Light 'Em Up
Selina parks about a quarter of a mile away in one of the busier parts of the mostly abandoned neighborhood. The walk over to Pam's old hideout wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that I have to carry the bazooka the entire way. It isn't too bad to carry in short amounts, but the entire walk there is a nightmare. It isn't heavy, but my arms are tired of carrying it. I'm pretty sure by the time we reach the abandoned house that my shoulder has formed several lovely bruises from the weight of resting it against there.
"We need to do this quickly, but thoroughly," Selina tells me as I set the bazooka down. She hands me a black bag, then takes one sweeping glance around the place. "I'll take the outdoor garden and the front most rooms. You take the indoor garden and the den."
I nod briefly in response and hurry into the room containing Pam's indoor garden. I grab the vials next to each plant and carefully place them in the bag. I scan the rows of plants for anything that could be used against her, but most of them look pretty generic. I examine the small spray bottles lined up against the wall and bag all of the ones with labels that have the word "trial" in it.
I give the room one last studious glance, then make my way into the den. I stare at the room for a nostalgic moment, thinking of all the times I've cleared my head in here. This is even the place I came to after my initial run in with the Joker. I sigh wistfully, caught up in memories. It's such a shame that we have to burn it down.
I clear my head of nostalgic thoughts and set my sights towards finding anything that the police shouldn't. I pocket a few vials and several syringes with Selina and I's names on them and grab a spray bottle lying behind the bed labelled "quick fix." Pam doesn't seem to have too many trial or special concoctions lying around, but then again, she can make all of the plants grow on will and emit pheromones. I can only think of a few reasons for her to bottle them up at all.
"Selina," I call after I do one last sweep of the room.
"Yeah?" she calls back from a few rooms down.
"I'm all done here, do you want some help?" I question, exiting the den. She sticks her head out of one of the rooms further down the hallway. "I didn't get much, she doesn't seem to keep too much stuff lying around."
"I didn't find much either so far," she calls back. "Go ahead and put your stuff in the car. I'll just be a few more minutes here."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'll be fine," she assures me. "You know what, I think it'll be easier to shoot the bazooka out of the car window, that way we don't have to stop."
"You want me to lug the bazooka back to the car?"
"Yeah, sorry about that." I sigh and roll my eyes, making my way back into the main room. "Oh, and Harley?"
"I'm going to cut the gas line in the kitchen, so I really need you to bring the car around. Once that bazooka hits this place, it's going to light up like a Christmas tree."
"I don't think the gas is still running," I call back. "This place has been abandoned for years."
"Trust me, it still is. Go get the car." I glance in her general direction, mentally sighing at the way she barks orders. I reluctantly grab the bazooka and exit the house. It takes me around five minutes or so to reach the car. I toss my bag and the bazooka in the backseat, then climb into the driver's side. As I put the key in the ignition, I watch in horror as a police car rolls along the street in front of me, towards Pam's hideout.
For a moment, my heart freezes in terror and I wonder if they spotted the illegal, weapon of destruction in my backseat. One of them glances at me out of the window, but soon turns his head back around, paying me no mind. I breathe in a sigh of relief, they thought I was just a casual bystander. I watch their car continue on down the street, only allowing my rigid stance to relax once they're out of sight. I half expect them to turn around, sirens blaring and wheels screeching against the pavement.
Thankfully they don't, and instead I catch the faint glare of their taillights turning away from me and right onto... the street where Selina is waiting. "Dammit," I growl, turning the key in the ignition. I have no way of warning her, no way at all. She left her cell phone back at my apartment, along with any other means of communication.
I hit the steering wheel in frustration, suddenly very antsy. The police are nearly upon her. It would be impossible for me to get to her before them. Even if I could get to her, the police would see us and more than likely stop us. We definitely wouldn't be able to burn the place down, even if they didn't stop us. Pulling out a bazooka or the sound of an explosion, which I assume there would be one, isn't exactly inconspicuous.
I put the car into drive and set forward towards the house, having no plan whatsoever. Think, Harley, think. What can you do? I take the drive towards the house slow, trying to keep the car as quiet as possible. My eyes scan the road, looking for any signs of a fleeing Selina or a hidden cop car. So far, everything is still and quiet.
