Author's note: I absolutely never write in first person. …But I did. Just now. Er, Mad Love based idea, before the Joker comes back all beat up and she snaps.
"No one's recording this," he said. "Right?"
"So whatever I tell you is my business," he said.
I nodded. My notebook was balanced on my knees, pencil in hand, but I was too enthralled to possibly write anything down. Like a good college lecture. It goes too fast.
"What I tell you is for our ears alone," he said. He looked side to side, at the disabled security cameras. I'd never been told why the cameras weren't working in the room; I just knew, well, Mister J has friends and they help him out sometimes when he wants to do something important. Like now. Like talking to me.
My heart was tight and pounding fast.
"Can I trust you, Harley?" he asked peremptorily, gesturing, directly demanding my response.
I nodded, eyes wide. "Of course you can – I promise."
He lay back on the sofa, knowing I was rapt. He enjoyed it – why not? I let him. He deserves some attention every now and then. All anybody ever does is ignore him and let Batman beat him up.
"I want you to know this is something I have never told anybody," he said. He momentarily glowered at me. "And if you squeal, I swear I'll –" He tightened his fist as if around my throat.
"I won't! I won't! I promise!" I raised both hands dropping my pencil, and the notebook fell off my lap onto the floor. I left it there. I picked my pencil back up and tucked it behind my ear. "Honest. Cross my heart." I crossed my heart and gave him the biggest smile I could.
"I know I'm crazy," he said. "Not just because everyone tells me so – though they do that often enough. I feel crazy." He gave me an earnest look. "Sometimes I feel so out of control! I can't sleep for days. But medication doesn't help!" He sat up, slapping his hands on his knees. "Medication can't cure me, Harley! They don't even know what's wrong with me!" He let out a little, expressive laugh. "I'd try except half the time I can't remember to look!" He laughed again. "No, I can't be helped – and I won't spend my life here. I have too much to do! I have too many people to help."
He already told me he meant 'opening their eyes,' so I didn't ask him again, even though I knew he was a little screwed up on that part. Trying to get people to go crazy isn't going to prove it's a crazy world any more than trying to cure people proves it isn't. But what am I to do? I can't correct him on that part. He'll think I'm not listening. And he hates that. Everybody has a problem listening. Well, I don't! I'm a professional, and I'm gonna stick by Mister J no matter what.
"Are ya…are you going to escape again?" I asked. That idea filled me with dread. He was going to get hurt. He always did.
He shrugged. "What else can I do, Harley-girl?"
"You could stay…with me…"
That set off a round of his riotous laughter. He slammed his fist down on the arm of the sofa. "They'd look for me there first of all!" He gestured. "No; you're sweet, but you have no head for this, Harleykins. Leave the thinking to me." He tapped his forehead. "I'll think of something, never you fear. And this time, the Batman will be in for a surprise."
I squirmed. "I…I don't want you to get hurt."
He waved a hand dismissively. "Bah! Tis just a flesh wound." He held up his hand solemnly. "No, don't you worry about me. I'll get better. I always have. And it's a small price to pay for my freedom." He tapped his forehead again, leaning forward. "Mark my words: One day, I won't have to run away. And when that day comes, I'm going to settle down and start a family and have a normal life."
Such dreams! I wanted to hug him then and there. "What a brave man you are."
He grinned – well, more so than his usual. He can't help that. Another thing Batman did I'll never forgive him for. "That's me," he said, flexing his arms. "I'll beat that Bat six ways to Sunday. That's my guarantee."
Oh, I wished I could believe him. But I can't. And the thought of my poor pooh wandering the streets waiting to get beaten up gets me so nervous.
"Take me with you," I said.
He lifted his eyebrows in surprise. "Harley, what are you saying? You're a doctor. You're wanted here."
"I cancelled all my other patients," I said. "I don't need to be here!"
He frowned, scoping me. "My dear. You're throwing away your career."
"I don't care!" I jumped up from my chair. "You're my career! I love you!"
He stood up, all towering six feet six inches of him, and patted me on the head. "Think like Daddy for a moment," he said. "If you're not here, where will I be when I come back, needing some help? You're my only cure, Harley." He gripped my arms. "Where would I be without you?"
I looked into his face, and then down at the floor. "Oh, Mister J…What's gonna happen when you get away? They're going to think I had something to do with it." That wasn't what was on my mind.
He took my chin and made me look up at him again. "I'm going to make sure there's no suspicion whatsoever cast on you and your sterling reputation. I'll leave no hint whatsoever. You can count on me."
"Will you come back for me?" I asked. "When you have your white picket fence, and your yard, and your two dogs, and a cat?"
He laughed at me. "I don't think I'll have to."
"Why not?" I asked.
He opened his arms wide. "You'll already be there."
I hugged him.
He flinched and stood there with his arms sticking out. No one ever gave him a hug before. I don't know if he likes it.
"You're my favoritest person in the whole world!" I said.
He made a face and groaned. Then he put a hand on my head and pushed me away. But not hard.
I backed away.
He adjusted his prison jumper. "You're wrinkling the suit, Harls."
"Sorry." I was crestfallen, but it didn't hurt my feelings. Actually, for him, it was a really normal expression of discomfort. He has his normal moments. He's like any guy. He's normal some of the time.
He smiled again. "All is forgotten."
That's my Mister J. He is so forgiving. Especially for a man that experienced so much betrayal. I'll really never know why he's so much of an angel.