A/N: Dear god, how long has it been? I am so terribly sorry for the long wait! I had major writer's block with this chapter and managed to hammer this out of my head after a while. I apologize once more to all of you guys who are still reading and reviewing, you are the only ones that keep me going. I hope I dont disappoint!
Just let go of me,
Is this the way it's got to be?
Don't bury me, faceless enemy,
I'm so sorry,
Is this the way it't got to be, dear agony?
Leave me alone...
God, let me go...
All blue and cold, black skies will burn.
Love, pull me down,
Hate, lift me up,
Just turn around, there's nothing left.
Somewhere far beyond this world,
I feel nothing anymore."
"Any changes?" Grumpy asked, knocking while he opened the door and poked his head into the room. Blade glanced up at him briefly from the book he was reading by Monica's bedside.
The young goon turned his head towards the biker's sleeping form briefly as Grumpy let himself in.
"Nothing," Blade pointed out, seeing the other man walk towards the empty space on the bed next to Monica. A sad smile tugged at the edges of his lips as he saw Grumpy sit down next to her and sigh.
"Hey, darling," Grumpy whispered, unsure of whether she could hear him or not. He brushed a strand of hair away from her face and shuddered when he felt her feverish skin beneath his palm.
Blade felt his heart sink when he saw how broken Grumpy was despite the mask that the other wore. The goon was coming undone before his very eyes and there was nothing he could to do to stop it.
"You gotta' wake up," Grumpy added, a hopeful tone hanging off of his words as he stared at Monica's blank face, "we're a mess without you here."
Blade looked up when he heard this, noting the silent plea that accompanied Grumpy's words.
"You cant expect me to take care of these idiots by myself," Blade added, knowing that she probably couldn't hear them. It didn't stop him from pleading either. As much as they all assured themselves that they could move on without her they knew they would all be dead within a week if she wasn't there to rein in the clown.
Grumpy felt his shoulders droop when he saw her remain perfectly still. He could very well unload an entire clip from a Beretta into her chest and bet his life on the fact that she would never know what hit her.
He took one of her hands into his own and held on as if his life depended on it. The pulse from her wrist felt weak against his fingers, reminding him of the thin thread that her life hung from.
His grip increased in a futile attempt to keep her from going under, as if his touch alone could stop her health from deteriorating.
Blade watched as Grumpy all but jumped out of his skin when Monica's brow furrowed and her lips dipped into a pained grimace. A series of nerve-wracking coughs tore through her lips and shook her frail frame.
"Easy, love," Blade whispered, rushing forward to soothe her and help her through the pain. Scarecrow had left them with little to go from when he had left the house to fetch some supplies that he would need later on.
Grumpy watched and growled through clenched teeth upon seeing her in agony. The fact that he couldn't do anything drove him mad. He could only wonder how she had managed to keep all of them fooled for such a long time.
He had heard her cough once or twice but other than that she had seemed perfectly fine to him. She had always greeted him with a smile and he had never stopped to see how forced it truly was. He had never noticed how she distanced herself more and more from them over the past few weeks.
It all made sense to him now.
Why she would lock herself in her room whenever she wasn't needed to settle matters that called for her specifically. Why she would refuse to let any of them in unless it was truly necessary. Why she would call for him less and less whenever she woke from a nightmare.
She had begun to distance herself when she realized that she wouldn't be able to hide her condition any longer.
She had been trying to ease the blow for them.
"Why didn't you tell us sooner?" Grumpy snarled accusingly, shaking his head as Blade's face paled when he saw blood on the corner of her lips.
The young goon reached for one of the napkins that had been placed on her nightstand. He looked at her with frustration as he coaxed her unresponsive form to spit the offending liquid out onto the napkin.
It angered him as well, to know that she had avoided going to them for help, to know that she had willingly let it escalate so far.
"We could have avoided all this shit," Grumpy added, letting go of her hand in anger. Blade couldn't help but nod in agreement as he preoccupied himself with straightening the room up a bit, taking advantage of the fact that only he and Grumpy were present at the time.
The small space held small traces of everyone who stayed with her on a regular basis except for Batman. He would leave little to no evidence of his presence in the room whenever he was there.
He sighed as he picked up several empty cups of coffee piled up in the corner furthest away from the bed where Happy would sulk for hours on end. It amused the younger goon to no end, knowing that Happy refused to believe that she was slowly slipping away from them.
He would keep himself as far away from her as he possibly could, alert despite the countless hours of being awake due to the caffeine. He was her guard dog, ready to pounce on anything or anyone that approached her with the intent of doing her harm.
The couch in the room was Chuckles' territory. Blade walked over to it and folded the forgotten blanket that had been tossed over one of the armrests carelessly. He made sure to clean up the boxes of take out that had been neatly stacked beside it and gathered the pillows that had been tossed to the floor before placing them back where they belonged.
Chuckles was the one who ran errands for them. If Monica needed something that they didn't have in the room he would be the first goon on his feet, ready to run out and retrieve it.
Blade sighed when he had done what he could and turned towards the other chair that had been placed next to her bedside. His feet froze when he moved to straighten that area out. The purple coat and gloves that had been draped over the back of the chair were a clear warning to stay away.
That was the clown's space.
No one had tried to sit in his chair or disturb the things he had left on the nighstand beside her. No one was stupid enough to provoke him or set him off as of late.
