Disclaimer: Must I really keep doing this little song and dance? Batman isn't mine, the Scarecrow isn't mine, Gotham isn't mine, life isn't fair, yadda yadda.
For the official CAT timeline (lengthy to the point of being fear-toxin scary) go to http/ www . freewebs . com / bitemetechie / catverse . html (banish the spaces. Banish I say!). This story isn't on it yet, because it was dreamed up late last night, but it's sandwiched neatly in February of 2013.
"With scattered showers expected for tomorrow. Back to you, Bob."
"This just in, ladies and gentlemen, the villain known as the Scarecrow, otherwise known as Jonathan Crane, is on the run again tonight after escaping police custody. The newsroom reports that the Batman is on his trail..."
Yes, Jonathan Crane was on the run again. He didn't need a news anchor with a bad toupee and far-too-white-to-be-that-color-naturally teeth to tell him that. The fact that his legs were pumping as he skidded along the icy streets of Gotham--ignoring the jumbo screen in the distance behind him, looming from the electronics store window he had sprinted past--made his current situation more than abundantly clear. He also knew that Batman was hot on his heels. It was hard to miss the big brooding shadow that kept popping out of nowhere, forcing him to change course at the last minute, as he led the dark knight on a bizarre zigzag course across the frozen tundra that was Gotham in mid-February.
He had the advantage of distance and unpredictability, considering the haphazard route he was taking across the city, but Crane knew he couldn't run forever. Moreover, Batman traveled by rooftop and not on the ground; Crane's advantage would soon become a millstone hung about his neck if he didn't find a way to even the odds.
Left, right, left, left, double back!
Crane felt his lungs expand and contract within his chest, his ribcage aching and his side throbbing as though someone had beaten him with a particularly sharp piece of rebar. Little clouds of breath sprang up in front of his face as he slipped and slid his way down one alleyway, then another, past dumpsters, under apartment building stoops, behind restaurants and finally through the west gate of Gotham Central Cemetery.
His feet traveled with a bit more surety in the snow that was scattered everywhere than they had on the slick sidewalks, and the innermost part of his mind that wasn't preoccupied with panicking insisted that it was for this reason he darted into the graveyard. Additionally, Gotham Central was a rather large cemetery with lots of trees to hide behind--and the sprawling lawn dotted with tombstones was so large that Batman would have to abandon his rooftops and pursue him on foot.
Tactically, it had been a very good move on his part, allowing him to get back on equal footing with the man who hunted him. With this in mind, he ducked behind a particularly large oak to catch his breath and rub away the pain in his side.
Crane leaned back, letting his head rest against the tree and gasped. He very nearly let his eyes slip shut so that he could focus more fully on breathing, but thought better of it.
It was a fortunate thing--more fortunate than he would ever know--that he did this, because when he tipped his head just so, a flash of dingy silver caught his eye that he might not have spotted otherwise.
Resting against the gnarled bark he himself leaned on there stood a shovel, obviously forgotten by the extensive necropolis' caretaker.
He swept it up by the handle, finding it neither too heavy nor too light, and hefted it up onto his shoulder. It had been manufactured for digging through earth and setting aside stone, but for a man like Jonathan Crane, its size, shape and weight just screamed "Bludgeoning weapon!"
He had the element of surprise and a solid bit of steel and wood in hand just perfect for bashing Batman's brains in. The grin beneath his mask grew ruthless and had he not been covered in sack cloth, he might have found the strength of his own madly merry expression embarrassing.
But Fate had just tipped her scales in his favor, what wasn't there to be happy about?
Crane strained his ears, listening for any sign that Batman was nearby, and after a few moments, he was rewarded with the sound of boots crunching over snow.
Batman may have been a master of stealth, but even he couldn't escape the rules of nature. Snow, if you listened hard enough, gave off quite a noisy crunch when you passed through it.
Heavy as the dark knight was, he made an impressive bit of noise as he approached and Crane readied himself to strike at just the right moment.
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
Wiry muscles flexed and with a surprising amount of grace, Crane leapt out from his hiding place, swinging the business end of the shovel squarely into the surprised face of Gotham's champion.
What occurred next was something that Crane would look back on until his dying day with a positively obscene amount of satisfaction.
Batman's nose broke quite loudly in the silence of the otherwise peaceful graveyard and blood trickled down his face as he staggered back.
And then…then, the man all of Gotham's criminal underworld feared, the man that had gone up against the Joker and won countless times before, a man lauded for his elegant fighting style …
As if that weren't good enough, Batman didn't just slip; he did the full-on slapstick banana peel slide, his head connecting with a headstone as he went down.
Had he been anyone else, Crane might have felt a pang of sympathy, because that sounded like a nasty concussion, but as he approached the fallen hero, intent on slamming the shovel into his skull again, all he could manage was a sharp, sudden cackle.
The stone monument that Batman had knocked himself silly on was a very familiar one.
Hysterical and slightly undignified giggles bubbled out of his throat, but he didn't care.
Batman lay, more than slightly dazed and bleeding impressively, at the base of the Captain's headstone.
A dead woman…a dead henchgirl--his dead henchgirl--was still fulfilling her duties despite the fact she was buried beneath six feet of earth.
The brilliant absurdity of it all hit him with as much force as he'd exerted in knocking Batman off balance.
The Scarecrow laughed. A laugh that the Joker himself would have given a 9.9 on the sinister snicker scale.
He laughed and he smacked Batman with the shovel once more.
Then he ran.
He ran like a bat out of hell, nearly laughing his head off his shoulders as he went.
The irony and appropriateness of the events that had just transpired was not lost on Jonathan Crane.
Even in death, they were still assisting him in giving Batman the slip.
Pun very much intended.