Disclaimer: I do not own The Batman.
Author Announcement: Hello, EK here. I am sure many people here are readers of my other stories and are understandably irked by my not updating them. This is not abandoning anything. But failure to get past my block with any speed has lread me to work on other stuff. Like the original story I hope may be published novel of my own someday.
Basically Digging this idea up and finding I atill liked it, I gave it a whirl. A good bit was already written too. Basically my hope is too get back into a fanfic groove hoping it will help.
Queen of All Oni is easily the next in line up unless i try to keep this story going for a rapid update. The next chapter for that story is structured such that i am considering taking the half of the narrative that is done and post it now. A short chapter, but still better than none and it would move the plot along. But I worry the few parts they do cross will make seperating them awkward.
So yes I did go work on this instead, but I am trying.
So then, hope if you have read this far you will give Yin-Yang a shot. And please do not review only to ask I update some other story.
Black and white tumbled. Spun. Swirled. Knotted and unknotted. Stripes as wide as the city and narrow as floss. But never mixing, no grey.
She swam through it, stumbling when she found something like solid footing. But she couldn't run. She'd trip. And the trip she was on was bad enough, she thought as black and white parted beneath her feet, dropping through a bi-chrome sky.
"BFGFIADF" a man said. He walked through the sky to her. Just more black and white. She wanted to spit at him, but she couldn't close her mouth. She tried to glare, but of course she had no eyes to do that with.
Wait, then how could she see?
The man who was lines on paper tapped her forehead and said something else that could never be words.
Except it was?
There was a color on him. Not the word. Green? Yes, green was a color, and then purple.
The Joker was in front of her, as if he had been painted there all along. A manic cartoon flashing yellow teeth as he shook his head, sending his strange green dreadlocks dancing like snakes hissing through the air.
Struggling brought pain. Tied? Yes? Bound to chair. Even her head couldn't move. Something stuffed her mouth, unyielding when she tried to close her jaws or lift her tongue.
"Paging Detective Yin? Helloooo? Anyone home?" the clown criminal asked, leaning in. His breath stank, she couldn't blink either.
Screen, yes he'd forced her to watch. Watch what? Why? So thirsty.
She cried out, muffled by the gag. Anger and pain as her furious struggle cut her. Across legs and arms, even her brow, her binds cut. Old pain too, she had done that before? Yes, she had. Hard, sharp plastic. Clown, he knew what he was doing.
She was back though, in a chair in a room. Even with him, she was not where, that, had been. Focus on him, not the black and white, she ordered herself.
"Aaand she is back, ladies and gentlemen. Or at least back enough for television," the clown laughed at his own wit.
"This is our what, third hostage situation, Detective? I confess, cops kind of blend together after awhile. Just like hostages. Care to set the record straight?" he asked, holding up a phantom mic to her. She shouted through the gag.
"You're absolutely right. Who has time for flashbacks? What is this, network TV with its shameful clip shows? Boo to that, I say. Boo!
"But today is your lucky day, Miss Detective Lin. So, for the sake of the late-comer viewers, allow me a moment to recap.
"Mon Chief of Police has delivered a terrible review on the performance of Gotham's Illegal Elite. Fresh off this great city being honored by the press as the Scariest City in America, magnificent title by the way, he declares none other than the Batman — 'the Batman' — public enemy number one!
"Oh, the business is tough, I tell ya, Yinny. You slave to perfect your art. Burn that midnight oil pushing your projects from good to great. You sacrifice family, friends- oh wait, didn't have those to start with, did I?
"BUT THE POINT! …is you put on such great shows, only to be slammed in the reviews. It happens. There is nothing to do, but go back out there and put mud in their eye by showing everyone why that accolade should have been yours.
"But that's not why this is happening to you, Detective. You see, I had two plans to win back my crowd of horrified onlookers. One involves you, the other… some other guy. How did I decide? Perhaps I was tempted by the sexist fact that people are more outraged by violence against women than men?
"Nope! I loved them both so much I just couldn't pick. Like a pair of adorable bloodstained toddlers. So…
"I flipped a coin," he said. He pulled a quarter out of his ear, and flipped it into the air.
"It's just a bit of stamped metal. But as far as your fate goes, this coin may as well be God," Joker said. Catching the coin, he held up his hand, and opened it to reveal, nothing.
"But enough exposition! On with the show!" the red eyed clown declared. He reached into his purple jacket and pulled out a glass beaker, a red liquid inside catching the light.
