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Harley & Ivy: As Nature Intended

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Name: Isley, Pamela Lillian

“—early workers focused their efforts on discovering and establishing the ‘the principle of vegetation.’”

Alias: Poison Ivy

“Seeking to answer the question, ‘Why, and by what method do plants grow and develop?’”

By what methods do plants grow and develop?... By what methods do plants grow and develop? Methods by which plants grow and develop:

Nationality: American

Gender: Female

Height: 67”

Weight: 130

Eye Color: Green

Hair Color: Red

 “One of the initial theories, which aimed to explain the secret of plant growth, was advanced by a Belgian physician and alchemist by the name of Van Helmont, who worked throughout the late 16th and early 17th century.”

Van Helmont. Belgian Physician 17th century.

Institution: Arkham Asylum

Classification: Metahuman

“He was among the first to introduce the use of ‘the balance’—which we’ll discuss at length next week— and to interpret data from a quantitative standpoint. It should be noted that water was one of the recognized chemical elements at the time of Van Helmont's work, but as a result of his studies, he concluded that water must be the "principle of vegetation," citing the following experiment as proof of his theory that water could be transformed into plant tissue.”

Water=’principle of vegetation’…. Water=’principle of vegetation’ Obviously.

Charges and Description: Unstable, volatile, violent tendencies. Symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder. Interact with caution. Incarcerated on charges of eco-terrorism, theft/larceny, and murder: first degree.

Pamela frowned down at her paper and then glanced back up at the chalk board on which Professor Woodrue was scribbling his own notes faster than she could keep up. She pushed her thick-rimmed glasses up the bridge of her nose and squinted at the messy letters. It was hard enough to read from this distance, and Woodrue’s haphazard handwriting didn’t help. Not that it mattered much. She did her own studying outside of class. In fact, most of the lectures she attended were relatively pointless.

But Professor Woodrue’s lectures were special. Regardless of if she already knew the material, it was fascinating to watch him speak. He was so passionate, so eloquent, so brilliant. And he often caught her eye as he spoke, seeking her out, always offering her a knowing smile. It made her feel special. Like he knew how hard she worked, how much she wanted to learn. From him in particular.

She searched for his gaze again today, but he was so…intense, writing so fervently on his chalk board that he didn’t even glance her way—not once. Ignoring the disappointment that stabbed at her, Pamela looked back down at her paper, scribbling a few more pertinent notes, her handwriting far more uniform than what was on the board.

It wasn’t much later that Professor Woodrue dismissed them to work on their lab assignment. Pamela made a quick survey of the room, adjusting her glasses once more as she searched for a partner. It wasn’t rare for her to end up working alone. The other students tended to give her wide berth. Being that she was the only woman in the majority of her classes, she’d just come to expect the isolation.

Not that she couldn’t handle the work load alone. She was smarter and more efficient than most of her classmates anyway. Even still, the loneliness got to her sometimes. The feeling that nobody wanted her was pervasive…and utterly distracting.

Resigning herself to another solitary lab, Pamela opened her textbook and flipped through the pages until she found her place.

She leaned in to read the fine print, nearly jumping out of her skin when another book dropped onto the table beside her with a loud ‘thwump’.

“This seat taken?”

Pamela whirled around, finding herself staring into pair of stunning blue eyes. The girl’s face was split by a brilliant smile, and she tucked a stray strand of soft blonde hair behind her ear as she waited for Pamela’s answer.

It took her a moment to find her voice. “Uh… N-no. It’s not.”

“Great.” The girl took a seat, flipping her textbook open and readying her pencil. Pamela stared, stunned and a little impressed that the girl had forced her way into her little bubble without permission or preamble. She didn’t recognize the girl—though she probably should have, given how rare they were in this field—but then again, she couldn’t name half the students in her class anyway, having never taken the time to get to know them.

“I’m Linda, by the way.” Pamela’s eyes dropped to the hand the girl had extended, pale and slender... Carefully, she took it, noting how soft and warm her skin was.

“Pamela.”

“Oh, I know,” Linda said, dropping into her chair. “Everybody knows who you are. You’re Woodrue’s favorite.”

Pam flushed. It felt good to have Woodrue’s inclination towards her validated. And yet, the way Linda said it felt a little condescending. Pamela had earned the professor’s attention with hard work and endless hours spent poring over her textbooks. However the other students saw her—teacher’s pet or otherwise—didn’t matter. And neither did this young woman’s opinion.

Linda seemed to sense the tension she’d injected into the atmosphere. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that in a disparaging sense. I respect your dedication. I’ve seen you walking around campus with your nose stuck in a book plenty of times while the rest of us are—well—acting like children, I suppose. Or our age, maybe.”

Linda’s compliments were uncomfortably backhanded, but at the same time, her constant smile belayed any offense Pamela might have taken otherwise.

“Thank you?”

Linda chuckled. “You’re welcome.”

“Is…that why you sat with me?” Pamela asked, the realization falling over her like a bucket of ice water.

“To get top marks? You bet.” Linda grinned again, but it fell when Pamela didn’t respond. “You’re not very good at taking a joke, are you?”

Pamela remained silent, adjusting her glasses self-consciously. The wooden chair Linda sat in scraped across the linoleum floor as she scooted closer.

“In truth, I wanted to get to know you,” she explained, propping her elbow on the desk and resting her cheek against her palm. “You always sit alone. Never talk to anyone. But every so often I see you smile, to yourself, usually...and I’ve always wondered if that was something I could help with. I make fantastic company, if you haven’t heard.”

Pamela nodded, a little too staggered by her random kindness to respond appropriately. But she did smile, wide enough to show her teeth for once.

“So,” Linda continued quickly. “Ready to get started? Although, you’re going to have to carry me through most of this. I still can’t make heads or tails of the electrophoretic separation of proteins. Doesn’t help that I can never read Woodrue’s notes. That man was born to be a doctor—and a sloppy one at that.”

Pamela giggled and the sound almost surprised her. Linda’s lips quirked, clearly almost as surprised.

“I’ll help you,” she assured Linda. “Just let me take the lead.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Linda winked, and Pamela felt a tingle fly down her spine. Ignoring the sensation, Pamela returned her attention to the textbook, opening her mouth to explain the purpose of the lab, when Linda spoke again.

“So why biochemistry?”

She snapped her mouth shut, her green eyes flitting back to Linda’s blue ones—blue eyes that were now studying her with a strange expression.

“I…” Why biochemistry? Pamela’s mind had been wiped clean by Linda’s gaze, her well-constructed, logical answers about effecting positive change escaping her. She shook her head, clearing her throat and gathering herself… electing to focus on the book instead of Linda’s face. “I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up.”

“You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?” Linda giggled at her own rhetorical question.

Pamela felt her cheeks begin to burn, and kept her eyes on the book in an attempt to hide it. “My mother and father weren’t exactly a supportive presence in my life.” I was lonely. “I spent most of my time in the garden.” That my mother wanted and then never tended to. “The plants and flowers offered me a dependability, a haven, that my parents couldn’t.”

Linda nodded, her eyes still trained on Pamela’s face. And Pamela wondered for a moment, why she felt so comfortable telling Linda about her dysfunctional childhood. It wasn’t something she’d shared with anyone before. But there was something welcoming about Linda. Something that made Pamela feel she wouldn’t be judged. That made her feel heard.   

“Flowers were what I had instead of a happy childhood.” Pamela summarized. “I was fascinated by them. By their maturation processes and intricacies, what they could do for humans and nature alike. They hold more power than people realize.”

“And that brought you all the way here to Seattle University?”

Pamela nodded. “I came here for the Professor. He knows more about plant life than any human being has a right to.”

Linda chuckled. “True enough.”

“I’m working on my thesis,” Pamela continued, unreservedly now. “Plant and animal hybridization.”

“Impressive,” Linda praised, propping her cheek on her palm again.

“And you? Why did you choose biochemistry?” Pamela asked and Linda gave a wry smile. “It’s only fair.”

“Well, unlike yourself, I can’t say I chose plants over throwing sand at other children on the playground. But I have always been fascinated with plant biology. You’re right, it’s far more complex than most people realize or care to understand. I’m here with my fiancé.” Pamela couldn’t explain the disappointment that twisted in her gut. “He’s working on a bio-restorative formula.”

“To what end?” Pamela asked, cocking her head.

“He wants to solve the nation’s food shortage problem,” Linda explained. “Noble, right?”

“Incredibly.”

Linda smiled. “But I won’t be much use to his crusade if I can’t pass Woodrue’s class.”

“You’re smart enough.”

“You don’t even know me,” Linda teased, tapping her pencil on the desk. “How can you be so sure?”

“Well… You were admitted. You made it this far, that’s no small feat.”

Linda laughed, the sound light and airy like a bell, and Pamela felt a flutter in her stomach.

“Sure, sure,” she said. “Good point. Unimpeachable argument, Pamela.”

Pamela liked the sound of her name rolling off Linda’s tongue. The way she said it felt warm, oddly affectionate. Different than how her Mother said it, different than even Professor Woodrue. And then she glanced at the clock on the wall over Linda’s shoulder. They’d been talking too long. And, rather surprisingly, Pamela found that she didn’t care. It was nice… connecting with someone.

“We should probably get to work,” Pamela suggested, gesturing vaguely to the clock.

Linda looked over her shoulder. “Oh, sorry. Didn’t realize I’d been babbling so long. Distracting my classmates, that’s my superpower.”

“Not exactly a desirable power,” Pamela tried, offering a nervous smile.

Linda snickered. “Maybe not for a hero. But I bet I’d make a good villain. I’m sure I could rattle off a bloated monologue or two.”

“You’re not a villain.” Pamela almost felt offended on Linda’s behalf.

“Joke, Pam,” she teased, poking Pamela’s shoulder with the eraser end of her pencil. “We’ll work on it, don’t worry.”

Pam. I could be Pam.

Finally, Linda hunched over in her chair and peered at the textbook between them. “Fine, you’ve convinced me—let’s get going.”

Pamela watched her a moment more, entranced by the way her light blonde hair fell over her shoulder and curtained her face. She pushed it back behind her ear again—a habit Pamela already found endlessly endearing.

Linda glanced at her from the corner of her eye. “You okay?”

“Yes,” Pamela answered quickly, looking away before Linda could see the blush coloring her cheeks. The soft smile that grew on Linda’s pink lips told her she was unsuccessful.

/

“Come on,” Linda said, gathering her books as the obnoxious brass bell signaled the end of class. “I’ll introduce you to Alec.” Pamela rose from her chair, following Linda without paying attention to the afterwork Woodrue was assigning as the crowd of students flooded out of the lecture hall doors.

“How long have you been engaged?” Pamela asked as they strode through the busy quad together, Linda’s book swinging confidently at her side while Pamela kept hers pressed close to her chest.

“Just a few months. But we’ve known each other since we were both freshman. I thought he was an absolute jackass when we first met,” Linda said with a laugh; Pamela hung onto the sound. “But he told me he was smitten the second he saw me. How could I not fall for that eventually?”

I can understand why he was. Pamela held her words inside and simply pursed her lips instead.

It didn’t sound like the healthiest way to start a relationship, but who was she to judge? Her first and only relationship had ended the moment they’d shared their first kiss. Pamela could still feel the boy’s saliva smeared all over her face, in her mouth...for a moment, she thought to spit.

Linda noticed the shudder than passed through her. “Disgusted?”

Pamela shook her head quickly. “Not by you.”

“Comforting.” Linda adjusted her book in her arms and turned sharply, taking them towards the library and Pamela nearly stumbled over her own feet in an attempt to keep up. They fell silent as they entered the quiet library together, Pamela following close behind as Linda led her to the back of the building.

A young man with blonde hair lighter than Linda’s and dark intelligent eyes, sat at a round table hidden away in the corner, scribbling fiercely on a piece of paper already crowded with text. There were dozens of books spread out around him and he was so busy scouring them, he didn’t notice Pamela and Linda approach until Linda slipped a hand over his eyes.

He jumped when she leaned down to peck him on the cheek. “Guess who?”

A slow grin crept onto his face and he turned to meet Linda’s lips. Pamela looked away. It was hardly more than a chaste kiss, but somehow she felt like she was interrupting an extremely intimate moment.

“How was class?” Alec asked, once the two had separated.

“Easy as pie,” Linda said, gesturing for Pamela to come closer. “I had a little help today. This is Pam.”

Alec’s piercing eyes flickered over Pamela. He rose and held out a hand, which Pamela took cautiously. His grip was firm, but the smile on his face was friendly.

“Good to meet you, Pam. I’m Alec.” He released her hand and slipped an arm around Linda’s waist. “Thanks for giving Linda a hand today. Woodrue’s a bit of a candyass stiff, if you ask me. And not exactly easy to keep up with.”

A brief heat rose in Pamela’s cheeks, whether on her professor’s behalf, or for the insinuation that she might lack the necessary intelligence, she wasn’t sure. “For some,” Pamela replied with a shrug.

Alec raised a single brow. “I admire your… confidence.”

“She’s Woodrue’s favorite,” Linda explained, untangling herself from Alec’s grip and sinking into a chair at the table. “And absolutely deserves the attention.”

“What’s your thesis?” Alec asked, sitting next to Linda and gesturing for Pamela to do the same. Cautiously, she did, setting her books aside as she began to explain to Alec what she’d already told Linda. Her eyes flickered to their hands every now and again—Alec toyed with Linda’s fingers constantly, running his own over her engagement ring. Pamela found it incredibly distracting and she couldn’t ignore the strange ache forming in her belly.

/

Pamela fidgeted in front of the mirror as she fastened the buttons on her plaid overcoat, wrapping her green scarf around her neck—the one that matched the ribbon she’d tied into her hair.

Green…her Mother had always said that was her color. Green like her eyes, as rich and lively as the plants she studied.

She attempted a nervous smile and a small wave at her reflection and reminded herself for the 200th time that Linda had invited her for a drink. It was Linda’s idea. Pamela wasn’t imposing, she didn’t make the woman uncomfortable. Linda liked her. Linda was her friend. She’d made a friend.

Pam’s smile brightened to a grin at the thought, and in the next moment a car horn was honking outside her window.

With a deep breath, Pam grabbed her clutch off the counter and opened the front door. Immediately, she was hit with a cold gust of wind…and then an overwhelming heat that spread from her chest into her cheeks at the sight of Linda waving at her from the driver’s seat of a pink convertible.

Pam couldn’t believe she found something so ridiculous so thoroughly charming, but she smiled as she approached the car, tentatively taking the handle in her gloved hand to pull the door open.

“Well hey there,” Linda smiled right back, her hands noticeably bare on the leather steering wheel, a thick woolen cap pulled down over her ears. “I didn’t intend to be late, I promise.”

“No, it’s no trouble,” Pamela excused her apology, shutting herself into the car and glancing confusedly at the empty back seat. “Is Alec not joining us?”

“Unfortunately, he’s indisposed.” Linda put the car in gear, creeping at a respectable speed down Pam’s residential street. “Just us girls tonight, if that’s alright with you.”

“Oh, yes! Yes, that’s fine,” Pam said, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. She liked Alec, she really did. He was kind and intelligent and seemed to truly adore Linda—as far as she could tell. But Linda was her friend, Alec was simply an acquaintance, a colleague, maybe. She enjoyed his company, but didn’t…miss him when he was gone or crave their next conversation the way she did with Linda.

Linda smirked subtly in Pam’s direction. “He’s working on a project with Woodrue, if you can believe it. Hasn’t lifted his nose from the grindstone in almost a week.”

Working…with Professor Woodrue? Pamela tried to ignore the pang of jealously in her gut. “He must be very grateful for the opportunity,” she intoned, unable to keep all the sourness out of her voice.

Linda chuckled. “Well, he’s not exactly the professor’s biggest fan, that’s no secret. Even so, I say let the boys be boys, and we’ll have our own fun. How does that sound?”

In reality, Pam had very little idea as to what that meant, but still, the thought excited her.

It was a Friday night and a holiday, meaning the college bar that Linda and Pam’s other classmates frequented was positively slammed. Linda was forced to park her car a few blocks away, and to hold onto Pam’s hand for the walk over as she’d neglected to bring her own gloves. Pam, of course, had no qualms about holding Linda’s hand. Linda was her friend. Friends helped each other. And providing warmth was a task she was certainly up for.

That’s what she told herself anyway. Ignoring the voice that told her to lace their fingers together… to run her thumb over Linda’s knuckles. Needless to say, she missed most of what Linda said as they walked to the bar together. The blonde didn’t seem to mind though, chattering away animatedly while Pam’s thoughts spun like a whirlwind in her head.

By the time they arrived, the bar was so crowded that Linda actually had to push their way inside. She gripped Pam’s hand tightly in her own, which helped the redhead to feel secure surrounded by all these people.

People she tended to purposefully avoid.

Pam wasn’t much of a drinker…every so often, at one of her parent’s parties, she’d partake in a cocktail or two, but only really to appease the other guests and avoid questions about pregnancy. The answer was always no. Pam was fairly certain the answer would always be no. Not that she didn’t like children, it was just…the idea of settling down with a man, of being called his wife, of pushing aside her own career and ambition to become her Mother’s daughter was terrifying for a reason she couldn’t quite explain. It made her feel trapped, just like her conversations with men made her feel corralled. Their broad shoulders and natural arrogance, their ridiculous bravado, the grease in their hair or the stubble on their cheeks…it was oppressive and overwhelming. Luckily, she didn’t get much of their attention anyway. And that wasn’t to say that Pamela wasn’t attractive. No, she was, beneath her glasses, she knew she was. But she was also intimidating. A man didn’t want to know less than their woman, and Pamela knew more than anyone.

Linda returned to their booth carrying a drink in each hand—manhattans. Pam recognized the amber coloring immediately. It was her Mother’s drink. Pamela had become rather skilled at preparing them throughout her life. It was a service her Mother had required of her from a young age.

“M’lady…” Linda set one of the glasses down on the coaster in front of Pam, taking a seat on the other bench, a sip of the liquid already in her mouth.

“Thank you,” Pam said, quietly, glancing down at her glass without reaching for it. “I can pay you back…”

Linda waved her off. “Oh, don’t be silly. I didn’t buy these anyway. Those gentleman…” she turned to point at two square-jawed men standing near the bar, “provided the beverages.”

“I see,” Pam gave a cordial nod in their direction, which was returned with a wink that Pam quickly averted her eyes from. “Did you…happen to get a look at next semester’s syllabus? I hear the workload will increase significantly.”

Laughing, Linda said: “Pamela Lillian Isley, it is New Year’s Eve. How about we find something else to talk about besides Professor Woodrue and his apparent arousal at overworking his students.”

Pam bit her lip to contain her smile, finally reaching for her drink. “If you insist.”

“Yes, and please drink,” Linda agreed. “Blitzed Pam is someone I’m very much looking forward to meeting.”

Although a little hesitant at first, Pam quickly relaxed into the light-hearted conversation Linda initiated. Soon, she forgot about the loud and rowdy crowd around them. As she sipped—a little more slowly than Linda—the world seemed to shrink around them until there was nothing but Linda’s blue eyes, and her blinding smile and her pale skin illuminated by the yellow bar lights.

Linda was laughing heartily by the time they’d finished their second drink. “You can’t be serious.”

“I am be serious,” Pam assured her, before frowning at how her words had twisted on the journey from her brain to her mouth. “I’ve never worn pants and I have too many skirts,” she waved her hands in a grand ‘no’ gesture. “So many skirts and dresses. But you’re wearing pants. Is that nice?”

“It’s very nice,” Linda revealed. “My brother runs track, and in pants I can almost keep up with him.”

Pam snorted at that. “I don’t believe you.

Linda quirked an eyebrow amusedly. “I’d be happy to race you.”

“But I’m in a skirt! Didn’t you see?” Pam giggled.

“Yes…I did…” Linda smiled over the brim of her glass. “It’s shorter than your other ones. I like it very much. Did you wear it for me?”

Pam blushed furiously, immediately dropping her gaze. “No, I just…it’s a nice skirt. I bought it myself.”

Linda’s frown was puzzled as she leaned forward on the leather bench. “Do you have a personal shopper?”

“Oh, No, not that, it’s…” Pam stared own at the maraschino cherry in her glass. “My Mother likes to buy clothes and send them to me. She…she doesn’t think I’ll make good decisions.”

Giggling, Linda asked: “Does she think you’ll buy pants?”

“Yes,” Pam admitted with a laugh, finally brave enough to enter back into the blue tractor beam that pulled her in so quickly. “Or maybe that I’ll forget to do my makeup, or something of the sort. Neglect my salon appointments, wear my glasses out at night, forget a bra…or wear flats, God forbid.”

Linda tilted her head slightly, just to look at her…Pam could feel the woman’s eyes searching her face, and watched as a warm smile crept onto her lips. “I like your glasses,” she decided. “They suit you.”

“Thank you,” Pam mumbled, pushing said glasses up the bridge of her nose. “I like your no glasses—I mean your eyes!” she tried to recover her incredibly awkward sentence. “They’re very blue and—I’m terribly sorry, I don’t often drink.”

“I am shocked and appalled,” Linda teased. “But actually, I’d say you’re handling it pretty well,” she winked, and that, Pamela did not look away from.

Suddenly, they weren’t alone. The men who’d bought them their first round were now standing uncomfortably close to their booth, the taller one leaning against it on Linda’s side, looking down at her.

“Do either of you fine ladies have anyone to kiss at midnight?” he asked with an overconfident smile.

“Yes,” Linda answered him, blatantly showing off her engagement ring. “He’s at home, waiting for me.”

“And what about you, Sweetheart?” the other one asked, leering at Pam. “If you can take our drinks I’m sure you can take our—,”

All at once, Pam shot up from the table, saying: “I have to go,” before he even had time to finish his sentence. That predatory look in his eye…it made her skin crawl, and so she grabbed her jacket. “Linda, I need you to take me home.”

“I can give you a ride if you want, Baby,” the man assured her. “No need to interrupt your friend’s evening, especially now, only two minutes before midnight. What’s the point of celebrating New Year’s Eve if you don’t ring in the new year?”

“No,” Linda said firmly, getting to her feet. “Pamela’s right, we should be going. Late for a woman to be out without her husband anyway, especially on a holiday.” She pushed past them, taking Pamela by the arm and fighting the crowd once more until they were hit with that familiar gust of cold, fresh air.

“I’m sorry,” Pamela murmured as she walked arm-in-arm with Linda down the street. “I was enjoying myself, I didn’t…you could have stayed longer, I suppose, I just…” she trailed off when Linda pulled her into an alley two buildings over.

“Don’t apologize,” said the blonde, facing her now. “You shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to, especially listen to some jackass who would just use you up and throw you away. That’s not what you want.”

“N—no, it’s not,” Pam agreed, shaking her head, backing up slowly as Linda moved towards her…until she felt the cold, wet bricks of the building on her back. “T—that’s not what I want.”

Linda’s eyes flitted to Pam’s lips as she flicked her tongue out to wet her own. “Can I guess what it is you do want?”

Pam swallowed—hard—her heart beating almost violently in her chest. “It’s almost midnight,” her voice sounded small, barely louder than a whisper, swallowed up by the whistling wind that they were only barely cocooned from in the ally.

That seemed to be enough of an answer for Linda, because she took Pam’s hands in her own and pressed them back against the bricks, pinning her there.

Pam allowed her eyes to flutter closed, the warmth in her belly from the spirits nearly as hot as her blushed features as Linda moved forward, her kiss gentle.

The redhead welcomed it, everything she had wanted. This wasn’t like with the boy in the car, this was…different. This was Linda and her soft pink lips, and it felt…right.

Linda unbuttoned Pam’s jacket, slipping her arms inside and wrapping them around Pam’s waist as Pam allowed the woman’s questing tongue to slide against her bottom lip and into her mouth. Luckily, she was just buzzed enough not to be embarrassed by the moan she let slip.

The blonde smiled at that, pulling back just slightly, so they were still sharing the same air. “Would you still like me to take you home?”

Pam’s eyes blinked open, her stomach fluttering, heart racing, and her wet lips cold in the absence of Linda’s.  “Yes, please.”

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Chapter Text

Pam couldn’t remember how they made it back to Linda and Alec’s tiny house. The entire drive was a blur, Pam’s mind whirling, her heart still hammering against her ribs as she replayed the kiss over and over and over again. A constant smirk quivered on Linda’s lips as she drove, one hand holding Pam’s over the clutch, only releasing it once in a while to shift gears.

By the time Linda parked the car in the driveway, Pam had managed to regain some of her sense—but it quickly flew out the window again when Linda leaned over the console and kissed her. It was light, less intense than the one in the alleyway, but it held so much promise. Linda’s eyes flashed when she pulled away, illuminated a sharp blue in the moonlight. She stepped out of the car and moved around to Pam’s side, opening the door for her and taking her gloved hand, eyes never leaving hers as they walked backwards up the driveway.

Vaguely, Pam took in her surroundings. The house was surrounded by a little picket fence, a small garden tucked into the corner—because of course there was. A tangle of wickedly green trailing ivies  climbed up the chipped white walls of the house. It was all rather quaint, but homey…and Pam found herself wanting it.

Then Linda was tugging on her hands and pulling her inside the house. It was dark, filled with a heavy, pervasive silence. Alec was still busy, and with luck, Pam hoped he’d be gone all night…And then it hit her what she’d just insinuated and she blushed a deep red. But Linda didn’t give her a chance to recuperate, pressing Pam up against the wall, their bodies sliding together as Linda pulled her in for another deep kiss.

What are we doing? Pam wanted to ask. But the words died on her tongue when she felt Linda’s enter her mouth, and tangle with hers. Linda’s touch was like fire, her hands burning and marking Pam’s skin, sliding underneath her blouse and stroking her stomach.

Another moan escaped her and Linda grinned against her lips, helping Pam to pull off her jacket and cast it aside. Finally, Linda broke the kiss—giving her a chance to breathe—and pressed her forehead against Pam’s, panting.

“I’d love to give you the grand tour,” she murmured, her voice muted in the oppressive silence of the house. “But there’s really only one room I want to show you.”

Pam groaned as Linda’s hot mouth latched onto the soft skin just below her ear and jaw. She heard Linda chuckle and then, in the next moment, she was being led up the staircase, past a bathroom, down a hall, and finally into a small bedroom.

There was a vanity in one corner, and a bed bookended by two nightstands. And a large window, with wispy blue curtains decorated the far wall. Pam didn’t have much more time to admire, let alone compliment the space, before Linda was guiding her to the bed.

The backs of Pam’s knees hit the edge of the mattress and she plopped down, the springs creaking underneath her weight. Linda was already unbuttoning her jacket and slipping her shirt over her head, before starting on her pants. Pam reached out, to help her? Touch her? She didn’t know, but it didn’t matter. Linda caught her hands and held them away, a sly smile growing on those perfect pink lips. The ones Pam already knew so intimately now.

Without breaking the intense eye contact between then, Linda took the fingertip of Pam’s glove between her teeth and pulled, agonizingly slow, then dropped it and nipped at Pam’s exposed palm. Her other glove received the same treatment, and then Linda kicked her pants away and braced her knees on either side of Pam’s thighs. She lowered herself until her panty clad center was pressed flush against Pam’s… who unfortunately, was still covered by the fabric of her skirt.

Linda must have caught the slightly terrified look on Pam’s face, because she cupped her cheeks in both hands and tilted her head until their eyes met.

“You with me?”

Pam nodded, the movement restricted by Linda’s hands. “Always.”

“That’s pretty cheesy, Pamela,” Linda chuckled, pressing her lips against Pam’s teasingly, prodding them with her tongue only to pull away when Pam granted her access.

Allowing her hands to slide away from her cheeks, Linda trailed them down Pam’s neck, over her collar, the swell of her breasts—where she gave a quick and gentle squeeze that made Pam gasp. Then she tucked her warm, slender fingers underneath Pam’s shirt and pulled it over her head, smoothing out her red hair that the movement left tangled.

“Have you ever been with a woman before?” Linda asked quietly, her chest pressing against Pam’s face as she leaned forward—her hands wandering around Pam’s back to finger the clasp of her bra.

“No.” Pam tried to swallow, but her mouth was too dry. Her eyes fluttered shut as Linda unhooked her bra and lay it on the bed beside them.

“Have you ever been with anyone before?”

Again, Pam shook her head. “No.”

With her eyes still closed, Pam wasn’t able to see the tender smile Linda gave her at that. Raising gentle hands, she palmed Pam’s breasts, rolling her thumbs around her nipples until they hardened beneath her touch. Pam’s eyes shot open, green meeting blue, and she opened her mouth in a silent cry when Linda kissed her again.

“I’ll make this good for you then,” Linda whispered against her lips and Pam could already feel the arousal gathering in her belly. As new as this was—as inexperienced as Pamela knew she was going to be…she wasn’t afraid. She trusted Linda. They’d fostered a strong friendship in the few weeks they’d known one another, since the day Linda slammed her books down on Pam’s desk and barged into her life.

If there was anyone she was going to give herself to willingly. It was Linda.

Carefully, Linda lay Pam back against the sheets, pulling her skirt off her hips, leaving her only in her light pink panties.

“These are cute,” Linda purred, crawling up Pam’s body with a predatory look in her eyes.

“I…I bought them too,” Pam managed, unable to tear her eyes away from those fiercely sharp blue ones.

“Good choice.” She paused, running her hand along the scarf Pam still wore, twirling the end around one fingertip. “I think we’ll keep this on.”

Starting at her neck, above the scarf, Linda sucked on the spot she’d discovered earlier and then made her way down Pam’s body, listening to each of Pam’s whimpers and sighs, making sure to pleasure those spots more than most.

“You’re kind of sensitive,” Linda murmured, her tongue lapping one of Pam’s nipples.

Threading her fingers into Linda’s blonde hair, Pam tried for a response, settling instead on a choked gasp as the blonde’s tongue grew more eager. Releasing Pam’s nipple with a wet ‘pop’, Linda continued her exploration of her body. And when she settled between Pam’s legs, pulling off her underwear with her teeth, she looked up at Pam, waiting until green eyes opened to meet her gaze.

The blonde didn’t say anything, but she smiled and squeezed Pam’s thigh and then, in the next moment, her tongue was on Pam’s center and colors bloomed behind the red head’s eyes. Her senses exploded, electricity arcing through her body. The sensation was overwhelming, almost too much to take in, and her thighs began closing around Linda’s head. Gently, Linda pushed them apart again, her tongue continuing to work relentlessly.

 It didn’t last long at all.

 Linda was right, Pam was sensitive…and the things she was feeling were things she never thought she could feel. She hadn’t even known they existed. Pam writhed, and tangled her fingers in Linda’s hair, and tugged and moaned, and then the blonde plunged her tongue in and out of Pam’s center, and she came with a whole body shudder, her cry of pleasure echoing through the empty house.

Drawing back, Linda admired her trembling handiwork for a moment, before crawling up the bed again and bumping her nose against Pam’s, then flopping onto her side.

“Good?” She asked, trying to draw redhead’s attention back from the ceiling. Turning her wide eyes to Linda, Pam nodded breathlessly.

“Yes, good.” Not that she had anything to compare it to…But that wasn’t important right now. Linda’s eyes were. And her smile, and the way her fingers danced across Pam’s cheek. Chuckling, Linda settled against the pillow, slipping her arm over Pam’s slim waist and burying her face in her waves of red hair.

“Happy 1966,” Linda heaved a contented sigh, her breasts pressing against Pam’s back and for a moment she wondered if she should do something to reciprocate. But she had no idea what to do, and Linda seemed perfectly content to rest now, her arm tightening around Pam.

Allowing her eyes to slip shut, Pam listened to the rapid thump of her own heart, and Linda’s slow breathing, until she fell asleep curled against the woman she was falling hopelessly in love with.

/

That wasn’t the last time it happened. In fact, the rendezvous became more and more frequent. They met at Linda’s house, whenever Alec was occupied. They found one another in the library, the bathroom—Pam’s least favorite spot—and even in Woodrue’s class. Pam had a hard time focusing when Linda sat next to her, pale hand wandering up and down her thigh.

It was addicting. The high, the secrets, the passion. But as time went on…As the days turned into weeks, Pam found herself growing heavy with guilt. Alec was a good man. He loved Linda, and he was so kind to Pam. And yet, every day, they lied to him. They let him believe that Linda still wanted him and only him.

Linda didn’t seem to share in Pam’s guilt. Or if she did, she didn’t let on. And Pam didn’t ask—not wanting to ruin what they had. It was too special, too good. It made her feel wanted, needed. Like she belonged somewhere, with someone who really cared about who she was.

It was different than how she’d felt during her childhood, when her only company had been her verdant garden. Different than her lonely years in high school with no friends to call her own. This connection, this deep desire, made her happier than the plants ever had.

One night, as they lay flushed and sated, tangled together underneath the soft cotton sheets of Linda’s bed…she broke the comfortable silence in a way Pam would never have expected.

“We should run,” Linda mumbled, her lips brushing Pam’s forehead, fingers running through her locks of red hair, raising them up and then letting them slip back down onto the pillow.

At first, Pam thought she’d misheard. “Run?”

She felt Linda nod and propped her chin up on the blonde’s shoulder to meet her bright blue gaze.

“Run…Where?”

“Anywhere?” Pam’s head was lifted as Linda shrugged her shoulder. “We can have so much more, Pam. We deserve so much more. We can’t get what we need here. We can’t be us here.” She gestured between the two of them.

Absolutely befuddled, Pam rose up onto her elbow, a wrinkle forming between her brows. “I-I don’t understand…What do you mean we can’t get what we need here? Linda…We’re two of the few women in our class…The top of our class at that. The work you’re doing w—with Alec…” They both flinched at his name. “It’s all important. If we left, we’d be throwing everything we’ve worked for away.”

Linda’s blue eyes grew more intense, and she too propped herself up on her elbow. “Fine. Then we wait. We wait until we’ve both graduated. And then…We’ll leave. We’ll be on the road...Like Jack Kerouac.” She beamed, her nose wrinkling when Pam groaned. “What? That was a good one. Too highbrow for you, Isley?”

An even larger grin threatened to break Pam’s forced grimace. In truth, Linda’s jab only reminded her why she was in this bed, why she’d spent weeks lying to Alec and to herself. She was in love with this witty, intelligent, beautiful, powerful woman. And Pam would do anything Linda asked of her without hesitation. Run away together.

Yes.

“What about Alec?”

Shaking her head, blonde hair spilling around her shoulders, Linda took Pam’s hand and pressed it to her lips. “Don’t worry about him. That’s not your concern, it’s mine.” Her mouth quirked into half a smile and then she locked eyes with Pam, slipping her engagement ring off her finger and twisting to set it on the bedside table behind her.

“What are you doing?” Pam’s voice was breathy, her eyes searching Linda’s face for an answer. Linda looked just as terrified, if not a little bit more invigorated.

“I don’t know,” she chuckled excitedly, stroking Pam’s cheek. “God, I don’t know…. But—I do know, I want you. Only you. Pamela Lillian Isley.”

Speechless, Pam could only continue to stare, rigid, as Linda rolled her underneath her lithe body and began trailing a path of wet kisses from her chest, to her neck and finally her lips.

“Will you…Do me the honor…”

“Don’t.” The word came out as a giggle.

Linda’s smile was pressed against Pam’s lips. “…Of becoming…”

“Stop it.” Linda was attacking her neck again now, her kisses light, making Pam cringe away and snort unceremoniously.

“…The Lucy to my Ethel? The Abbott to my Costello? The Bonnie to my Clyde? My partner in crime?”

“We can’t do this.” The words bubbled out of Pam in another airy laugh—and she didn’t believe them for a second.

“I know it sounds crazy,” Linda agreed, bracing her elbows on either side of Pam’s head. “But I’m crazier for you.”

Pam wrinkled her nose, grinning so wide it hurt her cheeks. “I can’t believe you actually said that.”

“I’m a ham, Pam.” She stuck out her tongue when Pam rolled her eyes good naturedly. “You know this. And you love me for it.”

The air between them sobered suddenly. Linda’s next words escaped her lips in a trembling breath. She stroked one hand through Pam’s hair, using her thumb to brush the smattering of freckles on the younger woman’s cheek. “You do…right?”

Pam didn’t need clarification, although she almost thought to ask for it just to be sure. In the weeks they’d been seeing one another, they’d never actually said the words out loud. But Pam felt them, deeply. And the look in Linda’s blue eyes told her she did too.

“Yes,” she replied, voice barely above a whisper. “I do love you.”

And this time it was Linda’s turn for an ear-to-ear smile. Gathering Pam in her arms, she rolled them across the mattress again, kissing every inch of skin, every freckle she could reach. Pam clung to her, giggling, burying her nose in blonde hair that smelled like sunshine and the morning breeze.

You and me, she told herself as Linda pushed her back against the pillows and began a torturously slow path down her naked body. Always.

/

Pamela grinned down at her paper as it was passed back to her, there was simply no hiding her excitement. A perfect score, and a note written in Professor Woodrue’s signature unruly handwriting.

Excellent. See me after class.

Linda leaned over to take a look herself, her hand pressing down on Pamela’s thigh a bit too high for public consumption. Though, of course it was all hidden below the table they shared, how Linda’s elegant hand kneaded and squeezed, turning Pamela as red as the ink on her paper.

“Well aren’t you the little teacher’s pet,” the blonde teased.

“You don’t think it’s about the internship, do you?” Pam asked nervously.

Linda chuckled. “I certainly hope it is. You’re brilliant, Pamela, and there’s truly no one more passionate about this work. Woodrue would be a fool not to realize that.”

“Alec thinks Woodrue’s a fool anyway,” Pam reminded her.

“Oh, what does Alec know?” Linda waved her off. “He’s a man. He’s allowed to think those things. We’re just meant to be grateful for whatever scraps they throw us.” She lowered her voice and leaned in close to Pam’s ear, her breath hot. “Which is exactly why we’re getting out of here.”

Pamela closed her eyes at the words, letting them wash over her… “Somewhere with sun,” she murmured.

“Mmm…how does California sound?” Linda mused. “Somewhere near the ocean, where we’re allowed to breathe. I’ve been dying to see you in a bathing suit.”

The redhead bit her lip to contain her gasp at how Linda pushed her hand up beneath her skirt, fingers brushing lightly against the already damp fabric of her girdle.

“I’m sorry,” Woodrue stopped his lecture to address them. “Am I interrupting something, Girls?”

Linda subtly removed her hand while Pam quickly shook her head, her freckles blotted out by her blush.

“I’m sure whatever boy you’re gossiping about will still be cute after class,” he pointedly assured them.

There were a few snickers from the men in front of them, but the professor had returned to his lecture before either woman could respond.

After class, Linda leaned back over the desk to say: “Woodrue finally gave Alec the night off, he’ll be spending it at the bar with his friends, blowing off steam. And I think…I’d like to blow off some steam too,” she giggled, whispering: “Can I meet you at yours tonight?”

Pam attempted to tamp down the smile threatening to split her face in two. “Can I make you dinner?”

Linda’s smile was a bit slyer, but her eyes were just as happy. “I’d like that very much.”

Pam watched as Linda was absorbed into the crowd of students flowing out of the room, before she turned her attention to their professor, who was clearing the chalk board of his notes. She was the last student that remained.  

With a deep breath, Pam rose from her chair, grabbing her textbook and gripping it tightly in her hands as she crossed the room. “Um…Professor?” she prompted when he didn’t turn around right away. “You wanted to see me?”

“Ms. Isley…” he greeted, wiping away the final sentence and clapping his hands free of chalk. A pleasant smile stretched his lips—one like those he sometimes aimed her way during lectures. “You seem nervous. I won’t bite, I promise. Not nearly as feral as my hairstyle would make it seem.”

Pam let free a small laugh—a kind one, one that sounded more grateful than genuinely charmed. “It’s just—not every day my favorite professor asks to see me after class,” she said.

His smile broadened slightly at the compliment, his brown eyes magnified by his round glasses in a way that made him look almost boyish when added to his uncouth sandy hair. “I noticed you’ve managed to make a few friends as of late. I hope I’m not cutting into your social time.”

“Oh, no,” Pam shook her head. “It’s fine, really. More than fine, actually. It’s an honor, Professor.”

“Goodness, the formality,” he laughed. “How about you call me Jason and I’ll call you Pamela. I think a first name basis is a good idea, especially if we’re going to be working together.”

Pam didn’t believe her ears at first, but her heart hammered away in her chest none the less. “You…you’d let me work with you?”

Jason chuckled, leaning back against his desk, his arms crossing over his chest. “I assumed you were expecting this. It’s why you handed me your unpublished thesis, yes? You were hoping I’d provide you with lab space for your experiments?”

Pamela was blushing furiously at this point. “Well, yes, but—”

“But nothing,” he interrupted her. “I’m not sure if you’re aware, but plant and animal hybridization is actually one of my foremost passions as well. A truly fascinating subject.”

“Yes, I—I did know that,” Pam admitted, needlessly adjusting her glasses. “It’s actually why I came here. I was accepted at Brown, Cornell and Stanford as well, but the thought of learning from you was too exhilarating to pass up.”

The professor grinned at that. “I’m grateful you did. It’s not every day you meet a young woman so intelligent and so beautiful. At least not for me, anyway. You, Pamela, seem to be entirely unique.”

Pam bit her lip to contain her smile, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear. “You’re too kind…”

Jason studied her while she studied her shoes, his eyes roaming languorously up and down her body. “Would you…like the grand tour?”

There’s only one room I want to show you

Pam blinked as Linda’s words wound their way through her head.

“Here, come with me,” he pushed off of the desk, gesturing to the door behind it. “I’ll show you where you’ll be working. I think you’ll be impressed by the equipment.”

He…already had the equipment on site? Honestly, Pamela was impressed already. “Alright,” she smiled, gripping her textbook closer to her chest and starting towards the door.

Jason followed, his eyes sweeping the classroom one last time before shutting them into the hallway.

The darkness that encapsulated them was a bit jarring…but Pamela had done enough labs in her time at the university to know her way around these spaces blind.

“Oh, no,” he stopped her as she reached out to grab the handle on the door that she knew would lead her into the demonstration space. “That’s only for classroom purposes,” he explained. “The private labs are down there,” he pointed to the staircase Pamela had passed a million times before.

“Is this…where you work with Alec?” Pam asked as she descended the stone steps. It grew colder the deeper they went, and the apparent dampness of the air led her to believe they’d eventually arrive in a basement.

“It is, yes,” Jason answered her, before changing the subject. “This school was founded in 1891, but this building here is even older. Most students, and even faculty, aren’t aware these tunnels and rooms even exist.”

“Well, that means more space for you, I suppose,” Pam joked, nearly falling flat on her face when the stairs ended, as it was practically too dark to see two feet in front of her. Luckily, Jason was there to catch her, his arm clutching tightly around her slim waist. That didn’t save her from the embarrassment of the moment, though. “I’m sorry,” she apologized. “Seems I have two left feet.”

Woodrue chuckled at that, holding her up so she could regain her footing. “No need to apologize, I’m happy to be your knight in shining armor.”

There’s only one room I want to show you

Pam swallowed a bit uncomfortably, though in truth, she wasn’t completely sure why. So she ignored the sinking feeling in her gut and they continued on their way…all the way to what she presumed was the end of the hallway.

“Here it is…” he said, and she could hear the smile on his lips as he produced a ring of keys from his pocket. His arm brushed against her chest as he angled to slip the key into the lock, and his hand lingered against her as he dragged it back.

I should go, she thought to say.

…But she didn’t.

Instead, she stepped inside the room Jason had opened, relieved that at least this space had light—light which she realized was coming from the glowing orange incubation tanks that lined the far wall. He was right, she was impressed. And that managed to wipe away the worry she’d been feeling just moments earlier.

In the center of the room was a large metal table, upon which sat various rare plants specimens. Species Pamela had only seen in textbooks, never in person.

“May I…?” she asked, approaching the table like a moth to flame, her eyes wide with amazement. She set down her textbook, running one finger gently over a large spotted purple leaf.

“Incredible, aren’t they?” he murmured behind her—right behind her.

“Yes, I—” she made an odd choking sound as she felt his fingers trail softly up her side. “P—professor…”

“Jason,” he softly corrected, “Call me Jason,” and moved her hair away from her neck in a single sweep, brushing his lips against the soft skin he’d just exposed as gently as his fingers had run up her side.

“Jason, I—I don’t think we should….this doesn’t quite feel right,” Pam told him, her voice high and slightly panicky, especially as he wrapped an arm around her waist, searching for the zip on her skirt. “Y—you’ll get in trouble!”

“Oh, come now, Pamela,” he chuckled into her ear, his breath wet—dank…like the air that surrounded them. “You’re a grown woman. We’ve done nothing wrong.”

She clamped her hand down on the table in front of them. “Jason, someone will hear us,” she forced out, the room feeling like it was getting smaller with each passing second, the walls…closing in on her. Trapping her.

“No one can hear us down here,” Jason assured her…although there was nothing reassuring about it. It was the moment Pamela realized she wasn’t imagining her containment. She was trapped, really…and her professor was now snapping open the clasps on her girdle, stroking her through her panties.

She whimpered, though not from pleasure, but from the sudden twist of sickness in her gut. “Please, I don’t—there’s someone waiting for me—I have someone.”

He laughed, this one sounding…wicked—different than before—and shoved her roughly against the table, pushing the plants to the side with the hand that he hadn’t already plunged unceremoniously into her panties. “Does he know how wet for me you are?”

For her…it’s for her, not you. I don’t want you.

Woodrue placed a thuggish hand on the back of her neck without waiting for an answer, tightening his grip and slamming her face forward onto the table.

“No, stop!” Pamela cried as he ripped her panties away. “Please!” she tried to twist her head to look at him, but he just pressed her cheek harder into the cold metal of the table, her glasses digging into her skin. “Please stop it.” Tears began to gather in her eyes and drip onto the table at the unmistakable sound of his zipper being yanked down.

I don’t want you, I don’t want you, I don’t want you, I don’t want you.

She tried to kick backwards at him with her leg, but he caught it on her attempted follow through, wrenching it to the side, pushing it up onto the table until her knee somehow slammed against her shoulder.

Pam was no athlete. She wasn’t flexible like that. Her body wasn’t meant to bend that way, so the cry of pain she let out was gut-wrenching, and then…

White.

There were no colors this time. No brilliant jolt of elation. Her senses didn’t billow and mix like great clouds of paint behind her eyes. Didn’t explode like fireworks.

This wasn’t like with Linda. This wasn’t about Pamela. She didn’t matter to him, she was…something to be used up, and thrown away.

And it hurt. Every inch of her body. With every one of his thrusts it was as if a small part of her was dying. Being snuffed out, ripped away.

She’d like to think she kicked and fought the whole way through, but she stopped after a while, resigning herself to what this was, hoping he’d be done soon and that he’d let her go home. Home to her beautiful Linda.

Linda whose tongue felt like heaven, whose deft fingers brought her to paradise, whose eyes sparkled—bright, and blue—whose laugh sent the winged creatures in Pam’s stomach aflutter…

She would be there to hold her. Linda would envelope her in her arms and pull her close to her chest, whisper her sweet nothings…

I’m coming home, Darling, Pam’s tears fell faster. I love you. You want only me and I want only you. We’re leaving, to somewhere with sun and a beach. We’ll be ourselves, you and me, just the two of us. Forever. No one can stop us. I’m coming home to cook you dinner. I’ll be there soon, I promise.

But Pamela didn’t come home.

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

Pam never came home.

Linda arrived at her small apartment a few hours after they’d separated after class, wearing a light blue gingham dress that matched her eyes---that Pam told her over and over again was her favorite color. Smoothing out her skirt and running her fingers through her carefully coifed hair, an excited smile playing on her lips, Linda knocked on the front door…only to be met with silence.

She waited a moment before trying again, confusion twisting her fair features when again, there was no response. No light coming from inside. Perhaps she was still busy with the professor? If he really had chosen her for the internship, it made sense that he’d keep her for the rest of the day to prepare for their work together.

Sighing, frustrated that she had no immediate way to contact her lover, Linda plopped down on the small staircase that led to the door, setting her clutch at her side and propping her chin on her palm as she waited.

She waited a long time.

The sun had set before she decided to leave and wait at home by her landline for a call instead of continuing to sit in the cold evening air. Concerned, worried, and even a little irritated, Linda stood and brushed herself off, walking slowly back to her car, eyes scanning the street as if Pam would come hurrying down the road at any moment.

No such luck.

Closing the door to her pink convertible, Linda crept down the long street, jaw ticking as her mind began to whirl to the worst possible scenario. It wasn’t like Pam to forget their plans, let alone cancel them without finding some way to tell Linda in advance.

It left Linda worrying that something had happened to her. Had she run into trouble on her way home from campus? Pam didn’t have a car, and days she didn’t ride with Linda, she ended up walking to school. In an attempt to discredit her fear, Linda drove slowly all the way to campus, searching the dark for signs of movement, but the streets were empty. Eventually, she made her way back home, plopping down in the armchair beside the landline and chewing on her nails as she waited anxiously for a call. But there was nothing. And the longer Linda waited, the more it seemed the walls of the house were closing in around her.

Suddenly the front door swung open, and Linda leapt up from her chair, heart hammering—hoping she’d see Pam enter. But Alec was the one who stepped through. He gave her a beaming grin when he saw her and gathered her in his arms, pecking her sloppily on the cheek—his breath still smelled like alcohol.

“How’s my best gal?” He pulled back, hands still planted on her shoulders, although Linda expected it was more for balance than anything else.

“Well enough,” Linda replied vaguely, her eyes flickering to the phone again. “I thought you were going to be out the boys all night.”

“I was,” Alec said, his eyes wide and glassy. “It’s past midnight.”

A chill passed down Linda’s spine. She hadn’t kept track of the time, but now she was truly concerned that she hadn’t heard from Pam.

Alec flopped onto the couch, his head hanging off the back cushion. Hesitantly, Linda wandered to stand in front of him, crossing her arms over her middle as if to hold herself together.

“Alec?”

“Mmmm?”

“You…Haven’t seen Pam today, have you?”

Alec didn’t lift his head. “I saw her with you today before class.”

“But not afterwards?”

Alec shook his head, finally lifting it off the couch and looking at her through bleary eyes. “Why?”

“She…I don’t think she made it home tonight.”

Alec’s lips turned down at the corners and his heavy brows pulled low over his eyes. “She didn’t make it home?”

Linda wrapped her arms tighter around herself, a heavy and cold weigh settling in her stomach. “I’m worried something happened.”

“Stay positive, Lin,” Alec tried, rising unsteadily and wrapping a strong arm around her shoulders. “Maybe she had to leave campus late and decided to stay with a friend.”

We’re her friends, Linda thought, her lips thinning into a grim line.

“We’ll run into her tomorrow, I’m sure of it.” Alec gave her a quick squeeze and then yawned and stretched, running a hand through his hair, mussing it so it stood up in a dozen different directions. “I’m going to bed. Completely beat…Join me?”

“In a minute,” Linda promised absently, her smile wane. Alec paused, giving her a curious look, but then shrugged and lumbered off towards the bedroom.

Linda didn’t follow. Sitting gingerly in the armchair again, and kept her tired eyes on the telephone, eventually falling asleep---her dreams haunted by complete darkness and a pervasive sense of pain.

/

Not for…a day?

...a week?

...a month?  

It rolled into itself—time. Punishing and continuous, it rolled on, rousing Pamela from hazy dreams—both waking and otherwise. There was no…break, there was only him, and her screams when he wasn’t there.

They started out as names. “LINDA!” she’d wail, over and over until vomit bubbled up her throat rather than words. And then it was “ALEC!” though, why Alec would save her, she didn’t know.

Woodrue had told her this was where they worked together, he and Alec. He’d found out—she knew it. He’d forced Linda to tell him. Held her down like Woodrue was holding Pamela now, demanded it of her. Demanded that she give Pamela up. That’s why Pamela was here now. As punishment.

Punishment for the secrets, for the passion, for the dreams of something more…

/

The next morning, Linda made her way to Woodrue’s class early, giving herself plenty of time to question the professor. He’d been the last one she’d seen Pam with—he had to know something. He was preparing notes on the chalkboard when Linda approached him.

“Professor?”

He turned to peer at her over the rim of his glasses, a tight—but pleasant—smile spreading his lips.

“Ms. Ridge,” he set the chalk down and gave her his full attention. “How may I help you? Questions about yesterday’s lecture?”

“No,” Linda said with finality. “I was simply wondering if you had any idea where Pamela Isley is.”

Woodrue squinted at her. “Isley? Can’t say I do.”

“She was with you yesterday…Stayed after class?”

Woodrue bobbed his head in the affirmative. “Yes, yes. She did. We spoke about the internship for a bit and then she left for her next class. I’m afraid that’s all I know.”

Pam didn’t have a class after Woodrue’s. She had a study hall…. A mistake? Or did Woodrue know something more?

“She didn’t come home last night, Professor,” Linda continued, curious now. “She wasn’t home this morning either. You were the last one who saw her.”

“Not home…” Woodrue trailed off, a strange look crossing his face. It was gone just as quickly as it appeared. “That’s odd. Have you spoken to campus security?”

Shaking her head, Linda opened her mouth to continue questioning, when Woodrue interrupted her. “That’s where I suggest you continue your search.”

He dipped his chin, offered a brief smile and returned his attention to the chalkboard.

“Professor, you have to have something else,” Linda pushed, stepping around so that she stood by his side. “Did she tell you where she was going? Or if she’d be back to discuss the internship with you?”

“Ms. Ridge,” Woodrue released a frustrated huff through his nose, setting the chalk down again. Inhaling deeply, he removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose before speaking again. “Ms. Isley’s unexplained disappearance is unfortunate and startling. But there’s little I can do for you. Class starts in five minutes, I suggest you take your seat.”

They’re eyes met, a tension thickening in the air as they stared one another down. Wordlessly, Linda turned slowly and returned to her seat, glaring holes into the back of the professor’s head as she sat behind her desk. He had to know something. As far as Linda knew, he was the last person who’d seen Pam. And the way he’d dismissed her questions made her skin itch, like little arcs of electricity were flying through her body.

The lecture passed over Linda’s head. She was painfully aware of the empty seat next to her and the sickening ache forming in her gut. It was serious now. Pam wasn’t just gone. She was missing. Something had happened to her, and Linda was determined to find her.

Hold on, Love. Wherever you are. I’m going to find you.

/

The other students…her classmates…did they look at that stairwell the way Pam had? Brushed it off, ignored it, let their eyes pass right over it…

Could they feel her below them? Crying, hurting, suffering.

Did they wonder where their professor went between classes? At night? Did anyone care?

Those thoughts sometimes hurt Pamela more than the physical abuse inflicted upon her. The realization that she’d been forgotten—or really, that no one had ever cared. She was just some girl to them. A silly woman, believing she could be a scientist, that she could hold her diploma alongside the men and venture forward into the professional world hopeful, with the wind at her back and a heart full of promise.

The realization that she only had two friends in all the world and perhaps they didn’t care either.

Would this be the rest of her life?

Would they find her remains down here someday? Would they excavate her bones from this cursed room?

“Please,” Pamela moaned as the next round of poison coursed through her veins. “I’m down here…please…I want to go home…”

/

“Ain’t heard nothin’, or seen nothin’,” the security guard whose nametag read ‘Briggs’ in thick black letters said.

“Nothing at all?” Linda tried, hands clutching nervously at her dress. “Redhead? 5’7-ish? Glasses? Kind of looks like an unassuming, but very attractive librarian?”

Briggs gave her an odd look. “There’s a lotta girls here that match that description, lady. An’ I ain’t seen none of ‘em go missin’.”

You never SEE someone go missing…I’m getting nowhere with this ape.

“Well…She is missing. Would you…I don’t know. Can you put out an alert? Some posters? Anything?”

Briggs shrugged. “Don’t know how that would help. Posters ain’t gonna find her.”

Rubbing her face with both hands, and dragging them down her cheeks, Linda tried again. “I know that, sir. But it would raise awareness. The more eyes that are looking out for her, the better a chance we have of finding her.”

“If she even is missin’,” Briggs said, scratching his substantial belly. “For all you know, she just ditched campus. Plenty’a kids give up and head into the city. This school ain’t nothin’ to scoff at.”

“Pamela wouldn’t just leave.” She wouldn’t go without me….Would she?

“Alright look,” Briggs was clearly aggravated now, but it was nothing compared to Linda. “Put up posters, whatever, just keep ‘em small. We have important announcements we hang on those boards. Come back to us when you have a suspect.”

“But I do!” Linda nearly shouted, that wasn’t wise. “Professor Jason Woodrue. He kept her late after class and then he lied to me about where she went afterwards! I know he did!”

Briggs laughed in her face. “And whaddya think the esteemed professor did with ‘er, huh?”

“I don’t—I don’t know,” I don’t want to know. “But he…he always looked at her too long, his eyes, they…you know the look! They lingered! You’re a man, you must—”

“Didn’t I just hear ya say this girl was a looker?” Briggs raised an unkempt eyebrow. “Don’t get your panties in a twist, girlie. I’m sure your friend took it as a compliment.”

Absolutely fuming, Linda neglected a thank you and stomped to the library to find Alec, a dark cloud hanging over her head.

“Any luck?” Alec asked, looking up from his studies when Linda threw herself into the chair across from him.

“No!” she shouted, earning a glare and a ‘sssh’ from the librarian. Lowering her voice, she said, “There’s nothing, Alec. Not a single lead. And the guards aren’t willing to help me at all. She’s just…gone.”

Hot tears pricked at the corners of Linda’s eyes, and she rubbed them away under the guise of scratching an itch. “I-I’m worried about her.”

In spite of her best efforts, Linda’s bottom lip began to tremble, her shoulders hunching as the tight ball in her gut began to burn. Alec’s expression was a mix between sympathy and confusion. Reaching across the table, he wiggled his fingers for Linda to take his hand. She did without hesitation, needing the comforting touch. Alec’s hand was warm, but his palms were rough and Linda found herself yearning for Pam’s soft skin.

“It’s going to be okay, Lin,” he assured her, running his thumb over her knuckles. “We’ll find her. She’s out there somewhere.”

“But how do you know that?” Linda blurted, the tears gathering again. “What if something happened to her, Alec? What is she was kidnapped? Or…or—” She couldn’t say the words. “--Something else.”

Alec’s expression softened. “I’ll help you okay? We’ll drive down to the city, we’ll look for her. Put up posters. We have to believe she’s alright. We have to believe she’s out there.”

Linda nodded. Numb. Empty. Sick with worry.

Where are you?

/

“I should have sent you to a mental institution,” Pamela’s Mother told her, watching coldly over his shoulder as he tore into her again. “A woman with a sickness like yours…a woman whose feelings towards another girl are so repulsively unnatural, deserves every bit of this. He’s your savior, Pamela,” she said, resting her hand supportively on his hips, pushing them forward, pushing him into her again. “One you hardly deserve for your wickedness. A lobotomy would have been more appropriate.”

“I’m sorry, Mother!” Pamela cried. “Please, help me,” she tugged at the leather straps that kept her bound.

But her Mother was already gone, her image twisting, face morphing, until there was nothing human left. Until she looked just like him. And he smiled wickedly.

/

Linda tapped her finger nervously on the rotary after she’d dialed.

Please pick up, please pick up, please pick up.

“Hello?”

Linda nearly jumped out of her seat with excitement. “Pamela?!”

“No…Pamela doesn’t live here anymore.”

The blonde’s heart sunk as she slumped back into the chair. And now it was easy to realize her mistake, as the more words the woman spoke, the colder she sounded. Pamela wasn’t cold, she was…she was the Seattle sun, the one that peaks out from behind the thick, grey clouds and warms every inch of your rain-soaked body after a storm. And right now, Linda was positively drenched, craving that warmth more desperately than ever.

“Are you Pamela’s Mother?”

“This is Lillian Isley, yes,” the woman acknowledged. “And what in the world is Pamela spending her stipend on that she can’t afford her own telephone?”

“No, Ma’am, she has her own phone, it’s just…” Linda was embarrassed at how she was already tearing up. “She hasn’t come home. Not for four days now. I thought…perhaps she’d gone home to you?”

“I’m sorry, who is this?” Lillian asked, though her voice seemed to hold very little concern at the information she’d just been provided.

“I am a close friend of your daughter’s, Ma’am. A classmate,” Linda told her, leaving out everything that felt important, everything she held close to her heart. “And she’s missing. She’s missing and I’m worried something terrible has happened to her.”

She knew she probably shouldn’t have said that, she imagined it would be frightening to hear such an awful speculation about your daughter.

…but none of that seemed to matter to Lillian.

“Well, she’s not here, no. She called us on New Years, told us she’d made a friend—I assume that’s you, as Pamela doesn’t easily make friends,” Lillian told her. “Her supposed intelligence isn’t exactly an attractive quality, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now. Wherever she is, I hope she returns to class soon, her Father has spent a small fortune on her education, would be a shame if she decided to waste it.”

“Ma’am, I—” Linda couldn’t believe her ears. “Your daughter is missing, and I am the only one whose cared to look thus far. Would you…be willing to come down to campus? Get the police to take me seriously?”

Lillian sighed. “Pamela will come home if she knows what’s good for her. I apologize for all the strife my daughter has caused you. You seem like a perfectly fine young woman. I wish you the best of luck in your search, but if Pamela is truly as intelligent as she believes herself to be, she’ll find her way home.”

Linda kept the phone pressed to her ear long after the woman had hung up.

“Any luck?” Alec wondered, wandering into the living room with a dishtowel hung over his shoulder.

Blinking, Linda slowly tuned her gaze to him, her eyes wide…stunned…blank. “No. None at all.”

/

Some of the shots put her to sleep, some kept her awake—eyes wide and afraid—for…hours? Days? She couldn’t be sure. The only way for her to mark time was by gauging his visits, or listening for the footsteps above her.

Pamela wondered if it was Linda who she heard, pacing around, going about her day as human beings were allowed to. If Linda was up there, moving closer to graduation with each passing second. If Alec had told her where Pamela was. If she knew. If this was Linda’s punishment—knowing and not being able to act. Or maybe she didn’t want to act. Didn’t care. Never cared. Never loved her. Lied to her, took advantage of her, just like the rest. Just like him.

That’s when Pamela’s screams stopped being names, became simply sound. Guttural emissions of pain and suffering.

Woodrue would sit next to her, after he was finished with the shots and the rest of it, and read her thesis aloud. “This is brilliant work, Pamela,” he’d tell her. “Really. It’s fairly embarrassing how long I’ve been stumbling through this,” he’d chuckle. “I almost envy you.”

/

Four long months passed before Linda began to give up hope. Every day, she watched Woodrue teach, hanging by the doors after class to see if he gave himself away. But he always took a seat behind his desk and sifted through papers, adjusting his large glasses every now and then. The posters she and Alec hung around campus and downtown Seattle yielded no results. Questioning students led to dead ends.

Pam was gone.

And Linda wanted with all her heart to believe that she’d simply gone to California without her. The knowledge that she’d been abandoned would hurt less than the idea that Pam was—well, that she was dead. And that there was nothing she could have done to save her. Linda began to accept it as time passed. And it ached. It burned. It made her want to rip her own heart from her chest.

The first month she spent sobbing whenever Alec was away, and sometimes when he was there. He did his best to comfort her---kinds words, gentle touches, they even became intimate again, although every time Linda found herself closing her eyes and remembering the nights she’d spent with Pam instead.

The second month, Linda watched the posters fall from the announcement boards and flutter away in the wind. She made no attempt to catch them. Often, she sat alone in the quad, reading the same pages of her textbook over and over again, tears blurring her vision. Students milled past her, giggling, talking, going about their days. And Linda grew furious.

How could they act like nothing was wrong? How could they go about their normal lives when Linda felt like hers had been shattered and burned? How dare they.

We were supposed to run together. I loved you. How could you do this to me?

Linda’s sadness turned to rage sometimes. She paced her house, cursing Pam, telling her she hated her, that she was a liar, a monster. And then she’d realize what she’d said, imagine the shock on Pam’s perfect face and she’d break again---curling inward on herself as the grief overtook her.

In the third month, Linda found herself avoiding the places they’d gone together. She no longer went with Alec to the bar—it brought back too many memories of their first kiss. She actively avoided walking down Pam’s street, unwilling to catch a glimpse of her still empty apartment. Graduation was growing closer and Linda threw herself into her studies. Occupying her mind meant thinking of Pam less, and that meant no more sharp pain in her gut…just a perpetual dull ache. Which, if Linda had to choose, she would take in a heartbeat.

By the fourth month, Linda didn’t cry anymore. She’d moved desks in Woodrue’s class. She’d thrown out the few clothes Pam had accidentally left at her house that Linda had explained away to Alec as her own. She’d torn the picture they’d taken together on the quad. She no longer asked for answers, or held onto hope. Pam was gone and it was time for Linda to move on.

She gave up on her dreams of California. On a life bigger and more freeing than what she had now. She resigned herself to her life with Alec instead, helping him plan their wedding to take place in the following month. She finished her thesis and clutched her diploma tightly in her hand as the speeches were made, ignoring the voice that whispered over and over again: You should have been here.

She gave up on Pam.

And then… A week before her wedding, Linda received a phone call that turned entire world upside down.

/

It was during one of her stints in the incubation tank that he finally made his mistake.

Typically, he’d give her something to knock her out before submerging her. She knew this because she’d wake up afterwards, back on the table, her naked body still soaked through with the eerie orange substance that served as her nightlight.

But this time, when her eyes shot open, she was still inside the tank, floating—weightless—a breathing tube trailing down her throat, her mouth covered by the mask that kept it in place.

The liquid stung her eyes, and she smacked her head on the tank’s lid in her panic.

He’s not here, a voice slithered between her ears. Not her voice, not one she’d ever heard before, and Pamela panicked at that too, slamming her fist against the glass.

Harder. It’s thick.

She swung her fists one after the other, her blows desperate, but ultimately useless as she failed to make even the slightest crack.

The mask is metal. Use the mask. 

Pamela raised her hands, fingers running over the equipment, and realizing it was true—it was metal, and heavy, judging by how it pulled on her jaw.

…but that mask was also delivering her oxygen. She could feel the tube in her throat, and the suction on her mask told her she couldn’t have one without the other. It was a seal. If she broke it…that was it. She’d break out, or she’d drown. There were only two possible endings to this situation. 

And that’s when Pamela Lillian Isley made the easiest decision of her life—taking a deep breath and ripping the mask off of her face, the tube making her gag as it brushed her uvula. Drowning was a relatively peaceful alternative to spending even another second in whatever hell she’d entered into here.

She smashed the mask against the glass with all her might, with every ounce of strength she had left, and after three hard strikes, a crack had formed, running length-wise from the impact site to the floor.

Legs.

Pamela braced her back against the other side of the tank, and used that surface as a firm leverage point, kicking forward with both her legs simultaneously. Her lungs burned as she kicked again, and again, and again…until she heard something like ice cracking, and the tank shuttering, before the dam broke, spilling her out onto the ground in a wave of glowing orange.

She spat and heaved, drinking in every bit of air she possibly could, sputtering through each breath, braced on her hands and knees.

Now go!

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Chapter Text

“We found her wandering a few miles outside the school,” The nurse, whom Linda had been introduced to as Sarah, explained as she led Linda down the long sterile hallways of Seattle General Hospital. “She was delirious. Naked, covered in injuries and a few other strange substances our labs haven’t been able to identify yet. We’re still waiting on the test results.”

“How long has she been here?” Linda tried swallowing her panic, but her mouth was too dry, her throat too tight. Still reeling from the fact that Pam had reappeared into her life out of the blue, Linda was finding it hard to listen to what Sarah was saying, let alone comprehend it all.

“A week,” Sarah explained, leading her down another hallway to the intensive care unit. “It took us a while to find someone who knew her. She couldn’t give us names, numbers, anything.”

“How did you find me then?”

“One of our staff saw the posters you hung up around town for her,” They stopped outside a door, and Sarah’s expression grew pained. “I’m sorry that you have to see her like this. But, I hope it’s at least a comfort that she’s still alive.”

Linda’s lips trembled, her body shaking as if doused in a bucket of ice water. Then Sarah pushed the door open and led Linda inside the small room. It was bare save for a visitor’s chair, a bedside table with nothing on it, and a small white cot, on top of which lay Pam—deathly still, save for the steady rise and fall of her chest.

Linda’s immediate reaction was to look away, the rush of tears that stung her eyes making it impossible to see. Noticing her distress, Sarah raised a hand and rubbed her shoulder gently.

“I thought she was dead,” Linda explained, her voice breaking. “She was gone for four months. I…it was too long.”

Sarah’s lips thinned into a grim frown. “I’m sure she thought she was too.”

Pam’s skin was pale—unnaturally, like she hadn’t seen a drop of sunlight in all that time—and blotchy red in places. Her red hair was tangled and stringy, nearly balding here and there—nothing like the soft cascading waves she remembered. Carefully, Linda made her way towards the bed and reached out to touch her cheek. She was stone cold, and yet Linda jerked her hand away like she’d been burned.

This wasn’t Pam. Not her Pam. This was something else.

“What happened to her?” Linda managed, tearing her eyes away from the prone form on the bed.

“Hard to say,” Sarah sighed, moving to stand beside Linda for support. “By the time we got her to the hospital she was already slipping into her coma.”

“Coma?”

Nodding once, Sarah continued. “The tests we ran told us a few things. The injection sites in her arms and neck are the plausible reason for some of the chemical imbalances we found in her bloodwork. She was…experimented on, it looks like. What substances were abused, we can’t really tell. Our doctors have never seen a case quite like hers, but they’re doing their best to sort it all out.”

Linda’s stomach clenched. Experimented on?...Woodrue?

Sarah continued before the guilt could consume Linda. “It appears she also had forced sex.”

“F—forced?” Linda blinked the word away, knowing what the nurse was telling her, and refusing to let her brain process it.

Sitting at Pam’s bedside, Sarah ran a careful hand through her ruined hair, doing what she could to avoid the bruises on her scalp. “She was raped,” Sarah’s voice was soft. “In the four months that you told me she’s been missing, it feels safe to say that she spent that majority of that time in a drug-induced psychosis. And judging by her genital injuries…the abuse was violent and frequent.”

Linda’s hands flew to cover her face and she squeezed her eyes shut tight to hold back the tears. She was unsuccessful—backing against the doorway and heaving as gut wrenching sobs wracked her body.

I could have saved her. If I’d just waited after class…

Guilt battled disgust for control over Linda’s body. Rising from Pam’s bed, Sarah made her way over to the blond, slipping her arms over the woman’s shaking shoulders and pulling her into an embrace that did nothing to comfort her.

It was all too much to take in---the fact that Pam was back, that she’d been tortured for months, that she was unresponsive now, that she and Linda could never have the life they’d planned…Not now—not after everything that had happened.

Linda shoved herself away from Sarah a little roughly, rubbing her eyes with the backs of her hands and sniffing until the tears stopped.

“Have you called her parents?”

It was clear that Sarah was still concerned for Linda’s state of mind, but she didn’t attempt to push the subject. “We didn’t have any numbers for her next of kin.”