I jump as the sound of sirens fills my ears. I glance back nervously, only to realize that the noise is coming from up ahead. They found her, I realize with a sinking heart. There's the squealing sound of tires on pavement and a garbled voice coming out of the police car's speaker. I can't make out exactly what the cop's saying, but I'm fairly certain that Selina's on the run.
I floor it, racing up to the abandoned house in worry, but the cop car and Selina are both gone. What do I do? What do I do? I frantically question. I can't let them catch Selina. I can't let her go to Blackgate. I've been to that place enough times to know that it's somewhere only the worst people should be. It's hell in there.
She needs a distraction, I realize, backing the car as far away from the house as I can while still being able to target it. I hop out of the car and sprint around to the back, giving the neighborhood around me one fleeting glance. With the coast clear, I yank the bazooka out of the back and finagle it into the driver's seat with me. I roll down the passenger side window and rest the wide nozzle of the weapon on it, aiming it towards the house.
From what I can tell, the Joker has already loaded a cartridge in the nozzle. My knowledge of bazookas is pretty limited, so there is an inkling of fear that my guess is wrong, but I sincerely hope that it's loaded and easy to shoot. I rest one hand on the gripper and the other hand on the large trigger, hoping there isn't any kind of safety or switch blocking my usage of the weapon.
My heart pulses nervously against my chest and my breaths are being taken too quickly, making me lightheaded. Calm down, Harley, I tell myself. You're going to miss if you don't calm down. You can't miss. I take a deep breath and will my heart to stop thundering in my ears. I stare at the house, two fingers hesitating above the trigger.
Take a breath. I inhale slowly, eyeing the house. And release. As I exhale, my fingers squeeze the trigger and the weapon jolts back with a loud POP! The cartridge goes flying out towards the house, sailing through the air quickly. It crashes through the window of the house and BANG!
The explosion rattles my car and hurts my ears. I glance back to see the house erupt into flames. I stare transfixed at the sight, watching as all of the glass windows shatter and the building begins to crumple in on itself. The roof falls through first, flames rising out of the several open gaps.
You've got to go, my mind screams at me, breaking me out of my fixation. I yank the bazooka back, allowing it to sit haphazardly in the passenger seat, then stomp on the gas. I speed down the road, away from the sound of falling structures and cackling flames. The warm glow of orange and red burns brightly in my review mirror and I feel... satisfied. Panicked for Selina, but satisfied that I have completed the task and (hopefully) drawn the police's attention away from Selina.
I drive along, scanning the road for blaring lights. I slow my speed to a roll, making sure I don't miss a figure clad in black running. One of the cops has turned the sirens off, unless they're too far away from me to hear them, but I doubt that even Selina can run that fast. She could've gotten away and they just gave up, I tell myself. Or maybe they're drawing their attention towards the burning building. Deep down I know that all of these hopeful thoughts are just that- hopeful thoughts, but I can't give into the possibility that she has been captured either.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
The sound of guns going off comes from the right of me and I hastily turn the car, my heart already starting to sink. Please don't let her be dead. Please don't let her be dead, I think frantically to myself. I spot quick slivers of red and blue lights from behind the tree line in front of me. Wasting no time in driving around the thin, pathetic expanse of brush, I hop out of the car and quietly go around to the backseat. I go through what I've gathered from Pam's hideout and pull out the spray bottle labelled "quick fix." I sincerely hope that since it has been laying by her bedside that it's some form of poison or at least a distraction of sorts.
"Come out with your hands up," one of the policemen calls. She's not dead, I tell myself in relief, creeping up behind the trees and studying the scene for a moment. The two cops are positioned behind their car in front of another abandoned house. The second cop appears to be shot in the arm, which means that Selina must be armed. Huh, I don't remember her bringing a gun. Oh well, how she got it doesn't matter now, I'm just glad that she has something to defend herself with.
"You'll have to come get me," Selina calls back, seemingly from behind the building. I take a slow step towards the cops, spray bottle at the ready. I keep my pace slow and quiet, trying not to make a sound. I can't take on both of these armed cops singlehandedly, not without the element of surprise.
