Title: Broke Down (1/1)
Email: All characters belong to DC Comics. No profit intended, etc.
Summary: Harley Quinn, the open road, and . . . wait, is this supposed to be a songfic?
"Fudge," Harley Quinn muttered. "Gosh darn . . . " She stopped. "I can't even curse like normal people any more, can I?"
All the cars in Gotham, and she had to steal a junker. She was half-inclined to pull over, pop the hood, and see what was making all that noise – she wasn't all that bad as a mechanic, having driven enough getaway cars in her time - but she was afraid she wouldn't be able to start it up again afterwards.
Plus it was hot out.
Harley sighed and slumped her head on the steering wheel for a second before she remembered she was driving and, consequently, needed to keep her eyes up. Not that it would matter. She hadn't passed another car in forty miles.
Maybe the radio – for all she knew, there was something wrong with the battery and that would push it over the edge, but she figured she might as well get something out of the FM band before the car went kaputski. And there was always a chance she could fix it.
Because, like she said, she wasn't a half-bad mechanic.
Seemed like there had been a time when she wasn't a half-bad psychiatrist.
Of course, she'd thrown that away like everything else on . . . him.
"Jerk," she whispered.
Didn't he understand that she had changed her life for him? Heck, she'd changed everything about herself but her hair color (which she'd started dyeing before she met him) and her DNA (well, Red did that actually, but Harley doubted she did it for HIM). Didn't he remember her first days as his therapist? Maybe he didn't, but trust her, she had never said something like "Right-a-roonie!" or "Mistah" before she met him!
It had been an act, in the beginning. She played dumb. She understood instinctively that the less he saw her as a match intellectually, the less he'd see her as a threat. So she acted the flake, dropped some of her "R's" when she spoke, and shed ten years' worth of maturity. She became for him the teenage girl from Brooklyn she'd never been.
And damn it, she wasn't sure if it was an act any more. She couldn't seem to talk like a therapist any more. She'd stopped in three different roadside diners and, every time planning to order a salad, found herself automatically asking for a milkshake and French fries when the waitress arrived.
Harley groaned. She'd taught herself to be a ditz, a bimbo for him. All for love.
What did he do? He fired her. Couldn't even give her the dignity of killing her. He just introduced her to her . . . Harley tasted bile in her mouth.
To her replacement.
And then asked her to give the girl a little training.
And she'd agreed!
"Gotta be somethin' on the radio," Harley mumbled as she hit the button.
Somethin' turned out to be country music. Which would NOT take her mind off the past.
Mistah J – Mister J – the Joker had evaluated Harley's skills, and found them inadequate. He'd considered her personality, and ruled it irritating. He'd even held her love up to the light, and declared it suffocating. "That girl" was apparently a better fighter, had a voice that couldn't be called "squeaky", and understood that the job would entail occasional sex, but that emotional attachments wouldn't be required.
Harley was relatively sure you couldn't breathe through your eyeballs, but some kind of vacuum inhalation allowed her to suck tears back before they spilled onto her cheeks. To be insulted by the Joker was routine. To be unworthy of his notice – was devastating.
She'd packed her few belongings, stolen a car, and fled Gotham before the news leaked out. The embarrassment would kill her better than the Joker could have if he'd chosen to.
Seven hundred miles to the west, Harley still had no idea where she was going. Which was silly, because that question was a lot easier than "what am I going to do now?"
Harley had thought about going to Red, but she had queasily suspected that Ivy's reaction would not be that of sympathy and comfort, but a triumphant and almost cruel glee. She loved Red as a friend, and she'd miss her bunches, but right then she hadn't needed to hear the words "I told you so".
So, a sidekick no longer. Partner no more. She was on her own. She had a college degree. She could do anything.
Except, of course, any job that was willing to overlook a felony conviction.
Harley caught something out of the corner of her eye. Her gas light was on.
Mile marker 203
The gas gauge leanin on the edge of E
I'll be danged if the rain ain't pourin down
Somethin smokin underneath the hood
It's a-bangin and a-clangin and it can't be good
It's another 50 miles to the nearest town
Harley eyed the radio with a hint of superstitious wonder. The woman singing – almost seemed to be singing about her. Except for the pouring rain part. On the other hand, she seemed to share her habit for dropping the "g" from the end of her verbs.
50 miles to the nearest town. Well, that wasn't good.
Everything I own is in the back in a Hefty bag
I'm outta cigarettes and I'm down to my last drag
Hah. There was an idea. If she could survive Pud – the Joker, what could cigarettes do to her?
I'd sure hate to break down here
Nothin up ahead or in the rearview mirror
Out in the middle of nowhere knowin
I'm in trouble if these wheels stop rollin
God help me keep me movin somehow
Don't let me start wishin I was with him now
I've made it this far without cryin a single tear
I'd sure hate to break down here
Okay, now the song was starting to scare her. Furtively she felt her scalp for the Mad Hatter mind-control chip she was sure was there. Surely she was imagining this.
Under fifty-thousand miles ago
Before the bad blood and busted radio
You said I was all you'd ever need
Love is blind and little did I know
That you were just another dead-end road
They were pretty lies and broken dreams
Baby leavin you is easier than bein gone
I don't know what I'll do if one more thing goes wrong
Harley slammed her foot on the brakes, swerved onto the side of the road, and swept the volume knob of the radio with one hand, turning it off. "Shut up, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!!!" she screamed. She punched it with her fist, then scrambled out of the car and, with the door still open on the passenger side, started awkwardly kicking the dashboard radio with her foot. "Leave me alone and sing about somebody fucking else!" Harley shrieked.
The front of the car radio dented and mangled, Harley collapsed against the side of her car and began weeping. See if the scary radio lady saw THAT coming! That wasn't a single tear, those were hundreds and hundreds . . .
"What'm I gonna do?" Harley pleaded to no one in particular. "Where do I go? He was all I had, and now I hate him and I love him and I'm never going back to him and I don't know what I have left!"
You remembered how to curse. Maybe you can remember the rest.
Harley almost fell over. That had sounded a lot like – "Red?" she asked.
She got to her feet and looked around. Nothing. It had been in her head.
She touched her lips. "Fuck," she said. Hey, that wasn't so hard after all.
She looked at the car. Smoke was coming out from under the hood.
Author's Note – Song lyrics from "Break Down Here", by Julie Roberts.