Sugar Rush

Author's Note: Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "In Too Deep" in more than 500 words; first posted there on 9 December 2009.


Ivy awoke with a start and sat bolt upright, only to find herself in the dimly lit but familiar surroundings of the abandoned university botanical sciences building she had taken over as a greenhouse, lab and general-purpose hideout.

Nothing odd about that; so why did she feel strangely disorientated? Admittedly she didn't usually sleep slumped over at her desk, but hopefully in a moment or two she would remember why she was there and what she'd been doing that had left her head so fuzzy…

It suddenly came back to her like the sick whump of a felled tree. Ivy swept sleep-mussed hair out of her eyes and rubbed at the brand new crick in her neck with a groan. That was the last time she agreed to meet Harley for a "girly get-together" at a location she hadn't thoroughly vetted beforehand. The bubblehead's idea of a pleasant but innocuous venue for two incognito rogues to meet for a quiet chat turned out to be an ice cream sundae bar. At a strip mall. Where they hosted make-your-own-sundae birthday parties. One of which was just starting when they arrived.

The place was swarming with sticky-fingered, sugar-high children, one of whom dripped chocolate sauce on the brand new palm-leaf shoes she'd only figured out how to grow kitten heels onto successfully the week before. All the fruit they served seemed to come with several scoops of ice cream and strawberry sauce, and the snotty kid behind the counter had refused to give her any hot water for the organic acai berry teabag she'd brought with her.

Ivy had sat and – if she was being honest – sulked while Harley twittered on about the latest Arkham gossip, and who was seen doing what to who and with how many sharp instruments at the Iceberg on Saturday night. Plus Mistah J this and Puddin' that every few minutes. Unfortunately the get-together had coincided with the pasty creep of a clown worming his way out of Arkham the week before, which meant that Harley was in one of her more cloyingly honeymoonish phases of Joker-adoration.

All-in-all it had been a wash-out of an afternoon, and five minutes in Ivy was already mentally working through a list of alterations she needed to make to some experimental pollen before she could begin the next phase of her project.

Then somehow, against her better judgement, Harley had coerced her into sharing a "Godzilla Sundae". She hadn't noticed it being ordered, but when it arrived the mammoth dessert seemed to consist of several chocolate brownies submerged under a dozen scoops of ice cream, swimming in hot fudge sauce and liberally sprinkled with nuts. A single, solitary maraschino cherry was perched at the apex of this monstrosity, mocking her with its candy-red artificialness.

It was the last thing she would ever voluntarily choose to consume.

Yet somehow, as Harley had dived into the congealed mountain of ice cream with a series of ecstatic noises, she'd been swayed into "just having a very small taste". Which had turned into second and then third tastes.

After a few spoonfuls she'd seemed to have forgotten why she was sulking, and had starting giggling at Harley's implausible stories about Oswald having a secret crush on Harvey, offering up her own opinion on who the old bird might have a thing for.

Within an hour they'd finished the lot.

Incredulously Ivy recalled reaching deep into the bottom of the sundae glass with a ridiculously long spoon to scrape up the last few (precious) crumbs of brownie and smears of chocolate sauce. Harley, licking her own spoon with a sigh of satisfaction, had pronounced that they should definitely start robbing ice cream parlours. She seemed to remember agreeing that this was a very sensible idea and why didn't they make a date for it next Sunday evening?

Ivy rested her pounding head gently back down against the desk. Damn Harley and her predilection for refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Just a spoonful of the painfully sweet hot fudge sauce would have probably been enough to unsettle her carefully balanced biological equilibrium, inducing artificial feelings of euphoria and light-headedness, affecting her judgement and coordination. And now producing a horrible hangover-like comedown.

Deciding to forget yesterday and focus on now, Ivy concentrated on breathing as made her plan. In a little while she would try standing fully upright. If she successfully made it that far, then she would slowly and carefully get some of the plants in the greenhouse to produce a detoxifying steeped tea, which she would drink. And then she would crawl into bed and stay there for the next week.

But there was one thing she was sure of through the fuzzy haze that engulfed her brain; the next time Harley wanted to stay for a few days after the Joker tried to kill her with a fairground rocketship, or pushed her off the end of Gotham pier when the tide was out, she was getting nothing but beet juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Author's Note: Random cracktastic Ivy + ice cream sundaes = massive sugar rush and resulting sugar hangover? I have no idea what prompted this.