“I can give it to you,” Linda murmured, drawing a small pad of paper and pencil from her clutch. Lillian Isley had been anything but helpful during Linda’s search, but maybe now, with the knowledge that her daughter was lying comatose in a hospital bed—maybe now, she’d act.

Because Linda simply couldn’t.

When Pam was gone, Linda’s every waking thought, her every breath, had been to get her back. But now that she was here, and the reality of her absence made clear, Linda couldn’t stomach the idea of it…of her. Of the constant reminder that she could have done something. That she could have prevented this.

Ripping the paper in two, she handed the half with Lillian’s number to Sarah. “She can help. I should be heading back home now.”

Bewildered, Sarah blinked down at the paper and then at Linda’s hardened face. “I—Well, yes of course—I’m…I’m sure Pamela would have been happy to know you stopped by. Perhaps you’d like to be here when she wakes up…?”

Linda heard the unspoken ‘if’ in the brunette’s tone and she shook her head. “I suspect I’ll be busy. I’m getting married next week.” She pointed once again at the note. “Her parents can help her. I—I can’t. T-thank you, Sarah.”

Spinning on her heels, Linda pushed the door open and sped down the hallway, neglecting to take a final glance at Pam before she left. The room had been suffocating… Sarah’s awful words, juxtaposed to the swirling images of the time Linda had spent with Pamela in those blissful weeks before she disappeared...it was too much. It was overwhelming. It wasn’t…the reunion she’d expected.

She could still feel the warmth of Pam’s embrace, the tenderness with which she always held Linda. She could smell the notes of lavender that wafted from Pam’s gorgeous waves of red hair. She felt her slender fingers tracing patterns all over her body, her talented tongue sliding between her folds. She could hear Pam’s laugh, rich and deep, or her soft whispers against her neck as they lay tangled together beneath her sheets. She could see her brilliant smile, the passionate look in her eyes when she spoke about her studies—not at all the shy quiet girl people assumed her to be. Pamela was so much more than people expected of her. She’d made a point of that.

But that Pam was gone. Replaced by something Linda couldn’t hope to fix. And if she was honest with herself—that she was too scared to try and fix.

Pam would recover, Pam was strong. But Linda had Alec now, Linda had a life—a path she had to follow that didn’t include California, or dreams, or reckless love, or Pam.

Pam was back.

And somehow it still felt to Linda like she’d been lost forever.

/

“You’re not seriously going to just sit there, are you?”

Pam pushed the brim of her almost comically large sunhat back from her eyes, quirking an eyebrow. “Who’s stopping me?”

“Well, no one, yet,” Linda laughed. “I’ll give you one more chance to get up of your own volition before I force you into the water myself.”

Pam chuckled, taking a sip of her lemonade, her eyes still shaded behind prescription sunglasses. “You and what army?”

Linda looked almost surprised as she put her hands on her hips. “Pamela Isley, have you developed an attitude problem?”

“Perhaps you’ve been a bad influence,” Pamela couldn’t stop her giggle, or her blush when Linda’s hands were suddenly on the back of her lounge chair, her chest mere inches from her face. Then Linda was lowering herself down, settling on Pamela’s lap in her bathing suit, her smooth legs bracketing Pam’s thighs.

“I’ve been known to be quite persuasive,” the blonde whispered seductively, slowly removing Pam’s sunglasses, and then her hat, running her now lightly tanned fingers through Pam’s red hair once she’d freed it.  

On instinct, Pam wrapped her hands around the small of Linda’s back, pulling them flush. And as soon as Linda began to move against her—hips rocking teasingly back and forth, making her gasp far too quickly—Pam’s lips found her smooth neck, sucking just like Linda had taught her—until a dark mark bloomed beneath them.

Linda sighed happily, now twisting Pam’s red locks in spirals around her finger. “I wish I could touch you…”

“You can,” Pam giggled against her. “Please, I want you…touch me…”

This sigh was a bit more depressed. “Pamela...you’ve been ruined; you know I can’t touch you. You’re filthy.”

Pam pulled back, confused, searching those bright blue eyes she loved so much. “But I…I didn’t want him. All that got me through were my thoughts of you. Please, I miss you. I love you. Only you, Linda.”

Linda looked at her sadly, finger running down her cheek now. “Then why didn’t you fight the whole way through? Why did you submit to him?”

“I—he didn’t give me a choice!” Pamela could feel the pressure of tears building behind her eyes. “Please, I came back to you!”

Linda shook her head, climbing slowly off of her. “It’s not enough, Pamela. You’re broken. He made a mess of you. And who would want to clean up someone else’s mess?”

“But—,” Pam roughly wiped at her eyes. “Don’t you love me?”

“What’s there to love?”

…..

Pamela awoke not with a gasp, but with a blink.

The ceiling was white.

…and every fiber of Pamela’s being felt like it had been set on fire, the flames put out only recently. So recently that she could still feel the embers smoldering.

The pain was too much to scream over, nearly too much to even acknowledge. Not that she could scream, there was a…she wasn’t breathing on her own—it took her a moment to realize that—no, it was a…a…

Her hands suddenly sprang up to grasp at her breathing tube, ripping it out of her throat without a moment’s hesitation, her body and mind in a panic.

IVs littered her arms, and the tape tugged at her skin as she sat up in the small bed, the incessant beeping of the machine on her right quickening in response to her now elevated heart rate.

“Help me!” she finally screamed, her words like gravel scratching ruthlessly at her larynx. “You have to get me out of here!”

The door opened and three men in surgical masks quickly entered, followed by a brunette woman who said: “Pamela, it’s going to be alright,” as one of the men said: “I can’t believe it.”

“He’ll come back,” Pam cried. “Please, any minute, he’ll come back. I want to go home to Linda,” she tugged at restraints that weren’t there. “I’m never late.”

“Sweetheart,” the woman said, moving closer to her, the men gravitating towards the wheezing machines that surrounded the bed. “Whoever he is, he’s not coming back. I promise. You’re safe.” She tried to take her hand, but Pam backed up as far as she could, her eyes darting frantically back and forth.

“I…spoke with Linda,” the woman said, seeming to attempt another tactic as the men increased the drip rate on whatever was being pumped into her. “She was very happy to hear you were alright.”

“No, no, no,” Pam sobbed, shaking her head violently, limbs trembling uncontrollably. “I can’t be in here. Let me outside! Let me—please! You have to tell her I’m sorry, I didn’t want him. She’s the only one I’ll ever want.”

“What is she talking about?” one of the men asked, his voice muffled by his mask as he grabbed her hand, wrestling it back down to the bed.

“She’s—it’s nonsense,” the woman assured him, reaching for Pam’s other hand with a far gentler touch. “Be kind, she’s obviously confused.”

Pamela screeched with terror when she felt thick leather wrapping around her wrists. “No!” she thrashed, ripping her hand free of the woman’s grasp, and two IVs out of her wrist in the process. “Please!”

They didn’t listen. The two men reached for her, pinning her to the bed while the woman struggled to reinsert her IVs. Whatever drug they were pumping into her worked quickly and black soon invaded the corners of Pam’s vision.

“He’s…He’ll…He’ll be b-back…You…have to let me---” Her body went limp, although she remained relatively conscious, watching through bleary eyes as the hospital room blurred around her and the nurse’s face turned into a swirl of abstract color.

She was sick. All the time, she was sick, like her body was working its way through some massive, all-encompassing infection. She couldn’t eat solid foods, so everything she vomited up was liquid, but she was so…thirsty. Always. She’d be woken up by it in the night, her thirst. It was so overwhelming it gave her a headache. Though she learned to live with those. She had to, as everything about the world was so loud.

The voices in her head, they’d followed her. They were still with her, and they screamed. Incessantly. Louder than she ever could. No matter how tightly she clamped her hands over her ears, she could not be free of them. But she didn’t dare tell the nurse or the doctors. They’d surely send her to the psychiatry ward for a confession like that, and they’d already disallowed her any mirrors, and the windows of her room had been boarded up, so Pamela suspected she’d already been put on suicide watch.

Pamela asked the nurse about Linda every day. And every day, the woman had a different excuse. So, eventually, just like on the table, she stopped asking. Resigned herself to suffering in isolation. Walled off. Hidden. Alone.

Looking back on this time, she’d realize that hospital room was where she’d experience her last precious moments of anonymity.

Because soon, the windows would open. The light would hit her. And everything would change.

/

Linda got the first call three months after she saw Pamela for what she hoped would be the last time.

“She’s awake!” the nurse—Sarah—had excitedly told her. “Awake and asking for you.”

Linda gripped the receiver in her hand, pressing it against her cheek until it hurt, her eyes slamming shut. There was nothing Linda could give her, and though she was a brave woman—a woman before her time, she simply didn’t have the courage to tell Pamela, tell that battered, broken young woman on that hospital bed, that it was over. That she’d moved on.

“Call her parents,” Linda mumbled into the telephone. “I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know she’s alright. What a fright she must have given them.”

She hung up before Sarah could offer a response—and then she stood there by the phone, hands shaking, her body swaying like a tree in the wind.

“What’s the matter?” Alec asked distractedly from where he was reading the Sunday Times once she’d hung up.

Linda cleared her throat, forcing herself back to reality, knowing the words would pain her. “Pamela…seems to have woken up.”

Alec’s ears pricked up, and he set the paper aside, his reading material now an afterthought. “Well, then we should go see her!”

“No,” Linda shook her head quickly. “No, she…doesn’t want to see us.”

I don’t want to see her.

But Sarah didn’t relent. Linda received another call the very next day. It seemed Pamela’s parents were just as uninterested in allowing her back into their lives as Linda was. The words Sarah told her they used…they rang all too familiar to Linda.

Unclean. Ruined. Broken.

Pamela was a disgrace to them now. More alone that she’d ever been and the guilt ate at Linda, tearing her up from the inside out. Still, she did nothing. Rejecting Sarah’s second plea to give Pamela a respite, Linda cut the call short and put her former lover out of her mind.

Ignoring the voice inside her head that called her a monster---that told her Pam would have been there for her in a heartbeat had their positions been reversed. But Linda wasn’t Pam. Pam didn’t exist anymore---and Linda told herself these words over and over again until they became true.

It was another four months before they called her back.

“Ms. Ridge,” Sarah’s voice was different now—somber. “Ms. Ridge, she doesn’t seem to have anyone else.”

“It’s Mrs. Holland,” Linda corrected, rather than responding to her statement.

Sarah sighed, “Mrs. Holland…We can’t keep her here any longer, as much as I’d like to. I’m begging you to help her. You were all she spoke of for the longest time. I-I understand things are different between the two of you now. But—she needs you. It seems your friend is completely alone in this world.”

“Yes, well, perhaps that’s her fault,” Linda snapped, in tone that surprised even her. “Perhaps she should have made an effort socially rather than simply chaining herself to my husband and I. In reality, we hadn’t even known each other that long. She was just a friend—a classmate. Why is she now my responsibility?” 

You’re a monster Linda Holland. She needs you. Pam needs you.

There was a silence on the other end of the line, and when Sarah spoke, her voice was much quieter. “I think hearing that you two were just friends would come as a terrible shock to Pamela.”

Linda’s stomach clenched uncomfortably, and she didn’t respond—she couldn’t. The image of Pamela hurt and alone was still painful, even after all these months.

“Just help her get back on her feet, Mrs. Holland, please,” Sarah continued slowly. “Help her find somewhere to stay if not with you. You’re the only hope she has.”

Linda massaged her temples soothingly, knowing she had to help. Knowing that Pamela would likely benefit from the same sort of closure she had. “What time should I pick her up?”

She arrived at the hospital promptly at 4 o’clock, as had been requested. April in Seattle typically meant the warm weather hadn’t arrived completely yet, so this particular day—the 25th of that month—was a bit nippy.  Cold enough that Linda thought it necessary to pull a pair of gloves on for her trip from the parking lot to the lobby.

The blonde crossed the paved expanse quickly, hoping to get in and get out as soon as possible. She remembered what Pamela had looked like in that hospital bed—so sick and frail…and she just wasn’t sure she’d be able to stomach it for too long. Being so close to this woman who bore the same name as her beloved, but nearly no resemblance.

To say Linda was not expecting what greeted her in the lobby would be putting it lightly.

She saw Sarah first, in her same nurse’s uniform, standing next to a wheelchair in which sat a redhead…

…in which sat Pamela?

Her skin was...tanned, like she really had gone to California. Her freckles all but gone. Her hair long and wavy, with more body than Linda remembered even before this whole ordeal, when Pamela was still hers.

This woman—this Pamela—was absolutely dazzling, even just wearing the oversized smock the hospital had clearly provided her.

A smile lit up Pamela’s face as soon as she laid eyes on the blonde, and tears seemed to spring forth unbidden, giving her brilliant emerald gaze a glossy sheen.

“Linda?” 

Linda didn’t realize she’d stopped walking until Pamela stood up from her wheelchair and began slowly towards her, stopping for a brief moment when they were only a few feet apart just to look at her.

And then, wordlessly, Pamela was launching into her, wrapping her up and pulling her close in a surprisingly firm embrace.

“I’m so happy you’re here.” Her words were muffled in the fur collar of Linda’s overcoat. “I thought about you every moment. I was so afraid you wouldn’t want anything to do with me, but….” She was crying happily now. “But then Sarah said you were coming to pick me up, and I knew—I just knew, everything would be alright.” She tucked herself deeper into the curve of Linda’s neck. “I knew you’d come back to me.”

Linda had yet to return the embrace, instead standing stiffly as Pamela clung tightly to her. But she closed her eyes at the sound of Pamela’s voice—still with its rich tone and melody—and slowly she did raise her arms, wrapping them around the younger woman’s back and inhaling deeply. Between the thick waves of Pamela’s hair was still the smell of lavender, and with one chest-full, Linda was momentarily transported back to a simpler time—one that, just briefly, just in that… microcosm of human existence, felt real again.

But this wasn’t helping anyone, this suspension of reality. She didn’t want to lead Pamela on. So she separated, nodding cordially and offering an, “I’m glad you’re well.”

Sarah cleared her throat a bit uncomfortably behind them. “Thank you for coming, Mrs. Holland.”

That prompted a slightly confused look from Pam, but Sarah was continuing with: “Please be safe, Pamela,” before she could respond.

“You don’t have a bag or anything?” Linda asked.

Pam blinked, like perhaps Linda had made a joke that just hadn’t landed, wasn’t funny…

Found her wandering naked through the city, Linda remembered, now very much wishing she could take that question back. “Well, we should go,” she recovered with bluntness. “Dinner’s not going to cook itself, I’m afraid.”

…a statement that Pamela clearly misinterpreted the meaning of, because her face lit up with another dazzling smile.

Linda had to look away, directing her attention at the nurse now. “I appreciate all you’ve done for her.” She waited to be acknowledged before turning towards the exit, expecting Pamela to follow…which she did, after one more meaningful look at Sarah.

She and Linda didn’t speak until they’d both climbed into the pink convertible. The silence was broken by Pamela, who shyly began to say, “You’re even more beautiful than I remember…” before she trailed off when Linda removed the glove from her left hand.

Linda caught the redhead’s reaction out of the corner of her eye, but chose to start the car rather than acknowledge the look of what Linda could only describe as mortification on her former lover’s face.

Pamela was still silently staring at her as they left the parking lot…left the city behind for the suburbs.

“You…married him?”

That, that hurt in her voice, was exactly what Linda had been hoping to avoid. Nip it in the bud. “Of course I did,” she answered. “You’ve been gone a year, Pamela. You didn’t honestly expect me to wait around, did you?”

Linda stared resolutely ahead, refusing to meet Pamela’s gaze—to see those green eyes widen, her feelings crushed under Linda’s cruel words. You have to move on, the blonde reminded herself. It’s best for everyone involved.

Eventually, Pam turned her focus away, looking out the window now, into one of those woods that kept Seattle together, kept it alive—breathing, vibrant. For a botanist, there was truly no better city to live in.

“No…of course not,” Pamela murmured after another few miles, almost surprising Linda, who hadn’t expected her to answer after the stretch of silence. “Who would want to clean up someone else’s mess?”

Linda gripped the steering wheel tighter, her jaw clenching automatically at the depth of feeling—the depth of pain, in Pam’s words. “You….” The blonde swallowed. “You meant more to me than you could ever know. But love—it’s a losing game, Pamela. And the kind of love we had…it belongs in storybooks for how wonderful it was. But that’s just it. It’s was a fairy tale. A story told to little girls and boys at night to help them sleep easier. It doesn’t…work out here. Not in the real world. And the sooner you come to terms with that fact the way I did, the better off you’ll be.”

Pam didn’t respond, her eyes and focus instead remaining trained on the trees that surrounded the deserted road on which they drove.

“You’ll find a husband, just like I did,” Linda continued, though her voice shook. “You deserve a kind man, Pamela. A man like Alec. One who—”

“Pull over.”

Linda blinked, glancing over at her passenger. “What?”

“Pull over,” Pamela requested once more, her tone even, the hurt…gone.

“Pamela, I—I’m sure you’re upset with me, but it will be dark soon,” Linda pointed out.

Slowly, a sort of comforting smile spread over Pam’s lips, and she reached over to lay her hand over Linda’s where it sat, waiting, on the gear shift.

“You’re right,” she murmured, in a voice that spilled like honey from those full lips. “You’re right, Linda. A fairytale love…That’s all it was. Alec is a good man and he deserves all of you. But—If this is truly the end...Can we be us…just one last time?”

As her thumb gently moved back and forth over Linda’s bare knuckles, memories of their first perfect night together, New Year’s Eve all those months ago…the electricity in the air between them, the soft pillows of Pamela’s lips, her excited moans, their tangling tongues, and her sweet taste…

Linda obeyed without question, turning her car’s blinker on before pulling off to the side, eventually coming to a stop on the road’s grassy shoulder.

Pamela removed her hand, running her fingers all the way to the end of Linda’s index finger, smiling as she did, before opening the door to the outside and stepping out onto the grass herself, leaving behind the moccasins she’d been provided by the hospital.

“I really should be getting you home…” Linda said, though the sight of the day’s last flickering rays of sunlight reflecting off of the brilliant oranges and reds in Pamela’s hair was a bit…hypnotizing. Linda missed her freckles, though. Pamela looked so grown-up without them.

The redhead ignored her, spreading her arms and spinning in a slow circle, her face to the (for once) cloudless sky. “Come take a walk with me,” she seemed to ask the sun. It wasn’t until she crooked a finger at her that Linda realized she was the one who’d been spoken to. “It won’t take long,” Pam assured her, likely reading the trepidation on the blonde’s face.

Linda sighed, you owe her at least this, and gingerly popped open the door, slipping the keys into her pocket. She followed Pam as she walked backwards off the shoulder, into the trees, her green eyes staying locked on Linda’s the entire way.

With each step, Linda wanted more desperately to touch her, and as if on cue, Pamela began to unbutton her smock.

Linda looked back nervously, but saw that they’d somehow already traveled deep enough to not be able to see the road.

Pamela had unbuttoned the oversized shirt down passed her breasts now, her fingers working expertly until her navel and toned stomach were visible. She smirked as Linda’s eyes drifted, and dropped her shoulder, slowly dragging the blue fabric down one arm and then the other, until she was left only in a pair of cream hip-huggers, the sight of her bare breasts making Linda’s mouth go dry.

She attempted to swallow as Pam turned to give her a view of her backside, the redhead smiling slyly over her shoulder, leading her deeper into the forest.

It was when Linda looked down to focus on unbuttoning her own jacket that she lost track of her. It was like the trees had swallowed her up. “Pam?” Linda furrowed her brow. “Pa—Oh!” the name turned into a gasp when she felt a hot tongue suddenly flick against her ear, and a strong arm wrap around her waist.

“Let me help you with that,” Pam husked into her ear, her teeth moving down to tug at the lobe as her fingers worked to open her jacket and then her blouse. The redhead put only enough space between them to slip the fabric off before she was back, embracing her once more. 

Linda whimpered at the feeling of Pam’s warm breasts pressed to her back, her lithe fingers traveling down the taut plain of her stomach, tracing lazy circles, just like before.

All thoughts of Alec, thoughts of dinner, quickly escaped her as Pamela suddenly spun her around, pushing her against a tree like Linda had pushed her against the brick wall of that alley. She readily parted her lips as Pamela leaned into her, their scarcely clad bodies sliding sinfully against each other, just that friction alone enough to make Linda moan. She’d grown sensitive in the time she and Pamela had spent apart, missing the skilled attention that she’d fostered in the younger woman.

But Pamela didn’t kiss her then, instead, her lips latched on to the soft skin just below Linda’s ear and sucked as her hands found their way around the blonde’s back to the clasp of her bra.

“Do you ever think of me…” Pamela asked as she removed the lacy garment, dropping it to her side, her warm hand raising to cup and gently squeeze Linda’s breast, thumb absently toying with her nipple in a way that made Linda want to beg for more. “…when you’re with him?”

“Every time,” Linda admitted with a groan, too happy to think better of it—too happy at being back in Pamela’s arms. “God,” she gasped as the redhead pushed her knee between her legs. “Please, Love—I—please…I need you.”

Pamela listened, her hands moving from Linda’s breasts to the button of her pants. Once they were pooling around the blonde’s ankles, Pam guided her down onto a bed of soft grass, her lips only momentarily breaking from the skin of Linda’s neck to get her settled. Then she began a torturous path down her body, starting from just below Linda’s clavicle, her tongue spending extra time circling her hardened nipples…

Linda had never known Pamela to be this forward. She’d been so shy. Always adorably surprised by her own pleasure…but Linda supposed things could change, and she was more than willing to submit to her in this moment, her panties nearly soaked through just at the air of dominance that was radiating off the redhead.

Linda’s eyes closed and her hands came to tangle in Pam’s hair when she kissed her center over her panties. “Please…” Linda’s breathing was already ragged.

Pamela encouraged her to lift her hips, and she felt the garment slide down her legs, leaving her completely naked in the forest, but that thought could wait because Pam’s warm tongue was now running in those same lazy circles down the inside of her right thigh as her hand squeezed the left, pushing her knees apart, opening her up to the cold April air.

Though she wasn’t cold for long, as Pam finally dragged her tongue between Linda’s folds, and the blonde threw her head back just at that simple contact.

She never thought she’d be able to feel this again, not with Pamela…and Pamela was really all she wanted. No matter what she’d told herself otherwise all those months.

But as Linda writhed in the grass, her back arching, hands twisting tighter in Pam’s thick head of hair, she felt something like an insect crawling over her stomach. She supposed that’s what they deserved for doing this outside. But gradually, whatever it was began to crawl upwards, or…spread, rather. And it wasn’t an insect, it was…

Linda opened her eyes to see the thick spindles of moss crawling over her body, spreading like a disease from…from….

That wasn’t Pamela between her legs anymore.

Whoever it was may have had Pamela’s features, but her skin was green like the moss that crawled out of her mouth, and her eyes glowed, preternatural and iridescent in the descending dusk.

And she had a smile on her face. Her bright red lips upturned wickedly, tongue still working mercilessly at Linda’s clit.

Linda tried to free her hand of the monster’s hair and recoil in horror, but something like a vine---covered in tri pointed leaves that burned Linda’s skin---shot out of the ground, wrapping around her wrist and pinning it to the Earth.

Meanwhile, the moss continued to spread over Linda’s chest, up her neck, through her hair…and all Linda could do was scream, her hands and feet bound now.

The monster left her swollen nub with one more flick of its red tongue, crawling over her body much slower than the moss was engulfing her. “I waited for someone like you for 24 years, Linda,” it told her, hovering just above Linda’s wailing mouth, “I really don’t think 11 months is too much to ask.”

The lips that silenced her were the last thing Linda Holland ever felt, and as the moss grew to cover her eyes, the monster’s smirking mouth was the last thing she saw.

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

Patient Interview #3: Harleen Francis Quinzel. November 12, 11:34 AM

“Why don’t we start with your childhood?”

“Ooooweee!” The patient giggled, her lips stretching almost further than was natural. “What’cha think you’re gonna find back there?” she rocked backwards and forwards in her chair, the legs tipping off the ground with each rock of her body.

“Does that question amuse you?”

“Lemme guess—can I guess?” she cocked her head childishly, curling a blonde pigtail around her index finger. “You think…maybe my Daddy touched me, right? Inappropriately. Little Harleen, sleepin’ in bed at night—she just wasn’t safe at home! Always comes down to Daddy issues, doesn’t it? That’s why I took a liking to a certain esteemed older gentleman?”

Did your Father touch you inappropriately?”

“He never had the chance,” the patient simpered. “Can’t touch what you can’t see, and he never saw me.” Her expression changed a bit as she looked straight into the camera, her smile dimming, and losing a bit of its edge. “I could tell you about the time I got accepted to Gotham State University. I used to be a gymnast, ya know? Got a scholarship and everything. I coulda made the Olypmics.”

“That’s quite an accomplishment…”

“Oh, you bet it was,” she grinned, propping her elbow on the table, her cheek resting in her palm, not seeming to care that the metal chain of her handcuffs was digging into her neck. “I coulda been a whole bunch’a things.”

“But you decided on psychiatry. Why?”

“Yeesh, so impatient,” the blonde admonished. “How about you hold your horses, huh, Doc? I’m gettin’ to it.”

/

She’d been a dedicated gymnast since she was very young. Since Ma took her to the gym to let her release some of that pent up childlike energy that kept her running like a maniac around the house all day and night.

Her first love was the balance beam. High with little room to maneuver, like a tightrope you can do flips on! She loved how the tumbling mats squished beneath her feet, how the springboards bounced her into the air…And she’d been damn good at it too. Years of training, all the way through grade school, middle school, high school—no friends, no weekends, just gymnastics…and it was over in a flash. One bad landing, one cracked ankle bone, and it was over.

Unfair. It’d been so ridiculously unfair.

But she got to keep her scholarship. A full ride to GSU.

But then she’d had to decide what to with her opportunity. Wasn’t a tough decision, though, really. She’d always been fascinated by the criminal mind, the psychology of what made them tick, why they did what they did. See, her Pop had been a con man, and—goddamn it!

So maybe Daddy issues had somethin’ to do with it, go ahead and sue me for unoriginality.

Annnyyywayyy…Gotham was rife with opportunities for research. There was some fancy new hold up practically every day, costumes or regular crooks, it didn’t matter. Gotham was crawling with it.

But she liked the costumes. Liked the exhibitionists, the showmen…and the only place to see all that stuff up close and personal was…

Arkham Asylum.

Dun dun duuuuun!!!!

The place they locked up the baddest of the bad, the twistiest of twists! The most conniving criminals Gotham City—nay! The world!—had ever seen! And Harleen Quinzel wanted in.

A model student. That’s what Harleen was. Aceing her courses, astounding her professors, her fellow classmates. Harleen was single minded, determined. When she set a goal for herself, she followed it through, and by the time she had that pretty diploma hanging on her wall…Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D….her mind was made up.

/

“And that’s how you ended up with your residency?”

“And Bingo was his name-o,” she grinned, shooting off two finger guns.  

“You were an excellent addition to the team, Harleen.”

She bit the tip of her thumb, trying to contain her smile. “Aww shucks. You’re makin’ me blush.”

“Why did that change?”

She blinked, her smile drooping. “Why did what change?”

“Why did you do what you did that night?”

“Well…there ain’t exactly just one reason…” she admitted, staring down into her lap. “There’s a couple, really. Starting with my name, of course. He said it put a smile on his face…I like his smile…”

“Can you list a few more for me?”

/

“Harleen Quinzel? I’m Doctor Joan Leland, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Call me Harley, everyone does,” she said with a grin.

Leland tipped her chin, looking a little thrown by the informality. “I must admit, I was surprised you actually wanted the residency,” she said, leading her down the corridor. “A woman with your grades could’ve written her ticket anywhere.”

Harley let out a nervous chuckle. The truth couldn’t hurt right? Surely Dr. Leland, of all people, could understand the pull. The desire to crack open the minds of these criminals, to worm her way inside…A personal line of self-help books wasn’t unenticing either. Fame, if not by her gymnastics success, could come another way.

“Yes, well, I’ve always had this attraction to extreme personalities. They’re more exciting. More challenging.” Harley’s eyes flickered over the cells as they walked, the sound of their heels clicking against the stone floors amplified in the gaping hall.

Each cell was filled with one creature or another, men hunched into balls on their cots, licking the bars of their cage, glaring at her with wide, bloodshot eyes. And then she caught sight of a woman amongst the many broken looking men. She wasn’t broken. She was beautiful, with long, flowing red hair, and almost glowing verdant skin. She met Harley’s gaze with sharp green eyes, and her red lips twitched into a smile.

“Harley?”

Harleen whipped around, the spell the woman seemed to cast over her breaking. “Yes?”

“Are you alright?”

“Yes, sorry,” she cleared her throat self-consciously, smoothing down her already perfectly smooth overcoat.

“So,” Leland continued, unperturbed. “You were saying. Exciting, challenging…and more high profile?” She cast Harley a knowing smile.

“Well, you can’t deny there’s an element of glamour to these super criminals,” Harley admitted.

“I’ll warn you right now, these are hard core psychotics,” Joan held a finger up, waving it in Harley’s face. “They’d just as soon kill you as look at you. If you’re thinking of cashing in on them by writing a tell all book, think again—Harleen?”

She wasn’t listening anymore, having caught a glance of a certain inmate over Leland’s shoulder. She knew him, everyone did. The Batman’s nemesis, The Clown Prince of Crime…The Joker.

He leaned against the wall of his cell, lanky arms crossed over his slim chest, whistling a tune as she approached. Head swiveling, he grinned widely at her, red lips somehow different than the ones she’d seen on Poison Ivy.

“Harley?” Joan had snuck up behind her, looking over her shoulder at the Joker who sent Harley a quick wink. “They’ll eat a novice like you for breakfast if you’re not careful…Especially him. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” Harley murmured, still drawn in by the danger in his dark eyes. Eyes that almost looked black from where she stood. “I do.”

Patient Interview #5: Harleen Francis Quinzel. November 17, 10:45 AM

“There’s something I’d like to go over from our last session.”

“’Kay.” She blew a bubble with the gum they’d allowed her.

“You mentioned an infatuation with the Joker upon first meeting him.”

“Well, who wouldn’t be infatuated with Mistah J?” she replied, her voice almost angry in its intonation. “Puddin’s the most…most brilliant, amazing, powerful, downright hiiiilarious—”

“I understand, thank you.”

She pouted at having her gushing session interrupted.

“I heard you wanted an interview with him early on.”

“You bet I did.”

“But it took you sometime before they granted you access?”

“Yeah, I had to prove myself first,” she smiled proudly, like that was an accomplishment she still held dear.

“How so?”

“Had to interview a ton of others.” She explained. “Had ta show ‘em I could handle the manipulation.”

“So who were your other patients?”

“Mmm…” Harley narrowed her eyes in concentration. “Well, I didn’t get on with the plant lady too well. I liked her just fine, but she kept looking at me funny. She didn’t talk much either.” She shrugged. “Tried my best, though. I guess it’s true, some people just don’t want help.”

“But that night…with Joker…”

“Ooh! That’s my favorite story!” And her smile carried a wicked gleam this time.

/

3…2…and…1.

Harleen disabled the alarm, scanning her ID card and typing in the necessary code. She was pretty sure she’d brought too many gadgets, but better safe than sorry, right?

She’d never really…thought about killing people before, honestly. She supposed it was a bit odd to say she hadn’t had an opinion on it because killing people is—you know—pretty serious. But she was beginning to realize it was sort of easy. Just point and shoot. Obstacle removed.

Guilt? Harleen wished mental blocks could be as easy to overcome. Had she been this twisted from the start? Or had months of slogging through conversations with her misogynistic, stuffy, old coworkers had pushed her over the edge?

Honestly, she wished she could just shoot them down rather then—oh, hell, I’m getting distracted.

She raised the gun again, capping one of the guards stationed outside Joker’s cell with a well-aimed bullet.

“Sorry, Larry!” she apologized.

She was sorta sorry.

Not really.

But sorta.

The thought of getting her Puddin’ out of here, to a safe place where they could finally be together. Finally, he could be free of the glass and metal bars that confined him, the ones that boarded up his poor, wounded heart! And then they’d be free, just the two of them. Joker working to take down that blasted Bat, and Harley working to keep that smile on his face. The smile she never, ever wanted to see droop. That special, knowing smile he only gave to her.

She was tired of seeing him down in the dumps, tired of seeing him mistreated and misunderstood.

So she was getting him the heck outta here.

With a bomb and a blast, the glass splintered and fell, the bars easy to pull away as Harleen moved through the rubble, clad head-to-toe in red and black. The smoke cleared just in time for her to step into the spotlight. Her spotlight. Finally, she was doing something for her. Choosing someone that she wanted.

“Knock, knock, Puddin’!” she grinned, not forcing her tongue to twist this time, to hold back her words the way she wanted to say them, allowing her accent to seep through with her enthusiasm. “Say hello to your new and improved Harley Quinn!”

She was too elated at the feeling of freedom in her chest to care that he didn’t seem to know what was going on…

Maybe she should’a been a little more careful with where she threw that bomb. He seemed sorta out of it…

But no matter! She was on a mission!

Grabbing his hand where he sat on his cot, she yanked him up to his feet, planting a loud kiss on his cheek once he’d joined her, and tugged him out of the open cell, into the hallway.

The alarms were blaring at this point, the other patients riled up, gripping or even climbing the bars of their cells, whooping and hollering as they ran past.

Joker laughed behind her at the sound of unadulterated chaos, and Harley’s smile widened. She could see the door now, and after killing the last guard in the hallway with another flurry of bullets—they were free!

…for the time being, at least. Harley knew they’d bring backup. She remembered the prison break drills they’d run her through as a doctor. And that’s when one voice called out above the rest.

“You!” she was commanding even in her desperation. “Let me out!”

In a split second decision, Harley veered towards her cell, slamming her hand down on the button to retract the glass. A metahuman would be a good distraction. Especially one so destructive.  

Harley knew she should go, but she was transfixed by how the blood red mist that kept her weak, kept her docile, spilled out from below the thick glass panel as it pulled away from the ground, giving the monster within her first breath of clean, unaffected oxygen.

Through the mist, a pair of glowing green eyes shone forth, and a wicked smile stretched plump red lips as she emerged, bare feet padding over Arkham’s cold stone tiles.

“Now that’s more like it,” Poison Ivy nearly moaned, stretching elegant arms above her head.

Harley turned before the woman could once again cast her spell, ignoring the cries of the other patients as she yanked Joker forward again, pulling him towards the exit.

Poison Ivy’s laugh traveled down the hallway, nipping at Harley’s heels, seeming to follow them out the doors. “You’ll look darling in orange, Dr. Quinzel,” her voice echoed, ushering them out into the night.

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Chapter Text

It wasn’t really how she expected it to be. There were no sunsets to ride off into. No happy endings to write. In fact, if Harley was honest with herself, it all spun out of control rather quickly.

The first place they took shelter in was in an old abandoned theme park—which was fine…except for the dilapidated rides, the empty carny carts, and rusted over carousel—the black eyes of the horses seeming to stare straight into Harley’s soul.

It was damp and dank where they hid inside the Tunnel of Love (which Harley thought was wildly appropriate) and waited until the sirens and barking dogs and shouts faded into the distance.

And then Mistah J laughed, long and loud, and it echoed throughout the tunnel fading into the distance as an eerie wail. Suddenly, he grabbed her shoulders, his long fingers digging into her skin, and kissed her forehead just beneath the hem of her cowl.

“Harley girl!” he said, falling back against the tunnel wall, still giggling. “I don’t know what I would do without you, kid.”

Harley was still too stunned from the kiss to properly respond. But it sent shockwaves through her body. She couldn’t even express how long she dreamed of garnering his affection—physically or otherwise. And in that moment, she wanted him more than anything. Blinking away her daze, she lunged for him, this time hoping for a real kiss, but he was on his feet in an instant and Harley almost ran nose first into the wall.

“We’re going to need to find a way back into the city. And then I’ll give the boys a ring. I have a feeling you’ll love Rocko,” he snickered, the sound high and sharp—but his voice carried a dark cadence when he spoke again. “He’s quite the gentleman.”

Harley rose to her feet shakily, watching him pace and talk to himself, and make plans to retake his place within the city. And all the while she stood by, her mind whirling with the events of the night. A few hours ago, she’d been nothing more than a mild-mannered (and probably a little repressed psychiatrist) and now she was here, with him, the Joker’s moll. His partner in crime. Lover? God, she hoped so. It was only fair, right? After all she’d done for him.

A part of her knew it was wrong that she’d wanted a patient so badly. It broke every code, every oath she’d taken. But Mistah J wasn’t really a patient. He never should have been in the first place. He was just misunderstood, wrongly accused.

How could anyone think anything otherwise?

They left the theme park a few day later and Harley could not have been more grateful. Her costume already stunk of the tepid water in the Tunnel and it squelched in her shoes as they ran. Her hair was a tangled unclean mess beneath the cowl, and her make-up had smeared, revealing the true color of her skin. She wondered for a little while if Mistah J would still find her appealing, being the mess she was, but honestly, he didn’t seem to notice her.

That was alright though, he was busy, making plans to take them to the top of Gotham City. King and Queen. Breaking the Bat. Ruling the underbelly. She just had to be patient.

/

She met Rocko soon enough, and Lenny, and Ernie, and Reggie. The entire gang Mistah J had gathered for himself. All of them rag tag goons, that made Harley’s nose wrinkle. Why Mistah J thought any of them were worthy of his attention was beyond her. More than once she thought about knocking off one of the bums in their sleep. Mistah J didn’t need them; he had her.

The urge to pull their balls out through their throat reached its peak when Rocko cornered her in their hideout in an old fishing shop on the docks, and grabbed her ass, whispering something about showing her the bedroom. And Harley snapped, jamming her knee into his crotch and following that up with a blow to the side of his neck that had him out cold. The room went silent and then Mistah J’s lips spread into that wide smile she loved so much, the one he only gave to her, and he threw back his head and laughed. And soon the other goons did too, nervously, clearly to appease him…but Harley had never felt more proud.

She’d earned that laugh, that smile. It was hers. And she took it and cradled it close to her chest.

/

Okay, so she’d killed those guards in Arkham, her coworkers, friends(?) if she was being generous…But that hadn’t felt real. She hadn’t been able to see their faces behind the spray of bullets. She’d run by too quickly to register the light leaving their eyes. And she’d been so focused on freeing Mistah J…

This time is was different.

The drug lord they’d cornered had been encroaching on Mistah J’s territory…and he was anything but happy. Rocko and Ernie had taken turns beating the man into a bloody pulp, Mistah J tossing his knife carelessly, making easy conversation over the man’s screams. Harley stood by, oversized hammer (it was ridiculous, honestly, but Mistah J had gifted it to her so….) propped over her shoulder. She’d gotten a good hit in before he’d ordered her to stand aside and let Rocko and Ernie finish.

And then Mistah J signaled for them to stop, and he approached the man slowly, like a wolf stalking its prey—the same predatory gleam in his black eyes. He ran the blade of his knife lightly over the man’s neck, not deep enough to cut, and Harley could see the man’s throat bob—sweat running down his bloody face.

“Harley!”

She snapped to at the sound of Mistah J shouting her name. He was holding out his knife to her, smiling that special smile and beckoning her forward. Setting her hammer down, she reached out for the knife, admiring its weight, the gleam in the moonlight.

“He’s all yours, my dear,” Mistah J said, leaning in to whisper hot in her ear. “Make Daddy proud.”

Harley looked down into the man’s terrified eyes, a flicker of hesitation passing through her. It was gone in the next instant as Mistah J’s words refocused her. She had a job to do as his partner. He gave her an order and she would follow. Anything.

So she snapped a hand out, grabbing a handful of the man’s oily hair and yanking his head back, exposing his neck. And with a grin that matched J’s, she painted a smile on the man’s neck, watching the red pour down his chest. Releasing his hair, Harley withdrew her shaking hand—his heavy body hit the concrete with a ‘thud’.

She should have felt guilty…probably. Instead her chest filled with a strangled sense of pride. She’d done that.  She’d taken a life into her owns hands, toyed with it the way she saw fit. And the sense of power it gave her was totally foreign.

Mistah J was laughing again and then he swiped the knife from her and called for everyone to follow.

No praise? No ‘good work, Harley girl’? No acknowledgement for what she’d done without questioning him?

Harley shook her head, it didn’t matter. Mistah J appreciated her, she knew it. He knew it. He just wasn’t very good at expressin’ himself.

But he loved her. Their few months together had proven that much. Although sometimes...Meh, she was thinking too hard.

Grabbing her hammer, she bolted after the others, leaving the man’s body to rot in the alley.

/

Their newest place was a dilapidated warehouse, with two stories. Rocko and the gang kept to themselves downstairs mostly, and Harley was allowed to stay upstairs with Mistah J. He spent most of his time at his workbench though, muttering to himself, scribbling blueprints, wailing about the Bat.

Harley did her best to console him. She cooked for him, she rubbed his shoulders, she put on his favorite music…Ultimately, her attempts did nothing. And that was when she decided she needed to go the extra mile.

Mistah J was a man, at the end of the day. A brilliant, unique, powerful individual…but still a man.

One night, on one of her solo romps through the city, she added a lingerie store to her looting list. The alarms went off before she really had a chance to look around.

Rookie mistake, Harley!

So she picked the closest number she could find, a sheer red night with black lace trim; and then she hightailed it back to the hideout. It didn’t take her long to get ready. A quick icy shower in the old bathroom with the water heater that was broken. She slipped on the nighty and applied the most expensive perfume she’d stolen and then she paused, hand on her cowl. Mistah J didn’t like to look at her when she wasn’t wearing it. He called her names sometimes. But when she kept the mask on, he grinned at her, and he told her his plans and shared his secrets. And tonight would be no different.

If she was going to properly seduce him, she needed his utmost approval.

Suffice it to say it didn’t work…And she’d given him her best line! “Oh come on, Puddin. Don’t you wanna rev up your Harley?”

Come on!!

He’d placed a hand on her face and shoved her off the table, continuing to scribble and groan about Batman. Ignoring the ache in her back and her heart, Harley resigned herself to bed, curling in the cold covers, the mask still covering her face.

The results were much the same the next week, and then a few days after that. But Harley didn’t give up. Mistah J was bound to want her eventually!

And she was right…sort of.

Finally, one night when he’d spent hours, hours, pouring over his plans, Harley crept up behind him, nightie adorned, and placed a languid kiss on his neck. He stiffened, a low growl emanating from deep within his chest. It set a flame alive in Harley…but not exactly a comfortable one.

“Come on, Puddin,” she tried again. “Don’t you wanna—”

She didn’t get to finish this time. In an instant, he was on his feet, wrenching her arm and throwing her down against the desk. Harley barely had a chance to catch her breath before he’d torn her panties away, and ripped the nightie partway in two, and then—

It wasn’t how she’d imagined it. Then again, very few things were with Mistah J, she was learning.

She remembered asking him something…stop…slow down? The words were a jumble as were her thoughts as he tore into her, his cackle filling her ears. Except she didn’t like it this time. Closing her eyes, she grit her teeth and clutched the desk as the wood scraped against her tender skin over and over again.

When he was done with her, he yanked her to her feet and tossed her away, taking a seat at his desk as though nothing had happened. Harley stared at him, one hand clutching the ruined nightie to her chest, her breath coming in short gasps—the pressure of tears building behind her eyes.

She fled to the bed, throwing herself down on the mattress and telling herself over and over again it was what she wanted. It had been good. She’d liked it. Eventually, she calmed herself, but her respite didn’t last long.

Now it happened every few weeks. And she didn’t have to wear the nightie to get his attention anymore. He’d take her anywhere, whether she was ready or not, and her protests always died on her tongue. He was happy, after all. He laughed and he smiled and sometimes his lips brushed her skin and it made her tingle. She never got to look at him though…She could only feel him pressed against her back, his dark eyes boring into her skull.

But it was fine.

It was what she wanted after all.

/

The first time she met the Bat, she had to admit she was a little star struck. She’d heard stories, read news reports, poured over accounts of his battles with Mistah J. But it was different seeing him in person. He was huge, dark, intimidating, the shadows turning him into an apparition. Harley was nervous, but Mistah J had never looked happier.

The rain hammered down around them, wetting the streets, making is difficult for Harley to keep her footing. The clap of thunder drowned out Mistah J’s laughs and flashes of lightning illuminated the Bat as he landed.

It struck Harley now why their heist had been such a disaster. Mistah J wasn’t one to half-ass a mission. And Harley had the creeping sense he’d wanted this, he’d wanted the Bat to find them.

He landed in front of them, his cape rustling in the howling wind, and he rose slowly, the white glow of his eyes narrowing.

“You’re getting sloppy, Joker,” he growled, his deep voice echoing in the alleyway.

“Well, it’s a good thing I have you to correct me then, Batsy,” Mistah J cackled.

The Bat’s scowl deepened, and then his head swiveled towards Harley and she shivered. The white glow emanating from his mask made her feel like he could see right through her. And…apparently, he could.

“Dr. Quinzel.”

Harley didn’t know that two words, her very own name, could carry such deep disappointment. He almost looked sad, when their gazes met. The words he hadn’t said, echoed in her head.

I expected more from you.

What happened to you?

What have you done to yourself?

How could you have fallen so far?

Harley was filled with an indescribable rage. What right did he have to judge her? He didn’t even know her. He didn’t understand what Mistah J was—he was the reason her angel was so misjudged, mistreated.

However, besides her indignance, Harley quickly realized...that she had asked herself the same exact questions. But she’d shoved them aside, because they were stupid. Flashes of insecurity in what had been an ultimately life changing decision. One she wouldn’t change for the world…Right?

Frustrated, confused, angry that he’d stirred these feelings within her, Harley charged. She lifted her hammer, emitting a battle cry and racing towards the Bat, ignoring Mistah J as he screamed for her to stop.

The strike was like one of the bolts of lightning that streaked the sky. She felt a sharp pain in her ribs, heard the crack, and then she was being tossed through the air like a rag doll, crashing into an old dumpster. She gasped, her head spinning, chest aching when she tried to breathe.

The thunder clapped and Mistah J shouted and then laughed and the alleyway was filled with the sounds of fighting. Fists hitting flesh, a knife swinging through the air…and Harley lay stunned the entire time, her body aching and quivering.

How was she supposed to be Mistah J’s partner if she couldn’t get one hit in on the Bat? Slowly, very slowly, one arm wrapped around her ribs, she rose to her feet, using the dumpster for support. She caught sight of the battle raging on, Mistah J dancing nimbly around the Bat, taking hits and laughing as the blood trickled down his face.

But he was losing. And Harley knew she needed to do something before the Bat killed him. Suddenly, seeming to realize the same thing, Mistah J pulled a long-barreled pistol out of his pocket and a gunshot echoed around the alley, ringing loudly in Harley’s ears.

“Until next time, Batsy!” Mistah J shouted as the Bat collapsed to his knees, gripping his side.

Mistah J ran, leaving Harley standing alone by the dumpster. The Bat looked up at her, that same sorrowful expression on his face. Furious, she ran after Mistah J, aiming a swift kick in the Bat’s injury as she passed—he grunted, but the pain in her own ribs made it impossible to feel truly victorious.

The rain had soaked through her costume entirely by the time she made it back to the hideout. She was shivering and in pain, her teeth chattering in her skull. Mistah J was waiting for her, his bloody face set in a manic sneer.

“Mista—”

His blow came almost as quickly as the Bat’s. Bloody knuckles crashed into her cheek, sending her spinning. She threw her arms out to cushion her fall and her torso twisted in the process. She let out a strangled scream as she fell, feeling the rib twist in her chest. And then she lay there, small, shivering as Mistah J paced above her, shouting.

“What were you thinking? Did everything I’ve told you fly out that tiny little brain of yours? The Bat is mine.”

“I—I’m sorry, Puddin. I—just thought—”

Another blow, this time a kick to her stomach, just barely below her broken rib. The force of it made Harley heave, a deep ache blooming inside of her.

“Idiot!” he shouted, spitting at her. She flinched as the saliva hit her cheek and closed her eyes, resigning herself to the agony. He didn’t shout for much longer, just left her on the floor, curled in on herself.

She’d never expected Mistah J to do this her. He’d always been so kind…so…loving…He’d always needed and wanted her. And yet, he’d beaten her senseless after a single mistake. Harley wanted to believe he didn’t mean it. He was just angry, just frustrated like her. He’d apologize in the morning, as would she, and everything would be better. But Harley could not have been more wrong.

It wouldn’t be the last time.

 

 

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Chapter Text

Harley should’a known the good times wouldn’t last. Should’a known The Bat would be back, and with a vengeance. And man oh man, was he mad! All she had to see was how tight his jaw was clenched to know this wasn’t going to end well for she and Mistah J.

And—spoiler alert—she was right.

He didn’t hit her so hard this time, but he sure as hell didn’t pull any punches with Mistah J. Cracked him right upside the head with his boot, knocking him out cold, his pale body crumbling to the ground.

“Puddin!”

“You’re about to see a much different side of Arkham, Dr. Quinzel,” Batman’s modulated voice rumbled.

“It’s Quinn!” she protested as he handcuffed her. “Harley Quinn.”

She didn’t feel like putting up a fight. What good was she without her Puddin’? Better to be locked up in Arkham with him than on the outside, lonely.

They yanked her cowl off to take her mugshots, revealing her stringy blonde hair. She hadn’t been able to take super good care of it staying with Joker. He didn’t exactly put much thought into women’s hair care.

She didn’t smell too good either…but the guards didn’t seem to mind that when they pushed her up against the wall, bending her over to “search her”. Harley wasn’t sure what they thought she was hiding up there, but their fingers weren’t exactly gentle, nor was their exploration brief.

Poison Ivy’s laugh echoed cruelly in her head as she pulled on her orange uniform. It was embarrassing. She expected it would be the same for just about any “patient”, wasn’t fun for anybody to get locked up…but this used to be Harley’s domain. Dressed in her crisp blazers and tight skirts, coming and going as she pleased. She’d once been the authority. The law. And now she was at the mercy of it.

Though Bats was right when he said she’d witness a different side of the institution. The work of the Arkham staff didn’t seem all that noble staring out of the glass rather than into it. The guards weren’t kind. Especially to Harley. She supposed she deserved that, she killed a couple of their friends, after all…but she also suspected it might have more to do with what was between her legs.

There were two other female patients, as far as she could tell. Though Poison Ivy wasn’t in her cell when Harley first arrived. And Babydoll was…look, Harley knew unstable, alright? But Babydoll was…unstable.

She remembered the day that changed, though. The day Poison Ivy joined them.

It was late at night, and Harley was awoken by the loud cheering of the other patients. Sounding almost like the night she’d broken Mistah J out. Though this time it was more jeering than cheering.

“Welcome back, bitch,” she heard someone yell above the commotion.

Harley got up from her cot, approaching the cold bars of her cell, her face pressing between them to look down the hallway towards the noise. It was dark, but even so, it didn’t take long for her to figure out what was going on.

Poison Ivy was being dragged towards the processing room, still dressed in her leotard, her hair wild, and her bare knees scraping painfully against the stone ground.

“On your feet, Isley,” one of the guards commanded as he and the other one pushed her forward with brutish strength, her head colliding with the door.

“Fuck you,” she managed to turn around and spit at him. And her saliva glowed when it landed on his jacket, the fabric instantly beginning to smoke.

The other guard quickly reached for his radio. “Bio-hazard, we need a containment unit.”

Harley watched with horror and fascination as that same guard placed a thuggish hand on the back of her neck, holding her against the door, his knee jamming its way up between her legs.

That garnered some whoops and hollers from the other patients, but Ivy evidently had no interest in putting on a show, because in the next instant, she was jamming her elbow backwards into the man’s side.

Harley smiled unconsciously at that. That guard had pulled that same shit on her when she’d been processed.

But his hand was still on her neck, and he angrily wrenched the door open, shoving her inside.

The jeers had mostly died down by the time the guard reemerged from the room, dragging Ivy along with him, heavy cuffs binding her hands and feet.

She also wasn’t wearing her leotard anymore, but rather the orange uniform assigned to all Arkham patients. Though Harley had worked at Arkham, observed Poison Ivy long enough, to know that wouldn’t last. She also knew that the cell they were locking Ivy into was specially crafted, the environment perfectly regulated to keep her as docile and subservient as they could.

The floor was soaked through with white vinegar, and the air they pumped in was almost pure oxygen. Being that she was a plant-hybrid, both of those things were rather problematic for her. If she got too excited or antagonistic, they’d pump pesticides in through the air ducts until she collapsed onto the floor, the vinegar leaving burns on her green skin. Of course, those would be healed within the hour, but with how she hissed, Harley imagined they were still very painful.

When she was a doctor here, Harley used to think all these precautions were perfectly appropriate and warranted…but now it felt a little…mean.

“The next time I get out of here,” Harley heard Ivy bang her fist against the glass. “They’ll find you hanging from your ankles with your cock stuffed down your throat, do you hear me?!”

And…here come the pesticides.

Right on cue, Ivy began to cough in the cell next to her, and the thump Harley heard next was the sound of Ivy falling to her knees. At least that’s what she assumed.

The next day in the cafeteria was more of the same, Harley sitting alone, her pulse thrumming in her ears as her former patients shot her looks from their respective tables. This time she’d mustered a “What are you lookin’ at?” at Riddler…but he’d only laughed in her face. She supposed she didn’t look all that intimidating with her wide blue eyes and California-blonde features. And she couldn’t sit with Mistah J, cuz he wasn’t allowed to eat with the rest of ‘em. They didn’t even feed him most days.

So yeah, everything was normal…until Poison Ivy strode in.

Harley was right to say her uniform wouldn’t last. She was still wearing her shirt, although it was now only held together by one button just below her breast, showing off her tight stomach. And her pants had been abandoned altogether, replaced by a pair of leafy underwear she’d obviously grown herself.

It would almost look silly if she weren’t so damn attractive. Harley was convinced you could throw a burlap sack over the woman and she’d still be drool-worthy. But this look was purposeful. Turns out, there was very little Poison Ivy did without reason.

“I find the most effective method for getting a man’s attention is to flaunt your assets,” Ivy told her, lounging casually on the chair in Dr. Quinzel’s office, her shirt leaving nothing to the imagination (especially from this angle).

“And is that what you want?” Harley asked, having to swallow as she suddenly felt parched. “To get a man’s attention?”

“Oh, heaven’s no,” the patient laughed, the sound deep and cruel. “Human men aren’t worthy of my affections. But dressing like this asserts control, as their interest in fucking me provides incentive for them to pretend to respect me.”

They hadn’t gotten very far in Ivy’s therapy, but that conversation would always stick with her.

“I wouldn’t touch that one,” Crane was warning Ivy now, nodding over at Harley. “Joker’s already made his claim.”

Ivy rolled her eyes, moving to her own table, carrying her salad on a tray.

“You’re not honestly that desperate, are you, Pamela?” Two-Face called over to her. “If you’re in need of attention, I’ve been here the whole time.”

With a calm smile and an even tone, she said, “I’d thank you to fuck off, Mr. Dent.”

“Oh, come on, Pammy,” Two-Face protested. “We had fun, didn’t we?”

“She doesn’t even bat for your team,” Riddler chastised, laughing as he popped tater tot into his mouth. “Fairly certain Dr. Isley has an aversion to your equipment.”

Two-Face shrugged. “I’d say she liked it just fine. Isn’t that right, Pamela?” he raised his voice to address her once more.

And Harley swallowed at how her smile widened, how her green eyes gleamed dangerously as she set down her fork and rose from her chair in a measured, graceful movement. Harley’s eyes remained fixated on her swaying hips as she sauntered over to him, running her hand almost lovingly down the unmarred side of his face before she lowered herself down onto his lap in a movement that seemed to come as a genuine surprise to the men sitting around them. Even seemed to surprise Two-Face.

From where she sat, Harley couldn’t hear what Ivy whispered when she leaned into his ear, rocking her hips languidly on top of him, dragging them back and forth as she spoke, that smirk still stretching her red lips.

The guards had clearly been alerted because now they were rushing forward to grab her, yanking her off of him and dragging her backwards as she laughed.

“Gee, Harv, who knew you were a minute man?” Riddler cackled, indicating the man’s now wet crotch.

“Take a whiff, boys!” Ivy called over her shoulder as the guards pulled her roughly towards the exit, heavy cuffs once again binding her wrists and ankles. “Smells like urine to me.”

/

Mistah J had a plan. He always did.

Arkham wasn’t exactly a place that kept its inmates locked away for very long. Harley used to be embarrassed by their security, and now she was just plain grateful. She was losing her mind being locked inside that cell for most of the day. At least, she was one of the inmates to get out into the yard…but being trapped out there with tools like Nygma and Tetch was hardly a consolation prize.

Anyway! Puddin’, he had a plan. And it turned out Rocko and the gang were more useful than Harley had thought. The bombs went off after lights out. The sirens wailed and lights blared. Shouts of the guards filled the halls, and the echo of gun shots tore through the night. Harley knew Mistah J was being kept in deep security, but after a few minutes of chaos, she saw him running by with Ernie and Reggie at his side, carrying their guns like body guards as Mistah J whooped and laughed.

“Mistah J!” Harley called out amidst the noise, throwing herself against the bars. “Wait! Wait for me!”

But her Puddin’ was already gone, disappearing into the smoke and chaos. A pang of hurt tightened in Harley’s chest. He’d left her…again.

And then Rocko was at her door, leering at her, his thin lips pulled back in a slimy grin. “Wanna come with us, doll?”

Harley scowled, neglecting to answer, her knuckles whitening around the bars.

“You’re gonna owe old Rocko a favor, ‘kay?” He licked his lips and aimed his pistol at the lock of Harley’s cell. It swung open after a loud bang and Harley bolted into the hall, jerking to a stop when Rocko grabbed her arm. “Don’t forget it, babe.”

So Harley kneed him in the groin, shoved him to the floor, and ran off down the hallway after Mistah J. She passed Ivy’s cell as she ran, but avoided looking into it this time…and she wasn’t really sure why. Maybe it scared her a little to think of releasing that powerful being, the one she’d seen roaming the halls of Arkham, bending inmates to her will.

She’d released her once…Wasn’t about to do it again. Good luck, Plant Lady.

Harley made it out by the skin of her teeth. With no weapons this time, she’d had to be stealthier than usual. Not hard considering the absolute shit show that was Arkham’s main hall, and her own innate ability to sneak. Still, there had been a few close calls with flying bullets and fighting inmates.

Eventually, she burst out into the crisp night air. It soothed her burning lungs and fueled her with the energy she’d need to make it back to the base. Setting off, Harley sped through the night, underneath the quiet stars…alone.

/

Rocko never did make it back to the base, for which Harley was rather grateful. Assuming he’d been arrested in the Arkham chaos, Mistah Jay shook his head, clicked tongue and then clapped his hands and moved on. So the others did too.

And now that Rocko was gone, Harley was given a much bigger role in the team heists. She was officially Mistah J’s right-hand man…woman. And thank god too, because he gave her much more attention than he ever did before. He shared that smile she loved so much again. He called on her to discuss his plans. He even joined her in their bed sometimes, although he had a tendency to bat her away when she attempted to sidle closer.

And Harley was on cloud nine. Until they raided Gotham City Bank one night, just two weeks into their freedom from Arkham. It had been going well, Harley standing close by Mistah J’s, gun held to a bank teller’s head while her Puddin’ put on his show and dance. He paced on top of the desks, lazily waving his own pistol around, laughing when the citizens inside cringed away in fear.

It was Lenny (idiot that he was) who made the mistake. Leaning against the wall, trying to affect Mistah J’s casual façade, he pressed himself against the emergency alarm and only a few minutes later the gang heard the sound of squad cars approaching.

Sirens wailed, they heard a “come out with your hands up” through a muffled megaphone. Cursing, his demeanor shifting into something much more dangerous, Mistah J shouted and drew his knife, throwing it at Lenny. The man tried to duck, but the weapon nailed him between the eyes, pinning him to the wall beside the alarm.

“Now they know who to arrest,” Mistah J cackled, leaping down from the desks and grabbing the bags of cash Ernie and Reggie had gathered.

“Whadda we do boss?” Ernie whimpered, panic wrinkling his chubby face.

“We need an escape,” Mistah J mused, dark eyes flickering around the bank, and Harley saw her opportunity to jump further into his good graces. Thinking quickly, she shoved away the bank teller and aimed her gun at one of the small windows on the opposite wall. The glass shattered, leaving a decent sized hole, which Reggie cleared even further with the butt of his own weapon.

“This way, Mistah J!” Harley called, waving him towards the hole. He hooted with laughter, hurrying towards the escape hole and scrambling up Reggie, using his entire body as a makeshift ladder. Ernie followed, climbing more slowly, and Harley heard the barricaded door being slammed over and over again. Dancing on the tips of her toes nervously, she watched Reggie now attempt to wiggle his way through, his substantial belly getting him stuck halfway.

As Ernie struggled to free him from the other side, Harley pushed on his big fat rear, beginning to sweat when she heard the door crack. It burst open by the time Reggie was pulled through, landing with a thud on the other side. And Harley swung herself up and through, but not before the wild gunshots fired, nailing her in her left side. Shouting, she tumbled to the ground outside, pressing a shaking hand against the wound, staring at it in awe as it came away red with her blood. She knew she didn’t have long before her body went into shock, and she’d have to find a way to reduce the bleeding, but she couldn’t here, so close to the army of cops after her.

No more Arkham she told herself. Not after two weeks anyway. Without Mistah J there, she didn’t know how long it would take to escape on her own. Unless he came to spring her himself, which…wasn’t looking likely now that she’d been abandoned by the side of the bank.

Struggling onto shaky legs, Harley adjusted the bag she wore on her shoulder and bolted down the alleyway, gritting her teeth as pain coursed through her with every step. The sirens and shouts rang in her ears…god she was so tired of hearing them. And they followed close behind her this time. Their dogs probably following the scent of her blood.

Stupid bullet.

She ran past building after building, until finally, she found one with bricks old and uneven enough to scale. She certainly wasn’t going to find shelter on the ground with those dogs. The pain was worse now, as she stretched to reach each handhold, her fingers cramping. It became easier once she was a few dozen yards off the ground, where the handholds turned into ledges and…gargoyles? She hadn’t noticed in the dark, but she was scaling the Gotham Museum.

Good enough.

She could find her way inside and take shelter until the heat died down…besides they probably had a medical emergency bay somewhere inside, right? She hoped anyway.

The top of the museum had a rooftop exit, and once she reached it, she pulled her pistol out of her bag again and blew off the lock. The door swung open with a loud creak and Harley bolted inside, listening as the shouts and barks faded into the distance.

Score: Harley-1, Cops--…okay like 2, but it had been Batman mostly. So maybe the score was Harley-1, Cops-0, Batman-2. Technicalities. 

It didn’t take her long to reach the bottom floor, but she was still losing blood without anything to bind the wound. Grumbling, aching, she followed signs for the museum laboratory. There had to be something in there.

It turned out the lab was actually made of multiple rooms, connected by a maze of doors and Harley found herself in the most empty, sterile one, surrounded by tiny bacteria specimens. Awesome. And not at all what she needed.

Deciding she couldn’t wait any longer, for risk of, y’know, death…Harley tore at the sleeve of her suit, using one of the scalpels she found on a lab counter to cut it the rest of the way. Just as she finished tying the sleeve around her middle, gasping as she tightened it against the wound, she heard sharp alarms fill the air around her.

Seriously, she was real fucking tired of hearing them.

The door on her right burst open and Harley jumped as the red haired, green skinned woman nearly careened into her. She had a bag with her, although Harley had no idea what could be inside, but she cradled it against her chest like she was carrying an infant. She’d also abandoned her ridiculous Arkham uniform for the leafy green leotard Harley had seen her brought in with.

“Wha—”

“You,” she said, asked, and accused all at the same time, her verdantly green eyes widening.

“Did you set off the alarms?” Harley asked, a little stunned that someone as poised and capable as Poison Ivy could be so sloppy. The red head neglected to answer that question, her lips thinning in lieu of a response. Rolling her eyes, Harley continued: “What are you even doing here? You’re supposed to be in Arkham,” she reasoned, her voice muted beneath the blare of the alarms.

“As are you,” Ivy shot back, eyes flickering over Harley’s haggard form.

“How didja get out?”

“Your friend was very easily persuaded to help.” Her smug smile told Harley that she was clearly proud of that fact.

Rocko. Poor sap.

“Well we’re both gonna get sent back there if we don’t get outta here quick,” Harley said, grabbing Ivy’s arm and tugging her towards the door. They burst out into the main hall of the museum, ducking through into the dinosaur exhibit as the sound of shouts grew closer.

Reaaaaaaallly tired of it.

Harley was panting by the time they took shelter behind a brontosaurus’ giant leg.

“What happened to you?” Ivy hissed over the noise, adjusting her grip on the bag full of whatever.

“This is my second run in with the law, tonight,” Harley explained. She gestured down at the sleeve tied around her middle. “I’m goin’ for a record.”

Ivy didn’t laugh, she just sort of regarded Harley with an odd expression and Harley was reminded why she’d always had trouble working with her back at Arkham. A lady of few words, or carefully chosen ones anyway. And ZERO sense of humor.

Unimportant! What was important was escaping and Harley heard the sound of footsteps pounding into the exhibit room now.

Shit, shit, shit.

She had her gun, but there was no way she was going to be able to take all of the cops at once. And she was sort of starting to have trouble seeing straight anyway. Scrambling for an escape, eyes flying all over the room, she eventually settled on the bag Ivy cradled.

“What’s in there?” she asked, reaching out to touch it, surprised when Ivy jerked it away.

“Plant toxins from the labs,” she said, looking hesitant.

“Good enough, gimme.” Harley jerked the bag out of her arms, ignoring her cry of protest and dug through it, picking a shiny green bottle full of liquid that seemed to glow in the cops’ roaming flash lights. Pushing herself off her knees, Harley raised the bottle into the air and threw it towards the group of assembled police with all the strength she could muster.

Before it could hit the ground, she drew her gun, closing one eye and shooting it in mid-air, tongue stuck between her lips in concentration. The bottle shattered, green liquid raining down on the officers.

Fuckin’ score. Harley—2. Little Sure Shot Quinn. If only Mistah J had been here to—

Ivy was grabbing her arm now, pulling her past the cops who heaved and wretched and screamed when the liquid touched their skin. She stumbled after the red head, following closely as she ducked into a side hallway to avoid the main entrance where an army was stationed, waiting for them. They burst through the emergency exit together into the cool night air. They were free, except Harley’s only question was: What the fuck now?

Her answer came in the form of Ivy grabbing her hand again and pulling her around the side of the building.

“Quit tuggin’!” she shouted, ripping her arm away, her side burning as she twisted. Ivy shot her a venomous glance over her shoulder, probably still a little sore about the loss of one of her precious toxic bottles.

And then Harley saw a bright pink convertible. She almost snorted, a little surprised by the stoic woman’s choice in automobiles.

“Nice wheels,” she teased as Ivy pulled the doors opened, taking care to lay the bag gently in the back seat. “Where’d you get somethin’ so flashy?”

“Not important,” Ivy glared, jumping into the driver’s seat. “Get in.”

For a moment, Harley hesitated. If she went with Ivy, there was no telling how long it would take her to get back to Mistah J and the gang. And they’d probably worry about where she was, or if she’d escaped alive. She didn’t want to torment her Puddin’ like that.

“What are you waiting for?!”

She almost opened her mouth to say no, when the sound of gunshots went off behind her and she leapt into the car without a second thought. Ivy floored the gas pedal and the car’s tires squealed as they took off into the night.

It surprised Harley when Ivy let out a victorious laugh, the sound almost musical—so different from Mistah J’s, but somehow just as hypnotic. Harley cracked a grin too, beginning to giggle, until she was laughing so hard her side burned.

“That was crazy!” Harley whooped, twisting to see the lights disappearing behind them.

Ivy’s face hardened slightly, but her red lips still quirked into a smile.

“We should to this again,” Harley teased. “But next time, maybe you don’t—”

The car bounced into the air as they hit a small pot hole and Harley felt the wound in her side open further. She shouted, curling inward on herself, the blood leaking past her makeshift tourniquet. As her vision went black around the corners, she heard Ivy saying something, but her voice was echoey and faraway.

Harley quickly lost consciousness, the blood pooling around her feet the last thing she saw.

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Chapter Text

Harley felt like she was surrounded by a billowing cloud, enveloped in it, floating somewhere in the sky where it was warm and safe…

She breathed in the scent of cooking bacon, and smiled at the peaceful music drifting through the air around her.

Her eyes blinked open slowly, gradually taking in the morning light that seeped through the lace ivory curtains.

Harley stretched happily, hands fisting in the warm comforter—until a sharp pain rang out in her side and she cringed, hand immediately flying to the injury.

The gunshot, right.

It had obviously been cleaned—cleaned and re-bandaged with a thick sheet of gauze that wrapped around her waist. That’s when Harley noticed she was dressed in only her sports bra and underwear. She’d…she’d been wearing her costume, hadn’t she?

Where am I?

She was lying in a large bed—Queen sized, with soft silk sheets. A potted flower stood on the nightstand. The walls were bare aside from a one framed piece of fabric, on which was stitched a green and pink flower, with the words: “Like the flowers ever try to catch the sun as it goes by.”

Harley frowned as she sat up, noticing the folded t-shirt waiting for her on the dresser. Just a long t-shirt, no pants had been provided.

Oh right. Poison Ivy.

She tossed the covers back, and pulled herself to her feet with a groan of exertion, padding over to retrieve the garment with a slight limp. She felt like she’d been hit by a truck.

Harley ran her fingers through her dirty hair as she cautiously opened the bedroom door, stepping out into a hallway. She hoped whatever this place was had a shower.

The music seemed to be coming from a room up ahead, it grew steadily louder the further she traveled. And judging by the strengthening smell of bacon, Harley assumed she’d eventually end up in the kitchen.

Flowers are smiling bright
Smiling for our delight
Smiling so tenderly
For all the world, you and me

The hallway was plastered with photographs…report cards…newspaper articles…like the most organized serial killer in the world lived here.

I care not what the world may say
Without your love there is no day
So, love, this is my song
Here is a song, a serenade to you

The whole scene felt ethereal. Like Harley was in some other time, some other world.

All the photos depicted the same little girl—freckles, bright green eyes and red hair. At least that’s what Harley noticed in the few that were in color. The rest were black and white, and extremely dated.

Harley’s eyes drifted slowly over the display, taking in all she could...

There was a missing person’s poster with that same redhead—though she was older now. A grown woman. “Missing: Pamela Lillian Isley” it read in thick, blocky letters above the photograph.
“Height: 5’7”
Eyes: Green
Hair: Red
If you have any information, please contact Linda Ridge (555) 641-4480”

Missing?

Harley’s brow furrowed as she continued on, before coming to a stop in front of the last framed picture before the door. This one was in color. She had to lean forward to get a closer look, rubbing her eyes when she didn’t quite understand the image.

