Ed stares at the figure standing at his front door, blood, that Ed highly doubts is his own, splattered over his face and otherwise pristine suit, bathed in the soft green light that is ever present inside Ed’s apartment, no matter the time of day. Oswald walks into the apartment, limp worse than usual. He leaves the door open behind him, so Ed goes to close it and when he turns around Oswald is standing in the centre of the room, his back to Ed.
“He should have died slower,” Oswald says, and Ed doesn’t know if it’s to him or something Oswald's just saying out loud, but he responds anyways.
“Galavan?” Ed asks, taking a few long strides towards Oswald, stopping once he’s just a few feet away.
Oswald turns to face him now, and Ed can see the blood splattered across his face in more detail. From closer up it is quite an interesting pattern, Ed muses. Beautiful in its intricacy, the way it all seems to connect like a spiders web, flowing over Oswald’s fine features. Ed has to fight back a smile.
“Yes,” Oswald says, and goes to sit on Ed’s couch. Oswald tries to conceal it, but Ed notices the grimace of pain that flashes across Oswald’s face as he sinks down into the cushions.
“I’ll be right back,” Ed says, and disappears towards the kitchen.
Oswald lets out a small sigh, hand sliding down his leg to massage the aching muscles. He just barely registers the sound of a tap turning on in the kitchen. Moments later Ed’s footsteps sound from behind him, coming back to where Oswald sits on the couch. Ed’s holding a dish cloth in his hand, and when he sits down beside Oswald he notices that Ed settles himself into the couch a bit more carefully than is necessary, not to jostle Oswald’s leg. Oswald is both annoyed and grateful for this.
Ed’s hands come up to his cheeks, one cupping the side of his head and turning it so that he’s looking at Ed, the other wiping away Galavan’s blood with the dish cloth, damp with water. Oswald’s breath catches in his throat, and he can feel his face beginning to heat up. All his anger from the past few hours, anger at Galavan, anger at himself, anger at everything, is momentarily gone and replaced by something else that Oswald can’t quite put a finger on, and he doesn’t want to dwell on it.
“You don’t need to do this,” Oswald says, and it comes out a bit quieter than he’d meant for it to be.
Ed doesn’t say anything, focusing on scrubbing away the blood splattered all over his face, focusing on-on being gentle Oswald realises as the dish cloth is rubbed over his skin, just enough pressure applied to remove the blood stains. Oswald’s stomach gives a pathetic little flop, and suddenly he wants Ed to stop.
“Ed, stop ,” Oswald says, meaning it this time as his wraps his hand firmly around Ed’s wrist, tugging his hand down from his face.
Ed blinks, but complies and lowers his other hand down from where it was resting in Oswald’s hair, dropping the bloodied dish cloth into his lap. Anger starts to boil in Oswald’s gut, anger at Ed, and he has no idea why. For being such a good person, maybe. Oswald is off the couch and beginning to pace back in forth in a matter of seconds. Pain shoots down Oswald’s leg, but he hardly minds, he finds it comforting somehow.
Ed remains seated on the couch, watching Oswald prowl around like an angry mountain cat.
“How did you kill him?” Ed asks after a moment.
Oswald stops and stares at Ed, “I beat him with a baseball bat, until he was begging for mercy, until Jim Gordon told me to stop, then Jim shot him, and then I shoved my umbrella down his throat.”
Ed’s eyes are gleaming, the corner of his lip twitching downwards, “you’re right. He did die too quickly.”
“He kidnapped and murdered my mother, he deserved to be skinned alive, to be gutted, and to be anchored to the bottom of the ocean. He deserved much more than what he got,” Oswald says quietly, voice quivering with barely contained rage and sadness.
“I wish I had come with you,” Ed says darkly, “if that had been me with you instead of Jim we could have done some wicked things to him.”
Oswald is overcome with a giddy joy at the way Ed sounds so sincere, words promising what would have been an unbearable amount of pain for Galavan, but then a bone deep sorrow overtakes him, a bullet straight through his heart. He hasn’t yet let himself truly think over his mother’s death and all that it implies. Not even when Ed first brought him back here after finding him half-dead in the woods weeks and weeks ago, not truly. The very second his mother died his sole purpose was to kill Galavan, but now that he’s dead…
It feels as if all the breath has been torn right from his lungs, and Oswald stumbles forward towards the couch. He falls face first onto the couch, but Ed grabs him before his face is buried in the cushions, maneuvering him so that he’s sitting facing towards Ed. Ed’s holding his shoulders, a panicked look in his eyes. He’s saying something, Oswald can see his lips moving, but he doesn’t hear any sound. A high pitched ringing has started in Oswald’s ears and he’s trying to suck in air, but he can’t and his lungs feel like they’re burning up because his mother is dead . She’s gone, and he’ll never hear her voice ever again or have her brush his fringe out of his eyes when he’s pretending to sleep on the couch or have her cook his favourite meals for him or listen to her sing because she’s dead.
