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Tearing Into Your Soul

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It was a wonderful night for the Waynes who had finally gotten a chance to go out as a family, which didn't happen very often. The boys' father was a surgeon, a miracle-worker some said, and because of his gift, he was always busy. But that wasn't the only reason that Thomas Wayne was always busy. He was working to heal Gotham, not just with his skills as a surgeon, but also with the charity work he did with his wife Martha.

Their sons, Bruce and Jack, understood why their father was so busy. He would tell them time and time again that they should give back to the city of Gotham when they could and that was exactly what he and their mother were doing, giving back. They, as a family of privilege, had a responsibility to the less well-off of Gotham. They had an obligation to try to make Gotham a better place for everyone.

The boys understood, at least somewhat.

Despite understanding their parents' mission, they couldn't help but want to spend more time with their father and mother together.

But tonight was finally one of those nights where the family was all together. It was such a rare treat that in their excitement, the boys acted as if it were Christmas. The family had headed into downtown Gotham for a night on the town, dinner at a fancy restaurant, a movie the boys would enjoy...it was perfect.

They had been walking the streets of Gotham after the movie. The family decided to enjoy the clear night before heading home. Their sons were just a little distance ahead of their parents, playing characters from the movies. Bruce laughed, grabbing his little brother. “I'm taking you to jail foul villain!!”

“Bruce!! I'm not a bad guy!! I'm not going to jail!” Jack elbowed his brother in the stomach.

“Boys, now no fighting.” Their mother frowned, absently fingering her pearls with a gentle smile.

“Thomas can you make those boys settle down?”

The boys' father laughed. “Alright you two, settle down and listen to your mother.”

The two boys were laughing and running around each other when a voice floated out of the darkness.

“Yeah boys, you might want to settle down before someone gets hurt.”

The boy's mother gasped. “Bruce! Jack! Come here!”

Before the boys could get out of reach, a man stepped out of the darkness. Long skeletal hands reached out for one of the boys, managing to grab the Wayne's youngest son Jack by the collar of his jacket. The mysterious man hauled the boy back toward him as he revealed the pistol in his other hand to the boy's parents.

Jack cried out “DADDY!” just as the gunman yanked the boy against him, wrapping his arm around the young boy's neck pressing painfully against Jack's throat. The youngest

Wayne struggled, but the man holding him pressed hard against his thin neck nearly cutting off Jack's air.

“If you two fine folks don't want this one to get hurt, I suggest you hand over everything, your money, them fine jewels you're wearing...all of it.”

Bruce had run back to his parents' side. His mother grabbed him, pushing Bruce behind her, just as the man with the gun stepped forward dragging a still-struggling Jack with him, his fingers digging into the young boy's shoulder. Jack cried out, his tiny, thin collarbone snapping.

Thomas Wayne threw down his wallet at the criminal's feet. “Let my boy go now!”

The criminal yanked Jack hard, causing the boy to cry out in pain, the broke bone in his collar digging into the child's flesh beneath his skin. For a moment Jack's vision wavered, the pain causing everything to seem fuzzy, out of focus. He saw his parents standing there, his big brother hiding behind their mother, doing nothing to save him. Jack felt hot tears rolling down his cheeks, but no one moved to take him away from the bad man.

Thomas Wayne stepped forward reaching for his youngest son. “You have our money give me my son!”

The gunman snarled. “Stay back!” The man waved the gun to punctuate his statement.

That was when gun went off, a bullet striking Thomas Wayne in the chest. His body seemed to fly backwards in slow motion. Both boys watched in horror, the spray of bright red blood caught by the weak streetlights, their father's body slamming against the pavement, bouncing once then going still...

The boys' mother screamed; she reached for her husband calling his name. The gunman fired at her as Jack cried. Bruce cried out. The bullet ripped through their mother's neck, her pearl necklace shattering, ripped in half, pearls flying into the air stained bright red. As the bullet hit his mother, her blood splattered Bruce's face. He could hear the cry of his little brother being thrown to the ground, the retreating footsteps of the man running away....then the only sounds were Jack's weeping.

*

Bruce woke up gasping for breath, dripping with sweat. He took a steadying breath running his hand through his damp hair. He couldn't recall how many times he had dreamt of that night, the night his whole life changed. He took a steadying breath when he heard the laughter. Bruce sighed throwing his legs off the side of the bed.

The laughter had started out as a soft giggle, but now it had burst into full-blown maniacal laughter, a shadow of sound that echoed through the manor. Bruce knew it was only a memory of a laugh...the manor was quiet...but the laughter seemed to always be lurking...waiting...

Bruce pushed himself off the bed and headed to the bathroom. Thank goodness the private psychiatrist was starting today. It was becoming more and more difficult for Bruce to handle his younger brother alone, especially since he had begun his nighttime activities...focusing his rage and pain in protecting Gotham as the Batman.

As Bruce ran some hot water in the sink to wash his face, his thoughts wandered to his brother Jack. Jack would disappear for days on end. No word of warning, nothing. He would just be gone, only to return home smelling of smoke, gun oil, acholol and drugs. Sometimes he would come back looking as if he had been beaten, other times he would have blood on him but no wounds, only that maniacal smile that never seemed to waver. Jack would never divulge where he had been or what had happened to him while he was gone. Even when Jack would come home beaten and bloody, he still would only laugh that maniacal laughter and tell Bruce not to worry.

But Bruce did worry. He could see the gleam of something in his brother's eyes that wasn't—right--but he had no idea what it was or how to handle it. It had been there since that night in the alley and had grown steadily more acute.

Now that he was older, Bruce knew that everything in regards to Jack had been handled poorly. After their parents' death, Jack had never been “right” again. He had started to mutter to himself, laughing at the strangest times, becoming more extreme in his behavior, dangerous to himself and sometimes others. The disappearances would be for longer and longer periods as he became older.

It was as if Jack had no will to live.

But the worst part was when he would find Jack's writings or drawing. Jack's brilliant mind was still there, hidden in the madness that was quietly taking him over. Jack would spend hours working on formulas for things Bruce, at the time, didn't understand.

He had thought about sending Jack to private school, a boarding school, away from the manor, away from Gotham. Bruce thought that maybe, being away might help Jack to become more...focused, stable, but Bruce wasn't sure what he hoped would happen. He sent his little brother away to a boarding school out of state. Bruce sometimes wondered if he had sent Jack away for his own peace of mind, that it wasn't for Jack's sake, but for his own that he sent Jack away to school.

Jack excelled in his classes. Jack was just as brilliant as Bruce; in some ways Jack was even more gifted. Bruce was told that his brother was a genius, that Jack could be capable of great things. But that had all come crumbling down.

When Jack returned home...actually Jack didn't return home, he was dismissed after a fight had started in which Jack had permanently disfigured a fellow student. It wasn't the first time Jack had been implicated in some sort of violence at school, but it was the first time Jack had been caught. All the other incidents had been hearsay, reports of Jack's involvement from the school had only been speculation, but the school had contacted Bruce in order to let him know about the allegations. But then the fight, the disfigured student...there had been several witnesses. Bruce never learned all the details, only that Jack had pinned the boy to the floor, laughing hysterically and carved a smile from ear to ear on the boy while whispering to him. “A smile makes everything better don't you think?”

Jack would not talk about the incident, he only told Bruce that no one at the school had a sense of humor. A large settlement with the student's family had been handled quietly and Jack had come home.

And thus Bruce had hired private tutors for Jack after that, with the help of the boys' butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Jack had a brilliant mind, just like Bruce, just like their father. He excelled in chemistry, math, philosophy, art....all subjects it seemed. But while Bruce maintained his sanity, Jack spiraled into more and more violent behavior.

*

Bruce stared at himself in the mirror. He had escaped his pain over his parents' death by focusing on training, building, learning. Perhaps he had also been trying to escape...escape not just his pain, but the pain of watching his brother fall into madness, to become something he didn't recognize.

In recent years Bruce had turned his focus on Gotham. He didn't want any other children to grow up without their parents, to end up like him and Jack, orphans. Bruce's time away in the evenings had not gone unnoticed by Jack, though Bruce assumed his nocturnal activities were going unnoticed. Though Jack wasn't buying the “playboy about Gotham” persona Bruce had been cultivating since he hit his twenties. Jack would give him these strange knowing smiles, as if the brothers were sharing some great secret. The brothers didn't speak much, which made it easy for Bruce to keep his newest project secret...but he wondered how much Jack suspected.

*

As Bruce dressed that morning, he asked himself the same question over and over. Could he have done more when Jack was young? Even though he had been only a child himself? He didn't see what was happening to Jack until it was already too late.

Bruce adjusted his tie. There was no point in worrying about the past...he had to focus on his mission...to keep Gotham safe so that no other families fell apart like his. Losing his parents to the criminals, to the dirty underbelly of Gotham and then the slow loss of his brother to madness brought on by what happened when they were kids....no one else would suffer if Bruce Wayne had any say in it. He had just stepped back into the main area of his bedroom when there was a knock at his door.

“Sir, are you up? Ready for breakfast?”

Bruce smiled. It was Alfred Pennyworth, his family's loyal butler and his second father.

“Come in Alfred.”

Alfred came in carrying a tray from which Bruce could smell bacon, eggs, toast and the rich smell of coffee.

As Alfred set the tray down Bruce walked over.

“Have you seen Jack this morning yet?: Bruce asked as he sat down at the small table and chair in one corner of his room.

“Yes Master Bruce. I served him breakfast down in the kitchen. I am uncertain if it is my place to mention this, but he was quite excited about something he was doing this evening. He stated he would be gone all evening.

Bruce frowned. “Maybe we can convince him to stay in...his new doctor is arriving today.”

“Yes sir. She shall be here within the next hour I believe.” Alfred set Bruce's breakfast out on the table by the window.

“Is there anything else you need sir?” Alfred asked as he finished setting up the breakfast.

“Thank you Alfred, I'm good. Going to eat and run,” Bruce explained. “I'm supposed to be heading over for a board meeting this morning.”

Alfred bowed, but before he left he placed his hand on Bruce's shoulder.

“Don't worry sir. I'm sure this new doctor will help Master Jack.”

“I hope so.” Bruce sighed.

*

Alfred returned to the kitchen to see that Jack was still at the small table scribbling notes with a wide smile on his lips, his light brown hair having fallen over his forehead to hide his green eyes as he worked.

“Master Jack, I wanted to remind you that your new doctor will be arriving today.”

Jack looked up from his work, a frown suddenly replacing his smile. “Is that today?”

“Yes sir.” Alfred started to clean the oven.

“This one is going to live with us? I still can't believe Bruce thought that was a good idea.” Jack giggled. “A live-in doctor for the crazy brother!” He stopped what he was doing to laugh louder.

Alfred frowned. Jack's laughing had started to sound...frightening to him...as if the young master was about to go off the rails so to speak.

“Promise to be on your best behavior master Jack.” Alfred walked over picking up Jack's breakfast dishes.

Jack grinned crossing his heart with his long fingers. “I cross my heart and hope to die Alfred.” Then he giggled.

*

Dr. Harleen Quinzel pulled up at the gate in her beat up VW bug, her blue eyes large and round as she looked through the gate toward Wayne Manor. The place was far bigger than she had anticipated. She knew Bruce Wayne had money and lots of it, but she hadn't really considered how much money until she got a look at the house. Harleen swallowed. “Wow...” she whispered to herself.

She rolled down her window, leaning out to press the button on the intercom.

“Wayne residence, how may I help you?”

Harleen smiled. “Dr. Harleen Quinzel, I'm here!”

“Oh good morning Dr. Quinzel, I shall just buzz you through.”

There was the sound of an actual “buzz” and the gate slowly opened. Harleen drove through, her heart hammering in her chest with excitement and a little bit of fear. She hadn't been a doctor that long when Bruce Wayne hired her to be his brother's private doctor. Rumor had it that Jack Wayne was so crazy that Bruce Wayne kept him locked up in a tower...stories of course. But Dr. Quinzel had been scared and thrilled when Mr. Wayne had offered her the job.

Mr. Wayne had hired her on the understanding that she would speak to no one about her work with his brother. The elder Wayne brother also required her to sign a non-disclosure agreement that prevented her from writing about or publishing any work relevant to her time with the Waynes. Which was fine with her; Mr. Wayne was providing her not just with a paycheck, but he was also providing her room and board at the Wayne estate so that she was always on hand when his younger brother needed her.

Harleen drove up turning her tiny car along the circle drive and parking on the side, her eyes wandering up the front of the manor. “God!” she thought to herself as she got out of her car. The place was even bigger up close.

*

Inside, gazing out one of the windows, Jack watched his new doctor pull up. She wasn't very tall, he noted, watching her as she stood next to the little VW. He would tower over her, but she had a very nice figure that was highlighted by her black pencil skirt and deep red blouse. Her thick blonde hair was piled onto the top of her head, held in place by a couple of hair sticks. She turned around to pull her suitcase out of her vehicle as Alfred walked out to meet her, Jack saw the sunlight reflect off the lenses of a pair of glasses.

He rested his narrow chin on the palm of his hand watching her with a huge grin. He wondered how much fun she would be...she couldn't be much older than him. Though he couldn't get a very good look at her face from up here, he wouldn't be surprised if she was a good ten years younger than he was. He giggled. “Pretty, Pretty...” he murmured to himself pushing away from the window. He stopped at the full-length mirror that sat in the corner of his room and looked himself over. His brown hair was slicked back from his face and he wore a suit of dark grey, pinstriped with a lighter grey, and a bright purple tie for color. His shoes were highly polished oxfords that he snazzied up with a pair of spats. He grinned showing off his perfectly white, almost unnatural looking straight teeth.

“Looking good Jackie boy.” He winked at himself in the mirror.

*

“Let me show you to your room first Dr. Quinzel, give yourself a chance to get settled in before you meet Master Jack.” Alfred Pennyworth, a real-life butler, picked up Harleen's bags for her and turned to walk up the stairs. Harleen was trying her best not to stare at everything, but this place was incredible!

The stairs were made of some sort of highly polished thick wood, and looked as if they came out of some romance novel, Gothic manor on the moors! There were huge paintings and other pieces of art such as marble sculptures or huge vases...everything looked as if it should be in a museum! Harleen found herself holding her arms close to her body, afraid she might knock something over and break it!

Just as she put her foot on the first stair, she heard the sound of a cheery laugh.

“Let me take those Alfred, old boy!”

Harleen looked up to see an incredibly handsome man leaning over to take her bags from the butler.

“Master Jack I am quite capable...”

“Oh Pfffttt!! Alfred...she is going to be my doctor, let me show her to her room.” The man looked past Alfred and grinned at her.

Harleen found herself speechless for a moment. He really was very handsome as he smiled down at her. “Jack? Jack Wayne?” she finally managed to get out.

Despite holding her bags, Jack Wayne executed a perfectly elegant bow.

“At your service Dr. Quinzel.” He grinned brightly at her.

Harleen tried to remain professional, but she couldn't stop the blush creeping up her neck and over her cheeks.

Jack continued to grin. “Come along Doc. I'll show you your room!”

Alfred nodded to her as she walked past him but as she followed Jack up the stairs Alfred frowned deeper...

*

Jack threw open the doors to the most beautiful room Harleen had ever seen. All through college she had been forced to share a house with six other girls, all of them struggling to make ends meet and get through school. Before that, she had lived in a dinky two bedroom apartment with her parents, two sisters and a brother. This room made all those places look as if she had been homeless this whole time. She could fit everything she had ever owned in this room! She pressed her lips together in order to keep her mouth from hanging open as she stepped in. The room had a king size bed in the middle of it. The mattress on the bed looked as if she would sink into its comfy embrace. The room also included a large desk and bookcase in one corner. There was a giant chest of drawers, a vanity with mirror, a full length mirror, a dressing screen painted with roses and a massive window. As she walked over to the window she saw that it looked out onto the Wayne Manor gardens.

Jack set her luggage down and flopped onto the bed.

“I know it isn't much, but I hope you will find it comfortable doctor.” Jack leaned back on his elbows watching her inspect the room.

She had just opened a door peering in and saw that she had her own bath with a deep, sauna bathtub...it was as if she had just booked a room at a swanky hotel in downtown Gotham.

She looked back at Jack who was watching his feet as he kicked his legs back and forth over the edge of the bed. “This is very nice. Thank you Mr. Wayne.”

Jack grinned at her. “Mr. Wayne is my brother. Call me Jack...especially since you are going to be poking around in my head.”

Harleen walked over to take a seat on the bed beside him. “Is that what you think I'm going to do? Dig around where I”m not wanted?”

Jack shrugged. “Maybe...maybe not.” He grinned and laid back on his elbows, rolling his head to lay his cheek against his shoulder. “You are quite pretty for a doctor.”

Harleen blushed. “Thank you. But my looks do not take away from the fact that I know what I'm doing.”

Jack nodded and pushed himself to his feet with a little hop. “Well, you get yourself settled Dr. Quinzel.”

Jack did a spin on the balls of his feet, stopping to grin at her. “You know, if you rework your name a little, you could be Harley Quinn...like a Harlequin...doesn't that just make you want to smile?”

He chuckled taking several long strides to the door.

“See you for our first session doctor.” He winked at her before slipping out the door.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Dr. Quinzel dressed in what she hoped was a professional looking outfit. She had on a white coat/jacket over a deep blue blouse and a straight black skirt. She carefully chose her shoes, deep red heels, not too high, but high enough to give her some height and hopefully some authority. Her stockings were a bit...risky...for her professional look, with the line running down the back, but they were her favorite kind of hose to wear, a little sexy without being too sexy.

Harleen studied herself in the mirror as she piled her thick blonde hair up on top of her head, shoving a few bobby pins in to hold it in a bun. Despite her best efforts, however, long strands came loose to frame her face. Sometimes she really hated the way she looked. No one took her seriously as a doctor. Well...until Mr. Wayne. She sighed a little. He was quite handsome, wealthy, donated to charities with genuine concern for people...everything a girl would want really, but when she had met him face to face for her interview, all her “attraction” had vanished. He was still handsome and rich, but there was something about him that was...distant. He was not a man who gave in to his passions. It had been a disappointment to Harleen...no whirlwind romance with a billionaire in her future. She just felt no attraction to him.

She slipped her glasses on. They were fake—like her blonde hair—just plain glass filled the frames. She hoped the glasses helped her look more professional, smart. She turned her head one way, then the other. This job could be the chance she needed, a chance for her to make her career...maybe write that book she wanted to write on extreme personalities, albeit with names changed, maintaining the privacy of the Wayne family and upholding her contract. Working with Mr. Wayne's brother could be the big break she needed to get Arkham Asylum to give her a serious look as a doctor. She smiled at herself. Now, to go find her patient. When Harleen stepped out of her room, she realized she had no idea where she was supposed to go. Yesterday, after Jack Wayne had shown her to her room, he had disappeared. It was the butler, Alfred Pennyworth who had given her a tour of the estate.

The Wayne grounds and the manor were gorgeous! Harleen had seen pictures of the Wayne manor and it's lands in magazines before...images from when the Wayne boys had been young, before their parents' tragic death. She remembered gazing at the house in wonder while flipping through the magazine. It was a radical difference between her own home, a cramped two bedroom apartment with her parents, a brother and two sisters. But now, here she was, her own spacious room in the Wayne manor.

*

Harleen carefully made her way down the elegant staircase looking for anyone, but the place seemed deserted. When she reached the great hall, she walked around, gazing at the art on display. She was simply amazed by what the Wayne's had in art. There was an original Rembrandt, and a one of a kind Rachel Whiteread, and those were just a small sampling of what she saw and what she suspected they owned!

She had just walked through a doorway that led to what looked to her to be a dining room when she smelled coffee. She lifted her head sniffing the air. Oh yes...coffee! she thought. At that same moment her stomach made a loud growling sound. Blushing, Harleen grabbed her stomach only to hear a soft giggle.

“You really should get some breakfast, doctor.”

Harleen turned around swiftly to see Jack Wayne standing there watching her from the doorway. Her heart slammed against her breastbone. She hadn't heard him at all.

“Hello Mr. Wayne.” She pressed her lips together. He looked incredibly dashing, leaning in the doorway with that smile on his face.

Jack chuckled, holding up a gloved finger. “Tsk, tsk! Dr. Quinzel. I told you, Mr. Wayne is my brother.”

Harleen smiled. “Sorry...Jack,” she amended.

He grinned. “Now that is much better.”

This morning Jack was dressed in a three-piece English cut suit of black with thin pin-stripping in dark grey, paired with a blood red tie and spats over his black oxfords. He even had a gold chain across his stomach. His brown hair was slicked back, highlighting his brilliant eyes, eyes which she couldn't decide the color of...his eyes almost seemed to shift from blue to green as he walked across the room toward her.

“How about I escort you to the kitchen for breakfast?” He smiled at her, those perfect teeth forming a perfect grin.

“You eat in the kitchen?” Harleen asked a little surprised.

“When I'm home I do...most of the time. When I'm working, I take my meals in my room.” Jack put his arm out for her and she hooked her arm through his.

“What sort of work do you do Jack? Do you work with your brother?” Harleen tried to suppress the blush, but this close he smelled...good...more than good—delicious. She couldn't put her finger on what the scent was, but she found it almost intoxicating.

“Work with Bruce? Pfftt!” Jack made a rude noise and laughed. “No, no, I have my own enterprises.” Jack giggled.

“Would you care to tell me about them?” Harleen asked as they walked and Jack laughed. “Oh listen to you! Trying to get into my confidences already and we haven't even had a first date! Naughty naughty, doctor!”

Jack giggled taking her around a corner and into the kitchens. She was immediately in heaven. The smells of coffee and cooking eggs were delicious and her stomach was making itself loudly heard. Alfred looked up from where he was working at the stove. “Ah Master Jack, Dr. Quinzel—ready for breakfast?”

Jack let go of her arm and pulled a stool out for her, one of several that lined a large metal topped counter in the center of the kitchen.

“That smells divine Mr. Pennyworth. What are you fixing?” Harleen asked as she took her seat.

Alfred smiled while Jack pulled three mugs down and started to fill them with coffee from the coffee pot down the counter from the oven.

“I'm making Master Jack a crab and cheese omelet,” Alfred explained. “Would you like one Dr. Quinzel? It is no trouble at all.” Alfred smiled at her while he worked.

“Oh please, call me Harleen. That goes for you too Jack. I may be your doctor, but I also want us to be friends.” She smiled softly. Some of her instructors had taught that one had to maintain a critical distance from one's patients, whereas others had argued that balancing a friendly relationship while being professional was important with some patients. Harleen elected to go for the closer relationship on this job.

Jack gave her a devilishly amused grin. “I don't have any friends except old Alfred here.”

“Miss Harleen? Omelet?” Alfred slid Jack's onto a plate with ease, picking up some eggs ready for the next omelet.

“You know...I will have one, thank you.” Harleen sipped her hot coffee with a smile. Alfred smiled and nodded as he set Jack's plate in front of him and started to prepare her omelet. Jack pushed his plate in front of her. “You have this one—I'll wait.” He grinned at her leaning his elbow on the table and putting his chin in his gloved hand.

“I couldn't!” she exclaimed, but Jack grinned and lifted one eyebrow. “I insist.”

Harleen smiled taking the plate and cutting a bite off. She stuck her fork in the fluffy egg and brought it to her mouth, Jack watched her the whole time with a smile on his face, his gaze intense as he watched her. When Harleen bit into the fluffy egg, cheese and crab, her eyes rolled. It was probably the best thing she had ever eaten.

“Oh Mr. Pennyworth,” she said with a pleasantly surprised expression. “This is delicious!”

Alfred gave her a smile over his shoulder. “I am happy that you find it so, Dr. Quinzel. And please, call me Alfred.”

Jack grinned brightly. “Now that we are breaking bread together, can I call you a friend Dr. Quinzel?”

Harleen smiled back at him. “I'm here to help you...Jack. That is why your brother hired me. I hope that we can build a trust between us and yes, you can call me your friend.”

Jack looked delighted. “I actually don't have any friends, you Doctor, will be my first. Other than Alfred, of course.”

Harleen smiled. “And you will be my first. I don't have any friends either Jack.”

Jack grinned wider. “Well, you have one now Harleen.”

*

After breakfast, while she was finishing her coffee, Harleen asked Jack, “So what do you do Jack?”

Jack chuckled. “Oh, a bit of this and a bit of that...”

She nodded sipping her coffee. “Why don't we, together, decide on a room that would be the best place to conduct our sessions. I would like to set aside an hour each day for us to just...talk...get to know one another. The rest of today I would like to spend observing—if that is acceptable to you Jack?”

Jack grinned with a glint in his eyes. “Oh, that is more than acceptable.”

*

Alfred frowned glancing at the two of them. Jack's enthusiasm surprised Alfred. When Master Bruce had first approached Jack about having a live-in doctor for him, Jack had been livid. He had disappeared for a day and a half, returning dirty, beaten with a bloody lip, but he had said nothing to Master Bruce when he returned about where he had been or what had happened while he was gone. The only thing that Jack had said was that he was agreeable to the doctor now.

*

Jack hopped to his feet bowing at the waist, one hand behind his back and the other he held out to Harleen. “Shall we then, my dear doctor?”

Harleen couldn't help the smile that danced across her lips. He was indeed charming. She took his hand as she slid off her stool. Then Jack spun around, his arm extended to her. Harleen put her arm through his and the two set off. Alfred watched them leave the kitchen, a strange feeling of foreboding washing over him.

*

Jack walked Harleen out into the main room throwing his arm up like a game show host.

“Now we have so many many rooms we could explore...but...I think I have the perfect room for our little chitchat sessions, my dear doctor.” With a display of his teeth in a wide grin, Jack proceeded to guide Harleen back the way they had come through the dining room, the great hall, through another room that she thought might be a drawing room, into yet another room that looked to be a study, finally stopping in what was clearly a library.

The walls, except for one where a very large fireplace dominated the space, were covered in shelves upon shelves of books, reaching all the way to the high ceilings of the room. There were a handful of long polished tables as well as several comfortable looking wing-backed chairs, and a long couch that reminded Harleen of something found in a Victorian era home.

The room was all polished wood and warm rich colors. The textured ceiling was highlighted by the warm light of a chandelier.

Jack grinned as he took her hand. “How is this my dear, dear doctor?”

Harleen smiled looking around. “I think this will do perfectly Jack.”

He laughed and, still holding her hand, escorted her to one of the chairs. He pulled her hand up and kissed her knuckles before he gracefully took a seat on the couch next to her. He crossed his legs and folded his hands along his knee.

“So my dear beautiful Doctor Harleen, what shall we talk about?”

Harleen blushed. “Please Jack, while I appreciate the compliments, can you please not do that?”

Jack grinned at her. “Why ever not? You are a beautiful woman, after all.”

Harleen blushed, clearing her throat. “We should be talking about you, not me.”

Jack continued to smile, something that Harleen noticed he did a lot. She wondered if his smile hid something deeper however, something not amusing or happy. “Alright, what should we talk about?” he inquired.

“Well, since this is our first session, why don't we just get to know each other?” Harleen smiled. Jack tilted his head to the side, maintaining his smile.

“You have a beautiful smile.” He giggled when she blushed and continued. “Alright, how about for every question I answer of yours, you have to answer a question of mine?

Honestly. No beating around the bush or declining to answer. If you want me to trust you, then you need to be perfectly honest.” Jack smirked. Harleen nodded in acceptance.

“Alright, but you promise the same? Complete honesty?” Harleen put her hand out to him. Jack gracefully removed his gloves, placing them on the couch beside him and wrapped his long fingers around hers. Harleen felt the warmth of his hand run up her arm, spreading through her like melted chocolate, oozing and caressing as the heat traveled through her body.

He held her hand, not letting go even when Halreen lightly tried to tug her hand back. He turned her hand over, her palm laying open and started to trace the lines the criss-crossed her palm.

“I think I shall go first,” he murmured gazing at her palm. His touch tickled slightly, the tip of his finger just barely skimming the lines of her palm. She noticed that his nails were perfectly manicured, his fingers the long tapered digits of an artist.

“Why did you become a doctor, a psychiatrist...Harley?” Jack looked up then, catching her eyes with his and holding hers with the intensity of his gaze. A stray lock of hair fell forward across his forehead. Harleen had a powerful urge to reach over and brush the lock of hair back into place with the others. With a mixture of excitement and alarm, she thought that he looked incredibly sexy as he stared at her.

She swallowed. “Remember, my name is Harleen.”

Jack grinned. “Yes, but I like Harley. You look like a Harley to me. Remember, yesterday when I said reworking your name to Harley Quinn instead of Harleen Quinzel...made me smile? You want me to smile don't you Harley?”

Harleen blushed glancing down at her hand in his, his finger still lightly tracing the lines of her palm. “Alright, when we are alone, you may call me Harley if you like, but if we are in public or around your brother, please call me Harleen or Dr. Quinzel.”

Jack nodded his agreement.

“I became a psychiatrist to help people. I've always been fascinated by “extreme” personalities, people who see the world differently.” Harleen watched while Jack continued to caress her palm.

“My turn,” she said softly. “Why did you have problems in school?”

Jack stopped his caresses to laugh. “Oh, now that was a long time ago! Boarding school...who would ever like that?” He met her gaze, a slight crinkle around his eyes filled with humor. “Poor orphaned rich boy whose own brother doesn't want him around? It was a perfect storm for teasing, beatings, you name a humiliation, I bore it. Until I became tired of it.”

He laughed then. “Poor Brucie, never knowing what to do with his little brother.” Jack dropped her hand to lean back into the couch.

Harleen found herself disappointed that he had dropped her hand and tried to put that thought out of her mind.

He grinned at her, putting his hands behind his head. “My turn. Why the glasses? They're clearly fake.”

Harleen blushed again pushing the glasses up her nose. “I...wanted to project a more professional air. It's hard to be taken seriously as a woman.”

Jack smirked. “You mean as an attractive woman, don't you?”

Harleen blushed and posed her own question. “What's your favorite past time?”

Jack grinned. “Inventing.”

“Inventing? Really?” Harleen sat forward intrigued.

Jack nodded. “Yes. I love chemistry and explosives...maybe I'll show you my “lab” sometime.” When Jack said lab, he emphasized the word by removing his hands from behind his head and made air quotes.

Harleen smiled. “I would like that.”

Jack laughed. “Okay...” He hopped to his feet. “I'm bored with this game. We should do something fun!”

“Fun?” Harleen stood up. Jack let his eyes roam slowly down her body. “Hmm...” His eyes came back to her face. “You should change into slacks.”

“Why?” Harleen self-consciously ran her hands down her skirt to smooth it out.

“Because, I'm taking you for a ride on my motorcycle.” Jack spun on his heel and walked out of the library calling over his shoulder.

“Come on Harley!”

Harleen stood there unsure what to do. She heard Jack call again. “Come on Harley!!!”

She jerked and took off at an awkward jog in her high heels after him. She had said that she wanted to build trust between them—she had to admit that riding on a motorcycle would be one way to achieve a new level of trust.

*

Several minutes later, Harleen found herself standing in a garage that was bigger than four of her apartments put together. Jack had waggled his eyebrows at her when he flipped the switch that lit up the entire room, rows of lights snapping on to reveal the works of art that were the Wayne brothers' cars.

There were a wide variety of cars, from a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster painted in midnight black, to a 2017 Bugatti Chiron in a deep, sparkling silver. Harleen tried to keep her mouth close, but she couldn't help gaping at the cars. Each vehicle was expensive and beautiful.

Jack was still in his suit while Harleen had changed into a pair of black slacks, losing her white “doctor” coat for a red fitted blazer and a pair of knee-high black boots. She had left the glasses upstairs too, though her hair was still up in its conservative bun.

Jack grabbed her hand and pulled her down the garage to a section where there were several motorcycles running down the decades in the same way as the automobiles. Jack stopped in front of a slick looking motorcycle painted a vibrate purple with decals or paint that appeared to be happy faces with knives through them.

“This, my dear is MTT’s New 420 RR, Turbine Superbike, one of the fastest bikes on the market. Well...not yet,” he corrected himself. “This is one of the first, but it's one of the fastest street legal bikes out there.”

Jack grinned looking like a little boy for a moment.

Harleen paled. “Is it safe?”

Jack giggled. “Who cares?! Come on!”

He tugged her toward the bike. He dropped her hand walking over to some shelves against the wall that were lined with helmets. He stopped to inspect the helmets for a moment before he grabbed one off the shelf and handed it to her.

“Put this on,” he said as he walked back toward the bike.

She took the helmet as Jack walked over to the bike, and swung his leg gracefully over to settle onto the motorcycle's seat. He started the engine, which caused Harleen to jump back just before he backed the bike up.

“Aren't you going to wear a helmet?” she asked as he held his hand out to her.

Jack grinned. “Now where is the fun in that?”

Chapter Text

Harleen wrapped her arms tightly around Jack's waist as he hit the gas and ripped down the pavement and out of the garage whooping with joy. He zipped down the driveway toward the gate that surrounded the Wayne estate, building speed as he went. Harleen glanced over his shoulder, her eyes widening; the gate was rushing up fast. She started to say something, but Jack was laughing. Harleen tightened her hold on him instead, screaming out. “JACK!!”

He was still laughing as they came right up on gate, then at the last moment, the gate suddenly started to slide open and Jack slipped through the narrow opening.

Jack threw his head back laughing. Harleen pressed her forehead against his shoulder, her heart hammering as she screwed her eyes shut. Jack raced down the street going faster than Harleen thought was possible. He was laughing as he took the turns in the road, whipping the bike from one turn to the next with expert skill. He rounded the curves in the road nearly laying the bike flat as he did so. He hit the gas when they straightened, causing the bike to lurch forward and Harleen tightened her grip once again though he didn't seem to notice. Before she knew it, they are on the streets of Gotham City, ripping through lights and traffic as if he owned the streets. Jack leaned forward on the bike, tearing past a police car which instantly had their lights flashing pulling out to pursue them.

Harleen turned looking over her shoulder, her eyes widening when she saw the police. “Jack!!” She yelled, but the wind whipped her voice away.

The police car tried to keep up, but Jack was going too fast and whipping down streets and around moving vehicles at such a speed there was no way the police could keep up. It only took a few minutes for Jack to completely lose the cops within the confines of Gotham's many narrow alleyways and congested streets.

Once the police were no longer an issue, Jack slowed down, though he continued to drive down the streets heading to downtown Gotham. It was clear to Harleen that Jack had a goal in mind, not just a joy ride. After a while she saw their destination up ahead of them. They were coming up on Amusement Mile...a whole mile dedicated to an entire carnival. The place was busy on this cool autumn day; there were crowds of people going in and out of the massive parking lot to the side of the main entrance.

Jack slowed down, weaving easily through the parking lot and the people who milled about until he parked his bike. He hopped off and helped Harleen ease off the bike, stepping close to her in order to unstrap her helmet. Harleen froze when he touched her, his long graceful fingers moved swiftly, but wherever he touched her skin, she felt a flash of heat. He pulled her helmet off gently, placing it on the bike. He grinned at her still standing uncomfortably close to her.

“There you go Harley. Beautiful.” He reached out and brushed a stray lock of her hair behind her ear with a wink before he turned to crouch down by his bike. She could see he was doing something to the bike, but she couldn't quite see what exactly he was fiddling with on the side of the motorcycle.

“Jack, what are you doing?” She looked down trying to figure it out, but she had no idea. It almost looked like he was...well...setting a bomb.

Jack stood up, dusting his hands off on his slacks. “I'm rigging the bike to explode if anyone tries to take it.”

Harleen laughed. “No, seriously what are you doing?”

Jack turned, his face deadly serious. “I'm rigging the bike to explode if anyone but me tries to start it.” Then he smiled that infectious smile. “Come on, let's go have some fun shall we Harley?” He put his arm out to her and while Harleen glanced back at the bike with a frown. But she weaved her arm through his and let him lead her away.

Jack paid for tickets and turned to grin at her. “So my dear, what would you like to do first?”

Harleen looked around. “Why are we here?”

Jack laughed. “To have some laughs doctor, or don't you laugh?”

Harleen smiled blushing a bit. “I laugh!”

Jack grinned. “Then show me, pick something for us to do first.”

Harleen looked around then pointed at the roller coaster. “How about that?”

Jack chuckled. “Oh the bike wasn't exciting enough I see. Come on, Harley.” He grabbed her hand tugging her with him as he set a brisk pace for the roller coaster.

While they waited in line for the coaster, Jack leaned in close to her, his breath a tickle against her ear. “We used to come here with our mother sometimes but it was usually

Alfred who would bring Bruce and me, even before our parents died. This was always my favorite place.”

Harleen smiled turning to look at him. He was so close, his nose almost touching hers. His eyes were so compelling, and his smile...Harley swiftly forced her thoughts back away from his physical attributes.

“So this was a favorite place when you were a kid. How often do you visit now?”

Jack shrugged. “Oh, a lot I suppose. To me, this place is what life is all about, fun, games, and disappointment.”

“Disappointment?” Harleen frowned. “What do you mean?”

Jack grinned. “Because all the fun is a facade. Do you think the people that work here are having fun? Don't you think there might be something deadly...decayed...rotten...under all the grease paint? This place is just like Gotham, just like...” He stopped himself. He frowned for a moment, but then he smiled again. “Even all the fun and happiness in the word can't keep the rot from spreading. To fight it is simply foolishness. You just have to give in to the madness!”

Harleen frowned deeper. “To fight it? What do you mean? What madness?”

Jack turned to Harleen. “There is something dark underneath...” He reached out and grasped her chin gently, running his thumb over her bottom lip in a caress that had her spellbound in its seductiveness. He stared intently into her blue eyes. She felt like he was looking into her soul. His eyes wandered down once to her lips, his smile reaching his eyes for a moment so brief she wasn't sure she had seen it. When he spoke his voice was a low, warm purr that melted over her, his lips almost touching hers.

“Tell me doctor, is there something black and rotten in you...something you're covering up with all the pretty outside trappings of being sane, of being “good?” Our smart, smart pretty, pretty doctor...or is there something dark dwelling inside Harley Quinn just waiting to get out?”

His smile was slightly lopsided, the smile of a rogue. He winked at her letting her jaw go, dropping his hand back to his side.

Harleen found herself missing the warmth of his touch. She swallowed. “There is nothing dark in me Jack, I assure you.”

Jack laughed. “Oh you are so pretty, so good...you keep telling yourself that.” He reached out and took her hand to bring her knuckles to his lips and press a kiss on them. Harleen stared at him for a moment before dropping her eyes.

*

When it was their turn for the roller coaster, the operator who was running the coaster saw them and yelled, “Hey Jack!! I was beginning to think you weren't going to come back!” The man put his hand out and Jack took the offer, shaking his hand.

Jack grinned. “Well, hello there Mark. Let me introduce my friend.” With a broadening smile, Jack gestured at the operator. “Harley this is Mark...he is a man of many trades and few talents.”

The man named Mark grinned, clearly not catching the veiled insult as he gave Harleen the once over. “Well, well Jack...you've got good taste in the dames.” Mark took her hand kissing her knuckles in nearly the same place that Jack had just kissed her moments ago. Neither Harleen nor Mark saw the way Jack looked at him. Jack's face suddenl darkened, his blue-green eyes going flat for just a moment. Mark grinned at Harleen and winked. “When you get tired of the rich boy here, you come look me up toots, okay? Get to hang out with a real man, knows what a dame like you needs.”

Harleen flushed. “Ah...thank you.” She quickly snatched her hand back looking uncomfortable.

Jack smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes. “So Mark, me and Harley here came to have a good time. Anything good happening?”

Mark shrugged. “There's a game going on tonight if'n you're interested.”

Jack laughed. “Oh yes, I'm interested.”

Mark grinned. “Come by around midnight...bring your girl with you if you want. I always like taking your money.”

Jack nodded. “Maybe I will.”

Mark lifted the gate up with a laugh. “Your chariot awaits!”

Jack climbed into the seat holding Harleen's hand and guiding her to the seat beside him. When the restraints came down in the next second, Mark walked over checking everyone's restraints to make sure they were in working order, though he did a little too complete a check on Harleen's. She backed herself against her seat as far as she could to prevent Mark's hands from touching her as best she could. After Mark stepped back Jack took her hand, bringing it up to his lips and kissed her knuckles. “Scared?”

Harleen smiled. “Nope.”

Jack grinned in response to her answer. “Good.”

Harleen frowned a bit. “What party was he talking about?”

Jack kissed her knuckles again. “Nothing for you to worry about my dear, dear doctor.”

Then the coaster took off. Jack laughed the whole while; his laughing had her laughing along with him throwing her arms up in the air when the coaster dived. Jack chuckled holding his arms up too. The ride was exhilirating and fantastic!

When they got to the end of the ride, Jack helped her out pulling her close, his hands pressed against her waist. Jack's nose was nearly pressed against her own, all of it accompanied by his ever present smile. “Let's go get some cotton candy shall we?”

Harleen laughed. “That sounds great!”

*

They walked the circuit of the carnival eating cotton candy together. Jack stopped in mid-stride, his eyes going toward one of the many shooting games. This game had the participants shooting moving targets. Jack got a wicked grin on his face.

“I'm going to win you a stuffed bear,” he announced. He grabbed Harleen's hand dragging her over to the game.

“Gunna win the lady a prize?” The man running the stall inquired with a grin.

Jack winked. “Yes, I am.” He handed the man some bills and picked up the toy gun. Within seconds, Jack had gotten off several shots, each one taking out a target. Harleen was a little surprised at how quick and accurate his aim was; it was really impressive. The man running the stand nodded. “Now that is some good shooting!” He handed Jack the teddy bear and Jack, in turn, handed it to Harleen with a deep bow. “My lady.”

Harleen laughed. “Thank you,” she said with feeling.

Jack winked at her before taking her hand again.

*

They rode several other rides, including the carousel. Harleen decided that of everything they did, the carousel was her favorite.

When they stepped onto the platform of the ride, Jack picked Harleen up easily by the waist setting her on the back of a white horse.

Harleen squeaked in surprise when he lifted her up. He was deceptively strong. “Thank you Jack,” she said with a slight blush to her cheeks. Damn it, she thought. I'm blushing at a patient! What's wrong with me?

Jack took the bat-looking thing beside her hopping on gracefully. “You are always welcome Harley.” He gave her a smooth, seductive smile, holding onto the pole as he leaned against it.

“Did you're parents ever bring you to the carnival Harley?” Jack asked.

Harleen frowned. “No...we could never afford it.”

Jack quirked a brow at her before he grinned again. “Then I'm glad I was the one to take you.”

Harleen started to say something in return, but then she had to grab the pole, laughing as the carousel started. Jack grinned at her reaching out to take her hand. He giggled and started to make up lyrics to the carousel music that was playing while swinging their hands back and forth.

“Oh Harley pretty, pretty Harley...why don't you come out to play!”

Jack's singing voice was beautiful, Harleen noted, though she was not surprised; Jack seemed to possess many talents.

Harleen laughed and grinned at Jack who swung her hand back and forth his eyes never leaving hers as he sang his made-up song to her.

*

They ended up staying all day at the carnival, riding all the rides at least twice, playing games and eating junk food. Jack was attentive and entertaining the whole time. He would tell her terrible jokes that had her laughing. If I wasn't his doctor...no...Harleen stopped herself from following that line of thought. She had to keep her thoughts about Jack neutral. The fact was, she was his doctor. What might be...could be...no...Harleen got after herself for letting her thoughts drift...she was here to help him, not anything beyond that.

It was late in the day, the sun setting and the lights of the carnival came to life around them. They were sitting at one of the picnic tables that were placed around the carnival eating something or other that had been deep-fried on a stick. Jack was laughing at her as she took an experimental bite then wrinkled her nose. “Is that an Oreo?”

Jack grinned tapping the tip of his nose. “You are correct!”

Harleen laughed. “Eww!”

Jack giggled taking a bite of his own deep-fried treat. “I don't know Dr. Quinzel...you don't like fried Oreos. I don't know if I can trust you with my deep dark secrets now.”

Harleen made a face at him and stuffed the rest of the fried confection into her mouth which had Jack howling with laughter.

Harleen grinned with her mouth full of Oreo, which had Jack laughing even more. A cool breeze brushed over them and Harleen shivered slightly.

Jack noticed her shiver. “I think it's time to head home.”

He stood up taking her hand and helping her to her feet. Jack didn't let go of her had while they made their way back to the parking lot. Harleen thought she should take her hand back, but his grip was pleasant, his hand warm. And it was just friendly hand holding, she told herself, nothing to get all worked up about.

When they arrived back at the bike, Jack helped her again with the helmet. He gave her a smile while his fingers stroked slowly along her chin. He strapped the helmet on then caressed her cheek once with the back of his fingers before reaching out and stroking some of her blonde hair back from her brow. Harleen tried not to react, but the blush was immediate.

If Jack noticed he gave no indication, turning around to climb onto the bike, twisting toward her, his hand out.

She climbed onto the back of the bike, holding onto Jack with one hand, the other around the stuffed bear he had won for her. Once he had her seated, he shot a grin over his shoulder at her.

*

They drove back to Wayne manor at a much more subdued speed than they had come to Gotham so many hours previously. Harleen relaxed, laying against his back with her one arm around his waist. She couldn't remember the last time she had had that much fun.

Jack drove into the garage and parked the bike hopping off with a huge grin. Turning, he helped Harleen to climb off the bike.

“Want to join me for dinner in the kitchen?” Jack asked. Harleen thought that he looked so adorable, his brown hair, wind-blown and falling over his forehead, his fancy suit slightly wrinkled, but he still looked fantastic...handsome. Harleen quickly shoved those thoughts away. No, she could not think of him like that—he was her patient!

“Let me go freshen up, then yes, dinner sounds good.”

Jack grinned. “Meet you there.”

*

Harleen showered, dried her hair and pulled it back into a loose ponytail. She dressed in casual leggings and a long t-shirt...a little more informal than “doctor/patient” attire, but since it was just dinner in the kitchen after spending the day together at a carnival, Harleen decided being casual was acceptable in this instance. Besides, she lived here...she couldn't stay looking the doctor part all the time, could she?

She made her way down the stairs, wearing only her socks on her feet; this time she was able to find her way to the kitchen without any help.

When she arrived Jack was already there, dressed in a pair of grey slacks and a white dress shirt, the sleeves of which were rolled up, the collar unbuttoned a couple of buttons down, exposing his collar. She could tell he was freshly showered, his hair still damp and slicked back from his narrow face. The image of him sitting there, forearms exposed, a hint of his collar and chest...Harleen stop it! She mentally berated herself. He is your patient! Remember that!

Jack was working on something at the counter where he sat on a stool writing, his full attention on whatever it was he was working on. Alfred was at the counter near the oven snapping peas and cutting a few other vegetables. “Good evening, Miss Harleen.”

She smiled brightly. “Good evening Alfred, dinner smells fantastic.”

Alfred smiled. “Why, thank you Miss Harleen. I'm making Chicken Scaloppine with sugar snap peas, asparagus, and lemon salad.”

Harleen gasped. “Oh, that sounds delicious!”

“I hope so.” Alfred smiled.

Jack looked up and grinned at her. “Well Harley...I mean, Harleen, you look adorable tonight.”

Harleen blushed. “Thank you Jack.” She turned back to Alfred. “Can I help you with anything?”

Alfred shook his head. “Thank you Miss Harleen, but I have everything handled.”

Jack pulled a stool out and patted the surface. “Come sit with me Harleen.”

She came over and climbed onto the stool glancing over at Jack's papers. “What are you working on?”

Jack grinned and waggled his eyebrows at her. “Secret project.”

Harleen put her chin in her hand leaning on the counter. “Secret project?”

Jack nodded. “Yes, but I might share it with you.” He gave her a coy grin looking at her with those intense eyes through his lashes. Harleen was suddenly very aware of how thick Jack's lashes were...she felt a warmth along her cheeks curling down her spine when she looked at him.

Alfred walked over, setting a bottle of wine and two glasses on the counter between them.

“A Sauvignon Blanc, goes well with the chicken.” He smiled at the two of them and walked back to his vegetables. Alfred glanced once over his shoulder. It pleased him to see Jack talking to Dr. Quinzel so easily. Jack seemed to genuinely like the doctor. Alfred hoped that she could help him; Alfred feared for Master Jack more than he had confided in Master Bruce. The young man was reckless...destructive, traits that were becoming more intense as he grew, and grew more lonely. The boys had been close before their parents death, but now they could go whole days without seeing each other. Alfred sincerely hoped Dr. Quinzel could help mend the rift between them.

*

They did not have to wait long until dinner was ready. Alfred served the two of them as if they were dining in the dining room surrounded by guests.

While they ate, Jack showed her what he was working on. He pointed down at a formula that Harleen could neither make heads nor tails of. “This will create a gas, but it also has a liquid form.” Jack giggled.

Harleen frowned staring down at it. “What exactly does it do?”

Jack giggled. “I have no idea yet, but I'm looking forward to finding out!”

“Isn't that dangerous?” Harleen frowned as she sipped her wine.

Jack shrugged. “It will be fun to find out won't it? That's part of the fun, having no idea if it will kill you or not.” He grinned at her and surprised her by leaning over and kissing her cheek while stuffing the paper into his pants pocket.

“Well, I have to go. See you tomorrow for our session, my dear doctor.” He gave her a wink as he strolled out of the kitchen before Harleen could murmur a word. Harleen watched him go, her fingers coming up to delicately touch her cheek.

*

Jack stopped at his room on his way out. He slipped on a black jacket, grabbed a wide brim hat that he set low on his head, casting his eyes in shadows. He slipped a switchblade into an inner pocket of his jacket, as well as a deck of cards. He stopped as he passed the mirror in his room, a full-length antique that had been his mother's. Jack stared at himself for a long moment and a gradual smile formed across his face. Tonight is going to be fun, he thought to himself.

*

Jack walked out to the garage and headed to his favorite vehicle, a 2016 Lamborghini Huracan painted in a deep—and gorgeous, he thought—shade of purple. The car had been a birthday gift to himself. Bruce had been upset, especially because Jack refused to tell him how he had paid for it...in cash. Bruce kept tight purse strings for a billionaire. Jack chuckled. Big brother Brucie really hated not being in control, but that was what made life worth living as far as Jack was concerned—realizing you never had control...of anything.

Jack slipped into the car, leaning back in the white leather seats with a wide grin as he turned the motor, listening to the purr of the engine. He grinned wider as he thought about Harley sitting next to him in a very short dress, her long legs showing. She was a delicious dish of a doctor...and she was all his.

Jack started to laugh as he took off, leaving Wayne Manor and heading into Gotham.

*

Jack drove back to the now closed carnival stopping at the gate where a large man stepped out, his face painted like a clown. He leaned over, saw Jack and grinned. “Head to the camp, game's going on in the main tent.”

Jack gave the clown a two-fingered salute and headed on in.

*

Harleen sighed when she was back in her room changing into her night clothes. She wore just her panties and an oversized t-shirt with a cute teddy bear on it that read “Beary tired.”

Harleen pulled the bed back crawling under the covers, the stuffed animal that Jack had won her at the carnival on the pillow next to her. She grinned looking at the teddy bear laying against the pillow with a cheery grin. The bear made her think of Jack. Harleen groaned and flopped down on her own pillow glaring at the ceiling. “Don't let yourself be charmed Harleen! He's your patient! Mr. Bruce Wayne hired you to help his brother...not get all hot and bothered by him! Especially within the first week of working with him!” She made a face, screwing up her lips and wrinkling her nose. Why did he have to be so charming?! She thought to herself as she pulled the covers up and leaned over to turn off her light.

*

In the main tent, Jack leaned back in his chair, his long legs stretched out before him, crossed at the ankles. He had a cigarette held between his lips as he looked at his cards, his hat tilted low over his brow. His hand wasn't the best, but he was fairly sure the others at the table were bluffing. Jack's eyes wandered over to Mark, the guy who had been working at the roller coaster. Jack's eyes narrowed. Mark wasn't paying any attention, all his focus on a brunette who had been serving the men their drinks all night. Jack leaned forward picking up his glass of whiskey and downing it in one swallow.

Mark finally turned back to the game. “Come on Jack, whatcha got?”

One of the other men, a guy everyone called Bone sighed. “Shut up Mark, let the man take his time.”

Mark scowled. “If'n he's going to lose, he needs to get it over with.” Mark then smirked. “Some of us got other plans tonight too.” Mark's gaze turned once again to the brunette.

Jack grinned. “Fine...I'm calling your bluff Marko.” Jack laid his cards down, a good old-fashion straight.

The other men at the table groaned throwing their cards down while Mark looked confused. “But...you can't...”

Jack laughed standing up and pulling the money in the middle of the table toward him. “Not my fault you can't play cards, Mark.”

Mark growled throwing his cards. “I'm done.”

Jack stood up pocketing the money. “I'm afraid I'm done as well boys.” Some of them groaned about winning back their money, but Jack laughed. “Next time gents!”

Jack waved turning to leave, but he walked over to Mark. “Come take a drive with me buddy. I have something I need to discuss with you.”

Mark frowned and shrugged. “Okay, what is it.”

“Believe me, it is an opportunity that will make you a lot of money!” Jack laughed.

*

Mark grinned running his hands over the interior of Jack's car as Jack drove to the warehouse district of Gotham, located near the docks. Mark glanced out the window. “What are we doing here?”

Jack grinned. “Well I never said it was honest money, did I?”

Mark nodded. “Yeah, yeah I get it, you don't have to worry about me. Figured all you rich guys had to get rich somehow that wasn't honest.”

Jack pressed his lips together into a thin smile, not saying a word.

They ended up parking behind an old abandoned warehouse. From the discarded equipment around it, whoever had owned the place had dealt in heavy equipment. Jack parked and slid out of the car, walking up to the warehouse. He moved not just with a long familiarity of the place, but he also didn't seem to be affected by the lack of light. He found the door easily and after a few seconds Jack escorted Mark inside.

Mark started to feel uncomfortable when he stepped into the warehouse; the place was dark and deserted. He started to turn around. “Hey Jack, what's...”

Suddenly Jack had wrapped an arm around Mark's neck from behind and with his other hand, which he rolled and twisted, snapped out a switch blade. The pale, watery moonlight that came into the warehouse from the upper windows hit the blade in Jack's hand, causing the slick metal to shine eerily in Mark's eyes.

“Look, what's this about Jack? I didn't do anything to you man!” Mark's voice cracked a little.

Jack smiled his lips pressed against Mark's ear. “You remember that woman I was at the carnival with earlier today?

“Yeah, yeah, sure man the hot blonde. I remember, what about her?” Mark spoke a little too quickly.

“Well you see Mark, you made her uncomfortable...and you kept staring at her in a way I didn't like much...”

“Look man, I'm sorry man, I'll apologize!” Mark trembled in fear. He had been in unpleasant situations before, but Jack Wayne truly frightened him right now.

“Don't worry about a thing Mark—that's why I'm here, for your apology.”

Jack started to giggle, moving his arm that pressed down on Mark's neck, his hand coming up to cover Mark's mouth as he slowly and precisely ran the sharp blade across Mark's neck.

He dropped Mark to the floor, watching with a grin while Mark jerked and sputtered, the blood pooling under Mark's body becoming a bigger and bigger puddle.

Jack smiled down at Mark.

“Apology accepted.”

Chapter Text

Harleen woke up the next morning in a good mood. She had showered last night before bed, but decided to take another quick one this morning to freshen up (and she didn't have to worry about the water bill, so why not indulge?)

Letting the water run down her body, her eyes closed and enjoying the warm water, she started singing to herself surprising herself when it was the words to the song Jack had made up while on the carousel. She stopped singing to giggle at herself.

Once out of the shower she blew her hair dry and piled the blonde tresses on the top of her head, sliding two hair sticks into the bun to hold it in place. She dressed today in a blue blouse that brought out her eyes and a white calf-length flared skirt, matched with a white jacket and a pair of black heels along with her mock seam hose. She slipped her glasses on and smiled at herself.

“You look very professional, Dr. Quinzel,” she said to her reflection.

Soon she was on her way down the stairs as the smell of coffee wafted up from the kitchen below. She turned the corner and ran smack into a wall of muscle. She stumbled backwards with a startled yelp. She teetered on her heels for a moment, but a pair of large strong hands reached out to grab her upper arms preventing her from tumbling backwards. Harleen looked up startled into the face of Mr. Bruce Wayne.

“Are you alright, Dr. Quinzel?” Mr. Wayne asked, his voice laced with concern.

“Oh yes, sorry Mr. Wayne. I didn't see you there.” Harleen flushed.

Mr. Wayne let go of her arms. “Following the scent of coffee?”

Harleen laughed softly. “Yes, yes I am.”

He nodded smiling. “As was I. Can I ask, how are you and Jack getting along? I know it's been only two days, but...”

Harleen ran her hands nervously down her skirt. “Oh, so far so good. We are having a session later today as a matter of fact. Right now my sessions are more about building trust with your brother so he will feel comfortable and open up to me more.”

Mr. Wayne nodded. Harleen could see the stress around the man's eyes. He looked as if he had not received enough sleep.

“You know Mr. Wayne, I will be able to help your brother. You don't have to worry and if you need to, you can always talk with me if you wish too?” She gave him her best professional smile.

“Call me Bruce, please Dr. Quinzel.” Bruce smiled.

“Then you should call me Harleen.” She smiled in return. Bruce put his arm out to her. “Would you like an escort to the kitchen?”

Harleen chuckled. “Why thank you Bruce.”

*

When the two of them arrived in the kitchen, Jack, dressed in a three piece suit, a blue-grey with a dark purple vest, white shirt and a purple and white polkadot tie (which was unusual, the added color of the vest and all, but Harleen found she liked it a great deal.) Jack sat in his usual spot drawing. He was bent over the drawing, his dress shoes, complete with spats, were hooked under the stool. His posture almost made him look slightly child-like. He was bent over the drawing in such a way that Harleen only caught a glimpse of the image on the sketch pad. She frowned, the image on the paper looked like a lot like a drawing of her...and it was gorgeous.

Jack swiftly closed the sketchbook and frowned as his eyes fell on his older brother. He curled his lip a little.

“Moving in on my doctor Brucie?”

Bruce escorted Harleen to a stool which she took. “I turned a corner and bumped into him.” Harleen shrugged.

Bruce frowned at his brother, but made no additional commentary to Harleen's explanation.

Alfred was at the stove flipping a large omelet. “Master Bruce, are you planning to eat breakfast with the good doctor and your brother?”

Bruce shook his head. “No Alfred. I was just lured in here by the smell of coffee.”

Alfred smiled. “You really should eat before you go this morning sir.”

Jack placed his elbows on the counter where he sat, setting his chin in his hand. “You should brother dear.”

Bruce turned to look at his little brother, but Jack's smile seemed genuine. “Alright Jack.”

Jack smiled hopping up and walking to the cabinet grabbing a cup for Harleen and one for Bruce. Alfred smiled. The brothers hadn't eaten a meal together in ages. Perhaps Dr. Quinzel's presence was helping.

Alfred glanced over his shoulder where Jack was at the coffee maker.

“The coffee is that Rwanda Blue Bourbon coffee you got last week Master Bruce.” Jack handed Bruce his own mug while he went about preparing Harleen's for her. He waltzed back over offering her the steaming mug. “Thank you Jack.”

Jack winked at her and retook his seat, picking up his mug and sipping his own coffee. Alfred grinned as he cracked a few more eggs into the bowl he had been using. “I'm making cheese and spinach omelets this morning Master Bruce, would you like one?”

Bruce smiled and shrugged, giving in. “Sure thing Alfred.”

Soon the three of them were eating breakfast together. Alfred poured himself a cup of coffee while he finished cleaning up.

“So, Jack, what are your plans today?” Bruce asked. It was clear to Harleen that there was an awkwardness in Bruce's attempts to engage his brother. Jack glanced up from where he had been staring down at his food. He hadn't eaten but a few bites, the rest he simply poked with his fork. Harleen could feel and see the tension between the two. It was clear from the way Bruce Wayne held himself that he was not accustomed to having breakfast with his brother and the way Jack seemed slightly sullen he was upset that Bruce had actually decided to share breakfast with him. She wondered how long their arrangement of avoiding each other had been in effect...months? No—she suspected years.

Jack looked up grinning, a lock of his brown hair hanging across his forehead. “Oh, get my head shrunk by our dear doctor here. Maybe she can find out why I'm broken, eh Brucie? Give me a bunch of pills to make me all better. Or maybe it's something you can fix if you throw enough money at it? Maybe she'll disappoint you and you'll find out there is nothing wrong with your little brother except he sees the world as it is?”

Jack grinned wider seeing Bruce pale a little.

“Jack, you know why I brought in Dr. Quinzel. Can we please...I mean...let's talk about this later...” Bruce frowned, but Jack only laughed glancing at Harleen. “You know if you can't figure out what is wrong with me, my big brother is going to lock me up. Put in a tower like a dirty secret and hope I don't do anything he can't fix. He might even become desperate enough and stick me in Arkham. Now wouldn't that be a gas?”

Jack giggled.

Bruce closed his eyes and let out a sigh. “Jack...” He looked at his brother who was resting his chin in his hand leaning forward expectantly, a huge smile on his face. Bruce sighed. “Nevermind. I have to go into the city. I'll be back later. Jack, please don't forget about the fundraiser Friday night.”

Jack giggled. “Oh, you trust me to mingle with other people?”

Bruce stood. “I trust you to uphold the family name and take seriously some of the responsibilities.”

Jack rolled his eyes. “This coming from the Bruce Wayne sex machine.”

Bruce flushed bright red which had Jack laughing. “Fine, fine, big brother. I'll make an appearance and I will be good.”

“Thank you Jack. I will see you later.” He nodded. “Dr. Quinzel, Alfred.”

“Master Bruce. Oh sir, will you be home for dinner?” Alfred asked while wiping off the counters.

Harleen watched him go thinking to herself that Bruce Wayne needed a therapist too. Jack grinned as he picked up his coffee. “Poor Brucie—burdened with good looks, money and a crazy brother. It's all very romantic really. Would make a great movie don't you think Harley? I mean Harleen.” He winked at her.

Harleen could tell the slip on her name was on purpose, but she decided not to call him out on it.

She stood up taking her plate and set it in the dishwasher after scraping off any food remains into the garbage. “So what is this fundraiser all about?”

Jack made a face. “Oh it's for a good cause that all rich people love. Oh look at us donating money to help those filthy poor people and we don't have to get our hands dirty.”

Jack wiggled his fingers in the air. Harleen had to press her lips together in order not to laugh.

“But the money does go to a good cause. Doesn't it?” Harleen resumed her seat watching Jack with interest. He made a face. “Yes, but those fundraiser have more to do with all those people feeling good about themselves than about the people they help. Hypocrites. The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married, and the married wish to be dead. ”

“Even your brother?” Harleen asked quietly.

Jack frowned. “Bruce...cares. It's a fatal flaw.”

Harleen started to open her mouth to ask why it was a fatal flaw, but Jack jumped up. “How about you go to the fundraiser with me?”

“But...I don't know...” Harleen frowned rubbing her chin with a finger, but Jack laughed. “Oh come on, it would be fun with you there and besides, Bruce would be happy. I would be there and I would have my doctor there undercover making sure I don't do anything embarrassing.” He gave her the most charming smile.

“Well, I suppose...” Harleen muttered rubbing a hand up and down her upper arm. “I don't really have anything to wear to a gala...fundraiser though.”

Jack made a rude noises. “Ppffftt! Just means later today I'm taking you shopping.”

*

Alfred was just about finished cleaning up after breakfast; he was standing at the sink washing the pan when he heard Master Jack state that he was going to take Dr. Quinzel shopping. Alfred tried to hide his small smile focusing on the task at hand. True, this was crossing a line between a patient and doctor relationship, but Alfred was pleased to see Jack taking an interest in someone. Maybe little things such as Dr. Quinzel accompanying Jack to the fundraiser was a type of therapy for the young man. Alfred wasn't sure how master Bruce would feel about it, but Alfred was pleased.

*

Harleen frowned. “I don't know...”

Jack put his hands together, weaving his fingers together and stuck out his bottom lip. “Please Dr. Quinzel, don't make me face all those people alone. So much boredom might actually kill me! Without a charming companion to help relieve the stress of so many stuck up rich people I might actually die.” Jack fell across the counter with his tongue hanging out. Harleen laughed. “Fine, alright.”

Jack popped up with a huge smile lighting up his face. “Perfect!”

Harleen laughed. “Are you ready for our session?”

Jack nodded with a grin, grabbing her hand and pulling her up from her seat at the same time snatching his sketch pad and pencil from the counter, tucking it under his arm.

“Let's go shrink my head doc!”

*

It required a few minutes to get settled in the room with Jack draping himself dramatically over one of the couches in the room. She tried not to laugh, but he was being so silly it was hard for her not to. She pulled out the small notebook she had stuffed in the pocket of her jacket along with a pen.

“So, Jack, what do you feel like talking about today?”

Jack laid the back of his hand across his forehead. “I have no idea.”

Harleen tapped her pen against her lips. “So you draw?”

Jack laughed. “Yes I do, my good doctor.”

“Is there a reason why you hid the drawing when your brother and I came into the kitchen?” she asked.

Jack waggled his eyebrows smiling. “Maybe I'm shy. Or I was drawing naked women and didn't want my big brother to see. OR maybe I was drawing you.” He pressed his teeth into his bottom lip smiling at her.

“Would you like to share your work?” she inquired with a tilt of her head. “Have you ever thought about doing art professionally?”

Jack snorted. “I am planning on sharing my art, my talent...some day.” He revealed this with a strange, almost whimsically delighted air as if he were planning something big.

“Oh, are you planning to display your art in a gallery?” Harleen smiled.

Jack giggled. “Something like that.”

Harleen made a note and then looked back at him. Jack had his sketchpad resting against his bent legs where he lay on the couch. He was holding the pages up looking at his drawing. She saw the image he had been working on before breakfast, an image of her. Jack glanced over at her smiling before he let the cover fall back into place.

They were quiet for a moment as Jack flipped his sketch pad back to a blank page, twirling the pencil along his fingers for a moment before he started to sketch.

She pressed her lips together glancing back down at her notepad. “Tell me about you and Bruce as children.”

Jack made a face as he scribbled on the paper. She couldn't quite see what it was he was drawing.

Harleen frowned. “Why the face Jack?”

“Bruce. Don't get me wrong Harley. I love my brother. He's just so...I don't know. He does the playboy thing, a different lady all the time, parties, but he can't fool me. Brucie has a deep dark secret.” Jack narrowed his eyes staring at the wall across from him over the top of his sketch pad before he started to giggle.

“Fool you?” Harleen asked. “What do you mean?”

Jack sat up straighter. “Bruce isn't like that. He was always serious. Especially after our parents were killed...”

Harleen frowned. “How did he react after the death of your parents?”

Jack laid back down, crossing a leg over his knee and settling the sketch pad on his thighs. He motioned with the hand that held the pencil. “He became more...I don't know...focused.”

“What about you?” Harleen asked softly.

Jack frowned as he stared off into space again. When he spoke it was with a smile. “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

Harleen frowned. “Mark Twain?”

Jack grinned. “Very good, doctor.”

“So do you think you live fully and Bruce doesn't?” She tilted her head studying him.

Jack grinned rolling his head over to look at her.

“I live each day as if it will be my last and I look to go out with a smile on my face. Don't you realize doc? This is all—all of it—a big joke.” Jack threw one of his arms out to encompass everything.

Harleen chewed her bottom lip. “Do you think this has to do with your parents dying in front of you? Do you see yourself as taking risks in order to “fully” live your life? Is that why you see everything as a joke?”

Jack went quiet. Harleen looked from from her notepad where she had been taking some notes, her eyes focusing on Jack's profile. He was very attractive and, to her mind, more so than his older brother and Bruce Wayne was considered one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. Jack wasn't just attractive; there was an intensity about him that she found compelling.

“Jack?” Harleen said his name gently.

He frowned still not making eye contact. “That's not a funny question at all,” he muttered.

Harleen became quiet. “Jack, how did your parents' death make you feel?”

Jack giggled softly. “He broke my collarbone you know.”

“Who did?” Harleen again asked gently.

Jack sat up straighter, flattening his legs and placing his hands on top of the sketchpad.

“The man who murdered my parents.” Jack said it casually as he finally turned to look at her. Then in a playful voice he said.

“Well, you know, this is becoming quite dark Harley.”

He laughed getting to his feet casually dropping the pad and pencil on the couch.

“I think we need to lighten the mood. Do something fun, don't you?”

Harleen frowned. This was exactly what he had done yesterday. As soon as a tough question came up he deflected, but she decided not to press him—not yet anyway. Her relationship with Jack Wayne was going to take time. He would answer the questions when he was ready. Her job was to help him to be ready.

“Alright Jack.” She closed her notebook, sliding the small pad back into her jacket pocket. “What did you have in mind?”

“I think you should put on something less...doctory, doctor. Then we will go shopping for a dress! AND I will take you out to lunch!” Jack grinned with a gleeful shine in his eyes.

*

Bruce arrived at his office to find the morning paper waiting on his desk. Bruce could have read the paper online like everyone else, but he felt like he owed it to the old Gotham Gazette to still read the hard copy of the paper they put out...especially since a portion of his wealth went to keeping the paper from falling into obsolescence. Bruce also liked the feel of the paper in his hands, the tangible texture of the newsprint. Maybe it was because holding the paper reminded him of his father?

He sat down at the desk picking up the paper. That afternoon he was to go to the tailor for a fitting, make some last minute menu arrangements for the fundraiser and a few other frivolous things. But what he was really looking forward to was meeting with Lucius Fox. The two of them had been working on some new designs for his weapons and Lucius was to show him some modifications to the car, especially after that time Bruce had come back to his vehicle only to find the tires slashed.

Bruce picked up the paper and frowned at a small article near the bottom of the front page. Bruce's eyes ran over the article. A man name Mark Boyd was found dead in the warehouse district. Boyd had a criminal record, illegal gambling, one rape charge that was dropped and a few minor crimes. Boyd had currently been working at the Amusement Mile theme park. Bruce frowned. He knew the Amusement Mile was a place his brother frequented. He knew Jack gambled illegally and that there was a backroom poker game that was held at the park. He wondered if Jack was acquainted with Mark Boyd, but then he sighed folding the paper and put it aside. While he would like to be able to stop all crime in Gotham, he knew realistically that the Batman could only do so much. But right now it was time to act like a billionaire playboy without a care in the world.

*

Harleen hurried down the stairs of Wayne manor. She had changed into a red sweater and a pair of low waist, flare-legged black slacks and red heels. She had left her hair up and ditched the glasses.

She made her way out through the kitchen toward the garage where she found Jack waiting for her. He was dressed the same as he had been at breakfast except with the addition of a cigarette hanging from his lips. He was using a cane as a golf club, hitting imaginary balls down the length of the garage.

He turned at the sound of her heels clicking against the floor. When he saw her, Jack let out a wolf-whistle. “You look very nice, Harley.”

She blushed giving him a small smile. “Thank you.”

He giggled and put his arm out. “Shall we?”

Harleen put her arm through his and Jack started to walk them through the garage.

“What vehicle shall we take?”

Jack stopped in front of a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, a car Harleen had only seen in movies or magazines. It was a shiny deep blue, with a pair of white stripes along the sides making it look as if the vehicle would fly down the road. Jack stood in front of the car tilting his head one way then the other before he smiled. “Yes, perfect.”

“Perfect?” Harleen asked. “I mean, yes, the car is perfectly beautiful.”

He smiled at her reaching out with his free hand to trace her bottom lip with his forefinger.

“I mean, it's perfect for you. You will look gorgeous in this car.”

She blushed again; the touch of Jack's finger left a burn across her bottom lip. She really needed to work on reining in this...whatever this was. I am his doctor, Harleen reminded herself. But she was also a woman who found her patient not only interesting, but extremely attractive.

Jack let go of her arm and waltzed away to retrieve the key from the safe. He returned and opened the door of the car for her with a bow. “My lady.”

Harleen laughed at his behavior, but slipped into the seat.

Soon they were on their way into the city. Jack started to sing during the drive. There was no music playing, the car was in its original state...no modern additions. Jack grinned as he sang; Harley thought that he had a fantastic singing voice.

“Fly me to the moon, Let me play among the stars, Let me see what spring is like on, A-Jupiter and Mars, In other words, hold my hand, In other words, baby, kiss me...”

He winked at her while he sang. Harleen couldn't help staring at him, blushing as he winked at her.

“Fill my heart with song, And let me sing for ever more, You are all I long for, All I worship and adore, In other words, please be true, In other words, I love you...”

She tried not to delude herself that the words had any meaning beyond just being a song, but the way Jack kept looking at her had Harleen shivering.

He drove into Gotham at a far more sedate rate than he had when he had her on his motorcycle. They drove into the downtown shopping area of Gotham City, but what surprised Harleen was that he kept going, past the mall and headed into the section of high quality stores that Harleen Quinzel, on her beginning psychiatrist's salary, could only window shop at from the sidewalk.

“Jack, where are we going?” She looked out the passenger window seeing shops such as Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus and Versace. Jack glanced sideways. “We are shopping,” he said as if the answer were self-evident.

“But Jack—these places...” Harleen glanced at her nails, noticing the polish on two was chipped. “I can't afford places like this...I doubt I can afford to walk inside!”

Jack snorted. “You're going to be with me, Miss Quinn.” He winked at her.

*

Jack parked along the street. Even though all of the cars parked along the street here looked to be expensive, Jack's Ferrari stood out. Jack practically leapt out of the car, coming around to pull her door open for her, bowing as she exited the car. The whole “show” caused her to blush badly, but she got out, taking his hand and stood. Jack grinned kissing her knuckles before they headed toward the one of the stores.

*

Jack strolled into Neiman Marcus without a care in the world, one of his hands wrapped around hers. Jack didn't seem to noticed it—or paid no attention because it was such a part of his everyday life—but Harleeen could have sworn someone took a picture of them entering the store. She glanced back, but whoever it was had gone or had never been there in the first place.

Once inside, a young women dressed in a tight, short black dress that showed off her model thighs, her long hair dyed a white-grey, (very trendy, Harleen thought) immediately approached them. “Hello, welcome to Neiman Marcus,” she greeted with a magazine cover smile. “How can I help you Mr. Wayne?”

Jack smiled politely, but with a wicked edge. “You can find the beautiful lady here a beautiful dress to match, money is no object and I want it in red.”

The woman looked at Harleen just barely keeping the sneer off her face. “Very well, Mr. Wayne.”

Harleen glanced over at him. “Mr. Wayne?” She giggled. It just seemed strange to hear someone refer to Jack as Mr. Wayne. He shrugged. “I may have bought a suit or two here.”

It only took the clerk a few moments to return carrying a gorgeous Jovani gown. The gown was mermaid cut, ruby red, sleeveless with a mock neckline and backless. Jack whistled. “Now that's a dress. Go try it on Harley!”

He shoved her at the clerk who held the dress waiting impatiently. Jack's shove caused Harleen to stumble slightly, but then the clerk turned her back on Harleen and began to walk toward the dressing rooms. Jack frowned at their retreating backs. The look on that clerk' face though...Jack frowned and narrowed his eyes slightly. He didn't like it, not at all.

Once inside, Harleen slipped out of her clothing and into the dress. The dress fit as if it were made for her, hugging her figure in such a way that Harleen blushed to see herself in the mirror. She turned around examining the way the open back dropped low, just at her hips. She flushed red enough to nearly match the dress. This would be the most expensive, sexiest garment she had ever had, and Jack wanted to buy it for her. She wasn't sure what to do! On one hand, this was definitely a violation of the doctor/patient relationship, but on the other hand, she couldn't show up to a fundraiser in anything she currently owned and she really couldn't afford to spend that much on a dress, even with the salary Mr. Wayne...Bruce...was paying her. She took a deep breath. “Playing loose with that line aren't you, Dr. Quinzel?”

She turned and walked out of the dressing room.

Jack was waiting for her when she stepped out. His eyes widened at the sight of her. He grinned motioning with his finger for her to turn around, which she did. Jack laughed and slapped his hands together in a single clap of delight.

“Oh, I think I am actually going to enjoy this fundraiser now. We'll take it!”

*

Jack drove them down to one of Gotham's dining areas, stopping at a restaurant called Kirby's Place, another place that Harleen Quinzel would never have been able to get into on her own. They were shown to an intimate table by the restaurant's large picture window. Jack grinned as he pulled her chair out for her.

“Oh Jack, this...I mean this is a bit much. I'm your doctor, not...” She looked unsure as she spoke, Jack laughed her concerns away. “Harley, Harley can't you be my friend too?”

Harleen frowned, glancing down at her hands. “I don't have many friends,” she said softly.

Jack, taking his seat, reached across the table and took her hand. “Well, you have one now Harley.”

She looked into his eyes. It was the strangest sensation, she realized. It was at once erotic, his eyes were gorgeous, but it was also like looking into a bottomless pit, a place she could become lost. Losing herself...

Jack squeezed her hand before letting it go and picking up his menu. “Let's see what looks good shall we?”

*

The rest of the day was pleasant. They had a nice lunch and Jack took her for a drive before returning to the estate. Harleen could not have asked for a nicer day. If she wasn't his doctor it could almost have been a date. She was actually disappointed when Jack excused himself, explaining to her that he had some work he wanted to do before dinner.

Harleen decided that she would spend the remainder of her afternoon typing up her notes on Jack and working on some potential therapy ideas to work on getting Jack to open up more to her. But when she went to bed that evening, her dreams were filled with very unprofessional dreams about Jack Wayne.

*

The sun was just beginning to set below the horizon when Jack left the house. He had stopped by Harleen's room, his knuckles poised inches from the door. The thought of inviting her along...the urge was strong, but he stopped himself. Not yet, but maybe soon.

He turned and left, hurrying outside. He only had a short time before dinner, which he didn't want to miss. He found that he enjoyed Harley's company more than he anticipated. She was becoming a distraction, but he didn't mind.

He trotted down the path from the manor, then around the side. He stopped and glanced back at the manor for a moment with a little smile. Then he turned and headed out to the gardens, his goal, an old workman's cottage. The cottage was part of a series of buildings that had once housed some of the Wayne Manor's staff. Most of the cottages were gone had fallen apart, but this one still managed to stand, though it was falling apart. In many ways the structure could barely be called a cottage at all. But it had walls, doors and it was ignored by both Bruce and Alfred and any workers that came onto the grounds to tend the gardens and lawn.

Jack had found the place not long after his brother had returned him home from boarding school for the last time. Over the years Jack had turned the place into his own hideout, lab, a secret place to do his experiments. He giggled as he slipped inside after unlocking the series of locks he had installed.

Inside, the cottage was equipped with everything any scientist would want or need. Jack smiled turning around to gaze at his toys after locking the door. The inside of the room glowed softly.

Jack walked over to the table where he had several syringes lined up, each glowing softly in the dim light leaking through the window. Jack picked up one of the syringes.

After dinner tonight, he decided it was time to see what his new chemical that he had made could do....and he knew a perfect volunteer.

Chapter Text

It was well after midnight. The moon was high in the night sky illuminating the Wayne Manor grounds. The only light from the structures on the grounds came from a small cottage on the property. It wasn't much of a light; dim, liquid, if one wasn't looking for it they would not have actually seen it.

Inside the cottage, Jack hummed happily to himself, one of his favorite Frank Sinatra songs. If he was honest with himself, he loved all of Old Blue Eyes' music, but tonight the song he had in mind was “The Way You Look Tonight.” Jack weaved to his humming, occasionally singing the words as he thought of Harley. He imagined her in the dress he had bought for her, the doctor in his arms, and the two of them dancing. He sighed. She was not part of his plans, not at all, but she was a lovely distraction...maybe more. He frowned for a moment wondering if he was letting her worm her way inside his mind...but then he shrugged and smiled.

“Some day, when I'm awfully low, When the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, And the way you look tonight...” Jack did a perfectly executed spin on his black, Italian leather Prada Oxfords. He smiled at the woman from Neiman Marcus who was on the old hospital exam table. Her whole body was tilted at a 90 degree angle on the exam table, her arms and legs strapped down, another strap across her forehead and a ball gag in her mouth. Jack walked over weaving to the music while he sung.

“With each word your tenderness grows, Tearin' my fear apart, And that laugh...wrinkles your nose, Touches my foolish heart...”

He stopped singing, holding the syringe full of a deep green, slightly glowing liquid. Jack held it up just where his reluctant patient could see it. “Well, Miss...” He leaned over and lifted her name tag up a little in order to read it better. “Miss Ashley...You my dear have been chosen, because of your rude behavior earlier today toward my female companion, Miss Harley Quinn.”

Jack leaned an elbow against the side of the table his intense eyes examining the contents of his syringe. He glanced at Ashley, watching her as she twitched, her eyes wide with terror and a single tear rolling down from her eye.

“You know Ashley. I think I might actually be falling for the good doctor.” He smiled looking surprised at his confession. “She is fun, beautiful and I think there is something deep inside her that will understand...everything about me.”

He giggled. “It would be nice to have someone to share my passions with. You have any idea how important it is to find someone who understands you?” He tilted his head, examining Ashley from a different angle. “I suppose not, Ashley my dear.”

He sighed then stood up straight. “Well, shall we proceed Ashley? I have no idea what this is going to do to you. Most likely it's going to kill you, but there's always the chance it will simply scramble your brains.” He giggled while Ashley started thrashing around, her eyes round and wild with fear.

“Oh, now come on Ashley, really? That is so undignified! Really, don't take life so seriously Ashley, it's not like you are going to get out of it alive anyhow?”

Jack started laughing as he laid the needle against her arm, breaking the skin, shoving the needle into a vein and pushing the plunger. Ashley screamed behind her ball gag, struggling to no avail. Jack placed the empty syringe on the table and pulled up a stool, perching himself elegantly on it. He crossed his long thin legs, resting his elbow on his knee to hold his chin in his hand watching her with an amused, yet interested expression.

*

The next morning Harleen woke, stretching her arms over her head with a bright smile. She had slept like the dead and now she felt good and refreshed. She was humming when she stepped into the shower, letting the warm water run down her body. Today is going to be a good day, she thought to herself.

While sitting in her robe at her vanity, she dried her hair moving the blow dryer around as she combed out her long blonde hair. She smiled at herself while she pulled out clips and bobby pins from a drawer in the vanity in order to style her hair for the day. She put her hair up again, going once more for that slight professional look, though she pulled a few long strands out letting them curl softly around her face. It softened her look. She smiled wondering if Jack would like it?

“Harleen, now you stop that!” She pointed a finger at herself in the mirror, but she left the soft curls around her face as she got up to get dressed.

Today's outfit was a pair of black, modern fit trousers, a white blouse with a tie neck. The only part of the outfit that wasn't “professional” was the pair of bright, ruby red stilettos she wore. Harleen gave herself one more look in the mirror. She still looked professional, like a doctor. She reached over and picked up her perfume, spritzed herself with some before heading down for breakfast.

*

Alfred was already up, as usual, dressed in his butler's uniform, minus the jacket. He wore a plain white apron over his front while he stood at the oven cooking breakfast.

This morning he was making crepes.

At the moment, he was filling the crepes with what looked to be apricot jam, wrapping them over with ease before he picked up a steel container (similar to a salt shaker but a little bigger) and gently tapped the side of the container, sprinkling the tops of the prepared crepes with powdered sugar. The crepes looked perfect, exactly like one would see in a cookbook or advertisement for crepes, almost too good to eat—almost.

As usual, Jack was already here sitting at his counter writing in his notebook. Today he was dressed in a Marks & Spencer dark grey three piece suit, white shirt, with a deep red double-breasted vest and matching red tie; his brown hair was mostly slicked back, but one strand that seemed determined not to stay, as it curled softly across his brow. He looked...gorgeous, Harleen thought to herself, her heart picking up speed and her palms became sweaty.

“Good morning Jack, Alfred...”

“Ah, good morning Miss Harleen. Crepe?” Alfred turned to smile at her. He picked up the plate he had just sprinkled with powdered sugar and placed it in front of her. “The coffee today miss, is called Jamaican Blue Mountain. It has quite the unusual flavor.”

“Thank you Alfred.” Harleen walked over to the coffee getting herself a mug.

Jack made a few more notes before closing his notebook and looked up to see Harleen walk over to the coffeemaker. He leaned against his arm watching her make her coffee, the way she walked, the movements of her arms, the way the air from the vents in the kitchen made the soft, silky hairs hanging free from her bun swirl. Jack was hyper aware of everything to do with her, even the soft scent of her perfume that drifted over to him. His eyes wandered down taking in every inch of her, tracing the soft curves of her figure, the way the slacks hugged her backside. He grinned pressing his teeth into his bottom lip watching her. She was damn sexy without even trying. His eyes wandered down to the shoes she was wearing, imagining the way her legs looked under the slacks. He giggled softly to himself, looking forward to tomorrow night.

Harleen turned to look at him over her shoulder causing Jack to grin brightly at her.

Harleen blushed as she walked over to take a seat by him. “I thought today we might try some therapy exercises.”

Jack pursed his lips with a twinkle in his eye. “Do tell?”

“Well, there is art therapy. I saw yesterday that you draw—perhaps we could do something with that or there is also music therapy. Do you play any instruments?”

Jack laughed. “I play a mean piano...took piano lessons when I was younger. Kept up with them even after I didn't have to anymore.”

For a moment, a split second that Harleen would have missed if she hadn't been looking at Jack's eyes, a shadow passed over him at the mention of the lessons. Harleen surmised that his parents had him taking piano before they died.

She had just reached out, her fingers having just brushed against Jack's when Bruce walked into the kitchen surprising everyone into a startled silence. He was dressed almost all in black, black suit, grey shirt, black tie, his black hair slicked back, and his blue eyes piercing. Harleen thought, for a “rich playboy” Bruce Wayne looked terribly serious all the time.

“Jack, I need you to come with me into the office today.” Bruce looked slightly upset.

Jack groaned. “Why? I thought you were going skydiving with that French model...what was her name...Amelia?”

Bruce sighed. “Because you still have a controlling share in Wayne Enterprises and there is a vote this morning—you are needed. And yes, afterward I am going skydiving”

Jack groaned for a moment looking like a child as he dropped his forehead to the counter. “I thought I wasn't allowed to vote? You know, because of my instability.” He giggled without looking up.

Bruce frowned clearly unhappy with Jack referring to himself as unstable.

“Jack, you could sell your shares to me.”

Jack sat up grinning. “You would like that wouldn't you? So what's so important that Lucius is having us both show up?”

“We are voting on whether to take the deal with LexCorp for the development of cybernetic scouting drones.” Bruce walked swiftly over to the coffeemaker, filling a mug with coffee before turning around to face his brother again.

“And where do we stand?” Jack stood up, brushing off his suit.

“I'm against it. You can vote however your conscience feels Jack.” Bruce took a sip of his coffee studying his younger brother.

“Fine. Let's get this over with. You know how much I hate all those corporate asskissers.” Jack straightened his jacket, then stepped closer to Harleen taking her hand and kissing her knuckles. “How about I come back and pick you up for lunch doctor, and we can have our therapy session over food?”

Harleen glanced at Bruce and nodded. “That sounds fine Jack. See you when you return.”

Jack winked at her then turned toward his brother. “Alright, let's go.”

*

The two brothers sat in the back of a black 2017 Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows as a driver/body guard drove them to Wayne Enterprises. They were both quiet, Bruce on his phone texting and Jack staring out the window. Bruce put his phone away in the inside pocket of his jacket and glanced at his brother. Jack was smiling to himself staring out the window, his chin resting on his knuckles, his middle finger seemed to be tapping out a beat only Jack could hear.

“So how are things with Dr. Quinzel?” Bruce asked.

Jack frowned, lifting his brows and turning to Bruce. “Hmm...what do you mean?”

“I mean, do you like her? Is she helping?” Bruce turned sideways to face his brother.

Jack grinned. “I like her. She is...different.”

Bruce nodded. He wasn't sure how to ask his brother how things were going...are you feeling less destructive? Less violent? That sounded...wrong. Instead, Bruce turned back around. “That's good.”

Jack tilted his head looking at his brother. They had not spent a lot of time together...actually if Jack was truthful, they had not spent much quality together since before their parents' death.

Jack smiled. “You need to laugh more Bruce.”

Bruce glanced back at him quizzically. “Laugh?”

“Yes! Life is one big joke and you are missing it completely Bruce. Completely.” Jack giggled.

The sound of Jack's giggle send shivers down Bruce's spine. He could hear that slightly unhinged quality that continued to creep into Jack's laugh. It was one of numerous factors that had prompted Bruce to find a personal psychiatrist for his brother.

Bruce pressed his lips tighter. “So, ah...what have you been doing?”

Jack grinned laying a finger aside his nose. “Oh Bruce, do you really want to know or are you being the polite big brother? Hmmm?”

Bruce frowned turning away from Jack to look out the window. After a few moments he murmured, “They found a man you might know...Mark Boyd. He was found murdered.”

Jack laughed. “Oh now that is NOT a surprise.”

Bruce frowned deeper. “So you did know him?”

Jack was looking out the window again, neither brother looking at each other. “I did—played cards with him at the amusement park once or twice. Not a good man Bruce, so don't cry any tears over him.”

“Do you know anything about what might have happened to him?” Bruce asked.

For a moment Bruce was reminded of all the times Jack had been violent over the years, starting with the incident at school. Each time his violence had been directed at someone who had annoyed him, or Bruce for that matter, and each incident had become more and more violent until one day, his violent episodes had stopped. Bruce figured Jack had just become more gifted at hiding it, not that the psychiatrists or psychologists they had hired in the past were actually helping his brother, but each time Bruce confronted him, Jack had always been innocent.

Jack frowned putting a hand to his chest in mock horror. “Goodness Bruce, are you accusing me of something?”

Bruce's brow furrowed. “No, no, just just a casual question.”

Jack smiled. “Well, believe me Bruce, if I ever did something like that, you would never know if it was me more or not.”

Bruce frowned at Jack, but his brother had already turned away his smile back in place just a little bit bigger than before.

*

Harleen sipped her coffee and cut into the crepe that Alfred had placed in front of her. Alfred had excused himself for a moment when there was a buzz at the front door.

“Probably a package, Miss Harleen. I shall be right back.”

Harleen had nodded then continued with her breakfast. She glanced over seeing Jack's notebook from the corner of her eye. She looked around, no Alfred. She pressed her lips firmly together, contemplating whether or not she should, but then she reached out with one finger and slid the book toward her.

There was nothing on the cover stating that this was a diary or anything of that nature. She frowned staring down at it. This was not a “good” doctor thing to do...or a “good” anything to do. She ran her fingers over it for a moment more before she opened it to a random page.

She wasn't sure what she had been expecting on the page, but it was covered in mathematical equations, math way beyond anything she could understand. She smiled. There was a fine line between madness and genius.

She flipped to another page. Here Jack had written some notes:

Interesting results:

laughter

contracting of facial muscles

suggestibility.

Harleen frowned. She was about to flip to another page when she heard Alfred coming back. She closed the notebook and slid it back into place.

“Sorry about that Miss Harleen. Are you enjoying the crepes?” Alfred asked politely taking off his apron.

“Delicious Alfred, thank you.” Harleen smiled finishing off the last few bites.

“I suppose I should go do some work.” She sighed getting to her feet.

Alfred smiled. “Feel free to call me if you need anything at all Miss Harleen. Also do feel free to walk the gardens. They are beautiful this time of year.”

Harleen smiled. “Thank you Alfred.”

*

Bruce and Jack Wayne walked into the main headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, neither of them aware of the stares they were receiving.

They took the elevator up to the top floor where the main meeting room for the Wayne Enterprises board of directors met for special votes like the one going on today. Jack sighed completely bored. He hated dealing with the board of directors. These men and women, as far as Jack was concerned, had no idea about anything. They lived in a world that was full of numbers, money and some of the most idiotic concerns that Jack had ever been witness to in the few times he had graced Wayne Enterprises with his presence. As they walked into the board room, today looked like it would be a perfect example of what he hated about most human beings, their complete lack of sight, lack of understanding at what the world really was...

*

Lucius Fox stood up as the Wayne brothers entered. “Ah, good of you both to come.” He held out his hand shaking Bruce's then Jack's. The brothers took their seats, Bruce at the head of the table, Lucius on the right and Jack on the left, announcing that the meeting had begun.

*

The meeting only lasted an hour, which was lucky for Jack because at the end of it he was about ready to start strangling the man sitting next to him, a blond with blue eyes, perfect teeth, and a shitbag personality.

The votes were cast, a decision made and Jack was ready to go when the man next to him reached out and put a hand on his upper arm stopping Jack from moving.

“Hey man, the name is Marcus McDermott, I have got to show you something.”

Jack's eyes widened as he struggled to control himself. He rolled his eyes to his brother looking for salvation, but Bruce was in conversation with Fox. He sighed, turning back to McDermott. Marcus grinned pulling out a silver cardholder, taking out a card and set it on the table.

“New card, what'd ya think?”

Jack looked down. To him, it was a white card with the man's information printed on it in boring black...dull. Marcus grinned.

“Eggshell with Romalian type ...” Marcus tapped the card with his middle-finger. “It's even watermarked. I just got them from the printer today.”

Jack stared at the card pressing his lips together in a thin white line. He glanced at Marcus McDermott who was grinning like a pleased cat. All Jack could think about was how good it would be to slice the man's throat open. Jack smiled.

“Impressive,” he said.

McDermott smiled. “I know.”

Jack grinned. “Wanna hear a joke?”

Marcus frowned at the youngest Wayne brother. “Sure?”

Jack grinned. "This guy goes into the hospital, okay? His wife's just had a baby and he can't wait to see them both. So he meets the doctor and he says, 'Oh, Doc, I've been so worried. How are they?' And the doctor smiles and says, 'They're fine. Just fine. Your wife's delivered a healthy baby boy and they're both in tip-top form. You're one lucky guy.' So the guy rushes into the maternity ward with his flowers. But it's empty. His wife's bed is empty. 'Doc?' He says and turns around and the doctor and all the nurses wave their arms and scream in his face. 'April fools! Your wife's dead and the baby's a spastic!!'"

Jack started to giggled. Marcus looked uncomfortable. Jack slapped the man on the back.

“Oh now come on, that was funny? You know what you need Marcus, you need to smile more. That's what everyone in this damn building needs, a little smile. Why so serious Marcus?”

Marcus smiled reluctantly. “Yeah...”

Jack started to giggle a little louder which captured his brother's attention. Bruce came over putting a hand on Jack's shoulder. “Ready?”

“Oh, I was ready when we walked in.” Jack stood up picking up Marcus's card. “Thanks for the card Marcus, now I know how to find you if I ever need you.”

Jack grinned slipping the card into his jacket pocket before waving his fingers at Marcus. “Toodles.”

*

Bruce escorted Jack downstairs. “What did you say to him?” Bruce asked as they waited for the elevator.

Jack grinned. “Nothing just told him a joke. Goodness Brucie, don't trust me?”

Bruce frowned not saying anything for a little bit, then softly spoke. “Thank you for coming in today Jack.”

Jack grinned patting Bruce on the arm. “Anything for my big brother.”

The elevator doors opened and Jack stepped in turning around to smile at Bruce. “See ya later alligator.”

The doors closed on his brother. Bruce frowned staring at the closed doors. Something felt...off, but he could not figure out what it was. Maybe...Bruce sighed with a slight shake of his head. He had been so busy that he and Jack had hardly spoken in months. Maybe he should make an effort to change that...

*

Harleen sat at her computer typing up her notes when her cellphone rang. She picked it up, placing it between her ear and shoulder as she continued to type. “Dr. Quinzel.”

She burst into a smile when she heard Jack's voice. “Harley, Harley, so professional sounding!”

She chuckled. “Hello Jack.”

She heard Jack giggle softly in reply. “You get dressed for a picnic and meet me in the garage.”

*

Harleen, dressed in a pair of jeans, a close fitting red t-shirt with a white sweater over it, red keds and her blonde hair up in a ponytail, was waiting for Jack with a picnic basket that Alfred had waiting for her when she came down stairs. Alfred, under the directions from Jack who called ahead, had packed a fairly big basket which included a spinach pie, deviled eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano and Wild Mushroom Risotto Balls, Parma Ham, Parmigiano Reggiano and Basil Mayonnaise Baguettes, Blackberry Lime bars and a bottle of Pinot Blanc.

Harleen also had a bag which contained a change of clothes for Jack. She was rocking on the balls of her feet when Jack came jogging from inside the house.

“Hello Nurse!” He yelled laughing.

Harleen blushed. “Hi Jack.”

He grinned at her. “I see Alfred is as efficient as ever. Would you mind driving?”

He tossed her some keys. Harleen caught them out of the air with a grin.

*

Harleen was smiling as she pulled out of the garage driving a Fiat 500 painted a deep plum color. Beside her Jack was undressing.

Harleen was doing her best to keep her eyes on the road, but it was extremely hard for her to avoid watching Jack shrug out of his suit jacket, unbuttoning his vest, then he started loosening up his tie. Harleen chewed her bottom lip her eyes shooting sideways. He slipped out of the dress shirt revealing his torso. He was muscled, though not overly so, thin, cut muscles, his chest was smooth, hairless, well sculpted, flat stomach.

Is my mouth watering? She thought to herself as she swallowed. He pulled out a light blue button-down shirt (she could tell with a quick glance the shirt was fitted for him) from the bag slipping it on without buttoning it up, then proceeded to unbutton his slacks.

Harleen lost control of the vehicle for a second as she started to swerve out of her lane.

Jack started laughing. “Never seen a man get undressed before doctor?”

She knew she was bright red. “Not...no...well...”

Jack grinned slipping the slacks off after having kicked his dress shoes to the floor. “Don't worry doctor. I'm putting my clothes back on...unless you would prefer I didn't?”

He lifted an eyebrow at her. Harleen was sure her ears had just turned red to match her cheeks. Stuttering slightly. “N-no...you go ahead and get dressed.”

Jack laughed again at her reaction.

Harleen saw that under his slacks he wore boxers, dark grey, with lighter grey stripes. Suddenly boxers were the sexiest piece of clothing Harleen had ever seen. Jack pulled out a pair of jeans from the bag. Harleen was sure she was going to have a heart attack.

She tried hard not to pay attention to him, but watching him arch his hips up, pulling on the jeans, the shirt falling away to reveal his flat stomach, a thin line of hair just under his bellybutton that disappeared under the band of his boxers...

