Commentary from the Glass House

August 16, 2018:

After a brief cameo from Boomerang in the course of a job, Harley got some of his trademarked stuff. So she, in the healthiest way possible, meets up with a mutual friend to check on her ex and return his stuff.

A Park in Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Boomerang

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

She… should have deleted the number. She really, really, really, really, really should have deleted the number.

Harley Quinn stared at her burner phone, at the entry in its rudimentary system labeled 'Bailey's' off and on for the better part of two days. For two days, it consumed her.

On day three, she caved and Emery Papsworth would be in receipt of four text messages from one criminal sociopath.

Hey.

Are you in Gotham anytime soon?

Like today? One? No can do? No sweat.

And then one follows is the address of a particular block stretch of a Gotham sidewalk on the side of a park. An honest to goodness park with mostly neglected trees that still deign to give shade to lthe park benches that line the concrete and a run-down carousel that still gives rides during the daylight hours.

And there, sitting on one of those risk-of-splintering benches, laid out and reading a collection of newspaper daily comics from a paperback with a pair of glittery-shaded sunglasses between her eyeballs and the black and white page, is one Harley Quinn. She waits, unworried, with a brown paper grocery bag under the bench seat and the twinkling music box music dancing in her ears of a food truck serving ice cream and snow cones nearby.

She's in a pair of Keds, one red and one black, and both trimmed and laced in white, a pair of cherry red leggings under a short black skirt, and a bright red camisole with black lace trim. Her hair is pulled up in a high ponytail to keep her hair off of her neck in the sticky, muggy soup of the Gotham afternoon air. And she has made herself comfortable with her messenger bag under her head. Very comfortable.

*

That Text came out of nowhere. Its through a quick review of who all has the number to the phone that rings when that text message is sent, and who out of that list of people he does not have saved in his phone. Gotham, okay. That is what narrowed it down.

There's only a quick response of:

I'll see you there.

And then Emery was making his way to Gotham, and to the location provided. He's dressed casually enough, wearing a pair of comfortable, dark designer jeans and a fitted dark green henley, a dark green beanie, and a dark brown leather jacket that matches his dark brown boots. Carrying a leather messenger bag that rests against his hip, strapped across his body he slows to a stop, approaching the bench from behind.

He leans forward, arms braced against the bench as he quirks an eyebrow.

*

Harley, ever one for a show, slowly pulls down her comic book and lets her tongue curl visibly around a canine tooth in amusement as her cherry red lips crack open in amusement. Without lifting her head as Emery hangs over her, she crosses her one leg over the other so she can roll and bounce her foot to release that constant energy that thrums through her veins. "You and yer perfect timin', Bailey's. Didn't think you were really gonna show."

Setting the book on her belly, she slides her glasses up and squints in the dappled light that chances through the shade trees. After a quick drawing in of her tongue, a bite of her lower lip, and a waggle of her eyebrows. "Either that, or my luck's a helluva lot better than I thought."

*

"Hmm." Emery considers how to reply as he tilts his head to the side thoughtfully for a moment, he studies Harley quietly for a moment and offers a hint of a dimpled smile. "Its rude to not show for a meetin' after you have already rsvp'd." He gives a small shake of his head..

Then he shrugs his shoulders and chuckles softly. "Well, there's somethin' to be said about teh Irish and Luck." Then he walks around the bench. "Are ye holdin' up okay? Owen's still a wee bit shakey over it all, but I was worried about ye as well."

*

He's worried, he says. Harley dodges that sentiment.

Instead, it's time for one of Quinn's eyebrows to arch now, the smile fading as she steers the conversation back to Owen. "Is he? Coulda fooled me." With a sigh, the blonde uncrosses her legs and then crunches easily upwards into a sit. There's all of the same showmanship in even the small things like that, this time manifesting in the smooth hook of her leg as she sits up. It draws a semi-circle as it sets her toes under her on the ground by the bag. And then she reaches down to grab it and set it down next to her.

"We kinda crossed paths. He was gentleman enough to leave one of his toys before he ran like a schmuck." She lifts her eyes upwards contemplatively. "That feels like the start of a very unfortunate pattern." Then her head tilts towards Emery. "Eh. End of a pattern. Whatever. Anyway. The down and dirty of this little meetup is that I don't keep trophies, but I ain't gonna leave his stuff layin' around, either. Can you take it back to him? And then, once ya answer that, we can talk over some artificial flavored junk that makes yer cookin' look like mana. …Or maybe yer cookin' makes this look like mana? I mean, this is kinda temporary, but both of them taste like they're from the Hand of God." The flat of her hand thumps against her bare breastbone. "Now I'm torn. My whole comparison just got shot, and that whole compliment that I had all saved up t'keep ya here after I tried to make ya a messenger boy is dashed to heck."