The redhead—Pamela, she’d gathered by this point—was sitting in the front seat of a pink convertible—one that now felt somehow familiar to Harley. She was dressed in a skirt and blouse, the skirt hiked up on her hips, her hair styled, held back with a green ribbon atop her head…but that wasn’t what Harley found odd. No, the odd part was the woman she was with. The woman whose lap she was straddling. A blonde who the redhead was trying to kiss despite the wide grin that stretched her lips, her hands twisting in the blue sweater she wore.  

The blonde was the one taking the photo, holding her arm out as far as she could in a clear attempt to get them both in fame. Her other hand was caressing the redhead’s flushed cheek.

 “Human men aren’t worthy of my affections. But dressing like this asserts control, as their interest in fucking me provides incentive for them to pretend to respect me.”

Dang, should’a read between the lines, Harl.

And the blonde hair, big blue eyes, nose upturned at the tip. Pink lips that had a constant mischievous curve at the corners. Light dimples in her cheeks….

Harley suddenly looked around, alarmed, throwing out her arms as if to stabilize herself. Is this a time machine house?

…is that even a thing?

Harley certainly wasn’t opposed to kissing pretty redheads in classic cars, but…she was pretty sure that had never happened? And Harley definitely didn’t own any turtlenecks, nor would she wear her hair—

Just get your stuff and get out, Harl. She moved quickly past the picture—severely creeped out, at this point—and hurriedly opened the door at the end of the hall, slipping into the next room and taking a deep, calming breath.

Though why she assumed this room would be less creepy, she had no idea.

It was the kitchen, as evidenced by the crackling of bacon…and the redhead that was cooking it. Her hair was long, trailing down her back in a loose braid over the baggy, periwinkle button-down she was wearing. Her legs were long and bare, with toned hamstrings and smooth, lightly tanned skin. She was humming along with the music emanating from the record player on the shelf beside her.

Harley stood, frozen, not daring to even breathe, staring for longer than she probably should have. A sinking feeling that she was interrupting a very intimate moment filled her gut. She didn’t quite know what to do when the woman bent over to retrieve the scrambled eggs that had been warming in the oven. So she just—um—watched. Not a bad view?

But that’s when the toast popped on the other counter, and the redhead turned around, meeting Harley face-to-face. She seemed just as startled as Harley had, her green eyes widening behind her thick glasses, skin flushing—just like in the picture in the hallway.

This was her alright! This was Pamela Isley. But witnessing Poison Ivy’s former self wasn’t anything Harley had imagined she’d ever see. And it kept her paralyzed.

The redhead was ripping the glasses from her face now, that familiar emerald green coloring seeping up through her skin until it was Poison Ivy standing before her in the baggy oxford shirt and mint colored panties. Leaving her less…naked.

Ivy waved a quick hand, and a vine shot out from one of the potted plants that decorated the kitchen, lifting the needle from the record and shutting off the machine, leaving them in silence.

“Um…hi?” Harley ventured, not quite sure what else to do.

“How long were you standing there?” Ivy snapped her question—though it seemed like she was more embarrassed than angry.

“Uh, long enough to know you can carry a tune,” Harley tried to lighten the suddenly tense situation, not really enjoying the death glare she was receiving. She’d much preferred the humming. “Any’a that bacon for me?”

“I don’t eat meat,” Ivy murmured, continuing on to the toaster, spreading butter on each piece of toast and setting it down on the plate she’d prepared. “The vaccine I’m going to administer requires a full stomach.” She added the bacon and then the eggs, setting the plate down on the kitchen table with a fork. “Please.” Ivy offered Harley the chair. “Sit. Eat.”

Harley was a bit dazed, but did as she was told, sitting down and picking up the fork. She was hungry, and she did love bacon, so it ain’t like a I’m doin’ her a favor or anything.

Ivy just stood above her, arms crossed, watching as Harley shoveled food into her mouth. And it was starting to sorta weird Harley out.

“This my payback for starin’?”

The redhead raised an eyebrow. “Were you staring?”

“Ain’t that what you want?” Harley asked, her mouth full. “People staring at you? Cuz then I have to respect you, right? If I’m thinking about you?”

Ivy rolled her eyes, finally taking the seat across from her. “It’s unattractive to speak with your mouth full, Dr. Quinzel.”

Harley’s chewing slowed. She was a guest, she could definitely improve her table manners, but also? Harley wasn’t liking Poison Ivy’s attitude, or her haughty expression. She was green—and didn’t even have to be, evidently—who was she to talk? “Thanks for—um—saving me, and stuff.” Harley grumbled, loading a pile of eggs onto her toast. “And for gettin’ the bullet out.”

Ivy just nodded, taking a sip of the orange juice she’d set out for herself.

“So…this is yer house?” Harley tried after a long moment of silence.

“One of them,” Ivy quietly acknowledged. “I have more than a few safe houses sprinkled around the city.”

“Mistah J’s safe houses don’t look like this one,” Harley told her, swallowing before speaking this time. “We mostly just sleep on the floor when we can’t go home. And even home base ain’t as—uh—” what was a good word? “homey as this.”

“Well, unlike Joker, I have at least a modicum of self-respect,” Ivy responded flatly. “I assumed you did too, during our sessions, at least. But given your choice in companion, I seem to have been mistaken.”

Harley swallowed loudly, her eyes narrowing. “Look, Lady, if I wanted to be talked bad to, I’d—,” she stopped short of a full sentence.

“You’d…” Ivy prompted her to continue. “Go back to Joker?”

Harley didn’t respond, didn’t—know how, exactly. Because, like, yeah…that’s how that sentence was going to end, but it wasn’t like that! And she could tell Ivy wouldn’t understand anyway. There was a complexity to she and Puddin’s love that Poison Ivy simply wouldn’t be able to comprehend.

Ivy was searching her face for a nonverbal response, and evidently, she got it, because she stood soon after. “You were shot last night, Harleen—,”

“Harley.”

“—you need to rest and you need to heal. I have something that will help you with that.”

“Is that…is that why you’re makin’ me eat?” Harley wondered, chewing on her last bite of bacon.   

Ivy nodded. “I would have administered the serum last night, but you passed out.”

Harley frowned. “Is it like needles and stuff? I prolly would’a preferred you give it to me while I was out. I hate shots.”

“I require verbal consent,” Ivy told her, tone matter-of fact. “But if you’d like to stay here with me—for at least the time being, until you’re healed—time is of the essence. Being in an enclosed space with me for long periods is detrimental to human health. So once you’re done there,” she nodded down at Harley’s nearly empty plate. “We’ll make sure I won’t be able to hurt you.”

Harley smiled a little at that. She’d seen what Poison Ivy could do. Heard she’d torn down a whole skyscraper one time cuz she got angry. Seen what she did to Two-Face in the cafeteria. She seemed to like hurting people, as far as Harley could tell, but she didn’t want to hurt Harley, and that made Harley feel sorta…good. She hadn’t really thought about friends before breaking Mistah J out. Hadn’t thought about losing all the ones she had. So maybe…maybe Ivy could be her friend. A real friend. They were in the same line of work, after all, and ladies gotta stick together, right?

So was she gonna stay? Sure, for the time being. Mistah J and the others might worry, but distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? And she was kinda looking forward to seeing how lovingly her Puddin’ would welcome her home after she disappeared for a few days.

So Harley finished up her food in a hurry, dropping the empty plate in the sink and following Ivy out of the kitchen—which seemed to please the redhead, if Harley was to guess by her quiet smile.

The lab was just a converted garage; Harley was pretty sure. Except for Ivy had evidently gutted out the floor and replaced it with grass. Which was pretty cool, Harley decided, and it felt nice on her tired feet. Harley’s jester suit didn’t exactly leave much room for her skin—feet included—to breathe, so she guessed Ivy probably didn’t like her smell too much, especially since Ivy smelled like flowers on a warm spring day, and everything in her house smelled like a garden, or—well—bacon. Which was an odd combination, but it had been a long time since Harley had felt so at home. And who woulda guessed the smell of fresh grass could do that?

You would, dunce. Your limbic system stores dozens of memories connected to smells taken in by receptor neurons and this reminds you of summer days back home.

Shutup, Harleen.

…..

Sorry…Please remind me to take a shower. Also maybe to ask Ivy where the heck she put my suit.

Those thoughts distracted her so thoroughly that she almost didn’t feel Ivy’s hands around her waist, lifting her up onto the counter.

“You’re, um—do you workout?” Harley’s words stumbled over each other.

Ivy chuckled as she bent over, opening a mini-fridge below the counter. “No, Harley, I’m a metahuman.”

Oh, right, duh. Hey! She called me Harley!

Score.

Seriously, shut up.

When Ivy righted herself, she was holding a glass syringe in her hand. Harley didn’t even know they made glass syringes anymore, so this one was either super fancy or old-timey. Ivy moved closer, positioning herself between Harley’s legs, and ran the cold syringe slowly up Harley’s bare arm, making every hair on her body stand up.

“Are you alright?” Ivy murmured as Harley shuttered at the contact.

“It’s c—cold,” Harley breathed.

The redhead smiled again, this one with perhaps a bit more mischief. A stronger dose of self-satisfaction. “Mmm…I’m afraid it has to be this way…these ingredients are awfully fickle. Temperature control is important.”

Harley swallowed at the warmth of Ivy’s hand as she gently twisted her arm to locate a suitable vein.

“Close your eyes,” she softly instructed.

And Harley did, slamming them shut, her entire face scrunching with them. And in the next moment, the needle was pushing into her vein, and Ivy was gripping her arm tighter as she guided the green liquid inside. Harley whimpered, her face screwing up in pain. The liquid stung as it entered her veins, burning, coursing through her tissue.

“Good,” Ivy cooed, before retracting the needle. “Very good.”

Harley’s heart was hammering against her ribs. She’d just let a mad scientist inject her with a glowy, nondescript liquid! Why did she do that?! That never turned out good in the movies! “H—how do I know if it worked?” she squeaked. She didn’t even know if she wanted it to work. What was it supposed to do?

Ivy set the now empty syringe down on the counter, studying Harley closely, her arms bracketing the blonde’s hips where she sat. Her eyes flitted down to Harley’s lips, and without any more warning, she leaned forward and kissed her. And not exactly chastely either. In fact, Harley was just about to raise her hands to…to…to push her away—of course! When Ivy pulled back, her expression unchanged.

“Now, do you suddenly have the urge to bend to my every whim?” she questioned.

Umm…

“No!” Harley insisted, her tone defensive.

That’s a lie.

I’m aboutta go inside my own head to murder you.

“No,” she said again, clearing her throat. “Not a bit.”

“Good,” was Ivy’s nonchalant answer as she headed back towards the door, leaving Harley staring after her. “Then it worked.”

///

Harley Quinn was certainly an interesting house guest. She spent the first day bouncing around the house with a crazed energy after having received the serum…Quite literally bouncing.

“I feel like I can fly!” she shouted, leaping onto the couch, the muscles in her calves straining as she gathered herself with her newfound strength. She paused on that thought, her blue eyes widening. “Can I fly?”

“Not quite,” Ivy replied, her lips quirking into an amused smirk. It was almost impossible not to be affected by the blonde’s abundant enthusiasm. “But your ability to leap significant heights and distances has improved. You’ve also gained an immunity to many, if not all, poisons and toxins—”

“That’s how come you could kiss me?” Harley interrupted, momentarily pausing in jumping on the couch’s plush cushions. Ivy could see a small blush coloring her cheeks.

“That’s right.”

“So, I can jump. I can’t be poisoned. I’m stronger, faster,” Harley’s eyes lit up. “Man, I’ll betcha I’d give Batsy a run for his money now.”

“There’s certainly less of a chance of you being tossed around like a ragdoll.” Harley didn’t seem to catch the double meaning as she leapt off the couch again and jogged in a quick circle around the living room, continuing to babble.

However, as Ivy anticipated, she crashed hard about an hour later and slept the day away in the bedroom, curled around one of Ivy’s pillows. Ivy watched her for a while, curious. Intrigued by how someone so intelligent, once so proficient, could fall into the clutches of someone like the Joker. Then again, maybe it wasn’t all that profound. Hardly even original, actually. Pamela had been manipulated as well, her mind twisted—broken by someone she’d trusted.

The second day was much of the same, except the boundless energy turned into curiosity and she spent the hours roaming the house, exploring everything. She seemed shocked—horrified, even—by the lack of electric appliances.

“No microwave? How do you make any good food?!”

Ivy’s wrinkled her nose. “Good food? Was breakfast not ‘good’ enough for you?”

Harley rolled her eyes. “Sure, sure. Oatmeal’s great, so are apples and whatever the heck sorta berries you gave me. But corndogs! Cold pizza! You can’t reheat that on a stove, Red. Which makes it taste even better than when it’s fresh.” She threw out her arms. “Everybody knows that.”

“I—Red?”

Harley didn’t even pause. “Yeah, cuz your hair. It’s red.”

“Yes…” Ivy wasn’t sure what to say to that exactly. It had been a long time since she’d been given a nickname, let alone an affectionate one. Harley continued without missing a beat.

“And why the heck don’t you have a phone?”

“I don’t need one.”

“Everyone needs a phone, how else do you call for take-out?”

“Would you stop it with the fast food?” Ivy snapped, growing agitated.

“What about a cellphone?” Harley continued, ignoring her. She blanched when Ivy remained stonily silent. “RED! Come on! You’re missing out on the wonders of Temple Run!”

“I don’t even care to know what that is.”

Groaning, Harley plopped onto the couch next to Ivy, allowing her head to fall over the back. “I can’t believe you. Yer livin’ in the dark ages. Not even a TV? What do you do all day?”

“Read, work, tend to the plants…and I have a record player if I require further entertainment,” Ivy answered brusquely. “There are plenty of things to do with your energy that don’t revolve around rotting your brain in front of a television set.”

Harley stuck her tongue out, blowing a raspberry into the air. “Boo…” She ran a hand through her hair, pulling it back a moment later and staring at it in disgust.

“Do ya have a shower at least?”

“The bathroom is down the hall, first right.”

Popping up, the cushions springing up behind her, Harley hurried down the hall and Ivy heard the door slam a moment later. Shaking her head, blowing a sharp breath through her nose, Ivy rose and headed towards her makeshift lab in the old garage.

She didn’t get far before she heard a loud ‘Oh, come on!’ from the bathroom. Turning on her heel, Ivy followed the sound of aggravated grumbling until she stood in the doorway of the bathroom. Harley was struggling with the knobs of the old freestanding bathtub. She whipped around when she heard Ivy enter.

“What is this?”

“Surely you’re familiar with a bathtub,” Ivy raised a brow and leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed over her chest.

“This isn’t a bathtub,” Harley shot back, gesturing to the clawed feet. “This is an eyesore. Look at it! It looks like it’s gonna come to life and walk away while I’m in it.”

“What?” Ivy blinked, utterly baffled.

“It ain’t even got a shower head,” She pouted, scuffing her foot at the tub. “And how do the knobs work? Which one’s hot?”

Shaking her head and sighing, Ivy made quick work of the knobs, drawing a simple bath for Harley—neglecting to include any oils or salts. She didn’t imagine Harley would appreciate them at the moment, her face scrunched in frustration.

As the water filled the tub, Ivy shuffled through the cabinets underneath the sink, pulling out a fluffy towel and setting it on the counter. She pinned Harley with an ostentatious glare. “All right?”

Harley pursed her lips and nodded sheepishly, beginning to slip the oversized t-shirt she wore over her head. She paused suddenly, her blue eyes widening at Ivy over the hem of the collar.

“You just gonna stand there gapin’?”

Ivy’s mouth opened wordlessly, and then closed again and she spun around, exiting the bathroom with considerable haste and closing the door firmly behind her.

“Whatcha doin’, Red?” Four days into Harley’s stay and Ivy was beginning to anticipate the words even before Harley opened her mouth. She was healing quickly, thanks to the serum, and the faster she healed, the more restless she became.

A bit annoying, maybe, but overall Ivy enjoyed her company. She was friendly—although whether that had something to do with their previous connection at Arkham, Ivy couldn’t be sure. She often behaved like that had never happened, changing the subject whenever Ivy referenced her past as Doctor Quinzel. Eventually, Ivy decided it was probably easier to act like this was their first meeting. They were both different people now anyway.

“Preparing,” Ivy replied, eyes on the beakers as she set a small flame underneath them.

“Fer what?”

“’For’,” Ivy stressed the correct pronunciation. “The untimely demise of Gotham’s most recent strip mining company.”

“You gonna poison an entire team of strip miners?”

“No. That would be excessive. And the evidence of my involvement would be indisputable. Subtlety is key, Harley,” Ivy replied, lifting a beaker off the flame and glowering at it in the low light. “I only need to get rid of one man, and the company falls apart.”

“Ah, the big cheese.”

“In simple terms, yes.”

“Want any help?”

Ivy paused, eyes flickering towards Harley, who stood by with a wide, hopeful smile. Technically, yes, she could use the help. The formula wasn’t complete and the ingredients she’d need to finish it were locked deep inside Gotham’s Botanical Gardens. Guarded, even at night. A maze of hallways and dead ends. Security systems to breach.

“If you’re willing.”

“Sure!” Harley clapped her hands together, even more excited now. “I’m bored out of my mind here anyway.”

Ivy snorted. Ungrateful.

“So, what’s the plan?” she asked, hopping onto the counter, nearly knocking the test tubes and beakers off in the process. Ivy threw her arms out to steady then, throwing Harley a sour glare that went unnoticed.

“We need to get inside the Botanical Gardens,” she explained, straightening. “Inconspicuously.”

Harley nodded fervently, blue eyes sparkling with excitement. “Sneaking is my MO.”

“Mmm, not if the museum was anything to judge by.”

“Um…That was 100% your fault,” Harley replied, narrowing her eyes and poking an accusing finger in the center of Ivy’s chest. “If you wanna get into the Gardens without setting off any more alarms, you gotta follow my lead.”

Ivy paused, pondering that demand. This was her plan. But without Harley’s help, she faced a much more difficult mission. And she had blundered back at the museum…although she wasn’t about to admit that—already envisioning the smug grin Harley would give her.

“Come on, Ivy,” Harley prompted when the silence stretched between them. “If we’re gonna be partners you gotta trust me…Leave this one to me and you get first dibs on the next mission. Deal?”

Trust you…

Harley was watching her closely and finally, Ivy met her gaze, nodding firmly, a slow smile stretching red lips.

A partner.

A friend.

“Deal.”

 

 

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Chapter Text

“We need to get inside the main greenhouse,” Ivy said, pointing to the glass structure that split off from the large domed building. Harley crouched beside her where they’d taken shelter behind a row of hedges, the pink convertible parked not far away. A full moon hung in the sky above them, the only light save for the ones coming from inside the Botanical Garden’s main building.

“Easy,” Harley said, rubbing her bare arm in a nervous gesture, though she hoped it might come off as…thoughtful? She doubted Ivy was paying enough attention to her to care anyway. The sleeve of Harley’s costume was still missing, bullet hole still decorating the side, even though Ivy had offered to sew it back together for her. Harley had refused—one, because all of Poison Ivy’s clothes seemed to sew themselves together, and two, Harley was eager to prove to Ivy that she could be a valuable asset. That she could contribute. Mistah J still didn’t exactly…well…believe in her, but Ivy could, maybe? If she did a really good job?

Anyway, Harley looked even more ridiculous than usual in her tattered costume, but Ivy didn’t seem totally bothered by it. Hadn’t even brought it up after Harley told her she didn’t need any help. Ivy had just…turned around silently, setting what looked like her sewing kit back into the drawer she’d opened.  

Glancing back up at the building, Ivy’s frown deepened, and from that look, Harley could tell (could guess?) she was coming up with a plan. “Any ideas?” she asked after a moment of silence.

Guess not.

“Yeah,” Harley whispered back with just a slight stretch of the truth. “Get in, get out—fast. Let’s go.”

She got quickly to her feet, but Ivy yanked her down behind the bushes again almost immediately. “Are you joking?” she hissed, grip tightening around Harley’s wrist.

A slow grin lit Harley’s face. “Yeah, I’m jokin’. Course I have a plan.” Right? Don’t I? “We really gotta work on that sense of humor of yours, Red.”

Ivy’s eyes narrowed, obviously Harley hadn’t exactly sold it.

“We need ta get in through there,” Harley continued, choosing the fake it til you make it approach. She pointed to one of the glass windows, high on the stone dome roof. “Which means we’re gonna have to climb. Can you climb in that get up?” She gestured at the leafy green leotard Ivy wore. “That corset’s a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.”

Ivy smirked. “We won’t need to climb, Harley. My babies do that for me.”

Harley looked confused, until Ivy raised her hand and the bushes around them shifted and stretched.

“’Kay…” Harley’s eyes flickered curiously around the trembling plant life. “Great, so you get us up there. Then we’re gonna have to sneak past security, probably pick some locks, or disable doors to get inside.”

“Can you do that?” Ivy wondered, a bit distracted as she summoned the surrounding foliage.

“Sure,” Harley’s grin was confident, she was real good at pretending everything was alright. She stretched her arms out and cracked her knuckles. “Ain’t a lock in Gotham I can’t pick…or hack. You learn a lot runnin’ with Mistah J.”

“I’ve worked with an actual cat burglar before, Harley,” Ivy’s tone was condescending. “So while I appreciate your evident…self-assuredness, you haven’t quite earned the right to be cocky yet.” She changed the subject before Harley could respond. “Once we get inside the greenhouse, we’re going to have to collect live specimens. They require delicate handling.”

“Pfft, whaddya think I am? Some kinda clutz?” Mistah J does…Harley dug into the bag slung around her shoulder and pulled out the small containers they’d brought with the intent to store the live plants until they arrived back at the safe house. “Look, I got everythin’ ready. We ain’t comin’ in here unprepared.”

Ivy waited a moment, studying the empty jar and then Harley’s expectant (nervous) expression. “Then let’s go.”

Harley perked up—holy crap, it worked!—and bounded out of the bushes, dashing across the clearing with a light bounce that Ivy struggled to keep pace with. Ha! Some metahuman you are… Ducking against the side of the building, she waited for Ivy to join her and then jerked her chin towards the dome.

“Ready?”

Taking a breath, Ivy summoned a few of the long, twisting vines that clung to the Garden’s walls, willing them to loop themselves around Harley’s waist, tugging her up into the air. Harley yelped, quickly clamping a hand over her own mouth, holding fast to the vines with the other. Ivy followed her up and as soon as they touched down on a ledge that surrounded the roof, she allowed the vines to slither away.

“That felt just like climbin’ the rope in gym class,” Harley whispered, cheeks flushing. “What else can those vines do?”

The wink she sent Ivy made her grimace. “Are you capable of not behaving like a child for more than thirty seconds?”

“It’s a legitimate question!” Heh, she’s sorta cute when she’s all exasperated like that…Harley giggled and turned her attention to the glass window behind them as Ivy rolled her eyes.

And…that was when it occurred to Harley that they had no way to open the window.

Oh, nice goin’, Harl.

Ivy’s sigh sounded more annoyed than anything. “And how do you propose we—,”

Harley put a finger over her lips—plump lips, red lips—, shushing Ivy and pulling her gun from her back. Ivy opened her mouth to protest, but Harley was bashing the window in with the butt of her gun before she could stop her. They both cringed as the glass tinkled to the floor, waiting for shouts, but there was only silence. They were too far up to be noticed.

Whew!

Harley pocketed her gun again and stepped gingerly through the opening.

“Your plan was to bash the window in?” Ivy hissed, following her carefully.

“Delicacy is key, Red,” Harley winked, mimicking her words.

They were high up in the rafters now, looking down at the sleek tiled floor of the main hall.

“Think you can pull that vine trick again?” Harley asked, but it looked like Ivy was already summoning the plant life from within the building this time. Harley squeaked once again as she was taken off her feet and lowered to the floor. She grabbed Ivy’s wrist the second her feet touched the tile, dragging her into a hallway just as the glow of a flashlight lit the room they’d been standing in.

They waited in tense silence, until the bobbing light disappeared.

“Come on,” Harley whispered, releasing a relieved sigh, wiping away the bead of sweat that had probably smeared the makeup on her face.

Navigating the dark hallways together, they wandered around the building, dodging through long hallways, avoiding the occasional security camera, which Ivy nearly stepped in front of too many times to count. Obvious embarrassment colored her features when Harley smirked at every slip up.

“You really like gettin’ your picture taken, huh, Red?”

Ivy didn’t respond.

“Can’t say I blame ya. If I had a figure like yours, I’da been a model or somethin’…”

Ivy didn’t respond to that either. Well, not immediately anyway. They walked a few more feet in silence before Ivy cleared her throat and told her, “I think you have a darling figure, Harleen.”

Harley was too busy blushing to correct the name.

Soon enough, they ended up in front of the door to the greenhouse, blocked by an electric lock.

“Aw crap,” Harley grumbled, peering at it through the dark.

“I thought you said there was no lock you couldn’t pick,” Ivy crossed her arms, allowing a hint of arrogance to creep into her tone.

“I can,” Harley shot back. Damn it, damn it, damn it. “Just…gimme a sec.” She studied the lock a moment more, running her fingers over the keypad before taking a step back and turning to Ivy. “’Kay, new plan,” she decided. “I’m gonna find the security room and disable the power. You take the bag, and once the doors open, get in there and get what you need fast. The guards are gonna come running quick and that means we gotta be quicker.”

“There’s not a more sophisticated way to go about this?” Ivy complained (so much complaining) as Harley stuffed the bags into her hands.

“You got a better plan? Something hiding in that boob tube of yours that can short an electrical circuit?”

“It’s a leotard,” Ivy corrected, a snap to her tone.

Harley rolled her eyes. “I know what it is.”

“It would have been a better plan to start with the security room,” Ivy stated, haughtily moving her hands to her hips.

“Coulda, woulda, shoulda. This is called improvisin’, Red. And so far, we’re doin’ way better than you did at the museum, so I wouldn’t complain if I was you.”

Ivy flushed again, frustrated. “Were you. If you were me.”

Deciding they didn’t have time for this, Harley said, “Wait here.” And was off, disappearing into the darkness, leaving Ivy to stand awkwardly alone in the hallway.

“Stupid plant lady,” Harley grumbled to herself, passing door after door until she found the one conveniently labeled “Power Control”.

Using the butt of her gun again, Harley smashed in that window too, reaching her arm inside to twist the handle and grant herself access.

See? Nothing wrong with improvisin’.

The next hurdle was that Harley wasn’t exactly an electrician. And there were a wholllllee lotta buttons and switches and levers.

Mmm….well…if this is the power room…then the power button should be big, right? Or, ya know what? It’s prolly a lever because levers are big and fun to pull, and if I worked in a boring place like this, I’d prolly want at least one fun thing to do.

So Harley grabbed onto the biggest lever on the control panel, and yanked it into the off position…and wham, bam, thank you, Ma’am! They were in business!

Harley was a great guesser. It’s how come she used to do so good on standardized tests back in school.

Running back to where she’d left Ivy, she found the vault door was open now, and she guessed Ivy was inside because she didn’t see her right away. But just as she was coming up on the greenhouse, there was a shout behind her, and the sound of running footsteps.

Crap! The fuzz!

And yep! Well, would’a look at that, another good guess. Ivy was standing inside the tropically hot greenhouse, whispering to some fancy flower when Harley swung back into view.

 “We gotta go!” she insisted, grabbing the containers Ivy had set aside roughly.

“Be careful with those!” Ivy protested as Harley shoved them into her shoulder bag, shooting Ivy an exasperated look.

“Don’t getcha pansies in a twist, they’re fine.” Harley waited for a response to her pun—face falling when she got none. That was solid! “You’re gonna dissect ‘em anyway, what’s the big deal?”

“They’re highly delicate specimens,” Ivy repeated her speech from outside. “If you damage the roots, we lose the plant and the viable toxins inside--”

“We reaaaally don’t have time for this!” Harley interrupted, bouncing from foot to foot. “I got like, five security guards on my tail.”

“You what?”

Harley threw her arms out. “Hey, I got us inside!”

“And now you’re going to get us sent back to Arkham,” Ivy argued, standing and cradling the last of the containers.

“Not if we hurry! Get your ass in gear, nerd!”

There was another shout then and two guards rounded the corner, each one holding a pistol aimed at Harley’s head. “Don’t move, Quinn!”

Ivy took a step back, hiding in the shadows, watching as Harley threw up her hands.

“Where’s the rest of your crew?” One of the guards moved closer.

“I’m flyin’ solo,” Harley replied, her tone easy, though her hands trembled slightly. “Just me tonight.”

“Bullshit,” the other guard said. “Where are they hiding? Where’s Joker?”

The guards stood stiff, eyes darting around the room as if they expected the clown to come slithering out of the darkness.

“Sorry to disappoint, Boys,” Ivy husked from the darkness, taking her cue. “There’s no Joker here tonight.” She stepped into the glow of their flashlights, smirking when their guns flew to her. “But that doesn’t mean you should be any less afraid.”

A slew of vines shot out from the plants around them, and Harley instinctively flinched, slamming her eyes shut. But when there was no impact, she opened them again, to find the vines yanking the two guards into the air—one by his neck, the other by his ankle. The flash of gunfire lit the room, bouncing off the glass as the guards fought the vines, screaming and struggling. The vines fought back, squeezing and twisting until the men were completely bundled, and they only continued to tighten, muffling the shouts of the guards as they gasped for air.

Whoa…

Ivy grabbed an awestruck Harley, pulling her out into the hallway, avoiding the calls of the other guards as they ran towards the greenhouse to find their friends slowly being asphyxiated.

Ivy didn’t stop until they reached the main hall and then she lifted them up to the rafters again. It wasn’t until they stood in the cool night air again, hurrying towards the car, that Harley laughed, “Gee, Red. You got style.” Not even a drop’a blood!

“This is true,” Ivy smirked, her red lips dark in the moonlight, setting the bags in the back of the car, and jumping into the driver’s seat. Harley did the same, neither bothering to open their doors, and they tore off into the night, tires squealing to find traction on the road.

“And for the record,” Ivy said, shooting Harley a teasing glance. “That’s what the vines can do.”

Harley laughed again, holding her hand up in the air. It took a moment for Ivy to realize what she wanted, and then she raised her hand too, clapping it against Harley’s as the Gardens faded behind them.

/

“This is Vicki Vale, reporting live from the Gotham Botanical Gardens where well-known criminals, Harley Quinn and her unexpected companion Poison Ivy, have just escaped arrest with what appears to be a collection of a rare species of flora.”

Harley listened raptly to the tiny radio that sat on the living room table, her chin resting in her palms. Ivy sat behind her on the couch, a proud smirk playing on her lips.

“They never say ‘The Joker and Harley Quinn’,” Harley mused. “Just ‘Joker and his gang’.”

“Two security guards were found dead at the scene of the crime, David Harris and Henry Morrison. Victims of a crime no one could have expected. And both fathers and husbands, whose now widows had justice slip through their fingers tonight.”

“Aww,” Harley groaned. “I didn’t know they had kids.”

Ivy shrugged, uninterested. “Children adapt. Women are strong. Their families will be fine.”

“Yeah, I guess…” Harley pouted, but turned back to the radio, laying her head on her folded arms this time.

“The GCPD has already put out a reward for the capture of these two women. A sum of one thousand dollars will be awarded to anyone who can give information about the whereabouts of these two criminals, and an even heftier reward for their capture. The question we ask now is, where was the Batman?”

“Ha!” Harley snorted. “I’d like to see Batsy try and catch us. Bet your plants woulda tangled him up just as easily.”

“Yes,” was Ivy’s self-satisfied reply.

“And now we turn to the companions of the men lost tonight. Our first eye witness is Mr. John Hardy, a member of the security team who—”

Bored now, Harley switched off the radio and bounced onto the couch.

“I think we make a good team, Red.”

Ivy’s smile was faint, but there. Definitely there. “You certainly proved yourself to be a…valuable asset, should the need arise.”

“So you, uh,” Harley cleared her throat. “You thought I did a good job?”

Cocking her head, Ivy seemed to mull that question over. “I think there’s a reason they referred to both of us by name,” she decided.

“Because…I’m your partner?” Harley wondered.

Ivy shrugged, getting up from the couch. “I’ve known Joker for a long time, Harley,” she told her, pausing at the entrance of the hallway that lead back to the bath and bedrooms. “And when a plan goes wrong, his solution is to blow everything to kingdom come.” That faint smile wove its way into her fair features again. “Your solution got us what we came for.” And with that, she turned, leaving Harley alone in the living room.

Harley couldn’t help but smile. And broadly, too. Until it hurt her cheeks.

Poison Ivy. A real life metahuman. Thought she. Harlee—Harley Quinn. Had done a good job. She wasn’t Ivy’s sidekick. Wasn’t part of her gang. She was her partner. Vicki Vale had said so on the radio!

What a night, she grinned, leaning her head back on the couch.

She didn’t even notice how tired she was until she nodded off. For a second she thought she’d just curl up on the couch, but the siren song of the plush bed in the guestroom was calling her. And she wasn’t exactly opposed to a bath, either.

So Harley pulled herself up with a contented sigh, starting down the hallway towards the bathroom. She entered without a second thought, ignoring the light spilling out from under the door and the steam that hung heavy in the air. But her breath caught in her throat when she realized she was now looking down at a completely nude Poison Ivy, soaking in the bath tub.

She covered her eyes immediately, rapidly backpedaling until she collided with the doorframe. “I’m sorry! I’m—I shoulda knocked! I thought you’d gone ta bed!”

Ivy rose from the bath then (at least that’s what she was pretty sure that sound was. Her eyes were still closed). “No, Harley, I’m the one that should apologize,” she offered, her tone even. Calm. “I’m not used to having house guests. I’m afraid I’m a bit out of practice with locking doors.” The rustling of a towel came next.

“Can I look now?” Harley asked, her voice shaking.

Ivy scoffed. “Harley, you graduated medical school, I trust you’re familiar with female anatomy.”

Haley inched one eyelid open, relieved to find Ivy cinching the towel around her torso.

“You are also a woman yourself, you are aware of that fact?”

The blonde just nodded, dropping her gaze to her bare feet. Ivy was right. It shouldn’t really be weird…Harley was a woman, a doctor, she’d been an athlete, she’d even been with women before…but it was…it was a little weird, alright? Felt weird. Made Harley nervous. After the kiss and the…she was...Ivy was just a really pretty lady, OK!

When Harley offered no verbal response, Ivy cleared her throat to cut through the silence. “I thought…perhaps we could go out to breakfast tomorrow? It will be Sunday, so I thought you might like pancakes or something. Perhaps a mimosa to celebrate.”

Harley’s cheeks again flushed under Ivy’s scrutiny. “Yeah, I…I like mimosas. Sure, Red.”

She could hear the smile on Ivy’s lips when she spoke. “Good. I can be your wakeup call, if you’d like.”

“OK.” Harley tucked an errant strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “Can I use the tub now?”

Ivy relinquished her position, stepping out of the bath and onto the mat that awaited her wet feet. “I only use the water for hydration purposes, so I’d prefer you not drain it. The temperature is more than acceptable and it isn’t unsanitary.” Moving past her, Ivy offered a “Goodnight,” as her final word, and then exited the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

Harley was feeling a lot of…things all at once as she stripped her tattered suit off, stepping into the warm water Ivy had just evacuated. It was a good temperature, she was right. And the water smelled amazing, like Harley was bathing in rose petals. She wondered if Ivy had put some oil or salt in there or something, or if that was just her smell at the end of the day. Floral and…comforting.

The blonde shut her eyes, trying to think back to the heist instead of how Ivy’s green had skin shimmered under the water.

A metahuman. A partner. A…friend, maybe? The most beautiful woman Harley had ever seen, and the one that wanted to take her out to breakfast in the morning.

It was wrong. There was something wrong with this whole thing. This house, this woman…it was different. Too different.

Mistah J, he’ll be angry.

That thought stopped Harley’s own hand as it teased at her inner thigh.

I’ve been gone for too long. He’s probably missin’ me something fierce. I gotta get home, she decided. I just gotta get home. This place is makin’ me confused.

/

Ivy watched herself in the mirror, applying a bit of blush to her paled cheeks. Typically, she only performed this routine when she was grifting at a gala, but she’d decided that some mascara, blush, and now a coat of lipstick wouldn’t be inappropriate for breakfast. Especially as Ivy’s double homicide the night before meant Gotham would probably have its eyes peeled for them.

Standing back to scrutinize her appearance, Ivy experimented with unbuttoning the next button on her blouse. But perhaps that was too much cleavage for breakfast? It could draw unwanted attention. Ivy wasn’t nervous, she was just being careful. The mere thought of returning to Arkham this soon infuriated her. This breakfast was risky, but she could tell Harley needed it. The woman’s restlessness was obvious. And so if Ivy needed to sip a few useless mimosas in a public place to keep her new…partner, happy. So be it. It was a risk she was willing to take for a new friend.

Friend.

Pamela watched her reflection as a smile tugged at her lips.

Ivy initially hadn’t been sure what to call this Harley woman. An acquaintance? Colleague? Associate? But after last night, after Harley helping Ivy just to be helpful, when she knew there would be no monetary gain. After their high-five, and after Harley accepted her breakfast invitation, Ivy was sure she had made a friend. Or as close as she was going to get in the social circles her noble crusade limited her to.

For the last piece of her disguise, Ivy opened the top drawer of her dresser, picking up the glasses she stored there, and pushing them into the bridge of her nose.

After one last look in the mirror, she gave a satisfied nod and headed towards Harley’s bedroom, running a quick hand through her hair before knocking on the door. “Harley?” she prompted through the closed door. “It’s 8:30 already.”

Ivy sighed when no response came. This girl could sleep through a carpet bombing, she thought, twisting the handle and tentatively pushing the door open, remembering the (unnecessary) awkwardness from last night. “Harley?” 

The bed was already made up. Made up and empty.

Brow furrowed, Ivy stepped fully into the room, turning around in a circle. Harley hadn’t been in the bathroom either, she’d just passed that open door.

As she came back around to face the bed, her eyes drifted over a folded piece of paper on the pillow. Something like a weight took root in her chest, pressing below her rib cage, traveling down to her stomach. Still, though, she reached out for the note, unfolding it gingerly.

Hey, Red!

Last night was fun. Let’s do it again sometime :) sorry I couldn’t stay for breakfast. I was feeling a lot better and figured it was time I head home. Have an extra drink for me!

-Harley

Ivy stood for a moment in the silence of the bedroom. The silence of the house.

Calmly folding the note back up, she slipped the paper into the back pocket of her jeans, turning to the door and accidentally catching a glimpse of herself in the glass of the singular picture frame that hung on the wall.

It was then that Ivy began to feel stupid. Taking her glasses off, it took all the restraint she had not to crush them in her hand.

“Fuck blondes,” she muttered, slamming the door to the guest bedroom behind her.

 

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Chapter Text

Harley did feel sorta bad about leavin’.

She’d slipped out of bed in the middle of the night, scribbled a quick note on the pad of paper she’d found in the bedside drawer, grabbed a pair of shorts (too big for her own hips) and a long t-shirt and climbed out the guest bedroom window.

Halfway outside, she figured she probably coulda used the front door, but it always creaked because Ivy’s house belonged in freaking a museum. And she couldn’t risk being caught.

Speeding through the dark with nothing but the clothes on her back, she tried to ignore the weight that settled in her gut as she pictured Ivy waking up the next morning to the note…to the disappointing realization that Harley had ditched on their breakfast plans.

But she had to! She’d been gone away from her Puddin’ for too long. And he was probably concerned about her, cranky, worried that she’d disappeared after the dangerous heist. And she felt the pull, the tug in her heart to return to him. Ivy was great, she was. She was nice, and she was confident, powerful, beautiful, and she’d seen Harley as a partner—an equal. But she wasn’t Mistah J. And the burning desire to be back at his side, trumped any niceties that Ivy had shown her.

So Ivy would be a little hurt. But she was one tough lady, and Harley would make it up to her sometime. She would!

They were still partners after all.

Probably.

/

“Honey, I’m home!” Selina Kyle pulled her keys out of the door, crossing the threshold and closing it behind her. “I just adore what you’ve done with the place, Pamela. So new, so fresh, this doesn’t feel at all like visiting my grandmother.”

Ivy came in from the kitchen, already scowling, dressed in only slightly more than nothing (as was customary). “I never gave you a key.”

“You’re right,” Selina granted, setting her cat carrier down on the couch and opening the latch. “Sorry to inconvenience you, but Isis and I need to stay here for a short while.”

Crossing her arms, Ivy asked, “What’s a short while?”

Selina shrugged. “Hard to say. Bruce is feeling pissy and my safe-house was compromised.” She moved past the redhead in the direction Ivy had just emerged from. “I’ll be in the bath. Why don’t you order us some sushi or something. It’s on me, don’t worry.”

Isis was rubbing against Ivy’s leg when she finally found her voice again. “S—Selina, no! Get out of my house! I told you not to just show up like this!”

“Well it’s not like I can call you to check.” Selina continued down the hallway, not even pausing to acknowledge her. “You don’t have a phone, Ives. Not even a landline, let alone a—hey!” she stopped just short of the bathroom. “You took the picture of us down!”

“No,” Ivy haughtily corrected. “I moved it.”

“To where?”

“It’s hanging in my bedroom.”

Now Selina turned, feigned pity in her expression. “Pamela, Sweetheart. I’m flattered, but—,”

“Just take your bath,” Ivy snapped, snatching Selina’s cellphone from where she’d tossed it onto the couch. “I’ll order your fucking sushi.”

With a self-satisfied smile, Selina stepped into the bathroom, stripping off her leather jacket and folding it neatly on the sink. She was just about to start on her jeans when her eyes caught sight of something red, and entirely out of the ordinary.

See, Pamela never changed. Nothing was ever different in her home, nothing was ever out of place. But this…what is this?

Selina knelt down, picking the red and black garment up off the tile floor and stretching it out to study. “Ivy?” it was a question that brought the redhead to the open door, the cellphone held to her ear as the man repeated her order back to her. “I could have guessed you were kinky,” Selina began, holding the strange outfit up to her. “But a clown fetish is sort of out of left field.” She narrowed her eyes, looking between the suit and the green woman in front of her. “So, do you dress your plants up and come on to them? Or do you wear the suit and let them f—,”

“Yes, that’s fine,” Ivy nearly snarled into the phone, quickly hanging up. “That does not belong to me, Selina.”

“Yeah, well, doesn’t belong to me either.” She was curiously studying the rip in the sleeve. “What is this made out of? Polyester?”

Ivy rolled her eyes with significant exaggeration. “I recently had a house guest. She left that here.”

Selina scoffed. “Like you have any other friends besides me…”

“I never said she was a friend, I said she was a house guest,” Ivy reminded her. “And ‘friend’, even for you, is rather generous. Regardless, the two of us were all over the news. I’m having a hard time believing you didn’t see.”

“You and your house guest?”

“Yes. She helped me break into the Botanical Gardens.”

Selina raised an eyebrow, standing carefully. “Did you…get laid?”

“What is your obsession with my sex life?!” Ivy demanded.

“I just think it would improve your mood, alright? Jesus.” Selina turned the faucet on. “Answered my own question, anyway. You obviously didn’t.”

“W—well, you don’t know that,” Ivy stammered, something Selina honestly didn’t think she’d ever heard before.

“Pamela, if I turn around, am I going to find you blushing?”

“Heh,” Selina snickered when Ivy slamming the door was the only response she provided. 

/

Shoving open the heavy double doors of the base they’d made in the old steel mill, Harley was surprised to find a few new faces peering up at her from the poker table in the middle of the room. It made sense that Mistah J would pick up some fresh meat though, after Rocko had gotten himself stuck in Arkham, and Lenny caught Puddin’s knife between the eyes—their gang was running thin.

A few snickers passed through the gathered men when they saw her, and Harley remembered then what she was wearing. Suddenly feeling naked without her costume, Harley threw back her shoulders, lifted her chin, and strutted towards the stairs with as much confidence as she could muster.

How did Ivy make it look so easy?

One of the men wolf whistled and the others laughed. Harley turned, throwing up her middle finger before scurrying up the stairs, tripping over the first one and banging her knees on the metal.

Fucking…smooth.

The men laughed again, but Harley ignored them, hurrying towards the old supply room Mistah J used as his office, for all intents and purposes.

“Knock, knock, Puddin!” She squeaked, pushing the door open without preamble, cocking one hip and throwing her arm up on the doorframe. He turned around, dark eyes flickering over her once before narrowing, his face twisting into a grimace.

“Harley! There you are.” He pushed away from the desk he’d been hunched over, chair scraping against the wooden floor. Taking a step forward, Harley opened her arms to him, only to stumble when he pushed her hands aside.

“It’s about time you showed up,” he growled, pushing past her and heading towards the staircase. Dumbstruck by his dismissive response, it took Harley a good few moments to gather her wits enough to scramble after him. “I’ve got a meeting with the Commissioner tonight. Old boy needs his teeth cleaned, and who better to put a dazzling smile on his face, than me?”

He threw back his head and laughed loud enough to draw the attention from the boys downstairs. Harley’s nervous chuckle was a little more reserved.

“But,” his laughter was cut short. “I need an assistant. And since I can’t stuff any one of those bumbling idiots into a nurse’s outfit.” Here he turned and smiled widely at her. “I’ll need you, my dear.”

He needs me, I knew it. I knew he missed me.

“I’m ready and willin’, Puddin!” She said, throwing her arm up in a salute. Mistah J’s smile widened.

“Excellent.” Taking the stairs two at a time, he hopped down to the first floor, slamming his fist down on the poker table, scattering chips and cards everywhere. “Ready the car boys! We’re got an appointment to make.”

…It was partially her fault.

Okay, it was all her fault.

She’d made a joke, she’d upstaged him, she knew better. And he’d made sure she wouldn’t make the same mistake.

He’d only used his fists, but somehow, the blows had split her skin, leaving bruises, cuts, a split lip, blood slowly dripping from her right ear. She couldn’t hear very well out of it now, and that sorta scared her.

They boys gave her a wide berth. They stared at her, and mumbled amongst themselves, but ultimately left her alone. And Harley almost hated that more than had they tried to speak with her. Days passed and the wounds didn’t heal right. Mistah J didn’t exactly keep an emergency first aid kit around, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to go to the hospital for a few icky looking cuts.

Their next heist, a week later, took them to the Gotham Zoo. Mistah J thought it’d be funny to release a few dozen animals and watch the chaos. Unfortunately, it seemed like the Batman and his little birdy were two steps ahead of them.  It was chaos all right, and half of the new crew ran into either the Bat or the GCPD.

Harley escaped with Mistah J…and two new pets, hyenas, who’s rabid energy kept a few of the more determined cops away. So Mistah J liked ‘em enough to keep around.

The new babies were cute, and surprisingly docile when they weren’t running rampant through the streets of Gotham. They licked at Harley’s unclosed wounds, which was…adorable, she supposed. But their scratchy tongues hurt and Harley could guess they weren’t too clean.

Plus, they were probably low key trying to eat her.

They’d escaped the zoo, but Harley didn’t get out completely unscathed. Y’see, Vikki Vale was back with a vengeance.

“This is Vikki Vale, reporting live from the Gotham Zoo, where it appears that the Joker and his gang have just escaped capture after releasing the animals from their enclosures. Reports are coming in, twenty injured, two in critical condition, three lost children…The situation is bleak. Were it not for the Batman, I think it’s safe to say, Gotham would have suffered an ever more significant loss today.”

Mistah J was cackling gleefully, pacing back and forth in front of the tiny television, the goons who hadn’t been captured piled onto the couch behind him.

“With him today, was Harley Quinn, who was last seen at the Gotham Botanical Gardens in the company of eco terrorist, Poison Ivy. The warrant for the arrest of both women is still in effect, as is now, the bounty on Quinn and Joker for the ransacking of the Gotham Z—”

The TV went silent. Mistah J had stopped laughing. A cold chill crept down Harley’s spine, settling heavily in her gut. She shoulda known he wouldn’t be happy when he found out.

Maybe she had known. Maybe that’s why she’d kept it a secret. Puddin’ would be jealous. He wouldn’t understand. And if the way his fists had flown as he called her a ‘traitor’, ‘unreliable’, ‘backstabbing bitch’ was anything to judge by…well, she’d been right.

By the time he was done, Harley couldn’t breathe right and the tv screen had been shattered, the remote still stuck through its sparking surface. Her hands tingled and her head spun, and she lay on the floor curled into a ball, trying to calm the painful tremors that passed through her.

The the entire city was after her, there was no way she could go to the hospital now. And no emergency kit meant there was no way she could treat her own wounds. Not only that, but she doubted a little gauze would do anything for the pain in her ribcage.

She needed to find shelter somewhere else.

And there was only one place she could think to go.

/

Harley wasn’t sure what sorta security Ivy had set up around her place, but honestly, at this point, she didn’t really care.

Her vision was blurry, her body ached, she felt like she could feel the puss ooze from her cuts every time she moved. So if she was gonna get eaten by a plant monster, so be it. Probably a better death than she deserved.

Still, though, by some miracle, she got to what she was really hoping was the guest bedroom window unimpeded. Maybe Ivy was just so cocky she didn’t feel like she needed a security system. Harley wouldn’t put it past her. Poison Ivy was always pretty damn pleased with herself.

With a grunt of pain and exertion, Harley yanked herself up on the window sill, using all her remaining strength to punch out the screen on the open window (score!) and tumble inside. She’d meant to gracefully scale the wall and somersault inside, but at this point, a tumble was pretty much the best she could manage.

But the best part of all of this was that Harley remembered the window was placed pretty much directly above the bed, so when she fell, it was onto that glorious queen-sized expanse of warmth and comfort. The landing spot was something Harley was banking on. What she wasn’t expecting, however, was that this particular queen-sized expanse of warmth and comfort—one that she previously thought was sort of reserved for her? Because, like, there was no way Poison Ivy had friends, right?—was occupied. Occupied by someone who seemed equally distressed by the predicament because they immediately shot up to a sitting position, screaming bloody murder in the darkness.

And now Harley was screaming too, because…her body hurt! And…this was her bed! And…she was too tired for this!

Then the light flicked on and Harley shielded her eyes against the intrusion. “What in the world is going on in here?” Ivy demanded, her voice raspier than usual as she’d clearly just woken up.

Harley fought against the light to open her eyes, but upon seeing Ivy’s only articles of clothing were a robe (worn open, of course), panties, and a lacy bra she seemed to have constructed herself out of leaves, immediately slammed them shut again. “What the hell, Red?! Do you own any clothes at all!”

“Red?” the brunette who was occupying the bed asked, incredulous. “Since when do you have a nickname?”

But Ivy didn’t seem to be listening to her, she was cinching her robe tightly around her slim waist and crossing her arms in front of her chest, her green eyes—cold, intense—staring Harley down. “I wasn’t expecting you back.”

“Well, yeah, obviously. Yeesh!” Harley knew she had no right to be upset, but she was pretty delirious at this point. “I’m gone two weeks and ya already give my bed to somebody else? I thought we were partners, Red!”

Ivy looked legitimately surprised, hip dropping and eyebrow raising in one elegant motion. “You left me with a note, Harleen. Just as we were beginning to work well together. Abandoned me for that disgusting clown who treats you as yet another subordinate. And who beats you, evidently. This is my home. I can invite whomever I want to stay in my guestroom, including my friend Selina, who laid claim to this bed long before you. Now,” she cleared her throat expectantly. “Why are you here? Besides your obvious need for medical care, which your clown man clearly couldn’t be bothered to provide.”

“Uh, well, I…” think I’m dying and Mistah J doesn’t have any supplies and I don’t wanna go to the hospital. “Missed ya, Red. I was thinking about the job we pulled and feelin’ bad about ditchin’ ya before breakfast. Thought maybe we could try that again.”

Ivy was silent for a long moment, eyes still locked intently on Harley’s—like she was trying to draw the truth out of her expression. The brunette—Selina, Harley had learned—was glancing between them, clearly intrigued.

“Fine,” the redhead finally acquiesced. “You can stay here for tonight. Follow me to the bathroom. You look extremely unwell.”

And with that, Ivy turned, leaving Harley to clamor off of the bed herself and limp after her down the hall. Selina followed close behind, peering over her shoulder into the bathroom as Harley entered, finding Ivy running a washcloth under warm water in the sink.

“Go ahead, sit down,” Selina instructed, nodding to the closed seat of the toilet. And from her tone of voice Harley thought she sounded almost…concerned? But that couldn’t be right. They’d just met, and in pretty spectacular fashion. “Joker did this to you?” she asked, leaning down to examine Harley closer once she was sitting down. “Fuck, you look like a sack of moldy eggplants.”

Ivy looked over her shoulder at that comment, blindly pulling the first aid kit from beneath the sink. “An apt assessment.”

“Yeah, Puddin’…” Harley raised her arm to bashfully rub the back of her neck, but she found she couldn’t lift it any higher than her shoulder. “He can get a little rough sometimes…but it’s—it’s not like he means it or nothing. He ain’t a bad guy underneath it all. Just gets mad sometimes, ya know?”

Selina laughed, but the sound was devoid of any humor. “Princess, this doesn’t exactly look like his hand slipped. And my boyfriend beats the shit out of yours on a regular basis, but he’d never lay a hand on me.”

Now Harley was confused. Nobody could beat her Puddin’. No one but… “Is…is your boyfriend…are you datin’ Batsy?!”

“Selina likes to play the field,” Ivy explained, moving the brunette out of her way so that she could get to Harley. “Currently she’s balancing two equally vapid male suitors—of which Batman is one, yes.”

Harley’s jaw would have dropped open if her face didn’t hurt so much. “So then you’re…”

“Catwoman, yes,” Selina finished for her, leaning against the sink to watch the healing process begin.

“Uh…OK…wow, so you’re the cat burglar Red was talkin’ about, then,” Harley realized.

“Truly the only one worth mentioning,” Selina chuckled.

Harley guessed it made sense Poison Ivy would be friends with Catwoman for the same reason Harley would be friends with her. There just weren’t alotta ladies in the costume game.

The blonde was pulled from her thoughts when Ivy rubbed her arm down with the warm washcloth, cleaning away some of the dirt and dried blood. Frowning at the open wounds, Ivy grabbed for a bottle she’d set on the floor and began to squirt it in every bloody crevice that littered Harley’s arms.

“Oww!” Harley screeched, not at all ready for the intensity of the stinging that was now worming its way inside her cuts. The liquid fizzed, spilling out of her arms and onto the ground.

“Well,” Ivy sighed, wiping the bubbles away with the washcloth. “It’s certainly safe to say these wounds are infected. Did he hit you with his fist or use a metal implement? Because, if the weapon was metal, it requires a completely different treatment.”

“Uh…” Harley had to think. Everything had just sorta hurt, and she’d closed her eyes, so she couldn’t exactly remember. “Nah, I think his hands and boots.”

Ivy’s jaw was impossibly tight. “Steel-toe?”

Harley swallowed, electing to nod rather than offer a verbal response.

Straightening to her full height, the redhead turned to Selina. “Draw her a bath, please. I’ll be back shortly.” And then she was gone, leaving at a quick pace.

Selina waited until her footsteps had disappeared to do what she was told, glancing sideways at Harley as she did. “People who treat their loved ones like that? That’s sub-human behavior,” she muttered, testing the water that spilled forth from the faucet, and setting the stopper in. “Sub-human,” she repeated just as Ivy returned, a coffee mug in her hand.

“Drink this,” Ivy instructed before she had a chance to respond.

Harley’s hand shook as she reached out to take it, so Ivy moved closer, kneeling down beside her and guiding the cup to her lips, the liquid burning as it slid down her esophagus.

“Ugh, what is that?!” last time Ivy gave her something, she basically got superpowers, so, even though this one tasted bad, she was actually a little excited.

“Whiskey,” Ivy intoned. “You’re going to need it.” She then set the cup down, taking the scissors from the cup on the sink and slicing Harley’s costume down the back. Harley yelped, but was ultimately too weak to stop her. “Now isn’t the time for modesty,” Ivy chided, helping to pull her arms out of the red and black sleeves, leaving Harley in just her sports bra, which the redhead expertly removed next.

Harley raised her hands to cover her now bare breasts, but found the movement hurt. So she guessed it was a good thing Ivy wasn’t looking. Her green eyes were aimed right below, studying the bruising around her ribcage, raising warm hands to gently press around the affected areas. The blonde winced automatically, instinctively jerking away, which only made the pain worse.

“You have at least three broken ribs,” Ivy said with all the personality of an ER doctor on the graveyard shift. “With the accelerated healing my serum provided, they should take around three days to heal. As for the infection….” Ivy again reached under the sink, this time for a glass jar filled with pink liquid, which she promptly dumped in its entirety into the filling tub. “A bath today and two more tomorrow should remedy that, but I’d still like to keep an eye on you tonight.”

Selina cleared her throat to excuse herself. “I’ll go get you something to sleep in…”

“Here, hold onto my shoulders,” Ivy offered, and Harley did what she was told, sitting up off the toilet lid just high enough for Ivy to help her slip the remainder of her costume off her hips and down her thighs.

Harley was blushing furiously at this point, but again, Ivy seemed rather impassive in reaction to Harley’s nudity, which should have definitely been a relief to Harley, but there was an odd…jealousy? Taking root in her gut. Probably because of how she’d reacted to seeing Ivy naked. But she got it, Ivy was a temptress, people were meant to react that way to seeing her. A goddess, essentially. Perfect in every way. Harley was just…Harley.

Ivy was helping her to her feet now and into the bath, one leg and then the other. When Harley was safely settled, enveloped in the warm water, Ivy lathered up a loofa with yet another strange liquid, running her unbelievably soft hand down Harley’s shoulder before following it with the loofa, scrubbing first her shoulder and then her back, washing all the grime away, all the blood, all the…hurt.

Harley remembered that first morning she’d woken up here. Remembered how blissful the ambiance was. How safe she’d felt once she was in Ivy’s presence. And how strange that made her feel. How uncomfortable it was to not constantly feel on edge.

Without thinking, Harley turned her head to quickly kiss Ivy’s hand—the one that was scrubbing a laceration on her shoulder. She didn’t know why she did it—the infection, and she was probably on her way to drunk—but her face burnt so hot Harley was afraid for a minute that maybe Ivy had accidently poisoned her.

“Thank you,” Harley squeaked, fearing the silence, as Ivy evidently deemed that little piece of weirdness unworthy of a response. “For helping me. I didn’t know where else to go.”

“If you’d stayed, this wouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Ivy quietly reminded her.

Ivy left her alone for a while after that, she could be heard talking to Selina out in the hallway before the brunette retreated to the guestroom. By that time, the water was cooling off, and Ivy stepped back inside to wrap her in a towel, helping her out of the bath, and encouraging her to lean against the sink so that she could dry her off.

Ivy’s movements were slow and measured, strong hands rubbing the soft towel into her skin. Harley nearly moaned when she reached her upper thigh. The sound was sort of choked, and she tried to play it off like a whimper of pain, but Ivy’s smirk told her she’d been unsuccessful.

Harley knew Ivy hadn’t been a medical doctor, but she was pretty impressed at how quickly she applied the bandages, wrapping each wound in soft gauze that had an oddly comforting affect. Like Harley was being ‘held’.

This time, Ivy turned away when Harley dropped the towel to button the shirt she’d been given. Though she needed help with the shorts, so closer contact was unavoidable.

Harley closed her eyes as she rested her weight on Ivy’s shoulders, stepping into the shorts Selina had brought her. She thought she may have felt Ivy’s fingers linger against her backside, seeming to use it as leverage to pull herself to her full height. And that was—yeah, that was fine. Leverage was fine. Her ass could be a handle. What else are asses for?

They walked together down the now familiar hallway, much of Harley’s weight supported on Ivy’s shoulder, the redhead adjusting her pace to make sure Harley made it to the room with as little pain as possible.

And if Harley thought the guest bed looked nice, oowee! If every inch of Harley’s body didn’t hurt, she’d have done a cannon ball onto the fluffy comforter.

“Looks so cozy…” Harley whispered, tone laced with legitimate awe.

“I don’t do well with cold,” Ivy muttered like her bedset needed explaining. “You don’t have to use all the blankets, if you don’t want to.”

“No, I—I like blankets,” was Harley’s awkward answer.

“If you say so,” Ivy’s smile was faint, but still visible as she pulled the comforter and sheets back for Harley, helping her climb in before circling around the other side and doing the same. “Try your best to remain on your back,” she instructed, reaching over to tuck the blanket around Harley’s shoulder. “If you need anything before morning, or find yourself in more pain, don’t hesitate to wake me. I’m a light sleeper.”

“Yeah, OK, Red,” Harley smiled despite herself. “I’ll let’cha know.”

/

It was incredibly hot. Almost uncomfortably so.

Ivy didn’t do well with cold, but there was generally a comfortable balance of heat in her room, she made sure of that. And the comforter wasn’t too thick, especially not now in the late summer.

Blinking her eyes open, waiting for them to adjust to the dark, Ivy began to make out the feel of something soft and warm pressed up against her. She didn’t even have time to be confused before the something huffed and sighed, breath tickling Ivy’s neck.

Harley was twisted around her like a vine, one leg threaded between both of hers, injured arm slung over her slim waist. Her lips brushed the delicate skin of Ivy’s neck, continuing to tickle as she mumbled gibberish in her sleep.

Ivy lay completely still, staring up at the darkened ceiling, wide eyed, too afraid to move for fear of waking her cuddly partner.

There was…an odd feeling, creeping into her chest. It was fluttery, light…not a heavy weight like she’d expected. Not the way she’d felt reading Harley’s note.

In fact, the hurt she’d felt upon her return was gone. It vanished, and she grew lighter with each of Harley’s murmurs, with every gentle squeeze the blonde gave her.

Harley seemed to exude pure body heat, she was like a little furnace. But still, Ivy didn’t move. Letting her eyes slide shut again, she sunk deeper into the mattress, a small smile curling her lips when Harley shifted and nuzzled her shoulder, fine hair tickling her chin. It had been a long time since Ivy had been in such close company with another human.

And even longer since she’d wanted it.

 

 

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Chapter Text

The first thing Harley noticed was that she was really warm. Warm, it smelled like she was curled around a bouquet of roses, and felt like a piano had been dropped on her chest.

It was easier to open her eyes this morning. Seemed some of the swelling had gone down. Actually, besides the evident crater in her chest, Harley was feeling better in a couple of different ways. In fact, her first bout of alarm didn’t come until whatever she had her arm wrapped around decided to breathe. It was then Harley realized that the thing keeping her warm was a green metahuman named Poison Ivy. A green metahuman who Harley seemed to have completely tangled herself with, her arm encircling the woman’s waist, curves fitting together seamlessly. Turned out the rose smell was coming from Ivy’s thick locks of red hair; which Harley had evidently buried her nose in at some point in the course of the night.

Harley’s heart was beating fast in her chest, but she was determined not to panic…until Ivy shifted in her arms, rolling over to face her. Harley held her breath, heart beating so hard and fast it drowned out the peaceful sounds of Ivy’s rhythmic breathing.

She was asleep, she was still asleep. Thank God.

Slowly, carefully, cautiously, Harley retracted her arm, fingers dragging across smooth, green skin as she pulled away. She anxiously watched Ivy’s face for any hint of her waking, but her expression remained blank for the meantime, plump lips softly parted, so close that Harley could feel her warm breath on her skin. And, what the hell? Did this ethereal being somehow not have morning breath? Now that’s a superpower Harley wouldn’t mind getting her hands on.

Unless….

Harley turned her face into the pillow, and was immediately disappointed by the results. Yeah, no, didn’t get that one.

She closed her mouth after that, breathing through her nose instead.

Ivy was seriously so pretty, though, like…who makes things like this? It was obvious Harley and Ivy had been designed by a different creator. Harley wasn’t sure where she stood on the whole religion thing anymore. She was Jewish—born Jewish, raised Jewish—but Poison Ivy was bringing up some serious doubts. Like if God really did create man, why not make every human look like Ivy? This just wasn’t fair. Not fair to Harley, and probably not fair to Ivy, either. Couldn’t be easy being a one off like that.

And she didn’t even look mad when she slept! That was probably the worst part. When she was awake, Harley could sorta ignore her perfection because she was so prickly. But now all Harley could do was look at her face. Her perfect—like unnaturally perfect—face.

Ivy took a deeper breath then, her eyes screwing tighter for a moment, and Harley took her cue, slamming her own eyes shut, doing her best to pretend like she hadn’t just been watching her sleep.

Harley was grateful, honestly. Didn’t know how far down the ‘Poison Ivy is actually perfect’ rabbit hole she was going to fall. But Ivy waking up no doubt saved her from a nosedive into dangerous funny feeling territory.

She heard Ivy softly clear her throat, not turning away immediately, as Harley could still feel her soft breath on her face. They stayed like that for a while, lying close to each other, Harley ‘asleep’ as Ivy woke up. The realization that Ivy might be watching her like she’d watched Ivy embarrassed her, though. She couldn’t imagine she was much to see at the moment, with her bruises and bedhead…

Harley had to stop herself from breathing an audible sigh of relief when Ivy finally pulled the blankets back, rising from the bed before tucking Haley back in. A drawer was opened and then closed, and Harley heard the door click before she was finally left alone.

She opened her eyes again, scanning the room quickly, noticing that, unlike the guest bedroom, there had clearly been some effort put in to decorating this one. There were pictures on the wall, though not as plentiful as the ones in the hallway. Another photo of the blonde from the hallway, though this one was just a portrait. There was handwriting in the corner, the message reading “We’ll be gone soon, my love” in flowery cursive, signed “Linda”.

Linda…Harley frowned, thinking. That’s…the name on the missing poster, right? The one to contact?

Deciding it was too early to go snooping for more of an answer to whoever the heck “Linda” was, Harley noticed a photo of Ivy and the bru—Selina, hung up on the wall just next to it. They were both wearing sunglasses and looking very glamorous, but clearly Selina was having a little more fun with it. Even if Harley could plainly see the affectionate smirk on Ivy’s lips.

Harley knew getting up would hurt, but there was nothing to it but to do it. She reached upwards for the headboard and used her arms to pull herself up to a sitting position, then carefully twisted her torso, dropping her legs of the mattress and pressing her feet firmly onto the floor before standing. She whimpered, but soldiered on, crossing to the desk where Ivy had evidently laid out some clothes for her.

She pulled the new shirt on, tossing the old one (now stained with blood) into the hamper in the corner, and with a deep breath, left the bedroom behind, journeying down the hallway again, past Linda to the kitchen.

“Well, good morning, Harley,” Selina immediately greeted, handing her a mug of coffee as soon as she was through the kitchen door. “You still look like shit, but warm shit, which is a huge improvement over hypothermic.”

“Oh, uh, t—thank you?” Harley tried to smile, but the movement cracked the cut on her lip back open. “Fuck!”

Selina snorted, leaning back against the counter, her own mug in hand. “You sleep well?” she asked, taking a sip and glancing at Ivy over the brim of her mug. “How about you? You sleep well?”

Ivy quietly flipped the pancake over on the griddle. “I slept fine, Selina.”

“Mhm…” the brunette smirked. “Ivy’s glad you came back, Harley. You left your suit here last time. We were worried you were running around naked.”

“Ha, uh, no,” Harley laughed a bit uncomfortably. “I can get em real cheap at the joke store. Even cheaper cuz I usually don’t pay at all.”

“You’re speaking my language,” Selina winked. “I’m starving, by the way, so do you want to hurry those up?”

Ivy sighed—long and drawn out—rocking against the stove. “I’m not your Mother, Selina. I don’t owe you sustenance. Eat a banana while you wait.”

Selina groaned, walking to the fruit bowl to grab one. “Ivy isn’t really big on bananas,” she told Harley as she unpeeled it. “Eggplant either. Pineapple, though. She’s big on pineapple.”

“I won’t tell anyone where I burry you,” Ivy warned. “Your grave will be shallow and unmarked.” She offloaded two pancakes onto a plate, sliding them onto the table and nodding for Harley to take a seat. “Those are for you. Syrup is there, jam in the fridge.”

Harley’s lip wound was already open at this point, so her smile didn’t hurt quite as much. She lowered herself gently down into the chair Ivy had indicated, smiling at the pancakes and then up at Ivy where she was pouring more batter into the pan. “I never had anybody make me pancakes before…’Sides my Ma, but that don’t count.”

Ivy didn’t respond, but judging by Selina’s little eye roll in Ivy’s direction, she thought she at least might be smiling.

Harley hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she took her first bite of pancake. Honestly, the last solid meal she’d had was the dinner Ivy had made her after their heist. And that was two weeks ago. Since then, she’d basically been scrounging. Eating what she could when she could get it, little bites here and there. So this was like…heaven.

Selina raised an eyebrow, watching Harley’s famous table manners in action. “Where the hell did you find this girl, Pamela? The zoo?”

“No, I found her!” Harley hurried to correct, her mouth full. “She was trippin’ security alarms like an idiot, so I had ta help.”

Laughing, Selina admitted, “She does tend to do that. Not exactly subtle, is she.”

“No,” Harley agreed, giggling as she chewed. “She’s too fabulous.”

“Honestly, the ungratefulness.” Ivy dropped a plate of pancakes in front of Selina now, sitting down roughly in her own chair.

Selina dismissed Ivy’s sour tone with a simple wave of her hand, her focus remaining intent on Harley, even as she cut into her stack of pancakes. “So…” she began again, green eyes narrowing. “You’re Joker’s girl. Noticeably less deranged than I imagined.”

Harley wasn’t really liking this lady’s snotty attitude either. “Well I thought Batsy was married to The Night, or whatever, so the fact that you’re a human woman is just knockin’ my socks off.”

Selina seemed a bit surprised at her response—so did Ivy, actually—but quickly came back with a measured, “Yes, well, Batman comes complete with all the necessary, working parts. Does Joker?”

“Uh, pfft, yeah! Yeah, it—it works, it works real well!” Harley angrily stammered, cheeks flushing red, noticing Ivy’s look of complete disgust beside her.

“Mmm…awfully defensive,” Selina smirked, plucking a bite of pancake off her fork with her teeth. “I just always imaged erectile dysfunction being part of his whole…deal. The serial killers always have it. So much pent up rage…can’t imagine it would be easy feeling so thoroughly inadequate, especially when you’ve got an asshole complex the size of Joker’s.”

“This is officially the most repulsive conversation that’s ever gone on around my breakfast table.” Ivy picked up Selina’s half eaten banana to finish it.

“Hey, look, I dunno where you get off,” Harley ignored Ivy, jabbing her fork at Selina. “But you’ve got no right to bad mouth my Puddin’.”

Selina chuckled, not threatened in the least by Harley’s tone. “You come stumbling into Ivy’s home at 3 am, bruised, bloodied, and broken, all thanks to your shitty boyfriend and his steel-toed boots. I say I have plenty of right to judge him. Can’t imagine he’s any gentler in the bedroom.”

“No, he’s—,” the balls on this woman! “Whatthe heck do you care?!

“Any friend of Pamela’s is a friend of mine, Harley,” Selina reasoned. “And friends typically don’t let friends get the shit beat out of them.”

