Author's Notes: My interpretation of their relationship can be kind of dark at times so be warned. Atropa belladonna is the botanical name for deadly nightshade. Atropa comes from one of the Grecian fates (the one that cuts off the lifeline) and ibelladonna/i means "beautiful woman."

i.

Ivy never asked, but there was always a story. A different story, but always the same. This time Harley claimed it was some kind of elaborate kitchen accident. Quirking an eyebrow while offering her hand to invite the little tornado back into her life, Ivy wondered what kind of cupcakes Harley could have possibly been making to end up with a 4-inch gash across her throat, but she didn't ask. Vaguely knowing what happened was hard enough for her to stomach.

Harley scurried into her second home, blabbering on in whimsical reverie about her preciously homicidal boyfriend as she walked the familiar path from the front door to the bathroom as quickly as possible so that she wouldn't leave a trail of blood on the floor. Harley's life was a never-ending ping-pong tournament, though if there was any struggle, it never showed in her eyes. Despite all of the recurring attempts upon her life and the subsequent mending, the spark in her somehow remained undimmed.

Hopping onto the counter and swinging her legs back and forth, Harley waited for Ivy to return from wherever she kept all of her herbal tinctures and ointments. Pinching her tongue into the corner of her lips, Harley stretched a foot towards the door and kicked it closed so that she could look at herself in the full-length mirror behind it. She watched as one drop of blood after another fell from her saturated hand around her neck. Seeing that her attempts to stop the bleeding were fruitless, Harley removed her hand from the injury and lifted her chin to investigate the severity of the gash. She scoffed at it as if it were nothing more than a cat scratch, but then nearly leapt out of her skin when Ivy kicked the door back open, her hands full of bowls, towels, and bandages.

"Gosh, Red, you didn't even knock!" She complained; covering her heart with her bloodied hand in surprise, but then removing it when she saw what a mess she'd made all over the stark white collar that draped over her chest.

"It's my house," she replied curtly, setting everything but one towel in the sink. "Hands," she ordered.

Harley sat up straight as a sailor and extended her hands for Ivy, as requested. In an attempt to lighten her mood when she realized Ivy was in her night robe and had obviously been aroused from sleep, Harley dropped her jaw and stuck out her tongue, making a drab face at Ivy as if she were mocking the walking dead. Ivy didn't seem to appreciate the joke, so Harley closed her mouth and sulked back against the bathroom mirror while her friend continued to clean the blood off of her hands with the hot, damp towel.

Pausing for a minute, Harley noticed Ivy's critical eyes investigating the fresh defensive wounds on her hands and wrists that had revealed themselves after being properly cleaned. Stopping the inquisition before it began, Harley giggled and caught Ivy off guard by quickly wrapping her legs around the woman, yanking her close and hooking her ankles around one another so that Ivy couldn't get free. "Didja miss me?" She asked, her sparkling blue eyes wide and hopeful.

"Harley, quit it," Ivy said tossing the stained towel to the bathtub and grabbing Harley's ankles around her back and forcing them to untangle so that she could wiggle out from between her legs and get back to saving her life…even though what she really wanted to do was scream at her until every window in her house shattered. She wanted to shove Harley's face into the mirror and point to the deep gash in her throat until Harley started giving her answers, and not the "kitchen accident" gag she was clinging to. She wanted to shake her until she finally snapped out of this psychotic spell the Joker had her under for reasons that Ivy would never understand. But she knew it was pointless; she'd given up on trying to awaken Harley years ago and so, went back to work.

"Aww. Not even a little?" Harley pouted, tracing over the harlequin patterns of her costume with her fingertips and then dancing them up Ivy's arm to catch her attention again.

Ivy didn't answer. She was too busy pulling sticky, blood-encrusted strands of golden hair out of Harley's gash and then cleaning the skin around it with another hot, damp towel. "Ick, Harl," she said throwing the second soiled hand towel into the bathtub.

"Tsk, it's not that bad," she retorted to which Ivy responded with a heated glare. "Okay so maybe it does hurt a little," she cowered. After running a washcloth under the faucet for a second, Harley removed what was left of her make up while Ivy prepared one of her herbal remedies in a bowl.

