A/N: The 2nd-to-last chapter of this arc and a lot happens at once. Time has jumped forward quite a bit throughout this arc, you'll see just how much in the final chapter coming up. Gar finally collapses, whether or not he even realizes it... but the night is darkest just before the dawn, isn't it?
99 Years in the Arkham Pen...
From the notes of Dr. Harleen Quinzel:
"The patient's been unusually quiet since Sharpie took away his books and suspended receiving his mail. According to Two-Face, he hasn't even bothered to argue whenever Dent tries to piss him off. Most of the days he stares at the walls, the rest of the time he's exercising or eating, and lately he's taken to talking to himself. Without something to keep his mind off prison life, he must be nearin' his breaking point.
And I can't help but feel rotten on the inside. I've been accessory to murder, thefts, and plots of mass destruction throughout my illustrious criminal career, you name it, I've probably done it. But to sink as low as complying with Sharpie's request to keep Gar-baby in the dark… How am I supposed to help treat him if they try to put the cuffs on both me AND him? Don't they see that they're only tryin' to make him lose what little sanity he has left?
It got pretty bad during September when he didn't speak for an entire week. The guards didn't mind it but even Two-Face got a little worried. The entire time he just sat in his cell, staring at the walls or whatever else might've occupied his mind. I can only imagine the hell that must be swirling in his mind, worrying about his girlfriend back home…
Scarier still was when he decided to stare at Two-Face for three days straight. Normally this would've gotten Dent riled up but after a full day, he started to get worried. Garfield didn't look away the entire time, just straight into the other man's eyes. The only way Two-Face could tell he was still alive was from the occasional blink and the sight of breathin' in his chest. Otherwise, he might've passed for one of those spooky gargoyles they have on the old churches.
Ivy's been depressed as well since Gar decided to become a mute. She even admitted to me she started to enjoy their usual debates about animals and plants… If it weren't for the increased security followin' the repeated breakouts, we might've chipped in to try and make Gar-baby feel better. It's hard to help one guy when they insist we try not to "influence" him too much.
In mid-October, somethin' strange happened in his cell when everyone was sleepin'. Near Halloween, everyone, includin' your's truly, woke up to the sound of a terrible scream from Gar's cell. It was a human's, I know that much, he hadn't suddenly shifted forms in his sleep, but it was a scream I'll never forget.
Two-Face said he bolted upright when he heard the screams. Gar was sitting upright, eyes wide and glowin' an eerie green. His fangs were longer than normal, his hair growin' inches at a time. But what really had him shakin' in his bed was he wasn't screaming in anger, he was howlin' in agony. Before the doctors got to him, he started clutching at his head, tears pourin' down his cheeks while he bashed away at his head with his fists.
"What the hell's your problem?" Two Face shouted, probably because Gar woke him up from a sound sleep more than any honest concern. "We're tryin' to sleep!"
Then, according to Dent, Gar-baby turned to the former D.A. and started banging his head off the walls, off the glass, anything. He thrashed around the room, throwin' his body around like one of them mosh pits, trying to do something that I could only guess at. When the doctors got to him to give him the metahuman suppressors, he had already opened a deep gash on his forehead as well as dislocated one of his arms. It took 2 suppressors and a couple CC's of sedatives to wear him down enough to strap him to the bed.
… It didn't occur to me until I read his file again that it had been the anniversary of his former girlfriend's murder in Jump City. Whatever nightmares we went through that night, his must've been a true hell indeed."
"My final interview with him came before Thanksgiving. After he recovered from his injuries from the nightmare, he was brought before me for what became our final talk in this role. His eyes were bloodshot, sunken into his skull from days of not sleeping. He even looked as though he gave up exercise a little, his prime form looking a little less tone than previously seen.
"It's been a few weeks, Garfield." Nothing too much, just to test the waters.
"Yeah… listen, about what happened. It might do us some good if we discuss the event two years ago that night…"
Before his eyes were downcast and tired but at the mention of the nightmare, he looked back at me as though he was Dracula or somethin'.
"Nothing to tell. Any life we would've had, snuffed out by the Ripper."
"You mentioned that Ripper was the man you were after once Deadshot gave up the name. Who exactly is he?" This Ripper figure seems to play a large part of his hero life, someone who's made things personal, and it's only brought Gar ruin.
"The kind of evil mankind creates. Kills for fun, set up the hangar incident… He walks free, I rot in here forever."
