The Woodland Avengers

July 15, 2018:

Poison Ivy returns from her long haitus and enlists Harley in a one-day mission to Hell's Kitchen. Harley promptly tromps all over other people's schticks.

6th Floor - Gotham Arms - Gotham

The Skwad's communal space. It's as ill-kept as you'd expect from a bunch of rarely-do-wells.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Owen Mercer

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Harley has not been herself for weeks. Months, really, at this point. Even for a woman with a reputation for being notorious unpredictable, she has been stretching the descriptor to new taffy-like proportions. She's been moody. Morose or agitated. Anxious. Smiles have become rarer commodities. She disappeared for a month without a word. She came back, disappeared again for two weeks. But now she's returned once more to the 6th floor of the Gotham Arms, and the communal space if offers the members of the Suicide Squad.

She's presently curled up on the couch, working on a new mani-pedi for herself, making the whole communal room smell of nail polish and acetone. In her short cotton shorts and simple white tank, she's concentrating very hard on her big toe nail at present in order to add black hearts to the red surface. Her tongue curls out of her mouth, and beside her there is a glass of a homemade sea breeze cocktail.

Tap.
Tap.
Tap tap.

It's the sixth floor. The windows are always a little difficult to deal with. A building this high in the depths of Gotham will get the inevitable and occasional bird. Yes, though rarely nightwings, robins are common - but rarely this time of year. Would any raptor want to shelter in the eaves of this place?

Tap.
Tap.
Tap tap.
tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap BANG BANG BANG

Carefully crouched on the windowsill outside, crouched down low and looking displeased in an abstract sense, is Poison Ivy. There is a long snaking trail of kudzu - no doubt doomed when Gotham has another bitter winter, but resplendent for now - that has snaked up the side of the old building, adding a nice bit of class to it and probably causing problems for Waller later on.

Ivy presses a long banana leaf against the window. It has been carefully etched with writing, probably with Ivy's thumbnail. The writing, with a little charity for the method here, reads as follows:

HARLEY LET ME IN. LOST KEYS IN BELIZE. WINDOWS BULLETPROOF(?)

And suddenly I heard a rapping, as of someone gently rapping—rapping on the 6th damned floor. 'Tis some visitor, I muttered. Only this and nothing more.

Poe moments aside, Harley's head does indeed snap up - sharply so - as she hears the knocking on the window. She's about to reach into the couch's cushions when she recognizes at last the person, if not the writing. It's really hard to read banana leaf from that far away.

The black lacquer is closed up, and then Harley begins walking across the floor with her toes lifted and spread as best she can. And then, after a cautious look to take in all of the scene, she ends up opening it with a careful slide of the latch and then a stove upwards press of the palms of her hands. "Belize, huh? Tasky said he thought it had been Brazil…."

Ivy immediately crouches down and groans in relief: "THANK you. I was wondering when you'd look this way, Harley." It does not take her long to get inside; her skin has a wholesome (?) green tinge to it. After this, she rolls the banana leaf together and slides it into the red waves of her hair, where it seems to have been originally. Some kind of ornament?

"Do me a favor, dear; never tell anyone this happened," she says, before her eyes focus fully on Harley again, looking her up and down. "You look rough," she tells Harley. "Tell me about it while I have a drink."

She leaves the window open, possibly to let the acetone dissipate.

"I do?" asks the clown at the end of all that, and her eyes drop to her hands, which had been wrapped until just a week or so ago. "I mean, of course, I ain't gonna tell anyone, Red!"

A bare shoulder shrugs, and then turns to dodge Ivy's attention and awkwardly walk away with toes still curled up. Or maybe just get her a glass of water. They aren't great housekeepers here, and it means scrubbing a glass clean for her friend. "We can go somewhere, get a copy made of my key. No problem. Or problem solved? I guess you'd need to have a problem in order to solve it, so I guess it's more like 'Not a huge problem. I mean, not that I wouldn't help, even it was a huge problem—which this isn't. Obviously."

Ivy lets Harley have a little bit of space and follows her round, towards the sink. "There's no hurry now that I'm inside," Ivy says. "I need to check on my darlings upstairs. But they weren't crying out for me, so I suppose I can thank you for that too." When the glass is cleansed, filled, and administered to her, she drains it immediately and sidles up side to side with Harley.

