Last chapter. Please be nice. :-)
"Hey, Ivy," Two-Face said sheepishly as he stood by the refrigerator.
Ivy opened the freezer and started filling two plastic bags with ice. She cut her eyes at him, slightly smirking when his hazel eye caught her off guard. "Two-Face," she mumbled.
He sighed. "You know, I liked it better when you called me Harvey."
Ivy chuckled. "I liked it better when you weren't an egotistical asshole."
"Come on, Ivy," he huffed in frustration. "That was almost a year ago. You're still holding grudge?"
"Wouldn't you hold a grudge if your boyfriend ditched you during a museum heist so he wouldn't be the one to get thrown in Arkham?"
The Joker wearily interjected, "Hey! I would never do that to him!"
"Shouldn't you be eating some crow right now?" she yelled. There was a cold pause as she continued to pack ice, then she muttered, "All Harley wanted was a little respect and some room to heal. Why did you bring him here?"
Two-Face cleared his throat. "He wants her back. What makes you think that Harley doesn't feel the same about him?"
Ivy gave him a strange look. "Should I give her the baseball bat again? Would that answer your inane question?"
"Listen, I've known Harley a little longer than you have. She was made for him."
"For what?" Ivy asked, slamming the freezer door. "For a personal punching bag? For a sex toy?"
"I never said Joker was a saint, doll face," Two-Face said, calmly. "But…you didn't see him earlier today. He was so…lost, so lonely…" He approached her as she stood facing the kitchen sink and gently stroked her arm with his forefinger. "He misses her…do you have any idea what that feels like?"
Ivy stopped her actions over the sink as her breath caught in her throat. Her heart started pounding in her chest and she shut her eyes as she picked up the ice packs. Turning to him, she whispered, "Yes…I do."
They stared at one another and Two-Face placed his hands on her waist. "Ivy…" he whispered back, staring into her radiant green eyes. "Kiss me…"
"Hell, no," Ivy sneered. She gently slid out of his grip and walked to the living room.
The Joker had his arm across his forehead as he lay across the sofa. Ivy handed him an ice pack. "Here," she said coldly. As he took it, she tossed the other pack onto his crotch, making him groan in surprise. "For your side…"
"You missed," The Joker mumbled.
"No, I didn't," she retorted as she sat in the armchair across from him. She watched as a down-trodden Two-Face came out of the kitchen and leaned against the wall.
The Joker grunted as he sat up, slowly taking off his coat. "Son of a bitch," he winced as he unbuttoned his vest and then his shirt. He then placed the ice pack inside and sighed when he felt the coldness of the ice sting his growing bruise. "So, Ivy," he began. "What did you say to my girlfriend…to make her treat me a walking piñata?"
Ivy casually shrugged. "I said nothing, Joker. What did you do?"
He raised an eyebrow, knowing exactly where she was going with that question. "I'm sure you know already."
"You bastard," she whispered, angrily. "Why?"
"That's none of your business, plant," he growled. "She's not your girlfriend."
"She's my friend," Ivy declared through gritted teeth.
"For how long? A week? Wow! You're practically sisters." He paused to place the other ice pack on his right shoulder. "Harv? Where's that box?"
"I brought it in, Jay," Two-Face answered, quietly.
"Did it open?"
"Nah, it's fine."
Ivy wrinkled her nose. "Whatever it is, she doesn't want it."
"Hey, Harv. Where's that baseball bat?" he smirked as he looked at Ivy. "Kidding. I'm kidding." With an ice pack still being held to his side, he stood up with a grunt and walked to Ivy's bedroom.
"If I hear you doing anything to her, Joker," Ivy warned. "I swear, I'll…"
"You'll mind your own business," The Joker turned to her and snarled. "I know I've fucked up, Ivy. Don't make it worse."
"You don't give a damn about her," Ivy stated, darkly.
He frowned at her and licked his bottom lip. "Harvey, your ex has got quite a mouth. Why don't you keep it busy?"
