The Teamup That Wasn't

July 31, 2018:

When Red Hood goes to try to get a lead on the Joker from his ex-girlfriend, it goes sideways. Because, of course, it does.

Harley's Hideyhole

It's a rundown studio apartment with worn floors and peeling walls, and it sure ain't much to look at.

Harley Quinn's hideyhole looks normal enough at first. There's a twin-sized bed, complete with mattress and sheets of reasonable quality, and a black pressboard wardrobe to make up for the fact that there's only one closet in the whole place, presently functioning as a linen closet / pantry. There's a dresser, and a illuminated vintage 1950's vanity with a red and white polka dot cushion on its bench top, set with all manner of cosmetic boxes. Red and white striped fabric hangs over the windows in the form of painfully simple handmade curtains, including the one window in the tiny kitchenette that houses little more than a dorm fridge, a couple of cabinets, and a sink.

To one side of the room, there's a pair of large gymnastics pad with a boombox set next to it and a pile of CDs. To the other, there's a small round table sourced from a thrift shop that seats four in tight quarters. Over the table, there's a small pendant light fixture… that doesn't really work, but has fashioned into a fantastic new creation by means of red and black tissue paper, Elmer's glue, a few heart cutouts, a string of battery operated Christmas lights, and a YouTube tutorial.

There are a couple of oddities: a pile of stinky blankets on the floor in the corner by the bed. A small doll that is surprisingly heavy—maybe 7 or 8 pounds-on the bed.

But it's normal in here. Really. …Until you start opening things.

The steamer trunk at the foot of the bed: packed to the brim with weapons. The decorated baseball bat and giant mallet under the bed. The cork gun in the messenger bag that hangs on a hook by the door with a wide array of color-coded canisters. The wardrobe, packed to the gills with the most eclectic collection of red and black garments, business suits, and random costumes that one could ever hope to find. The vanity drawers, where normal cosmetics reside with a collection of stage makeup and clown paint. The bathroom drawer, where a few cans of mace rumble around with jingle bells and jars of girly essentials.

So, if you actually like normal? Man, are YOU in the wrong place!


NPCs: Bud & Lou

Mentions: The Joker, Batman


Mood Music: Blitzkrieg Bop

Fade In…

Harley's crappy apartment in what is arguably the worst neighborhood in Gotham went dark hours ago, save for the string of battery-operated Christmas lights that have been wrapped around her 'kitchen lamp'. It took her some doing in the wake of the past few days, but here - at nearly two in the morning - she's finally sound asleep.

She's actually even in the bed, rather than curled up on the floor with her pets. But her pets are hardly far away. One is curled up at the foot of her bed, on a pile of her old clothes. The other is beside on the long side of the bed, just the barest distance away from the slender fingers that hang over the edge.

Tangled in her bedsheets, there are glimpses of the beat up over-sized white tee she threw on for sleeping. But mostly? She's just comfortable.

And possibly snoring with her mouth gaping open. There may also be drool.

She'll blame it on Lou and his allergies if you ask her later.


Across the street, on a rooftop that provides a necessary and vital view of things that need to be watched and seen, is an individual that has not been himself in months. An individual that had to leave he city, the state, the continent and detox himself from all manner of foolishness that had consumed him.

… and Smilex.

There's a grunt as a heavy boot leans onto the edge of the rooftop and the faceless individual stares long and hard at a singled-out window. A window belonging to the closest thing that goes for a lead around these parts when the Joker is involved. And if anybody needs to get their hands on the Joker it would be this red helmeted bastard right here.

The Red Hood.

Taking a couple of steps back, the Red Hood works his shoulders a bit and shrugs into his jacket. Hesitation fades and he takes off running to the edge of the roof and leaps off!


Boots connect with the window and in comes the very loud and very brutal arrival of the Red Hood… because who wants to use the door when he's got to get the drop on two psycho hyenas and a psycho-er owner.

Before Red Hood even hits the floor, a volley of smoke pellets are released to make his arrival even worse. Unlike the Bat's Smoke Pellets, these are laced with a little something extra. A little something to make breathers of such feel extra woozy and lightheaded, to go along with the ruination of being able to see things clearly.

