A/N - Wow, I can't BELIEVE I actually wrote the end of "An Unhealthy Obsession" and the beginning of this in one day...I must've been on something, and whatever it was, I want more of it! hehe But anywhos, I'm really pleased that most of you seemed to be excited about this idea, because I honestly wasn't sure what you guys would think. And to address certain questions and concerns, no, Rachel won't be like an OC, no, this won't follow the original plotline of the Harleen Quinzel character (in fact, they'll hardly be similar at all), yes, Rachel has a completely different face now (for some reason I kinda picture her like a mix of Reese Witherspoon and Brittany Snow, hehe), and yes, I'm excited about writing this for you guys, so I DO plan on finishing it. :) With that said, let the games begin! -inserts Joker laughter here-
CH 1: Harleen Quinzel
The streets of London were unbearably bleak that evening, but one woman paid it little mind as she tromped across the cobblestone in her favorite galoshes. When one lived in a habitually rainy city, it was always a good idea to keep a pair stationed directly alongside your apartment door, no matter how hideous or unfashionable they happened to be.
Rolling her mint green eyes up toward the angry gray sky, the woman sighed once she realized it would be another long shift at St. Thomas'. For the past three years now, she'd been the sole caretaker of one Rachel Dawes, but aside from the money, she was truly beginning to tire of treating a comatose burn victim. Rachel's vitals were always promisingly steady, and she spent an hour or two moving the attorney's limbs to keep them from atrophying, but for what purpose? A nameless donor was always sending her a startling amount of money for her services, but who was he, and what could possibly interest him in a former third degree burn victim?
Shaking her head at this thought, the doctor reflected on the day Rachel had been taken under their wing -- a day far rainier than this one, ironically -- and how she'd immediately thought the orderlies mad for bringing in a woman burnt beyond recognition. Rachel's features had been charred and useless, as well as a vast majority of her pale flesh. Despite everyone's skepticism on her likelihood of survival, they'd given her multiple skin graphs, hair plugs, and several other reconstructive surgeries until she was practically as good as new. There was little to no scarring, and Rachel was considered a legend among the employees for being able to survive such a horrendous accident. And yet, in spite of all this, would the former assistant DA ever truly wake up?
With a sigh, the doctor walked up the stone steps to the hospital, her body jolting in surprise the moment a familiar man tapped her on the shoulder. "Jesus, Murray, you scared me!" she hissed.
Rueful, the orderly sheepishly apologized, "I'm really sorry, Dr. Dandridge, but I had to tell you about one of your patients..."
"Yeah" Murray confessed. "I just received word that she opened her eyes about an hour ago... Do you need any help with filling her in on current events, or anything?"
"Current events?" Dr. Dandridge appeared to be genuinely confused. "Murray, I'm a doctor, not an anchorwoman...there's no need to excite Miss Dawes by dropping bomb after bomb of information after she's been under for so long. The after effects could be terrible for her blood pressure..."
"Don't call me that" she snapped. "You forfeited the right to do so after you cheated on me for Dr. Swanson." Not even waiting for Murray's most likely bumbling response, Collette proudly lifted her chin and entered through the hospital's sliding doors.
"Doctor? Oh, thank God you're here!"
"Why, what's happened?" Collette fearfully demanded. "Has the patient had a relapse?"
Laughing bitterly, the orderly held up a bruised arm before confessing, "No, but she sure bit the hell out of me...I don't think she knows who she is, because she didn't respond when I called her Harleen."
"Harleen? No, you must be mistaken...that's Rachel Dawes" Collette corrected.
"Rachel? No, no, that donor of yours said her name's Harleen Quinzel" the orderly insisted, now holding up a note as he pointed to the fine print. "See? Apparently Rachel Dawes was just some alias to protect her true identity."
Collette balked. "What? B-but that doesn't make any sense... I don't even know who the hell Harleen Quinzel is, let alone what she's done to need an alias, so why would she need that sort of protection?"
The orderly shrugged. "I dunno, but you'd better get in there...last time I checked, she was crawling around on her hands and knees like an ape."
Cursing, Collette pushed the orderly out of the way and entered Rachel's room, her eyes widening the moment she spotted her patient peering back at her from underneath her bed.
"Harleen?" she warily called. "Miss Quinzel, could you come out from under there, please?"
Cowering due to being spotted, Rachel stared up at the doctor before hissing, "Wh-who are you, and what have you done to me?"
Collette winced at the scratchiness of her patient's voice, for it was extremely hoarse due to lack of use. Gingerly bending down on her knee, the doctor forced a smile to her lips as she asked, "Do you honestly have no recollection of what happened to you before your accident?"
Rachel gave her a baffled look. "A-accident? I don't know what you mean..."
"Then could you tell me who you are?"
