An Apple a Day

October 10, 2018:

Owen stops by Gotham Arms in an attempt to smooth things over with Harley. Ivy is having none of that.

Gotham Arms - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Harley Quinn

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

One of the problems with being a bartender is that you end up working weird hours. And weird hours sometimes lead to things like day drinking. Well weird hours and substance abuse issues currently being restrained to the alcoholic variety. Which is part of the reason that Owen Mercer finds himself thoroughly trashed at the early hour of eight in the evening on a crisp fall night in Gotham. And with drinking, comes bad decision making. In fairness to the liquor, Owen's decision making skills are questionable at best when sober but it's more convenient to blame the booze.

High on the list of bad decisions that Owen is currently making, as he does not limit himself to just one at a time, is the decision to visit the Gotham Arms. Yes, somehow in his head Owen has decided that it's high time he seek out his former flame and try and smooth things over. The prank war between them didn't quite go as planned, what with it ending with him nearly falling off the wagon and not actually re-opening lines of communication with Harley.

The other bad decision is that Owen has apparently decided that singing is a good idea. Loudly. Badly. It's not that he has a bad voice per say, just that he is not quite able to pull off Backstreet Boys and should not attempt under any circumstances to do so. And yet, as he climbs the stairs, there he is belting out that he would in fact like it that way.

And perhaps last on his mistakes for the evening thus far, is the fact that he bursts into the common area of the Gotham Arms sixth floor, whiskey bottle ensconced in brown paper bag firmly in one hand.

"HEEEEY HARLEY!!! YOU HOME CHICA?"

Luckily for him, Harley is in fact, not at home. It would likely not be good if she were, but it might be worse for him that she's not … this is Owen after all, lucky is not something is he often accused of being.

*

Owen is answered by a valve being turned off.

Pamela Isley - no, Poison Ivy - is there. She is wearing only a couple of leaves and this might give Owen a sort of long shot hope, even as Ivy puts down the lab-grade glassware with a faint blue interior tinge that she was filling from a filter attachment to the tap.

"Backstreet's back," Ivy says, in an emotionless and uninflected tone.

SOMETHING starts growing underneath Owen's feet. It's something almost cute, a sudden massive crop of lush and healthy turf with a single dandelion poking out - how fun - except that something ELSE is in there and if he does not de-shoe himself with a quickness, it's going to curve round and start crawling up his leg. From there, things will no doubt get dicier.

"So, Owen," Poison Ivy says as she glides across the common room. "I see you've decided to return to the scene of the crime. Are you practicing the lessons on emotional abuse you learned from the Joker, or do you just have whiskey dick?"

Normally she doesn't swear. This may be a bad sign, especially since as she walks past the cheap varnished knotty pine of a lounging chair, the knots start to erupt into new budding branches.

"Don't worry," Ivy says, voice raising a fraction. "I'll be GLAD to hear you out."

*

"Alright!" Owen answers Poison Ivy's call with the enthusiastic call from the song, but then falters when he realizes that it's her. And she's not exactly smiling. Let alone doing the sweet dance from the video. He then looks down and notices the grass and he smiles a dopey drunk smile at it. He doesn't think to move or do anything about it until it starts up his leg and then he's moving at super speed to vacate his motorcyle boots and get away from whatever is about to get waaay to friendly.

Landing on his butt and scooching away from the grass with a worried expression he blinks at the question.

"Isn't whiskey dick when you can't get it up? This is would be a drunken booty call." Yes, good defense of yourself Owen. He then clarifies, "But it's not. I mean I'm not here for that. I wanted to.." And then he registers the remark about both the Joker and the scene of the 'crime'.

"Woah there. First of all. We broke up in New York. Second of all… I'm drunk." He looks off to the side, wondering why that was second. But then he rallies "NO! Second of all I came to say sorry!" He says this a little too triumphantly to sound sincere to most.

"Thiiiiird of all. I'm drunk."

There. Nicely done, he thinks to himself.

*

The grass reaches full wild prairie bloom within moments as Ivy comes to loom over Owen, looking down at him with a face like stone. White stone - maybe a pale jade? - but stone nonetheless.

