Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Catwoman/Ivy, past Batman/Catwoman, past Harley/Ivy
Rating: Soft R/M
Challenge/Prompt: femslash100100 Alphabet Soup: 23. Wanton
Word Count: 1,873
Date Written: 18 June 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
She’s swinging fast through the city when she drops down in between two alleys. She only intends to stay there for a second, but there’s a scent on the night wind that makes her head snap up and sets her emerald eyes and instincts onto immediate attention. “Ivy?” she asks uncertainly, turning swiftly around and dropping into a battle stance. The newborn kitten nestled between her breasts mews hungrily.
The redhead emerges from the shadows. Selina blinks, at first uncertain as to what she’s seeing. Ivy looks paler than she has in a long time, and there are no mistaking the tears in her deep, green eyes. There’s also no mistaking the fact that she’s completely naked, the vines and flowers that usually adorn her body withered to almost nothing.
Selina blinks again. Men would rush into Poison Ivy’s arms right now. They’d see only a naked, wanton, and beautiful woman who desperately needs attention, but Selina sees much more. She sees a friend who’s almost dead, a friend who is so close to death Sel isn’t sure she wants to be saved, and yet she remembers every time this same friend seemed so full of life and essence. In an instant, Selina understands what’s happened: The bud Ivy toiled so hard and so long over has finally snapped back.
She sighs, straightens, and gently strokes the black head of the kitten where it’s sticking up out of her jumpsuit. “It’s Harley, isn’t it?” she asks.
“It could be you,” Ivy says, her voice barely audible and wafting in and out as though she’s a flower herself, turning with each change of the wind. She’s not certain which way the wind is turning tonight, but Selina knows three things immediately. She can’t take advantage of Ivy like this; that will never be her style, regardless of the fact that there were so many times that they almost came together while caring for that clown. She’s glad she cut out of that family scene. She’d known then that nothing good could come from it, and poor Ivy is living -- barely -- proof that she was right. She hates being right sometimes.
She knows that there is only one thing that could have taken this toll on her friend, and she knows, too, that Ivy will finish deteriorating if she leaves her here tonight. Batman’s fast on her trail after finding those young punks the way she left them when she discovered what they’d done to the mother of the baby even now mewing against her breast. He has good intentions, but he’ll never understand why Ivy needs. Arkham would finish her off on a night like tonight with ease. So would the Bat.
Which means Selina has very little choice other than to take her with her. “It is me,” she snaps, ignoring Ivy’s double entendre. “And it’s you, after Harley’s finally had her fun. I told you that kid was trouble.”
“Poisoned apples sometimes fall far from the tree,” Ivy says, her voice lilting again. Her body weaves from side to side until Selina reaches out, grabs her bare shoulders, and steadies her.
“Listen to me, Ivy,” she snarls, feeling the Bat’s inevitable arrival upon them. “This isn’t you, and I don’t have time for this. The little one needs to eat,” she says, jerking her head down toward the kitten in her cleavage, “but I can’t leave you here either. Come on.” She grabs her hand, entwining their fingers quickly, and starts to snake her grappling hook back out.
Then she stops and looks again at Ivy. “Shit,” she hisses. The hook isn’t going to work. If she tries to fly with her, Ivy will fall. She’s not going to be able to hold on tonight. “You’re both lucky I’ve got a soft spot for orphans,” she growls and tucks quickly around Ivy. Her hands jab gently at the backs of the redhead’s knees, and when she falls, Selina catches her quickly.
She runs as fast as she can from the alley, pausing only when she feels a certain, bat-shaped silhouette sweep over the top of them. Ivy starts to say something. Selina covers her mouth and ducks into another alley, one which she’d passed by earlier. She’s doubling back on her route but on foot this time. The Bat won’t think to look down. He’s to used to chasing her across the rooftops.
She uses it to her advantage, cutting back through the city and then darting off in a new direction. Ivy’s murmuring words Selina can’t quite make out, and she doesn’t try. The kitten’s hungry mews make a lot more sense than Ivy ever will when she’s like this. She breathes a sigh of relief when she finally comes through the back door of her current hideaway. She’s lived in far posher places than this, but for the first time all week, she’s glad it’s just an old animal shelter that was closed years ago. She would have hated to have had to climb into a window with Ivy still in her arms.
As it is, she cuts her way quickly to the bathroom and unceremoniously drops the Plant Goddess into the tub. She shoves the stopper into the hole and starts the water running. Ivy’s singing now in an eerie, weak voice. The words sound Celtic, but Selina can’t quite make them out. Nor does she give herself time to try as she runs back to the kitchen.
