The night before was still somewhat of a blur for Crane.
Oh, sure, he remembered getting the signature from Robert Young and he remembered gassing the guy and torching his place, but after that it all got a little hazy. He'd stopped at what remained of a gas station near the harbor to call Max, and then what? Ah, yes. 'Then what' brought to where he was tonight, 'then what' had been hearing the police sirens, deciding it was time to get back in his car and go home, and nearly running into Harvey Dent.
Harvey Dent. Two-Face. His first night on the job, and he'd managed to stumble into one of the city's most well-known villains. And said villain had tried to kill him. Sort of. As he reminded himself, last night he was so tired, he could've run into Martha Stewart and it would have bled together into a flash of color and experience as most of last night had.
Now, however, he was rested and restless, and he was moving down the same pier he had a few nights before, looking for Dent again. Maybe it was masochistic, since he distinctly remembered there being a gun at his temple at some point last night, but it didn't matter, somehow. Not when the high of talking to someone that well-known - both as hero and villain - was a drug to him. And besides, if Dent wasn't around, he could always just scope out the docks for Max and the evening wouldn't be a total loss.
Lips twitching against the burlap of his mask, he squinted against the icy fingers of drizzle that fell from the sky, trying to make out anything in the haze that might be a person. Despite the rain and his lack of glasses impairing his vision, however, he caught something - a flicker of movement near one of the warehouses. Said flicker matched Dent's height and build, too, but that didn't mean he was about to take chances. And so, making a conscious effort - or at least more conscious than the one the night before had been - to be relatively quiet until he could get a better look, he moved in the direction of the figure.
And, according to the trenchcoat that was now ten feet away and back to him, it was Dent.
Two-Face's hand dipped slowly, cautiously into the pocket of his trenchcoat as he heard approaching footsteps. Whoever it was was at least trying to be quiet, but something - possibly their footwear, he guessed - kept them from being entirely silent. Instead of the gun at his side, his fingers curled around his coin, and he twirled it about in his fingers a moment, before slowly turning.
The rookie, he thought, one corner of his mouth tipping upwards slightly. Something about him wasn't exactly forgettable - though he couldn't decide if it was the coat covered in straitjacket buckles, or that ridiculous hardware-store reject of a mask. "So. It's you." He smirked. "We thought we'd see you again."
"You were right," Crane answered, simply, voice a gutteral, unholy growl.
And briefly following, he considered making some kind of excuse for his being here - maybe he could say he was on another errand for his employer - but he thought better of it quickly. Lying straight out to Two-Face didn't seem like a good idea from any perspective, and besides, Dent hadn't asked what he was doing there. Instead he'd simply acknowledged his presence, and for the time being, Crane was fine with that - if the other man really wanted to know why he was there, he could simply ask.
"So we were. ... What we don't quite know, however, is why."
Ah, the dreaded question. Shrugging ever so slightly, he answered honestly, "Would you be annoyed or flattered if I said I came to see you?"
Amusement crept into both eyes. "Would you believe a bit of both?"
The look in Crane's eyes mirrored Harvey's, though a bit wildly, as if the emotion were new and untested. And considerng how well Crane restrained himself when he was not out and about, it very well might have been. "I would."
"Well, then." Harvey spread his hands amiably, with a nod of his head that was almost a bow. "Why give us the honor?"
BifurcatedOne: Slowly, he began walking away from the warehouse he'd leant against, down towards the long stretch that ran through the main aisle of warehouses.
There was thoughtful silence here, the younger of the two men content to walk beside his elder, and then, carefully yet ever honest, Crane answered. "Think of it as new money introuducing itself to new money." The metaphor was a business one, but quite frankly, it was the only one he could come up with - he'd been spending too much time around business men lately, he decided.
A brief, slightly harsh chuckle slid from Two-Face's throat. "So, then, you see this as a business. ... We suppose you're right. We suppose it is a very serious business, indeed."
"Not unlike any other business, really," he mused, strolling down toward the corner, his hand sliding into his pocket again. "There are certain people to know, and certain people to avoid. You made the lucky decision as far as who to know."
Crane shrugged by way of agreement, the tails of his coat sloshing through a puddle - created where the wood of the dock has warped - as he followed Harvey. He thought nothing of it, however, instead answering with, "I'd be glad I picked the right person to introduce myself to, but I didn't have a choice in the matter."
