Title: Wrath (1/2)
Author: Allaine
Email: eac2nd@yahoo.com
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimers: Well, you've probably memorized them by now, right?
Summary: In this prequel to "It's Just Allergies" an enraged Poison Ivy vents her anger on a plant specially created for that purpose. It gets out of control, however.

"Damn it, where is it?!" Poison Ivy snarled, shoving aside boxes and beakers in her haste. She was in such an agitated state that she was looking some places twice, and she didn't bother to push her hair out of her face.

"A-ha!" she said at last. "A-fucking-ha!" Out of a sealed pouch she retrieved a pair of seeds that were notable for both their size and appearance - they were the size of walnuts, and they were a light shade of purple.

"Arrogant," Ivy muttered through her teeth as she knelt in the loose soil of her greenhouse and dug a hole, not with a nearby spade, but with her bare hands. "Egomaniacal, selfish, hurtful bastard!" Judging the hole deep enough, she practically flung the seeds inside and, standing up, covered them by kicking dirt into the hole.

Getting a hose, she unleashed a torrent of water upon the spot. It was as if she was beating the soil instead of watering it. But how could this be? Poison Ivy, eco-terrorist and faithful lover of all types of flora? Had she snapped?

Upon closer inspection, however, one would have heard a stream of invective coming from her lips that, in her uncontrollable wrath, she directed at anyone she'd ever hated. Ivy cursed the stupid people of this planet who treated the greens of the Earth as their own private playthings; cursed Batman, who had prevented her holy crusade from succeeding over and over and OVER again; cursed the foolish police officers and doctors and anyone else who'd gotten in her way. "Damn you, Harley," she'd even said once, but it lacked heat.

Most of her rage, however, was saved for the one man who she now hated above all others - the one who called himself the Joker.

Flinging the hose aside, she ran her wet fingers through her hair, slicking it back. Now Ivy could only wait there as the seeds she'd specially prepared for just this kind of occasion took root. Wait, and seethe.

"Because we still have another hour," Ivy pointed out to Harley as she took a sip from her martini. "We might as well enjoy ourselves, relax a little, before we test out a week's worth of planning and calculations. And by doing so, we will at last prove that damn Barbie doll wrong."

"Who?" Harley said, looking up from her Coca-Cola. "Batgirl?"

"No," Ivy explained, "I mean the real Barbie doll."

Harley knew that they were both former residents of Arkham Asylum, and therefore were both certifiable loonies, but she wondered if Red had just completely lost it. "I don't get it," she said.

Ivy grinned and raised her martini glass, as if toasting. "For girls like us, math is definitely NOT hard."

Getting the reference at last, Harley giggled, but was careful not to spill any of her soda on the papers spread out in front of them.

Popping the olive into her mouth, Ivy cast a lazy eye over the rest of the Iceberg Lounge. It was a good place to be seen, just before they pulled off a major heist that would net them a few million dollars, plus at the least make Batman look like an idiot, or even better, a corpse. They'd talk about it afterwards, how Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn had been sipping cocktails in plain sight right before they pulled the crime of the century off.

"Girl power," she said to herself. The hackneyed phrase sounded somehow right. She'd worked her tail off coming up with this one. Everything had been planned, right down to the worst-case scenario. All the props were ready. And Harley, her "bestest gal-pal", as her friend would say, was an equal partner in the plan. Harley had stayed with Ivy at their hideout for a whole week, poking holes in Ivy's plans, lending her own zany brand of mayhem to the details. Basically, she gave Ivy everything her plants couldn't. Which showed Harley Quinn was the exception that proved the rule.

"You're ready for this, right?" Ivy asked. "You know how badly I need your total concentration for this. It's a two-person job, specifically you and me. No one else will work."

"Relax," Harley said, waving a hand. "This is my baby, too. And then all the papers will talk about it," she added, her eyes shining, "and they'll know I'm not just Mr. J's sidekick, and he'll _have_ to marry me!"

Ivy rolled her eyes. She'd been able to block out most of Harley's babbling about her "puddin'", but that one had been just too outlandish.

"Rule One, Harley - no more mentioning his name tonight, all right? If you want, you can go running back to him tomorrow morning."

"I agree. I'm tired of hearing old so-and-so's name all the time too. Why does he always have to hog the spotlight?"

Both women's heads slowly turned as the Joker slowly drifted over to their table, both feet dragging across the floor as his wheeled chair gently rolled toward them. He grinned charmingly and looked somewhat surprised at his drink.

"Dear me," he went on, "I seem to have spilled some of my libation. Garcon!"

"Puddin!" Harley squealed.

"What is it, Joker?" Ivy asked, suppressing a groan at the sight of her least favorite Rogue.

"Hm?" Joker replied, looking as if he'd momentarily forgotten why he was there. "Oh, haven't you seen the time? It's time for little Harley to come home with me. She's been playing with her friends _so_ long, and she has chores and she probably hasn't washed her hands all _day_!"

"Absolutely not," Ivy retorted. "She and I have plans for tonight."

The Joker put a finger to his chin. "Now, I know somebody orders Harley around, but I don't think it's you, Ivy. What was his name?" He snapped his fingers. "That's right, _I_ order her around. Harley, the place is a mess, and the litter box needs changing, and . . . oh hell, why am I explaining myself? Harley, we're leaving." He stood up suddenly, sending his chair careening backwards so that it nearly knocked over a waiter.

"But Puddin," Harley wheedled, "Ivy and I have this great plan for a job tonight, and it's going to work so well, and we worked on it for a whole week. _Please_ can I stay until tomorrow morning? Please?!"

