If It Feels Good

March 22, 2018:

In the continuing saga of Harley and Owen's sustained bad choice, they compound it.

Owen's Apartment - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Taskmaster, Amanda Waller

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

She'd arrived like the world was ending come the morning.

When Harley Quinn showed up on Owen's doormat (or where his doormat would be if he actually had one) in her dramatic cosmetics, fitted red and black dress, and knee high boots, she led with her darkly painted mouth like always. She just didn't bother with the wastes of energy that are 'hello' and 'how are you?' this time. She'd pounded on his door, and then promptly proceeded to shove Owen back to the depths of his apartment with a kiss when he'd answered.

The neighbors are lucky that the door got shut, and that nothing exploded when she threw her workbag to the side of the room. That's the kind of mood she'd shown up in. And stayed in for a while. But that does eventually pass, as time and moments are wont to do.

And that leaves her eventually in the aftermath, in one of Owen's commandeered t-shirts, in his kitchen cabinet, rummaging for a glass to pour herself water. As if this is all entirely normal, she starts talking over her shoulder to Mercer. "So," she begins, offering the first words of the evening in an overly bright pitch. "Are ya free the next couple of nights?"

There are few figures who actually darken Owen's door here in Gotham, and he likes it that way. Of course there is no tell-tale anything to specify that the knock is Harley. No, she's far too random to do anything predictable. So Owen isn't sure who is at the door when he opens it, dressed in sweatpants and a tank top. And he barely has time to get out a happy greeting of "Hee-" before being kissed back into his apartment.

Owen is certainly in no rush to see this moment pass, and though mentally he realizes she likely didn't get all made up simply for sexy fun times, he isn't arguing if that's where it's headed.

Back into a state of semi-dress at least with the sweatpants back on, Owen makes his way in for a drink of something stronger. He pours himself a glass of whiskey on ice before tilting the bottle towards Harley in a silent offer. At the question, he says "If ya thought ya needed to butter me up b'fore asking, I would have said yes either way for the record."

Quinn downs a glass of water before looking at the cup, then at the bottle of whiskey. It's barely worth pretending to think about it, but she does pretend for a heartbeat's pace before shoving her glassware in his direction in equally silent plea. "Y'don't even know what I'm askin' for," the clown counters, her head tilting as she leans against the sink's edge. "I mean, fer all ya know, I could be gettin' ready to dress y'up as a lingerie model for some novelty bad boy pin up calendar." Her empty hand fans out by her waist in an understated showman's wave. "The Villains of Puppy Gulch." She leans in and whispers, "I'd totally make you tie a French Bulldog in some curly wig to railroad tracks and wear a curly mustache."

Pouring her a drink with small smile that she even pretended like she wasn't going to have one, Owen then sets down the bottle. Picking up his glass for a healthy sip he shrugs, "Yea, but I got nothing goin' on and I get destructive when I'm bored." It's true! Though usually it's been more self-destructive than he's willing to admit out loud. Harley at this point would have seen the signs that he's using again if she wanted to. So any distraction is probably a good one, even if it's coming from Harley Quinn.

"You say that like I would not A be game for that and B look damn amazing as a lingerie model." He laughs as she goes on to explain exactly how that would go down and says "Well crap. Now I hope whatever it really is, is amazing because it's gonna be hard to top that mental image." With that he downs the rest of his glass and refills. Taking his drink over to one of the two windows in the place, he lifts it open and retrieves the cigarettes and lighter from the window sill to light up.

"So lay it on me. What did I just sign up for?"

The blonde takes a healthy sip of her own, and then another right after. Harley leans a little harder against the counter, and her free arm wraps to settle around her own waist. "Don't have all the details yet. But Tee's gonna be callin', and we'll have to be ready to hop."

She shrugs. "He says he's got a lead on the Babies. But I gotta help run an errand first." Staring down at her glass, she then folds her head towards one shoulder nearly ninety degrees. "Figure a little backup couldn't hurt, yanno?"

Owen lights a cigarette and blows the smoke out into the cold night air. It's still freezing out but it's better than smoking with the window closed. He keeps his eyes on Harley though, a small smile on his lips. At first it's not clear what 'Tee' is going to be calling about so Owen looks a bit quizzical. She continues though and he makes an "Aaaah" of understanding.

"So yer trading favors with T-Bone?"

It's not an accusation, just a clarification of the situation. Well, it's not an accusation yet anyway. Because there might be just a touch of jealousy in that question. But only a little for now. Owen has his suspicions and they boil over.

"Harley, I gotta ask. Did ya sleep with him? I mean .. in the past. Like, not that I care or want a history or shit. Just, it's Task. And he'd love spring that on me later, if he finds out about us."

Here there's less of the hints of jealousy. It really is more about not being surprised if Taskmaster suddenly drops that on him. Owen's had his suspicions since their last mission and it eats at him that Taskie would have anything to hold over his head.

And that touch of jealousy is just enough to spark a bit of defensiveness on Harley's part. Her arm wraps a little tighter and fingers wrap into the cloth of the stolen shirt she wears. Her back pushes a little harder against the Formica's sharp edge as she sinks a little lower and settles deeper into the weight she leverages on her heels. She sips a little harder.

But she doesn't lie about it or beat around the bush.

"Yeah, I did." She shrugs in an attempt to be dismissive. "Not that I'm sure he remembers half the time." Her eyes blink faster, a sign of nerves playing against her. "That a dealbreaker?"

Owen's trying not to seem too interested, trying to be casual about it. But it's an uncomfortable question, even if he's trying to not make a big deal out of it. He exhales smoke perfectly timed with her initial answer, making a small nodding gesture.

