Meet Zook

January 24, 2018:

Owen introduces Harley to her true love, Zook, the pie-zooka. And then they go off for ice skating and hot cocoa like responsible adults.

Gotham Arms - Owen's Place

A slightly more furnished bachelor studio apartment.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Quinn's been scarce around the Arms lately. Not in the halls, no noise from her apartment. She's out to all hours of the night, drinking the local bar boys under the table for money according to the kids around the block. Then they stopped drinking with her. So sad!

But she's been good about answering random texts from Owen with noncommittal responses of 'hahahaha' or an appropriate equivalent.

It's seven o'clock in the evening on a Wednesday night when there's a rap on Owen's door. It's sharp and insistent.

*rap* pause *rapraprap* pause *rapraprapraprap*

Then, an ominous feminine voice: "'ey, Merrrcerrr! I know you're in theeere!" Okay, maybe half-ominous and half-irksome, depending on the state of the listener. Irksome, ominous… It's a spectrum, right? Anyway, what follows next is a bark of bright command, "Little pig, little pig, let me in!"

*

The drunk texts to Harley throughout the week have been carefully curated. Well, as careful as his booze addled mind allowed. Things like "The bar exploding while you are in it: 2/10. Would not recommend." and "Time travel is stupid. Also, I'm burning anything yellow that I own." They don't make much sense but they are occasionally funny. He wants to keep it light, but things aren't really going so well for Owen just about now.

Having retreated to Gotham after New York has thoroughly kicked his ass, he is sitting at a small table, a new addition to his apartment staring at the table in front of him. The package sits neatly in front of him, still wrapped in plastic from his dealer. He swore he wouldn't go back on it, but going clean, even as twisted as his definition of that word is hasn't been working out great for him. Thankfully he deliberates long enough to be interrupted.

At the knock he sweeps the contents of the table into a backpack, which he zips and tosses aside. "What?!" is the response to the knock, but when he hears the voice, his battered face twists into a small smile.

"It's open! Please don't blow it in… or up."

*

The door swings open unceremoniously, and Harley comes barreling through it. "Getcher shoes on, Boomerang. We're goin' out!" She's got on a pleated skirt a la the Catholic schoolgirl look and thick, sparkly black leggings with her combat boots, all hidden under a heavy black leather jacket and a ridiculously long red scarf. Her pigtailed hair even has been tied up with the stupid little pompoms, one red and one black.

She's halfway into the room before she stops, notices Owen's face, and tilts her head to one side like a confused cocker spaniel. Her one eye squints as the opposite eyebrow lifts. A beat passes, and then she inquires, "…you were serious about the bar thing?"

*

The grand entrance is not lost on Owen who spreads his hands and does his best to show his admiration for her look on his face. At the announcement of their plans he throws his head back and says "Ohhh haaaaaaaiiiilll YES we are!!" his head rotating down throughout the hail/hell. He grabs his jacket and boots and is mid-hop putting them on when she asks about his face.

"Sadly yes. Now I'm all for a good explosion, don't get me wrong. But that tragic loss of liquor is just… " here he fake sobs. "So. Sad."

Pulling a hat from one pocket of the coat, he jams that on his head over his ridiculously unruly ginger mop. From the other pocket he pulls out a flask and gives it a shake. Apparently unsatisfied with the result he walks back to the kitchenette and fills it back up.

"Oh! And before I forget… I brought you something." He points over towards what looks like a bag for holding downhill skills or hockey gear sitting on the floor where a couch or living room area might otherwise be.

*

He pretends all is well, and so Quinn doesn't push the matter. He's alive, and Owen's giving her a pass for not pushing sooner to reveal that it wasn't actually a weird drunk joke.

She takes it with an unexpressed gratitude. Yeah, she'll definitely not miss the opportunity to move past what she knows is a breach of the social contract, and she plasters a smile back on her lips with only a little less amperage as he goes to get ready. She shoves her hands in her pockets and rocks up on her toes to wait, a bundle of nervous energy.

But then he tells her he got her something. Insert more puzzlement, and Harley looks downright dubious as she moves - very slowly - towards the bag. "Y'did?" She doesn't immediately open it, but instead turns her look back to Owen. Her tone is tentative when she speaks. "…What is it?"

*

Owen is eager to push through any serious talk, the joke to deflect, the booze and present to change the subject. He's had exactly one honest conversation with someone where he actually opened up and he lists that among his regrets. He has boundaries for how he relates to anyone, and that maybe goes double for Harley. Things between them are supposed to be light, fun and occasionally sexy, but never serious. Never fully honest.