"That's cold, Jay," Two-Face said.
"I'm in a cold kinda mood," he replied, taking the box from him and going into the bedroom.
He found Harley face down on the bed, and her crying had died down to quiet sniffles. She was hugging the pillow to her face as The Joker circled to the other side of the bed. He couldn't help notice that she was wearing a black t-shirt and the white cotton panties that were issued to her in Arkham were peeking out from underneath. He quickly averted his eyes and kicked off his shoes as he sat on the bed.
The Joker took a deep breath as he set the box on the nightstand and softly lay on his back beside Harley. He hissed through his teeth as his side ached with every movement, and he let his unbuttoned shirt fall open. He sighed. "I guess…I deserved that."
Harley sniffed. "You guess?"
He smirked and grunted again as he shifted himself closer to her. "Okay…I know I deserved it." He looked at her and saw that she was still hiding her face. "I didn't want to…leave you…in the street like that…"
"Correction," Harley replied. "I left you."
The Joker nodded. "Yes, you did. But I let you leave…and I…I really don't know why…" He heard Harley try to stifle more tears and he reached over and stroked her hair, but she gently pulled away from him. He sighed again, "Will you look at me, at least?"
She slowly lifted her head and set her cheek on the pillow and The Joker could see her eyes had grown red and her cheeks were flushed likewise. "There's my girl," he whispered.
"I'm not your girl anymore, Joker," she told him coldly.
He felt a lump in his throat as he heard these words, but he swallowed it down and licked his lips. "Oh, really? Why is that, Harley Baby?"
"Don't call me that," she said. "I'm not your girl anymore…because I know now…why you really want me around…"
"And why's that, Sweetness?"
"Stop it! You're just trying to manipulate me, like you've been doing all along."
The Joker gave her a confused look. "What in the hell are you talking about? Where did you get that psychoanalytical bullshit?"
Harley sniffed. "Dr. Leland. She helped me…"
"Really?" he asked raising a suspicious eyebrow. "Wasn't she the one who always reassigned your patients to other doctors? I thought she didn't like your…method…so that's why she always reported you to Arkham…saying you 'fail to follow institutional guidelines.'" He paused, waiting for a retort from Harley and when she didn't respond, he continued, "Sounds like I wasn't the one who's been manipulating you…"
"Why are you here?" she asked abruptly.
The Joker grunted as he shifted onto his side, facing her. "Because…you want me here."
"No, I don't!" Harley's voice rose slightly. "I don't want you anymore! I don't need you!"
"If that were true, then you would still be hitting me with that bat," he pointed out.
"Maybe I should have kept on hitting you, then."
"But, you didn't…"
"Well, you do!" Her voice broke and new tears began to run down her cheeks.
The Joker's expression sank and he replied, "Harley…I know…what I do to you…I don't know why I do it, but…" He hesitated as he licked the corners of his mouth, and then said, "I told you, Harley, when we first met, that I can't be…cured, so to speak. No one can change who I am, what happened to me, or what I do…I thought you…of all people…understood that."
Harley hid her face in the pillow at being reminded of the promise she made to him; the promise that was made the night she gave herself to him.
"Puddin'?" she had whispered as she clung to his shoulders, their bodies moist from the physical bond they had made.
"Yeah, darlin'?" he panted, smiling.
"I love you…just the way you are…"
He had sighed and given her a deep kiss. Then, pulling away and stroking her hair, he said, "You'd be the first…"
"Can I be the only?" she giggled.
He smirked. "Sure. No one else can compare to you, anyway."
"Hey," she heard his voice calmly call to her. "Don't ever hide that beautiful face."
Harley slowly lifted her head and looked at him. He had edged himself closer and she noticed the ice pack on his side. She reached out and gently lifted it away from his bruise and gasped quietly. "Oh, Puddin'…"
He chuckled. "See what you do to me…literally?" Harley couldn't suppress the soft giggle from her throat and he grinned. "You do need me…and you still love me."
