TC Stark: Okay, here it is. I was almost reluctant to put this out. The last chapter. I have honestly really enjoyed writing this. I felt it more in depth and better thought out than the previous one. I had so much passion for it. I remember writing the outline for the whole story, before the first chapter. I was so excited and almost amazed that I had fleshed out a story like this. I love Roxanne, she is one of my favorite OC's. I have loved writing Crane, he is such an amazing and complex character to capture. I really am not sure of a sequel. I don't want to beat a dead horse and I don't want to put out crap. But, I am curious. If there was a sequel, what would you all want to see in it? Again, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up. Thank you all who have given me continued support. IT was you who got me through, when I wanted to be lazy. Please continue to read "The One You Feed" and my other stories. I will never stop writing lol I am so happy you all liked the ending. I mean, Crane is a bad guy. But, he needed to be more in depth than that. I loved the constant teeter totter between right and wrong that Roxanne dealt with and I want both you and I to deal with the same. So, without further ado!
Disclaimer: I only own Roxanne and my ideas!
"Today Gotham remembers the day the Batman gave his life, to save us all. It has been three years, since the people of Gotham were freed from the grasps of the mercenary known as Bane. We take this time to remember and show our gratitude to our dark knight, for whom we are forever grateful. The city is a much better place because of him."
Gotham had been a city that had always been able to recover from an extreme tragedy. Once the Joker had been captured, the people had moved on from his threats virtually in no time. But, that hadn't been the case with Bane's capture of the city. It had taken almost a year to repair all the bridges he had destroyed and families still mourned the loss of their loved ones.
A sense of security had been restored, when all of those who were released were finally captured. The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Two-Face had all been sent back to Arkham. By now, almost ninety-five percent of the prisoners of Blackgate were returned to their rightful place. Bane's body had been found dead, in city hall and The Scarecrow hadn't been recovered. But, he was assumed dead.
All that really mattered, was Batman's great sacrifice. The dark knight had gave his life to save his city. That kind of love for the public made everyone believe that there were still good people in the world. It restored almost everyone's faith and every year, they had a large celebration for him. A celebration that Jim Gordon made sure to make a speech at every year.
It had been a real accomplishment, for Bruce Wayne; to see his city be the way he knew it could. To be the metropolis that his father had envisioned. Everyone, working together in harmony. Crime was almost unheard of, besides petty crimes. But, ever since that memorable day, it seemed like everyone was working together. And if any criminal dared mess with the city again, they had a new symbol of hope. Nightwing.
Bruce knew he had done a good thing by giving John Blake his Batcave. The billionaire had seen the kind of hope and good spirit within the young man and knew that he was the one to leave the city to. Finally, he could live the way Alfred had wanted him to. Married. To Selina Kyle and expecting his first child. It was paradise.
Three years later, Bruce and Selina had returned from their extended stay in Italy. Alfred by then had enjoyed his life, knowing that his master was finally free of the constraints of the Batman. But, there was no denying the joy that he felt upon Mr. Wayne's return. He was happy for them all to live happily in the same large mansion. And now, he was even happier knowing Mrs. Wayne was only three months from giving birth.
Alfred could see how happy Bruce was, as he looked out from the balcony. Smiling to himself, he spoke while staring outside, "Happy to to be a grandfather, Alfred?"
"I am overjoyed that there will finally be children once again in the manor. Your father would have been very proud."
Smiling graciously, the billionaire turned and spoke, "I finally did it, Alfred. I finally became the man you wanted me to be."
The doorbell then rang, both men turning towards the front of the house. Although Alfred was no longer his butler, his instincts was still to get the door. Standing, he smiled over to the man he had virtually raised and spoke, "You were always that man, Master Wayne. You always had an envision, to make Gotham a better place. Even when I thought you would fail. I am so proud of you."
"I have you to thank."
