When I reached Selina's apartment with my things, I parked my car in the alleyway; knowing full well that it was illegal, but not caring one bit.
I climbed up the stairwell to the top floor and dropped my suitcase in front of the last door on the right side of the hallway, and rapped three times on the door. Despite the early hour I heard the familiar squeak of the floorboards as Selina came to inspect the peephole. I heard a small intake of breath and a the click of the door unlocking.
When the door swung open I saw Selina... with a drastic haircut.
Disregarding the sudden lack of hair atop Selina's head, I rushed myself into her arms and began to cry... not trying so desperately to hold it all together, as I had earlier.
Whilst in her arms I kicked off my heels into her apartment, quickly resolving to change into my pair of white Chuck Taylor's as soon as possible.
We were still standing in her doorway, and I was still sobbing into her shoulder. At this time I couldn't give a single damn to where I was, I was just grateful to have a friend who cared enough for me to be there. To be a shoulder to cry on.
• • • • • • • • • • •
You could practically see the play of emotions across Batman's face, and his electric blue eyes.
Suddenly Batman drops me and his fist. But instead of allowing me to move, like I thought he would, he but his arm across my shoulders. His trademark ninja spikes that protruded from his forearms were just inches from grazing my chin. From this perspective they looked deadly sharp.
Bats leaned all his weight and his left arm against me and his right hand went to his utility belt to fish around in one of the pockets. Through all of this Batman's gaze never left mine, and I couldn't bring myself to leave it either. Batman suddenly stopped fishing in his pocket and squinted his eyes and smiled once more at me.
God. Two smiles in one day. Holy f*ck.
"Wh-whats up, B-batty?" Damn. Even I could hear the studder in my own voice. Damn nervous studder. Damn genetics. Damn Batman!
"Oh, nothing. Just... this." Batman holds up with his thumb and index finger a little yellow pill- the one Strange called Ridilin.
Before I could hush my emotions I felt my eyes go wide and my pulse quicken.
Batman's hand inched closer to my face, pill still firm in his grasp. Instinctively my left hand flutters at the lack of a pocket in my pants. I close my eyes for a fraction of a second and smirk. I wasn't even wearing my normal clothes. Hell, I didn't even have pockets, so why in God's name would I still have my pocket knife?
I open my eyes as I smack my head back into the wall out of frustration.
"Missing something, Joker?" Batman paused his advancing hand and tipped his head a little to the right.
"Nope. I'm just fine." I responded quickly. Too quickly. Dammit!
Batman shrugged his caped shoulders and resumed inching his hand closer to my face- weaponized with the tiny, but menacing, pill.
His hand was now centimeters from my lips. Involuntarily, I clamped them shut, and clenched my teeth together.
"Open up, Joker." Batman growled. I shook my head furiously. No way in hell was I opening up!
"Joker. Open up your mouth now, or, of course you could apologize." What? ME? APOLOGIZE? Did I hit Batman in the head too hard during our last tiff? Again I shook my head furiously, some of my hair fell over my forehead, I wanted to smooth it back- damn me and my stupid curly hair... It never behaved, kinda like me, unruly and couldn't be tamed no matter how much damned hair gel- mouse- whatever you put in it.
"Fine. I'll have to pry your mouth open then." Batman put down his right hand and dropped his dominating gaze- I seized the perfect moment to get away from Batman.
I flexed my biceps and pecks, and shoved hard against Batman. He didn't even budge, but in turn he shoved me harder into the metal wall and my head snapped back into the metal wall, black dots bloomed in my vision. I felt a stabbing pain in my neck, then a pang of metallic taste in the back of my throat.
My knees buckled and I slumped into the embrace of Batman. By this point my eyes regained their vision and I saw Bats stow away an injection needle with the plunger pushed all the way to the end.
If my eyes could have gone wide, I'm sure they would have, Bats sure had some nerve! What the hell did he inject me with anyway? Batman held me up under my arms, and dropped me heavily onto the cot. My head lolled over to the left side, to the wall and away from Bats. How entirely undignified.
"I know you can hear me, Joker. I have Injected you with a small dose of Mivacron. It causes temporary paralysis and possible hypotension. So it would be best of you to cooperate. You will regain movement in your limbs within five minutes, and by that time I want to know weather or not I will be forcibly giving you you medications or if you will be taking them of your own will. Then there is also the option of apologizing. It's all up to you, Joker. You have four minutes to decide."
I couldn't see Batman's face, but you could plainly hear exasperation, frustration, and anger in his deep voice.
