Disclaimer: Not mine. Not yours. DC is entitled to own them again with the release of the superb Dark Knight. I relinquish my hold on the characters now that I'm sure they know what the hell they're doing again.
A/N: First, the concept is inspired by a picture I saw by Crispy-Gypsy on deviantArt. It made me warm inside, it did. Secondly, the title of this story is taken from a song by Tim Johnson. I can't say he's a really good friend of mine, but we are acquainted and his music is quite awesome. You should check him out over on MySpace at myspace dot com slash timjohnson27. Those are your marching orders. Go and fulfill them, yo.
That said…I wrote this to the sounds of the Beatles. I don't know why, but it makes me happy.
(Jeremy Hillary Boob PhD forever.)
The Mad Hatter was lonely for human companionship. Oh, not the sort of lonely for human companionship that drove proper upstanding married businessmen into the arms of their secretaries, and not the sort of lonely that pushed bored housewives directly into the paths of delivery men.
He just wanted someone to talk to.
That was one of the only things he actually missed about Arkham Asylum. The constant appointments with psychiatrist after psychiatrist and the group hug therapy was almost bearable if he got to have free time in the recreation room where he could read or play chess with one of the other more civilized inmates-er…patients.
Sure, he was fine with being a solitary creature, but in all honesty, he was rather fond of people-at least, those he deemed worthy of his notice and esteem, and though the people who fit that bill were few and far between, when he wasn't around them, he started to kind of…miss them.
Jervis had escaped from Arkham almost three weeks earlier and had managed to keep his nose clean in that space of time. He hadn't pulled any heists, hadn't chipped anyone…he'd been a good boy, just using the time out and about to regroup and plan his next move.
The only trouble with biding his time was that he was getting bored and lonely. Certainly he could go out and find a few nobodies to chip and turn into his entourage, but it wasn't the same. He wanted real interaction, not forced, stilted zombie-like responses.
He sighed, resting his head in his hand, brow furrowed and frown in place. He stared at his cup of tea, the steam wafting upwards and swirling into nothingness before his eyes. He flicked on the tiny thirteen inch television that he'd very carefully nicked for use in his new lair and was about to change the channel from a positively dreary newscast about the Scarecrow's most recent heist and the ensuing chase with the Gotham Police Department-which was apparently still going on-when he froze in mid-reach for the dial.
A stroke of absolutely inspired brilliance, like lightening striking a squirrel and frying it to a crisp in a radiant flash of blinding light, slapped him right in the face.
The best plans are oftentimes the simplest…
Police sirens pierced the still night air. Sharp, precise, ear splitting squeals that sounded both too far away and much too near.
Jonathan Crane, alias the Scarecrow, was behind the wheel of a stolen Oldsmobile (or Rolls Royce, or Buick…he hadn't really been paying all that much attention when he smashed the driver in the face with a capsule of fear toxin and yanked them out of the vehicle), tires screeching as he broke not only the speed limit, but probably the sound barrier as well.
He was never going to lose the cops in the city, even an idiot could tell that much, especially not with a police copter (and a news copter...and another news copter…) circling overhead, but he was not going down without a fight. He was determined to give the police a run for their money.
Of course, that was only his mentality until the Batmobile's tires squealed their way down the street behind him. Up until that point, he was confident he could conceivably take out half a dozen cops before he himself was taken down. After Gotham's premiere crime fighter made his way on the scene, the Scarecrow figured that any fight he put up was more to save his reputation than his skin. He was smart enough to know he didn't stand a chance at this particular juncture and was content to chalk this one up to experience and take mental notes for next time.
Next time, when he'd be prepared for the Batmobile swinging out in front of him and screaming to a halt, causing him to slam on the brakes and smash his car into the side of the Bat's. The entire front end of the stolen car crumpled like a tin can (the Batmobile was unmarred) and agony shot through his wrists on impact.
Ohhh, he had instinctively braced his hands against the steering wheel. That was going to suck.
The head injury he'd somehow sustained wasn't high up on his list of 'things to do again' either.
He had barely regained his bearings when the driver's side door was jerked open and a gloved hand reached into the cab, grasped him by the collar and pulled him out none too gently. His ankles collapsed instantly, leaving him on his knees in front of the dark knight.
"We have to stop meeting like this."
That earned him an 'accidental' swat in the face as he was hauled to his feet and forced to lean over his ruined car as the Batman secured his already painful wrists in a pair of those God awful God-only-knows-what-they're-made-of batcuffs. Crane winced, his face scrunching up in a parody of his ordinarily pinched features as the cords were tightened to the point that they were most definitely unnecessarily tight. Police brutality tight.
"You killed six policemen tonight, Crane."
Despite his better judgment, he smirked against the cool metal of the car hood. "Whoops."
The taste of blood filled his mouth when his face was smashed into the steel abruptly.
The broken nose was going to suck a little more than the sprained wrists.
He spat and ran his tongue over his teeth to make sure none of them wriggled before he was yanked up by the back of his shirt. Batman ripped his mask off and shoved him unceremoniously at the quickly gathering horde of blue uniforms converging on their position.
