1603 – Arkham Asylum – Chapter EightPosted: November 27, 2016
Title: Arkham Asylum
URL: Chapter Eight
Critiqued by BatJamags and Duke Alexander of Landfall
Running the Asylum count: 16
Out of Character count: 22
Hello once again, patrons! I’m your guest host (thinking too hard about that is a federal offense, even for people in other countries) BatJamags, and today, we’re finishing this!
In celebration of finishing this pile of trash, I’ve brought in one last co-riffer. Ladies, gentlemen, and interns, meet Duke Alexander of Landfall.
Duke Alexander: A pleasure to make your acquaintance.
Oh, sure it is, before you get to know them. The Duke here comes from the same setting as Kane (and kind-of Supercilious – I haven’t had a chance to use that character yet). He’s a high-level human noble. He’s what you might call a renaissance man. He’s a skilled swordsman, a fairly powerful wizard, a respected scholar, and impeccably well-mannered.
Oh, and he’s also evil.
Duke Alexander: That’s somewhat extreme, is it not?
*Pulls up character sheet*
Alignment: Lawful Evil (Formerly Lawful Good)
*Puts character sheet away*
Duke Alexander: Very well, I concede the point, but I must stress that any action I take is for the good of the kingdom.
That doesn’t make you not the bad guy.
Duke Alexander: A shame, really. Lines have a great deal of potential.
*Whispering* Oh god, he’s starting the chapters with them now. Just this last chapter, just this last chapter…
Duke Alexander: Are you alright? Do you wish to pause or stop?
*Points at locked Door*
Joker cackled in glee, looking out at the destruction with wild, joyous eyes. Before him, fire licked at the sky from the explosion he had caused. Sirens and screams pierced the air as sharply as a knife in flesh; always accompanied by the quieter crackling of the flames.
A knife in flesh is always accompanied by the quieter crackling of the flames?
Duke Alexander: Such destruction seems impractical and uncouth. I’ve met bandits who were better-mannered.
Yeah, that’s the Joker for you.
It was so much more fun to be here, so close to the damage, able to feel the heat on his face himself, as opposed to watching from a distance and feeling little more than slight tremors beneath his feet at the time of detonation.
I feel like I should be able to turn that into an innuendo.
Duke Alexander: It is as they say. Love comes innuendo and out your front door.
Did you just quote Groucho Marx at me?
Duke Alexander: You requested that I research your world’s culture. Was the way I did so unsatisfactory?
Not in the slightest.
He had blown up one of the Wayne buildings. He usually didn’t bother with them, since the rich Wayne brat himself had so much cash the damage never lasted for long. But he had done it this time, because there was some kind of expo going on. The explosion had, unfortunately, been premature, not going off when the expo was in full swing, but rather just as it began.
Ah, the Some Kind Of Expo. I believe I’ve been to that one.
Duke Alexander: Indeed. I must say the hors d’oeuvres were excellent.
The clown prince didn’t care. There were still plenty of delicious little corpses.
Duke Alexander: …
You were saying?
He clapped his hands together and danced about in a circle childishly. Beside him, or rather, a few feet away, Harley giggled into her hands. Joker, in a rare moment of happiness,
Bullshit. The Joker’s always happy.
Out of Character count: 23
grabbed her and pulled her into a dance.
We’re about due for some Harley-bashing, unless the author’s finally wised up and stopped that shit.
“Isn’t the music just wonderful, darling?” He asked. “Can’t you hear it?” She giggled more in answer as he twirled her around to the sounds of beautiful, wonderful, chaos.
Yes, the [sounds]. Don’t you like [sounds] music, Duke?
Duke Alexander: Yes, but I must say I prefer [noises]. It just strikes me as more elegant.
“Joker.” The deep, somewhat scratchy voice cut through the haze of insane glee, and Joker looked up with a shiver, stopping his dance with Harley.
