AN: I own neither Harry Potter nor Batman. I'm just a monochrome Bird of Paradise.
A year later
14th November, 1996
Arkham Asylum, outskirts of Gotham City
Closing her eyes against the harsh lights, Poison Ivy turned on her side, facing the blank wall. After a few seconds, she rolled on her stomach, face pressed to the thin coat. Her brow furrowed, lips pinched in displeasure.
Try as she might, she could not tune out the screaming and jeering of her fellow inmates and already, a monstrous headache threatened to make this day even worse, quite an impressive feat indeed.
Gaia, but did those lunatics have to be so loud and obnoxious? Could they not simply brood in silence, like adults?
Then again, she mused, what else could be expected from humans, what with their need to shove their toxic presence in her face every single day?
Hearing a particularly shrill laugh, she burrowed even further in the wood-like mattress, barely muffling her groan. The nuisances only seemed to grow louder at that dreadfully familiar sound. Of course, because why wouldn't Batman bring in the blasted clown while she was still stuck here? Did that man had any decency left? She often wondered.
The clanking of night sticks against the metal bars certainly didn't help, and she added the guards to her 'to kill-list', cursing the entirety of human race all the while.
A few minutes later though, the screaming changed to wolf-whistles and crude comments, a treatment reserved to anything with legs, and thus not particularly rare if terribly annoying, but Poison Ivy was just bored enough to see what the fuss was all about. Leaning against the glass of customized cell, she only had to wait a few seconds to see the poor lass who unleashed such passions in the local criminal population and she was not disappointed.
Fidgeting nervously with her glasses, the pretty newcomer seemed ill at ease, surrounded by Gotham's finest elements peering at her, hunger clear in their eyes. Her rain-soaked blonde bangs clung to her pale forehead, skin almost translucent under the artificial lights. Sticking close to Dr. Leland, the two appeared to chat, though the raucous jeering of her fellow inmates made it impossible for Poison Ivy to hear the details. Before she could even catch a glimpse of the newbie's eyes, the pair was out of sight; but if the white coat the blonde sported was any indication, it would not take long for their paths to cross again. If she had anything to say about it though, the later, the better.
In the meantime, the worried mother had a headache to fight and an escape to plan.
16th November 1996
Greenhouse n°3, outskirts of Gotham
Slightly out of breath, Poison Ivy leaned against the glass door, deeply inhaling the air full of toxins surrounding her. Despite the late hour, the sun having set quite some time ago, she could hear the disembodied voices coming from further down the hall. Green eyes fluttering shut, she let a now familiar sadness spread through her limbs. With a sigh, she shrugged out of the garish orange jumpsuit and tugged her oversized white shirt down, bare feet padding softly on the cold tiles.
Once she reached her destination, she let her eyes wander around the dark room, tiredly observing the empty glasses scattered across the floor along with the few orphan socks and soft toys. Finally though, her gaze landed on the object of all her affections and conflicted thoughts.
There, resting against the couch, tiny legs stretched before her on the floor, Aster slept. The pale light shining from the TV screen flickered across her chubby cheeks and her button nose, shadows shifting around constantly, and an uneasy feeling coursed through Poison Ivy. The untamed hair of her daughter now reached her round chin, even though the botanist could have sworn it barely tickled her ears only a week ago. She knew of course that it wasn't possible, but it was small details like these that made her guts twist. How much was she missing, every day she wasn't spending time with her precious bud? Would she come home one day, only to find Aster running around, talking about college and paychecks? Or worse, would she find the house empty, abandoned, no trace of her daughter to be found?
On that night, over two years ago, she had escaped from Arkham with a violence seldom reached, and reached one of her safe house only to find a mess of melted glass and burnt plants. The sight alone had nearly killed her. In that moment her body had failed her, limbs unmoving, lungs crushed and heart stuck in her throat. All was lost. For the first time in years, she let herself crumble under the weight of her grief. The losses, the rage, their indifference. And now this. Her precious little bud was no more, leaving only a hole of her size in her mother's heart.
