Summary: Get too close to the fires of revelry and you will burn. Scarecrow-centered shot.

A/N: This is one of those really short but inspired stories that popped into my head at 5:30 in the morning and refused to let me go back to sleep unless I wrote it down. So I did, not only because I needed sleep but because I like Scarecrow, possibly even more than I like the Joker. Don't get me wrong, I adore the Joker, I can just relate to Crane more (because of the love of abnormal psychology, not the addiction to fear...although scaring people is fun...)

Scarecrows and Fire

If all the scarecrows of the cornfields were animate beings, they would have an inordinate fear of fire. It made perfect sense, of course, because they were fashioned from straw and thus, upon contact with flame, would be alight faster than the Batsuit covered in kerosene.

Jonathan Crane was a Scarecrow. He was not made of straw (although he occasionally did sport a burlap sack for a head) and he scared not crows but humans. Jonathan, contrary to the assumed scarecrow credo, loved fire. There were few things he liked better than lounging in front of a lit fireplace while reading a good book about abnormal psychology. Fire was one of two things that could warm Jonathan's chilly heart.

The other thing was his career as the Scarecrow supervillain. The suffocating scratchiness of his mask, his victims' terrified eyes and twisted expressions...they had been like little spots of flame against the backdrop of his dark days, candle memories that flickered from even the cobwebbed recesses of his mind.

But he had been careless. He had become unthinkingly attracted to the flame of his revelry, hovering around its edges like some senseless moth. He had underestimated the Batman gravely, and was now trapped in Arkham Asylum, a prisoner in his own institution. Here, the lack of fire made him colder everyday. An apathetic expression had fixed itself on his face and his cobalt eyes seemed to turn everything he looked at to ice. He ghosted through Arkham's halls, a pale perverse Midas, his frostiness deterring patients and staff alike. His isolation gave him ample time to stew over his hatred of the Batman.

Oh, how he loathed the vigilante. The mere thought of the pointed black mask and the dramatic black cape made him quiver in a mixture of dread and abhorrence. Because of the Batman, Jonathan was deprived of all warmth. His sanity had withered to ashes under the heat of its own fears. At first, Jonathan had blamed in imprisonment solely on the Batman, but later he had to admit that the fault was his as well.

He, a Scarecrow, had gotten too close to the fire. He had burned.