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 / catverse (banish the spaces. Banish I say!).

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The sound of pots and pans clanging in a cacophony of dings and bangs was one of the more common noises to be heard in the lair of the Scarecrow these days. So common, in fact, that Jonathan Crane had almost learned to sleep through the racket.

Of course, 'almost' only counts in horseshoes, it most certainly doesn't even bear mentioning in this particular situation.

Crane lay face down on his bed, his nose pressed as deep into his mattress as the near-rock-hard surface would allow without causing suffocation, with a pillow of an impressive size covering his head. He held it to his ears, a hand clamped to each side of his face so hard one would think he was afraid his skull would fly apart at the seams if he did otherwise.

If he hadn't been so completely bone weary from almost three days on the run from the Green Lantern of all people (the result of a comedy of errors which neither deserves explanation nor recollection) he would have done something more constructive than just sticking his head in the proverbial sand.

Something constructive…and most likely homicidal in nature.

But, though his mind was perfectly capable of concocting a variety of horrific scenarios in which there was a veritable smorgasbord of torture devices in store for his 'beloved' henchgirls, his body simply wasn't up to the task.

Ooh, but if he were…the mess of tangled limbs and broken bones that would have littered the common room floor would have made Jack the Ripper a bit queasy.

CRASH!

BOOM!

BANG!

The whole rhythm section was the purple gang, his mind supplied in a voice that sounded suspiciously like the Captain at her most chirpy.

He stifled the voice directly before pretending he hadn't heard it in the first place and pressed the pillow to his ears a little bit harder.

He just wanted to sleep, was that really so much to ask?

DING!

He sighed heavily, Apparently so.

With all the reluctance of a man on his way to the electric chair, Crane resigned himself to his fate and rolled onto his back to stare at the ceiling sleepily. Today was just not a day in which he was going to get his hard earned rest.

He sneered, his upper lip curling most unattractively.

For three people who were so concerned with his welfare, they certainly didn't give a whit of attention to the fact that their racket was keeping him from getting the sleep he so desperately needed.

"Al! Chocolate chips! Where are the chocolate chips!?" the Captain's voice drifted to him through his door, half taskmaster, half giggling teenage girl. "There must be chocolate chips! I demand the chocolate chips!"

Though he continued to make faces, his stomach growled traitorously in a conditioned response to finding out the Captain was baking.

He clamped his hands over his middle (which was, admittedly, a great deal squishier than it had been in pre-henchgirl years…damn them for making him literally go soft) and glared at the ceiling.

I'm not hungry.

Maniacal giggling erupted from outside his room and someone burst into the chorus of an Oompa Loompa song, to be joined by another voice, just as high pitched, giggly and manic.

The fact that a third voice didn't chime in somewhat puzzled him…if the Captain and Al were baking, Techie should have been within earshot, if not right in the middle of the action; but her somewhat limited vocal range (which he had been 'treated' to hearing for the first time last Christmas from the stage of a trendy swing club where he and the girls had tried to blend in while on the run from the Bat-which hadn't worked as anticipated, what with his henchgirls being up on stage singing 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B') was nowhere to be heard.

Very curious.

He sat up and rubbed his face tiredly, reaching for his glasses and slipping him on his face.

Well, as long as he was awake anyway, he might as well get to the lab and start work for the day…

CRASH!

BANG!

SLAM!

"Guys? I'm home!"

Crane's brow furrowed. Ah. She had been out. Well, that certainly explained her absence from the makeshift manic choir. He started across the room towards the door and as his hand closed over the knob, he paused.

"OPS!"

Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter…

THUD.

He couldn't help but wince with…not sympathy. Most definitely not sympathy. He was not sympathetic that Techie had most likely just been the victim of a spleen rupturing tackle/hug.

"Captain--off!!"

"Ops! Ops we missed you!"

THUD.

"We baked brownies!" Al said in a sing-song voice.

"Brownies!!" the Captain echoed, giggling in a somewhat unhinged fashion.

Techie grunted. "What the hell did you put in them?"

"That chocolate--chocolate--chocolate!" the Captain sounded like she was bouncing on something…poor Techie. "That canister of chocolate you have in your room? The powder? We ran out of Hershey's halfway through, so we used that!"

"YOU WHAT?!" He could hear the way Techie was struggling against the Captain and he let his hand drop from the doorknob. It probably wasn't a good idea to go out there just yet. It sounded like Techie was going to explode all over the room. "Captain, that stuff is almost pure caffeine!"

"Is it?"

THUD.

"Stop glomping me! Get off! How much did you use? You can die of caffeine poisoning, you know!"

The other two giggled. "We've never been hospitalized from caffeine poisoning, Ops."

"Yeah, but I knew what I was doing! And if that doesn't do it, the sugar content alone can send you into a diabetic coma! GET OFF!"

Al chimed in, "We lurve you!"

The Captain gasped. "You should try some of our brownies! Come on, Ops! Have some brownies!"

"You've lost your bloody minds!"

"Stay right there, we're going to go get some!"

He heard the sounds of two sets of feet jogging for the kitchen, which was immediately followed by the sound of a more frantic set of feet headed straight for his door.

Realizing what was sure to happen, he made quick work of putting himself in front of the door and fumbled with the deadbolt…

However, he wasn't fully awake yet and this was a rather complicated lock for someone whose fine motor skills weren't exactly what they should've been.

As a result, when he stepped toward the door and reached for the contraption, the knob turned sharply and the door slammed inward, knocking him smack in the face with a pronounced "CRACK!" and sending him sprawling as Techie entered the room and locked the door behind her.

She didn't pay any attention to him until she had braced herself against the door, chest heaving and eyes wild, but when he finally caught her eye, he glared with all the strength he had in him, nose angrily gushing blood.

Techie looked at him apologetically but didn't say anything, going so far as to make a 'hush' gesture with one of her fingers.

"See? We made a whole platt--" Al's voice cut off momentarily before her tone turned puzzled. "Where'd she go?"

"Ops? Oooooops?" The Captain sang, "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

"I bet she ran off," Al stated somewhat unnecessarily.

Techie nodded frantically in response, hoping that through sheer will alone they would continue believing that.

Crane just continued to glare at her, wiping his nose on his pajama sleeve.

"Where's she got to run off to? Her bedroom door is wide open and Squishykins is still sleeping and you know he always locks his door…"

"Maybe she left to see Eddums?"

"Eddums!" The Captain clapped. "You're many kinds of brilliant, Number One. She probably went to see Eddums! We should bring him some brownies!"

"'Kay!"

There was a good deal of shuffling and general noisiness before the front door slammed shut and things were left silent at last.

Techie released a breath and immediately launched herself away from the door, dropping down next to her villainous master, digging into one of her pockets for a tiny package of Kleenex. "I'm sorry, Sq--"

He swatted her hand away as she tried to clean him up and glared some more. "You've done enough damage for one day, thank you."

She took the hint and rocked back on her heels, hands splayed on her thighs. "I'm sorry!"

"What were you thinking, leaving such a volatile chemical lying around where they could get to it?"

"I didn't think they would use my late night gaming stash of powdered caffeine for making brownies!" she squawked.

"Do you realize what would've happened to me if I'd gone out there with them in that condition?"

Her eyes went wide and Crane suddenly found himself with a lapful of henchgirl, her arms thrown around his neck.

"As God is my witness, I'll never let them have caffeine again."