It was only after her wails had quieted that she'd heard it. Small cries and whimper coming from behind the ruins of her greenhouse. There she had found her, alive and breathing. She'd no longer smelled the odious stench of burnt grass or felt the unbearable heat, clinging to everything. No, as soon as her eyes found her precious one, nothing else had mattered. Falling to her knees, she had reached with trembling fingers, barely brushing the angry scar on her forehead, shaped like lightning. Slowly, her hand had moved to the burn starting from the end of her right eyebrow, disappearing in her small tuff of hair in a thin line. A semi-burnt liana loosely wrapped around her daughter's body twitched slightly, once, twice, and then no more. Closing her eyes, she'd wept for her lost children. She had failed them. All of them. This had to end. One way or another. Tomorrow, she would avenge them, but tonight she would weep and hold her daughter until she felt whole again. Never again, she had sworn on that night. But how much longer could she keep her promise?
She found that this train of thought made it increasingly harder for her to breathe, and she felt the mad, desperate need to hold her baby girl close to her heart and bury her nose in those wild locks of hers.
Crouching next to the resting child, she tenderly brushed away a few stray hair, fingers trailing lightly down her face. As slowly as she could bear, the impatient mother gathered her daughter in her arms, cheeks pressed together, and for the first time in a week, Poison Ivy could finally, truly breathe. Greedily inhaling her daughter's fragrance, she basked in the smell of earth after a rainstorm and the flower fields that would grow from it. Rocking gently from side to side, she made her way to the TV, struggling to switch it off without disturbing her girl's sleep. She didn't enjoy the sweet silence for long though, as the sudden lack of noise roused Aster from her rest, shifting closer to her mother's warmth.
In a soft voice reserved only for her brethren and her sweet petal, Ivy greeted her daughter.
"Hey there, baby girl. Shhh, it's okay, it's just me, you can go back to sleep now, darling."
"Moma? Dida fall asleep?" The enamoured mother only hummed in a response to the sleepy queries. "Sorry, A tried ta wait fo' you."
The hold on the criminal's heart tightened.
"Oh no, darling, you know you shouldn't!" she softly scolded, "That's not good for you, dear, you need to sleep to grow up."
"But then, A would never see you..."
And that sad mumble just about crushed her.
"Oh, little one..."
Cradling her even closer to her bosom, the pair slowly made their way to the only bedroom of the smallest of their hideout. Carefully, she lowered herself and her girl on the unmade bed, reaching blindly for the fallen duvet.
"I'll always be there."
"Promise?" Came the muffled reply.
And Poison Ivy, choking on something that she could not, would not name, gave the only correct answer.
And while her daughter slept peacefully, safe in her mother's embrace, Gaia's champion laid awake all night, listening to the endless siren's calls.
3rd January, 1997
Greenhouse n°7, outskirts of Gotham City, Industrial district
Sinking her bare feet into the fresh soil, Aster Isley let out a contented sigh. She wriggled her small toes for a while, feeling the earth slipping between them like the tickle of a gentle hand.
Turning her face toward the sky, though, she frowned. Despite the distance between them and the monstrous city of Gotham, the girl could smell the ambient pollution from here. Worse, she could feel it. It made her feel oily like she hadn't washed her hair for a week despite her daily bath, and dirty, sweaty, like when she played outside all afternoon, chasing after grumpy insects and running away from playful lianas.
Yes, after over three long years of living here, Aster Isley knew for a fact that she hated Gotham City with all her heart. In fact, it was right there in her top three, alongside Batman and grape juice; not necessarily in that order. There was just something so wrong with each of these things, and she knew, without a doubt, that the only way to get rid of them, was to destroy them. That was what her mother said, and her mother was always right.
Rubbing her nose with her sleeve, Aster's green eyes danced around their small patch of paradise, looking a fiery mane. It took her just a second to find her mother crouching above a few self-conscious weed, softly cooing at them in that sweet voice she only ever used for her or the other organisms.
Observing the way the weeds responded to the warm encouragements, she wondered, not for the first time, whether she ought to be jealous of them, like the kids were of their own siblings in those cartoons she liked, but she just could not manage to. It felt as silly as being envious of her hands when her mother held them, or her cheeks, when she kissed them. She was a part of them, like they were a part of her and her mother, as simple as that, and she was as happy as any could be with such a family.
