It took another weak before Harley was running around the gated garden patch. Batman stood in the middle taking in the air that Harley had taught him to appreciate and watched her blonde hair flow behind her as she tried to sprint faster and faster each time.
Finally, she stopped, her face was red and she was facing the sun, trying to gasp air back into her tired body.
Batman couldn't help but smile at the small things she did that reminded him that she was human and then when she would look at him, blue eyes shining with clear skin that was starting to become bronzed by the daily exposure to sun, he remembered how young she was.
How, he could pretend she was an adult and throw her in Arkham but this 20 something year old was nothing but a kid, just living in this messed up world.
Stop, he told himself. He couldn't make excuses like that for her, whatever she was it was a criminal.
"Finished, Quinn?" he asked and she looked at him, as if she was startled he had been watching her the whole time.
"Sure B-man, It sure it pretty here aint it, not like Brooklyn ya know. It was always grey, though-" she narrowed her eyes trying to remember, "we did live next to this big ole factory, could have been pollution or somefin," she said while she skipped to the wall to lean on,
"Still the sky sure is pure here, Mistah J just loves it when it's sunny, though he doesn't let me go outside a lot. He thinks it'll give away are hide out- I think the bombs he sets off at the 4th of July instead of fireworks gives off our hideout more."
In the past month he had gotten used to her accent and the speed of how she talked, even the way she talked like she was always exited, like she was seeing everything for the first time.
"Where would you go when you did get out?" he asked and Harley looked up, analyzing his expression.
Was he asking so the next time she got free he would wait for her then and take her back to Arkham? If she told him she ever be able to go again?
Finally, she just shrugged, "No where really," she said as if she was inside a dream instead of reality, "just around."
Batman nodded, it was times like these he was reminded how far apart their lives actually are.
"You better rest up Quinn," he said firmly, trying to gain back the authority he may have lost from being so lenient with her, "Robin will take you through the training soon, I designed it myself so don't expect it to be easy."
She threw her head back in laugher, "I can handle it, Bman, Mistah J trained me himself," she said proudly putting her hands on her hips.
"I thought it was the 17 years of gymnastics, Quinn," Batman asked rhetorically.
Harley's eyes snapped up to his, "Ya been spying on me Bman?"
"I make it my business to know everyone I fight against, Quinn," he said truthfully.
"Geeze! Bman, the names Harley! I think we both know you know me better than that.
In fact it sounds like you know everything about me."
This time Batman smiled, "Alright, Harley, turn around."
She did so obediently, a trait she probably learned from the Joker, he thought. Then he put the blindfold over her eyes and with her hand, began to lead her back.
"You taking me back to Arkham?" she joked and a smile broke out on her face. Suddenly Batman realized she was beginning to trust him.
"Finally!" Robin snapped when Batman was leading Harley into the bat-cave. He undid her blindfold so that she was facing Robin who stood with his arms crossed.
"Hey, give her a rest would you she just finished running," Batman said and Robin tried not to think if Batman had ever stood up for him when he was too tired for a training.
Robin took Batman aside, leaving Harley to the side, "You asked me to do this, I classes later, I can do this now, or you'll have to wait another day. Stop standing up for her, she doesn't deserve it."
Batman nodded, "alright," he turned back to Harley, "do what he says, Harley," he said, walking back to the elevator.
Robin opened the door to the training room, "hurry up Blondie, I aint got all day."
She followed him into the room, taking in the square fighting ring in the middle and the many apparatuses sprinkled around.
"Get in the ring Blondie," Robin ordered.
Harley crossed her arms, "the name is Harley birdbrain!" she snapped.
"Get in the ring or I'll tell Batman that your not ready to fight, Harley."
She paused, glaring at him but then she nodded and suddenly with speed she ran up to the ring and flipped inside of it.
Robin rolled his eyes. Batman was getting way to close to Harley, he had seen Selina hurt him and it wasn't going to happen again. Especially to someone who was old enough to be his girlfriend.
"Ok you are going to kick with your right leg, the injured one and try to hit me on my arms," he said and Harley smiled slightly. This was her speciality, she might not be able to defend herself against Robin when he's keeping her in a wheelchair or calling her Blondie but she could in a fight.
"Go," he snapped. Suddenly, she began to kick forward, thanks to gymnastics she could kick her leg to 180 degrees.
But Robin was fast he sprinted from one side to the other, until Harley was panting. She collapsed to the ground clutching her side.
He may not have like the idea of Harley and Batman but he did not like the idea of a chick in pain either so he walked over and put out his hand to help him up, "It's alright if your not ready, these things take time-"
"BAM!" she screamed and her leg shot over the arm Robin had extended.
"AW!' Robin yelled backing off of her, "OK, do it again."
That was it Harley was shooting her legs at Robin who was successfully avoiding, most of them.
Then, suddenly she jumped upwards and did a 360 flip landing square on Robin who became pinned to the ground. A smile broke out on her face, "I did it! Does this mean I passed?"
