The Death of Harley Quinn
by Jaded Faye
DISCLAIMER: I DONT OWN (except for all of one character) DONT SUE ME!
It wasn't easy loving him. She was always bruised and exhausted, but it hid well beneath all the make-up she wore, and Harley Quinn, trained psychologist she was, did not miss out on the irony here. She ignored the echoes in her head of freshman year discussions that seemed to accompany her every justification of his actions. She knew what she was doing and she didn'd care.
"He loves me."
She would tell herself, sometimes outloud to drown the echoes out, and that was when they were loudest of all. And that was when she tried the hardest to ignore them, and that was when she was at her worst.
Her characterstic chipperness, twisted as it may have been, faded and she became sensitive and snapped at the henchmen, and the victims, and on rare occasions her babies...though she always apologized to them. Often when she looked at her lovely little pack of hyenas she imagined them as real children, a prelude to her future with her "puddin'. "
Mr. J, a name only She called him by - to everyone else he was The Joker, Gotham City's most ruthless, most feared villain, most hilarious (as she always added) villain- was ignoring her again. He was distracted as usual by all of his big plans and his obsession with taking out the Batman. At first she'd relied on her usual endeavors to regain his attention. Seduction, jokes, ideas for a new big heist - that one earned her a smack in the face. He was the genius, not her, she knew better.-
None of it worked.
She'd been more careful after her last attempt...when she'd tried taking out the Batman herself and only ended up infuriating Mr. J. She'd almost left him then, he'd almost killed her. But once she'd thought about it it made perfect sense.Of course it should have infuriated him. Of course it would, of course, how could she have been so stupid? To try and infringe on his glory, his quest? After all the pain and suffering Batman had caused him the right to his demise belonged to her puddin' and him alone. His vengeance was his to enjoy and she had been wrong for trying to take that away from him. She had been selfish.
As luck would have it though, a new oppurtunity presented itself.
Harley Quinn had been kidnapped. It was perfect. Oh what he would do to this bastard when he found him. How DARE this scum touch his Harley. He would come for her. And then oh how he would dote on her. So happy to have her back, safe and sound. All that was to be done was to wait, this idiot had done all the work for her. He was an amateur for sure, more criminally-idiotic than criminally-insane. In his capture of her he'd left too many tracks made too many mistakes.
Mr. J of course, knew better, he was always telling them, how to clean up after themselves, how to cover what they did not want to be seen. Of course there were those carefully laid clues he always left behind to ensure his challenge was recognized, and credit properly attributed for all his fine work. But not this guy,she'd counted up to eight mistakes before getting bored and deciding he was just a moron. Finding her would be easy. She wouldn't have to wait long.
The echoes in the back of her mind had grown fainter by now. She was finally starting to believe what she told herself - as well she should. This was different. He was different. Mr. J was nothing like other men. His frustrations were legitimate. He was sitting at the top of a criminal empire and because of one man in a tacky bat costume it was all threatening to crumble beneath him. EVERYTHING, everything he had worked so hard for, everything he deserved! This city owed him, owed him everything after the childhood he had suffered. In his own way he was trying to punish them, but he was doing so much more than that, he was trying to make them laugh! Laugh at the seriousness of life, and the ludicrousness of their actions! He was creating for Gotham a perfect satire, showing them both the error of their ways and how silly it all was.
Her captor was growing impatient. They'd been holding up in a small shorehouse for days. Still nothing. But she knew something he didn't. Something he wasn't clever enough to catch. This was all part of the plan. Mr. J was smart, he was just letting this guy suffer, and wait...and when he least expected it...BOOM! Maybe he was even working out an elaborate scheme, something to make an example of this guy...everyone would notice...and after this...no one would dare mess with his Harley Quinn again!
The only furniture in the room was a desk and chair, along with a small television set, stationed beneath a hanging lamp across the floor from where she'd been bound and gagged. She'd watched him scribble out ransom note after ransom note. Fool. As if Mr. J had forgotten about her.
Then one evening the unthinkable happened. After over a week of waiting, and staring at the small , snoy screen of the tv, He approached her, gun in hand, expression grim. Her eyes wide- met his. "You're useless." He whispered.Now would be a good time for her puddin' to show up. 'Any minute now.' She told herself, 'any minute.' He moved slow, painfully slow, there was ample time, why wasn't He coming? Don't be silly, of course he was coming. She would never forgive herself for her lack of faith in him she knew, as she reached up one limber leg and kicked him square in the face. Her hands long unbound by her own nimble fingers she lept up and kicked him again. The gun clattered across the floor and she picked it up while he lay on his side doubled over in pain.