But sometimes, Aster had to admit it could get lonely, like when her mom went on her missions, and all the girl could do was watch her on the TV. She could be away for a week or two at a time and though she always, always came back, her absence felt like a skinned knee, throbbing, itching; it hurt to move, and the pain only lessened when her mother was there to kiss it away. That was one of the inconveniences of being left alone with plants for days on end: as wonderful as they were, they were rarely comforting.
Tearing her gaze away from her mother and the slowly growing weeds, the strange little bud wiggled her toes one last time before making her way to a nearby bush of red roses. She wasn't allowed to go further away, one of the few rules imposed by her mother; along not talking to strange men dressed like overgrown bats or clowns, ever. But today, she was feeling restless, or as restless as the often sleepy girl could be, in any case. And so, with one last look toward her mom, the curious girl walked past the bush.
It only took her a few minutes to regret her choice, though, as the smell of chemicals seemed to grow stronger with each cautious step. It wasn't even that interesting to see, really, just some yellow grass and a few puddles filled with a strange liquid that burned her nostrils and filled her green eyes with tears after only a whiff of the stuff. Aster felt sick to her stomach soon after discovering the previously unknown landscape. She wished it had stayed that way.
How much more could these filthy humans twist and torture Gaia? Couldn't they see how wrong this was? How they scorched her further with each of her children's death? All those innocent souls, killed and burnt, only to be replaced by those ugly grey towers, no colors in sight.
And when the sun couldn't stand the sight and hid away behind thick clouds for the day, her vibrant mother would look so sad, so tired, almost… scared . On those days, she felt strangely sick, her stomach twisting with the unfairness of it all, hatred filling her young heart.
Those monsters spent so much time looking up to the sky, they didn't see they were standing on a pile of ash. Or perhaps they simply didn't care. She honestly didn't know which was worst.
The bitter little girl was ready to turn around and stomp back to her mother's side, when she caught a glimpse of something almost colorful, so out-of-place among the dry weeds. Her anger subsiding somewhat, Aster curiously stepped closer, and blinked. It was a woman. Well, she thought she was a woman, though the strange individual looked nothing like any other she had ever seen. With her dirty bubble gum hair and torn clothing, she had more in common with a hobo than with the girl's mom. She seemed to be in need of a good wash, if only to get rid of the terrible smell and those wierd purple-black pattern across her pale skin. Was it the dirt? No, dirt didn't look like that, she would know, she spent her days playing in it. In fact, it looked more like her knees after a harsh fall on the ground. Judging by the amount of bruises, she must have been very clumsy too, especially to fall so many times on her face.
Aster's examination was abruptly interrupted when her mother's hand landed on her shoulder. Rising her head so fast she heard her neck crack, she looked up to see her mother standing there, sunlight dancing amidst her furious red curls, blank eyes trained on the washed-out stranger.
"Well then, dear, what do we have here?"
"Mama, I think the lady's hurt."
It took Poison Ivy a few seconds to answer her girl, narrowed eyes dancing between each dark bruises and a slowly rising chest before turning to her daughter, blocking the worrisome sight.
"That she is." After a careful pause, she added, "Should we help her, I wonder?"
Neither her voice, nor her facial expression betrayed her thoughts and Aster tilted her head in contemplation, wild hair swaying along.
"She's a human."
Her mother simply hummed in response, waiting, cautious eyes on her precious girl.
"And she doesn't smell very good."
Ivy's lips twitched but did not form words. The girl stared at the only visible part of the stranger laying on the ground, brows furrowed. Seconds later, she raised her green eyes, meeting her mother's.
"Do they all smell like that?"
"Their stench isn't usually this strong, no. This one's quite filthy. More so than the rest."
"Oh." A pause. "Then we should give her a bath."
"Oh?" Aster only gave a curt nod. "And why is that?"
Her daughter's gaze returned to the ground, fixed on filthy bubble gum strands.
"'She has nice hair."
