Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Gotham sewer. It's possible I used to though.
Author's Note: Haven't gotten to answer reviews for a while (started a new job, among other things), but wanna take a moment to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who's been giving feedback! This story was very decidedly inspired by one of Night Monkey's comments for Loyalty. :-P I was surprised to find bits of symbolism alongside the double meanings and such, so kinda curious what you guys think is being implied here. For any newcomers, 'Escape' is one of several oneshots branching off the premise that Dr. Quinzel worked with another theme criminal before Joker. This scene would be after Harleen's gone rogue.
"Do ya think he made it?" She's nervous, still excited, cutting off the circulation to his hand with a smile on her face.
Jonathan glares. Their footsteps echo off brickwork and sluggish water. Well, mostly water. "I don't care. He's probably preoccupied with the Bat."
Harley giggles. "No no no. You're not following me. Do you think J's up top, or…?"
He raises an eyebrow, the expression obscured beneath his mask. Stench has no visible effect on her. "You'll have to be more clear, Harleen."
Releasing him abruptly, she takes a moment to bound ahead—sledge swinging dangerously as the harlequin spins. Dim lighting make her seem like a flapper dizzy on moonshine. "Rumor is there's a nasty crocodile down here."
Folding his arms, Jonathan stops walking. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Ever met a crocodile before, Jonny?" Harley leans forward, propped up on her weapon.
He closes his eyes, considers whether it would be poor taste to poison her now or not. "It was an alligator."
The grin would look sinister even without being enhanced by makeup. "How big was it?"
In the time she takes to consider this, Harley stands upright—hand perched under her chin in subtle self-mockery. Part of him wishes she wouldn't. He watches refuse drift past and wonders by how much the dead fish outnumber human corpses. "You think there's any truth to him?"
"Killer Croc." She's focusing again, blue eyes meeting blue with an intensity he can't follow.
Jonathan wonders if he's missing some double meaning, a joke only for jokers.
"I imagine at least one of us would be able to take care of your sewer monster," he answers simply, "so whether it's real or not is irrelevant."
The bells in her hair tinkle. She wanders back in blood-caked denim and leather with satin somewhere in between. There is a quiet thud as she sets her hammer down, leaning the handle against his leg. Scarecrow allows Harley to feel the edges of his mask, her expression serious, curious. Curiouser. He doesn't blink when she seems to consider removing it. He doesn't sigh when her fingers move to the front instead, exploring where burlap ends and he begins.
"Jonathan," she says quietly, then stops.
"What is it?"
When Harley Quinn smiles again, it's crooked. Her thumb comes to rest above his lips, separated by the filter and some fabric.
"I know I've got nothing to worry about."