly offers up a hand; friendly enough in spite of her apparent confusion, offering a handshake and a firm, desperate sort of nod.

Once it's taken, she'll try to leave, slipping quickly around the corner and gone -- gone, like the Bat.


Ember realises what she might have done a moment too late, she can't even bring up the idea of trying to find a late night place to get something to eat. As the other girl just takes off. She realises wait could the girl even talk? Well it's too late she should be fine and she's got no idea how to track the girl. She'll keep an eye out for her later, for now she takes back to the air and heads off.