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Disclaimer: DC owns all these characters and WB owns DC and Time Warner owns WB and I'm pretty sure the rest of the world.
Gladrial Notes: Yet another ingenious collaboration between Sno-Chan and myself. This worked much the same as our last one: The plot was all Sno-Chan's idea along with many a funny line and guiding hand. I loved the idea and knew she'd never get around to actually completing it…or beginning it for that matter and took it by force. MWA HAHAHAHA! …Actually, she asked me if I would. My life is so dull.
This is going to be a big 'un people, so hold on to your hats! The first half of this story was actually written months ago. Both Sno-Chan and I did a lot of traveling this summer and we both came up with other ideas to write. (You can't stop the creative process folks.) As a result, this fic found itself briefly abandoned, but it was revived and, I'm happy to say, completed. This one is lots of fun. Promise!
Sno-Chan Notes: I can't really recall where the idea for this came from, but I do enjoy seeing henpecked Joker. Well, that and the fact that I also love when secret things are revealed or intrusions made into a character's daily life. Oh, and Gladrial and I can't keep our hands off of stories set in Arkham. We just can't stop!
"Uh…boss…you really should take a look at this," a henchman suggested nervously.
"I don't pay you to talk," Penguin said irritably as he sat down to enjoy his breakfast.
"Yeah, I know…it's just…," he continued to stammer.
"You are still jabbering," Penguin warned with growing annoyance.
The henchman shuffled his feet, wondering what would be worse: continuing his attempt or doing nothing. But his agitated state was a distraction to Cobblepot with or without him vocalizing it.
"What is so terribly important?" the mob boss finally sighed.
The relieved goon placed a tabloid magazine on the table next to Penguin's breakfast tray.
"This is what you wanted me to see? I don't read trash," he shoved the magazine away from him in disgust and it fell to the floor.
"But boss, you're in it!" the goon tried to explained.
Penguin shrugged. "I often am. The important thing is that they can't prove anything."
"No boss, this is different! Look!" he exclaimed as he picked the magazine up and handed it to his boss once again.
Cobblepot rolled his eyes but grabbed the magazine nonetheless. He took a sip of coffee as he glanced over the article the henchman had indicated. At first his eyes glided across the words nonchalantly, but a moment later the goon found himself drenched in coffee that had been sprayed from his boss' mouth.
Penguin was on his feet instantly. "WHAT?" he squawked in horrified disbelief.
It was a rather ordinary day in the Arkham Asylum cafeteria where several notable inmates were awaiting (or dreading) their meal.
The Joker pushed his tray along and stopped in front of a selection of ribs. He put one on his plate while Harley kept a suspicious eye on him from behind. He reached for another and Harley quickly smacked his hand. Joker turned on her instantly but his companion began vocalizing her concern before he could do anything.
"One is plenty," she stated sternly.
"One is obviously not plenty. If it were I wouldn't want another," Joker said as though he had expected this conversation and rehearsed his lines the night before.
"You know what the doctor said. We have to watch your cholesterol," Harley reminded with equaled precision.
Riddler was standing behind Harley and growing tired of waiting. "Having health problems, are we?" he asked Joker.
"Shut your hole, Eddie. There's a lovely plastic knife just waiting to lodge itself in there," Joker retaliated with an edge of annoyance.
"I must say, you do look a bit tired," Eddie continued happily.
"It's not easy being pretty for you everyday," Joker replied smoothly as he tried to ignore Harley's lecture about the evils of margarine.
"I'm flattered," Eddie commented sarcastically.
Harley turned to Riddler and explained. "Poor Puddin' is just adjustin' to the new heart meds."
Joker quickly snuck another set of ribs while Harley was distracted, commenting to himself, "It's like there's this irritating noise coming from somewhere and I just can't make it stop."
"Problems with the ol' ticker, eh?" Eddie asked, pressing for details.
"Nope. None. Nadda. Zip," Joker made perfectly clear. "What's that word they keep using, Harl?"
As they moved to sit down, Joker indicated that he'd like Eddie to pick him up some butter pats. Eddie shook his head, but grabbed a few thinking, "What's the harm? If I'm lucky they'll send him to an early grave."
Harley set her tray down next to Joker's along with a magazine she'd been carrying. Inmates were allowed subscriptions to certain reading material, but the staples had been removed before delivering it into Harley's hands.
She then began meticulously setting out over a dozen tiny pills of all shapes, sizes, and colors in little rows. Ivy watched as Joker tried to ignore what was going on next to him.
"They've already got you on fifteen meds. What's one more for the interactive fun?" Ivy quipped dryly.
"Pammy, if I wanted your opinion I would have asked this shitty salad Harley's trying to feed me. Wait, lemme say this so that you can understand." Joker leaned closer to the salad on his tray and started talking slowly. "Pammy? Are you there? Can you hear me? You really need to stop having sex with your orchids; it's really disgusting. …Pammy?"
Ivy gave Harley a look she had many, many times before. It said, "Really? Him?" Harley returned the look with a smile and a shrug.
