Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Bruce/Selina, past Joker/Harley, Ivy
Challenge/Prompt: whatif_au 14: Fusion
Word Count: 3,880
Date Written: 16 May 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
Author's Note: Thanks to our delightful mod, brumeier, for allowing me to make one of my fused fandoms comic books! But, hey, guess what? It wasn't X-Men after all! Thanks too, dear mod, for this challenge; this is the most fun I've had penning a story in quite some time!!
Selina scowled at her younger sister as they headed across the busy parking lot. Her arms were loaded with bags of groceries and other needed items while her sister skipped empty-armed next to her. “Harley,” she hissed, clearly irritated, “you’re talking crap.”
“No, I’m not. Look, sis,” the blonde argued with a carefree shrug of her slender shoulders, “I know you don’t believe in things you can’t see, but you can’t tell me you haven’t noticed some things changing over the last couple of days.”
“Of course my life has changed since you moved back from New York. It’s become even more hectic, and just like before, I’m having to worry about you sponging off of Ivy and me.”
Harley stopped, her face falling into a pout. “I’m not a sponge.”
“Yes, you are, Harls. You’re a damn leech. You always come running home any time things go wrong, and you never lift a finger at the house. You don’t get a job. I don’t know how in the world you do make it on your own when you’re not with us. But Grams is dead. You’re not getting a free ride this time.” Selina’s emerald eyes narrowed, and Harley could almost see a tail sweeping out from her sister’s behind and swishing with her irritation. Selina had always reminded her of a cat.
“I’ll get a job,” Harley grumbled, “if that’s what you want.”
“Yeah, right.” Selina turned her back on her sister and started unloading the bags into her sleek, black automobile. “Grams bought into your lies, Harl. Ivy might too. But I’m not an easy mark.”
“I’m not asking you to be a mark! I’m not even asking you to trust me or believe in me!” Harley exclaimed, tears beginning to well in her big, blue eyes. “I’m just asking you to open your eyes and admit that things have been different for us lately! Weird even.”
“Things have always been weird for us compared to normal families,” Selina retorted, and again Harley could practically see a tail waving and jerking with her fury. “You don’t get to be normal when you’re raised by two of the most renowned female criminals in the States!” she hissed. Oh, what she wouldn’t have given to have been normal at one time in her life, but normalcy was not something that had ever really been known in the Halliwell household.
“Selina, you know what I mean! Yes, things have never been normal for us, but they’ve been even more weird lately! Haven’t you seen the way Ivy’s plants are literally trailing around behind her in the house now?! And don’t tell me you didn’t want Kit to slap me this morning! I’ve always gotten along with him!” Harley pouted. “Isis is yours, yes, I know. I don’t expect to get along with her. But he slapped me for no reason!”
“He slapped you, because you were being dumb like now!”
“He slapped me, because you were irritated with me! Whatever’s happening to us -- It’s linked into our emotions somehow.”
“Oh, so now you’re saying,” Selina demanded, whirling on her irritating baby sister, “that every time I’m annoyed by you, a cat’s going to slap you? Harley, listen to yourself! You’re speaking complete bull--” She stopped, realizing they were drawing several curious looks from passersby. Her voice dropped to a hissed whisper as she accused, “Even you’re smarter than this!”
“I’m not a dummy!” Harley exclaimed, folding her arms before her ample chest. “You and Ivy always act like you got all the brains in this family, but you didn’t even graduate college, Selina!”
“Yeah, I didn’t graduate college! I dropped out to help Grams take care of the two of you!” Selina’s eyes narrowed to dangerous slits. She would have already attacked any other woman and had her sharp fingernails scratching her face.
But Harley persisted. “We never asked you to take care of us! You dropped out because you couldn’t handle going to college and taking care of Mom’s side of the family business after her death!”
“Don’t talk about Mom like that -- “
“Why shouldn’t I?! I never really got to know her! She was in prison for most of my life!”
“She was in prison because she got caught robbing a bank for an operation you had when you were little! Except of course you don’t remember that, do you?!” Selina snarled. “You never remember anything you do wrong!”
