Sorry about this. I've just seen a few of them, and wanted to try my hand at them.
This is one of those AU fan fics. As such, some ages and history have been changed. But not much for Bruce. And Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy) is definitely gonna be in this, so don't fear Ivy-lovers! But it's Harley/Joker if you were wondering. If you have anyone you want me to add- whether as a cameo or big character- just tell me. That is, if anyone reads this...
Summary: AU. Badass Bruce. Happy Harley. Joking Jack. In….High School. Also Accepting Alfred.
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman:TAS. Harley Quinn, The Joker, Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth and Gotham are all registered Trademarks of the DC company which I do not, as of now, own.
The First Week
"Harley!" Harley turned, then smiled.
"Hey!" She grinned, and hugged her friend, Stacy. Stacey was the head cheer-leader, and had been Harley's friend since first grade.
"God, what a Summer, huh?"
"How'd yours go?" Harley asked, knowing that Stacey loved to talk, and, thusly, would detest her telling of her plans first.
"It was absolutely fantastic!" Stacy squealed. And then she leaped into a fascinating story involving Chihuahuas, fifty different types of lip-gloss, and a pair of high heels. Harley smiled at all the right times, and nodded absentmindedly, though she would look enraptured had Stacey looked at her. But Stacey didn't. She was instead looking excitedly around the new campus, waving at random seniors. "This year is going to be so fun!" She practically shouted, grinning wildly, as Harley blushed.
"Yea," She agreed, smiling forcefully. She did love Stacey- in a total friends-only kinda way- but they had grown apart steadily over the last three years. The only thing that - in her opinion- kept them together, was cheer leading. She followed her through the doors, then let out a poof of air as she bumped rockily into a larger student. She looked up, bewildered. The boy in front of her had scars on his face, locking him into a permanent smile. But he didn't seem like he would be smiling if he didn't have them. Harley forced herself to look away from the scars, and found his eyes, a vibrant green, much easier to look at. Stacey grabbed her arm, and pulled her away from the guy, as Harley strayed, staring wide-eyed as the green-haired, green-eyed enigma stared right back at her. He didn't look as angry as he first had, when she had bumped into him, then stared at his scars. He seemed…curious. Amused. Cute. Harley allowed herself a smile, then bumped into Stacey as her friend stopped.
"What's your problem?" Stacey demanded. Harley frowned.
"You were dragging me, it's not my fault I bump-"
"That's not what I meant." Stacey answered sharply, scrutinizing Harley. "I mean with that guy."
"What about him? I accidentally bumped into him." Harley answered.
"You were staring at him." Harley blushed. "And I don't mean in the way that everyone else does."
"What do you mean? Who?"
"Everyone." Stacey answered. She frowned. "You know who that was, don't you?" Harley shrugged, feeling put off that apparently everyone else did. "That was the Joker, Harley- Jack Napier." Harley paused. The name brought up memories…some troubled kid that had been suspected of burning up that housing development a few years back. He graffitied a lot- big smiles- on walls, and it was thought that he had decided arson was the next step up. But he had an alibi- however sketchy- and there wasn't enough evidence to lock him up in juvie. She blanched.
"That was Jack Napier? Oh, God, Stacey, my house is gonna be on fire tonight!" Stacey smirked.
"At least you remember." Harley tossed a tentative glance over her shoulder. She had always imagined Jack Napier as a tough, big kid, with the sort of f*ck-you demeanor that she hated. But…the boy she had bumped into was tall, but slender, with dyed green hair, and kind eyes, rather than the cold abrasive eyes she'd expected of him. Could he have been framed? Could she prove it? "Coming?" Harley looked back, smiled weakly, and trotted after her friend.
"Sure," She answered, mind already running. "Sure."
The green outside melded, until it was just one great blur, only sometimes interrupted by a patch of red, or black, or some other color. Bruce turned from the car window, resisting the urge to groan and demand Alfred turn around and drive home. He knew the butler would never do it. He figured he would just skip class, maybe head to the movies if he could scrounge up some girls to come with. It was boring alone.
"Almost there, Master Bruce." Bruce didn't respond. He was just happy that he had convinced Alfred that he didn't want to go to private school. The idea of a tutor had been favored, but Alfred had coaxed him into the idea of school because of the ever-important 'social experience'. Bruce scowled. As if a private school would do that- even a public school would do nothing. When people looked at him, then would either see a dollar sign, or a waste of time. He preferred the waste of time. At least they'd be seeing him. "And you will try and behave?" Bruce glanced up.
