Title: No One Scorns the Wicked (2/2)
Spoilers: Takes place after my stories "Defying Sanity" and "I'm Not That Daughter".
Disclaimers: All characters belong to DC Comics.
Rating: PG (profanity)
Summary: One of Poison Ivy's least-favorite holidays goes from bad to worse when the Joker suddenly wants Harley back. Conclusion of the "Wicked" trilogy.
Ivy was already furious when she had arrived at the Batsignal. Twenty minutes later, when the Batman had still failed to show up, she was positively incandescent with rage.
Rogues such as herself hated any kind of device that kept the Bat and the police close, when really those filthy, grunting pigs should have been trying to lock him up. What helped make up for this was the signal's poor security. Occasionally there were feeble attempts to keep unauthorized visitors from using it, but the fact remained that the signal was in an outdoor rooftop location, and clearly the department never seemed to have money in its budget for protecting a glorified spotlight.
Consequently, virtually every prominent Rogue had set up an ambush at a lit Batsignal at one time or another, or used the device to leave the Bat some kind of message or riddle. Poison Ivy had been no exception.
There was no point to an ambush, however, if the caped jerk never showed up!
Quite pissed off, Ivy tried to fold her arms before remembering that she couldn't. The bricks of C-4 plastic explosives she had strapped to her body were quite bulky, and plus the wires connected to the detonator in her hand got in the way.
She should just set them off now, but damn it, she didn't want people thinking that Poison Ivy had become a pathetic shadow of her past glory, reduced to seeking one final blaze of glory in self-immolation. She had things to say. Granted, Batman wouldn't live to tell anybody, but at least she'd get them off her chest.
She supposed she could remove the barricading from the doors and let the police, maybe even the commissioner, hear her tale of woe. But they were just such useless men.
But she sure as hell didn't want to wait all night.
A motion to her right caught her eye, and Ivy looked quickly. But it was just a rat.
Still, it could have been the Batman. He could be lurking in the shadows right now, waiting to make his move. It was possible.
"It's about time," Ivy said loudly, but without any inflection at all. "I thought about just setting these off without turning on your little night light first, but not even you can stop me from doing this, and I wanted to make sure I caught you in the initial blast."
Batman would respond with something obvious, of course. "Ivy. I take it something's bothering you."
"No shit, Sherlock."
That would drive him nuts. Ivy was quite certain he hated flippancy.
"Let me save you the chore of interrogating me," Ivy went on. "With this much explosives, I can take out this entire building. And if anyone inside survives, well, you know how toxic my blood is. At this altitude? The air below us will become instantly fatal for anyone who breathes it."
"What do you want?" Batman growled.
She laughed bitterly. "You think I'm holding the building hostage? You think you can talk this detonator out of my hand if you offer me something? Think again, Bat! I want to die, and I want to take you and this worthless bunch of limp dicks with me."
This was a good idea. She really ought to practice her last testament.
"I'm famished!" Joker said cheerfully as their car sped through Gotham's streets. "I have a sudden craving for Icelandic cuisine. Because you can't spell 'seven tons' without Sven!"
"Can we have fresh baked kringlors?" Harley asked.
"With honey pecan sauce! If only I'd brought our Lucia wreaths with us."
Harley smiled. Everything about this moment felt incredible. It felt right. She leaned back in her seat and watched the storefronts flew by.
More than once she saw bouquets of roses behind plate-glass windows and fantasized about finding one from Puddin' when they got back to the hideout. It was only after the third time, after seeing a florist's shop that was practically bursting with blossoms, that she thought about how angry Red would be if she could see this. Valentine's Day was part of her "axis of evil" when it came to holidays, and . . .
Time slowed down for Harley as reality checked her so hard, she might as well have seen a Mack truck barreling towards her, not a stupid florist's.
Yeah, Red. You know, Poison Ivy? Your GIRLFRIEND? The one you just dumped without a second glance, you STUPID FUCKING BITCH?!
Harley gasped, sat up straight, and pressed both hands against the glove compartment as tears sprang to her eyes. What had she done?
