It's A Prank War

September 20, 2018:

It's a montage! Owen & Harley are broken up. They're not talking. Only pranking.

Many and Various

Characters

NPCs: Random Suicide Squad Folks (unnamed)

Mentions: The Joker, Emery Papsworth

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's been at least a month since they broke up. Between rehab and everything going on with the Defenders Owen has managed to keep himself fairly busy. It helps. Sure there are times where he might mopily stare at his phone and desperately wish he could call in the fun. But they did that stupid thing where they tried to have an actual relationship. And then there were feelings and then fighting and then the not talking.

What were they thinking? Owen grumbles and grouses to himself as he suits up for their latest mission. He expects it will go something like the last two they've had to endure by each other's side since the breakup. A few cold glances, some pointed ignoring of one another. Very mature stuff. But then Owen has an idea. Sure they're not speaking but does that really preclude having any fun? Harley loves fun. She loves surprises. And what is more of a fun surprise than a good prank?

And so this is what brings Owen to find himself super gluing Harley's messenger bag shut during the flight en route to the LZ. The other squad members either don't notice, don't care or just smile knowing what a stupid idea this will be.


Harley might have, on another given month, found the trick to be funny. Unfortunately, she needed the contents of the messenger bag in pretty short order and was SUPER IRRITATED to find it super glued instead. And, considering her left shoulder still isn't quite right, she was even more irritated when it got knocked by an incoming BOOM from one of the guards of the facility that they were working over that night because the bag tore when she ripped at it and her stuff spilled out.

SUPER IRRITATED. But she laughed. After she was done screaming and almost internally decapitating a guy.

It was in no way a calming sound, just to be clear. But there was nothing she said afterwards. No accusations made. She went back to pointedly ignoring Owen Mercer and the flight back was spent in her happy little cuff that tethered her to the plane, having her shoulder seen to and iced.

Two nights pass. And then the phone calls and texts start. All manner of nonsense starts filling up Owen Mercer's burner phone at 2am one night. Country crooning. Spit Rap. Heavy metal love songs. One very moving Irish ballad. Some original melodies. With names and phone numbers. Text messages with appointment requests. And this may or may not be directly related to the fact that one TOTALLY RANDOM STRANGER punk-style groupie is standing outside of a Gotham music club for several nights, handing out hand made cards advertising a thousand dollar signing bonus for the vocalist / songwriter that can stand out from the pack in an a capella sing off.

But whoever that TOTALLY RANDOM STRANGER was… Her Sharpie game was on point.


Trying not to laugh as Harley struggles to open the flap on the bag at a very important time proves harder than Owen thought. He quietly snickers his way through the mission, though he's only throwing one handed at least for another week or two. The bandages are concealed beneath his jacket, and he does his best to not show any difference, but he's a touch off his game and doesn't quite carry his weight as much on the mission, especially with being distracted by laughing at his own gag.

"My ears are bleeding. Are you happy?"

"Lady.. I think yer cat is dying why are you calling me?"

"What? No.. NO! SHU- … STOP! STOP SINGING!"

The first few phone calls were an annoyance. Now Owen is pissed. He swears and drops the burner phone in the trash, mentally trying to figure out who he needs to get an updated number to. Harley somehow doesn't make the list. Lighting a cigarette angrily, Owen plots his revenge. And something about the Coca-Cola truck pulling up across the street sparks in him a thought.

The next morning, Harley will find her floors have been redone. Not with carpeting or hardwood, but red and black solo cups. The black are filled with Coke. The red are filled with fireball whiskey. They cover the floor in concentric circles, alternating long since flat soda with burning sweet liquor. In the center, should she make it that far is a single blue cup with a post it note stuffed inside. Granted making her way to the center or really anyway across the room is either going to be a big mess, a lot of pouring out or a binge drinking fest to put all frat boys to shame.

The note reads:
"Stole the liquor. It was quicker. -B"


When she came back into the building after some time out with her beloved furballs, there wasn't time to stop them even if she'd wanted to. Even if she could, with her bum shoulder. Her hyenas race into the room, spilling all of the soda and whiskey and soaking a pile of her clothing on the floor and her favorite pair of Christmas elf slippers. Fortunately, she doesn't own a whole lot of white, but there were certainly a couple articles of clothing that were lost to the staining.

