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Kill Me, Heal Me, Dr. Joe Kerr

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Harleen Quinzel stood on the sidewalk outside her ex-boyfriend's apartment, wearing only her black shorts, her long sleeve red t-shirt, no jacket, in the cold rain, in tears, her glasses smeared with raindrops, and shivering against the cold. It was the night before the first Monday of the first week of school, her first year as a junior having just transferred to Gotham University from New York University. Everything was new except the boyfriend. She corrected herself, the asshole she had switched schools for, only to find him cheating on her last night. Classes hadn’t even begun yet and already her new college year at a new school sucked balls.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t glad to be out of the relationship with that prick, not after the way he had been treating her since she arrived in Gotham City a few months ago. Guy Kopski, the guy she thought she was in love with, had been emotionally abusive to her before she arrived, but the abuse had been cranked up to ten from the moment she arrived. And yesterday he had slapped her across the face when she confronted him about fucking Darla at the party last night. He had actually slapped her, yelling at her in front of everyone at the party. Guy had spit in her face, telling her that if she wasn’t going to put out, then he would find someone else who would.

Harleen had left the party stunned and embarrassed; not one person has come to her defense. If Pam had been there, she would have defended her, but Pam hadn’t been there and Harleen had to walk out of the party with all eyes on her. A few people had even snickered at her.

Harleen Quinzel fucking hated Gotham.

Later, when Harleen arrived home to the apartment she shared with Pamela Isly (thankful again that Pamela Isley, who had quickly become her best friend), she was able to slip in without making too much noise, despite the fact that she was dripping water everywhere. They had met during orientation. Pam had been the orientation group’s tour guide when Harleen had transferred to Gotham University. The group had consisted of nearly all freshmen, except Harleen. Pam had been great, taking the time to add information and stops on the tour that would be more relevant to a junior than a freshman. Afterwards Pam had introduced herself more properly and the two women had hit it off. They had been inseparable since, like sisters who had been separated at birth. They had even become roommates in Pam’s downstairs apartment just off campus, but still within walking distance of the university. Pam’s roommate had just moved in with her girlfriend and Pam had been looking for a new roommate. Harleen saw it as kismet.

As Harleen stood in the rain, feeling like her life had hit the lowest pit imaginable, she wanted to curl up in bed, eat ice cream, and cry until Christmas. She couldn’t believe she was going thorugh all of this just because she didn’t want to have sex with Guy, because she had wanted to wait...yet…

Pam, after Harleen had explained about moving here and switching universities to be closer to her boyfriend, had kept telling her that she needed to ask herself why she didn’t want to have sex with Guy, that there must be something holding her back.

Harleen sighed. Maybe Pam had been right. She hadn’t really been holding out for marriage, but rather hoping Guy would become the sort of person she wanted him to be...

But he never had.

After last night’s horrible confrontation, Harleen listened to Pam and decided to show up here to let him have a piece of her mind, maybe threaten him with the law. She had not just wanted to break up with him, but to lay into him about what a creep he was, and to try to get a few of her things out of his apartment. She hadn’t been living with Guy, but she had littered his apartment with a few personal things in the hope that it would…

Fuck, she didn’t know what she had been hoping for. She had left some clothes, a teddy bear, toothbrush, her favorite pair of sneakers, a handful of comic books, some jewelry, and a few other small items--nothing irreplaceable, but they were still her things. True to his form, he had refused to let her get any of her things from his apartment, called her names, and…

Harleen glared at his apartment window one more time with hate filling her blue eyes. She wasn’t really sad about the break up, she realized, but she was furious that he had hurt her, manipulated her, treated her like dirt. She was even angrier that she had allowed him to do it. Now Harleen Quinzel vowed to get her revenge on him. One way or another she was going to find a way to hurt him. Guy Kopski was going to realize the mistake he made hurting her, one way or another.

Harleen shivered as the cold rain soaked through her clothing. She turned and walked over to the bicycle rack where her bike was chained up. She should have gotten a ride from Pam. Pam had offered to come with her, had offered to drive her in her little electric car, but she hadn’t wanted to listen to Pam lecture her on how she had warned Harleen about how bad Guy was for her, what a jerk he was…

She just hadn’t wanted to hear Pam’s “I told you so” over and over again.

Of course, now she would put up with it just to not have to ride home in the rain, except there was no way she would be able to get her bike in Pam’s car and the thought of leaving it here would just be another stick on the camel’s thoroughly broken back.

Harleen unlocked her bike and got on, took off her glasses (her vision wasn’t that bad, she mostly needed them for reading but she liked to wear them because they made her look smart. Not that she wasn’t smart, but with the blonde hair and her New York accent, people liked to treat her like a dumb blonde. The glasses cut down on that behavior.) She hooked them to the front of her shirt before she took off, thankful that she didn’t really need the glasses to see because as she started to pedal, the rain came down harder, reflecting her mood perfectly.

*

When Harleen returned home, soaked to the skin and shivering, she felt relieved to find Pam asleep on the couch, while a DVD copy of her favorite British gardening show “Love Your Garden” played on the television set. Pam was curled on her side with a pink My Little Pony blanket pulled up to her chin, her red hair pulled back in a ponytail, while her head rested on a fern printed pillow. Harleen smiled at Pam’s sleeping figure. She would have gone over and turned the television off, but she was soaked; she didn’t want to soak the throw rug in the living room and wanted a hot shower and to go to bed.

Harleen smiled at Pam’s sleeping form again. At least transferring to Gotham had gotten her a best friend. She didn’t have a lot of friends back home and Pam had been great, understanding, and caring. She couldn’t have asked for a better friend. She turned and headed down the hall.

She was thankful the floor from the front door down the hall to the bathroom wasn’t carpeted and there were no throw rugs for her to ruin as she dripped all the way to the bathroom. She stripped the moment she entered the room and turned on the hot water, letting the water run until the water was as hot as she could stand it. Once she was under the steaming water, Harleen scrubbed herself clean with goat’s milk soap and her red loofah, not just to clean herself from the rain, but also clean of Guy Kopski, cleaning off every touch, every kiss she had ever exchanged with him. Everything. She growled as she washed her head, using too much shampoo to wash away every part of Guy.

Harleen smirked while she scrubbed thinking about removing the old layer of skin for the new underneath, the new skin having never even been in the same air space as Guy Kopski. The Harleen Quinzel that stepped out of the shower was going to be a new person, a different Harleen Quinzel, one who was starting fresh at Gotham University tomorrow.

Harleen smiled. She had never been happier that she hadn’t slept with that sleazy bag.

After her shower, wrapped in a towel, Harleen did go and turn off the television, giving a sleeping Pam a kiss on the temple before she went to her small bedroom where she left the towel on the floor, found a pair of black panties and a blue shirt, and pulled them on before crawling into bed. She burrowed herself down into the sheets and blankets, telling herself tomorrow was the beginning of a new day for the new Harleen Quinzel.

*

Her new day began at 5:45 a.m. with the annoying sound of her alarm followed by the musical voice of Pam shouting from the apartment kitchen, which also made her aware of the scent of bacon and coffee.

“Hey Harleen--wake up!! I got coffee, eggs, and bacon!!”

Harleen groaned into her pillow. “Coffee...bacon…”

She pushed herself up and wandered into the kitchen in just her panties and t-shirt, her long blonde hair looking as if she had gotten into a fight with a raccoon, but the raccoon won.

Pam stood at the stove in a pair of slouchy blue socks, finishing up scrambling the eggs. As always, Harleen noted with a tiny shake of her head, Pam looked perfectly put together. Her long red hair was French braided down her back and she was dressed in dark green leggings with a lighter green thick sweater. She looked beautiful, as she always did.

Pam turned around to look at her friend and frowned slightly. “How did it go last night? I never heard you come in. If it wasn’t for the wet clothes in the bathroom…”

Harleen sighed and shuffled over to the coffeemaker. She didn’t answer right away, instead grabbing a mug with ferns printed all over it and poured herself some coffee. She filled it with four teaspoons of sugar and then a quick shuffle to the fridge got her the milk. Pam watched her friend with amusement, waiting until Harleen had several sips of coffee.

“I didn’t get my stuff back. He wouldn’t even let me into the apartment.” Harleen leaned against the counter, cupping her coffee mug with both hands as she sipped her hot drink while glancing at the small window over the kitchen sink that looked out onto the sidewalk outside their basement apartment, showing her that it was still raining.

Pam scowled. “What? He wouldn’t give you your stuff back?? That fucking pig! We should call the cops!”

Harleen shook her head. “No, no, I just wanna be done with him Red. I want to move on.”

(Harleen had started calling Pamela ‘Red’ as a joke, but it had quickly turned into a nickname that Pam actually liked.)

Pam frowned. “Harleen, but…”

“Please, can we not talk about this now? I wanna focus on my classes. Nothing I left there is something I can’t replace.” Harleen gave her friend a pleading look.

Pam frowned, then sighed. “Fine, but we are not done talking about this.”

Pamela turned around and filled a plate with eggs and bacon; she handed it to Harleen. “I want you to eat all of that.”

Harleen took the plate with a laugh. “Yes Mom.”

Pamela chuckled. “So what’s your first class this morning?”

Harleen set her plate on the counter and dug in, the first bite telling her that she was hungrier than she had expected to be. She shoved egg into her mouth, speaking with her mouthful. “I have english lit this morning with Dr. Tetch, then history with Dr. Minerva, and psychiatry with Dr. Kerr. Tomorrow it’s chemistry with Dr. Fries and psychology with Dr. Crane. Oh and gymnastics practice after classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Pam grimace. “Five classes? Wow. I’m just taking math, botany and forest management.”

Harleen shrugged as she took a bite of bacon grinning at Pamela. “Okay Captain Planet, but you also have a job. I’m living on my loans.”

Pam laughed. “Hey! You...twisty workaholic!” she made a weird one finger hand gesture at Harleen.

Harleen laughed. “Well, I’m considering dropping history or english, but I need them for my gen eds and just wanted to get them out of the way. I figure since I’m not going to be working this term I should cram it with classes.”

Pam smiled at Harleen while she sipped her coffee. “I love the fact that you got here on a gymnastics scholarship, but you’re smart too. Not like some of the football players I’ve met.”

Harleen grinned, taking a large swallow of her coffee before she answered. “I’m smart, but I’m not a genius. There was no way I was going to be able pay for college without some help so I picked a sport I enjoyed and used it to my advantage.” She tapped the side of her head. “This way, they are paying me to be here.”

Pam laughed. “Harleen Quinzel: evil genius.”

Harleen laughed. “Nope. Harleen Quinzel: poor student.”

Pam narrowed her eyes in thought, sipping at her coffee and nibbling at her bacon. “Did you say Dr. Kerr?”

Harleen nodded. “Yeah, why?”

Pam grinned. “You’re gonna like him. He looks a bit weird, but still…”

“Weird?” Harleen asked around a bite of bacon.

“Oh, I won’t spoil it, just wait and see, but you’ll like him. He’s really handsome, funny, cracks horrible jokes all the time. I took freshman psychology with him. He makes even that boring class--no offense--fun.” Pam smiled. “Yeah, I think you’re gonna like him.”

Harleen grinned. “Handsome, eh?”

Pam nodded. “Handsome, but he also has a very exotic look...There are a few people who take his classes just because he’s the “older man” crush, I’m pretty sure.”

“Is he foreign?” Harleen asked sipping her coffee.

“Oh no, born and raised in Gotham as far as I know...just wait--you’ll see,” Pam said with a smile.

Harleen wrinkled her nose at her in annoyance.

Pam finished off her coffee and bacon. “You wanna walk together?”

Harleen nodded. “Sure, just let me get my stuff together.”

Harleen shoveled the rest of her eggs into her mouth along with the remains of her bacon, washing it all down with her coffee before hurrying to her room to get dressed.

Harleen pulled her hair up into a ponytail with a few wisps of blonde hair hanging to frame her face. She dressed in black leggings, some black combat boots and a red, long sleeved cotton jersey. She threw her expensive books into her backpack along with some notebooks, half a dozen pencils, pens, gum, a bottle of water, and a paperback novel before she met Pam at the door, where the redhead waited with her green umbrella. Harleen grabbed her red and white polka dot umbrella from the stand next to the door and headed out beside her friend for her first day at Gotham U.

*

The campus of Gotham University was huge, with numerous old buildings surrounded by old houses, but the part about the campus that Harleen loved the most was the fact that there were so many trees! Her old university had been mostly large buildings, concrete sidewalks, glass windows, and asphalt, with few actual trees. The Gotham U campus looked like it was right out of a movie. Gotham University was everything Harleen had always thought a university should be. Not only were most of the buildings large, beautiful structures that looked to have been built in the last century, with some having peaked roofs, or covered in decades of green vines, but there were forested walkways with benches and hidden surprises like sculptures in secret groves and out of the way alcoves.

The campus had a large center area that everyone called the square (which Harleen found hilarious since it was actually round) where students could gather to sit on the lawn under trees or statues and eat or study, but it was also the place where students gave speeches, held protests, or, as with today and despite the rain, held events and recruiting for clubs. There were tables under makeshift canopies offering membership in student government, sororities, fraternities, glee club, a poetry society, academic clubs, political clubs, all of them out braving the rain to gather precious freshmen to their causes.

Pam and Harleen walked past them all until they reached a split in the path. They stopped, sheltered under their umbrellas.

Pam turned to Harleen. “Well, I better go. See you tonight?”

Harleen nodded. “Yep. Wanna order pizza? I think the first day of classes should end with pizza.”

Pam grinned. “Pepperoni?”

“Well, duh, of course.” Harleen giggled. “I would also say beer, but I hate beer and we shouldn’t be drinking on a school night.”

Pam laughed. “True, plus I hate beer too. What about some cola with shots of vanilla syrup?”

Harleen grinned. “Sounds decadent--I’m in. Oh, I’ll stop at the cafe down from us and grab some lava cake too.”

Pam laughed. “Sounds perfect. See you tonight Harleen, hope you have a good day.”

Harleen gave Pam a one-armed hug. “You too, go save the earth.”

Pam laughed and gave Harleen a kiss on the cheek before she headed off. Harleen watched her go before turning around and heading to her first class of the day.

*

Harleen sat in the back of the classroom as Dr. Tetch, a surprising short man with messy brown hair, light grey eyes and a slight overbite gestured dramatically as he introduced himself to the class.

“Class, we are going to spend this term on two of my favorite books.” Dr. Tetch grinned at the assembled students. The older man’s smile was a little dorky, but kind of adorable Harleen thought as he walked in front of the dry erase board where he had written his name in colorful markers across the board, curving his name like a rainbow.

Tetch wore a black suit with a red and yellow polka dot tie making him look eccentric and actually quite funny Harleen thought. He continued to talk as he walked up and down the aisles of desks handing out the class syllabus. “We, my dear friends, my fellow voyagers on this journey of wonder…” Tetch chuckled. “We are going to be studying the two most famous works of Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.” Tetch returned to the front of the class and hopped up onto his desk where he sat, his legs dangling over the side. His slacks had lifted enough that Harleen could see that he was wearing blue and orange striped socks.

“Now...picture yourselves in a boat...listening to a story...you are children now...lazily enjoying a late summer afternoon...Now...what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations asked Alice? Well...let us talk…”

By the time the hour was up, Harleen had decided Dr. Tetch’s class was not one she was going to drop.

*

Harleen’s second class was history, African and Middle Eastern studies, which was in the building right next to her literature class on the second floor with Dr. Barbara Minerva.

Dr. Minerva was a tall, slender, a black woman from Great Britain with hair cut so short that she looked almost bald. The professor wore a tightly tailored grey suit that accentuated her slender, trim figure. She stood at her desk near the board and watched each student walk into the room, her eyes not missing any of them. Harleen felt as if she were being measured for weakness and found wanting.

Harleen quickly found a seat in the back. For some reason, she hoped that Professor Minerva didn’t see her. She wasn’t sure what it was about the woman she found so intimidating, but Harleen felt that she understood how a rabbit must feel when a fox or a hawk had them in their sights.

Once everyone was seated Dr. Minerva, her voice stern, but somehow sensual at the same time, said in a soft yet clear voice.

“This class is not for the weak. You will read, you will study, you will write, and you will present. I do not accept late work except in the case of severe illness or death and I do not suffer fools. You will come to class prepared or you will not come at all. Are we clear?”

Everyone murmured agreement.

Dr. Minerva smiled, a smile that Harleen would characterize as bordering on feral. “Then, we will begin. Open your books--if you do not have your book, get out.”

With that, the professor turned to the board and began to write as she lectured.

*

Harleen shuddered when she left Dr. Minerva’s class. She would have to wait until she had been to all her classes, just in case one of the other professors somehow managed to be worse, but she was fairly confident that this was the class she would be dropping. Dr. Minerva scared her! Though as she started walking away, she groaned inwardly. She really needed that class; maybe she should wait. Sometimes professors acted stern and horrible on the first day to weed out the students who were not really there because they wanted to be, and the students who were left were the ones the teacher knew wanted to learn the topic…

Harleen bit the side of her lip in thought as she walked down the hall along with several dozen other students all on their way to other classes or trying to find someplace to spend time between classes.

Harleen had an hour between Minera’s class and her last class of the day. She decided to go to one of the school’s many cafes and get herself some coffee and maybe a scone or muffin.

She made her way outside to find that the rain had stopped, though the day was still cloudy and overcast, with a noticeable chill in the air. Maybe fall would come early. Harleen loved fall. It was the best time of the year as far as she was concerned.

She saw many students milling around, wandering here and there. She walked through the square toward the social science building where she knew from the campus tour that a cafe was located in the basement called the Social Bean.

The scent of delicious coffee hit her the moment Harleen opened the door to the building. She followed the scent downstairs to the basement and toward the cafe with a smile. The place was cozy, the walls painted coffee bean brown, the floors the color of light mocha, and there were posters all through the place of famous psychologists and psychiatrists with famous quotes underneath their images.

Harleen smiled as she went to stand in line. Becoming a psychiatrist had become her goal after her favorite aunt, Aunt Alyce, committed suicide last year. Until that point, Harleen had been drifting in school, not sure what she wanted to do. Her aunt had always shown signs of depression--at least that was what her mom had said even though her father had said that Aunt Alyce was cracked in the head and just wanted attention all the time. No one helped Aunt Alyce. Instead, Harleen knew that her aunt drank, and in the last several years Harleen’s mother had said her aunt had started to do drugs until the pain had become more than she could bear and Aunt Alyce had hung herself.

Harleen knew the truth now. Her aunt was bi-polar and maybe had histrionic personality disorder.

From there Harleen had learned from her mother that her maternal grandmother, a woman she had never known, was schizophrenic. Harleen felt certain her father had something too, probably bi-polar as well with his mood swings, and maybe something else since he had been in and out of prison her entire life, and continued to be a career criminal, usually petty stuff, but still... Harleen was also aware that her mother showed those same signs of bi-polar disorder. All of that family history was why Harleen was here in school. She couldn’t bring back the dead, but maybe she could be there for her mother, better equipped to help her if things went bad.

But the other part of her was doing this for herself, and her siblings. Harleen had just recently become an aunt; her older sister Lucy had just had a baby and her older brother Barry looked to be heading down the same path as their father. Deep down, Harleen worried that she or one of them was next on the wheel of family crazy. She didn’t know if becoming a psychiatrist would prepare her for something happening, but she wanted to opportunity to be able to help, to save herself and her family. It wasn’t noblity that had her pursuing this career choice--it was survival. Harleen placed her order, an orange scone and a mocha latte before she found a seat where she could put her back in a corner. She thought about starting on homework, but decided to simply pull out her book and enjoy her free hour.

It wasn’t long before Harleen was completely absorbed by her book, coffee, and scones, so much so she didn’t notice when someone sat down at her table until she heard someone clear their throat. Harleen frowned, looking up at over top of her book and glasses to see a young man around her age sitting at the table with her. He grinned at her, one of those cocksure grins Harleen was accustomed to seeing on boys in high school who thought they were the best thing on two legs with a dick dangling between them.

He was handsome in a dull sort of “seen everywhere” sort of way. His hair was cut short, dark brown, and he had that stylish unshaven look. He wore a brown dress shirt, no tie, with a darker brown blazer over the top, and jeans. He wore a pair of gold framed rectangle glasses and an easy smile. Harleen hated him immediately.

He had set his messenger bag on the table and leaned an elbow next to it as he smiled at her. “You’re new here aren’t you?”

Harleen frowned. “It’s the first day; there are a lot of new people here.”

He smiled, his eyes going from her face to her chest quickly, where his gaze lingered too long. Shit! He wasn’t even trying to hide that he was staring at her chest! Harleen frowned, pressing her lips together into a thin line. She knew she was busty, it was an aspect of her personal appearance that had always been bothersome, especially when she was doing gymnastics. She was not one of those young women for whom doing sports gave her the trim, sleek body that so many of them had. She was cursed with curves and big boobs, yeah. Overall, she didn’t really mind, but there was a tendency for a lot of men to look from her eyes right to her boobs...or just her boobs. At least most of them tried not to be obvious about it or took a quick look then were back to her face, but this guy was acting like he was doing her a favor by staring at her chest with his cocky smile. Jerk.

“Well I meant you’re new here…” He motioned at the cafe, but Harleen figured he meant the social sciences building.

He gave her what she assumed he thought of as a charmingly crooked smile. “I’m Jeremiah Arkham. I’m a PhD student here in this department. I teach a lot of classes here actually and I’ve been the assistant for several of the professors who prefer to give me my own classes.” He grinned. “I’m sure you’ve heard the name Arkham--my father runs the world famous Arkham Asylum right here in Gotham, so I’m something of a minor celebrity here on campus.”

Harleen sighed before she answered. “Good for you. I just moved here from New York and I’ve never heard of Arkham.” (Which was a complete lie, she had--everyone had! She just didn’t want to give this dick the satisfaction of having his ego pumped up any more than it already was.)

Jeremiah looked taken aback. “You’ve never heard of Arkham Asylum, really?”

Harleen shook her head with a dismissive shrug. “Nope.”

Jeremiah frowned, but he continued. “So, what’s your name and major?”

Harleen kept herself from rolling her eyes. She was very proud of herself for her self-control. She supposed she had to tell him her major because he would find out anyway if she would be working toward her degree in psychiatry. “Harleen Quinzel--I’m majoring in psychiatry.”

Jeremiah grinned and leaned closer. “Really? How wonderful! That means we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.”

Harleen sighed. “Oh goodie.”

Arkham either didn’t pick up on the sarcasm or he didn’t care. “So, Harleen--that’s a pretty name--how about I take you out to dinner tonight?” Jeremiah winked at her and Harleen felt like she might actually vomit.

She put her book up, hiding her face. “Thanks, but I have plans.”

“I’m sure you could change them,” Jeremiah said as he reached over and brush her arm with his fingers. “We could have a really good time. I could give you private tutoring lessons, help you with studying.” He continued to stroke her arm even after Harleen pulled her arm away; he just moved closer.

Behind her book Harleen squeezed her eyes shut. She really didn’t need this, not after just breaking up with Guy, but she wasn’t sure what to do. If this guy really was a PhD student who taught classes and was a student aide, he could make her life miserable! God, if he graded her paper…

Harleen wasn’t sure what to do to get rid of Arkham when someone called out. “Hey Jeremiah!”

Harleen looked over the top of her book to see a tall, slender woman with honey blonde hair that hung to her shoulders with heavy, dark eyebrows and plain features, but with a light brown eyed gaze that made Harleen think of looking at a snake--soulless, lifeless, and dangerous. She wore stylish black slacks with a tight black turtleneck, all it somehow communicating expensive and bitchy. Maybe not completely bitchy, Harleen thought, but bitchy was definitely the vibe Harleen was picking up off the woman.

The woman glared at Harleen, actually curled her lip at the younger woman, which Harleen might have found impressive. She had never seen someone actually curl their lip except maybe Billy Idol. It looked like lip curling hurt.

Jeremiah stood. “Jane! I was wondering…”

“Stop, don’t try and sweet talk me. I know more about you than you do. Who’s the bimbo with the enormous boobs? How much did those cost?” Jane hissed.

Harleen was so shocked by Jane’s hostility that she didn’t reply while Arkham acted as if Jane hadn’t said anything rude at all. “Jane Prince, this is Harleen Quinzel, a fellow student of the mind.”

Jane glared. “I don’t fucking care, Jeremiah. Are you ready? The meeting starts in ten minutes.”

Jeremiah grabbed up his bag. “Of course I’m ready.” He turned to Harleen. “It was nice to meet you Harleen, see you again soon.” He left with Jane, who shot Harleen a venomous look over her shoulder.

Harleen made a face. “Ugh.” She shook her head, going back to her book.

Jerks were everywhere.

*

Harleen happily enjoyed the rest of her break--uninterrupted by anyone else--before heading up to the fifth floor for her class, which wasn’t just a class about psychiatry; the class was called, ‘Psychiatry and Chemistry, the Mysteries of the Mind,’ taught by Professor Joe Kerr.

Harleen made her way up the stairs, heading toward the classroom. There were a lot of students in the room, but she still found a free seat in the back of the room near one corner. She took her seat, pulled out her notebook, and waited. There were two girls sitting in front of her talking loud enough that Harleen couldn’t help but overhear them. Harleen was sure everyone in the next four buildings could hear them.

“Oh my god, he is so hot!” Girl one who had dyed pink hair groaned.

Girl two, who had her hair pulled up into a messy bun, laughed. “I know, that’s the only reason I’m taking his class, just so I can stare at his ass. I figure every time I fail, it's just another chance to stare at his ass.”

The two girls giggled.

The pink haired girl hissed under her breath (Harleen supposed she was trying to be quiet but she was louder than before.) “He can eat me out anytime he wants.”

Her friend snorted a laugh. “You are so bad…” She bit her bottom lip. “He looks like he might be hung...like...really…” She emphasized what she was talking about by holding her hand down from her crotch which sent both young women into a fit of giggles as the pink-haired girl laughed. “You know he is, you can see it!”

Harleen frowned, wondering just how good looking Dr. Kerr was because those two seemed really in love with him. Pamela had said he was exotic looking...She absently tapped her pencil against her notebook, waiting and thinking this guy couldn’t be that good looking when the door opened and Dr. Kerr walked in, the room going silent to watch him walk to his desk.

Harleen swallowed, her eyes widening.

He was tall, at least six feet one, and slender, though not skinny. He moved with an easy grace, like a trained dancer or a martial artist. He was clad in a tailored dark grey suit with a dark blue dress shirt, black and white polkadot tie with a vest, black gloves, and sharp toed, shiny black and white oxfords. Harleen was struck by his sharp-featured looks (he wasn’t your typical good looking either. Not the type of guy you would see in a magazine with chiseled features and muscles, but he didn’t need them.) Dr. Kerr had a long pointed nose, thin but expressive lips and piercing, startling blue eyes with a burst of gold around the pupil that was vivid enough that Harleen could see from her seat in the back. She wondered if what she saw was a trick of the light in his eyes and found herself hoping it wasn’t some sort of optical illusion.

But the most startling feature about the man was that his skin was pale, not pale as in he needed some sun, but white, like fine whipped cream or untouched, freshly fallen snow, and his hair was cut short on the sides. She could see the top was thick, slightly curling, which Dr. Kerr had struggled to force back from his face. One lone curl had escaped his efforts to curl on his forehead....one green curl that made Harleen’s eyes widen.

Dr. Kerr’s hair was the most startling shade of dark green.

As Harleen stared at him, she realized his lips were painted. He had lipstick on--not a lot--just enough to make his lips--his sensually shaped lips she thought--stand out against his pale skin. He turned to the class, at the same time sliding off his jacket and hanging it on the back of his chair behind the desk at the front of the room. Then he proceeded to take his gloves off. Harleen swallowed hard, watching him as he pulled one glove off, exposing long, elegant fingers (like a musician or a surgeon, she thought) then pulled the second glove off, though he began by pulling at the glove with his teeth, which Harleen was sure was the single most sexy thing she had ever seen in her life. Once he had dropped the gloves onto the desk in front of him, Dr. Kerr unbuttoned and rolled his sleeves up enough to expose his pale, lean forearms.

He smiled--the single most stunning smile Harleen Quinzel had ever seen in her life--before he clapped his hands. Harleen’s heart was beating loud enough that she was surprised no one turned to stare at her. Her hands felt sweaty and her breathing was rapid. She had never seen anyone as sexy as Dr. Kerr, no one, she thought. Ever.

“Now, who’s ready to learn about the most exciting part of our bodies, the mind?” Dr. Kerr grinned as his eyes moved over the assembled students before his gaze landed on Harleen.

They stared at one another and Dr. Kerr seemed to blink several times as if startled before he tore his eyes away from Harleen.

“But, before we learn about that, how about we learn who we all are--unless you would all just like me to make up names for each of you, which I am perfectly happy to do.” Dr. Kerr laughed and Harleen realized she wasn’t just smitten. She was lost...she was in love.

Chapter Text

Dr. Kerr smiled at everyone, then laughed, dropping his hands to his desk and leaning forward a bit. “I suppose I should give up on the vanity because it’s going to be difficult to learn your names if I can’t see you all properly.”

He stood up straight and pulled out a thin, light purple glasses case from the pocket of his slacks, popped the case open, and pulled out a pair of black frame rectangular glasses, which made the burst of gold around the pupil of his blue eyes stand out in startling contrast to the blue. Harleen was fairly sure she heard a collective sigh of longing from everyone in the room when he put on the glasses. He wasn’t more or less handsome with the glasses on...just...different sexy. Harleen was positive there was nothing this man could do that wouldn’t be sexy!

Dr. Kerr smiled once more. “Now, I don’t have a class list with me as the department computer was on the fritz this morning and wouldn’t print me one, so for now you’re all registered until the computer tells me otherwise. We’ll just introduce ourselves and worry about a class list next time. Oh, and I do have a teaching assistant who isn’t here right now because of a meeting, but you’ll meet them later. Now…”

He walked around from his desk and stopped in front of it to lean back against the desk. Dr. Kerr crossed his legs at the ankles and folded his arms over his chest. Harleen swallowed, noting his legs were so long! And he had on those pointed toed dress shoes...why did she find that so attractive? It was like she was experiencing her teenage hormonal rush all over again. She had never been this attracted to someone in her entire life! She had crushes and infatuations with celebrities, and then there was Guy, but she had never experienced anything like this before. She wanted Dr. Kerr like she had never wanted any man before. She licked her lips at the thought of shoving him down and riding him like…

Harleen took a deep calming breath through her nose, closed her eyes for a three count, and told herself to settle down.

“So, let’s start with me shall we? My name is Joseph Kerr, but you can call me Joe, Kerr, Mr. Kerr, Dr. Kerr, Joseph, Hey, that guy with the green hair…” Everyone laughed. “Any of those will do. So, the first thing I shall tell you about myself, which I know you’re all just dying to know...why is my hair green and my skin so milky white?”

There was a murmur among the students, confirming Kerr’s suspicion. “Well my lovely students…” His fantastic eyes wandered over the class and stopped when they landed on Harleen. Harleen blushed, catching her bottom lip with her teeth when she looked at him from over the top of her glasses.

It was like time stood still.

He smiled slowly at her; the smile reached his eyes and made them sparkle. Her heart beat at a rabbit’s pace, her hands became clammy, and heat pooled between her legs. Her breasts felt as if they swelled, her nipples hard. She was turned on in a way that if Dr. Kerr stroked her hand she would probably orgasm on the spot.

Harleen smiled shyly at him and he grinned...

And then the moment was broken as he looked away.

Harleen slumped in her seat, panting softly. Damn she thought...damn.

“Well, I am an example of why you should always be careful when playing with chemicals.” He put his arms out, which only made Harleen more attracted to him, her eyes moving over his torso, then along his arms, and caressing his neck. She was so focused on undressing him with her eyes that she almost didn’t catch what he said.

“I was working with some dangerous chemicals and there was an explosion, or so I’ve been told. I have no memories of the accident, only that the end result was this…” He gestured at himself. “...my unusual, clownish coloring.”

“Now I’m not comfortable going into anything more specific than that, especially since I really don’t have any memory of the accident. Curiosity sated? Good. So, let’s move on to the class introduction. Why don’t we start with you?” Dr. Kerr pointed at a guy in the front row. “Stand up so everyone can get a look at you, tell me your name, and give me some details about yourself to help me remember your name.”

It took a good fifteen minutes before Dr. Kerr reached Harleen. “Miss, your turn.”

Harleen stood up, swallowed, her focus on Kerr. “My name is Harleen Quinzel and...ah…” She frowned. “There isn’t really anything all that interesting about me.”

Dr. Kerr smiled at her. “Oh, now I don’t believe that! A pretty young lady with such an unusual name, Harleen Quinzel. Have you ever heard of a Harlequin?”

Everyone giggled and Dr. Kerr frowned. “Not the romance novels, I mean a real Harlequin.”

Harleen nodded. “Yes, a harlequin is a mute character in a traditional pantomime. They usually wear masks and their costumes have these diamond-patterns on them.”

Dr. Kerr grinned brightly at her. “Very good, Miss Quinn. Now, do your friends call you Harley?”

Harleen didn’t have any friends except for Pamela and no one called her Harley, so she had no idea why she said yes. “Yes.”

Dr. Kerr nodded. “Do you mind if I call you Harley?”

“I would love for you to call me Harley,” she said, then blushed when everyone in class giggled at her.

Dr. Kerr ignored them, his eyes only for her. “All right Harley, I’m sure there is something about you that is vastly interesting...but I understand wanting to keep secrets. It’s nice to meet you Harley--and welcome to my class.”

Harleen blushed brighter. “Thank you Dr. Kerr.”

She sat down. She wasn’t sure, but she thought his gaze lingered on her even as he moved on to the next student.

*

After class Harleen thought she might stop and say hello to him and...she didn’t know what her plan was, nothing extended beyond that. She had no idea what she would do if she got the opportunity to talk to him, but she wanted to say hello, she wanted--no, she thought with a small smile--she needed to get close to him. But when she went to do just that she found Dr. Kerr and his desk surrounded. Students swarmed to him like bees to honey; clearly everyone had the same idea.

With a defeated sigh, Harleen left, not seeing that Dr. Kerr’s gaze had moved to her, watching her over the top of his glasses, even as he spoke to another student…

*

Instead of heading back to the apartment, Harleen decided to find herself a nice place in a coffee shop to do her homework--off campus. She feared that if she stayed on campus, Jeremiah Arkham would find her. He seemed like the type of guy who would not take no for an answer. She had run into guys like that before in high school, usually the football stars who thought every girl should simply flip her skirt up and offer herself to them. Pricks.

She headed off campus, just as it started to drizzle again, and walked down the main street that ran along the western side of the campus where she found a long scenic street lined with colorful autumn flowers and trees beginning to turn with the Autumn colors. There were several little restaurants and clothing stores lined along this street, all little independent shops with interesting merchandise or unusual menus, all opened and catering to the college students hoping to encourage students to spend their free cash inside. Mixed in with the rows of clothing and restaurants was a book store dealing in used books where Harleen already loved to wander and spend money, and a tattoo/piercing shop which Harleen hadn’t been brave enough to enter yet. She had thought about a tattoo on and off (her parents would hate it which was the other reason she had thought seriously about it, but she hadn’t worked up the courage to go in yet.)

Another shop lost somewhere between the trendy skater clothing shop and the Vietnamese cuisine restaurant was a small coffee shop, a place called Radu’s Coffee Shop. The place was wonderful Harleen thought as she walked in. They had the best coffee, the best music, and the best atmosphere. The ceiling was littered with hanging lights that made Harleen think of hanging flowers in an electric jungle, the glass around the bulbs was frosted, making the interior of the cafe feel like evening all the time, no matter what time of day. Littered among the lights were cups, hundreds of tea and coffee cups, all the same light bluish grey, hanging from the ceiling. It was beautiful, which had surprised Harleen when she had first entered the coffee shop. On paper it would look cluttered, but the pale color mixed with the lights made Harleen think of rain and flowers. It was pleasant, calming. The dominant color scheme of the shop was grey and black instead of the usual brown most coffee shops went for with light grey floors, light black walls and black topped tables.

The scent of coffee was warm and welcoming when Harleen pushed open the glass door where a soft chime announced her and stepped inside, letting the scent wrap around her like a warm blanket. The scent of coffee was followed by the soft sounds of light jazz playing over the shop’s speakers. The place was fairly crowded, which wasn’t a surprise considering it was the first day of classes at the college, but most of the people here were getting their coffee and leaving, so there several open spots.

While Harleen waited in line, she let her thoughts drift to Dr. Kerr, wondering what his hair felt like. She bet he smelled good, she thought with a smile, a guy like that definitely smelled good.

She was a little lost in her daydream, dragging her tongue along her bottom lip when it was her turn to order her coffee. The barista was a young man named John Woodrue who was in the same department as Pam. The two of them had become good friends, though Harleen could tell he was a little jealous of her. John was having a hard time sharing Pamela with Harleen. Harleen figured John had a crush on Pammy and Pam was completely blind to his jealousy or she was ignoring it. Harleen had never asked her.

“Hey John, I didn’t know you worked here,” Harleen said as she came to the counter.

John was in regular clothing, jeans and green shirt that brought out the green in his eyes, and black and white striped apron. He smiled at her. “Hey Harleen, just started this week.”

“You still working at the comic book store?” Harleen asked with a slight frown.

John leaned a hand on the counter. “Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, then here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

She nodded with an added. “Ouch, when do you go to class?”

John shrugged. “The rest of the time.” He laughed. “It keeps me busy. So what can I get you?”

“Mm...how about a Pumpkin Spice.” Harleen grinned. “I like your guys’ version the best.”

“Because it is the best. Wanna have anything with it? A sandwich, bagel? We just made fresh pumpkin and cinnamon bagels with some awesome pumpkin cream cheese.” John grinned. “It sounds like a lot of pumpkin, but it’s really mild.”

Harleen grinned brightly. “Sure, why not!”

John nodded and rang her up before giving her the receipt with her number on it. “Shouldn’t take too long.”

“Thanks John.” Harleen turned, looking around for a table and nearly jumped with joy when she saw a table for two in the corner near the window was free. She hurried over before anyone could claim it, dumping her backpack on the table, causing the crumbs on it from the last customers to jump.

She went over and grabbed a napkin from the little area set up near the counter where straws, creamer, and other coffee related trimmings sat and cleaned the table off herself. She then set about making the table her oasis for the next several hours.

She sat down to wait for her order when the bell over the door chimed and Harleen looked over only to have her breath sucked right out of her as she watched Dr. Kerr walk in. He was walking beside a very good looking man, black hair, startling blue eyes, almost, but not quite as gorgeous as Dr. Kerr’s eyes. She noticed something similar about the two men; each carried a shadow of the other in their features though the dark-haired man was broader and thicker, the sort of guy who worked out a lot to build up muscle mass where Dr. Kerr was slender, like a whip or a snake. Kerry still had his glasses on and his hands in the pockets of his slacks as he and the other man spoke. The dark-haired man wore a navy blue suit, the sort of expensive suit that Harleen associated with lawyers and businessmen. They both got in line continuing to talk when Harleen’s number was called.

She jumped a foot but, scurried over to pick up her order. The two men hadn’t noticed her as they continued to talk.

“I don’t know why you keep using that pseudonym, Dr. Joe Kerr. Just use your real name, the name you got all your degrees under.” The dark-haired man hissed under his breath.

Dr. Kerr sighed. “Bruce, why do we have to go through this every year? Because I do not want to be linked to the Wayne name. You donate to the university. Fuck, you built three of the new buildings and two of them have your name on them! You are on the board at the university with an honorary PhD. Do you have any idea how that would look if they knew I was your brother? I want to be here on my own merits…”

The man named Bruce...Harleen frowned, not THE Bruce Wayne...it couldn’t be…

“Joseph, look, you are incredibly smart. You are here on your own merits, you were hired before they knew you were my younger brother, but now there is no reason for you to continue this charade. The Dean knows and…” Bruce hissed back, but Joseph...Harleen frowned, his name was Joseph Wayne? Wait...what? Bruce Wayne, he was like the richest man in Gotham...Harleen was confused, she hadn’t read anything about a brother before, not that she spent her free time reading about rich older men, but...

Dr. Kerr hissed back low and angry. “And whose fault is that? Everyone thinks Joseph Wayne died in that accident and I would like to keep it that way. Can we drop this topic before someone hears you?”

Bruce sighed. “Fine. But have you been going to your doctor appointments? Have you still been having lapses in your memory? The night terrors and…”

Kerr snarled. “I thought we agreed that wasn't any of your business?”

Bruce sighed again. “You’re my brother, of course it's my business.”

Harleen hadn’t realized she had picked up her order, but she hadn’t moved until Dr. Kerr glanced over and saw her. They both stared at each other for a moment before he smiled at her. Harleen felt all the blood in her body go straight to her cheeks, then spread out to hit every erogenous zone at once. Her eyes widened behind her glasses and she spun around, nearly running back to her seat.

She flopped down and nearly spilled her coffee as she grabbed up a book and hid her face.

Harleen sipped her coffee and tried to focus on her textbook, and definitely not look over the top of the book to see Dr. Kerr and Bruce Wayne talking at a table on the far end of the coffee shop. She couldn’t help staring at Dr. Kerr. He was leaning back in his chair, one elbow resting on the back of his seat, sipping his coffee, one leg stretched out. Harleen thought he looked elegant. His glasses had slid to the top of his long nose, but he looked completely relaxed, confident, comfortable. She licked her lips again as she gazed at him, her eyes traveling up his body, and the thought of touching him made her warm. She wanted to see the contrast of their skin, her hands against his pale chest, her lips wrapped around his cock. Harleen blushed, dropping her gaze back to the book without seeing the book. ‘Cock’ was never a term she would use, but it simply popped into her head uninvited, but somehow seemed fitting for the intense sexual things she was thinking about at the moment as she imagined being on her knees in front of him, his hand in her hair.

She blushed at herself, thinking she had been reading way too many romance novels over the summer, but the thought of her mouth on his body, hearing him moan because of her, because of what she could do to him...

Guy had called her a frigid prude because she didn’t want to have sex with him, but that wasn’t it at all. Now she realized it was because her level of attraction to Guy was around zero, but Dr. Joe Kerr? That was a level bazillion attraction!

Harleen shivered and giggled softly at herself, crushing on an older man, andher teacher too! It was Forbidden Romance 101. She looked back at him. He didn’t notice the people staring at him, or he didn’t care. She supposed not a lot of people looked like Dr. Kerr with his chalk white skin and green hair, while Bruce Wayne sat with his back straight in his seat, sipping his coffee in carefully controlled movements. The man looked stiff to Harleen, as if the he was uncomfortable in his own skin.

She couldn’t help but wonder what they were talking about.

*

Bruce sipped his coffee, glancing at his brother, and decided to drop the subject of his name. Joseph wanted to bury Joseph Wayne and he supposed he couldn’t really blame him. Being a Wayne came with its own set of troubles that Joseph was now free of, he could now pursue his academic career without the chains of being a Wayne holding him back.

But Bruce worried.

Ever since the accident several years ago Joseph hadn’t been the same person. He was prone to fits of anger and he would disappear for days, especially on the weekends. Since the accident, they had been growing further and further apart. Bruce frowned. He knew part of Joseph blamed him for the accident, and he had a right to do so. If he hadn’t asked Joseph to help in developing that drug, if he hadn’t asked his brother to work in a lab that hadn’t had the safety measures in place yet, because Joe was the only one Bruce trusted...if he hadn’t lost his grip on Joseph, had gotten his brother out of the lab at Wayne Chemicals, there had been all those people who had died that day…

At least Joseph was still alive.

Bruce set his coffee down and decided to pursue another topic. “So--are you dating?”

Joseph closed his eyes and reached up to press his thumb and finger against his nose, causing his glasses to slide down more. “Bruce, that really isn’t any of your concern.”

Bruce smiled. “I’m your older brother, so it is my concern. I love you Joseph, I would like to see you settled down and happy with a woman...or man, whichever. Besides, I could set you up with someone for the faculty dinner…”

“Not interested…” Joseph muttered, though he stole a quick glance over at Harleen Quinzel, his student. From the moment he saw her in his class she had set something in motion inside him that he had thought dead. He wasn’t interested in a relationship, though sex held intrigues for him. He watched porn on occasion--he wasn’t dead--but he had never met anyone that made him want to engage in the actual act, which was why he was still a virgin, even at his age.

He thought he would probably remain a virgin, that was until he laid eyes on Harleen Quinzel.

She was beautiful, more than beautiful with thick blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a sweet, soft round figure that made his groin ache to look at her. He liked the way her lips were shaped, the fullness of her breasts, the hint of hard nipples under her top. He could see himself grasping her hips, pressing his pale fingers into her creamy, peach colored skin, pulling her back against him while he drove himself into her. He licked his lips at the thought of his tongue in her mouth, the very idea of her breath hot against his skin made him have to shift his position in his chair.

He had never felt this level of desire, of simple erotic lust, in his entire life.

His attention was drawn back to Bruce. “Natelie Knight is in town. I could set you up…”

Joseph sighed and rolled his eyes. “Bruce, I don’t want your leftovers.”

Bruce made a face. “She isn’t a leftover…”

Joseph laughed. “Isn’t she? How long did you two date? A few months, then you dumped her and moved on to the next? I’m not interested in those sorts of relationships anyway. I would rather be alone.”

Bruce sighed. “Joe, you need to get out, meet people, be sociable…”

Joseph sighed again rubbing two of his fingers against his forehead with his eyes closed. “Bruce, I’m fine--I promise you.”

Bruce didn’t look like he believed his brother. “You spend too much time alone and when you do go out, you go to some disreputable places…”

Joseph narrowed his eyes, sitting up straight. “Are you having me followed?”

Bruce shook his head. “No. I’m…”

Joseph narrowed his eyes at his brother. “Bruce, if you’re lying to me…”

“I’m not...okay once, one night a few months ago...I was worried because you had been acting strange and your doctor…” Bruce started then stopped himself. “I love you Joe, I’m just worried about you. That’s all.”

“Bruce,” Joseph said in a tired tone. “I love you too, but my life is my own. You don’t see me following you around or asking your doctor about you, but I swear, if you dig into my life again without my permission, you will never speak to me again. I will cut ties with you in a way that will leave you bleeding.” His voice was low, cold, and stern. Bruce had never heard his brother speak like that before and he didn’t want to hear it again. He wasn’t sure what Joe meant about bleeding, but he didn’t want to know.

“Fine, I won’t. Just promise me you’ll be at the faculty dinner at least?” Bruce gave his brother a slight smile, his blue eyes pleading.

Joseph groaned, dropping his head back with a forlorn look at the decorated ceiling. “Fine, I’ll go--just no date. Agreed?”

