37 Times

July 19, 2018:

Owen finally makes his way back to Gotham to check in on Harley and finds Poison Ivy instead, at least at first.

Gotham Arms - 6th Floor

Gotham Arms, a run down apartment building in a run down part of Gotham.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

37 times. Owen attempts to craft that perfect text message 37 times before giving up. It turns out that it's difficult to express concepts like the guilt of being a party to a mass murder because of your drug problem while accepting the fact that you haven't been supportive of the fact that your girlfriend was nearly murder by her psychopathic ex while you were ghosting her and would like to make a booty call all into one text message. Weird.

Which means Owen is actually heading back to Gotham, despite the danger to his shaky nascent sobriety that it represents. He takes his bike and leaves that parked a few blocks away from the Gotham Arms. He doesn't approach via the street, instead Owen is slinking along rooftops, keeping an eye out for anyone watching for people approaching. It's hard to say if this is just paranoia or reasonable precautions, maybe right between the two?

Owen drops down onto the roof of the Gotham Arms with a less than silent *THUD* but nothing too bad. He then slips over the edge onto a fire escape to tap on a window that should be in the common area. Hopefully Harley answers. Hopefully.

*

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

Someone slides into view.

Someone has red hair and very pale-green skin. Poison Ivy's eyes narrow as she looks at Owen Mercer through the window, lips pursed in what seems to be a reflexive layer of what could be ready charitably as 'pouty kittenish distaste' but is probably more like 'resting bark face'.

She raises an index finger as if to signal, wait.

There is a rattle in the rooftop greenhouse. Two rattles. Then a latching and a slight motion in the doorway.

Ivy points in that direction and mouths 'meet you there.'

When Owen looks, the door is open. By the time he reaches it, Ivy has gotten into the somewhat overgrown nook, although - of course - she blends in to the riot of foliage. She does not speak first.

*

The look on Owen's face when Ivy slides into view is obviously the one of a man who was not hoping to see her. He looks more than disappointed maybe even panic-stricken for a brief moment, standing very still as she holds up a finger. Thankfully she walks out of view instead of inviting him in. It gives him plenty of time to pull something from behind his back, attach it to a boomerang and fling it out over the skyline. The boomerang catches fire, incinerating it's payload before returning to Owen's hand.

Fresh cut flowers for Harley. Good idea.

Getting caught by Ivy with a bouquet of flowers. Bad idea.

With that gone, he makes his way up to the roof. He leans his head over to peak in the greenhouse, not quite sure if she wanted him to enter. But oh well, he slowly walks in and when he realizes she's already in there, starts just a bit.

"Oh. Uhh hey Ivy. I was just lookin' for Harley. You ain't seen her about have ya?"

His body is leaning half away from hers, like he's not really sure he wants to be alone with her in the greenhouse. Who knows what kind of girl talk Harley and her might have gotten up to? Whatever it was though Owen's pretty sure it's 50/50 odds that Harley's BFF might want to murder him for it.

*

Is murdering those poor flowers any better? Then again, they were already dead. If Ivy notices this, it is not present. She doesn't move in the greenhouse until Owen comes nearer, and then her 'resting bark face' warms and her eyes crinkle.

"Owen," she says. "Please. Come inside. The path's a little tight, but I don't think anything will hurt you if you hunch your shoulders."

Ivy remains on the far side of the greenhouse, where there's the little access stairway. She has one hand, in fact, on the railing. She shifts her posture, putting her opposing hand on her hip. "I have," she says.

"She went around the corner for take out. Is it a felony if I invite you downstairs to sit, or only a misdemeanor?"

*

Downstairs, in the place that's not possibly the site of Owen Mercer's doom, Quinn's already back from her quick jaunt around the corner for ungodly amounts of food from the pizza place that serves the most obnoxiously dressed up milkshakes for miles upon request. And so, that's what Harley's hauling up the stairs with her hair pulled up into a high ponytail. Her mismatched Chuck Taylor's are quiet as she jobs up the stairs with a few pizzas in tow, a couple boxes of wings, and two soda cups so huge they could be pitchers.

