Weeks went by. Harleen Quinzel began to change. She stopped partying, started dressing in drab, dowdy clothes and became humorless and gray. She turned herself into the most studious pupil any teacher could ask for.
Though she still attended his classes, Harley did not linger in Professor Crane's classroom anymore. She didn't try to get his attention. She didn't even look at him when he spoke, though she recorded his every word in her notebook.
On a late afternoon in April, four months after the last time they spoke to each other privately, Harley made the familiar trek across campus to the psychology building. She entered just in time to see another young woman leaving his office. It didn't even hurt.
When the girl was gone, Harley approached. "Professor Crane."
"Miss—" Harley winced as he said it. "—Quinzel."
Wasting no time, she pulled a paper from her messenger bag and thrust it at him. "I would like you to sign this. It's a letter of recommendation for an internship. I saved you the trouble of drafting one by doing it myself."
He took it from her and looked it over. "Arkham Asylum. Well, I was certainly not expecting this from you…"
There was a small victory in surprising him, but she didn't gloat. "I am serious about my work."
"I see that you are, now." He pulled a pen from his pocket and scrawled his name at the bottom of the paper. Then, he handed it back to her. "I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor."
"I don't need it."
"No, I don't suppose you do." For the first time in all the time she'd known him, one corner of his mouth turned up. It was not a smile, but it was close enough.
"Good afternoon, Professor."
When she was gone, Jonathan Crane retired to his office. He took down a binder, flipped it open and scanned one of the pages.
Once he found what he wanted, he took out his pen and added a notation at the bottom:
Harleen Quinzel, 4/11: Experiment results still inconclusive, but v. promising. Change in work ethic, shows signs of great ambition. May reach full potential after all.
Final Author's Notes: I put off posting this final chapter, even though I really wanted to finish the story up, because I had a hard time figuring out how to word my author's note, and also because I waffled for awhile over whether or not I was really finished. Weak, I know. Transference was one of those stories that just demanded to be written and now that the characters are under my skin, it's trying to demand a sequel or two. I'm not sure I have time to produce such a thing, but I'm definitely going to try when I get the opportunity. This Harley and this Crane must meet again.
For now, this story stands alone, fitting into regular comics continuity as neatly as I could manage. Thanks to each and every one of my reviewers and readers, you're all spiffy, and if you enjoyed this story, you may also like Of the Essence, Sack Cloth and Chicken Soup and Til it's Gone. If you liked my take on Jonathan Crane, you'll probably love the works of Twinings here on ff dot net, such as A Savage Pantsting, as well as the CATverse, which can be found at freewebs dot com slash catverse.
Thanks again so, SO much for being patient with me as I wrangled this story into submission, and thanks for reading!