“Batsy!” The sight and sound of the black-caped vigilante was like a breath of fresh air to the Joker. His grin widened, and he opened his mouth, ready to taunt him.
Oh, he had missed this.
Duke Alexander: Ah, I see I’ve arrived in time for an action scene?
YES! Something’s finally going to HAPPEN!
Lamb sat in the silent greenhouse atop a large, purple-leafed plant. It was soft, like sitting on a cushion. One of its’ thick vines curled around him, and he leaned into it, feeling safe.
And then the vine snapped his neck. The end.
My apologies, Carlos.
His chest hurt.
Duke Alexander: Ah, so the vine is assailing him.
Or it could be something like this:
Duke Alesander: That is a distinct possibility, yes.
His laughing man had gone to work. He had said he would be back that night, but that had been three days ago, and his laughing man, and the red-black woman who he had, slowly, grown more comfortable around, had not returned. His wonderful laughing man was gone, and he didn’t know where.
*Singing* Oh where, oh where has my baby gone-
Duke Alexander: I would appreciate it if you did not sing such songs with relation to the clown.
Yeah, but that song’s about someone who’s dead. Speaking of which, I should probably drop a YouTube video in for the audience.
For a cheery-sounding 60’s pop song, it’s surprisingly depressing. And I got the lyrics wrong up there, but fuck it. It’s for a joke.
His chest hurt.
You already said that.
And that would be the DRD. Alexander, would you be so kind…?
Duke Alexander: My pleasure.
*Duke Alexander steps into the hallway, growing slightly in size and gaining an ominous glowing aura*
[SCENE REDACTED FOR EXTREMELY EXTREME VIOLENCE]
*Duke Alexander steps back inside, going back to his normal size*
Duke Alexander: There we are, that should-
*DRD artillery cannons shoot the riffing chamber, blowing it up entirely and completely exploding it*
*The riffing chamber respawns in a purple plaid suit*
I’m not sure how the entire room is wearing a suit, or why we’re not, but I’m just gonna go with it.
Duke Alexander: Indeed, some questions are better left unasked.
He pushed his face against the thick vine and whimpered. It curled tighter around him. It knew. It understood. More vines came down, creating a cave around him until the only light came from a small opening near his face the vines had left him for air.
Duke Alexander: *Quietly rubs ears*
It felt nice. Like wrapping up in a blanket. Like when he was small and would hide in that dark little hole under the apple tree so he couldn’t be found by-
Don’t think about that. Never think about that.
His chest hurt.
Can you cut it out with the trajek bit? We get it. This guy is really sad and had a super-sad life and you want us to feel sorry for him. Turns out, we don’t. Also, his chest is hurting again.
*The room’s suit is orange this time*
He whimpered again. There was a clack. He peeked out through the hole to the greenhouse entrance. His head tilted, hurt pushed aside for a moment. He had expected the pretty red haired woman. And she was there.
But she wasn’t alone.
*PISTOL-WHIP!* IT’S POISON. FUCKING. IVY.
Duke Alexander: Why did the story feel the need to note that he had expected her, if she was there?
Duke Alexander: I wonder, could these line breaks be meant to symbolize Lamb’s inner turmoil?
You mean his emo trajekness? Yeah, probably.
Batman groaned, refusing to acknowledge the pain of the bruises on his side. He had a cracked rib, and was a bit worse for wear, but he was fine. His fingers tapped irritably away atop the desk. He had, before handing them over to the orderlies at Arkham, searched the Joker and Harley for evidence.
He had smelled something odd on them, like old leather, and had taken soil samples from the grooves of Joker’s shoes. The computer was analyzing it now alongside the sound of his impatient fingers tapping out a rhythm on the table.
Duke Alexander: Would it not be more efficient for him to get his injuries patched up while waiting?
Shame we weren’t SHOWN his getting those injuries, because this writer is a hack.
He needed to find where they had been staying, because that was his best chance of finding the John Doe.
And, y’know, stop any other plans they might have.
