Chapter 1: This Is Frankly Insulting
Jim's phone started ringing in his pocket and he glanced at the screen.
He sighed and flipped it open, already heading to the back offices of the GCPD.
'You know I'm not the call centre, right?'
'Jim, as much as I appreciate our usual banter, now is really not the time to rile me up! I'm in the back.'
In that moment Jim stepped right into Oswald's face, still holding up his phone and smirking. 'I know.'
Oswald closed his eyes and his phone, seemingly summoning all of his patience.
'Jim, we have a problem.'
The detective sighed. 'When don't we have a problem. What is it this time?'
Oswald took a deep breath. 'I got down from the blimp fine, by the way, thanks for asking.'
Jim had the good sense to at least look a bit sheepish. 'I instructed the pilot to go get you.'
Oswald's nostrils flared. 'And left Bullock, of all the people, to supervise!'
Understanding dawned in Jim's eyes. 'Oh.'
Oswald looked just about ready to explode.
'I'll have words with him, it's not professional of a cop to leave citizens flying around in blimps.' Jim had to use all of his self-control not to laugh.
Oswald shot him a look that said don't you dare. 'Anyways I came here for another reason. I really shouldn't be surprised, Ed seems to fall for any woman who so much as breathes in his general direction, but this is frankly insulting. My informants in the Narrows saw him and Lee kissing.'
Jim blinked, dumbfounded. 'What?'
Oswald raised his voice. 'Leslie Thompkins and Edward Nygma hooked up.'
Jim kept blinking, conscious he had the same expression as when he literally punched Jerome's face off. He managed a whiny, 'Why?'
Oswald took it as his cue to start freaking out. 'Damned if I know! It's hard to think of a paring the makes less sense. Ed is really pushing my buttons and we need to do something about it!'
Jim looked mildly horrified. 'But she thinks so little of him and she's a good person and- and... why?'
Oswald shook him by the shoulders. 'I don't know but I need you to get it together and help me!'
Jim sat down on a desk nearby and took a deep breath. 'Help you? Help you doing what?'
Oswald suddenly looked bashful. 'I have a plan to get back at them but you won't like it.'
Jim stared, waiting.
'We have to pretend to hook up.'
Jim was glad he had sat down. '"We" as in you and me?'
'As in you, Oswald, and me, Jim?'
Oswald rolled his eyes. 'Yes.'
'I don't like it.'
'I know, me neither. But it's either that or I kill her and I already tried that, it doesn't work out very well for me in the end.'
Jim was not even sure Oswald was joking. 'Don't you touch a hair on her-'
Oswald lost his patience and said, petulantly, 'Are you in or not?'
Jim was quiet for a moment, then he made a long-suffering face and nodded.
'Perfect, you'll be hearing from me soon.'
And with that Oswald left, a wicked grin on his face.
Chapter 2: Robbing A What Now?
The opportunity presented itself sooner than either of them expected.
Oswald called his second-favourite co-conspirator. 'Jim?'
Jim had a sinking feeling curling in his stomach when he saw who was calling. 'What happened?'
'I was informed that Lee and Ed are robbing a bank right now, it's our chance to get revenge.'
Jim stopped in his tracks, sandwich slipping through his fingers and falling on the floor. 'Robbing a what now?'
Oswald was already getting into his limousine. 'A bank. In broad daylight. Get the police to Riverstone Bank on Franklyn Street and arrest them. I'll swing by at the GCPD afterwards, pretend I'm there just to see you.'
Jim couldn't resist making a joke. 'Sounds believable, that's what you always do anyways.'
Oswald pressed his lips in a thin line, flipping the phone shut.
An hour later, Oswald thought it safe to assume Ed and Lee were in custody and walked into the GCPD, sweating. He had been waiting around for a long time, giving those incompetent police officers more than enough time to do their jobs, and at some point he decided to buy a bouquet of flowers for good measure.
He noticed Ed and Lee behind bars straight away, they looked annoyed. Oswald smiled and walked up to them, attracting a lot of looks from officers, but whether it was because of his reputation, his flowers or his fabulous hairdo, he couldn't tell.
'Hello, Ed. Lee. I heard about your unfortunate predicament.'
Ed smiled and walked closer to him. 'Oswald? Did you come to see me?'
Oswald looked like a cat in a pot of milk. 'Nope, sorry. Just stopping by to give these to Jimmy.'
Ed's smile faded as he finally noticed the flowers.