"You're just making it harder on yourself, sweetheart," the second cop calls. "You and I both know you're not gonna get away, not with that leg of yours. You might as well give up now and save yourself the trouble of having us reprimand you."
"Oh, we wouldn't want that," she calls back with a breezy laugh. "Why don't you come over here and fight me like a real man instead of hiding behind the guns, hmm? Unless you're afraid."
The second cop turns to the first, pocketing his gun in the back waistband of his pants. "Wait right here, I'm going to go get this little bitch."
"Really?" I question from directly behind them, squeezing the trigger on the spray bottle. I spray it at the armed cop's face first and he cries out in pain, clutching his face. The second cop rushes at me and I flip to the side, easily avoiding his charge. I aim the nozzle at his face and squeeze, causing him to go down in pain like his buddy.
The first cop lets out a ragged breath, then turns rigid. I watch as his lips quickly turn a disconcerting shade of blue and his fingers stiffen, as though he has undergone rigor mortis. His expression remains frozen, surprise plastered stiffly across his face. I watch the sight, half in confusion and half in horror. The second cop lets out the same kind of raspy breath and falls stiff like his partner, his lips turning the same shade of blue.
I kneel down nervously and put my head half an inch or so above the first cop's chest, careful not to put my prints on him, checking for any signs of life. His chest rises and falls faintly and I can barely hear a heartbeat, but it's there nonetheless. His breathing is light, but slow. They're both alive, but just barely. I stand up, uncertain of what I should do. I didn't see an antidote to whatever this is back at Pam's place and there's not really anything I can do, but I'm conflicted as to whether or not I should just leave them here.
"Did you lose your balls?" Selina calls snidely, snapping me out of my mental dilemma. "Afraid you'll lose a fight to a wounded woman?"
"I don't think they can hear you," I call back, glancing over the stiff bodies in confusion and partial disbelief. I'm clueless as to what to do in this kind of situation. "I poisoned them, I think."
Selina's brunette head peeks out from behind the small house. "Harley?"
"In the flesh," I call back, stepping over the policemen and towards the house. "Are you alright? I heard gunshots earlier."
"No, I'm not," she replies warily, her voice unusually frazzled. I hurry my pace and wind up in front of her quickly. It's too dark to see much, but a small pool of something wet glints against the moonlight. It could be the dark, but Selina looks a lot paler than normal as well.
"What happened?" I question, just now noticing that she's gripping her thigh. There are splotches of dark liquid all along her hands.
"They got me," she replies, attempting to stand up. She cringes and slides back into her previous sitting position, her left leg stretched out. "Bastards," she swears.
"You were shot," I voice in disbelief. "We need to get you to the hospital now," I tell her, my heart rate climbing. "I'll go get the car. You stay right here and keep pressure on that leg. Gotham Memorial's a good forty minutes away, we'll have to find a local hospital or something."
"No," she quickly refuses. "No hospitals."
"You need surgery, antibiotics, stitches, and tons of other things," I tell her. "If you don't go to a hospital, you could bleed out and die. Even if you didn't bleed out, you could contract an infection and then they'd have to-"
"I was shot by cops," she stresses. "They've probably already called it in. Hospitals will be on the lookout for me. We've already had too much luck tonight as it is, let's not push it any further."
"What luck?" I question, incredulous. "You were shot. The entire plan almost fell to pieces."
"The cop car," she tells me, wincing as she tries to move her leg. "It's an older model. The kind they're driving doesn't have a camera. They didn't get either of us on tape." I hadn't even thought about the car cam. My heart flutters with the information that I almost got caught poisoning two people, and cops at that. She lets out a sharp exhale, moving her leg back into its previous position. "If we can get away before more cops show up, we'll be safe."
"You really need to go to a hospital," I tell her, glancing back nervously for any approaching law enforcement. The street remains empty, aside from the single cop car. "I'm not just saying that as your concerned friend, Sel. I'm saying it as someone who has earned their M.D."
"I'm not going to jail, Harley," she tells me flatly. "Now help me up so we can burn this."
