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Prompts and One-Shots

Chapter Text


From the kitchen window, Jonathan watched the snow fall. The weather forecast had predicted at least an inch that day, probably more over the next few days. There’d be no going out. Being Georgia born and raised, snow was still something of a novelty for Jonathan. He had to admit, he did find a certain stark beauty in the winter of Gotham. And besides, he’d had the foresight at least to make sure he was well stocked for his research. He didn’t need to leave in the foreseeable future, so he had least could take the time to enjoy watching the snowfall.

His partner on the other hand, wasn’t anywhere near as magnanimous about their circumstances. “I hate winter in this city,” Jonathan heard the man grumble from where he sat on the living room couch.

“So you’ve said. Repeatedly.” Jonathan replied, putting the finishing touches on the drinks he’d been preparing. One black coffee for him, and one Hot Cocoa…thing for Edward.

Jonathan couldn’t see his expression, but he just knew the man was pouting. “Well, excuse me for actually having things to do outside of the house today. Not all of us are content to be shut ins, Jonathan.”

Jonathan sighed as he grabbed their mugs. Extreme weather always seemed to bring out the childishness in his lover. “I think Gotham will survive without the Riddler making mischief for one day Edward.”

“It’s not Gotham I’m worried about Jon, it’s my own mind! There’s nothing I detest more than being bored.”

Jonathan shook his head. “Don’t I just know it.” He walked out of the kitchen and to the living room, where he saw Edward sitting on the couch. Or rather, saw the top of Edward’s head poking out of  the comforter he dragged from their bed. Jonathan looked at him with a still alien feeling of fondness. For a man who had grown up on the East Coast, he certainly still found a way to be overdramatic about what he should have been long used to. He handed Edward’s mug to him. “Here.”

Edward took it then carefully examined it. “Is this hot cocoa?” He took a whiff of the mug and a smile broke out. “With peppermint?”

Jonathan felt the corners of his mouth twitch at the expression on Edward’s face. He really was just a child, wasn’t he? He took a seat next to Edward on the couch. “Yes. Happy now?”

Edward leaned his head on Jonathan’s shoulder the moment he sat down. “It’s a start.”

Jonathan snorted, and wrapped his left arm around Edward’s frame. He leaned down to kiss the top of his head. “Brat.”

He felt Edward smile. “You love me.” The two spent the rest of the afternoon watching the snow fall, warm and happy and together.

Chapter Text

“Remind me again why I’m here?”

Edward settled back into his seat and waited for the advertisements to end. “Because it’s been three days since you’ve seen any sunshine Jonathan. That’s not healthy.”

“And you thought the best way to correct this was to take me to an indoor movie theater?”

Edward shrugged. “Well, we are wanted criminals Jonathan. It’s not like we have many options for date night.”

Edward saw a shudder go through the man’s frame at the mention of date night. “Date night indeed. Is that why you brought Harley along?” He gestured to the blonde sitting two rows down from them with an obscenely large soda and tub of popcorn. She caught Jonathan’s eye and grinned, waving back up at the two of them before turning her attention back to the screen.

“Well I owed Harley a night out after she helped you get me out of that scrape with Bolton last month. And besides, you can’t say no to both me and Harley.”

Jonathan scowled. “I should have just fear gassed the pair of you.”

Edward brought his hand up to his heart in a mock show of agony. “Dearest, darling love of my life! How can you say such things to me? After I’ve done nothing but love you!”

“Alright, alright.” Jonathan hissed. “You’ve more than made your point, you over dramatic child.”

Edward grinned in triumph. “You know you love me.”

Jonathan scoffed as the lights went down. “Debatable right now.” Edward said nothing in response, but reached down to grab Jonathan’s hand.

As the previews began, Jonathan’s mood was lifted a bit by joining Edward in mocking them. Edward knew he’d been forgiven for taking Jonathan away from his research when he felt his lover’s long fingers lace his own. The pair fell silent when the film began proper. It was some superhero movie that Harley had wanted to see, so it held no special interest in Edward. He instead turned his attention to his partner, who if anything, was even more disinterested.

“You know,” he said in a low tone of voice. “There was a reason I wanted to sit in the back row.”

“So we can leave Harley behind?”

Edward chuckled a bit. “No, Jon.” He sat up in his chair a bit and placed a light kiss on the side of Jonathan’s neck. “It’s so we can have privacy.”

He thought he saw Jonathan raise an eyebrow in the dark, but he gave no sign that he wanted Edward to stop. On the contrary, once he’d made sure that no one was looking in their direction, he placed his hand on Edward’s thigh. “Aren’t you a clever boy?”

Edward flushed at the praise and the touch, but before things could progress any further, a braying voice from a few rows down broke the silence.

“Show your boobs!”

Jonathan growled at the interruption and turned towards the sound. A row down from Harley, a pack of young men erupted in laughter.

“Dude!” Another one shouted. “This movie sucks!”

“I know right? Show some tits!”

Edward pouted as Jonathan’s hand moved away and clenched into a fist. Leave it to the huddled masses to ruin what was promising to be a fine night out. Below them, Harley had gotten out of her seat.

“Hey! Shut your traps! I’m trying to watch the movie!”

The group of hooligans eyed her. “Shut up bitch!”

“Why don’t you sit with us little lady?” One of the others leered. “Come sit on Daddy’s lap.”

Edward couldn’t see Harley’s expression, but he could see her lean down to pull out her bag and he definitely saw her pulling out her mallet.

“You boys need to learn some manners,” she said the the group of idiots, who only now seemed to realize who she was. “Mama spank!” She launched herself at them and began clubbing away.

Edward sank into his seat as Jonathan got up. “Where are you going?”

“To help Harley,” Jonathan answered reaching into his pocket. “Stay up here.”

Edward felt his heart sink. He should have known Jonathan wouldn’t be able to resist bringing fear toxin along. Sure enough, Jonathan pulled out a small vial and his teeth bared in a cold smile.

“Jonathan,” Edward argued feebly. “I think Harley’s more than capable of handling herself.”

“I know,” Jonathan answered, as the two watched her brain one punk. “I just want to make those idiots scream.” And with that, Jonathan marched down to join the fray.

Edward cringed as the sound of screams filled the air and the other denizens of the theater made their escape. So much for date night.

Chapter Text

Edward Nigma knew he wasn’t a good person. His considerable rap sheet was proof enough of that. But for the love of God, he thought as he clung onto the passenger handle for dear life, even he didn’t deserve this.

“Query!” he cried out. “Slow down!”

“Slow down?” Query asked from the driver’s seat, foot planted firmly on the gas. The car had to be going at least 90 miles an hour now. “’Case you didn’t notice boss, we’ve got a Batmobile right on our ass!”

Of course Edward had noticed. The ostentatious car had only been following them for the past 10 minutes, since they’d had to abandon their heist at the art museum. The heist, the extra henchmen and that Monet Edward had had his eye on for months.

“It’s your fault boss,” Echo piped up from the back seat. “I told you you made that riddle too easy!”

Edward loved Query and Echo dearly, but he didn’t have to, in their own words, ‘take that shit.’ “Well excuse me for constructing a riddle that I felt was appropriate for his intelligence lev-car!”

Query made a hard turn to the right, just barely avoiding the car in front of them. Edward’s knuckles were white as he clung to the handle with everything he had. Behind him, he could hear Echo unbuckle herself and roll down the window. He watched from the rear view mirror as she stuck half her body out and opened fire on the Batmobile. “Eat this Bats!” The bullets had no effect, bouncing off of the vehicle as it came ever closer. Echo ducked back in. “Query!” she yelled. “We need to lose him!”

“I’m working on it, hold on!” Query turned left hard, causing Edward to lose his grip on the handle and fall, almost hitting her. As soon as the car re-aligned, she hit the gas again, barreling down the wrong way on a one way street, other drivers scrambling to avoid her.

I’m going to die, Edward thought, putting his hands over his face in a vain attempt to block out what was happening. I’m going to die. To Jonathan, I leave my tech. To Oswald, I leave my art collection. To Selina, those knick knacks I lifted from the history museum last summer. To Joker, I leave absolutely nothing. “Query!” he cried out, not caring how terrified he sounded.

“I got this boss,” she reassured him. Then she looked in the rear view mirror and cursed. Batman had followed them and was gaining on them again. “Hey boss,” she said. “What do you call the middle of a song?”

“A bridge, Query seriously!?’ Edward snapped opening his eyes long enough to see that they were fast approaching the moveable bridge by Port Gotham. From the corner of his eye, Edward saw a ferry approaching, which meant that the bridge would begin to rise. “Query,” he warned.

Query grinned. “I got this.” She hit the gas and the car practically flew.

Edward once again grabbed the passenger handle. “Query!”

“Buckle up Echo!” Query shouted, ignoring them. The stretch of bridge they were on was steadily rising. Edward could now see water. He let out a final, desperate shriek.

“DIERDRE!”

“Hang on!”

For a brief, long moment the car was airborne. Edward saw his life flash before his eyes and for the first time in his life, truly regretted the choices he’d made that led him to this point, namely agreeing to work with these two. Finally, the car landed, skidding down the opposite stretch of bridge and sped off into the night.

“Hell yeah!” Query whooped, pumping her fist in the air. “Suck it Batman!” Batman hadn’t followed them in their midair adventure, because he wasn’t completely insane.

Echo leaned forward, reaching out to touch Edward’s shoulder. “You alright Eddie?”

Edward didn’t think he let out a breath since the car went airborne. Now that the danger was past, he began to laugh, hysterically.  Once he recovered, he glared at his two henchwomen. “Any damage to the car is coming out of your pay. As is my dry cleaning.”

Chapter Text

Selina’s learned a lot about Eddie Nigma during her brief interludes with him. How he takes his coffee, his love of peppermint, the fact that he sings swing music in the shower and he’s not half bad at it. The most amusing thing she’s learned so far, is that he’s a clingy sleeper.

Every night without fail, he buries his face in the crook of her neck, wraps his arms around her and holds on, as if she’s his life preserver. It’s endearing,  she thinks but it’s a bit much for her tastes. Tonight, like most nights, she gently disentangles herself from his grip. He whimpers a bit in his sleep and she hesitates. More than once, she’s wondered just what happened to this normally puffed up man to make him so yearning for anyone’s touch. Like always though, she pushes this thought aside. She’s a busy girl and the night is young.

Tonight though, Selina decides to show a little mercy. After she’s put her clothes back on, she leans back down. Without her to hold on to, Eddie’s curled up into himself. She reaches down and gently brushes strands of auburn hair out of his face. He deserves someone who will stay with him at night. She places a kiss on his forehead. “Bye Eddie.” He doesn’t stir, but she hears him grunt a bit. Smiling, Selina opens the bedroom window and disappears into the night.

That night feels like a hundred years ago, even though it was only ten. Selina’s older now, a bit harder. And Eddie is-

Selina makes her way down the hospital hallway, towards the private room she’s visited once a month for eleven months now. Tonight it’s even worse. Bruce told her what happened at the asylum. Everything. How on Earth can she tell Eddie that Crane is-

She opens the door and walks into the room. It’s bare, save for fresh flowers on the end table. Query and Echo have already made their rounds. Selina’s glad she missed them. They never liked her much. The occupant of the room is sleeping, as he has been for the past eleven months. There’s no sound but the dull beeping of the monitors hooked up to him.

Selina walks up to his bedside. His face has sunken in now, but he’s still the same Eddie she’s known for so long. She brushes the now long auburn bangs from his face. She wonders if he can feel that. She hopes he can. She leans down and places a kiss on his forehead. “Hi Eddie.”

Chapter Text

A father and a daughter were having dinner out in a small Chinese restaurant in Gotham City. Usually, this wouldn’t even be worth commenting on but when the father was Edward Nigma, formerly known as the Riddler and the daughter was Ellen Dixon, also known as Enigma, attention must be paid. The two of them had arrived about half an hour earlier, taking the table the furthest from the door. They had spent most of their time after ordering in an awkward and in Edward’s case, uncharacteristic silence. He’d only known of his daughter’s existence for about half a year and having a child was still something of a shock for him. Ellen wasn’t faring much better, but for the moment, she was distracted by her lack of skill with chopsticks.

“This is stupid,” she huffed, after dropping her third piece of sweet and sour chicken.

“No it’s not,” Edward chided her. “You’re just saying that because it’s more difficult than you thought it would be. Remember what I told you: use your fingers to move the top chopstick only. Use it and your thumb as a pivot.”

“Can’t I just get a fork?”

“If you just get a fork, you’ll never get the hang of it. You almost had it. Try again.”

Ellen sulked a bit, but did as her father instructed. Slowly, she managed to pick up the piece of chicken and then stuffed it into her mouth before she could drop it.

“There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

Ellen hated to admit it, but her father had a point. “I should have just gotten soup.”

“Hmm.”

Edward took a sip from his glass as Ellen polished off the rest of her chicken.

“So,” he asked, suddenly. “How’s school been?”

Ellen shrugged. “It’s OK.”

This answer didn’t seem to satisfy him. “Well, that’s illuminating.”

Ellen shrugged. “School’s school. The kids are stupid and my classes are boring. Except for art. Art’s cool. I got my history grade up though. No summer school for me.”

Her father nodded. “Good.” Ellen turned her attention now to the white rice on her plate. She’d just barely managed to grab a bunch when her father cleared his throat. She looked up to see him with a slightly sheepish look on his face. Uh oh.

“Any boys I need to know about?”

Oh goody. Ellen scrunched up her nose. “I don’t like boys.”

Her father let out an audible sigh of relief. “Good. They’re a distraction. And frankly, I’m not in the mood to build anymore death traps.”

Ellen snorted a bit at that, then bit her lip, debating whether or not she should tell him the truth. What the Hell? What’s the worse he could do?

“No,” she said slowly. “I mean, I don’t like boys.”

It only took a moment for Edward to understand the implication. “Ah,” he said, then he took another bite from his dish.

“That’s not a problem, is it?” Ellen asked, almost defensively.

Edward gave his daughter a look. “Ellen, I know I have many flaws, but homophobia’s not one of them. On top of being a bigoted moron, that would make me a self-loathing hypocrite.”

Ellen dropped her chopsticks on her plate in shock. “You-you’re gay?”

Edward laughed a bit. “No, I’m bisexual. In all honesty, I put more value in a potential partner’s intellect than their gender.” Without missing a beat, he asked “Any girls I need to know about then?”

Ellen smiled. It seemed she and her father had more in common than they initially thought. “Nah,” she answered. “I’m too busy to date.” Her smile turned a bit mischievous. “Batgirl’s pretty hot though.”