Jim chose that moment to exit the captain's office and come down to greet Oswald. 'Ozzie, what a surprise!'
Ed visibly flinched at "Ozzie" and Lee looked confused. 'What the-'
Oswald turned around on his heels and got an armful of Jim Gordon for his effort. It took him a second to realise Jim Gordon was kissing him on the mouth while pressing on Oswald's lower back with his right hand.
Silence fell on the entire police force and all eyes were on them. The expressions varied from shocked to long-suffering and, before anyone else could react, Harvey Bullock came up to them pointing his finger. 'I knew it!'
Jim interrupted the kiss but kept his hand where it was. 'Excuse me?' He thought he did a nice job of hiding his panic.
Harvey looked conflicted between triumphant and disgusted. 'That actually explains a lot! Although, I wish I could unsee it.'
Oswald was still recovering from the kiss, it had been way more passionate than anything he could have imagined and his long-buried crush on Jim was celebrating loudly inside his head.
Ed looked like a train just ran him over, his mouth hanging comically open, while Lee seemed wary but unconvinced.
Oswald smiled amiably and asked Harvey, 'Explains what?'
'Well, Jim always defends you and pulls excuses out of his ass not to arrest you.'
Oswald's smile turned genuine. 'Is that true, Jimmy?'
Jim spluttered, 'I do not-'
Harvey continued, 'And your obsession with Jim was always quite obvious to anyone who has eyes. So yeah, it all makes sense now.'
Jim grinned down at Oswald, who also started spluttering, 'I don't obsess-'
'Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go bleach my eyes.' Harvey actually looked queasy while walking to the bathroom.
Jim bit his lip to stop himself from blurting out the truth. He had to stick with the plan until Lee cracked.
She spoke up after Harvey was gone. 'You can't fool me, Jim.'
Oswald turned to her, fire in his eyes. 'What are you suggesting? I'll have you know-'
Lee waved her hand in the air dismissively, 'You could talk your way out of anything. I want to hear it from him.'
Ed was still catching flies with his mouth.
Oswald snuggled up closer to Jim and tried to look unconcerned.
Jim swallowed and racked his mind for a good story. He had always been a bad liar so he decided to stick with the truth as much as possible, so the lie would be harder to spot.
'Ozzie came to me for help with Jerome, he was so scared. We helped each other out and at the end of the day, he was the one who saved the city. I realised how much good we could do if we worked together from both sides. Together we can bring peace to Gotham. Things... escalated from there. I made a lot of sacrifices for him and he made even more for me, if I have to be honest. It's about time I get off my high horse and start appreciating that.'
Silence fell on the room. Jim didn't know what came over him, to say all those things he couldn't even admit to himself, all that guilt finally coming to the surface. He looked at Oswald with new eyes, seeing him for the first time as a real friend, one he hardly ever agreed with but who was always ready to compromise and had his back. Oswald really was the best option to run Gotham's underworld.
Oswald was speechless and teary-eyed. He thought the day would never come when Jim admitted all of that. He didn't even have to pretend when he beamed up at the detective.
Ed, on the other hand, was livid. 'So he comes to you when he gets scared, big deal! You still pushed him under the bus on more than one occasion, if I remember correctly, Jimbo.'
Lee now looked like Ed had during the kiss, Oswald decided to call it the Roadkill Look.
Oswald disentangled from Jim and walked up to the bars, his body only a few centimetres away from the metal. 'Water under the bridge. He makes me happy now. So you, as my friend, should be fine with that.'
Ed pulled a face and spat, 'Fine.'
Oswald smiled sweetly, 'Fine.'
They stared at each other defiantly for a minute, then Oswald gave the flowers to Jim and walked away.
Jim took a deep breath and addressed the entire police station. 'You all have jobs to do, get to it!'
People started moving again, busing themselves with the closest task at hand.
Then Jim flashed his goofiest smile at Ed and Lee and said, 'Enjoy your stay.'
With that, he walked away with his flowers and left both of them to stare after him.
Ed started pacing. 'It has to be some kind of joke, it has to!'
Lee sat down. 'I'm not so sure. Jim changed a lot since we broke up, he even hooked up with Sofia Falcone! I don't know him anymore, just as he doesn't really know the new me, and...'
Ed stopped pacing, looking devastated. 'And?'
Lee sighed, 'Snapdragons are his favourite flower.'
Chapter 3: He Said It Was His Favourite Suit
'This is not working.'
