Title: Group Therapy
Pairing/Characters:Mad Hatter/Scarecrow, Dr. Joan Leland (All B:TAS)
Rating: PG-13, for language and silly sex refs
Word Count: 2,031
Summary: CRACK. The boys sneak an impromptu therapy session with our dear Dr. Leland. Will she be able to resolve their petty relationship problems in just 15 minutes? Are dormice fit to operate heavy machinery? The answer to both is a resounding HELL, NO.
Author's Note: I can only plead ignorance if I got Dr. Leland's character wrong. *Mope*
"I could get fired for this, you know."
Dr. Joan Leland tapped her pumps impatiently on the cheap linoleum floor. Her no-nonsense glare projected across the hallway to meet the petulant stares of Jervis Tetch and Jonathan Crane, who were supplicating before her like children.
"We'll make it worth your while," said Jonathan, augmenting their previous demand. Jervis nodded wordlessly in agreement.
"Are you trying to bribe me into counseling you and your 'friend' when you two should be off having lunch with the other inmates?" The two patients nodded in unison. Dr. Leland sighed in disbelief. Just who did these nutcases think she was, anyway? She wasn't some second-rate marriage counselor, you know; she was Dr. Joan fucking Leland, thank you very much, and she had a damn good reputation to uphold.
But then again… no, she could resist the temptation. Or could she? Both patients were intriguing medical cases, to be sure, and this potential session, for all of its brevity-to-be, could turn her notes into an absolute goldmineof psychological insight; not to mention priceless gossip to be shared with the other psychiatrists over beer and Chex Mix.
Dr. Leland cocked a well-plucked eyebrow and tapped her clipboard thoughtfully against her chin. Arkham Asylum wasn't exactly known for the immaculate morality of its staff, after all, and she could gloss over her trespass later with her otherwise clean record if need be. But if she was careful, why, not even those precautions would prove necessary.
"You know," she said, lowering her voice to a half-menacing whisper. "I don't get paid nearly enough to baby-sit the likes of you." Jervis and Jonathan leaned in to better hear her, drinking in every word in the hopes of being presented some kind of lifeline.
"And I certainly don't get to make the most of what little vacation time I receive with what they're paying me. So you boys have yourselves a deal." She shot a shifty glance down both directions of the hallway before jerking a well-manicured thumb in the direction of an empty counseling room. "But make it quick; I've got places to go and alibis to falsify."
Jervis and Jonathan exchanged relieved glances, beamed at Dr. Leland like she was a saint, and rushed into the designated room. Dr. Leland poked her head out of the doorway inconspicuously and scanned the hall one final time before sealing off their session with an unintentionally careless slam.
"I just want you to see if you can give us some words of advice to mend our little quarrel streak," wheedled Jervis as soon as the door was closed. "We've tried everything, you see!"
"Everything?" spat Jonathan, pushing Jervis gruffly aside in order to beat him to the least uncomfortable spot on the worn-out therapy couch. "'Everything', he says! Pah! I could have counseled him myself, but he wouldn't hear of it, the tyrant!" He plopped down on the far right end of the couch and stared daggers at Jervis, daring him to come near.
Dr. Leland held her clipboard under her arm and absently massaged her temples. The "session" hadn't even begun and already they were acting like a senile married couple.
"Compromise is essential to every relationship, gentlemen," she said, barely able to hide the admonishing tone in her voice.
"I don't mean to undermine your authority, Doctor," offered Jervis tenderly. "But isn't that advice a bit of a given?"
"Obviously not," replied Dr. Leland smugly. "Otherwise you wouldn't have come here."
"No, I suppose not," said Jervis, hanging his head in defeat. He heaved a sigh and claimed his designated spot on the far left of the sofa, well away from Jonathan.
"Well, well," said Dr. Leland, taking a seat in her oversized armchair and crossing her legs. "It seems to me so far that the only thing you can agree on is the extent to which your relationship is suffering. How's that for a fit?"
"How very observant of you," said Jonathan sardonically, examining his jagged fingernails with feigned interest. Dr. Leland ignored his pointed remark and scribbled something rapidly on her clipboard, twiddling the ballpoint pen excitedly between her fingers as soon as she had ceased.
"And the distance between you," she picked up, a faintly sadistic grin playing upon her lips. "Growing by leaps and bounds as the days wear on, I'll warrant?"
"Yes!" exclaimed Jervis as he grabbed the left arm of the sofa with an impassioned grip. "And yet he thwarts my every effort to bridge the emotional schism 'twixt us. I haven't the foggiest notion why!"
"Don't be a dolt," answered Jonathan haughtily. "You know full well why I've kept you at arm's length as of late, and it may, just may, be attributed to the fact that you're a needy, clingy milksop with no reasonable notion of personal boundaries!"
Jervis bit his lower lip and suddenly looked as if he would burst into an undignified fit of tears. Jonathan, on the other hand, was all too satisfied with his remark and crossed his arms in cruel composure. Dr. Leland almost felt sorry for the former, but then she remembered that he and his "boyfriend" both were psychopathic criminals. And anyway, the sight of a man crying wasn't worth getting her panties all tied up in a knot.
"I really think we're getting somewhere, you two," offered Dr. Leland, trying in vain to diffuse the tension between the two patients. "How about you, Jervis? What are your thoughts on Jonathan's harsh, albeit in all probability true, view of your personality?"
Jervis huffed in exasperation and cast his head to the side so as to avoid meeting Jonathan's self-assured expression.
"I wouldn't have to be so 'clingy' in the first place if he weren't so confoundedly distant all the time!" accused Jervis, his usually gentle demeanor splitting at the seams.
