Just Another Saturday Night

October 13, 2018:

Poison Ivy interrupts a chemical attack! …ie, Harley Quinn cleaned on a Saturday night.

Gotham Arms

Characters

NPCs: Bud & Lou

Mentions: Owen Mercer (Not by name.)

Plot:

Mood Music: Believer by Imagine Dragons


Fade In…

Since Harley got back from New York, she’s been a different creature. Likely to everyone’s dismay, she goes out less. She takes her pets out when she needs to, but not as often as they’d like.

It means the place smells more like hyena than it normally does, and that said hyenas are a little more irritable than usual.

Some time ago, Harley and Taskmaster got to drinking and the common areas didn’t fare so well. In the wake of that, there was a visit by one an associate who fixed up the place. And while she reinstalling the ceiling fan, the walls were repainted and some new lighting went in.

The Gotham Arms has been considered, on many occasions, something of a dive. Not inaccurately. But Quinn has swung from her otherworld awareness back into something more resembling housekeeper, and she’s actually cleaned.

Like, actually cleaned.

Like, it looks like she’s got the entire cleaning aisle stolen from Wal-Mart and stored on the kitchen table. But the joint also smells like paint, on account of two kitchen chairs that she’s apparently using for a new experiment with very trendy chalk paint.

The apartment smells entirely of chemicals, and Harley is in cut off jean shorts, a tank top, and a heart-splattered shower cap as she goes about her flitting work - moving from one task to another in some sort of order that only she perceives without finishing any of them - and dances along to Imagine Dragons’ Believer as it belts out of her retro radio. Her hyenas chitter and whine from a place where they watch her, snouts hanging past the threshold of her bedroom door but venturing no further.

They don't appreciate, apparently, the whirring sound of the vacuum.

Ivy, for once, comes in through the front door like a normal person. It’s no longer sweltering in Gotham and that means it is, inevitably, cold instead. And so it is that she was wearing a long coat, from a secondhand store. Stylishly draped and vaguely noir-esque…

She smells the chemicals coming up the hallway and she walks all the faster. A poison attack? She knows that there’s someone who could do so - perhaps they’re all dead, she thinks, perhaps even Harley -

She opens the door.

She sees Harley immediately and that she is moving. Ivy watches her, eyes tracking as Imagine Dragons rock out with all the autotuned lyricism possible. She relaxes, slowly, putting one hand on her hip as she finishes stepping within, letting the door close in silence behind her. (She can still, however faintly, smell the babies. The hyenas, that is.)

Ivy waits a second or two more for Harley to move out of a point in her task where, as far as Ivy can tell, she would drop… what the hell is that? Ivy wonders: she can’t quite tell - and THEN she speaks: “You look like you’re having a good time,” she says, tilting her head back with a slight smile. “I always knew you were a painter at heart.”

“If I step in any further, am I going to ruin something?”

Harley whips about at the sound of Ivy’s voice, her eyes wide with surprise. That shock transmutes in the span of a heartbeat, becoming a clear window into the nearly manic spirit that has the blonde in its possession.

Her teeth bare themselves as her lips part in a wild grin that considers nothing but the naked feel of its own zealous curve.

Despite the scar at her shoulder, still bright pink in its newness, the clown runs her hands along her own form until they reach at last the ridiculous poof of vinyl atop her head and pull it free. Dyed tip pigtails are revealed, although the unnatural color is lost as they are presently pinned up in the rolls that will birth marvelous sausage curls later. Dainty bare feet pick out the quicker beats as she dances forward towards the redhead with the lip sync routine in full swing.

She moves to take Ivy up in her arms, with every intention of pulling her into a dance. “I found a tutorial on PINTEREST,” she confesses with the same gravity and wonder that might come of revealing the alchemical recipe for gold.

“They. Are. Going. To. Be. AMAZING. Imagine Louis the 14th furniture meets mermaid hair.

How she is going to get there from cheap kitchenette furniture from a knock off IKEA?

Isn’t the mystery and exploration part of the thrill?

Well, Ivy thinks: She’s feeling good.

Ivy’s eyes track to that scar. It’s ugly. But there isn’t a restraint there any more. Scars aren’t always bad; sometimes they lead to strengthening. And she has the chance to be drawn up close with the approach of Harley, which Ivy - like a tree - does not even attempt to avoid. Unlike a tree her limbs come down, wrapping momentarily behind Harley’s back as her fingers lace together. She leans down, faintly green-tinted forehead pressing against Harley’s as she smiles.

She remembers how to smile, she finds.

“Louis the 14th,” Ivy then says, “meets… mermaid hair. I’m not familiar with the mermaid hair, unless you’re talking about Aquaman’s daughter.” She assumes he has a daughter. Not eager to break the embrace, she looks over Harley’s shoulder.

“… How does this work?” (She adds, murmuring, “You’re doing great, I see. Are you princessing it up for Halloween?”)

“I snagged some gold leaf, chalk paint, modeling clay, and sandpaper from the craft shop,” she says, sweeping Ivy through a few long strides and a turn. Harley knows a ballroom step or two, or a close enough proximity to them that most folk wouldn't know.

Time with a classy guy like the Joker will offer that to a gal.

