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The Dark Knight: Aftermath

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An Arkham Doctor stood outside of Arkham Asylum, the umbrella in his hand shielding him from the pouring rain. An Arkham guard stood beside him, the rain doing nothing to stagger his military like poster. After a few minutes like this, both men shifted as a car stopped in front of them.

"Ah!" The doctor smiled, walking towards the car as the driver opened the door. "Miss Quinzel?"

"In the flesh." Harleen gave him a smile.

"Let me help you." The Doctor held out his hand as he held the umbrella over Harleen's head, ensuring the rain wouldn't touch her.

"Thank you." Harleen nodded, gratefully.

"Don't mention it." The doctor smiled. "Now, come on, let's chat inside."

The two huddled under the umbrella as they walked through the front door of Arkham, the guard silently following behind them. When they were in, The doctor closed his umbrella and shook it to get the water droplets off, the guard instinctively went to a nearby janitor's closet and out down a wet floor sign.

"Matt, I don't think that's necessary," The doctor said with a chuckle.

"Just being safe," Matt finally spoke.

The doctor let out another chuckle. "Miss Quinzel, meet Matthew Harlan."

"Charmed." Harleen held out her hand.

"Please to meet the famous Harleen Quinzel." Matt shook her hand.

"Oh, are you a fan?" Harleen asked.

"Read your book, very insightful," Matt said.

"Thanks, glad to know it isn't just doctors who enjoy my work," Harleen said.

"Speaking of doctors," the doctor held out his hand, "I'm doctor-"

"Henry Rose, I read your file," Harleen finished. "You've done good work here."

"Oh, that means a lot coming from you," Henry said, grinning goofily. "I'm honestly surprised you even came here, let alone know who I am."

"I put the needs of the patients over my needs," Harleen said. "Arkham may be considered a backwater institution by the outside world, but I'm not going to let the last man in here rot due to this place's poor reputation."

"I see you couldn't escape this place’s poor reviews..." Henry frowned, rubbing the back of his in embarrassment. "Still, you came, anyway. That's all that matters."

"Look, I don't want to be rude, but I would gladly get to know you two later," Harleen said, friendly tone changing to a much more serious and professional one. "Right now, I want to see him."

"Oh, of course!" Henry shook his head, getting back on track. "He's in the cafeteria now."

Harleen walked into the cafeteria to see what was, for her, a tragic sight. The Joker was in this large, empty cafeteria, alone, sitting at the table farthest from the door, tucked into the room's right corner. Guards surrounded him, two stood to either side of him, and Harleen didn't fail to notice the two outside the door of the room, and the two inside the door of the room.

"Doesn't this seem like a bit much?" Harleen asked. "He's just one man."

"No," Matt answered, bluntly.

"What Matt means is...well...this man, single handedly, brought Gotham to its knees," Henry said. "He did almost as much damage as those crazed, fear gas lobbing terrorist Crane allied himself with."

"He's still a human being," Harleen criticized. "A patient shouldn't be treated like a wild animal."

"Wait until you get to know him," Matt whispered under his breath.

"That is my job," Harleen said.

Matt's stoic demeanor dropped. " heard that?"

"Yes, I did." Harleen glared at him.

Harleen's gaze was piercing, and Matt had to look away. Henry widened his eyes, impressed with Harleen's ability to make even someone like Matt uncomfortable. Before he could say anything to her, she had already turned on her high heel, and was making her way over to The Joker.

"Joker?" Harleen took her seat across from The Joker.

Dark, baggy eyes looked up from the food, and soon, a carved up face turned into a big, toothy grin, rows of yellow teeth greeted Harleen.

"I am Dr. Harleen Quinzel, I'll be your psychiatrist," Harleen explained.

"Really?" The Joker spoke up, he looked to one of the guards. "Is it April fools day? Or are one of you idiots actually trying to cure me?"

"Shut it, clown!" One of the guards spat.

"Hey, that is unnecessary," Harleen scolded the guard.

"Is this b-" The guard was about to call Harleen a rather crude name, but cut himself when she glared.

"Oh, this ones tough!" The Joker squeed in excitement. "Good, it's been so boring around here, and I need a challenge."

"I've read your files, Joker," Harleen began. "I know all of your tricks and manipulations, and I won't be so easily swayed."

"A little fight in you, I like that," The Joker said.

"Good, at least I can have some level of respect from you at the start of our sessions," Harleen said.

"That wasn't a compliment," The Joker said. "That was I said to the last woman I spoke to...right before I had her blown up."

"Yes, Rachel Dawes," Harleen said, lower her eyes. "I saw the news."

"It was all in an effort to break Harvey Dent," The Joker said. "I may have failed the ferries, but his fall would prove that no one is good, and everyone is just as bad as I am."

"Unfortunately for you, you failed," Harleen noted. "Harvey died a hero, and Gotham is prospering under his posthumous acts."

The Joker burst out into a sudden fit of laughter. Everyone but Harleen jumped.

"What's so funny?" Harleen asked, casually.

"That he's got all you fooled," The Joker said.

"Who does?" Harleen asked, curiously.

"Doesn't matter," The Joker sighed. "The truth will come out, eventually. That, however, is for another time. Right now, let's focus on you...Harley Quinn."

Harleen rolled her eyes. "I'm sure you won't be too pleased to know I've heard that so many times it stopped getting under my skin years ago."

"I'm not calling you that to annoy you, I'm giving my new friend a nickname," The Joker said.

"Friend?" Harleen was taken aback by this.

"Yes," The Joker said. "Friend."

"I'm afraid I can't have friendships in this kind of situation," Harleen said. "It's unprofessional. I want to help you, Joker. Maybe, when you're cured, then I can be your friend."

"Shame." The Joker pouted. "A friend is someone you can trust...someone who you can share all your secrets with..."

Harleen narrowed her eyes at him.

"Sorry for the interruption," a guard spoke up. "However, his lunch time is up."

"Of course." Harleen stood up.

"Such a shame you must leave now," The Joker said. "When do the real sessions begin?"

"We can begin our sessions in a week," Harleen answered, checking her watch.

"Time already slows down in this place," The Joker lamented. "A week will feel like a hundred."

"Then I'll be sure to be there for you to make up for it," Harleen said. "I will get you help, Joker. I will cure you."

"If you say so,” The Joker said as he was lead out of the cafeteria.

Harley watched him intently as he left.

”Miss Quinzel, I know I’m the one that called you here, and I’m one of the last people on Earth to doubt your abilities, but do you think you can truly cure him?” Henry asked.

”Anyone can be saved,” Harleen assured. “If they desire it enough.”

”I don’t think pure evil can change,” Matt noted.

”Pure evil doesn’t exist,” Harleen said. “That is a simplistic view on human morality.“

”Some people aren’t that complex,” Matt noted, before walking out of the room.

”Sorry about him,” Henry said. “In Gotham, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t cynical.”

”It’s okay, Doctor,” Harleen said. “I don’t entirely blame him. Joker is definitely the sickest patient I’ve ever had, both literally and metaphorically, but I know, deep down, there is a small piece of humanity screaming out in agony at the actions he committed. I am here to pull piece that out of him.”

The Joker listened to Harleen as he was escorted out, a wicked smile growing on his face.

”I know I can get through to him,” Harleen said, confidently.