As it turns out, making enemies is just as easy as friends.
If you’re looking for smut here, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until the next chapter. The smut that I had written was subpar and confusing, so I’m rewriting it, so it didn’t make the final cut for this chapter.
Though I admit, enough is happening here for you to forget it. I hope. Please.
Have a Happy New Year, everyone! (For future reference – posted December 31, 2014)
“Oh yeah,” Harvey bragged, leaning back against the hood of the car, the last doughnut in hand. “She wants it.”
His partner snorted. “Yeah, sure.”
“She just winked at me,” he whined, his eyes narrowing. “I can’t believe you all missed that.”
Detective Flass rolled his eyes, dusting his hands of the yellow dust on his car. “Sure Harvey. We all, at the same time, missed her winking at you, while we were staring at her ass the entire time she was over there. I’m so sorry we missed it.”
DeCarlo snickered. “I think you had too many doughnuts.”
Bullock looked him in the eye when he took a large bite of the glazed baked good.
“Get ready, guys,” Flass warned everyone. “In a couple of minutes, we’re gonna be really sorry that we just missed him getting a blowjob!”
The team laughed, and Harvey blinked at the sight before him. “Fuck. I’ve had too many doughnuts.”
Arnold Flass laughed harder. “Hopes she gets to the base!”
“ I imagine that wouldn’t be too difficult.”
The laughter stopped. The echo hung through the air, similar to the one Warlock held before. The rest finally realized where Harvey was looking, and their eyes instinctively followed and turned towards the News van.
Despite her green skin, it was always her hair that attracted everyone first. Her long red tresses shimmered in the daylight, frequently in motion even as the air kept still around her. Her skin in itself, usually pale and human-like in texture, was almost glowing with radiance, pulsing in random places on her body as it absorbed the rays of the sun. Her eyes, however, caught all of their attention.
Poison Ivy’s burning eyes gleamed with carnivorous glee at their squirming, and she sauntered forward.
“You boys liked the doughnuts? I imagine they were good. I hope you saved one. I’m starving.”
Their throats tightened. Flass noticed first that he couldn’t reach for his gun, or really move much at all. His hands shook violently, and he suddenly felt cold.
Her shiny black lips gave a mischievous grin. “Do you think you’ve had too many? You don’t really know when you’ve had enough until it settles. Bread tends to expand.”
“Frosting is no slouch, eithah.” They couldn’t move their heads, but they heard a gentle tap on the hood of the patrol car behind them. “That outta really slow ya down. I never trusted artificial sugah.”
“You shouldn’t.” Her green irises flashed with playfulness. “Nor would I trust the cars you’re sitting on. It’s a bit too late in the year for pollen, isn’t it?”
Bullock’s hands trembled against the dusty patrol vehicle, and only his eyes could express his pain when a well-placed boot smashed his digits into the hood.
A gloved hand tickled the side of his neck, and lightly squeezed his chin from behind. “Cat got your tongue? Or are you just petrified in the presence of beauty?”
The jester leaped off the car and landed in front of them, the TV News camera on her small shoulder seeming like a light prop in her hands. She steadied the camera onto Bullock. “Nah. I think he just pissed himself.”
He could feel the edge of the gloves break his skin as her claws gripped tighter. “That could be arranged.”
“We need him in control of his bodily functions – for now,” Ivy warned. “He’ll have plenty of chances to soil himself, but not anywhere near me.”
The woman behind him sighed. “Fine.” She pressed her boot to the middle of his back, and violently pushed forward, with a force on his wide frame that he didn’t think she, or anyone else, had.
He forced his legs to move, and he was only able to lumber a few feet before he fell forward into Ivy’s waiting grasp.
She gripped his light overcoat tight for a moment, glaring at him through half-lidded eyes, before her lips curled into a cold, callous grin.
“Oh, yes – we could use you.”
She pushed him back, and he felt a cold, metallic coil around his neck. He wheezed – it was the only thing he could do – before he passed out, standing there, frozen.
Catwoman laughed, keeping him embraced in her cold whip before she took a deep breath, and they both vanished.
The rest could only stare in shock; not that they had any choice in the matter. They found that they had just enough mobility to gulp nervously.
“One,” Harley muttered. She turned the camera to the redhead, her green and red hair swishing about her shoulders. “Need any more?”
She shrugged. “Warlock promised he only needed one. Just one, and he would know all of Gotham’s secrets.” She paused, and eyed her girlfriend strangely. “Is that camera really recording anything?”
“Nah. What’s-his-face left it heyah. I picked up Vicki’s mic, too, if you want it. The signal’s blocked, compliments of Eddie, and there’s no tape. Could be useful in the future, though.”
Ivy wasn’t sure where Harley’s mind was when she said that, but the teasing smile gave her an accurate guess. “Hope you’re not camera-shy.”
“Oh, you know how much I like to put on a show.” She turned her head away from the eyepiece and glanced back to the six officers there. “Whaddya say, boys? Ready to get this party started? It sounds like your friends are almost here!”
Harry knew something was wrong the moment he apparrated onto the scene.
The Riddler’s lair – what he supposed looked like an abandoned warehouse with a very sizeable basement for underground work – had a missing door.
The raven-haired teen could only guess that Edward would have had the common sense to at least give the option for a potential enemy to knock, so he could safely assume that something was amiss. His eyes swept the building, and his lips curled in a frown.
“It’s not just Batman in there,” he warned his partner.
“Good,” Catwoman purred beside him. “I need to blow off some steam, anyway.”
“Sorry for that.”
“Just stay out of my way, and you’ll be forgiven.” She stretched out her arms as she stepped forward confidently into the shack. “Roomie.”
Harry removed his cloak from his black cargo slacks and wrapped it around his shoulders. With a dip of his head, he was gone from the face of the earth.
He gave a grim smile. Oh, whoever was in there wished that would happen.
With a thought, black gauze wrapped tightly around his hands, the wiry mesh thinly separating from his skin, giving his hands an armor that he could barely feel. The wrapping moved across his body, covering every inch of his skin below his red and black uniform, the hint of it showing through the green claw marks adorned on his torso and legs.
He really, truly felt naked in this uniform, for good reason – the wire surrounding his body, only a millimeter thin for each layer, was always separated from his body by micrometers. The hairs on his body brushed against the material, and it gave him a tingle that always kept him alert.
It was a cheaper and a more flexible defense compared to Basilisk skin, as he had discovered the hard way. The thin wires could be enhanced and separated, and could cut through trees whole.
A fact that he wouldn’t be telling Pamela anytime soon.
He squeezed his hands, testing out the armor; he hadn’t used it since battling Voldemort himself, and he was rather worried that he might not be able to use it, due to the constant magic he had to pour into the suit. It subconsciously fed off of him, and he didn’t want this suit freezing on him. The results would be rather disastrous. Hermione didn’t approve of it, but he needed it.
He needed to make another good impression. At this point, his character called for it. The Warlock liked to show off.
With nary a whisper, he blew into the building, and Catwoman didn’t even notice him breezing past her, inches away from her leather-clad form. Skipping over the fallen door (mystery solved), he made his way to the basement.
“ Who in the hell is the Warlock? What does he want? And what will he – ”
A bullet between the eyes prevented her from asking any further questions.
Or, at least, that’s what he would have done; what he wished would have happened to Vale. But for now, he had to settle with unloading his gun into a television screen.
Four shots in, he held his fire, willing to wait until Riddler got back.
“He had one job,” he grimaced, straightening his blue tie. “One simple goddamn job.”
The crew was silent. He didn’t expect them to respond, lest they wanted to feel his wrath.
The wooden mask was impassive as ever, as anyone would expect it to be. But shooting repeatedly at a television would give anyone a different impression. However, the only impression he wanted, at the moment, was a very deep one in Edward’s far-too-smug face.
“Can I help you?”
