Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Ivy/Harley, mild Batman/Catwoman, past Joker/Harley
Challenge/Prompt: spook_me: Chosen Creature: Plant
Word Count: 3,662
Date Written: 11 October 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
She can never remember having a day like this. Before, in her solitary life as Doctor Pamela Isley, she was never close to anyone, not even her own parents. She never really had any friends and never went on a single date. She was overlooked by humans, and she almost preferred it that way. No matter how lonely she’d been, she’d always known that humanity could offer her nothing good, only heartache and destruction.
As Poison Ivy, she’d had plenty of dates. Men and women had come and gone from her arms and even her bedside, but none of them had ever left a mark, none of them save one. That one person in all the world is the reason for her undiluted joy today. She’s been happy all day along, since she awoke to Harley still being curled in her arms, throughout her work day, and now as she heads back home, whistling a bouncy tune while two miniature trees help her carry the few items she plundered today back home.
One of the trees carries several bags of fertilizer, but the bags the other tree carries are full of items Ivy never would have bought today. They’re sugary, sweet things, certain to rot her girlfriend’s teeth out, but Ivy knows how much Harls loves them. And then there are the toys, all kinds of toys from rubber chickens to magic cards and everything in between. Why, if someone was to see the assortment in anyone else’s clutches but her own, they’d surely think some lucky kid was getting a birthday party somewhere.
But she’s the lucky one, Ivy knows as she comes to a stop before her door. She’s the one who’s so incredibly lucky to have Harley wanting to stay with her for the rest of their lives. She had scarcely been able to believe her own ears when Harley had first told her last night that she didn’t want to return to Joker, that she was done with him at last, that she only wanted to be with Ivy from here on out. It had taken many tears and long hours of talking before Ivy had finally believed, but Harley had proved herself true, still laying in her arms this morning when Ivy had awakened.
“Harls!” Ivy calls out jubilantly. “I’m home!” She freezes in the stillness of her home and looks around at her greenhouse surroundings. There’s no television blaring or rock and roll music making her buds want to shrivel up within themselves. There’s no laughter. In fact, there’s no sound at all except for the distant sound of the traffic outside.
“Harley?” she calls again, stepping closer. A whimper suddenly pierces the air as Ivy’s boot steps on something. She looks down, backing away as she does so. Harley’s pet hyenas lay before her, both unconscious and bleeding profusely.
Ice inches its way across Ivy’s heart, clenching and unclenching. For a moment, she can’t breathe. Then she brings out her cell phone and starts punching numbers even as she runs from her home. “Selina, I need a favor,” she says immediately, not wasting a single word as her call is answered. “I know you don’t usually do dogs, but I need you to this time. For me. For Harley.”
Her voice wavers. She keeps clenching and unclenching her hands as she runs, but her human feet are taking too long to cover the miles. “Just come get her hyenas, please, and take them to the best vet. You know about those things better than I do. I’ll pay whatever it takes.” She hangs up without waiting for an answer, trusting her sometimes-friend, sometimes-enemy to come through for her this time, and calls on the friends upon whom she’s always been able to rely.
Civilians scream as the concrete highways split. Cars and people are swallowed into the earth. A barking dog suddenly silences. Ivy notices none of it. She just leaps on top of the enormous bulb that emerges from the ground and rides it straight to the Joker’s hideout. She doesn’t bother to go through the front door or waste her time with his little goons. She simply has a giant tree pluck the roof off of his club like a human might pluck a flower.
“JOKER!” she bellows, and the Earth trembles with her rage. “WHERE IS SHE?!”
For once, the clown is too shocked to crack a joke. “Wh-Where’s wh-who?” he sputters. “And what’s the meaning of all this?!” He waves at his men who can not seem to run fast enough as Harley’s plants pick them up and throw them miles away. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to get good help these days?!”
Ivy aims her wrist at the Clown King of Crime. A vine wraps around his pale neck and lifts him from the Earth. She pulls him up to her and only speaks again when he’s so close she can smell his odorous breath. “Where. Is. Harley?!” she demands through clenched teeth.
“I don’t know! She didn’t come home last night! It’s true what they say, isn’t it?!” he demands, his feet kicking helplessly in the empty, hot air as he tries to tear her vine’s grip from around his neck. “She’s been going to see you!”
“Oh, she’s been doing a lot more than seeing me,” Ivy snaps. “We’re going to build a life together -- “
“YOU’RE IN LOVE?!” He starts laughing, his feet still dangling. “HOO! HA! THAT’S RICH!”
