"...there's actually someone there I'd like you to meet, Ivy."
Harley never could have imagined such a simple phrase could cause so much.
Introducing Ivy to Lucy was something Harley wanted to do from the moment she knew she was pregnant. At the time, it wasn't a happy thing but one of fear for herself and her unborn child. During that time, Harley had only considered telling Ivy as a way to find help in ridding herself of the problem and avoiding any more of the Joker's wrath.
But time changed her thoughts into new anxieties, ones of pale hands and a sickening grin taking the child and doing something awful to it. Then it was clear that Harley needed to escape without telling anyone -- even her best friend. She trusted Ivy with her life and her child's, but if anyone knew and word got out...
So Harley ran and hid and gave the child to her sister.
She didn't miss being a mother because she never had to really be one. But now, as she held the sleeping toddler in the reflected lights of the Vegas strip below them, Harley felt complete.
Walking in small circles in the hotel sitting room, Harley bounced her daughter gently and let her heart swell at her little sighs of content as she slept. Her smile grew wider as she remembered waking up that morning to find Ivy missing from bed and instead hunched over Lucy's crib, cooing so softly at the girl and stroking her sandy hair.
"Look, Harls, I'm not a huge fan of humans. Making them smaller doesn't make them more endearing."
Oh how Harley had giggled to herself as she watched Lucy wait for Ivy to look away before flinging her sippy cup off her highchair tray and into the floor again, the toddler watching for Ivy's frustrated groan and eventual lean to pick it up for the third time before erupting into a fit of laughter. They had been in the hotel for only three days, had Lucy to themselves for only the night, but already was the little girl quickly establishing a dynamic. As much as it seemed to baffle the red-headed woman -- and frighten her -- Lucy was so naturally drawn to her that it make Harley want to cry.
'Auntie' Harley could only calm Lucy down for so long after Delia left, then those teary baby blue eyes were only out for green and red. Harley tried to literally push the toddler into Ivy's arms, ignoring her protests that grew louder with every step closer.
"Harley -- no!" Ivy practically shouted, her voice matching that of the wailing baby, "I can't!"
"Yes you can! It's easy, you just hold her like you would one of your plants!"
"No, that's not--" Harley closed the distance and handed off her daughter, knowing in her heart Ivy would take her before she'd just let her drop. She did, taking the child in her arms but looking at the blonde with a face full of fear and holding Lucy stiffly. "Take her back." She whispered more than hissed, her body tense.
"No, you're doin' great, Daffo-doll. Just relax and--"
"How can I relax when I'm scared I'm going to hurt her?!" Ivy snapped, her voice breaking. "Harley please take her before I..."
She moved quickly and retook the toddler, watching her partner stalk away from them and collapse into a chair. Harley slowly approached, shushing Lucy and lowering them both to the floor to sit before the red-head. "Why are you scared you'll hurt her?" Harley asked.
"Because I'm poison. I'm not soft and caring and...I'm just not safe." Ivy refused to look at the blonde but kept her remorseful gaze strictly on the glass. Despite the clear attempt to hide it, Harley could still see the slight glimmer in her eyes.
"But you don't hurt me. Red, you're so soft and caring; you've never hurt me or made me feel unsafe. Well, I've definitely felt unsafe around you, but never because of you. I trust you not to hurt me because I know you won't, you'd rather die than do that. So what's so different about Lucy? She's just a little mini-me."
"I'm not good with babies. I'm not good with people. You're the exception. It still takes focus to not poison you and even if I did it wouldn't be enough to really hurt you. But a baby? If there is even the slightest failure on my part..."
"You won't, I know you won't. I'm sorry that I pushed you and made you upset. But I do hope you'll at least give it a chance. She's your daughter now too, ya'know."
The next morning began Lucy's obsession with Ivy -- one Harley insisted wasn't part of her own personal plotting -- and thus the sippy cup saga. Lucy had thrown the plastic cup so many times in the floor, and every single time Ivy would reached down and pick it up, take it to the sink to rinse off, return it, and try to go back to reading her book. And with each piercing laugh from the toddler, Harley could see Ivy melting just a little bit more.
That night as Harley read her a bedtime story, Ivy had to be the one to tuck her in and turn off the light.
"I don't really want to play happy families, Harl."
Ivy had told her such when Harley mentioned going to her sister's. And honestly, neither did Harley. At least at first she didn't. She could see that changing quickly though as she did another circuit around the sitting room.
She never thought of herself as a mother because she thought it'd be impossible. Well, not impossible, but very unlikely. The thought of children were far from her mind during her heyday in Gotham; there was always just too much going on. And as much as she'd insist to Batman or her fellow rogues or whoever would listen that her and Joker were going to be the happiest family ever, deep down Harley knew how much a crock of shit it was.
But with Ivy...
Ivy and her soft hands and soothing words. Ivy and her bright mind and brighter smile. Ivy and her endless patience and her effortless love.
Ivy with her own set of worries and fears, healthy ones that Harley could completely understand. Ivy with her immediate plans for safe houses and escape routes. Ivy with her back-up plans that came with back-up plans. Ivy with her beautiful dress and gorgeous ring asking Harley to marry her, asking for Harley to not stay with her but to move forward with her.
Ivy would give anything, do anything, and go anywhere if it meant Harley was safe and taken care of. And that was exactly why Harley entrusted her daughter to her. But she didn't want to focus on the 'if's and 'when's of the future, she wanted to focus on the future that was right in front of her.
She just wanted to focus on her daughter, alive and safe and here and sleeping in her arms.
Harley couldn't remember when she sat down on the couch or when she had drifted off, but she woke up suddenly to the weight being lifted off her chest. She started to lurch up and froze, holding her breath as she watched Ivy carefully bring Lucy up into her arms. Ivy tensed as the little girl moved, settling with her head on the red-head's chest before heaving a long sigh and going still again. Harley watched with bated breath as Ivy relaxed by degrees, her loose hold growing firmer as she hugged the child and let her eyes slide shut. A smile, small and private, graced Ivy's lips before she opened her eyes again and leaned down to press a gentle kiss to the top of Lucy's forehead.
"I'll shelter you from all of the evils in this world. Even if our time together is short, you'll only know smiles and happiness. I promise. I'll cherish you for forever, my little easter lily." She then added softly, "Please be good. For both of us. Just be good."
Ivy stepped carefully out of the sitting room, leaving Harley's sight only to return moments later to carefully take the blonde into her hold. Harley threw her arms around Ivy's neck and cried happy tears into her neck, leaning up to kiss her confused wife on the cheek and saying, "I love you so much, Pammie."
"I love you too, Harls. Is everything okay?"
"Everything's perfect now."