Title: The Day After The Night Before
Author: Cold Nostalgia
Disclaimer: Don’t own them.
Claim: Harley & Ivy
Characters: Harley/Ivy, Selina
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: 25. Blood
Timeline/Spoilers: GCS
Word count: 2,107
Summary: Boy, did she feel like crap


The thick fog was slow in lifting itself from her mind, her mouth was dry and her tongue felt like she’d cleaned her laundry with it. With a Herculean effort, Harley pushed against the ten ton weights attached to her eyelids, opened her eyes, winced briefly at the last of the bright October sunshine filling the room, and came face to face with Mr. Snugglepuff.

Harley threw a heavy arm around the stuffed toy in silent greeting, a hazy grin spreading across her face as she did so. The fuzzy felt was comforting and soothing against the otherwise numb nerve endings of the sluggish limb.

She sighed. Boy, did she feel like crap.

A lethargic glance at her Spongebob alarm clock told her it was four fifteen. The blonde blinked in surprise. Harley had always liked a lie-in, but no one could ever have accused her of being some kind of deadbeat vampire. With some effort, she cast her mind back to the previous day and tried to remember just how she came to be all tucked and snug in her own bed.

No matter how hard she thought about it, the events of the previous evening were as evasive as vapour. Reaching for them was like reaching for strings from an exploding party popper; the end result inadequate and disappointing.

They’d been at a party and Batman had shown up…no, wait, that wasn’t right.

Harley frowned and bit her lip in concentration, irritably swatting at thick grey clouds in her brain to no avail. Her frown deepened, she pushed down harder on the seemingly broken handle on the jack-in-box of her memory – ah, and there he was.

Black Mask. The new one, not the old one.

They’d been at Black Mask’s factory down at the harbour, cause Catty had said something about him throwing a Halloween party and everyone had to go as their favourite animal, and…and Pammy had been pissed ‘cause the invitation had said nothing about plants…

She clucked her tongue. No, that definitely wasn’t right.

Drugs shipment.

They’d been there ‘cause Black Mask had been expecting a drug shipment worth a whole lotta moolah. And Catty had been pissed ‘cause she hated Black Mask even if he wasn’t the same guy that’d given her all that grief a while back…

She’d wanted to interrupt the party. That was it! Catty had wanted to gatecrash his party!

So they had gone, the three of them…and…and…

Harley growled in frustration, leaning back into her pillow heavily. Somewhere in the brightly coloured streets and polka dotted alleyways of her mind, Little Jack was saying something to her, a tiny finger beckoned her towards him, his wooden grin widened…she leaned in closer…

And the warehouse had been deserted. It’d looked like no one had been there for years. They waited around for a couple of hours, searched the surrounding buildings, talked to a couple of bums.

And nada. The whole place had been as dead as the men’s shower room back in Arkham when Junkyard Dog got his weekly hose down…

…Little Jack smacked his lips and chuckled…

And that’s when Pammy had gotten pissed. She’d needed to get up before the crack of dawn the next morning ‘cause some big shot from S.T.A.R Labs HQ was driving through from Metropolis to inspect the building… or something. Pammy had wanted to do a few experiments in her greenhouse before calling it a day…or one of her flytraps had been sick…

She’d gotten right in Catty’s face about it, had called her an idiot, called her worthless.

And Catty had shoved her, snarled at her; called her a whole bunch of names that a person just couldn’t say in front of a class of five year olds.

Harley had switched roles then, going from forgotten third wheel to essential mediator within the blink of an eye. She’d thrown herself between the pair of them, her voice drowned out by their fiery bellowing…and then…and then…

The clown shook her head, the scene was crumpling like a rejected chapter from a crappy detective novel. Harley narrowed her eyes and concentrated, desperately trying to smooth out the wrinkles of the crushed piece of paper.

And then…and then…

Little Jack clapped his hands merrily and tilted to the left…

Beside him a shaken bottle of fizzy pop exploded…

The whole thing had been a set-up. There’d never been any shipment of drugs. In the midst of their squabbling, they hadn’t seen the sniper.

A shot rang out and Harley had fallen. She hadn’t been able to stop herself from crying out in shock as her body hit the cold concrete floor. A pair of feet ran away from her and a pair of hands had grabbed roughly at her costume, dragging and pulling at her as if she’d been a dead pig in a sausage factory.

The pain had hit her then. In her lungs. Across her chest. Burning, searing, twisting like molten lava running through her veins. She’d tried to scream, but she’d choked on liquid copper instead…

Blood. There’d been so much of it; spilling out her body, past ineffectual hands and useless pleading. Invisible against the crimson red of her costume, warming her chilled body against the cold night air. It’d flooded into her mouth, dribbled under her tongue, streamed into her nose and gurgled in her back of her throat.

Harley hadn’t been able to breathe. Pammy’s face had swum in her vision, urgent lips moved out of synch and spouted gibberish. It didn’t matter what the words were, Harley couldn’t really hear them over the cheery carousel music that’d played somewhere in the distance.

Then there’d been a sickly sweet smell like lilies on a hot summer day, overpowering the sour metallic liquid that had filled her senses, Harley’s stomach had flipped, a voice had shouted something, the sound scraping unpleasantly on her ears, and…and…

Little Jack straightened on his springs, the handle of the box began to slowly unwind of its accord. Little Jack smiled in contentment, waved his hand and disappeared from view.

