Title: Bad Thing
Rating: M (For adult concepts, sexual situations, language, violence, and the normalization of an abusive relationship)
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The owners own. This is for fun, not profit. I've made no money.
Summary: Dr. Harleen Quinzel stumbles into significant problems when her notorious patient starts using her like a skeleton key. The worst part? She's kind of digging it. (JokerxHarley)
Author's Notes: Due to computer troubles, I wrote the first 1,372 words of this by cell phone text to Gladrial, in two sittings. Don't do that. It hurts really bad. In fact, my hands ache thinking about it. Gladrial was also a huge help with the story for this and one whole exchange later was written directly from her acting it out on webcam for me. Hilariously.
(Title was inspired by the song "I've Done A Bad Thing" by Ellen Reid, which I listened to quite a bit while writing this.)
September 10th, 2012 Edit: While working on and outlining this piece, it has become apparent that it's merely a reversal of our usual routine, which is normally Gladrial writing and myself providing the ideas/editing. We've both become super invested in this together, so we've decided to move it here, to our collaborative account. I will shortly be PMing all of you who have faved or alerted the first chapter on my own account to let you know about it, but I want to thank you for the five-hundred and fifty-two views, plus all of the faves/alerts/reviews. (I have those saved!) Seeing those and receiving your comments help drive me to write. I love you guys! Enjoy!
He hadn't said when, or how, or where. He hadn't even really said what exactly was going to happen, just that…it was. Seriously, all he had told her was "It's going to happen kid. Keep those baby blues open."
No context whatsoever, but after their months of sessions, of memorizing every nuance of his voice and quirk of his eyebrow, Harleen knew better than to mistake it for an offhand remark. She knew better than to dismiss any of his suggestions to her, especially now.
Certainly she could do no further harm to her career by listening to him. Not after the events of the past two weeks.
A doctor becoming involved with their patient was forbidden. A doctor involved with their patient, who was also a resident of the violent psychopath ward and a notorious serial killer was…
Filling her mug with the third cup of coffee for the day, Harleen had the same talk with herself that she'd been putting on a loop since the first flutter in her stomach she'd recognized as attraction.
Don't go there Harley. You're being perfectly rational. He makes sense. You know that. But you are the one in a position of authority here. You are the one in control of the situation and you are a woman doing what you need to do in order to get ahead. Do what is best for Harley.
One, two, three packets of fake sugar went into her coffee. She missed real sugar and slapped herself mentally when her eyes cut to the box of donuts on the counter across the break room. Instead, she poured two itty bitty cups of fake creamer into her now mostly fake coffee.
Sipping bitterly from her way too bitterless mug, Harleen used her free hand to remove the pack of cigarettes from the pocket of her white doctor's coat. Two left, she sighed heavily at herself. Well, it wasn't like she was doing cartwheels anymore. In high school and under-grad, she'd had junk food as her secret vice, burning off any stress eating calories during her constant gymnastics training. But it only took two weeks of grad school for her to spot with horror that, without her previous exercise regimen, those chips and snack cakes weren't melting away anymore. Seemingly her entire study group that first semester was smokers and it didn't take long for her to pick up the habit. If anything, it kept her hands busy and helped her fit in.
A door to the breakroom led to the ill-kept balcony of the stone facility that was the semi-official smoking area. Apparently, before Harleen's time there, the staff that worked night and day with maniacs were allowed to smoke and drink coffee or eat lunch without being exposed to the elements. But, like everywhere, changing times eventually reached even the island tucked away in Gotham and Harleen was hardly ever without company on the little balcony, bundled up in a pathetic attempt to ward off the cold until the ritual inhaling was complete.
The sun was setting though, and only a couple of other doctors pulling overtime seemed to be around to take advantage of the view. The first doctor she saw was Doctor Schaffer, who was the current primary for Jervis Tetch. He was lighting a cigarette for Doctor Ferdinand, who was based within the pharmaceutical lab.
Harleen, feeling way too anxious to make conversation, gave a polite nod and moved to the opposite corner of the small space. She sat her red mug down on the rickety metal table with prominent rust buildup, and set about to lighting her own cigarette as steam from her coffee rose into the cool late march air.
Taking her first inhale and relaxing significantly upon the exhale, she gazed out at the Gotham skyline and reached with her free hand for her coffee. Nothing like nicotine and caffeine before returning to the dreaded desk full of paperwork.
She was wrapped up in the familiar acts of her balcony visits and wasn't paying any mind to the background chatter of the other two doctors…until she heard Doctor Ferdinand say "the Joker" and she felt her breath catch.
"Just walking him out at this time of day?" Doctor Schaffer was asking the pharmacist, incredulous. "Was there something wrong with him, or a team of guards covered in blood?"
Doctor Ferdinand shook her short black curls, pushing smoke from pursed lips. "Nope, none of that. Two escorting guards. All three were calm. Like…I think maybe nobody was meant to see. I wouldn't have even been there if I didn't need some files from Arkham. Place was dead quiet."
Cigarette dropped and coffee abandoned, Harleen was beside Ferdinand in what felt like an instant, startling Schaffer enough that he started coughing around his imported cigarillo.
"Where were they heading?" Harleen asked urgently, before Ferdinand had been able to say anything to her.
"Um, the west corridor of the psychiatry staff offices, I guess?" she managed to answer, before adding, "Shouldn't you be there too?"
"YES!" Harleen shouted, already rushing through the door back into the breakroom.
There was no noise in the stone hallway aside from the rapid click of her heels and the beating of her heart. Her mind was going as fast as her legs. What in the world could they be doing with her patient so late in the day without her knowledge or presence? She hadn't worked her way up to this assignment after a freaking year to just be disregarded like that.
