Disclaimer- I don't own Batman, that belongs to DC and Warner Bros. I don't own Angel or Buffy, that belongs to Whedon.
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
“Freddie!” Harley exclaimed running past Angel and Spike.
The guards around her moved to stop her, but Leland lifted her hand to halt them. Spike and Angel turned in time to see the blonde woman hug Illyria, now in the perfect form of Fred.
“Hiya, Harl! It’s been a long time,” Fred/Illyria said.
“Uhhhh, why don’t we go inside?” Angel said.
“Yes, I would like to explain a few things to Miss Burkle,” Dr. Leland said, stepping forward.
“Why don’t you explain it to Mr. Angel and I here. Let’s let the ladies catch up, shall we?” Spike asked.
At this, Angel shot him a looked that begged the question, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
Spike lifted an eyebrow at him. Simultaneously, they shouted, “Charlie!”
The Slayer came bounding down the drive. She paused a moment to introduce herself to Harley and Dr. Leland, then turned to the two who had called for her.
“Take Fred and Harley inside to talk, while we talk with the good doctor over here,” Spike said, jerking a thumb in Leland’s direction.
“Please,” Leland began before Charlie could leave, “keep an eye on Harley. I don’t think she’ll try to escape, but one can never know with her.”
“Yeah, keep an eye on them,” Angel said.
Charlie nodded, knowing the full weight of that statement. She approached the two other women and ushered them quietly inside. Angel turned to Leland.
“Let’s go inside,” he said.
The three, leaving the guards outside by the vehicle, entered into the house and shut themselves off inside the dining room. Once making sure that all possible ways anyone could hear them were cut off, Angel turned to their guest.
“I thought confirmation was required for this sort of thing?” he asked, crossing his arms as he towered over the seated Leland.
“A bloody telephone call wouldn’t have killed you,” Spike added.
“No, but it might have killed Harley,” Leland replied.
The doctor got the effect she had wanted. Both men were silent. She sighed, looking down at her feet. As she looked back up, she stared both of them in the eye before she continued.
“Harleen Quinzelle, better known as Harley Quinn, is the Joker’s number one accomplice, lackey, and the closest thing that maniac has to a girlfriend,” she began.
“Yeah, we know that. But what has that got to do with Fred?” Angel asked, finally choosing a seat.
“Harley has been beaten and abused more times than I would care to count by the Joker. In fact, she only recently healed from his latest attack on her—pushing her out a window.”
Leland paused to note the two’s reaction. Spike’s eyes had darted in the general direction that Charlie had led Illyria and Harley off to. So had Angel’s.
“Right now, Joker is thought to be dead. Thought
to be dead. We can’t really be sure…not with him. All evidence says that there is no way he could be alive, but we’ve thought that before.”
“Was there a body?” Spike asked.
The blond vampire nodded.
“In times past, Harley, out of all of Arkham’s patients, has shown the most promise in rehabilitation. She’s only ever had one obstacle,” Leland continued.
“The Joker,” Angel concluded.
“Exactly. Now, the reason I couldn’t wait for confirmation was for the sheer fact that if the Joker had shown back up before you could have responded, I would have missed my window of opportunity in helping Harley. So, I beg your forgiveness, but now I am asking for confirmation. May Harley stay here in order to aid her rehabilitation?”
Angel and Spike exchanged glances. Hesitating for only a moment, Angel finally said, “Could we have a moment to talk this over with…Fred?”
“Of course,” Leland said, bolting out of her chair.
Spike led her into the living room. Charlie and “Fred” looked up as he entered. Motioning Leland into a comfy chair, Spike said, “Uh, Charlie, could you play hostess to Dr. Leland and Harley while…Fred, Ang-Liam, and I talk in the dining room?”
“Sure,” she said as “Fred” stood up almost mechanically to follow after Spike’s retreating figure.
Angel and Spike were both all smiles until they got “Fred” behind the closed doors of the dining room. There, Angel whirled on her. Spike was leaning against the closed door, arms crossed, and his eyes were focused on the dark-haired girl in front of him.
“What the hell do you think you’re playing at, Illyria?” Angel growled.
The warmth that was a perfect imitation of Fred’s eyes vanished and the cold, emotionless eyes that could only belong to Illyria appeared. She tilted her head ever so slightly to the side and blinked only once.
“This will be a proper usage of my time, and it will be beneficial to both Harleen and myself,” she stated.
“How?” Spike asked.
“Well, I am supposed to be learning what it means to be a human in this world from the two of you. However, you are not efficient enough at this job. I learned of a very few experiences from Wesley while he was alive. He taught me of loyalty, friendship, and grief. This experience can teach me of sisterhood.”
“And how will it be beneficial to both you and Miss Quinn?” Angel asked.
“If I do not do this, she will discover that her sister is dead, causing her much grief I suspect. Alas, you will also now have to explain how I was able to replicate Fred’s appearance. So, would you prefer me to be my true self or to continue with this charade?”
Spike looked to Angel and sighed.
“She’s right. There’s no way we could explain this to those people. We haven’t got a choice, really.”
Angel glared at Illyria, but instead of saying anything, he merely motioned for her to return to the living room. When the three entered the room, Dr. Leland, Harley, and Charlie rose to their feet. Forcing a smile on to his face, Angel said, “Harley is, of course, welcome here.”
Charlie looked a little shocked but said nothing. Harley was jumping up and down, squealing for joy. Spike took the hand that Dr. Leland extended to him.
“Thank you. You don’t know how much you’ve helped her,” she said to him, looking over to where now Illyria—Fred—was now jumping up and down with Harley.
“Oh, I can guess,” Spike said.