In an absolute panic, Harley couldn't think of anything besides getting back to Red as soon as possible. The rejection she'd just dealt Ivy was a hundred times worse than the last one, and Ivy had responded to that by not speaking to her for months. This time?
This time people would die, and Harley was terrified that one of them would be Red.
Knowing nothing but that she had to find Red immediately, Harley did the very first thing to come to mind.
So she opened the passenger door and threw herself out of a moving car.
"Exactly what did I do that was so horrible, we both have to die?" Imaginary-Batman asked Ivy.
Ivy's lip curled with disgust. "You're all such do-gooders," she sneered. "Sanctity of life! Law and order! The judicial system! Well, blah blah BLAH. If you want to make an omelet, Batman, then you've got to crack a few skulls."
"I take it there's one skull in particular I should have cracked?"
"The Joker," Ivy replied with a loathing that burned as intensely as it ever had. And believe her, she was a professional when it came to hatred. "You should have killed him years ago. One of those assholes below us should have. Do any of you realize just how much happier we'd all be if you had?"
There was no immediate reaction. Of course he wouldn't admit it.
And then, because he was always such a damned know-it-all . . . "What did he do to Harley?"
Ivy flinched, and she came very close to pushing the button involuntarily. "He . . . he remembered her," she finally told him bleakly. "And she ran right back into his arms again."
"Surely even you've noticed, Batman, that they haven't committed crimes together in quite some time. Didn't you wonder why? Joker no longer remembered having a sidekick named Harley Quinn. Even pictures of her became one enormous blind spot in his brain."
"And I'm sure you took advantage of that."
"Not right away," Ivy growled. All the time they would have had together if she hadn't immediately blown Harley off after that initial rejection. Maybe Harley would have stayed, if only they'd been together long enough.
Ha! Harley would never stay. When would Ivy learn?!
"But the two of you did become close, didn't you?"
Ivy glared in his direction. "I took her to meet my mother."
"And how is the Feminazi these days?" he asked.
"Still waiting for me to break her out."
Which was never going to happen. Even if she didn't blow herself up tonight.
It was only after Harley limped away from an empty greenhouse that she realized the Joker was nowhere to be found. She had leapt out of a speeding car without any warning – not the smartest move, she realized now – and as far as she knew, Mistah J hadn't turned around, stopped, or even slowed down for her.
That was who she left Ivy for, without a second thought. Joker had transferred his case of temporary amnesia to her, and she'd used it to hurt someone much, much worse.
She took you to meet a mother she doesn't even like!
The worst part was, Red had obviously found out about the Joker looking for her at the Iceberg. That was why she wouldn't tell Harley what had her so spooked; Red couldn't trust her enough to stay true.
But she couldn't even get mad at Ivy, because she'd been right not to trust her.
Harley wondered if she'd made Red feel like this every time she went back to the Joker. If that was the case, no wonder Red had shunned her for months. Who wouldn't?
Despondent, Harley had no idea where to look next. There were several possibilities, but all seemed just as likely as another. And there wasn't time. She remembered the look in Red's eyes after Halloween when she thought Harley had rejected her advances a second time. Harley had a dark suspicion that both of them had come close to not leaving the building alive.
How would Red lash out this time?
"I really am a bad girlfriend," Harley whispered. "I'm not even sure how to FIND her."
Not sure what else to do, she raised her eyes and looked up into the sky. God, Allah, Thor, Pee-Wee Herman, whoever you are up there, give me a sign!
A sign like, say, a huge spotlight with a bat in the middle?
That was it! BATMAN could find Red! She just had to get to the spotlight before he left!
She broke into a run, then pulled up lame almost immediately. Oh yeah, that severe ankle sprain she got from the speeding pavement. Looked like both her knees were still bleeding, too. The only reason she wasn't in an ambulance right now was years of learning to deal with pain.
So keep dealing with it!
Harley nodded. She had to find Red.
Wincing, Harley started running again.
"I mean, seriously!" Ivy ranted, her eyes blazing. "It was like I wasn't even there! Do you have any idea what that's like, having some girl betray you for another man right in front of you? What am I saying, of course you don't! Your dick is probably fossilized from your complete lack of any kind of social life!"