"No. It's not a deal breaker. It's not even a big deal. We're not.." He falters trying to explain. "You don't owe me anything, Harl. Hell, it's not really any of my business who you sleep with." He winces a bit and says "Not that I don't care..?" Ha, he sucks at this talk. Probably because he normally avoids it or actively tanks it to evade relationships. He sighs, "Forget it. I shouldna asked. I just know he'd… yea."

"But he wants you to do somethin' before he helps get yer babies back? I'm in." Maybe that's the best way of putting it? She wants help? He's in.

He's talking—running over his thoughts—and Quinn is following—her eyes narrowing in rarely seen caution and consideration. But then he says it.

I'm in.

Whatever came before that is lost in the rush of relief that follows, Quinn's lips—blue from the staining of the black lipstick she came in with—turn upwards and part to bare the teeth she's clenching in her glee. She closes her eyes as she goes weak in the knees… only to shrieks not even a full moment later. The glass all but hurled onto the counter and whiskey sloshing over the side as she races towards him with every intention of shoving her wide-eyed face in his and throwing her arms around his neck despite the cigarette nearby.

Whether she manages to invade his space or not, it's disproportionate and over-the-top, the boisterous "THANK YOU." that follows.

Owen is just glad that she is cutting short that painful little burst of relationship talk. He sucks at it, but keeps falling into the trap of trying to do it. He laughs as rushes him, far more concerned about the open window than the lit cigarette, Owen stands to meet her. He swings her around a bit and laughs as she yells her gratitude at him.

"Of course, Harley. 'Cause whatever this is? It feels good."

He sets her back down and returns to his ledge to smoke. For a brief second his face loses his smile, thinking about reasons why what they have is a completely terrible idea, regardless of how it feels. But almost as quickly, he forces his smile back on his face. Nope, it's fine. This is fine.

This is totally fine. The way she buries her face in his neck as she's spun, but then suddenly feels too familiar as memories get jumbled up and she tenses.

And she catches that momentary lapse and it goes straight to the core of her. He knows. Oh God, he knows. Somehow, he knows how absolutely terrible this favor trading is and…

No, this is good. It feels good. Owen said so, and she clings to it because she's actually legitimately terrified beneath the bravado.

"It sure does!" she chirps back, clucking her tongue and tapping on her temple with the heel of her palm to pantomime knocking herself sideways. Wait. T-that's not going to translate right, she realizes once it's done. And she stares at Mercer for a second, like a deer in a pair of headlights, wondering if he'll get the unspoken joke. Anxiety stretches what is probably no-time-at-all into an eternity as she waits…

Which, of course, then prompts the start of loud and too-tight laughter. Which didn't go so well the last time she did it, she remembers a beat too late. Which means she just commits to it, of course. Because to stop would be worse, right?

The doubt that flickers across her face is caught by his sharp eyes, but just like he wants to hide his, he wants to let her hide hers. It's tenuous what they have, for a thousand reasons. But Owen is not ready to let it go.

At her pantomime, he laughs. At first with a curious look on his face, as if not getting it but then in genuine peels of laughter at her over the top fake laugh. Why that makes him laugh, he doesn't know.

He continues to chuckle, but looks away. He doesn't want her to feel like she has to do that. But he knows that he feels like he needs to put on a face too. Ugh, stupid serious thoughts. And that's not even counting whatever the hell Taskmaster is up to. Stealing some hyenas is one thing. Who cares? But this? He's going to have to let Waller know, without tipping Harley or Task off that it was him. Super.

He stubs his cigarette out and stares out the window for a few moments too long. He finishes off his second whiskey and then stands, moving towards the kitchen for another. Partially for something to do, partially because he doesn't want to think about some things right now.

He laughed? Oh, praise the heavens and every devil in Hell, he laughed. It relieves her, a little, although her shoulders never really relax despite her show. But when Owen stops laughing, Harley doesn't really know what to do with the silence. He walks past her, and she ducks her head, face lost behind a curtain of tousled blonde.

And then she's moving, too. She knows this routine, and she knows he prefers her gone when these moments come. She'll oblige. "So, uh. I… I'm just gonna get my stuff, and then I'll get out of yer hair. On-call, right? Sleep is good."

Like she's going to sleep. Another good joke that you can't say outloud, Harl.

"But Tee was pretty sure you'd be down for somethin' to do, so don't be surprised if he shoots you a text." She pulls up the remnants of her clothes, and throws her bag over her shoulder with the clunk of metal canisters rattling around in it. "If he doesn't, I'll swing by to check in tomorrow?"

Owen realizes that he hasn't answered her or really said much in the last few minutes as he pours himself another drink. And though he feels relieved when she states that she's going, that is immediately followed by guilt. He should want her to stay, right?

But the reality is that he's more pissed about the Taskmaster confession than he expected to be, and it's only compounded by the fact that he's already agreed to help do him a favor. Maybe the only good thing to come out of this is that Owen will stop feeling even the tiniest bit guilty about feeding any intel on Task back to Waller.

"Hey… yeah" Owen breaks his internal brooding to at least turn and smile at Harley as she goes. "Sleep's good." Which is the most perfunctory response possible.

Owen's reaction to her mentioning Tee is only a slight eye twitch as he nods in agreement that he's on call. Well of Harley's former flames, that Owen is aware of, he would much rather have agreed to do Taskmaster a favor than others. That's one small bright spot.

Once Harley is gone, Owen doesn't even bother pretending like he's doing anything else other than breaking into his stash. The door is locked and his gear out in seconds. Business time.

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