AN: I sat down to write part 2 to Bat-aunt and this thing came out instead. This was 5 pages long and nearly 3000 words. I put a lot of love into this and I hope you like it. Let me know what you think!
You stare at the board with a scowl. The distaste is obvious, “This dude is crazy.”
Your eyes flicker to Harley. Despite the cold weather, she’s dressed in a tank top and shorts. She’s sitting on the bar, legs swinging back and forth, while she hums.
You smile at her, “That means something coming from you.”
She shrugs, “Who hurts someone they care about?”
You don’t miss the irony of that statement, and from the look in Ivy’s eyes, she doesn’t either. You choose not to confront her about it. You know how that ends; with Harley in tears and more stubborn than ever.
“He was supposed to be a friend. But I suppose it makes sense. He was the one who operated, who checked the wound over and over.”
Floyd nods, “From what I can tell he probably left fragments in, and has been inserting more poison every time he looks at Bruce. That’s what’s kept him from healing, that and falsifying reports and everything else. No doubt in my mind that after a few more months of this he would have injected enough to kill him. Make it look like a complication.”
“But did he arrange the hit, or did he take advantage of an opportunity?”
“We’re still tracking that.” You turn to face your brother, who gives you a small smile before continuing, “I took a closer look at the accident that killed his father and injured his mother, cops were bribed to overlook a cut breakline. And the at-home incident that killed his mother is more than a little suspicious.”
You let out a deep breath, “What I’m hearing is that we’re certain he has it in him to kill if needed.”
Floyd shugs, “We all do, you know that baby girl. We’re bad guys.”
You scowl, “But even we have our honor. This Rag Tag group. We’re bad guys, but there are rules to our madness.”
Harley smirks, “First rule is you don’t mess with one of our own. Let’s go kill the bastard.”
There’s a chorus of growls, and howling.
“Hold up.” All eyes go to your brother, “There are a few things we have to do first.”
Croc’s voice rumbles out over the crowd, “Like?”
Your brother’s hands go to his hips, it’s a stance you had seen more than once over your life. It meant the lecture was about to begin, “We need to find out motive, and more importantly we need to find a cure for this poison. That’s what’s going to fix Bruce.”
The Riddler’s giggle breaks through the crowd, “I’m sure the Hell Cat already knows the motive. Same motive we would have.”
Your eyes focus on Ed. The man likes to toe the line, but he could be a loyal little thing. To you especially. You’ve saved his life more than once, and even more importantly you’ve broken him out of Arkham more than once. Ed didn’t do well in facilities. At one time he had been rather enamoured with you. Ivy had called him your puppy dog. Unlike the others he had tried to make contact with you a handful of times since you had left the dark side.
After he had cornered you with the boys, he had ended up in the ICU thanks to a freak accident. An accident that had Ivy and Harley’s fingerprints all over it. You hadn’t seen him since.
But looking in his eyes, now you saw it. The knowledge of what your family was, and who they were. The knife was in your hand, and then pressed against his throat a moment later. You leaned in close, and made sure that he could feel the warmth of your breath against his cheek.
You allow your knife to dig in a little, just enough that it draws a bit of blood. Then you lean in and whisper, “My family’s secrets are their own Eddie, and if you expose those secrets, or put them in more danger I won’t kill you, I’ll make you suffer. Suffer so much that you’ll beg for the cancer back, and that you had never found out about those stupid pits.”
You hover over him for a moment longer, before pulling back to stare at him. He’s shaking in the chair, a crazy grin on his face. But underneath it all you can smell his fear. You slide the knife back into it’s pouch on your thigh and turn to face the others. They’re staring at you with grins.
Harley smiles, “MEOW-ouch!”
You groan when Ivy follows up with, “Kitty’s got claws.”
Floyd laughs as he slings an arm over your shoulder, “This cat always gets her prey. Our Hell Cat ladies and gentlemen.”
You roll your eyes and slip out of his grasp, “I need some air.”
And without another word you slip out of the bar. The cold winter air hits you, and you relish it’s sting. You’ve only been back in this life for two days and you’re already starting to feel numb. It had been two days of drinking, calling in favors, and gathering information to find out the truth of Tommy Elliott. An old family friend turned foe, just like so many others.