Alfred smiled, before moving back into the house. Bruce smiled. He really felt like he had everything. Three years had gone by and they had been the best years of his life. There was no threat to his beloved city. He wasn't plagued by the burden of being Batman. For the first time in his life, he was absolutely happy. There was no fake persona. No mask to live up to. He was finally living the way his parents would have wanted him to.
Bruce hadn't originally thought that Selina Kyle would be the woman for him. He had always knew she had the potential to do good, but he had deep down felt that Roxanne Downey would be his second chance at love. It had been almost ludicrous to think he could love again, but when she came into his life he thought he was finally ready to move on.
It had been heart breaking to find out that the redhead was still with Jonathan Crane. Even more heart breaking to find out they had gotten married. Unfortunately, he hadn't much time to mourn this, since he had to save Gotham. But, all along, it was apparent that Selina was the woman for him. She had been there, with him; the whole time. She had a spark to her and wasn't blind to what the world was. When he had swam back, after setting the Bat to autopilot; he knew that it was the Catwoman he was meant to be with.
Three years later, they were married and expecting their first child. Selina seemed ecstatic. The Catwoman had come from rough upbringings and hadn't thought there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. But, she had discovered that there was a heart and a conscious, buried underneath all her hatred and cold attitude for the rest of the world.
And now they were having a child. The thought of being a father was one that Bruce almost couldn't fathom. But, as her belly grew that thought slowly became reality. He was going to be a father. It would be his greatest chance to make a difference in the world. To help raise life and help that child grow into a wonderful adult.
By the time Alfred came back, he had a grave look on his face. Bruce looked at the older man in a perplexed manner, as he asked, "What's wrong?"
"There's...there's someone at the door for you."
Raising an eyebrow, Bruce asked, "Who is it?"
Gulping, the older man almost whispered, "I think its best you go and see who it is."
Bruce didn't like the sound of that. Adjusting his robe, the billionaire moved through his mansion to reach the main set of doors. He couldn't possibly think of who was at his doorsteps that made Alfred so spooked. It couldn't have been Talia, a board member whom he had discovered was working with Bane all along. She was the only one that he thought might make the butler react that way. No, he watched her die.
The last time someone showed up on his doorstep that frightened Alfred, was Jonathan Crane. The Scarecrow. Bruce hadn't a clue where he had gone. After the court, he had been dragged away. Bane had taken him to a pit of hell that took him nearly five months to leave. By the time he returned to Gotham, he only had one thought in mind: defeat Bane.
When he opened the doors, Bruce understood why Alfred had looked as if he had seen a ghost. The leaves were turning a beautiful orange/red and Autumn had begun to roll in. It was the kind of weather that required a light jacket and maybe a pair of boots. The woman in front of him wore a long black open sweater, over her purple turtle neck shirt, black skinny jeans, and purple heeled slouch boots. Her dark red hair curled down to the middle of her back. As if no time had ever passed between them.
Her Hazel eyes had been looking off when Bruce had approached her. Her eyes were still as beautiful as ever, still covered with exotic shadows. Her lips still full and glossed. Her skin still a gorgeous olive color. He took a moment to look her over and notice that she was still the same size that she had been the last time they saw each other. It really was as if no time had passed.
Turning, Roxanne instantly smiled and greeted, "Hi, Bruce."
Bruce couldn't believe it. There she was. Roxanne...Crane. He had thought about her from time to time, during the last three years. With Jonathan's disappearance, it raised questions. Where had he gone? What had happened to him? Had he really died or had he managed to escape the island? And what had happened to Roxanne?
It was a relief to see her alive. What happened the last time they saw each other didn't even matter. He was alive. Gotham was safe. And he was happy. Bruce knew deep down that Roxanne had nothing to do with what happened at the trial. That she was just as much a victim as he was. He would never forget the fear that filled her eyes. There was no way she could have faked that kind of reaction.
"Roxanne," He greeted almost hastily, before composing himself. Clearing his throat, he spoke softly, "I...I can't believe...its so good to see you."
