Chapter 18

"Are you sure we shouldn't be using dynamite?" Joker asked as he stared skeptically across the boat at Bruce.

"I am pretty sure that if you did we would get blown away just as much as the fish would." Bruce replied as he tried to suppress his natural reaction to seeing the Joker with explosives; throw a punch. In this case he was more than tempted to just knock over the boat eliminating the threat entirely. "Just what are you hoping to gain from this?" Bruce asked as he inexpertly casted a line into the water.

"Just a little get to know you session." The Joker replied as he opened a blood stained tackle box and started poking through lures inside. "Are you sure these are proper lures they don't look nearly deadly enough." Joker yelled over at one of his henchmen who were sitting in a boat nearby.

"According to the guy at the bait they had never failed him before." One replied as he cast with a surprising amount of precision.

"Is he still alive?" Bruce asked half dreading the answer.

"Yay, Joker said he didn't want any cops interrupting so we knocked him out and locked him up in his shop." The other thug replied.

"Why feeling a little squeamish there Brucie?" the Joker asked as he finally choose as lure that seemed to be made up entirely of hooks.

"I just don't see that point of killing someone for a tackle box." Bruce replied shrugging uncaring. "Seems like a waste of time and effort."

"Just who do you think would be worth be killing?" the Joker questioned.

"I prefer to leave my enemies alive and just destroy them completely and utterly beyond redemption and recovery." Bruce replied meeting the clown's eyes.

"So demolition is more your thing." Joker replied with a nod. Before Bruce had a chance of answering a bullet hit their boat and went through the other side. Fortunately it went through the lip as such they were in no danger of sinking. The same that could not be said for the thugs behind them the angle of the bullet caused it to hit just below the water line and gone into the floor of the boat. The Joker and Bruce hit the floor for cover.

"How deep is this pond?" Bruce asked.

"Deep enough." The Joker replied just before he flung himself against the left side of the boat with Bruce following him a second later. Their combined weight caused the boat to capsize. The two thugs didn't bother doing anything as complex they just jumped.

Dammit he missed and now both of his targets were out of sight under water and more than likely heading for the thick bushes that grew on one side of the pond. He threw the now useless sniper rifle away and pulled a handgun.

While he had experience with rifles he hadn't taken into the account that they would be on water. That could be the only reason he had missed for with the righteousness he carried in his heart would allow for no other. As he made his way around the pond staying out of sight as he tried to reach the spot he expected Bruce and the Joker to emerge. Only to snarl as they crawled out on the opposite side of the pond well out of reach of the rinky dink pistol he had.

Bruce had just pulled himself up onto the shore and rolled onto his back when a young light haired man hurled himself up across the pond shooting wildly before turning on his heel and ran off.

"Who the fudge bar was that?" the Joker asked.

"Ororo's stalker more than likely." Bruce replied as he pulled himself farthr up the shore. "I would strongly suggest we get out of here before he gets back."

"Sounds good." Joker replied as the two climbed to their feet and went in search of the two thugs, whose names Bruce still didn't know.

Hours later at the police station Bruce found himself in an interrogation room answering questions that he had already answered before. The only consolation that he felt was that the first thing they had done when the Joker and him had entered to station was that they were immediately placed with a sketch artist so the stalker now had a face.

"Are we boring you Wayne?" One of the detectives asked bringing Bruce's attention back to the present.

"Slightly," Bruce replied in his playboy voice. "We have been going over the same information for what feels like hours."

"It hasn't been that long Mr. Wayne, we just have to clear a few things up." The good cop of the duo replied. "Your coming in with the Joker being one of them."

"I don't know how much clearer I can be." Bruce replied "Earlier today he kidnapped me the intention bonding over fishing."

"And why would the most violent of Gotham's whack jobs felt the need to bond with you." The bad cop half asked and half accused.

"He is under the delusion that he is going to be my stepson after my wedding."

"And why would that be?" the bad cop added in a tone that hinted that he expected to catch Bruce at something.

"I am engaged to Ms. Ororo Monroe, who after an odd encounter with Joker gained the unenviable title of being his mother. And come next summer, according to his perception of reality, that will make him my stepson." Bruce explained slowly since he had answered a variation of this question at least twice. "Gentlemen I have been extremely patient with these questions but I think now it's time for me to call a lawyer." He finished as he settled back. The cops fought back a snarl as they stood up and left the room.

