1, 2, 3. How you be?

October 18, 2018:

Harley checks in with Emery because she's the bad idea queen lately.


NPCs: Bud and Lou

Mentions: Boomerang


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It’s been weeks since the Stark Towers Incident. Since Harley abandoned Owen Mercer to his fate in order to chase Tony Stark’s rescue effort. Got lost along the way. Abandoned New York entirely.

Weeks. It’s been weeks.

Hasn’t it? Time really has lost meaning in a lot of ways. It expands into eternities and compresses thin like a pancake with capriciousness. Kinda like a Slinky. A madman’s Slinky.

She checked in with her sister, once. That had been Harley’s first stop in New York, made in secret. She got her sister and little Lucy out of the city before the blockades came down. Later that week, she made certain that the other Quinzel had settled into a extended stay motel with the oblivious infant in southern New Jersey and they had everything they needed.

And then the blonde was back to the poisonous wells of her own thoughts. She should go back to New York. She was supposed to be in New York. But she was also supposed to be in Gotham. When supposed to be two places, one supposes that one has a choice.

So Harley chose Gotham.

Eventually, the woman fights to the surface long enough to think of other people.

She should call Owen and make sure he’s not dead. She tries, only to find the phone is dead instead. Because, oh, right. The prank war. The singing competition that she leveled at it. Well, there went that.

She sprawls upon her bed with her head hanging over its edge and her feet propped up against the small window beside it and toys with her phone as her pet hyenas noisily work over a small pile of beef knuckles. The long contemplation gives birth to but a single text message, sent to one Irishman of uncertain whereabouts.

Are u ded? 1 for yes. 2 for no.

It has been a horrible couple of weeks for Emery but not because things are actively trying to kill him for once. Not because he’s having to fight angry and greedy thugs every 2-3 days. But because he’s been faced with living embodiments of the few things in life that have left him extremely shook…and really him having no way to express that.

It's been routine work though, tending to his daily tasks. Tending to his biological daughter. Tending to his somehow adopted semi-wards. Oh, and then the thing about the other thing that haunted him…yes, his good friend who should be dead but is not Michael running around with a gun somewhere in a demon infested city.

He receives the text while idly mixing the ingredients for cupcakes, stress baking. The Irishman stares for a moment, smirking gently where he stands in sweats and no shirt, hair still wet from a shower and he sets the wooden spoon aside, wiping something off his hands and onto his pants before picking up the phone.

3 :)

Harley pulls the phone back and looks back at the answer, one eye squinting more than the other. ‘3’. What is ‘3’? ‘3’ is not comforting.

Her lips purse up to one side as she pulls her legs down, sits up, folds her legs tailor style on the bed, and hunches over her cheap burner tech. Her fingers rapidly shoot out a response.

So, you’re Schrodinger’s Irishman now? I don’t think this counts as necrophilia, so… ;)

There is a soft laugh and shake of his head as he reads the message, lips purses as he taps back a response.

I’m over 100, darling, I’m allowed to be a 3.

Then he sets the phone back down as he works on adding more ingredients to the mixing bowl, humming softly to himself and shaking his head slowly.

That doesn’t answer the flirt. Or the deeper concern, in the shallow way that Harley knows how to show it, of what ‘3’ means.

The blonde knits her brow as her pursed lips tug up onto the other side. She taps out several messages. Deletes several messages.

Allowed? Yeah but you deserve to feel like a 2.

There’s a pause, and then she quickly types more.

Didn’t think this far ahead when posed my 1st ?.
1 now = no so you can be a 1 & alive, k?

Then, a few lagging moment later:

Can I help?

That’s what normal people say, right? This is the socially acceptable response. Today, t’would seem, that matters in some small degree to Quinn. Enough to type it, anyway.

There is a pause as he carefully starts pouring batter into cupcake pan holes, glancing over to the phone as messages pop up, each one in turn. Emery gets the cupcakes in the oven as he allows the messages to collect.

Then the Irishman takes the phone to the living room and throws himself on the couch so he can hold the phone up with a hand and respond.

I am alive, sweetling. Don’t worry. It's just been a hard few weeks.

A long pause.

Are you okay? Any demons slip through to Gotham?

Harley’s tongue runs along the sharp edges of her molars, thinking of what to say. The crunching of bone—the lapping of marrow—fills the air, punctuating the too many thoughts that race as she composes and self-edits her way down several paths before she decides to bypass the question as to her state altogether.

A few. Ain’t here now. Hope you and yours are tucked up safe.

She dances along the side of his inquiry next, responding:

Was in NY. Saw B, but got separated.

She abandoned him. He probably thinks of it that way, too, since she hasn’t heard from him. So she swiftly triangulates to the most important information that she needs.

He ok? Do u know?

She has no idea if she’d ever hear if he weren’t. She’s not sure what asking the question will change—what she would do if he is compromised. It doesn’t really matter, in the end. The inquiry is out there, and she waits for the answer with her lower lip caught between her teeth and her breath caught up in her lungs.

There is a moment as Emery considers how to reply to that, worrying his bottom lip before humming softly and tapping, erasing, and tapping and erasing before finally tapping out the message.

He isn’t a 1. Or a 3. He is okay, as far as I know.

Then he takes a deep breath and taps in another message.

Pretty sure he’s still an asshole.

That pent up breath looses itself as Harley flops backwards on the bed, narrowly missing the wall as she lands with a soft ‘fwump’. Bud and Lou barely register it; their prick ears twitching a few times before going back to quibbling over a new bone. Oblivious of the squabble, Quinn lets her legs slip free of their knot and over the edge of her bed, nearer to them.

Relief floods her—renders her a boneless heap—for long moments. He made it out, too. She didn’t leave him to die.


Safe bet. Need me to kick his ass 4 u? No charge.

Huffing out a laugh, Emery just stretches out, tucking a hand behind his head as he continues typing with his other, thumb working over the screen quickly.

Nah, he is being useful. Doing mostly okay.

A pause.

Harley stares at the phone for a long time. Or maybe it just feels that way. It’s a direct question. It’s a direct question that leaves no room for ignoring.

He’s asking because he’s polite, she tells herself. Because this is socionormative behavior, requiring a socionormative response that will validate the inquiry and the inquirer.

That is to say: lie. She needs to tell a reassuring, heartwarming lie.




Deletedeletedelete. Harley snorts in frustration, curling upwards back into a sit with only a mild wince for the pins and needles that prickle her bad arm.

Jury’s still out.


More deletions follow, erasing proposals for plans to get out of the apartment. Invitations to go get a drink. To do anything except sit around and continue allowing the intrusive and unwanted thoughts to crowd into her brain with more number and darkness than anything presently spilling out over New York.

Ah ha. A response presents itself. Pigtails bob as the blonde bounces her head from side to side, quietly murmuring each word to herself with a pensive slowness as she taps out it out.

“Not… covered… in… demons…”

… Better than you! :*

Sure, that’s not exactly normal. Nothing with ‘demons’ is normal. But it’s close enough to get the job done.

Quinn hits send, and then puts the phone down on the bed to start getting dressed to get out. Her room suddenly feels too close. Too warm. She puts her feet down, nudging her pets out of the way as she makes her way to the corner of the bedroom and then starts rummaging through a balled up heap of clean clothes that she threw on a folding chair there.

Enough texting for tonight. Time to start drinking. And who is Harley Quinn but a sign of the times?

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