Returning his warm smile, she observed, "You look great, Bruce. Like...you're really happy."
There was a bit of an awkward air that floated between them. That was, of course; to be expected. But, too much time had passed and he couldn't just let her leave. Couldn't just remain in silence and then let that be the end of it. Selina was at a doctor's appointment and had other errands to run that day; he just couldn't let Roxanne leave.
"Would you like to come in?"
Roxanne smiled and accepted his offer graciously. Alfred looked a bit wary, as the redhead followed the billionaire inside. Bruce knew that the butler wasn't too happy with the woman's appearance, especially after everything that happened. But, there was no way he would let her leave. He needed to know how she was.
He led her to the dining hall, where Alfred had already placed a tray of hot tea down. Two cups with a bowl of sugar. Roxanne smiled, "Thank you, Alfred. How have you been?"
"Just fine." He gave a quick smile and nod, before turning to leave the two be.
The sound of silverware gently clinking against the inside of porcelain replaced the silence, but didn't make the air any less awkward. There was so much Bruce had to say. So much he wanted to ask. It was swimming around his head. It had for the past three years. And when he finally came face to face with her, he had no idea what to say.
So, Roxanne decided to be the first one to speak, "I'm back in Gotham for the weekend."
"I wasn't aware you left."
A weak smile, "I've been living in New York City for the past three years."
Bruce wanted to ask why and how and everything else, but he decided to stay on subject, "Why are you back?"
"My mother has passed."
"I'm so sorry."
As she spooned sugar into her cup, she gave a gentle shrug and explained, "I was never close with my mom. I haven't spoken to her since...since we fought, because she invited my aunt to our lunch. I wouldn't have known she even died if I weren't looking online. I was on Gotham's local news' site and saw the obituary. She had lung cancer," Shaking her head, she gave an off comment, "She should have stopped smoking. The wake was yesterday. I knew I had to visit you."
There was of course the sorrow any child would express upon discussing their mother's death. But, it was a tragedy. There were no tears. No breath hitched. No regret in her voice. It was obvious that Lucille and Roxanne were never able to reconcile their relationship. That the mother died, taking any possibility of forgiveness with her.
Frowning, he took a small sip of his tea, while expressing, "I'm sorry."
"It's fine, Bruce," Roxanne's smile picked up, "You've finally hung up the cape? News of your sacrifice...I think was on every news station around the world."
"It was necessary. What I had to do."
"And you really have changed Gotham. I hope you are living the life you deserve."
The sentiment made Bruce smile, as he happily explained, "I'm married now...to Selina Kyle. She's...she's pregnant. I'm going to be a father."
Roxanne's mouth dropped open, before exclaiming happily, "Bruce! That's wonderful. I'm so happy...you've finally opened yourself up to happiness," Smiling sincerely, she reached over and patted his hand, "Bruce Wayne. Playboy billionaire. Finally settled down."
Chuckling lightly, he pointed out, "I'm sure many didn't think that was ever going to happen."
"It's well deserved."
Roxanne was sincerely happy for the mans he once called friend. He had tortured himself for too long and it was time for him to grab a piece of happiness for himself. Even if that was in the form of Selina Kyle. The Catwoman. It seemed that one person was willing to let Bruce help them and turn their life away from destruction.
"Bruce...I know what you want to ask."
It had seemed that they were having a lovely chat, but the elephant in the room needed to be addressed. His eyes looked over into hers, seeing them still and not afraid. Accepting. She didn't seem at all nervous, nor angry. It was as if she had made peace with what had happened and was in control of her past. Of her emotions.
Frowning, Bruce whispered, "I try to make sense of it all. I go through that day over and over again...w-what happened? I don't understand any of it."
After letting out a sigh, she explained, "I really didn't know what he was planning. I never knew any of Jonathan's plans. If I did...then I would be a part of his life and I didn't want to be. At that time...my life was in shambles. I had lost my job, I was on house arrest...so, to find out that it had all been leading to a...trial, devastated me. I couldn't believe that...that he would do that to me. After I had trusted him...that day does replay in my head as well. To be surrounded by so much...chaos and madness, I questioned my own sanity."
