Author: My Beautiful Ending PM
Sequel to Searching for Sanity. A chronicle of events including, but not limited to, Tierney's escape from Arkham along with others of her acquaintance, and what she found in Gotham as her past reared its ugly head. JCXOC, a little bit of HXJ. R&R!Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Mystery - J. Crane & Joker - Chapters: 13 - Words: 24,011 - Reviews: 108 - Favs: 52 - Follows: 39 - Updated: 08-15-10 - Published: 02-27-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5781586
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Revealing Reason
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own anything except Tierney and the general plot. This story does not contain slash. This story does not contain incest. This story does not contain extremely graphic violence. This story does not contain adult scenes. This story contains few (if any) swear words.
With this said, read on, valiant reader!
AN: So... LAST CHAPTER! Unbeta'd, sorry. I like the way I ended this; you might not. Sorry. Couldn't please everybody. But I hope you do, and thanks so much to everybody for everything, all the reviews, alerts/faves...it's just been a blast. *High fives all* Enjoy!
13. The Road Less Traveled
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the road less traveled by
And that has made all the difference
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
The kiss was quiet. Soft. Chaste. I still wasn't used to foreign pressure against my lips, but it was pleasant. My mouth smiled against his, and I sighed. This is what it should be like. To be always like this. With him.
He pulled away first. "Where would you like to go?" he asked, his blue eyes twinkling.
"Do I get to choose?" I asked.
"Certainly," he replied, smiling amusedly.
"Los Angeles," I said. "I want to see what I did for ten years. It's slow in coming back, but it's coming. I want…" I trailed off. What did I want?
I wanted to rediscover myself. Not just Piper, not just Tierney, but Piper Tierney Holland. I wanted to reconcile pre and post amnesia. I wanted to start a new life, whole…with Jon. Without the looming doubt and the crippling fear and the explosive anger that dominated my life.
First thought: used to. It doesn't anymore.
Second thought: I want to be made new.
Yes, that was it.
"I want to be with you," I said softly, fiddling with my dark hair. "I guess it doesn't matter where I am."
He took my hands in his and said, with complete seriousness, "I want to be with you, too. Although…" his expression took on a mischievous glint. "I think it would be best to get out of Gotham for a while."
I laughed and punched him in the arm lightly, but then grew serious. I would have to walk out of this place past Jack/Joker. Would he let me? Laugh in my face? Try to kill me again? I didn't know. The worry and fear started to crowd in, trying to take over, but this time, this time, I fought back. I would not be afraid of mortal men. What could they do to me? Only kill the body. But I wasn't a body. I was a soul. I had a body. So why fear them?
There was no reason at all, really. And that's what it was about. Reason. Think, Piper, I told myself.
Reason could mean two things: either the process of the mind to think logically, or a cause, explanation, or justification for an event or action. I had discovered both.
"Can we go now?" I asked Jon abruptly. "I mean, could we? Just walk right out the door and not come back?"
"I think so," he said, considering. "Just grab some things from our rooms, walk down the road, and hitch hike away from Gotham? Is that what you want?"
"Yes," I said. "Yes."
"I think we can manage that, Tierney," he said, his blue eyes sparkling. "Do you need a bag?"
"Probably," I said, a little taken aback. I hadn't expected that to work.
"Here," he said, rummaging in a drawer and tossing me a bag. "How about that?"
I caught it and looked it over. It looked big enough. But it was a black duffel bag, and it reminded me of the bank robbery. "What about Scarecrow?" I asked, my tone clipped.
"What about him?" Jonathan asked, turning to me.
"Where does he fit into all this?" I asked, swallowing. I would not be crippled by fear anymore! I was not afraid of an alter ego. I would not be afraid! "What does he think?" The questions kept coming. "What happens with us being together and him? Is that going to be an obstacle?"
He considered this, his blue eyes deep in thought. "I don't want to be Scarecrow with you. You help me stay sane and keep him at bay. I suppose…I don't know, really," he said, thumping a book with his hand. "If you don't want to take that risk I understand, but–"
"No!" I exclaimed. "No. I want you –all of you. Even Scarecrow." I realized then that my hands were tightly clenched into fists. I let them fall open and reached for him.
He pulled me into a tight hug, burying his face in my hair. "Truly?"
"Yeah," I said, breathing in his scent, hearing the rhythmic noise echoing from his chest that signaled life. "Cross my heart," I whispered.
He sighed, and I realized something. Jonathan Crane is afraid of something. He is afraid of losing me. And the well within my soul bubbled up again with love. Somehow, the master of fear being afraid of something made him human. It made him lovable. It made him mine.
I reluctantly pulled back, urgency moving me forward again. "We should probably pack."
He smiled at me. "Practical Tierney," he said. "Of course."
