Disclaimer: I own the Scarecrow. I won him in a poker game. Take that DC comics, you grimy, greedy bastards.
A/N: This story is part of the CATverse. The story listing can be found at freewebs. com/catverse. It takes place in arc three, directly after my story "Make-Out Point." Enjoy!
Jonathan Crane fell into his bed, completely exhausted but feeling ecstatic with the rush of adrenaline that accompanied success.
The heist had been a complete, total and utter success.
There weren't enough positive adjectives in the dictionary to describe just how well it had gone.
He was surprised to find that after almost five months of nothing but success, he still hadn't tired of the heady rush it gave him to get away with whatever he'd set his mind to.
It was amazing how the dynamics of a situation changed when you had muscle on your side.
Having henchgirls, regardless of how much he didn't want to admit it, was actually quite acceptable.
He might have gone so far as to call it 'agreeable', but that would have made him sound like he was going soft.
Which he most decidedly was not.
He just appreciated the fact that he wasn't the one who took the brunt of the beatings anymore…
With a yawn that bordered on contented, knowing that in the morning he could get to work on a fresh batch of his newest type of toxin, he slipped into a pleasant, dreamless sleep.
When he awoke before dawn to the sounds of Snow White And The Seven Dwarves blasting at levels that could have conceivably caused eardrum damage, he realized that there was something very, very wrong going on.
Crane sat up so abruptly his back made a snapping noise.
No. No. No.
It couldn't be happening again. Not this soon. It couldn't be. The Powers The Be couldn't possibly be that cruel.
He scrambled off his bed and darted across the small room that served as his quarters to snatch the calendar that hung on the opposite wall.
He squinted at it without his glasses, scanning for this week.
Which was circled with bright red Sharpie.
How could he have forgotten? Was he so absorbed in his work that it had completely slipped his mind that this was coming?
Angry at himself for his carelessness, he threw the calendar aside and tried to figure out the best escape route.
This was the only real drawback to sharing his existence with The Captain, Al and Techie.
This was the reason why most villains had henchmen instead of henchgirls.
Even though henchgirls seemed to be more loyal, quite a bit smarter and more resilient than the average hired muscle, they had one crucial design flaw:
Roughly every twenty eight days they completely lost their minds.
And Jonathan Crane, as a man who had studied madness the way a teenage boy studies anything in a skirt, knew crazy people when he saw them.
These three, once every month, went three-fries-short-of-a-happy-meal bonzo.
And Disney music blasting before dawn? That was only the beginning…what could follow-no, what would follow-was something he desperately wanted to avoid.
He could clearly remember the first time this had happened.
They'd been with him approximately a month and life had been…
Well, it hadn't been quiet; they followed him around and made him eat and made sure he had everything he needed or wanted or could possibly ever conceive of wanting, and while it was annoying as hell, it was routine.
Then one night he went to sleep with three adoring, loyal henchgirls sharing his lair and when dawn broke, the whole world was turned on it's head.
They were angry. Surly even. Downright pissed, and for no apparent reason. They snapped at him, at each other, at inanimate objects...
He might have gassed them just for the sake of peace and quiet if he hadn't been so interested in finding out what the hell was going on.
They shouted, they screamed, they violently insulted each other and called him names-none of them of the familiar 'annoying endearing nickname' variety and some of them quite odd (he made a point to remember to try and ask Techie how much traveling she had done, since many of her nastier insults were foreign in origin-British, mostly)-and then they all stormed out.
A few hours later, they were back; smelling like a mishmash of chocolate, blood, dirt and gunpowder.
He didn't ask.
Then they were crying and hugging and apologizing and passing out on the couch together with two empty tubs of ice cream in the floor and half a dozen cupcake wrappers lying everywhere.
He started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the fumes from the experiment he'd conducted the night before had affected them.
They'd been through the entire spectrum of emotions available to a human being and then some.
Anger, sadness, introspection, hyperactivity, anger, inconsolable crying, clingyness, anger, anti-social behavior, obsessive cleaning, and...did he mention anger?
That was the most prevalent, he noted...the most volatile and could only be cured by ice cream and chocolate consumed in mass quantities.
The mood swings stayed for three whole days and then things went back to-well, as normal as could be expected, given the circumstances.