"It, my dear, is only the best thing I have ever built. I designed it myself, with a teensy little assist from a genius billionaire philanthropist playboy." Realizing that might not narrow it down enough he adds. "That is great at blowing shit up dressed in super armor." Really at this point he realizes he should just say it because that still could be Luthor. "Stark. I somehow got Tony Stark to help. Still not sure how…" In his defense he was quite drunk for most of that. In Tony's defense, so was he.

Sure enough, inside the bag is one Pie-zooka. Boxed neatly in bakery boxes, tied with requisite red and white string are three exploding pies. Ammo really is going to be the challenge.

*

Blue eyes narrow as Owen talks. And talks. Then she processes what is said. Wait for it. Waaaaait for it. Processing. Prooooooocessing. Then the blonde's eyes open wide as her jaw goes a little slack. "You… You what."

And then Harley Quinn can't get into the bag fast enough. The bazooka is revealed first, followed by the boxes. And then the squealing begins. And the jumping. And more shrill squealing. And more jumping. The neighbors downstairs must love her.

Once that's out of her system, Owen will find her racing towards him at full tilt with another high-pitched expression of unbridled joy and absolutely zero attempt to stop as she gets closer. Piezookas apparently warrant kisses and attempts to lay someone out flat in a tackle.

She just kinda forgot about that whole face mashed up thing in her exuberance. So. Um. Oops.

*

Owen is patient. He knows it's going to take a bit to set in what is happening, even though they've discussed it. He purposely has not sent any photos, or mentioned in any texts what he's been up to. He watches her closely with a secretive smile on his face, with only a slight raise of his eyebrows at her when she realizes what is happening. And the pay off is as good as he hoped. He laughs as she jumps and squeals, but is caught a bit off guard when she races for him.

Blargh! No speed! *THUMP* "Oompfh!" *CRASH* Owen goes down with Harley wrapped around him but laughs and coughs on the ground beneath her. He could care less about the busted nose or other bruises as he kisses her back. After a bit he pulls back and is about to say something. Confess how much he needs this exuberance, something to freaking go right, but any tenderness in his face disappears into a sardonic smile instead as he asks "So. Does that mean you like it?"

*

"YOU ARE A FIN' BRILLIANT HUMAN BEING," Harley shrieks from her place on top of Owen, who she doesn't realize couldn't have dodged her even if he wanted to. Or, maybe he could. But he didn't try, so this clearly means he's okay with it.

Another kiss as she drags Owen up to meet her with both hands behind his head. "HOW DID YOU TALK TONY STARK INTO HELPING YOU?" Another kiss. "ohmygawdohmygawdohmygawd" More squealing. Then, with her face only an inch from his, the clown opens her eyes manic-wide as she whispers a question of deadly seriousness. "…Do the pies explode?"

*

Waaah, my speed's gone. Waah, my job's gone. Waaah, my life's shit. Owen can't imagine stating the truth about anything without it sounding a) whiny b) boring and c) way less fun than anything Harley had in mind. And so he says nothing. The kissing helps too.

At the talk of his brilliance though he says very seriously. "Phew. It's about time one of us said it. And really, it'd be a little awkward if it was me. So thank you for acknowledging my brilliance. It's a little weird ya hadn't said it sooner." He of course is smiling by the end of that little speech, especially because it's interspersed with more kissing.

"Tony is.. I don't even know. I broke in to use his lab. And then somehow we talked and he … offered?" Really Owen isn't super clear on why, but apparently him hanging out at Stark labs is a thing now and he's not going to look in that gift horse's mouth anytime soon.

When she stops to ask the last question. He narrows his eyes and says "How could you even ask such a hurtful thing? What kind of two-bit shyster do you think me that I would make a non-exploding pie bazooka?! I'm hurt Harley. Deeply." And enough of that.

"Want to go blow something up with a pie?"

*

Queue more screaming. So. Much. Screaming. Then Harley is clambering up off of Owen, but doesn't even help the guy up. No, she's scrabbling back to the bag like a sugar-crazed toddler as she hauls the thing out of the bag with a deceptive ease. So that she hoist the thing up and into place onto her shoulder as she sets her pale cheek against the cool metal. "I think I'm gonna name ya' Zook," she tells the weapon. "And dress ya' up real nice in pinstripe paint, like a real gentleman."