“Of course I do!” Harley exclaimed, noting the cats that were beginning to pad closer to them from all directions in the parking lot. “But I’m not wrong about this!”
“You’re as crazy as you’ve ever been!”
“I’m not crazy!” Harley pouted. “I’m a little . . . different than others, yeah, maybe, and maybe I don’t always use the best judgment, but I’m not crazy! Not any more than you are for filling our home with cats -- “
“At least they contribute something!”
“ -- or Ivy is for talking to her plants!” Harley’s eyes lit up with sudden inspiration. “Or you are for never being able to say no to Bruce!”
“Don’t you dare bring Bruce into this!”
“Why shouldn’t I? Isn’t he the real reason why you have such an issue with being a criminal?! His daddy was such a big cop before he and his wife were killed. But then you know all about that, don’t you? How many nights did Brucie cry on your shoulder, Sel? Do you know he’s a cop now? Of course you do! You never bothered to move away from home!”
Selina’s hands balled into fists at her sides. “Harley,” she growled in warning, “if you weren’t my sister -- “
“OW!” Harley cried out suddenly, jumping forward as two cats retracted their claws with matching, angry hisses behind her. She reached down and gingerly rubbed the two bloody spots on her ankles.
Selina watched her sister with wide eyes. Then she looked down at the cats. “Did you just -- “ she started to ask as though expecting them to answer.
“Yes,” Harley cried, limping toward the car, “they did! At least I’ve proved my point!”
Something shifted in the parking lot just then. It was something unseen, but something Selina felt instantly as did the cats now surrounding them. The fur on the felines’ arching backs stood on end. Several raised a claw but didn’t know who to slap. The hair on the backs of Selina’s neck and arms stood equally on end. She raised her head, her green eyes quickly and intently scanning the parking lot.
“Harley -- “
“Harley -- “
“Harley -- “
The menacing voice echoed her sister’s name from all directions at once. Most of the other customers who had previously filled the bustling parking lot were suddenly gone. Only Selina, Harley, the cats, a clerk pushing buggies, and a few other customers remained. “Selina?” Harley called worriedly as the wind whipped up.
“Get in the car, Harls,” Selina snapped, shutting the trunk. She looked around them again. Eerie laughter circled them and yet seemed to come both from nowhere and everywhere at once. “Get in the car!” She hurried to the driver’s side, but as she opened the door, several of the cats leapt into her car.
The few other customers started to turn toward them, but there was something wrong with their faces. They were twisted and paled, their lips contorted into giant, blood red grins. “Get in the car!” Selina hissed again. The rest of the cats leapt into the automobile without complaint or hesitation. She jumped in right behind them, popped open Harley’s door, and yanked her sister into the car. “Button up!” she called to her over the strange, eerie laughter and the cats’ mews.
Harley did so with shaking hands. Selina started the car. The clerk with the buggies toward them. Harley screamed. Selina gasped. Cats yowled. The clerk shoved the buggies at Selina’s car, but Selina took off, ramming the buggies out of her way and not caring where the shopping carts went or who they hit. The clerked called after them, “I’m coming for you, Harley!”
Selina floored the adrenaline pedal. The cats yowled as they dug their claws into her fine, leather upholstery and held on for dear life. Even Harley clutched her seat as her big sister fumed at her, “What the Hell have you gotten us into now, Harls?!”
“Selina, I know that voice!”
“I know you know that voice! What have you done?!”
“I don’t know how,” Harley cried, close to sobbing, “but that’s Mister J’s voice!”
“You remember I told Ivy I was going to get married earlier this year! I know she told you! You two are always talking about me, and I know you were thrilled when my engagement fell through!”
“I wasn’t thrilled,” Selina bit back, taking a turn on two wheels, “but you should have known better than to agree to marry a guy who only let you call him Mister J any way!”
“Everybody called him Mister J except me! I called him pumpkin!”
Selina rolled her eyes. “I never did like pumpkin pie,” she fumed, and a cat’s tail swished right in front of Harley’s face.