X X X
The first drop burned. She tried to scream as it sizzled and ran on a trail down her face. Searing, bubbling, then cold, piecing icicles. And nothing.
The first drop.
Then he started to pour, engulfing her right ear and moving.
There was only bitting away at the gag and the sensation. Heat, cold, nothing, sweeping slow and steady.
Then her head snapped forward. Glass broke somewhere. Spots on her left, though, were burning, and vomit finally forced the gag out.
"Clean up in aisle three! And I was only half done.
"Oh, the zip melted, that would do it. Should have seen that coming. No worry, you still have enough hair to hold ya steady.
"Pity about the spillage. But no worries — as Grandpa Joker always said, when using the good stuff, always bring a spare," The Joker was saying.
The vision swam, the Joker was out of sight, only the screen was left. It felt like her skull was going to split. So thirsty.
"Aggg," she gurgled in fear as he stepped back into view with another beaker. There was a label on this one. But everything was spinning too much to even think about reading it.
She was on the ceiling. How did he get up here?
Wood broke somewhere, Joker talking, more breaking glass. All she could see was lines.
Who? Should know.
A shape, a man? He grabbed the sky and ripped it in two.
The head she hadn't realized was lifted fell forward in relief. It was gone. She should go too.
"Yin! Ellen! Oh God," he said, coming up to her. She looked up ad realized she knew him.
Ethan, so dramatic. He looked like he'd seen a ghost. Needed to toughen up to be a better cop, she thought, before at long last blackness swept away her thoughts into unconsciousness.
X X X
Detective Ethan Bennett had plenty of experience feeling helpless. As a cop, you often came into situations where there was little if anything you could do. The tragic aftermaths, the victims and their kin with their lives upended desperate for something stable, or just shocked. And anger of course, the rage that could flare or smolder in people.
That last one was the most dangerous. And he was feeling it more and more in this world where criminals had become so much larger than life. He was feeling it right now as he sat waiting to learn the fate of his partner and friend.
He had failed. And he was smart enough to know it was partly himself he was angry at. But God help him, if he had that clown in front of him, he just might beat him to death and see if the Joker really would go out with a smile.
"Ethan?" a voice broke through the rage. Bennett blinked and let go of the plastic arms of the chair. Cracked, oh dang, he was not in a good way.
The waiting room at Gotham General was like any of its kind he had been to. Clean and holding an atmosphere of tenseness mixed with boredom as people awaited news of all kinds. He hated hospitals.
Taking a deep breath to finish collecting himself, and letting it out, he turned his face up to Bruce.
"Bruce, thanks for coming," he said. The detective got to his feet; standing was better than sitting when stressed, anyway.
"Of course. Have they said anything?" Bruce asked. Ethan started to pace in the ER Waiting Room, gathering his thoughts. Nice thing being that even through they weren't alone, everyone had their own worries.
"They say she won't die. They may even save her eye. They don't know what exactly Joker used, but… But it's bad, Bruce. The Joker got what he wanted. He disfigured her, all because he felt gipped by the Chief!" Ethan snapped.
"CSI put back together that beaker of the stuff he threw at Bats, you know. It was labeled, 'Uncle J's Special Sauce'. Beginning to end it's all just a joke, and he's laughing it up in Arkham, right now," Ethan said, through gritted teeth.
Bruce put a hand on his shoulder.
"She'll live," Bruce reminded him, "She can get help for damaged skin, and she's tough Ethan. I wouldn't bet against her."
"…The Joker didn't just melt half her face off. He had something set up, some kind of mental torture with her eyes held open.
"…it was only a matter of time until that clown got the best of us and Bats both, wasn't it? He got his bow and everything."
"And now he's back in Arkham," Bruce reminded him.
X X X
"Your fate was determined by the merciless turn of chance."
It was so hot, stifling, she couldn't breathe. Heat seemed to cling to her skin, suffocating her, roasting her insides. The image of some covered pan with meat roasting inside in its own juices popped forth and danced around before fading.
She twisted and turned, struggling to shake away to freedom, relief, that would never come.
"This coin here was the great impartial judge of your future."
She gasped, twisting and pulling, weighed down, pinned, smothered. Weighed down and tangled in an invisible force that dragged her beneath the dark. It wanted to take even beyond the dark, she knew somehow. But still, she fought, to do otherwise was death, and she was not ready to die.
