Who: Joker & Harley What: You and me and baby makes three! Where: An empty lot When: Immediately following the villain plot/baby kidnapping. Warnings/Rating: Evil cuteness?
Harley was torn. There was no other way to describe the emotions swirling within her. Ivy would be pissed when she came back to find out that she’d even given Joker the time of day. She should’ve ignored the journal message and she sure as hell should have put up a bit more of a fight. But it was a baby, Harley was almost sure of it, particularly after hearing about what he’d done at the hospital. As soon as she left the Greenhouse, she could tell something had happened given the thugs on the street and she sweet talked one into filling her in. He was currently passed out slumped against a wall, but that was neither here nor there. She wasn’t dressed in her Harlequinn outfit, but it was tucked away in the backpack she had slung over her shoulder, opting instead for jeans, a fitted blood red tee and a jet black leather jacket. Her guns were concealed, one at the small of her back and the other in a holster beneath her jacket. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a tight braid, mostly to keep it out of the way as she made her way carefully to the address he’d given her. It could be a trap, Ivy’s voice whispered in her ear, but Harley shook her head. She missed the other woman more than she cared to admit and yes, she was fully aware that there was a good chance she was only going along with this because she was lonely, but still. Baby. And if it wasn’t, she could shoot him and Ivy wouldn’t be mad at all. It was a win-win. Sort of. That’s what she was telling herself at least as she came up to the empty lot.
Just to be on the safe side, Harley drew the gun from the small of her back and held it steady in her hands as she stepped further into the lot. There was an amusement park next to it, abandoned by the look of it, but she focused more on the empty lot, waiting for any sign of where he might be. “Ya know, it’s not nice, keeping a gal waiting,” she called, finding her sing-song teasing voice. She so wanted to be Harleen for Ivy, to be a good girl and be exactly what the redhead wanted, but Harley was fighting to be allowed to play. Ivy would be back soon though. She was sure of it and then she’d have the strength to ignore the Joker completely. At least she hadn’t given away where she was hiding. She was proud of herself for that.
The Joker had a good vantage point, hidden away in the shadows of the abandoned parking attendant’s booth, to watch as one of his goons step out from the shadows and sneak up behind the leather-clad blonde and press his gun into the small of her back, cold metal nestled right against her spine.
“Don’t move, girlie,” the hooded thug growled out in the night air, watching closely to make sure that neither of her hands strayed towards any likely hiding places for a weapon before he motioned to his fellow goon. The other guy was peering out from behind a nondescript black van parked a dozen yards away, and at the signal he hurried over to join the two figures in the lot. He had his own gun out and pointed at the woman as he approached her from the front and slightly to the side, stopping a good ten feet away and training the barrel on a spot between her eyebrows.
Only once Joker could tell that his strong-arms had secured Harley in place did he slink out of the shadowy innards of the booth, and into the flickering orange light of the streetlamps above. In his arms he held a small bundle of clean white hospital-issue blankets, swaddled around a tiny baby with blonde hair and blue eyes. She had spent a good portion of the ride over bawling her little heart out, so much that she had apparently exhausted herself. Now she was sleeping soundly, making soft gurgling sounds as the Joker rocked her against his chest in a frighteningly gentle fashion.
“Check her for all those weapons, boys. Can’t have anyone waving guns around my baby girl, can I?”
Harley hadn’t been expecting the goons. He hadn’t brought them last time, but then again, she had shot him and now here she was, holding a gun. The goon at her back surprised her and she shifted her grip so that she was holding the gun with one hand, carefully holding both of her hands up in a show of surrender. “I’m not going to shoot you, assclown,” she muttered, looking over her shoulder to the thug at her back. Another one came up in front of her though, aiming another gun at her, and Harley just rolled her eyes. They weren’t going to shoot her, not when Joker had specifically asked for her to come see him. She was about to make another comment when she caught sight of him stepping out of the shadows. With a bundled blanket in his arms.
“Your baby girl?” Harley echoed, glancing at the blankets in his arms. “You know, you should probably tell your goons not to fall for pretty smiles. Gave away all your little secrets. Robbing a maternity ward? Tsk tsk. What’d you do with the rest of them?” she asked as the goon at her back took the gun out of her hand. He must’ve put it away because the next thing she knew, his meaty hand was running over her shoulders, down her back and she had to stop herself from going to kick him when his hand slid over the curve of her ass. He seemed satisfied and walked around to her front and Harley saw the look in his eyes. “Don’t even think about it,” she hissed, reaching for the gun in the holster against her ribcage and handing it over to him. Once he had it, she threw a punch for good measure, catching his jaw. It hurt, but she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of her pain.
Harley turned to Joker then, arms crossed over her chest. “Lemmie get this right. I shoot you - with a gun you gave me, mind - and you stole us a baby?” The skepticism was clear as day in her tone.