Harleen felt heat pool in her groin making her squirm in her seat.

Jack settled back after buttoning the jeans and proceeded to button up his shirt. He grinned at her and waggled his eyebrows. “So still able to drive to the park?”

Harleen smiled, continuing to blush badly. “Yes.”

*

They pulled into Robinson Park with Jack directing her where to go until they found a more secluded parking lot. Jack jumped happily out of the car walking around to the back of the car and pulled out the picnic basket before he headed from the parking lot away from the trail. Harleen jogged to keep up, dashing from the car to catch up to Jack.

He grinned at her when she came up beside him.

Jack led her into a grove of trees that eventually opened up into a small clearing with a park bench. Harleen gasped. It was a really lovely spot with the sun streaming through the tree branches, the sound of birds and the breeze cutting off all the sounds of Gotham.

“Oh Jack, this is lovely.” Harleen smiled.

Jack laughed. “I found this place one day when I was about fifteen. I was wandering the park and simply stumbled on it.”

Jack set the basket on one of the benches, opening it up to remove the contents. He pulled out a red and white checkered table cloth, snapping it out and laying it across the ancient wooden table. He then proceeded to pull out the plastic plates, forks and flutes, then the wine and food, setting everything up while Harleen watched. After he was done he gave her a cheery grin and bowed, one arm to his waist the other out. “Your lunch, my lady.”

Harleen laughed taking a seat. “Thank you Jack.”

Jack sat down opposite her picking up the wine. “So did you miss me?”

He popped the cork, but he did something that startled Harleen. He not only popped the cork, he managed to grab it out of the air. It was a quick movement, but amazing, she thought. He smiled at her setting the cork on the table and poured the wine into her glass.

Harleen smiled. “Thank you and yes Jack, I did miss you today. How did the meeting go?”

Jack groaned. “Boring.”

Harleen looked up from where she had been placing food on her plate. “You don't enjoy the family business?”

He grinned. “Not at all. Oh I like the money and I like some of the things that Wayne Chemicals and Electronics puts out, but the day-to-day workings? Nope. I a not a rat in a maze Harley. I don't do well confined to a set program of behavior.”

He took a sip of his wine. “Because when it's all said and done, what does any of it matter?”

“Any of it? What do you mean?” Harleen sipped her own wine watching him.

“Life is chaos. Everyone is always trying to bring order to it, but that just isn't how it works. You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star, or so says Nietzche. I want to birth dancing stars Harley.”

Harleen gazed at Jack. “That's beautiful Jack.”

Jack grinned at her, a slow, almost seductive smile. “Not as beautiful as you Harley Quinn.”

Harleen glanced down at her plate embarrassed. Jack laughed softly. “Sorry that I embarrassed you.”

She glanced up at him. “It's fine.”

He laughed softly. “You know how nice it is to have someone see you as you really are Harley? To have someone see past your smile and still like you?”

Harleen smiled. “I like you Jack.”

“And I like you Harley.” Jack took her hand and laced his fingers with hers.

*

Jack drove them back home later that afternoon singing a Dean Martin song. “...My head keeps spinnin', I go to sleep and keep grinnin' If this is just the beginnin', My life is gonna be bee-yoo-tee-ful”

Harleen laughed, smiling so hard that her cheeks hurt, but that seemed to be becoming the norm when she was with Jack.

*

That night when Harleen went to bed, her dreams were filled with Jack Wayne. It was highly inappropriate the way he was making her feel, but there was no denying—the man really did it for her.

*

Later that evening after dinner, Jack made his way quietly down to the garage. He was dressed in a black suit, black shirt, even a black tie. He flipped on the lights watching as they came on snapping down the rows revealing each expensive vehicle. Jack smiled making his way to his motorcycle. Just before getting on the bike he pulled out the business card and gazed at the name.

“Marcus McDermott, now I know exactly how to find you and I think it's time I put a real smile on that face of yours.”

Jack chuckled softly.

Chapter Text

The morning of the gala, Harleen woke up early. She was nervous and unsure why she was nervous; her nerves were on end, to the point that she hadn't slept well. She decided to use the Wayne's indoor pool. She had seen it during the tour and Alfred had assured her she could use it at any time. Harleen was happy that she actually had a swimsuit. It was a deep red bikini, something she had bought on a whim, but hadn't really had the opportunity to wear. She felt a little exposed, but it was the only suit she had. She wrapped a towel around herself, slipped on a pair of matching flip flops and made her way down to the pool.

*

The indoor pool room was massive, easily the size of two ballrooms put together. Three of the walls were large picture windows wrapping around on two sides, that looked out onto a patio (big enough that Harleen thought it was more of a plaza) that was set up with comfortable and well-crafted outdoor furniture while she could see the Wayne Manor gardens beyond. The lighting in here could alter between bright to a soft seductive light that made the room feel warm and inviting. The pool itself wasn't a straight rectangle, but rather flowed in nice rounded sharps, resembling a melting figure eight. The colors of the room were golden browns, and even the tiles around the pool were a slightly darker shade from the walls. Harleen telt that it was all very relaxing. Additionally, running along side the main pool, was a lap pool strictly for exercise.

There was even a large stereo built into the wall next to where the dressing rooms and showers for the pool room were located. Harley walked over to the stereo turning it on and sorting through the music that was available until she found one she liked.

As the music wafted through the room, some smooth jazz,, Harleen removed her towel and tossed it over a lounge chair. When she had asked about the pool the previous day, Alfred told her that she didn't need to worry about a bathing cap, so she had pulled her long hair back into a ponytail. She stood on the edge of the pool, her toes hanging over the edge. She held her arms out in front of her, looking into the clear blue water before she dived in, cutting an almost perfect figure into the water with very little splash.

She swam down a little ways before she came up, breaking the surface of the water with a gasp and a huge smile.

She turned around ready to swim back when she saw Jack standing there at the pool's edge. He was wearing pair of dark blue swim trunks decorated with bright orange octopi, a towel flung over his shoulder. Harleen did her best not to stare, forcing her eyes to stay on his face, but she was discovering that it was difficult to avoid thoughts of how attractive Jack Wayne was. He was all lean muscles, well defined muscles. His hair hadn't been combed back as it usually was, the thick brown strands loose, curling slightly around his forehead, that sharp, charming smile on his face, and those beautiful eyes...Harleen swallowed.

He was grinning as he greeted her. “Hello there, doctor.”

Harleen wiped the water from her face. “Jack! Hi! You surprised me!”

Jack laughed. “I saw you heading this way wrapped in a towel and I thought, why not? A swim sounded fun! Oh, you like my trunks?”

He posed, a hand behind his head, cocking his hip to the side, resting his other hand on his waist and shooting her a devilishly handsome smile while he struck a model's pose.

Harleen couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up. “I like them very much.”

Jack waggled his eyebrows and arched his hip the other direction. “Why thank you Harley.”

He tossed his towel over to the lounge chair where hers was and dived in, cutting through the water without a sound. Harleen watched him swim toward her, popping up right in front of her. She squeaked a little louder than she intended when he broke the surface. Jack laughed at her expression.

“What's the matter doctor?”

Harleen blushed “Nothing...nothing at all.”

Jack waggled his brows at her full of humor and splashed her. Harleen squeaked again, swimming away from him and splashed back. Soon they were laughing like a couple of children, splashing water back and forth screaming with laughter. Jack dived down grabbing her around the waist and pulling her under. Harleen just barely had enough time to grab a gulp of air before she was yanked under the surface of the clear blue water.

Jack let her go once she was under, though he stayed close, flaoting under the water, so close he could have simply leaned in and kissed her. His eyes were watching her with humor, but there was something else there for the briefest of moments. Harleen wasn't sure what it was she saw, but there had been something there...

Jack reached for her, his hands sliding against her naked torso, gripping her waist then he kicked for the surface. They both broke through, gasping for breath. Jack was smiling, his hands still resting on her wasit. Jack let go with one hand, the other remained on her waist while he used his other hand to wipe his hair back from his face, droplets of water running down over his cheeks, nose and his lips. He stared at her tilting his head. Harleen was struck dumb staring into his incredible eyes. She was hyper-aware of his hand on her waist, the length of his fingers, the heat radiating up from the point where his fingertips touched her skin.

He opened his mouth, about to say something when they heard someone clear their throat.

They both turned, Jack looking over his shoulder and Harleen looking past him. It was Bruce.

He was dressed for swimming too.

“I just came to use to the lap pool,” he said but there was something in his voice, just an inflection that indicated he was not happy.

Harleen flushed looking down at the water. “I should get dressed. See you at breakfast Jack, Mr. Wayne.” She swam to the side, away from Bruce, pulling herself up and grabbing her towel. Jack turned to watch her. She is gorgeous, he thought, the suit sticking to her, the way the light softly illuminated her perfect skin.

As soon as Harleen had left, Jack glared at his brother.

“What was that about?”

Bruce frowned tossing his towel to the side. “I don't know what you mean Jack.”

Jack trended water, his eyes slightly narrowed. “She was here first, I just followed.”

Bruce frowned deeper. “What are you doing Jack?”

“What do you mean, what am I doing? I'm swimming.” Jack grinned leaning back and letting the water hold him on his back.

Bruce sighed. “Just don't get any ideas of seducing your doctor.”

Jack laughed. “Oh Brucie, so concerned. You know, I'm a grown man and she is a grown woman, even if she is in your employment big brother, you can't control feelings.”

“I could let her go,” Bruce said quietly.

Jack came up, his eyes cold. “Don't even think about it Bruce. You think I'm bad now? Just wait.”

Bruce stared at his brother. “Is that a threat?”

Jack smiled again. “No. I would never threaten you Brucie. Besides if you don't want to pay her I could always do it myself. I want her to stay. Plus I don't really see where you have a lot of room to talk.”

Bruce mouth twitched. “What do you mean?”

“Oh Brucie, stop. You know exactly what I'm talking about. Let's see..what was her name? Oh yes...Alison wasn't it? Worked for that rival company. And then there was Jillian...your lawyer?”

Bruce sighed. “Fine, point taken.” He frowned deeper. “Fine, she stays, but Jack...please listen to her as a doctor, please.”

Jack laid back again. “Brucie, don't worry. Dr. Quinzel is doing her job. She is gaining my trust, isn't that what you want Bruce? Dr. Quinzel to not just be my doctor, but my friend? She's doing just fine. Hell, we talked about my feelings just yesterday.” Jack giggled. “Oh I should probably tell you that she is my plus one tonight.”

Bruce stared at his brother then grunted. The next thing Jack heard was his brother starting his laps.

*

As Bruce swam his laps, his mind mulled over the situation with his brother and Dr. Quinzel. Jack could be falling for Dr. Quinzel...would that really be so bad? Jack had shown no affection towards anyone beyond Bruce and Alfred. His brother had never dated, didn't have any friends in the truest sense of the word that Bruce was aware of and he had never shown any interest in women—or men, for that matter. But now, just this morning, the one other time he had seen them together, alone, it was clear to Bruce that Jack was feeling something. Perhaps he was being too hard, his little brother falling in love might be just what the doctor ordered. Bruce chuckled mentally at himself. What the doctor ordered. Jack would find that play on words funny. But yes, he decided, he would step back, let things progress until something happened one way or the other that would require him to step in.

*

Harleen sat at her vanity and wiped the tears from her face. She had changed out of her suit into a tank top dress with a modest square neckline and flared skirt, a shrug laid across her lap to put on before going downstairs for breakfast, if she was still working here. She was barefoot, her feet crossed at the ankles under her seat as she glared at herself in the mirror. She hadn't started to put her make-up on yet because she kept tearing up.

God, how could I be so stupid! Mr. Wayne is going to fire me for sure! she thought in fear and self-recrimination. Of course, nothing had happened between her and Jack, but their behavior had looked bad in the pool. How could she..? Then she told herself to stop. She was building a relationship with her patient...the attraction had not been intentional.

“Harleen stop trying to doctor talk yourself.” She glared at her reflection.

“UGH!” Harleen dropped her head onto her folded arms. That was when there was a knock at her door. She looked up going pale. This was it.

“Just a minute.” She angrily wiped the tears away trying not to look like she had been crying.

“Harley, it's me.”

Harleen turned at the sound of Jack's voice. “Jack?”

“Can I come in?” Jack asked.

“Ah...yes, sure.” Harleen glanced in the mirror. Oh god, I look terrible! Her hair was still damp, no make up, her skin blotchy from crying. The door opened and Jack slipped in, closing it behind him. He was wearing just a pair of dress slacks and a white button-down shirt, untucked, his hair still damp. He looked as if he had simply thrown on some clothing and hurried straight to her door.

“I came to let you know Bruce isn't angry with you—or us.” Jack grinned.

“What?” Harleen was confused.

“I said, 'Bruce isn't mad.' Don't worry about anything.” Jack smiled at her walking closer to gently grasp her chin.

“Everything is fine. Nothing for you to get your pretty head in a tizzy about.” He smiled, a soft gentle smile while lightly holding her chin, his thumb lightly stroking her skin.

“I explained about building trust between doctor and patient. He understood.” Jack stroked her bottom lip lightly, such a feather soft touch that for a moment she wasn't sure he had actually touched her.

Harleen's whole body relaxed, her breath flowing out of her in a gush.

Jack grinned. “There—better?”

“Much...I-I just...” Harleen stammered.

That was when Jack surprised her by pulling her against him and wrapping his arms around her in a tight hug. He laid his chin on the top of her head and whispered, “You are still my doctor. Now let's forget all about stick-up-his-ass Bruce and go have breakfast. You said you wanted to try some art therapy and I promised you I would play the piano. Let's see about doing that today hmmm? I can teach you to play a game of pool too.” He tightened his hold just a fraction. “And of course, I have to show you my dancing skills tonight.” Jack giggled stepping back from her, his hands shifting to her shoulders.

Harleen looked up into his beautiful eyes and melted. Oh, this is so dangerous, she thought to herself, but he was like a magnet that she just couldn't pull away from.

“Sounds good Jack.” She smiled in response to him.

Jack stared at her for a long moment, not saying anything. Her eyes are amazingly blue, he thought. There was something about her...he could see a lurking darkness behind those blue eyes. Interesting, he thought to himself, but there was more to it. She...tugged at him.

He took a breath before he nodded. “See you at breakfast.” With that he spun around gracefully and was gone.

Harleen took a deep breath, her knees feeling weak for a moment. She smiled. Maybe everything was going to be alright after all.

*

When she came downstairs for breakfast, most of her hair was pulled back with a barrette at the back of her head, the rest of her hair falling in a soft wave down her back, and her makeup was in place as was her smile. She looked more like herself.

Jack had already fixed her cup of coffee and was standing by the oven with Alfred cooking. Jack glanced over his shoulder when she stepped into the room. He was fully dressed now, wearing another three piece suit, this time in navy blue, though the jacket was currently lying across the counter behind him. He was wearing only the white shirt and vest, his sleeves rolled up and an apron over his front. He smiled when he saw her, giving her a wink.

“Doctor! Ready for a hearty breakfast?”

Alfred turned around, smiling brightly. “Good morning, Miss Harleen. Master Jack decided he wanted to cook this morning.”

Harleen took her seat in surprise. “You cook, Jack?”

Jack winked at her again. “I'm a man of many talents doctor.”

“Well whatever it is, it does smell good.” Harleen blushed, but picked up her cup of coffee to hide her red cheeks behind it. She took a sip of the coffee and smiled. Jack had made it just as she liked it; he had noticed, she thought to herself. Her heart did a little flip. The fact that he had paid attention to how she took her coffee—it was nice. She set the mug down taking a breath to swallow the sudden swell of emotions that the simple gesture of making her coffee had caused in her.

“So what are you making?” she asked straightening up in her seat to try to see what was going on at the stove.

“I am making French Toast and it requires a great deal of attention.” Jack giggled as he gestured with a spatula.

Harleen laughed. Alfred smiled reaching up to retrieve some plates for Jack and Harleen. Jack glanced at Alfred. “Oh no you don't, you have to eat breakfast with us old man, since I'm cooking.”

“But Master Jack...” Alfred started to protest, but Jack smiled pointing the spatula at him.

“Nope, I insist. You and Harleen are my favorite people in all the world and we are going to eat breakfast together. So get yourself a plate.” Jack smiled with a mocked narrow-eyed look. Alfred laughed. “As you say, Master Jack.”

Harleen sat stunned. She was one of his favorite people?

*

A few minutes later the three of them were sitting at the large island counter eating together. Alfred had set the plates and utensils, bringing over a small ceramic pitcher that contained a thick, delicious syrup and had even poured the three of them glasses of milk.

Harleen smiled at Alfred as the older man took his seat.. “So has Jack always cooked?” she asked with a glance at Jack.

Alfred laughed softly with a twinkle in his eyes as he raised his glass to take a sip. “He has always tried.”

Jack gasped in shock. “Alfred!” Then he giggled. “I don't think Alfred has ever forgiven me for burning up his kitchen when I tried to make that omelet by myself.”

Harleen snorted a laugh on the bite of French toast in her mouth, trying to swallow. “You burned the kitchen up?”

Jack nodded. “I did.”

Alfred laughed again. “Master Jack burned his eyebrows off too. He was trying to make a father's day omelet for me.”

“Oh Jack, that is so sweet!” Harleen looked over at Jack who shrugged.

“I ate it despite its blackened state...and the state of the kitchen,” Alfred said softly. The emotion in the older man's voice was clear. Alfred looked on Jack like a son.

Harleen took a bite of her French toast, a soft smile on her face. This little conversation told her quite a bit about Jack, how he felt about Alfred, the one person in his life besides Bruce that he had feelings for, a connection with...and now he considered her part of that small circle. Harleen felt—excited and honored, her own feelings toward Jack twisted tighter in her chest. It made her all the more determined to help Jack in any way possible.

*

After breakfast Jack took Harleen to a room she had only been in once, during her tour. The Wayne Manor gaming room. The elegant room was large (much like most of the rooms in the manor), but this one was dominated by a large, elegant pool table that sat in the precise center of the chamber.

The pool room was decorated in dark wood paneling and clearly expensive oriental carpets in shades of rich red and deep golds. The lights overhead hung from the ceiling reminding her of the lights one would find in a fancy bar. The lights cast a warm orange glow throughout the room. There were no windows in this room; instead the walls held a rather large dart board, a flat screen TV hung on another wall in front of which sat a circle of comfortable looking plush chairs and a long wrap-around couch facing the TV. Along the opposite wall there was a bar made from what looked to be large stones. The counter was a shining cherry wood and the wall behind the bar held an extensive liquor cabinet.

Near the bar there also sat a gorgeous piano, a baby grand if she wasn't mistaken.

Jack strolled in walking over to the bar.

“Fix you a drink doctor?” he asked with a grin.

“It's a bit early isn't it?” Harleen asked as she gazed around the room.

“I suppose.” He smiled as he poured a shot of whiskey, downing it without even flinching before walking back around to take her hand and lead her over to the piano. He sat her down next to him, their hips touching as they shared the padded piano bench.

“So, music therapy, how does that work Harley?” Jack asked going back to calling her the nickname he had given her. He opened the lid over the keys and lightly ran his fingertips over the keys.

“Well, it's supposed to let you express yourself in a way that might be easier for you than talking. I mean, in its simplest form.” Harleen smiled.

“Hmm...alright.” He nodded, pursing his lips and thinking for a moment. “So I should play something that reflects how I am feeling...in general or right now?” Jack asked with lifted brows.

“How about right now?” Harleen suggested.

Jack smiled. “Alright.”

With a saucy grin, Jack laced his fingers together then stretched them out cracking his knuckles. He winked at her before he placed his long fingers on the keys, but he didn't move to play immediately; instead Jack closed his eyes.

Harleen watched him, her eyes glancing down to his fingers spread out on the keys. Then he started to play, slowly and gracefully; his fingers moved over the keyboard as if they were dancing. Jack's body began to move gently while he played, the music seemed to move through him. Harleen didn't know much about classical music, but she did have a CD her friend Dr. Ethel Peabody had given her to help her sleep. Though Harleen had only listened to it once or twice she knew enough of the recording to recognize the piece of music Jack was playing...Chopin-Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2.

Halreen watched intently while Jack played. She has never seen anyone put so much emotion into the music. As she watched him, she could feel the pain within him, the darkness that dwelled in Jack Wayne. He swayed slightly, a slight crease to his brow while he played. Harleen felt as if he were laying his soul bare to her if she listened hard enough.

He gently began to bring the piece to a close, his fingers nimbly sailing over the keys and then gradually playing the last note which hung in the air.

When he was finished he turned to face her. “How was that?”

Harleen blinked several times, wiping her eyes. “Oh Jack...” she shook her head just barely. “That was—it was beautiful.”

Jack laughed, but she could see something lurking in the back of his eyes...a shadow of emotion that flitted by and then was quickly gone. Jack smacked his hands playfully on his knees. He looked down for a moment, his voice barely a whisper. “Will you save me Harley? Save me from my demons? Or will you dance with them...dance with me?” Harleen started to open her mouth, but then stopped, remaining quiet. She reached over to lay her hand on top of his, squeezing. “Yes Jack. I will be there to battle the demons with you...or dance, whatever you need.” She smiled. Jack turned on the bench to look at her, his head still hanging so that his hair fell forward making him look younger, his large smile in place, looking perfect on his lips, she noted. There was something about his smile that stirred a quiver of something deep in her gut, but it passed.

“So, I think you should play pool with me until lunch. Then we should have lunch with Alfred before we have to get ready for the gala tonight.” Jack lifted one eyebrow marginally, his smile still in place.

He always smiled, had smiled at her a great deal, but there was something she could detect that was different about this smile. She couldn't lay her finger on what it was...just a slight change, but it made her heart squeeze tightly in her chest.

“That sounds perfect Jack.”

*

Jack set the pool table up, handing her a cue stick. “First thing you want to do my sweets...” Harleen blinked in surprise when he called her my sweets. Jack kept talking, not seeming to realize the term of endearment he had used to refer to her. She decided to simply file that away to examine later, but her heart had skipped a beat when he said it.

“You want to pick a cue stick, one with a good head.” Jack giggled. “Good head.” He grinned at her which caused her to blush bright red.

He continued with a laugh in his eyes. “Anyway, you also want to make sure your stick isn't bent. Not something we really have to worry about here.” Jack walked over to the wall where the cue sticks were hung in a row, taking four down. She watched him as he weighed them before coming back to her and handing one to her. “Chalk your tip, but don't blow on it because that puts moisture on the tip. I already racked the balls for you. So now Harley, I want you to break.”

Harleen wrinkled her nose in question. “Break?”

He nodded moving around behind her. “You are going to hit the cue ball, that's the white ball there...” Here he pointed at the white ball on the table.

“Then with a nice easy hit...” Jack said quietly.

Harleen bent over, holding the cue stick a little awkwardly pointed at the white ball. She glanced up at Jack who grinned. “Here let me show you how to hold it more comfortably.

He walked around behind her and put his arms along hers. His right arm was practically around her waist. With that hand holding the stick just behind her own hand, he placed his left hand above hers, his arm practically flush with hers as he showed her how to hold the cue stick.

Harleen wasn't really listening to him talk. She caught that he was showing her how to do both an open hand bridge and a closed hand bridge for the cue stick. But her attention was focused on the feel of his body so close to hers, how good he smelled, a combination of spice, cologne, the hint of cigarette smoke, and the warmth of his breath. His cheek was almost touching hers...instantly Harleen forgot how to breathe, his words seeming distant as he explained how to use the cue stick...the heat of his body against hers was more than simply erotic, it was…she couldn't think of a word to describe everything that was churning inside of her.

Harleen did her best to stop focusing on Jack's body against hers and tried to pay attention to what he was telling her.

Jack was hyper aware of Harley. The smell of her, the warmth of her. The urge to lick her neck, to lay her across the table...he had never felt lust like this before. And it was more than lust, but instead he returned his focus to the game.

“Now, hold the cue stick like this...” He moved her hands on the stick, his body leaning into hers. His face was so close to her own that she could feel his breath against her cheek moving the fine hairs along her skin.

“Once you have the shot lined up, just let the stick flow, hit the ball, not too hard; give it a light tap.” Jack was smiling. He glanced sideways at her, their eyes meeting. For a moment, just a moment, Harleen thought he might kiss her. The way his eyes seemed to glow, circled by those thick lashes, that seductive smile.

“You don't want to push the ball too hard or you'll lose control of it.” Jack stared into her eyes while he spoke. His lips were so close, his breath caressed her lips. But then the moment was broken at the soft click of the ball hitting the others, sending them rolling across the table.

Jack stepped back. “Good shot Harley.”

Harleen laughed. “Lucky you mean.”

Jack grinned at her. “Maybe...or maybe I'm just a great teacher.”

Harleen laughed. “You might be right.”

*

They ended up playing a game of pool with Harleen not doing too badly, but ultimately Jack won. Harleen clapped. “That was fun Jack.”

He grinned leaning against the table with one hand. “You think that was good, you should play tennis with me.”

Harleen smiled blushing. Jack stepped around the table wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her against him. “Come on Harley, let's go eat!”

*

They ate lunch with Alfred who made a light meal of baby kale, butternut and chicken salad.

“The food tonight for the gala will be rich so I thought you two would enjoy a light salad.” Alfred smiled.

Jack grinned pointing his fork at Alfred. “You can always count on Alfred to take care of us.”

Alfred chuckled. “If I didn't, you and Master Bruce would have eaten cake all the time when you were small.”

Harleen laughed, shaking her head for a moment. “The salad is wonderful, thank you Alfred.”

He smiled at her. “Well, I do hope the two of you have a good time this evening. Oh and Master Jack, your masks arrived today and I have hired the driver you requested.”

Harleen frowned in confusion. “Masks?”

Jack grinned. “Didn't I tell you? It's a masked gala.”

Harleen blinked. “Really?”

Jack laughed. “Oh yes. It's going to be great fun.”

“Are we riding with Bruce?” Harleen asked before taking a bite of her salad.

Jack made a face. “No, he has his own driver, and he is going with some Finnish model named Suvi I believe. The latest in a long line...”

“Does Bruce only date models?” Harleen frowned.

Jack shrugged talking around his bite of food. “Pretty much, though occasionally there is an heiress or a professional woman thrown in to add variety.”

Harleen frowned. “I guess Bruce isn't looking for a Mrs. Wayne is he?”

Jack shook his head. “Bruce plays the playboy, but he can't fool me.”

“You've said that before...” Harleen took a sip of her water.

Jack simply smiled, changing the subject. “I hired a make-up artist and hair dresser for you. They will be here in approximately...” He looked at his watch. “An hour.”

“What?” Harleen looked shocked, but Jack waved his hand in a dismissal.

“You are going to a party with me. You shouldn't have to do your own makeup or hair.” Jack chuckled.

“But Jack, between that and the dress...it's just...” Harleen struggled for a moment, but Jack put a hand up.

“Harley, it makes me smile. You want me to smile don't you?” He stared at her intently.

“I-I...y-yes. I do..” Harleen stuttered.

“Good, then it's decided.” Jack took a last bite of his salad hopping to his feet.

“See you in a couple of hours Harley.” He gave her a wink as he strode out of the kitchen.

Harleen glanced at Alfred who only smiled. “I have not see Master Jack this...invested in anything...anyone Miss Harleen.”

She turned to look at Alfred, her heart slamming against her chest despite her brain telling it not to...

Alfred smiled gently at her. “I thank you for that.”

*

For the next few hours, Harleen Quinzel was made to feel like a princess. The people Jack Wayne had hired were not only gifted artists, but they were terrible gossips and a lot of fun. Harleen had never had so many people exclaim over her before.

The make-up artist, a man named Jeffree squealed loud and long when he saw her.

“OH MY GOD!! Look at your eyes!! Those have got to be the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen!!” He had grabbed her face in his soft hands turning her face this way and that.

“You are going to put every one of those high society ladies to shame tonight, mark my words! And our Jackie is going to be drooling over you!”

The hairdresser was just as bad. Her name was Deepica and she had marveled over Harleen's hair. Deepica had her sitting in a chair putting gold highlights in her hair, while Jeffree did her make up and had assistants attending to both her fingernails and toenails.

At that moment Harleen felt like Cinderella being transformed for the ball.

*

After a few hours, finally, Harleen was ready.

Alfred had come up to knock on her door, letting her know that Master Jack was ready and waiting for her.

*

Jack was waiting at the bottom of the steps, their masks in his hands. He was dressed in a slim cut black jacket, trimmed in silver along the lapels. He was wearing a black shirt underneath, with a matching silver waistcoat, a silver tie that had a black stripe running down the middle of it, wrapped with a silver ribbon, all of it held in place by a silver pin. His hair was slicked back, his devilish smile in place, but as he looked up the stairs, his smile faltered.

Harleen came down the stairs, her hand on the rail, wearing the red dress he had bought for her. Her hair was half up, half down, golden blonde waves tumbling down her back, loose strands curling around her face. The diamond drop earrings that Jack had sent up while she was having everything done, glittered from her ears. Jack had decided that was the only jewelry she needed and he had been correct. She was a vision. Her lips were done in a deep red, her eye make-up, done in a elegant smokey-eye with just a hint of glitter for evening, the effect made the blue of her eyes glow. Jack felt that strange twist in his chest when he saw her; it was more than lust (though looking at her right now had his desire for her working overtime) the feeling was something...deeper.

Jack smiled broadly reaching up to take her hand as she came down the last few steps.

“You, my lovely, are a vision,” Jack said just before kissing the back of her hand.

Harleen blushed smiling at Jack. “Thank you.”

His grin became even brighter. “Ready to go cut a rug?”

Harleen laughed with a nod. “You bet.”

Jack handed her a mask. The mask covered her eyes and nose, leaving the deep red of her lips and the blue of her eyes exposed. The mask was silver and gold, that almost looked to be made of lace, small diamonds were embedded in the middle of the brow, along the eye-slits, and curling up with the corners of the elaborate mask. Jack's mask was a counterpart of Harleen's. His mask, which also left only his mouth exposed, was a burnished antique silver/gold. The sides of the mask flared up, making the wearer look part devil, but in what Harleen thought was an entirely sexy way.

Jack helped put Harleen's mask on, her blue eyes standing out in startlingly contrast to the silver of the mask. Jack grinned, sliding his own mask into place startling a gasp from Harleen as she looked into his eyes, the blue/green blazing with mirth.

“Shall we, my princess?” He bowed, took her hand, and led her outside to the waiting limousine.

Chapter Text

When Jack took her outside, Harleen was surprised by the vehicle waiting for them. It wasn't a traditional limousine that was parked in the Wayne Manor turnaround. Instead, it was a Rolls Royce, and not just any Rolls Royce—this one was clearly from the 1960s. Harleen glanced at Jack who grinned clearly pleased with himself.

“This is a 1961 Rolls Royce Phantom V...not just any old car to take my princess to a party.”

Jack gave her a wink as he leaned over and opened the door for her. Harleen was smiling, she was definitely feeling like Cinderella and this was her fairy tale. For a moment, she wondered if she should allow herself to think that way, considering that she was Jack's therapist, but she decided that for tonight, they were concentrating on friendship, the gala, and to hell with the standard rules.

He guided her in, making sure her dress was in the car, his fingers for a moment, tracing the side of her leg before closing the door. Harleen felt the burn where his fingers had glided along the fabric of her dress. She felt heat rise in her face as she watched Jack make his way around the back of the vehicle. He seemed to skip around to the other side, jumping in beside her with a wide grin. Harleen couldn't stop herself from giggling suddenly. He looked dashing, his brilliant eyes sparkling at her from behind his mask.

“I've never been to a gala,” she admitted. “Well, nothing like this I mean. The closest, I guess, would be a friend's wedding where I had to dress up.” Harleen felt a blush again. She felt like a backwoods hick.

Jack took her hand, kissing her knuckles.

“Well I won't spoil it for you by giving my opinion on these parties where the rich and richer like to try to one-up each other.” Jack's smile was a sardonic expression. “Though I have to say I probably would have attended more of them if I had had someone like you on my arm. You look good enough to eat, Harley.”

Jack waggled his eyebrows with a wide perfect grin on his face just before he dragged his upper teeth light across her knuckles sending waves of heat through her body.. Harleen blushed deeper, glancing down at her lap. Jack still held her hand, placing it on his lap, his hand covering hers. The simple gesture made her heart slam against her breastbone. His hand was warm and the feel of his thigh under her hand was strong, lean. She resisted the urge to squeeze...just barely.

The back of the car was not overly large and they were sitting almost hip to hip. She could smell his cologne, the slight undercurrent of cigarette smoke mixing with his own unique scent. The combination was enough to make her squirm in her seat. She had never been this shy around someone like she was with Jack. Nor had she ever been this attracted to anyone! He was like a drug...intoxicating. Damn it, why did he have to be so handsome and charming!! Harleen asked herself. Her attraction to him was almost overpowering. She glanced sideways at him only to find him gazing at her, that soft smile tugging at his lips, a smile that always seemed to be present. The way he looked at her combined with the hint of a smile, a secret at the corner of his mouth just waiting to be shared just with her. Harleen swallowed, her eyes moving from his mouth back to his face.

He released her hand, reaching over to brush his fingertips along her cheek, tenderly caressing a line behind her ear. Jack found her irresistible...he wanted to lose himself in her. The feeling was slowly becoming desperate, almost like a drive to possess her, make her his...as he touched her cheek he promised himself that soon, he would make her his, part of everything that mattered to him.

Harleen glanced at Jack. She started to say something, but Jack took that moment to brush his fingers over her lips quieting her before he put his hand back over hers turning to look out the window. Harleen stared at him for a moment before she felt her blush burning her ears causing her to turn away and look out the window too.

*

The ride wasn't too long from the Wayne estate. The driver made good time, sweeping them from Wayne Manor to downtown Gotham in a matter of minutes. Their car turned onto the main street, traveling down a few blocks until they were met with traffic. They had arrived at the Gotham City Art Museum where the gala was being held. Harleen tried not to let her mouth fall open, but when they pulled up to the museum, it was difficult. There were fancy cars everywhere! Harleen had never seen so many clearly expensive automobiles except on TV or in the movies. The elite of Gotham were attending this gala fundraiser and it looked to Harleen as if some actual celebrities were among those attending the gala.

Not everyone wore masks. Some attendees had their masks on sticks or in their hands posing for the Gotham press to take pictures. There was even a red carpet rolled down the front steps of the museum for the guest to walk. Reporters lined both sides of the red carpet that was protected by velvet ropes and a few men in tuxedos and women in dresses that were simultaneously elegant while allowing for rapid movement if necessary that were clearly security, so that only those attending the gala could walk in the carpet. Harleen's eyes grew larger. “I wasn't expecting so many people!”

Jack laughed. “Oh, a Wayne charity gala brings out the who's who of Gotham and beyond. Brucie really knows how to put up a fancy get-together don't you think?” It took over fifteen minutes for them get to the front of the museum, but soon their car was able to pull up and drop Jack and Harleen off at the entrance to the party.

When Jack jumped out of the car, the press went crazy. Even with the mask the reporters apparently recognized Jack Wayne.

Unlike his brother, Jack Wayne did not attend a lot of these functions and was not seen out and about as much as his brother. The fact that he was attending the gala and with someone on his arm was unprecedented. Some reporters yelled questions which Jack ignored, swiftly moving around to open the door for Harleen himself. When she stepped out the press included Harleen in their questioning.

“So who's the lady Mr. Wayne?”

“Jack! Jack Wayne! Does this mean you're off the market? What about your brother? Can you take the masks off?”

Jack simply ignored the press, though he put his arm around Harleen's waist which had the crowd going crazy again. Jack leaned in close to her so she could hear him.

“Don't worry about them. The press like to be here at these things...never know who is going to show up at one of my brother's parties.” Jack smiled giving a wave to the crowd with his free hand.

“But...are you sure you want to be seen with me?” Harleen was doing her best to try to avoid looking scared, but this was a bit overwhelming.

Jack laughed. “Let them print what they want. Besides, they only know it's me from the car and you are my mysterious companion! Besides that,” he added with a grin, “we look good together don't we Harley?”

Harleen blushed, but didn't have a chance to respond. They had made their way up the stairs to the main entrance of the museum amongst the flashes of a hundred cameras.

*

The entrance was a large glass front behind four sets of Roman Tuscan columns. There were four different entrances, but three of them had been blocked off so that guests could only enter through one which was being held open by an imposingly tall, wide man in a tuxedo, wearing a simple black mask. As they approached the door and the tall man, Jack laughed.

“Well hello Bruno! Fancy seeing you here!”

The man grinned. “Mr. Jack Wayne. Not as surprised as I am to see you here. You don't usually come to these events.”

Jack shrugged. “Oh you know how it is...big brother gets angry and tells you that you have to go or else. Besides, how could I refuse to take this gorgeous lady out?”

Jack bowed presenting Harleen. Bruno gave her a once over and grinned.

“You ever get tired of skinny here,” Bruno said with a sly, yet friendly grin, “Feel free to look me up.”

Jack's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, the brilliant color of them going flat for a brief second though neither Harleen nor Bruno noticed. Instead Jack smiled. “Sorry Bruno, Harley here has better taste than that.”

With that Jack swept past Bruno and into the museum itself. Bruno watched them go, eyeing Harleen's backside with an appreciative smile.

*

Harleen hadn't had a lot of chances to go to the Gotham Art Museum. She had driven by it a few times, but as she walked into the gala her mouth fell open. When walking in, she was greeted by the breathtaking decorations and just above her a glorious skylight that right now showed only stars. The floors were a dark marble that shone in the lights that were everywhere. The overall lighting was dim, creating an intimate atmosphere despite the large size of the room. Lights shone everywhere. The lights that were littered throughout the room were actually designed to look like pillars made from tiny, twinkling lights that were set on heavy marble bases. At the base of each light pillar, were a large number of fresh flowers. The flowers might have been white, or blue or purple.

Harleen realized that it was difficult to determine in the dim lighting throughout the museum. Tables and chairs had been set around the room, each decorated with white table cloths, candles and more flowers. With an amazed shake of her head, Harleen noted there was even a fountain in the middle of the room. She wasn't sure of the time period, but the fountain looked old to her and made from white marble, though the lights made it seem dark purple or blue. The sound of the running water from the fountain mingled with the other sounds of quiet conversation and the beautiful melody that was being played by a string quartet. The ceiling of the museum had been decorated with dark blue drapery that gave the entire main room a rich quality that was enhanced by the lighting. There had even been a dance floor set up where several couples were dancing. Across from the dance floor a small stage had been put together for the charity auction later this evening.

The next thing that Harleen noticed beyond the room were the masks and the clothing. She had never seen so many gorgeous dresses! And the masks were amazing! Moving among the crowd of expensively dressed people, were waiters and waitresses all dressed in black tuxedos and all wearing simple black masks across their eyes. They carried trays of champagne, wine and some even carried beer which Harleen was sure was probably some sort of expensive beer, not just regular “bar” beer.

Jack grinned taking her hand and kissing her knuckles. “Would you like to dance?”

Harleen blushed, but nodded. “Yes.”

Jack held her hand gently and led her out to the dance floor. The quartet had just started playing a new tune and Harleen frowned softly. “I know this song.”

Jack smiled putting an arm around her waist, his other hand holding hers as he slowly moved her around the dance floor. Low, only for her to hear he started to sing, his voice warm, sending shivers down her spine and heat where his hands touched her.

“Guess it's true, I'm not good at a one-night stand But I still need love 'cause I'm just a man These nights never seem to go to plan I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand?”

He spun her around, holding one of her hands before he gently tugged her back into his arms. Harleen's heart was beating so hard in her chest, pounding against her breastbone, that she was surprised he couldn't hear it. He held her close, his lips pressed just below her ear where she could feel the soft caress of his lips against her skin as he continued to sing just for her.

“Oh, won't you stay with me? 'Cause you're all I need This ain't love it's clear to see But darling, stay with....”

Jack smiled, brushing a kiss across her pulse beating fast beneath her flushed skin. He spun her out, slowly spinning her around, then, his strong hand was pressing against her waist, he lifted her up spinning around once, then placed her on her feet. Jack wrapped his arms around her, one at her waist and dipped her back; with his other hand, he cradled her head ever so gently, his long fingers in her hair. He smiled at her, that wide glorious smile, and his eyes twinkled behind his mask. Harleen took in a shuddering breath as he leaned in close, his lips almost touching hers. She could feel the brush of his breath against her mouth before he gracefully pulled her back to her feet. They glided across the dance floor Jack continuing to sing just for her.

“Why am I so emotional? No it's not a good look, gain some self control And deep down I know this never works But you can lay with me so it doesn't hurt...”

He pulled her close, putting her weight against his left arm, his right gently pressed to her stomach as he spun slowly around. Harleen reached up to caress his cheek with her fingertips causing his smile to broaden. As her fingers glided past his mouth, Jack brushed a kiss against her digits. He wrapped both arms around her when he pulled her close again, the two of them now just weaving to the music.

Jack brushed his fingers through her hair. He had so many things he wanted to say at that moment, but he said none of them, instead content to hold her against him. Harleen closed her eyes, her cheek to his, she felt his hand come up to cradle the back of her head again,while they weaved to the music. Her emotions were in turmoil, roiling butterflies in her stomach like nothing she had ever felt before...she didn't know what to say or do...she was his doctor!! She...

“May I cut in?” They both turned at the sound of a rather high-pitched man's voice.

Jack narrowed his eyes ready to lash out, but then he saw that it was Harold Sale, which startled him for a moment. He recognized the foul little man even with the rather gaudy mask he was wearing. Jack remembered Sale from school, one of the numerous bullies who made life hell for Jack, until he took matters into his own hands. Harold was one of the richie riches of Gotham, born into money. Sale had made even more by dealing in real estate and other investments...not all of them strictly legal.

“Oh, if it isn't Harold Sale. You know, looking at you Harold, I understand why some animals eat their young.” Jack sneered.

Harold laughed. “Why if it isn't Jack. God, when was the last time you attended one of these? Oh that's right—your big brother doesn't let you out much does he? Got to keep his crazy brother on a short leash doesn't he?” Harold bodily moved himself between Harleen and Jack. “This schmuck bothering you miss?” Harold smiled, his teeth so white that for a moment Harleen was sure they were fake.

Harleen frowned, pulling back. “No he isn't, thank you.”

Harold reached out grabbing her hand in a vice-like grip.

“Why not dance with a real billionaire? Nice seeing you Jack,” the shorter man said dismissively.

Harold grabbed Harleen, practically dragging her out onto the dance floor just as the music changed. Jack hissed ready to go out there and break Harold's nose...and maybe a few other appendages when someone grabbed his arm.

“Don't Jack.”

Jack Wayne turned to see his brother. Bruce held Jack's upper arm loosely, but firmly and discreetly enough that no one would notice anything more than two brothers speaking.

“Don't cause trouble Jack.”

Jack glared, but took a deep breath. “It's fine Brucie. I'm fine.”

Jack watched Harold and Harleen dance for a few minutes, his brother maintaining a hold his upper arm.

Bruce sighed, watching Harold and Harleen too.

“I understand, believe me. If anyone deserves a beating, it's Harold Sale, but Jack, you can't solve problems with your fists.”

“No, but breaking his face would do a lot to solving one of my problems.” Jack laughed.

The brothers were quiet for a moment. Jack's eyes never left Harleen.

Bruce cleared his throat. “Did you hear about Marcus McDermott?”

“Who?” Jack didn't look at his brother.

“Marcus McDermott, he is on the board of directors....you spoke to him after the meeting?” Bruce continued tilting his head to gauge his brother's reaction.

Jack finally looked at him. “Oh, you mean the man with the cards right?”

“Yes, apparently he took off on vacation without a word to anyone.” Bruce took a sip from his champagne glass that he had been holding. Jack shrugged his shoulders. “Why are you telling me?”

“No reason, just saw you talking to him, thought you two might be friends.” Bruce turned back to watch the dancers.

Jack laughed. “I didn't want to talk to him. And no, he isn't a friend.”

Bruce nodded. He glanced sideways at his brother. Jack's eyes had not left the pretty blonde once.

Bruce sighed letting go of Jack's arm. “Go on, go get your doctor back.”

Jack grinned at his brother and waved at Bruce as he made his way back to the dance floor. Bruce watched him go shaking his head slightly though he did so with a smile. It really was good to see Jack take an interest in someone and Dr. Quinzel did look beautiful tonight. He couldn't fault his younger brother on his taste in women. With a smile Bruce turned and went back to wandering the party.

*

As Jack approached Harold and Harleen on the dance floor, he hummed along to the music that was playing; this time the quartet was playing some Coldplay song the words of which he couldn't place, but he remembered the tune and danced along as he glided across the dance floor. He came up on Harold and brought his hand down, a little too hard on Harold's shoulder causing the man to stumble to the side a bit. Harleen looked relieved when she saw Jack.

“Alright Harold. Time to go.” Jack smiled.

Harold started to say something, but Jack grabbed Harold's tie, yanking Harold close.

“Don't start Harold...” Jack's voice had dropped low, menacing. “She's with me Harold, dear and I don't like sharing, so consider yourself lucky that I let you dance with her. Capiche?”

Harold's eyes widened, but he nodded. “Yeah, yeah, it's fine Jack.” Harold put his hands up looking meek.

Jack opened his hand letting Harold go. Harold stumbled back, but Jack gave him a pleasant smile. “Thanks Harold.”

Harold stared wide-eyed at Jack before he quickly took off, stumbling in his haste which caused Jack to chuckle. He turned to Harleen and swept her an elegant bow before he gathered her into his arms again. “Sorry about that...”

Jack spun her around slowly on the dance floor. Harleen smiled, relieved to be back in his arms.

“That man was disgusting,” she muttered.

Jack frowned glancing toward Harold, then back at her pulling her close against him.

“That won't happen again. I promise.” They glided along the dance floor, Jack keeping her body pressed against his as they moved in a sensual weave to the music.

Jack giggled. “Did you see the dessert table?”

Harleen smiled with a blush coloring her cheeks. “Dessert?”

Jack laughed. “Yes! I love a woman with a sweet tooth.”

Harleen blushed as Jack danced her to the far right and then off to the side were the dessert table sat. The white cloth covered table spanned the length of the wall, heavy with a wide variety of desserts. Harleen was delighted. She had never seen so many desserts in one place, not even at her friend's wedding! Some of the desserts were things Harleen had never even seen before!

Jack held her hand as he led her over. Harleen thought that the table was loaded with everything one could possibly want, from macaroons all done in a variety of shades of purple, to cake pops that were not just in a variety of flavors, but the decorations were what she could only think of as beautifully elegant. There were whole slices of cake, parfaits, blueberry violet eclairs, pavlovas with blueberry jam, cupcakes and more.

Harleen giggled. “Oh gosh, there is so much to chose from!”

Jack reached over grabbing two dessert plates with a hungry look in his eyes and a smirk on his lips. “ You grab two plates too. Let's take a bit of everything!”

Laughing like a couple of kids, the two of them filled their plates to overflowing with some of nearly everything that was available. They found an out of the way table, with Jack hopping up to grab them several glasses of champagne from a server, before coming to sit back down with her.

“I feel so wicked!” Harleen giggled.

Jack grinned cutting a bite off a piece of rich chocolate cake and holding it out to her.

“It's fun to be a little wicked, don't you think Harley?”

Her eyes sparkled behind her mask as she leaned forward a little, opening her mouth. Jack slowly caressed her lips with the chocolate. He watched her mouth, catching his bottom lip between his teeth when her pink tongue licked across the edge of the chocolate covered fork. He had never in all his life seen anything more sexy than Harley.

Grinning, he fed her the bite slowly, brushing the chocolate frosting against her red lips. Harleen blushed giggling as he slid the bite of cake into her mouth. She smiled putting her fingers up to her mouth, but Jack reached out pulling her fingers away in order to wipe the small dab of chocolate from her mouth with a finger. He then stuck his finger in his mouth grinning at her.

Harleen wondered how he managed to look completely and utterly seductive with his finger in his mouth, the twinkle in his eye. She felt a hard twist in her groin while she stared at him. Jack reached down and plucked a macaroon from his plate reaching over to caress Harleen's lips with the smooth surface of the treat. Jack's eyes followed the shape of her lips, his breath catching just a little when she slowly opened her mouth. “You're lips are perfectly kissable. Did you know that Harley?” Jack purred, his eyes coming up to catch hers.

Before she could answer, they were interrupted by someone using the speaker on stage. The room was suddenly filled with loud feedback buzz startling everyone. Jack and Harleen turned to see Bruce standing on the stage.

“Sorry about that folks! I wanted to thank all of you who came tonight in support of art programs in our inner city schools. Tonight we have some great local musicians and if you walk through the Basquiat hall you will be treated to the works of not only local Gotham artists, but works from students from our own Gotham public schools. Our string quartet providing our music tonight is also from Gotham High. Our charity auction will be starting in the next half hour.”

Suddenly there was a loud explosion and the wall behind Wayne exploded in a burst of smoke, fire and marble. Bruce was knocked from the stage, disappearing in the smoke. Jack and Harleen lost sight of Bruce almost immediately as the crowd started to scream, the room filling with smoke and heat.

“ALRIGHT GOTHAM”S RICH AND FAMOUS, THIS IS A HOLD UP!!”

Out of the smoke, appearing much like a rock band, stepped a group of five individuals, all dressed in elaborate complimentary costumes, each one representing a part of a suit in a deck of cards. One was dressed as a queen of spades complete with the traditional card crown, a king of spades with the stylized card king beard, a Jack of spades with the Jack of spades crown and outfit, and the last two both wore white bodysuits decorated with spades, the ace of spades, and another woman dressed in a ten of spades. All of them wore black masks that covered the upper halves of their faces, and all were armed with heavy weapons.

Jack stood up so quickly he nearly knocked their table forward. He grabbed Harleen, pulling her close, his arms wrapped protectively around her, but he was laughing.

“Oh my God! Get a load of those outfits.”

Harleen was scared, though not as scared as she thought she should be. Jack's attempts at stifling his giggles was making her laugh as well.

*

The king of spades walked up to the microphone.“Alright folks, now that we have your attention, let's get down to business. My friend there...” Here the king pointed at a large man dressed as the ace of spades. “He is going to go around with a large duffel bag and you are going to put money, watches jewelry, all of it in the bag. Anyone decides to be greedy and keep their valuables OR decides to play hero, is going to end up dead. Got it? Good. Go on Ace, go collect for the Royal Flush Gang fund.” T

he man called Ace hoped down with his duffel bag, armed with a Colt M4 Carbine in his other hand. His voice was gruff when he spoke. “Alright, put it in the bag people and hurry up!”

Harleen was still giggling, trying to cover it behind her hand. Jack was laughing, his head on her shoulders. She hissed at him. “What are we going to do Jack?” For a moment, she wondered if the stress of the situation was making her slightly hysterical.

That was when there was a crash from above. Everyone's eyes moved skyward. Suddenly a dark shape swooped down, shooting something out that hit the Ace of Spades in the chest knocking the man backwards causing him to drop his weapon, though he managed to keep a hold of the dufflebag. Someone in the crowd shouted.

“BATMAN!”

Jack's eyes widened as he turned to look at the dark figure crouched between the party goers and the Royal Flush Gang. Something in Jack's eyes sparkled with glee.

“The Batman,” he murmured under his breath with a slight chuckle on the end.

Chapter Text

Jack grabbed Harleen's hand, maneuvering her back behind their table while he giggled like a child. He was clearly excited about getting to watch Batman in action. Harleen's eyes widened when she saw the Batman. He stood, looking like a Gothic gargoyle, clad all in black, his cape whipping out behind him, and pointed ears atop his head. She had heard the stories about the Batman, but she had never actually seen him, hadn't even been sure he was real, but there he was right in front of her looking like a creature from a nightmare! She glanced at Jack who was giggling and smiling, enraptured at the spectacle.

“Jack?” She touched his face in concern.

Jack's giggle turned into a laugh. “Gotham is becoming so much more entertaining now that we have a masked vigilante stalking the streets of Gotham, don't you think Harley sweets?”

Harleen frowned. She wasn't sure why he was laughing; maybe it was nervousness, fear? She was scared, but....a giggle bubbled up some her, the tension of the situation mixed with the smile on Jack's face. She really didn't know why she was laughing along with Jack, but there was definitely something frighteningly ridiculous about the costumed villains and hero crashing a masked party and doing battle right in front of them. For the briefest of moment's Harleen thought about how funny it would be just to walk among them and bash a few heads!

One of the few conscious security guards, (who had not been knocked unconscious by the initial explosion) a young man no more than twenty-five, ran up to the group of “cards” with his weapon out. “You are...” He never got to finish his statement before the Jack of Spades pulled out a taser, hitting the young guard in the chest, putting him down quickly. Many of the bodyguards that were present, were too busy watching over their charges to interfere with the gang, especially now that the Batman had shown up.

At that moment, Batman turned yelling to the crowd in a terrifyingly deep voice. “Get down!”

Then he threw out a small black bat-shaped object (which Harleen would later learn was called a batarang) knocking the weapon from the King of Spade's hands. Within the same motion, Batman spun around just in time to bring both his arms up to block a roundhouse kick from the Ten of Spades. Ten hissed as she moved in on Batman, her fists and feet flying quickly. She clearly had some sort of kickboxing training as she came at Batman again and again not giving him room to maneuver and recover. Her fists and feet, lashing out with a surprising amount of speed continued to connect, but each time the Bat blocked her strikes with ease. Batman took several steps back, keeping his arms crossed in front of his face, his armored forearms taking the brunt of her attack, before he managed to grab her ankle in a lightning fast movement. With a quick and powerful twist of his wrist, Batman flipped her over by her ankle. The woman lost her footing and twisted in the air before slamming into the floor hard. Batman released her ankle and the woman lay there unmoving.

The King of Spades yelled. “EVERYONE!!! GO!!”

The other members of the gang turned, taking off the way they have entered the museum, through the hole in the wall their explosion had caused. The Ace of Spades stumbled to his feet just when Batman twisted around and threw something at the man. The Ace stumbled backward something clearly slamming into his back and knocking him to the floor with a jarring hit; he slid and slammed into the stage. The Ace shook his head from the impact, reaching in and grabbed something out of his dufflebag, throwing it Batman.

Whatever it was, the object struck Batman in the chest and exploded with the sharp scent of smoke and burning plastic. People started screaming again at the unexpected explosion.

The explosion was powerful enough to knock the Bat off his feet, sending him flying backwards a few feet, but it didn't put him down permanently. The concussive force wasn't strong enough to kill, but it caused enough of a distraction for Ace to follow his friends out of the museum. The sound of sirens outside could be heard by the people inside of the museum. The loud blare of sirens was accompanied by the colors of red and blue flashes throughout the interior of the museum.

Batman glanced the way the others of the Royal Flush Gang had gone, then back at the unconscious Ten of Spades. He seemed aggravated to Harleen, but he took the time to tie the Ten up before he took off after the rest of the gang.

*

Jack had watched all of it with an enchanted expression. His attention never wavered from the Batman. Harleen, nestled in Jack's protective embrace, watched in awe.

She whispered to Jack. “You think he'll catch them?”

Jack shrugged. “If he would just kill them, he wouldn't have the issues he has...”

Harleen giggled. Perhaps it's nerves, she thought, but she looked up at Jack.

“You might be right. But I had heard he never kills.”

Jack nodded. “Never...you really have to wonder what makes a man put on a mask and run around Gotham fighting crime trying to bring order to chaos.” He giggled. “I bet you would love to get him on your couch my sweet doctor.”

Harleen smiled. “Well...yeah,” she nodded. “Someone like that...fighting crime in a mask..childhood trauma would be my guess.”

Jack giggled. “Careful Harley, you might have me thinking you like Batman better than me.” He gave her a clearly put on pout before he spoke again. “Maybe I should put on a mask and take up crime fighting? Oh! Or maybe I should bring more chaos into Gotham just to see how the Batman likes it? But how?” He giggled again. “What do you think doctor?”

Harleen was about to say something when suddenly the museum was filled with police shouting at patrons to calm down, to not move...the typical police protocols.

*

Jack and Harleen sat at a table with a few other of the gala guests waiting to told when they could leave. Everyone at this particular table had already given their statements and were simply waiting now. There were plates of desserts on this table that had turned into something mushy and disgusting looking. Jack and Harleen were mostly making designs with the gooey remains, using forks to create weird little pictures that the two of them were laughing about, while they waited. The Gotham police force kept everyone at the museum for several hours, taking statements, trying to organize witness accounts. By the time Jack and Harleen were finally allowed to leave, it was nearly midnight. Jack held Harleen's hand as they stepped outside of the museum into the fresh night air. Harleen took a deep breath. She hadn't realized how much smoke had been in the museum until she was able to step out. She figured the thieves must have deactivated all the smoke alarms and the sprinkler systems. For a moment she wondered how many priceless works of art had been damaged due to the botched robbery. It's such a shame, she thought idly.

There were still several reporters waiting outside the museum. Most of the reporters were herded off in a tiny section of sidewalk, being held at bay by the GCPD. Though a few had called it a night, there was still a little bit of chaos going on outside the museum with everyone who had been inside now allowed to leave, trying to get to their cars.

There were bodyguards, police and security hired for the gala milling around outside trying to get everyone to their vehicles safely.

Jack tugged on Harleen's hand and pulled her back away from the main knot of chaos, the two of them slipping behind some bodyguards and away from the little press circle and the struggle of the rich trying to get to their cars.

“Jack? What about the car?” Harleen glanced back as she stumbled with him. She wasn't exactly tired, and in fact felt energized after the events of this evening.

Jack grinned, seemingly full of energy too. “Why don't we walk? I'm not ready to go home—are you?” While he spoke he pulled out a cigarette case made of silver with an elaborate “J” craved on the front of it. Jack pulled a thin cigarette out of the case and withdrew an exquisitely crafted lighter out of the same inner pocket. The lighter was a rich plum color with another “J” on its surface with gold filigree surrounding the letter. He lit the cigarette and took a long pull with a grin, blowing out a line of smoke. He gave Harley a grin.

Harleen shook her head in answer to his question. “Nope.” Jack gave her a wide grin squeezing her hand gently.

“Then let's go for a walk.” Jack pulled her close putting an arm around her waist. He surprised her by kissing her ear before he laughed and began to walk with a skip in his step. Harleen felt her cheeks burn, the heat from the kiss on her ear traveled down her neck spreading throughout her body.

*

They walked downtown with no real destination in mind. The night was clear, the stars just barely visible over the glow of the streetlights. Downtown Gotham consisted in a series of restaurants, local art galleries, specialty clothing stores and jewelry stores. There were even a couple of wine shops and a beer garden. Of course, at this time of the night everything was closed.

Jack murmured squeezing her close for a moment as he took his cigarette blowing a stream of smoke. “Someday I would like to meet the Batman.”

“Really?” Harleen asked softly.

Jack nodded. “Hmm...yes...I want to know why he does it. I mean...why put so much effort into saving people—and for what? Everything dies, crime continues, chaos reigns. Is he trying to bring some sort of order to the chaos of living...everything is chaos, there is no way to bring any sort of justice. Is there justice in two little boys watching their parents die? The man who killed them never saw justice. The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.” Jack spoke serenely, not the least bit disturbed by what he had said. Harleen frowned slightly as Jack moved his arm from around her waist and took her hand once more. He swung her hand gently.

Harleen frowned “You really believe that? No rules?”

Jack smiled sliding his eyes sideways. “Introduce a little change, upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos...what is Batman really? He doesn't work within the law, or the established order—he is a rogue element trying to bring the wrong to justice, but in fact he isn't following the law either. Order needs chaos.”

Jack giggled kicking a can down the sidewalk.

“I myself enjoy not knowing what is going to happen. I like pulling the thread and watching things unravel in surprising ways!”

Jack tugged Harleen's hand a little, his expression playful.

“Will going down this alley get us killed? Or will we simply walk out into someplace new? Everything, all of it, no matter how hard you try, everything is chaos. I really don't think Batman understands that...he wants to bring a kind of order to Gotham...which will never happen.”

Jack laughed, the laughter taking on just a slight hysterical edge. “Robert Musil says that it's not necessarily a matter of good and evil, but what you fight against and what you decide to accept that matters. Batman accepts that there is good in the world and that he is doing his bit to bring order. I, on the other hand, think everything is chaos and Batman...like my brother Bruce, I suppose...just can't accept that.” Jack laughed dropping his cigarette and putting it out with the toe of his shoe.

Harleen frowned ever so slightly at his conclusions, but then Jack grinned. “Look! A diner! Come on, I'll buy you a cup of coffee.”

Harleen laughed as Jack pulled her down the street, then across heading for the lights of the diner.

*

When the two of them stepped in, the few patrons inside, as well as the staff, stared, startled to see two people in expensive evening clothes suddenly appear in their quiet place. They stared for a good long moment, then went back to ignoring them. Jack laughed. “Good old Gothamites!”

The “diner” wasn't your traditional diner, more of a twenty four hour restaurant. The inside of the place was done in warm colors, the floor was hardwood, polished and the booths were dark brown, as were the chairs. The lighting was subdued, the walls painted a warm shade of burnt orange. It reminded Harleen of a little place she used to go to as a kid with her family before everything became so messed up at home.

Jack tugged Harleen with him to a free booth in the corner, just at the edge of the large window that ran the length of the building's front. The waitress came over a few seconds later, pad in hand, to take their drink orders. “What can I get you to drink?”

She was pretty, with dark hair piled up in a messy bun. She had a nice figure, big brown eyes and full lips. The way she kept looking at Jack, it was clear she wanted him to notice her. The waitress, whose name tag read, “April” kept all her attention on Jack, acting as if Harleen wasn't there at all. April wore snug black pants and a navy colored shirt and by the way she was holding herself it was clear to Harleen this was a woman accustomed to using her looks and body to get what she wanted. If Harleen would hazard a guess, she would bet April was a woman looking for a “sugar daddy” to take care of her.

Jack, who didn't seem to notice the way the waitress kept leaning toward him to show off her cleavage or the way she would shift her hip closer to him, had all his attention on the menu or Harleen. Jack didn't react at all to the waitress. Instead he looked down the menu then up at Harleen giving her one of his sexy grins.

“Just coffee please.” He ordered without giving the waitress a look. “ Harley?” He lifted a brow quizzically at Harleen.

Harleen smiled. “The same.”

April frowned and went to get their coffee; by the set of her shoulders, she was clearly annoyed the Jack hadn't noticed her.

April came back just moments later with a pot of coffee and two mugs, setting them down and trying yet again to flirt with Jack. She leaned forward, her cleavage nearly on the table in front of Jack as she asked, “You ready to order sir?” The waitress then did a double take at Jack. “Hey, wait, aren't you Jack Wayne? Bruce Wayne's brother?”

Jack frowned, his eyes finally moving toward the waitress. They were cold eyes, flat and clearly annoyed. The waitress smiled at him, seemingly unaffected by his flat stare. Jack held his eyes on the waitress a heartbeat longer, then looked over the top of his menu at Harleen. His blue-green eyes twinkled. He held the menu so that it continued to cover the lower half of his face as he asked.

“You wanna share a plate of Belgian waffles with me doc?” Jack grinned like a child, his eyes full of expression now that he was gazing at Harleen, in stark contrast to how he had looked at the waitress just moments agao. Harleen blushed. She couldn't help the grin on her face. Here she was in a twenty-four hour diner, wearing expensive clothing with a gorgeous man ordering Belgian waffles.

“I would love to Jack.”

Jack tossed down his menu dramatically. “A large order of Belgian waffles serveuse!”

Harleen giggled. The waitress didn't look happy, but she took their order. Harleen gave Jack a quizzical look as she put sugar and cream in her coffee. “Do you speak French?” Jack smirked. “Fluently, along with a few other languages. Harley, vous êtes la plus belle femme et intéressant aussi. Vous êtes le mien et je suis le vôtre.”

“What did you say?” Harleen leaned her elbows on the table cupping her chin between her hands, but Jack simply smiled. “You will just have to figure it out Harley.” He reached over and bopped her gently on the tip of her nose with one long finger.

Harleen blushed picking up her coffee and took a sip of the hot liquid. Jack took his coffee black, glancing around once. “Too bad I can't smoke in here. Nothing like coffee and a cigarette for relaxing, especially after our little adventure.

Harleen nodded. She was about to say something else, but that was when the annoyed waitress returned with their waffles.

Jack grinned when the plate was set on the table between them.

“I remember my mom making waffles once. Alfred was teaching her how to cook. I'm not sure why she was doing it, but I remember her laughing. She had a wonderful laugh,” he said wistfully. “That's one of the few things about her I remember with any clarity.” Jack frowned at the memory. Harleen could see the dark cloud behind his eyes, but just as quickly it vanished. Jack seemed to shove the memory away. He grinned as he picked up the small pitcher of syrup and poured it over the waffles after he buttered them.

“It's nice to replace that memory of waffles with a new one.” Jack cut off a bite, but instead of eating it himself, he leaned over the table to feed her. Harleen grinned and opened her mouth slowly. Jack giggled lightly coating her lips with syrup before sliding the bite into her mouth.

Jack cut off his own bite and put it in his mouth with a grin.

“Are you sure you want to replace a memory like that?” Harleen asked softly after she had swallowed.

Jack shrugged. “Sometimes I think that memory is treacherous. It can so easily lie to you. One moment you're lost in a carnival of delight, childhood aromas...everything is perfect, happy, you have not a care in the world...you're safe with your family, protected by the strong arms of your parents, you're brother will always protect you...then Boom!!! All that's taken away by one person with a bad attitude and a gun.”

He chewed his bite contemplatively, resting his chin in his free hand. Jack cut off another bite and fed it to Harley smiling as he watched syrup dribble on her bottom lip. He reached out with his other hand wiped her lip then licked his finger. His smile faltered as he gazed at Harleen.

“Memory can also be terrible, rebellious, takes you somewhere you don't want to be, someplace dark and cold...vile, bloody...the sound of a child's scream, the snapping of bone, the crack of a gunshot...then everything that you thought was solid, is gone.” Jack's eyes were distant, but then he snapped back to the present giving her a grin again. Harleen frowned slightly. She wanted to ask more, to delve deeper, but this was not the place to do so, so instead she simply let Jack feed her bites of waffles. “Tell me about your childhood Harley?” Jack sipped his coffee smiling at her over the rim of the cup. Jack frowned ever so slightly when he noticed the minute changes in Harleen's expression when he asked the question. “What is it Harley? You can tell me.”

He reached across the table and took her hand, lacing his fingers with hers. The gesture was so sweet, so tender, that Harleen felt her eyes sting. She gently squeezed his fingers.

Harleen took a deep breath. “It was...good when I was younger, but after my father died my mother remarried and my step-father was...frightening. I wasn't his and he made sure everyday of my life that I knew I was not important. Then, after he and my mom started having their own kids, he made sure I knew that I was nothing, that his children were the important ones...I have two younger half-sisters and a younger half- brother, none of who I've spoken with in years. I left on the day I turned eighteen. Worked odd jobs, got myself through college...” her voice trailed off as she realized she had told him more than she intended.

Jack tilted his head gazing at her. “So, no family you care about it?”

Harleen shook her head. “ I did, but not anymore. My mother chose that family over me.”

Jack grinned tugging her hand up and kissing one of her fingers. “Who needs family! “

Harleen smiled. “What about your brother? Alfred.”

Jack wrinkled his nose. For a moment she thought she saw something pass over his face. She couldn't be sure what emotion that was, it seemed both dark and sad then Jack changed the subject.

“How about we go walk the waffles off before I get us a taxi?” Jack stood throwing some bills onto the table. Harleen followed, glancing at the table to see that Jack had thrown down two one hundred dollar bills.

*

“I know what we should do next.” Jack said, laughing lightly as he did a hopscotch on the sidewalk. Harleen couldn't help but be enamored watching him in his expensive suit, arms out to his sides, playing hopscotch on his own. Her professional opinion was that his behavior might not have been typical for an adult of his age, but she certainly didn't find it to be unhealthy. And again, perhaps the excitement of the night was manifesting itself in his—and her—actions right now. Jack grinned at her when he suddenly stopped.

“We should go get drunk!”

“What? Why?” Harleen frowned, again thinking of the nervous excitement of the night, but Jack grabbed her face with one hand, squeezing her lips gently. She stopped moving, staring into his eyes; they were hypnotic. He smiled, gazing down at her and then he made a pouty face. “Please...pluh-eeze Doctor Quinzel...let's go get drunk, pretty please.” He was holding her cheeks giggling as her pushed her lips together. Harleen was trying not to giggle, but the way he was talking was so cute and funny, his fingers on her cheeks warm. He stepped so close that for a moment she thought he might kiss her. He released her face after a few seconds, his fingers slowly dragging down her throat in a sensual caress. His voice dropped to a whisper.

“We could get drunk, then go home and so skinny-dipping in the pool. Bruce would be livid.”

He chuckled, his lips so close to hers that she could feel his warm breath brush against her mouth. “Whatya say doc?”

That was when a rough voice growled. “Real sweet love birds, now give me all your money.”

Jack and Harleen turned to see a man standing there with a gun on them.

The man motioned. “Wallets and honey, you can give me those earrings.”

The man mugging them was taller than Jack and more clearly muscled. What scared Harleen the most was that he wasn't wearing a mask, nothing to hide his face from them.

He was unshaven, bald, with a nasty scar running from the bottom of his chin through his lips and up his cheek. His clothes were nondescript. He leered at Harleen. “You know what babe, I want the earrings and you too.”

Harleen didn't notice that the only movement Jack had made was the balling of his fists.

Jack hissed. “You are not going to touch her.”

The man laughed. “Oh, I'm not am I?” The mugger moved surprisingly swiftly grabbing Harleen by the front of her dress and yanking her toward him. She stumbled, slamming against the man's chest.

“Ah!!” She let out a startled gasped.

The man let her go just long enough to grab her by her hair and yanked her around while he laughed.

“You just give me your money pretty boy and you can go. The lady and I are going to go have some fun.” He yanked on Harleen's hair causing her to cry out. Jack giggled, but the sound was anything but humorous; there was an edge to it. Harleen was too scared to notice the darkness to the laugh, her eyes wide with fear.

“Let her go and I might consider letting you live, though I doubt it.” Jack smiled. It was a chilling smile that sent ice racing through Harleen's veins.

The mugger laughed. “What are you doing to do pretty boy? Eh?” The big man waved the gun threateningly.

Jack chose that moment to move. He was surprisingly swift as he stepped forward, easily knocking the gun from the mugger's hand with a sharp snap to the man's wrist with the ball of Jack's hand. The man stumbled back away from Jack yanking Harleen with him, determined to maintain at least the advantage of holding onto her. She cried out in pain as some of her hair was ripped from its roots, but the man kept a hold of her. He threw himself to the side yanking Harleen around in front of him as a shield, then pulled a long wicked looking Bowie knife from his belt, pressing it hard to Harleen's throat. She gasped in pain, a long, thick trickle of blood appearing on her pale skin.

“Stay back!! STAY BACK!! I'll cut her throat!! I WILL!” Harleen could feel that the man was suddenly terrified, his arms around her were shaking, she could feel the blade wobble against her neck.

Jack snarled at the sight of Harleen's blood. But Jack was full of even more surprises. He snapped forward, grabbing Harleen in an firm grip and easily—surprisingly—breaking the man's hold on her. Harleen cried out as Jack yanked her free, the man taking several strands of her hair, but his grasp on the mugger's knife hand was like steel, preventing the bigger man from carrying out his threat. Jack's grip on her arm would leave painful bruises, but suddenly she was stumbling away from her assailant, losing her balance. Her knees slammed into the concrete as she fell.

Jack grabbed the man by the throat with both hands. The mugger brought the knife up, slashing at Jack cutting through the fine suit, the shirt, biting deeply into the flesh of Jack's upper right arm forcing Jack to release his throat. If Jack felt any pain he didn't seem to register it or show it. Instead, he slammed the mugger up against the front of the nearby building. Jack's grin never faltered. Jack lashed out, grabbing the wrist of the mugger that held the knife. The two men struggled, the mugger trying to yank his hand away from the iron grip that Jack had on it while Jack, holding his teeth in a vicious grin, yanked the bigger man toward him, twisting the hand holding the knife, struggling to disarm him. The two men stumbled, slamming into the wall. The mugger tried clawing at Jack's face with his free hand, but Jack was too nimble, keeping an iron grip on the wrist holding the knife while avoiding the clawing fingers of the mugger's free hand. Jack gave a quick slam upward with his free hand under the bald man's chin forcing his head back.

The two men stumbled again, but kept their footing. Jack, with a chuckle on his lips, slammed his forehead against their attacker's face, blooding the mugger's lip, leaving a small cut on Jack's forehead, while at the same time squeezing the man's wrist with a wrenching twist, which finally caused him to dropped the blade. Jack released the mugger's wrist the moment he dropped the blade. Jack brought his arm up, pressing his forearm against the mugger's throat and forced the larger man back against the wall. He pulled one hand back and started to punch the man, over and over in the face with brutally quick blows while holding him up by the neck with the other hand.

Harleen struggled to her feet, her dress torn in the front and on her knees. Jack's fist was bloody. The mugger stopped struggling moments ago, but Jack didn't stop; he continued to hit the man though laughter started to bubble up. Jack's laughter turned maniacal until Harleen grabbed him.

“JACK!! JACK!! Stop!! He's down, stop please!!” Harleen grabbed his arm, her fingers slipping for a moment on the blood that stained Jack's jacket from the knife wound.

Jack giggled as he glanced toward Harleen. What she saw in his eyes both frightened her, but oddly that look of madness attracted her, and just as quickly, the look in his eyes was gone. Jack let go opening his hand that had been around the man's throat, letting the man drop to the ground though Jack continued to smile.

Harleen crouched down checking the pulse at the man's neck.

She let out a sigh of relief. “He's alive.”

She stood up looking down at the mugger. His face was a mess, nose clearly broken, some teeth were shattered, his lip split and one eye swelling shut, and maybe even broken cheek bones, but he was alive.

Harleen turned to look at Jack who was smiling, his hand bloody and cut up, the slice across his arm seemed to have stopped bleeding, but it was hard to tell with the blood matted material.

For a moment she thought about calling the police, but she didn't want Jack to get in trouble. He might not get jail time with his family's money, ties...and this was self-defense, but part of her worried about what his brother might do. She was Jack's doctor, this was part of what she was supposed to be helping him with. So, no police. Besides, her rotation in a hospital entailed hands-on medical work. She could handle stitches.

“Jack, we should go.” Harleen grabbed his shoulders, turning him to look at her. She was shaking like a leaf. With one hand she caressed Jack's cheek. “Jack?”

He blinked as if seeing her for the first time before he nodded. “You're right. Let's go home.”

*

Jack called Alfred to come pick them up. The older man arrived in a timely matter, Jack and Harleen waiting for him near a small convenience store that was open twenty-four hours. Harleen had gone in and purchased some gauze and a couple of sodas. The man checking her out kept staring at the bloody wound on her neck, the torn dress, but other than that, he said nothing and didn't bother calling anyone either since she didn't ask for help.

Harleen carefully wrapped Jack's arm while he sipped the drink. He was going to need stitches, as she had suspected, but this was the best she could do for right now. “How is your neck?” he asked gently reaching out to caress the side of her throat. Harleen reached up, touching it gingerly. “It looks worse than it is.”

Jack frowned reaching out with his undamaged hand to cup her cheek.

“If anything had happened to you...”

Harleen opened her mouth to say something in reply when they heard a car horn. They both turned to see Alfred leaning across the car seat looking at them both with concern.

He was driving a four-door Chevy Nova, in good condition, but clearly old and not as pristine as one of the Wayne brothers' cars. If Harleen had to hazard a guess she would say this was Alfred's private vehicle. The butler rolled the window down frowning as he looked at the both of them. If Alfred was shocked by their appearance, however, he gave no indication.

“Come along,” Alfred said as he popped the passenger door open. Harleen started to get in the back, but Jack gave her a playful shove. “I'm sure Alfred would rather sit next to a beautiful woman than me any old day.”

Alfred smiled. “Quite right, Master Jack.”

Jack started laughing as he slipped into the back seat. Alfred glanced in the rear view at Jack, a slight frown on his face then he glanced at Harleen seeing the drying blood on her neck.

“Are you both alright?”

Jack nodded. “Nothing a few pain pills and some drinks wouldn't cure.”

Alfred frowned. “Not amusing, Master Jack.”

Harleen set her hand on Alfred's arm. “Jack needs stitches, but overall we're fine. It would have ended much worse if not for Jack.”

Harleen turned around. Jack looked pale in the back seat, his face illuminated only by the streetlights and the dash lights, but he gave her a wink. As Alfred drove them home she related most of what had happened. She didn't tell him about Jack losing control though, that was to be her and Jack's secret.

*

Alfred made no comment on the way home about what had happened. Once they were back at the manor, Alfred led Harleen, who had her arm around around Jack's waist, his less injured arm around her shoulders, to a small room located near the kitchens.

The room Alfred took them into was a fully stocked medical room. Harleen's mouth dropped open in surprise. There was even an examination bed where Harleen helped Jack to sit down on the edge of the bed.

“Why do you have a room like this?” Harleen looked around astounded by how well stocked the room seemed to be with all manner of medical equipment and a locked refrigeration unit, probably holding medicines that needed to be cooled.

Alfred smiled. “Raising two boys, I thought it would be...wise to be prepared for any...emergency.” Alfred washed his hands and wrists and removed some plastic gloves before opening a drawer that held sterile bandages. He unlocked another drawer that had a keypad lock and took out some vials of medicine, a syringe, needle and thread before he turned around to face Harleen and Jack

“Alright, Master Jack, let's get that shirt and jacket off. Do you mind assisting Miss Harleen?”

Harleen nodded. “Yes of course.”

Jack grinned at her. “My very own Nurse Nightingale.”

Harleen blushed as she helped him with the buttons on his shirt after Alfred had helped with removing the jacket by taking some scissors and cutting up the sleeves to make it easier to remove. Harleen did her best not to stare at Jack's bare chest or to caress him when she removed his shirt. She had seen his chest once already, but she found herself staring anyway, especially when she pushed the fabric of the shirt off his shoulders and her fingers brushed his bare skin. Jack's eyes stayed on hers, a smile gracing his features. Once they had his clothing removed and the makeshift bandage Harleen had put on cut off, Alfred carefully examined the wound

“Yes Master Jack,” Alfred said with his experienced eyes. “You are going to require stitches and your knuckles are going to need cleaning and bandaging. This is going to hurt. I could give you a numbing agent?” Alfred lifted an brow in inquiry, but Jack waved him off. “Nah, I'll be fine. You should check Harl...Harleen first.” Jack frowned glancing at her cut throat and torn knees.

“Jack! No! You need stitches! I'm fine.” Harleen pleaded with him.

Alfred sighed. “Both of you sit and be quiet and I will take care you both.” His tone was firmer than what Harleen had heard the butler use before.

Jack pulled Harleen next to him on the bed pressing his lips together, but his eyes danced with humor.

“I think we both just got into trouble.”

Harleen had to laugh. Despite everything, Jack could make her laugh.

Alfred stitched up the wound on Jack's arm, requiring at least thirty stitches. Jack's knuckles were badly cut and bruised, but Alfred cleaned and bandaged them with the care of an expert. He then examined Harleen's throat, cleaning and placing a bandage across it.

“It should heal without a scar Miss Harleen or at least if it does scar, since your skin is so fair, it should be light. Once it has scabbed over I shall give you some cream that will help with preventing any scars.”

He cleaned and bandaged her knees before he stepped back looking at the two of them with the slight air of a disapproving father.

Harleen had so many questions to ask regarding Alfred's medical skills and the fact that he didn't question them too much beyond what Harleen had told him about the incident—why he didn't suggest they call the police. But she chose to let all her questions go—perhaps it would be best if she didn't know.

“I want you both to go shower then come down to the kitchen where you will both be served some hot tea and scones before bed. Now scoot, both of you. We will say nothing of this to Master Bruce.”

Jack and Harleen glanced at each other then with humor in their voices they both said at the same time. “Yes sir.”

Alfred smiled then shooed them off while he cleaned up in the medical room.

*

Jack and Harleen walked up the stairs together. “Let me walk you to your room,” Jack said softly.

“You don't have to Jack.” Harleen smiled shyly.

“I insist.” Jack gave her one of his smiles that made her heart race. It felt strange walking with him in her now torn dress and him without a shirt. Harleen was thankful that Bruce Wayne wasn't home yet. This would have been...embarrassing seemed too mild a word, but that was exactly what it would have been like for him to catch the two of them like this...

They turned down the hall, stopping outside Harleen 's bedroom door. Jack smiled taking her hand with his—relatively--uninjured left hand, lacing his fingers with hers. He stepped closer to her.

“Despite the part with you getting hurt, I enjoyed our evening Harley.” Jack smiled moving her hand up to kiss her knuckles at the same time backing her against the wall. Harleen blushed, smiling with a shy downward turn of her eyes. “Yes, despite both of us getting hurt, I enjoyed myself...even with the gala being...cut short.”

Jack pressed closer, his bare chest up against her. He brushed the tip of her nose with his, smiling as his eyes moved to gaze at her lips then back up to her eyes, which she turned up to meet his. He grin was contagious; she smiled back at him though her heart was beating a million miles a minute. Heat rushed through her body and breathing became difficult. Jack caught his bottom lip between his teeth as he smiled at her, his eyes moving once again over her face.

“Would you mind if I kissed you Harley...” His eyes met her once more, burning, melting into her. For a moment Harleen was sure he could see the dark parts of her soul, that he knew her inside and out.

Her voice came out in a whisper. “Yes Jack.”

Jack smiled wider just before he brushed his lips against hers. He dropped her hand so that his fingers could lightly caress her cheek, the very tips of his fingers, soft, like a breeze across her jaw. The back of his fingers lightly caressed the slope of her neck, resting for a brief moment against her collar. His lips stroked over hers once, then twice, the pressure never more than a breath across her mouth. Harleen's eyes fluttered shut. The kiss was sweet, innocent, a tease of what could be...but there was a burning passion behind it that was more erotic than if he had slipped his tongue into her mouth.

Then just as swiftly, Jack stepped back from her.

“See you downstairs, Harley.” Jack's voice was a whisper, accompanied by a smile. He winked at her before strolling away to his room. Harleen felt her knees turn to jelly, wanting to slide down the wall. It took a great deal of effort fro her to turn and open her bedroom door.

*

Showering felt wonderful, the warm water stung when it hit some of the places where she had gotten little nicks and cuts, too small for bandages, but after the initial discomfort it was nice to wash up and put on some comfy clothes, a pair of yoga pants and a black sweatshirt that read “Pink Freud” on it in pink. It has been a gag gift from a friend at school, but it was a darn comfy shirt even if Freud was a complete nutter.

As she sat in front of the vanity braiding her damp hair before pulling on some thick red socks, Harleen studied herself in the mirror. She smiled softly reaching up and touching her lips, thinking about the warmth of his lips. A blush raced up her neck and over her cheeks.

His lips had been so perfectly soft, the brush of them so sweet it almost tickled. The heat from his fingers where he had stroked her jaw...she shivered blushing a deeper shade of red.

*

When she came downstairs for the required tea and scones before bed that Alfred had ordered, as she approached the kitchen, Harleen heard Jack and Alfred speaking.

“Jack, you need to be more careful.” It was Alfred speaking. It surprised her because so far Harleen had never heard Alfred refer to Jack as anything but Master Jack. The familiarity with which he was addressing him now reminded Harleen that Alfred had been both Jack's and Bruce's only adult figure growing up, that he raised the boys after their parents' death.

“What was I supposed to do Alfred? Let her be hurt more than she already was?” Jack sounded slightly sullen.

“No, but...Jack, you know how Bruce feels...he worries about you crossing that line again,” Alfred said softly.

Jack hissed. “Bruce is always so worried about right and wrong, black and white...order versus chaos...he just doesn't get it, does he?”

Alfred said something else, quieter, but Harleen couldn't quite hear him. She felt embarrassed having eavesdropped so she pretended to stumble making some noise so that the two men would hear her approach as she stepped into the kitchen.

Jack was sitting in his usual spot, his normally slicked back hair now damp and ruffled, curling slightly over his forehead. He wore a pair of white cashmere sweatpants. Harleen wasn't an expert on clothing or anything, but she knew cashmere when she saw it. He also had on a plain, dark grey v-neck t-shirt that gave her a rather delightful peak at his pecs and a very enticing view of his collarbone which she found to be immensely sexy. She could feel the blush creeping over her cheeks again as the remembered feel of his lips brushing hers immediately came flooding back.

Jack grinned when he saw her then laughed. “Oh, I love the sweatshirt!”

Harleen blushed even more deeply. “Oh it's—it's a joke from a friend.”

Alfred chuckled lightly. “Well I have the tea and scones ready, as well as some pain pills for the both of you.”

Harleen opened her mouth to protest, but Jack reached out and laid his hand across hers. “No point in arguing with him. When Alfred tells you to do something, it's best to just do it.”

Harleen smiled as Alfred looked slightly affronted.

“Master Jack, now I...”

Jack laughed.

Alfred busied himself pouring tea and placing a plate of scones between Jack and Harleen then gave them each a small cup holding two pills. “I shall clean this up in the morning. I expect you both to go straight to bed.”

“Yes sir,” they both said as before and giggled as Alfred left them alone in the kitchen. They sipped their tea, nibbling on scones when Harleen said quietly, “Tonight made me realize something.”

Jack gave her a quizzical look. “What was that?”

“I need to learn to defend myself.” Harleen frowned taking a sip of her tea.

Jack tilted his head studying her. She looked over at him and nodded.

“I wasn't any help to you tonight. I wasn't any help to myself,” she said with a heavy frown. “I want to learn to fight.”

Jack gazed at her, a smile slowly forming across his lips.

“Then starting tomorrow doctor, I”m going to teach you how to fight.”

*

It was still dark out when a couple of detectives from the Gotham Police department stood on the dock watching as a body was pulled from the water. They had gotten the call of a body being seen floating in the water about an hour after the incident at the Gotham city art museum gala. Detective Bullock didn't think the two things had any relation to one another, but he wasn't ruling it out.

The team got the body on the dock. It was wrapped in some sort of tarp. Bullock walked over to see what they had, his partner, Renee Montoya walking beside him. Just as they were approaching, one of the assistants to the coroner had walked over to remove the covering from the victim's face. As soon as he did,, the young man gasped and turned away vomiting.

“Well, that is just great,” Bullock muttered.

Montoya frowned. “What's up with him?”

“Man with a weak stomach doesn't need to be in this business,” Bullock grumbled as they stepped closer. That was when he saw what had made the young man lose his lunch. The body of a woman, her skin chalk white, her mouth pulled back in a rictus, sardonic grin. The skin at the edges of her smile was torn and bloody as the skin had struggled to maintain the creepy smile. The victim's eyes were wide open, almost “bugging” out of her skull.

Bullock swallowed hard, the bile in his stomach roiling at the morbid sight. Montoya held the back of her hand over her mouth as she asked of no one in particular,

“What on earth could have done that?”

Chapter Text

The next morning, sitting at her desk in her pink pajamas with her hair braided and falling over her shoulder, Harleen was on her desktop looking for a language translator. She didn't remember word for word what Jack had said at the diner last night, but she was hoping she could pick out some of the words. Maybe piece it together like a puzzle? She had only been at it for a few minutes when she realized this was not going to work out as easily as she thought. She didn't even know how to spell the words correctly...so she decided to work on getting Jack to write down what he had said. She wondered if he would or would he just leave her to figure it out...like a test? She stood up to stretch, parts of her body cracking that had no business cracking as she contemplated what to wear instead of trying to figure out French when she heard a knock at her door. Harleen frowned walking over. It was still a little early for anyone else to be up. She opened it only to find Jack standing there looking—delicious was the word that came to mind.

He wore a pair of tight, purple shorts, a snug white t-shirt and a pair of athletic shoes. His hair wasn't slicked back, but lay naturally, some of the locks of hair forming soft curls around his forehead as he leaned in her doorway. “Ready?”

Harleen blinked in surprise. “Uh...”

Jack's warm gaze roamed down her body taking in the oversized t-shirt top and big pink pajama pants, her braided hair looking bed ruffled. She felt a little silly, but Jack thought she looked good enough to simply take her back to bed.

Instead he grinned. “I guess not.”

“Are you sure you should be doing anything with those stitches in your arm?” Harleen frowned, her eyes on his bandaged arm.

Jack smiled at her, the smile having a soft, almost seductive edge to it. “Don't worry Harley, I wasn't planning on anything too strenuous. So change and come on!” he said eagerly. She wondered for a moment where he got so much energy.

Jack stepped into her room grabbing her hand as he did so and leading her back inside, closing her door behind him. Harleen sighed in resignation accompanied with a soft laugh. “Okay, okay!”

Jack kissed her knuckles before letting go of her hand and flopping onto her unmade bed while she grabbed some clothing out of a drawer and walked into the bathroom.

“Did you sleep alright after last night's fun?” Jack asked picking up the sheet he was lying on and holding it to his nose. He smiled. The sheet smelled like her, sweet...desirable...Jack sighed softly. He envied the bed, to be surrounded by her scent. He pressed the sheet to his cheek for a moment longer.

From the bathroom Harleen called out. “So what're you going to teach me exactly?”

Jack laid back against her bed, his arms outstretched to his sides, moving them up and down like he was doing a backstroke. “Oh, some basic self-defense, eventually leading up to teaching you how to shoot and maybe some brawling.”

Harleen came out of the bathroom wearing a pair of black crop pants and a red racer-back tank top. She was barefoot when she walked out which Jack found to be extremely cute. He rolled onto his side, leaning his head against his hand and watched her rummaging around for a pair of socks. She had unbraided her hair, pulling it back into a high ponytail, the long blonde hair bouncing back and forth as she dropped down on her knees to pull out the bottom drawer of her dresser.

“Did you take self-defense classes?” Harleen asked while she pulled out a pair of ankle socks.

“I've taken several types of fighting classes; karate, kick boxing, regular boxing, judo, aikido...you name it, Bruce put me in it. I think he was hoping to 'focus' me, provide me with an outlet for my 'aggression'.”

Harleen sat down on the side of the bed next to Jack while she pulled her shoes on. She stoppedin the middle of tying her laces to look at Jack. “Did any of it help?”

Jack shrugged. “Not really, but I enjoyed all of it. It's nice knowing a lot of ways to kill a person.”

He said it so matter-of-factly that Harleen frowned. Jack glanced over seeing her expression and laughed. “It's not like I would...just that I can. It's kinda of funny though isn't it?

Harleen finished with her shoe and brought the other one up. “Don't you mean it's nice knowing you can defend yourself?”

Jack grinned with a lazy nod. “Oh, that too.”

*

A few minutes later, they were down in the Wayne Manor gym. The room itself was very nice, Harleen thought, open with a large picture window on one side that let in ample amounts of sunlight. The floor was a highly polished light wood (she couldn't tell if the wood was real or imitation, but she was betting it was real) and the walls were all white, some holding mirrors that took up nearly the entire wall. There was a large open space in the middle of the room with a mat, along the edges of which were weights, exercise equipment, boxing gloves—you name it, the gym in Wayne Manor had it.

Jack led Harleen over to the center where the mats were laid out. He walked to the center of the mats stretching his arms over his head which Harleen found completely distracting. Jack Wayne wasn't overly muscled, but no one would dispute that he was in great shape; she liked the lean look of him as her thoughts wandered back to the pool.

He grinned at Harleen, waving a hand and motioning her over. Harleen's unfocused gazed snapped back. Jack chuckled.

“Just follow me for right now, yeah? We're going to do some warm-ups first....not that you get to do warm-ups in real life, but for now...”

Harleen was walking around some of the equipment on her way over to him when Jack chuckled and bent over to grab his ankles, his rear facing her. Harleen had to stop a moment to catch her breath when he did that, she could see his grinning face, upside down between his legs.

She giggled to herself. “You're acting like a hormone driven teenager Harleen,” she thought to herself as she moved around so that she was facing Jack. She stretched her arms over her head, then bent down to grab her ankles feeling the pull on her leg muscles. She made a face. It had been a while since she had exercised like this...warm-ups had once been a daily part of her life. Now—she was a bit out of practice.

Jack straightened. “Okay, now stretch side to side.”

Harleen popped up just as Jack leaned sideways. She mirrored his movements doing her best not to laugh at the faces he was making at her while they stretched. Jack kept crossing his eyes or sticking his tongue out, blowing his cheeks out like a chipmunk while Harleen giggled.

*

“So Harley, it states on your resume that you took gymnastics?” Jack asked as he began to do some jumping jacks.

Harleen blushed following suit. “You read my resume?”

Jack grinned. “Of course I did. How long ago was that?”

“A while.” She frowned switching to jogging in place.

Jack grinned. “So you know how to warm up and were just letting me feel in charge?”

Harleen blushed and shrugged which made Jack burst out laughing. “Look at you trying to stroke my ego. Alright you, I want to see some of your moves.”

Harleen stopped jogging in place and winced. “It really has been a while.”

Jack smiled stepping closer to her, his fingers stroked along her jaw. “I bet it's just like riding a bike.”

Harleen felt a shiver run down her spine at his touch. “Oh...okay, but step back off the mat.”

Jack did as she requested taking up a seat on the edge of a weight bench leaning forward with his elbows on his knees looking like a kid at the circus.

Harleen started out with doing a simple backward roll. She wasn't too sure about doing one; it really had been a while, but as soon as she had herself in position, the years of training took hold. She did the roll and came up on her feet with a bounce. Immediately all the years she had spend training in gymnastics came rushing back to her. She threw her arms back doing a couple of backward handsprings, switching to cartwheels then coming back toward Jack with a few forward handsprings.

She then slowed slightly, doing a back walkover, stretching her long legs, which had Jack catching his bottom lip between his teeth. Harleen came up on her feet again moving from the back walkover to doing a little jog, jumping up to do a split leap, then tucked and rolled. She finished with a series of aerial cartwheels and a front tuck, arching her back, her arms out as she finished.

Jack stared at her, his mouth slightly open, his eyes wide watching her in amazement. He had been prepared for her to do a few cartwheels and somersaults, but nothing like this! He leapt to his feet and started clapping his hands with enthusiasm. “That was AMAZING!!”

Harleen blushed. “Not really.”

Jack came over and wrapped his arms around her, under her rear, and lifted her off her feet, spinning her around. “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!” He laughed.

Harleen laughed with him, looking down at Jack, her eyes sparkling. He was grinning up at her with the most beautiful smile. Harleen knew at that moment she would never get tired of his smile, she would do whatever it took to keep him smiling at her like that. Jack set her on her feet taking her face gently between his hands. His thumbs settled on her cheeks, his long fingers just under her ears. He held her face firmly, but tenderly, just enough pressure to keep her from pulling away, but not so much that he was hurting her at all. He gazed into her eyes for what seemed forever to Harleen, before his his eyes roamed over her face, studying the details of her features, the curve of her lips, the tiny upturn of her nose. Harleen felt as if he were memorizing her, taking in this moment and cherishing it. His eyes came back to hers, ensnaring her gaze with his own. He leaned in slowly, never adverting his gaze, never closing his eyes as he pressed his lips to hers, kissing her tenderly.

Unlike the kiss last night, this time, as he held her face, he traced her lips with the tip of his tongue. Harleen's eyes fluttered close. She didn't want to close her eyes, but she simply needed to absorb the feel of his tongue, butterfly light against her lips.

She opened her mouth only slightly, letting Jack direct how much he wanted to kiss her. She felt the gentle caress of his tongue, damp against her bottom lip, like he was licking her, then just as she was leaning into him he released her and stepped back.

His smile was devilish, a teasing look which made Harleen want to stomp her foot like a child, but instead she blushed and crossed her arms over her breasts.

Jack laughed. “Come Harley, now I will show you how to defend yourself.”

Harleen shook her head with a smile. “Alright, what do I do?”

“Okay, first, let's say I came at you like this?” Jack reached for her grabbing her upper arms, his grip was like iron. Harleen struggled, but Jack easily yanked her forward against him. Wrapping a leg around the back of hers, he tripped her back. Harleen let out a gasp of surprise as she hit the mat. She struggled, pounding on Jack's chest. He was scaring her, his eyes had gone flat; the smile was there, but it was all teeth and lacked anything that was Jack in it. He grabbed her arms painfully jerking them over her head, shoving a leg between hers.

“Jack stop!!”

Jack smiled wider, but his eyes came back to her, she could see her Jack there in his eyes.

“Stop me Harley, think where my most vulnerable place is, use your natural flexibility.”

He grabbed her wrists, his long fingered hand managing to encompass her wrists by pressing them against each other. Harleen did the first thing that came to mind, the leg he didn't have pinned she twisted it up, placing it between them. She planted her foot directly over his chest and shoved him away from her with all her strength. Jack grabbed her ankle with his free hand, but she screamed and shoved with all her might knocking him off of her.

Jack did a somersault coming to his feet with a laugh. “That was pretty good, but let's see if I can teach you to stop an attack before your mugger or worse gets you to the ground.”

Harleen was panting, her heart racing. “Okay. Jack? Are you alright?” Though she asked him, she was feeling a bit shocked at the practice session already. She had not known what to expect, but it certainly wasn't...that.

His smile was beautiful. “Yes, of course...”

Jack's expression now beamed with pride. Harleen had not broke down crying, but instead had gotten angry fighting him. He admired that, though he didn't say it.

“Now, when I come at you this time, I want you to snap your arm out, straight, the ball of your hand should hit my chin or my nose. Please stop short of actually breaking either of those, if you don't mind. Part of fighting—self-defense—is controlling your actions, your position.”

Jack chuckled walking slowly around her. Harleen watched him, repeating what he said. “The ball of my hand...okay.”

Jack nodded as he watched her. “The ball of your hand will have a lot more force, but also you won't break any fingers that way. Most people make a fist incorrectly and you could break your fingers or thumb.”

Harleen nodded watching him warily. Jack walked behind her slowly, then suddenly he grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. Harleen did what Jack had told her to do. Her expression serious, Harleen's arm shot out lightning quick, the ball of her hand, fingers curled against her upper palm just as he had shown her. She went for his nose, her blue eyes hard.

Jack laughed bringing his hand up and blocked her, catching her wrist, his smile bright with pride.

“That was great Harley!” He twisted her hand around, weaving his fingers with hers pulling her close to him, his other arm going around her waist. He brought his face close to hers, his tip of his nose touching her nose.