Edward almost spat his drink out against the table. Ellen let out a loud laugh on seeing the almost stricken look on his face. As he recovered he glowered a bit at her.

“Very funny. You’re going to be the death of me.”

“Ah, relax old man. Just because I think she’s hot doesn’t mean I want to date her.”

Edward relaxed a bit. “No, I guess not.” His face took on a bit of a wistful expression. “I will give you one piece of advice: don’t chase after the costumed types. That never ends well.”

It sounded like there was a story there. Possibly several. “Talking from experience, old man?”

“Maybe, maybe not. I ask the questions, remember?”

“Right.” Ellen would get the story from him. One way or another. She was about to break open her fortune cookie when a thought occurred to her. “You’re not really going to stick anyone I date into a death trap, are you?”

It was Edward’s turn to have a mischievous grin on his face. “Only if they don’t pass my standards. It’s going to have to take a very intelligent, not to mention brave, girl to be good enough for my daughter.”

Ellen rolled her eyes. “I’m never, ever, ever going to introduce you to any girl I date. Ever.”

 

Chapter Text

“So remind me: how did you convince Bruce to take tonight off?”

There was a slight pause before Barbara voice’s answered over the audio link. “Well, it wasn’t entirely my idea. Alfred helped. I might have told Bruce though that his access to his comm satellite would be shut off if he didn’t spend some time with Selina on Valentine’s Day.

Dick grinned. “You’re an evil genius, you know that?”

He could almost hear her grin on the other end of the link. “I tryHow’s everything going out there?”

Dick surveyed the skyline from his perch on top of the First National Bank. By Gotham standards, it was a quiet evening. “Pretty good. Just took out some guys trying to make off with an ATM, but other than that, nothing’s really happening. Tim already took off. He and Steph are going to some show in the East End.”

“I know, it’s all Steph’s been able to talk about for the past week. Cass is back at the manor keeping Alfred and Damian company. Any word from Jason?”

“He said that he was going to go out drinking with Roy since he’s in town. Damian volunteered to listen into the police scanner in case they start another brawl.” Dick shifted a bit as he scanned the city streets through his binoculars. Nothing out of the ordinary, just like it had been for the past few hours. “I can’t remember the last time we had a quiet Valentine’s Day like this.”

“We can thank Ivy for that I guess. Harley’s been a lot quieter since she dumped Joker.”

Dick laughed a bit at that. “I’ll say. Remember last year, Joker stood her up so she rigged about a hundred heart shaped balloons to explode over City Hall to get his attention?”

“Don’t remind me, I was washing glitter out of your costume for weeks after that. But enough about last year.” Barbara’s voice became more flirtatious. “What are we doing this year?”

Dick grinned. “Uh uh. I told you, it’s a surprise.” He’d booked reservations at Di’Bruzzio’s over a month ago. It was one of the most exclusive places in town and Barbara had been dying to get in to try it. “I’ll do one more sweep of downtown, then I’ll pick you up at seven?”

“Sounds good Boy Wonder-wait. I’m getting a report off the scanner. There’s a disturbance at Beautiful Blossoms on 19th street.”

Dick pulled out his grappling hook. “I’ll check it out. See you in a bit babe.”


It took Dick only about ten minutes to arrive at the flower shop. He paused momentarily to observe the situation from the rooftop of the building across the street. A crowd of people were fleeing the immediate area on foot, but his attention was caught by a lone figure running the opposite direction towards the back streets, carrying a bundle in his arms. A figure wearing what appeared to be burlap. Dick narrowed his eyes and began his pursuit.

The figure was running as fast as his long, spindly legs could take him, but years in the circus and in crime fighting had made Dick faster. He’d overtaken him on the rooftops in a matter of moments, before choosing to drop down in an alleyway directly in front of him, cutting him off. The figure stopped dead in  his tracks when he almost collided with him. Dick pulled his escrima sticks out and put himself into a fighting stance. “Freeze Scarecrow!”

Jonathan Crane stood in front of him, panting. “Not now,” he murmured. “God damn it, not now!” He clumsily shifted his bundle to his left arm and with his right hand, reached into his pocket and pulled out a small vial of what Dick could only assume was fear toxin. “I’ve no time to dissect your fears today!” Crane hissed out, throwing the vial at Dick and running back from where he came. 

Dick dodged the vial effortlessly and resumed his chase. He realized while Crane was standing there that the rogue wasn’t wearing his ever present fear gauntlet. And was without his scythe. Almost as if he really didn’t intend on actually doing anything today. He didn’t think too much about it though as he caught up to the older man and, with a flying kick, took him down. Crane lay sprawled on the pavement, still clutching the bundle. Dick knelt down and took it from him. “Let’s see what you’ve got here-” Dick uncovered the bundle only to see a bouquet of flowers. Twelve lavender roses, to be precise.

“Roses?” Dick asked, looking back down at the fallen rogue. “You attacked a flower shop to steal roses? Why-” The answer occurred to Dick. “These are for Riddler, aren’t they?”

Crane refused to look at him as he slowly got back up on his feet. “I do not need to explain my actions to you, whelp!”

Dick was doing his best to keep from laughing, but he couldn’t help the grin spreading across his face. “You forgot it was Valentine’s Day, didn’t you? That’s why you came out unprepared.”

Dick couldn’t see the man’s expression under that hideous mask, but from the way that Crane was looking down at his feet, he could guess he’d hit a bullseye. “I have been…somewhat preoccupied with my work as of late. I didn’t intend to forget. I didn’t realize what day it was until he texted me an hour ago.” He looked up at Dick and he could just see his eyes glaring at him from under the mask. “It’s not funny boy!”

Dick had to laugh a bit at that. “Come on, you have to admit it’s a little funny.”

“We’ll see how funny it is when Edward gets home in an hour only to find that I’m not there. I don’t think I need to remind you how churlish he gets when he thinks he’s being neglected.”

Dick winced. He remembered the time that Crane apparently forgot his and Nigma’s anniversary. Bruce had had to call the League in to help settle that. Dick took a quick look at his watch. 6:45. “Look Crane,” he said. “I’ll tell you what. I’ve got somewhere I need to be. You’ve clearly got somewhere you need to be. If you go straight home, no fear toxin, I’ll let you and Nigma spend tonight together. Then I’ll take you in later. Got it?”

Crane stared at him for a long moment. “Done.” he said. “The bouquet?”

Dick wrapped the bouquet back up, but not before covertly placing a tracer in the wrapping paper before handing it back to Crane. “Much obliged,” the rogue stated, before turning and walking off into the night.

Dick shook his head. Still better than the exploding glitter balloons last year.

Chapter Text

Once the fire was contained, Jonathan placed the fire extinguisher on the counter and wiped his brow. This was…certainly an unexpected addition to the evening. He turned his attention to the man sitting on the couch, who was staring down at his feet.

Jonathan walked across the room to address him. “I’m not angry,” he said truthfully. “But I have to admit, I’m a bit surprised. I’m usually the one who starts fires.”

Edward said nothing, clearly sulking.

“What happened?” Jonathan asked.

Edward said nothing at first. “I was hungry,” he said finally. “I wanted some soup. In my sleep deprived state, I may have neglected to remove the soup out of its container.”

Jonathan blinked. “You put a tin can of soup in the microwave?”

When Edward’s face flushed, Jonathan did something very rare indeed. He laughed.

“It’s not funny!” Edward snapped.

“You can hack into the Arkham security system in two minutes, but you forgot to take the soup out of the can?”

Edward huffed. “I’m only human Jon.”

Chapter Text

Baker panted as he ran down the dark hallways of the Asylum. He told them, he told Jim and Tom that Nigma was off limits. He told them, but they hadn’t listened. Now they were dead and unless he could find the emergency exit, he was too.

He’d been on evening rounds when the lights had shut off. Then HE appeared, singing some old nursery rhyme. Then had come the gas and the screaming, and the scythe and the blood and Baker had dropped his weapon and ran, and where was the goddamn door-

There was a junction coming up. Left or right, left or right-Baker turned left and ran even faster. He felt like his heart was about to explode and he could barely breathe he was so damn scared.

He chose wrong. He was face to face with a dead end and it took all he had to keep from screaming. Maybe he’d made it far enough ahead that HE couldn’t catch up, maybe he could back track, maybe-

He heard a grinding noise behind him, like metal on metal and all hope died. He turned, slowly and saw Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow standing behind him. He had his scythe (when had he taken it back) and the blade was soaked with blood (Jim and Tom, oh God-)

“Three blind mice,” he croaked out as he advanced on Baker. “Three blind mice. See how they run, see how they run.”

Baker backed up and he hit the wall. He could feel a warm puddle form in his pants, but he was too terrified to feel embarrassed. “N-no.” He murmured. “Please, I’m sorry, it wasn’t my idea. Please,” he voice broke. “I don’t want to die….”

Scarecrow paused for a moment, considering him. “Tell me,” he said softly. “When you and your cohorts beat him, did he beg?” He began to advance again. “When you threw him into that dark pit you call solitary, did he scream? Did he cry?” Scarecrow was less than a foot in front of Baker now, and he could see the blue eyes hidden behind that mask and they were furious. “Did you show him any mercy?”

Baker said nothing. He couldn’t say anything.

“Do you know what he told me when the doctors from the infirmary returned him to me?” Scarecrow said. “He said to show you the same courtesy that you showed him.” He raised his scythe high and Baker let out one single scream before he felt the blade slash his throat.

 

Chapter Text

Edward’s not completely sure how it started really.

Well, that’s not completely true.

It began with Batman foiling another one of Edward’s schemes, a jewel heist that he’d spent two months preparing for. Batman’s cheating, he knows it. That’s how he was able to solve the clues Edward left him so quickly. That’s the only reasonable explanation. 

The feared guardian of Gotham had returned him to the ‘loving’ arms of GCPD custody. He was being processed, his hands cuffed in front of him, when one of the uniformed officers, a real mean looking son of a bitch, stops him. “What’re those?” he points at his ears.

It takes a moment for Edward to realize that the idiot means his hearing aids. “I need them,” he said matter of factly. 

The cop sneered. “Not here you don’t, freak.” He reaches a large hand towards him and Edward begins to panic. If he resists, he’ll get a beating.He he attempts to fight back, he’ll get an even worse beating. 

He doesn’t have to do either as it turns out.

Before the cop can touch him, his arm is pulled back by a massive, black gloved hand.The cop turns around to snarl at whoever’s stopping him, only to cower at the sight of Batman glaring down at him.

“He needs them,” he rumbles. “Leave him alone.” He drops the cop’s arm and the thug can’t dart away fast enough.

Edward stands stock still for a long moment. He hates him. The Dark Knight hates him. Why? 

Once Batman is satisfied that no one else will accost him, he turns to leave. Wait. Wait! “Batman!” Edward calls out.

Batman turns back. Edward can’t say what he wants to say. The words won’t come. So instead, he brings his hands up, slowly. Batman’s eyes narrow, but he lets Edward continue. 

Edward lays his right hand flat against his lips, then slowly moves it forward and down towards the vigilante. He smiles a bit. He’s never smiled at him before. He hopes he understands. Thank you.

Batman does something Edward doesn’t expect. His stance, slightly, ever so slightly, softens. He repeats the gesture back to Edward, because of course, he understands.

Edward wondered why he doubted that. 

Batman leaves then and at that moment, Edward stops seeing him as a rival. He begins to consider that perhaps, Batman was meant to be more than just his intellectual match.

Chapter Text

Edward leaned back in his office chair and yawned. He checked his watch. 3:30 am. He’d spent the better part of the last six hours hacking into the files he’d stolen from Wayne Corp. He grinned a bit. The payout from this job would more than fund his extracurricular activities for the next year. More importantly, it served as a valuable distraction from his romantic woes. Jonathan Crane had rejected his latest series of advances. No, worse than rejected them. He’d completely ignored them. 

Edward frowned. What exactly did he have to do to get Jonathan to notice him? Show up outside his lair holding a boom box over his head?  Edward leaned back and sulked. “Riddle me this,” he said. “Why do you have the bad luck of falling for the most obtuse people?” Edward got up and popped his back. He could afford to take a little nap. 

He’d barely taken a step away from his desk when he heard a knock at his door. He raised an eyebrow. Who on Earth would be calling on him at this hour? Perhaps not exercising the proper amount of caution, Edward opened his door.

Jonathan Crane stood there, sans costume and mask. He looked slightly unsteady and Edward could detect a faint scent of whiskey. Well. Alright then. This wasn’t exactly how he envisioned the night going. “May I help you, Jonathan?”

“What in the Hell have you done to me?”

If Jonathan was drunk, his voice didn’t indicate it. His low drawl was as intense and precise as ever. “I beg your pardon?” Edward asked.

Jonathan staggered into the apartment, not bothering to wait to be invited in. Edward shut the door and watched the other man like a hawk. He began to pace around Edward’s small living room, clearly agitated. At least he didn’t appear to have any of his toxin on him.

“Jonathan,” he asked again. “Much as I appreciate the company, it’s almost 4 in the morning. What is this about?”

Jonathan let out a long deep sigh. “Ever since I left my Godforsaken home in Georgia,” he said at last “I knew what I wanted. I devoted my life to the study of fear. I never wanted anything else. I never needed anything else.” Jonathan faced Edward then and his piercing blue eyes, the eyes that Edward had dreamed of for months now, held an unfamiliar gleam to him. Edward felt exposed under that gaze, as if Jonathan could see past the outward facade he’d so carefully constructed and see the true him. How long had Edward wanted that gaze on him?

“And then,” Jonathan said. “You came along. I ignored you at first, but you wouldn’t let me.”

Edward felt his heart begin to race. “Well, I do have a talent for that.” Jonathan approached him then and Edward swore his heart started to beat faster.

“I’ve tried so hard to put you out of my mind,” he murmured. “It’s like you’ve worked your way into me and try as I might, I can’t stop thinking about you.” Jonathan was standing directly in front of Edward now. He raised a hand and Edward instinctively flinched. Jonathan placed his hand alongside Edward’s face and the younger man just about melted into the touch. Jonathan was cold, but he was gentle, almost reverent as he caressed Edward’s face. “I tried, but I just can’t stay away from you anymore.”

Edward gently clasped Jonathan’s hand with his own. “I don’t see how that’s a problem Jon.”

Jonathan looked like he hadn’t expected that answer and Edward would have laughed if he wasn’t so happy. Jonathan leaned down slightly. “May I-?”

“You burst into my apartment at 3:30 in the morning. You’d better.”