In the chaotic entrance, the muffled sound of what is probably a silenced weapon can be heard, two shots in rapid succession. One for each of the Hyenas. Tranq Darts, of course.

What? He's not a /monster/. He's just /pissed off/.

To say that Harley Quinn has been on edge? Would be a comedic exercise in understatement. As the cheap glass in the window of the tiny, ramshackle apartment shatters under the impact of Red Hood's boots, scattering dangerous shards all over the floor, the blonde sits straight up.

Her animals are up, too, and already they've started their threatening brand of whooping and laughter with teeth bared, and their hackles standing straight up. But then, in quick succession, there's a sharp whine of pain from each of them. A moment later, they're sprawled on the floor.

Quinn, up on her knees, leans forward and screeches in response with a sound every bit as feral. "BABIES!" Reaching under her pillow, the unmade clown pulls out a revolver and points it in the direction of the new arrival. "Oh, ya just made a huge mistake, buddy. I'm gonna make you look so much like swiss cheese I'll be able ta use you as rat bait."

Fortunately for Harley, she has an immunity to poisons and toxins, thanks to her close relationship with one Poison Ivy and the gifts the latter has offered her. Her visibility may be low, but Red Hood will be sorely disappointed to find that the 'something extra' is lacking the desired punch that he would have hoped for.

Small, bare feet plant themselves on the ground and a shot fires off warningly. "Get outta here while yer still unperforated. Unless yer into that kinda thing, in which case get out of here before I kick ya where the sun don't shine and THEN perforate you."

The Red Hood likes being able to see through the smoke. The helmet is good for more than just protecting him from getting jacked upside the head in a bunch of different ways. It also keeps him capable of seeing all kinds of everything in the smoke and dark and whatever else. As much as he hates to admit it, being a Robin was probably some of the best training for his new style of justice he's ever had.

Reveling in his ability to take down two hyenas and not get a scratch is what distracts him from the shot being sent as a warning in his direction. It smacks right into his armor, flattens and falls to the ground. If Harley's paying attention, she probably gets to hear that. If she can hear herself over her own chatter.

It's a lot of chatter.

Red Hood must've holstered his gun(s) because he's taking a second to swivel past the little bit of room in this horrible apartment and offers a swift roundhouse in Harley's direction. Definitely aiming for the chest area so that he can still get some info out of her before he takes her life as a message to the clown he's actually after.

Maybe it's the rage that's filling his lungs and his blood at the same time but he's only got a simple and unwitty reply for Harley.

"Go to hell." The voice from the Red Hood is, of course, modulated and robotic but still has enough of a grit and anger to it to make sure Harley knows this is personal.

And probably won't be over soon. Not if he can help it, anyway…

When the Red Hood's kick lands squarely in her chest, she rocks backwards and falls onto the bed. But then she just keeps going into a reverse somersault… except that the width of her modest bed is hardly enough to complete the maneuver. So Quinn adapts it. Her barefoot push against the wall, low, near where it meets the bed - as her hands plant behind her as she rebounds and twists on those hands to send herself through the air. She's feet first in the direction that she believes the stranger's in with her heels ready for impact. For a head, if she can, but she's feeling mildly off-kilter and entirely blind. But a head would be good. Shoulders, maybe. High enough above his center of gravity to drop him.

"Joke's on you, sucker!" she chirps brightly. "Already there. Care ta join me?"

Getting caught off-guard is par for the course for Red Hood. He should've compensated for the smaller room and the adaptation of moves of the Harley Quinn. Batman would be chastising him for hours if he were still Batman's problem. But he's not anymore so it doesn't matter!

What does matter is that Harley has caught him dead center of his helmet. Luckily, it absorbs the impact and protects him for the most part. But that is still a super kick to the face and even his body can't stop itself from being sent backwards and down with an angry grunt. And a series of impacts.

Red Hood doesn't know what he crashed into. Also doesn't care. Because now he's pissed and kip-upping back to his feet and drawing a dagger out of the holster in his boot.