"Go on." He said. "Shoot me and get out of here. The whole thing's a waste anyway."
She pointed the gun at him, and by the fear in his eyes she knew he was having his doubts about what he'd just said to her, but she didn't care.
"Sit at the desk." It was a simple order that she gave him.
Defeatedly he stumbled to his feet, still in a good deal of pain and bleeding profusely from the nose.
One hand aiming the gun at his temple the other reached down and grabbed one of the blank pieces of paper strewn across the desk.
"Pick up the pen and write."
Her tone was serious, and cold... and angry. She looked every bit as insane as she truly was then.
He didn't say a word, he knew better.
"Write: She dies at Midnight."
"What!" Caught off guard, he was unable to contain his surprise.
"Just do it!" Her voice was unstable now.
"Alright," She said.
"Now we're gonna deliver our little letter."
Bruce Wayne would never claim to be able to comprehend some of the criminals he took on. Even with all his anger, and his own obsession with vengeance, He had somehow set himself apart from them. Still, there were those he could almost empathize with, remembering when his own pain had almost taken him over completely...but then there were others. A special breed.
The Joker was one of the others. For all anyone could find out about the man, it was this: He was almost certainly a sociopath. There was a marked absence of consience, even for a criminal. There were no attempts to justify his actions from his own part, and the 'pity me' stories he threw out from time to time were only used for purposes of manipulation, but nothing more...he didn't care if he was pitied or not, he cared only about getting something he wanted. There was no desperation to his actions, no real point to be made. In truth, his facade seemed to fit him perfectly, everything he did was all in fun. The only person he seemed to care about at all, or express any emotion to was Bruce Wayne's own facade, The Batman. Whether it was due to vengeance, or boredom could not be easily or ever suredly deduced. Perhaps Batman was just an easy target, because he would always have to respond, maybe it had less to do with hatred than that simple fact.
There was a massive benefit going on tonight. And in attendence Gotham's own opera prodigy Warren Sheldon. Sheldon had been gaining a great deal of attention for his upcoming role as Plagiacci, more famously known as 'The crying clown.' It was too perfect, the Joker would not be able to resist. He would be there for sure. And so would Batman.
Commissioner Gordon had been waiting when Batman arrived at his office late one night, in his usual spector-like way, unheard, unnoticed, as if he just appeared. There was no time for surprise, the commissioner held the same suspicians as Gotham's hero and immediatly the two had put their heads together and formed a plan for how to handle whatever dangers would almost surely arise. The primary concern was protecting citizens. Already Gordon had tried to have the benefit cancelled, he didn't believe the risk was a worthy one. There were plenty of ways to donate to the arts, and the opera, but this he felt was almost asking for trouble. Those organizing the event however, had disagreed, and without any real proof there was little the comissioner could do to shut them down. He would however, make sure that he an several of his best men were in attendence.
And so it was.
He never came. He never came, he never came, he never came, he never came. She couldn't believe it. What had stopped him? He couldn't have been in jail, she would have read it in the papers or heard it on the news. And she had checked every morning, noon and night since he'd failed to show. No. What was wrong? What was stopping him? Was it Batman? No...Mr. J wasn't scared of him. So what? What was holding him back?
She ignored the echoes in her head, the whispers of thoughts she did not want to think, possible truths she did not want to accept.
Then it caught her eye. It was after all on the front page. 'Gotham's own Plagiacci to attend Art's Benefit Tonight' After reading the first line she knew what it was that had kept her puddin' away. "Native Gothamite, Warren Sheldon, who has achieved much acknowledgement in the world of opera, and is soon to be playing the role of Plagiacci, the famous crying clown..." It struck her before she had even finished. Mr. J hadn't forgetten her. He was just preoccuppied planning something!
But...wasn't she more important?
That was it. She was through with all of his mistreatment. He would see! She would show him just how much she meant to him! She crumpled he paper in her hand and threw it across the room. She'd been stealing them from a neighbor up the road, and had been making special care to not be gone longer than a few moments. Had he come while she was gone? Had she not been quick enough?
Maybe Mr. J was mad at her? Maybe he figured she'd been careless? Maybe he'd thought she should have been able to handle such an obviously lousy excuse for a criminal on her own. They were pro's after all. Had she let him down? Now she began to worry more.
