A Touch of Dickens
Roleplaying Log: A Touch of Dickens
IC Details

Dr. Quinzel visits her dear friend, Dr. Crane, to joint plan for a party.

Other Characters Referenced: Joker
IC Date: December 16, 2019
IC Location: Gotham, NJ
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 31 Dec 2019 04:28
Rating & Warnings: G
Scene Soundtrack: Marley & Marley (A Muppet Christmas Carol)
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It starts with a bump in the night. (As it is presently ten o’clock in the bad part of town.)


Then another.

Ba-bump. Bump. Ba-bump.

And then, shrilly, a voice begins singing in the dark of one laboratory presently re-commandeered by a familiar fear technician.

“See the people walking down the street… Fall in line, just watching all their feet…They don't know where they wanna go… But they're walking in time…”

She doesn’t need to venture deeper into Scarecrow’s lab.

Harley Quinn is busy dancing around a steel pole presently supporting the ceiling near the front of the building, enjoying a party all her own while dressed in her very favorite murder suit of red and black with her face painted a pristine shade of bone white.

“They got the beat! They got the beat! They got the beat, yeah! They got the beat!”

Who needs a boombox?

(Anyone hoping to drown her out. That’s who.)

It had just been another night for the Master of Fear. His newest test subject twitches and moans in its cage, curled so tightly in a fetal position that its spine presses against the thin shirt it wears and masks any telltale signs of gender. He is just tabulating his data in careful, neat handwriting in one of his notebooks; the pen scratches soundly against the paper in the otherwise silence.

Then there comes a bump. It stills the pen. The second causes Crane looks up sharply from his worktable; his shoulders are hunched up around his ears like a vulture, and his narrow frame is taut with a skeletal poise. His glasses reflect almost opaque as he stares at the door at the top of the stairs, and it isn't until he recognizes the voice does his frame seem to relax into something almost liquidine.

He starts toward the stairs, climbing them with near silent footsteps until he is crossing through the door and across the narrow room that leads to the building's entrance. The front door cracks open, and just have of his bespectacled face peers out at Harley Quinn.

"You are atrociously loud, Dr. Quinzel." Then he flashes her a strangely full smile that shows both his upper and lower rows of teeth; his thin lips press together almost just as quickly, thinning out the smile. "Perhaps you would like to come in." And he steps back, but does not open the door, instead letting the shadows invite her in.

“I would!” chirrups Quinn from the place she’s presently hanging off the pole, curled backwards to offer him her own too-cheery upside-down smile in return. “Thank you for the kind invitation, Dr. Crane!”

She peels herself away and then picks up a satchel on her way to the door that she’d tossed to the side.

“Yanno, I’ve been lookin’ all over town fer ya! I heard that you got out and, as I have also recently gotten out, I felt that it would jes’ be criminal to not stop by and raise the proverbial glass to our shared victories.”

Sure, he got out on a technicality and she got out because her paramour destroyed the prison where she was and the system keeping her contained, but it’s still worthy of celebrating because PRISON SUCKS.

“Or, yanno. Somethin’ to that effect.”

She makes her way into the space without much in the way of concern or pause.

“So!” she continues, with all of the notes of socionormative behavior, “How ya beeeen…?”

The door opens into a rundown space that might have once been a living room, but there's not a single feeling of home; the floors are dirty and creaky, the walls peeling with patches of bare framing here and there, and the windows are boarded up. It's a quaint little lair for the Scarecrow.

He's already several steps inside once she passes the threshold, and the good doctor is standing tall and poised; it is jarring in this space, and he would do well to be holding a fragile looking teacup. Instead, he unseats his glasses and starts to rub the lenses clear with a microfiber cloth from his pocket. "Yes. Exonerated and all." He replaces his glasses, looking at Harley with through those round frames. "But I get the strangest feeling, Dr. Quinzel, that you did not receive such a graceful dismissal from imprisonment."

He slips his hands in the pockets of his slacks. "I'm afraid that all of my glasses are currently occupied, or I would offer you a drink." But then he waves his fingers in a hithering gesture while he starts to retreat back down the stairs into his lab. She's asking after his wellbeing, and he pauses just at the top of the stairs to offer a thoughtful look at the ceiling. Then he starts to smile. "Pleasant. Terribly so." He glances aside to her. "And you? Preparing for the holidays?"

Such a normal conversation, despite the low undertones of whimpers that come from the basement below.

Quinn follows Crane without so much as a pause or second thought. She lets him speak his peace and descent the stairs, and she follows mildly.

But I get the strangest feeling, Dr. Quinzel, that you did not receive such a graceful dismissal from imprisonment.

It’s a good supposition, really. Especially when all Harley has to say for herself is a guilty smile, a shrug of her slender shoulders, and a squeaked “Eh!”

She flaps her hand dismissively afterwards, her nose turning up over her shoulder theatrically. “What can I say? I was on the road, off the road, and then my puddin’ got impatient waitin’ ta see when they’d let me out.” She turns, then, sighing wistfully as she moves to lean against the dusty wall at the bottom of the stairwell and wrap herself up in a hug. “It’s so nice ta be missed.” Once that contented sigh is done, a beat passes, and then the jestress is on to the next thought.

It’s darker, and it sets those ghost-white features and black lips into an angry contortion as she spits it out.

“Of course, then I got to thinkin’… Yanno, Harls, Gotham sure didn’t act like they even noticed ya were gone. If Mistah J hadn’t have come fer me, I bet they would have jes’ let me rot in that damn swamp state.” By the done she’s to the end of the second sentence, her gloved hand is curled in an angry, shaking first. Betrayal still stings. Even for a girl who can dish out her fair share of it.