"You two ready to admit defeat." Their Sargent asked.

"That playboy is hiding something I can feel it in my bones." One of the detectives replied, "he is way to calm for a man in his position."

"That may have something to do with dealing regularly with business men of Lex Luther's caliber." A woman said behind them. The three turned to see a statuesque black woman with pure white hair; she was flanked by a curvy brunette and a short solid man with an odd hair style. "I am Ororo Monroe" She greeted as she moved up to the see through mirror. "These are my assistant Wanda Maximoff and one of my body guards Logan." She turned from the window. " Now would you mind explaining just what you are holding my fiancée for?"

"He isn't under arrest." The Sargent explained. "There are just some question that haven't been answered to our satisfaction." He continued.

"So there is nothing keeping me from taking him home." Ororo stated. "Or should I call in his attorney from the next room."

"What is he doing in the next room?" one of the detectives demanded.

"Collecting Bruce's things and expediting the Jokers transfer to Arkham." Ororo replied as she started walking back towards Logan and Wanda.

"And just what right does he have to do any of those things?" one of the detectives asked.

"If you want to be in charge of keeping the Joker under control for the next week, that can be arranged." Wanda stated.

"Not to mention, since he hasn't been arrested and you have no warrant there is no reason for you to hold on to his things." Ororo added.

"That can be easily changed." The other officer threatened; there was no why he was going to let a buch rich snobs dictate how he did his job.

"On exactly what charges?" an elder man asked as he entered the already cramped room with the Stations Captain following behind.

"There will be no charges and Wayne is free to go." The captain replied as he moved to open the interview door allowing the attorney to go in and collect Bruce.

With the help of Bruce's attorney it wasn't long before the group was loaded into their cars, Ororo's crew climbed into one of Bruce's limo's while the attorney climbed into his own.

"Let's go home Alfred." Ororo requested.

"Actually it might be smart to find somewhere near by at least until the Joker is safely on his way back to Arkham." Bruce countered.

"No need, sir." Alfred replied. "Ms. Monroe has taken the liberty of stationing Victor and Cain nearby in the case of a breakout."

"Good, between the two of them they should be able to handle anything that psychotic clown tries." Bruce replied as he relaxed back into his seat.

"Are you alright Bruce?" Ororo asked as she cupped his face with one hand.

"I am fine neither of them hurt me, disturbed me yes, hurt me no." Bruce replied as he copied her gesture. "At least we know what your stalker looks like now.

"The police are already scanning all the different databases trying to find a match." Wanda said.

"How?" Logan asked.

"I saw them start the search as we were leaving." She replied.

"You pickin anything up darling?" Logan asked looking toward Ororo.

"I am not picking up a strong enough signal." She replied as she curled in to Bruce assuring herself that he was really in one piece.

"So none of us are safe from this wacko." Logan stated, before he looked over his shoulder towards Alfred. "You go nowhere alone Alfred." He stated.

"We should have seen this coming." Bruce replied as he wrapped his arm around Ororo. "This is classic stalker behavior; he is trying to remove her support system." He explained "He wants to be the only person in her life."

"Then why hasn't he attacked any of us yet?" Wanda asked catching Bruce's attention. "I mean both The Joker and yourself are high level targets. Wouldn't it be smarter to build his way up?"

"Has he ever referred to the Madame by name?" Alfred asked.

"No, his messages have always been addressed to the Windrider." Bruce replied. "That is his delusion. He believes that the Windrider is a separate being and that Ororo is his only way to get to her. As such he is taking out threats, proving himself to her." He mused. "That is probably why he hasn't gone after any of your team they are part of his delusion their service makes them pure in his eyes."

"Our service?" Wanda asked.

"Remember that original article about the Windrider the reporter claimed that all of you were part of the cult's leadership or were in some way favored by her." Bruce replied.

"This is going to get worse before it gets better isn't it?" Ororo asked.

"I am afraid so." Bruce replied as they all settled into silence.

A few hours later they pulled up to Wayne manor with all of them feeling the need to spend some time alone. Unfortunately before they could actually split up Alfred spotted something in mail that brought them up short "Sir I believe we had been waiting for this." He said as he held out a fancy looking envelope that was heavily embossed. Bruce took it and then sighed.

"I had forgotten about these idiots." He said as he pulled out a card that invited him and a guest to attend a charity auction that will benefit Gotham's restoration fund. "Alfred call the league time to finalize the plans."