But she reasoned, tonight at the benefit, that wouldn't matter. Tonight he would see just how much she meant to him, and he would admit it, in front of everyone.Already she envisioned it in her mind, over and over. The concern in his eyes, him taking her into his arms. Thats how it would be. Thats how it had to be. The echoes were coming buck again but she ignored them, enraged at herself. Tonight she would silence them forever tonight she would prove his feelings for her!
The Batman had already been waiting for two hours when the first shots were fired. Immediatly the attention of a panicked crowd was drawn to the front of the room, where, standing on a table, having slipped in somehow unnoticed, was Harley Quinn. It didn't take long to figure out how she'd accomplished that much. She was not dressed in her usual clown attire tonight, and anyone who didn't know of her wouldn't have assumed a thing about the pretty young blonde woman in the black dress. She blended in with the crowd almost perfectly. She looked like any other girl you might have seen, here or on the street. The gun wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, and the only thing she said, or rather screamed over the shocked crowd, was for everyone to shut up.
He hesitated. Should he take her in now? But where was the Joker? Maybe he should wait. Her black eye mascara was running, she was crying, and it occured to the dark knight that perhaps The Joker may not be coming after all.
Then doors burst open then, and a new fear settled over the already hushed room. "WELL HELLO! EVERYONE!" The Joker strode in followed by a sizeable gang but stopped short when he did not recieve the expected reaction. His attention fell on the room now, his entrance having been, he felt, wasted. Or were they just in that much shock? He was after all infamous? Could it be his presence simply terrified them into silence. His ego would have allowed him to think so if not for the unavoidable focal point before him. The Woman standing on the table with a gun.
Oh. Hello Harley. I thought you were dead?" He said, his tone unenthusiastic, his fun having been spoiled.
Batman surely would have acted right then if not for the shock that stopped even him.
Where have you been?" The Joker continued.
"Where have you been...Puddin'?"
Her tone shook just a little, but noticably.
"Oh you know. PLANNING for this big event. Which you've now managed to ruin!" His voice was accusing, angry.
"Gee...I'm awfully sorry...Mr. J."
The gun was moving now, and so was Batman.
"Hold it right there Harley!"
He instructed. But she didn't listen, her hand move quickly, the gun with it.
He paused, quick to caution, someone might get hurt. And then the piece was aimed at her own temple.
"Did y'a miss me Mr. J?"
She asked, tears still streaming down her face, her voice weak, exhausted.
Slowly, Batman began to move toward her, trying not to startle or threaten very emotional woman before him.
- Damn right she was emotional! Harley knew what they were thinking, that she was being over-dramatic, but this was the only way! She didn't care!
Didn't he though?
"Give me the gun!" Her long time nemesis, the batman, ordered calmly. She ignored him.
The Joker laughed.
"Oh this is comical Batzy! Are you trying to save a criminal! Oh how merciful of you. Is this how you intend to keep in business?"
He jeered, not caring that he was the only one amused by this.
"You never came. Didn't you get the note? Didn't you send someone? Didn't you try to find me!"
Her voice was desperate.
"Oh, well you see..."
He seemed bashful for a second, but then his tone was dead serious.
No one said a word, but a powerful force had struck everyone in the room, Harley hardest of all. She was shaking.
"Harley. Give - me - the - gun."
Gotham's hero reached out slowly, trying not to be threatening, he knew, one wrong move...
"Now" - The Joker cut in. "Get down from there. You're ruining all the fun i've planned for the evening."
Her eyes were wide, her emotions unhidden as she broke down then and there, even though she didn't actually move, except the violent shaking, and the slightest twitch of her finger as she pulled the trigger.
Harley Quinn was dead on the table.
Someone screamed, and the room filled with noise again.
"SHUT UP SHUT UP!" The Joker yelled, further infuriated that no one would listen. All the attention was off him now. They weren't looking at him anymore, all his fun had been spoiled by that stupid little attention whore!
He set off some warning shots, and the crowd fell silent again.
he said, satisfied that he had their attention again.
"Lets not let this little stunt ruin our fun. I assure you folks, that I have planned plenty more entertainment for tonight!"
A fist to the jaw sent him spiraling back. His henchmen, so concentrated on what had just taken place before them ,had remained frozen in place until now.
And it was too late...the cops swarmed in an arrested them. They'd been waiting.
Had her death not been brief, had she laid there long enough to see what happened next, Harley would have finally been forced to accept what she had been denying for the past few years now.
He had never loved her.