A small grim smile, one lost completely under the mask. "It was luck that I ran into you last night."
"Luck! Exactly!" Two-Face crowed, beaming. "That's precisely what it boils down to. Lady Luck." Pulling the coin from his coat, he held it up under the sputtering streetlight for his visitor to see. "The random toss. She decides everything. Right down to ... just how much we're going to tell you, and how much we're going to leave you to fend for yourself." Of course, Harvey reminded himself, there's still the possibility we could just up and shoot the poor bastard, but far be it for us to give away all our surprises.
"I think I'd like that."
And really, letting Lady Luck decide whether or not Harvey was going to help him seemed favorable enough. After all, he had a fifty-fifty chance. And it was a lot better than letting Lady Luck decide whether or not Harvey put a bullet through his temple, as he probably would have - or was it had - last night.
Pity Crane couldn't read minds.
The coin arced up through the grey air with an audible ching before Harvey snatched it out of the air, almost disdainfully, before smacking it down on the back of his other palm. And in that instant, the disdain disappeared, turning into something almost gentle, reverent. "Now, wait, wait," he whispered. "... it's all in the moment."
And so, silently, the doctor waited. This was, after all, no time to rush a psychopath.
Slowly, carefully, Harvey lifted his hand. The unblemished side of the coin winked up at them. "Ah! Well. That settles things. Fate smiles on you yet again, m'boy." So saying, he tucked the coin back into place and clapped the gangly youth on the shoulder before leading the way down the main fairway of the pier. "Let's take a walk."
A smile writing itself across his face, he followed Harvey wordlessly amused. For someone who'd never been a believer in fate or God or Lady Luck or whoever, they'd certainlly had a finger on the pulse of his life lately. From getting the paper signed by Young to Dent offering to educate him in a profession it looked like he'd be taking up out of neccessity, luck had been kind. And maybe he owed Harvey's Lady Luck a silent thanks.
"So, the first thing you've got to do is make a name for yourself," Two-Face proclaimed after a moment, looking him up and down. "Though in that getup we can't even begin to imagine what you'd call yourself."
A snort of a laugh rolled out of Crane, undistorted by the effects of the voice-changing mechanism. "I believe they call me Scarecrow."
Funny, last night, he'd been adverse to the pronouncement, but now? It had a sort of charm to it. And really, it made sense when one considered the fashion statement presented by his mask and gloves.
"They." Harvey chuckled. "So you've met Them already. And what, exactly, did you do to get Their attention, may we ask?"
"Ah, the Batman." He nodded, knowingly. "I'm afraid I haven't had the displeasure of meeting him face to face, but I left my calling card for him last night at the home of one of Gotham's more prominent business men."
Briefly, it occurred to him how insane this was, how insane he sounded. He was talking like he'd meant to torch Young's place, and while it had been a premeditated act, it had been one of sleep-deprivation. Destroy the evidence in case someone made the same connection he had, make it look like an accident so Shreck threw him a bigger bone - it hadn't truly been to attact anyone's attention. Yet, he supposed in the long run it would or maybe it already had, and with that thought, he brushed off the notion of how nuts this all seemed.
As he had told Harvey earlier, this was business, nothing more. And if he happened to attract the attention of the Batman? Well ... he'd cross that bridge if and when he came to it.
"Oh, really," he replied, almost gently, quietly intrigued. For someone like him to get in on one of Gotham's bigger fish on his first foray said something of his potential - that was something he would have known even before, as District Attorney. "And what, pray tell, did you do to him?"
"Beyond burn his home to the ground?" There was a shrug here, something coldly gleeful creeping into unobscured eyes. "I drove him insane."
"Ha," Two-Face crowed, grinning. "That doesn't take much in this town. That was it?"
And immediately, the proud look he wore took a nose-dive into the depths of dissappointment. "It was more involved than you'd think," he answered, finally.
"Hm. Well, we suppose we can give you that," Harvey conceded. "We could ask how, but then again, a man's ways of conducting business tend to be just that - his business." So saying, he reached into one of the inner pockets of his trenchcoat, allowing Crane a brief glimpse of the bisected suit beneath before withdrawing an unmarked glass bottle, filled with something clear. Judging by the way he drank from it, however - long, and swift - it was hardly water.
And immediately, behind the mask, Crane arched his eyebrows. "Speaking of business," he started, trying to impress the idea that he didn't mean to offend into his voice, despite the voice-changer. "Are you sure you should be drinking?"