Jonathan fell upon him like a starving man then, his lips claiming Edward’s in an almost desperate kiss. Edward was taken back by the intensity at first, but was soon clinging onto Jonathan just as tightly. Finally, finally.

Chapter Text

He wasn’t quite sure how they had gotten to this point, Edward with his back up against the brick wall of the alley way, Batman directly in front of him, hands on either side of his head, effectively boxing him in.

Edward had gotten himself in a bit over his head investigating an embezzlement case. The perpetrators had been ready to toss him into the Gotham Bay not an hour ago when Batman had shown up.

He seemed to have a habit of showing up when Edward was in mortal peril. Once he’d been cut free from his bonds, they had argued over it. Edward had accused him of having him tailed. Batman didn’t deny it. That had only angered Edward more. He’d cursed at him and turned to leave. He hadn’t gotten more than two steps when Batman pressed him against the brick wall.

“Listen to me Edward,” he said, his raspy voice coming out in a growl that made Edward’s stomach do flip flops. “You need to stop this. You’re going to get yourself killed.”

Edward’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t have any right to tell me what to do,” he seethed. “You don’t control me.”

“I don’t want to control you Edward,” Batman answered. “But you’re taking too many risks. Leave these kind of cases to me.”

“And what? Waste my precious time and intellect on wandering wives and perching in trees to take illicit pictures!?” Edward let out a dry laugh. “I know it was asking too much for you to ever trust me, but I didn’t think you’d be this threatened by me-”

“I’m trying to protect you Edward!”

“Who asked you to protect me!?” Edward yelled out. “Don’t insult me by pretending that you give a damn about me!”

From the corner of his eyes, Edward caught the vigilantes hands moving. He flinched and reflexively closed his eyes, waiting for the blow. Instead, he felt the sensation of Kevlar against his face. “It’s not about whether I trust you or not Edward,” he heard Batman say. “It’s because I won’t always be there to protect you. And if anything happened to you, I’d never forgive myself.”

Edward’s eyes flew open at that. He couldn’t mean-what was he implying? Batman had relaxed and he took a few steps back, allowing Edward to walk away if he chose. Edward couldn’t see the man’s face underneath that blasted mask, but his body language had told Edward all that he needed to know. He let out a shaky laugh. “You have,” he said. “The worst timing imaginable.” He reached out to him. “You know, when I said I wanted to be your partner, I meant that in more than one sense.”

The ball was in Batman’s court now. The Dark Knight stepped back towards Edward now. “There’s no going back if we do this.”

Edward rolled his eyes. “Are you trying to talk me out of this? Because we both know how that will end.”

“No,” Batman answered, tilting Edward’s chin up towards him, almost impossibly gently. “I just want you to be absolutely sure this is what you want.”

Edward raised his arms to wrap them around Batman’s broad shoulders. “I’ve wanted this for the last ten years,” he said. “I was beginning to think you hadn’t noticed.”

Batman let out a small bark of laughter. “Really now?” He leaned in then and Edward soon found himself back up against the brick wall. Not the best place he’d ever shared a first kiss with, but not the worst either.

Chapter Text

The house was completely dark when Jonathan arrived. With any luck, he thought as he opened the door, Edward would be asleep. Jonathan could quickly join him in bed and any argument Edward might start over how late he was in could wait until morning. He pat his pocket, making sure that the contents were still there. With any luck, he’d time it so Edward wouldn’t have time to argue. Nothing to worry about

The lights came on as soon as he entered. “Hello, Jonathan.”

Oh Hell. Edward sat on their sofa, drumming his fingers on the armrest. His green eyes were narrowed at Jonathan, and the other man could feel the anger radiating from him. “It’s five in the morning Jonathan. Where have you been?”

“I was acquiring chemicals Edward. I told you I’d be gone all day.”

“You told me you’d be gone all day. You gave no indication you’d be gone all night too! I had dinner ready for us!”

Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “You might have told me that before I left Edward.”

This was the wrong thing to say, if Edward’s flushed face was any indication. “I might have-I shouldn’t have to tell you to come home at a reasonable hour-” Edward paused, then got up off the sofa. “Wait. You said you were out getting chemicals? Where are they?”

Oh Hell. This was why Jonathan was hoping Edward would be asleep by the time he got back. 

“What were you really doing?” Edward asked. “And if you try to lie to me I swear to God Jonathan, I’ll murder you!”

Jonathan rolled his eyes a bit at his lover’s dramatics. Lord have mercy, but these squabbles were getting tedious. “Before you decide to murder me, let me explain: I had something important I needed to acquire for you today.”

The frown on Edward’s face gave one to a look of confusion. “For me?” he asked. “My birthday was three months ago and our anniversary was in March. And why didn’t you tell me?”

Jonathan let out a deep sigh. This wasn’t how he envisioned this happening. He wasn’t really sure how he envisioned it happening, but he didn’t picture it like this. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box. He watched as the color drained from Edward’s face and he brought his hands up over his mouth. “Jonathan?” he asked in a small voice. “Is that…what I think it is…?”

“You’re the self-proclaimed genius Edward, you tell me.”

Edward stammered for a bit, but Jonathan couldn’t hear it over the sound of his heart threatening to beat out of his chest. He wished his lover would say something, anything just to put him out of this misery.

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that,” he heard Edward say finally. “In fact, I’m going to pretend none of this ever happened. We’ll go to bed and sometime later today, or tomorrow, you’ll present that to me in a more appropriate manner. Deal?”

Jonathan would gladly take that, just to end how awkward this moment was. “Deal.” He placed the box back into his pocket. “Edward, I-” He was caught off by his auburn haired genius all but throwing himself into his arms. Jonathan was almost knocked flat on his ass by the force of it. “What in the Hell?”

“Just so you know. Yes.” Edward placed a happy kiss on his lips.

Jonathan scoffed. “Edward Nigma, you are the most ornery creature I’ve ever had the misfortune of knowing.” He leaned down to give him a proper kiss. “I love you.”

Chapter Text

Every so often, Jonathan looked up from his worn copy of The Plague to the hallway that led to his and Edward’s bedroom. Edward had disappeared into it about twenty minutes earlier, after having received a large package from his former henchwomen. Jonathan looked back down at his book. Whatever they had sent his lover meant only a headache for Jonathan in the near future.

Almost on cue, Edward’s voice rang down the hall. “Jon! Come here! I want to show you something!”

Jonathan put his book down and followed the sound of his partner’s voice. “Comin’ darlin’.”

The bedroom door was still shut when Jonathan approached it. He knocked on the door. “Ed? What’re you doing in there?”

“You’ll see,” Edward said in a sing song tone. “Come in…”

Jonathan steeled himself, then opened the door. Nothing on Earth could have prepared him for what greeted him.

Edward stood in the middle of their bedroom, wearing what Jonathan could only describe as a crime against God and Man. He was wearing a white spandex suit covered with green questions marks and rhinestones. He rather looked like a disco ball twirling about the room. Jonathan was getting a headache just by looking at him. Edward finally stopped admiring himself in the dresser mirror long enough to smile at Jonathan. “Well?” he asked. “What do you think?”

Jonathan stood there, for a long moment at a total loss for words. “Edward?” he finally managed to sputter out. “What the Hell are you wearing?”

“The girls found it when they were cleaning out an old storage unit. I can’t believe it still fits me!”

“You actually wore that thing?”

“Maybe once or twice. I had a bit of a glam rock phase about ten years ago.” Edward’s smile fell when he realized that far from being enthralled, Jonathan was disgusted. “You don’t like it?”

“Don’t like it?” Jonathan repeated incredulously. “Edward, that thing is an abomination.”

Edward’s jaw dropped in outrage. “It is not! I designed it myself!”

“And just how intoxicated were you?”

“This coming from the man who dresses in burlap and straw? At least this doesn’t make me a walking fire hazard.”

“My costume makes perfect sense aesthetically and thematically. That eyesore is a crime against humanity. You look re-god damn-diculous.”

Edward began to pout then. “Well,” he said sounding just a bit hurt. “This is the thanks I get for dressing up for you?”

Jonathan was about to retort when Edward turned his back on him. Jonathan took a moment to really look at him. Despite the rhinestones, the spandex did cling to his legs and ass in a way that Jonathan couldn’t deny was appealing. He walked up to Edward and circled his arms around him. “Darlin’,” he said, kissing his neck. “You could wear a paper bag and I’d still think you were the best looking man I’ve ever seen.”

Edward twisted around in Jonathan’s embrace then and bunched his hand in his shirt. “I know.” Then he pulled Jonathan down into a kiss.

The spandex suit was discarded on the floor within minutes.

Chapter Text

Edward landed flat on his back with a loud grunt. Above him, he could see Dierdre looking over his sprawled body with an unimpressed look. “You’re sure you want to keep doing this boss?”

Edward got up to his feet and raised his fists. “Absolutely. Let’s do it again.”

Dierdre shrugged as she squared up. “Your funeral.”

Edward lunged towards her then. Dierdre easily stepped to the side and dodged him, before sticking her left foot out, tripping Edward and sending him crashing to the ground once again.

“Seriously!?” he yelled as he pushed himself back up. “You tripped me! That’s cheating!”

Diredre rolled her eyes. “People in fights don’t exactly follow rules boss.”

Edward pouted. “You’re being too rough. I want Nina to teach me.”

Nina got up from where she’d been watching the fighting lesson on the sofa and walked over eagerly. “Sure thing Eddie!”

DIerdre walked over to the dining room table, shaking her head. “Don’t go easy on him Nina. He knew what he was getting into when he asked me to teach him how to fight.”

Edward scoffed. “Teach me, not brutalize me. Alright Nina, give me your best shot!” He pulled his right arm back and threw a punch at her with all his might.

One second later, he was airborne. A second after that, he collided with the sofa, knocking it backwards. He lay on the headrest dazed for a few minutes.

“Boss?”

“Eddie? Oh shit, I think I killed him!”

“Settle down Nina, he’s not dead.”

Edward blinked and looked up into the concerned faces of his henchgirls. “On second thought,” he wheezed. “Maybe I should just let you girls keep doing all the fighting.”

Chapter Text

Ellen sat on the edge of the couch, practically hunched over her controller. “Come on,” she hissed. “Come on…” Her team had been on this map for over an hour now, trying to capture the last point. At least, she’d been trying to capture the last point. The rest of her team were a bunch of idiots who couldn’t do anything but get themselves blown up-like the person she’d been trying to capture the point with just now. “Oh my Goooddd!” she groaned.

“I thought the point of that game was to have fun. You sound miserable.”

Ellen turned around to look at her father while she was in respawn. “It is fun, when my teammates don’t suck!”

Her father rolled his eyes and went back to the paperwork he had spread out on his kitchen table. “You know, I’m starting to regret buying you that contraption for your Birthday..”

Ellen scoffed and turned her attention back to the game. She’d respawned finally and hurried back to where the last point was. “You didn’t buy me anything Old Man. You gave me $500 and told me buy whatever I wanted.”

“Well, I’m starting to regret it. Next year, I’m getting you a gift certificate for Wall. E. Weasel’s.”

Ellen had choice words for that threat, but was quickly distracted by the dying screams of her teammate, who, once again, had foregone getting on the point and wasted time attacking the gun turret set up next to it with a baseball bat. Against her better judgement Ellen grabbed the headset next to her on the couch and put it on, turning on the microphone as well. “Stop screwing around and get on the freakin’ point dumbass!”

“Ellen!” she heard her father scold. “Language!”

Ellen ignored him to focus on the game. Finally, finally her team had captured the point and could move on to the next map. “Sorry Pops,” she said absently as the map was loading. “You know for a former super villian, you’re a prude.”

She heard her father huff. “Well, pardon me for at least attempting to behave in a classy manner. You could learn something from that.”

“Blah blah blah,” Ellen said as the teams scrambled. She saw the team make-up and groaned. The same group of idiots all over again. And this was the low gravity custom map too. This was gonna suck so bad. She looked over her shoulder and saw that her father was intently watching her from the kitchen table. He looked curious. “Are you sure you don’t wanna try it Old Man? I think you’d like playing Engineer.”

Her father shook his head. “No, if I want to avoid getting shot, blown up, or set on fire while attempting to steal data, I’d just go to work today.”

Ellen nodded as she selected her main. “Yeah. Guess video games aren’t so fun for you, huh Pops?”

She heard her father chuckle a bit. “Actually, I was a regular at the old arcade in my neighborhood when I was your age. When I was younger than you actually.” His voice turned almost wistful. “Those are some of the only fond memories I have of my childhood.”

Ellen went idle for a moment, suddenly interested in what the Old Man was saying. He almost never talked about his childhood. From what she’d picked up on the few times he had, she didn’t blame him. She wished she could kick her grandfather’s ass. “Yeah?” she said. “Bet you got all the high scores, huh?”

She turned her head a bit and caught her father grin. “Had the top score on Space Invaders until the day the arcade shut down.” He gestured back at his television. “I think your teammates started without you.”

Ellen turned so quickly she almost gave herself whiplash. “Yeah? Well, watch this Old Man, I’m about to have the top score on this map!” Then she saw her team and her jaw dropped. “What the Hell!? Why the fuck do we have six medics!?”

“Ellen! Language!”

“Why do we have a little kid on our team?” Ellen heard through her speakers. 

“I’m not a little kid, I’m a girl numbnuts!”

“Ellen Diane Dixon, if I have to warn you one more time-”

“No way. Girls don’t play this!”

“Dude, I’m pretty sure that’s a chick.” Another voice spoke up.

Ellen felt her face flush a bit. This was why she never played with a mic on. This was exactly why. “Shut up,” she hissed. “Can we just play this stupid fuckin’ map already-”

Ellen almost jumped when she felt her headset being plucked off of her. She looked up to see her agitated father standing over her. “That does it!” he said. “Game over! Unplug that-”

Before her father could continue, the first voice yelled out “If you’re a girl, prove it! Send us pictures!”

Ellen cringed as her father’s face went from angry, to startled, to absolutely thunderous. He raised the headset microphone to his own mouth and said in a voice as cold as ice “Did you just solicit my 16 year old daughter for pictures, you reprobate?”

There was silence over the headset and Ellen cringed. Seeing her father like this made her realize all to clearly what kind of man her father used to be. Finally, the first voice asked “Is she hot?”

Ellen watched her father’s eyes narrow. He then returned Ellen’s headset and walked back to the kitchen table. He opened his laptop and began to type something furiously. Ellen let herself go into spectator mode as she watched her father work. Finally, about ten minutes later, her father closed his laptop. “There. Finished.” He looked back up at her. “You may return to your cartoonish, overly violent mayhem Ellen.”

