Warehouse 18 was a ruined, broken down old building, clearly out of use for a long time. "What the hell's Harley doing here?" asked Ivy as they got out of the car.
"Don't ask me how her mind works," Joker retorted. "But we don't know if she's here on her own. Or voluntarily."
"You think she's being held inside by someone?" asked Ivy.
He shrugged. "Best to be prepared, anyway," he murmured, withdrawing his gun.
Ivy armed her crossbow and followed him to the warehouse. The door opened with a loud creak, revealing complete darkness inside. Joker stepped into the room, and suddenly fell through the floor with a crash. His fall was arrested by a rope tightening around his ankle, hanging him upside down over a vat of bubbling acid just beneath him.
"Puddin'?" said a familiar voice.
He looked up, or rather down, to see Harley staring in astonishment at him, holding the rope which held him up. Then her face broke into a grin and she squealed in delight. "Puddin', it is you!" she cried, clapping her hands excitedly.
"Harley, rope!" he shouted, which she had let go of in order to clap, and which was fast dropping him into the acid.
She seized it quickly, stopping him inches from the surface. "Oops, sorry, puddin'," she said, grinning sheepishly.
"J? You ok?" called Ivy from the floor above.
"Red?" exclaimed Harley, looking up. "That you?"
"Hi, Harley," said Ivy, peering over the edge into the hole. "Is there another way down?"
"Yeah. Stairs at the end of the room. Hang on, I'll turn on the lights."
"Get me down first, you crazy dame!" shouted Joker.
"Sure thing, puddin'," she said, lowering him onto the floor. She ran over to untie him, and then threw herself into his arms, covering him with kisses.
"Aw, Mr. J, you found me!" she exclaimed. "I missed you so much, puddin'!"
"Get off, Harley," he growled, shoving her away. "Go turn on the lights."
She obeyed, going over the controls and flicking a switch, flooding the room with light. It was pretty empty, except for the vat of acid, and a pile of blankets in the corner. Harley turned back to Joker, beaming, but her face fell as she approached him.
"Gee, Mr. J, you look like crap," she said.
Ivy had arrived downstairs just in time to see the back of Joker's hand suddenly and violently colliding with Harley's face at this remark, knocking her to the ground. "No, wait, puddin', I didn't mean that!" cried Harley as he approached her, shaking in rage. "You're still gorgeous, baby, but you just don't look your usual perfect self, that's all!"
"You think I don't know how I look?!" he shouted at her. "You think I need you to tell me that, when literally everyone tonight has been telling me that?! You think I'm blind, Harley?!"
"J, leave her alone," said Ivy, firmly, stepping in between them. She helped Harley up and hugged her tightly.
"What are you doing here, baby?" she murmured. "I was so worried about you."
"Really? Why?" asked Harley, puzzled. "I'm fine, Red. I can take of myself. Mr. J was in a bad mood when he kicked me out, so rather than running back to yours, I decided I would try to cheer him up by bringing him the one thing he wants most in the whole world: Batman, bound and gagged. So I came here and, after a couple days, set up a pretty good trap for the Bat. I was just about to go lure him here when you two arrived. And don't get me wrong, I prefer you two, but I just wasn't expecting you, that's all. How did you find me?"
"Actually, with help from the Bat," replied Ivy.
"You mean he knows where I am?" asked Harley, her face falling."Well, crud. That's a perfectly good trap wasted," she muttered, glaring at the vat of acid.
Joker was staring at her. "Harley," he murmured, his voice taking on a soft tone, as he smiled tenderly at her. "Harley, baby. You did all this for me?"
She nodded, gazing at him in adoration. He smiled, holding out his arms to her. "Aw, Harley, you're a sweet kid," he murmured, as she rushed into his embrace with a happy squeak, cuddling against his chest. "But you shouldn't have gone through all the trouble, sweets. I don't care about Batman."
"You don't?" she asked, puzzled.
"Nope. You wanna know the only one special person I do care about in this whole entire world?" he murmured, tilting her chin up and smiling at her.
"Who?" she murmured, shutting her eyes and putting out her lips for his.
"Me!" he shouted, shoving her away, suddenly furious. "And do you have any idea of the amount of trouble you've given me, you selfish brat?! Do you have any idea of the crap I've had to go through for you tonight?! Do you have any idea how worried I was?!"
"What did you say?" murmured Harley, who had been cringing but now looked at him in astonishment.
"I said do you have any idea how worried...Ivy was?!" he shouted, gesturing at her. "What kinda crap friend are you, huh?! Going off on your own like that without a word to anyone! You ungrateful little bitch!"
"I'm…sorry…Mr. J," stammered Harley, tears forming in her eyes. "I just wanted to make you happy, puddin'."