"I was gonna drag ya' out fer ice skatin'," she tells Owen once she's done cooing to her new toy, an eye squinting as she rounds the thing towards the front door with a perhaps-surprising amount of care and awareness for her surroundings in the initial testing of its weight and feel. Her finger, for the concerned, is for the moment well clear of the trigger. Well, it's on the outside of the trigger guard, anyway. "Soooooo, unless there's someone that pissed ya' off that ya' wanna go nail right now, I can be patient. Fer a little bit, anyway."

Her knees pulse as she feigns their weakness, the artillery briefly pointing ceilingward as her head lolls back. It finally comes off of her shoulder so she can hug it tightly, like a teddybear. Nevermind that it's as tall as she is."AAAAAH. I want to take this everywhere now."

*

Other Boomerang. Whoever the hell this Fisk guy is. Banana Flash. Demon bears. Pigeons. That guy who took the last everything bagel at the bagel cart on 5th that one time three weeks ago. The list of people and animals that Owen would love to use this new weaponry on is surprisingly robust. However, none of them are easily found. Okay fine pigeons are, but that's more a general vendetta than a specific target. Owen props himself up on his elbows and makes a small open hand gesture of 'Oh, we're done with kissing? Bummer.' with his hand and an eyebrow. It's very effective non-verbal communication.

"Ice skating sounds perfect. And I believe I did promise that. And I am a man.. who promises a lot of things."

That's not what most people would say there, obviously. But Owen is at least self-aware that he is a liar and an over-promiser as a rule. He hefts himself up with a little bit of grunting and wincing. "Yea, the Zook ain't super portable. Sorry. I looked into smaller and it was … just not as fun." He retrieves his filled flask from the counter, takes a swig and says, "So lead on for ice capades! Or ice charades or ice canapes.. ice something."

*

Harley is lovingly caressing the bazooka, and she whines in sorrowful agreement to its creator's assessment. No, Zook cannot come today. "It's okay, baby," she whispers to the steel in her arms. "It's only temporary. We'll getcha out where everyone will get to see you in all yer shinin', pie-hurlin', explodinatin' glory. You'll make yer papas sooo proud."

The bat and batlings better stay nice.

Painfully, Harley separates herself from her new and unused toy. She lovingly sets it back in its back, as though it were made of glass. And then she turns her attention to Owen once more, her expression one of emphatic, dramatic, nearly-tearful gratitude. "I can't believe ya' actually made it." And then? As a period to that sentence, she closes her eyes and stamps her feet as she releases another expressive shriek.

What she can't put into words is how much she needed the pick-me-up. How, since Ivy went out on sojourn, the moments alone since her return have put way too many thoughts into the 'available for thinking' category and how horrible and detrimental it's been. So she shrieks.

"Best. Day. EVER."

*

Owen's not jealous of a bazooka that would be stupid. Okay, fine, he's maybe a little weirdly jealous of the bazooka. But he is glad that she appreciates it. It's one of the things that he finds himself almost high off in her presence. She not only gets some of his weirder impulses like building something like this, she actively loves it and praises it.

He honestly hasn't thought about her using this against the Bat, but goodness that would make his life complete!

"Of course I made it. I make all kinds of weird shit. Just usually everyone thinks it's weird." Cutting himself off before he gets too serious, or opens up too much. He just wraps an arm around her and says "Oh sweetie, we're just getting started." Because somehow that seems possible with her. Owen isn't clear how much she is always pushing back against reality or seriousness, or if she is truly oblivious. Part of their schtick is not talking about that. But for him it's a conscious effort to be in the moment and use her to escape reality. Unfortunately because they don't talk, he can't tell if that's what she's doing or if she isn't weighed down like those dreaded normal people. And in truth? Owen doesn't want to risk his escapism by finding out.

*

Everyone thinks he's weird? Harley makes a face and is about to wave off the thought… but then there's an arm around her. And he's back to helping keep the subject off of anything that matters. She'll keep the attention on herself. And it'll all work out, somehow.

The blonde chuckles darkly as she takes her fingers and gingerly walks them up his battered and bruised face, feather-light brushes of flesh and sports-length nails that defy the marks where they lay. "I like the sound of that," she tells him.

And then her head pulls back, as though really setting eyes on the damage for the first time. Bumping his hip, she asks, "Ya' sure yer up fer it?"

