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Beat You at Your Own Game

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How would he get the body into the crime lab in the first place? If he suddenly had a brand new car when he turns up at work around the same time Officer Dougherty disappeared. He hissed in frustration. Luggage? He’d have to borrow the bone cutting saw to fit the pieces. Someone might notice it missing… An axe, crude, though simple. He vaguely remembers a somewhat dull axe with a pile of other tools hidden in storage. He was starting to get a headache. Eventually, he would slowly drive up, tailing the man in his sights. It was as if a pitch darkness took over for a fraction of a moment before he found himself above a corpse. It was more than just satisfying. No more bruises, no more crude comments, no more Tom.

Nygma’s breath was erratic as he stumbled backwards against his rain-slick car. He gasped for breath like a fish out of water, not quite getting enough, knife in hand and blood on his suit. He swallowed down a lump as he stared at the body before him. No one, not anyone should ever hurt Miss Kringle. But, oh god, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Not like this. Part of him fought the thrill, the high of killing this worthless man, and part of him didn’t want to. Disheveled and all too warm, he swallowed and searched about. He needed to get rid of the body, and he knew exactly how to do that back in his lab… But he couldn’t risk the inside of his car or trunk getting bloodied and unclean; the slightest evidence, a hair or snag of the uniform, could bury him.

He had planned everything. Luggage, axe, tarp, rainy day to wash the blood, everything.

“You again?”

Everything but that.

The man’s heart nearly stop as he shuddered, turning to see who had called to him, terrified it was someone he knew.

It was, but not in the manner he’d thought.

Mr. Penguin, favoring one side greatly, hand clutching his opposite leg, looked to Edward and then to the bloody corpse on the floor with alarm. His black umbrella could blend into the blackness of that night if it weren’t for the flickering street lamp. He wagged a finger in the general direction of the body.

“Did you do this?” He asked, less cautious and more curious.

Edward swallowed again, nodding his head and taking a shaky breath. He stood straight, adjusting himself to look less homely and more like he knew what he was doing, tugging at his lapels. He glanced to Oswald, or rather his ritzy suit – it was pitch black. No, that wasn’t quite true. Stripes of two different shades of black and a visual texture that reminded him of gravel on his pocket square.

Oswald’s hand fell back to his side as he nodded back, taking in the situation.

“I may have gotten… Carried away.”

For a moment, he recognized the smile Penguin gave him, that ear-to-ear grin. It was the same one he’d give to others in a friendly gesture, but this one, the one Penguin gives people, was much more sinister. He approached Edward and looked down at the body.

His hand still waving to make his point – Nygma figured he was a talk-with-your-hands kind of guy – Penguin asked, “Did you know him?”

“Yes. In a manner of speaking. I didn’t know his personal life.” He knew enough that he was a nuisance to get rid of quickly, however. Edward looked down at the crumple body of Tom Dougherty, lips made into a thin line.

Oswald tutted. Edward fixed his hair, wondering if the sound was aimed at him.

“If you’re in need of any help… I could assist you with the cleanup.”

“There’s really no need, I’ve planned everything accordingly,” Edward blurted, still somewhat frantic, excited, like a thrill after a hunt.

 “I want something, just not your help. What I want is small and square with nothing but a name, a name not its own but belongs to someone else.”

With a hard eye roll, Penguin turned to look behind him.

“Look, someone else is bound to come by. If you don’t want my help, then I’ll gladly leave this mess to you.”

Edward took an unnecessarily deep breath before letting it out.

Clearing his throat, Edward stated boldly, “I want an invitation. To your club.”

Penguin laughed through his nose.  He tilted his head, hands linked in front of him.

“Oh, is that all?”

He nodded swiftly. Oswald’s silence made him shift uneasily.

He held a wicked smile that Nygma knew said it would cost him, a favor perhaps. He was prepared, he brought an axe and his luggage, and he wasn’t particularly desperate, although… He could tie himself to Oswald through the exchange. The intelligence of the GCPD or any evidence he could provide he didn’t care as much about in general. At least, that’s all he could come up with for his usefulness. Oswald could be incredibly useful.

“My invitations don’t come cheap.”

“I realize that.”

“Since it appears you cope well enough to murder someone, and, of course, you’re well acquainted with the police…” Oswald gestured with his hands. “Gladly,” he finally said, leaning a little closer to look up at the taller man. “Do let me know when you’d like to come by. And, here,” he slipped his hand into his coat and pulled a small handful of black cards, picking one and holding it out for Edward. As he took it, he looked at the beautiful gold depression that simply read “Oswald’s.” His fingers felt the beveled address behind it. As he turned the pitch black card, he saw it was simply raised letters in print, the same color as the card. Discreet, but still stylized.

“Let me know if you need anything else. Friend.”

The last word brought Edward’s attention back to him.

“Thank you,” he managed. As Oswald began to walk past him, he stopped him. “Wait, do you... What are you doing here?”

He wondered if he was followed and mild panic sent his heart racing again.

The Penguin turned, eyes wandering to the side and lips pursed as if the question was a stupid one before turning back.

Slowly, he said, “I… Live here,” with a slight sneer.

“Oh! Well. I hope you get the rest of the way home safely.”

Not wanting to disturb the man further, Edward let him hobble through the rain, black umbrella in hand. He looked down to the man’s foot, how it was turned at a grotesque angle before looking back to the body on the ground. He sighed. At least the rain would wash away the blood from the ground. Better get to work. In fact… He figured he ought to pay a visit to Penguin at his club soon.

Well, he didn’t need to. He was going to owe Penguin a favor regardless. Penguin. A favor. What kind of favor? A drug run? A murder? Get rid of a few bodies? He could do that. He didn’t skip a beat thinking about it; he didn’t even realize how apathetic towards the subject he was. He wasn’t necessarily emotionally void, nor socially distant, just disconnected from people. People like Tom Dougherty. He brought an axe, and luggage to shove him into.

He’d need to borrow the lab and, with a few lashes to the cadaver’s face, he could get away with messing with a corpse in the lab. No one would recognize him, he could get rid of his badge, his belongings, write a letter to Miss Kringle, perhaps giving her advice. His thoughts dwelled on her dreamily, her silken hair and muted palette.

He started his car, glancing in the mirror to the tarp-covered back seat with the freshly rain-washed axe. He wished he could have fit it in the trunk with Tom, but it was being used at the time for more important things.

~*~

With the remainder of Dougherty’s bones having the flesh broken from them, Nygma figured he could leave for the day. It was still rainy, extremely humid and almost misting as the rain fell on the cement. As he drove and glanced to the address on his black invitation, he wondered if he should have dressed up. No, this wasn’t an actual, proper visit to the club, this was important. A discussion, he’d hoped. A favor for a favor, a favor that would eventually come, anyway. He took a deep breath rolling into the side of the street, seeing the bright lavender of the neon sign. It wasn’t dark enough out yet for it to be a vivid purple quite yet. He fiddled with the invitation. There wasn’t any… Expiration date. He could just use it any time, right? He came to the door and was greeted by a fairly large man, who introduced himself as “Gilzean” and asked for the invitation before letting Nygma inside. Nygma gave him the card, partially hesitant, wondering if he was allowed back inside without it.