With a flick of Ivy’s wrist, her vine slams the Joker down into the concrete, knocking him out instantly upon impact. Then her plants methodically tear apart his club, but Harley’s not to be seen. Ivy scours the city next, even managing to throw the little Bats who come to bother her far enough away that they can’t stop her search. No one can stop her as she tears Gotham apart building by building, but in the end, she’s still alone, just herself and her plants, with no sign of Harley anywhere.
She ends up going home alone and defeated that night and crying herself to sleep in her bed of vines and rose petals. The last thing she remembers is being stroked by one of her plants’ vines as she falls asleep. Sometime during the night, she’s awakened to a sound. At first, she thinks she hears Harley sobbing and crying out for help, but after a moment, she realizes that it’s her own unconscious sobs she hears. Her heart is broken, and it’s pouring out of her even in her sleep. Once again, her plant strokes her to sleep.
The next several days are a frenzied flurry of activity as Ivy continues tearing up everything in her path. Batman almost catches her, but she’s a woman driven by love and will not be stopped. The only thing that keeps her from letting her plants tear the Big, Bad Bat limb from limb is that Catwoman calls in the favor she owes her in exchange for the Caped Crusader’s life.
Ivy stares at her for a long moment at that time. Finally, she whispers in disbelief, “You really do love him, don’t you?”
Selina, her gloved hands around Batman’s bruised, bleeding, and unconscious face, responds, “We don’t choose who we fall in love with, no matter how hard we try.” Poison Ivy withdraws her plants and lets the Catwoman run with her Bat. Neither of them can be any help to her any way. No one’s seen Harley except for her, and the last time she saw her was when she left her the morning after Harley finally told her she wanted to stay.
Every night for Ivy ends the same way: alone and with tears, her only consolation the comfort of her plant friends. When she finally relinquishes her search for Harley, Ivy doesn’t want to do anything. She hasn’t eaten or drank anything in days. Day slips into night and night into day as she simply stays in her hammock, her vines stroking her the only movement in her home.
She sleeps in fits. Every time she closes her eyes, Harley is there. She can hear her crying out her name, hear her begging for her to come and rescue her, but every time she awakens, it’s only her own voice that’s been crying, only her own tears soaking her face. She’s still alone. Harley is gone, simply disappeared for as best she can tell, but she’s not coming back.
During one such time, Ivy awakes just in time to hear a snippet of another voice, or so she thinks. She catches her breath as she listens, but no other sound follows. The vines that have been stroking her wrap around her again, and Ivy realizes for the first time that these vines shouldn’t even exist. She looks to the tree in wide-eyed surprise, but the tree sways as she sings to her a comforting song. Her branches wrap around her this time, carrying her to the weeping willow’s bark, and Ivy lets herself be lulled back to sleep again.
The next time she awakes is to a gentle brushing across her swollen lips. She has to force her eyes to crack open. The willow turns a few of her branches, and droplets of fresh dew slide down her bark and into Ivy’s mouth. Then two branches crack open a third, and the plant feeds her mother some of her own chlorophyll. She pours dew and chlorophyll down Ivy’s throat until once again her mother sleeps, only this time more peacefully.
Someone does love you, the weeping willow whispers in her branches that can sing. I love you! Ivy spends days slipping in and out of consciousness, her tree and other plants caring for her. She wakes to crying again but this time realizes the sound is coming from her weeping willow. She reaches up and strokes the plant’s branches. The leaves press against her lips in a kiss, and Ivy holds to them as she drifts back asleep.
“RED! IVY! IVY, WAKE UP!”
Ivy’s eyes drift slowly open. She gazes through something that almost feels like a sticky film at Harley. Harley reaches for her, but vines wrap around the blonde’s legs and draw her back away from Ivy. “You’re not real,” Ivy whispers. “I’m just dreaming again.”
But I am real, the weeping willow sings to her, and I love you! She rocks her until Ivy falls back asleep yet again.
“You need to wake up. Catwoman told me she’s been calling you for days, and when she came to check on you, she could not budge you. Ivy, you need to wake up!”
Ivy’s eyes open just as Selina hisses and slices away vines that were wrapping around her. “DON’T HURT MY BABIES!” she screams at her. “I’LL STRIP THE FUR FROM EVERY CAT IN GOTHAM!”
“They’re hurting you,” Batman tells her, slicing through more vines as they try to reach him, “or, at least, this one is.”
Mother! MOTHER, THEY’RE HURTING ME!
“GET RID OF THEM!” Ivy orders her plants.
