Issue #37: Stockholm Syndrome

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The air in the room was peculiar, how I imagine any encounter with Harley Quinn really is. She came to me like she was someone in distress. "Can I sit down wit ya for a sec? I kinda wanted ta talk about somethin' with ya." She had told me. I said "Fair warning they're gonna kick me out soon and I really don't wanna lose anymore blood today." She walked in, holding onto herself like an abuse victim, unsure if she was safe. We sat in silence for a bit as Harley looked around the room, sitting in a chair. Her bottom lip was busted up a little. I wanted to give her time to start speaking when she felt ready but my curiosity ate at me until I decided to ask.

"What happened there?"

"You don't remember?"

"Oh, so it happened in Russia. That night is a real big blur after I put on the mask. I don't remember much of anything with you in it besides... nothing. I remember nothing with you."

"You don't remember kickin' me in the face?"

"Shit. Is that what happened? I apologize then. You probably didn't deserve it."

"... I've been tryna better myself since I got here. Or I guess since I got dumped by Joker. I thought about it for a lil in Arkham. I saw myself in the reflection of the glass in one of the cells there. I was bein' dragged down the hall, tied up in a straight jacket, barefoot, yellin' and screamin', with a bad hair day and I thought 'How could I let this happen to lil Harleen'? She may not've known what she wanted ta be, sure. One minute it was teacher the next it was singer but it sure as hell wasn't whatever the fuck that person was! Whatever that creature was. And it was all going so great until you showed up."

"I don-"

"Maybe I'm just attracted to crazy, I dunno. You ever see the meme? That damn smile. That damn smile you gave me after I lost my cool when I found out you were hot and I felt this kinda interest I hadn't felt since Joker. I heard them talkin' you up as some crazy serial killer who 86'd Crane that was a danger to everyone there. I saw you tied up in everything, surrounded by a bunch of guards like you were Evil Superman, but I didn't buy it. You didn't seem like the type of guy. You seemed like some kid cosplayin' as a schizo... that's how I started off too. I didn't see it until you started talkin' to yourself in the snow. I got a chill down my spine unrelated to wearin' a crop top in the middle of a snow bank."

"Well, I mean, it might be a little related." I said. She let out a dry laugh.

"You're funny." She simply said.

How are we funny, jester? Like a clown? We amuse you?


"And then when you started killin' all those Russians I felt a thrill I hadn't felt in years. An adrenaline rush. A good type of fear. You wanna know the last time I remember feelin' like that? First time I met Joker. Was walking outta my first job interview outta college and into a bank robbery. And I dunno I lost control of myself for the first time in I don't even know how long! I was able to wrangle myself back at the lunch table but you had such a commanding presence in the base! I wanted to see more of what you could do like how I wanted to see more of 'im after that night, despite the nightmares tellin' me to stay away then and Peacemaker tellin' me to stop you now. But then you said you wanted ta kill all those innocent people to scare all the people that didn't die and if that ain't a red flag I dunno what is. You reminded me of him then, too. The maniac that gave my babies rabies and made me kill 'em for a sick gag."

"Your babies?"

"My hyenas. Don't worry, even when I was in love with him the most I wasn't crazy enough to bring a kid into it." She clarified. "Before I could fully snap back to my senses ya got me hallucinatin' Joker comin' for me. I hadn't been scared like that in years and I wanted to kill you for it! I really did!" She said slamming her fists on the table. She was getting more and more animated. More unstable. But I didn't flinch. If she was gonna kill me she would've done it already. "...When I came back to after ya knocked one of my teeth out, I came looking for ya with a gun. But you were sayin' somethin' to Ratcatcher... you didn't want her to look at ya because you were a monster. And you were ashamed of it."

That's enough of this conversation. Good Doctor it's time to leave.

"And then you broke down. Fallin' apart in her arms and everything. And you reminded me of him again. But you weren't this scary but excitin' monster in the night. You weren't a mindless devil thrivin' on misery. You reminded me of the man I fell in love with when he collapsed in my arms with a hug to protect him from the boogeyman that ruined his life."

"What are you getting at here, Quinzel?" I asked slightly agitated.

"You know what's really funny? You kinda look like Two-Face right now. And you remind me of the two sides of J I got to understand. I guess what I'm gettin' at is I just wanted to warn ya. You may think it's too late to change. That you can only burry yourself deeper into this Crimson Ghost thing. But I'm not all crazy and stupid. I saw Jack in Mistah J until he was too far gone. I can still see (Y,N) in Mistah G."

And here we go...

"...Another manipulation trick from another mental patient, huh?" I laughed. "I don't need the Ghost to tell me what's going on here. What's really going on is— and quite frankly I'm flattered— despite what she wants to tell everyone, the clown girl still has mother F'ing Stockholm Syndrome in this son of a B for the guy who took her captive and melted her brain, and to prove she doesn't she's latching herself onto the first guy with a nice smile and a body count! And I'm supposed to get all mushy and fall in love with you and in a month my mask is gonna have clown make up on it and I'm gonna be back to being a pushover for a pretty psychopath and convincing myself that all the times she treats me like dirt are okay because she calls me puddin' sometimes! Because you know what? I am too far gone! Stop trying to save me! Or maybe that's what you want? You wanna latch yourself onto 'Mr. G' and you're just playing the reformed nut case to-"

"Old Harley would love to see Mistah G again. New Harley wants to see (Y,N) get better. Because (Y,N) doesn't just remind me of Jack. He reminds me of Harleen, too." She said. "How did she hurt you?"


"The girl who created The Crimson Ghost? Who's your Mistah J?"

"I don't have to answer that."

"No, you don't."

"Why aren't you running or threatening me or telling me I'm horrible?"

"You're supposed ta not take anything someone says durin' a manic episode seriously. Or did ya not get that far in college?"

How dare she call you manic! Destroy her, Good Doctor!

"...I'm tired."

"It's probably from all the blood loss. You can go to sleep."

"I don't get it... I thought you were crazy. Why are you so level headed right now?"

"You lead a good example... Ya know what's funny?"

"You're a clown who repeatedly... asks people what's funny?"

"Talkin' to you makes me feel more like Harleen than I've felt in years. So thanks for that." She said. I make her feel more like Harleen. I make her act more sane. I could still... I rested my head on the table.

"I won't let you... control me."

"I don't wanna control you."

"...I wasn't talking to you." I said before closing my eyes and going to sleep.

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