"As far as you're concerned, Detective…"
Her grip found purchase, and she held on for dear life.
"…You may as well call it God."
With a cry, she shot forward, yanking the weight above her off with a roar and a cry, stumbling and falling and striking the cold floor, the sound of crashing, and noise and a stinging in her arm. And yet she still felt smothered, trapped in the dark and unable to breathe.
She had escaped, but her jailer was still holding on. Trying to drag her back!
But in that panic, somehow, someway, the detective came through.
Smell of antiseptic, cold linoleum floor, machines beeping… hospital room.
Suffocation, pain in arm, crashing noise, suffocation; tangled in blankets, yanked out IV, fell out of bed, knocked over machine… gauze.
Pain, sore… dark; she reached up and slowly felt around her head, her right eye slowly and achingly pulling open, sealed by crust and dried sweat, light blinding it, searing and white from the fluorescents above.
But she couldn't open her left… or rather, couldn't shut it? It saw only dark; she couldn't feel her eyelid. Couldn't feel if it was open or shut, her face was numb, she realized. Unnaturally so; pinpricks of numbness surrounded it and make her face feel stupid and slack. But still confined?
The doctors had given her some powerful anesthetics. Didn't want her to feel her face. Reaching up hurried and apprehensive where she lay crouched on the cold floor in nothing but a cheap paper gown, she felt her head bound. Wrapped in thick dressing, mummified, she could hardly discern the shape of her head in this state.
Her neck was wrapped tight, too. Her fingers twitched across it, a noose rising in her light-blinded vision. She shook her head and the image vanished. But it still left her blind and bound.
Well, that wouldn't do, nobody told them they could bury her face. Nobody gave them the RIGHT.
She heard a door open, probably doctors. Nurses. More people who wanted to wrap her up and bury her in the dark again. Well, not if she had anything to say about it. She grabbed the dressing and yanked, pulling and tearing it free, knocking aside the hands of some punk attempting to stop her, biting another in a rage, too focused to articulate words.
They drew back, she could see them now as shadows and lumps in the world. They had expected surrender and she had given them force, now they were back on their heels. And she tore away at her bindings, relishing how it felt.
Soon she found it deep down, her face, there it was! She pulled until no trace of gauze was left and in triumph stood and turned her attention towards the room's mirror.
Crouching on the floor, she could not see the mirror. She got to her feet unsteady; her body felt strange. Sensation was distant, so much numb. Even with her body free to breathe, the gown torn away with everything else, a sense of wrongness clung to her.
Someone moved to steady her. Her backhand did not connect but drove the thickset woman away. Yes, she could see now. Hear too, but the noises were just noise.
What did she care? She didn't need to be told. She knew what she wanted, this woman with wide dark eyes, she had nothing to say, so just go away!
Realizing she was indeed standing, which meant the mirror could be seen, she turned on the cold floor to look into it.
Confusion greeted. A step back. Mirrored.
She was no fool, her mind seized in this evidence and in less than a moment gave her the answer.
She let them grab her as her legs gave out.
"Ethan, 'Ayne. If gu tell me it doesn't look so bad, so gelp me I will get out of this fed…" Ellen Yin said to the two men standing in her hospital room. She scowled, but it was more at her words still slipping than anything else.
"Hey now, I didn't say anything!" the playboy said, holding his hands up defensively. She rolled her good eye; true, but it was necessary to warn him. How Ethan could be so fond of this rich fool, she would never know.
Though she supposed, as she often did, it was hardly his fault being born with so much wealth you never 'had' to do anything. That alone would mess up most people, she thought. And on top of that, no parents to tell him "no". Instead, from what she gathered his butler, a paid servant, had raised him.
But enough abut the back-up, Ethan was talking.
"The force put together a card. There was talk of a bouquet…"
"I don't need pity or flowers. No one told me what happened to Joker, Ethan."
"Really? Huh. Well, Bats bagged him good, he's back in his cell."
She nodded. It was good news. Yes, yes it was.
"So, have they talked options?" Wayne asked.
The answer was yes and no. It seemed there were oddities from her burns, abnormalities. Long story short, they wanted to watch and test before considering what could be done to fix her face. Along with a good bit of her neck, and some splotches on her back and chest.
What she said was, "Not much," and left it at that.
"Well, whatever it is, I just want you to know I'm here for you. Money is no problem-"
"I 'ave insurance," she cut him off abruptly. It always came back to money for the boy wonder, didn't it? She had never thought, even if Langstrom had turned out to be the Bat, Wayne would get any real grief over it. Even an employee turning into Man Bat under his nose had not so much as gotten a speck on his imported shoes.