“You're a natural at this,” he whispered.

His voice contained so much pride in it that Harleen felt herself blush. “Thanks Jack.” She smiled shyly enjoying the warmth of his body, the fine sheen of sweat on his skin.

Harleen just couldn't get over how attractive he was...so magnetic...

Jack brought her hand up kissing her fingers before releasing her hand.

“Now I'm going to come at you from behind. I want you to use your elbow the same way you would your hand, go for the face, alright?”

“Alright Jack.” Halreen nodded as he let go of her hand stepping away from her.

She turned to follow him with her gaze.

“Don't watch me...just start walking the mat...you would not see your attacker coming up behind you so you need to pretend you don't see me.” Jack's voice was a warm whisper. She nodded and started to walk around the mat. She gazed out the window, examined the equipment. Her heart was racing knowing she was going to be attacked, but not when...she was about to ask Jack what he was doing when Jack moved, rushing up behind her and grabbing her around the waist. His arms were like a steel vice, lifting her off her feet Harleen twisted, her elbow coming up, aiming for his face, but he jerked her, leaning back so that her elbow missed his face.

“Go for the foot!” he exclaimed. “The bridge! Stomp! If you can't reach that, kick backwards, go for the groin, kick him in the balls!”

Harleen was struggling, but Jack lifted her up off her feet when she tried to slam her foot down. She snarled trying again with her elbow, but this time she connected. Jack let out a yelp dropping her.

Harleen fell on her knees wincing as the impact opened the newly formed scabs from last night.

“Oh my God, JACK!” Harleen stumbled to her feet reaching for Jack who had a hand up over his mouth and had flopped down on the mat.

She pulled his hand away to see that she had bloodied his lip. “Oh my god Jack, I'm so sorry! Oh god, oh god!”

Jack started laughing. “Harley! Harley it's alright!” His lip was bloodied enough that she could see his teeth stained with blood.

But she wasn't listening. She rushed over to where some towels were folded over a hanger near the mirrors, grabbing one of them and rushing back to hold the white cloth against his lip.

“Oh Jack...” Harleen's eyes started to tear up. Jack chuckled placing his hand against hers his voice muffled against the cloth. “I'm fine. I'm proud of you though, that was great!”

Harleen sighed, but she smiled. “Thanks.”

Jack removed the towel and Harleen took his face in her hands inspecting his lip. The bottom one was split, not bad, but it would swell a little. “I guess it's not too bad,” she whispered as she examined it. Jack smiled wincing a little, but he whispered. “A kiss might help.”

Harleen blushed. Jack stuck his split lip out in a childish pout which made Harleen laugh softly.

“Alright a kiss.” She leaned forward and pressed her lips tenderly against his wounded lip. Jack slowly caressed her neck, his hand moving to cradle her head tugging her closer. His mouth opened against hers in a tender respose. Harleen moaned softly; she didn't mean to, but when his tongue slid against her bottom lip then met her tongue in a sweet, slow caress, Harleen thought she would melt. This was so wrong...she would never be able to keep her treatment of him separated from her feelings for him. She hadn't just crossed the line, she had leapt over it and then did a cheer on the other side. But she just couldn't stop herself. The kiss was slow, their tongues licking against each other gradually. She could taste just a little blood on his tongue and his lips and it was...exhilarating.

He was the one to end the kiss again, pulling away from her, but he kept his hand cradling the back of her head. He smiled. “That was much better.”

Harleen blushed. She started to say something when there was a buzz and then the sound of Alfred's voice over an intercom. “Master Jack, Miss Harleen, breakfast will be done in a few minutes. If you both would like to shower and come to the kitchen.”

Jack chuckled standing up and walking over to the intercom that Harleen hadn't noticed against the wall. He hit the button. “We'll be there in a jiffy Alfred.”

“Thank you Master Jack.”

Jack smiled. “We better go shower and dress. No one wants to see Alfred pout because his breakfast was served cold. Walk you to your room?”

Harleen smiled in return. “I would love that.”

*

At the door to her room, Jack left her with a brush of his lips against hers “So, are we having a session today doc?”

Harleen frowned in confusion for a brief moment before she gasped. “Oh yes, yes we are.”

Jack laughed. “After breakfast then!”

He took off at a jog turning to wave at her. Harleen felt herself go weak in the knees...oh GOD what am I doing?!

*

Back in his room Jack stripped off his shirt and shorts, tossing them to the floor in the bathroom as he stepped into the room. He stripped off his underwear, leaning in to turn on the water on in the shower, taking a moment to adjust the temperature before he turned and examined his lip in the mirror. He grinned, proud of Harley. With her gymnastics moves and natural skill, she could really cause a person some damage once he had her trained. He grinned, the wound splitting a little, a drop of blood forming on his bottom lip. He gently brushed his lips, smearing the blood over them, grinning at the bright red, thinking about her kiss, the sweet taste of her tongue. He closed his eyes imagining her for a moment, naked, her long blonde hair flowing down around her shoulders, her breasts peeking through the spun gold of her hair. His body reacted to the image of her in his mind. She was...distracting...from his experiments...from everything actually...but he hoped soon he could include her...show her everything about him. It would be good to have someone to share himself with...all of him, all his secrets.

He had seen the news this morning on the local Gotham news website; they had found the body a little quicker than he anticipated. Ashley's reaction to the chemical had been quite interesting. He particularly liked the smile, but then she had expired and he had no more use for her. So into the water she went.

Jack sighed and opened his eyes. Thinking of his experiments had nearly ruined his thoughts about the good doctor...he shook himself, his thoughts returning to the image of a naked Harley, his smile returning before he got into the shower.

*

Harleen came down for breakfast wearing a pair of red slacks and a black blouse with a lace, embroidered round neckline that showed off her neck and collar. It hung loose off her shoulders then clung to her waist. She was feeling pretty after sharing kisses with Jack, so she wore her hair down, loose and flowing over her shoulders, her make-up light and natural. She slipped on a pair of red heels then made her way into the kitchen. The delicious smell of coffee, blueberries, eggs and bacon greeted her as she stepped in.

Her heart skipped several beats when she saw Jack waiting for her. Alfred was setting a plate with muffins on the counter that had become hers and Jack's 'place' for their meals. Today Jack had dressed in a beautiful silver on light grey tartan three-piece suit, with a white shirt and a tie of black and grey checkers. His hair was slicked back again. His lip still looked swollen, the cut now dark with dried blood, but it didn't look quite as bad as it had earlier. He looked good enough to eat she thought. Jack smiled which made the rapid beat of her heart increase two-fold. He grinned at her patting the chair next to him.

“Alfred has made us a huge breakfast this morning, which means he must be in a good mood.”

Jack grinned at Alfred who blushed with a slight shake of his head.

“Master Jack is not mistaken, my mood is quite good this morning.” Alfred turned from the oven and set a plate of bacon and thick sausages on the table. (Alfred was in a good mood, despite the situation in which Jack and Harleen returned home, he had been happy to see the way the two of them interacted together. It gave him hope for the future of Jack, but also that maybe one of the young men would carry on the name of Wayne. Alfred feared that Bruce's obsession with Gotham and righting the wrongs of the past would send that eldest brother down a path of destruction...perhaps there was hope for Jack still.)

Jack laughed. “Alfred was thrilled to see you socked me in the lip. Made his day!”

Harleen blushed. “I'm so sorry...I mean it was an accident Alfred.”

The butler chuckled. “Sometimes that young man does need a smack.” Harleen and Jack laughed.

Harleen took her seat next to Jack and frowned with wide eyes, staring at the size of the sausages. “Those are huge!”

Jack laughed. “What every man wants a woman to say!”

Harleen blushed covering her mouth to stop the girlish giggled that bubbled forth while Alfred, clearly trying not to laugh scolded him.

“Master Jack, really! Must Miss Harleen box you in the mouth again?”

Jack grinned wrinkling his nose at Alfred. “She can smack me in the mouth anytime she likes.” He winked at Harleen before he continued. “We are being treated to an almost traditional English breakfast, well...albeit with an American influence since it is minus the baked beans.”

Harleen made a face. “Beans?”

Alfred was busy setting down a plate with round slices of tomatoes, slightly blackened on one side.

Jack giggled. “Yep, but Alfrie knows how much I hate beans.”

“Yes, Master Jack has always been difficult about eating his beans.” Alfred smiled just a little setting down plates of fried eggs in front of each of them.

“Are fried eggs alright Miss Harleen? I can make you something else if you wish,” Alfred offered.

“Oh no, this is perfect! Thank you Alfred.” Harleen grinned at him. Alfred smiled in return and gave her a nod turning back to bring the pot of coffee over, setting it down on the counter with Jack and Halreen, placing it on a mat next to the cream and sugar that were already there. He went to the large refrigerator pulling out butter and jam, next to a plate of toasted bread, before laying out the silverware for the two of them.

“There, you two eat up.” Alfred smiled.

“Aren't you going to join us Alfred?” Jack asked with a slight frowned.

“No, no Master Jack. I will be back to clean up. I have a few things I would like to take care of before the post arrives.” Alfred said as he removed his apron. “Please enjoy your breakfast.”

With that Alfred left the two of them alone.

Jack smiled with a sigh. “That man is always busy.”

“He cares a lot about you and Bruce doesn't he?” Harleen asked as she poured herself some coffee. Jack picked up the butter-knife and started to butter some of the toast, putting a slice on Harleen's plate.

“Alfred...Alfred is a good man,” Jack murmured putting sausages and some bacon on both their plates.

Jack started using his knife and fork to cut up his eggs. “So doc, what are we going to do today for our session? More music? Maybe some dancing? I would love some dancing.” Jack waggled his eyebrows at her.

Harleen blushed and laughed softly cutting off a slice of sausage.

“I thought we might do a Rorschach test.”

Jack sat up straight. “Oh, is that the one with the ink blots?”

Harleen chuckled. “Yes it is. There's a lot that goes into interpreting Rorschach tests, but I'm just going to do it for a quick reaction...just to see how your mind works.”

Jack giggled. “So you can see if I'm borderline crazy or just plain crazy? That my aggressiveness is just a personality defect or brought on by my issues in my childhood? Or maybe you just want to see how my mind works?”

Harleen pressed her lips together. “My version is not that deep Jack. No, this is just an evaluation of emotional and personality characteristics.”

Jack leaned toward her. “Oh is it?” He leaned his chin on the back of his hand that held the fork.

Harleen giggled just as Bruce Wayne stepped in. “There you are Jack, Dr. Quinzel; Alfred said you were having breakfast.”

Jack frowned looking up from his breakfast. “Oh don't tell me there is another party after that disaster at the gala last night? By the way, where were you? Saw you fall off the stage then you didn't come home last night.”

Bruce frowned. “I'm fine, just had to deal with the police and some of the patrons...I stayed with...a friend. Anyway, that is not why I'm here. I wanted to let you know that Vicki Vale called this morning, she is wanting to do an article on the two of us. I agreed.”

Jack made a gagging sound. “Vicki Vale? Why on earth did you agree to her interviewing us?”

Bruce frowned more (if that were possible. Harleen was beginning to think that Bruce Wayne never smiled.)

Bruce continued. “After last night we could use the good publicity and she has agreed to run an article on one of the charities that Wayne Enterprises sponsors in exchange for an interview with us.”

Jack made a face. “Fine, but only if Dr. Quinzel gets to be there.”

Jack made the statement without looking at his brother, instead shoving a forkful of egg in his mouth.

Bruce glanced at Harleen. “I don't think advertising that you have a....”

Jack smiled. “It won't be, the public already thinks she's my girlfriend after last night. Didn't you see the gossip columns this morning? There were pictures of everyone...including me and the good doctor. Speculation is running rampant!!”

Jack put his hands up, thumbs touching like he was framing a picture. “Who is Jack Wayne's paramour? Will the youngest Wayne brother find love...unlike his brother?” Jack wagged his eyebrows at his brother, grinning at Bruce. “Might be better for the Wayne reputation if they think Harleen is my girl and not my doctor.”

Bruce sighed. “Fine. Ms. Vale will be coming Monday night along with her camera man to interview us, tour the house, take a few pictures...under supervision. Just promise me to be on your best behavior.”

Jack made a face, crossing his eyes. “Yes sir. Geez...meetings, galas...dinner...I don't know if I can handle all this Bruce. I might snap!”

Bruce narrowed his eyes. “Not funny Jack.”

Jack grinned. “Oh I don't know...I think it's a little funny.”

Bruce looked confused for a moment. He finally realized Jack's lip was busted. “Did that happen last night?”

Jack laughed. “No, our doctor here did that this morning while I was teaching her self-defense.”

Bruce frowned, looking like he wanted to say more, but let the matter drop instead.

Bruce sighed and glanced at Harleen. “Do you mind not stating anything in regards to your treatment of my brother to Ms. Vale while she is here. I know she will learn everything there is about you and she is bound to speculate, but if you and my brother can keep our arrangement...quiet, I would appreciate it.”

Harleen nodded. “Yes, of course. I know what ought to remain private, have no worries, Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce nodded his thanks giving Jack a last look. “Be good.”

Jack snorted on a laughed. “Yes, Dad!”

*

Bruce made his way down to the Batcave, leaving his brother eating breakfast with Dr. Quinzel. Even though Bruce was sure Jack would not follow him, he was careful. He didn't want his brother to know about his nighttime activities.

Alfred was already down in the cave making some repairs to Bruce's batsuit. Alfred glanced over at Bruce. “The damage the Royal Flush Gang did during their escape is not bad sir, easily repaired, though I think we might want to consider lining the suit with something a little less...tearable?”

Bruce frowned. “I don't want to make it too heavy Alfred. I need to be flexible.”

“Yes sir, but that new material Mr. Fox was working on...I read through the reports...I think it might be pliable and light enough to line the suit with...”

Bruce nodded not really listening as he sat down in front of his computers. Alfred frowned glancing toward Bruce. He had suggested more than once that Bruce share this 'obsession' with Jack, but Bruce had flatout refused stating that Jack's delicate mental state would not be able to handle this...Alfred wasn't sure he agreed, but it was not his secret to tell.

“What is it sir?” He watched Bruce, noting that the younger man's expression was grim.

“Did you read about the strange body they found by the docks last night?” Bruce brought up the article on the computer.

Alfred nodded. “I did. The woman was found with a horrible smile on her face, frozen as it were...”

Bruce nodded. “It has me worried.”

“Why sir...I mean beyond the apparent.”

“It's strange enough that it has me worried there will be more...the Royal Flush Gang is only one of many new types of criminals coming into Gotham.. And this...it just feels like a...beginning.” Bruce's voice sounded distracted as he accessed the GCPD's computer files.

Alfred's expression became solemn. “Do be careful Master Bruce.”

Bruce smiled just a little. “I always am Alfred.”

Alfred chose to refrain from making the obvious rebuttal to Master Bruce's statement.

*

Since Jack insisted on a dance today, they went to the ballroom for their session. Harleen had seen it on the tour when she first arrived and it was just as impressive seeing it a second time.

“When was the last time your brother held a party in here?” Harleen asked as she stepped out onto the polished floor. The ballroom was big, not so large that it couldn't hold a large crowd and lose it's cozy feeling, but large enough that it could hold at least a hundred people. The floor was a stunning amber marble, the walls a mix of old wood, highly polished and walls painted a deep almost rose color. The chandelier that hung from the ceiling was amazing. Harleen stared up at it. Jack noticed her looking up and smiled.

“My grandmother had that imported from Turkey. At least that's the story I've heard.”

“It's gorgeous!” Harleen walked around in a circle as she looked up at it.

Jack walked over to her, wrapping his arms around her from behind.

“It's not nearly as gorgeous as you,” he whispered against her ear.

Harleen closed her eyes leaning back against him, her arms outstretched. “Jack...do you mean that?”

He laughed turning her around in his arms. “Yes, yes I do.” He grinned. “Now dance with me.”

“I thought...” She started, but Jack placed the finger of his other hand against her lips.

“Shh...don't be my doctor right now.”

“What am I Jack? I don't know anymore,” she whispered softly against his finger.

Jack grinned sliding his finger along her lips. She giggled pressing her lips together as the caress made her lips tingle.

“You Harley...are mine.” He took her hand and with a laugh started to prance with her around the ballroom floor. Harleen started laughing as Jack twirled her around leaping and swinging, the two of them laughing together. Jack sang just a little in his pleasant voice.

“...For dancing Soon becomes romancing When you hold a girl in your arms that you've never held before...”

Harleen let herself go, let herself enjoy this, the two of them laughing and dancing until Jack finally stopped in the middle of the ballroom. He pulled her close, wrapping his arm snugly around her waist, his eyes steamy as he looked down at her in his arms. He leaned toward her, his lips brushed against hers, a sweet tender caress. He dropped her hand, wrapping his other hand around her back, his hand sliding up into her hair. “I like your hair down Harley...like spun gold.”

Harleen stared back at him. His eyes wandered over her face, his smile softer. When his eyes came back to hers Harleen saw something there, possessiveness. She recognized it as a doctor, but she found herself pulled into that gaze, feeling the same—possessive. Jack was more than her patient...he belonged to her.

Jack spread his fingers in her hair licking her lips tenderly, the very tip of his tongue just barely tracing the form of her mouth. Harleen moaned softly, opening her mouth, her tongue meeting his...Jack stroked her tongue with his own before he plunged his tongue into mouth tugging her up tight against him. Harleen grabbed onto him, her fingers balling up the expensive fabric of his suit in her fists. This time his kiss was hard, demanding, passionate. Harleen groaned.

The kiss seemed to last forever. Harleen held onto Jack, her lifeline, keeping her grounded as his kiss carried her away, made her knees feel weak. When he finally pulled his lips away from hers, he smiled. “I'm going to take you out tonight. Dinner and dancing. Since you are mine...let's give Vicki Vale something to talk about eh?”

Chapter Text

Jack grabbed Harleen's hand. “First, we are going shopping! The place I'm taking you for dinner has a very specific dress code.”

“What kind of dress code?” Harleen asked as Jack practically dragged her out of the ballroom and headed toward the garage. Jack was grinning from ear to ear while holding her hand, his long fingers laced with hers.

“Let's just say that it's very “time” specific.” Jack chuckled.

*

In no time, Jack had dragged her into the garage. He tugged her down to the left end of the huge space. The handful of times she had been in here, this section had remained in darkness. On this end of the garage, there were several very unique cars, probably custom-made vehicles, Harleen realized. There were also a few vehicles that she couldn't see because, even while in the garage, they were covered in tarps. Jack led her along, skirting behind the cars, flipping on lights as he went until they were near the very back.

“You are going to love this car!” Jack said excitedly. “Bruce bought it for me for my twenty-first birthday. One of the few gifts that I think Bruce actually picked out himself. Usually Alfred would buy the gifts for him.”

With the flair of a game show host, Jack pulled the tarp off to reveal the most gorgeous car Harleen had ever seen. “Ta Da!!” he announced with a wide smile.

Harleen gasped when she saw the car. Never had she seen any automobile as gorgeous as this one.

“What is it?” Harleen asked reaching out to run her fingertips along its smooth side. Jack grinned with pride.

“It's a 1930's Screaming Purple Mercedes Exotic GT racer convertible.” Jack stroked the car. “Bruce had it built just for me...black leather interior, the purple paint job was specially done because Bruce knows purple has always been my favorite color. He really surprised me with this...” Jack's voice trailed off. She could hear the emotion in it, a slight tremble of feeling, but then he shook himself.

Jack turned toward her where she stood on the other side of the car. He grinned and hurried over to open the door for her. He bowed slightly at the waist, his hand pressed to his chest. “My lady.”

Harleen blushed and slipped into the seat.

*

Within moments, they were heading into Gotham, the air blowing through their hair. Jack was laughing with delight as he sped down the road, Harleen laughing along with him. She had a scarf tied around her head to prevent her long hair from whipping into her face, her hand on the top of her head holding it in place. They drove into Gotham, the sun shining down in a soft hazy light heading not to the downtown shopping area, but instead they made their way to the east side of Gotham.

Gotham's east side had once been one of those sections of the city that had belonged to street gangs, prostitutes and a wide variety of crime, but in recent years, younger, successful people had been moving into the area and reclaiming it. Nowadays there were an eclectic collection of stores, shops, specialty stores, along with a few restaurants and old houses that had been either turned into dining establishments or artist's apartments. Some of the older apartment buildings had been revitalized as well, providing artist lofts, studio apartments, and a wide variety of living spaces. The area wasn't as high-end as downtown Gotham, but it was definitely on it's way to becoming a haven for the artists and musicians of Gotham City.

Jack drove down the main street, the two of them receiving a lot of backwards looks as they drove by. Jack turned left into an alley that led to a small parking lot. The back of the building, which was painted a rose color, the trim in bright white, held a sign that read “Parking for The Attic”. Jack pulled in turning off the engine.

“You are going to love this place. I've actually acquired a couple of suits here as well as some other odds and ends.” Jack grinned.

Harleen looked shocked. “Really?” She had thought Jack only wore expensive designer suits, not any second-hand clothing.

Jack nodded as if reading her mind. “Yep, this isn't a “second hand” clothing store in the traditional sense; this is a high-end vintage resale shop. Milano has procured me some really rare finds. I just know he will have something for you.” Jack wrinkled his nose in amusement, opening the door for her and taking her hand as they entered.

*

The inside of the store was a surprise. When Harleen heard “vintage” she usually thought of secondhand clothing stores that smelled like mothballs, but this place was not even close. There probably wasn't a mothball anywhere.

The walls were painted a rich gold color. Heavily framed pictures from vintage fashion magazines covered the walls, along with several long mirrors. There was a row of vintage chandeliers that ran the length of the shop providing a twinkling display of lights. And gorgeous clothing was everywhere! Rows of exquisite shoes, hats, gloves, jewelry were displayed throughout the shop. As Harleen took a closer look, she could see that everything here was designer, and all of it looked to date between the 1920's to the 1950's! There was a gorgeous deep red silk 1950's sleeveless, knee length prom dress, a 1920's beaded flapper dress in light green silk chiffon and gold lame. Over in a corner she saw a 1930's white satin wedding dress...it was just an amazing assortment of beautiful period clothing. She noticed a men's section containing suits, all from the same periods displayed in the women's section of the shop. It was almost like walking into a museum, except here you could touch and wear the outfits!

As the two of them stepped further into the shop, Harleen saw an older gentleman behind a heavy wooden counter reading a book. He was dark skinned, wearing white slacks, a white vest matched with a blush colored shirt, yellow tie and a red, yellow and blue plaid blazer. He had on a pair of perfectly round, thick black framed glasses, sporting a white beard and equally white hair. He reminded Harleen of a barbershop singer. When he glanced up and saw Jack, the man's face broke out into a huge smile.

“Jack Wayne!! Long time no see, son! Where have you been hiding?” The man put his book down and strolled over to pull Jack into an embrace, smacking the younger man's back.

Jack laughed. “Sorry Milano! But it's good to see you too!”

Milano grinned stepping back, his hands on Jack's shoulders. “Now what on earth happened to your lip?”

Jack chuckled. “Oh nothing, just a beautiful woman.”

Milano laughed. “Ah, women. Now that I have you here, I have this vest I've been holding aside on the off chance you would come in sometime. It's purple Cavalier tapestry vest, perfect for you! Just perfect.” The man named Milano lightly thumped Jack on the chest.

Jack laughed. “Maybe later Milano, today I am here to buy a dress for my lady.”

Milano blinked in surprise. “Your lady?”

Jack put an arm around Milano's shoulders and turned him, his right arm going out to show Harleen. “Milano, let me introduce you to my lady, Harley Quinn. The one who popped me in the lip,” he added proudly.

Harleen smiled and gave a little wave. “Hello.”

Milano's eyes widened. “Well, well....” He smiled as he walked over and took Harleen's hand. “Good afternoon, beautiful.” He tilted his head down and lifted her hand to kiss the back of her hand.

Harleen blushed glancing at Jack who was shaking his head in amusement. “Milano, Harley here needs a dress for tonight. We are going to Maxim's Revisited tonight for dinner and dancing.”

Milano gasped. “Perfection Jack! Let us see what I have in stock for such a delightful woman.”

Milano placed two fingers alongside his jaw and studied Harleen. Harleen felt a bit odd standing there while Milano stared at her, his dark brown eyes roaming over her. She felt like a piece of meat being evaluated, but Jack grinned and winked at her from just behind Milano, which helped her relax. After another couple of moments, Milano smiled and stuck his finger up in the air with a flair. “I have the perfect dress!”

The older man hurried off, but returned momentarily from the back room, carrying a gorgeous black and red dress.

“This is a 1937 Charles James designed dress. James was an American designer known for his structured aesthetic—very beautiful.”

Milano held the dress up running his hand down it as he described it for her. “The top is black silk- rayon velvet, the skirt, red-silk satin with these structural accents to emphasize the hips along with black silk crepe. It's cut to accentuate the figure while the slim straps highlight the lady's slim neck and shoulders along with the sloped V-line of the back. I believe this is a perfect choice for Miss Quinn. You have that gorgeous hair of yours piled up so that your neck is on display...those creamy shoulders, you will be the bell of the ball.” Milano grinned, pleased with himself.

Jack stepped over and took the dress from Milano, holding it up and inspecting it with a critical eye. Then with a wide smile at Harleen he asked, “Would you try this on for me?”

Harleen blushed. “Of course.”

Milano led her to the back where he had a set of three dressing rooms; Jack followed behind carrying the dress.

Milano held the door open for her.“While you are trying this on dear, I have a darling pair of black satin gloves that will match perfectly with this dress. “

Harleen blushed. “Thank you.”

Milano smiled taking the dress from Jack. “You should go and see the new hats that came in Jack, there are several there that I think you will like.”

Jack grinned. “Ah, you know me so well.” Jack's eyes settled on Harleen for a moment. “Call me once you have the dress on—I would like to see it.”

Harleen nodded. “Of course Jack.”

With that Jack gave a jaunty salute and started to walk in the direction of the hats.

Milano watched him go for a moment before he spoke again. “You are a very lucky woman Harley. You must be something very special if Jack has taken to you.”

Harleen smiled, a rosy blush spreading along her cheeks. “Well, he's something very special to me, too.”

Milano nodded with a smile. “Good. Well, I'll be back with those gloves.”

*

Jack heard Harleen shut the dressing room door. He smiled thinking about her in the dress while he causally examined some ties on his way over to the hats. He had just picked up a tie, yellow and green striped, colors that that reminded him of clowns, but he also the thought that Bruce would hate it—not conservative enough—when something caught his attention from the corner of his eye.

Jack turned. It was in the intimates section, women's period bras and panties, but what had his attention was a simple red nightie. It was see-thru, with thin spaghetti straps and ruffles with a bow between the breasts. The bottom of the nightie had matching ruffles with tiny red bows of satin running around the bottom. The negligee would hit his Harley just below her hips. Jack's eyes widened, a slow smile spreading across his lips as he imagined her wearing it.

He simply had to have it for her.

“Milano?” Jack called.

“Yes Jack?” Milano's voice came first before the older man stepped around from behind a rack of clothes.

Jack pointed at the silken negligee. “I must have that.”

Milano smiled with a twinkle in his eyes. “Ahh...a perfect choice!

*

Once alone, Harleen very carefully put the dress on. She was surprised, but the darn thing fit like a glove! She looked at herself in the mirror that was on the wall in the dressing room. The dress was gorgeous, despite its age; it was well cared for, looking almost brand new. She slipped the straps up over her shoulders and then started to struggle to reach the zipper. It took several minutes of her dancing around in a circle, struggling to reach the zipper while at the same time being extra careful with the vintage dress. After a few minutes, Harleen had to admit she needed help. With a sigh she opened the dressing room door and peeked out.

Milano was nowhere to be seen. There were no other customers in the shop, so Harleen stepped out of the dressing room looking around. “Jack?” No answer.

She called again, a little louder. “Jack?”

Jack's head popped up from behind a rack of hats, one on his head. Harleeen smiled when she saw him. He was wearing a wide-brimmed fedora that had the edges upturned.

The hat was made in dark grey with a black band. Jack ran his fingers along the brim. “What ya think doll face? Going to pair this with a period suit. It's by Huckel.” “I think that will look amazing on you Jack,” Harleen said softly, then looking around again, she motioned him closer. Jack waltzed over, the hat cocked at a crooked angle. “What can I do for ya toots?” he said with a grin winking at her.

Harleen laughed and turned around to show her back to him. “I can't quite reach the zipper.”

When she turned around, showing her back to him, Jack stared. Her back was so smooth, the sides of the fabric having fallen aside to reveal her pale creamy flesh. Jack stepped closer reaching out toward her like a thirsty man and Harley was the source of his salvation, his life...Jack's hand trembled for a moment. He had seen her skin before in the bathing suit, but there was something even more erotic around the dress falling open to reveal her back.

Jack had never been with a woman...never felt the desire, never found anyone that he felt that kind of connection to...that he wanted to share himself with in that kind of intimacy. But Harley was different. He wanted her on a level he had never wanted anyone before...she was...He didn't simply need her, it was so much more than that...he wanted to share himself with her, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally.

Jack stepped closer, his eyes never leaving her back. He reached out and slowly, lightly ran the back of his knuckles along her exposed flesh. He traced the smoothness of her back, a tender caress down her spine feeling the way her back curved down to her hips.

Harleen gasped softly. The brush of his knuckles was feather light, but it still sent goosebumps racing over her skin while at the same time burning through her to her very soul. Harleen closed her eyes while Jack's knuckles traced her spine as far down as the unzipped dressed allowed.

“You're not wearing a bra.” His breath was hot against her ear when he spoke sending tremors through her.

“I took it off when I put the dress on, the straps were showing at my shoulders,” she whispered back. Jack chuckled softly, his knuckles disappearing from her spine to be replaced by his fingers at her neck. He traced the smooth slope of her neck, a hand on either side. Harleen's breath was shaky when his fingers glided over the soft skin of her neck, the caress causing heat to pool in her breasts and groin. She could feel the heat of his body behind her, the shift of the fabric of his clothing against her bare back. His fingertips shifted to brush along her shoulders, sliding forward to caress the line of her collarbone. Jack leaned in, bringing his hand around to brush her hair aside, gently stroking her thick locks over one shoulder just before he leaned down and pressed his lips against the nape of her neck.

The kiss burned against her skin. Harleen leaned back closing her eyes letting herself focus only on the feel of his hands and lips.

Jack's kisses glided along the nape of her neck burning a trail across her shoulder, his fingers squeezed against her skin where his hands hand moved to grip her shoulders.

He worked his way back up her throat, pressing his mouth at the tender place just under her ear. His tongue snaked out to lick her ear when they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat.

Jack looked up. Harleen couldn't see it, but she felt the pressure of his fingers on her shoulders, heard the flatness of his voice.

“What Milano?”

The older man frowned taking a unintended step back. He was holding a pair of black gloves in his hand. “Ah, you two should get a room if you're going to be playing that sort of game. Bad for business if you're doing it in the middle of the sales floor.”

Jack laughed then, releasing Harleen. “Sorry Milano.”

Jack stepped back from her, but then she felt him take a hold of the zipper and pull it up the back of the dress.

“There you go Harley. The dress fits as if was made just for you.” He walked around her to get a better look.

Smiling, Harleen did a little spin in the dress.

Milano grinned. “Ah, I knew you would look perfect in that. Your figure is stunning! Isn't it Jack?”

Jack grinned his eyes devouring Harleen. “You are perfection,” he said to her with feeling.

Harleen blushed. “Thank you.”

Jack stared at her for a moment more before he clapped his hands. “Alright, I'll take the dress, gloves; do you have some shoes in her size that would go with the dress? Oh and hose, period hosiery too?”

Milano laughed. “Of course I do Jack!”

“Why all the period stuff Jack?” Harleen asked as Jack came back behind her to unzip the dress. He slowly pulled the zipper back down, then ran the backs of his fingers up her smooth back sending goosebumps racing across her skin again.

“Because where we are going you will want to be dressed just right,” he said, his lips close to her ear before he quickly placed a kiss on her shoulder and stepped away. “Go change. I'll take you out to lunch, then home!”

*

Jack arranged for Milano to have everything delivered to the manor before 6 pm. Their dinner date was to start at 8 pm. But for now Jack decided he was taking Harleen out for lunch.

He took her hand as they left the shop. “I know a perfect place for a light lunch.”

He kissed her hand before handing her into the car. They drove a few blocks away until Jack found what he was looking for and pulled into a spot in front of a cafe. The cafe's name was placed across the top of a burgundy and gold awning.

“Nicoletto's Cafe”

Jack grinned. “This is perfect!”

He hopped out of the convertible without opening the door and jogged around taking Harleen's hand as he opened the door for her. The two of them were getting quite a few looks; a few people were even snapping pictures of them and the car. Jack's clearly expensive suit and busted lip probably had tongues wagging and if anyone recognized him it would not be long before someone from the Gotham press showed up to take pictures.

Jack strolled inside holding her hand for everyone to see and stopped at the counter looking over the menu that was displayed on a large chalkboard. “What looks good to you, my sweet?”

Harleen felt herself blush. He had called her his sweet? She distracted herself from the eruption of joy in her chest to examine the menu. She frowned in thought as she read each item.

“Mm...maybe the spinach fettuccine with sauteed cremini mushrooms?”

Jack laughed. “Peachy!” He kissed her cheek before he stepped up to the register.

“Two spinach fettuccine with sauteed cremini mushrooms! And a bottle of whatever Sauvignon Blanc you have here.”

The young woman at the register, thick black hair and brown eyes, blushed at Jack. Harleen knew how charming and handsome he was...she couldn't really blame the young woman.

“Yes sir. If you would like to find a seat, I will have one of our waiters bring your meal to you and your friend.”

Jack gave a little bow. “Thank you my dear.”

*

They ended up sitting outside under a large red umbrella in surprisingly comfortable wicker chairs. Their lunch was brought out fairly quickly along with the wine and two glasses. Jack popped the cork and poured some into Harleen's glass smiling at her the whole time.

“This is really nice Jack.” Harleen smiled wrapping the pasta around her fork.

Jack grinned in return. “It is. Never wanted to take anyone out before, but you—I want the world to see you Harley.”

Harleen blushed glancing down at her plate when a woman called. “Jack? Jack Wayne?”

Jack turned to glance over his shoulder. Harleen couldn't see his face, but she could tell by the set of his shoulders that he was not pleased.

“I thought that was you Jack Wayne.” The woman that walked over exuded sex. She was simply gorgeous with long silver-white hair that flowed down her shoulders and startlingly blue eyes. She was dressed in a sleeveless, v-necked, cream-colored crepe dress that highlighted her figure and legs, along with a pair of black Prada t-strapped studded sandals.

She stopped at their table cocking a hip, placing her hand on it, her small white purse hanging from her wrist as she smiled at Jack.

The woman gave Harleen a nod that stated “Yes I see you there but you are not important” as she turned her attention back to Jack. “You never returned my calls Jackie.”

Jack sipped his wine. “Silver St. Cloud, let me introduce you to Harley Quinn.”

Silver pressed her lips together turning to smile at Harleen. “Pleasure to meet you Miss Quinn.”

“Pleasure you meet you Miss St. Cloud.” Harley gave St. Cloud a little smile and Silver laughed. “Oh call me Silver please. So are you dating Jack?”

Harleen glanced toward Jack who smiled. No beating around the bush with this one, Harleen thought, keeping her thoughts from manifesting in her expression.

Jack spoke to Silver, though his eyes were on Harleen. “Yes, we are actually. I'm sure you'll hear all about it when Ms. Vicki Vale does her interview later this week.”

At first it seemed Silver didn't hear everything Jack had said as she smiled.

“Well, keep a tight hold of him if you can because I decided month ago that Jack Wayne would be mine.” Silver giggled then frowned, “What did you say Jack?”

Jack smiled. “Bruce is allowing Ms. Vale to tour the mansion and interview the two of us.”

Silver stood up straight crossing her arms over her chest, her bottom lip sticking out. “Seriously? And Bruce hasn't bothered to tell me?”

Jack snorted. “Now why on earth would he tell you?” He twirled some noodles on his fork without looking up at her. “I mean, it's not like you mean anything to him. It's not like you actually mean anything to anyone, Silver.”

Jack finally looked up at her, but he was smiling, a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. “Look Silver, I have neither the time nor the crayons to explain this to you, but you know...I'm gonna try. Do you really think you were important to him? Isn't that why you tried to seduce me? Figured you would try to either make him jealous or at least to get one Wayne brother and hopefully some of that Wayne fortune or Wayne Enterprises backing on your side? But oh boohoo, poor Silver St. Cloud, not as attractive as she thought she was...nor as interesting. She'll never know which one it was that made Bruce dump her or made me not want anything to do with her...or it might be both. Now, I'm eating lunch with my girl. So please go. ” With that Jack turned away from her.

Harleen quickly grabbed her wine glass to try to cover up the laugh.

Silver stared at Jack in shock. That was when a camera clicked. The three of them turned to see Nellie Majors from the Gotham Herald writing on an Ipad along with her photographer Wilbur Eagle who was getting ready to take another picture.

Miss Majors smiled. Her strawberry blonde hair was cut in a short bob, just under her ears, the bands were high and perfectly symmetrical making her look a great deal like a blonde Vulcan to Harleen's eyes. She was wearing a bright blue pencil skirt and white jacket, while Wilbur with his short curling hair, baggy navy slacks and white polo reminded Harleen of a golfer.

“So Jack Wayne, can I get a comment about the lady you are dining with?” Nellie grinned. Jack rolled his eyes, but Harleen could see he was grinning. “No, not now Nellie dear, eating,” Jack said without looking back at her.

Silver St. Cloud glared at Jack with a hissed, “This isn't over,” before she stomped off. Wilbur followed her with his camera, very interested in the sway of her hips. Someone apparently reported Nellie Majors for disturbing guests, because a few minutes later a man in a black suit came to escort her away from Jack and Harleen.

Jack took a sip of his wine. “Sorry about that.”

Harleen smiled. “You were fine.”

Jack smiled. “If you hadn't guessed, Miss St. Cloud there once dated my brother and when Bruce inevitably dumped her, she came after me...I never was interested in her.” Jack shook his head taking a sip of wine. “Woman like that only wants one of two things. Money or power...or both.”

Jack set his glass down to gaze at Harleen. “She could never compare to you.”

Harleen blushed.

*

Jack drove them home. Harleen had completely forgotten about the session she was supposed to do with Jack, instead she was focused on tonight.

*

The clothing arrived right on time along with the hose, shoes, garter belts, strapless bra, even perfume! Everything came in separate large boxes tied with red ribbon. It was almost like Christmas!

Harleen untied each box examining the contents. From one of the boxes she held up the nylon hose. They were not made of period materials, clearly modern, but they were made to look and wear like hose from the 1930's; there was even a seam down the back of each leg. The garter belt was black with tiny red roses on it and came with a matching strapless bra and panties.

The shoes were lovely with an art deco feel to them, she thought as she held them up. They had a Spanish heel, t-strapped black leather with red piping.

The last thing she removed was the negligee. It was lovely. Harleen blushed when she held it up. But no sooner she had to put it aside on the bed than there was a knock at her door. Thinking it might be Jack, she opened it only to be greeted by a young woman. The woman looked like she stepped right out of a rockabilly video with the black 1950's hair, a red and white polkadot dress, except she wore combat boots. The girl smiled. “You Harley Quinn?”

“Yes?” Harleen said with her eyebrows lifted in confusion.

“Jack Wayne hired me to do your hair and make-up. I'm Alice—nice to meet ya.” Alice picked up the make-up kit at her side and shoved her way into the room. Harleen frowned, but a slow amused smile crossed her features. Just like for the gala, Jack hired someone to do her hair and make-up. Now she was really curious about this place where he was taking her.

*

It only took Alice forty-five minutes to get Harleen's hair combed back at the forehead, the rest of her hair falling around her shoulders in soft ringlets. Her make-up was done spot on for the period with shimmering pink eye-shadow, her lips painted in a cupid-bow with a deep maroon lipstick, the blush was applied in a triangle on her cheeks and the stylist painted Harleen's nails to match her lipstick.

“Now for a real 30's look I would give you pencil thin eyebrows, but since this is only for tonight I'll skip that.” Alice grinned. “There—you're ready to go!”

Harleen looked at herself in the mirror. She did indeed look like she just walked out of a glamorous party from the 1930's.

“Wow,” Harleen murmured which made Alice grin.

“Well I gotta go. You two have fun!” Alice gathered up her things and with a jaunty wave took off.

*

Harleen made her way downstairs after Alice had left, but instead of finding Jack in the entrance way she found Alfred. He smiled brightly when he saw her. “Miss Harleen, you look stunning.”

She blushed. “Thank you Alfred.”

The older man smiled taking her gloved hand and wrapping it around his arm as he led her to the front door. “Master Jack is outside. He is smoking so I insisted he wait out there for you if he insisted on lighting a cigarette.”

Harleen laughed lightly.

Alfred opened the door and there was Jack dressed in an iconic gangster suit, with the wide brim hat, a double breasted jacket with peaked lapels over a vest with lapels and flat front trousers with a flared leg ending in a cuff. The suit was black with very thin pale pink pinstripes. He had a cigarette between his teeth, his hair slicked back. When he saw her, his eyes widened and he grinned with a show of teeth.

“Well, well, hey there doll, you ready for a night on the town?” Jack grinned waggling his eyebrows. Alfred chuckled and whispered to Harleen. “Master Jack always did like dress-up.”

The older man took her hand and handed her to Jack. “You two have a wonderful evening.”

Jack grinned taking out his cigarette . “Don't ya worry Pops. I'll have her home at a decent hour.”

Alfred laughed shaking his head as he headed back into the manor.

Harleen giggled at Jack who surprised her by tossing his cigarette with a flick of his fingers and pulled her close just before he dipped her back a little. He press his lips to hers. Harleen swoon, wrapping her gloved hands around his neck, her maroon lips opening slightly. Jack opened his mouth, his teeth scraping across her bottom lip, his tongue teasing against hers before he let her go.

He smiled widely. “Let's go have some fun.”

*

The restaurant, Maxim's Revisited, looked just like a 1930's art deco style restaurant with bright lights, stain-glass windows and double doors. Jack pulled up front where a valet took the keys to park the car. Jack wrapped Harleen's arm around his and led her inside. There was a maitre d' waiting at a pedestal. He had a pencil mustache and slicked back dark hair. “Reservation?”

Jack took his hat off. “Table for two, Jack Wayne.”

“Ah Mr. Wayne! It has been a long time since you visited us!” The maitre d' grinned.

Jack shrugged. “Yes it has, but I'm glad to be back tonight.”

The man snapped his fingers and a young waiter dressed in a waiter's tux came to lead them to their table. The tables inside the restaurant were all round, covered in long white table clothes with flowered centerpieces. The interior was art deco design in blues and golds, with palm trees decorating the corners. In the center of the club was a large dance floor where couples dressed in 1930's clothing were dancing to a live band and singer on a small stage. The ceiling was painted to look like a night sky with stars and chandeliers hung from the ceiling everywhere.

Jack grinned watching her reaction. “Oh Jack, this is amazing.”

“Isn't it!” Jack laughed. “That band is Mary and Joe Steam and the Maxim orchestra—they are regulars here though sometimes the management brings in singers.”

Harleen was mesmerized as the big band played, men and women in period outfits danced and ate dinner, she felt like she had walked backwards in time.

*

Their table was over to the right, not in the center of the room and not too close to the dance floor giving them an illusion of privacy. The waiter gave them each a menu; again the menu design continued the art deco style of the restaurant.

“What can I get the lady and gentleman to drink this evening?”

Jack glanced at Harleen. “Care if I order for us both?”

“No, no, you go ahead.” Harleen smiled at him.

Jack turned to the waiter. “How about a nice Chardonnay.”

“Right away sir.”

Jack grinned at Harleen. She looked so beautiful tonight, he was proud to have her on his arm.

“So what does my dame feel like?”

Harleen looked over the menu. “Oh gosh there is so much!”

Jack leaned forward. “I recommend the lobster.”

Harleen blinked. “That is so...”

Jack held up a hand. “Before you say expensive, remember who you're dating toots.” He laughed tossing the menu down. Harleen blushed.

*

Harleen's gloves lay folded next to her plate where the remains of her lobster lay. She was sipping her wine as Jack told her about growing up watching some of the old comedians.

“I really enjoyed watching Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but I think my all time favorite was The Marx Brothers.”

Harleen laughed. “Oh I loved their movies! Duck Soup is one of my favorites!”

Jack's eyes lit up. “Really?”

Harleen nodded. “Oh yes! I just loved that movie!”

Jack grinned. “I love Groucho's one liners.”

Jack grinned pretending to have a cigar between his fingers that he waggled. “Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.'”

They both laughed. Harleen sighed happily looking at Jack across the table. He was so handsome, the suit looked great on him, though she doubted there was anything he could wear that would not look spectacular on him.

She was about to ask him something else when suddenly a rather short, slim man who might have been about Bruce Wayne's age, perhaps a year or two older, appeared at their table. He was dressed in period clothing, a white dinner jacket matched with a black vest and pants. The shorter man's dark hair was slicked back from a very sharp nose and a monocle on a gold chair was over one eye. He held a cane in one hand, both of which were concealed behind black leather gloves. He might have been attractive except for the scowl on his face.

“Well, well Jack Wayne. Whatever are you doing here?” The man smiled. Harleen found herself cringing a little.

Jack lifted his brows in mild surprise. “Oswald Cobblepot...now how on earth did you even get in? I thought this place had standards.”

Cobblepot narrowed his eyes. “Very funny rich boy. Surprised your big brother let you out. Heard he was keeping you under house arrest...gotta keep the crazies out of good society.”

Jack's right hand was on the table, Cobblepot on the left. No one but Harleen saw Jack's fingers wrapped tightly around the knife that sat next to his plate. She frowned slightly, wondering who this increasingly unpleasant little man was to evoke such a reaction from Jack.

“You know Cobblepot...Charlie Chaplin once said that life could be wonderful if people would leave you alone...especially fat little birds who think they are more than what they are...”

Cobblepot narrowed his eyes, his face turning red and his voice picking up volume. “You know Wayne, my family was something in this town long before you Waynes came to Gotham and took EVERYTHING!! Your family are nothing but thieves and liars!!”

Cobblepot slammed the table suddenly with his cane causing their dishes to leap and shatter to the floor. Harleen let out a startled cry, nearly falling over in her attempt to get to her feet. Wine spilled across the fine white table cloth and the remains of lobster tumbled to the floor.

Jack moved swiftly. He was out of his chair, his right arm whipping around, the knife from the table in his hand, held across his forearm. He stopped short, the blade coming right up under Cobblepot's throat and quivering chin. Jack's other hand had an iron grip on the shorter man's shoulder, pressing painfully into Cobblepot's skin through his clothing. Jack's long fingers squeezed Oswald's shoulder painfully. Jack leaned in close, his voice a low growl, his eyes flat and deadly.

“I suggest you leave, Oswald Cobblepot, before you get yourself into trouble that money can't get you out of...”

The shorter man stared at Jack in surprise, his blue eyes going wide, the monocle popping out to drop at his waist. Oswald opened his mouth to respond, but instead his lips flopped around. Harleen thought for a moment that the man looked like a fish struggling for breath.

A couple members of of the staff came jogging over. “Sirs! Sirs! Please!”

Jack moved his hand quickly, his long fingers nimbly sliding the knife up his sleeve, only Harleen having seen the blade and even she wasn't sure she had seen him slip a knife up his sleeve.

A couple of members of the staff rushed over, one of them, a middle aged man in a fine suit looked between Jack and Oswald. “Sirs, I must insist if you are to have an altercation, that you take it outside of our establishment.”

It was clear Jack and Oswald's “altercation” was drawing stares from other people in the restaurant.

Jack smiled at Oswald. “We're not having an altercation now are we Cobblepot?”

Cobblepot looked between Jack and the restaurant staff. He narrowed his tiny eyes before muttering. “No, there's no problem.”

With that, his long pointed beak of a nose in the air, Cobblepot tottered off using his cane for support.

The gentlemen who had questioned them bowed to Jack and Harleen.

“Sir, why don't you and your lady take a spin around our dance floor while we clean your table? And might I suggest a baked Alaskan, on the house for the two of you?”

Jack smiled, every inch the gentleman. “Of course, that sounds excellent, don't you think Harley?”

Harleen nodded as Jack took her hand leading her out onto the dance floor. The band had just started to play another song, the female singer, wearing a long midnight blue dress, stepped up to the microphone, holding the oversized mic in her hand and began to sing.

“They asked me how I knew

My true love was true

I of course replied

Something here inside cannot be denied

They said "someday you'll find all who love are blind"

When your heart's on fire,

You must realize, smoke gets in your eyes “

*

Jack grinned pulling Harleen close against him. “I love this song.”

His voice was warm as he spun her around on the dance floor, his thumb gently caressing her back where his hand rested against her.

“What was all that about?” Harleen asked as they spun around. She could see Cobblepot glaring at them from his table.

“Oh, old Oswald insists that his family is old money, helped in the establishment of Gotham, claims that the Wayne's somehow tricked his family and stole their fame and fortune.”

Jack did a little spin with her, winking at Oswald. He came back around with her, Harleen saw the smaller man glaring hatefully at Jack. Harleen thought about asking Jack about the knife, the swiftness of his attack, but she didn't even though Jack was supposed to be her patient. She glanced at the sleeve where he had concealed the blade. Jack followed her gaze smiling impishly.

“Are you going to tell on me Harley?” He dipped her, pressing his teeth against his bottom lip as his eyes seemed to devour her, running down her breasts, then he was lifting her back up bringing her close.

The singer continued to purr into the microphone.

“So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed

To think they could doubt my love

Yet today my love has flown away,

I am without my love (without my love)

*

“No Jack, never.” Harleen knew she meant it too...she could never betray him. Jack laughed pulling her closer, then suddenly he dropped her hand to wrap both of his arms around her waist lifting her off her feet just a little. Harleen put her arms around his neck staring into his eyes, a soft laugh on her lips.

Jack kissed the tip of her nose with a wide smile.

“My girl...that's what you are Harley—my girl,” Jack whispered. He spread his hands down to her hips pressing her up against him, rolling with her as they swayed to the music. She could feel the slight hardness of him pressed against her.

“You my girl Harley?” Jack ducked his head then, coming up to brush his lips against hers. “Tell me you're mine Harley.” His stroked his lips against hers again, his tongue slipping out to lick her lips. “Tell me Harley.”

Harleen's eyes fluttered, she felt like she was melting, becoming lost. That was what was happening, she thought to herself. She was losing her way and she didn't care. “I'm yours Jack...

Jack kissed her then.

They weaved to the music until they were in the middle of the dance floor. His hands slid down her body, spanning her rear and squeezed, pressing her against him. Harleen's hands stroked the back of his neck, her fingers brushing through the short hairs on the back of his skull. Jack nipped and licked her lips, his tongue stroked against her tongue, circling, twisting. His hands squeezed her rear again before gliding up to her waist.

Harleen moaned, but then the music stopped and the audience was applauding the singer. Jack, the side of his nose against hers, opened his eyes to look deeply into hers. Harleen felt hypnotized staring up at him.

“Mine,” he whispered before brushing her lips with his, trailing down her chin and placing one last kiss on her jaw. He grinned. “Let's go have dessert.”

*

When Jack and Harleen arrived back at Wayne manor that evening, the place was dark, quiet except for a light on the porch and another in the main hall. Jack walked Harleen to her room, stopping at her door.

“I had a good time Harley.” He stroked his fingers along her jaw.

Harleen blushed. “I did too.”

Harleen knew right then, that if Jack asked to come into her room, to spend the night with her she would not have said no, but instead he planted a light kiss on her lips, the tip of her nose and lastly her forehead.

“Sleep well, my Harley.” Jack whispered against her forehead before he stepped back, smiling and started back down the hall. Harleen watched him go, with Jack stopping on the steps to give her a wave before he descended. Harleen sighed smiling happily.

There was no denying it, she was in love.

*

Jack was excited. Harley was...perfect!! He took the stairs back down to the main floor two at a time, grinning the whole while. He was heading out to check on his volunteers. He had recruited a couple of men, homeless...people no one would miss, people that would do anything for money. He would have rather spent the night in her bed, exploring her, but duty called.

He was practically dancing again when he opened the locks letting himself into his “lab.” Harley had him on cloud nine. He knew right then she would be his in every sense of the word, when the time was right.

*

When he brought the volunteers over to his “lab” it was only after he had removed his previous...experiments; didn't want to scare them off by seeing the bodies of the other ones now, did he?

As Jack stepped in, he glanced over to where he had the two men strapped down to hospital beds. One of them was clearly dead, his eyes widened until one of his eyeballs had simply popped out of its socket, his face stretched so wide in a smile that the skin had split. Jack had given this gentleman the old dosage.

But the other man, he had received the new formula. The man's hair had turned a lime green, his skin a chalky grey along with the wide laughing eyes and rictus grin. Jack walked over to his subject, studying him. “Oh...darn...” Jack frowned. “Looks like you died too, but I really like the interesting new developments.”

Jack laughed.

*

The next morning Harleen, feeling pretty and wanting to be pretty for Jack, wore a spring dress of light blue, decorated with a scoop collar and printed with flowers, her hair done in a French braid. She had paired the outfit with a pair of light blue high heels and a white shrug.

Jack looked stunning as always in Harleen's eyes. He wore a slim fit navy blue suit, with matching vest, white shirt and a tie that was white, but decorated with blue roses. Harleen swooned inwardly staring at him. Oddly their clothing seemed to match.

“Alfred the beauty has arrived!” Jack said as he stood up to pull out her stool for her.

Alfred smiled. “And a very good morning to you Miss Harleen. Master Jack was giving me very few details about your “date” last night.”

Jack grinned. “Just waiting for Harley, Alfie.”

Harleen blushed sitting down. “Oh Alfred it was a fabulous night.”

Harleen smiled as Jack reached over to place his hand on her knee. She was still having trouble thinking of him as “her” boyfriend, but when he had looked up and saw her in the doorway of the kitchen, the smile that he had given her had sent her heart soaring.

She went on to tell Alfred all about the restaurant, the clothes, music, the food (carefully leaving out the part about Oswald Cobblepot.) and the dance. “Jack is such an amazing dancer Alfred.”

Alfred smiled having just set the coffee, the bacon and leek quiche he had made on the counter in front of the two of them, already cut into slices.

“It sounds like the two of you had a good time.” Alfred seemed very pleased.

Jack grinned from where he had been making notes in his notebook, squeezing her knee with his other hand while Harleen spoke.

“It was, it was just a unique experience!” Harleen smiled brightly.

Jack chuckled without looking up. “Well the company I had was simply the most beautiful and engaging woman in Gotham...probably on the planet.”

Harleen blushed brightly. Jack stole a sideways glace at her and winked.

Harleen her cheeks still red, glancing down to cut a bite from her quiche. She had just taken a bite, groaning with appreciation and was about to tell Alfred about how magnificent the food was, when Bruce came in like a storm cloud, looking annoyed.

“Jack,” he growled.

Jack looked up. “Bruce.” His voice was flat.

“What was going on in your head yesterday? I just saw the news on the Gotham Herald! First you insult Silver St. Cloud yesterday afternoon AND in front of Miss Majors from the Gotham Herald! Who went on to write a scathing article about you. AND now you've jumped right into a spat with Oswald Cobblepot last night? What was going on yesterday Jack? And Dr. Quinzel, I thought you were supposed to keep my brother out of trouble, not get him into it!”

Jack slammed his hands down on the counter pushing himself to his feet.

Harleen jumped.

Alfred frowned.

“Leave her out of this Bruce.” Jack's voice was deadly flat.

Bruce took a calming breath. “Jack...this is not the kind of publicity we need.”

Jack narrowed his eyes at Bruce. “Look, Bruce, it's not my fault I had to tell Silver St. Cloud off...you should have done that ages ago instead of avoiding her or leading her on...whatever it is you do with your numerous women. Then maybe she wouldn't have been trying to seduce me for the last few months. As for Cobblepot...fuck off, Bruce.”

Jack grabbed his notebook and reached out taking Harleen's hand. He stopped then, glaring at his brother.

“And don't you ever bring Harley into this again.”

With that Jack tugged Harleen with him out of the kitchen.

Bruce ground his teeth.

Alfred spoke quietly. “Master Bruce, I don't think that was the best way to handle Master Jack.”

Bruce sighed in frustration running a hand down his face. “I just...”

Alfred came over and laid a hand on Bruce's shoulder. “On the other hand Master Bruce, I've never seen Jack so...happy before and you know how Miss St. Cloud can be. As for Oswald Cobblepot the man has been looking for an opportunity to make a spectacle of himself since returning to Gotham, you can't really blame Master Jack for that.”

Bruce sighed. “I...I guess not.” Bruce was about to leave then frowned turning to Alfred.

“Did he just call Dr. Quinzel Harley?”

Chapter Text

Jack dragged Harleen along with him. She didn't say a word, sensing that now was not the time. She let him drag her wherever he needed her to be, though it wasn't until the last moment that she realized he was headed toward the garage. Harleen stumbled a little in her heels trying to keep up when they went over a dip between the manor and garage.

“Where are we going Jack?” she asked with some concern as he yanked her with him.

“We are going for a drive,” Jack stated, continuing through the garage.

*

Jack headed straight for his motorcycle. He grabbed the keys and tossed a helmet at Harleen. She just barely caught it as he pulled the bike out of its place and started the engine. Harleen quickly dashed over, lifting her dress up to straddle the bike behind him. For a moment, Jack reached back, running one hand along her bare thigh; she could see the tension in his shoulders ease a little when he touched her. Jack tenderly caressed the underside of her thigh one more time before he brought his hand back to hold the handle of the bike and hit the gas. Harleen blushed under the helmet as she wrapped her arms around Jack's middle. He didn't move for a few more heartbeats, letting the engine rumble under them, reaching back with his hand one more time just to stroke her leg and lean back into her embrace. She tightened her arms around him as if she were trying to protect him, which she supposed she was.

The intimacy for both gestures, the touch of his hand on her leg and her grip around his waist, all of it sent goosebumps along with a tingling heat all throughout her body. Jack seemed reluctant to stop touching her, his fingertips dragging across her thigh before he hit the gas, grabbing the handles with both hands and took off.

*

Harleen wanted to ask where they were going, but instead of trying to talk, she just held on tightly as Jack sped away from the manor heading into Gotham. They drove for a while, weaving dangerously in and out of traffic, running a few lights and barely avoiding hitting a car or two. Harleen closed her eyes and tightened her grip around his waist until they finally ended up on the upper west side close to Chinatown. Jack slowed down and maneuvered the bike deftly around some vehicles until they were near an old three story brick apartment building. It was fairly plain, nothing special, a simple utilitarian building.

As Jack pulled the bike down an alley, Harleen saw that the lower floor of the building was actually a Chinese restaurant. A large sign over the top of the restaurant read TASTE OF CHINA in yellow letters on a blue background with Chinese dragons painted in the corners of the sign.

Jack pulled around from the alley to the back of the restaurant where there were a couple of large dumpsters, a few other bins and some trash littered on the ground. A blue painted back door was opened that led into the back of the restaurant. Jack hopped off the bike and helped Harleen to dismount, then he walked through the door to show that yes, it did lead into the restaurant, but sharply to the right of the rear entryway lay a set of stairs.

Taking her hand, Jack took the stairs up to a landing where a short hallway led to a couple of red painted doors. Jack walked down to the door on the left, producing a key with which he opened the lock. He held the door open for her. “Go on in,” he said calmly.

The interior of the apartment surprised her. The walls were white, not old yellow white, but the crisp bright white that reminded her of a show room floor. In the main room was a simple red couch, a flat screen TV mounted on the wall across from the couch with several large white box shelves surrounding the set. The shelves contained a few Blurays, a couple of brightly colored vases and some books. The small living room led right into a tiny kitchen and from where she stood, Harleen could see what looked like two more rooms, her guess being a bedroom and a bathroom.

“What is this place?” Harleen asked as she stepped in, her gaze taking in the simple decorations and clean lines of the apartment.

“Sort of my secret hideout.” Jack grinned as he walked in and tossed his keys into a bowl on one of the shelves. “It's an apartment I maintain—without Bruce's knowledge—for when I need to get away. The only people that know about this place are me, Alfred and now you.”

Jack walked over to the couch and flopped down, one arm draped across the back of it. Harleen walked over and sat down next to him. She laid a hand on his thigh looking at him with concern. “Are you alright?”

Jack chuckled and said, “I will be. Promise.”

He turned to face her, his eyes searching her face for a moment. She wasn't sure what he was looking for, but then suddenly Jack reached out to run his fingers along her face. He stroked the line of her jaw tenderly before his fingers slid up into her hair. He reached around and pulled out the tie that held her hair in the braid. Harleen didn't move; she let him do what he wanted which was to unbraid her hair, running his fingers through her thick locks until they were loose around her shoulders. He smiled then.

“You look beautiful.” His voice was almost a whisper just before he slipped his hand to the back of her head, cradling her skull as he gradually drew her toward him. Harleen leaned in, enchanted by his eyes, the way he was staring at her right now like he wanted to devour her. The feel of his hand against her face caused warmth to spread throughout her body making her hyper aware of him, the way he looked, the way he smelled, the slight changes in his breathing...everything.

Jack leaned forward and brushed her lips with his in a caress that rippled through her. Jack's mouth opened slightly as his warm, soft lips traced hers, only a slight line of blue from his eyes visible under his thick lashes while he watched her. Harleen took in a slow shuddering breath and leaned into him, pulled toward him just as Jack's tongue flicked across her lips. The feel of his tongue was a gentle tickle that made her lips tingle. Harleen's tongue greeted his, the touch at first soft, gentle...

Jack suddenly hauled her over to him. He shoved her dress up her legs, positioning her so that she was straddling his lap, not once losing contact with her mouth. Jack's kisses became more insistent, demanding. He reached for her holding onto her with desperation as his mouth hungrily glided over hers, teeth nipping at her lips, her tongue, as if suddenly Jack couldn't get enough of her, that he needed her to breathe.

Harleen grabbed his head between her hands, rising up on her knees a little, her own kisses meeting his with equal desperation. She ground her hips against him, her hands moving through his hair holding fistfuls in her hands, bending his head back as she took from him just as much as he was taking from her. Jack's hands slid up her legs in soft gentle strokes, but then he would drag his nails down her skin leaving red marks in his wake which only caused Harleen to groan in delight. She found she liked the mix of pleasurable caresses with just enough pain to make her body feel aware, tight, wanton.

Jack's mouth glided to her throat and she gasped at the feel of his teeth against her skin. He sucked, then bit down, followed by soft kisses against her skin. He was driving her mad with want. Then his hands were behind her back, finding the zipper of her dress. She thought about stopping him...they had crossed the doctor patient line days ago, but this was new territory. And Harleen found she didn't care about that; she only cared about Jack.

The sound of Jack yanking the zipper of her dress down had her moaning against his mouth. Jack smiled gliding his fingers up her silken back until he found the strap of her bra. Within moments his nimble fingers had unhooked her bra. She felt him chuckle softly against her throat.

Harleen gasped at the sudden release of pressure from her bra strap coming loose.

Jack groaned against her neck. “Harley...mine. My Harley.”

Jack tugged her dress down taking her bra down as well. He pulled away from her mouth as he removed the fabric, his eyes heated. He stared at her naked breasts. Harleen felt like she was holding her breath, waiting to see if he would reject her. She wasn't as confident about her body as she made herself out to be...she hadn't been with anyone in ages, focused on her career, on making a better life, but now...she bit her bottom lip watching him.

Jack exhaled slowly. “So beautiful...” his voice came out in a whisper. “Oh Harley...” He slowly placed his hands over her breasts. Harleen arched her back with a soft moan. “Oh Jack, Jack...”

He squeezed gently before he dragged his fingers down over her breasts. Jack cupped her breasts, rolling his thumbs over her nipples slowly, watching the way they hardened even more under his touch.

Harleen's breath came out ragged, his touch was in equal measure fire and electricity, but then she inhaled sharply when Jack's tongue rolled over her right nipple. Jack pulled her close again, his mouth hungrily exploring the soft, creamy hills and valley of her breasts. Harleen shivered with pleasure her hands running through his thick hair holding his head to her breasts. After a few moments of licking and sucking, Jack started to bite. Not so hard that he broke the skin, just enough that there was the hint of pain again mixed with the pleasure of him sucking, licking and kissing her breasts. Jack growled twisting around and dumped her on the couch before he crawled on top of her.

He sucked the nipple of one breast into his mouth, his tongue twirled around her nipple, his teeth scraping against the tender flesh listening to the sweet sounds of her gasps of pleasure. His hands ran up her thighs, pushing her dress up until he was at her panties. The fingers of one hand were wrapped around the side of her underwear, fighting the urge to yank them down, the urge was strong...he wanted her...his...his Harley, wanted to bury his mouth in her, to taste her...

“Mine” he kept thinking to himself. Mine...she is mine. The one thing in his life besides his “work” that was completely his...untouched by Bruce, by the Wayne fortune, the Wayne name...by Gotham. She was his. His Harleen Quinzel, his Harley Quinn.

Harleen cradled his head against her breast. “Oh Jack..Jack...” she whispered softly.

“Mmmm...” Jack growled, his mouth latched to the soft round underside of her left breast. Harleen groaned, her hips rolling, looking for some sort of friction. Her whole body was hot, burning; every part felt overly sensitive. Jack's fingers were still wrapped around the side of her panties, but he didn't pull them down as much as she wanted him to, she could just feel his fist rubbing against her hip while he switched breasts, sucking, flicking his tongue over the nipple, his mouth drifting just past her nipple and biting down again. The fingers of his other hand tangled in her hair, tugging her head back.

Harleen gasped. One hand was in his hair, balling his hair in her fist, while her other hand caressed his shoulders, brushing over the fine fabric of his suit. He sucked, shifting position, placing one of his thighs between her legs now, rubbing, giving Harleen the friction she wanted.

Harleen gasped, her hips jerking. She was turned on to the point that if Jack didn't take her she might cry when they both heard Jack's cell phone go off. At first they both ignored it, Jack's mouth sliding down to start nibbling his way along her torso, but the ringing would cease only for a moment, then just start again.

Finally Jack frowned sitting up with a muttered, “Fuck.”

Harleen wanted to drag him back down, but she didn't, swallowing down a heavy sigh. She simply watched, trying to catch her breath while Jack pulled the phone out of his jacket's inner pocket. Harleen lay where she was, her dress around her waist, her breasts exposed covered in bites and slowly blossoming bruises. Jack grinned down at her, his eyes roaming over her naked breasts, the way her dress was pushed up past her hips...

Harleen giggled blushing and biting her lips, blue eyes smoldering with want.

“What?” Jack frowned sounding slightly annoyed. “Alright fine.” Jack hung up, sliding the phone back into his pocket.

“That was Alfred. Seems I received a summons.” Jack looked dangerously irritated as he sat back. Harleen pushed herself up pulling her dress and bra up at the same time.

“Court summons?”

“No, our friend Cobblepot apparently sent a message for me...the messenger won't leave until he delivers the message personally.” Jack reached over and gently turned Harleen around sliding her bra straps up her arms and hooking it back into place before he tenderly pulled her dress up, sliding the zipper up, though not before kissing the back of her neck.

“A messenger?” Harleen stood up tugging the skirt of her dress down. Jack ran his hands through his hair as he watched her. He was frustrated...he wanted her badly, but he had to take care of this—situation.

He stood up taking her hand and turning her around, pressing her up against his chest. Jack stared down at her running one hand through her hair. He brushed his lips against hers.

“My Harley...” he whispered.

Harleen reached up to cup his face between her hands. “Always Jack...I'll always be yours.”

He grinned capturing her mouth in a deep kiss before he pulled away reluctantly.

“Why don't you go freshen up before we return,” Jack purred, his fingers playing with a lock of her hair wrapping it around his fingers.

“Then we will go see what old Cobblebutt wants.”

“Alright...” Harleen purred too, enjoying the slight tug he gave her hair before he pointed to the bathroom. She closed the door behind her stopping to stare at herself in the mirror. Harleen reached behind her and unzipped the dress, tugging it down pass her breasts, then slipped her arms out of the straps of her bra to look at herself. Her neck, shoulders and breasts were covered in light bruises and bite marks. Harleen's smile was bright. He had marked her—she was his, just like he said, she thought as she ran her forefinger over her slightly swollen lips. She was all Jack Wayne's.

*

When they arrived back at the manor Jack pulled the motorcycle right up to the main door parking it behind a smaller car, by the looks of it a black Chevrolet Spark. On the doorstep a young man was standing in a uniform. He looked uncomfortable in a high neck navy coat with brass buttons, navy slacks with a stripe down the leg, a belt and a box-like hat that had a family crest on it. Jack pressed his lips together, his eyes going wide when he saw the cap's family crest...Cobblepot.

The young man was sipping from a cup of tea with Alfred when Jack and Harleen pulled up.

“Master Jack, this is Mr. Oswald Cobblepott's messenger Lance; he has a message that he can only hand over to you.”

Jack gave Lance a once over giggling, his earlier anger seemingly gone. “Oh...well okay Lance. I'm here.”

Lance handed Alfred back the cup looking nervous as he pulled out an envelope from his coat's pocket near his hip.

“Here you are sir.” The young man handed Jack the envelope. The envelope was made from fine linen with a wax seal that had the same crest on it as the young man's hat. Jack broke the seal opening the envelope and pulled out the letter inside, the paper making a soft rustle as he pulled it out. Opening it up, Harleen watched as Jack's eyes roamed swiftly over the paper and then he burst out laughing.

“He isn't serious, is he?” Jack looked over the top of the letter at the young man who had delivered it. The young man nodded. “Yes, sir. Mr. Cobblepot is very serious.”

Alfred frowned glancing at Jack then Harleen. “Master Jack, may I inquire...”

“Cobblepot has challenged me to a duel because I have stained his honor or some such nonsense.” Jack laughed again, genuinely amused at the situation.

Alfred frowned. “Master Jack I don't know if this is really a laughing matter. Mr. Cobblepot is quite...vehement in his views. I think he may be serious about this duel of his.”

Jack grinned. “Oh I have no doubt that he is serious, but I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks I will decline. So I gather you are to wait for an answer?”

The young man nodded. “Yes, sir. I am.”

“Well, you can tell Cobblepot that I accept his duel. Just send me the time, place and, as is custom, I will choose the weapons...which will be fencing. Oswald thinks I'm too chicken to face him...well the joke will be on him.”

The young man looked relieved to finally be allowed to go. “Thank you sir—I will let him know.”

Alfred frowned. “Your brother is not going to be happy about this.”

Jack's grin was wide. “Oh Alfie, you just gave me another reason to do this!”

Alfred sighed. “Master Jack, Mr. Cobblepott is known to be quite good at fencing...I just don't know if this is a wise course of action.”

Jack came up to Alfred wrapping his arm around the older man's shoulders. “Alfred, remember, I'm pretty good at fencing too.”

“I do remember Master Jack...just...” Afred shook his head while Jack gave the butler's shoulders a squeeze. “Just don't tell Bruce. I'm sure I can get this all taken care of before

Ms. Vicki Vale shows up. Bruce will never have to know.” Jack chuckled softly with a shake of his head.

Alfred sighed again. “Unless you lose Master Jack, then everyone will know,” the butler warned. “Cobblepott will make sure of it.”

“Guess I better not lose then, should I? Don't worry...I won't lose. Besides I can't lose in front of my girl now can I?” Jack winked at Harleen.

Alfred looked miserable.

*

After dinner that night, Jack wanted Harleen to meet him in the gym. Before she went, Alfred asked softly, “Miss Harleen, might I ask a favor of you?”

Harleen had just stood up after Jack had left. “Of course Alfred, anything.”

Alfred smiled at her. “Please watch out for Master Jack. He has a tendency to be...reckless.”

Harleen stepped closer to Alfred, surprising the older man when she wrapped her arms around him. “I will Alfred.”

Alfred patted her back with a whispered, “Thank you Miss Harleen.”

*

Harleen came down to the gym wearing a pair of red jacquard yoga pants and a black revere tank-top, her blonde hair piled up on the top of her head in a messy bun. The bites and bruises showed, but since it was just the two of them here she didn't think much about it.

When she arrived, she saw Jack stretching. She stopped in the doorway to watch for a few minutes, her eyes taking in his lean, muscled form. Jack wore a pair of tight calf-length black spandex shorts and a tank-top of the same color, except there were purple striping down the sides. He had his back to her while he bent over touching his hands to the floor. Harleen let herself enjoy the view, a light blush on her cheeks because of the terribly unprofessional thoughts she was having—not that being professional with

Jack during their private moments was much of a concern anymore, she acknowledged. Then Jack giggled. “Going to stand there all evening looking at me like a piece of meat Harley?”

Harleen blushed with a light giggle. “Hi Jack.”

Jack turned around with a grin. He started to say something then stopped, his eyes roaming over her neck and chest where the bites and bruises he had left on her were clearly visible. His eyes followed to the marks that disappeared under her top, a lopsided grin dancing along his lips before his gaze met her eyes again.

“Harley.” He said the name he had given her with such emotion that Harleen felt herself melting inside. He held out a hand to her and she immediately walked over taking it. Jack tugged her close, wrapping an arm around her waist, his other hand cradling the back of her head as he kissed her. Jack pressed her body close to his. The kiss danced over her mouth and tongue causing her body to become fully aware. Harleen clung to him desperate for more, but all too soon Jack ended the kiss. He rubbed his nose against hers, his eyes smoldering as he gently nipped her lips. “Ready to help me practice for my duel Harls?”

Harleen frowned then. She wasn't uncertain of Jack's ability; she had sparred with him, but what bothered her was not knowing Cobblepot's skill. “Are you sure about this Jack?”

Jack laughed taking a hold of her hand and led her over to the mats where at the edge of the mat lay two foils.

“I'm certain. Cobblepot wants to play this sort of game, well I can play too. I like games.” Jack released Harleen's hand and picked up one of the foils. He performed a few swift movements with it before winking at her. “He isn't the only one to learn fencing.”

Jack picked up the other foil and handed it to her. Harleen cringed. “I know nothing about fencing Jack!”

“I know. Just stand there with it and look pretty for right now.” He grinned at her with an eyebrow wiggle.

Harleen frowned, but did as he asked watching while Jack went through a series of lunges and stabs. “Is there anything you don't know how to do?” she asked while watching the way his muscles shifted.

Jack grinned. “Well, I can't fly a plane very well.”

“But you can fly one?” Harleen asked.

Jack grinned. “A little, never received my license though. Now Bruce, he has his flying license and his own plane.

“I don't really care about what Bruce can do.” Harleen made a face which had Jack laughing. “You are so cute.”

She blushed. Jack went through a few more moves. “Do any of these moves have names?” she inquired.

Jack grinned. “Ah, a chance to use my French again. By the way, did you ever translate what I said to you?”

“No...I'm not good with languages. I only took enough German to fulfill the requirements at college.” Harleen frowned. “Like math—never was my strong suit.”

Jack laughed. “Then I'm going to teach you.”

He stepped forward in a lunge, his blade smacking against Harleen's making her yelp in surprise. He laughed. “That is called Attaque au Fer and this one—is called Coulé or glissade.” Here Jack slid his blade along the one that Harleen held.

“Everyone loves that move.” He gave her a wink as he stepped back and snapped the foil out. Harleen was watching him with rapt attention. He is so beautiful, she thought to herself. Just watching the way he moves is like watching live art playing out, she mused.

Jack shifted suddenly. He brought his rear leg (his left) in front of his right and sprinted toward her. Harleen squeaked in surprise holding the blade out. Jack only tapped it as he passed, turning on the ball of his foot with enough elegance to make a skilled dancer envious. “That one is called a Flèche.”

“Did you ever compete in fencing...or any of the sports you know?” Harleen asked with genuine curiousity. Jack snorted. “No. I was always seen as too aggressive, too loose with the rules and I didn't take any of it seriously enough.” He shrugged lightly. “It was all pretty silly if you ask me, but who knew I would be challenged to a duel or that fencing would come in handy?” Jack laughed

He suddenly turned, coming in close, moving fast toward her. Harleen instinctively put up the blade she held to block. Jack drove her backwards until her back was up against the wall. Jack's body was pressed up against hers, the swords caught at the hilt, his other hand having hit the wall next to her head. His voice dropped down to a warm whisper.

“This one is called Corps-à-corps and is illegal in foil fights.”

His light blue-green eyes dropped down to watch the heaving of her breasts as she sucked in air. He could almost feel the beat of her heart as she gazed into his face. Jack tossed down his foil, grabbing hers and throwing it away as well. He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her hard.

Harleen groaned melting into the kiss. Jack hands dropped from her cheeks to grabbed her hips, his fingers digging into the stretchy fabric. His mouth glided over hers, their tongues brushing and sliding together. Harleen ground against him suddenly, one leg wrapping around his waist. Jack caught her thigh and lifted her up pressing her against the wall harder. She wrapped both her legs around his waist gasping when Jack grabbed at the tender skin of her neck with his teeth again. His hands moved down to her rear, squeezing as he pressed her up against the wall.

He ground himself against her, pushing against her warmth. She could feel how hard he was pressing against her, rubbing, thrusting...Harleen started panting. He had her held up against the wall firmly enough that he could bring one hand over to cup her breast, squeezing gently, then pinching her nipple through the fabric of her top, eliciting a pleased gasp from her. He chuckled, hissing against her throat, she could feel the warm tickle of his breath against her neck. “You like that Harley...like it a little rough?”

“Ohh..Jack...Yes” she ran her hands up into his hair tugging at the thick strands. Jack continued to suck and lick his way down her neck, one hand pinching her nipple and rubbing his hard mass between her legs. Harleen groaned, her mind a complete blank. All she could focus on was his teeth, his tongue and the way he felt between her legs, the deliciously painful yet pleasurable way he pinched her nipples.

“Come for me Harley...come for me...” Jack grabbed her bottom lip between his teeth. He sucked on it, pulling her lip slowly.

“Uhahhhuhhh....oh Jack...Jack...”Harleen's eyes rolled. He was pressing just right, the way he was moving his hips she couldn't think straight. He yanked her shirt down. She was vaguely aware of the tear of material then his mouth was on her breast, Jack's tongue rolling over her nipple.

Harleen cried out, an orgasm ripping through her, burning like a dying star, so hot, so intense that for a moment, if she had passed out, she would not have been surprised. Jack's kisses on her breast slowed to sensual tender pecks that traveled up her neck until he reached her mouth. He moaned softly, his tongue dancing with hers.

After a few more moments of intense and sensual kissing, Jack stepped back, Harleen dropped her legs thought her knees were wobbly and her legs didn't want to hold her up. He pulled her top up before he stroked her face tenderly. “You should get some sleep.”

“We...I mean...you can...come to my room if you want.” Harleen offered quietly.

Jack grinned. “Not yet, it's not time yet. But it's closer...definitely closer, my Harley.”

Jack stepped back, smiled, reaching for her hand. “Let me walk you back.”

*

At the door to her room Jack cupped her face staring hard into her blue eyes. His voice was low, soft, but intense. “You are precious to me. Remember that, no matter what happens...whatever that might be...you are precious to me. Remember that.”

Jack grinned and kissed the tip of her nose leaving a bewildered Harleen swaying in the hallway.

Chapter Text

Harleen's dreams were filled with Jack. Her subconscious conjured him naked, looking down on her with those intense eyes of his boring into her very soul. He was drawing his fingers along her jaw, a sweet caress that flowed down her neck to her breasts, yet she could feel it, her nerves stimulated everywhere. It was such a warm feeling, it curled her toes and made the butterflies in her stomach turn into a tornado. She was burning everywhere he touched her. He had just lowered his mouth to hers when suddenly she heard a strange tinkling noise. Harleen tried to push the sound away, but she heard it again, the dream dissolving like so much mist.

She woke up feeling groggy and unsatisfied, the sound of her cellphone ringing on her bedside table being the culprit that ruined her dream. Harleen rolled over grabbing her pillow, pulling it over her head, hoping the sound would go away, but at the last moment she reached over for the damn dream shattering device. When she picked the phone up, she had to blink her eyes a few more times, trying to focus on the number. Suddenly it became clear and she saw that it was her mother. With a confused expression, she pushed the button.

“Mom?” Harleen's voice was full of shock.

“No. It's me.”

Harleen frowned. It was her step-father, Doug, on the other end. “What do you want? Why are you calling on my mom's phone?” Her voice was flat and clipped.

Harleen sat up running a hand through her hair, reaching over to pick up the clock on her bedside table. It was almost ten in the morning. Damn, she had over slept.

“I wanted to let you know that your mother's funeral is today at four p.m.” Her step-father's voice had that arrogant, “I hate you” quality it had had all her life. It took a moment for the words to register. Harleen's chest constricted, she couldn't breathe for a moment, everything in the room narrowed down to just her phone.

“What did you say?” Her voice came out in a whisper.

“Your mom's funeral is this afternoon.” Her step-father repeated with irritation.

“What happened?? What do you mean funereal?? What happened to my mother?!” Harleen tried not to, but she screamed into the phone.

“She had a heart attack this weekend—it was instant.” Her step-father sighed. “If you want to come the funeral, it's today at Musgrove Memorial Gardens. The service is at that church your mom liked to go to...” That was when the phone went dead. Doug had hung up on her.

Harleen hadn't spoken to her mother in years, not since she left home. That decision had come (actually Harleen had decided to leave nearly the first week Doug had moved in) not long after her mother and Doug had started to have their own kids, but now...her mother was dead. Whatever tie she had had in the world (excluding extended family of which there were none that she spoke to) were gone, vanished, just like that. Harleen Quinzel was adrift in the world, her one anchor...gone.

“I'm an orphan...” she whispered.

Harleen dropped her phone onto the covers of the bed, covering her face, her whole body rocked with deep sobs.

*

Jack sipped his coffee, his eyes constantly straying to the doorway, his notebook that he had opened in front of him, forgotten. Alfred was flipping pancakes glancing over and watching Jack's intense interest in the kitchen doorway.

“Master Jack, maybe you should go upstairs and check on Miss Harleen? You can take her breakfast to her.”

Jack jerked in surprise, (surprise being something he seldom felt except around Alfred and now, Harley) glancing over at Alfred who smiled, already holding a tray set up with a plate of pancakes, syrup, butter, strawberries, a cup of coffee, juice and a couple of sausages. The older man set the tray down in front of Jack before he made a shooing motion at him.

The younger man laughed. “Alright. Thanks Alfred.”

“Anytime Master Jack.” Alfred smiled serenely turning back to clean up.

*

Jack carried the tray up the stairs until he arrived at Harleen's door. Balancing the tray carefully with one hand, he was about to knock on her door with the other when he heard the sounds of muffled crying. Jack frowned leaning in to listen. Sure enough, he could hear Harleen crying. Jack knocked. “Harley, may I come in?”

It was quiet for a moment, but then he heard a soft answer. “Yes.”

Jack opened her door, coming in sideways with the tray. “I brought you breakfast?” He turned around to see her sitting on her bed, still in her pajamas, her hair a mess, her eyes bloodshot, cheeks tear-stained. Jack hurriedly put the tray down on a nearby dresser and rushed over to her. “Harley, what happened?”

He climbed up onto the bed and wrapped his arms around her. Harleen buried her face against his chest. “My step-father called. My mother...she died...her funeral is today. He didn't even bother to tell me she...” Harleen swallowed hard on the verge of tears. “We, we weren't close after she married him...he was one of the reasons I left home as soon as I could. I hadn't talk to her in years, but...” She took a deep, shuddering breath.

Jack held her close running his hands up and down her back. “Shh...It's alright.”

Holding her tightly, Jack rocked her gently. She could hear him whispering to her, though she couldn't hear the words. Still, the soft warmth of his breath against her hair and his arms snug around her did more than anything else in calming her. Harleen wrapped her arms around his waist. He eventually laid down with her so that her head was resting on his chest. She had stopped crying, just breathing deeply, her arm around his middle.

“When is the funeral?” He asked the question softly.

“Today, at four,” she said quietly squeezing his waist.

“I'll take you, unless you don't want me to.” Jack kissed the top of her head.

“I would like that,” she murmured, squeezing his waist again.

Jack smiled and kissed the top of her head. “You go shower. Let me take care of everything else alright?”

Harleen's bottom lip trembled. “Thank you Jack.”

He kissed the top of her head again sitting up; he cupped her face between his hands staring into her blue eyes. “I would do anything for you. Always remember that Harley.”

*

Soon Jack and Harleen were sitting in the back of a black BMW 7 series limo-sedan. The funeral was located on the edge of a suburb outside of Bludhaven and the drive time from Gotham took almost two hours. One of the Wayne's drivers was at the wheel and Jack had seen to getting Harleen a dress for the funeral. Jack was dressed in an extra-slim three piece suit of Italian virgin wool, matched with a blue silk shirt and black tie, all tailored to fit him perfectly. To top off the look of money and sophistication he wore, Jack's hands were covered in a pair of black leather gloves. He looked devastatingly handsome, Harleen thought.

She wore a dress Jack purchased for her merely an hour before they left. He had insisted that she should allow him to do that for her. He had held her face gently between his hands, gazing into her eyes.

“Let them know that you are better than them Harley. He treated you like you didn't matter. He made your mother do the same. You are going to walk into the funeral and you are going to show them that no matter how hard he tried, he didn't tear you down.” Then Jack had kissed her and suddenly everything had been all right. So now she was dressed in a black Marina jeweled neck shift dress and a pair of black suede Louboutin heels, simple, and understated diamond studs in her ears. Her hair was down, brushed and shining beautifully. She looked like a million dollars, Jack had said, adding “I should know.”

They sat in the back of the car, Jack holding her hand in his lap between both of his glove clad hands. Harleen was done crying. She had shed all the tears her mother deserved. That was what Jack had told her, and he was right. Why should she cry anymore for a woman who hadn't valued her enough as her daughter to protect her from someone like her step-father.

*

During the drive with soft music playing through the speakers, Jack put his arm around her shoulders. “Tell me about your step-father...” Jack murmured softly.

Harleen frowned as she rested her head on his shoulder. “He told me from the moment he walked in the house that I wasn't wanted. Called me a whore, bitch...cunt...every name he could think of. He monitored my homework, what books I read, what music I listened to...and the worst part was, my mother let him. She never spoke up for me, not once. And it wasn't long before she started calling me names too. I was so happy the day I turned eighteen.”

“What about your grandparents?” Jack asked as he rubbed his hand up and down her arm.

“The one still alive was too senile to care. My aunts, uncles, all believed Doug...they never liked my biological father. I became everyone's target. If the sun didn't shine, then it was probably somehow my fault.”

Harleen didn't see it but Jack's eyes narrowed slight. “Did you believe the things he said about you?”

Jack asked softly.

Harleen sighed, thinking. “For a long time, yes. I guess sometimes I still do... I guess that was one of the reasons I became a psychiatrist...to understand why I felt that way.” Jack placed his fingertips under her chin, lifting her face so that he could look into her eyes. His held her gaze. “You are worth more than any of those people. You are worth the world to me Harley. Remember that...” Then he leaned in and kissed her. Harleen forgot everything for those few precious moments when his lips and tongue were entangled with her own.

*

At one point during the drive, Jack started to sing softly to her, easing her troubled mind and emotions.

“...Only you can make this change in me

For it's true you are my destiny

When you hold my hand

I understand the magic that you do

You're my dream come true

My one and only you...”

Harleen blushed gazing up at him as he sang to her, a grin on his handsome face. His voice, his eyes calmed her until at one point she had dozed off with her head against his shoulder.

*

The church was a small quaint brick building, nothing overly grand. There were several vehicles filling the church's small parking lot and more parked along the sidewalk. Harleen frowned looking out the window. She could see people milling about speaking in small groups or heading into the church for the service. As she watched, she was able to pick out cousins, her aunts as well as other people she remembered from her childhood She saw her half-siblings, walking into the church and, for a moment, she thought she saw her step-father. All people who had ignored her for years as if her step-father's treatment of her had been all her own doing. Jack noticed the way Harleen was looking out the window, the furrow between her brows and the slight frown on her lips. He reached out to touch her shoulder.

“Are you all right?” he asked gently.

Harleen turned around settling back into the seat. “Yeah, just...just a lot of people I haven't seen in years.”

Jack grinned as he grasped her her hand and kissed her knuckles. She smiled, enjoying the feel of the leather against her palm and the press of his lips against her knuckles.

“You'll be fine. All eyes will be on you and everyone will know that you don't need them and never did.” He chuckled pressing his lips to her knuckles one more time. “They are all just bugs Harley...they don't mean anything because they are nothing. You never needed them,” he repeated.

She blushed. “Thank you, Jack.”

He grinned. “Just telling you the truth.”

*

Everyone's eyes were on the slick and clearly expensive car as the driver pulled into the parking lot. Harleen glanced out the tinted side window of the car. She felt both shy and exhilarated despite the fact that she was attending her mother's funeral. She wasn't really sure how her mother would feel if she saw her daughter now...would she care? Somehow Harleen felt sure her mother would find some fault with her daughter now, despite the degree, the car, or the man with whom she arrived.

The black, vindictive part of Harleen's heart was happy to see the stares she received when Jack strolled around the car after the driver had opened the door for him. He held a black silver handled cane in his left hand as he stepped around to her side of the car. Everyone stared as Jack Wayne opened the door and took her hand. She exited the vehicle wearing the expensive clothing Jack had given to her. Only someone living under a rock would not see that she was with Jack Wayne and it was Jack Wayne wrapping her hand around his arm and escorting her into the church.

Harleen glanced at Jack while they made their way to some seats near the front of the church that had been set aside for family, (though the usher, one of her step-father's brothers tried to put them in the back only to be “redirected” by one of her mother's sisters...which probably had a lot to do with Harleen's escort and not the fact that despite everything, Harleen was still her mother's daughter.) Jack smiled at her, patting her hand after they were seated. He leaned in close, his lips tickling her ear.

“You're doing great,” he whispered. “Just look at them and think to yourself this is all a joke...all of it Harley. Everything these people have strived for, struggled for, all of it is just one big joke. Because in the end, this is where we all end up. Pickled in a pine box.”

Harleen wanted to be scandalized by what Jack had just said, but as her eyes wandered up to the coffin holding her mother's remains, all she could do was giggle. He was right! Why was she upset that a woman who hadn't really loved her enough to fight for her was dead? All her mother's preaching, scolding and viciousness came flooding back to her. All the time her step-father had hurt her both physically and mentally, the people who didn't care enough to keep in contact with her...who just didn't care..too busy with their petty little lives. Why was she caring? That was when Harleen giggled.

Jack lifted a brow at her in question, a smile dancing across his lips.

She leaned her shoulder against his. “You're right...why do I care?”

And then the service began. Harleen could see her step-father from the corner of her eyes glaring daggers at her as she and Jack, like a couple of little kids, their heads together, giggled at everything that was being said by the pastor about the good life her mother had led, how much her family and community loved her et cetera and et cetera... When her “family” started to take the pulpit and go on about how much of a saint her mother was, Harleen had to cover her mouth to stop herself from laughing out loud. Jack tickled her side causing her to squirm which had Harleen giggling even more. He winked at her, pulling her closer, his arm around her waist while the two of them snorted and chuckled during the whole service.

Finally, it was time to walk past the casket before heading to the cemetery. Harleen and Jack stepped in line with the rest of the family (though they trailed in the back just before friends and guests.) As Harleen walked up to her mother's casket she stopped and stared down. The funeral home had performed an admirable job on her mother. Her hair was dyed blonde and perfectly coiffed, her make-up done well and the dress was a simple blue dress, just perfect for being buried in, if there was such a thing as a perfect dress for that sort of thing. For a moment, Harleen was struck by how much her mother actually hadn't changed in all the years since Harleen had left.

Holding Jack's hand, she leaned in close and hissed. “I thought I was sad you were gone, but now I realized you were dead to me from the moment I left when you chose that fucking dick over your own daughter. Goodbye mother.”

Jack laughed aloud. “That's my girl!”

*

Soon the procession of cars was on its way to the cemetery for the last leg of the funeral before heading over to the family home for the wake. Jack pulled Harleen to him once they were in the car and nibbled her ear, eliciting a laugh from her. “Jack!!”

“Mm...I can't wait to get you alone,” he whispered.

Harleen blushed as Jack's nibbling moved slowly down her neck. “I thought we might get a hotel room and stay the night before heading back to Gotham.”

“Really?” Harleen looked surprised.

Jack smiled gently, licking her mouth, but before he could say anything else, the car had maneuvered down the road, turning onto the path that led into the cemetery. The driver parked alongside a grassy, headstone covered hill where everyone was filing out of their cars, making their way to the gravesite.

Everyone in attendance stared at Jack and Harleen as they made their way to the site. There were several rows of folding chairs set out for family and guests that faced the open grave. Jack led Harleen over to the chairs, taking two seats near the front. The pastor waited until everyone was seated (or standing) before he continued, pretty much beginning where he had left off in the church, saying a few more words about the deceased.

Jack leaned in close to Harleen, his lips brushing against her ear as he said.

“Do you know what the death rate is around here?”

Harleen glanced sideways at him grinning. “What?”

“One person at a time.” Jack giggled.

Harleen snickered covering her mouth as the pastor's eyes slid sideways at her and Jack. Jack wrapped his arm around Harleen's waist, pulling her close, his fingers tickling her side. She squirmed, the two of them continuing to act like children, much as they had in the church. Harleen had to bite the inside of her cheek to prevent herself from laughing out loud.

Jack licked her ear, which the older women behind them saw, as clearly indicated by the scandalized gasped both Jack and Harleen heard behind them. Jack glanced back at the elderly ladies and winked before he whispered another joke to Harleen.

“A passenger taps a taxi driver on his shoulder. The driver shits himself with shock, swerving, nearly hitting a bus and stops inches from a shop window.

"Fuck-me, you're jumpy aren't yer, I only tapped your shoulder," says the passenger. "Sorry," says the cabby, "It's my first day. I've been driving a hearse for twenty years!”

Both of them snorted, drawing more attention to themselves with their badly hidden giggles.

*

After about half an hour, the service came to an end, the coffin lowered into the ground and everyone scattering to their cars to head toward the family home for the wake. Harleen walked with her hand in Jack's back to the car. Jack squeezed her hand.

“You ready for the wake?”

She frowned. “I don't know. I haven't been back home in years. I'm actually surprised they're still in the same house.”

Jack brought her hand up kissing her knuckles. “You'll be fine.”

Harleen grinned. “You're right. Just walk in, show them they didn't destroy me, no matter how hard they tried.”

Jack laughed. “That's my Harley!”

*

Jack held her hand while their driver guided their vehicle through the small, ancient suburb. The houses all looked to have been built around the 1940's maybe '50's. Each one looked like a cookie-cutter of the next, every lawn nearly identical, with only a few standing out because of weird lawn ornaments, flowers or different shrubs along the front. Harleen frowned, her mind flooded with the memories of her early childhood growing up on these streets. When she saw her family home, Harleen's hand tightened in Jack's. Oddly, little had changed. It was still the long ranch home, still a boring white, the lawn had a few more flowers in the flower beds around the front, but other than that, nothing had changed.

Jack's driver pulled up in front of the house. Jack leaned forward to speak with the driver.

“I'll call when we're ready to leave, which won't be long.”

The driver nodded. “Yes sir, Mr. Wayne.”

Jack slipped out, walked around to open Harleen's door, and took her hand again to help her out of the car. Just like at the church, Harleen and Jack received numerous of stares. They walked up the short cement walkway to the main door and stepped inside, ignoring every stare they received.

*

The small house was full of people, most of which Harleen recognized. Aunts, uncles, a few cousins, family friends...all the people who willingly cut ties with her over her mother's marriage to Doug. Harleen frowned, memories of how the house used to be flooding her mind while she looked around. When she had lived here, before Doug, her mother had had pictures of her growing up on the walls. Her mother had removed all pictures of Harleen's dad when she was little, so Harleen could not remember how her father looked. Those memories had long ago been eradicated. And then Doug had come into their lives and suddenly Harleen wasn't as important to her mother any more.

Harleen shook the pain away focusing on the now. Jack smiled at her, giving her strength with his presence and support.

Harleen was about ready to tell Jack she wanted to go when Doug came pushing through the mourners to come right up to her.

“You need to leave now,” Doug snarled glaring at Harleen, poking her hard in the chest. Then his muddied eye focus was on Jack. “You're not welcome here either.”

Harleen felt something in her snap. She had put up with his hatred, name calling, and even the occasional slap across the face while she was growing up. He had called her a slut, whore, a tramp telling her mother that she lied, that she made suggestions to him, that she was sleeping around when she was in high school...terrible things that were wholly false.

Harleen narrowed her eyes. “I have just as much right to be here as you. I'm her daughter!”

All eyes turned toward them.

“You stopped being her daughter the moment you walked out of this house!” Doug seethed. “I only told you she died as a courtesy!”

Harleen snarled. “Well thank you so fucking much!! You turned my mother against me!”

Her words provoked Doug; his hand lifted to backhand Harleen, but Jack caught the man's wrist easily. Jack's eyes were flat, his expression cheerful, but his voice had a low and deadly quality to it.

“You touch her again and you'll regret it. You're are extremely luckly I didn't break your finger just now.”

Doug stared hard at Jack and whispered heatedly. “What are you? Her pimp?”

Jack's smile widened, but it didn't reach his eyes. He threw Doug's hand away. “Apologize.”

Doug hissed. “Take your bitch and get out of my house.”

Jack took a threatening step toward Doug, prompting the older man to take a few stumbling steps back in surprise. He was clearly not accustomed to being disobeyed or having someone stand up to him. Harleen grabbed Jack, wrapping her arms around, and glared at her step-father. “Let's go Jack. He isn't worth it.”

Jack narrowed his eyes. They seemed to almost glow, but he let Harleen pull him back. Jack smiled again. “You know what they say about revenge...it's sweet and not fattening.” With that Jack laughed taking Harleen by the hand, leading her out of what had once been her childhood home, but was now just a house she would never enter or have to think of again.

*

Once they in the car again, Jack pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her shoulders.

“I think we are going to be the focus of conversation for a while,” Jack said with a chuckle.

Harleen sighed, but her breath ended with a giggle at the end. Jack added, “It was pretty funny. I love it! I think we should stay the night here before heading out again for Gotham.”