And then the ringing stops and he can hear Ed’s panicked voice telling him to, “open your mouth Oswald, you need to breathe,” so he does and suddenly the air is back in his lungs and the white spots that he didn’t notice were clouding his vision disappear, and then he slumps forward as the beginnings of a tremendous sob cause his body to quake.
“ She’s dead ,” Oswald whispers, a tear rolling down his cheek.
Ed pulls Oswald into his chest, and he goes willingly, “ Shh, I know ,” Ed whispers back.
And then he begins to sob.
Oswald can’t stop himself, can’t contain all of this emotion anymore. So he just slumps further into Ed, grabbing fistfulls of his sweater, burying his head in the crook of Ed’s neck, and just sobs . He’s hiccoughing and snivelling and Ed’s sweater is nearly drenched in his tears, but Ed just keeps holding Oswald to his chest, rubbing soothing circles over his back. He doesn’t try to say anything, doesn’t try to instill confidence or hope in him like the first time Oswald broke down in front of Ed, because Ed seems to know that this time it’s different. So Ed just holds Oswald, and says nothing. Ed’s grip on Oswald is firm and comforting, and then his chin comes down to rest on top of Oswald’s head and something about the comfort Ed is providing reminds him of his mother because his mother used to be his main source of comfort, so he starts sobbing even harder. Ed holds on even tighter. Neither Oswald or Ed could say how long the two of them sat like that on the couch, but by the time Oswald’s sobs have calmed down to the occasional tear rolling down his cheek and a few hiccoughs here and there, the sky outside Ed’s window, which was pitch black when Oswald arrived, is a very light shade of orange. Oswald’s nose is stuffy, and his throat feels raw, his face is crusty from his tears, and his eyes are puffy.
He finally pulls his head away from the crook of Ed’s neck, and when he looks at Ed he wants to cry all over again. Ed’s eyes are also slightly puffy, and he gives Oswald a sad little smile. They stare at one another for what could be a minute, or maybe an hour, and then Ed leans forward and kisses Oswald.
Oswald is freezes, in utter shock. Ed’s lips are soft against his own, moving the smallest bit. Another second passes were Oswald is just sitting half of the couch, half on Ed’s knee, completely frozen. Oswald can feel Ed begin to panic, but then Oswald throws his arms around Ed’s neck, deepening the kiss. Ed makes a soft noise in the back of his throat, one hand wrapping around Oswald’s waist and dragging him further onto Ed, the other snaking it’s way into his hair. Ed uses the hand in Oswald’s hair to deepen the kiss even further, the tip of his tongue darting out to brush against Oswald’s bottom lip. Oswald opens his mouth against Ed’s, and Ed is instantly licking his way into Oswald’s mouth, hand around his waist tightening even further. Oswald throws his left leg over Ed’s other thigh so that he’s straddling his lap, and nips at Ed’s tongue as it steals into his mouth. Ed makes a little noise of surprise and breaks the kiss, dragging his lips down Oswald's jaw to his exposed throat. Ed pulls Oswald’s hair back gently, exposing his throat even more, and seals his lips over the spot right in between his adam’s apple and his jaw.
“Ooh, Ed ,” Oswald moans as Ed sucks a mark into his neck, licking and biting the pale, sensitive flesh there.
Ed releases the firm grip on Oswald’s hair and drags his lips up and along the underside of Oswald’s jaw, stopping to nose at the spot just under Oswald’s ear before placing a gentle kiss there and sucking Oswald’s earlobe into his mouth. Oswald’s hips buck forward of their own accord, grinding down against Ed’s half-hard cock. Oswald huffs a shuddering sigh and Ed lets out a low groan. Oswald realises just how embarrassingly hard he is just from a bit of kissing, cock straining against the confines of his pants.
Ed grinds up into Oswald, and the friction is delicious. Oswald’s head falls back, mouth dropping open in pure pleasure as he grinds back against Ed. Ed releases Oswald’s ear lobe, but doesn’t move his mouth away from Oswald’s ear just yet.
“Is this alright?” Ed whispers into his ear as he grinds up into Oswald’s throbbing erection, voice low and husky, something that Oswald finds incredibly arousing.
Those three words seems to trigger something in Oswald’s brain, and he realises his massive mistake. It is most certainly not alright.
Oswald can’t seem to get away from Ed fast enough, pushing up and off his lap, backing away from the couch, from Ed. Ed looks at tad shocked, but Oswald recognises the lie now. All previous feelings of arousal, of comfort, of anything good he felt towards Ed are gone in an instant and replaced by a cold rage.
Oswald Cobblepot, King of Gotham and Master Manipulator, has been manipulated by Edward Nygma.