I walked down the stairs with a purposeful air, holding the duffel in my hand. Inwardly I quaked, but I wasn't going to run. Not this time. Jon followed close behind me. He had tried to talk me out of it, but I needed to do this. I needed to resolve this conflict in my life, somehow. Of course, then he had tried to talk me into letting him deal with the Joker. How, I wasn't sure. Spray him with fear gas? Fight him? The idea made me smile, like a knight fighting for his lady's honor in olden days. But this was 21st century Gotham, and the only knight around was Batman, and darn it, I had left my bat signal in my other pants. So I told him no. I needed to do this, and I needed to do it my way. It used to be that my way was to lash out in anger with fists and anything else that would do damage, but in a fight with the Joker, my life expectancy was probably about five seconds. Not the best idea. On to plan B.
Everyone's eyes were on me. Edward and Jervis were merely curious and careful to stay out of the line of fire. Harley was concerned; her eyes kept flickering between J and me. I decided to use her nickname for him, because he wasn't just Jack or just Joker anymore.
I went to Harley first and gave her a hug. I hadn't liked her at first; she had been stiff and annoying, but once I got to know her, she had been…nice. And I wasn't stupid enough to deny that J didn't have something to do with that. I didn't understand how she could love him or stand him. But she was good and brave, and I applauded her for it. "I'm going to miss you," I told her. "Thanks. For everything." She sniffed, big tears welling up in her blue eyes. And I didn't like to see anybody cry, so I moved on to Jervis and Edward.
"Why is a woman in love like a welder?" Edward asked me, before I could say anything.
I laughed before I even heard the punch line. Was it that obvious? Probably. "I don't know," I said, smiling. "Why?"
"They both carry a torch," he explained.
I hugged him from the side. "I'm going to miss your riddles," I told him. "You were nice to me, the first person to do so. Thanks."
He smiled. "I have hands that wave at you, though I never say good-bye. It's cool for me to be with you, especially when I say 'hi.' What am I?"
I shook my head at him. "I have no idea."
"An electric fan."
I chuckled and hugged him again before moving on to Jervis. "Goodbye my friend," I told him gently.
"Are you leaving, Alice?" he questioned, his eyes hazy.
"Yes," I said. "You see, I'm late for a very important date. But I did take the time to say goodbye," I added.
His eyes focused and he smiled, reassured by the Wonderland quote. "Have a very merry unbirthday, Alice."
"I will," I said, and hugged him from the side as well.
It was time to face the clown.
I turned toward him, my face hard and taught. I took a step, and then another step, moving ever closer to him. The scars smiled, but his mouth did not. His eyes burned into mine, but I kept moving until we were only a foot apart. "You've had your laugh," I said. "We've reached the punch line now. The joke is over."
"I can always tell it again," he said, in a low, even voice. It wasn't crazy, or insane. It was Jack's voice.
I nodded, acknowledging this, even though I wanted to sock him in the mouth, kick him, something. "You could. But an over-told joke just isn't funny anymore."
I clenched my teeth. "You took my life," I hissed in his face. "My memories, my identity, my sanity…" I trailed off. "But you wanna know the funny side?" I asked, throwing his words back at him. I reached out, and I felt Jon's hand grasp mine. Taking courage from the warmth flowing through it, I took a deep breath and said the words that had been building up inside me for a long, long time. "I'm taking it back." I kept up my eye contact for a few seconds more, and then I turned away. Without saying a word, I walked out that door, holding hands with the man I loved.
The sky was blue, rare for Gotham. Few clouds were in the air, and they were white and fluffy, not gray and dark. The sun shone brightly from its place in the heavens, a promise of new beginnings, new hope, a new future. Jon looked down at me and smiled, that's all, but I could feel all of the love in his gaze. And I returned it tenfold. Our feet crunched the gravel as we walked down the drive, out of Gotham, not looking back.
"For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the LORD,
"Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
JJ-Jefferu: Of course you can dream because "a dream is a wish your heart makes..." Cinderella moment there :) 3 Disney movies. Thanks so much! I just love them! :)
Riddle: isn't it just hilarious that spelunking (however it's spelled) sounds just like what happens when you drop a stone into water? 'spelunk' lol. I don't remember where I got it from, I think a book. But I have read the novelization of Hook, so it might have been that. Can't remember, really :)
JessicaMarieLynnHale: so glad you think so! :)
Miss Mercury101: Yep! I explained all that in flashbacks in chapter 10 I think. It might not have been quite clear, let me know. Thanks! :)
CrossmoonChic7459: thanks so much for your review! :)
Thanks so much to SusyQ, Jejune Nightshade, SafetyPinStitches, for your alerts and favorites!
I've loved writing this story; thank you all so much for your encouragement and reviews, and for your forgiveness when I didn't post in forever.
I'm gonna miss y'all! You're awesome! Love y'all. ~ My Beautiful Ending out :)