"Been dead, done that."

A rage-filled yell accompanies the tackle motion of the Red Hood's body towards Harley Quinn. Of course, he's leaping at her with a huge damn blade in his hand so he's probably going to see if he can't stab her into the nearest solid surface. The easiest way to deal with Harley is to keep her from moving around.

… Batman taught him that. Ugh.

As her attacker recoils and then rebounds, Harley pushes hard to get away from her bed and towards the wider expanse of the studio apartment and away from the hyenas sleeping so soundly in their drug-induced stupor.

She may not have been here full time until a few days ago, but she doesn't need to see to at least get that far. The cloud is still thick in the room, a constant chemical thrum against her and blinder. She coughs and stumbles…

And she ends up with a knife slicing into her shoulder as she trips backwards over… over something on the floor. An untucked chair in the kitchenette. The hazy halo of the Christmas lights over the table is nearby, and it helps Quinn orient herself. It also means there's no wall to pin her to, so Red Hood will have to satisfy himself with the scream of rage as that knife cuts into flesh and blood begins to spill freely and stain her shirt.

Other than that roar, though, it has little impact. Now that she knows where she is, that revolver comes back up and she fires again, making sure that it's pointing up high enough to not endangering her sleeping beauties. "Clearly, yer a slow learner! Gotta teach ya the lesson again. Or you could leave before I rip yer head from yer shoulders as a trophy. I've had a VERY bad couple of days, and I jes' been lookin' fer the right therapy session."

Red Hood is not keeping his wits about him with this. Especially not with Harley Quinn adding more noise to the fire that's already burning in his soul and in his head. It's hard for him to focus and even the stabbing of the Clown's Sidekick doesn't really do much for him. Not the way he needs it to, anyway.

There's a growl of anger that gets cut off with that damn gun is pointed at him again and fired. He takes another bullet, this time to the armored shoulder. It puts a hole in his jacket and the close range has him twisting backwards and away from the target of his violent attacks this time. This night.

The first night of many.

"Days?! A bad couple of days?!" This pushes Red Hood further over the edge that he was already teetering on and he moves faster and wilder than he was moving before. A swift movement of his hands are aimed to grab at the revolver and twist while the other hand speeds towards that wrist to punctuate his outburst with a little bone-breaking action. If he can remove the use of her hands then maybe he can get somewhere with his interrogation. Or at the very least be the one with the revolver after this.

"Try havin' a bad lifetime!"

Quinn grips one hand tight on her bleeding shoulder, the blood oozing through her fingers and trickling in strange patterns against the white shirt as it drips down her skin inside.

"Oh, boo hoo!" she mocks dramatically. "Ya think ya cornered the market on misery? Maybe you should look at things from a different angle!"

The revolver is taken, but Harley's flexibility comes into play as he tries to twist that wrist. She turns herself upon that single pivot, blocking the second hand he tries to set at her as a bare leg comes up and a knee comes flying towards Red Hood's flank. "Like, from the floor, maybe?" she helpfully suggests.

Depending on if she can break free, she'll go racing for the door where her messenger bag was hanging earlier. The pop gun's there, with her own array of canisters.

She's so. damn. quick. And flippy!

Frustration is setting in and it'd be easy to hear the frustration. Can't really see it because he's wearing his robot mask helmet thing. He'd be hard to read if he wasn't frustrated to no end and punching at the ground. See, this is kind of what happens when he catches a knee to the side of the skull. It ignites his rage and sends him spiraling back down the rabbit hole of his mind.

Fighting Harley Quinn is like the set up to a bad joke. He already knows the punchline and it's super cringey.

"Don't make me kill you faster than I wanted to, Quinn!"

Red Hood rises, swinging that revolver around. He was counting shots so there should definitely be some bullets left. And he's not especially caring about any collateral damage. Not when there's so much at stake. He doesn't know if she's headed for the bag or the door or what. All he knows is that he can't let her escape.