“OK, fine,” Harley was 500% done with this conversation. “So he gets a little rough sometimes, alright? Ain’t like I don’t ask for it. I don’t even have to ask anymore, he just…he just takes me. And good. When he’s happy I’m happy, and that makes him happy.”

Ivy stopped chewing on her banana, lowering it from her mouth. “What do you mean he takes you?”

“I mean, uh.” now Harley was beginning to feel self-conscious. “Like sometimes I’m not, um, not really—ya know—ready, but he is, so he just, I mean, I’m his girlfriend. That’s my job. Ya know, he loves me, really. He wants me.”

Selina pursed her lips, glancing over at Ivy briefly before her eyes flitted back to Harley. “Is it painful? Do you have a safe word?”

“A what?” Harley actually laughed. “No, no, it’s just…sex. He likes it rough, I can like it rough.”

“Yes, but.” Selina sat forward. “Do you like it?”

Um…well…not all the time…but I love him.

Selina cleared her throat when Harley offered no verbal response. “Well, I guess that answers that.” And took another bite of pancake.

Ivy rose from her seat without a word, mumbling “I’ll be in the lab,” as she hastily exited the kitchen, leaving Harley and Selina alone in the silence.

“What got her panties in a bunch?” Harley grumbled, pushing a bit of pancake around her plate with her fork. A small sigh escaped Selina’s lips as she rose from the table and set her coffee mug in the sink.

“If you have to ask that question, kid…Maybe you really do need to step back and take a look at your life.”

/

Ivy knew it was Harley at the door because Selina wouldn’t knock. It sounded like she had tried to pull her fist away, but was too late, her knuckles brushing the wood thanks to her momentum.

The redhead continued to stare down at her notebook for a few quiet moments, gaze blank, just looking at her handwriting. She couldn’t quite explain what she was feeling…she had no right to miss Harley, not really, anyway. They’d only worked one job together. Known each other for just over a year, and for much of that time, Harley had been an employee at Arkham. They were hardly peers. But even a stranger was better than Joker, right? Ivy treated her well, didn’t see? Opened up her home, fed her, encouraged her, treated her as a partner rather than as a subordinate…

And yet, Harley still left. Still went back to him. Back to be beaten, back to be…

Clearing her throat, Ivy stood from her work bench, crossing the room to open the door, finding Harley nervously fidgeting just outside.

“There’s more batter in the fridge, if you’re still hungry,” Ivy said before Harley could speak. “Seems you’ve lost weight.”

Harley smiled sheepishly. “Oh, you’ll get me fattened up again, I’m sure of it.”

“I wasn’t suggesting you should be overweight.” Ivy was honestly a bit offended. “Just that you appear healthy. With the conditions you live in, I can’t imagine y—,”

“Just a figure of speech, Red,” Harley cut her off with a laugh. “Anyway…” her expression lost some of its mirth, eyes falling to her feet. “I’m real sorry about leavin’ ya last time. Hope I didn’t hurt your feelings, or anything. It was nothin’ personal, honest.”

Ivy scoffed. “Don’t be ridiculous. Your departure simply cleared room for the myriad of other tasks I had to complete that day.”

“Oh,” Harley looked a little hurt. “Well yeah, OK. Good then, I guess. Thanks for taking care of me again anyway. As soon as these ribs heal up, I’ll be out of your hair.”

“No,” Ivy said, perhaps a bit too quickly. “No, Selina is famous for overstaying her welcome. Perhaps you two can keep each other busy. By which I mean...stay as long as you like.”

There was a quiet relief in Harley’s expression that made Ivy’s chest feel warm.

“Thanks, Red.” The blonde seemed unable to escape her grin. “You’re the best.”

/

It didn’t take too long for Harley’s wounds to heal. Ivy’s ‘magic’ bath bombs cleared her cuts and abrasions right up, and the serum she’d given her the first time they’d met healed her broken ribs after a few days.

But Harley didn’t leave; even once she was able to.

It was a nice change hanging with the girls—refreshing. Just…good. They fell into a surprisingly comfortable rhythm together, spending the days playing games (Selina was a wickedly proficient chess player), talking, cooking. Harley found Selina was pretty easy to get along with when she wasn’t in attack mode, and she also liked to believe she might’a charmed her. Together, they managed to convince Ivy to come with them to the strip mall in some out of the way suburb so they could buy and install a TV in her creaky, archaic house. She was reluctant—of course—arms crossed over her chest in a pout…until Harley kissed her cheek and told her she could watch all the nature documentaries she wanted, and the next thing she knew, they were browsing flat screens. Well, Selina was browsing. Harley hung on Ivy’s arm, pointing excitedly at all the other bits of technology and gadgets she found inside the store.

Ivy didn’t complain—hell, she hardly even spoke, as Harley dragged her around the mall. And more than once, Harley thought she caught a genuinely happy smile worming its way into Ivy’s fair features—which only made her prettier. Pfft.

Ivy pulled off a scheme all by herself! Poisoned the CEO of a strip mining company, which, come to think of it, was Ivy’s bread and butter, so Harley wasn’t sure why she was surprised…maybe just proud. She’d been planning it for a while, and the fact that it went off so seamlessly was a relief, frankly. Probably as much for Harley and Selina as it was for Ivy. According to Selina, coping with failure wasn’t exactly Ivy’s thing. So anyway, Harley and Selina took her out to The Iceberg Lounge to celebrate. Harley got a little tipsy, but Ivy was right there at the end of the night, helping her into the convertible and tucking her into bed.

It was all strangely domestic. And Harley often found herself wondering how three high profile criminals could spend their days strolling through Robinson Park together, literally smelling the roses.

Time passed quickly, the days melting into one another and Harley only grew closer and closer to her new companions. She honestly hadn’t thought about Mistah J too much…and he hadn’t come calling either, so Harley decided maybe a break would be good for them. Maybe it would give him some perspective. Show him just how much he really needed her.

She and Selina liked to crash on the couch late at night with Chinese takeout and watch awful horror movies. Ivy didn’t join them at first, preferring to keep to herself in the lab on those nights.

Once, though, Harley and Selina returned from a night of less-than-legal hijinks (because for as domestic as things were, she and Selina were the same when it came to itchy fingers) to find Ivy watching one of those nature documentaries Harley had teased her about. Ivy had quickly attempted to turn off the TV, but Selina stopped her, taking off her cowl and plopping onto the floor, pushing herself back until she was leaning against the seat of the couch.

Harley hopped onto the cushion next to Ivy, sitting close enough for their thighs to brush, and snatching the remote from her. “Nuh-uh, let us watch yer show with ya, Red.”

It took a good while (and Selina muting the sound to give her own ridiculous commentary), for Ivy to relax and let herself enjoy their company. And once she did, Harley squirmed to get comfortable on the couch, curling into Ivy’s side, head resting against her shoulder. Ivy shifted, opening her shoulder slightly to give Harley a more comfortable position, and a broad grin spread the blonde’s lips.

Not so boring when ya watch it like this, I guess…

It became easier and easier to touch Ivy as the days passed. Sure, she was prickly, sorta condescending, grumpy, always workin’…But at night, when they fell into her big soft bed together, Ivy took her place behind Harley, tucking the covers around them and slipping a strong arm around her waist. An arm that made her feel…held. Made her feel secure.

Harley wasn’t sure when exactly they both felt comfortable enough to snuggle together so intimately…it just happened. And it became routine. Normal. She liked falling asleep in Ivy’s arms. It was cozy, it was safe.

It made butterflies take flight in her stomach.

One night, as they lay cuddled together, listening to the wind whisper through the leaves of the trees outside the open bedroom window, their branches swaying in the night, Ivy began tracing lazy circles on Harley’s thighs with the pads of her fingers. Harley stiffened at first, this was new…but Ivy’s fingers were gentle, soothing…teasing, even. Her hand dragged higher, pushing up Harley’s long sleep shirt to run her fingers along her lower belly.

She could feel Ivy’s soft lips resting against the back of her neck, warm breath raising goosebumps on her skin. It wasn’t a kiss, not really. She just…rested there, gently caressing the sensitive skin.

Eyes sliding shut, Harley’s breathing began to quicken as Ivy stroked a little higher, drawing her fingers in a line down from Harley’s breastbone to the top of her panties. Her muscles quivered and jumped at Ivy’s touch and a quiet sigh escaped her. She felt Ivy’s lips twitch into a smile against her neck, while her fingers continued to trace shapes on her inner thigh.

Hot desire took root deep in Harley’s gut. She wanted that touch everywhere. It burned like fire, tingled, crackling on the surface of her skin, yet soothed at the same time, ran over her like water. Like one of Ivy’s baths.

Ivy’s body was strong and warm and soft pressed against her own—everything it needed to be—their feet and legs already tangled together. And yet, Ivy made no move to push anything further. In fact, looking back, Harley was sure she would have continued with nothing but the feather-light touches all night, if she hadn’t initiated first.

When Ivy’s hand moved to her stomach again, Harley took it in her own, guiding it higher underneath her shirt and letting it come to rest against her breast. Giving an encouraging squeeze, Harley allowed her own hand to fall away, and Ivy gradually took her cue, palming Harley’s breast in her warm hand, tweaking a nipple with her thumb and forefinger.

A sharp gasp tumbled past Harley’s lips and for a moment, Ivy halted in her ministrations, perhaps worried that she’d done something wrong. But Harley squirmed against her, pushing her chest into Ivy’s hand, silently begging for her to continue.

Ivy acquiesced, her mouth opening against Harley’s neck as her hand continued to work. She placed wet, open-mouthed kisses in a line from Harley’s shoulder to the soft spot just below her ear, where she sucked lightly, earning another quiet gasp.

Harley’s insides were a flurry confusion and feelings and just—a bunch of stuff she didn’t know what to do with. She was torn between the burning desire to throw caution to the wind and tear at Ivy until they were both sweating, panting, exhausted, tangled together…and allowing Ivy to take her slowly, with loving hands and tender kisses until there was nothing but the floral smell filling her lungs and the sculpted curvature of Ivy’s body against her own.

This, Harley gathered, was Ivy’s plan, as she let her hand slip away from Harley’s breast after a final squeeze and fall to her panties. She ran one elegant finger along Harley’s sex, over the damp material.

“Oh…” Harley breathed. That finger was maddening, the contact not nearly as intimate as she would have liked, but her body was already vibrating, pulsing with want, her breath coming fast now.  

Obviously aware of this—the clue was probably your soaked panties, Harl—Ivy wasted no more time, tugging on Harley’s earlobe with her teeth as her fingers slipped beneath the hem of her underwear and she drew them through the blonde’s silky folds.

Harley’s eyes shot open at the sensation. One touch and she was already reaching mind-numbing territory. Ivy’s finger brushed against her swollen clit with every lazy stroke and Harley began to moan. Subdued at first, the sound dying in her throat or muffled as she bit her lip. But her moans grew in volume when Ivy, leisurely, meticulously, slipped two fingers inside Harley—not met with even a hint of resistance—and began curling them against something so wonderfully sweet inside of her that Harley could no longer contain her want.

“Red…” she whimpered.

Suddenly, Ivy was pushing herself up on her elbow, leaning over Harley, who took her face in both hands without hesitation, and tugged her down for a deep kiss. Harley remembered these lips from their last kiss. But that was just a tease. An experiment. This was…this was Ivy. This was Ivy’s tongue sliding against her own, lips shifting, caressing, until Haley’s were swollen and pink.

Her fingers continued to pump in and out of Harley at a methodical pace, curling at the end of every motion, bringing her to the brink of orgasm before pulling away…and then taking her back. Harley thought she’d want more. Want it faster, harder…but she couldn’t find the words. Found she didn’t need them. Found she was perfectly content to let Ivy take her as slowly as she pleased. It was maddening and wonderful, and Harley didn’t even want to think about how much noise she was making—but half of it was muffled against Ivy’s lips, so she supposed it didn’t matter too much.

And she couldn’t really be bothered to care what Selina might think anyway.

But then Ivy’s lips were gone, as were her fingers, and Harley felt the fabric of her panties again pressed against her sex. She opened her eyes, literally whining, searching for Ivy in the dark, until she felt herself being lifted, shirt discarded, along with her soaked panties. Once she was naked on the smooth sheets, Ivy kissed her again, tongue running over Harley’s bottom lip before she sucked it into her mouth. Harley didn’t have time to moan before her mouth was again filled with Ivy’s tongue, and she could hardly even reciprocate before Ivy started that tongue, those lips on a tortuously slow path down her body. Languorously down her neck, quick pecks across her collar, sucking each nipple into her mouth, rolling her tongue around the stiff peaks. She kissed down her sternum and her belly, strong hands stroking Harley’s arms and her sides as she went.

Finally, she settled herself between Harley’s thighs, and she spread them for Ivy, exposing herself to the night, to Ivy, yearning for her touch, for her tongue and lips. Ivy gave them to her.

Fingers tangled in thick red locks as Ivy dragged her tongue through Harley’s folds, beginning with long, broad strokes, drinking her in, savoring every part of her. And then she was drawing tight circles around Harley’s clit and the blonde locked her thighs around Ivy’s shoulders, pulling her in, deeper…deeper.

God, it felt so good. She wasn’t sure whether or not she said that out loud, because her mind was basically just a jumbled haihgkjahkjdghlakgajjgkjahgskjghjg collection, but holy moly did Ivy know what she was doing.

Ivy, herself, seemed perfectly content to continue unhurried as tremors passed through Harley’s legs, her chest heaving with each moan she released. Green fingers reached up and laced with her own, plump lips suckling gently on her clit…and that’s when Harley came. She hoped it was a soft cry she let out rather than like a feral groan, but ah, fuck it. Her back was arching off the bed, eyes opening to the darkness of the bedroom. The intensity of her orgasm almost startled her. She honestly couldn’t remember the last time she came through any means but masturbation. Her Puddin’ wasn’t exactly…attentive. But Wow. Like…that was…wow.

Her thoughts were too jumbled to articulate anything further, even to herself, the high making everything fuzzy and warm. So, so warm. She sunk into the plush comforter as Ivy crawled back up her body, placing lazy kisses against her quivering, sweat-slick skin.

Their lips met again, Harley’s hands rising to cup Ivy’s face, tasting herself on the older woman. Ivy pulled away far too soon for Harley’s liking, pecking her nose and then her chin before dropping onto her side, returning to the position she’d been in before…all of this, like nothing had happened at all, or like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Ivy heaved a contented sigh behind her, her breasts pressing against Harley’s bare back through her shirt, and for a moment, Harley wondered if she should do something to reciprocate. But she had no idea what to do—like, she’d been with women before, but not…I mean…this was…like…Poison Ivy—and Ivy seemed perfectly content to rest now, her arm tightening around Harley.

“Goodnight,” Ivy murmured, lips brushing Harley’s ear.

Allowing her eyes to slip shut, Harley listened to the rapid thump of her own heart, and Ivy’s slow breathing, until she fell asleep curled against her…her what? Her partner? Her lover? Her friend?

Ivy. Ivy worked for now. Anything else was too daunting to consider.

…Until she fell asleep, curled against Ivy.

 

 

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Chapter Text

Ivy stood in front of the bureau, cinching her robe shut. Had been for the last 20 minutes. Tying it and untying it. Unable to decide how much she wanted to leave it open at the neck…how much she wanted to show…

She wanted to be here—in the room—when Harley woke up. That’s why she was waiting. Ivy had, of course, woken up first. Found Harley’s warm, naked back was still pressed against her chest. Her own arm was still draped over Harley’s tight middle. Her blonde hair smelled like the shampoo and conditioner Ivy had lent her, but Ivy still inhaled deeply, smelling the sunshine that radiated from Harley’s very being.

Ivy had wanted to kiss her then. To run her tongue over Harley’s chapped lips. Return the color to them. She wanted to draw ornate patterns on Harley’s pale skin, trailing downwards until she felt wetness on her fingertips. Wanted to live everything that was last night over again in the daylight. To see Harley moan, not just hear it. To see Harley want her, not just taste it on her tongue or feel in the girl’s quivering muscles.

But she’d had to wait. Was still waiting. Harley wasn’t hers to simply take. She was a beautiful, living, breathing human being, who deserved the opportunity to refuse Ivy’s advances. Even if, after last night, Ivy was fairly certain she’d submit without question. It was the principal of the thing. Men…men take. Joker…he takes. Ivy…she would give.

She turned when she heard the bed creak underneath Harley's weight. A slow smile spreading her lips when she found the blonde propped up on her elbows behind her, starring at Ivy from where she lay beneath the sheets.

Ivy placed one knee on the edge of the bed, then the other, then her hands, crawling over Harley's body until she could dip low and press their lips together in a languid kiss. A kiss that was perhaps a bit self-indulgent as Ivy drank in the image of Harley’s tussled hair.

A quiet moan escaped Harley when Ivy licked teasingly into her mouth, and the blonde bent her legs, spreading them to allow Ivy's hips between them. After a meaningful rock of her hips, Ivy pulled away, smiling down at the disappointed face beneath her.

“Good morning.” Ivy lowered herself, pressing her chest to Harley’s now. She was still clothed in her robe, but judging by the odd mix of awe and hunger in Harley’s expression, Ivy was willing to bet Harley would start searching for the tie soon. She braced herself on one elbow so that she could run her fingers through Harley’s tangled hair with the other.

“H-hi,” Harley sputtered out, voice still full with sleep, though she seemed to be waking quickly. “How are you today?”

Ivy just chuckled, rich and warm, watching how the blonde bit her lip at the sound. “Did you sleep well?”

“Um…Yeah. Better than I’ve slept in a long time,” Harley nodded quickly, tentatively reaching up and running her fingers along Ivy’s arm.

The redhead smiled, holding back a sigh as she appreciated the obvious affection in Harley’s movements. In return, Ivy leaned down again, and kissed Harley’s forehead, a curtain of red hair falling around them.

“Are you hungry?” Ivy questioned, her rational mind hoping Harley would say yes, as she needed sustenance, but her body wishing Harley was instead hungry for her.

“I could eat,” the blonde squeaked.

There’s time, Pamela. She’s staying. “I'll go get breakfast started.” Ivy pressed a brief kiss to Harley's lips before climbing off the bed and walking towards the door with an exaggerated sway to her hips. Teasing Harley. Enticing her. It worked on all the rest. Though Harley was the first person in a long while that Ivy wished would chase after her.

Throwing a final look over her shoulder, Ivy stepped into the hallway, the door clicking softly shut behind her. She smiled once she was alone, pressing her back against the door a moment, gathering her wits and composure before starting down the hallway towards the kitchen.

Selina was already awake, scrolling through her phone at the kitchen table in her jogging clothes.

“Seems you had a productive morning,” Ivy commented, heading straight for the fridge. Omelets? Perhaps Harley would like a waffle. Do I have a waffle maker? I should get one.

“Mm, yes, well, I was too afraid to sleep.”

Ivy furrowed her brow as she rooted around the shelves in search of the ingredients. “Oh?”

“Yes.” Selina set her phone down, now devoting all her attention to Ivy. “I think there must have been a rabid animal in the garden last night. A coyote, maybe. Or a hyena. I think it may have been wounded. I felt terrible for the poor thing. It just screeched. Even sounded like it was coming from inside the house! From your bedroom! I was deeply concerned for the well-being of my friends.”

Ivy had to fight hard to ward off a smirk. “Mmm…well that is concerning,” she played along. “You sure it wasn’t just that feral animal you brought into my home?”

“I seem to remember her falling through my window,” Selina challenged. “Can’t exactly pin that on me.”

Ivy hated losing, so when she closed the fridge with her hip (her hands full), it was with a surprising bit of force.

“Really, though,” Selina continued. “Is she OK?”

“Perfectly fine and thoroughly satisfied,” Ivy assured her, adding a dab of coconut oil to the skillet. “A sensation I’m sure you’re tragically unfamiliar with.”

Selina scoffed, but didn’t have time to actually respond before Harley was bounding into the kitchen, exclaiming, “Mornin’, Kitty!”

“I rest my case,” Ivy finished, turning fully to the stove, leaving Selina to gag.

“Well, I sincerely hope it was worth it,” Selina grumbled into her coffee, simply refusing to acknowledge Harley. “You gays cost me my beauty sleep.”

Ivy quickly spun around, wrapping an arm around Harley’s waist and pulling her close like a dancer, until their bodies were flush and their lips collided.

Harley gave a surprised “mmph!”, but relaxed quickly, hand moving to cup Ivy’s face in what almost seemed like a knee-jerk reaction, eyes slipping closed as her body melted in Ivy’s embrace.

“I’d say it was worth it,” Ivy decided after separating. Just slightly. Enough to look Harley in the eye. To smile at the blush coloring her fair skin.

Selina got up from her chair, crossing to the sink just so she could flick water at them. “For shame! Keep it in the bedroom, ya nasties!”

“And here I thought you were concerned about my…mood,” Ivy simpered, placing a quick kiss on Harley’s nose, arms trailing away from her waist so that she could resume cooking.

“Well, f—fine, yeah, good, whatever.” Selina plopped back down in her chair. “I’m leaving today anyway, so do you think you two can at least keep it in your pants until you’ve fed me?”

Ivy’s movements slowed, her hand pausing just before cracking the egg down on the side of the bowl. “You’re leaving?”

“Seems Bruce’s mood has lifted,” Selina sighed. “Not that I haven’t enjoyed slumming it here with you all, but there are galas to attend, hands to kiss, floor plans to memorize…you know the drill. Just, for the love of all things holy, please wipe off the counter before I come back. If I taste even a hint of Harley’s ass in my pancakes next time, that’ll be the last.”

“And how unfortunate that would be,” Ivy’s tone dripped with sarcasm as she finally cracked the egg, discarding the shell into the garbage disposal.

“Oh, no, Kitty! Don’t leave!” Harley seemed to have finally found her voice. “How am I s’posed ta keep myself entertained? Who’s gonna go pick’pocketin’ with me? What if Red makes me watch more nerdy movies?!”

“I can hear you, you know,” Ivy reminded them.

“Oh, I’m sure Ivy will think of a few other ways to keep you entertained,” Selina assured her, ignoring Ivy’s interjection. “But you have to promise me you’ll stay safe, Harley.”

“Ya mean like…use a dental dam?” Ivy was sure she could hear Harley’s blush, but Selina’s eye-roll was even louder.

“Dumb isn’t a good look on you, Princess. This is where you’re safe. Remember that.”

True to her word, Selina left after breakfast, and for a moment, Harley didn’t quite seem what to do or say. Her body language seemed to communicate that she’d forgotten how to be alone with Ivy. Which was odd, as they’d been alone last night—every night, really.

Though Ivy supposed some adjustment time was to be expected, now that she and Harley had actually slept together. Not just in the same bed, but with her lips on Harley’s skin, and her fingers curling so deliciously inside of her.

She hoped Harley was finally taking a look at her relationship with Joker. Realizing how toxic it was. Realizing that what they had…it wasn’t love. It was a sickness. One with a cure that Pamela would readily provide. Ivy had known pain in her life. Was all too familiar with how it felt to be violated. Knew those rough hands, that oily, unnatural smile…

But that wasn’t all she knew.

Pamela had been loved…once. She remembered those stolen kisses, the heat of her flushing cheeks. Remembered soft pink lips on her neck, a pale hand fisting in her hair…

Ivy also knew that love and pain—love, pain, and violation—weren’t always mutually exclusive. Knew that anyone was capable of ripping the rug out from under you. Of crushing your heart, your life, in their hands.

Harley had given her body to Joker, and he’d broken it. Abused it, bruised it…and Ivy had mended it. Made her whole again. Now, Ivy wanted her heart, as that she had no intention of breaking.

But Harley would have to choose her, choose to ask for her. To want her.

“I have some work to do in the lab,” Ivy said. “Come find me if you need anything.”

“Oh, yeah, sure, Red.” Harley fidgeted in the living room. “Guess I’ll just…watch some cartoons or somethin’.”

“Ok,” Ivy smiled, leaning forward to press a lingering kiss to her cheek.

The pleasant image of Harley’s blush ushered her out the door.

/

Harley switched off the TV once the credits began to roll on the final episode of her Spongebob marathon. Leaning back against the couch, she released a tired sigh. The house had been quiet since Selina left, an obvious hole left in the small family they’d formed. However, Harley had no doubt she’d be back eventually. What self-respecting criminal really wanted to hang out with the Bat?

Picking herself up off the couch, Harley grunted as she stretched, deciding to wander towards the lab in search of Ivy’s company. She’d been much more, er, friendly, since they got the house to themselves. Or…since last night, really. Harley thought back to this morning, to Ivy in that ridiculous robe, the one that did everything it possibly could to contain her…though Harley had found herself rooting for it to fail. A shiver ran down Harley’s spine as she remembered the weight of Ivy’s body on top of her, elegant fingers running soothingly through her hair…and she moved a little quicker down the hallway.

But the lab was empty, as was the bedroom and the kitchen. Confused, Harley turned a slow circle in the living room, as if she’d find Ivy hiding in the corner. And that was when she heard the sound of running water. Perking up, she skipped towards the bathroom, knocking softly on the door and grinning when she heard an equally soft ‘come in’.

Ivy stood by the raised bathtub, already naked, her green skin seeming to shimmer in the light of the dozens of candles set around the darkened bathroom. She held a hand under the stream of water, testing the temperature, before turning to acknowledge Harley, who stood with her jaw hanging open.

She’d seen Ivy naked a grand total of one time, in this very room. But even then, she’d slammed her eyes shut so quickly she hadn’t really gotten to appreciate it. Well, god damn, she did now.

Her eyes fell from the smooth column of Ivy’s neck to her full breasts, and then the defined lines of her abdomen, her long legs, and her…uh…well, see, Harley hadn’t been quite sure if…she just…there were some questions about…since Ivy was a plant, and all that. But, uh, yeah, no, everything seemed to check out. Cept’ it was green. So was her skin, so Harley guessed that made sense. And even that was pretty. Pfft, go figure. And the curtains did, in fact, match the drapes, so that was adorable. Adorable is a weird word, uh…

Hey, Harl? How about you quit staring at her vagina. That’s weird. You’re being weird.

Right. Her eyes snapped back up meet Ivy’s, and she found the redhead was watching her with a faint smile, doing nothing to hide her body from Harley’s gaze.

I wouldn’t either if I looked like her…

Harley had never been ashamed of her body. She took pride in her athleticism. Her muscles helped her to do incredible things. Yeah, her boobs were on the small side, but those things got in the way anyway. Leave cleavage for the other girls...leave cleavage for Ivy. Yes, leave cleavage for Ivy. Wow. But in this moment, standing in front of Poison Ivy…perfection incarnate…for the first time, Harley wanted to cover herself.

“Takin’ a bath?” Harley squeaked, finding her voice, willing her arms to stay at her sides

Ivy didn’t reply at first, sauntering towards her, sharp green eyes boring into her own. When she was close enough, she slipped her hands around the back of Harley’s neck, drawing her forward slowly, until their lips collided.

Ivy’s were soft and they caressed Harley’s with a gentleness she still couldn’t quite believe. When Harley was little, she’d bawled when her Ma told her that you couldn’t actually lay on a cloud. That if you tried it, you’d fall right through. But this…kissing Ivy’s soft lips, this was what she’d always imagined living in a cloud to feel like, before stupid science had to go and ruin her dream house idea.

A small moan escaped Harley as her hands came up to rest on Ivy’s hips. Very slowly, Ivy pulled away, remaining close enough so their lips brushed when she spoke again.

“Care to join me?”

Nodding weakly, Harley whimpered when Ivy’s hands fell away from her neck to tug on the hem of her shirt.

“Take your clothes off,” she said, her tone almost commanding, and Harley jumped to follow her orders, pulling her shirt and sports bra off in one quick motion. Ivy watched her silently, her eyes darkening as Harley bent to slip her shorts down her legs.

She couldn’t have imagined something as simple as undressing for Poison Ivy would be so, well, hot. But…with Ivy’s eyes on her…Her body was already starting to respond.

Harley moved to cover herself, as she suddenly felt exposed in the warming bathroom, but Ivy stopped her, reaching out her hands to take Harley’s…sliding down her forearms and lacing their fingers together.

“Don’t ever hide yourself, Harley,” Ivy murmured, green eyes unapologetically roaming over Harley’s naked body. “I imagine you’ve worked hard to look the way you do.”

“I, uh,” Harley blushed. “I workout.” Oh, wow, that was really fuckin’ cool. A+ response, idiot.

Ivy chuckled, pulling her gently towards the now full bathtub. “Yes, I know. You’ve been living with me for over a month now.”

God, yeah, duh. Harley stared down at her feet, face painfully hot. But then Ivy was lifting her chin, kissing her again, stepping into the water first before guiding Harley in after her.

Harley began to sit down, thinking she could at least get one thing right. Aka, know how to sit down in a bathtub. But to her surprise, Ivy stopped her, pulling her back to her feet and shaking her head.

“Do you know what control feels like, Harley?” Ivy whispered, her breath hot, like the steam that surrounded them. “Have you ever been in control of your own pleasure?”

Harley swallowed. “I’m—I’m not sure, Red. I guess when I’m, um, by myself?”

Ivy’s smile was kind as she raised her hand to stroke Harley’s cheek. Slowly, her fingers slipped down, off her face, down Harley’s neck, over her breast, to her hip. Her other hand mirrored her movements, thumbs kneading out the knots in Harley’s upper thighs…and moving gradually lower.

Harley took a sharp breath, her stomach fluttering, eyes already threatening to close as Ivy’s hands moved around to her rear. They paused there, halting the scene just momentarily so that Ivy could look her in the eye. After a quiet moment, one that felt somehow…reverent, Ivy’s arms around her, Harley not totally sure what to do with hers…but before she had to really think about it, Ivy was sinking downwards…onto her knees…kneeling in the warm water, her red hair curling in the humidity, and leaving Harley standing upright to look down at her.

Without a word, Ivy hooked Harley’s leg over her shoulder, propping her foot on the edge of the tub, opening her. Her vivid green eyes flickered to Harley’s blue ones, locking on them, staying there as she leaned forward, taking Harley’s hand and guiding it to the back of her head.

Immediately, Harley’s fingers tangled in her thick red hair, already feeling wobbly on her feet, just from the sight of the naked Poison Ivy in front of her. On her knees like Harley was some kinda queen or somethin’.  

She clenched even tighter when Ivy’s tongue flicked past her perfect lips, licking her slowly from top to bottom, her tongue flat, green eyes closing for a moment as she paused to breathe her in. Harley didn’t have time to whimper before Ivy resumed her journey, first placing a slow kiss over her clit, and then taking it into her warm mouth, sucking gently.

“Fuck…Red,” Harley moaned, her fingers fisting painfully in Ivy’s hair. She squeezed her eyes shut as Ivy repeated her movements, everything slow and oh so sweet. Ivy hummed softly, eyes sparkling as she looked up at Harley, lips quirking into a smile as her tongue worked in a tight circle around her clit. Harley felt a rush of wetness between her legs, and moaned at the sight of Ivy’s tongue moving to lap at her entrance.

Harley refused to look away—felt as though she couldn’t. Like it was disrespectful or something—even when her eyes threatened to roll into the back of her head when Ivy again drew a flat tongue through her wet folds again. Harley groaned and stroked her hand through Ivy’s hair, pulling her closer, deeper, and keeping her there.

Control…

Ivy slid a hand up Harley’s thigh, then around to her rear, squeezing possessively, like there was no where she’d rather be than right here with Harley. Like she wanted her. Groaning, Harley began moving her hips in little pulses to meet Ivy’s strokes, tugging roughly on her fistful of red hair. And that was when Ivy moaned against her center and Harley just…melted at the sound.

If she’d thought it was hot watching the Poison Ivy get on her knees for her, it was nothing compared to the sound of her reacting to Harley’s touch. There was a sense of foreign power coursing through Harley’s veins as she pulled Ivy closer, staring intently into those bright green eyes, her pulses nearly thrusts now.

“Red,” she breathed again as Ivy’s tongue quickened, weaving in and out of her folds, down to her entrance, around her clit… Harley’s body shook like a leaf in the wind, muscles tensing, both hands stroking through Ivy’s hair now. She was so close, and Ivy seemed to already know, because she wrapped her hands around Harley’s thighs, shifted from kneeling in the water to sitting and sliding forward, angling herself so that she could plunge her tongue deep into Harley’s center.

A sharp cry fell from Harley’s lips at the feeling of Ivy’s warm tongue inside her, and, on instinct it seemed, she lowered herself until she felt Ivy’s jaw pressed firmly against her, her nose nudging her clit. Harley’s hands never strayed from Ivy’s hair as she found a rhythm to move with her thrusting tongue.

Ivy continued to work even after she came, lapping gently through her folds, drinking her in—and this time there was no mistaking Harley’s cry as anything delicate. It was definitely feral. A significant release. Different than last night. Different than…anything. Her body curled inward on itself, leg trembling so hard it fell away from the rim of the tub. Ivy caught her as she slid, boneless, back into the water, her breath coming in shaky gasps.

“W-wow,” Harley stuttered, leaning against the back of the tub, eyes sliding shut and Ivy ran gentle hands up and down her bent legs.

The warm water sloshed around her, some jumping over the sides of the tub, as Ivy scooted closer until she was sitting between Harley’s thighs. They were tangled together now, cramped in the back of the tub, but Harley couldn’t have cared less.

She draped her arms over Ivy’s shoulders when she took Harley’s chin in her hand and pulled her in for another kiss.

“Warm,” she murmured, a grin spreading her lips when she caught Ivy’s own smile.

“What is?” Ivy’s voice was low, husky, her eyes glowing in the light of the candles.

“Everything.”

Ivy hummed and stroked a hand through Harley’s hair, down her face, her neck, her arm, ending at her hand where she laced their fingers together and kissed Harley’s knuckles.

Harley thought she might just combust right there. She’d never felt more…cared for. “I didn’t hurt your head too bad, did I?” she asked, suddenly concerned, her eyes shooting open.

Ivy shook her head, breasts pressing against Harley’s smaller ones as she leaned forward until Harley was lounging rather than sitting. “You did so well…” she smiled. “A natural.”

Harley grinned at that. “Oh yeah?”

“Mhm…” Ivy hummed, kissing her again. “I loved being able to see you…you’re so beautiful…”

Blushing, Harley didn’t quite know where to look. Ivy’s eyes, they were so…soft. And her body felt so good against her, and the bath was just so…it was all…amazing. Too amazing. It hurt Harley’s chest, she loved it so much.

“Harley…” Ivy was leaning over her, lips brushing her ear. “I want to be inside of you.”

“Red, you can—,” Harley’s mind was moving faster than her mouth. Or maybe the other way around? Now wasn’t the time to figure that out. “You can be anywhere ya want.”

Smiling against her neck first, Ivy then pressed a kiss there, tongue moving past her lips to caress Harley’s damp skin.

Harley had been pretty sure she was ready to pass out after the first round, but with Ivy’s mouth on her neck like that, she was 100% ready to go again.

Ivy’s hand dragged down Harley’s stomach below the water, fingers tracing the lines of her muscles, and Harley’s hips pulsed upwards of their own accord. The slow, teasing thing was fun and all, but Harley remembered those fingers inside her last night. Remembered how well they moved, finding all the important spots, exploiting Harley’s every sensitive nook and cranny…

“Don’t play with me, Red,” she whined, the water sloshing with her movements. “C’mon….please….you wanted ta be inside’a me, remember?”

Ivy chuckled against her, lips trailing up her jaw to the corner of Harley’s mouth. “I like to know you want it.”

“Oh, I—Red, I want it,” Harley assured her, heart beating fast in her chest, turning her face to kiss her, lips and tongue desperate.

She felt Ivy’s index finger enter her at the same time her tongue slipped into her mouth, and Harley’s moan was in reaction to both. She gripped Ivy’s shoulders tightly, afraid that she might leave a bruise, but Ivy didn’t say owe or anything, so she figured she was good. She’d learned quickly that Ivy was a lot stronger than she looked, and she looked pretty strong.

At the second finger, Harley dropped her arms to Ivy’s lower back, pulling her closer, wanting to feel more of her. Wanting every inch.

She moaned in time with Ivy’s thrusts, her head fuzzy, breath coming fast. Ivy moved down to her chest, tongue circling Harley’s nipple before she dragged it up her sternum, up her neck, her chin, and back into Harley’s mouth.

Without thinking, Harley’s hand shot up to Ivy’s breast, squeezing it harder than she’d meant to, but she couldn’t help herself. Ivy was picking up speed, but her fingers were still curling to hit that spot that Harley honestly hadn’t known existed before last night. But now she wondered how she was supposed to go on living without bliss like this. In a world filled with people who couldn’t give it to her.

Ivy let out a moan of her own as Harley tweaked her nipple, and that’s when Harley felt Ivy’s ring finger join her index and middle inside of her, now twisting with each thrust.

“P—Pammy...Red…Pammy…” Harley had to pull away from her lips to gasp for air. She’d never…she’d never…s—so good…. “Fuck, Red!”

Ivy gripped Harley’s shoulder, pulling her close, wrapping her arm around her, hips moving in tandem with her hand, using them to drive her fingers into Harley.

Harley didn’t realize Ivy’s pinky finger had pushed inside of her until she felt her thumb rubbing against her clit.

“Red, that’s…that’s a—lotta fingers…”

Ivy’s tongue circled Harley’s ear, lips dragging down the outer shell, sucking the lobe into her mouth, and then whispering: “Does it hurt?”

“Mm—fff—no…” Harley’s eyes were closed, her back arching, hips pulsing to welcome Ivy’s hand. “No, it feels…so…it’s…good.”

“Anything can hurt, Harley.” Ivy told her, lips brushing her ear with each thrust. “But nothing has to.”

/

Harley seemed to be watching her almost curiously as Ivy tucked them into bed. Smiling slightly, her eyes still wide, as Ivy lay down beside her. Ivy watched Harley’s gaze follow the line of her jaw, flit to her eyes, and then down to her lips. Ivy’s smile was, for once, a bit broader, and Harley blushed under her attention.

The blonde was clearly exhausted, her eyelids drooping further with each passing second, but that didn’t stop Ivy from moving forward, pressing their lips together, prodding Harley’s open with her tongue.  

Ivy had lost count of how many times she’d kissed Harley that day, but it didn’t matter, she felt like she’d never grow tired of meeting those pink lips. Never grow tired of her moans, her little sighs…

Harley was smiling against her now, probably ticklish, Ivy thought as her hands ran over the younger woman’s thighs and hips, rising to her cheeks and stroking her blushing skin. She then ran them softly though clean blonde hair, happy that Harley had allowed it to relax out of its typical pigtails.

Sighing contentedly, Ivy sunk deeper into her pillow, pressing forward for just another moment to rest her lips against Harley’s forehead. “Good night,” she whispered, breath warm against Harley’s skin.

Harley hummed, finally allowing her eyes to close completely. “Night.”

Ivy shifted, the lamp clicking as she shut it off, and the room was plunged into darkness. 

 

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Chapter Text

“The gun, you imbecile! Hand me the gun!” 

“Yeah, one minute, Mistah J!” Harley swerved, her wheels skidding as she took a sharp right onto a side street.

“You don’t tell me to wait, whore,” Joker spat in her face, making driving even harder. “What the hell do I keep you around for?”

“Sorry, Puddin, sorry,” Harley apologized, keeping one hand on the wheel, using the other to wipe the saliva from her face, and then to reach into the back seat for the shotgun.

He roughly snatched the gun from her hand, purposefully cracking her in the temple with its butt as he aimed it back over his shoulder at the Batmobile.

Harley eased off the gas a bit to set Joker up for a better shot. The Batmobile was pretty much indestructible, but there were a few weak points. A well-aimed bullet could—

“Ugh, what a waste,” Joker snarled, evidently seeing something that displeased him behind the tinted windshield. “You like redheads, don’t you, Harley-doll?”  

Before Harley could react, Joker was reaching across her, kicking open the driver’s side door.

“Mista—!”

She heard the click of the seat belt, and the next thing she knew, she was falling. The impact stole her breath, and she could feel the skin being ripped away from her muscles. The crunch of her body on the pavement echoed in the empty street along with Joker’s laugh as he drove off.

The Batmobile skidded to a stop just before running her over. The tires coming close enough for Harley to smell the burnt rubber.

Then a door was slamming and there were footsteps on the pavement, someone running towards her, a gloved-hand on her shoulder.

“Quinn!” a woman’s voice called out. “Quinn, are you—hello? Are you still with me?”

Harley smiled dumbly up at the woman whose head was haloed by the streetlight, red hair nearly glowing. “Red…” Harley mumbled, reaching for her.

The woman grabbed her hand, lowering it back down to Harley’s chest and holding it there. “This is Batgirl,” she was speaking to her wrist, it looked like, not to Harley. “Joker just pushed Quinn out of a moving vehicle.”

“She’s alive?” a deep male voice joined the conversation.

“Barely,” Batgirl reported. “I’m bringing her to Arkham. Can you make sure they have a surgical team ready?”

“I’ll call ahead.”

Arms wrapped around Harley from behind, pulling her up to a sitting position. Every square inch of her body was lit ablaze with pain, but it was all too much to even address. Besides that, with her blurry vision and how slowly the world seemed to be moving, Harley was pretty sure whatever head injury she’d sustained was helping her ignore the rest of it.

Harley heard a grunt as she was lifted into the air, an arm under her knees and around her back as those same boots clunked on the concrete, moving to the passenger side of the Batmobile.

“Are ya—,” Harley coughed. “Are ya pretty under that mask?”

“That information’s classified,” was the woman’s curt response as she set Harley in the passenger seat, buckling the safety belt.

“S’ok,” Harley giggled. “You don’t hafta tell me. You’re my knight in shining armor either way.”

Batgirl scoffed. “Whatever you say, Quinn.” And shut the door on her.

/

Red-

You’re amazing. Probably weird to say thank you for the orgasms, but thanks. I needed them, lol. And has anybody ever told you you’re a great kisser?

Anyway, I’ll see you around. Tell Kitty I say hey when she gets done with the boy-toy ;)

-Harley

The paper shook in Ivy’s hands as she sat back down on the bed. Her eyes eventually strayed to her own arms, the ones that had been holding Harley when they fell asleep the night before. Ivy’s skin still smelled like sex. Smelled like Harley, just like the sheets on the bed.

She…supposed she’d have to do laundry. At the moment, though, Ivy couldn’t bring herself to get up, only to lift her legs one by one onto the bed, and wrap her arms around her knees, holding them like she would hold Harley. Softly, she rocked back and forth, trying not to feel stupid again. Trying to pretend like she was still dead inside. Like she hadn’t let herself hope for a moment.

A stupid mistake. A stupid, human mistake.

Her next scheme was careless. She knew that. Poison Ivy was at her worst when she was angry, and Poison Ivy was livid.

It was a robbery, and she’d gone in guns blazing. A tried and true method, certainly. And with the immense power she possessed, it should have been easy. But her heart just wasn’t in it, and after she’d brought down the building, what was the point, really? In all honestly, she’d really just wanted to break something. And break something she did. Thoroughly.

Now she was staring at the back of Batman’s gigantic cranium, her hands and feet cuffed, cramped in the back seat of the Batmobile.

“I hear you and Selina befriended Harley Quinn...” Batman commented, having the audacity to strike a casual tone.

I thrust my tongue inside of her until she came in my mouth. “That’s not exactly the terminology I would employ…”

“She almost died last month.”

Ivy scoffed, trying to cross her arms before remembering that was impossible at the moment. “That doesn’t surprise me.”

“They just moved her out of the infirmary.”

“Inf…you mean she’s in Arkham?” Ivy sat forward as far as she could.

“She is,” Batman confirmed. “And without Joker.”

/

Harley had only been outta the infirmary a few days when Ivy came back. She was still a little sore, and there was a nasty patchwork of scrapes across her right cheek where her face had met the asphalt. At least her cheekbone wasn’t shattered anymore. Ivy’s serum had made sure of that. In fact, Harley was pretty sure she’d be dead right now if it hadn’t been for that magic shot.

Anyway, she was chattering away to Jervis (who didn’t appear at all interested in the life cycle of an angiosperm—which Harley was an expert on now, on account of Ivy’s lectures) when the door to the rec room swung open.

Swiveling in her seat on the old moth-eaten couch, Harley broke into a broad grin when she saw Ivy standing in the doorway, Arkham shirt buttoned twice to support her bosom (as per uje), thin vines decorating her extremities, and her eyes scanning the room underneath a furrowed brow.

“Red!” Harley shouted, bounding over the back of the couch, startling Jervis out of his seat. “Oh boy, did I miss ya!”

She was wrapped around Ivy before the woman had a chance to respond, face tucked into the side of her green neck. Ivy still smelled like roses and lavender, even in here, and the scent made Harley feel safe…home. Relaxing against Ivy, she was surprised to feel the other woman tense in her arms before slipping her hands between their bodies and pushing Harley back, holding her at arm’s length.

“What’s the matter?” Harley asked, still unable to hold back her grin. She really had missed Ivy, it had been a whole month since she’d seen her, she just hadn’t had a lotta time to think about it while she was planning stuff with Mistah J.

“Harleen.” The greeting was almost a growl, Harley noted, and then it clicked in her head that Ivy was probably a little sore about her leavin’ without sayin’ goodbye. But her note had pretty much covered the bases, she thought.

“Hey,” a rough voice came before Harley could respond. “Hands off, Quinn. Don’t you know she’s poison?” It was Harvey of course, eyeing them from the corner of the rec room, where he sat at the card table with Eddie. “Bitch’ll burn you if you aren’t careful.”

“Red?” Harley reiterated, confused. “No way, no how.” She took Ivy’s limp hand in her own, dragging her further into the rec room. “Ivy’s my best girl. My gal pal! She can’t hurt me anyway. Gave me a shot that makes it so we can spend all the time we want together.”

Two-Face sneered, although it was hard to differentiate from his permanent one. “Your gal pal, huh?”

“Yup! We’re partners. Queens of Crime. Dontcha watch the news anymore?” She felt Ivy try to tug away and tightened her grip on the woman’s fingers. “Tell ‘em, Red. Tell ‘em what we did.”

A verdant blush colored Ivy’s green cheeks, but she said nothing, her eyes flickering away from Harley’s.

“Queens of Crime sounds like a stretch to me,” Harvey continued. “You somehow both landed yourselves in here again.”

“Pffft,” Harley scoffed. “Like gettin’ thrown in this dump means anything. We’ll be outta here in no time, huh, Red?”

Ivy was regarding her now with a strange expression, the hardness in her gaze having disappeared, replaced with something more…soft, anxious. But Harley didn’t have a chance to ask about it before Eddie spoke up.

“Red? That’s cute,” he snickered, shuffling through a deck of cards absently. “Do you name all your pets, Harley?”

Ivy’s face darkened so suddenly that Harley nearly shrunk away in fear. Quickly, to stop the situation from escalating into one where Eddie would most certainly die, Harley held an arm out to block Ivy from moving forward and said: “She’s my friend, Eddie. All my friends get nicknames. That’s why you don’t have one.” She stuck out her tongue at Riddler but he seemed unaffected by her jab.

“You’d do well to keep your mouth shut if you want to keep that tongue of yours,” Ivy shot at Eddie, jerking her hand away from Harley and pinning her with a venomous glare.

“Red…?” Harley’s smile faded when Ivy stepped around her and headed for the couch, snatching the remote away from Jervis. She ignored Harley and plopped down onto the couch, flipping through the channels in an angry silence.

Cautiously, Harley crept to her side, kneeling by the armrest of the couch, propping her chin on her folded arms.

“Didja see Kitty while I was gone?”

Ivy’s jaw twitched and tightened, her eyes remaining fixed on the screen. “No.”

“Aww, she still hanging around with Bruce?” Ivy was silent. “Were ya all alone at the house? I thought for sure she’d come back.”

The tv crackled and popped and suddenly a news report of Ivy’s robbery fizzled to life on the old screen.

“Vicki Vale here reporting from the ruins of Crown Jewelers, where the Batman arrived just in time to stop a deadly rampage from the infamous Poison Ivy. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen her in action, and if what we see here is anything to go by, we’ve been lucky. Sources say Harley Quinn was recently readmitted to Arkham Asylum, who knows what chaos would have reigned if these two partners in crime—”

The tv clicked, screen going black, as Ivy set the remote down with precise calm.

“See?” Harley called, swiveling to face Two-Face and Riddler, who had been watching the report as well. “Partners in—”

“We’re not partners, Harleen. Let alone friends.” Ivy’s voice was icy, her green gaze even colder. Without a word, she stood and strode out of the rec room, her head held high, ignoring the side-eyed glances the gathered rogues gave her.

 Harley stared after her, eyes fixed on the back of Ivy’s head.

Not even friends?

Blinking to clear her spinning head, Harley glanced around the rec room, feeling as if all eyes had fallen on her. But no one was paying attention, having gone back to their activities as soon as Ivy disappeared. Flushing with embarrassment, Harley took one last look at the blank screen before slipping out of the rec room and trudging back to her cell in silence.

/

The doctors had allowed Ivy one plant to keep her company in her cell. And what a pitiful little thing it was. Dehydrated, the leaves broken off, roots barely intact. Ivy guessed one of them had probably found it in a dumpster on their way to work. Besides that, Ivy’s cell was specifically engineered to make sure she couldn’t flourish, to guarantee she struggled. This plant was suffering a similar fate. Not enough air to breathe, not enough soil to take root in.

But Ivy tried. It was all she could do, really. She’d already adopted the plant. Already told it everything would be alright. She couldn’t abandon it now. So she knelt down next to the tiny pot they’d provided—too small, of course, and they hadn’t given her any water with which to nourish it…

She was so entrenched in her work she didn’t hear the guard approach. Didn’t hear him key in the code to her cell. Didn’t hear him step inside and close the door behind him.

“That’s a pretty picture, you on your knees.”

“Most pictures of me are pretty,” she assured him, without looking up, deeply unconcerned with whatever had possessed this idiot to enter her cell.

“So how come you never help us out, huh? What does Quinn got that I don’t have?”

Ivy’s hands stilled in their work. “Quinn?” she looked up to find the guard’s hand on his belt buckle.

“I hear you’re good with your mouth,” he grinned, unbuckling it. “Tell you what—you do me a favor here, and I’ll see what I can do about getting you and Quinn some nighttime visiting hours.”

Ivy blinked, starring dumbly up at him. “You…sh…you talked to Harley?”

He was getting impatient now, looking back over his shoulder as he unzipped his pants. “Yeah, now get on it, freak. If you can get on your knees for Quinn, you can get on your knees for me.”

She glanced down at his boxer shorts now visible below the open draw of his pants, more confused than anything. Ivy…she was a metahuman. A powerful, toxic metahuman. She had a special cell outfitted at the most notorious psych facility in the country. She could kill a man with a single kiss, a touch, even. And yet, here this man was, standing in her cell, no hazmat suit, his pants down around his hips, openly propositioning her.

“Harley told you that?”

Ivy had shared her power because she felt Harley needed it. Needed to know what I felt like to be cherished, pleasured. To feel in control.

“Always pegged ya for one of those dick-complex dykes. Guess you’d rather take it.” He grabbed her by the back of the head, roughly pulling her forward.

Obviously this man was going to die, it was just a matter of how.

He loosened his grip on her hair so that she could sit at a more appropriate angle, but she used that space to stand up, whispering “Wait”, hands fisting in his shirt, pushing him into the wall as close to the glass door as she could get him.

“Oh, you wanna put on a show?” he chuckled.

“Only way I do it,” Ivy smiled wickedly, licking her hand from the heel of her palm to the tip of her middle finger. Her green eyes burned into his as she slipped her hand beneath the waistband of his boxers, the elbow of her other arm pressing into his chest.

He grinned stupidly when he felt her hand wrap around him. “Fuuuck...” he groaned, eyes rolling back in his head. “You been holding out on me.”

“Mhm…for good reason….” Ivy smiled as the smell of burning flesh hit her nostrils.

His eyes shot open in the next moment. “Wh—what are you—,”

The vines she kept wrapped around her extremities during her Arkham stays slithered off of her, binding first his wrists and then spreading his ankles, another one wrapping around his neck, and crawling into his mouth, cutting off his question.

“Acid burns.” Ivy squeezed harder. “Far and away the most painful variety.”

The poison she was excreting from her hand was burning through his pants, melting them off of his legs, leaving him naked from the waist down.

Tears were streaming out of his eyes now, his cries of pain muffled by his gag. But even that couldn’t completely silence his horrified scream at the charred, bubbling remains of his penis, now visible to him, to every security camera inside of Ivy’s cell, and to every Arkham resident who had the distinct pleasure of watching through Ivy’s glass door.  

“Now, I’m sorry, I’m not all that experienced with men,” Ivy admitted, finally releasing it from her grasp. “Was it supposed to go in my mouth next?”

“Nnn! Nnn!” he tried to sob through his gag.

“Perhaps a kiss, then?” Ivy suggested. “No? Fine, I’ll try not to take this rejection to heart.” And with that, she placed a firm hand underneath his chin, slamming his head back against the wall, forcing his eyes to the ceiling before moving forward herself, licking from one side of his stubbled neck to the other, the skin bubbling and smoking as her tongue dragged across it.

Just like his pants, his skin began to melt away from his muscles where her tongue had been, burning a hole back into his trachea and esophagus. Chuckling at how he gurgled, Ivy spit into the open wound, her saliva doing the rest of the work, vines tightening to keep his head attached to the shoulders it belonged to as his neck disappeared.

“What do you think, Crane?” Ivy called across the hall to the former psychiatrist, who had watched the murder in its entirety, his reactions ranging from impressed to mildly fascinated. “Would a display be overkill?”

Crane shrugged. “Do all the work and not show them your trophy? That seems like a waste, and not at all like you.”

Mmm...he makes a good point…

Ivy allowed her vines to first slither up the wall, attaching to the ceiling, so that when she did instruct them to pull the head from the corpse’s shoulders, it hung in midair.

She then promptly turned to one of the many security cameras that littered her cell. “When you watch the tape back, you’ll notice he came into my cell—passing the threat warning labeled clearly on my door—and then propositioned me—an act punishable by up to 7 years in prison.” She had to yell the next part over the alarms that had begun to blare as Arkham was put on lockdown. “I’m not a psychiatrist, but it seems to me he was suicidal!”

/

“—I’m just saying perhaps a lesson would do her some good. Teach her a little finesse.” Riddler was laughing. “Lesbians should come with a warning label—‘good with fingers, but don’t make me use my hand’.”

“It’s incredible, really, the rampant stupidity of heterosexual arousal,” Crane remarked. “And before you try and defend sex with women, Harvey, I’d like to remind you of your little accident in the cafeteria.”

“The problem isn’t women in general,” Two-Face growled. “It’s that woman.”

“Right,” Crane acknowledged. “Which you knew when you let her on your lap. Only Pamela could melt a man’s phallus clean off and still register as sexually desirable to you Neanderthals.”

It was then that Harley Quinn decided to waltz into the rec room, eyes quickly scanning before she landed on their table and made a b-line.

“Fuck…” Harvey mumbled, trying to hide himself with one hand.

He was unsuccessful.

“Hey!” Harley exclaimed. “Did’ja hear those alarms? What’s the deal? What’s happenin? Did somebody break out?”

“No,” Crane answered plainly.

“Are they—did they get Mistah J?” Harley wondered, her eyes lighting up at the thought. “Is he here?”

“No,” Eddie took over. “Your gal pal ripped a guard’s head off.”

“Red?” They weren’t total sure why Harley sounded so thoroughly surprised. “Who? Which guard?”

Crane shrugged. “They all look the same to me. Brown hair, stocky build…”

“An asshole,” Two-Face added.

“Shit.” Harley squeezed her eyes shut. “Shit, you guys. I’m in big trouble.”

Jon and Eddie looked at each other confusedly, but it was Harvey who spoke. “You’d be hard pressed to find anything I cared less about.”

“OK, well, ya know what? That hurts my feelings,” Harley informed them. “And I’ll remember this lil’ talk next time Mistah J’s lookin’ for somebody ta team up with.”

“OK, Honey,” Eddie laughed. “You do that.”

 

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Chapter Text

Harley dragged her feet—literally, a guard had to drag her—back to her cell after free time. She knew Ivy would be there, waiting in the cell next to her. Angry, probably. And she really didn’t want Ivy to be angry with her.

Normally, if a patient did something violent like, ya know…kill a guard? They’d be thrown down in solitary confinement. That’s where Mistah J was just put automatically these days. But because of Ivy’s powers, it was way more effective to just keep her in her cell and pump up her “calming agents.”

“Torture” was really a better word for it, and Harley could hear her shallow breathing and moans of pain as soon as she entered the cell block. The guard pulled her quicker past Ivy’s cell—too quick to see anything through the red mist that swirled thicker than Harley had ever seen it. Next thing she knew, she was being shoved back into her own cell, and the guard was nearly running in the opposite direction.

Harley stood, motionless, in the middle of her cell for a moment, just listening. It would be lights out in a few minutes. They’d make Ivy spend the night like that, Harley knew it. Ivy’s teeth began to chatter, and Harley guessed it was because they’d lowered the temperature in her cell to freezing…Ivy doesn’t do well with the cold

With a few tentative steps, Harley made it over to the wall between their cells, placing a gentle hand there, and lightly clearing her throat. “H—hiya, Red. How ya doin’ in there?”

“Fuck—you,” Ivy wheezed.

Harley thought a joke might lighten things up. “You already did, remember?”

…it did not.

Or at least Harley guessed it didn’t, because Ivy didn’t respond.

“Normally when ya let a girl stick four fingers inside’a ya you’re entitled to at least a hug the next time ya see her,” Harley filled the silence Ivy wouldn’t.

“You….why would you…” Ivy was attempting to force words out between her chattering teeth and shallow breaths. “Trivialize what we…we made l—why would you tell him that? Why would you d—do this to m—me?”

“OK, whoa, hey,” Harley had to set the facts straight. “I don’t remembah cuttin’ anybody’s head off. Pretty sure that was all you.”

“You—ah!” Ivy let out a cry of pain and a choked sort of sob. “You traded on my reputation!” it sounded like she’d gritted her teeth. “Something it took me…something it took me 30 fucking years to c—cultivate. 30 years of proving I was…proving I was untouchable to these—fff—degenerates. You r—you ruined me. You betrayed m—me.”

Harley’s heart sunk in her chest. She hadn’t meant to do that… “No, Red, I—I’m really sorry about that, alright? He was just—he was roughin’ me up a little. I got scared. I thought if he knew we were a….uh…ya know, that he might leave me alone. Since you’re so awesome and powerful. Thought you could protect me…”

Ivy was choking on her own air, trying desperately to find some carbon dioxide. “What do I k—know, Harley? That we’re…that we’re gal pals? That you used me? That I’m n—that I mean nothing t—to you? That when I…in the…that night, and the—the tub…I’m just—it’s just something to…to trade on. you’ll b—build your reputation on my b—back.”

“Red, don’t say that…” Harley slid down the wall, coming to sit on the floor. “Course ya mean something to me. I don’t know what I’d do without ya!”

Judging by the sounds of sloshing liquid—the vinegar, which had now pooled deep enough to slosh, evidently—Ivy was crawling over to the wall. She took a few shaky breaths, as deep as she could manage, and Harley imagined her gaze was cold, her jaw tight. “I refuse to be some side piece. A pretty thing you k—keep locked away…whispering promises into my ear in the dead of night…only to be…to be gone, or f—forcing me out of bed when dawn breaks.”

Harley was hurt. “You’re not a side piece, Red. You’re my best friend!”

It was a while before Ivy replied, and Harley could hear her move away from the wall before she did. “Then you’re…you’re a terrible friend.”

/

They drained the vinegar on the 3rd day, but the oxygen was still so pure, and the pesticides so strong, that every breath burned Ivy’s lungs.

“Was it worth it, Pamela?” Dr. Leeland was asking from here she stood outside Ivy’s cell.

“No man…will ever…lay a hand on me…again,” Ivy wheezed. “No man…will touch me...No man…will fuck me. And those who try…will die. Horrible, painful, violent…deserved deaths.”

Dr. Leeland just shook her head, offering a sigh laced with so much pity Ivy wanted to rip her head off too, and finally left her alone.

“Are ya feelin’ any better, Red?” Harley’s meek voice came from the cell beside her.

“Fuck you,” Ivy spat, crawling back into the corner to curl around the carcass of the one plant they’d given her. It hadn’t been able to survive her cell’s harsh conditions.

It was easier to breathe on the 4th day, and Harley had stopped trying to talk to her, which was…better. Which was better.

She didn’t…she didn’t need human companionship. Didn’t…need someone to pull close at night. Someone to cook breakfast for in the morning. Someone to wake up to, someone to make love to…

Those were human things. And Pame—Ivy, she wasn’t. Human. Not anymore. She didn’t need a…a lover. Didn’t need a friend. Didn’t need Harley Quinn.

On the 5th day, her cell returned to its normal atmosphere, keeping her subdued, but not actively torturing her. Ivy didn’t move from her place on the floor, though. Couldn’t, really. She needed water and sunlight to recharge. She was so severely underweight due to dehydration that an onlooker would be able to see the shape of every one of her bones beneath the nearly translucent pale mint of her skin. A living skeleton.

Her cafeteria privileges were still revoked, and her threat level had been raised so high after the ‘incident’ that the guards weren’t even allowed to approach her cell anymore.

Water, water, water….water, water, water….she thought over and over again, like she could will a reservoir into her cell.

But what she got was not a reservoir, but a bang and a loud crash. Sirens and gunshots.

“Let’s go, Red,” Harley was murmuring into her hair as she hoisted her up off the ground, holding her tight to her chest. “Ya look a little parched.”

/

Harley remembered the orderlies used to inject Ivy with salt water to dehydrate her when she got really nasty, but Harley had never seen her quite this bad.

Her face was gaunt, eyes sunken, ribs so pronounced they quite literally stabbed Harley as she held Ivy in her arms, making her way through the chaos.

This wasn’t Harley’s escape plan, not technically, anyway. She was just piggybacking off the riot Nygma had incited. And, honestly, thank god he did because Red reeeeaaalllyyyy wasn’t lookin too good. Like, she’d never actually tell Ivy this, but seriously—yuck. 

She’d lifted a gun from a guard while he was distracted trying to get Killer Croc back down in his hole. “Water…” Ivy breathed. And that’s when Harley had an idea. Instead of continuing past Waylon, she ran behind him, taking a shot at the guard and then plunging down into the sewer that Croc had left unoccupied.

She heard shouts above her, but they were already under water. And—wow, this is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done.

Harley didn’t dare try and open her eyes in this water, instead waiting until her head broke the surface. Ivy was still in her arms, but now she was sputtering, choking, gagging.

“Harley, what the fuck?! The sewer? The sewer?!”

When Harley wiped her eyes, she found that Ivy was somehow back to her normal self. Just with one touch of water, she’d completely re-hydrated. Woah…

“Harley, there is fecal matter down here!” Ivy was continuing on her tirade. “Do I seem like the type of person who might enjoy a bath in the excrement of my colleagues?! There’s a lake not even—mmph!”

She was cut off when Harley grabbed her face and pulled her into a kiss. “Red! You’re OK!” Harley moved away from her lips, peppering her face with kisses, leaving no square inch untouched. “I thought I was gonna have ta stick ya full of IVs and stuff ta get ya back to normal! You were startin’ ta look like a Halloween decoration!”

“H—no, no, stop it.” Ivy pushed her away. “I said I didn’t want to speak to you.”

They both flinched and ducked at the sounds of gunshots above them.

“We don’t have time for any’a that,” Harley chastised, grabbing her hand beneath the water. “We gotta move!”

Ivy’s reluctance only lasted a moment before she allowed herself to be dragged along, the two of them climbing out of the water and onto the concrete siding as soon as the option presented itself. The water left them dirty, but Harley didn’t really care, all that mattered was that Ivy was still gripping her hand.

But their luck ran out soon when they nearly ran head-first into a brick wall. That was the end of the tunnel, the end of Croc’s cell.

“Shit!” Harley cursed. “Shit, shit, shit. Red, we’re stuck.”

Ivy rolled her eyes, dropping her hand and taking a step forward. “Drag me into the sewers without an escape plan,” she grumbled, placing a hand on the wall.

Harley watched in wonderment as the spindly vines that climbed the walls began to come alive, pulling back to slither in the air. “So…what’s the plan here, Red? You’re gonna…Slytherin em’ ta death? Ooh! Do ya speak parseltongue?! Oh, pfft, who am I kiddin’, you’re totally a Ravenclaw.” Harley bonked herself on the head. “People think I’m a Hufflepuff, but truth is I’m a Gryffindor. And Kitty is pretty obviously a S—,”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but now is really not the time,” Ivy interrupted as her vines began to weave themselves together into what looked like a…giant hammer?

“Ooh! Red, can I swing it?”

“No,” Ivy answered plainly. “I’m afraid your talents are needed elsewhere.” She nodded over her shoulder, and Harley jumped at the sight of three guards stumbling behind them through the water.

“You two! Stop!” they called after them.

“Heh, like fish in a barrel,” Harley giggled, pulling out her gun and firing a bullet aimed at nothing that caused the three of them to cower, slowing their movement and making them easier targets. Then Harley went down the line, capping each one of them like ducks in a row as they scampered.

Harley finished with that just in time to watch Ivy’s hammer swing itself into the wall. It took two more before a brick was knocked out of place, and another 4 before there was room enough to crawl through.

Ivy shivered as soon as the late-October breeze hit her wet, nearly bare skin. They could see Arkham behind them up on the hill, and Gotham stretched out below them.

“We goin’ home, Red?” Harley asked, though the question was rhetorical as she took her hand again, pulling her away from the tunnel entrance.

But they’d only moved a few feet before Ivy dropped it, again pushing Harley away from her. “We’re not going anywhere. I’m going to wash the ordure from my body, and then go home to be with my plants. I don’t know what you’re doing, but it has nothing to do with my plans for the evening.”

“H—hey! Ya know what? A little gratefulness would be nice,” Harley called after her as Ivy stormed away. “Without me and my brilliant escape plan, you’d still be lookin’ like somebody just dug ya out of a tomb.”

“And whose fault was that in the first place?” Ivy demanded.

“Yours!” Harley ran to catch up. “Ya didn’t have ta kill him like that!”

“I did!” Ivy yelled, still refusing to turn around. “And if you knew anything about me, you wouldn’t question it. A few more months with your precious Puddin’ and maybe you’ll start to feel the same way about men. Or maybe not! Maybe you never will. Maybe you’ll never get it.”

“You don’t—ow!” Harley stubbed her toe on a root that she was pretty sure Ivy had put there on purpose. “Geez, slow down!” Ivy really was moving pretty fast, like, really fast, actually. Faster than she remembered her moving during the night they’d met at the museum or the night of their heist. And that’s when Harley realized they’d moved past the tree line into the forest that bordered the city on one side.

Jumping over the next root that sprung up in her path, Harley continued her pursuit, noticing that the way Ivy ran had changed too. She no longer ran completely upright like a human, instead, her hands would touch the ground every few steps, her body remaining low to the ground otherwise. Her movements were quick and nimble, and as soon as she saw an opportunity, she grabbed onto a tree branch, climbing upwards and abandoning the grass altogether.

“Red! Red, wait up, that’s no fair!” Harley complained, running blindly now, as her guide had disappeared. How the heck did she do that?

It must be the forest, Harley realized. The trees must make her stronger. But if that’s the case…why the heck does she live in Gotham? She should be living somewhere green where she can breathe, not a stuffy, polluted city like Gotham? And if she’s this powerful here…Harley’s stomach actually turned at all that wasted potential…not like she was the best person to judge. Or in a position to judge at all, really. But seriously, what the heck is she doin here?

Harley’s pace began to slow as she approached a clearing, looking out past the trees onto a small lake—more like a pond, actually. It was too dark to see anything specific, just that there was water, judging by how the moon reflected off its smooth surface.

The water rippled a moment later, a pair of glowing green eyes breaking the surface. Harley swallowed at how they narrowed at her, turned to slits in the darkness.

“Look, Red, I know you’re pissed,” Harley tried again to reason with her. “I’m sorry, OK? I really am. But please can I get in the water? I smell like poop and I don’t wanna smell like poop.”

Raising slightly higher—so her mouth was above the water, Harley guessed—Ivy asked, “Why did you take me with you? Would have been easier to leave me behind.”

“Because the easy way is boring!” Harley insisted, taking another step closer to the water. “And I was worried about’cha, Red. And I was thinkin’ about how you said I was a bad friend, and I…I don’t wanna be a bad friend. I wanna be a good one. Wanna…make ya proud. It made me sad, thinkin’ of ya all alone, hurtin’ in that cell. I would’a rather been cuddlin’.”

Ivy scoffed, turning away from her, and Harley took that as her cue to get in. She quickly dunked herself underneath, scrubbing her hair and then her skin before popping back up, finding Ivy was still turned away from her.

“Why did you ask if we were going home?” Ivy’s voice was quiet.

“Oh, umm…because it’s cold outside,” Harley told her, truthfully. “And your house is always warm.”

Ivy swallowed. “But you…you didn’t call it my house, you…called it ours.”

Harley frowned, confused for a moment. Did she like that? “Yeah, Red. Cuz I always feel at home when I’m there. You make me feel so safe…”

When Ivy didn’t move or respond, Harley took a step closer to her in the shallow water, until she was close enough to see Ivy’s shoulders shaking from the cold. She remembered how Ivy had acquiesced the first time Harley had returned after leaving. Her defenses crumbling at those simple words: I missed you

“I missed it…” Harley ran her fingers up Ivy’s arm from behind, over her shoulder. “Missed the house…the garden…the bed…” she moved forward, replacing the fingers that now rested on Ivy’s neck with her mouth, and wrapping a hand gently around her waist, pulling them flush. “I missed you, Red.”

She could feel Ivy swallow below her lips, feel her tense in her arms. So Harley nuzzled in deeper, holding her tighter. “Let’s go home, Red. I’m cold.”

They walked most of the trip back to the city in silence, but as they stood on a dark curb, waiting for a cab, Harley growling at anyone that looked at them sideways, she held her hand out, and Ivy tentatively took it in her own.

Ivy didn’t pay the cab driver, of course. Just kissed him. Turned out not all of Ivy’s kisses had to end in death.

“I’m not sure I’ll ever feel clean…” Harley muttered, shimmying against the back seat.

“I sterilized you when you touched me,” Ivy assured her, her tone just as subdued as she watched downtown pass them by outside the window.

Harley leaned her head against her shoulder, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. Ivy already smelled like her normal self. Harley guessed she did too. Is this what I smell like? As those thoughts swirled aimlessly in her mind, she felt Ivy turn her head slightly, so she could look straight ahead.

The soft skin of Ivy’s cheek was now pressed against Harley’s forehead, and the blonde smiled when she felt Ivy shift again, face lower. Harley felt that familiar want take root in her gut once more, and lifted her hand to Ivy’s face, sitting up so she could kiss her again.

Ivy’s eyes were already closed when Harley pressed their lips together, and at first she didn’t really respond, just held them there. But then Harley stroked her face, pushing a still damp lock of red hair behind her ear, and Ivy responded, sighing quietly before parting her lips for Harley’s tongue.