'Yes, it is! You just need to be patient. Lee has been staring at me since you left yesterday.'
Oswald huffed. 'Of course she's staring, you arrested them and they had to sleep here last night!'
Everything had seemed to go according to plan until Oswald walked into the GCPD the morning after and Ed didn't even look at him. So now Oswald and Jim were talking in his office about the situation.
'I say we let them go. Everybody knows you won't arrest them for attempting to rob a bank, this is Gotham. You'll just make them nervous by keeping them locked up in here... together, I might add! Forcing them in close quarters is the opposite of what we're trying to do, in case you forgot.'
Jim rubbed the back of his neck, looking defeated. 'You have a point.'
Oswald was so surprised that Jim agreed with him that he didn't even enjoy the small victory.
'So what did you have in mind?'
Oswald leaned heavily on his penguin-headed cane and puffed out his chest. 'We should start acting like a couple... publicly.'
Jim looked scared. 'More public than the entire GCPD seeing us kissing?'
Oswald blushed at the memory. 'Yes, like actual dates. Ed and Lee are still skeptical about us as a couple so we need to act like one even when they're gone and we'd have no apparent reason to put on a show. I'm a infamous man in this city and you're their beloved police captain, the newspapers will surely pick up on it.'
Jim took a deep breath and nodded. 'I must be crazy to do this.'
Oswald felt a painful pang in his heart. 'No, Jim, you're not crazy. You just miss her a lot.'
Jim looked up at Oswald, surprised at the comforting words of solidarity. But then he remembered they were in the same situation, after all.
While walking out of the office, they decided they would eat at one of Gotham's most famous restaurants in the evening, hoping to attract journalists.
Oswald awkwardly hugged him goodbye in front of everybody. He made to leave but Jim held him in place and kissed him senseless.
Oswald was really starting to enjoy the kissing part of the plan.
An embarrassing contented sound escaped his lips just as Harvey walked by. 'My eyes! My eyes! Jim, I beg you, use your fancy office. My heart is old and weak.'
Jim rolled his eyes at Harvey's antics and let go of Oswald with a (subtly loud enough) 'See you later.'
Oswald was so flustered that he stumbled down the small stairs that led to the other officers' desks, but somehow managed not to fall. He summoned all of his practiced nonchalance to wave goodbye in Ed and Lee's general direction, forcing himself not to look.
If he had looked, he would have seen that Ed was breathing heavily, as if he had just run a marathon, and Lee was shaking her head in denial.
That evening things ran smoothly, the press was there and not even trying to hide their cameras. Jim and Oswald ate their exquisite meal, chatting amiably about Gotham until dessert arrived and Jim decided to come clean.
'Oswald, I have to tell you something. I can't lie to Harv, he's a friend and this situation is freaking him out. Once I Ed and Lee go, I told him the truth and, after making sure I knew he doesn't approve, he promised not to tell anybody.'
Oswald's jaw dropped. 'What? Detective Bullock hates me, he'll tell everybody just to spite me!'
Jim raised his hands calmingly. 'Lower your voice, Oswald, or they'll think we're fighting.'
'We are fighting! You went around my back and now if the plan fails it'll be your f-'
Jim hurriedly leaned over the small table and kissed Oswald square on the mouth. He found that was the most effective way to shut him up.
Oswald let himself be kissed and calmed down. When Jim sat back down, they held hands over the table and finished their cake in silence.
When Oswald drove Jim home in his limousine, there was a strangely comfortable atmosphere in the car and Jim realised that was what Oswald wanted all along. A friend, an ally. Somebody who cared about the city as much as he did.
On his doorstep, Jim hesitated and turned around to face Oswald. 'I meant what I said yesterday. I believe in the law and I can't promise you I'll always be able to protect you. I don't like what you do, but I see now you're the best at doing it and if not you, it'll be someone worse like Sofia. You're a business man above all else and I can respect that enough to work together, for the greater good of our city.'
Oswald was awed. 'I've been waiting a long time to hear that. I care about this city and I think we can do great things together. I would like to talk about some projects I had in mind, maybe tomorrow at the Mansion? We can make use of the time we have to spend together, killing two birds with one stone.'
Jim smiled. 'I'll see you tomorrow, then. Goodnight, Oswald.'
The morning after Ed stormed into Lee's office, back in the Narrows, while Lee sat at her desk.
Ed slapped the morning Gotham Gazette down on top of some documents she had been reading. 'I just don't understand!'
Lee started and looked up at Ed. 'I'm working.'