The craft has a good chance of going sideways, just like the concrete refinishing project she did that ruined the last coffee table. But when at first you don’t succeed….

The contact with her bestie draws Quinn’s eyes softly shut as she savors the contact. “I’m always a princess, though. Can’t turn that off, ha!”

She punctuates the barking laugh—the one that hides a note of self-mockery in the bright bravado—with a playful attempt to dip the redhead, although she pulls her to the wrong side, away from her still-weaker shoulder.

Ivy mentally tracks these things. Gold leaf is the most expensive thing on that list, and even that is only in relative terms. Her lips purse for a moment even as she's turned round, and she looks down, and she says with an arch of the eyebrow, "Would you prefer to be a princess or a queen?"

After this Ivy lets out a sigh she didn't know she was holding, a relaxation, a connection to something, maybe. A little bit of wistful vapor seems to leave her lips. Spores, perhaps. It is nothing harmful - not to Harley, at least. And then she's being dipped, and she arches one leg upwards with a dramatic twist! "Mm," she says.

And she grins a little. Enough to give a glimpse of her teeth in authenticity. "As long as it keeps you off the streets. Has anyone been - bothering you lately?" she asks, in a potentially unsubtle segue, her eyes turning towards where there /had/ been a fruit bowl…

Some time ago.

"Bothering me?" Harley's eyes watch Ivy after she brings the redhead back to a self-supporting stand, gently drawing that brief dance to a close as her feet lag behind the song until stopping altogether. Ivy might know it when she sees it - the spark of guilt that lights up Quinn's eyes just so as she shakes her head.

A defensive smile, the start of a protective laugh, follows.

"Nope! Been pretty quiet, considerin' everything. Why do you ask?" Again, a twinge of guilt surges, and it draws the harlequin's hands back to herself. She wraps her arms around herself instead, her brow furrowing. "Everythin' okay?"

Ivy stays slightly off-poised. It's a very art nouveau stance. Her head turns to look at Harley and she blinks once, slowly, and says: "Oh; I was just wondering. I know this place can attract a bad element." She straightens up then, and she smiles at Harley, and in her mind she tells herself: No reason to mention these things.

Heedless of having probably set herself up for a fight in several months at most, Ivy then says, "As for things being okay, I suppose they have been, more or less. It's always a little *strange* for me this time of year. I take a lot of naps. It's actually easier in the winter; everything's dormant unless I prod it, so there's less…"

Ivy reaches for a word: "Interference?"

Her head tilts forwards. "Your shoulder alright?" she adds, reaching out - not quite to touch the wound, but towards it, perhaps indicatively. "It's certainly not slowing you down."

After this Ivy looks upwards, raises a hand as if to cup her ear, tilts her head upwards towards the ceiling twice, and arches an inquisitive eyebrow at Harley.

Quinzel considers her friend's words carefully, but - in the probably unhealthy balance they've struck - she doesn't want to invite too many questions any more than Isley does. It means that they both know that there are probably things that the other leaves unsaid, and they choose to let it lie so they may receive the same in return.

"A bad element? Ha! That's one way to describe me."

But the attention comes back to her shoulder, and Harley looks at it with all of the disappointment that she would a traitorous friend. "It's comin' along. Still goin' all pins and needles on me a lot and still not movin' right. That asshole in the helmet did a number on it." Her other hand swings in a lazy, dismissive swipe across her center. "But it'll be fine in no time so doncha' worry."

She looks up towards the ceiling next, and then goes to grab an oversized hoodie sweat jacket tucked just inside her room. The hyenas race past her, as though released by some silent command. "Wanna go up to the roof?" she asks, tugging the zippered sweatshirt on. "Boys could use some fresh air anyway."

"I don't think you're a bad element at all," Ivy says with a slightly sardonic wink. "But the dose makes the poison, you know."

The range of motion is demonstrated… "Mm," Ivy says. "The man in the helmet."

After this, Harley moves on and Ivy remains where she is (a microcosm?) No, she's getting the sweatshirt - "Hah! Of course," she says. "You're always a breath of fresh air."

"Harley," Ivy says some time later, "Do they usually… go, up here?"

Harley looks to where her babies—after having clambered up the narrow staircase to the roog and escaped the thick cloying smell of paint and cleaning fluids and cheap vanilla candle—are heckling some roosting pigeons on the fire escape.

Due to a recent run-in with a fire escape where they were left on a landing for hours, they are less than excited about the possibility of actually walking on the dark steel. But they sure can laugh about it.

Meanwhile, the blonde just sets herself up for a patch of talking with a large thermos of hot cocoa tucked between her knees. She’s sat down upon an upturned wooden milk crate and pours two small mugs full—even if she knows it’s unlikely that her best friend will drink more than a sip or two. Tiny marshmallows go in next, blotting out the surface of the beverage with a fluffy white cloud.

So much of their friendship is this—the offers and gestures that go untaken… and still mean so much. They are the superficial things—precious things—that others might not understand because they are so common that they see them all the time.

For Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, the commonplace kindnesses are far and few between. They are treasured. Cherished. Protected.

“To us!” cries Harley, lifting her own mug aloft as she breaks the one cardinal rule of toasts. The other mug is giddily held out towards the queen of green.

Just another Saturday night.

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