After a few more moments of staring, she turned on her heels with a shrug, walking back to the deserted greenhouse and leaving her bemused mother and their unconscious guest to follow.
Under her mother's watch, Aster carefully ran the shower head over the stranger's hair, grime and suds disappearing down the drain, the sharp chemical smell fading along. The girl was delighted to discover that, once clean and unbound, strands of blue and pink blended beautifully. It reminded her of the early sunrises she often witnessed, waiting for her mom to come home.
But once the filth had been washed away, nothing could distract the curious stare aimed at the split lip and ugly bruises. With those strange additions, the human's face looked like a spoiled fruit, all yellows, purples and greens. Aster really liked her hair better. She wondered how the stranger would look then, without all those bruises. In fact, the more she stared at the battered face, the more she wanted to find out.
Reaching a small hand to touch the offending marks, her gesture was stopped by her mother's gentle hold on her wrist. Giving it a soft squeeze, she didn't let go of it as she spoke for the first time in the last twenty minutes.
"Careful, little one. We wouldn't want to injure our guest further now, would we?"
Staring at her mother, pink lips parted, Aster blinked a few times, having previously been absorbed by her inspection. With a nod, she stepped closer to her mother, almost hiding behind her legs, as if her simple presence could worsen the colourful human's wounds.
With a loving smile, the smitten red-haired carded her long fingers through her daughter's silky locks.
"Why don't you go fetch some towels, hmm? You remember where they are, yes?"
With one last lingering look, she gave a curt nod before darting out of the bathroom, a determined frown creasing her young face.
Shaking her head full of hair, Poison Ivy's smile slowly slid away as she considered their new pet project. Under the artificial lighting, the ugly bruises offered a disturbing contrast against her pasty skin. The pungent smell of bleach and the dreadful injuries covering her shivering body led the suddenly exhausted criminal to make some upsetting conclusions.
Upon hearing the sound of bare feet padding swiftly back to the bathroom, she tugged on the shower curtain, leaving only the stranger's hair to hang out of the bathtub for her daughter to see. Holding an impressive tower of fluffy towels before her, Aster blindly walked into the now crowded room, before dropping her colourful package to the ground. She looked up at her mother, expectant, hands fidgeting at her sides, eager to help. Ivy took the time to smile gently at her precious daughter, eyes glinting with motherly pride.
"Well done, little one. Now, I will have to clean our guest's wounds to avoid any infections. Would you be a dear and bring me the first aid kit? It's right under the sink. Thank you, darling."
Opening the small red case, she turned to Aster, eyes serious.
"Now, darling, I'm going to ask you to go to your room and try to sleep. No," She shook her head as her girl opened her mouth, ready to protest. "it's not a question. This I not something I want you to see. You did very well today, little one, and you were of great help, but there's not much else you can do now. And I know you must be tired, dear, this well past your bedtime." Seeing her daughter petulant scowl, she sighed and gave her a small smile. "For me? Please? That way you can rest for the both us."
At that, Aster gave a hesitant nod, chewing on her lip. After a small moment of indecision and a quick glance to the still unconscious stranger lying in their bathtub, she darted toward her mother, sinking into her embrace. With a kiss to the forehead, and a light squeeze, Ivy leaned back.
"Thank you, darling. Now, brush your teeth and go to bed; I'll come as soon as I'm done."
And her night was filled with cotton swaps, careful stitching, and potent injections. After all, it would not do for all her daughter's effort to go to waste, just because those puny humans' low tolerance to poisonous air.
She wanted to die. At this point, living was not worth it. Few things were now. As it was, she could not even open her eyes, her body as exhausted as her mind. The feel of the mattress beneath her was the only thing grounding her to reality, and she wasn't sure she was grateful about that. She tried to wiggle her toes, just to see if she could, but each of her limbs felt like it weighted a ton. Her mouth seemed to be filled to the brim with cotton balls, choking her, stuck in her throat. Eyes burning, she tried to make a sound, but it only resulted in a pathetic little whimper. As soon as it brushed past her lips, she hated it. She didn't want to be pathetic anymore! No more shy, insecure little Dr Harleen Quinzel. Never again! She thought she had succeeded in leaving it all behind when she had first put on the tights and joined Mista J and yet, here she was, stuck in a bed, unable to move and with no idea of her current location, not even three months in her new life.
