On the outskirts of Gotham City, nestled snugly in the Scarecrow's lair, the Captain—who most certainly was not trapped in the back of the Joker's car, hurtling toward a watery grave while laughing her head off—slapped her copy of Crime Crush! Magazine down on the table. "Okay, that's it. I can't read another line."
Al, who had abandoned her own copy some time earlier, poked her head into the kitchen. "Giving up?"
"I don't think this magazine has an editor," Captain muttered. "And is it so hard to decide whether or not it's LaMarche or La Marche, or if it's Straightjacket or Straitjacket? I'm not even offended by the grammar, I'm just offended by the lack of continuity."
Techie was still reading, engrossed in their fictionalized encounter with Christine Dean. "Shh, it's just getting good."
"We got kidnapped by fangirls!"Captain snatched the magazine out of her friend's hands. "And stole the Joker's car! What was he even doing there? It doesn't make any sense."
Techie snatched it back. "It's great trashy fiction."
"It's garbage." Captain grabbed the glossy book once more, but Techie wouldn't let go.
"Well, I said it was trashy." A tug of war began. "But that doesn't make it not-fun."
"That doesn't make it good, either."
"Hey, give this Dean woman some credit," the tug-of-war was rapidly turning into a wrestling match, "she got our personalities down, pat."
"Yeah, it's a great story, except for all the random lampshading and brilliantly nonsensical segues." The cover of Crime Crush! came off in one of Captain's hands, but she still refused to release what was left. "Now we're talking about the ethical questions of being a henchman! Now we're talking about sexual orientation! Now we're making a daring escape! Now we're back to orientation again! Oh look, is that an unlikely plot development? No, it's five of them!"
"It might not be very well written," Techie said as she tugged harder, "but at least give her some credit for doing the research to portray us accuratel—eeee!"
Her chair upended, both Techie and Captain went sprawling, still struggling for ownership of the magazine.
"Should I make some pudding and get out the kiddie pool so you two can wrestle all proper-like?" Al offered from her place in the doorway.
"Shut up, Al," they answered in unison.
"Give it! I have to find out if we survive!"
"No! OW! Don't hit me!"
Knowing that this was going to continue for awhile, Al wandered out of the kitchen and into the common room where she flopped down on the sofa. The sounds of two bodies wrestling against each other, all grunts and scrabbling at clothes, were occasionally interrupted by the sound of a kitchen appliance falling from the counter top or the fridge door slamming into someone's head, but it didn't disturb her very much. She picked up the book about infectious diseases she'd left behind and started to read, ignoring the racket from the kitchen quite handily.
"Why you little—"
"What're you gonna do with that? It's a butter knife, smeghead—OW."
"Ohhh, points for creativity." Crash.
"I liked that blender!"
After a minute or so, the door to the Scarecrow's lab creaked open. Jonathan Crane leaned against the door frame, casually peeling a pair of latex gloves off, completely unfazed by the crashes and bangs coming from the kitchen. "What is it this time?"
"Crime Crush! published a piece about us," Al said without looking up from her book. "All Bad Girls Go to Arkham."
He stared at her, uncomprehending. "Crime Crush."
She flipped one hand at him dismissively. "It's one of thosegossip magazines for the capes-and-tights set. You know. Which Villain Would YOU Work For? quizzes and stuff like that."
"No, I don't know." He said flatly. "And this is cause for a physical altercation?"
Somewhere, something made of glass shattered.
Al finally tore her gaze away from the page in front of her. "The story about us is bad. Well...not bad, just not true. Mostly. Okay, the events never happened, but the character stuff is eerily accurate."
"And this is cause for a physical altercation?" He repeated, his tone indicating he thought her stupid for bothering to explain.
She shrugged. "Techie likes it, Captain doesn't, they haven't wrestled in awhile. Do they need a better excuse? Besides, Christine Dean—"
"Oh," Crane seemed to experience both a loss of interest and disgust, if the way his upper lip curled was any indication. "Her."
Al gave him a measuring look. "I thought you didn't know about Crime Crush."
"I don't," he said. "However, I do know about her."
"Journalist crush?" Al asked, eyes narrowing to slits.
Crane's brain seemed to shut down. "Journalist. You...believe she is a journalist."
"Um...isn't she? I mean, minus all the integrity and stuff?"
"Christine Dean does not exist," he said thickly.
From the kitchen, the noises of a struggle continued.
"Ow!" Ding, bang, ting!
"Oooh! Damn it, don't pull my hair unless you mean it!"
"As I understand it," Crane said smoothly, checking his hands for chemical stains. "She's the invention of some think tank somewhere."
"Oh," Al said.
"Ops, stop pulling my hair!"
There was one final clatter—a metal mixing bowl on the kitchen floor—a loud and heavy thud, and then...nothing.
Crane fully turned his attention toward the now silent kitchen for the first time since he'd exited his lab. "Do I dare hope one of them impaled herself on a barbeque fork?"
Al smirked. "Guess again."
"They're not..." Alarmed, he crossed the lair and stopped in the kitchen doorway, where he was greeted by a sight that wasn't terribly surprising, given the people involved, but still made him sigh and put a hand over his eyes. "They are."
The Captain and Techie, lying amidst scattered flour and tupperware containers, stopped making out long enough to look up at him. The magazine, or what little was left of it, was long forgotten.
"Hi, boss." The Captain climbed off Techie and pulled her up into a seated position.
"If you two are quite through...?"
They giggled a little and brushed some flour off each other. "We are."
"Clean up after yourselves, then prepare the car," he said sternly, gesturing around the kitchen. "I have a full evening planned."
A/N: Okay, I lied. One more chapter after this one.