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Rhi

When Dr. Orton smiles, the corners of her mouth turn up like the Joker’s. Once the Joker hit Robin until he died. Once he shot Batgirl so she couldn’t walk, and did bad things to her.

“It’s a special camera,” Dr. Orton is saying. “Ultraviolet. Is it okay if I take some pictures with it?”

Rhi nods.

“Look, I’ll take one of myself first. See?” She rolls up her sleeve.

Rhi understands the difference between Dr. Orton and the Joker. Dr. Orton is good. If she met the Joker, Dr. Orton would know just what to do. She’d fight. She’d win.

Ruth

“Okay, you say it first,” says Ruth.

“Catholic,” says Rhi. It sounds like a word; it reminds Ruth vaguely of incense.

“Now you,” she says.

“Catholic,” says Topaz, and in her mouth it’s filthy: a shirt untucked and a sullen pout, short plaid skirts, guilt and rulers; cigarettes in a grubby green bathroom–her first tampon, secrets, the hungry eyes of bullies. It sounds like too late on a Friday night, passing around filched peppermint schnapps, bad lighting and whispering the Hail Mary while somebody feels you up.

“See?” says Ruth.

“No!” says Rhi.

“Is my favorite flavor,” Topaz adds, grinning.

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