The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Batman do not belong to me. Only in my dreams...

Two Bullet Holes Are Better Than One

-1-

"Well, it could have been worse," said Harley Quinn aloud. She and the Joker's latest scheme…hadn't gone too well.

Actually, the whole thing had simply crashed and burned. Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing had all interrupted the setting up of a HUGE bomb. It hadn't even been wired yet.

And somehow, Harley felt that it was her fault they had screwed up so badly. She certainly hadn't helped much; Batgirl had chased her outside to an alley, and had nearly maimed her, forcing her to leave the Joker fighting off Batman, Robin and Nightwing.

"Jeez, for one girl, she really packs a punch," whined Harley, rubbing one of the sore spots on her arm, "I'm not gonna be able to walk for a whole week." She managed to make her way to the warehouse which served as the Joker's current hideout. It was also the place where they had been rigging the bomb. It was also the place where Batman and Co. had attacked them.

"Aw, shoot," she grumbled, "There's gonna be a whole lotta mess to clean up. And I'm gonna end up as the one who has to clean it."

With a sigh, she pushed open the doors of the warehouse.

"Aw, who turned out the lights?!" Harley protested, stepping forwards into the darkness. "C'mon!" In this gigantic warehouse, finding the light switch would be near impossible.

"Mistah J, where's the light switch?" she called out, stepping forwards and fumbling for a switch.

He didn't answer.

"Mistah J?" she said again, stumbling on a jutting out piece of floor. "Puddin'?"

Still, no-one answered. It was only in silence.

Silence in darkness. Harley was starting to get creeped out. She kept walking and feeling around for a light.

"Hel-lo???" she said, a little louder. When she still didn't get an answer, she added, "Is anyone even here? Mistah J…"

He was probably mad at her for…for…whatever she had done to screw up this 'mission.'

"I know you're prob'ly all mad at me an' stuff, puddin'," she said, "But I didn't mean to do whatever I did! Honest! I'm real sorry!" Harley listened for the Joker's voice.

It didn't come.

Great. Now he's ignoring me. Harley sighed and walked forwards, running her gloved hand along the wall. Her fingers hit a switch. "The lights!" she cried happily. To the Joker, wherever he was, she said, "Hey, puddin', I found the lights, you don't need to worry anymore, 'kay?"

Still walking, she turned on the lights.

However, the lights took a few seconds to actually come on, so as Harley walked in the dark, she tripped over something on the floor.

Of course, once she had hit the ground, the lights came on. "The least he can do is clean up a little after a big fight so I don't kill myself trying to walk," grumbled Harley, moving herself to a sitting position and taking care not to get dirt or grime into the scratch marks all over her body. "What'd I trip on?" She turned.

Harley's eyes widened as she saw that the object sprawled across the floor was none other than—

"Puddin'?" gasped Harley, "Uh-oh…" She scrambled over to him, and knelt by the Joker's side. He was laying face-down on the floor, motionless.

"Jeez, puddin', Batman beat you up real bad, didn't he," she marveled, "You ok?"

He didn't respond.

Harley poked him tentatively. "Mistah J?"

He didn't even move.

In fact, it looked as if he wasn't even breathing.

"Mistah J?" Harley said again, "Puddin'? Boss?" She kept poking him.

Then she saw the bullet hole.

With growing horror, Harley poked the Joker again. And when that didn't cause a reaction, she hit him. And then she kicked him in the side. And then kicked him again. And again. And again.

"You're not gettin' up…" she whispered, "You're not…" And then Harley started to cry, collapsing over the Joker's body, and sobbing hysterically.

He wasn't getting up. He wasn't ever getting up, was he? No, he wasn't…

"No…" she sobbed, "you can't be gone…can't be dead…can't be, can't be…puddin'…oh, puddin'…" Harley's hand automatically curled around his as she gently turned him face-up.

How long ago had they killed him? He was ice-cold, and the blood on him was dried and crusty.

It didn't deter Harley in the slightest. He was still her puddin'—dead or not.

But dead. Dead.

Because…because of…

"Batman…" she murmured, "Batman did this…" Harley became angry suddenly, and she, still holding the Joker's lifeless hand, began to yell. "Batman did this! Batman killed him! Batman's been ruining my life for the longest of times…and Batman killed my puddin'. 'Cuz of Batman my puddin' is dead. He's dead. He's…" She kept repeating it, unable to believe that he was actually…

The thought alone was nearly unbearable. The fact that it was a reality and not just a thought was unbearable. Harley broke down again, collapsing over the Joker's chest and sobbing, screaming out insults and curses to Batman, and Nightwing, and Batgirl and Robin, and everyone else she could think of. Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Joan Leland…all of the 'good' people. All of her enemies. All of their enemies.

