Chapter 16: The Aftermath

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Drip... drip... I left a trail of blood behind me as I strode angrily though the asylum, searching frantically for my husband. I picked up the bat that was laying on the floor next to the dead inmate who was chasing after me, a precaution in case there were any other maniacs running around. But the Joker was long gone, he would have made sure of it. He knew me better than anyone, and he would have known he didn't have much time to leave before I escaped. The frustration within me bursted and I bashed the bat into the wall repeatedly, creating a giant hole. I cried out in anguish, tears of frustration and hurt falling down my cheeks. I hated him, I loved him. The bat dropped from my fingers as I could see the red and blue lights approaching the building. I made my way to the bathroom on that floor, knowing that there was a window that lead outside. The Joker had wanted me to stay, but I was through with listening to him. He had betrayed me too many times for me to consider it. I bursted into the bathroom, eyeing the window that would provide my escape from the law. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted my reflection. I turned towards the mirror and took in my disheveled appearance. My blond hair was a tangled mess, my mascara smudged into tear streaks on my cheeks, and my wrist had a decent gash in it that ached as much as it bled. This was not the sophisticated doctor I had grown used to seeing. No, this person was entirely different. I wasn't sure what compelled me, but I reached over to my wrist and digged into the bleeding flesh. I winced, coating my fingers in my own blood. Locking eyes with my reflection, I wiped my digits along my mouth and drew out the red smile I had become very familiar with. Then something happened that I didn't expect... My reflection smiled back at me. I reached up and felt my lips to prove to myself that my reflection was doing the action on it's own. The Joker was wrong, this wasn't my livelihood. It was a deception. My career had died the moment he stepped into Arkham, and so had Dr. Quinzel. I felt an internal shift of control. The darkness inside me that I hid for years, the side of me that I had strict control of was gaining ground in my mind. I was broken from my thoughts when I heard the shouts of officers downstairs and police dogs barking as they searched for survivors. I knew that the heels I was wearing would just slow me down so I discarded them, leaving them along with my lab coat on the blood stained bathroom floor. I quickly climbed out the window, using the fire escape to make it to the ground. It was the back of the building, and I was careful to keep out of sight of the police. It helped that it was night, as the darkness shielding me from view. Once I reached the ground, I ran like hell into the allies of Gotham. My bare feet ached against the pavement, but I couldn't bring myself to care. I found my apartment complex among the run down buildings. I didn't have my keys or anything with me so I knocked persistently until someone answered. It was Selena. She looked shocked to see me and she checked the hallway before yanking me into our apartment. She closed the door quickly behind her and locked it before turning back to me with a stern look. "What the hell is wrong with you?" She bluntly asked and I was taken aback. I opened my mouth and she held her hand up to stop me. "Don't play dumb with me, your little stunt is all over the news! I know you helped the Joker escape. You think Ivy and I wouldn't find out you were buying guns on the black market?" She said rhetorically and I went to the kitchen sink, rinsing my face as she continued to rant. "This is bad Harley! 200 patients and staff were killed! Do you think the police won't trace this back to you?" She pestered and I watched as the blood and mascara washed down the drain. "Of all the careless, thoughtless things! You've let this guy completely change your life!" She kept pushing and I snapped. "I don't care, Selena!" I yelled back suddenly and then we both fell silent. "You know that this was never me! I tried so hard to reinvent myself after Jeremiah's death that I suppressed who I truly am." I informed her as I dried off my face and went to my room, grabbing a bag to put any essentials I would need while I looked for him. "So what, you figure you'll run after him and join him? Harley, listen to yourself." Ivy suddenly chimed in as she entered the kitchen, having heard our yelling from her room. "That man is not the same person you married. Don't let his sudden appearance confuse you're feelings." She reminded me but I shook my head, grabbing my toiletries. "You two just don't understand... I've been at war with my feelings for him for months now and I know now that I was truly only at war with myself. He is the darker side of me and I'm tired of running from it." I told them and Ivy crossed her arms in response. "Then why did he leave you, huh? There's got to be a reason you didn't ride off with him into the sunset, right?" Ivy questioned me and I felt my defenses go up. "He knows he's wrong for me, that's why he left me at Arkham. But he's just being overprotective. I'm going to show him that I don't need protecting, this is my choice." I rambled on as I finished packing my things. I threw on a blue button up t-shirt and jeans, the clean clothes feeling fresh on my skin. I re-entered the kitchen to see my best friends staring at me incrediously. "Jesus, you're bleeding!" Selena finally took notice of my arm, grabbing our first aid kit in our top cabinet. As she bandaged me up we all grew quiet again. The tension between us all was becoming too much to bear and I sighed. "I know it doesn't make sense... But I have to figure this out on my own. I'm older now, I know what I want." I told them, pleading for their understanding. Selena was still pissed but Ivy softened as she placed her hand on my shoulder. "I know you love him... So go after him. But just know that if he's changed too much, or you need a break, you are always welcome to come back home." She said and I could see tears forming in her eyes. "Of course... I love you guys, I don't know what I'd do without you ladies." I felt myself getting emotional as I outstretched my arms to them and even Selena couldn't resist as we all formed a group hug. "I promise to check in every now and then so you guys know I'm alive. I'll try to visit after I have everything figured out." I told them and they seemed to understand. I picked up my bag and took a hard look around the room that had sheltered me when I was in the most shattered stage of my life. These girls helped pick up the pieces, they helped me get my life together. And here I was, wrecking my stability for the same man who ruined me before. But I wasn't the naive girl from Saint Ignatius anymore. I was older and wiser. I bit my friends goodbye, leaving our apartment and hopping onto my motorcycle. "Wait, Harley!" Selena called out, running up to me with something in her hand. "Stay safe." She said, handing me a gun. I handled held one since I killed Ecco, and the hard object in my hand brought flashbacks of that night. Oh how my life seemed to parallel. I thanked her and tucked the gun in the back of my pants, revving up the motor and then I rode away. I had walked this path before, and I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. It was a dangerous business dancing with the devil. And yet it was my favorite tango.

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