A/N - Alrighty, I decided to take a quick break from "Jack's Descent" (I'm still working on it, I promise!) to experiment with a newfound crack pairing I happen to like very much: Bruce Wayne and Harleen Quinzel. I first got the idea after seeing an old BTAS episode where Harley kissed Batsy, and let me tell you, I found their chemistry/dynamic just as amusing as her and the Joker's, so I decided to act upon it. This is a TDK version though (obviously), so just know that this takes place a while after TDK, and that Harleen and the Joker had been partners for a while before an accident caused them to go their separate ways. Other than that, hopefully you'll enjoy!
CH 1: A New Home
Tongue peeking out of her mouth, Harleen continued to diligently scrape her thumbnail across the table before her, each tiny scratch creating an image that only she, herself could envision. Grinning when she scraped the letter 'J' into the chilled metal, she barely even responded when her orderly gave an aggravated cough.
"Hmmm?" she drawled, her legs kicking back and forth as she concentrated on her work.
"Could you stop that, please?"
With a pout, Harleen begrudgingly ceased her drawing and slouched back in her chair, her toes wiggling in her shoes as she rested her shackled hands a top her lap. Cocking her head to the side, she blinked back her drug-induced haze as the orderly pushed a signed document in her direction.
"You know what this is, right?" When Harleen shrugged, the man grunted before grumbling, "Not too talkative today, huh? Maybe those meds are finally doing something right." When Harleen snorted, he earnestly continued, "Mr. Wayne of Wayne Enterprises has kindly agreed to take full custody of you -- you do know what this means, right?"
Harleen shrugged, her body swaying to and fro as the orderly sighed.
"Look, stop goofing around, alright? Since you're very close to your natural release date, we decided to grant Mr. Wayne's request for being your legal caretaker -- do you understand?"
Lifting her bleary gaze up from her lap, Harleen scrunched her nose in confusion as she finally spoke, "Mr. Wayne? Well why's he wanna take care of me? We've only met once!"
The orderly shrugged. "I honestly don't know, but he's waiting on the other side of that glass window to speak to you. Mr. Wayne will be far better equipped to answer your questions than I will, so I'll go ahead and let him come in." Leaning in toward the microphone attached to the table, he dryly announced, "Mr. Wayne, you may come in now", a metallic buzz reverberating throughout the room as the door opened and permitted a tall, immaculately tanned gentleman in a smart business suit.
Scoffing at his appearance, Harleen rolled her eyes and slouched down further in her seat. Not even seeming to have noticed his patient's indifference (or not having cared), the orderly excused himself and left Harleen and this stranger to their own devices.
For several long, agonizing moments the pair just stared at one another, Bruce finally being the one to break the ice as he stepped forward and held out his hand. "Hi, I'm Bruce Wayne, owner of..."
"Yeah, yeah, Wayne Enterprises, blah blah blah" Harleen rudely cut in, her hand pushing his away as she stared at him with a quirked brow. "Why're you being so nice to me, uh? I only remember meeting you at that fundraiser for Harvey Dent."
Bruce smiled, but it never quite reached his eyes. Now having a seat across from her, he re-adjusted the lapels to his suit before insisting, "Well, I may be a playboy millionaire and all, but I know a friend in need when I see one. I happened to like you very much when we met, so I felt it my duty to help you out."
Harleen narrowed her eyes. This creep was lying, and that much was obvious; his shoulders were tense and his eyes were constantly darting off to the side. What was he checking for, the security guard? The absurdity of the entire situation made Harleen laugh, but Bruce clearly misinterpretated her reaction and laughed along with her.
"Yeah, that's pretty lame, right?" he pathetically agreed. "I mean, an intelligent, beautiful young woman such as yourself probably thinks I have an ulterior motive, but I swear to you that I only want to help out as a friend." Holding up a hand, he earnestly added, "Scout's honor."
"Uhhh, you were a boyscout?"
Bruce grinned. "Well no, but you've gotta admit that it sounds pretty damn good while making a promise."
Harleen mirrored his smile, but this time her mirth was genuine. Maybe this stiff wasn't so bad, after all? Tugging at one of her pigtails as she studied him, Harleen decided that he was boyishly handsome, her sneakered feet kicking back and forth as she asked, "So when do we go? I'm kinda sick and tired of wearing this ugly jumper."
Bruce chuckled and rose from his chair. "Well, I've already signed the necessary papers, so we can leave whenever you'd like."
Beaming like a child on Christmas, Harleen practically upset her chair as she leapt up to her feet, a goofy smile gracing her lips as she chirped, "Righteroni, Mr. B -- let's get this show on the road!"
Bruce smiled, but he couldn't help but wonder if his sins were enough to stick him with such a trying woman...
"Hey, what's this?"
"Don't touch that" Bruce warned, "it's very sensitive."
Naturally ignoring him, Harleen pressed the button and shrieked when a 'whoosh!' sounded from behind her, her eyes boggling as she watched the backseat eject several miles into the distance. "Wow" she breathed, "you rich guys really do have everything, don'tcha?"
"I told you that was sensitive!" Bruce snarled, his grip tightening about the steering wheel as he kept his gaze glued firmly ahead. "In the future, when someone gives you an instruction, please be sure to obey it."