He had spotted Oswald easily, as there were few people at the tables. The man was on stage, slouched and looking rather miserable, poking at a few keys that managed to sound like half of a song. Not doing well with facial expression, he wondered if he was bored, tired, or sad.

“Penguin, Mister, uh, Enigma’s here for you,” called Gilzean, grabbing the small man’s attention.

“Nygma. Just Nygma. Edward Nygma.” Ignoramus.

“Right, sorry pal.”

“Friend. You’re here rather early. Would you like a drink? White wine, perhaps?” He stood from the piano and walked down the steps of the stage, staggering on the last step. Was he drunk, or just somewhat uncoordinated with his leg? Nygma would figure it out within half a sentence.

“Is there an occasion?”

With a fatal grin and a touch to his arm that mimicked kindness, Oswald began to lead him to a table.

“Hm, no, not really. We’re just being friendly, aren’t we? And I’ve not completely opened up yet.”

“My apologies! I wanted to come speak with you.”

“Oh, what about?”

Oswald led him to a small table to the side. Velvet, red, gold-plated trim. Oswald picked one of two bottled offered to him. Their glasses filled and a quiet ‘thank you’ to the staff, Edward waited for Oswald before drinking.

“You’re, uh… Offer. To help me, before.”

After getting to the point, Oswald smiled again.

“Oh, but, you see. It wasn’t exactly an offer. You do—”

“I figured I would have to do something in return and I am fully prepared for whatever it may be.”

Edward held his hands in front of him, eyes catching the way Oswald’s fingers drummed at his sides.

“Is that so? You already owe me a favor for the invitation alone. What if I want you to murder someone? You seemed not only coping, but like you enjoyed it. But that was someone you knew. What if it was someone you didn’t?”

“I am fully prepared to do so. As well as get rid of any evidence on your behalf, provide you with any information I can, help on a case, remove any cases—”

“Wait, wait,” Oswald held up his hand, staring in some disbelief. “How, exactly, are you able to do any of that?”

“Oh, I work the forensics lab,” He pointed to his nametag that still stuck to his pocket; he left it on with purpose. “I also help file any important evidence, I help with the case files, I’m on scene during crime for examination and extraction, and occasionally oversee the medical examiner’s responsibilities, although it’s not my actual job, our former medical examiner was extremely neglectful in his duties and—”

He stumbled over words before quieting as Oswald held up his hand. It must be nice to instill enough fear in people by a raise of a hand.

He’s smaller than you, what are you so afraid of – shut up.

Edward didn’t hear what he said.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

With a scoff, Oswald said, “So, you’re willing to do any of that for me? You owe me one, already. I don’t have anything in mind, right now, but I’m sure when the time I right, I’ll ask you for something in return. But… What do you want? Help?”

“Yes. When needed. I’m sure I could do everything myself, but added resources are extremely helpful, wouldn’t you say?”

Oswald gave him that grin again, the one they shared. It felt like an omen. Like stepping into a graveyard late at night for no reason at all except to explore, because it’s supposed to be scary but you’re not actually scared. It felt riveting.

“Of course. So… This isn’t really a favor for a favor anymore, is it?”

“It could be, if you want to call it that.”

“Is this a partnership? Or are you offering me… friendship?” Edward couldn’t tell what his tone of voice was.

He thought about the answer. Some questions, some riddles, weren’t always black and white with easy words to pick out. There were many answers, but which one was the better answer was another question that needed an answer.

“If we are, then this could be considered favors for the sake of helping one another, not for getting something out of each other. Perhaps it’s more of a mutually beneficial partnership involved with a friendship, not the friendship itself.”

“So… We are friends, and partners?” He was driving the point, not for clarification, but probably because he thought he’d won. Won what?

“Yes. I’d say so.”

Oswald reached out and took Edward’s hand. He looked down at Penguin’s thin, pale hands. His skin was smooth, milk-colored, almost pretty. However, there was a dark, black discoloration around the edge of his nails. He was breathing normally and didn’t have any shortness of breath or other physical symptoms save for his busted leg. Perhaps he had a deficiency or mild malnutrition. Most likely malnutrition; he didn’t see any spot on the man’s tongue as he spoke. Could be accountable for dark teeth, as well. The feeling of Oswald’s hands on top of his own made his chest feel warm. He thought of the passive-aggression Miss Kringle shows him, not interested in his words, bored with him and his presence. Oswald wasn’t bored.

“I think I will thoroughly enjoy having you at my side, Mr. Nygma. May I get you another drink?”

“Yes, please.”

Oswald sat back and snapped his fingers, beckoning for the barkeep to refill their glasses.

There was a moment of admiration that Edward took on, musing about how Oswald could just bark orders to anyone and they’d do as he says, no questions asked. You could do that, what’s wrong with instilling a little fear? No, no… Edward shook his head.

“Well?”

He snapped up to look at Oswald.

“Pardon?”

“Was there anything else you wanted to discuss?”

“No. Just… Partnership. Murder. What have you.”

Oswald looked over his shoulder and his smile faded. He sighed and stood.

“I have a few guests to attend to. Do make yourself comfortable. The evening’s entertainment will begin within the next hour.”

He muttered a ‘thank you’ and eyed Oswald greet a few of his early guests. The man limped over to a few other workers. Seconds ago he was content. He held the same façade with other guests but scowled at his workers. It wasn’t he was particularly angry at them, but just…  He always seemed angry, didn’t he? Edward watched him from afar, giggling in his head about the terms ‘people watching’ and ‘bird watching’ before asking for another glass.

It wasn’t entirely dark out yet though the club was filling up with people. He didn’t enjoy crowds, as he much preferred close quarters with select few people. As he stood, the thought made him sigh; Miss Kringle was a ‘select few’ but treated him horridly. As if he could ever have a chance with her.

Penguin, after greeting a few of his guests, noticing Edward’s departure, came by him to pat his back.

“Do you like it? The club?”

Edward beamed.

“Yes, of course I do. It’s fantastic.”

 “You’re welcome here any time,” added Penguin. Edward was suddenly aware of how dim lit the club was. Of course he knew it was dim, but he was aware of it now. A type of feeling one would call… Intimate?

“Really? Do I still need an invitation?”

“Oh, no, Butch is very good at keeping track of familiar faces. No need to worry, friend. Edward Nygma, was it?”

Ed gave him an exaggerated nod.

“Well, Mr. Nygma—”

“Edward. Ed is fine. Edward. Ed. Whatever!”

“Edward. I’ve enjoyed our little talk. And, actually, I may need a favor for you sooner than later after all.”

“Oh? More murder and hiding bodies or—“

Penguin slammed his hand against the table beside Edward, startling him. He reared back a little. A few guests glanced to them before carrying on. They seemed particularly used to this.

“Keep your voice down. There are guests filling the room.”

“Right, sorry. Won’t happen again.”

“It better not.”