"I asked if you were going to put aside any ideas of shenanigans, Master Bruce, so that this year will pass more pleasantly than it's predecessors." Bruce smirked. There had been a few schools in the last year. And the year before that…."Master Bruce?"
"Alfred…I just don't understand why I have to go to school. I mean…I learned all this stuff already. It was easy."
"Perhaps for you. Besides, you'll be in a challenging environment, with much work to be done."
"That's not the point- why do a million worksheets if you already get it?" They had had this argument before, but Bruce was stubborn.
"Because you are supposed to." So was Alfred. Bruce sighed under his breath, then slumped back. He'd just dump school today, and head out to see some movie. The theatre was only a five minute taxi-drive away. And not that far for a run either. "We're here."
"Thanks Alfred," Bruce muttered, leaping from the dark black car. He watched as it drove away. He turned towards the school as the bell rang, then meandered into the hall as a teacher caught his eye.
"Get to class, kid." The man muttered, and Bruce glared, before walking to his first period. Guess he had to go to one class. Wasn't too bad.
Stacey touched up her makeup as the teacher tried to get the class to pay attention. "So- what class is this again?" She asked.
"English." Harley answered, painting her nails a dark red. She blew on them slightly. "Fun?"
"Fun." Stacey put away her compact mirror, then smiled at Harley. "So. Any new agenda?"
"Cheerleader try-outs are on Thursday," Harley answered.
"Class!" The teacher bellowed.
"Hm. It might be tougher in High School, but I think we'll make it," Stacey said confidently. "I mean, you and I have been taking gymnastics since we were three." That was true. They had only joined each other gymnastics' team when they were six, and Harley had moved to Gotham.
"You never know…some of these girls could have been taking it since they were two!" Harley said with a smile. Stacey giggled.
"I have to take attendance!" The Teacher whined.
"God, this class is boring," Stacey complained, sticking out her lower lip.
"It hasn't started yet," Harley reminded her. The door opened, and the teacher, a stumpy balding man, turned in annoyance. The boy who entered was pretty cute, and Stacey's face lit up. She was a sucker for cute boys. Luckily for her, the only seat that was empty was right behind her. The boy took it with a face that clearly stated: I don't care. Stacey leaned over to him.
"Hi, I'm Stacey." The boy turned, then gave her a dazzling smile. Harley smirked as Stacey practically melted.
"Bruce," He answered. "Did I miss anything?" Stacey smiled.
"Nope. Well, unless you count the Teacher getting very close to a breakdown." Bruce smirked.
"So- you didn't go to Grapevine Middle?"
"Huh? No. Well- maybe-" He paused for a moment, then shook his head.
"Where'd you go?" Harley asked. He seemed unsure, and was saved as the Teacher shrieked.
"CLASS!" Every head turned to face him. He seemed uneasy, then forced himself to speak. "I understand this is the first day back from summer, and we're all very anxious to see our friends, but please. Wait until passing time." He sighed. "Now. Stacey Apson." Stacey's hand darted into the air. "Jason Beteman." After a few minutes, he said, "Harleen Quinnzell." Harley raised her hand.
"Um- yea- can you call me Harley?" She hated her name. The Teacher- Mr. Stack- nodded.
"And…finally…" He adjusted his reading glasses, and frowned. He murmured the name first to himself, then spoke aloud, "Bruce Wayne?" A hush fell over the already louder classroom. Stacey, who had been texting, looked up from her phone. Harley had already figured it out, and she looked at Bruce- who hadn't raised his hand yet. He looked back at her, then smiled thinly. He didn't raise his hand, or say anything. "Bruce Wayne?" Mr. Stack repeated. He shrugged. "I suppose he's absent…" He marked it down, still looking puzzled. "Er- shall we begin class now?" And then the cacophony of noise returned.
"Harley Quinnzell, huh?" Bruce asked, smiling at the two blonds. Although he could already tell that Stacey Apson was smitten with him, Harley seemed more interesting. For one thing, she had said nothing about his identity. She was eying him confusedly, but now she nodded. "Nice name." She smirked.
"Yours, too." He smiled lightly at her. Stacey turned to him.
"So- um…Bruce…what school did you say you were from?"
"Last was…um…Catbed Middle School."
"And how do you like Penash High?"
"Now that you're here?" She giggled nervously, smiled at her friend, then giggled again.
"So- do you like movies, Stacey?" She smiled dreamily, then nodded.
