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Demons Embrace

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Harleen Quinzel had first set foot on the road to criminality long before she met the Joker.

The first time was the night she helped her father escape. He'd swindled some lonely old woman out of her cash and she'd called the cops. Harley hated him for leaving their family- for leaving her -but that night he'd given her that first taste of being on the wrong side of the law. All she'd done was lie when the police came round, giving her Dad enough time to run and never come back, but she had perverted the course of justice and it had felt good.

The second was when she was 10. One of the rich boys in her classroom had been showing off his new expensive toy. He'd been real mean about it too, making sure to rub it in the faces of the kids he knew would never be able to have something like it. So she stole it. Took it right out of his bag when no one was looking. They never suspected her and it had made it all the more thrilling.

The third time was at a gymnastics competition. She'd put itching powder in the grip chalk for the opposing team. It was only meant as a joke but one of the girls fell and broke her arm. When they found out the cause there was an inquiry. She had felt guilty, just not guilty enough to admit it was her. Instead she mentioned that she'd seen Jenny Forest going into the other teams changing rooms. She didn't feel bad about that part, Jenny had been a total bitch that year.

The next few times were all in High School. Her second boyfriend was a petty crook but he taught her some useful skills. How to pick a lock for one, how to steal a car for two. They had caused an awful lot of trouble in their time together but none of it was ever pinned on them. She was smart see, she knew how to cover her tracks. Even if everyone knew it was them, there was never any evidence to prove it.

Now this one didn't really count as hers anymore. Not really. Not now she knew the truth, but it had for the longest time so it really was worth mentioning. Guy Kopski. Her first serious relationship. She'd loved him so much but she'd needed to pass those classes, that's why she'd listened to Dr. Markus. The concept had been simple, see how far a person would go for love. The answer was farther than she had expected. Even in her grief she knew her priorities, she had blackmailed Markus, ensuring that she passed.

This is where things got a little more serious though. This is when she truly began to go rouge. Arkham Asylum, back when Dr. Crane was the director. She'd been working late when she heard it. A scream. Against her better judgement she went towards it, used the skills that boyfriend No. 2 had taught her and picked the lock. There she found the Scarecrow. Watching one of his subjects writhe. He'd turned to spray her too, but he stopped. Stopped when he'd seen the twisted fascination in her eyes and had obliged when she'd asked him to spray the inmate again. She'd wanted a better look. They'd grown quite close after that, she'd seen his experiments, even helped with one or two. It was beneficial to both, she got her criminal thrills while he furthered his research. The fact that watching his subjects fear turned Jonathan on was just a bonus, sometimes they'd make their way back to his office and collapse on his sofa as a tangle of limbs, sometimes they wouldn't even make it out of the cell. That in particular was useful to her; he was her boss and with their escapades and his secrets she had two legs up on him.

She'd also been in the basement when he'd fought with the Bat. She'd gone over to him after he'd received a taste of his own medicine (HA!) and she'd placed a soothing hand on his cheek and looked into those blue eyes that were witnessing invisible horrors. Then she'd reached into his pocket and taken his keys. Crane wasn't any use to her now. Walking back into the main building she sought out the police officers and calmly handed his whereabouts over to them. None of them had even raised any eyebrow at her. She'd almost giggled.

It was a few months later that the Joker was admitted. She had fought tooth and nail to get him as her patient. He was interesting, he was chaotic, he was beautiful. He was something that could keep her attention, she'd seen his manipulation as soon as it had started. She could have stopped him if she had wanted but the truth was; she was tired of hiding her true self and he gave her an out.

Poor little Harleen, seduced by the Joker and twisted into that awful Harlequin. No one would ever suspect that she had been on that road longer than they'd imagined, that she had known the demon she was offering herself to, or that she had entered willingly into his embrace.