"The chicken or the egg," mumbled Dr. Leland under her breath.
"And if hethinks I come off a bit too strong," continued Jervis, "well, pish-tush for him! Somebody has got to try and mend the remains of this… this blastedcourtship!" He bit down on his lip hard and steadied his trembling hands on the cushions beneath him to keep from, as it appeared, spontaneously combusting on the cheap furniture.
"'Blasted courtship'!" exclaimed Dr. Leland. "That's more like it, Jervis! Tell us more." She felt like Jerry Springer, only with a medical license and better hair.
"Well, he always shies away from me after we make love," whined Jervis.
I hate my job. Dr. Leland groaned internally and smacked her forehead.
"When we do engage in the act, that is," amended Jervis bitterly, paying Dr. Leland little heed. "Needless to say, cuddling is absolutely unheard of."
"Cuddling?" echoed Jonathan incredulously. "Men don't cuddle, Jervis. Women cuddle." He shot an accusatory glance at Dr. Leland, who remained unfazed.
"I'm more the type to get mindlessly drunk and pray I don't wake up next to an unconscious gorilla the following morning," replied Dr. Leland. "But that's beside the point. What matters is what's best for you." She emphasized the last word by pointing to her two patients in an utterly spaced-out gesture.
"Now, back to you, Jonathan. Do you have any concerns in the…" Dr. Leland didn't want to say it, but there was no avoiding it. "Boudoir? Or, wait, should I say 'bunk bed'?" She paused. "Is that PC?"
Jonathan scrunched up his face as if he had tasted something bitter.
"He won't let me…" Jonathan rolled his eyes around in their sockets grotesquely, searching for the politest way to put what he was about to say. "Well… you know…" He gulped. "Be on top." The last three words were uttered as a sullen murmur of shame rather than a testament to the bane of his love life.
Dr. Leland raised the clipboard up to her face to hide the smirk teasing the corners of her mouth.
"And how do you feel about that?" she asked, suppressing a derisive snicker.
"Feel about it? Well, it's degrading for one!" said Jonathan in a sudden burst of indignation. He looked over at Jervis menacingly, but he was met only with a vacant, impassive grin. Jonathan crossed his arms and sank back onto the sofa like a spoiled child.
"Don't let him fool you, Doctor," insisted Jervis with a soft smile. "He actually does quite enjoy being on the receiving end. He's just a bit prone to feeling emasculated, is all."
"Well, looks like someone's going to be all alone in his bunk tonight!" said Jonathan sourly.
"My dear, don't be unreasonable," pleaded Jervis. "And even if you wanted to be in charge I sincerely doubt that you could manage it."
"He's right, you know," insisted Dr. Leland with deadpan seriousness. "I honestly could not see that happening, and I hope I never do. But oh, look at the time!" She examined her bare wrist thoughtfully and wondered how in the hell a psychiatrist with a full schedule could have survived this long without a watch.
"I guess this ends our little session," she mused jauntily, much to the chagrin of her patients. "In summation: Jonathan, stop acting like an emotionally retarded slab of meat after sex; Jervis, let Jonathan try to 'top' once in a while, though I think we all know how that's going to turn out. And 'til we meet again," she framed her face daintily with her hands and smiled like a Cheshire cat, "think positive thoughts."
Jonathan jumped from his spot on the sofa and contorted his face as if he were literally going to blow a gasket.
"And you call yourself a doctor!" he fumed. "If anything, you've made our situation a thousand times worse! You're a disgrace to medicine and the human race!"
Dr. Leland just sat tight and smiled sweetly.
"On a normal day I'd have you hauled off back to your cell in a flash," she purred. "But today feels… different! It feels so much greener, wouldn't you say?" She rubbed her hands together in the classic money-reaping gesture.
"Jonathan, do try to see the bright side of things for once," consoled Jervis as he too rose from the sofa. "And not to worry: I'll pay off all costs if you'll be a good boy and promise to show me that 'hay roll' trick you've been boasting about these past few days."
"I hate you," hissed Jonathan, eyes ablaze with fury.
"Oh, hush," scolded Jervis. "That's just your low blood sugar speaking. Now run along and get some lunch before Mr. Croc swipes the last of the ham sandwiches." He waved his companion away and patted him fondly on the rear for good measure. Jonathan scowled like a hellcat and stalked down the hallway, muttering darkly to himself all the while.
"Now, on to business," resumed Jervis, turning his attention to Dr. Leland. He lifted his Arkham-issued top hat and produced an impressive stack of money. "Here you are, as promised. And thank you so much for your time and good counsel."
Dr. Leland's eyes snapped wide open.
"Where the hell did you get this?!" she demanded.
"Your purse, madam," said Jervis with a self-abasing sigh. "Living amongst these petty criminals has left its mark on me, I'm afraid. But do try to be more prudent in the future and deposit your money before you swing by the asylum." He pressed the crisp bills into her trembling hands and tipped his hat. "Good afternoon." And with that, he was out of the room faster than you could say "tax rebate".
That was all it took.
Dr. Leland jerked her attention to the ugly, cumbersome emergency button lurking on the wall over her desk. In seconds she was on top of the desk, mashing the button repeatedly until it looked as if her thumbnail would break off.
"Mr. Cash!" she yelled into the speaker. "Yes, this is Dr. Leland. No, there's no immediate emergency. So why did I page you? Listen, do you have any openings in solitary confinement? Ooh, you do? Great! I've been thinking lately that a change of scenery would be nice for a couple of weeks…"