Disclaimer: Batman belongs to DC Comics and Warner Bros.
A/N: Written for the "Valentine" theme at batfic_contest on LJ.
Dr. Quinzel smiled pleasantly at the guards as they brought her next patient into her office and sat him down on the couch in front of her desk. The doctor was young, pretty, blonde, and prone to hearing remarks that she looked more like an actress than a psychiatrist, let alone the new Head of Psychiatry at Gotham City's high profile Arkham Asylum. She would brush off such comments and remark that the last Head of Psychiatry looked like an actress too. Then her criticizers would laugh, and she'd flash them a winsome smile, and they'd leave her thinking what a good sense of humor she had. Everyone knew what her predecessor looked like. His face had been plastered all over the news for months, and there had been a media frenzy ever since the Batman had apprehended him and he was sent to Arkham. And so, Dr. Quinzel wasn't surprised when the guards cast her a worried look before leaving her with her patient, as though she was some sort of fragile porcelain doll.
"Now, I double-checked the restraints, ma'am, but if he gives you any problems, you don't hesitate to call us."
"Of course, Louis. Don't worry, I'm not expecting any trouble. I'm sure our new patient wouldn't want to keep you from having Valentine's dinner with your wife."
With a nod, the guards left the room, the door clicking securely into place behind them. Dr. Quinzel and her patient were completely alone. This was their first session, and she couldn't help but savor the sight of him before her, she in a great position of power behind her oak desk, he looking haggard and small on the large, ratty couch. Oh, how the tables had turned.
"Hello, Jonathan," Dr. Quinzel said casually.
"Harleen," he said. "Funny we should meet again on Valentine's Day. I would have brought flowers but…" he shrugged as best as he could under his straightjacket, "how would I hold them?"
Harley smiled. Crane took a good look at her. He hadn't seen her up close in months, since he last worked at the asylum. She appeared as bubble-headed as ever in his opinion, even though her bleach-blonde hair was being held back in a severe bun by a pencil.
"God, how you must be enjoying this," he said.
"Is it that obvious?"
"You look like the cat who swallowed the canary."
"Is that a bird joke at your own expense, Crane? Insanity's been good to you. I always thought your sense of humor was lacking."
"I have a lot to laugh about nowadays. You getting my old job, for example. That's a hoot."
"Don't start. I fought my way to get here, and I earned it."
"You earned it the same way you earned your degree, by showing off those killer legs. Why do you think I hired you? For your brains? Your psychiatric prowess? Oh, please."
"You may have given me a leg up, but…"
"I do recall your leg up, quite a bit, actually."
Harley flashed him a naughty grin. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about…" she said, getting up from her desk.
He watched, shocked, as she slid onto his lap, pushed him back against the couch, and kissed him, hard. He made an effort to resist, but Harley had always been hard to ignore, and he began to respond, kissing her back. She pulled away, and he was breathing hard, looking up at her just like he used to, his animosity forgotten.
"Do you remember last Valentine's Day?" she murmured into his ear.
"I remember last Valentine's night," he breathed, kissing her neck.
"I could have had you assigned to any doctor here. Why do you think I brought you here, to me, on Valentine's Day?"
"I can guess," he said, not fully hiding the excitement in his voice. "Let's leave the straightjacket on then, shall we?"
She pushed him flat on his back. He could hardly believe this was happening as she took the pencil out of her hair, letting her long blonde locks fall across her shoulders. After months on the streets dealing with nothing but thugs and gangsters and crazy people, he thought she'd never looked better. She leaned down to whisper something in his ear, and he kissed her hungrily.
"I still love you, Harley," he murmured. "I love you."
She looked down on him, smiling, always smiling, a passionate gleam in her eyes. "I know."
Crane barely had time to process what happened next. One moment, Harleen was gazing at him lustfully, the next moment he saw her hand go up, raising the pencil high above her head and sending it smashing down into the soft flesh of his cheek.
He screamed and screamed, kicking her off him, struggling against his restraints to raise his hands to his face. The bloody pencil fell to the floor. He could feel the blood gushing out of his cheek, running down his neck. The pain was blinding but he felt with his tongue to see if a hole had been made in his flesh. No, the pencil had not gone all the way through.
"Evil bitch!" he screamed, cursing again and again.
Harley just looked at the pencil on the floor, disappointed. "Shit," she said. "I should have remembered to sharpen it."
"You're a lunatic! Why the fuck did you do that?!"
"That, Jonathan, honey, was a message. You may have been my superior once, but this is my asylum now. I'm running the show. You may think you can use our past together to manipulate or control me, or even think I'm dumb enough to be on your side and help you get back on the street, but you're wrong. I'm nobody's doormat. You're gonna play by my rules, sweetheart. Enjoy your incarceration."