Duke Alexander: This vigilante is not particularly intelligent, is he?
It’s why I call him Namtab.
With a ping, the computer suddenly displayed its results. Narrow-eyed, Batman cross-referenced the soil type with locations in Gotham. There weren’t many.
-And one of them was an abandoned leather-working factory.
There weren’t many locations in Gotham? Bullshit.
Looks_like_you_forgot_the_period_there. Don’t_think_I_didn’t_notice_that_shit. I’ve_only_had_to_deal_with_these_line_breaks_for_nine_goddamn_chapters_including_your_dumbass_introductory_poem.
He stalked through the buildings almost silently, bar the occasional swish or flutter of his cape. He could see a greenhouse from where he was, a leftover remnant of some old rich leather-maker’s love of gardening.
So it’s an actual greenhouse and not a pseudo-greenhouse, like we were told earlier.
Duke Alexander: If that’s so, then why was it called a pseudo-greenhouse earlier? Surely they’re not two separate structures. The plant-user could’ve simply grown her plants in the existing greenhouse.
And wouldn’t the old rich guy build the greenhouse on his own property rather than next to his factory?
He knew that was probably his best chance for finding what he was looking for, but he needed to secure the perimeter first, so he kept it in his peripheral vision.
How did he know the greenhouse was his best chance?
Duke Alexander: I do not know. If it were to grant such knowledge, one would think it would be a BLUEhouse.
He found Ivy in what looked like a lab of sorts, mixing up some sort of chemical. He waited in the shadows where she couldn’t see him, wanting to know what she was up to but knowledgeable enough about chemical reactions to not be willing to risk startling her.
She’s in [lab] mixing [chemical] with [thing] to do [activity].
Duke Alexander: I see why you call it the Formless Void.
It didn’t matter.
“I don’t really appreciate your lurking.” She commented, eyes flicking in his direction but her hands never stopping her work. He stood from his crouch and approached her slightly.
Hey! Lurkers are awesome! *High-fives lurkers*
Duke Alexander: I do not see them.
That’s the point.
His interactions with Ivy tended to vary. She was a difficult opponent when they fought, but she was one of the few villains who sometimes came quietly, so he never initiated any violence with her until he knew for sure that he had to. There had also been the occasion here and there where she slipped him info on things other villains were doing.
Actually, no. Ivy’s a crazy eco-terrorist. You’re thinking of Catwoman.
Though usually only if those in danger were children.
I also don’t remember anything about Ivy being specifically protective of children.
Duke Alexander: I do not believe this author has a vested interest in accurate characterization.
You can say that again.
Duke Alexander: I would, but I do not wish another encounter with those “DRD” ruffians.
“What is that?” He asked bluntly. Her creation was taking on the form of a slightly yellowish white liquid.
Lurking? It’s when you hide yourself in order to watch things unnoticed, but that’s not important right now.
“A specialized nutritional medicine. More or less anyways. You’re going to need a lot of it after you take me in.” She was starting to put it into vials, setting each into a case alongside a long metal syringe. She made it sound as though she would be going peacefully this time and he relaxed, slightly.
Duke Alexander: The vigilante is somewhat gullible, isn’t he?
No, just Namtab.
“Lamb.” That didn’t really explain anything, but after a few moments of the sounds of her filling and clinking the vials together, she elaborated. “Joker’s new pet. He pulled him out of Arkham, cut that bush of hair of his, cleaned him up…” The John Doe. So he was here. “He was malnourished, but his lips are sewn shut and he freaks out if you try to do anything about it; so we’ve been finding ways around it where we can, to keep him alive. I’ll make you a list of foods and drinks he can have. He’ll need a shot of this stuff every five days.” He nodded. She was talking like she expected him to look after ‘Lamb’ himself…
Duke Alexander: If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Ivy was explaining the situation to Batman so that he doesn’t have to learn this on his own, thus extracting tension and character development from the story.
Nnnnnnnnaaaaaaaawwwwwwww. Don’t be ridiculous.
