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“Don’t worry, Charlie, I just love head-doctors. Harley used to be one, didn’tcha, Harleygirl?”

The girl in question looks up and his unruffled professional gaze slips a few notches. He’s read Harleen Quinzel’s casefile, but it’s a shock to compare this creature to the five-by-three photograph sitting on his desk at Arkham, the five-by-three photograph of a young, brilliant, no-nonsense psychiatrist. As she smiles under the thick white makeup, her blue eyes are bright, almost glazed, focused on Joker’s face with a singleminded devotion. The bells suspended from her headdress clink idly.

Joker bends slightly to kiss her cheek with an approving, slightly patronizing smile. The dark amusement in his eyes suggests that this precious domesticity is a parody, an amusing veil to a much darker relationship. Behind her wide blue stare, on the other hand, is nothing but pure, vapid obsession. Clearly, she isn’t in on the joke.

She was one of the most promising psychiatrists of her day. Oh, dear God.

He’s been afraid up until this point, absolutely, but it’s only now that sick, sick terror washes over him in waves. Only now that he can compare this obsessed, servile, greasepainted ruin with his five-by-three photograph of talented young hotshot Harleen Quinzel, with two pens in her front jacket pocket and an unruffled professional gaze so very much like his own.


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