Chapter 23: Welcome Home:

Ivy couldn't believe it; she was finally here. Back at a place that didn't exactly make her feel at home.

Arkham Asylum on Arkham Island...

As the Batmobile came to a stop, Ivy took a moment to look around at the surrounding area of the island. She had hoped she would never have to come back to this god forsaken place.

"Ugh, I never would've thought I'd have been back to this hell hole." As the reformed Ivy stepped out of the Batmobile, she looked around for any signs of life that she could find.

Her first order of business was to scan the island for any signs of plant life with her plant telepathy. Ivy sensed hard for any signs of plant life. Ivy was growing slowly annoyed and agitated when she could not find anything.

Unfortunately, she came to an annoying realization. She had remembered the Arkham Asylum Incident two years ago as all the plants on the island had been killed off or infected with Titan due to the injection of the drug into her system and plants.

That meant the only plant life Ivy had to rely upon were the normal simple arm vibes she had. Ivy sighed, but realized that part of being a hero, or rather a protector or savior in her case, she had to be resourceful. This was one of the many traits that Batman possessed within himself.

Ivy never would've figured she'd have to heavily rely on her own hands in a situation. Over the years as a villainess and a newborn heroine, she'd always been accustomed to her plants backing her out of a difficult problem.

But was Ivy ever wrong...


Flashback, Seagate Amusement Park, One Year before Arkham Asylum Incident:

Deep within the Joker's old base of operations at Seagate Amusement Park, lied Harley Quinn. This is one of the places she would come whenever she and the Joker spent some time away from each other. Fortunately for Harley, the Joker and the rest of the Gang had forgotten about this place so Harley could come here whenever she pleased.

But this time, Harley had brought along Ivy with her, but for a specific reason this time around. Today, she was going to teach Ivy hand to hand combat.

"Okay red, you need to learn some hand to hand combat skills, aka whamming and bamming!"

Ivy was less than thrilled. She did not see the point in learning how to fight with her hands. After all she could control basically any plant she desires and chemically brainwash people to do her fighting for her. "Harley, I really don't see the point in all this, I have powers comparable to that of supernatural beings. Are you forgetting that I took down Superman and Wonder Woman in the past, if I can get the jump on them, I think I can manage on my own."

Harley was trying her hardest not to strangle her best friend. "And that crappy thinking is exactly why you get your ass kicked by B-Man, Bird-Brain and Nightwing all the time. And you're forgetting that I too managed to have some fun with the Dork Of Steel before too."

"But-"

Harley cut off Ivy, knowing full well what she was about to say. "I know what ya thinking Red? I had Kryptonite from the Joker, true, but I also used these two babies." Harley held up her fists. "The only way you can learn how to kick some serious ass is by training, and that's what we're gonna do, so put 'em up Red!"

Ivy looked at Harley like she was out of her mind. Did the Clown Queen Of Crime actually want to fight her, she just couldn't believe it. "You're joking, right? Please tell me you're not actually going to go-"

Ivy was cut off by Harley performing an excellent and clearly effective take down on her, by using her legs, Ivy was beyond irate at her best friend, who merely laughed at her misfortunes.

"Ow, Harley! What the hell was that for?!"

"To prove my point Red! Your sappy thinking is what gets your ass kicked by Batman all the time. You're letting that incident with SuperDork and Blunder Woman get to your head, now get off your ass and let's get down to basics, Red!"

Ivy angrily got up off of the floor, swatting away Harley's hands as she tried to help her up. Deep down, or rather, it was outright obvious that Harley was enjoying tormenting and training Ivy in hand to hand combat.

"Alright Red, we'll start off with something simple, countering openings and looking for an opening. What that basically means Red is this, either you or ya opponent will try a quick barrage of duplicate attacks to try and get ya to slip up for a real attack. If you're on the defensive side of this strategy, you're gonna wanna try your best to match the asshole's speed with quick and easy blocks. So lay it on me Red."

