Title: The Villain is the Victim
Genera: Angst, Drama
Warning: Description of lobotomy.
Summary: The Riddler's experience during Lock Up. He and the Scarecrow talk about living in fear, and becoming the thing you always hated.
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman or any other recognizable characters.
It was late at night, and almost everyone was asleep. The light was gray like dark water. Everything lost its color in the gloom, and the quiet cells were filled with shadows. Scarecrow sat on his cot with his back pressed against the stone wall, studying his long, folded.
He looked up as he heard a cell door slam. A minute latter Bolton lumbered by, implacable as an icebreaker, dragging the Riddler behind him. Edward had his hands cuffed behind him, and he was being dragged a little too fast to be sure of his balance. He was protesting in a harsh whisper, outraged and frustrated, but not wanting to draw attention to his embarrassing situation. At this hour though, Crane was the only one to see him. He saw something else too, that he didn't think Edward had noticed yet. Bolton had something tucked into the back pocket of his work pants, and it defiantly wasn't a standard Arkham side-arm. It was sharp and metal, like a screwdriver, or maybe an awl. The Riddler was going bleed, and he probably had no idea how much trouble he was in. Most of the inmates didn't yet, but Crane did. Almost from the beginning, Bolton had gone right for him, letting him know he didn't care about hurting him.
They passed by without looking at Crane, and nothing else happened for a while.
When Bolton brought him back, Edward wasn't struggling anymore. He was pale, sweaty, and twitching. His eyes were dark, dilated, and almost bulging with terror. Even though he hated Bolton with every ounce of his being, Crane couldn't help but think, 'Nice work. Very nice.' He could tell Edward had been driven right to the edge. His body had released its whole supply of adrenalin in a situation where he couldn't fight back or escape. It would take hours just for his blood chemistry to return to normal. For his mind to be right again, it could be days, or it could be never. It was a beautiful thing.
Bolton locked him in his glass-fronted cell and left without saying a word. Edward was pacing back and forth rapidly in the confined space, running his hands through his hair.
"I – I really thought he was going to do it," He stammered to himself. "I really thought he was going to kill me!"
"Nonsense," Said Crane flatly.
Edward turned, glaring at him. "What?"
"Look at you, too scared to say it, even to yourself."
"What would you know about it anyway?" Edward folded his arms over his chest, trying to look superior and irritated, and maybe managing it for a moment, but then he transformed into a man simply holding himself in fear.
"There aren't many things more frightening than the dark ages of psychiatry, are there?"
The Riddler shut his mouth tight, and all expression vanished from his face. Crane saw his huge eyes, the whites showing too much, and his faint shaking. Oh yes, the immediate threat was over, but the nightmare was still happening.
"He didn't threaten to kill you. He threatened to give you a lobotomy." He paused and then decided to be magnanimous. "You shouldn't have believed him." He said condescendingly. "If he turned your brains into strawberry jam . . ."
Edward moaned, making the kind of low strangled sound that usually means someone is about to be sick.
"someone would notice. Even in this place. He wouldn't dare."
He finally found his voice. "Actually," he said bitterly, "he told me he was going to frame you for it. Quite a sensible plan too, considering how quickly your thoughts went in that direction."
All the fun suddenly went out of toying with Edward, and numbing hopelessness came over him. He remembered all over again how helpless they all were. Bolton could do it, he would dare, he could do anything he wanted.
"There was nothing I could do." His voice was horse and Crane could barely hear him. "I just went to pieces. I begged him, told him whatever he wanted to hear, so he wouldn't hurt me . . . that way."
"I know," Crane said wretchedly.
He guessed that like himself, Edward now found himself in a place he thought he had left far behind, a place he had fought tooth and nail to escape. The Riddler kept quiet about his past, but Crane couldn't imagine an intelligent, red-headed boy who liked puzzles more than people not being bullied.
"He's dumber than a box of hammers and I begged him!" Edward's hands clenched into fists against the glass.
"Be quiet," Crane hissed. " Be quiet and go to sleep."
Edward flinched, remembering where he was, frightened all over again. "Yes, . . . that's probably best."
But all he did for as long as the Scarecrow watched him was sit up in his bunk, arms folded over his knees, eyes gleaming watchfully in the low light.
Author's Note: Chapters will alternate between Scarecrow's and Riddler's points of view of view. The next chapter will step back a little and describe the Riddler's encounter with Bolton. Hopefully this will keep things from being confusing. It should be ready in about a week.