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Fanfic / The Redemption of Harley Quinn

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The Redemption of Harley Quinn is a fanfic by Saberlord_Oboeshoes focusing on Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, who have been imprisoned for good in Arkham Asylum, and Harley has been horribly traumatised from gang rape.note  While initially sympathetic, both are forced to confront the darker aspects of their true natures.

The Redemption of Harley Quinn contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Canonically, Harley isn’t a rapist (at least in the comics), but is here.
  • Child by Rape: Harley becomes pregnant with twins due to her gang rape.
  • The Dead Have Names: Cash brings up the time Harley murdered dozens of children by causing video game consoles to explode. He then slaps down pictures of numerous kids she killed, forcing her to look as he names them. Harley is only uncomfortable by this, until Cash ends with a picture of his daughter.
  • Deconstruction Fic: The story dismantles the Designated Heroinvoked status frequently given to Harley and Ivy. Both are forced to confront records of their violent crimes of mass death and destruction; Ivy is an Ax-Crazy lunatic who doesn't care about hurting people as long as her actions help plants, and Harley is just as much a chaotic sadist as her ex-boyfriend. Their relationship is also taken apart: Ivy wasn't as bad as the Joker but she was still abusive and controlling, and Harley is such an Extreme Doormat that she put up with it just to feel loved. It isn't until they address these issues and fundamentally change their personas that they begin to become genuinely good people (and even then, Ivy's love for Harley is still on the psychotic side).
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Averted. Harley and Ivy are both guilty of raping men.note  But both Cash and Bolton add this to the list of crimes they committed and don't go easy on them because they're women, even adding the trauma their victims went through because of it and how difficult it is for male rape victims to seek help, with Cash even mentioning that one of Harley's victims was not taken seriously by the police when he reported the rape to them, and laughed at by his friends and family when he told them about it. This ultimately lead to the victim committing suicide just so he could escape from the trauma of what happened to him.
  • Foil: Lyle Bolton and Aaron Cash are both tough-as-nails wardens, but while Bolton is a cruel sadist, Cash treats the prisoners civilly.note 
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Cash points out to Harley that just because she was abused by the Joker, it doesn't excuse the fact that she's just as sadistic and psychotic as he is and that she's also responsible for countless lives that have been destroyed due to her actions.
    Cash: You've got some nerve playing the victim card. After all the graves you've filled and minds you've crippled, you think you're a hero just because your ex would slap you around.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Upon learning that Harley's pregnant with twins from being gang raped, Ivy asks for an abortion doctor, but Harley decides to give birth and adopt them out, viewing the act of creating new life as a good deed for her new reformed self.
  • Hypocrite: Bolton and Cash both call out Harley and Ivy for demanding sympathy when they've had no problem with causing misery for countless others.
  • Implicit Prison: At the end, Harley is allowed to be trained to become a PTSD psychiatrist, and Ivy is allowed to be her domestic partner, but their criminal records still stand. From now on, every single aspect of their lives will be monitored by law enforcement, and will never have any real freedom or privacy.note  Furthermore, Harley will never be allowed to contact her twin daughters, whose adoptive parents can seal up her status as their birth mother. Harley doesn't mind any of this as long as she gets to help people, and Ivy doesn't mind either just as long as Harley's happy.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Selina Kyle (now Selina Wayne) visits Ivy and explains how she got married - her best friend Holly Robinson took the credit for her thefts as Catwoman so that the law would no longer stand between her and Bruce. To Selina's surprise, Bruce accepted Holly's sacrifice and proposed. This inspires Ivy to destroy her psychotic love of plants (which involves killing the ones in her cell) so that she can give all her affection to Harley.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lyle Bolton is every bit the cruel sadist as he was in Batman: The Animated Series, but his dressing-down of Ivy as an unrepentant self-centered lunatic is spot on.
  • Karmic Rape: At first, Harley is portrayed sympathetically as a rape victim. But then she's forced to face her record of violent crime, which includes rape and child murder, and realises she was a monster.
  • Lobotomy: After being reinstated, Lyle Bolton advocates this to be used on the Arkham inmates to keep them eternally pacified. He gets his wish, and so far it has worked on them all except Clayface and the Joker.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Cash reveals that his daughter was one of Harley's many victims, and gives Harley a thrashing. Harley breaks down in tears and genuinely apologises, having rediscovered her sense of empathy.
    • When Ivy admits to not searching for her while she was Two-Face's sex prisoner, Harley slowly starts breaking one of her vines. Ivy violently lunges at Harley and threatens to kill her, and then realizes that she hurt someone she claims to care about.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Harley's twin girls are named Delia and Deirdre Dennis, who were Harley's twin granddaughters in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
    • Selina names her and Bruce's daughter Helena, same as the original Huntress.
    • Bolton: “When Gordon got me reinstated, I promised that I wouldn’t let anyone suffer like his little girl did."
  • Police Brutality: In addition to Bolton being a prick, Cash gives Harley a physical thrashing as payback for his daughter's murder.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Harley getting gang-raped sets her on the path of rediscovering her sense of empathy and wanting to help people who have dealt with similar trauma.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Ivy gives up her plant obsession and prepares to settle into a peaceful life with Harley, she is unremorseful for any of her murders and rapes and claims that she will kill anyone or anything that threatens Harley.
  • Reformed Criminal: The story ends with Harley accepting training to become a PTSD psychologist (under a new identity), and Ivy as her domestic partner.
  • Serial Rapist: In addition to mass death and destruction, Harley and Ivy have committed their fair share of rape of both men and women, sometimes even sharing victims. Ivy's record goes well past 100 thanks to her Mind Control pheromones.
  • Shout-Out: Selina Kyle (now Selina Wayne) tells Ivy "Love is the condition where another person's happiness is essential to your own".
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Word of God says this was written in response to the Harley Quinn TV show, which attempts to portray Harley as a tragic, good-hearted person despite showing no remorse over causing the deaths of scores of innocents. Not liking this, the author decided to write a story where Harley is forced to account for all the lives she's taken and ruined, and realizes that no tragedy in her life will excuse her monstrous actions.
  • Stealth Prequel: A few story elements reveal this to be a precursor to the author's previous work New Tamaran, most notably Batman and the Justice League being off-planet and Bolton accepting a position at Belle Reeve.
  • Take That!: Bolton mentions how the Joker is free to browse all the fat, diaper, and vore fetish art he wants.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Bolton uses the Mad Hatter's Mind Control technology to force Ivy to striptease, and then asks her what it's like to be in the same state as the victims of her pheromones.
  • Trauma Button: As a result of getting gang-raped by Two Face and his thugs, Harley freaks out when she sees Bolton hold up a coin, and even moreso when he flips it.
  • Villain Has a Point: As in canon, Bolton is a nasty person, but he's not wrong about how people like Ivy have hurt others.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Lyle Bolton, unsurprisingly. He triggers Harley's memories of being gang-raped for no reason other than to amuse himself, forces Ivy to striptease during her evaluation, and takes pleasure in lobotomizing most of the Arkham inmates.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The infamous time Harley murdered scores of children by making video game consoles explode plays a key story role. Also, Ivy once used her mutant plants to destroy an amusement park and a South American tribe. Both undoubtedly had lots of kids.
  • Yandere: Ivy's psychotic love for plants is replaced with a psychotic love for Harley.