That was the first time I ever heard him admit that he's not thinking about escaping or being released… He actually admitted he's going to be in here… Not a good sign for someone so close to the brink. "Gar, you haven't given up hope have you? You'll be free someday, I'm sure of it."
"Kein Entweichen, nur Tod." He spoke in German, it's meaning having been found after that day.
"What? I don't understand."
His eyes fixed on mine from that point on, something was brewing in his mind and it made me shake on the inside. This was the stare he gave Two-Face for three days and it finally made the man give up picking a fight with him. "Been months since any mail. Could be dead… think I'm dead…"
…. "Garfield, I'm sure they'll send you something soon. If they were dead…"
"Vous obéissez votre maître…" He retorted, a grimace on his face though his eyes never left me once. "Harley, tell me the truth. They cut off my mail, didn't they?"
He probably noticed how quickly my facial expression tried to cover up my surprise, he's pretty damn good at reading body language. "No, I wouldn't know…"
"You WOULDN'T?" He shouted at me, the first time he even raised his voice at me. And yet, I couldn't blame him for… "Rush of blood across your face, quick swallow of nerves, the blink to the side as you answered. How long? How long have I been denied?"
Sharpie and the staff can kiss my ass. They were watching through that two-way but I was starting to crack bad… Gar-baby's the only real nice guy I've met on the "hero" side and I had to be part of bringing him down to our level. "Since the summer. Since that night you were taken to go visit the Bat…"
His face contorted, burned with a sense of pain that could only be described as heartbreak. Here I was, his closest friend and confidant in Arkham, revealin' to him after five months that I KNEW his only link to the outside world was cut. But then he surprised me by standing up, letting his face soften as he held out his arms.
"Harley, thank you. For everything."
"Just a hug, from a friend to a friend?"
Nervous, I stepped up and let him take me in a hug. It was strange, being held like this, unsure if he'd snap my neck or…
"It's the price we pay for being ourselves." He told me, very softly… it even reminded me of my father a little bit. "At least you got to be special again."
"Why are you doing this?" I asked, feeling a few tears in my eye. Fuck you, I'm still human inside, I'm not some friggin' robot. "What's happened to you?"
"You, Ivy, the staff, they've taken me as far as you can. Now, I have to finish this on my own."
Pulling back, I demanded what that last bit meant. "What are you plannin' on doing?"
With that, he grabbed the stool between the two chairs in his hands. Swinging it, he threw it at the glass between us and the asylum staff, shattering it into a billion pieces.
"Arbeit macht frei!" Gar shouted as the security began to burst into the room. He made no further attempts to resist, mainly demanding he be put in solitary as he had in Blackgate. As they dragged him away, tranquilizers in his skin, there's little doubt that's where they took him.
"In my professional opinion, I would propose that Garfield "Watchman" Logan may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, intense detachment from humanity at large, as well as possible dimensia and/or paranoia. His obsession with reading and physical exercise leads me to suggest a sharp, well-tuned mind approaching high levels of intelligence but emotional scars that may inhibit his mentality.
Continuing his mail as well as returning his books may alleviate his condition but permanent damage may have been done. He now seems to fully believe he will be locked inside forever, for a crime he was set up for, and denied parole by an alliance of Batman and the Arkham staff. His desire to remain in solitary to "figure out" his own animal powers leads me to recommend keeping him in solitary until he can fully control his own powers. At which point, continued medical and psychiatric help may be able to repair the damage and make him an asset to society once more.
In closing, you can all go fuck yourselves. You should all burn in hell for what you've put him through. You call US monsters but you're willing to break his sanity because he doesn't want to be a "hero". He just wants to be a normal, fucking person, not an animal, in human form, being treated like an animal!"
"How long have I been in this padded cell? A week? A month? An eternity? It seems like only yesterday since that bitch Harley Quinn admitted she knew they were withholding my letters… All this time I thought they might've abandoned me, let me rot in this cell all by myself… Batman must've had a hand in it because I wouldn't play "his" game. What about the Beast transformation though? Did I trigger it? Did my mind? I've never been able to do that before with their drugs in my blood, could I be growing resistant? Why am I talking to myself like I know how to answer?"
"Gar, you seem stressed out…" Scarecrow whispers in the black room, appearing as a mirage in Gar's vision. Of course the Leatheface-looking villain isn't really there before him but it's still better than no one at all.
"You've been bored since the day you've come into this existence." Tapping the ground with his needled-hand, he asks "Why do you continue to put yourself through this misery? Surely you have other business to attend to than this useless exile of your's?"
"Like what? Finding out why people keep escaping. If anything, you'd know more about that than I would. Hell, you can read their minds, can't you?"
