Trigger Warning for a non graphic rape scene near the end.
-Jump off the beam, flip off the bars, follow your dreams and reach for the stars-
There was a substitute teacher today. This would mean her classmates would take it upon themselves to, as usual, act like lunatics that belonged in an asylum. Another wasted period. At least it was the last one of today, and she was training later so she had something to look forward to.
"Here, Sir ."
"Did you answer? Speak up!"
"She won't speak up, Sir! She's a Harlequin!"
Cue the infuriating peals of laughter. Yet another dumb joke that her classmates never failed to laugh at. At the tender age of 11, there was a drama class where they learnt about the various types of clowns. The Harlequin was one of them. It barely took minutes for her classmates to connect the dots between the quiet Harleen Quinzel and the silent Harlequin.
The school she went to was small, with barely two hundred students in a year group. They were sorted into a class of 30 on the first day of fifth grade, and every single lesson had been shared with those students since. Half way into that year, they had had the fateful class and discovered the nickname for her.
They were 14 now, in 9th grade and it had stuck. Most people in the school called her that now, and she knew they would never listen even if she begged them to stop.
Harleen was utterly friendless, with not so much as a smile sent her way. This didn't mean she was often partnerless. She was the smartest girl in the class, possibly the school, and although that wasn't hard in such a small area, it didn't stop her classmates flocking to her for group projects. And leaving her to do all the work.
Harleen could have skipped grades, but when the school brought this up, her mother refused, saying she didn't need to and accusing her of getting too big for her boots.
Her family, whilst they might not admit it out loud, seemed to value beauty over brains, and whilst Harleen wasn't ugly, she kept her blonde hair clipped back, wore clothes that were quite obviously chosen for comfort rather than style and used glasses that seemed to cover her entire face. The idea of graduating early seemed ridiculous in her mother's eyes and so she refused to even consider it an option for Harleen.
The teacher went on to the next name, rolling his eyes, and the lesson began. It was Chemistry and it should have been interesting, but sat in the back corner with all her classmates practically yelling around her, there was no way for her to hear the teacher. On his part he seemed oblivious to all the noise. Harleen copied all he wrote into her exercise book and soon he was finished attempting to talk, and handing around various worksheets.
She sped through the sheet quickly, and then, as quietly as possible as she tried to be as unnoticeable as possible, she opened her bag and brought out her book about Phycology.
When Harleen was 12, her father had once been in an unusually generous mood, taking her to a bookstore where he told her she could choose a book to take with her on the three-day long school trip to a nature reserve with her class. Instead of choosing a young adult book like he'd expected her to, she went over to the non fiction section, and selected the most interesting looking book. Her father had rolled his eyes at her, seemingly thinking her weird, but she didn't care. Harleen had hated every second of it and by the second day, resorted to hiding out in the cabin she was sharing. No one really noticed that she wasn't there and when the teacher finally had caught on they were half way through a hike. She had been yelled at three times. First, by her teacher and then two days later by her mother and father.
The one good thing about that trip was that book had sparked a love of psychology - of learning about the mind. Of learning how her classmates ticked. It was all so interesting.
She soon got absorbed into her book, and when the bell rang signalling the end of the day, it took all of her resolve not to jump out of her skin. She put her book in her bag, handed her worksheet to the teacher and walked out of the class. Finally, she was free.
Due to a mix of gymnastics and genes, she was short at barely over 5 foot and couldn't see over her classmates shoulders as they all ran for the door at the same time, despite the teachers weak protests. She narrowly managed to avoid slamming her face into the door and after that, she was able to quickly weave her way through the halls.
The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up
Harleen stepped into the empty room. Most other days it was pretty much at maximum capacity, but on Wednesdays it was closed for all but the gymnasts that were to compete. Most people that went to her gym were either in it for the fun, or had already left to go to a better gym. She knew her parents resented the cost that went into her gymnastics, but the place she went to was much cheaper than most gyms. The equipment was old, and whilst it was perfectly safe, Harleen wasted nights dreaming about going to one of the gyms with high end equipment. But even so, the gymnasium was familiar and even the sweaty, chalky smell felt like more of a home than her own.
Harleen was practicing on the uneven bars when her coach walked in and smiled at her, "Could you come down Harleen? I need to talk to you."
Harleen jumped down, "Is there anything wrong?"
"Is everything alright at home?"
Harleen knew what she was looking at, and she instinctively tried to hide it. She'd been listening to music and reading and had accidentally ignored her brother when he told her to move from where she was sitting in her living room, being too engaged in her book. He had put his fingers around his wrist her to move her and had held on too tight accidentally, leaving dark, noticeable bruises. It still ached slightly.