Ivy looked at Harley with slight annoyance.

"I said lay it on me now!"

"Okay!" Ivy said, jumping out of shock. Ivy remembered what Harley had said about the strategy of looking for or blocking an opponent's path to an open. As annoying as all of this was, Ivy knew Harley wouldn't stop so she just went along with her little game out of the sole fact that she was her best friend. Ivy quickly readied herself in a combat stance.

Without thinking, she repetitively began attempting to punch at Harley to make her slip up. But Harley being the MUCH SUPERIOR, combative and experienced fighter easily matched and blocked every single punch Ivy was throwing at Harley. Harley easily countered Ivy's attack with a punch to the jaw and then a beautiful spinning heel kick that sent Ivy flying across the room, much to her anger and disbelief.

"Ugh, Harley! I think you broke my nose!"

Harley merely stood triumphantly, with a smile followed by laughter. "Bat-Brain and his costumed gang of lightweight losers won't care about breaking your nose." Harley began laughing once more. "And to think that you actually managed to take down Superman and Wonder Woman on separate occasions, after that sloppy crapshack of a performance, no one in Gotham is buying that!"

Ivy was now annoyed, Harley was basically toying with her and insulting her. While it may be true that Ivy wasn't all that good in hand to hand combat outside of her powers, she didn't like how rudely Harley was emphasizing that idea.

Harley in return was unimpressed with her best friend's arrogance. She needed to learn the things Harley was teaching her if they both want to take down Batman one day. Harley didn't care how much Ivy cried, or moaned, they were gonna keep going at it until Ivy had made progress no matter how long that took, no matter how sore her body felt.

This was only a small part of her lesson. Now, Harley was going to take things up a notch. As much as she loved Ivy as a friend, and sister, now she was really going to stop going soft on her.

Harley eventually left Ivy to recover for a short period of time and went to look around for some items. The next part of Ivy's training was going to be much harder than the last.

As Ivy stretched and grimaced, Harley eventually returned, these time with crates full of various items. Ivy didn't even want to know what was inside of those things.

Harley eventually began speaking. "Okay Red, I've been going a little soft on ya' but no more!"

"Pfft, that depends on your definition of 'soft'."

Harley heard that smart remark, but chose to ignore it and continue Ivy's training. "Anyways, what we're gonna do no, is hand to hand combat featuring weapons and projectiles."

Ivy's eyes widened. Harley teaching her about weapons was something she did not want to experience firsthand. Ivy was about to protest against this, until Harley cut her off.

"Relax Pammy, you ain't ready to be taught about not getting your brains blown out yet. We're gonna take baby steps." Harley dug into one of the crates and pulled out a familiar object;

One of Batman's Baterangs, with the exception of it being joker themed.

"Mister J stole a lot of these from B-Man and uses them for fun, mainly punishing the gang whenever they fail him, or just because he wants a good laugh." Harley sighed in a dreamy manner, causing Ivy to roll her eyes. "But today, we're gonna be using them to kick some serious ass."

"Okay, I'm listening."

Harley carefully tossed Ivy one of the Joker-Rangs so she wouldn't get hurt before the training session. While Ivy's body was sore and tired, Ivy had to admit how good and surprisingly knowledgeable Harley was when it came to combat. Ivy wondered if there was more to her best friend than meets the eye.

"Okey-Dokey, so here's what we're gonna do this time, Red. This time, you're gonna go on the offensive, and I'm gonna go on the defensive. We're gonna fight until one is defeated. Your goal is to try and land at least one scratch on me with B-Man's toy, and mines is to try and defend myself."

The task seemed simple enough, at least in Harley standards. Ivy nodded and began to position herself in a decent enough combat position to face Harley.

Harley in return readied herself, much better than Ivy had. Naturally like the wild and outlandish person she was made a loud bell like sound on her own. The two best friends squared off and sized each other up.