Rachel shook her head with such conviction that Collette was forced to believe her, a frown tugging at her lips as she glanced down at the note the orderly had verified as evidence. Sighing, she wearily revealed, "Well, according to this letter from an anonymous donor, your name is Harleen Quinzel, age twenty-nine, daughter of Fred and Ginger Quinzel. You interned for a while at Arkham Asylum before your accident, but before that you constantly donated your time and money to several charities in Gotham City." Now looking up at Rachel with hope in her eyes, Collette asked, "Does any of this ring a bell for you?"
Rachel slowly shook her head. "No...not at all. I'm not even interested in psychology, so I can't imagine why I would've chosen that field for a profession..."
"I see" Collette mumbled, her hand reaching into her pocket for her flashlight as she asked, "Could you come out from under there, please? I'd like to check your faculties to see if they're functioning properly."
With a pause of severe reluctance, Rachel uneasily crawled out on her hands and knees before sitting atop her bed, her features breaking out into a wince when Collette shined the flashlight right into her blue eyes.
"Follow the light for me, Miss Quinzel."
Obediently doing as she was told, Rachel's eyes followed the flashlight as it strayed from side to side within Collette's grasp. Making a few minor notes on her clipboard, Dr. Dandridge smiled before revealing, "Well everything appears like it's working on the surface, so now all we need to do is run a few tests in the lab and check in with a psychologist."
Not appearing to have registered what she'd just said, Rachel gripped at her hospital gown before asking, "The anonymous doner...do you happen to have any idea who they might be? Perhaps they can tell me more about who I am..."
"The thought's already crossed my mind, but they never leave a forwarding address" Collette admitted. "Someone comes in before the receptionist is on duty, places an unmarked envelope at the front desk, and then leaves before anyone can discover that they were there."
"And nobody ever captured this person on film?"
"On the security camera? Oh yes, but it's always someone wearing a mask...a clown's mask, to be exact" Collette clarified. "Whoever this person is, they're definitely an odd one. I've always wondered why they never came to visit since they're paying us so much money...far more than the required amount, as a matter of fact."
"Oh...I see." Now glancing off to the side, Rachel asked hopefully, "And what about my parents? You briefly mentioned them in the note..."
"Both dead" Collette confessed. "They were caught in the crossfire of some gang rivalry, but I didn't want to tell you this in case it triggered a memory and upset you."
Rachel furrowed her brows as she tried to process this bit of news, but she ended up shaking her head in negation. "I'm, sorry, but I...I don't remember."
Collette gave her knee a gentle pat. "Aww, it's ok, you don't have to worry about it just yet, alright? This is only your first day back to the real world, so if you've ever watched House or ER, you know that these things take time."
"Not really...it needs to happen in less than an hour if they want to fit it in the time slot" Rachel gibed, a wry smile tugging at her lips when she watched Collette give her a look of surprise.
"Ah, a comedian...that's good! Laughter is the world's best medicine, you know."
"So is morphine" Rachel muttered. "Forgive me for sounding like some jaded primadonna, but I don't exactly feel like laughing at the moment."
"Oh, well that's completely understandable...I'm sure you're very confused right now" Collette observed. "But don't lose faith, alright? By the time you regain your memory, you'll look back on this day and want to laugh."
"I sure hope so" Rachel mumbled. Now glancing up at her doctor with shining eyes, she asked, "And what about these tests you need to take? Please tell me I'll be getting a lollipop out of the deal..."
Collette laughed loudly. "Hey, I like you, kid...consider it done." Patting her patient's upperarm, she then turned about and prepared to gather up her medical supplies.
"Wow, why the hot maternity dress?"
Giving her brother a dirty look, the very pregnant Miranda Dent Hubbard demanded, "Are you, the prince of unstylish clothing, asking me why I'm dressed like this? At least I have an excuse! When you start carting around a gut with a living fetus, I'll forgive you for wearing that tacky red pantsuit last June!"
"Hey, that was a rental!"
"No excuse...you still wore it" she slyly pointed out. Now rubbing her swollen stomach, she gave a groan before complaining, "And would it kill you to wear socks that match your pants for a change? I can tell from here that those navy blue knee-highs of shame do not go with your black trousers."
"Well, they looked like they matched this morning...it was kinda dark in my room" Harvey sheepishly confessed. Now tweaking his sister's dainty nose, he grinned while teasing her, "And man, it's a good thing I don't have to see your husband too often, 'cause I'm sure he is so whipped...what do you do, keep him on an electric shock collar?"
"Harvey!" Slapping his arm in retaliation, Miranda grinned before returning, "I'll have you know that I keep him on a very short leash...no shock collars, because I don't believe in animal cruelty."
Laughing, Harvey slung an arm around her shoulders and began to escort her toward her shiny new sports car. He'd bought it for her birthday as a surprise, but her husband had actually been far more thrilled about it (despite it being pink) than she was. Miranda had insisted she'd already been given her present the moment she and Harvey had started spending time together, for she felt that they were finally being given a second chance.
