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.

Session with Madness, Chapter Nine

"I'm tellin' ya, this is just a waste of time. We were at his house for weeks and didn't see a damn thing except a neighbor with particularly nice legs."

Officer Lorre-a member of the Gotham City police force for nine long, tedious years-snaps his gum with a loud pop as if to somehow convey his annoyance with just how stupid he thinks this little house-call is, and rolls his eyes towards his partner. The other man, Officer Quarry—a member of the force for two years, and a man of few words-shrugs with non-commitment, and Lorre accepts this gesture as agreement and spurs on.

"I mean, I know Gordon thinks this a real important case and all, but there ain't no way that creep Crane is still hangin' around Gotham." The pair walk into the lobby of Perkins' apartment building and head towards the elevator. "You ask me, he's somewhere halfway across the world, laughing and living it up while we scramble all over the city looking for him and twiddle our thumbs in front of his head-shrinker's apartment."

"Besides," Lorre says as they step inside of the elevator, "we got enough problems here as is."

Quarry punches a button and the elevator's doors close as they begin their ascension towards the seventeenth floor. "If Gordon thinks its important," he says carefully, "then it probably is."

Lorre scoffs. "I guess."

They are silent for the duration of their ride; when the elevator doors open they step into a hallway with rich, brown carpeting and sterile, yellow lighting that reminds Lorre of a hospital.

"What's the apartment number again?"

"1708," Quarry replies matter-of-factly, and it takes all of Lorre's self-control not to roll his eyes.

When I get back to the station, first thing I'm gonna do is see about getting another partner-

Quarry raps his knuckles against Perkins' apartment door. "Dr. Perkins, are you home?" He pauses for a moment before knocking again. "Dr. Perkins, are you alright?"

"Wait." Lorre raises a hand to silence Quarry. "You smell that?"

"What are you talking about?" He sniffs the air and catches a faint whiff of a strange, ripe odor.

"Once you've smelled it, you never forget that smell. When was the last time this guy was seen at work? Friday?" Lorre's brow furrows and sudden, sick realization hits Quarry.

"Oh my-"

Lorre quickly removes his gun from its holster and takes a step back. "Dr. Perkins," he shouts in a commanding voice, the joking demeanor now gone, "we are coming in on the count of three! Step away from the door! One, two-"

Lorre kicks the door open and steps inside; Quarry follows him and immediately retches as he is overcome with the overwhelming stench of rot and decay.

Lorre darts quickly down the hallway and searches the rooms, finding no one—not that he expected to; when he comes back, he finds Quarry hovering over the kitchen sink, wiping his mouth.

"Looks like we found the good doctor," Lorre says glumly, and Quarry retches again.

Dr. Jonathan Crane smiles as he reads the front page of the newest edition of The Gotham Times. Scarecrow's Psychiatrist Found Dead—Is Crane Responsible? There is a lengthy article recounting Dr. Norman Perkins' life, from his humble beginnings as an intern to his many accomplishments in the psychiatric field. There is mention of an ex-wife and two children, along with a family photo; Crane pictures them clad in black, faces soaked with tears as they place a wreath on dear-old-dad's headstone, and his smile widens with amusement.

He often revisits the memory of Perkins lying helpless on the floor of his own home, face twisted into a horrible grimace of fear and revulsion, and it brings him much enjoyment and endless satisfaction. In the end, he'd given

Perkins exactly what he had wanted: knowledge. He had wanted to know the deepest inner-workings of Crane's mind, and Crane had showed him just that—fear in its purest form. Crane had gifted him with enlightenment, a treasure that so few can appreciate and even fewer posses.

In those terrifying moments leading to his death, Perkins had been privy to a level of existence that was both too fearful to imagine and too horrible to survive.

It's a shame he won't be able to write about it in his book. It could have been a real hit.

Crane tosses the paper to the side and returns to his work. He has been able to create about a dozen vials of toxin since his escape from Arkham Asylum, and as soon as he acquires more supplies he'll be able to make a dozen more. He's been itching to test this new batch out; his time in the asylum has left him a bit rusty, and hunting for a test subject is exactly the practice he needs.

As gratifying as Perkins' demise had been, it will pale in comparison to what he has planned. He will have Gotham falling to their knees again, bodies quaking and eyes mad with fear. It is only a matter of time.

But first, he'll start with their hero.

The Bat-man.


A/N: Thank you all so, so much for reading! This story was seriously fun to write and I got so much lovely feedback. I'm a bit sad to end it, but once a story has run it's course it is better to go out on a high note rather than prolong it and have something I am less than happy with as a result. Whether you added this story to your alerts, your favorites list, left a review, or even just read—I can't thank you enough! People like you are the reason I keep writing Crane fanfiction and the reason I have so much fun in this fandom.

If you enjoyed this story, then I hope you'll read through my profile and maybe give my other stories a shot. Thank you again, and I'm glad I could provide you with entertainment!