Oswald had brought along a small retractable knife with him when he went to kill Galavan, and is pleased to find it still stashed away in his suit jacket pocket. He unfolds it and points it towards Ed. A look of shock flashes across Ed’s face as he stares down the knife Oswald is pointing towards him, “Oswald-”
“Why are you helping me?” Oswald snarls.
Ed’s look of shock is suddenly replaced by rage, mirroring Oswald’s own face, “What are you-”
Oswald cuts him off again, “What do you stand to gain by helping me, by befriending me. Making me trust you?”
Ed’s gaze flicks from the knife to stare Oswald dead in the eyes, “Are you accusing me of manipulating you for my own personal gain?”
“Exactly,” Oswald says coldly.
“What could I have done to make you think-”
“You nursed me back to health after finding me half dead in the middle of nowhere, when you could have easily just let me die. You made me food, let me live with you, you gave me your things and shared your life with me, you talked me out of depression and just let me cry on your shoulder over my mother's death. Why? ” Oswald demands, words sharp.
Ed looks absolutely furious now, “I’ve told you before, I like you, I’d like you to teach me, to guide me down this new path of life, I admire you, and you’re accusing me of manipulating you?” Ed is up off the couch now and is slowly beginning to advance toward Oswald.
“What do you want from me!? ” Oswald is nearly shouting now.
“Your company! For you to mentor me!” Ed is able to reach out and touch Oswald now.
Oswald holds the knife further ahead of him now, “nobody wants me, nobody has ever wanted me unless it was for personal gain!” Oswald’s voice cracks.
“Your mother wanted you,” Ed says quietly.
Oswald lets out a cry, stepping towards Ed and thrusting the knife up and towards him, aiming for the underside of his chin. Ed is quick though, and manages to catch Oswald’s arm. The knife slices through the soft fabric of Ed’s sweater, nicking his forearm and causing a thin line of blood to well up instantly. Ed yanks Oswald’s arm to the side, tearing the knife out of his grip and holding it out towards Oswald, taking a step backwards.
“Don’t talk about my mother!” Oswald cries out, a new batch of tears welling up in his eyes, and he absolutely hates himself for it.
Oswald scans his immediate vicinity and the closest object to him that could be used at a weapon is the candle holder on Ed’s dinner table, so Oswald starts towards it. Ed seems to realise what Oswald is doing as soon as he moves an inch and races him towards the table. Oswald is slowed considerably by his limp but still manages to beat Ed to the table just in time to pick up the candle holder and throw it as hard as he can at Ed’s approaching form. The candle holder is flying towards Ed’s head, but a hand shoots up and bats it down towards the ground, the glass shattering at his feet. Oswald takes Ed’s momentary distraction as an opportunity to get to the other side of the table where Ed is standing and snatchs his knife back. Oswald lands a hard punch square in the jaw, Ed’s head snapping to the left. Oswald grabs the knife from Ed, cutting his finger on the sharp blade. He ignores the string and backs away, slowly at first, but then turns around and limps to the door as fast as possible, knife in hand.
He hears Ed’s footsteps thundering behind him, and Oswald can only will his legs to move faster. He reached the door now, fingers curling over the handle and-
Ed slams into him from behind, and Oswald is forced face first into the door. A loud bang sounds through the otherwise silent apartment, apart from their heavy breathing. Oswald knows he’s been caught, but as a last resort he tightens his grip on the knife and thrusts it blindly backwards. Ed inhales sharply, crying out as Oswald drives the knife deeper into his thigh. Ed smashes Oswald’s forehead against the door, and he would have crumpled to the ground were it not for Ed’s hand against his back keeping him upright. Oswald hears Ed’s sharp intake of breath as he removes the knife from his thigh, and then the clatter of metal as he- as he tosses it to the ground? Oswald is flipped so that his back is pressed against the door, his heading throbbing from the impact of having his head slammed into it moments ago.
Ed lowers himself so that they're standing face to face, and suddenly Oswald’s lost all his will to fight. He doesn’t push back as Ed inches his face closer to Oswald’s so that they’re bumping noses.
“I would never manipulate you for my own personal gain,” Ed breathes, “I’m not sure where you got this idea from, but I assure you it is wrong .”
Ed’s hand against his chest is crushing, and Oswald is just so tired.
“Ed, just let me go. Please .” Oswald begs quietly.
Something changes in Ed’s face, the anger that was there just a second ago has completely disappeared and has been replaced by something else, something Oswald can’t name. The hand on his chest slips away, and Ed takes a large steps backwards, stumbling slightly. They stare at one another for a moment, and then Oswald opens the door and slips out, closing it quietly behind him.
Ed lets him go. Ed lets him go because he remembers what happened with Kristen when he didn’t let her go.
So Ed lets Oswald go.