Sincere words. Spoken by a woman that he didn't know if she was truthful or not. His heart told him to believe her, but his mind screamed in objection. She had lived a double life the entire time they had been friends. She had hid so much from him and he wasn't sure if he could believe her. He didn't want to be resentful or doubtful, but he also didn't want to be naïve. Didn't want to be taken advantage of.
Taking everything in, he asked, "What happened afterward?"
"I hated seeing what they did to you. I knew...I couldn't sit back and allow it. I absolutely hated how powerless I was. Especially..." With this, Roxanne drew in a deep sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose, "When Bane hurt you. Everyone knew who you were and I knew you didn't want that. I was so infuriated with Jonathan, when I woke up in New York City. He was also mad that I had hid the Batman's true identity from him," At this she gave a small laugh, "The Scarecrow had tried to convince him that what happened between us...was more than just a kiss."
After taking another sip of tea, she continued, "He then told me everything that happened. How everyone had planned this for a long time. That it had always been the intention for everyone to turn themselves in. That they were going to give you up to Bane. Everyone knew what he was going to do...they were all okay with it. Happy that they would have a chance to cause true chaos in Gotham's final months. Even Jonathan."
"So why hadn't he stayed?"
"Because of me," Roxanne smiled, a certain glimmer in her eyes, "He would have stayed. Would have gladly gone down with Gotham. But...we had just gotten married. And he knew I wouldn't want anything to do with that and...he wanted to continue his life with me."
There was happiness in her eyes. Happiness that the man everyone thought of as a madman loved her. Wanted to protect her. Bruce wanted to tell her that it was just another way for Crane to have a hold on his possession, but he held his tongue. She seemed to relieved to not have lived through Gotham's torment. To not have to worry whether or not she was going to die.
Frowning, he asked, "Are you still with him?"
Roxanne smiled and nodded, "Yes. The last three years have been the best of my life. Him and I have lived in New York City...the way married couples do. We have aliases. It was just a better idea...just in case. But, its been how I always wanted life to be. We have an apartment there. A really nice one. I even have a job, as a therapist at a facility there. Jonathan's a professor. In a way...I'm living the life I wouldn't have been in Gotham."
"And Jonathan, has he reformed his ways or something?"
At this, her smile dropped and she explained, "I know he still does experiments, but...again, I don't want to know. I guess...perhaps I was asking...I don't know. But, I trust that he has my best interest in mind. He knows what I want and his lifestyle has not interfered."
Bruce was even more upset. He was saddened to see that Roxanne had dove deeper into her dependance on the doctor. To the point to allow herself to completely be in his hands. It seemed like he controlled everything and she simply thought she had a say, by being allowed to have a job. But, in truth, he had her in a separate city. All to himself. It was the ultimate form of possession.
"Roxanne," He begged slightly, "Don't you think this is a bad idea? I mean...it's just you two. You're married...to a criminal. A man who is not well. You even said he has another personality. He's dangerous. Look at what he's done. He didn't take you away from Gotham to protect you. He did it to have control over you."
Roxanne sighed and frowned, "I knew you would say that. I always knew that you would never stop trying to help me. No matter what. It was the reason that...that trial upset me so much. Why I even spoke up, despite being in a room full of psychopaths. But...he loves me, Bruce. He really does. I am his one shred of humanity. And I love him as well, I know that's wrong. I do. But...you don't know how he feels about me. What he's done for me. It's inconvenient. It really is. But, I am happy and in this world...he's the only one that truly matters. The only one I can rely on."
It broke his heart to hear her speak that way. To hear her dependance on Jonathan. To hear about dark her obsession with him was. Maybe Roxanne had been sick this whole time and he just couldn't see it. Frowning, he asked the question that had been on his mind for three years, "Roxanne...when the trial was going on, Jonathan said...he never held a gun to your head. Did you...did you really kill your aunt?"