What am I to do? I can't take those pills, I can't apologize, and I certainly don't want Batman shoving his hand down my throat. I stared at the wall, not wanting to think about Batman's ultimatum. My breath hitched in my throat... Hypotension... I felt my heart begin to thump unevenly, I couldn't seem to catch my breath... I felt like I was slipping...
Cold, gloved, hands flipped my body over. I stared into the deep blue eyes of my crazy-ass enemy.
"Joker?" His voice was garbled, like he was gargling marbles while he was trying to talk.
"Joker!" He thrust me up by the collar of my shirt. I felt heavy and limp. I still could not breathe and my heart was fluttering inside of my chest at a dangerous pace.
I held my bags that contained my few worldly possessions. I looked to see Harley. Tears stained her face as she walked over to me.
"J-Jason. I told myself when this day happened I was not going to cry. Hell I told myself when this day happened we would go together." I pulled Harley into a hug as I stroke her hair.
"My sweet Harley Quinn I will never forget you. Ever. We will write everyday I swear. I love you."
"I-I l-love you t-too." Harley stammered as she falls into another crying fest. Selena comes up and hugs Harley from behind.
"See ya Mr.Joke Sir. Don't drive your new family crazy OK?" I laugh and hug Selena who was still hugging Harley.
"I will try my best Kit-Kat." Selena punches me in the arm.
"I am not food."
"Now you know how I feel." That makes Harley smile.
"I really do love you puddin'." I roll my eyes and turn to Miss. Numb, releasing Harley and smile.
"Well you will never have to see me again." Miss. Numb rolls her eyes.
"So I hope." she says.
"I really just hope they wont bring you back because of your problem."
"You have Marfan's Syndrome. That is why you are so tall. It will shorten your life span too." She shrugs as if this is no big deal. Oh. My. God. Harley was right. Being so tall is bad for me. It is going to kill me. I can't tell her I don't want her to worry. Now that I am leaving she will do nothing but worry.
"What's wrong?" Harley asks staring up at me with those big blue eyes of her's. That girl has got a lot going for her.
"Umm... Nothing. Just thinking about what I will do without you."
"Awww same here."
"I love you." I pull her into another tight hug. I didn't want to let go ever.
"Me to." She said, her face buried in my chest.
How could I tell her? How can I not tell her?
I regain my senses all at once. I am quickly aware that someone's lips are on mine. I keep my eyes closed for a moment and allow myself to fantasize that it is my Harlequin's lips. Then the lips are gone and that's when a large fist slams down on my breast bone.
"BREATHE damn you!" Batman growls. THE HELL? BATMAN?
I sit bolt upright and my eyes snap open.
"What the actual f*ck B-man." My voice was gruffer than usual, like I had been suffering from a cold for several weeks and my head was pounding like a drum. I pulled the sleeve of my shirt over the palm of my hand and rubbed my lips fervently.
"You were dead! I didn't know that you would actually stop breathing! I-I had to do something!" Bats waved his hands around in the air while he was talking, adding emphasis to his words.
"Well what if I was better off dead? Huh?" I crossed my arms forcefully.
"Joker, I don't kill people. And if I think someone needs to stay alive I will help them. You know this." Batman raised his eyebrow at me incredulously.
"Well then, you think I disserve to be alive, then?"
"Of course. You may be mentally unsound right now, but with a little rehabilitation I think you could could be okay. You are young Joker. You still have a chance." Batman frowned at me and twisted his face in confusion.
"Are you crying Joker?"
I uncrossed my arms and ran my long fingers under my eyes, and sure enough they were damp. I balled my hands into fists and rubbed the tears away. What the hell is this?! I haven't cried in almost twelve years. God, all these emotions in one day!
"No..." I looked into Bats' eyes and relented. I huffed out a breath of air.
"Eh, what have I got to loose? Hell yeah I was crying. I just died for a minute, and you kissing me and then punching me in the chest really didn't help. I can estimate that my heart is beating at about 150 paces per minute. And would you like to know something even scarier?" I crossed my legs Indian-style, leaned foreword, and put my elbows on my knees.
"Bats, I am afflicted with something called Marfan's Syndrome. You know what that is?" Batman squinted his eyes and shook his head once.
"Well, it makes my bones weak and makes me abnormally tall. Conveniently everything else about me is enlarged. So that means-"
"Your heart." Batman finishes. I smirk. Batman and I both knew what an enlarged heart meant.
"Exactly." I put my chin in my hands, and close my eyes.
The silence was lengthy. Until I opened my eyes and looked at Batman, I quirked my eyebrow.
"I'm sorry. Okay? So now you don't have to give me my pills and you can leave. I. Am. Sorry. I. Insulted. Your. Girlfriend." I keep my mouth in a hard line and try not to think about the words I've just said. I didn't really mean them, of course. I just want Batman to leave me the hell alone.