Slender shoulders shrug, and her face screws up into one of bashful apology. "Sorry."

*

Waiting until there is room, Emery does settle down at the other side of the bench. He just has to tsk softly. "Mm, Could fooled you? Well. Ye know as well as I do, darling, we men folk can be cowardly arseholes when it comes to matters of the heart." But the Irishman leaves that at that, turning to what he picked up in order to sit down.

There's another long pause before he nods slowly "Aye, of course luv. I'll get his shite back do him." Then on to the next subject he stays quiet as she works herself through the next part of the plan and he just smiles softly and shakes his head. "Dun be sorry, tell me more about' some artificially delicious food ye be talkin' about?"

*

"I won't tell you. I'll show you." One finger casually forms up in the shape of a gun as Harley points in the direction of the food truck. Her eye closes as though taking aim, and her tongue clucks.

Pushing up without waiting, the blonde bumps against Emery's shoulder with her hip. "Gimme two shakes, toots."

And she doesn't wait for him to answer that, either. There isn't much of a line, but she comes back after a dutiful handing over of a few bills with two piles of shaved ice in thin white paper cones, stained in a beautiful kaleidoscope pattern that's something like stained glass if you squint right.

At the end of a rigidly straight arm, the pale woman holds out her paltry offering to the God of Cooking. "Snow cone. Best cheap eats fer a day like today, and it'll keep yer tongue blue-green for hours. Probably toxic and likely to give ya cancer if ya listen to the tree huggers. It's the best." A beat. "Other than cake with sprinkles. So, really, the best that I can manage."

*

Oh no. God no. Emery watches with all the appreciation of his gender as Harley walks away. Just more respectful because he could be her grandfather and misters before sisters or something like that. But when he tracks her path to the vendor and then sees she has selected a frozen desert of sorts. In a cone. He crosses his legs and sighs softly.

When she returns he just smiles softly and raises his eyebrows questioninigly before accepting the cone with a soft chuckle. "Well, I trust your taste buds Miss Harley." He studies the cone and purses his lips thoughtfully. "I'm sure this will be delicious…"

*

"Look, Mister Fancy Sexy Fairy Godfather," Harley chides with feigned consternation, "a little artificiality now and again is probably good fer ya. Jes'… Not yer health. But! It'll keep ya from gettin' snooty, so look it at as a service I'm offerin' ya. One ya can't get just anywhere, either."

Quinn sits beside Emery, although she's feather soft as she gingerly rests her back against the bench. There's a twitch, and then she decides she doesn't like the position any more. Sitting forward, she tugs the lace neckline of her camisole with it's thick straps upwards a little. And then she starts licking the dye and flavoring. A few laps in, however, she rolls her head back. "Tell him I asked, and I'll kick yer ass… But Mercer. He doin' alright? I mean that whole quittin' thing." She steers clear still of the rest of the emotionally charged subject matter. "I mean, I can trust ya to kick his ass if he tries to ooze off the wagon, yeah?"

*

Emery rests his arm along the back of the bench and smirks gently. There's a quiet prayer in his head as he brings the snow cone to his mouth with practiced ease, enjoying the sensation of artificial flavoring and frozen ice. He gives small nod. "I appreciate the service, luv." He catches some frozen Yellow Dye Number 6 juice with his tongue and continues.

Then he's quiet as he hears the question, hmming softly and taking another bite/suck of his snow cone. "Dun tempt me to tattle now, ye know those sorts of threats are exciting." He drawls softly at the threat to kick his ass.

But he does give a small nod. "He's…learnin'. But he's doin' okay. He's resisting best he can because he's got people he cares about now." He then snorts and nods. "Aye, ye know I would kick his ass if he oozed off the wagon…"

*

At Emery turns her threat on end, turning it into a flirt, Harley can't help but to feel a smile teased out of the corner of her mouth. Another waggle of her eyebrows wordlessly returns the sentiment.

She gives him his time to think about his answer without interruption as she drains the color from the ice and messily hews chunks off with her front teeth, and - when he gives it - the clown's jaw clenches nearly imperceptibly before she can will the tension gone again. She plays it off as just enjoying her cone. "Good." And she means it. She's glad Owen's still on there. But not because of the ensuing ass kicking that would come from Papsworth's direction. He probably could use an ass kicking.