*

Closing one eye and leaning into her as she touches his face he thinks himself back in the safe flirty, light territory. Then she bumps his hip and asks about him. His eyes narrow, and with a touch of disappointment in his voice he assures her, "Very much so. I need some fun Harley." It's as close to an admission of what they are for each other as it gets.

"Far too many people are trying to break my 'No Killing Owen' policy. And that is a very firm rule that I stick by at all times."

It's in the form of a joke so it doesn't count as complaining. But he can feel his resolve crumbling, ever so much. And before he can help it, something dumb slips out. Considering it's him, it's surprising it's taken that long. He turns to face her, and leans his head down against hers. He speaks quickly, almost as if he's afraid he won't get it out in time.

"Seriously. There's a whole lot of shit I don't want to think about or deal with. Or talk about. So can you take me out? Or hell, stay in and tie me up? Either way I need a good time."

*

"Hey," Harley says to him with a brow furrowed as he leans in, her hands sliding between them just enough to lift in surrender. It's a practiced gesture. A very practiced gesture. "Fun is my middle name, Sweetums," she murmurs, letting one hand come just close enough to pat him on the cheek softly. "Doncha' worry."

She pulls back, hands still up as her hands go theatrically wide as she gives them a Jazz wiggle as her voice goes up in volume. Up in pitch. "I'm yer good-time gal, always good for a laugh! Ha!"

Once she's back far enough, she pulls the door open and bows low, sweeping an arm past her with knuckles nearly brushing the floor as she gestures through the door. "After you, sir! The ice is cold, it ain't Mister Freeze to thank fer it, and I got a thermos full of the best cocoa in town in my bag."

*

Almost as soon as it's out he regrets saying it. He of course can't take it back but is ever so grateful that she just accepts and breezes past it. He doesn't want to think about what it means that his speed is gone. He definitely doesn't want to think about why Zoom thought he was time displaced. He just wants to escape and if he can manage that without resorting to old habits, ones he knows took a while to shake the first time, then all the better.

"Have I mentioned how good you are at that? Being a good time."

He heads out the door, with a forced bounce in his step. He is setting out to have a good time. And with her help, that's what he's going to do. "I don't think I've skated since… wow. It's been a while."

*

"Of course, I am!" Harley chirps, picking up her messenger bag from where she'd carelessly left it by Owen's door and swinging it effortlessly across her shoulder to slap against her back. "Ya don't get this far in life without bein' able to do somethin' right!" A joke at her own expense is still a joke, and the delivery of it is key. Well, that and not being too proud to make it.

She effortlessly steps into the pantomime, larger than life and nothing but smiles. Keep your eyes on the funny girl.

"I ain' been down to the rink fer an age either," she confides. "But I'm still pretty sure I'm gonna skate circles around ya'. Y'should be glad I ain' making ya' put on a leotard." Then, there's a pause in her clownish, sweeping step. "Unless you'd do it. Because that'd be hilarious."

*

"I would look fantastic in a leotard." Ooh. Owen is so used to being the most or close to the most outrageous person in the room that he momentarily forgets who he is talking to. Oh well. Double down. "It would highlight my ass. Which I've been told is my best quality." See? Harley is not the only one who can pull off a self-deprecating joke.

He continues outside with her, stopping to light a cigarette as soon as they are out in the cold. "I am sure you will out skate me. My only hope is that the judges appreciate my post-modern East German womens swim team inspired artistic routine. It's all in how you tuck."

*

The laughter that escapes Harley Quinn is genuine, the note of it just a little different. She fixes that right quick, pushing it so hard that she snorts. Which, of course, only makes her laugh harder and have a hard time standing up as she just completely loses it and doubles over as she walks.

Because she's classy.

"Aw, you had to bring post-modernism into it? Everyone always digs the edgy shit. I'm doomed." Standing up, she bends backwards to drape an arm over her forehead in despair. "I'll never get a fair shake now! BOOHOO."

*

Owen looks at her out of the corner of his eye and was goign to attempt to keep a straight face when talking about his 'art'. But once she really gets going laughing he can't help but join in. He does manage to stop laughing enough to take a drag on his cigarette. And he is ever so thankful that she is not truly classy. That would require saying the right thing, being proper and appropriate at all times, which he is allergic to.

"I've also slept with most of them. Even the ugly ones. Just wanted to get that out there in the spirit of sportsmanship."

Her antics with swooning get another chuckle from Owen. And he can feel that little bit of ridiculous magic work it's way in, helping him slide away from all the cares and weight.

And now is the time on Sprockets, when we skate.

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