Ed paced around the room, pinching his nose dramatically. 'Whatever it is, it can wait. Read what's on the front page.'
Lee sighed and complied, her eyes falling on the picture of Oswald and Jim holding hands at a restaurant. It set her teeth on edge but she needed to be calm for Ed's sake.
'As I told you last night, I'm sure they're just trying to get our attention. It just doesn't make sense for them to be together.'
Ed stopped walking abruptly. 'Get our attention? They were alone at a restaurant on a Tuesday evening! Holding hands and making heart eyes at each other and Oswald is wearing his best suit! I know that's his favoutite suit because I was there when he had it tailored and he said it was his favourite suit, so-'
'You're rambling. Why is this so distressing for you? I thought you and Oswald were just friends.'
Ed opened and closed his mouth a few times, making no sound. He looked like he was hyperventilating.
Lee sat back on her chair, forgetting all about her work. 'Oh.'
She stood up and walked over to Ed, hugging him tight. 'Everything is going to be alright.'
Ed clung to her as one would to a lifeboat. 'I never realised Oswald could be someone else's, that he could get tired of waiting around for me, that he could get tired of... me. I had no idea, I swear. I had no idea until I saw-'
Lee hushed him sweetly and patted his back. 'I know.'
Ed started crying silently into her shoulder. 'How can you be so calm?'
Lee stilled. It was implied in Ed's tone that he also knew about her long-suppressed love for Jim. It was time to admit the truth, her relationship with Ed was doomed from the start.
She took a deep, shaky breath. 'After losing his child, I cried myself to sleep every night, knowing he was in prison. I thought I had moved on but then I saw him with Valerie Vale and heard about him and Sofia Falcone... I had time to build up fences, walls and locks around my heart. Maybe he's trying to make me jealous, maybe he developed a taste for gangsters, who knows. All I know is that I can't afford to care too much, or one of these days that man will be the death of me.'
Ed sniffed and took a step back to look at her in the eye. 'You are a very brave woman, Leslie Thomkins. And I am honoured to be your friend and ally.'
Lee smiled. 'Likewise. Now let's think of a plan to get your man back.'
Chapter 4: What If Your Child Wants To Be A Masked Vigilante?
I couldn't help but put a reference to Batgirl :)
'Hello, Jim. Come on in.'
Oswald moved aside to let Jim into the Mansion, with a genuine smile on his face.
'I'm so glad we're finally doing this. Please take a sit in the dining room, I'll be joining you in a moment.'
Jim looked at him suspiciously but did as he was told.
Oswald, true to his word, came back to him in less than a minute. Holding a child's hand.
Jim stood up, unsure of what to do. 'Is he...?'
'Martin, this is detective Gordon. He's a friend.'
Martin was dressed just like Oswald, and clung to him the way shy children do with their parents. It didn't take a genius to put two and two together.
Jim, still out of sorts, walked towards the kid to shake his hand. 'You can call me Jim. It's a pleasure to meet you.'
Martin looked up at Oswald, who nodded, and then raised his short arm. Jim's fingers enveloped his entire hand. Jim felt a wistful pang in his heart, Martin reminded him a lot of a younger Bruce Wayne.
Oswald sighed in contentment. He could deal with everyone else thinking he was a child murderer, but not Jim.
Jim made himself smile not to scare the kid, then looked pointedly at Oswald. 'Sofia and Zsasz said-'
Oswald couldn't help but interrupt. 'Sofia tricked me into trusting her and then dangled Martin's life over my head. I tried to protect him by staging his death but Zsasz betrayed me out of misguided loyalty to the Falcone name. And before you ask, no, I did not kill Carmine.'
Jim made a grimace. 'I know, Sofia did.'
Oswald spluttered, 'You knew?!'
Jim looked guilty. 'I found out later. She tricked me, too.'
Oswald huffed in frustration but reminded himself she was in a coma, so she couldn't hurt Martin anymore.
Jim watched Martin scribble on his notepad but addressed Oswald. 'I'm relieved to see he's alive and that you're taking care of him, but why did you bring him downstairs?'
Oswald answered at the same time that Martin showed Jim his drawing. 'I want the orphans of Gotham to have a loving home, like I did.'
Martin's drawing was of a house with a tree next to it, every child's first picture.
Jim stared at Oswald in surprise and then at Martin, who looked proud of whom he evidently regarded as his father.
'Okay, let's talk.'