"Do you wanna see one next period?"
"What about school?" She asked. She paused. "Oh."
"I'll pay for it," He offered, and Harley snorted. Stacey frowned, then nodded,
"Stacey!" Harley chastised. "You're the only person I'll know! It's that stupid gym class- seniors will be there!" Stacey shrugged.
"You can manage."
"She can come." Stacey's look was both priceless and heart-wrenching. Harley scowled at Bruce, then shook her head.
"Naw, it's fine, Stacey. I'll go to class." Stacey smiled at her gratefully.
Harley walked down to the gym building, her backpack slung over her shoulders listlessly. Without Stacey, there was hardly a reason to go to class. She grunted. Who skips the first day of school, anyway? She shrugged, and went to class.
Stacey gasped, and Bruce smirked. This was easy, even when they had no idea who you were. He brought Stacey closer to him as the monster on the screen tore through the protagonist's girlfriend, growling, as he ransacked the town. Stacey squeaked in fear, and dug her face into Bruce's shoulder. Although this was easy, and he would probably get to first base easily before the climax of the movie, Bruce wondered what it would be like if Harley had come, too. She seemed different from her friend. Much different.
One hour and two bases later, the movie was over, and Stacey was talking about how scary it had been, as Bruce nodded half-heartedly. He was already bored again.
"So- um…do you think maybe you and I can go out tomorrow or something? You know…see a movie?"
"We just saw one." Bruce answered coolly. She blushed.
"I mean- like- a different one?" He shrugged.
"Oh." She murmured dejectedly. Then her face lit up again. "That's okay. I mean, cause I have plans."
"That sucks. I was just kiddin'. I wanted to take you out to dinner."
"I can cancel them!" Bruce smiled thinly. So easy.
"Okay, then. Pizza?" She nodded eagerly. "I'll pick you up af-" He frowned. He heard small grunts from behind her… "-um- Stace? Can you do me a favor? I think my wallet fell under the seat- can you get it?" She nodded, only too eager to please. He dashed into the alley, and found two men fighting- no, two teenagers fighting. Over a gun.
Memories pounded in his mind, and he was frozen for just an instant. Then he ground his teeth. He should just go…this was their business…it wasn't as if he was perfect in the eyes of the law, either. But…the gun…metallic and shining… was being wrestled for. Whoever got it would take a life. Right here in this alley outside a theater. A movie theater, this time, but still…the parallel coincidences…he shook his head.
They hadn't noticed him yet, still enthralled in their match. He could help. He didn't know who had done what, but all that mattered was that that gun was out of their hands. He grabbed the top of a garbage can, then threw it between them. He had taken karate- he had needed a 'healthy release for his anger', Alfred said- and was prepared for their attacks.
But when they were separated by the can top, though one fell back against the wall, the other fighter fled. Bruce figured he wasn't important- he left the gun anyway; he didn't care what happened to him. He was going to leave when the other guy grabbed the gun, and waved it at the wall, instructing Bruce to get against it. Bruce did as he was told numbly- he had assumed that the guilty one would run, while the victim would stay, but…guess you should never assume anything. He wondered whether this guy would kill him…wouldn't that be weird? Get shot in an alley outside a theater? As if he was supposed to all those years ago, and the universe was just correcting things. Would Alfred get all the money? He hoped so.
"Bruce?" Stacey. He had forgotten about her. She stumbled past the alley, then looked panic-stricken as she saw Bruce against the wall, and the other man standing menacingly a few feet away. She hadn't noticed the gun, Bruce saw with trepidation. "Jack!" She gasped, before her eyes narrowed, and she flung herself at him. "Stay away from Bruce, you creep!" Then she saw the flash of metal, and stopped dead in her tracks, face pale.
"Why don't you stand next to your pal, kid." The man- Jack- told her. His voice was dark, but it held an amusement that made Bruce sick. "And if you don't mind, I prefer Joker."
"Who is this clown?" Bruce muttered. Stacey's words were stuttered and fearful. She sounded close to tears.
"He-he's Jack Napier-" At Jack's sharp look, she corrected herself. "The Joker. He's completely crazy!" She screeched, and Bruce had to pull her back from attacking. Bruce studied the teen in front of him. He had scars on his face- a Glasgow smile- that looked old, but it hadn't faded much. It seemed as though it had happened in the past three years or so. He had dyed green hair that was long and he was wearing a bright purple shirt and some jeans. He looked pretty terrifying, especially with the gun, and Bruce reminded himself that it wasn't just his life on the line anymore. It wouldn't have mattered if it was just him.