It was days like these that made you hate humanity. Made you wonder if it was worth it; staying out of this mess. You knew exactly what these people could do, what they did do, and you still loved them. They had been you first real family.
Rick was your brother and you loved him, but you didn’t have much of a relationship with him. The two of you had been born to an alcoholic father, and a drug addicted mother. You still found it hard to believe that you had survived past infancy. You owed that to Rick, he was six years older than you, and had been determined to take care of you, had been determined to make it out of those slums with you in tow.
You hadn’t had that same determination. You’d become bitter early on, had fallen in with the wrong crowd. You’d learned to fight, swipe, pick, and shoot by the time you were fifteen. By that time, Rick had been long gone. The man had enlisted and left everything behind, including you. You didn’t blame him, by that time you looked and acted like your parents’ daughter.
Your only solace had come from gymnastics at the community center. That was where you’d first met Harley. The two of you had become friends, and you followed her to school. You’d always been smart, getting into college, even with a GED, had been easy enough. You quit two years in, bored by the classes.
That’s when you’d found yourself in a crime family, working your way up through the family ‘till you had reached the hierarchy. That’s when you had fallen into lust for the first time. The boss of that weapons ring had been a man in his early thirties. Young for that business. You’d entranced him, and through some twisted connection the two of you ran that family. And when he was tragically killed on a run, you took over. And you took down anyone who had opposed you.
That’s when you’d met Harley again. Her new look had surprised you, and the company she kept enraged you. While your lost lover hadn’t been the best man, he had treated you well. That was the first time you confronted her about Joker. You’d met Ivy soon after that.
You had dressed yourself in your empire. You wore the best of everything, and lived miles above where you had started. You became known as the Hell Cat of Gotham. You were a myth, almost as much a legend as the Batman. Very few people knew what you looked like, and those who did knew to keep their mouth shut. You’d become known for your hard eyes, and a rumor had started to spread about a glare that would freeze a man in his tracks, and then burn him alive.
You found that funny. No one knew what you looked like, but they could describe a look.
You’d grown bored early on. You kept your business going, and helped your fellow bad guys when needed. No one could pin anything on you, not even the Batman. Teasing him became your new favorite sport. He had been easy to goad, and oh so much fun to fight. You’d leave those fights with bruises and a warmth you have never experienced.
You found that ironic. You’d gone numb early on. It had been your key to survival; lock everyone out, and keep your distance. Befriend those who could take care of themselves. Yet, here was a vigilante; a mad man dressed as bat who fought Gotham’s underworld. Somehow this man, who was probably as crazy as the rest of them, had pierced through the ice.
It took months for you to realize why. He actually cared. He cared about what happened to you, about what happened to all of you. He hated what you did, and he cared about those who got in the process, but you could see it where no one else could. The Batman wore his heart on his sleeve.
When he came to you, looking for information on Tony Zuko and tells you about the little boy who lost his parents, you help. It’s the first time you ever betray one of you own and the start of your downfall. That’s when the ice starts to melt.
It didn’t take long for people to find out, and it took even less time for Amanda Waller to nail you down. She found you while on the run. You were dirty, and bruised. You’d lost your business, your money, and your status. But you were still fighting. The pain had been preferred to emptiness.
You didn’t get a choice, when you were recruited for the Suicide Squad. That’s where you met Floyd. He became your partner. The two of you understood each other on another level. It was almost as though you could read each other's’ minds.
The fact that you had Harley nearby again also helped. She told you exactly what she thought of what you’d done, and then she had shrugged, gave you a hug, and skipped away. All was forgiven.
Your brother was brought in after a year. He didn’t recognize you at first, but you recognized him. The revelation came a few days in, and Floyd made so many jokes you considered shooting him with his own gun. A tentative truce had been drawn between you.
You met the Bat again two years later. He had a sidekick then. The boy couldn’t have been older than ten, and he smiled so brightly it made your heart sing. You had teamed up with them, separate from the Squad, until the big fight.
The three of you had joined up with the Squad, and it was there that the majority of the ice melted. Your adversary was the Joker and Scarecrow, and anyone in their right mind would have kept Harley far away from the fight. Of course, Waller wasn’t in her right mind.
