Jonny Frost sighed as he ordered a double scotch and a colourful cocktail, with an equally colourful name. For a henchman of his calibre, he’d been embarrassed to to seen with it.
“I just wanted to do something nice for her.” Harley pouted, slumping into her arms resting on the sticky bar. She glanced at her drink but still didn’t touch it. It didn’t feel right to be getting drunk without her best gal at her side. At least while things were still so rocky.
Harley just wanted to make things right. Coming home drunk and stinking of disappointment probably wouldn’t help that one bit. She wondered how things had got so messed up for a minute when a red smile flashed across her mind, interrupting her thoughts. She winced, internally bracing herself against the emotional fallout from the memory.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Jonny said suddenly, noticing his companion withdraw into herself. He’d seen her act like this in the past, back when the boss was angry.
The Joker could make anyone turn in on themselves. Jonny had always been surprised that Harley had managed to survive him so long. Despite what she thought, the kid was strong.
He picked up his beer and took a large swig. “No one ever tell you that?” He added. Sometimes he forgot how young Harley was. When she’d been with the boss she’d always seemed so mature and commanding-well maybe not when she was by his side, but certainly when she was carrying out his orders. The simple fact that the Joker trusted her to lead his goons said enough. She wasn’t quite as expendable as the Joker wanted people to believe he felt she was.
Something shone in Harley’s eyes that he couldn’t place before she responded. “Joker used to say the road to hell was paved with nothin’ but a smile.”
Jonny shrugged, “makes it sound like he wanted to go to hell.”
“I’m not sure he didn’t think we were already there.”
Jonny grunted in response, raising his glass in a toast like fashion. Harley raised hers to meet it, taking a swig once the glasses had chinked together.
“Sure, feels like hell sometimes.”
Harley started to play with the umbrella in her cocktail and Jonny realised she was uncomfortable and restless in the silence that had adopted the bar. He always felt more comfortable in the silence. It was safer for a man in his line of work, especially with a boss like the Joker.
"So, uh," he started uncomfortably. He never had been good at playing the emotional support role. "What exactly did you do?"
Harley threw her arms up in an exasperated fashion. Her high pitched voice drawing the eyes of the other bar patrons. Jonny hoped she hadn't come out here to start a brawl. Though Jonny was itching for a fight, he wasn't itching to head back to prison. He'd been with Harley enough to know that her more emotionally driven crime sprees never ended with him as a free man or without casualties.
He noticed some of the eyes looked hungry for a fight themselves. He had been mistaken to think that no one would recognise them in here. He suddenly felt more like her body guard than an estranged acquaintance.
"Uh, Harl?" He prompted, hoping she might take the hint and tone it down a little. He supposed that was like asking a fire to stop raging. Still, a little part of him hoped. From what he had heard the little jester was far more reasonable now that she was rocking around with the one and only Poison Ivy.
Jonny suddenly felt a stab of fear, what if the Joker thought he was a traitor? He'd have to spin this as some kind of intel mission if the clown prince ever found out. Rumour had it that the Joker was dead but Jonny didn't believe the man could ever be killed. He'd be back and Gotham wouldn't know what hit it.
"Right!" Harley shrieked. "Right." She corrected, quiet and even toned. "Public space. Inside voice." The mantra sounded more like it had been a common scold. Poison Ivy's influence? Jonny didn't realise the two of them got out so often.
While appreciative of her attempt to be a normal citizen, Jonny was eager to keep her on track and get whatever burden she had off her chest. The sooner she ran back to Ivy to make amends, the easier it would be for him to explain this encounter in the future. "Just tell me what you did, it can't be worse than things you've done in the past to the boss..?" Or so he hoped.
Her expression told him that might have been the wrong direction to take with an attempt to encourage Harley to confide in him.
"You're still loyal to him! Ain't ya!" She accused, the shrill notes returning. She gulped down her cocktail and stared at him. A familiar rage boiling beneath her bright blue eyes. Jonny gulped, feeling as though he was against the ropes.
"Uh, I'm just cautious is all. I'm on parole see." Jonny showed her his ankle bracelet and shrugged. "I have a curfew and everything these days."
"Jonny I don't think I've know a time when you haven't been on parole." Harley replied deadpan. "'Cept maybe when you're behind bars." Harley laughed at her own joke and the tension seemed to bleed out of the atmosphere. Despite this her laughter put him on edge. When amused she was even more unpredictable.
"Harley just focus. You wanted to talk about Ivy, you keep whirling around the truth. I think you're afraid to admit whatever it is you've done."
Harley slumped into her chair defeated, Jonny hadn't noticed she'd been sitting so erect until now. She sighed over her empty glass and nodded. "I've been an idiot."
"I went snooping through her stuff- I can't tell ya much because she already went on about how it was a breach of confidence yadda yadda. I just wanted to know more about her."
"Why didn't you just ask her?" He questioned bewildered.
"Never worked for me before. Just like with him. Everyone has a past and everyone knows mine. I just wanted to be closer to her. To understand hers."
"Did you tell her that?"
"I didn't get a chance 'fore she kicked me out." Harley ordered another drink and downed it. Jonny wondered why she didn't just get a pint of cheap beer if she was just going to slam it back like it wasn't worth tasting.
"Sounds like you really upset her."
"I know I did."
"You ain't making amends by sulking here at me."
"I ain't sulking."
"You kind of are." Harley shot him a glare at this before she capitulated. "Y'know maybe you're right. Why'd I never come to ya for advice before?"
Jonny shrugged. "You never seemed to notice me much before unless you wanted heads crushing."
Harley couldn't argue with that but she could go home and try and make up with Ivy. She just wasn't sure her words were apt enough of a gesture. "Speaking of which," her eyes twinkled with the prospect of violence. "Hows about you help me come and steal her something special. You'll even make it back home before your stupid curfew."
"I really don't think you know how my tag works."
"There's a fat stack of money in it for you."
Jonny sighed but now she was talking his language. "Lead the way girlie."