Sun streaks broke through the cataracts called windows lining the high ceilings of the sleepless night. Joker loomed in the murky shadows watching dust dance in the dawn. He’d been keeping an eye on his girls- perhaps to make sure they weren’t ethereal visions that would vanish as he slept. They’d been missing from his life for so long. It seemed like years, though judging from the size of his daughter it must have only been months. Lily. The thought of having a spawn had been all but forgotten, pushed to the back of his mind by her absence. But it’s much harder to pretend she doesn’t exist when her tiny hand is clasped around your finger. He’d sunken down to the dirty cement floor where his beloveds lie dreaming on a crude nest of blankets. He hadn’t had much time to furnish the warehouse. Naked concrete and steel beams frame the abandoned store room once used for surplus carnival prizes and roller coaster parts. A walk in freezer lay stagnant and luke warm in the far left corner directly across from an oversized clown head that was no doubt once the pinnacle of the park’s entrance. The harlequin family hid close to a stack of empty wooden crates labelled as funnel cake mix and a rusted out popcorn machine.
Lilian was the first to stir, tiny limbs struggling against her mother’s ridged embrace, face scrunched into screaming position. Harleen wavered on the edge of lucidity, grunting softly as Jay lifted Lily from her arms. The baby clung to his chest complacently, drifting back to sleep. The feeling was foreign. Alien. His heart rate picked up pace. So small, fragile. A wrong move could be deadly. Playing guardian angel to a child gave him a sort of uneasy tightness in his throat, and yet he held her close, a hand gently rubbing her back to lull her. A long exhale. Leaning back on a crate, his eyes flicked to Harley…
As frail as Lillian may have seemed, her mother was obviously more fragile. Far too thin and pale for comfort, she was laying in a half-dreaming state with her chilled azures on him. They were lucid and open only halfway, stirred when her child had been pulled from her. The sight of Jay holding her was an odd comfort. To others, there wasn’t a doubt ‘The Joker’ would be kept from his daughter, and she from him, but in their twisted world it didn’t matter.
Joker was no more of a danger to his child than he he had ever been to Harley. Less so, considering the couple’s history…
Harley said nothing as she watched her would-be lover traipse around the room with a toddling in his inexperienced hands. Heaving herself into sitting up, her jeans rippled in creases where months earlier they hadn’t been less than too tight. Now they cradled her small frame the way Jay was cradling Lily. Loosely—as if he thought he might break her.
There was a rusted out shell of some kind of cabinet to the far corner of the half-empty room they were occupying. It sent a tingle of discomfort up Harley’s back and reminded her of handcuffs. The thought slid her skinny legs beneath her and she crossed her arms. Bare feet fell into a gentle padding on the cold concrete and she shadowed the clowns movements the way a mime might have.
Harley liked life this way. It felt simple, gentle, and fluid.
Harley stared at him, her face almost placid as pale and sickly as she looked. The emotion in him hardly stirred a tear to her eye. “How do you /think/ we are?” she asked, lips trembling. “It’s December, J… It’s fucking DECEMBER.”
“Heh…” It hurt. Knowing she thought he didn’t want to be with them. Knowing how they’ve suffered without him though all he wanted was to hold them safe in his arms. He could feel the need in his bones. In his very soul, “Yeah. I guess it is.”
For a moment, Harley didn’t move. The weak smile on his face constricted her chest more than the cold and inflamed lungs ever could. Why did he not want to try..? Did she—did they—mean so little to him?
Before she could help herself, the Clown Countess reached out and brought her hand across the curve of his cheek. Chest heaving in an efforted way with emotion and the weight of Pneumonia, tears welled into her eyes.
“Fuck you, then…” she spoke around a lump in her throat. “Fuck you, fuck you, FUCK YOU!” in her mind, as twisted as it had become in their time apart, she could see no reason why he hadn’t sought them out. There was no rationality; even a feverish and distorted reason.
He was silent. Solemn. Just standing there, arms crossed over his chest, staring at the ground. He deserved worse. He was honestly waiting for her to pull a gun on him but then it struck him she probably didn’t even have one anymore. He muttered feebly,
“So… do you wanna come home or not…” His eyes flicked up to hers, shimmering with tears.
As soon as their eyes locked a second time, Harley’s anger lessened. All she wanted was for him to understand how much she had missed him; how much she had needed him. The question over whether or not she wanted to come home came and went and she just shook her head.
For a moment, she let him think this meant that she didn’t. Perhaps in their time apart, Harley had become somewhat bold and vindictive. She liked the cruelty of the insinuation. Then, as if it were nothing, she stood herself up and loomed over him only to kiss him.
Ages had passed since she had kissed him, or he had her, yet the action was so familiar that they might as well have seen one another just yesterday. They had fucked one another just yesterday. Their daughter had been born moments ago. And, as she sat herself on his lap and her arms wound their way over his shoulders, the time and distance between them seemed to be forgotten.