Her leg bounces a little as she thinks about what she can say that isn't some monosyllabic nonsense. "Look. I ain't tryin' to make a habit of interferin', yanno? An' I really appreciate ya comin', but I kinda have a feelin' how this is gonna go. Best ta cut it off at the pass when I get ta say somethin' still."

Harley sucks on her teeth, pulling sugar off of them, before she continues. Her feet stick out in front of her, and she starts tapping the sides of them together as they pivot on their heels. "So I owe you a couple. Ya need a favor, ya call me. But otherwise, I ain't gonna be stickin' ya in the middle. Ain't nothin' personal, and we know it, yeah? Jes'…"

She trails off and crinkles her nose with disgust, unable to really finish the thought without sounding stupid.

*

"Mm, if there wasn't somethin' between you two, something that maybe in the future can be re-looked out when ya'll get your shite together? Then it wouldn't be so uncomfortable when ya'll tink about it all." Emery licks his lips and quickly shifts his grip on his cone to not lose the left quadrant of his snow cone.

Then he snorts softly. "I met ye both in two different situations. Its just because of how tings happen that ye both happened to know each other well. The only way this is going to go, is that I'm not allowed work ye over like I'm lookin' for me pot of gold at the end of your rainbow."

Then he just considers how to reply to all that, taking his time before just offering softly. "Ye both are young, so very young. And I care about ye both. If I don't wanna be somewhere, ye know me…I'm not gonna be there."

*

At Emery's synopsis of the new rules, Harley guffaws and turns her smirk back in his direction. "Yer loss, Irish. Because this?" Quinn points down at herself, leaving no question as to who she's talking about. "Is the best fifty tons of crazy that yer gonna find in a hundred and forty pound sack." She drops her voice to a whispering sing-song. "And you know what they say about the crazy ones."

Closing her eyes, her snow cone starts being waved around emphatically as she talks back at normal, grating pitch. "And if ya wanna old man yer way through the awkward, that's fine. And it's okay that he chickened out. I didn't lie about what I am. He lied to himself? That's not my problem. My circus monkeys are WAY more fun than his."

Tilting her head back, the young woman sucks some of the dripping syrup out of the bottom of her cone. Once she's done that, she pivots in her seat to face Emery fully. Her left leg folds up under her better to accommodate the position, and she adjusts her camisole once more before setting her elbow gently down upon the bench's back so she can rest her head a little. "But the truth of the matter is: he needs ya more than I do to get what he needs. An' I don't want him gettin' any stupid ideas."

*

"Trust me lovely, I know this." Emery drawls softly as he leans forward to avoid dribbling on his jeans as he's trying to keep up with the rate of melting diabetes in a cone. He's laughing softly though before shrugging his shoulders. "Mmm, I am not an /old/ man, thank ye kindly."

He's idly cracking his neck though, shifting himself slightly to face Harley as he tilts his head to the side. "So, what do ye want me to do then, hm? Besides keep bein' there for him?"

*

"Don't want me treat ya like an ol' man, don't talk like an old man," Harley quips with both eyebrows raised. stretches her shoulder a little and then bends further sideways to lean on it more. "Otherwise, 'm jes' observin' facts. I mean, it's okay to be old. Sean Connery is super old. I'd still… Well. I'd probably avail him of the crazy. You jes' can't be old and… wrinkly. Though I guess Sean is a little on the wrinkly side…" A contemplative pause. "Naw. I'd still crazy him over half of Gotham."

Her thin fingers wind through the pastel ends of her ponytail, twirling them absently as she goes back to polishing off her chemical concoction. The question that Emery asks is left hanging for a long moment, and then she lets the smile dissipates entirely. "I dunno. That's it, really. Jes', I… I don't want him thinkin' there's any kinda split loyalty goin' on. He's in a tough spot. I get it. And there was… stuff, yanno? Get under yer skin kinda stuff. And I don't want him thinkin' there's… other… stuff that makes ya not a safe hundred percent on his side kinda thing. The kinda stuff that excuses get made outta."

She looks decidedly uncomfortable - her eyes taking on a pained squint. "Yanno what I mean?"

*

The Irishman holds his melting cone of artificial wonder, out and away from his body to avoid dripping on his boots as he arranges himself more comfortably on the bench and crosses his legs as he listens to Harley with an amused snort. “Ahh…I dun blame ye darling, I’d crazy him too.” He winks before sobering up a bit and shaking out his hand and trying to to sprinkle the both with the cone juice.

