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My Lover, My Friend

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Ivy could never fully express her love for summer evenings . The sunsets, the birds chirping their lullabies as the wind whistled through the trees… It was hypnotic, and filled her heart with joy. But it wasn’t just the evenings she loved. Just summer in general was always something to look forward to. There was no school and more time away from the house--which she was extremely thankful for--and, of course, more time to spend with Harley. Her friend and… Well, she was still figuring the rest out.

Harley would drop by randomly on various days of the week in the summer, either for a quick hello or a stroll through the park, where they could get lost in deep conversation. They’d talk, and laugh, and sometimes cry. During one of their meetings, Harley had suggested they go on a camping trip. She’d be away from her abusive ex-boyfriend, who kept harassing her endlessly, and Ivy would be free from the constriction of a lonely house. So of course she agreed to go. It wasn’t until the days leading up to their departure, though, that Ivy realized the details that camping entailed.

She didn’t have a tent, so Harley had offered to just bring hers, claiming it was big enough for the both of them. They’d be gone for three whole days, with nothing but nature and each other to keep themselves company. They’d sleep together, and Ivy’s heart skipped a beat at just the thought of sharing such a close proximity with her friend. Sure, they cuddled from time to time while watching a movie, but this felt different to her. More intimate.  It made her hesitant about going, but when Harley barged into her house a day before the set date for leaving, tear streaks on her face, begging to leave early, Ivy’s mind switched hastily from anxious to concerned.

So they packed up, jumped in the car, and were off. Away from Gotham, away from the crowded buildings and people to the open spaces of forests and fields. Ivy didn’t think she had seen a single building around besides a few gas stations and strip malls since they had left, and the tight band of fear around her heart eased the farther they crept from the city. It didn’t seem to have the same effect on Harley, though. The usually peppy girl was mostly silent on the way there, tears now dried, but frown still stuck in place. Ivy was usually more calm and reserved, but she sacrificed enough of her ego to make a few lewd jokes to cheer the girl up. She managed to get a small smile going on Harley’s face, but besides that there was nothing but time and care to heal the girl.

It wasn’t the first time Ivy had seen her this way. It was obvious she had had another encounter with Jack—the abusive ex—but they both decided not to bring it up right away, letting the obvious tension simmer down first. That’s what they’d always do, unless Ivy got pissed enough to start yelling and threatening to kill the man. Harley had to calm her down on multiple occasions, but the anger still chilled Ivy’s heart whenever she saw the girl in such a wreck. Thankfully, she didn’t look hurt that bad, just a couple bruises that Ivy had treated before they set off, and that was that. Ivy would try and push her to open up more later, but as they pulled into the parking lot of the park preserve, she put the thought to the back of her mind, turning the engine off and glancing at Harley.

The girl had fallen asleep halfway through the drive, and her blond messy hair covered half her face, which was currently smushed against the window. It made Ivy smile softly at the sight, and she resisted the urge to brush Harley’s loose curls away, instead opting to gently shake the girl awake. It was hard, since Harley was such a heavy sleeper, but eventually she stirred, eyes fluttering open to reveal the bright blue orbs Ivy loved so much. They were mesmerizing, and easy enough to read that Ivy could get a feel for what Harley was thinking. Right now she just seemed to be tired, a bit worn out, but seemingly back to her bright self.

“We here or what?” Harley yawned, stretching as she looked at Ivy. “Well gee, I sure hope we are, you got no hands on the wheel, red.” Ivy smiled at that, rolling her eyes as she muttered a sarcastic response, pocketing her keys and making her way to the back of the car to get their suitcases out. Harley trailed behind, ranting about something Ivy had little interest in, but still acted like she enjoyed for Harley’s sake. The girl seemed to be so passionate about anything that glimpsed her mind, and Ivy was happy to see her back to her old self again—at least for now.

They maneuvered the large cases onto the ground, rolling them on the path as they walked through the woods. Harley stopped a few times to swing on the vines she found, and Ivy watched in amusement, joining her a few times for fun, but making sure no harm was done to the branches before they carried on. When they finally arrived to a clear, open spot in the forest, they started getting everything set up. Harley put up the tent while Ivy unpacked their most needed things. By the time everything was put together, it was almost evening, meaning they had just a few hours left for exploring the area.

“Come on, Ivy, lets start a fire, the sun’s comin’ down already and we just got here.” Harley said, already bouncing towards the trees before Ivy could respond. Ivy tried to convince her to use paper or plastic to burn, but Harley just rolled her eyes and started picking up branches from the dirt floor, piling them into Ivy’s arms as they walked down a thin trail.

“Watch your step, Harls, there’s dangerous plants out here.” Ivy warned, dancing around the three leaved plants and thorny bushes. Harley seemed to be reluctant to obey, but the serious note Ivy had pushed into her voice made her watch her step more carefully. Once they got back to their clearing, Ivy dropped the dried up leaves and branches to the floor, staring at the pile dumbfoundedly.

“Ahh, don’t worry about that. I gotcha.” Harley said, seeming to sense the block in their plan. The girl picked up two of the sticks, placing one on the ground and the other atop it. Ivy watched in fascination as Harley’s hands rubbed the stick in fast motions, digging the end of it in circles against the wood below. Eventually, smoke started to rise from the bark, and Harley let out a sound of excitement, blowing on it a few times till a small fire started up, quickly catching onto the other branches and twigs till it climbed to the top, making a large flame that reached for the sky.

It made the chill edging into the air more warm, but not warm enough it seemed—at least to Harley. She pulled Ivy to the ground, hugging her arm and resting her head against her shoulder, the blonde mop of hair spread across Ivy’s short sleeved shirt, tickling the skin on her arms but spreading a warmth throughout her body and into her heart. It was comfortable, and Ivy felt her eyes beginning to droop as Harley snuggled into her side, the both of them staying silent.

Ivy listened to the birds chirping and the waves of the nearby stream mixing with their off-tune songs. She closed her eyes and let her head drop gently to rest against Harley’s, ginger and gold hair mixing together and probably causing a few knots, but Ivy felt too happily content to care. She zoned in on the sounds of Harley’s soft breaths, noting how they had slowed down to two seconds a beat, signaling a state of sleep. Ivy’s fingers crept around the girl’s waist, keeping her steady as she slowly eased them to lay on the grass near the fire, careful not to wake the slumbering girl. 

She figured she should be afraid of bears or other creatures lurking in the dark woods, but with Harley near her side she didn’t think she could be scared of anything, not even death itself. Harley was the one thing that kept her together, that made life way better than it was supposed to be. She brought joy into everything they did, which was something Ivy could never find elsewhere. No, the only place she knew it’d be was in Harley’s arms, in her words, in… Her.

With that thought on her mind, Ivy let herself be pulled into the comfort of sleep, body and fire heat closing off the cold and offering her the most restful night of slumber she’d ever receive. Even though the ground was rigid and firm, that didn’t faze her. Not when she had the soft, comfortable figure of her friend pressed against her side.

Yeah, her friend. That’s all she was.

 


 

When the morning sun peeked through the trees, Ivy was pulled from her restful slumber. She let out a sigh, feeling around the ground for Harley. When she couldn’t find the girl, she reluctantly opened her eyes, slowly sitting up and inspecting the clearing. Harley was nowhere to be seen. Shit, shit, shit.

