The Real Origins of Harley Quinn
Author's note: Bear with me on the descriptions, these are places you've never seen before and it's important that their structure is explained otherwise some things dont make sense. Forgive any mis-characterisation, it's been a while and I'm basing this off a very strange dream I had the other night.
Disclaimer: I dont own Batman, the Joker, or Harley Quinn. I dont own Gotham (though I darnwell wish I did sometimes). All I own is a very overactive imagination.
Please forgive any spelling mistakes. I wanted the get the whole thing down before I forgot what happened.
The roller rink was probably one of the strangest places in the whole metropolis. Part ice-skating, part roller blading, the building was shaped like a dome but had a feeling more like that of a beehive. The first two levels were a mass of store rooms, speciality cafes and hire outlets for aerodynamic suits, skate shoes, and safety equipment. You didn't get to the third level without either hiring the safety equipment or signing a waiver.
The third level was the important one. The ceiling was a towering half-sphere over the top of the rink, giving the impression that the entire room was just a hollow globe. There was a walkway around the top of the rink and an entrance half-way to the center ground. The daring would choose to vault from the walkway, the more cautious would stay near the bottom where the curves of the arena-like rink weren't so steep.
Tonight, it was Halloween. The Rink was famous for it's annual halloween celebrations; Costumed spectacles that showcased the very best the young middle class had to offer. Everyone secure and safe in their self-made bubble of ignorance and bliss.
It was time to rock that fantasy world and pop that bubble.
He was a nightmare clown. Horror with skin like alabaster and a leering red smile. With his purple suit and obnoxiously green hair he could almost have blended with the crowd had his face not already been as well known as it was. Recognisable, reprehensible, his demonic smile exposing something dark and sinister from the inside.
And worse... he had a bomb.
Chaos flowed from level to level, the exits barred by hired lackeys who weilded guns and baseball bats with equal enthusiasm. Costumed men, women and teenagers were shoved into store rooms, closets, cupboards and locked tight. Those left free were in a panic, not knowing where to go or what to do.
And some idiots were still skating...
Mary-Anne had no idea what to do - the exits were barred, and if she left the main arena it was likely she'd get stuffed into some small room with hardly any room to breathe - so she just kept doing what she was. Fear of claustrophibia and the hope for self-preservation were all that kept her on her feet, whirling from one side of the rink to the other, dodging the lost and disorientated, just trying to keep moving in the hopes that she might spy some way out of the situation.
Her eyes were narrowed in concentration, her mind turned inwards as she scrutinised the situation from all the angles she could think of. It never even occurred to her to look where she was going until she rounded a group of stranded teens and slammed into a force coming from the opposite direction.
Mary-Anne went down hard, jarring her side and whacking her forehead against the ground. The impact left a white smudge where her makeup had brushed the ground. Bells jingled when she lifted her head - it took her a moment to realise that it was her costume that made the sound.
An aggravated voice said something nearby and before she could comprehend what was going on a blade was being pressed under her chin and the snarling visage of the Joker filled her vision.
"Gosh, I'm sorry!" She gasped, though she hadn't heard what he'd said in the first place and wasn't entirely ure why she'd added 'gosh'. She scrambled to her feet, the knife and the madman following. In the split second it took her to regain her composure and get to her feet she was already analysing the situation.
Face to face with a psychotic felon, a knife at her throat, a belt full of bombs at his waist, and a wide grin on his face to contrast the sinister cant of his eyebrows.
From the look she could tell that her response had better be a good one. Ideas raced through her head, though she was unable to settle on any one in particular. Without stopping to think she said the very first thing that came to her lips. "You have very nice eyes."
Oh my God! The words ran through her mind. Stupid stupid stupid stupid...
Evidently this was not what he was expecting as he seemed to reply in the same kind of manner. "Why thankyou, you should see the rest of my collection."
"I'd like to," she said and batted her eyelashes, subtly shifting her hips until she was in a more sultry pose. It occurred to her that she was flirting with death and she couldn't help a giggle.