"Oh and just so ya don't get any bright ideas Red, I got rid of every plant near this area, so you're on ya own now."

Ivy cursed under her breath as she continued to circle around Harley. She was planning to use a little cheat tactic in this fight, but sadly Harley's wit outwitted Ivy's own.

Eventually, Ivy went in for the first shot in this sparring match, but Harley's experience fighting alongside the Joker and the Suicide Squad allowed her to easily block that shot. Harley used her wrist to prevent the Baterang from cutting her.

Ivy stumbled back, but she was not defeated just yet. The Villainess-Meta Human came back for more. This time, Ivy did, or rather attempted to start up a barrage attack against Harley. The Clown Queen Of Crime was just a little quicker than Ivy as she continued to block all of Ivy's attempts to cut or stab her with the Baterang. Harley then jumped over Ivy with a beautiful mid air cartwheel and swept Ivy's legs from below.

Once Ivy was down, Harley backed off being that in this practice battle, she was on the defensive side. Once Ivy was back on her feet, the two commenced fighting once again with Ivy this time charging towards Harley with full speed.

The Plant-Hybrid Villainess this time tried a zig zagging attack with the Baterang. Surprisingly, the speed of the attack was managing to faze Harley as was barely managing to avoid the attack, but Harley wasn't nervous, this was the progress that she wanted her best friend to make.

"Looking good, Red!" Said the enthusiastic Harley Quinn.

Ivy merely smiled triumphantly. "Thanks Harles, I think I might be getting the hang of this." Secretly, Ivy wanted this to end because she was in a tremendous amount of pain and fatigue was quickly setting in.

The two female friends kept fighting, with Ivy aggressively trying to attack Harley with the Baterang and Harley easily managing to block, dodge and avoid the attacks. While Harley was impressed with Ivy's performance, there was MUCH MUCH more for her to learn. Harley being that ex-doctor she was could easily tell Ivy was still in the mindset of relying on her powers and abilities more than the good old fashioned fists.

Ivy needed to learn that she could not rely on her powers all the time because one day, whether it be today, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year, there would eventually come a time where Ivy was gonna be forced to rely on her wit and her will.

While Ivy may hate this, Harley was doing this for her own good, she didn't want to see her best friend die because of something that could've easily been taught to her. Harley wanted to see Ivy do a number of things. Get over her weird obsession with plants, kick Batman's ass, and maybe even settle down with somebody as 'loving' and 'caring' as the Joker.

But first things first, Ivy needs to learn how to kick somebody's ass without relying on her pheromones and other special abilities.

For the next couple of hours, Harley continuously and brutally trained Ivy. Ivy still believed that she would not need to get her own hands dirty.

Little did Ivy know, the more arrogant she got, the more harsher Harley would get with the training. As Ivy continuously fought with Harley, she wondered why Harley didn't try and take over her and the Joker's criminal empire if she had all of this vast knowledge and experience. Harley was clearly quite capable of taking down or even killing The Joker.

Ivy thought about bringing this up, but she was cut off by Harley blocking another one of her attacks and forcing her back with an aggressive kick to the stomach.

At this rate, I won't even be able to eat or use the bathroom. Ivy mentally groaned. She never expected Harley to be this much of a brutal teacher. Ivy also made another mental note to never get on Harley's bad side to the point where they would end up in a real fight that would injure or even kill one of them.

"You're looking hot Ivy," Harley started. "You're making good progress, however you've still got helluva lot more to learn if you wanna be as sharp as me, let alone B-Man or his family of losers. For now we'll take a small break, your training is gonna take up the entire night so be ready."

Ivy groaned, this time out loud. "Harley don't you think that's a bit overkill? My body and mind cannot take an entire night of this, I'm sore and I'm pretty sure have blisters and bruised across my entire body. And I can't even feel my face. I love you Harles, I really do, but I cannot bear anymore of this, I mean it's not like I'm absolutely a slouch when it comes to fighting people."

