Meeting The Insane
Bruce leaned back on the leather seats and gazed out his windows into the dark, and almost dingy streets that surrounded the asylum. He hated this area, for remembering every villain he brought to that place is not a good memory at all. No matter how hard he tries, it seems that none of those fiends wants to be cured. He was also angry that Joker had gotten away, but he had no choice but to save that girl, even though she stated she did not want to be rescued. It wasn't a huge thought or anything big, but Bruce wonders a little why Joker would want to get a hold of a gloomy girl like that.
"Master Bruce, we are nearly there," announced Alfred in that monotone, calm voice of his. Bruce saw Arkham Asylum in the distance, but it wasn't that far out at all. They would be another few minutes before they reached the place. "What did Detective Bennett say exactly over the telephone?"
"It's about the girl who was attacked by Joker," replied Bruce. "Ethan wants to discuss about her; whether she can stay with me until they bring Joker back to Arkham." He sighed and continued to speak, "I've read about this girl: Xack Hathaway. Her parents' deaths were not far apart. Her father died of a car accident by a reckless driver, and the mother died in a car crash; close to about a year since his death. Xack always had serious depression problems, but took it's toll for the worse since their deaths. For the past year, different asylums have recorded all the times she's tried to kill herself. No record of her doing such things so far in Arkham though..."
"You sure have taken an interest in this girl," smirked Alfred as he pulled the limousine close to the Arkham Asylum complex.
Bruce shrugged, "If this girl is going to be staying with me, I have to find out about her."
"But why don't you just ask her yourself? Wouldn't it be better that way?"
Bruce was silent for a moment before answering. "With the problems that she has, it's hard to trust her with personal questions..." he murmured.
Alfred had no comment to that, and even if he did, he would mind himself to not have an argument with his master. Besides that, now would not be a good time, for the doctors of Arkham Asylum, and even the police were approaching Bruce Wayne's vehicle at the moment. Bruce had a small smile on his face as he saw his best friend, Ethan Bennett coming towards him as well. Bruce got out of the limo and walked towards Detective Bennett.
"Yo Bruce," Detective Bennett held out his hand for Bruce to shake, and Bruce took no hesitation to shake his best friend's hand.
"Evening Ethan," Bruce kindly replied back. The young man almost groaned when he saw a couple of doctors and nurses headed his way. He could easily see the young nurses gossiping lightly about him, for they kept glancing at him and giggling quietly. Bruce looked back at Detective Bennett and smirked, "Something tells me that this won't be a pleasant evening -- for the both of us."
Detective Bennett nodded in agreement. "Sorry Bruce, but it isn't. We -- meaning the police and the doctors here, want a favor from you." Bruce shifted his eyes to the doctors and nurses that formed a half circle around him. Some policemen saw the group forming and decided to join in on it. Detective Bennett turned to a doctor; a hefty man who wore little black glasses on his face and even his long hair was dark. The young man gestured to this doctor and announced curtly, "Bruce, this is--"
"No need to introduce me, Detective," said the hefty doctor calmly and almost quietly. "I can do that myself." He approached Bruce and held out his hand for a shake. "I am Strange, Doctor Hugo Strange: head of psychiatry at Arkham Asylum." Bruce was a little hesitant about shaking this doctor's hand, but not to be rude, the young man did in a friendly gesture. "I presume you know why you are here this evening?..." Doctor Strange asked.
Bruce slightly shrugged, "You want me to watch over one of your patients until you have the Joker back in your asylum, am I right?"
Doctor Hugo formed a small smile and nodded. Detective Bennett spoke up, "You see, Bruce, a little later before you arrived, Joker left a 'letter' saying that he's gonna come back and get Xack Hathaway to come with him. Having this patient at our headquarters just isn't safe for her, or the other policemen and jailers; it's just too predictable and we know Joker will figure out quickly as to where she is." He took a moment for himself to catch his breath and then he started to speak again. "Look...we hope it isn't too much trouble for you, but I figured it would be best for Miss Hathaway and her brother-- "
"Wait a minute -- " Bruce rudely interrupted Detective Bennett, and his eyes grew a little wider, "You said over the phone that I was to watch over Miss Hathaway, and not the brother as well..."
