All You Gots
Roleplaying Log: All You Gots
IC Details

Harley's neurotic preparations for Christmas Day continue, so she calls the Batman.

Other Characters Referenced: The Joker, Owen Mercer (not by name)
IC Date: December 23, 2018
IC Location: A Fire Escape in Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Jan 2019 01:56
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It’s been months. How long did he say the battery lasts in this thing?

Six months, she thinks. Has it been six months?

Time is a blur, and it’s not like she’s been back to therapy in…

Months, maybe?

Harley Quinn stopped taking the pills they gave her at some point, no longer content to let them dull her and make things harder. She doesn’t remember when that was, either.

What does it matter, anyway? Calendars and clocks, pills and therapists. What could they possibly do against Him? Nothing, that’s what. A whole lot of nothing.

It’s been months since the clinic. Since the apartment.

…she thinks. She’s not entirely sure.

But He’s threatening things. People she would think to care about.

She shouldn’t push the button given to her by a Bat. But between the anxiety that the caped crusader has forgotten her and her little button, the anxiety that the Joker will this time be the death of her or someone she dares to care for outside of Him, and the unnatural anxiety that comes from the lack of balancing chemicals in her blood…

She depresses a small rubber button with a small movement of her thumb with its chipped manicure of cherry red.

She pushes it while huddled down in her black wool pea coat on a fire escape that belongs to a vacant apartment on the better part of town—the part of town where she should not be by the thoughts of most civilized society—and she starts counting under her breath as she waits in her fuzzy red knit beret and muffler. The platform is a few floors down from the roof and faces the alley. It’s cold and dark, and the fog feels like it could freeze on her nose as it rolls by.

“One miss-a-Batsy,” she murmurs into her fingerless mittens, black and white striped numbers with red finger covers pulled back and held with a button. “Two miss-a-Batsy, Three miss-a-Batsy, Four…”

By the time that Harley gets to ten miss-a-Batsy, there is a creak on the fire escape above her. It is consistent to a human leaping onto it. Then, though, there are a few seconds and a gravelly voice tells the woman below:

"It's me." He assumes she knows who 'me' is. This is, after all, his city. Not only that, he knows that she knows this is his city.

There are a few clanging moments as he descends the stairs, but he does not yet approach Harley's perch. Instead, he remains a single stairwell up. They can both see each other and the wind properly creaks and shifts the stairs as they sit on them.

"What happened?" For Harley to call him, something had to trigger it. His voice is neutral, not accusing: he wants the information. And, not only that, this is something he gave her to contact him. Yet, still, he does not approach her. Instead, he surveys and analyzes. This could still be a trap set out by Joker. His shoulders remain tensed, he's ready to bathook himself out of this situation at the moment it seems that is best.

It’s not a bad idea, keeping a distance from her, and there’s not a single part of Harley that blames the Bat above for it.

Sure, she tensed something fierce and pushed herself harder against the shadowed wall at the sound—the creak that tells a tale of mass. She’s relieved for a moment when that mass speaks, telling her in the utterance of four words that he keeps his promises. That he didn't forget her.

What happened?

Quinn could tell him so much. …except that she’s suddenly gripped by the notion that very real consequences could follow. After all, snitches get stitches. Would there be enough silk thread for her?

The anxiety comes back in force, crashing in the proverbial window when she’d only thought to brace the door. It means the the blonde below doesn't immediately respond.

The first sound out of her is a chortling one, although she fails to feel the brightness of the sound or the toothy grin she plasters on her lips a beat too late to feel anything but forced.

“Batsy~” she coos, slowly turning her face upwards and seeing only the familiar inky shadow. Her bones hurt and her clothes feel damp. How long had she agonized over whether or not to push the button? Long enough, certainly, that she is herself surprised by the sudden uncertainty as to whether or not she was right? Because her mind is a traitor, left to its own devices.

“That was quick! Have ya ever thought about openin’ a delivery service?”

Crouching on the platform above her, Batman watches the woman who seems to have been seated here in the cold for quite awhile before she called him. That marks that she either is desperate or something else is going on. However, he also knows that even if Harley needs his help? She's not going to be the type to immediately come right out and say it. The fact that this may be a trap is still not far from his mind, but then again, he thinks everything is a trap and that is why he is still alive.

"I think a Batman franchise would put a hamper on putting fear into the criminal element of Gotham." Deciding to strike a tone between serious and playing her own game, his tone does not change, but it's the closest thing that the caped crusader comes to levity while in the mask and working with an…unknown element as best.

