Old Tricks

December 05, 2017:

Batman's back, and so is Harley. Batman proves that he's totally a marshmallow inside. Yes, really. Why are you looking at me like that…?

Just outside a dive bar on the East End of Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Joker, Catwoman

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's been a few hours since one Harley Quinn disappeared into a dive bar on the East Side, and she emerges now walking just as straight a line as she did when she went in. Her back pocket, however, is a little more padded and her attitude is a little cheerier than when she started.

She's looking altogether normal—nearly plain—as she walks out. Except for the tank she wears, red and black diamonds of the flipping sequins style, and the red paint putting smiley faces on the toes of her boots, it's all black for her. Black boots, black jeans. Black coat. Her blonde hair, set in pigtails, is curled with an eye for the art of it.

Stretching her arms up and then folding them behind her neck to cradle her head and flash her bare belly as she walks in the late autumn chill, Quinn certainly doesn't seem to mind the fact that she's a featherweight gal on the bad side of town. She looks right at home.

Wonder why?

Ever since the Batman disappeared months ago, the status quo had been beaten back by the rest of the Bats, and by the arrival of other supers from other cities.

The last few days though, there have been rumors Batman has returned… and more than one sighting of new, shiny batdrones flying over the city during the day and night. The Batmobile was even spotted a few nights ago downtown. SO far though, no high profile appearances by Batman.

One of those scouting drones had profiled Harley Quinn on a pass, and passed that information along to the computerized search for persons of interest. As it so happens, Harley falls under that category, and Batman has just arrived on the rooftops above the midriff baring ex of the Joker. His new red and black suit does wonders for his ability to move, with the new tricks up his cape (literally). So he moves along with her with his his gauntlet mounted grapnel launcher, the silent device reusable and built in to allow him to get around. Once right above Harley, the Bat launches an anchor at a pole, bringing himself stealthily behind Harley… and then she hears him.

"Up to old tricks, Quinn?" The first thing that Harley notices is the new voice scrambler… then, the red screens that are over his eyes. The new suit has taken his intimidation factor, and amped it up pretty hard… and it is visibly upgraded and armored, now. He's no Iron Man, but the suit is completely new.

Harley stops dead in her tracks, but she doesn't turn. She quickly lowers her arms, however, to a point where her stomach no longer shows but her hands stay high. She knows better than to hide them away; this is a familiar game. "Heya, Batsy!" she calls in a sing-song voice. "Long time, no see! Define 'old tricks' for a gal, will ya'? I mean, there's old tricks, and there's old tricks, and there's old tricks…"

Slender shoulders shrug and her head lolls to one side. She hadn't really noticed Batman's absence… She wasn't around in Gotham at all to notice it in the past few months.

"I wouldn't wanna be confused and give ya' the wrong answer, yanno?"

"I'm sure the new money is mixing in well with the old." The scrambled voice of Batman replies behind her. Then, he moves around in front of Harley, the new batsuit in plain view now as he turns to regard her, his arms crossing at the chest. "Small steps. Robbery and firearm possession is a step down from what you used to deal in." Then, those red eyes narrow just slightly, "You've been busy elsewhere, I hear. You wouldn't have happened to hear from the Joker while you were away, would you?"

"…" There's a long silence from the clown's ex-gal, and the playful and amused smile evaporates entirely. "Really?" she asks, incredulous. "REALLY?"

Small steps? It's hard to remember 'small steps' when one is very occupied with the umbrage one is taking. "I've been gone for months. MONTHS. Does seriously no one care except that they were down a body to ask about my ex?" There's a sound of disgust as she continues on her rampage, hands waving emphatically where they still sit up in the air. "And they call me the sociopath! Fine howdy-do! 'Hey, Harley! Let's talk about the good-fer-nothin' guy you ain' been with in ages!'" She leans in to stare at Batman in his fancy new suit, maybe registering it. Maybe not. "Yer makin' me think I don't matter to ya' at all, an' I'm hurt, I tell ya'. Hurt."

If Batman is moved at all by Harley throwing a fit about his interest (or lack thereof), he certainly doesn't show it. Instead, he stands there, listening. Watching. He might as well be a statue in all that gear. "I'm not your therapist, or your friend, Quinn. I'm sure Catwoman will be eager to hear you're not dead, though." Assuming Harley can find her, anyway. "What brings you back to Gotham?"

"Y'ain' my friend," Harley says, voice a comedic attempt at that altered baritone. Her pout is in full view as her hands edge down to fold over her jacket, head lifting indignantly to point her nose in the sky and away from the Bat. Blonde curls bounce over her darkly clad shoulders. "So why should I tell ya', huh?"

