I've decided to take Harley's hyenas and do a Nolanverse kinda twist on their story of how they came to be her babies.

If you've read my Maybe Baby series, hopefully, you've figured out by now that all my stories are interconnected. I say this because you will meet two of The Joker's henchmen in this story when they started as 'rookies.' Enjoy...and please review. :-)

Harley peered over her magazine as she reclined into sofa, her petite feet resting comfortably in The Joker's lap. She watched him as he eyed the newscaster on the television screen, all the while flicking his switchblade in and out of its handle as he caressed the soles of her feet with his other hand.

"Puddin'?" Harley asked quietly. He sighed, but didn't answer her so she cleared her throat. "Pud?"

"Hmm?" was his reply, raising an eyebrow and still glaring at the TV screen.

Harley sat up a bit and asked, "How do you feel about kids?"

The Joker creased his brow and looked at her. "What?"

"Kids," she repeated. "Do you like kids?"

He flicked his tongue to one corner of his mouth as he turned to face her, keeping her feet in his lap. He looked at her with his dark eyes, which were still encircled with black paint. He licked his bottom lip and said, "Do I look like the kinda guy that could tolerate a kid?"

Harley shrugged. "I think so…well, maybe one of your own."

The Joker groaned and rolled his eyes as he turned off the TV with the remote control. "Are we really going to talk about this again?" Harley shifted uncomfortably and put her magazine in her lap as he continued, "Harley…don't get me wrong. I'm sure I could handle…my own kid…but I really don't think it's such a good idea. I mean, look at our situation. The way we live; can you really see us raising a child here?"

"I could stay at home," Harley insisted.

"That isn't my point…dear." he said, sternly, but trying to avoid another restless night that would probably be derived from their little discussion. "I told you last night what my qualms were about…paternity. It's not gonna happen."

"I know, baby, but…what makes you think that you'll be just like your fath—"

"Harley!" The Joker snarled. He took a deep breath when he saw that he had startled her and he rubbed one of her feet. "Why do you keep asking me anyway?" He paused as he looked at her suspiciously. "Harley? You are still taking the Pill, right?" She didn't answer. "Harley!"

"Yes!" she replied, choking back tears.

The Joker ran his fingers through his hair. "Don't cry, Harley Baby. You did enough of that last night."

"Gee, I wonder why…" she said, sarcastically.

He huffed and turned away from her, pushing her feet off his lap. "Harley, I'm putting my foot down. I'm ending this discussion, once and for all. We're never talking about it again, okay?"

"But, Pud…"

"The answer is no! I don't want a kid with you and I never will! So stop talking about it already!" He turned on the TV and slammed the remote control hard onto the coffee table.

Harley brought her feet to rest under her bottom as she tried to keep her composure behind her magazine. The Joker could hear her attempt to stifle her tears and he rolled his eyes again at the sound of her tiny sniffles. He shook his head and rubbed his temple. "I want your feet."

Harley sniffed but didn't look at him. "Huh?"

He smirked and turned to her. "Gimme your feet; I wasn't done with them." She hesitated but let him gently grasp her ankles and let him place them back in his lap. He softly caressed the soles of her feet again and grinned when he heard her soft moaning. "Your toe nail polish is chipping."

She giggled. "I know. I need to take it off."

"I'll do it," The Joker said, opening his switchblade.

"Eek! No!" Harley giggled. "Don't!"

"But I wanna help," he insisted, clutching her ankle tightly. She squirmed and whined and he told her, "Shh! Harl…don't you trust me?"

Harley stopped struggling. "Yes…I do…" she forced through gritted teeth. She laughed at how ticklish her big toe was getting as she felt The Joker's blade scraping off the remainder of her polish.

He clicked his teeth and shook his head. "Nope, nope," he muttered. "Not coming off…I'll have to amputate."

"No!!" Harley shrieked and pulled her feet from his lap.