She almost tripped taking a corner, in front of some orderlies, but swiftly regained her footing and continued on. She must have looked like a mess, with her bun coming apart and her coat flapping around her when she picked up enough speed. She nearly ran into a secretary of some kind outside of the legal department, carrying a stack of papers that thankfully did not go flying everywhere.
Were they trying to get him to give up some kind of information? There was fat chance of that succeeding, unless they had something worthwhile to offer him in return. He was already kept on a severely short leash at the asylum anyway; there wasn't a whole lot they could get away with giving him.
A disciplinary meeting didn't make sense either, because…well, he didn't care, so it would be pointless. And none of these possibilities should be going over her head in the first place! Yeah, so she was twenty-seven, the youngest doctor treating a member of the infamous rogues gallery, but she was still given an official position deserving of respect.
…Of course, she was also a last ditch effort on the asylum's part too, but still, STILL!
There was, of course, the worst reason. The one that sunk to the bottom of her stomach like a weight: That they knew about the two of them being involved. They had been careful, but there was always the risk. Even though it was just those last few sessions which were the most damning, when it had finally crossed the line from flirtation to action.
Up ahead, under the humming fluorescent lights, lay a corridor of office doors: the ones opposite from the collection that housed her own office, of course.
A quick glance at the nameplates told her who she wasn't looking for, at least. Browning cut out at five on the dot; Carlyle was on vacation for another week; she had seen Gupta go to his car earlier…
…Davis. That asshole!
His door was right there, but not guards. Regulation for the Joker was guards outside and inside, unless for confidential matters, like therapy sessions. There is no harm in checking, Harleen told herself, and Davis was an asshole after all, so she stepped forward to open the door and begin some sanctimonious raging.
She knew as soon as she pushed the door handle down that something was wrong. Bad wrong. There were sounds of scuffling and fists hitting flesh that had been muted from the hallway. The door swung open on a horrific scene.
The remains of a wooden chair and a guard, whose blood was pooling onto the blue rug from a gaping head wound, were immediately before her. A second guard was slumped to the side of a large desk, equally bloodied and motionless. A doctor, Kendall, was face first on the desk, arm hanging limply off the side and the insides of his head escaping in a slow drip for the ruined carpet.
In the middle of it all was the Joker, slamming Davis in the head with a very bloody metal stapler and, before Harleen could even take in what was happening, he pulled the trigger on one of the guard's guns.
The bullet shot through Davis' already battered skull and embedded itself somewhere on the wall by the door. Having been a foot and a half from Davis' head, Harleen found herself splattered with its contents and stared in growing alarm at her arms and hands. Though she had spent years studying crime scene photos and eyewitness testimony, she had never seen carnage first hand. Smelled it. Had it dripping off of her skin and clothes in red and pink.
Her ears were pounding full of her own heartbeat and she could no longer hear even her own breathing, but it didn't matter because the Joker wasn't talking to her. He was busy rummaging through the recently fallen doctor's coat. Warily, she stepped back on shaky legs and tried to decide if she should run. Before she could do anything of the sort, the Joker pulled out a staff badge and wallet, then turned towards his psychiatrist.
"There you are," he said casually, as if she was expected and not standing there covered in blood and gray matter. Perhaps taking in account her horrified expression, he nudged Davis's dead body with his slipper-clad foot. "Nothing to worry about, Harleykins. They were doing an independent review of my apparent progress under your care." A giggle escaped him briefly, then he snapped his eyes back to her. His grin was on full display. "Oh, Doctor Harley…I do love you in red."
Her voice was gone, but he didn't seem to expect her to say anything in response. The wallet and badge disappeared between the waistband of his pants, probably tucked in the elastic of his briefs since he wasn't allowed pockets. Harleen's gore-covered arms felt numb now, as if they were no longer a part of her, and she discovered that her legs were stone when the Joker began walking towards her.
"Okay, pumpkin pie," he started, standing in front of her in all of his height and holding the gun loosely in his right hand. "Now I've gotta have some assistance."
"…What…what," Harleen stammered, feeling dazed. Her gaze slid back towards the collection of bodies littering the office, but the Joker suddenly placed his hands on either side of her face and, bending down slightly, forced her to look at him straight.
"Nuh-uh. Focus on me, cupcake." The cold metal of the handgun and the soft warmth of his flesh were all she felt. "Tell me where our last dearly departed doctor parks his car."
"Car?" she asked, trying to force words to make sense.
The Joker frowned, looking at her with a puzzled expression. "Yeah, car. His car. What the fuck is wrong with you?" The fingers of his left hand made a few finger snaps in front of her nose, making her blink, before moving back to hold her face. "Which parking section?"
"Uhm, he drives a black car…Mercedes!" she added, in a tumble of words. The Joker was smiling again. "Parks in the C section, by, uhm, by the west exit."
He relinquished her face, giving a little pat to her cheek with the hand not holding a gun. "There we go, Harl. Such a peach." She turned as he made his way past her and into the hallway, throwing a simple, "See you soon, macaroon!" over his shoulder before disappearing around a corner.
Some Notes: This first chapter functions more as a prologue, you can expect further chapters soonish. There is a definite end too, so don't worry about me leaving it to rot unfinished. Second chapter is already on a roll. Gladrial will be snapping at my heels!
Since I know you're going to ask about it, Harley is a smoker in this fic because there is a panel of the Mad Love graphic novel, while she is a doctor, where she is in fact smoking. My theory is that she stress eats in high school and as an undergrad, then after she becomes a villain she picks up junk food again. (As seen in Gotham Sirens.) But, as a graduate student, intern, and doctor, she smokes. So...there.