"Well...it's just -- " Detective Bennett scratched his head and thought of the right words to say. "Miss Hathaway's brother, Adam 'Edward' Hathaway, needs to be with his sister since that's all he's got now. The doctor's here -- and along with Doctor Strange's word for it, the two children should not be separated from each other. Also, since Joker is after the girl, we surmise that he's gonna come after the boy as well."
Bruce Wayne wanted to groan from the stress that was starting to build on him, but thought that letting out a sigh was best. "Where are they now? Can I meet the children?" He asked, but not enthusiastically.
Detective Bennett nodded, "Sure... I'll go get them..." then the young detective left Bruce, Doctor Strange, and the other silent doctors to go get the asylum patients.
Doctor Strange shifted the glasses on his face and then began to speak, "I have medication to give you, Mr. Wayne, for Miss Hathaway, that is..." he handed Bruce a few small bottles of medicine, or pills. "These are to keep her from -- what we call, her 'delusional states'. Unfortunately for the young lady, her most recent breakdown left her in a state of severe depression once more. It was not her fault, of course, but the Joker drugged her with certain medicines. I am not clear what he used on her; I am still looking into that."
When Bruce was going to ask something about the medicines, his mouth clamped shut when he heard the giggling nearby. He turned around to see a young kid running up to him, and this child smiled happily up at Bruce. "Oh...you're the rich man I see on TV!" Said the boy with glee, and he held out his hand for he was eager to shake Bruce's. This boy had short, light brown hair, with hazel eyes. "Hi, my name is Eddie..." A smile cracked on the edge of Bruce's lips as he shook the hand of the boy that would be staying with him. Suddenly, the happiness from Bruce's face quickly faded when he saw a disturbed looking girl heading towards him; and a couple of police officers, including Detective Bennett, accompanied her.
Her brown hair mainly covered her face, as if shielding the skin. Everything about her seemed to be dark and black, from the blackness of her shirt to the darkness of her baggy pants. A chill ran down Bruce's spine when her green, piercing eyes locked with his.
"Bruce..." Detective Bennett, and along with the rest of the people had reached the young wealthy man. "As you might guess, this is Xack Hathaway..." Bruce cringed slightly at the fact that Xack did not take her eyes off of him. Detective Bennett shifted his eyes between the two and he let out a soft chuckle. "Don't be fooled, Bruce, she's not as scary as you think..." Xack rolled her eyes to that statement.
Bruce cleared his throat and forced himself to smile at the young girl. "Hello, I'm Bruce Wayne. Your brother and yourself will be staying with me for awhile..." he held out his hand to shake hers, but all Xack did was slowly shift her eyes to his hand...and nothing more.
"Now Xack..." Doctor Strange said somewhat sternly to her. "Don't be shy to greet your temporary guardian."
Xack scuffed and turned her head away from Bruce, but then she grunted and shook his hand. "Hello Mr. Wayne..." she replied slowly and eerily to Bruce. A cold, pitiless smile came upon her lips. "My name...is Xack."
Detective Bennett gently edged the children towards the limousine, "Alright, now you all go and wait in Bruce's vehicle... Oh, and remember: some nurses here will be by in the morning to bring your stuff to Bruce's place." Xack growled for she does not like being told what to do, but she and her brother obeyed the detective and slowly trailed themselves to the limo and they waited inside for Bruce to come. When the two children were fully inside the vehicle, Detective Bennett turned back to Bruce and asked, "Do you think you'll be up to this? I know the boy won't be too much trouble, but that girl...she's just something else..."
"I'll be fine Ethan," Bruce reassured his friend, but it didn't sound convincing though.
Detective Bennett smiled and waved goodbye. "Well...I'll be seeing you later, in the week maybe... I gotta go back to the station now." Then he and the other officers began to go back to their squad cars, but some of them still wanted to stick around and check the asylum for clues and such as to where Joker could of ran off to.