"Joker!" A rough voice called from above, distracting the clownlike madman. "The first two bombs are in position!"
"One moment!" The Joker called back, "I've yet to give my lady a flower." His free hand fingered the squirting flower on his jacket and Mary-Anne cringed. She'd heard the stories as well as anyone else.
Before anything else could be done she took a quick step back and then pushed off with her skates. She pumped hard, becoming little more than a blur that sped away from the Joker and up the domed sides of the rink, only to priouette and speed back down - headed for the other side. She had no idea what she was doing, only that it was something that meant she wouldn't immediately die.
A maniacal laughter echoed across the rink and suddenly there was an echoing blur racing towards her from the other side. Mary-Anne jumped and twisted, avoiding the Joker's groping hands as they passed one another in a blur of colours in motions. Reaching the apex of the sloping side, Mary-Anne turned, she could see the Joker doing the same and she could also see the milling crowd of people and goons - all watching as though it were some kind of game. Which it probably was, she realised.
"Who are you?" His voice called, static despite the whirling panorama around her.
Mary-Anne took a moment to think and thoughts cascaded through her head with the same rapidity with which she was moving. The breakneck speed was such that if she stopped she risked snapping her neck. Her mind felt the same. Through sheer instinct she knew it would be a very bad idea to give her real name. "Harley!" She yelled back after what seemed like ages but was in reality only a second. "Harley Quinn!"
Something about that seemed to strike him as funny, a howling laughter echoing across the now-empty rink. Anyone with any sense had vacated to the stands.
Their next pass left something in her hands. A bomb! she realised. A quick look down confirmed that it was armed, and at the top of her next circuit she whipped her arm up - letting go of the device. She looked over her shoulder as she sped towards the center of the rink again, noting the position it had landed. Again, the Joker was there to hand her another bomb. This time she noticed and took it without hesitation, self preservation dictating the terms of her willing collaboration. The newly dubbed Harley Quinn looked over at the Joker, who mimmicked her in skating to the top of the half-dome and throwing the bomb into the crowd. People ran, though trapped and with nowhere to go.
"Another 'bomb dive' and we're out of here!" The Joker crowed, deeply amused at the pun.
Passing the Joker for the 'last' time, Harley couldn't help but begin to panic. How was she going to stop? How was she going to get out of there? She threw the bomb and began to descend, not knowing what was supposed to be going on.
She saw the Joker coming directly at her, trademark grin on his face, arms outstretched towards her. Instinctually she mimmicked the pose and at the last second he grabbed her wrists. They spun, looking for all the world as though engaged in some kind of gleeful dance. A dance Harley was mostly unaware of, acting purely on the instinct of living for another day. If she had to ally herself with the most psychotic criminal Gotham had ever known then so be it. The spinning slowed and he let go of one of her wrists, the other still firmly clutched in a steel-hard grip. The Joker seemed to change directions and now sped off in the direction of a cleaners entry and exit to the rink. They barrelled through the door and the Joker kicked off the addends to his shoes that had allowed him to skate. Harley followed suit, knowing she'd need to be in proper shoes in order to run.
"Where are we going?" She gasped, trailing behind the clownlike criminal as he ducked, weaving through the narrow passageway with ease.
"Out the back exit. I'd love to stay," he added, a slight pant to his voice a reassuring indication that he was still human, "the party's gonna be a blast, smashing in fact, but I've got a thing about bits of plaster on my suit." He stopped at a crossway where the hall veered in two different directions. "That's funny," he said, obviously thinking that it wasn't. The joker pulled what looked like some kind of sketched map out of his jacket pocket. Looking over his shoulder, Harley could see that this intersection clearly wasn't anywhere to be seen.
"It's not there!" Harley exlcaimed before she could help herself. The words tumbled out of her mouth in an effort. "Looks like someone turned the trick on you, puddin'." The last word was added after a small hesitation, in an effort to keep the bizarre sense of safety that she seemed to have garnered by her actions in the rink.