It was then his lips turned into a true frown and her breathing practically stopped. Her fingers tensed and her eyes looked worried. The last time she had spoke about the incident, she had ended up screaming and crying. Bruce had sworn that the story wasn't fake. That something that wasn't real wouldn't cause such a reaction.
Her hazel eyes watered slightly, as she nervously ran her finger tips along her collar bone, "N-No. There was no gun. Jonathan always said that...Stacey needed to pay for what she had done to me. But, I insisted that I didn't need that. I didn't need to do that. It wouldn't have accomplished anything. I was raped and molested and nothing would change that. But, he insisted. Insisted that it was best for my recovery. That I would never be able to let go of my past if I didn't confront her. I really thought...we were just going to have dinner. I was telling the truth...I was dressed up...we kissed...and then she turned on the lights."
She was becoming increasingly upset and he could see the memory flashing before her mind, "I told Jonathan no. I didn't need revenge or closure or anything. I didn't even want Stacey to look at me. But, he gave me the knife and...released her. She yelled and cursed and called me names. Called me sick and a freak, for being with Jonathan. And then...and then she admitted it. She admitted to what she had done to me," Closing her eyes, Roxanne's voice shook as she struggled with the words, "And then she kissed me. She kissed me! I just...I just saw-"
"Roxanne," He reached over and grabbed her hand, seeing her about to completely lose it, "It's okay...it's okay."
The initial reveal of her involvement of Stacey's murder had upset Bruce. It made him question their entire relationship. Made him question if she was in fact a con artist herself. If she was a master of lying and had fooled him from the start. Perhaps she was a cold blooded killer as well and was more involved in Jonathan's lifestyle than he originally thought.
But, he could see it. See that she was telling the truth. It was the same store she had told him five years ago, only with the gun's involvement. And it made so much more sense now. It looked so much more sincere in her eyes. He knew that she had stabbed Stacey, knew how upset she was by it by the screaming she had done in the police station. She had relived in, even saw the blood on her hands again. That was sincere, real. Organic. It had only been during the gun segment that she rushed the explanation. Now, it all made sense.
"I never met to do it, Bruce." Her Hazel eyes looked at him wide.
Nodding, Bruce comforted, "I know, I know you didn't. I'm...I'm sorry, Roxanne. Let's not talk about it."
Wiping away the tears, Roxanne gave a small smile, "Shit, sorry. It's been...so long since I've even thought about that. I just wanted to put the memory away. I know...I know what this looks like. It still looks like he made me kill her. That...it's an unhealthy relationship. It may be, but throughout it all he has been there. The gun story was his idea...to make sure I could be released and continue living a normal life. He's always had my best interest in mind...it's the reason why I almost considered having a family with him."
"What?" Bruce almost choked.
Roxanne gave out a laugh, as she waved him off, "It was accidental. Jonathan would have never purposely impregnated me...unless maybe for experimental purposes," She gave a small shrug, "He is a researcher and a doctor after all. I had planned on keeping the baby. It would have been nice...to prove myself a better mother than my own. But, when I went to my doctor next she said I had miscarried. No particular reason. Sometimes...they just go away. It was for the best really, it wouldn't be healthy to raise a child in that environment."
Bruce sat there in shock. Roxanne marrying Jonathan was one thing, but to think she had considered having his child was another. His heart almost stopped and he couldn't help himself from staring at her. His mouth even hung open slightly. At the same time, he was sympathetic. He couldn't imagine what she must have gone through, losing a pregnancy.
Frowning, he spoke, "I'm so sorry, Roxanne. I can't imagine what that was like for you."
"At first upsetting, but...I guess everything happens for a reason," Giving a genuine smile, she pointed out, "You're going to be a great father."
"Thank you," A smile returned to his face, upon mention of his future child. He then asked, "Do you think you'll be alright."
