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"And with my Catapult Turtle," a lilting voice cackled. "I can launch my
Dragon Champion at your castle, shattering its flotation ring and causing it to fall on top of your monsters!"
"WAAAUGH!" a second voice screamed in dismay. Seconds later, a pair of plump fists slammed into the table, scattering the cards everywhere.
The Joker clucked his tongue at his opponent, wagging his finger for good measure. "Doncha just
love Duel Monsters Night, Ozzie?"
From across the table, the Penguin adjusted his monocle and rolled his eyes.
An outside observer would probably have deemed the scene downright bizarre (not to mention out-of-character). Oswald Cobblepot was a man of several faces, from "respected member of the business community" to "laughingstock of Gotham's criminals that eventually
wised up and got out of the supervillain business altogether" to "cowardly rat that the Kite-Man could pump for info", but none of those quite explained the fact that he was playing a children's card game with Gotham's number-one homicidal maniac (and snappy
dresser). And in his own nightclub, no less!
But in reality, there had been a strange sort of bond between the two men stemming from the earliest days of their careers. Back when the Batman actually smiled every so often and when Robin wore those adorable little green shorts. Even in the winter.
It was not friendship - at least, not in any sane sense - but it was probably the closest thing to it that the Joker could ever hope to have with another human being. It was not the one-sided "relationship" that he had with Harley, nor the self-destructive,
obsessive tango that he regularly danced with the Batman. It was not even the mocking-yet-careful semi-respect that he held for Luthor.
Simply put, he liked the pudgy little man with the big nose and top hat and laser monocles and machine-gun umbrellas. But damned if he could tell why. Maybe one day, some overly-obsessive fanboy would write a detailed essay on the subject on his LiveJournal,
reading way too much into meaningless scenes and flat-out pulling stuff out of his butt when no such scenes were available.
Till that day came, he would content himself with playing children's card games with the Man of a Thousand Umbrellas.
"Up for another game, Oz?" he asked, shuffling the cards back into the deck. "I didn't even get to show you what happens when you fuse a Mammoth Graveyard with..."
Barbara von Doom stared at the scene from one of her husband's many computer screens, her facial expression caught between bemusement and amusement. And hate. Can't forget the hate.
The redhead clasped her fingers together, a devious grin coming over her face. Slowly, her eyes wandered to the revolver mounted on a nearby wall. The revolver that a certain chalk-skinned hand had once held as its owner barged through the door of her apartment,
pure malice in his eyes...
A/N: Be on the lookout for the aforementioned overly-obsessive fanboy essay in coming weeks, as I desperately try to establish why the Penguin should be the Joker's best friend!
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