When the Joker awoke the next morning, he was pleasantly surprised to discover that he had slept through the entire night, a feat he usually could only manage while under powerful tranquilizers, and even then he had nightmares. But that night he hadn't dreamt at all; he had slept soundly, or about as soundly as was possible for him.
He was also surprised to realize that for once he actually had an appetite. He went into the kitchen and poured himself a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and turned on the news. The headlines were buzzing about some girl named Harleen Quinzel who had apparently been kidnapped the day before. They all feared the worst, that she was dead. And they were right: she was dead, he had killed her. Harleen was gone forever.
After the Harleen story ended, he heard a very amusing story about how Bruce Wayne had accidentally been shot and had been rushed to surgery. According to the doctors, he would be just fine in no time. The Joker figured the orphan playboy would most likely milk the attention this would bring him for all it was worth to boost his already god-like image, and would likely sue whoever had done it, as though he didn't have enough money already.
He also heard an interesting story about how Scarecrow had escaped from Arkham the night before. Good, it would make hunting him down much easier. The Joker took out his cell phone and made a few calls to some of his "friends" in the underworld, and within minutes knew exactly where he was hiding. Crane's life was about to become a living hell, his and Guy's both. Even though he wouldn't have the pleasure of killing Crane, he had never promised not to kill Guy.
Bud and Lou trotted over to him and rested their heads at his feet, whining to be fed or at least to be petted. He wondered why he had kept the mutts around after Harley had left him. He liked them well enough and they were good pets, but it was Harley who really cared about them. Without their mama, they rarely left him alone as they had been starving for attention. Not only were they starving for attention, but without Harley they didn't get fed very often. He wondered if starved for long enough if they would attack their beloved master, or if they would just annoy him to death with their incessant howling. After much deliberation, he decided it would be best to just get the vultures some food.
After he filled their food bowls, he sat back down on the couch with his breakfast until he heard a door open and close.
"Mornin' Puddin'" said Harley sleepily as she sat down next to him.
At the sound of her voice with the New York accent, he threw his bowl of cereal onto the floor and eagerly grabbed her and pulled her to him, eliminating the space between them. Unable to hold back any longer, he pressed his lips against hers fiercely, savoring the feel of her body crushed against his. How good it felt to have his little clown princess in his arms once again, where no one could have her but him. No one would ever steal her from him again, he would make sure of that.
At first Harley was stunned that he was kissing her this way, but she recovered quickly and eagerly kissed him back, feeling like a child who had been allowed to open her Christmas presents early. She passionately kissed his lips and scars, luxuriating in the moment as though it was their last. With the life they lived, they could be killed at any time, so she treasured every single moment with her angel more than anything else in the world. She always loved it when he took time out of his day to spend with her, as it didn't happen very often.
"What's the occasion, Puddin'?" she whispered as he kissed and bit at her neck.
"Quiet, I'm enjoying myself," he mumbled as he moved back up to her mouth, kissing her lips hungrily and making her giggle.
Just as the Joker began to rip off her costume, having heard the sound of their mama's voice, Bud and Lou jumped up on the couch and licked her face lovingly, killing the moment in the process. The Joker had to force himself to not turn them into coats as Harley petted them affectionately.
"Wow, the way the babies are actin' you'd think they'd been starved of attention," said Harley as she hugged them.
She turned back to the Joker, who pulled down the front of her costume to reveal the J scar he had carved so long ago. "I think we need to reopen this."
"Any particular reason?" asked Harley as he pulled out one of his many knives. It wasn't that she objected, in fact she loved it when they reopened her J scar. Sometimes when they were separated for extended periods of time she would touch it and feel close to him, as though he were right there with her.
Though she would never say it out loud, she knew that whenever he reopened that particular scar it meant that he was dealing with emotions that he couldn't understand. She knew he wasn't capable of much feeling, but every once in a while something would trigger something within him that he couldn't endure, so he would cut her open again to take his mind off whatever was tormenting him and to release the emotions that were plaguing him. He would have a bad day and need reminding that she was his, or he would be in an unusually affectionate mood and just want to remind her that she was his. Everyone thought her Puddin' was a monster, but she knew the truth. He had a heart just like everyone else, but because he was different from them they all thought he was evil, but she knew he wasn't.
She knew he didn't mean her any real harm when he cut her scar open, it was just his unique way of reminding them both that no matter what happened she belonged to him and him alone. She loved that she was the one who made him laugh again when he was down, that she was the one who supported him on those rare occasions when he needed someone to hold onto.