His men jumped at the voice, and carefully looked around, but he didn’t bother looking for the voice – it sounded like it was coming from everywhere at once. What he did know, and truly cared about, was that it wasn’t Edward’s. “Yeah. Bring me Poindexter.”
“May I ask why?”
“Oh.” The silence echoes the admittedly large shack for a moment – nothing but the whirring of mechanical fixtures and the static of radios, until he spoke again. “No.”
“No?” He chuckled deeply. “And can I ask why?”
“Good. So you’re the punk I’m looking for.” He nodded to his henchmen. “Strip the room.”
“It’s bold of you to assume that I’m in the room.”
“My guys checked the room for bugs. All recording devices are as dead as you’re gonna be.”
The voice scoffed. “I imagine you would feel the need to check again. You obviously missed something the first time.”
Roman growled. “What?”
His Beretta gleamed as he pointed it directly above him, and he was only able to see a blur of a shadow before a sharp pain struck his wrist.
The gun slid away harmlessly on the floor, further away from him; but the batarang rested at his feet, staring up at him reproachfully.
Black Mask let out an angry howl. “Kill that sonovabitch!”
Harley gently sat the camera down behind the patrol car and picked up her weapon of choice. She hoisted her weapon on her shoulder and waited. “Come to mama…”
The green-skinned teen’s eyes glowed, and the leaves of her skirt blew back and forth as the wind around her gathered. “Let’s make this quick.”
The sirens got louder and louder, but they had dealt with them enough to know exactly how close they were. Cars rushed into the intersection – at least five – and, thankfully for them, the decimated cars blocked all three lanes but one of them.
They were still surrounded, again, and it was a new feeling for them to be out in the daylight like this, but it felt… freeing, in a way. To do something so daring, out and in the open.
Ivy just hoped they didn’t get shot. Fidgeting with one foot, then the other, she kicked off her elfish slippers, leaving her bare feet to touch the concrete floor. She wiggled her toes a little, feeling the heat against her skin (it was odd that extreme temperatures could never affect her since her transformation, but she could feel the slightest change of temperature around her) before she narrowed her eyes at the police wordlessly getting out of their cars and taking out their guns. “You never learn.”
Captain Crogan flicked on his bullhorn. “This is only a formality. Step forward with your hands in the – Where’s Bullock?”
“Really?” Harley looked dumfounded, her red eye blinking into the sights. “You kiddin’ me? We have six of your men hostage ovah heyah, and you want to know where the stooge is?”
He cleared his throat. “We don’t make any deals until we see Bullock.”
“We’re not in a deal-making mood.” Pamela narrowed her eyes moving slightly over to get a direct vision at the man, blocking Harley from his sight. “You probably missed our message on the way over here, but I just wanted to clarify on a few things.”
He stepped out from behind the door, his jaw set. “We do it your way when we fucking feel like it. Until then, get on the fucking ground and hope we don’t handle you too roughly when we take you back to Blackgate!”
“That escalated quickly,” Harley muttered with a giggle. “Oi, Captain Jack! You forgot ta take your meds today?”
Corgan growled and lifted his gun. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here last night; you two are far too much trouble than you’re worth.” He cocked his head. “Far too much.”
“Be that as it may,” Ivy continued smoothly, “we feel that if you’re not constantly reminded of our presence, then you’ll forget about us. And then you’ll forget our warning.”
“Honestly,” the grizzly man spoke into the megaphone, waving the policemen to get closer, “I already forgot the warning. You should probably put it in writing.” He squinted at Harley, who was practically hidden behind the car. “You done taking a piss-break, girlie? That’ll be the last time you’ll get in any private time. Make it count.”
Harley’s weapon beeped. “Oh. I will.”
Ivy’s hands, which were resting tensely against her hips, balled into fists at the sound of that beep. She slightly bent her knees, and closed her eyes.
The captain fumbled as he pulled back the hammer of his gun, allowing himself a grin as he prepared to take down the most violent team in Gotham – and he would give the order. “Duck and Cover! Shoot to kill!”
That loud chant confused the officers for less than a second at the unusual shout of confirmation from the villainesses’ side, for the very earth to tremble beneath their feet. In that second, the ground cracked and shifted, and a large mound burst into existence beneath Poison Ivy’s feet.
She extended her legs, and she gracefully flew into the air in a perfect summersault, before landing next to a petrified DeCarlo in a crouch. Her hands, in fluid motion, waved and pushed, and the men on their side were suddenly thrown towards them, flying not as gracefully into the air, their petrified bodies launched by the springy coils that spiked from the ground.
So busy trying to refocus their guns on the elegant beauty, and more considerate officers attempting to catch the corrupt men, they didn’t notice the sudden exposure of a terrifying visage, lying in wait behind her lover.
Harley Quinn, her mouth twisted into a wide smile, rested one elbow on the hood of the cop car, and extended her middle finger towards the sky, pointing it at the group of officers in general.
The other hand pulled the trigger of the candy cane-striped bazooka in the same direction.
She quickly turned the weapon to another car, and she pulled it again.
The ground erupted powerfully before her, and an explosion of green was all she could really focus on before her girlfriend grabbed her shoulder. She moved her knee over to touch the camera, and with two taps of her offending finger, the two felt a pull at their navels.
She knew that would give them something to remember.
“Why am I not surprised to see you here first?” Ivy wondered, dusting herself off after the two collapsed to the floor, returning from their trip.
“Because you don’t like surprises,” a non-wired Harry gently informed her, still holding Harley’s hand as he pulled them both up. “How well did it work?” he asked nervously, looking at the still-smoking instrument of destruction on the ground.
A sound kiss from her answered any questions he had.
Still, after they parted, she answered his question anyway – “Like a fucking charm.”
“And you get on me for my puns,” A voice behind them grumbled, and Ivy and Harley looked back to see Selina lying across a couch they were sure weren’t there before. Her leg was bare, the leathery garment cut cleanly from the rest of her full suit, and she was once again unmasked. “Don’t ask.”
“She was shot,” he told them quietly.
Her ears twitched. “Damn you.” She could provide no further defense – she looked exhausted, and for good reason. “So, if you three don’t need me anymore, I think I’ll just go to sleep…”
Harley turned to Harry as the ebony-haired girl drifted off. “So… you also heal gunshot wounds?”
Harry shook his head. “Not really. I have a vial of phoenix tears. Doing it myself would take much longer, and we just got here.”
Pamela leaned against Harry’s other side. “It’s been a long day. I’ll get an explanation out of you after my nap.”
Harleen eyed her girlfriend carefully. “Hey – you alright?”
“Déjà vu,” the redhead muttered, before she shook her head. “I’m alright. That really took a lot out of me. I’ve never done so much in so little time. I made my babies grow as much as I could with as little time as possible. I just hope my penmanship is legible.” She smiled weakly at Harry. “No headaches or anything.”
Harry wordlessly pressed a hand against her forehead. “Just making sure.”
She gently removed his hand and kissed his knuckle. “When I was out there, I haven’t felt that … challenged … in a long time. We should do that more often.” She grinned against his palm, and forced a tingle through his arm. “I’ve never felt more with nature than at that point. I feel stronger, now.”
“Ditto,” Harley agreed happily. “Today was fun. We should do it again, sometime. I think we were really productive.” She moved to Nigma’s empty chair in front of the monitors, and swiveled the chair to Harry. “So, what happened on your end? Is Batman so afraid of us that he finally started packing heat?”
The Boy-Who-Lived shook his head wryly, taking Pamela’s hand in his own. “Well, you know what they say about curious cats…”
The first thing Harry noticed when he got downstairs, ignoring the elevator in favor of the grates, was that the basement was… deceivingly large.
He was aware that it was a warehouse, so he supposed that it probably should be this big, but a part of him couldn’t help but theorize exactly what was in here that required so much space.