How was he know what kind of talk goes on in a setting like this? As if his guests don’t know about his endeavors… Although, there was the slightest burning inside of him. How dare he make a scene like that? You’re much more than he is. What doesn’t walk or run, but waddles it’s way through life? No, shut up.

“Are you vegan?”

Oswald was caught off guard by the odd question.

“..No?”

“Might I suggest mackerel?” He cackled. Penguin. Fish.

Penguin gave him a dangerous look.

“What?”

“You see, you’re nails are dark in color and as you don’t seem to have any breathing or respiratory issues, and henceforth not a blood issue, especially because your hands aren’t discolored, it must be a B-12 deficiency. Mackerel and beef liver every now and again could help with that.”

Penguin set his jaw, glancing down to his hands as his fingers twitched. He was upset. Edward suddenly felt sheepish incredibly rude. He wasn’t supposed to be rude.

Ignoring the question and forcing an empty smile, Oswald asked, “Might you at least stay for the evening’s entertainment?”

Oswald clapped his shoulder before leaving him be. Edward glanced to the stage where a woman with wild, pale hair began to sing.

What are you doing? You’re right in his trap.

He frowned, trying to pay more attention to the charming older woman on stage. She seemed a little eccentric, but having fun nonetheless.

You can outwit him.

Edward forced a smile, trying to convince his subconscious otherwise.

I can outwit him. I can give him whatever he needs, and there’s too much I can provide. He’ll hold on to that favor for as long as he can, dangle it in front of me and I’ll pretend to be under his thumb.

He relies solely on luck. The only reason he’s gotten this far is sheer stupidity.

No, that’s not entirely true. He gets in bad situations, but he makes the best out of every one. He’s smart. Smarter than I give him credit for. I have to be careful.

He was startled by clapping. He should leave. Right now. Before he gets out of hand.

~*~

Edward was able to breathe happily as he wrote his acrostic letter to Miss Kringle, forging Tom’s sympathies to urge her into a better relationship. With one last glance at the “NYGMA” spelled at the side, he was able to plant the letter into her office. Now, to get back to breaking down human tissue… What kind of room has no door or windows, but a roof over its head? A mushroom. Edwad giggled to himself. It would take far too long to use fungus to get rid of this. Chemical means was much easier and faster. He still bemused. Perhaps he could have made a garden out of him. A garden of fungus, like the Gomphus clavatus he was. Evidence could decompose into the ground and then the body of the garden consumed later. It wouldn’t technically cannibalism, not that it was even illegal. Assault and murder were crimes, but if someone wanted to be eaten and filed proper paperwork, it could happen. The idea was intriguing, but he wouldn’t actually do something like that. That was crazy, even for him.

He thought it would go smoothly; the blood was mostly gone from his back seat and he could take it to Oswald’s after a drink or two. He hadn’t had the time, too much evidence to get rid of… He thought it was fine until Miss Kringle approached him, slow and uneasy. She was holding his letter, and pointed to the letters, “NYGMA,” with a suspecting scowl. A laughing fit after she left and a self-depreciation session later, he tittered. She treats you like dirt.

“No, she’ll keep digging.” He slammed his hands on the file cabinet.

Why did you have to leave a clue?! Why?!”

No, no, no body, no evidence, nothing to prove…

Another visit, even if it’s just a drink, it couldn’t hurt. In fact, Nygma wondered if Penguin had a favor in mind, yet. Anything, something, just to get his mind off everything.

What’s black and white and red all over?

Stop it.

He slammed the cabinet arguing with himself. He wasn’t sure if it was out loud or in his mind. He didn’t care, no one was around, no one could hear. Time to get some air.

Nygma loosened his tie. This time it would be a social visit. A proper visit. He should change. A darker blue suit, nearly black. Every man has a good blue suit, at least so Edward was taught. He fixed his tie and checked the time. It would be dark soon and he wondered if he should wait until then. No, he was anxious now, and changing his suit was only an excuse to busy himself. As long as you don’t bore him with more riddles.

Edward sucked his a breath, nearly hissing as he ignored his negative thoughts, but still they persisted. You saw the way he looked at you when you asked another riddle. He told you he didn’t like them, why did you ask another? He slammed the steering wheel, yelling, enough! He nearly broke the key in the ignition as he turned it over. No riddles, no riddles, no riddles, no riddles, no riddles, no riddles, no riddles, here it is.

He stepped from the car, hearing a soft thumping of music from the inside. He fixed his lapels and pocket square, fiddled with his hair, tugged his pants, stamped his shoe lightly. Stop fussing already. He closed his eyes, tilting his head as he hoped to drown out that infuriating voice. He plastered on a smile as he moved forward.

“Hello, Mr. Nygma. Here to speak with Penguin again?”

“Of course! This is a social visit this time, I promise.”

“I see.”

With the pleasant exchange to start off his good mood, he headed for the bar, Oswald tailing him. Drinking to ignore the troubles of murder was a terrible idea. He asked for water this time. Oswald sat beside him.

“Why not have a real drink? On the house.”

“Oh, no, it’s fine, I—”

“Don’t be silly. You owe me for an invitation, not for a drink. Scotch? Gin?”

“Uhm.. Gin, and thank you.”

“Gin. Gimlet,” Oswald ordered, asking for two.

“So. Might I ask, who was that man you stabbed to death?”

“He, uh… He was a terrible person. A jerk, really. He hurt her, and he didn’t deserve her, and he constantly treated me like dirt. He treated everyone like they were just his playthings, to be pushed around, beaten, as if they were just—”

Penguin’s hand rested on his back as he leaned close, stopping Nygma from rambling.

“You know, people like that deserve what happens to them. They treat people like you and me like garbage. But we’re smarter than they are. We know our tricks, and these people? They’re just trivialities in our way. Obstacles to be overcome. And you overcame yours. I won’t ask details, but I assume everything is accounted for? No body, no crime, right my friend?”

No body, no crime, no body, no crime, no body, no crime. It rang in his head over and over. Yes, exactly.

“Yes, exactly.”

“Good.”

Oswald took up his glass and held it out and they clinked their glasses.

“To overcoming our obstacles,” said Penguin, chuckling to himself. No, he wasn’t smart, not like Edward. He was mischievous, impish, a type of devil not even Hell would loose just every now and again. He wasn’t smart, not like you. You’re brilliant. You can solve any crime, make up the perfect crime, he’s nothing like you. You’re nothing like him, he’s fearsome and controls people with a look, and no one even gives you a second glance.

“Since you work in a lab, I figured you’d have just about anything at your disposal for getting rid of a body. But tell me, how much access do you have to that?”

Edward paused before giving Oswald a toothy grin.

“Quite a lot, actually. No one minds my sulking around,” He shifted back and forth for emphasis. “Or really cares, for that matter.”

“No?”

“Nope. No one. I’m just the Forensics scientist on staff. The Nerdy guy with the riddles.”

“But you’re much more than that, aren’t you?”

Flattery? Now that’s a riddle in and of itself. He wants something from you. Of course he does, why else would he—

“I can dig up things everyone else forgets about. If you have me, you’ll share me and if you share me, you’ve lost me. What am I?

Oswald scoffed though played along, curious.