She was pathetic, and Mista J knew it, had seen it through all the tick layers of make-up. That's why he had thrown her away, and she couldn't even blame him.
But... She was in a bed, wasn't she? Did that mean that he had came back for her after all, despite everything he'd said? She cringed at how she must look to him then, weak and helpless, completely useless.
Her gloom thoughts were interrupted by a finger poking her cheek, getting dangerously close to her eye with each movement.
"Wake up." A few seconds, then more poking. "Mama said you weren't dead. That means you can wake up now."
Try as she might though, her eyes wouldn't open. Not that she necessarily wanted them to, because the voice belonged to a child, and she knew, without a doubt, that Mista J would never, ever let a child in his den. Or at least, not without tying them up first.
So he hadn't came back for her after all. Well, that was probably for the best, right? That way, she wouldn't make an even bigger fool of herself. The poking resumed.
The persistent nudging was interrupted, smooth knuckles brushing gently against her skin, calmly removing the impatient finger.
"That's enough now, dear."
The newcomer's voice was soothing, richer and deeper; clearly a woman's voice.
"Our guest needs her rest." A pause, followed by a warm chuckle. "Patience, little one, I'm sure it won't take much longer."
Someone let out a loud sigh, and after some shuffling around, the silence returned.
A few moments later, more unsure of her fate than ever but oh so exhausted, Harley Quinn fell back asleep.
Leaving Morpheus' arms once again, she let her senses run free. A heavy quilt resting on her body, soft sheets brushing against her stiff limbs, a low humming reaching her ears and a light, floral smell tickling her nose. Breathing as deeply as she dared, she took the time to simply enjoy the peacefulness of the moment before she had to face the inevitable storm. Obviously, whoever had helped her hadn't done so for free, and with how lucky she had been recently, the price would be quite hefty, she was sure.
The soft humming stopped and, with great reluctance, she finally opened her eyes for the first time in what felt like years.
Darkness greeted her, and for that, she was grateful. Everything had seemed so bright and loud these past few weeks, the calm seemed like a fitting end to all of this. Mista J, her light and inspiration, had left her with a bang and bruises, alone and incomplete, a work in progress, forever imperfect. He had cut her strings without a thought, and now, her limbs felt too heavy to move without help. God, but she really was useless. Just like he'd said, right before her dip in the acid.
She wished she could sleep forever, but as old as she felt, she had rested enough. That didn't mean that she had to get up anytime soon, though, and she was quite determined to inspect every inch of the ceiling at least twice over before moving.
It was only a few moments later, however, that she heard someone shuffling around, and she remembered the humming. She wasn't alone.
Friend or foe, it didn't matter. In both case, she could hardly move.
Holding her breath, she waited.
Problem was, her savior seemed perfectly content to wait with her. Having never been good with silence, it didn't take long for her to squirm impatiently. Finally, after a good twenty seconds, she surrendered.
"Um... Hey there..."
Her throat was killing her, and she almost flinched at how rough her voice came out.
She recognized the voice from earlier, lower and quieter as it was. She got the distinct impression the other woman was amused. How pathetic did she look, she wondered?
"Where-" Her voice cracked, and Harley blushed at the strange, warbled noise. She licked her dry lips and tried again. "Where am I?"
Again, the low humming filled the room.
"Well, you're still in Gotham, if that was your question."
"Where in Gotham?"
"In my bed."
Even though she couldn't turn her throbbing head toward the her mysterious rescuer and see her face, she knew she wouldn't get much more on this subject. She sighed.
"And... who're ya? Jus' so I know whose bed I'm in?"
"My name... is Poison Ivy."
"I see my reputation precedes me."
Dear Lord, but Harley could have choked on the smugness! Thanks to the many front pages featuring the infamous eco-terrorist, she didn't need to see her to picture the trademark smirk, so infuriating it was often considered one of her most dangerous powers.