Harley moaned softly as their tongues collided, sliding slowly over one another, Ivy’s soft lips caressing her own. She hadn’t liked Ivy being upset with her. Didn’t like seeing that she’d made her sad. Harley wished leaving didn’t have to mean she was leaving Ivy, but Puddin’ was Puddin’…

Then again, for all that Puddin’ was…

Red sure was a better kisser.

Ivy’s hand found her thigh, elegant fingers stroking the inseam of her Arhkam administered pants. For a second, Harley felt embarrassed, suddenly aware of the cab driver’s presence, until she remembered Ivy’s hypnotizing kiss. And she sorta felt for the poor guy. Ivy’s pheromones didn’t work on her, but…man, sometimes it sure felt like she was under a spell. Especially with Ivy suckin’ on her lower lip like that, hand rubbing gentle circles on her thigh, body pressed so close.

Okay, Harley really wanted out of this cab. Sure, she’d take sex in a car if she had to, wouldn’t exactly be a new experience, and she was sure Ivy would make it worth her while, but Harley also wanted to lay down in something a bit more comfortable than a cot, and the back seat of a cab wasn’t exactly an upgrade. Tangling her fingers in Ivy’s hair, Harley moved her lips to Ivy’s jaw, kissing softly down the line of her neck, smiling when she earned a soft moan.

They didn’t get much farther, Ivy having the cab driver stop just outside the house and then sending him on his way. Harley took her hands as soon as the cab disappeared down the street, her steps light as she led Ivy towards the house, heart pounding in her chest.

She was going to have this again, have Ivy, in a way that made her feel powerful, cared for, unstoppable. And the energy that now coursed through her veins made her limbs tremble and shake so hard she had trouble opening the door. By the time they got inside, Harley found she didn’t want to wait for the bedroom, she didn’t want to let Ivy take her slowly again. There was a passion burning in her gut, hot, explosive, and what they’d begun in the cab needed finishing. Now.

Kicking the door shut with her heel, Harley spun Ivy around and shoved her shoulders, pushing her back against the far wall of the living room, pressing her mouth firmly to Ivy’s before she could open it to speak. She brought her hands up to Ivy’s face, cupping her cheeks and prodding Ivy’s lips open with her tongue, moaning when they brushed.

/

You can’t trust her, Pamela.

She doesn’t actually care about you. She’s just lonely.

She’s using you.

Ivy lolled her head to the ceiling as Harley kissed a hungry line down her neck. Her mouth hot on Ivy’s skin.

She doesn’t care for you like you do her.

Ivy whimpered when Harley’s tongue was replaced with her teeth, scraping up the column of her throat.

50 years and you’re right back where you started.

Pressed up against a wall in a dark house.

A dirty little secret.

“God—fuck, Red, I missed ya so much.” Harley’s body pressed closer, hand pulling almost desperately on the two buttons straining to keep Ivy’s shirt closed.

Ivy supposed this was how she asked for permission.

She missed me…

She missed parts of you. These parts.

She didn’t miss you.

No one has ever missed you, Pamela.

The buttons were ripped open and Harley’s mouth was on her breast. Warm and wet, her tongue circling quickly around her nipple before she sucked.

When Ivy’s eyes snapped downwards she found Harley’s were closed in some sort of bliss, it seemed, her hand squeezing what she couldn’t reach with her mouth.

“You’re so perfect,” Harley whispered against her skin. “Fuck, I missed these things.”

Ivy’s head slammed back against the wall when Harley bit down gently with her teeth. Her hands worked quickly to pull Harley’s hair from her messy pigtails, hands fisting there as soon as she could, not allowing Harley to let go or pull back.

I want her.

She’ll break whatever heart you have left.

Harley pushed Ivy’s legs apart where she was pinned, knee moving to rub against her.

I want her.

Her knee pressed further, and Ivy moaned—low in her throat, the sound laced with desire—moving one leg to wrap around Harley’s waist. The blonde helped her the rest of the way, grabbing her ass and hoisting her up off the ground, mouth leaving Ivy’s breast in favor of a kiss.

With Ivy off the ground, she was pressed more intimately against Harley now, and rocked her hips in search of friction, Harley doing the same, hand kneading less than gently on her ass. Employing a sort of rough care, amplified by her desire.

She wants me.

Their tongues tangled sloppily as they rocked against each other, Harley’s hips bucking harder upwards with each thrust, now searching desperately for her own pleasure.

“Fuck, Pammy, I gotta have ya,” Harley begged between labored breaths.

Ivy pressed her face into the crook of Harley’s neck, dragging her lips upwards, tightening her thighs around Harley’s waist and her grip on the blonde’s back. “Then have me,” she husked when she’d made it to her ear.

She made sure her mouth lingered there for a moment, breath hot, before she moved down to suck at the sensitive skin just below.

“Fuck me, Harley.”

The blonde growled, a sound Ivy didn’t even know that squeaky voice of hers could make, and pulled Ivy away from the wall, maintaining her grip on her rear, Ivy’s thighs squeezing tighter than ever as Harley kissed her again, walking them towards the couch. She knocked into a chair first, but Ivy really didn’t care, not with Harley’s tongue in her mouth like that and her stomach muscles flexing below Ivy’s sex.

She laid her back on the soft pillows of the couch, and when Ivy refused to relinquish her grip, pressed down on top of her, finally able to achieve some meaningful contact when she ground herself against her.

Ivy’s breath hitched as their hips moved in unison, and she grabbed the back of the orange Arkham uniform Harley still wore, pulling it over the blonde’s head and tossing it aside, hands moving next to her bulky, standard issue bra.

Harley’s movements had turned frantic at this point, but it was all cursory. Too much fabric between them. Ivy wanted to feel her skin, feel Harley’s wet sex slide against her own. She wanted to see colors again. So she moved her foot down, as that’s all she could do at the moment, her hands preoccupied with Harley’s breasts, the blonde’s hips still between her legs, and tried to pull Harley’s pants down her thighs by getting her toe beneath the waistband. It took a couple of attempts, and Harley haphazardly reaching back to help shove them down, but soon Ivy had Harley’s pants down to her knees, and that was the best they could do at this position, which was something neither one of them wanted to relinquish.

“Red, how do I—,”

“Just pull,” Ivy breathed, biting her lip as Harley followed her instructions, pulling away the leaves that covered her.

They both moaned when first Harley’s fingers, and then her palm slid over Ivy’s swollen clit.

“Please,” Ivy whispered, gazing up at the blue eyes above her, watching as they darkened with lust.

Harley didn’t remove her gaze as she eased two fingers inside of her, but honestly, Ivy was so wet, she could have gone quicker.

Ivy’s back arched off the couch when those fingers curled, whimpering when Harley swooped down and ran her tongue up her neck, ending in a kiss just below her jaw.

Like with her hips, Harley moved quickly, her thrusts hard, fingers strong and filling.

“You feel so good, Red,” she panted against Ivy moist skin, the heel of her palm rubbing Ivy’s straining clit, and her own sex sliding in time with her fingers against Ivy’s bare thigh.

…and that was it. That was all it took.

Harley bit down on her neck when she felt Ivy’s wetness rush over her fingers, and sped up the rhythm of her own hips, releasing a high-pitched whimper with each thrust. Her fingers had stilled inside Ivy, only curling now, gently, milking the remainder of Ivy’s orgasm from her as she reached her own peak.

With a final spastic thrust, she collapsed over Ivy, the redhead holding her in a tight embrace as Harley’s hips twitched of their own accord.

Ivy was trying to control her breathing, blinking away the colors behind her eyes and the tears that were now gathering in them.

Pamela hadn’t thought anyone would want to be with her that way again. Want to make her feel good. To kiss her and hold her as their heartrates calmed down together. Lazily draped over each other, their legs tangled…

She’d had that once. Had…colors.

But she’d been living in a black and white world for a very long time.

Harley giggled against her once she finally caught her breath. “You’re pretty sensitive, huh?”

Ivy didn’t respond right away, just held her, sniffing quietly as she pressed a kiss to Harley’s temple.

“Thank you,” was all she could manage. “Thank you.”

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Chapter Text

Harley breathed in the smell of roses and lavender as she became conscious of the world around her. A cool breeze blew over her bare back from an open window, but she wasn’t cold. Arms were threaded under hers, wrapped around her back, a leg tangled all the way down to the ankle. Warm, smooth skin was melded to every inch of her, and she felt every sigh, shift and swallow of the woman beneath her.

Her eyelids fluttered open against Ivy’s neck, eyelashes tickling green skin.

“Red,” she giggled when Ivy held her tighter. “Red, are you awake?”

“Yes,” Ivy murmured beneath her, the light of early morning spilling across their naked bodies where they still lay on the couch.

Harley smiled as she kissed her neck. “Sorry, can ya breathe? Want me to get off?”

“I can breathe,” Ivy assured her, fingers trailing upwards to stroke through Harley’s hair.

Grinning, Harley shimmied upwards, propping herself up on her elbows above Ivy. She dipped down to kiss her quickly, moving from her lips to her cheeks to her forehead before popping back up just to look at her. “Mornin’, pretty lady.”

Ivy’s cheeks turned a darker shade of green.

Is she blushing? Because that’s like the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

“Good morning…”

Harley’s smile broadened. “So…last night was like…wow, like…amazing.”

“Yes, I—,” Ivy swallowed, dropping her gaze from Harley’s. “Thank you.”

The blonde giggled. “Ya don’t have ta thank me. I liked makin’ ya feel good.”

Slowly, Ivy raised her eyes again, shyly biting her lip as she reached up and tucked an errant strand of blonde hair behind Harley’s ear. “Really?”

“Yeah, Red,” Harley leaned down to kiss her again, long and slow, just wanting to feel her—taste her. “Really.” She felt Ivy’s arm again wrap around her, hand tangling in her hair, leg tightening as well like she wanted to keep her there. Right there. “You’re real pretty in the mornin’.” She giggled. “’Specially naked in the mornin’.”

But as she watched, Ivy’s eyes began to fill with tears, their green becoming glossy as she gazed up into Harley’s clear blue ones. Worried, Harley checked to make sure her elbow or her knee wasn’t digging into anywhere uncomfortable, just assuming she was hurting her. “Why are ya—Red, are you OK?”

Ivy nodded quickly, squeezing her eyes shut. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be here when I woke up.”

Harley’s smile was relieved. “After last night? Course I’m here. I was hungry for breakfast before I even fell asleep last night.”

“Oh.” Ivy’s eyes opened quickly, looking almost panicked. “Well I’m sure most of the food in the refrigerator is spoiled, I’ll need to go g….” she trailed off when Harley kissed her neck, starting with a peck, but ending with a swirling tongue and a loud suck. “Am I—I’m breakfast. I just realized I’m breakfast.”

Harley giggled, letting her hands trail down Ivy’s sides. “I gotta get my greens in one way or another, right?”

“Harley, you’ll glean no actual nutritional value from—,”

“Shhhhhh….” Harley placed a finger over her lips. “I’ll eat some kale for dinner or somethin’. Just lemme eat you first, alright?”

/

The Napoleon Diamond Necklace was on display, lent temporarily by the Smithsonian herself. And Selina was first in line to see it. Or…steal it rather. Because it was oh so ripe for the picking, sitting in its glass case in the center of a room full of security cameras, invisible tripwires, and guards.

But Selina had the dark of night on her side, and years of experience.

Too easy, she thought as she ducked behind a case of less expensive bits of jewelry, avoiding the flashlight of a guard. Lowering her goggles, she located the small dots of light scattered around the edges of the room that indicated the tripwires.

Skirting around the cases, Selina carefully picked her way through the room. Taking advantage of her long stride and flexibility to avoid the sensors while keeping out of sight of the cameras, whose positions she’d mapped from a quick peek into the security room.

She reached the case quickly enough, flexing her fingers, long claws glinting in the low light of the room. Latching onto the glass, she gave it a quick twist. It fell away easily beneath her fingertips.

Selina knew there was a risk that the inside of the case was wired as well. But she hadn’t had the time to disable every single security measure in the room without drawing attention. So…here she was, holding her breath as she reached for the diamond necklace. And…

Nothing.

Grinning to herself, Selina slipped the necklace into her bag and crept back the way she’d come, climbing into the air duct she’d left open and heading for the rooftop of the museum.

The cool night air hit her as she left the duct, tousling the loose strands of hair that had escaped her cowl. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out the necklace, holding it up to the moonlight for closer inspection. It was only a second too late that she heard the footsteps.

“Catwoman.”

“Batgirl,” Selina purred, lowering the necklace and turning to face the red head. “Come to play?”

“Give me the necklace,” Batgirl ordered, standing firm with her hands on her hips. Honestly, the pose struck Selina as a little comical.

She’s trying so hard…

“How did you know?”

“Silent alarms. You’re getting sloppy.”

 “You know, you really should start picking on someone your own size. You’re a little too big for those bat boots of yours right now.” Selina’s lips curved into a self-satisfied smile.

“Funny, I’d say dealing with the likes of you is a waste of my time.”

Selina bristled at that. Smug little—

“How many times are we going to do this, Catwoman? When does the game of cat and mouse end?”

Laughing, Selina said: “I’m the cat in any metaphor, Sweetheart. And It’s all fun and games until I catch you by the tail.”

Batgirl rolled her blue eyes visible through the slits in her cowl. “You know, Two Face is holding up a bank on the southside at this very moment, I could be dealing with a serious threat.”

“Instead the Bat stuck you with little ole me. Maybe he doesn’t think you can handle the big boys,” Selina mock pouted.

Batgirl took a challenging step forward, her hand moving to the batarang hanging off her belt. “That attitude isn’t going to get you out of this.”

“Are you sure?” Selina said, taking a step to match hers, throwing a sway into her hips. “I can be very…persuasive.”

Batgirl’s nose wrinkled. “God, you’re as bad as Ivy.”

Selina immediately straightened up with a loud scoff. “Please, that’s insulting. We’re nowhere near comparable.”

“She escaped Arkham again, you know,” Batgirl continued, ignoring Selina’s indignation. “With Quinn. They’re back on the streets.”

“Oh?” Selina tried to sound disinterested.

“That’s right. But so far they’re keeping their heads down. Avoiding trouble. Smart of them, don’t you think?”

Now it was Selina’s turn to narrow her eyes. “Boring of them, more like.”

“Last chance before I lose my patience, Catwoman. The necklace…”

“Fine,” Selina sighed, holding up the bag and allowing Batgirl to step forward and snatch it from her rather roughly. “It’s hardly worth the hassle of dealing with the big, bad Batgirl. But just for future reference, your boss usually gives me a kiss before and after the threatening. I like your boss.”

Batgirl snorted, shook her head and then pulled out her grappling gun. “Next time I won’t be as forgiving.”

“Promise?” Selina called after her as she swung away into the night, cape billowing behind her. Selina watched her go, waiting until she disappeared before pulling the necklace out of the back of her belt where she’d tucked it away.

“They’re so easy to fool when they’re young,” she mused, striding towards the edge of the building. “Suppose I should pay those two a visit….”

/

Harley stared up at the darkened ceiling of the bedroom, listening to the sigh of the wind rustling through the trees outside and the quiet breaths of Ivy who lay beside her, one arm slung over her waist—like always.

Two days into her stay with Ivy after escaping Arkham together and things were already falling back into place. Everything was comfortable again, the argument between them forgotten. There was no doubt in Harley’s mind the peace had everything to do with her confession, that she’d missed Ivy. And she had, she really had. But in the heat of the moment, it surprised Harley just how easily Ivy had given up her anger at hearing those words.

Harley’s mind had been spinning with these thoughts for the past hour and she was restless now, wide awake, bored…And there was little to nothing she could do in this house to avoid sleep other than watch television. And Ivy would kill her if she found her awake, camped in front of the television at—she checked the bedside clock—3 a.m.

Pushing a heavy sigh through her nose, Harley squirmed onto her side, her eyes falling on the pictures hung on the wall. It was hard to see them through the darkness but she’d memorized them by now, and the ones in the hallway as well. The portrait, the car…the poster.

Linda Ridge.

For all the months she’d known Ivy…close to a year now? She still had no idea who the mystery woman was. How she knew Iv—Pamela. And why Ivy kept her picture around in the first place. There were obvious dots Harley felt she could connect, but with Ivy, it was never smart to guess. They’d been in a relationship, that was pretty clear…Linda called her “love” in the note and they were kissing in that picture…but Harley was having a hard time figuring out where everything fit. The timeline was so weird.

Li…nda…Riii..dge.

She rolled the words around in her head, scuffling onto her back again and earning an irritated moan from Ivy.

“Harley….”

“Sorry,” Harley whispered. “I can’t sleep.”

The only response she got from Ivy was a muffled grunt. Heaving another sigh, Harley lay a hand on the one Ivy had resting against her stomach, and ran her fingers up and down soft green skin.

 “Red?”

“Hm…”

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Hm…” The second reply was even more dulled than the first. And Harley figured maybe now was the best time to ask about what might be a sensitive subject—when Ivy was half asleep and less prickly than usual.

“Who’s Linda?”

The silence in the room suddenly felt weighted. Ivy tensed against her, breath hitching. For a brief moment, her arm tightened around Harley’s middle and then she drew it away, rolling onto her side, away from Harley.

Panicking, Harley squirmed after her, stopping just short of touching Ivy and staring through the darkness at the back of her head.

“Red…?”

There was another drawn out silence, the only movement in the room that of Ivy’s shoulder rising and falling as she breathed. Finally, just when Harley had given up hope of a response—or a good night’s sleep—Ivy mumbled: “The only person who ever loved me.”

Oh… Harley didn’t need to see her face to feel the weight of the words press down on her.

“What happened to her?” Harley asked before she could stop herself. Curiosity killed the cat, as Selina loved to say, and Harley knew she was skating on thin ice here. If she pressed to hard, Ivy might skin her alive.

“She’s gone,” Ivy said, still turned away, voice slightly muffled. “Long dead.”

“Oh…I’m sorry.” That’s good, right? Neutral response.

“You shouldn’t be. She wasn’t.”

 “How did she die?”

That, Ivy didn’t respond to. Her shoulders hunched and she grew silent again

“Do ya…Do ya ever miss her?” A strange feeling wormed its way into Harley’s chest when she asked, as if she were…nervous, for Ivy’s answer.

“No.” This time Ivy’s voice was cold. “She’s nothing more than a memory. A ghost.”

More than anything, Harley had come to realize she hated seeing Ivy sad. She hated seeing Ivy angry, or annoyed, or irritable, or scolding, but...sad? It physically hurt Harley to see her droop like a dying flower. And Gotham killed Ivy. She’d seen it in their chase through the woods. It crushed her. This house crushed her. The memories crushed her. And hearing the sadness in her voice…Harley wanted desperately to fix it.

“Maybe...she wasn’t the only person to ever care about ya.” Ivy’s shoulders rose briefly and then fell. “Like your parents. Didn’t yer ma love ya?”

Ivy snorted at that. “No, Harley, she didn’t.”

“Well…Ya got me,” Harley offered as consolation, sliding her hand across the mattress until it rested on Ivy’s hip. “And ya got Kitty, and yer plants….And me.”

There was a soft chuckle, barely audible, but Harley heard it, and it brought a small smile to her lips.

“We should get outta here,” she said quietly, tracing her fingertips down Ivy’s bare back…

Ivy shifted, and then finally peered over her shoulder. “What?”

“Outta here. Outta Gotham. Take a vacation. Oh! A roadtrip!” Harley sat up in bed slightly, exciting herself with the idea.

Ivy turned fully onto her back now, her green eyes seeming to glow in the darkness. “A roadtrip?”

“Yeah! We’ll pack some suitcases, I’ll buy us an AUX chord—Actually, does that old car of yours even have a stereo?...Doesn’t matter! I’ll burn us some CDs. Or buy us a portable stereo. Music is key here, Red. Otherwise roadtrips suuuucck.”

“B…but, where are we going?” Ivy asked, her fingers clenching around the bedsheets almost nervously.

Harley bit her lip, pondering that. Ivy was half plant, she’d do well in sun, in the heat. The answer came to her not a second later. “Somewhere far away. Somewhere with sun. How does…California, sound?”

She lay back down on her side to let Ivy think about it, propping her cheek on one palm and sliding her other hand across Ivy’s chest, and around the back of her neck.

“You want to leave Gotham with me?” Ivy’s voice was small, quiet, filled with a disbelief that almost made Harley giggle.

“I do,” she said emphatically, kissing Ivy’s nose. “Kitty’ll probably be bummed if we leave her out, but she’s gonna ruin all the snugglin’ opportunities.”

To prove her point, Harley slid downwards, pressing a languid kiss to Ivy’s lips at the same time she slipped a leg between Ivy’s thighs.

“So whaddya say, Red?” she murmured against her lips, one thumb stroking her jaw. Ivy stared at her, green eyes flickering over her face, an odd sort of sadness in them. Finally, Harley felt a smile stretch her lips and she nodded, slipping one arm around Harley’s waist to pull her flush.

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

“Yesssss.”

Harley grinned and rocked her hips against Ivy’s, leaning into her thigh and earning a sharp gasp.

Now just relax, Red. Let me make ya feel good.

Pressing one last wet kiss to Ivy’s lips, Harley slid down her body, hands caressing every inch of green skin they could reach before she ducked under the covers and settled herself between Ivy’s thighs.

You ‘n me…

/

“This section needs watered twice daily,” Ivy instructed. “This one only once, but some verbal encouragement would be greatly appreciated.”

“I’m not talking to your—,”

“The garden is rigged with a sprinkler system, so all you need to do is ensure the power remains on. However, performing a once over for weeds is mandatory. There are gloves in the cabinet and a sunhat as well, depending on the weather. You’ll only need to weed once or twice while we’re gone, but it’s paramount that the task be performed thoroughly.”

“I can’t believe you guys are leaving me here,” Selina sulked, crossing her arms and slumping against the wall. “I like the beach too, you know. I look amazing in a bikini. Seriously, you assholes should see my abs.”

“Why would I want to see your abs when I can just see Harley’s?” Ivy asked with an impressive degree of sincerity.

“You can—you can see both!” Selina reasoned, exasperated. “It’s impossible to exceed the ab quota.”

“Yes, but your presence will prohibit me from seeing the rest of Harley any time I please, and I simply can’t have that.” Ivy headed out of the greenhouse, calling, “You understand.” Over her shoulder.

“Fuckin’ touch starved lesbians, I swear to God…” Selina muttered as she followed after her, slamming the greenhouse door shut behind them. “I think I could really enhance the experience! You into being watched? I already know you like being heard…”

Ivy stopped at the back door of the house, holding it open for her. “It’s not happening, Selina. Besides, who would water my plants?”

“I don’t know, kiss somebody, will them to do it,” Selina suggested.

The redhead scoffed, ushering her inside. “As if I’d trust just anyone with a responsibility of this magnitude.”

Selina smiled despite herself at that. No! Damn it, Selina, don’t let her win!

“My plants are my children,” Ivy continued. “The idea of leaving them without care is sickening. I simply wouldn’t be able to justify leaving, and I…Selina, I…”

“You need this,” Selina sighed. “Fine, whatever, go fuck your loud girlfriend on the beach, see if I care. I’m adopting all of your plants so they’ll be confused when you come back. How’s that for petty?”

“Exceptionally.”

“Good.”

“You ready to hit the road, Pammy?” Harley swung into view, grinning from ear to ear, dressed in jean shorts and a red and black plaid shirt she’d cut the sleeves off of.

“Wow, so we’re just really embracing it now, huh?” Selina almost laughed. “You headed to the salon for an undercut? Ivy gonna buy you a chain for your wallet?”

The redhead rolled her eyes, brushing past her and picking up the piece of paper she’d laid out on the counter. “All the information I just gave you on the tour is detailed here in precise language,” Ivy told her, handing Selina the paper. “If you have any questions, please refer to this, as there will be no way to contact us once we depart.”

Now it was Selina’s turn to roll her eyes as she snatched the paper away. “You need a cellphone, Pamela. This isn’t the 1960s, we don’t all meet for milkshakes at the drive-in theater and there aren’t payphones on every corner.”

“My life wasn’t Grease, Selina,” Ivy sneered.

“Sure it was,” Selina disagreed. “It still is. I’m Rizzo, you’re Sandy, and Harley’s Danny, obviously.”

“Hey!” Harley protested. “Why do I gotta be the guy, huh? What gives?”

“Go look in the mirror and then ask me that question again,” Selina deadpanned. As Harley scowled, Selina crossed over the table atop which sat the last of their bags. She plucked the GSU ballcap from the top of the pile and returned to hand it to Harley. “You have to wear this until you get out of the city. And put the top up on the convertible, Ivy’s hair is way too conspicuous. I’ll see you when you get back.”

Ivy opened her mouth to speak, but Selina continued before she could. “Your plants will be fine. Have fun. Get tan, get fucked…all good things.”

Harley put her hair up into a ponytail and pulled it through the hole in the hat, securing it there with a smile and skipping over to Selina to give her a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks, Kitty. Red needs a vacation.”

Selina sighed. “Yeah, I know she does.”

/

Ivy stood on the front porch looking up at her house. The house she’d bought and made feel like a home even in the inhospitable atmosphere of this godforsaken city.

She loved this house.

She loved having a home.

But in that moment, as Harley honked the horn to hurry her along, Ivy thought she might prefer to have this be her last look. Even knowing that her babies were inside. Just for that…that moment, she was filled with relief at the thought that she might never return.

With a slightly nervous smile, she turned towards the car, her chest expanding at the sight of Harley grinning at her from the passenger seat.

“Let’s get outta here,” Harley said, handing Ivy her sunglasses as she climbed into the driver’s side.

“Yes. Let’s.”

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Chapter Text

They hadn’t even been on the road for more than a few hours before Harley leaned back in her seat and groaned, “Reeed, can we pull over? I’m tired, and hungry and my back hurts.”

A little irritated that they hadn’t even made a dent in the distance they still had to travel—but more than willing to give her ears a break from the non-stop bass boosted music Harley insisted on playing—Ivy found somewhere to pull over.

They stopped at a quaint roadside restaurant with the words ‘Salt ‘N Pepper Diner’ displayed proudly on the front of the building. Ivy parked the convertible out front next to a beat up, rusted over truck, following Harley—who had leapt out of the car without even opening the door—a little more slowly.

They were met with a billow of icy air, a welcome contrast to the sweltering heat outside. Ivy scanned the room cautiously, searching for any curious pairs of eyes. But every patron seemed focused on their own business. A lucky thing too, since Harley had just torn her hat off her head and made a loud beeline for the corner of the room.

“Red! Lookie! They gotta real jukebox!” She waved Ivy over enthusiastically, pressing her nose against the glass as she flipped through the available albums. “Oh! 3 plays for a dollar. What should I pick?”

“I really don’t care, Harl,” Ivy replied, stuffing a few bills into Harley’s hand when she gestured for money. “Just pick something so we can eat, please?”

Not that there was anything Ivy was dying to partake in here. But at least taking a seat in a booth would take attention away from them. They still weren’t far outside of Gotham. And diners tended to draw men and women of the police variety.

“Okay, yeah, go get us somethin’, I’ll meetcha in a sec,” Harley waved her away, still flipping through the music.

Sighing, Ivy made her way to the counter, narrowing her eyes at the small menu made up of greasy meat products, fried foods, and fatty deserts. The only vegetable the place seemed to offer came in between a patty and a bun.

Deciding on an orange juice for herself, Ivy ordered Harley a burger and fries and then took a seat at a sticky booth in the far back corner, waiting for Harley to join her. And she did, with a mischievous, barely hidden, grin on her face.

“Didja get us somethin’ to eat?” Harley asked before Ivy could question the smirk.

“Your burger is on its way,” Ivy assured her, taking a sip of her orange juice.

“Ya didn’t get yourself anything?”

Ivy scoffed. “Do you honestly expect me to eat anything that comes out of a pit of boiling grease?”

“But arent’cha gonna get hungry?” Harley looked worried now.

“I’ll survive,” Ivy replied, her annoyance losing its edge when Harley looked at her like that. “What song did you choose?”

“Oh, you’re gonna love it,” Harley grinned, rubbing her hands together and leaning forward on the table as if she were going to share a secret. Ivy leaned in too, eyes sliding closed for a kiss when a familiar tune picked at her ears.

You don’t own me

I’m not just one of your many toys

You don’t own me

Don’t say I can’t go with other boys

“Wha—Why did you pick this?”

“Because I love this song! I—” Harley paused, her brow furrowing. “Wait this isn’t the right one.” She swiveled in her seat, glaring at the jukebox. “What gives?”

“It’s the right song, Harl,” Ivy sighed. “You Don’t Own Me, performed by Lesley Gore and released in 1964.”

“Um, no,” Harley argued, turning back around. “It’s by Grace featuring G-Eazy.”

Ivy’s nose wrinkled. “What is a G-Eazy?”

“This is the worst!” Harley groaned, ignoring her question. “Red! I did 21 plays!”

“You what?”

“I put in enough cash for 21 plays,” Harley sunk into her seat until her chin touched her chest. “I thought it would be funny.”

“You—21—Harley, we’re trying not to draw attention here!” Ivy hissed.

“No one has to know it was me,” Harley hissed back.

“You were the one to last touch the jukebox!”

“Oh, right…”

“We should get out of—” Ivy was cut off as a waitress arrived at the table, setting the burger and fries down in front of them.

“Anything else for you ladies?”

The two both quickly shook their heads.

“Enjoy.” The waitress said listlessly, slumping away.

Already forgetting the issue of the song, Harley grabbed a bottle of ketchup from the end of the table and turned it upside down, emptying its entire content onto her plate.

“Harley—”

“Wanna bite?” Harley asked, mouth full, holding out a ketchup laden French fry to Ivy’s mouth.

Ivy tried not to gag at the sight. “No…Thank you.”

Harley shrugged and then stuck the French fry in her own mouth, “Kay, yer loss.”

The jukebox was playing the second round of You Don’t Own Me at this point, although Ivy realized, because the song ended in a fade out, it would take more than a few plays for the other patrons to notice.

And with luck, they’d be well on their way by then.

“So whatcha think, Red?” Harley asked, swirling another fry around in her mountain of ketchup. “Havin’ a good time so far?”

“We haven’t even been out of Gotham for more than a few hours.”

“But it’s nice, right? It’s already clearer, the sun is brighter, things smell nicer. Less Batman.”

Ivy had to agree with that. “Yes, it’s…far more pleasant.”

“And what with the wind in your hair, the music floatin through the air, beautiful company…don’t tell me you ain’t enjoyin’ every second.” Harley winked and then ruined the appeal with a massive bite of her burger.

“I’m with you,” Ivy said, somewhat shyly. Just the two of us, away from that god forsaken city, under the open sky, where we can both bloom. “Of course I’m enjoying myself.”

“Aww,” Harley swallowed her burger and grinned widely. “Me too, Red. Anytime I’m with ya is an adventure.”

“Even when all we do is sit in front of the television and watch your cartoons?”

“Especially then!” Harley insisted and Ivy giggled. She actually giggled. The sound seemed to surprise Harley as much as it did Ivy, because her brows bounced upwards and then she snorted/giggled too. Ivy sat back in her seat, taking another sip of orange juice and smiling over the rim of her glass at Harley who was still giggling to herself as she dipped another few fries into her mountain of ketchup.

Glancing over her shoulder, Ivy noticed a few customers glancing at the jukebox over. The song was on its…fourth?...play by now, and clearly Ivy wasn’t the only one to notice.

Harley seemed oblivious, munching happily on her food, her eyes on a man behind Ivy who sat with his two children. A boy and girl, both bouncing around the booth while he sat staring down at his black coffee, his fists trembling, dark eyes flitting to the jukebox now and then.

A gleeful grin grew on Harley’s face as she caught on to the tense atmosphere, and she set the burger down, glancing conspiratorially at Ivy.

“If he’s annoyed now,” she whispered. “He ain’t gonna enjoy 17 more rounds of good ole Lesley.”

An unsolicited snort escaped Ivy, “He won’t be the only one.”

“Hey, I promised you a roadtrip, Red. A good one. An’ I’m gonna make sure you have a little fun for once in your life.”

“I have fun.”

“Tellin’ yer dumb plants stories all day does not count as fun.”

“They’re not dumb. And I’m not telling ‘stories’. It’s a delicate process—”

“God damn it!!”

They were interrupted as the man behind them slammed his fists down on the table as round five of the song began. Harley burst into a fit of cackles, drawing the attention of the rest of the patrons and the staff, who seemed to have caught on at this point.

“Harley…” Ivy warned, watching one of the patrons direct what looked like a manager their way.

“Oops,” Harley grinned. “Time to split.”

Grabbing Ivy’s bag, she pulled out a wad of bills and slammed it down on the table before taking Ivy’s hand and pulling her out of the booth.

“Can’t give ‘em a reason to tail us!” she explained as they bolted. And Ivy found herself laughing as they made it to the car, the manager shouting after them, the song still drifting through the air. She floored the gas pedal, turning up dust behind the wheels as they peeled back out onto the open road.

Harley had turned around in her seat, giving the diner a farewell salute. She plopped back down when Ivy pulled on her shirt and turned to face her with a wild grin.

“See, Red? That wa—”

Ignoring safety for the time being, Ivy tugged Harley in by her collar, kissing her fast and rough, leaving Harley dazed when she pulled away.

“Wow,” Harley breathed, watching Ivy settle back into her seat, a smug smile on those red lips. “What was that for?”

“For the fun.”

/

Girl how you shake it, got a playa like oh
It's a Kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna know is, sexy can I

“What on God’s green earth are we listening to?!” Ivy suddenly shouted, like it had just occurred to her how much she hated it.

Harley looked appalled. “Ray J! Red, he gave us the Kardashians! Have a little respect.” She began to sing along: “Sexy can I, hit it from the front / Then I hit it from the back / Know you like it like that…”

“No, I don’t, actually,” Ivy snapped. “And what are the Kardashians?”

Immediately, Harley’s hand shot out to shut off the radio, her jaw falling open, eyes widening. “R…Red…what…what even are you?”

“Someone who would like you to explain whatever this is to me quickly before I take away your radio privileges permanently,” Ivy informed her.

“OK,” Harley turned fully towards her in the seat like this was a very serious matter. “So O.J. Simpson, right?”

“Typical narcissistic, abusive, homicidal—,”

“Right. So he had this lawyer, and he was like really rich, so his kids were really rich, and one of them—Kim—made a sex tape with Ray J, and used that as a stepping stone to make her family like the most famous family in the US, with this giant reality TV show empire, and a bunch’a spin offs and what not. And now all anyone knows about Ray J is that he’s that guy that made a sex tape with Kim Kardashian,” Harley giggled.

Ivy narrowed her eyes as she drove. “I can’t…tell whether or not that’s empowering.”

“Yeah, me neither,” Harley cackled. “But, ooh! We should make a sex tape! Maybe they’ll give us a reality show!”

“Thank you, no,” Ivy immediately shut down that suggestion.

Harley pouted for a moment in the passenger seat before her expression turned mischievous, and she walked her hand slowly across the divide and onto Ivy’s thigh. “Well…fine…forget the tape, let’s just have sex. There, see? I can compromise.”

They’d left New Jersey around noon that day, and were now just past Cleveland, Ohio. Harley had demanded they stop at almost every gas station they saw for candy, meaning it was dark by this point, the deeply uninteresting Ohio landscape even more so under the cover of night. They’d passed a motel around 20 miles ago, and hadn’t seen a sign for lodging since…

“We’ll have to wait until we—,”

Harley was bouncing in her seat now, wiggling deeper into the cushy leather, before turning around to peer into the back. “How tall are ya, again?”

“5’7”…”

“Mmm…” Harley seemed to be calculating something in her head. “Yep!” she finally decided. “We can make it work.” And then she wrenched the wheel away from Ivy’s hands, pulling them rather unceremoniously over to the side of the road.

/

Harley moaned, fingers knotting in Ivy’s hair, back trying desperately to arch despite their limited space.

Ivy was making the most of it though, the strokes of her fingers still strong and confident. Only two fingers this time, but size didn’t really matter, right? Ivy’s tongue was working quickly, swirling and pressing, mouth sucking and letting go just before Harley could peak.

She wondered idly if Ivy’s jaw would ever get sore.

Didn’t seem like it.

Harley’s body shook when Ivy finally allowed her some relief, cumming with what was essentially a shout. One that made Ivy smile as she moved Harley’s panties back into place, straightening from her awkward crouched position and crawling languidly over Harley’s body, pressing slow, lazy kisses up her stomach and neck before she finally met her lips.

“Is that really how I taste?” Harley giggled, pulling back slightly, but not before running her tongue over Ivy’s lower lip.

“Wonderful,” Ivy murmured, thumb gently stroking Harley’s cheek. “You taste wonderful, my darling.”

Harley blushed, leaning forward to kiss her again, sitting up slightly so she could pull Ivy flush without making it uncomfortable on her own neck.

“We should get back on the road…” Ivy murmured against her chest.

“Nuh-uh,” Harley shook her head, letting her eyes slip closed. “No, not yet, let’s just…just for a little while…”

/

Ivy hadn’t let her eyes shut yet. How could she, with all the stars out like this…

There were no stars in Gotham.

The lights of the city and the pollution that hung heavy in the air swallowed them up.

There had been stars in Seattle, though. Granted, this was a long time ago, but Ivy vividly remembered stars.

Ivy nuzzled in deeper where her head was pillowed on Harley’s chest, rising and falling with Harley’s deep breathing. “Harl? Are you awake?”

The blonde didn’t answer.

“The other night…” Ivy continued, as that was the (non)response she was hoping for. “You asked me a question that I…didn’t have a very good answer for.” Her hands twisted in Harley’s shirt. “You asked me about my Linda, and I—I’d like to tell you about her, if you’re willing to listen. See…no one ever knew because no one was allowed to know. We had to pretend like our love was small, but it was…the magnitude of it, for me…it bloomed in my chest whenever I looked at her, every time she took my hand…when she kissed me…I loved her with everything that I was. I never wanted to leave her, just…wanted to be around her all the time.” Ivy swallowed. “But my Linda was never really mine. A woman doesn’t belong to anyone, nor should she, but when you’re with someone like that…when you share that much of yourself with a person…calling them ‘yours’ while they call you ‘theirs’ is like…handing them the key to your heart. And I handed mine to her the day I met her.”

She paused when Harley shifted subtly below her, waiting for her to settle again before she went on.

“But Linda had Alec. They wore rings on their fingers. They didn’t need keys. Their love wasn’t a secret. They were allowed to have it out in the open. To show it off. And Alec…he loved her like I did. I knew it, I just…I didn’t have the space to appreciate it. I was too busy falling for her to care.”

Ivy slipped her hand beneath Harley’s shirt to feel her warm skin. “She asked me to run away with her. Told me she didn’t want to marry him. That I was all she’d ever need. And she…” her voice got quiet. “She loved me. She told me that. And it was like…” Ivy took a deep breath. “Nothing mattered anymore. Nothing besides that, nothing besides her. That was it. She held my heart—my world, in the palm of her hand”

She waited as a jet passed overhead. “We were in a graduate program together—biochemistry…I was only 24, but set to graduate with her class in the spring. She was 26,” Ivy smiled softly. “We decided we’d leave after that. Start over as professionals. We wouldn’t be able to wear rings, but we thought we’d have a house and a garden.” Ivy’s thumb rubbed slow circles on Harley’s stomach. “We’d sit in her bed at night while Alec was at work and plan our future. Our house would be filled with pictures of our life, of her and I and what we couldn’t show the rest of the world…” Ivy trailed off for a moment as her fingertip ran lazy circles around Harley’s navel. “Linda, she…she liked to promise me things, like mornings. I always had to leave before dawn broke, as that’s when Alec would return, but she said that when our life was ours, she’d let me slip out of bed and cook breakfast…said she’d come up behind me and kiss my neck, wrap her arms around me and whisper her good morning into my ear…I, um…I really wanted mornings.”

Pamela wiped away the tears that were gathering in her eyes, chuckling sadly at herself. “But I never got mornings. And I never got our life. I never got anything. That was all taken from me. I shouldn’t have gone with him, Harley. I should have known better than to trust a man. He took me away, and by the time I fought my way back, she was…gone.” Ivy pursed her lips. “I buried them together, though. She and Alec. He was smart. It didn’t take him long to see me for what I was. He knew what I’d done. So I…took him there. Like he asked. He wanted to see what became of her. So I showed him.”

Ivy closed her eyes, listening to the steady thump, thump of Harley’s heart in her chest. “The only person who ever loved me, and the first life I ever took.”

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

Ivy woke with a start when something hit the metal door of her car. She was still laying on Harley’s chest, and so, unfortunately, when her head shot up, it connected with Harley’s chin.

“Ow…” Harley groaned, eyes scrunching in confused pain. “What gives, Red?” though her eyes opened too when the man next to their car cleared his throat rather aggressively.

“Excuse me.”

Ivy squinted into the morning light, looking the man up and down. He was about Harley’s age, it seemed—late 20s—wearing a pair of worn out jeans and a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt.

Gaia…was Ivy’s immediate thought. “Yes?” she prompted, in a tone that she hoped would communicate his need to evacuate the premises before she punched him in the face thanks to his wardrobe alone.

“Did ya’ll sleep here?”

Ya’ll? Where are we?

“Well we were sure tryin’ to.” Harley nearly pushed Ivy off of her as she sat up, eyes bleary. “Yer makin’ it sorta hard.”

“This here’s private property,” he informed them, puffing his chest out, laying a hand on his belt buckle in what Ivy recognized as a truly laughable power stance. “The highway ain’t just a motel. Can’t pull over wherever you like to do whatever you do.”

“Yeah, we’ll keep that in mind, thanks,” Harley spat, even less thrilled at being woken up prematurely than Ivy was, it seemed.

Ivy began to climb back into the front seat, buttoning her shirt as she went, aware that she needed to get some coffee or an energy drink in Harley ASAP. That’s when she noticed the gun strapped to the man’s hip.

“The two of you…” he was saying. “Out in the middle of nowhere…half dressed…sleepin’ on land that ain’t yours…I got half a mind to report you.”

“I recommend you listen to the other half,” Ivy advised, pulling out her keys and slipping them into the ignition. But as she did, he leaned on the side of the car, one hand falling to the gun and snapping open the holster. He didn’t pull it out, just rested it there, but the threat was rather blatant.

“I got’cher license plate number,” he told them. “But…I might be willing to forget it…for the right price.”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Listen, it’s early, you’re relatively young, I’m tired, my g—Harley is tired…so I’m going to give you the opportunity to request money rather than suggest one of us sucks your cock. Choose wisely, your life depends on it.”

“She’s bein’ literal,” Harley added, hopping into the passenger seat.

The man just laughed. “Hey, look, ya don’t gotta suck it if ya don’t want to. I’d prefer a fuck anyway.”

Ivy sighed, long and deep before turning to Harley. “Could you…?”

Before Ivy could even finish her request, Harley had pulled a gun out of their glove compartment, and as the man reached for his, a tree root shot up from the ground and snapped his holster shut.

“She gave you a chance, Buddy,” Harley lamented before pulling the trigger.

Ivy hit the gas, speeding away from the scene, kicking up dirt and gravel and leaving the stranger’s body to crumple to the ground.

“Geeze, Red. Murder before coffee?” Harley laughed, closing the gun back into the glove compartment.

“Men tend to inspire that…” Ivy muttered, hands clenching on the steering wheel as she hung a sharp right…this road looked different in the daytime…but she just needed to drive. To get away from there. Get somewhere. Didn’t matter what direction at the moment.

“Ya know…” Harley sunk back into her seat, eyes soft, watching the tightness of Ivy’s movements. “Not all men are like that.”

Ivy laughed, though there was little humor in the sound. “Harley, I have forgotten more about men than you can ever know. With all due respect, you are 27 years old and know very little about the world.”

Harley scoffed. “Yeah, OK, Red. Forgot how high and fucking mighty you are.”

“I’ve been told that’s a key component of my personality,” Ivy remarked, in what was nearly a joke.

“They don’t all wanna hurt’cha, Red. They’re people just like us…”

“I’m not ‘people’,” Ivy snapped. “And the moment I meet a man that proves they’re anything other than monsters or complete fucking imbeciles, I’ll owe you an apology.”

Harley sighed, looking out the windshield now. “K.”

“K? That seems rather—”

“K.”

/

“Where are we?”

“Um…..I-80?”

“That’s where we should be. But ever since we pulled off the road last night—”

“Yeah,” Harley said, squinting at the wrinkled map in her hands. “Probably shouldn’ta done that.”

“It was your idea!” Ivy’s fingers tightened on the steering wheel as she turned them left at the four-way stop they approached. Of course, at this point, she’d made so many different turns, they could be headed back to Gotham for all she knew. “If you hadn’t suggested we have sex right then and there—”

“Uhhhhh, didn’t hear ya complainin’!” Harley shot back, turning the map upside down and then right side up again. “This is stupid I can’t even find the road names on here! Why do people even use these? What good’re they if ya can’t even read ‘em?”

“Most people are comp—Most people can read them, Harl.”

Harley’s face pulled into a frown, “What’s that supposed ta mean? Wanna give it a try yourself?”

She shoved the paper in Ivy’s face.

Ivy batted it away. “I’m driving.”

“Pfft, excuses. We could just switch,” Harley groused, crossing her arms, wrinkling the map underneath them. “You never let me drive. Not even when we’re heisting together, what gives? Don’t trust me?”

“I—That’s not—That’s really not the issue we need to be talking about right now,” Ivy sighed, taking a right this time.

Harley grumbled, then balled the map in her hands and tossed it over her head. Ivy whipped around, watching the paper bounce away in the wind.

“Harley! We needed that!”

“No we didn’t,” Harley argued. “It was just getting’ us more lost. Find us a town or somethin’, Red. We’re gettin’ a real map.”

“A real map?”

“Sure, I’m gonna buy us some cell phones. We need a GPS.”

“Cell phones?” Ivy scoffed. “No. We don’t need cell phones.”

“We ain’t stuck in the 60’s anymore, Red! People use cell phones, it’s okay!”

“You expect me to pay for a pointless piece of technology proven to cause addiction and dissociation?”

“How else do ya want us to get to California?” Harley asked, throwing her hands in the air.

“We aren’t getting cell phones.”

/

“This is our newest model, the Samsung Galaxy S8,” the Saleswoman, who’s nametag read ‘Jenny’, said, holding the phone out to Harley, who took it almost greedily. “See the curve at the edge? That’s our Infinity Display. It gives a true full screen experience, and still fits comfortably in your hand. It also comes preinstalled with Bixby. Do you know about Bixby?”

“No!” Harley shook her head, listening with wide eyes as Jenny explained the mechanics of the cell phone. Ivy stood behind Harley, arms crossed, her brow furrowed.

Frustrated, bored, confused by all of the bits of technology that surrounded her, Ivy eventually wandered away, poking annoyedly at the screen of a smaller cell phone.

What makes these different from one another besides the amount of money they allow these salesmen to wring out of you? Stupid, artificial, empty pieces of—

“Hey, Red,” Harley interrupted. “What carrier do ya think we should get?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Well, Verizon’s pretty good. But Jenny here switched to Sprint.”

“They’re reliability is within 1% of Verizon,” Jenny added helpfully.

“And Sprint saves us almost 50% on Verizon, AT&T AND T-Mobile rates,” Harley explained, handing the phone to Ivy, who took it dumbly, glancing back and forth between the two.

“And if you go with Sprint,” Jenny continued. “You’ll be paying half the price of what you’d be paying for an unlimited plan for a family of four with Verizon.”

“Oooh, Red. We gotta go with Sprint.”

“We…Don’t have a family of four, Harl,” Ivy gritted.

Harley’s jaw dropped, her hands falling to her hips. “Red! How do ya think Eddie or Harvey would feel if they heard ya sayin’ things like that?”

“What?” Ivy gaped right back.

“If anyone could use a cell phone it’s Eddie, you know how bored he gets in his cell. Scribblin’ all over the walls.”

“And you suggest we feed his obsessive tendencies with Candy Crush?” Ivy asked, leaning on the only game she could remember Harley gushing about.

“Exactly,” Harley preened, ignoring the wide-eyed stare Jenny was giving both of them. “And Harvey could use some heavy filters. Oh! I bet he’d love Snapchat. He can replace that ugly old face of his with a puppy! Jen, can we show her the puppy filter?”

“Uhhh, um.”

“You’re right,” Harley waved her hands. “Later, later. We’ll take the phones Jen. Me, Pammy, Eddie and Harvey.”

“Husbands?” Jenny asked.

“…Sure!” Harley’s grin grew wider, a small snicker escaping her.

“Well, generally the plan only applies to an actual family, not four individuals.”

“Oh, we are,” Harley explained, slinging an arm over Jenny’s shoulder. “Open relationship, Jen. I know, I know. A little out of the ordinary, but you gotta respect the concept. So, whaddya say? Help a girl out?”

Harley was already pulling a wad of the cash they’d prepared for the road trip out of her pocket. Jenny looked nervously at the money, then Harley, then Ivy who was now holding the phone horizontally in front of her face, seemingly examining the charging port.

“Alright…”

“You the best, Jen.”

/

“Why do you think they call it Lake Erie?” Harley asked, holding her phone in both hands, squaring up a shot of the lake as the sun set behind it, casting an orange glow out onto the water.

“It was named for the Erie Tribe, who lived along the shore until they were conquered by the Iroquois in 1651,” Ivy replied, leaning against the hood of the car, watching as Harley finished her shot. She studied the screen for the moment and then bounded back over to Ivy, seemingly satisfied with the result.

“You know everythin’, don’tcha, Red?” she grinned, leaning against the hood as well and holding out her phone again. “Smile.” She pressed a wet kiss to Ivy’s cheek before Ivy really had a chance to truly smile and then brought the phone closer so that they could examine the picture together.

“Yer hair really catches the light,” Harley murmured, gazing at the picture and then turning to face Ivy again, tucking a lock of said hair behind her ear. “You’re so beautiful, Red.”

Ivy didn’t have trouble smiling now. She took the phone from Harley’s hand and set it on the hood, then slipped both hands around her waist and pulled her in for a kiss. Harley sighed against her lips, running her fingers through Ivy’s hair and then down to cup her cheeks.

“Not a bad detour,” Harley chuckled when they separated, foreheads resting against one another.

“No,” Ivy agreed, watching the light turn Harley’s eyes a bright sky blue. “Not at all.”

/

You have arrived at your destination.

“Thank you, Bixby. Welcome to National City, Red,” Harley said, swiping away the navigation screen and opening the camera on her phone to take a picture of the city skyline in the distance. Without looking away from the screen, she added: “You know, I hear Supergirl lives here.”

“That’s nice,” Ivy replied, uninterested and entirely against the presence of another caped crusader ruining her vacation with Harley.

“Wonder if I can get an autograph…”

Dusk was falling by the time they found an old motel to stay in for the night, both too exhausted from the trip to explore any more decent options. The check in process was quick—meaning the elderly woman at the front desk looked at them, took their cash and then tossed a key down on the desk.

Harley took it and led the way to their room, hoisting both her and Ivy’s bags because she insisted on ‘being a gentleman’. Although, she ended up giving both bags to Ivy when she found she wasn’t able to unlock the door while carrying them both beneath her armpits.

They stumbled into the tiny room together, taking in the peeling drywall, the old molded bathroom and single dusty twin sized bed in the middle of the room. Ivy closed the door behind them, finally allowing her skin to shift back to its natural green.

“Well that’s gonna make things interesting,” Harley observed, a sly grin growing on her face as she examined the tiny bed. “Wanna help me break it in?”

She bounded away before Ivy could even wrinkle her nose, leaping onto the bed and beginning to bounce, the springs screeching underneath her weight.

“Come on, Red!”

Sighing, dropping the bags by the bathroom door, Ivy crossed the room, standing at the bedside with her arms crossed.

“Harley!” she cried out, when the blonde grabbed her arms and tugged her halfway onto the bed. They tumbled together, Harley laughing loudly as she ended up squished beneath Ivy, their legs tangled together, Ivy’s elbows bracketed on either side of her head. Taking advantage of their position, Harley lifted her head, nuzzling her face into Ivy’s cleavage, licking a line from her breast to her collarbone.

“Don’t move,” she giggled, her voice muffled. Ivy didn’t listen, shifting until she was sitting up, straddling Harley. She opened her mouth to reprimand the blonde for her juvenile behavior, but Harley was already sitting up, her fingers clenching around Ivy’s hips as their lips met.

“Harley…” Ivy half growled half moaned as Harley’s tongue prodded her lips open. She draped her arms over the blonde’s shoulders, leaning into her, one hand sliding into her hair, fisting at the back of her head.

Harley whimpered, breaking away from the kiss long enough for Ivy to see lust darkening her blue eyes.

“Wanna get naked?” she asked breathlessly and Ivy chuckled.

“You were so tired in the car a moment ago.”

“Yeah well, havin’ yer tongue in my mouth and yer hips doin that thing they’re doin’…I’m wide awake now.”

A smile spread Ivy’s lips as she pressed them to Harley’s again. It widened when she felt the blonde tug at the hem of her shirt and she lifted her arms as Harley pulled it over her head, leaving her in her jeans and bra.

In a maneuver of athleticism and flexibility that was entirely Harley, she flipped their positions until Ivy lay on her back against the uncomfortable pillows, and Harley straddled her hips. She slid down Ivy’s body, pressing kisses against her neck and collar before flipping the cup of her bra down and kissing a slow line down her breast.

“I’m gonna make you feel so good,” Harley mumbled, straightening her legs and resting her whole weight on Ivy now, her warm, wet mouth closing around Ivy’s nipple. Ivy drew in a sharp breath, her eyes sliding shut as Harley began to suck gently, swirling her tongue and then closing her lips around the peak.

“So…good,” Harley murmured, her voice growing quieter and her ministrations even more gentle. She stopped all together after a moment and Ivy blinked her eyes open, looking down curiously at the blonde who was now lying face first on her breast.

“Harley?” she asked, stroking a hand through blonde hair. A quiet snore was her only reply. Chuckling to herself, Ivy gently lifted Harley’s chin, flipping her own bra cup back up and then shimmying until she could rest Harley’s head against her shoulder.

Turning off the lamp on their bedside table, Ivy pressed a tender kiss to Harley’s forehead and whispered: “Goodnight, Harl.”

Chapter Text

Ivy was aware Harley was growing impatient. Could hear her tapping feet and her annoyed sighs. Ivy let her gaze wander from her own reflection for a moment to watch Harley in the mirror, how she fidgeted behind her, drumming her hands on her thighs.

It would be any second now.

Harley had said ‘take your time, we ain’t in a rush’, but Harley’s words and actions didn’t always match up. Actually, they rarely did.

So, 3…2…1…

“OH MY GOD, RED! LET’S GO!” Harley exploded up from her seat on the edge of the motel’s lumpy mattress. “We’re goin’ on a walk, not ta prom!”

Ivy continued applying her mascara, deciding not to acknowledge her outburst other than to say, “Patience is a virtue, Darling.”

Harley threw her hands up in the air, exasperated. “Ugh! What’s the point anyway? Ya don’t need makeup ta be pretty. It’s too much! It ain’t fair!”

“No,” Ivy agreed. “But this complexion is a costume.” She indicated her paled skin. “It’s a packaged deal.”

Harley groaned, closing her eyes and massaging her temples. “Red, if ya put any more’a that on we’ll never leave this room.”

Ivy quirked an eyebrow at her in the mirror as she moved on to her lips. “Oh no?”

“That’s right,” Harley confirmed, standing up. “I’ll drag ya back to bed instead…kiss that off yer lips…better than watchin’ ya get hit on all day.”

Ivy leaned against the counter, watching Harley approach, feeling the blonde’s chest brush lightly against her. She remained silent as Harley trailed her hand down her arm, fingertips drawing soft circles until she wrapped her hand around Ivy’s wrist, just holding it, studying her back, it seemed…and then her shoulder…and her neck…

“Pammy…” Harley murmured, almost to herself. “Pammy, let’s go,” her voice took hold. “I wanna show you off.”

Ivy felt her lips twitch into a smile, and studied their image in the mirror. Harley behind her, hands holding her, pink lip held between her teeth, blonde hair bound in a sloppy bun, held up by her beach visor, t-shirt cut to show her sports bra.

She sighed affectionately when Harley playfully hooked her finger into the beltloop of Ivy’s jean shorts and tugged. She set down her lipstick, preparing to acquiesce, when she realized what a pretty picture this made. What a picturesque memory. One she wanted to keep.

“Wait,” she said, taking her cellphone from her back pocket and unlocking it with the pattern she’d programed.

Harley grinned when she saw it, snuggling closer to Ivy’s back, wrapping an arm around her waist and resting her chin on Ivy’s shoulder, smiling for the camera.

Ivy captured the moment with the click of a button and studied her screen for a moment afterwards, deciding whether or not she was happy with it.

With a final sigh, she locked her phone again, slipping it back into her pocket and nodding towards the door. “Let’s go.”

It was a warm Friday night in National City and evidently there was an art show down on the boardwalk. Ivy promised Harley they could play some carnival games if there were any in the general vicinity, and that’s how Poison Ivy convinced Harley Quinn to go to an art show.

Ivy wouldn’t actually describe herself as a connoisseur…not even a fan, really, but Selina often picked up flower-themed pieces for her that caught her eye, so she thought she could perhaps repay that kindness, purchase a cat painting if they came across one. Or some BDSM depiction, whichever they saw first.

“Yeesh, Gotham is such a dump,” Harley laughed as they walked shoulder-to-shoulder down the sidewalk, their hands brushing with each step.

Ivy’s palm itched, but they were in public. Handholding…it wouldn’t be appropriate. For some people, maybe, but not for she and Harley.

“You grew up here, right?” Harley was asking. “In California?”

“No. Seattle,” Ivy closed her palm. “Washington.”

“Oh.” Harley smiled at the couple that passed them. “Does it look like here?”

Ivy chuckled. “No. it’s infinitely more beautiful, but unbearably rainy. The only thing Seattle and National City have in common is that they’re both superior to Gotham in every way imaginable.” 

Harley frowned, her eyes on her sneakers. “Then why’d ya leave? If Seattle was so great, why’d ya come to Gotham?”

There were a lot of possible answers to that question. The truth required a long story, so Ivy decided on the abridged version. “I was looking for someone,” she said. “Someone I never found.”

“Never?”

“I found my calling instead,” Ivy told her. “My new purpose. Seattle didn’t need help like Gotham. Seattle isn’t nearly as cruel. I went to where the plants where calling out the loudest.” When Harley didn’t respond right away, Ivy asked, “Why did you stay put? Why didn’t you leave?”

The blonde shrugged, kicking at a pebble on the sidewalk. “I never knew any different. Guess I wasn’t lookin’ for an upgrade.”

They didn’t speak again until their feet hit wooden planks. That was when Harley squealed excitedly—startling Ivy rather severely—and pointed down the way to an ice cream cart. “Red! Look!”

“Ice cream?”

“Yes!” Harley grabbed her hand, dragging her down the dock at a pace that had Ivy nearly tripping with each step. “Two cones, please,” she ordered with a wide smile.

“Oh, no, I don’t—,”

“Two cones, please,” Harley repeated, cutting off Ivy’s interjection.

Ivy rolled her eyes, getting out her wallet and handing the man a $10 bill in exchange for the ice cream he was scooping. Strawberry was the only option. 

She…remembered liking strawberry. As a child. Only on the most special of occasions was she allowed a treat, and strawberry ice cream was always her first choice.

So, on second thought, maybe she appreciated Harley’s pushiness just this once.

Harley took the cones from him as he counted out their change, and Ivy reached for the one in her right hand, but Harley had snatched it away before she could get her fingers around it, licking a long line from the cone to the tip of the ice cream. She did the same with the one in her left hand when Ivy tried for that one, and stared oddly at Ivy’s outstretched hand as she did.

“Oh, did you want some?” she asked, licking the sweetness from her lips. “You should’a ordered one.”

Ivy dropped her hand to her side, muttering “no”, as she took back her change.

“Suit yaself,” Harley shrugged, alternating which cone she licked. “You wanna try mine? Just a taste?”

Ivy was in the process of shaking her head when Harley kissed her, softly…just a taste

Harley giggled against her when she felt Ivy’s face grow warm, and that’s when Ivy pulled back, blush unmistakable as she glanced nervously back over her shoulder at the ice cream man, relieved that his attention was elsewhere.

“Yummy?” Harley asked, pulling her focus back.

“Yes, um…yes,” Ivy cleared her throat, regaining her composure. “But you’re distracting us from the task at hand.”

“Alright, fine,” Harley acquiesced with a groan. “Let’s go do boring adult things like look at boring art.”

“How do you know it will be boring? You haven’t even seen it yet.”

“Because art is boring, Pammy. Plain and simple. Besides, I—hey!” Harley interrupted herself, pointing with her ice cream back up the street, the angle causing the two scoops to fall to the ground. “Oh my God, Red, we gotta go in.”

Ivy turned slowly, following Harley’s empty cone until her eyes landed on a storefront with a sign that read “Good Vibrations”. She was puzzled until she noticed the mannequin in the window wearing lingerie.

“No.” Ivy said immediately. “Absolutely not.”

“Yes,” Harley countered, taking one more lick of her ice cream before tossing it in the trash. “It’s happenin’, Babe. Nonnegotiable”

Ivy was so caught off guard by the term of endearment that they were halfway to the shop before she could protest. Harley was dragging her again, hand holding hers tightly as they weaved through the crowd which was obviously there for the art show rather than the sex shop.

…Ivy wanted to see the art show.

“Let’s get somethin’ fun!” Harley encouraged as she yanked the door open and they stepped into the air conditioning. “Somethin’ we can both play with, somethin’ like…” her eyes scanned the interior of the shop until they landed on the far wall. “Like that!”

Ivy’s heart picked up speed in her chest, she was finding it difficult to breathe all of a sudden. “No, I—Harley, I don’t—I don’t like that.”

Harley bounced excitedly in front of the wall of strap-ons, ignoring Ivy’s protests as she took in the inventory.

“Harley,” Ivy’s tone was firmer this time, and she squeezed her hand to try to get her attention. “Harley, I don’t like—,”

“Hi there!” a saleswoman approached them, and Ivy was moving into all-out panic mode. “Are you experienced with this equipment, or is it your first time?”

“First time,” Harley grinned. “We’re lookin’ ta spice things up.”

Ivy dropped her hand, putting space between them…which the saleswoman obviously thought was odd, because she studied Ivy curiously for a moment before her eyes wandered back to Harley.

“Well, then this is a special occasion,” she answered with a kind smile. “Here’s a helpful way to think about it: an inch in diameter is two fingers inside of you, an inch and a half is three…”

“Got anything of the four finger variety?” Harley giggled, nudging Ivy playfully with her shoulder.

Ivy’s face was so hot she was actually concerned poison was seeping through. “Harley, please, we’re in public…” she couldn’t even look the saleswoman in the eye.

And that’s when something seemed to click for the woman. “Oh! No, honey, you’re fine.” She rested her hand on Ivy’s shoulder. “We love the lesbians here. You guys keep us in business. Really. There’s no need to be shy. My job is to help improve your sex life. So…what did you have in mind? Here’s our most realistic selection, if that’s your thing…”

Ivy finally raised her eyes, but said “No!” rather suddenly—and loudly—when she found the woman was indicating a shelf of plastic penises that were molded to include veins and foreskin.

“Yeah, no, booooo,” Harley agreed, giving them a thumbs down. “Got anything rainbow? Or—ooh! Green! Pammy, let’s get green.”

“Green it is,” the saleswoman got on her tiptoes to retrieve the smooth, green option standing horribly erect on a high shelf.

“Yes, but must it be so…umm…” Ivy was having a difficult time looking away from it. She wants me to put that inside of her? That entire thing? “Harley, doesn’t that seem rather large?” she asked. “What about—here, what about this one?” she picked up the small black one sitting immediately in front of them, thinking it was a safe option.

“Oh, that’s a buttplug,” the saleswoman told them, and rather nonchalantly. “Many of our patrons enjoy the sensation of double penetration, so—“

“No thank you,” Ivy cut her off, quickly setting the buttplug back down and wiping her hands on her tank top.

“It’s fine, Red,” Harley assured her. “This is a…what? A three finger?”

“Yes,” the saleswoman confirmed.

“See? Amateur hour.” Harley leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. “Are the harnesses one size fits all?”

“Our standard model will fit both of you,” the saleswoman told them, grabbing a matching green harness and handing it to Ivy. “You can tighten or loosen it using these straps for the hips and this buckle for the waist. This one is designed to position the dildo right over the wearer’s clitoris, so you can both be stimulated. And as far as the dildo itself, all it requires for sterilization is a quick spin in the dishwasher, then you’re free to share.”

“Share?”

“Yay!” Harley clapped. “OK! We’ll take it!”

The blonde didn’t stop grinning the entire time the saleswoman was ringing them up, and she squealed when she finally had the bag in her hand, grabbing Ivy by the shoulders and pulling her into a happy kiss, one leg kicking up behind her

“You two are adorable,” the woman told them, handing a blushing Ivy her receipt.

“Thank you,” Ivy mumbled, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear, her chest filling up and a small smile growing on her lips. “We appreciate your assistance.”

Then Harley was dragging her out of the store as quickly as they’d entered, and Ivy found herself back on the boardwalk, surrounded by people. Harley kept hold of her hand, the bag swinging unabashedly in her other one. But…not one person looked at them with any malice in her eyes. No disgust…

Ivy honestly wasn’t sure what to make of it. Of any of this, especially the fact that Harley seemed to be bypassing the art show all together and leading her back in the direction of their hotel.

“—I saw a nicer one down there,” Harley was evidently mid-sentence. “We gotta upgrade before we can test this thing out. Disrespectful otherwise. Fuck, Red, I can’t wait! You’re gonna look so hot with th—,”

“Harley.” Ivy stopped suddenly, yanking her backwards so that she could look her in the eye.

“Ow! Hey! What gives?”

“Harley,” Ivy repeated, her tone stern, bordering on angry, even. “I am not interested in being your stand in for a man. In playing into some repulsive heterosexual fantasy of yours. I am a woman, one who finds…one who isn’t…enamored by the male anatomy in any way, shape, or form. When I ma—when I have sex with you,” she quickly changed her wording. “It is as a woman who is attracted to you because you are a woman, and because you are attracted to me for the same reason. Do you understand me?”

It was a moment before Harley attempted to respond. A long moment. But, eventually, Harley reached up to cup Ivy’s face, the bag still dangling from her hand, and with all the sincerity a human could possess, said: “I’m glad’ja don’t have a dick, Pammy. And I promise ya I’ve got no interest in heterosexuality right now. Now, come on. Let’s move into a better hotel so you can fuck me proper.”

She pecked her quickly on the nose before pulling back, dropping her hands and taking Ivy’s again.

Harley packed their bags in record-setting time, throwing Ivy’s makeup rather unceremoniously into her toiletry bag and slamming the door shut behind them, lugging both suitcases to the car and throwing them into the back.

Ivy didn’t have much to say at that point. She’d never…she’d perfected the skills she thought were necessary in bed. This was…what if she was bad at it? What if she left Harley unsatisfied? What if Harley closed her eyes and pictured it was Joker penetrating her instead?

…She’d really just wanted to see an art show.

Maybe watch the fireworks they lit off the dock?

Kiss Harley sweetly below the covers until they fell asleep?

Was that honestly so much to ask?

Perhaps she’d picked the wrong…

Girlfriend.

Perhaps she’d picked the wrong girlfriend for a quiet night on the coast.

The hotel clerk was checking for room availabilities as these thoughts swirled within Ivy’s head. Harley seemed not to notice Ivy’s extended pensive silence, because she was chatting away animatedly with him.

“—it’s my fault,” Ivy noted that she’d dropped her accent. “We had a big wedding planned for June, but just couldn’t wait that long. So, we eloped, which was just…so fantastic, the beach is absolutely breathtaking, isn’t that right, honey?”

Ivy was starring dumbly at her, and was therefore far too preoccupied to respond with anything other than a mute nod.

“Anyway, I know it’s a rather last minute to request the honeymoon suite, but my Pammy deserves to be treated like a queen and I feel absolutely awful for overlooking the necessary reservation. It was my idea to elope, anyway. I told her I’d take care of all the details, and here I am, shoving everything to the very last minute—again. I really don’t know how she puts up with me. The only explanation I can think of is that she’s a living saint, which—I mean—look at her, of course she is.”

The clerk smiled as he studied his screen. “I can give you the honeymoon suite for two nights, then I’ll have to bump you down to a regular room for the remainder of your stay.”

“My hero!” Harley exclaimed. “Two days is perfect. You’re a life saver.”

Butterflies took flight in Ivy’s stomach when Harley turned to look at her, all white teeth and bright blue eyes.

Harley offered her arm. “Shall we, Mrs. Quinsly?”

Ivy’s body launched forward seemingly of its own accord then, kissing Harley fiercely, not caring that the clerk was watching them. That the other guests in the lobby likely were too. She just wanted to kiss her.

And here, she could.

/

Ivy stared down at the plastic jutting out from between her legs. The instrument felt foreign…obviously. The straps too tight around her hips.

But Harley wanted this. She’d said so explicitly. And her excitement had been…obvious, to say the least.

With a deep, centering breath, Ivy stepped out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. Harley lay in the center of the enormous bed, already naked, flipping idly through her phone. Her eyes flitted to Ivy, widening considerably when she saw the toy.

Setting her phone aside, Harley propped herself up on her elbows, grinning salaciously as Ivy sauntered towards the bed.

“Yer lookin’ real good there, Red,” she encouraged as Ivy crawled across the mattress until she hovered over her. “Real, real good.”

Ivy paused then, allowing her eyes to roam the lithe body below her, starting from the curve of her hips and ending on the blue of her eyes, darkened with lust. Dipping low, Ivy pressed slow kisses to Harley’s stomach, trailing upwards at a torturous pace. Harley’s hands fisted in her hair, a low moan escaping when Ivy took one of her breasts into her mouth and sucked.

“That’s…good, Red,” she groaned, as Ivy’s tongue swirled around her nipple, replaced by her teeth a moment later.

Ivy had determined that regardless of the method, this was the best way to start.

Releasing Harley’s breast, she continued upwards, peppering Harley’s heated skin with more languorous kisses, until she reached her lips where Harley moaned, and grabbed her face, kissing Ivy hungrily—tongue begging for entry against her lips.

Ivy smiled against her, parting her lips. Pulsing her hips slightly, she felt a jolt of need course through her body when Harley whimpered as the toy brushed against her sex.

Impatient, Harley thrust her hips, seeking friction, but Ivy rose up onto her hands and knees, denying her.

“Red…” she whined as Ivy broke the kiss as well, kissing her forehead instead and stroking an errant strand of hair behind her ear. She trailed her fingers down Harley’s cheek, her neck, her chest—tweaking a nipple as she went—her belly, finally sliding her fingers through Harley’s folds. She was already wet, her chest heaving as Ivy began to rub slow circles around her clit, and then sliding them back down to her slit and rubbing there, never entering her.