"Of course I can. How else do you think I found out about your Watchman identity before everyone else?"
"That name's been nothing but trouble. I never should've taken it." Pacing in the room now, Gar bites absently at a fingernail, cursing the lack of animal transformation. Cats are better at this sort of thing, not a human.
"Names aren't more than mere words. It's the actions you take that define a name."
"Is that why you don't look like a Scarecrow?"
A simple, jovial laugh under that leathery mask "I suppose that's true. Still, you haven't been able to do much "watching", have you? Locked up in here like a little bird, it must be terrible. Just give me the word and you can be out of here in a heartbeat."
"And ruin my exile? No, not yet. Still need to find out why I can't control my darker Beast side."
"Although animal biology isn't my field, I'd suggest some deep-rooted fear to be the source. Killing hasn't been your favorite crime and it's the one thing the Beast does best."
Hand to his chin, Gar surmises "That's possible. Then again, it would only come out in the fear of dying. But that doesn't explain the need to kill everyone in sight, would it?"
From one side of the building, a fantastic crash is heard, shaking the building enough to even offset Gar's footing. "What the fuck is that?"
"Hmm… it seems their little plan is going into action…" Scarecrow muses, looking towards the door. "It was a clever idea… I wonder if they could pull it off."
Moments after the bang, the door swings open to reveal Harley Quinn, various inmates running behind her in an attempt to escape. "Gar-baby, it's you!" No answer from the green vagrant but she doesn't let it go. "Bane came through for us! He just took out one of the asylum walls. C'mon, we can escape! You can be with your girl and all!"
Pausing but a moment, Gar eyes the blonde before him and eventually shakes his head. "Can't leave yet. I won't."
"WHAT? Gar, this is your chance! Get out into the open, fly away, go back home where you're needed!"
Turning his back to her, he reminds her "Then I'd still be a criminal. No, I'm not finished what I started."
Grabbing his arm, she's stunned to see him whirl around with fangs and eyes wide and frightful "I SAID I'M NOT GOING! I DON'T NEED HELP TO ESCAPE! NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE, HARLEY, AND DON'T YOU FUCKING COME BACK!"
"But, Garfield… This is it, the last time I can see you. Don't tell me you ain't gonna let it end like this!"
"End? I'm not dead, Harley, which you could be in a moment if they find you here. Now, for God's sake, get going!"
As the alarm continues and security shuts the door on a surprisingly-compliant Garfield, the voice of Scarecrow asks "You really are insane, aren't you? Turning down freedom in exchange for a lifetime behind concrete walls?"
"I'll leave when the time comes. The last thing I need is a national manhunt for me just because I want to walk on the Earth again."
"And if you never find a way to control the Beast?"
"Then I'll die with a clear conscience. In the meantime, I'm going to sleep."
Some distant time later, the door to his solitary cell opens with a loud shriek, the light blinding a thick-beared Garfield Logan. Hand up to block out the light, he struggles to see who it is. "Who?"
"Someone who wants to help you. Someone who's been waiting to meet you for sometime." The thick Midwest accent hangs in the air even as Gar tries to form an image of their face.
"You've been in here for too long. The world needs a watchman, whether you choose to accept it or not."
Standing, Gar squints as the image of the woman takes form. "World needs a lot of things… I'm not one of them."
"Well if not the world then how about people who can give you a second chance. Someone who's willing to trust you when no one else will." The image finally coming into form, the large frame of the former Cadmus head registers in his head but not a name at the moment. "And someone who wants to see you crush those Jump City thugs just as much as you do."
"… Who are you?"
Offering her hand, she answers confidently "Amanda Waller, United States Government. You might even say I'm the one who watches the watchman."
A/N2: Waller, the Cadmus leader from Justice League, finally steps into my story. Why? Oh, that's my business, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Point is he's getting out of prison now, but for what reason? Hmm... I'll explain why he's leaving with Waller instead of Harley in the next chapter. Speaking of Harley, it's a shame how it turned out between Gar and her... Still, fun while it lasted, right?
- "Kein Entweichen, nur Tod." German for "No escaping, only death"
- "Vous obéissez votre maître…" French meaning "You obey your master"
- "Arbeit macht Frei" the infamous German quote on Concentration Camp signs "Work sets you free"
- Bane destroying the prison walls is a reference to the comics AS WELL AS an explination as to what really wrecked Arkham (the flashback in Return of the Joker)
- How long do you think Gar was in prison before Waller got there?