“I don’t know, Edward. What?”

A secret. I can find out anyone’s and everyone’s secret so long as there’s a possibility of it being filed somewhere. Even yours or someone else’s. Use them against someone, or destroy them.”

“I appreciate the sentiment, and might take you up on that offer if you so choose… But, my dear Edward, I need something else.”

“Oh? Like what?”

“First, how exactly did you dispose of the body? Bury it? Chuck it in the river?”

“No, no. I used sodium hydroxide. Breaks down lots of tissue and most of the bones.”

“Why not use something stronger?”

Ed sucked in his lips.

“I wanted him to suffer. Even in death. I crushed his skull over and over with a hammer until I felt he was actually finished.” Edward motioned his arm as if he held the hammer to demonstrate.

“You have quite a lot of… Pent up rage.”

“Hmm… I suppose I do. But rightfully so.

“Oh, no, I don’t deny that, Mr. Nygma. Edward. But… You do have more powerful acids, don’t you?”

“What runs cold and boils hot, begins as blue but the further it travels, the redder it gets?”

Another eye roll and sigh made Nygma’s expression falter. Right. He doesn’t like riddles. Well, too bad.

“What?” His voice was flat. Better hurry up.

“Blood. The answer is blood. What does blood flow through and where is it made? The body. The heart and bone marrow if you want to be precise. Muscle, calcium phosphate, collagen, and other organic materials. What can get rid of all this? Hydrofluoric acid, seems to be the top pick in movies. Doesn’t really work the way they make it look, but it does the job. Piranha is something we can make, I’m sure I could find the material for it.”

“Piranha?”

“Yep! Exactly what it sounds like. Cleans organic residue and tissue off in less than an hour, depending on the amount of tissue of course. A whole body? Less than a few days, I’m sure. Ultra powerful stuff. Oxidizes things a little, too. Don’t want that stuff to touch you or your bunny suit.”

 “And you can get your hands on that?”

“Of course!”

Look at him, thinking he’s outsmarted you. Outcharmed you. You’re better than this. Don’t let him beat you.

“I’d be happy to help.” He stressed help to punctuate his sentence and outstretched his hand.

Oswald took his hand generously as they shook before drinking more.

“How soon are you capable of doing this?” He asked eventually, staring off at the buildup of crowd by the band.

“Tonight, if you’d like.” Edward dug into his pocket and pulled out keys.

Oswald gave him a gleaming smile.

“Well, if you insist.”

They had time, and no one would notice the copy of the keys missing. Edward didn’t take the main keys, those would be noticed. He’d chauffeur little Penguin to the lab, let him have his thrill of wandering the building after hours, while he collected bottles.

They had gotten to the building, just after the janitorial staff left. They waited to see anyone else and when no one came, Edward led the way inside. He took long strides, knowing his destination well and not bothering to wait for Penguin. He could catch up eventually, and Edward wanted to leave as soon as possible. He came to storage, finding where the duffle bags were kept and took one. Just one would suffice.

He came into the lab, unlocking it and leaving the door open. He glanced to all other bottles and contained substances before opening the cabinet where large gallon-containers sat in messy rows. Fixated on a compulsion, he organized them first. It was aesthetically pleasing that way. He thought of Oswald. Was he aesthetically pleasing? He was angular and sharp, it was a kind of aesthetic. He was smart and keen, but not as much as Edward.

He slammed the cabinet shut, seething through his teeth. You’re not as great as you think you are.

He turned on his heel, yelling at nothing, “Shut up!!

He saw Oswald standing in the door way of the dark lab, concerned, if not frightened.

“Are you alright…?”

Now look what you did. You scared him. You scared your only friend.

“Stop it,” he spat, turning his head.

Oswald set his umbrella against the wall, hands up as he slowly approached Edward.

“It’s alright. Don’t listen to… Whatever you’re hearing.”

He’s scared of you. What’s wrong with a little fear? It’d do him good.

Edward shook his head, laughing before abruptly stopping, “No, it’s not funny, you idiot.”

He jumped feeling hands at his forearms, looking down to it was, in fact, Oswald. He was talking, what was he saying..?

“..For the favor. Y-you wanted an invitation, you’re looking into sulfuric acid. Remember? We’re partners in crime, now. Friends.”

He’s trying to distract you.

It’s the good kind. He’s worried about me.

No he isn’t, why would he actually care? He just needs you for that favor.

“Shut up. Shut up, shut up.”

He’s just using you, he doesn’t actually care.

No, shut up.

He doesn’t care, you idiot.

Shut up.

He doesn’t—

Edward grabbed Oswald’s arms tightly, expression wild before he began a quiet laughter, lowering his head as he clung to Penguin. The smaller man felt trapped, but rubbed Nygma’s arms, hoping to calm him down. His hands grasped the upper parts of his sleeves before finally holding either side of Nygma’s face, forcing his head back up. His hair was in his face as he continued to crack up. It was more sad than anything as Oswald adjusted his own jaw, not sure what to say anymore.

Edward mirrored him, grabbing his face before biting his own lip, trying not to laugh yet again. It’s not funny, why are you laughing? You’re terrifying.

He leaned down far enough to touch their foreheads, hoping dig for more comforting gestures. He brought Oswald’s face close, his mouth over the other’s in a near-desperate attempt to forget his own drawling thoughts. His hands held Penguin’s face in place, fingers digging into dark, short hair, ignoring the muffled sound of Oswald’s protest. Eventually his struggling subdued and his own thin hands clutched Edward’s. Edward tore himself away, not able to bear breathing so carefully through his nose. He tasted the inside of his own cheek and realized Oswald had, in fact, not only kissed him back but added his tongue as well.

With shaky hands he straightened and tried to apologize, only to be brought back down by his tie, eye-to-eye with a not so pleased Penguin. The smaller man parted his lips and craned his neck to reach Edward again, at a slightly better angle this time. Edward tried to be gentler, not so panicky and forceful. Oswald parted so briefly only to kiss him again, dragging out the endeavor, tongue tasting succulent lips. When they finally broke apart, Oswald gave him a look that dared to ask, what is wrong with you?

“I’m…”

“I swear to God if you say you’re sorry.”

“No. Not sorry. “

“Good. Now. No one will notice these are missing?”

“Not if I change the inventory ledger. Which I did.”

“Three steps ahead. You’re a brilliant man, my friend.”

Edward bit his lip, tittering with excitement.

“Just brilliant? I can teach you how to mix and make your own Piranha solution, base or acid, only a few people in the GCPD know how to make it, but I’m smart. Smarter than anyone in the GCPD. The majority are just… Benign tumors. They don’t even have a purpose or real cause, they’re just annoying. They treat me like dirt, and I’m somehow stuck at the bottom. I go out and do their dirty work for them and they get the credit.”

Oswald tilted his head in disbelief.

“Is that… Is that what you’re worried about?” He took a deep breath and gave Edward a charming little smile. Charming? It certainly was… No, what are you thinking. This was supposed to be a challenge, not a

“You are brilliant, Mr. Nygma.”

Edward beamed, feeling a little brazen.

“More so than you, Mr. Penguin?”

