When did his voice get so low? It's usually higher, more... crazy. Never so seductive. Never so reassuring. I don't want this, I don't want his hands wrapped around my wrists, I don't want to let him pull me up and I don't like the way my lips are begging for control one bit. I know what they want. They want to occupy that cocky grin, and then they want to close over any loose skin on his neck they can find, and then they want to leave a loosely zigzagged trail down his torso... I especially don't want to think about what my lips want. That's just demeaning. What kind of whore does it make me to want to do that for a man?

And then there's his voice, gentle and quite possibly even scarier than his normal tone, floating down from above, because it seems like I have dived inside of myself so deeply that all I can hear are the echoes. "It's okay, Harl. No one has to know."

The familliar nickname rips me up - no, that's a lie. That's a total lie. I could stay down if I wanted to. The truth is, I surface immediately, because I do not want to miss this at all. I have already been lost for too long - both of my wrists are above my head, encircled together in one of his huge, rough hands, and less than a beat after I gasp at the surprise of entering the room to witness this scene, his lips meet mine, giving them what they are crying out for.

Apparently, not all of me has surfaced just yet. My common sense kicks in eventually, and one of my arms joins the good fight, wrenching out of his grasp and applying enough pressure to his chest that he releases the other wrist and staggers backwards.
"I can't do this. There are rules." Oh, God, Harleen, stupid fucking move, admitting that protocol is the only thing that keeps you from dropping to the ground and spreading your legs for him like he paid you.

He's angry now.

"Rules, Harleen? Is that true? Or is it more along the lines of you opened your eyes and didn't like what you were looking at?" He laughs, and it's the most mean-spirited laughter I've ever heard from him, which is quite a contest. "You realized that the man who makes you laugh while your face is buried in your clipboard is also the man who looks and forever will look like this, Dr. Quinzel, and I can't say I blame you."

My inner psychologist is whirring. It's a miracle that I don't start jumping up and down about our breakthrough - he's never directly confessed his insecurities to me.

But my inner girl in love wins out, and I close the distance between us, and he grudgingly lets me put my arms around his neck and kiss him again - lovingly, even needily, but with finality. This can't happen again.

"Joker," I purr slowly, choosing my words carefully, "I love how you look." He is still glaring, and he licks his lips. "Do you want to see why my face is buried in my clipboard?"

After a long moment, my arms around his neck, his eyes narrowed and angry, he reaches up to move my arms away. I scramble to my desk, grabbing the legal pad I keep attached to my clipboard, and flipping it to the first day I started talking to him.

I watch him flip through - doodles of him, doodles of me and him... scribbled song lyrics... a painstakingly done drawing of me in a jester's hat that took me at least six sessions to finish. Here and there, notes on his story, reminders to myself to check with the people in charge of his medicine. And today, a drawing of two pairs of legs - one pair bare and shapely, in kitten heels, wrapped around a pair in suit pants. I'd been starting on the arms, gripping each other desperately, when he'd approached me.

He shoots me a look that even I can't decipher and sets down the legal pad.

"Why do you care about the rules, Harl? Why do you care so much about this job, these people? They don't care about you. The city of Gotham loves to chew up psychologists and then spit them right back into Arkham, in a different uniform and on the other side of these bars. Even more than it likes to fuck with all its other citizens. Look at the Scarecrow. Gotham City, this hellhole, it all works the same. They take what's good, and then they beat it down. This job doesn't give a shit about you. If you really wanted to help people, you'd get out of this doomed city and go somewhere that won't turn you into someone... else."

He's laughing, and I can see why. He's sufficiently distracted me, and I'm pinned to a wall, with his body pressed against mine.
I can go two ways here. I can stammer about the rules some more, insist that our time is up and I have to leave, or I can flirt, show him that I can keep up.

"Maybe I want to be someone else. Maybe I'm not all that disheartened with what this city's produced so far."

He laughs again. "Disheartened! Do they teach you words like that in Loony Bin school, Harl?"

"It's Dr. Quinzel."

And then we're kissing again, and then he pulls away just when I'm about to attach myself to him.

"I think that's all the time we have for today, Harl," he coos, in a pretty good imitation of my accent - he seems to be just joking (of course, when is he not?) and I giggle and blush. He walks me to the door. "We can both get out, Dr. Quinzel," I hear him whisper, as I leave, mindfucked, and the guard locks the door behind me.