Note: written for the Free-For-All-Fic-For-All at the AskTheSquishykins tumblr.
Prompts: Lyle Bolton gets a boot to the head; Catwoman saves Jonathan's life.
Trigger warning: violence, mentions of abuse, very wrongheaded thoughts about mental illness
Note: I gave Jonathan the particular injuries I did just to see if I could. It relates to a phobia of mine. I know that the ending of this is rushed and the description falls flatter than I would like, but I will not be going back to fix it, at least not in the foreseeable future. I am not currently able to do so. Thank you.
Lyle Bolton was a cured man. No longer did he feel any desire to kidnap and murder innocent people. Just because the media glorified supervillains, and just because Arkham coddled them and made it soeasy for them to escape, that didn't mean the doctors and newscasters deserved to be hurt. He knew that now. They weren't the ones committing crimes.
And unlike the rest of the scum in Arkham, he couldn't go around using so-called mental illness as an excuse to do whatever he wanted. He knew that, too.
So he was released from Arkham with the solemn and earnest vow that he would never again harm an innocent soul.
And somehow they hadn't noticed that he'd never said a word about the guilty ones.
Life was good. With his parole officer's blessing, he had secured an interview for a security job at LexCorp on Monday morning. Luthor seemed like a decent man to work for. He believed in second chances, but he wasn't soft like that Wayne drip.
With any luck, Bolton would soon be saying goodbye to Gotham City, and hello to a new life in Metropolis.
He didn't know what possessed him to say goodbye by taking a walk through the East End at midnight. Maybe he was hoping to be mugged, break a few heads in self defense. But no one was desperate enough to mess with a man who was looking for trouble, not when he was roughly the size of a barge.
He hardly saw anyone, and the ones who spotted him flitted off into the dark as quick as they could. With no definite plan in mind, he was about to give up and go back to his seedy motel when he turned into a little-used park that even Poison Ivy wouldn't have fought for, and ran slap into the Scarecrow.
Crane just about pissed himself then and there. Bolton felt a grin spread across his face. Crane's arm came up, brandishing a canister of his fear toxin. Bolton's grin got even wider.
Self defense. His new favorite words.
Bolton's hand closed around Crane's forearm, just above the wrist. It only took a little pressure to make him drop the toxin. The rest was for his pleasure. He jerked the criminal toward him, relishing the snap of bones. Crane's free fist hit him in the shoulder. He ignored it, ripping the mask off, taking a clump of hair with it. Didn't want to encourage him to go for the toxin again, did he?
"Let go of me!" Crane's ineffectual struggling continued. Bolton's grin continued to spread.
He wondered if he was going to cry this time. Crane was a superior little shit. It was real satisfyingto watch him snivel and beg.
He was starting to get panicky as he realized he was never going to be able to break the bigger man's grip on his arm. Bolton tapped his knuckles against that pointy little nose, and was rewarded with a gush of blood.
Crane sucked in a breath to scream for help. Bolton had seen him do it a hundred times before. And as he had done a hundred times before, he drove his fist into Crane's side before he could make a sound. Only, when he had been working at Arkham, every serious injury to one of the inmates had brought a round of questions and paperwork. Now, there was no need to restrain himself.
He hit the scum with every ounce of force he had in him, and felt his ribs buckle under his fist. Crane made the best sound he had ever heard. Pained, breathless, pathetic. He would have fallen on his ass if Bolton hadn't still been holding on to his arm. He drew back to hit him again.
Crane's foot came down on the inside of Bolton's foot. Reflexively, he loosened his grip, allowing the Scarecrow to collapse on the ground. He cursed under his breath.
Crane tried to get his feet under him, but only managed to smash his own face in the dirt. Bolton watched as he tried to crawl away. It would have been amusing if it hadn't been so pitiful.
Well, no, it was still amusing.
But enough screwing around. It was a shame he didn't have time to draw it out, but this might be the last chance he ever had to get rid of the Scarecrow. He had to make sure he got it done right. He couldn't just give the scum a beating and let him walk away from it. Not even crawl away. Not disappear only to turn up a few months down the line. He had to make sure the Scarecrow never came back. His last good deed for Gotham.
Two good strides brought him even with Crane; all that scrambling around in the dirt hadn't given him more than a few inches of lead. Bolton grabbed him by the collar and dragged him toward a duck pond. The water was stagnant and brownish, and no duck had been near it for years. But it would do.
Bolton let him gasp out his pleas. No one was going to hear.
He flung him into the water.
It wasn't deep. Landing on his back, Crane didn't even have to sit up all the way to keep his face above the surface. He probably counted that as a blessing. He was whimpering as it was with the pain of keeping himself half upright. Bolton could picture the edges of bone grinding together with every ragged breath, each twitch of a muscle. It brought another smile to his face.
He waded out into the pond and threw himself down on the Scarecrow, hands on his shoulders, knee on his chest. A stream of bubbles rose to the surface, accompanied by the muted sound of an agonized scream, as another rib or two snapped under his weight. Through the much, he could see Crane's head shaking back and forth, as if he could ever possibly get out from under the weight pinning him down. Bolton had more than a hundred pounds on the shrimp, and he had justice on his side.
Crane's left hand slapped at his wrist, then clawed at it feebly. After a minute, it didn't move at all. There were no more bubbles.
Bolton didn't get up. It took a while for a man to die of lack of oxygen. Longer than they made it seem like in the movies. Gotham would thank him for making sure.
He heard the crack of a whip before the female voice: "Not in my town!"
Catwoman. Of course. He should have expected her in this neighborhood.
The length of her bullwhip wrapped around his neck, and a two-handed yank pulled him back, off the Scarecrow.
Bolton wasted time uncoiling the whip while the female vigilante clomped her way out to pull his prey from the water.
Her expression changed when she got a look at Crane's blood-smeared face.
"Oh. It's you."
She dumped him unceremoniously on dry ground.
It didn't look like he was breathing. Good.
Catwoman turned back to Bolton just as he tossed her whip aside.
She wasn't bound to Batman's rule against killing the scum who deserved it, and she obviously had no love for Crane. She was going to apologize for interrupting him and be on her way, he could tell.
"Now I have to give him mouth-to-mouth, you son of a bitch."
The last thing he saw was her boot coming at his face.