He shook his head, and carefully jumped onto the steel beam that was in front of him. He hung high over the group below, and he noticed the man dressed in white first. Black Mask. Roman Sionis.
He thought to himself for a moment – what gain did they make from giving away his identity? Probably not a lot. Black Mask had been arrested many times, and they let him go before they could even remove his mask, thanks to his lawyers. Or maybe the police knew who he was, and just looked the other way? But if the people knew who he was, then he’d just go to being the Black Mask full time, after taking all of Roman’s immediate assets, which was probably a considerable amount.
He shelved the thought – maybe another time.
Jumping from beam to beam, he spotted the items that Edward had told him about – the items that he absolutely needed from his base, after recognizing that Batman might not be the only one looking for him, and that his life would likely end short if he stepped in the base after tonight.
If the Batman was here, alone, then he would have a better chance of retrieving the items. But now, in a room filled with armed henchmen, and one pissed off mob boss, he figured that apparating around really fast probably wasn’t the best strategy.
He spied Selina on the floor level, pilfering a few hard drives and any data that looked important to her. She moved around like liquid, right under the guard’s noses, and Harry thought it was hilarious. The warehouse wasn’t well-lit, and she was abusing it well. He admired her lithe form squirming in and out of places, sneaking into guards’ back pockets and taking their ammunition.
When she finally decided to get to the actual items they were here for, Harry would have some respect for the thief. Still, at least she was having fun right now.
He, on the other hand, was almost positive that Batman was here, at this very moment, staring holes through both of them.
He tilted his head, and at first glance, he could see nothing up here with him.
And then he looked up – past the ceiling lanterns, in the darkest part of the room, were a pair of pure white eyes staring straight at him.
Harry, for a moment, was paralyzed.
There was a time, he remembered, when he was four, and he got his first glimpse of the vigilante on the cover of Dudley’s comic. He had considered his choice of dress amusing – that anyone could be intimidated by the garb seemed like a joke to him. Upon reflection, he could even see himself thinking that it would look perfect on a villain, who desperately tried to be terrifying, but ultimately failed.
That was no longer the case. Now, Harry didn’t feel so intimidating in front of the black-clad hero.
Rationally, he knew it didn’t make sense to worry. They weren’t going to fight in the ceiling, right above an armed room. He was simply observing, as he had done last night. He clearly wasn’t expecting Black Mask to be here, and was now waiting in the wings for Edward to return so he could save him and promptly interrogate him. Batman, for the moment, was not a threat.
But looking at him, close-up, he desperately wished that the vigilante would join their side, or at least, stay out of their business. He did not look forward to making a true enemy out of him.
Well… maybe he did, just a little bit, look forward to their fight for dominance over Gotham. But it didn’t hurt to make one last plea.
He tapped the ceiling beam feverishly, a small light blinking from his steel fingertips in irregular patterns, being sure not to make too loud a noise.
I see you have ignored my offer.
For a brief moment, there was nothing. Then, his buckle began blinking.
There was no offer. I ignored your threat.
Harry felt an annoyance begin to blink in at the pit of his stomach. He was a reasonable guy, he thought, but he rarely met someone this stubborn. This man was a special breed.
He tapped again. And what was your reply going to be if you had caught me unprepared? “Heed my order to stop, or I will beat the holy hell out of you and send you to prison?”
There was a slight pause. Not if you surrender quietly.
Harry contemplated his logic; it wasn’t very sound. Maybe, in his world, it all made sense. At some point, Bruce realized that he was more than an authority figure – he was The Law.
You don’t control our actions. He tapped very slowly – deliberately. You control no one. Stop pretending that you can do anything about it.
He leaped, and dropped gracefully onto the beam to confront him. “We’re done with this conversation.”
Harry flinched at the quiet tone. He seemed to have hit a nerve, especially since he was no longer using Morse code. His whisper didn’t carry, but Harry damn sure heard it.
He was ten feet away from him, head-on, and it gave Harry a new perspective. The two stared at each other.
The wiry mesh moved slowly around his head, and the black material covered a hundred percent of his body. Sans his clothes, he was shrouded in darkness. “Fine, then. Can I help you?”
Even the caped crusader looked flummoxed as Harry raised his voice significantly, and it echoed along the walls.
Out the corner of his eye, he saw Selina steal the last item on their list before slinking into the corner, out of view.
“Yeah.” The Black Mask’s voice boomed from below. “Bring me Poindexter.”
Harry groaned in frustration. “I don’t know which one baited whom. I put most of the blame on Batman, while making Black Mask think that I’m on his side, so I suppose it was better for me. A stray bullet hit Selina before I could get to her; nothing too serious. I cleaned up her blood before I got to pop out of there. As far as I know, the gunfight is still happening.”
“Really?” Harley asked incredulously, her eyes wide. “So he could be dead or something right now?”
“Doubt it. He’s crafty. He was knocking out the lights as I got to Selina. My guess is he’s taking them out one by one. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roman is in prison by tonight.”
“And freed by his lawyers tomorrow,” Ivy guessed. “I always wondered how he got out of prison so fast.”
Harry tapped his thumb against his chin. “That won’t happen again. I need to add protections to Blackgate Prison. And your home.”
“Our home,” she replied with a raised eyebrow. “You’ve proven yourself as a big part of this team, and our family. Enjoy it.”
Harry smiled weakly. “I’ll try.”
Harleen checked one of the monitors with a timestamp on it. “We still got time for that dinner. I think we’ve deserved a little break.”
On cue, Harry’s stomach grumbled. He chuckled. “Not the worst idea I’ve heard today.”
“If we really want to see a good movie, we’d see the footage of the cops and their… predicament.”
Harley picked up her liberated news camera. “Ready to make the headlines? Again?”
Harry sighed dramatically. “Well, if I have to…” He smirked. “I think I’ll do the report this time. Vicki’s still getting used to all this.”
“Where is that reporter, anyway?” Harley pouted. “I always wanted to meet a celebrity.”
“Right now, she’s with Eddie, filtering through the hard drives. Selina scared her off – I don’t think she forgave gave her for naming her the ‘Cat Burglar’. Plus, I suppose she was a little agitated, being shot and all…”
“Huh.” Ivy pondered to herself. “We’ve got a lot of people we need to hide. Think they’ll all fit under one roof?”
Harry smiled personably, having the simple answer for the simple problem. “Magic.”
Harleen squealed a little. “I just get a little jittery every time you say that!”
Pamela smiled, watching her girlfriend act her age for a moment. It was a rare, truly beautiful, sight. “What did you have in mind?”
“Expansion Charms and Protection Wards,” he answered immediately, “especially the latter. We’ve got their attention. Now we just have to make sure it’s only when we want them to. Hiding your house might be enough, but I don’t take risks when I don’t have to.” Well, when it was just him, he was rather dangerous in his aloofness. The Tournament proved that. Still, his girls needed protection. “I’d have to talk to Hermione about a few things, first.”
“Sounds good,” Ivy admitted. “If it’s really that simple to renovate a house that Harley and I’ve been working on for a long time now, then could you also expand the garden? We’ve been meaning to make the place bigger.”
“Of course. The whole house would be to your liking. A blueprint might be helpful.”
Harley spun around in her new favorite chair and handed him the mic. “Gotta wait ‘til Eddie gets back. I can’t work that computer. What speech are you going to give?”
Harry eyed Pamela with a smirk. “A Lesson on Respect, and why it should be so important. I should probably tell them before someone tries to chop at the vines.”
“Don’t want things to get too messy,” Ivy grinned back. “I absolutely have to know the plant that you based that magic on.”
“Devilarium Dracinus,” Harry remembered. “The Devil’s Snare. It may be a gamble to say that this world hasn’t seen it yet, so rename it at your leisure. My friend Neville actually grew a strain that makes it more resistant to light. My spell only strengthens it.” His eyes moved to the microphone in his hand. “We should probably go back.”
