"No, we are not mixing your fear toxins into the champagne or the cake or anything else for that matter. In fact, I don't want it anywhere near the reception. Are we clear?"
"Forgive me for saying this, Harleen, but I would not have expected you to be the party pooper on this one."
"I don't care. I intend to get married only once and I want this day to be perfect. Can you not understand this?"
"Oh, I can. My definition of perfect merely happens to differ from yours."
Harley glared at Jonathan. She might start throwing knives soon.
"All right, all right. No experiments. Satisfied?"
"For now," Harley said, somewhat mollified but not entirely convinced. She crossed her arms and curled her lips, but let herself be kissed.
Planning a wedding was not for the faint of heart. They learned that soon after embarking on that particular journey. Luckily they had made many friends with many talents over their years inside Arkham and Gotham's criminal underworld.
Although not everyone claimed to understand this union – for who in their right mind would marry a psychopath, or the former doormat of another psychopath, but then again, sanity was overrated in their circle anyway – they were willing enough to lend a hand. (It was just, voices could be heard wondering, that Scarecrow with his weird obsession with fear wasn't considered marriage material. One would have expected Harley to marry the Joker, if anyone, given her previous lunatic infatuation with the man.)
Ivy was more than happy to provide the flower arrangements, not at all perturbed that her on-and-off girlfriend would soon be skipping off into the sunset with another. "I cannot trust anyone else with this task," she said and it was unclear whether she meant the flowers or taking care of Harley, who could be high maintenance sometimes.
Selina took her friend out ring "shopping," which involved sneaking into the high-class jeweler's at night and making off with anything pretty enough to pass muster. "Wasn't that fun? You should get married more often!"
Penguin offered to supply the doves, although he argued the birds would be wasted on them, being a symbol of purity and innocence after all. Harley let him know what she thought of that comment, so he threw in a pair of Mandarin ducks, recently smuggled from southern Japan, as a sign of goodwill – for it is believed that this particular species mates for life, and in some cultures represents fidelity and plentiful offspring. Remaining somewhat suspicious, Harley wondered whether the avian aficionado was implying she wouldn't be faithful to her frighteningly fearful fiancé.
Because the Joker never killed Black Mask's girlfriend or infiltrated his Steel Mill with Harley in this universe, Sionis agreed to take care of the security. As muscle of the operation he hired Bane – who would be paid in the Venom tanks that Jonathan was hiding in the basement and which Bane had been trying to get his hands on for a while – and Croc – who would be content with a supply of free chewtoys in the form of Gotham police officers. After all, the GCPD might be in attendance outside the event, and no one wanted them to crash the party.
The Riddler began planning the entertainment before he was even invited – for why would they not want to profit from his intellectual superiority? Harley let Jonathan talk him out of it; he could plan the bachelor party in its entirety, but she'd prefer not to have the guests carried out in bodybags as a result of having had their brains teased a little too much.
As far as the reception was concerned, both Harley and Jonathan agreed not to force a carnival theme on it. That might send the wrong message, or worse, bring back memories of Harley's previous relationship. Which, needless to say, needed to be avoided at all cost. But Harley, ever the playful one, wanted something special, a fairy tale wedding that was not your typical Snow White or Rose Briar story.
The Mad Hatter had just the idea. Of course he had. Harley was delighted (already grinning at the idea of a Cheshire Catwoman) – although she firmly supplanted his suggestion of a blue frock as wedding gown. He could stuff his own bride into whatever outfit he liked – that is, if he ever found one willing enough to cosplay for the rest of her life – but Harley wanted a white dress. There was no way around it.
A week or two before the big day, Jonathan went missing. Or rather, Harley missed him because he didn't show up for a few nights and robbed her of the opportunity to bounce her last-minute ideas off him. She was, however, too busy preparing to go looking for him (or to even really notice he was gone, for she rarely waited for his opinion anyway. He trusted her decisions and she trusted him to turn up in time for the wedding).
