A Reluctant Resolution

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Resolution" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 31 December 2008.

"This year I will..."

The yawning expanse of blank paper below the four neatly inked words seemed to mock her.

"It's a compulsory part of your therapy programme, Harley. You know as well as I do that setting positive, achievable goals for yourself is a key part of rehabilitation."

"But I never made it a homework assignment, Joanie! Disguisin' it as a New Years resolution isn't foolin' anyone yanno."

She could almost picture the textbook entry on Patient Empowerment through SMART Goals. When she'd read it in college it seemed like a useful tool to get patients involved in their treatment; from the other side it was another pointless chore.

"Okey dokey," she cracked her knuckles as she sat crossed legged on her bed, eager to get the task over with. "What specific, measurable thing do I want to achieve in the next year?"

Get out of this dump – Joan said she couldn't use that, given it was the ultimate aim of every patient (and most members of staff) in Arkham.

Help Mistah J finally off the Bat – killing the B-man might be a bit violent for a therapy assignment.

Harley doodled little clown couples and bat corpses in the margins as she thought about common resolutions. None of the standard, dull promises people made to themselves really seemed relevant.

She didn't smoke (those things'll kill ya) and she was already in pretty good shape thanks to a combination of lucky genes, Ivy's potion and a Batarang-dodging lifestyle. She didn't need a career change – how many people could say their day-job really was a labour of love? Her parents had formally disowned her right around the time she was formally committed, so "spend more time with family" was out.

Harley sighed. This was a waste of time she could spend day-dreaming about what great plan Mistah J was probably plotting on the outside to ring in the New Year.

"Hey Red, you makin' any resolutions this year?" she called innocently to the cell next door.

"Everyone has to do that assignment, Harley, and I'm not doing your homework for you." Came the matter-of-fact reply. "You'd only be cheating yourself."

Harley sulked, imagining Ivy to have been the spoilsport type at school who never let anyone copy her test answers.

"Fine," she grumbled, scribbling down the next idea that didn't involve bloodshed or whoopee cushions. "This year I will write a best-selling romance novel."

Cliché it may be, but it was something she'd always thought about. Her psychology bestseller might have been derailed, but she didn't want to completely deprive the world of her writing talents. Joan'd be happy, and what harm could come of a little escapist writing to while away long, boring Arkham hours?

It'd take some thinking about. First she'd need a compelling heroine. Someone strong and beautiful, but with a delicate, romantic soul. Then an enigmatic – maybe masked – stranger who would fall head-over-heels in love with her.

"Hmm, they do say you should write what you know..."

End Note: Do I shy away from the most cliché option given the prompt? Hell no! :D

Harley fans will have spotted my blatant thievery of her romance novel plans from Batman: Gotham Adventures #10 "Mightier Than The Sword" and #14 "Masks Of Love: A Harley Quinn Romance". There Harley writes a semi-autobiographical romance novel featuring the clown girl Punchinello and the masked crime-fighter "Owlman". Sadly it doesn't top the bestseller lists...