A/N: On one of the tumblrs I run, Twinings and I offered ourselves up for one full week of filling fic prompts for our readers, varying in length from a hundred to a thousand-plus words. The project has been dubbed the Free For All Fic For All—or FFAFFA for short. This is one of those stories—and this is the boilerplate author's note you'll see on all of 'em.
Prompt: The Mime and Harley Quinn, handcuffed together. I had a sneaking suspicion who requested this one, so there's a bonus character in this…
Notes: Since she's so obscure: the Mime appears in Batman #412 and the short story The Sound of One Hand Clapping from the book The Further Adventures of Batman. Her deal basically boils down to: heiress with a passion for mime goes broke with her mime troupe, turns to crime as a form of protest against noise pollution, gets caught by Batman and then rescued/kidnapped/wooed by the Joker before being rescued from the Joker by Batman and then getting tossed in the slammer. She was the proto-Harley Quinn, predating Harls by about five-ish years. The end!
At first, when Harley Quinn found the Joker's scrapbook, she was positively thrilled. There were newspaper clippings and playing cards and Joker Fish packaging concepts and the occasional chewing gum wrapper with C4 tucked inside—all wonderful reminders of the wonderful ways her Puddin's mind worked.
She giggled and swooned over the front page photographs of them together and with the rest of the Arkham crew (ignoring the mustache that had been drawn on Ivy's face in more than one instance) and felt her insides glow with happiness upon finding that the Joker had used last year's handmade Valentine from her as a scribble pad for one of his brilliant ideas. She liked the little drawing of Batman hanging from a noose best.
As she continued through the book, the articles dates came from further and further in the past, the mementos more aged and yellow.
Well, of course the scrapbook was filled up backwards. That made perfect sense! Her puddin' was just so progressive thinking.
Harley rolled over on the bed, still flipping through the pages, giddier and giddier with every passing second. She had no idea that her baby doll shnookums was so sentimental, and if most of the things he had saved contained images of Batman and Robin injured or tied up, she didn't notice.
She turned another page.
Suddenly, she wasn't giddy anymore.
The Mime Strikes Again! the headline read. Beneath it, the pale, lovely face of a young woman in white greasepaint stared up at her, eyes dark and haunted.
Beside the picture, scribbled in the Joker's hand, were the words, Beautiful. Just beautiful. I shall rescue, woo and win you! Shall I compare thee to a summer's Phillips Head Screwdriver, Hammer, Rope, Clown Nose…
The poem was abandoned, becoming a list of tools and ending with another little scribble of Batman hogtied with an apple in his mouth.
Harley barely noticed this time, instead turning her attention to the accompanying article. She skimmed it and gathered that this…Mime character was a socialite gone bad. Camilla Cameo, the daughter of a fireworks mogul who'd squandered her inheritance on a mime troupe (Really? A mime troupe?) before turning to a bizarre life of crime. She protested noise pollution, destroying anything particularly loud, from stealing the bells from Gotham Cathedral so they would no longer chime to menacing taxi drivers in noisy traffic jams.
"Hmph," Harley grumbled, tossing the book aside. "What'd he ever see in her?"
Harley stopped for a second, considered and then…
Though Harley Quinn was just discovering her sordid past, Camilla Cameo had long since gone straight. Her criminal career was a distant memory, and her rescue from the law by the Joker a forcibly repressed one. While in prison, she found a religion that spoke to her (Buddhism—the voluntary vow of silence greatly appealed to her nature) and had bettered herself during her seven year term.
Upon being granted parole and with a sizable yearly donation from the Wayne Foundation, she had been able to reunite her troupe. All over the continent their performances sold out, though probably due to the fact people wanted to gawk at a reformed costumed criminal rather than watch silent theatre, and they enjoyed enough success that everyone was happy, well fed and had next to no embarrassment at revealing their line of work to people at parties.
Camilla sat in her dressing room at her vanity table, smoothing white greasepaint over her face. She applied thick eyeliner, dabbed some pink on her cheeks and painted her mouth with the practiced ease of someone who'd been doing it for a decade.
She smiled with satisfaction at her reflection, stood up and stretched…
And then the chloroform soaked burlap bag came down over her head.
"Rise and shine, sugar bumps!" Harley sang as Camilla slowly regained consciousness. "We're gonna have some fu-un!"
The Mime blinked a few times and peered at Harley curiously. There was no recognition in her eyes—probably because Camilla didn't own a television and preferred not to read the newspaper in Gotham. She looked around at the bare room, with its single bulb swinging from the ceiling,
"I'm Harley Quinn."
The Mime remained silent.
"It's impolite not to speak when spoken to," Harley said primly.
"Alright, toots, if you're gonna be like that…"
Harley slapped one silver handcuff on Camilla's wrist. A long length of chain connected it to another cuff, which Harley slid around her own arm and closed.
The Mime looked down at the handcuff, then back up at Harley with confusion.
"Friendship bracelets! You and me, we got things in common," Harley exclaimed happily. "Red's in Arkham and Mistah J.'s plannin' a job, so I figured we could have some good old fashioned girl time! How's that sound?"
Camilla tugged on the chain, still not quite as alarmed as Harley figured she ought to be.
"Good! I knew you'd see reason! C'mon!" Harley pulled Camilla up off the chair she'd been sitting in, and dragged her out of the room. "We got things to do!"
The oversized sombreros weren't Camilla's idea, neither was the acid green mani-pedi, nor the bank heist or the scattering of exploded ATMs they left in their wake.
Sure, she drove the turquoise convertible and smashed through the double glass doors of the local mall, but that was under duress, even if it was kinda…fun. Harley was a motormouth, but all in all, this wasn't the worst kidnapping she'd ever survived.
The backseat was stuffed with plush animals of all sorts stolen from the mall's toy store and Harley sat in the passenger seat, her feet up on the dashboard as she licked a lollipop as big as her head.
"Y'know, you're alright, Corinna!"
The Mime didn't correct her.
"We shoulda hooked up long before now. You're almost as much fun as Red, and we can trade make-up tips—eeep!"
A shadowy shape landed on the hood of the car and it careened off the road and onto the sidewalk, crashing into a mailbox.
Harley's first instinct was to fling her lollipop at Batgirl's head and split, but the handcuffs jerked taut as she tried to escape. Her second instinct was to throw herself at Batgirl, but the handcuffs stopped her from doing that, too. She leaped over the windshield and landed flat on her face at Batgirl's feet.
Batgirl bent down and replaced Harley's silver cuff with a more stylish pair of her own as Harley counted the stars floating in front of her eyes.
"You can't do this to me!" she cried. "I'm a citizen, see?"
"Quiet." Batgirl turned to Camilla. "Okay?"
Camilla nodded and held out her hand so that her restraint could be removed.
The Mime nodded slowly.
"I thought we were bosom bestest buddies?" Harley asked, utterly betrayed.
Batgirl jumped down from the hood of the car, dragging Harley with her. "Statement?"
Camilla raised her shoulders in an exaggerated shrug and opened her hands in a What more do you want? gesture.
"Ha!" Harley said with triumph. "Knew she wouldn't sell me out!"
"Quiet," Batgirl repeated.
Harley couldn't quite tell if her new friend smirked at her or not.
"Go home," Batgirl ordered.
Camilla pointed at herself and tipped her head in question.
The Mime saluted very sharply and hopped out of the car as Batgirl fired her grappling gun at the nearest rooftop, gracefully lifting off the ground with a struggling Harley Quinn slung over her shoulder.
"When Mistah J. hears about this," Harley protested, "you'll be sorry!"
The Mime heard Batgirl say as they disappeared into the night, "You talk too much."