Harleen blinked in surprise. “But...I...we didn't pack anything.”

Jack laughed. “Don't worry my sweet...I have everything taken care of.”

*

Jack had the driver take them out of the suburb and drive to a hotel on the outskirts of Bludhaven. Harleen gasped in surprise. She wasn't sure exactly what she was expecting, but it wasn't this. The hotel was huge. The large sign announced the name of the place: The Renaissance Hotel. It was a large twenty-six floor building. Harleen was certain that the place had not been here when she was little, but now it was one of several hotels that dominated the area. The driver pulled up to the main doors and a valet stepped over to open the door for Harleen. She glanced over at Jack, but he had already climbed out, quickly moving around and telling the young man, “Don't worry, I have her.”

Jack grinned and reached in to take her hand. As Jack guided her out, Harleen's gaze followed the front of the building, up, up, and up when she stepped out, counting the floors in her head.

“Jack, this place is gorgeous!” Her voice held a little note of awe.

Jack smiled. “Only the best for my girl.”

Jack turned to the young man who had come to help Harleen out. “Our bags are in the back,” he said, placing a $50 dollar bill into the young man's hand.

The valet grinned. “That you sir, right away sir!” As he dashed off to gathered their bag, Jack wrapped Harleen's arm around his. She grinned at him. “You planned this in what, less than an hour?”

Jack smirked at her. “What can I say? I'm good.”

*

(Neither one of them were aware that someone entering the hotel had noticed Jack Wayne. A young man, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, his camera over his neck, blinked in surprise then discreetly took a picture of the two of them entering the hotel.)

*

Harleen tried the keep her mouth from dropping open as they walked into the large hotel lobby. The word that she thought of to describe the lobby was 'gorgeous.' The walls and floor of a rich brown and white marble that made the large lobby seem warm and inviting. Modern chandeliers provided the light in the vast, almost glittering lobby where several people were milling out, some sitting in the lounge area, others over by the giant aquarium that took up one whole wall. Other patrons could be seen off to the left where a large dining area with a bar filled the space. The place reminded Harleen of one of those rich luxury hotels one saw in movies. She did her best not to gape like a fool while Jack led her to the lobby counter.

*

As Jack led her up to the desk, the young man who had spied them going into the hotel put in a call to his editor.

*

Jack stepped up to the reception desk, strolling over like he owned the place (which he probably could have, if he wanted), where an older woman stood, mid-fifties, with hair that shone silver in the light which she had piled on top of her head in a fashionable messy bun. Her features were stern, but not unfriendly. She wore a white shirt with a golden-brown vest and matching skirt with her gold name tag shining with pride on her chest. Her name tag read 'Nora.'

When she saw them approach, a smile creased her face, her grey eyes sparkled.

“Hello and welcome to the Renaissance, how can I help you?” she asked in a clear voice.

On the counter sat an old fashion handled brass bell, a large book, laid open on an antique looking book-stand with an expensive looking gold and black pen settled into the seam of the book, and next to that a modern flat screen computer where Nora had been working.

Jack's smile was charming as he leaned on the counter.

“I have a room, a suite actually, under the name Jack Wayne. I just reserved it this morning.”

The woman startled a bit when Jack mentioned his name (she clearly knew who the Wayne's were by the slight shift in her smile).

“Mr. Jack Wayne, of course! Just a moment while I retrieve your room key and I can have someone take your luggage up to your room. How long will you be staying with us?”

Jack tapped his chin in thought. “Maybe for two days, let's just see how thing go shall we?”

Nora nodded. “Of course sir. Would you mind signing our guest book?”

The woman turned the large open book fully to face Jack and Harleen. Jack picked up the pen and with a flair and sweep of his hand, he wrote out 'Jack Wayne.'

He handed the pen to Harleen, kissing her at the corner of her mouth. She glanced at Jack hissing under her breath. “Are you sure?”

Jack looked genuinely confused. “You're my girl, aren't you Harley? I don't care who knows we're together...especially not Bruce.” Jack grinned wide, the light seeming to catch his teeth and make them sparkle.

Harleen leaned in and signed her name under Jack's for a moment, wondering if Jack would marry her someday...if this thing they had would be...she shook her head minutely. She wasn't even sure what it was she wanted. She needed to live in the moment. The past was gone and the future would take care of itself. Not the most common attitude of a psychiatrist, but she wasn't the same person she had been when she took this job. And that was thanks to Jack.

*

They took the elevator up to their room traveling all the way to the 26th floor. Jack nibbled her ear in the elevator, holding her tightly against him, making her giggle again. Other people in the elevator either stared, shared a giggle, or smiled. When they finally arrived at the room, Jack lifted Harleen up in a bride-carry surprising her into a squeaking giggle as he walked her to their room. The crowd in the elevator (including the young photographer who recognized Jack) applauded the young couple (with the young man sneaking a few pictures).

“JACK!!” she laughed trying not to kick or move too much and throw off his balance.

Jack giggled as he asked, “What?”

*

A man who had hopped onto the elevator in the lobby, watched the two of them, quickly making notes with his thumb on his phone, even managing to get a photo...even if it wasn't at the best angle.

*

There were only three doors on this floor, spaced widely apart. Jack carried her down the hall to the one furthest on the right, using the card to easily open the door while holding her balanced against him. Jack pushed the door open with his hip and carried her inside.

When Harleen saw the interior of the suite, she gasped out loud. Never had she seen a room like it, not even in Wayne Manor. The room was huge (like everything about the hotel, she mused), the walls painted a warm welcoming beige with white accent walls. The floors were a continuation of the marble from the lobby, with warm fuzzy looking throw rugs and a clear glass coffee table in the middle of the room. The surrounding furniture all looking comfortable as well as expensive.

The lighting, from modern chandeliers that hung from the high ceiling, was soft, casting evening in a twilight glow. The main room contained a long plush looking couch and love seat along with a set of matching recliners, a large flat screen TV positioned on the wall over a “fake” fireplace. Across from that room, with a step leading up to it, was the bedroom. The bed was the biggest bed she had ever seen and it was round. The comforter was a clean, soft looking white, with thick heavy pillows. (She didn't quite process the idea that there was only one bed in here). But the most spectacular aspect of the room (without seeing the bathroom yet, Harleen thought) was the window that ran the entire side of the wall facing out onto the city. Jack set her down on her feet with a grin on his lips. “You like it?”

“Oh Jack!!” Harleen walked over to the window, looking out onto the city below. It wasn't as big or as densely populated as Gotham, but she thought that it was still pretty darn impressive.

Jack strolled over to her, unbuttoning his jacket as he did so and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her against him. “You ever think about owning the city?” Harleen frowned with a slight snort. “No, I usually only worried about getting rent and maybe owning a car.”

Jack laughed kissing the side of her neck, then tugged at her ear with his teeth. Harleen moaned softly leaning against him.

“Why don't you go take a bath and I'll order us some room service.”

Harleen turned in his arms. Jack smiled down at her.

“What is this Jack?” she asked with a tilt her head.

Jack kissed the tip of her nose. “No question, just do.” He giggled, releasing her and turning her toward the bathroom and gave her a light swat on the rear. ”Go shower or bathe. The bathtub is huge, I'll bring your night gown and toiletries to you after I order our dinner.

Harleen giggled, but she did as Jack said and went into the bathroom. She had to stop and suck in her breath. She should not have been surprised, she realized as she took in the vast the room. The inside of the bath was all dark purple marble and gold plated fixtures. If anything, the bathroom was probably the most lavish looking room in the place! Harleen knew she looked foolish with her mouth hanging open, but she had never seen anything like it.

The bathtub and shower were separate, two sinks and a mirror ran the length of one whole wall and nearly everything seemed to be crafted of polished marble! Harleen walked over to the tub to run her finger along its smooth edge. The tub was a combination bathtub and hot tub that faced another large wall-size window that looked out over the horizon. It was simply amazing. With a pleased giggle, Harleen ran the tub full of warm water, finding some hotel bubble bath in one of the cabinets under the sink, along with some thick, fluffy white towels, which probably cost more than her entire wardrobe of clothing, she thought with a smirk.

She undressed quickly (feeling a little strange with the window even though she knew she was high enough up that no one would see her). Tossing her clothing into a pile on the floor by the bathroom sinks, Harleen slipped into the tub exhaling slowly as the warm water gradually covered her body. The sweet fragrance of vanilla floating around her was highlighted by the silken pleasure of a million tiny bubbles. Harleen groaned leaning back in the tub, her arms draped along the back of it, her thick hair loose around her face as she closed her eyes.

“I could get used to this...” she murmured to herself.

She was so relaxed that she didn't hear the door softly open until Jack's smooth voice floated over to her. “Now that is a beautiful sight.”

Harleen jumped with a squeak. “Jack!”

He laughed, a deep low chuckle that resonated from his chest. He was standing by the tub holding two tall glasses, both filled with what looked to be champagne, his jacket and vest gone. He was still wearing his shirt, which he had unbuttoned to about mid-chest, the tie hanging loose around his neck. The belt around his slacks was gone and he was barefoot.

Harleen grinned, her cheeks red as she accepted the glass of champagne that Jack handed to her. Jack wrinkled his nose while grinning. “That bath looks nice—care if I join you?”

Harleen's blush deepened. “I would love that.”

Jack grinned broadly at her, showing off his perfect set of white teeth while he waggled his eyebrows at her just before he proceeded to get into the tub—with his clothes on. Harleen squealed, laughing as Jack displaced water and bubbles. He sat down beside her, laughing as well and lightly clicked his glass with hers.

“To great baths, sexy blondes and dead mothers.”

Harleen giggled, returning his toast adding. “And to dead fathers.”

They both laughed. Harleen moved closer and Jack put his arm around her shoulders with a smirk on his lips. His eyes wandered down, a slight pout creasing his brow. “The bubbles are much too high.”

She blushed leaning against him. “Well, they do pop.”

Jack laughed and downed his drink, setting the glass aside. Harleen quickly did the same. Jack took her glass then glided his fingers along her jaw tilting her face up.

“My precious Harley...” he whispered, his eyes wandering over her face just before he caressed her lips with his..a sensual draw of his tongue along the soft petals of her mouth. Suddenly Jack pulled her across to his lap. She laughed softly, the feel of the wet material under her as she climbed onto his lap; she felt funny and sexy at the same time. Jack gazed up at her. She couldn't quite read his emotions, but lust was definitely there. Jack's fingers caressed her back, his fingers skimming down below the surface of the water to grip her rear.

“Mmm...so soft...” he said, with a grin dancing across his lips.

Harleen giggled smiling down at him, her soapy hands caressing his face and his hair. Jack pressed his front teeth into his bottom lip as his eyes wandered down to her neck and breasts where the marks he had left the day before blazed brightly on her pale skin.

“I like that I marked you,” he whispered.

Harleen rolled her hips against him. “I should mark you next.”

Jack lifted a brow. “Oh, should you now?”

Harleen giggled with a nod. “Oh yes, I should.”

She attacked his mouth, her tongue dancing along his as she wrapped her arms around his neck. He pressed her close, his hands traveling up her back, fingers sliding along her neck and shoulders. He grabbed her wet hair and pulled her head back, exposing her neck. Jack dragged his teeth down her throat, his tongue flicking out to taste the water running down her neck. Harleen groaned, her fingers balling up the wet fabric of his shirt while she rolled her hips. She could feel him, wet and tight through his slacks, hard against her hot sensitive flesh. She ground against him slowly, the water splashing in lazy waves, cresting the edge of the tub to splash onto the floor.

Jack's hungry mouth wandered down to her breast, biting softly down on her nipple before twirling his tongue gradually around the hard nub of her nipple.

Harleen moaned in delight. “Oh Jack.”

Her whole body arched, heat racing through her. Jack dragged his hand over her shoulder, his fingers pressing into her tender flesh, gliding down her front, over the soft hills and valleys of her breasts, his eyes watching with an intense gaze as droplets slowly made their way across the map of her skin. Harleen rolled her hips, the friction of his bound erection in the wet slacks pressing against her. Jack groaned as he ran a wet hand up her side, over her breast catching her nipple between his fingers and caressing it while she moved. Her breath came in rapid pants as she kept undulating against him, pressing herself along his pelvis as she rubbed herself along Jack's length, delighted at the feel of his shaft pressing through his slacks.

Jack groaned watching her face, watching the way she moved. He reached up pulling her to him. His kisses were hot and tender. Harleen came then, arching her back, her fingers digging into his shoulders. Jack pressed her hips down on him watching her moaning peak.

“Aahh...” she gasped, Jack's hands holding her the only thing keeping her upright. She attacked his mouth again, her teeth catching his bottom lip and tugging, riding out her orgasm for a few more moments before she let his lip go.

Jack's eyes were hooded, his blue gaze intense as he whispered. “I want you Harley.”

He released her just before he stood up, Harleen sliding off of him with a slight splash in the water. Jack, smiling, dripping wet, his dark clothes sticking to his lean form, stepped out of the tub. He unbuttoned the shirt that was sticking to him in delightful ways that Harleen greatly appreciated.

“I left you something to change into on the hanger near the sink,” he said. “Meet me in the bedroom.” Jack gave her a smile and a wink as he stepped out. Harleen was flushed, every nerve-ending in her body was on ecstatic fire as she nodded mutely at him. Jack winked at her and tossed his wet shirt into a corner of the bathroom as he stepped out.

Harleen only saw him undoing his slacks as he strolled out of the room whistling the first part of a song before he started to sing in his perfectly wonderful voice.

“Fill my heart with song

Let me sing for ever more

You are all I long for

All I worship and adore

In other words, please be true

In other words, I love you ...”

*

Harleen dried off and hurried over to where Jack had set her pajamas gasping in surprise when she saw the red nightie he had bought her from the vintage shop. She held up the red nightie with a blush spreading across her cheeks.

Quickly, she combed out her hair, braiding it over her shoulder, then sprayed herself with vanilla body spray before slipping on the nightie (without panties). She looked at herself in the mirror turning one way, then the other, her heart hammering in her chest.

This was it, she thought...her first night with Jack Wayne. She squeezed her eyes shut. She was in love with him, deeply, passionately, madly in love with him. Harleen smiled at herself in the mirror, then she turned and hurried out.

*

Jack waited for her by the large round bed with a long tray of food, wearing only a pair of silk boxers in a dark plum, almost black color. He had taken the covers off the food to reveal rib-eyed steak, whipped potatoes, asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, and bordelaise sauce with another bottle of wine, this time, Cabernet Sauvignon.

He was setting everything up when he saw her, his eyes widening with pleasure as they glided down her figure. His smile was a little lopsided and, Harleen realized with a sigh, endearing. Harleen stood with her hands behind her back, her teeth pressed into her bottom lip, blushing with pleasure. She gave him a shy look. Jack grinned with raised eyebrows.

“You look good enough to eat,” he intoned softly.

“I hope you don't mind that I ordered for the both of us.” He stood up to walk over to take her hand. Harleen let her eyes wander up and down his body once before she took his hand.

“Not at all,” she murmured. Jack grinned leading her over to the bed where their dinner was set out. He poured some wine into two additional glasses.

“To new beginnings.” He held his glass up.

“To new beginnings.” Harleen smiled clinking her glass with his. They both took a sip. Harleen grinned. “I'm so glad you came with me Jack.”

Jack was cutting her steak for her as he glanced up. “I'm glad I came too. Being with you is always fun.”

Harleen laughed. “You put the “fun” in funeral. I never thought I would laugh so much!”

Jack shrugged. “What can I say? I find the humor in everything.”

They both laughed, but then Jack was holding up a bite of steak for her. She smiled as she opened her mouth. Jack slid the bite of steak between her lips, his eyes heated as he watched her tongue flick out to lick the bite. His breath came a little short. No sooner was the bite of steak in her mouth than Jack dropped his fork, his hand going around her neck and pulling her to him. He covered her mouth with his, the two of them sharing the bite of steak for a moment. They both giggled, but then Jack was gathering her up and laying back on the bed, the food forgotten almost instantly.

Jack's hands roamed up under the nightie, feeling the warm smoothness of her skin, the way her round hips narrowed to her waist then flared again at her breasts, and the fact that she wore no panties just made the whole experience intoxicating.

Jack groaned. “Harley...my Harley.”

She pushed herself up to a sitting position over him, her hands spanning over his chest. She could feel his erection straining against his boxers between her legs. She rocked her hips, rubbing herself against him, drawing out gasps from Jack and a hitch in his breath while his hands traced the curves of her figure again, the tips of his fingers slowly caressing her skin.

Jack grinned and said in a husky voice, “I really like the nightie on you.”

Harleen giggled, wiggling. “I feel pretty in it.”

Jack's groan at her wiggling on him then turned into a laugh. “You are more than pretty, my sweets.”

Jack pulled her down forcing Harleen to drop her hands on either side of his head, his mouth going for her breasts, his lips and tongue tracing the hard outline of her nipples against the fabric. Harleen groaned, arching her back, her hands shifting to cradle his head. Jack's mouth became more aggressive, biting, sucking, while his fingernails dragged down her sides causing a combination of tickles and slight pain that she wanted to go on and on.

Jack suddenly grasped her hips and flipped her over onto her back. She squealed, which made Jack laugh.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered looking down at her. Harleen smiled up at Jack. His hair was loose, flopping over his forehead, while his smile was both seductive and full of joy...that she had caused. That aspect made her heart soar, she made him smile! She made Jack happy...what more could she ask?

Jack ran his tongue along the bottom of his upper teeth whispering in a heated voice. “I want to taste you Harley....I want to bury my tongue inside you... Harleen shivered.

“Jack...” she said his name slowly like she was letting his name caress her tongue. Jack smiled, oozing down her body, feeling the silky texture of her nightie caressing his skin. He stopped at her hips, pushing the garment up over her stomach.

He grinned wider seeing her, the slim line of curling hair, the way her creamy hips flared out into round soft curves, the tender flesh of her thighs. The desire to bite and mark her came over him stronger than before. He spread her legs gradually, as if he were opening a flower, staring down at her, watching her open and blossom before him. Harleen's heart hammered hard against her chest, her eyes glued to Jack's face. She couldn't deny she was nervous...would he be pleased with her...find her beautiful?

Jack ran his hands down her legs, then up to her hips before he rubbed her thighs, pressing his teeth into his lip while he gazed at her. The heat in his eyes told her everything she needed to know. Jack gave her a lopsided grin before he slowly, deliberately lowered himself down to her.

Harleen cried out when his tongue touched her. Feeling the warm wetness of his tongue against her sent shivers up her spine. Harleen was gasping for air when he ran the flat of his tongue up the length of her sex, taking his time. Harleen shuddered.

“Oh, Jack...” she moaned, her hands coming around to slide into his hair. Jack grinned shifting her legs over his shoulders and wrapping his arms around her tights. He leaned in, pushing her thighs up, his tongue flicking over her clitoris. The touch of his tongue was electric, shooting sparks through her body, causing her to instantly climax. Her fingers jerked in his hair, her hips thrusting toward him as she cried out.

“Uuhhhh!!”

Jack laughed. “So sensitive!”

Harley flushed almost as red as her nightie, but before she could respond, Jack buried his tongue against her again, eliciting a gasp of pleasure from her.

Harleen cried out, arching when Jack sucked hard against the tender spot, pulling her clitoris, gently, just enough of a tug to send more ripples up her spine and deep pools of pleasure around her groin. He continued his administrations, rolling his tongue, teeth and lips over her, licking and sucking deeply, listening to the beautiful sounds of her gasping and groaning. One of his long fingered hands glided up her body to caress the nipple of one breast, rolling his fingers over the hard bud, driving Harleen to moan louder.

He loved the feel of her fingers in his hair, tugging, pulling, her nails scraping against his skull. Finally, tonight she would be all his...and he would be hers...their bodies and fates intertwined, tangled to the point that no one could ever pull them apart.

Harleen came again with blinding force, his tongue flicking playfully against her intimate lips. Feeling the way Jack's lips caressed her, then alternated with the slight pleasurable pain of his teeth, had her spiraling out of control, her cries loud and wanton. She didn't care who heard her! She rocked against him, feeling the press of his tongue, his lips! Then suddenly his tongue was replaced by the slide of his fingers into her. She wasn't expecting the firm feel of his fingers, the sudden change had her crying out again in sheer pleasure. Jack moaned softly, pushing his fingers in and out of her, watching the way they disappeared into her, then came out glistening. She was so wet and warm...he grinned, watching the way her hips thrust up to meet his fingers before he pulled them away completely.

“Jack! Jack!! I need you!” Harleen tugged at his hair causing him to laugh against her. He rose up onto his knees, licking his lips as he did. “You taste just like I thought you would; warm, sweet, delicious...”

He winked at her. Harleen blushed, her eyes twinkling with a mixture of embarrassment and pleasure.

“My turn Jack...” she purred sitting up and reaching over to tug at his boxers. Jack swallowed, watching her. For a moment he was nervous...just a slight twinge of worry that was quickly banished. Harleen gathered herself up, the red nightie falling back into place. She sat on her knees, glancing up at him once before she pulled his silk boxers down his hips. She let out an exhale of pleasure at the sight of him. Hard, thick, and just the right length to make her mouth water.

The expression on Harley's face had him grinning with pride. She ran her hands over his hips caressing the flat, muscled plains of his stomach, the sharp curves of his hip bones, her fingertips tracing the way his muscles narrowed down to his groin. He hissed softly at her touch, the gentle way her fingertips brushed over him, touching his erection just barely, her fingers feather light. Harleen slowly circled her fingers around, brushing his scrotum, making Jack jerk even more than her touch of his erection.

Harleen purred. “Oh Jack...” She cupped him with her hand and squeezed gently, just enough to make his hips jerk.

“Harley...” he hissed her name, lacing each syllable with the pleasure of her touch, with deep passionate meaning. He ran his fingers over her face while she touched him. Harley. Yes, she thought. Harley...his Harley. Harleen was just her mask. Her fingers glided delicately over his erection. For something so hard, it felt like velvet to her touch. The desire to take him into her mouth, to feel that satin soft skin of his against her lips and tongue was overpowering. She lowered her mouth to him, brushing her lips teasingly against him. His skin felt hot, the warmth of him radiating through her. When her tongue flicked out in an experimental lick, Jack shuddered in delight. Harley sucked Jack deep into her mouth, groaning at the hot feel of his satin erection against her tongue. She thrilled at the sound of his moan, feeling him gently grasp her head. He looked down watching her, enjoying the way her warm, wet tongue danced along his sensitive flesh, the way she looked with him in her mouth. Harley sucked deeply then pulled her lips along his length.

His eyes fluttered as he groaned. “Oh Harley!!”

Jack moved his hips, thrusting slowly while she sucked, then circled her tongue over him. He hissed with pleasure, the soft feel of her lips around him, her wet silky tongue slipping and sliding against his shaft. Jack had never felt anything like it.

She groaned, licking slowly, then sucking hard, the warmth of him, the slight jerking of his hips, all of it made her not only feel powerful, but it thrilled her that she could do this to him, for him.

Jack's shuddering with pleasure encouraged Harley to suck harder, taking him deep into her mouth. Jack's fingers convulsed against her scalp.

Jack's breaths were coming in pants, his hips thrusting slowly until he finally pulled away.

“Enough! Enough Harley...” Jack gasped, his whole body shuddering.

She released him with a giggle rising up on her knees.

Jack's grin was broad and infectious. “Take that nightie off and lie back my cupcake.”

She giggled pulling the gown over the top of her head as Jack shimmied off the bed and easily dropped his boxers to the floor. He watched her, his gaze heated as she laid back on the pillows completely naked. Harley was surprised at herself, being so open and bold to lie there, not hiding, showing all of herself to Jack. Jack's heart slammed inside of his chest while he gazed at her. He had never wanted anyone, ever. But her...she was like a drug, everything he wanted, everything he needed. She was gorgeous, smart and he felt wholeheartedly that she was the part of his soul that had been missing. The only person in all the world he was sure would understand him. He was sure of it and now she lay there in front of him naked, creamy, soft, vulnerable and all his.

Jack crawled onto the bed, moving like a predator. The blue of his eyes seemed to glow as he made his way up her body. He giggled and growled simultaneously. “You're mine. Are you ready Harley?

She groaned, writhing on the soft sheets. “Oh yes Jack, yes...”

He laughed leaning in to lick her breast, dragging his tongue over one of her nipples and then the other. Harley gasped. “Jack...my Jack... “

He laid down, against her, his face snuggled between her breasts. He laughed biting the side of one soft, creamy mound, making Harley squeak and giggle. He pushed her up a little higher, the pillows sliding under her hips before he started to tease her opening.

He chuckled. “You're so wet Harley. Mmm...so warm...”

Harley's whole body ached with need for him. She needed him badly and only he could stop the pain. She reached up to drag her nails down his chest . “Jack...ahh...Jack...”

Jack teased her and himself, rubbing the head of his erection against her opening, coating himself with her, watching the way she groaned and pouted for him. He laughed then, a joyous exclamation.

“My sweet, sweet Harley...” He thrust into her, deeply, pressing as hard as he could, burying himself in her soft, welcoming warmth. Harley gasped, instantly wrapping herself around him. Jack leaned in, attacking her mouth, losing control of his body, the need to slam into her, to take her, the pleasure of her warmth, her wetness surrounded him as he took her. The feeling of their bodies, connected so intimately, sent his mind spiraling into animal passions. Jack grabbed her arms, yanking her arms over her head for a moment, holding her as he made long, deep thrusts, listening to the wet sound of their love-making while staring into her blue eyes, becoming lost in their depths.

Jack growled with a grin. “Come for me, Harley...I want to hear you scream my name.”

Harley gasped, Jack felt so good that it was almost mind numbing.

She moaned. “Oh yes Jack! Yes!”

She cried out, her hands twitching into fists while her body arched off the bed.. Jack grinned watching her head arch back, her mouth open as she moaned his name. “JACK!!”

Jack released her hands before he kissed and nibbled down her neck, leaning on one hand to cup a breast, pinching her nipple delicately. Harley mewled, wrapping her arms around him, her fingers threading through his hair, pressing her hips up to meet his thrusts, her legs sliding down from his waist, her feet caressing the back of his calves.

Jack's eyes rolled. “Harley...” He moaned her name softly against her collar.

The heated passion with which they started didn't cool, only changed into something more tender. Jack wrapped his hands around her, cradling her head. His kisses were more delicate, tender nips and licks against her skin and lips. He moaned her name, his hips shifting and thrusting gently. Harley sucked in a shuddering breath.

“My Harley...mine,” he growled, thrusting slow, hard and deep. He ground his teeth, the warm wet feeling over her washing over him. He moved his hands to either side of her head, thrusting hard, slamming into her a few times before slowing his hips down again. Jack's brow furrowed with the effort of slowly down his thrusts. He panted her name again. “Harley...Harley...”

“I love you Jack, I love you...” A tear ran down her cheek; the emotions running through her were extreme. He felt so good pumping inside her, the feel of his hips slamming into her, then the slow gentle caress of his pulling back, then sliding deep. She reached up to cradle his face between her hands as she said it, staring into his bright eyes. “I love you Jack Wayne, only you, no matter what comes, it will only ever be you.”

Jack smiled, then whispered as if he were afraid that the big, unfair universe would hear him, the words only for her.

“I love you, my Harley. Nothing and no one will ever touch you.”

That was the moment Jack came...with a long, low passionate moan, he thrust deep, pressing the whole of himself inside her as his whole body shuddered. Harley gasped, her thighs tightening around him, peaking with him, the emotions of the moment overcoming her, their bodies were one. They were one.

*

Jack helped to clean to her and himself before crawling back into the bed under the rich covers. He tugged the covers up snuggling down into the pillows with Harley beside him. He pulled her into the cradle of his arms, the food cold and completely forgotten. Jack chuckled, holding her against his chest. “I meant to be a little smoother,” he whispered with a wry grin.

Harley giggled. “You were perfect.”

Jack laughed and squeezed her against him before he tilted her face up to his, brushing his lips over hers. She smiled sleepily with a giggled whisper. “Best funeral ever.”

Jack laughed. “Agreed.”

*

It wasn't long before Harley was sound asleep. Jack thought about waking her, taking her with him, but he decided against it. She looked so peaceful, content. He grinned. He would tell her later.

Jack slipped out of the bed walking naked across the room, heading over to his suitcase where he pulled out a pair of black jeans, a black shirt and a hat. The last item he pulled out was a straight razor.

Jack held the razor up to the moonlight shining in through the picture window, examining it. He sighed with a smile. It was a beautiful blade. After seeing how her step-father had treated her, Jack was glad he had brought it along with him.

He slipped out of the room pulling the hat down and taking the elevator. This hotel had security cameras, of course, but not on the top floor and he knew just how to avoid being seen. This time of night the hotel lobby was practically deserted. No one paid much attention to Jack as he slipped outside, making his way to the parking lot. He looked around for a bit, tapping his chin with the tips of his fingers then smiled when he saw a fairly non-descript car, a Nissan Versa...which surprised him considering how expensive this hotel was, but it worked for him. Jack easily slipped into the car, and just as easily hot wired it. He started up the car and pulled out, driving back to Doug's house. *

The streets of the suburb were quiet. Streetlights here and there providing pools of false safety. Jack smiled as he drove, whistling to himself. After a few more minutes, he saw the house coming into view. There were no cars parked at the house and only one light on in the living room. Jack grinned and turned off the headlights before he parked in the driveway. He sat quietly in the car waiting, but there was no reaction to his appearance. Jack slipped quietly out of the car and made his way around to the back of the house. As he suspected would be the case, the back porch light was unlit and the door was unlocked. He smiled happily, opening it and sliding inside. He made his way toward the living room where the one light was on and he could hear the sounds of some TV program mindlessly playing in the background.

Jack walked silently into the living room and stopped in the doorway taking in the room. Numerous food containers lay everywhere. The remains of the wake Jack surmised, but there were also beer cans and wine bottles. He chuckled when his eyes landed on Doug, still in his suit from the funeral, snoring loudly while he laid sprawled in a recliner.

Jack chuckled quietly. “Oh, just like you were waiting for me to come and kill you.”

*

Doug's eyes fluttered. He's head was killing him, but then he realized that there was a gag in his mouth, his hands and feet tied behind his back. He jerked and twisted in confusion trying to work himself free his heart beating rapidly in his sudden panic. His eyes darted around trying to figure out where he was when a flashlight clicked on in his face. Doug winced trying to look away, but the light followed. He snarled and struggled, but stopped when he heard a cultured, smooth voice speak.

“Must feel strange for a man like you to be in a position like this.” The man (Doug figured it was a man judging by the voice) removed the light from his eyes and came over to crouch on the balls of his feet and stare down at him. Doug frowned in confusion; it was the man that had come with Harleen to the funeral.

Doug struggled, making horrible noises at Jack.

Jack smiled. “Ah, you remember me don't you? Jack Wayne. Not a pleasure to see you again. Harley told me how nasty you were to her while she was growing up. How you hurt her. I don't like anyone hurting my girl...no one. So I'm here to settle that score. I'm going to hurt you, really, really badly. And then, I'm going to kill you.”

Jack stood up smiling. “I figure we have a couple of hours to play until I need to get back to Harley. I stopped by your garden shed after I picked you up...you really are a fat man Doug. Oh, that reminds me of a joke by Bob Monkhouse. When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather...not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.” Jack giggled. “You're going to go screaming...I promise.”

With that, Jack held up his straight razor, examining it in the moonlight as he had back at the hotel. He smiled widely glancing over at Doug. “I thought about taking you home with me, letting you be one of my experiments...I haven't shared them with Harley yet, but I'm going to. I love her, you see.” Jack grinned wider still. “She belongs to me now...she is the most magnificent, most beautiful creature...” Jack turned to look down at Doug. “And you hurt her....” Jack's eyes narrowed. “I simply can't let that go. You went all this time without being punished. Well...consider me your angel of long overdue punishment. And your angel of death, of course.”

As Jack giggled and stepped closer, Doug started to struggle anew, his eyes wide in terror. Jack laughed. “You know why I use a knife? A gun is too quick, but a knife—a knife lets you get in close...let's you see what people are really like...”

Smiling, he murmured. “They are never going to find your body.”

*

Harley woke up smiling, her eyes fluttering for a moment then focused on Jack who was lying naked beside her, propped on his elbow, his head resting in his hand watching her.

He smiled happily. “Good morning, pumpkin.”

Harley giggled stretching her arms over head with a little wiggle. “Good morning puddin.”

Jack laughed. “Puddin?”

Harley blushed and giggled. “Yes...that's what you made me feel like...pudding...all wobbly, warm and creamy...puddin.”

Jack laughed. “I like that. Puddin...”

Harley wrinkled her nose with a grin. “My puddin...”

Jack rolled on top of her grabbing her arms and pinning them over her head, making Harley squeal. “We have the room for another day before we have to head back to Gotham...let's play!” Jack purred. Jack grabbed the comforter and yanked it over their heads.

Harley's laughter soon turned to moans of pleasure.

Chapter Text

Bruce woke up after only a few hours of sleep. He was still struggling to get accustomed to his new schedule, up during the day as well as up nearly all night, but he had only been on the streets of Gotham for a few months now. He was still having some difficulty leading two lives, keeping one separate from the other was difficult. He didn't make the headlines as The Batman every night, probably because the GCPD was keeping a tight lid on some of the Batman's activities, but also, for the last few nights since the gala, crime had been rather...pedestrian. Nothing big, no huge criminals or costumed villains. Just your typical alleyway muggings, a few convenience store robberies, all of which the Batman took care of easily.

Bruce stood up by the side of his bed, stretched his arms over his head, then slowly down to the floor before he strolled over to his desk and turned on his laptop to check the most recent headlines.

As he sat at his desk looking over the news, a story in the entertainment column caught his eye. He saw that a picture accompanied the article. The man in the photo caught Bruce's attention first, but then he actually read the headline.

“WHO IS JACK WAYNE SEEING?”

Bruce frowned as he clicked on the article. Over the story was a picture of Jack stepping into an elevator with a blonde woman. Whoever the photographer was, he hadn't found a good angle in which to capture the blonde, but the man in the photo was clearly his brother Jack.

The article discussed the fact that Jack Wayne was seen entering a luxury hotel outside of Gotham with an unknown woman. The author speculated in the article whether Jack Wayne was planning on being a playboy like his brother—who was seen out-on-the-town with several different women on almost a regular basis—or was this something more serious occurring between the mysterious blonde and the younger Wayne brother? The author also wrote how Jack Wayne had not been seen a great deal in recent years, but in the last few weeks, the younger Wayne brother had been making more and more appearances in public.

The article continued with the author writing that because Jack Wayne and the mysterious woman were seen entering a hotel together, could this be something serious with the younger Wayne? Why sneak around with the mystery woman unless Jack Wayne was either trying to keep a low profile or he wanted to keep his mystery woman out of the public eye? The article also discussed the fact that in regards to Jack Wayne's recent public outings, such as the Wayne gala, Jack Wayne had been seen with a masked blonde, the reporter pointed out, and how this particular woman might be the same one he was seen entering a hotel with. Could there be wedding bells in the near future for the younger Wayne brother? The article ended there.

Bruce sighed. He didn't really care that Jack had someone...he hoped that Harleen Quinzel's presence was good for Jack, though it rattled him to know he had hired her to take care of his brother and now she was in his bed!

He could only imagine the field day the press would have with the fact that Jack was dating his doctor...his psychiatrist. Bruce took a few deep breaths. He wasn't sure how to solve this problem with Jack. If Bruce Wayne had been a regular playboy billionaire, Jack and Harleen might not have bothered him at all. But the more the press examined the family, the more likely his secret night work might be discovered. Bruce simply couldn't have that.

As Bruce dressed for the day, slipping into a three thousand dollar Valentino suit of light blue, he thought about the fact that Vickie Vale would be here in another day to do the family interview...he just had to make sure there was nothing linking Dr. Quinzel professionally with Jack...he could fire her but Jack had already threatened Bruce once over even the idea of letting Dr. Quinzel go.

Bruce had no illusions about what Jack might do if forced to give up Dr. Quinzel. Jack had always been possessive. Maybe Bruce needed to take the good doctor aside and have a talk with her. Bruce was fairly good at sensing someone's intentions. He didn't believe that Dr. Quinzel set out to seduce his brother, just as he didn't believe that Jack had set out to seduce her, but he needed to be sure. He decided he would take her to lunch and have a talk with her. Maybe, if Bruce was satisfied with her intentions...but they would have to come up with a story of how she and Jack met, why she was staying here...

Bruce rubbed the bridge of his nose, there just wasn't enough time to deal with this before Ms. Vale's interview. Why couldn't his little brother ever make anything easy? Bruce decided first to talk to Alfred. Alfred could always be counted on to give Bruce not just the unvarnished truth, but Alfred would hopefully give him a clearer picture of the situation between Jack and Harleen Quinzel.

*

Bruce made his way to the kitchen, the enticing smell of coffee drawing him to his butler who was just setting the coffee on the tray that Alfred usually brought to Bruce's room where Bruce usually took his breakfast.

When Bruce entered the kitchen already dressed for the day, Alfred glanced up startled.

“Am I running late Master Bruce?” Alfred frowned in confusion.

Bruce smiled. “No no. I just happen to be up early and needed to talk to you about...” Bruce did a quick look around. “Is Jack up?”

“I have no idea sir. He and Dr. Quinzel did not return from the funeral yesterday. They stayed at a hotel I presume.” Alfred started setting out Bruce's breakfast when the young man pulled up a stool to the counter where Jack and Harleen usually ate their meals.

“Funeral?” Bruce frowned, then he frowned deeper...the picture...

“Yes, Miss Harleen's mother passed away unexpectedly. The funeral was yesterday.” Alfred set out the eggs and toast from the tray and proceeded the pour Bruce's coffee.

“She never asked for the day off.” Bruce frowned “She never said anything.”

“From what I gathered sir, she didn't know about the funeral until the day of. Master Jack made the arrangements rather quickly to take her.” Alfred smiled. “Master Jack seems quite smitten with Miss Harleen.”

Bruce frowned. “Yes, yes he does. Has he said anything to you? I mean about the doctor. I'm just...” Bruce sighed. “How serious is this and do you think Dr. Quinzel is after Jack's money?”

Alfred lifted a brow at Bruce's plain speech. “Well sir, if I may be blunt?”

Bruce took a sip of his coffee. “Please.”

“No. I truly do not believe Miss Harleen is after his money. It is clear to me that the young woman, despite her position as his doctor, is in love with Master Jack.” Alfred stood back from the counter with his hands behind his back.

“And Jack?” Bruce cut into his eggs as he spoke.

“I believe Master Jack is in love with her. It is nice to see one of you young men pursuing something less dark and dangerous.”

Bruce looked up sharply, but Alfred only smiled a little and continued. “I have always hoped both of you would recover from your parents' deaths and move forward. I'm just happy to see Jack is starting to do that. Miss Harleen is a lovely young woman sir.”

Bruce sighed. “Do you think Jack would be angry if I fired her?” Bruce stared at Alfred, his blue eyes held that steady determination that they had held since the night his and Jack's parents died.

“I think Master Bruce, firing Dr. Quinzel would cause damage along the lines of the the death of your parents to Master Jack.” Alfred said this with little emotion in his voice, but Bruce was accustomed to reading the older man and knew Alfred would also be upset with Bruce if he let her go.

“Fine, but we need to keep her position as Jack's doctor out of the papers. If Jack is going to pursue this relationship I want it to appear as normal as possible.” Bruce finished his breakfast and stood up.

“Can you tell them both that for me?” He looked to Alfred.

Alfred wanted to tell Bruce that he should talk to his brother himself, but he knew that Bruce was too tied up in his day and nighttime activities. Alfred was well aware that Bruce saw himself as not just trying to save Gotham, and himself (even if he wouldn't admit that part) but he was trying to save Jack every night he went on the streets of Gotham. Trying to save another little brother from the edge of madness.

“Of course Master Bruce.” Alfred nodded his acknowledgment.

Bruce stopped in the doorway, his hand on the frame. Alfred watched the younger man's back, waiting for Bruce to say something more, but he simply continued out the door. Alfred sighed. The boys had been so close before that tragic night. Now he wondered if, after such a long time, they would ever have that close a relationship again.

*

Harley had no idea what time it was when she woke up again. Only that it was daytime since sunlight streamed in from the picture windows, but the delicious smell of coffee wafted over her, bringing a smile to her lips. Judging by the light, it might be early afternoon. She yawned, sitting up, the sheets and comforter falling away from her naked body.

Then she heard Jack's soft voice.

“I could get used to seeing that every day.”

Harley giggled pulling up the comforter and blushing, making Jack laugh. “Now that's cute, blushing after what we did to each other last night? Several times...” He licked his upper lip seductively at her. Harley giggled again with a blush brightening her cheeks.

Jack sat on the side of the bed, wearing his boxers again and a grin spreading across face. “Come here my little minx, I ordered us a hearty breakfast since we ended up not eating last night and worked off a lot of calories.”

Harley laughed wiggling to the edge of the bed where a large silver cart sat with several covered dishes that Jack was in the process of uncovering. She adjusted her position wrapping the blanket more securely around her while Jack set a plate in front of her and proceeded to pour some coffee for her.

“Now, what would my lady like? I ordered several dishes for us to choose from.” Jack waggled his eyebrows at her. “I had to pout a little to get them to make us breakfast this late, but it was worth it.” He laughed.

“Let's see. We have Chesapeake omelets which have crab and asparagus in them, along with monray sauce. I also ordered Eggs Benedict with hash browns, Eggs Florentine...lots of egg things.” He grinned with one lifted brow. “I also ordered some vanilla Belgian waffles since I remember how much you like waffles.” Jack reached out and brushed her chin with the tips of his fingers before he continued. “Some bourbon French toast and lastly, some fresh fruit. There is also some orange juice, milk and of course, only the best coffee for my pumpkin.”

Jack put a little bit of everything on her plate as he introduced each item to her.

“Oh Puddin! This...I don't think I can eat all of this!” Harley's laugh only made Jack's grin widen. “Eat as much as you can, because I plan on working it off of you at least one more time before we head home.” He grabbed the side of the comforter tugging her closer. She giggled falling over sideways into her puddin. Jack booped her nose with the tip of his finger. Sitting beside her, their hips now touching, Jack proceeded to cut up her food before he started to feed her.

Jack grinned, taking his own bite. Harley smiled as she gazed at him. She could not remember ever being this happy, ever.

Jack tilted his head toward her. “What is it Dr. Quinn?”

Harley laughed softly. “Just...you make me happy Jack.”

“And you make me happy Harley. I won't let anyone ever take that away.” He cupped her cheek, his thumb tracing the line of her cheekbone, his eyes intent, almost frightening in their intensity.

“I won't let anyone take you from me Jack,” she echoed in a whisper.

Jack tugged her in for a kiss, his hand sliding to the back of her head holding her possessively to him. Harley's heart soared, her fingers digging into his shoulders. Jack's hands dropped to her waist hauling her back onto the bed where he rolled on top of her.

“Harley, do you swear to love me? Swear it on your life...would you die for me?” Jack laid on top of her stroking her hair back from her face as his eyes stared intently down at her. The slight green in them was lost as the blue seemed to take over, glowing with his passion for her. Jack searched her face. Harley wasn't sure what he was looking for, but she wanted him to know that she would never leave him.

“Yes Jack, yes,” she assured him with conviction. “I would die for you.” Harley felt the sting of tears pricking at the back of her eyes, the deepness of her emotions welling up inside her. She reached up to caress his face, the tips of her fingers tracing his features.

Jack frowned then as he studied her.

He caressed her chin with his thumb, then stroked her bottom lip. She wasn't sure what he was looking for, but she laid herself bare to him. Whatever he wanted from her, she would give him, no matter what it was, no matter if it hurt. She would do anything for Jack.

“That's too easy...” he whispered, a slight frown marring his brow. “Would you...would you live for me Harley...my Harley Quinn. No matter what happens, no matter what I become...will you live for me?” Jack's eyes slid closed as he waited her answer. He leaned toward her and brushed his lips against her mouth caressing her lips with a featherlight stroke that flowed across her skin. His nose brushed against hers, all of the sensations of his touch, the heat of his body lying across hers, the brush of his lips, the tender caress of his thumb; all of these little sensations were like a soft, warm breeze blowing causally across her face, a ghost of a touch, not quite fulfilling their promise. Harley groaned softly, her hands resting against his hips. Jack's voice was like warm honey, dripping with sweetness and desire.

"Careful...” he murmured, his eyes opening only a sliver, showing her that glowing line of blue. “Do not say this oath thoughtlessly my sweet, sweet Harley. I'm not asking you to simply love me, to simply be with me—this is more than that. What we have is more than just love, so much more than just fucking. You, you are me...my missing half...the thing I've been searching for...I would kill for you. Saying this, stating that you want this...it's giving me power just as I give power to you... Desire becomes surrender, surrender becomes...POWER."

Jack licked her lips, then the tip of her nose, all the time staring down at her.

"Do you want this? Be sure...be very, very sure Harley..." he purred, his eyes searching her face. He licked her lips again. “Say it...” his voice dropping to barely a whisper. “Say it, say it, say it...pretty, pretty, pretty...” He closed his eyes taking a breath as if he were inhaling her, breathing her in while his lips playfully danced across hers, teasing her with unspoken promises.

“Yes. Yes Jack, I do.” Harley heard herself beg him.

Jack smiled. “Oh Harley, you are so good...so very good. You're mine...I am yours, come what may...”

His mouth covered hers, his tongue pressing between her lips. Harley wrapped her arms around him tugging his body down closer to her. She needed to feel him. Jack pulled the covers from between them exposing her naked body, allowing him to touch and press against her. His hand snaked up her torso feeling the soft, silken curves of her body.

“My pretty, pretty Harlequin...” His voice almost sang to her. Jack's teeth nibbled along her jaw, caressing down her throat, long fingers stroked over her breast, rolling her nipple between his fingers. Her finger stroked along his warm flesh a soft gasp escaping her lips when his tongue rolled over her nipples.

“Oh Jack...”

He smiled, his words warm against the dampness against her nipple before he moved his mouth back to her neck.

“Swear to me Harley...: Jack sounded slightly desperate, that he needed her assurance, his face buried against her neck. Harley smoothed her hands down the curve of his spine reaching the edge of his boxers and shoved them down while Jack cupped the side of her breast. He shifted, using one hand to push his boxers down his hips. Harley spread her fingers wide, her hands cupping his rear giving his backside a good hard squeeze, her hips rolling upward to meet his hips.

She could feel the burning heat of his erection against her groin, prompting her to spread her legs, her core aching to feel him again. Harley stroked her legs against his hips, her feet caressing his thighs, while her hands traveled up the slope of his back, gliding across his muscled shoulders until she reached his hair. Her fingers played gently in his hair, feeling the sensation of the thick, silky locks running between her fingers. She brushed her nose against his, her breath caressed his mouth.

“I love you Jack...I love you,” she whispered.

As Jack reached between them, adjusting, he stared into her eyes. It wasn't just him staring into her, he was allowing her to stare back, that was the moment he chose to thrust himself into her.

Harley gasped wrapping her arms around him. Jack grabbed one of her legs hooking her knee over his shoulder and leaned in hissing softly. “Harley...Uummmm...”

She gripped his face between her hands staring into his eyes while he thrust hard and deep, nearly bouncing her whole body as they fucked.

“I'm yours Jack, only yours...puddin,” Harley panted.

She grabbed his shoulders and pushed with all her strength, flipping him over onto his back her gymnast skills allowing her to know the best way to roll, even if this was not what they had been meant for. Jack let out a startled laugh, the intensity of the sound melting into a moan when Harley grinned down at him, having barely kept him inside her with the sudden change of position.

Jack stared up at her grinning. “Hmmm....”

She ground her hips down on him throwing her head back. “Oh puddin, only you, only ever you...”

Her fingers dug into his chest while she rocked her hips. Her whole body arched with her movement. Jack hissed at the feel of her nails pressing into his skin, her long blonde hair brushing the back of his thighs when she leaned back in a deep arch. Her hair tickled his legs as she leaned back, arching her back in a sensual curve, giving him a perfect view of the soft bounce of her breasts while she rode him hard.

Jack reached up, dragging his hands up her sides, pressing his teeth hard into his bottom lip watching her rocking and groaning. When his hands came up to her breasts, he cupped them, her soft, satin mounds, her nipples pink and hard. His thumbs rotated in slow, sensuous circles over her nipples.

Harley was panting, grinding against him. She rode him with all her strength, begging for more from him, taking as much as she could, her thighs clamped around him. She dragged her fingernails down his chest as she leaned forward again, twisting her hips. One of Jack's hands snaked down over her stomach, his fingers spread wide, flowing lower and lower until his thumb brushed through the strip of curling hair, slipping between her damp folds to roll over her clitoris. Harley gasped at the sensation of his thumb against her, which sent her over the edge into an intense orgasm.

“OH JACK!!” she screamed her whole body tensing.

Jack grinned gazing up her, experiencing her pleasure mixing with his own. His goddess. His soul mate. Jack smiled watching her shudder with another orgasm, the way her breasts bounced, the expression on her beautiful face, the feel of her nails dragging down his chest and the way she screamed his name. Jack giggled with joy. Her inner muscles squeezed around him, causing Jack to gasp. The wet sounds of her thrusting, impaling herself on his shaft had Jack groaning. He simply couldn't hold back any longer. His climax teased at the edge of completion. He wanted to hold out, but damn it she was too much.

“Uhh! Harley!” Jack hissed, his expression almost like he was in intense pain instead of ardent passion.

His hips jerked upward as his hands spasmed, slapping down to grab her thighs. Harley dropped her hands down on either side of his head, her long hair creating a golden curtain over the two of them. Her hips came up, almost too far, causing Jack's brow to furrow with the intensity of her slamming down down on him, over and over until he was clinching his teeth panting heavily. She slowed down, rotating her hips in a gentle circular motion that had him hissing. Jack groaned loudly throwing his head back as he burst inside her. “Guhhhh!!”

Harley gasped as she felt him come inside of her. “Oh Jack!” Her next climax shot through her, hot, burning, then rolling in waves of pleasurable warmth.

Harley's arms lost all their strength and she dropped her full weight on him, feeling as if she was melting against him. Jack held her tightly, stroking his fingers up and down her back lightly with a sweet smile on his lips.

“Mmm...you are very good at that...” he purred.

Harley giggled planting soft kisses along his shoulders and chest. “You are very good at that too.”

Jack chuckled as held her close. He pressed his lips to her ear, rocking her ever so slightly. He sang softly, just for her, his voice warm and tender, a caress not just along her ear, but around her very soul.

*

“Every kiss, every hug seems to act just like a drug

You're getting to be a habit with me

Let me stay in your arms I'm addicted to your charms

You're getting to be a habit with me ...”

*

Harley giggled. “Oh Jack! You're such a dork!”

He chuckled nuzzling her neck and holding her tight against his body, he softly sang into her neck and hair.

*

“I used to think your love was something

That I could take or leave alone

But now I couldn't do without my supply

I need you for my own ”

*

He rolled over on top of her, forcing her down into the mattress grinning at her.

*

“Oh, I can't break away I must have you everyday

As regularly as coffee or tea

You've got me in your clutches and I can't get free

You're getting to be a habit with me ”

*

He pressed his grinning mouth to her giggling lips, his tongue sliding, twirling with hers in a way that made her shiver from her lips to her toes, a warmth pooling around her, the warm satisfaction of their shared orgasm telling her that everything was right with the world.

*

Jack looked handsome as always, Harley thought—maybe just a little more so because now he was hers—wore a slim-cut suit of deep blue that brought out the blue in his eyes. She found little details about him so handsome: the curve of his lips, the lure of his eyes, even the laugh lines around his mouth. He had just handed Harley into the car. She wore a simple, sleeveless, silk and wool open back, fit and flare dress with a bow between the shoulder blades in a light red that Jack had purchased along with the black dress for the funeral. He had even paired the red dress with a pair of Christian Louboutin, sheer lace point-toe pumps with black suede detail and red sole, all of which made Harley feel pampered. She wore her hair loose, the natural waves cascading over her shoulder. (She knew Jack liked her hair down.) Jack was walking around the car, about to get in when his cell phone vibrated in his pocket. Jack pulled it out and glanced at the screen as he hit the button.

“On my way home now Alfred,” he said into the phone just as he slipped into the back seat, the chauffeur closing the door for him.

“Master Jack, your friend Lance has returned with another envelope from Mr. Cobblepott,” Alfred responded calmly.

Jack chuckled. “Let me guess. He can't leave until I give him an answer?”

“Exactly Master Jack.”

“Well I'll be a couple of hours so why don't you treat him to lunch and I'll be there as quickly as I can. Oh and Alfred, when is the Vickie Vale dinner?” Jack reached out and took Harley's hand, smiling at her. She squeezed, returning his smile.

“That would be tomorrow evening I believe, Master Jack.” Jack could hear the sound of dishes in the background and a young man's voice telling Alfred thank you.

“Ah good, could you schedule Harley and me an appointment with Frieda for this evening?” Jack picked up Harley's hand kissing the tips of her fingers lightly, grinning the whole while.

“Of course Master Jack.”

“See ya soon Alfie!” Jack hung up the phone, dropping it into his jacket pocket before hauling a giggling and squirming Harley onto his lap.

Jack shoved the skirt of her dress up, his hands running up the top of her thighs, snaking his way up to her hips when he realized she wasn't wearing any panties.

He growled playfully. “You look good enough to eat.”

Harley giggled leaning in to tease his lips with her tongue.

“So who is Frieda and should I be jealous?” Harley asked draping her arms around his shoulders, her fingers playing with the ends of his hair. Jack's fingers circled causally along her bare hips smiling all the while...

Jack laughed. “She is an older woman who has been cutting my hair for as long as I can remember. I thought I was due for a trim and that you might like to have a trim too.”

Harley giggled softly brushing her nose against his. “You think of everything,” she whispered. Jack pulled his bottom lip with his teeth, his expression one of pleasure when

Harley wiggled her hips down on his quickly hardening erection.

“I do try. Wanna make this car ride even more fun?” he asked, whispering against her mouth.

“Oh puddin...” Harley giggled.

Jack chuckled glancing at the rearview mirror with his finger hovering on the button for the privacy window. The driver had been looking at them, but quickly averted his eyes.

Jack grinned. “Just keep your eyes on the road and we'll be fine,” he told the driver.

The man nodded. “Yes sir.”

Jack wrinkled his nose playfully at Harley reaching down between them, the sound of a zipper could be heard.

“Now, let's see what we can do to make this drive home more interesting.” Jack chuckled.

*

When they returned to the manor, they found the young man Lance and Alfred playing cards in the kitchen; from the looks of the game it appeared to be Gin Rummy. When they walked in, Lance jumped to his feet upon seeing Jack Wayne. “Sir!”

Jack laughed. “Settle down Lance. You have another message for me?”

Lance nodded, pulling out the envelope from the pocket of his very stiff looking jacket and handed it to Jack. Jack groaned, seeing another expensive envelope with a wax seal. He broke the seal opening the envelope and pulled out another note on expensive stationery. With a sigh of exasperation, Jack unfolded the paper and held it up to read the message.

Harley watched Jack's eyes move swiftly over the paper before he spoke. “Well apparently our little bird wants to have our duel the morning that Miss Vale is to be here.”

Alfred's expression only changed slightly, a tightening around the eyes.

Harley frowned. “Bruce isn't going to like that.”

Jack laughed. “No, but then again: who said he needs to know?”

Jack glanced at Alfred.”Can you find me a pen?”

“Of course Master Jack.” Alfred swiftly left the kitchen, returning only a moment later with a pen. Jack set the note down on the counter, quickly scribbling out a response.

“There, now you can take that back to our bird friend.”

Lance smiled and nodded. “Thank you sir,” he said with relief before he quickly left.

“What did you tell him?” Harley asked while walking over to help Alfred who had started to get a few things down for tea.

Jack grinned. “Oh I agreed to the time.”

Alfred frowned. “Master Jack, do you think that is wise?”

Jack pulled out some items from the refrigerator. He set out some apples, ham and brie for making tea sandwiches. Alfred stopped, frowning at the two of them until they each realized what the older man wanted and stopped helping. They both went to sit down at their usual places at the counter.

“Well, I figure we can have out little play date before Miss Vale arrives. Besides, the duel is not going to be here on the Wayne Manor grounds. The bird's decided he wants to have our little face off on the remains of the Cobblepot estate.”

Harley frowned. “What do you mean 'remains'?”

Jack shrugged reaching out and snagging a bite of apple from where Alfred had begun slicing the apples for making tea sandwiches. The butler shot Jack a disapproving look, which had Jack chuckling.

“The Cobblepots once had lands and a manor not too dissimilar from the Wayne fortune, but the story goes that the Cobblepots squandered their fortune.” Jack snatched another bite of apple; Alfred paused in the making of the tea sandwiches with an annoyed air.

Alfred said softly, “My grandfather supposedly butlered for the family back in England. He had nothing flattering to say about his experience.”

“As far as I know, the house on that land is nothing but a shell.” Jack frowned. “Unless Oswald has come into some money to repair it,” Jack mused then shrugged. “Well, we're to meet there for our little game of fencing.”

Harley frowned. “You don't think he would really try to hurt you? Do you Jack?”

Jack shrugged. Of course, he thought, but said, “Nothing to worry about Harley.” Jack reached over and brushed her chin with his thumb.

“If you and Miss Harleen would like, I can bring tea to you out on the terrace.” Alfred clearly was becoming annoyed with Jack and his snatching of food when Jack grabbed another bite of apple. Jack chuckled standing up and taking Harley's hand. “That sounds wonderful Alfred.”

Alfred watched the two of them leave. A small smile played across the older man's lips. He was happy to see Master Jack involved with someone. Now if only Master Bruce could follow in that vein...

*

The terrace looked out on the family gardens; as with everything else at Wayne Manor, the gardens were well maintained, the roses just starting to bloom. Though the air was still cool, spring was right around the corner and the sun shining down on them was pleasantly warm.

Alfred came out a few minutes later with their tea, some apple, ham and brie sandwiches along with some scones and fresh cut strawberries.

After Alfred had set out the tea, leaving the two of them alone, Jack poured the tea before setting a couple of the small sandwiches, a scone and a generous spoonful of strawberries on Harley's plate.

“This duel makes me nervous,” she said quietly picking up her tea.

Jack frowned. “Why?”

“I don't trust Cobblepot. There's something about him, maybe it's just the doctor in me, but I don't think he's quite balanced.” Harley popped a strawberry into her mouth.

Jack laughed. “Of course he isn't—none of us rich people are, haven't you figured that out yet?”

Harley gave him a sour look, prompting Jack to reach across the small round table and take her hand. “Sorry Harley, but yes, Oswald isn't stable.” Jack chuckled then “He's obsessed with bringing back his family's fortune and of course he has had it out for Bruce and me since we were kids.”

Harley frowned. “Just promise me Jack, you won't trust him to play fair.”

Jacks grin was wide. “Don't worry my Harley; who said anything about this being a fair fight?”

Harley's brow furrowed. “So why has he been out to get you and Bruce exactly?”

Harley took another strawberry and Jack shrugged. “For some cockeyed reason that I never quite understood, he blames our family for his current situation. No idea why.” Jack picked up a sandwich and popped it into his mouth.

Harley frowned in thought. “Sounds like he's projecting his misfortunes onto you and your brother.”

Shrugging, Jack took a sip of his tea. “Maybe, or he could just be a cruel little turd.”

Harley nearly laughed tea out through her nose.

Jack snickered. “Enough talk about Ossie, you're going to make me think you like him.”

Harley stuck her tongue out. “Not my type at all. I like my men tall, dark and mysterious.”

Jack's grin was wicked. “Oh, I'm mysterious alright...”

*

In the offices of the Gotham City Globe, the local paper as well as home for the local news, Vicki Vale—her blonde hair piled on her head in a messy bun, held in place by luck and a series of pens—was sitting at her desk with the man who had provided the picture of Jack Wayne and the mysterious blonde. Vicki had her eyes narrowed as she study the man. His name was Alexander Knox. He wasn't attractive, but he had a humor about his eyes that was compelling and so far he had provided the Globe with some good leads on stories, particular his stories following the new vigilante that had been appearing with more and more frequency, the Batman.

But right now Vicki was grinning from ear to ear at Knox who had just given her a great story.

“So you're sure you saw one of Cobblepot's messenger boys returning from Wayne manor?” Vale asked again.

Knox grinned. “I had one of my guys stalking out the Wayne place for when Jack came back hoping the blonde might be with him. He saw the car pull in, but then he saw one of Cobblepot's guys leaving not too long afterward. Seen the kid before, name is Lance—he is Cobblepot's messenger boy. Anyway my guy stopped my source and found out that Cobblpot has challenged Jack Wayne to a duel.”

“WHAT?” Vicki shouted drawing the attention of everyone else in the room. She had stood up when she yelled, then quickly sat back down covering her mouth with a hand. She removed her hand glaring at Knox in disbelief. “Are you kidding me?”

Knox chuckled. “Nope, a good old-fashioned duel! Anyway, my source says that Jack Wayne accepted. It's going to be tomorrow on the Cobblepot property. They apparently are going to be fencing.” Knox made a face that illustrated how absurd the idea seemed.

Vicki started laughing. “Oh hell, this is great! I couldn't make this stuff up! Okay, can you and or your guy get onto the Cobblepot land? I need a picture of this! Oh and any idea on who the blonde with Jack Wayne is?”

Knox frowned. “Nothing yet, but I'm willing to bet my next year's salary she's at that duel.”

Vicki giggled. “This is going to be gold! Especially right before my interview that evening!”

Knox frowned. “So, you really think Jack Wayne is as crazy as rumors say?”

Vicki frowned in thought, absently pushing a stray lock of blonde hair behind her ear. “Don't know really. That gala a few nights back, that was the first time Jack Wayne had been out in a very long time. Now that I think about it, he had a blonde with him then too.” She smiled. “I wonder if the younger Wayne doesn't have his older brother's gallivanting ways and might actually be thinking of settling down?”

She shook her head. “Anyway, you get in there and get me some pics of this “duel” that I can have tomorrow night.”

Knox stood up. “I'm on it Vicki, don't you worry.” He gave her a wink as he left his office.

Vicki chuckled. Gotham was never boring or short of interesting stories. One just had to be quick to get them first.

*

That night Jack came to Harley's room. She had just finished showering and was dressed for bed, a large t-shirt and a cute little pair of boxers underneath with little happy kitten pictures on them. She had just finished towel drying her hair and was brushing it out when she heard a knock at her door.

She hurried over to open the door to see Jack standing there, barefoot, wearing a pair of long blue and black plaid pajama pants and a grey t-shirt. He held a tray on which sat two slices of chocolate cake and two glasses of milk.

Jack waggled his eyebrows at her. “Care for a midnight guest who comes bearing gifts?”

Harley laughed. “Oh Jack!” She took the tray from him as he stepped into the room. “You don't think Bruce will get upset?” she asked as she set the tray down on her bedside table.

Jack crossed his eyes and made a face. “Pfpfftt! If I avoided taking actions based on Bruce being upset, I would probably never leave the estate. Who cares! Besides, you're my girl...of course I want to spend the night in bed with you.”

He surprised her by grabbing her around the waist and tossing her on top of her bed, quickly pouncing after her. Harley squealed, then burst out into loud laughs when Jack pulled her top up and started to blow raspberries on her stomach. Jack's fingers tickled up her sides, his teeth nibbling along her tummy.

“Jack!!” She laughed and wiggled trying to get away, but Jack yanked her back every time she managed to get a little bit loose from him. Harley laughed fighting back, sliding her fingers under his shirt. Jack laughed and squirmed. “Harley!!”

Harley's eyes twinkled in pleasant surprise. “Are you ticklish?!”

“Don't you dare!!” Jack grinned grabbing one of Harley's hands pinning it over her head, but she still managed to tickle him with her free hand. Jack's laugh was not just sexy she thought, but she loved the fact that it was so free...he was so open with her. Harley was distracted with listening to him laugh that she didn't react fast enough before Jack managed to grab her other arm yanking it over her head. He grinned down at her. “Now you are mine.”

She squealed wiggling, but Jack had managed to get her out of her pants to blow raspberries in other places. Her giggling moans quickly filled the room.

*

Harley woke in the morning, naked, to the sounds of Jack singing softly while stroking her hair. She didn't open her eyes at first; she just relaxed curled in the crook of his arm smelling the warm spice of Jack's skin..

“Your eyes of blue, your kisses too,

I never knew what they could do.

I can't believe that you're in love with me.”

*

He hummed softly, the tips of his fingers caressing her cheek. Harley sighed softly snuggling in closer to him.

“It's almost time to get up, my sweets,” Jack whispered.

Harley sighed, content in his arms. “ I like that you sing to me so much. What were you singing?”

As Jack leaned in to kiss her forehead, she could feel his smile against her skin. “It's an old song from the '30's, “I Can't Believe You're in Love with Me.” Lot of old singers did versions of the song, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin...”

Harley sighed in contentment. “Mm...you have a beautiful voice Jack.” Her eyes were still closed as she rolled onto her side and wrapped her arms around him. He was still naked, his skin warm and soft as she curled in close to him. He chuckled, holding her pressed against him.

“Why thank you, Miss Quinn.” He nibbled her ear, making her squirm lightly.

She giggled. “Why do you call Cobblepot penguin sometimes?”

Jack struggled. “Oh, it started when he was younger. Actually I think it's Bruce's fault.” Jack chuckled easing down to wrap his arms around her.

“We saw him at an art exhibit. He has always dressed like you saw him at the restaurant, always in an old-fashioned suit or a tuxedo. I think Bruce said out loud at that exhibit that Oswald looked like a penguin and the press printed it...and it stuck.”

Harley frowned, then giggled against Jack's chest. “I sort of feel sorry for him, but he seems so nasty it's hard.”

“Then don't feel sorry for him!” Jack started to tickle her.

“Okay, okay I'm getting up!” She laughed pushing herself up, her blonde hair in her face. She blew on the long golden strands. Jack reached over moving the long strands aside.

“You're adorable my little muffin,” he said. “I'm going to head back to my room to dress. Wear something pretty for me will you? Maybe something in red again. I like you in red and black.”

Harley blushed. “Sure thing Jack.”

“Oh...and could you wear your hair down? You don't have to, of course, but I do like it down.” Jack ran his fingers through her hair smiling softly just before he leaned in and kissed her, pressing her back against the pillows. Jack's mouth moved over hers, his tongue swirling warm and easily with her own. He pulled away from her lips reluctantly, his fingers stroked along her cheek just before he jumped out of the bed smiling.

“I'll be back in a jiffy for you!” Jack grabbed his pants from the floor, shimmying into them and grabbed his t-shirt. He stopped at her bedroom door smiling at her as she rolled over onto her stomach to watch him.

Harley smiled. “I love you Jack.”

Jack smiled softly. “And I you, Harley.”

*

Harley jumped up after Jack left, walking naked across her room to the closet. She flung the closet door open and stared. What could she wear that would be pretty? Harley chewed on her bottom lip pulling out a sleeveless red trapeze dress and a pair of black tights that she paired with a pair of her favorite black booties and a little black, light weight sweater shrug since it would still be cool in the morning. She brushed her hair out, pinning just the front back, the rest of it worn long and smooth down her back. She had just about finished with her makeup when a knock sounded at her door.

“Come in!” she called.

She turned just as Jack stepped in. When Harley saw him, her heart sped up, not just because it was Jack, but the way he was dressed...

Jack was wearing a pair of black riding breeches that hugged his thighs and hips in a way that made heat race straight to her groin. He was wearing a pair of knee-high boots, black soft leather riding boots, with a cream colored turtleneck monogrammed with a small purple JW, a pair of black leather gloves, and a fencing foil vinyl bag over his shoulder.. Harley felt silly the way she swallowed when she saw him, but he looked devastatingly handsome in his outfit, his hair slicked back, that smile of his, his blue-green eyes dancing with mischief.

When Jack saw her, his smiled widened. He grinned, pressing his teeth to his lower lip and moved his finger around indicating for her to turn for him. Harley blushed and giggled, doing a little twist for him.

“You look good enough to eat, which I fully plan on doing tonight.” He gave her a lopsided grin and a saucy wink. “Until then...” He held his hand out to her. Harley stepped out, placing her hand in his which he held up to his lips and kissed her knuckles.

*

When they made their way down the stairs, Alfred was waiting for them. “Master Bruce has already left for the day, though he will be back in plenty of time for tonight's festivities. I suggest you and Miss Harleen do the same, Master Jack.” Alfred handed them each a small paper bag as he spoke. Harley frowned slightly taking the bag, the warm delicious smells of eggs and bacon wafting up from the bags.

“I took the liberty of making you each an “On-the-go” breakfast. I also have coffee ready as well.” Alfred turned and picked up two “On-the-go” coffee mugs. “And I have taken the liberty of driving the Lamborghini Huracán up front for you Master Jack.”

Jack grinned. “Thank you Alfie! That's just grand! Come on Harley, I have a duel to win!” Jack laughed taking her hand and waving goodbye to Alfred with the hand holding his sack breakfast.

*

The drive to the Cobblepot estate was pleasant. The estate was located fairly far outside Gotham. The landscape was nice, with a lot of old mansions out this way along with long areas of rolling hills and thick trees. Jack drove fast with only one hand on the wheel, the other on her thigh.

“The Cobblepot place should be showing up in the next mile or so.” Jack smiled, then pointed as the car crested a hill. “There it is.”

Harley looked and sucked in a startled breath. While the Wayne Manor was an old fashioned looking manor, there was still something “alive” about the place, but the Cobblepot mansion reminded her of a typical haunted house. If bats had flown out and a wolf had started to howl, she would not have been the least bit surprised. And while the Wayne Manor was in perfect condition, this place looked to be holding itself up by pure will alone. It was clearly in disrepair; Harley wondered how anyone could be living in it. Jack made a right turn down an old lane that was overgrown; the trees on either side were thick, their branches large and heavy, leaning dangerously over the road. After perhaps a mile they came to an old wrought-iron gate that was open, the gate barely hanging onto the rest of the fencing that surrounded the estate. The gate was covered in the dead remains of vines reminding Harley of something from a scary movie.

Jack drove through the gate, following the lane toward the decrepit Cobblepot Manor.

*

As they approached the house, Harley could see a figure standing by the door. As they came closer, she saw that it was Lance. The young man was dressed in the same, plain, old-fashioned crisp uniform, which looked strange against the backdrop of the old house. Jack pulled up, turning the car off. He leaned across Harley looking up at the old house, then at Lance.

“I guess this really is the place,” he muttered.

“It doesn't look at all like I thought it would.” Harley frowned, unable to keep her nose wrinkling in slight displeasure.

Lance walked over to open Harley's door for her just as Jack stepped out on his side. “Master Cobblepot is waiting for you behind the manor in the gardens sir.”

Jack smiled pulling the foil bag out from the boot. “Thanks Lance.”

Lance smiled. “I—I can lead you if you want?”

“Sure, why not?” Jack smiled as he took Harley's hand.

Lance led them around the side of the manor where the crumbling remains of a brick path followed around the side of the house into the overgrown remnants of what must have been a beautiful garden at one time. There were tangles of rose bushes, a wisteria that had grown so large and heavy that it had pulled the trellis that it was growing up down, now looking like a tangled bush of purple flowers and greenery. The hedges were all overgrown, any shapes they had once held were gone now. Their shapes were now littered with flowers and trees poking up through the shrubbery like so many invaders.

Lance led them through the garden and down another disintegrating brick path until they came to what must have once been the center of the garden. The area was a circular space where a few rotting and bleached wooden benches sat in a circle surrounding the crumbling remains of a fountain that might have once been lovely in the middle of the space.

As their small group reached the area, they could both see Cobblepot. He was dressed in a three-piece suit, the jacket of which was lying across one of the benches. The vest he wore was green and black checkered, with black slacks and polished black shoes. His white shirt had a high, rounded collar with a black and green paisley tie. Again, Harley thought he might have been attractive except for the sour look on Cobblepot's face.

Lance walked over by the fountain, standing out of the way, his eyes darting back and forth between the two men. Oswald Cobblepot had his own fencing foil and with a hand behind his back; he was practicing several moves. He was fairly good, if Harley was any judge of skill, graceful, but he definitely lacked Jack's style and elegance. Harley had to admit, Cobblepot looked as if he knew what he was doing.

“Ho there, Cobblepot!” Jack grinned waving as he walked over with Harley. “Ready to do a battle?”

Jack giggled whispering under his breath.

“Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Agreed to have a battle!

For Tweedledum said Tweedledee

Had spoiled his nice new rattle....”

Harley giggled, elbowing Jack who jerked, rubbing his side with a chuckle.

Cobblepot turned a sneer on his face. “Jack Wayne.”

Jack did his best to make a stern face, but his grin kept spoiling it. “Oswald Cobblepot.”

Oswald frowned as he glariedat Harley. “You're the woman from the other night aren't you?”

Jack smiled. “This is Harley Quinn—my lady.”

“She your second?” Cobblepot asked confused. Jack rolled his eyes. “Are you serious? No, she is just here as my cheering section.”

“Fine. She can watch you lose.” Oswald's smile was nasty.

Jack sighed, only just barely stopping himself from rolling his eyes at Oswald. Jack went over to Harley who had picked up the bag holding his foil and withdrew it for him.

Jack smiled at her, his eyes taking her in.

“You look beautiful today,” he said softly when he stepped close, wrapping his hand around hers that held the foil.

“Be careful Jack. I don't trust him.” Harley said quietly as she frowned. Jack brushed her lips with his. “Don't you worry my pumpkin pie, I'm not to be trusted either.” He gave her a huge smile and a wink taking the foil from her hands.

Jack turned around, walking a couple of steps from Harley before he performed a few stretches, several deep lunges, twirling the foil easily, his movements made easily and effortlessly. He did everything with a grin, the blue in his eyes catching the morning light and sparkling. He glanced over his shoulder at Harley waggling his eyebrows at her and made a kissy face. She grinned, covering her mouth as she giggled before she stepped up to him, placing her hands gently on his chest. “I love you.” She pitched her voice low, the words only meant for him.

She ran her hands up his chest, her eyes wandering down over the fabric of his turtleneck, feeling the muscles of his chest under her hands, the memory of running her fingers over him last night coming to her mind. She brought her eyes back up to his face. “Don't trust him,” she reiterated with a whisper.

“I will be careful my sweets,” he whispered back. Harley cupped his face brushing her lips against his. Jack licked her lips before stepping away from her and turning to Oswald who had watched their little display with something close to envy.

Jack smiled. “Ready Tweedledum?”

Oswald narrowed his eyes stepping forward, his foil held up.

“Yes,” he hissed in anger.

The two men started to circle one another, Jack tall and lean, Oswald lean, though shorter. They eyed each other, their blades held in front of them in their right hands, their left hands behind their backs.

Jack giggled as his blue eyes danced with mischief. “What do you call a penguin stuck in the desert?”

Oswald glared at him. “Stop calling me that!”

“Calling you what? Penguin?” Jack grinned. “But Ossie, can't you see what everyone else sees, you in that penguin suit of yours? That pointed beak of a nose...you look just like a penguin.” Jack giggled.

Oswald lunged, his strike almost perfectly executed, but Jack danced back bring his blade up to easily parry, pushing Oswald's blade up and away. Cobblepot snarled, dancing froward again, his arm moving quickly as he did a series of hard remise moves. It was clear that Oswald had training, but Jack also had training and natural grace.

Jack laughed, his blade moving swiftly blocking each of Osward's attacks. The sounds of metal striking against metal blocked out any other sounds in the garden. The two men broke apart, taking several steps back and eyeballing each other. Jack made a sudden move that startled Harley. He dropped his weight to the ground in a crouch, placing his hand on rough overgrown bricks of the path to steady himself as he lunged up, his arm coming up to stab at Oswald. The safety-tipped blade hit Oswald in the chest causing him to stumbled backward.

Jack laughed. “One for me, Penguin.”

Oswald snarled. “You wouldn't be so cocky if we were using real blades.”

The shorter man moved around in a slow circle, eyeballing Jack with a smug grin on his lips.

“Oh, you don't think so? I'm the one who scored a point already Ossie.” Jack sneered right back.

“Then if you're so sure of yourself, why don't we use real blades? Or are you afraid to look foolish in front of your tart?” Oswald chuckled.

Jack dropped the point of his foil down, his eyes narrowing dangerously. “Don't you dare say anything about Harley.

Oswald's smile was vicious. “Really? Afraid what you pay her to sleep with you isn't enough? That she might see that I'm a better catch? Or are you afraid pretty boy? Afraid of getting that face scarred up? Afraid of looking ugly to your whore”

Jack's smile was just as vicious as his eyes glinted with something akin to madness. “You say one more thing about Harley I'm going to make you regret it...for the rest of your life Penguin. I'm going to teach you a lesson about respect Penguin, a hard lesson...and if you're lucky, you might live long enough to learn it.” Jack's laugh was anything but humorous. “I'm not scared Penguin...Are you?”

Oswald laughed off Jack's threat. “Fine.”

Oswald motioned to his messenger boy who was standing nearby. “Lance, go to the house and get the real blades from the library.”

Lance looked between the two men, his eyes wide, but he nodded and took off at a jog for the house. Jack walked over to Harley. He set the foil down on the bag that she had placed on one of the benches. Harley wrapped her arms around his waist. “Jack, are you sure about this? I think that's what he was hoping for all along...” Jack pulled her against him, his eyes sliding sideways. He could see Oswald watching the two of them, his expression unreadable. Jack narrowed his eyes, otherwise ignoring the shorter man.

“Don't worry pumpkin...” Jack leaned in closely. “I'm much better than him.”

Jack smiled down at her wrapping his arms around her and giving her rear a squeeze. “I'll beat him without getting a scratch.”

*

Once inside the Cobblepot manor, Lance made a detour through the decaying rooms heading toward the servants wing. It was in just as much disrepair as the rest of the place, but it allowed Lance to let Knox in through a small door around the back before the duel had begun without Cobblepot being any the wiser. Lance had stashed Knox in a closet and now finally arrived back to let the reporter out.

Knox stumbled out of the closet when Lance opened the door. “Geez! I was beginning to wonder if you were going to leave me there!”

“Sorry Mr. Knox. I just finally was able to slip away. Mr. Cobblepot sent me to get the real blades.” Lance glanced behind him, as if worried that his employer would be there watching him.

Knox grinned. “They're going to use real weapons?”

Lanced nodded vigorously. “Yeah. If you go around that side, you should be able to stay hidden and get to the center fountain; that's where they're fighting.”

Knox grinned. “Thanks Lance.”

“Just don't get caught okay? I don't want Mr. Cobblepot to know I let anyone in, he'll kill me!” Lance had headed toward the doorway, but stopped and turned to look at Knox giving the reporter a pleading look.

“Don't worry kid, I'll get a few pics and leave. No one will know I was ever here.” Knox grinned. Except for a million readers of Vale's articles...

Chapter Text

Oswald watched them, the two disgusting lovebirds. Jack Wayne had pulled the blonde up against his body while they waited and was kissing her...if that was what you could call it. Looked a lot like he was trying to suck her face off or choke her with his tongue. Though the blonde seemed to be enjoying herself.

Oswald frowned in contemplation. After he defeated Jack, how much would it take to get the woman to suck his face like that...or suck other things. He snickered at the thought.

*

Jack had his hands on Harley's waist, his forehead against hers. He grinned, his eyes locked with hers while he weaved them both in place as they waited for Lance to return. It was as if they were slow dancing to music only the two of them could hear.

“Jack...I just...real weapons?” Harley had her hands on his shoulders as she stared into his eyes, her fingers playing gently with the edges of his short hair. “This...I don't know...I'm scared. What if he..?” she pressed her lips together glancing down.

Jack chuckled. “Don't worry pumpkin. He's the one that needs to be worried. “

Jack traced her jaw with the tip of a finger. “Nothing is going to happen. If anything, Ossie is the one that's in trouble. He should have never said those things about you.”

Jack's eyes narrowed. “I'm going to make him pay for that.”

Harley looked nervous. “Jack, you can't...”

“Kill him?” Jack chuckled pulling her against him wrapping his arms snugly around her. “I won't kill him. I am going to give him something to remember me by though.” He giggled as he brushed her lips with his, his tongue snaking out to trace her upper lip.

Oswald made a snort that sounded almost like a bird's squawk. “How much he pay you? I'll triple whatever the going rate is for a high class whore these days.”

Then the little man snorted again.

Jack, keeping a hold of Harley, turned to glare at Oswald, and then slowly giggled.

“Away you three inch fool! More of your conversation would infect my brain!”

Oswald frowned looking confused which made Jack laugh all the harder. “Didn't they teach you Shakespeare in school Ossie or were you too busy skating on the ice with the other penguins?”

Oswald sneered in flaring anger. “Shut up Wayne!”

At that moment, Lance came running up with the swords tucked under his arm. He was panting and he looked nervous when he came to a stop in front of Oswald. “Sorry sir, I came as fast as I could.”

Oswald narrowed his eyes at Jack before he turned to reached for the weapons. “Whatever. You ready Jack? Or are you ready to turn tail and run?”

Jack smiled and laughed. “He who hesitates, meditates in a horizontal position!”

Oswald gave Jack a sour look as he handed the taller man one of the blades. “Here is hoping your skill equals your mouth.”

Jack took the blade and smiled. He had to admit, the rapier was beautiful. It wasn't old, but fairly new, based on a seventeenth century French style with doubled-sided blade, a fuller closed hilt, knuckle guard, and straight quillons. The hilt was wooden, covered in leather judging by the feel of it. The two blades were twins of one another. Jack smiled watching Oswald doing a few warm up moves. Jack had to admit, the little man knew his fencing moves.

Jack turned, holding the blade in one hand, while with the other he wrapped around Harley's waist pulling her against him.

He smiled at her. “A kiss, my fair lady?”

Harley giggled. “I shall bestow upon you a kiss, my champion.”

Jack waggled his eyebrows at her. Harley giggled in response to him and wrapped her arms around his neck as she kissed him. At first it was just a press of her lips, but Harley slowly opened her mouth, running her tongue along his bottom lip, encouraging him to open his mouth slowly. Jack purred as his tongue snaked out to caress her tongue in return. Harley rose onto the tips of her toes, her hands threading through his hair, deepening the kiss, her tongue sliding into his mouth while she pressed the full length of her body against his. Jack groaned tightening his grip around her waist, nearly lifting her off her feet.

*

Hidden within some of the overgrown bushes and doing his best not to curse too loudly, Knox held his camera up. He was extremely pleased with himself for having brought his Nikon D5 DSLR camera and not just his cellphone, because the picture he took of Jack Wayne kissing a gorgeous blonde was not only going to be a beautiful picture, it was going to be a front page of the entertainment and society section. All while holding onto a sword, too! Knox's grin was wide, snapping a few more pictures in quick succession.

Rich people never failed to entertain.

*

Jack grinned wickedly when Harley caught his bottom lip between her teeth tugging just slightly before letting him go.

“Be careful puddin,” she said quietly, barely above a whisper.

Jack's grin was devilish in its attractiveness. “I will...I promise my sweet.”

Harley stepped back, releasing Jack, dragging her hands down his chest before she stepped backwards out of the way. Jack turned to Cobblepot holding the sword up in front of his face, grinning the entire time. “Ready Penguin?”

Cobblepot hissed, “Don't call me that!”

Oswald's temper had him making the first move, a swift lunge toward Jack, his sword slicing through the air where Jack's face would have been except that Jack took several quick steps back. He blocked, the swords hitting each other with a clear metallic sound. Oswald step back with a hiss. Jack smiled lifting a brow at Oswald.

Jack suddenly moved, he took two, three, and a fourth quick swipe at Oswald, who stumbled backwards and weaved out of the way, only bringing up his blade to block once. Jack grinned hopping dexterously back, sliding his eyes toward Harley and winking at her. Harley had her hands up to her mouth watching the two men, her heart hammering against her chest. She knew enough about fighting that she hoped that Jack would not be distracted by her presence.

Jack suddenly lunged again, two, three hard strikes, sword against sword, Oswald managing to keep Jack away from him. Suddenly Oswald lunged, snapping his blade up; Jack deflected at the last possible moment, but Jack misjudged and the tip of Oswald's blade slashed Jack in the face, cutting a thin, but deep wound from under Jack's right eye, up through the eyebrow. Jack hissed stumbling backwards, blood suddenly blinding him in one eye.

Oswald looked stunned for a few heartbeats, then smug as Jack put a hand to his face, his fingers coming back bloody.

Oswald laughed. “There! Ruined that pretty face of yours. He isn't as good as you thought he was, eh you little cunt?” Oswald grinned at Harley.

Harley, who had run up to Jack and was now doing her best to wipe at the blood, ignored Oswald, but Jack growled.

“Jack, stop! You need stitches,” Harley whispered emphatically, but Jack only smiled. “I'm not going to let that little shit call you names.”

“I don't care Jack! I just care about you.” Harley brushed her lips against his, tasting the blood from his wound for a moment.

Jack smiled. “I'm not going to lose, trust me.”

Harley nodded and reluctantly stepped back again as Jack turned a vicious grin at Oswald. “Pretty good there Penguin—let's see if I can do better.”

Penguin frowned for a moment, but then he had to bring his blade up quickly. Jack lunged, his arm lashing out like a striking snake. Oswald blocked, two strikes to the head, two more lower slashes, the blades ringing against each other. Jack's grinning at him was beginning to unnerve the shorter man. Oswald took several steps backwards from Jack, whose eyes never left his opponent.

Jack remained calm, staying his ground simply following Oswald with his eyes, the blade held casually in his hand while Oswald circled, looking for an opportunity. Penguin rushed him with several quick strikes, but Jack's arm moved swiftly, the clash of metal making ripples of fear run up Harley's spine. One, two, swift hits then Oswald lowered his strikes, three, four, Jack blocked each one only taking a few small steps back as Oswald circled him.

Penguin took a chance and lunged, his blade coming in close, the hand guards slamming together when Jack let him get in close, almost under his guard. Cobblepot made a stupid move and grabbed at the blade of Jack's rapier. Jack grinned, yanking his blade back, slicing open Cobblepot's palm. Oswald gasped at the surprise pain, yanking himself and his weapon backwards. He shook out his hand snarling incomprehensibly at Jack. Jack only smiled, a line of blood continuing to drip down his cheek.

*

In the bushes Knox was nearly having a fit. This was great stuff!!! He couldn't have set this up better if he had planned it. Not only were the two of men really, actually sword fighting, but they had both drawn blood and the blonde was weeping!! It was like a fucking movie!! It took every ounce of willpower and skill for Knox not to reveal himself and remain calm as he took pictures. This was going to be great!

*

Jack and Oswald circled each other just as the rain started to drizzle down. Harley glanced up, she hadn't noticed the clouds moving in. Her frown deepened as she brought her attention back to Jack and Oswald. Jack glanced at Harley as the rain began to come down harder.

Jack giggled. “Oh Harley in a wet dress. No looking at my girl Oswald!!”

Oswald grinned nastily. “Your woman might like to have a real man in her bed.”

Jack circled the shorter man with a vicious grin. “She has a real man Penguin.”

Then Jack lunged, bringing his blade up and over, then twisted at the wrist, striking Oswald's blade. Oswald held his blade up, backing away slowly his eyes never leaving Jack's. The shorter man started to feel something he wasn't accustomed to—panic. There was something in Jack's eyes, the way those blue orbs glowed with malice. For the first time since they started their little duel, Oswald wasn't certain he could win.

Jack grinned, giggling softly. He started to chant in a sing song voice.

“A man of words and not of deeds Is like a garden full of weeds...”

*

His sword slapped hard several times against Cobblepot's blade, while Jack, smiling brightly the whole time, continued.

*

“And when the weeds begin to grow

It's like a garden full of snow

And when the snow begins to fall

It's like a bird upon the wall

And when the bird away does fly

It's like an eagle in the sky...”

*

Jack took two steps backwards as Cobblepot lunged, their blades moving swiftly, so much so that Harley was having trouble keeping up as the sharp sound of metal against metal filled the overgrown garden. Lance had moved next to her, his young eyes large as he watched the fight.

Jack laughed, lunging, throwing Oswald off balance.

Jack continued his sing song,

*

“And when the sky begins to roar

It's like a lion at the door

And when the door begins to crack

It's like a stick across your back

And when your back begins to smart

It's like a penknife in your heart “

*

The rain started to come down harder, drenching everyone in the garden. Knox cursed softly, looking up at the uncooperative sky; the heaviness of the rain was making it difficult for him to get decent pictures. He was wishing now he had brought a video camera with him. Jack Wayne was being pretty damn creepy right now, just like all the rumors that had said the younger Wayne brother was crazy...at this moment, Knox would believe it.

*

Jack narrowed his eyes, his long legs taking him around slowly. His smile was beautiful as far as Harley was concerned, though to anyone else watching there was an edge of madness to the twinkle in his eyes. Oswald was panting just a little, keeping his weapon up in front of him, his eyes focused only on Jack despite the rain. The rain was washing the blood down Jack face, causing it to stain his lips red. He smiled at Cobblepot and hissed. “Now you pay for the things you called my Harley.”

Jack giggled and pressed his attack, suddenly moving with a speed he had thus far not demonstrated while reciting the last verse of the rhyme.

*

“And when your heart begins to bleed

You're dead, and dead, and dead indeed.”

*

Oswald squawked as he brought his blade up to defend himself, but Jack hammered down on him. The moment when Ossie's blade slipped, it looked like Jack might stab in him in the chest. Harley let out a scream. “NO!”

Jack pulled himself away from Oswald at the last moment, his blade dipping down to slice through Oswald's knee, the thin blade cutting through the limb like a knife through butter. Oswald gasped in shock, dropping to his other knee, then falling over when the pain raced up his leg like white hot fire, just as Jack yanked the blade out. Jack grinned viciously. “I hope you have a limp to remember me by Penguin. Don't ever challenge me again. And don't you ever insult my girl again.”

Lance had rushed over dropping down on his knees next to his employer who was holding his knee and groaning. Lance pulled out a small burner phone, dialing 911.

Penguin had turned pale and was glaring hatefully at Jack. Through clenched teeth, the little man spat, “This isn't over!! Just you watch!! I'm going to ruin you and your brother!! I promise!!”

Cobblepot was trembling from the pain, the rain making him look pathetic, Jack thought as he smiled and replied in a voice barely louder than a whisper, “Go ahead and try Cobblepot—I dare you.”

Jack tossed the rapier down onto the old brick path in front of Cobblepot before he briskly walked over to Harley, wrapping an arm around her waist. “Let's go home; this is over.”

*

Knox took a few more photos of Jack Wayne and the woman leaving and a few more of Cobblepot limping back to his decaying manor. Knox was fighting not to giggle with glee. This was perfect!!

*

Jack was turning a corner in the car when the blood started to flow down his face again. Harley searched around in her purse until she found a tissue. She reached over pressing it to the half of the cut over his eye.

Jack glanced sideways at her. “Are you all right Harley?”

Harley smiled softly. “I should be asking you that. Are you all right?”

Jack smiled. “Perfect.”

Harley frowned. “What are you going to tell Bruce? You can't hide that wound.”

Jack shrugged. “The truth...why lie when the truth is so much fun!”

With his hair plastered to his forehead, Harley thought that he looked adorable despite the blood continuing to run down his face. She smiled at him and giggled with a shake of her head. “You're incorrigible.”

*

It was early afternoon when they returned home, Jack pulling up in front of the manor. Harley had called ahead to Alfred, asking him to meet them at the door letting him know that Jack was hurt and that he needed stitches. Alfred hadn't asked any questions, he had simply told her he would have the medical room ready when they arrived. Alfred was waiting for them at the front door, looking as calm as ever when Jack pulled the car up to the front of the house. The only expression Alfred made when seeing the vertical wound that ran down from Jack's brow to the young man's cheek, was a slight wrinkling around his mouth.

“Follow me Master Jack, Miss Harleen.” Alfred frowned for a moment before he turned away from them.

“You are both soaked. We shall avoid the carpets.” Alfred said. He turned on his heel walking back into the manor, his back slightly stiff. Jack giggled holding the tissue Harley had given him to the part of the wound over his brow to stop the blood from running into his eye. He grinned at Harley.

“I think we're in trouble.”

Harley frowned. “Oh Jack.”

He smirked and shrugged at her before he followed Alfred, holding Harley's hand as they entered the Wayne home. Alfred moved swiftly through the manor with the two younger people walking quickly behind him.

Once they were in the medical room, Alfred pointed wordlessly at the examination table while he moved to pull out a first aid kit, gloves and several other items he needed to sew Jack's head wound up.

Jack sat quietly on the bed with Harley (who he insisted sit beside him) who held his hand as they both watched Alfred. With his back still to them the older man asked.

“Did you at least win Master Jack?”

Alfred turned around, walk to the over to his patient, and set his supplies alongside Jack on the bed. The older man snapped the gloves on over his hands and carefully picked up the curved needle from the suture kit. With his other hand, he disinfected the wound before he began to delicately sew the wound on Jack's forehead closed.

“I did Alfred.” Jack grinned in response, then winced once as the needle pierced his skin.

Harley, squeezing Jack's hand, spoke with awe. “He was really amazing Alfred. It wasn't his idea to use real blades. Oswald was being rude to me then told Jack he wouldn't be so cocky if the blades were real. It was like a sword fight right from a movie! Jack was just amazing. He won by sliding his sword through Cobblepot's knee.”

Alfred, who had moved to start suturing the wound where it continued along Jack's cheek just under Jack's eye, frowned.

Jack let out a short little laugh. “Don't worry Alfie, the bird's alive.”

Alfred nodded slightly as he worked, glancing at Harley who nodded; her silent assurance seemed to make Alfred feel better.

“There now Master Jack, all sewed up.” Alfred placed a bandage over both halves of the cut. “ I'm afraid it might still leave a thin scar.”

Alfred pick up the suture kit and stepped back.

Jack smiled “That's alright Alfred.”

The butler turned to gaze at the two of them. “So what are you going to tell your brother, or Miss Vale this evening for that matter?”

“Well, I was going to tell Bruce the truth...shouldn't I tell Miss Vale the same?” Jack grinned innocently.

Alfred sighed. “Go and clean up for lunch Master Jack. I would advise telling Master Bruce, but let him decide what you tell Miss Vale. Master Bruce should be home a couple of hours before Miss Vale is due to arrive this evening. I will make lunch for both of you.”

Jack nodded. “All right, come on Harley!” Jack hopped down tugging Harley with him.

“Thank you Alfred,” Harley responded thankfully, releasing Jack's hand in order to hug the older man. Alfred looked embarrassed, but returned the hug. “Go on now Miss Harleen, get yourself out of those wet things before you catch a cold.”

*

Jack tugged Harley up the stairs, but instead of taking her to her bedroom, he headed down the hall and turned to the left away from her own room.

“Where are we going Jack?” she asked realizing she had never been down this hall before.

“I thought we could shower together...in my room.” Jack smiled at her stopping when he came to a heavy oak door. He turned the knob, opening the door just enough for the two of them to enter. It was dark inside, the curtains clearly pulled over the windows to block out the sunlight. Jack let go of her hand to flip on the light switch.

Heavy curtains, a shade of plum so dark that they almost looked black, covered the large windows. The dimly lit room's floors were dark, highly polished wood, with a few thick, plush looking throw rugs in colors of dark purples and blues that matched the heavy bedspread. The bed itself had to be a king size bed; she had never seen anything so large in all her life. The walls were painted a dark plum color which made the room feel cozy to her rather than too dark. An antique desk sat against one wall where Jack had several papers spread about, along with jars of pens and pencils.

She saw several knives, a couple of them embedded into the expensive walls over his desk as if he had been playing darts with them, and a few embedded into the wood of the antique desk which made Harley think they had been slammed into it in anger. There was a half empty bottle of whiskey on the desk along with a tumbler that was half full, next to a dark stone ash tray that had recently been cleaned out. A pistol sat across the top of the desk with a handful of bullets scattered around it.

There were several dark paintings on the walls; one, all in black and greys that looked like a man's head was exploding into butterflies, another looked like a man melting against a window, his head partly gone...all in black, grey and white. Each painting conveyed pain, madness, and struggle.

The doors to a large walk-in closet were left open, the dim light from the room only hinting at what lay beyond. She caught a glimpse of shoes, a walking stick or two, and rows and rows of clothing.

Harley walked around, her mouth slightly open as she stopped to examine the paintings.

Jack smiled and explained, “I painted those...I haven't painted in a while, but I was thinking about taking it up again. Maybe painting you, if you would let me.”

Harley turned to look at him over her shoulder. “You'd want to paint me?”

Jack's smile broadened. “Yes I would, naked, lying on my bed...”

She blushed wrinkling her nose. “You're teasing.”

“No I'm not. I would. You are the most beautiful creature in the world to me Harley.” He walked closer, sliding his fingers into her damp, tangled hair. “You are what holds me on the brink of insanity.”

He whispered his voice caressing over her skin as he pulled her closer, his lips just barely touching hers. “When I fall, I want you to come with me. Would you go insane with me Harley?”

Harley's eyes fluttered partly closed. She wanted to tell him no...no she wouldn't let that happen, she wouldn't let him go insane. She was here to cure him, save him, but at that moment she couldn't say any of those words. All she could say was, “Yes, yes Jack. I will follow you anywhere.”

Jack purred, brushing her lips with his own. “How about you follow me to the shower then?”

She opened her partly closed eyes and giggled at him. Jack reached out grabbing her hand and led her to the master bathroom that was part of his room.

*

The bathroom was its own separate room, rather than just a small attached space on the bedroom. The floor was dark marble as was the top of the bathroom cabinet which held two sinks and a mirror that ran the length of the wall. On the counter were some different bottles of cologne, all expensive, Harley realized. His brush, toothbrush and some hair products were scattered across the counter and even a tube of bright red lip stick. There was the toilet, of course, along with the tub/shower combination that took up one whole corner of the room with clear glass sliding doors instead of a curtain. Harley was surprised to see a comfortable looking lounge chair with a side table in one corner of the room on which several books were piled.

Jack grinned brightly walking over to the shower and sliding open the door, leaning in to turn the water on. He let the water run over his hand for a few moments before he pulled the handle that shifted the water to emit from the shower head. With a smile he stepped back closing the door and started to strip.

