Title : A Madhouse Romance
E-mail: themadpuppy85 AT yahoo DOT ca
Permission to archive: Yes, just tell me!
Category: Angst/Dark, Romance, Drama
Rating: PG-13, switch to M later
Summary: It took 72 sessions with the Joker for Harleen to become Harley. But how exactly did it happen? The Madhouse Romance tells it all. Joker/Harley, Multi-parts.
Keywords: Joker, Harley Quinn, Arkham, Falling in Love
Spoilers: This is basically a re-telling of Mad Love, but contains references to Devil's Advocate and The Long Halloween.
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman nor make money out of this. It's only for my pleasure and yours. .
Author Notes: Inaccuracy in realism may occurs, please bear with me. Also, for the sake of a thrilling plot, a slight tendency to a twisted Harlequin romance is to be expected. That said, enjoy!
Warning: This is what I call "fast-food fanfiction". It is written to be a quick read, not as deep as a one-shot. That, because as a multi-parter I don't have enough time to develop every idea evoked without disrupting the flow of the read…and not enough energy neither. (dies).
This fic is dedicated to
Thyme In Her Eyes
Through fiction we met each other
And from this bond fiction sublimes.
On April 30th, Harleen Quinzel left Gotham University.
On May 12th, she was officially a criminal psychiatrist.
On May 24th, Arkham staff interviewed her.
On May 31st, she was hired.
And thus our romance can begin.
A MADHOUSE ROMANCE
Darrell Lancaster was a good guy. Almost 6'7 high, brown eyes, brown hair, married, two kids, this walking American dream performed his daily duties with perfect professionalism and utmost boredom.
Guard at Arkham.
So yes, Darrell was a very good guy. A little crooked, considering this job wasn't paying shit for the trouble, but everybody has to fend for himself, right? After all, it wasn't like he gave the keys to the inmates, just harmless, tiny little favours.
As of now, the Joker was asking him to put a red rose and a flirtatious hand-scribbled note in the office of the new blonde-bomb intern.
"Think she'll fall for you, Clown God?" chuckled the amused guard, his back on the heavy metal door, loud enough just for the Joker to hear him.
"Why, of course! I'm irresistible, can't you see?" came the characteristic fake obliging voice of the Joker behind, feeble through the communication panel.
"I don't know. Dr. Arkham will want her to be a little more experienced before handling big cases like you."
"Oh, she'll make it, ya'll see. Besides, I can be pretty persuasive too."
"I trust you on that. It'll be fun watching Dr. Archer getting headaches over your non-sense."
"It's a deal, then?"
"Yeah, yeah, don't worry. Nice flower in a nice vase, handwritten note, you got it."
"A rose, you unromantic moron! It must be a rose!"
"Alright, alright, a rose! Don't think it'll make any difference in the millions she surely has received by now."
"Yup. Sorry guy, heard big Dan has already eyes on her."
"Danny-boy? Don't make me laugh, Lancie, that two-cents whiny bully isn't even able to seduce his own right hand!"
Hiding a smile, Darrell continued his schedule. Anyone witnessing the scene before would just have thought he was having some rest on the cold door of the most feared inmate of the asylum.
Days and night at Arkham were made of long, tiring routines. This evening was not exception, for Darrell half expected to meet the new object of Joker's affection.
"Miss Quinzel? I'm Darrell Lancaster, at your service."
"Call me Harley. Everyone does."
Throaty voice. Luscious lips. Damn, she sure is a nice piece of ass.
She tilted her head to the side, a mock reproach in the eyes.
"How did you know my name?"
"Rumours about sexy new interns travel fast, sweetheart. Even the criminal masterminds of this section heard about you".
She didn't even blush. Instead, her eyes brightened briefly when he pointed the restricted alley behind him.
"So you are the guard of the famous corridor!"
"Sometimes, and not the only one, thanks God. But for the moment, yeah, I'm alone."
