Actions

Work Header

The Call

Work Text:

It started with a trip to the lake for the weekend.

Honestly, they’d needed to get out of town for a few days and let some heat die off--it’s really a bad idea to steal a priceless jade mask from Sionis, but Selina took the job anyway just as a way of giving him the finger.

Four days of fun in the sun, swimming, hiking north and west of Gotham was the plan, so they piled in the car and drove the hour and a half to a little cabin right on the shore.

They had fun. The played in the water, sunned on the beach, and spent the evenings lounging around a campfire, gazing up at the stars, watching the moon grow more and more full, but something was wrong.

Harley was oblivious, but Selina noticed a change in Ivy. She was usually very reserved--the least ‘fun’ of the three, but she seemed...distracted. Selina would catch her gazing off into the woods, and on the second day she just disappeared for hours with no word. When she came walking up as Selina and Harley were gathering wood for that evening’s fire (only deadfall, no cutting) and Selina asked where she’d been, Ivy simply smiled, wistfully, and said, “I was listening to the song.”

It was weird, but then, Pam was always a little weird.

The third night they were there, the night of the full moon, Ivy simply stood without a word and wandered off from the fire. At first, Selina didn’t think much of it...even the Goddess had to pee, right? Well, she assumed she had to, who knew with Ivy’s weird biology, but when she didn’t come back, and Harley perked up and asked, “Hey, where’s Pammie?” they found her down near the waterline, dancing slowly as the waves lapped the shore.

“Ivy?” she asked, confused, but captivated by Ivy’s weird, ethereal beauty. It felt like something out of a trippy 80s fantasy movie, and Ivy turned and smiled when she spoke.

“Come dance with me, girls.” She held out her hands. Harley kind of made a little squee and ran to her, Selina following more sedately.

“But there’s no music,” she started, and Ivy took her by the hand.

“There is. Someday, you guys will hear it too.”

And so, feeling a little silly at first, but quickly warming to the idea, she danced with Harley and Ivy.

Bathed in silver moonlight, they danced, three beautiful, slender, feminine figures--one with bright blonde pigtails, one with short dark curls, and one with hair the color of fire.

***

When they got back to Gotham, the first thing Ivy did was buy several thousand acres of the woods around that little lake, and then she set up a trust to care for it as a nature preserve in perpetuity. She sank so much cash into it, Selina was forced to ask her where she got it all.

“Oh, I sold several patents to Lexcorp.” She said it flippantly, like it was no big thing, but when Selina saw the number of zeroes in those deposits she almost spit out her coffee.

“Ivy, Jesus, this is a lot of money.”

“Oh, I won’t need money anymore, Selina.” Then she wandered away, like she’d forgotten the conversation.

Ivy grew weirder, if that was even possible. She occasionally seemed to forget how to be a human. Clothes became optional, and naked was how Selina saw her more often than not. She stopped driving altogether, preferring to walk on her bare feet wherever she needed to go.

And if anything, she grew even more beautiful.

She’d always had a way with men, but they started falling hopelessly in love with her with just a glance.. Women too. When she went somewhere public, she was practically mobbed by enamored people, and she barely seemed to notice.

Selina found Harley crying one evening, and she knew it was serious.

Harley was a drama queen. Normally, she’d cry loudly, wailing, massive crocodile tears and hugs, but most importantly with an audience.

That evening, Selina found her silently weeping in the dark.

“Sweetie, what’s wrong?” she asked, concerned, terrified of truly heinous news, like the Joker was back.

“We’re not going to keep her much longer, Selina,” Harley mumbled, and Selina was confused.

“Keep her? Keep who? What are you talking about?” Was this over one of her ‘babies?’ Those drooling Hyenas she loved so much?

“Ivy. We’re losing her. I think she’s going to leave soon, and we won’t see her again.” Her eyes were bloodshot, puffy. How long had she been crying for?

“She’s not going anywhere, Harls. Don’t worry, she loves you.” Harley half-smiled at her.

“She does. She loves you too, but she can’t help herself. I don’t…” she choked back a sob, “I don’t think she belongs in our world.” Then she pointed.

Ivy was out in the Greenhouse, and every plant in the place was waving slowly in an unseen and unfelt wind, dancing with her as the moonlight streamed in. Ivy was breathtaking: wild, primal, fae, and Selina felt a chill run down her spine.

Selina didn’t have an answer to that. She sat with Harley and watched, equal parts fascinated and afraid, and held the other girl as her shoulders shook silently with crying. She wouldn't admit to it, but a few tears made their way down her face as well.

