Arkham Asylum, one year later.
Every year, it seemed there were more charities. Stranger and stranger, they were. This year, it seemed the good people of Gotham were willing to give, give, give to the very people who stole from them all year round.
The Scarecrow was alone in his cell, reading a very old and battered copy of The Haunting of Hill House(one of the few books he had any use for that had somehow appeared on the approved reading list) when the package came.
"Merry Christmas from the First Church of Lost Souls," the orderly said, obviously mouthing someone else's words. "Our mission is to provide a home-cooked meal to everyone who needs it. Please enjoy." He dumped a picnic basket on the Scarecrow's bedside table and backed out of the cell as quickly as he could, letting the transparent wall slam down between them before he spoke again. "There's some books, too, but they ain't on the list, so I can't give 'em to you. If you really want 'em, you can talk to your doc when he gets back from vacation on Monday. That okay?"
"What books?" Crane asked in a tone calculated to make the orderly feel like an awkward schoolboy. This one was falling easily into the habit of asking permission for everything he did; he seemed to have forgotten that hewas supposed to be the one giving the inmates orders, and that he had the authority to enforce those orders with almost anything short of lethal force if they didn't comply.
"Um...Silence of the Lambs and...I can't pronounce this." He held a threadbare hardback book up to the glass. Interesting. It was a psychology text, obsolete but still fascinating as a historical curiosity, that Crane had been hoping to get his hands on since long before the first time he ever donned his mask.
"Who is this from?" he asked. The orderly flinched.
"There's a card in the basket." He was sweating, probably hoping Crane would notice, or at least wouldn't mind, that the card had already been opened and read. It was standard security procedure, but he was still afraid of taking the blame.
Crane read the card with no expression. Its message was short and simple.
We always cook extra at Christmastime.
It was signed "Fukiko Ichigo and Tanya Deladier".
He took a look inside the basket and was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of food. All traditionally southern food—fried chicken, biscuits, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie…chocolate pie. Pie in many shapes and sizes.
Well, there was nothing wrong with dessert. He didn't have nearly as much of a sweet tooth as his odd pair of holiday stalkers, but…well, he would not turn down sweet potato pie.
The Scarecrow smiled a little. The orderly turned pale and ran. Crane paid him no mind.
Vengeance (like pie) was a dish best served cold. Their crippling terror would keep…for at least one more Christmas.
Author's note o' joy: Heee. The end. I hope everybody liked it.
And I especially hope my first mate liked it. Merry Christmas, noble one!
Thanks for reading! And happy holidays.
Update complete as of 2012/01/25
P.S. If you enjoyed this, you'll love the incredible tale of the joining of the unholy trio in "Cross Roads Blues."