She could've saved her breath. He didn't seem to notice that the statement could have been taken as an insult, instead looking left and right and trying to decide which way to go.
Harley closed her eyes and started counting in her head. They had only minutes at best, seconds at worst. It took him almost ten seconds to decide, then she felt the jerk on her arm and they were running again. "How did you know which way to go?" Harley asked, unable to help her curiosity.
"I took a leaf outta someone else's book. Flipped a coin." He looked over his shoulder at her and Harley was startled to see a strange sort of clarity on his face - too clear to be sane, still too sane to be as insane as he was traditionally labelled. "They're gonna turn to stone," the Joker told her, his voice starting to get a little strained from the effort of talking clearly and running at the same time. "So this testament of human ingenuity becomes a monument, a cruel irony and a sick joke on the middle class snobs. They want their kids cultured, they'll be culture." He laughed, though the sound was punctured by his ragged breath.
"Stone?" Harley gasped, realising the imperative of getting out of the building. The sound echoed back down the hallway, seeming to even become amused as it bounced back into her ears. "Statues," she realised.
Somewhere far away someone screamed and there was the sound of glass shattering. They were smashing the windows! Harley's eyes widened, realising that there were probably those who'd take their chances jumping than stay and wait for the explosions. A door seemed to just appear in front of them. They barrelled through without pause, just a split second after the first of the bombs went off. Harley would have lost her footing were it not for the Joker's hand still firmly clasped around her wrist. She didn't know why he still held onto her, but she was greatful just the same.
Things that boomed and shook made the air pressurise and expand, her ears popping to adjust.
The sound of rock smashing made her head whip around, the bells on her hat jingling. Those who had leapt to their deaths had not done so quite quickly enough, turning to stone part way through their fall. The statues smashed against the pavement as they ran, chips of rock flying through the air.
The Joker cackled, seeming completely unaware that the falling statues could easily crush them both. Suddenly he stopped, leaving Harley to slam into him for the second time that night. This time he didn't seem bothered, instead lookng back at the Rink. Harley swallowed her natural fear and turned to look back.
The Rink was still perfectly in tact, with the exception of the windows that had been broken. The ground immediately below was littered with stone faces, arms, hands, feet, and bits of bodies or clothes that looked as though they came from broken statues. She had no idea how it had been done, for a moment she couldn't even recall how she'd survived.
Then the Joker released her wrist. Harley's head whipped around so fast that her hat nearly fell off. She stared up at him with wide blue eyes. Breifly he looked back at her, one eyebrow slightly more raised than the other. The Joker turned, without another word, and began walking off. A few steps away and his hand came up, fingers curling and beconing her to follow.
Harley trotted to catch up, falling into step beside him with her heart pounding in her throat and making her feel as though it were trying to escape. Politely she cleared her throat. "Mister Joker..."
"One or the other," he growled, "not both. Jokers aint Misters."
"Mister...J?" Harley tried tentatively.
The Joker flashed her a sinister sort of grin, but otherwise gave no reply. He continued walking at a leisurely pace, stopping near a pawn shop window that displayed several working TVs set to a news chanel station. Curious, Harley also stopped, turning he attention to the screens.
Much to her horror it was a news cast of what had just happened at the rink. Security cameras showed footage of the Joker, cheerfully breaking into the Rink and tossing bombs hither and thither as though they were no more harmful than tennis balls. The camera cut to footage of the rink itself, and a female news-reporter's voice sounded the narrative.
"In a characteristicly bizarre turn of events the Joker even seems to have incorporated the introduction of what seems to be a villainous sidekick into tonight's horrifying massacre. The appropriately dubbed 'Harley Quinn' is seen here tossing the Rictus Bombs into the crowd before escaping with the Joker."
Horrified and yet strangely detatched Harley watched the young woman on screen. The woman's hair was hidden by a red and black jester cap, her face painted white and black in a manner that made her look as though she were smiling. She was dressed in a 'traditional' harlequin suit in the quartered colours of black and red.
