Title: Life Don't Have to be No Bed of Roses (1/??)
Author: Allaine
Email: eac2nd@yahoo.com
Distribution: Probably at fanfiction.net and the factsofslash group. Anyone interested should just ask, and can expect a positive answer.
Spoilers: Takes place after the New Batman/Superman Adventures, with one alteration - in my story, Ivy's skin never turned white like the Joker's. So she still looks like you and me.
Feedback: Reader response was really great the last time. I hope to see as much the second time around.
Rating: R (graphic violence, angst)
Disclaimers: All characters belong to . . . let's see, DC Comics, Kids WB and the Cartoon Network, the producers of the two Batman serials, the talented artists and voice actors, etc. I have borrowed them entirely without permission, for which I humbly beg forgiveness, but I seek no form of profit from this undertaking.
Summary: The Joker was bound to interfere in Harley and Ivy's relationship. Will it survive? Will they? Sequel to "It's Just Allergies".
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"Life – it can lift you up,
It can drag you down,
Life don't have to be
No bed of roses . . ." - "Bed of Roses", the Indians

Chapter 1

"Hi, you big sweeties," Harley said to the hyenas as she approached where they had been leashed. She crouched down and invited them to come into her arms. "We'll be out of here and with my Red in just a minute."

They came, but they seemed strangely subdued. If they didn't smile all the time, they would have been frowning right now.

"What's wrong, babies?" she asked, encouraging them as she scratched behind their ears.

"Why, nothing's wrong, now that you decided to show up."

Harley stopped where she was. A couple of days ago, the sound of that voice would have had her on her feet, leaping into his arms, the picture of joy. Now, however, she felt a sinking feeling of dread. "Puddin'?" she asked hesitantly as she looked up.

"Harley," the Joker responded smoothly. He leaned against the door, dressed as always. He appeared to be in a good mood, but she quickly spotted that dangerous glitter in his eye that meant he could change at any moment. "When you left Arkham without me, I just knew I had to find you. Why did you leave all by your lonesome? Forget to tie that string around your finger, perhaps? Didn't I make your daytimer?"

She straightened at once, nervous. Why wasn't she happier? Why wasn't she happy, period?

Could it be there was someone else who meant more to her? Oh God, maybe Ivy wasn't the only one who was in love.

"I was worried about Ivy," she said honestly, fidgeting.

"Ivy, Ivy, Ivy," he replied, shaking his head. "After all this time, you still won't obey when I tell you not to see her anymore. You love _me_, remember? I'm the only friend you have, the only one you _need_, Harley," he told her, his face growing ugly. "If you see Ivy being beaten to a pulp by ten men, and meanwhile I tell you I want the newspaper, what do you do?"

"Save Red," she almost said, but instead she answered, "Fetch the paper?"

"Very good," the Joker told her. "Now you can have a prize." Coming up to her, he reared back and slapped her across the face before she could react. "And don't ever forget it," he added before turning away.

"I think I'm ready for bed," he continued as he walked away. "Let's go, Harley. You can start by taking my shoes off."

She stood there, trembling, her hand against her cheek. "Puddin', do you love me?" she whispered.

"I said, untie my shoes, Harley."

Harley didn't want to undress him. She wanted someone to say "I love you, Harley". She wanted Red. She was trapped here, and she wanted out.

"No."

Slowly, he swiveled on his heel. "No?"

She took a deep breath. Her heart was pounding a mile a minute. She was utterly terrified, both of the step she was taking and of how he might respond. "I'm not coming to bed with you."

He laughed maliciously. "Who said you were coming to bed with me? You can sleep on the floor with the babies."

He was so good at making her feel bad. Why couldn't he have been good at something else? "I'm not undressing you, either. I'm leaving you."

The Joker stared at her, and then suddenly, he laughed some more. "Sure you are," he chortled. "You can't go twenty-four hours without me, Harley, and you know it."

"I've met someone else."

"Uh-huh," he said, sneering at her. "Who's the lucky man? Lucky, meaning that I'll kill him slow."