"He's all yours."
As he slammed into the big blue wall itself, he realized that a broken nose at the hands of the Bat as punishment for six dead policemen was probably not the worst thing he was going to be walking away from tonight…
Provided he could walk away from whatever was going to happen to him.
"Get movin', scum," a particularly burly patrolman growled, shoving him towards the nearest armored police vehicle.
He didn't resist.
The policeman found an excuse to shove him hard enough to knock him over anyway.
He couldn't really say he was particularly surprised.
After a few stumbles (and a few 'spills'), he made it as far as the bus and allowed himself to be stuffed inside. The cop slammed the doors shut and he turned to examine his surroundings.
The van wasn't unoccupied.
"Good evening, Jonathan!" Jervis Tetch exclaimed cheerfully, waving with his fingers…fingers which were attached to a hand that was most definitely not in cuffs. "Home, Jeeves!"
The van started off without hesitation and Tetch's grin widened at Crane's look of horrified understanding.
"I was better off with the cops."
Less than half an hour later-Crane wasn't sure how Tetch had managed to make it so nobody would miss the van with him in it, but he wasn't going to look a gift escape in the mouth…at least, he wasn't going to make the examination thorough enough that he could spot cavities-Jervis ushered Jonathan into his hideout. The chipped cop stood guard with a hotdog vendor that was unfortunate enough to have set up shop on the street just outside that morning.
Crane wasn't shocked to find a well dressed table laden with a variety of delicate tea cakes, mismatched cups and at least a dozen different teapots of varying sizes and colors.
"Come in, come in," Jervis practically shoved Crane into one of the chairs, and then grabbed a napkin (which was a piece of tattered picnic tablecloth, if the Scarecrow wasn't terribly mistaken), spreading it on his lap for him.
Crane glared at the smaller man. "It isn't that I don't appreciate a daring rescue, Tetch, but what exactly do you want?"
"What's a mad tea party without a March Hare?" he asked with a grin, flopping into a chair of his own.
The Scarecrow's expression didn't change. "So help me God, Tetch, if you expect me to wear rabbit ears…"
"No, no, no, I merely…well, you're hardly…it isn't that you're not mad as a March Hare, because nothing could be further from the…it's the principle of the…" He frowned suddenly. "I seem to have lost my train of thought."
"I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it jumped the tracks entirely," Crane replied flatly.
"Ah ha! That's quite amusing, you clever chap." Jervis picked up the teapot and held it up in offering. "Tea?"
Crane narrowed his eyes until they were nothing but slits. "No."
"Come now, have some tea."
"I don't like tea."
"You don't like tea?"
"No, I don't."
"Collywoddle. I've never heard such nonsense."
Crane lifted a skeptical brow. "Never listened to yourself speak, then?"
Jervis scratched his hat. "How can any civilized person not like tea?"
"When have you ever heard me to claim civility as one of my more well developed personality traits, Tetch?"
"Well, now that you mention it, I don't believe you have…"
"Because I'm not civil. You should be grateful I've kept my temper restrained as I have thus far."
The Hatter clapped with uninhibited glee. "Oh, I have so missed our little tête-à-têtes!"
"I haven't," Scarecrow grumbled in response.
Tetch poured himself a cup of the Earl Grey. "I simply can't get over it. Jonathan Crane doesn't like tea."
Crane shifted his gaze to his left and carefully folded his arms across his slender chest so as not to injure his wrists any further. "Yes, how ever will the society pages cope with such a revelation?"
Tetch ignored him. "Do have some tea, won't you, Jonathan?"
Jonathan released a sigh and motioned for the Hatter to fill his teacup. The faster he got this farce to play out, the faster he could leave.
Pleased as punch, the Hatter obliged, filling the teacup just the right amount and then waved his hands frantically when his companion tried to put sugar in it.
"You will not ruin a good cup of tea in my presence, sir."
Crane rubbed his forehead and picked up the cup, preparing to take a sip.
"Clean cup, clean cup! Move down!"
In a flurry of movement, Jervis leapt from his seat and took another about three feet further from Crane. Crane himself didn't move. Tetch didn't seem to notice.
"I'm hardly considered a respected judge of this sort of thing these days, but you, Jervis, are insane."
"Delightful, isn't it?"
"I was going to say 'trying', but I suppose from your point of view it's delightful," Crane said, taking a sip of his tea. He set the cup back in its saucer, threw his napkin on the table and pushed his chair back, getting to his feet. "There. I've had my tea. I'm leaving."
"Leaving?" Tetch asked, a very noticeable note of unhappiness in his voice. "You can't leave."
"You can hardly stop me, Jervis. I'm-"
"Not armed." Jervis pulled a gun from somewhere under the table, his smile not changing in the least as he pointed it at his 'friend'.
"As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted," Crane took a step to the left and plopped down in a different chair. "Clean cup, clean cup, move…down."
It was going to be a long night.
"Shall we sing a rousing rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat?"
Correction: a very long night.
A/N: I really like writing Scarecrow/Hatter dialogue. Yes.