Summary: Chloe is on a recruiting mission, trying to pin down Gotham's infamous Dark Knight. In order to learn more about him, she begins interviewing those he's captured. What will she do when the Joker escapes and begins targeting her?
Warning: sexually explicit content, moderate violence
banner by cheryljluv
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Next (Chapter 15)
9:30 PM Day 1
Gordon blew on his hands, rubbing them together in an attempt to warm them before glancing around him again. The nights were getting colder.
He glanced up at the sky again. The light was clearly visible. He sometimes wondered if Batman kept him waiting on purpose or if he honestly had a good reason for taking so long.
Probably both, he decided shrewdly.
9:35 PM Day 1
"Master Bruce," Alfred said, entering the cave as formally and unimpressed as if he had just entered the study. "There's a call for you."
Bruce closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, forcing the tension he hadn't realized he was building until the interruption to roll off his shoulders. Talk about the worst night of his life. Not only had he not heard back from Chloe, leading him to believe she was either angry with him again-and this time he really wasn't sure why-or something was wrong, in which case, she simply hadn't wanted to talk to him. Then, when he'd gone to have something for dinner, he'd picked up the morning paper for the first time that day and discovered that the Joker had broken loose again. He wondered if the stress would ever go away. Without glancing up at Alfred, he waved a dismissive hand. "Tell whoever it is that I'll call back tomorrow afternoon. I'm...indisposed."
He expected Alfred to leave then, but he simply cleared his throat. Bruce looked up. Alfred raised a meaningful eyebrow. "It's not that kind of call, sir."
1:30 AM Day 2
Part of Chloe wished she could just fall asleep. The events of the last...however long it had been, had left her feeling drained and weary. The constant anxiety and suspense of not knowing when the Joker would show up or how he planned to extract information from her was definitely taking a toll as well.
She grimaced in Harley's diraction. The woman-who apparently had energy to spare-did a one-armed cartwheel into a handstand, which she held perfectly with no sign of coming down any time soon.
"Hey, Harleen...I mean, Harley, what time is it?"
Harley sprang down, landing on her feet easily. She looked at Chloe with her eyes lit up, "I don't know. What time is it?" she asked expectantly.
Chloe stared at her blankly. Then she raised an eyebrow. "There's no punchline. I'm just disoriented from being passed out so long. What time is it?"
Obviously disappointed, but nothing daunted, Harley did a couple of backhandsprings over to the other corner of the room where she fished through a purse and pulled out a phone. "1:34," she answered.
Focusing on anything other than the fact that she'd now been hostage for over twelve hours, Chloe turned her attention back to Harley. "I had no idea you were so...athletic," she said pointedly as Harley did several round-offs, obviously trying to stave off boredom.
Harley paused with her feet in the air in another flawless hand-stand and looked at Chloe. "Hmmm? Oh, yeah," she came down from the handstand and slid into straddled splits, propping her chin on her elbows, the better to converse. "Well, when I was a kid, I used to want to be an Olympic gymnast, but my parents said I needed to grow up and get serious. So I ended up following a more...practical route," she made a face as though the word tasted bad. "But I always kept in shape. Good stress reliever, and anyway, it's fantastic for your figure." She brought her legs together and rolled onto her back to look at Chloe upside down. "You know?"
Chloe nodded, eyeing Harley's freed movement enviously. She'd been sitting on the floor in more or less the same position for hours now, and she could feel the blood in her legs getting sluggish. Plus her arm itched and the straightjacket made that virtually impossible to deal with. She pushed the complaints away and decided conversation was the best distraction, and anyway, maybe she could talk some sense into Harley. "So..." she said, "you and-" "Mr. J?" Harley said dreamily, and Chloe could almost see cartooned hearts swiveling around her head. She resisted an urge to roll her eyes.
"Yeah," she said slowly, trying to sound something other than disgusted. "Lucky girl," she forced. "How did that...um...happen, anyway?"