Not the most eloquent answer, sure, but what else was she supposed to say to the fiery criminal who had saved her? Should she fawn over her, praise her accomplishments? Years of studying criminal minds had taught her to not antagonize them under any circumstance, unless of course you dressed as a giant bat on a regular basis, but the amount of childhood trauma and mental scars required made that option much less tempting than simply becoming one of them.
Her brief stint at the Asylum had made it clear that to them, she was just a fun way to pass time, trying to mess with her head at any given opportunities. She now realized that, even as Harley Quinn, she was no threat to them, not even a blip on their radars. She was ready to bet that, if she were to give Poison Ivy her name, the red-head wouldn't recognize it.
"Thank ya, by the way. For, ya know, saving me and … yeah."
The words left a bitter after-taste in her dry mouth. God, she was so weak.
"Hmm. Yes, well, the choice wasn't really mine anyway."
"Yes, you see, for whatever reasons, my daughter decided to help you. So, really, you should be thanking her, not me."
Obviously, after all these years and the rather... original place it had happened, the birth of Poison Ivy's daughter was common knowledge, but everyone knew better than to mention the girl in front of her. To hear confirmation from the mother's own mouth... Well, that did not happen everyday.
"You're with that clown, aren't you? The new girl he drags everywhere."
The abrupt change of subject caught her off-guard, and she blinked for a few seconds. So she did know who Harley was. Not in the best way, maybe, but still, that was something.
"I, well, yeah. I mean! I was! But now I... I dunno. I guess... not anymore."
"Hm, well, that's probably for the best, really. I always wondered how anyone could ever willingly spend time with that brute of a man. You're better off now, believe me. Men like him, they take and take and never give back and you end up empty and lost. They are not worth it, trust me. None of them are."
Oh, but her Puddin' was. Nobody understood that, nobody got the bond between them, the link that had joined their souls from the first time their eyes had crossed and that kept growing with each look, each touch, each word.
She tried to ignore the way everything smelled of flowers and earth instead of sweat and gunpowder, but the grip on her heart only tightened.
The silence stretched, only disturbed by her shuddering breath.
The shuffling resumed, more agitated this time, joined by mumbles and grumbles.
"Shhhh, little one, shhhh."
Since Harley doubted Poison Ivy would use such a soft voice with her, she could only assume that her daughter was with them in the room. Well then. That wasn't stressful at all. Rumour had it that the girl had never left the redhead's hideouts, had never been to the city and so, had never met anyone else other than her mother. If it was true; if what Poison Ivy had told her was true, then...
She recognized that voice too, remembered the poking that had accompanied it. So this was her saviour then, huh? Rescued by a toddler. Could she be any more pathetic?
"Mama, is the human dead yet?"
"No darling, it would appear she has survived. Perhaps she is not as weak as her brethren."
And was it just Harley, or did her fellow criminal sound just a touch intrigued? But no, she couldn't be. Not by her.
"Can I see her mama? I wanna see her hair."
"Well, I guess it's only fair. You did take good care of her, didn't you, dear?"
Was she mocking her? Was she deliberately reminding Harley of her situation? But no, her voice was still so soft, so motherly... Her focus was solely on her daughter, and Harley nothing but an afterthought.
"You helped too though, mama."
"Just barely, darling, nothing important."
The first thing she saw was the fiery mane of Poison Ivy, skin greener in the darkness of the room. Resting against her chest, a head full of dark locks turned to her and twin emerald orbs fixed her. Staring, the girl's wide eyes roved over her hair and, slowly, a small smile spread across her chubby cheeks.
Under the intense stare, Harley stuttered.
"H-hey there. I hear I have to thank ya for savin' me. What's ya name, sweetie?"
As Harley smiled to the girl, unsure, her mother's grip tightened, eyes shining with warning.
With a gulp, she lowered her gaze back to the kid, cobalt blue meeting silvery green.
"My name... is Aster."
Tilting her head, she turned back to her hair.
"What's your name?"
Though she didn't sound particularly interested, Harley answered her anyway.
"I'm Harley Quinn, but ya can call me Harley."