Stirring the mixture around a bit before pinching some of it between her fingertips, Ivy took a step back towards Harley. "Now don't move," she said, lifting her fingers to the open wound below Harley's chin. "And I mean it, Harl," she warned. "If you move an inch, I'll force that gash so deep it severs your trachea."

Harley gulped and her eyes blinked, wide and alarmed when she saw that Ivy wasn't fooling around. She bit her tongue to hold still, but as try as she might to truly resist moving, she couldn't stop her foot from nervously twitching against the cupboards under the sink. "What is that stuff?" She asked, shying away when the grayish, yellow powder Ivy had between her fingers inched ever closer to her throat.

"It will numb you as well as keep your throat from getting infected. Now just…lean back and lift your chin," she instructed, demonstrating. Harley kept flinching away from her, so Ivy put the bowl down and sank her nails into Harley's thigh until the girl to cringed under her, gasping silently in pain. "Hold. Still," she threatened.

Harley winced, but nodded in compliance before tilting her head back. She squeezed her eyes closed and sat as still as possible while Ivy dipped her fingers back into the bowl of enhanced goldenseal and kava root, then felt the fine layers of dust being sprinkled on her wound. "That stuff kind of tickles," she said, laughing a bit while peeking at Ivy with one bright blue eye.

"Holding still includes your mouth, Harl," Ivy added with a quick smirk to reassure her. Ivy stepped away for a second to retrieve fresh gauze while flashing a warning finger to her friend, instructing her to stay put. She began to dress the wound and proudly smiled to herself at how quickly Harley's injury was already responding to her medicine. Once finished, she gave Harley's leg a quick pat to let her know she could finally relax.

Harley triumphantly hopped down from the sink and yanked Ivy into an enthusiastic embrace, which Ivy resisted. Harley ignored Ivy's obvious discomfort and only let go of her so she could spin around and look at herself in the mirror. "Gosh, you're getting really good at this, Red," she said looking at the bandaging from all angles.

Ivy's eyebrows knitted at the thought, and she shook her head in effort to retrieve an appropriate answer, but instead choose to disregard Harley's comment. "How do you feel?" she asked, washing her hands.

"Like a million bucks!" Harley said, scampering out of the room and down the dark hallway towards the bedroom. When she reemerged, she pulled an old spaghetti-strapped top over her messy piggy tails and then smoothed the soft fabric down her stomach. "Cat got your tongue?" she joked, snapping her fingers in Ivy's face when she walked past her.

Shifting her focus away from Harley waltzing around practically naked in her home once again, only to notice how half-clothed she was herself, Ivy tightened her robe's sash around her waist and lazily followed Harley into the kitchen. Turning the corner, she shrieked and stopped dead in her tracks when she spotted the girl scaling the counters on her way to one of the cupboards. "Harley! You need to take it down a few notches," she continued with a forcibly calmer tone while walking over to help her get whatever she was rummaging for. "You're still half dead, you know."

"I might be half dead, but I'm all hungry," Harley shooed her away with her hand while continuing to look for something to eat. "Gee, Red, you really need to go shopping," she moped, seeing that her options for sustenance were seriously limited.

"I have plenty to eat, Harley. I just wasn't expecting you so I don't have anything saturated in sugar and artificial coloring," she said holding back a yawn and looking over at the clock. "Can't you just wait a couple of hours? It's almost 3 in the morning, Harl, and you need sleep more than you need food."

"But I might be deader 'an a doornail by then," Harley laughed, continuing to sift through the health foods for anything that might have an ounce of artificial sugary goodness in it.

"Not likely," Ivy said, rolling her eyes. "But I have another idea that might meet both our needs," she said, smirking to herself as she headed to one of the cabinets to make a certain treat for Harley.

Unimpressed with whatever Ivy was cooking up for her, but unable to find anything sweet and satisfying to eat otherwise, Harley slid off the edge of the counter so she could watch with pointed curiosity as the auburn haired beauty squeezed two droppers of some kind of substance into a glass of water, then haphazardly stirred it around.

"Drink this," Ivy demanded, handing her the elixir.