Of course you are. You can beat him at his own game if you wanted to. If.

Penguin hung his head, trying to piece together the right words.

“You are… A very intelligent man. But we are smart in different ways. I may not know what… What the rich eat and the poor need—”

“What the rich need, the poor have, and if you eat it—”

“Yes, yes, that. I don’t really care. But I do know how to manipulate a situation, manipulate people. I don’t need to know the chemical makeup of whatever acid you used to dissolve Mr. Dougherty, or… Or the type of brain structure a fungus has. That’s you. That’s your ideal, not mine. And you are certainly the best for it.”

He doesn’t want to admit you’re better than he is. His pride runs too deep.

“Are you manipulating me?”

“I have a feeling you’re the one trying to manipulate me.” Oswald’s voice was dry, but honest. He continued before Edward could banter further.

“Now, was that all you needed, silly goose? A little self-affirmation of your worth? Might we get back to our business?”

Edward nodded, taking a minute to regain himself. He grinned giddily at the smaller man before him then looked through cabinets again. Opening the large medical, duffle bag that lay at his feet, he took large containers of sulfuric acid, setting them gently. Oswald waited patiently for him to finish locking the cabinets before following him back out, turning off all lights and locking all doors.

As Edward set the bag into the back seat, he lingered on the moment. He kissed this carnivorous mob boss and they both acted like it was the most normal thing they had done. Should I bring it up? I could kiss him again. No, it was a sign of weakness, he pitied you, saw you as a weaker man. You’re better than this, greater than this. And he admitted it, too. No, it was just pity play. Kind words with empty meaning, that’s all. Hah.. Hahahahah.

Not realizing he was speaking out loud, Oswald called his name.

“Edward? You’re doing it again.”

He stopped abruptly, looking up and fixing his hair as he stood tall and cleared his throat.

“It wasn’t pity. I was being genuine. I really do mean what I said.”

Had I said all that out loud?

“O-oh… Well I… I’m slightly embarrassed, ahah…”

“I was harsh with you on our first meeting.”

Waddle, drag, waddle, drag, waddle, drag… His leg was busted and he looked like he was boiling inside. Do you like riddles? No, I don’t…

“Oh, right. No, it’s fine.”

“No, my friend. It wasn’t. I was… Upset. I had little going for me at the time and it was bad news on top of bad news… I do apologize.”

“Is there a reason you’re bringing this up now?”

“I figured now was a good time.”

“Is it because we kissed?”

“I… No, actually. It was because you seemed frantic, again, just now. I want to prove to you I wasn’t saying those things out of pity.”

“How was it?”

“How was what?”

“The kiss!”

Oswald wondered about Edward’s train of thought and how it worked. He pegged that to be a higher priority? Well, whatever suited him.

“It was… Fine. I guess.”

“…Just fine?”

“Can we please go, now?”

“I seem to be making you uncomfortable... Sure thing.”

With a sigh, Oswald piled into the passenger side, clutching his leg as he did so. Edward’s fingers twitched, fighting off the urge to touch the man’s injured leg. You kiss him once and now you forget all about Miss Kringle?

Turning the engine, Edward drove back to the club, taking the heavy bag inside. Oswald didn’t like to be asked if he needed help getting in or out of the car. He wasn’t helpless, and snapped at Edward when he did ask.

Oswald fumbled with keys before unlocking and allowing the two of them inside. He flipped the lights and Edward sharply looked about, like a little animal curious with new surroundings. The club was dazzling this late, with dim lights and shades of red and mahogany.

Edward dropped the bag on a stool and looked over the bar to the shelves.

“I may understand the concept of top shelf liquor but there is a much better way to organize all that. At least a dozen ways, depending on whether you’re going by proof, type, or even aesthetic by color, style, or both, starting from top to bottom or bottom to top, a lateral branching in all directions, or simple bisymmetry.”

Oswald turned on his heel. He looked more tired than angry.

“If you want to do something about it…” His voice was quiet.

“Oh, may I?”

Oswald gestured ambiguously, hobbling toward a couch, falling into the velvet and laying on his back. He shifted to find his phone and call his mother.

Edward, happily rearranging, heard Oswald’s voice and curiously stalked closer, leaning over to peek over the couch.

“Yes, mother, I’m fine. I’ll be home tonight, don’t worry. It’s been a late night at the club, is all. Okay… I love you, too.”

Edward parted his lips in an abiding state of awe. Oswald smiled softly when he was on the phone, and Edward had never seen him so content. He told his mother he loved her and it was in such a soft voice. He had one of those rare smiles one only comes across four or five times in life. It seemed to understand you and believe in you just as you.. would like to be understood and believed in. Edward coveted it for a long, wondrous moment.

Catching Edward’s stare, that smile faded back into fatigued irritation.

“What?”

“Oh, no, nothing. I finished sorting the liquor.”

“Good for you.” Edward adjusted his posture and Oswald sat up properly before standing, fixing his clothes. He was still before looking back up at Nygma.

“What, now?”

Edward jumped a little, stammering, “O-oh, uhm. Nothing. Sorry." He turned, then backtracked,

“Actually…”

He approached with caution, fingers touching. He thought about the best course of action and decided talking would just make things unnecessarily awkward with lengthy discussion.

He bent over, hesitant, enough to feel Oswald’s breath. The man before him leaned back slightly, more out of suspicion than anything, he assumed. He hoped. Connected lips and a coarse breath through his nose, Nygma brought himself closer, hands gentle against Penguin’s pale face, his thumb brushing across his closed eye across his lashes. Oswald pushed himself away, idly fixing Edward’s coat for him.

“I’ll put the bag away. Why don’t we head out of here?”

“Where are we going?”

He looked up at Edward, brows knitted and mouth agape.

“You don’t do this often, do you?”

Nygma paused, thinking about the question.

“Kissing? Not really, no.”

“Fine. We can leave the bag. Let’s go.”

Ed stumbled over his words as he followed Oswald back to the car.

“You haven’t answered my question.”

Sigh, what question?”

“Where are we going?”

“Do you live nearby?”

“Around the edge of downtown.”

“Fifteen minutes from here, then.”

“Yep! Are we…”

“Just drive, Edward.”

Oswald leaned back into his seat, near-glaring at the man driving.

Edward glanced between him and the road.

“Is something wrong? O-oh—”

He stiffened as he felt Penguin’s hand move across his outer thigh. A sudden heat spread across his cheeks – Blushing? Now? You’ve kissed him thrice tonight, and now you’re blushing?

Fingers made circles in the fabric of his pants, drawing nearer, yet avoiding. The hand squeezed his thigh, making Edward grip the wheel. He sped up about eight miles over the speed limit, enough to go faster but not enough to risk getting pulled over. As he drove into the parking lot to an apartment complex, Oswald’s took a much bolder action and smoothed his hand over Nygma’s inner thigh, cupping him and squeezing enough to gain a soft, tapered sound. He could see Oswald’s mouth form a coy smile. Was it coy? He assumed that’s what it would be called, considering their current situation.