Bruce grinned. “Agreed.”

*

Harleen glanced over at Dr. Kerr again only to see him watching her over the top of his glasses, which made Harleen wonder if he needed them at all. He was staring right at her. When their eyes met he smiled, a smile that reached all the way to his incredible eyes.

Harleen blushed and ducked back into her book.

She managed to stay in her book for a good ten minutes without looking up, though her bagel was forgotten as she tried not to think about how sexy her professor was, or what that conversation he had been having with Bruce Wayne meant. She had done her best to take notes on her homework and sip at her coffee, pointedly ignoring Dr. Kerr, though she occasionally looked up enough to see his outstretched leg, which she followed to his hip before looking away again.

She had finally gotten herself engrossed in her homework, reaching out to pick up her forgotten bagel, her mind on her work as she took a huge bite just as someone pulled the chair out that sat empty in front of her. Harleen looked up startled, the bite she had taken of her bagel causing her cheek to protrude when her eyes met Dr. Kerr’s eyes.

He smiled at her. “Mind if I have a seat?”

Harleen’s mouth was full of bagel, so she could only manage a muffled. “Huh?”

He dropped down into the seat, setting his left elbow on the table before he reached over and picked up her coffee cup looking inside.

“Mm...empty, how about I get you a refill?”

Harleen swallowed. “Ah, sure Dr. Kerr.”

He stood up with her cup. “Call me Joseph. What were you drinking?”

“Pumpkin spice,” she said softly.

He gave her a lopsided smile. “Ah, a perfect choice.”

Harleen watched as he walked over to the counter, which at the moment was empty, and placed an order. She tried not to stare at him as he waited for the coffee, coming back a few minutes later with two mugs, placing hers down next to her. “There you go my dear.”

He sat back down, placing his cup on the table. “You’re one of my students, the one with the exquisite name, Harleen Quinzel.”

Harleen nodded blushing so much she was sure her ears were red. “Yes, that’s me.”

He sipped his coffee, quiet for a moment. Harleen picked up her coffee, taking a sip and glancing up at him. He smiled at her again, reaching up to take his glasses off and set them on the table.

Harleen’s heart skipped a beat. The glasses, she realized, tempered the intensity of his gaze. This close, his eyes were hypnotic. The idea of falling into his gaze seemed like the best plan she had ever made.

“I looked you up,” he said in a soft tone that made Harleen feel deliciously warm. “Transfer student, gymnastics scholarship, your grades were impressive. Imagine my delight when I discovered that you wish to become a psychiatrist.” He smiled and leaned forward. “Which means that you’ll be in all my classes.”

Harleen felt a warm tickle vibrate through her. He had looked her up?!

She swallowed and nodded. “Yes...I plan to...take all your classes, that is.”

Kerr smiled, his eyes studying her. Harleen felt as if he was undressing her, which she found she was perfectly happy with.

“How would you feel about earning some extra credit toward your degree?” Joseph asked her with a tilt of his head.

“Extra credits?” Harleen asked in slight confusion.

“You could be my assistant. I have a teaching assistant…” Dr. Kerr rolled his eyes slightly. “A student named Jeremiah Arkham…”

Harleen couldn't keep the expression off her face at the mention of Jeremiah which had Dr. Kerr laughing. “Ah, I see you’ve met him!”

Harleen nodded. “Yes, before your class. If you don’t mind my saying, Professor Kerr, he’s a bit of a dick.”

Joseph laughed loud enough that a few patrons turned to look at them, but he ignored him. “Is that your professional opinion doctor?” Joseph asked with amusement before he added. “And call me Joseph, please.”

Harleen swallowed and smiled. “Joseph.”

He reached across the table and lightly laid his long fingers against her arm. “Just, only call me Joseph when it’s the two of us.”

Harleen nodded and felt heat moving through particularly sensitive parts of her body. “Yes...Joseph.”

“As I was saying, I could have have Jeremiah given to another professor--maybe Crane,” he said with a glance into the middle distance. “He’s always looking for an assistant. Students don’t always like working with him because he’s a bit, ah frightening, but he is actually very nice. Jeremiah doesn’t need me particularly. You, I think, could benefit from working with me more. And it looks good on your curriculum vitae to have been an assistant.” He smiled at her. “What do you say...Harley?”

Harleen felt a rush of pleasure when he said Harley. She blushed, and her smile spread across her face. “I would love that Dr...Joseph.”

Joseph stroked her arm lightly, then stopped as if realizing what he was doing and pulled his hand away. “Well, I will get all the necessary paperwork done. Do you think you could come by my office tomorrow afternoon?”

“I have two classes tomorrow, but I'll be free by lunch time,” Harleen replied softly.

Joseph grinned. Harleen loved the fact that he wore lipstick. It was sexy, a man with confidence in himself like that to wear a little color on his lips and the thought of smearing that red across his face while she hungrily kissed him was enticing too. She swiftly shoved that thought down, her cheeks flushed, and her breasts felt heavy.

“Well, how about we have lunch together tomorrow in my office? We can go over the paperwork and I can fill you in on what the position entails, how much you’ll be paid…” Joseph began, but Harleen interrupted. “I get paid?”

Joseph grinned. “Of course you do, sweets…” He paused for a moment. He hadn’t meant to say “sweets,” it had just slipped out, but he decided to ignore his slip and continue. “The position requires work on your part, helping me design exams, quizzes, grading, helping me with lecture notes, and on the very rare occasion, teaching a class. The position will also include my helping you with papers for conferences, taking you with me to said conferences...and several other little things that I can’t for the life of me think of this moment.” He laughed. “Does that sound acceptable to you Harley?”

Harleen nodded. “It does.”

He smiled happily--genuinely happy. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do having Harley as his assistant, if he could handle having her close all the time, but the thought of not having her close to him was worse. He would just have to keep his attraction under wraps, but it was going to be difficult. This close to her...

She made every part of him come alive. She was...perfection, everything he imagined he would want in a woman, beautiful, sexy, intelligent....his equal. That he realized was something he wanted more than anything, someone who was his equal. He was sure Harley was that. He could see the intelligence in her gaze, an intellect that was equal to how beautiful she was…

“So, how about my office, tomorrow say...one?” Joseph asked her softly, his eyes locked with hers.

Harleen smiled shifting in her seat a little as her groin throbbed. “Yes, that sounds great.”

Dr. Kerr stood. This close, she was impressed with his height. He was tall...she knew he was tall, but...she swooned a bit. He walked around the table and took her hand, his thumb brushed across her knuckles. “Tomorrow,” he said softly before he let her hand go with a smile.

Harleen watched him walk away, biting her lip as she stared at his ass.

She didn’t notice the young woman, around her age, sitting at another table nearby and staring daggers of hate at Harleen.

The woman was taller than Harleen, slimmer, a more boyish build to her body. She had short red hair, and large green eyes. She had on a ragged purple shirt that read “Daddy’s Girl” across the chest along with a short black and red plaid skirt, several thick black leather belts around her waist, dark purple leggings and knee high black leather boots with thick soles that gave her another couple of inches height.

She narrowed her eyes, glaring at Harleen, her eyes filled with a dark hate.

Chapter Text

Pamela came home in the early evening exhausted. Her day had been long and all she wanted was a hot shower, a hamburger and to curl up in bed with a movie, but when she shut the door and turned around, she nearly jumped a foot to see Harleen waiting for her.

Harleen was on the couch dressed in red sleeping shorts and a little black t-shirt bouncing on her knees on the couch as squeaked when she saw Pam. “GUESS WHAT??!”

Pamela gasped and stumbled back against the door with her hand to her chest. “Damn it Harleen!!”

Harleen was on her feet and rushed over to Pamela grabbing her hands. “GUESS WHAT??!”

Pam sighed. “Okay, what?”

“Dr. Kerr asked me to be his assistant!!!” Harleen squealed, hopping in place with Pamela’s hands in hers, nearly wrenching Pam’s arms out of her sockets.

“What? How? I thought...okay Harleen--stop jumping and explain.” Pamela pulled her hands away from her friend.

“Okay. Well I was at Radu’s Coffee Shop when he came in and he saw me and came over told me he had looked me up on the computer since my name stood out and saw my grades and asked me to be his teaching assistant!! And OH MY GOD! Pammy, he is soooo hot!!” Harleen squeaked. “And he touched my arm!!”

Pamela laughed shaking her head. “All right let me get this straight, you are going to be Professor Kerr’s teaching assistant, that’s wonderful. That lso means your tuition will be paid and you’ll have your scholarship money to spend as you need it. Oh, and you get a paycheck.” Pamela smiled, happy for her friend. “And it’s always nice to have a handsome professor to be working for too.”

She grinned at Harleen. “Told you he was handsome, and exotic didn’t I?”

Harleen had gone still. “Wait? What? My tuition is paid if I’m a teaching assistant?”

Pamela walked into her apartment and dropped her purse onto the kitchen table. “Yep. Your tuition is paid for and you get a small salary. Do you know what class you’ll be helping him with?”

Harleen followed Pam as she went into the kitchen, shaking her head. “Not yet. I’m meeting him for lunch tomorrow to go over the paperwork and all that.”

Pam opened the refrigerator pulling out the gallon of milk before grabbing herself a glass from the cabinet. “Ooh lunch.”

Harleen giggled, but then her voice became serious. “Pammy, do you know what the policy on teacher-student romance is at the university?”

Pam was in the middle of pouring herself a glass of milk when she stopped and turned to look at Harleen. “What?”

Harleen blushed. “I just...I’ve never been so attracted to a guy before. Not even Guy. I mean...if I was going to give up my virginity it would be to Dr. Kerr.” She giggled blushing more knowing her ears were probably bright red. Harleen was thankful that she had left her hair down after her shower.

Pamela tilted her head studying Harleen. “You’re serious aren't you?”

Harleen nodded. “I just…” She leaned against the counter and collected her thoughts. “I just feel so...alive around him. We talked for a little while at the coffee shop and the entire time I thought I might have an orgasm if he breathed on me wrong.” Harleen giggled. “He has me thinking about things I never thought about before, things I would want to do with him that made me want to gag when I thought about them with Guy.” Harleen bit her bottom lip, her cheeks warmed, flushed.

Pamela frowned and put the milk away. “Be careful honey. I don’t know the policy exactly but I think since he is your professor as well as your employer...sort of...a relationship would be frowned on.”

Harleen frowned a little bit, looking down at her sock covered feet, shuffling them on the floor. “Do you know if he’s with anyone?”

Pamela’s frown deepened. “No, not that I know of. No one has ever said anything or seen him with anyone. Harleen, are you listening to me?”

“I heard you.” Harleen made a face. “I was just asking a question.”

Pamela sighed. “Promise me you’ll be careful, okay? If you get involved with him just make sure you look out for yourself.”

Harleen beamed at her. “Of course I will! He told me to call him Joseph.”

Pamela sighed walking over to put her arms around her friend giving her a hug. “Okay Harls.”

Harleen hugged her back, her eyes bright with happiness.

*

Harleen wore black and white plaid leggings with a little black sweater that hung just above her pants line, showing off a thin line of skin, along with a pair of black converse. She had pulled her hair back into a high ponytail hoping she looked sexy. She arrived for her morning class still feeling giddy with excitement about seeing Dr. Kerr...no...Joseph, for lunch, but she did her best to focus on her class.

Her first class of the morning was chemistry with Dr. Victor Fries.

The chemistry lab was a large room with several large tables equipped with sinks. On each table sat a microscope and along the walls were shelves filled with every type of imaginable lab apparatus the students would need. Each table had enough room for three stools. Harleen found one near the back again, and sat down to wait for class to start when she saw Jeremiah Arkham walk in. Harleen groaned inwardly and pulled out a notebook from her backpack, which she opened up on her table and started to write in, mostly just her name, but kept her head down hoping that he wouldn’t see her. God, Harleen thought, why didn’t I wear my hair down! Hair was the perfect camouflage!

She had already written her name several times, adding Dr. Kerr’s name with several lines of “Joseph” when she felt a shadow over her followed by Jeremiah saying in what Harleen considered a smarmy voice. “Well, looks like you’re one of us now.”

Harleen sighed and looked up from her notebook, but Jeremiah was smiling at her, which she found surprising. She had had expected him to be scowling at her, ready to lay into her for taking his position. “That was some smooth work getting Dr. Kerr to ask for you. I admire that.” His smile turned into a smirk. “Now I don’t see any reason you couldn’t go out with me, since we’re equals after all. I think taking you out for a celebratory dinner for having gotten herself a position without applying deserves a dinner date.”

Harleen sighed. “Well, there might be one reason we couldn’t go out.”

Jeremiah frowned. “What on earth could that be?”

“I don’t want to go out with you.” Harleen smiled and leaned her elbows on the table. She plopped her chin in her hands with a full on cat-like grin.

Jeremiah opened his mouth to respond, but he was cut off my a female voice asking along with the loud squeal of a stool being pulled along the floor. “This seat taken?”

They both turned to see a young woman with short red hair wearing black leggings, a neon yellow mini skirt, and a torn up looking black t-shirt with Green Day printed across the front.

Harleen frowned, but shrugged. “Ah sure--you can have it.”

The girl smiled and held her hand out to Harleen. “Duela, Duela Dent.”

Harleen took her hand. “Harleen Quinzel.”

“Jeremiah Arkham,” Jeremiah said without taking her offered hand, but he did flop down onto the stool on Harleen’s other side.

Harleen was about to ask him to move when the professor came waltzing in. Dressed in a blue suit, Harleen thought he was an attractive older man in his early sixties with ash blonde hair that had begun to go white on the sides. When he turned to face the class, Harleen could see that his eyes were green. He smiled at everyone. “Welcome, I am Professor Victor Fries and I shall be teaching you the wonders of advanced Chemistry.”

Harleen smiled, biting her bottom lip. She couldn’t place his accent, German maybe, Austrian, it was hard to tell, but differently European.

He grinned and Harley thought he was a man who enjoyed his class and teaching. “Let’s us make quick introductions and get started, shall we?”

*

Class was interesting and Harleen could tell she was going to enjoy Dr. Fries class. He was entertaining and very knowledgeable, plus she loved listening to him talk! He had the most interesting accent, sexy even though he couldn’t compare to Joseph (that thought made Harley blush and giggle to herself that she was already thinking about him as Joseph and not Dr. Kerr.)

After class Harleen tried to get up quickly, but both Duela and Jeremiah each grasped one of her arms. Harleen looked between them confused.

Jeremiah frowned at Duela then looked back at Harleen. “Do you have another class?”

Harleen made a sour face. “I do, I have psychology with Dr. Crane.”

Harleen yanked her arm from his gasp, but Jeremiah let her go with a smile. This man did not know how to take a hint! “I’m his teaching assistant, so I’m sitting in on his higher level classes even though I won’t actually be teaching in those. How about I walk you to class?” He reached out, trying to snag her backpack from her, but Harleen pulled it out of his reach. “That’s okay, I…”

Duela tugged on Harleen’s other arm drawing her attention away from Jeremiah. “I have the same class next--maybe we can sit together.”

Harleen frowned, confused. Duela had been quiet after introducing herself, not saying a word to Harleen so the fact that the young woman wanted to sit with her felt as if it had come from left field.

Harleen was about to tell Duela that was fine, she didn’t mind (though she didn’t understand why Duela wanted to sit with her) when Harleen’s attention was drawn to the doorway as Dr. Kerr stepped into the room. Harleen felt her heart leap into her throat where it threatened to choke her. He looked devastatingly handsome this morning as he strolled in, one hand in the pocket of his slacks. The vest he wore was brown, with lighter stripes and gold chain across his stomach. He wore a pair of brown and black oxfords with pointed toes that Harleen found quite sexy. His long legs cut the distance to his destination rapidly. His green hair was once more slicked back from his face, except for the stubborn curl that refused to stay anywhere but curled against the pale skin of his forehead. Harleen bit the side of her lip while gazing at him. She wanted more than anything in the world to twist that curl around her finger while she attacked his throat with her teeth and tongue. Today he was dressed in black pinstripe slacks and a dark blue dress shirt underneath the brown vest brought out the blue in his eyes. Along with the brown vest and a blue and gold striped tie that highlighted the gold within the blue of his hypnotic eyes. He had his glasses on and once more he had the sleeves of his shirt rolled up, this time to his elbows, and he wasn’t wearing a jacket.

Harleen felt herself swoon at the sight of him.

*

Joseph saw Harley and his heart skipped a beat. He hadn’t known she was in this class. He had come to talk to Victor about some experiments they were working on together in regards to Victor’s experimenting with cryogenics. Joseph wanted to catch his friend before his next class and there she was, looking dazzling sitting in the back of the room, like an angel among the riff raff. It had taken an act of supreme will on his part to turn away from staring at her.

Last night he had tried to occupy himself with work, but it he found that nearly impossible. Harleen Quinzel, Harley...his mind kept drifting to her, which was unusual for him. Once he focused on a problem, his mind would stay focused, whether it was work or some new chemical bomb or trap for the gangs he hired himself out to here in Gotham. But last night, none of that could occupy his thoughts, all he could seem to dwell on had been Harley.

She had taken over his every thought. Joseph wasn’t one to daydream, but he had, thinking about her, about her smile, wondering how her hair must feel running between his fingers, how her skin would feel like silk in his hands, the contrast of her creamy peach skin against his ghost white flesh, the smell of her, the taste of her on his tongue. That and more all drifted in and out of his thoughts no matter how hard he tried not to think about her. Even contemplating his meeting tomorrow night hadn’t been able to quell his thoughts of her. The meeting tomorrow was with the head of the Odessa gang, Alexandria Kosovo, a woman he knew wanted more from him than simply his skills as a chemist and interrogator. Any meeting with her was a dangerous dance; trying to ignore her advances, yet staying on her good side proved to be tense. Luckily she hadn’t pushed the issue, as his services as a chemist far outweighed her desire to use him as a lover.

Even the threat of meeting with Alexandria hadn’t been enough for him not to dream about Harley. He had dreamt about her lips, her body, holding her on his lap in his office while they fucked. He had awakened, startled by having a wet dream about Harley, something as far he could recall, had never once happened to him.

Now, seeing her had brought all those images of her from his dream rushing back to him. He was proud of himself for being able to keep his calm when he saw her and continue his conversation with Victor...Of course, he had to poke himself in the thigh with the pen he had in his pocket, but still...

*

She tried not to stare, but she couldn’t help herself. He was so handsome. He glanced in their direction, their eyes meeting, though he was speaking with Dr. Fries. She knew Jereimah was talking to her, but she couldn't hear him any longer. Just when Jereimah reached over to touch her shoulder, Joseph motioned for her.

Harleen shot out of her seat, grabbed her bag, unaware of the surprised look on Jeremiah’s face or the look of pure hatred on Duela’s face as she weaved her way over to him.

Dr. Kerr smiled broadly as she came over and he laid his hand on her shoulder. “Victor, this is my new teaching assistant Harley. I think you will find that she is a gifted student.”

Dr. Fries smiled, holding his hand out to her. “It’s a pleasure, Harley is it?”

Harleen nodded “Yes, I mean it’s Harleen, but my friends call me Harley.”

(She didn’t bother to mention that no one called her Harley, that was a pleasure reserved for Joseph, though she supposed the faculty could call her that too.)

“Well, I’ll talk with you later, Victor about that experiment I want to try.” He turned his attention to Harleen. “Mind if I tag along with you to your last class?” Dr. Kerr asked with a smile.

“Of course not,” Harleen said with a blush.

Joseph laid his hand lightly against the small of her back and turned her toward the door, glancing back to give Victor a wave as the two of them walked out the door together. Harleen bit her bottom lip. She could feel his fingers against her back, just where her sweater stopped, leaving a small space of exposed skin. His fingers were warm, burning her it felt like, the warmth spreading like a wildfire through her body. She had to suck in a breath to stop herself from making a loud moan of pleasure at his touch.

“How are you this morning?” Joseph asked her when they hit the hall and turned to the left. There were students milling around or rushing here and there to get to their classes, but the students parted to allow Joseph and Harleen to walk.

Harleen swallowed, gazed up at him. His lips were red again, red in a way she found enticing. He still had his fingers against her back, she was sure she felt him brush them along her skin. (Joseph indulged himself when he touched her back, his fingers finding the space where her skin was exposed. He only touched her lightly, but he could feel the silken texture of her skin under his fingertips, just as sweet and soft as he had imagined she would be, but the experience now was so much more vivacious than imagination. Where he touched her, it felt as if a string hand wrapped itself around his hand which traveled up his body from that touch and wrapped itself around his heart, linking him to her. He didn’t know how, but he had to make her his girl. It was wrong on so many levels, but he knew if he didn’t make her his, the want of her would drive him insane.)

“It’s going…” Harleen started, but she didn't finish her sentence before Jeremiah interrupted. “Dr. Kerr, may I have a word?”

Joseph glanced at Harleen and very quickly rolled his eyes as he stopped and turned. “Ah Jeremiah…” He turned back to Harleen saying softly, quiet enough only she could hear. “See you in an hour sweets.”

Harleen blushed and nodded, shot Jeremiah an annoyed look before she headed down the hall and out of the building toward her last class of the day with Dr. Crane.

*

Dr. Johnathan Crane was a man of average height with sandy blonde hair that brushed his shoulders, a crooked nose that might have been broken at one time, and light brown eyes behind a pair of gold framed glasses. He came into the classroom, carrying enough books that Harleen was surprised he didn’t fall over.

He walked over to the desk, dropping all the books with a loud bang, which made everyone in the classroom jump a foot into the air.

He turned and smiled. His smile was nice, despite his crooked teeth. “Now, let’s get started, shall we?”

He didn’t bother to take attendance or pass out a syllabus. Instead, Dr. Crane got right down to work lecturing, writing notes on the board even as students were still wandering into the classroom. Crane paid them no attention as he spoke in a pleasant voice, writing down notes on the board while students hurried into the classroom--one of them being Jeremiah, who stopped in the doorway, looked around, spotted Harleen and started to make his way to her only to stop when he saw there weren’t any desks close to her available (one of them being occupied by Duela.)

Jeremiah was forced to take the one remaining seat near the front.

Thank god for small favors. Harleen grinned to herself as she focused her attention on taking notes.

*

After class, Harleen was able to avoid Jeremiah once more as Dr. Crane called for him and she was able to slip out of the classroom. (Duela followed her out of the classroom without Harleen noticing. The other woman watched Harleen head in the direction of Dr. Kerr’s office with a sour look on her face. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do, but Harleen Quinzel needed to go if she was going to get close to Dr. Kerr herself.) Duela scowled and turned, heading in the opposite direction.

Once Harleen was free, she hurried down the hall, then up the stairs to the top floor of the psychology building and toward Dr. Kerr’s office.

Dr. Joseph Kerr had an office at the far end of a hallway that had only two other rooms, with his office being the last at the end of the hall. When Harleen arrived, the door was closed, his name printed on the surface of the door in black letters. She brushed her fingers along the letters before she knocked, rapping her knuckles lightly against the door.

“Enter.”

She smiled when she heard his voice. She wrapped her hand around the knob and twisted, pushing the door in, and stuck her head in first. “Dr. Kerr?”

She saw Joseph sitting at his deck. A jacket matching his slacks was draped over the back of his chair, his fingers lying across the keys of a chromebook, his glasses perched at the end of his nose. The whole scene of him in his office at work made Harleen feel a spike of lust. He looked sexy, with his focus on his computer, his gaze intent, the tip of his tongue caught between his teeth. The office wasn’t very big, she noted. There was room for his small wooden desk, just big enough for his computer and several stacks of books and papers, his deck chair, and another wooden chair that Harleen assumed was for students. The rest of the room was covered by books and bookshelves. All the walls had bookshelves covering them, with only one wall having enough space for a poster that was the image of Dr. Ian Malcolm from the movie Jurassic Park with the word ‘chaos’ written in large letters under him. She was also greeted by the odd combined smell of Chinese food and Italian food.

Joseph looked up from his computer and smiled brightly. “Harley! Come in.”

Harleen stepped in pulling the door closed behind her. She smiled shyly. “Joseph.”

He motioned towards the chair in front of his desk. “Sit please. How was your class with Dr. Crane?”

Harleen sat, dropped her backpack down at her side. “I think I’m going to enjoy his class. He said we were going to focus on the study of fear all term.”

Joseph nodded as he shut his computer lid and removed his glasses, dropping them on the desk before he put his hands behind his head and arched his back and stretch. (Harleen bit her bottom lip watching him and trying to control her breath.) “That is one of his specialties.”

He dropped his arms back down and ran them over his hair. “Well good, I’m glad you like your classes so far, though you might want to consider dropping one of them since you’ll be working with me. As an assistant, you don’t need more than four classes at the most, and since you’ll be attending my psychology 101 class as my assistant, that more than makes up for dropping a class.”

“When is your psychology class?” Harleen asked with a tilt of her head.

Joseph smiled. “In about sixty minutes, more than enough time to get your paperwork out of the way and eat some lunch.” Joseph took a moment to look through several piles of papers before he pulled out several and set them down in front of Harleen. “Now, these just need your signature, just some work papers, W-2s, a few things for the department…”

Harleen pulled a pen from her backpack and quickly looked over the papers, just standard stuff any employer would have an employee fill out. She quickly glanced over them before signing and handing them back to Joseph.

He smiled, taking the papers. “There--you are now officially my assistant.”

Harleen smiled in return, feeling a spike of heat radiate through her. She wondered how closely she would be required to work with him. She hoped it was real close.

Joseph bent down while he spoke. “I didn’t know what you liked to eat, so I decided to just buy two seperate lunches.”

He sat back up and placed two white take out bags on his desk. “This one is Chinese…” He patted the one of the right. “...some chicken fried rice, chow mein, and some wonton soup. This one…” He patted the bag on the left. “... is spaghetti and meatballs, focaccia bread, and three cheese tortellini. I wasn’t sure what you liked, but I hoped I might hit the jackpot with one of these.” He gave her a bright grin that made her heart flutter. “Oh, and…” He bent down and brought up a drink holder with two cups wth plastic lids. “Ice tea--I thought that was safe.”

“Well, I like both and I love ice tea so...Jackpot!” She didn’t know why she did it, but before she could stop herself Harleen raised her hands and wiggled them like jazz hands.

Joseph laughed with pleasure. “Perfect!”

He set his computer aside and began to empty out the bags, setting all the food items out on his desk. “Which would you like, sweets?” He winced at himself again. “Sorry--I mean Harley.”

Harleen smiled as she reached for the chopsticks. “I think Chinese.”

Joseph smiled. “Very good choice.”

Harleen began opening the containers when she added, “We could share, I could give you bites of mine and vice versa…”

Joseph, who had been in the process of opening up the takeout container of spaghetti, looked up with a twinkle in his eyes. “I like that idea Harley.”

For the next several seconds the two of them opened containers before relaxing to start eating.

Joseph took a couple of bite sof his food, working the noodles onto his plastic fork with expert care. “So Harley, why psychiatry?”

Harleen was using chopsticks for her food, a skill she had worked long and hard on as a kid. “Well...I had a relative commit suicide...someone I cared a lot about. She was bipolar...and I guess, I felt like I should have been able to help her.” She frowned poking at her noodles as she spoke, looking down at the food before she looked up at him. “What about you?”

Joseph frowned in thought before he said. “My mother, before she was murdered…”

Harleen made a soft gasp of surprise, but Joseph gave her a soft smile. “It was a long time ago, when I was little both my parents were killed…” He shook his head, dismissing the memory.

“Anyway, each member of my family reacted...differently. Each reacted quite different to the loss, including myself. Made me want to understand why...understand how people process grief. That led me to try to understand all aspects of the mind, personality, the chemical makeup of who we are…” He shrugged. “Then I discovered I enjoyed sharing what I have learned with others.”

Harleen felt all liquid and warm listening to him talk. His voice was smooth and sent an erotic tickle along her spine. She smiled at him, then asked slowly. “Does that include how people react to how you look?”

Joseph laughed. “Sometimes. People who aren't expecting me have a wide variety of reactions to the way I look.” He gave her a small smile. “What about you Harley? Does the way I look frighten you, or do you find it funny?”

Harleen blushed and said softly. “I think you look exquisite.” She blinked, her eyes widening. “I mean exotic...oh shit...I mean…” She dropped her face completely mortified at herself, but Joseph only laughed with pleasure.

“Well no one has ever described me like that, but I do like it.”

Harleen looked up again. “I didn’t mean to cross any lines…”

Joseph shook his head. “Would it help if I said I find you to be exquisite looking as well and I mean that--every word.” Harleen looked up at him over the top of her glasses. Her heart slammed against her breastbone. Joseph looked back at her and added softly. “There, we’ve both been inappropriate and can move on, hm?”

Joseph laughed and Harleen couldn’t help but laugh as well.

“Are you enjoying the food?” he asked suddenly, changing the subject.

Harleen nodded. “Yes, I haven’t had Chinese in a while. What about your food?”

Joseph grinned. “Panessa has some of the best Italian food in Gotham. Would you like to try a meatball?”

Harleen grinned. “Sure, you want some noodles?”

He smiled at her. “Yes, I would...here, you first.”

He pushed his container closer. Harleen reached over with her chopsticks, but found that the meatball was a little bigger than she was used to handling with her chopsticks. She struggled for a few seconds, while the meatball insisted on slipping out of her grasp each time she thought she had caught it.

“Here--let me.” Joseph speared the meatball with his fork and held it up for her. Harleen leaned closer, and Joseph leaned toward her holding the meatball out. She opened her mouth…

Joseph’s heartbeat quickened, heat rushing to his groin and causing his shaft to swell, his slacks tightened. Harleen’s lips were soft, a light shade of rose that he found enticing. Her tongue was wet, pink, sweet... all he could think of was her tongue on him, the way her lips would feel wrapped around his erection, the taste of her tongue in his mouth…

He slowly placed the meatball in her mouth, watching her lips close around it. He studied the line of her jaw, the slender slope of her neck while she chewed and smiled. She really was the most exquisite woman he had ever seen. The thought of brushing everything off his desk, picking her up and laying her on it, his mouth hot on her throat flashed in his mind in vivid detail, causing him to have to shift a little in his seat as his slacks became tighter.

Harleen took a drink before she replied. “That is good. Okay, your turn.”

She didn’t think to let him get the bite for himself. Harleen simply picked up some noodles with her chopsticks and leaned over holding the bite of noodles out for him.

Joseph leaned close and opened his mouth. His eyes sparkled, a slight smile on his lips as she placed the food in his mouth.

Harleen sucked her bottom lip between her teeth, her eyes tracing the sensual curve of his red painted lips. She would never have thought in a million years that she would find lipstick on a man so sexy, but here she was thinking about smearing that lipstick across his lips, watching his mouth part as he moaned with pleasure while she did things to him, wondering what his tongue would feel like dragging across her nipples. She could feel her nipples harden in response to her thoughts.

When she sat back after feeding him the bite, she was almost panting.

Joseph grinned and swallowed the noodles. “That is very good. Oddly, I don’t remember the noodles tasting nearly as good before.”

Harleen laughed. “Maybe all food tastes better when someone is feeding you.”

He quirked a brow at her. “Maybe you’re right.” He took a drink of his tea. “Speaking of food, I have a question: are you busy this weekend?”

Harleen felt her blood pressure spike. “Ah no, why? I mean...” Calmer she said. “...no, no I'm not. Busy that is.”

“Well, there’s a faculty dinner this weekend--there’s one every year where we get together to catch up and meet any new staff members. Some of the donors to the university will be there, a few other people important to the university, the Dean…The teaching assistants are invited as well, but I thought you might come as my plus one, as well as my assistant.”

Harleen smiled brightly. “I would love to...Ah...how should I dress?”

Joseph tilted his head in thought. “Semi-formal. Nothing too fancy and you don’t have to wear a dress if you don’t want to. I know you’ll look lovely in anything you wear.”

Harleen blushed. “Thank you.”

Joseph looked down, suddenly interested in the buttons on his vest. “Of course, if your boyfriend or girlfriend would be upset by going to dinner with me…”

“Oh no, I’m single…” Harleen said in a rush, which was followed by her cheeks turning bright red and her remaining noodles becoming intently interesting.

Joseph’s face lit up, but he murmured. “You’re single?”

Harleen nodded still looking at her noodles. “I had a boyfriend, but he kept pressuring me to sleep with him...and then I found him with another girl…” She shrugged. “I actually wasn’t that upset because I know now I wasn’t really in love with him which was why I didn’t want to take that next step and lose my virginity with him…” Harleen frowned, her eyes widening as she looked up at Joseph, blushing brightly. “And wow...I just overshared.”

Joseph laughed gently. “I'm glad I make you feel comfortable enough to share something like that with me. You don’t have to be embarrassed. I admire you, Harleen. There are few people like us.”

Harleen looked at him, trying to figure out what he meant, but there was a knock at his office door. Joseph didn’t just frown, his gaze turned hard, and anger made his eyes flash in a way that she found incredibly erotic. “Yes?”

“Sorry Dr. Kerr, but Dr. Strange would like to talk to you and he said you weren’t picking up your phone. He sent me to see if you were in your office!” The voice on the other side was female.

Joseph sighed. “Fine, tell him I’ll be another minute--I was just eating lunch.”

He turned back to Harleen. “Sorry, that’s Ellen, the department secretary. I should probably take this call.”

Harleen stood up. “Oh, I understand.”

Joseph smiled at her. “See you in class in a little bit.”

She nodded with a smile, still blushing. “See you in a bit Joseph.”

She left his office, her heart skipping a beat.

Joseph watched her go with a sigh of longing.

*

Sitting in Kerr’s 101 psychology was interesting for Harleen. Since it was a freshman level class, Harleen had heard all this before having already taken a similar class, but Joseph had a way of presenting the information that was refreshing. They didn't cover much in the first class, being the first day and all, but what they did cover was fascinating, especially the way Joseph presented it. Harleen gazed at him longingly, her elbows resting on her desk, her chin resting in her hands as she watched him. He walked back and forth in the front of the room, gesturing while he spoke, his unusual coloring, the fit of his clothing on his slender frame, the way his slacks tugged at his hips, his ass, his crotch...Harleen was distracted for a moment. Her eyes zeroed in at his groin when he turned around to face the class. She licked her lips before catching her bottom lip with her teeth. She could only imagine what was there...

Joseph turned to stroll across the front of the room again, the spell broken. Harleen went back to admiring other parts of his body, her cheeks still flush. She watched his hands for a few seconds; the length of his fingers made his gestures more elegant and graceful. She blinked only just now noticing that he painted his nails!! He painted his nails! Harleen repeated this new little tibbit to herself; how had she missed that when they were having lunch? Oh, well her focus had mostly been on his mouth. She giggled silently, her eyes moving from his hands, up his arms, to his face again, once more finding those sensual red lips. She traced his lips with her eyes before progressing to his eyes, framed by his glasses, then slowly to his hair.

She loved the way his hair began to fall loose, caressing his forehead while he practically danced from one end of the room to the other, each movement unconsciously graceful. She watched the way his hair, dark green, and startling bright against his pale skin, moved with him. Another curl fell free over his forehead until Harleen’s fingers itched with desire to brush his hair back from his face, to feel his hair between her fingers.

All the sensations that warred inside her combined to make Harleen watch him like a starving person being presented with a steak; her mouth was watering and she wanted that steak with every fiber of her being. She was wet enough that she was a little worried about standing up.

She couldn’t keep the desire for him out of her eyes.

At one point during his lecture, Joseph turned and they locked eyes. Harleen felt her breath sucked away as he smiled at her, then winked. She bit her lip with a soft hiss of pleasure. She giggled. She might just die if he actually ever touched her!

*

After class Joseph had to go to a department meeting, but before he did, he took Harleen aside. “Should have done this at lunch, but here is my cell number.” He handed her a piece of paper, but Harleen surprised him by pulling out her phone, which was a cherry red, and handed it to him. “You can just program it in. If you want, I can just put my number in your phone too,” Harleen said softly.

Joseph smiled, giving her a sideways look as he handed over his phone to her. To her delight, it was purple. They both took a few moments to program each others number into the other phone before handing them back.

Joseph hesitated for a moment. “I was wondering, tomorrow, late afternoon, I--and usually Dr. Crane--have sort of unofficial club. We meet a few times during the school year. We get together someplace off campus usually, along with a few gifted students and we talk about the latest papers in psychology, or discuss research, students ask questions about…” He shrugged motioning with his hands. “...anything really...it’s sort of a psychology mixed with philosophy club. We’re meeting tomorrow around three, and if you want, you could meet me at my office and I would walk you there...if you would like that...” His smile actually looked shy to her.

Harleen beamed and blurted out swiftly, almost too quickly as her words threatened to run together. “I would love to!”

Joseph smiled with pleasure. “Good...I think you’ll enjoy it.”

He hesitated, as if he didn’t want to leave her company before he reached out and lightly touched her hand. It was a fleeting touch, but it felt like the most intimate touch Harleen had ever received. “I’ll see you tomorrow in class, then my office later,” Joseph said in a soft voice..

Harleen nodded. “Yes, all right. See you tomorrow.”

He gave her a smile before turning and heading down the hall. Harleen watched him, biting her bottom lip once more caught between her teeth, her gaze filled with intense need and longing.

*

That evening at home, Harleen curled up in bed with one of her romance novels. She had stopped on her way home to browse the used book store, looking for just the romance novel...a novel about a teacher and student locked in a heated, lust-filled forbidden romance. She snuck the book in (Pam had an aversion to Harleen’s romance books calling them silly and derivative, telling Harleen they were bad for her brain. Though Harleen had pointed out that Pam had never actually read one. Of course that didn’t stop Pam from being all judgy.)

After a few minutes of reading, Harleen set her book aside. She couldn’t keep her thoughts off of Joseph. She closed her eyes imagining him. The sensual line of his red lips, the lean length of his throat, the way his hair curled slightly. She bit down on her bottom lip, reaching down past her pajama shorts band, sliding her fingers between her legs where it was hot and wet, her other hand snaked under her top to grasp a breast. She stroked her thumb over her nipple, sliding her fingers against her clitoris, her minds eye focused on Joseph, on the way his lips looked, his smile, his eyes twinkling behind his glasses…

She imagined him naked, the body smooth, slender muscled, and creamy snow white, her mouth wrapped around his shaft, sucking on him while his fingers grasped her hair…

Him leaning over her, holding himself up on his arms while he pumped himself into her, her legs around his thighs, his mouth on her breasts, their shared heated panting, moaning together…

Harleen came with a loud groan, her body tensed, then jerked as her orgasm rippled through her until she gasped once more and went limp. She frowned slightly removing her hands and laid spread eagle on her bed.

God, she wanted him, wanted him so much.

She sighed and rolled onto her side, her thoughts drifting with images of Joseph Kerr until she fell asleep dreaming of a tall, pale man with green hair and a smile that could make her shiver with pleasure.

*

When he arrived home, Joseph went right for the shower, stripping off his clothes as he went. He turned the water icy cold, stepped in, and stood under the water, letting it rain down on him. He tried to quell the burning desire in him with the cold deluge, but it didn’t work.

He bit his lip, leaning one hand against the shower wall, letting the cold water pound against his head, his green hair sticking to his face. He reached down to touch himself, stroking his hand up and down his erection thinking of Harley, thinking of her lips, plump, begging to be kissed, the way her breasts pushed against her sweater, the hint of hard nipples underneath, the warm silk of her skin where his fingers had brushed her back. He imagined her--wet, naked in the shower with him, her blonde hair sticking to her, her nipple in between his lips, the sounds she would make as he thrust into her, pinning her against the wall. His hand moved faster, imagining her mouth on him, sucking him, her fingernails pressed into his rear as she pulled him closer.

He came with a loud gasping groan, spilling against the wall as he stroked himself until he felt weak, releasing himself to lean both hands against the wall.

Joseph squeezed his eyes shut and fervently wished Harleen was here with him.

*

Later Joseph changed into a black suit with black dress shirt, green tie, green leather gloves, black pointed oxfords and dark green and orange striped socks. He slicked his hair back, painted his lips a deep, blood red and stared at himself in the mirror with a smile.

It was time to head into Gotham as his persona: The Joker.

He exited his apartment by the back way and walked several blocks to a pay-to-park garage that had its own security. Once inside, he walked up three levels to a corner where a black Rolls Royce Wraith sat, waiting like a creature of darkness. Joseph smiled as he pulled out the key and unlocked the car. Once inside, he popped open the glove compartment to withdraw a gun which was in its holster, as well as a long wicked looking bowie knife with its own sheath as well. He took a few moments to slip out of his jacket and to slip the firearm on before concealing it once more under his jacket, though the knife he hung at his belt, visible.

After he was finished with his weapon preparations, he turned the car on. The engine purred to life. He smiled and squeezed the steering wheel. His leather gloves groaned softly against the wheel before he took off.

He drove across Gotham, heading toward Dixon Docks to meet up with his client, Alexandrea Kosovo and his right hand man, Jonny Frost, a friend Joseph had met in the hospital in Brazil where Bruce had sent Joseph after the accident, in an attempt to fix him…

Jonny had been there as a bodyguard for a rich Cuban, but the two men had started talking and found that they had a great deal in common. When Joseph returned to Gotham several years later, Frost followed him.

Joseph parked his car several blocks away from the docks in an area he and Jonny had scoped out together. As soon as Joseph turned off the engine, Jonny emerged from the shadows. Jonny Frost was a tall man with broad shoulders, a nose that had been broken at least once, and short blonde hair. He was attractive enough that he probably could have made a living as a model instead of a bodyguard to numerous bad people. But he was more than a bodyguard to Joseph, he was one of his few friends.

Joseph grinned, his Joker persona settling over him before he stepped out of the car.

He took long strides toward his friend.

“Jonny.” He smiled and inclined his head.

“Joker.” Frost smiled back.

Joker turned and began to walk. “So, how are the wife and kids?”

Jonny shrugged. “Same Boss. Though Emily is expecting any day now and the twins have been behaving.”

Joker smiled. “That’s good. I met a girl,” he added sliding his gloved hands into the pockets of his slacks.

Jonny blinked in surprise. “Oh? She pretty?”

Joker grinned wide. “She’s beautiful Jonny, just beautiful.”

Chapter Text

Joker walked into the warehouse with Jonny at his side. He saw Alexandrea Kosovo, as planned, waiting for him. She was a tall, elegant looking woman with long white-blonde hair and full red lips dressed in a skin tight white catsuit with a white fur coat over her shoulders, but she did nothing for him. He felt nothing for her even though she had been trying for months to get him into bed with her. He suspected that it had more to do with power and control than any real desire on her part. Either way, he didn’t care and didn’t want her. Especially not now that he had met Harley.

Alexandrea smiled, cocking her hip. “Joker, nice to see you again.”

Joker grinned at her. “Of course it is, especially when I bring you a present.”

Alexandrea laughed. “Well, I am a girl who likes presents.”

She approached Joker while her bodyguards, two burly looking Russians, walked with her and gave Joker and Jonny dirty looks. Joker smirked in return. He knew the two men, twins, Dima and Kir Smirnov. a couple of idiots if Joker ever saw. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee he liked to call them because it irritated both men. He knew they both hated him because Alexandrea had made her interest in him clear, but he also knew that Kir, Tweedle Dee, was in love with his boss, a fact that Alexandrea used to her benefit.

Joker pressed his red lips together. “You have the money you owe me?”

Alexandrea laughed again, the sound soft and (Joker supposed she thought) seductive as she took a step closer and draped her arms around Joker’s shoulders. She smelled of expensive perfume and more expensive vodka. “Maybe we can come to another arrangement Dzhoker, something that would be far more fun.” Alexandrea smiled at him, leaning close enough her nose touched his, her lips close enough he could feel the warmth of her breath and smell of vodka on his skin as well. “Come on Dzhoker...we could be good together.”

Joker narrowed his eyes, and lifted his arms to remove Alexandrea’s arms. “No. Not interested dear, I wasn’t interested before and I’m certainly less interested now.”

Kir snarled. “Don’t you talk to her like that you punk!”

Alexandrea laughed, reaching out to once more try to take a hold of Joker, but he sneered and took a step back from her at the same time he slapped her hand away. Kir reacted before Alexandrea said a word. The man slugged Joker across the face, the punch hard enough that a spit appeared on his pale skin, blood trickling down Joker’s snow white cheek. Joker reacted just as quickly, slammed his fist into the top of Kir’s sternum, snapped his hand up to jab into Kir’s throat. The sudden, hard strike knocked Kir back, forcing a violent cough from him while his head snapped back from the force of Joker’s attack. Joker grinned nastily as he grabbed Kir’s now exposed adam’s apple between his finger and thumb, choking off the other man’s air while he forced his grip up and forced Kir’s head to snap back further while the man gulped painfully for air. Joker stepped to the left side of Kir’s body, grabbed the back of Kir’s neck and forced him to the floor. All of this happened so quickly that no realized what Joker had done until Kir was on the floor holding his throat and gasping for breath.

Dima yelled. “Brother!!”

Joker stepped back next to Jonny, who already had his weapon drawn. Joker pulled a kerchief from his breast pocket and wiped at the blood on his cheek while glaring at Alexandrea. “The price just went up another thousand. Put your hands on me again, another two thousand.”

Alexandrea sighed, looking more annoyed than angry. “I don’t have that on me…”

Joker smiled and half-turned away, giving her a jaunty salute. “Well, you know how to contact me when you do…”

“Dzhoker come on now...can’t we…” Alexandrea began, but Joker turned back to face her with narrowed eyes. “No, we can’t. You know how to contact me.” Joker smiled and turned to walk out of the warehouse. Jonny gave the two bodyguards dirty looks before he followed Joker out.

*

Once they were outside, Jonny frowned glancing at the pressure cut on Joker’s cheek. “You okay Boss?”

Joker smiled “Just fine. Don’t you worry about it darling.”

Jonny frowned and muttered. “Sorry I didn’t stop him in time.”

“It’s all right. Actually you not stopping him worked out wonderfully. Not only are we making another thousand off this deal now, but I have also taught Alexandrea a valuable lesson: I’m as deadly as the products I produce.” He grinned at Jonny. “Now she knows I’m more than just what I produce.”

Jonny laughed softly then added. “She’s gonna want you more after this.”

Joker rolled his eyes, followed by a shrug. “Probably.”

Jonny smiled and shook his head. “This girl you were talking about, she must be something, though you’ve never shown any interest in Alexandrea before anyway.”

“She is Jonny, she is.” He smiled as they walked. “She is beautiful, truly beautiful, like no one I have ever seen before.” His voice became wistful. “And she is smart.” He smirked. “I know she could keep up with me.”

When they arrived at the car, Jonny held the door open for him. “You should go after her Boss.”

Joker smiled as he slipped into the car. “Maybe you’re right.”