"What?" The Joker asked innocently. "I'll get you another one." He tried to grab her again but she had darted off the sofa and trotted toward the stairs. "Harley!"

She coyly turned and grinned at him as he stepped closer, his knife still drawn. "Gimme that toe." He ran to her and chased her up the stairs as she squealed with laughter.

Harley ran into the bedroom and slammed the door behind her, but gasped when she heard a thud and The Joker swearing, "Ahh! Son of a bitch!"

She went to the door and spoke to him from the other side. "Puddin'? Are you okay?"

"No," he panted. "I…I need a towel or something."


"Well, I…uh…I accidentally…uh, stabbed myself in the leg."

Harley gasped. "Oh, my God! You did?!"

"Oh, yeah," he answered from outside the bedroom. "There's blood everywhere…"

Harley thought for a moment, and then smirked. "You're lying!"

"What?! Why the hell would I lie about something like this?"

"I know you, Mistah J! The moment I open this door, you're gonna grab me and tickle me!"

He growled. "Harley! I'm losing blood here! I'm not in the mood for tickles!"

She hesitated but slowly opened the door and looked into the hallway. He wasn't there, but when she opened the door wider, Harley was startled when she heard him roar, grabbing and tickling her until she was in a fit of squirming giggles on the bedroom floor.

"You said you were bleeding!" she screamed.

The Joker threw his hands up and yelled, "It's a miracle!" He blew raspberries into her neck but stopped when he realized just how much he was enjoying pinning her to the floor and holding her down while she was writhing underneath him. "Ohh…" he cooed. "Did I mention…that I love tickling you?"

Harley laughed and groaned as he began to kiss her neck. "I can tell that you do." She wrapped one of her legs around his hips as he leaned in to kiss her.

"Your laugh turns me on…" he growled.

Harley moaned as she put her arms around him. "Let's get in bed…" she whispered.

He sat up and smiled, "No way." He took off his vest and brought down his suspenders. "I want you…just like…this…"

"Oh, Mistah J…"

The next evening

"Jesus! I'm freezin' my nuts off out here," Sly complained as he blew into his hands to warm them. "Hey, rookie? You got the car figured out or what?"

The new kid banged his head on the hood of the old Cadillac as he rose up to answer him. "Ow! I'm workin' on it. Hold your god damned horses."

Bobby chuckled as he inhaled his cigarette. "Step it up, kid. The Boss hired you and your friend for a reason."

The other rookie, a dark-haired man in his early twenties, snorted as he snuffed out his cigarette under his shoe. "He hired me for my gun and Jackson there for his skill behind the wheel and under the hood."

"Hey, you two," Sly interjected. "Remember, we can't be calling each other our real names. The Boss and his girl don't go by their names, so we shouldn't either."

"Then what are we supposed to go by then, huh, Sly?" Jackson lifted his oil-stained face from under the car hood and looked at the red-haired man that stood beside him.

Sly smirked. "You'll get named. Harley'll take care of that."

"How's it coming, boys?" came The Joker's voice as he and Harley came out of the theatre and walked over to Bobby's side.

Bobby sighed. "No go yet, Boss. The kid here is doing all he can."

"So, what's the problem?" The Joker asked, his dark eyes glaring at the now nervous blonde teenager who was desperately trying to clean his hands with the dirty oil rag.

"Uh, well," he stammered. "It just looks like the engine is frozen, is all. Not surprised, though, seeing as how it's been below twenty lately." He stared back at The Joker, whose countenance hadn't changed, and Jackson began to grow nervous.

Harley, however, tugged on The Joker's arm. "Well, maybe we can pour some warm water over it. Will that help, rook?"

Jackson smiled at the sound of her sweet, reassuring voice and chuckled. "We could, Miss Quinn, but…I don't know…it could take hours…plus, you could risk ruining the engine further."

"Aw, that stinks," she sulked.

The Joker playfully pinched her cheek. "Sorry, Sweetness. I guess we can't get a tree this year if the car can't start."