Because nothing says 'stay the hell away from my food' like bringing more than enough to share.

She lets herself into the Skwaddies' place as she awkwardly unlatches the door with the pile of food balanced on her head, and then kicks it open the rest of the way with the back of her heel. "Hey, Red! 'm back!" A pause, and then she squints suspiciously as she looks around the apartment as no response comes back. She takes a few steps in, and then quietly sets her stockpile on the table in the kitchenette before looking around again. "Morning glory?"

*

Owen barely understands 'the rules' according to Ivy, he knows just enough to be dangerous as usual. He's pretty sure she's a meatatarian like reverse vegan. So it's better safe than sorry to burn up the flowers.

He crunches in his shoulders tight and looks furtively around at the plants around him. He looks for anything that looks like it's trying to get it's vines on him and is slinking his way through slowly at her question.

"Pretty sure neithers a crime.. also pretty sure neither of us would care if it were. So long as you don't break my very firm 'no murdering Owen' rule, we're good Red."

He hears the door open downstairs and the familiar pitch of the yell. His face breaks into a smile before he remembers the fact that he's been kind of an ass lately. And is now outnumbered. And would really like to break out a cigarette but is pretty sure that would get him fed to a plant. Maybe he should try vaping? No.. then he'd have to break his own rule and murder himself.

*

"I think I can keep to that rule," Ivy muses to Owen's words. She turns to start walking down the stairwell. Owen might notice that her habitual greenery in the swimsuit area is kind of heavy on pine needles today. "Just don't touch anything. You'll be able to leave through the front door, I'm sure."

As she descends, she lifts her voice. "Owen came asking for you, Harley." (A pause to glance over her shoulder in a cryptic way, which may add to Owen's stress level.) Ivy reaches the actual hallway, tossing her hair out with one hand. "Ah, you went to La Rosa."

Ivy, naturally enough, tacks for the wings. She gestures towards Owen and says, "As you can see…"

Perhaps ostentatiously, she does /not/ vacate the scene to let Owen speak to Harley alone. To be fair to her, of course: there are wings.

*

As Harley hears the sound of people coming and then of Ivy's voice, her features melt into one of relief and she lets a breath escape that she didn't realize she'd been holding. The blonde in her denim cut-off shorts and loose-fitting, paper-thin red shirt then pastes a smile back onto her lips a beat later, as though nothing at all had been wrong.

And then her features oscillate back to something of concern. Maybe just bafflement. "Mercer's here?"

The clown's not entirely certain where they are in the grand scheme of things today, and so her head just rather tilts to an extreme degree to one side to try to sneak a peak past the mistress of the green in order to level a curious glance in that direction to hopefully get a better general sense of 'this is a good thing' or 'this is a bad thing' without betraying that she has no clue.

"Yeah," she says, with regard to the choice of venue. "But the shake didn't survive the walk home." She tries to bolster a smile back up onto her lips, and mostly succeeds.

*

Owen sees what he thinks is a leaf creeping towards him and hisses, "I will roll you up and smoke you if you try it." in what he hopes is a voice low enough for Ivy to not hear it. Unless she can hear through her plants? Damn it. Does she have plant hearing? .. That's crazy right?

Owen manages to compose himself long enough to exit the greenhouse and make his way down the stairs to the common area. He does his best giant grin and opens his arms.

"Surprise..?"

He tries to smooth over the possibly awkward intro with, "I brought you soome flo-.." uhhh "..rescent glitter? … That I left? .. Somewhere else?" His eyes of their own free will it seems keep shooting towards Ivy. Very smooth Mercer. Very smooth.

"Hi."

He recovers to give Harley a genuine smile. And she's known him long enough to see that he looks a little better than usual. A little less roughed up. A little more clean.

*

Ivy answers Owen's statements and curiosities by plucking out a chicken wing and eating it in an unnecessarily leisurely manner. (As she does her eyes turn to Harley - though the expression in them is more concern than, well, what would be expected from unneccessarily leisurely consumption of prepared food.)