Harley groaned, her head falling back against the pillows, exposing the line of her neck to Ivy, who took advantage, sucking on the soft skin, followed by gentle bites. Harley squirmed beneath her, trying to pull their bodies closer, pulsing her hips to meet the stroke of Ivy’s fingers.

“Gonna…play with me all day?” she choked out as Ivy gentled her touch, fingers rubbing feather light against Harley’s clit.

Ivy said nothing, smiling instead and rolling her hips against Harley’s once more, slowly, allowing the length of the toy to stroke Harley’s growing arousal. Growling, Harley reached between then, gripping the plastic and tugging pulling Ivy’s hips down until the toy teased her entrance.

“C’mon, Red,” she whimpered, hands sliding around to grip Ivy’s ass and squeeze. “Don’t ya wanna rev up your Harley?”

Ivy paused for a moment, taking in the slight smile on Harley’s swollen lips, the way her eyes roamed Ivy’s face…an unexpected softness contrasting the obvious excitement. Yes, she wanted this. More than her fear, she wanted this. She wanted Harley. She wanted Harley happy.

“That’s pretty cheesy, Harl…” she teased.

But a sudden thought struck her, and she sat back on her heels, leaving Harley whining.

“Reeeed, what gives?”

“We don’t…Harley, we—” How to put this delicately. “I don’t want to hurt you and we have nothing to lubricate this…instrument.”

Ivy was confident she was wet enough, but the toy’s material still worried her.

Harley rolled her eyes, sitting up and then crawling forward until she was laying on her belly. “First of all, it’s called a strap-on, Red. Ya don’t have to be scared of the word. Second, we don’t need any lube. Lemme help ya out there.”

Grasping the toy with one hand, Harley took the tip into her mouth, beginning to bob her head up and down, taking the length deeper. She twisted the toy with one hand, running it up and down, pressing the base into Ivy’s clit over and over again. Ivy’s eyes slid closed, threading her fingers into Harley’s hair following the bob of her head as she sucked and swirled her tongue around the toy.

After another few moments, Harley pulled away, the toy leaving her mouth with a wet pop. “There,” she said, satisfied. “Now we shouldn’t have a problem.”

She scrambled onto her back again, spreading her legs and tugging on Ivy’s arms to pull her down until she was hovering over her again.

“Are you ready?” she murmured.

“So ready,” Harley nodded, a broad grin spreading her lips.

Stroking Harley’s face with one hand, her touch gentle, reverent, Ivy positioned the toy at Harley’s entrance, pushing into her slowly, watching the blonde’s eyelids flutter shut in ecstasy.

“God…” Harley gasped, as Ivy buried the length of the toy inside her, stilling for a moment, letting them both adjust, before pulling back and thrusting again. Harley’s moan was immediate, a high-pitched whimper in her ear as Ivy buried her face in Harley’s neck and began to thrust in earnest, her hips rolling into the blonde’s.

Panting against Harley’s sweat slick skin, heart slamming against her ribs, Ivy groaned into Harley’s neck, hands clenching the sheets beside her head. The base of the instrument rubbed against Ivy as she thrust, hitting her in just the right spot.

“F-fuck, Red,” Harley stuttered when Ivy pushed herself onto her hands and knees again, keeping her thrusts measured, controlling Harley’s pleasure. From this position, she could retract the toy nearly to the tip with each thrust. She watched Harley’s eyes roll back into her head, her lips parting as she moaned again, holding tight to Ivy’s biceps. It was…arousing to watch, to say the least. And Ivy found herself slowly approaching the edge right along with Harley.

Suddenly, Harley angled her hips, rocking them in time with Ivy’s thrusts, like she wanted Ivy to go harder…deeper. Taking her cue, Ivy gripped Harley’s ankles, pushing them back towards her shoulders until Harley’s knees were pressed against her chest with Ivy’s weight.

The cry Harley emitted, the amount of pure ecstasy laced in her gasp, had Ivy quickly losing control. She kept her grip, rocking more quickly into Harley now, pressing her forehead against the blonde’s, her eyes locking on the darkened blue ones beneath her. The air between them was heated, their breath mingling as they panted together.

“Fuck, you’re amaz-zing, Red…God…H-harder, don’t…don’t stop.”

Ivy groaned again, the sound of Harley’s pleasure filling her ears, coursing through her veins, filling her with an affection and a lust she couldn’t contain.

“Red,” Harley breathed, a brazen smile spreading her lips. “Red, I-I-‘m—”

She didn’t have time to continue before her entire body tensed, back arching off the bed, her hands scrabbling for purchase on Ivy’s arms. Ivy gentled her thrusts as Harley came in a series of high pitched whimpers, her fingers clenching and unclenching around Ivy’s biceps.

Ivy stilled as Harley came down from her high, her legs falling away from Ivy’s shoulders. Shifting onto her knees, Ivy paused when Harley bucked her hips meaningfully.

“Your turn,” she panted, pushing her hips into Ivy’s again. Before she knew what had happened, Harley had reversed their positions, pressing Ivy back against the headboard, until she was resting against the wood, half sitting up. Ivy gripped Harley’s hips tightly, easing her down onto the strap-on again, watching her head fall back as she began to move up and down. Ivy met her halfway, thrusting up into her, using her grip on Harley’s waist to deepen them, burying herself in Harley with each movement.

Gripping Ivy’s shoulders, Harley slowed the rhythm of her hips, grinding them in a slow circle instead, rubbing the base of the toy against Ivy’s now swollen clit.

“Har---Harley,” Ivy gasped, a flood of heat and electricity flying through her body as Harley continued to press the toy into her. She gasped when Harley began bouncing again, the weight of her body rubbing the toy precisely where she needed it. Ivy picked up speed as well, eagerly chasing her own climax, burying her face in Harley’s chest. Harley was gasping and groaning with her now, her arms coming up to wrap around Ivy’s shoulders, hands fisting in her hair.

“Harley…” she sighed again, squeezing Harley’s hips and then her rear. Harley yelped with pleasure, sitting down hard and shuddering as she came for a second time. Lifting Ivy’s chin, she kissed her fervently, sliding her tongue into Ivy’s mouth and moaning softly. That sound, combined with a few more rapid thrusts, and Ivy came in a shuddering cry.

The room was silent save for the sound of labored breathing as the two recovered. Ivy sat with her eyes closed, forehead touching Harley’s, arms still wrapped loosely around her waist. She opened them slowly, meeting bright blue ones.

“See?” Harley panted, running her fingers through Ivy’s hair. “You liked it. A strap-on natural…and even though ya don’t wanna talk about guys, I know a few of em that could use a lesson from ya.”

Ivy smiled, kissing her softly and rolling them both onto the mattress, gently withdrawing and prompting a whole-body shiver from Harley.

Quickly undoing the straps, Ivy tossed the toy aside, deciding to clean it up later, and wrapped Harley in her arms, kissing her forehead and pulling the mussed sheets up around them both. Harley yawned widely, snuggling deeper into Ivy’s chest, kissing her collarbone.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” Ivy asked, idly stroking her hair.

“For experimentin’,” Harley giggled. “Ya didn’t seem too eager back at the store. But…That was amazin’. Let’s uh…keep that thing close by, yeah?”

Ivy chuckled, squeezing Harley to her and searching for her lips. Harley met her halfway, hand rising to cup her cheek as they exchanged languid kisses.

“Hungry?” Harley asked when they parted. “I could definitely use somethin’ to eat…Oh! Room service!”

Harley rolled over before Ivy could answer, reaching for the phone on the bedside table, her other arm still pinned beneath Ivy’s body, keeping her from actually touching it. She grunted as she stretched and wiggled her fingers, tongue poking between her lips determinedly.

Ivy smirked watching her, finally shifting to allow Harley’s arm free. Snatching up the phone, Harley also grabbed the menu conveniently placed within the drawer and began chattering of an obscenely long list of dishes that, one, Ivy knew would eat up a significant amount of their budget, and two, Harley would never be able to finish.

That didn’t seem to bother the blonde, though, as she sprung out of Ivy’s arms, naked as the day she was born, when there was a knock on the door.

“Harley! clothes!” Ivy called and Harley skidded to a stop, glancing down at herself as if she had no idea how she’d gotten naked in the first place. Giggling, she grabbed one of the complimentary robes from the bathroom and cinched the belt around her waist as she opened the door, leaving just enough time for Ivy to pale her skin.

The same rush of embarrassment Ivy had felt on the board walk and then “Good Vibrations” rushed through her again, when the room service waiter pushed the cart inside. His eyes flitted to Ivy, still sitting in bed with the covers pulled up to her chest, and then to Harley who was excitedly examining the food, and lastly to the strap on that was still lying beside the bed. His full body blush seemed…an appropriate reaction.

He excused himself with a stutter, leaving Harley cackling as she closed the door behind him.

“I think we just made his day,” she teased, grabbing a donut from the large pile of pastries and wandering over to the mini bar in the corner of the room. “Wanna drink, Red?”

“You do know how expensive those are, don’t you?” Ivy asked, too late, as Harley pulled a bottle of wine out of the fridge.

“We’re on vacation!” was her justification, opening the bottle and taking an ungraceful swig. “Live a little.”

She bounced to the side of the bed, holding out the bottle of wine for Ivy, who eyed it warily before taking a sip herself, deciding not to tell Harley there was no possibility of her becoming intoxicated. A discussion about her physiology wouldn’t exactly fit the mood.

“Atta girl.”

Climbing out of bed, Ivy donned the second robe and joined Harley at the food cart, picking more slowly at a croissant than Harley, who was somehow already on her third donut.

“You may want to slow down, Harl,” Ivy murmured, watching in near awe as Harley shoved the entire thing in her mouth. “You have all night to eat.”

“Yeah, well, I worked up a big appetite,” she replied with a wink and a full mouth. Another sip of wine quickly turned into half a bottle, the other half of which was more slowly taken by Ivy, until both of them sat at the end of the bed giggling at one another. Harley because she was toeing the line between buzzed and drunk, and Pam because Harley’s giggle made her giggle.

“Ya got nice sex hair, Pammy,” Harley said, carding her fingers through the frizzed ends of her hair.

“So do you,” Pam snorted, pointing to the crazed tangle on top of Harley’s head.

“An’ proud of it!” Harley’s nose wrinkled when a tiny hiccup escaped her, and then she was on her feet, pulling Pam with her. “Dance with me!”

“What—Harley? We—,” Pam stopped to giggle. “We don’t have any music.”

“Don’ need it,” Harley replied, taking Pam’s hand and setting it on her waist, gripping her other hand tightly and leading her around in an exaggerated version of the Tango. “I got the rhythm in my soul.”

Pam giggled again as Harley turned her in a circle and then brought their bodies together.

“Oh! Red, teach me how ya used to dance. Back when you were…” Harley trailed off searching for the right word. “A nerd.”

Ivy snorted. “I wasn’t a nerd.”

“You were a big nerd. Glasses, science, freckles. The works. I seen ya, Red. I seen the pictures, ya can’t tell me you weren’t.”

Ivy’s mouth fell open and then closed again as the words she wanted to use to defend herself vanished. Harley burst into giggles at her expression and Pam followed suit, taking Harley’s hands in hers and guiding her to the center of the room.

“Alright, I’ll teach you a dance from my ‘nerd years’,” she said, gesturing for Harley to take a step away.

“Yes! What is it?”

“The Swing.”

Harley’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Oh!”

“The key is to follow my lead, alright?” Pam intoned, squeezing Harley’s hands to make sure she was listening. Harley nodded enthusiastically and Pam tried a first step—the blonde stumbled over herself immediately, laughing loudly when she nearly took Ivy out with her.

“Follow, Harl,” Ivy tried again, leading her in another few sloppy steps. Harley’s smile faded and she frowned in concentration, eyes on their feet as Ivy led them around the room.

“You can look at me,” Pam chuckled, and Harley did…tripping again once she looked away from her toes and giggled when she nearly dove face first into Pam’s chest.

“The Swing is fun!” she laughed, taking the lead away from Pam and pulling her in a wide circle around the room.

“This isn’t the Swing,” Pam insisted, attempting to right the both of them when Harley tripped yet again. “This is more or less The Stumble.”

Harley’s mouth fell open and she stopped moving all together. “Pammy…Ya made a joke!”

A broad grin spread Pam’s lips. “I suppose I did.”

Harley beamed just before launching herself at Pam, taking them both off their feet, and onto the safety of the bed. A flood of warmth filled Pam’s chest as Harley peppered her face and neck with kisses. She felt light, fuzzy, high off of…well, certainly not the alcohol. But even so, she was filled with a happiness she hadn’t felt in a long time.

In this moment, she felt more free than she had in decades. Alone with the only person she cared for more than her babies. Happy with her. Showered in her affection.

“Harley,” Pam’s giggle put a pause in Harley’s barrage of kisses. She propped herself up on her elbows and gazed down at her with eyes that sparkled in the lamplight. Ivy stared right back, lifting one hand and drawing it slowly down her soft cheek, smiling when Harley’s eyes fluttered shut and she leaned into her touch.

“I love you,” Ivy finally whispered. Harley’s eyes slid open and she turned her face, kissing Ivy’s palm. She didn’t say anything though. Instead, she simply hummed and pressed a kiss to Ivy’s lip, hands sliding up to cup her cheeks.

Eventually, they snuggled under the sheets together, Pam’s forehead resting against Harley’s, eyes roaming the blonde’s face as she fell asleep. As soon as she was out, Pam quickly kissed her nose and turned off the bedside lamp, plunging the room into darkness.

 

 

Chapter Text

Ivy twirled the phone’s cord around her finger where she sat in front of their room’s big picture window, the one that overlooked the bay.

“Banana. Actually…banana and chocolate chip, if you can manage it. …Yes…” she chuckled at the woman’s reply. “My wife has quite the sweet tooth.” She lowered her voice when Harley shifted in her sleep back on the bed. “What do you have for fresh fruit? …That sounds wonderful, thank you. …Yes, that’s fine. Just charge it to the room.”

Ivy hung up with a satisfied sigh, eyes drifting away from the bay and back to Harley…a view Ivy found just as magnificent. Her hair was messy, from sex and sleep, but her expression was peaceful, her breathing deep, her features bathed in the light of early morning.

Silently, Ivy stood up from her chair, sneaking over to the bedside table for her cellphone and taking a picture before Harley could shift again. Satisfied, Ivy leaned over and kissed her softly on the cheek, keeping her lips there for longer than she’d anticipated. She just…loved the feeling of Harley’s skin beneath her.

She just loved Harley.

Ivy was in the process of changing out of her robe and into actual clothing when a soft knock came at the door. Finishing with her final two buttons, Ivy made her way over, stealing one more look at Harley before reaching for the door handle…and then panicking because she realized she had yet to pale her skin. She fixed that as quickly as she could, then finally opened the door to find the same waiter from last night standing with a cart outside. He seemed to be blushing preemptively.

Raising a finger to her lips, Ivy beckoned him inside, opening the door wider so that he could push the cart through. His eyes fell on Harley, but he quickly looked away, silently asking Ivy if she wanted the food on the table.

Ivy nodded, and he did just that, the two sharing a smile before he dragged the cart back out and shutting the door quietly behind him.

The redhead peaked at each plate, making sure they’d gotten their order correct, and was adjusting the singular daisy the waiter had brought in when she heard the bed shift behind her again.

Harley groaned quietly, and Ivy could hear her push the blankets away as she got to her feet. Hear her step across the soft carpet.

Ivy was just about to turn and greet her when she felt Harley’s arms wrap around her from behind. Felt Harley’s lips on her neck, her warm breasts pressed snugly to her back.

“Good morning…” Harley murmured, her breath tickling Ivy’s ear.

Ivy’s breath hitched, warmth flooding through her suddenly, heart fluttering in her chest.

Harley made no move to pull away, so as soon as Ivy found her bearings, she placed her hands on Harley’s arms, pulling them tighter around her. There were tears in her eyes before she knew what was happening, and Harley was pressing a kiss to her neck, arms still holding her firmly.

“Ya ordered food?”

“Mhm.” Ivy nodded, hoping Harley didn’t hear her sniff.

“Just lemme brush my teeth, alright? Then I’ll come back n’ give ya a real kiss.”

I love you… “OK.” Ivy allowed Harley to retract her arms, wiping her eyes quickly as Harley headed for the bathroom.

Glancing at her reflection in the window, Ivy made sure all evidence of her emotion was gone, and then straightened her hair.

Harley emerged from the bathroom with a yawn and a grin. “Mornin’, wifey,” she teased, leaning across the table for a kiss before sitting down.

Ivy held her there longer than she expected, it seemed, deepening the kiss perhaps more than was appropriate for the morning setting.

Harley giggled at her own moan, and then pulled back, sitting down opposite her. “You got me pancakes?”

“Yes…” the redhead smiled down at her plate of fresh strawberries.

“Banana and chocolate chip? We must be on vacation.” Harley winked. “I’m takin’ ya swimmin’ today,” she stated before Ivy could respond.

“Swimming?” Ivy was incredulous. “Harley, the high today is only 73 degrees.”

“A scorcher,” Harley giggled. “We can’t come ta the beach and not swim, Red. It’d be a waste of a trip.”

Ivy vehemently disagreed with that statement.

“Live a little, Red,” Harley urged, her mouth full of pancake. “I promise I’ll make it worth yer while.”

/

“And could you please tell me what’s stopping you from wearing one of these to the beach?” Ivy asked, holding up a pair of brightly colored swimsuits in both hands.

Harley rolled her eyes as if the answer should be obvious. “Because, Red. The colors are all wrong, the patterns are ridiculous!” Ivy couldn’t deny that one, she realized, lowering the leopard print one back into Harley’s suitcase. “I gotta find somethin’ to help me blend in.”

“I’m fairly certain this one would do the job,” Ivy insisted, raising the modestly cut pink one.

Harley stuck out her tongue and gave her a thumbs down. “It’s a one piece, Red. Do you know how dumb I’d look on the beach in a one piece?”

“Well, I—,” Ivy didn’t have a chance to defend Harley’s appearance, or her own swimsuit, before Harley barreled on.

“No use arguin’ about this. We’re goin’ shoppin’ and that’s that,” Harley asserted, taking the pink swimsuit out of Ivy’s hands and tossing it over her shoulder. “C’mon!”

She practically pulled Ivy out the door, down the boardwalk, and into a nearby clothing store that specialized in beach wear. Only then did she let go of Ivy’s hand, making a beeline for a row of string bikinis, while Ivy found herself wandering towards a rack of sunglasses. She’d neglected to buy a pair since they’d arrived and the day was only going to get hotter and brighter.

“Red, come on, some see,” Harley urged, tugging Ivy away from the sunglasses just as she’d plucked a large white pair off the rack, and leading her over to the fitting rooms.

“You gotta tell me whatcha like,” the blonde grinned, hauling her picks into a fitting room and leaving Ivy to take a nervous seat on the edge of a small bench. A young man with sandy colored hair glanced over at Ivy, and she noticed a Coach purse beside him. He gave her a tight-lipped nod and then turned his attention back to one of the other fitting rooms.

Harley burst out of the room then, startling both of them, wearing a small white bikini that did little to cover any of her body.

“What do ya think?” she asked, planting a hand on her hip, her lips twitching into a sly grin. Ivy’s mouth had gone dry, so she had difficulty responding for a good moment or two.

“It’s a l-little…small, don’t you think?”

Harley looked down at herself as if she’d just noticed. “Hm. Small?” She twisted around to look at herself in the mirror, the muscles in her stomach twitching and setting butterflies loose in Ivy’s.

“Smaaaall?” She dragged the word out this time, bending to each side, watching the strings stretch tight around her ribcage. Then she caught a glance of Ivy’s expression in the mirror and giggled. “Okay, you win this round, Isley.”

She exited back into the fitting room with a dramatic bow that showed off more of her cleavage than Ivy was comfortable with, considering the man beside her. But he quickly looked down at his toes when Ivy shot him a sideways glance.

After a beat of silence, she cleared her throat. “She can be a little exuberant.”

The man looked surprised Ivy had spoken, he blinked at her with wide eyes. “Oh! Yeah, no big. She’s fine…I mean good, not fine. Like she is. But not like that kind of fine. I—,”

His jaw snapped shut and he quickly zeroed in on his toes again. Ivy couldn’t help the smile that spread her lips.

Harley reemerged a moment later, wearing a deep blue bikini, this one more modest than the last, but it sat too low on her hips.

“This one?” she asked, her eyes following Ivy’s as they drifted below her belly button.

“It’s…Nice,” Ivy replied, eyes flitting back up to Harley’s face that was lit with another smile.

“You like?”

“I do.” Can you pick one please…?

“Me too. Kinda pricey though.”

“That’s not a problem.” And come and kiss me?

“Sold!” Harley clapped her hands together. “Man, you sure are easy to shop with, Red.”

She bounded over, placing her palms on Ivy’s thighs and leaning into them to kiss her with a loud hum. Ivy didn’t have time to close her eyes before the kiss was over and Harley was bouncing back into the fitting room.

Fighting the furious blush that rose in her cheeks, Ivy chanced a glance at the man next to her, but he was distracted by a young woman with short brown hair showing off her simple red one piece. The look on his face was beyond dreamy, Ivy thought. Almost dumb, he could practically be drooling. And then the thought struck Ivy that she had probably been wearing the exact same expression a moment before. And…that made her grin.

When Harley came out of the dressing room again, this time in her street clothes—the bikini in hand—Ivy tugged on the belt loop of her shorts, pulling her into a kiss that lasted much longer than the first.

Harley giggled when she pulled away, stroking her cheek with her free hand. “What was that for?”

Ivy shrugged and smiled and picked up the sunglasses she’d chosen from the bench, leading the way to the counter to pay.

Harley snagged a large sunhat just before they left, placing it rather inelegantly on top of Ivy’s head to protect her now pale complexion from the sun. The air was cool, a gentle breeze toying with the ends of their hair as they made their way down to the relatively empty beach. There were a few couples lounging nearby, a group of boys playing volleyball, girls chatting underneath a large beach umbrella.

The whole thing felt so wonderfully…domestic, to Ivy. It was soothing, and for a moment it made her forget that she was one of the two most wanted criminals in Gotham City. Instead, after so many years, she felt like Pa—

“Over here, Red!” Harley drew her out of her thoughts, waving her over to a spot near the edge of the beach, underneath a leafy palm tree. She was laying out their beach towels by the time Ivy joined her.

Harley plopped down, digging into the large bag they’d brought and slathering herself with suntan lotion, offering to help Ivy next, quickly rubbing the lotion onto her shoulders, and then bolting out into the water. Ivy watched her from underneath the tree, leaning back on her palms, enjoying the breeze and the smell of the salt that hung heavy in the air. Harley splashed around on the edge of the waves for a while, jumping over the smaller ones and digging for shells every now and again.

She brought a few back to the towels, laying them in a row and then planting her hands on her hips and staring down at Ivy with a disdainful expression.

“Yer not seriously just gonna sit there, are ya?” she huffed, pursing her lips.

Ivy chuckled, blinking up at Harley over the rim of her sunglasses. “Who’s stopping me?”

Snorting, Harley said: “I’ll give ya one more chance before I force ya into the water myself.”

“You and what—Harley!” Before Ivy had a chance to finish her sentence, she was being hoisted into the air, and slung over Harley’s shoulder. The blonde lifted her with ease, one arm tight around Ivy’s waist as she trudged back towards the water.

“Yer enjoyin’ the beach one way or another, Red. And I ain’t playin’ in the water alone all day.”

“H-harley,” she stuttered as Harley’s shoulder pressed uncomfortably into her stomach. “Put me down.”

“Oh I will,” Harley assured her, patting her rear playfully with her free hand. “Almost there.”

Pam saw the water beneath them a second before Harley was tossing her into the waves. Her landing would have been a lot harder had she not been dunked so deep. She broke the surface of the water, spluttering and gasping for air. A frown twisted her features when she saw Harley holding her stomach she was laughing so hard.

“You should see your face,” she snorted, her giggles returning when Ivy stood, sopping wet, and began trudging back to shore.

“Not at all amusing, Harley.”

“Aww come on,” Harley tried, attempting to grab the hand that Ivy tugged away and following her as she made her way back to the beach towels, the sand collecting between her toes. “Plants love water!”

“That’s salt water.”

“…So?”

Rolling her eyes, Ivy plopped angrily down onto the towels, using Harley’s to dry off her wet hair. Harley kicked at the sand, pouting and glancing back at the waves. Clearly torn between going out alone and finding her way into Ivy’s good graces again. Finally, she sighed and dropped onto her knees in front of Ivy.

“I’m sorry,” she said, crawling forward until she lay on her stomach between Ivy’s legs, her chin resting in her palms. “I just wanted ya to have fun.”

“And your idea of fun is dunking me, without warning, into the ocean? The frigid ocean, I might add,” Ivy scoffed, trying to ignore the way Harley’s big blue eyes were making her stomach flutter.

“Well, yeah!” Harley said, wiggling forward and pressing a quick kiss to Ivy’s belly. “I’m just tryin’ to pull you outta your shell, Red.”

She grinned wildly at her own joke as Ivy groaned and knocked the edge of her visor down.

“Hey! Hands off the hat!”

“It’s what you get,” Ivy teased, doing it again just after Harley had readjusted it. Harley scrambled up, rocking back on her heels, her face pulled into an irritable frown.

“If yer not gonna play, can we at least snuggle?” she asked.

Softening immediately, Ivy nodded and opened her arms, allowing Harley to squirm into her lap, back pressed against her chest. Ivy closed her arms around Harley’s tight middle, resting her chin on her shoulder, where she felt the muscles flex beneath her soft skin. She turned her nose into Harley’s hair that smelled like sun and salt water, and breathed deeply. Harley giggled quietly to herself, placing her own arms around Ivy’s and leaning against her, her eyes trained on the blue, blue ocean in front of them.

“It’s really nice here,” she murmured after a while. “Like, nicer than I coulda ever imagined.”

Ivy hummed in response, kissing Harley’s neck softly. “It’s perfect.”

She began rubbing Harley’s belly gently, her hand moving in slow circles, fingernails dragging lightly across the skin. Harley sighed and tipped her head back, allowing Ivy to trail a line of wet kisses down her neck. In spite of the people around them, Pam grew bolder.

One hand slid upwards, cupping Harley’s breast, while the other wandered lower, past the low lip of her bikini, confident that the shade would obscure them. Harley pulsed her hips once, rising to meet Ivy’s fingers when suddenly a loud “Heads up!!” interrupted them.

They didn’t even have time to untangle themselves before a volleyball landed right in front of them, tossing up sand that clung to their lotion covered legs.

“Sorry,” a boy said, grabbing the ball quickly and running off, casting one more glance at the two of them over his shoulder.

“Gross,” Harley wrinkled her nose at the sand covering her legs. “Come on, Red. Let’s go wash this off.”

She adjusted her bikini bottoms and hopped to her feet, pulling Ivy to hers and leading her towards the water again.They wandered back to the beach towel after cleaning off the wet sand and Harley flopped onto her back immediately, grinning up at Ivy until she sat down beside her. Curling onto her side, Harley snuggled against Ivy’s thigh, sighing contentedly and stroking the smooth skin with the pads of her fingers. Ivy watched her as she fell asleep, carding her fingers through blonde hair to soothe her even further.

She listened to the crash of the waves against the shore, and the squawks of the seagulls up above, the shouts of other beach goers, as Harley slept. It had been a long, long time since she’d felt so at peace with everything…With herself.

Nearly two hours passed before Harley woke, blinking blearily and then rolling onto her back with a loud yawn.

“How long was I out?” she mumbled, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.

“Not long,” Ivy replied, running her hand up and down Harley’s back as she slowly came back to full consciousness.

“Sorry,” she said, bracing herself on Ivy’s thigh before rising to her feet. “I’m wasting beach day! Come on, Red, let’s take a walk.”

She pulled Ivy to her feet then snatched up her cell phone. “For the scenery,” she explained when Ivy gave her a questioning look. They walked slowly along the shore, pausing every now and again for Harley to take a picture of a shell or a rock formation or the horizon.

Finally, she turned to Ivy, holding the phone up to capture her. “Say hi to Kitty, Pammy.”

Pam smiled nervously at the camera, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear and pulling the cover up she wore more tightly around her.

“Perfect!” Harley squeaked, as she examined the picture. She paused suddenly, her thumbs flying over the keyboard and then she hurried quickly over to Ivy again, giggling to herself like she’d just told a very funny joke.

“Wanna head back soon?” she asked, hand sliding into Ivy’s, fingers tangling. “I need a shower.” Her eyes flashed suddenly and she pressed a lingering kiss to Ivy’s cheek. “Wanna join me?”

“Will we fit?” Ivy asked, the concept lost on her.

Harley snorted. “Not the point, Red.”

Tugging on Ivy’s hand, she led her back to the beach towels and the bag. Collecting their things, they slowly made their way back to the hotel, where Harley immediately stripped off her bikini, heading into the bathroom completely naked—throwing a ‘come and get me’ look at Ivy over her shoulder.

Mouth dry, Ivy followed Harley into the bathroom, slowly removing her own swimsuit as she went. She heard the slap of the water against the shower tile before she saw Harley, who had one hand stuck in the spray to test the temperature.

“Like it hot, Red?” she winked.

Ivy didn’t reply with more than a smirk, stepping out of her swimsuit and crossing the bathroom in two swift strides. She took Harley’s hips in her hands and pushed her back into the spray, pressing forward until Harley’s back touched the still cold tile.

She gasped, her back arching, eyes flashing as they met Ivy’s. Grabbing Ivy’s face between both hands, Harley molded their mouths together in a fierce kiss, ignoring the water that plastered their hair to their cheeks and filled the air around them with steam.

Ivy slipped her leg between Harley’s leaning into the blonde until her thigh rubbed against Harley’s center. Harley moaned quietly, dragging her hands down Ivy’s face, and neck, to her breasts, where she gave a not so gentle squeeze.

Moving away from Harley’s mouth, Ivy let her lips wander to the blonde’s neck, sucking and licking the sensitive skin below her ear.

“Fuck…Red,” Harley sighed, hips pulsing against Ivy’s thigh.

Ivy chuckled in response and the sound appeared to be too much for Harley, because she suddenly pushed on Ivy’s shoulders and swiveled, attempting to pin her against the wall…and nearly taking them both out in the process. Ivy barely caught her as her foot slid on the wet tile, her head just missing the wall.

They blinked at each other once Harley had righted herself, panting heavily, both with arousal and adrenaline.

“Are you alright?” Ivy breathed, hand cupping Harley’s head where she’d nearly bruised it.

“Yeah,” Harley released a nervous chuckle. “Sorry…Got a little…er…excited.”

She giggled again when Ivy kissed her nose affectionately. “I think it would be best if we continue this somewhere safer.”

“Aww, don’t wanna get all wet with me?” Harley teased.

Rolling her eyes, Ivy reached for the body wash bottle behind Harley’s shoulder where it sat on the shower rack. They couldn’t exactly have sex comfortably, or safely, here, but a little more…stimulation wouldn’t hurt either of them, Ivy decided as she grabbed the loofa.

“Oh, that’s not fair,” Harley groaned as Ivy turned her around, nipping at the skin of her neck at the same time she ran the soapy loofa down Harley’s belly.

“We can stop if you like,” Ivy murmured, stilling.

Harley grabbed her arm, moving the loofa again, this time down her thigh. “Oh no you don’t. You started this, you finish it.”

“Then hold still...”

/

 

Harley giggled, pressing record on her phone before jokingly flicking the plastic tip of the strap-on she’d cinched around her waist. She'd had to adjust the hip straps, as Ivy was a bit more well-endowed in that area...in every area...or at least everywhere it counted. But true to the saleswoman’s word, the harness was able to accommodate and fit Harley just as snugly.

 

Harley stopped the video after a playful thrust and exaggerated grunt, attaching it to a text message addressed to Selina with the caption, “new toy ;) wanna play?”

 

Selina’s response came immediately...in all capitals.

 

Kitty: FUCK. YOU.

 

The blonde snickered as she typed.

 

not tonight. it's red’s turn.

 

The chat showed Selina was typing four separate times before she finally sent a message.

 

Kitty: new phone who dis

 

With an audible laugh, Harley locked her phone and plugged it into the charger, leaving it on the bathroom counter before quietly opening the door and slipping out into the main room.

 

Ivy was standing with her back to Harley, remaking the bed because evidently the maid hadn't properly executed her corners. Or, not to Ivy's standards, at least. She was dressed in a loose t-shirt and a pair of Harley’s sweatpants as she’d neglected to bring any pants of her own besides two pairs of jeans, a jumpsuit and some slacks, none of which were comfortable enough for a night in after a day at the beach.

 

Her hair was still wet from the shower, and...yeah, Harley was pretty sure this proved her earlier assertion that Poison Ivy could wear a burlap sack and still be drool-worthy.

 

She knew Ivy was big into foreplay, but Harley sorta just wanted to get to the main event. She'd been thinking about it—this—basically nonstop that day, especially after seeing Ivy in her swimsuit, hearing her little sighs, her wanton moans in the shower, feeling her fingers tease her on the beach…

 

The fact that Ivy seemed to like having sex with her...liked her body…Craved it...Harley honestly couldn't believe it. It was just so...ridiculous. The most notorious sex pot in Gotham City was dressed in Harley’s sweatpants. With wet hair from the shower they took together. Waiting for Harley to finish what she started.

 

Of course, Ivy was a much different animal than what 99.9% of people assumed. But nevermind that. Harley couldn't wait to show Ivy what she could do. Utilize those abs Ivy seemed to like so much…

 

Mistah J wouldn't even look at her when they had sex, and at first, Harley had assumed it was because she was ugly. Or because he thought she was. Her body too...masculine, maybe. Maybe Mistah J liked scrawny girls. But Red...Red loved her muscles. Liked to trace her fingers over them, between them, place slow, sweet kisses up her belly…give her shoulder rubs and squeeze her ass whenever Harley was in anything more revealing than a sweatshirt.

 

So...Harley decided maybe it was OK Mistah J didn't like looking at her. They didn't need that. He showed his love in other ways, and she got more than enough eye-contact from Ivy, anyway.

 

Harley crept up behind her, careful not to make a sound for fear of ruining the surprise, and grabbed Ivy's ass as a greeting, biting her lip to hold in a laugh at how the redhead stiffened. In one smooth motion, Harley then moved her hands around to grip Ivy's hips, pulling her backwards until she was sure Ivy could feel the strap-on pressed intimately against her.

 

But instead of melting into her embrace like usual, Ivy spun around, her eyes wide and...terrified? In her panic, Ivy's gaze flew immediately to the dildo jutting out proudly from between Harley’s legs.

 

“Red?” Harley questioned, her brow furrowed in confusion as Ivy tried to get a handle on her breathing. “Sorry, did’ja...not want me wearin’ it? The lady in the store said we could share if we washed it.”

 

Ivy's nostrils flared as she finally raised her eyes to meet Harley’s, seeming to bypass her body altogether, despite the fact that she was completely naked aside from the harness.

 

“Don't ever do that again,” Ivy forced out, her voice hoarse. “You can't—not from behind. Not without warning.”

 

“Oh, OK.” saying Harley was embarrassed would be an understatement. “Sorry, Red, we can try a different position if ya—,”

 

“No,” Ivy's tone was firm, although her eyes were shut tightly now, like she was trying to erase Harley’s image from her mind. “No, take that silly thing off. Now.”

 

Harley was beet red by this point, reminded suddenly of all those times with Mistah J and the nightie. She wanted to run and hide, wishing clothes would just magically appear on her body so she wouldn't feel so exposed.

 

“Sorry,” Harley repeated, turning back to the bathroom quickly, tail between her legs.

 

She looked down at her feet first once she closed the door behind her, hugging herself tightly around her middle. Slowly, she raised her eyes, braving a look at her reflection. She'd told Ivy she looked really good wearing this thing...why did she look silly?

 

Harley didn't think she looked silly...at least she hadn't until a minute ago when Ivy told her she did.

 

Letting her gaze fall again, Harley undid the straps of the harness, setting it down on the counter next to her phone and quickly pulling on the sports bra and joggers she'd abandoned earlier.

 

Ivy was silent when Harley re-emerged from the bathroom, eyes downcast as she awkwardly skirted the room and sat down at the table by the window. Ivy was sitting on the bed now, staring blankly ahead, hands resting on her thighs. Gripping her thighs, Harley noticed.

 

“At the, um, beach, and in the—uh—shower, it seemed like you...wanted me,” Harley’s voice sounded small in the big room. “Sorry, I get it, I—you don't have to—we don't...sorry.”

 

Ivy blinked, bringing her eyes back into focus before looking up at Harley. “I do want you,” she said. “There's nothing I love more than being intimate with you. Nothing I crave the way I do you. No being on this planet I'd rather touch—,”

 

I just can't touch you, right?” Harley interrupted, her embarrassment having soured into annoyance.

 

“Harley…” Ivy sounded almost hurt by that. “I love it when you touch me. If I had my way, I'd live forever in that moment just before the crest. With your fingers or tongue against me, watching as you lose yourself in your own pleasure...it’s disgraceful, really, how desperately I want you, regardless of setting or circumstance. Every part of you…”

 

“Well I want you too, Pammy!” Harley stood up, throwing her arms out in exasperation. “I want’cha so bad I got all wet just puttin’ that thing on! So what's the problem here?!”

 

OK...so maybe the beach and the shower teasing had left her a tad frustrated.

 

Ivy opened her mouth to say something, but ended up just shaking her head instead, focus moving to some obscure spot on the comforter. She fidgeted slightly, reaching out a hand to toy with the edge of the sheet for a moment.

 

When she spoke, her voice was quieter than before. “Can you just hold me?”

 

Now it was Harley’s turn to open her mouth and not say anything. 10 minutes ago, there was no way she would have even entertained the idea of settling for just a cuddle, but damn it! Why'd she have to be so cute about it??

 

Harley sighed, but immediately felt bad about that when Ivy blushed a darker shade of green, obviously at the vulnerability required to make a request like that.

 

“Of course I will,” Harley said. “You wanna—now?”

 

Ivy nodded silently, pulling back the blankets and climbing into bed.

 

Harley waited until the redhead was settled to strip her pants off and climb in after her, saddling up behind her and threading one of her legs through Ivy's.

 

Ivy reached back, searching blindly for Harley’s arm and then pulling it snugly around her, just as she'd done that morning.

 

“I'm sorry,” Ivy murmured after a moment of silence.

 

Harley snuggled closer, inhaling the smell of roses and lavender that was always present in Ivy's hair, on her skin… “S’ok,” she mumbled. “Don't see what’cha got to be sorry for.”

 

“...I love you,” Ivy ventured, the hope in her voice unmistakable.

 

Harley pressed a silent kiss to the back of her neck before rolling to shut off the light. “Night, Red.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Ivy never fell asleep first, like…never. Harley liked the feeling of Ivy’s eyes on her as she drifted off, it was like someone was watching over her. Someone powerful. Someone who could protect her.

…but that night was different.

It had taken a while, but eventually, Harley had felt her fully relax into her embrace, heard her breathing change…and now Harley was all alone in the waking world.

She literally had no idea what went wrong that night, like…Ivy was being so cute? And they’d had such a blast? And Ivy had come about this close to finger-banging her on the beach? So…like…huh?

The mood had changed so quickly, almost instantaneously when Harley touched her with the dildo. But that was hot, right? If Ivy had done that to Harley, Harley was sure she would have spontaneously orgasmed, even while taking into account her history with Mistah J taking her from behind less-than-gently.

“Don’t ever do that again,” Ivy’s voice had been hoarse. “You can’t—not from behind. Not without warning.”

Harley frowned, tightening her arms around Ivy for a moment, nuzzling deeper into her mane of red hair and forcing her eyes shut, trying to will herself to sleep.

…but it wasn’t working.

It seemed like a trauma response to me.

Fuck off, Harleen.

You read her file. You know exactly what the issue is. Maybe if you decided to think with your brain for a change, rather than your clit...

Uuuugggghhhh!!!

After simply listening to Ivy’s rhythmic breathing for a while, feeling her lungs expand and contract below her fingers, Harley let a sigh slip through her lips. “He really hurt’cha, huh, Red?”

In the morning, Harley was awoken by the feeling of soft lips pressed to her own and a lean form weighing down on top of her.

Harley screwed her eyes shut tighter. “Red? Red—what’cha…mmph…” she opened them when Ivy’s tongue entered her mouth, running first over her teeth before sliding deeper.

The first thing Harley noticed, besides the fact that Ivy was on top of her, was that Ivy was completely naked.

“Good morning,” Ivy pressed the words against her lips, moving her kisses across her jaw and down her neck, sucking at the hollow of her throat.

Harley moaned, her hand automatically fisting in Ivy’s hair as she ground her bare center against Harley’s panties.

“Fuck, Red, what’er ya—,” she shivered and bucked her hips when Ivy nipped at the hickey she’d just given her. “It is a good mornin’…”

All at once, Ivy sat up, her weight on Harley’s hips, and Harley would have drooled at the view if Ivy hadn’t moved so quickly, reaching beneath the blankets beside them and pulling out the strap-on she’d…stashed there?

“Put this on,” Ivy instructed, climbing off and laying down beside her. “Please.”

Harley blinked confusedly, eyes flitting from Ivy, to the strap-on, and back again before she rubbed the sleep from them. “Red, look...about last night…I was just horny, alright? I didn’t mean ta make ya feel uncomfortable. I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s fine,” Ivy’s tone sounded final, but her body language was nervous, her muscles tight, like she was bracing for impact. “Just do it. I’m fine. I want you to.”

“Red…” Harley sighed, rolling over onto her side and pressing a kiss to the center of Ivy’s chest. “No you don’t. And that…” she trailed her kisses downward until her tongue licked teasingly at Ivy’s nipple. “Is A-OK with me. I promise.”

“Harley.” Ivy placed her finger under Harley’s chin, lifting it until their eyes met. “I trust you, and I want you. Please.”

Harley narrowed her eyes critically…this seemed like a pretty big change of heart…and very early in the morning. According to the clock, it was only 8am, and as far as Harley was concerned, no good decisions were made before 8am. “Why?” she asked, cautiously.

Ivy was silent for a moment, but her gaze never wavered, never fell from Harley’s. “I…want to trust someone. I…need to,” she insisted. “And it’s you. Please, Harley. Show me it’s safe to trust someone. Show me that not everyone, not all humans—men, women…are here to hurt me.” She swallowed before saying, “Please don’t hurt me.”

“Red,” Harley sat up, bracing her arm beside Ivy’s head on the pillow so that she could hover over her. “I’ll never hurt you on purpose. I promise.”

“I know…” Ivy smiled weakly, reaching up to cup Harley’s cheek in her palm. “I believe you. Now…show me.”

Harley searched her eyes for further hesitation, but laughed when she all she found was nervous anticipation. “You want me ta fuck you with a strap-on at 8am…as a trust exercise?”

Ivy’s smile turned shy, but she sat up, pulling Harley into a kiss to mask it. “Yes,” she whispered against her lips, taking the hand that wasn’t keeping Harley upright and pushing it down between her legs. “Be gentle…”

Chest aching, Harley pulled her hand away before it made contact. “I think we should take this slow,” she suggested, eyes opening. “Lay down.”

Ivy sunk back into the pillows after a moment’s hesitation, the sincerity in Harley’s eyes seeming to reassure her. “OK,” she whispered, biting the tip of her thumb, her other hand moving up to gently massage her own breast.

Harley felt a rush of wetness between her own legs. Jesus, Red…. But shook her head quickly, getting back to the task at hand. Standing, she slipped out of her underwear and reached down to grab the harness, stepping into it one leg at a time and then fastening the straps so it fit her snugly, “How do I look?”

The redhead was watching her apprehensively, ministrations slowing on her breast, legs crossing, perhaps subconsciously. But despite that, her answer was: “Beautiful. I think you look beautiful.”

Harley wasn’t convinced, but was determined to make her mean it. Pammy likes foreplay, she reminded herself. Just…take it slow. Be attentive. Make her want it.

She sunk back down to her knees, kneeling beside Ivy’s body, allowing her eyes to rake over her smooth skin, appreciate her naked form for all its perfection. She knew Ivy liked that too. Having eyes on her. When Harley finally reached her face, she found she was blushing a darker shade of green.

“How, umm, how do I look?” Ivy joked, though it wasn’t a joke. Not really.

“Edible,” Harley giggled, climbing on top of her so the dildo was pressed against her stomach.

Ivy took a deep breath at the contact, letting go of her breast and thumb and running her hands up Harley’s sides, snapping the elastic of her sports bra before slipping her hand under it, repeating what she’d done to herself on Harley’s breast.

Harley hummed quietly, leaning down to kiss her, smiling when Ivy playfully bit her lower lip. “Yer cute, ya know what?” Harley murmured as she sat up to remove her bra. “Sexy, fer sure, but I don’t think people know how cute ya are…”

“That’s purposeful, Harl,” Ivy reminded her. “And I’m not cute.”

The blonde giggled, sliding down her body and laying languidly over her, reaching between them to adjust the dildo so it pressed down on Ivy’s clit. She smiled when Ivy whimpered, kissing her gently parted lips.

Ivy’s arms wrapped around her back, holding her close, legs tangling themselves with Harley’s. When Harley’s lips moved downwards, Ivy rolled her head to the side, exposing her neck for Harley’s warm mouth.

Harley’s kisses started slow and sweet, just her lips…but when Ivy squeezed tighter, Harley added her tongue, closing her eyes and caressing the green skin, kissing her there like she would if she and Ivy were exchanging sleepy kisses just before bed.

“Harley…” Ivy sighed, fingers carding gently through her blonde hair. “That’s…I like that…”

Smiling, Harley spent another few moments there before scooting down a few more inches, paying the same attention to her collar bone…and then her chest…and eventually her breast. Taking her sweet time arriving at the nipple, which was clearly beginning to frustrate Ivy.

“Please...Harley, please…I want your mouth—“

Harley put a finger to her lips, forcing a “shhhhh” through her smile. “Nobody likes a backseat driver.”

Ivy closed her eyes in resignation, but sucked that finger into her mouth when Harley returned to her work.

She wanted nothing more than to rub her now soaking pussy against Ivy’s firm thigh…. but resisted the temptation, reminding herself that she’d have her turn later.

After a few more kisses and a gentle squeeze, Harley finally closed her mouth around Ivy’s nipple, sucking with the same speed and intensity as Ivy was on her finger. She sped up when Harley began, taking her finger deeper into her mouth, running her tongue around it…and so Harley did the same. Sucking and releasing, tongue swirling and pressing around her nipple.

Ivy moaned, bucking upwards, center pressing up against the plastic strapped to Harley’s hips.

Harley let go with her mouth, pulling her finger away from Ivy’s and using her hands now, squeezing both of Ivy’s breasts, palming them and tweaking her nipples, smiling at how this got Ivy to buck harder.

“I love your hands,” Ivy whispered, eyes still closed. “Touch me…please…”

Harley obeyed, bracing herself on the bed and trailing her free hand down Ivy’s stomach, surprised by how wet she was. She really does love foreplay

But rather than use her hand to stroke her, Harley leaned forward again, taking the green plastic in her hand and running it down the length of Ivy’s sex.

Ivy’s breath hitched, her eyes flying open at the unfamiliar sensation.

“S’ok,” Harley assured her, leaning back to lick her once from top to bottom before using the toy again, this time pressing down on her clit.

No lube and no saliva meant Ivy really had to be ready, and Harley was going to make sure of that. It was her sacred duty!

Like with her tongue, Harley ran the toy from top to bottom, circling the tip first around her clit, and then her entrance, repeating her movements over and over again until Ivy was a writhing, sweaty mess beneath her.

“Harley…Harley…Harley, please…”

Harley smiled, kissing her stomach and then pressing harder, teasing further into her entrance with the tip.

“Harley,” Ivy grabbed her biceps to get her attention, squeezing until Harley was sure it would bruise. “Put it inside of me,” her voice was raspy, breathing ragged, eyes wide and shining. “Please.”

Heart fluttering in her chest, Harley leaned down to kiss her, slower than Ivy wanted, maybe. “OK,” she whispered. “Remember to breathe, Baby.”

Ivy nodded, green eyes locked on Harley’s blue ones as the blonde guided the toy inside of her. The redhead clenched her jaw, squeezing tighter on Harley’s arm, hips locking up... Harley paused momentarily, worrying that she was hurting her, but Ivy grabbed her ass, saying, “more”, and pulling Harley’s hips flush against her, pushing the toy in the rest of the way.

Harley kissed her when she whimpered, keeping her lips there as she drew back and then slid forward again, trying her best to keep her thrusts smooth despite her excitement.

“Fuck...yes…” Ivy’s words were muffled by their kiss, but Harley felt them. Deep in her gut.

“You’re doing so good, Red,” Harley encouraged as she thrust again, her face moving to the crook of Ivy’s neck. “You’re so good…so brave…how does it feel?”

Ivy held the back of Harley’s head, keeping her close, their bodies flush, and nodded, seemingly unable to do much else.

Harley took things slow, her lips sucking at Ivy’s neck and her hands circling around her rear to pull her further onto the toy with each thrust. She was sure she was going to cum just from Ivy’s whimpers alone. They were like music…and as they rose in pitch, increased in frequency, Harley realized she’d like to live in that moment just before the crest as well. She’d like to join Ivy there…in this bliss, their bodies moving together, damp from exertion, breathing heavy…

Ivy’s body rolled, shivering and jerking, as she reached her peak, her mouth open, but cry silent, like her voice had been stolen by the intensity of the moment.

Harley rocked back on her heels, pulling the dildo out of her slowly, watching in awe as Ivy’s arousal dripped onto the sheets.

She came from the dreamy look on Ivy’s face as she watched her undo the harness.

Literally.

She literally came from an expression.

What kind of sorcery…

Ivy smiled up at her, green eyes glistening with tears. She didn’t need to ask, Harley was already laying down on top of her, kissing her fiercely, hands wrapping around the back of her neck in hopes of feeling all of her, tongue licking into her mouth without hesitation.

“How are you so sexy?” Harley panted after separating.

“It’s my superpower,” Ivy reminded her with a giggle.

Harley laughed. “Well, it ain’t fair!”

“Life isn’t fair,” Ivy shrugged.

“You’re mean,” Harley teased.

Ivy hummed in agreement, stroking her cheek, wearing that same dreamy look. “But you love me for it.”

Harley stilled, a coldness creeping into her chest, her stomach turning at how Ivy watched her, eyes wide and expectant.

You’re taking too long to answer.

As she watched, that look began to melt off Ivy’s face, her mouth shifting from a smile to something…demoralized. “You…do love me, don’t you?”

Ivy’s sudden change of heart this morning was beginning to make sense. She wanted to hear it back.

You still haven’t answered her.

“Red…”

Harley knew that, for as long as she lived, she would never forget the dejection Ivy wore in that moment. The look of utter, earth-shattering embarrassment etched into her features.

Don’t give me those eyes, Red…please…

Harley swallowed, painting on a reassuring smile before it got any more painful. “Of course I love you, Red.”

Those were the magic words. A very easy solution to what Harley thought was a rather complex problem.

Ivy’s chest expanded beneath her, her features lighting up with relief and happiness unlike Harley had ever seen. Like the weight of the entire world had suddenly been lifted off her shoulders. When she blinked, the tears that had been pooling in her eyes ran down her cheek. “You do?”

“Mm…mhm,” Harley pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Fer sure. You’re the best—,” she was cut off when Ivy suddenly sat up, flipping them over, and grinning down at her so widely that for the first time, she actually looked 24 to Harley.

—friend I ever had.

“You’re the best thing that ever happened to me too, Harl!” Ivy’s laugh was light and airy, like a bell, her features absolutely carefree. Her tears dampened Harley’s cheeks when Ivy leaned down to pepper her face with kisses. “I’m so happy,” she said as her lips moved lower.

“That’s…so good, Red,” Harley leaned back against the pillows when Ivy’s lips began trailing a wet line down her stomach. “Glad ta hear it.”

/

“Over—no, there!”

“This one?”

“Yeah, switch that on.”

“With the lever or the switch?”

“When I say ‘switch that on’, are you just not listening? Or…”

“There are three modes, which mode?”

“Christ.” Selina’s patience had worn out. “For the World’s Greatest Detective, you sure are a fucking idiot.”

“I shouldn’t even be here,” Bruce grumbled, switching the sprinkler system to “Morning”, as it was 9am and the other options were “Afternoon” and “Evening”. “When you send a cryptic text telling me to meet you at an undisclosed location, I expect you’re either in trouble or we’re going to do something interesting.”

Selina postured, her hands coming to rest on her hips. “Oh, and watering Poison Ivy’s plants isn’t interesting?”

“No, it is,” Bruce conceded. “Just not for the right reasons. Helping to keep Poison Ivy’s plants alive feels like signing my own death certificate.”

“You’re being dramatic,” Selina dismissed him, stripping off her gardening gloves and setting them back in the cabinet. “Pamela is all bark and no bite, let me assure you.”

Bruce actually laughed at that. “Right. Tell that to the Arkham Guard missing his head…and penis.”

“Well, I wouldn’t suggest provoking her,” Selina scoffed. “Asking the toxic lesbian for sexual favors is ill-advised. But you knew that, right? Plenty of straight, non-toxic fish in the sea, as I know you’re aware.”

Bruce sighed, waving an arm around the greenhouse. “We done here?”

“Yes.” Selina was just as relieved. “But we need to be back here at noon.”

We?” Bruce raised an eyebrow, incredulous. “I wasn’t aware Ivy asked me to plant-sit.”

We’re a packaged deal, Doll.” Selina slinked up beside him, running an elegant finger down, and then up his muscular chest. “What’s a Bat without his Cat?”

“Mm…a free man?” was Bruce’s guess.

“Oh, hardy-har-har.” She kissed him despite his jab. “I’ll have to introduce you to Harley out of costume sometime. She loves comedians.”

“She also loves Joker,” Bruce pointed out. “I hardly trust her judgment on what is and isn’t funny.”

Selina smiled, taking his hand in hers. “Exactly.”

/

Ivy grumbled when Harley shifted in her arms to glance at the clock on the bedside table.

“We should probably get up, Red,” she said, tapping the green arm that was wrapped around her middle. “In fact, we should probably start packin’ too. We only had this room fer two days.”

Reluctantly, Ivy rolled over, looking at the clock herself before groaning and burying her face in Harley’s neck again. “I don’t want to move rooms…”

“Oh, well, actually…” her grip around Ivy loosened. “I was thinkin’…maybe it’s time we head back to Gotham.”

Ivy frowned, propping herself up to peer down at Harley. “So soon?”

“Well, it ain’ that soon, Pammy…” Harley trailed her fingers softly down Ivy’s arm. “Took us three days to drive out here, it’ll be another two or three to drive back…and aren’t you worried about yer babies? I mean, can Kitty really be trusted? And even if she’s followin’ all your instructions, I’m sure they miss ya.”

Harley had a point, and the mention of her plants incited a separation anxiety inside of Ivy that she’d avoided so far in their trip.

“I suppose,” she conceded, slowly uncurling herself from around Harley, trying her best to hide her disappointment.

You couldn’t stay here forever, Pamela.

Without another word, Ivy slipped out of bed, bending to pick up the joggers Harley had abandoned rather than search through her own suitcase. Pulling them over her own hips, she glanced back at Harley over her shoulder, who was staring with her mouth hanging comically open.

“Are you kiddin’ me?”

“What?” Ivy feared Harley had sensed her souring mood

Harley gestured vaguely at all of her. “You can’t do that! Look way better in my clothes than me. Now how am I supposed to wear those again?”

Oh…Ivy smiled, relief rushing through her. She decided to cock her head and play the part. “Do what to you?”

“You know exactly what, get yer butt back in bed right now,” Harley growled, lifting up the covers to clear a space for her.

“Oh but, Harley,” she teased. “We only had this room for two days. We should start packing.”

She bent, still without her shirt, picking up the strap-on they’d tossed aside and moving to place it in the center of her suitcase that lay propped against the end of the bed, cringing slightly at the fact that it was unwashed and now laying atop her clothing…but the sacrifice was worth it.

“You’re skatin’ on thin ice here, Bucko,” Harley warned, voice lower than before. “Don’t make me make you get back in here.”

Ivy turned, hands rising to her hips. “’Make me’?”

Harley nodded gravely, sighing at Ivy’s continued insubordination. “I gave ya a chance, Red.”

Ivy knew what was about to happen a split second before it did.

Harley’s bottom lip pouted, her nose wrinkled, and her eyes began to water. A moment later, large crocodile tears were streaming down her cheeks. How she managed that Ivy had no idea, but she was too distracted by the constricting pain in her heart to care.

“Please?” Harley begged, fat tears still rolling. “Come back ta bed?”

Ivy fidgeted, trying her best to hold out, to resist…but the heartbreak became too severe, and she eventually had to pounce back on the bed, the springs creaking under her weight. She crawled over Harley’s body, laying her back against the pillows and kissing the tears from her cheeks.

“I hate you,” she mumbled, pulling Harley’s body close to her, kissing Harley’s jaw and then her neck, before moving back up to peck her nose.

“No you don’t,” Harley giggled. “And I got’cha. It’s too easy, Red, really.”

It was another hour before they finally—reluctantly—climbed out of bed and gathered their belongings that were scattered around the room. Despite the delays, they made it downstairs by checkout time, Ivy forking over the majority of their cash and receiving another congratulations and “good luck” on their marriage in return—a prize Ivy almost deemed worth the monetary loss.

Throwing their things into the convertible, Harley suggested they stop for lunch before beginning the long trip back home. She was hungry—of course, despite the breakfast they’d eaten less than two hours ago. But Ivy agreed (clinging to California with everything she had) without complaint and they found themselves at a small steakhouse near the edge of the city.

“They got salads too, Red,” Harley assured her when Ivy turned up her nose at the majority of the menu.

Harley placed their order for them, a large ribeye for her and a house salad for Ivy—dressing on the side. As soon as the waiter had gone, Ivy slid her hands across the table, taking Harley’s and rubbing her thumbs across the blonde’s knuckles.

Harley looked down at their hands and then back up at Ivy as if she were surprised by the affection. Humming happily, she leaned forward, and Ivy met her halfway in a deep kiss she wasn’t in the least bit ashamed of.

“Told’ja you were cute,” Harley said, separating just far enough to murmur the words against Ivy’s lips.

“I’m not cute,” she reiterated her point from earlier.

“Sure ya are,” Harley giggled, squeezing her hands. “Yer bein’ cute right now. All lovey dovey. Only cute people do stuff like this.”

Accepting this logic, Ivy rolled her eyes and pecked the tip of Harley’s nose, making her giggle again.

“Alright then, I’m cute,” she admitted, stroking her hands up Harley’s arms and then back down again to lace their fingers together. “But only for you, My Darling.”

“Ah!” Harley grinned, one index finger pressed to the side of her own nose, and the other pointing at Ivy. “Cute!”

The redhead rolled her eyes affectionately, reaching forward to take Harley’s hands again. “Calm down,” she chastised.

Their waitress arrived a bit later and it took Ivy longer than it should have to notice her, and even longer to untangle her hands from Harley’s so the waitress could set their plates down.

“Anything else for you ladies?”

“Nada!” Harley gave her an ‘ok’ sign with her thumb and forefinger—Ivy just shook her head politely.

“Enjoy,” she said, giving them a not so subtle wink.

Ivy watched Harley as she dug in, only allowing her one hand, which proved challenging for Harley and her ribeye. But she didn’t complain, so Ivy didn’t let go.

Lunch didn’t last long, thanks to Harley’s propensity to shovel down her food with a rabid ferocity. After paying the check—also with one hand—Ivy led the way through the front doors of the restaurant, opening the driver side door of the car for Harley, who’s freed hand flew to her chest.

“What a gentlewoman,” she gasped, tugging Ivy in to kiss her cheek. Ivy smiled, shutting her inside and hopping into the passenger seat.

If you can trust her with your body, you can trust her with your car, Pam reminded herself.

“I been wantin’ to drive this baby forever,” Harley said, gunning the engine and patting the steering wheel. “Thanks, Red.”

“Be gentle,” Ivy replied, already bracing herself as Harley pressed down on the gas pedal.

“I got it, Red. I got it,” Harley assured her as they flew off down the road away from National City.

Ivy watched as the city’s skyline faded into the distance behind them. A misplaced sense of nostalgia—longing—tugged at her, weighing in her chest as they drove further away.

Harley, on the other hand, seemed perfectly content, singing along to a bass boosted tune coming from the radio:

If you're horny, let's do it
Ride it, my pony
My saddle's waiting
Come and jump on it

Sighing at the offensive drabble pouring from the stereo, Ivy drew her phone out of her pocket, holding it out until it captured both her and Harley in frame before snapping the picture. Satisfied, she swiped through her phone, examining the various apps Harley had insisted on downloading for her. By accident, her thumb brushed over a small yellow icon, opening what looked like another camera, this time front facing.

Curious, Ivy pressed down on the button in the middle, flinching when a pair of dog ears sprouted from her head, a long pink tongue licking out at the screen. Cocking her head, smiling when the puppy outline did the same, Ivy scrolled again, this time opening a filter that turned her mouth into her eyes.

A giggle bubbled from within her chest, and her subsequent grinning eyes had her laughing out loud a moment later.

“What the heck are ya doin’ over there?” Harley asked, amused, turning her eyes away from the road to peer at Ivy.

“Harley, look,” Ivy pointed excitedly at the phone. “It says we can swap faces!”

Turning her phone out, Ivy captured them both in frame, bursting into giggles when Harley’s grin appeared on her own face.

“Wow, I went from an 8 to a 10 with just the click of a button,” Harley laughed too. “What can’t technology do these days?” Glancing once more at Ivy, she turned her attention back to the road. Ivy, who had taken a picture of the filter, continued to snicker to herself as she flipped through the others.

“Yer so giggly today, Pammy,” Harley observed. “Thought you’d be sad we had ta leave.”

“I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t stay longer,” Ivy admitted, closing her phone. “But you were right, we’re needed back in Gotham. I doubt Selina is attentive enough to continue caring for my babies appropriately.”

“Right,” Harley replied, her face suddenly set, jaw tightening. The expression was gone a moment later however, as she suddenly veered them off the road.

“What are you—,”

“One last thing before we lose the coast,” was Harley’s brief explanation. She drove onto a dirt path, taking them to the edge of a cliffside where they had a long reaching view of the ocean. The sun was sparkling off the water, turning the waves a glittering gold.

Ivy watched it in awe, her body filling with a peaceful warmth. Turning off the engine, Harley sat there with her in silence for a moment, taking in the scenery. Finally, she turned to look at Ivy, smiling at her so softly it tied knots in Ivy’s stomach.

“C’mere,” she murmured, gesturing for Ivy to climb into her lap.

She did so without hesitation, but with a bit of difficulty, banging her knee on the gear shift. Harley slung her hands around Ivy’s waist as she settled into her lap, pressing a smiling kiss to her lips.

“Yer so beautiful,” Harley murmured, moving her kisses to Ivy’s neck, tongue hot against her skin. “And sexy, and perfect.”

Elegant fingers stroked through Harley’s locks, pulling them out of the pigtails she’d tied them up in. Ivy preferred her hair down, it made her look older, more capable, more intelligent—all the things Ivy knew she was but pretended not to be.

“I love you,” she murmured in Harley’s ear, then drew the lobe into her mouth and sucked. Harley’s reply was a sharp gasp as Ivy attacked her weak spot. It wasn’t until Ivy heard the click of a camera that she released Harley and sat back, confused.

“Got ya on tape, Red,” Harley teased, lowering her phone after a quick glance at the screen. “A good memory.”

She chuckled when Ivy snatched the phone to look at the picture, as if she didn’t know what she’d see. She sat on Harley’s lap, hands threaded in her golden hair, lips pressed together, foreheads resting against one another, the ghost of a smile on Harley’s face…

Setting the phone down, Ivy quickly kissed Harley’s forehead. “Thank you.”

“For the vacation?”

Ivy nodded, kissing her cheek and then her nose, playfully. “It’s something I’ve been waiting a long time for.”

“Happy to oblige, Red,” Harley’s tone was happy, but there was a strange look in her eyes that Ivy didn’t miss. Before she could ask, she felt Harley’s hands slip past the waistband of her jeans, stroking the hem of her underwear.

“Whaddya say? One more for the road?”

A wicked grin spread Ivy’s lips and she slid her hands down Harley’s cheeks, her neck, breasts—giving a quick squeeze, before moving towards the hem of the blonde’s shirt and tugging it over her head.

“Exhibitionism,” Harley looked surprised Ivy was going along with her suggestion. “How unbecoming of you.”

Ivy chuckled, stroking Harley’s tight stomach, running her fingers between the dips in her muscles. “You must be a bad influence.”

“The baddest,” Harley agreed, meeting Ivy’s lips and licking into her mouth immediately.

Ivy lost herself to the moment, and to Harley, letting go of National City—her brief paradise—and bracing herself for their inevitable return to Gotham.

/

Bruce stood awkwardly in the kitchen, untouched mug of coffee now cold in his hand.

Selina rolled her eyes, swallowing the last of the tuna sandwich she’d made for herself. “It’s not poisoned, if that’s what you’re worried about. Just come here and eat your sandwich.”

Bruce watched her for a moment, narrowing his eyes, focus moving from her face, to her now empty plate, to his own food, and back again. “No thank you,” he finally decided, dumping his coffee out in the sink, setting the mug back on the counter. “I’m not hungry.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Selina demanded, wiping her hands on her napkin. “The only reason I made food was because you said you were hungry. I wasn’t. Yet, I ate. I slaved away over a hot stove for you, Bruce. The least you can do is shove that sandwich down your throat.”

“It’s not toasted,” Bruce pointed out.

“So?”

“So the stove wasn’t hot,” Bruce clarified, pulling a chair away from the table and gingerly sitting down. “And forgive me for not eating out of the city’s most infamous female serial killer’s refrigerator.”

“She’s an eco-terrorist, Bruce,” Selina corrected, peeved by his uppity behavior. “Call her a serial killer and she’ll slit your throat.”

“Exactly.”

“Anyway,” she dismissed that. “Ivy has to feed Harley out of that refrigerator. You think that idiot makes herself food?”

Bruce raised an eyebrow. “I thought you and Harley were friends.”

“Oh, we are,” Selina answered like that was a stupid question, taking a sip of her water. “Love her to death. My favorite idiot, hands down. But she can’t cook for shit.”

“You can’t cook for shit.”

“You’ve got some nerve s…” she trailed off when her phone vibrated on the table, murmuring, “speak of the devil,” and opening the text she’d received from Harley.

It was a picture, one of Ivy asleep in the passenger seat of her convertible, head leaning against the door and knees pulled to her chest.

Selina smiled softly at the image, scrolling down to read the caption.

All tuckered out…

From fucking.

“Goddamn it!” Selina slammed her phone down on the table, livid with…well, mostly herself. Why she kept expecting differently from Harley, she had no idea. “Fucking asshole.”

“What?” Bruce prompted.

“You don’t want to know.”

/

They shaved a day off their travel time on the drive back. Harley seemed more motivated to actually get to their destination, and stocked up on candy at their first gas station rather than request to stop at every single one. She also drove most of the way, and she was—on average—a much faster driver than Ivy. In fact, Ivy was thoroughly surprised that they made it back to Gotham without being pulled over by a police officer. Harley spent a vast majority of their trip driving at least 20 miles over the speed limit.

/

“No, this is weird, I’m not doing this here.”

“Bruce, Jesus. It’s a bed, alright? You’re the one making it weird.” Selina placed a hand in the center of his bare chest, pushing him back onto the mattress and climbing over him, unbuckling his belt and pulling down the zipper on his jeans. “They’re not getting back until tomorrow, and I have no interest in sleeping in this time capsule alone. And another thing.”

“What?” Bruce propped himself up on his elbows.

“I’m horny.”

“Oh,” Bruce smirked, allowing himself to be kissed, his body relaxing under her for a moment before Selina sat up to strip her shirt off. That’s when his eyes wandered. “Selina…Selina, stop.” He grabbed his pants as she began to strip them off his legs.

“God, what?” the annoyance in her tone was palpable.

“There’s no way I’ll be able to get it up with Poison Ivy starring at me.” He gestured at the pictures on the walls. “Poison Ivy and L—wait, who is Linda?”

“Harley 1.0, but don’t ask. She won’t tell you.”

“I just…” Bruce sighed. “This feels disrespectful. I know Ivy’s stance on men, and I’m aware it’s rooted in a traumatic personal experience. Us having sex in her bed is—,”

“Hey, remember that time she left you dangling and gagged off that overpass?” Selina interrupted. “Or when she talked her way into your banquet and released that toxin that had all your guests puking their guts out?”

It took a moment for the memories to fully sink in.

“Or when she poisoned Harvey within an inch of his life?”

Something snapped then, Selina could see it in his eyes, and a moment later, he flipped them over on the bed. “Fuck her,” he growled, unhooking Selina’s bra in one smooth motion.

“I’d really rather you fucked me…”

“Oh…” his lips trailed down her neck as he kicked his pants off the rest of the way. “I plan to.”

/

It was night when they crossed back into New Jersey, nearing 11pm when Harley made the final turn onto Ivy’s street.

Harley yawned as she grabbed their bags, letting Ivy walk in front so that she could unlock the door.

“Welcome home, Harley,” Ivy smiled, opening the door and letting Harley through first.

The blonde tossed their bags rather unceremoniously onto the couch and was in Ivy’s arms a moment later, nuzzling sleepily into her neck. “That was an awesome trip, Red,” she murmured, smiling at how Ivy’s fingers trailed lovingly up and down her spine.

That’s when they heard something like a shout coming from Ivy’s bedroom, and sprang apart in fear and surprise.

“Whattheheck was that?!”

“I…don’t know…” Ivy peered down the hallway, her stance quickly becoming protective, a vine crawling out of a potted plant and up her leg, winding its way upward until it twisted around her arm, ready to strike. “Perhaps Selina is still here. You told her we’d be home early, yes?”

“Um….” Harley fidgeted. “I, uh, might’a forgot to do that.”

Ivy’s shoulders relaxed somewhat at that news, obviously thinking they’d identified their intruder. “I suppose it’s time we kick her out, then.”

Harley jumped when the intruder yelled again…but yeah, that definitely sounded like Selina. Even still, she stayed close by Ivy’s side as the redhead crept down the hallway, even going as far as to grip Ivy’s hand when they heard a second voice—a deep voice—make a sort of grunting sound.

Ivy seemed equally alarmed by the sound, and walked faster towards the door.

She took a deep breath once she arrived, gripping Harley’s hand tighter as they registered the obvious sound of a struggle inside. They looked at each other, and readied themselves for a fight. Ivy silently counted down 3…2…1! And she shoved the door open, charging inside to find—

/

“Ye—yes, fuck, Bruce!” Selina bit down on his shoulder, nails scratching up his back.

Bruce groaned, pain and pleasure mixing and inspiring him to thrust faster, burying himself in her as deep as he could.

Their slapping skin and heavy breathing filled the silence of the house as Selina’s hips rose to meet his rhythm, one leg wrapping around him, opening herself further.

