I do not own Jonathan Crane (aka The Scarecrow) or Jervis Tetch (aka The Mad Hatter). They belong to DC Comics. Quotes belong to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. This was written purely for fun. I am going to apologize in advance if I offend anyone. It is not intentional.
The streets of Old Gotham were completely dead, its inhabitants hiding in sleep until the break of dawn. The windows of all the buildings that lined the streets were dark; one would assume everyone was in bed, given the hour.
Assumptions of the common man were meaningless in this part of town. The common man was oblivious to the kind of lives people lived down in this forsaken area of Gotham. The norms of society were lost upon crossing over into Old Gotham; decent folks knew better than to come through here at night, let alone live here. People are afraid of what they don't understand. It was fear that drove them away.
It was the fear that pulled the Scarecrow in.
Jonathan Crane was sitting in an abandoned pharmacy, reading yesterday's newspaper. He found himself unable to fully concentrate on the newsprint. He was in a foul mood, as he had been for the past two days. He needed to be working on his toxins, not reading about things he could do if he had his toxins ready if he had the proper supplies.
With an irritated exhale, he tossed the paper to the littered floor to collect with other newspapers. He sat back in his chair and scowled at the wall across the room. His long fingers drummed across the arm cushions for a solid minute as he sat in silence, lost in his thoughts.
A series of rings shattered the silence and his thoughts. Jonathan sat up in his chair and eyed the contraption on his desk. His eyes narrowed and he glanced at the clock on the wall. It was far too late for any advertisers to be calling, and only one other person had this phone number
As another series of rings began, anger surged through him. He jumped up from his chair and snatched up the telephone.
"Jervis, this had better be good," Crane growled immediately into the phone.
A loud thunk sounded over the phone, making Jonathan pull the earpiece away for a moment. He glared at the phone before he drew a breath and geared himself up to interrupt the Englishman. When he returned the phone to his ear, however, he was met with silence. His tirade caught in his throat and he paused. That was odd; he had expected Jervis to respond immediately. Jonathan felt his brow furrow slightly and he listened to anything that could be heard over the phone. All he could hear was distant, frantic breathing.
"Jervis?" he asked.
He was answered by the sound of the phone being shifted along a surface. Over the crackles, he heard his name, voiced by a terrified Jervis Tetch. "Jervis, what's wrong?" Jonathan asked, sounding more concerned than he wished to. He heard what sounded like a car horn in the background. "Where are you?"
There was a suddenly silence as the phone became still. A length of time passed before Jonathan heard a short inhale. "I don't know," Jervis replied in a shaky voice.
Another length of silence passed. "
you don't know?" Jonathan repeated.
"No," Jervis answered, clearly sounding scared.
A number of different situations rapidly went through Jonathan's head. He moved the phone to his other ear. "Are you with anyone?" he asked after a pause.
"No," was the quiet response.
Jonathan kept the string of profanities to himself. "Okay," he began, feeling himself switch over into therapist-mode, "what happened?"
He cursed himself for not realizing this sooner. Jervis had started to become withdrawn about a week ago. They had planned a robbery at a scientific facility for supplies, but Jervis didn't show up, nor did he call. That was two days ago. He hadn't actually talked to or seen the Mad Hatter in the past week, which never happened when they were both out of Arkham. He should have seen it sooner: Jervis was having a psychotic episode.
"Jervis," Crane repeated when no response came from the Englishman, "what happened?" Jonathan leaned back on his desk. "Where are you?"
"I told you, I don't know where I am," Jervis said with somewhat of a bite to his words.
"No, are you in a phone booth, a building, what?" Jonathan clarified deliberately, hiding his irritation.
oh," Jervis mumbled, sounding apologetic. "I'm in a motel, I think."
Jonathan perked up as an idea struck him. "Okay, Jervis, do this for me. There should be some sort of brochure on a table or nightstand or something with the name of the city you are in on it. Can you find it?"
"No," Jervis immediately blurted out.
"Why not?" Jonathan huffed.
Crane heard the phone crackle a little, signifying that Jervis was moving. "Because it's in front of the looking glass," Jervis whispered into the receiver.