"Everything's fine, don't worry about me," Harleen smiled, "Can I get back to practice now?"
"Of course. Try to work on your landings; I saw a few wobbles."
Harleen walked back over and lost herself in the routines. It barely felt like five minutes had passed before she reluctantly slipped her hoodie and trainers on and began the dull walk home.
"Why are you back so late? I told you not to go to the gym today! When will you learn to stop disobeying us?" Her mother leaned in close to her until there were barely centimetres between their faces, "You're fourteen now Harleen, you need to learn that this will never be respectable behaviour!"
Harleen racked her brain, but she couldn't think of any time her mother had told her she wasn't allowed to go. Maybe she had just forgotten.
"All your father and I want is the best for you, but how can we do that when you're turning into a big headed, disrespectful little cow?" Her mother deflated, the venom leaving her voice, "Just… just go to your room. I don't want to see your face anymore."
Harleen clenched her fists to stop herself from speaking out, her fingernails digging deep crescents into her palms. 'It may seem unfair now, but they only want the best,' she told herself. It was only because they care.
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
The steady clicking of her fingers as they hit the computer keys was the only noise Pamela made. Perhaps other twenty year olds would be out partying, or drinking in excess, but she was staying in her apartment, already small and made even more cramped by the abundant plants in every available area. Her roommate had complained bitterly, but as long as Pamela kept the plants out of her areas, she couldn't do much. So, the plants stayed
Her parents may have been able to help her get a better flat, one where she was alone, but they complained that she wasn't being self reliant after she'd once had to ask them for help paying for groceries. Pamela needed to finish an essay and her professor had already kept her working all of last night. Though, She wasn't complaining. Jason Woodrow was a brilliant man and Pamela was honoured to do any work for him she possibly could.
She took a drink out of her large mug of coffee and shuddered. Completely black and with no sugar, it was her third that night. Even so, her eyes were beginning to droop, and her fingernails, painted a forest green and completely smooth, were getting slower, the clicks of her keyboard becoming less and less frequent. It was three in the morning, and with her class at 8am, she couldn't afford to waste time.
Running her hand through her hair, Pamela resisted the urge to scream in annoyance. She loved botany and never regretted going for the PhD, but she sometimes wondered if the effort was all worth it. Her father, rather obviously in her opinion, didn't think so. He seemed to imagine that the end result would be a tiny flower shop in central Gotham, but Jason had already offered her a job once she finished. Surely that would make things worthwhile.
Finally, Pamela finished the last page and after sending it to her professor, she stumbled off to her bed, barely remembering to set her alarm. With no energy, she slept fully clothed with her glasses still perched on her nose.
All too soon at seven thirty, the sound of her alarm was heard. Groggily, she sat up and slammed her hand onto it, resisting the urge to fall back asleep. She took a quick shower and changed into a pencil skirt paired with a well fitting t-shirt. She pulled on her mock leather boots and tied a flannel jacket around her waist before pinning her hair into a bun.
"Pamela! You're early!" smiled Professor Woodrow, "Can you stay after class? I wanted to speak with you."
Pamela smiled, "Of course, Sir, any particular reason?"
"Yes, but I won't discuss it right here when people could walk in at any moment. Get to your seat and we'll talk later."
"Of course, Sir."
She headed to the back of the classroom and opened her notebook, pulling a pen from the rings of it. The class went by quickly and as she copied down the notes, she absently wondered what he wanted her for. As far as Pamela knew, she was the only one of her classmates he held deep conversations with and the petty side of her loved it.
"Can you come down to my lab at seven o'clock Pamela? I have something I wish to show you."
Pamela tried not to not sound too eager, although she wondered why he couldn't say that in front of anyone else, "Of course, I'll be there Sir. See you later."
"Goodbye Pamela. I'll see you soon."
You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
The evening air was cold and the wind felt like knives on Pamela's cheeks. She hadn't been able to find her jacket so she was borrowing a red hooded coat from her roommate. It was slightly too big for her lanky body and it stopped short on her arms, but it was warm.
It didn't take her too long to get to his lab, but she stood outside, unsure whether she should knock or just go directly in. Whilst she knew it's whereabouts, she had never been inside before. Finally, she raised her hand to knock, but her knuckles had barely grazed the wood when the door swung open.
"Pamela, you've arrived! Welcome to my lab!" greeted Professor Woodrow, a ready smile on his face, "Do come in."
His movements seemed to be more rushed than what was usual for him , but Pamela was too busy taking in the sights of the lab to notice anything odd. All around her were bottles filled with oddly coloured liquids next to plants, all of varying sizes and age. It was a scientist's wet dream. In the middle of it all was a large workspace with a grand black notebook and beakers filled with the same green - for a lack of a better word - potion. It was oddly beautiful.