"Thank you. And for the record, Barbara is not my girlfriend. She is more of a daughter than anything."
"Hehe sounds like win-cest if you ask me." I giggle. Batman glares at me.
"I-I mean... Well hell, I mean what I mean. I'm not doing anymore apologizing tonight." I give my best I-have-zero-f*cks-to-give look to Batman. He shrugs and turns to leave. But looks over his shoulder at me.
"Have you ever loved, Joker?" He asks.
"What do you think?" I respond dryly.
"Answer for an answer?" Hmm... Intriguing... I'll bite.
"Yes, many, many years ago. And yourself?" I say.
"Yes. And this woman, if she were to see you now... Do you think she would reciprocate these feelings?" My eyes sting. I look down and shut my eyes.
"I already know she doesn't. Now would you leave? I'd like to relish in my insanity alone, if you don't mind."
I look up, but Batman has gone.
Theatrical psycho, I think bitterly to myself.
I straiten my spine and begin to rub my temples. All of these ridiculous emotions and memories were giving me a migraine, or maybe it was it was the fact that I was deprived of oxygen for a little more than four minutes; that's gotta do something to you. I decided that it had to be some combination of the two.
I leaned back on my cot and rubbed my face; the white, red, and black colors easily flaking off. The orderlies hadn't even attempted to remove it, which was awfully sweet of them but I didn't have a chance of re-applying it either. So now the face that I had made for myself was now slowly flaking off, attempting to show what was under the mask of insanity; what was behind the wall of laughter and pocket knives. Hell, I didn't even know for sure what was behind there.
But my subconscious had a pretty damn good idea; I thought, as I drifted off into a confusing conglomerate of colors and memories of my Harley Quinn.
I awoke to the sensation of being watched. I turned over and noticed my three girls standing in a line.
SCHarley was brandishing a black cane which was slung over her shoulders smiling devilishly,
DHarley was leaning on a needle of epic proportions with her lips pursed trying to conceal a coy smile,
and Doctor Harley looked as pissed as the fury of hell with her arms folded over her chest tightly. In each fist she held an object, in her left she held a vase with a single black rose, and in her other she held a small square piece of paper. I eyed her outfit- it was different from the other times I had hallucinated her... this time she had on glasses, a white turtleneck, and a pair of black trousers. Her shoes were also different, this time, instead of heels, this hallucination had on a dingy pair of white Chuck's.
"Well, Hello." I said groggily to the three of them. SCHarley and DHarley both shook their heads in synchronization and disappeared. Strange.
"Hello Joker. How was your nap?" Her voice dripped with malice. God, I hadn't seen her apparition but those mere 3 times. I didn't touch her... so why the hell would she be so angry with me?
"Well aren't you angry this time?" I tried in vain to make her smile by laughing. Her eyes just squinted further behind her round glasses.
"Wouldn't you be just a little irked if you found out that you were being stalked by a crazy person?" Again, her voice was just seething with anger- and hatred.
"Oh, darling! Who is stalking you? Hatter? Scarecrow? Zsasz?"
"You! You are stalking me!" Harley stomped over to the side of the bed, put her objects down on the floor beside her, and thrust me up by the collar of my shirt. Such an interactive hallucination!
"Dear, you're going to stretch out the collar of my shirt. Bats has already been tossing me about this day... I can already hear the seams breaking." She curled her lip up and did nothing but stare at me.
"How about we put a smile on that face, sweets?"
In that moment, I acted upon a whim. Already on my knees, being held up by the deceptive strength of the doctor, I wrapped my hands around her wrists and yanked her into a kiss.
• • • • • • • • • • •
What the hell was going on!
I certainly had no idea. None at all.
I.. just stood there. Eyes wide, on my tiptoes, wrists held tightly- which hurt like hell because of my new bruises there thanks to Jack-, caught in a lip lock with the Joker.
J-just what the hell.
He released my wrists and I backed myself up into the corner of the cell, the only thing keeping me upright was the hard, cold, wall behind me. I was shivering, and I felt tremors lick up my spine like snakes, an unfamiliar emotion causing them. My eyes were so wide that they began to hurt from being in that position for so long. I felt bile raise in my throat and I clamped my hand hard over my mouth to keep myself from vomiting. I was still shaking, now I recognized the feeling running through my veins as hatred. Pure unadulterated hatred. I felt like I was going to split open because I was shaking so hard- it wasn't that delicate cry shaking- no- this was "good god, is that woman vibrating?!" kind of shaking.