They all sat down at the table and discussed Oswald's new project. It went smoothly for about twenty minutes until they hit the first road bump.
'These kids need direction, or they'll end up as small-time thieves living on the streets of Gotham.'
'As long as that direction isn't big-time thieves, you have my support.'
'Jim, who are we to decide what our children want to do with their lives? What if your child wants to become a masked vigilante? Would you stop them? Would you really crush their dreams?'
Jim stared, unimpressed.
Oswald closed his eyes and conceded, 'Alright, I solemnly swear I won't push children into a life of crime. Are you happy now?'
Martin chuckled silently.
What they didn't know was that somebody was watching them from the shadows. Ed walked away from the Mansion in silence, tears streaming down his face.
When Ed reached the Narrows, he headed straight for the Riddle Factory, which was no longer a stage but had become his headquarters.
Lee was unexpectedly waiting for him there. 'How did it go?'
'What do you care?' Ed snapped.
Lee sighed and considered coming back later, when she noticed his wet cheeks and puffy eyes. 'Ed? Are you crying?'
'Don't call me Ed.' His voice broke and the words had no spite. He was shaking and failing to hide it.
Lee walked up to him, worried. 'Let's go sit down. Come On. Careful, step.' She led him to the closest chair and managed to make him sit down.
Then she fetched him a shot of vodka and waited for him to take a small sip before asking again. 'Tell me what happened.'
Ed swallowed and looked at her sadly. 'I'm sorry about before.'
She smiled and rubbed circles on his back. 'It's okay. I learned how to deal with uncooperative patients.'
Ed took a deep breath. 'I went to the Mansion, like you said I should. I let myself in without knocking because I didn't want to face Olga, I always had the impression she didn't like me much. I brought with me the origami penguin that I had made out of his letter from Arkham. When I was about to announce my presence I saw Jim there and hid immediately behind a curtain, praying he would leave soon. But then Oswald came downstairs with Martin and they-'
Lee frowned. 'They...?'
Ed rubbed his eyes under the glasses and continued, 'They sat down at the table, smiling and talking about children, of all things! They discussed adoption and ways to raise kids. Then Oswald said "Jim, who are we to decide what our children want to do with their lives?" and I- I just couldn't stay. Our children, Lee! And Martin was just sitting there, amused by their bickering. They looked like a normal, happy family.'
Lee was trying to keep her breathing even. 'Children? Jim wants... children?'
Ed looked at her, finally realising the weight of it was not only his to bear, she had even more reason than him to be upset. 'I'm so sorry, Lee, I didn't think-'
She dismissed him with a wave of her hand and touched her empty belly, trying to calm herself down.
Ed gave her his shot of vodka. She downed it and sat on a chair next to Ed's.
When she felt she could speak, she told him, 'It's not your fault.'
Ed stared down at the floor, thinking of his abusive father. 'What am I going to do? I can't give him a family, I don't know how to be a dad.'
Lee rested her head on his shoulder, letting her long hair drape over his torso. 'I don't know.'
Chapter 5: You Almost Blinded Me With That Thing!
What Ed didn't say to Lee, what he didn't even dare admit to himself, was that he really wanted to be a father.
He never had before, he had avoided the topic carefully with Kristen and Isabella, but ever since he met Martin things changed. Ed could talk to him about science and games, the kid was a genius. Ed didn't get bored or uncomfortable around him.
He realised Martin was special a soon as they met, he could see how Oswald would be charmed by such a criminally-inclined mind. Reassuring the child and offering him ice cream came natural to Ed when he rescued him, and while they were talking (he was talking, Martin was writing) at the ice cream parlour, Ed was impressed by the kid's aptitude for maths and logic.
But it was only when Ed saw him sitting at the table with Jim and Oswald that he knew. He felt cheated because it was supposed to be him in Jim's place. He wanted to be a better dad than his own had ever been, to prove him wrong. He wanted Martin to have all the things he didn't have as a child. He wanted to have a family with Oswald.
Knowing all of that didn't get him any closer to it, though. He had missed his chance and didn't know if he would get a second one. Oswald seemed happy with Jim and Ed was afraid his epiphany had come around too late. He had to make sure before giving up, though, so he wore his best green glittery suit and went back to the Manor.
In front of the familiar dark cherry-wood door, Ed took a deep breath and knocked three times. He didn't want to risk barging in on an intimate moment like last time.
Unexpectedly, Oswald himself came to open it.
Ed gasped and left his hand suspended in the act of knocking.
