Characters: Mainly Bruce. Appearances from many others.
Word Count: 848
A/N: A friend gave me the prompt 'try-outs' and I couldn't resist playing with some villians!
Summary: Batman needs a new nemesis
The Joker was dead. They had called in no fewer than seventeen coroners just in case it had all been some clever ruse but each had confirmed the fact – the Joker was well and truly dead. Not even Gotham’s infamous clown prince of crime had been able to survive that many gunshots... to the head... for several hours. He’d really pissed Gordon off this time. In the silence following the Joker’s mortal exit, Gotham had stood still. No one was quite sure how to behave or what to do at all. Were drug deals still safe? Had the GPD cracked down? What will the Batman do now?
It was the last question in particular that was preying on the mind of Gotham’s favourite playboy as he sat down to breakfast the morning after the Joker’s death. What exactly was Batman supposed to do now? Continuing the facade of being an arrogant poor-little-rich-boy without the escape of his night time ventures was almost too much to face. Something had to be done. And the best thing Bruce Wayne could think of was to find a new nemesis. He had Alfred post the ad in the Gotham Times the same afternoon.
No questions asked. No answers given. Gotham comedy club. 2pm Saturday.
By the time Saturday rolled around, Bruce was beginning to show signs of pure depression. It seemed the Joker had been right when he’d taunted him with words such as ‘we need each other’ as now that he was gone, Bruce barely had the energy to get out of bed. Alfred finally coaxed him out in time for the auditions, if that was the right word to use given the circumstances, and the pair arrived at the Gotham comedy club an hour early.
‘He loved this place,’ Bruce told Alfred almost tearfully as he ran a hand down one of the heavy red stage curtains.
Alfred looked ready to throw up.
The first ‘supervillian’ in didn’t look particularly villainous at all. For starters, she was a girl, which posed too many difficult questions for Bruce as to how fairly he had to fight, and secondly – she looked like the kind of girl you’d pick up on a street corner. She was wearing nothing but what appeared to be green body paint and a leotard made out of leaves, little daisies (which were really not terrifying, supervillian flowers) wound throughout her red hair. The hair itself looked like it took a long time to fix in the morning and Bruce didn’t know if he could commit to someone that high maintenance. The words ‘eco-terrorist’ were all he needed to hear before he gave a bellow of ‘next!’ and sent the woman on her way.
When the doors opened again, Bruce’s face lit up. Now this was more like it. The potential nemesis was a man this time, albeit a man who seemed to have taken half of his face and rubbed it against a cheese grater, and carried himself with a look of self-importance. His arrogance reminded Bruce of the Joker and his heart strings tugged with bittersweet memories. However, the man was set to be more disappointing than the Joker as it took almost five minutes for Bruce to get his name out of him – cheese-grater-face just kept interrupting himself. Then, when Bruce had asked him if the role of ‘Batman’s greatest enemy’ was really what he wanted, he’d removed a liberty dollar coin from his pocket, rattling on about chance and fate. Bruce had had Alfred shuffle him out of the door again.
Potential supervillian number three almost made Bruce laugh out loud. He was barely 5’5” and seemed to have deemed the auditions a black-tie event. It was like watching a socially awkward child turn up at a play-date and realise that not all children wore their Sunday best for a day of playing in a sandpit. It took the man almost ten minutes to even get in the door, having blocked the entranceway with his umbrella that now refused to shut. The fact that the man couldn’t just wrench it in didn’t really say much for his strength and Bruce figured he could have the portly man in a headlock with no challenge at all. The prospect was frightfully boring and so once the man had finally got inside, Bruce sent him packing.
The search went on for hours. Bruce sat through every kind of madman imaginable; the kind that spoke only in complicated riddles that gave him a headache; the kind that seemed to have walked straight out of dominatrix training and even a tiny thing of a woman with blonde hair in bunches and clown make-up who couldn’t stop crying long enough to even get her name out. By the time midnight came, Bruce had had enough. With an almost animalistic growl, he got up from the table, shrugging on his coat and making for the door.
‘Master Wayne?’ Alfred questioned, ‘where are you going?’
Bruce hesitated on the threshold, giving his loyal butler a short look over his shoulder. ‘Marvel.’