Ivy shook off the tired feeling weighing her down, standing up and looking inside the tent, wondering if the girl had wandered inside to avoid the bugs or sunlight. Still, no Harley. Ivy was beginning to worry now—both their phones were laid across the makeshift ‘bed’ inside the tent, meaning there was no way to contact Harley besides calling her name, which she did desperately, trudging through the forest grounds shouting for the girl.

What if there really were bears in the forest? Shit, if Harley was hurt there was no way to get her help, the nearest hospital was miles away. Why hadn’t they planned this out more? Assigned a meetup spot so when one of them was lost they could easily meet up again? But no, as Ivy pushed through branches and thorns, her hands began to tremble. She’d be completely alone again, just like when her mother and father died. When she’d had no one, not until she met Harley and Selina. She’d have to tell everyone the news. It’d be her fault, she should’ve kept a closer eye on Harley and—

“Hey, Pammy, over here!” The familiar voice echoed from behind, and Ivy’s neck all but snapped as she whipped around to the sound. Her heart thundered beneath her ribcage, and for a moment she wondered if the bones would break from how hard it beat. No, that was just the way it behaved when Harley was around. She swore the girl would kill her one day.

“Harley, shit, where were you? What are you doing?” Ivy ran towards the girl, nearly tripping on the uneven ground as she hurriedly made her way over to her. Harley was standing near a stream of water, clothes soaking and clinging to her body. Ivy shrugged off her sweater, pushing it towards Harley as she looked over the girl for any sign of wounds. None, except for the bruises from the previous day. “I’m fine, no need to worry about lil ol’ me, I was just takin’ a swim.” Ivy stared at Harley, sweater still hanging from her hands.

Harley did this… For fun? Slowly, Ivy pulled the sweater back to her chest, tugging it back over her cami. “You left me on purpose?” She said quietly, watching as Harley’s jittery energy slowly began to ease down, smile drooping as she picked up on Ivy’s unhappy mood. Good, that’s how she should be. What kind of person abandons their friend in the middle of a forest?

“Oh, Pammy, were you worried?” Harley asked, reaching a hand out to rub soothingly over Ivy’s arm. She shrugged it off immediately, glaring at the girl. Harley knew she had issues with trust and abandonment… Why would she do something like this? “C’mon, don’t be angry at me.” Ivy didn’t want to be angry with Harley, no. She wasn’t. Just upset and confused.

“Why did you leave me? I thought you were in trouble.” Ivy said, eyebrows drawn together as her head tilted to the side, seeking for a reasonable answer. She knew she shouldn’t be this upset over something like this, Ivy could put up with a lot of shit, but this was Harley. The girl just had that effect on her, she supposed. Made her feel things she’d rather let be buried.

“I was going for a mornin’ stroll, found a stream. Thought you’d want some sleep, ya know? I didn’t mean to spook you… I’m sorry, red.” Harley’s voice lilted with sadness and regret, and dammit Ivy should really be more angry about this, but she couldn’t stand to see her friend upset. She had to be the bigger person here. Harley came out here to escape feeling this way, there was no point in dragging something like this out.

“It’s alright, Harley. Just… Please tell me next time you decide to pull something like this. I was really worried about you.” Ivy said, and that seemed to be the undoing for Harleen, for as soon as the words left her mouth the redhead was pulled into a tight hug, Harley’s arms squeezing impressively tight around her waist, nearly lifting her from the ground. And she was wet, shit. Ivy decided a hug from her friend was worth the uncomfortable cold soaking into her clothes, and wrapped her arms around Harley’s shoulders, pulling her closer.

“You smell like a swamp.” Ivy muttered, nose wrinkling as the loose blonde hair tickled her nostrils, Harley snorted and pulled back, giving Ivy a playful punch on the shoulder. “C’mon, take a swim with me.” Harley said excitedly, grabbing Ivy by the wrist and pulling her towards the water. Oh hell no, it was way too early for the water to be warm enough. She was definitely not going in. Nope. Totally not.

Damn Harley’s contagious smile.

Ivy sighed and wriggled her arm out of Harley’s grasp. “I’m not getting my clothes soaking wet, I don’t know why you went in like that.” Ivy sniffed in disapproval, pulling her sweater back off, along with her jeans. She decided to keep her tank top on, pulling her hair back into a loose bun as she gestured for Harley to do the same. The girl seemed to be stuck in a daydream, eyeing Ivy’s bare skin. It wasn’t like they hadn’t changed in front of each other before, or seen each other naked. That stuff just happened sometimes, so Ivy was puzzled by the unreadable expression on Harley’s face.

“I’d keep my clothes on if I were you, red. There’s peepin’ Toms all around here I bet.” Harley said, finally, breaking out of the strange stupor. She put her hair up into pigtails before taking off the loose t-shirt and sweatpants she had on, despite her words. She had no tank top, just bras and panties. Huh, that shouldn’t be bothering Ivy as much as it seemed to be. She had this strange feeling in her gut,  a tingling sensation that trailed downwards and—No, no, no, no, no, no. She was not getting turned on by her friend, that was absurd.

She pushed the feeling away, tearing her eyes from Harley’s barely dressed body and to the waves in back of her instead. Now was not the time to be analyzing her feelings, or trying to decipher what it meant to feel that way about Harley. It meant nothing, just a normal reaction to seeing a pretty girl half naked, of course. She’d feel that way about anyone with a body like that. With a small sigh, Ivy made her way to the water, dipping her toes into the shallow edge. It was ice cold, and she immediately retracted her foot. Oh God, the lengths she went to in order to make Harley happy…

She startled as Harley sprinted past her, jumping into the water with a shout of glee. Ivy cringed as it splashed onto her bare skin, sending goosebumps down her arms and legs. The woman was mad, she swore. How anyone could jump into freezing water without a flinch amazed Ivy. It was definitely not the most startling thing she’d seen Harley do, though, so she just shook her head and slowly eased her feet back in. “Hurry up, it’s getting boring in here.” Harley whined, head bobbing in the water. The rest of her was emerged completely in the stream, and Ivy’s eyes widened as her head went under too. For a moment she thought the girl had been pulled under by a current, but as her eyes scanned over the bubbly water, she felt something near her legs. She nearly jumped, but before she could, something grabbed a hold of her ankles, dragging her completely in as she let out a shriek.

Her body felt like a giant popsicle, her teeth chattering and bumps rising across her skin. “You are evil!” Ivy exclaimed with a laugh as Harley popped up in front of her, grinning at the soaked redhead. Ivy narrowed her eyes with a smirk, diving under the water and grabbing Harley by the waist, dragging them both down. Her eyes stung as the murky water bit at them, but it was worth it when she saw the blurry figure of Harley in front of her. The girl was struggling, bubbles floating around her as she laughed in the water. Ivy laughed as well, nearly choking, but continuing anyways.

Ivy pulled them up when she saw Harley begin to struggle for real, both girls gasping for air as they broke the surface. Once Ivy had her breathing under control and all water out of her lungs, she grew increasingly aware of the little distance between the two of them. There was barely an inch keeping them away from each other, but Ivy could feel the girl’s gasping breaths, still recovering from the unexpected dive under the water.

