The policemen had put Becky in her van, at the back. Unfortunately for her, they were parked at the opposite of the cab Harley and Ivy were still in, meaning the girls didn't see her. No one could save her… She hadn't seen or talked to her mother in two years; the young woman had hoped to never see her again. She didn't even manage to face her in a hallucination… She didn't have time to prepare. She had no fear gas, no Jonathan, nothing !
The red-head was shaking on one of the benches of the van. One of the policemen seating across her noticed, and exclaimed : "Don't worry. The Scarecrow won't find you."
"What… What happened to him ? Is he in Arkham ?"
"Yeah, the Joker and him are locked up. Hopefully this time it'll be for good…"
"Did Batman beat him up ?" she asked, biting her nails nervously.
"Not much. A little less than usual. From what I heard, the freak only has a black eye and a busted lip… but stop worrying about that. That guy is out of your life now."
"No ! I don't want him to be out of my life ! I want to be with him , godamnit ! Why does everyone think they know what's in my best interest ? Why don't I have the right to choose ?"
Sighing, the young girl crossed her arms and closed her eyes. If she wanted to face her mother, she would have to rest…
"Dang, she's not coming back, Red."
"Do you think she ran away ? Maybe she doesn't want to save the Scarecrow after all." Pam said, looking at her long legs.
"I don't know… It would be weird. She really looks like she cares about him. And now it's too late to save my puddin'…" the blonde buried her face in her friend's dress, sobbing.
The Mother of plants sighed and ran her hand through the other girl's hair. "He's the Joker, Harls. He can take care of himself."
"That's not the problem… I know he doesn't need help… But I love him, ya know ? So I wanna save him, even if he can save himself. That's just what you do when you're in love."
"I wouldn't know." Ivy admitted, smiling softly.
Like usual, Jonathan was put in the same cell as Tetch. He was pushed inside by some guards, and Jervis' face brightened when he saw his old friend.
"Jonathan ! How are you ?"
"I could be better." He answered, pointing at his damaged face.
"The Batman caught you too." Jervis affirmed.
"Yes." The Scarecrow sat on the bottom bunk bed, still looking at his friend. Jervis was sitting on the floor, humming.
"How's Becky ?"
"She was going out with Harley and Ivy when Batman caught me. I think she's fine… I hope she is."
"Have you talked to Alice ?" The blonde man said, with hope in his voice.
"A little. She called us after you were put back in Arkham. She's at her parents' house; she's really worried about you."
"As I am about her." The Hatter sighed sadly. "I miss her."
"You'll find another Alice."
The Hatter frowned and clenched his fists. "Stop with that ! Do I tell you can find another Becky ? No ! Because there are no others !"
"I haven't lost Becky. I'll escape and get her back."
"Will she even want you back ? It'll take you at least a few months to escape. What memory of you will she be left with during that time ? You, yelling at her on the phone. What a precious memory… Remember what she did the last time you left ? She started to date another guy. That might be a habit…"
"It's different now. We weren't in love back then."
"She doesn't seem to know you love her."
"Of course she does ! I've told her countless times…"
"But you've never proven it to her. And actions mean much more than words…"
"I hope you will." The blonde man said, staring blankly at a wall.
The van finally stopped, after at least half an hour of driving. One of the policemen opened the door, smiling to the young woman.
"We're here. I'll escort you to the door."
"Hum, okay…" The red-head got up, feeling her legs shake. She got off the van, holding herself to its door to not fall.
The house was just as she remembered… It was old, made of stone. It looked rather European, and had wooden structures to hold the windows and doors. They were two stories, with a red roof above them. There was no frontyard, only a small backyard.
"Well, the door seems to be open. I'll be leaving…"
"Okay. Thanks." She said without looking at him, touching the wooden door with her left hand. There was light coming out of the window, meaning her mother was awake. Waiting for her, probably…
Her body was shaking violently. The young college student was so nervous she didn't hear the police van starting and driving away… She stood like this for five more minutes.
"Come on, girl. Open the damn door…"
"I can't. Mom is here…"
"Damnit, Becky ! Aren't you the Fear Monger ? Don't you face your fears ?"
