A/N: On the "Ask the Squishykins" tumblr, Twinings and I recently offered ourselves up for two full weeks of filling fic prompts for our readers, varying in length from a hundred to a thousand-plus words. The project has been dubbed the Free For All Fic For All—or FFAFFA for short. This is one of those stories—and this is the boilerplate author's note you'll see on all of 'em.
Prompt: Kitten goes on her first date/gets her first boyfriend
Notes: This takes place in th CATverse, sometime in Arc 7. I'll figure out the exact placement later. To find the CATverse story listing, hit freewebs dot com slash catverse. Yay!
The life of a supervillain was often complicated by the addition of a child to the household. It had happened countless times before, from Sub Diego to Metropolis to Gateway, and the event generally went one of three ways: the villain in question became a laughing stock, social services managed to snatch the child away from an admittedly unfit environment or they abandoned a life of crime completely and went legit. "Think of the children!" and all such rot.
Jonathan Crane had no intention of falling into any of those traps and had thus far managed to avoid them entirely. Kitten was kept mostly under wraps. When she did make appearances in public, it was generally accepted by the news media that she was a hostage, not part of the gang, so the Scarecrow wasn't a laughing stock. Batman hadn't yet made a move to 'save' the child, either—though there was little doubt he would eventually. She was nearing three years old; only the fact that they were constantly on the move and often left Kitten in the care of out of town relatives had kept them from Bat-meddling so far.
As far as going legit went…
Well, there are only so many chances for a 'fresh start' that a convicted murdered could realistically expect.
Of course, concessions still had to be made here and there, and compromises were necessary to keep their little…'family unit' running smoothly. More and more, the Scarecrow found himself going on heists with two henches instead of the three he'd grown accustomed to, and their schedule for moving from lair to lair had gone from once every six to eight months to once every three weeks.
And, there were the…play dates.
Around the time when Kitten was a year old, she saw another child for the very first time. While his henchgirls were gathering supplies for him, Crane had very foolishly taken her to a playground in Metropolis and let her play in a sandbox. Metropolis because it was a short ferry ride away from Gotham and he wasn't as well known there. It was late afternoon and most of the other children were gone, but one little boy about her age stumbled over to her, plopped down and started playing.
It was love at first sight, obnoxiously enough, and Crane did not approve. He'd snatched her up immediately, but her heartbroken wails as he carried her away made him realize that the door to age appropriate peer interaction had been opened and would not be closed again, no matter how much he wished otherwise.
So, roughly twice a month, someone would take Kitten to Metropolis, pick a playground and sit there watching her for an hour or two until she was tired out enough to sleep on the ferry ride back home. This time, it was Jonathan's turn.
Since he was a decent multi-tasker, if nothing else it gave him a chance to sit on a park bench with a notebook, keeping one eye on her and one eye on the new fear toxin formula notes he'd been working on for some time. She seemed perfectly happy, playing with the same little boy who'd so entranced her the first time she'd come to this place, Daniel, and she was occupied for about an hour before her playmate's mother came to take him away.
Before she could begin to cry, Jonathan set his legal pad aside, scooped her up and she clung to his neck, looking sadly at the boy as he waved and was led away. When he was out of sight, she dropped her head onto Jonathan's shoulder, as depressed as any toddler ever had been.
"Squishy," she said, though the word came out as 'Squissy', as he awkwardly maneuvered to pick up his notes on the bench, "Wassa boyfrien'?"
Oh good lord. Aren't you a little young to… Jonathan groped for words, trying to figure out how to explain romantic adult human interaction in terms that a three year old could understand. "A boyfriend, Kitten, is a…friend who is a boy you love. More than your other friends who are boys."
She rocked back in his arms to look at him. "Do you have a boyfrien', Squishy?"
"Not that I am aware of." Jonathan tucked his papers away and strode away from the bench, careful not to drop his charge.
Kitten seemed to consider this. "Daniel says he's my boyfrien'."
They started out of the park, leaving the playground behind. "Does he?"
Kitten nodded adamently that yes, he did that very thing, then started shaking her head. "I will tell him no next time."
Good, Jonathan thought, as she flopped against his shoulder again. Techie had told him horror stories of what was to come: all the possible boyfriends and girlfriends lurking in her future teenage years were not something he was looking forward to. A stay of execution was most welcome. "You do that."
Kitten yawned and hugged his neck tighter, nodding sleepily against his jacket. "Squishy is my boyfrien'."
Well, she was sleeping now. He would disabuse her of that notion later.