It starts like this, but with a twist..

He's playing his piano in his apartment, trying to find some solace in what is left of his life, trying his best to find that balance that he knows he's missing, when there is a knock at the door.

He doesn't hear the door at first, as he continues to play and hums along with what he's playing, stopping to write a note or two. It's when he's stopped to write something down, that he finally hears the knock.

There is a brief moment where he raises an eyebrow and looks at the door and wonders who it could be. He's been keeping to himself mostly, he hasn't invited anyone over to spend the night (though, he's getting very bored and tired of always being the one who has to have the trysts at his home, variety is the spice of life after all), so he has no reason to expect company. So, he slowly gets up, hesitant, because he's not sure what is in store for him. With the way that Joker has been leaving surprises in his apartment -- surprises he's still finding, unfortunately -- he's not sure he trusts anything these days, especially if it comes to his door.

He opens the door to find a man wearing a big winter coat, work boots, and a baseball hat.

"Hey, boss. Got that letter you wanted me to deliver."

Joe freezes. "Boss?"

The man suddenly looks panicked, "Yeah, Boss, don't you remember? After the...", the man leans in to whisper, "trains, we worked with you most of the week, until you told most of us to get lost. Jimmy got arrested, but he took that pill, just like you told him too, and Frankie and I are just waiting for your orders."

"My ord--get in here," He pulls the man into the apartment and Joe shuts the door behind him, "Listen, I don't know what you think you're doing or--" The man looks at him with wide eyed horror. As if he's waiting for Joe to admit that he's not his boss, as if he's waiting for Joe to essentially sign his death warrant.

Joe's face goes from serious and angry, to amused and laughing, and he's cackling. Cackling loudly, the full boisterous laugh that Joker is known to have. He wraps an arm around the man, and the man relaxes significantly. "Listen here, Hank was it?" The man nods, "Now Hank, we can't be going around talking loudly about our business, now can we? Get Frankie up in this apartment, I'm going to need help from you two fine gentlemen. I'll make sure you're rewarded."

Hank grins, ear to ear. "Sure thing, Boss!" He pulls out his phone and calls the man Joe has requested, and soon all three men are in the apartment, packing up everything. Frankie has a large truck outside, and they're packing everything into the truck. With the three of them, the apartment is cleared in 8 hours, leaving behind some things here or there that Joe didn't feel would be needed. Most of the furniture stays. The electronics, money, guns stacked away from when Joker went on robbery sprees, they're coming with him.

"Where to, boss?" Frankie asks as he gets behind the wheel and Joe laughs.

"Warehouse near the harbor. Our new base of operations. Let's go make it homey, shall we?" Joe isn't surprised that he's talking like Joker. That he's acting like Joker. It's only been a few months, but he's not strong enough to fight the otherside. He's too strong. He's too determined. Joe allows him to take over, because well...there's nothing else left for him to do. There's no one to pull him out from this. A life of trysts does not bring happiness, and it doesn't fill the hole in his heart and well, it's easy to take advantage of Joe then.

It's later at the warehouse, as Joe holds out two guns, one in each hand, one pointed at Hank and one pointed at Frankie that it's proven that the madness has taken hold. He pulls both triggers at the same time -- Frankie goes down, single shot to the head. Hank flinches and sees that the gun pointed at him was a trick gun, that when fired ust releases a flag that says "Bang.". Hank passes out, and Joe laughs. Hysterical laughter, pulled fully into the madness, he laughs.

It doesn't take long for Joe to realize life is better with Joker around. He's no longer worried about the shift, because it happens all the time for him now. Joker is always around, a little whisper in Joe's ear, and he's constantly talking to the other man to tell him what to do. He's gotten a gang of people, he's turned into one of the more formidable crime bosses in all of the Northeast -- and after dealing with the Italian and Irish mafia in Boston and getting them to not only stop trying to kill him, but to follow him as their leader, Joe is on top of the world. They call him the Charismatic Don, the one that women are dying to meet, and that men are dying to be, and hell sometimes people are just dying at his feet. He lives the life of luxury, he lives a life of crime.

He's smart about it. Years as a lawyer, as a criminal defense attorney and consultant to the Boston Police Department, he knows how to play things. He knows who the dirty cops are, and put them on his payroll. He knows how not to get caught, how to literally get away with murder, and he almost always does. When there is anyone on his tail, he throws someone from his gang under the bus. There are hundreds of them by now, and well, he's not the crowned prince of crime, he's the King. In fact, Joe has surpassed Joker in so many ways that the other man isn't even upset about it. He's laughing his way to the bank, along with Joe, glad that Joe has finally realized just how much better life was when he let himself give into his insanity.

Years of crime and corruption hasn't completely taken its toll on him, though. Most people by now would have gotten weak, would have lost a few things along the way. Joe, well he never really felt like he had any attachment to anyone anymore, and once the veil was lifted over him, with Joker he was stronger. Invincible. Unable to die. Why wouldn't that be the better life? Joe's intelligence and Joker's cunning had combined into a truly terrifying sight: where the man would do anything to get what he wanted, and would kill anyone who stood in his way.

He rose up quickly and took control of crime families quickly, but how could you possibly defeat a man who had nothing to fear? He didn't fear death, he didn't fear anyone. It didn't matter that he was now living a life on his own, it was always meant to be this way. It was always going to be inevitable. Joe was always going to give into Joker, it's just how these things work.

There is a sick feeling, a twisted notion of happiness that he has now, as he's loading his gun and pulling on his dark purple trenchcoat, a maddening grin taking over his face, grinning from ear to ear. Insanity is completely freeing, and the weight is off his shoulders finally.

This is what it's like to have gone mad, and to completely accept it. The last step is to take out everyone that knew who Joe used to be.

He cocks the gun and heads out of the warehouse. He'll make sure they won't put up a fight. He'll make sure they go out with a laugh.