CATverse A/N: The CATverse website is currently being revamped to add all the stuff that's been added to the timeline recently--it'll be done by morning, so just have a look at the 'story arc listing' to get the most current list of what's done and what's not in order. The link to the site is on my profile. Go. Shoo. -wave-
A/N: Yes! Finally! I've been sitting on this story for months, people, waiting for Captain to post the story that makes this one possible and she just did. So...here. Enjoy. Yay.
It was just another heist.
Just another ordinary, every day heist.
A bank robbery. A cakewalk.
Of course, it seemed to Jonathan Crane it was always the 'cakewalks' that turned into complete disasters…video stores and gas stations were supposed to be cakewalks too, but he was all too aware of how those particular 'cakewalks' turned out…
The Scarecrow should have known that the moment he was feeling confident about the heist, something would just have to go awry. It always did. It simply wouldn't be his life if it didn't.
Everything was going according to plan…
In retrospect, that should have been his first clue that something unexpected was going to happen…nothing ever went perfectly 'according to plan' for more than two minutes before said plan went straight in the crapper.
Crane had just reduced the belligerent bank manager to a quivering, blubbering mess on the ground with a nice healthy sized dose of fear toxin (muttering something about clowns, if he wasn't terribly mistaken…really, when were these people going to learn? A man in a mask means business.), when an exclamation of 'Oh!' startled him into turning away from his victim.
One of his henchgirls had her hand clutched to her abdomen and for a horrifyingly long second, he felt a surge of panic that she'd been injured.
The Captain stood, knees close together and ankles splayed far apart, the fingers of her left hand spread over her stomach and her gun forgotten in the other, her eyes wide like those of the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights.
Mortifyingly, he relaxed when he realized there was no blood bubbling out from between her fingers and covered his concern by snapping irritably at her. "What?!"
"I…I felt…I felt a flutter." Her eyes widened another fraction of an inch in wonder before her face split with a grin of recognition. "The baby's kicking!"
There were two identical excited squeals and both of the Captain's cohorts descended on her.
"Can we feel?" Asking was just a formality, apparently, because both Al and Techie suddenly had their hands on the Captain's stomach and were making a series of rather unsettling highly strung squeaky noises.
"Oh! You've got a soccer star in there!"
"Soccer star nothing, you're carrying Bruce Lee's reincarnation. Wow!"
"It's a good thing you don't bruise, Cap'n."
The three women dissolved into uncontrollable giggles as Crane looked on dumbly, unable to do anything but gape.
He glared at them. "Girls…"
The Captain grinned even wider, oblivious to his "I-should-set-you-on-fire" glower. "Do you want to feel?"
"I most certainly do not."
"Sure you do."
"I assure you I don't."
"Aren't you even the least bit curious?"
Crane's glare kicked up about four notches on the furious scale. "Am I the only one here who remembers we're in the middle of a HEIST?!"
Captain, Al and Techie looked at each other and then at their surroundings, as if suddenly becoming aware of the serious situation that they had so easily forgotten in favor of girly squeeing.
"We'll get back to work now, boss."
Their attitudes altered immediately and they shifted from the roles of squealing stooges to professional henchmen once more, taking their former positions with their weapons drawn and ready to fire into the crowd of bewildered bank employees and customers.
"Back on the ground, worms!"
"Hands on your heads!"
"If any of you even think of moving--OH! I mean. Oops. Uh. Baby again. Sorry!" She growled suddenly, covering the squee quality that was trying to make itself known in her voice. "Any of you fucking pricks MOVE and I'll execute every mother fucking last one of you!"
Al and Techie traded an amused look. "Nicely done, honey bunny."
"Thank you, pumpkin."
Crane's left eye twitched and the throb in his right temple that heralded the beginning of a migraine intensified.
They really were going to be the death of him…
The moment Jonathan and his underlings returned to their lair-of-the-week, he stormed into the room designated as his and didn't re-emerge for several hours. He had no desire to continue listening to the cooing baby-talk voices that they'd been using ever since they left the bank, Al and Techie talking to the tiny life growing inside the Captain and telling it all about the heist and the fine art of the armed robbery and the Captain giggling like an idiot.
They were so distracted with the thrill of the Captain's baby kicking that they neglected to pester him to come out for dinner and finally the rumbling of his stomach, demanding to be fed, forced him to leave the safety and quiet of his bedroom.
The place was eerily quiet, and less then ten feet from his bedroom door he realized why.
They'd all fallen asleep in front of the television again. The Captain was stretched out on the sofa, her legs hanging off one end of it with Al curled up on the other end near her commanding officer's head. Techie was on the floor, as per usual, snuggled under the thickest quilt she'd been able to find and they were all sleeping soundly.
He stood there, considering them with partial contempt and partial wonderment. Why were they always by him? If anything should have proven to be a surefire out of their jobs as henchgirls, the Captain's pregnancy should have been it…
And yet, here they were, looking exactly the same as they had dozens--if not hundreds of times before--as though there was nowhere else on the face of the planet that they could ever conceivably belong.
To think, in six months short time there'd be another member in the group…to think they'd lasted--not only their lives, but their friendship--throughout all the trials and tribulations that Gotham City had in abundance was mind boggling.
His eyes traveled over each of them, studying their features in slumber. They were all…almost pretty, if an unconventional way. He looked at Techie, with her beak-like nose and unruly hair; Al with her less pronounced features that gave no hint to the depth beneath them and at the Captain, with her--this month--peroxide blonde locks. There was nothing extraordinarily beautiful about any of them, but…they still…kinda were. Maybe it was the nature of their personalities that made him have that absurd fleeting thought…maybe purity of heart and true loyalty made them pretty?
Crane shook it off. Clearly he hadn't been getting enough sleep lately if he were thinking like that.
But still…soon there'd be another added to the ranks. Would she look like the Captain? (Because it would have to be a her. There was no way of convincing him otherwise.) Would they decide, once the baby was born, that their current line of work was too dangerous to engage in with a child in tow? Would they…leave?
For good this time?
He didn't know what that emotion was that suddenly felt like it was going to make his chest burst, but he didn't like it at all and shoved it down accordingly.
The Captain shifted in her sleep and her hand patted her abdomen absently.
The baby was kicking already…
His brow furrowed. If they were going to leave when the child came along, then his time with them truly was growing short.
Almost of its own volition, out of a need to quench his curiosity, Crane reached out and brushed his hand over the Captain's belly in a fleeting touch.
It was brief, but he felt it. Definite movement. Proof of the life that had made its home inside his henchgirl and was perfectly content to be there.
He was startled when the Captain's hand closed over his own and he flicked his eyes up to her face.
She was smiling, though her eyes were half closed and had a dreamy quality to them. She pressed his hand to her stomach a little more firmly so that he could feel the fluttering more clearly.
"Kitten," she whispered. "That's your uncle Jonathan. Jonathan, that's Kitten." She looked at him meaningfully and released his hand before her eyes slid shut again. "And this is one of those things we're not going to tell anyone about."