"We can't get much worse off than we were," Two-Face snorted, gesturing vaguely with the bottle.
The good doctor nodded knowingly. "Ah, yes. The Batman's attempt on your life."
And here, instead of sneering, Harvey merely raised his eyebrows placidly, leading the way over a small footbridge between two piers. "Yes, the Bat." He nodded his head from side to side, almost absently. "We went ... the way of the water, that night. Somewhere, that way." He gestured indifferently up the harbor.
"And yet, thankfully, you survived."
He snorted. "In some ways. In other ways, much worse for wear."
"Hence why you're drinking on the job," he concluded, a small, self-amused smile curling his lips. "Though, I'd think being alive is better than being dead."
"We'd have to agree. Though, we can think of a few ways life could certainly be better."
"Such as having the Bat dead."
Before Crane could even blink, Two-Face pulled one of his .45s from his coat and spun, firing off a pair of shots blindly into the shadows of the pier - almost as though he were merely knocking wood or throwing salt over his shoulder, though his eyes were wild. The moment the gun returned to his jacket, it was as though the outburst had never even crossed his mind. Smoothing a hand over his lapel, he shrugged minutely. "Yes, something like that."
Without thinking about what he was saying and to who - probably due to the outburst - he managed, "Well, if we're lucky, one of us will take him down eventually."
Here, Two-Face let loose a sudden, almost wild peal of laughter, throwing his head back and swatting at the air. "Luck," he said at last, between chuckles. "A boy after our own heart. Of course it's about luck .... it's all about luck." His free hand - the one not holding the bottle - dipped into his pocket and drew out the false coin, holding it up before flipping it between his fingers.
Pleased somehow by the reaction, Crane's smile returned to where it had been a moment before. "And considering that you're still alive and well? I think your luck just may be changing."
"That's not up to us," Harvey continued, his voice quiet, almost soft and still in the night air. "We are all at the whim ... of Lady Luck." He twisted the coin around his fingers with a magician's dexterity. "Her caprice .... our life, our death. Our fortune, our fall. She can raise a man up ... she can tear him down. Joy. Sorrow. Pain. Pleasure. Ignorance..." His steps slowed, as he led them in front of one of the larger warehouses, out on the far end of the pier. "Or knowledge."
And as they reached the warehouse, Crane said nothing for a long moment, eyes flickering back and forth between criminal and storage space. It was apparent that Harvey was letting his beloved Lady Luck shine on him again, but was wasn't apparent was what knowledge he was trying to convey. After all, the warehouse - and whatever happened to be inside - could belong to anyone.
"And who, exactly, does this particular piece of knowledge belong to?" he asked finally, taking another look at the warehouse, this one long and critical.
The coin found its way onto Harvey's thumb. A soft, sharp sound, and then it arced into the air for the second time that evening, glittering in the lamplight before Harvey snatched it from the air and placed it on the back of his hand once more. Casually, he glanced down before returning the coin to his pocket. "Why don't we let you take a guess." So saying, he reached for the electronic lock on the side of the building and keyed in a code - how he'd obtained it, Crane was hardly willing to consider - before kneeling down. With a grunt, he pushed the warehouse door upwards, letting what little street-light there was illuminate its contents.
Inside, stacked neatly from the floor to damn nearly the ceiling, was money. More money than Crane had probably seen in his entire life - despite the fact that he'd been born into priveledge - and he had no doubts that every last bill was dirty somehow. After all, if it was clean money, why keep it in a warehouse and not in a bank?
There was no conceivable reason, and no conceivable suspects but one of the mob bosses of Gotham. And since Maroni and Grissom had long since met their ends, it left him with only one name in mind.
"Mm. I'd say ... Carmine Falcone."
"You'd be right," the man who'd been Harvey Dent said, quietly. "He doesn't know we're here, but we know this stinking pier better than he ever will. This is our ground. And whatever he does on it, we see. Whoever that employer of yours is .... we'd be willing to bet a hell of a lot more than fifty-fifty that he's got some sort of grief with Falcone. Everyone in Gotham does. So. Consider us your library. We've got the books. What you do with 'em once you take 'em out is your business."
"I appreciate that," Crane answered, appreciation creeping into his tone despite his mask.
