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This Is Not a Joke

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Jason Todd turned on the news in the Parisan penthouse he was staying in courtesy of Talia al Ghul. He wanted some white noise as he practiced his katas. He was only half-attentive to what was happening on the screen as he flowed through the positions with practiced ease, until he heard an explosion, followed by people screaming. 

He quickly dropped to the floor, placing his hands over his head. His heart rate skyrocketed, as he began reliving the worst day of his life. When Jason realized that he wasn’t caught in a blast, he looked around the room for any signs of damage as he did breathing exercises to lower his heart rate. He saw no damage, then saw the TV. There was a burning building on the screen, and written across the bottom was “ En Direct de Gotham ”. Live from Gotham. 

Jason’s blood chilled, and he began paying attention to what the newscaster was saying. “ GCPD pense que c’était là le geste du Joker ”. The Joker. Jason’s heart stopped for a second as he reviewed the ramifications of that simple statement. The Joker was alive. The Joker was still hurting people. That must mean that Batman… Batman must be dead. If he was still alive, Joker wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone ever again. Batman died. Did he die trying to save Jason? Was he caught in the explosion as well? 

Plagued by restlessness, Jason grabbed his scarlet hoodie from where it was draped over the back of his couch, and headed out the door. He needed to take a walk to clear his head. If he was lucky, he find be able to interrupt a few muggings or assaults as well. Nothing like a good fight to take his mind off the gloom clouding it at present.

For the next few days, Jason quietly mourned the death of his father. He resists the urge to contact Alfred or Dick, not sure how he would explain his current predicament, and also not entirely sure they would want to hear from him. 

Jason had just returned from lunch, and was pulling out his key to unlock his door, when a headline from a newspaper laying across the hall grabbed his attention. “ Batman renvoie Joker sous la garde de GCPD ”. He quickly picked up the newspaper and brought it into his apartment with him. Underneath the headline was a picture of Batman with a grim look on his face. Batman is alive. But, the Joker is still alive, and still killing people.

Jason died. The Joker killed Jason Todd, adopted son of Bruce Wayne, the Batman. Did his death mean nothing? Did he ever mean anything to him?

Jason looked back down at the picture. Jason smiled when he saw the expression on Jim Gordon’s face. The Commissioner never enjoyed the vicious cycle of locking them up, and them breaking out any more than Jason did. There was a look of unbridled anger on Gordon’s face, as if he were ready to screw the consequences and shoot the Joker, right in front of his men, as well as the Batman. And in the background was…

No. It couldn’t be .

What the fuck. He... replaced me. HE REPLACED ME! WHAT THE FUCK!

Jason heard hysterical laughter ringing in his ears as green began tinting his vision, and he blacked out.