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 save for any original characters I have created.
A/N: The other day I was listening to Scarecrow's interview tapes from Arkham Asylum, and I thought it would be interesting to explore what an interview session with Nolan-verse Scarecrow would be like. The result was this fic. I had intended for this to be a one-shot, but as it grew longer and longer I decided to split it into multiple chapters instead.
Sessions with Madness, Chapter One
For years, Dr. Norman Perkins has been the victim of a most grievous injustice.
When Perkins first started his tenure as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, he envisioned an illustrious career; sessions with the asylum's most notorious criminals, book deals, talk show appearances, the works.
In truth, Perkins cared very little about his patients or their recovery. He had cared, in the beginning, as a wide-eyed student with ambitions and a desire to change the world. He'd entered the psychiatry field because of a genuine interest in helping others, regardless of their past actions. It wasn't his place to judge, he'd thought. Only to help.
His first year in the "real world" had changed that. The well-intentioned naivety was soon replaced with shock and horror when he began to interview inmates. Sure, they'd taught him what to expect in medical school, but words that lost their meaning when printed in black and white sounded so very different when spilling out of a sneering mouth.
And some of them sounded so proud of what they'd done, almost eager to tell.
Over time, his revulsion overpowered any preconceived notions he'd had regarding "change" or "help". He now realized what a fool he'd been for wanting to change the world; many men had tried for hundreds of years before him, and few achieved any degree of success.
After seeing some of the very worst that humanity has to offer, he wasn't too sure if the world was worth saving anyway.
Perhaps there was still a glimmer of that wide-eyed student somewhere inside of him, a part of him that still cared. Nonetheless, after his first year as a psychiatrist he'd changed his goals. From then on, his one desire was to make his wallet as fat as his ego. He figured a job at Arkham-a prestigious institution with access to super-criminals—would be a one-way ticket to his success. Get in, get a book deal, get out.
He hadn't planned on Dr. Jonathan Crane interfering with those plans.
Creepy Crane. Always quiet and unassuming, always hiding in the corner during staff get-togethers, always careful to stay out of everyone's way.
Always getting the best cases.
Perkins hadn't stood a chance when Crane was around. While Perkins was dealing with the run-of-the-mill, average inmate, Crane was getting the real good criminals—the ones people pay to read about. He'd watch Crane walk out of an interview room and retreat into his office for hours before heading off to another interview. No doubt he was working on a hell of a book of his own.
Creepy, crafty Crane.
He'd been just as shocked as the rest of the staff when Crane was revealed as Scarecrow. But while everyone else was still reeling from the shock, Perkins was piecing together a plan. When Crane was admitted as a patient, Perkins jumped at the chance to be his doctor. After all, he hadn't worked with Crane as long as the other doctors had; there would be no conflict of interest, and little past history to clout his judgment. It's what would be best for Crane, he assured the others; after all, doesn't he deserve the same quality of treatment as any other patient?
Of course, his true intentions weren't quite so noble.
Perkins was now presented with a truly unique opportunity; he could pitch his book not only from the perspective as a doctor, but as a coworker. He'd have to embellish a few details—he'd only spoken to Crane a handful of times before his incarceration—but he wasn't too terribly concerned with ethics anyway.
He figured Crane would be a simple enough subject to interview; the whole business with the mask was a clear-cut case of textbook split personality, certainly nothing he hadn't seen before dozens of times. All he has to do is get Crane to open up—what inspired him to study fear, what was his life like before "Scarecrow", has he ever had his heart broken, does he loves his mother—and cha-ching. Any man compelled to call himself a Scarecrow and terrorize an entire city has to have one hell of a past, and if he doesn't then Perkins will give him one. People eat up misery like it's candy, and he'll make sure Crane's tale is a real tearjerker.
Who knows, he might even get people to feel sympathy for the guy that gassed them with fear toxin.
Dr. Jonathan Crane sits in Arkham Asylum Interview Room #4, lightly drumming his fingers on the table before him. Sharp clicks emanate through the room as five fingernails meet faux wood in quick succession. Click click click click click. Click click click-
"That's enough, Mr. Crane." The security guard's voice is booming, his tone demanding. Crane fingers halt above the table mid-tap.
"I prefer Dr. Crane, please," Crane says quietly, placing his hand in his lap.
The guard lets out a harsh snort of disdain. "Yeah, okay, Dr. Crane. Whatever gets you through the day."
Crane swallows his annoyance, remaining silent and unmoving. Any display of emotion is a victory to the guards; to them, their power is a game, the inmates their pawns. Crane understands this and uses it to his advantage. He does not allow himself to become angry in the guards' presence; he accepts their jeers and taunts in silence. Only when he is alone in his cell does he enjoy the luxury of anger, entertaining himself with thoughts of vengeance.
Crane can play their game just as well as them. They interpret his silence as passiveness, as a weakness. They see him as a timid, spineless creature, meek and unworthy of their fear. Of course, they only feel this way because Crane allows them to. Despite his position, Crane is always in control—not the asylum. He may follow their orders, swallow their pills, and live in their cell, but he is the one with all the power.
The brutes may feel like they can bully Jonathan Crane, but they'd never dare to intimidate Scarecrow.
The door opens and in walks Dr. Norman Perkins. He leans forward and juts out his hand toward Crane. "Good evening Dr. Crane, I'm Dr. Perkins." Perkins grins and Crane can practically see every tooth in his mouth. He is reminded of a shark.
Where Crane any other prisoner, the guard would have immediately instructed Perkins to not touch him, to not attempt to initiate physical contact. He's dangerous, they would say. It's for your own protection, sir.
But this is Jonathan Crane—mild, timid, meek Jonathan Crane—and so the guard barely acknowledges when Crane reaches up and shakes Perkins' hand, his fingers cold and thin against the other man's wrist. Perkins finds the sensation unpleasant and pulls his hand back as quickly as possible without coming across as rude.
"There is no need for an introduction, Dr. Perkins. I remember you."
"Of course, of course. How very silly of me." Perkins flashes the same predatory grin as before. "How are you feeling tonight, Dr. Crane?"
"Fine," Crane replies promptly.
Crane can detect the air of detachment in Perkins' almost-automated response. He watches as Perkins' fingers slide to the tape recorder in his coat pocket, watches as they practically twitch with anticipation as he places the recorder on the table.
"I'm going to ask you a few questions, Dr. Crane, if that's alright with you?"
Crane is not fooled by Perkins' forced pleasantries. His eagerness is apparent, and the hint of greed in his eyes tells Crane that it is not a thirst for knowledge that fuels his ambition, but profit. He considers Perkins a spider, spinning webs of falsities in an attempt to ensnare his prey, itching to sink his teeth in.
Crane will play along, for now.
"Of course, doctor."
Perkins smiles and presses the record button.