A theatrical sniffle fills the air.

There's a moment… then, Batman leans in. Inches away from Harley's face, those red eyes narrow slightly, "If you're really trying to keep away from that psychopath, it's in your best interests to keep me in the loop for your activities so I can respond effectively when, not if, he makes a move on you again." He was fairly neutral before… but now, that intimidating presence the Bat is infamous for is making itself known as he watches Harley, "And because I'm asking nicely, and we both know I'll learn why, with or without your cooperation."

Without turning her head from its elevated height, Harley turns her gaze sideways and up at the … Batman who is now leaning in and looking all bristled. Her pout becomes a contorted purse that smacks of inner conflict, and then finally she deflates.

"He ain' bothered me in months, either," Harley says flatly, as though it would somehow disprove the threat - not small - that's being leveled at her. "I didn't come back for him," she says, tone defensive, "if that's whatcher thinkin'."

A pause, and then a helpless shrug. "Gotham's home, yanno? All my friends are here."

"That, I can believe." Batman affirms, before he pulls back. His left hand goes into his utility belt, and pops open a pouch. Then, he lifts out a small device with a button… and offers it to Harley. "If he comes, press the button on this to signal me. Me -or someone I trust- will know it was you being harassed by that psychopath and find you if we can." There's only one button in fact, labeled 'for emergencies'. He stands there with it offered, his cape fluttering slightly in the Gotham wind as those red eyes go back to neutral demeanor.

It's a kindness that he's offering her. A kindness that she's not entirely certain what to do with.

Ultimately, Harley likes her options. And she likes living. And Joker doesn't always make it seem like he's going to afford her either of those things. So she unfolds her arms and takes the alarm to shove it into her pocket. "Yeah, alright," she says at last. And then? Then the uncertain trial of a new iteration of her puckish smile. "Does runnin' out of bubblegum count as an emergency? Because, yanno, I find having something to chew on really helps with my stress."

Batstare turns into a Batglower as Batman sits there, watching her. Watching.

She doesn't immediately back down, Harley more than willing to stand toe-to-toe against that glare. For a time, anyway.

She gives an exaggerated sigh moments later, rolling her pale eyes like an exasperated teenager. "Fine. Take all the fun outta havin' a Bat Button, why doncha?" A pause. And then an evil grin. "What kinda batteries does this thing take, anyway? Get it? GET IT?! 'BAT'TERIES?" Because he's clearly never heard that one before. She's laughing anyway. A lot. Loudly. Obnoxiously. "Man, I'm funny!"

"It'll be months before it runs out of power. If it comes to that, I'll replace it myself." Batman confirms to Harley, before he gestures at it. "This is not an invitation to annoy me, Quinn. This is me giving you insurance against the psychopath trying to get under your skin again. Abuse it, and I'll take it away."

Harley doesn't immediately respond, she's too busy doubling over and slapping her own knee. "I slay me!" She wipes away an invisible tear, takes a breath, and then looks to Batman with a huge grin. "I knew you cared about me, Batsy!" And then, she moves to throw her arms around him to give him a huge hug.

Because, clearly, Batman needs help meeting his hug quota. Hugs for emotional health!

Then, Harley Quinn goes to hug Batman.

He's big, and the suit is very well armored where technology isn't built in. Not only is the suit pretty big -big enough that getting her arms around him fully is difficult- but also catches where plates are modular and flex off the inner layer. "I wouldn't recomm-" Too late.

Well, Batman isn't moving, at least.

Harley doesn't caaaaaare~ She doesn't care that he's practically twice her size in the suit. She doesn't care that he probably really hates it. (Truth bomb: that makes it better.) She's hugging the Batman.

And he's not fighting her. Excellent. She squeezes him with just a little extra strength, and then bounces back. "You're sweet! I'll remember that."

Then, stepping away, she bounces in her boots as though there were springs in her heels. "I promise to be good about the button," she says, for whatever little that's worth. "So, now that we're all caught up on the glorious state of me, can I…?" she leans over and makes the international gesture for 'skedaddle'.

"Don't make me regret this, Quinn. No one deserves the attention of the Joker… but I don't have time for your usual nonsense." The hug seems to have produced a scowl, but little else, for now. "Keep out of trouble."

With that, his right arm stretched out into the sky, and a grapnel launcher built into the gauntlet gives a silent response as he accelerates into the Gotham skyline.

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