At that, he could see her biting her lower lip. The gal was desperate to ask him something, and he just knew what.
After all, recognizing and doing favours was (partly) his job.
"Wanna make a tour?"
"…Isn't that against the rules?"
"Not really. Besides, every newcomer asks to see the Bid Bad Criminals… There," he said, opening the massive double doors, "have your fill. Touch the cells, stare at them, whatever you want…they usually don't answer unless we say "food" or "free time", but don't let that refrain you from trying."
She still seemed a little unsure.
"Aren't you coming with me?"
"I see them daily, sweetheart, they're not thrilling to me anymore. Go on, there's no need to be afraid: these bozos are in security in their cells; you won't be able to harm them!"
He winked playfully, and her sincere, light laugh seemed out of place on the deserted floor.
"Enjoy. If there's anything, I'm right here."
She went in, swinging her round hips. Right, left, right, he could see her long toned legs going from cell to cell with interest, until they finally stopped. To Darrell's mild surprise, it was in front of the Joker's door.
Guess girls like receiving flowers, even from mass murderers.
There were whispers. Then, she came back, a strange smile dancing on her red lips.
"More than you can imagine, Darrell. Thank you so much for this."
As the thump thump of her heels receded, he could not help but stare wistfully.
I'll be damned before I ask Joker tips for seducing chicks.
As soon as Harleen turned the corner of the alley, her collected behaviour shattered. She sped up, eager to get back at her office, out of anyone's sight.
This was…exhilarating. She had not worked one full day at Arkham that she had not only charmed the whole staff, but successfully stirred the interest of a well-known psychopath.
And not any psychopath; it was the star of the insanes, the clown prince of crime himself!
A huge, delirious smile dawned on her face. All this hassle at Gotham University was finally paying off. She just had to play her cards right and she'd be rich and famous in less than a year.
Get to work, girl.
Quickly looking that she was truly alone, she took a thick white folder out of her wallet, dashed half of it in her garbage can, and spread the rest on her desk. Newspaper clips she collected since the day she has chosen her career orientation flew like loose flour.
All on the Joker.
True, her media library on the demented man was fairly more furnished than her now forgotten files on the other criminals in the refuse bin, but Harleen had always nourished the secret hope that she'd have the luck of making him her big case—you know, be the first to truly understand and rehabilitate him, cash on him, stuff like that.
She'd always remember the first time she has seen him—a tall, smiling dandy on TV. His green, wild locks partially hid what they called "the malevolent shine in his eyes", yet her memory couldn't recall anything other than a man seeing the world differently. As the report went on, the more the various psychiatrists in charge labelled him a hopeless case, the more Harleen became convinced than the quickest road to a wealthy life went through him.
Sure, another freak would have been also nice and profitable, but the true big chunk was really him…
Besides, the Joker was a bleached man, but a man nonetheless. That meant, as Harleen has learnt at University, that he could be bribed, coerced or seduced to do or to say anything.
And if her recent encounter with him was any indication, he was quite the fallen Casanova. It reminded her of a proud little puppy desperate to please; it was almost cute in a way.
At first, she thought the rose was a prank. But God, the moment she had the certitude it came from him…
"Do I get a kiss for my rose, Doctor?"
An indescribable feeling had seized her at those words; not quite love at first sight, but immediate ecstasy. The voice was exactly like she imagined, it was his voice, and dollar bills were dancing in front of her eyes, each one harbouring the trademark sinister grin of the Joker. Thankfully, her face had remained calm and disinterested, as if she received romantic gifts from famous criminal masterminds three times a day.
"So you put it there. I wonder what the staff will say?"
"You're breaking my heart. Besides, I think both you and I know that if you really intended to do that, you already would have, ain't I right?"
Well, they DID say the guy was intelligent.
"You know, sweets, I like what I heard about you!"
"Oh…anything in particular?"