He had just pulled the turtleneck over his head (which had Harley's mouth watering looking at his washboard stomach) tossing the damp piece of clothing to the side and frowned at her.

“Aren't' you going to shower with me?” he asked.

Harley blushed. “I...well...”

Jack yanked his boots off tossing them into the same corner before he started to unbutton his pants, his blue eyed gaze never wavering. “We might as well build up our appetite...some more.” Jack giggled with a lustful glint in his eyes. “And what better way than to have sex with a gorgeous blonde in the shower?”

Jack slowly slid his pants down his firmly muscles thighs. Harley practically licked her lips. Jack grinned, turned around and opened the shower door so he could step in, only to stop and gaze at her over his shoulder. “Coming?”

Harley nodded. “Yes, yes.”

She stripped out of her damp clothing, tossing the dress and shoes over with Jack's things, along with her panties and bra. It felt wonderful to get out of the damp clothing. She took the last few steps to the shower, Jack holding the door open for her, and stepped inside.

Jack pulled her against him under the shower head, his hands settling on her hips. He tilted his head back letting the warm water run over him. Harley's eyes fluttered from the water spraying across them, but she gazed at his arched neck, watching the water run down his front. She laid her hands on his chest gently caressing his pectorals, her hands running in gentle circles.

Jack's head came up with a bright grin. “Turn around. I want to wash your hair.”

Harley giggled with a warm blush, doing as he asked. “All right Jack.”

Jack reached to a shower shelf to grab a bottle of shampoo. The bottle was brand new, a bottle he had had Alfred purchase for him just for this (although the aging butler was unaware of its purpose)...just for the moment Jack had Harley as his and brought her to his shower, his room. No one except Alfred had ever been in his room. Having Harley here was another step in claiming her as his.

Jack lifted the bottle, pouring a small amount into the palm of his hand. He had picked the brand out himself based on reviews of how sexy the shampoo smelled. (He had settled on a brand from Victoria's Secret, where he had also purchased other items to eventually give to his Harley).

Jack smiled, pleased with the scent, reaching up and began to run his fingers over her scalp.

Harley moaned softly while Jack began to work the shampoo into a lather, his long nimble fingers gently massaging her scalp while he slowly piled her thick hair up on her head, working the shampoo in thoroughly. When he was done, Jack eased her under the shower head, letting the water run through her hair, his fingers carefully tugging through any tangles as he rinsed the shampoo from her hair. Next, Jack reached for the conditioner, pouring a generous amount into the palm of his hand before rubbing the creamy substance thoroughly through her hair, paying special attention to the ends of her hair. Harley let out a small laugh of pleasure. “This is so nice Jack.”

“I'm glad you are enjoying it,” he said softly. “There, we'll let that sit for a few minutes...now I get to wash your body.”

Harley had had her eyes closed, opened them now with a slight pout on her lips. “Don't I get to wash your hair?”

Jack grinned. “Next time—this time it's my turn to enjoy you...I get to wash you...worship you.” His eyes wandered down her body then back to her eyes. “My treat for winning today.” His smile was sweet, his blue eyes lustful.

She could almost feel the heat emanating from his gaze, his smile turning a touch predatory when he reached behind himself without looking and picked up the bar of soap. Jack waggled his eyebrows at her while he rubbed the soap between his hands until he had a good soapy lather. “Hmm...where should I start Harley?”

Harley giggled, her blue eyes dancing with mischief. “I think the breasts are always a good place to start puddin.”

Jack purred at the sound of his nickname. “Mmm...perhaps you are correct my little dumpling.”

He winked at her before reaching out to slowly run his soapy hands over her breasts. Harley took a shuddering breath, the feel of his slick palms running over her breasts caused her body to vibrate with pleasure. Jack focused special attention on her breasts, squeezing and massaging before his hands moved down over her stomach, the soap allowing his palms to slip and slide down the flat planes of her stomach easily. His hands danced along her stomach then spread wide to embrace the curve of her hips, then lower still. Jack's thumbs traced the the “v” of her sex in a smooth swirl before sliding down, spreading her thighs gently.

Harley adjusted her position when Jack's hands worked their way down her thighs. She spread her legs a fraction to allow his hands to wander along the sensitive skin of her inner thighs. Jack dragged his hands up and down slowly, massaging her skin as he did, taking his time to run his soapy hands over every inch of sensitive flesh. His hands gradually came up her thighs again, but this time his thumbs circled her sex drawing a sensual line from the shape of her groin up along the skin between her thighs and back. Jack let the running water rinse his hands as he plied his dexterous fingers to his Harley. She moaned softly stumbling back a little to lean against the shower wall when his thumbs delved deeper between the lips of her sex, finding her most sensitive spot. At first his touches were delicate, just the tips of his thumbs swirling over the sensitive nub of her clitoris, but as Harley started to pant, his strokes became more forceful. Jack grinned, his fingers pressing harder on her clitoris eliciting deeper moans from Harley.

“Uuhh...Jack!” Harley groaned, her eyes fluttering close. Jack grinned, his blue eyes on her face watching the changes in her expression as his fingers moved over her skin. He caught his bottom lip between his teeth while his thumbs pressed and rubbed against her sex urging an orgasm from her with the circling of his thumbs. Her hips jerked against the pressure, her breath hissing from between her lips.

Jack rubbed harder, his thumbs rotating in slow circles over her, forcing Harley to use the shower wall to hold herself upright. Jack left one thumb on her clitoris rolling and stroking, while his other hand snaked up her body to glide over her breast, his slick fingers pinching her nipple.

Harley gasped climaxing with a cry. “UHH!! Jack!!!”

He chuckled. “That's my precious...”

He continued to rub causing her body to quake. “Oh Jack!!” Harley moaned.

Jack licked her mouth just before he kissed her hard, pressing her up against the shower wall. The water ran down over them washing away the soap. Jack thrust his tongue into her mouth, pressing the length of his body against her. She wrapped her arms around him, her hands immediately coming down to grip his rear. She squeezed pressing his hips against hers feeling his hard, hot erection trapped between their bodies. Harley dragged her teeth over his tongue her voice heavy with need.

“I want you Jack...I want you...puddin...” She giggled softly, her eyes staring into his, becoming lost in the deep blue that seemed to almost glow, as if lit by some inner light. Jack grinned with pleasure. He liked the way she moaned his name...her nickname for him made him feel more than simply special to her...he couldn't put his finger on what it was, but hearing her call him puddin felt right.

Jack's hands slid down her hips again, then up, feeling the almost perfect roundness of her hips, the silken softness of her skin under his hands. He was about to press her against the wall when Harley slid down to her knees.

“Harley?” He blinked in confusion for a moment. Harley gave him the cutest yet wickedest grin when she gazed up at him. Her blue eyes mischievous just before she ran her tongue against the underside of his erection.

Jack groaned. The sudden warmth of her tongue was so unexpected that Jack stumbled forward slightly, his hands catching the shower wall to keep himself steady. Harley grasped him with one hand, careful not to hold onto him too hard, just enough to hold him firmly. She rubbed her wet hand up and down him once, then twice causing Jack to groan louder.

She leaned in to wrap her mouth around him while her hand continued to glide up and down his length. Jack's hips jerked. The warmth of her mouth was intoxicating, the press of her soft lips against his erection had him pressing his teeth into his lip as ripples of pleasure raced up from his groin.

Harley sucked hard, deep, taking all of him into her mouth, her tongue playing against the underside of his shaft, until he was nearly touching the back of her throat. Harley gradually pulled her lips away slowly, her teeth just touching his tender skin, her tongue flicking back and forth against the underside of his shaft, which caused goosebumps to spread across his skin. Jack's eyes rolled back for a moment before he could look down and focus on her. He had never seen anything as beautiful as his Harley down on her knees with him in her mouth. His ran his fingers through her hair, watching her while she licked and sucked on him, her hair twisting around his fingers.

Harley glanced up, grinning while she twirled her tongue around the head of his shaft. She loved having Jack almost melting at her touch, weak with the things she was doing to him. Her eyes danced with merriment. Jack chuckled seeing the expression in her eyes, then groaned, his hips jerking forward when she sucked again.

“Damn Harley...you are so good at that.” He grinned then gasped when she took him deep into her mouth once more. He reached down with one hand, his fingers caressing her shoulder then along her jaw, feeling the way her cheeks were hollowed out when she sucked on him.

“Come here Harley,” he purred then groaned.

She stood up grinning, but then Jack surprised her with the way he nearly hauled her up off her feet, pressing her against the wall. He hooked one of her legs over his arm, lifting her leg up high, forcing her other foot up on her tiptoe in order to maintain her balance. Harley wrapped one arm around his neck, the fingers of her other hand pressing into his shoulder. He held her there gazing into her eyes before he slowly lowered his head to her breast. Harley arched her back, easing her breasts up to give him better access just as Jack bit down on her. She groaned when he started to suck on her skin, knowing he would leave a purple mark on her. His tongue glided along the curve of her breast until he touched her nipple, then Jack bit again. Harley groaned, then whimpered when he released her nipple in order to gaze into her eyes again.

Jack smiled at her, while with his other hand he teased her opening.

“Do you want me Harley?” Jack asked, his voice warm, soft.

“Yes puddin...oh yes,” Harley moaned

Jack hissed, pressing close to her.

“Good...” he whispered then thrust into her.

Harley gasped in pleasure when she felt Jack enter her. Jack kept his movement's slow, but hard, burying himself deep before pulling back, then hard again, thumping her backside against the shower wall at the same moment he was pressing her leg up higher. He cradled her rear with the hand holding her leg up, pressing her firmly against the wall, his hips thrust hard and fast, then slow, yet deep. Harley, her hair sticking her to her face and shoulders, shuddered, her fingers digging into his shoulder.

She was panting crying out. “Oh Jack, Jack, Jack!!”

Jack trembled. “Harley...come for me Harley...”

Harley groaned. He felt good, more than simply good...she couldn't think of words that could possibly describe how he made her feel.

She screamed out his name. “JACK!” but her cries were cut off when Jack covered her mouth with his own. Jack's kisses were at once passionate and tender. He caught the high cry of her orgasm against his lips. She whimpered against his mouth. Jack slowed his thrusts down, easing into her, then pulling back gradually only to ease into her again.

“Uhh..Jack, I love you...I love you puddin...” She giggled her body tightening around him. Jack shuddered, moaning her name. “Harley...I love you...my girl...my Harley.”

She groaned feeling his member swelling as Jack gasped, coming with a hot sudden burst. Harley groaned climaxing with him, wrapping her arms around his neck, burying her moans against his throat.

Jack thrust a few more times, his legs trembling.

He eased out of her. Harley shuddered, a soft moan escaping her lips when he pulled out. He wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her closer against him, his face buried against her damp hair. They stood under the shower head letting the warm water wash over the both of them without either of them saying a word. They didn't need to.

After a few moments Jack sighed. “We should finish up and have some lunch.”

Harley sighed in contentment with a warm smile, her fingers caressing the back of his neck. “You're right..”

*

After they finished showering. Jack grabbed a couple of towels, but instead of letting Harley dry herself off he dried her.

She giggled as he ran the fluffy towel down her legs. “Jack what are you doing?”

He grinned. “What does it look like I'm doing? I'm drying my lady off.”

Harley blushed. “You don't have to do that.”

“I know.” He grinned and winked at her handing her another towel to wrap around herself as he walked naked out of the bathroom toweling his hair dry. She wrapped the towel around her middle and followed after him.

Jack walked out into the main bedroom and over to a closet. Harley followed after him just watching him. She was definitely enjoying watching him walk around naked. He tossed the towel he had been using to the side while Harley sat on the edge of the bed gazing at him. Jack pulled out a suit with thin purple chalk strips in a dark navy blue, a three piece suit with thin lapels.

He held it up. “What do you think Harls?”

“Oh, you will look incredible,” Harley gushed which made Jack laugh. “Why thank you Harls.”

Harley giggled standing up. “I should probably go get dressed myself.”

Jack frowned as if he just now realized that she didn't share a room with him.

“Oh, yes all right. I'll come to your room as soon as I'm dressed.” Jack walked over tossing the suit onto the bed as Harley stood up. He pulled her into the circle of his arms and kissed her tenderly. Harley caressed his face with the tips of her fingers.

He grinned. “I like you wearing only a towel by the way.”

Harley blushed and giggled. “I like you completely naked.”

His grin widened and then he kissed the tip of her nose.

*

Harley hurried across the hall to her room, praying that she wouldn't be caught by Bruce or Alfred wearing only a towel. She made it to her door with a sigh of relief. Once inside, she dropped the towel and headed over to her dresser where she pulled out a pair of lacy red panties with a matching bra. She slipped into them with a smile, hoping Jack would like the set. She had bought them ages ago with no real reason except she thought they were pretty. Harley stopped and gazed at herself in the mirror. There were a few new bite marks from the shower.

She blushed tracing one mark that fell into her cleavage like a secret. The hot images of Jack with his mouth on her returned, causing her to squirm a little. She loved the feel of him, the smell of him...everything about Jack Wayne made her blood run hot. With a happy shiver, Harley hurried over to her closet. She pulled out a pair of slit-leg sailor pants in black that buttoned up the side of her hip and a red boat neck dolman top that was snug around her hips. It was a casual yet nice enough outfit that she could wear it during the interview if Vicki Vale happened to find out about her. Harley was assuming that Bruce Wayne would want her hidden, but she was also sure

Jack would want her with him. This way she was prepared. Harley had just finished with her make-up, slipping on a pair of red heels and had just sat down picking up the hair dryer to finish drying her hair when she heard a knock at her door.

“It's open,” she said turning to see who it was at her door.

The door opened and Jack walked in looking devilishly handsome in the suit he had shown her earlier, his wingtip bi-colored shoes highly polished, his hair slicked back and a smile on his face.

Harley's heart sped up just looking at him. She smiled turning back to the mirror. She watched him walk up behind her in the mirror's reflection and she gave him a happy grin as he stepped behind her.

“I'm almost ready; just have to finish with my hair.”

Jack grinned reaching out with one hand to brush her ear. “No rush,” he assured her. “I brought you something.”

Harley turned around setting the dryer down as Jack held out a long velvet jewelry box.

“This was my mother's, but I thought it would look beautiful on you,” Jack said softly. He opened the box. Inside, laying on a bed of white velvet, was a necklace. The craftsmanship was immediately apparent, a beautiful gold, finely crafted chain that seemed so delicate at first glance that it was almost not visible, on it hung a simple, perfectly round ruby.

“Oh Jack...” Harley said breathlessly.

Jack smiled taking the necklace out of the box, Harley turned as Jack placed the exquisite piece around her neck. He carefully hooked the clasp before he leaned in and kissed her right under the ear.

His voice was low, seductive. “It looks perfect on you.”

Harley laid her fingers against the ruby. “I just...oh Jack, it's too much,” She said, though the idea of something so clearly expensive on her throat had her a little bit thrilled.

Jack wrapped his arms around her. “It's just the start Harley,” he said with some excitement in his tone. “You are going to be part of everything with me. Even the darker bits.”

He nibbled her ear making her giggle. “Now, dry your hair and let's go eat lunch with Alfred.”

Harley grinned. She didn't know what the “darker bits” were that Jack was talking about, but honestly she didn't care. Jack had her heart, her soul and she would go wherever that would take her.

*

When the two of them arrived in the kitchen, Alfred glanced over, noticing the way the two of them were holding hands. His old heart swelled with happiness to see one of the brothers having found someone.

Alfred was putting the finishing touches on two plates that contained Dijon-herbed crushed salmon along with creamy dill sauce and lightly roasted red potatoes. The elderly butler was placing the potatoes on the plates just as the two walked into the kitchen. The smell, thought Harley as she entered the kitchen, was absolutely delicious.

Alfred smiled when he saw them. “Ah, there you are. I thought you might like to have lunch in the glass patio this afternoon. The rain is falling lightly and it is creating quite a cozy atmosphere. I thought the two of you might enjoy it.”

Harley blushed while Jack laughed. “You think of everything Alfie.”

“I do try Master Jack.” The older man smiled. “Now, why don't you take Miss Harleen out there and I will bring your lunch shortly.”

*

Soon the two of them where sitting out in the glass patio. It was a small area, only big enough to fit perhaps ten people. The patio itself jutted off the ballroom looking out onto another section of the Wayne grounds. The view was nice, trees and hills with a view of the water and Gotham in the distance. Right now, with the the sun shining with a pale liquid quality through the soft grey rain clouds, the room was indeed cozy. Alfred had set the table up with a white table cloth, candles and a bottle of white Pinot Noir. Alfred had even placed some white tulips in a vase on the table. It was all very romantic, Harley thought with a small smile.

Alfred stepped into the enclosed patio carrying a tray with their lunch on it and set their plates down in front of them. “I will return later with dessert.” The older man smiled at the two of them before he left.

A grin spread across Jack's face as he poured some wine into Harley's glass for her.

Harley was blushing as she reached over and picked up her glass of wine.

“Alfred did such a nice job, it's like we are out on a date somewhere exotic watching the rain fall.”

Jack picked up his own glass taking a long sip. “Mm...yes, he thinks of everything.”

Jack leaned over and clinked his glass against hers. “To the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Harley giggled blushing as Jack gave her a saucy wink before he sipped his wine.

*

Bruce arrived home early in order for him to prepare for Ms. Vale's interview tonight. He wanted to do a quick inspection of the house, to make sure everything looked good and that there was nothing that would arouse the reporter's suspicion or cause her to become overly interested in anything particular. He also wanted a chance to speak to Jack and Dr. Quinzel before Ms. Vale arrived, to make sure they both understood that Vale was not to know how they met and that they were not to let her know that Dr. Quinzel was living at the manor. He would have preferred that Dr. Quinzel not be anywhere near Ms. Vale, but he knew Jack wouldn't have it. He would make a scene if Bruce tried to force the issue of Dr. Quinzel.

Bruce was tense as he strolled into the manor and called. “Alfred?”

Alfred appeared a heartbeat later. For a moment Bruce was thinking that Alfred would be a great Batman the way the older man managed to just “appear” without a sound.

“Are Jack and Dr. Quinzel here?” Bruce asked as he loosened his tie.

“Yes they are Master Bruce, they are eating lunch on the enclosed patio.” Alfred took Bruce's jacket as younger man slipped out of it.

“Thank you Alfred.” Without further comment, Bruce walked off.

Alfred watched him go with a frown. Alfred had noticed the necklace, but now he worried how Master Bruce would react to seeing it about Miss Harleen's neck.

*

Jack had scooted his chair around in order to sit right next to Harley. He had picked up her hand and kissed the tip of each finger. Harley smiled softly, both of them staring at each other as if lost in each others eyes.

Jack pressed her index finger against his lips when he spoke. “We should go on vacation together. Get away from Gotham for a while. There's a family cabin that the Wayne's have owned forever in Aspen Colorado. I don't think Bruce has been up there in a while. We could go skiing, have sex in a sauna.” Here Jack waggled his eyebrows at her. “Then we could sip hot coco naked in a big bed surrounded by blankets...Oh!” he said with a sudden thought. “Or in front of a fire with a bear skin rug...you naked...a glass of grape soda in your hand giving me a “come hither” look...” Jack giggled.

Harley giggled with him. “ Grape soda?”

Jack laughed. “Yes! I could pour it in your navel and drink it with my tongue.”

Harley giggled. “Oh! That would be wonderful puddin.”

Jack was just about to say something else when his brother suddenly walked into the room speaking before he even saw Jack or Harley.. “Jack, Dr. Quinzel I need to talk to you...”

Bruce's voice trailed off, his eyes focusing on Harley, but it wasn't “her” he was seeing, but rather the necklace around her throat. Bruce's blue eyes suddenly turned cold. “Jack.” His tone was flat.

Jack turned, still holding Harley's hand, raising his eyebrows in question at his brother. “Bruce?”

Bruce narrowed his eyes focused solely on the necklace Harley wore. “Why is she wearing that?”

He pointed at Harley, who touched the necklace glancing with uncertainty between Jack and Bruce.

Jack stood up, his tone immediately defensive. “Because I gave it to her.”

“You what?” Bruce turned to Jack, his blue eyes showing more passion than Harley had seen in them since she started working at Wayne manor.

“You had no right to give that to her Jack! Especially not when she is just a...” Bruce snarled, but Jack cut him off.

Jack held up a finger. “Don't you dare, don't you finish that sentence Bruce.”

Bruce snarled. “That was our mother's! You had no business giving it to her Jack.”

Jack suddenly stepped away from the table, nearly knocking over his chair as he moved in close to his brother, shoving Bruce in the chest. “I can give her mother's necklace if I want.”

Bruce felt something in him boiling over. His hand shot out before he had time to consider his actions; he slapped his brother across the face. Jack's head snapped to the side with the force of the hit, splitting his lip, causing the younger Wayne to stumble into the chair. Harley let out a gasp leading into a scream. “JACK!”

Jack turned back to face Bruce. Bruce was staring at his hand, shocked at his own action. Jack's voice was low, deadly.

“She couldn't be bothered to be here Bruce, but Harley is—Harley is here for me. Unlike the rest of my blood relatives, none of whom have EVER been here for me! Harley is! Harley is here and you know what? She is only here for me! And if I want her to have that necklace, then she is going to have that fucking necklace BRUCE!”

Bruce snarled. “What do you mean no one is here for you?! I'm your brother! And OUR MOTHER IS DEAD!”

Jack leaned toward his brother's face, as if he dared Bruce to strike him again. “Why break a trend Bruce? When I said none of my relatives are here for me I meant it...when was the last time you were here for me Bruce? When was the last time you listened to me? And yeah..she is dead. DEAD, BRUCE. She has been dead longer than I ever knew her!!”

Harley watched in horror as the two men faced off. Alfred came dashing into the room clearly brought by the sounds of fighting.

Jack was grinning at his brother, blood running down his chin, dripping slowly onto his suit. “Go ahead and hit me again Bruce. Beat me with your fists until they're bloody!! That's all you were ever good at. Even when we were kids, after our parents died, remember how many times you hit me when I said something or did something you didn't like? Or didn't approve of? Or how many times you called me crazy, insane? Well Harley doesn't do any of those things. She is my girl Bruce! You are just going to have to get used to it and if I want to give her mother's necklace you can't stop me.”

Bruce stared at his brother, his face contorting between pain and rage. “I...I was young too Jack. I made mistakes.”

Jack smiled. “And you are just going to have to live with them aren't you Bruce?”

Jack reached for Harley, taking her hand and pulling her close, wrapping his arm protectively around her waist. For a moment she wasn't sure if it was to protect her or himself.

Bruce clearly wanted to say more, but instead he hissed, saying the words he had promised himself he wouldn't, but Jack, as usual, pushed him. “I don't want her here for the interview. I don't want her here at all!”

Jack narrowed his eyes. “Well you don't always get what you want, do you Bruce?”

Jack shoved Bruce in the shoulder, pushing his older brother out of his way as he led Harley out, leaving Bruce steaming with Alfred looking pained next to him.

*

Once Jack and Harley were gone Bruce sighed. “Alfred...what am I going to do?”

Alfred sighed along with him. “Well Master Bruce, you certainly handled that with the grace of a bull.”

Bruce covered his face. “I just...why did he give her that necklace Alfred?”

“Perhaps Master Bruce, because he loves her.”

Bruce frowned turning to stare at him. “You really think so, don't you.” It was more of a statement than a question.

Alfred shrugged. “Love causes all of us to do things we would not likely do otherwise. Jack loves her.”

Bruce pulled out a chair and sat down, glancing over briefly at the remains of Jack and Harley's lunch. “I—you know I don't think in all this time Jack has ever reacted that way toward me.” His tone was soft, musing now.

Alfred sighed. “I have found that how much someone cares about you is directly proportional to how much you can piss them off, as it were. You care a great deal for Jack, and Jack cares a great deal about you, but now he also cares about Miss Harleen. If you try to take that away...I know you and Jack had butted heads over this issue already, and you have asked my opinion Master Bruce. Now it is your turn to either accept Miss Harleen as part of Master Jack's life, or risk the gap between you and Jack becoming wider.” Alfred gave Bruce a sad smile and left the patio.

Bruce sighed. It was so much easier beating up criminals at night, fighting the good fight. Everything was black and white, good or bad. That fight, out on the streets of Gotham, he could understand, but here, inside his own home, the one person he should be the closest to, was a stranger.

Bruce stood up and headed to his rooms to shower and change. He would talk to Jack after he had showered and perhaps had a cup of coffee.

*

Jack tugged Harley along with him. He almost went outside thinking to show her his experiments, but at the last moment changed his mind and instead took her upstairs toward his room. Harley let herself be dragged around. She could see that Jack wasn't ready to talk and she didn't want to force him. She could understand Bruce's feelings and it was clear to her that the brothers had never spoken together about that night, not in a meaningful or helpful way, at least and that over the years they had both built walls around the incident and between each other.

Suddenly Jack turned and shoved her up against the wall, his mouth moving hungrily over hers. Harley dug her fingers into the cloth of his vest returning his kisses and holding on. Jack licked her mouth, then her chin.

“How about we blow this interview and you and I go have some fun?”

Harley frowned. “Do you think that's a good idea Jack? Bruce seemed to think this interview was really important.”

Jack snarled. “I don't care what Bruce wants. Now. Do you want to go or am I going alone?”

Harley blinked in surprise, the question hitting her in the gut. “No, no I”ll go with you.”

Jack grinned. “Good, otherwise I was just going to lock myself in my room and paint my nails.”

Jack pressed her against the wall one more time, his fingers digging into the cloth of her blouse. He pulled away and purred against her ear. “I'm going to call a boutique downtown and have them deliver a sexy party dress for you.”

“You don't, I mean...” Harley stumbled feeling like she should say or do something, but Jack cut her off placing a finger against her lips. “You in a sexy party dress, dancing, drinking...doing whatever we want! And we can make out while we wait for your dress to be delivered. Undressing you will be fun.”

Jack giggled, pressing his teeth into his bottom lip and lifting his eyebrows at her. For a moment, despite the smile, Harley saw the madness in his eyes, but what struck her wasn't the madness there, but the fact that she didn't care...it thrilled her.

Jack grabbed her hand and hauled her toward his room.

*

Bruce frowned, looking at himself in the mirror. He was wearing a Desmond Merrion, a ridiculously expensive suit, but it suited Bruce Wayne. He wanted to present the image of a billionaire playboy, a man with too much money, too much time and not enough...wit. He smirked with a sigh. He might as well go check on Jack. Vicki Vale would be here any time now.

Bruce stepped out of his room and made his way to Jack's room. He stopped at the door and knocked. There was no answer. Bruce gave it a full minute before he knocked again. Still no answer.

With a frown Bruce headed down the stairs looking for Alfred.

He found the butler preparing dinner for their guest. “Alfred, have you seen Jack?”

Alfred sighed and turned. “He and Miss Harleen just left.”

“What?” Bruce snarled.

*

Jack was laughing as he sped toward downtown Gotham. Harley sat next to him in the Lamborghini, her knuckles almost white as she held on, but she couldn't keep the smile off her face especially when Jack reached over and squeezed her knee. He was dressed in a pair of black slacks clearly tailored to him by the way they hugged his hips. He had on a deep burgundy button-down shirt, the buttons undone to just above his breastbone. Over the shirt he had a silver jacket with black lapels. Harley was completely distracted by the way his throat looked, the hint of his collar...all she could think about was biting him. He had taken off the bandages that Alfred had put on over the stitches, but somehow it made him look even more desirable to Harley.

She distracted herself by running one hand down her dangerously short dress. She wore a red mini lace, backless, halter top dress with a pair of high heeled black, open-toed shoes, all of which Jack had picked out for her. Her hair was down, curling in soft waves around her shoulders just like Jack liked it and she still wore the necklace that Jack had given to her.

Jack headed into downtown Gotham driving until they hit the downtown strip area. Here the night life of Gotham was just beginning to come alive. Jack made a couple of wicked turns on the streets until he finally drove up onto a street where there were crowds of people everywhere. Jack didn't pay any attention speeding along, forcing people to scatter out of the car's way as he pulled up in front of one of the largest nightclubs in Gotham, The Empire.

The Empire was not just the hottest night spot in Gotham, it brought all sorts of well-known clients, both the local Gotham celebrities as well as celebrities from all over. Crowds of people outside were trying to get into the club, but the paparazzi milled about taking pictures of whoever was getting into (or thrown out of) the club.

When the purple Lamborghini pulled up, all the cameras turned toward the car wanting to see who was entering the club. Jack grinned at her. “Bruce wants our relationship to be secret—then we are just going to go the opposite route, let everyone know exactly who the youngest Wayne is dating. AND we are going to show them just how crazy I actually am.”

Jack took her hand, kissing her knuckles. “Ready to dance the night away my sweetling?”

Harley nodded. “Anything for you.”

Jack grinned hopping out of the car to the flurry of cameras, hurrying around to get Harley. People were watching and cameras were flashing, as he handed her out then tugged her against him, his arm tight around her waist. Jack turned and waved allowing the paparazzi to take as many pictures as they wanted.

“Hello Gotham!” he yelled.

Several people stared and pointed. “Is that Jack Wayne?” “That's Jack Wayne!” “Whose the blonde?”

Harley was blushing within moments at the attention as Jack led them into the club whispering to her. “Wave Harls...let them see how gorgeous you are.”

Harley waved. One of the paparazzi yelled. “Whose the woman?” Another yelled. “What happened to your face? What's the other guy look like, Jack?!”

Jack stopped at the entrance. “Gotham let me introduce you to Harley Quinn! My girl and my doctor!” He laughed spinning her around and leading her into the club.

*

The club was packed full of dancers and people just drinking. The music thumped loudly and hard enough that it felt like the air was vibrating.

Jack grinned. “Drink or dance first?”

“How about a drink?” Harley smiled. Jack interlocked his fingers with hers leading her over to the bar. He leaned against the counter just as the bartender came over. The bartender was a tall lean woman with long black hair pulled back into a braid that looked like it could be dangerous if whipped around.

“What can I get you two?”

Jack smiled. “A whiskey straight for myself and for my lady a Mind Eraser.”

Harley laughed and had to speak loudly just to be heard over the music. “I don't know if I like the name of that drink.”

Jack bumped her hip with his. “Don't worry, you will remember everything.” He winked at her as he laughed. Harley grinned reaching out and brushing his arm. Jack turned his hand around so that she could weave her fingers with his.

They received their drinks and leaned against the bar watching the dancers. The club seemed alive; there was a powerful energy working through the place, like a powder keg ready to explode. The sexual tension vibrated through the whole place, mixed with lots of drugs and alcohol.

Jack finished his whiskey in one swallow, putting the glass down and with a nod of his head, ordered another. Harley sipped her drink staring at the dancers, her hips moving to the music, swaying in place. Jack smiled as he glanced down at her hips, watching the way her hips swayed in the snug dress, the cloth riding up on her thighs. His attention was too focused on Harley's hips to notice the woman sliding up next to him at the bar.

“Hey handsome, wanna dance?” The woman reached over and traced Jack's ear with the tip of her fingernail.

Jack jerked his head away, turning to glare at the woman beside him. She was beautiful...or at least Jack supposed she was; she looked like the type of women his brother would go out with, dark auburn hair, green eyes...an all right smile he supposed, but certainly nothing like his Harley. She was wearing a dark blue, skin-tight dress with large stripe shaped cut-outs along the sides. She was smiling at him with her eyes slightly narrowed in an appraising manner, clearly pleased with what she saw in Jack Wayne.

“Name's Vesper, Vesper Fairchild. You might have heard of me—I'm the host of Siren of the Night on Gotham City radio.”

Jack's lip curled. “I don't listen to the radio.”

Vesper frowned, but seemed to take this in stride. “You're Jack Wayne aren't you?”

Jack smiled. “Sometimes.”

“I would love to get you on my show sometime. But seriously, wanna dance? I could buy you a drink we could get a booth and talk. I promise I can show you a good time.” She smiled, fluttering her eyes just a little.

Jack frowned turning away with a quick dismissal. “No.”

Vesper pressed her lips together. She wasn't going to give up. Even if she couldn't get him in her bed, if she could get Jack Wayne on her show...his first interview...that would boost her ratings through the roof. Vesper reached out, running a fingernail over the exposed section of Jack's chest.

Harley couldn't quite hear the conversation, but she could clearly see what the woman next to Jack was doing. She was caught between wanting to grab the other woman's hand and break her fingers...a more violent reaction than Harley was used to ever having...or letting the situation play out and see what Jack did.

Jack grabbed Vesper's hand, squeezing a little too tightly. He jerked her close and hissed.

“Don't ever touch me.”

He released her hand and laughed. “You know, it's better to just look like an ass than to open your mouth and prove it.”

Vesper blinked in shock for a moment causing Jack to grin and hiss. “Is your ass jealous of the amount of shit that came out of your mouth.”

Harley started laughing. Vesper narrowed her eyes and turned, melting into the crowd without a response. Jack started laughing, wrapping his arm around Harley. “Come on my little minx, let's dance.”

*

The smooth sounds of R. Kelly's “Bump N' Grind” started to play. Jack downed his second shot of whiskey before he grabbed Harley's hand, barely giving her time to drop her drink onto the bar before he had her out on the dance floor. Jack moved with a grace that was no longer surprising to Harley, placing his hand on Harley's shoulder before he started weaving, sliding his back up and bumping his chest with Harley's.

She smiled, copying his move, her gymnastic skills making her movements exquisitely sexy when she rolled her shoulders and gently bumped her chest against Jack's. He gazed at her, his blue eyes virtually glowing while he watched her, his hand sliding down her shoulder, dragging his fingers along the length of her arm before he placed his hand on her waist. Jack rolled his body against hers, grinning at her with that smile that had her blood flowing heatedly through her body making her feel intensely aware of him. Harley's hips flowed against his, licking her lips, her blue eyes locked with his while her hips weaved, the music inviting them to grind and slide against each other.

Jack grinned as he yanked Harley against him, his hands sliding down the curve of her back, spreading his fingers across her rear and pressing her hips against his, swaying to the music. Harley caught the side of her bottom lip with her teeth, grinning at him as she draped her arms across his shoulders, gliding her fingers along the back of his head, playing with the short hairs along the back of his head. Jack purred, a soft growl deep in his chest.

Then suddenly Jack laughed, dipping her back, pressing a kiss at the hollow of her neck before pulling her up and twisting her around, pressing her backside against his groin. Harley laughed with him, completely trusting Jack not the drop her when he suddenly dipped her. She shifted immediately with the movements, her back to him. Jack's hands snaked down her sides, then against her hips where he pressed his hands firmly, thrusting her backside against his groin. He slowed his hip movements down, flowing and grinding against her. Harley snaked her body in a sensual curve, her arms over her head while her body weaved to the music. People were watching them, several recognizing who Jack was, a few taking cell phone pictures.

Jack pressed her hips more firmly against him, dropping and rolling against her, one hand sliding lower down her thigh, grabbing the hem of her dress, his tongue licking her neck while they moved to the music. Harley exhaled slowly, weaving against him, his hands burning her skin. Jack ran his hands back up her body, flowing over her breasts, then down again, grabbing her ear with his teeth. Harley groaned, but then the song was over, changing into another song.

Jack whispered into her ear. “Want another drink?”

Harley purred. “Sure puddin.”

Jack laughed taking her hand and leading her back to the bar where he ordered her another drink and himself another shot. Jack pulled her close for a moment, kissing her deeply. He tilted her back a bit, his tongue playing sensually over hers. The taste of him mixed with the whiskey had Harley's body aching for him. By the way Jack pressed against her, it was clear he was having the same thoughts. He groaned against her mouth.

“I'm going to go get us a private booth. I'll be right back.”

Jack brushed her jaw with the back of his fingers just before he vanished into the crowd.

Harley waited at the bar, sipping on her drink when the music had changed into something with a harder beat. Harley's body thumped to the rhythm. She was weaving her hips while she waited for Jack. She smiled recognizing the song “Payback Time” by the Dysfunctional Psychedelic Waltons. She started dancing in place, a little more aggressively, the warm burn of the alcohol in her system making her dancing even more sensual, her thoughts on Jack...his body...his mouth...she closed her eyes running her hands down her sides, over her thighs. The alcohol, the music, the thought of Jack all making her feel sexy, hot, wanting him to hurry back.

That was when she felt someone come up behind her and start to grind their pelvis against her backside. Harley immediately knew something wasn't right. It wasn't Jack. She turned around to see a man, tall, heavily built man with short black hair. He wasn't handsome—far from it—and he definitely gave Harley a “creep” vibe. She pulled away, but he grabbed her arm.

“Hey honey, why'd ya stop? We was having fun. I'm Frank, Frank Boles and you are?” He yanked her back against him, his hands going around to squeeze her rear.

Harley snarled. “Let me go!” She took a slap at him, but Boles grabbed her arm.

“Oh now come on, baby.” The man dropped her arm, but when Harley tried to take a kick at his groin, break away from his grip, he yanked her hard towards him, wrapping his arms around her, pinning her arms and yanking her up off her feet, pressing her body against him.

“You were dancing so nice there.” He grinned down at her. “Don't you wanna show Frank a good time?”

“Let me go!!” Harley was about to try to go for his eyes, struggling to get her arms loose when Jack stepped into Harley's field of vision. “You heard the lady—let her go.”

Frank, still holding onto Harley, turned around to see Jack standing there, his blue eyes flat and deadly. “I said: let her go.” Jack's voice was low, but it cut through the music easily, carrying a dangerous quality that Harley was beginning to recognize well.

Frank released Harley and shoved her to the side. “Oh, what you going to do about it pretty boy?”

Jack's smile was slow and deadly. “I'm going to crush your windpipe.”

Frank snarled. “Oh, you think so?”

Jack's smile widened further. “Yes, yes I do.”

Frank turned away with a laugh, but then swung back around, his fist coming straight toward Jack's face.

Jack leaned easily out of the way, the man's large meaty fist just missing him. Jack came back up, his grin in place and the mad glint in his eyes.

“My turn.”

Chapter Text

Vickie Vale pulled up her plain white Nissan in front of the impressively large Wayne Manor. She was able to pull her car up the drive and into the circle drive parking fairly close to the front door. As she looked at the house from her car, Vicki could see the doorway that led into Wayne manor; she had only seen a doorway that imposing in front of a church in Europe. She idly wondered for a moment if the Wayne Manor was a church...a worship site for the two brothers to remember their parents. Were the Wayne brother stuck in the past, unable to move past the murder of their well respected mother and father?

She took a breath wondering if she would get a chance to ask them. Vicki drummed her fingers on the wheel of her car in thought before she slipped out of her car. She stood by her vehicle for a couple of seconds checking the contents of her purse to make sure she had everything: tape recorder, cellphone, notepad, printed out picture of Jack Wayne and Oswald Cobblepot dueling with swords and the picture of Jack Wayne in an spectacular lip-lock with an unknown blonde. She grinned. This was going to be one fun interview with the Wayne brothers.

When she finished with her purse, she shut her car door, stopping to check herself in the window reflection.

She wore a Milano Pique Knit Peplum Dress, one of the most expensive dresses she owned, though she did have a fairly expensive evening dress.that she put almost six months worth of salary into in order to purchase it. She owned the dress in the hopes of getting to attend one of the legendary Wayne parties. It was a long shot, but one never knew where the story would take her...and she had hope.

The dress fit perfectly to her figure and the caviar color made her skin seem softer and rosy. Her blonde hair (which she wore in a Veronica Lake-style tonight) shone, complimented by the dress's color. Vicki turned left than right, the elbow length sleeves and slimming skirt accentuated her hour-glass figure, hopeful Bruce Wayne would take notice...especially if the younger Wayne was already spoken for. Both men were extremely attractive, though both in very different ways. Bruce Wayne was square-jawed, blue eyed and while he played the part of the playboy, Vicki thought there was something more to it. Bruce, to her, seemed like a fortress that she wanted to break through and see what he was hiding. Jack on the other hand was a definite mystery. The man had had a lot of trouble when he was younger based on his school records until he was pulled out of school. There were stories, of course, but none of them substantiated. Jack Wayne was tall, slender, handsome, but in a far more delicate way, and, like with Bruce, Vicki suspected there was something hidden behind Jack Wayne's ready smile.

It wasn't that Vicki was really interested in a romance, but if her looks let her get closer to Bruce Wayne, or maybe even Jack, then that was all the better; her looks always allowed her to get closer to the story.

Vicki glanced down at her shoes for a moment, the black rounded wedged heels were a little “tall” for this interview, but they made her legs look great and sometimes that was more important than comfort.

Happy with how she looked, Vicki walked up to the door and knocked. Her knuckles had barely touched the wood of the heavy door when the door opened and an older gentleman stood there dressed in a butler's standard uniform—standard for the nineteenth century.

“Miss Vicki Vale?” the older man said, his accent refined, reminding Vicki of a member from the cast of Downton Abby.

“Yes, that's me.” She grinned.

“I'm Alfred Pennyworth, the Waynes' butler. If you will follow me I will take you to see Mr. Wayne.”

*

Jack was laughing, moving slowly, the two men circling each other while the lights kept flashing. Jack had his fists up, but he held them up as if he were only playing the part of fighting, more of a joke than for defending himself. Frank was watching Jack with narrowed eyes, his fists up too, but he was bouncing slightly from foot to foot.

The dancers had immediately moved out of the way forming a circle around the two men.

Someone started to chant, “Fight, Fight!”

Whoever the DJ was thought he must have been funny, because he started to play some heavy bass music which went perfect with the two men circling each other and it made

Jack laugh all the more.

Jack waggled his eyebrows and made a kissy face at Frank. “Come on baby, show me what kind of man you are.”

Frank snarled. “You pussy!”

Jack grinned. “Oh...is that an insult? Really? That's the best you got? Come on baby, you can do better than that!”

Jack ran his tongue over the top of his teeth grinning at Frank. “Come on baby, hit me, make your knuckles bloody.”

Frank hissed and took a swing at Jack, who ducked under Frank's arm, twisting around with his whole body to bring his elbow up in a fluid movement. Jack smashed his elbow into Frank's nose just before Jack jumped backwards out of the way.

Frank gasped in pain, both hands going to his nose where blood immediately flowed down his face. “You fucking broke my nose!!”

Jack giggled. “It's an improvement, I promise. You're turn sweetheart. Hit me with your best shot.”

The look that Jack gave him was a cross between flat, violent, mixed with pure hatred and a little bit of seduction...as if this were a game of pleasure for him. Jack's grin widened as he licked his upper lip.

“Come on big boy,” Jack hissed.

*

Harley's emotions were a strange mixed bag between absolutely being turned on by Jack's fighting; the way he licked his lips, the movements of his body, every part of him was sensual, erotic and Harley wanted him badly. But she was also worried. There were a lot of people here and they were all taking pictures and video with their phones. No matter how this fight turned out, Bruce was going to find out about it. Harley just knew that was going to be another fight...worse than the last one. Harley absently put her hand on the necklace around her neck. Any chance of Bruce accepting her had vanished with Jack giving her this necklace, but she found that she didn't give a damn. The only person she cared about was Jack. Part of her, the doctor, knew she had a problem, that she was becoming more than attached...obsessed? But she found she didn't care about that either.

She realized she couldn't live without him...she needed Jack.

*

Frank, blood covering his upper lip, shook off the pain and took another swing at Jack. Jack danced out of the way, swinging around and brought his fist down on the joint of Frank's arm. The only reason Jack didn't break the other man's arm was because he didn't want to...not yet. Frank gasped dropping to his knees. Jack walked away from him smiling, dropping down into a crouch in front of Jack. “Had enough big boy?”

Frank snarled, “I'm going to kill you.”

Frank rose quickly to his feet, charged at Jack, and took a couple of swings, first right, then left. Jack easily dodged out of the way. When Frank hit with his right hand, he over extended himself and stumbled past Jack, who turned and smacked Frank in the back of the head, not with his fist, but with the flat of his hand. The crowd started laughing.

Frank snarled, turning, taking a few more swings with his fists, which Jack simply slapped out of the way, then Jack came in close enough to Frank, getting under the other man's ineffectual guard, then he simply backhanded Frank.

Jack laughed, but his eyes were narrowed with hatred. “You really should learn when a woman says no she means no.”

Frank hissed. “You fucking pansy!!”

Jack grinned. Frank tried again to use his fists, but Jack managed to slap Frank's balled hands away a few more times making the other man look foolish. Frank came in with a low hit, his fist connecting with Jack's side, sliding under Jack defense. The hit sent the slender man stumbling into the crowd who simply pushed Jack back into the circle they had created on the dance floor.

*

Harley was chewing her bottom lip. She wanted to get in there and tear that man Frank's eyes out, but she stayed put, letting Jack fight. For a moment, she wondered where the club security was, but they were probably as eagerly watching the fight as everyone else.

*

Vicki was led to a room by Pennyworth, who bowed slightly to her, his arm extended for her to enter the room. She walked in where she found Bruce Wayne waiting for her in front of the massive fireplace in what appeared to be a library or a foyer or a...who knew? Rich people had so many rooms it was hard to keep track, Vicki thought wryly. Bruce seemed to be staring into the fire. If it had been any other man, she would have accused him of posing, but she sensed that Bruce Wayne really was lost in thought, unaware of how he looked when she walked in. Vicki strolled over toward Bruce. He looked to be brooding, staring into the fire.

“Mr. Wayne?” she asked.

Bruce turned and Vicki was struck by how handsome the man was, (although she had seen him before) dark hair, blue eyes, chiseled features. Hell, he could be a model! She thought.

“Miss Vale, it's a pleasure to see you.” Bruce stepped over to her, taking her hand. Instead of shaking it, he brought her hand up to lightly brush his lips against her knuckles.

She tried not to blush, but she couldn't help it; a warmth blossomed across her cheeks. “So, Mr. Wayne, where is your brother?”

She glanced around, but they were clearly alone.

“My brother Jack is...indisposed at the moment. So it will just be you and me for dinner, and please, call me Bruce.” He smiled giving her his arm.

For a moment, as Vicki wrapped her arm around his, she wondered if his brother was gone on purpose...maybe so Bruce Wayne could eat alone with her? Nah...this was supposed to be a family interview and he knew it. Maybe Jack refused? That would make for some interesting questions...or maybe Mr. Wayne was simply trying to keep his crazy brother out of the media...another idea that could lead to some interesting questions.

She grinned at Bruce. “Well if I'm going to call you Bruce, you should call me Vicki.”

Bruce smiled brighter. “Well Vicki, let us go eat dinner.”

*

Bruce led Vicki into the dining room and for a moment all her questions were forgotten. The Wayne Manor dining room looked exactly like a dining room in a manor should look. The walls were paneled with walnut, cherry wood? She couldn't be sure, but she was certain it was probably expensive, just like the polished wood floors. One wall had several large windows framed with heavy curtains that were currently pulled back to let in the moonlight from outside. The chandelier that hung over the center of the room was a little more modern than the rest of the furnishings; it was large and rounded with three levels of circular forms that each carried rows of crystal drops casting twinkling lights throughout the dinning room.

The center of the room was dominated by a long oak table that could probably sit at least twenty or more people, though dinner had been set up at one end for only two people. The dishes, bone china, were lovely, clearly not a choice Bruce would have made, unless Vicki had him pegged wrong. Perhaps these were his mother's? They were white china with a traditional Toile pattern, goldleaf banding. The silverware looked to be just as elegant; if she wasn't mistaken, Christofle Sterling Marly silverware. There were two wine glasses on the table and a silver ice bucket—carved to match the silverware—sitting on the table with a bottle of Chateau Margaux 2010. Vicki recognized the bottle and almost gasped; that stuff was almost $1000 a bottle!

Bruce pulled out her chair for her. “Alfred will be serving dinner shortly.”

He smiled taking the seat next to her. “Is Filet Mignon all right? I'm sorry, I didn't think to ask if you were a vegetarian. Though I believe Alfred would have no problem whipping up something for you.”

Bruce's smile was definitely charming, Vicki realized with an inward smile.

“Oh no, no—filet Mignon is perfect.” Vicki smiled holding out her glass as Bruce uncorked the wine and poured some into her glass for her.

Bruce smiled. “I believe Alfred also made roasted green beans with harissa and arugula, pear, and blue cheese salad.”

Vicki chuckled. “He is quite the cook.”

Bruce nodded with a smile. “He is, from peanut butter and jelly to filet Mignon, the man can cook anything.”

Vicki laughed. This is going to be quite an evening, she thought.

*

Jack grinned as he slapped Frank in the shoulder, forcing him to stumble into the crowd. Frank was turned around by the people forming the circle. Jack held his arms out like he was part of a performance and he had just executed a complicated stunt. Jack gave Harley a saucy wink when Frank suddenly rushed Jack from behind, picking up the slender man right off his feet and throwing Jack over his shoulder. Frank rushed toward the crowd, intent on throwing Jack. Except the crowd acted as huge living rubber band, bouncing the two men back into the center of the dance floor. Jack tried to beat on Frank's back and head, forcing Frank to drop him.

Frank dropped Jack onto his feet hard, but Jack maintained his balance, his natural grace and skill kept the slimmer man on his feet. Frank came in close trying to get under Jack's guard, but Jack simply slapped the bigger man hard across the face, making the broken nose Jack had already given Frank flare hot and painful. Frank stumbled into Jack, blinded momentarily by the pain in his nose. Jack slapped him another couple of times across the face, never using his fist as if Jack wasn't willing to treat Frank to the fight he wanted, instead focused on humiliating him. The older man managed to get a grip around Jack's waist and threw him. Jack landed on his side, sliding across the dance floor, hitting the feet of some of the patrons.

Jack got to his feet giggling. “Oh look at you Frankie...that's your name right? Frankiestein.”

Jack realized only then that he was near Harley. She reached out grabbing his face turning him to face her.

“Jack? Jack are you alright?” Harley's eyes sparkled with concern.

Jack giggled. “I'm fine, my lovely. Never fear.”

He yanked Harley around to press her against him, his arm around her waist. Jack kissed her hard. His tongue demanding, his lips almost fiery. She could taste a little bit of his blood from his lips. Jack's split lip had broken open again, coating his lips and teeth in blood. A thin trail of blood leaked from the wound already on his face from earlier today, since one of his stitches had broke open. Jack didn't seem to notice as with his other hand, Jack grabbed Harley's rear, squeezing hard. She purred with want and the crowd screamed their praise of the kiss. But suddenly Frank grabbed Jack's shoulder, yanking him out of Harley's embrace and slugged him, his fist smashing right into Jack's face, which sent Jack sliding across the floor away from Harley.

Harley screamed and leapt at Frank, going for his eyes, but he threw her off. The crowd caught her preventing her from falling. She started to go after Frank, but a couple of people in the crowd grabbed her preventing her from jumping on Frank's back and ripping his throat out—which was what she wanted to do.

Frank laughed taking a couple of steps back, glaring at Jack, giving Jack a chance to get to his feet. “Not so tough now are ya pretty boy?”

Jack's eyes were flat, glancing to see if Harley was all right before he grinned, his blood-coated teeth making his smile look sinister.

“Oh that was a good shot there Frankie. Very good shot...now, let's see if I can do better.” Jack got to his feet slowly, acting as if every muscle in his body hurt. He gazed at Frank, then suddenly moved with lightning speed.

His right fist came out, slamming hard into Frank's cheek, snapping the larger man's head to the side.

*

Vicki smiled, cutting into her filet Mignon. “So, just you and your brother live here—oh and your butler. Does it ever get lonely?”

Bruce took a sip of his wine. “Not really, both of us have our hobbies, work. We have a lot to keep us both busy.” He set his wine glass down.

Vicki chewed thoughtfully and swallowed before she asked. “So, your brother Jack, he hasn't been seen a lot, but recently he seems to have been getting out there, in Gotham that is...and he has been seen in the company of a young woman. Any ideas on who she is?”

Vicki watched Bruce from the corner of her eyes while her fork stabbed into a few of the green beans. Bruce didn't answer at first, his focus on his meal, but she could see a tightening around his eyes and mouth. Clearly he had been expecting the question, but he was still not happy about it. He took a bite of his meal, chewing slowly and then took a sip of his wine before he answered her.

“My brother is seeing a young woman yes, a Harleen Qunizel. They haven't been together long, so I don't suspect there is anything serious between them, but yes, he has been going out more.”

Vickie smiled, taking a sip of her wine, deciding to come back to the question of the blonde...Harleen Quinzel, now that she had a name.

She was about to ask another question when the butler stepped into the room.

“Master Bruce, Miss Vale—are you ready for dessert?” The older man smiled gently looking between the two of them.

Bruce glanced at Vale, lifting his eyebrows in question.

“Yes, dessert sounds splendid.” Vicki smiled. The butler nodded and bowed slightly at the waist. “Shall I bring the dessert and drinks to the patio Master Bruce?”

“Yes please, Alfred.” Bruce stood, extending a hand to Vicki. She stood up after wiping her mouth and tossing her linen napkin onto the table. Bruce led her out into a long hall decorated with paintings. She gazed at them as Bruce started to tell her about some charity that Wayne Enterprises was investing in...something about building a new hospital to replace Arkham Asylum, when she noticed that the paintings they were walking by on the way to the patio were all family paintings.

“Bruce...are these all family portraits?”

Bruce frowned, startled out of his talk. “Yes, yes they are,” he affirmed. “Each is a family member or a family portrait.”

Vicki smiled at him. “Is there one of you and your brother?”

Bruce nodded with a slight smile that Vicki thought might be forced. “There are three actually, there at the end of the hall.” Bruce walked her down, pointing at a set of particular portraits as he did so, telling her their names, maybe a little of his ancestors accomplishments until he stopped at a series of four portraits. The first was a family portrait, by the looks of it, done not too long before the murder of the Wayne brothers' parents. It showed a happy, well-do-to family. Bruce looked a great deal like his father, while Jack was more delicate in his features, clearly taking after their mother Martha. The next portrait in line showed only the brothers. It showed the boys in their teen years. If Vicki guessed correctly, she would say that Bruce was eighteen in the painting while Jack was sixteen.

Bruce looked harder, his features stern, his blue eyes piercing and determined, much like the business side of Bruce Wayne, she thought. Jack was also paler than his brother; where Bruce's hair was black, Jack's was a soft, light shade of brown and where Bruce's eyes were a stern blue, Jack's eyes held something else. The artist captured the shared shade of blue with Bruce, but there was something haunted about Jack's eyes. Vicki couldn't put her finger on it. Was it the madness everyone rumored about or was it pain? If Vickie was to hazard a guess, she would have said pain—the younger Wayne brother held a lot of pain. Even though Bruce's hand rested on his brother Jack's shoulder, the painter caught the distance between the two boys.

The last two paintings were of the brothers, though not together. These paintings were solitary pictures of each brother. Bruce, early thirties, every inch the playboy in his fine suit, his hair just so, his blue eyes gazing out with determination and something else. Vicki frowned...this Bruce held a secret. The painting of Jack that hung right next to Bruce's showed a young man, late twenties, thirty maybe, but with a smile that had not been present in any of the other painting after the first one when he was little. But the smile, there was something...spooky about it, Vicki thought. Jack's eyes were not the same brilliant blue of his brother's, there seemed to be shadows lurking in the depths of Jack Wayne's eyes.

*

Jack laughed, slamming his fists into Frank's ears causing an intense ringing thorough the other man's head. Frank roared like an animal, taking a wild swing at Jack. Jack brought his left arm up, blocking the strike, the impact of Frank's hit against his arm vibrated through Jack's forearm and up to his shoulder, but he bore the pain as he stepped to the side to bring his right hand in low to slam his fist into Frank's side, possibly bruising his kidney. Jack slapped Frank's next swing away, twisting around to bring his left elbow up, striking Frank in the chin.

Frank gasped in pain seeing stars for a moment or two. He kept his balance and swung, managing to catch Jack on the jaw with enough force that Jack stumbled, dropping to one knee from the impact of the hit. Frank swooped in, planning on laying Jack out.

Jack, grinning a bloody smile, pushed himself to his feet, shrugging out of his jacket and then yanking at his shirt causing the few buttons that were still buttoned to burst when he ripped the shirt off, throwing it down next to the jacket. The crowd went wild, especially when Jack held his arms out and motioned at Frank with his fingers. “Come on big boy, show me what you got! To quote Shakespeare “Away, you starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish!”

Jack giggled. “Though I suppose that insult is wasted on an idiot like you.” Jack grinned and shrugged.

Frank snarled and screamed. “You fucker!”

Jack hooted. “Oh, well damn, you cut me to the quick!! How on earth will I come back from such a witty insult?!”

Jack moved out of the way at the last moment, grabbing the hand that Frank was throwing at him, using his hold on Frank's fist to twist Frank's arm back and to the right; Jack's other hand shot out. Jack slammed the space between his thumb and forefinger against Frank's throat, causing Frank to stumble, choking and gasping for breath. Jack grinned watching Frank struggle for breath; the man's face was pale and there was a line of blood making its way slowly down his chin.

Jack started to laugh. “How's it feel, Frankie?”

Frank's hands struggled at his throat. A bruise was blossoming where Jack's hand had hit the man in the throat. Jack took a few steps toward him, his blue eyes dull with the intent to kill the man when suddenly there was a shout from someone in the crowd. “THE POLICE ARE HERE!”

The crowd started to break up as the police shoved their way to the center of the dance floor.

“All right stand down! EVERYONE stand down!!” The cops were yelling, grabbing at anyone who happened to run in front of them, swinging them toward another group of cops who were doing their best to restrain people.

Harley rushed forward, ducking under a policeman who made a grab for her and ran over to Jack, wrapping her arms around him, stopping him from heading for Frank. People in the crowd started screaming, someone yelled for someone to call an ambulance when Frank fell to his knees continuing to struggle for a breath. One of the cops grabbed Jack from behind, breaking him loose from Harley's grip. Jack struggled, managing to get one of his arms free, turning on the ball of one foot, his movements graceful while his fist came around going straight for the cop's jaw.

Harley yelled. “NO!!”

She stepped between Jack and the police officer, closing her eyes expecting Jack's fist to hit her. But Jack, barely stopped himself from hitting Harley just in time.

She grabbed his shoulders her eyes pleading. “Stay calm Jack.”

He stared back, letting the police pull his arms behind him and handcuff him, before forcing Jack down onto his knees. Jack never broke eye contact with Harley, even when she was grabbed from behind as well. She was forced onto her knees too, but she maintained eye contact with Jack.

Harley whispered again. “Just look at me Jack, stay calm, focus only on me.”

Jack's breathing slowed, his gaze never faltering from hers, blue eyes glued to blue eyes until they were hauled to their feet and escorted from the building, Jack, now calm, didn't resist though he giggled quite a bit.

*

Vicki was impressed with the patio, a lovely glassed in area that allowed them to enjoy the night sky without being out in the cool air. The table was set with candlelight and setting on the table waiting for them were two crystal goblets filled with ice cream, shaved chocolate and what looked to be caviar on the top.

Bruce smiled while he pulled out the seat for her. “This is Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream with Amedei Porcelana and dessert caviar. One of Alfred's specialties.”

Vicki looked impressed as she took her seat, picking up the long handled spoon that lay on the plate next to the goblet. “Goodness, this looks great.”

Bruce grinned at her as he sat down. “I assure you, it is.”

Vicki took a bite and groaned. It was like she had taken a bite of heaven. Bruce chuckled at her expression. “So Miss...”

“Vicki...remember?” Vicki smiled at him.

“So...Vicki...What would you like to ask me? I mean, I'm assuming you wanted to ask some personal questions?” Bruce took a bite of his ice cream and smiled at her.

Vicki grinned. He really was charming.

“Well...” She took a bite of her ice cream. “I did want to ask why someone like you, Bruce, isn't with anyone? No plans to marry? Is your brother Jack going to marry before you?”

Bruce chuckled. “No, no plans to marry yet. I haven't met that certain someone I can share everything with.”

“Someone to share all the Wayne family secrets with, eh?” Vicki grinned. Bruce opened his mouth to answer when Alfred came in carrying a tray with two cocktails, each with a cherry floating in the bottom of the chilled cocktail glasses.

Alfred smiled. “Two tidbits.”

Bruce stood up taking the drinks. “Thank you Alfred.”

Vicki laughed. “Watch it Bruce, I might not be able to drive home!”

He chuckled. “You can always stay here, Vicki.”

“Are you flirting with me Mr. Wayne?” Vicki blushed.

“I might be.” Bruce's smile was inviting and charming, she had to admit.

*

Harley leaned against the bars of her cell gazing at Jack. He was across the way from her in a separate cell filled with more than a dozen others who had been arrested that night (not all from the club, a few drunks and some other misdemeanors). Jack grinned at her, occasionally blowing her a kiss. He was still shirtless, looking sexy and beaten up. All Harley could think about was getting him home and taking care of him...in several ways. Watching Jack duel Cobblepot had been sexy, but this...a full on fist fight had been damn sexy in a way she had never realized she would enjoy. She didn't know if it was because Jack had beaten the guy for being handsie with her, or just watching Jack move, fighting. Either way, right now she was aching for him.

One of the women in Harley's cell came to lean against the bars next to her. The woman (judging by her clothing, a mini skirt that was short enough that it could barely be called a skirt, a bright pink tank top and heels that only hookers or strippers usually wore) was a prostitute. She glanced across the way at Jack then back at Harley.

“That your guy?” she asked.

Harley smiled. “Yep.”

The woman laughed. “Be careful hun, that one is dangerous—you can see it in his eyes.”

Harley smiled. “I know.”

The other woman frowned looking at Harley who was staring at Jack, then shrugged. She walked back over to her girlfriends thinking that you simply couldn't save them all.

A couple of police officers came walking into the cell area. One of them was older, brown hair, a bit of a gut, had the look of a man who was tired of his job.“Okay you there, shirtless. Your turn to make your call.”

Jack grinned. “Sure thing officer.”

The other officer, younger, slim, blonde, nice looking, walked over to unlock the cell door. Jack moved out of the way grinning. “Wanna hear a joke officers?”

The older one just glared, but the younger one, whose name on his uniform read Frost, muttered quietly, “Sure.”

Jack laughed. “Two prisoners and Frank, who is a bit of a dimwit, are being executed via firing squad. The police are about to execute the first one when he yells "EARTHQUAKE!"

The police go running and the prisoner escapes before the police realize there's no earthquake. Right before they execute the second one, he yells "TORNADO!"

Of course, there is no tornado, but the prisoner escapes before the police realize that. Now it was the turn for the third to be executed. The police go "Ready... Aim...".

Then, Frank yells "FIRE!" Jack snickered.

Officer Frost laughed. “That's a good one.”

The older one, whose name was Bentley, just scowled. “Just get him over to the phone Frost.”

Just as Frost was leading Jack from his cell, they passed close to Harley.

Harley reached out for Jack as he walked by, Jack reached for her, their fingers brushing against one another. Bentley frowned at Frost. “Hey now, none of that. Break those two up!”

Frost frowned. “Sorry, Mr. Wayne.”

Jack looked back at Harley with a smile.

*

Vicki sipped at the ice cream cocktail with a smile. “So Bruce, tell me about Jack's mental health. Rumor has it that he has a problem with violence? That the murder of your parents made him unstable?”

Bruce paled ever so slightly. She could see it around his mouth and eyes, but it was quickly gone.

“Jack is much better than he was when we were younger. People have issues, but Jack is stable, an adult, a mature person.”

Vicki nodded. “So...”

Vickie picked up her purse and pulled out one of the photos from the duel.

“These are the actions of a mature, stable person?”

Bruce frowned as he picked up the picture that Vicki had placed on the table between them. It took a great deal of effort for Bruce to school his features. It was a photo of Jack, dueling with Oswald Cobblepot, the blade of Jack's rapier was through Cobblepot's knee...Bruce ground his teeth. He had seen the bandage on Jack's face, but had been so distracted by the fact that Jack had given Dr. Quinzel their mother's necklace, that he had failed to question the wound. But judging from the picture, this was where Jack had received the wound...and there in the background was Dr. Quinzel. Vicki took that opportunity to place another photo on the table...this one of Dr. Quinzel kissing his brother rather passionately.

Bruce looked up at Vicki, his mouth open, not sure what he was going to say, when Alfred came back into the room.

“Master Bruce, I am sorry to interrupt sir, but you have a rather important phone call. From your brother.”

Bruce pressed his lips together as he stood up. “Excuse me Vicki. I'll be right back. “

Vicki smiled picking up the photos and shoving them back into her purse before she picked up her drink. “Oh, no problem.”

*

Bruce hurried out with Alfred. “Did you know about the duel with Oswald Cobblepot?”

Alfred frowned. “I did sir.”

“What?!” Bruce exclaimed, startled that the older man would keep that information from him.

“Master Bruce I...I did not know they were going to be using real blades until Jack returned injured.” Alfred sighed.

Bruce let out a long tired sigh. “What is Jack calling about?”

“Well Master Bruce, he and Miss Harleen have been arrested.”

Alfred led Bruce into the library to the ground line that the manor still had. Bruce stopped, turning to look at Alfred.

“Arrested?”

“Yes sir. It seems Master Jack was involved in an altercation at some nightclub. He has been charged with a misdemeanor, but his car is still at the club and he and Miss Harleen need a ride home.”

Alfred smiled unsure. “He wanted to talk to you first. He would not say why Master Bruce.”

Bruce closed his eyes counting to ten before he picked up the phone. “Jack.”

“Hey bro!! Harley and I are down at the Gotham city jail! Can you come get us? They claim we are too drunk to drive home, which is a complete lie.” Jack giggled.

“Jack, what are you charged with?” Bruce sat down in one of the chairs near the phone, rubbing the bridge of his nose with his thumb.

“Oh don't worry, I'm filing a complaint right back! Got into a fight with some bozo who laid hands on Harley.” Jack laughed. “No one touches my girl Brucie. You know how it is...no wait, you don't.” Jack giggled.

Bruce sighed. “Fine. I'll be there in a few minutes. I'm not picking up Dr. Quinzel.”

The line was silent then Jack spoke, his voice soft, almost a whisper. “It's both of us Bruce or I'm not coming home.”

“Jack...please...” Bruce pleaded. Bruce wasn't sure why he was being such a child about Harleen Quinzel, but it was like he couldn't help it...

“Bruce. Don't,” Jack said simply.

“Fine. I'll be there for both of you within the next half hour.” Bruce slammed the phone down.

*

Bruce walked quickly into the room. “I'm sorry Vicki, but I'm going to have to cut our evening short. Something came up that requires my immediate attention. I'll have Alfred call you a cab and I will have someone drive your car back into Gotham for you.”

Vickie frowned. “But...”

Bruce took her hand and kissed her knuckles. “Please, call me tomorrow and we can reschedule this.”

*

When Vicki slipped into the cab, she pulled out her cellphone thinking to call Knox and report about her dinner when she saw that she had missed several calls from Knox. Instead of listening to the messages, she called Knox directly.

“What's up? You know my interview with the Wayne family was tonight.”

Knox was laughing. “Oh Vicki, you're going to LOVE this! Guess who got arrested?”

Vicki frowned confused. “Who?”

“JACK WAYNE! He got arrested for fighting at The Empire club! And guess who was with him?” Knox's excitement was vibrating through the phone.

“Harleen Quinzel?” Vicki was smiling.

“BINGO!” Knox giggled.

“Tell me everything Knox.” Vicki grinned in anticipation as she pulled out her notepad and pen from the depths of her purse.

*

The ride back to Wayne Manor was uncomfortable, Harley thought, to put it mildly. Jack was still shirtless, his jacket and shirt lost during the arrest. He didn't seem to care in the least. He had his arm around Harley holding her against him and was nibbling her ear. Bruce was focusing on the road. His temper was through the roof, but he was controlling it...barely. His grip on the wheel of the Ford F-150 Raptor was so tight that his knuckles were white.

Harley could feel the tension in the vehicle like a thick cloud, but both brothers were ignoring each other, ignoring the tension between them.

Harley turned and nuzzled Jack, occasionally checking his face. The lip was crusted over again and the swelling looked bad, and he was developing a bruise along his jaw. The hits Jack had taken weren't life threatening and nothing had been broken, but there were going to be several fair sized bruises on him in the morning. Frank Boles had filed a complaint which prompted Jack to do the same. He probably would have let it go, but if this Frank was going to be a jerk, well then Jack was going to be a jerk right back. Luckily for Jack, one of the people arrested at the club had said he had video showing that Frank had thrown the first punch. Harley was uncertain what was going to happen from that, but the Wayne family lawyer had shown up at the jail on the heels of Bruce. He had seemed very interested in the video.

Jack purred against Harley's side. If he saw the occasional glare from his brother Bruce, he gave no indication. Instead he focused on Harley, whispering into her ear. “Stay the night in my room...I need you...”

He licked her ear, causing Harley to shiver. His lips brushed a burning trail down from her ear, along the curve of her throat, his free hand reaching out to brush his fingers over her breast. The material of the dress seemed to provide virtually no resistance from the heat of his touch searing her skin. Harley made a tiny moaning sound against Jack's neck, not wanting Bruce to hear how much she wanted his brother.

Harley glanced at Jack's hand cupping her breast, seeing that his knuckles where bloody from the fight, but the broken skin and dried blood turned her on, made her groin burn and her nipples feel as if they were aching for the need of his touch. Jack's own wants were intense, burning; his groin hurt with the need to take her. He pressed his lips to her bare shoulder, wanting to hike her dress up and press his fingers between her legs, to feel how wet he knew she had to be judging by the way she was squirming.

If it had been anyone but Bruce (or Alfred) driving, Jack knew he would have hauled Harley onto his lap and taken her right then and there, the thought of pushing that dress up her hips, pressing her down on his erection...but there was no reason to piss Bruce off any more than he already had by fucking his girlfriend in the back seat of the car, especially when he would have Harley home soon and alone in his bed. Jack grinned chuckling softly against her tender neck. The violence had aroused him intensely and he couldn't wait to get home and show his Harley just how much.

*

They pulled up into front of Wayne Manor after the quiet, intense drive home. Bruce turned off the car before twisting around to glare at Jack in the back seat. “We need to talk.”

Jack groaned. He had almost pulled Harley completely onto his lap. He glanced over at his brother from behind her shoulder, pulling her thick hair aside to he could roll his eyes at Bruce.

“Can't it wait 'til morning?”

Bruce's eyes narrowed a fraction. “Why did you leave? You knew we had that interview tonight!”

Jack reached around and slowly pulled the zipper of Harley's dress down her smooth back for a number of reasons. One, now that they were home he wanted to get her upstairs and undressed. Two, Jack didn't want a lecture and stripping his girlfriend might get Bruce to stop and three...well that was simply a repeat of number two...Jack really, really needed to get Harley upstairs.

“I didn't feel like playing nice Bruce and you know what? I don't have to? What are you going to do, disinherit me? Oh right, if I remember correctly, the will doesn't allow you to do that.” Jack laughed. “Funny thing isn't it? Like our parents knew what a hard ass you were going to turn into, Brucie.” Jack shifted his position, though Harley didn't turn to look at Bruce. She wasn't sure what to do. The doctor in her wanted to help, wanted to tell them both that they needed to talk, but that was Harleen, Dr. Quinzel talking. Harley only ever took Jack's side...so she kept her mouth busy on Jack's neck instead.

Bruce closed his eyes. “This is not why I hired Dr. Quinzel, so she could be your fuck buddy Jack.”

Jack sat up straight, his arms tightening around Harley. “I'm getting really tired of you talking about Harley like you do Bruce...real tired. You know, I don't want to talk about this now and I'm not going to. I'm going to go upstairs and yes, I'm going to fuck Harley's brains out and you also know what? She is going to do the same for me, because unlike you Bruce, I'm capable of loving someone.”

Jack turned and opened his door, managing to slip out of the vehicle gracefully, taking Harley with him.

Alfred was waiting inside the doorway when Jack came around the car and started to brush past Alfred his arm tight around Harley's shoulders. Alfred winced when he saw Jack's face.

“Master Jack...”

Jack smiled and waved Alfred off. “It looks worse than it is, though you should have seen the other guy.” Jack chuckled. “Harley and I will be upstairs. I don't suppose you could bring us some leftovers to my room could you Alfie?”

“Of course Master Jack,” Alfred said. Jack laughed then, patting Alfred on the shoulder with his free hand as he headed into the manor. Harley gave Alfred a soft smile and a nod as Jack breezed by with her.

Bruce followed behind more slowly. “He's not even sorry about what happened,” Bruce muttered.

“Perhaps Master Bruce, instead of pushing quite so much—perhaps you should give Master Jack and Miss Harleen space?

Bruce rubbed the back of his neck. “Just that everything he does reflects back on me and the Wayne name.”

“I am sure he knows that sir.” Alfred frowned. He looked back at the house, then turned. “Will you be going out tonight?”

Bruce nodded as he walked past Alfred to enter the manor. “Yes. Gotham never sleeps.”

*

Jack giggled tugging Harley into his room, shutting the door and pushing her up against it. He pressed his body against hers, his blue eyes lustful as he gazed at her.

“I had fun tonight,” he whispered just before he started to graze his teeth down her neck.

Harley moaned softly as Jack reached out to tug her dress down, the garment pooling at her feet. She started to kick her heels off, but Jack hissed, “Leave them on.”

She hadn't worn a bra with the dress and the panties were small, black thongs. Jack ran his hungry eyes down her torso, his hands pressed against the door on either side of her head. His grin was lopsided looking at her nearly naked body, wearing only the heels and the thong. “You look good enough to eat...” Jack whispered, still not touching her.

“Won't...ah, Alfred be here soon?” Harley glanced over her shoulder at the door Jack had her pinned against.

“I'm sure once he hears what's going on, he'll leave the food outside.” Jack giggled. “Now...I'm hungry for something else.”

Jack waggled his eyebrows, giggling while he slowly dropped to his knees, dragging his hands down the length of her body. Harley purred, grinning, watching him, dropping to his knees, his fingers hooking into the sides of her panties and dragging them down to her knees. He left the thin fabric at her knees as a sort of flimsy bondage, keeping her legs from spreading too wide. Slowly, his hands wandered up the sides of her thighs while Jack gazed up at her licking his swollen lip. Harley leaned against the door, her legs were partly bent at the knee, her hands pressed against the door to help keep her balance in the shoes. Watching the way Jack was looking at her, like a predator, gradually running his hands up and down her thighs had her hot and aching.

Jack grinned up at her, his thumbs stroking ever so lightly over her, tickling the line of curling hair not quite touching her, teasing her with just the tips of his thumbs coming close, but not quite touching her clitoris. Harley's hips undulated, weaving just slightly, wanting him to touch her more, but he only giggled as he teased her.

“You like that Harley? Hmm...my pretty, pretty girl...” Jack purred, his eyes raking down her body again. Her breathing became ragged. He loved watching the way her chest moved, her breasts rising and falling, and saw her eyes burned with lustful need.

Jack leaned in close to her sex, his lips brushing over the curling hair of her groin, teasing her by blowing gently against her feverish skin. Harley's eyes rolled closed.

“Oh Jack...” she moaned.

Jack pressed a kiss to her groin, his hands dragging down her calves until he reached her shoes. He cupped the back of her heels, scooting in closer, pressing his lips harder against her, feeling the damp pressure of her clitoris against his lower swollen lip.

His smile was wicked on his bloody lips, the way he gazed up at her with heated desire, a wicked grin..his long fingers, with his skinned and bloody knuckles...all of it was almost enough to cause Harley to orgasm right then, just looking at him, on his knees at her feet as if he were worshiping her.

Jack giggled pressing his lips to her, brushing his nose against the hair that curled at her groin. He took a deep breath, smelling her heady scent laced with desire.

“I'm very hungry indeed,” he whispered.

And then Jack's long wet tongue delved between her intimate lips. His tongue flicked over her which had Harley jerking upright against the door. Jack's hands worked their way up from the back of her heels until he found the edges of her panties where they dangled at her knees. He hooked the sides of the thong with his long fingers and dragged the thin fabric down slowly, with a nudge from his hands urging her to lift one leg, then the other, before tossing her panties somewhere behind him in the room.

Jack switched his position, balancing on the balls of his feet, spreading her legs a little wider. Her feet in the heels wobbled a bit, but the door behind her helped her keep her balance, especially when Jack's tongue moved back and forth against her, sending ripples of pleasure up through her core, spreading throughout her body.

“Oh Jack...” Harley was nearly breathless, her fingers pressing into the wood of the door using it to keep her balance, when Jack giggled against her, sucking on her clitoris sending goosebumps racing along her skin. The only coherent sound she could make was a guttural groan. She wanted to reach down and grab Jack's hair, to hold onto him, to press his mouth to her, but it was taking all her effort not to slide down the door and melt into a puddle.

Jack's hands glided up her sides then down again, his lips caressing her, his tongue sliding and slipping, flicking back and forth until she cried out again, tossing her head back and forth against the wood of the door. “JACK!”

Jack laughed, lapping at her, yanking her hips toward him. He lifted one of her legs over his shoulder, pressing one hand against the door to help balance her on one leg, while he delved deeper with his tongue, feeling the pain of her high heeled shoe against his back when her leg contracted with the intensity of the pleasure he was creating with his tongue.

Jack nipped at her, circling his tongue over her before gently putting her foot back on the floor. He stood up with a wide smile, his lips and chin glistening with her fluids. Harley looked at him through her hair which had fallen into her face, her mouth slightly open from her panting. Jack reached out tracing her bottom lip with his thumb gazing at her naked body, leaning against his bedroom door in those sexy heels, her flesh glowing with her orgasm.

“Mm...Harley.” He grinned as he unbuttoned his pants, his eyes tracing up and down her body. Harley reached out, her fingers dragging down his stomach, feeling the ripple of muscle that formed that intoxicating “V” down to his groin. She grabbed the edge of his pants and hauled him closer.

Jack laughed letting go to grasp her face in his hands, hauling her closer and covering her mouth with his, his lips and tongue hungry to taste her mouth. Harley groaned tasting herself on his lips, while her nimble fingers worked his pants open, pulling the zipper down, peeling his pants back to slide her hands against him. Jack grunted, feeling her hands against his hard erection still trapped by the cloth of his underwear. Harley squeezed lightly eliciting a groan from Jack that vibrated along her tongue.

Jack moaned. “Turn around, Harley.”

She did as he asked, turning to lean her hands against the door, arching her hips toward him, the heels highlighting the beauty of her legs as she arched her back in a sensual curve toward him. Jack shoved his pants and underwear down, groaning at the freeing of his erection, but he stood there gazing at her for a few moments. Her backside to him, her skin, pale, soft, luscious, her long blonde hair falling over one shoulder, but then she looked over at him, her blue eyes bright, need and want clear in her expression. And then she smiled. That was what nearly did Jack in, that gorgeous, perfect smile of hers.

“Mmm...Harley...my Harley...sweet, sweet Harley,” He murmured, kicking his shoes off and letting his pants drop to the floor just before he stepped up closer behind her. Jack held himself with one hand. He wanted to shove himself inside her, but instead he rubbed against her, feeling the creamy silk touch of her flesh, the warm wetness of her opening...teasing them both for a few moments. Harley groaned, pushing back against him which made Jack chuckle. “Anxious are we?”

Harley pouted. “Jack...”

Jack slid into her slowly, groaning while he slipped inch by inch into her. Harley arched her back further, moaning, her muscles contracting hard around him as his shaft filled her. Harley pressed her hands against the wood of the door, arching back into him. He felt so good buried deep within her. Jack grabbed her hips, his fingers digging into her soft skin, yanking her hips back against him.

Harley groaned. “Oh Jack...”

“Harls...my sweetling...” He smiled bending over to press a kiss to her back. Jack pulled her back just slightly before he started to thrust. He trembled for a moment. She felt good...beyond good—she felt right.

Harley loved the feel of his hands holding her hips, the power of his long, strong fingers pressing into her skin, the thrusting of his hips, his shaft embedded in her, the slapping of flesh against flesh as Jack's thrusts picked up speed.

Harley cried out, panting out his name. “Jack, Jack, JACK!”

Her whole body arched when she climaxed, her nails digging into the wood. “Uuhh...” her voice cracked when she cried out his name again. “Oh J-Jack!”

Jack hammered hard, his fingers digging into her flesh, yanking her back against him. Harley's panting, her crying out his name, the hot wet feel of her surrounding him had Jack groaning. “Harley...oh my sweet Harley...”

She gasped, her rear pressing back against him spurred Jack on, making him want to pound her harder, until he was losing control, fucking hard, deep and fast. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew he was going to leave bruises on her skin, but she felt so good he couldn't stop himself. Jack pressed his teeth into his bottom lip, which hurt like hell, but he loved it, loved the mix of pain and pleasure.

Jack dropped to his knees, dragging Harley down with him until she was on all fours. Jack leaned in hard against her, his hands sliding down her sides. Harley dropped forward, pressing her backside up, dropping herself down to her elbows. Jack wrapped his fingers with hers, leaning heavily into her, feeling Harley hook one of her feet around his knee. Jack groaned, the feel of her rear pressed against him, the soft cream of her skin, the feel of her wet, wrapped around him, the press of her shoes against his legs He scooted back, pulling her and tugging her over onto her side.

“I want to see you, Harley,” he breathed, trembling as he worked to maintain control, rolling her over onto her back. Harley was smiling when she turned, careful to keep him inside her.

“My Jack...” she moaned.

Jack grinned, leaning forward, planting his hands on either side of her head, catching her hair which pinned her head in place. He pressed, fucking, his hips thrusting deep into her watching her face. Harley reached up, her hands caressing along his face, over his neck; she grabbed hold of his shoulders just as Jack slammed into her coming with a long deep groan. “Harley...”

She gasped, climaxing with him at the feel of his hot release, their cries mixing together for long, blissful moments until Jack collapsed on top of her.

They lay there on the floor for a minute until Jack started to nibble at her ear. Harley giggled and squirmed. “Jack!”

He chuckled. “Are you ticklish there?”

“Sometimes.” Harley wiggled, then squealed when Jack stuck his tongue inside her ear.

“AGH!! Jack!!”

He started laughing, his fingers working their way up her sides.

Harley squealed again. “JACK!!” She started laughing trying to push him off of her, but he was a dead weight refusing to move.

Harley laughed. “Jack stop!!”

He giggled pushing up to look down at her. “How would you feel about a bubble bath?”

*

Alfred was in the kitchen making a small dinner for Jack and Harleen while Bruce sat at the counter brooding sipping on a cup of freshly made coffee. Alfred was making a plate of turkey Reuben sandwiches cut into small bite size triangles along with some grapes and two glasses of milk. Alfred frowned as he worked; he was worried. He couldn't put his finger on what was bothering him. Of course, Master Jack getting himself arrested was uncomfortable and the fact that the brothers, after the last few years of a kind of truce, were now coming to a head. He worried too that Master Bruce's single minded devotion to saving Gotham was going to hurt the brothers. He feared Master Jack discovering what Master Bruce was doing...how he would react to the fact that Bruce had kept such a secret...

*

Jack grinned sitting across from Harley, a cigarette between his teeth, the tub filled until it was overflowing onto the floor with bubbles. He had one of Harley's feet resting on his shoulder. Jack carefully dragged the razor down as he shaved her leg.

“What do you think about getting a tattoo Harls?” he asked rinsing off the razor and pulling out the cigarette, blowing a stream of smoke into the air above them.

Harley blinked in surprise. “I don't know...never really thought about it before.” She wiggled her toes on his shoulder.

Jack chuckled, dropping some ash into the ash tray balanced on the edge of the tub before he ran the razor slowly down her leg again. He held the cigarette between his teeth as he spoke. Harley found that the way Jack smoked was sexy.

“I think we should. It'll be fun.”

“And it will annoy Bruce?” she asked softly stroking the edge of his jaw with her toe.

Jack took the cigarette from his mouth, tapping it against the ash tray again and laughed.

“Fuck Bruce.”

Harley giggled while Jack switched her legs, placing the shaved one back into the water and picking up her left leg, placing her foot against his shoulder .

“Harley, can I trust you?” Jack asked placing the cigarette back between his lips without looking up from what he was doing, his eyes following the movement of the razor along her creamy soft skin.

“Of course Jack. You can always trust me,” Harley said softly watching him.

He smiled glancing up. “I want to share something with you...eventually.”

Harley's smile was soft. “Whenever you're ready Jack. I can wait.”

He smiled and kissed her toes making her giggle.

*

The next day Bruce winced as he rose from his bed. Alfred had come in with his breakfast and the morning paper just a moment ago.

Bruce frowned. “A little early this morning Alfred?”

“Master Bruce, you needed to see the headline this morning.” Alfred handed the paper to him.

Bruce sat on the edge of the bed wincing a little. Last night had been a little rough...or maybe he had been angry and had been looking for more trouble than usual, which he found—it was Gotham, after all. He unfolded the paper and there on the front page:

*

“JACK WAYNE: The Youngest Wayne is just looking for trouble!

Jack Wayne was involved in two violent incidents yesterday. The first was a good old-fashioned duel with one Oswald Cobblepot. The Cobblepots, who were at one time as wealthy as the Waynes, fell on hard times, losing their fortune to a series of unfortunate events and disappearing from the Gotham social circles. Oswald Cobblepot, the only son of the once wealthy Tucker Cobblepot and his wife, Ester Cobblepot, has recently returned to Gotham from parts unknown to reclaim his family's fortune and to bring back the wealth of the Cobblepot name, was seen in a duel with Jack Wayne after an incident a few nights back at one of Gotham's high end costume restaurants.

But that was not the only fight that the youngest Wayne brother found himself in yesterday. Just last night, at The Empire night club, Jack Wayne got into a fist fight with another man, identified as Frank Boles, a security officer at Blackgate prison. While the details of the fight are unknown, witnesses said it started over a woman—the same woman that was seen at the duel. One Harleen Quinzel.

Harleen Quinzel, this reporter has recently learned, is not just any pretty blonde, but Dr. Harleen Quinzel a psychiatrist fresh out of med school. It is unknown how the two met, but is this lady the one who is getting the younger Wayne brother to start becoming a regular Gotham fixture and is she the source of the recent bouts of violence that Jack Wayne had been seen participating in?

*

Bruce took a deep breath muttering, “Great, just great.”

Half a hour later, Bruce received a call from Wayne Enterprises telling him that there was going to be a emergency meeting and that both Bruce and Jack were requested to attend, though Bruce knew that request was a demand.

*

Jack frowned waking up to the sound of a fist on his bedroom door. “JACK! Wake up!”

Harley was lying next to him, naked, her blonde hair covering her face. Her back was to him, but she was pressed up close, his arms wrapped around her. Jack smiled as he slipped out of the bed, carefully removing his arm from around her before hopping out and grabbing his pants from last night off the floor. He slipped them on as he walked to the door. He unlocked it after using his foot to move the plates with the remains of their dinner out of the way. He opened it a crack and peered out.

“What is it Bruce? It's early.”

Bruce shoved the paper at Jack through the crack in the door. “Your little stunts yesterday made the paper. We are both wanted at Wayne Enterprise in the next hour. I suggest you get dressed and come on.”

Jack's eyes ran over the paper with a frown. “How'd they find out about the duel?”

Bruce narrowed his eyes at Jack.

“That how you got that?” The older brother pointed at the stitched wound running over and under Jack's right eye. Jack grinned and shrugged. “If Ossie doesn't have a limp after yesterday I'll be surprised.”

“This isn't funny Jack. Get dressed and come on.”

“Fine, let me get Harley up.” Jack started to close the door.

Bruce stopped him from shutting the door with his foot. “Jack, she doesn't need to come with us.”

Jack smiled at his brother. “Where I go, she goes. Besides...” He gestured with the paper. “She isn't a secret any more.”

“Fine, just both of you hurry up and meet me out front. I've called the driver.”

*

Jack walked back over to the bed, jumping on and wrapping his arms around Harley over the covers. He bounced a few times until she giggled, rolling her head over to smile up at him, her hair in her face. “What's wrong?”

“Apparently the board has called a meeting...probably over my very eventful day yesterday.”

Harley shifted onto her back with difficulty since Jack was still on top of her. “Why?”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Who knows, bunch of sticks up their asses I'm surprised any of them can take a shit. Anyway, I want you to come with me.” Jack leaned down to lick her mouth, then the tip of her nose.

Harley giggled then yawned. “All right.”

She smiled again as Jack just gazed at her. “You are so beautiful,” he whispered. “I love you.”

Harley's smile was tender. “I love you too Jack.”

“Promise me...swear you will never leave me.” Jack's smile faltered, his eyes suddenly serious.

“I swear Jack, wherever you go, I go. I'm never leaving you.” Harley's gaze was just as intent. Jack smiled kissing her softly.

“All right, let's go put on our costumes! Gotta go do some grown up shit!” Jack leapt off the bed with a laugh.

*

Harley had thrown on her dress from last night in order to walk back to her room. She was wondering if she was going to need to move a few bits of clothing over to Jack's room.

She dressed, fixed her hair and did her make-up quickly. Since they were heading toward Wayne Enterprises, she pulled out one of her work 'uniforms.'A pair of red skinny pants, a rather plain white blouse and an invested notched black blazer with a pair of simple, yet still fairly high, black heels. Those she admitted were for Jack...especially after last night. Harley giggled thinking about the way he held her hips, his fingers pressing into her skin...the small finger shaped bruises that she now had on her hips...

Blushing happily, she pulled her hair back into a soft ponytail, a few strands loose falling in waves around her features, highlighting her cheeks and eyes.

She had just finished her makeup, sliding in a pair of simple earrings and hooking the necklace that Jack had given her around her throat. She leaned forward putting on a light gloss over her lips when there was a knock at her door. She stood up just as the door opened and she saw Jack in her doorway grinning. Her heart slammed hard against her chest when she saw him.

He looked dashing, wearing a slim-fit wine colored three-piece suit, paired with a dark blue dress shirt and a white tie. His hair was slicked back as usual, his saucy grin on his lips. He looked...cool...she thought giggling as he walked over taking her hand and spinning her into his arms.

“Ready my sweets?” Jack brushed his lips over hers.

Jack weaved with her, his hands resting on her hips while he swayed, dancing slowly in place, spinning around gradually. He hummed softly, reaching up with one hand to caress her face. Only then did she notice he was wearing gloves.

“I'm ready.” She smiled wrapping her arms around his neck and moving back and forth with him to the silent music only they could hear.

“I think, after we are finished with the stuffed shirts, that you and I should go get a tattoo.” Jack giggled, spinning around slowly

Harley laughed especially when Jack dipped her low then brought her back up to her feet. “That sounds like fun puddin.”

Jack grinned rubbing his nose against hers. “I love it when you call me puddin.”

He kissed her tenderly. “All right, let's get out there before Bruce blows a brain cell.”

*

The drive to the offices of Wayne Enterprises wasn't as awful as itcould have been. Bruce seemed...it seemed to Harley as if he were making a effort to be social with her, but also trying to engage Jack in conversation...small attempts to fill the gap between them.

“So...” Bruce took a sip of his coffee.

He had had the driver pulled through a drive-thru since they had neither the time for breakfast nor coffee before the three of them exited Wayne Manor. Jack had his hand resting against Harley's thigh when he spoke to his brother. “So?”

“What do the two of you have planned later today?” Bruce smiled, clearly unsure and uncomfortable.

Jack giggled. “Tattoos. Harley and I are going to get a tattoo.”

Bruce blinked, clearly not expecting that answer. “Why?”

Jack's grins widened. “Why not?”

Bruce frowned and was about to ask something else when the driver said, “We are here sirs, ma'am.”

The Wayne Enterprise tower was impressive with the giant “W” on the outside of the art deco feel to the outside. Harley had always thought so, but going into the building and seeing the interior of the place was just as, if not more, impressive than the exterior. The walls and floor were marble, with warm inviting furniture for clients or anyone else in the building working or waiting.

The three of them took the elevator up to the top floor where an all glass walled meeting room waited for them. Inside the room, as the three of them approached, Jack and Bruce walking side by side, Harley behind them slightly, they could see several men and a few women, all dressed in sober business attire. Once they arrived near the meeting place, there was a hall to the left where Bruce stopped and turned to face Harley.

“Dr. Quinzel, my office is right down that hall. Why don't you go and wait there? My secretary can bring you anything you require. Hopefully this meeting won't take very long.”

Jack tugged Harley up against him while Bruce headed on to the conference room.

Jack purred, his eyes following his thumb which he rubbed over her bottom lip.

“See ya soon toots,” he whispered.

Harley giggled. “I'll miss you.”

Jack grinned. “Don't get into any trouble without me.”

They kissed softly then he gave her a wave and followed his brother.

*

When they entered the conference room, Jack took the seat to Bruce's right. The room was filled with all the board members (minus one, Jack thought with a wicked grin. What was his name? McDermott? Mcturdmott? Jack chuckled silently to himself.)

Lucius Fox stood up, clearly uncomfortable once all the members were present.

“Bruce Wayne, Jack Wayne...this meeting was called by three of our board members, Ferris Boyle, Roland Daggett and William Earle in order to discuss some...issues that have recently presented themselves.”

Lucius took his seat on Bruce's other side and motioned toward Roland Daggett, a tall, slim blonde man with an expression on his face that Jack wanted to tear right off. Jack politely placed his hand over his mouth to hide the smile and suppress the giggles as he imagined actually taking Daggett's face off with a knife while the man was still alive. It was rather funny, he thought.

Daggett stood up glancing at Jack (who grinned and made a kissy face at him...he just couldn't resist!) then Bruce (whose expression was like looking at a stone statue.) “It has come to our attention that certain members of this board have caused a drop in our stocks this morning.”

Jack lifted an amused eyebrow, though Bruce's frown deepened while Daggett continued. “This person—here he looked directly at Jack—was involved in two altercations and has been charged with a misdemeanor crime. So we request there to be a vote to have Jack Wayne taken off the board.”

Bruce stood up. “Now wait a damn minute!”

Ferris Boyle stood up. “Now I suggest we simply get rid of that woman he was seen with, Dr. Harleen Quinzel. I mean, I don't know exactly what's going on and I'm sure you would be more than willing to tell us Bruce, but there were rumors starting this morning that Dr. Quinzel was hired by you to take care of your brother?” Boyle watched Bruce's face carefully, hoping to garner an answer from the older Wayne's expression, if not from his words.

Bruce opened his mouth when Daggett interrupted with a hissed, “I don't care either way. I just want this problem to disappear. Wayne stock dropped nearly .8 % just this morning. Unless Jack or Bruce here can guarantee Jack's actions won't continue to reflect badly on Wayne Enterprises, I think we need a vote to take Jack Wayne off the board.”

The last of the three to call the meeting, William Earle, looked around. “Commit him to Arkham...” Earle's eyes landed on Jack. His eyes were full of...hatred? Ambivalence? Jack couldn't be sure, but Earle smiled at him. “If you commit him...finally...then I'm sure that our stock will go back up, showing that we have taken care of the problem. Jack has been a loose cannon for years. But now...two violent altercations in less than twenty-four hours? I mean, come on Bruce...get it over with. Commit your brother. We all know that's what you've been avoiding by keeping him confined to Wayne Manor...the damn video of the night club fight is on the internet, hit more than a million views before I came in this morning...everyone can see your brother is crazy.”

Jack's eyes narrowed.

*

Harley was sitting at Bruce's desk with a magazine she found; it was a business magazine, but she was flipping through it, wishing she had brought a book when her cellphone started to vibrate. Harley frowned pulling the phone out from her purse. The number wasn't one she recognized, but she hit answer. “Hello?”

“Yes, is this Dr. Harleen Quinzel?” the voice on the other end of the line was male, professional.

“Yes it is. Can I help you?” Harley glanced out the window of Bruce's office that looked down on Gotham.

“Yes ma'am, my name is detective Roger Peak. I'm looking into the disappearance of your step-father.”

Harley stood up. “What?”

Chapter Text

Harley stood up from Bruce's desk, her voice was quiet. She was pleased with herself, at how calm she sounded. “What do you mean he's missing?”

The man on the other end, Detective Peak, spoke calmly. “Apparently, the night of the funeral, your step-father disappeared. His family assumed he had left town to have some time alone. I guess he had gone off without telling his family before, so no one thought anything of it, especially after losing his wife, but he has been gone long enough without contacting anyone that they're afraid that something may have happened to him.”

Harley rubbed the bridge of her nose as she began to pace the office, the phone held tightly to her ear. “I'm still not sure why you're calling me. The family had to have told you that I hadn't been in contact with him or any of them in years. My mother's funeral was the first time I had seen him since I moved out when I was eighteen.” She could hear the shuffle of papers over the phone while Peak spoke. “Yes, they did, but we're just talking to everyone who was at the funeral and the wake, anyone who spoke to him or saw him that day. I mean did he seem, unduly upset—beyond just losing his wife, that is? Out of character? Did you notice anything peculiar?”

Harley stopped in front of the window and pressed her forehead against the glass, quickly recalling the confrontation between Jack and her step-father. She had her eyes closed, but then they opened slowly as something occurred to her. Could Jack have had anything to do with her step-father's disappearance? Part of her immediately thought, no...there was no way, she told herself. Jack wasn't capable...but a voice, deep down, whispered to her. “Yes, yes he could...you know it Harleen...you...no...not Harleen...you—Harley. You've seen it in his eyes, you know he could...but would he?”

She swallowed before she answered the detective. “I was never close to my step-father. He was a massive ass to me growing up and he was even worse when I showed up for the funeral. He only called me to tell my that my mother had died the day before the fucking funeral. So what do you think? You really think I would have noticed anything about him other than he was a giant...” Harley stopped herself. “No. I didn't know the man well enough to tell you one way or the other.”

Peak was silent for a moment, then she could almost hear him nodding. “I understand Dr. Quinzel. I'm sorry to disturb you.”

Harley sighed. “I'm sorry too Detective Peak. I hope you find him.”

She pressed the button ending the call and stared at her phone. Would Jack have killed her step-father? Or maybe he had just given him money and sent him away? She pressed her lips together as she mulled it over.