Both Harley and Ivy scrunched their eyebrows in confusion. “Because we didn’t hammer the point home enough?” Harley asked jokingly.
He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I just feel like something’s missing. Batman is occupied, and this is as good a time as any to strike. You said it yourself, Ivy – they have a vastly short attention span.”
Ivy weighed her options. “Well – honestly – there isn’t much left to do at this point but to wait for a response. Until something noteworthy comes up, we’re at an impasse.” She looked up. “Maybe try to recruit someone else?”
“Who?” Harley wondered. “We’ve got the main players that want anything to do with us. The rest don’t seem like they’re willing to work with us, yet alone for us.”
Harry snapped his fingers. “Ivy, you said something about the sewers last night, and how toxic it was. Did you have any problems with it just now?”
She shook her head. “I was trying to bring up just enough to trip them up before. Now, I used everything I had to make my babies grow and overpower them. It was more sludge than toxic.”
“I could use a few spells and clean up the water a bit. At least around that immediate area, to make sure it doesn’t miss with the… er… sculpture.”
Harleen bit her lip. “Now that I think about it, I don’t think the sludge is going to be the main problem. But the last time I checked, Croc is still in Blackgate. Don’t think he’ll appreciate us renovating his home.”
Harry blinked. “Anyone else in Blackgate?”
The three looked at each other.
“I can’t believe we didn’t think of that before,” Ivy admitted. “A mass breakout would cause the panic we need.”
“It doesn’t have to be mass,” Harry countered. “Just some people we could recruit. Henchmen?”
Ivy let out a sniff of disdain. “Let’s try that again.”
The side of Harry’s mouth quirked upwards. “Not all of us guys are bad.”
She only stared at him.
Harry pouted, and Harley giggled. “Trust me; you don’t want to fight this.” The jester tapped her chin. “Ya know, if we really want to make a statement, why not disappear for a while? Make them think that we’re planning something big.”
The raven-haired teen weighed the options in his head. “And what would we actually be doing?”
Harley couldn’t contain her mischievous grin, and Ivy rolled her eyes, but said nothing.
They all turned as a door slammed, and saw Vicki step through the door in a huff. She stopped abruptly at the villains in front of her. “Er… hi.”
Harleen, the dirty ideas in her head being discarded easily, blinked rapidly at the woman in front of her. “Wow… you’re hot. I thought that was all TV makeup.”
The blonde struggled not to self-consciously brush her hair back behind her ear. “T-Thanks. Coming from you, that means… I don’t know what that means.” She took in the sight of the three superpowers standing together. “So, is this the part where my services are no longer needed, and I suffer a painful parting of ways?”
“We were actually considering just shooting you in the face as you entered the door,” Harry deadpanned, “but you didn’t give me time to reload.”
She was silent for a few beats. “Mind if I get in a quick interview, first?”
Harry let out a surprised chuckle. “This whole bloody world is insane.”
Ivy and Harley sent each other knowing looks, while Vicki gave a little smile. “Not the first time I’ve heard that. But I usually hear that from the even less sane.” She let the comment hang in the air.
He shrugged in reply to the reporter. “I’ve got no proof to the contrary.”
“The first step is admitting it,” the blonde smiled, not sensing either of the three to be particularly deadly in this mood. “So what were you saying earlier about a business proposition? A chance to be the face of the new crisis that is the Femme Fatale and the Warlock?”
Harley refrained from mentioning what a nice face it would be, resting her head against her girlfriend’s hips from her chair. “Need anything picked up from your house?”
She shrugged indifferently. “All of my valuables are in storage. I like to move around. Job hazards and all. Don’t need my house on the public record, after all.”
“Clever girl,” Ivy repeated, and Vicki frowned as she looked closer.
“You… you look younger than I am.”
“But I couldn’t be,” Pamela informed her innocently. “I’m twenty-seven. Don’t you look at the news?”
Vicki suddenly laughed, realizing what they did. “You confirmed a lot of false rumors, and now Gotham is taking them as fact. Now they have no idea what to look for.”
“Actually,” Harleen countered, “they know exactly what to look for. They’re just wrong.”
“How good are you at keeping secrets?” Harry wondered in an innocuous tone. “Regular secrets, I mean. Not the ones where we have to threaten with death.”
“Err,” the blonde stuttered, “it’s not usually a good mix with my job, but I can keep a secret.”
Harry nodded approvingly, and twirled the mic in his hand. “We’ve got a little problem here, and we need your expert opinion on something.”
“Oh – alright.” She visibly relaxed. “What can I do for you?”
Ivy pursed her lips. “How big of an impact do you think we made so far?”
Vicki pondered to herself, and chose her words carefully. “Honestly?” They nodded. “No one does that anymore. No one expresses their intent. Yes, usually there is an impressive display of powers, and some vague announcement of taking over, but what you three did was effective. You’ve got their ear, at least.”
Harleen grinned toothily. “Perfect. Hope they get the message.”
“For their sake,” Pamela agreed, nodding with a full-fledged smile – a rare sight for Poison Ivy.
Harry shrugged in defeat, somewhat amused as he handed the mic off to Harley. “I know when I’m beat. You’re right; I think we’ve done enough for a while.”
“Aw, don’t feel so bad,” muttered Harley, exuberantly wrapping her arms around the green-eyed wizard’s torso. “I’m sure we’ll run into Bats again. I’m sure Tonks and Hermione would like to talk to you again. Why don’t you give them the update, and see what they think? I’m curious to see how far they’ve got along, too.”
Harry, taking her advice, was half-way through pulling out his mirror when he gave her a strange look. “Really?” Harry didn’t know how to take that statement.
“Well…” she began slowly, “The faster they figure out the veil, the closer they are to figuring out all of their secrets. I imagine if it takes any longer than a few months to get you to find some way back, then the code to everything might be nearly impossible, if only a percent figured out. And then we’d have to find the portal, because I’m not really sure if it stays in the right place. Then there’s the chance of multiple universes, and other threats that could step out of your veil if someone starts tweaking with it and – ”
“What if I was pulled here?”
Harley stopped abruptly. “Wha?”
“What if,” Harry conjectured, “and I mean, this may be a big ‘if’, but what I was meant to be here? There isn’t a portal in front of the Monarch Theater, unless it was specifically looking for some other type of ‘Arch’. If this world had magic, then why did I not step out of the veil here? Why not in any other world with that arch? It’s got to exist somewhere else, right? This can’t be the only other place. I don’t see, in any way, how I was chosen to be here. Twenty one years ago. In The United States. In Gotham. Right next to where you were robbing a Jewelry Store.”
He looked away, feeling uncomfortable in the extended silence. “Fate and I… don’t get along sometimes. I like to think I forge my own, but I can’t imagine that the good things that have happened to me was by my own merit. As far as I see it, this cements it. This could be a meeting of fate. Maybe I was sent here because I was supposed to. To see this through with the both of you. Maybe… maybe I was fated to not go back.”
Harley didn’t blink. “Then change your fate again.”
Harry scoffed light-heartedly. “Saying it and trying to believe it are two different things.”
“Then believe it.” She grabbed his hand. “Don’t think for a second that you’re not wanted, here or there. Fate or not, you’re going back, and whenever you want to, you can come here. Or we can go there. Fate put you with Hermione, as it has me with Pammy. Maybe that much is true. Might also be true that fate made you a hero, like it made me a Villain. But you forged the rest of your path. You chose the dark side. No matter how much pressure you felt to be good, like I did, you chose the darker path. In a lot of ways, we’re on the same path.” Her lips quirked. “Maybe, in some kind of fucked up reality, I’m supposed to be the parallel version of you. The fact that you bumped into me might be what you call fate, just as much as when Ivy broke out of her cell the only day I visited Blackgate, where it’s just too beautiful to be coincidence. There’s nothing beautiful about leaving a family behind. Your girls are also your fate. If it was never meant to happen, then it wouldn’t have.”