The bigger problem, honestly, was having to bathe the Boys. Because the Boys hate bath time.

After barely keeping them from destroying the shower, the bathroom, and her arm… She thinks to herself. Then waits.

…And orders a pizza that is strategically left when Owen is sure to be around given the mission lineup. 'Truce?' is scrawled on top in curly Sharpie letters. The smell of warm pizza fills the air.

Except that — once the box has been opened — the center has been exquisitely carved out of every single piece of pizza in the box with just the tantalizing hints of Owen's favorite toppings left around the edges. And then Sharpie letters in each sad little hollow read out ' D I A F B O O M'. On the inside of the lid, a crude drawing of a dagger and bonfire.


The arrival of the pizza box is met with a small knowing smile from Owen. It's rigged right? Snakes will pop out? Or a punching glove to knock him in the face? But the smell throws him off. That is a very convincing aroma of fresh pizza. And not only that but the box clearly shows that's from Joe's. The 'Truce?' note would of course be ignored as an obvious ploy to lull him into a false sense of security but why would she bother getting it from Joe's? The place he may have once confessed in a rather sad bit of business that meant something to him as a kid. His favorite pizza joint, where the owner gave him a job sweeping up at night out of kind-hearted pity since Owen never had any actual money or place to go.

Slowly the lid is lifted. And slowly Owen's face falls into a cold scowl. He looks up from the box to make sure no one actually saw him get fooled by this obvious ruse but is met with hearty laughter and taunts from those around him. In bitter anger he pulls out a piece of crust to chomp down on it. Only to immediately spit it out.

"What does Joker toxin taste like?"

Modifying the device that he uses in his boomerangs takes only a few hours. With the restrictions of weight and size released it's child's play to up the power and focus it into a tightly concentrated beam.

Not taking a chance that she might be out again, this time Owen sets up shop on a neighboring roof, watching the Gotham Arms. He waits until she's sleeping and then another hour or two. Before he takes aim, focuses the weapon on the glass of her window and let's loose a deafening alarm blaring burst of noise tightly focused on just her room. It lasts just 5 terrifically loud seconds and then it stops. He waits a few minutes for any activity to settle back down before giving it another blast.


Should she narrow it down to the rooftop, and see him, the only greeting would be a one finger salute and another burst from the noise maker.
Harley has the compromised nature of her shoulder as a very pointed reminder that sleeping is not a safe state. In her slips of mental stability, her sleeping habits grow worse. Owen knows this all too well.

Since the breakup, Quinn has started to fall with more regularity into the habits and mannerisms that so many associate with her more outlandish presentations. She laughs too much. She laughs too loud. She laughs wrong, and at the wrong things. She grows ever more erratic and unpredictable and keeps inhuman hours. That is to say, she has to fight to get to sleep. Has to fight to stay there.

And then Owen Mercer.

When the blonde is roused out of her sleep, it is a vicious and visceral reaction that follows while she's still only half-conscious. 'Any activity' looks like her hauling out her revolver and shooting out the window in a wide range. …or it would anyway, if she didn't pull out the wrong gun. A flag harmlessly unfurls from a stick that pops out of the barrel, loudly declaring 'BANG!'

It's not until the second squeeze of the trigger, however, that she realizes it. The cry of her endlessly frustration and fury comes clearly into the night as she throws the trick gun out the window and into the street. It only escalates when Mercer retreats, with the sound of her pets cackling as accompaniment. Once her pique has passed and she sits there, breathing heavily and fuming with her left arm hanging uselessly at her side, her eyes turn to her angered pets.

And then she smiles.

After going out and lifting someone's credit card, she goes to a 24 hour adult store, buys the most outlandish sex toys she can find, and then waits on a courier's front step until they open. 'PERISHABLE ITEMS' reads the outside of the box that she's packed. 'PLEASE REFRIGERATE UPON ARRIVAL.' And then she ships to his New York bar, hoping that he's stuck in Gotham for a few days.