They wore matching grins, Harley’s shining as the sun bounced off her wet, pink lips. She had really nice lips, Ivy thought. They were plump, but natural looking. Not too big or small, but they definitely looked very soft. Ivy wanted to kiss her. She wanted desperately to reach out and mash their faces together, to feel those velvety lips against her own and shit, she was in love.

The words rung in her head, drowning out the echoey sound of whatever Harley was going on about. It went in one ear and out the next as her mind focused completely on the startling realization. It was so obvious to her now, why hadn’t she figured it out before? Well, maybe it was just denial. Because there was no way that Harley felt the same way. Harley was an overly affectionate person with almost anyone, Ivy wasn’t special. No, this was one sided, for sure.

“Hey are you even listenin’ to me?” Harley snapped, poking Ivy under her ribcage, startling her out of her thoughts as she let out a small, surprised yelp. Harley laughed at that, holding her sides as she did so, mimicking Ivy’s startled sound teasingly. Ivy just rolled her eyes and smiled fondly at the girl, wondering how anyone could not be in love with her. A queasy feeling stung her gut, a weighing fear and pressure dropping onto her unexpectedly. She didn’t like the sudden, new fact that she was in love. It hurt.

“You alright, red?” Harley asked after she had calmed down, blue eyes dancing with concern. Damn her  blue eyes-- they stood out too much in the water, made Ivy too focused on the color and gleam. She really needed to snap out of this before she did something stupid. Running out of the water wasn’t the best option she had, but it was an option. So she ignored Harley’s startled yell, and the splash of water as the girl followed her out.

She kept her eyes to the ground, unable to make herself look up as she walked away. Harley caught up with her quickly, of course, skirting in front of the redhead and stopping her in her tracks. “Hey, what’s wrong?” Harley asked, and Ivy slowly let her eyes trail back up to the girl’s face. She needed to get a hold of herself, honestly. She had always felt this way, just because she put a name to the emotion didn’t mean it wasn’t already there in the first place. No, if she got through it this long just by pushing the feelings down, she could do it now with the knowledge and acceptance of the fact she was in love.

“I’m just hungry… Haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon.” Ivy said, and although it was true, it was still an excuse. Maybe this was easier before because she wasn’t outright lying to Harley, just as oblivious to things as much as the other girl was. But this felt different—worse. She didn’t like keeping things from her best friend, but she’d have to pull through with this secret. She had no idea how Harley would react if she admitted her feelings, so it was better if she lied, no matter how uneasy it felt for her to do.

“Well why didn’t cha just say so, huh?” Harley said with a laugh, knocking their shoulders together affectionately. Just the slightest touch of skin made Ivy feel warm inside, and she just had to smile back. “I’ll see if I can catch a fish for us.” Ivy thought Harley was joking at first, but no, the girl dived straight back into the water, scanning the surface for the dark, moving blobs beneath. Ivy let out a bark of laughter as Harley floundered about, nearly falling over as she clapped her hands into the water, a splash dowsing her right in the face.

“You know we have sandwiches, right?” Ivy yelled, but Harley ignored her, still flopping about like the fish she was trying to catch. It was quite amusing, but after a while Ivy had grown impatient, stomach rumbling as she waited for Harley to come back out. She decided to sit down and wait, pulling back on her dry clothes once her underwear and tank top weren’t completely soaked anymore. A high pitched scream made her head snap back up towards the water, where Harley was cheering loudly, a large flounder writhing in her hands. Ivy couldn’t believe it.

“You actually did it?!” Ivy gaped, watching as Harley raced towards the shore with a grin on her face. She dashed straight past Ivy, shouting to bring her pile of clothes back for her, which Ivy did in a hurry, trying to catch up. When they were both back at their camp, Ivy got out the container their sandwiches were in, dumping them out and holding it up for Harley. The blonde dropped the fish inside immediately with a leap of joy, shutting the lid quickly. They were both panting at this point, staring at each other with wide eyed disbelief. Then Harley started laughing, and Ivy’s own bubbling giggle came out, too, soon after.

They set the container down and plopped on the ground next to each other, laughter fading into a comfortable silence. Harley started another fire for the fish, and Ivy laid back in the grass to relax. It felt so right to be here with Harley, completely away from all the stress and pressure of a city life. Just the two of them, like it should be—or like how Ivy wanted it to be. Whatever made Harley happier.

She glanced over at the girl, eyeing her still exposed body. There were bruises she didn’t see before, covering the back of Harley’s thighs and crawling up her back. Ivy knew there was nothing she could do about it, had tried to confront Jack on multiple occasions, but Harley continued to defend him. She’d say he just gets rough sometimes, that they’re just sorting out disagreements. It was all bullshit to Ivy, since Harley was obviously wrapped around the man’s manipulating finger, tied to a string that held her up by the throat, killing her slowly. It was upsetting, to say the least.

“So what happened yesterday?” Ivy asked, deciding they’d have to bring it up at some point in their trip. Harley tensed up immediately, crouched over the growing fire. With a small shrug she turned to face Ivy, a nervous and uncomfortable laugh leaving her as she began to explain in an uneven voice what had happened.

“You know how he is! Just foolin' around. I was near campus and he saw me, wanted to say hi, I guess.” Harley paused, smile faltering as she continued. “He said he missed me and I… I was stupid.” The girl was now full on frowning, and Ivy scooted closer, draping an arm around her friend’s shoulder. Harley leaned onto her, and Ivy waited patiently for her to start up again. It took almost a full minute of Ivy rubbing her arm and whispering words of comfort till Harley spoke.

“We had sex. I went back to his dorm, and afterwards I told him it didn’t mean nothin' and we weren’t back together, and…. Well, he didn’t like that, and I was stuck in his room, so, yeah.” Harley sniffled, snuggling into Ivy’s side. Ivy wanted to yell at Harley, scream at her the endless questions buzzing around her mind. The number one thing that drifted through, though, was ‘why’? Why this again?

“And I know you must think I’m stupid, red, but I don’t know why I did it… J is just so persuasive.” Harley murmured against the fabric of her sweater, warm breath seeping through and warming Ivy’s skin. Harley really thought she’d be upset with her? Jack really knew how to fuck a girl up, mentally and physically, the manipulative bastard.

“I don’t think you’re stupid, Harley.” Ivy said, turning to face Harley, cupping her face in her slender hands. Harley’s eyes jumped around nervously before they settled on Ivy’s own, gleaming with a thin layer of barely held back tears. “It’s not your fault, it’s his, okay? He’s a manipulative bastard, and you have to try to stay away from him. Next time you feel like going back, call me first. Or call anyone, just don’t go with him.” Harley’s tears spilled from her eyes, slipping down her rosy cheeks and pooling in the space between her face and Ivy’s hand. The redhead brushed the stray tears away with her thumb, pulling Harley in for a tight hug. They sat like that for a while, with Harley quietly crying against her shoulder and Ivy rubbing soothing circles against her back.

When Harley stopped trembling and crying, they pulled away from each other. Harley gave Ivy a grateful smile, and turned her attention back to the dwindling fire. “Well shit, I think my tears might’ve put the fire out.” She laughed, throwing a pile of dry leaves back into the small flames, igniting them once more. Ivy smiled softly as she watched the girl scrub at her wet, red face with one hand while she tended the fire with the other. She wondered where Harley might be without her—where she’d be without Harley. They’d be more lonely, and more sad, that’s for sure. Ivy couldn’t be more grateful for her beautiful, caring friend.