She gasped when first his hand, and then his mouth found her breast. His movements were sloppy, but then again, so were hers. And sloppy or not, it felt good. Especially being in a bed, cocooned in warm blankets rather than on a windy rooftop. Completely naked…no suits…no masks…She got to feel every inch of him below her fingertips…his warmth…his every scar…

Selina’s back arched off the bed, hands falling away from his back and fisting in her own hair as he pinned her there with his weight.

“I’m close,” Bruce rasped into her ear.

“Good,” she encouraged. “Finish it.”

Then his mouth found hers, and they kissed, breathing into each other as he sped up and then slowed down, pulling all the way out for a moment and then plunging back inside her.

Selina could feel her release building quickly. “Yes, yes, yes, ye—,”

“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!”

Bruce nearly jumped off of her, startled, and Selina sat bolt upright, clutching the sheet to her chest…and looking right at Ivy, Harley standing, mouth open, at her side.

Ivy’s chest was heaving, her pale face red with anger. “What the fuck is a man doing in my bed, Selina? Why is a man in my home?”

“Pamela,” Selina panted, straightening her hair as she tried desperately to catch her breath. “Meet Bruce Wayne, Bruce…this is my friend Pamela. And her girlfriend—uh—Holly.”

“Umm…hiya,” Harley gave an awkward wave, but immediately dropped her hand back down to her side when Ivy shot her a death glare.

Bruce returned the gesture with equal discomfort.

“He could be Jesus H. Christ himself and I’d still be asking you what the fuck he’s doing here,” Ivy fumed, not even acknowledging Bruce. “In my bed? You have your own bed! Why are you in mine?!”

“Uh, OK, hear me out…” Selina quickly grabbed her shirt from the foot of the bed, pulling it over her head so that she could let the sheet drop. “Your bed is more comfortable.”

“It’s super cozy, right?” Harley chimed in, obviously delighted that Selina understood now.

“Super,” Selina agreed, eyes never straying from Ivy. “But I’m glad you’re finally meeting my human boyfriend Bruce, my human friend Pamela. And I’m so glad you’re going to react to this like a human would, with anger and a stern talking to rather than murder.”

Selina swore she could see steam coming out of Ivy’s ears.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Pamela,” Bruce said, offering his hand to be shaken.

Ivy stared another moment at Selina before turning her attention to Bruce…eyes immediately falling on his erection still obvious below the blankets.

Bruce noticed this and quickly moved to cover himself, clamping his hand down to flatten it. Harley giggled at that, and Bruce blushed.

“I’m so sorry to have intruded,” he said, sounding both embarrassed and sincere. “We thought you were coming back tomorrow. I promise we would have washed the sheets.”

When Ivy didn’t respond, he kept talking, her tight jaw obviously making him nervous.

“Let me make it up to you. Selina and I will take you to dinner—both of you! I’ll wear clothes, and won’t be so…”

“Excited?” Harley prompted, biting her lip to tamp down her grin.

Selina watched Ivy’s face, watched her jaw loosen subtly, her eyes pass over him, over the mussed blankets and Selina’s unruly hair…

“Fine,” Ivy gritted. “Just get out of my house. Now. And I don’t care how excited you are, I never want to see your erection again.”

“Deal,” Bruce and Selina said in unison.

 

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Chapter Text

“I’m glad you decided to bring me along for this little excursion,” Selina smirked, watching Ivy as she scanned a row of diamond necklaces that lay beneath a glass case. “I’m not sure there’s anyone alive who knows jewelry better than me. Although why you insisted on buying something is beyond me. Not when I could—,”

“Exactly,” Ivy distractedly interrupted, moving to another row, this one of various jade and emerald pendants. “So make yourself useful for once and help me find something.”

“You know, Harley’s taste probably runs a little cheaper than most of this stuff,” Selina ignored the jab, following Ivy as she all but pressed her face against the glass. “You could probably get off with a Candy Pop ring and I’m sure she’d still be all over you.”

“Rings,” Ivy echoed, her eyes falling on the display case of diamond rings as she said the word. She migrated towards them, Selina in tow. Each one sparkled like a star, so bright, it was difficult to focus on one without being drawn to another. There were rubies inlaid in some, sapphires as bright as Harley’s eyes in others—those ones she lingered on longer.

There was a small card below them that read Engagement Rings and Ivy felt her heart flutter in her chest at the thought of presenting one to Harley. Promising herself to her. A symbol of eternal love.

She wondered briefly what Selina would do were she able to hear her thoughts. Gag, probably. And the image made Ivy chuckle.

“What are you giggling at?” Ivy glanced up to see Selina staring down at her, arms crossed, light smile playing on her lips.

“You.” Ignoring the confused expression that tightened Selina’s features, Ivy straightened, leaving the rings behind. Giving one to Harley was nice in theory…But they weren’t those people. The suburban house, the two kids, the dog, the 9 to 5 jobs…It would never be theirs. Could never be theirs. A ring would be inappropriate, it stood for too much. And still, it tugged at Ivy’s heart to walk away from them.

“How about these?” Selina drew her from her thoughts, pointing to a case of bracelets. “You could get them engraved. ‘If lost return to Mommy’, ‘I’m Mommy’.”

“I do not have a Mommy complex, Selina,” Ivy growled, looking pointedly away from the bracelet case. “And that joke is getting tired.”

“You do. It isn’t. And I won’t hear otherwise,” Selina shot back triumphantly.

Rolling her eyes, Ivy walked away quickly, finding herself in a less sparkly corner of the store. The jewelry all looked older, cared for, polished…but older, like each one already held years’ worth of memories. She found what looked to be a row of brass lockets, each barely the size of her thumb, hung on a small chain necklace.

Picking up one of the lockets, she popped open the case, surprised to find them empty. No room for a picture certainly, nothing engraved…But perhaps she could ask—

“Find anything?” Selina asked, peering over her shoulder. “That’s kinda dingy looking.”

“No,” Ivy disagreed, taking a second locket off the shelf. “It’s perfect.”

/

Ivy came in the front door, the package hidden in her coat pocket, to find Harley fussing over something on the living room couch, back facing her.

“Harl?” she called, creeping forward. “Is everything alright?”

Whipping around, Harley’s eyes widened when she saw Ivy and she jumped up from the couch as if she’d been burned, hands tucked behind her back.

“Hiya, Red!” she plastered on a grin that was too wide. “Didn’t expect ya home so soon. I thought ya were goin’ out with Kitty.”

“I did,” Ivy smiled, cupping Harley’s cheek with her free hand for a featherlight kiss. Stroking Harley’s blonde bangs away from her flushed face, she asked again, “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Harley’s fake smile melted into a dreamy one, her eyes fluttering shut as she leaned in for a deeper kiss. When they pulled apart, Harley was giggling, the sound making Ivy smile automatically.

“What’s going on, Harl?”

“I have somethin’ fer you,” she simpered, toeing the rug and biting her lip, peering up at Ivy from beneath her eyelashes.

“Well, I have something for you as—,”

Harley didn’t give Ivy a chance to finish, taking a step back and holding out a polished picture frame with both hands. Carefully, Ivy took it, peering through the thin glass to see an image depicting her and Harley inside the convertible.

She straddled Harley’s lap—hands twisting in the fabric of the blue shirt she wore—who was trying to kiss her despite the wide grin that spread her lips. One of Harley’s arms went out of frame as she stretched as far as she could to get them both in frame, the other cupped Pam’s rear, pulling her close.

Ivy knew this picture. She…already had it, hanging in the hallway just before the kitchen. Except for, in this version, Linda had been replaced with Harley.

 “From the—,”

“The last day, yeah. I got it framed. Fer the wall, ya know.” Harley gestured vaguely to the hallway. “Thought ya might like an updated version.”

“Wait, wait, just stay there. Hold still.”

“What are you doing?” Pamela laughed, watching Linda stretch her arm as far as was humanly possible, pointing the camera back at them.

“Trying to get us both in fame.” Linda bit her lip in determination as her index finger searched for the button. “OK!” her tone was triumphant as she cupped Pamela’s cheek with her free hand. “Kiss me!”

Linda never had to ask twice.

…Linda never even had to ask once.

Grinning, Pamela’s hands fisted in the soft blue material of Linda’s sweater, leaning down as she pulled their lips together.

Their kiss was more smiles than lips, but it had the same effect on the butterflies in Pamela’s stomach as their most intimate exchanges.

She pulled back after hearing the click of the camera, opening her eyes to find Linda smiling up at her, blue eyes sparkling with the same happiness Pamela could feel rooted deep in her chest. A happiness Linda had planted there the moment she dropped her books on Pam’s desk that first day.

Linda set the camera down, placing that hand on Pam’s hip, subtly untucking the redhead’s blouse so her fingers could brush over her soft skin. “I’m getting that one developed,” she decided. “We’ll frame it. Put it on the wall so everyone has to see it once we don’t have to hide anymore.”

“Wh—Linda, please.” Pam laughed like it was a joke. “We’re kissing in that photograph. The developer will see, there’s no way around that. It’s far too risky.”

The blonde’s smile waned slightly, the mirth in her eyes replaced with an intense sincerity. “You’re worth the risk, Pamela.”

“Why?” Pam asked, fingers untangling from her sweater.

Linda stroked Pam’s cheekbone with her thumb, kissing her softly. “Because I love you.”

Pam bit her lip at that, eyes falling to the lap she was sitting in. “I love you too.”

“But?”

“I’m scared,” Pam’s voice was barely louder than a whisper.

She could feel Linda’s gentle smile pressed to her forehead when the blonde murmured, “Me too.” And then, “But you make me want to be brave.”

Pam closed her eyes, savoring the feeling of Linda’s warm lips on her skin for a peaceful moment. “OK,” she finally granted. “You can have it developed. But be careful. Promise me.”

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Linda swore.

“No, don’t say that.” Pam’s eyes shot up to meet hers once more. “Don’t ever say that. I don’t know how I’d live without you.”

Linda chuckled, her thumb once again stroking Pam’s cheek. “Well, how did you live before me?”

Pam hardly needed a moment to contemplate her answer. “In black and white.”

“Ah…well…” Pam could feel the blush in Linda’s cheeks when she kissed her. “I’ll make sure to have this developed in color, then.”

Ivy stared at the picture, guilt filling her stomach thanks to some misplaced sense of loyalty. Her attempts at breathing kept getting caught in her throat and tears stung the corners of her eyes.

“We’ll frame it. Put it on the wall so everyone has to see it once we don’t have to hide anymore.”

Setting the picture down on the coffee table slowly, Ivy braved a look up at Harley. At her nervous, expectant expression. Her throat tightened when she zeroed in on those blue eyes, soft pink lips, that gentle smile, blonde hair that curled around her shoulders.

Harley would never truly appreciate not having to hide.

She and Linda…they’d risked everything to get that picture up on her wall. Their careers. Their bodily autonomy, even.

All Harley did was snap a picture. It was that easy.

Linda, you would cry at how easy it is…

Opening her arms, Ivy grunted slightly when Harley bounded into them, pressing an excited kiss to her lips, ignorant of the trembles that passed through Ivy’s body.

“Like it?” she teased, brushing her thumb along Ivy’s lower lip when they parted.

“I love it,” Ivy nuzzled her nose, deciding to live in this moment with Harley, the tight pain in her chest loosening slightly. “I love you.”

“Didja have somethin’ for me?” Harley asked hopefully, not even trying to hide her excitement.

Nodding, Ivy reached into her pocket and pulled out the package containing the little heart shaped lockets, allowing Harley to tear it apart unceremoniously.

“Pammy! What—These are beautiful!” Harley squealed as she lifted the lockets. “Which one is mine?”

She bounced excitedly as Ivy took one of the lockets, opening it to show her the small ivy vine engraved on this inside. “This one is yours.”

Harley opened the other one, revealing a diamond. “And yours?”

Ivy nodded, slipping the vine engraved locket over the blonde’s head, touching it reverently when it rested against the center of her chest. Harley returned the favor, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she cupped Ivy’s cheeks and kissed her.

“Thank you! This is beautiful,” she gushed, looking down at the locket and fiddling with the chain.

“It’s to remind you how I feel about you. How much I love you,” Ivy explained, heat rising in her cheeks when Harley’s sparkling blue eyes met hers. “How much I’ll always love you. I don’t…Don’t know what I’d do without you now.”

“Well, what did ya do before me?”

Ivy didn’t respond, but Harley didn’t seem to need her too.

“Yer sweet, Red,” she sighed, falling into her arms and nuzzling against her neck. “Thank you.”

Heart swelling, Ivy carded her fingers through blonde hair, pressing a kiss to Harley’s temple and breathing her in.

/

“I hate that I agreed to this,” Bruce muttered as he and Selina walked arm-in-arm towards the restaurant, both outfitted in thick black overcoats to brace against the icy wind that seemed hell-bent on reminding Gotham City that it was November.

Selina laughed. “Agreed to it? You suggested it. Now we both have to suffer.”

“Why are you suffering?” Bruce asked, glancing over a her. “These are you friends, aren’t they? You live with them at least four months out of the year.”

“Yes, but…” Selina slowed to a stop, looking straight ahead. “They’ve become insufferable.”  

Bruce followed her eyes when she didn’t move any further…and found it was because, roughly 10 yards in front of them, Poison Ivy had Harley Quinn pinned against the brick wall of the restaurant.

The two were seemingly completely oblivious to the world around them, their kisses slow, and…wet. Bruce could hear them from where he stood, even with the wind whistling in his ears.

Ivy had her hands inside Harley’s jacket, wrapping around her waist, while Harley cupped Ivy’s face softly with the mittens she wore.

“Christ,” Selina exhaled when Harley and Ivy failed to acknowledge them. “Eh-hem!” she cleared her throat with significant exaggeration.

Harley’s eyes flitted to them, and she smiled slightly against Ivy’s lips, pulling back just a bit, so their lips only bushed when she whispered something.

Ivy kissed her once more, retracting her hands as she did and helping Harley to button her coat before pecking her on the nose and finally turning around to acknowledge them. “Hello,” she greeted, slow and smooth. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to know what your tongues sound like,” Selina replied, a mocking edge to her tone.

“Well, until you’ve seen Holly’s labia parted by the shaft of—,”

“Pamela! Pamela,” Harley laughed nervously, her accent…gone, Bruce noticed. “Let’s play nice, please. I’m too hungry to have one of us storming off before we even order.”

Her voice wasn’t the only thing Harley had disguised. Rather than her typical pigtails, her blonde hair was pinned into an elegant up-do, her blue eyes sparkled behind a pair of thick-rimmed glasses (squarer than the pair worn by the pale-skinned redhead in front of her), and the white, woolen overcoat she had on looked no less expensive than the ones worn by Bruce and Selina.

Pamela glared sourly at them, not even trying to hide her disgust for Bruce, it seemed. Though, it didn’t feel nearly as threatening without the green skin. Actually, Poison Ivy looked practically benign in her charcoal peacoat, pale cheeks rosy from the cold, green eyes less dangerous when magnified by her round glasses.

“Fine,” she acquiesced, allowing Harley to lead her by the hand into the restaurant.

Bruce followed, watching the couple curiously. As they approached the host, he leaned into Selina’s ear, whispering, “I didn’t think Harley had your talent for acting.”

“She doesn’t,” Selina murmured quietly. “She’s a method actress, hardly any talent in that. The longer you wear the mask, the easier it is to play the part.”

“Reservation for Wayne,” Bruce said when the host prompted him.

“Oh course,” the man smiled. “Right this way, Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce wasn’t oblivious to Ivy’s eye roll at him being the only one in the party that was addressed, but she followed anyway, pulling Harley’s chair out and waiting until the blonde was seated to sit down herself. Bruce did the same for Selina, and the four waited in silence until their waiter arrived.

“Good evening,” he greeted, smiling at each of them individually. “I’m Raul, I’ll be your server for this meal. We’ll bring some menus out to you shortly, but in the meantime—,”

“Alcohol,” Selina interrupted. “Bring us alcohol.”

“Oh, yes, Ma’am. Is there anything you had in mind? Our wine list is—,”

“Just something red,” Ivy cut him off. “Thank you.”

Raul nodded. “Of course. Will that be all for now?”

Bruce dismissed him with a curt nod, and he quickly got the hint, heading back towards the wine cellar.

Again, the four sat quietly for a moment, allowing the ebb and flow of the conversations around them punctuate their silence.

“Oh! Oh no!” Harley suddenly laughed, grabbing for her purse. “Pammy, your lipstick.” She produced a tube that matched the shade of the now faded coloring Ivy wore on her lips, and opened it, leaning forward to apply it for her, smiling when Ivy puckered her lips to make it easier. “My fault,” she said, capping the tube and turning back to the table. “Totally my fault.” When the atmosphere remained awkward, she sighed and spread her hands out on the table. “OK, let’s just get everything out in the open, yeah? I saw your dick, Bruce. We saw your dick. We also saw Selina’s…everything, but that’s old news.”

“Hey!” Selina protested.

“Anyway, thank you for inviting us,” Harley continued, disregarding Selina’s interjection. “Pam spends all day cooped up in a lab, we hardly have any time to be social with actual human beings.”

Bruce was legitimately curious as to just how stupid they believed him to be, so he decided to humor them. “A lab?” he directed his question at Ivy. “What is it you study?”

“I’m a biochemist,” she answered without pause. “My latest research is focused on plant polysaccharide-degrading enzymes.”

“Sounds like that would all go over my head,” Bruce chuckled good-naturedly, hoping to put Ivy at ease for everyone’s sake. “But it’s important work, I’m sure.”

“It is, yes,” Ivy agreed, her voice smaller as she picked distractedly at the cloth napkin she had yet to lay in her lap. “It’s taken me years to develop a holistic understanding of the intricacies of substrate recognition and catalysis…they’re diverse, specialized enzymes—biocatalysts—with application potential so wide-reaching it’s almost criminal the lack of attention they’re paid.”

Huh… “You know…” Bruce began, watching her closely. “My company has a chemistry department…”

“Yes, I know,” Ivy moved the napkin to her lap, and her eyes followed. “I applied there when I first moved to Gotham.

Bruce…hadn’t know that. “And you were turned away?”

“There was already a woman working in the department,” was Ivy’s explanation. An explanation Bruce found odd until he remembered how old Ivy was.

Must have been my Father’s decision...

“Well, if you’d like to re-apply…” Was reforming Poison Ivy truly as easy as just offering her a job?

“I’m fine where I am, thank you,” Ivy almost snapped, finally raising her eyes and glancing at Harley, like the blonde’s presence alone helped to calm her down.

Selina snickered under her breath at his failed olive branch.

Fine. Bruce rapped his knuckles on the table. “Must be difficult being a redheaded scientist named Pamela in this city,” he remarked, his delivery joking.

“Why?” Ivy challenged him.

“Well, after Poison Ivy…I assume it’s like…being named Adolph and living in Germany.”

Ivy watched him for a moment, like she was gauging his sincerity, deciding whether he was blind, stupid, or winking. Her response was to smile ever so slightly.

Stupid. She thinks I’m stupid.

“You know,” she said, leaning forward and clasping her hands under her chin. “The most magnificent thing about our ecosystem is that it will always adapt. It has always adapted. Long before humans were given the privilege of evolution. Through volcanic eruptions and ice ages…through floods and famine…The ecosystem is the very life force of the planet, Mr. Wayne.” She was only slightly less condescending out of costume. “And so, as we humans continue on this destructive path. Not being grateful for what we’ve been given. Betraying the paradise we were provided...the ecosystem will continue to evolve. We’ll all be under water. Dead. The planet uninhabitable…for us, at least. Only for us. The humans and the animals without the common sense to develop gills and fins. But the ecosystem will remain, alive and well in whatever form it takes. It’s wonderfully efficient that way.” She smiled at him, pausing as the waiter returned briefly to fill everyone’s glasses with wine. “This is why I always find it fascinating how the media and our resident vigilante insist on calling Poison Ivy a villain. From what I understand, she, herself, is part plant. A hybrid, yes?”

“Yes.” Bruce struggled not to grit his teeth.

Ivy lifted her glass to her lips. “Then she will evolve too. She and her precious ecosystem. Her cause—her crusade, it does little to benefit her existence. That will continue on regardless of our continued complacency.” She took a slow sip of the red liquid, the same color as the lipstick Harley had just applied for her. “Poison Ivy targets logging companies, the coal industry, the oil industry, CEO’s and politicians side-stepping environmental regulations. People who are helping push the human race faster down the oil-slicked slope towards our inevitable demise. Seems almost…paradoxical, calling Poison Ivy a villain and these people victims in the same sentence.”

“How’s that?” Bruce asked, aware of how cautiously Harley and Selina were watching this conversation.

Ivy bit her lip, squinting slightly as she formulated a response. “A mother puts a pot of boiling water on the stove,” she started, setting her glass down so that she could speak with her hands. “She has a child—one old enough to know better—that she instructs, in the clearest possible terms, to stay away from the pot. But the child doesn’t listen. They wait until their mother is out of the room, and then pull a stool over in front of the stove…climbing upwards until they can peer over the metal lip of the pot…The child, being inquisitive and rather simple-minded, reaches a hand out, wondering why the water bubbles like that, how it rolls so smoothly…And that’s when the stool wobbles beneath them, the legs sliding backwards on the linoleum floor as the child leans forward.”

Harley looked legitimately anxious at this point, and even Bruce shifted uncomfortably.

“The child, not wanting to fall, grabbing desperately at something that they hope will keep them upright, makes the mistake of grabbing the pot and pulling it down with them,” Ivy continued. “But the Mother heard the stool. And, like any Mother, her reflexes are quick. She rushes forward, grabbing the pot out of the air by the piping hot metal handle as the child falls. But, in the end, she can’t save her child completely. A sprinkle of boiling water splashes out of the pot as she catches it, falling onto the child—burning them.” Ivy leaned back in her chair, crossing one leg over the other. “The Mother tried to save her child from themselves, and succeeded in the end, despite the burn now marking their child’s skin. But my question is: whose fault is that injury? The mother’s? The mother who did everything she possibly could—everything in her power, from warning them, to leaping into the line of fire herself—to save them? Or is it the disobedient child’s fault. The one who disregarded her. Who defied her. They might be scarred, but they’re still breathing, because of their Mother and despite their own reckless actions.”

No one answered Ivy’s rhetorical question. Just watched her.

“Humans have a nasty habit of doing things we know we shouldn’t,” Ivy mused. “Neglect our seatbelts in the interest of time…Throw our garbage into the ocean…Eat another slice of cake even though we’re on a diet…Trust that man with the oily smile despite the knot his presence ties in our stomachs…and…pull stools over to the boiling water our mothers told us to leave alone.”

Bruce pursed his lips. “And Poison Ivy is the mother in this scenario?”

“I think the nastiest habit we humans partake in, is labeling our saviors ‘villains’ when we don’t want to accept what they’re telling us,” Ivy said. “Easier to go about our merry lives and ignore the consequences of our actions, rather than make the conscious effort to change that behavior whose correction won’t deliver us instant gratification. Ensuring human survival is a task each generation believes they can hand off to the next...and so they do. So, no,” Ivy summarized. “I am not ashamed to share my name or profession with Poison Ivy. Unlike most children, I am grateful for Mother’s intervention.”

Selina sloshed her wine around in her glass, while Harley was already halfway done with hers.

“She’s still a murderer, Pamela,” Bruce reminded her.

Ivy shrugged. “Lincoln and his Union army had to murder the Confederates in order to free their slaves. The allies had to murder Nazis in order to save Europe. The history books don’t call that murder. Such a pity Poison Ivy chose a cause without an army to fight against. Without the need for men whose sacrifices they can glorify. Without women whose contributions they can pretend to celebrate while ultimately disregarding them. Hers is an invisible war. But a war none-the-less.”

Bruce was gripping his glass a bit too tightly at this point. Something Selina obviously noticed because she quickly intervened, electing to change the subject. “Holly, tell us about California! How was the weather?”

“Selina Kyle, we live in a dumpster, I swear to God,” Harley laughed. “Literally every town we stopped in was nicer than this crime-infested hell hole.”

Harley was clearly working harder than Ivy was to sell her fake identity.

“The beach was beautiful…Pam was beautiful…” she leaned closer to the redhead, smiling when Pam obliged and kissed her. “Dream vacation, for sure. We’d love to show you the pictures.”

“No thanks,” Selina answered quickly. “Think I’ve seen enough of those.”

Harley snickered, evidently unable to fight her nature completely, while Ivy blushed.

Bruce was finding this performance Harley was putting on awfully peculiar. It was almost disquieting, how natural she seemed. “So, Holly…it’s Holly, right?”

“That’s right,” the blonde smiled, taking Ivy’s hand beneath the table.

“Where are you from, originally?”

“Oh, Seattle,” Harley told him. “Infinitely more beautiful than here, but unbearably rainy.”

Ivy had an odd reaction to that line, but Bruce wasn’t focused on her at the moment.

“Moved out here not too long ago,” Harley continued. “I’m a psychology professor. Used to teach at Seattle University, now I’ve got an application in to GSU. Crossing my fingers.”

They paused their conversation to order their food. A salad for Ivy, the branzino for Selina, and steaks for Bruce and Harley.

“Have you ever heard of a man by the name of Jonathan Crane?” Bruce asked once they were alone again.

“Mmm…The Scarecrow,” Harley said it mockingly. “It’s terrible, what obsession can do to a person. There’s nothing more dangerous than single-mindedness, but!” she down the rest of her wine. “Helped create a job opening for me, so I say, parade around town with a potato sack on your head, Dr. Crane. You do you.”

The corner of Bruce’s mouth tugged upwards into a slight smile at that. “What about Harley Quinn? Seems mental health professionals don’t tend to fare well here.”

Harley pursed her lips, tapping her index finger on the table a few times before speaking. “That’s a sad case, really. A dependent personality disorder, lying dormant, or at least undiagnosed, in an otherwise competent professional. Her infatuation with The Joker completely decimated her career, or…so I’ve read, anyway. As far as I can tell, Harleen Quinzel turned from a promising young doctor to a…well…fool, I suppose. A bumbling idiot, as far as the media is concerned. I feel for her, I do,” she said, expression sympathetic. “But this is why we in the mental health field have to set and maintain boundaries. It’s paramount. Otherwise…” she took a sip from her wine glass. “You end up thrown out a window by a man who spends hours painting himself to look like a clown every morning.”

Selina and Ivy seemed as surprised by Harley’s answer as Bruce was, all three starring at her slack-jawed. Ivy just blinked, while Selina opened her mouth to speak a good three times before ultimately electing to just stare silently.

“I hear Catwoman’s a twat,” Ivy offered, unprompted.

Bruce ignored both Ivy’s original statement and Selina’s responding, unapologetic scoff. “What brought you here, then?” he asked Harley. “Moving across the country, that’s significant.”

“Well…I was looking for someone,” Harley smiled dreamily over at Ivy, raising their still-joined hands to kiss Ivy’s knuckles. “Love makes people do significant things.”

Ivy practically melted at that, her body relaxing completely, eyes softening and cheeks blushing bright red once more. It would have been a cute display if she wasn’t a narcissistic psychopath.

Bruce glanced over at Selina to find she was trying her best to hide a smile, even despite Ivy’s most recent jab. There were times when Bruce sincerely didn’t understand she and Ivy’s friendship. They both knew better than to trust each other, but seemed to do it anyway. Regardless, one thing had always been blatantly obvious about their dynamic: seeing Ivy happy made Selina happy…meanwhile, seeing Selina happy made Bruce happy, making this a bit of a difficult situation for him.

“How did you two meet?” Bruce asked, knowing that whatever answer they provided would be a lie, but interested anyway, for some reason.

“Mmm…Pammy saved me,” Harley smiled at her, and Bruce noted how intently Ivy stared back. “She helped me out of an impossible situation. Helped me get back on my feet…my knight in shining armor.” Harley leaned forward to kiss her briefly. “Just…right place at the right time.” She let her eyes drift away from Ivy, turning back to Selina and Bruce. “What about you two? You never told us, Selina. What’s up with that?”

Bruce realized Selina would have to lie too.

“I know how Pamela feels about ‘the straights’,” Selina teased. “Didn’t want to bore you.”

“Bore us, please,” Harley encouraged. “It’s either that or Pam’s gonna start on her polysaccharide thing again. I can see it. She hasn’t asserted her intellectual superiority in like 6 whole minutes. It’s killing her.”

Ivy scoffed, “Yes, let’s make light of 10 years’ worth of research.”   

“Yes…let’s,” Harley giggled, receiving a playful shoulder nudge from Ivy.

“Fine, umm…” Selina squinted slightly, turning to Bruce like she wished he could telepathically communicate an answer. “Well, we were both orphans. Lucky him, in their will his parents dictated that his butler could take care of him if they died. I was a little less lucky, was in and out of the orphanage until I turned 18…and when I, eventually, came into some money, I went back there to donate…”

“And I was there visiting a boy I was planning to adopt—my son, Richard,” Bruce finished for her.

“He goes by Dick, right?” Harley asked. “I’ve read about him in the paper. Didn’t know he was adopted, though. He looks just like you.”

Bruce smiled despite himself. “I have four sons, actually. Dick, Jason, and Tim are all adopted, and my youngest, Damian, he’s my biological son.”

“Wow,” Harley looked legitimately impressed. “That sounds like a handful.”

“Jason and Damian, yes,” Bruce laughed. “Jason’s too much like me and Damian’s too much like his mother. I do my best, though. Dick is a huge help, and my girls are a bit easier on me.”

Harley seemed to be in absolute awe. “How many of those do you have?!”

“Just two, just two,” he assured her. “Stephanie and Cassandra. Cass is still adjusting, there’s a bit of a language barrier we’re trying to work around, but—,”

“Bruce, this is maybe the most I’ve heard you talk in the last three years,” Selina laughed. “You and Cass have that in common.”

“You’re right,” Bruce granted, squeezing Selina’s hand when she placed it on his lap.

“I wasn’t aware you had so many children,” Ivy spoke up, her tone softer than the one she’d used with him previously. “Selina has mentioned Damian before, evidently he’s not a huge fan of your relationship with her.”

“He’s stubborn,” Bruce admitted. “And angry. But he’s not hateful. Not really. He respects Selina, at the very least.”

Selina actually laughed out loud at that. “Bullshit he does.”

“Well…he’s coming around,” Bruce amended. “It’s a process.”

“Do you have any pictures?” Harley asked, leaning over the table.

“Yeah,” Bruce grinned, pulling his cellphone out of his pocket. “Of course.”

It wasn’t until they’d finished their meal, and Harley had finished “Aww!”-ing at Bruce’s entire camera roll that he remembered he was talking to two of the most dangerous members of his rogue gallery.

Ivy had told him all his children were beautiful, and the way she said it felt so…sincere, that his suspension of reality lasted until after he’d paid the check and they’d all exited the restaurant.

“We should do this again sometime,” Harley suggested as she looped her arm under Ivy’s. “We can skip the whole, we walk in on you thing, though, if that’s alright. Just jump straight to the double date.”

“Oh, shut up, you liked it,” Selina laughed.

“I can assure you, we did not,” Ivy set the record straight.

Bruce watched them walk away after a quick goodbye, feeling Selina nuzzle into his side after a moment.

“I’m cold,” she complained once Harley and Ivy disappeared from view. “What the fuck are we still doing here?”

It took a moment for Bruce to acknowledge her. A sadness had crept over him suddenly. The same one he felt when he looked in the rear-view mirror of the Batmobile and saw the District Attorney, psyche cracked in half…saw a brilliant cryogenicist, too heartbroken at the loss of his wife to ever accept it…a lab experiment gone wrong…a woman forever trapped in the body of a child…a man born with the skin of a monster…a promising young botanist with the power to change the world, but too traumatized to do anything but hate…and a bright-eyed psychiatrist with a mind that had been so severely twisted, she’d sooner die than leave the man that twisted it.

“What?” Selina asked, curious now.

“They could have been good people,” Bruce’s voice was quiet.

“They are,” Selina replied after a while. “In their own way.”

“They’re high profile criminals, murderers.”

“And my friends,” Selina combatted, watching Bruce’s jaw clench. “They’re still human, Bruce. They still deserve a chance. Everyone does. Except Joker,” she added as they walked away. “You should have killed that prick a long time ago.”

/

Ivy looked back over her shoulder, smiling at Harley where she lay on the bed, still fully clothed, just watching as Ivy got undressed.

“I think Bruce is sweet.” Harley propped herself up on her elbows. “Sorta…toothless fer Kitty, though, right? Don’t see how he could keep up with her.”

“Well, she has Batman for that,” Ivy sighed, slipping out of her skirt. “She keeps the two of them in boxes. They fill different needs for her.

“Mm,” Harley grunted, watching as ivy began to untie the bow at the neck of her blouse. “Hey, Red?”

“Yes?” Ivy turned to face her, her fingers on the top button.

Harley sat up fully, tangling her legs criss-cross-apple-sauce, her hands folding on her lap. “I was wonderin’ if you’d maybe wanna….play a game with me tonight.”

Ivy raised a curious eyebrow. “A game?”

“Like…roleplay,” Harley giggled. “You know, pretend we’re other people.”

Narrowing her eyes, Ivy took a cautious step towards the bed, smiling when Harley bit her lip…when her blue eyes raked up her body… “I suppose it depends on the role you assign me.”

“OK, umm…” Harley sat forward, grabbing Ivy by the hips and tugging her forward so she stood just at the edge of the bed, Harley looking up at her, their ankles tangling. “You’re a scientist…” she wrapped her hand up in the fabric of Ivy’s blouse, pulling her slowly downwards. “Work from 9 to 5 at some lab downtown…traffic’s always a bitch…the baristas at the coffee shop you visit every mornin’ never go fast enough. Traffic sucks on the way back, too, but you listen to the radio to pass the time, and the trip is a little easier knowin’ you’re coming home ta somebody at the end of the day.” She kissed Ivy once, slowly…smiling up at her as she whispered, “Your name is Pamela…and mine is Harleen.” Her accent slipped away. “I work at Arkham—state institution, so the pay’s shit, but it feels important somehow. I take comfort in the idea that I’m helping the helpless.”

Ivy swallowed uncomfortably, trying to back up, but Harley held her there, with her hands and her gaze.

“That last session of the day is always hard, though.” Harley smiled wistfully, her hand trailing up to cup Ivy’s cheek. “I’m thinking about you…wondering if you’re home already…hoping you made dinner because all I had for lunch was a candy bar from the vending machine.”

“D—did I make dinner?” Pamela whispered.

“Mm…no,” Harley giggled, helping Pam with her remaining buttons. “So I convince you to order pizza.” She stripped the shirt off Pam’s shoulders. “We watch Forrest Gump because it’s always playing on some channel and you can’t hate Forrest Gump, and then we turn in early, though we don’t plan on sleeping just yet.”

“OK, Harleen…” Ivy chuckled, even though she didn’t feel like laughing. “I’ll bite.” She pushed Harley backwards on the bed, crawling slowly over her.

“Yay!” Harley grinned, reaching over to the bedside table for the glasses they’d both discarded after dinner, pushing Pamela’s into place before her own.

Ivy quirked an eyebrow, reaching a hand between them to unbutton Harley’s slacks. “You happy?”

“Always with you,” Harley smiled, stroking Pam’s cheek. “But I need one last thing.”

“Mmm…and what might that be?” Pam simpered, her fingers teasing at the waistband of Harley’s panties.

“I want to see you, Pamela,” Harley whispered, gently tapping on her green skin. “Let me see you.”

Ivy stopped, her fingers pausing where they toyed with the soft pink fabric. “Harley…”

“Harleen,” the blonde insisted. “What are you afraid of?”

“I’m—I’m not afraid.” Ivy shut her eyes. “I’m just…I’m trying to remember how to trust, and…”

“And?”

There were tears in her eyes when she opened them again. “And I’m so in love with you, Harleen.”

Harley wiped a tear from Ivy’s cheek, and her expression was so earnest, so full of affection and admiration... Pamela felt seen. “Then prove it,” Harley said. “Make love to me, Pamela.”

Pamela’s heart skipped a beat in her chest, her mouth suddenly becoming impossibly dry. This was all she’d wanted for so long…

Closing her eyes again, Ivy worked to disguise her green pigment, stripping off her armor and laying herself bare before Harley. She sat up, pulling Harley upright with her, and her hands shook as she grasped the hem of Harley’s sweater, pulling it gently over her head and setting it aside, her heartrate quickening when Harley reached around her to unclasp her bra.

“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Harley murmured, looking at Ivy completely naked for the first time. Looking at Pamela.

Pam fumbled with the zipper on Harley’s pants, her face hot under her scrutiny. She didn’t need to feel nervous, though. She knew that. Knew she wasn’t a virgin anymore, a graduate student in love for the first time. Pamela had learned since then. She’d loved again. There was no reason Pamela couldn’t be every bit as confident as Ivy.

…but that realization didn’t stop her from blushing.

Luckily, Harley didn’t seem to be in a hurry. In fact, she was equally red-faced at this point.

“I love your body—I love you,” Pam pressed the words almost desperately against Harley’s lips, and got carried away with their kiss, forgetting she had yet to take Harley’s bra off until she reached down to caress her breast and felt fabric rather than soft skin.

She remedied that immediately, setting Harley’s bra down by her sweater and laying her back against the pillows. Pam stripped Harley’s pants off before following, stretching out on top of her, grabbing blindly for the blankets to pull over them.

Harley smiled into their kiss once they were safely cocooned beneath the warmth of Pam’s blanket.

“I can’t believe you’re mine,” Pam whispered, moving her lips down Harley’s neck, hips pulsing when Harley squeezed her breast. She nibbled gently on the skin there, using her fingers to stroke patterns across Harley’s toned belly, smiling when the muscles twitched below her.

Pam could feel Harley try to wiggle beneath her, attempting to move further down the bed. So Pam shimmied up Harley’s body instead, panties dragging against Harley’s stomach until her chest hung over Harley’s face. When Harley reached up to take hold of her breast once more, Pam guided it downwards into her mouth, moaning when Harley sucked eagerly at her nipple.

Harley let her hands fall away, moving them back beneath the blankets to grip Pam’s rear. She slipped her hand into her panties first, and then squeezed, with one hand and then two, pulling Pam to her and then releasing her, again and again, setting a controlled pace with her movements.

Pam’s clit was throbbing by that point, and as much as she wanted to take this slow, to savor it…she also wanted to feel Harley’s against her. More than anything.

Harley whined when she pulled her breast from her mouth, but allowed her to readjust, happily meeting Pam’s lips when she leaned downwards.

Pam felt her arousal nearly drip down her own leg when she reached a hand down to find Harley’s panties were just as damp as hers were.

“Oh, Harley…” she groaned. “Baby…”

“I love you, Pamela,” Harley whispered, already finding a gentle rhythm to rock against Pam’s thigh. Her movements were uncharacteristically measured tonight, Pam noticed. And the sensual restraint Harley—Harleen, gave her, was indescribable.

Pam felt herself getting dangerously close to her peak as she mirrored Harley’s movements, rocking against her firm thigh…but she didn’t want that just yet. Not until they were pressed together more intimately.

So she stripped Harley’s panties off, letting them be lost below the blankets, and did the same with her own, Harley helping to kick them away.

Pam took one of Harley’s legs and used it to spread her apart, open her up, and she felt Harley’s wetness on her belly as she lowered herself between her legs.

Harley watched her the whole time, blue eyes half lidded, hips pulsing ever so slightly, subconsciously. Pam took a moment to still Harley’s body, pressed her weight down on top of her until Harley bit her lip to hold back a moan. That’s when Pam angled her hips upwards, shuddering when her throbbing clit slid through Harley’s wetness, upwards until it nudged Harley’s own.

The blonde gasped at that, one hand gripping Pam’s rear, and the other cupping her neck, the mix of passion and affection inspiring Pam to rock against her, feeling herself slip and glide over Harley’s straining clit, parting her folds as she trailed down to her wet opening before returning with a slow drag of her hips.

“Pammy…yes….” Harley moaned, tightening her grip on both handholds.

Pam buried her face in Harley’s neck, keeping her thrusts controlled, drawing tight circles with her hips before slowing them down, taking them wider, spreading herself over every bit of Harley’s arousal.

Harley breathed sharply into her mouth when Pam kissed her, their tongues tangling despite their lack of oxygen. Sliding her hands around from Pam’s rear and neck, Harley cupped her face, gentling the kiss before brushing her fingers through waves of red hair. Her touch was reverent, so tentative it made Pam’s chest ache.  

“Ah!” Harley cried when Pam suddenly sat up straighter, placing the blonde’s ankle atop her shoulder so that she could move faster, deeper, harder against her. But one look at the woman lying beneath her, at the fragility in her eyes, absolved her lust. That wasn’t what Harley wanted. Not tonight.

Loosening her grip around Harley’s ankle, Pam adjusted her thrusts accordingly, slowing her speed until she was rocking steadily, hips rolling into Harley’s. The blonde tossed her head back against the pillows, hands reaching for whatever part of Pam they could find, fingers dancing over her paled skin.

Already missing the taste of her lips, Pam dropped Harley’s leg, letting her body rest completely on top of her, her weight pressing Harley down into the mattress, and the movement of her hips changing from lazy circles to strong up-strokes. Harley sighed with the movement, lips falling away from Pamela’s, eyes opening slightly and locking onto the green ones above her.

She took Pam’s face again, a dreamy smile shaping her lips before the moan did as Pam ground against her again. Letting her eyes slide shut, Harley ducked her head, burying her face in the crook of Ivy’s neck, whispering her name over and over again, “Pamela, Pamela, Pamela…Oh, Pamela….”

Pam could feel the blonde’s body begin to shake beneath her. Her fingers clenched on Ivy’s skin, tightening as her hips locked up and Pamela felt a rush of wetness mingle with her own.

Pam wished she could prolong that moment for eternity, but she, herself, only lasted a few more strokes before she came too. Both silently. Both allowing their bodies to speak for them.

Harley didn’t let her go for a long while. Instead, she continued clutching Pam’s body to her, like the redhead was a life raft on some treacherous ocean. Harley’s body was still shaking, and it was then Pam realized it was from tears, not from pleasure.

Alarmed, Pam quickly tried to pull back, but Harley wouldn’t let her, saying, “No, stop,” and continuing to clutch Pam to her, the redhead still resting between her legs.

“Did I…did I hurt you?” Pam’s voice was small.

“No,” Harley whispered back, her voice hoarse. “You never would.”

Finally, Pam was able to escape Harley’s iron grip, and propped herself up on her elbows above her, placing her hand below Harley’s chin to gaze into her watery blue eyes. “Harleen,” she said, making sure Harley was really listening. “You are all I’ve ever wanted.” And then, as she leaned down to kiss away her tears. “You are my everything.”

/

Pamela was cold when she woke up.

She shivered beneath the blankets even though she could feel the early-morning sun shining on her naked skin.

“Harl,” she murmured, turning onto her side and reaching for the other woman, knowing she would provide all the warmth she needed (and then some).

But Harley wasn’t there.

Or at least not within arm’s reach.

Confused, Pam groggily opened her eyes, squinting at the bright light filtering through the windows.

“Harley?”

The smell of bacon saved her from her brief panic, and the relief flooded through her so suddenly and so completely that it nearly exhausted her. 

For a moment, she contemplated staying put. Thinking, maybe Harley was making her breakfast in bed. She didn’t want to ruin her own surprise….

Then again, Harley wasn’t exactly famous for her abilities in the kitchen. Besides that, she was known to disregard safety protocols, and Pam’s stove was gas powered.

Ultimately, the more cautious side of Ivy’s brain prevailed, and she pulled back the covers, rising from the bed and walking out into the hallway without first stopping to get dressed, or even to pull a robe on. If Harley really did make her breakfast, then she imagined she’d be stripping them off quickly anyway, so what was the point, really?

“Harley,” she called out again as she made her way down the hallway towards the kitchen. “I hope you’re not about to burn the house down.”

Pam pushed the door open with a chuckle, in awe that Harley’s hunger had finally surpassed her laziness.

The stove was off, though a greasy pan still sat atop it. The room was filled with the smell of bacon and eggs, but it was…empty.

“Harley? Darling?”

As she stepped further into the room, Pam found there was one singular plate in the sink, still covered in ketchup. An empty glass of what had probably been orange juice, judging by the leftover pulp, sat on the counter beside it.

Ivy grew silent when her eyes landed on the last item that seemed out of place in her otherwise spotless kitchen.

A note.

I went for a run, I went for a run, I went for a run, I went for a run…

Ivy visualized those words again and again as she cautiously approached the paper, praying that was the message she would find when she unfolded it.

Sorry I couldn’t stay, Red. Was what it actually said.

It wasn’t signed with anything.

Not a heart, not a “love”, not even her name.

Ivy stared numbly at the paper for a long moment, studying Harley’s girlish letters. Eventually, her eyes drifted away, straying first to her own naked chest, before running slowly over the counter and landing on the dirty pan Harley had left on the stove.  

She felt her hand drift over to the handle of its own volition, felt her fingers wrap around the textured metal…

She couldn’t stay.

Ivy lifted the pan.

Couldn’t.

Suddenly, the metal was smashing down on the counter, clanking loudly in the otherwise silent kitchen.

And again.

And again.

And again.

She brought it above her head and smashed it downwards until the wood of the counter splintered, until her shoulder was sore, and the cast-iron pan was mangled beyond repair.

It rattled on the linoleum floor after falling from her hand, and Ivy followed, sliding down to the ground as she burst into tears.

 

 

Chapter Text

Ivy sat upright at the kitchen table. A robe hung loosely over her shoulders, not even tied at the waist, and her eyes stared at the phone she had turned over in front of her.  

This was day two.

She was done crying by now, but her stomach still ached. Was still too heartbroken to be angry just yet.

That would come. She knew it would. The anger always came. It was her nature.

But for now, she just hurt. Hurt, and was even confused. How could Harley have just left? After that wonderful night together, after their trip…after Ivy’s gift, and the gift she, herself, had given…

It was too cruel to be real.

Yes, Harley had left before. But that was—that was before! Before all this, before nights under the stars, drunken dancing, confessions of love…

Harley had promised she’d never hurt her, how could she…how could she…

Ivy closed her eyes before the tears could gather, waiting for the sudden swell of emotion to pass.

She kissed you, Mother…kissed you before she left…

Ivy sniffed, wiping rather inelegantly at her nose with the sleeve of her robe.

With shaking hands, she reached for the phone, taking it and slowly turning it over, keying in the lock code like she wished she could leave it alone.

The most recent photo on her camera roll showed Harley getting dressed before dinner with Bruce and Selina. She’d been so nervous about her hair…hadn’t worn it in any other style but pigtails for so long…Pamela had helped her put it up, used just about every bobby pin in her possession to do it…

Next it was she and Harley in bed, the morning after they’d returned from California. Harley was fast asleep, her face tucked into Ivy’s neck, laying partially on Ivy’s green chest, her tanned fingers resting gently just above her breast…Ivy remembered turning to plant a kiss on Harley’s forehead just after she took that picture.

Pamela scrolled all the way back to that hotel room in California…the honeymoon suite…

Harley had stolen her phone after Ivy had allowed her to use the—um—implement

Ivy stared down at the photo of herself...at her own dreamy expression…at how Harley’s hand cupped her cheek so gently.

She remembered feeling so held.

Her heart grew painfully heavy in her chest, and so, with trepidation and nervous energy in each of her movements, she stood up from the table, phone still clutched in her hand.

After a deep breath, Ivy closed out her camera roll and opened a blank text.

There was so much she wanted to say, it was as if her entire vocabulary had escaped her.

I miss you…

She sent Harley the text before she could think better of it, and then watched, praying for a quick response.

After a moment, the word “read” showed up after the message.

But no response came.

Still, Pamela’s heart lifted just a bit. Harley was listening.

Please, Darling, come home.

“read”.

I hate you so much for leaving me alone, but I love you too much to mean it. Come home and all will be forgiven, I promise. I just want to hold you in my arms again.

“read”.

30 seconds later, a speech bubble appeared that Ivy had learned indicated Harley was typing. She clutched her phone tighter in anticipation.

…but ultimately, no reply came. The bubble disappeared. Leaving Ivy alone again.

/

Selina sat up with a yawn, grabbing the remote off the bedside table to pull the blinds back from Bruce’s bedroom window.

“Fuck…remind me to ice…” she grumbled to no one in particular.

According to the clock and the sun that just about assaulted her eyeballs, it was just before noon. They’d had a late night last night, she and Bruce. First there was the chasing, then there was the…well, the fucking, which inevitably came soon after. She was sure that she and Bruce were just about the only couple on the planet whose foreplay burned more calories than the actual fornication.

With a sigh, Selina rose from the otherwise empty bed, crossing the room to the walk-in closet wherein Bruce had dedicated her a few hangers to house one or two choice outfits in case of any sleepovers. She grimaced when she realized she’d run out of clean panties. Bruce kept telling her to throw them in with what he gave to Alfred, but Selina found that thought alone made her blush. She was shameless for the most part, but that felt somehow incestuous, tossing her soiled panties into the same laundry load as Bruce’s children’s clothing. She supposed that’s what husbands and wives did…but Bruce was obviously not her husband, for a myriad of reasons, laundry being the least of them.

Selina pulled on something black and headed for the stairs, descending until she reached the main floor, hoping to track down some coffee. She smiled when she saw the blinking red light on the cappuccino machine. Alfred had been kind enough to have it ready for her.

Sometimes—and she couldn’t be sure—but sometimes she got the feeling from that man that perhaps he’d like her to stay.

Not from Bruce.

From Alfred.

Her feelings on that were complicated.

“Coffee won’t rehydrate you, you know.”

Selina jumped nearly out of her skin at the sound of Damian’s voice, whirling around to find him sitting at the table, a cappuccino poised at his lips, one pinky up.

“That’s—not how you make friends, Damian,” Selina clutched her chest.

“Good,” Damian intoned, glancing back down at the newspaper he’d evidently been reading.

Selina’s heartrate calmed down as she shook her head, grabbing a mug and flipping the switch on the machine.

After a moment of simply listening to the coffee drip, Selina turned to him. “Why would you assume I’m dehydrated?”

“The house isn’t soundproof, Kitten.” He calmly flipped to the next page.

Selina opened her mouth to respond, but ultimately closed it again, choosing silence as her immediate plan of action. Then, when she couldn’t take his satisfied smirk, she sneered, “You’re 10. Go be a kid.”

“Maybe the kid you and my father make with all that grunting and wall-banging will enjoy their childhood more,” Damian dryly retorted. “I’ve got news to catch up on.”

“Prick,” Selina mumbled, adding a messy splash of cream to her coffee and mentally refusing to clean up what she’d spilled. “Where is your father, by the way?”

“A date. Or…a meeting. I don’t know, I’m a child. Or—no.” He set his cup back down on the saucer. “An interview, I think. With that newspaper woman who’s always sniffing around here. The pretty one.”

Fucking Vicki… “What could she possibly have to interview him about?”

Damian shrugged. “My father is a very important man, Kyle. A handsome one too. And rich. Can’t forget rich. Why don’t you figure it out?”

Selina pursed her lips, convincing herself it would be in bad taste to tell a child to shut up. Even if this particular child was a spectacular asshole. Instead, she wordlessly flicked on the small TV in the kitchen, electing to watch her news rather than read it, which she knew Damian was rolling his eyes at.

“—The corgi parade will be taking place this Friday, so make sure to get downtown early and save yourself some sidewalk space.”

“What—um.” Damian cleared his throat. “What time did they say that was on Friday?”

“They didn—,”

“—but in the meantime, more information on those photos that surfaced earlier this morning. At 4:28am, this station received a package containing a series of photographs that appear to have been taken down at the docks…”

A blurry photo replaced the image of the newscaster on screen.

“Our analysts were able to blow up the photo and have determined with some confidence that the male figure you see there is the infamous Joker, beside him, Harley Quinn…”

Selina nearly dropped her mug.

“—however, what is being offloaded from the vessel is still a mystery. Whatever it is, seems J—,”

She shut the TV off, not wanting to look at that image for even one more second.

“Fuck.” She dumped her coffee in the sink. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

“Have you no shame?!” Damian caviled. “I’m 10!”

Selina could only shake her head, setting her now empty mug down on the counter with some force. “Goddamn it, Harley. Damian,” she spoke up.

“Yes?” he sounded annoyed.

“Do you have ice cream in the freezer?”

Damian narrowed his eyes critically at her. “Yes…” and then, more cautiously, “why?”

Selina arrived at Ivy’s house, carton of ice cream in hand, 30 minutes later.

Typically, she would just let herself in, but she knew how Ivy hated that. So, instead, Selina elected to knock, airing on the side of respect as it was a safe bet Ivy was upset.

There was no answer, even after 6 knocks and two rings of the doorbell.

Selina frowned, peering through the garage window to make sure Ivy’s car was there…

It was.

That’s when she fished her keys out of her pocket, fitting the copy she’d made of Ivy’s key into the lock and slowly turning the handle.

“Ivy?”

The house was dark, despite the hour. All the shutters closed, the curtains pulled over the windows.

That’s not good…

“Pamela?”

Maybe she’s in the greenhouse?

Selina’s thoughts were interrupted by what sounded like a television, one of those stupid cartoons Harley liked to watch. But Harley wasn’t here…was she?

She walked faster towards the sound—towards the living room.

“Hello? Is anybody home?”

Selina rounded the corner not to find Harley watching cartoons, but Ivy. She was sitting on the couch, her posture poor, sinking into the cushions, and rather than employing any piece of her typically revealing wardrobe, she was completely naked.

Her skin was a pale green, like she hadn’t seen the sun in a few days, and even from where Selina was standing, she could tell she was dehydrated—her lips chapped, the skin on her face stretched too tight over her sharp cheek bones…

“Ivy,” Selina said, making her presence known once more. “Pamela, honey, what are you doing?”

The redhead blinked like she’d been awoken from a trance, her eyes slightly out of focus as she gazed up at Selina. “She left me.”

Selina nodded. “Yes…I saw her on the news.”

“With Joker?” Ivy’s voice sounded broken.

Again, Selina nodded. “I’ll be right back, OK? I’m going to put this in the freezer and open some windows. You need sunlight, Ivy. And water.”

“I’m not thirsty,” she mumbled, turning back to the TV.

“No.” Selina stepped in and grabbed the remote, shutting off the TV. “You are thirsty, Pamela. I can literally see it. Just…stay here, OK?”

…that didn’t seem like it would be a problem.

Selina jogged to the kitchen, opening windows as she went, tossing the ice cream in the freezer when she arrived and filling up a gallon jug of water. “Here.” She held it out to Ivy upon her return.

“Thank you,” the redhead mumbled, taking a sip.

“Nuh-uh,” Selina scolded.

…a gulp.

“Did you two get in a fight?” Selina wondered after Ivy had half of the gallon down the hatch.

“No.” Tears gathered in Ivy’s green eyes. “We…she asked if we could make love, and it was,” she sniffed, “the most wonderful—she told me she loved me, and she cried and I held her…in the morning, she was gone.” Ivy took another long swig of water.

Selina was honestly surprised Ivy felt comfortable saying all that. In the past, they hadn’t exactly been open about their personal relationships, but Selina supposed this was a testament to just how broken up Ivy was over the whole thing. That’s what she looked like—broken. Her spirit depleted. Selina’s shoulders felt heavy at the sight. Ivy had tried so hard this time. Tried so hard to love and be loved.

She sat down next to her on the couch, placing a comforting hand on her leg as the tears began to stream down Ivy’s face.

“I let her see—I showed her Pamela, why would she—if she loves me, why would she leave without even saying goodbye?” it wasn’t a rhetorical question, she seemed to actually want an answer. “She left a note, Selina. After everything, after California and dinner and—she left a note.”

“I don’t know why she did that,” Selina murmured, reaching out to tuck Ivy’s hair behind her ear before it was dampened with tears. “But it was very cruel of her. Have you tried calling?”

Ivy blushed a darker shade of green, though this was out of embarrassment, Selina could tell.

“How many times?”

Ivy didn’t seem to want to answer that.

“Texts too?”

“She never replies.” Ivy wiped her eyes. “I can see that she reads them, but she ever replies.”

Jesus, welcome to 21st century relationships, Pamela. “Can I read them?” Selina asked, softly.

“Why?” Ivy laughed, though the sound was humorless. “So you can laugh at my obvious desperation? How the mighty have fallen, right?”

“No…” Selina smiled kindly, gently twisting a piece of Ivy’s hair around her finger. “So I can know how much ice cream to scoop you.”

With shaking hands and still wearing her shameful blush, Ivy handed her phone over, staring down into her lap as Selina read.

I hate you so much for leaving me alone, but I love you too much to mean it. Come home and all will be forgiven, I promise. I just want to hold you in my arms again.

Please, Darling, if it’s something I did…

I want you safe, and you’re not safe with him, Harley. I know that. He’ll hurt you again. He always does.

Just tell me if you’re OK

Please answer my call, I want to hear your voice.

Selina locked the phone after that, ignoring the last two messages. Those had been sent late at night and while skimming, the words “tongue” and “fingers” had jumped out at her. Selina decided those didn’t require a thorough reading. She got the gist.

Ivy’s whole body was shaking when Selina retuned the phone to her. “What if she never really loved me?”

“Ivy—Pamela, look at me.” She waited until the redhead obeyed. “Of course Harley loves you. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. She’s head over heels for you, but she’s sick, honey, you know that.”

“Bullshit,” Ivy whispered. “You heard her at dinner. It’s all bullshit, Selina.”

“We don’t know what it is, Pamela,” Selina murmured, stroking Ivy’s soft cheek. “All I know is that she loves you, and she left you, and you’re heartbroken.”

Ivy was quiet for a long moment, the silence of the house seeping into the crevices of their conversation. “Why does nobody choose me?” she finally wondered, blinking up at Selina with big green eyes.

There was nothing for Selina to say. No adequate response. No explanation Selina could come up with right then and there. Maybe there was no explanation at all. Maybe Pamela set herself up for failure with the people she chose. But how could Selina say that when she clearly loved Harley so much? When she still decorated her house with photos of her first love? How could Selina say those people hadn’t been right for her?

Then again, nobody really chose Selina either. She had an intimate understanding of what Ivy was feeling. The realization that when push came to shove, all the people she loved had people in their lives that they loved more.

That’s why it’s better to run away. You’re a challenge as long as they’re chasing. But once they catch up, you’re an achievement.

“Ivy…” Selina gently guided her chin upwards, watching another tear drip down her cheek. “When I kiss you…am I going to be OK?”

Ivy’s gaze flitted from Selina’s own green eyes to her lips, where they lingered for a moment. She hesitated, breathing in and out through her nose, her nostrils flaring just slightly. Then she nodded, allowing her eyelids to flutter shut.

Selina slid both of her hands gently up Ivy’s shoulders, cupping her face before bringing their lips together in a kiss so soft it didn’t feel real for a moment.

“Take your shirt off,” Ivy murmured, without breaking the kiss, her voice rumbling against Selina’s lips.

After a deep, contemplative breath, Selina obeyed, pulling her sweater overhead and setting it aside. That was when Ivy pushed her backwards into the couch’s soft cushions and crawled on top of her, lips already working in a wet line back up her chest.

“Ivy, w—.” Selina was cut off by Ivy’s searing kiss, this one much hungrier than the last. Her body seemed to react for her, hands trailing up Ivy’s bare back and tangling in her red hair of their own accord. “Ivy,” she finally forced out once Ivy’s tongue retreat from her mouth. “This isn’t—I don’t think this is what you want…”

The redhead’s fingers slowed where they were attempting to unclasp Selina’s bra. “Oh, no?”

“No,” Selina smirked, wrapping an arm around Ivy’s lower back and pulling them flush, rolling in one smooth movement so the metahuman ended up beneath her. “Let me take care of you…” she gently brushed the hair out of Ivy’s face, leaning down to kiss her slowly. “Let go.”

/

They were sorta in between bases at the moment, having taken shelter in an abandoned saw mill. It hadn’t been too hard to find the Joker’s gang, although it had been awhile since Harley’d seen them. Mistah J had a habit of making is whereabouts well known.

And she’d been welcomed back with open arms. Or rather, a grunt from the new henchmen, whose names she didn’t care to learn, and a brusque, “Where have you been?” from Mistah J. She’d opened her mouth to explain, only to feel the words catch in her throat. Her vacation with Ivy felt…private, somehow.

She wasn’t used to keepin’ secrets from Mistah J.

“Had to lay low after the escape, Puddin’,” she’d explained. “Didn’t wanna have a run-in with Batsy.”

Mistah J had grunted, satisfied with the answer, and gone about his business, leaving Harley to sleep alone in their bed that night. She curled underneath the single sheet, trying to fluff the ratty pillow and forget the softness of Ivy’s bed. The warmth of her body. The smell of her skin and hair.

She missed Ivy.

But already, being here, being back home…The glow of the trip was beginning to fade, the cold familiarity of Gotham seeping back into her bones. Pulling the sheets over her head, Harley slipped her cell phone out of her pajama pocket, unlocking the screen to scroll through her camera roll. She didn’t get very far before a message came in, her heart skipping a beat when she saw the ID.

Red.

I miss you…

Another came a few moments later.

Please, Darling, come home.

Harley stared at her screen, fighting the sudden tightness in her throat and chest, blinking back the wetness stinging her eyes.

Pammy always called her that, called her Darling. No single word had ever made her feel so…loved, so deeply cared for.

Another message came in not long after the previous.

I hate you so much for leaving me alone, but I love you too much to mean it. Come home and all will be forgiven, I promise. I just want to hold you in my arms again.

Pammy…

Harley nearly choked on the pain in her chest. She could practically feel Ivy’s arms around her again. Cradling her, strong and soft. Making her feel so secure and warm. Cocooned in blankets and pillows and a tangle of limbs and red hair.

The last night they’d spent together had made it clear to her—Harleen could fall in love with Pamela. She had fallen in love with Pamela. But she wasn’t Harleen anymore. Harleen was gone, and g—good riddance. And Harley had Mistah J. He was her love.

Carefully, unsure of what she was going to say, Harley began typing.

I’m sorry I couldn’t

She heard the door of the bedroom swing open then and Mistah J stood in the doorway, wearing nothing but his striped boxers. Harley sat up, slipping the phone underneath her pillow as Mistah J sauntered toward the bed.

“You’ve been away for too long, Harley girl,” he sneered, leering at her from the end of the bed. “Daddy’s missed you.”

Harley offered a grin, but no words. They were still caught in a painful lump in her chest.

“Roll over,” he commanded, crawling onto the bed.

And Harley did.

/

“God, what a terrible idea,” Selina laughed.

“What?” Ivy wondered, letting her fingers dance across Selina’s chest. “I didn’t think it was so terrible.”

“And that’s the problem,” Selina looked down at where Ivy was resting against her. “Now that I know what you can do with that mouth of yours…ruins like half of my material.”

“Oh, because I’m actually as proficient as I say I am?” Ivy giggled.

“Yes.” Selina kissed her forehead. “That.”

Ivy moved upwards, nuzzling into Selina’s neck now. “Well, I’m sorry to cripple your comedy routine.”

“You should be. I’m salty.”

“Yes…” Ivy chuckled, fingers trailing down to where Selina was still wet. “You are…”

“Knock it off.” Selina stopped her hand, holding it in her own.

They allowed their smiles to fade, their breathing to grow deep and rhythmic, synchronized in the otherwise silent house. Peaceful.

“In another life, Pamela,” Selina murmured. “I would never leave you.”

“I know,” Ivy whispered against her skin. “But stay with me now. Today….just for a little while.”

Selina nodded subtly, allowing her eyes to slip closed.

She knew she shouldn’t feel guilty for this. She and Bruce…they had an understanding. Selina was one of many, she knew that. It had never bothered her all that much. They both needed their space, needed other outlets…

“I’m jealous of Talia because she has something that will always bind her to Bruce in a way that I can’t replicate.” Selina said suddenly, the words flowing out before she could stop them.

Ivy allowed that to go unacknowledged for a moment before finally breathing a simple, “I know,” into her neck. “But Bruce will never choose Talia, Selina. Your competition is Batman.”

“What?”

“I hope he someday loves you more than he resents the darkness inside himself.”

Selina’s breath hitched. “How did you—,”

“We can go back to pretending I don’t, if you’d like.”

/

The texts kept coming. As did the calls…They varied in frequency and rarely did Harley miss one, but still she never answered.

She couldn’t.

And not totally for lack of trying. She knew Mistah J wouldn’t be happy to find out where she’d really been the past two weeks, and even less happy to know she and Ivy were still in contact. Hiding the phone from him had proved to be a full time job.

But it was becoming increasingly difficult not to at least send Ivy an apology when she received the more desperate messages:

Please, Darling, if it’s something I did…

I want you safe, and you’re not safe with him, Harley. I know that. He’ll hurt you again. He always does.

Just tell me if you’re OK

Please answer my call, I want to hear your voice.

Soon followed by the ones that made Harley ache for the intimacy Ivy had given her. Those came late at night, and Harley always had to check them tented underneath the covers, careful to make sure Mistah J’s deep snores meant he was fast asleep.

I miss the feeling of your lips against my neck. Your hands traveling along my body. Because you’re the only one who knows where to go.

Harley bit her lip, eyes sliding shut as her mind traveled back to the hotel room, the beach, the car…She hadn’t been touched in the way Ivy had touched her since returning from the trip, and it made her stomach hurt to know Ivy still thought of it, still missed it, too.

I want you here, under these blankets, pressing against me. I want to taste you on my tongue, feel you underneath my fingertips. Come home…

For as well as she did hiding the phone for nearly a week, it wasn’t long before Harley slipped up. She’d been up late, scrolling over and over through Ivy’s texts, through the pictures in her camera roll, when Mistah J had called her and the gang to attention, his scream ricocheting around the saw mills old walls.

Stuffing the phone underneath her pillow, Harley bolted out of bed and scrambled to join the others downstairs while Mistah J barked instructions at them for their latest heist. Saluting along with the gang when Joker had finished, Harley hurried back upstairs, throwing on her jester outfit and reaching underneath her pillow for the phone, preparing to set it in its true hiding place—beneath a loose floorboard—when another text came in.

Hesitating, she glanced over her shoulder at the door before daring to read it.

I love you, Harleen.

Harley stared at the screen, her thumbs poised above the keyboard, trembling. She had to answer, had to. If nothing more than to put Ivy at ease, to let her know her messages had meant something, that the vacation had—

The door swung open and Mistah J stomped in.

“Harley! What’s taking you so long? You’re holding up the—,” He paused when he saw the phone in Harley’s hands and the wild fear that froze her face.

“What do you have there, Poo?” he asked, his voice suddenly sweet. Harley didn’t reply, simply looked down at the phone and then back at Joker.

“Give it to Daddy,” he said, taking a step forward, hand held out for the phone. When Harley didn’t move, his smile twisted into a frown and he snatched it roughly from her. “Give it to me!”

Harley cried out as it was wrenched from her hand, and Joker held her at arms-length…though his movements slowed as he scrolled through the texts…the photos…and as Harley watched, his smile began to melt away.

He looked up at her once she tried lunging for the phone again, and lifted a single eyebrow, his smile growing back to replace the one he’d lost, crawling slowly over his thin lips.

“Somebody’s been a naughty girl, lately, Harl,” he loosed a wispy chuckle. “Shacking up with Pammy.”

He continued to swipe, ignoring Harley’s attempts to snatch the phone back “Who knew the prickly cunt could be so…sappy.” He chuckled at his own pun. “Aww, Harley. ‘Red’ loooves you. Can you imagine? Someone? Wanting you?”

Harley just gaped at him. He didn’t want her? Seemingly unaware of her expression, Joker turned the phone around so that she could see the picture of her and Ivy kissing in the convertible.

“Funny,” he growled. “This doesn’t look like Batman.”

Joker locked the phone, lowering it to his side and locking gazes with Harley as he dropped it and crushed it beneath the heel of his boot.

“You know I don’t like sharing, Harley.” His voice was low, dark eyes glittering dangerously. They reminded Harley of a snake about to strike.

And she wasn’t far off.

“Let’s remind Pammy what’s mine.”

His open palm caught her cheek first. And while she was dazed from the first blow, she caught his fist in her gut. And then she was on the floor, raising her arms in a weak attempt to defend herself while he aimed kicks at her stomach, ribs, legs, head—catching her a few times in the temple so hard she saw stars.

Curling inward on herself, Harley went limp, waiting for it to be over, when suddenly he hoisted her up by the back of her uniform and pushed her up against the wall, her head creating a crater where it slammed into the drywall.

Wonder what a concussion feels like…Was the vaguely lucid thought that passed through her head as Joker pressed into her, his forearm cutting off her air supply.

“Think I’ve made my point clear?” he snarled, waiting for a response Harley couldn’t give him.

“Y-y—e—,” she tried, choking when he pressed harder.

“Can’t hear you, Harl.”

It took her a good minute to force out a ‘yes, Mistah J’ with his arm digging mercilessly into her throat.

“That’s better.” With the hand that wasn’t currently busy crushing her windpipe, Joker reached for the clasp on his belt, undoing it and his zipper in two swift movements. He pressed against her then, breath hot in her ear as he ground his hips into hers.

“Feel that, Harl?” He, again, waited for an answer she couldn’t give. “Nothing. Nothing at all.” He bumped his hips against hers once again, and Harley could feel flaccid flesh.

“You want to know why?” His yellowed teeth scraped her lobe. “Because you disgust me.”

As soon as he let her go, she collapsed into a trembling mess on the floor, coughing, gasping for air.

“Come along,” Joker intoned, calmly zipping his pants and straightening his pinstriped suit. “We can’t keep the boys waiting.”

He swept out of the room, leaving Harley on the floor. Her eyes fell on the crushed remains of the phone, and hot tears unrelated to the beating filled her eyes.

He hates you. You disgust him. This is all your fault.

Picking herself up, Harley kicked the phone aside and closed the door behind her without a single glance back.

/

Ivy stood in the doorway, her skin paled in case of any curious neighbors. Selina was on the front porch, dark hair illuminated beneath the porch light. But despite their distance, they still held hands, Ivy’s gaze aimed intently at her feet, Selina’s on their joined hands.

“Pamela…I’m going to leave now.”

Ivy nodded silently.

“And it’s not because I don’t love you,” Selina clarified. “I do love you, Ivy. And I’m coming back. But us cry-fucking like a couple of sadsacks isn’t helping anyone.”

“I know,” Ivy acknowledged.

Selina squeezed her hand as she continued. “We belong to different people. And yours is a goddamn mess.”

“So is yours,” Ivy said it with a smirk.

“Right,” Selina used her other hand to raise Ivy’s chin once more. “But mine isn’t actively killing himself.”

They stood in the light of the porch lamp for a moment, just looking at each other. Ultimately, it was Ivy who broke the silence. “Let’s never do this again.”

“Uh-uh-uh,” Selina released her hand, wagging a finger. “You owe me a pity fuck.”

“Fine.” Ivy bit her lip to contain her smile. “Call me.”