Harley stopped giggling and cleared her throat. She bit her lip as she looked into his dark eyes that were shining into hers. "D-Do not…" was all she could stammer over her quivering lips.
"Oh, but you do, baby," he said, running a thumb gently over her full bottom lip. He desperately wanted to kiss her at that moment, but he resisted.
"How do you know…I still love you?" Harley asked, challenging him. "How do you know that I don't hate you now?"
"You could never hate me," he said. "I know that…despite the fact that I…treat you the way I do…I could never hate you…"
Harley sniffed at the sound of his words and she tried to resist the lure of them as she replied, "Well…I do…I don't…love you anymore…"
There was a silence and The Joker leaned further into her and caressed her cheek. He put his forehead to hers and whispered, "So, why…after this whole week of therapy…and after the big fight we had…after admitting to me, just now, that you don't like…what I do to you…did you still call me 'Puddin'?"
Harley's quivering bottom lip wasn't strong enough to hold back the quiet sob that emitted from her throat. The Joker didn't move from his position as she started to cry again; he lay still, with his hand on her cheek and their foreheads touching. He took a deep breath and said, "I'm going to say something…that I rarely say…so please listen to me…"
She pursed her lips together and calmed herself as he continued, "I rarely say this, Harley," he repeated. "Very…rarely…but I feel you deserve it…just like I deserved a bat to the ribcage…" She looked into his eyes, which were now glistening as he gazed upon her. "I'm sorry…I'm sorry I do this to you…I'm sorry for what I did to you…what I may do in the future…but please know…that I can't be changed. This is me…this is…who you love, right? True, I'm no Romeo or Casanova…but, to be honest, the theatre is so lonely without you…if you don't need me, then I'm fucking lost…because I need you…I never realized that…until the moment I turned around, got back in the car, and left you in the street with a bloody lip."
He paused to reach behind him with a grunt and brought the box between them. He opened it and Harley's tears dripped onto the contents inside. She saw her handbag with her gun still inside along with her bodysuit and cowl. He cleared his throat. "I'm not gonna make you come back. I just wanted you to hear what I had to say. I'm not perfect…and I don't deserve someone like you."
"I'm not perfect either, Puddin'," Harley whimpered.
He snickered. "I know…that's what makes you so damn adorable." She giggled through her tears as she picked up her cowl. The Joker swallowed the lump that was rising in his throat again and said, "So, I went to the asylum…to bust you out…and all I found was that you had gone already…with your new friend." He gritted his teeth at the word. "But I found your suit. So, you keep it with you…because if you still feel the need to be on your own for a while…then you have what you need. You can come back when you're ready…or don't come back…it's up to you. I'm not gonna force you out the door and into the car like I tried to do a week ago."
Before she could reply, he lifted himself off the bed and slipped on his shoes. Harley sat quietly on the bed as she watched him button his shirt and vest. He readjusted his tie as he walked toward the door and just as he was about to exit the bedroom, he turned to her and said, "Oh, but, whether you come back or not…I'm keeping these." He pulled out her pair of red satin panties from his pants pocket, and Harley threw her head back with a loud laugh.
He chuckled as he put them back in his pocket. He put his hand to the doorknob until, "Puddin?"
He turned to find that Harley had shot up from her place on the bed and had bounced over to him. She hesitated and then gently placed her soft lips against his and gave him a tender kiss. He sighed when she pulled away and said, "I'll see you later."
The Joker smirked and finally opened the bedroom door, leaving Harley to go back to her spot on the bed and put her tear-stained face into her cowl.
"Come on, Harv," The Joker muttered as he walked to the door. "You may need to drive me home…I'm still feeling that beer."
Two-Face followed him but turned and looked at Ivy one last time, who just smirked and waved. He returned her gesture and closed the door behind them.
Ivy rose from her place on the sofa and walked into her bedroom where she found Harley looking toward the window. "You okay, hon?" she asked softly as she sat beside her and stroked her back.
