Author's Note: This is my first fic in ages, I know, not to mention my very first Batman fic. A friend and I have a lot of fun improv-ing these two via text message and I thought it was about time that I did something awesome with one of them. This was one of our first and still one of my favorites. With this story, I gain the writer strength to tackle something a bit bigger. Expect that hopefully soon. Until then, everyone sit back and enjoy! Constructive criticism welcome.
Boss, this one's for you C:
"Everyone else sees the Joker laugh; only Harley has ever seen him cry."
-- Arleen Sorkin, Voice of Harley Quinn
by Faith Kelter
Based on an improvisation with Jason Marnocha
Don't bother askin' me to explain how it happened. I don't even remember what I was thinkin'. But there I was, sittin' in his…well, it wasn't an office, really, not yer typical idea of one. With all the movin' and findin' new places to hide out from Batsy, Mistah J would set up shop in one room or another, and say it was his personal space. Every now and then, usually when he was feelin' generous, he'd let me in to sit on the table/desk/whatever. This time, it was a desk, and there I was, sittin' cross-legged, pretty, and feelin' playful.
"Boss?" I said in a sing-song voice, barely gettin' a sign that he heard me. That was ok, genius brains like his needed to focus to think up their best, so I didn't mind. Now that I think 'bout it – ow! – maybe I shoulda stopped there. But I didn't.
"I think I can bug ya in one sentence!"
It mighta been the chance at a game – Mistah J really loves our games! 'Cause that caught his attention, and he looked up.
"Yep indeedy-do!" I smirked, challengin'.
I smiled big, knowin' this was one that I could win, easy-peasy as pie! "I prefer men in tights and a cowl."
There was a pause, and fer one split second, I thought 'bout takin' it back. But he did worse than screamin', worse than smackin'…he shrugged!
"To each their own," he said.
My mouth dropped. He was supposed ta go all jealous and mad at me! It would hurt, but only in the bestest way! Least I'd know he cared 'bout what I said!
"B-b-but…I'm talkin' 'bout the Bat!"
"Yep," he acknowledged. "And I happen to know you aren't that crazy."
Ok, now that hurt!
I frowned. "Didn't ya just insult yerself? Y'know, considerin' I learned all my crazy from you?"
Mistah J turned back to his work. "I meant you aren't crazy enough to admit it to me."
Oooh no, he wasn't gonna win at my game! One of his own, yeah, but not mine! I crossed my arms. "And…what if I was?"
He looked up again, grinning this time. "Well, then…"
"Well, then…I am!"
Shut up, Harl…
"Is that…right?" he asked, the grin spreading wider.
"Pssht! Hyeah! It is!"
Shut up, Harl…!
"Then by all means," he said, calm…and scary, "there's the door."
I looked at it. "Yep, it's there."
Mistah J chuckled menacingly. "It won't stay unlocked forever. May wanna scoot."
"I'll…use it when I wanna."
…Quinn…you dumb, crazy bitch…
To anybody who didn't know my puddin', his laugh then woulda sounded amused. But when the boss sounds like that…ya never know what was gonna happen.
"Hmm, fancy that," he said, grabbin' a bottle from a side table and smashin' the bottom off, officially endin' any game. As he closed in, he licked the red wine from the broken glass, fumin'. Crap, now I done it!
I jumped off the desk and moved back, cowerin' away from him finally. Did I really miss this b'fore?! Maybe a trip back to the Funny Farm wouldn't be so bad if I could walk in the mornin'!
The last thing I saw was the bottle bein' pointed – aimed – at me and those famous five reasons to be scared of 'im ballin' into a fist. I ducked fer cover, tellin' myself it'd be over soon.
…huh, that was quick.
I opened my eyes to see Bud turnin' his leg into a pork chop. Mistah J turned to him, raisin' the bottle at my precious! "You miserable…!"
"Puddin' no!!" I screamed, jumpin' at Bud to block 'im as any good mommy should.
And then…it happened, somethin' I'd never thought was possible. Mistah J's mouth fell open, the rage completely gone. His hand dropped to his side, and the bottle fell with a smash! He fell back into the wall and slid down until he sat, his face shocked. But…in his right eye…was that…a tear?
Tryin' to make sure the boss didn't see, I scratched Bud's ear gently b'fore sendin' him runnin'. Mistah J could change moods faster than a mood ring, and this was nothin' I ever saw! Best not to let the Babies too close yet. That risk was my job, comes with the henchwench territory.
I walked to 'im slowly, carefully. But the closer I got, the more surprised I was. This wasn't the Mistah J I knew lately. This was the man I helped in Arkham, the beaten child lookin' for someone to love 'im…me, that was supposed to be me! I sat next to 'im immediately, watching as he let out a sob. His mouth was still dropped, his hand to his forehead, and mouthing words I couldn't hear, the waterworks now fully turned on.
Puttin' it plain, I was stunned.
"M-Mistah J?" I said softly.