Harley shivered against the warm cosiness of her duvet. Gently, she gingerly lifted up her pyjama top to reveal tight bandages and a silly amount surgical tape. Well, that would explain the tightness and numbness.

Last night had been a total washout.

She hugged Mr. Snugglepuff to her chest, his soft fur against her nose felt good and comforting. Made her forget about how her own blood had clung to her costume and reddened her make-up.

Harley shook her head to banish the images from her mind. Obviously it had worked out okay in the end. Heck, she wouldn’t be all tucked up in bed if it hadn’t. The others would fill her in all the gory details in good time, and Harley looked forward to hearing about how Black Mask got his butt whipped by the pair of them.

But first, there was a day to be salvaged. It was too perfect an afternoon to be stuck inside feeling miserable about a heap of stuff that had already happened, and Harley Quinn, The Mistress of Mischief, was not one for dwelling on the past. With a quick flick of the wrist, she threw back the duvet, swung her legs over the side of the bed and—

Fell onto her knees.

Harley bit back a curse and sighed in frustration. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t in any fit state to go rollerblading but surely a quiet day in front of the TV wouldn’t go amiss. Maybe later Ivy could take her downstairs to see Bud and Lou, given how washed out she felt, Harley didn’t think she could handle her boys' crazy antics by herself.

“Hey guys!” Harley called, getting unsteadily to her feet. “I’m back!”

She waited for a few minutes.

And nothing. No one came barging into the room with tear-stained cheeks, or heartfelt apologies, or gifts that would make up for the fact that the pair of them had just about got her damn near killed last night.

Harley was appalled and not just a little bit hurt. Over several weeks she’d suspected that she’d been the runt of the group. Heck, the pair of them ignored her half the time, nor did they place any real value on her opinions – and that was fine, she was used to that kind of treatment.

But this was in a league of its own. Leaving her all sick and helpless in an empty house?

Harley shook her head in disbelief. Maybe they just hadn’t heard her.

Woozily, Harley wandered from room to room in search of her elusive friends and team-mates, but to no avail. The animal shelter was as empty and lifeless as a Michael Bay movie.

Harley didn’t want to believe it. Surely they wouldn’t treat her like this. Maybe Pammy hadn’t gotten herself off to work regardless. Maybe Catty hadn’t found something better do somewhere else. Maybe they were still dealing with Black Mask, and in their haste to deal with the situation, they hadn’t been able to find anyone to take care of her. So they’d patched her as best they could and left the rest to her accelerated healing abilities.

Yeah that was it! Harley smiled, her resilient good mood returning in spades. Ivy and Catty could delve deep into the depths of dickish behaviour at times, but they wouldn’t leave all alone.

Still, a note would have been nice.

Harley just hoped that wherever they where, the pair of them were at least trying to get along. The last few days had been pure torment with their constant bickering and petty squabbling. And Harley really didn’t want to dust off her old notepad and pen, sit them down for a therapy session and make them hash out their problems.

Heck, Harley wasn’t even sure that she could.

Suddenly thirsty, Harley put the team’s problems firmly in the back of her mind and made her way down to the kitchen. A quick look in the refrigerator told her that someone had felt rotten enough to go on a guilt-ridden shopping trip.

The shelves were packed full of Harley’s favourite foods and snacks. She eyed them greedily for a few minutes, trying to figure out which one to have first. Unbidden, her eyes fell on a pot of strawberry jell-o, its bright red skin glistening brilliantly under the bright light of the refrigerator.

Warm blood poured out onto cold concrete…

Harley shrieked, an indescribable panic wrapped itself around her throat, frantically she slammed the door shut and tried to catch to her breath. She swallowed, her mouth dry and full of ghostly liquid copper.

Well, wasn’t that just dandy? Post traumatic stress disorder on top of everything else.

Harley ran a shaky hand over face and tried to get her breathing under control. With a disgusted laugh, she poured a glass of water for herself, picked up yesterday’s newspaper and slowly made her way to the living room.

Desperate to ward off the lonesomeness of the house, she switched on the radio and the TV. Instantly Jim Morrison began crooning about some dumb bimbo from Los Angeles and James Dean stared moodily out into the middle-distance.

Angrily, Harley changed the channel and Herman Munster was arguing with Lily about some stupid high school reunion.

She changed the channel again. Bette Davis was spouting off some cliché about fastened seatbelts.

Harley tossed the remote away from her, throwing her arms around herself. She just wanted someone to come home and make a fuss of her; make her chicken soup and bring her comic books. Tell her she was going to be alright. She wanted Pammy to run gentle fingers through her hair, pepper her face with soft kisses. She wanted Catty to lift her spirits with wisecracks and bitchy remarks about everyone and anything.

She knew she was being silly and acting like a baby, but she couldn’t help it. Harley hated being sick, hated being alone, hated being scared. And here she was being all three.

Deep down, Harley knew that Ivy and Catty would come home as soon as they could. Black Mask was probably just making things tricky for them. They’d probably be another hour or so.

A quick glance at the clock told her it was four fifteen.

Harley grunted in defiance, crossed her arms and rested her eyes on George Saunders, her ears honing in on the jaunty voices of The Andrews Sisters.

The girls would be back before supper time.

She’d feel better then. All she had to do was wait.

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