In Harley's experience, a man didn't tend to fall asleep fully dressed on the couch when everything in his life was peachy keen. Even someone as… unusual… as Mr. J was still a man, deep under all the scars and lunacy, he had the habits and needs and quirks that betrayed a fact that, perhaps no one besides Harley knew; The Joker was human. And he still showed the very distinct signs of a man ill at ease with his life. He wasn't just fully dressed; he still had his shoes and his gloves and that long purple coat on over his favorite suit. His only suit. He still had all his make-up on too, but that wasn't so unusual. The only times she'd ever seen him with no make-up on was when The Batman committed him to Arkham Asylum.
Harley knew a girl. Holly. She was a Hooker on the East End, and she used make-up to cover up the tiniest scar on her hairline. The thing was practically invisible as it was, but Holly was real self conscious about it. The Joker didn't hide his scars with make-up. He enhanced them. The smears of red that extended from his lips were merging pink into the white base, streaked from sweat and grease from his mop of hair. The black eyes were just voids in the dimness of the late afternoon. With his eyes shut, Harley only had black holes to gaze at.
"…Mistah J," she whispered, sing-song and almost soothing.
He'd been asleep all day. She felt bad, waking him up. He'd come in so late and she knew better than anyone that he didn't sleep much like a regular person. Hell, this whole last week had robbed him of all his sleep, and when he finally wandered into the apartment at six that morning, he had to obsess over the Bat for two hours before he finally crashed. But ten hours was long enough. Harley was curious. And bored.
"Mistah J," she said a little louder, smacking her gum in his sleeping face. She was lying on her stomach next to him—half on top of him, really—with one leg resting in between his. She hadn't really slept much but just spent the last few hours cuddled up next to him on the couch, in her underwear, thinking and day-dreaming and waiting for him to not be so dog tired anymore. With her ankles crossed in the air behind her she swayed her feet back, blew a big pink bubble and scooted up from his chest to be closer to his face.
"Mussta Aaa," she said, while bopping his chin and lips with the big pink bubble she was holding in her mouth. He twitched and she tore a hole in the bubble with one red nail, while glaring at him. After stuffing the gum back in her mouth she tossed a load of blonde hair over her shoulder and leaned into him, "Mistah J!" she hissed into his ear.
The Joker jerked awake, took one black-eyed look at Harley and shoved the palm of his gloved hand hard into her face. She toppled off the couch with a little squeal. The Joker rolled into the back of the couch, covering his head with his arm.
Harley sprang up to her feet almost as fast as she'd fallen. "Are you awake?"
The Joker's voice was an irritated muffle through the cloth of his purple coat.
"Good, listen puddin', you've been sleeping all day."
"Not anymore," he said clearly from somewhere in the pile of purple.
"So—you haven't seen the news yet, but they're talkin' about last night… You know—cause Batman caught the Cat."
The Joker rolled over on his other side so he could see Harley, "…Kits, cats, sacks, wives… how many were going to St Ives?"
Harley never did quite figure out how to translate many of the things that he said. It usually was the kind of riddle that was made clear in a matter of seconds. She didn't even bother to try and figure out what St Ives had to do with anything she'd said, he was in his own mind again. Maybe he was just thinking about cats.
Cats. Harley pulled her lips out of a pout, "Yeah… the news all says you and Miss Kitty were working together."
"Hahahahah… hah.," The Joker cracked his neck and turned to set his feet on the ground.
"…Great joke. But, I just…" Harley squirmed for a minute, "is she prettier than me?" the doctor finally got to the crux of her unrest.
The Joker's painted face gave no expression as he looked up at his half-naked girlfriend, "I have no idea. She wears a cowl. Just like The Batman." He traced his eyes over Harley's fit, crossed arms and perfectly toned torso and legs. "She's taller than you… sort of leggy."
Harley stomped her foot with a small angry growl and looked away, pulling her arms in tighter to her chest. "I knew it."