In most other circumstances, the Joker would have tipped his painted face back against the moonlit sky and let his amusement ring out against the horizon like sharp knives in the air. Instead he somehow managed to feign a wounded expression through several layers of makeup and gaudy paint, peering at her over the soft mounded bundle of cloth and hopes and musical cries escaping a tiny, pursed mouth.
The clown wasn’t a fool. The last time he had come face to face with the doll, he’d ended up on the strictest end of a bullet from the very guns he’d given her. Nothing more than he deserved, maybe - but still insulting. With no mysterious healing powers on this side of the door and something that most likely belonged to him in a deep, bad way, the Joker had staggered through the door and crashed through the halls of Passages until he’d summoned the other guy’s best friend. The only one who had crossed over through the same door and managed to crash her villain and the clown together like a lightning bolt into the stiff ground.
“I stole us a baby,” he repeated softly, his raspy voice little more than sweet confirmation. The little girl cooed and wriggled in his arms and he looked down at her with no small amount of wonder, tucking the little bundle against his chest. “And you are going to take care of her. Aren’t you, mommy Harley?”
She almost felt bad, but that was because it was hard to be mad or indifferent when she was standing right in front of him. Ivy had been gone for days already and Harley was starting to get that sinking feeling that she was going to be gone forever. The blonde hated that and, unfortunately, it made her a little more vulnerable to Joker’s ploys, which this most certainly was. She knew that and yet, she couldn’t stop herself from stepping closer to him and the bundle in his arms. Was it really a little girl, just for her? For them? This was such a bad idea. One of her worst, particularly after Ivy made her promise to be a good girl. Well, Ivy isn’t here is she? She left you at the mercy of Gotham. She isn’t coming back and you’re not going to fool anyone, trying to be a doctor.
Before she even realized it, Harley was standing so close to him that they were nearly touching. If that wasn’t a real baby in his arms, he’d gone to a lot of effort to make it seem like there was. “A little girl?” she echoed, looking up at him in wonder. “Why would you do this? What’s the catch?” There had to be one, just because it was him, but did the catch really matter? This was a baby, a child that they could raise as their very own. Harley was desperate for the love and attention, whether it came from the baby, the Joker, or both, she didn’t care. “Can I hold her?” she asked timidly, wanting his permission even though her hands slowly traveled up to rest on his arms, waiting to take the bundle from him.
The clown was nothing if not observant, and he had been one of the first to notice that the flowers and plants were starting to wilt and droop all over Gotham. A certain thorn’s absence had not gone unnoticed, and the fact that it happened to coincide with this stage of his plan was just a whole pile of good fortune that the Joker hadn’t even anticipated. This meant that Harley was weak and alone, forgotten like a broken doll. Outgrown and abandoned, left to the wolves. To this wolf, with his sharp teeth and his claws and his dark eyes and his painted grin.
“The catch,” he said softly so as not to disturb the sleepy baby where she lay in her swaddled blankets, enunciating each syllable clearly in order to properly convey his message. “Is that we do it together, girlie. You and me. Ma and Pa. No thorny little weeds worming their way in, whenever she shows her face again.”
Joker didn’t bother to hide his sneer, mangled upper lip curling in distaste as he imagined how eager that woman would be to bend Harley to her will once again. No, there was no way that she was getting near the baby if he had anything to say about it - and he had more than his share of quips and bad puns to share on the matter, if anyone asked. More than anything, though, he had to make sure that Harley herself wouldn’t go scampering off to Ivy the first time he turned his back. He was so close to breaking her that he could practically taste it, a sharp sweetness at the back of his tongue that burned red-hot.
“And of course, you’re going to have to name her...” he trailed off as he watched her face closely from beneath hooded eyes, scars stretched taut as his lips pressed together. Finally, he bent a little at the waist and carefully, gingerly, transferred the bundle in Harley’s eager, trembling arms. Something snapped behind her eyes in that moment, he could see it written on her face clear as day. She was enthralled, spellbound by this tiny little girl with her round, flushed cheeks and waving fists. She was all his, practically wrapped up in a neat package with a bow.
She should’ve known that Ivy would be the catch. Did he know that she’d been living with the woman? Was that why it was her specifically? Her eyes were wide as she looked up at him, worrying her lower lip. Could she promise to stay away from Ivy if she showed up again? You can, for the little girl. You know you want her. Harley glanced down at the baby again, then back up to his painted face. “Just you an’ me, Mister J,” she agreed, her voice no more than a whisper. Oh, she was in over her head but it was a baby. He was offering her a baby and a chance to be a family. Why wait those pesky nine months when they could have a baby now? Harley was on board, especially since he’d already gone to all the trouble. She’d show him just how perfect a mama she could be and Ivy would come around. In Harley’s mind, there would be a happy ending.