"But I'm hungry, not thirsty," she argued with a disgusted snarl as she looked down at the glass, wondering what that cloudy swirl of amber residue was.

"I wasn't asking," Ivy replied with a smile while tipping the bottom of the glass up, forcing Harley to drink its contents. "Good girl," she said patting her head when the glass was emptied.

"Blech," Harley spat out her tongue as shivers ran up her spine in revulsion from whatever she'd just drank against her will. "I ain't a bartender, Red, but you really make one lousy cocktail."

"Ah, but my cocktails are iguaranteed/i to go straight to your head," she pointed out with a sneer. "In fact, I bet you'll never sleep so well in your entire life than you will tonight," Ivy added with a chuckle and taking the glass back from Harley to set it on the counter so she could go back to bed.

"Too bad I'm not even tired," she teased, running up along side of Ivy and wrapping her arms around her stomach. She was much more in the mood to fool around or start a riot than sleep.

"You will be," Ivy snickered with a wink over her shoulder at Harley.

"Aww, you drugged me?" Harley asked, letting go of Ivy now that her playful intentions had been squashed to smithereens.

"It wouldn't be the first time," she said nonchalantly while putting the rest of her remedies back into the cabinets. "Besides, I can't have you bouncing off the walls, reinjuring yourself like last time."

"You're such a spoil-sport," she sulked. Feeling physically drained as Ivy's elixir began to take effect, Harley grabbed the counter for stability. "Rrred?" She slurred, losing her grip and nearly fainting into Ivy's arms. Her eyes blinked slower and slower as she desperately tried to focus on something, anything. She felt as if the weight of an entire ocean was about to crash upon her. "Ivy?"

"You're fine, Harl," she eased, lifting Harley back up at the waist and walking her back to the bedroom, feeling the blonde's legs wobble as dramatic fatigue took over her body. After pulling down the sheets, Ivy gently laid Harley onto the bed and sat down beside her.

"I've never been so…so tired…in my…" Harley whispered, her voice trailing off. She tried to keep her eyes open, but as moments passed, she was less and less able to control them. Recoiling onto what had to be the softest mattress she'd ever laid upon in her entire life, Harley pulled one of the sheets over herself and snuggled deeper against Ivy's lavender scented pillow.

"Good," Ivy said, gently taking out the incredibly knotted ponytail ties from Harley's hair and then resting her head back onto the pillow.

Hearing Harley's familiar soft and steady purr, Ivy looked down at the half-naked and totally limp girl that was now fast asleep. Smiling, Ivy took off her robe and got up to turn off the lights before sliding back under the covers with Harley, being as careful as possible not to shift the bed. She sighed blissfully when she smelled the treasured scent of night blooming jasmine growing outside her windows. She looked over at Harley beside her and a certain sad admiration came to her eyes, seeing her lying there still as death in the shaded moonlight.

Ivy tentatively ran her fingers through the girl's hair, brushing through it with great care until all the bloodied kinks and knots were free. Smoothing her imperfect blonde hair over Harley's shoulder, Ivy twirled one of the ends around her pigmented fingers then released it, watching it slide down to rest between the curves of her breasts. Silent as the creeping vines in her garden, Ivy drifted towards Harley and pressed her lips to her pale cheek, both grateful and troubled that Harley had come back to her again. She wished that one day Harley would stop returning to that deranged rat and just stay with her, but she knew that would never happen. If saving someone's life multiple times couldn't win over a girl, nothing would. Frustrated by the sick games she kept playing with Harley, Ivy rolled over in bed, pulled the sheets over her shoulder, and fell back to sleep.

Groggy as she was from Ivy's medicine, Harley forced her eyes open, one at a time, as she slowly moved a hand up to where Ivy had kissed her. Slower still, a mischievous smirk curled her lips. She looked upon Ivy's soft, auburn curls as they draped over her pillow, contrasting against the sharp mint-colored blades of her shoulders that shifted when she sank deeper into the bed. Harley followed the indented line of Ivy's spine until it disappeared under the blanket that they shared, wanting to touch and entice her, but she was too exhausted to do so. Against her will, her eyelids melted down over her eyes while a cumbersome shadow consumed her, forcing everything around her into darkness.