"I assume this isn't a call to talk about a business venture. What's wrong, Harley?"

He threatened her that if she abused her signal, the button would go away. Without missing a beat, Quinn forces herself up to her feet. She’s about to say something when a tinny rendition of Land Down Under starts playing.

“Aw, cripes,” Harley hisses, trading one thing in her hands for another. A slender finger is held up to the Bat. “One sec.”

A small, cheap burner phone emerges. “Not a good time—“ she starts in a mumble, although she’s jumping up to grab the grating beneath Batman’s feet without even really thinking about it, her frozen fingers snaking through to let her hang from one arm. “Yeah yeah yeah, got it.” She quickly shuts the phone off, and shoves it in her pocket to monkey walk her way over to the railing and slip her legs over the railing. From there, despite the damp, she’s fearlessly jumping up to grab the the platform above to snake her way up the outsides of the fire escape.

“I wanna trade in my clicker before the battery dies, but it ain’t like you take appointments.”

Behind the cowl, Batman's eyebrow raises just slightly at the ringtone. That's an interesting one. Years of practice and he attempts to hear at least the timbre of the voice on the other end of the line, even as he does not make any other sort of movement.

Instead, he watches Harley monkey walk, jump up the platform. He lets her come toward him. "That's why you've been waiting here in the cold and the fog for hours?" It's not that he doesn't understand asking for help - and HIS help in particular - is hard for Harley. However, as always, he is suspicious. In his mind, it would be a difficult decision however not one that requires hours of deliberation. To him, there must be something else at work.

Despite that question, he reaches into his belt and pulls out a clicker that looks exactly like the one she already he has and grips it in his hand. "This will work almost exactly the same as the last one. Same battery life." He does not yet hand it over yet, though. It seems he's waiting for her to give him the other one before passing it over.

"That's all?"

The voice on the other end of Quinn’s call, definitely male, didn’t raise his voice as he’s blown off. Didn’t fight. It didn’t sound Australian, either, despite the ringtone.

Quinn is very, very, very careful to avoid touching her feet to the platform on which Batman resides. Instead, she stays perched on the railing, clinging to it and weaving an ankle through it carefully in order to avoid slipping and falling backwards to the alley below.

The signal she’s carried on her person for months is hauled out of her coat pocket, and held upwards between two fingers left bare and red by her mitts.

“I mean, I could ask ya fer more, but I feel like askin’ fer ya ta make me my own super awesome ride is just crazy.” Her head demonstratively cocks nearly ninety degrees to one side, and her mouth cracks open in a toothy grin.

A pause, and then Harley holds out the emitter a little closer with eyes opened unnaturally wide. Because she is definitely crazy.

“…Unless ya’d really do it. In which case, I’m one-hundred-and-ten percent serious.”

But even as she sits, perched on the railing, she grows more nervous that she’ll be seen. That she’ll be seen with him. The remembrance causes just the tiniest quiver in her smile.

“…I’d call it the Joyride and it would be the most wonderful thing to ever drive a Gotham road.”

Her eyebrows waggle. “I mean, I am more creative than you and all.”

Another beat passes, and then Harley tilts her head sideways as she pushes into the joke harder.

“…And we could start calling yours the Buzzkill! WE COULD BE LIKE A SET.”

The position is noted, as is her reluctance to step on the platform that he is on. Shifting, he finally moves, though it's not closer to her. Instead, he moves a step so his feet are on the first step of the ladder that would take him up to the next landing and toward the roof. As he does, he stands to his full height. With Harley balancing on the railing, she is still taller than he is, but there is a shift in dynamics as the Bat stands on this rickety Gotham fire escape.

"This isn't a joke, Miss Quinn."

He knows that she knows that, too. She wouldn't keep checking on the button, she wouldn't call HIM here if this was all for a laugh. Too well, he knows the balance she is striking, one more precarious than the railing she currently holds herself upright upon.

"You're walking a tightrope and it's getting narrower, thinner. Soon you could fall."

He reaches forward to take the button from her. While he could snatch it out of her grasp, his gloved pull is surprisingly gentle, careful to not tip her balance. Shuffling that button into a pocket somewhere on his belt, he holds out the new one to Harley.

"We both know what could be at stake. I can help you if you're willing."

The slick steel of the rail doesn’t provide the best security in positions, so it doesn’t escape Harley’s notices that the masked crusader doesn’t take the opportunity to pull her down as she crouches down on that rail to relinquish the still-working button. It would be an easy enough thing to do. She might have the advantage as far as height goes, but he has it twice over in mass.