"But, Pud! It's our night to get a tree! We do it every year!" She sighed. "Can't we just walk instead?"

"Harley, the tree farm is on the outskirts of Gotham. There's no way…" The Joker noticed the down-trodden look on Harley's face. "I'm sorry, baby. There's always next year, right?"

She sighed. "I guess…"

Jackson didn't like how sad Harley looked so he bravely said, "You know…my cousin drives a cab…"

They all were silent as he felt their confused stares on him, but The Joker raised his eyebrow. "Oh, really?"

"Y-yes, sir," Jackson stuttered. "He could take us…free of charge. He does it for me all the time."

"Would he do it for me?" The Joker smirked.

He laughed. "In a heartbeat, Boss."

Harley's smile grew bigger. "That's a great idea. Can we please, Daddy? Pleeease?" She looked up at him and playfully gave him a glimpse of her big baby blues.

"Aw," he cooed. "You guys think I could say no to this face?" He cupped her chin gently as she smiled at his men as they smirked. "However, can't risk it. So, I'm gonna send the new kids."

Jackson and his fellow rookie stared at their Boss with wide eyes. Sly threw a bundle of sturdy ropes at the young driver and chuckled, "Good luck, boys." With that, he and Bobby went into the theatre to warm up as The Joker followed them, leaving Harley to give the men further instructions.

"Okay, thanks, guys," she said with a smile. "We've gotten a tree every year and I was hoping we wouldn't have to break the tradition. I mean, we've done it for four years and…" She stopped when she could see that the other rookie was getting impatient. "Sorry…anyways…try to find a tree that's lush with a deep green. We always put purple garland and bright orange lights on it. It looks so cool. Oh! And it has to be big, but not too big…maybe about as big as…"

"We get it, girly," Jackson's friend interrupted. "A big green tree."

Harley raised her eyebrow in a cautious gesture. Did he really just speak to her like that? She decided to let it slide, seeing as how he was a new recruit. "Fine…I'm glad we're on the same page. Don't take too long; decorating is the best part."

The men turned to walk through the alley to the street, but Harley stopped them saying, "Oh, boys. Mistah J informed you that I get to give you your new names, right?"

They looked at each other and then back at Harley, who was staring at Jackson with a smirk. "I'm going to name you…Townshend."

The teenager chuckled. "Like…Pete Townshend? Why?"

"I don't know. You just seem to have that vibe…must be the nose…"

Townshend smiled and rubbed his nose in slight embarrassment, and Harley laughed. "Hey, I like it. Gives you character. Now…you…" She eyed Townshend's friend. "Were you an outcast in school?"

The kid sneered. "Yeah…I guess."

"Can you sing?"

He creased his brow in confusion. "No…I mean, I don't know…"

"Okay," Harley smiled. "Your name will be Ringo." There was a moment of silence between the three of them and Harley tried to hold back a giggle. "You know…because he can't carry a tune…and nobody likes Ringo. Good luck, boys."

She turned from them and bounced her way inside the theatre. Townshend and Ringo walked toward the street and when they rounded the corner, Townshend suddenly burst out laughing but Ringo wasn't amused in the slightest. "Bitch…shut up, asshole!" He shouted to his supposed friend as they walked to the curb.

"They're on their way, Puddin'," Harley announced as she strode to the sofa, stripping off her coat and throwing it across the coffee table before sitting beside The Joker. He was watching the evening news and he smirked as she cuddled into his side. "The dark haired kid's got an attitude," she told him quietly.

He turned to her with a dark glare. "What did he do?" he asked.

Harley giggled. "Oh, never mind. He'll learn."

"He'd better or he's dead."

"Oh, Pud," Harley cooed as she played with his tie. "He's just a kid."

"I don't care," he replied, turning his attention back to the television. "He's gotta know his place real quick or he'll find himself with a bullet in his brain. I can't tolerate an attitude."

"You've put up with me," she grinned.