Edward tried to keep himself together, anxious and yet thrilled. He had a hurried pace as he trotted up the iron stairwell and down the walkway to his door. As he let Oswald in, the shorter man caught his wrist before he could turn the lamp.

“Leave them off,” he demanded, shutting the door behind him. He brought Edward’s wrist to his lips fervently.

“It’s… It’s dark,” commented Edward, gliding his hand across Penguin’s face, blanketed in the dark.

“Don’t you know where everything is?”

“I, uh.. Yes, of course.”

“Lead me.”

“Where would you… Like to engage?”

Oswald couldn’t help but snicker.

“Hmm, wherever you feel.”

“The bedroom is most common and ‘proper’ for such engagements, and we would be better situated than in my living room or kitchen, considering my furniture and—”

“Just lead the way.”

“Right.”

A nervous chirrup left him as he made jerky motions to find his way through the dark and down the hall. He felt along the wall, his wallpaper hard, thick, he felt a few bubbles where the glue was coming off from behind. Opening his bedroom door, he led Oswald through his well-kept room up to the neatly made bed. Oswald removed his jacket, folding it over and setting it on a chair that sat in the corner. He faced Edward, who stood the center of the room, only rubbing his hands together idly, looking off somewhere else. Oswald slid his deep-colored scarf from his neck, moving to him and wrapping the scarf around the taller man before letting it slip to the floor. He jumped, startled.

“Well?”

 “Yes?”

“Take off your clothes.”

Edward shucked off his jacket and tie, unbuttoning his dress shirt. It was… Far more embarrassing than he thought. Halfway down, Oswald’s hands stopped him.

“That’s far enough. You don’t know anything about foreplay, do you?”

“Oh! Tantalizing. I know… Of. It.”

“That certainly tells me a lot,” he deadpanned, hands along Edward’s waist. They moved down, then up, untucking Nygma’s pale blue dress shirt. Lips touched his bare skin at the opening of his shirt. Nygma looked down, his pointed nose, light eyes… His own hands ran through Oswald’s dark hair – minimal product, excessively soft. Edward bent down, dithering before holding Oswald close, nose to his neck, taking a deep breath. Aromatic, something of sandalwood and smoke. It was provocative, enough for Edward to nestle against his nape. A hand at the back of his neck – he likes the attention.

“Did you just… Smell me?”

“Should I not?”

“Put your hands on me.”

Edward, fidgeting, set his hands along Oswald’s waist, mimicking what the man had done earlier. With a silent ponder, he slid a hand to Oswald’s back, kissing his neck. He then flattened his tongue against him before withdrawing. Only a slight chemical taste, he was surprised so little cologne was used to make such an intoxicating scent. Lips rough against Oswald, Edward took a deeper breath, arms tight around the man as he heard him sigh, feeling his shirt buttons be toyed with. Rich, woody, slightly damp.

“You smell good.”

“Mm.”

“Can I take this off?”

He shrugged his shoulder to motion about his shirt. Penguin smiled, something kinder than usual. He escaped Nygma’s hold and undid his vest, catching up with Edward’s disarray. He took Edward’s hands and places them at his own shirt.

“Do mine.”

Edward looked down to his own shirt as Oswald’s mirrored, fingers tugging at the small buttons. Following his lead, Edward undid his shirt, small finger dipping beneath the fabric and – oh, how nice his skin felt. Shirts crumpled to the floor, Oswald took Edward’s hands again, kissing the backs of them. With little response from Edward, he let out a breath.

“Let’s sit on the bed.”

“Oh. Alright.”

Being led by Oswald, eyes adjusted enough to the dark, he climbed atop the sheets, shoes coming off.

“Get on top of me.”

Laying on his back, Oswald brought Edward down into a kiss, burning and somewhat forceful. For a fraction of a moment, they parted, only for Oswald to kiss him again and again, each more fervent than the last, caning his neck until he gave up, breaking apart and laying completely back.

“Is something wrong?” Asked Edward, eager to please, yet out of his element.

“Your glasses.”

Nygma touched the frames gently before sliding them from his face, folding them and reaching over, barely able to reach the night stand.

“There!”

“You can do other things, too, you know.”

“Like what?”

“Put your hands on me again.” He did so, palms firm against Cobblepot’s hips.

“Move them.”

Oh. Touching. Massaging, caressing, stroking. Oh.

“You can kiss me, too. At the same time.” His voice… Was he poking fun at him?

Right. Putting two and two together, Edward did just that. Though… Was he looking for something in particular? Erogenous zones in the human body include… Lips. Check. His hands brushed against Oswald’s neck and he felt a faintest gasp of breath. Check.

He paused, feeling the skin beneath his fingers.

“You going to just sit there and stare or what?”

Oh. He shimmied out of his pants, leaving his undergarments.

“Stop thinking so much. Just... Do.”

“Right.”

“What were you thinking about?”

“You. Us. Naked. And warm. It was nice.”

“Do you want to do that?”

“We can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Your leg!”

“My leg is fine. What do you want me to do?”

“Get naked.”

Oswald lifted his hips to remove his belt. His hand brushed over his still-forming tent, more for himself than for show. He hooked his thumbs into his waistband, pulling down everything wild a slight struggle. Edward slipped his hands beneath him, holding him up by his waist to help. His thin hips were prominent, on top of the subtle V-line. Edward pulled both his own and Oswald’s clothes the rest of the way.

He rubbed his fingers into his skin, touching Oswald’s cheek and moving down at his throat. He was brought down by the back of his head, lips againsg his, at his chin, jaw, and a tantalizing lick by the shell of his ear. A strange, visceral feeling found its way into him, bubbling. He wrapped his hands around Oswald’s neck. Should he ask permission?

“Can I…” He began, waiting for Oswald to stop kissing him.

“Can I choke you?”

“What?” His response was stark, louder than their just-above-whispering voices.

“I-I won’t kill you! There may be bruising depending on how sensitive your skin is, but choking someone until they cannot breathe, for only a few seconds as not to draw them unconscious, can release hormones that make the body… Feel good.”

Oswald’s been beaten, kicked, bloodied, bruised, half-deafened, and near-crippled. Never choked. Did Edward have a fetish? He probably didn’t even realize it.

“Just… Be careful.”

Edward’s face lit as he bit his lip subconsciously. He adjusted himself, astride the smaller man as he carefully found his thumbs over the small dip in Oswald’s throat. He squeezed gently at first, tightening slowly, feeling him swallow against his hands, the bob of his adam’s apple, watching the rise and fall of his pale chest. He had moonlit skin with the faintest dusting of freckles. His nightly rendezvous and nocturnal habits kept him untanned. He opened his mouth to help himself breathe. Hands tight, tighter, squeezing, nearly crushing. Oswald’s legs outstretched before fidgeting, arched against the bed. He grabbed Edward’s wrists, pulling them against him further. Edward felt warmer than before, watching skin stretch beneath his hands, Oswald’s open-mouth breathing was erotic – no dancing around the subject. Edward found him attractive, especially now. He could kill him if he wanted to, very easily. His life was very literally in his hands. He covered Cobblepot’s mouth with his, holding him up by the neck. He felt a buzzing in his head, tongues meeting as he squeezed, feeling his own breath taken.

