It started with a look.
It was that look that Jonathan only seemed to get when he looked at Jervis, (and on occasion the Joker) when he found he did not fully understand what he saw. It was usually the same routine after that look made its appearance, a series of questions that Jervis would do his best to answer, another stare, a scribble in a small secondhand notebook and a frown. Then the pair would return to whatever it was that they were doing before, interrogation mostly forgotten. Usually it would be several weeks to a several months before that look would make itself known once more, and the entire process would be repeated.
Or at least that was how it usually went.
Jonathan had regarded him with 'the look', but instead of the standard question-and-answer, Jervis now found himself in his current predicament.
He was lying on his back, arm crossed comfortably across his stomach, with Crane regarding him from a nearby chair. It would seem the former psychologist's inner doctor had immerged and was demanding a diagnosis, a reason to Jervis's…unique state of mind.
"Do you understand, Jervis?"
A sigh. Jonathan took a moment to adjust his glasses, two pieces of glass held together by a thin strip of wire that he only seemed to need when he was himself and not…the other one.
"I said we are going to conduct a little test. I'm going to list some names, and you are going to tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Understand?"
"Oh…alright." Begin at the beginning and go till you come to the end.
"The Mad Hatter"
"The March Hare" Jonathan sniffed and wrote something down.
"The eldest sister of Alice of course!" A scribble.
"The Cheshire Cat"
"Your heisitating again."
"If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does!"
"Jervis I think that perhaps-"
"I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?"
His voice was panicked, the words were coming faster than he could control them, blurting from his mouth like a sermon from a preacher. Jonathan looked at him curiously, the pale orbs burning with newfound knowledge.
"Do you feel confused, Jervis? Upset? Angry?"
"Yes, that's it! It's always tea time." Jervis sighed with relief, surely now he would understand, right?
Jervis frowned at the answer or lack of perhaps, unsure why doctors always seemed to 'Mhm' when something was most important and required the actual use of words.
"Speak English. I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!" he huffed. Crane paused in his scribbling to look up at Jervis, the cool eyes never wavering from his face. It was unnerving how good he was at that stare. Jervis suppressed a shiver and with a frown Crane returned to the tiny notebook. Sometimes Jervis wondered how many pages were spent documenting the actions of their fellow rouges, unseen diagnoses and treatments hidden away from all eyes save his long eared friend.
"Do you think I've gone round the bend?" The words came out desperate, and for once Jervis awaited for the answer unsure. All the doctors he had gone through had always been so sure, mad, not mad, paranoid, misunderstood…there was a list a mile long in his file right now, collecting dust. If anyone knew the real answer it would be Jonathan, surely!
Crane looked up from his notebook, clamping it shut and sliding it into his breast pocket. He slipped the glasses from his nose and folded them gently before placing them alongside his notebook, hidden safely away in the comfort of his ragged shirt. His eyes returned to Jervis with an unfound sadness, the corners of his mouth turned down gently.
"Hmm? Marchie?" For once Jonathan did not try to correct the Hatters pet name, and instead with a small smile approached him carefully. What he said next surprised Jervis even more than it surprised Jonathan, yet it was perhaps the only answer that Jervis had ever been given that was so right.
"I'm afraid so. You're mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are."
Jervis felt the little word slip from his mouth in surprise, and then a blissful relief suppressed anymore noise he might have made. Perhaps it was not so bad to be mad anyway.
"We're all mad here." He whispered with a smile.
Alice in Wonderland quotes=Lewis Carroll