*

The best thing about best friends is that you don't always need to say anything. Even if sometimes you really should. But here, what Harley levels at Ivy is a nervous 'we'll talk about it later' shrug that also feels like some sort of apology.

But the words for what she's sorry for never find her lips, because she is sheepishly toeing the ground one minute and then barreling full tilt at Owen the next with an unrestrained and altogether painfully high-pitched shriek to latch her arms around his neck and her bare legs around his waist. …Unless he cheats and dodges. But so long as he doesn't do that, she'll be able to bury her face in his neck as she bearhugs him.

No talking. See? Everything's fine.

*

Owen does not in fact dodge this. He does however cheat to prepare for it by using some speed to not get knocked the heck over. He spins once with Harley in his arms and then stops. See? Not so bad. No shooting at him or trying to blow him or have Ivy turn him into a plant zombie person that only eats meat.. yet. It's fine.

"Hey. Sorry, meant to call… or text. I just .." Didn't? Yea.

Change of subject.

"But we should eat. And we can talk later. You want a drink? I can zip out if we're empty here?" The squad common has never been empty as long as Owen has been aware of it, so that's unlikely. But he's been gone a while. And his place downstairs is probably either rented out now or still sitting empty.

*

"You can have mine," Ivy offers, seeming to relax as Ivy shows such profound affection - even though, in a sense, Owen is promising to give her the social disease of the arts and crafts world.

"I haven't touched it," she adds, in what may be a conciliatory gesture. As she says this she scrapes the flesh from a bone with her teeth, but discreetly so.

*

"I picked up enough cola to get a rhino vibratin'," Quinn says after hesitantly pulling her face out of the side of Owen's neck and stretching her feet back down to the floor. She grabs a hand, squeezes it, and tells him with a voice that quivers just the smallest bit: "It's okay."

And then, with that absolution spoken over him, she starts dragging him to the couch to sit down. From there, it's back to the table. "You don't gotta give up nothin', daisy," she tells Ivy as she goes back to grab those and one of the pizza boxes. "I'll get a couple of cups and we can split it if he wants. I got that - " sugary poison dark sludge " - just for you!" She fusses around the kitchenette for a moment, and then with full arms makes her way back. "The wings okay? Have you had 'em before? I mean, I really like 'em. Like, skin on's okay. But breading is awesome. I wish you could get both. Like, half skin, half breading. A dead chicken grab bag-a-ganza, you know? If you wanted! I don't mean that in the 'we should trick Ivy into eating wheat' kinda way. You know that, right? Because I don't."

*

Owen's not quick to push her away by any means. And when she takes his hand, he squeezes back and smiles. He just nods at her telling him it's okay. It's not. He knows that, but he's still relieved that she's willing to say so.

"Yes!" He eagerly breaks in towards the food and looks a bit confused when Harley offers him soda. He meant a drink. Like drinks. But .. maybe not? Okay. He blinks out of the confusion to roll with it and say, "Sure, whatevs you got is great."

"Ivy, haven't seen you 'round since … way back when. You blow town for a bit? Or just had some stuff to take care of without a certain Satan peekin over yer shoulder?"

And it's then that it dawns on Owen that he may have not been exactly forthcoming in introducing Harley to his friends. But she never introduced him to Ivy. See? Maybe they just weren't there yet. Maybe?

*

"Wheat is a commodity product of the global capitalist patriarchy at this point, Harley. The system was in place before either of us were born. I'm more concerned about your long-term health," Ivy says, though it is notable that she got the skin-on ones.

"I went to Belize," Ivy tells Owen. "I'll leave anything beyond that as an artistic mystery for now." She gives him a smile, accented by chicken sauce instead of other red substances, for once.

"Yourself?" Wing #3 is eaten as she looks dead on at Owen and listens. He might notice, eventually, that she's forgotten to blink for a while.