She looked over to Ivy, who blushed under her appraisal – another rare sight for the green teen. “I don’t have the best understanding of fate – I’m more into logic, myself – but I can’t imagine my life without Pamela. Maybe I would have gone on and never shown up at that prison, but to know any other life, knowing that this is what could have been, isn’t a life worth living.” She looked back to Harry. “You still have the means to make that mirror. You still have the link to her. You still have the memory of her. If you think Fate would send you here with the full memory of another life, and just expect you to tough it out here, then it’s time to fuck Fate right back. You can bring people back from the dead, Harry. You are fate. You could be his or her worst nightmare. You could have more power than they ever could. There are two people that can decide what happens next – you and Hermione. Fate might’ve put you two together, but breaking you two apart? From what I’ve heard so far – Literally. Impossible.”
Harry snorted again in the light-hearted sense. “You might be right, Harley.” He smiled softly at her, and she returned the gesture. “Alright. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.”
“Any time. Keep in mind the next time you have doubts like that again, I might just kick your shin or somethin’. Gets the same message across.”
He leaned down and caught a quick kiss. “I wouldn’t worry about those doubts again. Thanks.” At her nod, he stood back up and looked over to Ivy, who was leaning against the console, giving them space, and smiled in her support at every word Harley had said. Probably including the last part. “If anything, I’m glad that I’ll never have to compete for a place in Harley’s heart like yours. I’ve got my own one true, thanks. In case there were any lingering doubts.”
Pamela easily shook her head. “You’ve snuck into my heart just as much as Harley’s. I don’t consider it a place, or an order. You can love someone in different ways, or you hate someone in different ways, or there’s indifference. I love Harley in every way that there is. And while you’ve only been here for a matter of days, I can easily see why, even with your bond, it’s not too hard to fall in love with you. Even with my bond with Harley – even in the more spiritual sense – that I find myself falling for you almost as hard. That’s what confused me – the ability for you to love so many girls. I couldn’t understand how you could undermine such a relationship that, to be blunt, usually dilutes when the number of partners increase. The line between love and lust is wide, but hazy. But now, I see it – you’ve always known the difference – you love those girls. And you love us. As equals. And while Hermione may hold a special place, you’d die for any one of us, wouldn’t you?”
Harry nodded soberly. “As would Hermione.”
She glided forward, and kissed him tenderly.
When they parted, sparkling green eyes met deep emerald hues. “As would we.”
“Ditto,” Harley agreed, as eloquently as she could put it without tearing up. In her opinion, watching the two embrace was even sweeter than their reunion last night.
The Boy-Who-Lived cleared his tight throat. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Ivy handed Harry the mirror that he had put down earlier. “Come on – let’s call Hermione, and see what everyone’s up to. I’d like to meet more of the girls I said I’d risk my life for.”
Harry chuckled. “I’d need another book for that; Volume One for Hidden Powers, Volume Two for Girls.”
“I want my own chapter,” Harley responded immediately, with a teasing smile.
“You’re certainly not a footnote,” he muttered, and stepped back to lean against the console. The two followed, Harley spinning in her chair all the way.
She took note of the crack in the door that the reporter had gone back through earlier, presumably to give them some privacy. She really hoped the older blonde could keep secrets.
She also took note of the catsuit-clad thief turned away from them as she was lying on the sofa. While the back view was impressive, there were more pressing matters – like the fact that she was lying on the once-injured leg. She was lying like that because it was the one way she could lay comfortably to hide her face from them.
Selina didn’t have a good track-record of secrets, but hell, no one yet knew the correlation between Harleen and Harley, so the girl gave her some credit.
Hell, if any of this leaked, she’d honestly be looking at Eddie first. God knows how many cameras must be on around here, if only for insurance purposes.
Let the test commence. There shouldn’t be too many secrets on a team anyway. If anything got out, then it wouldn’t be too big a deal. Best to find a weak link now, when everyone is still new.
As she rested her elbow against the console, she smiled innocently at Ivy’s silent question and nodded her head at the Cat Burglar. Pammy smirked and nodded over to the door. She had a good view of the door the whole time, so she must’ve known something Harley didn’t.
They smiled conspiratorially at each other, completely missing Harry’s innocent chuckle before he spoke Hermione’s name into the mirror.
“ You should get some sleep, Harry,” Parvati said gently, but firmly. “You look a wreck.”
“ I am,” he promised again, before he promptly fainted dead, not hearing their shrieks of surprise and worry.
The sound of a baby’s cheerful laughter was the first thing that penetrated Harry’s senses when he awoke. Absently reaching for his glasses, he squinted as he sat up.
The laughter stopped, and soft cooing noises began to gurgle forward. Harry’s eyes stared blankly ahead, numbly aware that even without his glasses, he could see the shelves of books before him very clearly.
The plain white books on the plain white shelves, in a vast expanse of whiteness. Plain whiteness.
He turned his head towards the sight, and choked back a gasp.
Hermione Granger was there, smiling as radiantly as she had always been, as if she herself didn’t know what happened to her. Her two front teeth bit into her bottom lip with anticipated glee as he noticed her, and Harry found himself, just a little bit, forgetting about the previous days he had to endure.
But, oddly enough, it wasn’t his best friend that his eyes had dwelled on first. It was, rather, the small baby shifting backwards and forwards in her cradled arms. “Dada!”
Hermione had a preciously nervous grin as Harry looked on in wonder. “Hello. Dada.”
Harry slowly stood up, disjointed to say the least. He couldn’t even see the white floor he was standing on, it blended so well into the rest of the nothingness. “Hermione? Is this another dream?”
“I asked myself that when I got here.” She looked down at the baby in her arms, reaching for his ‘father’. “Even as I lived your life, I tried thinking that it was all some sick nightmare.” She gently removed her hand and cradled the child with the other, and held her finger up. The little one, easily, reached out for the dangling finger. “At first, it was your parents. Context aside, I’m really glad that I met them. It was short, but it was lasting.” She watched the tiny child suckle on her finger with a serene smile. “Then it was them. I won’t say much. Nothing you already don’t know.”
Harry felt himself tremble as he stepped forward, towards the illusion, unaware of the robe wrapped around him. Even as she talked so plainly about the Dursleys, smiling at the young infant, she looked distant – cold. Trying to detach herself from her emotions.
The baby began to cry. Hermione was quick to begin rocking the infant, whispering encouraging words into his ear. “Shhh; it’s okay, darling. Mummy and Daddy are here. You’ll never have to worry again. You’ll never have to be afraid. You’ll never be forced to be alone. You’ll never yearn for love again. I promise you.” Tears fell from her eyes, the salty wetness dampening her smile.
Harry tenderly pressed his palm against her cheek, and it sent a shock through him as he felt her skin – it was so real.
“Am I…” He cleared his parched throat. “Are we in purgatory?”
She looked up and her smile now looked genuine. “That was my first thought.” She leaned into his hand. “My parents were Catholic – notwithstanding the concept of witches, they tried to raise me the same. I kept myself firmly in the realm of logic – meaning, I couldn’t really decide what decision to come to, for my sake or my parents’.” She stepped closer, and the child, enveloped in a gray blanket, had since stopped crying, and looked to both with curious eyes.
Deep pools of curious green eyes.
“At this point,” Hermione muttered, looking down into the beautiful orbs, “I still don’t know what to believe in. I’m not dead – my body is adjusting, I think. To your presence. Your Horcrux. So I came to see you. It wasn’t too hard to find you. You were always right next to me.” She motioned towards the teething baby boy. “And then I found… a shriveled, grotesque, spawn of a child. It was hideous. It was deformed. It was almost unbearable to look at.