So when Joker turned the gun on the kid, you just reacted. You had taken the bullet. You felt its impact, and everything else had sort of fallen away. All you remember is strong arms catching you.
You woke up in an unfamiliar place. The bed was soft, the air was clean, and you were alive, so you couldn’t really complain. Then you saw who was sleeping in the chair next to your bed. Sleeping in full armor and cowl couldn’t have been comfortable but there was the Batman. Fast asleep.
It didn’t take long for you to realize where you were. The batcave was famous even among your group. Despite the pain, you had left the bed to wander around. It’s a cool set-up. High tech certainly. And the name on the tech confirms your theory.
His voice had startled you, “You’ve been declared dead. The bomb in your neck has been deactivated and removed. You’re free to start over.”
You turned to face him, and then you saw him. Truly saw him. The cowl was pulled down, and there were bags under his eyes.
“Start over as who?”
He had smiled at you, “Whoever you want to be. Preferably the woman who took a bullet for my kid - not the weapons dealer.”
You had crossed your arms against your chest despite the pain, “He shouldn’t be out there.”
“He’s a kid.”
He stared at you for a minute, “You want a job?” You stared at him, and he continued, “I need a nanny … and someone who’s good with computers. My butler is starting to complain.”
You had to bite your tongue at the word butler, but you didn’t as an old man with tea came into view, “I was not complaining, simply suggesting that bruises to the face are hard to hide. Especially with the charity season coming up.”
You shrugged, “I’m with Jeeves on that one. Though, I could probably do something with some concealer.”
Bruce scowled as the butler smiled and handed you a cup of tea. “My name is Alfred Pennyworth. The job he mentioned is caring for Master Dick. He’s ten years old, quite smart, and a trained acrobat.”
“So he’s a handful?”
Bruce scoffed, “To say the least.”
Over the next three years the rest of the ice managed to thaw. You found yourself surrounded by a family. You found a friend in Bruce, and later on love. Real love, not just convenience. True to Bruce’s word no one ever found out your real identity.
And those who had been such a major part of your life had left you with only a note, “Enjoy.” With exception of Nygma. Now here you were, right back where you started.
“Come here often?”
The voice draws you out of your thoughts, and your fist flies without hesitation. It’s caught in an easy grip, and you stop at the sight of your oldest son. He’s bundled in a coat, but from the redness of his cheeks, you can tell he’s cold.
Your hands go to your hips, “You’re supposed to be at home.”
“You’re supposed to be at a spa.”
There’s a moment of silence before you admit, “Fair enough.”
He stares at you for a minute, “What are you doing Mom?”
“Hopefully curing your father.”
“He wouldn’t want you to do it this way.”
You cross your arms against your chest, “I know why your dad is still hurt, why he isn’t healing, and I’m close to figuring out who orchestrated the whole thing.”
“I don’t want you to slip back into this life. We both know that it’s addictive. The adrenaline pumping, the mystery.”
You sigh, “I’ve been out of this game for nearly thirteen years. I apparently can’t even throw a punch anymore if you were able to catch it.”
A door opening attracts both of your attention, and you stare Floyd in the face. Out of the corner of your eye you watch Dick stiffen. “Everything okay out here Hell Cat?”
You watch Dick mouth the name before saying, “I’m fine Floyd, I just have a nosy kid. Floyd this is my son Richard.”
Floyd’s eyes widen slightly before he offers his hand, “The cop right? Your mom sure is proud of you. Floyd Lawton.”
Dick’s voices deepens a bit as he says, “It’s nice to meet you. I was just getting ready to go.” He turns towards you and says, “Be safe Mom.” He leans in and kisses your cheek, “We can’t lose you Mom.”
“Have a good week, I’ll be home soon.”
He nods, “I’ll have tons of fun, I’m not in charge, remember?”
You smile as you watch him go. Floyd’s hand lands on your shoulder, “It’s not too late, you can go home. We’ll take care of this.”