Jonny shut the door and moved around the car to take his place behind the wheel. “Having someone in your corner can make all the difference.” Jonny picked up the conversation while he slid the key into the ignition. “Life can be hard and lonely. Having someone who loves you unconditionally, who you love the same way in return, can make everything that life throws at you that much easier to deal with.” He smiled, glancing into the rearview mirror. “My wife makes my life…” He paused before he added. “Perfect. Everything I do, I do for her and the kids. She’s my best friend and my partner. Besides…” He turned the wheel and pulled away. “...everyone deserves to be loved.”

Joker smiled, gazing out the window at the industrial landscape. Jonny was right, he decided. Having someone who knew him and understood him would be wonderful. He was alone, far more alone than he liked to express, especially since the accident. He and Bruce didn’t even feel like brothers anymore and while he had never felt the need for companionship, Harley had him thinking about things he had given little to no thought about in the past. He needed her, and that need burned in his gut, through his chest, and in his thoughts. He ached with it and his dreams were plagued--or maybe blessed, he thought--by her.

Joker worried at his bottom lip, his thoughts drifting to dwell on Harley…

*

The next morning Harleen dressed in a red and black plaid mini skirt that emphasized her hips, a red henley top that hugged her breasts, and a pair of flat, knee high black boots. She left her hair mostly down, pulling the sides back with little barrettes, one black, one red. She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror with a frown, studying her features when Pamela stuck her head in giving Harleen a once over before she said with a smirk, “So...who you dressing up for?”

Harleen wrinkled her nose in the bathroom mirror at Pamela’s reflection. “No one,” she retorted.

Pam laughed. “Right.”

Harleen blushed. “Okay, maybe it's for…” She smiled with a shy expression. “...Dr. Kerr.”

Pamela lips turned down into a frown as she stepped into the bathroom with her friend. “What?”

Harleen’s cheeks flushed bright pink. “I just...I really like him. He’s so smart, handsome…”

Pamela leaned against the wall and crossed her arms over her chest. She looked like a flower child in her long, shapeless green dress and brown boots, her red hair pulled back in a high ponytail. “Harleen, is there something going on you haven’t told me about?”

Harleen turned around to face her friend. “No…” She sighed. “I want him. I’ve never wanted anyone like I want him Pamela. He’s just so…” Pamela reached out and grabbed Harleen’s shoulders, turning her to face her. “Teacher and student relationships are looked down on Harleen, especially as the man is now your boss. There is a whole lot of legalese and ethics that says this is a really bad idea.”

Harleen’s brow furrowed as she sighed. “There’s nothing going on. I mean, I wish there was, but there isn’t. Can’t I just daydream a little? Dress nice, maybe hope he notices?”

Pamela groaned, dropped her arms, and pulled Harleen into a hug. “Sure, but just be careful, okay? I would hate to see you get yourself kicked out of school over a guy.”

Harleen hugged her back. “But what if he’s the right guy?”

Pamela frowned with a small shake of her head as she let Harleen go. “I guess...I don’t know, Harleen. I mean I have no room to talk since I’ve never been in a relationship. I just want you to be careful is all. Okay?”

Harleen gave Pamela a salute that had her friend laughing. “I promise to be careful surrogate mom!”

Pam grinned and gave Harleen a playful smack on the shoulder. “Shut up.”

Harleen giggled, the two of them walking out of the bathroom together.

*

Later that morning Harleen made her way to Radu’s Coffee Shop before she headed to campus snuggled into the depths of her teddy bear coat, her backpack flung over one shoulder. She liked Radu’s coffee a little bit more than the campus coffee shops and she decided to treat herself. She had pushed Pam’s warnings down deep to mull over later or ignore; she hadn’t decided which. She had woken up early to dress (plus she had been dreaming about Joseph, an intense dream that woke her up, her body wrapped up in an over stimulated sexual ache), so she had plenty of time to stop and get herself a coffee. She had just walked in, hurrying to get in line when she nearly tripped over her own feet. Over at the far end of the shop, she saw Joseph in a corner speaking with some woman. He looked so handsome this morning she thought, his green hair slicked back except for a curl on his forehead. His lips were a dark shade of red, and he wore a long black overcoat over the top of a dark brown and grey plaid suit with suspenders! Why was that so hot, she wondered to herself with a grin. He was also wearing those dress shoes with pointed toes that she realized were a big turn on. Clearly Harleen, you have some weird fetishes, she thought to herself with a smile.

Harleen indulged herself, gazing at him wirh longing, her eyes traveling up and down his slender body. She took in his details, the way he stood, the tug of his slacks around his groin, the way his vest fit tight along his torso, all the delicious little features of Dr. Joseph Kerr. When her gaze returned to his face, Harleen noticed the cut on his cheek, just under his glasses. There was some bruising around it, which stood out viciously in dark purple against his pale skin. He had a butterfly tape over the wound, which meant it was probably wider than it looked.

She frowned wondering what had happened to him when the woman finally really drew Harleen’s attention. The woman stepped close enough to Joseph to trap him against the wall. The woman had to be close to Joseph’s age, she had that mature look about her, something in the eyes and mouth even though she looked young, or rather, Harleen thought with a frwon,the woman looked ageless. The woman was also taller than Harleen and slim, a tight trim body, but with no real curves, with long black hair that looked shiny like liquid darkness. She was shapely (though Harleen thought her breasts were too perky, probably a boob job she thought with a frown. The woman’s breasts stuck out in a way that made her think of coconuts and they were too big for her body Harleen decided, sticking out oddly from her super slender torso. Harleen didn’t really have anything against plastic surgery, but some people in her opinion always took plastic surgery a step too far.) The unknown woman was pretty in a way that made Harleen think about those reality shows on TV: The Real Housewives of...wherever, she could never remember all the titles...those women were always attractive, but in a way only someone with money could be. To Harleen, who had been poor all her life, it was clear the woman had probably had some work done (though Harleen had to admit to herself that maybe part of her assessment was jealousy talking.) Her clothing looked tailored to fit her, and her makeup just looked expensive even from where Harleen stood in line. The kind of woman her father liked to con out of their money.

Harleen noticed with a green hot spike of jealousy, that the woman had leaned in to Joseph, and laid a hand on his shoulder. Her hand traveled up into Joseph’s hair along the back of his neck. Joseph pulled away from her, which only caused the expensive looking woman to move with him. She kept smiling at him, angling her body to show off her breasts, fluttering her eyelashes, licking her lips, and continued to try to stroke his hair.

All clear signs to Harleen that this woman was flirting with Joseph, and judging by the expression on his face, he was not happy with it. That was when she heard a voice behind her speaking softly and low only for her ears.

“That is Julie Madison--she is a theater professor here.”

Harleen jumped and turned to see Dr. Crane standing behind her in line. He smiled and gave her a head nod. “Good morning, Miss Quinzel.”

Harleen smiled back, quickly hiding her moment of fear. “Morning Dr. Crane.”

Crane glanced back over to Joseph. “She is an ex-girlfriend of Mr. Bruce Wayne. She is also a wealthy socialite in her own right, coming from a family with a great deal of money, like Mr. Wayne. She teaches as a way to fill her time and a way to garner respect. She doesn’t like to be thought of as a dumb rich socialite, though I don’t think theater was the correct choice if she wanted to be seen in a different light.” He shrugged. “But that is my own prejudice; clearly, money can't buy you everything. Still, Miss Madison thinks very highly of herself, sees herself as something of an intellectual. I would very much like for her to participate in one of the fear experiments. People like Miss Madison tend to see themselves as above everything and everyone, believe that nothing scares them, except maybe the loss of their money.”

Harleen listened to Dr. Crane, not once wondering why he was giving her this information, her glare held on Miss Julie Madison.

Crane continued. “Perhaps after you order your coffee, you should go and save Dr. Kerr. As his assistant, it wouldn’t be unusual for him to be meeting you.” Harleen turned, giving Crane a frown, but the professor simply smiled back at her and murmured. “It’s your turn to order Miss Quinzel. Dr. Kerr likes pumpkin spice coffee, caramel, or hazelnut.”

Harleen smiled. “Ah, thank you Dr. Crane.”

He smiled and tilted his head slightly. “Not at all my dear.”

Harleen stepped up to the register and ordered two pumpkin spice lattes, all the while stealing glances over at Joseph and Miss Madison, who was trying to drape herself over him. Joseph kept sidestepping her, occasionally looking around as if seeking an escape route.

Harleen stepped to the side, tapping her foot nervously and irritated at the same time as she waited for her order. Once she had the coffees in hand, she made a beeline straight for Joseph.

Harleen walked up close, nearly putting herself between Julie Madison and Joseph.

“I have your coffee Dr. Kerr,” she said with a smile, not even looking over at the other woman.

The look of relief in Joseph's eyes was both comical and made her feel a shiver of pleasure that rushed down her spine and spread like a warm drink through her body.

“Why, thank you Harleen. I appreciate you waiting in line for me.” Joseph smiled at her as he took the coffee from her offered hand and moved closer to her. Dr. Madison looked annoyed. Correction Harleen thought, she looked more than annoyed, she looked murderous, giving Harleen hateful glances that she was sure worked on other students, but they had no effect on Harleen except to make her angrier at this woman for trying to force herself on Joseph.

“Ah, Dr. Madison, this is my new teaching assistant this year--Miss Quinzel.” Joseph's eyes darted to Dr. Madison, but he smiled at Harleen. “Harleen this is an associate of mine, Dr. Julie Madison. She is a theater professor in our Arts department.”

Harleen plastered on a fake smile and put her hand out. “It's a pleasure to meet you.”

Dr. Madison took her hand and squeezed Harleen’s fingers hard in a gesture that surprised her. She knew men did that, trying to out “man” each other with the strength of their handshakes, but Harleen had never heard of a woman doing it. Well, Dr. Madson was going to learn real quick that Harleen didn’t back down. She wasn’t scared of this woman. She didn’t care that she was a professor here, so Harleen squeezed right back.

Dr. Madison was the first to pull away. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Miss Quinzel. Dr. Kerr here had mentioned he had a new assistant this year, though I was under the impression that it was to be Mr. Arkham this year.” She looked to Joseph with a raised eyebrow.

Joseph smiled. “Well, things change, but Harleen has an impressive academic record. I thought she deserved the chance to be a teaching assistant.”

Dr. Madison frowned, glancing at Harleen through slightly narrowed eyes. Harleen felt certain that Dr. Madison was evaluating her and the professor was not happy with her final results. Joseph ignored her and turned his full attention on Harleen. “I’m sorry Julie, but we’ll have to continue this conversation another time. Harleen and I have some things to discuss regarding the class she is helping me with. Bye.”

He quickly turned, leaving Dr. Madison with her mouth hanging open. He turned Harleen at the same time, the tips of his fingers on her arm to guide her. They headed straight out of the coffee shop. (Harleen caught Dr. Crane’s eye. He held his coffee up to her and smiled.) They headed down the sidewalk to the left away from the campus. Harleen just moved along with him as Joseph guided her without staying a word. They walked for several seconds before he guided her down a small alley between two buildings and stopped. He gently pushed Harleen against the wall before he put his finger to his lips, smiling at her before he turned and walked to the entrance of the alley and leaned out to back the way they had just come.

After a second or two Joesph sighed in relief, turning back to her. “Thank you Harley, that was a nice rescue.”

Harleen smiled at him as Joseph walked back into the alley and leaned against the wall next to her, their shoulders touching.

He took a sip of the coffee she had given him and grinned. He adjusted his glasses with a slight nod. “Mm, good choice. Thank you.”

Harleen smiled at him and took a sip of her own coffee. “Dr. Crane suggested I rescue you.”

Joseph laughed brightly. “Jonathan is a good man. Thank you. That woman is insufferable.”

Harleen frowned for a moment before she asked. “Dr. Crane said she was an ex-girlfriend of Bruce Wayne’s, and that she is a socialite as well as a professor, and that she is always after you.”

Harleen cringed, she didn’t mean to vomit all that out like that, but it was too late to take any of it back.

Joseph laughed. “Yes well…I think I might be the only male staff member, before Crane and Tetch, to have never slept with her. Since her breakup with Mr. Wayne, she has been doing the faculty rounds, I think as a way of revenge...not really sure how it relates except that Mr. Wayne is a major donor to the college and she is under the mistaken impression that several conquests on her part would upset him.” Joseph shrugged. “Not that I care. I have no desire to be a notch on someone’s belt, especially as part of some twisted revenge plot that means absolutely nothing to the man she is trying to hurt.”

Harleen giggled. “You sound like a woman.”

Joseph frowned and shrugged. “I don’t think that it really has anything to do with being a man or woman. No one likes to be used.”

Harleen nodded. “No, you’re right, no one does, no matter what their gender.”

Joseph motioned at her with his coffee. “Exactly. She’s probably only interested in me because I keep telling her no and she can’t seem to understand that I find her repulsive.”

Harleen’s laugh burst out of her before she could stop herself. Joseph lifted an amused eyebrow at her, but soon he was laughing along with her.

Harleen swallowed down her laugh, carefully reaching under her glasses to wipe away tears of mirth. “She doesn’t strike me as the type of woman who would take being called repulsive very well.”

Joseph grinned at her. His handsome, exotic face and devilish smile made Harleen’s heart do flips. “She isn’t. That woman spends more on trying to look good than I pay in rent in a year. Not like you, you are naturally beautiful.” He smiled gazing at her. “You don’t just have youth, which is something Dr. Madison is trying far too hard to hold on to--that fades for everyone. No, you have something else, something unique that will stay with you always, and it’s something she’ll never have…” His tone softened. “You are a rare flower, Harleen Quinzel, Harley…” He said her name, as if his tongue curled around each syllable in a sensual caress. “...a truly, exceptionally beautiful woman.”

Harleen swallowed, gazing up at him. Joseph gave her a smile, a smile that made his eyes twinkle behind his glasses and Harleen was sure several parts of her were on fire, and she could feel that fire consuming her. Then he turned away, taking a sip of his coffee, but she could swear there was a blush under his skin and a look around his eyes as if he had said too much.

Harleen blushed, glancing up at him, studying his profile. God, he was so handsome she thought for probably the millionth time since she’d laid eyes on him. She bit her bottom lip and pushed her glasses up with her middle finger, wondering if she would come off as stupid if she told him how she felt, or how beautiful he was...Instead she looked down at the toes of her boots. She could see his shoes too, next to her, his ankles crossed as he leaned casually against the wall. She swallowed a giddy giggle. She knew she should probably get going, she didn’t want to be late for class, but she couldn’t seem to move--didn’t want to move away from him. She wanted to ask him about the cut on his face, to just talk to him about everything and nothing. She wanted to beg him to take her to bed with him, but instead she remained quiet, happy to be next to him.

Joseph didn’t seem inclined to move either as he took another sip of coffee, his free hand in the pocket of his coat before he asked softly. “Do you have any plans this evening?”

Harleen looked up at him a little startled, but pleased. She wasn’t sure what she was hoping for, but she answered with a smile. “Nope, maybe homework, but no real plans.”

Joseph smiled at her. “Dr. Crane and I run a sort of unofficial psychology slash philosophy club. We usually meet at this little bar downtown called Noonan’s for drinks and to discuss authors; psychology, medicine, philosophy...and drink. It usually consists of myself, Crane, a few grad students, sometimes Dr. Tetch shows up--which is always a hoot--and sometimes Dr. Sivana who teaches biology because he likes to talk about ethics in medicine. If you would like to come, I could pick you up tonight…”

Harleen smiled. “I would love to go!”

Joseph grinned, his brilliant smile spreading across his face. “Perfect!”

Harleen pulled her backpack around, holding it up while at the same time searching around and shuffling through it. “Ah, let me write my address down for you…”

Joseph waited patiently while Harleen pulled out a piece of notebook paper and a pen. She wrote down her address and handed it to him. “There. I have a roommate, Pamela Isley. She’s a botany grad…” Harleen felt her face grow warm.

Joseph smiled reading the address on the sheet of paper before folding it and slipping the paper into the pocket of his slacks. “I will pick you up around seven forty-five, sound good?”

Harleen nodded. “Yes, yes it does.”

Joseph’s smile turned into a small frown. Harleen thought he looked as if he didn’t want to leave, but he finally asked. “What class do you have this morning?”

“Literature with Dr. Tetch actually,” Harleen replied.

Joseph grinned. “Ah, would you like an escort?”

Harleen nodded. “I would.”

“Well my dear, you are in luck.” Joseph laughed giving her a slight bow and extending his hand toward the open mouth of the alley. Harleen giggled and began to walk with Joseph falling into step beside her.

*

Harleen tried her best to pay attention to her class, but her mind was too focused on the fact that Joseph was picking her up tonight. Granted, it wasn’t a date exactly, but she was still excited just to spend time with him, to be alone in his car...just to be around him. For the first few minutes of her literature class, Harleen had to fight the urge to write Joseph's name in her notebook like she was back in high school.

Dr. Tetch brought her out of her musings with his class though, his enthusiasm infectious. “Now my dear, dear children, today we are going to discuss the use of mathematics in Alice in Wonderland…”

A groan began to rise from the class, but Tetch motioned everyone quiet. “Now, I understand your replusion to numbers--I have them too,” he said with an exaggerated wink, “but we are not going to discuss traditional figures. As the Duchess said, I can’t abide figures...Now...”

*

Harleen’s next class with Dr. Minerva wasn’t nearly as entertaining, but Harleen ended up paying attention because she feared Dr. Minerva’s wrath. Harleen hadn’t gotten around to dropping the class, but after an intense and heavily condensed lecture, Harleen promised herself to get on a computer before leaving campus and dropping history.

*

When she left history, Harleen was in a joyful mood. Her last class of the day was with Joseph. She shivered just thinking about him and about the fact that she was going to get to spend more time with him this evening. She nearly skipped as she made her way to her class across the quad and through some thick trees that still held most of their colorful leaves, though there were several leaves on the ground and path which was still damp from the off and on rains of fall in Gotham. Harleen had her focus on mentally going through her closet, trying to decide what to wear tonight that would look nice on her, but at the same time convey to everyone else she was going to meet tonight that she was also a good student. She was solely focused on her inner thoughts that she didn’t see Jeremiah seperate himself from the shadows of one of the trees until it was too late.

“Harleen.” He said her name in greeting, having slipped into step beside her, nearly causing Harleen to have a heart attack. “Jeremiah! Damn it!” Harleen stopped and grabbed her chest. “Where did you come from?”

He grinned at her in a way she was sure he thought was charming. “Just walking to class, saw you, and I thought we should walk together.”

Harleen frowned at him, her eyes narrowed behind her glasses. “Class isn’t for another forty minutes.”

Jeremiah’s grin widened. “Well, how about we spend some time together?”

Harleen chewed her bottom lip, looking around, but unlike what she did for Joseph this morning, there was no one to save her from Jeremiah. It was as if the few people who had been out scattered the moment Jeremiah Arkham appeared.

“I have some studying I want to do before class,” Harleen muttered and continued walking, aware that there were not that many students out on the paths since most classes had already begun and the few people who were on the path kept their heads down and hurried past. Harleen knew she might be imagining it, but it sure felt as if her fellow students were trying to avoid Jeremiah too. Jeremiah ignored her comment and continued to walk beside her. “I have a great idea. How about you let me take you out to dinner, maybe a movie, then some making out afterwards.” He waggled his eyebrows at her, which only made Harleen want to hurl. But then, to her astonishment, he reached over and tried to put his arm around her waist. “We could head over to Robinson Park and park…”

Harleen stumbled back from him and away from his grasp, the shock clear in her expression. “What do you think you’re doing? What on earth have I done or said that would make you think I would want to go out with you? I don’t even want to breathe the same air you’re breathing!”

Jeremiah frowned at her. “Oh, come on! What the fuck is wrong with you? Any girl on this campus would be happy to be in your shoes. I’ve got a name that is renowned in Gotham. I got money, smarts, looks…”

“Well then go find someone else to bother!” Harleen snarled and stomped off. She half-expected Jeremiah to follow her, but she didn’t hear him. By the time she reached the corner of the building and turned, she caught a glimpse of him staring at her. She couldn’t see the expression on his face at this distance, but she got the distinct impression he was glaring. She swallowed and kept going, wondering if she should consider getting herself some pepper spray.

*

Harleen found herself a place to hide from Jeremiah until it was time for class. She hated feeling intimidated, but she wasn’t really sure how to handle someone like Jeremiah Arkham. Sure, there had been aggressive guys in high school, but they would usually be cowed with a well-placed insult. Their fragile male egos were still mostly in their infancy in high school where an ill word could still knock them flat. If that didn’t work, a word to a teacher or counselor was the next best thing.

But college was different.

Luckily, she hadn’t had any run-ins with super aggressive guys, mostly because she had been dating Guy for so long...But of course he turned into one of those types of men when she wouldn’t sleep with him. Harleen wrinkled her nose in disgust, but her features quickly eased when she stepped into Joseph's class.

Dr. Kerr wasn’t like any man she had ever meant. She felt safe, understood, respected. Heck, even admired by him. Harleen bit her bottom lip as she thought about him. She admired his intelligence too, but she admired how his slacks fit him too. That was probably pretty shallow of her, she briefly thought, but it was really hard to not appreciate the way his clothes fit him or the way his hair looked so silky soft…

Soon all thoughts of Guys and Jeremiahs were forgotten as she settled into her seat, this time taking a seat in the front row. She was going to focus her energy on learning and admiring her professor. Harleen smirked at herself, pressing her lips together to stop herself from giggling.

As she was busy getting her notebook and pen out, she didn’t notice when Duela came in and took a seat beside her. Harleen jumped when she heard Duela say next to her.

“Hey, morning.”

Harleen turned to see Duela sitting next to her, leaning across the small aisle toward her. Today Duela looked as if she had stepped right out of a Tank Girl comic. She wore a pair of cut off jeans, but with torn striped stockings of blue and green underneath, a large purple sweater that hung off one shoulder showing a thick black bra strap and combat boots. There was a piercing in her lip that hadn’t been there the other day and it looked swollen.

Harleen smiled. “Morning Duela.”

“Hey Harleen. I was wondering, a group of us are going to get together tomorrow night for a study group for Dr. Fries’s class since we have that quiz next Tuesday and I was wondering if you wanted to come?” Duela smiled at Harleen. “I figured you’re probably one of the smartest people in class…”

Harleen laughed, blushing. “Hardly. I can tell chemistry is gonna kick my butt...but okay sure. Where are we meeting and who’s in the group? Please tell me Jeremiah isn’t in it?”

Duela made a face, sticking out her tongue. “Ew, no. Jeremiah sucks ass. No, it's gonna just be me and a couple of other girls from class you haven’t met. We were thinking we would hit the library around ten-ish tomorrow night since the library stays open late and it’ll be quiet at that time, give us some good study time...”

Harleen nodded. “Sure, sounds good.”

Duela grinned. “Great, we’ll be meeting on the second floor. There’s a center area up there with a couple of large round tables. We shouldn’t be hard to find.”

Harleen smiled. “Thanks. Want me to bring anything? Coffee, cookies...”

“Hey no problem, we girls gotta stick together and sure, cookies are always great to help with studying.” Duela gave her a playful smack in the shoulder with her fist, but a moment later Harleen’s attention was drawn to the front of the class as Joseph walked in. To Harleen’s gaze, he moved in slow motion as everything about the professor came to her in hyper detail. She felt her heart flutter in her chest, bursting into a hundred butterflies that zipped and swooped through her bloodstream. As Dr. Kerr dropped his briefcase onto the desk and turned to face the class, his eyes behind his glasses immediately found her.

For a moment, it felt time had moved from a snail's pace to simply standing still. It was as if only she and Joseph existed in the room. Her heart slammed against her breastbone, the sound filling her ears, so loud she was surprised no one could hear it. Then Joseph smiled, his red lips spreading across his face, his teeth ever so slightly crooked, his eyes bright and beautiful. Harleen smiled back, the two of them sharing this small, intimate moment together…

But then, just a quickly the moment passed, and time came rushing back in like water filling a hole and Joseph turned away from her, his gaze taking in the class.

Joseph grinned, his eyes moving over the students that waited eagerly in his class. “All right my young and eager sponges, let’s discuss anxiety disorders, something I’m sure every one of you have some familiarity with.” The students laughed in response.

Joseph glanced once more at Harleen, giving her a smile before he began to lecture.

*

Harleen resisted the urge to stop and speak with Joseph after class. His desk was surrounded by a flood of students and besides, she was going to see him tonight. Still, she couldn’t resist catching his eye as she left. He seemed to sense her looking at him, glancing up at her over the top of his glasses. The look in his hazel blue eyes sent a shiver down her spine. She gave him a smile, knowing her cheeks were flushed. Joseph winked at her and Harleen felt a flash of heat rush through her entire body.

Harleen giggled and hurried out of the room to head home.

*

When she arrived back at the apartment she shared with Pamela, she was surprised to see Pam lounging on the couch in neon green sweats and a over-sized yellow t-shirt watching television. From the looks of it she was watching reruns of Queer Eye.

“Hey, I didn’t expect you to be home,” Harleen said as she dropped her backpack on the kitchen table and removed her coat.

Pam turned and looked over the top of the couch. “Hey, nah, I wasn’t feeling too hot so I decided to take the night off. I thought we could order a meat lovers pizza and watch some horror movies.”

Harleen gave Pamela a sickly smile. “Shoot, that sounds great, but I have plans tonight. Dr. Kerr is picking me up for a club meeting.”

Pamela narrowed her gaze. “A club meeting?”

Harleen made a face. “Yes, a club meeting. Dr. Crane is going to be there and a few other grad students. It's a psychology, philosophy type thing at Noonan’s bar. Dr. Kerr said it was like an informal club. They get together, have drinks and discuss...stuff.” Harleen threw a hand around in a vague gesture.

Pamela frowned, then shrugged. “Fine...you said he was picking you up?”

Harleen nodded giving her a wave. “Yep. So I’m going to go take a shower and change clothes.”

“Just don’t drink too much--remember you have class tomorrow,” Pamela called as Harleen headed off.

Harleen yelled over her shoulder. “Yes Mom!”

Pamela watched Harleen walk off toward the bathroom with a slight frown. She sighed and slipped back down into the couch cushions, turning her attention back to the television where the Queer Eye guys were talking about slacks. She supposed it wasn’t any of her business who Harleen saw. Besides, Dr. Kerr was better than Guy. She chewed on her bottom lip in thought, and had to agree with Harleen. Dr. Kerr was handsome in a strange way, exotic, and Pamela had never heard anything bad about him. In fact, everyone loved his classes. Who knew? Sometimes these forbidden romances worked, or maybe it was just a flirtation that would never go anywhere. When it came to it, unless Harleen got hurt, it was none of her business.

Pamela sighed. Either way, she supposed Harleen was a grown woman and could make her own decisions, and Harleen going out just meant more meat lovers pizza for her.

*

Harleen stood in her towel and glared at her closet. It was hard to decide what to wear because while she wanted to look good for Joseph, she also didn’t want to look as if she were trying to look good. She scowled in frustration. Why was this so hard? She sighed and finally decided on a pair of black skinny jeans that had holes in the knees, a loose black and red diamond patterned sweater that hung down off one shoulder and a pair of cute ankle boots. It was casual, sexy, but also studious looking--or at least she hoped it looked that way. She pushed her glasses up and smiled at herself in the mirror, brushing her hair back, leaving it down and softly curling around her shoulders.

“Okay Harls, go be smart,” she told her reflection with a smirk before heading out of her bedroom just as she heard a knock on the front door followed by Pamela’s voice. “Oh, hey Dr. Kerr. Harleen will be out in a minute.”

Harleen stepped out to see Joseph standing in their living room. She swallowed. He looked...well...hot was the only word that came to mind. Under his long, black coat Joseph was wearing black slacks and a dark blue dress shirt with suspenders, no vest and no tie, his hands in the pockets of his slacks. The shirt was unbuttoned down to the hollow of his throat and Harleen thought she might die from want. He smiled at her, glancing over the top of his glasses at her.

“Ready?” he asked, his smile inviting, his lips painted a dark shade of red.

“Ah, yeah. Just ah, let me grab my purse.” Harleen hurried to grab her purse while Pamela, acting like a hen mother, cocked her hip and asked. “So, what time will you be bringing her back?”

“Pam!” Harleen looked embarrassed.

“What?” Pamela turned to give Harleen a frown.

Joseph laughed. “I’ll have her home at a decent hour, I promise, no later than midnight.”

Pamela made a face at Harleen. “See? No big deal. Okay, you kids go be smart.”

Dr. Kerr smiled at Harleen and held the door open for her. “After you.”

Harleen blushed and stepped out.

*

Joseph's car sat at the curb, a purple VW Golf. He walked over and opened the passenger door for her. Harleen smiled and slid inside. The car was warm and smelled slightly of cigarettes and Joseph, the warm spicy smell that he had that made Harleen want to snuggle close and press her nose against his skin.

She watched as Joseph walked around the front before he pulled the door open and slipped into the driver’s seat. “Ready?” Joseph asked and Harleen nodded. “Yes.”

He grinned and started the car. Light jazz began to play over the car speakers as Joseph pulled out onto the street. “Feel free to order yourself a drink when we get to the bar--my treat. And I’m driving, so you don’t have to worry about indulging a little even if it is a school night.”

Harleen smiled. “You don’t have to pay for me…”

Joseph laughed. “Don’t worry about it, Harley. Maybe I would like to?”

Harleen blushed, looking down at her hands before glancing over at him. “You look nice tonight.” She cringed. “I mean, I like that color of lipstick...ah...” She groaned, but Joseph was smiling while he drove. “Thank you. I like a little makeup from time to time. It also gives me some color. Since the accident, my eyes and hair are my only real color, so I like to use a bit of lipstick, maybe some eyeliner…” He glanced sideways at her. “Eyeliner brings out my eyes.” He batted his eyes with a lopsided grin.

Harleen giggled. “You have lovely eyes.”

“You think so? Thank you my dear. And I must say, you have the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen.” He smiled looking at the road, but stealing a glance at her. “Like star sapphires.”

He turned back to the road, pursed his lips, and murmured, “That was inappropriate.”

Harleen shook her head. “No, I liked it. Thank you.”

Joseph smiled. “You don’t think I’m being too...familiar?”

“No, not at all,” she said softly. She reached out and lightly touched his leg.

(Jospeh shivered at her touch and heat swarmed through him. He had to take several breaths to steady himself.)

Harleen blushed and Joseph dared to reach out and brush his fingers along her hair and behind her ear. Harleen turned to look at him, her breath catching at his touch. The lights from the street flashed by, which cast his eyes in shadow, but then the light would dance across his eyes and they burst with color in his pale face.

“You really are quite exquisite,” he whispered. “Beautiful is too simple a word for you.”

Harleen smiled, gazing at him as she responded in a soft tone. “Thank you.”

Joseph smiled and pulled his hand back, taking a deep breath and focusing on the road.

“Can I ask what happened?” Harleen asked gesturing toward his cheek.

Joseph frowned for a moment, staring out the windshield before he answered. “I do some work on the side for individuals who lack manners. One of them took offense to something I did and decided the best way to inform me of their displeasure was to punch me.” Joseph grinned. “But I answered him back... “ He glanced at Harleen with an amused smirk. “He suffered a little worse than I did for my displeasure.”

Harleen giggled. “So it's a “You should see the other guy” scenario?”

Joseph laughed with pleasure. “Yes, yes indeed.”

Harleen smiled, but asked. “I can’t imagine what a psychiatry professor would be doing that would require fists.”

Joseph grinned at her. “Well, I do get up to quite a few shenanigans outside of the classroom.”

Harleen laughed. “Shenanigans?”

He smiled and winked at her before he motioned with his head. “We’re here.”

Harleen turned. “Jeremiah Arkham isn’t part of this group right?”

Joseph laughed and shook his head. “Hell no. That young man is...well, as long as this stays between us...a donkey. The sort of guy born with a silver dick in his mouth...Oh, sorry. Spoon, silver spoon...Freudian slip.”

Harleen bent over as she burst out laughing, much to Jospeh’s amusement and pleasure.

*

Noonan’s Bar, from the outside, was what Harleen had heard her mother refer to as a hole in the wall. (She usually used that term in reference to the places that Harleen’s father liked to hang out.) She remembered her mother on more than one occasion dragging her along and sending her into bars like this, little places with no windows (or if they had windows they were usually blacked out) to retrieve her father if he had been drinking all night.

This placed looked a little nicer than that, but not by much. Joseph parked on the street near the front door of the bar and came around to hold her door open for her. When she stepped out and turned toward the bar, he surprised her by putting his arm around her shoulders and giving her a quick squeeze. “Don't worry--it looks worse than it actually is.”

Harleen laughed. “Were my thoughts that obvious?”

Joseph laughed. “A little. Come on. Let's introduce you to our little group of misfits.”

Joseph held the door open for her and Harleen stepped into the bar.

*

The inside of the bar made Harleen think of the type of bars she would see in old British movies, more of a tavern or a pub than a bar with dark wood paneling and floors, dark wood tables and chairs along with large booths that had thick, dark red leather seats. The place smelled of cigarettes, wood polish and beer, all of it rather nice she thought as Joseph led her inside his hand light against her back as he guided her to a table where she saw several students (she could tell by their age, they were mostly students.) They were a mix of male and female, though the males outnumbered the women. Dr. Crane was sitting at the table, his tie pulled loose and his hair slightly mussed, nursing a glass filled with something dark and amber colored. He was speaking while all the students listened intently, practically leaning toward him. Harleen noticed a female professor she had never seen before, an older woman, maybe around Harleen’s mother’s age with short hair that was quickly turning white. She was dressed in a nice white blouse and black slacks. She leaned back in her seat, one arm crossed over her chest, her hand resting against her biceps, drinking from a bottle of beer.

Crane stopped when he saw Jospeh and Harleen.

He gave them both a smile. “Ah Joseph, you made it and you brought the delightful Miss Quinzel.” Crane gave her a smile and a knowing glance before he continued, motioning with his hand at the students sitting around the table. “Come--make room for our new arrivals.”

One of the students grabbed a couple of chairs from another table and Joseph held one of the chairs for Harleen before he sat down in the chair next to her. Harleen removed her coat while Joseph did the same. A waitress approached their table as everyone settled back down

“What can I get you to drink?” she asked.

Joseph frowned for a moment, tugging at his upper lip with his teeth. “Mm...I would like a Tea Hot Toddy. What would you like Harleen?”

“Ah…” She looked confused and unsure for a moment when the waitress smiled. “Might I suggest our pumpkin spice white russian? It's really good.”

One of the women, a young woman with large brown eyes and light brown skin, smiled and nodded. “It is really good.”

Harleen smiled at her and nodded at the waitress. “That sounds great, thank you.”

The waitress left and Joseph grinned. “Harleen, you know Crane. This…” He indicated the older woman. “...is Dr. Sarah Cassidy, who teaches in our department.”

Dr. Cassidy smiled and tilted her beer at Harleen. “A pleasure.”

Joseph continued. “We have here Barnaby Baker…” A young, attractive black man smiled at her. “Jeremy Tilmen.” A forgettable guy with dull eyes Harleen thought. “Richard Wise.” Typical nerd type, Harleen thought as she gave Richard a smile. “Josie Portman.” Pretty, but Harleen instantly disliked her as the other woman gave her a curled lip glare. “Marty Johnson.” Boring, Harley thought Marty was average looking, nothing about him stood out to her. “And lastly Amal Satti,” who was the young woman to recommend the drink. Amal was pretty, with glasses that were far too big for her face which made her already large eyes a little bug-like. There was something about Amal that made Harleen positive that she could instantly be friends with her. Amal smiled and gave a little finger wave at Harleen.

“Now that introductions have been made, please Jonathan, continue--what were you discussing?” Joseph asked, settling back in his seat, surprising Harleen as under the table he rested his hand lightly against her thigh. She glanced sideways at him, suddenly unable to hear anyone around her. Joseph smiled, looking at her over the top of his glasses, lifting an eyebrow in question.

Harleen only smiled in response and laid her hand over his, keeping his hand firmly on her thigh. Joseph's smile expanded a fraction more as he gazed at her, giving her leg a very gentle squeeze before he turned his attention to the conversation.

Harleen took a breath though her nose and tried to focus, but his hand felt as if it were burning through to her very core. A very welcome burn.

Chapter Text

Dr. Kerr kept his hand on her knee under the table during most of the “club” meeting, sending little ripples of warmth through her any time his fingers flexed. He didn’t move his hand from her knee, didn’t try to snake his hand up her thigh; he was content to give her knee the occasional gentle squeeze along with a secret smile. His hand on her knee was the most erotic thing Harleen had ever experienced. Guy had touched her breasts, pinched her nipples over the top of her clothing, but that was nothing compared to the feel of Joseph’s hand on her knee.

She glanced over at him, a shy smile on her lips to see his blue hazel eyes dancing behind his glasses in a way that sent riots of butterflies fluttering over her skin and sinking into her blood. He winked at her at one point and Harleen was sure she was going to have an orgasm because that wink made her breath catch.

Harleen didn’t participate a great deal in the conversation, content to listen mostly, but when the topic of Freud came up, brought up by Richard, Harleen couldn’t help but add her two cents into the conversation since she had a deep hatred of Freud (maybe hate was too strong a word but she didn't like the man’s work.)

“Freud was an idiot. I mean, he is often thought of the person who discovered the mind, the unconscious, but everything else he had to say about it was essentially wrong. Discovering something doesn’t automatically make someone on an expert on that same topic. That was the problem with Freud, everyone just assumed he understood the unconscious,” Harleen said taking a sip of her beer. “And a lot of his work was born on the back of people like Brentano--you know, who suggested psychology is a real science. I’m not saying Freud wasn’t knowledgeable, but all the assumptions he made about the mind after his initial discoveries were wrong--stupid even--and he was way too obessessed with everything being about sex. That man had to have dick issues.”

Everyone at the table stopped talking and turned to look at Harleen. Harleen sipped her beer then looked up startled when she saw everyone staring at her.

Dr. Cassidy chuckled, grinning at Harleen. “I like you.”

Harleen blushed. “I'm not saying anything new,” she replied, but Dr. Cassidy nodded. “True, but it always takes guts for a woman to simply blurt out what is essentially a truth. Good on you.”

Harleen smiled and felt Joesph squeeze her knee gently as he said, “She’s exceedingly intelligent.”

He gazed at her, smiling while he stroked her knee with his thumb. Harleen thought the rest of the evening was interesting. She listened intently, or as intently as she could with her attention divided between listening and feeling the warmth of Dr. Kerr’s hand on her knee. When it was also time for them to go, Harleen excused herself to the restroom.

She used the restroom and came out to wash her hands only to be surprised by Dr. Cassidy waiting for her. The female professor was leaning against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest, smoking a cigarette next to the sign that read: “No Smoking.”

Harleen smiled nervously, stepped over to the sink that was one away from Dr. Cassidy. It was a little silly, but having another sink between her and the intimidating woman made Harleeen feel better as she said with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Ah, hi.”

Dr. Cassidy smiled back, letting smoke drift from between her teeth before she answered. “So, what’s up with you and Dr. Kerr?”

Harleen frowned, trying to keep her expression neutral. The question caught her off guard as she turned on the water, pushed on the dispenser for soap, and stuck her hands underneath the cold water. “What do you mean?” she asked, looking sideways at Dr. Cassidy.

Cassidy smiled and took another drag, letting the smoke out slowly. “Just the way Joseph was looking at you. He has this sort of light in his eyes I’ve never seen before, and the way you were looking at him…” She shrugged. “I can tell when a fellow female into someone. You had that look in your eyes that said you wanted to eat him up.” She chuckled at the expression that came over Harleen’s face, innocent shock, but she could see she had hit a nerve with the younger woman.. “Just thought there might be something going on,” she added flicking some ashes into the sink next to her.

Harleen blushed and grabbed a paper towel from the dispenser on the far wall to dry off her hands. “No, nothing. I’m just his student and teaching assistant,” she said drying her hands off with more effort than was strictly necessary.

Cassidy nodded then said softly. “Just, if anything does happen--be careful. But I also wanted to let you know you don’t have to worry about me saying anything.”

Harleen turned to glance at Dr. Cassidy, a confused look washing over her features before she asked just as softly. “Why not?”

Cassidy grinned. “Jeremy and I might have something...personal on the side. Though if anyone were to ask me, I would deny everything.” She grinned, taking a deep drag on her cigarette and flicking the scorched filter into the sink beside her. “People can’t choose who they fall in love with--love doesn’t work that way.”

“You really think so?” Harleen asked with genuine curiosity. She felt the same. Love was something that just happened, no matter what scientists tried to say. There was more to love than a chemical response.

Dr. Cassidy nodded. “And love doesn’t see age difference. Still, I just wanted to tell you to be careful, though not about Joseph. The man is great, intelligent, handsome even with the weird coloring, and he’s very funny when he’s completely relaxed and has a few drinks in him--funniest guy I know, actually. But that said, he’s intense too. Just make sure you are ready for that kind of intensity. But other than that...I'll keep my mouth shut.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Harleen asked and Cassidy smiled in response.

“I like you. You’re smart, intelligent. I don’t meet a lot of women I would consider as smart as me, but you, I think you are very smart.” She shrugged. “And I like Joe, would like to see the man happy.” Cassidy stretched her arms over her head and yawned. “All right. That's enough girl talk for me. I gotta take a whiz and head home. I have papers to grade and I have a pleasant buzz right now. I think my students will appreciate me grading their papers now rather than when I wake up with a headache.” She grinned. “Nice to have met you Harleen.”

“Likewise,” Harleen said as she headed to the door and Dr. Cassidy headed to one of the stalls.

*

When Harleen returned to the table she could see a couple of people had already left, but Joseph was standing by the table with his coat on, holding her coat over one arm while he conversed with Crane and Josie, who was standing close to Joseph. Harleen growled silently. What was it with other women and Joseph? Or was she seeing things that weren’t there? Was she that jealous? Harleen frowned. Maybe she was jealous, but there was no denying how alluring Joseph was, there was just something about him that drew people in. That was when Josie reached out and touched Joseph's arm, just under his elbow.

God damn it! Harleen thought. She might be jealous, but she was sure that was Josie flirting! Joseph took a casual step away from her, one that Josie might not have even noticed, but Harleen did.

She hurried over smiling. “Hey--I’m back.”

Joseph immediately stepped closer to her. “Ready to go? Let me help you with your coat.”

Harleen nodded, giving Josie the stink eye as Joseph helped her on with her coat. Josie gave Harleen a slight glare while Joseph reached out and took Crane’s hand. “This was fun. Same time, same place next week?” Joseph asked.

Crane nodded. “Of course, of course. I’ll see you on campus tomorrow.” Crane released Joseph's hand to take Harleen’s. His grip was firm and his hand was slightly cold. “Good evening dear girl. I look forward to seeing you in class.”

Harleen shook his hand. “Same.”

Crane turned and left; his long legged gait made Harleen think of Ichabod Crane.

Josie smiled up at Joseph once Crane had gone. “I don’t suppose you could give me a ride home Dr. Kerr?”

Joseph gave her a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “No, I’m sorry. I’m taking Miss Quinzel home, then home myself. I plan on hitting the hay. Early day tomorrow.”

Josie frowned. “Where does she live? I’m sure I probably live close by…”

Joseph took Harleen gently by the arm. “Sorry Josie, you should ask the bartender to call you a cab before they close for the night.”

He hurried Harleen out of the bar, moving his hand from her arm to her lower back while Josie looked perplexed.

Harleen glanced up at Joseph as they left the bar. “What’s up with her?”

Joseph laughed. “Everyone knows about Josie, smart young woman, but…” He shook his head. “She’s been trying to sleep her way through the philosophy and psychology department, both men and women. Not exactly sure why. She deosn’t need help with her grades; like I said, smart young woman, but she is trying to fill a hole in herself I think and she is using sex as a way to do that. I would feel sorry for her except I don’t think she wants help…” He frowned, but quickly dropped the frown and smiled as they arrived at his car. “Well, enough about that. Did you enjoy the meeting?”

Harleen nodded as she slipped into the cold interior of his car. “I did.”

Joseph smiled. “I’m glad.” He closed her door and hurried around to the driver’s side. Harleen could see his breath on the cold air. She leaned over and unlocked his door for him and he quickly slipped inside with a shiver. “I think we are going to see some early snow this year,” he said as he put the key into the ignition, turning the heat up before he pulled away.

*

Harleen blushed, giggling as she listened to Joseph sing. She wasn’t sure exactly how they got onto the topic of singing, but Joseph mentioned he could sing and Harleen hadn’t believed him, which led to him singing in the car--and goodness had she been wrong! He had a voice like an old time crooner from the forties; smooth, rich, and very sexy.

He pulled the car up to the curb next to her place and sang, his voice rich, clear and even more erotic now that the sound of the engine was gone.

“I'm your big and brave and handsome Romeo

How I won you I shall never never know

It's not that you're attractive

But, oh, my heart grew active

When you came into view

I've got a crush on you, sweetie pie

All the day and night-time give me sigh

I never had the least notion that

I could fall with so much emotion…”

*

Joseph grinned at her and Harleen clapped her hands with pleasure. “You really can sing.”

Joseph laughed and took a short, compressed bow from his position behind the wheel. “Thank you, thank you. I gave up a career on the stage to follow by true calling, teaching.”

Harleen giggled and asked. “Is that true?”

Joseph chuckled with a shake of his head and gestured at her. “Nah, never considered going on stage, though I love to sing, and dance.”

Harleen smiled, settling back in her seat; she felt reluctant to leave his car. “I love to dance. I took dancing in school along with gymnastics, but I was better throwing myself at gravity than I was at keeping my feet under me for dancing.”

Joseph leaned back in his seat, smiling at her. “You are probably a beautiful dancer.”

Harleen blushed, looking down at her hands on her legs. “I don’t know about that…”

“I would like to see you dance. Do you, by chance, go dancing?” Joseph asked with a raised green eyebrow.

Harleen shook her head. “No. I mean I went to a couple of nightclubs with some friends, but I didn’t dance much...too…” She struggled to find the proper word. “...congested. They were mostly people just moving in place or throwing themselves around to the music, not real dancing you know. Not classic dancing like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Now I would love to be able to dance like that.” Harleen sighed softly, a wistful tone in her voice.

Joseph smiled gently and reached over to brush the back of two fingers along her cheek. “You would be beautiful in one of Ginger Rogers dresses. My favorite was the gown she wore in the movie, The Gay Divorcee. It was a beatiful black and white dress that she wore while she and Astaire were dancing to The Continental. You would look fantastic in that dress with the low back and flowing skirt…” He blushed, pulling his hand back. “Sorry.”

Harleen bit her bottom lip as she gazed at him. “I...I would love to go dancing...real dancing. With you,” she ventured softly.

