Disclaimer: If I owned Batman, "The Dark Knight" movies, or "The Cape"… sorry, got lost in fantasy there for a bit.
When law and order was restored to Gotham City, Jonathan Crane expected people to target him. He figured it would only be a matter of time before the loved ones of those brought before him for "sentencing hearings" sought their revenge.
He had no idea that the people he had to watch out for were from Palm City.
Dr. Crane, a.k.a. the Scarecrow, woke in his Arkham Asylum cell one night to find that he had two visitors. He recognized the masked men after a moment, though only from the news. One of them was the Cape, so named because of the midnight spider silk wrap that served as his modus operandi. The Cape was basically Palm City's Batman, from what Jonathan gathered. (He would later reflect that the vigilante even rasped like the Bat used to.)
The other was Chess, a super villain who, rumor had it, wore cosmetic contact lenses with pupils shaped like chess pieces. This hadn't been confirmed as, generally, if you were close enough to verify the pupils' shape, you were never heard from again.
The appearance of the two in his cell surprised Crane for a number of reasons: One, being on opposite sides of the law, those two shouldn't be working together. Two, he was quite sure that Chess was supposed to be dead, and three, he couldn't for the life of him figure out what he might have done to piss them off.
They were definitely pissed off, though, that much was clear from what he could see of their faces. As much as he disliked relying on other people, he rather wished someone would come to his rescue. He doubted anyone would. The guards were incompetent and uncaring and the Bat Man was dead. What he wouldn't give for a canister of his fear toxin right about now…
"Jonathan Crane?" Chess asked, a sinister smile gracing his features.
"Look, I don't know what it is you want, but I haven't left Gotham, let alone set foot in Palm City, in—"
"But you've done business with people outside Gotham haven't you?" the Cape asked. As he spoke, he wrapped his cape around Scarecrow's throat and shoved the man against a wall.
"Here and there, yes," Crane choked out, "but I don't see how that—"
"You sold a toxin to a man called the Lich, ring any bells?" Chess demanded as he stood beside the Cape, clenching and unclenching his fists.
"Perhaps you know him as Conrad Chandler; psychotic bastard, unfortunate skin condition, an insistence that he's impervious to pain? But you can feel pain, can't you, Scarecrow?" the Cape asked.
"And you warned me about getting too rough with him before we got what we wanted," Chess muttered.
"Right; it's coming back to me. Guy wanted something that would turn people into zombies, was going to spray it across the city. Heard that plan got thwarted. What's the big deal?"
The Cape released Jonathan, but Chess quickly stepped in to keep him pinned against the wall.
"The big deal," Chess hissed, "is that my daughter was sprayed with your toxin."
"Well, that's unfortunate," Crane commented before Chess started squeezing his windpipe.
"We need him alive if he's going to create an antidote," the Cape reminded his temporary ally. The pressure on Crane's throat eased.
"I swear I didn't even know that you had a daughter!" Scarecrow insisted in indignation. How could he have possibly known that? Whoever she was, the girl apparently didn't run around in a mask. Was it his fault if neither of the costumed fools before him were able to keep an eye on Chess' brat?
"Too bad; do you know that since she was kidnapped, she's been having hallucinations? She painted her room white just so that the door in her imagination would blend in!"
Jonathan just barely refrained from rolling his eyes. As if he didn't spend his days locked in a white room.
"A door," he repeated. He would have liked to start analyzing what the door represented, but he was a bit preoccupied with getting the vigilante and the sociopath to allow him to live. (For similar reasons, he didn't stop to wonder why Chess spoke with a British accent when he'd supposedly been unmasked as an American.) It might not be his fault that the girl had lost her mind, but he wouldn't be able to convince them of that. Chess was infamous for his brutality; the Cape had gone toe-to-toe against Tarot assassins—and won.
He didn't want to think of what the two of them working together could accomplish.
"Can you fix it?" the Cape asked.
Jonathan mentally ran through the recipe of the toxin he'd sold to the Lich. Yes, if he had the supplies, he could whip up an antidote. Unlike the fear toxin used in the Narrows—and on himself, he thought bitterly—time was not of the essence. As soon as the antidote was administered, it would start to work. He told his assaulters as much.
"Then you'll give us a list of the supplies you need," Chess informed him. "We'll provide them."
"I can hardly create the antidote here."
"Tonight's your lucky night, Scarecrow. We're breaking you out of here," the Cape countered. "If it works, after she's cured, we're bringing you back here."
"Then what's my motivation to create the antidote?"
"Simple: If you don't, I will kill you," Chess replied. "Or was I not perfectly clear? My daughter is going insane because of you. I've killed people for less."
Jamie Fleming, a.k.a. Orwell, had only been trying to track down the missing Chandler heir. Conrad Chandler should have inherited the city's docks from his parents, but no one had known of his existence. If she found him, the city would have to give Chandler the property. If she found him, her father, Chess, would never get his hands on the port.
But she discovered too late that Chandler was the Lich. He'd poisoned her before she could call for help. When the Cape had saved her from her kidnapper, he thought her ordeal was over. He'd been wrong.
The Lich, after being interrogated by Chess, had admitted that the toxin was not his creation after all. He gave the other villain the name of the manufacturer, in the hope of being spared. Chess wasn't that forgiving.
No one had the right to mess with his Jamie.
The Cape, for once, had been on his side. Apparently he and Jamie were close friends. Pity she was too old to be told who she could and couldn't associate with.
Fortunately, the trip to Gotham was successful. Crane was quick to comply with their demands and in no time the completed antidote was transported to Jamie Fleming.
Finally, finally after all these months, Peter's daughter would recover her sanity.
He probably shouldn't jeopardize it by telling her that he and the Cape made a pretty good team.
Author's Note: Credit for the theory of why Orwell painted her room white goes to IronAmerica.
Enjoy? Confused? Want to give poor Jonathan a hug?
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