"So you came her to get sex," Ivy says. "But you were going to get it by saying that you were sorry."

Ivy crouches down, leaning inwards. "First of all: I know. Second of all: You're repeating yourself. Third of all: I don't care."

Her expression darkens. "Do you know how she /feels/, Owen? Do you know what you /did/, to a woman already suffering? I would respect your courage if I didn't think -"

Ivy looks at the whiskey bottle. The paper… crumples… in a troubling way, but it seems to be as far as things can go. Ivy instead reaches out to grasp the liquor, perhaps intent on taking it from Owen, probably as a prelude to something else. "That it came out of THIS!"

*

Scooting back even farther from the patch of wild grass that just grew up in the middle of the room, Owen looks around as if expecting a man eating fly trap to be growing out of the couch.

"No!!" He tries to protest, but the head dip to the side is clearly Owen thinking 'Well… not exactly' but he gamely tries. "I was saying Whiskey Dick is yer too drunk to fuck, not that that's why I'm here… Or that I've ever had that problem" Owen overshares before shaking his head and trying to focus.

And then Ivy's face grows dark and Owen's eyes go a little wider, realizing he is in absolutely no shape to put up a decent fight should Ivy decide to murder him.

"I know! I couldn't help her.. I'm unstable as fuck, I get it. Believe me, she scared the shit out of me.." He tries to explain, badly, that he didnt' know how to handle Harley in her low swings. How to help her when she desperately needed it but it made him feel like he was going to lose his own sanity in the process. And yes, he's an asshole for many reasons, but he is at the very least, a somewhat self-aware one.

As the paper crumbles, Owen instinctively offers it forward. But his own face gets all screwed up at the sentiment.

"What?! Noooo." He shakes his head, a bit too vigorously, his body shaking a bit more with it. "Drinkin' was never a problem. Not f'r us.. no. Not the drinking."

*

Ivy curls her fingers around the bottle as Owen explains. She seems to accept his judgment on the source of the term 'whiskey dick' even as she tugs the bottle loose. She looks into his eyes and she remains still otherwise. Her eyes move. Searching. Exploring.

"You couldn't help her," Ivy says. "I understand. I can't help her either, not the way that she needs. The best I can do is make her happy and keep her from being unhappy. It's a rough place that we're both in, isn't it?"

And then Poison Ivy swings the whiskey bottle down to smash over the top of Owen's head. As she does, her face curls like fall coming onto a tree and revealing every jagged edge: "But what I *CAN* do is keep her from your maudlin, pickled BULLSHIT because I know her well enough that she'd let you back in, you'd rip her apart, you'd drop her, she'd sew herself back together, it's all going to happen OVER AND OVER unless SOMEONE intervenes!!"

Ivy straightens up and takes a deep breath as if to say more. She seems to be struggling for words. This may be Owen's cue to get movin'.

*

Ivy curls her fingers around the bottle as Owen explains. She seems to accept his judgment on the source of the term 'whiskey dick' even as she tugs the bottle loose. She looks into his eyes and she remains still otherwise. Her eyes move. Searching. Exploring.

"You couldn't help her," Ivy says. "I understand. I can't help her either, not the way that she needs. The best I can do is make her happy and keep her from being unhappy. It's a rough place that we're both in, isn't it?"

And then Poison Ivy swings the whiskey bottle down to smash over the top of Owen's head. As she does, her face curls like fall coming onto a tree and revealing every jagged edge: "But what I *CAN* do is keep her from your maudlin, pickled BULLSHIT because I know her well enough that she'd let you back in, you'd rip her apart, you'd drop her, she'd sew herself back together, it's all going to happen OVER AND OVER unless SOMEONE intervenes!!"

Ivy straightens up and takes a deep breath as if to say more. She seems to be struggling for words. This may be Owen's cue to get movin'.

*

Easily lulled into a calm sense of agreement with Ivy, Owen does not in fact see the bottle smash coming. He doesn't even attempt a dodge, instead getting a bottle broken over his head. It's hardly the first. He is knocked back onto his back as glass and whiskey shower over him. He groans and rolls, cutting himself in the process.

