"Running with the Devil, Part 2": In the basement of the Ace Chemical Processing Plant, Joker chokes Harley Quinn into unconsciousness with a chain after she refused to let him cut off her face. She wakes, thinking that his monstrous
- Well, aren't you a peach? There are a ton of things I hate about myself, but my face isn't one of them, so I think I'll keep that.
- -- Harley Quinn
Appearing in "Running with the Devil, Part 2"
Synopsis for "Running with the Devil, Part 2"
In the basement of the Ace Chemical Processing Plant, Joker chokes Harley Quinn into unconsciousness with a chain after she refused to let him cut off her face. She wakes, thinking that his monstrous return might have been a dream, but he assures her it is real, and that she needs to have her memory refreshed about what it means to be with him - by being dunked back into the vat of chemicals that created them both.
From Belle Reve, Amanda Waller and Yo-Yo watch the events through special remote camera lenses in Harley's eyes, with the latter wondering why he's been allowed to be in on it. Waller explains that she is trying to gain his trust. She wants him to be her spy within the Suicide Squad. In exchange, she will see that he gets what he wants most - respect.
Waller believes that Joker truly loves Harley, and he is trying to kill her because he hopes that it will bring her back to him. Harley has other plans, as she wraps her ankles around his neck, rips free of her strait-jacket, and leaps to safety, leaving him dangling precariously over the edge of the chemical vat.
He has her covered, though, as he sets their pet hyenas on her. She is outraged that he intentionally infected them with rabies in order to make them turn on her. He responds that he did it to make them act out of pure instinct, unfettered by emotional attachments. This is what he needs to do to her too. Like he stripped himself of his last vestiges of humanity when he had his face removed, she must go through the same to become something more than what she is.
With no other options, Harley sadly kills her babies, snapping Lou's jaws apart, and sending Bud hurtling into the chemical bath. Angrily, she warns the Joker that she will kill him too, for what he's done. He doesn't believe she has it in her, though, and is surprised when she lands a punch on his jaw.
Disappointed, Joker realizes that Harley's transformation was all an act. Somewhere deep inside her, she was always Harleen Quinzel, and never completely like him. As he tells her of this, he bites a chunk out of her ear. While she buckles from the pain, he resumes his plan to cut off her face, but she fights back, hammering his head hard against a wall. Disgustingly, his face remains stuck to it, and he must peel it off and re-attach it.
Harley feels as though all of this Harley/Harleen talk is just a means of confusing her, and realizes that his bite on her ear was poisoned. Changing her tone, she admits that she never felt right doing what they did together - but she did love him. When she was offered the chance to do something different, she took it and liked it, but she loved him still. She kisses him, but bites off the tip of his tongue, spitting it out and adding that merely loving him does not mean that she belongs with him.
Angrily, he kicks her in the gut and drags her into a darkened room, chaining her to the wall. Rather than give her the satisfaction of dying or prison, he will lock her away with the others. He reveals the skeletons surrounding them, and claims that they were all previous Harleys - failures like her. She will stay there and die, and no one will ever know what happened to her. Locking the door behind him, he announces that he has business to attend to, and leaves her there.
Hours later, Waller and Captain Boomerang spot a figure approaching the Task Force X field-office, and realize that it is Harley. She wriggled free of her shackles, cutting and chaffing her wrists, but she escaped all the same.
Elsewhere, Deadshot - whose funeral was only just held - wakes up in a hospital bed.
- This book was first published on December 12, 2012.
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