“Say hello to Mr. Gills.” Harley giggled, pulling the now dead fish from the cooler. Ivy cringed at the beady eyed creature, watching in horror as Harley pierced it with a stick, holding it over the fire. She nearly vomited at the grotesque sight, but managed to swallow the bile that rose in the back of her throat. “Give em’ a kiss, Pammy!” Harley whipped the stick around to face Ivy, and she immediately jumped back in disgust.

“Get that thing away from me.” Ivy muttered as Harley let out a series of laughs and snorts. The girl teased Ivy a bit with the fish before letting it hang back over the fire, turning it over slowly while throwing silly faces back at Ivy—which she guessed was the face she made when she saw the fish.  Ivy couldn’t believe she was in love with such an idiot, then she wondered how an insult could sound so fond in her mind when applied to Harley and wow she really was in that deep, huh?

“How do you know when a fish is cooked enough? My arm hurts.” Harley whined, pouting as she twirled the stick. The fish was black around the edges, but Ivy doubted the middle was cooked enough yet. “Here.” She said, reaching over Harley to take the stick. She nearly toppled on top of the girl as Harley jumped back in surprise. Ivy and Harley fumbled with the wood, each trying to grab a hold of it before it could fall into the fire, but of course that’s what happened anyways.

“Shit!” Ivy hissed at the same time Harley let out a deafening scream, sticking her hand directly into the flames. Ivy watched in horror as the girl grabbed it last minute, immediately dropping it to the ground near the fire as she cursed, holding her burnt hand to her chest. Ivy hurried over to inspect the wound, sighing in relief at the red scar. It could’ve been much worse, but still, that was a close one.

“What were you thinking?!” Ivy huffed, diving into the nearby tent till she found the extra cooler with bars of ice cream inside. She couldn’t be more thankful for Harley’s food cravings, she thought, grabbing the cold package and sprinting back to the girl. She held it against her friend’s hand, giving Harley a look of disbelief. She didn’t seem to be too fazed by the wound, instead giving Ivy a sheepish grin. “Well hey, I didn’t go through all that hard work of catchin’ the bastard for nothin’, right?” She said, glancing over at the smoking fish.

Ivy shook her head with a laugh, removing the ice cream and replacing it instead with a wet rag, tying it around Harley’s hand. “Okay, well, just be careful next time, alright?” She said, patting Harley’s shoulder as she bent down to pick up the fish. She felt Harley’s eyes on her from behind, and made sure to slowly come back up, turning around with the stick and fish in hand. Harley’s eyes snapped back to her face, and Ivy blushed as she wondered where the girl’s eyes had been before.

Probably just a misunderstanding, she thought, as Harley quickly took the stick from her, scuttling inside the tent. Ivy took a deep breath in before following after her, helping the girl look for some cutlery. All they could find were three plastic forks and a knife. Well, better than nothing. “Do we have to gut it?” Harley asked, prodding at the fish with the prongs of one of the forks, her face scrunched up in disgust.

Ivy smiled, picking up another fork and easing beside Harley to help. “Well, my mother did try to teach me how to do it before, lets see if I remember correctly…” Ivy murmured, taking the knife and digging the blunt, sharp end into the bottom edge of the fish. There was a bit of trouble getting it in, but Harley helped hold the body still as Ivy made a smooth cut down the side. The scales and flesh peeled off rather unsmoothly but Ivy gave herself a pat on the back for being able to do it at all.

After both sides were done, Ivy threw the bones and head into some nearby bushes before bringing the edible bits back by the fire. Harley was waiting there with a smile and a fork in her hand, and as soon as Ivy sat down her friend snatched a piece from her, teeth ripping off a large bite of the flesh. Ivy snorted and dug into her own food with more slow ease, nibbling at the side of it before taking a small bite. It tasted foul on her tongue, like rotten meat. She immediately spat it out, scrubbing at her tastebuds with the hem of her shirt.

“That tastes like shit!” She exclaimed as Harley laughed away, taking Ivy’s fish and eating it herself. Ivy cringed at the sight of Harley digging into the food like it was the best meal she’d ever had. It puzzled her, but then again this was Harley, the girl wasn’t exactly known for acting ‘normal.’ “This is delicious, red, you’re just picky.” Harley sniffed, licking her lips as she popped the last bit of meat into her mouth.

“I’m gonna stick with the sandwiches…” Ivy found said sandwiches scattered on the ground still from where they dumped them from the cooler, and with a sigh she scooped them up, placing all but one into the other container. When she returned back to the fire, Harley was singing a soft tune under her breath, laying on the ground while a lazy hand rubbed circles on her full stomach. Ivy sat next to her friend quietly, maneuvering onto her side and propping her chin on her hand, gazing down at the girl from a comfortable, small distance away as she took a bite of her sandwich.

“We’re not sleeping on the ground again, are we?” Ivy mused, and Harley paused her singing to glance up at Ivy, blue eyes lit up with a calm sort of amusement, nothing too spastic and out of control (for now). Ivy liked seeing her more calmed down; she felt like it was the most real side to the girl, one that she didn’t just show to anyone. “No, but we’ll still have to be sleepin' together. That bother you?” The question seemed off to Ivy, like there was some hidden meaning underneath. Maybe that was just her paranoid, love struck mind trying to convince her of deeper possibilities, though.

“Not at all, Harls. We’re friends, remember?” Ivy said with a lopsided smile, words faltering near the end. The word friend sounded so vague to her—a friend could be anyone, someone you meet up with once a month for coffee, a close acquaintance—but their relationship felt different than that, more deep and close. It wasn’t just a friendship, but it was hard to find a term to label their relationship correctly, so she was forced to opt for simplicity instead of anxiety.

“Oh, yeah. Course we are.” Harley said, seeming to deflate slightly at Ivy’s words, head falling back as her eyes looked away. Ivy nervously wondered if she said something wrong, but before she had the chance to come to any sort of conclusion Harley seemed to cheer back up, bouncing back onto her feet. “Lets get drunk!” She said excitedly, eyes bright with mischief. Ivy knew Harley was impulsive for the fun of it, but there was something off about the girl that she couldn’t place or figure out.

The glimmer in Harley’s eyes looked more like tears, and her laugh sounded wet. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? Getting drunk in the middle of the woods?”  Ivy asked, swallowing the rest of her sandwich before reaching out to grab gently at Harley’s arm to help ground her. Harley looked annoyed and upset by her words, but that expression was gone before Ivy could analyze it completely, and a careless smile and attitude sprang right back into place.

“C’mon, red, don’t be so modest.” The blonde giggled and pulled her arm free so she could dig through the cooler, finding a few bottles of vodka that Ivy hadn’t even known were hidden there.  Harley was preparing for this? Well, she was surprised her best friend hadn’t even told her anything about it. Harley was usually the type to spill her own secrets accidentally, and there was no point keeping this from Ivy in the first place.