"Even if you're dead…you're still gonna be my puddin', 'kay?" said Harley, he voice wavering, "A-and I'll never do anything w-without asking you f-first…'c-cuz that's how you'd want me to do everything, right?" Her already fragile state of mind was collapsing.

She had left the Joker before, but then she could always go back when she got over her anger.

He couldn't come back to her. She couldn't go back to him.

Because of Batman. It was always because of Batman.

"It had to be done."

Harley gasped, and whirled around. Standing in the frame of a broken window was the cause of the problem. The cause of her heartache as of now.

The Batman.

She didn't say anything; she just clutched the Joker's hand tighter and stared at him. Her usually bright eyes brimmed with hate. And tears. Lots and lots of tears.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly, "But it had to be done."

"You're not sorry," she spat angrily, "How could you be?" Harley stood up. "You never knew him like I did. You never loved him like I did. He wasn't your whole world; he wasn't your entire life. He was to me." Her face grew fierce. "He was just a criminal to you. A wild animal. And to you, he just needed to be stopped." Harley sat again, throwing her arms around her Puddin's body. "You didn't care."

Batman was solemn. "I can't deny that, yes, that's…that's how I thought of the Joker."

Harley let out a choked sob.

"And I was convinced that he was just using you. That he didn't care, that he didn't feel anything for you. I always thought—no. I always knew that he couldn't feel any real feelings—love, sadness, etc. All he ever showed was anger or joy."

Harley raised her tear-stained eyes to him. "Why'd you come here?" she said, "Why did you come back? To reminisce on how much of an asshole the Joker was?"

"He had tried to kill Robin," said Batman, "I couldn't let him. There was a gun on the floor and…" He broke off. "When I arrived back at the Bat cave, I couldn't think straight. I was disturbed by what I had just done."

He didn't tell her that the reason he was disturbed was that his parents had been shot. His parents had been killed with him watching—that was why he had become Batman. Bruce had sworn never to use a gun. But he had broken his own rule. And the Joker was dead. And Harley was crying. And it was his fault.

He knew what it felt like. To have the person or people you loved the most suddenly taken from you.

But that hadn't been the only thing that had unnerved him.

"I was wrong about the Joker," Batman said quietly, "True; he was an insane criminal mastermind. But apparently he was capable of feeling humanoid emotions. And I was wrong about that. I was wrong in telling you that Joker couldn't love, couldn't feel love; didn't love you."

Harley stared at him. "I don't—I—I don't understand—wh-what…?"

"The last thing the Joker said before he died," said Batman, "was that he loved you."

Harley stared at Batman, and hoarsely whispered, "I told you so…"

Then her crumbling mind fell to pieces. And she lost it.

Standing up, Harley began to scream, running about, throwing things out of the way; looking for something.

"There's got to be a way, there's got to be a way, there's got to be…" she screamed, over and over and over again, tearing things apart, searching in drawers and pockets and boxes and bags for whatever it was she was looking for.

Batman dipped his head. "I'm sorry…"

Then Harley found what it was she was looking for, and, taking care not to show it to Batman yet, she sat by the Joker again, and began to talk to him as if he was still alive. Her back was to Batman.

"Oh, puddin', remember how I used to run away…because we'd fight, and we'd get mad at each other, and you'd kick me out, or I'd just run away an' we didn't see each other for a real long time…and then…and then one of us would come find the other…and then we'd be together again," she said softly. The object she had found was in her lap.

"Harley…" said Batman, "Harley, snap out of it…"

"And I told you that we were fated to be together…that no matter how many times we separated, I'd always come back to you. That we were tied together with destiny, and fate, and everything. I'd always come back to you. I'd always come back to you," she murmured, "And I always did…whether you had to come find me, or I came back on my own, I always did, didn't I? Yeah…"

"Harley," Batman said again.

"D'you remember when I first busted you outta Arkham…and…and you were teaching me how to be a good crook…and you were showing me how to kill people…with a knife…and then a gun," Harley continued. She was stroking the Joker's hair with one hand, and caressing the item in her lap with the other hand. "And I asked you how many times to shoot the guy…and you said, 'Just remember this—two bullet holes are better than one.'" Giving a small smile, Harley said, "Well, you were right, puddin'…two bullet holes are better than one."

She took the item out of her lap.

Batman's eyes widened as he saw the gun that had been in her lap travel to her hands and then to her forehead. "Harley—don't!"

"I'll always come back to you…" she whispered.

"Harley!" yelled Batman, "Don't do it! Don't!"

Still holding the gun to her forehead, Harley whispered, "And two bullet holes are better than one…"

"Harley!"

She pulled the trigger.