"Aaargh! What the fuck?!"

He kips up, barely keeping his balance at the end but managing to drunkenly sway to a balanced state. The blood and whiskey run down into his eyes, which he tries to blink away. He is not smart enough to run yet.

"What the hell! I made one mistake! … well.. like /five/ mistakes. It's not like I set her on fire! Dammit. Or fucked with her head on purpose!"

Admitting that even if it wasn't on purpose, he still did jerk her around causes him to wince. And though he may not be running, he does have a razor boomerang in his hand. He drew that with such speed that it simply looks to most that it just appeared in his hand.

*

"Oh, did that HURT? I'm sorry," Ivy says with a growing frenetic energy in her voice. "Or wait, no I'm not. Do you know what I had to do, Owen? I had to hold her while she cried. Do you know what that's like?"

She sees the boomerang.

Her eyes move from it, to Owen, and then she folds her arms, tilting her head back. It does mean the broken bottle is not pointed towards him, though the building seems to settle as if on cue.

(Upstairs, a plant is quietly overgrowing its planter and fattening on carbon dioxide and Poison Ivy's dark will. But shh! It's not going to be here too quickly.)

"Perhaps you didn't do it on purpose, but does that mean you didn't do it at ALL? Are you supposed to get ABSOLUTION because you did not MEAN to cause harm? Do you think the Bat lets you go because you didn't MEAN to knock over that bank branch, Owen? Why should I stand by and let my friend swallow glass, just because you didn't MEAN to rip her apart?!"

But hey, she's not hitting him and she doesn't seem to be breathing poison mist (yet). Maybe there's hope!

A little bit of plaster dribbles from the roof. Probably just the building settling again.

*

Owen looks at the bottle in her hand, but is more waiting for a vine to grow out of somewhere and get frisky. He's been on missions with Ivy before, he knows at least one or two of her tricks.

"Oh yes. I've done that. I tried like hell to be there for her. I did! She was tripped the fuck up by … /him/. And I tried." He did try. But he's never really been that good at takng care of himself, let alone other people.

"I ain't sayin' I'm perfect Ivy. I ain't even sayin' I want to get back t'gether here…" He points the boomerang at her and says, "And this is some bullshit. Harley can make up her own damn mind. She don't need you, or him, or me to make it up for her." Here he tries to get in some righteous indignation but gets distracted by a flake of plaster hitting his nose. He goes cross eyed staring at it, trying to figure out what it is, and what that niggling feeling in the back of his mind is trying to tell him.

*

Ivy is still for a moment.

"You're citing free will?" Ivy says then, leaning her head forwards slightly, though not close enough to get anywhere near the boomerang. "To me? I see why she likes you because that's an /excellent/ joke. Oh, I suppose there's some discretionary room, Owen, but do you honestly think that this is some kind of abstract ideal? Oh, let her decide for herself - when she sees you here drunk, no doubt weeping…"

Ivy's eyes focus on Owen's. "Oh; are you noticing?"

Look up, Owen. There's a gnarled oak root expanding, expanding so quickly that the bark has a strange unfinished quality to it. It's reaching towards Owen, bifuricating as it goes. Forming almost a heart, or perhaps an incipent noose.

"It's funny," Ivy says then, her lips pursing as she straightens up, one hand coming up to rest two fingers on her chin. "In a sense you're right. She does still care for you - I suppose 'has feelings' would be a better way to do it. She wasn't angry at you, she was just /hurt/. Tremendously hurt. Hurt like the sea is deep. If you had come in here with some apologetic balloon or a box of chocolates - a hidden note - I think I'd feel differently…"

Not a bouquet, perhaps notably, but then, maybe Ivy is just being honest.

"BUT YOU DIDN'T."

The oak root dives. Fortunately it is pretty slow as an 'attempted homicide' mechanism goes, but it does aim at Owen's torso.