Joseph smiled. His red lips glistened as he licked them, glancing down at his hands while he spoke. “I’ve never been dancing with anyone...ever. My mother used to dance with me when I was a child.” He smiled at the memory. “She taught me all the steps to the old dances, like the waltz, the charleston stroll, swing dancing, that sort of thing, but she also taught me how to slow dance…” He rubbed his hands on his thighs. “Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies were her favorites. We would dance together, replicating the dances of Astaire and Rogers…” He shook himself as if trying to dislodge the memory. “Anyway…” He looked up and their eyes caught.

Joseph took a breath as he stared at her. The light shining into the car hit her face just right to make her skin glow soft and pale, made her hair glitter like gold,and her lips glistened. Soft, red, and begging for a kiss, but it was her eyes behind her glasses that were like gems, glowing in the soft light that held him in place.

Harleen gazed back at him. The light made his pale skin glow like perfect alabaster, his hair looked dark green, only visible where the light hit the thick waves, and his eyes behind his glasses were hypnotic. Her eyes traveled along his long nose, down to his lips, and all she wanted to do was kiss him. She didn’t let herself think about her decision too much because if she did, she would stop herself.

Instead she unbuckled her seatbelt to lean across the space between them and kissed him.

Joseph's eyes widened comically behind his glasses when her lips were suddenly pressed against his. He grasped her shoulders, ready to push her away, but he couldn’t. This close, he could smell her hair, her skin. Her lips were soft, and then she opened her mouth against his and he knew he had just crossed a line he couldn’t and didn’t want to uncross.

He reached up and gently grasped the sides of her throat, his fingers becoming lost in her hair. He opened his mouth to hers; his tongue brushed against the seeking tip of her own. Joseph lost himself in the kiss, giving in to his desires and needs.

Harleen moaned softly when his tongue caressed hers, twisting slowly. She reached forward and grabbed the front of his coat, pulling him toward her at the same time that she pulled herself toward him.

Their kissing became more heated and Joseph blindly reached down to unbuckle his seatbelt before finding the lever to move his seat back. Harleen didn’t ask, she simply moved forward crawling across the space to his lap. Joseph groaned, running his hands up her thighs to her hips. He grasped her hips, his mouth moving over hers, his tongue curling and sliding against the sweetness of her own.

Harleen cradled his head in her hands. She could feel the smoothness of his cheeks and chin against her fingertips. She reached up and plucked his glasses off. Joseph blindly took them from her and tossed them onto his dash before he did the same with hers, snatching her glasses off her nose and tossing them onto the dash with his before threading his fingers through her hair and cupping the back of her head while he kissed her deeply.

Harleen pressed down just a little and smiled, feeling the press of his excitement under her. She rubbed herself against him, eliciting a moan from him that she captured with her tongue. She continued to gently rocked her hips while she kissed him, her hands sliding down his front and over his chest. She dug her fingers into his shirt, aching to feel his skin.

Joseph dropped his hands from her hair to wrap his arms around her, pulling her closer. He licked her lips before diving in again to slide his tongue along hers with another moan. He slid his hands down her back to her hips once more, his finding the edge of her sweater. He knew he shouldn't, but he needed to feel her skin. His hands snaked under her sweater, fingertips gliding over the bare skin of her back. He groaned with want when he touched her. Harleen’s skin felt soft, like silk, but warmer and more enticing. He slid the tips of his fingers along her spine, then around to her sides. He groaned with want; she was so damn soft. She pressed down on him again, which elicited another deep groan from him while his hands slid up higher under her sweater. He could feel her ribs under his hands, the heat from her breasts transferring through the lace of her bra. He ached to cup her breasts, to squeeze, to wrap his mouth around her tender nipples, to feel her wet and yielding, her fingers in his hair pulling tight as he pleasured her; but he didn't allow himself to touch her breasts. He kept his hands at her ribs and no higher. It was a little bit to torture himself, that pain of wanting, of needing her, but he also worried. What would happen if he allowed himself to cave in to his base need for her?

Joseph lost the train of his thought for a moment when Harley pulled his head back and attacked his throat with her mouth. He hissed with pleasure at the feel of her teeth against his throat. He refused to cave in and touch her breasts, but Joseph did allow himself to caress her stomach, feeling her twitch with his touch. Her stomach was so smooth and soft, he could imagine dragging his tongue across her...

Harleen dragged her hands down his shirt. His hands on her were driving her mad. His touch burned, her nipples ached with wanting him to touch her breasts. Why didn’t he? She rolled her hips, pressing against him with a panting gasp. She felt hot and tight with yearning. She moved one of her hands lower, scooting herself back against the steering wheel as she reached down to cup her hand between his legs, against his groin, feeling the hot, hard bulge of him in her hand. Harley squeezed gently, feeling the shape of him pressed against his slacks while she dragged her tongue along his chin to his mouth.

Joseph made the most delicious sound, a sound she felt everywhere. Harleen squeezed gently, fondling him softly with her whole hand. He felt so hard and big--very big, she realized with a gasp--big in a way that made her insides ache. She brushed her nose against his, biting her bottom lip. Joseph dropped his head back against the seat with a low moan, his hands grasping her hips while she continued to massage him through his slacks. She dragged her tongue along his throat to his ear with a breathy purr.

Joseph's fingers tightened against her. “Harley...Uuh…”

Harleen groaned softly, watching him from the corner of her eyes, her tongue caressing his ear. She wanted him so much it hurt, but then he grabbed her hand.

“Stop...we need to stop this…” His voice was rough and his eyes told her he didn’t want to stop this, but his grip on her hand was firm.

Harleen pouted. “I...we don’t have to stop...” she whispered. “I want to…”

Joseph smiled at he,r bringing the hand up that had been massaging him and kissed the tips of her fingers. “Harley, if we were caught...I don’t want you to lose your scholarship or to...I just don’t want you to get into any trouble, to ruin your career over me. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Harleen’s brow furrowed. “But I…Would you hurt me?”

He dropped her hand to cup the side of her face and kissed her gently. “I would never hurt you.” His voice was an intense whisper. “I’m sorry. We just...we just can't.”

Harleen brushed her nose against his again. “Can’t or shouldn’t?”

Joseph frowned his green brows coming down. “Shouldn’t…”

“But…” she started to say, but he cut her off with a kiss. “You should go get some sleep.” He reached behind her to snag their glasses off the dash and with a gentle gesture, put her glasses back on her before putting his own on.

Harleen sighed in defeat before she nodded. She smiled softly. “See you tomorrow...can we have lunch together though?”

It was on the tip of his tongue to say no, that they shouldn’t, but he was weak and maybe--he knew he was being foolish--because he wanted her, he wanted her more than he had ever wanted anything in his life, and truthfully that scared him. He wasn’t used to being scared. Dealing with mobsters, guns, knives, his life on the line, or dealing with the dance of bureaucracy that came with being a professor at Gotham University, even his dealings with his older brother, none of that scared him. But his feelings for this young woman, the intensity of his desire for her was something that frightened him and excited him. He felt out of control. He had no problem deealing with Gotham’s seedy underbelly, yet he wasn’t going to allow himself the pleasure of having Harley...it was funny he thought and having lunch with her, spending time with her was only going to be torture. And it was a torture he realized he wanted…

“Yes. I look forward to it,” Joseph heard himself saying and it wasn’t a lie.

“Do you still want me to go to the faculty dinner?” Harleen asked in a small voice while she played with the buttons of his shirt..

“Yes, yes I do,” Joseph said with a tender smile. “I do indeed, my sweet.”

Harleen smiled. Referring to her as “my sweet” sent rushes of pleasure thought her. She had lost this battle, but not the war she thought and gave him a happy kiss, a tender press of her lips against his soft lips. Joseph didn’t pull away from her. Instead he leaned toward her causing Harleen to smile. No, she definitely hadn’t lost the war yet.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then Joseph,” she in a soft whisper before she crawled off of him and out the door before he could get out of the car. He watched her dance across the sidewalk to her building, turning to wave at him.

Joseph waved back at her, grinning before she disappeared. He sighed and reached down to adjust himself with a slight wince, but his expression quickly turned into a smile again because at least he now knew, Harley wanted him as much as he wanted her. Maybe he should let himself have this, have her, and be with her. Joseph bit his bottom lip, thinking about her, the way her mouth had tasted, the scent of her hair and skin, her hand on his erection, and a low moan of agonized pleasure came from him.

He shuddered with pleasure before he started up the car and began singing the Continental at the top of his lungs.

“Beautiful music

Dangerous rhythm

It's something daring, The Continental,

A way of dancing that's really 'entre nous'.”

*

Pamela was asleep when Harleen came home. She could see the soft glow of a night light showing from the cracked door of her friends room. Harleen tiptoed to her room not wanting to wake Pam.

When Harleen returned to her room, she undressed and slipped under the covers naked. Her body felt hot and restless. Her breasts felt tight, her nipples hard and swollen, and her groin pulsed with an aching need.

She needed a release.

She held her breasts, squeezing, and imagined Joseph's hands on her, the taste of his tongue in her mouth, the feel of his body, his breath hot, burning across her skin. She imagined him touching her, his long, elegant ghost white fingers against her skin, the contrast of his chalk white skin against her rosy pink…

His fingers inside her, his tongue between her legs…

She groaned, reaching down to touch herself, slowing rubbing her clitoris as she imagined Joseph touching her inside. She pinched a nipple, gasping at the imagined touch of Joseph, his eyes so intense and beautiful. Harleen licked her lips, imagining sucking on him, hearing those sounds he had made in the car, but louder, more intense, watching his face contort with pleasure...

Harleen came, biting down hard on her bottom lip in order not to cry out loud and wake up Pamela.

*

Joseph's groin still ached with a painful desire by the time he arrived home. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about Harley, about her mouth, her body, the feel of her on his lap. Why had he stopped her? What was wrong with him? He knew it was wrong, but he cared for her, and this waiting, this agonizing pain of denying himself was strangely its own form of pleasure.

Joseph walked to his room, kicking off his shoes and tossing his coat across a chair. He walked to his room and stripped, crawling onto his bed in his cold room, his thoughts plagued by Harley, her lips glistening in the dim light from the streetlamp, her skin, her soft, creamy skin. He imagined her naked, wet…

Joseph wrapped his hand around his painfully hard erection, rubbing his hand up and down as he thought of her, her tongue in his mouth, her breasts pressed against his chest, the way her skin would feel sliding against his. He began to pump his hand faster as he imagined his mouth between her legs, her thighs against his cheeks and her breasts in his hands, himself buried in her, making her cry out…

Joseph let out a loud, deep moan as he came, splattering himself across his stomach and chest.

*

The next morning when Harleen got up for class, she felt as if everything in her world was perfect. She showered and dressed, floating around the room the entire time. Today, she chose a sleeveless black and white mini dress that hugged her figure in a way that made her feel both sexy, feminine, and powerful. A dress that she hoped would make Joseph yearn for her the way she yearned for him. She wore with a thin red turtleneck underneath, red tights, and black combat boots, her blonde hair piled on the top of her head in a messy bun with soft curls framing her face. Pam wore green leggings and a dark olive green sweater that hung on her like a dress, as well as a pair of leather ankle boots. Her red hair hung down loose and long around her shoulders. She watched her friend float around the apartment with a smirk as she drank a glass of milk, leaning over the back of the couch.

“You okay there Harleen?” Pam asked with a grin.

Harleen blushed with a giggle, her cheeks a bright pink that lit up her entire face.

Harleen spun around. “I’m perfect!!”

Pam grinned. “Must have been some really intense psychology discussed last night.”

Harleen giggled, pouring herself some milk. “Very intense.”

Pam nodded. “I see...you gonna give me any psychological details?”

Harleen giggled into her milk. “Nope.”

Pam nodded again, then asked. “Was he a good kisser?”

“The best,” Harleen said before she realized it and Pam laughed pointing a finger at her.

“HA!! Knew it!! You kissed him!”

“My lips are sealed,” Harleen said sticking her nose into the air. “And I need to get going.” She finished off her glass of milk in three quick, large gulps.

Pam shook her head. “Just be careful!!”

“I will!!” Harleen answered grabbing her coat and bag.

“And use a condom!” Pam added as Harleen opened the door only to answer Pamela with a mock annoyed scream which made Pamela laugh.

*

Harleen had forgotten all about the study group that night until she saw Duela walk into Dr. Fries’s class. Harleen cursed under her breath. It wasn’t that she had plans, but she hoped maybe Joseph would ask her to do something tonight...though she supposed he might have something already planned. Damn it, she needed to play nice and not act like she was trying desperately to bang her professor, which meant she probably shouldn’t try to get out of the study group. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

Duela’s outfit today made Harleen think of Debbie Harry from Blondie. She had on a pair of black leather pants with a wide metal studded leather belt, unlaced combat boots and a purple t-shirt that stopped just above her midriff that read “Camp Funtime” across the breast with a black leather jacket. Her hair was spiked with hot pink color on the tips. She grinned at Harleen and dropped down next to her.

“So we still on for study group at the library tonight?” Duela asked with a grin.

Harleen tried to keep her expression from reflecting her disappointment as she nodded. “Yeah, we are.”

Duela smiled. “Fantastic.”

Harleen nodded and smiled, but then her stomach dropped when she saw Jeremiah. He was wearing a clearly expensive black leather trench coat. It wasn’t that Harleen knew a lot about fashion, but there was just something about the quality of the coat that screamed “I cost more money than your entire college program.” He also wore a pair of tight jeans and a black sweater. She wasn’t sure what he was going for, but to Harleen he looked like a little boy playing dress up.

Jeremiah winked at her as he took his seat. “Harleen, you look gorgeous this morning.”

Harleen frowned slightly. “Thank you.”

He opened his mouth to say something else, but that was the moment (Harleen thanked whatever deity might be listening) that Dr. Fries came strolling quickly in.

“All right class,” he said as he walked through the door. “Let’s get started--we have a lot to cover today.”

*

When lunch came, Harleen practically sprinted to Joseph's office. The door was partly opened when she arrived, so she knocked and stuck her head around the door.

“Professor Kerr?” she said softly.

Joseph, wearing a pair of dark green plaid slacks, with a matching vest (the matching jacket was over the back of his chair), a dark blue dress shirt and black tie, sat at his desk working on some papers. When he looked up, pausing with his pen in his hand, Harleen saw his glasses had slid to the tip of his nose and one green curl had fallen across his forehead. His lips were a kissable shade of red, all of him combining to make Harleen want to groan with want. He looked so damn adorable that Harleen ached looking at him. When he saw her, his entire expression changed from serious and focused on work into a beautiful smile. “Harley!” he said with barely contained excitement and gestured her to come in. “Close the door and have a seat, please”

Harleen hurried inside closing the door and locked it. She dropped her bag and hurried around his desk, surprising him when she plopped herself down on his lap, wrapping on arm around him. Her right hand cradled his cheek as she kissed him.

Joseph dropped his pen and instead of removing her from his lap like he probably should have done, he thought, he instead wrapped his arms around her, spreading his hands across her back and returned her kiss. He held her close, his mouth moving over hers in a slow dance of lips and tongue. Harleen slid her fingers into his hair, moving her mouth over his slowly, sensually before sliding her hand down his front with a soft growl, her hand going lower, snaking over his vest…

Joseph groaned and his hands moved down to slide down her legs, running across the slightly rough texture of her tights, wishing he could touch her bare skin.

Harleen caught his bottom lip with her teeth and tugged gently before letting his lip go, resting her forehead against his forehead, brushing her nose against his nose slowly.

“I dreamt about you last night,” she murmured breathlessly.

Joseph nipped at her lips, whispering in reply. “I dreamt about you last night too.”

He fought the urge to lift her up and place her on his desk, pull those tights down her legs…

He closed his eyes and forced those thoughts down. Instead, he smiled and said, “I brought you a turkey sandwich for lunch.”

Harleen giggled. “Thank you, though I’m not that interested in food.”

He swallowed. “We shouldn’t…”

Harleen nodded with a sigh, getting up from his lap, and took a seat on the other side of his desk.

Joseph breathed deeply, reaching down to pull out a sack from a local sandwich shop, pulling out two sandwiches and two bottles of water.

Harleen smiled, taking the offered food and drink. “So, ah, do you have plans tonight?” she asked, curiosity making her want to know what he was up to.

Joseph frowned. “I have some work to take care of…”

“Oh.” She frowned and said softly. “I’m going to a study group for Dr. Fries class at the library tonight.”

“Oh.” Joseph felt a frown manifest on his features. He shouldn’t be disappointed, he really did have some work he needed to take care of tonight, some bombs he was designing for a gangster calling himself the Black Mask. He was a man Joseph didn’t like, but Black Mask paid well. (He also needed to work on the designer drug that Dr. Cassidy wanted from him. She was the only academic who knew about Joseph's alternate life as Joker. They had found out each other's secrets by accident. He had heard of her only by her persona of The White Rabbit, a drug dealer in Gotham who specialized in designer drugs. He had been supplying her with some interesting drugs over the last several months without ever meeting her face to face--that was until they had ended up meeting face to face one night during a working dinner with Tobias Whale. They had both been shocked to see each other, but they had both agreed to keep each other's secrets. They had been friends ever since.)

Harleen picked at her sandwich. “Can I text you later tonight?”

Joseph smiled at her. “I would like that…”

Harleen smiled. “Maybe we could video chat?”

Joseph smiled brightly. “I would love that as well.”

*

The remainder of lunch they discussed the class she was his aid for when Joseph asked her. “Harley, would you be interested in helping me with a night class?”

Harleen frowned. “Night class?”

Joseph nodded. “I teach a night class on the weekends that meets at one of the local high schools, Thomas Wayne High. I teach an introduction to psychology class for G.E.D. students that meets on every other Saturday night--so not this Saturday, but the class starts next weekend. Of course, I understand if you wouldn’t want to ruin your Saturday night with work, but it doesn’t meet late. Only until nine pm, and…”

“Yes,” Harleen said swiftly.

Joseph smiled, pushing his glasses up. “You’re sure?”

“If it means more time with you, then yes.” Harleen smiled, blushing prettily in a way that made Joseph want to grab her and…

He swallowed and tugged on his tie, wishing for a cigarette. “Well then, I’ll pick you up next Saturday around five o’clock pm. I also wanted to ask you one other question...”

Harleen smiled. “Yes.”

“The faculty dinner is formal and I thought..would you be insulted if I gave you money to buy a dress? I know as a student--or I suspect at any rate--you don’t have a lot of money and since I invited you, I thought I should pay for your dress.” He smiled. “That’s isn’t weird, is it?”

Harleen blushed, but she smiled. “Thank you, that would be great. I don’t actually have a formal dress.”

Joseph nodded. “Well then, here…”

Harleen watched as he stood up and pulled his wallet out from his back pocket and opened it up to pull out a credit card; he handed it to her. “Don’t worry about the price of the dress, you get whatever you like, though I would recommend an evening gown.”

Harleen took the card with an open mouth. “Joseph, are you sure?”

He nodded. “Of course! I want you to wear something you would like.”

Harleen hopped up and hurried around the desk to kiss Joseph on the cheek, blinking back tears. Joseph looked confused. “Are you all right?”

Harleen nodded. “Yes, just …” She looked down. “This is so sweet of you.”

Joseph blushed. “I care about you Harley.”

Harleen swallowed, about to say something else when there was a knock at Joseph's door followed by a voice. “Dr. Kerr, it’s Wally, Wally West. I needed to catch you before class…”

Joseph sighed, glancing up at Harleen as he called back. “Just a moment Mr. West, I’m finishing with another student.” He turned his gaze back to Harleen and whispered. “You better go. I’ll talk to you tonight after your study group.”

Harleen nodded and quickly stole another kiss before she hurried to grab her things. She quietly unlocked the door, stopping in her tracks when she saw a young man with caramel colored skin and dark reddish brown hair. He smiled at her shyly. She gave him a quick smile and hurried away hearing Joseph say.

“Well Mr. West, what can I help you with…” his voice fading as stepped back into his office.

*

The rest of her day went by normally, and she did her best not to make eyes at Joseph while he was teaching.

She had hoped to get him alone one more time before she left for the day, but Joseph was cornered by Dr. Madison who was waiting for him after class like a damn spider, Harleen thought with venom. And she was grabbed by Duela who had been waiting for her after class too. Duela pulled her away as soon as she saw her. “Harleen! Just wanted to come by and remind you about tonight. “

Harleen nodded, turning to take one more glance at Joseph only to see him looking after her as well.

*

Harleen arrived at the library, having stopped at home to grab something to eat and to change into something a little warmer since the temperature this evening was forecast to be colder than the night before. She opted for a pair of pink sweatpants and a fitted t-shirt under a white sweater with little pink hearts, a pink hoodie, and white and pink tennis shoes. She had stopped at the local grocery store and grabbed some cookies for the study group before she headed out. She had left a note for Pam on the fridge to let her friend know where she was before she headed off. It was quite chilly outside, cold enough that Harleen’s nose had turned red and she wished she had brought gloves with her. She could see her breath the entire time and she felt the need to sniff a few times through her cold nose. As she walked across campus, she looked up to see the sky was cloudy. The campus still had students moving about at this hour, but not many and it was quiet, the sort of quiet that made one feel as if they were completely alone with the darkness.

When she arrived at the library it was almost completely empty. The bottom floor had a wide open space for the librarians’ desks, with rows of computers on the left hand side, some extra rooms for classes and then rows and rows of bookshelves. There were only two people at the main desk that she could see and maybe a handful of students scattered about among the shelves or at tables. Granted, as the term went on there would be more students in here cramming for exams or doing last minute work on research papers, but because this was the first week of classes, the library was basically dead at this hour of the evening.

Harleen decided to take the elevator instead of the stairs since she was pretty sure the stairwell would be cold and because the library was so dead she didn’t have to worry about taking an elevator away from a student who needed it more.

She arrived on the second floor and stepped out.

The second floor was hushed. If there was anyone up here, she didn’t see them and it certainly didn’t feel like it. The second floor was filled with rows and rows of bookshelves, a few desks with privacy sides, a couple of lounge chairs, one or two couches by the large windows that looked out onto the campus, and in the very back Harleen knew sat the microfiche machines. The lightning seemed duller at night (every other light panel in the ceiling was dark) and the place was so quiet Harleen could only hear herself breathing. It was odd, but the second floor had that feeling of being dead, as if there was nothing alive but her, as well as rows upons rows of books, closed, their thoughts silenced with no one here to read them.

She frowned, adjusted her backpack, and made her way to where Duela said they would be having their study session. Except when she arrived, she saw no one there.

Harleen bit her bottom lip, walking over to the round table and set her backpack down before looking around. Did she come to the wrong area? She didn’t think so, but...where was everyone?

She knew she had the right day and she was pretty confident she had the correct time. Duela had been clear about that.

She turned around in a circle, looking around the library. Not being as well lit as it was during the day, there were many shadows. Harleen’s heart started to beat quickly as fear suddenly washed over her. She wasn’t certain why, but she felt an edge of panic set in. She picked her backpack back up, sliding it on when she heard a s sound, like a foot step.

“Who’s there?” Harleen called out, worrying about being loud. If someone yelled at her to shut up, it would be a relief. But there was no answer.

Harleen started to move. “Fuck this,” she muttered under her breath when she heard a sound behind her, the sounds of quick footsteps.

She quickly turned around to see a figure rushing at her from out of the shadows.

Harleen screamed. .

Chapter Text

The person standing behind Harleen was dressed all in black with a mask of solid, matte white with small solid black slits for eyes with a bloody red and ragged slash that started from the forehead of the mask and cut down the middle to divide it into bloody slashes under the eyes, the sides of which were aligned with horrible looking teeth. Her attacker grabbed Harleen by her shoulders and threw her to the side.

Harleen hit the chair and fell into the table, the side of her hip smashing into the table with a jarring pain, and her glasses were knocked askew. She fell to her knees, but the masked person grabbed her by her hair. Harleen screamed again as she was thrown, this time into a bookshelf. Harleen struck the shelf, which was at least eight shelves high. Books rained down on her, slammed into her head and shoulders. Harleen gasped in pain, but she had enough focus to push herself backward out the grasping hands of the masked assailant. She got to her feet and spun around, though the masked attacker pursued her.

For a panicked few moments, Harleen couldn’t remember where the elevator or the stairs were. Why was she alone up here? Why hadn’t anyone come when she screamed? She ran into the stacks, her mind going blank, her breathing coming in rapid bursts. She turned around and went to the left, knowing she had taken a wrong turn the moment she had done it.

She ran to the end of the row and spun to the right only to run into the masked assailant, slamming up against the person’s chest.

Harleen gasped, her screamed choked in her throat.

The figure grabbed her and threw her against the shelves of books, this time holding onto her for a few long seconds in order to ram Harleen repeatedly into the bookshelves. Harleen gasped in pain and tried to throw her arms up to protect her head. She could feel the bruises she was getting from the books and being thrown against the shelves as she slapped and punched at the person holding her. Her attacker threw her to the floor. Harleen gasped in pain, the air knocked from her lungs; her glasses were knocked off into the darkened stacks. The masked person reached down, grabbing at Harleen’s sweatpants and yanked, pulling them partway down her hips. Harleen groaned in fear and pain, but she fought back, punching at her attacker. A lucky punch struck her attacker in the throat.

The masked figure choked, released her, and stumbled back.

Harleen pushed herself up and ran in the other direction as fast as she could. She turned a corner hoping she was heading the right way. Despite her counterattack, she could hear her attacker pursuing her. Harleen struggled to breathe. Her chest felt constricted, her throat dry, her heart pounding so fast and hard the sound filled her ears. But the feeling that was pushing past her terror was her anger. She was angry that someone was making her feel this way, but she was also defenseless and that pissed her off.

She saw the elevator and rushed toward it only to suddenly feel the impact of something striking her from behind hard enough that it nearly knocked the air from her lungs again. Harleen gasped and stumbled. She could feel the skin burning off her knees when she hit the thinly carpeted floor of the library, but she didn’t stop, didn’t spare the time to look behind her. Instead, she got to her feet, another book nicking her shoulder as she turned from the elevators and headed toward the doors she remembered that led to the stairs.

Harleen ran for the door and slammed into it. Another book hit the door right by her head before she pushed the door open and was through it. She raced down the stairs panting for breath, not daring to see if the masked person was following her, but she did hear the door open at the top of the stairwell.

She hit the ground floor of the library and raced out the front doors, only then sparing a look over her shoulder. She didn’t see anyone following behind her, but that didn’t stop her from running.

She was terrified.

Harleen twisted to the side, going around the building and plunging into some bushes and shadows along the far side of the building far enough away that she couldn’t see the front door. She squatted down in the bushes and wrapped her arms around herself, shivering. She didn’t hear anyone coming after her, but she waited another couple of minutes before she dared to pull out her phone and dial Joseph.

*

Joseph was at his lab, the secret one he paid for out of the money that Bruce always deposited into his secret account. It wasn’t an allowance, but the money that Joseph earned from simply being a Wayne, from his behind the scenes holdings in the Wayne business. While part of Joseph would have liked to cut ties with everything Wayne, (well except for his brother, he loved Bruce and no matter what might happen, Joseph couldn't cut ties with his brother) Joseph knew he would be a fool to say no to the money. Besides the money kept him supplied in chemicals, equipment, and the occasional really nice suit.

Joseph grinned, his goggles covering his eyes. Other than the protective goggles, he wore only a pair of purple and blue plaid boxers while he worked.

He would usually have had his lab coat on and be clothed, but it was hot in the lab because of what he was working with and at the moment, he just didn’t care, his complete focus on the task at hand.

He had just poured some glowing green liquid that he liked to call his special laughing gas, when his phone--that sat on one of the tables in his lab--began to ring. The song “Mad About You” by Hooverphonic began to play. Joseph nearly dropped what he was doing when he heard the song, as it was the song he had used for Harley’s ringtone, should she ever call him. He didn’t realize how much he wanted to hear that song until it began to play. His excitement immediate and deep, he felt erotic heat rush through him, causing his groin to tighten as he put down everything (maybe not as carefully as he should) and rushed over to the phone.

“Harley?” he said just as he hit the green accept button.

Harley’s voice came over the line, choked with tears. “Joseph…” She sniffed, her voice shaking. “Joseph, can you come to get me, please? I’m so scared.”

Joseph yanked his goggles off, his tone flat with worry. “Tell me where you are.”

*

Harleen had been hiding in the bushes for nearly half an hour. She was shivering and her legs felt weak. She had cried silently, hating herself for doing it, hating herself for being so scared and feeling so weak. It was stupid and it made her angry.

She shivered, holding herself wondering for a moment if Joseph was really going to come when she heard Joseph utter her name, his voice low and intense. “Harley?”

Harleen moved carefully, poking her head out of the bushes to make sure it really was Joseph. She saw him standing in the darkness, his phone out, its light shining against his unnaturally pale face and reflecting off his glasses. He was wearing a long black trench coat, his green hair a mess, his expression fearful and anxious.

He hissed in a low whisper again. “Harley?”

Harleen popped out of her hiding place as she gasped. “Joseph!”

Joseph turned, holding his phone’s light out to see her face, pale and stricken, her hair a tangled mess. Her glasses were gone, her blue eyes wide, and she looked terrified.

She stumbled out of the bushes and into his waiting arms. Joseph pulled her close to him, wrapping his arms tightly around her, all the tension he had been holding suddenly left him and he felt weak. He kissed the top of her head, not thinking about being careful or worrying who saw; he was just so grateful she was here, safe in his arms.

“Harley.” He whispered her name with a heavy passion. “Are you all right? Do you need to go to the hospital?” he asked in a strained voice.

Harleen shook her head against his chest, not trusting herself to speak, her arms tight enough around him that her embrace was slightly uncomfortable, but he didn’t move to make her let go.

He simply held her, kissed the top of her head again, and rubbed her back as he kept looking around at the dark university grounds and the library. The trees and shrubbery could hide any number of dangers, he realized with narrowed eyes.

Harleen held on tight, letting his warmth transfer to her and pleased to let the scent of him surrounded her. She could feel the beat of his heart against her cheek, the sound of his breath, and she felt herself calming down.

Joseph stroked her back, his lips against her hair. “What happened?”

“Can we go somewhere else?” Harleen asked. “Someplace private?”

Joseph nodded, glancing at the library and looking around quickly. There was no one around that he could see, but they still needed to be cautious. If someone saw them embracing or him kissing her head...still, Joseph took her hand. “Come on--I know someplace we can sit and talk in private.”

He led her along a path that twisted and turned into the shadows under several trees that littered the campus. They walked for several minutes until Joseph finally stopped.

“Here we go.” He tugged her gently over to what she thought might be a bench in the darkness that sat shielded under the long, low branches of an evergreen tree. The spot was so secluded that barely any light at all penetrated the area, and even if it had been daytime, Harleen doubted she would have been able to find the bench on her own.

Joseph sat down, pulling her with him. Harleen started to take the seat beside him, but on a whim, she sat on his lap. Joseph smiled, wrapping her arms around her and held her close while Harleen laid her head on his shoulder.

He gently rubbed her back with one hand. “Okay now. Tell me what happened.”

Harleen sighed and closed her eyes. Just being close to him made her feel so much better, made her feel safe. “I came to the library to meet with Duela and some other students, but when I arrived, there was no one there. Then suddenly there was this...person, all dressed in black and wearing a really creepy mask. They threw me against the shelves, pulled my hair, then chased me through the stacks. They threw books at me...then…” She swallowed and sniffed. “They tried to pull my pants off...but I got away…” She curled in close to his chest and Joseph held her though

Harleen could feel that he had grown tense.

“We should call campus security,” he said in a low and angry tone. Who would do this to someone; who could have done this to her?

Harleen sat up and shook her head. “No, no we can’t!”

“Why not?” Joseph frowned cocking his head to look at her.

Harleen frowned, wiping at her eyes. “There was no one there to help me. I screamed and no one came to see what was wrong...whoever this was had enough pull to make sure no one came to help me.” Harleen didn’t want to voice her suspicion that it might have been Jeremiah. He would have the pull to clear out a floor of the library, she was sure of it. If he could do, that he could do other things to make her life miserable. Fuck, she thought, he might do it anyway.

She looked up, tears threatening to spill from her eyes anew. She wanted to tell Joseph her suspicions, but if he confronted Jeremiah, Jeremiah might turn around and accuse Joseph of inappropriate behavior with a student...there were so many ways this could all go wrong unless they said nothing.

“It might have just been a hazing...and I don’t want anyone to know about…” She took a breath. “If you call the campus police, people might talk about me calling you. We’ll have to tell them I called you…”

“We can explain it away…” Joseph said softly, but Harleen shook her head. “No. I don’t want anyone to know…”

Joseph's face showed his displeasure, but he said softly. “Fine, but...at least let me teach you how to defend yourself.”

Harleen blinked. “Like, self-defense?”

Joseph nodded. “Yes. I can teach you to fight back.” He caressed her face, his fingers lightly traced her jaw. “Teach you how to hurt anyone who tries to hurt you.”

“I would like that,” Harleen said softly, a vein of angry determination in his voice. “I want to hurt them back.”

Joseph stared into her eyes. “Are you sure you weren’t hurt?”

Harleen shook her head. “Just bruises and I might have skinned my knees.”

Joseph frowned again as he continued to caress her face. “I’m sorry Harley.” His eyes searched her face, his fingers gently brushing her hair back behind her ear. “It would kill me if anything happened to you,” he whispered, leaning close to gently kiss her lips, the kiss more of a feather brush of his lips against hers than a real kiss. When he spoke Harleen could feel his lips moving against hers like the flutter of butterfly wings.

“When I can’t be there for you, I want to know that you are as safe as I can make you. I’ll teach you to fight back, buy you a baton, some pepper spray, maybe a gun…”

Harleen smiled, biting her bottom lip. “You would do that for me?”

Joseph nodded continuing to brush his lips over hers. “I would do anything for you Harley.”

Harleen stood up, startling Joseph for a moment, but she adjusted her stance to straddle his lap, her fingers brushing through his green hair as she bent down to kiss him.

Joseph made a soft groan of pleasure when her tongue brushed his lips open and slipped gently into his mouth. He wrapped his arms around her, knowing this was a bad idea. They were hidden of course, and it was dark, but someone could come by at any moment. And suddenly that didn’t matter. If anything, it made this more thrilling, the chance of them getting caught, and all that mattered was that Harley was on his lap. Her warmth around him, her body pressed against him, and her lips against his, her tongue in his mouth. He wanted her so much that his entire body ached.

Harleen moved her mouth over his. With one hand, she grabbed a handful of his hair, pulling his head back. Her other hand caressed his pale throat while she kissed him deeply, her tongue plunging into his mouth. She could feel him, the hardening of his erection between her legs becoming fuller, stiffening and growing harder the longer her mouth moved over him. His hands-on her back gathered the cloth of her hoodie while her tongue played with his tongue in a long, luxurious kiss. Her fear faded as she gave herself over to her passion, kissing Joseph, arching her back, willing him to touch her. She adjusted her hips to press more firmly down on his groin, biting her bottom lip with a hiss of pleasure when he pressed up against her. Harleen brushed her nose against his nose, then along his cheek, dragging her tongue across his mouth.

Joseph groaned, releasing his hold on her hoodie, his hands sliding under her top. Harley moaned when he touched her, which drew out a soft growl from him. Her skin was still warm from the shirt and hoodie she wore and so soft, so incredibly soft. He caressed her back, and feeling the arch of her spine thrilled him. He dared to slide one hand down, his fingers slipping under the band of her sweatpants to snake past the top of her panties until he could cup the bare skin of her rear, which was soft and round, though he could feel that she must work out too. He hissed with pleasure cupping her rear with his bare hand, spreading his fingers, squeezing gently only to have Harley respond by grinding a little more firmly on his painfully contained erection.

Harleen arched her back, hoping he would get the hint and touch her breasts. Her nipples hurt, they were so tight and hard that she thought she might scream if he didn’t touch her breasts. She caressed the side of his face, kissing him deeply, rubbing her nose against his, pressing down on him. Her groin burned and her clitoris throbbed with her need.

Joseph moaned, cupping her rear as his other hand slid up to her breast. She was wearing a sports bra, he discovered as he cupped her breast, feeling the warm softness and the tight, hardness of her nipple. He squeezed gently. Her breast was so soft, fit perfectly in the palm of his hand. His lips tingled with wanting to shove her top up and attack her breast with his lips and tongue, but he contented himself with squeezing.

Harleen moaned, dragged her tongue along his chin, reaching up to grasp at his thick green hair and force his head back while she attacked his pale throat again, grinding herself down on him until she found that spot, that perfect place where her wet, throbbing clitoris was pressing against the hard mass of his contained erection. She rolled her hips, rubbing against him with a heated purr.

Joseph pulled the cup of her sports bra away on one side and cupped her bare breast. He groaned with pain and need for her. His eyes fluttered as Harley ground down more firmly against him, pressing down on his groin and rubbing across him. The slacks felt both constraining and thin; he could feel the heat between her legs transferring through the material. He felt his erection jerk, felt the slight dampness. He closed his eyes, willing himself not to...not yet…

She rubbed along him, sending a shudder through him. He squeezed her soft, warm breast, then he circled his thumb over her nipple, slowly rubbing his thumb back and forth against the sensitive nipple.

Harleen dragged her tongue along his throat, loved the way he trusted her, his head arched back and exposing his throat to her. He was wearing a dress shirt, with no tie. He had barely buttoned the shirt up; several buttons were undone, exposing his throat along with the sexy hollow of his throat. Harleen dragged her tongue along his throat, alternating her long licks with soft kisses, but when Joseph pulled her sports bra out of the way to cup her bare breasts, she thought she might explode with the thrill of his touch.

Harleen let out a shuddering groan of excitement. His hand was slightly chilled and she could feel the erotic sensation of callouses on his hand. She pressed down on him, her excitement building. Her heartbeat was rapid, her breath ragged. He was so hard, so hard and so big, and she wanted him more than anything she could think of. She rubbed herself against him and it felt to her as if her heartbeat pulsed in her clitoris and nipples. She nuzzled his ear, dragging her nose against his skin.

The scent of his skin drove her wild with need. She bit at his throat, sucking gently, not hard enough to leave a mark, but when Joseph began to rub her nipple, Harleen felt an explosion of sensation that overcame everything. She bit down on Joseph's neck, sucking harder as she rolled her hips in a tense, hot rhythm, rubbing against him while he continued to play with her nipple. His hand gripping her bare backside, she moved harder, faster, couldn’t stop herself. Her fingers in his hair tightened, her other hand gripped his shoulder while she rubbed herself against him until she cried out, the sound of her climax muffled against the side of Joseph’s throat.

Joseph was in agony. Her riding him was driving him mad. Her lips and teeth at this throat sent waves of pleasure through him and the way she pulled his head back by his hair was erotic. He squeezed her breast a little harder, playing with her nipple, while the feel of her ass in his hand, her hips moving in a rhythm that drove him crazy. Feeling her moving both in his hands and on him, her moaning, his body tensed as he struggled to hold back an orgasm, but when Harley’s rubbing thrusts against his bound erection became more wanton, he began to tremble. What did him in completely was the moment he felt her climax, followed by her biting him, on his throat, just slightly under his ear, a mixture of pleasure and pain like nothing he had ever experienced before. He came with a sudden gush that he couldn’t have controlled if he tried.

They both cried out together, her cries muffled against his throat while Joseph clenched his teeth together, his hips jerking up to meet hers as he moaned low and deep.

Harleen collapsed against him. She nuzzled his throat while Joseph gently pulled her bra back in place. He wrapped his arms around her, keeping his hands under her shirt still as he held her tight.

Harleen murmured against his throat, brushing her lips back and forth against his skin. She wanted to purr, to curl up naked with him, to lose herself in his presence. “Joseph…”

Joseph groaned softly, rubbing her back gently, lightly, with his fingers. He had never had an orgasm like that; he didn’t know he could. He could only imagine what being with her fully would be like. He sighed, gaining control of his breathing. Holding her close, he realized he should never have let this happen, but he couldn’t control himself around her, and control was something he prided himself on--most of the time. But...he smiled, laying his cheek against her hair.

“Harley…” He sighed. “I should take you home.”

Harleen sighed and pushed up enough to look down at him. “Thank you for coming to get me.”

He smiled at her, reaching up to brush her lips with his fingertips. “I’ll always be there for you, my sweets.”

*

Joseph straightened his glasses and had buttoned up his trenchcoat before he walked with her to his car. His pants, he felt with a self-mocking smirk, now had a distinctive wet spot. He drove her the short distance home, and walked her to the door of her apartment. They both stopped outside her door, both of them standing under the pale light from over the door. Joseph’s green hair glowed and his ghost-white skin looked translucent as he looked down at her. He held her hand in one of his hands while he lightly touched her jaw with the back of his fingers.

“I’ll see you in class tomorrow. Sleep well,” he said, tenderly reaching up to stroke her hair.

Harleen smiled. “I will.” She smiled at him. “I’ll go pick up a dress tomorrow night with my friend Pam, then maybe I could call you?”

Joseph grinned at her. “I would like that very much.”

Harleen giggled before she hopped up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss before putting her key in the lock and slipped inside her apartment.

Joseph grinned and turned, shoving his hands into his pockets, but there was a skip in his step as he headed back to his car.

*

The next morning when Harleen woke up, she found a text from Joseph waiting for her that read “The best thing I see each day is your smile. I look forward to seeing your smile in class today.”

Harleen giggled holding her phone tight to her chest and flopped back on her bed, kicking her feet for a moment before she quickly texted back. “Thank you again for last night. I look forward to seeing your smile too.”

It was a lame text she thought, compared to his, but it was heartfelt. Joseph texted back a heart emoji, which Harleen answered with one of her own.

She sighed dreamily, before she headed into her shower. She had showered last night to wash away the lingering fear of her attack, but her thoughts had been mostly on Joseph, recalling how he had touched her, and thinking of every moment together on the bench under the evergreen. Still, she wanted to be as fresh as possible when she saw him today. At breakfast, Harleen wore a pair of skinny jeans and a simple long-sleeve blacktop, but with a “V” neck that emphasized her cleavage, a pair of black ankle boots, and a red coat she had found at the Salvation Army (one of those coats that was so nice you knew it had been donated by someone with too much money.) She told Pamela everything about her encounter at the library--except making out with Joseph under a tree on a bench in the dark. That was her memory to keep to herself.

Pamela, dressed in a green sweater dress with cowl neck and a pair of knee-high brown boots, stopped in the middle of making herself a bowl of corn flakes to turn and stare at Harleen with a concerned expression when Harleen finished telling her what had happened.

“Who was it?”

Harleen shrugged. “No idea. I think it might be Jeremiah because he’s been such a pig from the moment I met him, but I can’t be sure. I mean, it could have been a freshman doing a hazing you know where they have to scare someone and it got out of hand…”

“Or it could have been a real rapist Harleen. You need to tell campus security,” Pamela said to her with fire in her tone. “You can’t ignore this.”

“I’m not ignoring it, Pam. I just...don’t want to make an issue out of it. It’s over and all I have is a couple of scraped knees and bruises. I don’t want to get some freshmen into trouble for hazing and I don’t who it is...” Harleen stuck her spoon into her bowl of rice cereal and shoved a large bite into her mouth so she wouldn’t have to answer Pamela. She had been on the verge of telling her about Joseph coming to her rescue, but she didn’t feel like a lecture, teasing or not, about Joseph. She also didn’t want Pamela lecturing her on wanting to hide her relationship with Joseph by letting someone who scared her get away. But if Joseph taught her to fight, then whoever it was, if they tried again, she would be ready. She would tell Pam that bit later too.

Pam gave her the stink eye, her red curls falling around her face like flowers which somehow made the glare more effective instead of less.

Pam sighed. There was no point in fighting with Harleen on this if she was going to dig in her heels, but she pointed at Harleen with her spoon. “Fine, but I’m going to find out who it was and I’m going to beat the shit out of them.”

Harleen smiled, stood up, and walked over to put an arm around Pam’s shoulders. “You’re the bestest, you know that? So, you still up for dress shopping? I mean, you’re still off tonight, right?”

Pamela nodded as she chewed a bite of cereal. “Yes, and don’t worry. No one is going to talk me into staying for anything or coming into work, because you are hopeless and have no fashion sense, so this is a family emergency.”

Harleen gasped in shock, but she was smiling. “Geez Pam, please don’t spare my feelings.” She made a face at Pamela as she walked back to grab her bowl of cereal.

Pamela laughed. “Sorry, your regular style is fine for every day, Harleen. I’m just stating that you, my sweetest, dearest friend, do not know how to shop for an evening dress. You are just lucky that you are friends with me. We’ll get you a dress, shoes, jewelry--you will be the belle of the ball, but on a budget of course.”

Harleen drank the milk from her bowl before she dropped it into the sink. “Thanks, Red.” Harleen hadn’t told Pam about the credit card either. She knew Pam would think that was weird and get upset. She frowned slightly. She didn’t like keeping secrets from her friend, but Pam just wouldn’t understand.

“Yep, but you love me.” Pamela grinned and Harleen stuck her tongue out at her.

“Fine, just meet me at two.”

*

Harleen’s classes that morning went by without issues. She even managed, barely, to avoid Jeremiah. She had been walking past the place where she and Joseph had made out last night (she had done it on purpose just so she could maybe sit on the bench and relive the memory) when she had caught sight of Jeremiah, who seemed to be looking for someone. Harleen ducked into the hidden spot, hoping the branches were as good at concealing her during the day as they were at night. She waited, nearly holding her breath. She could just see Jeremiah through the branches of the evergreen, walking toward her hiding spot.

He stopped and looked around with a confused expression on his homely face as he pushed his glasses up. He had clearly seen her just a few moments earlier. Harleen pressed her lips together barely breathing, waiting, as her heart pounded rapidly in her chest, and for a moment she was reminded of last night before he continued walking.

Though she noted, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with his throat. She was sure she had hit her attacker in the throat...

Harleen waited a full two minutes before she sighed with relief, nearly sliding off the bench when her entire body went slack with relief.

“Asshole,” she muttered as she stood up and headed toward class.

*

When Joseph walked into class carrying a stack of papers, Harleen’s breath caught in her throat. He was wearing a tailored outfit that showed off his long legs and slender physique, a pair of burgundy pinstripe slacks, a black dress shirt, a vest with a dark purple jacket over the top, and a blood-red tie along with a pair of pointed brown dress shoes that made his legs look even longer and gorgeous. He looked so delicious, his green hair looked both styled and unkempt. She couldn’t put her finger on it; it was like his hair was stylishly rumpled from bed, but in that way that made her body ache to see him.

She also noticed that he had a band aid covering the very spot where she had bitten him last night. Did she leave a hickey? The mere thought made her blush and shift in her seat as her body responded with a heated throb, followed by a flash of wetness.