Doctor Strange folded his hands neatly behind his back and lightly bowed to Bruce. "Well Mr. Wayne, it seems I should take my leave as well; at least return to the asylum and make sure my other patient -- or rather, the victim to Joker's gas, is still in good health..." When the doctor started to head back to Arkham, he gestured to the other doctors and nurses to follow suite. To their dismay, the followers obeyed, but anyone could easily see that they all just wanted to go home. Now Bruce was left alone, he didn't want to be, for he was worried about Xack's nature and her health in general. "Perhaps it will not be as bad as I think it will be..." he thought to himself, and managed to form a smile on his face. He wanted to at least show his guests that he was not afraid of anything. He then walked back to his car and got in, but suddenly stopped, realizing that the way he got in he would end up sitting next to Xack. Bruce actually hesitated for a moment, but quickly reacted by sitting on the opposite side, across from her. He did not mind sitting by her brother, Eddie anyways.
"Alfred...let's go home." Bruce looked over his shoulder to his loyal butler. Alfred nodded and started up the engine, and slowly began to drive away from Arkham Asylum. Seeing this, a great amount of stress lifted from Bruce's shoulders, but some of it remained for he brought a piece of the facility with him: one of its patients.
After a few minutes had gone by, Xack crossed her arms and glared at Bruce angrily, "You know..." she stated gruffly to him, "I know why you didn't want to sit by me. I know why you hesitated on getting in here. If you read the reports about me, I hope you know I don't go trying to kill other people..." She suddenly stopped speaking when Bruce started to give her the exact same look.
"Please, not in front of your brother...not now..." Bruce sounded stressed, and somewhat tired. Right now, he'd rather go around on that 'wild goose chase' with Joker than be here with this disturbing girl.
Xack rolled her eyes and gawked at Bruce in a weird manner -- or, if you can call it gawking; she just had that expression on her face. "My brother may be nine, but he's not stupid. He knows what I'm talking about. He hears things from people..."
Bruce turned to the happy, gleaming boy next to him. "I'm nine..." he grinned at Bruce in an odd way. "Do you have Gameboy...or a DS?" He asked curiously. "A GameCube would be nice!" Sadly for the boy, Bruce chuckled and shook his head. Now Eddie was the one to cross his arms in slight anger. "Dang it!"
"Well...now I know I'm going to be so totally bored over there..." Xack mumbled to herself, sounding grumpy. She suddenly leaned forward a bit towards Bruce. "So how do they know we'll be safe at your place? Won't Joker figure that out?" Bruce raised an eyebrow at Xack, thinking about what she said. "If those doctors at the asylum were really worried about my health, or the safety of me and my brother, then they should of sent us to another state or something..."
"No one else wanted to take you," Bruce answered, "I hear you're...a bit 'extreme' for some doctors..."
Xack cracked an odd smile on her face and seemed more interested in the wealthy playboy. "Wow...it sounds like you did your homework on me..." she said somewhat sarcastically. "Doing that, you must actually be nervous about me..." Bruce turned away from her and gazed out the windows. "Are you afraid I might kill myself at your place...or are you really afraid that I might kill you?... Do you really believe I would go around doing that? I swear, the things you hear from people..." she rolled her eyes and stared out the windows as well. A small drop of sweat slowly rolled down Bruce's face. After all, she's just trying to scare him by saying these things. She wouldn't really try to kill herself or him, right? ...Right?...After what seemed to be a long ride back to the Wayne Manor, Alfred had pulled into the gates of this area and drove up a steep (but not that steep) hill, and after that little trip, he pulled into the curved driveway in front of the very large estate of Bruce Wayne's. The loyal butler was the first to exit the limousine, and he walked to the other passengers doors to properly let Bruce and his guests out. When Alfred opened the door, Xack and Eddie practically tumbled out, since they couldn't stand being in the limo any longer. They would of had a better time if Bruce had some form of entertainment within, but he didn't. As the children got themselves up, they gazed up at the mansion in awe, but also with some worriment since the place was huger than huge! Finally, Bruce got out and smiled when he saw the shocked expressions on his guests' faces.
"You don't have to worry about bedrooms," Bruce joked, "I've got plenty to spare."
"No kidding!" Xack's eyes got a little wider. "Why have such a huge place if it is only you and your butler living there?"
"I would prefer you children to address me as Alfred..." Alfred said to Xack, and as well as Eddie.
"How do you know other people aren't living here?" Bruce asked Xack.
