Harley loves spring. It's like the world is coming alive in a burst of color that is bleeding from place to place like ink on wet paper. A rebirth after the white and the drabness and the cold, but also the stagnation – unmoving, dusty, dry heated air indoors; clear, biting, soul-freezing air out of doors. Now she can gulp in big lungfuls and nearly descend into a coughing fit from all the pollen it carries, a new scent around every corner. (Sure, not all of them are welcome. Who wants to smell dog poop that has been ripening in the sun for some time? She means the flowers and the trees, crocuses, daffodils, daisies, and all the names she's never bothered to learn no matter how much Ivy has been going on about them.)
Which brings her to her main point. Spring is the season of love, of newly budding romance or rekindled old passion. All that green is tugging at her, filling her with nostalgia and longing, good cheer and too much affection than she knows what to do with. She shares it with old ladies on park benches, enthusiastically inviting them to share their stories, or with little rascals when she's buying them ice cream on a stolen credit card (not stolen recently, mind you. Harley has changed her ways, she's one of the good guys now, but that doesn't mean she can't profit from the spoils of her previous life), and of course with all the cute little doggies that are bounding and leaping over the grass, chasing frisbees, sticks, and runners, and coming back with rubber balls that belong to someone else's dog.
She's having fun, but she's also aching. Spring colors are entwined in her memory and act like jump scares in bad horror movies when they assault her, violently, with associations.
Green is the worst, the strongest, the best, apart from purple and red, and black of course, but that's not really a color, so it doesn't count, sorry B, you fall under yellow, for that old Bat symbol you used to wear on your chest and, in a way, the Bat signal too, though that is more blueish white these days.
No, not these days anymore. No one is calling for the Bat, officially an enemy of the State now, certainly not in Star City, because they have their own hero here, or had, in the same way as Gotham had Batman as her protector. Now, all of these places – or, any place, really – fall under the jurisdiction of the Blue Boy Scout and his freakshow.
But that doesn't bother anyone here, when the sun is out and the air is pollen-scented and the children are screaming in delight.
It's just another normal day in a string of normal days, and looking at these ordinary people walking and chatting and sitting around her, she can almost feel normal creeping back into her, like it were a thing that had been drained out of her, or oozed out of her, or otherwise depleted, like it were something that could be restored if she just surrounded herself with it long enough, like recharging a battery.
Well, even batteries can't be charged indefinitely. Her old laptop told her so.
Green, then. The worst, the best, the strongest, the one with the most associations, the one all around her, wherever she looks. There's the neon tree frog green of sunlight shining through individual leaves in the canopy overhead and it reminds her of tulip-soft skin she never wanted to stop stroking, of autumn-scented hair she loved to bury her nose in, of hours and days spent in the company of someone who returned your boundless joy and love and compassion, but also hours and days spent waiting, longing-bored-impatient-needing to distract yourself with other things, for that someone to return from her single-minded obsession into your arms once more.
It's a strong emotion, or a whirl of them, and altering, though she's not really sure what it's altering, if it's her mood, her genes, or the whole fabric of the universe. It's like stepping out of the shadows onto the sun-baked pavement with the heat bearing down on you like an oily coat and you suddenly can't think of anything other than the heat on your skin like a flat iron, as if you could feel yourself turning lobster-red and peeling.
It's overwhelming, but it's also soft, coating her with warmth inside and out, even as it's uncomfortable and confining.
It's different from the painful jolt that knocks her breath out when she's walking down the streets, window-shopping without a care about her person, and spots a particular green from the corner of her eyes, a green so familiar it brings the intoxicating scent of gasoline to her nose, the titillating rasp of a struck match to her ears, the texture of greasy hair and greasy skin to her fingertips. It's a feeling both cold and hot, a chill and a thrill, skin snowy but heated under her palms, a mouth hungry and searing and setting her on fire. He knew how to love her right, how to bite her neck or pull her hair or slap her face just a little too hard, because he knew that she could take it.
She was drunk on love, mad with it, in fact, but God, she cannot forget that love, it's a part of her, deep and pure and real, no matter what anyone says or thinks or infers about her sanity.
It's like this every day she is open and vulnerable, or unfocused and allowing these images, scenes, memories, to come to her, tearing her between ache and love and grief and gladness, because even if these weird, funny, sick feelings bubbling up in her all at once, making her want to laugh and cry and retch, she wouldn't trade this for the world, because it's hers, because she had this and no one can take it away from her.
Remembering is reliving, and sometimes, that's all she gets.
But she's also making new memories now, taking away the sting of the old ones and giving them a new, fond veneer.
On her way back from the park and the window-shopping behind the windows, swinging her paper bags jauntily and enjoying the tug of their momentum, she sings a little tune she's picked up somewhere, most likely from kindergartners marching by two-by-two in their little coats and hats and yellow rain boots, with its strange emphases and syllables where there should be none, made to fit the melody.
Green, green, green are all of my dresses
Green, green, green is everything I have
So I love everything that is green
Because my sweetheart a hunter, hunter is
It's almost comically apt, except that she barely owns anything that is green or that her sweetheart ain't a hunter in the sense that is implied in the song, but he does hunt things and he has a bow and arrows if not a shotgun.
"Honey, I'm hoooome," she announces once she's sneaked into their hideout.
He curses and the arrow misses its target by a finger's breadth, and then he curses again when she throws her bags to the side and jumps his back, arms winding around his broad chest and his neck to scratch that silly beard of his as she peppers him with noisy kisses.
"Ow, careful with the old bones, I've got bruises."
"Dinah got you good?" she asks and kisses him silly. He supports her like she weighs nothing at all as she slides to his front, because the angle from there is better and she really enjoys his hands on her tush.
"A long time ago," he says, a little breathless but still pretending not to be affected and Harley thinks that's cute. She also counts it a victory, not that anyone is keeping count.
"131 to 126, I still take the lead."
"You ambushed me," he complains and she kisses him again, deeply, thoroughly, and gleefully, because his beard is tickling her and she loves it.
"Had enough preparation this time?" she asks.
"Whoever invented kissing must have been a fool," he grumbles.
Dinah is the corner tenderizing the punching bag, so absorbed in her element that she didn't noticed the enthusiastic display of affection but still able to throw a punch at Harley when she's trying to stealthily steal closer. Harley ducks, and Dinah's knee comes up, too quickly for Harley to evade, so she blocks it and when Dinah kicks with her extended leg, Harley catches her by her boot and spins her around and past Harley, but Dinah regains her balance by touching her hands to the ground and now that boot is coming to Harley's face but she can easily duck this time without expecting a knee to the side. Instead, it's Dinah's arm, which she blocks easily, Harley moves for a counter-punch with her right, but Dinah catches that and sweeps Harley legs from under her to pin her to the mat.
"Oof," Harley says. "I think I pulled a muscle."
"That's because you don't train enough," Dinah smiles and brushes a strand of hair away that had been sticking to Harley's lips.
"I think I can hold my own."
"And yet I'm the one pinning you to the mat." Dinah tosses her hair over one shoulder and the halogen lamp hanging from the rafters gives it a white, almost otherworldly sheen. Harley wonders if heaven is like this, with golden-haired angels watching over you.
"Maybe I'm exactly where I want to be."