“I get to name her?” she echoed, not quite believing that he’d give her the honor. Belladonna, that was the name she wanted. It was a poisonous plant, something Ivy would appreciate, but she wasn’t going to tell Joker that. He finally slid the bundle into her arms and Harley pulled her in close, hugging her tightly and dropping her head to kiss the baby’s forehead. Oh, but she was beautiful. There were wisps of blonde hair on her head and she couldn’t be sure, but she hoped that the little girl had bright blue eyes. “Where are we going to stay?” She’d already decided that she wasn’t going to let Bailey back in Las Vegas now that she had this little baby. Bella, that’s what she’d name the girl. Harley looked back up at him, soft and gentle, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.
“Her name’s Bella,” she added, because she needed to tell him that. “We’re going to need supplies. Clothes, diapers...formula.” That was just the surface of it. They’d need a whole nursery too, if they were going to do this right. Harley swore to herself that she’d do right by this beautiful, innocent little girl. Maybe it wasn’t the exact right that Ivy had made her swear to, but it had to count for something. She’d make it count for something.
And there it was, sure as anything. The doll was his with a few words and the gift of instantaneous motherhood, and every step was calculated and choreographed to bind her tighter under his spell. Of course the clinching factor was Ivy, the thorny bitch. It wouldn’t have taken the brightest thug in Gotham to figure out who Harley was spending most of her time hanging around, trailing after her like a sad little puppydog, and even less to realize that the Joker would pay pretty well for that sort of information. He’d never asked, but all the goons seemed to take it for granted that he would want to be kept up to date on her movements, and he hadn’t argued. Needless to say, it had proven valuable on more than one occasion.
“The baby is going to stay in a new apartment I had built, in one of the most secure buildings in the city. You can live there too if you want to stay with her. There will be constant security and a trained nurse for when you need to take naps. Loyal, of course. She’s got a kid of her own and she wants to make it back to him in one piece, so she’ll do whatever you say.” The Joker’s mouth actually curved into something that resembled a real smile more closely than anything else that had ever crossed his features before.
“Bella,” he repeated in a lilting voice, reaching out with one gloved hand to carefully smooth a blond curl away from the baby’s forehead. “I like it. As for all that baby crap - “ and here he flapped one hand in a gesture of disinterest, motioning to one of his thugs that he should take note of what the Joker was about to say. “The boys will pick up anything you need. If you want to go shopping yourself, you leave her at home with the nurse and take money out of the safe. Code is your birthday.” Here the clown’s eyes sparkled fever-bright, pleased to reveal that he’d done his research.
A new apartment, with his brand of security. She wouldn’t leave her Belladonna, not even to get herself some clothes or the baby supplies. The thugs could pick it up and they’d pick up the right stuff or else. She didn’t even care that there was a nanny being threatened. Joker didn’t mention anything about her journal, which she would have to slip out to grab, but later. She’d deal with it later. Right now, she wanted her precious little girl all to herself and she had a list to make of all the things they’d need. Ivy was gone, but not forgotten, and Harley would make sure little Bella knew all about her Auntie Ivy and when the redhead came back, she’d find a way to make Joker see that it would be okay. She’d make Ivy see too.
Of course, as soon as he mentioned about the code being her birthday, Harley looked up at him with love in her eyes. He knew her birthday and made it the code. She didn’t even think twice about closing the distance between them and kissing him, her free hand wrapping around his neck as she kept her body at an angle, so as not to squish their daughter. It didn’t last long, though she gave him every ounce of passion she could, and when she pulled back it was only enough for her to lower herself off her tiptoes. “Take us home, Daddy-O, or you gonna go play with your friends?” Her tone was light and teasing, honestly not caring which one he chose. Batman would be after him though and if they were going to have a decent chance at being a family, he couldn’t know about the baby.
Needless to say, he was caught off guard by Harley’s version of thanks - that which saw her lips pressing against the red makeup smeared over his mouth, and after an endless moment pulling back to shoot him a beaming smile. No doubt he’d made her happier than anyone had in a very long time. It took a moment to recover from the surprise of her kiss, and after another minute the Joker flashed a cheap imitation of a grin, teeth glinting in the yellow street lamps that illuminated their rendezvous.
“I’m off to play with the big bad Bats, but the boys will take you home - “ he paused for a second while he patted down the pockets of his purple jacket, locating a small compact device and passing it over. It was a prepaid cell phone, programmed with only one number. “Call me if there are any problems and I’ll be there in a jif. You take care of our Bella, now - y’hear?” He waggled a finger in her face before turning back to the little girl and gentling tickling one of her hands.
“See you soon, baby girl.”
And with that, he was backing away into the shadows and slipping off in the night.