Making his way toward her fresh gave at 3 am, the graveyard sufficiently empty for his purposes, Bruce Wayne was both himself and the batman right then. His crime-fighting alterego had never been more deeply in touch with the side of him that was just a man, a person, than now.
He had told her before in confrontation that the Joker did not love her. But the events of a few weeks ago had shaken even him because, somewhere amidst all his
idealism and his decency he had almost believed the Joker had at least...some form of affection or attatchment to her...a twisted un-love story. That he had been using her was not even a question, of course he had... And of course he hadn't loved her, but something... He had thought there must have been something.
And now he knew better. And in his mind a new low was possible for some, one he had never fully comprehended or truly believed in until now.
Some spark of hope, the chance to go back on this belief, - if only he could, the chance was precious - hit him as he spotted the figure bent low over the freshly dug earth. Wearing a trench coat and hat, his back to the dark knight, he laid something down before the stone, a small wedge in the earth because no one had paid for any kind of memorial.
Could it be?
Sensing another presence the man did not even look back but instead paused, then took off at a run. He didn't get far before being cornered at the gate. Batman grabbed hold of him roughly and whirled the figure around.
"So you did care!"
It was more of a desperate question though it sounded like an accusation.
But the man before him was not who he expected.
Batman had not known of Harley's abduction, preceeding her death, or any of the events that had led up to her final desperate act. So he did not recognize this man, who had been her captor, and then her prisoner, whom she had let go after delivering the letter to the Joker.
His name was Gabriel Stolk, he was a petty thief, and one time henchman of the Joker's. He did odd jobs for various criminals, and had worked for a couple of the big shots in his time, but had never done anything big himself, before kidnapping the Joker's girlfriend.
"He d-didn't care."
Stolk stammered. His eyes filled with some kind of emotion that Batman could not completely read.
"She loved him. She waited. He never came. He didn't care."
"And t-then...she blew her fu-fucking brains out, and he didn't bat an eye."
He continued as if not having heard the question.
"What do you mean she waited?"
"She was crazy, she made me write a note and everything, like she was supposed to die...and he never came. She waited but he never came."
And suddenly the pieces were falling together...and Batman was starting to understand what had happened.
"She kidnapped herself?"
He needed to know.
She had waited for him to come and rescue her. And he didn't come. She'd been having suspicians then , that he didn't love her. She knew...she just didn't want to believe it, so she'd tried to make him prove his love, tried to prove he cared...
"No. No. At - at first...then she got free...but she didn't run, she waited...and she sent a note...she was supposed to die...but he never came. She , she gave him a time and everything. He didn't care about her. He didnt even care!"
The man before him was shaken with emotion and Batman himself felt inside what this man was showing outwardly, unable to contain himself.
"Why are you here?" He demanded, eyeing the thief. Obviously the joker hadn't sent him.
"He didn't love her."
"She waited, he never came."
"Why are you here?" The question was repeated with more force this time.
"B-because... she reminded me of my mom."
Stolk was found tied up infront of the police station early the next morning.
After dropping him off there batman had returned to Harley's grave curious as to what the mad had been doing there. A single carnation lay on the mound of dirt marked with her name. The only evidence of attention paid to her memory.
If only she'd learned sooner.
If only she hadn't tried to make him prove it.
No matter what she had done.
No matter how much even the Batman himself wished that the Joker had loved her,nothing could change what was.
It was maddening to think about.
She was pitied.
But she had never been loved.
I wrote this story under the premise of the Joker being a sociopath. That is, in his heart of heart, he does not truly love her. I think it's an interesting exploration into their relationship. The resulting tragedy is not just there for the sake of drama, but to express a point. I wanted to reader to sympathize with Harley, I wanted you to WANT him to love her too, to want what she wanted, to want it for her, and I wanted it to crumble under the tragic realization that he does not. I hope more than anything this story could be held as almost a lesson, not just a random tragedy. It's not always the case that "he doesn't love her" but still an abusive relationship is bad none the less. This is presenting merely one possibility, I intend to do another piece, similar but under a different premise, one in which he does love her but...
Hopefully i'll get around to it. I'm terribly lazy. But writing beats summer boredom, and anything is better than the heat right?
I try and post full stories to avoid leaving off at random chaptors and abandoning them, you may notice this pattern with me.
I hope you enjoyed it.
Can you tell i'm a psychology geek? Not that I know much about it...but I find it terribly interesting.
I also enjoy creative writing so constructive criticism winces, tactfully presented mind you is ALWAYS welcome.