Harleen got a quick flash of him naked in her mind’s eye, his hand behind his head, his hair like it was now, messy, green, the morning light dancing across his chalk-white skin while he smiled at her…

Harleen bit her bottom lip, gazing at him. Joseph walked to the desk, set the papers down, his eyes scanning the room to meet hers. He gave her just a hint of a smile before he turned to the class.

“Today my darlings, we are going to talk a little about Forensic psychiatry. I’m going to pass these articles out quickly and give everyone fifteen minutes to read through them before we start discussion.” Joseph divided the stack into three piles and handed two to a couple of students in the front row, but he held a stack for himself and walked down the row where Harleen sat, handing out papers. When he came to Harleen’s desk, he handed her the article, but when she reached for it, she felt something else hidden underneath the papers.

Joseph winked at her before he continued on.

Harleen glanced around, but everyone else was already bent over the article. Harleen smiled and leaned forward so that her hair covered her face and anything she was doing as she very carefully looked at the extra paper.

Inside was a handwritten note.

“I look forward to sharing more than we already have.”

Harleen blushed and refolded the note before sliding it into her bra. She sat up straighter, picking up the article and looking up to the front of the room to see Joseph watching her. She blushed and lightly pressured her lips in a kiss. Joseph grinned and rubbed the tips of his fingers across his lips, smiling slightly before Harleen turned her focus to the article, every so often glancing up to meet his eyes.

*

Harleen hated not getting to spend time with Joseph that day or night, but this weekend she was going to the faculty dinner, one day away now, and she needed a dress.

She met Pamela at their apartment, taking the time to freshen up before the two of them headed out.

“So what are you looking for exactly?” Pamela asked as they headed downtown walking along the sidewalks. The weather was chilly and cloudy and while it looked as if it were threatening rain it yet just to rain at all today, not even a drizzle.

“I don’t know exactly. I thought maybe something a little old fashion...” Harleen glanced sideways at Palmela. “Like old Hollywood?”

Pamela frowned in thought for a moment before she smiled. “Ooh, you would look good in that style, one of those dresses that hugs your figure…”

“Yes exactly!” Harleen said with growing excitement.

“Well, let’s see what we can do.” Pamela turned right, heading into the downtown shopping district near the university where a wide variety of things could be bought, from shoes to lunch to weed.

*

They hit four stores with no luck. Everything the stores carried looked like a prom dress or bridesmaid dress. Harleen was quickly becoming discouraged.

They headed into a store called Runway Fashion that was located in a corner building with highly fashionable outfits on display in the window that screamed expensive, and snobby looking women to wait on you all dressed in an identical shade of dark evergreen, which immediately made Harleen think Stepford wives.

One of the women, a bleached blonde with a nose that could only be that sharp and thin by the skills of a surgeon, looked between the two of them from where she stood behind her counter of slick shiny black wood and decided to speak with Pam.

“How can I help you, ma’am?” The woman lifted a brow.

Pamela smiled. “My friend here needs an evening dress, but she would like one that says old Hollywood...” Pamela frowned. “Maybe the 1930’s?”

Harleen added. “I would prefer a black and white dress too, maybe something like Ginger Rogers wore in the Gay Divorcee?” She smiled, but the woman gave her a speculative look. She didn’t say anything for long enough, just staring at Harleen, that Harleen began to think maybe she had had a short in her robot brain when she suddenly spoke again. “I just might have something…” She stepped around the counter and walked up to Harleen, who frowned with a glance at Pamela who only gave her an encouraging smile. The woman grasped Harleen by her shoulders and turned her one way then the other, followed by turning Harleen around completely. “Yes, I think I might have something for you.”

The woman released her and turned to march behind her counter and disappeared into a back room.

Harleen frowned looking after the woman, but Pamela smiled. “Don’t worry Harls, these ladies here know what they are doing.”

Harleen chewed her bottom lip and nodded hesitantly. “Okay, if you say so.”

Less than a minute later, the woman returned holding a dress by the hanger, the skirt draped across her arm. Harleen could see that the skirt was white, though the top was black. The dress had three-quarter sleeves of sheer material and a dangerous low plunge in the front that would end just at the bottom of Harleen’s breast bone. “This dress is satin, which will cling to your slender figure beautifully and the skirt drops into this lovely flowing skirt that stops just at your ankle...it will look gorgeous if you’re dancing…which I assume you will be since you mentioned Ginger Rogers.”

Pamela gasped when she saw the dress. “Oh Harleen!! It’s gorgeous! Do you have shoes and jewelry to go with the dress?”

The sale clerk smirked and nodded. “Of course.”

Pamela grabbed Harleen by her upper arm. “Go try this one now.” Harleen took the dress with a startled look, but went with the sales clerk to try it on.

*

When Harleen came out in the dress, she was in love. It wasn’t exactly like the dress that Joseph had described to her (and that she had looked up online), but it was close and hinted at a similar design. The satin did indeed hug her breasts and her waist before it fell into the skirt. The neckline was very daring, sexy, leaving a long expanse of her skin between her breasts exposed, but the sheer sleeves of the the dress, along with the cleavage, made it both modest and daring. When she came out, Pamela gasped covering her mouth. “Oh Harleen!! You look amazing!”

Harleen spun around and thought the skirt flared out beautiful. “You think so?”

Pamela nodded. “Yes, with the right jewelry and shoes, and if we give your hair a vintage style…” Pam bit her lip. “You are gonna knock them dead.”

Harleen laughed, spinning around again. Hopefully Joseph would like the dress. She liked it, but she really wanted him to like it. She wanted him weak in the knees when he saw her.

She giggled with pleasure.

*

Much later that night, after Pamela had gone to bed, Harleen lay on her side on her bed with her phone balanced against a stack of books. She was in her night clothes, a red spaghetti strapped top that didn’t cover her navel as well as showing her cleavage, and a pair of little short red heart printed boxers (not something she usually wore when it was cold, but she wanted to look sexy). She had her cheek resting in her hand, her long blonde hair was brushed to the side where it curled over her shoulder and down against the top of her breasts.

On her phone she could see Joseph. He looked to be sitting in a chair, slouching in a way that made Harleen think that his legs were probably stretched out in front of him. (Why did that image make her so horny! But it did! She liked his long, lean legs.) He was just wearing his black dress shirt from earlier today, but the vest was gone and so was the tie. His shirt was unbuttoned down to just above his breast bone. The deep black color of the dress shirt was so startling against his pale white skin; the image made Harleen want to bite him again. She bit the side of her mouth instead; that erotic thought made her wet. Her eyes went to the band aid at the side of his neck, just under his ear where she had bitten him in the throws of an intense orgasm.

Harleen blushed, drawing a design on her bedspread. “I think you’ll like the dress.”

Joseph smiled. “You’ll be in it--of course I’ll like it.”

Harleen giggled, blushing more intensely. “I’m looking forward to Saturday.”

Joseph smiled. “I hate faculty dinners, in general, but I’m looking forward to having you with me. You’ll make it worth going.”

She giggled again, a sound that Joseph loved to hear.

“So when can we have our first self-defense class?” Harleen asked and licked her lips.

Joseph found himself staring at her wet lips before he took a steadying breath. “Sunday afternoon?”

“I would like that,” Harleen said softly.

Joseph smiled as he looked at her. He would be perfectly happy just to stare at her, watch her undress...but the thought of her breast in his hand rose up in his mind and he shivered with pleasure. “You sleep well, Harley. I’ll see you tomorrow. I won’t be able to have lunch…”

Harleen pouted prettily. “Because I have a meeting.” He thought of his meeting with Bruce. “And then I have some outside work to do tomorrow night, but I’ll call you when I get back,” Joseph said. He had to meet with Dr. Cassidy tomorrow night. He was planning on a demonstration of his new drug that he had designed for her. Should be interesting, he always liked it when he had the opportunity to perform a demonstration on a live person. Nothing was more fun than human experiments!

Harleen smiled. “I understand, but we have this weekend.”

Joseph nodded. “We do indeed.”

He smiled tenderly at her. His desire made his groin throb while his eyes traveled down her figure--what he could see of it--his need spiking and now mixed with the memory of her orgasm on his lap.

“You sleep well too,” Harleen murmured. “I’ll dream about you.”

Joseph smirked. “Make sure they’re good dreams.”

She laughed. “Oh, they will be.”

Joseph smiled, and his red lips made Harleen’s body tighten in response. “I’ll be dreaming about you, too,” he whispered. “Goodnight Harley, my sweets.”

Chapter Text

Harleen was running late.

She had overslept, her dreams wrapped around Joseph, which made it difficult for her to want to get out of bed. When she did finally get up after hitting the snooze on her phone multiple times, she now didn’t have time for any kind of breakfast or coffee. She had also stayed up a little later to read through her assignments for her classes that day; she didn’t want her grades to suffer, but her tardiness was mostly because of the delicious dreams she had that night.

She knew the other reason she had overslept was the thought of not getting to spend time with Joseph today had made her dreams more appealing. It was juvenile and selfish, she knew, but she didn’t care. She wanted to spend time with him and it made her a little pouty to know that she would only get to see him in class today. Tomorrow though, she told herself, was the dinner. She would get to wear that dress for him. She giggled happily as she applied her makeup. She liked the dress and she hoped he would like the dress too, that he would see what she had tried to do, to purchase a dress close to the one he had told her about. She wanted to see Joseph's mouth drop open. Harleen smirked at herself in her bathroom mirror and whispered.

“You are so bad.”

She giggled again as she dressed, moving quickly. Today, she went for a pair of leggings for comfort and simplicity, and an oversized red sweater that hung attractively around her hips. She pulled her hair back into a high Ariana Grande-like ponytail, slipped on some ankle boots and headed out into the main body of the apartment.

She was hurrying toward the door when she stopped in her tracks. On the floor in front of the door, setting on a plate was a blueberry poptart and a post-it note. Harleen frowned picking both up. The note was in Pamela’s even, flowing handwriting.

“I tried three times to wake you up. Are you on drugs? Anyway, I knew you were going to be late so eat this awful poptart you insist on buying and promise me you’ll eat a better lunch. Love ya Pam.”

Harleen giggled, Pamela was like the big sister she never had, the sort that actually cared about you. Harleen’s heart did a little twist, which also made her feel bad about lying to Pammy about seeing Joseph last night, as well as the credit card thing. Maybe she would tell her tonight...or later...Eventually.

Harleen smiled, dropped the plate onto the kitchen counter, and jammed the poptart part way in her mouth as she grabbed her coat and headed to the door.

*

The air felt chilly and Harleen could smell rain in the air. She waffled for a moment on whether to go back inside and get her umbrella or not, then decided not to because she was already late and every little bit of time she wasted would just serve to make her later yet!

She hurried to Dr. Fries’ class, chomping down on the poptart, wishing her had some milk and wondering how old the water in her water bottle that she kept in her backpack was. She kept her head down as she thought about Joseph. In her dream, they had been in a shower together, the water plastering his green hair down. His eyes glowed a bright blue, the little flecks of gold in them stood out bright and he was naked, very naked. His imagined penis was--Harleen giggled as she recalled the dream image--awesome, she though. It had been awesome. In the dream she had dropped down to her knees and sucked on him, wrapped her mouth around his erection, sucking him deep into her mouth, and enjoyed the sound of his groans.

Harleen was so focused on remembering the details of her dream mixed with images of Joseph last night on the bench, that she wasn’t paying attention to where she was going when she ran into someone, her head smacking right into their chest.

Harleen gasped in surprise. “Oh gosh, I’m sor…” Harleen started apologizing only to see Jeremiah standing there. He grinned down at her, surprising her when he reached out and wrapped his hands around her upper arms.

“Just the person I was looking for.”

Before Harleen could say another word, Jeremiah dragged her down the hall and into an empty classroom. He grinned as he pinned her up against the wall his hands on either side of her head, his body too close to hers.

“I have a proposal for you Miss Quinzel. One I don’t think you will be able to refuse.” He grinned, clearly pleased when himself.

Harleen was scared. Jeremiah had her pinned, they were alone in this room, and she was sure he had been the one to attack her last night! Her heart started to beat rapidly, her breath became short, and she broke out into a nervous sweat. She looked up at his face, her glasses resting on the end of her nose.

Jeremiah smiled. “I have a couple of tickets to see Ashes on Sunday tonight and I wanted to bring you.”

Harleen swallowed and shook her head. “No.”

Jeremiah frowned, narrowing his eyes. “Why not?”

“I know it was you last night,” Harleen hissed at him, her heart pounding so loudly that she could barely hear her own words. “I know it was you.”

Jeremiah blinked as his brow furrowed. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“In the library…” Harleen said softly.

Jeremiah looked confused, then whispered under his breath, more to himself than her. “I got drunk last night, but I wasn’t that drunk, at least I didn't...no...and that bet…” He glared at Harleen who was looking up at him in confusion. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. You’re crazy.”

Harleen glared up at Jeremiah, trembling a little. Her father had called her crazy, he’d called her aunt crazy, her mother; anytime any woman said anything he didn’t agree with, they were either stupid or crazy. Harleen felt a rush of intense anger.

She ground out between clenched teeth. “Don’t call me crazy--don’t ever call me crazy.”

Jeremiah shook his head. “I don’t know why I bother asking you out, ‘cos you’re an idiot and crazy. Here I was giving you this chance to go out with me and…”

Harleen snarled and punched him in the shoulder. “Don’t call me crazy!”

Jeremiah yelped and stumbled back from her, shaking his head as he rubbed his shoulder. “Fuck you, you crazy bitch.” He turned and hurried out of the room.

Harleen watched him go with a scowl marring her features. Her anger faded within a moment as she realized the person in the library probably hadn’t been Jeremiah.

*

When she entered the classroom a couple of seconds behind Dr. Fries, who simply smiled at her as she moved toward her seat, Harleen kept her head down, though she couldn’t stop herself from glancing in Jeremiah’s direction. He was leaning close to some girl whispering. He glanced at Harleen and leered, at the same time he rotated his finger beside his head in the universal sign of being crazy. Harleen glared at him, her arms wrapped tight around her as she sat down.

She dropped into her seat, pulling her backpack off, and dropped it to the floor. She angrily pulled her notebook out when she heard a strangely hoarse voice behind her ask. “You okay?”

Harleen looked over her shoulder to see Duela smiling at her. Duela had changed her hair again; it was completely dyed a hot pink and orange combo, and spiked out. Today Duela was wearing a little yellow and black plaid skirt with thick black leggings, combat boots, black t-shirt, and a red and black plaid overshirt.

Harleen smiled. “Yeah, I'm fine. Where were you last night?”

Duela coughed, grabbed her bottle of water and took a sip. Her voice was rough when she spoke. “Sorry, I had a sore throat so I called off. I tried to reach you, but you didn't answer so I told one of the others in the group to tell you.”

Harleen frowned, glancing at Dr. Fries who was writing something on the board. “No one showed up.”

“Shit,” Duela said with a shake of head. “I guess they thought I cancelled it. Sorry.”

Harleen continued to frown, looking confused, but she shook her head turning back around. “It’s fine, Duela. Don’t worry about it.”

*

Later, while Harleen went to Radu's for some coffee and to grab a bite to eat since she couldn’t be with Joseph in his office, the psychiatry professor headed out to meet his brother off campus at Gotham Ramen, a restaurant that sat a close fifteen minutes from campus.

Joseph was trying not to be grumpy about having lunch with his brother rather than with Harley. He sighed as he strolled down the sidewalk, his gloved hands buried in the pockets of his coat. Today he wore one of his more colorful suits, a three piece suit that was a rather bright shade of burgundy. Joseph smirked as he walked. The tailored suit looked good on him, if he did say so himself. He paired it with a black dress shirt and a pair of sharp pointed black dress shoes. The color looked good with his unusual skin color and the dark green hair which he had let curl across his forehead today (the breeze had picked up the threat of rain heavy in the air.)

He smiled as he walked, took out his cigarettes, and pulled one out along with a book of matches. His movements were graceful despite the fact he was wearing a pair of black leather gloves. He placed the cigarette between his lips--painted a dark red--his blue and gold flecked eyes outlined in black, all of it done for a more dramatic effect. He struck a match without missing a step, ignoring the disapproving looks he received as he took a pull on his cigarette, and casually tossed the match into the street.

Joseph let out a long sigh of smoke. He knew how uncomfortable he made Bruce. His brother didn’t like the make-up (something Joseph had liked before the accident), along with the “garish” colors of Jack’s preferred suits, the smoking--pretty much everything about Joseph made Bruce uncomfortable. The accident had only heightened that discomfort, except Bruce didn’t have to claim him as a brother anymore. Joseph found it rather funny. He loved his brother, loved him deeply, but Bruce had a very large stick up his ass.

Joseph arrived at the restaurant and stopped outside the glass window that faced out onto the street. He looked around on the street until he saw Bruce’s car (he saw it, a shiny silver new Morgan Roadster 3.0 V6) before he glanced inside while he finished his cigarette. He saw Bruce sitting by the window, which surprised him. He grinned and waved.

Bruce saw him through the window and a frown settled into place, his eyes taking in the colorful suit before he pointedly looked at the cigarette in Joseph's hand. The older Wayne brother’s handsome features creased with his disapproving frown. Joseph grinned at his brother and took a deep drag on the cigarette before he took his time and blew out a series of thirteen smoke rings while Bruce watched him with annoyance. Joseph tossed the cigarette to the sidewalk and crushed the burning stub under his toe, grinning at his brother then entire time. Bruce glared at him through the window.

Joseph shrugged and moved to walk inside.

He walked over to his brother, removing his coat as he did so and flopped down onto the chair across from Bruce (he knew he was getting several looks. He always did, but especially since the accident, his coloring drew a lot of attention.) Bruce, as usual, was dressed in a tailored black suit with a crisp white dress shirt, and red power tie.

“Hey Mr. Wayne.” Joseph grinned, removing his gloves to show that he had painted his fingernails a dark burgundy to match his suit before pushing his glasses up with his middle finger (something else that he knew drove Bruce nuts with annoyance, the use of his middle finger.) “How are you this afternoon? Did you buy yourself half of Gotham yet? Maybe a small island, a small country? Perhaps a few orphans?”

Bruce scowled at his brother. “Knock it off, Joseph.”

Joseph chuckled as a waitress came over to their table and handed them both a menu. The young brunette woman made Joseph think of a twenty-something Sally Field. She wore a cute pink dress under her apron that made up her uniform. Joseph couldn’t help but think the dress would look lovely on Harley, her long legs exposed. The thought of running his fingers along the back of Harley's legs gave him a delightful shiver.

“Can I take your drink orders?” the waitress asked while handing them each a menu and trying not to stare at Joseph and his strange coloring, or the handsome Bruce Wayne, who she immediately recognized from television. It was obvious she was having a difficult time, her eyes kept darting back and forth until she finally settled on staring at Bruce, much to Joseph’s relief.

Bruce nodded as he took the offered menus, one of which sat on the table in front of Joseph. “Water please, and some green tea.”

Joseph tapped his chin. “Mm. I’ll have an ice Oolong tea please.”

She nodded as she wrote their orders down on her little order pad. “I’ll be right back with your drinks and to take your food order.” She turned around and left with a little hop in her step.

Joseph picked up the menu, looking it over. “So, how have you been?”

“Fine,” Bruce said simply. “I wanted to see you because I wanted to ask you about the faculty dinner tomorrow,” Bruce said as he looked over the menu.

Joseph frowned and rubbed his chin in thought as he contemplated the menu. “What about it? I’m going, don’t worry. I’ll play the good academic.”

Bruce glanced up at his brother. Joseph's glasses had slipped to the end of his nose again. Bruce smiled. Even after the accident his little brother was a handsome man. Where Bruce had taken after their father with his more muscular physique and a square jaw, Joseph was slender, lanky even, and he had their mother’s chin, fine cheekbones, and ready smile. Bruce knew they were both charismatic people (just as their parents had been), but in markedly different ways.

“I was thinking you should bring a date. I met a woman yesterday during a cocktail party at Harvey Dent’s place who I thought would be perf…” Bruce began, but Joseph set his menu down and said in a quiet, but firm tone, “Don’t.”

Bruce frowned. “I just thought she might…”

“I’m already bringing someone,” Joseph replied as he perused the menu, his eyebrows lifted a fraction and looking smug.

Bruce looked stunned. “You are? Do I know her?”

Joseph frowned, chewing his bottom lip for a moment, running his fingers absently over the buttons of his vest before he said. “I’m bringing my teaching assistant.”

Bruce blinked in confusion, then said with a frown. “Then you’re not actually bringing a date.”

Joseph sucked on his upper lip looking down at the menu, tapping the tips of his fingers against the plastic. He looked up at his brother over the top of his glasses just as the waitress returned with their drinks. “Are you both ready to order?” she asked.

Bruce nodded, handing his menu to her. “I’ll have Tokyo Chicken Ramen. Joseph?”

Joseph shrugged and turned over his menu too. “I’ll have the same.”

The waitress nodded, giving them both a radiant smile (that Joseph noted paled next to Harley’s smile). “Two Tokyo Chicken Ramen. I’ll be back soon with your order.”

Joseph took a breath and asked softly. “Have you ever had a workplace romance? I mean...let me rephrase that. How do you feel about workplace romances?”

Bruce blinked in surprise at the question. “What?”

Joseph sighed leaning back his seat, draping an arm across the corner of the chair, one leg stretched out. “Never mind,” he said with a negligent flip of his fingers.

Bruce shook his head slightly. “No no, you brought it up. Is something going on Joseph? Maybe a fellow professor caught your eye? You know you can talk to me. I’m your brother. I love you.”

Joseph looked into the main body of the restaurant, gazing without seeing the other patrons, his thoughts a jumble.

He pursed his lips before he murmured. “My teaching assistant, her name is Harleen Quinzel. She’s beautiful, young, smart…” Joseph’s voice was low, almost dreamy as he spoke, Bruce noted, something he had never heard from his younger brother. “She has this gorgeous hourglass figure, long blonde hair like spun gold, and the most gorgeous blue eyes. I could get lost in her eyes for hours…” Joseph murmured. “I’ve never been attracted to anyone before, but you probably know that--you are always so perceptive. Then here she comes into my class and...” Joseph closed his eyes for a moment before he opened them and looked at Bruce. “I think I might be in love.”

Bruce frowned, his brow furrowing again, which Joseph decided made his big brother look slightly frightening. It was a little amusing, Joseph thought absently. “How old is she?”

Joseph shrugged. “I think she’s twenty-one.”

Bruce nodded. “And, she’s your teaching assistant.”

Joseph nodded.

Bruce sighed and shook his head. “Joseph…”

“I knew you wouldn’t understand,” Joseph muttered. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“How long have you known her?” Bruce asked. The school year had just started, he thought.

“Not long.” Joseph took his glasses off, pulling a black silk cloth from the pocket of his vest and began to clean them.

Bruce tilted his head studying his brother. “So are you…”

Joseph frowned looking at his nails. “No, we aren’t sleeping together…” The image of Harley on his lap, her feeling of her pressing against him, the feel of her breast in his hand all came rushing back to him. He shifted in his seat as he groin swelled slightly at the thought of her. He could still hear the sound of her orgasm in his ears. For a moment, he wondered if this was what adolescents went through, or if this was what anyone in love felt...

Bruce nodded and took a breath. He wasn’t really sure what to say, but he was going to try to be a good brother. He had no room to talk about women who a person shouldn’t be involved with, as he couldn’t help but want to be with Selina. The unrepentant thief came to mind, but he pushed that aside for now. Besides, he had never seen his little brother attracted to anyone, ever.

Bruce sighed. “I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t see her, since you know you shouldn’t…”

Joseph looked up as Bruce continued. “What I will tell you is be careful. You don’t want to ruin your career or her future, but if you feel that strongly about her Joseph…” He smiled. “I understand.”

Joseph tilted his head back a fraction as he smiled, looking surprised. “Are you serious?”

Bruce nodded. “Yes.”

“You’re not going to comment on the age difference?” Joseph lifted a green brow.

Bruce shook his head. “No, because that’s minor. You’re both adults and I know you’re a gentleman. I just don’t want you or her to get hurt. So--be careful is all I’m going to say on the matter.”

Joseph looked truly surprised, but his smile broadened. Bruce smiled back; his little brother’s smiles were always infectious. “Thank you Bruce,” Joseph said.

Bruce shrugged. “Hey, I don’t have a lot of room to talk when it comes to romance. Remember Linda Page?”

Joseph grimaced, followed by a laugh. “Oh yeah, she was fun.”

Bruce chuckled. “So anyway, did I tell you that Alfred has taken up novel writing?”

Joseph grinned. “No...oh no.”

Bruce laughed. “Oh no is right…”

*

The rest of Harleen’s day went along without incident, though she and Joseph made eye contact and he gave her another love note, sliding it to her when he had her hand out papers. This note read simply.

“You haunted me dreams last night.”

Harleen had blushed happily.

She had hoped to speak with him after class, but he was swarmed by students, forcing her to give up, though she did manage to pass by close enough to him that she felt Joseph’s fingers reach out and catch her fingers for a brief moment. She looked over at him and he gave her a wink before a couple of students filled up the space between them.

When she arrived home, the apartment was empty, which wasn’t a surprise. Harleen changed into some sweatpants and a hoodie and plopped herself on the couch after making herself a sandwich and threw herself into studying.

*

It was after midnight.

Joseph, now in his Joker persona, wore a dark purple suit with a bright blue vest, black dress shirt, and dark blue tie. He wore white spats over his black dress shoes, purple leather gloves and tonight he had a walking stick in hand. His green hair was slicked back, his glasses gone, which made his gold flecked blue eyes more prominent. He had painted his lips, extending his smile beyond the edges of his lips which made his smile appear wider.

He walked into the abandoned warehouse, his cane making a soft click against the concrete floor, with Jonny Frost behind him. Joker grinned when he saw White Rabbit. Cassidy, now in her persona of White Rabbit, was dressed in a tailored white suit, with tails and a white top hat, her face painted white, with black details that gave her a decided “rabbit” look. Joker appreciated the theaterics that went into White Rabbit’s costume, another one of the reasons they got along so well. They both appreciated the importance of a good show.

Next to White Rabbit was a man tied and gagged to the sole chair in the warehouse. The man looked to be in his forties, rough, with a shaved head and a bloody nose. He was dressed in an old sweat stained suit that looked as if he had slept in--more than once--and as Joker came closer he looked like the sort who drank, with his red nose and cheeks (though he supposed that could also be from crying.) Joker wouldn’t have been surprised to smell alcohol on the man, though he didn’t appear drunk at the moment, just terrified.

“So, who do we have here Rabbit my dear?” Joker asked, halting a few steps from White Rabbit and the man she had tied up next to her.

Rabbit grinned and grabbed the man by his head, her white gloved fingers pressed into the man’s skin and holding his head still. The man was whimpering behind his gag as he looked up at her, then over to Joker with large terrified eyes.

She was deceptively strong as she held his head in place, her voice calm. “This is the husband of one of my kits.” (White Rabbit had a tedency to call the people who worked for her kits, like they were all baby rabbits who were part of her colony instead of the people who worked for her, selling her drugs throughout Gotham. To each their own Joker supposed.) “He came home drunk again last night, but this time he beat his wife badly enough that she’s in the hospital. I thought he would be a perfect volunteer for tonight's experiment.”

White Rabbit smiled, releasing the man’s head. The man whimpered, saying something that was garbled by the cloth in his mouth.

Joker chuckled. “Perfect. I do so love volunteers.” Joker popped the top of his cane back and pulled out the vial he had hidden within the hollow top. Inside the glass vial was a liquid that glowed a deep, dark purple that almost looked black. He grinned and held up the vial so that the man and White Rabbit could see the liquid in the dim light of the warehouse.

“This is what I'm calling the Last Laugh.” He chuckled. “Now, I have no idea if this is going to kill him or not, but that’s what we’re here for, isn't it?” Joker laughed, hooking his cane over his arm and held his hand out. Frost stepped closer and laid a capped syringe in Joker’s hand.

“So what is it supposed to do?” White Rabbit asked with curiosity.

“Well, my hope is that the user will simply become high, high enough that lasting colors will be seen as simply too basic, and laugh until they pass out. But, of course, it also might kill him.” He shrugged as he carefully took the top off the vial, discarded the syringe cap, and dipped the syringe in to fill it with the dark purple liquid. “I’ve also tried to make the drug undetectable in a regular drug test, but also highly addictive. If this works as I’m hoping, you should be able to have it on the streets within a week.” He glanced up. “As long as there is no selling to children.”

White Rabbit smiled. “You know I don’t do that Joker.”

He shrugged as he carefully finished filling the vial and shot some of the liquid out, clearing any air bubbles. “Well you know I like to make sure everyone is on the same page of the joke book. Now...if you wouldn’t mind pulling up his sleeve.”

Joker walked over as White Rabbit pulled the bound man’s sleeve back. The pale man gave the captive man a wide smile that reached his eyes, making them twinkle with delight. “This is going to be fun,” he said with a waggle of his eyebrows. “At least for us.”

Joker laughed as he slid the needle into the man’s arm.

*

Harleen had fallen asleep.

She had tried to stay up, waiting for Joseph to call, but as it became later she struggled to stay awake. She had dinner with Pamela when she came home, the two of them eating chili dogs, which had been fun and messy while they watched the Real Housewives of Atlanta. They both agreed that nothing went better with chili dogs than trash TV.

After dinner they had both gone to bed.

Harleen had changed, dressing in a little black satin and lace negligee that Pamela had bought her for her birthday a couple of months back as a late birthday present (Harleen had bought her a present too since they had missed each other's birthdays. Harleen had purchased a marijuana brownie for Pam, which she had loved. Pamela was hilarious when she was high.) The redhead had told Harleen that every woman should own at least one negligee, something pretty and sexy to sleep in, just for themselves. Harleen had never worn the thing, preferring to sleep in pajamas or t-shirts, but tonight she had remembered she had it and had gone digging for it, finding the little black gown stuffed in the bottom of a laundry basket in the back of her closet.

She had put it on, trying to find a sexy pair of panties to go with it, but had to settle for a pair of cotton bikini cut panties that were decorated with moon and star smiley faces. She had brushed her hair out, making sure she looked hopefully sexy for when Joseph called, but as the hours dragged by, Harleen fell asleep.

When her phone rang at four in the morning, Harleen didn’t respond right away. She was curled under the covers, her face buried against her pillow. On the third ring, Harleen yelped and sat up looking confused and blurry eyed, but she grabbed her phone. “Hello?”

“Sorry Harley…”

“Joseph!!!” Harleen squealed.

Joseph laughed. “I’m sorry I called so late.” He hesitated a moment and said, “Do you want to video chat for a few minutes?”

“Yes! Yes of course--hold on.” Harleen sat up. The light from her phone was the only light in the room as she quickly turned on the video for her phone. Joseph's handsome face came into view and Harleen smiled happily. He looked so handsome with his hair slicked back. He wasn’t wearing his glasses, which made the full impact of his eyes that much more intense, and he looked to have just removed his tie. That was when Harleen realized he was walking while holding the phone with one hand as he worked at the buttons of his shirt with his other hand. Harleen felt a rush of heat burst through her at the sight of him undressing.

Joseph smiled. “Looks as if I woke you up.”

Harleen frowned, then groaned reaching up to touch her hair,;she could feel that it was sticking up all over the place.

She blushed. “Sorry I…”

“No my sweet, I am calling very late, after all. I’m sorry my business took far longer than anticipated. Besides…” He grinned. “I like that ruffled, just woke up look.” His voice became warm and seductive. “You look beautiful.” He wanted to see her like this in his own bed, naked, her hair a mess, her lips swollen from kissing him, her pink creamy skin flush from lovemaking.

Joseph felt his erection jerk in response to his thoughts and the image of Harley on his phone. “So…” He swallowed. “What did you do tonight?”

Harleen smiled, flopping back against her pillows which only made Joseph want to groan with need, her hair haloing around her head, the thought of being on top of her...he shivered, sliding his shirt off while kicking off his shoes.

Harleen pressed her lips together for a moment. Her groin pulsed when she saw his bare shoulder, his collarbone, the top of his chest and from his expressions and movements, it was pretty clear Joseph had no idea what he was doing to her.

“Oh, uh...I just studied tonight then watched TV with Pamela. What about you?’ Harleen asked as her eyes wandered from his face to his throat.

“Just work stuff, boring really, though I’ve made some progress on something I was working on,” Joseph murmured reaching down to start unbuttoning his slacks with one hand. The drug test had been interesting, he concluded. Everything had worked like he had thought--and hoped--it would, though the subject had died. He wasn’t sure if it was the drugs or the dosage. White Rabbit had said she could get him another subject soon. In the meantime, he would make a few more adjustments to the formula.

While he worked on unbuttoning his slacks, Harleen blinked, frowning. She could see him moving his shoulder and arm...then she smiled as she realized what he was probably doing, taking his pants off! Boy, did she want to help him with that! Harleen just barely suppressed a giggle at her own naughty thoughts.

Joseph stepped out of his slacks, heading toward the bathroom, stopping to pull his socks off.

Harleen smiled at him. “I’m glad it was successful.”

Joseph stopped what he was doing to lean against the wall and smile at her. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” she said softly. “I’m looking forward to the dinner.”

Joseph murmured gazing at her longingly. “Me too, my sweetheart.”

Harleen felt her heart skip a beat. The term he used she had always thought was silly, but it happened, just now when he called her sweetheart, her heart literally skipped a beat.

Harleen smiled tenderly and Joseph thought his heart might break if he didn’t get to hold her in his arms right this moment. He wanted so desperately to feel her in his arms, to touch her skin, her tongue in his mouth…

He swallowed. “Well, I won’t keep you since it's so late. I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you and I’m sorry I was so late calling.”

Harleen smiled. “It’s fine. It doesn’t matter what time you call--ever--as long as I get to talk to you.”

Joseph whispered, “I burn for you Harley.” He frowned slightly as if he hadn’t meant to say that out loud before he added. “You sleep well.”

Harleen’s breath quickened, her heart beating quickly. “I’ll dream about you Joseph. Sleep well too.” She kissed the tips of her fingers while gazing into his eyes.

Joseph did the same, kissing the tips of his long fingers while he gazed at her. “I’ll dream about you until the moment I can see you. I’ll pick you up around six tomorrow evening.”

Joseph ended the call and Harleen closed her eyes, holding the phone against her heart with a deep, longing sigh on her lips. She knew she sounded like some overly dramatic heroine from some romance novel, but she didn’t care. She didn’t care one bit.

*

Pamela stood behind Harleen, who was wearing her evening dress and sitting on a cushioned bench in front of the mirrored vanity in Pamela’s room. Pamela wore a pair of green capri pants, barefoot, in an oversized black sweatshirt that had GOTHAM printed across the breast in gold letters, her red hair pulled up in a messy bun held in place by a couple of hair sticks. She had parted Harleen’s hair on the side and was holding a curling iron and a thick lock of Harleen’s hair as she studied a picture of Lauren Bacall on her phone that Harleen was holding for her.

Harleen frowned, glancing at Pamela in the mirror. “You know we can just leave my hair…” Harleen began, but Pamela cut her off.

“No...not another word, Harleen. You need the right hairstyle for this dress and this is the perfect style--so just sit still.”

Harleen snapped her mouth shut with a grimace while Pamela started to curl Harleen’s hair.

Harleen had on a pair of fake diamond earrings that sparkled just as pretty as diamonds, no necklace. Her throat was bare, which Pam said was sexier, a pair of ankle strapped white shoes with black tips, and a fake diamond cuff bracelet on her left wrist. Her eyeliner was a vintage wingtip behind her glasses, with red lipstick (also done by Pamela).

As Pamela did her hair, Harleen smiled at her image in the mirror. She actually thought she looked good. She hoped Joseph thought so too.

Pamela sprayed the curl she had just made, grinning. “Damn Harleen, you look hot.”

Harleen giggled. “You think so?”

Pam nodded. “Fuck yeah, I do. Every guy in there is going to be falling over himself to get close to you.”

Harleen giggled blushing. “I only care about one…”

Pamela looked in the mirror meeting Harleen’s eyes. “Have you more than kissed him yet?”

Harleen bit the side of her bottom lip.

Pamela frowned with a worried expression for her friend, then said softly. “Be careful.”

“I am,” Harleen answered with a smile. “I promise.”

Pamela nodded. “Okay, just...you have protection?”

Harleen giggled, blushing. “Pam!”

“Well...you know you can’t be too careful.” Pamela pouted. “And the last thing you want is an unexpected pregnancy…and you’re a virgin...”

Harleen sighed blushing. “What makes you think I’m going to sleep with him after I didn’t sleep with Guy?”

Pamela tilted her head. “Just…” She shrugged. “There is just something about the look on your face when you talk about him okay? And I just want you to be smart. You’re a virgin and…”

“That doesn’t make me stupid,” Harleen said a little more sternly than she meant to.

Pamela groaned. “I know that I just...Harls I worry! You are my best friend! I don’t want you to get your heart broken or end up pregnant or…”

Harleen sighed. “I’m on the pill.”

“What about condoms?” Pamela asked and Harleen sighed. “We aren't...we aren’t there yet, okay? Just going to a faculty dinner okay, nothing is going to happen.”

Pamela unplugged the curling iron and set it on her vanity to cool off.

“Yet,” she muttered before deciding the drop the topic. “Okay enough about that. You look amazing.” She smiled taking Harleen’s hands and pulling her to her feet. Pamela swirled Harleen around which made the skirt of the dress flare out beautifully. “Dr. Kerr is going to be tripping all over himself.”

Harleen giggled happily. “I really do like this dress.”

“It suits you,” Pamela said with a firm nod before she pulled her friend in for a hug. That was when they heard a knock on the door. “Well, speak of the devil,” Pamela said.

Harleen squealed with excitement and gave Pam a kiss on the cheek. “See you later.”

Pamela smiled. “Yeah. Oh, and don’t forget the coat I’m lending you, it's on the back of the couch!”

Harleen waved. “I won’t!” she said as she rushed out of the room.

Pamela chuckled. “Acting like she is going to the ball instead of a boring faculty dinner.”

*

Harleen grabbed the coat, a long double breasted affair in eggshell white; it was a very nice and expensive coat. Harleen opened the door while trying to slide into the coat only to stop dead when she saw Joseph.

He wore a black three piece suit under his trench coat with black winged tipped dress shoes and white spats. The vest had a print on it in dark purple and he was wearing a dark purple tie. His green hair had that lazy haphazard style which he pulled off beautifully. His lips were red, his eyes behind his glasses were outlined in thin black liner, making them stand out in a way that caused Harleen to have trouble breathing. He looked sexy enough to eat.

He blinked when he saw her, his eyes moving over her in surprise as he took in the dress she was wearing.

Joseph’s eyes opened wide in surprise. “Wow,” he said breathlessly. He could see the similarities to the dress she was wearing with the one he had described to her. The fact that Harley had tried to find a dress that matched the one he had mentioned caused a strange sensation in his chest. He felt at once out of breath, his heart felt heavy, and twisted, though not in a bad way. It was a sensation he had never felt before, but it made his eyes sting that Harley had thought about something he had liked, that she had remembered. Joseph stared at her for a moment, at a loss for words. He couldn’t help but smile when the words from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas came to him, “...and his heart grew three sizes that day.”

Harleen giggled and spun around. “You like it?”

Joseph swallowed. “Like it doesn’t cover it Harley. You look...amazing…” He cringed. “That sounded pathetic...I just...wow…” He grinned. Fluent in three languages and all you can manage is ‘amazing’ and ‘wow.’ Good job, old boy he thought at himself.

Harley’s smile made Joseph shiver with pleasure. “I’m so glad you like it.”

He had to shake himself to stop from staring at her and he reached for her coat. “Here--let me help you with that.” Joseph helped to guide Harley into the coat, leaning close to her ear to whisper. “You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” His lps tickled her ear, his breath was warm against her skin.

Harleen turned to look over her shoulder at him and Joseph smiled at her. He resisted the urge to kiss her, especially since Pamela walked into the living room at that moment.

“You guys have fun.” Pam waved.

Harleen waved back. “See you later, thanks for doing my hair and makeup Pam.”

Pamela grinned. “Hey that's what friends are for. Good night Dr. Kerr.”

He smiled. “Good night Pamela.”

Joseph escorted Harley out, laying his fingers lightly on the small of her back, resisting the urge to take her hand like he wanted to. He wanted to hold her hand, to pull her into his arms, to kiss her, holding her body against him, to feel her, to smell her skin…

He took a breath through his nose. The chilly air helped to calm him as he escorted Harleen to his car.

Harleen trembled a little with the urge to touch him, to run her hands over his suit and through his hair, but they were out in the open, too close to campus. But hopefully later.

Once they were in the car, Joseph reached over and laid his hand against her thigh.

“You look beautiful,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.

Harleen’s cheeks colored with her pleasure. “Thank you.”

He smiled, giving her thigh a gentle squeeze before he started the car.

*

The faculty dinner, sponsored by Bruce Wayne and other wealthy donors to the university, was being held at the Iceberg Lounge, the top of which had a fake iceberg on the roof.

Joseph parked and came around to help Harleen out of the car. He didn’t want to let go of her hand, but he did as he saw other members of Gotham University faculty heading inside. They both began to head toward the entrance with Joseph saying close to her ear.

“We have a banquet hall reserved. The food is actually quite good here, as is the wine, so feel free to have a drink.”

Harleen started to say something in response when she saw someone come rushing over to him, her extremely high heels making loud clicking noises on the asphalt. She looked like a damn giraffe Harleen thought as she tried not to frown when she saw Dr. Madison hurry over in her too-high heels. The woman was wearing a dress that barely bordered on appropriate for an event like this. The dress was made mostly of lace and was see-through everywhere but her breasts and groin, though the slit up the front was all the way up to Dr. Madison’s crotch to show off her legs.

Harleen wasn’t usually someone who judged what other women wore, but she hated Dr. Madison, so she decided it was okay if she judged away at the older woman.

“Joseph! Don’t you look handsome tonight!” Dr. Madison cooed over him, running a hand down Joseph's chest.

Joseph took a step back from her. “Dr. Madison. Aren't you cold?”

Julie Madison laughed and did a spin. “Like my dress? I’m fine. Besides, a coat would wrinkle my dress.”

Harleen sneered and hissed under her breath. “What dress?”

“Would you escort me in?” Julie wrapped her arms around one of Joseph’s arms, grinning at him, not once acknowledging Harleen.

Joseph extracted his arm from hers. “Sorry Dr. Madison, but I’m escorting my teaching assistant in.”

Harleen smiled at her. “Dr. Madison right? You look nice. Not a lot of women your age could pull off that dress.”

Dr. Madison blinked, clearly trying to decide if she had been insulted or not.

Joseph pressed his lips together, clearly trying not to laugh before he giggled and pointed. “Oh look, there’s Dr. Nygma! I’m sure he would love to escort you in!”

Harleen glanced over to see a tall, skinny man, balding, with a hooked nose and large, Elton John like green framed glasses and wearing a rather ugly green suit.

Joseph called out. “Dr. Nygma! Dr. Madison here was just looking for you?”

Dr. Madison’s mouth worked like a gaping fish. “I uh…”

Dr. Nygma smiled, looking like he had just won the lottery. “Joseph hello! Dr. Madison, Julie correct? I would be honored to escort you inside.” Nygma took Julie’s arm and wrapped her arm around one of his and began to walk toward the lounge entrance, pulling Dr. Madison along with him.

Once they were clear, Joseph burst out laughing. “Harley, that was vicious! I loved it.”

Harleen giggled. “Sorry, Joseph. I don’t think I like her.”

Joseph grinned, laying his hand on her back in a light touch once more as he led her inside. “Don’t apologize at all, Harley. You saved me again, and it was hilarious.” He chuckled happily and Harleen grinned with pleasure.

*

Once they checked their coats in, they entered the banquet hall that was reserved for the dinner. Harleen’s eyes widened when she saw the hall; it was, she thought, beautiful. The room was decorated in blues and whites with tables holding candles and large centerpieces of white flowers. There was an open bar (that would be open after dinner) and live music being played by a jazz band provided by the owner of the lounge, Oswald Cobblepot, Joseph explained to her.

Joseph and Harleen ended up sharing a table with Dr. Crane, Dr. Strange, Dr. Nygma, Dr. Madison, and Jeremiah (who glared at Harleen, but didn’t say anything.) Thankfully, Crane was between Joseph and Dr. Madison or Harleen might have had to put a fork in the older woman’s hand.

There wasn’t much conversation at their table at first since the first half of the night consisted of several speeches from the chancellor, then some of the professors (Dr. Strange being one of them), the dean of students, the head of the graduate school, and a funny short speech by one of the university’s major donors, Bruce Wayne. Then dinner was served. The food was surprisingly good Harleen thought, glancing over at Joseph, who gave her a quick wink. There was some conversation between the professors with Jeremiah inserting himself into the conversation at every opportunity, the kiss ass, Harleen thought. She remained quiet mostly, content to just listen. Joseph got into a heated discussion that was on the verge of turning into an all out argument about a cognitive psychologist named John R. Anderson whose work involved an approach called rational analysis, that from what Harleen gathered, Joseph didn’t agree with while Dr. Nygma (who mostly worked in the math department) did. Harleen got the distinct impression that Dr. Nygma and Joseph were frienemies.

After dinner, there were a few more speeches. Joseph leaned close and whispered in her ear. “They all really like to hear their own voices and this is the only chance most of them get to talk to so many faculty and administrators at once.” He grinned at her, causing Harleen to cover her mouth with a napkin to stop herself from giggling. But once the speeches were done, it was time to allow everyone to drink and dance.

Joseph stood and put his hand out to Harleen. “Would you like to dance?”

Dr. Madison stood up. “I would definitely like to dance.”

Nygma stood up next to her. “Well, I have been known to cut a rug once in a while.” He took Julie’s hand and practically dragged her out to the dance floor. The look on Dr. Madison’s face was one of horror. Crane glanced over at Joseph with an amused smirk on his face as Harleen stood up, but Jeremiah stood and grinned. “Hey Harleen, why don’t you dance with me? Instead of...”

Joseph shot Jeremiah a look over his shoulder that shut the younger man up.

Harleen paled, but Joseph turned back to her with a smile and took her hand. “Sorry Jeremiah, maybe the next dance.” He turned and quickly led Harleen out onto the dance floor where several professors and other staff were dancing already to the light jazz the band played.

Joseph spun her around and into his arms, smiling down at her.

Harleen looked up with concern. “You aren’t going to let Jeremiah dance with me are you?”

Joseph grinned. She could feel the warmth of his hand against her back, and his hand that held hers gave her hand a small squeeze. “Of course not sweets, of course not.”