“Alright, fine…” Ivy sighed, giving into the temptation of a good drink. God knows she needed one to survive this rollercoaster of emotions Harley had strapped her on for. The blonde cheered and handed Ivy a bottle, plopping next to her friend as she opened it up. Ivy popped open her own drink, tilting her head back and letting the clear liquid pour down her throat in one, two, large gulps. As she let her head loll back into place, she saw Harley do the same, except with much more bigger gulps. Her eyes widened as the blonde nearly drank half the bottle before she stopped to take in deep, panting breaths.

“Geez, Harls, you drink like an addict.” Ivy laughed, patting her friend on the shoulder as Harley gave her a grin. “Don’t drink so fast, though, I’m not having you vomit on the fire.” Harley snorted at that, nudging into Ivy with her whole body till both girls fell back in fits of giggles, lying on top of each other as they took swigs from their respected bottles.

Ivy didn’t notice when the alcohol had taken affect, could never tell. She just felt this calm, tingly buzz, like her whole body was moving through sludge. Her tongue became more loose, soothed by the liquor. “Hey, d’you wanna take shots out my belly button?” Harley giggled from her place on top of Ivy, face buried who knows where in the red sea of hair spread across her shoulders and the grass.

Ivy didn’t know how to respond at first, a bit surprised at the suggestion. It seemed frisky, even for Harley. But these were just normal, college girl things, right? She didn’t need to make a big deal about it, nope. “Yeah, sure.” She slurred, shoving Harley off her with sluggish force. She had a perfect view of the night sky, and the beautiful view of the girl below it. The girl currently pulling up Ivy’s shirt till it was budged up under her chest.

Wow, this was indeed a sight to behold. The girl she loved, pouring cold alcohol into the small crater of her stomach before bending down to lick and suck it up. Was this a good idea? Probably not. But they were both tittering like idiots, and Ivy couldn’t be bothered. When would she ever object to having a pretty girl’s tongue on her. Ha, yeah, Harley was really pretty. And hot. Should this be hot? Maybe Ivy had a few kinks she wasn’t aware of until now.

“Does it taste good?” Ivy laughed as Harley positioned herself with her knees on either side of Ivy’s thighs, hands buried in the grass beside the redhead’s head, holding her body up. It was hard not to look down, but if Ivy did that… Things might go wrong. She had little self control when alcohol was in the mix, so of course she looked anyways. Harley’s lips were slurping up (rather obnoxiously) the vodka from her stomach, tongue poking out to scoop up the liquid she kept pouring in. It felt ticklish and warm, but not bad. She liked having Harley so close, touching her like this. It was a one sided feeling, she knew, but her mind kept awfully supplying mind boggling theories that it might be mutual.

It was the alcohol, she told herself. Nothing more.

“Hey, are you done?” Ivy laughed, watching as Harley took shot after shot off her. It was rather amusing, and weirdly beginning to become a big turn on for her. The girl paused between drinking the liquid up, eyes snapping upwards to look directly into Ivy’s. They seemed hazy, and off. Not as amusing as before.

“Do you wan’ me to stop/?” Harley asked, poking her tongue out to lick from Ivy’s happy trail, up to her belly button, where it scooped the vodka back into her mouth. All while Harley kept direct eye contact with her. Shit. The redhead’s mouth watered at the sight, chest constricting till she felt unable to breathe properly. It was alluring, and incredibly hot. But… Did Harley actually want what she was insinuating? No, she couldn’t...

“N-No we shouldn’t be doing this…” Ivy muttered, rolling over and crawling out from under Harley. She stood up slowly, swaying as her vision went in and out of a blur. She felt sick, but couldn’t tell if it was from the amount of vodka she drank or the fact she may have just ruined their friendship completely. She looked back at Harley, who was sitting there in shocked confusion, and what seemed to be regret.

“Pammy, I’m real sorry. I-I’m just so lonely, ya know?” Harley’s quivering voice spoke up, and Ivy felt even more nauseated at the words. So that was it, huh? She was just a replacement of Jack? Just someone to keep the bed warm? Fuck, that hurt. She felt tears sting her eyes, but she forced them away. Harley didn’t know any better. Neither of them could be blamed in this situation.

“It’s alright…” Ivy sighed, staggering back towards her shaky friend. Her own muscles twitched between her skin, anxiety crawling throughout her body, and sadness sweeping over her heart. “But don’t you ever use me like that, Harls. Never.” She didn’t think she’d let those words slip, would usually hold them in to save the happy mood. But she was proud she let her alcohol induced mind speak up, was glad to see the girl nod solemnly and pull her into a bone crushing hug.

It still hurt, painfully so. Every inch of their bodies pressed together sent shivers down her spine, and left her heart teetering on the edge of cardiac arrest. But she hated to admit it was nice, no matter how much it hurt, it still made her relax, sigh, and hug back.

“Let’s get in bed.” Ivy murmured, pulling back with a soft smile on her face. Harley smiled back with less confidence, lips seeming to have trouble staying turned up. It fell quickly, but Ivy didn’t ask why. She knew how bad Harley must feel about the whole thing. There was no need to push her about it.

So they helped each other back to the tent, Harley pausing to puke along the way, before they collapsed on the inflatable mattress together in a heap of limbs. Ivy separated hers, moving onto her own side of the bed. Harley took the hint and did the same, both girls laying in silence. “I’m sorry…” She heard the girl’s soft whisper. “You really are nicer than Jack, though.” The words washed over her like cold water, dumped over her head. But they warmed her heart, heated it up till she was sure it’d melt and she’d be killed from the burning love. She turned on her other side to face Harley, words already slipping from her mouth, “Then why won’t you—” She cut herself off at the sight of the sleeping girl, face flushed and hair a mess.

The words died in her throat, but she forced them out anyways. “Then why won’t you pick me?” It was a quiet confession, uttered to deaf ears. But it felt like a great relief to finally get them off her shoulders, and she prayed like a child upon every star shining above them that her wish would come true.

 


 

Ivy had a bad habit of not being able to lay still in bed. When she was drunk it wasn’t a problem, but at 4am… It just might be. Harley was somehow in the same fetal position as last time, curled up on the side of the bed with only one leg out of place, spread over the mattress. Ivy was getting quite annoyed with the limb—so annoyed, in fact, that when she felt the heel kick into her hip bone, she pushed it back with a huff. As soon as her hands let go, though, the foot snapped back almost instantly, knocking her in the jaw.

Who knew a woman could be so dangerous in her sleep? “Fuck…” She muttered, rubbing her sore jaw as she glared at the offending limb pressing against her side. It was evil, probably possessed. Ivy wouldn’t be surprised if she was murdered by the thing if she slept like this every night—as in, sleeping with Harley every night. Her eyes drifted over to the sleeping girl, her face smushed against her pillow with drool dribbling out the side of her mouth. Would it be worth it? Well, Ivy wouldn’t mind getting kicked in the face every once and a while to see the dorky face Harley made when she slept, or to hear the slow, inhale and exhale of her breath, signaling a perfect, peaceful rest. She didn’t care how much the girl drooled, as long as she got to clean it up in the morning.

The thought was kind of gross, but yet Ivy’s hand itched for any form of intimacy between them. A touch, a casual brush… Anything—shit, she’d wipe Harley’s ass if the girl told her to (but she hoped she wouldn’t get that desperate). Point being, she’d do anything and everything to keep Harley in close reach. She loved her, and deep down she knew that she deserved her—that Jack never did, the asshole. How could anyone hurt such a lovely, quirky girl like her? Simply irresistible, everything about her. From her squeaky laugh to her excited, jittery rants. And then she wondered… How could anyone hit a girl like that?