Penguin tapped Edward’s arms near-frantically, kicking his legs, feeling light and fluttery in his head, vision dark. Edward deepened their one-sided kiss, sucking lips before he finally, finally pulled away, letting Oswald free to gasp deeply for air, sputtering.

“S-sorry.”

Edward smoothed back Oswald’s frayed, pointed bangs. He was sweaty, almost clammy, and only just slightly blue. He watched as color return to his face.

“Sorry,” he repeated, as Oswald didn’t respond right away.

Oswald took his left hand and led it down his stomach, a small convulsion. He was probably ticklish.

“Squeeze there.”

One hand against his crotch, Nygma was glad he was so much taller, longer-limbed. He could do both, choke him and let him rut against his hand. Better yet, he removed his hand, placed both of them against Oswald’s throat, and forced a knee between his legs, receiving a painful mewl as he crushed him, squeezed him in short bursts.

“Do that again. More.” Oswald was sounding wheezy.

With a small turn of his head, Edward looked down to his throat, dark and red where he grabbed him.

“It’s going to bruise.”

“It already will. Can you use one hand?”

“Uhm…” Edward took his right hand to hold Penguin’s throat, measuring his large hands.

“Yes. Yes I can.”

“Good.”

He was making little effort to do much else. No, that’s not how this should work. Letting a disappointed Oswald go, he sat on his knees and undid his pants. Where to go from here…

He wants a mouth against him, and hands, and he wants his mouth against him, and hands. But he needed to fill in the gaps between that. He was much better at thinking, fantasizing, than doing. He imagined his chest against Oswald’s back, sweaty, sticky, stuck, heavy breathing and plump lips. That would require a healthy leg, by which Oswald did not have. He took a moment to appreciate his own self-control; he wasn’t zig-zagging between dream-like states of mind, too focused on the task at hand.

Oswald tugged at Ed’s wrist, urging him, but he let go instead.

Cobblepot found a more comfortable position, somewhat annoyed. “Hmm… Now what?”

Ed stayed silent, not having heard him – he stared, overlooking Oswald’s small frame, even smaller without clothes that made him look dangerous: freckles faintly dusted on his skin further, uncircumcised, little body hair – did he shave? – the faint lines of blue veins, darker in some areas, like his thighs, feet, and a little at his arms.

“Don’t stare,” he huffed, bringing Ed back to reality.

“I didn’t mean to. You’re very pretty. Not pretty like a girl, or in a feminine way, though you’re not very masculine, but pretty as in something supernal, or like…”

Ed stopped himself, as if to catch his breath.

“Or what?”

“Chiaroscuro.”

“..What?”

“I-it’s a type of painting, in which there are dark—”

“I know what a chiaroscuro is. I just pegged you more of a man of science, honestly. I’m actually impressed.”

“I am. But I still appreciate aesthetic. Like.. Yours, right now, for example. You look like a chiaroscuro painting.”

“That so.” His voice was flat, but he cocked his eyebrow, failing at hiding his interest. That’s right, he was prideful. Edward wondered if he was a narcissist. Should he compliment him?

“Light against dark. I like your skin. Can I touch you?” He wondered what Oswald would look like sweaty, panting, pink, flush, and out-of-breath. He squirmed at the thought, especially, of his ejaculate on Oswald’s face.

“I thought that’s what you’ve been doing,” he replied, though tone still somewhat void. Edward was getting the hang of his dryness and understood it was a tease.

Fingers at his throat again, feathery as they traced his body’s lines down. A quiet gasp – he really was ticklish. Edward smiled.

“You’re pretty.”

“You said that already.”

“You are.”

“Thank you…” Oswald almost let friend slip his tongue. He held it back for personal sake – Edward may not mind the language, but it would be awkward in another situation, to call someone you’re fucking a friend.

“Don’t you have lube?” He croaked. Edward didn’t break his concentration, still deeply investigating the creases of his body.

“I… I don’t usually…”

Sigh, then we can’t.”

“What? Why not?”

“Because it’ll hurt too much.”

“I-I can be gentle! I could also use… Would saliva help?”

“It doesn’t work that way.”

“Why not?”

“You’re the scientist… Don’t you at least have condoms?”

“Oh, yes I do!”

Oswald opened his mouth but couldn’t form a tangible sentence. How did he have condoms, but no lube? Why did… He decided to stop questioning it. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to know. Though, he did find it… Almost endearing to know Edward wanted to sleep with him with puppy-like excitement. He wasn’t the type to really engage with others. Well, to be fair, Oswald knew he wasn’t the type for this sort of thing either, but at least he knew lube and foreplay were things you needed.

Edward had gotten off of him to search through drawers, picking out three boxes and looking between them,

Oswald narrowed his eyes. Three?

“Why do you have those?” He asked.

“Protection.”

He scoffed, “I know that. I meant why do you have three boxes?”

“I had gotten multiple boxes, curious as to the difference in texture and feel, especially with the difference between latex and polyurethane. I personally prefer latex, as it has a certain rubber feel I appreciate, sort of like latex gloves. I supposed why it’s also called a glove in certain jargon. Oh! This came with a bottle of lubricant— ”

“I thought you said you didn’t have any!”                                     

“You didn’t let me finish.”

Oswald was being excessively patient with this man.

“Please, just pick one and fuck me.”

With a little jump, Edward looked between the boxes and finally picked out a small square, setting the rest back into the drawer. He felt something prickle in his chest every time Penguin barked an order at him. He liked it, but also wanted to challenge it. What would Oswald do to him if he disobeyed him?

“You like latex?” Oswald asked, reflecting what he was told moments ago.

“Mm-hmm. I admit, I sometimes bring extra gloves. They leave powdery residue, but it’s not unpleasant. Especially when they’re slick with gels or oils.”

“It’s not the same kind of latex people usually wear on their bodies.”

“Oh, I know. But it’s enough.”

“For?”

Edward’s face burned, but he didn’t miss a beat.

“Sexual relief.”

“Masturbating. You masturbate. You can say it, you know.”

 “Yes, that.” He played with a condom packet before finally tearing it open, rolling it over himself.

“It’s not some terrible word you’re not allowed to say. Come on. Say it.”

“…Masturbate. I Masturbate.”

“See? That wasn’t hard. Do you wear it?”

“Wear what?”

“Latex.”

“Oh. No, I don’t.”

“Would you like to?”

Edward thought of it.

“I’ve… Always wanted to try it. The sensation of it on your skin. Your whole body, even.”

Oswald laughed through his nose. A bodysuit? He really did have a fetish.

“Do you like it on other people?”

Edward imagined Oswald in latex; gloves, briefs… No, he was more neutral on the idea. He thought of others, pretty girls he’d seen on the streets, Miss Kringle wouldn’t be suited for that kind of thing. He imagined her usual high-waist skirt and bolero made of latex… Hmm. No, it didn’t particularly stir anything in him. It was far too stark of an image, she wouldn’t really be the type, he didn’t think. He much preferred the feeling on himself.

“No. Not really.”