"You could die from that wound," I reply shortly. "It won't be a quick death either. You need medical attention." After a moment, I add, "And what are you wanting to burn now?"
"You're a medical professional, you can help me," she retorts, sticking her arm out for me to grab. I take it and kneel down, wrapping another arm beneath her shoulders. I pull up hard, helping her juggle most of the weight. She lets out a quiet yelp, clenching her jaw in pain as I help yank her to her feet. It takes a couple of moments, but she's eventually up and panting, resting her weight against the wall of the house.
"This is a stupid question," I begin, "but how are you feeling?" I'm not asking the question to be smart, I'm asking the question to make sure she isn't disoriented or in shock from the ordeal. She doesn't appear to be from what I can tell by her movement and behavior so far.
She glares at me for a long moment, then manages a smirk. "Like I got shot." I sigh and roll my eyes, even with a gunshot wound she's still a smartass. "Go get the car and bring it around here. We need to leave as soon as we start this fire."
"What fire?" I ask for the second time. "I already burned down the hideout."
"I'm not talking about Pam's place," she dismisses with a single ragged breath. She closes her eyes, resting her head against the building for a long moment. "My blood's all over here and halfway along the side of the house," she tells me after she has regained her composure. "We need to burn it away."
"Blood isn't flammable," I inform her. "It would be like trying to burn water."
"Dammit," she growls. "Then how do we get rid of this stuff?"
"Bleach?" I suggest and she shoots me an agitated look. "What? Bleach would work, if only we had some."
"You're talking about bleaching the grass," she deduces, then lets out a hefty sigh, wincing in pain as she does so. "Can you break into this house and look for bleach, pretty please?"
I stare at her in disbelief, concerned with just how easily the felonies are piling up tonight.
Ten minutes later, after using my sleeves to break into the house, careful not to leave any fingerprints, and pouring bleach all over the yard, I pull the car up beside the house. I had shoved the bleach around with my foot, diluting the blood, but Selina had insisted on burning it anyway. I get out of the car, watching with a sigh as Selina painfully hobbles around, emptying the contents of the tiny gasoline bottle she had brought. I guess that she brought the bottle in case the bazooka didn't work, although I'm not really sure what kind of damage twenty two ounces of gasoline can do to a house.
I get out of the car, hastily making my way over to her. "You shouldn't be walking," I tell her pointedly, scooping her black bag of Pam's poisons off of the ground. I catch sight of something sticking out of her waistband, just now noticing the gun. I pull it out and stuff it in the bag, fairly certain that she'd already put the safety back on. "You definitely shouldn't be shooting either."
"They shot at me first," she mutters, pulling a slim book of matches out of her pocket. She lights one and lets it fall, setting the grass along the house aflame. She wraps one arm around my shoulder and I wrap one around her waist, helping her keep the weight off of her leg. I watch the burning grass for a moment, then help lug Selina towards the car.
I situate her in the backseat, propping her up against the door on the other side, allowing her leg to stretch out. I throw our bags full of poison into the car floor beside her and hastily shove the bazooka into the trunk. It certainly wouldn't help our suspicion level if a cop car drove by and saw an illegal, rocket launching weapon in the front seat.
"I'm going to ask you a stupid question, but I want you to be serious with me," I tell her, climbing into the driver's seat. I crank the key in the ignition and shift the car into drive, giving the area around us one more paranoid sweep. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm dizzy," she replies as the car begins to roll away from the second burning building. "And tired, I think the adrenaline's wearing off."
"It's the blood loss," I tell her, taking a turn down an unfamiliar street. "Is there anything back there that you can wrap around your leg? Something that could be used as a tourniquet, like cloth or bandages?" I glance around the front seat, but it's empty for the most part. "If not, maybe you can rip the hem of your shirt off into strips," I suggest.
A few muffled noises and several harsh, ragged breaths come from the backseat before Selina replies. "I snagged a first aid kit from Pam's," she tells me, tiredly panting. "Band aids fix everything, right?"
I should be serious, but I can't help but laugh at the lame, inappropriate joke. "You need something a little stronger than a band aid," I inform her, attempting to regain a serious attitude. "Really, don't just put the band aids on it," I urge her on a more serious note. "Tape down the gauze with medical tape, if it's in there, and keep pressure on it."