They danced slowly, gazing at each other, the rest of the room falling away. Joseph led her around the dance floor moving easily and gracefully. Harleen felt as if she were floating on air, her eyes only for him. She remembered a song for a Disney movie that she always loved when she was a child. “So This is Love” from Cinderella. It was silly, but she couldn't help thinking about that song while she stared into Joseph’s gold flecked blue eyes behind his glasses, while the music played and they danced.

(Off to one side speaking to several female professors and office staff, Bruce saw his brother and the young woman that he had to assume was Harleen Quinzel. Bruce smiled. As his brother had said, she was a very pretty young woman. Bruce could see even at this distance the change in Joseph's expression, his body language. Joseph was in love and if he wasn’t mistaken, the young woman in question looked quite smitten too. Bruce smiled to himself and returned his attention to the conversation.)

Joseph eased her through the crowd of dancers before stopping near a corner where the lights didn’t quite reach. Once in the more shadowy space, he simply stood with her, their bodies moving back and forth to the music without going anywhere. The crowd on the floor had grown thick enough that they were hidden away from both Julie and Jeremiah.

Joseph stared into her eyes and whispered. “I wish I could kiss you.”

Harleen blushed and smiled up at him. “I wish I could kiss you too.”

He smiled, and his red lips begged for her to kiss him. It was so tempting to throw caution to the wind and steal a kiss, but she didn’t. She contented herself with dancing--for now.

When the music stopped, Joseph released her, though he put his arm lightly around her, his fingers barely touching her back to lead her off the dance floor. “How about we get a drink? No point wasting the free booze.” He laughed and Harleen giggled with him.

They arrived at the bar where many of the professors were drinking and having debates, conversations, or heated intellectual arguments. Joseph situated her at the corner of the bar a little out of the way so that she wouldn’t be crowded.

“What would you like?” he asked with a smile.

They both glanced at the board behind the bartenders that had a list of drinks available.

Harleen frowned, looking them over. “Mm, you know...I’ve never had any of those drinks on that list.”

Joseph touched her arm. “Let me get you something okay?”

Harleen smiled at him, causing Joseph's heart to do that weird flutter again. “Sounds good.”

Joseph very lightly and quickly touched her cheek before he left her to try to get the attention of one of the beleaguered bartenders.

Harleen waited, leaning on the bar with her elbows on the bar countertop. Several more professors came to the bar, forcing her a little more to the side. Most of them didn’t even seem to see her as if they sensed she was just a teaching assistant and not actually one of them--even though she was technically part of the faculty, given her position. She caught a glimpse of Joseph having finally gotten a bartender's attention. He gave his order, but then someone tapped him on the shoulder and Joseph turned to speak to a short, wizened looking older man. Harleen watched him with a smile when she felt someone grab her ass.

Harleen gasped loudly, jumping, her eyes wide with surprise. She turned to see a man standing there, giving her a leering grin. “Nice ass,” he said giving her a quick pinch before he stepped away.

Harleen was in such shock that she didn’t know what to do or how to react except to stare, her gaze following the man who then dropped into a conversation with another professor at the bar. A few seconds later Joseph joined her with two drinks in his hand. “I got you a dry martini…” Joseph frowned when he saw that expression on Harleen’s face.

“Harley, is something wrong?” Joseph asked, setting the drinks down on the countertop.

Harleen nodded, saying in a whisper. “That man over there just came over here and grabbed my ass.”

Joseph looked, following the direction she pointed, his features turning dark. “That’s Dr. Zeus. He works in the religious studies department. I’m going to have a word with…”

Harleen reached out and stopped him, laying her hand on his arm.

“Don’t…” She picked up the drink that Joseph had brought her, downing it in one swallow without really tasting it before she squinted her eyes at the sting of alcohol in her throat, and sighed.

“No point causing a scene for something that will make me look bad.”

Joseph frowned with concern, though a storm of rage burned behind his gaze.

“Harley…” He sighed knowing exactly what she meant. She was a teaching assistant and student, whereas Dr. Zeus was a professor in good standing in the department and the university--though everyone had heard rumors about the man. Joseph felt his scowl crease his features as impotent rage burned in his chest. He calmed himself, but reached out to lightly tuck Harley’s soft hair behind her ear.

“Want to go for a walk?” he asked with a tender smile.

Harleen smiled at him and nodded. “I would like that.”

*

The air had grown cooler since they had been inside, the sky darker. Harleen snuggled into her coat as Joseph guided her outside, looking up at the sky. There were clouds covering the night sky, and blocking out the stars, not that seeing them would have been possible this deep into the city.

Joseph led Harleen down the well-lit sidewalk, waiting until they were a little ways from the lounge before he took Harleen’s hand, grinning at her as they walked under a street light, swinging her hand.

“You are a very good dancer,” he said softly while he swung her hand playfully.

Harleen giggled. “Thank you. My grandmother, my mom’s mother, liked to dance and she taught me a few when I was younger. I guess I remembered more than I thought I did.”

Joseph nodded with a smile. “My mother taught me how to dance. She loved to dance too.”

Harleen glanced sideways at him, noting the slight tell of sadness around his lips when he spoke about his mother. She wanted to ask more about her, but didn’t want to hurt him. He would tell her when he was ready, though Harleen gave his hand that held hers a gentle squeeze. Joseph responded by shifting his hold on her hand so that he could thread his fingers with hers, making the gesture more intimate.

They continued to walk. They were near the river and a cold breeze blew over them from off the water, but with lights of the city looked lovely.

Joseph glanced up at the sky. “Looks like it might rain.”

Harleen glanced up too. “I think you’re right.”

“Maybe we should turn back…” Joseph murmured at the very moment that the sky opened up. It wasn’t a soft rain or gentle, but instead the rain fell as if a gutter on a house had come loose and dumped on them.

Harleen yelped as the cold water splashed down on them.

Joseph laughed. “Oh, well now, I’m not sure if it looks like rain or not.”

Harleen laughed and Joseph pulled her into his arms for a moment. “This reminds me of one of my favorite songs,” he said over the steady sound of the rain.

Harleen giggled. Her hair was sticking to her and her glasses were covered in raindrops. “It does?”

Joseph laughed nodding. His green hair was plastered to his head too, his glasses covered in raindrops. “Yes.” He took her hand, placing her hand on his shoulder, while he took her other hand in his and started to dance on the wet sidewalk while he sang.

“The weather is frightening

The thunder and lightning

Seem to be having their way

But as far as I'm concerned

It's a lovely day

The turn in the weather

Will keep us together

So I can honestly say

That as far as I'm concerned

It's a lovely day and everything's okay”

*

Harleen giggled as Joseph danced her in a circle around the sidewalk while the rain soaked through her coat and dress. She felt her heart do a leap in her chest as she stared up into his smiling face and she knew without a doubt, she was in love.

He laughed, swinging her around under the streetlight, then out of the light and into the shadows where he pressed her up against the wall of a nearby building. Joseph held her there, looking down at her in the rain, his gaze intense, his eyes searching her face before he dipped down and kissed her.

Harleen closed her eyes, rising up onto her toes, opening her lips against Joseph’s mouth, her tongue meeting his in a slow, sensual, tender kiss. She forgot about the chill of the rain, she forgot about being careful, about everything else other than kissing him. Joseph gently laid her hand against his chest, his arms going around her under her coat so that his wet hands pressed against her dress, pulling her closer to him. Harleen slid her hand up to cup the back of Joseph’s neck, her fingers in his wet hair while she kissed him. His lips were soft, his tongue warm and delicious.

Joseph made a soft moan, tasting the sweetness of her tongue and lips mixed with a hint of alcohol. Her body felt perfect against his, as if she was made for him and him for her. He moved his mouth slowly over hers, devouring every moment of the kiss, the heat from his desire for her noticeable despite the cold rain.

After a few more tense moments of kissing, Joseph pulled away smiling down at her. “You’re soaked,” he whispered.

Harleen giggled, her fingers playing with the wet hair at the nape of his neck. “So are you.”

He chuckled. “How about we stop at my place and I get you some dry clothing?”

Harleen nodded with a whispered. “Yes.”

*

Joseph lived in an apartment on the third floor of an old apartment building that probably dated back as far as the early 20th century. He used his trenchcoat, holding it up to try to shield her from the cold rain as they ran up the front stairs, together laughing. He held the door open for her and quickly followed her inside (she did not know that it was one of three places he owned, this one being his main home.)

Joseph led her up the stairs inside. The building was quiet as they made their way up the stairs and Joseph pulled his keys out to open the only door on the third floor. He held the door open for her and turned on the lights.

The apartment was a spacious studio apartment with a wide open central space with exposed brick walls, a couple of large windows and hardwood floors. He had the space divided by bookcases with throw rugs, comfortable-looking furniture, and healthy plants. The walls were decorated with framed vintage movie posters from the 1930’s and 1940’s. The kitchen was small, simple with a small table and chairs that looked to be old--perhaps antiques, Harleen thought--made of heavy wood. A large flat screen television hung on the wall in the living room portion of the apartment, flanked by large wireless speakers and an impressive stereo/sound system. She saw a set of stairs leading up to a loft where she assumed was where his bedroom sat.

Joseph took off his wet coat, then helped Harleen with her coat, and walked into the kitchen. “If you want, I could run you a bath,” he smiled shyly. “I have some bubble bath, you could take a warm bath, and I could make you some tea, get you some warm clothing before I take you home,” he said as he hung their wet coats on the backs of the kitchen chairs.

Harleen’s heart was beating quickly as she looked around his apartment. It was nice, cozy despite the open space, and the place smelled like him. She felt a shiver of pleasure being in his private space.

“That sounds nice,” she said softly. “But what about you?”

Joseph smiled and motioned for her to follow him to the bathroom, waving her off. “I’ll change while you bathe and then take a bath after I drop you off.”

The bathroom was decorated in dull blues and antique whites with a large clawfoot tub. There was a full-length mirror on one wall, some matching cabinets in antique white, and a white wood framed medicine cabinet over the sink.

Joseph walked over to the tub and plugged it before turning the water on. He took a few moments to get the water to the right temperature before he turned and went to the cabinet where he pulled out a bottle of bubble bath.

He smiled handing it to her with a grin, “I like to take bubble baths sometimes.”

He turned to pull out some shampoo, conditioner, and soap, all vanilla scented. He set them on the metal rack that hung by the tub. He next opened a tall, slender cabinet in the corner and pulled out a fluffy towel and washcloth, setting them near the tub.

“You go ahead and get in. I’ll get the tea started and find you something to put on. Then I’ll come check on you and get your wet clothes. I might have some slippers you can wear home....”

Joseph mused, then smiled reaching up to cup her cheek before he gave her a soft, sweet kiss.

Harleen watched him go with a sigh as he brought the bathroom door closed behind him. She was pretty sure nothing was going to happen, that he really meant to simply let her take a bath, change, and take her home. She would love to stay the night with him...to curl in bed with him...make love...Her first time with Professor Joseph Kerr.

She shivered against the cold, dampness, and chill that really was beginning to soak into her skin and started to undress.

*

Harleen groaned when she sank into the warm water. The bubbles were thick and pleasant, smelling of rich vanilla. She sighed happily and sank lower, her head going completely under the water for a moment before she came back up. She washed her hair, then her face, and skin, dispelling the chill and washing away her makeup before she leaned back and relaxed in the water.

She closed her eyes, thinking about the kiss in the rain when she heard a light knock at the door. She twisted around to see Joseph open the door a crack and peeked inside carefully. Always a gentleman, she thought with a grin.

“Hey, I have your tea,” he said.

Harleen smiled. “Come in.”

Joseph blushed a little, his pale cheeks showing a hint of color, and stepped into the bathroom carrying a cup of tea. Harleen saw that he had changed into a pair of jeans and a simple blue button down skirt, the buttons undone to his chest, the sleeves of which he had rolled up to his elbows. His green hair was slicked back, but beginning to dry into rich green curls. Harleen took a soft shuddering breath. Her breasts felt swollen, her nipples hard, heat burning between her legs as he gazed at him. He was so handsome, so hot she thought before she blushed and bit her bottom lip, gazing at him through her dark lashes.

Joseph's breath was a little rapid when he saw her, her hair slicked back, wet, the bubbles just barely covering her breasts, her bare arms resting against the side of the tub. The bubbles covered her, barely, but knowing she was naked and just a couple of paces from him made his body tense, made his groin tighten and swell. He felt hot all over just looking at her.

Harleen smiled gazing at him, her own body reacting to him. She wanted him so much, but she just knew Joseph wasn’t going to make a move on her, he wasn’t that type of man…

“I’ll just set the tea here. I found some old sweats of mine and a t-shirt that should fit you…” Joseph said as he set the cup down when Harleen whispered. “Could you come here for a minute?”

Joseph looked up from where he was carefully setting the tea on the closed toilet seat for her to be able to reach it. “Everything all right?”

“Yes, I just need your help with something,” Harleen said softly.

Joseph came over, dropping down to his knees beside the tub. “What do you need?” he asked in a whispered voice, his hands on the tops of his thighs.

Harleen reached out to take one of his hands, tugging him to her slowly, capturing his mouth in a kiss. Joseph's eyes rolled closed, kissing her, but then opened in surprise as Harleen pulled his hand gently down below the water and between her legs. Harleen made a heated moan, spreading her legs, pressing his fingers against her while holding his hand loosely in hers, giving him the chance to pull away if he wanted. She felt him stiffen for a moment, his lips pausing over hers, but he didn’t pull away. Instead, he gently began to stroke her, sliding his fingers up and down against her wet, throbbing clitoris, his tongue caressing hers, his lips moving over hers while his fingers continued to press and stroke her. Harleen grabbed the side of the tub with one hand, her other hand, the one now wet from pulling his hand under the water, reaching up to grasp the back of his neck. She pressed her forehead against his, her nose dragged against his, knocking his glasses askew as she grabbed his bottom lip with her lips, pulling lightly before thrusting her tongue inside his mouth again.

Joseph groaned when Harley placed his hand between legs. He leaned deeper into the kiss, his fingers feeling the softness of her, her slick and inviting body. She wasn’t shaved, the curling hair of her groin press against his palm as he cupped her. He moaned breathlessly against her lips, his tongue traced the sensual line of her lips while he stroked her. He felt her tense, her fingers pressing into the back of his neck. He stroked slowly, teasingly, his groin tightening painfully in his jeans while he continued to stroke her. Harley’s breath came in quick pants, and he stroked a little quicker, just enough that he felt her hips respond, her body tighten. His groin throbbed as he listened to her moaning, her head dropping back against the tub, and her fingers on the back of his neck spasmed. Joseph watched her, her breasts rising above the bubbles. Her nipples were a bright pink, hard, covered in bubbles, and she had perfect, round aureoles, he thought. Her mouth was slightly open; he could see the dark pink of her tongue, her eyes closed as he pleased her…

Harleen groaned, her breathing rapid, her moans deep and wanton as he continued to stroke her, his long fingers moving in a slow, steady rhythm. Her body tensed until there was a burst, like fireworks exploding behind her eyes. Harleen’s eyes flew open, but the bursts of colorful light continued as her orgasm ripped through her with an intensity she had never felt before…

She cried out. “Joseph!”

Joseph dipped his fingers into her and Harleen gasped in pleasure, moaning louder. He shuddered when his fingers penetrated her, his fingers surrounded by her warmth. He had to grind down on his teeth, tensing his jaw to stop himself from orgasming just from watching her, feeling her, and hearing her. He wanted her so much and watching her pleasure was so erotic, but then when she called his name…

He continued to stroke her for a few more moments. Harley’s breath was ragged before he finally pulled his hand from the bathwater. He smiled down at her, caressing her jaw before kissing her forehead, then her lips. Harleen gazed up at him, her cheeks flush, and her blue eyes glowed.

He stood up, his knees weak. “I’ll...uh...bring your clothing…”

“Thank you,” she said softly.

Harleen turned to watch him leave, but Joseph stopped at the bathroom door to smile at her whispering tenderly. “You are beautiful sweets…”

Chapter Text

When Joseph returned a few minutes later, he carried some folded clothing with him, but he stopped in his tracks when he saw Harleen standing in the middle of the bathroom, her hair wet, wrapped in a towel. At the sight of her, looking so beautiful, so soft, and vulnerable Joseph felt his heart twist. She didn’t just stir lust in him, but something deeper, something more profound. There were so many things about Harley that drew him to her; not just how sexy she was and how beautiful he found her, but the fact that she trusted him so completely, that she was intelligent, quick, brave, and he knew without a doubt that she would be able to keep up with him...everything about her just made Joseph want her more…

*

Harleen had stepped out of the bath as soon as Joseph left the bathroom, her heart pounding. She had quickly dried off and had thought about just waiting for him to return, naked, but at the last moment, a flush of shyness made her grab the towel and wrap it around herself.

Harleen was still surprised at her own boldness, her wanton behavior, but she wanted to lose her virginity to Joseph more than she wanted anything. She wanted to feel him inside her, especially after feeling his fingers, when he had touched her, sliding his fingers inside her. The orgasm he had given her had been like nothing she had experienced before, even better than when they were on the park bench…

And she wanted to give him what he had given her--a mind-blowing orgasm.

Harleen shuddered. It was like he had opened something inside her when Joseph touched her. She giggled, thinking maybe he had opened the gate to making her a woman and not a girl, which was a really silly concept, but right at this moment that concept felt very real.

When Joseph knocked softly before opening the door to the bathroom, Harleen’s heart was beating so hard and fast that she was sure he would be able to hear it. She was nervous and excited, and she felt herself trembling all over.

*

Joseph dropped her clothing to the floor, taking two long strides toward her and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her up against him, almost off her feet. He opened his mouth to meet hers hungrily while at the same time Harleen reached up, grabbing Joseph’s head between her hands, pulling his mouth to hers. Their tongues met, melting together, slowly twisting and caressing in a hot, tender, yet lust-filled kiss.

Harleen’s fingers slid into Joseph’s green hair, her hold firm as she moved her lips over his mouth. She rose up on her toes, pressing her body against him as firmly as she could to feel the heat of him through his clothing and wanting to feel his skin against hers, their naked bodies sliding together...

Joseph gripped her towel with one hand; his other hand was pressed against her back keeping her body firmly against his own. He was ready to rip the towel off of her, to press his hands into her soft flesh, to pick her up and carry her to his bedroom, to make love to her. His groin throbbed with each beat of his heart, his grip on her towel tightened, his free hand sliding up until he was touching her skin.

Harleen began to pull at his shirt, trying to lift it over his head, at the same time she made little greedy noises of want, little heated hisses and moans…

Joseph was having a hard time concentrating, his thoughts so overwhelmed with lust for Harley. He had just begun to pull the towel free from her when he heard a loud knock at his door.

Joseph didn’t respond at first, his mouth moving down to Harley’s throat, and grabbed her earlobe with his teeth. Harley hissed and groaned in response…

The knock came again.

Harley had gotten her hands under his shirt, spreading her fingers, her palms flat as she caressed his flat stomach. Her hands moved up his chest feeling the silken play of muscles…

The knock came once more.

Joseph groaned, stepping back from Harley. “Fuck…” he said under his breath. “Will you excuse me for a moment?”

Harleen smiled, her cheeks rosy as she nodded. “Of course.”

Joseph walked backward from her, his eyes moving over her, his smile bright. He grinned at her, his eyes dancing behind his glasses before he finally turned to walk out the door.

Harleen walked over to the bathroom door and leaned against the frame, looking out. She couldn’t see the front door from where she was, but he heard Joseph as he pulled the front door open.

“Who the hell comes…” There was a pause before Joseph’s confused voice followed again. “Alfred?”

Harleen frowned at the confusion in Joseph’s voice that was quickly followed by warmth. “Alfred! What are you doing here at this time of night?”

She heard movement, followed by a voice that had a cultured accent, the type of accent that Harleen associated with shows like Downton Abbey, a very cultured British accent.

“Master Joseph, I tried to call several times, but you were not answering your phone…” the man named Alfred replied. “So I thought it best to try and locate you.”

Harleen could hear the frown in Joseph’s voice. “Sorry Alfred...I was busy. Is something wrong?”

“It’s your brother--he’s been in a minor car accident and has been taken to the hospital,” the man named Alfred replied in his cultured voice, though Harleen thought she detected a hint of concern in the man’s tone.

Joseph’s voice became breathless. “What? Bruce is in the hospital? When?”

Harleen frowned in confusion. Joseph has a brother? He never mentioned a brother...though she supposed she shouldn’t be all weirded out by that. She had a brother too, and a sister, but she hadn’t mentioned them to Joseph, so why should she be surprised if Joseph didn’t mention his siblings?

Alfred continued with a sigh. “After he was leaving the party. It was a minor accident really, but he has a mild concussion and a couple of broken ribs. I thought you might want to come to the hospital to see him. I came with the car to pick you up if you wished me to drive you...”

“Yes, of course. I mean, I will go to the hospital, but...ah...I, uh...have a guest. Let me take her home and I’ll meet you at the hospital.” Joseph said with a sigh. “It shouldn’t take me long. Are they keeping him overnight?”

Harleen couldn’t see it, but Alfred nodded to Joseph. “Yes, but he is rather upset about the physician’s decision--you know how your brother is sir.”

Harleen thought it was funny how this man Alfred called Joseph ‘Master Joseph’ and sir, like he was some sort of butler or something.

Joseph sighed. “Yeah, he’s as stubborn as an old mule. I’ll be there within the hour.”

“Very good Master Joseph. And by the way, it is nice to know you have a female friend,” Alfred said with little inflection in his voice, but it was enough to make Harleen blush.

Joseph responded with an embarrassed laugh. “Getting cheeky in your old age Alfred.”

“Yes sir, after raising you two boys into young men one does learn a little cheek. I’ll see you at the hospital, sir,” Alfred said at the same time Harleen heard movement.

“See you in a bit Alfred,” Joseph responded and Harleen heard the door close. She hurried back from the bathroom door and sat down on the toilet. Joseph came in a few seconds later.

“I’m going to have to take you home,” Joseph said with clear reluctance.

Harleen stood up and hurried over to him, put her arms around his waist, and pulled him closer. Joseph smiled gently and wrapped his arms around her, resting his cheek on the top of her head.

“I heard something about your brother was in an accident?” Harleen said against his chest

“Yes, it’s minor thank god, but I should head over to the hospital,” Joseph replied.

Harleen nodded. “I completely understand.”

Joseph stepped back from their embrace to hold her by her upper arms. “Still on for tomorrow though?”

“Of course,” Harleen said with a twinkle in her eyes. “I wouldn't miss it for the world.”

Joseph grinned and kissed her forehead. “I’ll let you get dressed and then drive you home.”

Harleen nodded watching as Joseph turned and left her alone. She sighed and gathered up the clothing he had dropped, muttering to herself. “Cockblocked by a brother I didn’t know he had…”

She sighed.

*

By the time they arrived at Harleen’s place, the rain had eased into a drizzle. Joseph pulled up close and turned off the engine, both of them sitting in the warmth of his car, neither quite ready to end their evening. Outside the car, the sidewalks and building glowed softly from the streetlights shining off the wet pavement and brick.

Harleen wore a grey hoodie with GOTHAM UNIVERSITY across the chest in gold, a dark purple t-shirt of Joseph's underneath, and a pair of grey sweatpants (the sweatpants were a little snug against her rounded hips and the hoodie pulled tight across her breasts in a way that Joseph kept trying not to stare at. Everything hugged her but in a way that seemed to actually accentuate her figure instead of hiding it.) She turned in her seat toward Joseph. She felt warm, snuggled into his clothing. Everything she wore smelled like him, his scent surrounding her. She might have to just forget to ever give his clothing back, she wasn't going to wash them either.

(As soon as she got inside to her room she was going to change and put his clothing in bed with her so she could hold onto the pieces like a teddy bear, so she could go to sleep surrounded by his scent. It was a little high school of her she thought, but Harleen decided she didn’t care, the benefits of having his hoodie.) Joseph sat beside her. Unlike his usual style, his green hair wasn’t slicked back, but loose, framing his eyes, though he kept pushing the hair back with his fingers only to have it fall again.

“I had a lovely night,” Joseph said softly. “I enjoy being with you, Harley. I’m sorry it had to end so abruptly.” Joseph paused and reached out to caress her cheek with the back of his fingers. “I enjoy everything about you Harley.”

Harleen blushed, looking down at her hands which held her shoes. (Joseph had kept her dress with the promise of getting it cleaned for her). “I had a good time too.” She giggled softly, her eyes closing as he stroked her cheek before she looked back over at him. “Especially the dancing in the rain.”

Joseph grinned with a light chuckle, his fingers caressing her jaw while his eyes soaked her in, his mind replaying the feel of his fingers touching her, stroking against her while the image of her in the bathtub burned in his minds-eye. He took a steadying breath, his fingertips caressing the soft spot just below her ear. “I enjoyed the whole evening, but some parts were particularly nice.”

His smile spread across his face in a way that made Harleen shiver with pleasure. The lights from the street reflected off his glasses, shielding his eyes from her for a moment, but his smile seemed to glow. Harleen felt a warm tickle in her groin, remembering the feel of his fingers touching her, the way he had made her orgasm. “Yes, me too,” she whispered, her voice husky.

Joseph reached up to gently wrap his hand around the back of her neck, pulling her close for a quick, passionate kiss, his mouth opening against hers so that their tongues met. Harleen reached out to grab the front of his shirt, pulling herself closer to him, but just as the kiss turned into something hotter, deeper, Joseph pulled away.

He swallowed, felt his heart beating hard while his groin ached, sending throbbing waves through his body. It was agony, but an agony he enjoyed. He wanted Harley like he had never wanted anything in his life. He felt out of control around her in a way he had never felt before and he loved it. He pressed his lips together, willing himself to keep control before he spoke.

“I’ll be here around noon if that is all right.”

Harleen nodded. “Noon is perfect.” She reached out and rubbed her hand along his knee. “I hope your brother is all right.”

Joseph smiled once more and gave her a gentle kiss. “Bruce will be fine. He’s as stubborn as a mule, but thank you. Sleep well Harley.”

Harleen smiled brightly. “You too.”

She stepped out of the car and Joseph watched her until she was at the door. She opened it and turned to wave at him letting him know she was all right before she slipped inside. He waited for another beat or two before he turned the car engine over and pulled away, smiling happily.

*

Harleen walked into the dark, chilly, and silent living room. Considering the hour, she figured Pamela was probably asleep. She pulled the door closed quietly and flipped the lock. She contemplated turning on the light so that she wouldn’t crash into anything, but decided against it. She could make it to her room without falling over herself. She had just started to tiptoe across the floor when a light flicked on beside the couch.

Sitting on the couch, curled up in a couple of blankets sat Pam.

Pamela looked at Harleen who had stopped midstep looking like a classic sneak thief, one leg up, caught tiptoeing.

Pamela lifted a brow at Harleen, her green eyes wandering down from Harleen’s now unstyled hair, lack of makeup and the clothing she was wearing, clearly not what Harleen had left the apartment in.

“Mm...you’re not wearing your dress,” Pamela noted.

Harleen cringed a little. “Uh, yeah...I mean no...” She sighed. “We got caught in the rain and...we went to his apartment…” Harleen pressed her lips together not wanting to tell Pamela about the bath even though what she had just said already made it seem like she had slept with Joseph.

Pamela’s eyes narrowed slightly, but she didn’t ask any questions. Instead, she sighed. “You know, it's not any of my business…” Pamela’s expression turned a little sheepish. “I didn’t mean to wait up by the way...I mean I wasn’t waiting up for you. I’m not your mother. I just crashed on the couch watching TV and fell asleep.” She tried to look innocent because waiting up had been exactly what she had been doing as she added. “You opening the door woke me up.”

Harleen giggled. She didn’t believe a word of it; she was sure Pamela had waited up, but her best friend just didn’t want to admit it. Harleen wasn’t upset, not even a little bit, because someone so clearly caring about her the way Pamela did wasn’t something Harleen had a lot of growing up. How could she be mad about something loving her like her best friend did.

“It’s okay.” Harleen walked over and dropped down onto the couch next to Pamela who wrapped an arm around Harleen’s shoulder. “So how was it?”

Harleen giggled. “A little boring, but the food was good. Some guy grabbed my ass…”

Pamela gasped. “What? At a faculty dinner?”

Harleen nodded. “You should have seen Joseph’s face, he was livid! Anyway, I got to insult Dr. Madison from the theater department…” Pamela blinked, then snickered. “I’ve heard about her.”

Harleen laughed. “You should have seen this dress she was wearing!! Anyway, we danced, then went for a walk and it started to rain on us...then we danced in the rain and Joseph sang…he is such a good dancer, so graceful...and his voice…” Harleen dropped her head back against the couch cushion in a classic swoon.

Pamela shook her head. “You two are playing a dangerous game, you know that right? I mean, you could get kicked out of school, he could lose his job...though Dr. Kerr might recover from a scandal, Harleen...I don’t know about…”

Harleen sighed glancing sideways at Pamela. “We’re being careful.”

Pamela continued to frown. “Just…” She sighed. “Fine, you’re an adult, you both are.” Pamela tilted her head at Harleen. “You really have it bad for him.”

Harleen grinned, biting her bottom lip. “I think I might be in love. Guy never made me feel like Joseph does...I mean...I can’t describe it Pam. He just makes me feel…”

Pamela pressed her lips together. “You haven’t known him for very long. Are you sure it’s not just sexual tension?”

Harleen blushed and shrugged. “I mean, yeah there is a lot of that, but I feel so…” She sighed. “Being with him feels right...like I’m where I belong.” Harleen reached under her glasses to rub her eyes and yawned. “Anyway, he’s picking me up tomorrow to take me to a gym for some self-defense classes.”

Pamela blinked. “Self-defense class...what?”

Harleen frowned then said softly. “I told him about the library incident and he offered to teach me how to defend myself.”

“Really? Well, you know what? I think that’s great! You should know how to defend yourself...and I suppose it doesn’t hurt to get to spend more time with Joseph…” Pamela singsonged Joseph’s name causing Harleen to laugh.

“Stop it!”

Pamela giggled before she stretched her arms over her head. “How about some hot cocoa before bed?”

Harleen grinned. “That sounds great.”

When Pamela got up and headed into the kitchen, Harleen pulled up Joseph’s hoodie up over her nose and mouth. She closed her eyes and inhaled his scent, a smile spreading across her face along with a little shudder of pleasure.

*

Joseph arrived at Gotham General, parked around back. It was very late, the rain had picked up again, and the chill in the air had turned the rain semisolid, not quite snow but it would be soon. Joseph pulled the collar of his jacket up and pulled his knit cap down low on his head trying to cover his green hair and his pale skin. That would be all he would need, for some nurse or reporter who got wind of Bruce’s accident to be here and start digging, wondering why some weirdo professor from Gotham University had shown up at the hospital to visit with Bruce Wayne. At the worst, they might dig up that he was Joseph Wayne, still alive; at best they might think Joseph Kerr was Bruce Wayne’s gay lover. That idea made Joseph choke on a laugh.

He kept an eye out as he headed toward the doors. Alfred was supposed to meet him at the doors and help him get up to Bruce’s room without being seen. He frowned, glanced up, didn’t see the older man anywhere about. Just when he was beginning to wonder if he was at the correct doors, he saw Alfred step out of the shadows.

Alfred was tall--though not as tall as Joseph or Bruce--with thick brown hair that was peppered with white. It wouldn’t be long before Alfred was completely white-headed. In recent years the older man had grown a goatee that was completely white. He was slender and dressed in a dark brown suit with a dark plaid vest and an umbrella hooked over his arm. Joseph knew he had garnered his sense of style from Alfred since the older man had raised both boys after their parents’ death.

Alfred smiled when he saw Joseph. “Did you get your young lady home all right Master Joseph?”

Joseph felt a blush rise up his neck to his cheeks. “Yes…”

Alfred quirked a brow in question but didn’t pursue the questions that Joseph knew the older man entertained. Alfred was far too well trained as a butler to be too inquisitive, though Joseph knew if Alfred really wanted to, he would get his answers from Joseph with questions and remarks, loosening Joseph's tongue before he realized what was happening. That came from Alfred’s life in the British military, a part of his past that Alfred never discussed. Joseph figured the only reason he had ever gotten away with lying about anything when he was a kid was because Alfred didn’t pursue the truth on purpose, waiting for guilt to cause either young Wayne to eventually confess their sins. The sad thing was...it worked every time.

Joseph figured that his ability to be deceptive and cunning, like his taste in clothing, was another skill learned from his surrogate father.

“How is he?” Joseph asked as Alfred slipped him into the hospital, moving through the hospital in a way that would keep Joseph off any cameras and away from the eyes of any night staff working. Alfred didn’t approve of Joseph faking his death, or rather, not correcting the assumption that the younger Wayne was dead after the horrific accident that had left him with his unique coloring, but Alfred had not argued against that decision either. Joseph couldn’t be sure without discussing it with him, but he felt sure Alfred understood why Joseph had let the world think Joseph Wayne was dead.

“He is as fine as can be expected,” Alfred answered, using his umbrella to pull Joseph back into a doorway with him when Joseph almost walked into the hall where a nurse was making her rounds. Alfred waited, leaning out to look, then motioned for Joseph to follow him.

“He wants to go home, but the doctor wanted him to stay overnight for observation,” Alfred explained, opening a door that led to some stairs.

Joseph smiled. “Good. I’m glad it’s not serious then.”

Alfred nodded. “I am, as well. It was the other drivers fault, a man named Dr. Maxie Zeus? I do believe he had too many libations and is somewhere here in the building as well.”

Joseph’s snarled. “Dr. Zeus?”

Alfred glanced over his shoulder. “Do you know him?”

Joseph’s eyes narrowed. “I know of him.”

Someone was going to need a lesson. Joseph’s thoughts turned dark, a lesson that only the Joker could deliver because Zeus had not only messed with Harley but then had almost killed his brother. Someone like that needed to learn that there were consequences for his actions.

Alfred frowned at Joseph’s reaction, but said nothing, stopping at a door at the top of the stairs. The older man pulled it open for Joseph, who stepped into another hall that looked exactly like the ones below. They headed down an empty hall, slipped pass a nurse’s station before coming to a door that Alfred pulled open and stood aside to let Joseph enter.

The room was dim with only one light shining by the bed where Bruce laid, propped up, and reading a book. He looked up in surprise and smiled as he set his book aside. “Joseph. Wat are you doing here?”

Joseph motioned with his thumb over his shoulder at Alfred. “The old man came to tell me you were in a car accident.”

Alfred lifted an offended brow. “Old man?”

Bruce shook his head. “It was nothing. There was no need for you to come down here.”

Joseph chuckled, walking over to hop up onto the side of his brother’s bed and making Bruce wince. “So how are you doing? They got you on all the drugs?” Joseph asked.

Bruce laughed. “I’m fine, really. I could go home, but…” He shrugged and winced again at the movement. “I’m fine. Anyway, how are you? I saw you and your girl at the dinner...she is quite pretty Joseph.”

Joseph smiled and a hint of color showed in his cheeks, which stood out sharply on his pale complexion.

Alfred said nothing, though he listened with interest.

“She is, isn’t she?” Joseph smiled, rubbing his hands along his legs. “She’s...she’s beautiful…” Joseph voice was soft.

Bruce glanced over at Alfred before he asked. “So--is this serious?”

Joseph smiled a little and whispered. “I hope it will be.”

Bruce grinned, which prompted Joseph to belt him in the shoulder. “Stop smirking Bruce.”

Bruce grimaced. “Ow! Beating your older and wounded brother!! I see how you are!”

Joseph laughed and hopped off the bed. “Whatever. So you aren't going to die and force me to take over Wayne Enterprises and reveal that I’m alive and well?”

Bruce chuckled and lifted a hand to absently rub his ribs. “Nope, sticking around for a while.”

Joseph smiled at his brother. “Good.” He leaned over and kissed his brother on the cheek. “I don’t think I could handle losing my brother.”

Bruce smiled, reaching out to ruffle Joseph’s hair before his little brother could pull away. “Neither could I. Thanks for coming to see me though.”

Joseph shrugged. “That’s what brothers do.”

*

The next day Harleen woke up feeling as if her entire body was vibrating. She had dreamt about Joseph all night, about his eyes, his lips...his fingers...

She had slept with his clothing in her bed, her nose pressed against his shirt, his scent filling her senses. It was almost like having him in bed with her.

She woke up feeling hot and bothered, her body tight like a spring pulled taut. She thought about doing her own release, but she was seeing Joseph today and who knew what the day might bring? Instead, she took a very hot shower and then dressed in work-out clothes like she would wear for gymnastics; a pair of skin-tight, high-waist fitted red and black leggings with eyelet and rib patterns that ran down the sides of the legs that showed little triangles of skin. The top she wore was a long-sleeved black midriff-baring top that continued the eyelet and rib patterns along the shoulders and arms with a crew neckline. The long sleeves went down over her wrists, with thumbholes to hold the sleeves in place. She pulled one of her own hoodies over the top, a simple red one, and pulled her hair back into a high ponytail.

She slipped on her tennis shoes and bounced out of her room, planning on having a good breakfast rather than a pop-tart.

She was surprised to see Pam leaning against the counter with a cup of coffee in her hand and flipping through a fashion magazine.

“Didn’t think you would be up,” Harleen said as she hurried over to the coffee maker, the smell of caffeine like the lure of ambrosia. “You want some eggs? I was thinking about making an omelet.” Harleen said as she was pouring her coffee and looking over her shoulder at Pamela. “I’m going to be working out with Joseph today, so I thought some protein would be a good idea.”

Pam turned to smile. “That sounds good,” she agreed. “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

Harleen frowned, turning around. “‘Course Pam.”

“There was a message on my phone from Dr. Victor Fries…” Pam began, but Harleen looked surprised. “I didn’t know you knew my chemistry professor.”

Pam shrugged. “Yeah, I’ve worked with him on and off doing experiments with cryogenically freezing plants in the past. The idea is that we might be able to create sort of an ark for plant species that are dying, freezing their seeds...Anyway, he left me a message asking me out to lunch to discuss a new aspect of our project and I was wondering, should I go?” Pam pressed her lips together, looking at Harleen with wide eyes.

Harleen blinked. “Is there something else…”

Pam blushed. “No...well...there has always been this...tension between us. I mean...at least on my end of things. He is a very attractive older man, smart. He is light years beyond anyone I know and the science he is working on is…” Pam seemed at a loss for words, gesturing with her hands as she struggled for a moment. “...next level stuff Harls, like Star Trek kind of stuff.”

Harleen grinned, lifting a brow. “Pamela Isley, looking at you keeping secrets about lusting after some professor’s brain…”

Pam wrinkled her nose at her. “It’s not like that…”

Harleen grinned, set her coffee down, and opened the fridge. “I think you already know what you are going to do.”

Pamela sighed. “Yeah, you’re right. I do.”

Harleen chuckled. “So where are you meeting for lunch?”

Pamela made a face as she murmured. “This Brazillian steakhouse…”

“Ooh, fancy. Well, you should enjoy the good food and the science talk...let things roll…” Harleen made a wave motion with her hand and arm while she held the fridge open with her other hand.

Pam laughed at her before coming over to help with breakfast, giving Harleen’s hip a playful bump with her own. “Close the fridge--you’re damaging the environment.”

*

The wet morning turned into a wet day. It drizzled across Gotham City, with the sun occasionally making an appearance. Pam had already left by the time Joseph showed up. Harleen was nearly pacing by the door, looking out every time she thought she heard a car stop, but finally when she heard a car and checked, she saw Joseph sitting behind the wheel. She grinned happily and grabbed her bag (a little pink gym bag with a change of clothing in it) and hurried out to the car.

Joseph leaned over and opened the door for her so that Harleen could jump in.

“Hi!” Harleen giggled as she dropped into the seat.

Joseph was dressed in a pair of skin-tight pants and a long-sleeve shirt under a light jacket. It looked a little strange to see him wearing something other than a suit, but he looked good. Harleen grinned and knew there wasn’t anything that Joseph could wear that wouldn’t look good on him.

He grinned back at her, pushing his glasses up his nose.

“How are you today?” Joseph asked, resisting the urge to lean over and kiss her.

Harleen blushed wanting to do the same, but they were too close to the school, and in the daylight, so she only smiled. “I’m fine. How’s your brother doing?”

Joseph started the car. “He’s doing great actually. Got to go home this morning.”

“So, Alfred. He’s your…” Harleen asked tilting her head slightly.

Joseph frowned slightly. The urge to tell her the truth was strong, very strong, but he decided not to. Not yet. Maybe soon, he told himself. Instead, he said softly as he pulled the vehicle out.

“He’s my...uncle. He actually raised my brother and me.”

Harleen nodded, sensing that this wasn’t a subject Joseph was ready to talk about, so she let it go. She understood how he felt; family was hard to talk about. She didn’t really want to discuss her father’s multiple jail times or the fact that her mother was a functioning alcoholic or that she worried that crazy ran in her family since her aunt committed suicide. She was certain Joseph had plenty of skeletons in his closet too. Besides, what their families got up to didn’t affect what was happening between her and Joseph.

“So where are we going?” Harleen asked instead.

Joseph smiled. “Well, it just so happens I have access to a private gym we can use, a private space for me to teach you some self-defense.”

Harleen nodded. “So, how come you know how to fight exactly?”

Joseph grinned and glanced sideways at her as he drove. “Oh, so a nerdy professor can’t know how to fight?”

Harleen blushed. “That’s not what I meant...and you are not nerdy--believe me.”

Joseph laughed and reached over to squeeze her knee now that they were safely far enough away from the campus. (Harleen felt a thrill of pleasure when Joseph touched her. The sensation was like her body becoming fully awake, hyper-aware of his touch.)

“Actually, I’ve always had an interest in fighting.” He smiled turning right to take another street. Only now did Harleen realize they were heading close to the docks on the east side of Gotham.

“Alfred thought that learning some disciplined fighting skills was a great way for two brothers to channel their excessive energies, and he was correct. I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself.”

Joseph pulled into a parking space around the back of a nondescript brick building that blended in with the several dozens of buildings that looked almost exactly the same.

Joseph got out, grabbed a workout bag from the back before hurrying around to open Harleen’s door for her. She smiled, watching him as he winked at her, hurrying around the front of the car (a gesture that she found sweet, if unnecessary.) He opened her door and held his hand out to her. Harleen smiled up at him, taking his hand to allow him to help her out. The feel of his hand holding hers was an electric jolt. He kept a hold of her hand, gently pulling her away from the car as he shut the door. A soft beep sounded to signal that the doors were locked.

Joseph brought her hand up to his lips and kissed her knuckles while gazing at her over the top of his glasses. “You ready?” he asked. She could feel the brush of his lips against her knuckles when he spoke.

Harleen nodded, her voice a little breathless. “Yes.”

“Good.” He didn’t let go of her hand. Rather, he threaded his fingers with hers and led her over to a plain metal door with a keypad set to the side. He punched in a set of numbers and the door popped open. Joseph pulled the door open wide with a big grin and led Harleen inside.

At first, the place was dark, the only light coming from the open door, but as the door swung closed they were plunged into complete darkness. For a few tense seconds Harleen’s heartbeat quicker, but then she felt Joseph move beside her, releasing her hand, which made her panic for just a moment, but then she heard the heavy clunk of a switch and suddenly the room was illuminated in bright white light.

Joseph walked over and dropped his bag by a wall that was all mirrors. “Welcome to my private gym! Well, semi-private--my brother uses it too.” He shrugged.

Harleen looked around with wide eyes. The floor was carpeted with thick pads in the middle of the room, probably for fighting Harleen assumed. Against one wall sat all sorts of weights and bars; she saw Olympic free weights, weight benches, and a whole lot of workout equipment whose function Harley had no idea about, as well as a treadmill, stair climber…

“Wow,” Harleen said as she walked around in a circle.

Joseph chuckled. “Yeah, my brother likes to have a little bit of everything in here.”

“What’s your brother do? Rob banks?” Harleen asked without really asking the question, but Joseph laughed. “Something like that. So, how about we start with some stretches?”

Harleen finally turned to look at him and nodded. “Yeah okay.”

She went to put her bag next to Joseph’s and pulled off her hoodie. She turned around just as Joseph was pulling off his shirt…

Harleen sucked in a startled breath, watching him. He was more muscular than she would have thought by how slender his frame looked in his clothing. He was lean, the type of body a runner or swimmer would be envious of, but without the extreme muscularity that many sorts of sport-types had. Joseph had a six-pack, muscles that flowed into a sharp angle at his hips, but they were not overly cut. His arms were nicely defined, his shoulders just broad enough to make Harleen lift her brows in appreciation. Joseph didn’t have the sort of muscularity that was almost too much, the sort that made some guys look like they were photoshopped or that usually signaled a guy who spends all his free time in the gym. Like a living sausage packed too tight in its skin, Pamela had said of such men. No, Harleen thought, Joseph had the right amount of muscle because she wanted to rub her hands all over him. Somehow, his ghost-white skin made his slender, muscular frame even more erotic for her. Harleen also noticed, with a thorough inspection, that other than the hair on his head, Joseph was hairless; no sign of hair on his chest, on his stomach, or under his arms, which made her wonder…

Her eyes traveled down from his shoulders to his chest and snaking down along his stomach and lower. She bit her bottom lip, her eyes on his stomach, taking in the way the skintight pants highlighted the lean muscles of his thighs and calves before her gaze zeroed in at his crotch. She licked her lips. She could see the outline of his penis, which elicited a rush of heat in Harleen that pooled in her groin and breast.

Joseph, who had walked over to the middle of the room where the mats sat, was unaware of Harleen’s lustful gaze as he stretched his arms over his head, bringing them slowly out to his sides, rolled his shoulders and reached down to touch his toes. Harleen dropped her hoodie and walked closer before stopping to bend over and touch her toes with her forehead touching her knees, stretching her legs and back. Joseph stood up, paused to watch her, and bit the inside of his cheek when he saw Harley without the hoodie. The outfit she wore exposed her stomach, a line of soft, pale skin. The clothing fit Harley as if it had been painted onto her, hugging her full breasts and rounded hips in a way that made him ache. He struggled to control his body’s reaction to seeing her since there was going to be no way he could hide an erection in these pants. Why had he wore these instead of sweats, he asked himself. Why was he so stupid?

Joseph tore his eyes away from Harley’s body to focus on her face, which actually didn’t help him. She was gorgeous; her makeup-free face was bright and fresh, her cheeks healthy and bright with color. Harley’s blue eyes were clear and beautiful behind her glasses and with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, it somehow made her look younger, which made him feel a little awkward since he was lusting after her.

Joseph took a deep breath to try to focus on the task at hand. “All right, now I’m going to teach you some simple moves that don’t require you to have a lot of strength.”

He took Harley by the shoulders and moved her onto the mats with him. “Now, I’m going to grab your arm…”

Joseph grabbed her wrist. “Now, put your other hand over mine.”

