"Puddin! Please, don't kick me out again! You know how much I love you!" Harley pleaded for permission to stay, but Joker had had enough!
"HAAAARLEY! I will not have you screwing up every little plan I make! OUT!" He pointed toward the door and threw her purse across the room. "And take the stupid mongrels with you!"
Harley slowly got up off her knees. "Puddin. Mistah J. Please." She tried to wrap him in a hug, but he shoved her to the floor and went back to his desk. Harley's lip quivered and tears streamed down her face. After much limping she managed to hobble to her purse and feebly mumble, "Babies. Come here." The two massive hyenas looked up happily and bounded toward her. She gave them a faint smile, and looked at Joker one last time. "Why don't you love me?" she whispered, petting Lou on the neck.
Knock knock knock. For some strange reason, there was a knock at Jonathan Crane's door. He set down the new fear toxin he was working on and cautiously tiptoed across the room. He backed up against the wall next to the door and looked out through the window. To his surprise and horror he saw his lifelong friend and former co-worker, Harleen Quinzel shivering on his porch. She had her purse wrapped in her arms and her gigantic "babies" wrapped around her feet.
"Harley!" he screamed, busting the door open, "What in the name of all that is scary happened to you?"
Harley looked at him through her sad blue eyes and just wept some more.
He rushed over to her and wrapped his arms around her, embracing her close. "It's okay, Harley. You can stay here."
She looked up at him and smiled, "Thanks."
Harley was wrapped in a fuzzy pink robe on Jonathan Crane's scarlet couch. She looked around curiosly and leaned on her babies. She saw many old photographs on the walls, bookcases full to the brim with books on fear, a little table with lots of test tubes piled on top of it. But most peculiar of all, he had no TV! How was she supposed to watch Looney Tunes and such with no TV? She rose one eyebrow and tried to figure it out.
Just then, Jonathan walked back in. He looked scrawny in his brown flannel pajamas, and his red hair hung flatly around his bony face. His hazel eyes glowed with affection under his glasses and he smiled brightly. He carried two mugs of hot chocolate and he kind of looked like a TV mom of the 50s. In a strange way.
Harley smiled at him and scooted Bud off the other side of the couch.
Jonathan plopped down on the now empty seat next to Harley and handed her a mug. "So, Harl," He was using his doctor voice, uh-oh, "What exactly happened with Joker?"
Harley sighed and propped her wet and muddy feet onto his mahogany coffee table. "Well...it's just like always. He had a master plan. I screwed it up. He kicked me out. I don't know how to put it any simpler, Doctah C."
He nodded understandingly. "I see. So, why did you come to me this time, instead of Pam?"
Harley shrugged. "I just thought Red was tired of me bothering her. And since...we've been friends for so long, I knew you wouldn't mind." She looked up at him, pushing Bud off the couch completely
Jonathan smiled. "Harl, you know I'm always willing to help."
She nodded and scooted closer to him. "Thank you so much. It was so cold. And it was raining. And the babies, they were so wet. I didn't know what to do."
Jonathan looked into space. "Of course, Harleen. Any time."
Harley grabbed the babies by the neck and made them walk up the gray stairs of Jonathan's home. She yawned and looked down at her only guyfriend.
Jonathan's scrawny shoulders were hunched over the little table. Working on the fear toxin. Again.
Harley finally reached the top stair and looked around. After a few minutes of intense calculating (opening each door to see what was inside), she discovered that the last door on the hall was the guest room. It was very cozy, to be in the house of The Scarecrow. There was a wooden bed covered with a handmade blue quilt. The walls were a pretty light brown and the floor had a light blue rug. She set her purse on the dresser and scooted her feet across the rug. Ah, it felt nice.
The babies ran around the room, and finally settled in front of a vintage dollhouse.
Harley slammed down onto the bed and ripped her robe off. She quickly changed into her favorite red nightie, the only article of clothing she had time to stuff into her purse, and stretched out on top of the quilt.
She loved the way the fresh air felt on her damp skin and she loved the way the nightie hung over her midsection. It didn't cling at all. "Ahhhhhhh," she mumbled as if in a trance. After stretching a bit more, she sat up and ran down the hall to the bathroom.
She carefully washed off what was left of the makeup on her face and tried her best to get it out of her hair. It hung in wet golden clumps. Very ugly. She dug through the drawers and found a black brush. Ew. It's so manly, must be Doctah C's. she thought. She considered just letting her hair get tangled in her sleep. But then she imagined how hard it would be to brush it out. Last time, she had got the brush stuck in her hair.