A loud yawn broke Ivy out of her trance somewhat, and she watched as Harley stretched and wiggled closer unknowingly to the other girl. Ivy could feel her heart hammering against her ribs, nearly bursting as Harley snuggled against her. Harley’s arm was draped over Ivy, a leg swung over her hips and the girl’s face pressed to her neck.

She tensed up immediately, uncomfortable at first with the close proximity, but as she fluttered her eyes half-closed and gazed down at the girl pressed against her, she felt herself begin to relax, muscles easing from their binds of tightness, and a happy sigh exhaling quietly into the morning air. She let her eyes fall shut completely, letting her mind wander to what could be. It felt so right, and she was tired of questioning their relationship. Why couldn’t she just… Go for it? The only thing keeping her back was her concern for Harley and her doubt of if these feelings were mutual or not.

“Mm, good morning.” Warm breath tickled Ivy’s neck as Harley spoke, and Ivy somehow managed not to fall off the bed in surprise. She looked down at the half-awaken girl, and regretted it immediately. Harley was giving her a big, tired smile, eyes barely open and still groggy from sleep. God, Ivy was a sucker for morning Harley and her mussed up hair and her dopey grin and her beautiful—

“Well gee, I was at least expecting a hello. Watcha thinkin’ bout up there?” Ivy wasn’t expecting the sharp rap of Harley’s fist against her head, knocking her off her trail of thought. The fist almost instantly fell open to a hand once more as Ivy yelped in pain, a flat palm soothing over the shock of pain. They giggled as Harley pat her head, then stopped when the pats turned into just… Rubbing, and petting.

Ivy felt the girl’s fingers comb through her messy hair, nearly purring at the comfort her touch brought.  It was soft, so, naturally, she leaned into it. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she turned her face into the warmth, lips brushing against the soft skin of the girl. She heard the hitch in Harley’s breath as her hand stilled, and when Ivy opened her eyes, she could see the light of curiosity and affection in Harley’s gaze. Maybe—maybe it wasn’t just the loneliness that kept them apart.

“Kiss me.” Ivy said. And Harley did.

Their lips met in a gentle kiss that felt too good to be true. God, how many times had she wanted to do this before? Ivy could remember tidbits of their past, small moments of a light happiness that bound them together in love and peace. Harley was there, always. She had been from the start. Sure, now with their mouths pressed together, moving leisurely against one another, she was there for her in a physically affectionate way, but their souls were always tied together.

“Tell me you want me, only me.” Ivy whispered against her lips, pulling back just enough so their lips were merely brushing together, eyes connected and staring into each other souls. Ivy could see how broken Harley’s was; cracked and spilling the darkness of pain into her bloodstream and throughout her body. Could Ivy help that? Could she patch those wounds? No, no she couldn’t. But she would still be there while they healed. Always.

“I don’t know, red.” Harley said with a wet laugh, eyes darting around the room, away from Ivy. Panic. Ivy lifted a hand to cup the girl’s cheek, thumb brushing in soft circles across her skin. She let Harley think while nervous knots twisted her stomach, anticipation tipping her mind into fear. She wanted Harley so desperately, and she prayed that her love wouldn’t be wasted on someone who didn’t want to return it, or wanted to give that love to someone else.

“Okay.” Came the small voice, Harley’s eyes finally finding hers in a soft, hesitant gaze. There wasn’t darkness spilling from her soul anymore. Not completely. Ivy could see the light there as well, the gold mashing with the black. Ivy wanted to drown out that tar of pain, and help Harley as best as she could. Her heart burned and her chest tightened as the girl gave her the most precious, small smile. It held hope. Hope for the future of their relationship, and their fate. Ivy wished that look would stay painted across Harley’s features forever.

“Thank you.” Ivy whispered, eyes stinging as Harley pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek, then her lips. She felt so good, so pure, so /lovely/. Ivy rubbed their noses together while she felt her lips tug into a smile. It felt so surreal to finally be kissing the love of her life, and to even be calling her that in her mind was dizzying. She felt drunk in love, and blessed to have such a sad, beautiful girl in her arms.

“We’re going back today.” Ivy said. “Are you ready for that?” Ivy hated the way Harley closed off almost immediately, the light in her eyes dimming as the dark clouds rolled over the joy of the moment. Ivy gently squeezed her arm, eyeing the light, fading bruise on the underside of the limb. Her heart bled for Harley, blood and anger mixing in with the girl’s open wounds, intoxicating them with her own pain and sorrow.

“I’ll be fine, but could you…” Harley paused, taking a deep, stuttering breath before she continued. “Could you come with me to see J?” Ivy was shocked at the question. Harley had always gone there spontaneously when she was upset or needy. She always insisted that Ivy leave her alone, or just went without even telling anyone else. Ivy only saw the man around campus. He would stroll past them with a dark gleam in his eyes, a gleam that Ivy would’ve taken care of herself if it weren’t for Bruce Wayne—the rich jock that prowled the grounds for any bad behavior. Ivy didn’t like him much, but she did appreciate his efforts, especially when it meant Jack getting the shit beat out of him when he said or did any rude, stupid shit.

“Of course I will.” Ivy spoke softly as to not spook the girl, pressing a kiss to her forehead as her hand trailed over the back of her silk pajamas, rubbing over the smooth fabric. What would Ivy do when she saw the man? Would she hurt him? Scare him? She wanted to. She really did. But she didn’t think that was the reason Harley wanted her there. No, she had to be Harley’s crutch, not her shield. The girl was strong enough to do what she needed to, and if she fell, Ivy would be there to pick her up again.

They breathed together for a few more minutes before Harley was calm enough to gain more control of her emotions. The girl smiled brightly and pulled Ivy in for a bruising kiss. She felt the slide of something rough in her mouth, eyes widening as she realized it was Harley’s tongue. Her eyes fluttered shut as she kissed back fervently and with hesitant care, fingers threading through the blonde’s messy hair, pulling her closer. They stayed like that, kissing slowly and quietly—save for the few sounds Harley managed to pull out of her. Ones of pleasure, and neediness. It was even better when the other girl got vocal, every whisper and plea pulling on the strings of Ivy’s heart.

They only stopped for air, eyes connecting with an electric, heated gaze that was only calmed by the small, sad laugh popping out of Harley. Ivy was confused at first before she saw the tears that sprung to the girl’s eyes. “Harls? You alright?” She murmured, brows furrowing together in worry as the blonde wiped at her eyes, laugh turning less wild and more… Sad.

“I’m sorry I just—I’m not used to this.” Harley breathed out, smiling softly. Fuck, she looked so hurt. “He was never so gentle, and I never felt that safe.” Ivy could no longer stand the look on Harley’s face, pulling the girl in for a soft hug. Harley didn’t cry like she was expecting her to. She hugged back with the force of a kitten, which wasn’t much at all.  But that was alright. It was only morning but as Ivy released the girl, she could tell she was exhausted already.