"No reason," he said quietly as he began to cut open her scar. She moaned in pain as he carved into her delicate flesh and felt blood seep out as he did so. She lovingly admired his body as he worked. Every inch of him was so beautiful, even his scars, and even though she told him often, he wouldn't believe her. If only he could see himself through her eyes.
"So what's on the agenda for today, Puddin'?" asked Harley as she felt the wonderful sting of the knife tear into her skin. Maybe this was a sign he would take the entire day off to spend with her. Doubtful, but possible. But even if that wasn't the plan, as long as she was with him she couldn't care less what they did.
"I was thinking we'd go pay our dear friend Scarecrow a visit. Why don't we bring Guy along for the ride? The more the merrier, I always say," said the Joker as he finished his work with satisfaction. Everything was the way it was supposed to be, her bleeding scar was proof of that.
"But Mistah J, we visited him just last night. And who's Guy?" asked Harley as she pressed her hand against her reopened wound to try to staunch the flow of blood.
"What do you mean, Harley?" asked the Joker, perplexed that she would ask such a question.
"You know, I had the strangest dream last night, and there was a guy named Guy in it," said Harley thoughtfully. "I dreamt that I forgot who you were and left you. Oh Mistah J, it was the most horrible nightmare I've ever had. Words can't even describe how awful it was. I left you for another man named Guy, and I told you I didn't love you anymore and to get out of my life," she whispered, unable to believe she was capable of such a thing, even if it was just a nightmare. "And when I woke up and ya weren't there in bed with me, I was afraid that it wasn't a dream, that it was real," said Harley as she relived the terrible nightmare in her head.
To her astonishment, the Joker began to laugh. It began as a small giggle, then grew into raucous laughter. He wrapped his arms around himself as his body convulsed with laughter and tears brimmed at his eyes.
"What's so funny?" asked Harley, confused and a bit hurt that he would laugh at her. It wasn't the first time he had laughed at her expense and normally it didn't bother her, but this was different. He laughed quite often of course, but this laugh was different; it was the one he used after a punch line had been delivered. But what was the punch line exactly? Apparently it had something to do with her and her hellish nightmare, but she couldn't imagine why. It had been so real and so terrible, and he thought it was funny, hilarious even.
Once he had regained control over himself, he wiped the tears out of his eyes and answered, "Oh, it's nothing, Harley-baby. Now don't you start pouting, I'm not laughing at you, not entirely. Let's just say it's an inside joke. Besides, at least it was only a dream, and dreams aren't real, Cupcake."
"Yeah, I guess you're right, it was just a dream. But ya know, it wasn't all bad. Even though I became like all those awful doctors and abandoned you, ya never gave up on me. I did such horrible things, and you should have left me for it, but you never did. You waited for me to come back to my senses and took me back even though I didn't deserve it," she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head on his chest. "You saved me."
"So as I was saying, why don't we go play with Scarecrow and Guy today?" continued the Joker as though he hadn't heard her. "I hope you don't have any plans for the next few days, or weeks, because I have so many fun activities planned for them both, they'll need surgery to remove the smiles from their faces!"
"Sounds good to me," said Harley, blissfully happy just to be in his arms where she belonged. She raised her head and gazed at him with her beautiful baby-blues. "Puddin', can you promise me somethin'?"
He started kissing her again to shut her up, but she was determined. "Please Sweetie, for me?" she pleaded in between kisses.
He relented with a sigh and moved down to her neck once more and grunted to let her know he was listening.
"Mistah J, promise me that we'll always be together. That dream really scared me, it got me to thinking about how lucky I am to have you. I know it was just a nightmare, but it made me realize just how much I need you, and I don't ever want to lose you. Can you please promise me that you'll never leave me, no matter what happens? Even if I were to go loony and do what I did in the dream, will you please promise to stay with me anyway? I love you more than anything else in the world, and I don't ever want to be without you," she asked with tears in her eyes. She needed him to promise her this, even if it was a promise he couldn't always keep. She would rather die than live without him, she couldn't imagine living in a world where he didn't exist.
The Joker stopped kissing her and looked away for a long time, so long that she was sure he wouldn't answer her, so she was surprised when he did. Without looking at her, he held her close as he whispered so quietly that she could barely hear, "Only if you promise to never leave me again."
I hope you all enjoyed that, and thanks for all the reviews!