*

As Harley is lectured on the patriarchy, her lips tug up unevenly into a good-humored smile and she playfully rolls her eyes. She doesn't mean to be dismissive. She's not. It's just something she's heard in an iteration or two or twenty, and she has to rib back. "Yeah, yeah," the clown says fondly as she talks over Ivy a little, "But the other stuff just doesn't taste the same. I mean, I wanna live my best life here, and that means…"

A finger points down at the soda. It means this. Lots of this.

But then BFF and boyfriend are talking, and that's good. And Ivy talks about her trip in those vague sweeping terms, and Quinn grows a little quiet as she settles in on the couch. Her smile dims. But she doesn't say anything. Instead, she simply tucks her feet under her, tailor-style, and then leans over the cross of them to start pouring out the evil soda.

*

With a mouth full of pizza, and no idea what the hell Ivy is talking about Owen nods sagely, or tries to at least, at the comments about wheat. "Yesh.. that." He furtively gives Harley side-eyes that clearly ask if she has any idea what Ivy's talking about. And she probably does, either from her actual education or time as Ivy's bestie.

Owen smiles at the thought of the trip to Belize. It's probably some crazy scheme. It feels good to be back in Gotham.

"Me?" Owen glances over at Harley before looking back to Ivy to answer. "I got caught up in some shit in New York. Someone tried to make me their puppet. The same yahoo that blew up Hell's Kitchen. So some friends and I are going to bust up his operation." Owen is carefully choosing his words here. Don't want to sound too heroic. Don't want to give away too much.

"In fact…" He looks back to Harley, "I was thinkin' maybe you an' I c'd make a date of it? Go beat the shit outta scumbags trafficking women and children? Maybe get a drink after? Or during?"

*

Ivy takes a little soda. To hold, at least, although she takes a small apparent sip perhaps to please Harley, perhaps just for the sake of avoiding some photosynthesis later. "Make you their puppet?" Ivy murmurs. "How literal are you being?"

You always have to check.

As she scrapes meat from a bone with her teeth, Ivy says, "It's funny. We were just talking about Hell's Kitchen the other evening. Weren't we, Harley?" (I hope she remembers, Ivy thinks abstractly. If she doesn't, that's a bad sign.)

*

Right. This is Gotham, sheesh. Owen clarifies, "Nah, like New York puppet, bribes and shit for a job without telling me the details. Not like.." here Owen very ably mimes being a wooden marionette ".. Gotham puppet. Which is good. Cause that would be worse." He looks off to the side as if considering it. "Probably."

Looking in the cabinets, Owen's dismayed to find a distinct lack of alcohol. He rifles through a few before turning and announcing "I'm gonna make a whiskey run." He makes sure to look directly at Harley and repeat "Just. whiskey." because yes, it could be something else. But it's not! Promise! And then he adds, "And maybe somethin' sweet or sparkly for you." Not that Harley doesn't drink whiskey, he just needs something to replace the flowers. And the non existent flourescent glitter.

*

The thought of beating up a group of people who have 1) put women and children in harm's way and 2) worked for the guy who put her boyfriend in harm's way seems to catch Harley's fancy - evidenced by the way her lips draw up into a perfect o-shape and unvoiced 'ooh'. It is safe to say that the idea has merit in her book, and then she dives into the pizza that she's dragged out of the box to eat without a plate.

"And… and yeah, Ivy, we were." She looks to Owen, is about to explain, when he comments about the whiskey. Her expression darkens as he announces he's going out, only to settle down and resolve into something uncertain as he tries to assure her. She tries to smile and nod understandingly, but she really just looks uncomfortable. Except that then he promises to bring something back for her, and the smile rings just a little truer after that. "Okay," she allows around a mouthful, "Yer lucky I got extra pie then. It buys you a chance that there may be some still here by the time you get back."

Said to a speedster, Harley appreciates that there's only so much truth to it, and hopefully he can appreciate the tease. Especially as he ducks out again. But once he's gone, she smiles with a new uncertainty to Ivy.

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