“Let’s get going, okay?” Ivy said, smiling and pulling Harley out of the bed with her. They changed quickly, then started packing their things. Ivy let Harley put the stuff from the tent inside the car as she cleaned up their outside mess, throwing the empty beer bottles and garbage into a trash bag. It was disgusting that some people wouldn’t even think about getting rid of the filth littering the beautiful green earth. Harley wasn’t too big on cleaning but when it came to Ivy’s need for nature’s health, the girl had to play along.

When everything was packed up and tucked in the bed of the truck, they travelled down the paths of dirt till they were freed into the open roads, leaving behind moments of joy and comfort, and diving back into the cool water of fear and pain. But it was alright, this time. They weren’t wading through the murkiness alone, too scared to reach out. No, they were holding hands now and figuring things out together.

Ivy squeezed Harley’s limp hand, glancing over at the sleeping girl. She was peaceful for now, and Ivy savored the warmth in her fingers, knowing all too well the chill that took over them when they were on campus. “I’m here for you.” She murmured, knowing Harley wasn’t able to hear her, but she hoped it struck a cord in her heart. Hoped it made her soul burn just a little brighter with the comfort of her words.

Hoped that love was enough, just for now.

 


 

When they arrived back to the college campus, it was just rounding to be afternoon. Ivy parked, looking at Harley in the passenger seat next to her. She hated disrupting her sleep, she looked so cute like this: face relaxed, eyes shut, hair frizzy and messed up. So much love was in her heart by just the sight of the sleeping beauty alone. She would give anything for her to be happy.

“Wake up, Harls.” Ivy spoke, stirring the girl from her sleep. Blue, foggy eyes, met hers as Harley sat up slowly. Ivy watched the cogs in her head turn, catching up with the present moments and events as the blanket of sleep fell off the shoulders of her mind. The redhead gave the girl some time before she spoke up again, in a much more quiet voice, “Harley? Do you want to go out now?”

Nothing but the still, hunched over form of Harley at first before her limp head shook. She wasn’t ready after all, Ivy thought with a sad sigh. She reached out to run her hand up the girl’s back, fingers twirling gently around the short baby hairs at the nape of her neck before venturing further into the trenches of golden silk. So soft… Always so soft.

“Can we just get it over with?” Harley spoke finally, voice a small murmur in the quiet of the car. Ivy withdrew her hand reluctantly from the girl’s hair, sliding it over to cup Harley’s cheek, pulling her closer so she could plant a kiss to the rosy skin. It was quick, but it was a show of support and love. One she could see Harley take in slowly, back straightening and face peaking out from behind blonde strands of hair. A smile was aimed her way, filling her up with affection and joy. It reached the brim, taking over Ivy’s mind enough to make her get out of the car, stumble to Harley’s side on weak legs and fling open the car door.

Harley’s smile was practically blinding, now, a radiant glow that not even the sun’s rays of light could ever compare to. Nothing was more beautiful than Harley’s happiness. Ivy reached into the vehicle and undid the girl’s seatbelt before sliding one arm under her thighs and the other around her back, hauling her out of the car. Somehow she managed to keep them both upright, even through the giggles and laughs that made Ivy stumble along the way.

“You tryin’ to kill me, red?!” Harley cackled as Ivy lost her balance for a moment, nearly knocking them into a tree. Instead of apologizing she only laughed harder, falling onto the soft grass beneath them. Harley landed on top of her with a thud, knocking the wind out of Ivy with a small sound of pain. Then there were warm lips on hers, and the discomfort of pain didn’t seem nearly as bad anymore.

Ivy was thankful there weren’t any students around (no one stayed over summer break) to see Harley’s hand sneak under her shirt, feeling up her sides as a hot tongue slithered into her open mouth and holy fuck did that feel good. Ivy kissed back fervently, arching into the touch as their tongues glided together through the slide of their lips. It wasn’t until a familiar voice sounded that they were pulled out of their trance of lust back into the shock of the real world.

“Are you guys going to fuck right here or something?” Selina Kyle asked, eyebrow raised as she eyed them with a gleam of mirth in her eyes. Ivy hoped her friend didn’t know about the camping trip-- Selina wasn’t very fond of being left out on important things, but if she did find out it was pretty obvious it was more of a personal trip just between the two girls.

“What the hell?! I didn’t know you stayed for the summer!” Harley squealed, jumping off of Ivy and running over to Selina, wrapping her in a tight hug. Selina squirmed, face a grimace before a soft smile spread across her face and she hugged back. Typical Selina.

Ivy felt a slight burn of jealousy in her heart before she saw Harley pull away and look back to her, eyes soft and filled with something like love. The girl pranced back over to her, hand outstretched and a giant grin taking over her face. Ivy gripped the hand, and when she was pulled up, Harley automatically intertwined their fingers, molding them together in a warm embrace. It felt nice.

They talked for a while, dancing around certain subjects until their newfound relationship was mentioned. “You guys look happy together. I’m happy you’re done with that asshole.” Selina said, comment directed towards Harley. Ivy felt the twitch of the girl’s fingers pressed between hers, and gave them a small squeeze of comfort. Harley squeezed back much harder as she responded, “Me, too. Ivy is much better—and hotter.”

She nearly choked at Harley’s words, whipping her head towards the laughing girl. She smiled and leaned in to press a kiss below the girl’s red ears. “Not as hot as you.” She murmured, letting her teeth nip quickly at the stub of flesh before she pulled away with a wink. Harley’s face was flushed and her eyes were smiling along with her lips. What a beautiful sight.

“You’re both disgusting.” Selina snorted, but there was a grin on her face as well. She looked happy for them, nothing but support and love in her eyes. Ivy wasn’t used to such acceptance. “I have plans with Bruce, so I’ll see you two later?” Harley waggled her eyebrows as Ivy rolled her eyes.

“Have fun, and be safe.” Ivy said, pulling Selina in for a short, snug group hug, before the woman walked away towards the parking lot, out of sight. Ivy turned towards Harley slowly, noticing the girl’s somewhat upset attitude now. She immediately brought the warmth in her hand to her lips, kissing softly the trembling fingers.

“That was nice, hm?” Ivy murmured, thumb smoothing over the back of Harley’s hand. It was much smaller than hers, but there was a white scar marred across it, making the skin more rough. Ivy kissed that, too. It wouldn’t heal the wound, but it was an acknowledgment of the pain her lover suffered. An appreciation of how far she’s come. It made Harley shake harder.

“Harls, are you sure you want to do this today?” Ivy asked, glancing over the girl’s closed features. She was preparing her walls, surrounding herself with the comfort of apathy. Completely stoic. Ivy hated seeing her that way, but if that’s what she had to do to see that asshole, she’d let her. It didn’t seem like the most healthy coping mechanism, but you can’t go to war with no armor on. Ivy understood, somewhat.

“Let’s go.” Harley said, voice steady and calm. She wasn’t shaking anymore, but Ivy didn’t know how long that would last. As their eyes met, her heart broke even more. Harley’s eyes were so dull, so colorless and pale. They needed to do this now, Ivy told herself. It was for the best, even if her mind kept screaming at her to smuggle Harley far away from the pain of this place and hide her in a house of comfort and love. She’d keep her there forever, it’d be nice. But there were strings to be cut, wounds to be healed, and things to be said. That house would still be standing when everything was over.