“Give me that,” Oswald took the bottle of lube, tired of waiting for Edward. He didn’t seem to multitask well when he was deep in thought.

Oswald poured it over his hands and reached over to Edward’s semi-hard cock. He shuddered at the touch, grabbing the sheets. His hands, both of them, smeared the thick gel over Edward, making him sheen. He flattened his palm against his lower stomach, feeling over his thin hair and across his skin, making his lower stomach glisten. His fingers traced the veins to Edward’s cock, making a ring with his fingers around him to glide to the tip. He felt him shudder beneath his too-gentle touch.

“Do you want me on my back?”

“Yes. Just like that,” his voice was softer, a little higher. Oswald wondered what else he could make Edward sound like.

Nygma climbed over the man, feeling across his skin, arched back, and buttocks. A hum of approval. Edward ventured farther, still rather timid. He’s explored anatomy before, but that was with emotional disconnect, used for scientific backing and study. And, well, they were corpses. This was intimate, a different kind of study. He wasn’t used to this, regardless of the few times he’s bedded someone else. The term “eat out” came to mind, but he figured now wasn’t quite the time to experiment.

He felt for the bottle on the sheets and uncapped it completely, dipping his fingers in the cool gel. He smeared it between his fingers before pouring some, a bit too much, into his hand. With an awkward, searching hand, he spread lube between Oswald’s cheeks, hearing him make a soft sound. About.. Half a finger could fit with ease. Was it painful? He’d always wondered, having only done so to himself twice or so. It didn’t hurt himself, but he hadn’t exactly done much. A little deeper, and back out again, repeat…

“Hurry up,” the man breathed, head against the pillows.

A second finger –

“Just put it in, already.”

He held his breath, leaning forward as he pushed inside, chest against Oswald’s.

“How is your leg?”

“It’s fine, just…” Oswald reached to him, clawing at Edward’s side, making him yelp. With a slow roll of his hips, straightening himself to do so, he held onto Oswald’s shoulders. He closed his eyes, examining before enjoying – warm, skin beneath his hands, the faintest stirring, his larger hand grazed down Oswald’s arm, he wasn’t muscular but it was enough to feel, and down his forearm and on top of his hand, lacing fingers. Edward It was something much more natural to do, though still far too calculating.

“What are you doing?”

Edward brushed his nose against the nape of Oswald’s neck, finally moving with small gyrations of his hips.

“I like your cologne,” he finally answered, squeezing Oswald’s hand. “It’s like incense.”

“Hmm…”

“I’m sorry.”

“For?”

“I think I smell like formaldehyde. I should have put something on.”                               

“You smell fine.”

“What do I smell like?”

“A hospital… Harder. I’m not breakable, you know.”

Edward propped himself up, more forceful against the man’s shoulders. His hand moved from Oswald’s and down his side – he wasn’t underweight, though he could feel his bone structure beneath his skin and layer of fat. Down his hips, across his stomach, wrapped around his phallus. His other hand then also moved, holding him up by the dip of his back. Oswald recoiled, trying to spread apart his legs. Edward watched the slight bounce of Oswald’s body against the bed as he pounded quicker into him, the subtle bite of his lips between breathy sighs. He even clutched the sheets. He looked fragile, even if he wasn’t, with his head tossed back, eyes closed, quiet noises. The same instinctual feeling began to overcome Edward. He wrapped his hands around Oswald’s throat, putting pressure into him, moving his hips, holding him down, and squeezing all at once. Oswald’s face was something of euphoric – Edward knew he wasn’t great, therefore it must have been a while since Oswald last slept with anyone. Maybe he was just horny, sensitive even. Still, he slapped their skin together, clutched his throat and released every now and again for him to breathe and gasp and moan. His thrusting moved the bed a little, the headboard making a louder-than-he’d-like slam against the wall. Edward found himself suffering signs of orgasm much quicker than he’d anticipated. Sights, sounds, smells, and sensations flooding him more than the act itself. Hands tight around Oswald, he lifted him by the neck, near reckless – Oswald clutched his wrists for his own safety. Edward then clung to him, having him in his lap with his legs wrapped loosely around his waist, jutting his hips angularly, teeth and tongue searching for flesh to cover. Cobblepot’s pleasured noises in his ear was driving him closer than actually fucking him. He reveled in the sensuality, arms tight, too tight, around Oswald as he came. He realized he left small marks along Oswald’s shoulder, on top of his already violet throat. The man was limp in his arms a they caught their breath.

“Did you… Did you finish?”

“You mean, did I cum? You can say those words you know. Masturbate. Fuck. Sex. Cum.”

Edward gave him an empty smile.

“No, I didn’t. Don’t worry about it. I’m tired.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Edward plucked the condom from himself, holding it and tying it before tossing it. He sank lower, to fit beneath Oswald. He pulled the covers as they moved their legs. Edward’s awkward limbs draped over Oswald, legs and arms wrapped around him as he breathed against his neck. Oswald’s chin rested on top of his head.

“You look better without your glasses.”

“You certainly don’t,” replied Edward.

“What?”

“I mean that without my glasses, you look blurry. I prefer to see you with my glasses, in full detail.”

Edward pulled himself away to peer at him with a warm smile.

“Do you love me?” He then asked. Of course he doesn’t. It’s nice to ask, though, isn’t it?

Oswald furrowed his brow.

“What? No.”

“Oh, well, that’s alright. I still like this.”

Edward couldn’t keep silent, however, and spoke up again.

“Would you like dinner?”

“..Mm… What?”

“Would you like something to eat?”

“Are you going to take me to a movie, too?”

“Oh, sure! I-if that’s what you want.”

“I was being sarcastic.”

“Oh.”

“I’m fine.”

“Would you like—”

“Shut up, Ed.”

“Sorry.”

He called you Ed. Is it a sign of intimacy? No, no, Harvey calls you that. But he makes nicknames for everyone. Penguin doesn’t.

He found himself back up against Oswald, who seemed to not mind, though also didn’t go out of his way to hold him back. Eventually, he closed his eyes to sleep. Not immediately, however. He listened to their soft breathing, out of sync, the quiet breeze outside his slightly-open curtains. Oswald began to snore. Edward didn’t mind the sound, it was more for Oswald’s sake that he shifted, hands cupping his face to lift his head a little. His snoring subsided into something quieter. Edward smiled and nestled into him.

He doesn’t love you. No, but that’s fine.

Edward awoke, feeling warmth slip past him. He saw Oswald gathering his clothes and dressing himself. He noted it was still in the dark morning. He lingered for a moment, watching the small statured man dress without notice. Edward closed his eyes, pretending to sleep. He almost dozed off until he felt a shuffling, and realized the blanket was being pulled up over him. When the door closed he sat up, and for once his mind was blank. He pulled the blankets from being tucked and cocooned himself, glancing to his clock to make sure the alarm was set for the morning. He sighed wistfully, resting his head between his arms. He wanted to do more. Suck, be sucked, hold, be held. Though, he did look forward to finding the marks he left on Oswald’s body, on his throat and shoulder.

This wasn’t how you beat someone at their own game. This was how you join them.