And almost immediately, it occured to him that Harvey had been good to him in the last couple of nights. First, the guy had refrained from killing him, and now he was giving him dirt which he could bring back to Shreck. It was like winning the lottery somehow ... and he felt almost guilty for being a taker rather than a giver. But what did he possibly have to offer Harvey in return? Nothing was coming to mind, and it was irritating.
Two-Face's tone changed, quicker than the arrival of a freak thunderstorm. "We hope you don't think we're just giving this to you."
The doctor shook his head. "Not at all. You've been a gracious host thus far," he agreed, "and I'd like to give something back." ... but ...
And suddenly, it hit him like a ton of bricks.
When Harvey had been running his little crime spree a month or so ago, he'd teamed up with the Riddler - Edward Nygma. And Nygma was currently in Arkham. And Harleen was treating Nygma, and was getting him ready for the review board in a couple of days. And as one of the doctors that had been working on Nygma - albeit briefly - he'd be on the board. Him and Meridian and Burton ...
"What if I said I could spring your partner from Arkham?"
The newcomer's proposal stopped Two-Face mid-stride, foot hovering above the plank that separated Falcone's pier from his own. He kept his voice low, only mildly interested. "Edward?" Inwardly, of course, his mind was racing. If this kid could spring Ed ... well. There'd be no stopping them - for real, this time.
Crane merely nodded in response.
"We'd need proof."
Harvey considered, taking another pull from the bottle before reaching up with his good hand to smooth back his hair. "Something that ... confers to us the extent of your influence within the hallowed walls of Amadeus Arkham's little sanctum."
Without realizing it, near-shock crept into the younger man's eyes. "What makes you think I have connections with Arkham?"
"You said you made a guy nuts. You talk like a rookie ... but yet you talk about people like Edward, and Carmine Falcone, as though you'd been around us for years." He smirked. "Not to mention that you wouldn't have asked how we knew, if you didn't."
Again, Crane nodded wordlessly. As Harvey had pointed out, he'd made a mistake in asking - anyone else, he decided would have just threatened to break in and break out - but somehow that was ok. He wasn't sure how, exactly, but it was. After all, Harvey only knew that he had connections to Arkham, not who he was exactly. So he hadn't really lost anything.
Taking a slow, deep breath, he was silent for a minute more before finally asking, "What kind of proof would you want?"
He considered this for a long moment, leading Crane back down the pier in the direction from whence they'd come, polishing off the last of the bottle nonchalantly, his steps long and smooth, despite - or because of - the liquor. Tossing the bottle aside, he sighed, decisively. "Edward's records."
"I can do that," he answered. "And when I have them?"
"Don't bring them here. We can't keep meeting in the same place. Bats have flight patterns." Two-Face frowned. "Meet us out behind City Hall. Tomorrow night. 2 AM."
There was a second's pause as he tried to determine whether or not it could be done before then. And once the doctor had decided he could, he nodded. "Alright."
"Sounds like a deal, then." Two-Face smirked, holding out his hand.
Taking Harvey's hand in his own, Crane shook it briefly but firmly, and inwardly, he couldn't help but be amused at himself. This was the second time in less than two weeks that he had made a deal with the devil, and all for what? To further his own projects. It was amusing.
And speaking of his own projects, as his hand dropped away from Two-Face's, something unexpected but not unwelcome occured to him. "Before we part company, there's one more thing I should tell you."
"Only one?" Two-Face asked, amusement shining in his eyes.
"Unfortunately," he answered, his expression mirroring Dent's in a slightly more dangerous way, "but you'll like this."
He paused here, both for effect and so that Harvey would realize that what he meant by you'll like this was really something more like watch your back. He had, after all, seen enough of Nygma's e-mail conversation to know that Harvey wouldn't technically like what he had to say.
"Jack Napier is still alive."
Having come full circle around the pier to the point where they'd started, Harvey turned slowly to lean once more against his warehouse's wall. Part of this was a gesture of faith - not being able to see which way the Scarecrow went as he departed was an unspoken promise not to follow him. However, it was also a gesture of camoflauge, to mask the flash of emotion that widened his good eye, even if for a brief second. If this Scarecrow was really from Arkham, he could probably read even the smallest facial tic, no matter how disfigured the face.
Two-Face stood still for a long while, until he was certain the Scarecrow had taken his leave. Carefully, he took the coin from his pocket once more and simply held it flat in his palm, gazing down at Lady Luck pensively.
"Jack Napier ..."