Harleen glanced up at Joseph for a moment. This close, she could pick up that warm masculine scent of his skin. Her heart hammered out a heavy rhythm while she tried to pay attention to his direction. She felt as if she was in heat or something, she was so turned on right now, and they hadn’t even done anything!

Harleen nodded. “Yes, okay.” She put her hand over his where Joseph had grabbed her wrist.

“Now, swing your arm so you can grab my wrist,” Joseph instructed.

Harleen did as he asked, slowly so that Joseph ended up with his arm twisted, forcing his shoulder down. “Now push down,” he said with a nod.

Harleen did, the position forcing Joseph to his knees, his arm held at an awkward angle.”Good. When you have a bad guy in this position, you can let go and run. You don’t want to fight him or her. You want to get away; that’s the point of this maneuver.” Joseph glanced over his shoulder at her. “Okay, now release me and I’m going to do the same to you so you can see what it feels like, so you know what the move is supposed to be doing. Then we’ll try it gain with me as the attacker, but I don’t want you to hold back, I want you to go for it. Try and hurt me.”

Harleen frowned, releasing her hold on him. “Joseph I don’t know, I don’t want to accidentally hurt you.”

Joseph smiled as he stood up. He reached out and cupped her face with one hand, his thumb brushed her cheek. “Okay, maybe don’t try and hurt me, but I don’t want you to move slowly. Really do the maneuver so you know how it feels. I want you to be able to perform the move without hesitation. But first, grab my wrist.”

Harleen grabbed Joseph’s wrist and before she realized what was happening, Joseph had twisted her around and forced her to the floor, her arm feeling as if he could easily snap it in half.

“Ouch!” Harleen yelped in surprise more than any real pain, but Joseph let her go instantly.

“You okay? I didn’t hurt you, did I?” Joseph hurriedly moved to her to help her up, green hair flopping across his brow, his eyes distressed behind his glasses.

“No, no,” she assured him. “I was just surprised.” Harleen smiled, taking his offered hand “Okay, I’m ready to try again.”

Joseph smiled his feelings for her deepening along with his pride in her. “All right, let’s go.”

When Harley grinned at him, his heart performed a flip in his chest.

*

They practiced the move until Harleen was able to do it without thinking about it. They practiced a few more moves over the next couple of hours. Joseph showed Harleen how she could grab someone if they put their arm around her shoulder, twisting them around and kicking the back of their leg, forcing her attacker down on their knees with her hand on their shoulder, twisting their arm behind their back. He showed Harleen how out of getaway from someone if they grabbed her by her hair, swinging her arm over the attackers arm that held her hair, twisting their arm up in a painful hold that, again, dropped the attacker to their knees.

“We should take a little bit of a break,” Joseph said after a while.

Harleen nodded, pushing herself up off the mat, her hands on her knees. “I could use some water.”

Joseph laughed, running his fingers through his hair. “Me too. You have some with you?”

Harleen nodded. “Yeah, in my bag.”

Joseph smiled running a hand through his hair again as he walked over to his bag to pull out a bottle of water when they stopped to take a little breath. They had both worked up a sweat with Joseph’s insistence on the repetition of the moves, over and over until he was sure Harley could perform them effortlessly.

Harleen watched him for a moment walking over to their bags, her eyes on his rear which was tight, a very nice, grabbable rear. She sucked on her bottom lip for a beat or two, her eyes traveled up from his butt to his back. He had a nice back, and she liked the way his spine curved, smooth skin, his shoulders blades...she could picture herself dragging her nails across his back…

Harleen shook her head, giving her body a shudder before she hurried after him. She walked over to her bag, dropping into a crouch to grab her own bottle of water buried within. She didn’t notice the way Joseph was watching her from the corner of his eye, tracing the line of her legs, his eyes on her backside, the way the sweat created a wet place at the top of her leggings that moved lower…

He closed his eyes for a moment, his groin tightening with need, pressing his lips together as he fought down his desire for her.

“I think the next move should be one from a prone position.” Joseph set his bottle of water down. “You need to know how to free yourself if someone knocks you off your feet.”

Harleen took a long drink from her bottle before she stood up and screwed on the top. “Okay, so ah...what do you want me to do?”

Joseph pointed at the mat. “Just start walking across the mat.”

Harleen giggled and shrugged. “Okay.” She turned and started to walk across the mat. For a moment he was mesmerized by her, the sway of her hips, the way her hair bounced. He crept up behind her, and with a quick move, he grabbed Harley and threw her down on the mat (gently, as he didn't want to hurt her.)

Harleen yelped in surprise. Landing on her back didn’t hurt exactly because Joseph held her to halt her fall, but it was surprising. Joseph started to try to straddle her, but instead ended up between her legs, grabbing her throat. His hands were firm but still gentle; Harleen’s legs were around his waist. “All right now, you want to wrap your arms around mine which gives you control of my elbows, then bring your legs up, you can wrap them around my shoulders but make sure you lock your legs, lock your ankles behind my head.”

Harleen did as he instructed, bringing her legs up to his shoulders, locking her ankles. The position was very intimate, and a little awkward. They stared at each other, Joseph’s fingers on her throat stroked lightly, and she found herself blushing brightly as she gazed up at him.

Joseph leaned forward, his body pressing against her. She could feel the heat of his breath against her skin.

Joseph swallowed heavily. Having her legs around him like this was erotic even though he was teaching her how to break someone’s elbows. The urge to nibble her thigh was strong, but he resisted. “Good, now use your body and push up, with your legs around me like this and my elbows caught by your arms, if you lift up you can break your attacker’s elbows.”

Harleen arched up, but slowly. She could feel what he meant; from this position and with just a little strength, she could actually break someone’s elbows. Harleen smiled up at him.

“This makes me feel like I could really kick some ass.”

He grinned with a small laugh. “True, but please don’t break mine right now.” Harleen laughed releasing his arms as Joseph said. “Now, you can push me off, kick me in the crotch, and run.”

Joseph smiled, but Harleen giggled. “I would never do that to you.”

He chuckled softly, sitting back on his haunches when Harleen released him. “Well, that’s nice to know. All right, now I’ll show you another way to break free from a prone position…” He pointed with a wink. “Just lie down on your back, I won’t bother knocking you down this time.”

Harleen did as instructed, her heart skipping a beat when Joseph straddled her hips. He was trying not to put his entire weight on her she could tell as he leaned forward and grasped her wrists, tugging her arms up over her head.

Joseph leaned over her, his green hair hanging around his face. He rubbed his lips together and spoke, his voice becoming husky. “Now, what would be your first instinct?”

Harleen frowned slightly. The feel of his weight on top of her, the press of his hands around her wrists was turning her on even more. Just looking up at him with his hair hanging loose around his face, the heat in his eyes, she felt a rush of hot blood that made her nipples harden more, her groin to pulse…

Harleen whispered back. “To thrust my hips up and jerk my arms, try to break your hold.”

Joseph nodded. “Yes, but that wouldn’t work because gravity is on my side. This is a power move…” he said softly.

He pressed his lips together, struggling for a moment, feeling her between his legs, his groin hardening more despite his efforts to try to keep his attraction under control. “Okay, but now what I want you to do is thrust up with your hips, but thrust high, you are trying to knock me forward over your head. Then, when I fall forward, gravity is no longer my friend, you can more easily break my hold on your wrists. Once your arms are free, wrap them around my waist like you’re hugging a tree, your head against my chest. Quickly, move yourself up my body and make sure you trap one of my arms to my side when you move up.” Joseph looked at her seriously as he repeated. “Make sure you hug my body, your head close, then grab my arm, using your arm to tuck it close to me, then, use all your strength to roll me onto my back.”

Harleen moved slowly, throwing her hips high which threw Joseph over her head. She yanked her arms down like she was making a snow angel, breaking free of his hold. She immediately wrapped her arms around his torso when Joseph threw his arms forward to catch himself. Harleen moved quickly. Her gymnastics training made her strong and she was able to pin his arm, move one leg over one of his and flip Joseph over onto his back easily. (Which made her feel a little foolish. IF she hadn’t panicked, maybe she would have been better able to fight her attacker in the library. Hopefully, it wouldn’t happen again she thought, but if there was a next time, she would try her best to keep her head.)

Joseph laughed when Harleen grabbed his wrists and yanked his arms up, pinning him. She was panting a little more from excitement than excursion as she looked down at him.

“You are a quick study,” Joseph said huskily, a smile spreading across his face, a smile that made Harleen feel hot everywhere.

Harleen bit her bottom lip when she grinned back, her voice soft and husky too, her fingers flexing where she held his wrists. “Well, you’re a good teacher.”

They stared at each other for a long moment, both of them panting, the tension between them building before Harleen leaned in and kissed him.

Joseph groaned softly when her soft lips met his, her tongue sliding into his mouth. She kissed him deeply, her tongue swirling gently with his, her body pressed against him. Joseph wrapped his arms around her after she released him, his hands sliding down to cup her rear.

Harleen made a small, soft and needy sound against his mouth. His tongue in her mouth and against her tongue made her feel hot everywhere, a delicious heat that spread throughout her body, devouring her. She wanted Joseph--she needed him. It was like she was on fire, burning hot and deep and she needed him to put her out or she would explode. She felt as if she had lost the ability to think. She could only feel, need, desire...

Joseph groaned again, his hands squeezing her rear, his erection hard and throbbing where her body pressed against him. His hands moved from her rear to slide up her sides, feeling her bare skin against his hands. He grasped her hips, not sure what he should do when Harleen abruptly pulled away and sat up.

She was breathing hard, her hands pressed against his bare chest. Harleen caught her bottom lip with her teeth, spreading her fingers over his chest, her breath becoming more ragged as she caressed his chest, feeling the play of muscles in his chest, the sexy line of his collar, the color of his skin in contrast to her more peach-colored skin. He was so sexy, sexy in a way that made her ache deeply. She wanted him so much, so much that the need burned her.

Joseph panted watching her and the feel of her hands on his chest made him shudder. He had never wanted anyone before, but now his erection ached with a painful need. Everything about Harley made him ache--the way she licked her lips, the curves of her body, the infectious pleasure of her smile, and the sound of her voice. He wanted to rub himself against her, his entire body pressed against hers. He needed to feel her skin against his…

Joseph blinked in surprise when Harley reached up and grabbed her top, pulling it off over her head, exposing her full, beautiful breasts to him.

His breathing stopped in surprise, and the shock of seeing her breasts. Last night the bubbles hadn't exactly obscured her breasts, but they had acted like a cover of sorts. Now, however, her breasts were fully exposed to him, the light dancing across her skin. Her breasts were perfect, full, and soft, while the nipples were hard and dark pink, begging him to touch her. Joseph’s breathing became more ragged, gazing at her as she reached up and pulled her ponytail free, her thick golden hair falling down around her shoulders and over her breasts, caressing the top of her creamy breasts in gold. Harley pulled her glasses off and tossed them over on top of her discarded clothing. She reached down and gingerly took his glasses too, depositing them next to hers.

Joseph whimpered a little at the sight of her, the light dancing off her skin, making her hair glow in a golden halo. Joseph hadn’t felt weak in years, not since the accident. In every other aspect of his life, Joseph felt strong, in control. Harley made him feel weak, but in a way that he enjoyed--he loved the way she made him feel.

Joseph reached up slowly, his fingers trembling slightly as he cupped her breasts in his hands. He squeezed gently and Harley responded with a moan. His eyes wandered from her face to her body, biting his lip as he studied the way her hair curled against his skin. Harley arched and groaned, thrusting her breasts into his hands. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she was, her hair loose and deliciously messy, her breasts full and soft, her nipples were hard and so deeply pink. She rubbed herself against him, causing him to hiss, her rear rubbing against his erection. Harley moaned again in response to his touch, thrusting her chest out. She arched her back again, her fingers pressing onto his chest as Joseph squeezed her breasts gently, his thumbs brushing over her rosy hard nipples in a slow back and forth motion. Joseph bit the side of his lip as he felt his groin ache with its tight need. He felt as if he was dreaming, she was so soft, her breasts fitting perfectly into his hands like she was meant for him, and him for her.

Harleen groaned at his touch, his hands against her breasts sent waves of pleasure through her, while his thumbs on her nipples felt electric. She had never felt so turned on in her entire life. She had made out with Guy lots of times, but she now realized that Guy touching her had been repulsive compared to this. Joseph's hands were warm, his fingers were long and sensual, and when he touched her it was like every nerve ending in her body came alive. He kept caressing her nipples with his thumbs until she felt her clitoris pulsate with each stroke. She was wetter than she had ever been and Harleen ached, ached everywhere for Joseph.

Harleen brushed her hair to the side and dropped down to kiss him again, moaning against his lips. She ran her fingers through his hair while she kissed him, her mouth moving over his, her tongue sliding again his tongue in a slow and sensual dance.

Joseph slid his hands down her body, then slowly slipped his fingers under the edge of her leggings to grip her rear. She wasn’t wearing any panties, he discovered to his delight. He groaned and squeezed the smooth, toned flesh of her rear. He left one hand on her rear when Harley arched up a little. He licked her lips, kissed her chin, then her throat, moving down to kiss the top of one of her breasts.

Harleen moaned pushing herself up by one hand to give him better access to her breasts. Joseph brushed his tongue against her skin, so smooth and soft. His tongue flicked out to brush her nipple and Harley moaned long and loud, the fire in her building higher. Joseph licked her nipple again, cupping his hand under her breast and pushing the soft mound up, his tongue slowly, teasingly playing over the hard, pink bud. Joseph focused on one nipple before turning his attention to her other nipple, moving back and forth between them, placing soft kisses against her between her breasts each time he switched.

Harleeen groaned and her clitoris ached. Each time he licked her nipple, she felt a pulse in her groin that radiated out to her entire body. She bit down on her bottom lip with a whimper, her fingers grasping a handful of his green hair. Her nipples were so sensitive she thought Joseph would drive her insane each time the warmth and wetness of his tongue passed over them. She pressed her hips down on him, rubbing against the hardness of his trapped erection while he licked her nipples, but the moment Joseph sucked her nipple into his mouth she jerked, climaxing with a rush of liquid heat and a shuddering cry, grinding down on him.

Joseph groaned and dropped his head back against the mat at the sound of her orgasm, her body tensing as he tried to hold off his reaction to her, but it was difficult; he felt a slight burst of warmth as he almost came.

Harleen rolled to Joseph’s side, keeping one of her legs wrapped around his leg. At the same time, she kissed him again, and her other arm snaked under his head. Joseph moaned softly against her mouth returning her kisses passionately, his hand now resting against her shoulder, his other hand still in the back of her leggings. Harleen licked his mouth, her kisses moving down along his chin, then to his chest. She found his pale, nearly colorless nipple and ran the flat of her tongue against the small, hard bud. Her hand moved down over his chest to his stomach, pressing slowly, tenderly until her fingers reached his pants. She reached down and cupped his bound erection, drawing a grunt from Joseph. Harleen smiled against his chest and squeezed. He was so hard, and she could feel the length of him pressing against his workout pants, the throbbing mass straining against the fabric. She felt the wet spot and smiled.

Joseph stroked his hand along her arm and shoulder, then into her thick golden hair, his kissing long and lingering, his body rolling toward hers. He slid his hand down her side, caressing the side of her breast, then lower along her waist to her hip. He pushed down gently on her leggings, giving Harley ample time to stop him if she wanted. When she didn't, he tugged the clothing partway down her hip enough that he could glide his hand to the front and down between her legs. He shuddered at the feel of the hair curling around her groin. He dove deep, his fingers gently parting her to slide between her intimate lips. She was soaked, wet and slippery when his fingers found her. Harley responded with a moan, her body jerking slightly when his fingers slid across her clitoris.

That was when he felt Harley tug down his workout pants just enough that part of his erection came free, but then her small, soft, warm hand wrapped around him. Joseph’s groan was low and deep. He had never been touched before, not like this. He had never allowed anyone to touch him like Harley was, her hand wrapping around him in a firm, erotically sensual grip. He moaned, pressing his forehead against hers, his lips just barely touching hers. Her warm panting breaths caressed his mouth and mixed with his own ragged breathing. He began to stroke her, his fingers slipping and sliding against her at the same time that Harley’s hand moved along his erection, sending almost painful shudders of pleasure through him.

Harleen gasped when Joseph touched her while she tugged his pants down enough to partly free him, enough that she could reach in and touch him, a smile dancing across her lips when she realized Joseph was hairless. She had never actually touched Guy’s penis while they dated. Sure she had felt it through his jeans, but she had never actually touched him. But she eagerly touched Joseph. His erection was hot and soft, the skin so soft and satin-like, her lips actually twitched with the desire to feel him against her lips. She wrapped her hand around him, feeling his firmness in her hand and her body responded with an achy pulse from deep inside her core. She wanted him inside her, her body needed to feel him deep inside her. She panted as she began to rub her hand up and down his shaft, marveling at how he could feel so soft and hard at the same time. She ran the pad of her thumb over the head of his penis, feeling the sticky liquid followed by Joseph’s erotic groan of pleasure at her touch. She whimpered in response to his fingers pressed against her throbbing clitoris. She thrust her hips against his fingers in time to the strokes of her hand around his erection. It felt as if their heartbeats had aligned, their stroking of each other was in rhythm, their breathless moans matched in heated passion.

It was like they were perfectly matched, perfectly in sync with each other.

Harley pressed her forehead against his, cradling the back of his head with her other hand, opening her eyes to stare into his blue and gold gaze. Joseph stared back at her, holding her close, his fingers moving against her while Harley stroked him. He groaned, gazing into her eyes.

“Harley…” he whispered. “Oh...you should stop…”

Harley groaned breathlessly, unable to speak as his stroking fingers caused her to tense, another orgasm breaking over her like a wave at the same time Joseph slid his fingers lower, dipping two of fingers into her at the moment of her climax. She cried out, pressing herself closer to him, her hand on his shaft moving quicker, her grip tightening slightly.

Joseph hissed, his eyes fluttered, his body tensed just before he climaxed. He cried out as his orgasm slammed into him. He burst and he could feel the hot, wet spatter of semen hitting his stomach.

Harleen shuddered with pleasure when Joseph came, the hot spatter of wet stickiness hit her stomach and washed over her hand, but she didn’t care; she enjoyed it. She continued to stroke him, taking pleasure in the jerks and grunts coming from Joseph mixing with her own whimpers as his fingers continued to stroke and thrust into her until finally, after a few tense seconds, they both stopped.

Harley continued to hold his now sticky erection while Joseph stroked his fingers through the curls around her sex, both of them staring into each other’s eyes.

Chapter Text

The apartment was dark, they didn’t like to let too much light in because light always made them feel as if someone was watching, spying. They moved through the, apartment muttering.

“He has to be mine. Why doesn’t he realize that? We were meant to be together.” They looked down at the only light in the darkness, their phone, on which was displayed a candid image of Joseph Kerr holding a cup of coffee and talking to another professor. “He doesn’t realize how vicious women are, how they want to eat him alive, but I would never do that. I would never hurt you.”

They brushed their fingers across the image of Joseph before using their thumb to brush the image aside only to have it replaced by an image of Harleen Quinzel.

The image was another candid that showed Harleen leaning over a book at her desk, her glasses having slid to the end of her nose, with her blonde hair framing her face. The person holding the phone hissed. “You are leading him astray, I can tell.” A snarl. “You need to stay away from him. He shouldn’t be talking to you...you whore. You will just hurt him, lead him astray.” They squeezed the phone tight enough that the plastic creaked and groaned in response before they loosened their grip.

They had stopped walking when they came to the image of Harleen, but now they flicked the image away and stopped at another candid image of Joseph at the front of a classroom, the image looked to have been taken with a phone camera held low against the desk. In the image, Joseph was lecturing and pointing to something on the board behind him, his sleeves rolled up, his tie loose, one lone curl of his green hair had come free to curl against his forehead. An easy smile graced his red lips and his blue eyes shone bright behind his glasses. They stopped and stared at the image on their phone brushing fingertips across it.

“Why won’t you notice me again?” they whispered. “You saw me that one time, you cared. I need you to care again.” They sighed over the image, caressing it. “I will make you see me again. I am the only one who understands you Joseph, my Joseph. You belong to me, you just need to see that. I will make you see that we belong together.” They smiled and brought the phone up to kiss the image.

They started walking again, heading further into the apartment. They turned down a short hall and opened a door that led into a small walk-in closet. They reached in to pull the light cord and a bare bulb lit up the tiny room. They stood in the closet looking around with a smile. The closet had been converted. There was no bar for hanging clothing, no shelves, nothing but an empty space, now simply a tiny room. Inside the closet, the walls had been decorated with images all printed out from a computer, each image a candid, secret picture taken of Joseph Kerr when he was clearly unaware. Most of the images were taken at the college, in classrooms, in hallways, or at the coffee shops around the school, near his office, outside the buildings, in the center courtyard, but they were all on campus. Each image had been captured somewhere on the campus. They had yet to follow him off campus, fear of being spotted had stopped them from trailing him beyond the walls of the college, but that might change because of that woman… Harleen...

They shook themselves, banishing the thoughts of that woman and turned their attention back to the images that plastered the wall of the closet. Every available surface in the closet was covered with images of Joseph like wallpaper; nothing of the wall underneath was visible. Some of the pictures were repeated or cut out from bigger images such as pictures that were clearly from the college website that contained groups of professors or images from faculty events put up on the college website. But most of the images had been taken with a phone. In every image, Joseph wasn’t facing the camera directly, and in some pictures, there were leaves framing the shot or the brick of a building on the corner of the image. Somewhere taken from a short distance with shadows around the image or taken at a distance, but each picture gave the feeling that the person taking the photo was hiding, that Joseph Kerr had no idea he was being photographed.

They stepped into the middle of the closet and pulled the door closed behind them. Even the back of the door was covered in images of Joseph Kerr. They smiled, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the closet surrounded by pictures of Joseph and smiled brightly.

“Soon my love. Soon you’ll see me again.”

*

Harleen lay on her stomach on her bed, her chin in the palm of her hand. Her feet were up behind her and her blonde hair was down around her face in thick golden curls. She wore only a pair of red panties and a tiny spaghetti-strap black crop top, watching Joseph as he sat on the edge of his own bed and played his guitar for her.

Her gaze caressed the features of his face, watching the way his red lips moved, the way his hair fell in soft curls against his forehead, still slightly damp from the shower he had taken before they talked. She liked watching the way his fingers moved against the strings of the guitar, graceful, nimble, which just made her mind wander to thinking about those same fingers on her, the pale color of his bleached skin pressed against her flushed skin.

The last week had been agony for them both. After Sunday, they hadn’t been able to spend any quality time together, only a few minutes here and there--and of course phone conversations--but it wasn’t the same as being in each others arms.

Now it was Thursday night.

Dr. Crane had called in sick for the week and Joseph had taken over his night classes, so between Joseph’s own classes, he now had the addition of Dr. Crane’s, which left no private time for them in person. Then there had been no time during the day either for office visits because Joseph had been meeting with students every day--his own and Crane’s students. Each time during the week Harleen had tried to come to see him, she found a line of students sitting outside his office hoping to talk to him.

On top of that, there had been some weird sightings around campus and throughout Gotham of some walking scarecrow that was terrifying people. Harleen thought it was just an attempt to create another urban legend.

No, what concerned her was not getting to spend time with Joseph and that was damn depressing.

The only time they had together in the last few days was late at night, on the phone, either a video chat (like tonight) or texting. It was the most frustrating week of Harleen’s life and she thought Joseph felt the same way.

She smiled, kicking her legs and listening to Joseph play. He looked so handsome in his slacks, his dress shirt hanging open as sang softly. Harleen loved the sound of his voice. He had her mesmerized while he played.

“Guess it's true I'm not good at a one night stand

but I still need love cause I’m just a man

this night never seem to plan

I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand?

Oh won't you stay with me

cause you're all I need

this ain't love, it's clear to see

but darling, stay with me

why am I so emotional?

no it's not a good look, gain some self control

and deep down I know this never works

but you can lay with me so it doesn't hurt…”

*

Harleen sighed, watching him as Joseph stopped singing and stroked the strings for a little while looking up over the top of his glasses at her and smiled. “So classes are going fine this week?”

Harleen nodded, rolling onto her back to gaze at him upside down. She had her phone balanced on the back of several books, but when she moved the phone slid sideways causing Joseph to chuckle at her.

“Yeah, just a lot of writing and reading, but…” She smiled and straightened up the phone. “I like the work.”

Joseph smiled picking out another tune that Harleen didn’t recognize while he spoke to her. “That’s one of your many charms, Harley. You are an intelligent woman and I find that very sexy.” He smiled wider looking at her through his thick lashes over the top of his glasses. His eyes glowed a soft blue, which made her feel shivers through her entire body.

Harleen blushed, feeling a rush of heat spread through her as she smiled at him. “Thank you.”

He inclined his head while he played. “Oh, I heard from Dr. Crane earlier this evening. He’s feeling much better, he said. Should be back to work on Monday.”

Harleen beamed. “Yeah!! But can we see each other this weekend?”

Joseph frowned. “I don’t know yet. I’m waiting to hear from a business partner about a transaction. If I don’t hear from them by tomorrow night, then we could have some time together this weekend.”

Harleen rolled back onto her stomach, her bottom lip sticking out in a pout. “Only maybe? Can’t you brush them off?”

Joseph laughed at her. “You are adorable Harley. And no, I can’t.”

Harleen smiled with a sigh. “And you are very handsome and talented and I miss you.”

Joseph frowned. “I miss you too. As soon as I have some free time, maybe I could take you out to dinner?”

Harleen’s eyes widened, but then her expression fell. “I...but...isisn't that dangerous? Someone could see us?”

Joseph pressed his lips together as he stilled the strings and set the guitar aside. “I might know someplace we could go where no one knows us or would recognize us.”

“Really.” Harleen smiled. “I would love to be able to have a real date.”

Joseph grinned. “Then I’ll see what I can do to take you out on a real date. Maybe with some dancing, or a movie…”

Harleen grinned. “I would love to go dancing with you. You are a wonderful dancer.”

“Well, I do have a fantastic partner,” Joseph cooed softly, his eyes on hers, glancing down once to her lips, then back to her eyes.

Harleen pushed herself up and sat cross-legged, wrapping her hands around her ankles as she leaned toward the phone. Joseph watched her, the long lengths of her bare legs, the way her top fell forward a little showing off her cleavage, the soft, creamy peach color of her skin and the way her blonde hair fell down against her skin. All of her, her body, her blue eyes framed with dark lashes, her smile, her laugh, every little thing about Harley made Joseph's body ache to hold her. His eyes wandered over her, taking in her smooth skin, so soft and pale against the black of the cloth of her top, pressed against her skin, the way the red panties she wore hid the soft sweetness that was between her legs.

Joseph bit down on the corner of his mouth to stop himself from touching himself. He wanted to reach through the screen and yank her in his arms, to bury his mouth against her throat, to bury his nose against her hair. He wanted nothing more than to hold her and feel her body pressed against his, her breasts in his hands, to hear the soft moans she made when he touched her...

Joseph took a deep breath. “Tomorrow night, after Crane’s class if I don't have to stay too long afterward, maybe I can call you then?”

Harleen nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, I would love that.”

Joseph smiled at her. “You sleep well tonight Harley.”

“You too Joseph. I’ll dream about you.” Harleen picked up her phone, bringing it closer to her face.

Joseph did the same, gazing at her as he whispered. “I’ll dream about you too. Good night sweets.”

“Good night.” Harleen whispered, reluctantly disconnecting the video call. She flopped back on her bed with a loud groan.

*

Friday morning Harleen got up hoping that maybe she would hear from Joseph that they could spend time together this weekend. She would keep her fingers crossed! She dressed in a pair of comfortable jeans with holes in the knees, a loose dark red sweater that hung just above her pants line, exposing just a smidge of her stomach, along with a pair of slip-on booties. She left her hair down in waves along her shoulders, parted down the middle and tucked behind her ears.

She came out of her bedroom to the smell of sausages, eggs, and coffee. She grinned when she saw Ivy in the kitchen, dressed for her day in white slacks with a matching white sweater, with her red hair pulled back and held at the nape of her neck in a long flaming ponytail, Pamela looked both elegant and sexy. Harleen was just a little jealous of her best friend’s gorgeousness, but

Joseph thought Harleen was pretty and that was all that mattered.

“Hey Red. How are you this morning?” Harleen asked as she walked into the kitchen and headed straight for the coffeemaker.

Pamela smiled. “Pretty good actually. Dr. Fries and I are going to be working together tonight.”

“Oooh, over dinner?” Harleen asked with a smirk. Pamela bumped Harleen with her hip as Harleen headed over to the refrigerator with her coffee cup in hand.

“Hey!” Harleen gasped. “Coffee here!”

Pamela laughed. “Sorry. Yes, over dinner.”

Harleen waggled her eyebrows at Pamela. “Ooh give me all the juicy details.”

“You gonna give me juicy details on you and Joseph?” Pamela lifted one elegant brow at Harleen who made a face.

“Okay fine, but do tell me if things get serious okay?”

Pamela smiled. “Will do...oh by the way. There was a note left for you under the door.” Pamela pointed to the coffee table in the living room.

Harleen frowned, walking over into the living room. She saw an envelope laying on the table. She picked it up, turning it over, the envelope only to see her name on the front in print: Harleen Quinzel. Harleen frowned setting her coffee down and opened the envelope up to pull out a folded piece of paper.

She unfolded it with a slight quizzical frown and saw that the letter was handwritten though all the letters were printed out in a very precise manner. She sucked the side of her bottom lip as she began to read.

“I know what you are trying to do. I see you, I see the way you look at him, the way you crave Dr. Kerr. Joseph. But you can’t have him. He belongs to me!! Joseph Kerr is mine, you have no right to come to this school and try to take him from me!

I’m watching you whore.

I know where you live you whore.

I know what you are and you won’t have him.

Whore.”

Harleen stared at the letter, her hand trembling ever so slightly. She heard Pam in the kitchen saying something to her, but she didn’t hear the words, her focus on the letter in her hand. Who could have written such a thing? And who was after Joseph? He said he didn’t have any ex-girlfriends. An admirer then? A stalker? Harleen blinked. That was who this had to be, Joseph had a stalker who had apparently seen them together, Harleen thought with a shudder before she jumped a foot straight up in the air when Pamela’s hand came down on her shoulder.

“Harleen, you okay?” Pamela asked with a frown. “You didn’t answer me when I asked if everything was all right?”

Harleen gasped, breathing heavy and putting her hand holding the note to her chest. “Sorry, it's just that…” She handed the note to Pamela.

Pamela took the note with a frown, her brow furrowed before she read through the note. Harleen watched as Pam’s eyes widened, her look of shock turning into a look of anger.

“Do you think this might be the same person that attacked you in the library?” Pamela asked holding the note out, her fingers pressing into the paper angrily.

Harleen frowned in thought. “I don’t know, but if I had to guess, yes.”

“You need to tell Dr. Kerr about this,” Pamela said, throwing it down. “Maybe campus security.”

“No, not security. I don’t want anyone to know about Joseph and me.” Harleen grabbed Pam’s hands in hers. “You have to promise not to tell anyone. Please.”

Pamela gazed back at Harleen. The expression on her face one of annoyances and anger. Harleen loved the fact that her best friend wanted to charge out there and beat someone's butt for her, or at least go down legal avenues to protect her, but she didn’t want to risk losing whatever it was that was developing between her and Joseph.

After a few tense seconds Pamela sighed. “Fine, but you swear to me you’ll tell Dr. Kerr. He needs to know someone is stalking you both.”

Harleen smiled and released Pamela’s hands to throw her arms around her friend’s shoulders pulling her in for a tight hug. “Thank you!”

Pamela hugged her back. “Yeah, yeah. Now let’s eat breakfast before it gets cold.”

*

Harleen left that morning with the note shoved inside her bag, hoping to get a chance to see Joseph and tell him about it. She supposed if she didn’t, she could tell him tonight on the phone, but the thought of another phone conversation instead of seeing him in person was depressing.

She had made her way across the street and was heading to her English class when someone stepped out of the shadows near the building she was passing and grabbed her arm.

“Hey Harleen!”

Harleen was spun around by the person who grabbed her upper arm. She gasped in shock when she saw Guy Kopski, her ex-boyfriend.

Harleen staggered back, pulling her arm free. “Guy? What the hell are you doing here?”

Guy smiled at her, showing off that charming boy-next-door smile at the same time he ran his fingers through his bleached blonde hair. Guy was traditionally attractive, the sort of guy you would see on magazine covers or clothing ads for the latest in male fashion. Harleen had fallen for him hard, but she was proud of herself when she realized that looking at him now only made her feel slightly nauseous. She didn’t find him attractive at all anymore. Compared to Joseph, Guy was about as attractive as a baboon’s ass. The image of Guy’s face superimposed over the ass of a bamboo almost had her laughing in his face.

She swallowed her laughter turning it into disgust and hate. She remembered clearly how they had broken up, how he had treated her, how he had slapped her.

“I go to this college too, or did you forget?” He laughed. “You still an airhead?”

Harleen narrowed her eyes. “What do you want Guy?”

He smiled draping his arm over her shoulders, but Harleen quickly stepped away. “Hey, I just thought I’d check on you, see how you were doing? Maybe see if you wanted to grab a bite to eat tonight, my treat. I was thinking I could take you to that restaurant you were always going on about.”

“The one you said was stupid and cost too much?” Harleen asked crossing her arms over her chest.

Guy grinned clearly not hearing the hatred in her tone. “Yeah, that one. I thought maybe we could talk, maybe patch things up. You know I always loved you.”

Harleen smirked. “Let me guess, you and Darla broke up or did you finally get an STD and everyone knows about it?”

A few people walking by heard her and snorted in laughter.

Guy’s face turned ugly for a moment before smoothing back out and returning to his charming smile. “Look Harleen, we had something good and I fucked it up. I just thought maybe we could see about patching things up. I mean, we were good together Harleen.”

Harleen took a step back from him wondered for a moment if the note had been from him, but quickly dismissed that notion. Guy was a lot of things, but smart, stalkery, subtle was not any of the adjectives that Harleen would use to describe him.

“I’m seeing someone else,” Harleen said then cursed silently at herself for saying anything.

Guy sneered. “Is it someone who knows you don’t put out?”

Harleen resisted the urge to kick him in the balls, but it was hard, her foot even moved back ready for the kick. “What I do privately is none of your business Guy.”

Guy stared at her for a beat or two before he hissed. “You’re fucking putting out arent you?! After all the shit you put me through, you’re putting out now for some other guy. God, you are such a bitch.”

That was it. Harleen had enough and she was moving before she realized it everything Joseph had taught her on Sunday came rushing back now fueled by her rage. She moved forward, her knee coming up and slamming into his crotch. Guy bent forward with a pained gasp as if all the air had been shoved out of his lungs. Harleen wrapped both hands around his head and forced his head down to smash his nose into her other knee, which she snapped up quickly. She let go of him as Guy staggered back, blood gushing from his nose, but she wasn’t finished. Harleen snarled, slamming her elbow into Guy’s upper back. She was about to kick him again when someone grabbed her from behind pinning her arms. Harleen hissed like an animal, her eyes on Guy who staggered back into the side of the building, one hand grabbing his bloody nose and the other holding his crotch. He dropped to his knees making inarticulate sounds of pain.

Their little fight had found an audience as several people stopped to watch Harleen kicked Guy’s ass.

“Whoa!! You got him!” The person behind Harleen held her arms snuggly, but not tight.

Harleen turned to see that it was Duela who had her.

Today half her hair was dyed red, the other half black and she was wearing a torn up, hole-filled black sweater that hung like a dress on her with a red t-shirt underneath, black and purple leggings with black boots that had silver studs on the toes. She let go of Harleen, taking a step back grinning. “That was cool. What did that guy do?”

Harleen glared at Guy who had sunk to the cold ground to lie down on his side. She noticed that no one came over to help him.

“Ex-boyfriend,” Harleen stated simply.

Duela frowned at Guy then nodded. “That’s all I needed. Wanna walk together?”

Harleen nodded. “Sure.”

They walked together leaving Guy to pick himself up. Duela glanced back once then turned to Harleen. “Mind if I asked what happened?”

Harleen sighed. “No, he’s just as asshole mostly. We broke up because I didn’t want to have sex and now he thinks I’m having sex with someone else.”

“Are you?” Duela asked with mild curiosity.

Harleen blushed. “Sort of.”

“Sort of?” Duela lifted a brow at her. Harleen only now noticing that Duela’s eyebrows looked painted on.

Harleen shrugged. “We’ve done a few things, but we haven’t actually…” She blushed as she whispered. “Done the deed.” She frowned a little, not sure why she was telling Duela this much, but she figured it was the tension of the moment with Guy making her talkative.

Duela frowned then shrugged. “Well, nice to see you put a jerk in his place. Those were some cool moves.”

Harleen smiled and blushed. “Thanks, I had a great teacher...oh, here’s my building. See you later.” Harleen waved.

Duela nodded and waved back. “Bye.”

Duela watched until Harleen had disappeared inside before she frowned and turned to head to her own class.

*

The rest of Harleen’s day went by in typical fashion though she did see Jeremiah at the local coffee place in the psychology building. Instead of coming over to her, he gave her a dirty look, which made her wonder if the incident with Guy had made the rounds of the college campus. She was a little surprised that she hadn’t received a visit from campus police yet, but maybe Guy was too ashamed of getting beat down by a girl.

She grinned a little viciously.

Joseph's class was agony for Harleen, especially since he looked particularly delicious today she thought, gazing at him with her chin in her hand.

He was wearing a nice cut suit that really accentuated the fine, slender lines of his physique. The suit was a dark grey with thick off-white pinstripes while the shirt underneath was blue and white checked, and he had opted for a silver tie. When he took his jacket off, Harleen felt her groin tighten in response, especially when he smiled at her, his eyes locked on hers for a precious moment. Harleen licked her lips when he turned around and started to write on the board, her gaze on his tight rear. She had a hard time paying attention since her eyes were focused on his body and her mind on the Sunday afternoon on the floor…

Harleen giggled. Was she being shallow or what? She thought with amusement.

*

She tried to at least stop at his desk, but Joseph was immediately overrun by students and she had to give up and leave.

She sighed, walked out of class, and headed home, hoping she would hear from him that night.

*

Harleen was lying on her bed in her teddy bear pajamas, a pair of pink and white flannel pajamas with little smiling teddy bears printed all over them. Nothing sexy, just comfortable. She had stayed up, hoping Joseph would call before his evening class--or rather before Crane’s evening class--but he hadn’t and she had fallen asleep.

Pamela had called a couple of hours ago to let her know she would be getting in late so Harleen had been left to her own devices which ended up being ice cream and a movie on Netflix before crawling into bed to read on some assignment.

Harleen licked her lips, her mouth dry when her phone rang. She frowned, reaching over for it where she had left it laying on her pillow. She picked it up and hit the button, the light blinding her when it came on.

Harleen hissed rubbing her eyes as she gave them a second or two to adjust to the light and held it close to her face since she didn’t have her glasses on. She frowned for a second then gasped in delight. It was a text from Joseph.

She pulled the text up and grinned.

“I’m in my office right now totally free, can you come by?”

Harleen squeal and quickly texted back. “YES”

*

It was cold when Harleen left the apartment, but despite that, she had decided to slip on a dress instead of jeans and a sweater. She was wearing a high neck black dress that looked more like a long turtleneck. The dress had been Pamela’s, but she had made Harleen try it on and once she had seen the way the dress hugged Harleen’s curves, Pam had insisted that Harleen keep the dress. Harleen hadn’t had a chance to wear it yet, but tonight was the perfect night for the form-fitting knit dress.

Usually, Harleen would have wrapped a belt around her waist to emphasize her waist in the black dress, but she was in a hurry tonight so she didn’t add the belt, but she did wear a pair of knee-high black boots, and she had left the apartment with no panties or bra on underneath. She wasn’t sure if anything was going to happen since she was meeting Joseph in his office, but she felt daring and sexy, which she liked. She had left her hair down to add to what she hoped was a sexy look.

She wrapped her coat around her and hurried out of her apartment, walking over an envelope that had been slipped under the door without noticing it as she headed toward Joseph’s office.

*

There were still a few lights on here and there on the campus and the library was still open. Hurrying past it made Harleen shudder, but she felt more prepared to defend herself this time in the event anyone tried anything.

The building where Joseph’s office was located was mostly quiet, but there were still a few rooms which lights as she let herself into the building. The halls were eerily quiet this late at night on a Friday as she hurried along, her shoes making a lot of noise, but after a few minutes, she found herself outside his door.

Harleen’s heart was beating quickly as she reached up and lightly knocked.

“Come in,” Joseph called.

Harleen’s heart skipped a beat, her palms become sweaty, but she was smiling as she opened the door.

Joseph was sitting behind his desk with a cup of coffee nearby and several stacks of papers. He had one elbow on the desk, his jacket off, sleeves rolled up and his tie hung loosely around his collar. Several green curls had fallen across his forehead as he leaned on his hand, a pen in his other hand as he guided the tip along a paper he was reading. His phone lay at the corner on his right, music playing softly from it. Harleen didn’t recognize the tune, but it sounded old, like something more suited to the 1940’s than the end of 2019. His office was lit by one desk lamp, but when he looked up and saw her, his smile blossomed across his face lighting the entire room.

“Harley!” He said her name at the same time that he rose to his feet, his hands reaching out for her. Harleen was in his arms within seconds, her cold lips pressed against his warmer ones. She didn’t speak; after a week apart, she needed to touch him.

Joseph quickly, blindly pushed the door closed as he pulled her against him, one arm around her waist, the other reaching out to feel his way as he took a step back. Joseph pulled her around his desk where he flopped back into his chair with Harleen in his arms.

Harleen straddled his lap, struggling out of her coat, her tongue in his mouth. Joseph grabbed her coat, helping to pull it down her arms to drop it on the floor. Harleen pulled ran her fingers through his hair, kissing him greedily.

“I missed you,” she said between licks of her tongue and nips of her teeth against his lips. “I’ve missed you so much.”

Joseph growled, his hands sliding down to her hips, wrapping around to squeeze her rear. “I’ve missed you too,” he said between kisses. “You’re all I've been thinking about,” he whispered while sliding his hands up her back.

Harleen began to unbutton his shirt, pulling it open as she unfastened the buttons to rub her hands against his chest. “I want to show you how much I missed you.”

Joseph kissed her, moaning against her mouth when her hand snaked down to cup his already hard erection over his slacks. Joseph jumped when she squeezed gently and groaned with pleasure. “Harley…” he hissed arching his hips into her touch, her mouth on his throat. Joseph’s eyes rolled with pleasure when her teeth pressed against his pulse, her hand massaging him gently. He reached up to cup one of her breasts, brushing his thumb against her hard nipple that he could feel through her dress, hissing with pleasure and grinning when he realized she wasn’t wearing a bra.

Harleen dragged her tongue against his throat to his ear, moaning when he pinched her hard nipple. Every nerve ending in her body burned for Joseph, every touch made her clitoris throb, her breasts ache.

Harleen slid off Joseph’s lap to the floor between his legs. She looked up and smiled, taking her glasses off to drop them on the desk behind her. His eyes glowed behind his glasses. She had smeared the lipstick on his lips, which only made her ache more for him. She began to undo his belt, licking his lips slowly, seductively as she did so.

Joseph watched her, his heart beating quickly, his erection pulsing with need as Harley started to undo his slacks. He thought about stopping her, but he didn’t move. This was the first time anyone had done this to him, the first time he had wanted anyone to touch him. He didn’t want anyone to touch him except for her. Instead of stopping Harley, his breathing intensified when she unzipped his slacks. He lifted his hips up when she pulled both his slacks and boxers down to his knees. She licked her lips, gazing at his erection before she smiled up at him, her hands on his knees. Joseph bit his bottom lip. Harleen slowly moved her hands up his thighs, her eyes on his as she leaned in and ran her tongue over the tip of his shaft.

Joseph gripped the arms of his chair with a moan, watching as Harley gasped his erection with both hands. Her hands were warm, soft, then she wrapped her lips around the head of his erection and sucked slowly. He dropped his head back against the chair with a loud groan.

Harleen slowly sucked just the head of his erection enjoying the soft silky feel of his skin, the way her tongue could move around the soft, smooth skin. She never thought she would enjoy this as much as he did, but she felt her own erotic tension increase. She flicked the tip of her tongue along the small slit, tasting the slightly salty flavor of him; at the same time she stroked her hand up and down his length. She lowered her mouth lower, slowly, and started to move her mouth up and down, sucking slowly.

Joseph bit his lower lip watching her, his head pressed against the back of his office chair. She looked so gorgeous, her golden hair brushing his legs, her eyes glancing up to meet his while her beautiful lips were pressed against him. He reached over and brushed his fingers through her hair watching her, feeling her lips pulling at him until he thought he might see stars.

Harleen groaned and enjoyed herself. Guy had always tried to get her to give him a blowjob and while she had willing touched his dick to make him happy, she had never had any desire to put her mouth on him; but Joseph? That was one of the things she thought about all the time, his erection in her mouth. She loved the way he felt in her mouth, how thick he was, how hot and hard, yet the skin so soft. She lowered her mouth further, taking him deeper into her mouth then pulled back slowly. She stroked her hand back up after her lips, bobbing her head gently.

Joseph's eyes rolled up for a moment. The knuckles of his left hand had turned white from his grip on the arm of his chair, his other hand struggled to remain gentle in her hair when he felt her take his entire erection into her warm, wet mouth. Her lips were satin soft and her tongue slid back and forth on him like a snake until one of his legs jerked in response, the fingers of the hand that he had in her hair twitched in unison. When she switched tactics and began to nibble her way down the side of his shaft, licking and kissing her way lower, using her other hand to caress and squeeze the head of his erection, Joseph groaned loudly. But when she slid one hand under his scrotum to cup and squeeze gently, he had to clench his jaw to stop himself from cumming.

Harleen moaned softly, nibbling along the side of his erection then down lower to kiss his testicles. She took him back in her mouth, pressing her lips against him, sucking deeply and enjoying the sounds he made. She rolled her hand against him, her saliva making his shaft wet and slick. She continued, alternating between deeply taking him into her mouth until she felt him nearly touch the back of her throat, to rolling her tongue along the head of his shaft followed by gentle nibbles.

Joseph hissed, arching his hips in response to her. “Harley--you need to stop.”

Harleen looked up and smiled, the head of his erection resting against her bottom lip. “Nope,” she said seductively then whispered. “I want to taste you.”

Joseph’s eyes widened behind his glasses in surprise.

