A/N: I do not own Batman: the Animated Series, The Batman, DC Batman or anything of the sort in any way, shape, or form. WARNING: This fanfiction contains the following-Language, violence, mild canon-crossing elements, severe fancharacter/OCxCanon use. If you do not wish to be subjected to any of that, this is not the fanfic for you. NOTE: This fanfiction is the sequel to my other Batman: the Animated Series fanfic, "Freaky Love." I highly recommend you read that in its entirety before you read this. Finally, all fancharacters used (including my own) are credited back to their creators in the copies of the "Freaky Family" chapters that are in my deviantArt gallery.
Freaky Family: Prologue
Thunder rolled and lightning flashed outside the small apartment, throwing the interior into a brief, bright relief before fading, leaving only the rain that slid continuously from the sliding glass door. Outside the trees bent in the wind like bizarre hands, all pointing in the same direction. It was the sort of weather the Batman would have been perfectly comfortable in.
Jervis Tetch shuddered at the thought and turned his attention back to the laptop he'd placed rather precariously on a stool. Lines and lines of text scrolled down the screen monotonously, making his eyes droop. He shook his head, snapping himself out of it, and forced his attention back to the article he was reading.
Ever since the encounter with Professor Achilles Milo in the park that one evening, it had been eating away at Jervis as he tried to rack his brains and remember where he'd seen the man before. Before he'd met Erin, before he'd gotten wrapped up in all the nonsense surrounding Guenhivyre Pendragon…before he'd become the Mad Hatter. So he'd taken to scrolling through old archives on the websites of his former jobs, even the university he'd attended. After all, it was totally possible he'd gone to school with the man.
But over three months of searching and doubling back over the same material had yielded no results.
"Jabberwock's teeth." he cursed softly, shutting the laptop. A tiny moan came from beside him on the couch, and he jumped, turning to see if he'd woken Erin. But the redhead slept on, an unhappy expression on her face as she brought her hands up next to her head, fists clenching as though she were fighting off imaginary bandersnatches in her dreams. For a moment, Jervis allowed himself a small smile, brushing back some of her curly locks from her face, then frowned as he glanced at her left hand.
Clenched in Erin's fist, thrown into relief by the light reflecting off her engagement ring, was a note.
Jervis's frown evolved into a full-on scowl.
Nearly two and a half months ago, the incident involving the ring of scientists after Guenhivyre Pendragon had been more or less resolved. Guenhivyre was a cheeky little upstart among the Rogues Gallery who'd been more or less a protégé to Jervis's best friend, Jonathan Crane. She'd insulted Jervis with that blonde wig, mocking his favorite piece of literature…but Jervis couldn't kill her like he wanted. Not when she was Erin's friend.
He glanced back at Erin again, stroking her hair and giving the note another dark look.
Even among the Rogues Gallery, Guenhivyre Pendragon had been utterly unique. Not because of her skill with a scythe, and certainly not because her accessories allowed her to become insubstantial, but because of her wings. She had two deep blue bird wings growing from her back, the result of a genetic experiment conducted on her as a child.
An experiment she'd just barely managed to escape from, with the help of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, and her older half-brother, who'd become the vigilante known as Incubus. As it had turned out, Professor Milo had been the scientist responsible not only for Guenhivyre's mutation, but also for the trauma that had consumed her childhood and locked away her memories.
The end result?
Guen's split-personality: the cold-blooded, venom-spewing spitfire known as Wraith.
Jonathan had adored her, probably because she operated so well under his tutelage. Edward Nygma had liked her, probably because he'd fallen in love with Guenhivyre. Jervis hated both sides of the young woman regardless. And Erin?
Erin, like so many other young women who were up and coming among the Rogues, had loved Guenhivyre and her other personality like a sister. The camaraderie of women was astounding.
In the end, Jervis, Erin, a vast number of their friends, and even the Batman, Robin, and Incubus had gone to rescue not only Guen, but also Ink and a girl named Stitches, who was an apprentice of the Joker's. Dr. Emile Dorian, a second scientist who'd been responsible for the mutation of Guen's paternal half-brother, Lancelot, had disappeared, both with Lance and the man-cat Tygrus in tow. Professor Milo had been released on probation, and Guenhivyre Pendragon, despite her sentence to Arkham with the rest of them, had been given a time of leave to spend with her mother, Clio Zeus.
But a week and a half into the time, and Guenhivyre had vanished.
She'd been tight-lipped and barely speaking to anyone before then, but suddenly, any communication with her had stopped entirely. A day later, Clio was seen on the news, sobbing hysterically, saying Guen had vanished from her apartment without a trace and begging her daughter to come back.
No one had heard from her since. Not until the note.
Jervis and Erin had spoken to all their friends, asking them to assemble for the big news, and everyone had met up at Jonathan's lab for it. Everyone had been happy to hear the announcement, and Ink had wanted to immediately throw a party, when Killer Croc had arrived on the scene, carrying a large bundle of envelopes. The envelopes had no addresses, no stamps, just names. There had been one for everyone, and they'd all received the same note. Not a letter, just a note bearing two words:
That was it. No signature, no explanation, just those two words. Ink had identified the writer as Guen, but said that the sharp angles of the letters were more like Wraith's writing, as though the two personalities had been overlapping when she'd scrawled the message. There had been a silent uproar, and all of the winged rogue's friends had been rather anxious since.
Erin in particular. She'd hardly let the note out of her sights since receiving it a week ago, usually carrying it in her hand or one of her apron pockets. Jervis saw her open it countless times, sometimes with tears in her eyes, sometimes with a smile on her face as though the little piece of paper were some holy shining beacon of hope. Sometimes she would even mouth the words, as though just by speaking them she could bring Guen back. The only person who was more obsessed with that piece of paper and those two words was Eddy Nygma who, they'd heard, had started picking fights and practically biting heads off if anyone dared to try separating him from Guen's note. Part of Jervis had been relieved by the arrival of the note, while part of him was infuriated. He had had to force-feed Erin most of the time after Guen had disappeared, and had gone to great lengths to try and pull her out of her depression. Now that she had the note, Erin was starting to eat regularly again, and was cheering up.
Regardless, Jervis was furious with Guenhivyre Pendragon.
She'd been on his blacklist before, but now, with what her disappearance had done to his darling Erin, it was all Jervis could do for the sake of love not to plot out the winged girl's death. She wasn't allowed to die; Jervis feared Erin would lose her will to live if she lost her friend for real.
But that didn't mean Jervis couldn't beat the cocky goth brat within an inch of her life in order to get the point across. The problem was trying to do it in a way that would keep Erin from witnessing such brutality.
Sighing once more, Jervis leaned over, planted a kiss on Erin's cheek, then flipped the laptop open again.
A/N: Sorry, me again! Hope you liked that for a start! And for those of you who've already read all of "Freaky Love", this just goes to show you I've not forgotten the fact that Jervis still holds a grudge against Guen/Wraith, and he isn't letting go of it any time soon. R&R please!