She sighed and carefully combed the manly brush through her delicate hair.
And after this cleanup, she actually looked okay. She smiled and skipped back to the guest room. The petite blond snuggled under the thick quilt. It smelt good. She turned over onto her back and thought about Jonathan.
She remembered when she first met him. They dated for a while, she was his assistant. Then Batman got put into Arkham, Johnny was the only one not worried. She suspected him from the start, did some snooping, and found out he was the Scarecrow. He was then put into Arkham and she was his doctor. Somehow, their friendship stayed strong. And even now, though Joker rarely left her alone enough to talk to him, they were still close. And now, she was sleeping in his house? How the hell? She didn't want to think about it, it hurt her brain. But she couldn't help herself.
He was so sweet to her. Much sweeter than Mistah J. And they understood each other. He knew what it was like to have so much power over the villains, and then be leveled with them. And he took her in. Not to mention, he was the cutest nerd in Gotham.
Why was she thinking about him this way?
It had been a few weeks, and Harley had blossomed from the shivering orphaned puppy she had been when she first arrived at Jonathan's, to the healthy blond all of Arkham knew and loved.
Jonathan was stretched out on his couch, watching the portable TV Harley had bought (well stole) for him. He flipped through the channels, trying to figure out what they would do today. "Harley! You up yet?" he called.
As soon as the words left his mouth, Bud and Lou bounded down the stairs and slobbered their warm spit all over his face. "I take that as a yes," he grumbled, pushing them off his couch.
"Don't worry, Doctah C. They just wanna say good morning." Harley's sweet childish voice came from the top of the stairs.
Jonathan's heart skipped a beat and he crossed his fingers. After all this time spent together, they had really gotten close. He was hoping she finally loved him back, and they could be together.
And soon enough, like a gift sent from God, Harley descended down the stairs. Her yellow hair sparkled in the light from the ceiling fan and was swept back into a loose ponytail. Her blue eyes sparkled with happiness and her cheeks were filled with color.
But there was something wrong.
Instead of wearing one of the outfits Jonathan had bought (stole!) for her, she was wearing her costume. That's not a good sign.
Jonathan hopped up and ran over to her. "Harley!" he shouted her to name, to make sure she was still there. With him.
She looked at him sincerely. "What is it?"
He smiled, she still cared for him. Hopefully today was the day it rose to a new level.
He shook his head. "Oh nothing. So what do you wanna do today?" He grinned, trying to figure out what they could do that involved her costume.
She bit her lip and looked down. "About that..." She grabbed his hands and squeezed them tight.
Jonathan's eyes bore down on her, and his glasses were shining to where you couldn't see his eyes. It was quite frightening.
"What is it, Harleen?"
She looked back up at him. "Johnny...You have been so kind to me. It's just like when we were dating. But...I have a commitment. To Mistah J. He needs me, and I ne-"
Jonathan nterrupted her furiously. "Harley! You really think he needs you? He just uses you for hired help! He doesn't need you! You need to stay away from him!"
Harley scoffed and rose one eyebrow. "Says you!" she said indignantly, "Last night he called me, begging for me to come home!"
Jonathan looked deep into her saphire eyes. "He probably just wants to use you as bait in a trap or something. Or he needs the babies."
Harley put her hand on his cheek. "Doctah C, you are my closest friend. I thank you so much, you have built up my confidence like Red never could. But I can't stay here forever. Why do you want me so bad?"
Jonathan gently took the delicate hand on his cheek and held it tight. He sighed and held Harley's face in his hands.
"Harleen Quinzel, I have loved you since the moment I saw you. I've always wished you would love me, too. That we could have a life together. I took you in, I poured all of my love out onto you. But you have shown me that you are fully comitted to Joker. I will not make you stay with me, I want you to be happy. And if that means you have to break my heart, so be it. But, Harleen, if you remember only one thing I've told you, remember this. I will always love you, no matter how many times you go back to him. And I will respect him, because he has whatever I have that keeps you from me. But please, do me one favor. As long as you're with him, as long as you're catering to his every whim...do not let him hurt you again."
Harley looked up at him.
"I don't think you'll have to worry about that. He's never going to touch me again," she whispered.
Jonathan rubbed his thumbs over her cheeks. "How do you know?"
She smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Because I choose you." She pressed her lips to his and didn't want to let go.
In that moment the two lonliest souls in Gotham, became the happiest.
Their hearts were overflowing, and they felt as one.