OH SNAP

THERAPY'S BACK

ALERT THE GROUP CHAT

Hey hey everybody! So, were here again. Good news if you liked Therapy; the sequel is officially happening. This bit o' writing serves as both the epilogue to therapy and the prologue to the follow-up, basically as a segway between the two, the introduction of change, if you will. This snippet is very different to what we've previously had, as you'll quickly understand why. Anyway, now that I've done some rambling, read on, my grape soda drinking warriors!


Epilogue/Prologue:

Stripped

I watch as the sunny yellow of her hair is stripped to a stark, shimmering white, the bleach sucking up all of the colour like a sponge drinks in water. The purple corrosive of the dye bleeds across my hands, swimming down my forearms, rupturing like tiny geysers in the welts between my fingers. The hair I massage through my fingers doesn't look like much at all; it's more of a soup than a solid, saturated with peroxide, an intrusive violet shade. The sensation should burn, but the numbness has set in now. Any old fool could take a knife to my skin and I wouldn't even flinch. I wonder how long it will last; a couple of days? A week, or more?

I remember the first time, the way the numbness had held on like a lichen, making me immune to all sensation. No pain, no hesitation. I may not have felt the pain, but I still bear the scars. You start to think yourself immortal, indestructible, living like that.

The Bat soon taught me different.

Oh, I know what you're thinking. This isn't his story, what the hell is he doing here?! Boo him off the stage, demand an encore from the main act! Typical, to applaud the puppet over the puppeteer, to ignore the one pulling at the strings. Well, my little Columbine has been hogging the spotlight for far too long if you ask me, and it's about time I reclaim my stage; if Harley's story is going to have a final act, how else could it end than with yours truly?

Hmm, I quite like that. Quite poetic, in a way. I might use that one if I ever do decide to crack her pretty little neck.

Oh, dry your eyes, you little squib. I've no intentions of killing her; this isn't her end. In fact, this isn't even the beginning. If the Bat can get away with a scantily-clad sidekick for years, then hell, so can I.

I trail my fingers down her neck here the bleach runs, trace her pulse. She doesn't feel it either, the burn of the peroxide. She has a beautiful neck, long and white, a pretty display of her fragility. The throat is weakness, jugular and trachea and larynx. It's where the power is, the place where you can feel life pounding through veins, where brain connects to the body, the mind to the vessel. It is the only thing separating a person from being a thing, the living from the not-so-living. Own the throat and you own it all.

It's also the quickest way to shut someone up, should you need to.

I curl my fingers about her neck, only lightly. That's enough, that touch, just a reminder that I could, if I wanted to, a reminder that she is fragile, that she can be broken. And she has been, over and over, and now finally, the stage is set for me to put her back together again, carve her into something better. I still can't quite pin why I'm stuck on this beautiful little creature. And oh, is she ever beautiful; that smile, the soon-to-be-silvery hair, those big, blue eyes that promise so much and ask for so little. A clown needs his audience, I suppose. I'm quite enjoying having someone around to laugh at my jokes. I think of how difficult it proved to get her here, how patience and the occasional white lie was key. Others not so white, but she needn't know about those.

She trails her fingers atop mine.

"What are you thinking about, Puddin'?"

I feel a smile wrench at the corner of my mouth.

"Oh, just remembering an old joke."

"You gonna tell it me?"

"I don't think you'd like the punchline."

She smiles at that, squeezes my saturated hand then examines the violet suds it leaves on her own, counting the bubbles on each of her fingers aloud as they pop.

"How's it lookin'?" she asks, wiping the residue against her front.

"Perfect," I tell her, massaging my fingers through her hair. "Just perfect."

"You sure?"

"Yes," I say, though there's little to see through the violet peroxide. Purple tendrils of the mixture drizzle down her pale shoulders, like paint on a canvas; and what a little masterpiece she's turned out to be. They say that Claude Monet had a habit of destroying his own paintings, puncturing holes in the canvases of anything he deemed not good enough. I can understand that; there are plenty of little projects I've tossed away myself, though as of late my works have been improving; were I to hold an exhibition, Jeremiah Arkham and all of his sweet little ironies would certainly have a place in my gallery.

I look back to the monitors hung along the wall facing me, a dozen LED screens all lit up at once each playing a different news channel; along the floor laptops are lined, each accessing a different police database, and a row of small radios play snippets from different talk stations. One of them is interviewing Lyle Bolton, that fat swine of an orderly who somehow escaped back at the asylum. He is angry, stupid as usual, his fat lips flapping to the interviewer.

"This city is an open wound," the gluttonous pig squeals through the speaker, "it's about time all these freaks were locked up, for good."

I massage her skull a little more violently, trying to sweep the image of that walking pile of human waste from my mind. I keep the most important radio by my side on the desk where the hair dyes wait, propped up next to the vial of electric green which I'll administer to myself once my perfect little creation looks just the way I want her. It's tapped into the police comms, and I keep an ear out for any mention of the word 'Batman'.

I smile to myself as his portrait appears on the various news screens, footage of a down-town chase in Gotham coming in live as he searches the city for yours truly. My dear, deluded Dark Knight; he'd have a better chance of finding me nude in a subway doing the can-can than finding me here, hidden away as best a person can be. Still, it's awfully fun to watch him scramble around the city in the hopes of seeing me again- who ever said romance is dead?

The last of the yellow tones are fading now, and my little harlequin is white as a canvas, hair and skin a porcelain match.

"Look at you," I say, washing away the mixture with a pint of water, with no mind for the electrics which line the room; a couple of the computer monitors begin to glitch, their screens spasming with an array of acidic colours, emitting groans and alarmed wails. We ignore them as the last of the residue is washed from her hair, the texture of which is now fragile, sticky, almost, its structure derailed by the exposure to the bleach; but the colour is a ghostly blonde, sheer, moonlit white, the colour of the stars.

"Perfect," I tell her, bringing her up to the shattered mirror so that she might see for herself. She smiles when she sees herself, those blue eyes sparkling bright. She's embracing it all, every step of the way, like I knew she would.

"Perfect," she repeats, and this time she believes it. She smiles at herself and she laughs. She always laughs.

I bring my hands about her drenched, icy shoulders, holding her there and smiling at her new reflection. There's still more to do, still a long way to go; an artist is never truly satisfied with his own work, they say.

But the stage is set. The audience are in the wings, the curtain rises...

And she is going to be spectacular.


AN: I couldn't resist trying my hand at Mr. J, even just the once. He's a tricky old stick but he was just begging for a chance to speak out, and I figured here, at the end of things, was the only place I could let him, and with a trickle of fourth-wall-breaking too, just for fun. Hope you enjoyed this little teaser of things to come, and hopefully it left you with a few questions to ponder over.

Anyway, back to the sequel stuff. It will be called 'Resurgence', relating to Joker's return to Gotham, though this is still a working title, so if anyone has any funky ideas let me know! The first chapter is written and ready but I want to write a few more before I start uploading to ensure that the story is going in the direction I want it to head, so keep an eye out for the story when it goes up and ensure you've got my author alerts turned on my following/faving me on the site (it works something like that, right? I don't read on here myself apart from the odd sitting)

Well, m'dears, I'll see you soon! Let me know if you're looking forward to more from this saga, leave a review if you're fabulous, and have a wonderful holiday season!