Harley and Ivy had found themselves in the worst position possible when the Regime took control. Not sadistic or cruel enough to join the ranks of the Regime, and with criminal backgrounds too extensive to join any heroes. Not that they could even if they wanted to. Pamela and Quinzel had been living off of robbery and theft, and hadn't once been stopped by heroes. It had reached a point where they doubted whether there were even any left. Ivy was watering her garden as Harley snuck up behind her, moping exaggeratedly.
"Oh Red, I haven't seen Mistah J in months. You think somethin's happened to him?" Harley whined.
Ivy rolled her eyes. This was the third time today the taboo subject of "Mistah J" had been brought up. Yes, Ivy thought, in all likelihood, The Joker was dead. She had never trusted Scarecrow, but she believed the Regime when they announced that they had assassinated the Clown Prince. He was too dangerous to leave alive, even Scarecrow wasn't going to keep a cannon that loose. Yet even in death, Harley's abuser and tormentor still had her in his iron grip. Clenching her fists, she grabbed Harley by the shoulders.
"Harley, Joker's dead. I'm not sure if the Regime got tired of his hijinks, or some costumed vigilante gave him what was coming. But it's not like Joker to stay quiet for so long. And the sooner you accept it, the better the chances we have of staying alive!"
Harley looked like she was about to cry, turning away from her best friend and pouting like a small child. "No...Not...Not my puddin! He's too clever and smart to get himself killed out there...Wait a minute! Maybe we could ask the Regime! They'll tell us where he is and we got ourselves some new buddies!"
Ivy got into an exaggerated, mocking stance mimicking Harley's, along with an exagerrated, sarcastic smile. "Great idea Harl! And then, we'll let them continue their mass botanical genocide and murder complete innocents for no other reason then terror and fear! No Harley, we're not on Scarecrow's side. We're not on anybody's side. Because nobody is on our side!"
"Objection, Ms. Sexy pale greenish woman in blackish green leotard!" a cheerful voice replied.
Ivy and Harley turned around to see two figures emerge from the darkness. One was recognized immediatley. Gigantic gorilla, purple cape, pernament frown...It was Gorilla Grodd alright. The second one remained a mystery. He wore a red and blue spandex costume, and what appeared to be some kind of bug mask.
"Let's see...Bright flashy colors, friendly demeanor, hasn't threatened us with murder...Costumed hero?"
"Sure looks like it Red...But what's he doin with Groddy?"
Grodd shrugged, smiling briefly at Parker. Spider-Man nodded back at his simian ally. "Look, I've been listening in, and I was hoping..."
"You were listening?!" shouted Ivy. Even Harley jumped back, startled at Ivy's anger and frustration. "How DARE you spy on Mother Nature..."
Suddenly, footsteps were heard from the darkness of the greenhouse. Out stepped an attractive blonde woman, wearing a skimpy white outfit. She smiled sarcastically at Spider-Man and his comrades. Ivy rolled her eyes, crossing her arms disapprovingly.
"Let me guess...A friend of the bug's?" Ivy asked, sarcastically.
"I'll save you the introductions. The bug brat goes by Spider-Man, and I go by Emma Frost. And no, I'm not with Spidey. I've just been tracking you guys for a few days, hoping you'd be able to bring me to some enemies of the Regime. Oh, almost forgot the best part. Scarecrow's got a message for you!"
Emma threw what looked like some kind of miniature projector on the ground. From the projector sprouted a holographic image of Scarecrow. Turning towards the heroes, Crane laughed sinisterly before responding.
"Hroo, hraaa!! Welcome, my worthy adversaries, to the beginning of hell. I am Jonathan Crane, known as Scarecrow to the populous. As Emma has told you, we've been tracking you for some time, and are finally ready to close the trap and catch the mice. But don't worry...She's been instructed not to kill you...Yet. Not until me and my little friends have instructed you in the true ways of fear and suffering, as we shall all who oppose my rule of terror. And at the end of terror...Oblivion!"
Spider-Man quickly shot a web at the face of Emma Frost, propelling her towards his fists. As he prepared to strike, Emma delivered a fierce kick to Parker's head, knocking him to the ground. Harley charged Frost with an enraged scream, preparing to bring her hammer down. Just before impact, Emma shifted to diamond form, and as the hammer struck her, she barely flinched. Harley dropped the hammer, holding her hand in pain. "Ow..." Harley squealed. As Emma prepared to strike, she found herself entangled in vines. She struggled and writhed as the vines began to wrap around her, thorns grazing her skin. Ivy laughed as she walked closer to Emma.