*

Bruce listened to the arguments, his face an unreadable mask (something he was becoming better and better at on his nightly rounds as the Batman...keeping his emotions out of the situation. Doing that had to be one of the most difficult parts of what he had chosen to do. But he had sworn to do what was right....which was stop crime, but then let the system do its job. He could not be judge and jury. But in order for him to achieve that, Bruce had to be able to distance himself from the situations he found himself in...save the innocent...detain the guilty.). The only indication that Bruce was upset, and only Jack saw it, was the slight frown on Bruce's lips, the small creases on the side of his mouth, barely there. Only someone who knew his face well could tell that Bruce was not happy. That was a sign that only Jack was used to seeing. It was an expression that had become more and more common on Bruce's face as they grew up without their parents. Anytime Jack did something that Bruce found embarrassing, too violent or just didn't understand, each outburst was proceeded by that slight frown around his lips. But right now, Bruce did nothing except listen. Jack, on the other hand, had stopped listening after the three men had made their 'suggestions.' Instead Jack occupied himself by imagining the fun he would have with killing them.

Daggett, Jack just ignored. Wanting the problem to simply go away was a typical response of someone who wanted nothing to do with anything messy...though that might mean he would have other people doing his dirty work for him. Worth looking into at a later date, Jack thought.

But the other two. Jack leaned on his elbows, locking his fingers together and resting his upper lip against his hands watching them without a word. One of them, Ferris Boyle, the one to suggest getting rid of Harley, glanced over nervously at Jack, seeing the young Wayne brother watching him with an almost dead expression in his eyes. The man hooked a finger around his collar, trying in vain to loosen his tightly buttoned up shirt. Jack smiled, but his hands covered the expression—only a slight crease around his eyes conveyed his thoughts.

The other man, William Earle...he wasn't nervous. He glanced at Jack, but his expression was smug. This was a man used to getting his way. Jack's smile grew behind his hands. Earle would be fun to kill...to watch that expression of confidence and superiorty washed away under the sharp slice of a knife. Jack had to press his lips together tightly to prevent himself from laughing.

*

Another few minutes of debate went on before Lucius Fox stood up. “Enough. We will have to vote.”

One of the board members, an older woman...Jack never did catch her name...stood up. “Should we have the vote without McDermott?”

Lucius sighed. “Wherever he is, he has made himself unreachable. Unless his vote would be the deciding vote, I say we go ahead without him.”

Everyone else in the room agreed, and soon they were voting.

*

Harley sat down at Bruce's desk again and stared out the window, her thoughts spinning slowly. Where would her step-father go? She licked her lips in thought. Could Jack have done something do him? But she didn't remember him ever leaving the hotel room. As far as she knew he hadn't...but what she found really interesting wasn't whether or not Jack had done something to her step-father, but the fact that she didn't feel anything...except a certain warm spark of joy. Joy that the man who had made her growing up hell had finally gotten what he deserved...that Jack...if indeed he had done something to the man...had done it for her? He had to have done it for her, if indeed he did do anything at all.

Harley stood up and started to pace again. She had trouble sitting still, her body vibrating with energy...with pleasure at the thought of Jack killing someone for her. Should she say anything to him? She stopped and stared out at Gotham. Or should she keep it to herself? If Jack had indeed done something with her step-father, the less she knew the better—better for them both, especially if there was no body. She smiled slowly, seeing her reflection in the glass of the window. Her smile was wide...all teeth and her blue eyes sparkled with mischief. But to share that secret...to know when no one else did? She giggled.

*

Jack cast his vote under many a stare as he shoved his card into the small wooden box they had for such things, but he was a member of the board and they couldn't deny him his vote. When Bruce cast his vote, the looks were the same.

Lucius Fox picked up the box. “All right, I'll read the votes.”

In a matter of less than five minutes it was decided that Jack Wayne would remain on the board. Lucius Fox nodded with only a slight smile on his lips. The vote was heavily in Jack's favor.

Lucius looked at each board member. “Jack Wayne will continue on the board of directors for Wayne Enterprise, but please, Jack, be more careful.”

Jack laughed. “Of course...keep all my fighting on the down low.”

Jack winked which made several members laugh. Only the three who had called for the vote seemed uncomfortable or angry. William Earle seemed furious...which made Jack smile all the wider. Jack decided to do some digging on Mr. Earle...might be something interesting there.

Jack slammed his hands down on the table as he stood up causing everyone in the room, except Bruce, to jump. “Well, as fun as this has been folks—I have a date! Cheerio!” Jack patted Bruce on the shoulder as he stepped around his brother's chair and headed to the door. No one tried to stop him...not even Bruce. Bruce simply watched his brother stroll out, his own feelings currently mixed and confused.

*

Harley was sitting at the desk again, her phone out as she searched through the internet killing time and distracting herself from her thoughts. The fact that she wasn't upset about what she suspected her lover had done, both simultaneously bothered her and didn't bother her. Then the door opened and Jack walked in.

“Heya toots!” He grinned at her with his arms out wide.

Harley squealed and leapt to her feet to throw herself into Jack's arms. “PUDDIN!!”

Jack laughed holding her tightly against him. He enjoyed the way she wiggled, his hands snaking down her back to grip her rear, pressing her pelvis against his for a brief little grind. For a moment he thought about how funny it would be to have Harley on his brother's desk, but thought better of it...for now.

“So my sweets, you ready to go get a tattoo?”

Harley laughed. “Yes!”

“Then let us go and mar our bodies for eternity!!” Jack laughed as he wrapped his arm around Harley's shoulders, spinning her around and marching out of the office.

*

When they stepped outside of the Wayne building, it didn't take Jack long to hail them a cab. He opened the door for Harley before walking around to slip into the other side.

Harley took his gloved hand, weaving her fingers with his. Jack leaned between the two front seats. “So...” He looked at the driver's name. “Ed is it?”

“Yes sir.” The man driving the cab was tall and slim with large oversized glasses on his sharp lightly features and his short dark auburn hair was groomed well. He wore a green t-shirt and jeans as he grinned at Jack. “It's Edward Nygma, but Ed is easier.”

Jack giggled, brushing a gloved finger along Ed's ear. “Oh, I love your name sweetheart! Now Ed, my girl and I want to get tattoos today. You know someplace we can go?”

The young man grinned as he signaled to pull away from the curb and said, “A man wants a tattoo. He goes into the shop, and sees two tattoo artists. He looks at the back of the first one and see's a really squiggly and badly done tattoo. He goes to the second and sees a really clean, well-done tattoo. he goes to the first to get his tattoo. Why?”

Jack frowned in thought, tapping his gloved finger against his lip before he answered. Jack smiled his bright smile. “Because the tattoos were on their backs, the other tattoo artist must have done the other man's tattoo.”

Ed laughed. “Just so!” he said, obviously pleased that his passenger understood the riddle. “Yes, I know a place you might like.”

Jack patted Ed's shoulder. “Take us there, my dear man!”

With a laugh Jack dropped back into the seat next to Harley tugging her over until she was practically on his lap. He nibbled her chin before he licked her mouth happily.

“So what happened?” she asked, running her fingers over his ears, brushing his hair back as she smiled softly. She loved the feel of his skin and the way his hair would sometimes fall out of place across his forehead.

Jack smiled closing his eyes, contented at the moment as he enjoyed the feel of her nails lightly brushing across his skin.

“Oh nothing really; a lot of hot air. My little exercise yesterday made the morning Gotham news and the Wayne stock dropped. They wanted a vote to take me off the board of directors—at least three of them did...” Jack told her this with little emotion. He seemed far more occupied with her hair, curling loose strands around his fingers and watching them bounce back into curls. His smile conveyed contentment, as if nothing in the world could possibly bother him.

“So...what happened?” Harley asked grabbing his hand and stopping him from playing with her hair, bringing that hand to her mouth and kissing the tips of his gloved fingers, her blue eyes studying him.

Jack shrugged. “They voted. I'm still on the board.” He waggled his eyebrows at her.

She caught his face between her hands, planting a hard kiss on his mouth. Jack made some sort of noise as he wrapped his arms around her. Harley pulled back after a moment and grinned as Jack laughed and caressed her cheeks.

“So, I still have a 'job.'” He chuckled at that.

Jack pulled her close and whispered then. “I want a really good reward for being a good boy...”

Harley giggled. “Oh I think I can give you a good reward for being a good, good boy.”

Harley licked her lips as her eyes wandered down to his mouth then back to his eyes with a smirk.

Jack grinned tugging open the front of her blouse, exposing more of her cleavage. He growled, playfully pressing lips against her breasts before his tongue traced the smooth roundness of her breasts that flowed over the top of her bra, his teeth teasing the creamy skin.

Harley moaned softly. When he raised his head to look into her eyes, she kissed him hard, her hands pressing against his chest before she slid down his body. She then shoved him against the door of the cab, her nimble fingers working quickly at the button and zipper of his slacks.

Jack propped one of his long legs along the seat grinning as she pulled his pants open, slipping his shaft out of his boxers. Jack groaned at the feel of her hand wrapping around him.

“What are you doing?”

Harley dropped down, lying on her stomach across the seat. She took a moment to brush his erection against her cleavage while she whispered.

“I'm going to give you an advance on your reward...”

She giggled just before wrapping her lips around him. Jack gasped, dropping his head back against the window of the taxi, one hand against the back of the seat, his fingers pressing into the vinyl, while the fingers of his other hand flowed into her hair. Harley groaned around him in her mouth, her tongue weaving against the underside of his erection caressing the hot silken texture of him.

Jack shuddered, his eyes rolling back. “Uhh...Harley...”

She smiled, pressing her lips down on him before pulling up slowly, then down again, her tongue twisting around the head of him, her teeth teasing against the tender flesh. Jack's hips came off the seat, his whole body tensing when Harley bobbed her head, then lowered her mouth down him slowly until he nearly touched the back of her throat. She groaned, his shaft filling her mouth, warm, hard and so soft at the same time.

He groaned loudly, his fingers convulsing, jerking against the seat and her scalp. Jack lifted his head to look down at her, only to find her incredible blue eyes gazing up at him, a smile on her wicked lips which caused him to jerk, bursting in her mouth with a very loud groan of her name.

“Oh God Harley!!”

Harley grinned holding her lips pressed around him, feeling the hot liquid coat the inside of her mouth and tongue. She swallowed, taking a few more good long pulls on him, feeling the way his body shuddered, his fingers tugging at her hair, before she finally released him.

Jack let out a long exhale of air, his whole body going limp.

He giggled. “I always enjoyed the previews...”

*

Edward glanced at his rear view once and grinned as he redirected his gaze to the road.

*

Nygma drove them downtown, taking a bit of a tour to allow them to “finish” what was going on in the back seat before he finally pulled around to park behind a tattoo parlor called “Black Gotham Tattoo.” Jack hopped out of the taxi once the cab had turned off, tossing a couple of hundred dollars at the young man. “Care to stick around, drive us back later?”

Nygma grinned. “Sure thing!”

Jack laughed. “Great, hey find a sushi place and grab us something to eat...yourself too...”

“Absolutely!” Edward smiled. “People need me, yet they give me away every day. What am I?”

Jack laughed reaching in to rub his hand through Edward's hair. “Money...you're money.”

The young man laughed.

*

The interior of the tattoo parlor had dark painted, almost blood red walls. Hanging on the dark walls were old pictures, photos of skeletons, Victorian women in undergarments along with photos of tattoos of Victorian and turn-of-the-century tattooed people as well as more modern tattoos done here at the shop. There were five booths in the front for customers to get their tattoos, and another three or four in the back, Harley guessed. Over on the right there was a lounge area with a long, low table piled with binders of tattoo photos, tattoo magazines and a few random paperback books. The three chairs and one long couch that made up the area all looked like they were ancient Victorian whorehouse rejects, with heavy dark wood framing deep crimson leather cushions. There was a small, thin woman with a pixie-cut of white hair, wearing a sleeveless blue tank top that highlighted the sleeve-work that ran up and down both arms; she leaned on the counter by the register.

When she glanced up from her book, her expression went from dull boredom to shock at seeing the two fancy dressed people step in. The woman's attention was glued mostly on Jack. Harley was a little jealous; the spike of emotion burned in her chest and the thought of clawing that woman's eyes out came to her with vivid clarity—so clear that for a moment Harley felt a stab of panic. She had experienced violent thoughts before (most people do, she reminded herself), but not like this. She quickly pushed the thought away.

Jack took Harley's hand and interlaced his fingers with hers as he stepped up to the counter with Harley beside him. A couple of people sat in the lounging area staring at the two of them, but Jack ignored them as he leaned on the counter and turned his smile toward the woman.

“My girl and I are looking to get tattoos.”

The woman smirked. “Really?? Well, our artists don't usually take walks in.”

Jack smiled, showing off his perfect teeth. “Not even for a couple of hundred extra?”

The woman stared at him, then put her book down with slightly lifted eyebrows. “Wait here.”

Jack watched her go then leaned his back against the counter tugging Harley flush against his body. He smiled at her, brushing his nose against hers.

“Do you have any idea of what you want?” he asked her.

Harley frowned as her lips stroked his for a moment. She leaned back to look at him and then reached up to brush the scar he was going to have over his right eye.

“No...do you?”

Jack grinned. “I know exactly what I want...I have an idea for you if you want to hear it.”

Harley giggled, her hands running up to his shoulders, feeling the rich texture of his suit under her touch. She leaned in closer licking his lips.

Jack moaned softly. “I can smell me on your breath...”

He grinned, the smile gradually inching across his face. Harley blushed, but her grin was wicked. Jack nipped her lips with a whispered, “Mine.”

He grabbed her rear, digging his fingers into her backside pressing her against his groin. She could feel that he was already becoming hard again.

Harley purred. “What should I get puddin?”

He pressed his lips against her ear and whispered something. Harley giggled, nodding her head in agreement at the moment the young woman returned to the counter.

“Antonio says he will tattoo you both. Come on back.” She motioned for the two of them to follow.

*

Antonio was a tall, heavily built bald man with tattoos covering his arms and peaking out around his neck from under the t-shirt he wore. He had both ears pierced, with eyes so dark they looked black. He motioned with his head. “You the two want tats?”

Jack grinned. “That's us.”

The man frowned as his eyes wandered over the two of them. He was clearly trying to figure them out, but his frown deepened when he examined Jack. Harley wasn't sure what the man saw...Jack's smile never faltered. But Antonio settled down and pointed to the black chair that reminded Harley of a dentist's chair.

“Which one wants to go first?”

Jack smiled and shot a glance at Harley. “I'll go first.”

Jack, with his eyes on Harley, used his teeth to pull his gloves off and shoved them into the pocket of his jacket before he slipped it off too. He then unbuttoned his vest, handing each item to Harley. Next he pulled off his tie and then started to unbutton his shirt. Harley watched, aware that she had to look like a starving animal staring at Jack while he removed his clothing, but damn she couldn't help it...he was gorgeous and hers.

Jack sat in the chair once he had stripped off his top clothing.

Antonio nodded. “So what you want?”

Jack touched the space between his neck and shoulder covering his deltoid.

“Four aces, a skull face in the ace of spades with the words “All in” under them.”

Jack looked pointedly at Harley when he said “All In.” Something about his words hit her...this was about her...this tattoo he was getting was more than simply art or simply just to do it for no real reason. Jack was giving her message...Harley blushed when Jack winked at her.

Antonio nodded. “Sounds good.”

It took a few minutes of Jack and Antonio working together to come up with the design on paper, but within forty-five minutes, the two men had the design sketched out and Antonio was applying the temporary outline to Jack's skin. The woman out front brought Harley a stool while she waited. Harley watched with interest while Antonio began to work at applying the tattoo. Jack didn't flinch at all when the needled started to work into his skin.

Harley stretched her arms over her head just as the woman from out front came over to stand next to her, both women watching the tattooist.

After a bit the woman smiled at Harley. “I'm Lexi by the way.”

Harley turned to offer her hand. “Harley.”

They shook hands, then both turned back to watch Jack and Antonio. Lexi motioned with her head. “You guys married?”

Harley shook her head. “No, we're...”

She frowned for a moment...were they dating? It was more than simply dating. Harley frowned, she couldn't think of a word for what she and Jack had so she simply said. “I'm in love with him.”

Lexi nodded. “I get it, believe me. I can tell he has it bad for you, the way he looks at you.”

Harley blushed, which made Lexi smile.

They were quiet for a while, the low hum of the tattoo needle along with Jack and Antonio's talking filled the space.

Lexi stretched. “Care if I put some music on?”

“No, go ahead.” Harley turned as Lexi walked over to an old CD player setting on a shelf against the wall. Harley tapped her foot against the bar along the bottom of the stool in time to the music that started playing while she watched Jack.

She recognized the band, Sevendust from her college days and the song, “Live Again.”

*

“...Can't see me. you feel me

Want me. you'll find me

I'll be your everything

Will you call

You'll need more & more

When you fall

In this world I see it more

The pain you feel that I ignore...”

*

Her mind wandered back to the disappearance of her step-father. Jack was still speaking with Antonio, but his eyes had moved back over to her. The way he was watching her, his blue eyes seemed to hold her paralyzed, her heart, she knew somehow was beating in time to his. He was a drug she had become addicted to and she had no way of knowing how deep that addiction was. The doctor in her told her that she was becoming co-dependent, or was it that Jack was appealing to something already deep inside her? Some aspect of her own personality she had simply been ignoring; some darkness that was always part of her. And that darkness spoke to the darkness she knew was inside Jack?

But more importantly, did she care?

The music played around her and the lyrics seemed to speak to her...

*

“How many times have you looked

At yourself and felt mistreated

How does it feel to know that

This life of yours is real

All of your life you've been led

To believe your nothin'

So look at yourself and start to live again...

...If you don't change you'll be nothin' ...”

*

Her eyes that had glassed over, staring into nothing, all the other sounds around her having disappeared except the lyrics to the song. When the music stopped, switching to another song and another band, her eyes snapped back into focus and her gaze focused on Jack. Maybe it was time for a change, she thought. And maybe it wasn't Jack who needed to change, but her.

*

“Okay, all done!” Antonio grinned. “Go take a look.”

The tattooist pushed his chair back out of the way, allowing Jack to hop up. There was a full-length mirror against the wall that hung to the right of Antonio's space. Jack walked over motioning Harley to follow him at the same time. He stood there examining the tattoo turning his head, stretching his neck to the side. “What do you think?”

He grinned at the mirror, his eyes on hers.

She examined it, the urge to run her fingers over it was strong, but she resisted. “I love it puddin.”

Jack grinned turning to slide his fingers long her jaw brushing her lips with a kiss before walking back over and retaking his seat.

Antonio finished up with Jack, cleaning away the blood, examining his work one more time to be sure everything looked good before he put a bandage over the tattoo.

“Leave that there for at least an hour. After that keep it out of the sun for a few weeks, put lotion on it, not too much and you should heal up just fine.”

Jack smiled as he stood up. “Your turn Harls.”

Jack laughed as he vacated the seat for her. She handed his clothing to him, which he dropped onto the stool picking up his dress shirt and slipping it on. He was buttoning up the shirt watching her as Harley started to pull up her blouse.

Harley leaned back in the seat, grinning at Jack as Antonio smiled at her. “So what do you want?”

Harley untucked her shirt, pulling it up under her breasts then undid her pants pushing them down low on her hips.

“Right under here...” She pointed to the spot under her flat stomach. “I want in fancy cursive, 'Lucky You.'” She shared a glance with Jack who grinned giving her an encouraging nod.

“All right.” Antonio smiled with a slight chuckle. The tattooist began putting Harley's tattoo together, the three of them picking out the script, deciding on the size. It only took Antonio the time to come up with the design she and Jack liked, before putting the design together onto the transfer paper.

Harley lay back, her panty's pulled down quite low, her slacks pulled down just past her hips, but when Antonio pressed the transfer to her skin, there was something about the way Antonio laid his arm along her thigh, his gloved hands touching her hips. The way he put his hands on her hip and shifted her closer, fingers brushing briefly over her stomach...that had Jack suddenly on edge.

Jack narrowed his eyes reaching over to pick up his vest and slide his arms through the holes, his eyes narrowing further as the tattooist pressed a hand down on her, the other hand holding the needle as the man started to work. It was more than just jealousy that rippled over Jack, it was...possessive yes...but more than that...he was feeling an intense urge to rip Antonio's hands off, to break his fingers for touching her, to dig his eyes out and rip his throat open. No one touched her but him...no one! And Harley...she wasn't stopping him from touching her!!

Jack ground his teeth, the muscles his in jaw tensing, causing the tendons along his jaw and cheeks to stand out. He pressed his lips together, breathing tensely through his nose, trying to calm the violent urges.

Harley looked over at him, her blue eyes clear and beautiful. Jack focused on her eyes, her mouth, the way her smile was soft, just for him. That was his smile...the one she kept just for him.

Jack calmed himself. The man was simply doing what they were paying him for...to tattoo her. Jack decided he was going to teach himself and her how to tattoo...any other marks on her body would be put there by him and no one else.

But even while Jack worked to calm himself, the urge to kill the tattooist was still strong.

*

Harley sat up a little awkwardly once Antonio was done, trying to hold her slacks up without pulling them up over the tattoo. Jack hurried over to help her stand in front of the mirror. They both grinned looking at the finished product across her lower abdomen. Jack leaned close to her ear and whispered. “Imagine me licking that...”

Harley let out a soft, quiet little moan of pleasure. Jack grinned at her then walked her back over to the chair. He let Antonio clean and bandage her tattoo, though it took a great deal of effort on Jack's part to remain calm. Once she was bandaged and ready to go, Jack helped zip up Harley's slacks, standing close, his eyes on hers as he pulled the zipper up.

“How would you feel if we did some self-defense practice today? I'm feeling the need to burn off some steam.” Jack knew he needed to burn off the violent jealously that was coursing through him. Working out with Harley would be fun and quite distracting he thought to himself.

“Sure thing puddin.” Harley grinned while Jack brushed his nose against hers, his lips just barely touching her lips. She could feel his breath brush across her mouth, teasingly. (She also thought getting him alone would be a chance for her to ask him about her step-father. She had decided that she needed to know.) But then Jack stepped back, taking away the heat of his body and the intensity of the almost kiss. He took her hand, bringing it to his lips to brush a kiss along her knuckles.

*

Lexi leaned on the counter watching the couple leave while Antonio put the cash into the register.

“Why don't we have a love like that?” she asked without looking at him watching while Jack pulled Harley up against him again, pressing a passionate kiss to her mouth and dipping her back slightly.

Antonio glanced up just as Jack and Harley hopped into the back seat of the taxi that had been waiting for them.

“Because we're not crazy rich people.”

Lexi knocked her hip into his with a grin. “That's more than just about being rich. You see the way those two look at each other?”

Antonio nodded. “Yeah...bit intense if you ask me, borders on the scary.”

Lexi rolled her eyes pushing herself away from the counter. “You have no romance in your soul ,do you?”

He shrugged. “Hey, just not into crazy mad love like that...I'm just fine with what we have...nice and calm.”

Lexi stuck her tongue out at him.

*

Bruce walked into the small restaurant, but stopped in the doorway to look around. Most of the customers were a mix of tourists, families and locals who probably lived in the neighborhood. The walls were painted an inviting mint green, with one wall along the left painted black with chalk like paintings on the wall illustrating the different menu items that were offered. On the same wall, there were three built in shelves that held bottles of wine. The counter at the far end had a nice pattern of black and white zigzag that ran under an accent of mint green with a natural wood counter that matched the natural wood tops of all the tables and chairs.

Bruce was noticeable in his expensive suit. He stood near the entrance looking over the tops of patrons' heads until he found his lunch date. He saw who he was looking for sitting at a table by himself.

As if sensing eyes on him, the man glanced up and saw Bruce. The attractive man waved his hand and called, “Over here!”

Bruce smiled and made his way over to Harvey Dent, a fairly new acquaintance, but someone he was quickly growing to respect...and like as a friend. A man with a strong sense of right and wrong and who had his sights set on the district attorney spot in the upcoming election. Harvey Dent was attractive, fair-minded and a genuinely nice person.

Bruce and Wayne Enterprises were helping to fund his campaign as the new district attorney.

Dent grinned when Bruce weaved through the other customers and wait staff.

“You arrived just in time. I got us this table but there were a couple of old ladies eyeballing me. I think they were going to take me out for the table.”

Harvey chuckled as Bruce slipped into the seat across from him. “I hope you don't mind, but I went ahead and ordered for you since I wasn't sure how much time you have. I remember how much you enjoyed a good turkey sandwich so I ordered you one of their classic turkey clubs.”

Bruce smiled. “Thanks Harv. I appreciate the thoughtfulness.”

Harvey shrugged. “Hey, we're friends, not just two men working to better Gotham.”

A young woman at the counter called a number and Harvey stood up.

“That's us. Be just a moment.”

Soon the two men had their sandwiches and glasses of sweet tea. Bruce took a bite of his sandwich rolling his eyes in appreciation. “You're right—this place has good food.”

Bruce grinned around a mouthful.

Harvey laughed. “Yep, one of Gotham's many hidden gems.”

Bruce took a sip of his tea. “So, what did you want to see me about Harvey?”

“Well, I'm throwing a party. Okay, not me personally. It's a charity event, to raise money for revitalizing some of Gotham's poor neighborhoods, new parks, safe places for kids to hang out, some playgrounds, money for after-school programs...that sort of thing. But it's also to bring my campaign into the limelight...let people see and meet me sort of thing. It's a fund-raising carnival for this weekend. We are setting up inside Robinson Park. The ticket sales are to raise money for the Gotham Neighborhood Revitalization Project. We have a lot of people organizing it, lot of people coming. Anyway, I was hoping that maybe you and your brother Jack would show up? If we had the Wayne brothers there...”

Harvey took a sip of his tea before he added, “It would really look good. And as another enticement, I have a young woman, friend of my wife's that I would love for you to meet. I think the two of you would hit it off. Her name is Selina Kyle. She is new to Gotham. She works as an art dealer at one of the local galleries. Really interesting woman and, I might add, hot too.”

Bruce laughed. “Don't let Gilda hear you.”

Dent laughed. “Anyway, she is smart, gorgeous...just your speed. Anyway, I know your brother received some...interesting press just recently, but this would look good for the both of you.”

Bruce frowned in thought. He wasn't thinking about meeting this Selina Kyle, he was thinking about Jack and Dr. Quinzel. He was happy to participate in the fundraiser, that was pretty much a given, but he was worried about inviting Jack after the last twenty-four hours. Jack had pretty much made a spectacle of himself, though this was a great chance for Jack to get some good press by participating in an event like this. It would also help secure his place on the board if the other board members saw Jack doing something “good” for Gotham instead of getting into trouble.

“I would love to Harvey. I'll get Jack to be there too, no problem.”

Harvey grinned. “Thank you Bruce. I mean, thank you for everything you have been doing, but this will be great press for both of us.”

Bruce nodded, thinking to himself, “I hope so.”

*

Jack came down to the gym dressed in a pair of dark purple shorts and a plain white t-shirt. He stopped in the doorway when he saw Harley. She had arrived just a few minutes before him and was in the middle of doing some stretches. She had on a pair of red yoga Capri pants and a white tank-top that hung low in the back showing the back of her red sports bra. She was in the middle of bending down, her hands grabbing the front of her tennis shoes. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail which bounced up and down with her movements.

She had just spread her legs out and had reached down between them, her hands flat on the mat when Jack saw her grinning at him from between her legs, her upside down smile just as lovely. But as he watched her, he felt that spike of jealousy again. He wasn't sure where it was coming from, the tattoo had been hours ago now, but looking at her...so beautiful...sexy. He clenched his fists. That someone else had touched her...touched her where only he should touch her...

Harley didn't notice the subtle shift in his expression.

“Hey,” she said with a widening smile.

Jack, who had been staring intently at her backside, then at nothing at all as his thoughts chased down a rabbit hole of anger, quickly focused back on her and he grinned in return. “You beat me down here.”

Harley giggled returning upright. “I remembered the way this time.”

Plus she had needed time to think how to go about asking Jack about her step-father.

Jack stepped fully into the gym. “So, more self-defense lessons?”

He shook out his hands. The anger—he was having trouble focusing it. Part of him knew it wasn't Harley's fault...she didn't encourage the man...it...he...Jack's temper simmered as his thoughts jumped and flitted about, making him angrier yet.

Harley stretched her arms over her head. “I meant to tell you. I received a call earlier today from a Detective Peak.”

Jack had walked past her, turned to look at her when she spoke, stopping at the stereo and putting some music on. “Peak?”

She nodded as the sounds of Lacuna Coil started to play over the gym speakers. They were facing each other, starting that slow stalking walk, moving around in a circle. Jack's smile was cold, his usual warmth missing as he murmured under his breath along with the song.

*

“Now get ready for war

It's starting today

I'm leaving the army inside ...”

*

Harley frowned watching Jack warily. She could see his mouth moving, but didn't hear him. “Yes. Apparently my step-father disappeared the night of the funeral. No one thought anything of it at first. They thought he had just needed time away. Guess he had done stuff like that before, but now they are worried—the family—he hasn't come back. They filed a missing persons.”

Jack frowned. “So?”

Harley tilted her head at him. “Did you have anything to do with it?”

Jack's frowned deepened and his blue eyes flashed dangerously when he looked at her. “Why? Did you care about him after all?”

He moved fast, faster than Harley had ever seen Jack move. His fist flew out straight for her face. She barely had time to block his fist before he threw another punch at her. She blocked that one too, barely, the pain of his fist hitting her arm vibrated up through her shoulders. She snarled, twisting her body and kicked Jack in the side, then twisted around from the other direction kicking him again on the other side, forcing Jack to tense in order to avoid her hitting his kidney or breaking a rib.

Jack snarled at her. “That man touching you...you didn't even stop him!”

Harley looked confused. “What man??”

“Antonio...” Jack spat.

Harley narrowed her eyes, her fists up. For the first time since meeting him, she was maybe a little scared of Jack. But as Harley glared at him, she realized that the odd thing was, she was more angry than scared. She was actually pissed at him. Pissed that he would think she wanted that other man to touch her. Pissed that he would think she cared about her step-father being dead.

“That was your idea Jack, getting the tattoo...what did you expect? And if you killed my step-father I'M GLAD! I hope you made him suffer!!!”

“NO ONE TOUCHES YOU!!” Jack snarled. “NO ONE BUT ME!”

He rushed at her, his right fist coming up from below, under her guard. She managed to avoid his first hit, but he twisted around, grabbing her around the neck, his forearm pressing painfully against her throat. She pushed back, throwing all her weight into him, slamming his back up against the wall, once, then twice. She could hear the air exhaling from his lungs with a burst of hot air against the back of her neck. She managed to bring both her feet up and used one of the work-out machines to give her push much more leverage. Harley pushed back against the machine with both feet, slamming Jack up against the wall a third time.

Jack snarled, twisting her around and slamming her against the wall sideways. Harley felt dizzy for a split second when her head bounced against the wall, but she dropped her weight taking him with her breaking his grip. But breaking his grip wasn't enough. She twisted her body to the side, bring her elbow up to smash Jack in the chin, fully breaking his grip around her throat further, causing him to stumble backwards from her.

Harley jumped to her feet, turning toward him and brought her fist around to hit Jack hard, with as much strength as she could put into the punch to his shoulder.

“What is wrong with you??!!” she screamed.

Jack reached out and grabbed her by her biceps, his grip painful just before he threw her across the room. Harley slammed into the wall with a gasp, sliding down the wall for a moment dazed.

“He touched you!! You're mine! AND YES!! I KILLED YOUR STEP-FATHER!! I made him suffer!!” Jack snarled. “HATE ME NOW?!” He laughed suddenly, but this wasn't like his usual laughs. Something was slightly...wrong, she realized, with the tone in his voice.

His voice had a strange hitch, that communicated more than anything else the pain Jack was feeling mixed with his rage, while he stalked over to her, reaching down and dragging her to her feet by her hair. Harley twisted, despite the pain of his hand in her hair, and slammed her fist upward into his jaw, knocking his head back. Then, as she rose to her feet with his yanking her up by her hair, she hit him again, this time in the face as hard as she could, once, twice, a third time until his grip on her hair broke.

Harley leaped onto him, driving Jack down to the mat.

Straddling him, Harley started to punch at him hard and fast in the face, alternating her fists. “I DIDN'T WANT HIM TOUCHING ME!! Only you!!”

She hissed as she yelled, spittle flying from her lips. Jack kept his forearms up blocking her strikes.

Jack managed to get a hand up around the side of her neck, using all his strength to push her to the side, twisting her over. They both rolled, this time he ended up on top of her, but Harley wrapped her legs around his waist squeezing hard while Jack put both hands around her neck, his blue eyes flashing with madness, pain and anger.

Harley start gasping, struggling, her hands shoving at Jack's face. She finally knocked his chin up hard with the ball of her hand, stunning him for a moment. Jack fell forward, and Harley wrapped one arm tightly around his neck. Jack gasped getting to his feet taking Harley with him. She was wrapped around him, her legs tight around his waist and her arms choking him. He twisted around and slammed her up against the wall again, but she didn't let go, leaning in to bite down on his shoulder. Jack hissed at the pain of her teeth breaking skin. He slammed her back into the wall again, this time hard enough that she left a dent. Harley brought her arm up and rammed her elbow into his back.

Jack stumbled back, falling, both of them going down. Jack landed on his back.

Harley hissed, punching him as hard as she could. “I DON'T WANT ANYONE BUT YOU! YOU ASS!!”

Jack flipped her over, breaking her grip on him and staggered to his feet licking the blood from his lips. Harley pushed herself to her feet simultaneously. Her lips were just as bloody and there was a trickle of blood running from her nose. Jack's lips were bleeding and he had a pressure cut along his jaw with a smear of blood. Blood also oozed slowly from his nose.

They stared at each other panting.

Harley whispered. “I'm glad he's dead. I don't care that you killed him Jack. I don't care. And I never want anyone but you....ever. No one can touch me but you. I love you.”

For a brief moment Harley wasn't sure, but she thought his lip trembled. There was pain, loneliness and a deep raging madness in his blue eyes, the hurt of a young man lost in a world that could never understand him. His voice was low, the rage having seeped away.

“Only you Harley. I don't want anyone to touch you but me...I don't.” His shoulders slumped slightly. “Always be mine.”

They stared at each other for a tense moment that seemed to stretch into an eternity, then suddenly they were both closing the distance, their mouths slamming against each other, arms wrapping desperately around each other.

They could taste each others blood as they kissed. Jack yanked her hair the rest of the way out of the ponytail holder, his hands digging into her hair while he kissed her, staggering her back against the wall. Harley clawed at Jack, grabbing the ends of his shirt, yanking and tugging to move the fabric up over his torso while struggling to wrap her legs around him at the same time. He let her rip the shirt over his head and up his arms, throwing the garment away, her hands moving desperately over his body.

Jack grabbed the collar of her tank top, ripping the cloth in half. Harley gasped with a grin at the violence of the gesture, biting at his tongue and lips, blood coating her teeth.

She could feel the hard pressure of his bound arousal between her legs, his pelvis shoved hard against hers. She was wet, needing him inside her now!

Her fingers dug into his scalp, grabbing fists full of his hair, her mouth demanding from his, the two of them struggling to get closer to the other, almost clawing at each other.

Jack lifted her up, Harley's leg's going immediately around his waist. He carried her over to the weight bench where he laid her across the vinyl seat, grabbing the edge of her yoga pants once he had shoved her legs down, and yanked them off of her, ripping them in the process. Harley struggled to pull her sports bra over her head, kicking her shoes off at the same time. Jack hissed gazing at her lying naked across the bench, battered and bruised, the tattoo along her lower stomach. Lucky You...he grinned. He was lucky. She really was his.

He kicked his own shoes off, shoving his shorts down. He reached forward and grabbed her hips, yanking her to the edge of the bench before he seized her legs, tossing them up on his shoulders.

“Come here,” he hissed.

Jack didn't tease this time, didn't take it slow. Instead Jack shoved himself hard into her with a loud groan of pleasure, burying himself deeply into her yielding flesh nearly lifting her off the bench with his thrust. He shuddered to feel her hot wetness encompassing him, her body warm and ready for him.

Harley cried out, arching off the bench, reaching up and grabbing the bar of the weight that was settled across the bench crossbeam. The feel of him taking her hard and fast had Harley crying out with happiness. Jack groaned pounding into her, reaching down to drag his fingers across her breasts, hissing with the pleasure of touching her, feeling her.

He leaned forward, wrapping his hands around hers that held onto the bar, thrusting hard and fast as both of them panted loudly.

Harley whimpered with each powerful thrust. He felt good to the point that her brain seemed as if it had fuzzed out. Everything was a blank except this, this moment, the feel of him inside her, the sounds of his flesh slamming into hers.

Harley moaned louder and her orgasm rushed through her body, her mind spiraling with pleasure, all sense beyond the primal gone. She didn't care what he did to her, she loved him, come hell or high water, she belonged to him.

Jack arched his head back. “Harley...”

He let go of the bar to lean back, his hands going over her thighs to press his fingers into her soft flesh.

His mind seemed to be coming back from the brink. As if fucking her, taking her and being with her, was calming to his soul, that he was connecting to the other part of himself that he so desperately needed. To have her...to never be alone again...to know she was his...belonged to him. Jack yanked out of her, which made Harley gasp in desperation.

Jack growled. “Turn around, now.”

Panting, Harley grinned, standing up and turning around, the bench between her legs, she reached out, grabbing the bar, glancing over her shoulder at Jack with a wide grin. Jack caught his bloody bottom lip between his teeth, smirking, his eyes roaming over her backside, licking his lips. She held onto the bar, arching her back to him. Jack dug his nails into her backside, dragging them down her hips, smiling at the sight of the red marks he left on her skin. Before he took her, he pressed his lips to her spine, then scraped his tongue along her back to her hip where he bit her hard. Harley cried out, the pain of his teeth flashing across her skin.

“Oh puddin!!” She groaned, arching into his bite.

He stood back with a laugh, grabbing her hips just before he plunged deep into her again, both of them shouting together when their bodies came together again. He yanked her back against him pounding hard and fast, growling with the intensity of their joining. Harley held on to the bar, her knuckles turning white, arching back against him, wanting Jack to be as deep in her as possible. She wanted to feel all of him, every inch.

Jack leaned forward to wrap his arms around her waist and pushed up, forcing her upper body forward so that she was leaning her body against the bar. Jack snaked one hand up to grab her breast, squeezing while his pelvis slammed forward hard and deep, thrusting his shaft into her body. Jack panted heavily as he pressed his lips to her shoulder, reaching over her to grip the bar with one hand, his hand next to hers, just as he dragged his teeth along her skin, biting her again, hard enough to bruise. But as the pain mixed with the pleasure coursing through her, Harley cried out, her climax ripping through her body.

“JACK!!” She could barely catch her breath.

Jack hissed against her shoulder, the hand on her breast easing up to grip her neck, long fingers pressing into her flesh, forcing her head back gently where he placed a tender kiss against her forehead. Harley's eyes rolled open to gaze up and to the side, to see that smile, his blue eyes smoldering only for her. Jack pressed his teeth into his lip, with one final thrust, he burst hot and fast into her. Together they cried out.

*

Jack had tenderly brought Harley to the floor afterward. At first they had laid naked beside each other, panting, struggling to bring their breathing back under control.

Harley was grinning at him, but then she suddenly reached out and hit him with her fist in his shoulder.

Jack growled. “Ouch!”

He narrowed his eyes playfully before he pounced.

He laughed as he jumped on top of her, starting to tickle her sides with his long fingers gliding up her waist. Soon he had her screaming with laughter.

“Call me daddy!” He laughed. “Call me daddy and I'll stop!”

Harley squealed wiggling and kicking until she finally screamed, “DADDY!!”

Jack chuckled, ceasing to tickle her, but he remained on top of her.

He laid over her, resting on his elbows on either side of her head while gazing down at her. He stroked her hair back from her face gently, tracing her bloody lip with his thumb, his fingertips gliding over the split at her elbow that he had caused, the sweat of their fucking smeared the blood along her brow.

“I love you Harley,” he whispered.

She smiled reaching up to brush her fingers along the quickly blossoming bruise on his jaw that she put there.

“I love you too Jack.” She smiled tenderly.

She thought that she could become lost in his eyes forever...

Jack frowned, just a slight crease of his lips before he said. “Would you marry me?”

Harley blinked in shock. “Marry you?”

He nodded. “I don't want you to leave me. I don't want to lose you. I need to know that you are the one thing in my life that I have—only you.”

“I will always be yours. Always Jack. Yes. Yes, I will marry you.” She brushed his face with her fingers gazing into his eyes.

Jack's voice dropped. “Would you keep all my secrets Harley?”

She stared at him. What other secrets did he have? Were there other deaths? Did she care?

Harley smiled. “Yes. All your secrets are mine too.”

*

The next morning Jack came whistling into the kitchen. He had a healing cut along his cheek, the swelling on his lip had gone down, but there was a bright bluish purple bruise along his jaw. If anyone saw him they could see he had clearly taken a beating.

Jack wasn't dressed for the day yet. Instead he was wearing a pair of lounge pants of purple paisley, a white t-shirt and a pair of lime green socks. His hair was still a mess, not his usual greased back look. Long locks of it were falling over his forehead and into his eyes, but his smile was cheerful. Alfred was just putting the coffee on when Jack strolled in.

“Morning Alfred!”

Alfred turned his head with a smile, but then frowned when he saw Jack, not just in his pajamas but the state of his face. “Up early Master Jack and...not dressed I see.” (Alfred had seen the condition of both Jack and Miss Harleen's faces yesterday at dinner. They had told him that their self-defense class had become more...realistic than intended.)

Jack was grinning ear to ear. “I am here to bring breakfast in bed to the future Mrs. Wayne.”

Alfred was pulling out a couple of coffee cups when he stopped. “What?”

Jack giggled. “I asked her to marry me.

“What? You did?” Alfred stared at him.

Jack grinned putting a finger against his lips. “Shhh...It's our secret.”

Alfred nodded looking shocked, but then also pleased. “Master Jack!”

Jack laughed and threw his arms around Alfred who returned the younger man's embraced, coffee cups still in his hands.

“Oh Master Jack! You have made this old man very happy.”

Jack laughed releasing him. “Now I just gotta go buy her a ring!”

Alfred chuckled. “Indeed sir.”

Jack stepped back taking the cups from Alfred. “How about some Belgian waffles this morning? Is that all right?”

Alfred smiled. “Of course Master Jack.”

Alfred began taking out the ingredients he needed to make waffles and asked, “Master Jack, are you going to tell Master Bruce?”

Jack frowned. “No. At least not right now. I want to find Harley the perfect ring first. Then we'll tell him.”

Alfred nodded. “Of course Master Jack. Go on and take your coffee up. I will be up presently with your and Miss Harleen's breakfast.”

Jack grinned. “Thanks Alfred.”

Alfred watched Jack leave, taking some coffee with him, and sighed. He was happy to see that one of the brothers had found love, but something bothered him. He wasn't sure what it was, but he suspected that this engagement might just be another stone in the wall that was being created between the two brothers.

*

Jack came back to his room carefully easing in while balancing a tray with coffee, cream and sugar on it into the bedroom. Harley was awake, though still naked in his bed. She was sitting up, the comforter covering her breasts. She had her phone in her hand and seemed to be reading something when she turned at the sound of him stepping into the room. A bright smile blossomed across her face. He could see the traces of their fight there in her face, but she was so beautiful...Jack grinned wider carrying the tray over.

“Coffee, my sweets! Alfred will be bringing up some waffles in a little bit.” He set the tray down on the beside table before jumping back onto the bed and grabbed her, pushing her back against the pillows, both of them laughing. Jack grinned down at her brushing his fingers through her hair gazing at her contentedly.

Harley returned his smile. She reached up to brush her fingertips along his lips, bringing a smile to his lips then. He kissed the tip of her finger.

“I have so much to tell you,” he whispered. “Things I haven't shared with anyone...” He brushed his nose against hers.

Harley closed her eyes, their lips hovering just barely touching.

Jack whispered. “We are going to have so much fun together. My Harlequin.”

Chapter Text

The remains of their breakfast were littered over the floor and around the bed while the nub of a smoked cigarette and its last dying ashes sent a lazy trail of smoke into the air from an ashtray on the bedside table. Jack and Harley giggled, the covers pulled up over their heads; only the movement of the shapes underneath and the occasional moan, grunt or laugh indicating that someone was in the bed. A few beams of sunlight worked their way through the slit in the heavy curtains providing just enough light for the two figures in the large bed to see as they laughed softly and finally pulled the blankets back.

Jack chuckled as he dragged his fingertips down Harley's spine and watched the enticing way her body wiggled at his touch, or the way goosebumps rose along her flesh. She faced away from him with her head resting on her hands and her blonde hair a tangled mess about her head. He grinned as he caught his bottom lip with his teeth and ignored the slight pain the gesture caused while he examined the pale creamy slopes of her rear while he made intricate, invisible designs on her almost perfect backside, only marred by a purple bruise that he had put there himself just last night.

“Think we should get up?” Harley asked dreamily, her voice slightly muffled by her hair and being turned away from him.

Jack chuckled. “Maybe,” he allowed. “I thought I might teach you a new skill today since you seem to be picking up hand-to-hand so well.” Jack giggled and added, “Ouch.”

He leaned forward to press his lips to her backside before he playfully scraped his teeth along her skin. Harley giggled softly before she rolled onto her side and tossed her hair back. She smiled at him with a twinkle in her blue eyes.

“Oh? And what kind of skill would that be?” She asked, the innuendo clear in her voice.

Jack chuckled. “Mm...we'll come back to that...” He giggled, pulled her against him and rubbed his nose against hers. “No, I thought I would teach you to shoot.”

Harley frowned. “A gun?”

Jack laughed. “Usually it's a gun, yes.”

“But...I don't know, Jack....” Harley frowned. “I'm not really comfortable with guns.”

Jack grinned and rolled her onto her back before he climbed on top of her. He nestled against her, feeling the warm, soft, dampness between her legs, rubbing himself against her, his member hardening almost instantly. The feeling of her damp opening rubbing against him had him growling softly, deep in his throat. He inhaled her scent. She was like a drug; he just couldn't get enough of her. Her skin was like silk against him...she was his madness, his disease...he smiled knowing he would kill for her or because of her. What was it Gomez Addams said? I would die for her. I would kill for her. Either way, what bliss.

Harley groaned as she grinned at him and bucked her hips once teasingly which set him giggling. Jack grabbed her wrists when she started to stroke his back and yanked her arms over her head. Harley grinned wickedly at him and her eyes danced with mischief when she wiggled her body.

“You gonna tie me up puddin?”

Jack growled with pleasure at the suggestion. “Later...I just might, but right now I was thinking it would be good for you to be able to handle a weapon...a gun...knife...maybe even a hammer. I saw this movie once...woman took out several men with two claw-headed hammers all by herself. It was pretty hot.” Jack grinned as he pressed his erection against her. “She was covered in blood by the end of the scene.” He nipped at her bottom lip with his teeth.

Harley groaned at the feel of him; the pain as he tightened the hold on her wrists made the pleasure that much more intense. “All right Jack. I'll learn to shoot, to use a knife...even a hammer—whatever you want puddin.”

Jack smiled as he brushed his teeth along her chin while he hissed softly, “It'll be fun. You just imagine people's heads exploding when you hit the clay discs...it's fantastic. Well except for maybe really blowing people's heads up...”

Jack laughed.

A slight frown creased Harley's brow just above her nose and turned the corners of her lips down almost imperceptibly. “Clay discs?”

Jack nodded as his mouth and teeth nibbled down her neck. “Yes...mmm...skeet shooting...”

Harley closed her eyes and smiled. She enjoyed the feel of Jack's lips and teeth on her skin, but a small part of her—the part of her that knew the road she was on was becoming more dangerous—whispered heatedly to her that his statement was a warning sign. 'He has killed Harleen...you know of one, but don't you think there are others? Don't you?' Harley pushed the voice away. She didn't care...did she?

*

Bruce frowned as he ran his thumb and forefinger down the lines around his mouth. It was the next morning and he had been trying to get a hold of Jack to ask him about the carnival and if he would make an appearance, but his text messages were being ignored. Bruce felt frustration with his brother, but figured Jack would still show up, no matter how late he received the text about it from Bruce. That was one thing Jack never could stay away from—carnivals, the circus...his younger brother had always loved those sorts of things. Bruce smiled at the memory of Jack, not long before their parents' death, threatening to run off to join the circus after he and Jack had gotten into a fight about something. Bruce wasn't sure what it was about now...a bicycle? No...he couldn't remember, but he did remember after they had become distracted with the idea of running away to the circus they had tried to make their own circus.

Jack, having always been good with his hands, had cut up some of his jackets to make a collar and coat for their corgi, Edison, and they had made themselves a center ring where death defying tricks would be performed by the two brothers. Bruce would never forget the look on their mother's face when she caught them. Especially because she caught them the moment Jack was walking the tightrope with clown make-up on his face, white face paint covering his skin, bright red lips and nose, black around his eyes and that big silly grin painted on his face, making his already large and bright smile even bigger as he balanced on their little rope. He had held a poker from one of the numerous Wayne Manor fireplaces in his hands; Jack had even gone so far as to paint his nails green from their mother's polish collection. (Jack's clown make-up was actually their mother's makeup that the boys had 'borrowed' from their mother's vanity...except the white face paint—that was actual paint. The amount of scrubbing Jack had gone through to get the paint off...Bruce chuckled at the memory of his little brother pouting.)

Bruce remembered their mother yelling at them and Jack yelling back about this was why he was going to join the circus because no one here understood his art...Bruce chuckled. Jack was always the most visibly passionate of the two of them, who always had only a loose hold of his emotions, whereas Bruce was always more subdued. Yeah, a carnival—Jack would be there, he shouldn't worry about it...and he was confident Jack would be on his best behavior. He hoped. Having Dr. Quinzel with him...Bruce sighed and glanced down at his desk. His left hand lay on top of the polished wood; his knuckles were raw, the skin still had that bright red look where the skin had come off when he had punched the hell out of that rapist last night. Bruce knew he had almost gone too far last night, but he was angry with Jack, the board...with everything and then this punk, attacking women in his city. Bruce frowned as he folded the fingers of that hand into a fist and slid it under the table. He really needed to work on his control.

*

A few phones calls by Jack later that morning had bought Harley a tweed hunting vest of dark brown with suede shoulder guards, reinforced to take the recoil from a weapon, and deep pockets for carrying shotgun cartridges. Jack had also purchased her a pair of hunting pants, highwaisted that fit her perfectly somehow, a white long-sleeve blouse to wear underneath and a gorgeous pair of dark brown, knee-high hunting boots with a pair of matching retro, large frame sunglasses. When she had finished dressing, braiding her hair into a loose French braid that fell down her back, all Jack could think about was getting her out of her outfit again.

Jack was dressed in a similar fashion; his waistcoat though had a personal touch, an embroidered purple “J” on the breast and, unlike Harley, he wore a pair of dark brown leather gloves that were clearly made for him judging by the way they fit his hands. The gloves were tailored, with buckles across the wrists, made from the finest, softest leather. He wore similar snug fitting pants, a white, long sleeved shirt and the boots he had worn to the duel with Cobblepot. His brown hair was slicked back and his blue eyes danced merrily as he picked up a pair of maverick flow sunglasses, sliding them up his nose.

“Oh look at us! We make a perfect pair! Even our bruises match!” Jack giggled.

Harley giggled along with him while she ran her hands down the front of the waistcoat she wore.

“Why the outfits though Jack? I mean we're just going to shoot clay discs right?”

“Tsk tsk, Harley! First: never miss a chance to wear a costume; and second: you always need the right outfit for the job.” Jack wrapped his arms around her shoulders and led her out of the bedroom.

“And this afternoon, you and I are skeet shooters,” Jack explained with a lopsided grin.

*

They made their way outside into what Harley thought of as a rather lovely early Spring day. Jack led her along the side of the house heading toward the back. Harley had seen the back “lawn” of Wayne Manor before, which wasn't really a lawn, but rather a long tract of land that led off into the distance, a clear field of expertly cut green that ended in a row of thick trees. Beyond that she was pretty sure would be the stone fence that surrounded the property.

Today the expanse of green was disturbed by a clay disc skeet...shooter thing...she had no idea what the contraption was called, only knew what it did. It was set up to flip the clay discs out into the air curving along the expanse of green. There was also a chalk line that started from the edge of the machine and moved out to create a chalk path. The path curved from there to the machine and arched into a semicircle that Harley guessed was to designate where the shooter was supposed to stand. A plain fold-out table stood near the skeet shooter that held two shotguns lying ready, with two large cartons of cartridges.

Next to that was another small fold-out table, with a white table cloth laying across it where Alfred had set a stainless steel coffee urn, along with two small coffee cups that were made of plain white china, along with matching plates, and plain stainless steel utensils. On the table were also three plain ceramic covered dishes, which, when Harley's curiosity got the better of her, she peaked under to find one held bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, another contained what looked to be apple crumb coffee cake and the last covered dish contained almond cherry muffins. Harley shook her head in disbelief.

“How on earth does this man do it? I mean, you didn't decide we were going to skeet shoot until just a couple of hours ago! This...this had to have taken more than a couple of hours! I just...does he have a super power?” Harley set the lid back down on one of the dishes when she turned to look at Jack who was lighting a cigarette, her blue eyes wide.

Jack chuckled taking a pull on the cigarette before answering. “He does! He is a butler, one of the best in the world at what he does.”

Harley laughed. “Fine, fine don't tell me about Alfred's superpowers....and after I agreed to marry you.” She smiled at him in such a way that Jack's heart sped up and he wondered how quickly he could take her back to the room...or against the wall. He giggled while she continued.

“So...skeet shooting? Why not just go to a shooting range?” Harley asked with genuine interest.

Jack smiled as he walked over to the table and picked up one of the shotguns.

“Oh, we do have a small shooting range,” He said with a glance over his shoulder at Harley. She caught a glimpse of his eyes behind the dark lenses of his sunglasses.

“Of course you do,” she said mostly to herself as she walked over to stand beside him and watched Jack tilt the shotgun, double checking that it was empty before he reached over to pick up a cartridge from the table and sliding the ammunition into the chamber. Without looking, his cigarette held between his lips, Jack deftly snapped in several cartridges as he spoke and made certain that Harley could see what he was doing.

“But there is something visceral about shooting a moving target that you can't really get from a shooting range. This, isn't the same either, but it is a bit more...thrilling.” Jack grinned as he pulled back on the action while holding the cigarette between two fingers. Harley clearly heard the the smart clicking sound of Jack pumping the cartridges into place while he gave her a wink from behind his glasses.

“After you learn to use a shotgun, I'll teach you how to shoot a handgun...and how to hold and use a knife.” Jack grinned broadly, obviously excited by the idea. Harley grinned back, his excitement contagious; she would learn anything he wanted to teach...anything at all.

Jack pointed. “Stand back over here and just watch first, all right?”

Harley nodded and moved to stand where Jack indicated, behind the chalk line that she assumed Alfred had marked on the grass.

Jack walked to the machine, dropping into a crouch as he adjusted the skeet shooter before he walked back over to the chalk line, handling the shotgun with the ease of familiar use. He held onto the grip, tucking the stock firmly against his shoulder, the slowly ascending trail of smoke from his cigarette created a halo around him. Harley watched Jack intently, the sparkle in his smile as he brought the barrel of the shotgun up, sighting down the barrel just as the skeet shooter let a clay disc fly. Jack shot, then pumped the barrel, his first shot shattering the clay disc, the next shot taking the second disc just as swiftly and easily and his third shot disintegrating the last clay disc.

Harley started clapping. “Oh Jack, that was amazing!!!”

Jack laughed as he held the shotgun out from his body as with his other hand to his stomach he took a bow. “Thank you my sweetling. Okay,” he said with a twist of his lips into a grin. “Your turn.”

Harley walked over to the table with Jack where he put his cigarette out in the ash tray. She picked up her own shotgun and, with a few mild pointers from Jack, loaded in the cartridges successively. Jack grinned his approval and motioned her over to the line. Harley stepped over, carefully pointing the barrel of the shotgun to the ground though she had the safety on.

Jack stepped next to her and began to explain how to utilize the sight on the shotgun and the difference between using the sight and “shooting from the hip.” Jack cocked an eyebrow as he looked at Harley. “For now, let's just have you use the sight to aim, yeah?” Harley nodded and took a deep breath. Jack walked over to the skeet shooter and crouched, adjusting the machine so that the clay discs didn't come out quite as fast for her as they did for him.

“Whenever you're ready Harls!”

Harley brought the shotgun up. It felt good to have the weapon in her hands. She couldn't really say why, but there was something powerful about it, something dangerous.

The disc flew; her first shot missed.

Jack called out. “Picture someone you hate Harley, someone whose head you would love to see explode!”

The next disc flew. Harley imagined the girl from her classes in college when she was a freshman, the perfect Sally Wuthers; pretty, popular (Sally, Harley would find out, had been a cheerleader in high school and that charisma followed her into college with guys and women throwing themselves at her, wanting to be in her bubble of influence.) Sally was a brunette with green-eyes, well-dressed, from a rich family, gifted with pretty much all the things that Harley had to fight all her life for. Love, acceptance and people falling all over themselves—even the professors—to be near her. Sally had been the teacher's pet in every class despite them being in college where supposedly that sort of thing didn't happen. For Harley, in many ways, it was like being in high school again or even in her own home. Harley remembered hating Sally, hating her prefect family, perfect life...perfect looks...everything...it was easy to imagine Sally's head on the clay disc when it suddenly flew up and this time Harley's shot was dead on, shattering the disc into bits.

Jack cheered. “That's my girl!!”

The last clay disc flew and Harley hit it with a wicked grin dancing across her lips as the disc shattered. Jack giggled as the remnants of the clay disc scattered over the manicured grass. “Okay, tell me who you just shoot?”

Harley blushed as she lowered the weapon. “There was this girl in college...Sally...God I hated her! She was such a bitch...had everything going for her...everyone liked her...except me.” She laughed “I just imagined her face and it was easy after that.”

Jack wrinkled his nose with glee. “Perfect—you are perfect.”

He walked over to Harley to wrap his arm around her waist and yank her against him. “You are perfect for me, my little Harlequin...just perfect.” Jack caught her bottom lip with his grinning teeth as his blue eyes sparkled behind his glasses. Harley hissed at the flash of pain, but then Jack let go of her lip and kissed her hard, his tongue demanding, his teeth hitting against hers, their almost wounded lips from their fight the night before drawing just enough blood for the kiss to taste of it.

*

It was afternoon, the sun having just reached its peak and beginning its gradual descent, when Alfred came out onto the back lawn. Jack and Harley were laying on the grass, their waistcoats discarded and now being used as pillows for their heads as they lay side by side. They were pointing at the clouds seeing shapes and making each other laugh. The shotguns lay on the table, a smattering of used cartridges around the weapons. On the other table, there were scattered remains of food, most of it gone. Alfred smiled when he saw the two of them lying in the grass together. He hadn't seen Master Jack this happy since before his parents' murder. It is nice to see one of the boys so happy, finally, the older man thought. The other cheery thought was that perhaps soon there would be little Waynes running around the lawn. Alfred smiled and stopped at a respectful distance.

“Master Jack?”

Jack arched his head back looking at Alfred upside down. “Yes?”

“Your brother, Master Bruce has been trying to get a hold of you. You have not been answering his calls or his texts.” Alfred raised an eyebrow at Jack, the only sign of Alfred's disapproval of the younger Wayne avoiding his brother.

Jack groaned rolling over onto his stomach. Harley smiled as she look at Alfred upside down and waved. “Hey Alfred.”

Alfred smiled and suppressed a laugh. “Hello Miss Harleen and how are you this afternoon my dear?”

“I'm great. Thank you for the food Alfred. It was perfect as always.” She smiled at him and Alfred blushed. “You are very welcome Miss Harleen.”

Harley giggled. “Jack won't tell me if you have super powers or not.”

Alfred chuckled. “Only the best training that an English butler can receive and a family that I care for Miss Harleen, which includes you my dear.”

Harley blushed. “Thank you Alfred.”

Jack easily jumped to his feet without using his hands, reaching down to grab Harley's hand and hauling her to her feet and into the circle of his arms where he stole a peck on her lips, playfully pushing her sunglasses up her nose before turning back to Alfred. “So where is he?”

“The call is inside Master Jack, on the landline.” Alfred indicated with a glance toward the manor.

Jack sighed. “Okay. Come my darling Harls, let us go see what my elder brother wishes of me!”

With a dramatic hand movement, plus grabbing her around the waist and into his arms for another stolen kiss, he clasped her other hand with his and the two of them began to skip toward the manor as if they were doing a cheerful tango, making Alfred chuckle thinking to himself. “Young love.”

*

Jack held Harley's hand, his fingers laced through hers and swung their joined hands between them as they walked into the manor and headed toward the library where one of the few landlines in the manor house was installed. He let go of her hand after he pressed a quick kiss to her knuckles, tossed his sunglasses onto a desk and hopped up onto one of the long walnut tables in the room next to the small round matching table that held the phone. Jack picked up the phone and pressed the receiver to his ear just as Harley flopped into one of the chairs across from him. The chair was your typical Victorian winged-backed chair; the leather was a deep burgundy with brass accent buttons. She had dropped her sunglasses onto the table next to her.

Harley smiled broadly as she stretched her legs out, her right leg crooked just a little, bent and wobbling her leg back and forth on the heel of her boot, the other leg spread out making her look not just wanton, but sexy. She smiled at Jack, her blue eyes hooded, gazing at him under her thick dark lashes, running the tip of her tongue between her teeth, the forefinger of her left hand between her teeth giving Jack seductive looks. She played with the buttons of her blouse with her other hand, popping open one, then another. Jack wrinkled his nose with a grin at her, his blue eyes glued to the slow exposure of her cleavage.

“Hey bro what's up?” he said into the phone, his gaze never leaving Harley.

Bruce frowned on the other end at Jack's causal greeting but he maintained a civil tone.

“I've been trying to get a hold of you since yesterday...anyway. Harvey Dent, a friend of mine who is running for DA is holding a fundraiser. His campaign is sponsoring a carnival tomorrow night to raise money for revitalizing some of Gotham's poorer neighborhoods. He has invited us to attend.”

Jack grinned at the news. “A carnival? Really?”

Jack giggled softly and motioned for Harley to unbutton a few more buttons. She licked her finger and slid open a few more buttons until her shirt fell open to show off the lacy black bra underneath. Jack stuck his tongue out at her, imitating licking her. Harley giggled and pressed her teeth into her bottom lip.

Jack kept his eyes on Harley as he replied to Bruce. “That sounds like it might be fun. You sure you want me out in public? Never know what I might do!”

Bruce was silent for a moment before he answered. “Not funny Jack, and before you say anything I am fine with Harleen Quinzel being there with you. Just promise...no fighting or too graphic public displays of affection. Please.”

Jack made a face which had Harley chuckling, then he held his two fingers up in a “V” and waggled his tongue between them making a terribly obscene sound which had Harley squealing with laughter at him.

Bruce heard female laughter in the background, but refrained from comment, knowing exactly who it was.

Jack snickered. “Sounds great bro. Of course Harley and I will be there. I promise we'll be on our best behavior...or close to it.”

Bruce sighed. “Thank you Jack.”

Jack frowned. “Yeah...yeah you're welcome. I gotta go.”

Jack hung up the phone, hopped off the table and slowly stalked over to Harley who grinned up at him brightly, her blouse fully open as she slouched in the chair. She had unbraided her hair so that the long tresses fell around her shoulders seductively and over the tops of her breasts that were being pushed up by the black bra she wore.

“You are a bad, bad girl Harley Quinn.” Jack purred as he reached forward to run the back of his gloved fingers along the curve of one breast. The feel of the leather against her skin was erotic; she moaned softly before she giggled. “You like that about me.”

Jack growled as he dropped down to his knees between her legs. “Oh yes—yes I do.”

Jack ran his tongue along her cleavage while with his nimble fingers (despite the gloves) he reached around to swiftly and easily unlatch her bra. The fabric snapped away to expose her breasts when Jack shoved the offending piece of underwear out of the way.

Jack giggle. “Oh, now that is very nice.”

He slowly cupped her breasts and squeezed gently before rolling his leather clad thumbs over her nipples. Harley groaned, her eyes fluttering close with the pleasure of his touch. Jack leaned in, still cupping her breasts, his teeth scraping against her neck while Harley's hands started to work at the buttons of his shirt. She pulled the cloth back, seeing the tattoo at his neck that spread down this skin. The tattoo was still healing like her own, but seeing it made Harley squirm with want.

Jack purred against the tender flesh of her throat. “Bruce wants us to go to a carnival tomorrow night...a fundraiser...” His tongue licked up to her ear where his teeth grabbed hold of her lobe sharply. His gloved thumb and forefinger pinched her nipples hard. Harley jerked, sliding down further in the library chair.

Jack stood up suddenly and walked quickly to the library doors.

“What are you doing?” Harley asked as she pushed herself up.

Jack grinned over his shoulder. “Locking the doors, no reason to give Alfred a heart attack.”

Harley giggled as she rose to her feet and moved behind her chair.

Jack gave her a lopsided grin. “Are you going to play a game?”

Her giggle was cute, but laced with passion. “You have to catch me Jack.”

“Ohh I do, do I? Mm...” Jack walked slowly towards her and unbuttoned his shirt as he did, his blue eyes following her every move. Harley slipped out of her shirt and bra, wearing only her pants and boots grinning at him playfully. “You gonna get me puddin? Mmm...Master Jack...Mistah J?”

Jack laughed. “Oh, calling me names, huh?”

Harley giggled again as she pushed back from the chair, her eyes dancing as she shook her hair out. She started to turn to run to the other end of the room, but Jack was quick—extremely quick—cutting the distance between them in no time. Coming up behind her, he wrapped his arms around her, pinning her arms to her sides and lifted her up as she kicked out with her booted feet. Harley squealed hitting a table with her feet, knocking it over and sending the lamp and books crashing to the floor. Jack was laughing as he hauled her back then stumbled forward with her, pressing her up against one of the large library windows that was nestled between two wall length book cases. Jack licked her ear.

“Mm...just too slow Harley...you can never get away from me.” Jack held her with one hand, his other coming around the front to unfasten the button on her pants, his hand sliding between her legs once he had the fabric loose enough. His fingers brushed against her, gentle despite how tight his arm was around her torso, or how hard he had her pressed up against the glass of the window with his weight keeping her in place. One handed, Jack worked her pants down, his fingers of his other hand caressing her softly, teasing her with their gentleness while he yanked her pants down her thighs roughly.

“Tell me you're mine Harley, tell me,” Jack hissed against her ear. She could feel him struggling with his own pants behind her.

Harley groaned feeling his member, hot against her backside when he had succeeded in getting his pants down to his thighs. He grabbed her hip with one hand in a painful grip, but Jack's lips against her throat and then her ear were tender, brushing against her skin, his tongue a hot, wet tease as the tip of his tongue glided over her ear. He pressed her hard against the glass, his mouth moving down to the curve of her shoulder where he bit into her skin hard enough that she knew he had bruised her before he whispered again.

“Tell me Harley.”

“I'm yours Jack...only yours...” Harley moaned and arched her head back as Jack's fingers between her legs rolled and caressed until she shuddered, her climax stiffening her whole body.

“JACK!”

Jack hissed. “That's what I want to hear...” He chuckled softly.

He scooted back from pressing her against the window, removing his hand from between her legs, his fingers glistening. Harley whimpered at the loss of his hand, but Jack bent her over, running his hands up the curve of her back before reaching with one hand to grab her hair, giving her thick hair a gentle tug. Then he pushed her forward. Harley braced her hands against the glass while Jack grabbed her hips with both hands and took her from behind with a powerful thrust into her, burying himself deeply.

She cried out, arching, her hands pressed flat to the glass. “Uuhh!”

Jack groaned, his eyes rolling closed, his fingers digging into her hips, slamming her back hard and fast against him. He growled, snarling his pleasure to the sound of their flesh slapping together.

“Harley, Harley!!”

Harley gasped. “Oh puddin!!!”

She peaked at the same moment that she felt him jerk, filling her, yanking her hard back against him.

*

Alfred had just finished up cleaning most of the skeet shooting equipment and the remains of Jack and Harleen's brunch. He had just returned to the manor and was planning dinner in his head when he decided to ask Master Jack how he would feel about Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner that night when he stopped at the library door, his knuckles poised over the wood, ready to knock when he heard the clear sounds of moaning and grunts of....

Alfred paled, then blushed quickly turning away. “I'll asked them about dinner...later.”

*

Friday night came quickly. Jack was visibly excited about going to the carnival, which made Harley love him just that much more. They were in the process of dressing in Jack's room.

Harley grinned as she applied her makeup and watched Jack behind her from the mirror. Jack was practically giddy with excitement. He had told her stories about his plans to run away to join the circus any time he and Bruce's playing disintegrated into a fight. How he had always loved the clowns, the way they could make people laugh.

Jack wore jeans (which Harley found sexy, those long legs of his clad in jeans, clearly tailored to his slim build, like all his other clothing), a dark shirt which was a shade of blue so dark that you could only see the color of it when the light hit the material just right. The sleeves of the shirt were rolled up to his elbows (again, Harley was struck by how sexy he looked), the top couple of buttons were undone, giving a hint of his tattoo hidden beneath. He had paired the shirt and jeans with a black vest, buttoned up, along with a gold chain across the front. He wore a pair of brown and black oxfords with dark purple socks to finish the look. He was just finishing up slicking his hair back, running his fingers through his hair, assessing himself in the bathroom mirror. His blue eyes met hers in the mirror. Jack chuckled. “Here.”

He held his hand out. “Let me see your lipstick.”

Harley's expression conveyed her confusion, but she picked up the tube of lipstick, a liquid lip gloss called “drama red.” Jack twisted open the tube pulling out the applicator, then leaned forward and drew the soft applicator across his lips. Harley swallowed watching him. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth studying his reflection as he applied the deep red to his lips and wondered how that could be so incredibly sexy. Jack's blue eyes glanced at her reflection in the mirror beside him and grinned at her when he was finished. “What do ya think sweetheart?”

Harley pressed her lips together, pulling her teeth across her bottom lip before she replied. “I love it Jack.”

He grinned, the red framing his perfect smile made her feel a rush of heat. Jack leaned forward, studying his eyes and placing a finger under one, tugging the skin down for a moment.

“Eyeliner! I need eyeliner!”

Harley quickly looked through her make-up bag coming up with a thick liquid pencil (almost thick enough that it resembled a marker). “I use this to make cat eyes.”

Jack giggled. “Ooh perfect!”

Jack turned to face her. Harley leaned in close to his face, her left hand gently holding his chin to keep his face steady as she carefully traced his eyes, the thick dark lines that she drew around his eyes made the blue of his iris blaze more beautifully from his face.

Harley licked her lips and tilted her head to study her work before she declared. “You look amazing Jack.”

Jack laughed and grabbed her face between his hands to kiss her, her own laughs muffled against his lips. Luckily the gloss was fairly good quality and didn't smear much. Harley giggled, using her thumb to wipe away the slight smear on his bottom lip and Jack did the same for her, both of them gazing hungrily at the other.

*

After Harley finished with her own make-up, she reached over and picked up her hair brush. She started to brush her long hair out, her eyes still on Jack. She simply couldn't get enough of him.

Jack glanced sideways at her taking in her overall appearance. She looked gorgeous in a red mini dress that hit just at her thighs, showing off her gorgeous long legs. The rayon dress tied at the front (which he knew he was going to enjoy untying later) with a crew neckline and shift silhouette. She wore a pair of red bike shorts underneath, which was a shame as far as Jack was concerned. He had tried to convince her the fun they could have if she only wore a thong...or even better...nothing at all. But since there were going to be kids at the carnival, Harley insisted on being decent...despite Jack's pouting.

The dress itself was sleeveless, and since the evenings could still get very cool, Harley had a black sweater to cover her arms. The shoes she intended to wear were the boots that Jack had purchased for her yesterday. Right now the boots were sitting by the bed. She was standing in the bathroom barefoot, looking adorable...good enough to forget all about the carnival and for them to just have fun here. But Jack had told his brother they would show up...so... Jack reached out to take the brush from her hand.

“Here, let me.” He smiled and moved to stand behind her with the brush.

“I think tomorrow we should head into Gotham to work on designing you a ring.” Jack smiled happily at the thought as he ran the brush gently through her hair, followed by the fingers of his free hand.

“Designing a ring?” Harley frowned in confusion, but Jack only grinned. “No mere simple diamond for my girl, no. You need something special, unique—like you.”

“Jack, you know, I don't need a ring,” Harley assured him. “Just knowing you want to marry me is enough.” Harley met his eyes in the mirror, but Jack shook his head in disagreement.

“I want everyone to know that you're my girl, that no one...no one can touch you but me. That you are going to be mine.”

Harley smiled blushing. “I love you Jack.”

Jack set the brush aside and wrapped his arms around her from behind as he kissed her ear and whispered. “My Harlequin.”

*

When they arrived downstairs, Bruce was waiting for them. He looked nice, though Harley felt he looked slightly uncomfortable in his casual clothes. It seemed as if the man had been born in a suit. While Jack managed to wear suits and make them look comfortable and casual, Bruce seemed to have the opposite issue. There was just something about Jack...and not just because she was head over heels in love with him...he just had a way about him and a suit for him was just an extension of his personality.

But Bruce, Bruce wore his suits like they were suits of armor, protecting him from something. But what he was wearing tonight? Bruce was dressed in a pair of khakis, a button down white shirt and casual sports jacket thrown on over that with a pair of brown loafers.

He actually smiled when he saw Jack and Harley. “You two ready? Wait, are you wearing make-up?”

Jack laughed. “ Yes I am big brother and don't I look divine? Don't answer that. Let the festivities begin!” Jack dramatically threw his free hand (the other holding Harley's hand) into the air with flair.

Bruce actually laughed. Harley realized it was the first time she had ever seen the other Wayne brother show any emotion beyond anger, brooding or annoyance. Bruce smiled at his brother. “I haven't forgotten about you running off to the circus Jack.”

Jack laughed. “I still might, you never know. Can you just see the headlines? Younger Wayne gives up fortune to become a clown!”

Bruce chuckled. “You always were a clown.”

The brothers were laughing together as the three of them made their way to the car waiting outside.

*

The carnival set up in Robinson Park was far larger than Harley had expected. Actually, she wasn't sure what she expected, but this wasn't it. The whole of the park had been cordoned off for the event. The entrance to the park had a large banner hanging above it announcing the event sponsored by Harvey Dent for District Attorney. Jack laughed with delight as soon as they walked through the entrance after purchasing their tickets. Bruce stopped for a moment after getting his tickets to look at the carnival spread out before them.

“They really outdid themselves. Reminds me a bit of that circus we went to as kids...remember Jack?” Bruce glanced over to his younger brother as he spoke.

Jack nodded. “Yeah...yeah I do.”

The smells of cotton candy, funnel cake and a million other scents that reminded Jack of his childhood along with the bright, multiple colored lights and the cranked music from the many rides. For a moment Jack's eyes looked distant. He murmured, his voice a little wistful, “Remember Dad taking us to play all the games?”

Bruce walked up to stand on Jack's other side. “Yes, I remember.”

Harley watched the two of them, for a moment, two boys, two brothers sharing a memory.

“And Mom laughing as Dad dragged her onto one of the rides.” As Jack continued to reminisce, his eyes shone.

Bruce nodded. “Mom always protested, but sometimes she was worse than Dad about the rides.”

The two men laughed softly.

“Boy, your friend Harvey Dent and his gang went all out here.” Jack took a breath and changed the subject. His arm around Harley's waist tightened, his fingers digging into her side, not painfully but firmly. It was clear to her, the doctor part of her as well as the girlfriend, that the memories Jack and Bruce had just been discussing were both pleasant and painful. She couldn't imagine what it must have been like for them to not only lose their parents, but to witness their murders. And now both men had a bridge between them...

Jack started walking, his arm tightening around her again as if he needed the reassurance of her. Harley snaked her arm was around his waist wanting to give him the reassurance that she was there with him, for him. She gave him a squeeze, pressing his body against hers. Jack glanced sideways at her, a soft smile on his lips. It was times like these that Harley remembered she had been brought to Wayne Manor as his doctor, that Jack was suffering, and deep down in a dark part of his soul Jack was still reliving that night. She frowned at the thought of the little boy lost in the darkness...the tragedy that shaped him...

*

As the trio walked deeper into the park they could see that families were everywhere, several news crews covering the event. Someone from the Gotham Free Press called out.

“Bruce Wayne!!! Jack Wayne!! Gotham Free Press! Give us a smile!”

Jack and Bruce both turned at the sounds of their names. Jack grinned, a perfect smile, holding Harley tightly against his side.

Another photographer yelled. “Gotham Gazette, who's your lady friend? And did you come stag Bruce?”

Bruce just smiled and waved off the question.

Jack chuckled moving away as he waved his free hand at the reporter. “Hey now, not about me guys! Focus on the event!”

Bruce who had been answering a few questions from another reporter glanced at Jack with a nod that said he was happy with Jack's answer.

Harley grinned and pressed a quick kiss to Jack's cheek which made Jack laugh. “Look at me behaving myself!”

That was when Bruce heard a male voice that he recognized call his name over the reporters. “BRUCE! JACK! Over here!”

Bruce saw his friend Harvey, dressed in jeans and a white polo with his wife Gilda—who wore a long boho style flowered skirt with a matching dark blue blouse—on his arm and another woman, dressed in black jeans and a loose yet attractive halter black top with a leather jacket over the top, standing next to Gilda. Gilda was a petite brunette woman with short hair, but Bruce's attention was immediately drawn to the other woman, tall, well built, with short black hair and intense brown eyes. Their eyes seemed to catch each other immediately.

Harvey let go of his wife to pull Bruce into a hug, smacking him hard on the back. “So glad you could make it and you must be Jack?” Harvey stuck out his hand. Jack took it, giving his hand a good shake.

“Yep, I'm the younger and less responsible brother and this is my girl, Harley Quinn.”

Bruce frowned at Jack's introduction, but he held his tongue. This was the second time he had heard Jack refer to Dr. Quinzel as Harley and now the added Quinn was odd...pet name maybe?

Harvey took Harley's hand holding it between both of his. “Pleasure to me you too.”

Bruce's attention was drawn to the woman with Harvey and Gilda. Harvey smiled. “This is my wife and better half Gilda”

Gilda laughed and patted him on the chest. “Harvey!”

Harvey gave his wife a quick peck on the cheek before he continued. “Bruce, Jack, Harley, I would like to introduce you to a friend of my wife's, Miss Selina Kyle. Selina, this is Bruce and Jack Wayne and Harley Quinn.”

Selina gave a coy smile. “It's a pleasure.”

Bruce took her offered hand and surprised not just Selina but himself when he kissed her knuckles instead of shaking it. “A pleasure Selina.”

Selina smiled with a light laugh. “A bit old fashioned don't you think?” Her voice was rich, sultry, and had Bruce smiling. Selina was—svelte, was the term Harley would use to describe her.

Jack grinned. “Oh you seem to have my brother's full attention...you have no idea how difficult that is to get Ms. Kyle.”

Bruce released her hand, suddenly looking embarrassed. Harvey laughed.

“Well, have fun everyone. This is a night to raise money and enjoy some of the best that Gotham has to offer. Bruce, would you mind escorting Selina this evening?”

Selina started to protest, but Bruce smiled at her. “If you would allow me?”

He offered his arm to her. Selina looked at his arm then at him. She seemed to mull the situation over for a moment before she finally linked her arm through his. “Who am I to say no to a gentleman?”

Bruce laughed lightly. “Well thank you Miss Kyle.”

“Please, call me Selina.”

*

Jack and Harley slipped away from the other two couples to go explore the carnival. Harley's eyes were a little wide as they walked through the festival area. This was a new experience for her. Her family had never gone to carnivals...at least not with her. She remembered after her half siblings were born they would go, but Harley had always done something that annoyed her stepfather...she would end up grounded for such and such reason as the rest of the family would go. So this was extra special for her, her first time and it was with the man she loved.

Jack laughed. “I'm going to have to win you the biggest most obnoxious teddy bear tonight.”

Harley couldn't help the girlish giggle while she hung onto Jack's arm.

*

From the darkness around the edges of the carnival, a tall heavily built bald man with a red bandana wrapped around his head stood in the bushes along the edge of the event with another man, this one smaller, almost weasel-like in his thinness, but with a constant tick of one eye.

The bald man grinned. “There, that's him Weasel—from the picture.”

He grabbed the smaller man next to him by the shoulder and yanked him over to point at Jack Wayne laughing with some blonde while they fed each other cotton candy, Jack Wayne licking the blonde's fingers.

“That's the mark. Go tell the boss he's here. I'll follow.” The larger man glared down at the weasely man who nodded quickly.

“Gotcha Pinhead!”

The smaller man turned and ran deeper into the forested area of the park, away from the lights and sounds of the carnival, heading toward a large concrete pipe opening that ran under the park. There were rusted bars in front of the pipe's entrance, now mostly gone. The bars had originally been put there to keep animals and people out of the piping; otherwise people and animals could wander down into the sewer and get lost, die and never be found again. A lot of people, the lost, lonely and uncared for wandered down into the Gotham's sewers never to be heard from again. At the entrance of the tunnel there were remains of a camp, the ashes of a fire, a scrap of clothing, a puddle of blood.

Now, this was a entrance to the domain of some of the gangs of Gotham.

The little weasel of a man looked around hurriedly to make sure no one saw him before rushing into the darkness of the tunnel. He stopped once he was inside, letting his eyes adjust before he started to move carefully, keeping one hand along the tunnel's rough surface. He could see his goal up ahead, a orange glow that caused shadows to dance along the curved walls. He didn't have far to go before he heard the sounds of their boss and the other members of the gang.

Waylon Jones picked his teeth with a piece of bone, his large frame slouched down in the tunnel. He and his men were not too far in the tunnel, but deep enough no one would stumble across them by accident; though if anyone did, they were deep enough no one would miss whoever found them either.

Waylon scratched his arm with a clawed hand. His skin was dark greenish grey, covered in the leather hide of a crocodile. He wore only a pair of jeans and that only because he was still enough of a man to need or want the protection. His mouth was full of deadly teeth which he was picking the remains of his dinner from while he waited for the signal. He had at least five other men with him milling around waiting, smoking and speaking in hushed voices. There were another four outside looking for their target. He heard footsteps before anyone else and glanced down into the darkness. Weasel saw the glow of Croc's eyes first before he came into the small pool of light made by the fire burning in the metal barrel next to Croc.

“We spotted him boss. He's with some blonde.” The smaller man nodded eagerly.

Croc grinned fiercely. “Get them both then. She might be worth something too. Go put the word out. It's time.”

*

When Jack saw that a live band was playing and a makeshift dance floor had been set up, he grabbed Harley's hand and dragged her over grinning like a school boy. Jack laughed, his voice warm and sending pleasant chills down her spine when he spoke.

“Never pass up a chance to dance, especially with my girl.”

Jack twirled Harley on the dance floor, bringing her body up against his, pressing his left hand to the small of her back, weaving his hips with hers while holding her other hand with his right, out from their bodies. Harley stared up at him, her eyes shining in the lights strung around the makeshift dance floor. Her free arm was around his shoulder, the fingers of her hand stroking the back of his neck, the world around them forgotten while they danced. Jack weaved, turning her in a circle, his gaze never leaving hers. The live band (called Ashes on Sunday) had just finished a rock song when Jack and Harley decided to step onto the dance floor. They had begun a slow song, the blonde woman, dressed in all black, short black miniskirt, fishnets, ankle boots and a black halter top, held the microphone close to her lips as she purred.

“A song for all you Gotham lovers out there.”

The song was a cover of Lana del Rey's “Ultraviolence.” The woman at the microphone, her voice smooth like warm honey sang with her lips almost brushing the microphone that she held between both hands.

*

He used to call me DN

That stood for deadly nightshade

'Cause I was filled with poison

But blessed with beauty and rage

Jim told me that

He hit me and it felt like a kiss

Jim brought me back

Reminded me of when we were kids

This is ultraviolence

Ultraviolence

Ultraviolence

Ultraviolence

I can hear sirens, sirens

He hit me and it felt like a kiss

I can hear violins, violins

Give me all of that ultraviolence...

*

Jack's smile was intoxicating. The red of his lips, the eyeliner around his eyes made the blue brighter than the stars, the lights dancing over his features made his lips shine, an alluring smile on those dramatically red lips. The effect had Harley wanting to kiss him, to grab his hair and force his head back, her mouth attacking his, smearing his lipstick...

Jack chuckled as if he sensed what she wanted. He pressed her hips against him, weaving to the music, turning in an easy circle, his long legs gliding them across the space with ease making Harley feel as if she were floating in his arms. Jack ran his tongue over his perfect teeth, grinning at her, doing a quick step spin before he dipped her low whispering at her and singing to her.

“I love you the first time

I love you the last time

Yo soy la princesa, comprende mis white lines

'Cause I'm your jazz singer

And you're my cult leader

I love you forever,

I love you forever...”

*

Later, they were walking along the edge of the carnival. Harley giggled and rubbed her nose into the huge pink teddy bear that Jack had just won for her at the water balloon game. He grinned proudly, his hand in hers. Here the colored lights were dimmer and they could talk, the music only a dull hum in the background

“This is fun,” Harley said softly squeezing the fingers of his hand that held hers.

“Yeah, it is. What do you feel like doing next pumpkin?” Jack brought her hand up to kiss her knuckles.

“Hmmm...we did the Ferris wheel...AND almost got asked to leave...” They both chuckled.

“And we rode the carousel...and almost got asked to leave...” Harley giggled and Jack let out a belly laugh. “We're running out of places to make out!”

Harley giggled with him before she asked, “Hmm...do you want to ride the 'Vortex?'” She said the word “Vortex” in a deep scary voice.

Jack chuckled. “As long as you're not prone to vomiting...”

Harley started to respond when suddenly out of the darkness, a man grabbed Harley from behind, his hands digging into her hair, pulling her head back and yanking her from Jack so suddenly that her nails tore across Jack's palm. She dropped the bear as she struggled and bit down on the arm that had gone around her neck. Another man emerged from the shadows to immediately jab a syringe into Harley's neck in the next instant. She made a choking sound, but Harley was down before she could utter another sound, sinking into the arms of the man who had grabbed her.

Jack had started to lunge, a snarl on his lips. “Let her...”

Another three men that Jack hadn't seen grabbed him from behind, seeming to form from the shadows, one shoving the barrel of a gun in Jack's mouth while the other two grabbed Jack's arms, yanking them painfully behind his back. Jack started to fight, pulling his weight forward to throw the men behind him off balance, slamming his forehead into the nose of the man holding the barrel of the gun to him, breaking it with a loud crack. The man gasped dropping back to grab his nose as blood splashed everywhere. “He broke my nose!”

That man slammed his fist into Jack's face, knocking his head back. Jack giggled, opening his mouth to say something, his teeth bloodied, but the one holding Harley placed a knife to her throat, the point digging into her skin as she lay unconscious in his arms.

“Now, now, Mr. Wayne, don't want anything permanent to happen to your girl here now do you? I mean, if you don't care about her, by all means fight. I'll just stick this knife right through her throat and out the other side.” The man, tall, muscled with greasy black hair and a nose ring grinned brightly.

“I mean as far as we know she ain't worth a dime.” He pressed the blade to her neck to make his point, drawing a drop of blood that welled up before it slowly started to run down her pale neck. Harley never flinched.

Jack hissed and stopped moving, though his eyes danced with rage.

“I'm going to tear your throat out.” Jack's voice was low with menace.

“ Yeah...whatever rich boy. Drug him.” The greasy man grinned.

The one with the broken nose glared at Jack as he pulled a syringe from inside his jacket and slammed it deep into Jack's neck trying to hurt him. Jack didn't react, taking the pain like it was an old friend.

The contents of the syringe hit his bloodstream like a bolt of fire, but just as the pain flared to life, it was gone, replaced by darkness.

*

When Jack woke the first thing that assaulted his senses was the smell. It had to be the most disgusting scent he had ever encountered. He could taste it on his tongue, feel it on his skin. The next thing he noticed was that, oddly, whoever had taken him, they hadn't gagged him, which meant they must have him somewhere where they felt safe enough that no one would hear him yell for help. The next thing that he was aware of was the pain in his arms, which were held over his head. He could feel the rust of metal handcuffs pinching into the skin of his wrists. The chain between the cuffs was hung on a hook or nail—he couldn't be sure—but his own weight was pulling painfully at the muscles of his shoulders.. Jack opened his eyes slowly, though the remains of the drug in his system made him dizzy as he tried to focus.

“Ah, yer awake.” The voice was rough and reminded him of the sounds of boulders rolling over concrete. Jack blinked several times as he tried to bring his vision into focus. It was dark, but he could see a faint light in here, a pale orange glow, though he couldn't determine it's origin. He did see the shadow of someone, someone huge whose eyes seemed to glow in the darkness, yellow eyes, staring at him, watching him.

The figured stepped closer, moving out of the shadows. The light danced across the man's features.

Jack blinked in surprised. “Holy shit...a crocodile?”

The creature laughed, the sound deep and grating. “Yer funny white boy. Everyone calls me Croc, Killer Croc.”

Jack frowned. “Dull, but to the point I suppose.”

“Ha ha...very funny keep it up and I'll take a bite out of you.” Croc stepped closer and grabbed Jack by the face, his claws digging into the smaller man's skin. “So how much you think your brother will pay for you, slightly damaged?”

Jack's eyes narrowed. “Who do you think I am?

Croc released Jack's face, but not before shoving his chin hard to the side, the tips of his claws dragging across Jack's skin leaving cuts over Jack's upper lip and along on his jawline, both deep enough to leave scars. Jack winced.

Croc chuckled deep in his chest. “I ain't stupid. I know who you are, Jack Wayne, the bad little brother to Bruce Wayne who I'm betting will pay top price to have his baby brother back.”

Jack followed Croc's movements with narrowed eyes. He could feel the sticky trickle of blood running down over his lips and his jaw.

Jack smiled. “Why won't crocodiles attack lawyers?

Croc turned, confusion clear in his alien looking yellow eyes. “What?”

Jack giggled. “Professional courtesy!”

Jack continued to laugh while Croc stared at him in confusion. Croc snarled as he took a large step forward and backhanded Jack.

Jack chuckled against the pain, spitting blood before he spoke. “Where is she?”

Croc grinned and showed rows and rows of deadly sharp teeth. “The woman?”

Jack's upper lip curled, making Croc laugh louder. “She's here, somewhere. Want to save us the trouble, tell us who she is...or isn't. If she ain't worth anything, told my boys they could have her for fun, though I might give her to them anyway. We can still make a buck off of her even if she is a bit spoiled when we give her back.”

Something in Jack's eyes, his expression changed. Croc saw the shift...it was...eerie and from what Croc had seen and done, eerie was not something he usually felt.

“You hurt her in any way...I will hunt you down and kill you slowly.” Croc was silent for a moment staring, unnerved by the sudden change in Jack Wayne's expression and demeanor, though he was quick to hide it. He laughed in his gravelly voice.

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that pretty boy.”

*

Harley was in a small, dank room with a damp floor that smelled horrible. When she came to, the first thing she did was get sick. Her head was pounding, her tongue tasted as if there was a film on it and she felt like shit. The room she was in felt to be made of bricks when she managed to feel around, determining that the space was small. There was standing water, which was where most of the smell was coming from and there was a faint hint of light in the distance that allowed her to see the bars in front of her. Harley made her way carefully over to the bars, stopping when she heard the sounds of tittering and scraping claws...rats...

Harley shivered with distaste. Where the evening air had only been slightly cool, this place was cold. She could feel the chill seeping into her bones. Harley leaned against the bars trying to figure out where she was, but also she was desperately hoping for a sign of Jack. But all she saw was more water and bricks.

“Hey!! Hey!!! HEY anyone there?!” she called out.

A figure suddenly appeared in front of her, his rough dirty hands going over hers and pinning her hands to the bars.

“Hey there pretty!” he hissed.

Harley gasped in shock and jerked away, but her fingers were held, pressed painfully against the bars.

She leaned back as the man transferred his grip up her arms. “Come closer pretty girl. Croc says we all might get a taste of ya! I wouldn't mind getting a little taste now.”

Harley didn't scream. That wasn't her style. She was scared, downright terrified, but she wouldn't give this creature the satisfaction of knowing that so instead she hissed, “I'll bite your tongue off if you try!”

That was when a deep rumbling voice filled the space with laughter.

“You and your boyfriend are really amusing. I expected whimpering spoiled rich people, but you both got a little backbone...I like that.”

The man holding her arms was suddenly knocked in the head falling to the side and disappearing into the shadows. The sudden release of her arms had Harley stumbling backwards into her “cell” hitting the water of the floor and causing the smell to increase in intensity.

The figure didn't quite come into view since there was so little light, but Harley saw the glow of it's eyes. “Name's Killer Croc...remember that. You and your boyfriend are my pets until Bruce Wayne pays for you. If he doesn't pay...then you, sweetmeat, get to be mine and my boys. Though I like the look of you...might keep you for myself.” He chuckled leaning in to sniff at her.

“Where's Jack?!” Harley pushed herself to her feet.

The creature laughed. “Don't worry, he's fine. You really should start worrying about yourself now, shouldn't you?”

*

Bruce was turning around from the cashier, two large soft pretzels in his hands. Selina Kyle was sitting at one of the park benches waiting for him. Selina Kyle had to be one of the most interesting women Bruce had met. She was simply fasinating, beautiful...and he was genuinely enjoying her company.

He was just about to walk toward her when a kid, no more than sixteen, dirty, looking like he might be living on the streets or worse caught his eye and grinned at him.

“You Bruce Wayne?”

“Yes, yes I am.” Bruce frowned as he watched the kid warily.

“I gots a message for you from Croc and his gang. He says he has your brother Jack and the woman. They want five million or you start getting body parts. Croc says he has your number, he'll be in touch within the hour. You get the cops involved, he says then he gets to have dinner...part of your brother and the girl.”

The kid gave Bruce a vicious grin before he took off at a run and disappeared into the crowd before Bruce could respond.

For a moment Bruce didn't move, the gears of his mind working in overtime. Croc? Who was Croc? And they claimed to have Jack and Dr. Quinzel?

Bruce dashed over to Selina to hand both pretzels to her. She opened her mouth to say thank you, but he shoved both pretzels at her before Bruce was digging his phone out of his back pocket. Selina frowned; by the look on his face, something was wrong, very wrong.

Bruce's fingers hit his brother's number. The phone rang, and rang and rang, but Jack never picked up. Which wasn't unusual, but his blood ran like ice through his veins. Bruce hung up and tried again...nothing.

“Bruce? What's wrong?” Selina reached out and laid a hand on his arm.

Bruce frowned as he slipped his phone into his back pocket. “I need...I need to go. It...it was a pleasure, Selina.”

Bruce smiled absently at her and took off at a run, pushing his way through the crowds. Selina stood up watching him go with a frown marring her features. Something was definitely wrong, she didn't need to know the man to figure that out.

*

Bruce called the driver, the minutes waiting to get out of the park were some of the longest of his life. He couldn't believe that someone had kidnapped Jack and Dr. Quinzel. Once he was in the back seat of the car, Bruce pulled out his phone and put a call in to Alfred.

“Alfred, we have a problem.”

“Sir?”

“Jack has been taken.” Bruce frowned. “They are going to contact me within the hour.”

“Taken sir?” There was a slight edge of panic to Alfred's voice.

“Kidnapped. They want five million...I. Batman will take care of this, but if he fails...I want the money gathered.” Bruce's voice had a hitch in it.

“I can't...I can't let anything happen to him Alfred. Not again.”

Chapter Text

Batman's eyes narrowed. The lights from the computer screen danced across his masked face as he leaned against the console and examined the computer screen, his face a mask of concentration. Alfred stood behind him, his eyes going from the map of the sewer system that ran under Gotham, to Batman, worry clear on his face.

Batman reached out to run a finger along a highlighted red line. “This would be the most logical entrance into the sewers from Robinson Park.”

Alfred frowned as he stepped closer. “It is also the only entrance big enough to get two unconscious people through without being seen. That area is heavily overgrown, probably not easily seen from the main paths of the park.”

Batman nodded. “It looks like this area leads deeper into the old unused system of tunnels. It wouldn't take much to carry two people deep into that area...if you didn't know your way around, it would also be easy to become lost.”

Batman's voice was low as he puzzled out the problem.

Alfred glanced at Batman and then back at the computer layout. “Are you sure you shouldn't inform the police sir? There are only a few hours before morning and they could be anywhere under the city by now.”

Batman turned to look at Alfred. “I can do this quickly and quietly. The police will cause...” he held back a sigh of frustration. “It will be safer this way...” Alfred said nothing else, though a slight tightening around his eyes conveyed his disapproval. The phone on the console rang then; Batman reached for it, picked it up and held it to his ear.

“Bruce Wayne.” His voice changed to that of Bruce Wayne, a variation from the voice of Batman he had been using just moments before.

The voice on the other end was like gravel. “Ah, the famous Bruce Wayne.”

“Are you Croc, the one who has my brother?” Batman's hand tightened around the phone, the plastic making a groan of protest.

“Yes, I am and I do. Oh and the woman, don't forget about her. Unless you're not interested in paying for her—she has other uses.” Croc laughed. “Back to business. Five million for the two of them. You have twenty-four hours or I start sending body parts...I'll even be nice and start with a finger instead of an ear.” He laughed on the other end of the phone.

Bruce's mouth was set in a hard line. “Is this only about the money? I can't come up with that kind of money in twenty-four hours...And don't lay a hand on either of them...”

“Please, you're Bruce Wayne...you can do anything you set your mind to. Though if you want...I can go ahead and send that finger to you to get you motivated. Whose finger would you like? The pretty blonde's or your little brother's? Or both? I can send you one of each.” Bruce could hear the smile in the man's voice.

Bruce snarled in agitation. “I need proof of life.”

Croc snarled. “Calling me a liar?”

Bruce stood his ground. “I need proof of life.”

“Fine.”

Bruce could hear something in the background and then he heard Jack. “Bruce?”

“Jack! Jack! Are you alright?” Bruce tried to keep the panic out of his voice, but he his usually reserved and rigid demeanor cracked.

“I don't know where Harley is Bruce...they have Harley.” Jack's voice, usually cool and collected—albeit with an undertone of mockery or amusement—now held an edge of panic to it when he spoke of Harleen.

“Don't worry Jack...I'll give them the money and I'll get you both back. I promise.” Bruce started to say something else, but then Croc's voice came back on the line. “There, happy Mr. Wayne?”

Bruce pressed his lips together and then anger caused a tremor to his voice. “Where do you want the money?”