Ivy grew more wild. She took to disappearing. An hour here, a day there. For one terrible span of three weeks it was all Selina could do to keep Harley from breaking down. Ivy just vanished with no word, and then, one morning, there she was, wearing a skirt and a sweater and making them pancakes like nothing had happened.

Harley crushed her in a bear hug, and Ivy laughed and hugged her back.

Shakily, Selina asked, “Ives...so, where’ve you been?”

“What do you mean, Selina?”

“You’ve been gone, Ivy. For Three weeks.”

Ivy looked legitimately confused. “I have?” When Selina nodded, she said, “Oh, I didn’t realize. Time just slipped away from me. I went for a walk.”

“For three weeks?” There was an edge of anger to her voice.

“I suppose so. I’m sorry, girls.” But she wasn’t. Selina didn’t think she understood ‘sorry’ anymore.

Ivy vanished.

Days turned into weeks, then to months. Selina comforted Harley. They fought the mob, the villains, the Batman together. It had been almost nine months since the last time they’d seen Ivy when she showed back up in Gotham, in Robinson Park, asking people for them. She didn’t seem to understand why they were upset, why Harley was clinging to her, crying. Selina wasn’t even angry anymore, because she understood, at last, what Harley meant. It was like taking in a stray cat, nursing it back to health, then letting it go.

She hugged Ivy, who smelled like mint and pine. The other woman’s hair had grown long and wild, with leaves in it. She seemed even more primal, like some sort of nymph from a Greek myth. She said she was sorry, and Selina wanted to believe she meant it, in her own way.

“Dance with me, girls,” she said, and held out her hands, and she and Harley did.

Bathed in silver moonlight, they danced, three beautiful, slender, feminine figures--one with bright blonde pigtails, one with short dark curls, and one with hair the color of fire.

She stayed with them almost a week before vanishing again.

For a time, they frantically searched, hoping to find her, even going so far as to visit Louisiana and speak to the Swamp Thing.

I am sorry, I truly am, but Pamela Isley is a May Queen, and things must happen according to their natures.

He was so solemn, so earnest, it was difficult to argue. They decided to let her find her own way back.

Things happened. The Joker was killed in a brutal fight that crippled Bruce, and he passed the mantle of Batman on. They got engaged, but Harley beat them to the altar with a good, decent man named John, who’d fallen in love with her at the Asylum.

They saw Ivy for the last time at Selina and Bruce’s wedding. Selina was getting ready when she got a text from Harley. ‘Come to the library right now!’

She hurried, risking Bruce seeing her in her white dress, and when she got to the Wayne library she found Poison Ivy sitting in Bruce’s favorite chair, a book in her lap. Harley was grinning--the biggest grin she’d managed since the Joker’s death.

Ivy smiled at her, warmly. She looked strange--her skin very pale but with green streaks in it, her fiery hair almost to the backs of her knees, thick and silky and shot through with vines and leaves. She looked fae and alien., like she truly no longer belonged in a world of libraries and easy chairs.

“I love books.” She said simply, and for maybe a half hour they talked. They laughed. Selina missed her so much, and Harley was crying happy tears. Ivy seemed oblivious to the passage of time, apologizing, and Selina hoped she meant it. She stood then, and hugged her, and to Selina she smelled like a spring meadow, Easter lilies. She hugged Harley, and Harley clung to her, whispering.

“Please don’t go, Ivy. Please don’t leave us behind again.”

Ivy cupped her cheeks and kissed her tears. “I’m not leaving you behind, I’m waiting for you to hear. I will see you soon. I promise.” She marked her place in the book and gave it to Harley, and then she was gone in a swirl of red hair and a scent of fresh dew on grass.

The book was a collection of poetry, and her place was The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. When Selina, puzzled, looked at Harley, she indicated the page.

Ivy had kissed it, left a green lip mark over a passage.

Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.

Time passed, as it is wont to do.

Harley had a little girl. And then a boy. They grew strong and healthy. Selina grew to know the daughter she’d given up long ago, Helena, and when Selina’s hip began to bother her--too many years of abuse, of jumping off buildings and fighting bad guys--Helena took up the mantle of Catwoman for her. Selina kept a scrapbook.

Then Grandchildren for Harley. Selina’s jet black hair turned iron gray. Harley’s health began to fail. Selina was still using a cane when Bruce passed, and a walker soon after that.