"I wish there were narcotics in here," she mutters, digging into the kit. "That would really help me right now."
"What would really help you is a hospital," I shoot back, taking another unfamiliar turn. Most of the road signs have either been stolen or vandalized enough to make them unreadable, making them of no use at all to me. "Which is exactly where we're going."
"No, we're aren't," Selina retorts sharply. "I'll be fine. You're a doctor, you can fix me."
"You are not fine," I argue. "And I'm not equipped with the skills or supplies needed to fix your wound. I might can stop the bleeding and maybe, maybe prevent an infection, but I'd need to forge tons of signatures for the medications you need and I am not a surgeon. That's a medical field that I'm far from experienced in. Besides, to even find the bullet fragment that needs to be removed, you'd need to have an x-ray, a resource not exactly on hand."
"Just stop the bleeding and make sure I don't die," she retorts calmly. "If you can stop the bleeding and an infection, then I'll be fine. I can handle myself. I'll just stay low for a while, keep the activity to a minimum."
"You have a hole in your leg, you are not fine," I stress. "You won't be doing activities for a very long time unless you have that fragment removed. It might not disturb any muscles, but if it does, it's going to hurt. It'll irritate the muscle and the tissues surrounding it, making it very painful for you to move that leg. You can't have a piece of metal stuck in you, Sel, it's going to cause all kinds of trouble and I'm not talking about getting stopped at the metal detector at the airport kind of trouble either."
"And if the fragment isn't lodged in some horrendous, trouble making place?" she shoots back.
"Well, then I suppose you'd be fine," I openly admit. "Even if that were the case, that's not to say that the fragment won't cause more trouble on down the line."
"Life's all about taking risks," she mumbles. "Nothing new to learn here."
"You really want to risk that?" I demand, tempted to take my eyes off of the road and glare at her. "You really want to risk giving up your so called career. You're okay with possibly giving up your life as a cat burglar?"
"Maybe... for a little while. If it means that I don't wind up in Blackgate by the end of the month, then maybe," she replies. "Can't they just take the bullet out after all of this has died down, like in six months or so?"
I let out a long sigh. "If something's rubbing at your muscles or your tissues the wrong way, then it could damage them permanently. I don't want you to go to Blackgate," I inform her genuinely, "but I don't want you to fuck up your leg either."
Selina lets out a breathy, labored laugh. "It's always funny hearing you swear, Harls." I roll my eyes and glance in the review mirror at her. She's turned two shades whiter and the bandage placed on her leg already has a red tinge to it. I'm afraid of what might happen if we don't deal with this soon. I know that she won't bleed out, not if she keeps pressure on it, but I don't like the idea of her going into shock or passing out either. Although, I'm surprised that she hasn't done either of those things already.
"I don't think we've got enough time to get to town," I tell her. "I don't know what more I can do that you aren't already doing, but we've got to pull over soon and try. Maybe one of these abandoned houses will have some medical supplies or more first aid kits at least. Those bandages will need to be changed soon and you need fluids. Lots and lots of fluids."
"Harley," Selina calls tentatively.
"What is it? Are you okay?" I demand, worried at her tone. "Is something wrong?"
"No, it's just that I... I don't want to leave the bullet fragment in my leg," she admits. "I really don't, but I can't go to the hospital. I can handle myself at Blackgate, I'm a big girl, but I don't want to have to. I don't want to have to deal with the people in there, regardless."
"I don't know what to tell you," I reply honestly. "A hospital's the only way to get that fragment out."
"Don't you have surgeon friends or someone from the asylum who can help you out?" she prods. I think for a long moment, wondering who in their right mind would help me and a shot Selina out in the middle of the night, no questions asked. No names come to mind, none that I trust anyway. Then, one single name strikes my mind. Someone who I don't trust, or even know really, but I have an odd feeling that he'll help.
"Hand me my phone," I instruct her, hoping that this makeshift, on the spot plan doesn't turn for the worse. Or maybe it's a good thing that this plan is new and impulsive. Maybe the Joker has been right about plans all along. Oh well, we'll see soon enough.