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.

Chapter 7

Crane glances at his watch impatiently, his brow furrowed in displeasure. Teagan should have been arrived back two hours ago, and yet there has been no sign of her; every few minutes he thinks that he hears the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs or the rattle of a key in the front door's padlock, and his heart skips a beat before disappointment sets in and he realizes that the sounds were a combination of wishful thinking and a creaking, decaying building.

"Are you worried about your pretty girl, Jonathan?" Ivy's voice coos in his ear, walking her fingers across his shoulders and down his chest to fumble at his tie. He smacks her hand away, fixing her with an angry glare that she returns with a derisive laugh. Her flirtations are done out of mockery rather than genuine attraction—he imagines that she likely finds him as repulsive as he finds her—and because she knows that human contact (with Teagan being the exception) both frightens and disgusts him.

"Stop that," Crane says sharply. "I've asked you repeatedly to—"

"To what, Jonathan?" Ivy turns her bottom lip downwards into an exaggerated pout, batting her thick eyelashes with phony innocence. "Am I disturbing you?"

Crane says nothing, instead turning his gaze back to his research and his watch.

A few silent moments pass before she's back at his ear. "Do you want me to go look for her? I certainly don't mind. We might even get a chance to have a little bit of girl talk, you know, compare stories—"

He rises from his chair. "I'll do it," he says, reaching for his coat. "I don't want you anywhere near her without me around."

"And why is that? Are you afraid of what I might say? Don't worry, I can keep a secret." Ivy gives him a predatory wink that makes his stomach turn with revulsion and anxiety.

She watches him as he buttons his coat and wraps a scarf around his neck, appraising his every movement. "Why don't you like me, Jonathan?" Ivy asks coyly, her every word drenched in venom. "Would you prefer I act like a meek little mouse, scared of my own shadow and too afraid to open my mouth?" She smirks. "That appears to be your type."

Crane turns to her, his eyes narrowed in anger. "I would be careful if I were you, Miss Isley. How quickly you forget that even with all your...talents, you have your limitations. You aren't nearly as powerful as you think you are."

Ivy scoffs. "Oh really?"

"Indeed. I have gifts of my own, and unless you want to find yourself on the receiving end of a specially-crafted cocktail of fear toxin and weed killer, I would suggest that you acquaint yourself with boundaries and remember that your role is to assist me in my plan and nothing more. Silence is a virtue, Miss Isley, and if I find out that you've been filling my assistant's head with fallacies and tales, the upcoming winter will be the least of your plant's concerns."

And with that Crane slammed the door behind him so hard that the deteriorating frame shook and small pieces of sheetrock floated down from the ceiling, drifting across the room like snowflakes before landing in a fuming Ivy's thick red hair.

The last time Teagan had been at Arkham Asylum, it was under the guise of an assistant during the asylum's Halloween charity ball. She could still vividly recall the symphony of the patrons' screams as fear toxin flooded the room, and the smell of pumpkin in the air when she awoke from her own nightmare in a pile of broken Jack O' Lanterns, her hair matted with clots of ripe pumpkin pulp. Her previous endeavors at the asylum were as an intern during her empty, pre-enlighted days as a Gotham University student; she could not help but smile when remembering her excitement and her anxiety when she first learned that she had been chosen for Arkham's prestigious internship program, and that she would be working under the highly-regarded Dr. Crane, whose published works regarding Jungian archetypes she often poured over in admiration. Little did she know what lay ahead for her inside those asylum walls...

But this trip to Arkham was under very different circumstances, and she was now viewing the asylum from a completely different perspective: as a patient.

Dr. Leland still had the same sickeningly-sweet, nauseating smile as ever—the only difference was this time there was an edge of pity and sadness. Teagan could not help but wonder if Leland still had nightmares about the ill-fated Halloween ball; she hoped that she did.

"Hello, Teagan," Dr. Joan Leland says. She is trying to be warm, but is unable to keep the distress out of her voice; when she looks at Teagan, she sees wasted potential, wasted youth, wasted life. She remembers the timid but bright girl preparing for her future, and despite her professional resolve she blinks back tears.

Teagan chews on the inside of her cheek in silence, disgusted by Leland's misguided emotion and short-sighted perception. Typical behavior for the unenlightened.

"I want to help you, Teagan," Leland says, reaching forward to place a consoling hand atop Teagan's. Teagan jumps backwards instinctively, her handcuffs rattling, and the guard clasps a firm hand onto her shoulder. "No sudden movements, sweetheart," he says in an aggressive, commanding tone, and she shrugs him off, repelled by the pet name and his touch.

"It's alright, it's alright," Leland reassures the guard. "She didn't mean anything aggressive, did you, Teagan?"

Teagan remains silent, her gaze planted firmly on her Arkham-issued Velcro sneakers and her jaw set in defiance.

"I'll tell you what, Teagan," Leland says quietly. "You don't have to talk until you're ready. I can't imagine what you've gone through." Her voice wavers for a brief moment, and she sighs heavily before continuing. "But when you are ready, just let a guard know and I'll talk to you immediately. It doesn't even matter what time it is. Okay?"

Knowing that she will not receive a response, Leland rises from her seat and nods toward the guard to signal the end of their meeting before giving Teagan a final, sad glance and exiting the room.

"On your feet, princess," the guard says gruffly, lifting Teagan up by one of her arms. She winces beneath his harsh grip, causing him to sneer. "Aw, am I too rough for you? This ain't the Iceberg Lounge, sweetie, you ain't getting no star treatment just 'cause your little boyfriend runs around with a mask. The sooner you figure that out, the better."

She remains silent, her expression stony and blank as they travel down the hallway she had walked freely so many times in the past before arriving at the solitary confinement block, where the guard unceremoniously pushes her into a cell and slams the door.

She waits until the sound of his footsteps have faded away into silence, and only then does she allow herself to cry.