You shake your head, “No, I need to be a part of this.” Without another word you turn and head back into the bar to find every single person pressed up against the window. The nosy bastards.
every time i watch suicide squad, and see how harley, floyd, and waylon all already know each other, all i can think of is the Batman Villian Slumber Parties™. like…harley braids crane’s hair while floyd and harvey play checkers and ivy and selina and waylon do each other’s nails and oswald and basil pick a movie and they’re all complaining about batman and the joker the entire time, no offence but this is canon
okay the harley quinn shipping fandom is an absolute cesspool.
plenty of shippers are perfectly decent people, whether they ship deadshot/harley, joker/harley or harley/ivy (or something else, though those are the big three at the moment). we all have our reasons to ship/not ship a pairing, and many of us stay in our lane and respect each other.
and then there are the douchebags (from all three ships, and then some) who hate on shippers of rival pairings.
to some extent, all have a point to their criticisms.
there are people who are anti-floyd/harley because they’re racist. it’s a minority, but they do exist, and there is a bias about interracial ships present in fandom at large that needs to be addressed. however it’s a case more tailored to individuals than entire groups. don’t jump to call someone racist if they don’t agree with you about a fictional relationship that happens to be interracial. but if the races of harley and floyd are a factor in why you dislike this relationship, that’s racism.
there are people who are anti-floyd/harley, and refer to it as abusive, because in the comics, it is. at least in the new 52 era, which is where their relationship begun, where floyd and harley’s relationship is abusive, dysfunctional, and in general, pretty disgusting. it doesn’t appear to be the case in the dceu, but still, it isn’t a healthy relationship across the board. that should be acknowledged and discussed. and if abuse in one version of their relationship bothers someone too much to ever be able to ship it in a version that isn’t abusive, that’s that.
and then there are just flagshot shippers, people who ship deadshot with someone else, or no one at all. all three are also totally valid.
there are people who romanticize or ignore the abuse between joker and harley, and/or refer to them as ‘relationship goals’.and that is a serious fucking problem. but bullying these people isn’t going to change their minds. saying ‘‘oh, i can’t wait for the jarley shippers to wake up and realize that it’s abusive!!!’’ isn’t going to work. treating people like kindergartners who need to be guided on the right path, or abuse apologists who willingly endorse domestic violence is awful. assuming a place of moral superiority because you don’t like a pairing isn’t going to change opinions, it’s going to piss people off. (but if you do see this pairing as ‘relationship goals’, if you willingly ignore the abuse, or think of their behavior as okay, you are romanticizing and ignoring abuse.)
and most joker/harley shippers know that it’s abusive, and that it’s not a relationship they want in real life, nor do they support real-life abuse. many of us do acknowledge the abuse, whether we interpret it as an inherent part of their dynamic, or as a part of the progression of their relationship that they eventually leave behind. (which, in the animated series, they do. in the pre-52 comics, they begin to move in this direction. in suicide squad it’s strongly implied that they already have. and it’s not a reach if it’s been established canon since the first (and arguably, definitive) incarnation of the relationship.)
most joker/harley shippers hate the abuse, and like the settled dynamic of their relationship (which is what we focus on, because that’s the part of the ship we are drawn to, like how harley/ivy shippers don’t discuss the times ivy’s been terrible to harley and focus on new 52/rebirth, or floyd/harley shippers focus on the dceu instead of the comics). you can acknowledge the abuse as a part of their dynamic that shouldn’t be ignored, and still not enjoy it. it’s important to do so.
and if the abuse, whether past or present, is too much for someone, especially if they’re an abuse survivor who’s troubled by the idea of harley being in a relationship with someone who abuses her, whether it’s just in the past or still occurring, that’s absolutely okay.
there has to be respect for people who don’t like the ship as well, especially for people who have lived through similar experiences and are deeply affected by them.