“I never did like cats’ butts in my face either, but it’s something I learned to live with! But I loved him, Selina! I really did! But something happened to him! Something changed him!”
“No, Harls,” Selina hissed, her car’s tires screeching as she pulled to an abrupt stop in front of their home, “you just finally saw him for the jerk he really was! You always did have poor taste in guys! No wonder you were always stealing Ivy’s and my men!”
“I never stole Bruce!” Harley argued.
“He never let you steal him!” Selina glanced up and down their street as she popped her car door open and jumped out. “Everybody inside now!” It was a wonder Bruce or one of his deputies had not caught sight of them speeding, but no one was following them. She tried to calm her swiftly pounding heart and took a deep breath.
An old woman down the street looked up. Selina’s heart nearly stopped in her chest as she saw the pale, Demonic look on the old woman’s face. “Harley -- “
“Harley -- “ a new mother on the other side of the road called.
Selina couldn’t see her face, but she spoke with the same voice as the rest. “Get inside!” she hissed at Harley who was just coming around the car. She reached out, grabbed her sister’s arm, and shoved her toward the door. With her other hand, she shut her car door behind the last of the new cats.
Harley hurried toward the front door. The mother shoved her baby in his carriage out into the road. It sped across the street, right in front of and by a truck. The carriage’s front wheels hit the sidewalk, and the baby toppled out of the carriage. Selina barely stopped herself from racing after the baby who pushed himself up on pudgy elbows and knees, smacked his pacifier out of his bleeding lips, and looked up at Selina. “You can’t save her this time, Selina,” that same, eerie voice taunted her.
“The Hell I can’t!” Selina snapped. She raced behind her cats and was shocked to see the two potted trees beside the front door literally holding the door open for her. Her eyes grew as round as saucers at the sight, but she didn’t pause as she ran into the house. Instead she mewled loudly, calling her cats to her and making certain everyone had made it inside.
“The Book!” Harley cried out, running for the attic. “We need the Book!”
“The Book’s not going to save you! That’s just a bunch of fabricated stories Grams was working on!”
“They’re not stories!”
As Harley disappeared up the stairs, Ivy came into the room. Selina tried not to gawk at the way vines were literally draping over her sister’s partially naked body. Thin leaves from a willow tree massaged Ivy’s bare shoulders, and her sister’s skin looked seriously green. Before Selina could voice any of the questions whirling through her mind, however, Ivy dropped the apple she was munching and cried out, “Selina, get down!”
She leapt through the air, but it was more than just Ivy who tackled Selina to the floor. Vines held them both down as bullets soared over them. Cats mewled and yowled, but nobody screamed. It was the only way Selina knew none of her babies had been hit.
She looked up as she heard a strange, ripping sound that almost resembled a scream. She realized, from the horrified look on her sister’s face, that one of Ivy’s plants had been hit. But their foot door was thrown open just then and a clown dressed in purple and holding a machine gun walked into the room.
Selina screamed and her cats yowled as the clown sprayed the room with bullets again. Ivy stood, even with Selina trying to jerk her sister back down, and held her hands out before her. A wall of some kind of strange, curving bark appeared between them and the clown. The tree caught the clown’s bullets and threw them back at him, but somehow the clown kept coming.
“Harley, Harley, Harley,” he called. “This doesn’t have to end this way! We don’t have to end this way, sweetums!”
“YOU SHOT AT MY SISTERS!” Harley cried, appearing at the top of the stairs.
“HARLEY, GET DOWN!” Selina hissed. She rolled to her feet and realized that the tree’s bark was somehow strong enough to keep the bullets from hitting them but also strangely translucent, allowing them to see what was happening. Selina meowed, and all her cats came running to her at once as Ivy’s plants gathered around her.
“BUT I DIDN’T SHOOT THEM!” Mister J pointed out.
“IT WASN’T FOR LACK OF TRYING!” Ivy retorted. “HARLEY,” she tried to tell her sister, “THIS MAN ISN’T GOOD FOR YOU!”
