Ok, I started a pre BB fic. Ultimately it's about Crane's past but I also put another factor into it...
A girl. Yeah. I know. Mary-Sue blah blah blah. But it's not really romance, and there's definitely not going to be any lovey dovey Crane, because I don't believe that's the kind of person he is, but I also believe he feels all the normal emotions that everybody feels. He might seem OOC at first, but that's because he's not scary!Crane yet. But he will be. So bear with me.
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman.
Summary: Jonathan Crane's work-centered world is suddenly transformed into one of guilt, shame, and regret as his past comes back to haunt him in the form of his childhood friend, Riley Gage.
Of Shared Brilliance
"I'm not a criminal, Dr. Crane."
He knew from moment those words left her lips that Miss Riley Gage was innocent. There was no desperation in her tone. She hadn't pleaded with him, cried to him or even gotten frustrated. She had just told him the truth.
He had already known, of course. The claims that Mrs. Gage had sexually harassed her client, a twelve year old girl named Sarah Lombardy, were proven false. Lombardy was obviously a disturbed child; Crane knew that right away, but the disturbance was not caused by Miss Gage. Crane had learned after just one session with Lombardy that she had been sexually abused by her own father for most of her life and suffered from false-memory syndrome. When Lombardy's mother demanded that her daughter see a therapist due to her obvious emotional instability, her father had threatened her life if she dare spoke a word about their "special relationship."
"I can't believe she told you much. You really are brilliant, Doctor, just like I'd always told you," Miss Gage was telling him a day after the trial. She had proposed that they have lunch, to "celebrate" and catch up. They hadn't seen each other since medical school, after all. Crane was reluctant to agree. When they had parted so many years ago, it hadn't been on good terms, but Miss Gage seemed genuinely thrilled to see him, and he accepted.
"Not really. Once you get them started, the rest always seems to flow out on its own," Crane said, glancing up from his vegetable soup. He would have rather had cream of potato, but they only served it on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"Modest as always." Gage teased, "Patients open up to you easily, don't they Doctor?"
"You have that effect on people." Gage smiled.
"What effect?" Crane asked. Gage shrugged, still smiling. She was peeling the crust off her turkey sandwich. Crane frowned.
"It tastes just like the rest of the bread, you know." Gage laughed. She looked at Crane, expecting an amused expression, but his face was lacking any expression at all. Her smile faltered.
"Bad habit of mine I guess. One of many." She was always putting herself down. Crane remembered that about her. She always paid plenty of compliments to him but never accepted any herself.
Both were silent for a moment. Gage had stopped picking at her sandwich and just sat. She had an elbow on the table and her chin in her hand, now. She seemed to be studying Crane as he sipped his soup. This irritated him rather quickly.
"What effect?" He asked again, breaking the awkward silence. Gage looked puzzled for a moment, before realizations hit her.
"Oh. I don't know, but you definitely have something about you. They trust you, your patients." Crane refrained from asking her just how exactly she would know that. Back when they knew each other he hadn't had patients; neither of them add. They were just kids in school. "You have kind eyes."
"You told me they were creepy." Crane retorted. Gage beamed.
"You remember that?" She laughed. Crane nodded. Of course he did. She used to tell him that all the time. He remembered sometimes he used to purposely annoy her by staring at her, eyes wide until she exclaimed, "Stop it, you're creeping me out!" She teased, and he provoked.
There was another prolonged silence as they finished up their meals. When Gage was finished, she pushed back her chair, crossed her arms over her blue sweater and smirked at Crane.
"You're just as talkative as a remember you were, Doctor."
"You can call me Jonathan." Crane told her, wondering why she still refused to address him by his first name.
"I was waiting for your permission, Jonathan." She said cooly.
"It's what you know me as." He had almost called her Miss Gage again. It was what he addressed her as during the trial, and even at their first re-acquaintance.
"I haven't seen you in seven years, Jon." She was serious all of the sudden, sentimental even, as she used the nickname she had used for him when they were friends. He preferred even his friends called him Jonathan, but the nickname had stuck with Riley. She had used it so often he eventually stopped correcting her.
So he had no inclination to do so now.
"I wish we could just pick up where we left off, but-" Gage was interrupted by Crane's cell phone beeping loudly from inside his coat pocket. He pulled it out and thought about muting it, but then, by habit and professionalism he answered the call.
"Crane." He said, his eyes straying to Gage, who was resting her chin in her hand again and staring off towards the road. "Oh yes, Mrs. Barsky. Yes, I remember...I'm not at my office right now, but I can get there in ten minutes. All right...I'll speak with her shortly."
Gage was already getting up and gathering her purse before Crane ended the call. He started to speak but she stopped him.
"You're busy. I understand." She smiled, but he sensed the disappointment in her voice. Seven years was a lot to catch up on, and they had barely spoken. Crane knew the fault was more on his end. He wasn't the same person he had been seven years ago, and he was having trouble just jumping back into a friendship that had ceased to be for so long. All of his energy and focus had been dedicated to his work, and the shock of having Riley Gage just prance right back into his life, and through his work at that, was having an effect on him.
They shook hands, and as she pulled away he felt a piece of paper slipped into his palm. He looked at her in question, and she shrugged, smiling.
"Call me when you're not so busy." She turned and left without a second glance. Crane watched her go, then glanced down at the table where they had eaten. A small smile graced his lips as he noticed she had left the money for half the bill.
They had always split the bill when they went out to eat.
And Crane always covered tip.