“But,” she muttered, almost to herself, “above all else, it was suffering. It was abandoned. It was in pain. Had I known beforehand what it was, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. But I’m so glad that I did. And even after I found out that this was once a piece of Voldemort, I didn’t regret it. I just took it in my arms, and it stopped wailing. And then… it changed. Into this.” She gently plucked her finger out of the newborn’s mouth, before cradling it with two hands again. “And then,” she sniffed, “he called me mummy.”
“Mummy!” The baby repeated on cue with enthusiasm, wriggling in his blanket, his beautiful green eyes attached on the flustered girl.
Harry had tears in his eyes as he saw the happiness in Hermione’s – the eyes that he had thought, for a moment, that he would never see again. “It seems that he likes you.”
The infant remembered the other person in the room. “Dada!”
Harry felt a wave of emotion hit him, and his eyes clouded over. “Dada,” he repeated softly.
“Dada!” the child reiterated, smiling brilliantly. His messy brown hair was smoothed over gently by Harry’s fingers as he stroked his head tenderly.
Hermione was gleaming as she watched the two interact, before she suddenly frowned. “You’re going to be woken up soon, Harry. He’s trying to get into your mind. Don’t trust him.”
Harry nodded, feeling a small ache at his temple, but ignored it for now. “Can… can I hold him?”
Hermione slowly handed the newborn over, and Harry felt awkward as he cradled the infant in his arms. He had never held a child before, but some part of him felt that no matter how he was holding it, it felt – right.
Harry didn’t have a particular religion in his life – his relatives were church-goers, but he wasn’t going to go by their standard for anything – but, seeing the child swaddled in his embrace, and the girl in front of him, he was sure that while he hadn’t prayed, someone had answered them.
“Fate, Harry,” Hermione whispered, even over the pounding in his head. “Maybe even some type of destiny. We’ve already connected in the spiritual sense. A divine intervention?” She wiped her sleeve against her eyes, and grinned a happy grin. “I don’t want to question it. Just don’t think for a second that I like you any less than before this all started.”
Harry desperately wanted to believe her – and surprisingly, he did.
“Good,” she muttered, gently gripping onto the now-sleeping baby and holding it against her. “I imagine we’re going to have a lot to talk about when I wake up,” she grinned.
Harry smiled back over the splitting headache. “I just might look forward to it.”
She tenderly hefted the child so the chin could rest on her shoulder. Tentatively, she leaned forward to kiss the ebony-haired wizard, and Harry could only respond by kissing back. It was chaste, much like their last and only kiss before, but they were both excited about the things to come – their future together.
“Embrace it, Harry,” she whispered when they parted. “And… it might be too late. For the actual Horcrux from Voldemort. But while we can – we can embrace it. See what it has to teach us. See if it can be changed. Molded, somehow.” She nodded towards the baby. “You’d be surprised what can happen when you realize you’re not alone.”
Harry gave her a quick kiss, and grunted over the blinding pain. “Especially,” he breathed, “when you’re with someone you love.”
With a snap, he felt his mind put together again, and into place. And he was gone.
His eyes fluttered open, and he groaned.
“Are you okay, my boy?” The first thing Harry noticed was the kindly smile. The second was a pair of twinkling eyes over half-moon spectacles.
Harry’s head began to throb again, and he quickly focused back on the nice smile.
“I must say, Harry, you gave us all a fright. I hope you had a well-deserved slumber.”
“Thank you, Headmaster,” Harry muttered in what he deemed a grateful tone. “What happened?”
The wizened wizard stroked his impossibly long beard. “Why, you fainted, dear boy. You’ve been out for a couple of hours. Your vitals read normal, but we were still concerned at the prolonged hibernation.”
Harry refrained from snorting. They had it far easier than he had it in the past few days. “Where am I?”
He made a show of looking around. “The Hospital Wing. I imagine that this is your first time here, yes?”
Dumbledore’s hand waved, and the curtain pulled open from around them. Naturally, Harry was more focused on Dumbledore’s other hand, behind his back. Still, he made a show of looking around as well, mimicking Dumbledore. “You will find that Madame Poppy Pomfrey is the best medical healer around, even if,” he chuckled to himself, “the medicine is not quite as appealing in taste as one would hope. But very effective, so I would hope you can down them all.” He motioned towards the headstand next to his bed, and Harry sat up to look at the four small bottles of heinous looking fluid. “Take your time, Harry. Now, do you mind telling me what happened for you to faint? Do you remember anything?”
Harry’s mind was working hard for an excuse, and threw caution to the wind. “I don’t know, sir.” He absently reached for his glasses, and realized with a start that he could see perfectly well. Still, his face didn’t betray him, and he nonchalantly slipped his glasses on. He eyed the headmaster curiously, marveling at how the glasses blurred his new vision spectacularly. He had no idea how truly blind he once was. “Much better.”
Dumbledore’s whiskers glinted in the light as he smiled. “The guardian of the Gryffindor Tower – you may very well recognize her by her other endearing title, the Fat Lady – warned me as soon as she saw you collapse. Miss Patil and Miss Bones graciously escorted you to the Hospital Wing, with a rather impressive use of the Floating Charm.” His eyes twinkled in Harry’s direction, and Harry felt a niggling in the back of his mind. “Poppy had a fit – she thought they would drop you. I am proud to say, however, that nothing of the sort happened.”
Harry outwardly breathed a sigh of relief, while mentally thanking the girls, and making a note to personally thank them. “So, is that it? After the potions, I’m free to go?” He was very, painfully aware that Dumbledore had not yet even tried to call for Pomfrey, and even probably disabled the wards from alerting her when he woke.
Albus frowned minutely, knowing this private conversation was over, as what Harry was aiming for. “I’m afraid that you will have to inquire to Madame Pomfrey about any other tasks she needs to perform on you.” He flicked his wand again, and while Harry wasn’t ready for it before, he noticed it now; Dumbledore’s magic flared as he reenacted the ward, and the immediate pulse that flared confirmed Harry’s guess of the ward announcing to Pomfrey that he was now awake.
“Some advice, my dear boy,” Dumbledore murmured sagely. “Please eat. And it is imperative that you get a good night’s sleep every so often. You’re still a growing lad, yet. Miss Granger will be back soon enough. You two have been inseparable ever since the first day of school, and I admit, that may be because you knew each other far before.” He began to stroke his beard again. “I also admit; you are far different from what I expected you to be, Harry Potter. Ever since you ran away from your family, everyone looked for you, and you did a very good job at staying hidden.” He saw Harry visibly wince at the word ‘family’, and refrained from mentioning any future summer plans to the boy. It was best to wait until after the potions fully kicked in, which could be in a matter of days. “I’m just happy that you’re safe and alive, my boy. Perhaps, you could regale me with your adventures abroad sometime?” His eyes sparkled merrily, and Harry had to give him credit – the man did not seem to give up when it came to getting information.
Harry nodded. “Of course, Headmaster.” Harry needed to work on his improvisational story-telling anyway. He would be the perfect test. “Anytime. If Hermione would like to, I would prefer her to come with me.”
“Of course I would, Harry.” She spoke from the doorway; even Dumbledore looked back in surprise, not expecting her to be there. “Greetings, Headmaster. I have returned. Please send along my thanks to Professor Snape for allowing me a few days absence.”
“I will pass on the message, Miss Granger,” he murmured, slipping back into his impassive face. “Just please, contact your head of house first if there is an emergency.”
She nodded. “I will keep that in mind, Headmaster.” Her chocolate brown eyes turned to Harry, and the gleam in her eyes was a sight that Harry welcomed openly. “Parvati told me what happened. Are you alright?”
Harry only grinned in reply, not really sure if he was still dreaming again, as the matriarch of the Hospital Wing bustled into the room, and her eyes roved over Harry’s relaxed form before she breathed a sigh of relief.