“‘Kay,” she said nervously. Just what had her father done? She rejoined the game only to see that she had 200% health. Through the speaker on her discarded headset, she heard a teammate cry out dismay. 

“What the fuck!? Why am I only at 5 health?”

“Dude! Me too!”

Ellen slowly turned back to face her father. “Pops?” she asked. “What did you do?”

Her father grinned. “I hacked the game child.”

“Pops!” she cried out. “I could get banned for that!”

Her father just chuckled a bit. “Ellen,” he said in a smug manner. “Do you really think I don’t have just about the most safeguarded IP address known to man? Do you think I would have let you set that thing up and play if I didn’t?”

Oh. That actually made sense. Her father continued “I also took the liberty of enabling Friendly fire. And invulnerability for you. Have at them.”

Ellen grinned. “You’re kind of awesome, Old Man.” She then proceeded to massacre her team and the opposing team, much to their anger and her glee. If she’d looked behind her again, she would have seen her father looking at her, with an expression that was fond exasperation mixed with nostalgia.

“A regular chip off the old block.”

Chapter Text

It didn’t take Edward long to find Jonathan. His former lover was holed up in a storefront in Gotham’s Chinatown. It took only a moment for Edward to hack into the security lock Jonathan had set up outside. ‘Nightmare’. Predictable to the last, aren’t you Jon?

There was nothing but silence and darkness as Edward walked into the old store. The familiar smell of chemicals almost overwhelmed him. There was no one else that Edward could detect, but he kept a tight grip on his cane just the same. 

“I was wonderin’ when you’d show up.”

Just in front of him, Edward could make out the lanky form of Jonathan Crane. Or rather, Scarecrow. He was dressed in his newly modified costume, complete with mask. The green neon lights from the street outside gave him a surreal, almost sickly glow. Edward’s heart leapt up at the sight of the man, before he remembered why he was here. “Jonathan,” he said, shortly. “Or is it Scarecrow?”

“Either or,” the other man answered. “Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with tonight? Edward Nigma, or ‘Edward Nigma, Private Investigator’?

Jonathan’s tone was mocking, almost cruel. Edward had expected that. Jonathan had thought from the beginning that his reform was ludicrous. Was that why he’d done what he did? “I need to talk to you about the gassing on the Lower West Side.”

“Yes,” Jonathan or was it Scarecrow answered. Edward couldn’t tell the difference anymore. “I’ve heard that the authorities haven’t quite restored order down there yet. Did you see them? Wasn’t their terror exquisite?”

Edward had seen it. It was like something straight out of Hell. A mass of humanity clawing at each other in blind panic. The death toll was at 10, but expected to go higher. Over a hundred people were hospitalized. One of them was- “Did you know Ellen was there?”

Jonathan didn’t answer. A part of Edward wanted him to deny it. If Jonathan hadn’t known, if it had been a tragic coincidence, Edward could work with that. He couldn’t forgive that, but he wouldn’t have to-

“She’s been working with the Red Hood down there, disrupting my work.” Jonathan answered as casually as if he was discussing the weather. “She’s a thorn in my side.”

“She’s my daughter Jonathan! Doesn’t that mean anything to you!?

Jonathan’s tone was cold as he said “She’s not a child. You both knew the risks she’d be taking by following Batman and his cohorts.”

Edward took a few heaving breaths and screwed his eyes shut. The memories came to him in a flash. Jonathan holding him, Jonathan telling him how beautiful and clever he was, Jonathan promising he would never hurt him. “You told me,” he said finally. “when we parted ways, that you would never harm me.”

“And I meant it,” Jonathan said, and for a moment, Edward could hear a trace of the man he loved. “But I also told you that I would not tolerate any attacks on my work. That girl should have known better.”

That girl. That girl. Edward remembered how small she looked in her hospital bed, her body and mind fighting through the effects of the toxin, her screaming in terror and pain for her mother, for him and how he’d do anything to make it stop and he opened his eyes and looked at Scarecrow and he saw his enemy. “I loved you Jonathan,” he said. “I still love you. But you just broke the last bit of trust I had in you.” Edward took one step forward and picked up his cane. As far as he was concerned, the man he loved was dead and Scarecrow would soon follow. “You know I have to do something about this.”

Scarecrow loaded the gauntlet he wore and took a step forward as well. “I know.”

Edward lunged forward then.

Chapter Text

Riddler had been quiet for about six months, until tonight.  Rumors had been circulating through Gotham underworld though. About how he was becoming unhinged. About how he was using his own henchmen to test his traps. About how he apparently never ate, slept, or even bathed anymore. 

Bruce wasn’t sure how much, if any of it, was true. He hoped none of it was. It looked like he would find out soon enough.

Oracle had managed to uncover where Nigma’s latest hideout was located. Bruce went alone to stop his latest plot before it began. And, if the rumors were true, try to save Edward from himself.

If the ease with which Bruce deciphered the cryptographic lock on the hideout was any indication, Edward’s sense of his surroundings was slipping. Or he was anticipating his arrival and had lain out some kind of trap in his hideout. Either was equally possible with the man. As Bruce made his way further into the hideout, he began to think the former. Papers and various clutter was scattered about the apartment. Edward must have run out of paper at some point, for the walls were covered with various doodle and scribbles, all in green paint. Bruce could make out some of the writing, but as he walked further down the hallway, the writing became illegible. Bruce narrowed his eyes.  The Edward that he had come to know over the years was fastidious to a fault. For him to let things go like this, something had to be terribly wrong. 

As Bruce left the living room and walked towards where he presumed Edward’s bedroom was, he could hear a fevered muttering. “No, no no, that’s not good enough, think Edward think-shark! Does he have shark repellent? He would, think harder, think think think!”

Bruce slowly pulled out a batarang as he neared the closed door. He didn’t want to hurt Edward, but he wasn’t about to take any chances. He slowly opened the door. The bedroom was in as much disarray as the living room. In the far corner of the room, Bruce saw Edward. His back was turned to Bruce as he was hunched over, muttering to himself while writing on the wall. “You can do this Edward, you have to do this, you have to get him before he gets you-”

Bruce put his Batarang back into his utility belt. Edward was clearly unwell. “Edward.”

Edward spun around to meet his gaze and Bruce’s heart sank at the sight of him. He looked terrible. He was wearing green pajama bottoms and a white undershirt, as if he was dressed for bed, but the large dark bags under his eyes showed that he wasn’t sleeping. His auburn hair, usually so well coiffed, was disheveled and greasy. His face was gaunt and his shirt hung loose on him, showing just how much weight he’d lost since Bruce had seen him last. He looked like a shell of himself.

Edward’s eyes widened and his face flushed when he saw Bruce. At first he looked ashamed, but soon his expression twisted into one of anger. “You!” he hissed. 

Bruce took a step forward. “Edward,” he said again. “Come with me.”

Edward shook his head and a manic gleam came to his eyes. “No. No, no no no no, I’m not ready yet, how did you-Oh you cheated! You always cheat! You can’t actually beat me fair and square, so you ambush me! Well go ahead then! Hit me! Beat me like you always do! I know you want to!”

“Edward,” Bruce said, taking slow, cautious steps towards the man. “I don’t want to hurt you. I want to help you.”

“Liar!” Edward screamed, bringing his hands to his head. “You’ve never wanted to help me! Just hit me and get it over with!” He began to drag his fingers down his face. Just a bit more pressure and he’d draw blood. 

Bruce closed the distance and grabbed Edward’s hands with his own to prevent him from hurting himself. The shorter man screamed then and began thrashing against him in a futile attempt to break free. 

“Do it!” he wailed. “Hit me! Hit me! Hit me! Hit…”Edward ceased his thrashing and broke down into uncontrollable sobbing. For a long moment, Bruce stood there, still gently but firmly holding Edward’s wrists. The ever familiar sense of guilt began to settle in his stomach. He’d failed him. He’d been so focused on Joker and foiling his never ending schemes that he’d let Edward slip through the cracks. And this was the result. Bruce hardly recognized him as the intelligent, proud resourceful man he’d grudgingly, but genuinely come to respect over the years.

“Batman,” Edward said in a small voice. He looked up at him and Bruce saw tears streaming down his face. “I’m not…help me….” Edward nearly collapsed against him and Bruce dropped his hands around his wrists and wrapped his arms around him, cradling him against his chest. He let the exhausted man cry himself to sleep against him, all the while not saying a word. Once he was sure Edward was asleep, he laid him down on his bed. Bruce removed his cape and wrapped it around Edward, then gently picked him up. He carried him through the trashed apartment, down the stairs and out into the winter night where the Batmobile was waiting. 

Bruce carefully settled Edward into the passenger seat of the Batmobile and strapped him in before climbing into the driver’s seat. Once he was buckled up, he began to the long drive to Arkham. Edward wouldn’t be happy when he woke up there, but Bruce would stay with him tonight. He owed the man that much. When he was stopped at a red light, he reached over to gently smooth back strands of Edward’s hair. He cupped the man’s face gently, the way he wished he could when Edward was awake.

“I’ll do everything I can for you Edward,” he whispered. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

At some point in their partnership, Edward had settled on a routine. Every Friday morning, just past 9, Penelope would come to her office to find Edward already there, sitting on her desk with a file in hand and a borderline obnoxious greeting for her. The first time, he’d barely managed to dodge the cup of coffee a surprised Penelope had reflexively thrown at him. The second time, he’d gotten an earful from her about her schedule. The third time, she’d commented that he looked more like a femme fatale than a private detective, sprawled out on her desk as he was. This had gotten a genuine laugh out of him. By the fifth time, she’d come to accept it as one of his compulsive quirks and adjusted her schedule accordingly.

This had been going on for over half a year and, much as Penelope would never admit it, she’d begun looking forward to his visits. At first their conversations had been strictly professional, mostly about whatever case Edward was investigating at the time, or what information Penelope had managed to uncover about Mayor Sharp’s office. As time went on, the conversations had expanded to include choice commentary about the GCPD, to Edward’s tastes in music and art, to one day, Penelope sharing the myths that her father had told her when she was a little girl, from the old textbook he’d kept from college. He’d given it to her when she left for university and she had kept it throughout her college career and into her days at Arkham until- until.

Edward had caught the way her voice hitched. “What happened to it?”

Penelope remembered herself and answered “It got lost when the Joker had his men search my office. It doesn’t matter.”

“Obviously it does,” Edward said. “You wouldn’t feel the need to mention it if it didn’t.”

Penelope shook her head. “It’s long gone Edward. There’s no point dwelling on it.”

Edward hadn’t said anything for a long time after that.

The next Friday morning, Penelope arrived to an empty office. She went about her day as usual. It wasn’t unheard of for Edward or her to no-show, depending on what they were working on. The Friday morning after that, he once again didn’t come. Penelope felt a bit put out, but didn’t let it worry her. She would have heard from Ellen or from Ms. Kyle if something had happened. The third Friday came around and now Penelope was genuinely worried. It wasn’t like him to be gone this long without at least some kind of message, cryptic as the man could be. She didn’t have much time to dwell on it though, as her assistance was required at GCPD.

She came back to her office later that night, wanting to catch up on a bit of paperwork, only to see the lights on. She let out a sigh that was equal parts relief and irritation and opened the door. Sure enough, Edward Nigma was sitting on her desk, holding a parcel in his hands. “Good evening Dr. Young!” he chirped when he saw her.

“You could have at least told me if you were working on something,” she said as she removed her coat and hung it on the coat stand. “I was about ready to go to Gordon.”

“Oh, I missed you too,” Edward drawled. He picked himself off of the desk and sauntered up to her. “You wouldn’t believe the last few weeks I’ve had.”

“I’m sure I would,” she said. “Nothing too illegal I hope?”

“Nothing too illegal no. Just a bit of hacking, bribery, trespassing, maybe a subtle threat to expose an affair or two-”

“I don’t need to hear the rest,” Penelope answered, holding one hand up. She stared at the parcel Edward held in his hands. “What on Earth do you have that was so important you needed to do all of that to get it?”

For a moment, Edward looked almost nervous. He held the parcel out to her. “Why don’t you tell me?”

Penelope took it from his hands. It felt like a book. She removed the paper covering the item. It was a book. Penelope’s jaw dropped when she recognized it. It was her father’s old text book. It looked the same as it did the last time she’d had it in her old office in Arkham, two years ago. She looked at Edward. “This is-how did you-where-”

“It appears that when your personal items were temporarily confiscated from your office after that whole affair with the TITAN, one of the personnel in charge took a liking to it and decided to keep it for themselves.” Edward’s eyes darkened a bit. “He’ll regret that as soon as his wife sees the credit card charges for his mistress that I sent her.”

Penelope scarcely heard him as she opened the book. Sure enough, on the title page, was the good luck message her father had written for her when she’d left for Gotham all those years ago. She shut it then and hugged it tight against her chest. She felt her eyes begin to tear up as she gratefully looked up at Edward. “You did all of that for me?”

Edward nodded. “Everything.”

Chapter Text

Occasionally, when he wasn’t handling chemicals, Jonathan would allow Nightmare out of his cage and let him perch on his desk. Today, Nightmare was watching him write his notes in between grooming himself. Jonathan was writing the chemical make-up when something croaked, “Riddle me this!”

Jonathan looked up abruptly from his notepad. Where had that come from? No one else was down here with him but- Jonathan stared at Nightmare intently. The bird stared back for a moment before he croaked again. “Riddle me this!”

Jonathan got out of his chair, coaxed Nightmare onto his arm and marched up the basement stairs. “Edward!” 

He found his partner sprawled on the couch, doing a sudoku puzzle. “Yes dearest?”

“Edward,” Jonathan said as patiently as he could. “Would you care to explain this?” 

“Explain what?”

“Riddle me this!” Nightmare repeated. “Riddle me this!”

Edward smirked. “Well, now whenever you’re cooped up downstairs, you’ll have something to remember me by.”

“Riddle me this! Riddle me this!”

Jonathan glared at Edward. “I am never leaving you alone with my bird again.”

Chapter Text

“FT sample #118 looks to be my strongest batch so far. Within ten seconds of initial exposure, Subject began to exhibit accelerated heart rate auditory and visual hallucinations. One minute after initial exposure, Subject needed to be restrained to prevent them from doing themselves bodily injury. Afterwards-”

Jonathan paused the tape recorder and put it back down on his desk when he heard the basement boor open and the sound of footsteps descending the stairs. He sighed. He’d been meaning to get a lock for that door. He didn’t look up when he heard the footsteps pause right behind him. He didn’t need to look to know who it was. “Edward. Is there something you need?”