He sighed and smirked at her. "True…but I know how to…adjust…that attitude of yours…"

"Is that a fact?" she asked, biting her lip coquettishly.

The Joker raised his eyebrow. "Are you giving me attitude right now, young lady?"

Harley gasped and feigned embarrassment. "Oh! I'm sorry, Daddy." She slowly crawled across his lap and laid over it, her firm bottom resting perfectly underneath his gaze. "Please don't punish me. I'll be a good girl." She looked up at him over her shoulder and smiled.

The Joker couldn't help but smile back at her and looked behind him to find that his men were sitting at the kitchen table watching the television as well. He looked down at her and shook his head. Harley whined. "Come on, Puddin'. You know you want to…"

"Actually…no, I don't," he said, putting his feet on the coffee table. "I'm not going to spank you…consider that your punishment."

Harley huffed. "Fine." She raised herself up, but The Joker placed his hand on the back of her neck and made her lie across his lap again.

"I didn't say get up," he told her.

Harley giggled, but stopped when her eye caught a public interest story on the news. "Aww, Pud. Look," she said. "They're talking about that pregnant hyena at Gotham Zoo."

The Joker turned up the volume as the field reporter unfolded the tale of the expectant hyena that Harley had been following for the past three months.

"Lena, the spotted hyena that is expecting her first litter of puppies, is having a hard time carrying her weight, according to her keeper. The zoo's veterinarian has discovered that she is carrying two pups but he cannot say what the gender of either one is at this point. Right now, they are trying to keep Lena comfortable and that she is due to give birth in the next few days."

"Oh, no," Harley whined. "That poor mommy. I hope she'll be okay."

I'm Karen Robards, Channel…wait! I'm just getting word that Lena is actually giving birth at this very moment. Seems that she's really struggling, Tom, but her keepers are trying their best. We can only hope that the pups will make it safely into this world…"

The camera cut back to the studio as another news anchor tried to listen to Karen Robards give her report. "Well, it looks like we've lost her for a moment. Hopefully, we can get her back with further updates on Lena's condition."

Harley shot up from her place across The Joker's lap. "Poor babies!"

"Come on, Harl," he said, taking out his knife and flicking it open to clean his nails. "It's just a couple of fuzzballs."

"But they might die, Mistah J! That would be horrible."

He chuckled. "If they die, then they die. Circle of life, Harley Baby. Didn't you ever see that movie?" He turned to Harley who was now giving him an annoyed looked. "Don't make me sing it," he joked.

"It isn't funny," she stated, crossing her arms and leaning into the sofa.

The Joker rolled his eyes. "Okay, whatever. I'm going to bed. I'll let you decorate the tree."

"But, Puddin'," Harley whined. "We always decorate it…together…"

He stood up and stretched. "By together, do you mean me sitting at table with my newspapers and you actually doing the work? 'How bout here, Pud?' 'Oh, this looks nice.' 'Help with this.' 'Untangle that.'" His imitation of her excited voice made her giggle and he smiled. "No, really. You do it; surprise me."

"Okay," Harley agreed. "I'll try my best. It's hard to surprise you. Besides, I wanna see what happens with the hyena."

He shook his head. "Yeah, have fun with that."

"I just hope everything turns out okay. Those poor babies…"

He yawned as he climbed the stairs to their bedroom, saying, "Hakuna Matata…"

"What?" Harley asked, giggling.

"I said, good night, dearest," he replied, stopping in front of the bedroom door and blowing her a kiss.

Hours later, The Joker felt himself being shaken awake by a delicate hand. He grunted as he brought his face out of his pillow and squinted in the darkness. "Harley?" he asked groggily. He reached up and turned on his bedside lamp and rubbed his eyes. "I'll put the star on the tree in the morning…"

A loud sniff was all he got in reply and he looked at her and saw that her eyes were red from crying. He groaned as he sat up in bed and looked up at her. "What's the matter?" he asked her, his voice deep and tired. He raised his brow. "Is the tree too small? Does it look too busy? Is there a light bulb out on the string? I'm sure you did a good job, Harl. Now, come to bed."