Harley merely shook her head in disapproval. "And that's exactly why we're gonna be training all night, Red. That sort to lazy half-assed thinking won't get you anywhere in a fight or life, and besides, most men like a crazy plant like gal that can fight."

Harley laughed, while Ivy only rolled her eyes and massaged one of the many painful wounds that was inflicted upon her healthy superhuman body. This was going to be one hell of a long night, and let's just say that...

Ivy was not looking forward to this...


"There it is." After Ivy finished reminiscing, she finally stumbled upon where she tracked Batman's signal towards.

The Arkham Mansion...

Ivy remembered didn't have much memories of this place being that she was rarely here when Arkham was operational and she was an inmate.

Ivy eventually saw a window and decided to walk over and take a look inside...


Inside the Arkham Mansion, Batman was strapped and tied to a gurney, ironically in the same exact gurney he had escorted The Joker into the Asylum multiple times over the years. Batman took a look around the mansion and saw plenty of Scarecrow's Militia goons.

Suddenly, "Feeling...hopeless?"

The Dark Knight turned straight ahead and saw the grisly figure of Crane standing in front of him. Batman in return merely glared at him.

"Good, I want you know Dark Knight, you are about to be apart of something special...you are about to shape the future of the world and Gotham forever...I will strip you of the symbol of hope you give to them, I will strip you of your powerful image, I will turn you into something remarkable...something extraordinary, something...legendary. For all my life's work, I've been calculating, thinking about how I can make them fear me, and I realized...instead of me making them afraid of me...i will make them fear you...Batman."

Crane raised his hand and out came more Militia troops, but this time they had something with them, and something that was all to familiar with Batman.

Full tanks, gallons and large quantities of Titan...

Crane could see the Detective's eyes widening through this cold and dark exterior. "Shocking, isn't it?" His grisly deep, gravely like voice sent chills down the Militia's spines. "You see Batman, poor Dr Young and the Asylum manufactured quite a lot of the Titan. Seeing as she's dead, the Arkham is no more, I claimed it for myself. It holds...potential to make something more powerful than any drug that's ever been seen. You and the people of Gotham will be destroyed by fear...and in a very short amount of time, you will see how it all plays out Batman, I promise you that."

"You'll never break me, Crane." Said nBatman, albeit defiantly.

The psychotic fear obsessed criminal merely placed his hands behind his back and stared off into the distance. He wasn't bothered by the Dark Knight's defiance at all. "And now...Dark Knight, the death of the Batman, your legacy and Gotham City begins...now."


Ivy was still outside of the Arkham Mansion listening to Scarecrow's banter and ranting. Even before he personally began affecting her, Ivy had always thought that had talked too much. Ivy knew that she needed to move fast if she wanted to save Batman's life.

Bang!

Before she could even do anything, Ivy overheard a loud gunshot. To her horror, she looked through the window and saw that Crane had shot and possibly killed Batman's trusted protégé, Robin. She even saw the face of an irate and horrified Commissioner Gordon, whom was holding and attempting to console the injured and dying Boy Wonder.

"You monster..." Ivy said this with full venom and hatred in her voice. Next she overheard Crane giving Gordon more commands to follow.

"Now...take off that mask...or my next shot will kill him...after that, you will give the Dark Knight Fear Toxin...and then the Titan. Commissioner, you, Gotham and the entire world will get to see firsthand, that the Dark Knight, the so called 'man with no fear', is nothing more than a mortal being with a will-power no different than any other man, the fear toxin will break him...the Titan will destroy him."

Watching from outside one of the mansion's windows, Ivy saw Batman glance at her briefly, knowing he had noticed her. After seeing him give her a slight nod.

Ivy knew the time had come for her to confront Scarecrow...


A/N: This was supposed to be out 2-4 hours ago, but Thanksgiving Ofc, but who cares, it's out now, Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend, breaks etc ;)