"You fucking hypocrite! You're the one that used me! You think I don't know you never loved me?"
Harley looked at him, and for the first time in all the years that Crane knew her, he thought she looked serious, truly serious. "I could have loved you, Jonathan. But you never took me seriously. You thought I was just some naïve bimbo you could boss around. I know about the plan you had to hold the city for ransom. You never once let me in on it. You never once let me help. You were going to pocket the money and hightail it out of here and leave me behind!"
"That stuff was way out of your league, Harley. The fewer people who knew about it, the better. I couldn't risk a leak."
"We could have been partners! But I got the last laugh, Jonathan. Don't forget that." Harley pressed the intercom button on her desk, putting on fake tears and calling for the guards in a convincingly desperate voice.
Crane threw himself at her, knocking her over onto the desk, enraged. "You'll get yours, Harley. Just you wait. Someday you'll know what it's like to be used. Someday you'll be locked up in here with me. I understand the nature of fear better than anyone, and I know what yours is! You'll see, you heartless bitch!"
At that moment, the guards burst in, saw Crane hovering over Dr. Quinzel murderously, and tackled him to the ground. Louis injected him with a tranquilizer, and Crane went limp.
"Jesus!" Louis said, looking at Crane's bloody face. "What happened?"
"He just went nuts!" Dr. Quinzel sobbed. "He just lunged at me like he was going to bite me or something. I-I stabbed him, I didn't know what else to do…"
"You did the right thing," Louis said, patting her back. "Some of these maniacs, it's what they deserve. You look rattled up, Doctor. Why don't you go home? We can reschedule your last appointment."
"No, Louis, I'll be fine," Harley said, sitting behind her desk and putting her hair up into a fresh bun. "I'm a professional. As the new Head of Psychiatry, I'll have to learn to deal with these things everyday. Please, give me a few moments and send the next patient in."
"You're a brave woman, ma'am. We'll get this scum out of your sight."
And as Crane's body was dragged out of the office, Harley couldn't help but smile to herself. "Happy Valentine's Day," she whispered.
Ten minutes later, Louis knocked on the door, telling her no one would think less of her if she had changed her mind and wanted to go home early. But Dr. Quinzel was adamant about seeing her last patient.
Security precautions around this one were stricter. They wheeled him in on a gurney, and left him on the couch. Unlike Crane, his legs and feet were bound together so that he couldn't walk or even move. They wouldn't take any chances with him.
"Are you sure you're okay, Dr. Quinzel?" Louis asked.
"I'm fine, Louis. You can go."
When the door closed behind him and his footsteps faded away down the hall, Harley turned to face her patient. With a squeal of excitement, she jumped onto his lap, locking her arms behind his neck and pushing her mouth hard against his.
"Hi, Puddin'," she said happily.
"Well, Pooh, aren't you going to tell me how it went?"
"It went perfectly, sweetie! Thanks for giving me the idea with the pencil. You sure know how to send a message, Puddin'. The only problem is I forgot to sharpen it," Harley said with a pout.
"Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it, Pum'kin. The first joke is always the hardest," the Joker said fondly, as Harley untied the bonds around his feet and legs until all that was left was the straightjacket. Her Puddin' had no trouble getting out of that himself.
"You know, that lousy cheapskate didn't even get me anything last Valentine's?" she said, going over to her desk and rifling through the drawers for the stash of face-paint she'd hidden for him. Once he'd told her he felt naked without it, and she'd reminded him that he usually was naked during their sessions, and they'd had a good laugh. He always wiped off the face-paint before the guards came back. "There he was, plotting to ransom the entire city, and the bum wouldn't even buy me a box of chocolates or nothin'!"
The Joker smiled to himself. The broad was so simpleminded. When he first met her, he could tell she was still hung up on her previous boyfriend. It hadn't taken much prying to learn that she'd been secretly dating her boss. All he'd had to do was turn her mind against him, convince her that Crane had never respected her, and that she should fully sever their relationship by sending him a message. It had been all too easy. Now her mind was completely his and he could do with it as he wished.
"Got it!" Harley said, grabbing the pack of face-paint from underneath some files. When her head popped up above the desk again, she got a surprise.
There on the couch, sitting happy as you please, was her Puddin', the straightjacket at his feet, holding a single red rose in his free hands. There was a note tied to the stem that read: Be mine. –J.
"You didn't think I would forget you, did you?"
Harley was elated. "But how did you—?"
"I have my ways," he said with a wink.
Harley took the rose and inhaled deeply. "You're not like my last boyfriend, Puddin'. Jonathan was so serious all the time. You know how to laugh and have fun. You're a keeper." And she put her arms around him. "I'm all yours."
For some reason, this tickled the Joker, and he laughed and laughed, thinking about how soon he'd be back on the street and heckling his favorite playmate again.
More than you know.