No, she was not just going to idly let him save the day with his bucks to burn and pat himself on the back, she decided.
"He's just trying to help," Ethan pointed out. He looked concerned. Oh crap, was she showing too much in her face? Hard to tell, the meds numbed her up so much now. Glancing to the side to the mirror, she saw what he had been seeing. Her head all wrapped up along with her neck, one eye peeking out.
It couldn't be as bad as she had thought. She just wished she could get it off to get a real idea of what she was dealing with.
"What I really want to know is a firm date of when I can get out and back on the beat," she said, changing the subject.
"Wow, Ethan says you're an iron woman, but you really don't mess around," Wayne commented with something like a chuckle.
"It's called drive," she answered. She left the "you could use some" unsaid.
"Yin, you're going into medical leave when you get out. The Department sent the forms over with me," Ethan said sternly, handing her the file he had been holding. She had thought it was some casework he was on and wanted her input. Naive her, she supposed.
"I don't need to look pretty to do my job," she said, even as she accepted the papers.
"Don't be like that. Not only were you abducted again, you were hospitalized with serious injuries from the abduction. You're not wiggling out of this," Ethan chided.
"How long?" she asked, opening the file.
"Depends on the docs I suppose," Ethan guessed.
"Mandatory psychologist sessions? Dr. what?" She sighed, reading. Wayne leaned in to see what she had read.
"He's one of Arkham's most celebrated residents, a big figure in the field of trauma related studies. Uh, the scientific name for it has slipped my mind," Wayne admitted. Probably he read a magazine when bored, Yin thought.
Well, this was irritating, but she supposed she not be surprised. It was all part of getting back on her feet. The clown was not going to put her down.
X X X
"Deep thoughts, Master Wayne?" Alfred asked as he drove them away from the hospital. Bruce had been looking out at the city. He had become accustomed to so many things, the persisting strangeness stood out most now. Even mundane things like how Gotham was truly a different city by daylight and moonlight.
"Just contemplating Light and Darkness, nothing really deep."
"Ah, yes. Just light food for thought, like the meaning of life or if there really is a secret ingredient to the Colonel's chicken.
"Am I to assume things have not gone as you hoped with Detective Yin's condition, sir?" the butler asked.
"It seems the force has not written her career off yet. Not sure if that is good or bad," Bruce admitted.
"Well, I for one am inclined to have faith in people, sir. If her spirit remains unbroken… well, this city needs police officers that are both capable and honest."
"She has been through a lot."
"Oh most certainly. Losing half your face is nothing to sneeze at. But it's not like it has driven her to dressing up like an animal and running around on her own time beating up criminals. That would be a troubling development."
"I failed her, Alfred," he finally admitted. He knew what Alfred would say.
"Yes, you could say that," Alfred admitted. Bruce looked away from the city passing by. The butler did not glance back; as ever, his eyes were locked on the road ahead.
"Batman is still a man, Master Bruce. Symbol of hope you may be, I can accept that. But still, under the costume you are a man. And as the service taught me, sometimes even the best of men with the best of plans cannot succeed.
"You failed to stop her from being scarred and whatever torture the Joker inflicted. But he would surely have killed her if not for you. She is alive, that is your success. As are all the times you have been able to snatch hope from despair despite everyone thinking it impossible."
"I couldn't help her as Bruce Wayne either," Bruce pointed out.
"Nonsense, you showed up. How many besides young Ethan did that? You, of all people, should understand how important it can be for people to come just to show that, however dark it has become, your world hasn't ended yet."
"I need to do something."
"Batman is quite good for stopping the bad guys, Master Bruce, but this is a different battle ahead of Detective Yin. Perhaps Batman should step aside and leave this to those trained to fight such a battle?"
X X X
"Good afternoon, Detective Yin, I am Dr. Hugo Strange."
Yeah I messed with the episode order a bit. And no that wasn't the putty he used.
This is not a short story, but it is not meant for epic length. I plan three arcs, with only two 'epic showdowns' total and a lot of time in Yin's head. The two limit is important because i am not good at those, and many of fics have at least one big fight a chapter it seems. I hope this will be fun to write and read. With any lick if it takes long to finish it will only be because i am preoccupied with wrapping up some PDJ work.
Long days and pleasant nights to you all.