"You're babbling," she says. "It's cute, but it worries me. I doubt it's the nail polish. Here, sit on the counter."

Refill. Drain. Refill: during this second cycle, Ivy says, "I came back because I heard about the bombings. Any news about that?" Her eyes turn towards Harley then and her face shifts into a low-key smile even if her lips don't pull back far. (Inwardly, she thinks: That's a good change of topic. Maybe I caught her exhausted, and that explains the tension. Bombings will be much more comfortable for her.)

Harley waits a beat before awkwardly smiling at Ivy. She… She tried to take care of the upstairs plants, but then there were things that stole her attention.

A pang of concern strikes deep over the fate of the plants, and she smiles brighter and more awkwardly for it. The fact that she doesn't know the current state of things in that little glass house, that she'd lost sight of that very important task at some point—albeit for very good reasons like being curled up in bed after being nearly flambeed by the Joker and the ensuing moment… She tries hard to not think about it.

Obediently, though, the blonde in her pigtails slides herself up onto the counter. Her hands curl around the edge of the counter, and her eyes drop to her knees. "Nothin' that ain't on the news already, I guess," she says, voice quiet.

Inside her head, on repeat: Don't babble. Don't babble. Don't babble…

Ivy has another glass of water. Then another. Two more and she'll be done for the day.

She feels an obscure sense of guilt.

"Do you think the mutants actually did it? Or is that just the media lying to try to start a war?" Ivy asks.

She then explains, pausing as she puts the glass down, probably laden with lingering phytotoxins that will give another Suicide Squadster a bad time if they don't notice the lipstick mark: "Tomorrow I'm going to Hell's Kitchen."

That draws Harley's gaze back up, even though her face doesn't really follow suit. One eye squints to the point of nearly closing entirely. The opposite eyebrow shoots up. "I… I don't know that you wanna do that, rosebud," she challenges tentatively, her lips quirking a strange and uncertain line.

"I mean, the cops were crawling all over that place like ants at an unguarded county pie competition."

Don't babble. Don't babble. Don't babble…

"Ain't there somethin' else you'd wanna do? The greenhouse! I mean, I'm sure they've missed ya', right? Or… Or the park here. Parks! Parks. We have more than one park."

Her hands fly out with palms up to indicate the redhead before her with a laugh. "I mean, here's the Queen of Green, back with a vengeance, right? Ain't no reason to not go and make sure everythin' is as it should be." When nothing feels like it is.

Harley's analogy makes Ivy's lip curl up into a smile of amusement. She doesn't laugh, but she doesn't always.

"Sure," she says. "I'm going to go up and say hello. But are you familiar with that neighborhood, Harley? It was famous for being lined," and here Ivy turns her head down a little, "with beautiful trees."

"Some of them are probably still alive," she says. "I'd do it now, but they'll have a better chance if the sun's on them. Thank dumb luck in a godless cosmos that this happened in the summer." Ivy leans her hip against the counter after that, raising a hand to tap her temple with an index finger.

"Are you afraid I can't handle a few of New York's finest?" Ivy asks, but her tone is light; it isn't accusatory. "You can come along if you'd like. It'll be quicker with a driver, and unfortunately…"

IN THE PAST

Poison Ivy reclines among the tropical trees, silently worshipping the sun as its light, its warmth, the fruit of the fire of creation, washes over her. Behind her, a monkey takes the woven pouch in which she has placed the small artifacts of Man's world which she has retained, and that monkey is never seen again.

Not because she killed it, either.

"It ain't jes' the NYPD, Ivy," Quinn is quick to counter, as she sits on the counter. "I mean, I hear they've got all sorts of capes doin' their thing down there. Tryin' to get some good publicity to counter the media." A pause follows, and then a shrug as the clown turns her gaze to some vague spot on the floor to the side of them. "Or somethin'. I dunno. …But I was down there when the thing went up and I got the bike ain't been ridden in a while. If ya gotcher mind set, I'll take ya. Jes'… We go quick, yeah? Get stuff done, get back."

Harley isn't certain that Owen's still camping out in New York, but she's fairly sure. And if he's not reaching out to her… Well. There's probably reasons for that. She'll give him his space.