(and i’m saying this regarding harley/ivy and harley/floyd too.)
and then there are people who ship joker with someone else, or people who just don’t see joker in a romantic relationship. and all individuals should be respected, even if we don’t like their ships.
there are people who believe that harley is just ‘jokersexual.’ or, on the flip side, that harley’s a lesbian who was brainwashed by joker into loving him. (no seriously those are things that have come up before) and that’s biphobic and gross on both ends. harley is bisexual. end of story. representation is important. being with floyd or joker or another man doesn’t make her straight. being with ivy or another woman doesn’t make her gay. and being bi doesn’t mean switching from a man to a woman or back again. she can experience romantic and sexual attraction to both men and women, regardless of what relationship she’s in, because that is literally what bisexuality is. and being in a committed relationship doesn’t make her not-bisexual anymore. she’s still attracted to other people outside her significant others, like most people are. if harley being attracted to men and women makes you uncomfortable, and you keep jumping through hoops to explain why she’s only into one or the other, you’re being biphobic.
there are people who are anti-harley/ivy because they’re homophobic. and that’s fucking awful, but again, like with deadshot, it’s individuals, not the group. don’t assume homophobia because someone doesn’t like a ship that happens to be queer. but if you dislike the relationship, and one of the reasons that keeps coming up for not liking it is that they’re both women, you are being homophobic.
there are people who are anti-harley/ivy because it’s also abusive. in particular, they hate the way they’ve been portrayed in the comics as of late, as a wholesome fluffy couple, when in the first (and arguably definitive) incarnation of their relationship, ivy is abusive to harley, and they do not have the growth arc that harley and joker go through. and that’s totally valid, because unfortunately, that’s the case. harley/ivy as of the new 52 and carrying over into rebirth has lost this part of the dynamic, which is extremely troubling. (yes, it’s nice that they’re good to each other now, but a lot of the depth in their relationship is now gone, not to mention that they keep dancing around the issue of them actually being girlfriends. and if harley and joker lost the abusive aspect to their relationship in the reboot, and were nothing but a fluffy couple, people would be losing their minds.)
emotional abuse, abuse perpetrated by women, and abuse in queer relationships should be taken as seriously as physical abuse, abuse perpetrated by men and abuse in heterosexual relationships. it shouldn’t matter if ivy’s abuse ‘isn’t as bad as joker’s’ (and ivy hasn’t hurt harley as bad as joker has. don’t say that she has, because that’s just not true.), or if harley abuses her too (and for the record, she also abuses joker. and deadshot in the n52.), because it’s still an abusive relationship. someone is still getting hurt. we shouldn’t celebrate it as a victory if harley leaves joker for ivy, or if ivy ‘saves harley from joker’ (which she doesn’t. harley can take care of herself. don’t infantilize harley or turn ivy into a saint.), because they’re not a ‘relationship goal’ either. harley isn’t leaving the cycle of domestic violence behind her, she’s just trading one bad relationship for another. on and on it spins, but this time, no one talks about it, because we are all predisposed to dismiss the types of abuse present in harley/ivy, it doesn’t fit the typical narrative of domestic abuse present in the media we consume, and we’re so hard-pressed to find a complex wlw couple to ship that we brush the problems with it under the rug, or are more forgiving of them than we should be.
and the rabidness of certain harley/ivy shippers (again, not as a whole, individuals) to attack harley/joker shippers when their own ship also has some serious problems that aren’t being addressed has become part of the problem. we come across as deeply hypocritical, and insulting to survivors of the types of abuse depicted in harley and ivy’s relationship, just as ignoring/romanticizing h/j abuse is insulting to survivors of the types of abuse depicted in harley and joker’s relationship.
floyd/harley shippers are guilty of attacking h/j shippers too, i will add, but not to the same extent as harley/ivy shippers (probably because the floyd/harley ship has been gaining popularity only recently, so i’ll leave it at that).
the same applies to harley/joker shippers. i understand the pushback, and that many of us are lumped into a box with the apologists, but we need to keep talking about it because it needs to be talked about.
calling harley/ivy abusive while not acknowledging harley/joker’s abuse is also hypocritical and extremely problematic. calling harley/ivy even more abusive than harley/joker is straight-up wrong, because in every canon instance of their relationship, that isn’t true, and it’s often used as an excuse to brush joker/harley abuse under the rug (which is not fucking cool).
all three are abusive in one way or another, whether it’s continuity-based (h/f), a relationship that evolves from abuse to something more, but will still be unhealthy (h/j); or a relationship that starts off healthy and becomes abusive as time goes on, and stagnates at an unhealthy level (h/i). all three have been portrayed as abusive, and all three have been portrayed as deeply loving, or full of the potential to eventually become that.