He heard his lover chuckle. “I can’t just come down to see my boyfriend? You wound me dearest.”

Jonathan continued to sit at his desk, reading over his notes from his last…session. He heard Edward huff a bit. “You’ve been down here for six hours. When did you eat last?”

Jonathan couldn’t actually remember. “I’ll eat when I get hungry,” he said. “I’m busy.”

Edward didn’t say anything, but soon Jonathan could feel the other man’s arms wrap around his shoulders. Jonathan narrowed his eyes a bit. Edward always did this when he wanted something from him. “Jonathan,” he said, almost whispering into his ear. Jonathan pretends his face doesn’t burn just a bit. “Come up? Please?”

Jonathan shook his head. “When I’m done.” He leaned over to grab his tape recorder when he felt Edward press a feather light kiss along his neck. He froze. Jonathan was a man with few weaknesses. This was one of them and Edward knew it. He could feel the younger man grin before he moved his lips up to just under his ear. “Dearest,” Edward breathed, nibbling on Jon’s earlobe. “Darling, love of my life? Aren’t I more important than recording your notes?”

Jonathan turned his head to look at Edward’s face. Edward had a smug grin on his face, but his eyes were soft. Jonathan looked back to his notes. He was tired. He was a bit hungry. And, he realized, it had been too long since he’d touched and been touched by Edward. Still, he wasn’t about to let him win that easily.

“You’ve interrupted me wile I’m working,” he drawled, standing up to his full height. He turned to look at Edward, who didn’t look displeased at this turn of events. “You know I’m going have to do something about that.”

Edward smirked. “Oh, I’m counting on it.”

 

Chapter Text

Once Penelope had recovered the use of speech, she pinched the bridge of her nose and took a deep breath. She was a certified psychiatrist. A highly educated woman with a well deserved reputation for being collected and calm, almost cold at almost all times. This spectacle before her however, was pushing her to her limits. “I can’t say I’m surprised that you managed to get yourself in trouble,” she said at last. “But just how exactly did this happen?”

This was Edward Nigma, private investigator in her office shirtless, missing his glasses and a shoe and covered with body glitter. Glitter that would no doubt cover her floor and any furniture Edward got near.

Edward, to his credit, at least looked slightly embarrassed by his appearance. “You remember that new Rave drug on the lower east side that made the news last week?”

“The one that Gordon formed a task force for?” Penelope asked. “You found a lead on that and you didn’t tell me?”

“I was getting to around to it!” Edward protested. “I was actually going to question a raver who my sources told me was distributing the drug, when I followed him into a rave.”

That explained the body glitter. “Go on.”

“I was making my way through a rather unruly crowd when the raver made me. He released the drug and made a break for it.”

That would also explain the sirens Penelope had heard earlier that evening. “It’s in aerosol form now? Were you drugged?”

“Yes and no. I wasn’t close enough for the drug to take full effect on me. The ravers closest to my target though were overcome. They didn’t take kindly to my presence.”

From what Penelope heard, the drug effects were similar to that of LSD and PCP. Edward was lucky he wasn’t visibly injured. “I see.So now what?”

Edward looked a bit sheepish. “Can you give me a ride to my apartment? I need new clothes.”

Penelope raised an eyebrow. “Why didn’t you ask Selina? She lives down there.”

“Really Penelope? If Selina saw me like this, she’d never let me live it down.”

Penelope laughed a bit despite herself. Edward was the most ridiculous man she’d ever known. “And I will?”

Edward narrowed his eyes. “Ha ha. Just don’t tell Ellen about this.”

“Fine. And in return, you can come with me to Commissioner Gordon to tell him what you found out.”

“You’re an evil woman, you know that?”

Penelope rolled her eyes and tried not to let her eyes linger on the man’s exposed chest for too long. He was…more toned than she would have thought. Not that she thought of that. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

It was a bright night in Gotham tonight. The moon shone through the window of Jonathan and Edward’s bedroom, illuminating it with a soft glow.

Edward, as was his want, lay on the left side of the bed that faced the window. He was asleep nestled in Jonathan’s arms, his hair tousled by their earlier love-making. His face was soft, completely at peace. The moonlight gave him an almost ethereal glow. The only sounds he made were the soft sounds of his breath and the low murmurs that occasionally escaped his lips. In moments like this, it was hard to believe that he was one of the premiere super criminals. He was just a man.

No, Jonathan thought as he lay awake, holding Edward in his bony arms. Not just a man. His man. Outside of his research of course, his entire world. Jonathan was in a near constant state of insomnia, but even if he wasn’t, he didn’t think he could sleep with this vision before him. He had the impossible idea that if he fell asleep, he would wake up alone and Edward would have been nothing but a dream. Jonathan’s grip tightened a bit at the thought. Edward groaned a bit.

“Jon?” He asked groggily. “What’s wrong?”

Jonathan relaxed his grip slightly. “Nothin’. Just thinkin’.”

“Oh? What about?”

Jonathan kissed the top of Edward’s head. “You look beautiful in the moonlight.”

Edward chucked a bit. “Waxing poetic are we? I didn’t think you were the type.”

Jonathan rubbed Edward’s back. “I’m not. I don’t say anything that I don’t absolutely mean darlin’.”

In the moonlight glow, Jonathan could just see a blush form on Edward’s face. “I do believe you’re becoming soft in your old age Professor Crane.” He tilted his head up expectantly.

Jonathan leaned down and exchanged a long, soft kiss. “Only for you Edward.”

 

Chapter Text

For the rest of his life, Oswald Cobblepot would have no idea just what on Earth possessed him to agree to host Harley’s Birthday party at the Iceberg Lounge. He supposed he could chalk it up to sentimentality. He always had a slight fondness for Harley, when she wasn’t in the company of the Joker. He’d been as thrilled as everyone else when she’d finally left the clown for good a few months ago. Or perhaps it was because Selina and Dr. Isley had approached him a week ago and offered him generous compensation for the use of his club.

Whatever his motivation, Oswald now found the main dining room of his posh nightclub overrun by various members of the Rogues gallery, most of whom had come armed. Loud party music filled the room, making it difficult to hear people sitting less than three feet away.Oswald took a look at the confetti and glittered balloons that covered his normally classy lounge and shuddered. At least he had had the good sense to close the restaurant down for the evening and give most of his wait staff the night off.  And so now, Oswald and Marco, his manager, were left to contend with over a dozen costumed, cantankerous criminals.

“Boss! Croc just took a dive in the penguin tank!”

Oh Good God. Oswald left the table he was sitting at with Harvey and Selina and waddled as fast as he could up the steps that overlooked the penguin enclosure. Sure enough, Waylon was in the water, doing a backstroke, much to the delight of Lynns and Walker, who were drunkenly cheering him on. Oswald could kick himself for agreeing to having an open bar.

“Waylon!” he cried out. “Get out of my tank this instant! You’re disturbing my birds!”

Waylon dove underwater and emerged by the ice flow where Oswald’s penguins rooked. Waylon pulled himself onto the ice, while the penguins looked on in curiosity. 

“Waylon Jones,” Oswald growled, “If you lay one hand on my birds, I will blacklist you from The Iceberg Lounge for life!” 

Waylon didn’t answer, but instead staggered towards a door that Oswald’s staff used to enter to feed the penguins. Oswald shook his head. At least Waylon hadn’t dove into the Leopard seal tank. Oswald walked down the steps and back towards his table when he paused. In his absence, Selina and Harvey had opted to hold a drinking contest and were each taking a sip out of shot glasses. Oswald rolled his eyes. He’d seen more dignified behavior from fraternity parties the lounge had hosted in the past.

“Marco?” 

Oswald’s long suffering manager walked up. “Yes Mr. Cobblepot?”

“Where’s Edward? I need some intelligent conversation.”

“He took a private booth by the kitchen, I think.” 

Oswald nodded and made his way over towards the VIP booths. Surely, Edward would be above their colleague's juvenile shenanigans. Such hopes were dashed when Oswald came upon the booths. Edward wasn’t alone in the booths, but was instead perched in the lap of Jonathan Crane. The pair hadn’t noticed Oswald’s approach, instead being too preoccupied with sloppily kissing each other. 

Oswald cleared his throat. “Ahem!”

Edward’s eyes opened and only Crane’s firm grip around his hips kept him from falling off the other man. Crane meanwhile looked up, supremely disinterested. “D’you mind?”

“That is not an appropriate use of my booths, gentlemen,” Oswald scolded. Edward just sputtered in response, face flushed from drink and embarrassment. Crane continued to stare blankly at Oswald. Before Oswald could remind them that any untoward stains he found on the booth’s cushions would be put on their tab, Marco’s voice rang out in warning.

“Mr. Cobblepot! Langstrom’s flying around in the restaurant!”

Oswald swore under his breath and left the lovers to their own devices. In the center of the dining room, the other guests were gathered underneath the large and very expensive glass chandelier. Oswald craned his neck upward and saw Man-Bat himself perched on top. He cringed at the way the chandelier was swaying. “Dr. Langstrom,” Oswald called out. “If you do anything to damage that chandelier, no one will ever find your remains!”

Man-Bat stirred then and took off, flying towards the alcove above the front entrance. Oswald took a seat down at his table and sighed. What had he been thinking, opening up his club to these reprobates? He squawked when he felt a pair of arms embrace him.

“Ozzie!” a familiar voice squealed. 

Despite his circumstances, Oswald found it in him to smile a bit. “Ah, there’s the lady of the hour. Are you enjoying your party so far?” 

Harley nodded and grinned. “Thanks so much for lettin’ us use your club Ozzie! I know we can be a bit rowdy, but I really appreciate it!”

Oswald felt his affection for the woman surge. How could he stay angry at her? “Think nothing of it my dear.” Harley abruptly let him go and giggled.

“Look! Harvey’s startin’ a conga line! You wanna join?”

Sure enough, Dent, Brown and Waylon of all people were beginning to form a conga line in the main dining room. Good God, just how much alcohol had they consumed? Well, why not? It would hardly be the most ridiculous thing he’d seen all evening.

 

Chapter Text

The entire concept of a physical relationship was still a strange one to Jonathan Crane. After having spent his entire life up into that point being mocked for looking like, well, a scarecrow, one could forgive him for being unsure what to make of someone actually finding him attractive.

An irritated sigh cut through Jonathan’s musings. “You could at least pretend that you’re into this Jonathan.” Edward was sitting on Jonathan’s lap and had been pressing kisses alongside his neck and jaw. Now he glared at him. Jonathan had sat still while Edward had occupied himself, his arms laying at his sides. Jonathan hadn’t done anything. Jonathan wasn’t quite sure what to do.

“Sorry,” he muttered, awkwardly positioning his hands on Edward’s hips. “This better?”

Edward rolled his eyes. “It’s a start.” 

Jonathan huffed a bit. “Clearly, I did not drink enough for this.”

Edward glared at him. “Are you implying that you need to be intoxicated to find me attractive Jonathan?”

Not in the slightest. Edward, despite or maybe partly because of all of his unique personality traits was the most attractive man Jonathan had ever laid eyes on. He’d wanted him for so long, but now that he actually had him….he felt like the proverbial dog that had caught the car. 

On top of him, Edward continued, “I’ll have you know that I was voted to have the best ass of any of our fellow Rogues in Arkham!”

“Second best,” Jonathan corrected. “Harley placed first if I recall correctly.”

“Well she’s a perky blonde! She’s got an unfair advantage! And at any rate, one can’t deny that I have the most attractive mind of anyone in Gotham! Anyone would be honored to have me in this position right-mmph!”

Jonathan, distinctly unhappy at the idea of anyone else having Edward in this position, cut the auburn haired man off with a kiss. He took careful note of the noises Edward made as he continued to plunder his mouth. This wasn’t so different from when he was having one of his sessions with a test subject. All a matter of recording stimuli. He pulled away and the flushed look on Edward’s face nearly took his breath away. He moved in again, this time slowly, experimentally moving his hands up his shirt. He thought he could get used to this.

Chapter Text

Selina watched the feed from the security cameras in the small office she’d been able to sneak into. There were three guards that she could spot patrolling the warehouse, all of them armed. There were two posted outside a large door that she assumed was the main office. Selina’s eyes narrowed. That’s where he’d be. She’d need to be sneaky. According to the feed, one of the patrolling guards should be coming around the corner right about…now. Slowly, Selina opened the door to the security office and stepped out into the warehouse proper. The patrolling guard was right in front of her with his back to her. He hadn’t heard her open the door. She smirked. Perfect.

In an instant, Selina had the man in a choke hold, covering his mouth to stifle any cries. The man soon went limp and Selina let him crash to the floor. For a moment she considered taking the gun with her, but decided against it. She’d never liked using them much. She soon made her way down the hallway and up the stairs where the main office was located. She crouched down by a corner when she saw the two armed thugs posted outside. She pulled her cell phone and quickly texted a number. I’m almost there. Be ready in five minutes.

“Hey! Tubbs! Rocky! Get over here! Chad’s out cold!”

The two thugs ran past Selina down the stairwell, towards where she’d left their colleague. As soon as they were gone, Selina ran up to the door and hoped that it was unlocked. Luckily it wasn’t and Selina was able to get into the office.

She instantly found what she was looking for. Sitting slumped in a chair in the middle of the room was the battered form of Edward Nigma. He didn’t look up as she shut the door behind her. Selina dashed towards the man, hoping that he was merely unconscious. “Eddie?” She gently tilted his head up and cringed when she saw the bruises. “Eddie? You better not be dead!”

Slowly, Eddie’s eyes opened.”L..Lina?” he managed to get out. “How…”

Selina unsheathed her diamond tipped claws and made short work of the zip ties that bound Eddie’s hands behind the chair. She caught him as he leaned forward. “Easy Eddie. Can you stand?” 

Slowly, Eddie nodded and got unsteadily to his feet. Selina braced him by throwing an arm over her shoulder and supporting his weight. “I gotta say Eddie,” she cracked, “You’ve got a knack for getting into trouble.”

Eddie weakly chuckled. “You’ve got quite a knack for getting me out of it.” Suddenly, the warehouse shook and the pair of them could hear a wild whooping. “Knock knock boys! Say hello to the Gotham City Sirens!”

Yells filled the warehouse as Harley and Ivy got to work on the thugs. Selina felt Eddie cringe a bit. “How much do I owe your friends for helping secure my release?”

Selina gently wrapped her free hand around Eddie’s hip. “This one’s on the house. None of us like Falcone’s crew much. And if they mess with you, they’re messing with me.”

 

Chapter Text

“Dear Lord,” Edward griped as he witnessed the deluge outside of Penelope’s office building. “I know the weather forecast called for rain, but this is ridiculous!”

