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On Cloud Nine

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“Hey lady!” you hear as you watch the beautiful blue skies from your fluffy cloud. ”Hey!”

Y/N looks towards the source of the noise only to notice this strange man with green locks waving at her from the cloud below.

“Yes?”

“Where are we?” the guy asks, having a hard time processing what’s happening to him.

The two don’t recognize each other: once you’re dead, you’ll have no memory of your past; they definitely don’t recall being together while they were alive.

“Not sure, but it’s beautiful,” you sigh and he huffs, annoyed.

“Ugh, it’s boring. Nothing to do besides sitting down and analyze… whatever the hell this is!” J flares his arms around as a voice coming from everywhere echoes in the stillness:

“Please mind your language, sir!”

“Who said that?!” The Joker tries to find the person that just admonished him and there’s no other soul besides the woman he’s having a conversation with.

“I don’t know,” you lift your shoulders up, intrigued. “Kind of weird,” you dangle your feet above the abyss, totally unconcerned about the invisible presence. “What is that?” you point at the sketchbook he’s holding.

“My drawings,” The King of Gotham sulks, restarting to doodle on the almost blank page.

“Can I see?” you curiously inquire.

J bites the pencil and frees his hands, then shows you his current masterpiece.

“Could you hold it higher?” you squint your eyes. “Higher!!”

The expression on your face demonstrates you can’t perceive too much.

“Why don’t you come over?” the man proposes and your stalling makes him snicker: “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you.”

“Hmmm…” you debate on the offer not because you’re afraid of a little jump but because you’re uncertain it’s worth the trouble.

“C’mon!” The Joker wants to get up and help yet Y/N is already hopping down on his cloud: she’s always been independent, one of the qualities he secretly liked about her before they both unexpectedly kicked the bucket. “Nice landing!” J chuckles as you take a sit by him, the artist reprising his work. “What do you think?” he proudly boasts.

You glimpse at the clumsy lines depicting an apparent landscape filled with pumpkins and can’t hold in a smile.

“I think there’s a lot of potential hidden behind the primitive naivety of this little gem,” you give him your honest judgement and J scoffs, intrigued.

“Primitive?!”

“I like your style,” you sweetly reply since you realize you shouldn’t have blurred out the comment; he might be offended by your genuine critique. “The pumpkins are super cute,” you add in order to divert his attention.

“I like pumpkins,” The Joker growls.

“Me too,” you continue. “That would be an adorable nickname for someone, don’t you think?”

“I suppose,” he shakes his head and mentions: “Why are you staring at me? Do I have something in my teeth?”

“They’re silver,” you bring your face closer to his, puzzled to discern the detail.

“Are they?!” The King touches his mouth, appalled.

“Yes, but it suits you,” the sincere tone calms down his frantic movement.

“Am I ugly?!” his ego emerges even beyond the grave and Y/N has the perfect answer:

“No, you’re handsome in a sort of eerie way.”

J frowns, suspicious.

“So I look creepy?!”

“You don’t look creepy to me,” you candidly emphasize. “In my humble opinion, you’re attractive.”

He straightens his back, pleased at the statement and your rosy cheeks give him a boost of confidence.

“Are you going to …e-hem…” you cough, flustered at the stupid confession, “…draw another pumpkin over here?” your finger taps on the corner of the paper.

“Might as well,” J agrees and you have no clue that what he’s doing is basically thanks to you.

God knows how much you encouraged his practically nonexistent skills just to keep him away from problems he created for himself and others! You were actually his number one fan and to be honest his only fan: as long as The Clown Prince of Crime was immersed in his unique hobby, it meant Gotham and its citizens were safe.

The Penthouse was filled with The Joker’s phenomenal paintings and sketches, extravagantly framed by yours truly to overcompensate the lack of substantial talent.

“Ma’am, please return to your cloud!” the voice you heard earlier resonates all around once more.

“Why?” you glare left and right, annoyed you can’t see anybody.

“You belong on The Higher Clouds,” the elusive response doesn’t enlighten the mystery. “Hold on, we’re sending our representative over!”

After a few seconds Y/N and the former King distinguish an individual dressed in a black suit carefully jumping from cloud to cloud, steadily approaching his objective.

“Apologies for the delay,” he addresses the stunned couple once in The Joker’s space. “Sir, we had to compile a lot of paperwork for you,” the guy flips pages of a thick file, annoyed. “After adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing your points, turned out your final score is still a negative number.”

“Huh?!” J puckers his lips, confused.

“It seems you were a very bad person, sir; did a lot of despicable things and dying while protecting the girl you loved doesn’t mean diddly squat in the end!”

“Awww,” you gush at the revelation. “That’s so romantic,” you whisper and the man bends over, completely overwhelmed:

“Ma’am, allow me the honor of shaking your hand,” the agent grabs your fingers, softly squeezing them. “You are a true legend and we are forever indebted to your greatness: you put up with him and saved numerous lives also,” he gestures towards The Joker and you gasp, finally understanding the bigger picture.

“He died…for me?!”

“I died for her?!” the awkward pair asks in the same time.

