This my Christmas present to the jokerxharley community at livejournal and all my faithful readers. You guys are awesome. What makes it so special? Well, it doesn't get much shippier than this folks. Merry Christmas!
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.
Author Notes: Big thanks to RisqueSno for inspiring this fic. I know you really want me to finish that other piece first Paige, but this wouldn't leave my brain! Also note that this fic is supposed to take place several years into Joker and Harley's relationship.
Special Note to Pepper Keibu: I need to make you an apology. It just occurred to me that, while I told you how much the piece you did from "Ultimate Betrayal" meant to me, I never said anything about it publicly. How horrible! So here's my public (and extremely belated) shout out to your awesomeness. Seriously, everybody into this ship should check her jokerharley fanclub at deviantart out.
Catch Me When I Fall
In a private room at the Iceberg Lounge, a group of familiar rogues sat around a circled table waiting for the arrival of their last member.
"He's not going to show," Two-Face said in the hopes they'd begin without him.
"He'll show," Penguin countered with certainty.
"You know how she is," Two-Face argued. "If he's having to deal with her, he's not going to make it."
"Do I smell the first wager of the evening?" Penguin asked slyly.
Before they could continue, the door to the private room opened and the Joker stepped inside. Penguin gave Two-Face a smug look, causing the former district attorney to scowl in annoyance.
"You made it," Riddler said with little enthusiasm as the clown took his seat.
"Your observation skills are as keen as ever, Eddie," Joker commented sarcastically as he took his seat. "Why wouldn't I have made it?" He suddenly turned to the Penguin with growing agitation. "It's Fat Tony, isn't it? He's trying to move in on some of my territory. I knew it! I knew it! Just because I took some of his. I ask you, is that a reason?" Joker instantly stood up and started putting his coat back on.
"Calm down," Penguin answered. "You've got nothing to worry about from Tony. In fact, from what I understand, pretty soon no one is going to have anything to worry about from Tony," he continued knowingly.
"In that case," Joker began as he took his seat once again while revealing a deck of cards from his coat. "Who's up for a game?"
"We're not using your cards, clown," Two-Face insisted.
As another set was dealt out Joker asked, "So if Tony wasn't supposed to be keeping me, what was?"
"It's nothing," Scarecrow offered. "Harley was just here earlier and seemed rather…distraught."
"So?" Joker shrugged while trying to give the impression that he had known exactly where she'd been all day.
"Exactly," Penguin shot another look at Two-Face who rolled his eyes.
"Distraught?" Ridder cut in bluntly. "She was threatening suicide!"
Scarecrow made a hand signal to indicate to the Joker that she may have had a little too much to drink that night. Joker shrugged again and replied, "She's been acting like that about every other week these days." He strategically set a smile in place and continued, "Though I can't imagine why."
"It can't help that Pammy's locked up and unable to 'console' her," Two-Face implied with a smirk.
"Why is it I have to threaten your life every time we meet, Harv?" Joker asked bluntly.
They continued to play their game, but Joker was uncharacteristically quiet and not doing all that well in terms of winnings. There was something prickling in the back of his brain that he couldn't quite shake. It was an intuitive feeling that something was very wrong, though he had nothing to back the thought up. He tried to get over it, but after a number of rounds of the game (all of which he lost), he finally gave up.
"I'm calling it a night," he announced unceremoniously as he tossed his cards to the table.
"But…we've only just started," Scarecrow said confused.
"Oh, you know me, sore loser and all that," Joker responded as he made his exit.
Two-Face gave Penguin a look that screamed 'I told you so'.
Joker didn't make his way back to the hideout quickly. Part of him wanted to, but that part unnerved him greatly. He thought the best response would be to rebel against the feeling, so he made time to watch a bunch of homeless bums freak out at his presence.
But eventually, he reached his destination and shouted as he entered, "Harley! I'm hungry. Do something about it." He didn't get a response, so he explored their 'home' until he found her crying. From the ceiling hung a former straight jacket that Harley had managed to fashion into a noose. She thought it poetic.
"Harley," he announced himself and she jumped in surprise. "Are you being dramatic again? This is taking things a bit too far, don't you think?"
She didn't speak; her only response was to place a crate underneath where the noose hung.
"Can't this wait until after you feed me?" he continued in annoyance.
She ignored his comment, stepped onto the crate, and placed her head in the noose, still sobbing.
"Look," he tried again. "With all the attempts I've made on your life, for you to take it yourself…It's terribly unfair to me." He smiled sweetly. "You come down off there and I'll give you a good send off."
With that, Harley instantly stopped crying and scowled at him before kicking the box out from under her. "Shit," Joker breathed as he quickly moved forward and caught her up in his arms before the noose tightened.
Harley stared at him, stunned.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?" he bellowed as he took the loop off from around her neck.
"…You caught me," she whispered.
Joker paused as he realized the same thing and tried to sort it out in his head. "…I…I told you no one is killing you but me. That's my right. Furthermore, I've become very set in my ways. Who's going to clean up after me if you're gone? No, this conversation is over until a suitable replacement can be found."
"You caught me," she repeated in awe.
"Cut that out!" he demanded
"But you did! You caught me!" she exclaimed with growing excitement.
He abruptly lowered his arms and she fell in a pile on the floor. "There. Now I've uncaught you," he said irritably as he stepped over her body and left the room.
Harley laid in the position he had left her in, too amazed to move, until she heard her Puddin' yell, "I'M STILL HUNGRY!" from another section of the hideout. She quickly jumped up and with a feeling of renewal shouted, "On my way, Mistah J!"
End Notes: That's the sweetest Joker can get. I've officially drawn the line and it is not to be crossed! This means you!