There was silence in the car as they drove back to the hideout. Not a single word was uttered from either woman as they stared out into the empty road. Silence. Utter, complete, painful silence that offered no comfort from the harshness of what had happened earlier.
Finally, a small whisper. The pig-tailed blonde spoke up.
"You shouldn't have said that stuff, Red."
"I mean, even if you were angry, you shouldn't have said what you said 'bout me."
The green-skinned woman exhaled slowly and tried to focus on steering the car, tried to ignore her friend's hurt-filled voice.
"What you said…what you said 'bout me bein' totally useless…that was really mean."
Finally, her companion answered. "You knew better than to fool around when there was a plant right there in front of us that needed us to snatch it up. You ruined the whole mission."
The blonde's eyebrows crinkled and her lower lip quivered. The redhead didn't dare try to meet her gaze, lest she be sucked into a whirlpool of sadness in the depths of those baby-blue eyes.
"I didn't ruin it, Red," the blonde said. "I was just trying to add some light to the situation. The mission was lacking in some fun."
"Well, your idea of fun cost us the plant."
"We probably would have got it if the Bat hadn't showed up. We were lucky to get out uncaught."
The green woman known as Poison Ivy sighed and massaged her forehead with one hand, the other still driving.
"You're an idiot, Harley. Bat or no Bat, you would have screwed it up. You always do this whenever we're doing something important. You just drag your feet and screw around like a little kid. Like a fucking little kid."
"I'm not an idiot," Harley said. "And I am not a little kid! You were really nasty back there and now you're being mean to me just because you didn't get your precious weed."
"That WEED is worth more than all of you put together."
A final, stinging blow. A deadly, venomous strike of a cobra's fangs at an already fragile wound. Harley blinked at Ivy and stared, her mouth slightly open in hurt and shock.
"Y…you…" Nothing else came out. The blonde sniffled and turned to face away towards the window.
The redhead opened her mouth and tried to take it back, tried to rewind every second it took in the uttering of those words. But nothing came out. The damage was done. She felt terrible.
You bitch, she thought. You fucking bitch. That was too harsh. You shouldn't have said that. Fuck, fuck, fuck…
Silence again. Two minds overwhelmed in quiet anguish, two hearts sinking in a quicksand of regret.
The car moved on in the darkness, finally pulling up to the hideout. Both women got out of the car and stood as far away from each other as possible as Ivy fumbled with the keys to open the door. When the door opened, they both disappeared into separate sections of the house, not uttering a single word.
Ivy felt horrible. She had overreacted. Sure, Harley had messed them up, but she didn't deserve the onslaught of insults that had been hurled at her.
She doesn't know any better, Ivy thought. As much as she denies it, she really IS a lot like a child. It's that damned clown's fault. He's the one who made her that way. But now…I…damn it, Ivy, you screwed up!
Anger at herself boiled within her heart like a blazing ember. Fury, sadness, and regret-things she never would have thought she'd have felt at the same time in one giant tsunami of emotions. She didn't understand why she was feeling this way, why she had scorned her closest friend so badly, why she felt the agonizing pain and regret surge through her like a poison arrow.
Apologize…I need to apologize. But wait! Why should I? SHE'S the one who ruined it! I'm Gotham's goddess of the Earth, not a fucking babysitter…But Harley…But nothing! Still, I should…no I shouldn't have to…but…I…
Her brain was pounding. She needed air. She opened a window and breathed in the comforting aroma of the outside world.
I'll apologize, she decided finally. That's what I'll do.
She made her way down the hall and entered their room. Harley was curled up on the bed, cradling a Joker doll tightly to her chest. The very sight of the doll was enough to make Ivy want to wretch as she knew what thoughts were lurking within Harley's head. She had to act now before the action was carried.
"Harl," she began, her voice shaky and slightly awkward. "Harley I-"
Before Ivy had time to say anything, Harley had fallen to her knees on the floor and was clutching onto Ivy's legs like a drowning woman.
She's trying to apologize to me…to ME! She…
"I didn't mean to botch things up, Red! I didn't mean it. I didn't mean…"
Sobs. Childish, mournful sobs. A little girl clinging and crying, begging for forgiveness for something that shouldn't have happened.
It was too much. Too much for Ivy. Her normally firm, strong heart weakened into a pathetic lump of wretched mush. She sank to the ground and gathered the crying girl up in her arms, her eyes wet and streaming.
"Red? Why are you crying? You didn't do anything wrong." Harley's eyes were now dry and confused as she allowed herself to be embraced by her friend.
"I'm sorry," Ivy said into Harley's hair. "I didn't mean to be so nasty to you. Harl, I didn't mean it. I didn't mean a single damn bit of it."
I don't want to hurt you, Ivy thought. The clown does that to you enough. I don't know why I'm so harsh to you…I once thought that I was no longer human, nothing less than an almighty mistress of plants…but Harley…you're different. You're not like all the other meatbags of the world…I don't know why…but with you…I…I…
And it came to her in a jolt, a sudden burst of recognition shining into her brain. She understood why she had acted the way she had, why she had lashed out so fiercely, yet had broken down so pathetically. She finally understood what had been hidden within her this whole time.
"Red," Harley whispered softly. "Can you kind of let go now? You're crushing me."
Ivy released her and stared into her face. "Sorry."
"Let's just forget about it, Red. Pretend the fight didn't happen. I super-mega-ultra promise that I'll get ya that plant. We'll go on another mission for it and I promise not to fool around a single bit."
"I mean it, not at all."
"Because I don't think I like seein' you cry like that, Red. I'll try to listen more from now on."
Ivy didn't say anything. Harley gave her a smile and a pat on the shoulder.
"I'm gonna turn in for tonight, Red. I'll make sure to be up first thing tomorrow so's we can plan out mission number 2."
So Harley went to bed, happy to see that her friend no longer seemed mad at her, glad to know that all was well now between them despite Ivy's odd actions.
Ivy didn't go to sleep right away. She waited in the darkness as her friend drifted off into dreamland and watched the shadows drifting along the walls. Finally, when she judged Harley to be deeply asleep, she leaned over her and studied her face.
Her friend, her foolish, childish, hopeless friend. A friend who was willing to apologize when it wasn't completely her fault. A friend who sparked something within her that she hadn't felt in a long time. A friend who had caused this frustrating event that had made her realize something that she had never realized before.
Ivy reached out a hand and stroked Harley's peach-pink cheek.
"I love you."
And the words faded into the night, warming the air as the two women slept peacefully side-by-side in the murky gloom.