(DISCLAIMER-The lyrics used are not mine. They don't belong to me.)
Ivy sat at the table and stared into space.
So now things were back to normal. There was no Harley in her life, no chaos or longing or stupid girl-time trips to the outside world. There was just her and her plants…the way things had been before.
I hate him…I hate him! I'll hate him until the day I die!
Rage boiled inside of her and she ground her teeth, seething and digging her fingernails into the table.
If she were able, she'd make the Joker pay for taking Harley away from her. She would've sent the Bat or the police on him if she knew where he lived. But then it all came down to Harley—Harley being sent back to Arkham Asylum—and Ivy knew that the place could not give Harley the proper treatment to wean her off the clown for good.
How many different emotions did the woman make her feel? Waves of love, hate, bitterness, and pining washed over her all at the same time.
No. Don't think about Harley. You told yourself that you wouldn't.
It had been four days since Harley's departure. News of her and the Joker's mischief was broadcasted all over GCN—spreading all around Gotham City like wildfire. Ivy always shut off the television when the reports came on, staring at the blank screen without uttering a single word.
In her sleep, she replayed the event over and over: Harley leaving out the door to go back to her beloved clown, Harley's final words to her…
"See ya around, Red."
But Ivy doubted if she'd ever 'see Harley around'. She doubted if she'd ever see the woman again.
"I love him with my whole heart, Red. I love you too but he needs me."
Feh. What did Ivy care? So what if the stupid blonde was out of her life? She didn't need Harley. She didn't need anyone.
She was spending a lot less time interacting with the outside world lately. Her hours were spent wandering listlessly about her garden, tending to her plants with dreary emptiness.
"Here you go, my baby…some nice water…"
Her plants seemed to know that something was up. They shrunk back from her touch and timidly curled around her hands—perhaps trying to comfort her.
The immunity project was at a dead end. She'd spent many empty hours pouring plant-chemicals into her body through a needle but to no avail. Nothing changed. Project 88 simply sat on the kitchen table in it's pot and did nothing. It wasn't wilting, but it wasn't getting any stronger. Perhaps it too, like Harley, would leave her.
With her mood lowered and her emotions a mess, she would take to bed earlier in the evening, going to a world without Harley or the Batman or the Joker. There, it was only her and her plants and relief. Sometimes, she'd swear that she heard Woodrue's voice calling out to her from the hazy mist, but she'd turn away and flee from it, cursing him under her breath. She hated him almost as much as she hated the clown.
Days turned into weeks and Ivy buried herself in her work. Soon, the vultures from Gotham University would be begging her for more plant-serums and toxins. She continued to inject herself with syringe after syringe, doing whatever it took to block out all memory of the hapless harlequin-woman.
"Maybe this time it'll work…"
But nothing ever worked. Ivy was beginning to wonder if she'd ever find what she'd been searching for. At this point, she wasn't sure. She didn't want a triumph or a tragedy…didn't want a boyfriend or an enemy.
So then…what do you want? What do you want?
It reminded her of when she had been very small. She had never really wanted the toys that her wealthy parents had plied her with nor the good-looks that everyone said was being bestowed upon her. She just wanted…contentment. She wanted her family home with her more often.
I want…my family home with me…
A family. Her plants were her family, weren't they? They had to be.
"I'm Harley Quinn: second-in-command of the Joker crew. But, ah, call me Harley. Everyone does."
"I guess you're really not so bad after all. You're pretty cool, Red."
"I didn't want ya to get hurt, Red. I was just returning the favor for you helping me out."
A woman—young, helpless and so achingly fragile, clings to her tightly and cries.
"Stay with me please, Red,"
Ivy shook her head and tried to make the memory go away. Project 88 was trembling in it's pot. Seeing it move, Ivy went to it and stared, her eyes wide.
The delicate blue petals shivered as the plant began to creep slowly upright, folding in and out of itself. Ivy realized what was happening. The frail little plant was finally blooming. She watched intently as the petals finally opened and the plant rose as tall as it could.
"You finally bloomed…"
Then, to Ivy's amazement, the plant began to secrete a thin green liquid—oozing it out of the tips of it's petals. Ivy frantically grabbed a flask and held it to where the liquid exuded.
It was certainly intriguing. Could it be that Project 88 had the material she had been looking for?
Only one way to find out…
She spent all afternoon in the lab in the greenhouse, examining and studying the liquid with meticulous vigor. She came to the conclusion that perhaps it could be an important catalyst in the immunity project.
So she set herself to work. The liquid was placed in the syringe and Ivy now held it in her hand, nervous and eager at the same time. All thoughts of Harley were far from her mind. This was it. If this didn't work, then she'd cease the project.
Inhaling sharply, she sunk the needle into her arm and waited. For a while, nothing seemed to happen.