"You wish blondie- Harley," Robin said picking himself up and trying to disguise his red, out of breath face.
"Well whats next?"
"Can you do a pull up Harley?"
She laughed, "in my sleep birdie boy."
He ducked out of the ring and pointed to the bar that was held just above the arched doorway. With focused eyes he jumped to the bar with ease pulled himself up and down up and down, letting his muscles tense.
"Can you do that Harley?" he asked letting go of the bar and landing swiftly on his feet.
Ya know, birdie, you remind me of a gymnast, the way you can do a front flip and your balance," Harley said watching his shoes that during the pull ups were in unmistakable points.
"I was something like that," Robin said without thinking. Then when he realized he pursed his lips together, "It's your turn, go."
Harley did another front flip out of the ring and then, standing at least two meters away she jumped to the bar and her skinny arms pulled her self up and down up and down, controlled and with ease. Robin narrowed his eyes watching her. Never, had he seen another girl with her figure to be so strong.
"Done," she said, though she was out of breath when she did come down.
"Last one, Harley, I need to see you run, and I don't mean in the garden round and round like some pony, if you can't keep up you can't come out, you got it!'
"I can run," she said firmly.
He led her into the adjoining room, there in the middle was a well used treadmill.
"I need you to prove you can sprint," he said.
Harley's eyes washed over the treadmill warily and then she focused on the feeling of her leg. It wasn't strong like it used to be, even running in the garden left her with a slight reminder of pain, something that was easy to ignore. But sprint? she didn't know if she could.
"Easy," she snapped and jumped up onto it.
Robin picked up the timer.
"You have a minute, you need to run 0.4 miles," Robin said.
Harley focused her eyes on the clock on the treadmill screen and steadied her legs.
Harley sprang her legs forward as fast as they would take her, slamming them off the moving floor so hard that it rocked the machine and Robin raised his eyebrows impressed.
"Stop," he ordered and Harley stopped, letting the moving floor fling her backwards so she could pat while lying on her back.
"Sorry Blondie, 0.2 miles, you only got half way."
"There is no way a girl can do that!" she chocked and she began to slowly stand.
Robin looked into her blue eyes, fighting the urge to let her hold onto him while she was barely standing straight, "you failed."
"NO!" she yelled, then wrapping her arms around herself she shook herself, "you don't want to stay here as much as I do- Robin, please."
He shook his head, "No, Batman is right, it's safety first, if you slow us down, or if you get hurt again..."
Suddenly through the doors Batman appeared, hoping that the test would be over by now.
"How did she do?" Batman asked but as soon as he saw Harley's stone cold face he knew.
"0.2" Robin muttered and Batman looked down, that was an average speed at most, definitely below Harley Quinn's potential. She was too injured to go out, with that speed anyone could grab her and pull her back.
Then as if it had been predicted Alfred came into the room, "Batman, Robin the bat sign is up."
"Keep an eye on Harley, Alfred," Batman said rushing back to the bat cave.
"Wait!" Harley called rushing behind him, "Common Bats I passed everything else I can do this, I'm going insane here, don't keep me here!"
He analyzed her pleading face and then he hardened his own face.
"You would never let me out on a 0.2," Robin said from behind her and Batman nodded.
"He's right Quinn, I am sorry, we'll try again soon."
"NO!" she screamed and in that instant Batman saw that her face had gone from desperate to angry, a trait he guessed she had learned from her tempered boyfriend.
"Harley," he soothed, "you don't have to put so much pressure on yourself-" he couldn't finish, she had lunged forward but Robin had been quick and had grabbed her back, securing her shoulders which she struggled and yelled.
"I need to go! LET ME GO!" she screamed but Robin was holding her tightly.
Tears stung her eyes as she realized just how defenseless she was and then finally she stopped struggling, submitting completely to Robin's grip.
"Harley," Batman said firmly, as if he was speaking to an out of control child but she didn't answer, she just did everything to stop herself from breaking down.
"Robin, take her to her room," Batman said turning back to the car, closing his eyes and thinking of the girl he had seen today in the garden.
"NO!" she screamed and began to struggle again, fiercely she kicked in his grip and tried to slip out of his arms, "you won't get the blind fold on me!"
Batman realized she was telling the truth- and it was way to risky to try and then have her finding out the truth. Instead he walked over to the steel cupboard that had been originally used to keep the weapons for his belt, now it was empty.
He opened the door revealing the small almost cell like inside with the grey steel walls and Robin understood- so did Harley Quinn.
"NO! STOP!" she screamed shaking all over but Robin managed to push her into the room and close the door behind her. Batman closed his eyes and tried to ignore the sounds of her banging, and stop the pictures of her crying appear in his head.
"We have to go," he said sharply and Robin looked up, eyes wide with surprise to Batman.
He knew he was able to separate himself emotionally from almost everything but from the girl he had been trying to rejuvenate, who he appeared to really care for. It surprised him to his core.
"Alfred you'll need to make sure she's OK, don't let her out until I come back- she won't get through the lock. Robin needs to come, it looks like I am going to need his help."