"If I don't have a social life, it's because I'm out here every night, dealing with scum like you."
"Well, maybe you could deal with the scum a little more permanently!"
"Do you want me to start with you?"
Sometimes he employed the most maddening logic, like logic could explain away everything!
"And besides, you've never had any compunctions about killing people," Batman continued. "Why haven't you killed the Joker yet, if you hate him so much?"
"I've thought about it," Ivy said darkly. "But Harley wouldn't have properly appreciated it."
"You hate Quinn now. She broke your heart. Why don't you kill him now? Why isn't he the one you're blowing up?"
Because I don't know where they are, and even if I did, there's no telling what tender scene I'll intrude on. Not what I need to see in my final moments, thank you!
That wasn't what she said, though. "You're right, I do hate Harley," she said savagely. "That's precisely why I'm not killing him. Because they deserve each other. If Harley wants the abusive bastard that much, let her have him! She can spend the next twenty years enjoying every rejection, every bruise, every attempt on her life, knowing that she'll never have me to run to ever again!"
"It sounds like you're killing yourself to punish her."
"Maybe I am! Maybe I should have started punishing her a long time ago. Gaia knows, she seems to fucking like it!"
Ivy's eyes widened, and she almost fell backwards. "What are you doing here? Don't tell me Puddin' kicked you out already? That must be a new world record for him!"
"Red, who were you talking to?"
"The . . . " Ivy suddenly realized that at some point, she'd stopped pretending the Batman was there, and crossed over into actually believing it. Well, she wasn't exactly of sound mind after the night she'd had! "My life isn't your concern any longer!"
Instead of speaking, Harley shuffled out of the shadows where Ivy could see her better, and she gasped. "Gaia, what did he do to you?!"
Harley looked down at herself, then again at the explosives on Ivy's chest. "Wheredja get all the C-4, Red?"
"I had it stockpiled. You never know when there'll be an opportunity for a security breach at the refineries. Harley, you didn't answer my question. Why do you look like that?" Ivy asked. She couldn't understand how Harley ended up with bloody knees. "What did he do, bite your kneecaps off?"
"No, um, I kinda jumped out of a moving car."
Ivy gaped at her. "You WHAT?"
"I wasn't thinking clearly, Red."
"There's a fucking newsflash, Harley. You certainly weren't thinking clearly when you abandoned me back at our home!"
Harley cringed. "I know. Red, I'm really – "
"Don't. Say. You're. Sorry," Ivy snarled. "Or I push this button right now."
"What if I said I made a mistake?" Harley asked. "Will that cause an explosion too?"
Ivy didn't respond at first. She was still working with the assumption that she didn't want to hear anything Harley had to say to her. But she was still curious about the "moving car" thing. "Why would you throw yourself out of a car, Harley?"
Harley shrugged. "Seemed like the right thing to do at the time."
"Because . . . the car was going one way, and you were the other way, and the longer I waited, the longer it was gonna take me to get back to you," Harley finally said.
Ivy trembled. Don't you dare, Harley. Don't you tell me you've reconsidered, just so you can tear my heart out tomorrow again.
"I'm in love with you, Red," Harley continued, looking absolutely miserable. "I've been in love with you for months. Loved you for years."
"You've been in love with Joker for longer, Harley, and clearly you haven't stopped."
"But tonight was the first time I was ever with him," Harley replied, "and realized I wanted to be with you more."
Why do you always have to make things harder, Harl?
"So that's it," Ivy finally said. "You've made up your mind. You can have either one of us, and you want me. And you'll never take it back. Right?"
Harley bit her lip and looked down.
"Harley . . . "
"Look, I can't explain it, okay?" Harley burst out. "When I'm around him, shit happens in my head, and I want to be with him. I don't know why."
Ivy caressed the detonator with her thumb. Among the many pathetic excuses Harley had made for Joker over the years, that was perhaps the most pitiful.
"But when I'm not around him, I want to be with you," Harley added. "And that has to be more important, right? The doctors say I'm crazy. Well, my illness wants to be with him, and my heart wants to be with you."