Emery is listening however as his brow furrows a bit and he replies after a moment. “Aye, I know what ye mean.” He nods slowly and looks thoughtful as he shakes his head slowly. “Well, I’ll have to talk to him when I bring him his stuff anyways so he’ll know we’ve met up….what do he want me to tell him from you?”

Harley doesn’t say anything at first, concentrating on licking and sucking her way through the melting, increasingly sticky treat in her hand. Once it's gone, she wads up the paper, shaking her head all the while.

“He wanted a message from me, he’d have stuck around fer one. If ya gotta give him one t’ get him off yer case, tell him I was ten leagues of crazy like usual and said I ain’t got no use fer somethin’ off theme.” A hand lifts skyward, bent at the wrist, as she elongates her form in gymnast display and looks towards the sky.

It’s theatrical. She looks brave and bright, then: “Or that I’m gonna suffocate him with a bowl of tapioca the next time he leaves me to a pit of teddy bears without so much as a howdydo.” She shrugs her one shoulder. “Whatever. I’ll let ya pick.”

The blonde sneers at her own paltry offering, then shakes her head and swings her ponytail with a certain play towards ‘airhead’. She slowly adjusts her shirt to again be more modest over a bandage that peeks out there, and then picks her bag up to hang off of her good right shoulder. The sparkling glasses are put back down into place to obscure her pale blue eyes.

“Thanks fer tryin’, Bailey’s. I wish things were different, yanno?” She shrugs helplessly under the strap of her bag. Then her voice drops low, and the accent she’s so well known for thins. It grates less, sounds less nasally. “Truth be told, ‘m a little jealous. Yer the kinda friend everyone wishes they had around, that they rarely get. Woulda liked ta keep ya round longer.” A bright smile turns her lips then, even as she adjusts her bag and just keeps talking with words tuned to their typical irksome musicality. “But them’s the breaks. ‘m serious about the favors, though. Ya got two to cash, anytime. Within reason. …says the crazy clown, ha!” She squeaks her laugh, and a hand slaps her legging-clad knee. “Anyway, really, just don’t think ya can do the crazy wishin” in yer favors and we’re probably good. Yer the fairy godperson, not me. But if I can…?” She will, says yet another shrug.

So much shrugging, covering for the fact that she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Goodbyes suck, especially ones she doesn't particularly want to say—the ones that make her feel just a little more alone in the dark. But it’s for the best, all around. Of course, her rare selflessness (whether its perceived that way or not), comes with a tiny clause at the bottom in fine print.

She leans in at the waist, her hand coming up to the side of her mouth as though speaking to a fellow conspirator. “But if ya decide yer tired of hangin’ with Mercer, ‘m jes’ a squeak of a rubber nose and a clown car ride away. ‘Kay?”

You don’t just waste friends if you don’t gotta.

The Irishman is honoring the bro code and could probably quote the New Testament in English and Latin, but he is no saint so he feels not one iota guilty for watching Harley clean her hands the way nature intended. Emery twists slightly in his seat to toss his wadded up cone remains in the nearest trash can, leaning back a bit to get the right aim.

“He only wants to know that you are okay. I will tell him you were your usual charming, sinfully flexible and adorable self…and then remind him again how close he came to an accidental threesome if he gets too bitchy about it.” He winks and cracks his neck.

“I dun let petty drama related to the angst of relationships keep me from being there for whoever needs me most luv, so this isn’t goodbye.” He pushes himself to his feet, holding out his hands and arms for whatever it is that Harley wants given back.

He gives a slow nod to show he understands. “Well, I still expect ye to check in, at least once or twice a month to let me know ye are still alive. Can ye do that for me?”

There is a hint of a smile at his lips and a twinkle of amusement in his eyes at the idea of clown antics and his expression is fond of anything else. “Cuz I may need someone to eat the glittery or rainbow colored tings when I bake them…and even if I am not in Gotham, once a Fairy Godfather, always a Father Godfather.”

Check-ins? This is not something that seems to have occurred as a possibility for Harley, if the quizzical tilt of her head — which looks slightly less like a bewildered cocker spaniel today since her hair isn’t in it’s usual pigtails and slightly more like a bewildered cockatoo instead — is any indication. She struggles for a moment for what to say—another rarity. A rare blessing indeed if you ask most folk.

Her head tosses, a violent shake of her head to clear the confusion that sets her ponytail wagging again.

Stooping down, she picks up the things from the bench. The comic book tucked into her bag, and the brown paper bag plucked up off the ground. Everything else that’s said is lost under her wonder over the one overwhelming fact that Emery Papsworth is not heaving an enormous breath in relief to be rid of her and saying good riddance when he’s got the chance. The electrically charged boomerang, a little dented and charred from where she used it as a bludgeon but still functional, is obediently surrendered into his care at the end of a stick-straight arm.