Xack shrugged somewhat, "At Arkham, there really isn't that much to do but watch the news. Trust me Mr. Wayne...if you've done your research on me, chances are I know some things about you too." She shifted her eyes at the wealthy young man, knowing he would be interested to know what 'things' she knew about him.
"What have you heard about me?..." Asked Bruce, sounding slightly amused by this.
Xack didn't reply nor answer until they all started to head towards the manor doors. "Well...I know you benefit many charities around here. I hear the children really appreciate that, as well as adults. Um..." Xack was in thought to the other things she knew about Bruce. "I know...you like to go out with young women...a lot." She glared at him for that, but Bruce did not know why. "Overall, I know you have a rather...complicated life..." Bruce and Alfred stopped in their tracks and starred at Xack a little strangely.
Bruce tried to cover up his growing nervousness over these 'facts' of Xack's, by smiling and chuckling, "What do you mean my life is complicated? I presume it would be, since I run Wayne Industries almost twenty-four hours a day..."
Alfred coughed into a handkerchief he quickly withdrew from his coat pocket, then he opened the doors and gestured everyone to come inside. Bruce hoped Xack would change the subject and focus more of the interior decor of his mansion, but she didn't. She was a nosy, suspicious person. "Mr. Wayne..." she began. "I have nothing to do at the asylums I went to, and watching the news was all I could do. A lot of information was about you... Interviewers always had you during the day, but you do not mention what you do at night. That's just stra--" Xack suddenly stopped herself when her eyes caught sight of the large 'main room' of the manor.
This room, would have to be the largest in all of Wayne manor. Even though this chamber is considered huge, it mainly just consists of a two staircases; one to the left and the other to the right, and both converge onto the second level of Bruce's manor.
Bruce took a couple steps in front of Xack and gestured his arms out to the whole room. "This place is going to be quite confusing for you two -- and no, I don't have a map of my home..." he chuckled softly, but then continued, "Those staircases lead to the second level, but your bedrooms are on the third. Mine is on the fourth..." Xack and Eddie's jaw dropped. "There are many spare rooms on the third level, so you can take your pick on which one you want. It's temporary, but Alfred and I want you kids to feel comfortable here."
Xack narrowed her eyes as she slowly scanned the room she was in. "You're hiding something, aren't you?"
"What?" Bruce turned to the young girl next to him.
Xack nodded, "Yes...you're hiding something. I can sense it."
"Miss Hathaway..." Alfred began, trying to cover up for Bruce as calmly as possible. "Master Bruce and I are not hiding anything here. We have no secrets in this manor--"
"Don't lie to me," Xack snapped at the patient butler. "I know when someone is lying to me, and I know there is a secret here..." She flashed her angry eyes at the two older men. "I am not a child. I am not a baby. I have been around and know when people are lying to me..." She approached Bruce at a close proximity. "I know you're hiding something Mr. Wayne..." Xack whispered to him. "I have seen you on TV, and to me, it's an obsession to know the truth about people. There is something amiss about you, and I will find out sooner or later...and of course, it will be later..." She slowly walked away from Bruce and took her brother's hand, who immediately drew it back since he did not like that sort of thing no more. "Come on, Eddie. Let's go to this 'third level' and find the bedrooms of our choice... We'll leave Mr. Wayne and his butler alone now..." Right before she walked up the staircase with her brother, she flashed Bruce her cold, pitiless smile once more. When the children were out of sight, Alfred turned to Bruce with a stern expression on his face.
"Master Bruce, do not give up on her," Alfred neatly folded his hands and tilted his head downwards. "She had lost her parents, just as you did. Miss Hathaway needs someone to be there for her, and I can easily see that no one has shown her support."
Bruce shook his head, "Alfred, I'm not that person that can give her that support. She's a lost one. There's nothing I can do for her. All I want to do is get Joker back to Arkham so she and her brother can go back as well."
"Do you really think that will solve her problems?" Alfred asked with concern in his voice.
"If she doesn't go back, she's going to be a problem. If I don't find Joker quickly, I'm afraid Xack is going to unmask Batman..."Later into the evening; much later into the night actually, Bruce, Alfred, Eddie, and Xack were all in a room which resembled any ordinary living room. Anything in the Wayne manor is anything but ordinary though. This living room was probably about ten others put together to make this a 'mega' living room or something of the sorts, but Eddie's eyes lit up when he saw the biggest TV ever. He had never seen a TV this big; it had to be at least five feet in length and width!