*

Owen is used to being called much worse than a joke, so he hardly notices the taunt in that regards, especially since he's waiting for an attack now. Her asking if he's 'noticing' only causes him to look around to see if he's missing it, and aaahh there it is.

The boomerang is thrown with great speed to hopefully cut the root off, but Owen's not sticking around either. He clumsily dives and rolls, smashing into a couch in the process and ending up in a heap.

"Hey! I filled her hammer with glitter! I snuck in here and filled seven thousand, four hundred and twelve cups with fireball whiskey and coke! I tried the cutesy shit!" Those … are not really I'm sorry gifts. But he did want to make her laugh. Even if it was that unnerving high laugh that used to fray his nerves.

He pulls out another boomerang, no blade just a weighted one. He peaks his head up over the side of the couch and calls, "And seriously where the fuck were you when her real asshole of an ex showed up? I think yer projectin' just a might bit here Flower Power. 'cause we both know I ain' don' shit t'hurt her, like he has."

The verbal jibe is followed by a thrown boomerang, not superhumanly fast, but very accurately aimed at the bottle in her hands hoping to shatter it further and throw her off her game.

*

Owen makes excellent points with pathos and logos both, as well as severing the oak root (vine?) and leaving it on the ground, contracting as if in agony.

The downside is that he's arguing with a plant. "Oh, you DID," Ivy says: "You LEFT her, OWEN. If you had any guts you'd have"

The boomerang hits the glass bottle and the shards fly out, embedding themselves into the jade-tinted flesh of Ivy's hand and upper arm. Now they both have glass in them! Ivy does not seem to wince - she doesn't scream. She raises her hand up, wonderingly, turning it around a little as if distracted by the interplay of light on the shards of cheap whiskey bottle now embedded into her arm.

"Huh," Ivy says. Then she focuses on Owen again. "I'm not finished with you. Do you think you can win my favor with bullshit? It doesn't work that way," she continues, stepping forwards even as she scoops up the root, cradling it against her breast. "And are you saying you've ALREADY been sneaking in here and making ridiculous shows of affection - or is this the first time you've dared to show yourself after what you DID??"

No new plants erupt to assail Owen. Maybe Ivy's run out, maybe she's just not thinking straight (as if that's anything new). Maybe she's content to let him yield some ground as she walks orthogonally to him towards

the
fruit
bowl

*

"Yea, yea. I left her. 'cause I'm an idiot and I make terrible life choices. It's kind of my thing."

Either that's the rehab talking wherein Owen has had to face some hard truths about himself, or it's the usual narrative that 'I'm a fuckup and therefor all my mistakes must be excused' is up to the listener to decide. He peaks back up over the couch and narrows his eyes when asked if he's already been here.

"Maybe… that depends. You gonna murder me in some super gross plant based way if I say yes?"

He makes a scramble to retrieve his razor boomerang from earlier and regain his feet. He faces her and looks at the fruit bowl and then back to her. He has no idea what she can or can't do with a bowl of fruit. In fact he didn't ever realize that was real fruit. Isn't it wax? What kind of self respecting villain flat has a fruit bowl? Must be Ivy's doing.

"I needed space. I got space. I got clean.." Relatively.

"Are you this hard on all Harley's guys? Or am I the only one dumb enough to date the Joker's ex."

*

"That's correct," Ivy says as she reaches the fruit bowl. "I'm glad to see that you recognize it… although to hear you say it it sounds more as if you're using it as an excuse, as if you think it's going to make an impact on me."

She looks at Owen then. There is a ghost of a smile on her lips at his question, and she shrugs one shoulder as if to say: You got me.

Owen scrambles for the boomerang and Ivy reaches into the bowl of fruit to pluck out a slightly withered if probably still edible apple. It's the kind of thing that Lex Luthor feels should be given to the children once per week in order to ward off scurvy and ensure proper fattening for the rendering plants.

Ivy pauses, holding the apple thoughtfully. She seems, perhaps, to be on the verge of softening - she seemed to particularly be pleased by the statement of getting clean - and then it all immediately goes flying away. A storm cloud crosses her face, metaphorically, and she hurls the apple right at Owen's chest, not metaphorically.