“It’s summer in Gotham,” Penelope answered, pulling her umbrella out of her bag. “I’m not sure what you were expecting.”

“I was expecting not to have to risk drowning on the way to my car,” Edward complained, holding the front door of the building open for Penelope. He arched an eyebrow as he watched her open up her umbrella. “I’d be careful with that if I were you.”

“I’ve lived in this city for over ten years Edward, I can more than handle a-Oh no!”

Penelope had taken a step outside when a gust of wind caught her umbrella and pulled it out of her hands. She watched with dismay as it blew across the parking lot and out of sight. “Damn it!” she swore. Her rain coat was well insulated, but it didn’t have a hood. She realized suddenly that she wasn’t feeling any raindrops. Edward had come outside and held his large, green umbrella over the pair of them as they stood outside the front door. 

“I did warn you,” he said with a cheeky grin on his face. “How far away are you parked?”

Penelope swallowed the snarky remark she wanted to make and was grateful that she wasn’t being drenched. “Just a few feet.”

Edward held his arm out. “After you then.”

The pair walked slowly across the asphalt, both under the umbrella that Penelope noticed was emblazoned with black question marks. “Do you have question marks on everything you own?”

Edward chuckled. At this close proximity, she could feel it as well as hear it. “Well, I do have an aesthetic to maintain.”

A loud thunderclap sounded above them and Penelope jumped at the sound. Without thinking, she grasped onto Edward’s left hand. He paused for an instant. “Not a fan of thunder, I take it?”

When Penelope realized what she had done, she felt her face flush. “I’m not afraid of it-I mean-”It wasn’t thunder per se. Any loud noise made her jumpy, ever since she’d survived the explosion that was meant to kill her. 

She felt a gentle pressure on her right hand and she realized, looking down that Edward hadn’t pulled his hand away, like she thought he might. She felt the smooth material of his gloves as his hand gently squeezed hers. “You don’t have to explain anything to me,” he said. “I think you’re entitled to a neuroses or two.” If he was embarrassed, his face didn’t show it.

She should pull her hand away. This was a boundary they shouldn’t, they couldn’t cross. This wasn’t right. She didn’t want to let go though, and apparently, neither did he. So she didn’t. 

They walked the last few feet to her car in silence, and, almost reluctantly, Penelope pulled her right hand away to reach into her bag for her car key. Edward stood there, still holding the umbrella over them as she opened her driver’s door.

“Do you want me to give you a ride to your car?”

Edward shook his head. “I’m not too far. I’ll survive.” He held the door open for her as Penelope got into her car. He tipped his hat to her. “Until next Friday then.” Penelope smiled a bit.

“See you then Edward.” She then shut her door and turned on the ignition.

Edward waited until Penelope’s car had pulled out before he began to walk towards his own car, with a spring in his step. He hadn’t been imagining things. He’d held her hand and she hadn’t let go. There was something there. He wasn’t sure what it was, but there was a possibility and she was open to it.

Chapter Text

“They’re trying to kill us.”

Jonathan sighed. “It’s a cold winter Edward. Unless you think the Arkham staff are using Victor Fries against us, I don’t think they have anything to do with it.”

In the cot on the opposite side of the cell, his roommate huffed. “I wouldn’t put it past them. Fries has gotten a lot of sympathy from them using the ‘put my terminally ill wife into a cryogenic sleep and got turned into a walking ice box’ card.”

Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “That’s quite a specific card Edward.”

Edward said nothing in response, and instead attempted to burrow himself under the extra blankets Dr. Arkham had issued to the patients. “I’m freezing!” he whined. “Can’t they give us space heaters?”

“Last time they did, Joker started a fire in the West Wing by trying to have a weenie roast.”

“I really hate that goddamn clown. How did he even get the hot dogs-never mind, I don’t want to know.”

“Now there’s a first. Edward Nigma not wanting to know something.”

Edward shot Jonathan a glare, before his face grew concerned. “Are you alright Jonathan?”

Jonathan leaned back against his cot. “Nothing a few hours of silence won’t cure.”

“I can see your breath.” Edward got out of his cot and walked over to Jonathan’s dragging his blankets with him. “I’m absolutely frigid,” he continued. “But I’ve easily got at least 40 pounds on you. You must be frozen solid.”

“Your concern is touching,” Jonathan drawled, “But I’m used to being in harsh conditions Edward.”

“Maybe in the South, but somehow I doubt Georgia got much in the way of snow storms.”

Jonathan pressed his eyes shut. He was freezing. He never could handle cold well, but he’d never tell Edward that. “Shut up and go to sleep Edward.” For a moment, Jonathan heard nothing. Maybe for once Edward did as Jonathan asked him. Then Jonathan felt a weight in his cot and heat. His eyes flew open to see Edward awkwardly positioning himself on the cot. “Edward,” Jonathan hissed. “Just what in the Hell do you-”

“I’m trying to keep us from freezing to death, thank you very much.” Edward draped his blankets over himself and Jonathan and curled up on his side. “I’m not explaining to Dr. Leland why there’s a frozen Scarecrow in my cell tomorrow.”

Jonathan wished he had access to his fear toxin right about now. “And you don’t think this warrants any kind of explanation.”

Edward’s face flushed. “You make everything sound so tawdry. It’s a survival situation. Nothing more. Now to borrow a phrase from you, shut up and go to sleep.” 

Jonathan could and should forcibly eject Edward from his cot. But the man was radiating heat. Jonathan grabbed a hold of the extra blankets Edward brought and rolled over. “Just keep your hands to yourself or you’ll wake up without them.”

Edward scoffed. “Don’t flatter yourself Spooky.”


About four hours later, Jonathan woke up feeling a warm pressure on his chest. He peered down to see Edward had draped himself over him in his sleep at some point. He looked completely peaceful. Jonathan could and should move him, but…he’d never noticed just how…lovely Edward was when he was like this. And he was warm and soft and almost…comforting. He’d regret this as soon as the man woke up, but for now, Jonathan wrapped his arms around him and went back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Gramma was working another night shift, which meant Ellen had complete run of the apartment. She was sprawled out on the couch with the TV blaring in the background. Breaking news bulletin: there’s been a shooting at GCPD headquarters. Early reports indicate there are two serious injuries, and that the shooter is dead. Authorities at this time will not release any details about the shooter’s motive or his identity, as well as the identities of those wounded. We’ll keep you updated as more details are released. 

Ellen wasn’t paying attention to this, concentrating on her latest, uncooperative sketch. She glared at it. Ellen hated drawing feet. She always made them too small, too pointed, or just too awkward looking. She crumpled up the sketch and threw it in the wastebasket with an irritated grunt. She loved art, but she hated it. She was about to start again when her cell phone rang. Please be Marisol, or Red. “Hello?”

“Ellen?”

Ellen sat up a bit. “Doc Young? What’s up?” It was 6:30 on a Thursday night. Why was she calling her?

“Are you at home?”

Doc Young sounded off. She was usually so matter of fact and cold and now she sounded…shaken. Like something had happened. Wait. Didn’t Doc Young work for GCPD sometimes? “What’s wrong? Do you need me to call the Old Man?”

There was a pause before the other woman spoke again. “There’s been an incident. Your father’s been shot. We’re at Gotham University hospital now.”

Ellen felt as if the wind had been punched out of her. No no no no no, the Old Man didn’t work for GCPD, he didn’t like GCPD, he couldn’t have been there, why was he even there-

“Selina’s on her way to get you. Your grandmother’s been made aware of the situation as well. He’ll be alright Ellen. I promise.”

Ellen didn’t hear her hang up the phone. She almost didn’t hear the doorbell ring ten minutes later. She spoke maybe a few sentences to Selina as she drove her to the hospital. She didn’t speak at all to the hospital staff as she was taken to a private waiting room and sat down. Doc Young was already there. She and Selina spoke low to each other and Ellen caught maybe a few fragments. …There to turn over evidence…going out to get dinner and talk about latest…didn’t see the man with the gun….shoved me out of the…not your fault…you should get checked out too there’s blood…not mine…

“Ellen?”

Ellen looked up and Selina and Doc Young were looking at her like her preschool teacher had looked at her once when she’d fallen down and skinned her knee. 

“Do you want anything kiddo?” Selina asked. “Water?”

Ellen wanted her father.  She shook her head. “’M fine.”

Doc Young didn’t look convinced. “I’ll get you something to drink. You should eat too.”


The three of them sat in the waiting room for hours. Selina had called Nina and Deirdre and they were taking the first flight out from Central City. One of Cobbelepot’s staffers had been by to ‘pass his regards’. Some dark haired guy had stopped by when Doc Young was out talking to a nurse and Selina left the room to talk to him. Ellen thought it might have been Bruce Wayne, but she didn’t think to ask. The only thing she was thinking about was the last time she’d been at a hospital. That had been the night Mom died. She curled up into her chair and hugged her legs. She hadn’t been in her Old Man’s life for two years. She couldn’t lose him too. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Doc Young come back into the room and take the chair next to her. “He’s stable Ellen. He’ll live.”

Ellen nodded, but didn’t speak.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, a doctor came into the room. “He’s out of surgery,” he said. “The bullet was through and through and missed any bones, arteries or major organs. We’ll keep him hear for about three days and then he’ll be cleared to go home.”

For the first time in six hours, Ellen breathed. She saw Selina smile and Doc Young visibly relax. “Can we see him?” Ellen asked.

“Yes, but he’s still asleep. He probably won’t wake up until morning.”

Doc Young checked her watch. “It’s after midnight Ellen. We should-”

“I’m not leaving him,” Ellen declared. “I’m staying until he wakes up.”

“I was going to say we should update your grandmother. Given the circumstances, I don’t think she’ll object to you staying.”

Sometimes Doc Young was pretty cool. Selina got out of her seat and stretched. “I’m going to go back to Eddie’s and grab some of his things. He’ll go nuts if he has nothing to do but watch hospital TV.” She left the room. 

Doc Young looked at Ellen. “You can go see him first. You’re his daughter. I need to update the commissioner.” Ellen nodded and walked out of the room. She looked back for a brief second to see her collapse into a chair and take her face into her hands.

Ellen followed the doctor to her father’s hospital room. Ellen’s eyes widened when she saw her Old Man. He was lying on the hospital bed, hooked up to IVs, his torso heavily bandaged. She’d never seen him look so pale. His hair was all messed up too. She hadn’t seen him look this bad since that thing with Croc eight months ago. Ellen slowly walked up to his bedside. She reached down and grabbed his right hand, cringing at how cold and clammy it felt.

“I’ll give you some privacy,” Ellen heard the doctor say. When she heard the door shut behind her, she knew she was alone. Now, she began to cry.

“Dumb old man,” she said through the tears. “Crummy Old Man. Making me cry like this. I hate you!” She squeezed his hand again. “How’d you even manage to get shot in GCPD? Moron. I bet one of the cops did it.” Ellen wiped her tears and snot with her sleeve. She hadn’t cried like this since she was a kid. “You scared me,” she said. “I thought I was gonna lose you. Like I lost Mom.” She gulped back another sob. “I love you Dad. Don’t scare me like this again. Please.”

Ellen stood there, crying for a few more minutes, when she suddenly felt a light pressure in her right hand. She looked down and realized her father’s hand was lightly squeezing her own. She looked up with a start and saw her father’s own eyes, slightly dulled with painkillers, but open and focused on her. Ellen realized with a start that they were filled with tears too. He managed to get his mouth open and say one thing, weakly.

“..Sorry. Love you too sweetheart.”

 

Chapter Text

“Riddle me this: who dresses like a bat and stupidly left us stuck in my own trap?”

Bruce grit his teeth. “Not now Nigma.”

It had been a normal night, or as normal as nights could be in Gotham when Bruce had gotten a call from Gordon. Riddler had sent another cryptic note to GCPD headquarters. It hadn’t taken Bruce long to decipher the clue and find Edward holed up in an abandoned warehouse in the Diamond District. He’d turned the floor into a giant chess board, complete with electrified tiles if he made a wrong move. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, something had gone wrong.

“Why even bother trying to actually solve the puzzle,” Edward continued to whine. “Just throw a few batarangs at the switch! What could possibly go wrong?”

Bruce took a deep breath. He and Edward were now trapped on the upper platform Edward had viewed his progress from while the entire floor was electrified beneath them. “How long until the power for the floor runs out?”

Edward shrugged. “60 minutes. 60 minutes for me to contemplate the life choices that led me to waste an hour with a neanderthal who ruined my trap by stupidly throwing a Batarang at the switch and overloading the circuit breaker!”

“Edward,” Bruce said as patiently as he could. “If you didn’t want me to throw my Batarang at the switch, then why was it exposed and in range?”

Edward pouted and looked away, folding his arms. “It was supposed to be a fail-safe in case you really did get stuck. I wanted you to at least attempt to solve it though!”

Dick and Jason had both had their moments as moody kids and teenagers. Edward was somehow even worse. It took all of Bruce’s years of training to be at peak mental and physical discipline to not lose his temper with the stubborn Rogue. More than anyone else in his Rogues Gallery, Edward frustrated him. Despite his ego and his tendency to over-complicate things, Edward legitimately was brilliant. Bruce would never admit it, but his deductive skills came close to his own. If it weren’t for his own compulsive need to be the center of attention, Edward could easily take the city for his own. When Bruce thought of what the other man could accomplish if he would just walk away from this life, how he could work with him, how he could be with-Bruce shook his head. Stay on point. 

“A fail-safe?” He asked suddenly. “Why would you install a fail-safe for me on a death trap?”

Edward looked down at his feet. “Moron,” he muttered. “It’s only a death trap if I want you dead.”

“And you don’t?”

Edward sighed in frustration. “Of course I don’t want you dead! I’ve never wanted you dead! I-” Edward stopped himself and turned away. “Forget it. Let’s just sit here and wait for the power to go off so you can take me back to Arkham and start the whole thing all over again! 

Edward had been about to confess something and that was tipping Bruce more towards anger. “We wouldn’t have to keep doing this whole thing over again if you would stop being so damn stubborn Edward!” He walked over and grabbed Edward by the elbow, forcing the shorter man to look up at him. “We both know that you’re capable of a lot more than this. Leave this life, Edward.”