This was absolute suicide, she knew, but she couldn't help it. If he wanted her to feel bad about herself, then maybe she could return the favor. "It's not a man, _Joker_. I'm leaving you for Ivy."

He looked at her, uncomprehending. "Ivy? Poison Ivy? Didn't know she used sidekick."

"She doesn't want me to be her sidekick," Harley said, growing angry. She was so much better than just a sidekick. "She wants me to be her lover. And I think I want to be hers."

The Joker began walking back to her, his fingers clenching and opening again. "Your jokes always were second-rate, Harley."

She balled her hands into fists. "You're a terrible kisser, Joker. I'd rather kiss Red for two months than you for two seconds!"

"You're serious," he said, astounded. "You're actually leaving me for a WOMAN?!" Leaping forward, he pulled his hand back. But this time his fist was closed, and he socked her in the eye.

Harley fell onto her back, seeing stars.

He landed on top of her. "Do you have any idea what people will _say_?" he asked, shaking her with both hands by the throat. "When they find out my girl left me for another woman? I'll be the laughingstock of Gotham! They're supposed to be laughing with me, not at me!"

She clutched at his hands. "Can't breathe," she gasped.

"Oh, no," the Joker whispered, letting go. "That would be too easy." Getting off of her, he kicked her savagely in the ribs. And then he did it again, and again, until she curled up into a fetal position. At that point he grabbed her by the back of her costume and, yanking her to her feet, sent her careening across the room so that she ran hard into the wall.

She slumped to the floor, her body screaming in agony. "Please . . . stop . . ." she pleaded.

"Oh, I'll stop," he promised as he grabbed her again. This time he threw her to the floor, face first. She was unable to break her fall with her hands, and blood gushed from her nose as it hit the floorboards. "I'll stop when you apologize."

He punched her hard in the back where her kidneys were. "I'll stop when you say you'll never leave me again." Then he punched her again. "When you say you'll never _think_ of leaving me again." Again. "When you say you'll never see Ivy again, or better yet, when you ask me to kill her for you. Because you are definitely not a lesbian, Harley. You are MINE." One more time, and each blow drew louder cries from her.

Breathing heavily, he stood over her, waiting for her to apologize. And then they could go back to the way they were before. He would apologize too, and he'd be good to her for a while, and it would be the same old thing. Only this time he'd kill Ivy so that Harley wouldn't have anyone but him again.

And he'd have her tonight. This was giving him a raging hard-on.

She mumbled something indistinctly.

"You'll have to speak up, Harley," he told her. "There's a banana in my ear." And he cackled.

Harley stretched her left hand toward the door. "Red," she murmured brokenly. "Help me, Red. Save me . . ."

If he'd been angry before, now his rage was burning white-hot. This called for an "extra special" lesson, he could see. He placed his shoe on her back and pressed down hard, causing her to cry out.

Frenzied, he checked his pockets until he found the switchblade in his right coat pocket. That stupid hand, reaching for the door as if she thought she could get away from him . . . "I'll show her," he snarled.

The blade popped out with the touch of a button.
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Ivy waited on the bed impatiently. She realized that Harley was just trying to maintain the suspense, but it had been an hour already, and she _really_ needed Harley in her arms again.

"Why is taking so long?" she asked out loud.

Frustrated and bored, she finally turned on the black-and-white television.

"Repeating our special news alert," a bland anchorperson was saying, "earlier tonight, Harley Quinn, known accomplice to the Joker, escaped from Arkham Asylum and is considered to be very dangerous."

"More like very obnoxious," she grumbled.

"And alarm has increased considerably," he went on to say, "as the Joker managed to escape just a few hours later. Police assume that the two planned it in advance and are hiding somewhere."

Ivy turned off the TV set. If it hadn't been for the events of that night, she would have felt disappointed. Once again, Harley was running off at the Joker's beck and call.

Now, however, she felt ice-cold hands grab her heart and squeeze mercilessly.

"Harley," she whispered. If she had encountered the Joker at the hideout, then maybe . . .

Seized by a sudden panic, Ivy wrestled her outfit on in just a couple minutes before once again running for the door. Only this time, it was much more urgent.

To be continued . . .