Prologue: Critical Reading
A/N A story for Blodeuedd, so she'll have something of mine to read.
Bernie was about to call in a favor from an old friend…Well, a former roommate. In point of fact, he and Jonathan Crane had scarcely spoken to one another during their shared year spent in the cramped, academic Gothic confines of their shared room at Hoyt College. But Bernie figured that sharing a rather unreliable toilet for a year created a bond that even a complete and utter lack of communication couldn't break. And Rita needed help. And besides, Crane'd helped him before…
Hoyt College Adler House, 10 years Ago
There was a note pinned to Bernie's door, with the thumbtack driven all the way into the wood. It read: Mr. Weibrecht, a young woman named Rita has called these premises looking for you seven times in the past week. A young woman named Candie has also called, also in search of you. Please return the calls of both of these people, so that they cease to disturb the peace of the room. Please also assure this Candie that I do not, nor do I think I ever will, 'want to party,' whether you are absent or not; my avowal to this affect appears to have been ineffective. Your prompt response will be greatly appreciated. The note was signed 'Crane.' Bernie had simply crumpled the note up and thrown it onto the huge stack of papers which littered one corner of the room. That incomplete from Freshman Lit had finally caught up with him, and he was desperate to finish the damn thing.
A few days later, in their communal kitchen, Crane's illegal hot plate and kettle in the corner, Crane had caught up with him too. Cold blue eyes met Bernie's as he stumbled out of his room. "You have not responded to either of your callers." The statement demanded a response.
"It's been a helluva week."
"'We make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion.'" Crane quoted. His eyes, still emotionless, waited for Bernie's response.
"I've got this old paper to finish before they'll let me graduate."
"What's the topic?"
"Shakespeare." Bernie's tone was disgusted.
"I see." Crane paused. "I have a proposition. I will help you with this Shakespeare paper, and in return, you will-"
"Pay you? Not likely." Bernie snorted.
Crane merely stared at him for a moment. "I was going to say, 'return your calls.'"
"You'd do that?"
"For peace and quiet."
And so Crane explained the vagaries of The Winter's Tale. After that, he had stood patiently by while he called Candie, to break it off and Rita to propose. Then he had disappeared back behind the locked door of his room, he and Bernie passed each other in the communal room and bathroom of their suite, but rarely spoke beyond pleasantries. Crane made no reference to his previous aid.
Remembering the story, Bernie stopped wavering with his hand poised over the telephone and picked it up. He dialed a Gotham City number, shuffling in his chair to the Muzak as he waited on hold. After about ten minutes, a surprisingly chipper voice chirped. "Arkham Assylum. How may I direct your call?"
So there it is, a Prologue. Thoughts, anyone?
Jonathan: I would never have helped that whiny little jerk.
Author: Not you. And who gave you permission to leave the root cellar?
Jonathan: I have a pass. Displays pass.
Author: Damn. I have to stop issuing those!
If anyone else has any thoughts, I'd be a happy camper. And there would be cookies, and even more cookies for anyone who picks on up the quote. (It's kinda a gimme, but you know.) Also I'm looking for a friendly Beta. Email me at if interested. That is all. Also I'm sorry to any Candies who may be reading. I just needed a name!