And then everything changed.
With a shriek, she felt her insides churning and boiling, making her sick to her stomach. In a moment of nausea and pain, she wondered if she had neared the end of her life—doomed to die at the hands of the plant that she had taken care of for so long. But then the feelings of sickness passed and Ivy could feel herself recovering.
Well…recovering probably wasn't a good enough word for it. Cured was probably a better one. And cured was really the best choice because she had been cured of all vulnerability to toxins and poisons. In the course of a few more days, her immune system had conquered everything that was exposed to it. At long, long last, her experimentation had finally paid off.
But, of course, it was not without its faults. As a result of the final experiment, her skin had paled considerably, turning an almost white-green color. It certainly wasn't terribly noticeable. Her body was still as beautiful as ever. But, if one were to look closely, they would see the subtle tint to Ivy's skin-tone. Perhaps now she could finally own the nickname Poison Ivy with pride.
But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was the delirium and shakes that had come days later as a result of the injection. Ivy fought night after night of feverish, horrible dreams, waking up with a sweat and feeling sick to her stomach.
In those nightmares, she'd see the blonde's face peering at her, smiling shyly or frowning, or blushing. And then she'd awaken alone in bed, running her hands through her long red hair.
"Harley," she'd call, half-expecting the woman to answer her in the darkness. But no answer ever came.
She rode the fever out for several more weeks, keeping to herself and tending to the now-bloomed Project 88—which, ironically enough, still had lots of growing to do—and sipped her coffee in the quiet of her garden.
It was actually pretty surprising when the letter came to her in the mail.
At first she had ignored it. She didn't know who would be communicating with her when she hadn't had much human-contact of late. But, to her reluctance, she finally picked up the thing and held it in her hands, contemplating whether or not to open it.
Is it from…?
Slowly, she tore through the letter and pulled out a crumpled, messy piece of paper, grasping it tightly and reading the words that were scribbled. It was only five words.
I'll see you again soon.
Ivy's eyes widened and she let out a little gasp, clutching the letter and reading the words over and over. Her eyes began to grow moist and she cursed herself for being so emotional.
"Like Hell I'll see her soon! She can stay away from me!"
Fuming, she threw the letter across the room and stomped over towards the kitchen table, putting her head in her hands.
"Red! Let's do something together!"
"Thanks for looking out for me, Red!"
"You're the best friend I've got…"
Tears fell and hit the table as the woman called Poison Ivy began to sob. So it wasn't the end after all. The one named Harley Quinn had not let go of her just yet.
Stumbling back to her feet, Ivy picked the letter back up and held it close.
No, it wasn't the end of the two of them. Perhaps Harley would be back in the following months, looking for shelter and refuge from her dangerous lover. And Ivy would be there to try to put the pieces of her mind and self-worth back together and take care of the woman. Perhaps Harley might eventually swear off the clown for good.
Ivy knew that if and when it happened, she would be there. It would take time and patience and a slew of obstacles, but she would be there.
One of Project 88's blue petals brushed gently across Ivy's face. She looked at it and smiled sadly, stroking it tenderly.
"You were just like her, you know. You were frail and weak and couldn't look after yourself. Just like her…"
The idea came to her that this plant should no longer be called 'Project 88'. Harley had always wanted to give it a proper name. And while the blonde was not present, perhaps it was time to give it the name it needed.
"A Blue Harley. That's what I shall call you. You shall grow and get stronger and stronger. I promise you. You shall bear children in the coming spring and your species shall grow and multiply until they are free to bask in the sunlight forever."
She wondered what would happen now. What would the future bring? What would happen between her and Harley?
Somehow, she didn't want to know the answers. She'd let whatever come and to hell with everything else.
And maybe all would be well in the end. Maybe things would all change for the better. She had to hope that.
She would wait for that change; wait for the day when she'd see her beloved friend again.
All she had to do was hope.
They say a watched pot won't ever boil,
You can't raise a baby on motor oil,
Just like a seed down in the soil
You gotta give it time.
-Lyrics by The Arcade Fire
A/N- So ends part three of the Until We Bleed Series.
Sorry that there wasn't much Joker in this arc. But you could argue that he plays an important role in the whole gist of it. After all, he's basically the wall that separates Harley and Ivy from each other.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who's been reviewing! You guys are what keep me writing and I really appreciate your insights and observations.
Things might slow down for a bit. I'll probably be taking a brief hiatus from the series in order to adjust to my new life in college. That said, I sincerely hope that you all will take the time to look at the fourth story arc when I finally get around to writing it.
See you guys for now! I hope you all will wait patiently during my hiatus and I look forward to hearing from y'all soon.
COMING SOON- SHADOW OF THE DAY: the fourth part of the Until We Bleed series.
Catch you guys later! :D