"And what does he want?" Bruce asked, pointedly looking at Jack, who smiled broadly. It looked strange to see a smile with the scars.
"I was in the middle of something, and you interrupted."
"Whoops. Won't happen again," Bruce answered sardonically. Joker laughed.
"Comedian, huh? I like a good laugh- go ahead- try'n talk your way out of this."
"Hey, man. Just- you know. Let me go, huh? Keep the girl if you want, but let me just leave." Stacey went white with horror.
"Bruce-!" She choked out.
"Don't worry, honey," Joker told her, smiling. "He's just tryin' to make me let you go." Stacey's face showed confusion, her lips slightly parted, as she looked from Joker to Bruce. "He's the noble kinda guy. But the thing is, I'll let him be noble, cause he's kinda fun." He waved the gun at the street. "Get lost, doll face." Stacey turned to Bruce, questions burning in her eyes.
"Go." He muttered under his breath. That was all she needed. She dashed out.
"Now that she's gone," Bruce muttered, leaping from his position resting on the wall. Jack's eyes went wide as Bruce punched him solidly between the eyes. He stumbled back, grinning, the blood leaking over his smile. His nose was broken.
"You're more fun when your girlfriend isn't around!" He cackled, but it was distant, as Bruce was already running as fast as his legs would take him away from the man.
Harley doodled, bored, in her notebook. The last three periods- which she had faced alone- were utter horror. She sighed under her breath. Stacey and Bruce were probably making out in a second movie or something, while she sat alone at this obscure lunch table in the corner.
"Harley!" She stiffened at the sound of her name, then turned. Stacey was running up to her, eyes glistening, face pale.
"Oh my God, Stacey, what happened?!" She asked immediately. It was probably just something to do with Bruce- he'd broken up with her- but she looked really shaken up, and now was the time to play Friend.
"Harley-" She managed, forcing out the word. "Oh, God, Harley, it was awful!"
"The movie?" Harley joked forcefully. Stacey didn't even seem to register she'd spoken.
"We'd just left, and Bruce thought he'd left his wallet- I couldn't find it- there was the alley- and Joker!" She finally screeched, tears pouring down her face, as she threw her arms around Harley. Heads turned- not just at the sight of the blubbering blond, but at the name she had screamed. Harley's blood froze. The Joker? Jack Napier? What had he done? The anger simmered below the surface, but for some reason it wouldn't bubble until she knew what he had done.
"What did he do, Stacey?" She managed.
"A gun- he- and the wall- and Bruce told him to keep me!" That son of a- "But it was to save me or something- and-and- Bruce is still there!" Harley's jaw dropped, eyes wide.
"Stacey!" All the heads in the cafeteria turned. Bruce stood there, and Harley smiled, relieved. Stacey leaped into his arms, and closed her eyes.
"I was so worried…" She cooed. Bruce smiled.
"No reason to be. I can handle myself."
"You have blood on you-" Stacey choked out, as she opened her eyes.
"Not mine." Though Stacey smiled happily (and proudly as the growing crowd gave her the attention she lived for), Harley resisted frowning. The Jack Napier she had seen this morning hadn't seemed very dangerous- what had Bruce and Stacey done to aggravate him?
Bruce slid into the car, then slumped back. It had been a long day. Stacey still had no idea that he was the billionaire Bruce Wayne, and the friend of hers who knew- and who seemed clever and sweet (not to mention pretty hot) seemed distracted and ill at ease. He frowned, and Alfred finally forced out some conversation.
"How did you like the school?"
"Dull and worthless- like all school." Alfred smirked in the rear-view mirror, then ventured with another question,
"And did you attend all of your classes?" Bruce didn't like lying to Alfred.
"No." And Alfred didn't respond.
"Another day, another dollar." Harley sang under her breath. Her friend eyed her strangely.
"We don't get paid to go to school." Stacey reminded her tiredly, as though she was sick of explaining things to her, even though Harley was usually the one explaining everything. Harley nodded.
"True. Hey, I'm gonna sign up to be one of those peer counselors. Do you want to, too?" Harley was always interested in minds, and psychiatry. She figured that when she grew up, she'd be a psychiatrist, or a brain-something or other. One of her electives was even psychiatry. Stacey crinkled her nose.
"Um…are you serious? I mean, you'd have to sit around listening to kids complaining about their lives. What's fun about that?"