Edward pulled his arm away and took a step back. “And what?” he asked. “Just fade away into obscurity? Let my mind turn to mush in a regular 9 to 5 job? Is that what you want from me? Well let me tell you, I’m not going-” Edward had taken a step back too far and lost his balance. He was about to fall backward off the platform. Even if the floor wasn’t electrified, the fall would probably kill him. Bruce lunged forward and grabbed a hold of his shirt, pulling him back just in time. Edward collided against him with a yelp, nearly sending the both of them toppling to the floor of the catwalk. Bruce kept a tight grip on the man to stabilize him, while Edward’s hands clung onto him out of panic. For a long moment, the two of them stared at each other. Edward’s face was flushed and his breath was coming in harsh as the adrenaline was slowing down.

“Are you alright?” Bruce asked.

Edward’s face turned white as he realized what had just happened and he quickly let go. “That didn’t happen,” he said. He walked past Bruce and took a seat on the platform. The two of them spent the last remaining minutes waiting for the power to go off in silence, though Bruce caught Edward looking at him occasionally out of the corner of his eye.

Finally, the dull hum of the floor ceased and the lights switched off. Bruce pulled out his grappling hook and reached his hand out to Edward. “Come on.”

Edward got up and reluctantly grabbed back on to him. Bruce shot the hook and rappelled the two of them back down to safety on the ground. Bruce kept a tight hold on Edward’s shoulder. “You know I have to take you back to Arkham now.”

Edward sighed. “I know. To be continued.”

Before Bruce took him outside to where the Batmobile was parked and waiting, he gently tilted Edward’s face to look up at his own.

“Leave this life, Edward. Please.”

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

Edward looked less than impressed when he saw the state Jonathan was in. “Scurvy Jonathan? Seriously? How did you manage to get scurvy in this day and age?”

Jonathan closed his eyes and tried to sink into his hospital bed, willing the obnoxious green-clad man to go away. Edward, of course, didn’t and continued on “You’ve got the bird. Should I get you a peg-leg and an eye patch to complete the ensemble?”

Jonathan groaned. “Fuck off Edward. How’d you even find out where I was?”

He heard Edward chuckle. “I have my ways.” Then Edward’s tone changed. “Seriously though Jonathan. You need to eat actual food. No more of this ramen noodle and tap water crap.”

Jonathan rolled his eyes. “Since when did you care about what I eat?”

“Well, someone needs to care about your well being Jonathan and it’s certainly not going to be you!”

Interesting. “You care about my well being?” 

Edward’s face flushed slightly. “I-Well-” Edward cleared his throat. “You are one of the only people in our peer group who can approach even one half of my genius. It would be a shame to lose that.”

Jonathan had to smirk a bit. The man was lovely when he was flustered. “You mean I’m just about the only person in Arkham who hasn’t attempted to murder you yet.”

Edward genuinely laughed at that. “There is that too. I mean it though. I’m going to start leaving fruit baskets in your home.”

“And how would you do that?”

A mischievous look came to Edward’s face. “In the least creepy way possible, I know where you live.”

Jonathan sighed. “Of course you do.”

“Maybe I’ll make a game out of it. Riddle me this:”

“If you finish that sentence, they’ll never find your remains.”

Chapter Text

Edward leaned back in his office chair. Done. Finally. He’d been working on finding Sionis’ offshore accounts for days. Now that he finally found them, Sionis would be at his mercy. Well, he would be, if Edward was still on the wrong side of the law. Now that he was a private investigator, the most he’d do with this information would be depositing it with the GCPD. 

A wistful smile came to his face. He’d prefer giving it to Batman. That was part of why he’d reformed after all. To prove he was Batman’s match in every conceivable way. Ah well. Edward stuck a USB into his laptop and began the process of downloading the information. If Batman was unattainable for now, Gordon would just have to do. He let out a long yawn and checked his watch. Was it really 3:30? Looks like he’d be sleeping in the office again.

“Long night Edward?”

Edward nearly jumped out of his chair at the voice. He turned around to see Batman standing right behind him. He hadn’t even heard his window open. Once his heart rate slowed down to normal, he smirked. “Well well. Long time no see.”

“We need to talk Edward. I know you’ve been nosing around Sionis’ accounts.”

Edward frowned a bit at the tone in the vigilante’s voice. “I wasn’t aware you had exclusive rights to investigate him. And I’ve done a bit more than just ‘nosing around’ thank you very much.” He gestured to his laptop. “As we speak, I’m downloading the location of his offshore accounts.” He smiled a bit at Batman. “If you ask me nicely, I might be willing to share.”

“Sionis knows you’re involved too, Edward. He’s put a hit out on you.”

Oh. Oh. Edward gulped a bit. “…Is that right?”

Batman nodded, then placed a bag at Edward’s desk. “I’m taking you to a safe house. Let’s go.”

Edward frowned. “I don’t need you to babysit me! I’m more than capable of looking after myself-” Edward looked into the bag and recognized some of his own personal effects. “Did you stop by my apartment before you came here? That’s a bit creepy.”

“In the least creepy way possible, I know where you live.”

Edward picked up the bag with a huff. “And just how long have you known? Don’t answer that.” Seeing that the download was complete, Edward removed the USB and held it to out to Batman. “If I give you this, will you leave me alone?”

Batman reached out and took the USB from Edward, his Kevlar gloves making brief contact with Edward’s own gloved hands. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but Edward swore he felt Batman’s fingers linger slightly. 

“Not a chance,” the Dark Knight said. “Let’s go.”

 

Chapter Text

Even when he was a Rogue, Edward never cared for the Joker.

Edward couldn’t exactly claim much of a moral high ground over the clown, but he’d had standards, damn it. Edward never killed for the sake of killing. He’d never relished in chaos like the Joker seemed to. He never indulged in brutalizing women just because he could. More than once, he wondered just what sort of moral code, or strange sense of camaraderie kept Batman from killing Joker.

So no, he’d never liked the clown, but he’d never truly hated him either. Until now.

He’d been in GCPD’s at Penelope’s request, to give Gordon evidence of a serial burglar who had been robbing townhouses in the glitzy neighborhoods of Downtown Gotham. The only time he was ever in GCPD since the commission was for her sake. He’d been in the bullpen with her, delighting in ‘friendly’ banter with Aaron Cash when Gordon had come running out of his office.

“The Joker’s escaped from Arkham Asylum!”  he yelled to the officers assembled in the bullpen. “He’s heading towards the Narrows! Batman’s on his way! Let’s MOVE!”

Edward was almost trampled by a mob of uniformed officers and detectives scrambling to grab their gear and get out. Edward didn’t see them though. The only person he saw was Dr. Young. She stood still, her face pale, her eyes wide, her lower lip trembling, her hands clutching the file she held tight to her chest. She didn’t seem to react to, or even register anyone else around her and Edward didn’t need to be a genius to know why. She wasn’t in GCPD, she was back in Arkham, in a desperate, futile attempt to keep the Joker from her formula. Before he could get past the rushing crowd, she dropped the file and ran down the hall past the bullpen, towards the interrogation rooms.

Edward followed her, running past officers on their way out. He thanked whatever luck was looking out for him today that none of them stopped to ask what he’s doing. Finally, he found himself at the end of the hall, where the interrogation rooms were set up. She’d be in one of them, he was certain of that. He disregarded the one on the left. That was the room Victor Goodman had kidnapped her from a year before. He looked into the one-way mirror on his right side and saw her. She was sitting in the far right corner of the room, her face buried in her knees. She was almost curled up into a ball and though he couldn’t hear her, he knew by the way her shoulders were heaving that she was crying. With a sigh, he tapped on the glass. She looked up with a start and his stomach clenched at the sight of her. Her eyes were red-rimmed and tears streamed down her face, her mascara leaving black streaks down her cheeks. This was not stern, almost cold, but steady woman he'd come to know and…admire over the past year. “Who’s there?” she asked, her voice trembling.

“It’s me,” Edward answered.

He watched as Penelope stiffened slightly, then relaxed just a bit. “Edward?”

“The one and only.” Edward wet his lip. “Can I come in?”

Penelope nodded, but Edward stayed outside a moment. “Penelope,” he said in a serious tone. “I won’t come in unless you give me explicit verbal consent.”

She looked surprised by that for a moment before she answered. “Yes, Edward. You can come in.”

Wasn’t this an interesting reversal, Edward thought. Any sort of amusement he could get from this was cut short by just how miserable she looked as he walked into the room. She said nothing as he walked up, stopping about three feet away from her before he sat down on the ground. He vaguely remembered something like this happening with Jonathan, once or twice. He remembered not coming too close, allowing Jonathan to initiate any physical contact. He wished more than anything though, that he could remember what he'd said to him. He wished he knew what he could say to her, but empathy had never come easily to him. Before he could say anything though, Penelope was in tears again. Edward could do nothing but stare at her as she sobbed. This was what the Joker had done to her. What the Joker was still doing to her. He’d never hated that clown before, until now. Edward clenched his fist. If Joker ever came near Penelope again, he’d tear his heart out himself.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Text

Jason picked up his cell phone, opened up the camera app, held the camera in front of his face, and began to record. “Good morning Gotham City! This is Jason Todd, coming to you live from stately Wayne Manor, where in a matter of seconds, Timothy Drake-Wayne will begin to make the biggest mistake of his life. He will begin to eat a one pound Hot Pocket.” Jason moved his phone to record the person sitting across from him at the kitchen table. “Mr. Drake-Wayne, do you have any final words of wisdom you’d like to share with Gotham?”

Tim glared. “Get that thing out of my face Jason. It’s too early for this.”

Jason turned off the recording and put his phone back down on the table. “Seriously Timbo, you’re going to regret eating that thing.”

“I agree with Todd,” Damian said from his spot at the head of the table. He looked at Tim’s plate with a disgusted glare. “That thing smells disgusting.”

“It’s a ham and cheese Hot Pocket, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Jason scoffed. “Right. It’s just a pound of frozen fake cheese and nasty ham that not even the most desperate college student would eat. You’re going to be puking your guts out on patrol tonight.”

“Like you’re one to talk Jason,” Tim argued. “When’s the last time you had anything for breakfast that wasn’t coffee or cigarettes?”

“Hey, I quit smoking!”

“Yeah, after Alfred found a carton in your pants pocket and read you the Riot Act!”

“You think that was bad Timbo? Wait until he sees you eating that thing! I think you’ll actually make him cry!”

“Well, maybe if you’d shut up and let me eat it in peace, he won’t have to see it!”

Damian glared at his teammates and their juvenile bickering. He should have gone with Cain over to Brown’s house for breakfast. Those ridiculous smiley faced waffles she made would be better than this. “Both of you shut up. You’ll wake up Father and Pennyworth!”

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that, Master Damian.”

The three members of the Batfamily sat straight up as Alfred walked into the kitchen. As he passed the table on his way to the cabinet, Alfred nose wrinkled. “Far be it from me to interrupt your sibling banter young sirs, but what is that horrible odor?”

Jason and Damian simultaneously pointed at Tim. “He’s eating a one pound Hot Pocket.”

Tim shrank in his chair as Alfred loomed over him, his eyes widening with horror at what was on his plate. “It’s ham and cheese,” he defended. “It’s just like a breakfast sandwich Alfred. It’s really not that-”

“No,” Alfred interrupted, taking the plate away from him. “Master Timothy, that is not food.”

Chapter Text

Edward was 22 years old when he killed someone for the first time.

He, Query and Echo had been fencing uncut emeralds they’d managed to steal from Gotham’s Gem Expo when the negotiations had turned heated. “$5000,” the man had sneered. “Take it or leave it Tinkerbell.”

Edward ignored the dig at his choice in fashion and scoffed. “$5000? After what we had to go through to get them? I think we’ll go elsewhere.” Edward reached out to grab the precious stones when he caught the fence reaching for something by his feet. Edward had been in the business long enough to recognize when someone was about to pull a gun. Sure enough, within a second, he was staring down the barrel of a Colt .45.

Edward felt as if the world had slowed down when he saw the gun. Behind him, he could hear Query and Echo draw their weapons. “Don’t even think about!” he heard Query shout. “Put it down!”

The fence looked from Query and Echo to Edward again. “Put your guns down and leave,” he said, “Or I’ll blow your boss’s brains out right here and now.”

“Girls,” Edward managed to say. “I think he means it.”

“No way we’re leaving you, Eddie,” he heard Echo say. “If he shoots you, he dies.”

The fence sneered and looked away from Edward again. Edward had a window of opportunity to take the gun and he took it. Before the fence had time to react, his and Edward’s positions were reversed, Edward pointing the gun straight at him. The fence moved maybe an inch forward and Edward reacted, pulling the trigger.

The noise from the gunshot temporarily deafened Edward as he watched the fence’s face disappear in a red mist. He felt spatters of something hitting him and he touched his face and felt blood and-was that brain matter? The fence’s body lay on the floor, still twitching, blood pooling around where his head was. It was messier than he thought it would be.

Edward jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulders. “…Eddie? Are you ok?”

Edward looked back at Echo. He realized then that he was still holding the gun and his hand was trembling.

“Boss?” Query asked.

“I’m fine,” he said finally. With his free arm, he reached up to wipe his face and cringed when he saw the streaks of red and grey on the green spandex. “Let’s take the loot and anything valuable he has. I need to wash up.” What a mess.

For the rest of his criminal career, Edward let others do most of the actual physical work. He hated getting messy.

Chapter Text

“Edward? Did you seriously turn someone into a spider just because he came up with a better riddle than you?”

The auburn-haired God of Intellect frowned at the God of Fear. “It wasn’t the riddle, it was the fact that he didn’t even have the decency to be modest about it, Jonathan! I mean really, who brags about being more intelligent than me, the God of Intellect and Learning?”

Jonathan ate another handful of ambrosia and considered this. “Maybe turning him into a spider for his hubris was appropriate, but stomping on him afterward?”

Edward huffed. “Please. Like no one else here has ever smote a mortal who got on their last nerve. Did or did Pamela not cause a mini Ice Age the last time Harley ran off with Joker? I don’t recall you interrogating her about that!”

Harley, the Goddess of Love had been in a triangle with the Goddess of the harvest and the God of MIschief for something like 500 years now. “That’s because I know better than to involve myself in that nonsense.”

“Why do you care about what I do anyway? When was the last time you had an encounter with a mortal that didn’t involve frightening them?”

Jonathan shrugged. “I am the Master of Fear. The Lord of Despair. I can’t help my nature.”

Edward sniffed, obviously unimpressed by his explanation. “Well then, it hardly seems like you’re one to judge me.”

Jonathan said nothing. Edward took a sip of nectar and nearly choked on it when he heard Jonathan say “I thought you were better than that.”

Edward wiped his face with his sleeve. “Excuse me?”

Jonathan continued on undaunted “Everyone else here is ruled by their pettiness. I always thought you were above that childishness. I admired that.”

