Edward stared down at the page, pencil jigging back and forth between his index and middle fingers. On his left, whole wheat toast and a bowl of fruit sat untouched.
“Butter in the sky…” he murmured, forehead creased; suddenly it smoothed out, and he rolled his eyes. “Aries,” he wrote. “Good Lord.”
“No eggs for you, honey?” Harley said, popping up in front of him; Edward’s gaze remained on the crossword.
“Didn’t like the smell,” he murmured; she dropped her own nose to take a whiff.
“I can’t smell anythin’,” she said, frowning; Edward shrugged.
“The mushrooms aren’t at their best,” he said, a smile playing across his lips as he finally looked up. “Though I could be wrong.”
Harley sighed. “I’ll skip ‘em then. I don’t wanna spend the day hangin’ over the john,” she nodded to the seat opposite. “This seat taken?”
“Be my guest,” he said, looking down to write again; Harley speared a strawberry.
“Pam got tossed in solitary, y’know,” she said conversationally, pointing the fruit at him. “Kickin’ and screamin’.”
“Oh, I know. I was there.”
“Don’t sound like it was her fault.”
“No, she was definitely provoked.”
“Who was the guy?”
“Oh, Boomerang,” she tossed her pigtails from side to side with a giggle. “That asshole.”
Edward cursed and flung down his pencil. “I’ve read the same clue fifteen times.”
“How ‘bout ya pay attention to ya companion, instead - like a gentleman.”
As he raised his head, Harley gave him a winning smile; he snorted.
“You have seeds in your teeth, my dear.”
“Gentleman wouldn’t’ve mentioned it,” she said haughtily, licking her teeth.
“Churlish not to,” he said, tilting his head and dropping his voice. “And yet, even with the detritus of bygone repast lodged in your veneers, you’ve got all the charm in the world.”
“Ya filthy smoothie,” she grinned, flicking a grape at him; he caught and ate it with a supercilious smirk. “I ain’t fallin’ for that, I know ya tricks.”
“Do you now?”
“Ya learned at my knee. Took ya from charmin' facade to smooth operator.”
“Maybe I’ve grown too big for your lap,” he said, stealing another of her grapes; she raised her eyebrows.
“As if. Eat ya breakfast, sassy.”
“Klipe,” he smirked, pulling his tray closer; Harley sneaked a fat strawberry. “Hey!”
“On account,” she grinned, sinking her teeth in. “Y’know, I never knew Boomerang to have some kinda death wish.”
“No,” Edward shook his head as he arranged his fruit by colour. “Just suicidally stupid, I think.”
“Must be, goin’ after Pam. She don’t forget an asshole.”
“If he’s fortunate, she’ll just kill him.”
“It’ll do her humanity damage to kill again,” Harley frowned. “I’ll see if I can talk her ‘round.”
“You do work around the clock, Doctor,” Edward said slyly; she gave him a beatific smile.
“I do what I can.”
“What do you know about George, anyway?”
"I hear he likes to wander ‘round with his dick in his hand, thinkin’ he’s God’s gift to pussy," Harley said, filling her mouth with chunks of melon.
“Yes. And in more ways than one.”
Harley hummed her inquisition out between pursed lips, mouth full; Edward lifted his hand to jab the first two fingers at the cafeteria queue without turning around.
As she turned to look, she was treated to the sight of Harkness waving a guard’s baton around in front of his pants like an erect penis, grinning like an idiot.
"Christ, he's treating this place like a prison instead of a mental institution," Edward said, both of them staring with distaste as Harkness poked the guy in front of them in the ass with the baton.
“What’s he even doin’ here?”
“I’ve yet to find that out.”
"Gimme that," a guard snarled, snatching the baton back and clocking the back of his head with it. Unfazed, Harkness caught sight of Edward and Harley.
“Hey!” grinning, he grabbed a piece of toast, stuffed it in his mouth, and swaggered over. “Well, if it isn’t Eddie baby,” Harkness said, parking himself next to Harley, who gave him a withering look up and down. Edward dusted crumbs off his shoulder with a sigh.
“Ya can’t sit with us,” Harley said, sneering; Harkness gave her an appreciative look.
“Phwoar - always keepin’ a bit of hot fanny within reach for emergencies, dont’cha Niggy?”
“No,” Edward raised a disapproving eyebrow. “And we 86’d that moniker, George. Remember?”
“Beat it, creep,” Harley scoffed.
“Mm. This vixen got a name, Eddie?”
“You know her already. By reputation, if nothing else.”
“May I present,” Edward gestured, “Harley Quinn.”
“Never seen ya outta costume,” he leered.
“Lucky me,” she said, tossing her head.
“Where’s yer bloke?”
“Must make a girl lonely I reckon?”
“Just sayin’ I could be the jack-in-your-box. Knock out the cobwebs.”