So he dismissed it as a side effect of them getting some of the fumes from his latest batch of toxin (which he kept for study, because those effects, while unsettling, had been fascinating).
That theory was thrown clear out the window when the exact same thing happened a month later.
As a scientist, the man put two and two together and got...
Well, things weren't adding up the way they should have. There was no logic, no pattern involved, other than the fact that both bouts of insanity had occurred around the same time of the month and-
As a scientist and a doctor to boot, he kicked himself for not realizing earlier.
He'd been marking his calendar with a bright red Sharpie ever since and made a point of not being around much during those few days when they all went barking mad.
But apparently, he'd been so happy with his successes of the previous evening, he forgot to check and make sure that this wasn't approaching...
Now, to beat a hasty retreat before they knew he was up and about and wanted him to hug them (and not in the usual 'we love you' way, but in that 'comfort me while I cry until I'm a big ball of snot on your shirt' way).
The door to his room crashed open suddenly and he spun on his heel.
Crane told himself he wasn't panicking at seeing The Captain standing there, a feral gleam in her eyes.
Oh damn...he'd forgotten this part. This made the crying and screaming seem inviting...
The madwoman took several purposeful strides towards him and he found himself backed up against the wall. How that happened, he wasn't sure. He certainly didn't remember taking the steps backward.
The instinct for self preservation can be weird like that.
"Good morning, Squishy," she said huskily as she pressed herself against him and walked her fingers up his chest, "I think we need to have a talk."
He slapped her hand away hard, "For the last time, you may not bear my child!"
"But your superior genes must be preserved and passed on!" She exclaimed, latching onto his arm, "The lineage of Master Squish must continue forever!"
"I'll get cloned!" He shouted desperately, shaking his arm in an attempt to extricate himself from her iron grasp.
"Please let me bear your Squishlets, please? Please?" She looked up at him with pleading eyes.
"No," he repeated, a bit more forceful this time (which was saying something, since it'd been almost a shout the last time).
"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-" a deep breath, "eeeeeease?"
"I. Said. No."
"But I would be such a good mother!"
"If I recall correctly," Crane replied, still trying to tug his arm away from her, "Only last week you were bemoaning the fate of any future children you might be unfortunate enough to have because you would-and I quote-'Misplace them or set them on fire in the first week'."
"But I would love them so much!"
"And I would love you so much."
Crane was visibly uncomfortable with the look she gave him and the double meaning that her statement could take on, "Stop saying that."
"But I want a baby and if I can't have one-I'll...I'll..." her lip started quivering and her eyes got that glassy wet look to them, "You're mean!"
"Yes, I am."
"Big meanie! MEANIE!"
"We've established that I'm a big meanie. Now. Let. Me. GO!"
She looked more desperate than ever, "PLEASE?"
"No. No. A thousand times no!"
"WHO THE HELL ATE ALL THE ICE CREAM?" came a banshee-like screech from outside his bedroom, saving The Captain the trouble of trying another tactic to convince her villainous master that she should be the mother of his heir.
The scream was enough to startle The Captain and allowed him to yank his arm away from her; making a run for the open doorway.
What greeted him was possibly the most frightening thing he'd ever seen without the aid of fear toxin.
Al and Techie were standing there, fists clenched at their sides and rage absolutely radiating from their forms.
The idea that if he could harness that energy he could probably power a small city for a year occurred to him, but he was too concerned with getting out of their way to give it much thought.
He told himself it wasn't because he was scared of them but because he didn't want to have to hurt them in his attempt to get past.
(Because being concerned for their physical well being was far less humiliating than being scared of them.)
"You!" Techie roared and pegged a finger at the Captain furiously, "You ate it all! I WANT MOOSE TRACKS AND I WANT THEM NOW!"
The Captain looked absolutely wounded, "I did n-we're OUT OF ICE CREAM?"
"And if I don't get something chocolatey soon I'm going to need to kill something!"
Oh, a perfect opportunity for escape.
The Scarecrow supplied (not that he'd be heard over the bickering that was currently being stirred up), "I'll...just...go...get some."
And then he fled from the building like his coattails were on fire.
He stayed gone for most of the day, running errands that he could have put off until next week just to have an excuse not to go back to the lair.