“I know that,” Harley said quietly. She leapt into the air, wrapped her arms around her legs, and dropped speedily toward them. She uncoiled just as she neared them and made a perfect landing on her bare feet on their moss-covered floor. “I’ve been knowing that,” she admitted in a hushed, emotional voice, “ever since he didn’t want me to come to Grams’ funeral.”
The clown began to laugh. His eerie laughter seemed to surround them. “If I could only get that gun,” Harley muttered which made Selina look at her even more strangely.
Two of Ivy’s vines whipped out simultaneously. One snapped the clown’s stomach, knocking him backwards with such momentum that he dropped the machine gun. The other vine grabbed the gun, swept back behind Ivy’s tree barrier, and handed it up to Harley.
“Hmph. Good vine,” Harley approved, stroking the vine as she took the gun from it.
Selina watched her baby sister through widening, emerald green eyes. Harley raised the gun and leveled it at her ex-fiance. The clown seemed to be genuinely afraid as Harley’s finger went for the trigger. “Oh, come on, schnookums, I was just playing!”
“You don’t play with my sisters like that!” she snapped, but before she could pull the trigger, Selina reached out and laid a calming, comforting hand on Harley’s thin shoulder.
“We’re thieves,” she told her, “but we’re not murderers, Harls.”
“He would have killed us! He still will if he gets the chance!”
“Then we don’t give him the chance!” Ivy motioned with her hands through the air. The floor beneath the clown erupted. Enormous limbs came from the ancient, oak tree in their backyard, lifted through the cracking floor, and encircled the clown who most certainly wasn’t laughing now.
“Oh, come on, Harley! Don’t be a spoilsport!”
“You tried to keep me away from my family -- “
The clown suddenly started to laugh again. He laughed so hard that he wiped literal tears from his ugly, pale, and twisted face. “Is that what you thought?” he finally asked. “Is that really what you thought? Harley, honey, I wanted you to come home! I just wanted you to wait for when the time was right!”
“So you could get the power,” Harley whispered, suddenly understanding. “So you could get our power!”
“Harley, what -- “ Selina could hear sirens now and realized that her on-again, off-again lover was on his way. She wasn’t at all certain, however, that the law could handle this lunatic!
“I know you think I’m crazy, Sel,” Harley whispered, her eyes dropping to the floor. It was only then that Selina realized she had brought their grandmother’s old book with them. Harley bent and lifted the book. “But we really have nothing to lose now, do we?”
“I -- “ Selina was set to argue, but as she looked into her younger sister’s big, pleading eyes, that argument died in her throat. “Okay,” she whispered hoarsely instead. “Okay.” She nodded. “What do we do?”
“Just read this spell with me,” Harley said, indicating the page.
“Harley, spells aren’t -- “
“They’re not real,” Selina agreed with Ivy. “But if we read it and nothing happens, she’ll let it go, right, Harls?”
Harley bobbed her head in agreement, her blonde pigtails bouncing on either side of her head. Ivy sighed. “Okay,” she relented. The clown was again struggling in the grasp of the ancient tree limbs holding him. Ivy curled her fingers and thumb into a tight fist, and the tree held him so tightly that its grip busted a couple of ribs.
Selina helped Harley to hold the book, and the three sisters read the page together, “The power of three will set us free. The power of three will set us free. The power of three will set us free.”
As they finished and nothing happened, Selina smirked down at her little sister. “There, Harls, see? It’s just a bunch of fairy tale bull -- “
The anguished scream that poured from the clown’s mouth silenced Selina. Cats mewed, and some of Ivy’s plants drew closer around their mistress. The clown shook violently as something akin to a dark and billowing smoke erupted from him. They watched as he shook and twisted and the black smoke lifted from him. The smoke itself seemed to howl as he blasted a hole through their roof and was gone. Selina stared and slowly, slowly blinked.
“See?” Harley asked her. “Not such a bunch of bull after all, is it?” Her grin was wide and bright.