Given the circumstances of his confinement at Arkham, he might have to do just that.
I’m really glad this fic was abandoned.
“He’s not too good at taking care of himself. He’s like a kid. You’ll have to order him around to get him to eat and bathe. Be careful about that though. The kid tends to follow orders he shouldn’t. Or at least he does with the Joker.” She paused. “Lamb is very… fond of him. He’s been depressed since you locked him up so you should keep an eye on that. He doesn’t talk. And he’s harmless. We tried to teach him how to fight but he won’t raise a hand against anyone, not even in defense.”
Can you stop exposition dumping please?
Duke Alexander: We have read the fic up to this point.
Duke Alexander: I did research.
Heh. More than the author, I’ll bet.
“You care about him.”
“I do. He’s… not all there, but he’s a good kid. He deserves better than that clown’s attention on him.” She sneered, and then sighed. “Joker is… scarily obsessed with him. I was worried at first that he was…” She stopped, biting her bottom lip.
And yet she’s perfectly good with the Joker beating the shit out of Harley.
“What?” He prompted her. He needed as much info about this as he could get.
“I thought he was fucking him.” She said bluntly. “And I don’t think Lamb understands things well enough to be able to consent… Joker hasn’t though, far as I can tell, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. If he manages to break out again he’ll come for Lamb.” She finished mixing up the medicine and put the vials down for a moment, turning to face him with her green eyes blazing. “You have to protect him.” She practically snarled the words. “You have to. He can’t go back to Arkham and you can’t let Joker sink his claws back into him.” He had never seen her show so much passion about anything but her plants, and it gave him pause.
That won’t work, because the Joker is god in this fic.
Duke Alexander: A frightening thought, to say the least.
“I will.” He finally agreed, because he had planned to protect the John Doe… Lamb… anyways. She nodded sharply, and turned away to finish up.
And Namtab succumbs to the stufluence.
Duke Alexander: I believe he’s been under it since he was given the picture.
“I’ll help you take him from here. He’ll go more easily that way. You can blindfold us if you need to, but I’ll see him settled in before you cart me off.” She paused.”You’ll need to give me some bruises before that too. I need it to look like I fought if the Joker or Harley see me.” He shifted uneasily. He didn’t want to bring Ivy to the cave, blindfolded or not.
Yeah, that would be a stupid idea…
… But he could tell that if he tried to stop her, there would be a real fight, and with his rib cracked like it was, she might manage some serious damage before he beat her (and he didn’t much like the thought of doing that either). Especially given how much Lamb appeared to matter to her.
… but he’s going to do it anyway.
Duke Alexander: It is fascinating how these non-diegetic line breaks give the entire fic an aura of despair.
That, or it’s the fact that we’re sitting in a room that’s dressed in an orange plaid suit which has a Door that may or may not be sentient in the middle of a volcano base that may or may not have been hijacked from a bad fanfiction and is connected to a trans-dimensional Library, and we’re using this setup to mock bad fanfiction.
Duke Alexander: …
Look, it’s just something I feel like doing, alright?!
Duke Alexander: I didn’t-
DON’T JUDGE ME!
When she finished with the meds Ivy packed them up into a large silver case. Rows of gleaming yellowish liquid inside clear needleless syringes, and a packet of said needles on the bottom. Then she handed it to him to carry and led him to the greenhouse. He might have thought it was a trap, but that wasn’t really Ivy’s style.
Sure it’s not. You keep telling yourself that, Namtab.
He still tried not to step too close to the plants that moved.
There was one on one side that’s vines were all twisted up together, and Ivy went straight for it. She spoke lowly, too much so for him to hear, and a moment later the vines spread open. Batman stared, eyes sharply taking in every feature he could, easing some of the frustration he’d had of not knowing what he looked like before.
He looked sickly and thin. His cheekbones stood out and there were dark bags under his eyes. He looked a little girly too, but not that much so, and it was probably something that would change as he gained more weight. His eyes were violet, of all colors, his hair white, and his lips were pale.
