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!
Crane struggles to keep his eyes open as he sits in his office at Arkham Asylum, poring over his notes. He stifles a yawn as he flips through the files, searching for the one belonging to his newest patient; he has a session with him in a few minutes, and he wants to get a feel for the patient before their meeting.
As he skims through the file, certain words jump out at him. Violent. Murdered. Life sentence.
He closes the file and sighs.
He feels no particular sense of revulsion towards his patients; he is unaffected by their crimes, indifferent to their violence. He feels no more disgust for the inmates of the asylum than he does for his coworkers, or his neighbors, or a person he may see on the street. Their reasons for entering the institution mean nothing to him, just as they mean nothing to him.
He simply does not care.
In fact, he find them, and his position, quite boring.
Every Monday through Friday, from nine AM to five PM, he has hourly sessions with his patients. He sits in the interview room as he pretends to listen, pretends to care, as the inmates sit and cry, or scream, or moan, or curse. He then prescribes a cocktail of medications designed to sedate the patient and assure their complacency before giving them a false smile and bidding them goodbye. Until the next day, of course, when the cycle will repeat all over again.
His career in psychology is motivated by a drive to understand the human mind; its malfunctions, its inner workings, its complexities and its design. Only by understanding the mind can he learn how to control it, to shape it and to mold it into something great, something better, something perfect. He has no desire to help his patients; his interest in psychology is purely selfish and for his own gain.
He had thought a position at Gotham's home for the criminally insane would be the most opportune destination for his work; so many fragile minds under one roof, vulnerable and ripe for his picking.
To say he was disappointed would be an incredible understatement.
The inmates proved to be poor subjects for his research and studies; their various disorders and imbalances made subtle manipulation near impossible. Even with the help of mind-altering chemicals, the patients were unresponsive to his efforts; if anything, they were even less responsive than before.
All of his studying, all of his work, all of his timefor nothing.
Working at the asylum is boring, a slow tortureeveryday he is forced to perform these mundane duties, to lower himself for the sake of patients he could care less about, to surround himself with colleagues nowhere near his level of intelligence.
His greatness is wasted here; he can feel his mind atrophying, his genius fading.
Crane glances at his watch and rises from his chair; time for his appointment. He wraps his thin fingers around the handle of his attache briefcase and walks out of his office, resigned to his fate of mundacity.
"How are you feeling today, Mr. Thompson?"
The patient is silent, staring at Crane from across the table with a leering grin, exposing yellow, wide teeth. Thompson shifts in his seat, seemingly unaffected by the straight jacket encompassing his body.
Crane struggles to hide his annoyance. He couldn't care less rather or not this patient receives help, and his facade of concern is difficult to maintain when he's frustrated.
He takes a deep breath, composing himself. "Mr. Thompson, I want to help you. But I can't if you don't talk to me."
Thompson says nothing and continues to stare at Crane, his mocking grin seemingly frozen on his face.
Crane clears his throat and opens Thompson's file, retrieving a thin pamphlet.
"Mr. Thompson, when you filled out this questionnaire, you answered "no" to question number--"
He feels a sudden burst of wetness on his face as the sound of the patient laughing feels the small room. He reaches up and feels his wet cheek; saliva. Thompson had spat on him.
Rage fills Crane. How dare this scum, this peon, this worm spit on him. This man is nothing compared to him; he is insignificant, worth no more than an ant or a termite, and he dares spit on him? He should be kissing his feet, cowering in front of him, begging for his mercy.
Thompson continues to laugh as Crane angrily wipes at his face with his sleeve, his disgust apparent. He rises from his seat, grabbing his briefcase.
"I'll let the guard know we're done," he mutters, his eyes on the floor. He doesn't look at the patient. He doesn't want to see the look of victory on his face.
He exits the room, walking quickly past the security guard standing outside the door. "You done, Dr. Crane?" the guard calls after him in a deep voice, confused. Crane says nothing and continues walking down the hall, his eyes never leaving the floor.
When he reaches his office he locks the door behind him and collapses into his desk chair, cupping his face in his hands. Disgust, rage, and shame surge through his body, draining him. He had wanted so badly to hurt that man, to make him pay, to punish him. Instead, he had retreated in anger, giving the patient exactly what he had wanted: a reaction.
He has never felt so weak before.
He hates the asylum and everyone in it. He hates his job, he hates his coworkers, he hates his patients; he hates his life. Everyone treats him as if he were powerless, worthless, nothing. As if he were just another keg in the machine.
He is tired of it. He is too great, too magnificent to settle for such mediocrity.
But that's exactly what he's going to have to do.
He lets out a defeated, ragged sigh, and prepares for his next appointment.