no one has the moral high ground.
and then there are people who ship ivy with someone else, or ivy with no one at all. and those shippers should be respected too.
there are people who believe harley should only be with joker or only be with ivy. and the thing is, both relationships are inherently intertwined. you cannot have one without the other.
if harleen quinzel hadn’t met the joker, she’d have never become harley quinn. ivy would have never met her, or interacted with her outside of the role of doctor/patient, which would have only fostered hatred on ivy’s end because of how much she hates arkham, and never ended in any sort of positive relationship. if harley and joker hadn’t been together first, ivy would have never taken the time to develop feelings for her, because she would have never sympathized with harley (in the pre-52 comics, ivy would have turned her into mulch if she hadn’t wanted to hear harley’s story about how she met the joker, and in the animated series, ivy only meets harley because, again, she’s affiliated with joker). best case scenario, ivy and harley would have just never met. worst case scenario, ivy would have killed harley.
if harley hadn’t been with ivy, she wouldn’t have gotten to the part of her and joker’s relationship that the shippers love, because ivy helps harley realize that she is her own person, and that she deserves better (granted, ivy is also abusive and controlling to harley at this time, which plays a part in their relationship falling apart in some cases, and stagnating in others). this inspires harley to act on those realizations and trigger a massive change in her dynamic with joker, setting them on more equal footing. and yes, there’s a possibility that harley could have gotten to this point on her own, but it’s unlikely.
both are codependent on each other to exist. joker/harley had to happen for harley/ivy to happen. harley/ivy had to happen for joker/harley to improve. don’t erase joker from harley’s past. don’t erase ivy from harley’s growth.
i’m focusing on harley/ivy and harley/joker in particular because both relationships have a longstanding history with harley’s character and both have extremely important hands in the development of her character, while harley/floyd is a relatively recent development (which was not done well by any means in the comics) that hasn’t contributed much of anything to harley’s development. harley and floyd don’t have much history together, so quinnshot’s the outlier here. not to say that it’s not a legitimate ship, because all ships are legitimate. but it’s comparatively new, with not much development to it’s name yet. it could develop that way, it could not.
and then there are people who ship harley with no one at all, or with someone who isn’t floyd, pam or joker. and that’s totally cool, and we need to respect that too.
to conclude: we as shippers, and as individuals, shouldn’t assume racism or romanticization or homophobia where there is none. but it’s still a thing to consider, because it is a real problem that exists, and we need to talk about it.
every person is different, and the internet is a very big place with a lot of very different people with different viewpoints and values interacting. it’s inevitable that you will disagree with someone. it’s inevitable that people are going to be gross, because the internet provides us with anonymity. it’s inevitable that you are going to be offended by something.
everyone has a valid reason to dislike a ship. everyone has a valid reason to like a ship. this can open up great opportunities for debate, but also lead to a lot of mindless hate.
keep your negativity out of the ship tags. people go there to enjoy something they like, and have fun, and you have no right to make it needlessly toxic and nasty. and don’t bash a ship you hate in the ship you love’s tag. because that’s not what it’s for.
and there are plenty of people who ship multiple characters with harley. we shouldn’t have to deal with bracing ourselves for sections of the fandom snapping at each other when we’re trying to enjoy more than one thing.
the anti-ship tag exists for a reason, guys. direct your hate there.
and don’t go after people for the things that make them happy. we all have opinions, and our opinions should be respected when they’re valid, and questioned and called out when they come from a place of prejudice or ignorance, so we can broaden our perspectives and hopefully grow as people.
however, it should be done in a way that doesn’t provoke a knee-jerk reaction that often comes with being sent hate. yes, our disgust and anger is valid, but it will be taken the wrong way, and it won’t lead to anything more than continued hostility on both sides.
because all three relationships have problems. all of these characters are deeply flawed, mentally ill (if not outright insane) supervillains living unhealthy lifestyles, so of course any ship involving them is going to have problems. and as supporters of any of the relationships, we have an obligation and a responsibility to acknowledge and discuss those problems, but we (all of us) should still be allowed to enjoy something that makes us happy.