Pamela sat in the tall blades of grass, her long red hair covering her face and her eyes intently focused on her sketch pad. Across from her was a flower bed filled with beautiful, if not crammed in flowers. She was no artist, but the assignment was 'draw your favourite thing', and drawing 'pretty plants' was probably going to get her a higher mark, even if roses weren't on her list of favourite flowers. The park in Gotham was one the only beautiful places left, from the tall, dark concrete houses to the large, mechanical factories.
For a while, she was engrossed in trying to get the shading just right, but slowly she began to feel aware of the eyes on her. Turning to the left, it took her awhile, but finally she located the source of them to be in the large oak tree nearby her. A young girl was sitting in one of the lower branches, looking as comfortable as if it were a chair.
"How long have you been up there?" Pamela called up, "Were you spying on me?"
The girl didn't react, she stayed silent, the only sign of reaction being a slight lift of her head. She had thick glasses and her shoulder length hair was in pigtails.
Pamela tried to ignore her, but she couldn't disregard the staring, finally slamming her sketchbook shut.
"My name's Pamela, what's yours?" she tried, but the girl didn't respond, "How old are you?" Pamela felt silly, but it was infuriating getting no response, "Can you even talk?"
Finally the girl made a reaction. "I ain't dumb I just ain't suppose' ta talk to strangers!" The heavy accent coming from such a small kid made Pamela want to laugh but she held it in, not wanting to offend the kid too much.
"But it's fine to spy on them?"
The kid made a noise, and though Pamela couldn't really see her all that well, she would harbour a wager to say that she was blushing. "That's different!"
"Sure it is," Pamela sat back down and reopened her sketch book.
"It is!" The girl swing down in an admittedly impressive way and stood in front of Pamela. She appeared to be trying to look threatening but seeing as she was, at the absolute oldest, seven years old it didn't really work.
"Are you going to tell me your name now?"
"Harleen!" A stressed out looking woman in her late thirties grabbed the kid - Harleen's wrist, "What have I told you about talking to strangers!"
She glared at Harleen but suddenly smiled at Pamela, "I'm sorry about her. I told her to play with her cousins nicely so I could relax, but she can't follow simple instructions!" Her accent was even heavier than Harleen's. Pamela guessed them to be from some place around Brooklyn.
Probably visiting relatives or something.
"Sorry again for her bothering you. Have a good day! Come on Harleen, hurry up if you don't want to be told off even worse."
Pamela shook the encounter out of her head and went back to her art. If she didn't get more than a B, she would be annoyed after all the effort she put into it. She hated arty subjects, much preferring the exactness of science, but getting a low mark in any subject, even the stupid ones could drop her GPA enough to affect her choice of college in a few years time.
She finished getting the sketch to her satisfaction, not wanting to rush yet wanting it over and done with. She pushed herself up and put her sketchbook and pencils in her bag and began walking home.
The house was empty. Before she even put her key into the lock, she could feel the emptiness in the air. Walking into the kitchen, she found a note addressed to her.
'Pamela,' the note read,
'We'll be gone two days. Don't invite anyone over. Keep the house clean. There are meals in the freezer.'
She sighed, but she wasn't surprised. Ever since she turned twelve, her parents had been leaving her at home for days at a time with no warning. It wasn't like they were abandoning her. They left her plenty of food to eat and she had money and their number in the case of an emergency.
She grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and went into her bedroom, shutting the door. She wouldn't deny that the house she lived was luxurious, but the rooms were all too big and sterile feeling. Like it was a house from a catalogue. It felt like no one lived in it. The exception was her bedroom. She kept it clean, but that was the only similarity between it and other rooms in the house. She had painted it green despite her mother's protests and spent all her money from her Saturday job at the local florists on plants that could be safely and happily kept at room temperature. Saying that she loved anything green would be an understatement. With her plants was the only place she felt at peace. Even as a child, she was the most invested in the garden. Most of it had been turned into concrete slabs, but Pamela had begged for weeks until her mother finally let her keep a small slither. There she planted daffodils and roses, not wanting to crowd if in for the sake of looking good.
Slowly, she began to turn her bedroom into a haven for plants. It had started with a simple cactus plant, but it soon evolved into every available surface being covered with a plant or a flower of some kind. It was how Pamela felt comfortable, and even if it took work, she would never complain.
It was how she loved it.