Harley lifted her head and sniffed back tears. "Yeah, I'm fine. Look. He brought me my stuff. He told me that I didn't have to come back if I didn't want to."
"Oh," Ivy replied. "Well…are you? Going back, I mean?"
One week later
"Harley!" The Joker shouted as he rummaged through his chest of drawers. "Have you seen my socks?"
Harley sat up in bed and looked at the clock and saw that it was six in the morning. She covered herself with the bed sheet and sighed, "Your socks?"
"Yeah," he said as he walked toward her. "Are they clean? I can't fuckin' find them."
"Oh, Puddin'. Such language."
"Let's not get started on 'such language,' baby doll," he said as he checked under the bed. "Seriously, do I have any socks?"
"Baby, I always make sure that your shirts are ironed, your coat is clean and, most importantly, that you always have your favorite pairs of socks."
The Joker stood at the end of the bed and put his hands on his hips. "Good for you, sweetheart. Now, where are they?"
"Oh, they're…around," Harley shifted her eyes mischievously, biting her lip while suppressing a smile.
He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. "Harley?" he purred. He grabbed the bed sheet and yanked it away from her, and she giggled as she brought her knees to her chest and gave him a big smile. He smirked and playfully scolded, "Harl…give those to me."
Harley played with the checkered fabric of his custom socks that were on her feet and then tucked them under her bottom. "Give what back, Puddin'?"
"Harley, Daddy doesn't have time to play," his voice began to grow darker as he crawled toward her on the bed. "Come on; I need them."
"You gotta catch me first!" She sprang from her position and bounced toward her walk-in closet.
The Joker tried to grab her, but she was too quick. Frustrated, he growled, "Harley! Come on!"
She giggled as he chased her into the closet where he was finally able to corner her on the chaise lounge that was in the middle of the room. Her giggling stopped when he grabbed a handful of her hair and forced her to sit down, making her squeal.
Her smile faded as he roughly cupped her chin. "Little girl…" he said. She tried to pull away. "Look at me," he snarled. She obeyed and The Joker sighed; "Now…you know that Daddy has a job this morning, right?" She nodded. "Good…but you start to play around with him when you know that he has work to do. You disobey him and you know how much that makes Daddy mad, right?"
Harley whimpered as he lifted her by the handful of hair he still grasped. "Come here," he said, pulling her closer and letting go of her chin and instead holding one of her wrists behind her back. "You've gone too far, precious."
She looked at him, pleadingly and whimpered as his grip grew tighter. Suddenly, he put his lips to her neck and began to blow raspberries into her skin, making her shriek as it tickled her. "Ahh! Daddy, no! Hahaha! Stop!!"
The Joker continued to tickle her on the other side of her neck and she began to squirm in his grip. "Puddin'!"
He stopped and pulled away. "What? What is it? Why are you screaming?"
She laughed. "It tickles!"
"That tickles! Stop it!"
"Give me my socks, and then maybe it won't tickle so much." Harley just stared at him, biting her lip. He shrugged. "Have it your way."
He knelt down and held both wrists behind her back and blew raspberries into her stomach, making her scream louder. "Okay, okay!" she finally surrendered. "I'll give them back!"
The Joker looked up at her and smirked, "I dunno. I really like to hear you scream."
"Take them!" Harley laughed.
He let her out of his grasp and she took off his socks, still laughing as she handed them to him. "Good girl," he said, taking them and then kissing her cheek.
After he had put them on, he grabbed Harley just as she was walking back into the bedroom and pulled her to his lips. They kissed deeply and he smirked as he caressed her cheek, "I missed that laugh."
Harley giggled and kissed him gently as they held each other. "I haven't laughed in a while."
"Oh, man," he said. "That's a scary thought…even for me." He grinned at her as she stroked the scar on his left cheek. "By the way…have you seen my tie?"
Harley bit her lip. "Uhhh…"
He raised his eyebrow. "Harley…"
She made a break for it to the bedroom again, but was brought down onto the bed by a slew of noogies.