"Disappointing...I guess I overestimated Crane's intelligence. Why we never went on the offensive I'll never know."
Emma laughed cruelly, as a brick levitated to hit Ivy in the face, bringing her to the ground with a pained cry. "Oh Pamela, it seems you're the one doing the underestimating. Luthor's helped to enhance my telepathy to extrordinary levels...Know what that means?" Emma rose her hand to one of the beams holding up the green house, as it slowly began to fall. Spider-Man, in a flash of time, dove in front of Ivy, knocking her out of the way of the impending beam, saving her from death. As Ivy looked back up at Spider-Man, she had a confused look on her face.
"Wait but...I'm the bad guy. Why did you..." Ivy's voice hinted a mix of emotions. Anger at having to be saved, confusion over why Spider-Man would save her, hope that maybe she'd run into somebody who wouldn't arrest her on the spot.
Suddenly, Spider-Man was lifted of the ground, as he began to choke, holding his hands to his neck. Frost was mere seconds away from finishing the Spider off when she screamed out in pain, falling to the ground.
"What...You're a telepath?!"
A deep, laugh was heard behind Frost, as Grodd closed in on her, holding her head with his great hands. "No...I am." As Grodd prepared to snap Frost's neck, Spider-Man cried out with a quick "No, wait!"
Grodd turned to Parker, checking to see the problem. "We don't have to kill her!"
Grodd looked back at Parker, shrugging him aside as he tried to stop him. As he prepared to break Frost's neck, the young mutant looked back into Grodd's eyes. It was as if she was screaming out for mercy, but was too weak to do so. A message came to Grodd, a voice he had rarely heard in his life, telling him he was better than this, that there was more to him than a big brute. No, for the first time in his life, he was ready to take the high road, but he wouldn't let Parker think that.
"Weak human...I'm not in the mood for bloodshed..."
Grodd dropped Frost as he walked away, grunting in a frustrated tone. Spider-Man turned to Ivy, who had a mixture of annoyance and interest on her face.
"So um...Ma'am, can I get your name, or do I just have to use bad plant puns?"
Ivy smiled ever so slightly at Parker's joke. It was easier to spot the Mona Lisa's smile. There was a bit of charm to him, as dopey as it was. "Flattery will get you nowhere. Name's Poison Ivy, the jester is Harley"
When Ivy had finished wrapping up Frost in her vines in order to restrain her, Spider-Man began to walk away. Ivy placed her hand on Parker's shoulder, stopping him. "Hold on Spider-Man, you're not going anywhere! Why did you save me? Hell, why didn't you try and arrest me like you did with Frost? And don't try and give me some backwards riddle answer, I got enough of those from the Bat!"
Spider-Man held his hands up in defense, at this point he was just trying not to piss her off. He never assumed he would have to try and make a good impression on a woman who's life he had just SAVED "Look Ivy...You know how I was kinda listening in on you earlier?"
"Yep..." Ivy nodded. "Still haven't apologized for it."
"Yeah, working on that. Anyways, I know there's more to you than even you see. More than just evil or villainy. And maybe if we teamed up...We could uncover more of that."
"No..." Ivy snapped, coldly. "You saved me and I'm grateful. But I've been offered similar opportunities before, only to be used and manipulated. Maybe your intentions are good, and I respect you for not treating me like a monster...But I don't save people, and I don't need any help from you heroes."
Spider-Man sighed, grabbing Ivy's hand again. "Look Ivy...Please. We need you...The world needs you. This may be your only chance at turning your life around. Whether you trust me or you don't, it's time to start trusting yourself."
Ivy turned to Harley. Spider-Man's words were true, it was about time that they start turning a new leaf. And when a charming comedian in red and blue spandex gave them the chance, it was a wise idea to take it.
"I'm such an idiot..." Ivy sighed. "Fine, I'll give it a shot, but only because I can't run forever from these psychos."
"Nice! Alright, Grodd's got a hideout..."
"...On one condition."
Spider-Man rubbed his forehead. Negotiating with villains, even former villains, would never be easy. "And what's that?" he replied.
"You saved me, and I'm grateful for that. But if we're serious about teaming up, we need to know...Who are you?"
To be continued in Gotham City 21: Moon Knight