"See this Pamela," he said so quietly that Pamela had to strain to hear him, "Inside these beakers I believe I've discovered a way to mix human DNA with that of a plant. Imagine the understanding we could get of the natural world!"
Pamela stared up at it in disbelief, "How do you know? Have you tested it before?"
Woodrow scoffed, "Of course I have! Do you see me as the kind of scientist that would make bold faced claims without proof?"
"No sir, of course not. Sorry."
"No, no, it's fine. You must be overwhelmed. But that's where you come in, my dear girl. All of my other subjects, they've had the unfortunate problem of - well, to put it bluntly, they fall apart. Luckily, no one has discovered my little secret yet. But you, Pamela," Woodrow moved over to her and ran his finger across her jaw. She shivered, "I know I can trust you. And I think I've perfected it at last and I thought there would be no one better - no one more dedicated, to try this than you."
"Sir," she could barely speak. She couldn't believe it. She was going to be sick. "Sir, you can't expect me to do this. You can't expect me to be okay with you admitting that people have died because of you! Sir!"
"I thought you of all people would understand, Pamela! I can see it in your eyes! You know you're so much more intelligent, so much," his voice dropped lower and lower, a tension rising and bubbling up, "more beautiful, than any of your classmates. I thought you would understand there has to be sacrifices for science!"
Pamela backed away from him, glancing at the door just about to bolt, but quick as a flash Woodrow locked it, . "You know too much now Pamela. You're either going to comply or I'll make sure you disappear. 'Poor little rich girl, the stress got too much for her to handle!'""
"I respected you!" Every part of her was trembling! "You're sick!"
"You know," Woodrow murmured breezily, "Maybe you shouldn't wear that red jacket, especially with the hood up like that. People may get the wrong impression. They might think you're Little Red Riding Hood and they're the Big Bad Wolf,." he snapped his teeth together, smirking, and every cell of Pamela's body screamed out for her to run.
He had complete power over her and they both knew it.
Woodrow closed the small gap between them and once again stroked her face, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. His hands felt too big, too rough. Pamela stood rigid, fear, filling every fiber of her. What would her mother say? Would she try and claim it was Pamela's fault? Surely not.
Pamela wanted to close her eyes, to block it all out, but she felt every disturbing detail, in hyperfocus, as he ripped her skirt off with a tear. She sobbed, trying to curl in on herself but he forced her to stand straight.
She continued to struggle, but Woodrow was much larger and stronger than her and she felt herself seemingly being ripped apart. Blood trickled down her legs and she could distantly hear Woodrow moaning. Was she the first one or just one ofn many innocent students? How could he pretend to be so normal,- so charming?
It felt like an eternity , but finally with a rough scraping of the fingernails, he redressed, and stood up calmly, as if nothing had happened. As if the last few minutes, hours, this whole ordeal had never happened. As if she'd just stepped foot into his lab and he was about to show her some rare plant or something beautiful and innocent. She thought it was finally over, that she could maybe die alone with whatever dignity she had left.
But instead of leaving her to die in peace, he went over to the table and picked up the beaker,. "I'm sorry I have to do this, Pamela. But it's for the good of the world and science. I just know you'd agree if you could only see it my way."
He tipped the entirety of the beaker's contents inside her mouth and clamped it shut, pinching her nose. The survival instincts she had left forced her to swallow.
In that instance, she could feel nothing but pain. She forgot her own name. She was blind. She couldn't hear. Her body was on fire. She couldn't pass out. Why couldn't she pass out? She felt like she could feel every cell in her body and suddenly, she could hear screaming. Screaming that didn't belong to her. Gradually, ever so minutely, the pain lessened and Pamela opened her eyes. She could hear things. Things that were whispering out to her. She was by herself, but she no longer felt alone.
If I handled that in any way disrespectfully, please let me know how I can fix it! What do you guys think of chapter two? Sorry for the wait but it also turned out slightly longer. There was a lot of shit going on in my lifeand year eleven is more stressful than I expected it to be. I feel a bit hypocritical putting an M rating on this story when I'm only 15, but I think it needs one now. If any of my terminology is wrong I'm really sorry, but in another note, has Pamela already began her transformation to Poison Ivy? Please tell me what you think, I pretty much live for reviews.
Check on Archive of our own for a picture drawn my me for this chapter. I'm Dreamingofstarryskies.
Look on my Instagram for more Harley Quinn related activities at Paging_Harley_Quinn and even if you've never spoken to me before sent me a message and I'll try to be nice back.