Batman struggled to dodge through the Scarebeast’s flailing arms, careful to not lose his grip on the syringe in the process or the grappling gun he was clinging to for dear life. He knew this was the only way that the Scarebeast could be stopped, as without the tranquilizers in the syringe, the Scarecrow would eventually die of stress, and as a stressed man himself, he knew the toll would be great.
He knew that the other League members were starting to tire. Never had they faced something like this before. Scarecrow by himself was a handful, but this thing was proving to be a herculean task to handle. He only hoped that the beast would stand still long enough to jam the syringe into one of the small openings in his bracken armor.
Batman knew he didn’t have much time. Hawkgirl and Aquaman were already down, and the Green Lantern was struggling to withstand the fear gas on the ground as he evacuated the people towards one of the clearer interpasses. He couldn’t see the Flash with all the opaque gas in the way, and Superman was still recovering from the Fear Gas.
He knew by himself that he couldn’t bring this beast down. He was lucky that the first time he had fought the Scarebeast he had the hidden alcoves in the Batcave to give him the advantage of stealth and silence, his two greatest assets, to defeat it. Now, he had nothing he could hide behind, and if he didn’t continue to dodge and weave through the beast’s limbs, he would soon end up smashed into a puddle at the bottom of the street.
That’s when he spotted something emerging from the fog. At first, at the speed it was going, he thought it was perhaps Flash or one of the younger Justice League members, but as the figure approached, he was shocked to find Becky, dressed in her Scarecrow costume, her eyes glowing a vivid green as she seemed to fly through the fog, her scythe cutting through it like a knife as she dashed towards him.
That brief lapse in his concentration caused the Scarebeast to gain the upper hand; his clawed hands snapped the line holding him aloft and sending him crashing to the ground.
Only to be inadvertently saved from his fall by a pair of gigantic hands grabbing him, its clawed grip squeezing the air out of him.
“PUT HIM DOWN, JONATHAN!”
The wooden giant stopped suddenly, looking down at the small human at the base of his feet.
Becky stood tall as she faced him down, her fiery eyes looking up with concern at him, her shoulders slumped and her breathing ragged. Her adrenaline was starting to wear thin, and she could barely keep herself standing. Her mind swam with horrible visions, and it took all of her willpower to keep herself from running. “You need to stop! It’s over! She has no control over you or any of us anymore.”
The Scarebeast’s eyes glanced at the Justice League, and he growled. He could already see Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl readying their weapons, ready to make him pay should he go through with crushing Batman’s rib cage.
He felt torn. It went against his nature to submit quietly to Batman, and he rather doubted that Batman wouldn’t separate him and Becky from each other, and right now, at such a fragile physical and mental state, she could truly break at any time. But he also knew that if he didn’t stop himself, he would kill himself, and her in the end.
It was his choice now: to have his revenge and be killed or surrender and live to fight another day?
Then, with reluctant slowness, he uncurled his fist from around Batman’s torso, and stood still as the hero jabbed the syringe into the Scarebeast’s hand, releasing the tranquilizing contents into its body.
Slowly, as the fear gas started to dissipate into the air, he started to shrink, his wooden skin gradually turning to flesh as he drifted into unconsciousness.
Becky raced to his side, holding him close to her as she started to cry into his shoulder. She didn’t care right now that he was half-naked and that everyone else could see her breaking down. All she needed was for him to be in her arms.
She didn’t look up as the silent, booted feet of Batman slowly walked towards her. “I know what you’re going to say,” she replied, her back turned to the Dark Knight. “You’re going to say he kidnapped me and gave me Stockholm syndrome or that he got Tetch to brainwash me. And if that’s so, then you’re wrong!”
“I wasn’t going to say that at all,” he replied, his tone calm, but firm. He knew that she showed no signs of any abuse during his time of tracking her as she ran errands and pulled heists with the Scarecrow. And he didn’t see any signs of listlessness that he usually saw in Tetch’s victims, so mind control was also out of the question. “I’m actually amazed that you’re still alive and sane after all that’s happened. Not everyone can survive that amount of fear gas and still manage to speak.”
“I guess,” she replied, her shoulders sagging and her eyelids fluttering. She could barely keep her eyes open, much less focus on what Batman was saying. She could hear the sirens of the police cars coming closer to her, but she was too tired to care. Jonathan had already succumbed to the sedatives and had passed out. “But what of Friitawa? Did she escape?”
“No. She’s already been put back in Blackgate, where she belongs.”
“And what of me? Where will I be going?”
“That’s not up to him to decide,” Commissioner Gordon replied. His team had already sectioned off the rest of the city from the fear gas, and now was bringing in some economy size fans to dissipate it faster. “The courts will have to decide that for you, Becky. In the meantime, come with me. I’ll escort you to jail.”
She smiled. Compared to tonight, the jail sounded like a resort. Numbly, she got up, limply walking on her cane as she got into the car, falling asleep once the door was closed.
Seeing that Becky was accounted for, Batman used his Batclaw towards the nearest building, his arms carrying Crane like a load of potatoes as he zipped up the building and headed towards Arkham.