A finger on her opposite moves to a place in her mouth, where she can worry the cuticle of her nail with her teeth. She considers the Irishman with an intensely focused gaze that narrows contemplatively behind a wall of glitter. Her creased brow is the only indication, likely, that she’s doing that.

“Ya don’t gotta, yanno,” she decides at last, speaking around that finger after the eternity of a few heartbeats, with regards to his baked goods. With regards to his caring. “Ya can just assume I‘m alright.” She shoves her brightest smile on her lips and shrugs again. “Pays t’be bouncy,” she continues, bobbing on the balls of her feet for effect. “Ya bounce right back from stuff like this.”

Lies. Lies, lies, lies, lies.

Watching the young lady go through her different stages of acceptance, or confusion, Emery seems patient enough. He slips a cigarette free and tucks it behind his ear before accepting the various items without really blinking, just chuckling when he sees the boomerang.

Then he does heave a sigh, it's not of exasperation, just an exhale and a soft tasking softly. “The greatest freedom we have in life is the freedom of choice really…it's a deceptive and sneaky fucker but we ‘ave it. This is me choice, Miss Harley…”

A long pause. “While I thank the good lord that he blessed ye with the aesthetics to make your bouncing a blessing to all mankind…” He shrugs a shoulder. “I can always tell when a person is lying, luv, part of the fairy powers and all. Ye dun ‘ave to say anything to make me feel like ye will be alright. Just know, ye ‘ave a guardian angel now…ye dun get to fire those.” He winks and rolls his shoulders.

“Do ye need anyting before I head back?”

There is, for the briefest moment, a look of abject horror as Emery reveals his capacity as a human lie detector. All trace of a smile disappears, and Harley’s eyebrows race upwards behind her sunglasses. As her finger drops out of her mouth, the look akin to being caught with one’s hand in the cookie jar is unmistakable.

“Sooo…” she drawls, the tone uncertain. “What I hear ya sayin’…” Her head ducks down, and her finger draws her sunglasses down to the tip of her nose. “…is that yer worse than my parole officer or my therapist.” An awkward, silent breath follows.

She starts laughing suddenly a beat later, a loud and boisterous eruption of sound, and her body curls forward with the force of it. Her good arm, the one that moves like it should, lifts so she can twirl her fingers though the ends of her ponytail like a proper ditz.

“That’s okay, I guess,” she decides at last, for reasons known only to her, bounding forward the last of the small step’s distance between them to wrap that good arm around Emery in a hug unless he freaks out and runs away. “Jes’ no snitchin’.” It’s a lopsided thing as she keeps her hurt shoulder away from him, resting the side of her face against his chest and closing her eyes with her smile settling towards something resembling contentedness. She leans a little funny, though, since that puts her bag partway between herself and the Irishman. “Thanks, Bailey’s.”

The friendly neighborhood butler allows Harley her time to process the existence of his Bullshit meter. “Eh, mebbe, But I'm also a helluva lot sexier than them too, so it's par for the course darling.” Emery winks and then his lips twitch in quiet amusement as she laughs, a flicker of concern in his eyes.

But the hug is what gets him, makes him blink a few times before he lets his full dimples show in a warm smile, shifting slightly to hug her back best he can with full arms and a hand of stuff. He nods slowly and murmurs a soft blessing in Gaelic before leaning slightly to kiss the top of her head. “Anytime, Miss Harley.”

The kiss on the top of her head elicits a tiny, pleased squeak from the svelte blonde. She shoves her face against Emery’s breast, shoving her glasses fully onto her nose and into place. She doesn’t understand what he says in his foreign tongue, but Harley hasn’t ever really let lack of comprehension stop her from having a feeling on any given matter.

She has a good feeling about this one, and it shows as she squeezes and then gently slips free.

There’s a moment when she’s about to say something, but the words catch in her throat and she stops. There, caught before her reassuring lie finds its birth, Quinn lets her mouth gape open for a little longer than it should. Her eyes are where one finds the confusion, the assessment, and strange overlay of her disjointed thinking all shaken together, a slush of conflicting sentiment that she doesn’t immediately know how to parse.

So she smiles brightly. “Be careful, okay?” And then she’s off without wasting a moment, clutching her crossbody bag as it hangs incorrectly off of her good shoulder alone.

She has an elsewhere to be, one that will get her a safer distance from something a little too good for her to be near.

Safer for him.

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