Harley weathered two strokes, but the cancer caught up to her--that chemical bath she’d been dipped in by the Joker so many years ago finally claiming its due. She withered in months, Selina spending hours in her wheelchair next to her friend, clutching her tiny hand, and surrounded by a dozen granchildren and even a tiny little great grand daughter named Lily, who was four.

The end was close, and she was nodding in Harley’s hospital room, fighting sleep. The drapes were pulled back, and the moon shone through--bright and silver for a change, rather than the rusty color Gotham’s polluted sky usually tinted it. Harley’s respirator made a regular, staccato rhythm. Her hand was too weak to squeeze. Then, for the first time in hours, she spoke. For the first time in days, she spoke coherently, even if her speech was slurred from the last stroke.

“Selina…” her voice was scratchy. Selina scooted forward, leaning in, silently thanking a God she hadn’t believed in for decades for a chance to speak to her friend one last time.

“Hey, peanut.” She smiled, her vision blurring from sudden tears. Harley smiled--a hint of the brilliant grin she’d worn so much so long ago.

“I finally hear it, Kitty. It’s so beautiful.”

Selina shook her head. “Hear what, sweetie?”

“I hope...I know...the steps.” Harley’s eyes closed, and she fell into a quiet sleep. Selina was confused, but she sat back, wiped her eyes.

Later, she let Harley’s granddaughter, Deirdre, push her down to the cafe for a coffee, leaving little Lily sleeping quietly next to her ‘Nan Nan.’

They returned, opened the door, and found Lily sitting on the empty bed, singing a wordless song to herself and playing with her doll.

Harley was gone.

Deirdre panicked, searching, calling for ‘Nana Harley.’ Selina rolled forward. Harley hadn’t moved on her own in months. She couldn’t even get out of bed, much less walk off.

“Lily?” The little girl looked at her, bright blue eyes--so much like Harley’s had been before the cataracts--looked back at her.

“Where did Nan Nan go?”

“She went with the pretty lady.” She said it matter of factly, and Selina shivered as a sudden, familiar chill ran up her spine.

“Wait, what? What lady? Who was it, Lily girl?” asked Deirdre.

“I don’t know. She took Nan Nan’s hand and they left. She was very pretty.”

Selina’s heart was pounding. “Lily, what color was the lady’s hair?”

Silently, the little girl pointed at the plastic bedpan--a bright, brilliant red.

Selina bided her time. She attended Harley’s funeral, no body, and waited for the month to pass. Her driver was confused, but still complied when she directed him to the nature preserve set up so many years ago, still wild and tangled and trackless after all these years. He tried to argue when she had him push her down the path to the foundation of where the little cabin by the lake had been, but she was Mrs. Wayne, worth many billions of dollars, so in the end he complied. She told him to come back in the morning, and she waited, her heart hammering in her thin chest.

The moon rose, huge and silver, and cast a magical reflection over the lake. The forest around her was dark and primal, full of sounds and smells from a time long ago, before men walked the earth. She’d just begun to doubt herself when she saw them.

Harley was beautiful and happy, her hair in pigtails for the first time in 50 years, her eyes shining with mischief. Ivy was radiant, and smiling. Both were nude and unmoved by their nudity, clad only in moonlight.

Finally, all around her, she heard the song. The plants, the earth, the wind in the leaves, the water tickling the shore. Ivy held out her hands.
“Come dance with us.”

Her voice was scratchy, and it was hard to talk around the lump in her throat. “I never knew...you always said we weren’t friends…” It wasn’t the right thing to say, but it popped in her head.

“We weren’t. We are family. We are sisters.” Ivy took her by the hands and tugged. Selina wanted to stop her...she couldn’t stand on her own, hadn’t walked in a decade, but she took one unsteady step...then another...and another, each one coming easier. She stood up straight, smiling, and Ivy smiled back.

She was kicking off her shoes, pulling off the very fine, very expensive old lady clothes until she was as naked as they, her skin smooth, her body lithe and strong again.

“I don’t know if I know the steps.”

Ivy smiled and Harley claimed her hand, twining their fingers together.

“You’ve always known, you just had to hear the song first, Selina. Then they were kissing, and they were free.

They say that on nights of the full moon, if you’re patient and quiet, respectful of the Green and growing things and wait at the foundation stones by the lake, you can still see them occasionally.

Bathed in silver moonlight, they dance, three beautiful, slender, feminine figures--one with bright blonde pigtails, one with short dark curls…

and one with hair the color of fire.