She's dying. Again.

This is not the first time she has felt her life is ebbing away and she knows it won't be the last.

Black spots in from the corners of her gaze and she struggles against it. Not because she's clinging to life but because she doesn't want her final moments to be darkness.

Instead she struggles to hold onto the sight of the face that shimmers and blurs before her, the white face that smiles and holds her in thrall. The face that belongs to the man who grips her throat now between two impossibly strong hands, steadily squeezing her dry.

There's a roar in her ears, like the tide of the sea, gathering inexorably, building until there's nothing else but that and the thread of his laughter entwining it.

Her body convulses, but she does not feel it. She is gagging, but cannot hear it. She is oblivious to all the ugly brutality of her death throes; she is floating instead in some warm dark place with nothing but the pressure on her throat, the pounding in her ears and the dim, red-flecked sight of his beautiful face.

Then her gaze runs, rushes away and the pressure is lifted. As instinct guides her throat open to gasp in air, he plunges down through the darkness and his mouth is on hers. Its warm wetness is like a shock and her skin is suddenly alive with pins and needles.

As she sucks in a breath he breathes into her and she swallows it greedily, mindlessly.

She breathes it out and he sucks it down, then gives it back to her; and she grows giddy and light-headed. The roar has become a hum, and colours dance brightly behind her eyelids, but they are not him.

For several long moments they breathe in and out of each other's mouths and the intimacy is excruciating.

He releases her and she hears the first ragged sound of oxygen entering her lungs. Her eyelids flutter, her lashes are wet. Her body is prickling as though a hundred tiny feet are scampering over it.

She swoons, her head spins and she doesn't try to lift it; it's like lead against the pillow. She swallows hard and slowly. Her throat aches; from above he is smiling down at her and from where she lies he is the only thing she can see and seems gigantic, blotting out all the world.

He takes her life but he gives it back, as he has done before and will do over again, and in this she is content.

--

If you've read my other fics, you've probably noticed I play with the asphyxiation thing a lot as something Joker & Harley do as a sex/trust game. Harley's not really dying, it's part of the game, but she could be, if he chooses not to let go in time. It's a trust thing and an act of incredible intimacy. Then, for her first breath to be one he breathes into her mouth… well, it got me swooning.

The end line is meant not to just to refer to this game but to the pattern of their relationship as a whole. Everytime she decides to pursue a 'normal' life he steps in and draws her back to another life. I don't know if that's clear, but I felt the piece is perfect at its current length and didn't want to add any further exposition.