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Chapter Text

Here's my story, it's sad but true
It's about a girl that I once knew
She took my love then ran around
With every single guy in town…

Ivy tapped her foot along with the music, though she was careful not to jostle the vial she was holding.

Yeah I should have known it from the very start
This girl will leave me with a broken heart…

With a steady hand, she extracted the liquid into a glass dropper, measuring carefully. An overdose would mean having to trap another bee, which had been a truly exhausting process. Honestly, genetically engineering one likely would have been quicker.

Now listen people what I'm telling you
I’d keep away from a Runaround Sue…

Being able to control bees seemed like a natural extension of her powers to Ivy. If she can control plants, why not also control pollination?

I might miss her lips and the smile on her face
The touch of her hair and this girl's warm embrace…

This was a queen. She’d stolen it and her hive from a farm just outside the city. Once she submerged it in the control toxin she’d derived from the version she used on human males, this hive and any descendants would bend to her every whim.

So if you don't want to cry like I do
I’d keep away from-a Runaround Sue…

Harley had been gone for a week, Selina for three days now. Reminding herself that she was Poison Ivy had proven helpful. She had power, Selina had helped return her to that mindset—that power and her purpose were more important than any romantic relationship she was involved in. Harley would eventually come crawling back, bruised and broken, Ivy was sure of it. And then, of course, Pamela would have to decide whether or not to take her back. She truly wondered if she had the strength to turn her away…at night all she thought of was Harley’s body pressed against hers…of her smell and her beautiful face…she wanted Harley back more than anything, but she wished she wasn’t so weak for her attention.

Shaking her head and returning to the task at hand, Ivy dropped enough of the green liquid onto the incapacitated bee to coat its fuzzy body. The bee twitched and squirmed, but appeared to still be living.

Satisfied, Ivy lifted the bee from the petri dish with gloved hands, humming along to the music now as she opened the greenhouse door to the backyard where she’d placed the hive, and gently placing the queen back in her home, ignoring the angry bees that swarmed around her.

It was nearly 4 in the afternoon, the air was crisp and the sky was clear, though she could feel the shiver that dusk brought with it. It was supposed to snow that week, but of course it didn’t. Even the weather in Gotham was defiant.

Ivy wished she could curl up with Harley on the couch, listen to her yammer on about whatever topic decided to occupy her mind that day, and just be silent. Still. Let her mind go quiet.

But, of course, Harley wasn’t here.

Pamela shut the record player off, carefully returning the record to its sleeve, and closed the door to the greenhouse, heading back into the house to wait for the effects of her toxin to spread throughout the hive.

With a sigh, she put a teakettle on the stove, deciding perhaps she’d feel less cold watering the plants in her front yard with a hot mug of tea in her hand.

Once it was brewed, she pulled an extra sweater on and stepped out the front door onto her porch. Across the street, an old woman was doing much the same thing, though she was bundled up on a rocking chair, staring at Pamela from where she sat.

Ivy watched the woman for a moment, her eyes narrowing and then quickly flitting to her hand to make sure she’d remembered to pale her skin.

She had.

“So, I see you’re back with the brunette,” the woman finally spoke up, surprising Ivy.

“I’m sorry?” she called across the street.

“I saw the blonde slip out early the other morning,” the woman remarked, taking a sip of whatever steaming liquid was in her cup. “I had half a mind to yell at her. I knew you’d be heartbroken.”

Pam blinked, honestly confused as to what was going on. She’d lived in this house for years and never once interacted with a neighbor.

“Come over here,” the woman beckoned her with a wave of her arm. “I’ve got apple cider. Do you like apple cider?”

“I—,”

“Oh, come now, Darling,” she chuckled. “I won’t bite.”

Ivy hesitated on her porch, shifting from foot to foot.

She’s an old woman, Pamela. Worst case scenario, she knows your secret and you kill her.

With a quiet huff of annoyance, Ivy crossed the street, stepping carefully around the woman’s numerous garden gnomes on the way to her porch. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“No…but I know you.” The woman smiled up at her, brown eyes warm and soft—nonthreatening. “You’re the reason I canceled my cable. Why pay to watch on a television screen when there’s a real life Three’s Company playing out right across my street?”

“I’m—Three’s Company?” Pamela raised an eyebrow. “I’m not familiar.”

“Oh, of course you’re not. Much too young.”

Pamela doubted there was anything she was too young for, but more often than not she had to be reminded that’s not what it looked like.

“I always liked the brunette,” the woman continued without waiting for Pam to answer. “Seems very glamorous. But the blonde has the most wonderful smile…I can see why you fell for her. Quite the exuberant young woman. So…” she took another sip of her cider. “Why did she leave you this time?—and don’t worry, sweetheart, I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just very bored and your life is clearly more interesting than mine ever was.”

Pamela cleared her throat, not sure why she was actually going to answer. “There’s a man…”

“Ugh,” the woman scoffed, shaking her head. “Men ruin everything.”

Ivy’s lips quirked into a smile at that. “They certainly do, don’t they?”

“Yes, here, come sit down.” She nodded towards the empty chair beside her. “I’m Lillian. Meant to properly introduce myself ages ago, but you always seem busy.”

Pam chuckled. “Is that truly your name?”

“It is.”

“That was my Mother’s name.” Pam smiled.

“Well, it’s an awfully common name, Love,” Lillian laughed. “But my condolences for your Mother. How long ago did she pass?”

“Oh, a long time ago.” Ivy took a seat as instructed.

“Were you terribly young?”

“Yes…” Pam lied. Though, in comparison to how old she was now, she supposed that was still an accurate statement. “She was strangled in her sleep, if you can believe it.”

Lillian’s eyes widened. “Goodness! Your life is interesting.”

Pam simply took a sip of her tea as response.

“So both of your women run back to men…” Lillian observed, changing the subject. “I saw the brunette had the audacity to bring hers here while you were away with the blonde. The little scamp.”

Ivy chuckled. “The brunette was never my woman. Always his.”

Lillian shook her head. “Nonsense. There’s something between you two. A bond. I can see it.”

“I’m Pamela,” Ivy told her, rather than respond to that.

Lillian laughed out loud. “Pamela? I wasn’t aware people were still naming their children Pamela.”

They’re not.

“I had a bet going with my bridge club that your name was Felicity,” she told her. “We named the blonde Charlie and the brunette Celine.”

“Harley and Selina,” Pam revealed. “You were very close.”

“Ah!” Lillian clapped her hands together excitedly. “Well, the man Selina brought around was plenty handsome, but he can hardly compare to you, Dear. I’ve never been with a woman in my life, but I wouldn’t even consider kicking you out of bed.”

Pam laughed. “Well, I’m flattered, thank you, Lillian.”

“What I wouldn’t give to look like you again,” Lillian sighed. “Not that I ever looked like you. No, I was never very glamorous. Rather plain, really. Though much better looking than my sister. Aged better, too,” she laughed.

“And how old are you, Lillian?” Pam wondered, a smile playing softly on her lips.

“75,” she smiled back. “Though I don’t feel a day over 83. Born in 1942. I’m sure you’ve only read about that in history books.”

No, I was there. Born in the spring…

Pam watched Lillian silently for a moment, allowed her eyes to drift over her shaking hands, her wrinkled face…a mirror-image from a different universe.

“Perhaps the problem is I fell in love with a child,” Pam commented. “Maybe they leave because they’re children, and that’s what children do.”

Lillian looked a bit confused by that, though she didn’t say anything, not immediately. “Your flowers bloom when they come,” she observed, nodding over to Ivy’s yard.

“They like to see me happy,” Ivy murmured.

/

Harley's hands fisted the rough sheets. She bit her lip until she tasted blood as Joker moved on top of her, his hands braced on either side of her head, his rapid thrusts sending twinges of pain through Harley’s body. He hadn’t exactly been patient in preparin’ her, tossing her rather unceremoniously onto the bed before crawling on top of her. But at least, Harley thought, he wanted her again. After the debacle with the phone, and what he’d said…The agony, the sick roiling in her gut…it had been far more painful than this.

He grunted as he finished and rolled off her, flopping onto his back and smiling up at the ceiling. Harley seized the opportunity to wiggle across the mattress and curl into his side. He was always softer after Harley let him have his way with her.

“I have to say, Harl,” he began, draping one arm over her shoulders as she propped her cheek on his thin chest. “You’re always good for a quick fuck.”

A high giggle slipped past his lips and he squeezed her in a way that Harley felt was almost comforting. She sighed, holding onto the feeling of his arm around her, the way his chest rose and fell with each breath. And then suddenly, his cackle broke the silence, nearly startling Harley off him.

“You know what I think?” The question was probably rhetorical, but Harley answered anyway.

“What’s that Puddin?”

“Gotham needs to be reminded who really rules this city. It’s been too long since we’ve had a little fun, don’t you agree?”

Harley nodded rapidly, propping herself on one elbow until she was hovering over him, admiring his grin.

“What’s the plan, Mistah J?”

“Something big, Harl. Something to grab not only snatch Batsy’s attention, but the whole city!” His smile faded into a thoughtful frown. “But first…I think we need a warm up…Something to test the new boys, to get us back on the media’s radar. What say we give the First National a visit? I’m sure they’ve missed our business. Then…I think it’s time we debuted our new toy.”

This time, when he laughed, Harley’s mingled with his own.

/

Pamela sat with Lillian for over an hour. The woman had a lot of questions about her and her life—love life, mostly. It was odd to speak with someone her own age. Though Pamela had never been allowed to age, not really, anyway, physically or emotionally, it seemed. Still, though, Lillian had seen all the things that Pamela had. Had known all the strife and injustice that Pamela had been raised with. It was strangely comforting to sit with someone who understood just as intimately how terrible the world once was. Who understood how far humans had come.

Ivy departed after promising to bring Lillian some cherries from her tree. Lillian evidently liked to bake, and was in awe that Pamela’s cherry tree was somehow still ripe with fruit.

With a smile on her face—the first organic one since Selina left—Ivy crossed the street back to her own house, finally watering her plants on the front lawn. They thanked her, and she stepped inside, shutting the door behind her and stripping off one of her sweaters.

It was nearly 6 now, and Harley and Selina had lulled her into the routine of watching the news every night. So, she turned the TV on before checking on the bees, standing in front of the couch rather than sitting, determined to only catch the headlines.

“Good evening, Gotham, this is Summer Gleeson reporting to you live from the channel 8 newsroom.”

Ivy rolled her eyes at how important Gleeson seemed to think she was after being promoted to anchor.

“We start tonight with the report of a deadly downtown bank robbery. The Joker and his gang—,”

Ivy had to use all her willpower not to immediately shut it off at those words.

“—infiltrated Gotham’s First National Bank, killing a guard and a hostage when things began to go sour. The names of the victims have yet to be released. But it seems those innocent bystanders were not the only victims of violence this afternoon. This shocking video was taken as the assailants exited the bank—,” the screen split to run a video beside Summer’s face. “That’s Harleen Quinzel—better known as Harley Quinn—Joker’s former psychiatrist and presumed lover, being dragged out of the bank by none other than The Joker himself.”

Ivy watched in horror as the video played. Joker ripped her hood off before kicking the door open, wielding a machine gun in one hand, and dragging Harley by her pigtail with the other. Harley was screaming in pain, her legs kicking on the ground behind her.

Joker looked straight at the camera when a police officer pointed a gun at him.

“Would America like to watch me blow my whore’s brains out?” he cackled, a wide grin grotesquely contorting his face. “It’s must-see television!”

The camera shook when an explosion rang out, and eventually fell to the ground, where it filmed the pavement as heavy boots ran by.

The video downsized, and Summer was once again alone on screen. “No one was killed as a result of the explosion, but 8 people sustained injuries that left them in the hospital. Joker and his gang escaped, but GCPD is currently on the case. If you have any information as to—,”

Ivy shut the television off, her heart beating fast in her chest, tears welling up in her eyes and anger boiling in her stomach.

That man was so vile, so unspeakably repulsive, and he’d put his hands all over her beautiful Harley. Called her a whore on live television.

Ivy was distracted from her thoughts when her cellphone vibrated on the counter thanks to a text message.

Selina: did you see the news?

Yes. She quickly replied.

Selina: we have to find him, Ivy.

I know.

/

Harley’s neck was still sore from how quickly Mistah J had ripped the cowl off her head. And she was fairly certain she was missing a patch of hair now. But they were safely back at the base, mission completed, and Mistah J was dancing around the room like a kid on Christmas, giggling gleefully.

“We did it, boys!” he crowed, grabbing Harley’s hands and twirling her around the room with him. “Gotham’s had a rude awakening. Nobody forgets what the Joker’s capable of. Nobody.”

“Way to show ‘em who’s boss, Mister J,” Lenny rumbled from his seat at the dining table, where he sat counting the cash they’d stolen.

“Gotham ain’t gonna forget anytime soon,” Jerry agreed.

“Oh, but we’re not done yet,” Joker sneered, releasing Harley and planting his hands on the table, leaning in as if he were about to reveal a secret. “We’re just getting started. After all, Gotham isn’t the only bitch who forgot who her master was.”

Jerry, Lenny and Barry exchanged nervous glances, while Harley’s stomach tied itself into knots as Joker spun around, throwing his arms out as he paced. “I’m a man of simple tastes, boys. I like dynamite, gunpowder, gasoline...Uranium.” He turned to face Harley and the men again. “Do you know what all of these things have in common?”

“What’s that, Puddin’?” Harley played along.

“Well, Darling,” he sneered, putting extra emphasis on the term of endearment. “This place is stuffed full of them…and all are extreeemely harmful to the planet your dyke has such a hard-on for.”

Harley wanted to smile along with him, but she could feel her expression sinking. “Wh—what’d’ya mean, Mistah J?”

“I mean…” Joker stepped forward, taking her by her by the hand and twirling her until she bumped against his chest, where he kept her with a firm arm around her waist. “When this city goes kaboom, it’ll be a while before anything grows back.”

“We’re gonna…blow up the city?” Lenny clarified.

Joker let Harley go, clapping his hands as he chuckled. “That’s right. I’d like to see the Bat and his child army try and put a stop to a hydrogen bomb, wouldn’t you?”

“But why?” Jerry made the mistake of asking.

Joker’s smile fell and he drew a small pistol from his belt. “Because it’ll be quite the laugh. As will this.”

The bang startled the entire gang out of their seats as Jerry’s body slumped to the floor, blood pooling around his head. Harley pushed his body aside with her toe when the blood threatened to stain her costume.

“What are you two waiting for?” Joker hissed. “Bring me the package!”

He grinned as Lenny and Barry scrambled to their feet, tripping over themselves as they made a beeline for the door.

“Think we can trust ‘em?” Harley asked.

“Trust is a strong word, Harl,” Joker replied, making his way to a small monitor in the corner of the room. “They’re dumb as rocks, but loyal…or scared. Mostly scared.” He chuckled. “I trust they can carry the bomb from point a to point b. And if we go kabloowey prematurely?” his chuckle turned maniacal. “It’s not like we had much to live for anyway.”

“Ya really wanna take out all of Gotham?” Harley questioned, following him to the monitor, where he was busy plugging wires into different sockets.

“I don’t see why we need it,” Joker replied nonchalantly, tongue sticking between his lips. “Gotham likes to think it’s a city that isn’t bleeding on the inside. That it isn’t poisoned and rotting. You’ll see, my dear. I’ll show you, that when the chips are down, these civilized people will eat each other alive.”

“But, um,” Harley cleared her throat. “You mentioned Poison Ivy. What’s she got to do with all this?”

His lips twitched into a sly smile. “Why, she’s the guest of honor, Harl. This is all for her! Our little nuisance…the thorn in our side…We can’t have anyone keeping us apart, now can we?”

“No—never, Puddin’,” Harley quickly assured him. “It’s me n’ you til the end. I promise.”

“Good.” Satisfied with the camera, he turned around to face her. “People will die. I’m a man of my word.” He gave her a wink. “And I’ll need your help.”

“Me?” Harley almost couldn’t believe the words. He was watching her with such pride in those dark eyes.

He needed her.

“Certainly! I need someone to strike the match that sends this city up in flames,” he explained with a chuckle. “And who better than you? The only person who’s ever been on my side. The only one that understands me.”

Harley’s grin was so wide it hurt her cheeks. She was clinging to him a moment later, ignoring his attempts to put some distance between them.

It wasn’t long before the boys had the bomb up on the abandon’s saw mill’s main floor.

Once his prop was in frame, Joker used the camera to broadcast his demands to the screens all the way in Gotham Square.

“Good evening, Gotham!” he crooned, dancing backwards to reveal the bomb behind him. Harley took her place beside him, her wicked grin matching his. “If you had fun at the First National fiasco, I’m sure you’ll enjoy our second gift!”

He held his arms out to display the bomb. “We’ve worked long and hard on this one. Planning a perfect shindig for all of you lovely people. It’s bound to be a blast.”

He hooted with laughter and handed a match to Harley, who struck it and held it beside the bomb, lighting an imaginary string, while Joker displayed the real detonator in his hand. He shook it tauntingly at the screen. “I’ll give it to you straight, since I’m done pussy-footing around with you degenerates. You’ve got 12 hours before me and my atomic blonde blow this place to kingdom come. Enjoy Gotham City while it lasts! I hear the park is lovely this time of year. Oh, and before you ask, Commish, my only demand is that you keep your sweet daughter out of harm’s way, like any decent, wealthy father would. To those who can’t afford to get the heck outta dodge, too bad so sad! Nobody cares about you anyway. Toodle-Ooh!”

Joker switched off the monitor and held out the detonator for Harley, who cradled it against her chest. “The safe room is prepped, but we have to wait for our guests.” He grinned. “I hope they won’t be late!”

/

“—I’m just saying there’s some room for improvement…with oral, specifically.”

“Selina, what are you talking about?” Bruce demanded. “We’ve been doing this for—what? 8 years now? I’ve never once heard you complain about my oral technique.”

“I didn’t say you were bad!” Selina reminded him, and rather forcefully. “We all have areas to improve, Bruce. You don’t have to take it so personally.”

Selina could see his jaw tighten where it was visible below his cowl. “Whatever,” he muttered sourly. “Why is Ivy late to a meeting she called?”

“She’s always fashionably late,” Selina told him. “It’s sexy.”

“I don’t see how a blatant disregard for punctuality could be construed as sexy,” Bruce spat, crossing his arms petulantly. “Call me old fashioned.”

Selina rolled her eyes, crossing her arms as well and leaning against the chimney stack at the center of the roof. “I shouldn’t have told you,” she realized after a pregnant pause. “It’s making this weird.”

“This was already weird,” Bruce grumbled.

Selina watched him for a moment, watched how erect he stood. Every muscle in his body clenched tight. “Would you fuck her?” she asked.

“What?”

“Ivy,” Selina clarified. “If she offered, would you fuck her?”

“She would never offer. That’s a ridiculous hypothetical.”

“Bruce.” She fixed him with a meaningful look. “Say she offered, OK? Let’s get ridiculous. Would you fuck her?”

“She’s probably make me,” Bruce glowered, his attention aimed at the city’s skyline. “Will me, with her pheromones.”

“Bruce! Jesus! Yes or no?!”

“Yes! Fine!” Bruce finally exploded. “I’m human, fuck!”

“Well there ya fuckin’ go!” Selina pushed off of the chimney. “I’m human too! I’m just a luckier bastard than you are.”

“Batman is right.”

They both jumped at the sultry voice, whirling around to find Ivy lounging casually atop the brick ledge behind them. “It is a ridiculous hypothetical.”

Bruce was obviously a bit flustered when he said, “You sure took your sweet time getting here. You do know what a nuclear bomb is, don’t you?”

“Mmm…” Ivy cocked her head, squinting slightly. “Hydrogen or atom?”

“I don’t—,”

“Know the difference?” Ivy guessed, interrupting him. “Would you like me to explain it to you?”

“Guys, guys, your dicks are both impressive.” Selina stood between them, assuming the role of mediator. “Ivy’s is adjustable, which is fun, but Batman, yours is an actual dick, so that’s great too. Have I mentioned how much I love being a bisexual?”

“Several times,” Bruce and Ivy said in unison, both sounding equally annoyed at the reminder.

“Then let’s get serious,” Selina concluded.

“It’s disrespectful to show up late,” Bruce gritted. “Tells us you don’t value our time.”

“I sure valued your girlfriend the other night,” Ivy responded coolly.

Selina rolled her eyes. “Pamela, please. We’re all adults here. This isn’t high school.”

Ivy sighed, sliding to her feet with the help of her vines. “Fine. But the way I was raised, it’s far more disrespectful to show up uninvited than late."

Bruce chuckle was void of any humor. “I’m sure your parents were mighty proud of how you maintained decorum while you were murdering them.”

“Oh, I’m sure,” Ivy agreed, her red lips twitching into a wicked smirk. “Didn’t spill a single drop of blood. I’d say that’s rather impressive for a double homicide.”

“OK, hey!” Selina clapped in both of their faces, trying to get the conversation on track. “Joker. Harley. Nuclear bomb. City in peril.”

Batman and Ivy allowed their staring contest to continue for a few more heated moments before evidently calling it a draw, Ivy turning her attention to Selina now. “I specifically instructed you not to bring him, Cat. The moment Joker sees him; this becomes another vomitus battle of male ego.”

“No,” Batman shook his head. “This isn’t like the other times. This isn’t a game. This is a nuclear bomb.”

“Oh, so when he beat your son within an inch of his life? That was all just a game?” Ivy prompted, one eyebrow raised. “Jason, was it? I hear he still has the scars.”

“How did you—,”

“Because I’m not a fucking idiot, Bruce,” Ivy snapped. “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just play a genius on TV. Nor did my PhD come from a porn shoot. How many men does Talia al Ghul have children with? Sons named Damian, specifically. I’d wager only one.”

Bruce’s jaw was clenched so tight; Selina was concerned it might actually snap.

“I have no use for the information,” Ivy assured him with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I’ve already told you that you aren’t my enemy. Batman is but a nuisance, and Wayne Enterprises adheres to all environmental regulations. No need to piss yourself. I won’t be hunting you while you sleep. After all, you have yet to abuse your knowledge of my personal life…”

“Great,” Selina had to interrupt yet again. “Glad we worked all that out. Pamela, your girlfriend is about to blow up the city. Can we talk about that now, please?”

“No,” Ivy shook her head. “This isn’t Harley. This is Joker. There’s too much about this city that she loves. Joker delivers her to a suspended state of reality. We just have to remind her what the stakes really are. Bring her back down to earth.”

Bruce was incredulous. “You really think she’ll listen to reason? That she’ll suddenly turn on Joker? Why?”

“Because I love her, Batman,” Ivy told him, her voice losing its edge for a moment. “With all my heart. And I…have to believe she loves me too.” She reached below the neckline of her leotard, pulling out the locket that Selina recognized from their shopping trip and opening it, showing Bruce the diamond inside.  “Just like she promised me she does.”

“She does love you, Pam,” Selina seemed to be assuring all of them. “I know she does.”

Ivy’s smile wasn’t dangerous this time. It was soft, almost sheepish.

Bruce swallowed before taking a deep, heavy breath. “Me too.”

Ivy shut the locket, tucking it away again and clearing her throat, suddenly insecure under the scrutiny of her companions.

“Then…what are we waiting for?” Selina prompted. “Let’s go save Harley from herself.”

“From Joker,” Ivy was quick to correct.

“And save the city,” Bruce reminded them.

“Right. That too.”

Ivy took Selina by the wrist then, twirling her into her arms and kissing her fiercely. It was a—um—good kiss. The kind you can’t help but return.

Ivy sent a wink in Bruce’s direction after they separated. “For good luck,” she smirked.

Even wearing his cowl, Bruce’s red face was obvious.

Selina chuckled a bit nervously at how his fists clenched. “Relax, you two. There’s more than enough of this pussy to go around.”

Ivy cringed immediately, while Bruce groaned, “God…”

“What?” she looked between them as they walked off. “That was a good one! It’s a pun!”

“Yeah, we know what it was, Selina.” Ivy willed a tree branch to stretch between their rooftop and the next. “Follow me. I know where they are.”

Bruce just shook his head, muttering, “awful,” as he shot his grappling gun at the same building.

Meanwhile, Ivy started at a run, launching off the roof and snatching the branch in midair, using her momentum to swing over the remainder of the gap.

Bruce exited as well, leaving Selina alone on the now empty roof.

“Whatever. Fuck you guys,” Selina mumbled sourly, pulling her whip off of her belt. “I’m hilarious.”

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Chapter Text

“And you’re sure they’re in there?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Ivy’s eyes snapped open and she turned to him. “Because I can literally see them, Bruce. He only has two henchmen, they’re armed near the door, waiting for us, likely.”

“And Joker himself?” Selina asked.

“Main level, near the bomb,” Ivy told her. “Harley is there too.”

Bruce was shaking his head. “This location doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t he choose somewhere downtown? This isn’t even inside city limits. If he was going for maximum damage—,”

“It’s a sawmill,” Ivy cut off his train of thought. “It’s not about the location, it’s about the symbolism. This is for me…” her eyes wandered back to the metal building before them. “It’s all for me.”

“He must have found the phone,” Selina realized. “That’s why Harley hasn’t been responding.”

Ivy nodded gravely, her stomach turning at the realization that Joker likely hurt Harley in reaction to their relationship. She hadn’t meant to get Harley into trouble, she’d just…missed her. But now a beating was the least of their problems. Now they were on the verge of atomic destruction of a major US city. Ivy was positive Harley hadn’t thought of herself as a Helen of Troy in any respect, but Ivy was more than willing to wage war over her, and it seemed she already had—albeit unknowingly, at the time.

“Can you see how the bomb will be triggered?” Batman asked.

Ivy shook herself from her thoughts. “I’m afraid I’m not terribly familiar with the technology,” she admitted, trying not to sound as disappointed with herself as she was.

“That’s fine,” Batman excused her. “But is there a remote detonator in the room?”

Ivy closed her eyes again, allowing The Green to take her inside the room. “Yes…” she finally said. “He’s holding it.”

Bruce lifted his finger to his temple. “You get that, Batgirl?”

“I thought you got your kids out of the city,” Selina sounded upset.

“My kids, yes,” Batman confirmed. “Barbara made it very clear she wasn’t one.”

“Barbara…Gordon?” Ivy raised an eyebrow.

Selina rolled her eyes. “I’m sure you’re relieved.”

“Why would she be relieved?” Bruce asked, his tone cautious.

“She always hoped Batgirl was cute,” Selina chuckled.

Ivy let a smirk slip. “Assuming we make it out of this alive, I can sleep easier at night knowing my assumption was correct.”

Batman again raised his finger to his temple and nodded subtly. “She recommends you focus on saving the girlfriend you have.” He and Barbara had moved on before Ivy could respond. “Can you hack into it remotely?”  

They all waited in silence.

“How much time will you need?”

“That’s fine. Ivy can keep them talking.” Bruce dropped his hand, turning to Ivy and Selina to relay the information. “Batgirl needs 15 minutes within 100 feet of the device to disarm it,” he told them. “We have to play nice up until then. If Joker feels threatened, he’ll pull the trigger.”

Ivy narrowed her eyes when she realized Bruce’s gaze hadn’t strayed from her. “I can play nice,” she insisted. “I know what’s at stake here. I have no interest in taking stupid risks with Harley’s life.”

“Just until Babs shuts the bomb down,” Catwoman placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Then we can fuck him up. Or…whatever you want to do.”

Ivy nodded, the movement delivering a certain finality to the environment, the three of them tensing along with it.  “Are you ready to die for this?”

“For Gotham?” Bruce prompted. “Always.”

“Selina?”

The brunette smiled, her confidence never wavering. “For family.”

For love, Ivy thought, watching Selina pull her goggles down over her eyes, Bruce doing the same with his cowl.

“Lead the way,” Bruce gave her the go-ahead…and Ivy went, jumping out of the ditch and starting across the field before the sawmill, keeping her body low to the ground, the green leaves of her leotard turning a darker shade to camouflage.

Batman and Catwoman followed suit, fanning out to the sides and skirting the field, the three of them moving silently in the near blackness of the night.

Ivy slowed to a stop roughly 100 feet from the structure, kneeling down and pressing her hands into the grass. Her plan had been to use the roots running through the ground to take out Joker’s henchmen before they even saw them. But rather than the roots breaking the ground’s frozen surface, the ground itself erupted, the force of the explosion pushing her onto her back where she was then doused with a strong smelling liquid. One she was all too familiar with.

She cried out in pain as her skin sizzled where the liquid stuck, eating away at the once smooth, green surface like a bacteria.

“Ivy!” Selina’s shout came from somewhere behind her, and there were suddenly arms around her shoulders pulling her backwards, away from where the Arkham-patented vinegar and pesticide mix was still spraying like a geyser up from the ground.

“Seems he was expecting you,” Batman intoned from where he was now looming above her.

“World’s—ah!—Greatest Detective my—fff—ass,” Ivy seethed, struggling to drag herself back up to her feet despite the smell of burning flesh that now hung heavy in the air.

Bruce ignored her. “I suppose there’s no sense in attempting any element of surprise. He knows we’re here.”

“Yeah.” Catwoman nodded over at the charred patches of skin now littering Ivy’s body. “No shit.”

“Then let’s take the front door,” Batman suggested…though it wasn’t really a suggestion at all, as he’d already started walking again.

Selina waited a moment, helping Ivy to steady herself first before asking. “You good?”

Ivy closed her eyes, focusing to heal herself. “I’m going to rip Joker’s spine out of his back.”

“You’re good,” Selina answered her own question, patting Ivy on the back before starting at a jog after Batman, leaving Ivy alone to angrily summon a vine from the now upturned earth, which coiled tightly around her arm.

The laughing started as soon as Batman pushed open the door. It echoed off the walls of the room, meant to sound ominous, but in truth, Ivy was too exhausted with Joker’s schtick to really care.

The venue, though…that made Ivy sick. Half cut logs were strewn about the space, the entire floor was covered in sawdust, a large, seemingly freshly cut round sat near the wall with an axe sticking out of it…the sawmill was a mass grave for Ivy’s people.

While Ivy was preoccupied with the horrifying images that surrounded her, Batman and Catwoman were focused on Joker’s henchmen, the ones pointing their large, automatic weapons at them.

“Ooh, the whole gang’s here!” Joker cackled with delight where he stood beside the bomb, Harley sitting whimsically on top of it, swinging her legs, the two of them wearing matching, unnatural smiles.

“Harley…” Ivy breathed, her heart picking up speed at the sight of her.

“—Batsy even brought his house cat! How wonderful!” Joker was evidently still talking. “You’ll have to forgive me, Princess, I’m fresh out of milk. Might have some Friskies in the back, though.”

Selina’s smile was surprisingly nonthreatening. “That’s kind, Joker. Unfortunately, the sight of you never fails to make me lose my appetite.”

“Me-ow,” the clown grinned in response, facetiously swiping his hand at her. “And Poison Oakey! How unfortunate to see you clothed. I’ve been through Harley’s camera roll so many times I’m sure my forearm nearly doubled in size.”

Ivy was hit with a sudden wave of nausea.

“Let’s talk about the bomb, Joker,” Bruce said after a quick glance over at Ivy. “This isn’t the time for petty insults.”

Joker raised an eyebrow, crossing his bony arms and leaning casually against the bomb’s large metal casing. “Insults are the very thing that got us here, Batman. Don’t discount insults now!” He chuckled. “I haven’t even had my turn yet! So far Burning Bed Farrah Fawcette’s over there have gone unanswered.” He indicated Ivy. “And I simply won’t stand for that.”

Ivy had to force herself to look away from Harley. “I’ve insulted you for years, Joker. You’re the scum of the earth, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never tried to hide my contempt.”

“Yes…but this time, you took something, Doll Face,” Joker sneered, standing upright and approaching her slowly. “Something that belongs to me. Of course, I do partially blame Harley,” he granted. “She forgot her place. Forgot her master…but that won’t happen again. We’ve even updated her wardrobe to make sure of it.”

Harley giggled, her fingers flying up to excitedly stroke the choker necklace she wore. Ivy hadn’t noticed it at first, but upon closer inspection, found it said “Puddin” in metal letters laced through the leather.

“Jesus, Harley…” Selina said before Ivy had the chance.

“What’cha think, Kitty?” Harley asked, toying with the metal.

“I think you—,”

“Catwoman,” Batman silenced her, his tone sharp. “We came to talk to Joker about the bomb. That’s our number one priority.”

Ivy’s voice was hollow when she spoke. Quiet. “Harley, why?”

“What are your demands?” Batman snapped, not giving Harley a chance to respond.

“Oh, I don’t have any of those,” Joker laughed. “The deed’s already been done, Batsy. I hope the Plant Bitch is happy with herself. Hope she got her rocks off. Because…that’s it. Now you all get to live with the consequences. Which, I’m sorry,” he seemed plenty amused with himself. “Doesn’t leave much time for living at all.”

Despite his multiple references to Ivy, he never once looked at her. He did, however, snap his fingers the moment he stopped talking, and one of his goons immediately fired his weapon, hitting Ivy squarely in the chest with something like a water balloon that exploded with the same liquid as before.

She screamed in pain, dropping to her knees as the freshly heeled skin peeled back once more, burning until it charred, a black splotch in a sea of green. Ivy thought, maybe, she saw Harley flinch slightly. Ever so slightly…where she sat atop the bomb. Thought perhaps she could see the faintest tinge of regret etched into her features…though Harley’s makeup was sloppier than usual, red lipstick spread nearly to her ears, the white on her face splotchy, and as a result, it was hard to decipher much of anything about her expression aside from “deranged”.

“You bastard,” Ivy gritted, watching as the hole burned deeper. When her anger ate away at her self-control, Ivy lashed out, suddenly shooting up to her feet, eyes blazing a dangerous, acid green as the vine coiled around her arm leapt forward, uncurling instantaneously and grabbing the weapon from the man who’d shot her.

Selina took that as her cue, snapping her whip at the second man, disarming him, and then using her leg to sweep his feet out from under him.

Ivy allowed her vine to wrap around both their necks, and the two struggled for air, gasping and squirming in the sawdust.

“You were right, Harley,” Joker said with complete indifference. “We can’t trust them.” Then he frowned, finally looking at Ivy, and then Selina. “It’s a shame you two have original thoughts in your head. You’d make great henchgirls. Though, I’d need you to sex up the uniform a bit, Cabbage Patch, the leaves just aren’t doing it for me.”

“As if I’d ever obey you,” Ivy spat. “Or any man.”

“Ooh, careful, Doll,” Joker tsked. “All this chit chat’s gonna get’cha hurt. It’s why I make sure my whores don’t have a mouth on them.” He nodded at Selina where she stood, silently, beside her. “I see Batman chose well.”

Ivy could only look at Harley then, in utter disbelief that she could just sit there…taking this…his words or his fists…

“Ivy…” Batman murmured beside her. “Pamela.” When she didn’t acknowledge him, he nudged her rather forcefully. “You’re killing them.”

The redhead blinked, glancing down at where Joker’s henchmen were fighting to fill their lungs for the final time.

“Let them go.”

But Ivy didn’t. Instead, she squeezed harder, and turned her attention to Joker as she did. “You’re outnumbered.”

“I’ve found numbers don’t matter when you have blind loyalty on your side.” Joker sent a wink over to Harley, and she giggled girlishly, the sound tying a knot in Ivy’s stomach.

But Ivy ignored how her body shook, how her stomach clenched, how her heart fluttered with fear, and squared her shoulders, looking this vile man straight in the eye to say, “She may be loyal now, but the next time you hit her, she’ll come running back to me again, just like before. I offer her something you can’t, Joker; safety.”

He snorted at that. “Anything to say, Harley Dear?”

“I ain’t coming back, Red,” Harley said. “I already got my Puddin’, and he loves me more than I deserve.”

“What the f—,”

“Harley, no,” Ivy interrupted Selina. “You deserve so much better than this. You deserve love, Harley. Actual, unconditional love. He doesn’t love you. Not the way I do.”

Joker’s body language changed then, from his typical confident, crazed demeanor, to something more…rigid, dangerous. There was rage behind his eyes. Not his typical “I want to watch the world burn” look, but “I want to burn it” instead.

“What did I say about the chit chat?” he growled. “One more word from you, Gingey, and it’s all over.”

Batman looked unconvinced. “You may be a madman, Clown, but you’re a narcissist above all else. You’ll be erased along with us if you blow it now, and we all know you wouldn’t stand for that.”

“You’re right,” Joker acknowledged, his grin once again maniacal. “…which is why I gave the detonator to my crazier half. Figured I couldn’t trust myself to pull the trigger, but Harley-girl is always insisting she’d die for me. Thought I’d finally put her to the test.”

Harley wiggled the detonator for them, giggling as she did, the sound high and sharp, piercing, like a swift stab to the temporal lobe.

Ivy was more confused than anything now, and Selina seemed to share in her sentiment, the two of them glancing between Harley and Joker.

When it was clear that wasn’t intended as a joke, Selina laughed, almost like she pitied him. “Joker, Babe, Harley’s an actress. That crazy routine is something she does for you. She plays a different role for Ivy…Even has one for me. She’s barely even crazy, let alone crazier than you.”

The fact that Harley had the detonator made this whole situation a lot less tense for Ivy, and she could feel the stress lifting from her shoulders.

“That ain’t true, Mistah J!” Harley suddenly sounded desperate. “You’re the only one I don’t gotta act for, honest. Kitty doesn’t know what she’s talkin’ about. None of em do.”

Ivy wanted her voice to sound as soothing as possible. She could tell this whole ordeal was coming to a close. It was all becoming too much for Harley. They’d be safe soon. “There are only two things I know for sure, My Darling: I love you…and you love me.”

That’s when Harley turned on her, like Ivy had struck a match, lighting the fuse inside of her. “How could I love you?” she snarled. “The only person that ever did ended up in a shallow grave because you got your feelings hurt.” The floodgates had opened. “You were jealous of Linda and Alec, just like you’re jealous of me n’ Mistah J. But newsflash, Pamela,” she sneered. “Linda was never gonna run away. She just liked fucking you. Just like I liked fucking you, and just like Woodrue liked fucking you. That’s what you’re good at, and it’s all you’re good for.”

Poison Ivy’s world came to a halting stop then. Her heart ceasing to beat in her chest, her lungs compressing, crushed as the air was stolen from them. Hot tears sprung unbidden to her eyes, and the bile that bubbled up from her stomach left her throat burning. All at once, she felt dirty, like Carrie at the prom. Soiled.

“Ivy…” Batman and Catwoman said simultaneously, Batman’s expression as disbelieving as Ivy’s.

“Pamela!” Selina tried more earnestly, after some of the shock had worn off. “Pamela, she doesn’t mean that. You know she doesn’t. That’s him. It’s all him!”

When Ivy blinked, her tears rolled down her cheeks, dripping down to the wounds on her neck, sizzling when they made contact. But Ivy was too numb to cringe, too lost to acknowledge her physical pain.

Joker was positively delighted by all of this, and began laughing with glee, his cackle bouncing off the high metal ceiling.

Ivy blinked again, realizing her feet were still touching the ground. That she was still on the planet. Still in this building. Slowly, her gaze drifted from where she was still staring blankly at Harley, until she was watching Joker, watching him grab his sides as he doubled over with laughter.

She heard her voice before the words came to her. “I knew a man like you once…” She watched him in near awe, the realization piecing itself together slowly. “He stole my life away.”

The ground began to subtly vibrate, the sawdust rippling like the gentle current of a lagging stream.

“It’s too late for me now,” she said, for the first time. “Pamela was buried in a forest in Seattle the day I left the hospital. I am a villain, and villains don’t get happy endings. But Harleen isn’t a villain,” her voice shook with emotion, with the tears that were still pooling in her eyes. “She may be sick, but unlike me, and unlike you, Joker, she isn’t yet changed forever.” The sawdust was beginning to pool around Joker’s legs, climbing upwards, and the fear in his eyes was now obvious. “She was ushered down a dark path by a man she shouldn’t have trusted.”

Ivy walked in a circle around him, never looking away from his long, pale face, his dark eyes and waning smile…When she stopped, it was near the freshly cut round, and she raised her hand to stroke the wooden handle of the axe that stuck out from it. “I love her too much to let you be her undoing. You are only her origin story, Joker, not her legacy. And you’ll burn in hell next to me, Jason Woodrue, and all the rest.”

She yanked the axe out of the wood then, and all at once, the sawdust overcame her prey, dragging him downwards like each individual fleck was a living organism, all working together, burying him in the soft ground.

“Harley!” he screamed as Ivy raised the axe, but no one was quick enough to save him. Not Harley, and not Batman, either.

The sharp metal landed with a sickening, satisfying thunk in the side of his skull. Ivy had to step on his jaw to wrench the axe free before she could strike again, but strike she did, using all of her immense strength to force her weapon through the bone. After a strike to his neck, his blood began spraying up from the gaping wounds, dousing Ivy in the warm, red liquid, like the method of torture he’d planted outside for her.

Harley rushed forward, trying to intervene, but Selina was there to tackle her to the ground. And when Bruce tried the same thing, the sawdust rose up in a wave and buried him too, rendering him immobile.

And Joker wasn’t the only one beneath Ivy’s axe. That gurgling sound he made, Pamela heard it in Woodrue’s voice too. And no matter how hard, or how frequently she struck him, she never grew tired. She took everything she wanted. Took everything from him. Every drop of blood, every remaining shred of life and humanity…she ripped it away, pounded it out of him, until there was nothing left of his face…until his skull was gone, giving way to his brain, which she decimated as well. Ignoring the fact that she was covering herself in brain matter. Ignoring how she was now completely soaked in his blood.

She heard Harley’s screams—screams like Linda’s. The kind that still kept her up at night. But…she didn’t care. Would never care. Couldn’t physically bring herself to give a singular fuck.

She was past the point of simply seeing red. She was red. Her whole world was drenched in it. They were all drowning in it, and Ivy knew, in that moment, that she was never returning to the surface.

They’re gone, Mother. They’re never coming back.

Ivy’s swings slowed, and eventually she just left the axe in what was left of Joker’s chest.

She released Batman, and Catwoman tried harder to wrestle the detonator away from Harley.

“I’m gonna kill you!” Harley screamed. “I’m gonna kill all of you!”

“Do it,” Ivy laughed, legitimate humor in the sound. “Do it, Harley. I dare you.”

Selina stopped trying to take it from her, evidently deciding they were in more danger of accidently setting it off than Harley doing it purposefully.

Harley scrambled to her feet. “I will, you bitch! Just watch me!”

Ivy spit Joker’s blood onto the ground, staining the singular square inch of floor that wasn’t already red. “No you won’t.” She wiped a chunk of brain matter off her forehead, flicking it onto the ground. “And not because you’re a coward. No…Linda, she was a coward. But you, Harley? Are a monster.” Ivy stepped away from the body, shedding the bloodiest leaves of her leotard and growing replacements. “You know the difference between wrong and right, you just ignore it. But this time, choosing wrong would be the death of you, and like Joker, you’re far too selfish to die for a cause.”

While Ivy was speaking, Selina was able to snatch the detonator away from the blonde.

“I hope you get the help you need, Harleen,” Ivy continued. “I really do. But if I ever see you again, I’ll show you what really happens to people who hurt my feelings. And Batman,” her tone changed to something more flippant. “You can tell Batgirl we won’t be requiring her services tonight.”

“Pamela,” Batman walked towards her, and she promptly slapped him across the face.

“You’re a fucking coward, Bruce Wayne,” she told him. “You should have taken care of that bastard a long time ago. All of this. All this pain, all this suffering, all this death and this fear…it could have all been avoided. You had the power to stop it before it began. Remember that.” She pushed him away from her, standing near the door now. “Don’t come looking for me. Mother is leaving the kitchen now. Mind the stove, Children.”

 

 

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Chapter Text

It was raining.

Of course it was.

Can’t have a life or death showdown without a little rain, Selina mused, peering through the fat droplets at the angry dark sky above. Although she hoped life or death was an exaggeration, she couldn’t exactly be sure of anything at this point.

The rain was falling heavier now, sliding off the sleek leather of her outfit, matting the thin strands of hair on her forehead. She supposed it would be smarter to take shelter in the alleyways below, but the rooftop allowed her a better vantage point.

And she’d received a tip off from a contact or two that Harley Quinn was headed this way. Not that the spies had been completely necessary, Harley wasn’t exactly keeping her actions secretive nowadays…if ever really. She hadn’t been discreet upon escaping Arkham again.

She was on the warpath.

And Selina had to stop her.

She crouched near the rain gutter, peering down into the dingy streets below. Harley had been hunting for Ivy, that was the rumor, and it made Selina sick to think that even after that clown had been put in his grave, that Harley was still bound in his clutches.

Wherever Ivy was now, Selina had to honor her wishes. Pamela would have wanted Harley to be kept safe…Especially from herself, now that Joker was gone. Selina was a lot of things, but she wasn’t a coward and she would not abandon her friend now.

A flash of movement caught her eye in one of the alleyways. Red…and bits of black that blended into the night. The chaotic energy of the movements, the scuffle, the noise. It was Harley alright. But Selina didn’t have a chance to make her way off the roof before Harley began scrambling up the fire escape.

Taking a few steps back, Selina waited in the center of the roof, hand poised above the whip at her hip. She’d never felt fear before when it came to Harley. She was Harley. A little off, unpredictable, but soft hearted, loyal to a fault.

But now…Well, Selina didn’t know what to expect from her friend. And she wasn’t exactly itching to find out.

There was a slap against the wet brick as a single gloved hand found its way onto the rain gutter, then the other, and then Harley was pulling herself onto the roof. She shook herself off once she was on her feet, her eyes immediately finding Selina’s.

They glinted in the dark, the only light on her face save for the eerie, too wide smile that stretched her painted lips.

“Kitty.”

The nickname didn’t sound so endearing anymore.

“Harley.”

“Whatcha doin all the way up here?” Harley asked, taking a step forward, cocking her head, the ears on her cowl swinging with the movement. Selina tensed, holding her ground, her hand now resting on the whip.

“Waiting for you,” Selina replied with as much calm as she could muster.

Harley was gone. In her place something Selina hadn’t seen before, but something she’d known existed. Harley was sick. And deep inside there had always been a twisted part of her, a darkness just waiting to come out.

“I hear you’re looking for Ivy.”

Harley stilled, her smile fading, a sharp glint appearing in her eyes. “Yeah, I’m lookin’ for her. I’m gonna find her too. And I’m gonna tear her apart itty bitty piece by piece till she’s beggin’ me for mercy.”

“Harley…This isn’t right. You don’t want to do this. Ivy’s your friend.”

“My friend?” Harley’s wild grin faded. “Nuh uh. My friend wouldn’ta stuck an axe between Mistah J’s ribs.”

“Listen to me, Harley. Ivy loves you. She did what she did to help you. And I know you can’t see it now, but you will. Just give it time. Give this a chance, please.” Selina didn’t move, preparing herself for any signs of lashing out from Harley, but the clown remained still as well.

“Yer not my friend either,” Harley continued, pointing right between Selina’s eyes. “Else you wouldn’ta let it happen.”

“Don’t you get it, Harley?” Selina tried again, unable to hide the anger in her tone now. “You’re sick. All your jokes? They’re cries for help. Ivy saved you. She freed you.”

“She didn’t free me. She betrayed me.” Slowly, Harley reached around, hand sliding into the small pouch she wore around her waist and Selina grabbed for her whip at the same time Harley said, “You stopped me once, it ain’t gonna happen again!”

The whip whistled through the air, catching Harley’s wrist before she could release the smoke bomb she held. Shouting in pain, Harley crumpled, holding her hand to her chest and shooting a murderous glare at Selina as the bomb rolled into the gutter.

And that’s when it detonated.

Choking on the pink powder that filled the air, Selina didn’t wait to try and track Harley’s movement. She moved, leaping away from the spot she’d been rooted to just as Harley landed there, her body twisting with the force of the hook she’d been aiming at Selina’s head.

Backflipping out of the range of the smoke, Selina raised her whip again, hoping to keep Harley at a distance, but the blonde had pulled another goodie out of her bag. The small, powerful pistol she kept with her on heists. And it was already aimed straight at Selina.

She didn’t have a chance to move before a bullet tore through the handle of her whip, barely missing her palm, taking the weapon to the ground in tatters.

“Jesus, Harley!”

A thin giggle emanated from the blonde. “Now we’re even.”

“Not quite,” Selina gritted. Springing forward into a tuck and roll, Selina popped up in front of Harley, knocking the gun from her hand with the momentum of the maneuver. Harley shouted in surprise, stunned only for a moment, before pushing Selina back with a quick succession of well-timed punches. One at the gut, two at her face, one hook the Selina barely managed to catch by ducking her chin into her shoulder.

Harley’s blows were quick and precise. There wasn’t an excessive amount of power behind them, but she knew where to hit and she was too fast to block entirely. Selina took a few good hits to the ribs before she managed to shove Harley off and come back with a quick roundhouse kick.

Harley ducked, rocketing upward, her uppercut nicking Selina’s chin. She stumbled backwards, her heel slipping in a puddle of rainwater. Harley took advantage, attempting to sweep her legs out from underneath her, but Selina turned her fall into a roll that took her a safe distance from Harley.

Through the thick veil of rain, she saw Harley rushing towards her in a series of flips, the dangerous heel of her boots nearly crashing into Selina’s head. Straightening, Harley aimed another hook at Selina’s head. The brunette, managed to catch Harley’s wrist and twisted it around her back, wrenching her to the ground with a dull ‘thud’.

Harley gasped as the air left her lungs, blinking away the pain and then swinging her legs, leaping back onto her feet. Selina barely dodged the swing of her boots, backing up a few paces in preparation for Harley’s second attack. And it came without fail. Fists swinging, body twirling, legs a flurry of low kicks. One caught Selina in the gut, a fist knocking her in the temple next.

Shaking away the stars that filled her vision, Selina rounded on Harley, ducking low and swinging her legs to take Harley off her feet. But the blonde leapt to avoid the maneuver, coming down hard just as Selina rolled out of the way.

Picking up the ruined tatters of her whip, Selina used the shortened length to keep Harley at a distance, snapping the whip at her torso, her arms, legs, gashing her cheek.

Shrieking with rage, Harley charged forward, her blows landing hard, forcing Selina to curl inward on herself to keep from taking any serious damage.

A brief pause in Harley’s assault came as she drew back for a heavy punch and Selina used her position to duck lower, ramming a fist into Harley’s gut. The breath left her in an almost comical gasp as Selina landed another blow and then tossed her head up, her crown coming into contact with Harley’s chin.

Winded, injured, Harley stumbled backwards, but Selina didn’t relent, aiming a roundhouse kick at her temple.

This is for all the times you’ve been a fucking idiot.

The blow was cushioned slightly by the ears on Harley’s costume, but it knocked her to the ground anyway, where she lay still for a moment before gasping and attempting to struggle to her feet.

Selina aimed a swift blow to her stomach, rolling her onto her back before kneeling on her shoulder to keep her pinned. Harley was glaring at her, murder in her eyes as she struggled and squirmed and screamed insults over the rain.

They both knew she’d been beaten. But Harley refused to accept it. She was bruised, blood dripping from her nose, mouth and the gash on her cheek. Her costume was torn open and Selina was about 90% she’d sprained one of Harley’s shoulders in the fall, but the blonde refused to relent.

“It’s over, Harley,” Selina said, wincing when the blonde spat a globule of blood that landed on her cheek. She didn’t respond with words either, just another guttural scream. Selina leaned into her knee, holding Harley down with all the strength she had.

“It’s over and you’re going to be okay. You’re not going after Ivy. You’re not going back to Joker’s goons. You’re going to find yourself again, Harley. You’re free now.”

Harley’s screams grew louder until Selina had to yell to be heard over her and the rain.

“Harley—,”

Suddenly, Harley’s chest heaved and then her scream turned into a gut wrenching sob, her face scrunching as enormous wails wracked her body. Slowly, very slowly, Selina lifted her knee from Harley’s shoulder, pity heavying her chest as Harley curled into a ball on the rain soaked rooftop and choked and sobbed.

Her body spasmed from the force of it all, loud wails blending into the sounds of the honking cars below. Slowly, Selina sat beside her friend, pulling the cowl off her head and running her fingers through wet blonde hair. Harley shifted, grabbing onto the pant of Selina’s costume with cold fingers and clinging so tightly it hurt.

“Kitty…” she moaned, hiding her face in Selina’s leg. “Kitty…Kitty.”

“It’s okay, Harley,” Selina said, looking up into the rain and closing her eyes. “You’re going to be okay.”

/

Harley stayed on the couch for the first few days. And all she did was sleep, like a woman dead. Selina couldn’t blame her, after all she’d been through…after what she’d endured. The first day, she lay still, her body burning hot to the touch, quiet moans coming from her every now and then.

“Red…” she’d groan softly, over and over again, until the word seemed to lose its meaning. Selina came to her, checking her temperature, rubbing her back—But Harley didn’t even seem to register that she was there.

“I…I want P—I want to see…Red,” she murmured to herself. “She—,” Her sentences always dissolved into moans, leaving Selina to ponder what on earth she thought of Ivy now.

The second day Harley was sick, leaving the couch in lieu of the bathroom and it was up to Selina to bring her fluids as she spent most of the day expelling them. Selina sat beside her, holding her dirty, matted hair back when she heaved.

“Am…Am I gonn’ die, Kitty?” Harley asked, after there was nothing left in her, and yet her body refused to allow her to rest.

Selina shook her head. “You’ll be alright, honey. I promise. Drink this.”

She held up a cup of cool water that Harley sipped at carefully…Only to lose it a moment later.

The third day she shook, violently. Hot and cold warred over her body, but Selina didn’t dare bring a doctor in. Not after the path of blood Harley had left behind her in her attempts to find Ivy. Instead, she sat at Harley’s bedside, wiping the sweat from her brow, covering her in blankets, taking them off, giving her more pillows, offering food, water…But what Harley needed most, she realized, was time.

And it passed slowly.

After a week of this, Harley emerged from the other side, gaunt, paler than usual, tired, but alive.

Withdrawal, was all Selina could think. Withdrawal from a drug, a disease, that had poisoned her for so long.

On the fifth day, as they sat around the kitchen table, Harley nursing a cup of orange juice, she looked up at Selina through tired eyes and croaked, “Where’s Red?”

The nickname gave Selina hope, but she was too cautious to give Harley the truth now. It wouldn’t be good for her. She depended on Ivy almost as much as she’d depended on Joker. If Harley was to actually heal now, she didn’t need either of them in her life.

“I’m not sure,” Selina replied, halfway truthfully. “She left Gotham for good, that’s all I know.”

To her surprise, Harley just bobbed her head and picked her cup up in both hands, taking a small sip. “That’s good,” she murmured, her voice tiny. “She never did like it here.”

Selina blinked. “No…No she didn’t.”

“She does better with the trees and the flowers and grass,” Harley said, setting her glass down and licking her lips. “Maybe she went ta go hide in a jungle.”

“Maybe,” Selina chuckled.

“I bet she’s happier there.”

I can think of one reason she’s not.

“Maybe,” Selina said again. “Harley?”

“Hm?”

“What are you going to do now?”

Harley stared down at the juice in her cup. “I…Dunno.”

“Because I’ll help you in any way I can, but it’s up to you to pick a direction. I can’t tell you how to live the rest of your life, no one should.”

“Can I…” Harley trailed off.

“Can you what?”

“Can I stay here a few more days, jus’ till I figure out where to go?”

Selina reached out and placed a hand over Harley’s cold one.

“Of course you can.”

“Thanks, Kitty,” Harley cracked a genuine grin, although her eyes were still dull. “What would I do without ya?”

Selina just smiled softly.

I don’t know, Harley. But we’ll find out.

/

Harley was curled up on the couch watching cartoons, Selina beside her, when the knock came. Three sharp raps on the front door, each one the exact same speed and cadence, like they had been rehearsed. Which…they had. Selina sprung up from her end of the couch, knocking the blanket off Harley’s feet, who whimpered in protest.

“Hey,” Selina breathed as she opened the door. “Come in.”

Harley lifted her head off the pillow just enough to see that Bruce who had entered the apartment. Her face pulled into a frown and she tucked the covers tighter around her shoulders.

“It’s good to see you again, Holly.” The concern on Bruce’s face melted into a soft smile. “When Selina told me you’d fallen so ill…”

“I’m alright,” Harley interrupted quickly. “And you can say ‘got sick’. This isn’t ‘My Favorite Year’.”

Bruce raised a brow in Selina’s direction.

“She’s spent a lot of time in front of that television,” was Selina’s explanation.

Harley growled and pulled the blankets tighter around her shoulders, seemingly determined to ignore Bruce—even as he took a seat at the end of the couch. His eyes fell to the many DVD cases that lay scattered around the base of the television stand.

“’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, huh?”

“It’s misleading,” Harley complained. “They never even eat breakfast.”

Bruce chuckled, gratefully accepting the cup of water Selina brought him and taking a long sip. Moving around the couch, Selina set another glass on the end table by Harley’s head.

“You need to drink something.”

Harley’s brows furrowed and she shot a quick look at Bruce out of the corner of her eye, who was watching her with an expression that was now far more thoughtful. Selina studied both of them carefully. Bruce was smart enough not to say anything to set Harley off on purpose, but she was so volatile nowadays. Her moods swinging from sullen and depressed to giddy as a kid to angry as a motherfucker. Selina was having a hard time keeping up, and an even harder time stopping herself from straight up smacking some sense into Harley.

Ivy wouldn’t want that. She’d give Harley all the patience in the world. Well…Before Harley had verbally torn her to shreds anyway.

“Drink,” Selina commanded again, like she was talking to a disobedient child. And Harley did, finally, mumbling grumpily to herself.

“Selina tells me you stayed in the city during the bomb threat,” Bruce continued suddenly, and Harley’s whole body tensed. She cast a quick, worried glance at Selina. “Seems like a dangerous decision.”

“Yeah,” was Harley’s only reply. She took another long sip of her water to fill the silence.

“Is Pamela safe?”

Both Harley and Selina tensed this time, but Bruce’s expression remained neutral.

“Your partner?” he clarified, although nobody in the room needed it.

“She was out of the city when Joker—,” Harley momentarily choked on her words. “When he made the bomb threat. Business trip. She’s fine.”

“That’s good.” Bruce leaned back, slinging one arm over the back of the couch. “I’m sure she was worried about you.”

Harley looked away, fingering a loose thread on the blanket. “Probably.”

Selina hadn’t gotten word from Ivy since she left Gotham, and she didn’t expect to. Ivy was long gone. If Harley’s words were anything to go by, Selina doubted they’d ever see her again.

She realized her pain must have been showing on her face when Bruce took her hand, running his thumb over her knuckles and offering her a small reassuring smile.

Bruce returned his attention to Harley. “I think it’s very brave what you’re doing.”

Harley blinked.

“You’re safe now. Joker’s no longer a threat to the city, and you’re in good hands with Selina.” Bruce smiled and then rose from the couch. “If you’ll excuse me.”

He turned and made his way towards the kitchen, Selina following after quickly patting Harley’s shoulder, who stared after them with a bewildered expression.

“Are you alright?” Selina asked when they’d entered the privacy of the kitchen. Bruce stood with his back to her, chin ducked to his chest. “Bruce?”

“Ivy called me a coward,” he said suddenly, voice low. When he turned to face her, his face was etched with sorrow.

“You’re not a coward,” Selina consoled, pushing him back towards the counter and setting herself against him, hands resting on his hips. “Bullheaded, stubborn, stuck in your ways, yes. But you’re not a coward, Bruce. Ivy was right in saying you should have killed Joker a long time ago…But, one could argue…We all should have. How many times has he thwarted the GCPD, or borrowed the loyalty of the other Arkham inmates. We should have stopped him a long time ago. This isn’t all on your shoulders, Bruce. And even if it was…It’s over now. Ivy made sure of that.”

“I made a promise,” Bruce replied, his eyes searching Selina’s. “I thought I could keep him contained.”

“You’re not Superman,” Selina winked, drawing a chuckle from him. “Although I’m not sure Clark would have had any qualms about taking him out.” Bruce pursed his lips again. “You’re a brave man. And strong. And human. You make mistakes. Joker is gone, you can continue protecting this city the way you always have. Gotham still needs Batman.”

She placed her hands on Bruce’s cheeks, forcing him to look at her.

“I love you, Cat,” he murmured.

Selina’s smile was instantaneous. “I love you, Bat.”

/

It was more symbolic than anything else. Harley had dozens more like it scattered across the various bases she’d occupied with Mistah—With the Joker. But as she watched her old costume go up in smoke, the red flames licking into the night sky, she felt a sense of peace come over her. A rebirth or sorts. Like a weight the size of the world was being lifted off her shoulders.

She hadn’t realized how tightly she’d been chained inside that outfit, until it was spread out before her, the smell of burning fabric stinging her nose.

“Thing smells like shit,” Selina growled beside her, arms crossed tightly over her chest to fend off the cold. “What the hell is it made of, human skin?”

A smile cracked Harley’s lips. The first genuine one in a while. “Nah…There’s just a whole lotta years of sweat in there.”

“Don’t forget blood and tears,” Selina added, her eyes flickering away from the outfit to Harley.

Pursing her lips, Harley tossed a bit more gasoline into the flames, stepping back as they rocketed upward into the inky black sky.

“Okay, and we’re done with the gas,” Selina gently plucked the canister from Harley’s iron grip. Straightening after setting it a safe distance away, Selina rejoined Harley, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“You ready to go?”

Harley nodded. Although she didn’t know where she was going yet. Or what she was doing. Or what she should work towards. But she was certainly ready for…whatever.

Ready to step away from her old self. And embrace whoever—whatever—she was now.

As she turned and walked away from the fire with Selina by her side, another smile spread across her cheeks.

“What?” Selina asked, her own lips twitching as she studied Harley’s face. “What’s the grin for?”

Harley’s shoulders bobbed in a shrug, her smile widening.

“Wanna head back home?” Selina had clearly decided not to press the question, gesturing with her thumb to the apartment.

But Harley shook her head. “I think I’m stayin’ out here.”

“Out here? In the street?” Selina blinked.

“Mhmm,” Harley’s nod was immediate. She took a step away from Selina, tucking her hands into her coat pockets, her smile disappearing beneath the scarf she wore. “G’night, Kitty.”

She felt Selina’s eyes on her as she spun on her heel and started down the street, her boots clicking on the asphalt. Staying with Selina as she physically healed from the showdown between Joker and Ivy had reminded her painfully of the old days. When all three of them had lived together.

When…

Taking a deep breath through her nose, Harley lifted her chin, picking up her pace as she moved further into the city. There was no way Harley could ever pay Selina back for what she’d done for her. And she hadn’t even tried to express her gratitude, not really.

Promising herself to at least try to return the favor eventually, Harley tucked herself deeper into her coat, leaving Selina, the apartment, and the ruined costume far behind.

/

Pamela sat a moment after shutting her car off. Breathed in the wet air. The silence of the empty highway. The crisp evening wind that bit through the threads of her cardigan.

Why did you ever leave, Mother?

She wished her answer to that question didn’t sound so impossibly naïve.

To save the world.

That’s what she’d told herself then, anyway. Told herself she didn’t have time for selfish girls. For liars. She had a new and divine calling, and Linda had made her choice.

The truth was, she’d been embarrassed. Heartbroken. Her actions were rash. Not premediated in the least. When Linda arrived at the hospital that day, Pamela had every intention of running away with her and never looking back. Linda was a scientist; she’d be able to help Pamela navigate her new condition. Help her hide her differences, her abilities…

Everything would be just as it was before, but this time, Linda would be hers. Their time apart had only made Pamela want her more, and she—foolishly, with the innocence of a young woman experiencing her first love—thought Linda would feel the same. Thought her coming out of the coma would be the final nail in the coffin of Linda and Alec’s marriage.

But, in reality, all Pamela’s absence had done was strengthen Linda’s bond with him. Allowed Pamela and whatever love they’d shared to slip away…fade into the recesses of her memory…

Linda had thrown her away, so Pamela…she did the same. Though she made sure it was permanent.

There was nothing profound about Pam’s actions—Poison Ivy’s first moments as a villain. Nothing more than an angry, jealous girl enacting her revenge on a former lover.

Pathetic.

Even with superpowers, abilities most couldn’t even conceive of, she was still pathetic. Still just a girl clinging desperately to selfish women who would never love her back. Could never. Were too enamored with themselves and their…men.

But she was through blaming them. Not even her mother could love her. And the only common denominator in those relationships was Pamela herself. It was she who was unlovable.

She waited for the approaching car to pass before quietly popping her door open and stepping out, drawing her scarf tighter around her neck, and gripping a wrapped package tightly in her hand as she walked around the convertible and off the road’s grassy shoulder, into the old-growth forest the highway so rudely bisected.

The day was overcast to begin with, but Pamela could feel it getting darker. Feel the cold beginning to seep through her clothes and into her bones. That didn’t stop her from unbuttoning her jacket, though. From discarding it as she walked. Doing the same with her scarf, and then her sweater. Leaving them scattered around the snow covered forest floor.

It wasn’t long before she lost sight of the road, descending deeper into the dank silence of a rural Washington winter.

She stopped at the sight of a snow covered log, registering the other that lay no more than two feet behind it.

They weren’t logs.

But only Pamela would ever know that.

She stripped off the rest of her clothing, and stood silently, now naked in the frigid cold. It took a moment, and a few muffled whimpers of pain, but soon she’d grown a leotard, one thick enough to combat the breeze that attempted to ruffle her leaves.

“Hi,” she whispered, the word already choked in her throat.

Pamela wasn’t expecting an answer, but still, she waited. For what, she wasn’t sure.

Permission.

Ignoring the cold, she gingerly lowered herself to the ground, until she was kneeling beside the smaller body in the snow. Her hand shook as she extended it, rested it on her moss-covered back.

“I’m sorry for how long I’ve been away. I know I promised I’d come back…but at least you weren’t alone.” She gently traced her spine, the petrified bone trapped forever within the root system of a nearby tree. Tangled up in it. Held fast.

Pamela wished those were her arms cradling her.

“I…am so…sorry.” Her tears dripped into the snow, creating bullet holes in the otherwise smooth blanket of wet warmth. “I know it’s far too little, far too late…and that no amount of remorse, or self-loathing will ever un-do my cruelty…” she closed her eyes, trapping her tears against them. “Perhaps my suffering is cause for celebration…though you were never the type to rub it in,” she said, mostly to herself. “How is it simply to sleep? Does it all just…melt away?”

“Perhaps.” Linda sat down beside her, studying her own frozen remains. “But do you really think you deserve that? Deserve the serenity of true silence?”

There were no dark corners to retreat to within her mind anymore. Nowhere for her lies to bloom. Her baptism in the blood of the unholy had left every surface a mirror, and the woman she found staring back at her now was just as foolish as she had always been. Just as hopeful at the idea of being adored as the day she learned her Mother didn’t love her like a mother was supposed to love her child. Didn’t love her at all…

Why Ivy thought Harley could love her, she really had no idea. The fact that she’d believed her, taken her words at face value and just trusted was as appalling as it was upsetting.

“No,” Pam whispered.

Woodrue had made her a toy. Nothing more than a sex doll with superpowers. And stupid, needy, desperate Pamela had given Harley Quinn full access, believing—for some ridiculous reason—that Harley’s intentions were different from any other human that had propositioned her since her transformation. Her torture. Pamela gave her access to everything she was. Her body, her mind, and her heart. The keys to her castle. And Harley did what all humans do. What Woodrue did. What Linda did; she devoured her whole, leaving behind someone Ivy didn’t like in her entrails. Spitting out this pitiful husk of a woman that Pamela recognized all too well.

Linda’s cold hand drifted over the snow to Pamela’s shoulder, the touch sending a chill down the redhead’s spine. “So then what is it you think you deserve?” she wondered.

Pam smiled slightly at a thought that crossed her mind then. A smile that managed to coexist with the tears now falling steadily down her cheeks, rather than cut through them. “You once told me I deserved love. You were the first person that ever said that to me…”

“And I meant it.”

“Did you, then?” Pamela asked, turning to look upon her pale face. “Love me?”

Linda’s smile was so warm, it felt as though she’d wrapped a thick cloak around Pamela’s shoulders. “I’m sure I did, my love.”

Pam could feel her own smile broaden, a happy, yet pained little laughed escaping her as she wiped her own tears away. “Then why didn’t you choose me?”

Linda leaned forward with her thumb outstretched, wiping away what Pam had missed. “Because you made me brave, Darling. I wasn’t strong enough to remember how much I loved you on my own.”

Her jaw trembled as she felt Linda pull her hand away. “No, please.” Pam’s eyes filled with new tears. “Hold me, Linda, please. Just hold me. Like you used to. Like Harley did.”

“Pamela…” there was pity laced in the sound. “You know I can’t do that.”

Pamela felt herself shaking inelegantly in the cold, freezing at the edges as Linda moved further away. “Why not?” she cried.

“Because you don’t believe in ghosts,” her voice was so soft… “And I’ve been dead a long time.”

The forest was silent save for Pamela’s sniveling, and still…so very still, the corpse below her hand motionless.

Forcing her eyes fully open, Pam unwrapped her package, the polished silver of the knife’s blade shining against the crisp, white snow, seeming to absorb the first faint rays of moonlight that drifted down through the bare branches of the trees that surrounded her.

Hold me….

Someone, please hold me.

She gripped the knife’s handle tightly in her right hand, pressing the tip of the blade into the soft skin at her wrist.

I just want to sleep.

I don’t want to be alone.

Pam watched as she sliced down the length of her vein, continuing all the way to her elbow for good measure. Her green blood gushed out of the wound, dripping off of her arm and sizzling as it hit the snow.

Her chest heaved with her excited breathing as the thought of escape suddenly looked like it could truly become a reality.

But as she watched, the bleeding gradually slowed, her skin bridging the gash she’d created, sealing itself back together.

“No.” Pam shook her head in denial, trying again, deeper this time. Wanting so desperately to get away, it hurt worse than any physical pain she could possibly inflict. But to her utter dismay, her skin again stitched itself back together, the cut disappearing like it was nothing more than a trick of the mind. Like it had never really happened at all.

“No,” she cried, slicing violently now. Hopelessly. “No, no, no.” She stabbed downwards, leaving the knife in her arm this time. “Let me go,” she sobbed. “Let me go!”

But the knife fell to the ground as her body rejected it, the wound healing, and the puncture disappearing.

“Let me go!” Pam shrieked.

But the dense forest swallowed up her screams, just as it had Alec’s.

Just as it had Linda’s.

“No, no, no.” Her body shuddered frantically in the clearing her poisonous blood had created. “Let me go…”

Pamela…Linda’s voice slithered into her ear, causing the redhead’s body to suddenly go rigid. Go home, my love.

Ivy quickly pulled her hand back from the other woman’s remains, though she’d felt no movement. The forest remained still. Her surroundings deathly silent.

The sound had come through The Green.

Go home, Mother.

No. It was The Green. Just as it had always been. Nothing had changed.

Pamela was still trapped.

Unlovable and alone on this planet she couldn’t save.

The only difference was, now she knew her hell was right here on Earth. And like any prison of eternal suffering, she couldn’t escape.

 

 

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