A beat passed before Jonathan raised a hand to massage his temple. This wasn't going to be simple in the least. "The looking glass?" he repeated skeptically.
"Yes, 'and certainly the glass was beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist'," Jervis recited in a hushed voice.
'Great,' Jonathan thought to himself, 'he's delusional and hallucinating.' He paused. 'Well, more delusional than normal
' He cleared his throat. "Jervis, I can assure you that nothing will happen. You need to find out where you are. The mirror won't suck you into a Looking-Glass world."
"It won't, Jervis."
"How can you be so sure? Have you ever been through the looking glass?" Jervis asked. He took Jonathan's silence as a no. "Because I have, and 'it's rather hard to understand!'"
'I bet.' "Jervis, listen to me. You have to find out where you are. Now, you can brave the mirror and grab the brochure, or you can leave the safety of your room and ask someone. Take your pick."
They were both silent, Jonathan waiting for a decision that Jervis was trying to make.
Finally, Jervis spoke up. "You promise you won't hang up?"
Jonathan rolled his eyes. "I promise."
okay." The crackles returned as Jervis put down the phone. Jonathan kept the phone pressed against his ear, straining to hear what was going on. He didn't hear a door open, so he guessed that Jervis was trying to get the brochure without seeing his reflection. Jonathan's fingers tapped upon the desk surface as he waited. In the background, he could hear Jervis talking to himself; he could only assume he was speaking in fragmented Lewis Carroll quotes.
After a minute or two, the crackles returned. "Hammond," Jervis finally answered.
"Hammond?" Jonathan repeated. "What state are you in?"
" There was a shuffling of papers. The rustling suddenly stopped and there was a heavy silence on the other line. "
Jonathan felt his jaw go slack as he was struck speechless for several moments. "Minnesota? What the hell are you doing in Minnesota?"
"I was ch-" The Mad Hatter abruptly stopped talking and exhaled worriedly.
Another beat passed before Jonathan let out a sigh. He rubbed his eyes. "You were chasing the White Rabbit?"
"I was chasing something," Jervis piped up in his own defense. "I saw him in the newspaper and
" He trailed off, sounding unsure of himself. He sighed. "Jonathan, I was so sure I saw him. I don't know what's going on. I got off the train and"
"Train?" Jonathan repeated. "How did you not get picked up by the police at the train station?"
"I'm not wearing my costume," Jervis said flatly.
'Well, that's a relief,' Jonathan thought to himself. "So, you took a train to Hammond because you were chasing something?" he asked, trying to understand the situation.
"Well, I took a bus to here," Jervis corrected him, "but I did take a train out of Gotham."
"Just how long were you traveling before you called me?"
Another heavy silence filled the air. Jonathan sighed and let the question go unanswered. "Okay," he began, rubbing his temple, "what's the name of the motel?"
why?" the Englishman asked quietly.
"Well, I need to know what building I'm looking for," Jonathan said as if the answer were clear as day.
"Wait, what? Jonathan, no-"
"You shouldn't be traveling in your condition," Jonathan interrupted him. "Under different circumstances, I'd tell you to just come back the way you came, but you shouldn't be traveling alone at all. So, I repeat myself, what is the name of the motel?"
Jervis remained quiet for a good, long moment. Finally, he relented and gave up the information.
The rest of the call was brief. Jonathan repeatedly told the Englishman to remain where he was, no matter what. He should under no circumstances leave the motel. Jonathan wasn't even sure if he'd try to leave the room, but he needed to be certain that Jervis wouldn't start traveling again while he was on the train.
Jonathan hung up the phone and stood in silence for several moments, going over what had just happened in his head. He still didn't understand the full situation, but he didn't think he ever would. It only made sense in Jervis's mind, and even then, he was starting to question it. It was in that moment of lucidity that he had decided to call him. Had he not started to realize something was wrong, who knew where he could have ended up. He could only hope that Jervis stayed lucid long enough for Jonathan to make the trip, grab Jervis, and come back to Gotham.
His mind halted. Had he really just told Jervis that he was going to cross state lines to pick him up? What possessed him to do that?
Jonathan shook his head and went to go shut off the light. He needed to try to get some sleep before he began his travels, bright and early in the morning.