“Yeah, no big deal. You were killed anyway and I’m so, so sorry for that,” the emissary extends his regrets to the woman he admires, entirely disregarding The Joker’s sacrifice.

“No big deal??!!” the latest shouts. “Dying for someone is no big deal?! How the fuck am I still in the negative?!!”

“Language!!!!!!” the omnipresent voice surfaces again.

“WHO.IS.THAT?!” Y/N gets vexed at the multiple invisible interruptions.

“Steve Rogers,” the representative notifies. “He’s in charge of The Profanity Control Department.”

“Who?!” J crinkles his nose, fed up with the messy situation.

“It’s not important,” the agent cuts him off. “What’s important sir is that you can’t be here; we have to move you.”

“Move me?! Where?”

“Yes, where are you taking him?” you quiz the black suited guardian.

“Far away, unless…”

“Unless what?” J crabbily interrogates.

“Unless someone is willing to transfer their points to you, sir. It hasn’t been done in centuries though; lots of bureaucracy involved and frankly, if I may: why would anybody donate their hard earned credits to you??!!”

The Clown is scandalized at the brutal affirmation while Y/N has a magnificent idea:

“How many points do I have?”

“Mmmmm…,” the man flips more pages and finds the information: “Ten gazillions.”

“How many does he need?”

“Three gazillions.”

“Oh,” you cheerfully clap your hands. “I have plenty so I’ll donate my credits to him.”

“Nah, you don’t want to do that,” the man shrieks, already unhappy with the perspective of putting in overtime for this project. “We’re out of clouds; we’ll have to make more and that takes forever.”

“There are plenty of empty clouds around!” The Joker barks.

“Not empty. They are inhabited by others but you can’t see them: you can only see the people you are connected with, true love type of deal,” the emissary indifferently blurs out.

“So…that’s why I can only see him and he can only see me?!” Y/N’s burning, red face matches J’s stellar entitled smirk after the astonishing revelation.

“Precisely,” the flat tone prompts The King’s logical question:

“Then why can’t I stay on this cloud?”

“The Lower Clouds are similar to a waiting room; we can’t have them occupied for long periods of time.”

“I’ll share my cloud with him!” you firmly suggest as the emissary is panicking:

“That means more paperwork!! We usually don’t have two residents spending eternity on the same cloud.”

“Make it happen!” J commands. “The lady wants to give me her points and share her cloud. You can’t say no, you said it yourself: she’s a legend!” he preys on the guy’s hesitation.

“I would really appreciate your help,” your disarming smile gives the guardian a nudge in the proper direction.

“Of…of course ma’am,” he stutters because how can one say no to a legend?!

And you surely count on it.

“I have to stipulate a reason for all this, what should I write on the formulary? In a simple sentence, it needs to be specific and concise: why are you gifting him credits and share your personal area?”

Your brain slots are hollow yet there’s one motive:

“I like his drawings.”

The impeccable suit ogles J’s silly scribbling, muttering under his breath:

“Another Picasso…” then louder:

“I’ll do the paperwork; for now, please vacate the premises and go on the Upper Cloud; we have new arrivals that require the Lower Clouds,” he exhales and starts leaping away, leaving you and The Joker behind.

Your cloud descends so you both can step on it and then floats higher in the air again.

Y/N gazes at the stranger in silence, until he breaks the shell:

“Thank you for your generosity, Miss…” J sniffles, realizing an important detail is absent from the whole dialogue. “What’s your name?”

“…I don’t know…” you regretfully answer. “I can’t remember…”

The Joker scratches his chin with a brilliant solution on the horizon:

“You said Pumpkin would be an adorable moniker for someone. Do you mind if I call you Pumpkin?”

“No, not at all,” you gladly accept his proposition. “And you’re welcome, I had so many credits, might as well use them. I have to thank you too for dying for me, Mister… What’s your name?”

“Bits me; I can’t recollect.”

Y/N pouts, upset she doesn’t have a name when a genius recommendation escapes her lips:

“You know… you have this small “J” letter tattoo under your left eye…” you gently poke it and he feels a sudden warmth taking over his body. “Is it ok if I call you J?”

“U-hum,” the hypnotized King gazes at the woman in front of him. “So I have tattoos on my face?”

“Yes, a few: a tiny star and a big one on your forehead that spells ‘Damaged’. And playing cards on your neck…” you describe his ink, mesmerized.

“Do they make me look horrible?”

“You don’t look horrible to me,” you praise and J inflates his chest at the declaration; oh boy, you definitely have a way with words.

“Thank you Pumpkin,” the flirtatious Clown winks and you play with the hem of your shirt, about to burst out with delight.

“You’re welcome… J.”

“Oh my God!” The Joker snaps out of it since the artist in him is begging for attention: “The sunset’s gorgeous! I have to sketch this!”

He sits down on the cloud and you scoot over until your thighs touch, interested in his new project.

“Your cloud is a better quality than the one I was on,” he bounces on the white, velvety texture. “It will certainly improve my technique!”

“Absolutely!” you enthusiastically exclaim, determined to assist no matter what.

Heaven knows your new friend J evidently requires steady guidance regarding his hobby: he’s no Picasso yet, but with a legend’s help he might eventually get there.