"Wow..." Eddie was in complete awe about the whole room, but mainly the TV. He sat on a curved couch with Bruce, while Alfred sat in his own lounge chair, that probably had to be the most comfortable, seeing the expression on the older man's face. "This has gotta be the biggest TV ever! If only you had a GameCube though..." Eddie started to bounce in place for a few seconds before he turned to Bruce and asked, "So what are we gonna watch?" Bruce smirked and clicked a few buttons on the remote, but to the boy's dismay, it wasn't cartoons; it was the news. Eddie started to pout.
"Eddie!" Eddie snapped at Bruce, and he crossed his arms and continued to pout.
Bruce apologized, "Sorry, Eddie, but I need to see if the police had picked up anything about thisJoker. We don't want him to know where you and your sister are..." It's not like Batman needs the news to know the crazy clown's whereabouts, but just for the night, he's not going to don the cape and cowl. He'll do that another night.
Bruce looked around himself and then the room. He looked down on Eddie and asked a little nervously, "Eddie, where is your sister?"
Eddie shrugged, but replied, "She's in the kitchen--" That's all Bruce needed to hear, for he bolted right up from the couch and quickly darted for that room. How she found the kitchen in this manor, Bruce will never know, but he did not want Xack to be nosing around in an area where she can get something to hurt herself with...or to hurt anyone else.
Bruce quickly ran down a couple staircases to the ground level, and ran through some hallways, until he finally reached the kitchen. He pushed open the doors and his eyes darted to everything in the room. Bruce saw Xack rummaging through the refrigerator, and seeing that, he let out a sigh of relief.
"I can't find anything in this place..." Xack grumbled to herself, and then she closed the fridge door and stared at Bruce with tired eyes. "Don't you have anything good in here?" She cocked her head when Bruce did not answer, but just stare at her with wide eyes. Xack squinted hers suspiciously at the young man, but she turned her head to the side to see a rack of cutting knives sitting a foot from the fridge. She left her mouth agape as she turned back to Bruce. "Oh-oh, I see why you came looking for me. You think I'm gonna go crazy on you and kill myself!" She took a couple steps towards the knives, but Bruce did not speak nor do anything...not yet anyways. Unless she actually tried to do something she'll regret. He jumped though when Xack was suddenly in front of him with a large knife in her hands. She looked up at Bruce and stared at him with her cold, green eyes. "I know you don't trust me..." she whispered rashly to him. "I'm not stupid, Mr. Wayne, I'm not going to go around killing myself..."
"You have tried it before. You can't deny that," Bruce spoke sternly to her. Xack flinched to that.
"Before I did, not now. I'm eighteen Mr. Wayne, I don't need you or your butler to follow my every move to see if the 'crazy girl' is gonna blow!" Xack growled and thrust the cutting knife into a cutting counter nearby. She breathed in and out heavily, but made herself calm down. "Unfortunately Mr. Wayne, those meds you got from that Doctor Strange, I don't take until tomorrow morning. I already took them this evening..." Bruce suddenly looked concern for her when she looked out the kitchen windows worriedly. "The Joker is most likely going to find us here, isn't he?"
Bruce sighed, "I can't answer that for you."
"How do you know he doesn't know about this place now? For all we know, Joker already knows where I am." Xack bit her lip in worriment. "I don't want to go with him..." She can hear Joker's psychotic laughter echoing through her head.
Bruce shook his head and slowly left the kitchen, somehow knowing that Xack will not harm herself. Xack saw this, but did not do anything to stop him. "I can't believe you left me alone..." she whispered, starting to sob a little. "Joker would of never left me alone...he just wouldn't allow it..." She wiped a tear from her eye and gazed out the windows once more to see a winged creature fly off into the night. "Your secret, Mr. Wayne..." She glared at this bat in the distance. "You can't hide it from me. No one can hide lies from me. Not you. Not Joker. No one! Not even Joker can hide his secrets from me, and I will find out yours..."