A/N-- Okay, this is based partly in the flashback scene of Return of the Joker (and I'm doing this for the edited version) and the other half is based when Barbara is Commissioner Gordon. I hope everyone enjoys!

Disclaimer-- I don't own Batman or Batman Beyond or any other Batman related thing. Those all belong to the good people at WB and DC.


The Fate of Jesters

Batgirl had not even realized that it was raining. She simply stared down into the black abyss that Harley Quinn had fallen into. Batgirl's mouth was still ever so slightly agape and one of her hands was over her heart, which was beating simply too fast. She had tried to save Harley. Had tried to pull her hand up to solid ground. But what had happened? Oh, Batgirl thought slowly, her sleeve ripped. She had went screaming into oblivion.

Dead. Gone. Forever. Batgirl thought it was strange that the rain that hit her face now was warm. It took the heroine a while to realize that it wasn't the rain that she felt. It was her tears. Both of her hands came up to cover her mouth to prevent an escaping sob.

But why was she crying for Harley? After all, if she had managed to get her hand to the ledge, would she have tried to save her? Probably not. But then again, who knows? As strange as it was, Batgirl realized that she finally understood Harley. Understood why she loved the Joker. Understood why she had helped the Joker do this to Tim.

She had wanted a life. A husband, a child, and love. That's all Harley Quinn had ever fought for. Not diamonds, not money, not computer hardware. The Joker had been the only one fighting for that. All she wanted was love. But now…

She was dead. Death had taken her away as swiftly as her sanity had left her. It wasn't fair.

Slowly, her head hung low, Batgirl made her way back toward the ruins of Arkham Asylum. Bruce and Tim must need her. She was just entering the half-demolished walkway she had chased Harley out of when the sound the Joker's cry met her ears. Eyes wide, she ran inside.

Before her was a sobbing, traumatized Tim Drake. She went to him, hugged him, and whispered that it was all going to be okay. As she felt Batman's shadow fall over them, she dared shoot a look over to see the Joker's body. Smoke rose from it, and some of the flesh was charred. She looked quickly away.

"We need to get Tim away from here," Batman said, turning away.

Batgirl nodded, helped Tim to his feet, and followed Batman.

Hours later, she found herself sitting outside Dr. Leslie Thompkins' office. Harley's face as she fell flashed before her again, but this time it was quickly followed by the sound of the Joker's final scream. She covered her eyes and tried to shake it all away, but it wouldn't go.

The door opened, and Batman emerged. He said nothing at first as he stood before her. When she look up at him, he finally offered forth, "Your father is in there with them. Dr. Thompkins thinks that there is hope."

Batgirl shook her head. "Is there?"

"Of course," Batman said, slightly confused, which was something Batgirl did not see often from him. "Tim will get better."

"I know," Batgirl said, standing. "But it's not right."

"No. What Tim had to endure was something he never should have. It's my fault. He'll never be Robin again."

"That's not what I'm talking about. I know that Tim will be better someday."

"Then, what--?"

"Harley. Harley's dead, Batman. She fell," she said.

"Oh."

Batgirl whirled on him. "Oh?" she said, her voice rising. "That's it? That's all you have to say?"

"What's wrong?" he asked. "What is it that's bothering you?"

She let out a half hearted laugh. "What isn't? Life is bothering me! It wasn't fair! Harley shouldn't have died!"

"Harley Quinn? That's what's bothering you? She was in league with the Joker. She helped him to this to Tim!" Batman said, yelling.

"No. She loved him. And she couldn't see that he didn't love her. That was it. Everything she did, she did out of love for him. That monster. She took his beatings, his abuse, and everything in stride, for what? I'll tell you what, a fat lot of nothing!"

Batgirl took off her mask--making her Barbara Gordon once more--and threw it at Batman's feet.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I've lost my faith…in all of this. I quit."

…………………

The taxi pulled up along side the side walk of a quaint, suburban home. Commissioner Barbara Gordon paid the driver and told him to wait for her. That this was wasn't going to be long a long visit. She walked slowly up the paved walkway and rang the doorbell.

Two young women, identical twins, answered the door. And stepped back in shock when they saw who was on the other side.

"Nana paid our bail! We haven't done anything wrong!" one of them proclaimed.

Barbara smiled. "I know. Actually, I'm here to see your grandmother. Is she here?"

"I'm right here," came a quavering voice from behind the girls. "Girls, move and allow the commissioner to come in."

Grudgingly, they did as they were told. Gordon followed the source of the voice--a hunchbacked old woman with graying blonde hair--into the sitting room of the house.

"Tea?" the woman offered as Gordon sat.

"No, thank you," Barbara said.

"Girls, leave me and the Commissioner alone, now," the old woman said.

Shrugging, both girls ran off up a small staircase. Once they were out of sight, Barbara smiled at her host.

"How have you been, Harley?" she asked.

Harley Quinn--well, Quinn once upon a time--smiled back.

"I'm fine, Batgirl. How about you?"

"Oh, I haven't been Batgirl in a while now. I take it that you've been brought up to date about all this Joker business?"

"Yeah," Harley sighed, setting her cane aside. "You know, I think he would've thought it funny if he had seen me now."

"Probably. But I don't really care, if you don't mind me saying so," Gordon said.

"No…I don't care either. Not anymore."

The two woman sighed and silence fell. Finally, with a sad smile on her features, Harley said, "You know, I am sorry. For everything. We really gave you a hell of a time."

Barbara laughed. "Well, yeah. And now your granddaughters are involved with the Joker Gang. How's that for justice?"

"Ah, it's what I deserve," Harley sighed. "It's the fate of jesters."

Barbara nodded. Standing, she announced that had to go. Once outside, Barbara smiled back at the house. For the first time in years, Barbara honestly had a good feeling about her. The world suddenly made sense again. Getting back into the taxi, she told the man to head toward police headquarters. It was nice that Harley finally got what she had always wanted. Now, it was time for Barbara to work towards what she had always wanted. A Gotham that was free.


End Notes: So, how was that? I hope it was all right. About Harley calling her Batgirl, I figure she knows just about as much as the Joker did. You know, from Tim. Well, please review!!