"Seeing my mom in a hallucination is nothing compared to seeing her in the flesh. She could kill me."
"Yeah ? Well, you could kill her too. You killed some men, Becky. You're a criminal. You're friends with some Rogues ! That bitch is nothing compared to you !"
"She's my mom. She's the only person I fear."
"Then fight your fucking fear. You were weak, back then; you saw her as a demon. Now that you're strong, you'll see she's nothing. Spend a few days with her. Analyse her. Find out what she's afraid of… and throw it in her ugly face."
The young woman breathed in deeply, and opened the door, very slowly. She had so many flashes of her old life in this house… It was horrible.
The furniture was still placed exactly the same way… Dust had accumulated on them.
"Hum… Hi, mom !" She called. She wasn't even sure her mother would answer.
"Rebecca. I'm here." A voice resonated from the living-room.
The red-head walked into the room, looking around to spot her mother. She suddenly saw her, slouching on the couch. Her mother had gained weight; she had become… pudgy. Her hair, that used to be golden, was now merely yellow, with grey roots, as if she had been dying it. Her face looked like it had rashes all other it, and her eyes resembled those of a rat. Her whole body looked inflated, and had blue and purple stretch marks all over.
"She was so beautiful when you were a child… Now look at that fat bitch."
"Yes, you've said that already." Mrs. Albright interrupted coldly. "Sit." She indicated a chair by pointing at it with her fat finger.
The young woman quickly did as asked. "Now, tell me. What have you done again ? Why is the police making you stay here ?"
"I haven't done anything." She shook her head brutally.
"Really ? Then why are you here ?"
She couldn't tell her mother the truth. She would have to play the victim's part, again…
"A man is after me. A criminal."
"Why ? Did you steal from him ? That wouldn't surprise me…" the woman snorted.
"No… He… he wants me to join him. He says he loves me."
"Loves you ?" Her mother cackled. "Who the heck would love an ugly, scrawny thing like you ? He must be the most retarded and desperate man on earth. What did you do to him ? Did you seduce him ? You whore…"
"No, mom. I didn't. He's just… insane."
"Well, birds of a feather flock together ! Why don't you join the damn criminal, instead of coming here ?" Her fat jiggled as she talked.
"I would if the police only let me, bitch."
"He's a criminal and a madman, mom." The young woman clenched her fists and her jaw. It hurt her to pretend to not care for him, but she couldn't possibly tell her mother the truth.
"Not very different from you, then. You're the one who made my Megan go away… That's your crime. As for the madness… Spending your life reading stupid books and studying makes you one hell of a weirdo."
Feeling tears rushing to her eyes, the young woman rose from the chair.
"I feel exhausted. I'm going to bed."
"Yeah, you do that." The woman said, looking at her nails.
The red-head ran up the stairs and to her old room. Nothing had been moved : it was still the same cramped, dark, sad room she had as a child. There were no toys, no drawings, no posters; only a bed with pink sheets, a large mirror right across it, a desk and a chair, and a small window. The bed was even smaller than the one she had in her apartment, and less comfortable. The window couldn't be opened; it was only there for decorative purposes. It gave a view to an empty and ugly street. The desk was extremely small, too small. And the mirror… how she remembered hating that mirror ! It covered an entire wall, and the young woman saw herself reflected in it whenever she sat on the bed. She had cried so many times because of it… Her mother had probably put it there on purpose; it was a way to make Becky constantly face her appearance, that she hated. She would always catch a glimpse of her twisted body and disgusting face at each time she moved around the room…
When one's bedroom is usually a safe heaven, Becky's room was a hell. There, she felt suffocated, like she was drowning. The air was rancid, there was nothing appealing to hold on to, nothing to comfort her. There was only her own reflection. Feeling faint, the young woman quickly opened the desk's drawers. Empty. Her books had been moved… If she got out of the room to search for them, she would have to face her mother. Better to stay in purgatory than to jump in hell…
With a sob, the girl threw herself on the bed, burying her face in the hideously pink sheets. She wasn't ready to face herself, to face her mother, to face anything. She felt like a child again… A weak, helpless child.