Pairing: Harley/Ivy, Harley/Joker
Word count: ~1200
Rating: MA for adult themes, though there is nothing terribly graphic.
Warnings: I think Joker/Harley sex is really, really creepy. And it always skirts the edge of dub-con to me, so I'll go ahead and warn for that.
AN: This was written for the "Seduction" prompt at theatrical_muse. I swear one day I'll write something in which Harley is happy, but apparently, that day is not today. Thanks to resolute for the beta. The title and quote are from the song Chain of Flowers by Nick Cave.
Chain of Flowers
The chains of flowers are fragile things, they break in time
But the chains of love are the chains of love, are the chains that bind.
Harley makes her way out of the bedroom, tiptoeing quietly, dancing on the tops of her toes like a ballerina. He's asleep, which is rare; sometimes, Harley wakes up and he's beside her, staring at her, his dull eyes a sharp contrast to that eternal, maniacal smile. Most of the time he either doesn't come to bed, or paces the hallway and laughs, laughs, laughs. There are times she thinks he sleeps elsewhere, just not with her, but she has never questioned him about those nights when he doesn't come home. Harley has learned there are questions not to ask. It's not a lesson she's learned completely, or very well, but enough to be at least proficient.
She doesn't think it's another woman. He barely wants the one he's got, and Harley refuses to think there is someone out there better for him than her.
The bathroom light is too bright, harsh, after the darkness of the bedroom. The basin is gleaming and the whole room smells strongly of bleach. There was a lot of blood in here, earlier, and it had to be cleaned up with Brillo pads and two gallons of Clorox. The burnished white and the smell reminds her of Arkham, and Harley looks at herself in the mirror, reminding herself she can turn and leave the bathroom and go back to bed anytime she wants. I'm not trapped here, she thinks, but in this late hour she can't quite make herself believe it. Being with him is every bit as much a prison as Arkham. Her eyes are rimmed in smeared makeup that she has not yet removed. She'd been half-undressed when he'd come in, earlier, throwing her to the bed with his breath hot on her neck. She'd smiled playfully at him, run her hands up his back, but he'd pinned her arms down and shoved her face aside with his fingers tight beneath her chin.
She'd known, then, what kind of night it was going to be. His hands were cold and dry, and it was like going to bed with a snake. Tonight, tired from their earlier escapades at the warehouse, she'd exhausted all her ebullience, all her cheerful smiles and canned laughter. She'd closed her eyes and hadn't pretended to like it. He seemed to prefer that, anyway, and in some sick way, Harley was glad he was happy. At least one of them was.
He left her immediately afterward, after one long look that almost terrified her. Joker's eyes looked like something that lived behind glass in the zoo; something deadened and waiting for escape, day after day, hating the faces that peered and the fingers that tapped. He'd been still, so still, and Harley--disheveled and face wet with the tears she will pretend later that she never cried--stared at him with naked longing, for one kind look, one brief caress.
You're a fool, Harl. Censure always came in the form of Ivy's voice, in stark tones of obvious disapproval.
Harley runs the shower and makes the water as hot as she can. She's locked the door--not that it will stop him if he wants in--and she doesn't want to think about why she's done that. You shouldn't lock out the man you love, she thinks in her own voice.
No, but you should lock out monsters, Ivy thinks back.
Harley stands for a long time beneath the water. Her fingers brush downward over her breasts, her stomach. She leans against the tile, shivering at the contrasting coolness to the steaming hot water. The water drips in her eyes. Harley thinks about Ivy, about the last time they saw each other. Remembers the way Ivy had pinned her to the bed, but it had been different, so very different, than what had happened in her bed tonight. Ivy hadn't turned Harley's face away with fingers that pinched and pulled. Ivy liked to look at Harley's face, liked to watch.
Harley's fingers are between her legs, stroking gently. The steam is thick and choking. She's thinking about Ivy, her beautiful red hair spread like flame against the paleness of Harley's skin. She's thinking about Ivy's mouth, gentle and insistent. Her thighs are shaking as she closes her eyes, arching her throat, moving against her fingers. It's Ivy's face she sees behind her eyes. Harley puts the fingers of her free hand in her mouth, sucking, running her tongue along the tips of her own fingers. Ivy's fingers, in her fantasy.
She does not slide her fingers inside herself, she is too sore from earlier. Rather, she rubs at her clit and sucks her fingers, thinking of Ivy's low laugh, the way she always teases and teases until Harley can't stand it, until she begs.
She's begged him, a few times. Always for it to end. And that's what she's begging for, from Ivy, but it's different, so different.
Harley comes and bites her fingers to stay quiet. Her body shudders and slides down the tile, so she's sitting in the tub, the water turning cool as it falls. She puts her head on her knees and enjoys the quiet contentment of the water beating down on her body, muscles sore from her evening's acrobatics and the Joker's cold possession. She's crying, very quietly, and she feels bad, now. Like she's betrayed him. Harley doesn't know why that should be, but it's how she feels. She shoves it away, brutally. Sometimes it's okay for me to have something nice.
She gets out of the shower and towels herself off, skin reddened from the hot shower and her orgasm. The mirror is clouded from the steam. She's glad, because she doesn't want to see her face. In the morning she'll be all smiles, chipper and upbeat, fixing pancakes and kissing him on the cheek to say good morning. But it's still nighttime, and she doesn't feel much like smiling. Harley dresses and goes back to bed. He mutters something in his sleep, but she ignores him; she's not precisely interested in his nightmares at the moment. Harley crawls into bed, her back to him, and kisses her fingers.
Maybe, in the morning--maybe I'll leave. Go find Ivy. The thought is a comforting one, and it helps her sleep. Even if she knows it's lie.