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With eyes fixed on tomorrow

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It's still a little disorienting to wake up in a bedroom larger than the apartment you used to live in before you turned your life around and became a wanted criminal. And the sheets. Harley has never been bedded on something so expensive before. They're like water against her skin, soft caresses and gossamer kisses. How you can sleep on them and not get turned on every night is beyond her. Guess you'd have to be born with a silver spoon to take this sort of luxury for granted.

She stretches once and huddles back into the blankets. Trouble is, she's awake now, and there's no one to get frisky with beneath these sheets, which is surprising, to say the least. So she rolls out of bed and picks up her underwear from the floor, still marveling at how much open space there is. She had once dreamed of being able to afford something like this, back when she had dreamed of writing bestsellers on the psychology of homicidal narcissists. What she had not dreamed of was landing a rich heiress – because what are the odds of that happening, right? – who may not be a homicidal narcissist but who could kill her in her sleep either way. Actually, she wouldn't need to wait for the advantage of sleep; she could easily take her on with a handicap. Not that she would, unless Harley gave her reason to. And why would Harley do that?

Then again, Harley has done a great many things just for the heck of it and provoking Batwoman into a fight would be so like her. Though right now, Harley has a different sort of provocation in mind.

As if the other woman had sensed Harley sneaking up on her – and Harley's sure she did, or maybe there are cameras everywhere, or maybe she's hypervigilant when another person is around – a projectile comes flying her way. Harley dodges the batarang, but feels the hiss of air against her cheek.

"Can I go through my warm-ups before we spar? Don't wanna pull a muscle."

Her voice is annoyingly chipper for this time of the... well, the clock on the wall might make a case for it being well into the afternoon already, but according to Harley's inner clock it's still early morning. Running with vigilantes is sure tough. She didn't keep hours this late when she was still a crook. Back then it was raids and heists that were carried out in the dead of night. Day to day operations didn't particularly need the cover of the night, but since she'd been up then anyway, why not take care of them right away? You don't wanna fall behind on keeping tabs on your enemies, your enemies' enemies, and whatever investigations anyone is running against you. Also, payments. You wanna make sure no one owes you money – because if they did it would be time to shake 'em up – and that you owe nobody money. Your soldiers get cranky if you don't pay them on time and a cranky goon is one who's gonna look out for another employer.

In any case, back in those days it was turn in at 4 in the morning, tops. Maybe have a tangle in the sheets until sunrise, but that was it. Now, she was out until sunrise and that tangle, phew, that extends into the early morning hours.

Yesterday, they'd spent the whole night cleaning up after Superman's paramilitary. Or, cleaning them up, rather. Batman had sent her and Kitty Cat to intercept them on their patrol until reinforcements arrived. Kitty may not have been with their cozy little group anymore, but she was close-by and now that Superman was out of the picture, she allowed for the possibility that this regime could still be taken down. In the end, no reinforcements were needed. Bodies littered the ground by the time the Batfamily swooped in.

"Why bother showing up at all if you're just going to be late?" Selina asked, searching the soldiers for information.

"We're not here for you," Batman answered, cavalier par excellence that he is. "We're here for them."

Hovering above them were Wonder Woman, the Lanterns, and Shazzy, half of what's left of Superman's council. There's still Cyborg in the Watchtower, as well as Raven and Hawkgirl somewhere, probably putting out other fires. Flash had broken away from the group the first chance he got, distraught about the whole episode with Linda. As happy as Harley was to see Shazzy, she wondered why he hadn't done the same. She'd have to smack some sense into him again.

"If you wanted to talk," Wondy said, "you needn't have taken out our soldiers."

"Why are they still in Gotham?" Batman demanded.

"To keep the peace, same as everywhere else."

"Superman is gone, Diana. You don't have to do this anymore."

Wondy floated to the ground, to level with B. "Did you think defeating Superman would be all it takes to tear down what he created? Look at this world, look at how safe it has become and tell me again why we should abandon our course."

"Because it's not true peace you're enforcing. People everywhere are terrified of you, not only those who should be, but innocent people as well."

"Isn't that what you've been doing in Gotham? Make people afraid so they won't commit any more crimes?"

"I don't have to kill to intimidate anyone."

Harley kept waiting for the first blows to land. Taking out soldiers had worked her up a bit, but not enough to really be satisfied with it. Besides, she's had quite enough of the same argument she's been listening to for the past five years. You would think that by now, B-man would have noticed there's no persuading the other side to see things his way.

Then again, resentments run deep. Harley herself ain't satisfied with how Supes ended. She would have liked to punch him in his perfect teeth some more. It must be hard having a code that doesn't allow you to kill. How do you deal with that rage and frustration? Batwoman's fists and jaw clenched tighter with every word that came out of Wondy's mouth. She still hadn't forgiven her for Huntress' death.

The talks went nowhere. No surprise there. All these superheroes with their impossibly hard heads.

Harley helped Batwoman work out her anger after the Lanterns had cleaned the streets of Gotham from the trash they'd installed there in the first place. For the first time in a long while, Harley had to hold back. She'd popped a super-pill before going on a rampage among the Regime pawns, but Batwoman hadn't, preferring to ration the few pills they still had.

It took a while for Kate to weary herself, but once she did, Harley carried her off to bed and took her mind off all the things she couldn't do anything about right then.

Which is why Harley's impressed the other woman got up before her and is already at it again, even after the beating the took yesterday.

"How is it you're already up anyway?"

"I can't rest as long as these tyrants are still in power." She's at her computer, pulling up files on the huge screen in front of her. With Superman and the Flash out of the picture, there are only Raven and Shazzy who could find them easily. Well, and Cyborg, if he pulled satellite footage or hacked their computers, but none of them are eager for a confrontation. And even if they were, this apartment is warded against magic and hack-proof. Imagining this level of security makes her feel like she were in a mountain retreat, because up here, you can't hear the honking on the streets or smell the pollution. And the air conditioning lets you forget about the sun sizzling beyond those triple-glazed windows.

"Gotcha." Harley slinks up to her and winds her arms around Kate's neck. "But you know the worst is over, right?"

"It's not over till it's over," Kate says but doesn't push her away.

"I know." Harley swivels Kate's chair around to face her, slips onto it, puts her hands on Kate's shoulders. "But we have a real shot at winning this time. I don't know about the rest, but Shazzy has been having scruples about the way Supes was handling things for a while now. And the others have had enough time to look at what they've done in the name of peace. Even if they're okay with that, we can still do it like before and—"

"—take them out individually. Yes, Batman is already considering all the angles."

"So what are you brooding around here for? Let's do this."

"It's cute how you're trying to cheer me up." Kate's fingers ghost down Harley's spine. She shivers.

"What do you mean 'trying'? Are you saying it's not working?"

"Hm, maybe. Yesterday helped. Speaking of." Her hands dip into Harley's panties to grab her ass. "I haven't paid you back yet."

Harley catches her lower lip between her teeth and grins. "It's already on your tab. I was gonna wait for you to pay me back with interest, but if you wanna settle scores now, I won't say no."

Kate smiles as her fingers steal lower. "Glad to hear it."