Edward rolled his eyes. “Good grief,” he muttered under his breath; Harley finally turned around, setting her glasses to rest down her nose to give Harkness the benefit of her big blue eyes and innocent white smile.
“What d’ya know about my needs, huh?”
“Heard you Sirens are real goers,” Harkness grinned.
“Flattery indeed,” Edward muttered.
With a discreet turn of her head, Harley pouted her lips to briefly shush him; he lifted his right fist and then pointed the index finger up, making the sign for ‘got it’.
“Ya were sayin’?”
“Fancy a go?”
“Not wit' you,” she smiled; Harkness’ brow furrowed with figuring this out.
“Why not? Yeh can’t tell me yer a lezzer like yer mate Pammy says she is - women as good lookin’ as the two o’ yeh can’t be,” he smirked. “Unless yer keen on makin’ it a… manage a troice.”
“Shallow grave, party of one…” Edward mouthed, barely audible; Harley’s eyebrows twitched together.
“Well,” she said, smiling, “there’s only one man I want, and he’s downstairs. ‘Fraid I don’t settle for second best. Or third. I don't give ribbons just for showin' up - gotta be numero uno or nothin'.”
“Yeah, but he’s not here,” he snickered. “And he don’t have to know.”
“Look,” Harley leaned closer, voice dropping to a seductive purr, leveling her nose to his. “All I have to do is tell ‘im about this little conversation and… kkkkk,” she said, drawing a slow finger across her throat. “If ya lucky, it’ll be quick.”
There was a pause; Harkness stared into the abyss of her eyes, stunned.
“But we don’t have ta do that,” she said, pouting reassuringly and patting his hand. “Do we?”
“No,” he said eventually, sounding a long way off. “No, I s’pose we don’t.”
“Good,” she said, pleased; her voice sharpened, brooking no argument. “Now eat ya breakfast.”
Harkness obeyed, still looking slightly dazed. Edward caught her eye, snickering; he leaned forward.
“You could’ve just stabbed him in the eye with some cutlery,” he said under his breath. “You know, something subtle?”
“Subtle’s my middle name,” Harley whispered, giving him an affectionate tap on the shoulder.
Oblivious, Harkness chatted to them through a full mouth.
“I don’t get it. Why does Chuckles get his own dining room? Too good for the scrubs?”
“Only Levels 1 and 2 eat in the cafeteria. Higher risk patients get meals brought to their cells.”
“That’s what I was gonna ask,” Harley said. “Isn’t Pengy on Level 1? I haven’t seen ‘im.”
“Yes,” Edward nodded with a wry smile. “Mr. Cobblepot has been taking his meals in his room. He finds it to be a manner more befitting of Gotham’s new mayor to be apart from the rabble.”
“How’s he do that?”
“Samson and Hercules come and get it, then take it to him.”
“What about Harvey?"
“They can get something for him - when the coin dictates, of course.”
“Don’t that bother you?”
“God no,” Edward shook his head. “I hate being nannied, whereas Oswald is used to being spoon fed caviar from teething age.”
“‘S gotta be a good hench that don’t spit in ya food,” she said, pushing up her glasses; Edward leveled a finger at her.
“Or a well paid one.”
Meanwhile, Harkness was still doing as he was told and shovelling food in his mouth.
“‘S good, this,” he said, mouth full. “Beats the grub at Blackgate. Fuckin’ love mushrooms.”
As one, they looked down at Harkness’ tray and then back up at each other.
“Oh. Good,” Edward said.
“Shame they only let yeh have one portion though.”
“Take mine,” Harley said sweetly, scraping it off onto his tray. “I got more than I need.”
“Thanks darl,” Harkness winked. “Yer a peach.”
“Ya know… I can tell ya who loves mushrooms,” Harley grinned. “Mushrooms, toadstools… all types of fungi, really.”
“Wha’?” he said, mouth hanging open; Edward rolled his eyes and edged further away.
“Pam does,” she murmured, voice dropping again.
“God, what a babe,” Harkness moaned, raising his eyes skyward. “What I wouldn’t give to…” Digger thumped the underside of the table suggestively.
“I hear ya didn’t make the best first impression.”
“Nothin’ I couldn’t straighten out,” he grinned, reaching across to punch Edward on the shoulder. “Right, Eddie?”
Annoyed, Edward thumped him back.
“You may be overestimating your abilities there, George.”
“Ohh, I wouldn’t say that,” Harley said, dropping Edward the ghost of a wink. “Pam’s open to persuasion.”
“Oh yeah?” he leered. “Got any tips?”
“Here’s one. Ya should try again sometime when she’s alone.”
“Good idea,” Harkness bounced in his seat. “Any idea where she hangs out?”
“Her greenhouse,” Edward and Harley said together, sharing the same look.
“She likes to sleep there, when she can,” Harley affirmed. “And from what she tells me…” she dropped her voice, “she don’t like to wear anythin’ in there.”