She’s opened the refrigerator and is standing, staring at its meager contents when she feels eyes glaring down her back. “You’re not the Bat,” she snaps, “no matter how hard you glare, and I don’t have to answer to you or to him.”
Isis leaps down from the kitchen table and curls around her mistress’ black leather boots. She arches her back against her leather and rubs across her ankles. “Yeah, yeah. I know you’re only worried about me. Don’t be. You know I’ve got a thing for strays. That’s all.”
Isis and Diana both meow this time as if on cue. Selina rolls her eyes. “Don’t give me that,” she says, and then she remembers one of her latest pick ups. “Where’s Duchess and her brood?” she asks. The cat in question is a purebred she’d found out on the streets a week before, but her litter of ragtag kittens makes it obvious that she mated with an alley cat.
Diana meows again and streaks toward the living room. Selina follows and quickly finds Duchess nursing in an old, cardboard box. “Remember that favor I told you I was going to ask?” she asks, scooping the kitten out of her top. “This is it.” She sticks the baby into the box and breathes an audible sigh of relief when the mother cat licks his head and then lets him begin to nurse along with her babies.
“For once, it’s a good thing we’ve got a brood. Good girls,” Sel acknowledges, stroking Duchess’ and Diana’s heads. She hears a yowl and runs back toward the bathroom. Two tabbies streak between her long legs as she enters and sees the water about to come over the edge of the tub. She reaches down, turns it off, and splashes water onto Ivy’s barely conscious face.
Sighing, she stoops down next to her and begins to wash the water over Ivy’s weak body. “You really let her do a number on you, Red.”
This time she’s able to clearly make out Poison Ivy’s hollow-sounding words, although she wishes a second later that she wasn’t. “Love really does a number on its victims, Selina. We know that more than most. How many times has the Bat left you near to death?”
Or left me in Arkham or left me surrounded by the enemy while he went off to rescue some weaker dame? She remembers every time Batman, both as the Caped Crusader and as Bruce Wayne, has ever left her or abandoned her or otherwise brought her harm. And she remembers, with no small amount of shame, the times he’s left her in such a shape that she’s wished she was dead. She can’t blame Ivy for letting Harley take such a toll on her, not really. She knows how much she cared for the kid. She breathed her own life into her every time she saved her from the Joker, and Selina saw some of those, though not hardly all, with her own eyes.
And she has seen, up close also, what a beautiful, giving woman Poison Ivy can be. She is full of life, and like herself, though she strains to act and speak otherwise, she is full of care. That care has come back to bite her in the tail, as it so often has with Selina. Selina hangs her head, sighs, and runs more water over Ivy’s body. “It’s all right, Red. We’ll get you through this. Some water and a little sunshine, and you’ll be as good as new.”
Ivy reaches up and grasps Selina’s hand. Their eyes meet. It’s going to take a lot more than just water, sunshine, and fertilizer to make Ivy whole this time. They both know it, but neither speaks it. Instead Ivy simply whispers, as weak as the tiny kittens now feeding off of Duchess, “Thank you.”
“That’s what friends are for,” Selina whispers in response, aware both that she has too few friends to ever want to lose one and that there have been so many times in their past when Ivy and she have come close to becoming more than friends. Hell, Harley was the reason they pulled away more times than anything else. Harley’s the reason she left their little makeshift family when she could feel herself wanting more with Ivy than just being the clown’s parents. And Harley is the reason why Ivy is almost dead now.
“You’re not going anywhere, Red,” Selina whispers, her voice made thick and husky with emotions, not the least of which is regret she will never voice. “Just lay back. I’ve got you.”
Ivy does so with a groan, tilting her head all the way back over the end of the tub. Selina stays beside on her knees, scooping water up in her gloved hands and washing it over Ivy, who needs it as much as humans need oxygen. Chlorophyll crosses her mind, and Sel wonders idly where she could obtain some.
Her next thought almost stops her in her tracks as she wonders who, if anybody, would ever take this same kind of care with her. Ivy’s rescued Harley more than once, but would she ever do the same for her? She already knows, too clearly and too painfully, how much she can not trust Bruce. Arizona’s long gone, and normally, it’s just Sel and her cats.
Two felines twine around Selina’s ankles. She looks down at them and smiles through her unshed tears. With her free hand, she takes turns stroking Diana and Isis, the two most loyal and loving beings she’s ever known. “Yeah,” she whispers, “I know you’ve got me.” She looks back up at Ivy, who is now fast asleep. “And I’ve got you, Red, for better or worse.”