"Harley... That's weird. Like your hair. I like it. Your hair, I mean. Not your name. Did you paint them? Your hair? They were dirty before, but I cleaned them, and now they're even prettier. Are they usually that dirty? Or did you just forget to take a bath? Bath time is important, you know?"
"Well, thanks, kiddo. I, well, I dyed 'em, you know, and, well, usually, I wash 'em everyday if I can, but I was a bit busy, and I couldn't exactly, ah, take a bath, so... But yeah, you're right, bath time is important, and thanks for doin' it for me. I really appreciate it, hun."
The smile grew, adorable dimples appearing, and Harley felt the almost uncontrollable urge to just pinch them. A quick glance at the lioness guarding her cub taught her better though, and she just clenched her weak fists under the soft cover. She blinked again.
"Oh, thanks a bunch for the bed by the way, that was real nice of ya!"
With a slow nod, Poison Ivy accepted her thanks, not commenting on the slight hysteria in Harley's voice.
The stares continued until a low growl snapped them out of it.
"Ah, yes. You were unconscious for two days, you must be quite hungry now."
Strangely enough, she wasn't. Which was worrying because Harley was always hungry. Now though, she felt mostly tired and anxious about what this all meant for her. Hopefully something quick and painless.
With some difficulty she shrugged and shook her head.
"Not all that much, to be honest."
"Still, you cannot heal on an empty stomach." Then, with a sardonic smirk, she added, "Trust me, dear, I'm a doctor."
With that, the eco-terrorist tried to turn on her heels, but was forced to stop. In her arms, Aster wiggled like a fish out of water until finally, her mother set her on the ground.
"I'll stay with her!"
The worry quickly filling Poison Ivy's eyes as her brows furrowed was so alien, Harley could only stare in awe. She seemed so soft like that, the ice melting away to reveal a warm sunshine under which plants grew and flowers bloomed.
"I'm not sure that's for the best, darling, she needs calm to rest, and-"
"But mama, I can stay calm!"
"Well, yes, I know but-"
"You said that when she woke up, I could talk to her. You promised."
At those words, her mother closed her eyes for a moment before turning to Harley, gaze weary and cautious, yes, but also filled with danger. It was less of a warning, more of a promise, one as old as humanity itself. Harm her and you'll die.
Giving her her most sheepish smile, she tried to reassure the fierce lioness before her. It didn't work.
Something thin and strong took hold of her wrists and if she'd had any strength left, she would have tried to struggle. As it was, she could only gasp.
"What the hell?!"
Giving her a smile that didn't even triy to reach ice cold eyes, she didn't need to voice her message.
"I can't even move my arms and legs! Hell I can't even feel them!"
"That's because you're tired. You just need to sleep."
The answer was a bit breathless as Aster tried to climb up the bed. A second later, a liana patiently helped her along. With an distracted 'thanks', the girl finally settled next to Harley, and without warning, started to gently pat her hair.
Seemingly satisfied with Harley's incapacity to move, Poison Ivy slowly walked out the room.
"I'll be back soon." She promised, leaving the door open and allowing the light to fight against some of the darkness.
"She always says that." Aster sighed, pink lips pouting and a small fist pressed against her cheek.
And so, for the first time since her transformation, tied up in a bed with no idea of where she was, an infamous eco-terrorist preparing dinner for her in the kitchen and said criminal's daughter playing with her hair, Harley Quinn mourned her old, dull life.
So, again, sorry for the very late chapter, but well, life got in the way and I wasn't sure how to introduce Harley, so...
Speaking of whom, she will be back to her crazy, happy self in the next chapters, I just wanted to show the effect of the Joker leaving her. In this story, he basically pushed her in the acid, and just left her to die, but she was spit out and was found by Aster soon after. I kinda want to establish that Ivy will treat her better too...
Please, do share your thoughts about Aster. Obviously she will evolve, but for now, I'd love to know your thoughts.
The actual story, with Aster going to Hogwarts, should start in two or three chapters, right now it's more about her relationships in Gotham, with the batfamily, the other vilains, etc...
Thanks again for all your support, don't hesitate if you have any question,
Have a nice day/night,