Harkness’ eyes widened.
“If that means naked, then yeah.”
He turned to Edward for confirmation.
“So I hear,” he affirmed.
“Phwoar…” Digger murmured whilst adjusting his pants, “Greenhouse at night, got it,” he said, excited. “You two are real pals.”
“You betcha,” Edward said softly; Harley gave him a sweet smile.
There was a sudden rumbling, gurgling noise; Harkness went pale and clutched his stomach. Harley and Edward furrowed their brows in mock concern.
“Something wrong, George?”
“Yeah, ya okay, honey?”
Belching, he covered his mouth.
“‘Scuse me,” he muttered, fleeing.
They watched him go, then turned back to each other and laughed.
“That’s him out for the day,” Harley giggled.
“Longer, with any luck.”
“S’pose I should thank ya for the help,” she said, tapping the end of his nose; he smirked.
“Anything for the lady.”
“Lady? Where?” she said, looking around; he chuckled.
“I almost feel sorry for the little moron,” Edward mused. “Think she’ll kill him?”
“If she’s in a good mood, she might just fuck ‘im up.”
“Darwinism in action.”
“It’s prob’ly what he deserves for bein’ such a giant dick.”
“You know, when you’re away from your clown,” Edward grinned, “you’re a devious little devil.”
“Meeee?” she said, all wide eyes and faux indignation, “I’m a maligned li’l angel. I was led into sin by an evil, wicked man. Ask anyone.”
“Bet Joker loves people thinking he ravaged your so-called innocence.”
“Oh, ya have no idea,” she giggled, rolling her eyes. “He says it makes people think twice about gettin’ in his head, but Puddin’ knows who buttered whose bread first.”
“Your secret is safe with me,” he said, tapping his nose. “If he found out we were actually friends, he’d try to take me apart again.”
“And ya parts are much too pretty for that,” she giggled.
“What can I say, I picture a more…” he gestured, “… glorious death than dismemberment by a psychotic, jealous clown.”
“Don’t we all,” she said, pointing at his bowl. “Ya gonna eat that banana?”
“Not with any great enthusiasm,” he smirked; she laughed.
Edward shoved his tray in her direction, chuckling as Harley mashed the remaining fruit together with her spoon and then took it down with all signs of great enjoyment. As he rested his chin on one fist, he shook his head.
“Her hair was long, her foot was light, and her eyes were wild…” he murmured, smiling.
“What’s that?” she said, licking the back of the spoon.
“You and ya words.”
“As ever. Now, are you going to let me do this crossword in peace?”
“God, no. I got nothin’ to do right now, so I’m gonna help ya.”
“Oh, good,” he grimaced; she laughed and seized his pencil.
“I got this.”
“Show me who’s boss, then,” he smirked.
“Eddie,” she grinned, shaking her head. “That mouth is gonna get ya in trouble.”
“Rare is the day that it doesn’t.”
“That’s fair. Now - this clue. Just says: Count Dracula? …”
“Oh come on,” Edward exploded. “Now he’s in my crossword?”
Harley frowned, puzzled.
Edward stabbed his finger at the page.
“That clue. Think about it.”
Harley stared at it; a moment later her brow cleared, and she giggled.
“He’s everywhere,” she said, wiggling her fingers at him before taking up the pencil to write it down. “Always watchin’. Like Santa Claus, except hangin’ upside down.”
“With dark-haired orphan boys for his elves,” Edward snorted. “Similar slave labour. Tell me the next one.”
“Oh, now ya on board?”
“We doing this, or not?”
“We’re doin’ it, we’re doin’ it. And the mome blank outgrabe, Carroll.”
“Now Jervis?” Edward thunked his forehead onto the table. “Is there no peace in this world but that of the grave?”
“It’s a conspiracy against ya,” Harley giggled, ruffling his hair.
“It has to be,” he said, voice muffled. “And it’s raths. Without the ‘w’.”
“Got that one already,” she said. “I’ve been around him enough to hear the damn thing.”
“Ah, true,” he said, still not raising his head.
“I’ve pretended to be poor li’l Alice enough to know,” she said slyly; to that, he lifted up his head with an interested eyebrow.
“That sounds like a story, to me,” he narrowed his eyes. “Perhaps several.”
“Hey, ya can’t be knowin’ all my secrets.”
Edward scoffed. “You can’t tease me like that! You know I hate that little twerp.”
“God, ya such a priss about him,” she teased.
“I have my reasons - now put up or shut up.”
“I’ll tell ya when we’re not in such… confined spaces. Ya get me?”
“Promise?” he said, holding out a hand; she shook it, tickling his palm with her pinky finger.
“Good,” he nodded, satisfied. “Let’s hear the next one, my darling.”
“Ya got it, Eddie,” Harley said, beaming.