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Send In The Clowns

Chapter Text

Prologue

 

“It’s a long way down.” They stood facing each other on the edge of the roof, twenty stories above the tumultuous cityscape below; taxis inching their way around swarms of jaywalkers, impatient drivers honking their horns, street vendors shouting at the tourists, the occasional whine of a police siren.

“Well duh.” She glanced over the edge, then back at her companion. “Does that bother you? You scared?”

He ignored the question. “Where is he?”

“That’s why you wanted to talk? Jeez, Bats, can’t a girl do something on her own for once? And here I thought you were just being nice and comin’ to talk.”

Batman kept his eyes fixed on her as she walked along the roof’s edge, perfectly balanced. “You’ve never been known to act alone before.”

She turned to face him, and for a split second there was something like regret in her eyes. “Maybe I’m not planning on doing anything wrong.”

“I can’t take that chance.”

“You don’t trust me?”

“About as far as I could throw you.”

She smiled at him. “Like you said, it’s a long way down. Throw away. I’ve always wanted to see if I could fly.”

“You’re not going to tell me what you’re doing?”

She looked at him for a long moment, then turned her back to him and sat down on the ledge jutting out above the city streets below. Batman tensed, ready to reach out and grab her if she tried to push herself off. “Sure is a pretty night.”

He stepped closer, keeping her in arm’s reach. “You know what will happen if you don’t tell me what’s going on.”

She glanced over her shoulder and pouted at him. “Back to the nut house, I know. You think that scares me?”

“I know you’d rather not go back.”

She turned away from him, staring back out over the city skyline. “You don’t know anything about me. Not anymore.”

He strained to catch the last two words. “What did you say?”

She flashed a smile but he couldn’t see it. “Nothin’.”

“You’re not leaving me much of a choice, Harley.”

She leaned back on her wrists and the wind blew the ends of her blonde pigtails into her face. Tossing her head to clear her vision, she blinked. “I haven’t done anything wrong, honest. I just wanted to take a walk. Get out for a little while.”

“You’re not creating a diversion while your boyfriend shoots up a hospital or something?”

She tried to suppress a frown. “Boy, have you got a way with words.”

“Answer me straight and answer me now, or we’re done talking.”

She swung her legs back and forth, staring unfazed at the ground below. “I already told you, nothing’s happening. I wanted a breath of fresh air. Not that you’re helping.”

“And you’re not acting accomplice to anything?”

“Well, not right now. Probably later, but that’s the way it goes, ya know? It’s how we roll.”

“It doesn’t have to be.”

“Oh, you’re gonna get preachy on me now, Bats?” She spun around, tucking her legs underneath her. “Think you can soften me up, talk me out of this life of crime? You think you know all my secrets, but let me tell you something.” Standing up, she walked over until they were mere inches apart. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “You’re not the only one.”

He stared down at her. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I know things that you don’t know I know.” She was still whispering. “About you. About both of you.”

“You’ll have to explain that more in depth.” He kept a wary eye on her in case she decided to produce a gun or knife from somewhere. She smiled.

“You and the other you.” Beneath the cowl, Batman frowned. He didn’t like the look in her eyes. “Come on, don’t try to hide it. You know who I am, it’s only fair it should go both ways.”

He narrowed his eyes. “What are you talking about?”

“Who you really are,” She tapped the bat emblem on his chest. “beneath all that getup. Don’t worry, I haven’t told anyone and I won’t tell anyone now.”

“Tell them what, Harley?” His voice rose in exasperation and he just barely kept it from being a shout. She put a finger to her lips.

“Shh. Don’t be mad. You should be grateful I haven’t given you away,” she rose to tiptoe and whispered in his ear, “Bruce.”