“IVY! IVY, LISTEN TO US! THEY’VE DONE SOMETHING WITH HARLEY -- “ Catwoman’s words are silenced by several branches of the weeping willow wrapping tightly around her mouth. Other trees march forward, take the Caped Crusader and his woman, who once Ivy had considered a friend, into their mighty limbs and heave them at the night sky. Ivy slips immediately back into unconsciousness.
But the next time she awakes, Ivy doesn’t open her eyes. She’s hearing something again now, a very familiar voice, a voice for which she’s yearned to hear. Her heartbeat quickens, but it’s late. All her plants are still, including her prized weeping willow who rocks her gently in her branches.
She knows this voice. Ivy presses her lips together more tightly, still not opening her mouth. The last few weeks are a blur. She barely remembers Batman and Catwoman coming here to try to warn her of . . . Of what? She searches her mind, but she can’t remember.
Still she hears the crying. She hears the sobs. She hears a sudden Thwack!ing sound, and the cries abruptly stop at which point Ivy’s eyes fly open. “Harley!” she cries out.
The weeping willow’s branches come toward her mouth, offering more water and fresh chlorophyll. Ivy pushes them away. “I KNOW WHAT I HEARD!” She leaps out of the willow’s branches and to the ground. She’s dizzy and disorientated. She tries to catch her bearings, but everything seems simultaneously twice the size it should be and so far, far away from her.
The world spins; Ivy feels like she’s spinning with it. The willow’s branches reach for her, offering comfort and nutrition. “Not now,” Ivy growls. A vine wraps around her waist. Ivy tries to shove it off, but it holds her tight. For the first time in her life, she looks in suspicion at a plant. “BOYS, HOLD HER BACK!”
The other trees move toward the willow. Ivy’s blue ribbon, giant Venus fly trap gnashes its mouth at the willow. The willow whips its branches and vines at the other plants, but while it’s busy fighting them, Ivy’s able to slip free of the vine holding her.
She slides smoothly and silently to the ground at the willow’s base, stopping right where her roots sink into the lush, green ground, and what she sees there, almost crushed beneath one set of roots, makes Ivy’s green blood run red with rage and hatred. She tries to speak, but she can’t form words. A vine whips at her. She catches it, rips it in two with her gloved hands, and runs forward. She dives underneath the roots, barely being missed by other vines reaching for her. They tangle with one another behind her.
The willow works to tear her roots free from the ground, but Ivy works more quickly, pulling Harley free and running with her away from the willow and toward her other plants. The trees block the willow’s pathway, buying them time. Ivy looks wildly around her greenhouse home as Harley clings to her. Her green eyes rake quickly over the items she has, dismissing them one by one as either being of absolutely no use or, as in her fertilizer’s case, being too easily able to cause a fire that her other plants will never survive.
She places Harley on the ground, but Harley grabs her legs and almost knocks her down with her. “Don’t leave me,” she begs, and Ivy’s heart aches as she sees the holes on Harley’s mouth that have been made by thorns. Thorns that a willow would never have and could only have taken from some of Ivy’s other plants.
“I have to,” she says, struggling to break free of Harley’s hold. “I have to get rid of that thing!”
A sudden, buzzing sound makes both women look up. Catwoman smiles sinisterly in the shadows. “I wondered when you’d come around.”
“You didn’t give up on me -- “ Ivy starts in surprise.
“We’re about the best friends either of us will ever have,” Selina returns, “other than our chosen children.”
“BABIES!” Harley cries.
Ivy frowns, looking down at her girlfriend, but just then, the hyenas lumber forward. They run immediately to their mistress and start bathing her in salivating, dog kisses. Both Ivy and Catwoman make disgusted faces. “YUCK!”
Ivy looks up and across at the Cat. She grins, her own pain and weakness forgotten. “Maybe you’re right.”
“‘Course I’m right.” Catwoman tosses the chainsaw to Ivy, who catches it without hesitation. She’s never cut a plant in all her life, but this one’s going to die.
Her trees scream behind her. Ivy turns swiftly just in time to see two of them collapse. She raises the chainsaw above her head and makes it buzz, long and loud. “Mama’s coming, bitch!”
The hyenas leap in front of Harley, the fur on their spotted backs rising. The black cat perched on Catwoman’s shoulders yowls. Catwoman leaps forward and lands next to Ivy.
“Make way!” Ivy calls to her plants. “This bitch is mine!” The remaining trees, the flowers, even the Venus flytrap who has a hunger now for willow tree move obediently out of Ivy’s pathway.
The weeping willow sings again as nothing remains between her and Ivy. I am yours. You are mine.