"She is NOT! THE! JOKER'S EX!" Ivy shouts. "That isn't what defines her, you PIG! Think of yourself as whatever kind of whiskey-soaked despoiler of life that you WANT but HARLEY DESERVES BETTER than someone who's going to view her as some kind of - of CAST OFF from a serial killer!"

Squashed thrown apple is not much of a peril. Predictably, perhaps, the apple seeds are starting to sprout into merry little seedlings - and perhaps more problematic put down roots. They start in the damp cotton and fabric of the shirt. How deep will they go to seek the water within Owen?

*

"Damn straight!" He isn't joking when discussing his legendary poor discussion making skills, or being self-deprecating in a facetious way. He is simply aware of his limits.

But then she's smiling and fondling fruit and that's unfortunately not a good thing, as much as Owen would like to try to see the bright side. The thrown apple is easily cut into two pieces by the boomerang in his hand, but both halves hit him anyway. He doesn't think much of it at first, instead answering her question.

"Yes. She. Is." Owen growls back. "Just as much as I'm her ex. I ain't sayin' she's Jokers girl. Or his property…" He's off to a good start here. "But she still fuckin' dresses up like a clown." Aww… so close.

It's about that time that he feels something on his shirt, pressing into him. He looks down and is horrified to see the apple remnants writhing on him. "Aagh, what the hell?" He slices at them with the boomerang with little avail, and then starts ripping off his shirt, trying to pull out the vines and roots literally trying to grow into his skin.

*

The apple, breached.

The words, spoken.

Ivy, unrelieved.

"Do you think the Joker invented CLOWNS?! Are you just arguing for the sake of arguing?!" Ivy shouts again, it not quite verging into yelling proper. The apple seeds are mostly rent asunder - two shoots are split and that seems to be enough to kill them. A third rips at his shirt but is tearable off, with a quick work from the razor-rang and with some enthusiasm. Shallow wounds at worst. Another one simply falls off from the struggle.

The two apple-seedlings scuttle on sprouting roots across the carpet, bulking, bloating, engorging from whatever hellish power Ivy is putting into them. How does she do this, anyway? Is she a mutant or an inhuman or something? Who is to say. They come to flank her, rising up behind her and sprouting knobbled gall-platforms to raise her up as she says, "And at this point people have heard you. I couldn't just throw you into Slaughter Swamp - God, I can see it already, the tearful discovery, the betrayal…"

"Do you know how hard all of this is?!" Ivy yells. Yes, she crested that decibel level at last. "How all of you brilliant idiots are made of razorblades and gelatin!? I'm sick of you!"

Thrashing branches whip outwards. "Out! Get out of this building! If I see you again I'll grind your bones - is that understood, CAPTAIN BOOMERANG?! Your nutrients are only yours so long as you keep them away from Harleen Quinzel!" The apple-chariot starts to crab-walk forwards, though Ivy seems content to ride it. It is an advance but not a lunging one.

Her eyes are completely deranged. She's off on some interior tangent - perhaps the relaxing trip to Belize and the treat of chicken wings are starting to wear off. How long ago was that? Not long enough, perhaps.

*

"I don't KNOW!" Owen yells back when prompted about why he's still arguing with her. Really it was more thinking out loud in her direction about the whole situation, but as always he would really benefit from shutting his mouth more often.

"Gross!"

Whether Owen is referencing the apples growing in weird and distorted way or the comments about his 'nutrients' is unclear, but both is probably a safe bet. He dodges back as branches and limbs begin to take shape and thrash in his direction. As the door becomes blocked, Owen uses his last boomerang to shatter a window.

"Tell Harley I said 'hi'. Thanks Ivy!" And with that, he blows her a kiss and dives out the window onto the fire escape, which he wastes no time in hustling down.

"Crap. Now I'm sober again.. I need to fix that."

Owen now on the street and clear of Ivy and her plants grasp.. hopefully, realizes with a frown that he's probably going to have to figure out this whole shirtless thing before liquor. Gah, what a pain when getting dressed gets in the way of getting drunk.

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