"Bruce, I already am."
Where the fuck is that bitch? She went to go see that pompous asshole two hours ago.
I'm sure they have a lot to catch up on.
I'm surprise you're even okay with this.
What is there to be threatened by? We all know his dirty little secret. We're in Gotham for the weekend and my wife simply wishes to visit a friend. Who am I to deny her that right? Besides, now Mr. Wayne will know there is someone alive and on the outside. Me.
I knew you had reasoning behind allowing Red to see him.
Jonathan Crane had been waiting at a local hotel, when Roxanne walked through the door. There may have been only petty criminals around, but everyone in the Narrows still knew who he was. And still offered the same discretion that was always needed. They would only be staying two more nights, but in the meantime they needed somewhere to sleep.
And other things.
Jonathan rolled his eyes, as Roxanne walked over to where he stood. The kitchen. They greeted each other with a kiss and a glass of vodka, "How was your reunion."
"A lot has changed."
Before she was able to walk away, he gently grabbed her chin and observed, "You were crying. I'm guessing it was an emotional reunion?"
Taking a sip of her drink, she pondered, "Is there any other kind in Gotham?"
"I suppose not," He chuckled slightly, while walking past her, "I'm sure it was full of questions. Why are you still with him?"
"And others along those lines." She added.
Rolling his eyes, Jonathan sat down on the couch and opened up a newspaper, "I suspected as much. I only wish I could have seen the look on his face."
I'm sure Mr. Wayne is scratching his head right now. Trying to make sense of it all. Trying to make sense of why she is still married to me.
I'm still trying to figure that out.
I'm sure she even told me about the miscarriage.
That was for the best. It only would have gotten in the way.
Perhaps. But, just think of the science aspect of it. The potential to observe and study a human from day one. All its emotions...behaviors...fears.
Yes, but then you would have to deal with it. It would be yours for the rest of your life. What would you be able to do with it, once the lesson was over?
I suppose you're right. I was simply offering a way to further my studies. But, a child is no way to accomplish that. It would put a wear and tear on Roxanne and she wouldn't like me using one as an experiment.
You both are using each other for science.
Roxanne had long gotten used to how Jonathan's mental state was developing. She rarely interrupted his conversations with Scarecrow, unless she was sure it was detrimental. She didn't want the other personality pushing his psyche further over the edge. But, she also knew that he wouldn't take medication for his condition and that the alter personality would always be a part of him. She just needed to keep reminding him to keep a hold of his sanity.
"Jonathan?" She finally spoke, after taking another sip.
Turning away from the paper, he raised an eyebrow, "Hm?"
"I was thinking...maybe our time in New York City is done."
Jonathan folded the newspaper, before crossing his legs and pointing out, "After one reunion with Bruce Wayne, you want to move back to Gotham?"
Snorting, she corrected, "He hasn't anything to do with it. I doubt we'd see much of each other, but that doesn't matter. Let's be serious, Jonathan, Gotham is our home. Even with everything that has happened to me here...it's my city. And I know you are still doing your work, but it isn't here. Isn't among your people. The people who know who Jonathan Crane is. You're the only one not in Arkham. It would be your city."
She had a good point. Living in New York City had been wonderful. They truly were happy in their apartment. It was theirs. They were finally able to live the lives they wanted to. No hiding. They were able to go out to restaurants, parks, wherever they wanted to go. They both had jobs that allowed them to explore their fields further. He had to admit, he quite enjoyed being a professor once again. To be amongst all those young minds...just waiting to be prodded at.
But, no matter what, it wasn't Gotham. Wasn't his city. He was Dr. Jonathan Crane. The Scarecrow. New York City would never know who he was, because he hadn't gotten to the level that Bane had. Sure, the police knew because of his records, but no one else. According to everyone in the Big Apple, he was just Professor Bo Griggs.
Finally and slowly smirking, Jonathan observed, "That, my dear, is a very interesting proposal."