And so soft. Harley caresses Violet's forehead just below the hairline, brushes her knuckles down the girl's chipmunk cheeks, tickles her beneath her chin. The girl squirms and sighs.
Next to her, Holly echoes the sound. She seems to be enjoying Ivy's attention.
"When they're small, they always are."
"I don't think so. Newborn children always looked like squashed potatoes to me."
"It's different when they're your own."
A surge of pleasure envelopes Harley. Indeed, they're her own. Hers and Ivy's, their DNA spliced. It's weird to think of herself as a mother – especially when her surrogate had been a plant – or even Red, who had always lamented her inability to have children like herself. The breakthrough in her research had granted her that miracle.
Harley can't imagine ever being happier.
Holly waves a strand of Ivy's hair about, with a guttural noise of excitement as accompaniment. It's so strange. When Selina had mentioned Ivy's cabbage patch children, Harley's image of them had been just that – baby-shaped vegetables. Until she'd seen pictures and overheard phone calls that attested to their individual natures.
"M... ma," Violet chimes in, swatting Harley on the nose.
"Did you just hear that?" Harley wouldn't have expected them to develop speech so fast. These accelerated growth hormones are amazing... and scary.
"Enjoy it while you can." Ivy picks up on her thoughts. "Before long they'll not only be talking, but talking back as well."
A dramatic sigh. "No one ever said parenting was easy."