Shots ring out from the revolver. Bullets are headed in Harley's direction. But the Red Hood is pulling out a few stops here. He can't let her recover from this too quickly. He only needs one hand to shoot a gun so the other one tosses what passes for his own version of a batarang. He doesn't know what to call them yet.

But this one has a purpose. A shocking purpose. If he can't lay her out with his bare hands, he'll just have a few hundred volts do it.

Or she can run into the bullets from her own gun.

Don't ever say the Red Hood doesn't give people choices.

“You could not kill me at all,” Quinn suggests helpfully in a surprisingly chipper tone for one who is bleeding, as she blinks back more of the gasses’ effect. “There’s a big Bat who gets real twitchy ‘bout that.” It’s easier to have a positive outlook when she’s irritating the ever-loving heck out of the guy who’s trying to off her.

Fortunately for her, the canisters that her assailant brought along have already exhausted their contents and the window that he broke in order to get in has already begun to work against him as it offers ventilation for the small studio apartment. The mist is already starting to dissipate. The Red Hood won’t have too terribly long to be able to play it to its advantage.

Harley isn’t looking to leave; the hyenas are here and vulnerable and her compulsion to protect them overrides any sense for self-preservation. When she hears the bullets from from the heavy steel revolver that was stolen from her, instinct takes over, however, and she throws herself forward into a roll to dodge them. She hisses in pain as her shoulder doesn’t curl or take its share of the weight like it should, but she’s back up to her feet easily as she uncurls from it, springs up, and keeps racing.

She feels a victorious surge as she makes it to the hook on the wall where her work bag hangs, and her hand frantically plunges inside.

Only to get a hell of a shock as the flying !batarang strikes her in the back, and the blonde cries out to make it clear that it’s hit home. She crumples in a pile—face buried beneath her long and unbound, mussy blonde hair—and lies there as the shaking and twitching seizes her for a moment.

Red Hood may have set up all this stuff to try and make sure that he had this under control but when you're dealing with a Harley Quinn, there's no actual sense of control of the situation. She's a wild one. She's insane. And she's smarter than anyone ever gives her credit for. WHich is probably the most dangerous part.

She also has feminine wiles but they don't work on Red Hood! There's a Joker Clause or something.

With the smoke finally being nothing more than a mistant memory, Red Hood stands all the way up to his menacing and predatory stance. He may not be the tallest but he makes sure to carry himself in a way that's as intimidating as he can muster up after being kicked around by what was supposed to be an easy victim.

"There. Isn't that better?"

Red Hood's snide remark is followed up by the tossing of the revolver onto the bed as he stalks his clown-flavored prey.

"Y'know, I wasn't actually gonna' kill you, Quinn. Not right away." Red Hood takes his time stalking over to her. His dagger's out again and he's carving up furniture on his way. "We can keep it that way if you just tell me where /he/ is." Red Hood almost losing his own footing at mentioning the Joker. Even just a little bit.

Finally, Red Hood gets close enough to the Quinn to crouch down beside her. Dagger in hand and the sharp blade tapping against the floor.

"Tell me. And I can free us both."

Harley doesn’t really move, save to curl up on her side and pull her knees up as the convulsions pass. There’s an unhappy, low moan that will clearly let Red Hood know she’s still awake.

When he stoops beside her, one pale and hate-filled eye turns towards him through the strands of blonde. “Gee,” she says of her extended sentence. “How magnanimous of ya. Lemme work on yer nomination fer a humanitarian award.”

And then he makes his demand of her, as all of his ilk eventually do.

“Heh.” Then her lips twitch upwards. “Heh heh.” Then, rolling onto her back, Quinn’s eyes loll backwards as she erupts into a cackle that would be far louder and more forceful had she not just been shocked after being roused out of a much needed slumber.

Once she calms herself down, she lets her half-lidded lazy gaze settle back down upon the Red Hood and she smiles a Cheshire smile. “Yer intel’s outta date, toots. Can’t help ya.”

Red Hood's fury is barely contained and there's not exactly a moment where hesitation sets in because he's too busy slamming that dagger into the floor right next to Harley's face. He's used to these stupid clowns laughing and lying so he's not exactly in the business of taking what she says at face value. Not now. Not when he's so close.