Just then their front door was kicked in. Two cops, their guns at the ready, slowly edged into the living room. Harley quickly slid their grandmother’s book behind them, and Ivy vines hid it well. Cats scattered, and the clown inside Ivy’s tree limb groaned.
Selina almost laughed aloud at the way Bruce’s jaw dropped open. “Holy -- “ his partner spoke slowly. “Holy trees in the living room!”
“There was a little accident,” Selina started, coming forward as Ivy’s plants withdrew. The limbs opened. Bruce glanced at the man dressed in purple and recognized his face instantly. “Arrest him, Dick.”
As his younger partner made the arrest, Bruce turned to Selina. “I’d say there was more than a little accident,” he started.
“There was,” Selina nodded, “but we’re okay.”
Bruce slid his gun into his holster and took her hands in his. He gazed intently into her eyes as he asked softly, “Are you sure?”
She smiled and was startled to hear herself beginning to purr. She stopped the sound immediately. “Yes,” she enthused, “now and thanks in large part to Ivy’s quick thinking and the chemicals she used to control the plants.”
Bruce looked around them and wondered how on Earth the old house was even still standing. “That . . . makes sense, I suppose.”
“But you can’t mention the chemicals to anybody,” Selina spoke quickly. At Bruce’s questioning look, she explained, “She doesn’t have them patented yet.”
“Was that what he was after?”
“No. Harley broke his heart up in New York.”
“That’s why he was leaving that trail of bodies coming this way. Do you girls know how lucky you were?” he questioned. “They call him the Laughing Killer.”
Selina looked over at her sisters. Harley blushed. Selina’s green eyes widened as she saw the blonde hand one of Ivy’s plants the machine gun behind her back. The plant slithered away with it as Ivy and Harley watched Bruce and Selina and Dick escorted the Laughing Killer to the police car. Selina also noted that the change in Ivy’s skin had not been a trick of the light; her skin really had turned green! “I know,” she said slowly, allowing herself to smile like the cat who had licked up the last bit of cream, “that I’m very lucky to have those two as my sisters.” She looked back at Bruce, and this time, she did purr as she added, “And to have you in my life.”
She leaned up and kissed, and although for a moment Bruce allowed himself to succumb to the passion that had always been between them, he knew he was on duty and that there was much more to this situation than met the eye. Slowly, regretfully, he forced himself to pull away. “Selina,” he breathed breathlessly against her smiling, curled lips, his forehead resting against hers. He shook himself slowly, forcing himself to return to his duty-oriented mindset. “Just be careful, okay?”
She winked at him and smiled her Cheshire Cat grin. “Always.”
Bruce withdrew from her charms. “We’ll have to have you girls come down to the station,” he said as Dick stepped back into the living room.
“Oh, I don’t think that will be necessary,” Ivy spoke up, coming toward them.
“Hey, why’s your skin -- “ Dick started to ask, but the redhead smiled as her vines, moving across the ceiling, dumped an entirely different chemical onto them.
“You have our statements already,” Ivy told them, “and you don’t need anything more from us. You’re only thankful noone was hurt, and you, Bruce, are especially thankful that Selina wasn’t hurt.”
His smile was truthful as he turned, as though almost in a daze, to walk out from the Halliwell Manor. “No one was hurt,” he intoned, “thank God.”
Behind him, Ivy giggled. “More like thank Goddess,” she said, but the men didn’t hear her.
“We have everything we need,” Bruce’s voice trailed back to them.
Ivy smiled and, with a gesture of her green wrist, a vine shut the door behind them as the officers walked away.
“Well?” Harley demanded, skipping up to join Ivy and Selina at the door. “What did I tell you girls?”
“Our lives are about to get a lot stranger from here on out,” Ivy mused, moving forward to check on her babies and heal them where she could.
Selina scooped and stroked the furry heads of the cats twisting and mewing about her ankles. “But maybe it won’t be an altogether bad thing.” She thought of Bruce again and couldn’t help the deep purr that emitted from her.
“No,” Harley agreed, grinning and looking around at her reunited family, “I don’t think it’s going to be a bad thing at all! I think you might even say we’re charmed!” She laughed.