Harleen giggled and continued what she was doing, bobbing her head up and down slowly, her tongue slathering him while she squeezed and twisted her hand around his hard shaft. Joseph groaned, gazing down at her through the slits of his half-closed eyes, his hand in her hair caressed her tenderly while he watched her until he felt that building tension that he had been fighting off rise up again, this time stronger. He began to pant, watching her, his eyes rolling when she sucked particularly hard or deep, the tension continuing to build higher and higher until he snapped. Everything came loose, the tension breaking, snapping, causing Joseph to cry out loudly, a deep moan of release as his climax burst with an intensity of pleasure he had never felt before, rushing over him like the waters of a flood. He came in Harley’s mouth with a burst of mindnumbing pleasure..

Harley felt the tension rising in him, his shaft felt hot, harder in her mouth, she knew he was about to cum when there was a sudden explosion of his excitement in her mouth accompanying the sexiest sound in the world, Joesph’s moan of release. Harley didn’t stop her attentions, she continued to suck deeply, her tongue moving over him while she swallowed his excitement making sure she cleaned him off until Joseph was quivering and gasping from her attentions.

Harleen made one final drag of her tongue up his now softer erection, smiling like a particularly satisfied cat.

Joseph looked down at her in surprise. He hadn’t expected her to swallow. Harley grinned at him, her smile beautiful he thought, the most beautiful smile in the world.

Harleen giggled, pleased with herself, pleased with how Joesph looked wrung out in the most beautiful way possible, his green hair a mess of curls, his shirt open showing off the white expanse of his chest and stomach, his rapid breathing, the smile on his face and his incredible blue eyes gazing at her with such tenderness that her heart tightened.

Joseph’s grin turned mischievous. “All right, I’ll give you an A on that paper.”

Harleen squealed on a giggle. “Joseph!”

He grinned just a little wider. “What?”

“That was a terrible joke,” she said slowly starting to stand up, but Joesph pushed himself forward using the wheels of the chair to move him (so that he wouldn’t fall over out of the chair with his pants around his calves.) He grabbed Harley by her waist as she stood. He easily lifted her off her feet, causing Harleen to squeal again as he set her on his desk ignoring the papers that were littered across his desk as he sat her on them.

“My turn,” he whispered, shoving her dress up only to stop in surprise when he saw she wasn’t wearing panties. His gaze was heated as he looked between her legs, stroking her thighs, then back up to her eyes, a crooked smile on his lips.

“Mm…” He licked his lips. “I haven’t eaten tonight…”

Harleen’s heart was hammering. This was new for her, she and Guy had done a few things, falling short of doing the deed, but he had never wanted to do anything for her, his focus had always been on his pleasure, his wants…

“Are you sure?” Harleen asked, her voice soft.

Joseph grinned running the tip of his tongue over his upper lip. “Oh, I am certain.”

He gently spread her legs, his hands pressed against her knees. He didn’t move fast. This was the first time for him and judging by the tension in Harley, this was a first for her.

Joseph positioned her on the edge of the desk, shoving her dress up to her waist, then he spread her legs wide. He admired the shapeliness of her legs, the boots she wore and the beauty of her sex.

Joseph slowly caressed her thighs, staring at her sex, his gaze hungry.

Harleen leaned back on her hands as Joseph leaned into her and kissed her sex.

It was a gentle gesture, both sweet and erotic she thought. A shudder ran through her.

He scooted his chair closer, not bothering with pulling his pants up. He removed his glasses, setting them beside hers before he littered the exquisitely soft skin at the inside of each of her thighs with kisses, pressing his nose against her skin smelling that delicious scent that was all Harley, his Harley. He couldn’t think of her any other way than his because he had given himself to her completely, she was his and he was hers.

Joseph slid his hands along her thighs, looking up at her as he moved his hands under her rear and pulled her as close as he could, to the very edge of his desk, knocking a few papers to the floor.

Harley’s breath was coming fast, her heart pounding. She rested her booted feet on the arms of Joseph’s chair, watching every move that he made.

Joseph smiled at her, then leaned down, his tongue sliding against her. He groaned, tasting the wet heat of her, tasting how excited she had become while sucking on him. Joseph purred, licking her slowly. She was so wet, so sweet, like honey on his tongue, which caused a stir in him, his limp erection responding with a shudder. Harley was wet for him, his Harley. That she had enjoyed what she had done to him that much, that having her mouth on him had excited her, made her dripping wet for him thrilled him.

His tongue slid across her again, searching until he found that delicate yet hard, tight bud of nerves that he knew would excite her. Joseph grinned wider when Harley jerked in response. He opened his mouth a little more, using his entire mouth and tongue to caress her, to stroke across her, to find that little secret spot that made Harley gasp, reaching out with one hand to rest in his hair.

Harleen groaned loudly, watching him, his silky green hair falling forward and between her fingers, the occasional way he leaned back to look at her, the tip of his tongue pressing against her clitoris. His mouth and tongue caressed her slowly. He didn’t just lick her, Joseph devoured her. Her fingers in his hair trembled.

Harleen groaned arching her head back, her legs wide. She closed her eyes as ripples of pleasure rolled over her, letting herself enjoy what Joseph was doing to her. She had always worried that this would not be something she would enjoy, that letting anyone get this close to her would cause her to freeze up, but she found that having Joseph’s mouth between her legs was far more pleasurable than she had ever imagined it could be. She smiled looking down at him, glad that she had saved herself for him.

Joseph caressed one of her shapely legs while he dragged his hand down her thigh, focusing the attention of his mouth on her clitoris. He pressed his lips to the bundle of nerves, swollen and wet, and sucked very gently. He could hear the panting of her breath coming from Harley, soft and deep pants of pleasure. And when he sucked on her clitoris, Harley jerked. Her feet on the arms of his chair jerked forward almost knocking the chair out from under him, but he kept himself firmly in place. He continued to gently suck for a few more seconds listening to the moans coming from Harley, her breathing becoming more rapid, then he snaked two fingers into her. He felt that moment of high tension in her body followed by a snap as the tension broke.

Harleen cried out arching her body as she climaxed.

Joseph smiled while he continued to slide his fingers into the dripping hot wetness of his Harley, at the same time focusing his attention on sucking and licking that prime spot, feeling her trembling around him.

Harley was a mewling and shuddering, crying out again as another orgasm hit her. She looked down at him, his face between her legs, his green hair a mess of curls against her skin. It was all becoming more than she could bear, but then he looked up at her. She could see the sparkle in his eyes and feel the smile on his lips.

She gasped, her body tightening, the tension building quicker this time, rushing up like a volcano exploding until she knew she was seeing a small part of the universe open up for her, like she was riding a wave of stars because this climax had her dropping back against his desk, suddenly unable to hold herself up any longer.

Joesph smiled, pulling back, though he placed tender kisses against her sex, then along the delicate skin of her inner thighs before he sat back in his seat smiling at the image of her spread out on his desk.

“You okay?” he asked with a grin.

Harleen sat up, smiling at him. She felt a thrill at seeing the glistening wetness around his lips and chin. “I don’t think I can walk now.”

Joseph laughed. “I know that feeling had it just a few minutes ago.”

Harleen giggled while Joseph stood and pulled his slacks back in place, grinning at Harley still exposed on his desk. “How about I run down to the coffee machine and get us both a cup of coffee?”

Harleen grinned. “That sounds great.”

Joseph smiled, reaching up to tenderly caress her cheek, his fingers settling at her chin. He gently drew her to him and kissed her sweetly on the lips. “I’ll be right back.”

Harleen nodded unable to speak for a moment, so she simply watched as Joseph slipped out of his office.

She sighed happily and had just turned to sit in Joseph’s chair when his phone made a buzz, the sound of an incoming text. Harleen frowned, surprised his phone was still on the desk. She looked around seeing that she had knocked several papers off, but the phone buzzed again. Harleen stood up and walked close to the edge of the desk where his phone sat, the light coming on when it buzzed again. She picked it up and frowned, staring down at the text.

It was from someone named White Rabbit, the image of which was a drawing of a woman with white hair, anime breasts, wearing pink bunny ears and a pink and white corset.

The text read: “We R still on 4 night or did U forget? Bring the funny Mr. J.”

Harleen’s eyes widened, her hand shook as she placed his phone back on the desk.

Was Joseph seeing someone else?

Chapter Text

Harleen slowly placed the phone down, her heart beating swiftly, her hands sweaty and she felt an intense urge to cry, but she pushed all of those feelings down before ultimately telling herself that she trusted Joseph. Maybe it was a text from an ex-girlfriend trying to lure him, or maybe it was just a friend, or a business meeting…

Harleen frowned, flopping down in Joseph’s desk chair as she told herself that there were a million things it could be and not all of them were necessarily bad. She trusted him, but she didn’t trust other people. What if this White Rabbit person was trying to hurt him? Of course, White Rabbit could also be a man…

Harleen frowned. She wasn't sure what to do with this information. Her heart hurt, but she just couldn't believe that Joseph had just done what he had done with her and not feel the same as she did. White Rabbit had to be something she wasn’t even guessing at, but she knew she was going to have to discover who they were...she just wasn’t sure how. She couldn't deny she felt jealous and unsure about herself...

That was the moment that Joseph came back into the office with two cups of coffee in the cheap little cups that coffee machines provided the world over. He smiled when he saw her, could still taste her on his lips. She looked cute as she flipped through one of the books from his shelf.

She looked up when he walked in, smiling brightly, all her worries melting away at the sight of him. “Thank you!” she said as he handed her the coffee then added. “Oh, your phone was going off a second ago.”

Joseph frowned, immediately looking unhappy, used his foot to close the office door, and set his cup down on the desk at the same time Harleen stood. Joseph took his seat, but he grabbed her and pulled her onto his lap. “Where do you think you’re going Miss Quinzel?” Joseph purred as he grasped her hips and pulled her back.

Harleen giggled, nearly spilling her coffee (but thankfully she didn’t), settling on Joseph's lap while he reached for his phone. He wrapped an arm around her waist while he looked at his phone. Harleen sipped her coffee, trying not to look like she was paying attention to what he was doing, but she did turn enough that she could see Joseph's expression--which, she noted, wasn’t a happy one.

He muttered under his breath, “Damn it.” He texted back using only his thumb. Once he was finished, he angrily tossed the phone back onto the desk before he gently took Harleen’s cup of coffee from her, set in on the desk, and wrapped his arms around her. He pulled her close nuzzling her neck.

“I’m going to have to cut this short. Seems I forgot about a meeting I promised a friend.” Joseph murmured against her ear, his tongue slowly caressing her earlobe, causing goosebumps to spring to life across her skin.

“How would you feel about having lunch with me tomorrow? There’s this little Chinese restaurant I know in Old Gotham, makes the best crab rangoon and wonton soup…” He smiled over his glasses at her, lifting his green brows hopefully at her.

Harleen giggled, leaning into him. “I would love that.”

Joseph grinned and kissed her cheek. “I look forward to it. How about I drop you off at home on my way out?”

Harleen stood up with a nod. “Thank you.”

Joseph stood and pulled her into his arms, kissing her. It was a deep, passion filled kiss that curled her toes. “Anytime, sweets,” he whispered.

*

Harleen stood outside the apartment door. Joseph gave her a wave, waiting until she had opened the door before he took off. Harleen bit her bottom lip. She needed to follow Joseph, but she didn’t have a car. She looked around frantically, not wanting to lose sight of him. Her eyes widened when she saw a scooter parked just a few blocks down the street in front of the late night noodle shop. Whoever owned the thing had hooked their helmet over the handles…

There was a good chance they had left the keys in it too. Harleen had seen people going in and out of the noodle shop at all hours of the day or night--people would run in, leaving their cars running to grab their orders. It was a Friday night, first night of the weekend so people were in a hurry to get their food…

She hurried down the sidewalk at a brisk pace, the cold evening air cutting through her, but her heart pounded hard as the excitement and danger of what she was about to do washed over her.

Still, she didn’t stop; she needed that scooter.

She arrived at the blue and silver scooter, making a quick inspection and grinned. The owner had turned it off, but they had left the keys in the ignition.

Harleen hopped onto the seat and yanked the helmet off the handle, plopping it on her head as she adjusted herself on the seat. She kicked the stand up, balanced the scooter and turned the key. The engine came to life, purring quietly (thankfully, she thought.) How hard could driving it be, she thought as she took a moment to look over the controls in the light from the restaurant.

She had driven a scooter once with her brother Barry. He had rented a scooters for her, her sister Lucy, and him to drive around for the day at a park not too far from their home. They had driven the scooters, gotten lunch and just hung out all day. It was one of those rare days where everything was perfect; there had been no fighting, no yelling, not insults. It had been a perfect day with her siblings. Harleen remembered that day with a smile, because it had been such a great day, which was probably the only reason she remembered how to drive a scooter. That day was stuck in her head in bright, sunshine gold, every detail etched into her memory.

Harleen smiled turning the scooter toward the street. She was tempted to glance at the restaurant, but she thought if she saw the owner of the scooter seeing her stealing their scooter, she might lose her nerve and freeze up, so she simply pulled out into the light late night traffic.

Better to ask forgiveness than permission she thought with a smirk.

She gave the scooter some gas and had pulled away, easing onto the street. Harleen grinned pulling way. She was halfway down the block when she heard someone yelling beside her. She didn’t turn around, simply kept going. If she acted like she owned the scooter and ignored the guy yelling behind her, no one would realize it was her that the person (who sounded like he must be a very angry guy) was yelling about someone stealing his scooter. Besides, she didn’t want to give the guy a good look at her face.

She drove along ignoring everything behind her and focusing on everything in front of her as she accelerated away from the yelling man.

*

Harleen and the scooter wobbled down the street. She was struggling for a few minutes, trying to become accustomed to driving the scooter while at the same time keeping a look out for Joseph’s car. She was beginning to think she had lost him during her impromptu theft. The street in front of her and Pam’s apartment was two lanes and there were only a couple of turns a driver could take. Most of those roads led back into some residential areas, which consisted mostly of student filled apartment buildings, a few rental houses, and some houses that belonged to fraternities. Harleen couldn’t be sure, but she doubted that any meetings would be held this close to where Joseph worked.

Harleen realized she didn’t know what the meeting was about or with who, but her gut told her Joseph would be driving away from the university, at least for several miles, she would guess, and the road in front of the university ran straight for a while before coming to any major intersections. So, she was pretty sure that Joesph hadn’t made any turns, but she didn’t see his car!! What if she was wrong?? What if he turned off onto a side street and she missed it? Panic began to set in, panic that she had stolen a scooter for no reason, that this entire enterprise had been a waste of time, and fear that her jealousy was growing out of proportion. Her heart was pounding in her ears as she pulled up to the light, her mind racing as she tried to think about what she was going to do if she had lost him; where would she ditch the scooter; and then she would be forced to walk back to the apartment in the dark, alone, and god! She had not thought any of this through…

Harleen searched traffic frantically, her hands sweaty, her heart pounding, ready to turn back, when she caught sight of his car, and a flash of green hair.

“Yes!” Harleen hissed to herself with a grin. Now she just had to keep him in sight without being seen, though she doubted he would see her even if he looked in his rearview and saw the scooter. She was wearing a helmet and riding on a scooter than she didn’t own. There was no way he would know it was her!

Traffic began to move again the moment the light changed and Harleen followed along only, struggling a little bit with the scooter. Joseph drove along for a few blocks while Harleen followed at a safe distance and slowly becoming more confident of herself on the scooter. She noticed that Joseph had rolled down his window, cigarette smoke drifting out through the crack as traffic stopped at another red light.

She chewed on her bottom lip, watching his car and waiting for the light to change when someone called out.

“Hey baby, you need a ride?”

Harleen turned to see a couple of guys in a car next to her. The one who had yelled was a young man about her age with bottle blonde hair and the cocky smile of a guy used to easily getting women's attention. He was leaning out of the passenger window, leering at her while his friend at the wheel leaned around him to wink at her. Both young men had an athletic build and smugness that made Harleen instantly think of college football players. Both men were leering at her, which only now made Harleen realize that when she had sat on the scooter, she had her legs slightly apart and her dress had ridden up to her thigh showing off a lot of leg.

Harleen sighed and tried to ignore them.

The blonde called out again. “Come on baby, let us give you a ride, we’re heading to a party. It's going to be tope!”

Harleen didn’t look at them, trying to keep an eye on Joseph's car as she replied, “No thanks, I have someplace I need to be.”

She could hear the two of them talking, then the same guy called out. “Come on sweetheart, we’ll show you a good time, I promise.”

Harleen turned toward them, her lips set in a grim line and her eyes narrowed. She could choose to say nothing, but she didn’t feel like remaining quiet. “Look, I’m not interested all right? So go bug someone else.”

The blonde frowned at her and muttered. “Well you don’t have to be such a bitch about it.”

“I’m not being a bitch,” Harleen hissed. “I’m just not interested okay? I have a boyfriend,” Harleen growled.

The blonde wrinkled his nose at her. “Sure you do, skank.” His friend next to him elbowed the blonde in the side. “Hey man, that wasn’t called for.”

“Shut up Freddy, I’m just tired of trying to be nice to a girl and she acts like such a cunt about it,” the blonde complained to his friend, then looked back at Harleen. “How come bitches like you always claim to have a boyfriend, but I don’t ever see these guys around, eh? And they’re always these creeps too...” He continued.

Harleen rolled her eyes turning back to focus her attention on Joseph when she realized his car was gone.

“Shit!” she hissed just as her light changed.

She hit the gas and the scooter sped off. She could hear the blond yelling after her. “I hope you wreck, you ugly cunt!”

Harleen ignored him, her eyes frantically searching for Joseph when her eyes caught sight of his car driving down a side road to the right. Harleen swung the scooter into hard right, but the second she turned, she knew she had taken the turn too quickly and too hard. The scooter leaned heavily to the right and Harleen yelped as she lost control, the handlebars twisting in her grip; she was dumped off the scooter. Harleen’s knees hit the asphalt as she tried to save herself from a nasty spill, but she held onto the grips for a second too long. Her hand squeezed around the gas in a compulsive need to hold on before she was forced to let go. The scooter drove off on its own for a few feet, scraping against the asphalt before coming to a stop on its side.

Harleen heard the guy that had been yelling at her laughing as they zipped past. She muttered several curses, getting to her feet in a hurry. She could feel the burn on her bare knees, but she didn’t stop to look at the damage or else she would lose Joseph entirely! She heard someone yell out, asking if she was all right, but Harleen ignored them and the stinging pain in her knees and legs as she grabbed the scooter and righted it before she hurriedly took off again.

*

Harleen slowly pulled up along the sidewalk looking down the street in the direction she had seen Joseph's car go just before the vehicle had disappeared around the back of a church. She had followed, driving past without slowing down, but she had seen him pull the car into the dark remains of a parking lot before turning off the engine. She was sure the church had been his destination. She circled around the block and parked the scooter a couple of blocks from the church, pocketing the keys, and hoping it would still be there when she came out. She smirked at herself at that thought; hoping her stolen scooter wouldn’t be stolen. Again. The neighborhood here looked bad, one of those forgotten places where the poor of Gotham struggled to get by. The buildings were all old, many of them closed and forgotten. She had seen a handful of homeless under one of the bridges, a barrel that contained a low burning fire, surrounded by cardboard houses and tents. Harleen saw a lot of trash on the street, and most of the streetlights were out.

The place gave her the shivers and made her wish she owned a gun.

Now that she had stopped to really examine the church, she could see that it was abandoned. The grass around it looked yellowed and overgrown, some of the windows were broken, and the naked bushes around the front that had probably been neatly trimmed and squared off when the church was active, were now overgrown with weeds and the new growth of saplings. A sizable clustering of vines grew up in thick patches along one wall of the church, snaking their way over the wall and around and over the windows. There were piles of dead leaves everywhere across the sidewalk and path leading up to the church from the naked trees in the front yard, and it looked as if weeds even grew in the church’s gutters along the top. Harleen frowned. She thought she saw the shadow of a small tree up at the top, growing on the roof…

She walked slowly to the front of the church which was surrounded by a broken chain link fence, trying to look nonchalant. She walked past a broken sign that announced that the church had been called St. George of Gotham Methodist Church; Sunday school started at 10 a.m. Worship at 10 a.m. and Coffee and Conversation from 11:30 am. to 1 p.m.

Harleen frowned, glancing at the large shadowy church as she walked by The doors had a “No Trespassing” sign hanging crookedly from them and she could see some graffiti on the doors and the archway. She wondered what could have happened to cause a church, especially one that was as big as this one, to close down, and what on earth Joseph would be doing meeting someone in an abandoned church. She knew she was going to have to get inside without being seen; part of her felt a little guilty about her spying on him, but she was intrigued and worried. What if Joseph had gotten mixed up in something bad? What if he needed her? She didn’t want to think that she couldn’t trust him; she wouldn’t let herself go down that path.

She felt a tickle in her gut that told her he needed her.

Harleen walked around to the far left the building, looking around, but the only people around were the homeless under the bridge. The left side of the church was pretty much hidden in darkness, the shadows thick because the streetlight on the corner was out. She found a place where the chain link fence was separated between sections, weeds having grown up over it to create its own sort of barrier. Harleen tried to pick her way through the hole, her coat catching on the remains of the fence, a stick or piece of bramble scraping against her legs and catching on her dress, but finally she was on the other side.

There were a lot of overgrown weeds and bushes that not only grew around the church, but up the walls as well. Twisted among the weeds were pieces of wood, panels that might have been used to board up the windows, but had been torn off or fallen free with time. Harleen picked her way closer to the wall of the church, carefully stepping over a rusted bucket and some gardening tools that were hopelessly trapped among the thorny vines and weeds, lots of trash--mostly beer cans and bottle--the skeleton of a dead...something...some old rusted cans of spray paint and things she could not quite see with the meager ambient light that was available.

Harleen wrinkled her nose in disgust. She could smell wet soil and urine as well as the sickly sweet scent of something rotting. Once she was close enough to the church, Harleen could see that the wall was covered with faded graffitti, some of them gang signs she was sure, while others were just large written messages about sex and penises. Harleen kept a hand on the cold stone wall to guide her in the darkness as she walked along, hoping to find a door or maybe a window that she could pull herself through…

After a minute or two of working her way through the overgrowth, she found a side doorway. An open doorway. Harleen grinned and slipped inside.

*

Joker stood inside the church’s sanctuary, trying to stave off his annoyance. Fortunately, he had some clothes in the car that he changed into, a dark green dress shirt and dark purple jacket with a blood red tie and matching gloves, along with a wicked looking knife he kept under his jacket. His Derringer he kept up his sleeve (only on jobs.) The slacks and shoes he wore were the same that he had been wearing when he had met with Harley. He hadn’t had time to go home and change since he was already running late. Luckily, he always had a tube of lipstick on him he thought with a smile, and the product had been in his briefcase. This morning he had remembered about the meeting, but by the end of the day, when the chance to be with Harley had presented itself, he had forgotten all about the drugs, the meeting, everything but Harley.

He wasn’t really sure who he was annoyed with; White Rabbit, Mickey Sullivan--who they were meeting with--or himself for forgetting about the meeting. He had been so focused on finally getting to see Harley after such a long week…

He sighed, deciding he was angry with himself. Right now he would rather be in his office with Harley on his lap, working himself up again, kissing her, holding her, smelling her hair…

He sucked in his bottom lip, trying to be careful of his freshly applied lipstick. Thinking about her made his groin ache. He wondered if she would still be up when this was over. Maybe he could talk to her on the phone at least, a quick video chat before bed. The thought of Harley on her bed, smiling at him made him smile. What he really wanted was to come home to her in his bed, but for now just getting to see her would be enough...

“What are you smiling about?” White Rabbit asked. “And where’s your guy you usually have with you? Frost right?”

Joker turned his attention to White Rabbit--or rather Dr. Sarah Cassidy--but like him, she was now her alter ego, the White Rabbit. She was wearing a white dress that left little to the imagination. The dress was cut deeply in the front, a few white ties the only thing holding the thin cloth together, and the slits up the sides ended at her waist. She had on fishnet stockings and garter belts, knee high white boots and a thick, white fur coat over her shoulders. The wig she wore looked natural, the snow white hair curling under her ears. No one would see this woman and a picture of Dr. Sarah Cassidy and think they were the same woman.

“He was busy tonight. “Joker pulled out a pack of cigarettes from inside his jacket. (Joker had called him when he realized he was running late and told Frost not to worry about coming tonight. The big man hadn’t been real pleased with the idea of Joker going to a business meeting alone, but had agreed to let Joker go alone after Joker had assured him that White Rabbit would have her men there. So there was nothing to worry about, he had assured Frost.) Joker offered a cigarette to White Rabbit who took one with a smile.

“I could ask you the same thing,” Joker said as he pulled out his lighter and lit the cigarette for her before lighting his own. “Don’t you usually have Dutch or Marcus with you?”

White Rabbit shrugged. “The boys had a date night tonight and since this was just Mickey Sullivan, I didn’t see any reason to come in heavily armed. Besides, I thought you would have Frost with you.”

Joker shrugged taking a long drag on his cigarette, holding it for a bit before letting the smoke out slowly from between his red lips. “Guess we both fucked up tonight. So this is just a regular drug deal?” he asked around a cloud of smoke.

White Rabbit nodded, smoke slowly rolling from her nostrils. “Yeah, he’s just here for some of our regular, special connections. He and a few of the other younger members of The Irish, some of Falcone’s men, and I think some of the Beretti’s are having themselves a party and they want to get shitfaced.”

Joker curled his lip at the idea of his drugs being used recreationally, but the money was the same, so he supposed he shouldn’t be so annoyed. Except he thought of himself as an artist, an artist of the slow death, not a supplier of party drugs for a bunch of brain dead mobster morons.

He sighed, followed by a muttered, “Just would like to get this over with.”

White Rabbit smirked. “Since when are you in such a hurry? Let me guess...is her name Harleen?”

Joker narrowed his eyes at her, his voice cold. “Don’t mention her name when we’re doing business.”

White Rabbit paled, her voice dropping to a whisper. “Sorry Joker.”

“Hey!! There are a couple of my favorite people!”

They both turned to see Mickey Sullivan, or as he was known to most in the criminal underground, The Mick, walking down the center aisle with two of his men. Donny Boy Sullivan, Mickey’s younger brother, carried a bag which Joker assumed had the money in it, and Jimmy Slick who Joker thought might be a cousin judging by how close the three men resembled each other.

Mickey grinned, clapping his hands together once. “Now, let’s do some business!”

*

Harleen had slipped inside, finding herself in a small room. She had no idea what part of the church she was in, but there was another door just in front of her. This one was still hanging on by its hinges, just barely. She pushed slowly, gritting her teeth in anticipation. The door groaned a little, but not much; hopefully the sound wouldn’t carry or would be lost with the sound of the wind that she could hear softly whistling through the church. She slipped around the door and found herself facing the main room where she could see the back of Joseph and a woman dressed all in white, (of course it was a woman she thought heatedly) standing near the center of the room. She narrowed her eyes at the sight of the woman wearing a white fur coat and fishnets, but there was something about the way Joseph was holding himself. From the set of his shoulders, he looked tense and he wasn’t leaning toward the woman. Harleen thought she could see a familiarity there, but...nothing intimate. Harleen smiled and relaxed in relief. She watched for a few minutes as the two of them were speaking in low tones. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but Joseph offered the woman in white a cigarette, lit it for her, then his own. She must have said something that annoyed him because she could detect the change in the tempo and tone of his voice, the shift in his shoulders.

Harleen was smiling. She still didn’t know why he was here with this woman, but it wasn’t for anything romantic at least! A thought crossed her mind then. She was the jealous girlfriend!

Harleen sucked on her upper lip not sure how she felt about that. She was trying to decide what to do when another voice rang out, echoing off the graffiti covered walls of the church.

“Hey!! There are a couple of my favorite people!”

Harleen frowned, glancing around frantically. To her left there was an altar and the remains of an old organ, but most importantly there looked like there might be space alongside the organ for her to hide. She moved carefully, staying in the shadows and slipped down beside the organ into a crouch, her scraped and bloody knees protesting. She wrapped her arms around her knees and prayed no one saw her.

*

Mickey grinned, walking up to Joker first and put out his hand. “Joker, great to see you.”

Joker took his hand, flicking the butt of his cigarette away. “Mick, nice to see you.” He smiled. “And the rest of your boy band.”

The Mick laughed. “Well you know, don’t go anywhere without the boys.” The Mick turned his attention to White Rabbit and whistled long and low. “It is always a pleasure to see you Rabbit.”

White Rabbit smiled, her voice low and seductive. “Nice to see you Mick.”

The other two men stared at her, both of them letting their gazes run up and down her body. White Rabbit paid no attention to them, though she was well aware of their stares.

“So, Joker, Rabbit--what did you bring me?” Mick clapped his hands together and rubbed them. “Something good?”

Joker smiled, his red lips spread seductively across his face. “Of course I brought you something good Mick. It’s me, the Joker.” He pulled his jacket aside and slipped his fingers into an inner pocket and delicately pulled out four small bags. He held them up between his gloved fingers so that the ambient light that broke through the open places in the roof caught the small crystals inside, making them glow slightly. Each of the bags was filled with a small amount of crystals. The crystal themselves each looked like five pointed stars. The crystals were the size of a pinky nail and came in four colors: blue, green, purple, and pink.

The Mick stepped closer frowning as he studied the star crystals in the little baggies. “That don’t look like a lot for the price you’re charging Joker.”

Joker smiled shaking the bags a little. “These are designer drugs Mick. There are enough drugs in each of these little bags, which I will point out will give you four different highs, a different experience, to take out a dozen elephants. At least five people can get a hit off just one crystal--hence the five points that break away. I think twelve grand is a bargain, don’t you White Rabbit dear?”

White Rabbit smiled. “Yes Joker, I do. Now if you want only one bag or one or two crystals Mick, we can do that too…” Mick shook his head. “Fuck, nah. We already drove out here, yeah? I’ll take them all.” He snapped his fingers and his brother, Donny Boy, came over and set the bag down. Mick opened it showing the money inside. White Rabbit glanced at Joker, stepping over to inspect the money.

*

Harleen was watching with wide eyes. The Joker? Why were they calling him the Joker? Was it like a code name? Oh, they called that other guy The Mick...like gangsters...Harleen’s eyes widened a bit as the idea of Joseph being a gangster sank in. She felt a little lightheaded.

And he was selling designer drugs? Which made Harleen wonder if he was designing the drugs himself. She knew he was smart, he was a skilled chemist, he had to be...

Harleen wasn’t sure what she thought. But she realized that knowing that Joseph had a secret life, a dark side didn’t quell her lust and desire for him at all. If anything, knowing that Joseph had this darker side heightened her desire. Was that weird of her? Probably, but she didn’t care.

She had to figure out how to tell him she knew his secret and that she didn’t care, but there was no way she could think of right now to tell him that didn’t sound bad. “Oh hey, I looked at your phone and I followed you because I was worried you might be cheating.” She frowned. No, she was jealous--that was the real reason. She had followed him because she was massively jealous.

Harleen knew she was in love with him and the thought that there might be someone else…

She couldn’t deny her jealousy…

Maybe she should just be honest, “Joseph I was jealous and I had to know who you were meeting and well...here I am…” No...maybe she should just wait until he called her….

Harleen pressed her lips together, wishing she could bring her hands up and blow on them. The cold was making her stiff and achy, but she didn’t trust herself to move and not give away her hiding place. She was biting her bottom lip, wiggling her toes in her boots to stay warm when there was movement at the front of the church.

Harleen frowned, trying to make out who had just walked in...

*

White Rabbit smiled at Joker. “It’s all there.”

Joker grinned at Mick as White Rabbit picked up the money. Joker handed the bags of his unique narcotics to Mick. “Have fun tonight boys, and remember what I said. These are powerful. If you guys kill yourselves, I’m not responsible.” Joker smiled. “Any other time I would be fine with taking responsibility, but in this case...no.”

Mick took the bags. “Yeah, yeah got it.”

“JOKER!!”

All of them turned as two men came rushing up the aisle. For a split second no one moved and time slowed. Too late Joker realized the newcomers had guns out. At the same time he knew exactly who they were, Kir and his brother Dima, Alexandra Kosov’s two dim-witted henchmen. It was Kir who was yelling, the one Joker had embarrassed. He knew it wasn’t over the dispute with Kosov over the money. She had wired him the new amount and he had sent over the product. No, this was personal.

“JOKER!! I’ve come to settle a score with you!!” Kir yelled.

Joker shoved White Rabbit out of the way with a shouted. “GO!”

The Mick and the others yelled something, getting out of the way and looking for cover.

White Rabbit stumbled back from Joker just as a gunshot rang out, the sound echoing sharply in the hollowed out church. Joker gasped as pain burned through his thigh and he fell, hitting the floor on his left side.

*

Harleen’s eyes were wide with terror her hands shooting up to cover her ears, but she screamed when she saw Joseph fall…

She was on her feet and rushing toward him before she knew what she was doing.

*

Joker laid on his side, but his right arm was out, his Derringer sliding into his hand with the ease of long practice, he shot catching Kir in the knee. As the hollow point magnum round blasted into the man’s leg, he yelled and fell. His brother Dima yelled something in Russian, but another bullet hit him in the chest, this one coming from Jimmy Slick.

The Mick snarled, “Fuck, it’s the Russians!!”

The trio of Irish gangsters fled the church. Kir was groaning in pain, trying to pull himself over to his brother who wasn’t moving. The Russian was beginning to howl in grief as he pulled himself over to his brother’s body.

Joker hissed, pushing himself up to a sitting position while trying to hold his gun on Kir when suddenly Harleen was there.

“Can you walk?” she asked.

Joker’s surprise was quickly replaced by the need to get her out of there before Kir regained his senses or the cops came--bad neighborhood or no. “Yes, I think so,” Joker replied, sliding his gun back up his sleeve and reaching out for Harleen.

White Rabbit had rushed over to his other side, reaching down to help Joker to his feet too. Harleen looked over at her and her mouth dropped open as she recognized (just barely) Dr. Cassidy from the other night at the club meeting.

Sarah smiled at her. “Come on, his car is out back near mine. We need to get out of here before someone decides to call the cops.”

Harleen nodded wrapping an arm around Joseph’s waist and helping him to his feet. The Russian was howling with grief, not noticing as they started to move, White Rabbit leading the way toward the other side of the church.

“JOKER!!”

They all turned to see Kir, his gun pointed at Joker. A long moment seemed to pass, a second that stretched out as Kir glared at Joker, but then the Russian grinned, a nasty grin as his gun moved from pointing at Joker, the barrel now pointing at Harleen’s chest.

Joker’s eyes widened realizing in a split second what Kir was going to do, but before he could react there was another gunshot and Kir’s head snapped back, a bloody hole in the middle of his forehead. The man collapsed next to his brother.

Harleen screamed and started at the sudden ear splitting sound so close to her, only to see Dr. Cassidy with a smoking handgun in her free hand.

Joker laughed. “That was a damn good shot Rabbit.”

Cassidy grinned at him. “I took your advice and took lessons. Now let’s get the fuck out of here before someone decides to be a good citizen and call the cops.”

Joker nodded and Harleen looked at Dr. Cassidy with a cross between terror and admiration.

*

When they arrived at the back of the church and hurried to Joseph's car, Joseph released his hold on both women to lean one hip against the car in order to pull the keys to his car out of his pocket. Cassidy frowned at him as he opened the door.

“I think you should let Harleen drive,” she observed.

Joseph looked from Sarah to Harleen, who held her hand out. “Just tell me where to go,” Harleen said. He nodded and put the keys in her hand. Sarah took Joseph and helped him around to the passenger side of his car while Harleen got behind the wheel.

Sarah helped Joseph with his seatbelt before she smiled at Harleen. “I’m going to assume you know to keep your mouth shut.”

Harleen had her hands on the wheel and met Sarah’s gaze evenly, nodded. “You don’t have to worry about me.”

Sarah nodded, then smiled at Joseph. “Talk to you later Joker.”

He smiled at her. “Later Rabbit.”

She closed his door and smacked the hood before she hurried to her car. Harleen started Joseph’s car and pulled out of the parking lot. She turned left, keeping her speed normal.

Joseph hissed in pain, looking down at his thigh, and pulled apart the torn fabric of his slacks. The bullet had cut through the side of his thigh, just a flesh wound, but he was going to need stitches.

“Damn it, I really liked these pants,” he muttered.

Harleen made a small giggle that sounded just on the verge of going hysterical, but not quite there.

Joseph glanced over at Harley and noted that she looked almost as pale as him, her skin having gone ghostly white, her lips colorless in the passing streetlights. Her eyes were on the road and her glasses had slipped to the end of her nose. She looked so young and terrified, but he was proud of how she was holding herself together.

Joseph spoke softly. “About what you saw…”

“Later,” she said just as softly. “After you’re taken care of.”

Joseph nodded and leaned back in the seat. “Take a right at the end of this street--we’re going to one of my safe houses.”

Harleen glanced sideways at him, but said nothing. Safehouse?

*

They drove for twenty minutes, Harleen’s knuckles white on the steering wheel the whole time. Joseph was quiet except for giving her directions. She could hear the pain in his voice and when she tore her eyes from the road to glance over at him, he looked paler than usual. Finally Joseph had her pull around a corner, parking behind an old building that looked like it had once been some sort of old brick warehouse, probably from the middle of last century.

Harleen parked and hurriedly got out, running around to the other side of the car to help Joesph out. He smiled at her, draping an arm over her shoulders and limping as she directed him toward a large rolled down metal door.

Joseph motioned for the keys, which she still held in her hand. He started to crouch down, but Harleen stopped him. “Let me.”

Joseph sighed and nodded, handing the key to her. She crouched down to unlock the padlock, then pulled the door up to reveal a cage. She pulled it up before turning to help Joseph inside, leaving him long enough to pull everything down and lock the metal door, then bring the gate down.

While she was doing this, Joseph turned on a lightswitch.

The inside of the building looked nothing like the outside, Harleen noticed with wide eyes. The room had exposed brick walls, but the floor was covered with a light color, polished hardwood. Large arched windows provided a view on this level while above there were five smaller square windows. The ceiling had exposed metal beams from which a large, artistic chandelier of wire and glass hung down like some strange organic creature lighting up the room in butter yellow from several hanging globes of glass.

Harleen saw a balcony up above made of metal and glass that ran the length of one wall, then along the wall of windows, dividing the windows into two sections. The walls upstairs were covered in bookcases that reached from the floor to the ceiling. The room contained a large sectional couch in black, a large red and gold throw rug in the middle, a desk and computer in one corner, a large flat screen TV on the wall across from the couch, a wood liquor cabinet against the wall behind the couch, and a small portable fridge in a corner along with a small oven. Another section of the room held a large, old fashioned wood wardrobe, and a large bed. Stairs led up to the walkway and under the stairs she could see a door that opened into a bathroom.

Joseph limped to the couch and dropped down with a sigh, his wounded leg stretched out. “Welcome to one of my hideyholes,” he said with a smile.

Harleen looked around in awe before she asked. “You have a first aid kit?”

Joseph nodded pointed over the back of the couch to the bathroom under the stairs. “There should be one under the sink.”

Harleen nodded and hurried to the bathroom, slipping out of her coat and tossing it over a chair before she slipped into the room. The bathroom was modern with a clear glass shower stall, clean white sink and toilet, with white and blue tile flooring. She crouched down, the scrapes on her knees protesting as he checked under the sink cabinet where she found a kit. She grabbed it and hurried back, dropping the kit on the glass coffee table in front of the couch and opened it up. She pulled out a small pair of scissors and began cutting away the leg of Joseph’s slacks.

Joseph frowned watching her while she cut the cloth away and pulled it down his leg. She hissed when she saw the wound.

“That looks bad,” she said softly, finally looking at him.

Joseph smiled. “I’ve had worse--promise. Once it’s stitched up, it won’t be that bad.”

Harleen bit her bottom lip before she said softly. “I’ve never stitch a wound before.”

Joseph reached out and cupped her cheek. He was relieved when Harley leaned into his touch. He had been worrying he was about to lose her, but her willingness to let him touch her gave him hope that what they had wasn’t destroyed by who he really was. “I can do it. Why don’t you pour me a glass of bourbon?”

Harleen nodded and stood while Joseph leaned over for the kit. He pulled out some disinfectant and began to clean the wound, hissing in pain.

Harleen had walked over to the liquor cabinet and looked at the bottles of liquor with a frown. “I don’t know which one is bourbon,” she called out staring at the variety of bottles.

Joseph chuckled despite his pain. “Just pour a glass of whatever looks to be amber colored.”

Harleen glanced back at him with a frown then shrugged as she picked a pretty bottle and grabbed one of the glasses. In midstep away, she decided to grab one for herself and poured until both glasses were full enough that she would have to be extra careful carrying them over.

She carefully picked both glasses up and walked back over to Joseph, easing herself down on the couch beside him. She grimaced. The wound looked even worse with the blood cleaned away.

She felt a little nauseated looking at it, enough so that as soon as Joseph took his glass from her, she took a large swallow of her own, then gasped and coughed as it burned going down.

Joseph laughed taking a sip of his own before leaning over to set the glass down. “Careful there Harley.”

She coughed, wiping at the tears in her eyes and set her drink down. “Sorry, wasn’t expecting that....” She coughed again.

Joseph reached out and laid a hand against her back. “You all right?” he asked with concern though a laugh lingered in the tone of his voice.

She nodded swallowing. “What can I do to help?”

Joseph reached into his jacket’s inner pocket and pulled out a little baggy, not too unlike the ones he had given The Mick. “Just break off a corner of one of these. It’ll help with the pain before I start stitching.”

Harleen took the bag and saw the crystals inside were pure white. She delicately pulled one out, setting the bag aside to roll the star shaped crystal between her fingers before she carefully pressed a corner to her palm, snapping off one of the corners.

“Here.” She handed it to Joseph who took it and slid the corner under his tongue. He leaned over and took a quick sip of his drink before he leaned back against the couch. “Just takes a few seconds,” he murmured, closing his eyes.

Harleen nodded, watching him. He was so beautiful she thought, reaching out to stroke his cheek with her fingertips.

Joseph opened his eyes and smiled at her. “Still want to see me?”

Harleen nodded. “Of course I do.”

“Even though you now know I’m not just a professor of psychiatry?” he asked without moving.

Harleen leaned over and pressed a kiss to the side of his mouth. “Yes.”

Joseph grinned at her. “I’m a criminal on the side, I make and sell drugs. Not to children, mind you,” he added. “And I’ve killed people…” He added quietly. “I’ve done a lot of bad things Harley. I’m not a good man.”

Harleen frowned looking at her scraped up knees. “You’re not a rapist, right?”

Joseph looked offended. “No, of course not! I’ve never even had sex!”

Harleen lifted an amused brow at him, looking at him sidelong. “You haven’t?”

Joseph managed to blush while the drugs started to numb him a bit. “No, I’ve never met anyone until you that I even considered being with in that way.” His voice was quiet. “There’s only you.” Harleen smiled, her pleased blush causing her cheeks to turn a deeper red. She scooted closer, careful of his thigh, but she gently laid her hand against his throat and tugged him to her. She kissed him, just a press of her lips, but then her tongue slid into his mouth and she kissed him deeply. Joseph made a soft groan, reaching for her, his hand grasping her hip. She could taste the drug on his tongue, a mix of peppermint and vanilla.

Joseph pulled away from her lips reluctantly, laying his forehead against hers. “So, we’re still good?”

Harleen smiled, brushing the tip of her nose against his and whispered. “Yes, we’re still good. If you want, we can talk more later, but we should get that wound stitched up.”

Joseph grinned kissing the tip of her nose before letting her go. “Can you hand me one of those little packages of needles and the thread?”

Harleen turned, grabbed the first aid kit, and set it on her lap. She sanitized her hands with the hand sanitizer in the kit before handing the small bottle to Joseph, then she pulled out the hooked needle and the suture thread.

She handed them both to Joseph and watched as he quickly got the thread and needle ready. Harleen continued to watch in fascinated horror as he began to stitch up the wound. She felt a little lightheaded and maybe a little dopey, which she assumed had to be the drug that she had tasted on Joseph's tongue, but she couldn’t look away as he sewed himself up. She helped with the rest, cleaning and bandaging, but soon Joseph had gauze wrapped and taped around his thigh.

He sighed and muttered. “Fucking Russians.”

“What was that all about?” Harleen asked, taking a sip of her drink which still burned, but not nearly as much after she had taken five or six small sips--or maybe it was the drug humming gently in her system that had eased the pain or she might be getting drunk she reasoned. She felt slightly buzzed as well. Drugs and booze, Harleen. She smirked at herself.

Joseph sighed rubbing a hand down his face. “Another deal earlier on. The one that Sarah shot, I humiliated him in front of his boss after I told her to fuck off because I wasn’t interested in her.”

Harleen grinned at that, but asked softly. “So what happens now?”

Joseph shrugged. “It depends on whether their boss was aware they were after me, which I don’t think she would be. Their boss is a good customer and besides--she knows not cross me.”

The way Joseph said that last bit gave Harleen shivers, erotic shivers, but then Joseph asked. “How did you know where I was?”

Harleen blushed and rubbed her hands down her thighs to her knees, then yelped. The drugs in her system were not the full dose, the pain in her scraped knees was not completely numb.

Joseph looked down at her knees. “Damn...Here…” He grabbed the first aid kit off the table where Harleen had set it and pulled out the disinfectant. “What happened?” he asked while Harleen hissed softly when he started to clean her knees.

“I was following you on a scooter I stole...and took a turn too quickly,” Harleen said with embarrassment.

Joseph grinned at her. “You stole a scooter to follow me?”

She nodded, her ears burning with embarrassment. “Yeah...when you went to get our coffee your phone buzzed and I happened to look down and saw the text from White Rabbit...and her icon picture…” Harleen sighed as she continued. “I guess I was jealous…”

Joseph finished cleaning her knees. “You were? That’s why you were there? You committed a crime to follow me...” He said the last statement as if he were letting it sink in.

Harleen nodded. “Yeah...you mad?”

Joseph chuckled, which then turned into a full laugh. Harleen frowned, then glared at him. “What’s so funny?”

Joseph caught her face in his hands and whispered, though his blue eyes glimmered with pleasure. “I like that you were jealous enough to commit a crime and then follow me. I like that I mean that much to you.” He kissed her, and this time the kiss was more passionate, his tongue more demanding. He shifted his position to lie back against the arm of the couch, tugging Harleen with him. She went without resisting, laying her body against his, kissing him as if she needed him to help her breathe.

Joseph groaned. Any lingering pain that the drug didn’t fully dismiss was gone with Harley in his arms. He slid his hands down the arch of her back to her rear, which he grasped in his hands, pulling her close and making his groin ache for her. Everything about her drove him crazy, the scent of her hair, her skin, the taste of her mouth. He kept one hand on her rear, his other hand reaching up to cup the back of her head while deepening the kiss. He lost his fingers in the thick tangle of her blonde hair.