"Aint it a real shock the first time you see yourself on tee-vee?" The Joker asked casually. "It makes you think 'do I really look like that?' and then 'well damn!' when you realise you do."
"I'm a wanted felon," Harley spoke quietly, still oddly detatched.
"Isn't it a good feeling?" The Joker demanded with a laugh, then that grin vanished. "Oh look, they're sending out the troops."
Harley looked back at the screen in time to catch the reporter's assurances that the authorities (and Batman) were on the way, complete with sirens in the background of her report. It took her a moment to realise that the sirens were on the streets and rapidly coming closer.
"Looks like this is where we part ways, Harl," The Joker said, flashing her a grin. "But damned if I forgot the car. It aint going to be a barrel of laughs to get out of this one." He patted his pockets and she realised what he meant. He was out of tricks, his repetoir spent on the Rink. Without the delay in getting out it would have been a clean getaway.
The sirens were getting closer. For a moment Harley considered giving herself up. But then... what good would that do?
She was wanted for murder, for pitching bombs into a crowd of only God knows how many. She was in collaboration with a well-known criminal madman. If she gave herself up she would have to give her real name. How would she feel about the world knowing that she was a killer? At least this way she retained her dignity.
"M-mister J?" Harley spoke up, ridding herself of the stutter as she went. "If you run they'll sorta just find you." He turned to look at her, his gaze sharp. "And Batman -" his hand raised when she said that name, as though he meant to hit her. She swallowed and kept going nonetheless. "- He's got all those gizmos and things for finding people." Harley took a deep breath, then blurted, "but if you hide in plain sight how're they going to know which costumed weirdos to capture? It's Halloween Mister J! Everyone's dressed up funny."
The Joker looked thoughtful, a frightening expression on his clownlike face. "The irony in it is palpable. Ha! Hide in plain veiw..." The Joker looked around. This area of the city - though so close to the Rink - was relaxed and unaware of any danger. Teens and people in their twenties were dressed in gaudy costumes, some even attempting to mimick masked vigilantes and criminals. People either laughed as they walked, sat down and drank booze (whether stolen or bought) or slipped into a quiet alleyway for a clandestine grope. Calculating eyes turned to Harley Quinn.
Without another word she backed away until her back was against the nearby brick wall of a closed bottle shop. Her eyelashes batted in a most flirtacious manner, her body arranging itself into a pose that spoke to tantalising delights. The Joker advanced on her, and it seemed that his body pressed against hers at just the exact moment when a formation of cop cars rounded the corner. Harley's arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him down and into a most passionate kiss. Desperation on her part drove the kiss to be very sexual - her most basic instinct was that to stay alive, and to do so she had to make herself invisible to the police and (at least for the moment) indispensable to the Joker. So she made the kiss her best, putting all her attention into to it and shoving a healthy amount of heated attraction and devotion in there for good measure.
If the Joker felt that he had the capacity to be shocked, he most certainly would have been. To be honest when he'd first started playing the 'game' back at the Rink he'd thought she'd freak out and be reduced to screams and tears when he handed her the first bomb. That she would willingly pitch the bombs into the crowd was enough reason to drag her along out of the exit. That she would willingly follow and escape with him by means of a makeout was something he'd normally consider laughable... but since his mouth was currently engaged in other activities he figured laughing would prove to be just a little bit more trouble than it was worth.
Especially since Harley was subtly grinding her hips against him, and the cop cars were paying them absolutely no attention. Come to think of it, destruction did always kinda make him horny...
Harley Quinn - formerly Mary-Anne - relaxed as she heard the police cars move away from the area. Her grip on the Joker relaxed slightly and by mutual agreement they broke the kiss. Harley couldn't help a giggle, her black lipstick had smudged off onto his lips.
"Time to head home, Harl," the Joker said as though there had never been any question of her not going with him. There was a husky quality to his voice that hadn't been there before.
Harley pushed back any regrets or doubts she might have, stamping them down so tight that she was able to grin and chirp cheerfully, "sure thing, Mister J!"
Her character was fully in place. Harley Quinn had just been born.