When she saw him next, his face was deathly pale, his features drawn. His expression was neutral, but he was unable to keep himself from fidgeting.
"Please tell me you're not getting cold feet, darling."
Jonathan shook his head. "What is going to happen if he shows up?"
He didn't need to clarify whom he meant. 'He' only ever referred to one of two people, and Batman would not dare show his face around a gathering of Gotham's Finest Criminals. And indeed he need not, because they were all going to behave. Harley was going to make certain of that.
"Don't worry about that. If he does show up, I'll take care of him."
On the day itself, Harley could not have been happier. Especially with Ivy helping her into her dress. Which took longer than was decent, but no one was expecting the bride and groom to be on time for their own wedding anyway. It was not that they were thought of as unreliable (at least, Jonathan wasn't), but you never knew what kind of do-gooder vigilante might cross their path. Not all of them would believe the rumors of this wedding, or if they did, make a free pass their wedding gift.
"You're beautiful, Harls," Ivy said, brushing her fingers through Harley's elaborately coiffed hair. "Just be careful that Jervis doesn't snatch you away."
Harley grinned. "Right now, I'm more concerned about you snatching me away."
"No need to worry, love," Ivy smiled and poked Harley's nose. "You always come back to me, so why trouble myself with kidnapping you?"
"Well, it could've been that you disapprove even after helping me out all this time."
"Honey. If I disapproved, you would know."
"You know, Red, instead of me returning to you, why don't you just come with us?"
Ivy husked a laugh. "Because I don't want to be the third wheel on your honeymoon, you silly thing."
"Jonny wouldn't mind sharing."
"Let's talk about this when you get back. Enjoy yourselves first."
In the other room, they could hear Eddie quizzing Jonathan on obscure facts only he would know, which would either drive Jonathan madder than he already was, or had the opposite effect of calming him to the point where he'd be able to tolerate anything.
"Honey, baby, pumpkin pie," the Joker cooed, sidling up to Harley and hooking an arm across her shoulders. "Why didn't you invite me to your grand day? You know how much I love a good party."
Harley pushed him away, eyes flashing. "That's because you would've—"
"What she means to say," Jonathan, tactful as ever, got between them in the nick of time and clamped a hand over Harley's mouth, "is that your invitation must have been lost in the mail. You know how difficult it is to get a hold of you. Harley couldn't remember the addresses of all your hideouts."
"Ah, the groom. How lovely. I trust you're taking good care of my girl."
Harley wanted to protest the epithet, but Jonathan kept his hand over her mouth.
"Naturally," he said with a thin smile.
"Good, wouldn't want her to grow bored with the scarecrow too soon. Let's just hope for her sake you've got more than just straw in the sack, hah!"
A fountain of blood gushed from the Joker's throat, spattering Harley's formerly off-white wedding dress and Jonathan's rented tuxedo with a rich arterial red, before he crumpled face-first onto the wedding cake. Jonathan dabbed some stray flecks from his cheeks.
"Really, Harley? On our wedding day?"
"He was going to ruin it!"
"Well," Jonathan sighed, "now he's certainly incapable of doing that."
"Oh God, what have I done?" Harley tore at her hair. So much for not letting guests leave in bodybags. (Although technically, the Joker hadn't been invited in the first place and could be considered an unwanted guest at the most.) "I ruined everything."
"Shh-shh-shh," Jonathan soothed and folded her in his arms, careful to dodge the darkly glistening cake knife. "It's okay. You did everything you could. At the very least, I don't need to feel guilty anymore for not listening to you..."
Harley looked up at him, confused and teary-eyed. "What do you mean?"
Jonathan looked toward the gathering of guests. As if on cue, porcelain and crystal clinked and crashed, screeches rose high and people milled about, arms waving wildly.
Harley shot him her best death glare. "You promised..."
"In my defense: I promised no experiments – I very well know the effects of this particular strain." He smiled sheepishly. "Now, let's clear out before Batman arrives on the scene."