(DISCLAIMER-Lyrics used for this chapter to not belong to me. I don't own them.)
With each passing day, Harley felt herself getting stronger and stronger
Sometimes, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham visited her. They never really said much to each other but she couldn't say that she didn't somewhat enjoy his company. She didn't really see him as an enemy anymore—just this sympathetic doctor that she had known once upon a time that came to see her.
It seemed that she was changing more and more as time passed. Her hair was beginning to turn brown again and she felt much calmer. Even though her thoughts were still dark and regretful, she could feel them beginning to cloud as Mr. J's face got hazier and hazier.
Perhaps it was the medication she was taking? Maybe. But it didn't matter. She didn't want to think about him.
She found herself thinking a lot more clearly. Things around her were beginning to become more coherent. Her nightmares were beginning to settle down and her legs were healing up pretty fast. Even her arm, which was healing a bit slower, was starting to feel better. Eventually, she could move around without a wheelchair or crutches, limping slightly but recovering her ability to walk. Dr. Arkham told her that her legs would be fine in a month or so.
So Harleen Quinzel was returning little by little, slowing down her thoughts and bringing that shy, timid smile back with her. She didn't smile that much though; it hurt to smile. She supposed it was because what had happened to her but she tried her hardest every day to put one on her face.
At one point, she had taken the time to examine herself in the mirror and to her amazement, she looked completely different. Her eyes had lost that dangerous look to them and appeared rounder and softer. Her bruises were fading and her features had become gentler.
So this is what life without the Joker feels like…
And a sad smile stretched on her face.
She lay on her cot one night and stared up at the ceiling, listening to the sound of her own breathing. It could get pretty lonely at night in Arkham Asylum. There was really only the sound of the other patients muttering in their sleep to keep her company.
Still, perhaps there's something peaceful about it…something quiet and calm.
It was like a lullaby, a soft, almost eerie sort of tranquility that allowed her to relax.
In the darkness, she closed her eyes and saw faces in her head, swirling before her; her mother's familiar stony-faced glare, Cutter's empathetic gentleness, Poke's mischievous grin, the cousins' concern and supportiveness.
And Mr. J…?
His face was fading away in her mind like the morning fog.
Frowning slightly, she rolled over and curled up into a tight ball. She felt cold. Even with a blanket tightly draped around her, she felt cold. Was that natural?
It's my imagination. That's all.
Shutting her eyes again, she tried to sink into slumber. She needed some sleep if she was going to have a morning session tomorrow.
I need to be as rested as possible. It'll help me recover faster. I can't convince them to let me back into society all tired and cranky. That wouldn't do.
Slowly, she felt herself beginning to fade away from consciousness, returning back into her warm, safe dreamland where there was nothing to regret. The nightmares couldn't touch her there. Just quietness and peace and—
There was a loud bang and the lights flickered. Harley instantly sat up on her cot and gasped, feeling the walls shake. The sound of gunfire filled the air and her eyes widened. Shifting uncomfortably with her healing legs, she huddled in her cot and cowered as she listened to the sound of struggling guards being wounded in the background.
What on earth is going on?
The sound of heavy footsteps, running down the cell-block, coming closely towards her cell and pausing. Afraid, she shut her eyes and cowered.
"This one," said a muffled voice from behind the glass. "She's here."
Instantly, there was another loud bang and the glass shattered into millions of pieces as what appeared to be a bazooka was fired into it. Harley shrieked and fell onto the ground, coughing from the smoke and still not opening her eyes.
Then a single set of feet walked slowly over towards where she lay. She trembled and covered her face with her good arm, not wanting to see.
"Hey, kid," a familiar voice purred softly. "It's been a while."
Her eyes shot open instantly. Mr. J stood before her, grinning and giggling low under his breath. His face was streaked with his usual war-paint and his hair was a mass of messy green tangles. Behind him, Cutter and the others blinked at her, staring into her confused face.
"Looks like you've learned your lesson. Poor Harley had to stay in this dump for so long. A pity. But I'm here to take you back home, Harl. Daddy's missed you."
He put a hand on her shoulder and she recoiled from his touch, backing up into the wall. "Stay away from me!"
"Why would I do that?"
She gritted her teeth and backed farther away, not wanting to meet his stare. "You tried to kill me. Everything you ever told me was a lie and I'm not your follower anymore."
"Is that so? That's how it is? Don't tell me you're seriously going back to being the boring blind-woman you once were." He grabbed her face and held it firmly, staring into her eyes. "You're mine."
"No," she whimpered. "You're wrong. I've changed and I'm not like you."
He tilted back his head and screamed laughter, cackling in her face as she moaned in discomfort. "Harley, are you really still mad? Did you think that I'd abandon you like that? Don't be stupid."
Slowly, he rubbed off a bit of his white war-paint and gently smeared it on her cheek. "You know that you belong to me, my pet. You always will."
Her eyes widened and she tried to curl up into a tiny ball, trying to keep her thoughts and emotions stable. His breath was hot in her ear, purring into it seductively.
"What happened is in the past. All there is to know is that you are my Harley Quinn. Mine and no one else's." His mouth was dangerously close to hers.
"But…but I…" Their lips, so close. Harleen Quinzel was beginning to fade again.
"Come back with me, Harl. Come back with me, my pet."
Closing her eyes, their lips met and she felt the familiar warmth rush back into her heart. She still loved him and always would until the end of time itself. Already, him pushing her out a window had become nothing more than a hazy memory, a fading wisp of a nightmare that was vanishing from her mind completely.
When their lips parted, it was gone and she was Harley Quinn again—in love and willing to do whatever he asked of her now and forever.
"Puddin'," she said breathlessly as she timidly nuzzled up to him. "I'm sorry…"
He grinned and petted her head. "We need to get going, kiddo. There are still more guards to take care of before we blow this taco stand. Shall we get going?" Licking his lips, he extended an arm to get her to her feet. Smiling, she took it and he led her out of the cell that had contained her for so many months.
Harley would barely recollect the pandemonium that followed. The only thing she knew was that she had made her choice. There was no going back now and there never would be. She was his once again.
A through the gunfire and chaos and cries of pain, Harley Quinn clung to her man and laughed.
If you could only see the beast you've made of me
I held it in but now it seems you've set it running free
The saints can't help me now, the ropes have been unbound
I hunt for you with bloodied feet across the hallow'ed ground
-Lyrics by Florence and the Machine
A/N- So concludes story number two for the Until We Bleed Series. I hoped you all enjoyed it.
For those of you wondering, this story is indeed heavily influenced by the glorious Mad Love comic that was written by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. If you've never read it, I strongly recommend it because it truly is the epitome of a good Harley story.
I'd like to thank all my reviewers who took the time to critique or comment on my work. You all are the best and I hope you keep reading because I really enjoy your messages.
And the story doesn't stop here, people. COMING SOON- 7 KETTLES, the third installment of the series and the introduction of the relationship between Harley and Ivy. I've been really looking forward to writing it since I first started the series so I sincerely hope y'all will stick around.