"I mean, nothin' beats Gotham, home sweet home, yeah?" Her tone is overbright, tense and a note too high. She tries to laugh it off.

Something in Ivy rankles. doesn't she GET IT, doesn't she KNOW, they're DYING BY INCHES laying in the RUBBLE and none of them CARE because they can just buy more UPSTATE and -

And Ivy takes a deep breath and lets it out. Her eyes close, and a beat passes.

"Look at this," Ivy says, eyes still closed. She smiles a little more. "Isn't this the essence of comedy? I think you told me that. We reverse the expectation. You're the one bringing me the practical guidance."

Her eyes open, and turn to Harley. "Are your nails dry enough to walk up to the greenhouse? I want to explain to you what I'm going to do, exactly."

Thoughtlessly, Harley pulls up one of her feet, sets it on the counter and pushes against the edge of a nail. She… kinda wants to say no, that it's not dry at all. It'll spare her the walk upstairs that she's fairly certain could spell her doom if something died up there. "Ya don't gotta do that, Red," she finally settles on, hugging her knee as she plants her foot on the counter's edge. "If it's important to you, I'll take you. Simple as that. I jes' don't want extra trouble is all. But we'll go."

"I want you to know," Ivy says. "You deserve that. Especially if I'm making you drive me into a nest of vipers… metaphorically speaking, I hope. Unless the Serpent Society's gone straight."

Ivy keeps talking. "My plan was to march them down the street and dare the police to start me. From what you're saying, though… that would put them in danger, too. It's one thing if some trigger-happy slab of bacon puts a little lead into a lignin matrix, but it's another thing entirely if some maniac with a flamethrower and some sense of law enforcement decides I'm marching on Wall Street again."

"So," Ivy says, reaching over to put a hand on top of Harley's… foot, purely for its proximity, "I've developed a better plan now. If we disguise ourselves it's probable nobody will notice us until it's far too late."

There is something horribly wrong in the world when Harley Quinn says that she doesn't want extra trouble. Granted, it's a very specific modifier, extra, but it's indicative of the flavor of trouble she's been finding lately. The flavor of trouble that has stirred back into view, a dark craving that gnaws beneath the veneer.

Harley, despite herself, visibly perks at the mention of disguises, however. "THAT'S A GREAT IDEA," she exclaims, eyes wide and sparking back to life. "Ohmigawd, can we have a theme? OH, I LOVE THEME DISGUISES. Can we theme? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEA—"

Oh, hey, that's Harley grabbing Ivy's hand that was on top of her foot and squeezing it giddily. And absolutely not stopping the begging.

"Yes," Ivy says, with an interior sense of: I'm going to regret this.

"We can theme."

She adds, "I'm going to need to get out of the car and touch a lot of these trees, so work that into your plan. I trust your judgment," yes, Ivy thinks, this will be regrettable.

Cue the giddy squealing and the tight grip upon the redhead's hand, pulling the other woman in exuberantly to sweep her up in an enormous bearhug. "WE'LL TAKE THE BIKE. YOU CAN TOUCH ALL OF THE TREEEEEES. THIS IS GONNA BE SO GREAT!!!" Pulling away so she can take her dearest friend by the shoulders, Harley looks her dead in the eyes and drops the volume of her voice. "We should be bikers." A purse of lips. "No, too on the nose. Mermaids." Her lips go up to the other side. "No, the tails will be problematic." Then… Then her eyes open wide. "WE SHOULD BE WOODLAND ANIMALS. OHMIGAWD."

Another pause.

And then? A look of horror. "You said tomorrow. …I don't have time to make them from scratch. I DON'T HAVE TIME! AND IT'S NOT HALLOWEEN! WHERE WILL I FIND A SQUIRREL COSTUME AT…" A pause, followed by a look to the microwave clock. "3:17 on a Saturday afternoooooooon?!" The wail cuts short, though, as Harley lunges forward to kiss Ivy on the cheek. "Sorry, daffodil. I gotta go if I'm gonna find what I need in time." And with that, she doesn't even wait, she's trying to squeeze past her to get off the counter and get her shoes, her hands bouncing excitedly at her sides. "THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST TRIP EVER. THE WOODLAND AVENGERS WILL RIIIDE!"

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