Not when those tranquilizers are likely going to start wearing off. He's not exactly sure how much longer he has but he's not leaving here without… something.

"Harley. Listen to me. I don't want to have to kill you to make him crawl out from whatever rock he's hiding under." Red Hood almost sounds like he's pleading with her. Through anger. Or something. It's weird. "Give me something."

The Red Hood takes this opportunity to draw one of his many guns and goes barrel first for that hurt shoulder. Just going to put a whole crap on of pressure on the wound there to help Harley remember… anything.

"Make me go away."

The young woman on the floor is about to just start laughing again as the dagger comes down in front of her nose. “Aww, sweetheart,” she starts to coo, “I ain’t scared of—AUGH!”

As metal drives down into the rent flesh of her abused shoulder, she is sent onto her back once more and her back arches in protest as the shoulder sits pinned between the new pistol produced and she squirms under it.

“I can’t help you,” she insists again, the words strained through gritted teeth. “We ain’t talkin’ right now. Besides. Doncha know?” Then, in an instant, her lower half is crunching up and twisting as Quinn moves to wrap her slender legs around her attacker’s head and drag it down to the floor to get herself the superior position on top.

“It’s rude to invite yerself to a party!” she screeches. “Make yer own!!!”

Unfocused. Rage-filled. Unable to remember that freaking Harley Quinn is a freaking amazing flexible villainess of incredible precision, grace and in times like this… strength. It's almost uncanny the way Red Hood doesn't even realize he's been had until he's on his back and there's a Harley on top.

Worse than sugar, by the way. Way worse.

The good news, at least for him in this moment, is that he doesn't let go of his gun so from below, he just brings that pistol up, cocked and ready, to the underside of Harley's chin. He's not exactly in the business of trying to kill her. Not when she's his only lead.

"You're my only lead. You don't think I know that?" He's either trying to save face or he's been surveilling long enough to have figured that out. "But you know him. Besides the Bat, you're the only other person that can point me in the direction of ending all our misery. Once and for all."

This is just how Gothamites have conversations, apparently. At least he sounds calmer and more requesty in this position. Which is a nice change?

"You know something."

But the question is… does she?

As soon as in process of securing, her right hand goes for the knife that was stabbed into the floor and Quinn—in the span of a heartbeat—has its blade nestled into the joint where helmet meets collar, and her left hand bracing the blade, ready to shove it down. As her left shoulder continues to bleed, she seethes.

“I know lots of things,” she growls at him, pushing the barrel of the pistol against her chin closer as she pushes down. “Like five good reasons why—if I did know anything (which I don’t)—tellin’ you is a freakin’ death sentence. Now, handin’ you over?”

Harley’s head tilts to one side as she adjusts her knees to sit deeper into Red Hood’s shoulders. Her blood drips onto his lovely body armor as she hangs over him, but she doesn’t seem to notice. Her face would be lost in the shadows cast by the pale curtains of blonde tresses that hang on either side of it, were she not inches away from the red surface of her attacker’s mask.

“I wonder if that’ll be enough to get me offa Mistah J’s list.” A pause, and then a snort of disgust. “Or you could jes’ get outta here, and keep yer big trap shut about findin’ me and the Boys.” Her mouth twitches as she growls, voice low in threat. “But if they ain’t breathin’ when I let you up, yer breathin’ stops next.”

It looks like Red Hood and Harley Quinn are at a classic Gotham stalemate.

While it's true that the Red Hood has already been dead and he's not afraid of death, it also counts that he can't kill the Joker if he's dead (again) so there's a few things to actually think about here. Things that involve actually meeting Harley Quinn halfway in regards to this deal that they're making.

Or that's being proposed.

"… Fine." The Red Hood uncocks the gun and pulls it away from Quinn's chin in an effort to show some trustworthy faith. "Let me up. I'll go find him myself."

Hoodie even holsters the gun to make it even more clear that he's not trying to pull a fast one. He's hoping he can trust her long enough to not get stabbed.