"Do you think it makes me happy having to do everything myself?!" he shouted. "Do you think it makes me happy eating crap food and ironing my own clothes and trying to wash dried bloodstains out of my suits?! You think that's fun, Harl?!"
"Well, no, I know it isn't, puddin'…" she began.
"You think I'm happy looking like crap?!" he shouted. "You think I'm happy with the guys at Arkham, with the Bat, seeing me like this?! Do I look happy to you, Harley?!"
"No, puddin'," she murmured, the tears flowing from her eyes. "I'm sorry."
"You're sorry?!" he repeated, furiously. "And you think that's good enough, do you?! You think I'll just forgive everything because you're sorry?!"
"I…I don't know what else to say, puddin'," she replied.
He glared at her. "Come here, Harley," he growled.
She approached him slowly. He seized her wrist and pulled her close to him, raising a fist. She cringed, but the blow didn't fall. "You leave me again, and I'll break your goddamn face," he hissed into her ear.
She looked up at him in sudden adoration. "Aw, puddin'," she breathed, beaming. "You do love me!"
And she threw her arms around his neck and thrust her mouth onto his, kissing him passionately. To Ivy's surprise, Joker seized Harley's face in his hands and returned it. It was a violent kiss, but she guessed that suited them. They had a twisted, messed up relationship, but at the moment, Ivy was just relieved that Harley was ok. She headed for the stairs, intending to leave them to it, when suddenly a caped figure fell through the floor.
"Aw, Bats, bad timing!" exclaimed Joker. "Can't a guy get a bit of privacy?"
"You're all three coming with me now," said Batman, sternly.
"Sorry, Batbrain," murmured Harley, grinning at Joker. "But I've just been reunited with Mr. J, and we're not going anywhere. And I think you might be hanging around here for a while too."
She pressed a button on the wall and the floor below Batman fell away. He dropped down but was suddenly caught by a rope around his ankle, hanging him upside down. "It was a two-part trap," explained Harley. "Just in case."
"Aw, baby, you're the greatest!" exclaimed Joker, beaming at her. "You know two-part traps are my favorite!"
"Like a pull back and reveal joke, huh, Mr. J?" she murmured.
"That's right, pooh," he said, kissing her cheek. "What's the difference between Batman and a real bat? One's a filthy rodent with a tiny brain who hangs upside down, and the other's a bat!"
Harley actually giggled uncontrollably at this, while Ivy rolled her eyes. "He's all yours, puddin'," breathed Harley, holding out the rope to him.
"It's a great opportunity, pooh, don't get me wrong," he said. "But look at me. I can't fight the Bat looking like this. What if this is the time I won? Do you think I want all the photos in the papers to be of me like this? You think this is how I want people to remember me? It would completely ruin my image, sweets. Nah, let's leave him hanging here and go home. I'm starving anyway."
"Anything you say, puddin'," cooed Harley, tying the rope down and taking Joker's hand.
"Well, must run, Bats!" he called down the hole. "Thanks again for all your help. You're a real pal. See you soon!"
Harley held his hand as they all three went up the stairs. "Gee Red, it sure was nice of you to come find me," said Harley, turning to smile at her friend. "I feel really loved."
"Everyone at Arkham was pretty upset that you were missing," said Ivy. "Crane actually threatened to kill Joker if he didn't find you."
"Aw, Johnny's a sweetie," sighed Harley. "Gotta say, it all sounds like a lot of fuss for little old me."
"Wait'll you see what I did to Arkham, pumpkin," chuckled Joker. "We'll drive by on the way home and show you. It was a big explosion just for you, pooh bear."
"Aw, Mr. J, you're the best!" murmured Harley, kissing his cheek. She stroked his hair back and suddenly said, "Hang on a second."
She reached into her bag and took out a tub of brylcreem. "Oh, there it is," said Joker. "I forgot you had it."
"I always keep it with me, Mr. J, just in case you need a top up," she said, working the gel through his hair. "There!" she said, happily, when she was done. "Now you look just like your old self again!"
"Lift home, Pammie?" asked Joker when they reached the car.
She shook her head. "Nah, you two go ahead. I'll walk."
"Well, that was actually kinda fun, Pammie," said Joker, smiling as he climbed into the car. "You're all right, for a dame."
"Bye, Red," said Harley, hugging her. "And thanks again for making me feel so special."
"You are special, Harley," replied Ivy. "Considering we hate each other's guts, it took someone really special to make J and me work together. Not that I want to repeat the experience ever, so don't go running off again, ok?"
"Ok," replied Harley, smiling. "See you soon, Red."
They drove off and Ivy watched them, relieved that Harley was safe. As safe as she could ever be with Joker, of course. Then she turned around and headed back toward the warehouse, where Batman was tied up and fairly helpless. It would be a shame to waste that opportunity. She smiled to herself, entering the warehouse and shutting the door behind her. Without the clowns around, it was time for some real fun.