Ivy closed her eyes. A little pressure and this could all be over. "That's just swell, Harley, but you said it yourself. I can't be with you if you'll run off with him every time he's 'around'."
"Then let's just go!" Harley said helplessly. "Let's stick with the original plan! Star City, remember? We can go to Indonesia, or Micronesia, or Polynesia, or Anesthesia – one of those Esias. We can go there, and be alone, and I won't stop loving you for the rest of my life."
It wasn't the most ringing words of love ever spoken. I'll love you forever - as long as your competition isn't nearby.
She reopened her eyes and saw that the waterworks were starting. Oh, look. Page Three from Harley's playbook. "No, Harley," Ivy told her firmly. "I won't be with someone who thinks I'm second-best. It sounds all nice and sweet and romantic when you say your heart belongs to me, but it doesn't. If there are two people in front of you, and you pick one, how the hell is the other person supposed to believe that you love her more?"
"I don't know!" Harley said desperately, crying in earnest now. "Do you think I don't know that you love me more? Do you think I haven't noticed that you've treated me fifty times better in the past four months than Mistah J has in years?"
"You've done a shitty job of proving it since I met you, Harl!"
"Look, the doctors are right, okay? I'm nuts! Crazier than a loon! A banana short of a bunch!" Harley pleaded. "I'm obsessed with the guy! Isn't that what they've said all this time? Isn't that what you say? That I've fixated on him? That it's an addiction? Helloooo, I have a mental illness! I realize you never studied psychology, Red, but crazy people do things that make no fucking sense!"
Ivy didn't know how to respond to that. It was true, there wasn't anything sane about her feelings for Joker. He was Harley's personal obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"And they've been giving me medications for years, but it never changes how I feel about him," Harley went on. "I'm incurable! So I'm begging you, Red – take me away from this place. Save me from my own deeply disturbed judgment. I had a lucid moment in that car, and I knew I wanted to be with you. Please, Red, can't we just go back to where we were in the taxi? When you just wanted to get us to some island out there?"
Before Ivy knew quite what was happening, Harley was right in front of her, shaking her by the arms. "And I really, really, really don't want you to die, Red! Otherwise, you might as well blow me up with you!"
"I'm going to kill us both by accident if you don't stop shaking me, Harl!"
"Oh!" Harley squeaked, letting go.
Ivy sighed. "You really hurt me tonight."
"I'm sorry!" Harley wailed.
Not for the first time – or the fortieth – Ivy marveled that this was the woman she fell in love with.
And, she had to admit, Ivy still felt that way.
I'll probably regret this in the morning.
"Never leave me again," Ivy said.
"Never," Harley promised.
"Okay," Ivy whispered.
Carefully Ivy put the detonator in Harley's hand.
Harley's eyes widened and she looked down. "Thank you, Red," she said. Then she blinked and looked at the device a little harder.
And she pushed the button.
Ivy shrieked for a few seconds before she realized that nothing was going boom.
"See," Harley said, "this is why you need me with you. Because you don't know jack about using plastic explosives. Don't you ever watch me?"
Ivy made a little noise of outrage. "I am more than qualified at setting off explosives!"
"Yeah, yeah, this is why you need a sidekick," Harley replied, tossing the detonator aside.
"Can we make our permanent move to the South Pacific now?"
"We don't even have to fill out our forwarding address."
Ivy removed the explosives and placed them on the roof. She then put Harley's arm around her shoulders so she could support her ex-ex-girlfriend, since Harley was starting look much too pale.
"How did you get up here, anyway?" Ivy suddenly thought to ask. "The police had to have noticed the signal was on by now."
"Called in a bomb scare," Harley explained. "I told them there was a package gift-wrapped in purple and green in one of the evidence lockers."
"Yeah. You-know-who stashed a couple dozen here years ago. The dopes still haven't found them all."
"I knew they were worthless," Ivy muttered.
"Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day," Harley said as they slowly made their way. "I didn't buy you flowers."
"Why, Harley," Ivy replied, kissing her on the cheek, "I think that's the nicest gift you've ever gotten me!"