The Joker represented them all without fully realizing it.
He would sit beside her quietly, his body relaxed while he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, enjoying what little time he had to catch a few minutes of sleep.
The occasional beep of the machine hooked up to check her pulse had become a calming hum in the back of his head, reminding him of how easily she could decide to give up then and there and allow her body to shut down.
It kept him from slipping into any form of deep sleep and at the same time comforted him enough to allow his tense muscles to ease upon being reminded that she was still alive.
The only time he would be alert would be when Scarecrow was in the room. His eyes following after Crane's every move, never missing a beat.
His whole body would tense, ready to pounce, whenever Crane leaned over Monica's defenseless figure to check her breathing or temperature. His jaw would clench involuntarily whenever the other madman placed his hands upon her to reposition her or massage her chest whenever she coughed uncontrollably.
He would take note of everything Scarecrow told them and store it in his mind for later use, refusing to let the other man out of his sight until he was gone.
Then and only then would his muscles slowly uncoil from their tense state. He would lean back and shuffle the deck of cards that he kept within arms length at all times, minding the heart rate monitors, before dimissing his goons and staying alone with her for an hour, two if he felt up to the task.
Blade merely shook his head, deciding against straightening out the Joker's space and moved towards his seat once more. He didnt have a death wish, he would leave everything like his boss had left it.
He was fully satisfied with how the room was at the moment anyway, there was nothing else he could do to make it neater.
Upon sitting down, both of them were brought out of their own thoughts by a sharp knock on the door followed by the telltale clicks of Scarecrow's shoes against the wooden floor beneath him.
"Gentlemen," he chuckled, enjoying the miserable look that both goons had on their faces. He would have been lying if he said he wasn't enjoying their current predicament.
He thrived on their pain, their fear of the unknown.
"What took you so long?" Blade snapped, glaring at the other man.
"Watch your tone," Scarecrow replied calmly, seeing the young goon back down reluctantly. The madman was notorious for his hallucinogen gas, the last thing Blade wanted was to taste a dose up close and personal.
"Move out of my way," Crane ordered, delighted with the response he was getting from the pair of goons. Without the clown in the room to enforce his control over the ex-psychologist they held no right to order him around.
He moved towards Monica silently, his footsteps calculated, as he set his bag down and went through the standard procedure of checking her vitals.
He nodded, mostly to himself, after he was done and rummaged through the contents in his bag. Blade watched with interest as he saw the other man pull out a syringe and a vial of clear liquid.
Scarecrow smiled to himself as he filled the syringe with the contents in the vial and set it down on the bed beside him.
"What is that?" Blade asked cautiously, knowing that in the clown's absence he was responsible for whatever happened to Monica.
"It'll help ease the pain," Scarecrow informed the pair who watched over his shoulder, hiding the label of the vial with his fingers. The last thing he wanted was for them to realize he was about to introduce morphine into Monica's system.
This was his own little jab at the clown.
The other man had been a fool if he thought that Scarecrow would help her out of the goodness of his heart. He had mixed a few of his own chemicals into the small vial before he had arrived, making sure that it would not only ease her pain but cause vivid dreams and hallucinations.
He knew the goons over his shoulder wouldn't suspect a thing, they would blame her current state if she started to act out. He would get to sit back at watch as her every fear and nightmare manifested itself and destroyed her from within. She would be completely helpless, unable to fight back.
If she managed to survive, he would make sure that by the time he was through with her she would become entirely dependent on morphine.
Either way, he got to administer his own medicine and cross the Joker in the process.
He tilted his head as he took out a tourniquet and wrapped it around her arm effortlessly. Blade watched nervously as Scarecrow traced Monica's vein and tapped it twice before reaching for the syringe and sliding it into her skin with ease.
The sadistic smile on his face was concealed from both of the goons watching behind his back as he closed his eyes and imagined what she would endure in a couple of hours. He had made sure that the effects weren't immmediate, giving him an alibi once the clown got back and questioned the injection.
He would simply tell them that it was to be expected with someone suffering from such a high fever combined with pneumonia.
Grumpy watched for any signs of discomfort on her face, ready to pull the ex-psychologist away if he harmed her, as Scarecrow pushed down the plunger and injected his personal morphine mix into her blood.
"There we go," Crane whispered, pulling the needle out of her skin, sealing her fate as he tossed it aside and stood.
"That's it?" Grumpy asked as he watched the madman collect his things and nod.
"I will be downstairs should you need me," he informed the goon, knowing that his presence was not welcome when the clown wasn't there to watch him.
He left before the pair of goons could say anything else, shutting the door behind him with a grin on his face. His feet carried him down the hall as he whistled to himself merrily, content with how the day had gone so far.
If he was being kept there against his will he was going to make the most of it. He would make sure that Monica suffered what he had endured at the hands of the clown prince of crime and the dark knight.
He would take advantage of the situation and make her his guinea pig for as long as he possibly could.
All he had to do was dance around the devil himself, being careful with how he went about with his experiments in order to avoid suspicion from the Joker.
He could only hope that Monica would survive long enough for him to have fun with her.
After all, it had been too long since he had tested any of his new hallucinogen drugs on a willing subject.
Ah! All of my lovely reviewers are slowly coming back! Keep it up guys, I wanna know your thoughts! You guys are the reason I stay up to update this story, so if you haven't reviewed feel free to drop by and leave some love. Till next time!