Disclaimer: I do not own the rights "Batman" or any of its characters, including Scarecrow, nor do I own any rights to the comics or the films. I own nothing!

Ascension

Gotham moonlight fills Dr. Jonathan Crane's small bedroom as he lies in bed, his fully-clothed body still, save for the small movements of his chest as it rises and falls in rhythm with his breathing. His eyes are closed, but he is not asleep; he is thinking, contemplative, his mind a succession of thoughts aching to be recognized—each idea yearns to be studied and analyzed, craving to be put into motion.

There is one thought, one idea in particular, that refuses to be ignored, continuously gnawing at his brain with impatience; he knows that it will not go away until he has dutifully performed the necessary task. The thought crushes him with its overwhelming need for materialization, a constant weight on his shoulders and his mind. Every waking moment is dedicated to this thought; it was not long before it began to seep into his dreams as well, infecting his sleep with torment and demands.

The thought scares him. He has not underestimated its finality; once it has been carried out, it will change his life forever. He will never again be the same.

And neither will Gotham.

Crane opens his eyes.

He knows what he must do.

Rising from the bed, he crosses the room towards his small wooden desk. It contains no files or documents from his work at the asylum; its contents are dedicated to his own studies and research—discoveries that the morons at Arkham could not even begin to fathom. Lowering himself into his chair, he removes his glasses, placing them in his front pocket with precision.

His eyes travel to the bottom drawer of his desk. With a shaking hand, he reaches down to open it; when he catches a glimpse of the drawer's contents he recoils in fear, inhaling sharply.

Do it.

But I'm scared.

Do it.

Taking a deep breath, he quickly plunges his hand into the drawer before hesitation can overcome him.

The burlap is hot as he cradles it in his hands.

Yes. Yes.

With trembling, gentle hands, he spreads the fabric across his desk.

Explore.

Swallowing, he runs his hands over the coarse material, taking in its texture. He can feel it responding to his touch, becoming alive under his fingers. The fibers rub against his smooth skin, and he savors the contrast. He closes his eyes and lets the sensation take him over, allowing it to wash over him in warm, comforting waves.

Oh yes. He's made the right decision.

He allows himself a few exquisite moments in silence before opening his eyes.

Create.

Crane reaches back into the desk drawer, retrieving a sewing kit; he opens it with shaking hands, his eyes widening when he sees the scissors.

He doesn't want to cut the fabric. He doesn't want to risk hurting or ruining it. Wrapping his fingers around the handle of the scissors, he attempts to steady his hand. Slowly, carefully, he opens the scissors, holding the fabric between the cold metal blades.

He takes a deep breath.

The blades close with a loud snap. Determined, he continues to cut, slowly at first, gradually picking up his pace.

No need to be so careful. We're not trying to look pretty.

Crane nods and abandons all caution, graduating to quick, frantic cuts, allowing the material to fray. Soon he has a pile of burlap scraps piled in front of him, his desk and lap littered with remnants of his frenzy.

Selecting a spool of thick, black thread from the kit, he wets the tip with his tongue before sliding it through the eye of a needle. Piecing together the shredded fabric, he begins to weave the needle in and out of the coarse material; the scraps mesh together like puzzle pieces, melting into one another as if aware of their purpose.

Good. Good.

Crane smiles.

Outside, a car alarm goes off and he jumps, startled as the screeching sound echoes through the room, ringing in his ears. He feels a sharp jolt of pain, and looks down to see a dark bead of blood trailing down his finger. He watches as it slides past his knuckles, trailing slowly across his palm and down his hand, until finally reaching his wrist. When it hits the cuff of his shirt a red stain begins to spread, harsh against the light blue fabric.

Instantly he is filled with rage. He wants to run outside and grab the imbecile responsible for this inconvenience; he wants to wrap his fingers around their throat and gaze into their blank eyes as they choke on their wasted breath, to tear them limb from limb with his bare hands as they scream and plead, to rid them of their meaningless existence as they lie in a pool in front of him, a destroyed pile of fresh and blood.

No. You have work to do.

Crane sighs, taking deep, calming breaths as he clenches his fists.

All good things to those who wait.

Clearing his throat, Crane resumes his work. He yanks the needle roughly through the burlap, imagining the fabric to be the lips of the car's owner. Sweat pours down his forehead as he weaves the needle in and out, in and out, leaving behind jagged, black trails.

Good. Good.

Picking up the scissors, he clips the end of the thread before tying it into a tiny, tight knot. Holding his creation in front of him, he raises the scissors and digs them into the fabric; with two sharp snaps that resonate through the room, he leaves behind two harsh, gaping holes in the material. The wounds dangle above above a large, crooked gap, stitched together loosely with wide spaces between each seam.

Perfect.

Closing his eyes, Crane carefully slides his creation over his head. When he opens them, he no longer sees through the eyes of Dr. Jonathan Crane. He surveys the room behind ragged edges, from a new point of view he finds both exciting and liberating.

With a pounding heart, he reaches up and carefully wraps a cord around his neck; he tightens it, sealing the mask shut across his throat.

I did it.

We did it.

Tonight is the birth of Scarecrow, of his merger into Crane, his completion of him.

Tonight is the creation of a new kind of fear

Tonight is the beginning of the end of Gotham.

Scarecrow smiles.