Not only does he not push an advantage when it’s there, but he takes care to actively avoid taking that advantage by accident.

She gives him the beacon, even as he says he understands as though he did. When her smile thinks to betray her, there’s a low laugh. It’s a single ‘heh’, at first. Soon after, it births one of her quiet, mad sounds, even as she drops her head down between her shoulders and adopts a gargoyle’s hunch.

Her scraped up fingers — angry from the textured steel ridges that give the Bat the superior footing as he properly stands on step and platform — pluck the renewed lifeline from his hand with a peculiar delicacy and then pull it into the safe, warm confines of her coat. The interior pocket is then zipped.

“Sometimes, Batsy,” she says after a moment of contemplation, voice thick with the sound of defeat and surprisingly quiet. For a brief, fleeting moment, Harley offers a view into the depths of her comprehension of his offer. There might even be a note of appreciation in there, deep in there, somewhere for it. “Sometimes, all ya gots is the wire and it’s gotta be enough.”

It doesn’t last. Because then she has to cover for the discomfort of the whole situation, and she does so with another mad little laugh. She sits down fully upon the rail and weaves her other ankle through the railing, so she can lean forward with her hands planted beside her hips and chirp at him more brightly, “But today I got the wire and a button!“ Her head lifts, is thrown back, as she loudly sing songs through the old movie quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Button, button! Who’s got the button?”

She lets herself fall backwards after that, sliding back and letting the backs of her knees settle where her butt once was. And she hangs there, by her knees and her ankles, as she spreads her arms wide and sings to the alley, “I dooo~”

When her hat falls to the alley below, the clown arches her back so she can turn her head down—up?—enough to look at it. She pouts a beat later. “Aw, man. I liked that hat. Now it’s covered in alley cooties.”

"I know." Batman, strangely, does know that sometimes all you have is one thing and that is the only thing that matters or can matter. It's, strangely, something that he and Harley have in common, even if the wire they both walk is very different.

However, the Bat also doesn't move, doesn't approach. The button is given over and he watches as she moves from madly laughing to giddily putting her life in danger on the edge of the railing. He's not here to indulge Harley in her delusions, in her sing-song.

"I know where you are, where you're balancing." Otherwise she wouldn't accept the button, she wouldn't be talking to him right now. There's a reason she's here and he respects that. It's an attempt to pull her away from her 'nursery rhymes'.

"I'll be here while you see that button as a lifeline. What I want you to see it as is a lifeboat."

He takes one step upward toward the step behind him. This is not him suddenly disappearing, but he is slowly making his way toward the roof. He stays and watches Harley.

"Until next time, Harley Quinn."

“I’m always hanging around, B-Man!”

Would it matter if she slipped? As the blood rushes to her head, Quinn fills her lungs with the chill and damp, lets the pins and needles and ache filter in and out of her awareness of them. Unfortunately, the fall probably wouldn’t end it all anyway. She’s fallen further, literally and figuratively both.

“Though next time…” she continues as she contorts to grab hold of the bars behind her head and flip her legs over the rail entirely. She hangs, swinging back and forth as she watches him climb from beneath the steel grate, with her eyes with that eerie and vapid wideness that she prefers in her more innocuous moments. “…Next time, it may be in Hell.”

Her gaze drops to the grate of the landing below. Although it would be far easier to swing in and land there, she lets her toes graze the top bar of the next set of railing instead. “I mean, if ya don’t believe that Hell is a place on Earth, anyway.”

Side to side as Harley Quinn swings, her head bops from shoulder to shoulder as she starts loudly caterwauling the tune—sorta kinda, if you listen to the notes just so—of Belinda Carlisle. “Oooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth…”

Batman pauses on that second step. He has been gauging how Harley takes his exit. The acrobatics and flippancy reveal just how vulnerable she is seems to be. Perhaps she is hedging bets, perhaps this is the way she justifies things. Perhaps she is simply another lost soul in Gotham.

Pausing, he sighs when she tells him that the next time they meet it may be in Hell. "Where we meet next is up to you: whether it be Michigan or otherwise."

Turning his cowled head back to the dangling harlequin: the woman who waited hours on a fog covered and cold fire escape to exchange what he thinks is an essential life line. "You need to make the step, Harley. I'll keep giving you buttons as long as you need them, but what happens after this is entirely up to you. You need to make a choice. I will not make it for you until you force me to do it. You can keep dangling and walking wires and singing rhymes, but we both know you are more than that."

Then, there is a loud creaking of the fire escape and he leaps up toward the night and the clouds and the rest of the city.

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