Ivy vaguely recalls the song from her times slipping in and out of consciousness. She runs forward, making the chainsaw buzz as loud as it can and drown out the tree’s words. Vines and branches reach for her body, but she cuts each of them away, not giving Catwoman or her plants a chance to help. Within seconds, she’s cut the bitch down to size. The Venus flytrap moves forward, hurriedly and hungrily eating the bits of willow tree that now litter the ground.
Ivy turns off the chainsaw and looks at the destruction all around her. Now, in the quiet, she can hear more cries. She runs to them and sees that her roses are trampled and torn, their own thorns missing. She caresses them and instructs the trees who remain to bring fresh fertilizer and water to them. One red rose crawls up into Ivy’s hand, carrying a bit of soil with her.
Ivy turns and runs back to Harley. “You’ve been there the whole time, haven’t you?!” she cries.
Harley nods her head miserably. Her arms are around her hyenas, but she lifts them now to Ivy. Ivy drops onto the ground beside her. The rose, with her bit of soil, moves onto Harley’s stomach and lays her soft, little bud on her chest. Ivy and Harley hug tightly around her, but each is careful not to crush the plant. Ivy kisses Harley all over her face but chooses to avoid her lips, which are still torn and bleeding. She tries, instead, to kiss her between the scars on her face, scars that are not the Joker’s fault but her own.
Tears fall from her green eyes as she spots more and more of the injuries her stupid willow tree put on her beloved Harley. At last, she looks away. “Maybe you were safer with him after all,” she whispers hoarsely, her voice near a whimper.
The hyenas yelp. Cats growl. Ivy looks up, half expecting to somehow see the willow pulling itself back together. Harley reaches out, grasps her face tenderly in her hands, and turns it to face her. “No,” she vows. “This wasn’t your fault! You actually killed one of your babies for me! This was that plant’s doing, not yours!”
“But if it hadn’t been for me -- “
“Red,” Harley growls, “shut up and kiss me! I’ve been through enough crap! I’m not going back to Joker ever! It’s you I love!”
Tears continue to slip down Ivy’s pale face, but she does as her girlfriend commands, shutting up and kissing her. At first, her lips on Harley’s are as soft as her rose petals, but then Harley deepens the kiss, slipping her tongue into Ivy’s mouth and pulling her in for more passion.
Behind them, the animals begin to settle. “I’ll leave you two alone.”
Ivy breaks off her kiss and looks back at Catwoman. “Thank you,” she says meaningfully.
Selina nods. “You’re welcome. We’re even now.”
“No.” Ivy smirks. “I owe you again.”
“In a perfect world,” Harley comments, “friends would just do things for each other.”
Catwoman smirks teasingly as she glances over at the injured blonde who’s clearly stronger than she’s ever before thought her to survive all that she has, both while loving Ivy and loving that madman, the Joker. She considers her own history for a moment as another cat leaps on top of her shoulders and other felines twine in and out of her costumed legs. Maybe love does make them stronger after all. “But this isn’t a perfect world, kiddo,” she says aloud. Isis mews next to her ear and bumps her head against her mistress’ cheek. Selina reaches up and scratches her head.
“No,” Ivy agrees and then, after only another moment’s hesitation, she asks, “Do you really love the Bat?”
“Hmph. Yeah. For better or for worse, I do.” Then, before they can ask anything else of her, the Catwoman and her cats merge with the shadows and are gone.
“For better or for worse,” Harley repeats thoughtfully, leaning up and wrapping her arms around Ivy. “That’s us.”
Before Ivy can respond, one of Harley’s hyenas licks her face. “YUCK!” Laughing, she admits, “Yeah, I guess it is, but keep your doggie kisses to your beasts, okay?”
“You betcha. After all, the only thing I want on your lips,” her lover declares, “is mine.” She pulls her down, kissing her again long and deep, and once more, in her arms, Ivy feels more joy than she ever has before.
Later that night, with her arms still wrapped around Harley and Harley’s blonde head resting on her shoulder, Ivy whispers, squeezing her as she does so, “Never leave me again, okay, Harls?”
“I already told you, Red: I won’t.” She yawns, long and loud. One of her hyenas grunts in his sleep, and a breeze whistles through Ivy’s treetops. “For better or for worse, you’re stuck with me.”
“Good.” She pulls her closer to her still. “I want to be stuck with you. I . . . I love you, Harley.”
“I love you too, Red.” Harley curls closer to her and falls asleep. Ivy turns her head and watches Harley’s face until her eyes finally drift closed. And then, in the silence and still of the greenhouse where not a soul is watching, a vine slips away into the shadows. If anybody was still awake, they could hear a tiny voice singing. One day, it will be just you and me, Mommy.