Harley shook her head and wiped her eyes. The Joker sighed. "You know, I…"

"The mama hyena died…" she whimpered finally.

He looked up at her and gently took her hand. "Aw, I'm sorry, baby, but…that's life. It was too tough on her, huh?"

Harley shut her eyes tight and nodded. "They said that…she was too…sick and…weak and that it was either her or…the babies…they had to put her down."

He sighed. "Well…it was best, you know? At least the pups are okay…right?"

"Yeah, there are two of them…but…now they don't have a mom," Harley told him, a new tear streaming down her cheek.

The Joker licked his lips and scratched his scalp. He was too tired to put her in his lap and comfort her and he really needed to rest. He stood up and put on his robe, then, taking her hand he said, "Show me the tree."

Harley led him downstairs and he smirked when he saw the six foot tall fir tree standing in the far corner of the living area. Harley had strung up their deep purple garland with white icicle ornaments and the bright orange lights blinked on and off, illuminating the purple tree skirt where a couple of presents were already sitting.

The Joker smiled. "It's perfect, Harley Baby," he praised, squeezing her against his side as she wiped her eyes. "Whose presents are those?"

Harley grinned. "Yours, silly."

"I told you not to get me anything," he said, stroking her hair as they stood in front of the tree. "I haven't gotten your gift yet."

"I don't want anything…"

"Okay…have it your way…" he said, smiling.

She giggled and shrugged. "It's just some things I found…thought you'd like them." She looked down at her feet and bit her lip. "Those poor babies…"

He looked at her, wanting to scold her for acting so sad over an animal, but he resisted and instead kissed her cheek. "You know…I think this is your best tree yet."

"No…it looks the same as it always does," she said. "I was watching the news and was too sad to add too many things to it."

"Well…I like it. But, what I would like even more…is if you went to bed." He patted her on the bottom as he led her back to the stairs. "Go on; I'll be right behind you."

Harley made her way to the bedroom door, but turned and looked back at the tree. "You really think it's my best one, Puddin'?"

The Joker smirked. "It wouldn't be Christmas without your magical touch, Harl."

She smiled at him as he winked at her and watched her go inside the bedroom. He then made his way over to the sofa and turned on the television to watch the late night news. He caught the very last comments of a recap of the zoo story: "It's a sad night here at Gotham City Zoo after a young spotted hyena, which was giving birth to her litter of pups just hours ago, died from exhaustion and loss of blood, leaving behind two orphaned male babies. Her keepers stated that her past few weeks of carrying her young had been a painful toll on her, and they had to euthanize her just seconds after she gave birth to the last pup. The babies will be raised for a few weeks away from the rest of the hyenas until they are old enough to mingle with the clan."

A picture of the small pups shot onto the television screen and The Joker caught himself smirking as he looked at the dark brown balls of fur whose eyes were already wide with curiosity and whose stomachs were being eased as they were being bottle-fed.

He then recalled Harley's words: "Those poor babies…they don't have a mom…"

The Joker bit his lip as he turned off the television and looked over at the tree. He thought about the night before when Harley was asking him about children and how he told her that he would never want to do anything so irresponsible as to raise a child in their living situation. He remembered the hurt expression on her face and he sighed. He suddenly spied the brightly wrapped presents underneath the tree and a smile slowly stretched across his face as the image of the orphaned hyena pups flashed through his mind.

He shot up from the sofa and flung open the front door, startling Bobby who was keeping watch with Townshend, who had fallen asleep in his upright position on the upturned bucket he was using as a stool. "Boss?" Bobby asked. "Something wrong?"

"Does the zoo stay open on the holidays?" The Joker asked.

Bobby looked at Townshend, who shrugged saying, "No, sir. I don't think they do. Christmas Eve, maybe they're closed."

"Find out and tell me in the morning," their boss ordered. "I have to pick up Harley's present."