Disgusted, Ivy couldn't tell if Harley sounded more like she was talking to her boyfriend or her father.

"To be honest, I'm a little in the mood tonight, Harl," the Joker muttered through his teeth. Then he saw the papers. "Oh, wait, you have a plan? This oughta be worth a few laughs." Snatching them up before Ivy could stop him, he turned away, tossing individual sheets over his shoulder after giving them a cursory glance.

"Typical Poison Ivy plan," he said nastily. "Blah blah blah, plants, yada yada yada, plants, blah blah blah, plants, yada yada, the Bat shows up and drags you to Arkham." Grinning, he looked back at Ivy. "Does that sound about right?" The Joker dropped the papers unceremoniously on the table.

Ivy was almost as red as her hair as she steamed in her seat, feeling that familiar old friend of hers, homicidal rage, welling up inside of her. "Harley," she said slowly, biting off the words, "we're leaving. Tell your boyfriend he can wait until tomorrow."

"Puddin," Harley begged him, "just one more night?"

"Girl power" was rapidly fading.

"Harley, Harley," he said to her, shaking his head. "I'm just saving you from untoward embarrassment." By now the tables around them were empty, and the Penguin had appeared by the bar, evidently steeling himself to go over and ask the Joker and Poison Ivy to dial it down a little.


"Of course, Harl," Joker said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. He leaned over her. "You're the world's worst sidekick. Fortunately my criminal genius makes up for it. But if you try playing evil mastermind with the human crabgrass," he warned her, jerking a contemptuous thumb behind him, "everyone's going to know just what a brainless bimbo you are."

By now Ivy should have leapt out of her chair and beaten the Joker's face into the floor, but she held her rapidly blossoming anger in check and waited for Harley to stand up for herself. "Come on, Harley," she thought to herself.

Harley's eyes welled up with tears. "Why do you have to be so mean?" she squeaked.

"Oh, for the love of . . ." Joker muttered, rolling his eyes, before he backhanded her across the face, almost knocking her from her seat.

Ivy regretted leaving her things in the car, but there was the knife inside of her glove. Shooting out of her chair, she had it out and pointing at the Joker in three seconds.

Unfortunately, in two seconds he had his gun out of his jacket, in his hand, and pointing at a place right between her eyes, freezing Ivy's knife hand less than twelve inches from his throat.

"Drop it," he said quietly. "This stopped being funny a minute ago, you stupid bitch. Harley is mine. If I say she can play dolls with you, then she can. If I say she comes with me, she comes with me. She's got a collar, Pammy, and only my hand pulls the leash. Get that through your fucking head, or you'll have to find a new gal pal."

"Red," Harley whispered as she got to her knees. "Please, Puddin, I'm coming. Just don't hurt her, okay? It was my fault, honest."

Dismayed as much by Harley's resignation as she was by her precarious position, Ivy dropped the weapon and fell down into her chair. "Just go," she snarled, looking away.

His finger tightened briefly on the trigger, but the Joker eventually let the gun fall halfway. He didn't put it away, though, remaining watchful of Ivy. "That's right," he growled, pulling Harley up by her arm. "You are coming with me now. In fact, you'll be doing a lot of coming tonight." And for the first time that night, he indulged himself in a trademark fit of cackling laughter.

Ivy ground her teeth together as she watched the Joker drag Harley's forlorn shape out of the establishment, ruining all her plans more thoroughly than the Bat ever could have. His laugh set her nerves on edge.

"Miss Isley . . ."

"What?!" she snarled.

"Can I get you something?" the Penguin asked quietly from behind.

"Double bourbon, no rocks," Ivy growled murderously.

The Penguin snapped his fingers and sent a waiter hurrying on his way to the bar, but Ivy would only drink half her drink before storming out.

"Loathsome creature," Ivy hissed to herself, still waiting, the anger having burned off the alcohol. "Damn it, damn it! What is taking so long?"

At that point, the recently disturbed soil was rent by something pushing up from below.

"Finally," she whispered, her eyes wild.

It didn't look like any plant ever seen on this planet, or any other. In fact, it looked like a man.

"Grow your own dope," Ivy sneered. "Plant a Joker."

"Heh, heh, heh," the cactus-based Joker simulacrum laughed. It wasn't a perfect copy, but it would do.

"You have no idea how much I've wanted to do this," she muttered before driving her foot squarely into its midsection.

"Ha-hahahaha!" it shrieked as it bent backwards before snapping back into place.

Something she'd developed months before, this genetically altered cactus was another of her human/plant hybrids, like the copies of that fool Carlyle. It had been designed to imitate the Joker to the best of its ability, and at this point it was doing a passable job. It looked almost exactly like him, but the voice needed some work, and obviously the personality wasn't too crisp.

Most importantly, it was designed to withstand a beating. She would never inflict damage to one of her beloved plants for her own private pleasure; that was what distinguished her from the rest of the world. But she'd gotten around the problem by crafting a defense mechanism in the plant's genes - the more abuse it took, the harder its outer layers grew, and eventually it would grow very sharp spikes. When Ivy felt those eventually, she'd know it was time to quit.

It laughed again, and this time its laugh was a better imitation. It hurt her ears more.

Ivy was glad no one could see her like this. They might have wondered why she was physically assaulting one of her plants. Worse, they might have thought her pathetic at being reduced to growing a Joker punch dummy to satisfy her frustrations. Even alone, she felt her pride being pricked.

But she'd felt pricked much worse earlier tonight, and she would have some modicum of revenge.

"Eat this," she spat at the "Joker" and plastered it across the "face" with a right hook. Hit, laugh, hit, laugh, the game went on.

To be concluded . . .