“I only hope to see you in this bed once this year, Mister Potter,” the motherly matron said in a clipped tone. “I’ve seen you play Quidditch. This does not need to happen out there, with the stunts that you do.” Her frown softened. “It’s nice to see that you are alright, and you were merely famished. Please come to me if you find yourself unable to eat more than a few small portions of food a day. I estimate that you’ll be able to eat normally in a few days…”
Harry was half-focused on Pomfrey, more focused on Hermione’s grinning visage. Nothing else mattered. All was right with the world.
It was only minutes later that he found himself alone with his best friend. She sat by his bedside, holding his hand as they sat together in silence. She twiddled with her thumbs in concentration, and while Harry had so many things to tell her, he would wait until she said her peace.
Finally, she said something – it was quiet, and Harry almost asked her to repeat it, but his logical mind quickly caught up to her mumbled words.
“I love you, too.”
Hermione squeaked in shock as Harry hugged her to him, barely noticing him even moving, and she tightened her arms around him.
She smiled against his neck as she breathed deeply. “Sorry for scaring you.”
Harry shook his head. “Sorry for making you think you had to apologize.”
She laughed heartily and kissed the side of his neck. “Apology accepted.” She stood against him, and gently pushed him away. “Now go apologize to those girls for trying to push them away when they were trying to help you.”
Harry awkwardly rubbed the back of his head. “Want to come with me? They’ll be happy to see you.”
Hermione slipped her hand in his. “Of course.” With a quick spell behind her, the bottles of murky fluid were all empty. She winked, and Harry chanced a quick peck on the cheek, before the two walked on, oblivious to the next drastic shift in the fabric of reality.
The two went to search for Parvati, Susan, and Daphne, their lives unknowingly changed more drastically than they ever thought it would.
~Scene of the Crime, Gotham ~
Gordon stared incredulously at the writhing mass of vines and its captives. “What the hell happened here?”
“Poison Ivy,” Bullock grumbled, rubbing the back of his head. “Whaddya think happened? Bitch got the drop on us and had us wrapped tighter than a freakin’ Christmas gift.”
His red mustache wiggled in annoyance. “Let me guess – you didn’t see them escape?”
“I was unconscious! They left me for dead and went on their merry way!” The entire situation seemed to upset him more than anyone else. “I can’t believe she knocked me out.”
Gordon looked back at the aggrandized memorial to the green vixen’s power. “And she was alone.”
“Nah. The clown was with her, too, like always. He wasn’t there this time, though.”
Gordon snarled. “I doubt him and they already parted ways. Warlock must’ve been up to something else.”
He had no idea how to describe this to the communicator, but he was sure Batman was looking at this, from… somewhere. It wasn’t too hard to miss.
Oversized, tree-sized vines had completely taken over the intersection, writhing and slithering about, daring anyone to come close. Their baseball-sized thorns made the circle of relative safety even wider, ensuring that no one would come within reach.
Bullet-proof. Or rather, an invisible shield preventing any bullets to get to the vines. That alone would make this an isolated, quarantined incident, provided that the vines could not escape the dome.
But hidden, in its sprawling thorny depths, were thirty-seven officers who were lost in that thing.
James turned away from the pit. They needed to be stopped.
And he was finally beginning to accept that he alone couldn’t. The entire damn department probably couldn’t.
He paced away, about to make the call, when Sarah ran up to him. “Jim! The Monarch Theater! It’s been burned down!”
“Call the fire department!” He didn’t understand why Essen was telling him about an abandoned theater when they were dealing with this serious issue.
“It’s too late. It’s gone. We think it was Warlock.”
“Warlock? How? And what do you mean, ‘gone’?”
“Thirty minutes ago – around the time Poison Ivy was seen here – the Monarch caught on fire. No one saw who did it. It collapsed and burned to a crisp in seconds. The fire was blue, James. No other building was even affected. Not a scorch mark. Just – just ash.”
Not even Firefly could do that. Gordon admitted that as The Warlock was the only unknown, and he seemed to have an affinity to fire, this could very easily be his handiwork.
But what was the purpose? Why destroy a random theater? Was he sending a message? He sent a bigger one here. He couldn’t understand it.
But he’d be damn sure to figure it out. Something must’ve happened there.
“I need to go.” He pointed to Bullock, who was roughly adjusting his neck. “Harvey! You’re on point tonight.” He took a chance and guessed. “Hit it with fire. See if that doesn’t get past the dome.” He turned to Sarah. “He’s been acting strange. Keep an eye on him.”
She nodded resolutely, and he ran off to his patrol vehicle.
This wasn’t going to go on any further. Warlock, Femme Fatale, even that damned newswoman – all of them would be brought in for this; he swore, then and there, this chaos would stop.
Selina stalked out of her brand new room in a green t-shirt and blue jeans, her petite bare feet not making a sound as she roamed the vaguely familiar hallway. She brushed a stray strand of her short-cropped black hair from her eyes, as she looked for everyone.
Eddie was on his laptop in the kitchen, lamenting at the loss of his lab as he watched the footage of the carnage that took place hours earlier. She made sure to sneak past him, or he’d be lamenting non-stop about how it was the perfect place to hide (and as Harry pointed out, he was captured at least once, and Batman had found it immediately) and that Batman, and Black Mask, would pay for this.
She managed to sneak into the Living Room, where she found the rest of the group. An elaborate wooden block set welcomed her – an impressive looking sculpture was slowly rotating in seemingly mid-air.
“What do you think, Kyle?” She blinked and looked over to Harley, who noticed her first.
“Uh….” She prided herself on her quick wit, but she had just woken up and got changed into her civilian clothing. Still, from what she heard earlier, she could take a guess at what the group was doing. “Maybe a basement for Eddie? He won’t shut up. Or a Prisoner of War cell?”
Harry slapped his hand against the house, and it spun a little faster. When it slowed down, looking significantly taller than she remembered, he looked to the couple for approval.
“Looks good,” Ivy leaned forward with her chin in her hand, sitting on her new favorite sofa, “but we’d have to dig carefully if we want to go that deep. I don’t exactly have, uh, conventional plumbing in this house. It’s all a well-pump connected to a cache of water underground.”
Harry nodded, understanding. “I can take care of that. Anything else? Vicki?”
She shook her head. “A newsroom? Just a small one. With a green screen? That way, it could look professional. It’s all about the presentation.”
Harry clicked his tongue at the sculpture. “We could add that to the gym, maybe? Put it under a Silencio ward. Or maybe in the war room?” Harley really liked the idea of a war conference chamber. She was firmly convinced that she was just the only one unafraid to admit it.
“This place is getting pretty big,” Harley admitted, sitting back on the arm of the sofa, next to Ivy. “We could just put it in one of the guest rooms? Or in one of the guest cabins.”
“This might be too much,” Ivy muttered worriedly. “I can’t believe that even in the scope of magic, that someone couldn’t see this.”
Selina, while having seen what he had been able to do so far, had her fair share of skepticism as well.
Harry did – something – with his hands, and the wooden blocks exploded outwards. Everyone in the room, sans the Warlock, flinched at the incoming barrage, until they looked carefully.
The entire landscape of the property was laid out before them. The trees were voluminous in size, even on the scale model. He lowered the model, and they marveled at the detail of the inviting expanse. The house was the most prominent – arguably – and the guest houses could be seen as well. At this point, the house could be considered more of a mansion, and the guest houses were part of the massive estate.
Then, one by one, the houses disappeared, and more trees took its place.
“Fidelius Charm,” Harry spoke, and the girls all looked towards him. “If you don’t know what exists in these forests, then you will never find it. That’s how the human mind works – I’ve always believed that wizards have been able to pick apart the brain so well, they can’t comprehend it themselves. The charm tricks you into seeing more trees, since that’s all you saw before. That’s all you can see. Just trees.” By the time he finished speaking, the trees were expansive and vast across the scale, looking uniform and perfectly… plain.
A small wooden crow squawked loudly, flying up from the middle and flapping its wings across the tops of the trees. It flew away from the sculpture and glided gracefully towards Ivy. Stunned, she held out her finger for the small bird, and it landed on the tip, before pecking affectionately.