Around ten o'clock in the evening, he realized he'd run out of things to do that didn't require equipment that was currently residing in said lair.
He would have to go back tonight anyways...
Well, he'd just get there and lock himself in his room. Set booby traps if necessary to keep them out until they were sane again.
Or at least as close to sane as they ever had been to begin with.
It was when he passed the alleyway behind a convenience store on the way back that he remembered-
If he didn't return with armloads of chocolate, they wouldn't let him live long enough to get to his room and lock it securely behind himself.
It still wasn't too late to kill them and go back to a solitary existence...
But he thought better of it when he remembered the beatings he took on a regular basis before they waltzed into his life (or can-canned, rather).
It was this that propelled him towards the alley entrance to the store and made him jimmy the lock.
The door opened to reveal a stockroom and he blessed the first bit of good luck he'd had all day.
Little Debbie, Hostess and every other imaginable type of junk food stretching as far as the eye could see.
And a small freezer case stocked with ice cream.
They were going to be thrilled with him when he got home.
(Crane shook himself and carelessly tossed the thought of why he'd internally referred to the lair as 'home' away. )
There was a shelf nearby where boxes of plastic 'Have a nice day' bags resided and he snapped up a couple, intent on filling them to capacity and dragging them back to the lair.
Several pounds of chocolate should keep them pretty well distracted for a few hours...
A bag and a half later as he was loading up on single serve ice cream tubs, a loud gasp interrupted him.
He turned, ready to kill whoever had walked into the stock room.
A gangly teenager in a 'Quik Stop' uniform was staring at him in awe, "You're The Scarecrow. Wow! The Scarecrow stealing from the Quik Stop on my watch!"
Oh, just what he needed. A fanboy.
"Why're you stealing ice cream though?" the clerk asked, puzzled.
He took a step back at the murderous glare Crane gave him, "I didn't mean I was going to try and stop you...just curious." Then a look of recognition passed over his face, "Oh wait-it's for your girls, isn't it?"
Something inside Crane bristled and he considered gassing the teen not for the first time.
This pimply pencil neck had no right to go around referring to them as his girls as though that were a term of endearment.
They were his henchgirls. They were his minions. His underlings. He was their superior; not their squeaky toy, as the boy's tone had suggested.
"They are not my girls," he replied, narrowing his eyes at the whelp, unsure as to why he felt compelled to defend himself when it would have been so much easier to just knock him out and run.
"They certainly seem like it every time I've seen them," the boy answered, "And if I may say so, sir, you have excellent taste. They're a bit of alright."
Crane ignored the small swelling of primal male pride that blossomed in his chest that he convinced himself shouldn't have been there.
But...well...maybe he didn't have to beat the boy senseless after all.
Besides, he wanted to know...
"How did you know the ice cream was for them?" he asked suspiciously.
"I've been a man on this same mission," the clerk shrugged, "I've got six sisters."
"You have my deepest sympathies."
And he meant it.
"Yeah but that's me," the boy said, his demeanor changing from awe struck to petulent.
"I never thought you would put up with it."
Crane was getting tired of this...his ice cream was melting and he was starting to feel very impatient.
"I figured you'd pull a Joker and toss them out the nearest open-or shut-window the first time this happened."
When phrased like that, it made him sound like he was going soft.
(Which he wasn't...he really, really wasn't.)
"I mean, whoda thunk it?" The idiot laughed, almost scornfully, "Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow, Master Of Fear...whipped."
The Scarecrow killed the snot nosed little punk on principle.
'Whipped' indeed. He'd shown him who was 'whipped'...
Leaving the mangled corpse for the Quik Stop manager to find amongst the bags of potato chips, Crane slung his haul of junk food over his shoulder and started back for the lair.
As he went along his merry way, feeling better at being able to release some of his pent up frustration and righteous indignation in the form of mayhem, something the boy had said came back to him that made him feel much better about his current living situation.
No matter how bad he may have had it, the Joker had Harley Quinn for a henchgirl.
And as nutty as his minions were, at least they weren't that psychotic.
He tried to picture Harley Quinn-a woman whose emotional state was unstable to begin with-having mood swings...
It was almost enough to make him feel sorry for the Joker and be thankful for what he had.
Wondering what happens next? Read "Interview Skills" by Twinings to find out!