Opening the car door for his sister, Harvey grinned at her while asking, "So what're you going to get me while you're out shopping?" When Miranda sent him a dirty look, he teasingly persisted, "Aww, c'mon, I know you very well by now, Mandy, and I know you didn't buy me and Ashleen our wedding present yet."
Miranda smirked. "Ok, so you got me... What would you like? A nice, big box full of 'kiss my ass'?"
Harvey grinned. "Now I'm sure Dusty finds your ass to be just delectable -- he's kissing it all the time, after all -- but I'm afraid that I'm going to have to decline your oh-so-generous offer."
"Stop making fun of my husband, you jerk!" Smirking despite her blushing cheeks, Miranda hooked her seatbelt before confessing, "Alright, so I really am going out on a last minute shopping trip, but that's probably because I just can't believe you're marrying that snotty reporter, Ashleen Rivers."
Harvey frowned. "Mandy, we've talked about this..."
"Oh, I know, but I can't help it if I think she's a snotty, gap-toothed, plastic-ass bimbo" Miranda grumbled. "I mean, my God, Harvey, if she were the slightest bit like Rachel..."
Stunned into silence, the blonde gazed ruefully up into Harvey's eyes before shaking her head, her voice quivering with emotion as she whispered, "I'm so sorry, Harvey, I just...I just really miss her. I know it's been three years already and that I should just get over it, but I...I..."
"Shh, I know...I miss her, too" Harvey mumbled, his eyes closing in despair as he leaned forward and embraced his sister. As he listened to the disquieting sound of her sobs, he stroked her hair and couldn't help but wonder if he'd truly gotten over Rachel Dawes, after all.
Sucking on her promised lollipop, Rachel impatiently swung her legs back and forth as she continued to wait for Dr. Dandridge to come back with the test results. Her arm currently felt like swiss cheese due to all the poking and prodding, but she figured that the various blood tests would be worth it in the end... Or at least they'd better be since the needles had hurt like hell.
Admiring her handiwork on her nearly obliterated lollipop -- and wondering why it took so damn long to get to the Tootsie Roll center -- Rachel barely even flinched the moment the door slowly opened at her side.
"Am I cured?" she asked, suddenly somewhat disinterested.
There was a long pause, then a giddy voice returned, "Well that depends entirely on you, Miss Quinzel."
Looking up with a start, Rachel nearly choked on her lollipop the moment she spotted the dark figure in the doorway, his greasy hair slightly masking his eyes as his lips curled up into a horrifying smile.
"Aww, come now, Miss Quinzel, please don't tell me you don't remember who I am" he mockingly purred, his gloved finger drawing across his lips as he pressed, "You don't remember the scars? Or better yet, how I got them?"
Rachel swallowed, suddenly wishing that she had a weapon. "N-no, I...I don't..."
"Well now" the figure coolly returned, "I guess we're just going to have to rectify that, now aren't we?"
Before Rachel could even think to argue, he closed the door behind him and eagerly crossed the threshold.
A/N - Whew, chapter one's over and done with! Hopefully you guys liked it, because I'm looking forward to bringing Rachel/Harleen's (Rachleen's?) character to life...in my original story (hoping to make it into a book, but we'll see), I'm writing for a character who's lost her memory as well, so this is helping me delve more into that kind of psychological realm. A lot of you asked if Rachel would regain her memory, but why would I give you the answer to that just yet? :-P It'd take away the fun if I told you, right? hehehe I originally wasn't going to include Mr. J in the first chapter, but then I figured, "Eh, why not? Everybody loves Mistah J!" lol
Since I never got to thank my anonymous reviewers for chapter thirteen of "An Unhealthy Obsession", I figured I'd do it right here 'cause I love you all THAT much. :)
INDIVIDUAL THANK YOU'S
Sabriel - Omg, are you SERIOUS?? They were going to have Harley Quinn in TDK? In a way I'm happy they didn't, because then there would be far less Jokachel fics, and I wouldn't be writing this, hehehe. I don't remember much of Harley Quinn to be honest, but I DO remember her always going, "Mistah Jaaaaaay!" and calling him "Puddin'", hahaha.
Margot - Aww, well thank you so much! :-D Hopefully I didn't make you wait too long (a whole 24 hours!), hahaha.
Yannina - Aww, well that's ok, don't feel bad about that. :) And a lot of people have told me they like my Rachel, but not the TDK Rachel; I was kind of off and on about her, because sometimes she'd been cool, but then other times she'd be a real you-know-what. As for her looks, that doesn't really matter to me as long as they can act their way out of a paper bag, hahaha.
Jia - Haha, oh yes, Mr. J HAS to be somewhat attached to Rachel for this to work. ;) Er...and so that a gajillion Jokachel fan girls don't come tearing down my door. XD