Disclaimer: Like I bother with these anymore...

A/N: This is part of the CATverse, the timeline of which can be found at http/ www . freewebs . com / catverse . htm (delete the spaces, if you have any sense at all). Despite the fact that this comes in one of the last two arcs, it has no spoilers for the major plot points that have yet to be revealed.

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It was funny the way these things kept happening.

Not 'ha ha' funny, but sanitarium funny.

After close to five years of a quiet but intense feud, Mister Freeze had finally granted the henchwomen known throughout Gotham as the Captain, Al and Techie an audience with him.

Five years seemed like a respectable amount of time to the ice man.

They had, after all, head-napped him and then forced him to do a jig. Really, he should have waited more like ten years before he considered taking them off his 'to-kill-in-the-most-painful-way-humanly-possible' list.

But, they had also inadvertently done him favors here and there and had--for the most part--stayed out of his way; and the 'Year's Supply of Slushies' gift cards that came to him every Christmas, regardless of whether he was in Arkham or out of it, had softened his hatred somewhat.

(Could he help it if he had a secret weakness for Blue Raspberry flavored anything?)

Of course, him being him and them being them, their meeting was simply destined to go wrong.

At the outset , everything had been going perfectly well. They had arrived on time at the place he'd specified in his 'invitation', looking somewhat nervous but covering it valiantly with the bravado and sarcasm that had made them famous in the underworld. He dispensed with the pleasantries right away and got right down to the nitty gritty and once he made it known he had no intention of killing them, they relaxed so much he thought they might actually collapse and kiss his feet.

Naturally, they didn't do that…

No, instead, they did something worse.

The Captain, flooded with happiness and relief at the fact she was off one more villain's hit-list, launched herself out of her chair, into his lap and hugged him.

Her companions had seen the change in her demeanor when he said the word "pardon" and tried to stop her from doing what she did, but by the time their shouts were out, she was already on him, cuddling him.

What followed was one of the most spectacular displays of unintentional pyrotechnics in the history of Gotham city.

Now, to explain why what transpired happened, it should be noted that the Captain--through some extraordinary, inexplicable means--was quite deadly to all types of technology. Al had bad luck with kitchen appliances, the Captain had bad luck with virtually everything else (Techie sometimes wondered if the only reason she'd been dragged into their little group in the first place was because they needed someone who could fix whatever they accidentally broke) and Mister Freeze was not immune.

A stunning shower of blue and white sparks exploded outwards from him and all of the parts of his suit that were lit up flickered and finally went out.

Techie and Al both dropped their heads and covered their faces with their hands. "Electromagnetic Field Girl strikes again."

The Captain gasped and one hand flew over her mouth. "Oh my God! I'm so sorry! Are you going to die? OH GOD! I'm sorry! SO sorry! I feel so bad!"

Then the giggling started. That nervous 'Oh God he's going to kill me, isn't he?' giggling.

Needless to say, this did little to endear the Captain to the man whose lap she was occupying.

"Just as soon as I stop thawing, little girl…"

She still couldn't stop giggling. "Life. Forfeit. I know."

Al and Techie glanced at each other and then clamored off the sofa they'd been sitting on, crossing the small amount of space between them and Mister Freeze.

"Come on, Sparky; Techie'll put the suit to rights. In the meantime, let's get you someplace where you can chill out."

"Al, please: no puns."

---

The lair of the Scarecrow was quite a bit quieter than usual when the man himself woke. It'd been a rough couple of days and he was still recovering from a few minor bruises, so the fact he'd slept through the day and on into the night was no real surprise.

It was shortly after midnight when he slithered into his bathrobe and shuffled out of his room towards the make-shift kitchen to get himself a fresh glass of ice water to wash away that fuzzy feeling in his mouth.

The refrigerator that the girls had nicked from the nearest thrift store was an avocado green affair that made so much noise it was almost like a V8 engine revving every few minutes.

The rest of the lair was silent, with the exception of the low hum of three voices coming from the common room, speaking in hushed tones.

Usually, there was the television on when they were up this late, but all he could hear now was the barely audible thrum of them whispering and something that sounded like…metal on metal?

Hm.

Well, he'd investigate after he got his glass of water.

Crane retrieved a cracked glass from the battered dish rack and shambled to the fridge, pulling open the freezer door while yawning.

He reached for the bag of ice cubes, fumbled for a few and pulled them out, said a courteous "Hello, Victor" to the head in a jar next to the chicken pot pies and shut the door again.

He dropped the ice cubes into his glass one by one until, on the fourth cube, the sluggishly moving gears in his head ground to a halt.

Crane blinked and tipped his head at the freezer, eyes narrowed.

Nah.

He flicked his eyes in the direction of the common room where the mischief makers were.

Then again…this was them

He returned to the freezer and opened it.

Victor Fries was indeed staring out at him from between bags of hot wings, boxes of jalapeno poppers and ice cube trays.

"Them?" Crane inquired, that one word expressing more sympathy than anyone would have ever thought could possibly reside within one syllable.

"Them."

"Should I ask?"

"No."

Crane shrugged. "Fair enough. Need anything?"

"Their heads on pikes would be ideal."

"It would, wouldn't it?"