Living In The Limelight

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Living in your shadow" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 29 July 2009.

Even as a child Harley had always yearned to be centre stage – for the spotlight of attention to fall on her for a change.

At school leaping half out of her seat with an arm stretched almost to the ceiling, so desperate for the teacher to call on her she felt she might burst. Deflating as she was skipped past or got tongue-tied in her excitement and stumbled over the wrong answer.

At home brandishing a report card full of A's and getting a perfunctory smile from her mother and a disinterested morsel of praise from her father; far better than the unsmiling disapproval that greeted anything less than a B.

At college discovering that her natural talents of good looks and flexibility could finally get her the attention she craved, both in and out of the gymnasium. On the rings or on the bars, the roar of the crowd matched that of the blood in her ears to give her a high she rapidly became addicted to. Having the undivided attention of a professor, causing him to stumble in his lecture as she casually sucked on her pen, made her feel equally giddy.

But once she'd enjoyed the warming glow of the spotlight returning to the dark, cold wasteland of obscurity seemed even more unappealing.

Becoming a pop psychologist with her own line of books, maybe even her own TV show, seemed like an easy solution. In Gotham the public ate up news about the crazy criminals who roamed their streets – and an internship at Arkham was a sure-fire way to get the inside scoop.

Falling in love hadn't exactly been on her agenda. The cliché was falling head over heels, but she always said it was more like being pushed off a building.

In comparison to basking in the sunlight of his attention a stadium full of spectators barely amounted to a forty-watt bulb.

Later as she joined him in his crusade to bring a smile to the cadaverous face of Gotham it was as though the rest of the world dimmed further into the twilight of insignificance. Elections, energy crises and earthquakes – they could come and go on the other side of the world or just down the street, but if it wasn't within the circle of light they shared she didn't notice.

Some might ask why she chose to live her life in his shadow, but to her it was the rest of the world sat silently in the darkened audience of the big top while she shared his spotlight with a smile. Sure he was top billing, but her name was still up there in lights beneath his – and she wouldn't have had it any other way.

She knew the limelight wouldn't last forever, being brilliant but fleeting in its intensity. This only made her more resolved to stay and smile beside him until the final encore, and when it was fully extinguished they would both be plunged back into darkness together.


Author's Note: It's one of those rarest of things – a fic from me that doesn't have "humour" as a genre! (gasp) I'm always a little leery writing anything that isn't at least partially for laughs since I'm allergic to taking things too seriously, but I felt like trying something different. Hopefully it went okay.