Croc laughed. “I'll call you back and let you know....twenty-four hours Mr. Wayne. Or your brother and the woman both lose a finger.”

The phone went dead.

Alfred looked to Batman whose voice came out in a low growl. “Twenty four hours...five million dollars or he starts sending me Jack and Harleen's fingers.”

Alfred paled. “Sir...I...”

Batman tossed the phone down. Both of his hands dropped to grab onto the console as his head drooped down. For a moment he said nothing. If it had been Bruce there with him, Alfred would have tried to provide him some sort of comfort...but it wasn't Bruce right now; it was the Batman. Alfred frowned in worry, but said nothing.

Batman snarled. “You start calling in funds from any place you can find them at this hour until the banks open. I'm going to the sewers. I'm going to bring them home Alfred.”

*

Harvey frowned. It was getting late and the carnival was beginning the slow crawl toward closing. The crowds were significantly thinner, a few odd couples and some families with fatigued children here and there. The cleaning staff were coming out of the wood work, so to speak, cleaning up the paths and pulling the trash cans along to clear away debris and trash. Harvey frowned deeper as he realized he hadn't seen Bruce for a while and the last time he saw Jack Wayne and Harley Quinn was when they had been on the dance floor—that had been a couple of hours ago. But after that, they seemed to disappear. Harvey didn't know Jack Wayne enough to say whether or not his behavior was unusual, but for Bruce, Bruce would have come by to say good night at least, not simply disappeared. He thought about calling Bruce to figure out where he was when he saw Selina walking swiftly toward him and Gilda.

“Selina? I thought you were with Bruce?” Now Harvey really was worried. Gilda, who had been holding her husband's hand, let go to walk over to her friend. “Is everything all right?”

Selina frowned. “Something happened. I'm not even sure what exactly. Bruce was acting strange. I don't know him well, but this seemed pretty strange to me. One minute he was picking us up a couple of pretzels, the next...”

Harvey frowned as he stepped up beside his wife and laid his arm around her shoulders. “Strange how?”

Selina shrugged. “I saw some kid come up to him and say something. Looked like whatever it was upset Bruce. He was really distracted after that, said he had to go.”

“That doesn't sound good,” Gilda said looking over to her husband. Harvey pressed his lips together in thought. “Selina, do you mind taking Gilda home for me?”

“Harvey?” Gilda turned to lay her hands on his chest.

Harvey smiled at his wife and reached out to cup her face with one hand. “I'm going to drive by Wayne Manor, make sure everything is all right with Bruce and his brother.

Something just feels wrong, honey.”

“I can come with you,” she said softly, but Harvey smiled and kissed her forehead. “You and Harvey junior...” He touched her flat stomach making her laugh. “Need your rest. I'm sure it's nothing.”

Gilda sighed and relented. “All right...I mean if you don't mind Selina?”

“Of course not!” Selina hooked her arm through Gilda's. “Don't worry, Harvey. I'll get her home safe and sound. Tell Mr. Wayne I hope everything is all right.”

Harvey nodded. “I will, thank you Selina. I'll be home before you know it honey.”

Gilda smiled. “Love you.”

“Love you too.” Harvey grinned and brushed her lips with a gentle kiss before he turned and headed off.

Selina and Gilda made their way toward the parking lot where Selina had parked her black Chevrolet Corvette. Both women slipped into the seats and Selina hit the gas to speed out of Robinson Park.

“So, Bruce Wayne...” Selina said with a smile.

Gilda laughed. “Oh, you won't get much out of me. I only just met him. All I know comes from Harvey and the papers. The papers paint him as a billionaire playboy with a head for business. Harvey said he is a lot more complicated than that.”

Selina smiled. “What about his brother?”

Gilda frowned. “I know even less about him. The papers paint him as a trouble maker. He was arrested not that long ago. Harvey invited him along with Bruce to help with the Wayne Enterprises public image. He seemed nice enough though. His girlfriend is pretty and seems sweet.”

Selina nodded. “For some reason, I had the impression this might have something to do with his brother..”

Gilda turned to look at her. “Really? Why?”

Selina shrugged. “Call it feminine intuition.”

*

Jack closed his eyes and took several slow, deep breaths to help himself focus his mind on the task at hand. Whatever they had drugged him with was still in his system, making it hard for him to focus clearly, but all he had to do was think about Harley. That Harley needed him. It was difficult, more difficult than he thought it would be, but he kept trying.

He worried about her. Where was she, had they touched her, had they hurt her? He hadn't seen her, or heard her...nothing to tell him where they were keeping her. He had no idea what was happening to her.

Keeping his mind from wandering to the worst case scenarios was difficult. His mind kept giving him images of her hurt, bloody, or worse. He could feel the rage building, but he had to harness it...control the rage, but it was mixed with fear and fear was something he hated. Right now fear wasn't useful to him. His fear for Harley threatened to overwhelm him. The rage was better.

Jack's mind wandered a bit while he worked on his wrist, stopping for a moment when his fingers cramped. He jerked with pain when he put too much pressure on his opposite arm, the shoulder pulling dangerously close to dislocating. He smiled slightly thinking about Dante's Divine Comedy...because this certainly felt like a level of hell. He started to murmur to himself while the pain of working his wrist free became simply part of his current existence.

*

“Through me you pass into the city of woe:

Through me you pass into eternal pain:

Through me among the people lost for aye.

Justice the founder of my fabric moved:

To rear me was the task of power divine,

Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

Before me things create were none, save things Jack muttered under his breath. “For she doth make my veins and pulses tremble....my Harley.”

Jack giggled and pulled his mind away from thoughts of Harley to put all his attention toward what he was doing again—which he acknowledged was incredibly painful— as he repeated lines of the Divine Comedy to himself. It gave him something to concentrate on besides the pain. His mind narrowed its focus on three things: the movement of his wrist; the lines he remembered from the Divine Comedy; and the pain. Oddly though, the pain was exhilarating.

Jack slowly worked the one hand, twisting his arm painfully, tugging down, then back to the slow back and forth motion of his wrist while he tried to keep his weight balanced. One of the cuffs was not as tight as the other, providing a possible opportunity, one which Jack would exploit given time. Back and forth, turning the wrist in its handcuff, one way, then the other. The rusted metal had begun to cut into the skin of his wrist slowly, tearing away the flesh until blood began to coat the metal, making it slick around his wrist. Jack giggled.

*

Jack's mind wandered again. Maybe this really is hell, he thought. He had been to hell before...

Darkness, pain, old memories surfacing and memories best left forgotten; the darkness and the pain made his mind drift back and he remembered his parents' funeral. Everything was black and grey as he stood beside Bruce with Alfred behind them, all of them dressed in black. Jack hated the color black though sometimes he wore it to remind him of funerals and death.

His parents' coffins, side by side, were the center of his attention. Jack cried bitterly, heart-wrenching sobs for his loss. His broken collarbone hurt, his arm in a sling held tight to his body, but his heart hurt worse. Hopelessness...a lost little boy, and Bruce had hit him in the shoulder, told him to stop crying, to grow up, but that had only made Jack cry harder. Bruce had focused his pain on anger...he was so angry.

Alfred had put his arm around Jack, let the boy lean against him for support while Bruce had stared at the two caskets, his blue eyes hard with something—determination. Jack remembered feeling weak...that his big brother was so much stronger than him. Jack was a cry baby, but Alfred had held him and whispered that it takes a different strength to show your emotions and that there was no dishonor in crying for his parents...

*

Jack's mind drifted again. The pain in his wrist, the painful tugging against his arms a distant thought as the memory of the wake floated through his mind...Bruce and him fighting. Jack crying and Bruce shaking him. Bruce telling him that he had to be hard...or else the bad man that killed their parents would win. Jack had pushed his brother with his free arm, yelling that Bruce was horrible...why didn't he cry?

“Why aren't you crying?!” Jack's little boy voice was shrill with pain.

Bruce pushed back and knocked Jack flat on his back, causing Jack's arm that was in the sling to jerk, sending ripping agony through the little boy. Jack cried out and Bruce ran away, yelling.

“You are stupid Jack!!! I hate you!”

Jack was hurt and suddenly angry. He pushed his pain aside and gave chase. Adult Jack laughed. That was when they found a new hell of a different kind.

The well.

The two boys running from the manor, yelling at each other. Bruce heading into the woods on the property...and stumbling into the well. They fell together when Jack tried to grab Bruce. Jack landing on his brother...more pain...then the two boys huddled together in complete and utter darkness. Bruce calling for help, but no one hearing them...Bruce putting his arms around his little brother, Jack leaning against his chest. Both boys trying to protect and comfort each other when the bats came...

*

Jack's mind brought him back to the here and now. He could feel a trickle of blood as it gradually flowed down his arm; some of the of the blood was being soaked up by the cuff of his shirt while the rest trickled a crimson path down his arm. The burn of his skin tearing away from his wrist and the cool metal gradually wearing away the flesh, becoming sticky with blood, the flow of blood, the way his hand cramped, the heavy pull on his shoulders threatening to dislocate his shoulder—all of it was becoming a distant ache. He was aware of the pain, but it wasn't in the forefront of his mind. It seemed as if Bruce always led him into dark places, Jack mused.

Then he smiled, followed with a giggle that bubbled up when he felt a new trail of blood begin the descent down his arm. He was hyper-aware of every detail of the pain, the slow warm roll of blood down from his wrist, the tearing of flesh, the tug against the ligaments of his shoulder. Jack visualized the drop of crimson traveling down, leaving a path, staining his shirt, traveling further down his arm, and then the blood made its way down his torso. Jack could visualize the tearing of his skin away from his wrist, the feel of the metal becoming slick, coated in his blood. Soon his hand would be free, and once he had one hand loose...

Then he heard the sound of someone lumbering down the tunnel. There had been someone in here earlier to check on him, but the man had only stuck his head in to make sure the captive still hung there by his arms before leaving Jack alone in darkness again.

Jack had been alone for the last half hour allowing him to gradually work on his wrist.

Jack heard the figure coming closer, then the muffled exchange of voices. He was immediately assaulted with the smell of reptile. Jack raised his head to look toward the entrance. The large shadow of Croc, his kidnapper, blocked most of the light that came from the tunnel as he stepped into the room. Jack stopped what he was doing, turning his head to face the shadow as it approached.

Croc's deep voice filled the small area where Jack was being kept.

“Well, your brother's got twenty-four hours. Which finger you want to lose first? Eh? Or maybe you want to pick for the pretty blonde? She don't need all her fingers for what I could do to her.”

Croc chuckled then made several snapping sounds with his jaws, his razor sharp teeth coming together much like the sound of a real crocodile—Jack guessed—closing its jaw. Croc laughed again.

Jack only smiled, but it was vicious, all teeth and no humor in his smile, not the smile of someone who was scared.

“You touch one hair on her head and I will make you beg for me to kill you,” Jack hissed.

Croc snorted. “You really are funny rich boy.”

Croc reached out and patted Jack's face with one clawed hand before he slowly dragged his clawed thumb over Jack's lips, bearing down at the last moment to cut deeply into Jack's skin, creating a thin bloody line. Jack glared back, never flinching at the pain.

Croc grinned and murmured. “Tsk, tsk, pretty boy. Looks like those cuts I gave you on your pretty face are going to scar. Too bad. Think your pretty blonde will still want you all scarred up, missing fingers?”

Croc didn't wait for an answer. He turned and yelled over his shoulder into the darkness behind him.

“Pinhead, get in here and watch him. I”m going to go check on his girlfriend. I might have my own deal to make with her. Girl might be craving some crocodile meat...”

Croc laughed and grabbed himself as he turned to Jack.

“I'll be back and we can decide on a finger.”

Jack followed him with his eyes as Croc left. Jack's eye twitched at the corner while his teeth ground against each other.

*

Harley shivered. The cold was seeping into her bones, deeper even. She could feel the chill settling into her very core. She had heard the term “teeth chattering” before, but she had never experienced it until now; she was so cold.

She smelled him before he appeared. That thick reptilian smell along with something else...the sewer? She knew it was the leader who called himself Croc before he appeared at the bars of her cell.

“Hey there, pretty girl.” He chuckled as he opened her cell door and stepped inside. He was big enough that he took up nearly all the space inside. Her chest constricted like he was sucking up all the oxygen too. She was terrified, but she was going to be damned if she let him know that. As Croc entered the room, his sheer size forced her back against the wall. To further make her feel cramped and threatened, he rested his large clawed hands on the brick wall above her.

“So...waiting to see if Bruce Wayne is going to pay the five mill for the two of you...though now I'm thinking I should have asked for seven...or maybe I'll just keep you for a prize, eh? I like my meat soft and tender you know.” He chuckled again, the sound like rocks rolling together. “Or maybe you would like to make a separate deal...just between you and me?” His tongue came out and licked across his jaw...a forked tongue.

Harley was trembling from fear and the cold, but she glared up into his yellow eyes.

“You can try, but I'll make it the worst mistake you ever made.”

Croc laughed, reaching out to run his fingers through her hair, but Harley jerked her head away from him, glaring all the while. “You know girlie. I really like you. You got fire.Too good for that pretty rich boy. Why don't you stay...get to be a real...Croc's girl, eh?”

Harley spat at him. Croc growled in surprise. Even in the weak light, she saw the rows of razor sharp teeth. She pressed herself back against the wall ready to do whatever she had to do defend herself, but instead Croc pushed off the wall and yelled.

“MO! Keep an eye on her! I'm going to grab something to eat.”

Croc turned and smiled at Harley. “Think it over pretty. You, me...could be fun.” He winked at her just before he ducked through the door of her cell, stopping outside to lock it and say just loud enough for her to hear him.

“I might have to find someone to eat...” He chuckled and lumbered away.

Harley stayed pressed against the wall, shivering after Croc left. After a few moments, Harley lunged forward and vomited into the stale water around her.

*

She wasn't sure how much time had passed. In the darkness, it was endless...time had no meaning. Harley couldn't be sure if they had been kidnapped only a few hours ago or days ago. But she waited and listened, the damp and chill taking up residence in her very core to the point she wondered if she would ever be warm again.

Harley pressed herself into the corner of the room, crouching down despite the water, trying to make herself small. Being trapped, alone, in the dark, with nothing to tell her how long this would last,reminded her of the times she had been locked in the closet when she was little, pressed into the corner of the small space, hidden behind the clothing even though she knew the monster put her here...he knew where she was....

When she would misbehave, (which could be anything, from a wrong word to a wrong look) her step-father would lock her in a closet for hours when she was. She would lose track of time...sometimes the darkness had seemed endless and empty. Other times it had crawled with fear...not knowing if or when he came back if he was going to ignore her or hit her.

Harley frowned and closed her eyes for a moment as the room seemed to shrink. No; that was a long time ago. She had worked past that...and besides. He was dead...because of Jack.

Harley's heart squeezed painfully in her chest. Where was Jack? Had they hurt him?

*

When she was sure she was alone, Harley made her way over to the bars again, doing her best not to slosh the water around her too much as she tried to see how the door to her 'cell' was locked. She wasn't sure what she was hoping for, a way she could break it or maybe...she didn't know.

When she leaned against the bars, the light from down the tunnel was flickering, providing just enough light to see that every visible surface was covered in slime or rust. The bars were greasy with mildew and moss, but they were still solid. Harley leaned against the rusted bars, pressing herself hard against the metal, trying to see something, anything, but the dim orange light made the shadows heavy and thick, instead creating unnatural shapes in the shadows rather than illuminating anything with useful clarity. Wherever the light was coming from, it was too far away from where she was to be of any help.

Harley chewed her bottom lip in frustration. She felt disgusting, heavy, as if she could barely move her own body. She closed her eyes, calmed herself, and tried to listen, to see if she heard anything that might help her, to hear if anyone else was about besides her...anyone at all. But she heard nothing, just echos of things far off; the water...the constant dripping sound that came from everywhere and nowhere...

She was about ready to return to the back of her cell to try to think about what she needed to do...trying not to worry about Jack (which was like asking herself not to breathe since Jack was all she could think about besides her own safety) when a hand shot out between the bars and grabbed at her yanking her back and almost off her feet.

“Hey pretty.” The voice had a leer in it.

Harley gasped in surprise and yanked herself away, the man taking a few strands of her hair with his fingers as she turned to face her attacker. The man who had grabbed at her grinned, pointing at her with his chin and ran his tongue over his upper lip. It was enough to make Harley's skin crawl even more that it already was.

This was a different guy from the one that she had seen earlier, the one who had grabbed her arms before Croc appeared. This one was younger, maybe twenty-something with his head shaved into an uneven mohawk that flopped dirtily to the side.

“Hey, hey you know...we don't need you...you be nice to me—I let you go.” The man grinned at her showing off teeth that probably hadn't seen a tooth brush in a decade.

“What do you mean be nice to you?” Harley asked, her arms wrapped tight around her chest. She had a pretty good idea what he wanted. She shivered with disgust...but...

He grinned and licked his lips. “You...you, ah do me a favor. I'll let you go.”

“What about Croc?” She stepped closer, swayed her hips a little, licked her lips seductively.

It was difficult to be “seductive” and not just because she was freezing, filthy and disgusted by the environment and the situation, but she ran a hand down her front, her attention on thoughts of finding Jack. His eyes went immediately to her chest and lingered there. Harley smiled. She realized that she had possibly found a way to get herself out of this cage.

*

Batman/Bruce downloaded a schematic of the sewers, both old and new, that ran under Gotham. He could only hope that the map was accurate enough to get him through the tunnels and to wherever the kidnappers were keeping his brother and Dr. Quinzel. Bruce tried not to think too much about Jack...what was happening to him at the moment, but instead Bruce focused on finding them.

He was just turning to head to his car when his cell phone rang. Batman grabbed it off his belt without looking at the display before he hit the button.

“Is he safe?” Bruce asked, his voice pitched low. “

Bruce?” It was Harvey.

Bruce closed his eyes and pulled the cowl off, stopping to lean against the cave wall.

“Harvey I...I wasn't expecting it to be you.”

“Bruce, what's going on? Is who safe?” Bruce could heard the deep concern in his friend's voice as Harvey continued. “You left the carnival without a word of goodbye, stood up

Selina. What's going on, buddy?”

“I...Harvey I just...” Bruce took a deep breath. “It's Jack and Harleen...I mean, Harley. A man calling himself Croc—he took them from the carnival and they are demanding five million dollars in the next twenty-four hours or they'll start sending me body parts.”

“WHAT? Bruce, did you call the police?” Harvey, who was driving while he spoke had his phone sitting in a speaker slot built into his car so that he could keep his hands on the wheel while talking. But when he heard Bruce's revelation, Harvey lost control of his car for a split second.

“I don't want the police involved Harvey. I...I can come up with the money. I just need time.” Bruce couldn't keep the choking sob out of his voice as a wave of fear washed over him...the fear that he might fail Jack yet again.

“Five million Bruce...I mean...in twenty-four hours...there's no way anyone could put that together in time.” Harvey frowned as he drove, switching lanes to head to Wayne Manor. “Look, I'm coming. I'll see what...”

“No...Harvey. Don't...it's...” Bruce struggled. “I have some of my people looking into it...I mean...”

“Bruce...we're friends. Let me help.” Harvey offered softly.

Bruce chewed his bottom lip. He wasn't used to asking for or accepting help, but he nodded.

“All right, but I'm not going to be at the manor while I try to get the money together. Just contact me by cell.”

Harvey smiled. “You got it. I'll see what I can do. Tell me what you know about who took your brother and his girlfriend. I'm going to head to my office and see what I can dig up on the kidnappers for you.”

“Thank you Harv.” Bruce smiled faintly.

“That's what friends are for, Bruce.” Harvey smiled before hanging up and making a U-turn back toward Gotham.

*

“Hehehe, you do me a favor, I let you go, sure thing pretty.” The mohawk guy was leering at Harley and continued to lick his lips. Harley put on her best smile slowly pulling on the tie at the front of her dress letting it fall open.

“Well, if you want me to do you a little favor....?” She smiled raising a brow at him. “I'll do anything to get out of here.” She dropped her voice to a whisper, making herself look and sound sweet and defenseless.

The guy grinned. “They call me Mo...you know...Mohawk.” He laughed.

Harley gave him a sick smile, but Mo didn't seem to notice, his full attention on her breasts as she reached around to untie her dress, letting it fall just enough to show more of her breasts, keeping the guy's attention on her chest.

“Well, Mo....why don't you come on in here...and I promise I'll do you a really good favor.”

Harley ran her fingertips down her cleavage, licking her lips as she did so. Mo started to giggle and Harley heard the sound of heavy metal keys in a lock. Her heart was hammering in her chest, the fear was making her hyper alert, but there was something else, something more than fear...she was angry. Angry that she didn't know where Jack was, alive or dead...hurt...angry that this...this...fucker would think that she was that defenseless, that...desperate, that she would do whatever he wanted knowing that he wasn't going to let her go. Unless he really was stupid...that he would think he could waltz in here and use her. She was angry that this Croc person, monster...thing, had taken them both, that he would dare try to kidnap Jack! That he was teasing he was going to rape her! She was furious that anyone would think of her as just some plaything! Some scared powerless woman!

Well, Jack had not only taught her how to defend herself...he had just begun to teach her something else...like with her step-father...some people deserved to die. Mo stepped in, closing the door behind him with a soft clank of metal, but she noticed he didn't lock it. Clearly he didn't see her as a threat. Mo immediately reached for her, but Harley put a hand on his chest and shoved him up against the wall.

Mo chuckled at her action. “Oh I like that, anxious for a real man, eh? Tired of your rich boy?”

“Oh yeah...I promise to do you right,” Harley purred. “Pull your pants down for me...I'm going to make you feel something you've never felt before...” She ran her tongue over her teeth and smiled in the dim light. Mo swallowed and hurriedly worked at his pants, his dirty fingers stumbling in his hurry to get everything undone. Finally, with apparent glee on his face, he shoved his pants down to his knees, his erection clear in the dim light leaking into the cell. Harley grinned. She moved closer, pressing her body up against Mo. Mo was practically shaking with anticipation when Harley reached down and grabbed his balls.

Harley didn't keep her nails long. Instead she kept them short and neat, but when she grabbed a hold of Mo's balls it was like she had taken five tiny daggers and shoved them under his skin. The man's reaction was instant. He sucked in a breath, his eyes going wide enough that she could clearly see the white's in the dull light. But Harley didn't stop there. She slammed her free hand over his mouth and nose, pressing her weight against him, muffling his screams, pressing his head against the wall with all her strength. Mo began to thrash, her fingers on his genitals dug in hard, squeezing with all her strength, her hand against his mouth pressing down hard enough that she could feel his teeth against her hand.

Harley sneered hissing. “This will be something you will never forget.” Mo lifted one arm as if to strike Harley, but she was quicker.

Then she twisted with all her strength. She didn't stop when she could have, not when his knees buckled and he started sliding down the wall, his muffled cries making her palm damp, slick with saliva and mucus. His hands grabbed at her hand that was currently crushing his testicles, but he didn't have the strength to pull her hand away, only to scrape his fingers uselessly against her hand as he tried to pry her off. Instead Harley followed him down the wall when he started to slide, continuing to twist as hard as she could, until her arm was trembling with the effort and she felt the dampness of blood against her fingers. Her eyes flashed with something primal, almost madness. That was when she let go of him.

Mo started to collapse, having dropped to his knees with a splash that sent the stink of the water filling the room anew. Harley snarled,took a step back, but then she rushed forward again to slam the palm of her hand up and into his face, shattering the man's nose in a burst of blood, knocking him back into the wall where his head hit with a sickening thunk against the slimy brick surface. For a moment Mo did nothing, he seemed suspended before he slipped down into the several inches of dank, mucky water that covered the floor of her cell.

Harley didn't realize that Mo was unconscious. She was just too scared and angry. But even if she had realized he was no longer a threat, her fear and anger were mixed in a dangerous, twisted combination of pure rage—which meant she probably couldn't have stopped herself if she had wanted, she would later realize. When he collapsed into the water of her cell, having ceased moaning moments ago, Harley snarled and started to kick Mo.

She kicked him and hissed, “You fucking piece of shit!! You—if you hurt Jack I swear to God I am going to come back and find you!! I'll cut your balls off and make you eat them!! You think I would ever let filth like you touch me!!?”

Harley kicked and kicked and kicked, angry tears cutting clean lines across her cheeks until the water began to turn a murky crimson, a slow puddle of red expanding from Mo's corpse. Harley seethed, her hands were clenched into fists at her side and her whole body trembled.

Harley took several deep breaths. The air tasted like sewage on her tongue, with a slight coppery flavor in the dank air, but it was enough to calm her down. She dropped down to her knees in the thick water and quickly searched the body. Mo had a couple of joints on him, a dull knife and nothing else...no gun or other weapon, just the dull blade. Part of her was insulted. Clearly he had not seen her as a threat, but to have it confirmed even more by his lack of weapons...she was insulted. Harley took the knife and stood. She only gave the corpse a quick glance before she rushed over to the bars, pushing until the door creaked open, the key still in the rusted lock but the door hadn't been secured by Mo when he came in here to take advantage of her.

Harley smiled, turning to grab the key and pushed the cell door closed, locking it before she spun around to examine her surroundings. Wherever she was being kept, the tunnel only ran in two directions, left and right, each end passing into darkness. From here she couldn't see anything else. Down the left side of the tunnel she could see a metal trash can with something burning inside, providing the orange glow she had seen from her cell, but beyond that, either end was nothing but shadows.

She pressed her lips together. For a moment she was overwhelmed. Jack could be anywhere...wherever here was, but she had to try. Jack would try for her. Harley, terrified but determined, moved to the left, gripping the dull bladed knife in her hand.

*

Batman arrived at Robinson Park at the rear entrance. He slipped the car inside the park, easily finding a place to hide it among the thick undergrowth and densely packed area of trees where the Batmobile's dark colors would prevent anyone from seeing it unless they simply stumbled over it. He stepped out of the car and immediately hit the button on the side of his cowl that would bring up the sewer map. The entrance he was looking for was perhaps a mile on foot from his current location. He switched the map off, turned on his night vision before he took off at at jog, and moved off to find the entrance to the sewers.

*

It only took him a couple of minutes to find the entrance. The bars that were supposed to block entrance into the piping were long gone. He frowned about to head in when his phone vibrated against his hip. Bruce picked it up. “Bruce here.”

“It's Harvey. I wanted to let you know I discovered some information on your brother's kidnapper.”

The way Harvey spoke, it was clear he was slightly distracted.

“Go on,” Bruce said simply.

“Well, he is known as Killer Croc. His name is Waylon Jones, supposedly born looking the way he does. He can hold his breath underwater for an extremely long time...expert swimmer, enhanced strength...ex-wrestler. He's been arrested for robbery, murder...he supposedly ate someone. He has been associated with the mob on more than one occasion...not sure if any of this helps Bruce.” Harvey sighed.

But Batman smiled. “It does help Harvey. Thank you.”

“Is there anything else I can do Bruce?” Harvey asked his sincerity clear in his voice.

Bruce smiled. “Not right now, but I'll keep you in the loop okay?”

“All right. I'll be waiting by the phone if you need me Bruce.” Harvey hung up. Bruce smiled and slipped the phone back in place. Harvey Dent was a good man.

Batman carefully stepped inside, but there was no one here, no guards...nothing. Which could only mean that they were deeper down, someplace where they felt safe. Batman adjusted his night vision and started to make his way deep into the sewers.

*

Jack pressed his lips together, the pain racing down his arm, but his hand slid through the cuff, free. He flexed his fingers, the pain from the torn skin around his wrist and hand made him smile in satisfaction. Jack hissed slightly, the pain peaked for a moment, but he quickly ignored it, his eyes roaming over to the man guarding him. The big, muscle-head of a man stood with his back to Jack, a gun at his side, but he never moved...clearly he didn't hear anything or was simply ignoring Jack.

With Jack's hand coming free, the sudden shift in his weight had Jack's other arm pulling dangerously up, threatening to dislocate his shoulder when his weight unexpectedly tugged hard on his one wrist. He reached up with his now free hand and grabbed the bloody cuff, holding on and trying to distribute his weight. The tips of his shoes were just barely touching the damp ground, causing him to scrape the floor as he held on, keeping his weight from wrenching his arm out of the socket.

The sounds of his struggling finally drew the attention of the man who was supposedly watching him. The man was big, all muscles and little else as far as Jack could see, turned and glanced at him before turning away again. Pinhead...that's what Croc had called him. Jack smiled. Let's see how easy he is to provoke, Jack thought to himself with a vicious grin.

Jack laughed. “Pinhead...what kind of name is that?”

The man turned around to glare at Jack over his shoulder with a sneer. “Shut up you. Croc said to watch you, didn't say you had to be in one piece, so keep quiet or I'll make you sorry.”

Jack laughed. “You, make me sorry? Right. I'm terrified.... I'd like to see things from your point of view, but I can't seem to get my head that far up my ass.”

Pinhead frowned for a moment as if he couldn't quite figure out the insult. He glanced over his shoulder again at Jack before putting his back to him and started to leave. Jack just continued. “Your birth certificate is an apology letter from the condom factory.”

Jack started laughing, his body swinging a little with his laughter.

Pinhead growled. “Stop it or I'm going to come over there and make you stop rich boy!”

Jack smiled, his blue eyes dancing, his body swinging just a little bit.

“The only way you'll ever get laid is if you crawl up a chicken's ass and wait.”

Jack grinned wider when he saw Pinhead's shoulders tense just before he turned and stepped over to Pinhead moved swiftly for a big man, pulling his gun up and held it to Jack's forehead. Jack smiled bigger clearly enjoying himself as he whispered in a sing-song voice.

“It looks like your face caught on fire and someone tried to put it out with a hammer.”

Jack giggled, his body swinging back and forth.

Pinhead snarled. “Shut up rich boy or I'm going to put a bullet through your head!!”

“Oh please...and piss off your boss Croc? Really? I'm worth far too much alive Pinhead baby...far more than you...” Jack giggled. “You know...I wasn't born with enough middle fingers to let you know how I feel about you.”

Pinhead snarled. “The boss won't care if yer a little beat up!”

That was when he hit Jack across the face with his pistol. The metal hit Jack hard in the mouth, splitting his lip. Jack tasted blood as the liquid flooded his mouth. Jack grinned, his white teeth stained red. “Oh hit me again baby. I like it rough.” Jack leered at him.

Pinhead looked disgusted and upset...he was used to people he pistol whipped...stopping...they stopped talking. But this guy...

Jack grinned. “Calling you an idiot would be an insult to all stupid people.” Pinhead snarled and hit Jack again, knocking Jack's head to the side in a splatter of blood. Jack laughed, his lips split, blood dribbling down his chin as he continued to laugh at Pinhead.

“SHUT UP!” Pinhead shouted.

Jack grinned. “Ohh! Make me big boy.”

Pinhead snarled. “You motherfucker...”

He hit Jack again, blood flying in an arc in the dim orange light, splattering across Pinhead's face, but Jack only grinned wider, seeming unaffected by the pain. Pinhead was about to hit Jack again, his pistol raised up high. Jack was grinning at him with red bloody lips, his eyes wild, but at the last second Pinhead thought better of it. He was shaking with rage, but Pinhead turned to leave and Jack hissed. “Big mistake.”

Jack dropped his freed arm, wrapping it around Pinhead's neck, yanking back as hard as he could to lock his fingers around his own shoulder creating a lock around Pinhead's neck. At the same time, Jack lifted his legs up and wrapped them around Pinhead middle, pressing his feet back against Pinhead's stomach, the heels of his shoes digging in and with all the strength he could muster, Jack used the muscles of his legs to press backwards so that Pinhead couldn't get a hold of Jack's feet to pull Jack's legs away.

Jack hauled back, his left hand still chained in the cuff, wrapped around the chain, pulling his body up with all his strength as he pressed his forearm against Pinhead's throat. Jack's fingers dug into his own shoulder painfully as he concentrated on strangling Pinhead. Jack's blue eyes were flat, devoid of emotion, as he pressed his advantaged, digging his forearm into the other man's throat.

Pinhead had dropped his gun during Jack's initial attack, but he reached up to claw at Jack's forearm. His fingers managed to wrap around Jack's much thinner arm, but Jack was surprisingly strong.

Jack laughed. “Oh no, come on—aren't you having fun yet?” he hissed in Pinhead's ear as the man gasped for breath, barely able to make a sound.

Jack pressed with his forearm, instead of pulling back, this time he hunched his body forward, his legs tightening around the man's middle pressing with all his might. Jack smiled just slightly as he closed his eyes focusing on choking the life out of Pinhead. The mass of Pinhead's body started to drag on Jack, yanking hard on Jack's arm that was still cuffed above him.

Jack let the body go, releasing his choke hold and his legs at the same time. The large man continued to make a few oddly shallow noises before all signs of life disappeared just before his body hit the floor, the sound of splashing water was minimal. Jack looked down at the dead body with a grin. “Oops.”

*

Batman moved silently yet quickly, following the map overlay that his visor was displaying before his eyes. The smell of the place was incredible, but mixed with the stink of waste water, mildew and other scents he wasn't sure of, Batman smelled smoke. The burning smell wasn't clean, like the smell of burning wood. This was murky...as if someone was burning garbage. It wasn't just the smell that made navigating difficult, but the sounds too. They carried in these tunnels. The sounds of water, rats, and who knew what else. He was sure he had heard someone moving behind him, but no one ever appeared and the voices he heard...whispers, could have come from anywhere. Batman took a few deep calming breaths and focused on the map; it was still his best bet.

Batman followed the scent of burning trash. It was a good possibility that the smell of burning trash could mean people were present and besides, it was the only clear thing to follow down here next to his map display. The map was giving him a basic route to follow, but he was quickly discovering that it wasn't accurate. The map gave him the known tunnels under Gotham, not the forgotten or, as he had seen several times already, a couple of 'new' tunnel openings, clearly made by someone digging with who knew what. The remains of bricks and debris lay in front of these new openings that led into the sides of other tunnels showed that people had indeed been down here, altering the environment. The new entrances led into old forgotten sections of the sewer.

Batman had stopped to examine the map when he heard the sound of voices ahead of him. He cocked his head and listened. It sounded to be four men and the sound of a fire crackling. He turned off his night vision letting his eyes adjust to the darkness. There, he could see a barely discernible flicker of light in the distance. Batman moved silently, following the tunnel toward the light, listening to the voices as they gradually became more coherent.

“I don't know about this, I mean...Jack Wayne fine, but that woman. I don't like it, she wasn't part of the deal. Should have drugged her and left her somewhere.”

Another voice laughed. “Oh come on, don't be such a pussy. The ransom went up from three million to five with the woman. Croc knows what he's doing.”

“If he gets it. What if Wayne don't want to pay?”

“Look, you worry too much, let Croc do all the thinking.”

“See now I don't like that either! Why are we working for that freak, eh?”

Batman heard the sound of smacking, like a hand hitting against clothing.

“Shut up, you want him to hear you. You know that stuff about him eating people...it ain't just stories. It's true. So let's do this job, get paid and get out of here.”

Then Batman heard the sound of running feet, clearly coming from a path somewhere ahead of him. He closed his eyes. Judging by the sound, the echo...it was a tunnel down to the left.

“Biggy! Come quick!” Another voice joined the group, younger...twenty? Batman frowned listening.

The one named Biggy growled in response. “What is it?”

“I went to take Pinhead a beer and he's dead!” the younger man had a whine in his voice as he spoke.

“Whatcha mean he's dead?” Batman could hear the frown in Biggy's voice.

“I mean he's dead” the young man repeated. “He's in that Wayne guy's cell. Lying on his face in the water...he ain't moving!”

*

Batman frowned.

*

“Whose with that Wayne guy now?” Biggy asked.

“I left Job and Weasel with him. They got their guns on him, but all he is doing is swinging there and insulting them—and laughing a lot. It's creepy man. Biggy, you gotta come check it out...”

There was the sound of movement. Batman was fairly confident by the sound of flesh hitting flesh that “Biggy” had just slapped the other man. “Then how could he have...you know, never mind I want to see Pinhead for myself.” Batman heard the sound of boots on brick. He waited until the footfalls were faint. He figured that left him two, maybe three men...Batman came around the corner like a shadow, moving silently and swiftly.

He had been correct; there were three men standing around a metal trash can, the contents of which, were burning. Batman didn't wait. He rushed up on one man, a shorter man with a full dirty beard. Batman's fist shot out swiftly and caught that man in the side of the head; the bearded man was down before he knew what hit him, his head snapping to the side; he fell, hitting the floor hard, his head bouncing....and he didn't get up again.

One of the other men, tall, skinny, with a beak of a nose, pulled a gun, but Batman swooped down on him grabbing the wrist of the hand holding the weapon and yanked him forward, his other hand snapping out to hit the man in the nose, breaking his nose instantly. Batman grabbed him by the back of the head as the man groaned and fell forward. Batman brought his knee up at the same moment that he drove the man down, right into his upraised knee, knocking the air from his lungs and dropping him. Batman kicked the gun away into the darkness just as the other man, a big guy with long dark hair and missing an eye pulled a blade out and charged. He wore no eye patch to hide the empty socket, giving the goon the appearance of having a half-skull face.

Batman used his cape, twisting to the side while throwing the cape out; the knife became tangled in the cloth. Batman yanked on his cape to pull the man's tangled wrist toward him and making his attacker stumble forward. Batman grabbed him by the neck and lifted him off his feet to slam him forcefully against the brick wall of the tunnel. Held off the tunnel floor by the Batman, the one-eyed man started to whimper. “Don't kill me!!” “I'm not going to kill you...I'm going to hurt you, but how much I hurt you depends on how you answer my questions,” Batman growled. “Now, tell me where Jack Wayne is.”

*

Jack grinned, his teeth still bloody from the pistol whipping he had received from Pinhead as Biggy (who looked as if he had been beaten in the face as a child), the young man who had come to get him named Brad (how boring Jack thought, just like a...Brad...brown hair, dirty...the kind of person you would walk by without a second look), Job (a little more interesting since the kid had dyed his hair purple), and Weasel all entered the small room and all of them looked down at the body of Pinhead. It was really comical, the looks on their faces, which had Jack laughing again.

Biggy dropped down to his knees to check for a pulse before he rolled Pinhead over. Pinhead's eyes were open, the whites gone completely red. His lips looked swollen and his tongue stuck out, making him look grotesque in the dim light. All the men in the room gasped and stepped back except Biggy who looked up at Jack, his eyes narrowed. “Tell me what happened.”

Jack grinned. “He didn't like my jokes...I thought they were pretty funny myself.”

Jack's laugh echoed off the damp walls.

Biggy snarled and reached out to grab Jack by the throat. “Tell me what happened rich boy!”

Jack choked for a moment, but grinned as Biggy pressed his fingers into Jack's neck.

“Oh, now you know you can't kill me.” Jack smiled sweetly.

Biggy hissed at the captive man. “I can hurt you.”

Jack grinned a bloody toothed grin. “You can try.”

Biggy snarled and pushed Jack's face to the side before he turned to the men in the room. “Weasel, you and Job get the body out of here. Brad, check his cuffs. I'm going to get Croc.”

With that Biggy stomped out of the room. Weasel and Job looked at each other and shrugged. They reached down, each grabbing an end of Pinhead and carried him out. Brad watched them go before he turned to look at Jack. Jack was swinging slightly as he smiled at Brad.

Jack made a kissy face at Brad, who frowned and stood there staring at Jack, unwilling to move. It was clear to Jack that he was calculating the risk of checking Jack's restraints versus what Biggy would do to him if he didn't check. Brad came to the conclusion that Biggy was the bigger threat as he quickly looked over his shoulder at the way his friends had gone, carrying Pinhead's body and then back at Jack. Brad still seemed unwilling to walk over to Jack, but he did, slowly approaching Jack with the same caution he would a snake. Jack only smiled wider.

Brad reached up, checking Jack's left hand first, then, as he reached up to check Jack's right hand, Jack's legs came up swiftly to wrap around Brad's waist, yanking the young man forward and causing him to lose his balance at the sudden shift of weight. Jack's his free hand shot out, grabbing Brad around the side of his skull, Jack's thumb pressing into Brad's eye. The younger man started to scream while Jack pressed as hard as he could, until there was a sickening popping sound. Brad let out a blood-curdling scream as Jack chuckled gleefully.

*

Batman encountered two men moving a dead body fairly quickly, and just as swiftly, he had both men unconscious when he heard the scream echoing off the walls. He left the men he had knocked out on the floor and took off toward the sounds of pain. He followed the sounds the best he could when he turned around a corner to see another burning barrel. He heard another cry that abruptly stopped.

Batman stopped in his tracks. He looked around, but no one had responded to the sound of screaming. He frowned and made his way more slowly. He could see what looked like a darkened doorway. When he stepped around to peer into the room he saw Jack Wayne, his face bloody, hanging by one arm and giggling to himself, a body at his feet.

*

Jack looked up and his eyes widened.

He giggled again, with a different quality in the tone. “What the hell are you? A giant bat? Though I suppose we have a giant crocodile man, so...why not!” Batman spoke quietly. “I'm here to rescue you.”

Jack swung on his one arm that was still held above him and giggled. Batman stared at him for a moment.

Bruce felt a spike of pain. Jack, his baby brother looked terrible. The dim light showed the blood on his brother's face and he could see the bruises and cuts that were littered on his brother's pale skin. But what really made Bruce's blood run cold was the laughter...the giggling. He remembered Jack after the school incident, those times when he found Jack alone laughing and talking to no one...the violent outbursts, but it was the giggling that haunted Bruce. Jack had done that a great deal when they were younger...after their parents murder...laughing at nothing...except whatever it was that Jack was thinking about.

Bruce pushed his emotions aside. That was not Jack hanging there and right now they were not brothers. He was the Batman...that was a victim he was here to help. Batman dropped down to check the pulse of the man at Jack's feet. Jack watched him with a sudden frown on his pained features.

“He's not dead...blind in one eye now, but not dead...too bad really. If only I had gotten a better grip,” Jack muttered more to himself with a simple grin. Batman stood up slowly and walked over to Jack, but Jack's free hand lashed out to grab Batman by the shoulder. Jack's grip was powerful, surprising Batman with the strength of it. Batman did his best not to show his surprise at Jack grabbing him. He glanced down at Jack's hand gripping his shoulder. The wrist was a wreck, the skin gone leaving a bloody mess behind. The sight made Bruce sick...that Jack had done that to himself. No, he thought. Bruce had allowed it to happen...he hadn't been there for his brother. Batman shook his head slightly. No...focus.

Jack tilted his head with a knowing smile. “I remember you. You were at the party. You went after that gang. But why are you here?” Jack asked with genuine confusion.

“Your brother sent me,” Batman said, his voice a low growl.

“Bruce...Bruce sent you?” Jack seemed confused as Batman pulled something from his belt and worked at the other cuff that held Jack suspended. Batman caught Jack when he released him. Jack stumbled into the larger man, allowing Batman hold him up as he wrapped his arms around Batman's neck. It took a couple of seconds for Jack to get his feet under him before Batman started to lead him from the room.

“We need to get you out of here,” Batman stated gruffly.

Jack reached out and grabbed Batman's shoulder again. His blue eyes were filled with pain and what looked to Batman to be worry. For a moment Bruce was surprised at Jack's reaction. Jack never showed concern about anything, but this...

Batman stopped moving to let him speak.

Jack's voice was a plea. “No, no you can't...Harley...they have my girlfriend...my fiancee! You...you have to help me find her!”

Bruce frowned in confusion. “Fiancee?” Outwardly, he said nothing to reveal his surprise, but nodded. “I'll...I need to find that man, Croc, the one who took you. I need to get him into police custody. I'll look for her...she is probably with him.” <

Jack nodded. Batman took Jack by the shoulders. “I'm going to give you directions how to get out of here while I go and take care of this Croc. Go, don't look back, head straight to the police.”

Jack frowned, but then nodded.

Batman gave a quick nod and turned to leave, easily disappearing into the darkness of the sewers.

Jack stood there staring after him.

He smiled...there was no way he was going to trust a Bat to find his girl. Besides...he really wanted a pair of crocodile skin boots. Jack's smile turned nasty before he stepped out of the cell. Jack laughed and then slowly let out a sigh of satisfaction as he set off into the tunnels.

*

Harley stopped, her blue eyes wide.

The darkness was all consuming, she could see nothing, the little light that had been behind her was long gone...swallowed by the darkness. She used the wall to guide herself along, but every sound was amplified, echoed, and confusing. She kept stopping and turning, certain that she heard someone, or something. It was as if she could hear everything, every sound, her teeth chattering, the sounds of rats scurrying around her feet, ghostly voices, sometimes sounding close, other times far away and the constant sounds of dripping water.

She had just started moving again when heard what sounded like a growl.

Chapter Text

Batman moved carefully, his boots making minimal sound as he stepped through the watery gunk that lined the bottom of the tunnel. He stopped for a moment to bring up the holo-map, then tried to determine where he was on the virtual map. Batman's eyes narrowed as he compared his location to his surroundings...which was turning out to not always be the same. According to the map, the old Gotham railway—dating back to the 1800's—was still under here somewhere. Some of the sewer tunnels were connected to it, though it was hard to see where. Batman almost groaned in frustration. That means Croc or Dr. Quinzel could be anywhere in this vast maze, he thought. The only saving grace was when he found an old generator.

The generator looked old, rusted, but a quick inspection showed him that it was still in working order. Batman frowned wondering why it wasn't in use, unless this Croc person had more mutations than simply his skin. Harvey had sent a photo to Bruce's phone a few minutes ago showing a humanoid crocodile-man, a strange hybrid. There a number of additional crocodile-like mutations that Killer Croc could have that would not require him to need the light to see. The other reason for not using the generator could also be a mental game with Croc; keep your people in the dark, use low tech lighting, a good way to keep them on edge.

Batman decided to take the risk of turning the generator on. The light could work to his advantage limiting Croc's own night vision, if indeed that was part of Croc's game...and perhaps the light would give Dr. Quinzel hope that someone was coming for her.

The loud roar of the generator coming to life echoed down the tunnel walls. The sounds raced further into the sewers...the echoing roar sounding for all the world like a great beast awakening. Anyone down here for hundreds of yards in all directions would probably have heard it, but Batman felt confident most of Croc's crew would have no idea where the source of the sound was coming from.

As Batman watched, the lights flickered on overhead, blinking into existence and leading down the old brick tunnel. The light wasn't great, a weak, yellowish glow that only illuminated small circles, leaving the surrounding area in darkness, thicker than before in their contrast with the light. Some of the lights didn't come on at all, while others exploded, leaving only a few circles of false safety leading into the darkness beyond.

Batman frowned and touched his ear piece. “Are you there?”

“Here sir.” Alfred's voice came through loud and clear.

“I found Jack, gave him directions to get out. Hopefully he will go straight to the manor or the police station.”

Bruce could hear the relief in Alfred voice, though the older man remained calm. “Thank goodness sir. May I ask why you did not escort him out?”

“Croc wasn't with him and Dr. Quinzel is still missing. She might be with Croc. Let me know when Jack arrives home,” Bruce said as he walked slowly, moving along the tunnel quickly and carefully.

“Will do sir. Miss Harleen is still missing?” Bruce could hear the worry in Alfred's voice.

“I...she wasn't with Jack. I'm looking for this Killer Croc now and hoping Dr. Qunizel is with him.” Batman moved carefully. The way sounds, even the smallest sound of crunching glass under his boots carried down here, and made it difficult to specify where the sounds were coming from or what was making them.

He could hear the doubt in Alfred's voice.

“Sir, I don't think Master Jack is going to leave without her.”

Batman stopped, turning to look behind him, then forward again. “Why not? I'm on the case.”

“Sir, why should he trust Batman? And even if he knew your true identity...why sir would he trust you to find her? Master Jack knows how you feel about her and he hasn't always shown a...deep respect for the rules.” Alfred said the words calmly, but Bruce could sense that Alfred was...scared.

“Contact me in a hour if you haven't heard anything from him all right?” Bruce snarled. “I can't go back now or I will lose this chance to find Croc.”

“Will do sir—and sir, be careful. I hope you find her.”

*

The darkness was like a creature; it was watching her, breathing around her. Harley had stopped dead in her tracks when she heard the roar, the sound seemed to race down the tunnel toward her, but nothing happened, the sound dying away, leaving her skin feeling tight and her heart racing. She turned around, her eyes open wide, adjusting to the darkness, but she still couldn't “see” anything.

She whispered to herself only to hear her own voice...it was lonely yet a little comforting to hear herself speak. “Now what was that? Croc? A big rat? It...it didn't sound like Croc...did it?” she asked herself.

She went still and quiet, tried to listen over the sound of her own breathing, but nothing else roared, snarled or made any sound...except her. It made her doubt that she had even heard anything. She kept listening but now all she could hear was the dripping of water somewhere and silence...that dull hum of...nothing.

She was just about ready to start moving again, her mind on finding Jack, when she heard something strange behind her. The air had a weird electrical charge to it. As she turned around, it looked for all the world like the world's biggest lightning bug was racing toward her!

And then a series of lights seemed to come racing down the tunnel at her, snapping into life. Harley barely stopped herself from letting out a startled scream. The lights raced toward her just barely giving her time to shield her eyes from the yellow glare before the glow was racing away and heading in the other direction.

The lights flicked on, a few bursting into a spectacular blast of twinkling glass, then continued to race toward her and away. Harley turned and huddled against the slimy brick wall as the bursts of light hurried past her off into the other direction splitting the darkness into isolated pools of yellow light. Harley waited a few heartbeats, remaining crouched down as if she were afraid of the lights grabbing her as the glow raced away. She had covered her eyes instinctively from fear and that almost primitive knowledge that the lights were going to hurt her eyes. She kept her hands over her eyes, peaking slowly through her fingers before she finally stood up and removed her hands. Carefully, she unshielded her eyes, giving herself a chance to adjust to the illumination. She looked around.. The light only provided small circles of “safety” or rather the illusion of safety, since once in the light you could see even less outside the circle's glow; the darkness on the edges was deeper and more menacing. She couldn't see anything down either end of the tunnel she was in...she couldn't tell how far it went, if there were any turns, rooms or alcoves....only more shadows.

Harley muttered to herself. “Great, just great. Well, I guess the lights can guide me? Maybe?”

She saw no one and nothing dangerous at the moment; so with a sigh, Harley stepped away from the wall and started to walk. She had just wrapped her arms around herself to try to stay warm when her foot hit something. She squeaked, jumping back as suddenly the tunnel echoed with the sounds of some object clacking against the wall and rolling along the floor of the tunnel. Harley shoved her fist into her mouth to stop herself from yelling. Whatever she had hit was hard. Metal?

She snarled at herself. “GOD Harley, stop acting so stupid!”

Harley looked down, trying to see what she had hit. There! The light glistened off of something at the edge of the pool of light. She stepped closer, crouched down and reached out to nudge it with her finger before jumping back, almost falling on her rear when the piece of pipe rolled away from the light and into the darkness again.

Harley snarled again. “Fuck a duck Harley! Stop acting like a scared little girl!”

Her voice echoed down the tunnel making her press her lips hard together and her eyes to widen. She giggled. “Oops,” she said softly.

Harley crouched down again, reached for and picked up the pipe. It was cold, slimy and rusted, but as she stood, holding it in her hand, she realized that it had a good weight to it.

Harley grinned as she took comfort in the feel of the pipe. “I could really bust some heads with this...”

She swung the pipe around a few times, feeling the way the metal cut through the air. She turned and slammed it against the wall; the pipe hit hard, sent vibrations up her arm, and echoed through the tunnel, but it felt good. She grinned, all teeth and no humor. She was going to crack some heads and when she found Jack...whoever had him was going to pay for it, for touching one hair on his head! Harley giggled and tossed the dull blade; this pipe was more her speed. Then Harley heard the growl again. She turned, trying to determine where it was coming from, but the sound simply reverberated down the tunnel walls...it could be from anywhere. And just as before...it was gone.

*

Jack moved swiftly, but quietly. He could move without a sound when he wanted to; it was something about him that had always irritated Bruce when they were younger until Bruce started to do it himself...moving stealthily. Jack chuckled remembering how he and Bruce would play tricks on each other...moving up behind the other one and scaring them. It was all fun and games until Jack had tackled Bruce to the ground and surprised him by punching Bruce in the face, bloodying his nose.

Jack grinned at the memory. Bruce was good, but Jack was always just a little bit better at the sneaking around.

Jack ran his fingers along the slimy walls as he moved along the tunnels, his thoughts drifting as he walked. He remembered the cave again. Two boy huddled together, the sounds of bats shrieking around them. All he and Bruce could see were the tiny red eyes staring at them. Bruce held him whispering.

“I won't let them hurt you Jack. I won't let anything hurt you, I promise.”

Of course all of Bruce's promises had been lies...they (not the bats, the world...it was the world) had hurt Jack. The torture at school until Jack fought back. The whispers behind Jack's back...the youngest Wayne is unstable...Bruce should let them put him away. Did you hear what he did to that other child at school? Didn't they say he was experimenting on some animals? If only they hadn't lost their parents. Blah blah blah...Jack snarled and muttered to himself, “They just never understood....no one understood me, until Harley.”

Jack chuckled to himself then. His beautiful Dr. Quinn...medicine woman! He giggled at his joke. She accepted him...loved him just the way he was...killed her step-father. Harley understood why it had to be done. And she was happy he had done it! Just imagine how she will feel about the others...about this. Jack had made up his mind—some how, some way, Croc was going to die for this.

Jack shoved those thought away for the moment. Right now finding Harley was the most important thing in the world, which led Jack's thoughts back to Batman.

“Mm...Batman,” Jack said aloud mostly just to hear his own voice in the darkness. “Now what is your story, Bats? What made you put on a batsuit and run around.? Inquiring minds want to know! I want to know...my brother sent you?” He giggled with a shake of his head.

Jack glanced around at the darkness that surrounded him. Why did everyone always fear the dark? The dark and clowns. He never could understand those fears. Darkness and clowns were both fun. When he had been sent away to boarding school, the bullies liked to use small dark places to try to scare the younger kids. He remembered getting locked in the basement by that bully Roger...it wasn't just being locked in the basement, it was being locked in “the room” in the basement.

The small room was located in the back of the basement. It had an old, rotten wood door. Jack remembered how creepy the door had looked when he was a child, the group of school boys going down into that basement to frighten each other. There was a rusted old padlock on the door, as well as a latch lock, and a warning sign that someone had nailed to it: “Do Not Open.”

Of course, as such things are, the padlock was never locked and it was always a game to dare someone to open the door or even to just touch it. The day that the bullies had shoved Jack into the room and locked him inside, Jack learned everything that was behind that old wooden door. The room didn't have much in it, a few old holiday decorations (long forgotten judging by their state of decay, along with a few odds and ends of long forgotten things.) Other than that, it was a dark, dirty, tiny room, nothing in and of itself that would be considered scary. There were a few pipes carrying water to the school above that made moaning, gurgling sounds, but that was pretty much it.

But this tiny room located in the school's basement had been the place where nearly all the ghosts stories and wild tales of murders in the school originated from that groups of boys told in the late hours of the night to try to scare each other.

Jack chuckled to himself. Everyone had been scared of him when he hadn't cried and screamed that day they locked him in the there. Jack had already faced his fears by then; that tiny room had been just that, a tiny, dark room. Though of course Jack had told the other boys horrible things about the room...so the day when he had finally put Roger in that room and locked him in (with a dead animal, of course, to make the situation more fun) Jack had received a couple of smacks of a ruler across his palms and suspension which had involved mostly solitary confinement, trapped in a small, dark room with only one window, barred like the window of a cell, a door locked from the outside, a sickly yellow light that hung from the ceiling and nothing else. Jack had told himself over and over again that he had preferred the solitary confinement...that he didn't mind the silence...it gave him time to think...

*

As Jack moved along, his mind continued to ponder the costumed crusader. Bats...the Batman...wonder what happened to that poor sap that he was running around Gotham dressed as a giant bat? Jack had seen the papers...the Batman had been around for a few months, going from an interesting side story to sometimes making the front page...such as with the events at the gala. Jack found him interesting, but until now he had just thought of the Bat as one of the blossoming crazies that lived in Gotham. But Bruce had sent him?

Bats...Jack mused. He had never given bats much thought until the day in the well with Bruce. Jack shook his head pushing those memories away and continued to walk. He had maybe traveled for what seemed forever when Jack had found a busted out section of tunnel. He could see the flicker of flames from that direction, so he stepped through and into this new area of tunnels, the bricks here seemed, older, the color a darker shade and the smell reminded him of the wet smell of ancient stone in a cavern. He followed the path indicated by the glow of fire light in barrels until he found the “cell.”

It was similar to the room he had been kept in, but this one was rank with knee-high stale water in it. There was a burning barrel down the way from it ( the source of the firelight he had followed), though that didn't provide enough light to look inside.

Jack whispered. “Harley?”

His voice cracked and he could taste blood on his tongue from his split lip.

Jack narrowed his blue eyes, trying to distinguish shapes in the darkness of the little cell, hoping to see something. His blood ran cold for a moment as the thought that something might have happened to her...What if? Jack shook the thoughts away and again tried to see into the room, to see anything in the inky darkness of the cell to tell him one way or another if Harley was in there. His heart raced. Harley...she had to be all right. Jack's fingers wrapped around the rusted bars, he was holding them so tightly his knuckles were turning white as his gaze tried to pierce the darkness. Then, with a vicious snarl, Jack yanked on the bars at the same moment he thought he saw something moving in the water, a darker shadow among the blackness, but it was too dark to tell for sure. Jack growled in frustration.

“If they fucking...” He yanked back on the metal bars, for a split second letting panic drive his actions.

Jack had just decided to see if he could pull the barrel with the low burning fire closer to the cell when the lights above burst to life with a series of hisses and pops of a few ancient bulbs.

Jack ducked when a shower of sparks rained down on him, frowning and shielding his eyes. The light threw him off for a split second, but it allowed him to look into the cell, where he saw a body floating face down in the water that covered the floor of the cell.

For a split second Jack panicked...Harley? The light reflected off the body...no...it was male if the shape was any indication. The yellow glow allowed Jack to see the cell door more clearly and the key still stuck in the lock. Jack reached over and pushed open the door, the metallic sound of the cell door opening filled the small space with a loud rasp of ancient metal moving. He stepped down into the cell, sloshing water as he made his way toward the body. He frowned as he studied the floating corpse, he heard the sounds of rats skittering away in the darkness along the edges where the water didn't reach, their tiny claws scratching against stone.

Jack stepped closer to the body, his relief washing through him, settling his heart. He knew it wasn't his Harley, but he rolled the body over anyway and lifted a brow. The man's pants were down and his privates were a bruised and twisted mass of bloody flesh. Jack stared for a moment before he chuckled, which quickly developed into a full blown laugh. He couldn't be sure, but something told him Harley had been here. He started laughing hard enough that he had to bend over, gasping for breath.

“What is the definition of pure agony my friend?” Jack asked the dead man.

Jack nudged him with his finger, watching the body bob in the water. “A meat mincer!”

Jack laughed more, tears pricking the corner of his eyes.

Smiling as his laughter died away, he looked around but there were no other clues to where Harley was or had gone. Nothing. Jack stood there for a moment staring at the dead man before he stepped out and looked both ways.

“Which way would you go?” Jack whispered to himself, obviously not the way he had just come or else he would have seen her... After a moment he turned to his left and began moving carefully. As Jack crept along the tunnel, the shaft began to widen until it was wide enough for four people to walk abreast. The smell here was actually worse and water started dripping from the ceiling in heavier drops. Jack lost track of the time, but it had that feel of endless walking. He could see that the brick was changing...looking older, more moss covered.

The further Jack walked, the heavier the water that ran through the bricks overhead became, until there were places where the water came pouring down, like miniature waterfalls, pooling on the ground and running downward. The sound of running water was not comforting. Jack stopped and looked up at the ceiling. There were only one or two lights working along this section of tunnel; most of the lights were out and the one over his head looked like the bare bulb was full of water, dangerous.

“Hmm...under the river maybe?” Jack mused as he studied the ceiling. He glanced back over his shoulder the way he had come, but there was little light that way. Ahead he could see a couple of turns, some alcoves. Here and there the brickwork reminded Jack of some he had seen up above in the older sections of Gotham, late Victorian maybe.

He had just started to walk again when he saw shadows moving ahead of him. He heard a voice drifting down the tunnel toward him.

“Croc said to go bring the prisoners to the main arena area.” The voice was male, thin, reedy sounding.

“Why?” A voice...maybe female asked, though it's gruff tones could have been male.

“I don't know. I don't question Croc...maybe he's going to show them to his pets. I heard he was going to start sending body parts to Mr. Wayne if he didn't pay up on time.”

The man who had spoken before chuckled. “That sure would scare the pants off some rich boy and his girl.”

The female voice answered. “I thought he said after twenty-four hours...it ain't been that long has it?” There was a pause before the woman continued. “Croc's pets scare the shit out of me.”

“Well come on, we better go get them before Croc decides to use one of us to feed those things,” The reedy voice man answered.

Jack pushed himself back into an alcove when he heard the footsteps approaching. It was difficult to judge with any certainty, but by the footsteps Jack would guess that there were four of them coming this way. Jack pressed himself against the wall, letting the shadows drop over him. He held his breath and remained absolutely still.

Jack watched the group come into his view; two men, two women. They walked past him without noticing him, too busy talking among themselves. All of them were dirty, raggedy, but with that feral, hungry look that said they would tear anyone apart they needed to in order to survive. Jack narrowed his eyes watching from the shadows as they walked by...go after them or head toward Croc? Except he couldn't be sure of Croc's location...a guide would be helpful. Jack turned toward the “minions” making their way down the tunnel. And he smiled. The fact that they were coming for him and Harley meant that Croc didn't have her.

Jack pressed his lips together to suppress a giggle as he stepped out from the shadows to follow the four. He didn't need all of them—just one.

*

“I don't know why we have to go get that rich bitch and that millionaire brat,” one of the men muttered. This one sounded like a whiner, his voice high-pitched as if his voice had never gone through the adolescent change to a deeper tone. He was stomping, making enough noise that even if Jack hadn't been moving quietly, there was no way any of them could have heard him over the stomping and splashing of that one man. This guy was tall with an average physique, sported a buzzed haircut, the kind of cut that immediately yelled “asshole.” The asshole wore torn jeans and a leather jacket with patches sewn all over it. He wore two big hooped earrings and a chained nose ring that hooked from his nose ring to his left ear. The woman he was complaining to had short pink hair, wore shorts and combat boots along with an anarchy t-shirt. She had a knife she was flipping nervously in her hand.

“Shut up Joey,” she muttered.

The other man walking with them, the one who had been speaking when Jack first heard their group, laughed.

“Yeah Joey, shut up.” This one grinned sideways at Joey showing off two missing front teeth. “That blonde is kinda a cute...I might ask Croc to let me have a go at her.”

Joey snorted. “Lucky, you ain't that lucky. Besides, you ain't going to ask Croc anything—you're too chicken shit!”

Joey started to make chicken noises.

The woman next to him, short, brunette with a lopsided bob, her face pockmarked (Jack couldn't be sure, but he would hazard a guess that she was a drug addict...and by the look of her face, meth), pale and homely, dressed all in black, fishnets, motorcycle boots, shorts and a tank top all of which made her look even paler and sickly, punched Joey in the shoulder. She laughed, showing off rows of rotted teeth.

“Shut up Joey.”

“Make me Lucille.” Joey sneered as he rubbed his shoulder.

“All of you—shut up.” The pink haired woman stopped and glared at the three of them.

“Sorry Angel,” the three said together.

The one called Angel snorted. “Let's just go get them and bring them to Croc. Then Croc said we could eat. I'm starved.”

The four started again, moving along quieter with Angel in the lead. Jack had stepped back into the shadows, watching them with narrowed eyes and a slight smile. This is going to be fun, Jack thought. The smile that danced across his face was the smile of a man who planned to be covered in blood soon...

*

The group walked slowly, occasionally speaking still, though much quieter now. Jack could tell by the way they were staying relatively close to each other that they were uncomfortable here in the sewers even if their movements betrayed a familiarity with their surroundings. He noticed none of them commented on the fact that the lights were on. Maybe they expected it?

Jack stayed in the darkness, moved quietly along behind the group and kept out of the pools of light, his steps taken with care as he walked. Once or twice he made a slight misstep that caused a pebble to skitter across the floor or a tiny splash of water. But if one of them stopped, saying something about hearing something or other, the rest of the group of laughed and made fun of the worrier. Jack grinned; their own fear was working to his advantage. Just as Jack hoped, one of the group slowed, dragging behind..not staying with the group. It was the meth-head...

Jack smiled as he saw his opportunity. He slipped up behind the straggler....the woman named Lucille. She had made the fatal mistake of stopping to light a cigarette. She had just finished getting the flame on her lighter to catch the cigarette, when Jack moved up behind her. He was taller, healthier, stronger, deadlier—despite his current ordeal—and determined to find his Harley. He wrapped one hand over her mouth, shoving the burning cigarette past her lips, smashing it against her teeth and into her mouth, ignoring the burn of the end against his one palm. She made a choking noise, but Jack cut the sound off swiftly, his fingers pressing down on her cheek, his thumb pressing hard against the other side of her face as he held her mouth closed.

Jack's other arm went around her neck locking his fingers against his shoulder creating an unbreakable lock. Jack stepped backwards, lifting her up off her feet. She struggled, her hands digging at his arms and her feet kicking, but he ignored her struggling and simply carried her by her neck as he slipped into the darkness. Once he had stepped away from the group, who were continuing to walk away from him and his victim, unaware that she was missing, Jack pressed his back against the wall, hidden in the shadows. He held her tight against his body, bringing his thumb and forefinger up to hold her nose, his hand still covering her mouth.

Jack leaned against the wall, smiling while he choked the life out of her. He didn't move, holding himself still while she struggled; the only effort Jack showed was in the twitch of his facial muscles and the occasional tremor of his arms. Her efforts to break free were growing less and less frantic. Jack kept his position, holding the woman against him as she slowly stopped fighting, watching her friends turn around a corner. Jack giggled in her ear. “There, there, just let go...let me tell you a poem from Keats...

Jack's voice was smooth, gentle, his lips against her ear like a lover's kiss...

*

“O soft embalmer of the still midnight,

Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,

Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,

Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:

O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close

In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,

Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws

Around my bed its lulling charities.

Then save me, or the passed day will shine

Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—

Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords

Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;

Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,

And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

*

It only took fifteen seconds for her to lose consciousness, then Jack started to count mentally to himself, his arms trembling only slightly from the pressure he maintained.

“One-one thousand, two-one thousand...” he smiled while he counted, feeling the change as she started to struggled again, her body deprived of oxygen, convulsed, her hands grabbing desperately at his arm around her throat, though Jack was sure she wasn't truly voluntarily reacting...just her body's last effort to survive. He held her there until he finished counting, a complete two minutes had passed before he stepped down from the wall and eased her into one of several alcoves that provided darker shadows to hide her body. Jack searched her pockets, coming up with a switchblade. He grinned like it was Christmas morning, pushing the switch with his thumb, the blade popping out. Jack laughed.

“I bet you forgot you had this didn't you? Oh this is perfect! Thank you.”

Slipping the knife into one of his pockets, Jack moved her around, so that her legs her bent and her head rested against her knees. At first sight she looked to be sleeping. Jack grinned and patted her head before he turned and walked causally after the others.

*

Harley shivered. The cold and wet were making it harder and harder for her to move. She wanted to just stop and make herself small to try and conserve what little heat she had, but she kept moving instead. She was hoping she would find Jack, or a way out where she could go for help, but the tunnels seemed to move and twist endlessly in the darkness.

She turned into an archway and stepped through to find herself in a large room with a domed ceiling. Harley stood with her mouth hanging open as she looked around. The size of the place, tucked underground like this, was disorienting. She seemed to be standing on a balcony of some sort. There were several ways to get into this room; the large circle had at least four different entrances that she could see from her position on the balcony.

Harley frowned in confusion. This didn't look like part of a sewer system at all! If she were going to take a guess, she would say it looked like part of a subway instead, and as she walked further in she could even see the remains of rails down on the floor below her. As she looked closer at the ceiling there looked to be the remains of tiles...like for a mosaic!

The floor of the room was covered in a thin film of water, with piles of broken bricks and other debris littered around the room. Whoever had turned on the lights had turned them on in here too, providing a safer route for her to walk around the balcony that circled the room. She could see some of the safety blockades, metal pipes and other various debris. But along with the remains of a mosaic on the ceiling she could see, under the grime what might have been painting, a mural on the walls.

Harley finally located some stairs that led down into the room. She took them quickly, hopping down the stairs two at a time. When she arrived at the bottom of the stairs, she heard something moving down here. She turned around and her eyes went wide as two shadows emerged from one of the tunnels.

*

Jack smiled to himself, taking a few silent steps as if he were dancing, a hand to his chest, his other hand out as his waist weaved to a song only he could hear. He made his way closer to the man named Lucky. Jack had to swallow down his laugh. Lucky wasn't so lucky since he was the next person to die!

Lucky stopped and leaned against the wall of the tunnel.

“Come on Angel, can't we stop for a minute? I need a cig.”

Angel kept walking. “Lucky, stop whining and come on.”

Angel and Joey kept walking while Lucky continued to lean against the wall and muttered just above a whisper, “Stop whining...blah blah...”

Jack leaned against the wall right next to Lucky. “Yes Lucky, stop whining—it isn't becoming.”

Lucky's eyes widened as he turned to stare at Jack just as Jack brought the switchblade up and let the light catch the blade for a moment. In less than a heartbeat, the taller man's arm snapped out in several quick thrusts; Jack shoved the blade into Lucky's gut, one, two, three, four, five times. Lucky made a gurgling sound and started to slip down the wall. Jack shoved the blade into the man's stomach again and ripped it upward as he smiled and opened Lucky's abdomen as if Jack were gutting a fish.

“You know...here's a hard life lesson for you Lucky. A hard life and death lesson really...not that you have much time to enjoy the knowledge—an epiphany in a minute!!” Jack laughed softly and leaned in close as Lucky stared at Jack in horror. The dying man's mouth moved, but the only sound coming from Lucky's mouth was the soft gurgle of blood bubbling past his lips and running from his mouth down his chin.

“You really should pick better friends Lucky. I mean...seriously...look at them,” Jack said with a glance in the direction that Angel and Joey were walking. “They didn't even turn around to check on you. Such a shame...”

Jack yanked the knife out of the other man's gut and watched Lucky slip to the floor with blood leaking from the side of the man's mouth. He continued to stare in horror at Jack, the light behind his eyes gradually fading away. Jack grinned brightly just before the blade slashed out to slice Lucky's throat open, a curtain of blood running down the man's front. A few drops splashed against Jack's already soiled suit. Jack reached forward to search Lucky's pockets before he pulled out the pack of cigarettes. Jack searched again and came back with Lucky's lighter.

Jack smiled at the dying man. “Sorry, seemed to have lost mine somewhere.”

Lucky's eyes were still on Jack while he thumped out a cigarette, stuck it between his lips; the cigarette was stained with Lucky's blood as Jack flicked the lighter on and held it to the cigarette. He grinned as he lit it and took a long pull on the burning stick, then grinned down at Lucky.

“You know...you guys all brought this on yourselves. Taking me is one thing, but you took my girl. Can't let that stand.”

Jack stood and blew out a trail of smoke in the direction that Lucky's friends had gone. The last thing Lucky heard as he bled to death was Jack hushed, but sensual voice singing in a whisper as he walked away.

“If I didn't care more than words can say

If I didn't care, would I feel this way?

If this isn't love then why do I thrill?

And what makes my head go 'round and 'round

While my heart stands still?

If I didn't care, would it be the same?

Would my every prayer begin and end with just your name?

And would I be sure that this is love beyond compare?

Would all this be true if I didn't care for you?...”

*

Batman stopped and cocked his head at the sound. He couldn't be sure, but he thought he heard a woman's voice and then he could have sworn he heard...singing? Jack? It sounded like Jack, but in these tunnels it was difficult to discern anything with clarity. He brought up his map...then snarled in frustration and hit his earpiece. “Alfred.”

“Yes sir?”

“I need a map of the old railway stations that used to run through Gotham. I'm thinking these sewers connect to those old tracks. I keep finding tunnels not connected to the sewer. By the architecture I'm thinking this is late 1870's brick work...maybe a little later.”

“I'm on it Master Bruce. Any luck?”

Batman sighed. “Not yet but I think I just heard someone, going to check it out. Contact me when you have those blueprints.”

“Of course Master Bruce.”

*

Harley's eyes widened as the sound of steps came closer. She turned toward where she thought the sound was coming, realizing that the sounds were accompanied by the forming of shadows in one of the four entryways into the room. She ran across the room, dived into a pile of rubble and tried to make herself as small as possible. She dug herself quickly into the pile, hiding among the remains of bricks, tiles and just as she moved her head to the side, she realized that there were skeletons in the pile. Animal skeletons, and...human, she realized in shock. Human skeletons? Harley's eyes widened when she realized she was staring into the empty sockets of a skull...a human skull. She bit down hard on her bottom lip to prevent herself from making a sound as she realized what else was mixed in with this pile of trash.

There were other things she soon discovered; bits of meat, soda cans, take-out cartons, bottles and others bits and pieces of trash she couldn't identify mixed in the pile. Harley shuddered in revulsion. She had to press her lips together as the urge to vomit raced up her throat and burned the back of her mouth. She adjusted her position carefully, finding a spot where she could look into the main area. Two men—both average...nothing special—had entered to chamber, but they were both armed. Harley narrowed her eyes as she followed their movements. She could see that one of them was armed with a pistol which he carried in the back of his pants—not easy for him to get to if she moved quickly. The other man had a what looked like a bowie knife strapped to his thigh...she couldn't be sure from her vantage point, however.

Harley took a deep breath through her nose. On one hand she was relieved...neither of these men were Croc, but as she narrowed her eyes with hatred, she realized the one with the knife...he looked familiar. Harley frowned as she remembered. She had been grabbed from behind. She had twisted her head only catching a glimpse of her attacker before the other man had shot her full of something that knocked her out...the one with the knife—he was the one who grabbed her hair, who held her. And the other man...he might be the one with the syringe, but she couldn't be sure. Not that it mattered. Harley felt that dark, angry thing inside her twist and shudder. The thing that was happy that Jack had killed her step-father, that had taken joy in the violence...in killing that man who wanted to use her...and now...she knew that thing in her...that darkness wanted to kill these two men for what they had done to her and Jack. Harley closed her eyes as a spike of intense emotion bubbled up. Jack. Oh God, where was Jack? She needed to find him and one of these men might know where he was. Harley watched as the two men stepped further into the room; they were close enough now that she could hear their conversation.

“Croc is going to bring them here? Why?” the man with the knife asked. His accent was thick; he wasn't from Gotham, Star City maybe. He was taller than Harley, but not as tall as Jack or Bruce. He had muscles, but not the kind of guy who went to the gym. The other man was similarly built with greasy black hair and the kind of face that made Harley want to break his nose.

“Croc wants to tease them,” the other explained. “He is going to bring his pets in...do a bit of the “super villain” scare tactics for fun.” The man with the dark hair laughed. “It'll be fun!”

“I don't know....” The man with the knife rubbed the back of his neck, but his friend elbowed him in the side.

“Don't be getting soft.” The other man chuckled.

The two men had just made their way closer to where Harley was hidden. She knew she didn't have a lot of time to make a move before they were out of her reach...

Harley popped up from her hiding spot, her pipe in her hand held like a baseball bat. She slammed the pipe into the lower back of the man with the gun first, holding the pipe low and putting all her strength behind the swing. She then raised the pipe up, her teeth together in a growl, her fingers already aching with how hard she was holding onto her pipe as she hit him hard across the back of the head. Blood blossomed on the back of his head before the man staggered and dropped.

The other man shouted in surprise and anger as he pulled his knife from his thigh sheath, but Harley shouted and swung her pipe at his hand, cracking his wrist. The bones made an actual snapping sound from the impact before she leapt over a large block of cement, her makeshift bat over her head as she screamed, bringing down the pipe on the man's shoulder. The guy with the gun had risen to his feet, staggering a bit, looking slightly disoriented, but he pulled his pistol out and raised his arm. Harley saw him from the corner of her eye. She twisted around gracefully and swung her pipe like she was about to hit a baseball, but instead the pipe slammed into the gunman's chest, knocking the air from his lungs and cracking his breast bone with the power behind her blow.

He stumbled backwards with a gasp of exhaled air from the strike Harley delivered. She laughed as she ran at him, swung her pipe low and smashed him across the knee, breaking the gunman's kneecap with a loud crack that echoed off the walls of the old room. She then snapped the pipe up, catching him under the chin, shattered his jaw, teeth, a spray of blood bursting from his mouth before he fell backwards and dropped the gun. Harley spun around on the balls of her feet, giggling madly and swinging her pipe already at the other man.

The man with the knife tried to take a stab at her in a desperate attempt to get under her guard, but Harley was moving in a dance of death, her pretty face covered in dirt, grime and now splatters of blood; the grin on her face would make Jack proud. Her bat swung left, slamming her attacker across the face, then right, then back again. Harley laughed loudly as she swung her club, back and forth, four times, smashing the man's face and turning it into a bloody mess, unrecognizable by the time she stopped and his body dropped to the floor. Droplets of blood had splattered against her face, against her soiled red dress, but she didn't care; she didn't care when she tasted the blood on her lips, or the sweat dripping down her brow. All she cared about was that this man stopped moving.

Harley was panting, breathing hard through her teeth, her giggles slowly dying down. Her whole body was trembling, the pipe feeling slippery in her hands.

She growled. “No one—no one touches me but Jack. Ever!”

That was when she heard the sound of applause. “You really are a spitfire, ain'tchya?”

Harley turned to see Croc standing in the archway, two large crocodiles at his side on chains that he had wrapped around each large, scaly fist. Behind him were four more of his gang, all of them armed. Croc grinned. “Take her boys.”

*

Jack smiled serenely, following behind Joey and Angel, the two of them blissfully unaware that their friends were no longer behind them. Joey had looked back once and Jack, staying in the shadows had waved. Joey had simply grunted, with a quick wave back and a shrug before continuing on.

Jack started to hum as he made his way closer to Joey. If Joey thought anything was strange about one of his companions humming, he gave no indication.

Joey stopped for a moment to lean against the wall. “Angel, I think you took a wrong turn. I'm pretty sure we're lost.”

Angel, whose voice seemed to drift from further away snapped back. “I know where I'm going Joey, just shut up.”

Jack moved out of the darkness so quickly that Joey didn't have a chance to make any sound before Jack had grabbed the back of Joey's neck, the switchblade pressed between Joey's lips so far that the blade scraped against his front teeth. Jack smiled whispering. “Why so serious Joey? Mmmm?”

Jack wrinkled his nose with a sincere smile. Joey stared back at him, his eyes wide to the point that the whites glowed in the dim light. Jack grinned. “Let's put a smile on that face.”

Jack ground his teeth in a vicious smile and dragged the knife up one side of Joey's face, then, twisted his wrist elegantly, he slashed the other side before he winked at Joey, and moved the blade across Joey's throat, cutting off the cry that had just started to erupt from the man.

*

Angel frowned when she arrived at the cell where the woman was supposedly be kept. She peered inside, both hands on her hips, narrowing her eyes trying to see. She thought she saw a shadow of a body floating and bobbing in the water, but whatever it was, was at the back of the cell just out of reach of the light.

“Joey? Come look at this! I can't tell what it is.”

She felt Joey walk up beside her and Angel pointed. “That...”

But she didn't get a chance to finish her sentence when the shadow that she thought was Joey standing next to her formed into someone else. Jack dropped his arm around Angel's shoulders, his weight leaning against her, a bloody knife in his hand dangling easily from bloody fingers, casually almost, while Jack leaned against her.

“You know Angel. I knew who I was this morning, but, I've changed a few times since then.”

Jack grinned at her. Angel had gone very still, turning just enough to look at him. She recognized Jack Wayne, not just from the kidnapping, but she had seen his face plenty of times lately in the paper. Croc had showed them all his picture, talking about easy money and soft rich boys. Yet here he was with a bloody knife that she thought might be Lucille's blade. The handle...maybe...Angel started to shift her weight from one foot to the other, her hand moving gradually, but Jack felt the shift. Quickly he adjusted his hold on the blade, turning its point toward Angel. If the blade was not enough to halt her, the look in Jack Wayne's eyes did.

“No, no, no—we can't have that now can we? I need your help my dear. See, I'm looking for my girl AND you are going to take me to Croc to see if he knows where she is.” Jack smiled pleasantly and turned Angel around the way that they had come. For a moment, at the edge of the circle of light, Angel could see a slowly spreading pool of blood, mixing with the water on the floor. Her heart stopped as she whispered, “Yer crazy.”

Jack chuckled. “I believe it was Philip K. Dick who said, 'It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.' And reality has always made me a touch...crazy. Besides sweetheart, we're dealing with a giant crocodile man. I think reality has little bearing on this situation.” Jack laughed softly. “Insanity aside... we find ourselves in hell and I am sure my girl has gone deeper. So...lead me to where the crocodile sits at the center of this labyrinth so that I can find her and you just might live through tonight.”

Jack gave her shoulder a squeeze and started to push her forward, but not before he disarmed her, taking away her knife she had tried to reach for and, after a quick search, he also removed her lighter and a pocket knife.

“All right, let's go,” Jack said pleasantly as if she were taking him on a tour. He giggled softly and recited in a sing-song voice that had Angel's blood running colder than the times she had seen Croc take a bite out of someone.

Jack whispered:

“How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,

How neatly spreads his claws,

And welcomes little fishes in,

With gently smiling jaws!

Jack laughed as he held onto Angel's shoulder. “Don't you just love Lewis Carroll?”

*

Batman received the map of the old rail system from Alfred after only twenty minutes. The man was a genius when it came to research. Bruce smiled. There was no way he could be Batman without Alfred backing him up.

Batman gave the blueprints a quick study. They showed a vast system of 'caverns' and rails, but as Batman was quickly learning, there were unmarked doors, storm drains, and places where tunnels had collapsed, filling in the sections with impenetrable debris. But, with the help of the maps and blueprints Alfred had discovered, Batman was finally making headway toward what he suspected was the center. According to the blueprints, the center looked to be an old station, with four main entrances, though there also seemed to be a few smaller ways into the same large area. He didn't appear to be too far away from one of the entrances. He was hoping that Croc might be located at the center...it would make sense, being the biggest open space down here.

While Batman moved quietly, he paused when he heard voices. He stopped and listened; up ahead, the voices echoed, but it he had a clearer idea of where the source of the sound was coming from...

*

“So you got yourself free, little girl.” Croc chuckled. He had Harley tied up in such a way she looked almost as if she were caught in a spiderweb. She was hanging upside down, her long blonde hair dusting the floor of the vast cavern they were in, her dress indecently hanging upside down, but the ropes had stopped it from showing more than her bike shorts she wore under the dress. He had tied her right next to the trash pile of bones and other remains. His two pet crocodiles rested, unmoving nearby. Waylon grabbed her hair forced her head up, though her blue eyes blazed with hate.

“Killed two of my men. Pretty good for a rich boy's girlfriend. Though I get testy when my people get killed.” Waylon flexed his claws, the tips of which scraped against her scalp painfully. “But lucky you. You still got time...and I want the money more than I want to eat you.”

Harley glared at him then sweetly, her voice a singsong...

“Never smile at a crocodile

No, you can't get friendly with a crocodile

Don't be taken in by his welcome grin

He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin.

*

Waylon snarled at her, letting go of Harley's head which caused her to swing back against the brick wall. She winced when the back of her head bounced against the hard surface.

“Yer not funny girlie,” Croc hissed between sharp teeth.

“I don't know. I think I'm pretty hilarious.” Harley grinned.

Harley swung a little bit as she giggled. “You know, I have a PhD. I could help you. I mean clearly you have issues...eating people? In my expert opinion, you have EDNOS or you're a binge eater. It could also be that you're trying to consume to be human...you know like if you eat enough people it will make you human. I hate to tell you this...it don't work that way big guy.”

She grinned widely. “You clearly have some issues...kidnapping? And from the look at your pile over there, not just cannibalism, probably murder...unless you're a necrophiliac on top of everything. So I would also diagnose you with impulse control issues and maybe a good dose of schizophrenia...” Harley giggled again.

Croc snarled. “SHUT UP!” He backhanded her causing her body to swing back, slamming against the brick wall harder this time.

That was the moment that Batman came rushing into the room from above. He leaped over the side of the balcony and landed in a crouch, looking menacing in his black armored attire. “ENOUGH! Let her go Croc!”

At that same moment that Batman landed on the floor of the chamber, Jack came racing from one of the four main entrances, holding onto his captive by her hair. Angel, a knife to her neck started to try to pull away from Jack, but he yanked her backwards, releasing her hair to wrap his arm around her shoulders, yanking her against his chest. He narrowed his eyes at Croc and Batman.

“Let my Harley go or I will kill her.” He smiled sweetly, blood staining his lips and teeth. To emphasize his point, Jack pressed his blade to Angel's throat.

Chapter Text

For a moment, no one moved. It was as if all the air had been sucked from the room; time had stopped moving. Everyone looked at everyone else. Batman's gaze rested for a long moment on his little brother, whose face had blood on it. The eyeliner that had surrounded his eyes earlier than evening was now smeared in dark circles around his eyes, the red that had been on his lips was stained redder by blood and smeared across his chin and up one side of his mouth. The look on Jack's face made his stomach roil and his blood run cold. Jack had an odd, crazed gleam in his eyes that reminded Bruce of the way Jack had looked when he was younger, when Jack had problems...

Jack saw Harley hanging upside down, tied up like a piece of meat. He could see the beating she had taken reflected in the bruises and bloodstains on her face. Jack felt something in him spread, as if the darkness inside him that had been leaking out found a hole and flooded through him. Jack smiled and showed off his perfect teeth, seemingly out of place on his blood and make-up stained face.

Harley only had eyes for Jack; when she saw him her heart slammed inside her chest and her breathing picked up. He was the most beautiful thing in the room and he was here, alive...

Harley was the one to break the silence when she yelled, “JACK!”

Batman's gaze turned to Harley and then back to Jack. “Let the woman go,” he said to Croc and his gang. Then, “Mr. Wayne, we can do this without bloodshed.”

Jack looked at Batman and tilted his head to the side as if he didn't understand English.

“I don't know Bats—can I call you Bats? Or Batsy! That's even better!! Anyway, I don't really see any way out of this without some bloodshed. Do you?” He smiled at Batman and tightened his hold on Angel, the knife drawing a thin line f blood along her throat.

Croc snarled. “Kill the Bat! And get me Jack Wayne! ALIVE!”

That was when there was an explosion of movement. Croc loosened his hold on the chains that he had held around his fists, released the crocodiles and with a clawed finger he pointed at Batman.

“Dinner time timoun! Go get him!”

To Batman's surprise the two creatures immediately made their way toward him, moving surprisingly fast with their owner close behind them.

*

The four men that had been in the room with Croc when Jack and Batman arrived were each armed with some sort of weapon; two of the men, a ginger-head man and another with a shaved head, each held a couple of knives, another held a baseball bat over his shoulder and the last man had a couple of clawed hammers that he was flipping and catching by the handles with a grin on his ugly face. They moved toward Jack, spreading out as they walked.

“Croc didn't say ya had to be in one piece rich boy.” One of the men sneered. He had a shaved head and a fairly bushy mustache covering his upper lip. Jack grinned brightly as he pulled Angel tighter against him. Jack leaned close and giggled against her ear.

“I guess the next question dear, is how much do they care about your well-being?”

Angel's eyes darted back and forth, following their movements as they approached her and Jack. Angel felt the bottom of her stomach fall out and her bottom lip trembled. It was clear from the looks in their eyes that her safety was not their concern, she wasn't so sure her “pals” cared if this mad man killed her or not.

The small group of four spread out to flank Jack, trying to back him against a wall and take away any maneuvering room he had, but they were being obvious, which was rather pitiful Jack thought. Jack smiled as he continued to hold his blade against Angel's throat, his other hand around her upper arm, though he was fairly confident she was going to try to break free at any moment. His fingers dug into her biceps painfully as he slowly walked backward, letting them corner him, his blue eyes darting to each man carefully keeping an eye on them as well as quickly calculating what moves he might make to kill each one.

Jack surmised he had two choices where Angel was concerned—let her go or kill her, but that first option meant he would be facing five instead of four attackers. Killing her was just too easy, not really any fun and definitely not a challenge. Jack decided to break even. He grinned at his attackers before he hissed in Angel's.

“Some angels are destined to fall, I'm afraid.”

With that, Jack shoved Angel before him, stepping back to drop into a crouch, and in one smooth motion, he hamstrung one of her legs. The switchblade slashed through her thigh muscle easily with the force of Jack's arm behind the sharp weapon. Angel screamed as she pitched forward, the one now bloody leg giving out and sending her crashing into one of the four coming for Jack, a ginger-headed man with too many facial tattoos to be attractive and a long couple of wicked looking knives. He looked startled as Angel pitched forward into him. Luckily for Angel he had enough sense to grab for her with the one hand not holding a knife or else he would have skewered her.

Jack grinned, waving the bloody knife at the four men. “Ah look, perhaps chivalry is not dead! Okay boys, who's up first?”

*

The crocodiles moved surprisingly quickly, their short legs propelling them forward at an astonishing speed. Batman performed a back flip, managing to kick one of the animals in the snout, snapping its jaws closed just before he landed in a crouch. Bruce's eyes darted over to Jack, his heart pounding not for worry for himself, but for his baby brother. He was about to try to make a dash for his brother. (The worry about Jack killing anyone settled like a cold stone in Bruce's stomach...Jack's mental state was frail. Bruce could feel that fear like ice creeping through his veins, but he had to push those thoughts away, confine them. Right now he had to think about surviving this fight with his own life.) But his thoughts were shattered when his head snapped back with enough force that his neck cracked loudly and his saw stars before his eyes.

Croc's accent rolled out thicker as he chuckled having rushed Batman quicker than the vigilante had thought possible. The giant man caught him unawares, slamming his fist against the side of Bruce's head while Bruce's mind had been focused on his brother.

“My babies ain't the only crocodile ye get to play with ...Batman is it? Ain't that what the papers call you, the Masked Crusader or is it the freak with the wings? You know what they call me back home? They call me Killer Croc... Either way you're going to be my next meal. Never had bat before.”

Croc lunged at Batman, his jaws opened wide. His claws scraped across Batman's uniform, tearing the enforced fabric too easily, cutting into the flesh underneath. Batman hissed with pain; a minor wound really, but he would have to be at his best during this fight. He threw his arms wide to knock Croc's hands away as he stumbled backwards, but he managed to keep his footing.

Batman dropped both his hands to his belt as he tried to put some space between him and Croc and Croc's pets while at the same time reaching for the weapons he needed. The fingers of both hands brushed against the items at his belt that he was looking for, two specially made batons. The batons were held to his belt in such a fashion that he could easily break them away and extend them fully with little effort. His fingers finally gripped the two instruments and he yanked the two collapsible weapons free from his belt. The batons were special, designed to autolock at the moment he jerked his wrists; the weapons extended to their full length and locked into place. Each one had a urethane rubber tip over the hard ends that made a hit from them painful...bone breakingly painful for a normal person. Batman wasn't really sure the effect would be the same on a man-sized crocodile.

Batman snapped the batons out with a practiced gesture, making sure to keep them parallel to his thighs, close to his body. The two batons expanded at once while Batman twisted his body with the skill and grace of an experienced martial artist to avoid Croc's next slash while at the same time crossing the batons in front of him. Bruce turned as one of the crocodiles rushed him, bringing both batons down with solid strikes on the crocodile's open jaws. He then spun around swiftly as the other crocodile came in close, snapping its jaws at his calf. Batman swung the batons down in a quick double strike, a hard cross hit, two fast strikes on the other side of its jaws, and then another hard smack on the creature's snout with enough force that when the jaws snapped shut, several of the crocodile's teeth broke off with the power of Batman's hit.

Batman was about to turn toward Croc, but the hybrid came in fast. For a large man, Croc had a disquieting swiftness that kept surprising Batman, who didn't really expect the big man to move that quickly; he had thought the first time attack from Croc had only seemed quick because he was distracted. He had thought the initial burst of speed had been a one time thing...but apparently not. Croc's lunge forced Bruce to backpedal. Bruce hit the wall, but he pushed back, using the solid surface to lunge forward. He knew he couldn't let himself be pinned in a tight area with no room to maneuver.

Batman raced forward, taking quick hard steps, his booted feet planting hard on the ground, his arms a blur in front of him as his batons slashed down through the air with punishing force, hitting each of Waylon's grasping claws, forcing the two-legged crocodile to take several steps backwards or risk taking several more hard hits to the shoulders and torso.

Batman was doing his best to force Croc into the more maneuverable open area, but Croc surprised him again when the large man jumped at Batman. The crocodile man's whole body swung toward him, clawed feet slamming Batman in the chest, knocking the air from his lungs, but also knocking him to the ground.

Batman hit hard and rolled with the collision. Bright spots sparkled in his vision, but he managed to get on his feet just as the two crocodiles, in a sort of swift wobbling gait that might have been amusing if not for the fact they were both deadly, raced toward him. The prehistoric looking creatures crossed the ground with frightening speed. Batman launched himself up from the ground, kicking up to his feet, but the creatures were already close enough to take a bite out of him.

*

Harley started to struggle with all her strength—she had to help Jack! She swung a little more aggressively with her struggles, but Jack needed her. It was difficult, not just because she was bound up so tightly that she could feel the beat of her heart between the pull of the ropes around her legs, arms and torso, but also because she was hanging upside down. In addition to the blood rushing to her head, the swinging caused her vision to blur, which was slightly nauseating while she worked through the pain of trying to get her hands free. It became increasingly difficult for her to focus because her head was pounding painfully from hanging upside down for so long. She squeezed her eyes shut and focused on twisting her wrists back and forth, ignoring the way the ropes bit into her skin. Jack needed her. She could do this. She had to do this.

*

Jack grinned as he held his hands up in a close fighting stance, the knife held so that the blade was facing his forearm. He waggled his eyebrows at the four men who had just watched him hamstring their friend. He had glanced toward Harley once, his rage almost taking complete control of him, but he smiled and breathed through his nose. He would kill them all for what they had done, for hurting his girl, and especially for daring to even touch her.

Angel was crying, dragging herself across the ground between them, the ginger haired man having dropped her to face Jack. Jack noticed that none of them came to her aid.

Jack made a “Tsk Tsk” noise of shame watching her crawl away.

“Really? None of you are going to help her? Sad...very sad. Where is your chivalry?”

None of the men spoke, their attention on Jack.

Jack sighed and focused his attention on his adversaries. He winked at the man with the hammers.

“You wanna go first, handsome?”

The ginger elbowed his friend. “Go on Hammers, get him!”

Jack thought the man named Hammers was ugly...and that was being generous.

Jack laughed. “Hammers? Seriously? You guys really need to work on your nicknames...it's just sad.”

Hammers stepped away from his friends, spinning the hammers in his hands. He grinned, which as far as Jack was concerned, was really not something this Hammers guy should do a lot of...it was not a good smile. He had buck teeth, a couple of missing bottom teeth and greasy brown hair. He reminded Jack of a dog with mange.

Jack frowned with faked concern. “I have a very serious question for you...Hammers is it? What do you think of the human race? I mean as an outsider, what's your opinion?”

Hammers frowned, stopping in mid-stalk to stare at Jack. By the expression on his face, he clearly had no idea what Jack had just say. One of the men with a pair of knives started to laugh until one of his friends smacked him on the back of the head. “Shut up Steve, you asshole.”

Jack chuckled. “Ready Hammers?”

Hammers snarled. “I'm going to fuck you up rich boy!”

He raced toward Jack, who laughed.

“Oh promises, promises....”

Hammers swung his arms in a quick series of four slashes in the air, creating a sort of heavy swooshing noise with the backs of the hammers facing outward. Jack didn't move back, but instead he bent his knees, leaning backwards gracefully, the claws of the hammers gliding over Jack's face and chest. Jack leaned dangerously far backwards coming up on the balls of his feet. He giggled, immediately coming back up, holding the the switchblade so that the blade was upside down and its length faced his arm. Jack lurched forward, making a few quick slashes, leading with his right leg. He brought his right arm around in a smooth curve, sweeping under Hammer's guard, the blade cutting into Hammers' side when the man tried to spin out of the way. Jack danced past him and turned around as if he were simply finishing a dance move. The cut on Hammers' side wasn't deep, just enough to make Hammers jump back with a hiss of pain.

Jack smiled just before he glided around behind Hammers moving with the grace of a dancer. Hammers just barely blocked the knife with one of his hammers, but Jack ducked down and slid the knife along the metal neck of the claw hammer hard enough that sparks flew just before the knife stopped in the claw of the hammer. He moved under his opponent's strike, twisting and forcing Hammer's arm to twist with him. Hammers turned just as Jack pulled his knife free, but the whole maneuver threw Hammers' balance off. Jack came forward again using his shoulder and head to duck in under Hammers' side, driving the other man back. Hammers growled as he brought his elbows down on Jack's back, once, twice, and a third time before Jack let go and jumped back out of reach. Jack simply grinned at Hammers.

“You know, I'm slightly impressed. But considering that you are probably not the sharpest tool in the shed I wouldn't get too excited about it Hammers.”

Hammers cursed. “You motherfucker!”

Jack giggled. “Oh now tsk tsk, we don't have to bring our mothers into this...especially considering mine is dead Hammers.” Jack's voice dropped to a deadly hiss.

Hammers rushed at Jack.

Jack brought his arms up blocking furious man's first two swings with his forearms, the metal handles of the hammers striking Jack's arms. It was painful; Jack's face twitched with pain, but other than that he gave no indication he felt anything else and it certainly didn't slow him down. He swung his arms out, forcing Hammer's arms wide. Jack chose that moment to lash out, the heel of his left hand striking Hammers in the chest with a powerful blow that shoved Hammers backwards. The strength Jack had in his slim frame was surprising to Hammers, who was further taken by surprise when Jack followed this move with a front snap kick, hard in the stomach that sent the man stumbling back into his friends.

The man holding the baseball cursed. “This is stupid! Come on Hammers!”

Jack laughed. “Let me guess, your name is Baseball? Or Ball or just plain stupid?”