The worst part of it all? He was just kneeling there, eyes closed, with a ridiculous grin on his lips, which was made even more terrifying with his scars that curved his mouth in a perpetual smile.
Composure. I've got to maintain my composure. It was the only thing I had.
"Joker." My voiced seethed. Yikes. Even to myself I sounded pretty terrifying. I cleared my throat, and tried again.
"Joker." This time I sounded stiff as a board. I could work with this.
His eyes remained closed,
"Shush, doll. You're ruining the moment." I balled my hands into fists. That's IT!
I stomped back over to the madman and without putting another thought to it- I bitch-slapped him right across the face.
His eyes snapped open. Staring wide-eyed at me.
"Um, ouch." He knitted his eyebrows together in confusion. His tone sounded more confused than hurt. He looked down at his hands which were now in his lap.
"Damn right, ouch! What the hell was that?" I poked him in the shoulder.
He didn't respond.
"Um, excuse me. Doctor Quinzel here! Talk to me goddamn y-" Joker suddenly poked me in the stomach. His eyes went wide, and then grabbed my right hand, which I promptly ripped away.
"Y-you're real?" His wide eyes looked up into my squinted ones.
"Of course I'm real. What else would I be, a hallucination?" He winced at my tone, and looked down.
"You have no idea how possible that could be."
"Have you been hallucinating? I thought Director Strange gave you your medications at eight!" So, basically right now I was dealing with a fully-functional psychotic. Greaaat.
"He tried. Even got the damn Bat here. That didn't work either... Bats also almost killed me, you should know. Stopped breathing for four minutes." He shifted his position so he was no longer kneeling, but rather sitting with his back up against the wall. He bent his left knee up and wrapped his arms around it, shaking his head.
"Regardless. You have some explaining to do, Joker." I picked up the poloroid from the floor and held it up in front of his face. I was still shaking out of anger, and my hand wouldn't stay still. He looked up.
"Well, sweetheart, I think the real question here is, what the hell you are doing with one of my photographs." Joker snatched the picture away and held it in front of his face. He sighed audibly, almost as if out of relief.
"Probably because you gave it to me, stupid. I think though, the more appropriate question is why do you have a picture of me with Jack?" I was shaking so hard still, so I barely noticed my shudder. Jack and I had been talking about our plans for my birthday, when Jack noticed I had the picture. He asked me why I had been going through his things, I argued that Joker gave it to me. That's when Jack went totally ape-sh*t, telling me that I was a lier, and whore. He kept muttering nonsense about how I shouldn't g through his things and I shouldn't wear dresses that showed my chest. Two totally unrelated subjects, and him refusing to listen to my story, and my refusal to listen to him, if he wouldn't return the courtesy resulted in Jack pulling up to the side of the road. Then dragging me into a dark alleyway and beating me into submission. I only assumed that the picture was him and me, because I am certain I would recognize myself in pictures, and I honestly can't remember anyone else from my past other than Jack and Selina.
"Who is this Jack?" Joker sneered Jack's name like it was a disease. I actually felt myself laugh a little. The bastard was a fu*king disease.
"Jack Ryder to be exact, he's my ex-fiancee." Joker tipped his head a little to the right and looked up at me.
"Jack Ryder, as in channel three news anchor Jack Ryder?"
"The very same."
"Hmm, I wonder why I have a sudden urge to brutally murder this Jack Ryder." Joker laughed low and dangerous, he stared deep into my eyes, almost like he knew the secret of Jack. Instinctively I pull down the sleeves of my doctor's coat, and lift up the collar of my turtleneck. Joker smiles knowingly and drops his gaze, back to the picture.
"I don't know... would you like to explore that train of thought, Jason?" My shaking had stopped. I was finally somewhat back in control.
"Jason, what? I think y-you mean Joker." Joker eyes me suspiciously.
"Oh, did I say Jason? Sorry." That wasn't like me, making mistakes in identity wasn't something that I did.
Joker nodded his head. I sensed that he wasn't going to say anything else.
"Well. That was certainly an eventful session. If you wouldn't mind, maybe you could refrain from kissing me in further sessions. As for the picture, I am still iffy on who's it really is, so for now you can keep it. But Joker, if I find any more of these-" I pick up the black rose from the floor "-in my office I am going to have to let a certain Bat know. You under stand me?"
"Okay, I will not kiss you anymore, unless you ask, hon, and for the record I never did give you that flower- and if I were to give you a flower it would be a large bouquet of white roses." Joker smiles in- what appeared to be- a seductive manner. I just rolled my eyes and exited the cell as quickly as I could- though before the cell door slammed shut I whirled around, and caught a glimpse of an emotion in Joker's eyes that I never expected.