Harley sighed. "Well, you know how it is being a career woman," she said. "You don't meet a lot of decent men, especially ones who aren't intimidated by you. Gets kinda lonely. Puddin' was the first guy I've met in a long time who knew how to make me laugh. I felt like I hadn't laughed since I was a little girl."
"Huh," was all Chloe trusted herself to say. Then, cautiously, "And...his..." she searched for the right word, "activities don't bother you?"
"Psht, nah," Harley said, rolling back on her stomach. "It's all kind of exciting, you know? Just like in the movies. Bonnie and Clyde, you know? The dangerous hero and his getaway-gal."
Chloe bit back a serious retort at the liberal use of the word 'hero' just in time. She figured the longer she stayed in his good graces, the better her situation would be. "But Harley," she said seriously, something resembling a plan formulating in the very back of her head, "we're friends, right?"
Harley's entire being seemed to light up at the word 'friends.' She nodded energetically.
"Well doesn't it bother you that the Joker's probably going to kill me?" she implored.
Harley stared at her, nonplussed. At first Chloe was afraid that she'd gone so far over the edge that she was going to say, "What's your point?" but instead, to Chloe's minimal relief, she said, "Why would he do that?"
"He thinks I know who Batman is. What do you think he'll do when I can't tell him?"
Harley was very quiet as she registered this news.
Chloe pressed her, "And even if I did know, and I did tell him, what do you think he'll do with me then? He can't exactly keep me around, can he?" Come on, Harleen. You may have flipped your lid, but you're not a killer. Not yet, anyway.
Harley looked conflicted, but then she shook her head, as if trying to settle things back into their proper places...or, improper, as it were. "I don't want to talk about it," she said at length.
Then, inspiration dawned. "That's fine," Chloe heaved a dramatic, largely pathetic sigh. "It's just such a shame...I mean, if only this had all happened a few weeks ago."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I just wouldn't have minded dying as much before I met-" She made a show of changing her mind, shaking her head sadly. "Well, never mind. There's no use thinking about it now."
"Thinking about what?" Harley asked with undisguised eagerness.
Chloe sighed again, trying to look as lovelorn as possible. "Oh, it's just that I met someone..." she trailed off. It helped, she supposed, that it wasn't a lie.
"You did?" Harley asked, eyes as round as saucers.
Harley melted. "What's he like?"
Chloe grinned. "Oh, you know: tall, dark, handsome. Knows how to make me laugh."
"Like...you can't stop smiling when he's around?"
8:00 AM Day 2
Bart slowed to a normal pace as he reached Chloe's floor in the hotel, noting that there were voices coming from the direction of her hallway.
Bag of breakfast burritos in hand, he turned the corner, anticipating an easy morning of hanging out with Chloe and grilling her about her new love interest. ...all in good fun, of course.
All such thoughts vanished from his mind at the sight of Officer Montoya standing outside Chloe's room parked outside Chloe's room, the door wide-open, caution tape blocking the entrance, while more police searched the room.
The take-out bag fell to the floor. Montoya looked up at the sound and immediately recognized Bart. A look of relief spread across her face at the sight of him, and she opened her mouth to say something, but he never gave her the chance.
"What happened?" he demanded immediately. "Where is she? Is she all right?" "Calm down," Montoya said, pointedly blocking Bart's attempted entrance to what had been dubbed a crime scene. "What's your name again?"
"Bart Allen. Where's Chloe?"
"I'm afraid I can't discuss anything unless it's with her next of kin. Do you know who we can contact? We retrieved a cell phone that included a number listed as her father's, but whoever it is seems to have disconnected the line."
Bart swallowed. "Chloe's dad checked out years ago. The only family she's in contact with is her Uncle and her cousin. Her cousin's the one she'd want you to call, though," Bart told her, figuring that was what Chloe would want.