"Everything! They say you're blonde, and pretty, and wear skirts one inch shorter than the other doctors…but what I really like is your name. Har-leen Quin-zel. Rework it a bit, and you get Harley Quinn, the very spirit of fun and frivolity!"
"Yeah, like the clown character Harlequin. I heard that before."
"Then you can see how I can be attracted to it…makes me feel like there's someone I can rely to, ya know?.."
She had remained speechless. Obviously, that was fate. This name she hated so much was in fact a blessing in disguise, given by God to her for this very moment.
"Come on, sweets, I'm dying in there. Don't you wanna chat with me a little? We can exchange beauty tips—you know they say I have the most incredible baby skin?"
She had to stifle a laugh. Joker? Baby skin?
"I'll see what I can do", she had said flatly.
"I'm off preparing Granny's ointment, then. Tee-hee-hee…"
After that, he recoiled in the dark, and she left. She hadn't got to clearly see him, but from the desk the printed, black and white grin of the Joker seemed almost charming now.
She touched it lightly, with the pulp of her fingers, and forced his name to pass her lips.
She repeated it, again and again, revelling in the feeling of empowerment it gave her. Absent-mindedly, she touched her blonde bun. She had changed her hair color years ago, when she first discovered that important men—the Joker's in the lot—preferred blonde cuties. As for the shortness of her skirt, if that alone was enough to make him spill his secrets, she'll happily make a steamy swimsuit parade.
Oh yes, the Joker will make her a happy, happy girl.
Weeks rolled by. Harley pleaded her case daily, but to no avail.
On July 21st, the Joker took the matter into his own hands.
On August 27th, Dr. Julius Archer gave up on his green-haired patient, declaring him to be a "hopeless pain in the ass".
On August 30th, Dr. Joan Leland went to the session instead…
"It seems you have been difficult these past few weeks?"
"You know, Doc, they say she has golden hair, GOLD, can ya imagine that? And that she moves like a mermaid, you know, swingin' hips chica, and that she is…"
Joan sighed, trying not to lose her patience. This had gone on since one hour. Any question she asked, he just answered back something about Dr. Quinzel, tossing madly like an overexcited child through the entire ordeal.
She felt sympathetic for Dr. Archer. He had endured that for one entire month, twice a week.
In fact, it was rather unusual that the Joker focused on something else than the Batman—then again, it was bluntly weird to see him acting so…infatuated. She had taken some notes (acts like a retarded toddler under the Christmas tree) but that was all she could do. Either she sent him to Harley, or they waited for him to calm down.
Considering his state, that could means forever.
"I give you one month, Harley, you hear me? If he doesn't improve, just let go. I know how dedicated you are, but don't try anything foolish. This isn't Holly Bishop, or Stuart Thatcher, this is the Joker. He makes veteran psychiatrists go insane, you hear me? So…"
"Don't worry, Joan, I promise not doing anything inconsiderate. Basic questions and that's all. Don't be so nervous, everything will be alright."
"I just have this feeling it'll go really wrong. I mean, for God's sake, the stupid clown has a crush on you! I'm disgusted!"
"It'll probably fade off once he sees me a couple of times. Come on, Joan, this has to stop, even the other inmates complain!"
"I admire you. You're so stoical, even though he'll probably drool at you like a perverted old man. I'm gonna puke."
"When is the first session scheduled?"
"In two days. Don't ask me again, or I'll think you're eager to see him. Urg."
A Madhouse Romance-72 sessions remaining
Notes on Chapter 1
Thyme once asked me "how this could happen under the nose of the staff and nobody noticed?" The fic is basically my answer. For now, we have a crooked, bored guard and a clueless staff, but next chapters will harbour more causes.
As for Darrell, try to understand him. The guy isn't stupid, just bored out of his mind. He can't fathom the consequences of his "harmless" actions, and besides, if it doesn't affect him, he doesn't really care. He's your average reliable do-it-all, trying to get what he can.
Chapter 2 is planned to be released next week, still in the PG-13 section. Please leave a comment, and stay tuned!