Harleen snorted. "Well who needs rules? Mr. J always said that rules were made so they could be broken."
"Yeah, well Mr. J isn't here right now, is he?" Bruce growled, only to immediately regret his words when Harleen bowed her head.
"No" she whispered, "he's not... I don't think I'll ever know what really happened that day, but maybe..." She swallowed. "...Maybe it's for the best."
"Yeah" Bruce agreed softly, "I'm really sorry for bringing up such a fresh wound."
Harleen shrugged, but she kept her gaze directed out toward the horizon. If this millionaire actually thought she was going to open up to him, he was even dumber than she originally thought.
Turning on the radio with the hopes of easing the tension, Bruce grimaced when "Send in the Clowns" came in over the loud speakers, his obvious discomfort causing him to miss Harleen's bright smile. When he moved to change the channel, she irritably seethed, "Hey, I was listening to that, wise guy! Change it back!"
Begrudgingly doing as he was told (it was the least he could do, right?), Bruce felt as if he could weep with joy when the welcoming sight of Wayne Manor loomed in the distance. "We're almost there" he annouced, a sigh of relief escaping his lips as Harleen bounced about in her seat.
"Oooh, you've got big gates and everything! Your place is almost like Arkham Asylum!"
Bruce snorted. "I can assure you that my home is nothing like Arkham -- instead of several nuts, we only have two."
Harleen smiled at his humorous attempt of conversation, but she was far too excited to dignify him with a direct response. Clapping her hands, she giddily asked, "So do I get a room all to myself? It's been so long since I haven't had to share a bunkbed!"
Bruce smiled at her enthusiasm. "As a matter of fact, you get an entire floor -- I figured you'd want as much privacy as possible, so I had Aflred prepare one for your arrival." Smiling devilishly, he added, "My room's directly above yours, so don't get any ideas."
Harleen turned to look at him, her features genuinely curious. "Wait, what do you mean by that?"
"Uh, nothing, I was just...um..." Bruce sighed. "Never mind, I never was good with cracking jokes."
"So I see" Harleen teased, her eyes brightening when they pulled up the driveway to the manor. As they grew closer and closer to their destination, Harleen felt her eagerness flare so deeply that she decided to act upon it. Pushing the car door open, she unbuckled her seatbelt and dove out onto the lawn with a high-pitched giggle, Bruce shrieking her name as she went rolling through the grass like a small child.
Promptly slamming down on the brakes, Bruce jumped out of the car with wild and panicked eyes, his hands grasping at his hair as he shouted, "What the hell is wrong with you!? You could've been hurt!"
"Not at 25 miles per hour" Harleen condescendingly returned. Now rising off the ground so she could dust off her backside, she beamed over at her host while asking, "So can I see my room now, or what? I'd kinda like to get settled in before dark."
Staring back at her with his mouth agape, Bruce gave a disbelieving chuckle before waving her forward. "Yeah ok, we can go, but only if you promise to behave yourself."
"Who, me? Obedient's my middle name!" Harleen returned, a grin curving her lips as she crossed her fingers behind her back.
Mirroring her grin, Bruce good-naturedly came over and escorted her toward the manor, neither seeming to notice Alfred's concerned face peeking out from one of the top windows.
"You get situated ok?"
Harleen shrugged, her back facing Bruce as she continued to gaze out her window. The sky was bleeding a purplish-red, and the trees that dotted the grounds looked like rigid soldiers against the crepuscule backdrop.
With a sigh, Bruce warily entered the room before stopping directly behind his guest, his lips twisting in thought as he studied the back of Harleen's head. Her pigtails made her seem so childlike, but her stiff stance reminded him of the strong women he'd come across over the course of his life. Coughing into his hand, Bruce awkwardly moved to touch Harleen's shoulder, but she stiffened and shunted from his invasive appendage.
"Harleen" Bruce gently began, "do you need anything?"
"...Ok, well do you want me to take you out tomorrow?"
She shrugged. "Yeah, I guess so."
Giving a snort of frustration, Bruce shoved his hands into his pockets and scowled, his shoulders stiffening as he remarked, "You know, I'm sacrificing a whole lot to keep you here, so the least you could do is give me a response."
This finally had Harleen turning from the window, her eyes narrowing as she snapped, "Oh yeah? Well I didn't ask to be saved, y'know, so don't you be pinnin' this on me!" Now jabbing her pointer finger against his chest, she irritably demanded, "What do you even have to gain from my being here, anyway? Does this help with your stupid publicity?"
Bruce winced, but he found that he couldn't answer her directly. "Well, I...I..."
"Never mind, just go" Harleen urged, her shoulders slumping as she turned back towards the window.
Bruce moved to apologize, but immediately thought better of it, his stance slouching as he turned and left the blonde to her own devices. He knew he couldn't tell her everything just yet, but perhaps with time she would be able to forgive him.
A/N - So should I even bother continuing? I'm basically just testing the waters here, so I need to know where my priorities lie. I think the next chapter will be fun since Bruce will be taking Harleen to various places (she's going to drive him nuts :P), but I need to see if anybody's going to be reading this. My other stories, after all, have readers, so I need to figure out how to manage my time. Sorry for being a jerk, haha. :P