Meanwhile in Harlem, the COMPLETELY INNOCENT IN ALL THIS Luke Cage is setting up his bar like a proud papa. It's been nearly ten months since the original burned to the ground, taking his livelihood and a part of his soul with him. Tonight, both are renewed. Opting to take the first night's shift alone, he figures it will be slow to start until the regulars get wind of the grand reopening, and being a weeknight the Bridge Bunnies shouldn't be venturing this far into Manhattan.

It's odd to get a delivery this late in the afternoon, but seeming how it's perishable, Luke accepts it through the front door of the establishment and sets it on the bar and flicks open his pocket knife. Apparently Owen ordered something fancy that requires special treatment and so the tape is sliced neatly and the flaps of the box are unfolded so the perishable items can be tended to.

With a confused twist to his brow, Cage fishes past the protective first layer of brown paper to pull out … a double ended purple dildo which would rival any Equine in both size and realistic detail. It wobbles obscenely in his ham fist and stares at him with one unblinking eye. "OWEN!" Gets bellowed at the ceiling, as if the man in question can hear him the several floors up should he be at home in his apartment.

It's followed with a sudden bark of laughter of levity as he sets it aside, curiosity driving him deeper into the box until a male celibacy device, a questionable strand of beads and something that vibrates and looks like the mouth of a Sarlacc is unpacked on the bar's top.

Suddenly he decides he knows WAY TOO MUCH about his bartender's sex life, and he quickly shoves everything back into the box and snaps a picture of the contents.

And, just in case: the box gets shoved into the cooler.

Luke snags out his phone and shoots Owen a text that reads: Got a delivery addressed to you. Keep your kink out of my bar, I don't have enough hand sanitizer for this. Attachment: image001.jpg


But Owen is not upstairs. And Gotham is a bit too far to hear Luke's bellows. It isn't however far enough away to miss the text. The text draws a confused quirk of his eyebrow.

"My .. what?"

His face falls when the picture comes through. He tilts his head sideways, then his phone sideways, then zooms in, then zooms way out. He grits his teeth.

"QUINN!!!" Owen furiously types back to Luke, not sure if he will believe him. Oh goodness if Emery gets wind of this that will be the end. Unless he can actually weaponize some of those things… then it's back to being kind of funny? Kind of. Regardless he fires off a flurry of texts in an attempt to assuage his boss.

Crazy. Ex. Girlfriend.
May have inadverantly started prank war. Totally not my fault.
… mostly not my fault?
Fine. My fault.

Owen sits on the roof of a building smoking. drinking. plotting. This has escalated from fun and games to war. What's next? Itching powder in her white makeup? Glue in her lipstick? His plotting takes him deep into the night, but finally he strikes up on the idea. All it requires is a solid swap.


Finding Mr. Smiley, Harley's giant mallet isn't as hard as one might assume. Owen is able to make a copy and swap it out with one very important change. The next time it's used for some good old fashioned smashing it's rigged to explode in a shower of glitter.
Some things are sacrosanct. No, Mister Smiley is not hard to find. Mostly because he stays in Harl's room on prominent display in the corner ever since she had to take her old room back up in the common squatting grounds after she and her old space got wrecked. There are plenty of opportunities for Owen to find Mister Smiley alone, for the clown princess seems to be very confident in the fact that no one would ever be so stupid as to touch Mister Smiley.

Har. Dee. Har. Har.

All he needs to do is wait until Harley takes the kids out for a walk, and he's got it made. He can sneak past her foot locker and steamer trunk, past the bag where a damaged Zook is kept. The switch is an easy one.

Getting the switch to be accepted by its proud mama? Another thing entirely. Because she knows that mallet. She knows that mallet better than the back of her hand. And something feels off when she's twirling it over her shoulder after a check of its construction while prepping to go out for a night on the town on Waller's dime. Minutes until go-time, before the watchdogs come to collect her for shipment, and she's storming around, searching for Mercer.

"MERCER. WHAT did you DO to MISTER SMILEY? Where ARE YOU?! I AM GOING TO BASH YOU INTO NEXT WEEK!"

When she resists the collection team because she has not had sufficient time to find Owen Mercer and—indeed—bash him senseless, they tranq her, load her up, and ship her out. With her compromised mallet.