"… I want my dagger back, though."

He may be speaking the right words, but Harley is hardly about to take him at them. The knife stays precisely where it started as he moves; the clown expects him to try to put it in her stomach instead and she braces for the telltale flinch of betrayal beneath her as she continues to hunch over him with arched back.

“I want yer hands back over yer head, creepazoid,” she continues with her eyes narrowed and tone venomous, “Nice an’ slow, and sans any stupid surprises, Mistah Mystery Mask. You get handsy again, you get deadsy.” The blade digs in a little deeper, wiggling to find better purchase in the joint. “Get me?”

Her sneer is still very much in place, crinkling her nose in the dark of her apartment. “Also? Toothpick’s mine,” she says in regards to the knife, head twisting to the side. “Ya broke my window.” Then, as though the illusion of normalcy mattered at all, she tells him with a mocking brightness: “It’s gonna cost me my security deposit.” As if she had put one down.

Hoodie can already think of a few dozen ways to get out of this predicament but he's going for a little bit of trust here. Enough trust that he's able to bring his hands up towards the top of his helmet. Except, they aren't going up there because of the blade. They are going up their because he's got two things to give to Harley.

"I can pay for the window."

In Hood's left hand are a couple banded stacks of hundreds. Clearly from a bank of some sort. Either he's been robbing the banks or robbing the people that have been robbing the banks. Unclear.

"And I can wake up your mutts."

Red Hood knows they are hyenas but that's just weird to say. Out loud. So he opens up his right hand to show that he's got a vial that probably serves as some kind of smelling salts for animals. Or maybe he tranqs were meant for whomever got in his way. Who really knows.

"Let me up. Give me my knife. And I'm outta' your hair." Red Hood negotiates. "Besides, if I still wanted to kill you, would I have put my gun away?" He's got a point, right?

Harley continues to breathe heavily from the exertion prior, the sound hissing as it passes through her bared teeth. And then the pressure, ever so slowly, relents at the Red Hood’s throat.

Her eyes briefly lift to take in the contents of his hands. Both of those things are things she wants, and it becomes increasingly apparent that she’s at war with herself. Self-preservation would state that she should just kill him and take his stuff. She should do that.

She stabs the knife back into her floor instead and makes a grab for the vial before springing to the side and then racing and tumbling as needed to her bedside to retrieve her pistol.

Assuming that nothing stops her between Point A and Point B, she’ll train that revolver right back in her attacker’s direction with wide eyes as she stands protectively over her hyenas with feet spread wide, toss the vial on the worn comforter in its place, and then bow down to pull her mallet out from under the bed. It’s fortunate for her, perhaps, that the police would never come even if one of her unfortunate neighbors called. But that leaves her with this standoff to deal with.

“I don’t trust you,” she spits.

That knife is snatched out of the floor as the Red Hood rolls back up to his feet, tossing the money towards the bed as well. He's already over at the broken window by the time Harley has managed to get that revolver and mallet ready. The dagger's been stashed away and it seems more like he's just waiting for an opportunity to speak again before he makes his exit.

"You shouldn't." Red Hood does a half-hearted salute and dives backwards out of the window. There's a moment before the sound of one of those infamous grapples connecting to one of the buildings. Red Hood likely starts his swing off into the darkness.

A few moments later both of those money stacks explode, red dye spraying everywhere. Dye packs for the win?

Harley stands there heaving breath, gun and mallet in hand like a protective mother should. When her assailant flees out the window and the money comes flying at her, she simply stands there in her blood-stained tee shirt and little else like a star from a horror film, trying to center herself. She’s safe. Her babies are safe. Drugged, but only sleeping it seems. Safe.

The dye packs explode, spraying the money and her bed in red, too. Quinn’s baleful eyes look at her worn comforter, sheets, and pillows and then her fury returns as she shrieks over her sleeping hyenas.

“REALLY?! WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?! I WASN’T EVEN DOING ANYTHING!!!” While she was sleeping, anyway.

Oh, she catches that guy again, he’s DEAD.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License