Three months later…
Bruce Wayne walked along the streets of Gotham, his ordinarily handsome face pinched with thought and his brow creased with a series of wrinkles that spoke of the inner turmoil ricocheting about in his head.
The entire city was awash in activity. Of course, it was Christmas Eve--everyone was rushing around trying to get the last of their holiday shopping done--so that was only to be expected. What's more, Gotham square was lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree and the sounds of celebration poured out of every store and residence he passed.
He should've been celebrating as well…Tim had finally made a full recovery just a few scant weeks earlier, after close to nine months of alternating catatonia and bouts of screaming, but rather than making him happy (though it did make him happy) it wound up only complicating matters.
The first thing that Tim had asked after the doctors were satisfied he was in ship shape was when he could become Robin again.
Bruce had forbade the boy from ever putting on a mask and costume again.
He secretly suspected it would work about as well as forbidding Barbara had. If anything, after he had ordered her to go back to being a civilian, Batgirl was more active than ever and on every patrol, Batman found himself with a feminine black and yellow shadow following him on the rooftops.
The first few times, he had stopped to scold her and try to dissuade her, but she still wouldn't give up and refused to give up her life as a vigilante.
After all, she had argued, it was she who found him and brought him to his senses that night after Poison Ivy had knocked him goofy; he needed her for backup.
And that night…that night. What a disaster that had been. Not only did Ivy get away, but by the time Batman reached the sewers, there was no sign of Harley Quinn or her friend. All there was to indicate that anyone had occupied the sewers was a large bloodstain, which he tested and confirmed belonged to Harleen Quinzell.
There hadn't been any sign of either woman since. Three long months of searching, and there wasn't so much as a whisper about 'mother' or Poison Ivy.
They had seemingly disappeared into the shadows together, never to be seen or heard from again.
They had to be somewhere, he knew; people didn't just vanish…but as long as they lived their lives quietly without any criminal activity involved, he couldn't find them.
Somewhere, deep inside Bruce, beneath the alternating layers of billionaire playboy and city's champion, he was glad that they had both 'retired' and despite his duty to apprehend them, he knew he was more than likely to just leave them alone so long as they did the same for Gotham.
If they wanted to go on in anonymity, without doing any harm to anyone else, fine. If they decided that the mundane life got too mundane and they picked up their respective villainous personas again, then he would deal with them properly.
Until then, live and let live.
Across the square, bundled up in a well tailored coat and looking every bit the professional she used to be (save for the fact her hair and eye color had both been changed), Harley Quinn leaned over the stroller she'd been pushing and adjusted the blanket that covered her daughter.
She did it to keep her head down when she spotted Bruce Wayne, more out of habit than anything else, on the off chance he should see her and try to apprehend her.
But when she leaned down, she found two little emerald eyes pinning her in place and she couldn't help but smile at the pale little face staring up at her as she fiddled with the baby blanket.
"What a charming child!"
Harley stood up straight as a rod and tried to keep her demeanor calm instead of listening to her first instinct to take her child and run. She turned and met the eyes of a little old blue haired lady leaning heavily on a walker.
"Thank you," Harley said graciously, careful to keep her voice as deep as possible.
"What's her name?"
Harley tried not to let her suspicions run rampant as she preserved her plastered on smile. "Her name is Josephine Kerr."
"Kerr? That's an odd middle name to have."
"Family name," Harley replied evasively as the elderly woman took a few more steps closer to the carriage and leaned in to look at the baby.
"What brilliant eyes," the old lady continued. "With eyes like that, she'll grow up to be quite the little heartbreaker."
Josephine giggled a high pitched baby giggle that was filled with the pure glee that only a child can experience, and Harley found it catching, leaving her unable to remain upset at the old crone who was intruding on her territory.
"And what a laugh! Like the tinkling of fairy bells! Oh yes, she'll be quite the heartbreaker indeed."
"Yes," Harley responded, smiling as she tucked the blanket around Josephine a little more securely. "She'll grow up to be just like her father."
A/N: Well my dear audience, that's all I've got left to give on this particular story. I originally intended to write a sequel that would cover Josephine's life (By the way: Joe Kerr was an alias the Joker used once upon a time, if I remember correctly, and it felt fitting), but I've no idea if I'll do that or not. Until I decide, enjoy the tale as is and take the time to review.
And maybe, if you're still craving something Batman, you'll have a look at the other things I've written, hm? -wink-