When she wakes up on the plane, her mood is vinegar-sour. With no small amount of effort, she ends up managing to get ahold of it and hurl the thing at one of her handlers. …she has to fight a twitch of her mouth as it explodes in an impressive shower of glitter in the middle of the plane's cargo hold where they wait to be dispersed. She manages to hold it together for a long string of moments, and then just starts cackling.

No one else on the mission finds it nearly as entertaining to be sparkling as they complete Waller's objective. Harley? Simply calls herself the Death Fairy and shakes glitter at whoever comes too close. It actually makes the mission better.

When she gets back, she cuddles her pets. And she smiles wickedly. And a day later, she sweet talks one of the handlers, handing off a stick of Owen's brand of deodorant and asking for a swap to be made if they can manage it. Because, hyena butter has expertly oozed into pin prick holes along the hygiene product's surface, making the whole thing smell of very stinky hyena and perfume. And who knows?! Maybe he'll be too sleepy to notice when the time comes for it to get used?

The not knowing. It's not a bug; it's a feature.


The real Mr. Smiley is safely waiting for Harley when she returns to the apartment. Because while Owen might be willing to go to great lengths to prank her, he's not out to actively destroy things she holds near and dear. He does however on the return trip take a minute to poke around and that's when he makes the grizzly discovery. There's a dead body in the room. Owen picks up Zook's mangled, sticky form and his lip turns into a snarl. His question to the air is whispered as technically he's still sneaking about, but it's whispered with vehemence.

"Harley … what did you do?"

The return prank doesn't go exactly as expected though. Instead Owen opens his locker after his latest mission and frowns deeply.

"WHAT IS THAT?!" Owen is not the only one to exclaim at the horrible odor. The thick miasma of Hyena stench wafts out into the air now that the locker is open. Everything within the locker is steeped in the deep musky stench of Hyena. One of the villains shoves Owen into the locker with a "What did you sh*& in there?" on their way out of the room. Owen falls in, and manages to just make it back out and up to his feet before vomitting heartily on the floor. He runs for the showers, stripping away his clothing with abandon. Everyone he passes comments on the putrid smell, he doesn't care.

An hour later Owen finally exits the shower, takes a tentative sniff of himself and just sighs, defeated.

Later after having burned everything in that locker, Owen sits outside with a cigarette lit between his lips. His phone is out and he stares down at it. He types out a text to Harley.

I miss you.

He stares at it for a few minutes.

He finishes his cigarette…

And deletes the text. Unsent.


Harley waits for the retaliation. Waits for something to go wrong and for it to pull her back into some semblance of normal. The days have passed in a back-and-forth of non-verbal communication. Provided some sort of rhythm that somehow still possess a faint power to pull her out of the self-destructive cycle. Something that isn't rooted in the darkness sucking her back in despite her clawing, that isn't steeped in murder and pain.

But the retaliation never comes. And neither does the unsent text. The elation of triumph fades quickly, replaced by the devouring self-doubt.

It was too much. Too far. She kicked the bottom out, because, of course, she did. She never sees the line anymore; it's like that trick where you draw in red pencil and then put red glasses on to make it disappear. Everyone else sees what she cannot. Or so self-blame tells her. And it's in those moments that the Joker's words hiss in her ear like a spectre as she sits on the bed with her fingers woven through her blonde tresses.

…You know that they're going to throw you out the moment they realize you saw the trick. But I want you to remember that you did. And that's what makes you mine. We're part of the initiated, you and I. And we're going to make them love to laugh again.

So, despite her own thoughts on the matter, tissue paper thin things that they are, she tries to make herself start focusing on what will keep her out of the hospital. What will keep her alive.

She stops thinking about Owen Mercer and the silly prank she desperately wishes he would play back since they can't talk. It's better that they don't talk, she reaffirms to herself after another gnawing few hours. Distance is better for him. As much as he will take, she'll give him. And so their all-too-brief interaction disappears into the void, with only fragile memories and scant specks of pink glitter that still catch the light when she crosses her room. She lets the glitter sit, nestled among the hairs of hyena fur, to serve in the place of photographs.

And she starts thinking about how to get into Stark Tower.

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