Just some fun with our wonderfully insane Crane. I wrote this back when I saw BB, but I forgot to post it . . . thanks to Nirejseki for the beta! I survive only on your generous reviews!
Roy was new.
To be politically correct, he was a large, well-built man who, as a victim of poverty, was forced to resort to acts of violence in order to earn money for food and shelter.
To be correct, he was a giant thug whose favorite pastime was destroying smaller people. He was one of the few sane members of Gothem's crime syndicates who had been deemed crazy enough to be placed in Arkham Asylum, mostly because they had a larger stock of sedatives than the penitentiary did, and could knock out five-hundred-pound homicidal maniacs.
Roy was new in Arkham Asylum, and he was looking for a fight.
Now, we mustn't judge him too harshly just yet. He has some vague semblances of intelligence. He quickly sorted all inmates into two categories: insane or just violent. The violent ones were easy to spot; they were all large people whom he would pick fights with later, when he had a manly excuse to. It was the insane ones that seemed (to poor Roy) to be fair game, as long as you avoided the lethal ones.
Joker was obvious, as was Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, and Penguin – he marked those as dangerous people and not to be messed with. Riddler was too close to Joker to risk picking a fight, and even then, there was something about the mad glint in his eyes that made you not want to get too near him. Roy quickly picked out most of the villains he knew of, plus a few he didn't, mostly because they looked like you really didn't want to get too close to them.
And then . . .
Small, thin, frail-looking man, quietly sitting in an otherwise empty corner, pencil in one hand and large, heavy notebook balanced between his knee, the table, and his other hand in a practiced pose ideal for scribbling very fast while still being able to observe all the goings-on in the room before him. Every so often, a single thin finger would carefully reposition the glasses that reflected just enough of the yellow lighting to avoid eye contact with any other inmate.
Perfect, thought Roy.
Suicide, thought the majority of inmates who had noticed Roy's present course of action steering him towards the almost empty corner of the room.
To one side, the pale man's tray of food sat, almost untouched. As obviously rude as possible, Roy scooped up something that looked edible, eating it with the same lack of manners.
The man didn't even blink.
Irritated, Roy grabbed more food, commenting very loudly, "Shouldn't leave your lunch lying around like that, or I'll just take it from you."
People began to notice Roy, and turned to get a better view of what was to come.
Balling his fists impatiently, Roy shoved the tray as hard as possible towards the pale man. Roy's aim was so bad that he didn't even need to move to avoid it, so Roy practically shouted, "Little runts like you shouldn't get to eat around here!"
The man paused, moved his pencil up towards the top of the page, scribbled something, moved it back down to where he had left off, and continued to write.
Roy was practically gnashing his teeth together. The rest of the room had fallen pretty much silent, as if watching an interesting movie.
In movies, there is often a point where someone does something which is incredibly stupid, but they don't know it yet, and at this point someone in the audience traditionally gasps very quietly, but everyone can hear them because the rest of the room is in a dead silence.
Roy smashed one giant fist into the man's notebook, causing it to skitter across the floor and causing the people in that direction to back away from it like some sort of ticking time bomb.
Someone gasped quietly. The gasp echoed throughout the room.
The man stood up, very slowly, blinking, fiddling with the pencil in his hand. He looked from Roy to his notebook, then back to Roy, then back to his notebook. There was a pause, and his gaze finally rested on Roy, at which point he said, very softly:
"You smudged my research."
A small wave of gossip circled the room as Roy, still blissfully unaware of the immense aura of danger currently focused on him, grin nastily. "Yeah? What are you going to do about it?"
The man blinked a few more times before seeming to come to a decision. Completely ignoring Roy, he moved towards the fallen notebook.
Finally seeing the opportunity for a fight, Roy punched the man hard in his shoulder, sending him flying back into the corner against the wall. Roy advanced with more punches to the chest and gut, feeling a sense of victory that he still didn't realize was false.
There was some movement in the crowd, as if someone was going to help the pale man, but others restrained the would-be assistant with whispers of warnings – Don't get involved.
The man's knees buckled slightly, but when Roy stopped, he brought himself back up, and suddenly froze.
In his swiftest movement yet, he glanced down at his hand.
His pencil was broken.
The entire crowd drew back.
The man reached his other hand up to his glasses.
"You broke my pencil."
His voice was still quiet, but now it had a slight crackle to it, as if he was restraining himself. Closing his eyes, he removed the glasses, and without looking up folded them and carefully placed them safely on the nearest table.
"You smudged my research."
He looked up at Roy with pale blue eyes that burned with such madness that they seemed able to pierce even Roy's Neanderthal-level idiocy and read the hidden lines of memories deep within.
At that moment, Roy began to wonder if maybe he had done something wrong.
"You . . ."
No one heard exactly what was said to Roy, in that quiet, soft, articulated voice that said so many long words and yet made each one understandable even to Roy, explaining things that Roy knew, that he remembered, that he had guessed, and even things that he had confined to his darkest nightmares in a way that sent Roy first backing up, then crouching down, then cowering, and finally curling up in a fetal position on the floor, vainly trying to use a table as cover. The man kept speaking, never stopping, never pausing, never raising his voice even though it conveyed every emotion needed to explain those nightmares. He read things from Roy's accent, mannerisms, appearance, word choice, and even the particular way in which Roy twitched in response to each new mental wound opened by the razor-sharp words of a trained, talented, obsessed, and completely insane psychoanalyst.
The guards must have finally noticed something, because several of them rushed in to drag Roy away, most likely to solitary confinement until he regained enough self-esteem to resume coherent speech. None of them laid a finger on the pale man, who had finally stopped talking, and was now simply giving Roy the most chillingly sadistic smile Roy had ever seen.
As the guards called for help moving Roy's giant, immobile body, Roy managed to string three words together, though he stuttered so badly that almost no one could hear it.
But you could have heard a pin drop when the man responded.
"What am I?"
A spark of amusement was the only thing that twinkled in the pale eyes.
"I am Scarecrow."
The smile became a smirk.
"You won't forget it."