The man with the bat snarled. “Shut up!”

The two men rushed at Jack who just laughed. Baseball (as Jack was thinking about him), lunged in and swung his bat at Jack's head. Jack ducked under the bat, bounced up and twisted, his left elbow crashing into the Baseball's nose, crushing it. The man hollered in pain as a flash flood of blood came from his nose. But Jack immediately twisted to the right, his blade slashing across the man's face slicing open his chin to the bone. Jack danced back, panting from the exertion of the fight and his ordeal, but he still smiled. Baseball gasped in pain as he backed away, one hand over his nose and chin both, trying to use his bat one handed just as Hammers came at Jack from behind. Jack dropped into a crouch, twisting around on the balls of his feet, his right leg snapping out at the last moment to slam the heel of his expensive shoes into Hammers shin. Hammers toppled with a yelp of pain.

“I'm tired of this,” Jack growled as he stood and glared down at Hammers. For a moment Hammers saw something far deadlier in Jack Wayne's eyes than he had ever seen in Croc's, and it scared him. But he only had a reprieve of two heartbeats before Jack jumped on him to bury the blade in Hammers' thigh.

The man screamed.

Jack giggled while panting and a bead of sweat ran down his forehead, but his smile was radiant.

“There you go Hammers...you get to bleed to death...I'm pretty sure I hit the artery.”

Baseball yelled, “You son of a bitch!!”

He ran at Jack with his bat held high over his head, ready to smash Jack's head to pulp. Jack mused while moving...apparently they were losing interest in keeping him alive.

Jack hopped to his feet and turned just as Baseball brought his bat down.

*

Harley worked furiously at her bonds She could hear the sounds of fighting, but she knew if she opened her eyes she would be distracted or at worst, she would panic. Luckily her hands had been tied in front of her which made it easier for her to move them back and forth, working to loosen the rope. No one paid attention to her now, so Harley worked more vigorously at shifting her hands up and down, back and forth. The rope was rubbing against her skin, tearing away at her wrist, burning her skin, but she kept at it. When the ropes had started to grow slightly slack, she began to twist them back and forth even harder, crossing her wrists to the side. It hurt, burning so badly that she hissed with the pain, but she kept at it. She twisted and twisted and the burn was incredible. She brought her hands to her mouth grabbing onto the rope with her teeth; her body had began to swing back and forth while she worked causing her to swing dangerously close to the wall, but with her eyes closed she didn't notice. Her whole focus was on freeing herself so that she could get to Jack.

*

Batman swung his batons for what would be a finishing strike on most opponents, but Croc blocked them with his forearms; the weapons made a dull thudding sound against Croc's hide. If it had been any other man, those impacts would have broken their arms, but Croc only laughed.

“Going to take a lot more than a couple of sticks to put me down Bat-boy.”

One of the crocodiles took a snap at Batman; he was forced to move out of the way, but as he took a sidestep, a large scaled fist slammed into his face, splitting his lip when his attention was distracted by the potential bite. Bruce tasted the coppery flavor of blood in his mouth as he danced out of the way; the second pass missed him, but just barely. This fight was wearing him out, but Batman kept going, he had to—he was not going to die down here and neither was his brother.

Croc chuckled. “You ain't so tough.”

Batman bared his teeth against the pain in his jaw from the punch and swung two hard strikes from the side at Croc. One strike caught the mutated man against the side of his face causing a ringing in Croc's ear that had him wobbling to the side, but Batman hit him again on the other ear, then again on the previous side, a couple of quick chops that had Croc grabbing his head and trying to back way from Batman.

Batman then leapt up, spinning in the air while tucking his legs and holding the batons over his head. He brought his batons down on either side of Croc's head, smashing them into his shoulders. Croc lashed out, one clawed hand hitting Batman in the chest and sending him flying backwards, but Croc had felt those hits.

*

The baseball bat caught Jack in the shoulder with a loud crack. Jack absorbed the pain and stumbled back a step. He hissed through his teeth as the shock of the blow vibrated through his shoulder and down his arm. For a moment he almost dropped the knife, his fingers goimg numb, the hit weakening his arm. Luckily the man's swing wasn't hard enough to break Jack's shoulder or dislocate it, but Jack would have a hefty bruise within a few hours. Jack rolled to his feet, panting, his eyes narrowed, and his hand holding the blade trembled with pain, but Jack smiled. His voice was a hiss between his teeth.

“You are really starting to piss me off Baseball. Be a dear and just fuck off.”

Baseball's eyes widened in surprise...that was not the reaction he was expecting. He was expecting Jack to go down, to be whimpering in pain. For a moment he had no idea how to react to someone who didn't respond like he expected.

So instead he stuttered, “M-m-my n-name's Jake.”

(The ginger and Steve were both watching the fight with the confused look of two men not sure if they should help or get the hell out of there.)

Jack grinned widely as he wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, a smear of blood left a streak across Jack's hand. “Well, Jake...I'm afraid I'm going to have to kill you.”

“That's it! I don't care what Croc wants! Kill him!!” the ginger yelled.

The ginger and Steve held their knives at the ready, (both of them clearly having little experience with knives because they were holding them all wrong, Jack noted) came at Jack in a rush. Jack managed to back away from the first couple of wild slashes from both men. The one named Steve lunged at Jack again, slashing wildly. One of the slashes, more by accident than by design, connected. The knife cut across Jack's side, ripped through cloth and bit into flesh. Jack felt the warm spread of blood and the burn of the cut, but he again he didn't react like most people would under similar circumstances; instead he smiled wider.

Jake took a swing with his bat again, trying to knock Jack's legs out from under him, but Jack—despite his mounting wounds and fatigue—kicked up, hitting Jake's bat, causing the wooden bat to miss and for Jake's arm to jerk upward. At the same time, Jack slashed with his own knife, cutting across the forearm of the ginger opening a wide gash. Jack was panting from exhaustion, but he was grinning wildly, dancing under the guard of the man named Steve. Steve had a thick, almost military style flattop and was carrying a huge Bowie knife...but clearly he had no idea how to use the knife properly. Steve held it wrong, trying to stab at Jack with it. Jack smirked, hopping a bit on his left leg, he quickly brought his right leg up, pivoted to the side, his foot snapping out and striking the man in the throat. His attacker dropped his knife and grabbed at his throat gasping and choking for air.

Jack couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up, seeing that. “Yeah, those are handmade Sutor Mantellassi shoes! Almost three thousand dollars a pair and worth every penny!”

Jake took a another swing at Jack. The bat swung through the air with a heavy 'whoosh,' but Jack ducked under the bat. He popped up immediately, hopping lightly on his feet, taking a fighting stance. He kept his blade in his right fist, his arms close to his body. Jack winked at Jake just before he twisted, bringing his back leg around and jumping up with the opposite leg to kick Jake in the chest, sending him flying to land in a heap of rubble on his back.

Jack chuckled. “Yeah, I'm going to have to get another pair of these shoes.”

The ginger was the last man standing.

He snarled, “Fuck this,” as he pulled out a gun and shot at Jack.

*

Harley gasped when her hands came free. She swung wildly as her hands snapped loose, her body twisting in a circle, but right now she was thankful for her gymnastics skills which allowed her to have the strength to curl upwards. Her fingers began the hard work of trying to loosen the ropes that held her upside down.

*

Bruce glanced to his brother at the very moment he saw the man shoot Jack with a smart sounding “bang bang” noise as the gun fired. The younger Wayne brother jerked to the left, then as Jack went down, the man shot him again. Bruce saw Jack collapse on the floor as Harley screamed.

Forgetting everything, Bruce started to go to his brother yelling. “JACK!”

Croc turned at the sound of a gunshots and yelled. “NO, YOU FUCKER!!!”

Croc twisted back to face Batman when he saw his meal ticket fall to the ground. He snarled at Batman and took a vicious swipe, not intended to kill. Instead the swipe slapped the Batman across the side of his head, knocking his face to the side. Batman felt the displacement of air, turned at the last moment back toward Croc, avoiding the claws cutting toward his face, but the swipe was still strong enough to knock Batman off his feet and send him flying across the floor to slam into a pile of debris.

Croc snarled in angry frustration just before he took off with a shrill whistle. The two crocodiles turned at the sound and moved swiftly, following their master as Croc vanished down one of the tunnels. The ginger who had shot Jack Wayne looked panicked and followed Croc, disappearing down the sewer with the one named Steve following close behind.

*

Harley had dropped free from her ropes at the same time the crack of the gunshots echoed off the walls of the enclosed chamber. She hit the ground hard, knocking the air from her lungs in a painful exhalation. She rolled onto her side, facing toward Jack at the moment the man shot him. Her scream was wrenched from her lungs when she saw Jack fall.

She forced herself to her feet, limping and stumbling, gasping for air, but she had to get over to him. Tears were falling from her eyes, but she wasn't aware of them when she finally arrived at Jack's side and dropped to her knees. “Jack! JACK!!”

He lay on his side, his eyes open with a smile on his face. Harley rolled him onto his back where she could see one gunshot wound that had ripped through his clothing at his left shoulder—he red stain was spreading, the fabric of his shirt soaking up the blood. She started to tear the cloth aside to see the extent of the damage.

Jack reached up to cup her face. “Harley. Harley, I thought I had lost you...” His thumb stroked across her lips. She smiled sadly and closed her eyes for a moment. “I thought I had lost you too.”

Jack chuckled weakly. “Still want to marry me?”

Harley giggled softly at his words. “More than ever. You need me. Look at all the trouble you get into.”

Jack chuckled again, but he winced in pain when he started to move, trying to sit up.

“Stay still,” Harley ordered. “Let me look at it.” She looked down at him, examining the wound. She was a doctor and had gone through the proper medical training, but her residency had not involved dealing with gunshot wounds. Still, she recalled that applying pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding was the first step. It did look as if the bullet had gone clean through the meaty part of Jack's shoulder however, and from the level of blood loss and placement of the wound, his artery had not been struck. She didn't see a second bullet wound, just the one.

Jack growled and started to push himself up. “Did they hurt you?”

“Jack I'm fine—just—please stop moving,” Harley pleaded.

Jack started laughing then. “It's a flesh wound Harley. Even that close of a range, he only hit me the once, then that idiot missed?” Jack snorted in amusement. “How does anyone miss at that range?!”

Harley swallowed wiping her eyes with the back of her hands. “Jack, it's not funny!”

“I don't know sweets...It kinda is.” Jack grinned at her then, his eyes bright despite everything. Harley shook her head and cradled his head on her lap; then she kissed him.

Batman staggered over to Jack and Harley and dropped heavily into a crouch. “How bad is it?”

Harley brushed one more kiss against Jack's lips. “It looks like a flesh wound. Jack says he was only hit once.”

Batman nodded, his tone neutral. “All right. Can you both walk?”

They both nodded, though Harley carefully helped Jack to his feet. Batman frowned as he stood up. He went to check on the woman, unconscious, hamstrung. The other man had been stabbed in the thigh and was losing a lot of blood quickly. Batman hurriedly went to the man and did what he could to stop the bleeding, tying off the man's leg. The one with the baseball bat was out cold. It looked like they would all live.

“Let's get you two to the surface and call the police.”

Jack frowned as he studied Batman before he finally spoke again. “I guess...thank yous are in order.”

Batman shook his head. “No need—just doing my job.”

Jack narrowed his eyes. Something about the man was...somehow familiar, but he just couldn't put his finger on what it was right now.

*

The next couple of hours were a blur. Batman had contacted someone on the way out of the sewers and when they arrived at the surface, police and EMT's were waiting for them. Jack and Harley were led over to one of the ambulances, the two of them refusing to be separated. Batman led a group of police into the sewers to recover the woman Angel, the man Hammers, the man named Jake and the young man who Jack had blinded in one eye...the only bodies recovered came from Croc's debris pile but no other bodies were found nor mentioned. (Batman had neither discovered Harley's kills nor had he found the others that Jack had killed...the bodies lost in the maze of tunnels that made up the Gotham underground. Any bodies in Croc's trash pile had no direct connection to Jack or Harley...or at least the GCPD did not pursue further than to think Croc had a few fresh meals waiting for him, Jack and Harley would later discover.)

Statements were taken and the two of them were rushed off to the hospital.

*

The morning sun shone into Jack's hospital room. The room was an expensive private hospital room with a large picture window that looked out onto the Gotham skyline. The walls were painted in a soft blue instead of the dull white of most hospital rooms, giving the room a more inviting feel. The room also came with a large flat screen TV on the wall and several comfortable chairs for visitors, and even a desk.

Jack sat up in bed and watched the sunrise from the window of his hospital room. He had his head leaned back against the pillows and soft, warm blankets lay across his legs. He had been cleaned up and sewed up, a bandage across his shoulder over the bullet wound, both his wrists wrapped up, stitches and another bandage along his side, and a few tiny stitches on the cuts to his face from Killer Croc (that was what he had overhead one of the nurses call the monster that had kidnapped them. She had said the cops had started calling him that after Batman had given them the name.) By the time they had arrived at the hospital the press had already arrived. Jack and Harley had been brought into the emergency room under flashes of lights from cameras and the shouts of reporters.

Jack closed his eyes for a moment. Bruce hadn't been at the hospital when he and Harley arrived. Jack wasn't really sure exactly when his brother had arrived. Something about the fact that Bruce hadn't been at the hospital when he arrived bothered Jack more than he would like to admit. Did it hurt to not have his big brother waiting for him when something this...dramatic had happened? Did Bruce not care? Or was this just..? Jack didn't know...Maybe he expected something like this from him, that Bruce thought so little about his brother that his being kidnapped hadn't really phased him?

When Bruce did arrive, he acted oddly and Jack had noticed that Bruce looked as if he had been in a fight. Bruce had laughed it off when Jack noticed...a bad date, he had said. They hadn't talked much beyond that, just a few quick words to make sure Jack was all right before Bruce went outside to speak with the press.

Jack sighed as he opened his eyes again. Jack's left arm was in a sling and he had an IV stuck in his arm. It was all rather annoying. He hadn't been able to see Harley yet either and no one would tell him where she was or how she was doing. Once they had arrived at the hospital, the two of them had been separated immediately. He had heard Harley yell for him and he had punched one of his nurses in the face trying to get free of them, until someone had shoved a needle into his arm, sedating him. He didn't remember much after that until he woke up here.

Jack let out a breath staring out the window again. The pain killers that were being pumped into his system from the IV were making him sleepy though he was trying to fight it...he was waiting until they thought he was calm before he tried to make a break for it and find Harley. He had tried to leave once already, but there were police stationed outside his door who were under orders for him to stay in his room. The flash of anger had nearly been more than Jack could control...he had almost made a grab for the nearest cop's gun, but he had gone back inside his room reluctantly. Getting himself thrown into the nut ward wouldn't get him any closer to Harley, so he had behaved himself...for now. That had been only a couple of minutes ago.

There was a knock at his door just before someone opened it.

Jack looked over and nearly bolted out of the bed when he saw Harley. She wore multiple bandages too, Jack noticed, which made the simmering anger he had burning in his chest flair for a moment. He was going to find Killer Croc and he was going to kill him, Jack promised himself. She was being wheeled in by a young woman with long brunette hair and mocha colored skin. Harley grinned brightly when she saw him.

“PUDDIN!” She immediately jumped from the chair and rushed over to him yanking her own IV with her, which elicited a surprised yelp from the nurse. Jack had his arms open and enveloped her in a hug pulling her close to him and burying his face against her neck.

“Oh God Harley.” He held her tightly.

Harley squeezed him back careful of his wounded shoulder.

Her voice cracked with emotion. “Oh Jack, Jack...”

Jack scooted over and Harley immediately crawled into the hospital bed with him pulling her IV stand with her to rest it next to the bed. Jack lifted his arm allowing Harley to nestle into the crook of his arm, her body against his as he pulled the blankets up to cover them both. He held her close ignoring the other woman, all his attention on Harley. He caressed her face holding her chin for a moment and stared into her eyes. No one and nothing else existed for that moment but Harley.

The woman who had wheeled her in chuckled softly. “Be careful. Not sure how long I can give you guys before I'm forced to take Harleen back to her room. But I did hear you are both going to be released in the morning, but you didn't hear it from me.” The woman walked over and did a quick check of Harley's IV, adjusting the tubing to make sure Harley wasn't pulling it too much before walking around and doing a quick check of Jack's IV as well.

Harley turned to the woman and smiled. “Jack, this is a friend of mine. We were in a few college classes together. This is Holly Vest—she is a nurse here at Gotham General...well obviously, but she was able to get me in to see you.”

Jack smiled at Holly. “Thank you.”

Holly blushed and shrugged. “Well, when I realized it was Harleen who was brought in along with the press and then she told me about you two...of course I had to get her in to see you. You both went through a traumatic experience. It's my professional nurse's opinion that you both need each other. Besides, Harleen said you two are engaged?”

Jack, who was only looking at Harley nodded at Holly's question. “Yes we are.”

“Wow, engaged to a Wayne...” Holly shook her head then seemed to come to herself. “Well, I will be back in an hour...maybe longer if I can finagle it. I might be able to bring you guys some breakfast.”

“Thanks Holly.” Harley smiled, but Holly just waved her off. “Don't mention it.”

Holly moved the wheelchair to the corner of the room before slipping out quietly, letting the door swing closed behind her. Jack and Harley didn't notice, their eyes only on each other. Jack cupped her face sliding his hand out of his sling (careful of his IV and the bandages on his shoulder) his touch gentle, his blue eyes gazing into hers. He didn't say anything, just brushed his nose against hers, his lips caressing along her lips not quite kissing her yet.

“Are you sure you're all right? You look adorable in a hospital gown...though I want to get a look at the rear view sometime,” Jack said in a whisper with a light chuckle, his eyes roaming over her face then back to her eyes again.

“Yes. I'm fine. You?” Harley was tracing his face with her fingertips as if she wasn't quite sure he was real. Her touch gently grazed over the bandages on his face and the concern in her eyes made Jack smile. No one had never been this concerned about him before, not like Harley. Jack kissed her then, his lips dancing over hers, his tongue meeting her tongue, the warmth of her kiss making him smile.

Jack pulled away from her mouth with a chuckle. “I'm good, I promise. Though...I'm angry too. That Croc got away....him and the man who shot me. I really hate unfinished business,” Jack concluded with a slight narrowing of his eyes.

Harley was quiet. She shifted her position in order to rest her head against his chest, her hand against him stomach. “Jack, I need to tell you something.”

“Hmm?” Now that Harley was here with him Jack had relaxed enough that the pain medication in his IV was starting to make him feel drowsy..

“When we were trapped down there...I—I did something terrible.”

Jack ran his fingers up and down her arm drowsily. He sighed, contented for the moment, not worried overly. “What did you do?”

Harley's voice was quiet. “I killed...someone...actually more than one person. I—I killed three people.” Harley said it in a whisper. She wasn't sure what she thought would happen by confessing, but she wanted—no—she needed Jack to know.

“I killed this man who wanted me to...” She shivered. “Anyway, I killed him. Then I killed two other men...I beat them to death with a pipe.”

“Do you feel bad about it?” Jack asked. He was smiling, but Harley couldn't see it from her position with her head on his chest, his fingers continued their lazy caress along her arm making her drowsy too.

“I...no,” Harley said quietly, realizing that she did not feel bad about killing those men. “And I'm not sorry I killed them Jack...not the least bit sorry. They deserved to die and—I enjoyed it. I wanted them dead...it was...” She searched her tired mind for a moment, then said, “Exhilarating.”

Jack was quiet, but then he started to laugh. The sound started low, then gradually exploded into a full on belly laugh. Harley sat up to look at his expression. He grinned at her, reaching for her and covering her mouth with his, his tongue sliding into her mouth pressing her close. His mouth moved hungrily against hers, taking the breath from her before he released her. His hand cradled the back of her head holding her close, his nose pressed against the side of hers.

“I killed four of them Harley.” He giggled softly before he continued. “I'm so proud of you. You're strong enough that you don't need me, which means more because you want to be with me. You're not with me to protect you. You don't need protecting. Besides, do you have any idea what it does to me to know you—you can kill Harley? How do you feel?” He licked her lips and Harley purred. “I feel...good. Powerful. Do you think they know?” Her eyes darted toward his hospital door.

Jack laughed. “I don't think so. No one has said anything. That Batman person didn't mention it either.” Harley giggled and Jack grinned in response. “It's our secret, pooh bear.”

Jack kissed the top of her head; his smile was huge and gorgeous. Harley settled back down against his side smiling too. Jack tugged the blankets a little higher over the two of them. That little ball of darkness in her seemed to crack open and spread. Harley couldn't find the compassion to care that she had killed those men. It didn't matter. What mattered was that Jack was happy with her and she was happy with herself. Wrapping her arm around his waist she sighed, content. She could feel the way he was relaxing as he held her close. It wasn't long before the two of them had dozed off.

*

Batman was down in his cave, more relieved than he could possibly express that Jack and Dr. Quinzel were relatively unharmed—considering. Croc's hideout was still being sifted through by the police, but Batman had tapped into their computers to follow the investigation. It was clear from a debris pile that Killer Croc had killed at least two or more people. Two fresh bodies had been found in a pile with the remains of others. It would be a while, but Batman was sure DNA would connect some of the bodies to missing persons in Gotham. Batman had no idea how long Croc had been in Gotham planning his kidnapping. There might be more victims down there, but the sewere system was massive. His brother's victims; Angel Mendez, Jake Hills, Brad Scott and Erik “Hammers” Perkins were all going to live, though it looked from the hospital records that Angel, Brad and Erik were going to be maimed for life, and Jake Hills...the man with the baseball bat, was going to be disfigured.

Bruce sighed. It could have been so much worse. He had to be relieved that at least no one had died on his watch.

*

The next day Jack and Harley were both released from the hospital. (With a little help from the nursing staff and a few words from Bruce Wayne, Jack and Harley were taken out a back entrance to avoid the press.) Jack, dressed in a pair of loose fitting dark blue sports pants and a plain white t-shirt (his arm was going to be in a sling for a few more weeks) and Harley, who was dressed in a pair of yoga pants and a red t-shirt (clothes bought and sent over by Alfred) were each in a wheelchair waiting at the front of the hospital. While they sat on the curb outside the hospital waiting for their ride, Jack had reached across the short distance between them with his good arm and took hold of her hand. Harley looked over at Jack with a broad smile just for him. He squeezed her hand, his eyes only on her.

Alfred pulled up in the Wayne family's Bentley Mulsanne, a long, stylish gold colored car. Alfred stepped out of the vehicle once he had pulled up, the relief in his expression clear as he saw the two of them.

“Master Jack, it's good to see you in one piece.” Alfred smiled at the younger man.

Jack laughed. “Yep, now I got some cool scars. Chicks dig scars.” He grinned making eyes at Harley who giggled.

Alfred smiled. “It's nice to see you well too, Miss Harleen.”

Harley let go of Jack's hand and stood up. She walked over to Alfred and wrapped her arms around him. “It's nice to see you Alfred.”

Alfred gave her a quick squeeze with a whispered, “It does this old man good to see the both of you.”

Harley gave him a kiss on the cheek which made Alfred blush. Jack who had just stood, laughed. “Hey now, no making moves on my girl.”

“Never Master Jack. Why, it would be unfair.” Alfred smiled and Jack burst out laughing.

*

Jack was surprised to come home and find Bruce waiting for them; he hadn't really expected to see his brother at all. Bruce stood in the doorway, dressed casually in a pair of dark navy slacks and a button down white shirt. He looked—off—to Jack, though Jack couldn't put his fingers on the reason why exactly. The swollen lip...supposedly from a woman, didn't sit right with Jack, but what Bruce did in his private time wasn't any of Jack's business...just like what he did wasn't any of Bruce's. But when Jack stepped out of the vehicle, Bruce hurried up to him and wrapped his arms around his brother.

“I'm so sorry this happened Jack.”

Jack frowned and hugged Bruce in return awkwardly with one hand. “It's...ah, not your fault. Guess we shouldn't be surprised considering who we are.” Jack smiled awkwardly.

Bruce stepped back and walked over to Dr. Quinzel and took her hand between both of his. “I'm sorry you were dragged into this Dr. Quinzel.”

Harley smiled. “It's fine. I'm just glad neither of us were more seriously hurt.” She glanced at Jack, her gaze resting on his bandaged shoulder for a moment.

Bruce smiled and then turned. “Well, I'm sure you two need some rest. I've hired some extra security to walk the grounds around the manor. And ah, Dr. Quinzel, before you go rest, may I speak to you in private?”

Harley frowned slightly and glanced at Jack once before she turned back to Bruce. “Of course.”

Bruce offered her his arm before he led her inside. Jack frowned as he watched them step inside, a crease forming between his brows. Alfred frowned. “Come along Master Jack. Let's take you upstairs, then I'll bring you some tea and you can relax.”

*

Bruce led Harley over to the drawing room, escorting her to one of the plush winged back chairs that sat near the fireplace that dominated one of the walls. Harley sat down and glanced around the room. It was a warm, comforting room decorated in browns and burgundies, with a few old portraits on the walls, paintings of past Wayne patriarchs, a few landscapes and of course, more books. Bruce walked around the long walnut table that dominated the middle of the room. Bruce sat down and leaned his elbows on his knees, bringing his fingertips together. He was quiet for a moment staring at the hardwood floors of the drawing room.

Harley waited patiently, her hands folded in her lap. She looked down at her wrists, which were covered in bandages at the moment from where she had worn them raw getting loose from the ropes that had held her. She studied the way the white gauze was frayed at the end; the medical tape looked old already. Finally Bruce spoke.

“What you and Jack have been through is...horrific. I would like to have someone come and talk to the both of you, to help you both through your situation. I would usually have asked you to help Jack, but given the change in your...relationship...plus the fact that you too were kidnapped...” Bruce sighed. “Sorry, I'm doing this wrong. I have asked Dr. Joan Leland from Arkham Asylum to come by and speak to both you. Help you both through the events of the kidnapping.”

Harley frowned for a moment, then nodded. “That is probably a good idea. Thank you Mr. Wayne.”

Bruce's expression was not quite a frown, yet not a weak smile either. “Call me Bruce.”

Harley looked taken aback, but she nodded. “Bruce.”

Bruce nodded then quietly said, “I know I haven't been supportive of your relationship with my brother. I...well...” he sighed and sat up straight. “You make Jack happy from what Alfred has said and I can't—I can't be angry about that. Though I wish your relationship had come about in a different way I won't stand in the way of my little brother's happiness. I just wanted to make sure you knew that.”

Harley nodded. “Thank you...Bruce.”

Bruce took a breath and stood with a nod. “Well, I'm sure you would like to rest. Dr. Leland will be coming by tomorrow afternoon.”

Harley stood as well. “Thank you, for...everything.”

Bruce nodded again and quickly strolled out of the room to leave Harley feeling not accepted so much as on the road leading toward acceptance. She wondered how he would feel if he knew she had killed three men...no matter how justified...or about Jack's killings. Then she smiled and shrugged.

*

Harley made her way upstairs to Jack's room. She knocked lightly on his bedroom door before she stepped inside and then she closed the door gently behind her. She found Jack sitting at a card table set up at the foot of his bed. There was a tea set on a trolly next to him along with a plate of what looked to be cherry scones. He was playing with a deck of cards one-handed.

Harley thought or a moment how innocent he looked. His usually slicked back hair had fallen to the side of his brow. He was still wearing the sports pants and t-shirt, but he had tossed the shoes and socks into a corner of the room as he sat with his legs stretched out, his feet crossed at the ankles playing with the cards.

With his good hand, Jack was using his fingers to slide the cards into two stacks in the palm of his hand, his long fingers making the movement look easy. Then, weaving the cards together before he cupped his hand, and held the cards upside down and shuffled them again. He was doing the one handed shuffling easily, gracefully, clearly an expert at it. He continued to shuffle one handed before he switched to doing a one-handed spin cut, spinning the cards with his fingers forming a butterfly then folded them back into a deck, easily, and doing so with the easy grace of someone who had done the trick a great deal. He continued until he turned and noticed Harley standing there watching him.

“Never saw anyone do that with cards one handed before,” Harley said with a smile. She walked over to him, swinging her hips just a little. Jack gave her a lopsided grin as he watched her walk over to him and marveled at how even after having just been released from the hospital an hour ago, she managed to look seductive in her yoga pants and a t-shirt.

Jack purred. “Mm...I can do a lot more card tricks, if I get a treat for it?”

Harley chuckled. “Oh, you want a treat do you?”

Jack chuckled. “'Course I do!”

Harley strolled over to him and Jack lifted his arm, allowing her to carefully sit on his lap. She ran her fingers along his jaw. “Did you take your pain pills?”

Jack made a face. “I don't need those things. I have an extremely high threshold for pain.”

Harley kissed the tip of his nose. “Just promise me to take them before sleeping.”

He sighed, but he smiled at her. “Sure thing, cupcake. Anything for you.”

Harley giggled and tilted his face up to brush her lips across his, but then her smile fell. Harley suddenly grasped his face between her hands, her kiss becoming desperate, pained. Jack tossed the cards onto the table, wrapping his one arm around her. Harley caressed the sides of his neck, her smile returning as she leaned in to nip at his lips. At first it was soft and playful, but then her emotions overwhelmed her. She had almost lost him...she couldn't imagine her life without Jack. Her kisses became desperate, her fingers nearly clawing at his hair while she kissed him, tugging him toward her. Jack had closed his eyes at the start of the kiss, but when she choked on a sob he opened his eyes to study her. Harley's eyes were still closed, but tears were streaming unchecked down her cheeks causing him to frown. His poor little harlequin.

Jack reached up with his one hand and gently tugged on her hair, pulling her mouth away. He looked sternly at her when she finally, willingly released his mouth and sat back a little to make eye contact with him. She rested her hands on his shoulders as her fingers gently caressed his neck.

“We're all right Harley. No crying. Nothing can hurt us. Remember, we hurt them back....we gave them what they deserved. No one can mess with us...no one. And, we got away with it...no one knows what we did.” He grinned brightly and reached up to stroke the corner of her mouth with his lips. “No one but you and me against the world.”

Harley smiled with a small chuckle. “I don't care about them, I don't care that I killed any of them. It was...fun. Is that terrible of me to say?”

Jack laughed. “No, because I thought it was fun too.” He chuckled again. “I never thought I would find someone like you...someone who understood. You and me, we are like two peas in a pod.” He reached over and touched the tip of her nose with his, brushing his nose against hers.

Harley giggled and ducked her head. She took a breath. “When I saw you get shot, Jack...I...I can't live without you. I won't live without you.”

Jack laughed gently at that and gave her a wink. “I'm hard to kill my little dumpling...very hard to kill.”

He stroked her face, his thumb brushing her lips once more. “I won't live without you either...ever. Together, always and all the world shall burn if it tries to keep us apart. Love is merely a madness...”

Harley smiled as she laid her forehead against his. “Quoting Shakespeare?”

Jack chuckled. “Only the best. I am going to show you things Harley...all sorts of things. Just you watch. I have secrets that only you will ever know...”

Harley frowned slightly then whispered to him. “I will burn everything to the ground Jack, everything, if it meant being with you.”

They kissed, slowly, tenderly as if just discovering the wonders of each others tongues and lips for the first time again. Harley's mouth moved over Jack's, tasting deeply from him, her tongue caressing his, stroking, swirling and twisting with his tongue. She couldn't get enough of his mouth, his tongue, his lips. Jack pressed his hand to her back, his hips jerking up just enough that she could feel how hard he was for her, how much he wanted her. She cooed softly and pressed back. Jack smiled against her lips.

Harley groaned as her hips began to move of their own accord and rubbed against him. She grabbed the back of Jack's chair, her hands on either side of him, and ground her hips against his erection even harder. The intensity of need he sparked in her always made her feel out of control. Her need for him was overpowering; her desire was a hot intense flame that was threatening to consume her if she didn't have Jack. God, she had almost lost him! She needed to take him, to know he was alive, that they both were alive. Harley dug her fingers into the back of the chair continuing to grind against Jack, her hair framing her face, her eyes half lidded watching him. Her grinding caused the chair to creak and groan. The feeling of her on top of him, the way she rubbed herself against him....he wanted to tear her apart...to have every part of her. He growled, jerking his hips up, the damn clothing between them was preventing him from feeling more of her, it was killing him! He urgently needed her, needed to feel her engulfing him, surrounding him.

Damn it all, he needed to fuck her! Needed to know they had won, they were both alive. It was gloriously thrilling.

Jack growled and his hand on her rear squeezed. “Get your clothes off Harley.”

Harley stood up, shoving the table out of the way with her rear just before she began to strip. Jack lay sprawled across the chair his erection clear by the bulge in his pants as he watched her with intense blue eyes, studying her every movement. He pulled his teeth over his bottom lip with a grin.

“You are so beautiful,” he hissed watching her pull her shirt over her head, the creamy mouthwatering reveal of her breasts driving him mad with want. Then as she slid her pants down her hips, his breathing picked up at the sight of her. She stood in front of him naked, his Venus, his harlequin. Harley blushed, smiling softly and reached out for his hand.

“Come on,” she purred and tugged him to his feet. She led him over to the bed where she turned him to stand with his back to the bed. She gently lifted his shirt over his head, careful of his arm and the sling, but with a few seconds work, they had it off him. She stroked her hands down his chest, standing close, close enough that he could feel the heat radiating off her body, but not close enough that her body was touching his. The tease, he thought.

Once she had his shirt off. Her fingers caressed over his pecs and along the flat plain of his stomach feeling the muscles contract under his skin at her touch. Harley smiled; his skin was like satin. She traced each of his nipples with the tip of a nail, his nipples tightening with the contact. Jack licked his lips, but didn't touch her, letting Harley do what she wanted.

She dragged her fingers down his torso, tracing the bandage at his side. She leaned in, kissing him, her mouth pressed to his and her tongue rolling with his, causing Jack's knees to go weak with need. Her hands wandered lower until she wrapped her thumbs over the band of his pants, slowly lowering them at the same moment she gradually went down on her knees breaking the kiss. Jack watched her, his gaze steamy while her eyes stayed locked with his.

Harley gently lifted each of his legs helping him to step out of his pants, tugging them away and tossing them to the side. She gradually ran her hands up his legs, squeezing his thighs, her thumbs stroking his testicles gently, but firmly, drawing an excited hiss from Jack, his hips arching a little. Harley grinned and brushed her face against his erection, her lips teasing past the head of his shaft, her nose brushing over the tip before her cheeks passed over him feeling the hot satin of his shaft against her cheeks. She gazed up at him licking her lips, then ever so gently scraped her teeth over the head of his shaft causing Jack to shudder.

“Harls,” he grunted with a shudder.

She smiled up at him and then her tongue slowly licked the under side of his erection like she was licking an ice cream cone, her eyes fluttering close. Her hands slid up his hips again, her thumbs pressing against his hips while she pulled him forward into her mouth with a muffled groan. Jack pressed his teeth into his bottom lip as he watched her. Harley grinned at him and her eyes danced while her tongue twirled around him, licking and flicking, thrilling him until his knees struggled to keep him upright. Jack groaned and reached down with his one hand to grab her hair and ease his erection into her mouth slowly. Harley sucked harder. His reactions had her body aching, her groin tightened with need.

She dragged her teeth along him which had Jack's legs going wobbly. She caressed his stomach with one hand, the flat of her hand traveling up his torso, pinching a nipple before she dragged her hand back down. She didn't bob her head this time, she simply sucked hard on him until he was shuddering. “Damn it Harley! You're going to suck the life out of me.”

She gave him one more hard suck, lowering her mouth until she had him all the way to the back of her throat for a brief moment, then dragged her tightened lips up, enjoying the salty taste of him pooling on her tongue when he jerked.

Jack groaned. “Almost Harley, almost...”

She rose to her feet, causing Jack to growl, his head dropping back with the intense pleasure of that teasing tongue of hers. When she was standing again, Harley grinned at him.

“Lie down Jack,” Harley cooed softly placing the tips of her fingers against his chest and pushing him back against the bed gently. He grinned and laid down, careful of his arm. Once he was on his back Harley crawled onto the bed, straddling his hips.

She licked her lips and ran her hands along his chest. “I love you Jack. I love you.”

Jack smiled as he reached up with his one hand to caress his fingers over her breasts and relished in the way she arched her back. “Ti amo Harley...Sei tutto per me. Never forget you're mine. Mine alone.”

“Italian?” Harley's giggle made Jack grin wider and wrinkle his nose playfully at her. “Senza di te la vita è un inferno,” he whispered, reaching up to drag his thumb over her lips. “La tua bocca mi fa impazzire.”

Harley had no idea what he was saying, but it didn't matter in the least.

“Oh Jack...always yours!” Harley rolled her hips, sliding up and down his shaft which was pressed toward his stomach. She groaned; he felt so hard, so hot. Jack groaned too as he watch her while she used him to pleasure herself, feeling the wet slide of her against him. He reached up, his fingers dragging across her lips, pulling her bottom lip down. His smile was seductive, snarky almost. Harley groaned as she licked the tips of his fingers when he dragged them over her chin and down her throat. Jack wrapped his hand around her throat, squeezing softly and causing Harley to roll her hips over him. She reached down and dug her fingers into his skin.

Jack moaned and squeezed her neck just a little harder before he dragged his fingers down between her breasts. “Hurt me Harley, hurt me good.”

Harley groaned in response and drove her hips harder, sliding up and down his length. It was torture to feel how wet she was and not be inside her, but watching the way she used him, feeling that wetness of her...it was almost like when she was licking him...it had Jack grinning with anticipation for when she did start to fuck him.

Jack hissed when her nails dug in hard against his chest; she dragged her nails down, leaving angry red marks in her wake. Her thrusting over him, sliding along his length, rubbing her intimate lips against him, the waves of her movements intensified. She was bringing herself quickly to an orgasm, rubbing herself against him while Jack watched her, jerking with pleasure each time she moved along him, her nails breaking the skin as she clawed at his chest. His reached up again to drag his thumb over her bottom lip hard. Harley groaned and bit his thumb, pressing her teeth down on the digit, swiveling her hips when she came.

“Yes Harley yes...” Jack watched her, his voice low and warm like honey, his expression one of enamored worship watching her take her pleasure. He pulled his fingers down her throat, then over her breasts, pinching one of her nipples which made Harley cry out, her body bending like a bow. He felt the sweet warmth of her fluid coating him when she came again.

She jerked and gasped, her orgasm causing her body to vibrate, but it just wasn't enough. She lifted her hips and grasped him with one hand, holding him steady, their eyes meeting just before she pierced herself on him.

Harley cried out loudly when she plunged him deep inside her. “PUDDIN!”

Jack cried out. “Harley! God Harley!”

Harley dropped forward on her hands smiling down at him, her blonde hair forming a golden curtain while she slid her hips up and down his length, pumping him hard, then slow. Jack wrapped his one arm around her, sliding his hand down to her rear and squeezed while she continued to move. Jack thrust his hips up to meet her, both of them gasping together. Jack's hand caressed her back, stroking her silken skin along her back. His hand glided up her spine to her shoulders where he grabbed a fistful of her hair yanking her mouth down to his, devouring her kisses while he thrust up into her, pounding her in quick movements. The sounds of their gasping breath, the occasional creak from the bed and the wet sounds of their bodies coming together filled the room.

Harley stopped and grinned at him as she pull herself off of him. Jack gasped at the sudden loss of contact. “Harley, what...?” he started to ask, but before he could finish the sentence, Harley had turned her back to him, sliding back onto him. Jack growled with pleasure. Harley leaned forward, her hands on either side of his legs, her hips moving up and down as she rode him. Jack panted as he watched her, the way she was grinding her hips, her round smooth backside. He reached out and squeezed her rear with a grin, watching the way his erection appeared and disappeared inside her in a warm, wet thrust of her body. She twerked her hips a few times causing Jack to jerk and shudder, grinding his teeth together.

The new position had Jack hitting her in new ways. Harley tightened around him, her hips undulating against him, then she surprised him when she leaned back all the way until she was lying against him. She rolled her body a little more heavily to the right to avoid his wounded arm, but Jack didn't care. She felt incredible and the small amount of pain was well worth it. Jack groaned against her ear and then he pressed his teeth into her shoulder. Harley gasped, her inner muscles holding him inside her. Jack grinned and licked her neck while his free hand squeezed her breast, then tickled along the flat plains of her stomach until he could slide his fingers between her legs. He rubbed slowly at first, listening to her little gasps of breath, feeling the way her body jerked against him when he rubbed a certain way.

Harley whimpered, the feel of his fingers touching her, stroking her clitoris.

Jack continued rubbing until he had her mewling.

“Jack! Jack! Jack!” Harley groaned.

Jack purred. “You're so wet Harls...”

She giggled as she looked over her shoulder at him. “That's what you do to me puddin.”

He was enraptured by her as she turned back around to face him, her hair a mess, her lips bruised, her perfect skin marred by their shared experience, but damn she was gorgeous.

Once she was facing him again, squeezing him inside her, making him shudder with her very expression, he yanked her down to him, his fingers tangled in her hair again holding her hair tight in his fingers.

“Fuck me Harley,” he hissed softly.

Harley's smile was slow and sensual, a coy grin. She rolled her hips, then started to pump him faster, with long, flowing, gliding, arching thrusts against him. Jack hissed, yanking her head closer, grabbing her bottom lip with his teeth holding her lip painfully, but she loved it, climaxing with a loud groan. “UH, Puddin!”

The intensity of her orgasm had Jack releasing her lip, throwing his head back against the pillows, his hand fisting in her hair tightly, his body jerking into hers as he spilled himself inside her in a hot rush.

“Uhh...fuck Harley!”

Harley continued to thrust, but her movements were slowing, lazy almost. Jack jerked again and hissed with pleasure; every moment of her hips was almost too intense for him to process. He closed his eyes with a moan, “Harls...”

Harley peppered his face and neck with kisses.

“I didn't hurt you did I?” she asked softly.

Jack laughed. “I could have sworn I asked you to hurt me.”

She giggled and lightly smacked his chest. “You know what I mean.”

Jack grinned brightly. “You hurt me just the right amount pooh bear.”

Harley's giggles changed to a moan as she slowly pulled off of him. Jack made a low growl. She moved over to his side curling up against him. Jack smiled as he wrapped his good arm around her.

“Oh...Bruce wanted me to tell you. He has asked a Dr. Joan Leland to come to talk to both of us.”

She felt more than saw Jack make a face. “What about?”

“Our shared traumatic experience,” Harley said softly while she ran her fingers over his chest and traced the angry red marks she had made. Then she sat up. “Let me get something for us to clean up.”

Jack nodded with a frown as he put his hand behind his head. “Can you grab me a cigarette?”

He grinned as he watched Harley walk across the room naked. She grinned over her shoulder at him.“Sure puddin—where are they?”

“There should be some over on the desk.” Jack's eyes followed her every movement across the room as she walked into the bathroom. He heard the water running for a few moments before she returned with a damp rag.

She smiled. “Let me puddin.”

Jack smirked watching her clean him off, running his teeth over his bottom lip, watching her handling him, cleaning then leaning down to place a kiss on the tip of his shaft.

“Mmmm...give me a couple of minutes and I want to go again.” Jack grinned.

Harley giggled. “You're terrible.”

“Yes, yes I am.” Jack laughed, watching her toss the rag into the bathroom and walk to the desk. She pulled a cigarette out from the pack she found next to his notebook. She made her way back to the bed, sitting on the edge and placing the cigarette between his lips before she opened the lighter and flicked it, a flame springing into existence that she held against the cigarette's end. Jack moved his arm back and held the cigarette taking a few puffs on it until the flame had started the end burning nicely. Jack took a long pull holding the smoke inside his lung for a couple of seconds before letting it out slowly.

“So, we get to meet a doctor together.” He laughed as he held his cigarette between his teeth and reached out to grab Harley just before she started to get up. Even one handed, he was strong as he yanked her back causing her to stumble and land on top of him.

“Jack!” She laughed, but he refused to let go! “In bed, woman! We're traumatized!”

Harley laughed and crawled into the bed. She settled herself down beside him after tossing his lighter and cigarettes onto the bedside table. “Mm...puddin.”

Jack took another pull on the cigarette then softly murmured.

“Much madness is divinest sense

To a discerning eye;

Much sense the starkest madness.

'Tis the majority

In this, as all, prevails.

Assent, and you are sane;

Demur — you're straightway dangerous,

And handled with a chain. “

*

Harley, who was slowly becoming sleepy curled against Jack's side and murmured, “What was that puddin?”

Jack smiled and blew smoke at the ceiling. “Nothing dear, just a little Dickinson.”

Harley giggled sleepily. “DICKinson.”

Jack chuckled. “Harley, you have a dirty mind.”

“I know.” Harley giggled and snuggled closer. Jack leaned over and put his cigarette out in the ash tray by his bed. “You want to know what the volcano said to the other volcano?”

Harley smiled kissing his side as she murmured sleepily. “What?”

“I lava you.” Jack giggled.

Harley gave him a light smack in the side. “That's terrible!”

Jack grinned, lying back to wrap his arms more securely around her. He could see a glimmer of the sun through a small gap in the curtains as he said quietly:

“I know, but it's true.”

Chapter Text

Harley woke to the sounds of Jack singing to himself. She smiled at the sound of his voice; she thought he had an elegant singing voice that simply moved through her very soul. She rolled over onto her side, her hair a curtain of yellow gold over her eyes. She could see him sitting at his desk, wearing only his boxers, his bare feet crossed at the ankles under his chair, his torso bent over his desk. He seemed to be writing (easily with his left hand she noticed) while he sang. She smiled contented, watching him. She could only see his back and the halo of smoke that surrounded his head when he set the pen down and picked up the cigarette in the ashtray beside him. She liked Jack's back; it was a very nice back she thought. She loved the way the muscles created a sculptured look down his spine, curving out to his hips and ass. She grinned wide, her eyes lingering on his lower back thinking about his naked backside and her nails raking across it.

She could see some bruises that she hadn't noticed before, marring his shoulders and of course at his right shoulder were the bandage that covered the exit wound sat, a dark bruise hinted at under the bandage. For a moment the pain and image of him being shot raced through her mind making her chest constrict and her eyes sting. She had come so close to losing him. Never again, she swore silently to herself, never again.

She stayed on her side watching and listening to him. Jack set the cigarette back in the ashtray and started to sing again in that low whisper. After a few moments she could hear the words of the song he was singing to himself in a low melodious voice.

*

“Why do birds suddenly appear, ev'ry time you are near?

Just like me, they long to be close to you.

Why do stars fall down from the sky, ev'ry time you walk by?

Just like me, they long to be close to you.

On the day that you were born the angels got together.

And decided to create a dream come true.

So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold,

And star-light in your eyes of blue.

That is why all the boys in town follow you all around.

Just like me, they long to be close to you... “

*

Harley couldn't stop herself from sighing. Jack stopped singing; It was clear he sensed her watching him. He turned around to look at her over his shoulder and grin at her.

“Morning sleepy head,” he said quietly.

Harley giggled, immediately letting the images of Jack falling, the sight of his blood, fade away as she sat up and stretched her arms over her head. Jack watched with appreciation as the sheets fell away showing her naked torso, her blonde hair falling down over her breasts, the pink nipples only barely visible through the tangles of her golden hair.

“What time is it?” Harley asked with a yawn.

Jack reached over on top of the desk and picked up a discarded Patek Philippe watch. Jack held it up examining the face with a slight frown.

“It's nearly eleven,” he said before tossing the watch carelessly back on the desk.

“Eleven! Oh crap! Dr. Leland is coming this afternoon!” Harley jumped out of bed. Jack grinned as he watched her race to the bathroom naked. That was a sight he could get used to, a naked Harley running around his room all the time, Jack thought to himself.

After a few minutes he heard the water turn on in the shower.

*

Harley had just turned on the water, the warmth washing over her exhausted figure as she leaned her head back and let the water run down her with a long drawn-out moan. She closed her eyes and smiled as she let her thoughts drift. She had killed three people. She had never thought she would kill someone, but she had, and she felt nothing, at least no guilt and perhaps some satisfaction. The only thing she thought about was that it was funny how she felt no guilt at all, and on top of that, Jack was proud of her. Jack thought it was funny too. She giggled softly and moved her face back and forth under the water when something occurred to her. She should have started her period.

It should be around the time, but nothing had happened. She frowned for a moment, then pushed the thought away. The way periods worked, she could just be late because of all the drama that had been going on in her life lately. She had been late in the past. The thought was quickly forgotten when she reached for the shampoo...

*

Jack sat at the desk for a long minute...finish what he was working on or jump into the shower with a naked Harley? He glanced down at his notes. He was writing down the details of those he killed during his kidnapping, details of the way he did it, the way they died. He also had a list of those he wanted dead, he had added a few names while he sat here writing and Harley slept. It was all very interesting information and pretty darn funny he thought. Here these kidnappers thought they had a fool-proof plan yet he had come in and killed nearly all of them! It was funny. Funny how plans could change...upset the order and everything fell into chaos, he thought. He grinned as he closed the notebook. He could work more on that later, right now there was a gorgeous naked woman in his shower, a naked blonde he couldn't resist. He jumped to his feet and hurried into the bathroom, sliding his boxers down as he went. He kicked them to the side as he walked into the bathroom and pulled his arm out of it's sling while he yelled.

“Hey wait for me Harley!”

Harley hadn't quite heard him since her head was under the water. She squealed with laughter when Jack hopped into the shower and wrapped his arms around her from behind to lift her up off her feet.

“HA!! Caught you!!” Jack laughed and swung her around in a circle in the shower.

“JACK!!” Harley giggled, her eyes squeezed closed since she had water and shampoo running into her eyes.

“Put me down! You'll break your stitches!” She giggled, but Jack continued to hold her up off her feet.

“Jack your shoulder!!” Harley started to panic and Jack reluctantly put her down, but spun her around to face him. With a swift movement he shoved her up against the wall, pressing a deep kiss to her mouth before she could protest further. She groaned, feeling the length of his naked body pressed against hers—every naked inch of him. He smiled against her mouth as he rubbed his hips up and down against her groin. She could feel how hard he was, that burning heat of his erection teasing her. He shoved a hand between her legs, forcing her to spread her legs further, and then he dipped his finger into her causing Harley to gasp, her body arching into his hand.

“You like that Harley?” he asked licking her lips as he did so.

“Oh Jack...” Harley ground her hips against his fingers, thrusting along with Jack.

He thrust his fingers into her a couple of more times, smiling with pleasure at how wet she was for him. He didn't shove hard, but slow, ever so slowly, teasing her as he slid his long fingers in and out. Harley hissed with pleasure, but then Jack pulled his fingers away. Harley made a soft whine that quickly melted into a gasp when Jack pushed himself between her wet legs. The heat of his erection seemed to radiate up through her groin, making her want him even more, if that was possible. Jack chuckled against her mouth as he slid his hands up and down her torso.

“Wanna get a little dirty first?” Jack purred before the tip of his tongue tickled over the front of her teeth.

Harley groaned. “Yes but I don't think we have time.”

Jack made a pouty face. “Why not? I can wash your hair at the same time.”

Harley giggled and walked her fingers down his chest. “Oh you can, can you?”

“If that's what you want Harley girl, though I'm hoping to be a little more distracting...” Jack grabbed her bottom lip in his teeth pulling for a moment before letting her lip go and crushing his mouth to hers. Harley moaned. She ran her hands down his stomach, then to his groin, wrapping her hands around him. Jack moaned at her touch when she started stroking him, her wet, still slightly soapy hands moving up and down his shaft; she made him jerk his hips slightly.

Jack hissed again with pleasure at the feel of her wet hands on him, he thrust his hips into her hands' embrace, growing harder with each stroke.

“Mm...baby, pumpkin pie...my Harley girl.” He moaned against her mouth. Harley knew she should stop him. She should tell him no, they didn't have time, he would pull his stitches, but damn it she wanted him. She was weak, letting Jack lift her leg up over his good arm pressing her back against the shower wall. She was weak against him, Harley knew she would do anything for him, anything he asked. She would kill a hundred people if he asked her.

When he shoved himself inside her, Harley cried out in delight.

“JACK!” He filled her to her core shoving her leg back against her torso.

Jack smiled against her lips. “Mmmm...Harley...my Harley girl.”

Jack's thrusts were hard and fast. Harley climaxed quickly, sliding up and down the wet shower wall with each of Jack's thrusts, her hands digging into his biceps. Within minutes, she was ready to slide down the wall and melt into a puddle.

“Puddin! Jack, Jack! Puddin!!” Harley climaxed with a sob of pleasure. Jack shuddered at the sound of her cry. He came hard, bursting inside her, his teeth embedded in her shoulder when he did. Harley dragged her nails over his ribs, both of them heedless of the cuts and bruises they had, taking each other with reckless abandon.

Jack groaned easing her leg back to the shower's floor.

“Okay, now you can shower.” He laughed softly.

Harley giggled. “You're funny.”

“I do try.” Jack chuckled before he kissed her again.

*

They remained leaning against each other, their foreheads pressed together and catching their breath while the warm water ran over them. Jack rubbed his nose against her playfully.

“Think you can do the eyeliner and lipstick again?” Jack asked. “I really enjoyed that.”

He grabbed the soap and lathered up his hands before he started to run them down her body. Harley hummed happily, wiggling with the movement of his hands. She grabbed the shampoo and poured some into the palm of her hand before reaching up to start rubbing the thick liquid through his hair.

“Course I will puddin, makes your eyes pop. I love it. If we have time I'll paint your nails too. Black would look good.” Harley smiled contented, her fingers working over his scalp.

Jack chuckled closing his eyes and enjoying the feel of her fingers in his hair. “I would like that a great deal Harls.”

She smiled. “Anything for you puddin, anything in the world.”

*

Downstairs, Alfred was just setting tea out for Jack, Harley and their guest (Bruce had informed Alfred of the doctor that would be coming to talk to them both about their experience. Alfred hadn't said much about it, though he didn't feel Master Jack would enjoy the idea. As for Miss Harleen, he wasn't sure. Perhaps Dr. Leland was a colleague?) Alfred had just finished setting out the plates, tea cups and was making his way back to the kitchen when he saw Jack holding Harley's hand, their fingers threaded together, coming down the stairs with a slight bounce in their steps like a pair of happy children. Despite what they had been through, they looked like a lovely young couple. (Though it pained Alfred to note the sling on Master Jack, as well as the stitches on his handsome face. Miss Harleen had bruises and cuts as well...it bothered him to see them both hurt like that despite how cheery they both were right now.) Jack had his hair slicked back, eyeliner around his eyes making the blue of his eyes appear electric (even his lips seemed to have a red tint to them though Alfred couldn't be sure and Alfred noted the nail polish on Master Jack, black, matching Miss Harleen's. Young people, he thought with amusement.)

The young master looked handsome and well despite the sling that held his left arm or the cuts on his face that had visible stitches. Alfred sighed; Master Jack had clearly removed the bandages from his face on his own. Jack wore a white button down shirt, with a slim fitted double vest that had two layers to it. The outside layer was a warm tawny brown, with gold colored buttons on the corners in the front—though that part of the vest was unbuttoned—and pockets on the sides. The inside layer of the vest was a taupe and black plaid with four gold colored buttons running up the “v” of the vest (these buttons were buttoned up, the inside vest was shorter than the outside layer leaving a section that showed the bottom half of Jack's white shirt.) This morning Jack was lacking a tie, his white shirt opened, a few buttons showing off his slender throat. The sleeves of his shirt were also rolled up to his elbows. He had paired the shirt and vest with a pair of taupe slacks and a pair of Italian calf-skin Oxford Brogue wingtip shoes. Jack looked casual yet maintained a clear air of wealth about him.

Harley looked like a breath of spring. She wore a tea-length swing dress with a boat neckline. The top of the dress was black and sleeveless, but the skirt was red with large white pokadots. (Unlike Jack, any bandages she had were still in place). She wore the dress with a pair of round toed, chunky heeled black shoes that had a strap around her ankle. Her long blonde hair was loose around her shoulders. Most of her bruises and cuts were hidden by makeup (or bandages). But it was her smile and the twinkle in her blue eyes that really made her look devastatingly beautiful, Alfred thought. They were a perfect couple.

Alfred was all smiles. It did his heart good to see the way Jack and Harleen looked at one another. Now only if Master Bruce could find someone to make him smile like that.

*

Bruce was on his way to meet with Lucius Fox. He was dressed in a sleek Ermenegildo Zegna navy blue suit with a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo black leather loafers clearly communicating the rich playboy look of Bruce Wayne. Bruce tugged at the bottom of his jacket and ran his hand over the deep black colored tie he wore. Fox had some new tech that he thought Bruce would find interesting, which was why Bruce was heading to Wayne Tower. After that he was supposed to have lunch with a new investor...a man whose name he couldn't recall at the moment, but he was sure he would remember once he saw him. Bruce was contemplating what he should do after lunch, what would be fitting of a playboy such as Bruce Wayne, something that would have the papers complaining about him and his attitude so quickly after his brother's kidnapping. Bruce hated to do it; he didn't want Jack to think that his Bruce Wayne persona was a reflection of his true feelings, but he was trapped—in order to save Gotham, and his brother, he needed to be the Batman, and Bruce Wayne needed to be his persona. His thoughts were interrupted by his phone ringing. He pulled it out of his pocket to examine the caller id and frowned. It was not a phone number he knew well, though he recognized it. It belonged to Selina Kyle. The memory of him getting her number rose to the surface of his thoughts. Bruce felt his heart speed up a few beats remembering her that night at the carnival, black hair and green eyes like he had never seen before...Bruce held the phone to his ear.

“Miss Kyle, how may I help you?”

Her voice was like a purr, deep and soft. “Hi Bruce. I heard about your brother. I just wanted to call and let you know how happy I am that everything worked out all right, that he is safe and Dr. Quinzel too. Are they both doing all right, Bruce?”

Bruce looked out the window watching the city streets of Gotham flash past while he spoke. “Yes, they seem to be.”

“I heard Jack had been shot.” Selina's voice held real concern.

“Yes, luckily it was not as bad as it could have been and...Batman was there,” Bruce finished.

“I had heard that on the news, that Batman was responsible for finding and rescuing them. I'm just glad someone got to them before anything worse happened. I mean, I heard that the kidnapper was some guy they are calling Killer Croc? The papers said a lot of gruesome things, but anyway, you've probably heard more than enough about that. How are you doing?” Selina's voice was, Bruce was learning, always sultry, but also held a strong note of sympathy.

“Me?” Bruce sounded completely stunned. “I...I'm fine, just happy to have my bother back.”

Selina purred into the phone. Her voice held a teasing ring, but Bruce could hear the true and deep compassion behind her worlds. “Well, I would like to assess that for myself. I was curious if you were free for dinner?”

“Tonight?” Bruce asked surprised.

He could hear the smile on her lips by the tone of her voice. “Well it doesn't have to be tonight, but it can be if you would like.”

Bruce frowned, but then nodded. “Tonight.”

Selina laughed softly. “Perfect! How about I pick you up tonight around eight?”

“Ah...sure. Do you need my address?” Bruce asked. He wasn't used to being the one who was picked up.

“Oh I know where you live Bruce. See you tonight, and wear something fancy.” Selina hung up, leaving Bruce chuckling. “This should be fun,” he murmured to himself.

*

Jack and Harley walked into the reception room where Alfred had set up tea for their afternoon “meeting.” The room was small. For the manor it was a small room, Harley noted. She thought it would make a nice size studio apartment! The walls of this room were painted an eggshell white, with four love seats situated around a low sitting oak coffee table. The loveseats were all a soft cream color with thick plush cushions that made you want to sink into them. The room's floors were hardwood with a large oriental rug in golds and reds that both softened the floor's appearance and gave the room a cozy atmosphere. It was one of those rooms that could easily be sterile, but whoever had decorated this room had made sure to add little touches that gave the room a homey feel, from throw cushions that matched the colors of the rug, to paintings of landscapes that littered the walls among the family photos of the Wayne boys when they were little. The windows in this room were tall and thin with heavy beige curtains that were currently open to let the sunlight into the room. Everything in the room was aimed toward comfort and intimacy.

On the table, surrounded by the loveseats, sat a three tiered silver tray which held sandwiches cut into tiny squares on one level. Jack stepped close and examined the contents of the tray with a grin.

“Alfred made a great traditional high tea it seems.” Jack smiled at Harley and pointed at the top tier. “These are Irish baked ham, wholegrain mustard on white bread. These next to them are egg and cress sandwiches with mayonnaise and granary bread, really, really good; I highly recommend.”

Jack pointed to the second level. “ Here we have cherry scones and shortbread, and the last tier here has honey shots and mini raspberry and white truffle cheesecakes.”

Harley groaned. “Everything sounds fantastic!”

Jack laughed in agreement. “When Alfred does tea time, he always goes all out.”

There was a large china tea pot sitting on the table with a tea cozy of soft grey over it and from the smell, the tea was earl grey. Alfred had set out the best china dessert plates and tea cups along with the silverware. Harley was impressed—everything looked perfect.

Jack flopped down onto one of the sofas and yanked Harley's hand so that she fell beside him. He grinned happily, wrapping his arm around her waist and pressing her hip close to his.

“Ready to lie through our teeth honeycakes?”

Harley giggled. “Yes I am puddin.”

They both giggled, leaning their heads together. Jack stroked her jaw gently with his free hand. “'Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.'” He licked her lips, tracing them with his tongue. Harley giggled her eyes staring into his. Jack gently traced her bottom lip with his thumb. Harley snapped at his thumb, causing him to chuckle, snatching his hand back. He let go of her chin and reached for the tea. Next to the pot sat a china sugar cup and a container of creamer which Jack moved closer before he started to pour; that was when they heard the deep bong of the front door bell.

“Ooh! I guess the doctor is here!” Jack grinned, seemingly eager now to meet with the psychiatrist.

A few moments later, after Jack had poured Harley's tea and was in the process of pouring his own, Alfred stepped into the room. “Master Jack, Miss Harleen; may I introduce Dr. Joan Leland from Arkham Asylum.”

The woman who entered the room and stood before them was lovely, with flawless dark skin, her black hair cut in a no nonsense pageboy that hit just under her ears. She had large light brown eyes and an easy smile. Jack was actually surprised by how young she was to be a doctor but then again, so was Harley. Dr. Leland was dressed in a knee-length dark navy pencil skirt, a simple light blue blouse and her doctors white coat which held her name tag precisely in place, which Harley thought was a bit much for a house call, but different doctors had different quirks...Dr. Leland wore her lab coat—Harley killed bad guys. In her hand she carried a simple briefcase. She smiled as Jack and Harley stood to greet her. Alfred left quietly, bringing the doors to a close without a sound.)

Jack stepped over to their visitor and put his hand out to her. “Pleasure to meet you Dr. Leland or can I call you Joan?”

Leland took his hand. “Joan is fine.”

They shook hands. Jack noticed she had a firm handshake and her smile seemed genuine.

Joan's first impression of Jack Wayne was that he was an extremely handsome man. Tall, slender, the makeup on his eyes made them leap out from his face. He was already a dynamic individual, she could tell that just from looking at him, his posture, body language; there was definitely a magnetism about him. The touches to his face, the black eyeliner and if she wasn't mistaken, lipstick on his lips highlighted his best facial features. She could see a shadow of his older brother in his looks. The two men were quite attractive, but whereas Bruce Wayne had a more “playboy” feel about him, Jack seemed much darker, as if a shadow lurked in Jack Wayne's psyche. But Leland would bet her career on it that both men had a “darkness” about them. She had read about the murder of their parents. Hell, everyone who lived in Gotham knew the story. She had to wonder how that event had really affected both men. But that was not what she was here for today.

Dr. Harleen Quinzel stepped forward and offered her hand. “I've read several of your articles and papers Dr. Leland. Especially your article on violence and mental illness,” Harley said with a smile while they shook hands. Dr. Leland actually blushed. “Well thank you Dr. Quinzel. I looked up your work before coming here. You wrote a very expressive article on how criminals need mental health counseling in lieu of retributive options. Quite impressive.”

It was Harley's turn to blush. “Thank you.”

Joan's first impressive of Dr. Quinzel was mostly based on Dr. Quinzel's scores in college and the papers she had written. And intelligent young woman like herself, pretty, the kind of woman who could have gone an easier route in life by using her looks, but instead had chosen a degree in mental health. Seeing Dr. Quinzel in person did not alter Joan's impression; a bright, attractive young woman.

Jack laughed softly. “You two need to compare notes sometime.” Then, with a bright smile, Jack motioned Joan over to the sofa across from them and picked up the tea pot again. “All right you doctors, come sit down. Tea, Joan?”

“Thank you, yes.” Joan sat across from them while Jack grinned and poured the tea easily with his off hand into the teacup that faced Dr. Leland. He set the pot down and pointed, “Sugar, cream and of course help yourself to the tray of foo— if you don't Alfred will pout.”

The three of them laughed. Dr. Leland made herself a modest plate while Jack and Harley did the same. Jack crossed his legs, resting his ankle against his opposite knee. Harley sat right against him, their shoulders pressed together. Leland opened her briefcase, pulled out a notebook and a small hand-held recorder. “Do you mind if I record our conversation?”

Jack glanced sideways at Harley who shrugged. “Not at all Dr. Leland, go right ahead.”

“Thank you, Mr. Wayne.” Leland set the recorder down on the table between them.

“Oh call me Jack, please.” Jack grinned.

“You can call me Harley instead of Dr. Quinzel, or Harleen works too,” Harley piped up just before she took a small bite of scone and snuggled in against Jack.

“Harley?” Leland asked.

Harley blushed glancing at Jack. “It's a nickname Jack gave me.”

Dr. Leland was actually burning with questions about how Jack Wayne and Dr. Quinzel met, but, that was not what this meeting was about either. She would have to bite down on her own personal curiosity and focus.

“Oh I see. So, Jack, Harley. Mr. Wayne, I mean your elder brother Bruce, tells me you two are engaged.”

Jack nodded. “Yep...though oddly I don't remember telling him.” He glanced at Harley. “Did you?”

Harley shrugged. “Certain things over the last day or so are a bit cloudy.” She giggled apologetically.

Leland nodded. “Well, all right. So you are both engaged. That's nice. May I ask how you met?”

Jack grinned. “How do people ever meet doctor? A happy accident.”

Harley giggled lightly and nodded. “Yes, we just ran into each other.”

Jack stroked Harley jaw, gazing into her eyes. “True love is finding someone whose demon's play well with yours.”

Harley smiled staring back at him. It was clear, that for a moment, they forgot about Dr. Leland in the room with them.

Joan had a lot more question, but she didn't pursue them at the moment. “Now I'm only going to ask a few questions today. Please feel free to tell me anything you wish, but don't feel that you have to communicate anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

Leland opened her notebook, folding the top away and pulled a pen out from her briefcase. “Well, I guess the first question I will ask is do you both feel that you need to see a psychiatrist after your experience?”

Jack, who had leaned back against the cushions of the sofa, his arm in its sling resting against his stomach looking completely relaxed. Harley was leaning against him. They both had their legs crossed, but they somehow looked like two of a kind to Dr. Leland. She couldn't put her finger on it, but there was something...united about them, more than simply a loving couple. It was as if they shared a secret. Leland pushed the thought away; she didn't want to make assumptions.

Harley held Jack's other hand in both of hers, their hands resting on his lap. Jack glanced at Harley who smiled, the two of them seemed to share a moment, a communication, as if they were speaking without words. Leland noticed how careful Harley was about Jack's wounded shoulder, getting as close to him as she could without causing him pain. Their hands, held together, seemed sweet on the surface, but she just couldn't shake the fact that something about their relationship, just from this first meeting was...abnormal. They were close, clearly, but she felt as if there was an underlayer of something—something else. Again she scolded herself, she was making judgments based on little to no information.

“No, I don't think either of us feels the need for a doctor,” Jack spoke softly.

Leland wrote this down then continued with a note that the two of them seemed to be able to silently communicate together. “So, I know it hasn't been that long since your experience, but any trouble sleeping?”

Harley giggled. “Nope, not at all.”

Jack grinned down at Harley wrinkling his nose at her playfully, then looked back at the doctor.

“Nope, we both sleep like the dead.”

They both laughed. Leland glanced over to Harley. “Surely you as a doctor know that therapy after such a difficult experience can be helpful.”

Harley smiled. “Yes, for people who actually need it. Not everyone needs therapy, doctor.” Harley gave Leland a steady yet challenging look. Leland frowned ever so slightly and wrote that down in her notes.

Jack grinned down at Harley before he leaned in planting a quick kiss against Harley's nose. Harley smiled, gazing into Jack's Wayne's eyes with something that Leland would have labeled almost...madness. A chill ran up her spine, but Leland quickly dismissed the thought. Wrong word and poor assumptions, she told herself. She didn't have a lot of experience with love herself, this was probably just that they were deeply in love with each other, still in the stages of lust too; that would explain the feeling she had, that was all. Harley tilted her head up. Jack growled softly just before he kissed her again, but this time on the lips. Despite Leland being in the room their kiss immediately transformed from innocent into something else. A deeply passionate kiss, the kiss was intimate enough that Leland felt uncomfortable. She turned her head away when the two seemed disinclined to stop their kiss. A quick glance showed that Jack had removed his hand from Harley's and had grabbed her knee tugging her closer, their tongues sliding against the other...neither one of them seemed concerned about her presence.

Leland frowned dropping her gaze and making a few notes. It was a little odd to her how dependent they seemed on each other, not the normal dependency of a couple, but something deeper, possibly problematic, especially considering their recent trauma. Granted this was a first meeting, but...They definitely seemed to be presenting a united front against her. At least that was what it felt like. She glanced up at them again. No, they were still kissing. Jack's hand had moved up to Harley's hip and Harley was holding onto him desperately, her hand on his throat, almost as if she were about to choke him. Harley's whole body turned to him in a sensual curve, as if she wanted to crawl right into his lap.

For Dr. Leland it almost felt as if she were being pulled into the eye of a storm.

On the outside they looked like a perfectly normal happy couple, but there was definitely something that seemed off. Leland averted her gaze again. She just couldn't put her finger on what it was, just a vibe. Perhaps it was just that they were being particular relaxed about their situation, which in and of itself could be a coping mechanism, and they were a newly engaged couple who clearly had different views about pubic displays of affection than most people. Maybe she was being old-fashioned. It wasn't like the rich weren't known for being eccentric. That was what this could simply be, an eccentric behavior, an intense coping mechanism, throwing themselves into their passion for each other after a near death experience.

Leland told herself to stop being judgmental and simply wait...hoping the kiss was all that was about to happen. Jack cleared his throat. “Sorry doc, after thinking I might have lost her...” Jack smiled as he traced Harley's jaw once more.

Harley giggled softly. “Sorry Dr. Leland.”

“It's quite all right and very understandable.” Leland had made note of Jack's statement and she sighed with relief; that was probably all it was that was bothering her. They had lived through hell and came out the other side with a greater appreciation of life. That made sense.

“Have you had any other issues since the incident? Fears that you did not have before? Like I say this is a short time after what happened, it may be too soon for either of you to recognize anything about your experience being reflected in your everyday life, but that is why I'm here, to help you through anything that might come up.” Leland smiled, making another note in her notebook. “Anyway, today I am going to leave you both some reading materials. I want to stress, this is not homework, just some information on PTSD for the two of you to look out for in each other. I told your brother that I will arrange a series of five visits over the next five weeks so that we can get together and talk, see how the both of you are doing. Does this sound good to the two of you?”

Jack and Harley looked into each others eyes. But it was Jack that spoke. “Sure thing doc!”

*

Leland went over the reading materials and then the lists of behaviors that they both needed to watch out for: agitation, irritability, hostility, social isolation, destructive behavior, flashbacks, fear, anxiety...after a bit, everything she said seemed to run together until Jack was ready to groan loudly with his boredom. But finally Leland stood.

“So, would the same time next week work for the two of you?” She had put everything back in her briefcase and was straightening her skirt. Again she noticed the way Jack Wayne and Dr. Harleen Quinzel looked at one another before he spoke. “Same time next week is fine with us doc!”

Jack stood, tugging Harley up with his good hand. “We'll walk you to the door.”

“That's not necessary.” She smiled, but Jack made a rude noise. “Of course it is! Besides, you say that, but I guarantee you that you'd get lost.” He chuckled, then said, “Everyone does.”

*

Jack and Harley stood in the doorway of Wayne Manor watching Dr. Leland drive off. Jack groaned. “God, five weeks of pretending!”

Harley laughed. “It'll put your brother's mind at ease.”

Jack made a face, a shadow crossing over his eyes. “I don't know about that. I think he is just looking for reasons to commit me to an asylum.” Harley frowned at the bitterness in his voice, but then Jack grinned making a complete turn around in his attitude. “I think we should do something fun now.”

“Fun?” Harley smiled running her hand up and down his back.

Jack grinned. “We are going to go to the Gotham City Country Club!”

Harley blinked. “Where? Why?”

Jack laughed. “We are going to play some tennis!”

Harley frowned. “Tennis? But Jack, your arm...”

Jack made a rude noise and waved his free hand in dismissal. “Blah, minor difficulty. Besides sweets, I'm ambidextrous! Come on, we need to change into our country club tennis costumes!” Jack giggled hurrying back inside. Harley hurried after him.

“I don't have a tennis outfit Jack!” Harley frowned and Jack laughed, starting toward the stairs. “Harley haven't you figured it out yet, one phone call I can have anything I want! You will have a hot sexy tennis outfit in a manner of minutes!” Jack kept giggling, taking the stairs two at a time with Harley grinning, stopping to yank her heels off so that she could keep up with him.

*

Within the hour Jack had a tennis outfit delivered for Harley.

They were upstairs in Jack's room and he was lying across the bed in his bedroom waiting for her to come out of the bathroom to model the outfit for him. Jack laid on the bed propped up by the pillows, wearing a pair of white shorts with deep purple stripes along the sides that almost looked black. He also had on a white polo shirt with an purple embroidered “J” on the breast; the white shirt had the same shade of purple trim along the ends of the short sleeves and along the edge of the collar. He wore a pair of Louis Vuitton Regatta sneakers, which had a Velcro strap instead of ties, also in white with the almost black, purple trim and a pair of purple socks. He wore a pair of round, purple-lensed sunglasses on the tip of his nose and had the heel of one foot lying on the toe of the other, his arm in the sling, his fingers tapping against his stomach while he waited.

Jack groaned loudly. “Come on Harley!! Don't make me go in there after you!”

“Shush! I'm hurrying!” Harley called back.

Jack groaned loudly again before he reached over and grabbed his cigarettes. He pulled one out, stuck it between his lips and was just about to light it when Harley finally came out. Jack stared, his mouth falling open, the cigarette disappearing into his sling. Jack had ordered her a sleeveless tennis dress, with crossed straps in the back. It fit against her perfectly, showing off the beauty of her figure. About mid-hip it dropped into a pleated skirt. Underneath she had on a pair of short white bike shorts (more like tight panties than shorts) paired with a pair of brightly colored Adidas tennis shoes. Harley had pulled her hair back into a high ponytail which bounced when she walked. As she came into the room she did a spin for him. Jack sat up and gave her a long, loud wolf-whistle. “Now that is sexy.”

She giggled. “You know I haven't played tennis since—well, I think high school! Geez! And only a few times before I focused on gymnastics.”

Jack grinned. “You'll be fine! Come on, we have some rackets hanging on the wall in the gym. AND we are going to take the Lexus! It will be fun!”

“Jack, tell me you aren't planning on driving?” Harley asked, stopping to look at Jack with her hands on her hips just as Jack jumped up easily from the bed and headed to the bedroom door.

Jack rolled his eyes. “Fine, I'm not driving. You are.”

Harley frowned. “Please tell me it's an automatic.”

Jack paused in the doorway and looked over his shoulder at her with a smirk. “Ah, I'll have to teach you how to drive manual one day...Come on, pumpkin!”

*

When they arrived outside the front of the manor, Harley was carrying the tennis bag with the rackets, some tennis balls and a few other odds and ends in one hand, her other hand in Jack's hand. She stopped dead upon seeing the car waiting for them on the gravel drive.

Harley gasped at the sight of the vehicle. Never had she seen such a gorgeous automobile, and since coming to Wayne Manor she had seen some nice cars. Jack grinned brightly like a kid with a new toy.

“This, my sweets, is a 2018 Lexus LC 500 delivered this morning for Bruce, BUT since he isn't here we are going to test it for him!”

Harley couldn't help but stare. The car was gorgeous, painted a dark caviar color that seemed to shimmer in the sunlight. Jack opened the driver's side door for her. “The interior is black leather with satin metallic trim AND it's an automatic.” Jack giggled.

Harley stood and stared inside the car. “Jack, Bruce is going to kill us if we take this car.”

Jack burst out laughing. “Oh, come on Harley! No he isn't. He'll be annoyed—he is always annoyed—but come on! We nearly died, we need to live!”

Jack held the keys in front of her face. “You know you want to drive it Harley. No one in Gotham has one.” Jack wiggled the keys making them jingle. “It can go zero to sixty in four seconds.”

Harley giggled and snatched the keys from him. “Get in!” she urged him with a giggle.

*

Harley, wearing a pair of oversized sunglasses, whooped loudly in excitement. “WOOPEE!!”

Jack yelled too. “YAHOO!!”

The Lexus sped down the road into Gotham with the two of them laughing. Jack was nearly in tears laughing while Harley hit the gas and the car raced into Gotham moving smoothly and nearly without a sound. They headed to the outskirts of the city where the Gotham City Country Club was located, where Harley took advantage of the lower traffic volume and wider lanes to open up the car.

*

Jack grinned as they approached the country club. He pointed at the tall stone fencing that surrounded the place; a plaque on the outside showed the name, Gotham City Country Club est. 1890. “Supposedly a Wayne has been a member of this country club from it's beginning in the 1890's with Bruce and me being the most recent, obviously. I haven't been here in ages, though; I was banned for a year after I set off fireworks inside the indoor pool when I was sixteen.”

Harley laughed. “You didn't?”

“I did. It was hilarious!! You should have seen everyone run!!” Jack slapped his knee laughing at the memory. “Bruce was so mad at me! Of course when is Bruce not mad at me? I figure if he is going to be constantly pissed, I might as well give him a reason.”

Jack chuckled and reached over to squeeze Harley's knee as he continued.

“Then I was banned again when I was twenty-two for putting flash grenades in the holes on the golf course. I was banned for two years that time.” Jack grinned brightly.

“Are you sure they are going to let you in?” Harley chuckled, glancing sideways at Jack as they pulled through the gates.

“Fuck yes! I'm a Wayne! They can't keep me out permanently as much as they would like to. The name carries too much weight and money and they fucking love Wayne money. So they can only ban me for short periods of time. Though I haven't been back since the flash grenades. So it's been...” Jack counted on his fingers flamboyantly. “Six years.” Jack laughed. “They will be so happy I'm back!”

*

The main building of the country club was a vast stone building with two floors that contained an elegant restaurant, a gym with all the latest in exercise equipment, an indoor pool and an inside running track. Outside, the club had a vast golf course, tennis courts, outside swimming pool and tracks for horse riding.

Jack pointed. “Just pull up through the drive there.”

Harley drove up and turned the car off as Jack instructed. A young man in a uniform with thick black hair, green eyes, the sort of face that would make cheerleaders swoon, wearing black slacks, a light blue polo shirt with the name of the country club on the breast, eagerly came out to the car which he was looking at like it was a naked woman who had just pulled up. Jack grinned getting out of the car at the same moment as Harley.

The young man had moved around to the driver's side and gone still when Harley stepped out. Harley wasn't paying him any attention, but the young man was staring at Harley like a hungry dog. Jack glanced over the roof of the Lexus, and stopped, staring at the young man. Jack's eyes narrowed, twitching slightly, watching the way the valet's stare had moved from the car to Harley. He was giving Harley a clearly visible up and down stare that Harley didn't notice at all. She bent over, reaching into the back to pull out the tennis bag. The kid looked right at her ass without even trying to be sneaky about it. Jack's hands balled into fist, pain rushed down from his wounded shoulder, but the pain only intensified his rage.

Harley stood up, turning around with the tennis bag when she noticed the man standing behind her.

“Oh hi! I'm guessing you want the keys right?” Harley smiled at the valet, who grinned. “Yes, ma'am. I'll go and park the car for you.” Jack's lip curled when Harley placed the keys in the young man's hand with a smile. The man's eyes kept following Harley even after she dropped the keys into his hand. She made her way around the car on her way to Jack, a seductive roll to her hips that was just for Jack, but the kid was staring at her hips openly. Jack's gaze was hard, but he was smiling. Harley walked into his embrace without another look at the valet, completely unaware of his staring at her. Jack turned and smiled, gazing over the rim of his sunglasses at the young man. “What's your name?”

The young valet, whose gaze had been on Harley's legs in the tennis dress, realized he was being spoken to and his eyes shot back up. “Oh, I'm Roger sir.”

Jack nodded. “Roger. I'll remember you.”

Jack grinned with a wink before he turned Harley toward the country club entrance.

Harley glanced at Jack with a question in her eyes, but Jack turned her around wrapping his good arm around her waist. “Let's go get a court Harls.”

He glanced over his shoulder once as the young man drove off with the car. The smile on his face did not reach his cold, now hard eyes.

*

The lobby inside the country club was a semi-circular room with a large information counter dominating the back end. The room had a high domed ceiling that held a large modern crystal chandelier. The room was decorated with several comfortable looking chairs and sofas scattered throughout the room and long glass coffee tables that all held vases full of fresh flowers. The windows circled both the ground floor and the second floor allowing a large amount of sunlight to shine into the lobby, which made the highly polished wood flooring, the vanilla walls and of course the glass tables, seem to shine and reflect the light back into the room, creating an illusion that the room was much bigger.

Jack led Harley up to the counter with a bright smile across his stitched face. “So, any of the tennis courts open today?” Jack leaned on the counter with his good arm and looked at the young woman standing behind the counter, whose name tag read, “Charlotte.”

She smiled, perfect lovely white teeth, long brown hair that had been perfectly styled, Charlotte wore a uniform similar to Roger outside. “Yes, we do. Please sign the book sir and may I have your member card?”

Jack grinned as he pulled out his wallet, opening it with one hand easily and sliding the card out with his thumb before flipping it to her between his forefinger and middle finger. He handled the wallet and card like Harley had seen him doing last night, easily and with one hand. She grinned, always impressed with him. Jack set his wallet on the counter and signed the book in a fanciful script. “Jack Wayne and fiancee,” he said out loud while he wrote, glancing sideways at Harley and winking at her.

The young woman had taken Jack's member card over to the computer where she was typing information in when she stopped and stared at the computer. “Could you excuse me for a moment, Mr. Wayne?”

Jack smiled with a twinkle in his eyes. “Of course!”

The young woman smiled at them both, though Harley thought that the woman had a slightly confused look on her face.

Harley frowned and watched Charlotte leave. “What's up you think?”

Jack giggled. “She's going to get the manager because I'm sure there is something in my file that popped up on the computer when she put my name in.” Jack leaned against the counter. “Then he will come out and lecture me about behaving myself even though it's been six years. Or at least warn me about doing anything that might get me banned again.” Jack chuckled and then muttered. “I wonder if the manager is still Mr. Dulmacher?”

“Mr. Dulmacher?” Harley asked, but that was when a portly man in a black suit exited from a set of doors off to the right (probably offices Harley mused) and stepped up to the counter. He had thick hair that was brushed back with an almost pompadour style, clearly dyed blonde. (At least Harley was pretty confident it was dyed. She had never seen that shade of blonde in nature; plus it made his hair look like a wig, it was so unnatural looking on him.) He had a perfectly trimmed mustache and goatee that were nearly white and a pair of half-circle silver framed glasses perched on the end of an impressively long nose.

When Jack saw the man, he burst out into laughter. “OH MY GOD!! Bobby, you're still the manager?”

The older man pressed his lips together forming a hot, white line of anger. “I would appreciate it, Mr. Wayne, if you would call me Mr. Dulmacher—or at least my proper name, Robert.”

Jack chuckled shoving up his sunglasses so that the light reflected off the purple lenses. “Sure thing Bobby. So, you here to lecture me?”

Mr. Dulmacher's eyes twitched with annoyance, but he continued. “I'm sure you are aware of the rules, Mr. Wayne; they haven't changed a great deal since last you were our guest.”

Jack waved him off with his good hand. “Of course, of course.”

Mr. Dulmacher took a deep breath turning his attention to Harley. “And you are?”

Jack piped up. “My fiancee, Harley Quinn. We are just here to play a little tennis Bobby. I promise, no trouble.” Jack had dropped his good arm down and elbowed Harley. She glanced down and saw that Jack had his fingers crossed.

Mr. Dulmacher sighed. He glanced at Jack's arm in the sling and thought to himself, “Maybe Mr. Wayne will behave. He's been away from the club for a few years perhaps... and he is here with his fiancee. She might be the calming effect Mr. Wayne needs. Besides, I can't keep him from the club.”

Jack was smiling in satisfaction. He knew there was nothing Mr. Dulmacher could do to him until he actually did something, and then the only thing he could do would be to ban him for a set period of time. Bobby was screwed. Jack's smiled widened a fraction.

“We—I—appreciate your paying attention to the rules. Please enjoy yourselves.” Mr. Dulmacher said stiffly. He gave Jack and Harley a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes just before he walked off. Jack chuckled.

“I think that man was here on the day they opened the doors in 1890's! He probably came with the land.” He giggled.

Harley chuckled too as she picked up the bag. “You are bad Jack.”

Jack smiled pleasantly. “I know.”

Jack glanced at Charlotte. “I'm assuming the tennis courts are still in the same location?”

“Oh, yes sir.” Charlotte giggled. “You can either walk out this way and take the path to the left or you can use a golf cart, sir.”

“Thank you ever so much Charlotte.” Jack smiled pleasantly, eager to be off.

“You are very welcome Mr. Wayne, Miss Quinn. Have a good time!” Charlotte waved with a bright smile as they walked away.

*

Jack and Harley walked to the tennis courts, hand in hand while the sun shone down brightly. The walking path was crushed white stone with brightly colored flower beds running along the sides. The courts were located a short distance away from the main country club building. There were six sets of clay tennis counts, all with a faint bluish tint. There was a high black chain link fencing that surrounded the courts and the whole area was then surrounded by carefully groomed pine or spruce trees; Harley couldn't be sure since she little about trees, but she admitted that the view was pleasant. When they arrived at the courts there were only a couple of people out here playing. One person was actually using a ball machine by themselves, the balls flying across the court. Jack had to stop himself from bursting out laughing when one of the balls hit the guy in the stomach.

Harley snorted on a laugh too. Jack, snickering, quickly motioned Harley over to the side where the entrance gate stood partly open.

They chose an unoccupied court to the far left, away from everyone else—that way no one would bother them and they could play any way they wanted. Harley set the bag down at the corner of the court and pulled out the two rackets, handing Jack one and taking the other. She pulled out the container of fresh, new tennis balls and the two of them walked onto their court.

Jack chuckled. “I guess you're going to have to do the servicing pumpkin.”

Harley grinned. “Will do puddin!”

They each took their side of the court. Harley grinned at Jack and held her racket and ball ready as she wiggled her hips playfully. “Ready?”

“As I'll ever be!” Jack called back, holding the racket in his left hand and grinned brightly. Harley laughed and tossed the ball up, smacking it easily across the net. Over the next half hour Jack and Harley played. Harley was laughing whenever Jack would jump up and hit the ball yelling at the top of his lungs. “YAHTZEE!!”

His antics had them receiving dirty looks from the other people on the courts, but Jack wasn't paying any attention. Harley was laughing and started yelling “YAHTZEE” back every time she hit the ball until they were both laughing to the point of tears. They were having such a good time just messing around that they completely forgot about anyone else being on the courts.

Jack ran across the court, hitting the ball one handed back at her and yelled.

“Jump higher Harley!! It makes your skirt go up!! I love it!!” Jack laughed.

Harley giggled turning around and bending over after she hit the ball, wiggling her butt at him.

“Hit this Jack! I dare you!”

“Oh I will, just wait 'til we get home!” Jack waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively and hit the ball back. Harley squealed, twisting around and barely hit the ball back in time. Jack yelped laughing, missed the ball and turned around. He saw a couple standing there watching them with smirks plastered on their faces.

“Jack Wayne. Now isn't this a surprise?” The man's voice dripped with clear derision. He was what Harley considered a “Ken doll” type of guy. He was tall, blonde with hair styled to the point it resembled plastic or synthetic hair. He had dark blue squinty eyes, a chiseled jaw and a sculpted nose. He had one of those tans that spoke to hours in a tanning booth rather than being outside, and the type of body that said he had paid for a lot of it, with every inch of him being sculpted to perfection, but with a clear artificial look to him. He wore a tennis outfit that had that polished, expensive look, every inch of him in pure white. He held a tennis bag over his right shoulder with his hip cocked and an arrogant sneer on his lips.

Harley felt her lip immediately curl in irritation; this was definitely the type of guy she had encountered in college who felt that he could buy anything, including people. Next to him was a young woman that came up to his shoulder. She was slim to the point of not looking healthy with a bleached, almost white blonde ponytail and watery light grey eyes, but with that fake cheerleader smile, her teeth so white they looked plastic and breasts that had that “too perky” look that was usually associated with breasts that were probably more plastic than flesh. She also had the perfectly sculpted nose and lips that had had one too many botox treatments.

Jack stopped and grinned. “Well if it isn't Troy Randell and his little girlfriend Tiffany.”

Tiffany, who surprised Harley with her high pitch whiny voice, droned back. “His wife now.” She held out her left hand showing off a diamond the size of an acorn.

Jack snorted. “Oh shit! Really? Well, I suppose you two are a match made in hell. So what do you want Troy?”

Harley had walked around the net to stand beside Jack. Jack reached around Harley with his good arm, wrapping his arm around her waist and noticing the way Troy was looking at her, a look that was a cross between a sneer and very clear lust.

Troy narrowed his eyes at Jack. “I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw you. Aren't you supposed to be in Arkham or something by now?”

Tiffany jeered. “Didn't you see on the news the other day Troy? Someone kidnapped him.”

Troy laughed in what Harley thought was a slightly higher pitch than was comfortable to bear; she had a quick image of her smashing her tennis racket into Troy's perfectly bought teeth. “Guess they couldn't stand you either,” the blonde man said with a smile that was anything but pleasant.

Harley felt Jack stiffen next to her, his arm tightening around her slightly, the tennis racket pressing against her a little painfully as he tried to control his temper.

“So, Jack, who'see your friend?” Troy raked his eyes over Harley. Harley could feel the building fury in Jack, the tension in his muscles, the way his arm tightened around her waist, even the subtle change in Jack's breathing.

“This is my fiancee Troy.” Jack managed to say the name in such a way that uttering the name sounded as if it tasted bad on his tongue. Jack smiled, though it was a flat smile. Then Jack hissed a whisper at Harley. “We were in school together and here.”

Troy gave Harley a jerk of his chin. “Hello Harley.” He said her name with a curl of his lip.

Tiffany pursed her lips together and gave Harley a haughty look. “You clearly don't belong to the club do you?”

Harley frowned, but Jack responded. “Is there something you actually wanted Troy or are you just going to stand around sucking in all the oxygen and breathing out bullshit? If it's nothing important, go away.”

Jack started to turn around when Troy hissed, “You know what Wayne? You are a blight on the good name of this club. They shouldn't let crazy people like you in here. Doesn't matter how much money your family has—it can't make you have any class.” Troy frowned glancing at Jack's hand holding the racket. "Is that nail polish you're wearing? What are you some sort of fruit?"

Jack smiled pleasantly. "You know Troy, acting like a dick won't make yours any bigger."

Jack turned around with Harley, rolling his eyes as he continued. “Geez Troy, you just cut me to the quick. I don't know how I will ever recover from that insult.”

“You know what, you think you are so great Jack? I challenge you to a game of tennis. Winner stays at the club, loser never shows up again.” Troy grinned, wrinkling his nose.

Harley hissed under her breath at Jack. “I'm not that good at an actual game Jack.”

Jack leaned in close to her ear and whispered back. “Oh, we aren't going to play to win.” He gave her a bright grin and winked. “We are just going to hurt them.” Harley gave him a quizzical look and a small smile before Jack turned back to Troy. “You know, Troy, I’m jealous of people that don’t know you. Anyway... playing against a wounded opponent just makes you look pitiful, but because I hate your guts, I accept.”

Troy grinned. “Be prepared to lose you loser.”

Jack made like he was going to vomit. “Ouch. I hurt Troy. Geez Troy, I bet your brain feels as good as new, considering you never use it.” With that Jack walked with Harley to the other side of the net.

Once they had put some distance between themselves and the Randell's, Jack leaned into Harley giggling. “Okay cupcake, this is what we are going to do. It's true: in our current state we can't beat them and I'm betting Troy knows that. Which is why he is doing this. If I was at my best he knows I would mop the floor with him. So we aren't going to worry about winning, we are just going to concentrate on hurting them.”

“Hurting them how?” Harley glanced over to see Troy and Tiffany stretching and bouncing in place like they were about the participate at Wimbledon.

Jack giggled. “I want you to aim for them. Hit the ball toward them—legs, torso, face...whatever, just try to hit them as hard as you can with the ball.”

Harley snorted and then laughed. “Okay Jack!”

Jack grinned at her, dropping his racket to grab her by the back of the head and plant a knee melting kiss on her lips. He pulled back with a grin. “Let's teach them a lesson baby.” Then he smacked her on the rear.

*

Troy took a few practice swings. “Why don't you losers serve.”

Jack tossed the ball to Harley with a grin. “Go ahead pooh.”

Harley smiled and winked at Jack taking up her position. She narrowed her eyes, looking toward Tiffany. Jack happily watched while Harley bounced on her feet just before she tossed the ball up once, twice then on the third she slammed the ball with her racket right to Tiffany. The ball zipped through the air and slammed hard into Tiffany's thigh before she could deflect it with her racket.

Harley giggled and yelled. “YAHTZEE!”

Jack burst out laughing.

Tiffany squealed. “OW! You STUPID BITCH!”

Harley pushed her sunglasses up her nose and shrugged with a perfectly innocent smile. “Fault. Sorry?”

Troy grabbed the ball and threw it back over the net; Jack caught it one-handed.

“Tell your girl to serve it right!” Troy yelled.

Jack grinned at Harley over the top of his glasses. “I guess I'm to tell you to serve it correctly.”

“Oh dear, did I serve poorly. Sorry!” Harley giggled. “I'll do better this time!”

With a wicked grin at Jack, Harley served the ball and Tiffany hit it back, but Jack was the one to hit the ball when it came over the net, aiming it for Troy. Troy dashed forward, but the ball hit him right in shoulder with a dull WHACK!

“Ow!” Troy yelped with a stumble and nearly dropped his racket.

“Yahtzee!” Jack snickered and shot a glance sideways at Harley. “Hey Troy, you should really try smiling more!”

Troy narrowed his eyes and rolled his shoulder. “You idiot! Fine, we're serving!”

“Oh you go right ahead, Troy!” Jack waved with his racket and whispered out of the corner of his mouth to Harley. “He'd raise the entire IQ of the state just by leaving it. Wonder how long it will take to figure out what game we're playing?”

Harley giggled “Too long, I'm sure.”

Jack laughed and smacked Harley playfully on the rear with his racket before they moved back to position. Harley bent her knees, holding her racket at the ready and winked at Jack, which had her fiance grinning brightly. Troy took a few moments of pretending to hit the ball until he finally served the ball toward Harley. She danced across the court, hitting the ball with all her might at Troy. The ball flew over the net and smacked Troy in the hip. Troy yelped and stumbled. Jack and Harley laughed until they were tears in their eyes.

Tiffany yelled. “You did that on purpose!”

Harley blinked, looking innocent. “I would never! I'm just not very good, I'm afraid.”

Tiffany jerked her shoulders in what Harley supposed was intended to be indignation. “Obviously, you cow!”

Harley blinked in disbelief, standing up with one hand on her hip and her racket over her shoulder. “Whoa, cow? Really, that the best you got Tiffany? I swear you are proof that evolution can go in reverse!”

Jack snorted, nearly doubling over with laughter. “That's my girl!”

Tiffany wiggled with frustration. Harley laughed. “Shut up Tiffany! You'll never be the man your mother is! You gonna serve or just stand there looking like an ostrich?”

Tiffany's bottom lip trembled as she looked at Troy. “What did she just call me?”

Troy growled in frustration. “Just serve the ball Tiffany!”

Tiffany, pouting, grabbed up the ball and served without even attempting to line up the shot. This time Jack hit the ball back, a normal hit. Harley smiled guessing where Jack was going, take a few normal hits at the ball before aiming again...throw the victim off and make them think it was over before you whammy them again. The ball bounced, making a smart smacking sound as it hit the court or was swatted by rackets. They played normally for a good two minutes before Jack took a hard slam at the ball when Tiffany smacked it back toward him. Jack sent the ball ricocheting across the net and straight into Troy's chest knocking the air from him with the bonus of knocking Troy off his feet, his ass slamming into the court with a satisfying smack.

Jack grinned brightly and whispered only loud enough for Harley to hear, “Yahtzee!” before out loud he said, “OOPS! Sorry!”

Troy coughed a few times, struggled to his feet. Tiffany raced over to him and rubbed his back as Troy stayed bent over for another minute trying to catch his breath.

Troy finally stood up and growled, “Get another ball Tiffany.”

Tiffany looked ready to argue, but she pressed her lips together instead and ran over to their bag. She pulled out a container of tennis balls, rolled one out and moved back over to Troy who stood straight again. He snatched the ball from Tiffany and narrowed his eyes at Jack. He didn't give Jack and Harley a chance to get into position before he served the ball. Harley was the one to get the ball; she raced over, leapt into the air. For a moment, Jack was entranced at the sight of Harley as she leaped into the air and the little skirt ruffled up. Her bike shorts underneath highlighted her ass perfectly, which brought a big grin to Jack's face. Harley slammed the ball hard enough that it made a whooshing noise through the air and slammed hard into Tiffany's fake boobs with a hard smack. Tiffany flew right off her feet to land on her ass, then flat onto her back with a low groan.

“Uhh...” She laid there and didn't get up.

Troy was so angry that he grabbed the ball without checking on Tiffany and returned it with a hard hit, the ball zipping quickly over the net at Jack, but Jack grinned brightly and was ready as he held his ra