Characters belong to D.C

(POV of Dr. Joan Leland)

"Okay, Harleen. Let's begin the session."

"Sure thing, Doc. I wanna get a coupla stuff off my chest."

My former psychiatric friend smiled brightly at me from the couch, completely oblivious to my silent remorse.

It had been my entire fault; I never should have let her have session with someone as evil and unredeemable as the Joker. I practically LET the clown take her, poisoning her mind with lies and false love. Even though years had passed, I could never truly forgive myself.

"Why don't we begin with your week? How was it?"

"Okay, I guess…I really kinda miss bein' near Puddin'. When can I see him?"

"Uh…you can't see him, remember? Its part of your rehabilitation…"

She gazed over at me, eyes large and lips pursed into a babyish pout. My heart broke a little as I remembered that this insane, childish woman once walked down the halls of Arkham; calm, confident, and full of intelligent eagerness to show the world what she was capable of.

But what broke my heart the most, was that the two of us had once been good friends, chatting frequently, sharing theories, talking politics, and occasionally enjoying a simple laugh together. Not anymore. I was now the doctor and she was the patient. So much for friendship.

"So…is there anything you would like to talk about? Anything that you've been feeling lately?"

Harley's pout dissolved into a small smile.

"Sure, Doc! Lately I've been feelin' kind of glum. Maybe it's just the drugs they give me?"

"Perhaps, but maybe you are troubled. How have your dreams been at night? Any nightmares?"

"…A few…"

"Care to share them?"

Harley blinked and sat back on the couch, leaning her blonde, pig-tailed hair against the soft cushion. Her expression was uneasy, like a child faced with a difficult math problem.

"Its not really nightmares. It's more like memories, ya know? Lately, I've been dreaming about my Daddy…"

I raised an eyebrow, Harley rarely mentioned her parents.

"What about your father?"

She squirmed uncomfortably, refusing to look at me in the eyes.

"I dreamt about when he died. God, I was only a kid then! Daddy was out getting me a present since my birthday was comin' up. There was some construction goin' on outside, and when he was walking by he…. he…"

"He what, Harleen?"

I was totally engrossed now. Harley had never told me about this.

She stared at me, her eyes pitiful and mourning.

"A brick or something fell on him from above. Hit him right on the head. He died right away. Mama didn't talk much to me after that. Heh, I guess it was kind of my fault since he was out shopping for me in the first place."

There was silence in the room as I scribbled down some notes, quietly shocked from Harley's story. No wonder she never mentioned her parents.

Harley tilted her head to the side, as if she were trying to see what I was writing.

"Anyways, I don't wanna talk about that anymore. Can we talk about Mistah J?"

"Er…I suppose so. How about we discuss his treatment towards you? What has he done to you lately?"

Harley's eyes glared at me, obviously she did not suggest discussing him just so that she could point out his flaws.

"Puddin' did nothin'! I swear! I wanna talk about our latest heist together. He was so nice to me! We danced in the light of the moon and laughed 'till our faced turned red. Well…at least mine did. Mistah J's face is always that whitish color. We were rudely interrupted by ole Bat-breath, though. I really can't stand that self-righteous jerk."

I looked about Harley's body on the couch and noticed a small red mark on her cheek.

"What's that bruise? Did Joker hurt you again?"

It seemed that every time I say Harley, there would always be a bruise or a cut somewhere on her body. The Joker's work.

"He didn't do anything! My Puddin' loves me. That was from Batman. Really, Joanie!"

Joanie…

She used to call me that when we were friends…

"Harleen, you've got to tell me the truth. If we ever want to rehabilitate you-"

"Rehabilitate me? Why can't you just accept that Mistah J and I don't need rehabilitatin'? Why can't you just let us be? We're meant to be together. We really are…"

Honest, Joan, I can handle him. I promise you that you've got nothing to worry about.

The same, desperate voice…the same persitstence.

"I just wanna be with Mistah J. He really does love me an' we're gonna get married and have lots of babies one day and…and…nobody will bother us anymore, once we kill off the Bat. You'll see."

Really, Joan, I don't need any help. We need our sessions together. He needs me to make him sane again. He NEEDS me…

The guilt, the sorrow, it was swallowing me. I couldn't take it. Even a psychiatrist has her limits. Unable to control myself any longer, I burst into tears. Harley cocked her head, puzzled by my sudden emotion.

"Doc? Joan? You okay? I didn't mean ta make ya sad. I just really love Puddin'. I'm sorry."

"I-its not y-your fault," I sniffed, disgusted at my lack of composure, "I just n-need a moment…"

I had led this happen. My fault.

Harley gazed at me, expression soft and pitying. For a moment, she almost looked like the woman I had known before, sweet, gentle, and ready to lend a helpful ear. If only I had treasured her then.

"C'mon, Joan. Don't cry. Smile. I do it all the time. I hate seein' people sad."

Wiping my eyes, I tried to smile at my concerned patient.

"Its…its alright now. I'm better. Perhaps, we should end the session. Is that alright with you?"

"Fine by me. See ya next week, Doc."

Another week…

Another session of guilt…

Harley gave me a friendly wave as the guards came in to escort her back to her cell, having already forgotten the little outburst that took place.

Giving her a small wave back, I watched as the guards led her down the hall, staring regretfully until she was completely out of sight.

"I'm sorry, Harleen."