She snorts, and then her nose goes back to its indignant twist, and her arms move again—this time to cross beligerently.

“Anyway, yeah. I got a holiday plan brewin’. And I wanna see if you want in.”

Downstairs in the Scarecrow's lair, the majority of the space is dominated by a mad scientist's dream lab—there are long, sturdy tables at a comfortable standing height, a multitude of drawers and cabinets, and an entire table dedicated to carefully capped chemicals, small conical vats, and beakers galore. Draped almost casually on a knob at the end of this busy table is the burlap and rope sack with its stitched mouth and enormous black eye holes.

He listens dutifully without interruption, though he does sigh a little breath at Harley's observation on how little Gotham missed her. He casts her a dubious smile before he slips his glasses off his nose, again cleaning them before they are casually placed into a glasses case. "Well, Dr. Quinzel, tell me how you will remind Gotham City that you are not to be forgotten."

Then he reaches for the burlap, fingers stroking along the coarse fabric. Got a holiday plan brewin'. Perhaps she missed the casual reference in her words, or perhaps it was intentional, because he casts a smile to his busy table and then back to her. "Why yes, Harley—I do believe I would."

Then, very slowly, he tugs on the burlap, and his demeanor starts to change starting with the slight curve of his shoulders into a lazy hunch. His voice behind the burlap takes on an almost raspy note. "I have my own Christmas plans, but perhaps we can double-up."

“Perfect! I’ll do whatever, really… I figure, I owe Gotham it’s very own celebration, yanno?”

Harley perches just so on one of the counter edges, careful to not disturb Crane’s work. She’s not scared of it, but she is ever so respectful of his process and experimentations.

“So, I thought I would team up with some friends, to give it to ‘em. Eight crazy nights of me expressin’ my displeasure, yanno? Catharsis and that warm glow that everyone talks about fer the holidays.”

She stretches an arm forward as she sings in a terrible impression of Frank Sinatra and melts off the counter to dance a little, “The storefronts roasting in an open fire… The crazed masses ripping at your clothes… Screams galore being screamed by the choir… As the ash falls down like snow! Everybody knows…”

She comes closer, as though to gather up Crane to dance with her for the next swell of the song, except that she then draws short with her eyes and grin wide.

“I’ll help ya do whatever ya want, so long as it’s Christmas-themed and I get ta play Emcee.”

"Do you truly owe Gotham anything, Harleen?" Crane's voice has taken on a new edge, even if his words remain immaculate; it's rougher, scratchier. He glances toward her in his newfound hunch, and then his long, now gloved fingers, reach for a little corked vial on his workstation. "If anything, Gotham owes you far more."

Now he turns slowly toward her. "I have had an idea come to me as of late, after my recent offer of reparations once the Bat's injustices were made clear." He turns the vial over and over again in his hand, admiring the glow of the ghostly blue contents. "Tell me, Harleen… do you remember the story of Ebenezer Scrooge?"

His hand now curls around the vial. He slants a look to her. "I have thought about that poor man as the seasons began to change. All it took was the visitations of ghosts, the stark reveal of his greatest fears… to be not worth a penny despite all the pennies he pinched."

He takes in a breath. "I think it is time for Gotham to be visited by their own ghosts. What do you think?"

Harley squeals and claps giddily in response. She must like it!

But, should there be any sort of confusion over the matter, she does find her words. “I love it. Oh, man. I think it’s gonna give the goodniks a Dickens of a time.”

Insert more squealing, and then Quinn slips off of the counter so that she can put her feet to the floor and flashdance in place in order to run off some of her overflowing abundance of energy. She’s been caged up too long; her hands and feet have problems staying still.

She bounds over to her fellow doctor—although, he has far more standing than she does at present. “I’m in ta help ya, however ya need. I’ll come! With bells on. Only stipulation is that ya gotta getcher event scheduled by January 6th.”

She leans in. “I was gonna make my buddies get it all in by end of Chanukah, but the twelve days of Christmas is good, too.” She leans out and spreads her arms wide. “More time ta get the celebratin’ in! I have enough party in me for weeks!

Then her voice grows dark and angry, and the light of her eyes turns to shadow, just so.

“‘Cuz, yeah. I owe ‘em somethin’.

If Harley's delightful squealing sets off Crane's nerves, it doesn't show; the burlap mask might be to blame for that, but even Harley can see the way his smile widens beneath the loosely stitched maw of the Scarecrow's sack. He sets down the vial with a delicate click of glass to wood.

"I knew I could rely on you, dear Harleen. What I need is quite simple…" He leans in toward her, and in some casual whispers, he lists off what he requires of the little jester. Then he leans back to look down at her. "I rest assured you can find all I need, though the last may be a troubling acquisition."

Though, surely Harley knows where to find it.

The due date has him snickering low as his smile widens. "I am already ready, Dr. Quinzel…" Then his head turns slowly to the whimpering creature in one of his holding cages. "Well. Almost."

Harley raises a pair of fingers to her forehead, and then swings them away in a lazy salute.

“Take yer time, Dr. Crane. But doncha worry. Jes’ think of me like yer Cathewish fairy Godmother. I’ll getcher stuff.”

She really doesn’t offer much in the way of eloquent transitions, but rather just turns on her heels and begins prancing out of the lab. It’s, of course, in no way whatsoever because she feels a modicum of guilt for the creature she leaves behind. Nope. Nosirree, Bob.

“Toodaloo,” she singsongs, with a hand waving over her shoulder. “And don’t kill all the lab rats on the first experiment!”

Count to three.

She’s gone before then.

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