a conversation (4/15/18): part two • part one
Of all the things he could have said, hearing that one had been enough of a shock to her system that she gripped the edge of the bar just a little bit tighter to hold her steady, to not give anything away. But she knew she had a very emotional face and was almost always betrayed by it. She looked down, eyes closing in remembrance. It was a name she had hear before, of course it was. How many aliases did he have? Names he went by to do his deeds under the cover of secrecy to trick unsuspecting people into his master plans. People that weren't familiar with him, people that always found out too late.

But that name, there was something else with it. There were memories forming of a sane man, a regretful man that wanted to do what was right, even if some of the techniques were still a bit misguided, the intention behind them were honorably. She had been proud of him then. Of the progress he had made, and the progress she herself had made too. It was no wonder that she hadn't recognized him at first. She had become so wary in this new place, so angry at him that she had forgotten there were times were things weren't murder and mayhem and they were almost normal. And she could be normal. Well, as normal as she could try to be anyway.

"Well..shit." She said after a moment, her hand dropping to her side and stepping around the bar towards him. She even managed a smile. He was safe, at least, for however long this was taking effect for. She didn't have to put up the same walls now, at least, she thought she didn't. Her head tilted to look more deeply into his face, giving him a softer expression. One not so weathered with doubt and anger. "How long have you got? Before, you know." She asked, stopping a few feet ahead of him. "Never thought I'd see you again."

If he was being honest, if he looked at himself in a mirror he wouldn't have recognized himself either. There was plenty here that was different, as he knew. He knew that from what he could remember of the last year or so of all these changes, and everything that he had gone through as Joker. The people he had killed, kidnapped, tortured, robbed....it went on and on and there didn't seem to be much stopping. And Joe, he was trying so hard to do what he could to keep it together, but the guy was cracking at the seams. Jack, well, he couldn't blame him. Being insane was better than going insane, because at least there's no sanity left. And coming back to sanity, after being insane and trapped for so long, suddenly coming to the realization of everything you had ever done...well. It wasn't great.

"Two days. Tops, if my calculations are correct. So, around Tuesday morning." He shrugged, taking another drink from the glass. He missed being drunk. "Joe stocked up on anti-psychotics but he's been over doing it, since the regeneration our body does kicks the drugs out so quickly. So, there's not enough pills to last the rest of the week, and I wouldn't be able to get more in time. I'd..." Jack paused, sighing, and ran an hand through his hair, "I'd be prepared for what happens after. Maybe lock me up somewhere Monday night. I don't know."

There was a pause on his end, as he finally looked up at her and shrugged. His hands held onto the glass in front of him like a lifeline. Which was ironic, considering he couldn't die. "God, I've done some fucked up shit. Or, Joker has, but I'm not exactly blameless. And..shit just got worse, hasn't it? But I'm glad you've managed to get a good life for you, Harleen. I mean it."

She laughed. Not in a cruel way, just a way her emotions decided to let themselves release. The whistling of a kettle that was about to bubble over. "Oh sweetheart," She started, shaking her head. "You know me locking you up wouldn't do anything." She said, letting out a long breath as she inched closer. "And besides, he's being doing a pretty good job of ignoring me completely, so nothing I'm not entirely used to." Jokes, even bad ones, were her lifeline. Her defense mechanism when things were too much for her already crowded mind could handle. On one hand, Roxy was happy to see a version of Joe that wasn't a homicidal maniac. On the other, Harley was glad to see a Joker that...also wasn't a homicidal maniac. The man that she knew he was, underneath all the layers and facades and masks that he had shown to her since the beginning and over the years.

"No one is blameless." She started again, a shrug of her shoulders. "I'm certainly not. Just because I'm in a...delicate...condition does not make me any closer to a saint." She felt like she sounded weird. She usually adopted the high pitch bubbliness of Harleen Quinzel when Boston had it's monthly cloud of doom hanging over its head, but even with the octave matching, it still felt wrong. Until she realized she wasn't putting on the dumb blonde act this time. There wasn't a need to. And she wouldn't give him the disservice of it in the limited amount of time he had.

She rested a hand on her stomach absently and smiled, looking down at her warped figure. She shrugged. "It's not bad." She agreed. "You'd like Wade, I think. He's got a great sense of humor." Her lips twitched but she stopped herself from smiling. "You know if you just upped the dosage and had consistent, intense therapy to keep him at bay, you could have one too." She offered.

Did she honestly believe that he could have a good life? Or was it that she just wanted to make sure Joker wouldn't come back to get her in some way? Not that he could blame her, he would never blame her for that. Still, it was hard to see her smile, it was hard to see her happy, but these were all things he would never admit. But her saying he might be able to do more drugs, to do therapy...well. It was wishful thinking on her part.

"We both know therapy won't work for me." He said, without a joke, with out humor because he wasn't going to pretend that it could. "The drugs aren't going to work for long either. Regeneration kicks it out of the system, I have to take a whole bottle each day to feel anything, and that's just not...worth it." It really wasn't. And he knew that Joe finally put the nail in the coffin for him and Rose...or Ivy, whatever name she was going for, even if it made Jack uncomfortable knowing she was Pamela Isley. So maybe that was for the best. "Good life isn't in the cards for me, you know? I just wish there had been a way to give Joe a good life, but he won't have one attached to me. Or if Joker ever comes back..."

He looked down at his glass, and swirled the liquid in his hand, and just stared at it for a moment. "I'm sorry, you know. I know I can't ever really apologize for everything that Joker has done to you. Or..that I've done to you. Or Joe. But if it means anything, I'm sorry."
Optimism to the point of naivety was one of Roxy's strongholds that bled through to Harley Quinn, but it wasn't so much of a stretch for her to believe in good things happening. She stayed in an abusive relationship longer than any person would have survived, firm in her belief of love and happiness and change. In a strange way, him being cured, if only for hours or days at a time had proved her right in her ignorance and wishful thinking. "But it could if you found the right balance of medication and treatment, even with the regeneration and.." she stopped herself from going on a tangent of options and believability. She knew that there were options. That things could work. But that only went so far if whoever was getting the treatment resigned themselves into thinking that it was absolutely hopeless. Of which she knew Joe was, or at least had been in the last few months. It wasn't always an exact science, but people had to actually be willing to try and take the leap of faith. It was hard to argue or reason with him, and at this point, she didn't want to waste precious time with him in a never-ending battle.

She put up a hand to stop him, shaking her head. She hadn't expected anything coming into work today, and she certainly hadn't expected Jack Napier. But most of all...she didn't think she would ever hear of an apology. Emotional as she was, she didn't expect it to bring tears to her eyes. She wiped at her eyes, looking away from him out of embarrassment at the display. "I'm sorry, I..." she stopped. "I never thought I would here you say you were sorry." She sniffled and inhaled a staggered breath. "Thank you. Knowing where, who, it's coming from. I appreciate it."

After a moment she laughed, shaking her head. "Things could have been so different, ya know?"
to be continued...