He leaned his head in my shoulder, and spoke in a soft voice I didn't hear much, maybe a few times durin' an old session. "Don't…don't go…don't leave me here alone…"
I hesitantly held him, more scared now than when he was angry. "I…I'm right here."
More tears, unexplainable scary tears, as he put his arm around me. Bud and Lou whimpered, comin' towards us, but I made them stay where they were. This was too much fer us all right now.
"You…you ok, boss?" I said slowly, watchin' my words. That's what started this in the beginnin', and I didn't wanna ruin anymore. "You want somethin'? Anythin'?"
"Just…for it to be okay…"
I swallowed, liftin' his beautiful head and strokin' his cheek, the tears dryin' under my touch. It was all romantical, it really was. "Why…wouldn't it be?"
The shock, the shock from nearly hurtin' the kids? Maybe. Was that it? Mistah J always gave me a good beatin', but only when I deserved it or when he needed ventin' time – usually after a loss to Bat-Brain. That was ok! Anythin' to let out all the nasty feelings that blocked his brilliance! But he never went after the Babies, never raised a hand to 'em. The shock coulda been too much, even fer 'im!
But the reason didn't matter. My puddin' needed me! And I wouldn't leave 'im now!
"Sh-sh-sh, I'm here, sweetums," I cooed with his favorite smile. "Yer Doc Harley's right here."
Relief in his eyes, he managed a small smile – such a strong, strong man, my puddin' pop was! Even in his hurtin', he still had a smile! I leaned into his hand as he ran it through my loose hair, fully elated.
"It's gonna be ok," I told him. "Yer the bestest, Mistah J. My bestest. Ya know that, don'tcha?"
"No…you are, Harley," he said, sealin' it with a kiss.
I held on for a while, this bein' such a rare occasion, before pulling away. Returnin' the affections, I kissed his cheek, nuzzlin' it soft-like as he held me close. I cuddled close, playin' with a button on his suit and just enjoyin' every moment I had.
"I wouldn't be nothin' without ya, just some borin' whitecoat at Arkham. You…ya made me somethin' special." Not gettin' an answer, I looked up, frownin' childishly, playful and fun again, as if by example. "Now, no more poutin'! Ya don't wanna make yer Harleykins cry too, do ya?"
"Smile fer me then!" I begged with a grin. "Only yer best!" When he did so – his gorgeous red lips turned up wide and a little glimmer from his dark eyes – I almost fell over with glee. But now I had to be strong like him, for him. "That's it!" I giggled. "That's my puddin' pop!"
Mistah J stood then, helpin' me up too but he winced, limpin' to a chair. "Bud's got some chompers!" he said, sittin' as said hyena rested his head in his Daddy's lap, as if apologizin', the poor baby! But Mistah J scratched his ears, perkin' him up some.
I came over, Lou followin' close, and checked the bite. It wasn't pretty at all! "Ugh, you'll be feelin' that fer a while!" I said, gettin' stuff to fix it up.
"At least I know they'd munch on a Bat even harder!" he said, looking at it gingerly. "Heh, and harder would be considerable!"
Tryin' to be hench and mother to all my favorite boys, I held Bud by the cheeks, like a mama would pinch a child's. "He's jus' protectin' his mommy, weren't ya, baby doll? Yeshyouwere!" I cooed, kissin' his nose. In no time at all, he was back to normal, pantin' and pawin' happily. One down, one more to go!
"Think you can make it to someplace more comfy, boss?"
He grinned, and that's all the proof I needed. "Lead the way, toots."
I went to his injured side while commandin' the Babies to even things out on the other side. He needed all the balance he was able to get! "C'mon, shnookums, ya know I make a great nurse," I grinned, getting' the reward of a chuckle and smooch combo. Only the bestest from the bestest!
Took some effort but we got 'im to a bed to rest easy on. Without thinkin' twice, I scooted the Babies away, tossin' 'em a bone. One of those things could keep 'em busy fer hours, or, long enough fer me to fix the bite then.
"I'll be gentle, boss," I promised, but I couldn't help cringin' while I did. "Wowzers, Mistah J, how didja stay standin'?"
"Wasn't easy," he winced.
I kept goin' very carefully. The boss didn't like weakness, 'specially not showin' it, but there was no doubtin' what he felt. He grunted once or twice, but smiled when I looked up. What a lovin' fella I had, smilin' through his pain and sufferin' just to stop my worryin'! To show appreciation when it was all stitched up, I leaned in and kissed it gently. "All betta!"
His lips pointed up in that swooniful grin, and he leaned in close. "Mm, you're telling me," he said with another kiss.
If it was possible, I loved 'im more now than b'fore. Not just fer the smiles, or the kisses…but fer the tears. 'Cause I'm sure that while everybody's seen my sweetums laugh…I'm the only one who saw him cry. He trusted me, his lil' Harley Quinn, with a precious thing! He loved me that much to let that happen! Later, he denied it all, and I got a backhand, smack across the kisser fer bringin' it up. But I understood…and I didn't care. Deep down, I had all I needed to know: my puddin' loved me. Really.