Wait, so this random lab-in-a-shoe-factory is inside the greenhouse?
Duke Alexander: It would be more at home in the BLUEhouse.
And covered in crisscrossing black threads like Ivy had said.
Did that really warrant a separate paragraph?
His eyes were wide and curious, and he was watching him. There was recognition there. Batman came closer. Ivy looked up at him, and then back at the young man. He was in his early twenties maybe. Maybe younger or older by a few years. It was hard to tell.
*PISTOL-WHIP!* Put that back with the rest of the character description we’ve already heard before.
Duke Alexander: Perhaps this fic is simply padding its length?
No “perhaps” about it.
“This is Batman.” Lamb looked to her and back again with a small nod. “You’re going to go live with him for a while.” He frowned slightly, and his hands clenched open and closed in a grasping motion. He met Ivy’s gaze with wide, worried eyes. He didn’t speak, but Ivy seemed to understand what was wrong. “I know, but he’s not coming back for a while. It’ll be okay. Come here.” She opened her arms, and he went to her without hesitation. Batman watched the redhead pick him up effortlessly. He wrapped his legs around her waist and his arms around her shoulders, hiding the bottom of his face in her shoulder like an oversized child…
Yes, yes, much trajek. Very speshul. Wow.
And not even all that oversized. Lamb was about a full foot shorter than him, only a couple inches upwards of five feet.
That’s not even all that short. That’s like, slightly-lower-than-average-height.
Ivy turned to him, expression expectant, and he hesitantly signalled the tumbler to come closer.
He could feel a headache forming.
So can I.
I’m going to ignore the fact that hathanhate is putting these at the ends of chapters because WE’RE DONE!
Duke Alexander: The lines may rejoice, for this fic has come to an end. That said, may we depart?
Not quite. We’re dragging Lamb’s Gary Stu ass out of Gotham for good.
Batman pushed the accelerator down a little further. If he was going to bring Ivy into the Batcave, he was going to get it over with quickly. What he’d failed to mention to Ivy was that he fully intended to give Lamb over to Witness Protection until the case was solved. Leaving him in the Batcave would be too dangerous for everyone involved. His train of thought was interrupted by Ivy.
“You know, Batman,” she said, “I’d thought about attacking you once we got back to your place, but it would be too dangerous. So…”
Batman quietly moved his hand to a switch underneath the dashboard: passenger ejector seat. He didn’t get the chance to flip it, because a wall of writhing vines erupted from under the pavement, sending the Batmobile spinning.
“I decided it was much easier to do it here!” Ivy exclaimed.
Just as Batman was starting to get his bearings, a large set of branches wrapped around the Batmobile, pulling it several stories into the air. Vines smashed through the windshield, and tore off the roof.
Batman was a cautious man, and, as such, had come prepared. He pulled a metal canister from his belt and sprayed it at the vines. The experimental high-power herbicide worked beautifully, causing the vines to shrivel and retract.
Just then, what appeared to be a giant Venus Fly Trap rose up above the Batmobile. Batman assumed the plant was about to attack him, and leapt out of the car, plummeting down toward the street. He slowed his fall with his cape and landed with a roll. However, Lamb’s blood-curdling scream informed Batman that he’d been wrong about the plant’s target.
Ivy walked out onto the hood of the Batmobile, and called down at Batman.
“It’s been fun, Bat, but I’ve got to be going,” she shouted, “I’ve got a clown to kill!”
A large flower raised itself up near the car. Ivy got in, and the petals closed around her. Batman clenched his fists as she was carried off by her plants. Now he had another murderer on the loose.
The end. Finally!
In all seriousness, though. This has been fun. I think I’ll start up another riff soon. I’ve got another Batman badfic that I found while I was looking for this one, so I can jump into that.
Th-th-th-th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!
Running the Asylum count: 16
Out of Character count: 23