Pamela looked up to Harry, who was smiling confidently. “Remind me to eat my words next time I doubt you.” The big grin on her face took away the embarrassment of her situation.
Harry chuckled and eyed the crowd. “So… anything else?”
Selina winced at the stray thought, but decided to voice the idea, anyway. “Maybe… maybe a cat palace?”
She felt all eyes on her, and for once, she didn’t like the attention. “Just a thought,” Selina muttered.
“It’s a good idea,” Harry admitted. “What with the multitude of cats around. I doubt your cavalcade of felines would come to the forest, but…” he shrugged, “stranger things can, and will, happen. What does the room say? Cats get their own mansion?”
Harley pouted. “I prefer that my cats stay in their room with their mommy.”
“I vote for the cat palace,” Ivy said easily, missing the glare from her girlfriend in favor of focusing on the little bird in her palm. “They can spend the night whenever, Harleen. But just imagine cleaning after them in such a large house – the hidden places that we could never find, that they can come and go to. I imagine they’d be quite pleased with a play pen and a house-sized litter box.”
Harley didn’t stop pouting, but she could see her point. “Alright,” she grumbled. “But I just can’t help but imagine you sending me there if I misbehave.”
“Doghouse, sweetie,” she simpered, and finally looked away from the bird to her girl. “Unless you want to adopt a wolf or something?”
Harley blushed. She had considered that, once. “I’m more of a cat person, thank you.” She crossed her arms, and looked away. “I’ll get back to you on that.”
Vicki felt that she had to say something. “I’m allergic to cats,” she told the room.
Harley’s eyes shifted. “Don’t look down.”
The adventurous reporter, normally non-compliant towards a villain’s demands, regretted it when she immediately looked down.
Bubbles, her eyes an eerie icy blue, stared up at her, transfixed, from the side of the chair. As soon as the blonde saw her, she rested her chin on the woman’s jean-clad knees.
There was a slight slump as Vicki fainted in the chair, and the massive lion began licking her limp hand affectionately.
Ivy, Harley, and Selina all stared at the sight for a few moments, before Harley pat her thigh. Bubbles quickly turned her head and skipped over to her blond companion. Harry raised his hand to Enervate Vicki, but thought better of it. “It’s best to let her sleep it off,” he muttered to himself.
“I’ll take her to her room,” Selina sighed, moving across the room to gather the girl in her arms. Her lips twitched in amusement; the woman who penned her that horrible name was now unconscious in her clutches. While she had imagined the scenario, the events leading up to it were significantly drastic from what she had envisioned.
She raised her eyebrow at Harry as she walked past him. “Where’s my gifts?”
Harry only smirked in response. “You mean the stuff you stole from Eddie? I gave it to him.”
“What is this, the House of Hypocrisy? We’re all criminals, here.” Even as she tried to sound indignant, the small smile she had ruined her serious tone.
“We’re a team now,” Harley gently informed her. “Besides, where’s your spirit of giving?”
The ebony-haired thief scoffed. “Only on Christmas, dear.”
The bespectacled girl shrugged. “It might be somewhere.”
Selina looked flummoxed. “I have no idea how to respond to that.”
Harley waved it off. “Pair it with the whole conversation you were peeking in on, and it’ll all come together.” She smiled sweetly.
The thief rolled her eyes. Either she was losing her touch, or they just knew everything. “Whatever. Good night.”
They bid goodnight to her before she left the room with the reporter, before Harley turned to Harry. “Selina seems to have softened up to you – I guess being shot really made her think about the allies she shouldn’t try to push away. But can we trust ‘em?”
Harry nodded. “I think so. I think we can also trust Edward. Magically binding contracts are out of the question – no magic to bind – so we’d have to go on their word alone.”
“They live here now,” Ivy reminded them. “It’s a long trek back to the city. We can keep an eye on them for as long as we need to. If any of our secrets are spoiled, then we just figure it out from there.”
“I think we don’t have anything to really worry about when it comes to what we’re planning – there’s nothing to really gain on that. We have far more dangerous secrets that they don’t really need to know. And once the property is built, and hidden, no one is able to tell anyone else where the house is. So we’re safe on that front. But,” Harry eyed the two curiously. “Were there any more team members you’d prefer?”
Ivy eyed the small wooden crow circle above her head like a makeshift halo. “I can think of one. But he’s in Blackgate.”
“Partners,” Harley muttered to herself, “can’t think of one. But a good pet? Refer to the ‘sewers’ comment.” She smirked at her girlfriend. “Think that dude could be domesticated?”
Ivy only scoffed in reply, her eyes on the green-eyed wizard. “So Blackgate is our next target?”
Harry nodded. “After the renovations, would probably be best. Gotta look the part of a major crime organization, right?”
Harley clicked her tongue. “Got a lot of people here,” she murmured, prolonging ‘lot’ for effect. “And just a few days ago, we were living in isolation.” She looked up at Harry. “Don’t get me wrong – it’s for the better, and I don’t regret how we got to this point, it’s just, I feel like we’re running a hotel, here.”
Harry could see her point. There was a time that Hermione, Sirius and he lived alone in the Potter Family home, and that was now far from the case. By that time, Sirius had been banished to Grimmauld Place by Dumbledore. Harry sometimes missed the solitude – the quiet moments of escape and blissful detachment, with his Godfather and his best friend.
“I’ll work on that,” Harry told her sensitively. “Sometimes, you need your space. You two need some time to be alone together. I could make something I’ll think you’ll love.”
Harley smiled at the thought, but frowned at the implications. “I wasn’t including you on the visitors’ list.”
Ivy stretched her legs out and stood up, gently pecking Harleen on her soft lips as she rose. She sauntered towards Harry, and lifted her arms to lock around his neck. “What do you say we got to bed? The three of us; as fate intended.”
Harry had no problems with that, and his heart swelled with emotion at her proclamation of what he meant to them now.
A part of their family. Not the worst thing in the world to be, he was sure of it.
The platform of building blocks slowly floated down to the sitting room floor, the crow wordlessly flying back into the vast land, as Harry took his lover into his arms and showed her how grateful he was for the invitation.
The Batman loomed over Park Row, looking over the setting sun of Gotham City.
He only spared a glance at the ashes that was once the Monarch theater, before he abruptly turned and set off.
It was time to put these criminals down.
Author’s Note: Okay, guys. Crunchtime.
I have appreciated every single review I’ve gotten, and I’d like to stay on that path. So now is a good time as any to ask for any critiques and such.
What do you want to see in the next chapter, and for the rest of this arc? I venture that we are a bit over half-way through this first arc, in our multi-arced series. I decided to put them in arcs so the story could be all-encompassing, and to not drag on storylines for the entirety of this long-ass story. They won’t be completely unrelated/separate stories, but shows have seasons for a reason, right? I wouldn’t put up with a run-on series with no resolution and slow progression for twenty chapters. What do you think? Again, leave a review or a PM.
Now that I’ve passed 100,000 words in this story, a new milestone for me, tell me what you’ve thought of the story so far. Where you you like to see this going, or where do you think I jumped the shark without some repellant? (Old school Batman joke, don’t worry about it.) Should I just quit while I’m ahead and continue one of my other stories? What about the characters? Too many Harley-patented one-liners? Not enough Riddler? (Trust me, there will be more of him.) Wondering how the hell this mega team-up is going to work together? And… well, you get the picture. Or not. Review or send a PM if you want the picture. Or, better yet, if you want to draw the cover art for this story. 100,000 words(!) later, and still no fan art. Help me out.
I really look forward to your reply. It’s the reason I keep writing.
While this was supposed to come out closer to Christmas, I’ve been pretty sick, but now that I’m feeling better, let me be the last to tell you to have a Happy Holiday (of your choosing), and the first to tell you to have a Happy New Year!
You’ll hear from me soon!