The high up branches may have been an issue for some people, but not for Harleen. She was going to play on the swings, but her cousins quickly grabbed them, making sure it was known that she wasn't welcome.
Harleen hated family reunions. She was the outcast everywhere, but within her own family it was so much worse. Her older brother and sister got along fine with her cousins, but it seemed that they had made a pact to be against her and neither of her siblings really cared enough to stick up for her.
All of them were being loud, until the adults had had enough and when her mom offered to take them to the park, Harleen was forced to come along, despite not making any noise.
She had been sitting in the tree for a while, just observing when a teenager with long red hair came and sat down, opening a book and beginning to draw. Harleen was bored, so she watched her intently until suddenly the girl's head snapped up.
"How long have you been up there, were you spying on me!"
The girl's tone was accusing, so Harleen refused to answer. She had been there long anyway so it wasn't spying! Instead, she just continued looking at her. She didn't want to be told off by her mom for bothering other people.
"My name's Pamela, what's yours?" Harleen knew her mom wouldn't be happy if she shared her name, so she stayed silent again, "How old are you?" The girl really couldn't take a hint.
"Can you even talk?" The girl finally exploded and Harley glared at her.
"I ain't dumb I just ain't suppose' ta talk to strangers!" She winced, wishing she hadn't said anything. But it was too late now.
"But it's fine to spy on them?" Harleen blushed, feeling caught out. She wasn't spying! If the girl, didn't want her watching she shouldn't have sat down there!
"That's different!" She finally got out. It wasn't spying. Not really.
"Sure it is."
Harley felt indignant. She swung down the branches with ease.
"It is!" She tried to stand in a pose like her mom when she was about to send her to her room with no meals, but the girl just smiled condescendingly.
"Are you going to tell me your name now?"
"It's-" she began, but she suddenly heard her name called, and in a flash she could feel her mother's fingers digging into her wrist. It hurt. Her mother began apologising to the other girl and though Harley wanted to interject, that would just make her mom more angry.
"Hurry up if you don't want to be told off more," her mom ordered as she dragged Harleen's wrist. "You already disobeyed me once. Your cousins say they tried to include you, but instead you went off to bother that girl. Can't you follow simple instructions? I'm telling your father."
Harleen felt a flash of fear at that, but kept her face blank knowing protesting would just get her mother angrier. At the front of the park were her cousins all smiling smugly. She glared at them. They did this. She wanted them to pay. It wasn't fair!
"When we get back I want you to go to your room. It's for your own good. If we let you get away with it it'll have negatively even effects in the future. You know this right?"
Harleen nodded. She'd heard this talk before and she would hear it again. Sure the punishments were bad, but she deserved it.
She was sharing the bedroom with two of her cousins which was annoying when they were talking when she was trying to sleep. It wasn't a big room, barely fitting the three beds in, but it was enough for a week. It was three days into the family reunion and Harley was already missing not being lonely. Even if she was alone at home too, she liked it that way, but here she felt the ache of having no one to talk to especially with no many others around.
There was her, her brother, her sister and five cousins. The youngest of them was still a year older than her, and the oldest, being her sister was 8 years older than herself being 16. None of them really knew what to say around Harley, all they knew is that they thought she was odd and they disliked her for it.
"Your mom told me you disobeyed her again. We never had this problem from the other two. Why do you have to be so naughty all the time Harleen?"
She didn't know how to despond so she stayed silent.
"Have we been too soft on you? Do you think you can get away with stuff? Is that it?"
Harley stayed silent until she felt a sharp smack on her headShe shot Up to meet her father's angry eyes. Don't ignore me, Harleen. Listen to what I'm saying! Next time, do what your mother tells you and we won't need to punish you. You'll thank us later. We do it because we love you. Most parents don't care enough to discipline their children so you should feel grateful. "
She nodded. At least her parents cared.
Sorry if you think I went overboard with how much Harley was being punished but it's a main part of this version of her's origin story. In my head it's part of the reason she stayed with the Joker. Her parents made her equate abuse with being loved. Idk, tell me what you think. I wasn't really sure about this because in my version there's an age different of about 7 years between Harley and Ivy, but I wanted them to have a meeting to be the opening chapter.
If you like this, please let me know, this was just a tester chapter to see if I should continue or not. This is gonna be posted on mpbith AO3 and but AO3 will have the benefit (drawback) of having a piece of artwork drawn by myself at the end of each chapter.