Edward had lived for millennia, but every once in a while, even he could still be struck speechless. “I…” Then the full meaning of Jonathan’s words hit him. “Wait: you admire me?”

The very personification of Fear himself looked almost embarrassed for a moment. “Admired, past tense. Moving on-”

“Oh no, you don’t!” Edward shouted, tugging at Jonathan’s dark sleeve as the other God attempted to walk away. “What else do you admire about me? My wit? My sheer brilliance?” His voice dropped low and he batted his eyelashes at Jonathan. “My beautiful green eyes?”

That was a flush forming on Jonathan’s face. “Certainly not your modesty. Are you sure you and Narcissus aren’t related?”

 

Chapter Text

Bruce had waited in a small janitor’s closet in Gotham General hospital for about an hour, waiting for his target to show. He somehow knew he’d be here. He kept the door open a crack, just wide enough to see the brightly lit corridor and the people who walked by. Finally, he saw a male nurse holding what appeared to be medical paperwork making his way down the corridor. A male nurse with slicked back auburn hair, green eyes and an unmistakable smug look on his face. Bruce smirked. Target acquired.

He waited until the man was just outside the door before he sprang out, grabbed him and pulled him into the closet before he could get a word out in protest.

“Jesus Christ!” the man shouted as Bruce shut the door behind them. The man’s eyes widened when he realized just who it was that had captured him and let out an irritated huff. “Bruce! You know I hate it when you do that!”

“What are you doing here, Edward?”

Edward folded his arms and leaned back against the wall of the small closet. “The same thing as you I imagine: trying to find out who tried to kill Carl Magnus.”

“And?” Bruce asked.

Edward smirked and presented the paperwork to Bruce with a flourish. “Carl Magnus, billionaire industrialist, was poisoned with a large overdose of Gotham Milk Weed. And who has access to this toxic, not to mention nearly extinct plant? Why none other than-”

“Poison Ivy,” Bruce finished, looking over the paperwork. He’d found trace amounts of the poison when he’d investigated Magnus’ office earlier that evening. Having the additional confirmation was nice though. He looked up to see Edward sulk at him.

“Take all the fun out of it why don’t you. If you already knew that, why are you here?”

“I thought you might look into this,” Bruce answered, securing the paperwork in his belt. He’d need this to work up the antidote. “And I don’t want you to try to go after Poison Ivy.”

Edward placed his hands on his hips and gave Bruce a glare. “I can handle Ivy.”

Bruce folded his arms and glared right back at Edward. “I seem to recall that she used her ‘charms’ on you and took over your apartment for almost a month.”

“And I seem to recall hearing about the time she turned your butler into a tree!” Edward let out a huff and rolled his eyes. “Unbelievable, Are you this overprotective of the literal children in your employ?”

“According to them I’m even worse,” Bruce drawled. When Edward’s glare didn’t dissipate. he took a step closer, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Edward,” he said softly. “It’s not about your abilities. I know you can handle yourself. It’s about the fact that this is the first case you’ve worked on since what happened with the Joker. I don’t want you in a position like that again.”

Edward’s face softened and he reached up to cup Bruce’s face. “You can stop blaming yourself for that, you know. It was inevitable that he and I would come to blows eventually.” He shook his head. “Honestly, I get kidnapped by the clown once and I never hear the end of it. Besides, I was going to give you that lab work. I don’t have quite your talent for biochemistry.”

“You admit to not being the best at something? I’m shocked.” He let his eyes rove over Edward’s form. “Maybe I just wanted to see you in a nurse’s outfit.”

Edward flushed a bit but smirked. “Later. I think we have a supervillainess to catch first.” Bruce nodded and turned to open the door, only to find it stuck. He turned the handle again and it wouldn’t budge. Bruce narrowed his eyes. He could force the door open, but that would announce to anyone around that he was here. “Let me guess: we’re locked in, aren’t we?” he heard Edward say.

“Apparently,” Bruce said. He examined the doorknob. “I can probably pick the lock from the inside, but it will take a few minutes.”

Edward let out a sigh. “Trapped in the closet. Reminds me of high school: literally and metaphorically.” He paused and then said, “You know, Magnus is stabilized. He won’t die anytime soon.”

Bruce raised an eyebrow. “Oh?” He turned to see Edward leaning back against the wall, with a flirtatious smile on his face. 

“I’ve never made out in a closet before.”

Bruce abandoned his lock-picking and walked over to Edward, pressing him up against the wall. His let his hands roam under the thin material of Edward’s shirt and delighted in the sigh from the other man. He trailed his lips up Edward’s throat, to the shell of his ear and finally, just as Edward leaned forward, he said: “If we do this, you’re not coming with me to get Ivy.”

Edward pouted, but then retorted “If you don’t let me come with you to get Ivy, this will be the last time you get anything from me this year.”

Bruce leaned down and kissed him. To be continued.

 

Chapter Text

Jonathan had been cooped up in his lab hidden away in the Narrows neighborhood of Gotham City for the past two days, so he had no real idea just what was waiting for him when he finally decided to emerge. What greeted his eyes as he walked out the door was a torrential downpour. The high winds caused the rain to fall horizontally, droplets assaulting Jonathan as he stood there, contemplating the series of decisions that had led to him neglecting to bring his umbrella.

For a moment, he considered simply going back into his lab and spending an extra night, until he remembered two things: One, he was out of food. Two, he had told Edward that he would return after two nights exactly and while the Scarecrow feared no man, the thought of dealing with one of Edward’s infamous tantrums was enough to give him pause. 

And so, Jonathan walked out into the storm. At least he’d had his hat-a gust of wind blew his hat off his head and sent it flying, never to be seen again. Jonathan frowned but kept on walking. At least it was only ten feet to his car.

It may have been only ten feet, but it was enough to leave him drenched. He reached for his car key, only to be stopped in his tracks by the sight of a boot on his front left wheel. Evidently, his neglected car had attracted unwanted attention. He wouldn’t be driving anywhere. And his cell phone had died over 24 hours ago.

A crash of thunder sounded above him and Jonathan looked up at the sky defiantly. “I am the Master of Fear! The Lord of Despair!” He shook his fist at the sky, cursing whatever divine power that had seen to punish him thus. “I will not be thwarted by a mere storm!”

God, or Nature, or simply Karma had only one response to that. A second, greater gust of wind struck and Jonathan found himself airborne. “Son of a Bitch!”


"I’m going to look for him, Selina.”

“Eddie, are you crazy? There’s a flash flood warning! Jon will make it home just fine.”

“But what if he doesn’t Selina!?” Edward cried into his cell phone. “What if he crashed his car? What if he gets stuck? What if he gets blown away? He’s so damn skinny and the wind gusts are so strong-”

“Edward. Breathe,” Selina instructed. “Spooky’s a grown man. He can take care of himself. And you won’t do him any favors by running out there hysterical.”

Edward was about to tell Selina where she could stick her advice when he heard the front door open. “I have to go,” he said, ending the call. “Jonathan?”

“I’m here.”

Edward dashed out of their bedroom.

Jonathan was battered, soaked to the bone, but alive. It had taken him three hours, being blown around two city blocks by the wind until he had finally managed to steal a motorcycle, but he’d made it home. He heard Edward’s footsteps rushing towards him and he steeled himself for the fit Edward was sure to throw about the water on the floor. 

What he got instead, was Edward almost launching himself into his arms. “Jonathan!” Edward cried out. His speech was punctuated by kisses the man left on his face. “My poor darling! You’re soaked! Are you alright?”

Oh Dear Lord, Edward was in the doting mother hen mode. This was even worse. “I’m alright Edward,” he sighed. “Just got a little wet, that’s all.”

“Get in the shower,” Edward said. ‘I’ll make soup and some tea for you.”

“Edward, that’s really not-”

The look of concern on Edward’s face was replaced by a death glare. “Dearest,” Edward grit out. “Hot shower. Now.”

The Master of Fear and the Lord of Despair felt a chill go down his spine at the tone in Edward’s voice. “Yes, darlin’.” Nature’s fury had nothing on Edward’s.

Chapter Text

He doesn’t know how long he’s been here, but it feels like an eternity. At first, he saw only darkness. He thinks he knew his name then. As time went by, he began to see flashes of people. A man picks him up by the collar and calls him a moron and he tasted blood. Another man, dressed in black, slapping him around. He thought for a time that he might be in Hell. As eternity went on though, he began to see things in more clarity. Two women draped on the arms of a man in green. He thinks this might be him. He hopes so. Another man, tall, with spindly fingers touches him, gently and he doesn’t know who this man with the ice blue eyes is, but he thinks he might love him. Maybe he’s in Heaven. Then he feels the pain. His head feels like it’s about to explode, he no longer cares if he’s dead, in Heaven or in Hell, he just wants it to stop, and there’s a bright light and it’s blinding, and-

“…Mr. Nigma? Can you hear me? Someone call Dr. Gorshin!”

He blinks. He can see the shape of someone overhead. “Mr. Nigma?” He hears them call again. He has no idea who that is.


 

On an intellectual level, Edward was prepared for this. Their occupations were hazardous, to say the least. Jon had never been one to care much about his personal safety during his research, he remembered. At least, he thought he remembered that correctly. Given the age difference, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Jon would go first.

Edward can’t think about that though. If he does, he’ll collapse to his knees, he’ll scream and he’ll lock himself away, never to talk the world again. His mind was prepared. His heart was a gaping, bleeding wound.


 

“So Edward, what do you intend to do now?”

Edward took another sip of the wine Oswald had offered him and his throat burned. He’d had nothing to drink for the past six months but the water at the hospital and rehabilitation center. “I…I’m not sure.”

Oswald raised an eyebrow. “Really? So you really don’t have any intention of returning to your old ways?”

Edward shook his head. He didn’t exactly remember being friends with Oswald. He didn’t remember the rotund man much at all. He seemed genuinely interested though. And he had picked him up out of that shelter. He couldn’t have too much malicious intent. “No, that’s done with.” There was no point to the game anymore. The riddles were gone. His old tech and costumes were long confiscated by GCPD. Jonathan was-Not here. Not now. 

Oswald settled back into his plush seat. “Oh well. I’m sure for a man of your intellect, there will be plenty of opportunities.”

Edward nodded absently, running his fingers around the rim of his glass. “You know,” he said. “I was thinking…it might be fun to be a detective.”

 


 

It’s hard sometimes for him to distinguish between dreams and actual memories. There’s one in particular that haunts him. He dreams of waking in warmth, half on top of another person. Sometimes a man, sometimes a woman. Sometimes it’s green eyes, a mischievous smile and a peck on the cheek. “Morning Eddie.” He thinks this is a dream. She never stayed this long.

Other times, it’s blue eyes and long thin fingers brushing through his unruly hair. “Mornin’ darlin’.” He thinks this is a memory. His dreams never make him cry.


 

“Bullock had no right to say that to you.”

Penelope continued to type out her report, ignoring Edward’s agitated pacing in her office. “It was said in the heat of the moment. Just forget about it, Edward.”

“The great lummox,” Edward muttered. “You know how many police brutality complaints I could launch against him? This year alone? And he has the gall to call you a mad scientist?”

Penelope winced a bit at the memory of it. “It’s nothing I haven’t heard before. And…” her voice trailed off as she abandoned any pretense of writing out her report. “He has a point.”

For a long moment, Edward didn’t say anything. Penelope looked up at him and saw that his gaze was soft as he looked at her. He’d never looked at her that way. “You really believe that about yourself?” He asked. He shook his head and chuckled, sadly. “My dear Dr. Young, I have known my share of mad scientists in my time. That’s not you. Not the true you at any rate.”


 

Penelope pinched the bridge of her nose and took a deep breath. “Edward,” she said as patiently as she could. “Would you care to explain why Bullock’s car was impounded?”

Edward looked up from his perch on her desk, a self-satisfied smirk on his face. “Clearly because he was parked where he shouldn’t have been.”

“And you, of course, had nothing to do with this?”

“Me? I’m innocent! It’s hardly my fault Bullock is a moron, now is it?”

Penelope glared at the former Rogue. “You have an excuse for everything, don’t you?”


All throughout his career, both of them, Edward has asked questions. (Riddle me this: when is a door not a door?) He’d never been short on answers. (When it’s ajar.)

That’s changed in the past year. Riddle me this: why does Hugo Strange want him back in Arkham? What is his game with Quincy Sharp? Riddle me this: how long can Edward keep pretending that he’s content leading a ‘normal’ life as a private investigator? Riddle me this: how can he be any kind of father to Ellen with his past? Riddle me this: when can he think about Jonathan Crane again without wanting to tear himself apart? Riddle me this: what is he beginning to feel for Dr. Young? Riddle me this, riddle me this, riddle me this….

The answers aren’t coming.


Edward woke up with a start. He blinked wildly for a moment, then he remembered where he was. He was alive. He was free. He felt the warm body cocooned in his arms stir and he smiled despite the rapid beating of his heart. He wasn’t alone anymore.

“Are you alright?” she asked with a voice still heavy from sleep. 

Edward nodded. “I’m fine sweetheart.”

She reached out to cup his face and her cool touch relaxes him almost instantly. “Are you sure?”

He leaned down to kiss her forehead. “Positive. Go back to sleep.”

She looked like she wants to question him further, but instead, she nestled even closer to him and fell back asleep. Wrapping his arms tight around her, Edward relaxed. He was alright now.

 

Chapter Text

For the tenth time in five minutes, Dr. Young looks at her phone. For the tenth time in five minutes, she begins to dial his number. For the tenth time in five minutes, she can’t go through with it.

She sighs and takes her face into her hands, letting her phone drop to the carpeted floor of her living room. She needs to go through with this. She needs to talk to him and call their partnership off. She’s lost her objectivity. That’s dangerous for the both of them. Intellectually, she knows that. She’s decided on that course and now she just needs to go through with it.

Intellectually, she knows that. Emotionally, it’s a different story.

“We can’t compromise our work by becoming too emotionally involved with each other,” she says to herself, the same argument she’s used before.

It’s a bit too late for that, isn’t it? Another voice inside of her asks.

“He was my patient,” she says. “It’s wrong!”

Years ago. And it would hardly be the worst thing you’ve ever done.

She shakes her head. “He can’t love me. He’s still in love with Jonathan Crane.”

And Crane is gone. And here you are.

She takes a shaky breath. The tears just gathered behind her eyes are starting to fall. “We can’t be together. Not now. Not when Gotham’s in this state.”

But you want him.

“I can’t-”

But you love him.

The tears come now. “I do,” she says. And it’s wrong.

But it should have been right.

Chapter Text