This is almost 100% based on one of my dream/nightmares last night. It’s not the entire dream, and I filled in some background and smoothed a couple things out. But the rest – it’s as dreamed
Zombie Apoc AU, Gotham/NYC DC/Marvel
The Joker’s crew was clearing buildings again.
Other neighborhoods, sure, the Bats protected, but there were only so many of them. A couple neighborhoods, the Family protected, and the Penguin was rumored to have his whole underground town laid out in the basements of fallen buildings.
But over here, nobody but the Joker ruled. Those who cared about such things did a lot of hiding — not that everyone wasn’t hiding, anyway. People said the zombie threat was past, but could you believe them? They’d said that before, and look where that had gotten the world.
Once a week or so — as the joker got bored — they would pick a building, at random or at will — and scour through it, taking anything that his Funnyship wanted. “Tax,” they called it. Sometimes a more clever minion would point out that the Joker’s crew protected them from zombies. Nobody believed that. The Joker’s crew protected them from the Joker, mostly.
They were halfway through a tenement, one that probably hadn’t changed much in terms of residents or quality of living since the world ended. Things were going pretty smooth — some shouting, sure, but when you stuck a comically large gun in someone’s face, usually they stopped arguing pretty fast — and then this thug in spandex came ripping out of a room they’d already cleared.
He was wearing red and blue, with some sort of spiderweb pattern all over his top, and his mask had big eyes like goggles. He plowed into the Joker and pushed them both out a broken window, till they were struggling and fighting on the brickwork like some sort of circus act.
“Isn’t Spider-man supposed to be all thin and wiry?” one mook asked. This guy was built like a stack of bricks, heavy and dense — and he was fast, moving like a whirlwind, and somehow still sticking on the side of the building while he did so. A couple minions tried to join the fray, only to find themselves thrown off like so much chaff.
“You think he’s a zombie? The mask and all.” New Mook had joined up for the safe place to sleep and the food. Older Mook stared at him for a moment, then shook his head.
“Nah. Zombies are all gone, remember?”
The Boss was holding his own. The Boss held his own against all comers, lately. If his older mooks had noticed that he was a little less verbal and a lot more carnivorous lately, well… nobody said a word. You worked for the Joker, you were used to not saying a word.
“Think we oughta help?”
Another hapless bystander joined the fray, only to fly off at breakneck speeds.
“Nah.” One of them would survive, and then they’d figure out where they stood.
The guy in red went rocketing out of the fray like his hair was on fire, bouncing off walls before appearing to explode in a puff of smoke. The boss climbed back up the wall and into the broken window, brushing dust and spiderwebs off his tattered suit.
“Done,” the Joker quipped, his smile a bit redder than it had been before. The mooks nodded, muttered their yessirs, and went back to clearing the buildings.
Peter lingered at the edge of town for a while, studying the river. He was going to have to leave. He’d felt the symbiote climbing higher and higher in his brain during the fight, until it made a grab just as the Joker tried to bite him. Another battle like that, and there wouldn’t be any Peter left.
The suburbs were empty, everyone said. He’d go there.
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