"Alright Puddin', all of these need to go down the hatch," she said as bubbly as she could, hoping her tone would make the ordeal go more smoothly.
He paused, looked down at the pills and back up at Harley, who was smiling broadly though it seemed a little forced. Joker seemed to be considering his options and after carefully weighing them, started popping pills into his mouth. The tension between the two was so strong you could taste it and everyone sitting at the table watched on with interest.
When all the medicine was taken, Harley took a deep breath and said, "Open your mouth."
Joker gawked at her with a look that said, "You must be joking. Just who do you think you are?"
"Open. Your. Mouth," she said more sternly.
Joker followed the instructions with obvious disgust. "There! Happy!" he snapped.
Harley took another breath. "Lift your tongue."
Joker angrily threw the utensil he was holding at the table and turned on her violently. She held her ground and he knew what she was saying without her even having to say it: "Don't push me. Not on this."
Joker did as he was asked with barely contained fury as Harley calmly said, "Thank you" and turned to her meal. She exhaled heavily as though she had been holding her breath for a period of time.
Harley began eating while lazily leafing through the pages of her magazine and everyone at the table began to relax a little. At this time, the events that had just unfolded in front of them occurred to the Riddler as more than a little odd.
"Wait just a minute," he began. "How the hell are you administering medication?"
Everyone looked to Harley for an explanation.
Harley didn't look up from her magazine, commenting coolly, "That's really not your business."
"The hell it isn't! That's plain illegal! Why isn't anyone doing anything about it?" Eddie exclaimed and looked around at the guards.
"That's what I said," a disgruntled Joker mumbled.
Harley, knowing the subject wouldn't drop, finally looked up. "Think of it this way: I am a doctor after all."
"No you're not! Your license was revoked!" He turned to Crane to make sure he was correct on the matter and Scarecrow nodded in confirmation.
"It's no big deal. Puddin' was givin' everyone trouble about his meds. I'm just making sure he takes 'em, that's all. It's not like I'm prescribin' anything," Harley replied, acting as though the situation was entirely normal.
"Am I the only one that is freaking out about this? It's not legal! I'll…I'll write my congressman! That's what I'll do," he yelled loud enough for the handful of doctors in the room to hear.
"You do that, Eddie. I'm sure the congressman will be very interested in the ravings of a lunatic," the pig-tailed blonde said calmly as she returned to her magazine. Riddler looked to the others sitting around him and they all shrugged in a "what can you do" manner.
At that moment, Harley exclaimed "Oh my God!" and began laughing hysterically at an article in the magazine.
Ivy leaned over, trying to see what Harley was laughing at, asking curiously, "What is it?"
"It's Cobblepot!" Harley began, which grabbed everyone's attention and they all tried to catch a glimpse of the tabloid. "It says here that one of his chicks had an abortion," she elaborated.
"When you say chicks, you do mean girls, right?" giggled Joker, who seemed to be willing to forget the recent ordeal with such a good joke set up. "You never can tell with him."
Ivy threw in her two cents, stating firmly, "I, for one, am relieved. If there's one thing that man shouldn't be doing, it's breeding."
The only person that didn't seem interested was Riddler, who said, "I thought everyone knew about that."
"You mean it's true?!" Harley gasped. "I thought this rag was just full of crap!"
"Hey, I don't know much. I just…overheard a thing or two last time I was at the Lounge," Eddie continued. "It's weird…I was just talking about it with Dr. Bartholomew the other day."
"Why on earth would that come up in your session, Eddie?" Ivy asked.
Riddler shrugged. "I don't remember. One subject led to another. It was something about something."
"This does not bode well for Penguin's business," Crane said. "Think about it: The only people who don't run in our circle that can afford a night at the Iceberg Lounge are the right wing freaks. They'll boycott. The loss of profits…I wonder how frightened he is…"
Joker quietly reached across the table and grabbed some butter off of Riddler's tray, hoping the present conversation would provide a decent distraction. Unfortunately, he was caught in the middle of buttering his roll.
"Where did you get that?!" Harley demanded, bewildered at how it got past her tray inspection.
"Listen, I'm tired. Just hit yourself so we can move on," Joker said in exasperation.
Everyone at the table got to hear yet another rendition of the "I do and I do for you, and this is the thanks I get" speech from Harley for the duration of the lunch period.
Gladrial End notes: This chapter is one of the longer ones if not the longest. Of all of the chapters here, I'd say, in terms of detail, Sno-chan had the biggest hand in this one. She had this bit down pretty much perfect before I even began.. After I stuck in everything from our conversations the chapter was basically already written, all I had to do was connect a few dots.
Sno-Chan End Notes: One of my favorite things about this fic has been getting Eddie and Crane next to each other in the lunchroom. It just feels...right. They're like the Cliff and Norm of the Gotham Rogues: Always there to snark at you or overreact. I always felt that Scarecrow had an evil mailman quality about him...Anyway, leave a review or monsters will devour your young in the night. And we mean it!