Together they went, hand in hand towards the dorms, up the stairs, and right to the front door of his room. Ivy raised her fist to knock, but Harley’s hand had already flown to the wooden barrier, rapping her first against it. It echoed in the quiet of the hallway, and a humming voice came from behind the door as it was slowly opened, mumbles of words incoherent before they finally formed in a vicious sentence.

“Well, what a pleasant surprise!” The green-haired man laughed. “Come in, I see you brought a friend this time.” Harley’s hand was squeezing hers with a forceful grip, a look of rage and pure fear written on her face. Ivy needed to be gentle, for her. The calm within the storm. So she turned towards Jack, a deadly smile crawling up her lips.

“We’re not whores, and you shouldn’t treat us like we are.” Ivy said, voice dripping with venom. “Now my good friend Harley has something she’d like to say. Right, Harls?” Her words were softer when directed towards the girl, an attempt to soothe the nerves that had her shaking in Ivy’s hand. Harley looked to her for a moment, giving her a small smile before she directed a blank look to Jack. The man was leaning against the door with a twisted smile curling the edge of his lips, eyes a dark abyss filled with curiosity and sick pleasure.

“We’re over for real, now, J. I’m done with how you treat me.” Harley said, face white and eyes watering. She looked so pained and numb, and Ivy squeezed her hand harder to ground the girl. What a powerful, beautiful soul she had. Ivy would tell her that later—remind her how proud she was of Harley doing this.

Jack didn’t change at all, though, face still carved into an evil smirk. But Ivy saw the change in his eyes. They darkened with anger, and betrayal. “You’re kidding, right?” Jack slowly drawled out, a slender eyebrow raised. Harley gave a sharp shake of the head, and Ivy figured that was all the girl could muster at the moment. She knew that if any word was to fall from the girl’s mouth it would be broken, and strained. Jack couldn’t see that, Ivy realized. Harley didn’t want him to see how hurt she was by this.

Ivy immediately slipped in between the two before Jack could take a step—for she knew he was about to. His foot was already twitching forward with the purpose of inflicting pain. No, Ivy wouldn’t let him cause any more harm. She hated being so close to the man, but the farther the distance between him and Harley, the better. “She means it.” Ivy said, narrowing her eyes as she saw the man’s own be swallowed in hatred—for her, or for Harley, she couldn’t tell. Probably for both.

“I could care less what that slut likes to do anyways, but when she comes running back to me—well, let’s just say we’re meant to be, darling.” Jack’s eyes shifted to Harley, peaking over Ivy’s shoulder. She moved to block his view, a low growl ripping its way through her throat. It was a warning. But Jack went on with no fear, “A dog always finds it’s way back home no matter how long it’s been lost.”

And that was it. The last fucking straw. “Can you give us a few minutes?” She asked, directing the words in a gentle but stern voice to Harley, who was all but shaking behind her. As much as she despised having her back turned to Jack, she shuffled around completely to face Harley, unsure of whether it’d be safe to touch her or not for fear she’d be triggered. “Wait in the car, okay babe? You did well.”

Harley nodded, throwing a vengeful glance towards Jack before she stormed off down the hall. Ivy watched her go, the tenseness easing a bit in a soft sort of worry for the girl. She quickly got a hold of herself though when she remembered the man behind her, putting her guard up once more as she swiveled around to face the pompous ass of a man.

“Stay away from her, do you understand?” She hissed, stepping into Jack’s personal space as she tried to intimidate him. He didn’t budge, though, grin spreading only wider across his face. Ivy wanted to smash it against the doorframe till it was ruined and bloody. The fucking bastard deserved it, but… She didn’t want to put that stress on Harley.

“Or what, hm? Will you step on me with your heals? Poison me with a kiss?” He leaned closer, head bowed to cast shadows across his slim, bony features. It disgusted Ivy, but she stayed in place, giving a slight push to the man to make him back off from the attempted kiss.

“If you’re not scared of me, then you should be scared of Bruce.” That seemed to strike a chord with Jack. He immediately tensed up, body rigged as his eyes darted behind Ivy and down the halls, a paranoid reaction that had a smile tugging at the corner of Ivy’s lips. “I’ll get him to beat your ass everyday if you don’t back off. And don’t doubt for a second that I can’t hurt you just as badly.”

The burning eyes of the man fixed back on Ivy, emotion swirling around in the dark orbs—a mess that she fumbled to understand. “Do you think I care what big bad Bruce Wayne does?” He snarled. “I quite enjoy his kisses, so please do tell him to give me more.” Kisses? Did he mean…? No. No, there was no way this man was that fucked up.

“You mean—the pain? You like it?” She said tentatively, taking a step back, just so she could get some space to breathe in the tense, humid space between them. She was suffocating on whatever the man had revolving around him—anger and violence swarmed about his presence in a confusing frenzy. “Or is it just Bruce Wayne? Are you that desperate?” It was amusing to watch the way his pupils grew in an obvious answer of ‘yes.’ He really was that pathetic.

“So you just thought you could use Harley like that? Treat her like a toy to get what you wanted?!” Ivy’s voice grew louder, and she no longer cared about the confusion the man caused, unafraid to step closer and get right up in his beaming face. The grin was still there, but wobbling, ready to fall. Good. “Let me tell you something… Bruce doesn’t give a shit about you. He thinks you’re a disgusting piece of slime. The filth he feels obligated to clean up every day. Understand?”

And finally, his face changed into one of anger and hurt, something Ivy could use to her advantage. Everyone had a weak spot, and he revealed his too openly like a moron.  “You mean the same to me, too. And believe me when I say, my fist isn’t going to feel nearly as good as his. So back off.” With that, she gave a hard shove to the man’s chest, causing him to stumble backwards, head hitting the doorway with a small thud. It made her smirk.

“Oh, and by the way? Hurting a girl isn’t the way to get a guy’s attention. Maybe show some actual personality and you might get somewhere.” She left before he could say anything back—try and fumble around with her thoughts. She wouldn’t let him get in. And she was satisfied that she left him with that pain, because she knew that hurt the worst. Unrequited love could leave you up at night, overthinking every little detail about yourself, and the interactions with your interest. She hoped he felt every ounce of pain Harley had to deal with—even if it was in a different way.

Ivy knew that pain, too. But she didn’t have to deal with it anymore. When she got back to the car and saw Harley’s shaking form inside, looking up at her and clinging to her like the world was going to end… She didn’t have to worry if there was no love from the girl. Ivy wasn’t her savior, and Harley didn’t treat her like such. No, she was Harley’s lover, someone who could calm her down and be there for when she needed it. But they were working on themselves, too. Working everyday to piece their shattered hearts back together. Ivy would share a piece if needed, and Harley would do the same. Maybe that’s what love was.

But there were the happier parts, too. Like when Harley came home with her after she offered to move in, after the talk with Jack. She brought her suitcases in, dumped a wardrobe full of clothes onto her bed and began cleaning up—until a sock hit Ivy’s head, and they started throwing littered garments at each other, laughing and ducking behind furniture until Ivy snuck up behind the girl and kissed her neck. That was the love Ivy wanted and had, and she didn’t care about the messy bits in between, or the small fights that were to come in the future. As long as she held Harley in her arms as the day came to a close, they’d be fine. They’d deal with the shit, and in the end, they’d have each other. Always.