It's Too Late – Julia Gallagher

Copyright © 2005

Chapter I

"Dr. Crane, you are needed at the front desk. Dr. Jonathon Crane, you are needed at the front desk."

These words echoed through the long dark hallways of Arkham Asylum, and the man they were beckoning was busy sitting at his desk, looking over the files of recent inmates.

His blue eyes flickered up, glancing towards his door. The words were repeated, and he sighed as he closed the folder and placed it back in the drawer he had taken it from. Slamming the drawer shut, he stood up and slipped on his jacket.

Clasping his hands behind his back he walked out of his office and towards the nearby elevator. After pushing the button to the bottom floor he relaxed and leaned against the wall.

The only reason why they would want him at the front desk would be because of a new patient, a very special new patient. He smiled, thinking to himself that it was probably another one of Falcone's thugs.

Walking out into the hallway, the sounds of his footsteps were barely audible. He had a way of doing that, giving himself the ability to sneak up on anyone. The front desk came into view and he clasped his hands behind his back once more. "Yes Miss Kaffe?" He said to the woman who 'manned' the front desk.

"You have a new patient." She said as she pointed her pen towards the seating area. "The woman asked specifically for you. She has a suicidal daughter." He nodded curtly and took the notes that Miss Kaffe had written down. Crane couldn't help but feel disappointed, here he was, thinking that he was going to have another thug to experiment on, and all he gets is some suicidal girl.

'Woman, actually.' He corrected himself as he turned around and faced them, his eyes landing on the, he presumed, suicidal daughter. She looked familiar, but he couldn't quite figure out why. Her head was leaning forward, causing her long brown hair to cover her face. But then she slowly moved her head up, allowing his icy blue eyes to meet her lucid brown ones.

His heart leapt up into his throat, but he quickly swallowed his emotions, letting them fall into the pit of his stomach. Moving forward he looked down at what Miss Kaffe had written. "Mrs. Hernt I believe." He said to the middle-aged woman sitting before him. She nodded her head, "Yes. And this is my stepdaughter, Selena. She tried to commit suicide three days ago, as you can see by her wrists." Mrs. Hernt roughly grabbed one of Selena's hands and jerked it forward, allowing Crane to see her bandaged wrist.

Selena had dropped her head back down, shielding her face again from his view. "I see, and why do you think she should be admitted into this Asylum?" Crane asked. Mrs. Hernt dropped Selena's hand as if it were a snake and said, "She's suicidal, and insane at that, she's tried to kill herself before, an over dosage of pills. And she tried to kill my Jimmy! My little son who wouldn't dare hurt a fly, she claims that he tried to rape her! The girl is crazy I tell you! She's always mumbling to herself or talking to someone who's not there. Her father and I have tried to get her help but she refuses, she put up quite a fight today when I told her where I was taking her, but she calmed down after a bit."

Crane nodded as she spoke, quietly taking notes. "Well, I'm sure we can cure her of whatever is causing her to try and commit suicide, we have some very skilled doctors here, including myself." He said. Mrs. Hernt smiled, "I knew that this was the perfect place to bring her. I'm just glad to finally get her off of my hands." Crane curtly nodded and handed her a few papers, "If you would just sign these, we will take her off of your hands right away."

After Mrs. Hernt left, Crane grabbed a pair of handcuffs from behind the front desk and walked slowly towards Selena who had not moved from the chair. He nodded to two security guards who were standing nearby as he moved closer to her.

Selena's head suddenly snapped up, "You don't need to restrain me." She said, speaking for the first time since she had gotten there. "I won't run away or try anything." The sound of her voice washed over him, bringing back memories of how her voice had once made him feel. He looked down into her eyes and knew that she was speaking the truth.

He waved off the guards with his hand and then said to her, "Follow me." She slowly stood up, allowing him to see for the first time how skinny she had become. Her once full figured body was now no more then skin and bones. Her clothes hung loosely on her, and her once voluptuous breasts were now no more then barely in existence. She had changed, drastically. And yet, so had he.

Shaking his head slightly he pursed his lips together and led her down the hall. He could feel his eyes on her, knowing that they were boring into the back of his head. Pushing the button for the elevator he avoided making eye contact with her. She dropped her eyes away from him and stared at the floor, and then and only then, did he steal a glance at her. Many things had changed about her, but not everything. Her hair was still the same, the same length, and the same color. He remembered how he used to love running his fingers through it. The sound of the elevator doors opening brought him out of his reminiscing.

The entire ride was silent, but he knew that she wanted to speak. He wanted to also, but he wouldn't allow himself to. No, it was too dangerous, far too dangerous. He would not let himself go into that territory, he had been out of it for far too long.

Leading her down a long hallway he stopped at a door labeled, twenty-three thirty-three. Pulling a card out of his pocket he opened the door and beckoned for her to walk in. "You'll find a change of clothes on the bed." He explained to her, "I take it you've already eaten?" He watched her as she looked around the room. She hesitated for a moment and then nodded. "Good. You'll start your therapy in the morning. Goodnight."

Selena moved towards the door as he closed it, "Cra-!" She started, but it was too late. The door had already shut. Her shoulders slumped forward as she turned around and faced the bed. Grabbing the clothes she held them up and fingered them. The material was thin, and they looked like scrubs, very old scrubs. She sighed as she fought back tears.

Pulling off her t-shirt she decided against the top, leaving her wife beater on and then pulled off her jeans. Once she was dressed in the uniform of every other Arkham inmate she left her street clothes in a heap on the floor and crawled onto the bed, curling up into a ball. She would not cry; she refused herself the satisfaction of letting herself cry.

Meanwhile Crane quietly made his way back to his office. After taking off his jacket he sat down in his chair and made a few more notes about Selena and then filed away her folder. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes for several moments.

"Shit." He murmured as he held his head in his hands.