"Yesss." The Joker's face split into a jovial grin made of yellow and red, "That was the wrong thing to say wasn't it? I have such a problem with these things…" he stood up, all six and half feet towering lopsided over the small blonde. "The right thing to say was probably something like… oh… I don't know… How's this; no one is as pretty as you are!" he landed a firm slap against her cheek and grabbed the plump pink skin, pinching it hard.
She was careful not to show any signs of discomfort or pain. Harley knew from experience; that kind of behavior only encouraged him.
"Nope. Nope… There's nothing more beautiful. Not in the whole. Wide. Etcetera." He was definitely awake now. His voice was coming back to him. Sharper and always a single breath from shouting, giggling or singing—she could never tell what he'd do. Living with the Joker meant learning to adapt quickly to every new threat of violence or humiliation or euphoria.
Harley smiled back at him and he brought his other hand up, like he was having a go at crushing her face between his fingers. "Why—you're so beautiful that I sometimes think I should slice your cute little face…" in an instant he'd unleashed a switchblade from somewhere in the folds of his purple outfit. The silver blade glinted wickedly next to one of her perfect blue eyes. "Do my part to bring fairness and justice to the world."
In the past, this might have made Harley's heart skip a beat or two. She might have started sweating, breathing heavily or maybe even cried. Back in the early days, this kind of stuff got to her. But after two years of being in love with The Joker, she had come to decide that if he was going to kill her, or if he was going to really hurt her, he probably would have gotten it out of the way a little sooner in the relationship.
"Maybe ya should carve me up," she took her eyes off the blade and looked instead at the black irises framed by their make-up in front of her, she shot him a cheeky smirk that was almost destroyed by the purple fingers of his own hand, "Then I could look just like you," she had to get up high on her tippy-toes to reach his lips, but it helped that he was already hunched over so far.
As she kissed him, she heard the sniik-sniik-sniik sound of the knife opening and closing a number of times, like he wasn't sure if he was done with it or not.
Harley pulled back, and lifted her finger up to her own lips. The red from his mouth was smeared on her now—she used her finger to paint faint pink lines over her cheeks to match the chunky Glasgow smile under the make-up on the wicked, twisted face in front of her.
The Joker's face twitched, he licked at the corner of his mouth, glanced at the clock and slapped her hard on the back, "Go get changed. We have that appointment with the good Commissioner."
"Right, puddin'—you see, I wasn't just trying to annoy you. I knew you wouldn't want to reschedule," she winked at him, as she half-twirled into the bedroom.
"Harl," he called out as she crossed the threshold.
She stopped short, nearly tripped and turned around, surreptitiously fixing a wedgie.
"Thanks for waking me…"
What? Nothing to add. Harley waited for the punch-line, but he just walked out of sight and kept the joke to himself.
Fun Fact: Rabbit in French is Lapin.
The Song of the Chapter: Today's song is "Smile Like You Mean It" by The Killers. I know, I know... it's almost too precious, isn't it? Oh well.
Disclaimer & Author's Note: …don't kill me, please. I didn't do this because I'm desperate to see a live action Harley Quinn with Nolan's brilliant vision of the Joker. I did it because I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it… but you've got to admit that Harley adds a lighthearted tone to homicide, that the film-makers might want to avoid in the newest incarnation which we are all enjoying. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are amazing, because they are so gritty and dark and realistic. Although I feel confident that Harley's character could be translated into this world by talented professionals, the juxtaposition of her adorable self and the dark themes in place, would be difficult to pull off and I completely understand if they don't even want to put up with the bother.
But… for funzies! I went ahead and started writing a 'Nolanised' version of the Mad Love story from the brilliant 1994 comic by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. I am not Mr. Dini or Mr. Timm. I am also not Christopher Nolan. I'm a silly American fangirl, and it probably shows more than I know, but for those of you who might possibly enjoy or appreciate this humble attempt to rip-off greatness… I curtsy to you, and possibly wink if I happen to be keen.