Montoya nodded in relief. "Listen, I need you to come down to the station with me; you're the only person who knows anything about her whereabouts the last few days. Apparently she's a very private person," she said in a tone that hinted at how suspicious she found this.
Hiding his anxiety about having to back up Chloe's cover story - which he hadn't been versed on in a while - Bart nodded. "I need to make a phone call, first," he added hastily.
Montoya agreed, and Bart pulled out his cell, dodging around the corner to call Oliver in private. It rang in his hand, though, startling him. He looked at the screen in surprise.
"Hey, Birdie," he answered and before he could say any more, Dinah's exasperated tone came over the speaker.
"Bart, please, please, for the love of God, tell me you aren't in Gotham."
"I am actually. Listen - "
"Bart!" Dinah scolded, cutting him off. "As I just got done explaining to the rest of these children, Chloe is a grown woman, and she can date whomever she wants, with or without the team's consent. You boys should be ashamed of yourselves, bursting in on her personal life."
"But - "
"No buts. She's a consenting adult, and I don't care how many magazine covers she gets splashed across. She'll tell you guys about this Wayne-guy if and when she wants. Got it?"
"Got it. But - "
"Good. I expect you back in Metropolis in the next five minutes."
Bart heaved a breath of frustration. "Hang on! There's a serious problem over here!"
8:25 AM Day 2
Oliver watched in amusement as Dinah chewed out Bart on the phone, arms folded across his chest. Once Dinah had defused the unnecessary search-and-rescue mission the boys had thought up for Chloe, Victor and AC had decided to head out to get donuts for breakfast instead. Just as Dinah was saying something about magazine covers and consenting adults, he felt his own phone vibrate in his pocket.
He answered it. "Hey, Boyscout. Done bailing hay this early? Congrats."
"Very funny, Oliver," Clark answered, his tone serious. "I'm calling about Chloe." Oliver rolled his eyes. "Not you, too."
"Me too, what?" Clark asked, bewildered.
"Nothing. Never mind. What about her?"
"Have you heard from her lately?"
"Not since a couple of days ago, no. Why?"
"Lois was getting frantic yesterday because Chloe wasn't answering her calls, and I started thinking that sounded a bit unusual for her -"
"Chloe always answers her phone," Oliver frowned.
"Exactly. I tried calling her this morning, and I got nothing. The battery was dead and the voice mail was full."
Oliver sat forward in his seat, a sense of nervousness developing in his gut. Chloe letting her phone battery die? That was flat-out unheard of. He opened his mouth to reply when Dinah interrupted, her hand covering the speaker of her phone as she looked at him, concern etched in her eyes.
"Oliver. There's a problem."
9:35 AM Day 2
Chloe hadn't slept all night, and he back ached in protest at staying seated for so long. She wanted to at least sprawl out on the floor, to relax the muscles in her lower back and ease the tension in her shoulder blades, if only a little, but with the straight-jacket still in place, she wasn't sure she'd be able to sit up again. No need to make herself literally as vulnerable as a turtle on its back.
Harley, however was sleeping peacefully beside her "pet" hyenas, a look of blissful contentment on her face. It was disturbing.
Still, Chloe hoped she'd made some progress with Harley. She knew she had to buy herself time until she could either figure out an escape plan or at least give someone enough time to come rescue her. She wondered if people had even noticed she was missing yet. Planting seeds of concern and empathy in Harley couldn't do her any harm, she figured.
Harley's playful watch had been replaced by a more serious henchman, a large, hulk of a man in a rubber clown mask that was strangely menacing, particularly when coupled with the machine gun in his lap.
Given the choice, she preferred Harley's company any day.
She was debating unlikely means of getting out of the straight jacket without him noticing when the door burst open, revealing Chloe's living nightmare.
Harley and the hyenas jumped awake at the noise, the hyenas snarling and heckling at the disturbance while Harley flung herself into the man's arms, announcing to the world:
"PUDDIN'! You're back!"
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