"Well, it's extra credit for my psychiatry class…" Harley answered half-heartedly.
"So? You have an A in that."
"It's the second day of the school year," Harley responded with a smirk. Stacey shrugged.
"You'll still get an A in that. You're into all that kind of stuff."
"My point. That's why I want to do the peer counseling,"
"Okay, but no way I'm doing it." Stacey replied. "Boring. I think I'd prefer hanging out with Bruce. He spends his lunch money taking me to the movies."
"God, Stacey, you're so dense!" Laughed Harley. "Do you really think one guy's lunch money could afford two people entrance into a movie?" Stacey's eyebrows screwed together.
"What do you mean?" Harley held in a sigh, then smiled brightly.
"Nothing." She grabbed her back-pack from the table. "See you first period- you're going, right?"
"I dunno. Where are you going?"
"To sign up for the-" Stacey 'ahhhh'ed, then waved her away.
"See ya, then. I'm gonna go- I'll be with Britney and Shauna if you need me."
"Yea." Harley left the picnic table, and headed to the library. Sometimes she wondered how life would be different if she had never met Stacey. She would probably be more out-going. With Stacey, she just had to listen, nod, and agree. It was like she was a zombie. Gymnastics was the only thing she enjoyed, and even that was sabotaged by the other cheer-leader. She had been wrangled into cheer leading…she did enjoy it, but she had never wanted to join.
"Hey." Harley looked up from the floor, then smiled.
"Hi, Bruce. Have you told Stacey yet?" He smiled.
"Nope." Harley rolled her eyes.
"Even Stacey'll figure it out sooner or later. Anyway, gotta go. And would you mind not stealing Stacey from first? I like having friends in my classes." Bruce chuckled, and Harley blushed slightly. He was cute.
"Yea, sure. I can't afford to keep paying for movies anyway." Harley smiled, then continued on to the library after a quick wave.
"Friends with him, I see." Harley twirled at the unfamiliar voice. Her heart froze in her chest. Jack Napier- the Joker- was talking to her.
"Yea." She choked out.
"Did he tell you that I saw him yesterday?" Harley nodded, eyes wide, heart going wild. She blushed, then, determined to say a full sentence, said,
"He said you pulled a gun on him."
"Did he?" His voice was charismatic, even though it was low. It made Harley's blood rush to even hear him speak. He smiled, and she nearly melted. Though the scars were intimidating, they hardly mattered when his soft lips lifted. "Funny way of telling the story."
"Point of view?" She offered, smiling nervously. He smirked after a short breezy laughter that sounded like a melody in Harley's ears.
"I like you."
"W-what?" She sputtered out. He chuckled lightly at her expense. "Um- I mean-" She blushed, and cast her eyes down.
"What's your name?" She looked up, and managed,
"Cool name." He grinned down at her. "Very cool name." The bell rang, and, like some horrible hunter, killed the moment that had Harley grinning inwardly. She stumbled over her words.
"I have to go-"
"That's just the beginning bell- you know. Five minutes to class." He seemed to not want to let her leave. She wondered whether she should be frightened, or honored.
"I know," She answered nervously. "But I'm signing up for something- at the library, I mean. Peer counseling." He smiled.
"Okay, then. You do that." She scurried off, but she could feel the eyes of Joker tight on her back.
"You spoke to him?" Stacey demanded angrily. Harley shrugged uncomfortably.
"He seemed really nice." She turned a tough eye onto the empty seat Bruce should have been sitting in. "I think Bruce did something to him- I mean, he's not the type to pull a gun out, Stacey."
"Are you kidding me?" Stacey spat venomously. "He burned that development down! Do you know how many assaults he's been charged with? How many fights he's been in?"
"No." Harley snapped back. "But I do know that not all of it could be true. I bet people knew his reputation, and just started a fight with him- he's not the horrible kid everyone thinks he is!"
"Class." Mr. Stacks began a lecture, and Stacey turned around, an angry pout on her face. Harley glared at her back. She had no right to accuse Jack of anything- or defend Bruce. She had no idea who either of them were.
Wednesday and Thursday passed quickly, and Harley didn't talk much to Stacey or Bruce. At the cheer leading tryouts, she kept to herself. She didn't see Jack again, which disappointed her. But on Friday, when she received the page of students she'd be counseling, a grin slid onto her face, before she began to laugh. She had no idea how he'd done it, but she was glad he had.
Jack would be her first patient, Monday at eight.