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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Written for the livejournal batfic_contest prompt "Hot or Cold" in less than 500 words; first posted there on 22 September 2009.
Harley twirled her new cane experimentally as she watched the Dork Knight sneaking around the darkened Arkham corridors aimlessly, like an educationally challenged rat in a maze. With a flicker of static the video feed switched to some of the boys whaling on a caped figure using iron bars and baseball bats. She giggled and wished she’d brought popcorn.

“Ouch B-man, that’s gotta hurt!”

Harley had made herself at home just a few feet down the hall from offices she had known as both doctor and patient, in the warden’s plush oak-panelled office complete with security camera feed and intercom. It was like having her own interactive reality-tv show, without the premium-rate numbers.

One of the boys took a Batarang to the head and she winced, recalling how much those things hurt. “Hey – play fair! Less Bat-gadgets!”

She scoffed as she turned from the screen, stretching her feet out on Sharp’s leather-topped desk. Breaking out of her cell, fixing up a spiffy new uniform and paying Sharpie a housecall had taken less time than expected. Now the old windbag was nicely deflated, duct-taped to a chair, and Mistah J had made his grand entrance with the oblivious guest of honour. The pre-party party had started with a bang, but Batman still seemed slow on the uptake.

“C’mon Batsy it shouldn’t be that hard to get up here!” She admonished via the intercom. “You musta been down that dead end three times already. I’ll go easy on ya – you’re gettin’ warmer. Try following the green arrows the boys considerately painted on the floor. That’s more than Eddie usually gives ya.”

Harley couldn’t wait for the real party to begin – she seemed to have been running errands and stealing supplies for weeks. She’d even made special cupcakes for the boys; the extra surprise being that every third cake contained one of Mistah J’s experimental chemicals. It was going to be such fun.

“Hey, Bats, you just run into Mr Freeze down there or somethin’? You’re icy cold! Brrr!”

She especially couldn’t wait to see what her Puddin' made of her new uniform when he got to see it up close. Maybe he’d find time for a quick game of doctors and nurses before the night was out…

“Gettin’ warmer, you’re definitely gettin' toasty. It’s hottin up.”

Harley glanced at the clock on the desk and shook her head; she needed to go baby-sit Gordon soon and Bat-brain was behind schedule. Time to wrap this up.

“Ooh – almost there Bats! So hot ya must be smokin’!”

She watched as Batman opened the next door, and gave a burst of laughter to match the flash of light as the booby-trapped present inside exploded, releasing harmless chattering teeth he kicked to one side.

“Unlucky Bats! Anyway Sharpie and me have gotta get goin’ – places to be, and some of us have keycards and don’t need to skulk around ventilation ducts. See ya at the party if ya ever figure out whatcha s’posed to be doin’!”
Chapter End Notes:
I *heart* Arkham Asylum rather a lot, particularly all the taunting over the intercom from Joker and Harley. At the time I wrote this I'd been playing it quite a bit, and I found myself wanting to creep up on people from behind in the street and do silent takedowns, or grapple up to lampposts and swoop down on them. Thankfully most of those urges have now passed, so I don't think I need to check myself in!

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