Oswald also looked surprised and shielded his eyes from the glittery suit. 'Ed? You almost blinded me with that thing! What brings you here?'
It took Ed a minute to realise he was supposed to answer. 'If you have me, you want to share me. Once you share me, you won't have me. What am I?'
Oswald blinked and forced himself to think about it. If he wanted that green idiot to like him, he had to start taking riddles seriously. 'A secret?'
Ed bounced on his feet slightly, beaming up at Oswald. 'Correct! I'd like to speak with Martin in private, if you don't mind. I also brought him a present.' He held up a Kids' First Chemistry Set.
Oswald's expression was unreadable but his heart was beating wildly. 'You came to see Martin?'
Ed smiled, hoping not to come across as creepy.
Oswald stepped aside and let him in, without saying a word. He led Ed to Martin's room and knocked, disappearing right away down the hall to hide the fact that his eyes were getting wet.
Ed didn't know what to make of Oswald's silence but didn't have much time to dwell on it because Martin open the door.
Ed's heart warmed instantly. 'How's my favourite assistant?'
Martin beamed up at him and waved hello.
They walked into the room and sat down on the edge of the bed. Martin's eyes kept falling on the Chemistry Set.
Ed grinned and handed it to him. 'Open it.'
Martin looked up at Ed, touching his own chest with an incredulous expression on his face.
Ed understood and placed the Set directly on the boy's lap. 'Yes, it's for you.'
Martin bounced up slightly on the bed and started opening the box, looking enthusiastic.
Ed waited expectantly, bringing his hands up to rest under his chin.
Martin placed his new equipment on the desk, lining it all up in neat rows, then walked back to Ed to give him an unexpected hug.
Ed, taken aback, didn't know what to do and only managed to awkwardly pet the top of his head before the boy stepped back and sat down again.
Ed cleared his throat. 'I'm happy to see you like it. The experiments listed in the box are quite easy, when you get tired of them I can show you more challenging ones.'
Martin nodded eagerly.
Ed took a deep breath and rubbed his neck. 'There's another reason I came here today. I wanted to talk to you about uncle Oswald.'
Martin scribbled on his pad and showed him. Dad.
Ed sucked in a breath. He had read it took adopted children a while to use words as 'mum' and 'dad', if ever, but Martin seemed more than comfortable with it.
Ed smiled and corrected himself, 'About your dad. What do you you think of your dad's friend, detective Gordon?'
Martin made a thumbs up.
Ed tried to say calm. 'You like him. Good, good.'
Martin frowned, confused by the contrast between the meaning of the words and Ed's funeral tone.
'And do you think your dad likes him, too?'
Martin's eyes shone with a kind of understanding that was far too mature for his young age. He took his note pad and scribbled furiously.
Ed waited, wriggling his hands nervously.
Martin finally finished his drawing and showed it to him. There were three stylised figures holding hands, the shorter one in between. One of the taller ones had a long fringe and a cane, while the other had glasses and a bowler hat.
Ed's breath caught in his throat, there was no mistaking the meaning of the picture. He took the sheet of paper in his hands and swallowed the lump in his throat. There was a heart framing the trio.
Ed remained in silence for a long time. That was not just the way Martin saw them, it was also his blessing.
'Thank you, Martin. That's what I want, too. I need to make it up to your dad first, though.'
Martin nodded, knowingly.
'Can I keep this?'
Martin smiled and nodded again.
Ed folded it carefully and slipped it into his breast pocket. He didn't know it yet, but it would become his good luck charm in the years to come.
Martin walked him downstairs and to the door, holding his hand.
In the meantime Oswald had calmed down and dried his eyes. But then he saw the love of his life and his child hugging on the doorstep and he had to go hide in the bathroom again. Did Ed even know what he was doing to him?
As a matter of fact, Ed didn't know because he was too focused on the hug, trying to do it right.
Martin had been the one to initiate it again, but Ed was faster to react the second time around. He kneeled down to give the child better access and hugged him back tight, smiling at the foreign sensation of having such a small creature in his arms. It was incredibly grounding, to have a small human look up to him and choose to give him his affection freely. He thought back on his hugs with Oswald and wished he had appreciated them more at the time.
They said their goodbyes and Ed left the Mansion feeling hopeful. Martin's encouragement was the push he needed to do what had to be done.
Oswald had better get ready for some serious romancing.
Chapter 6: Can Oswald Cobblepot Step Forward, Please?
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Oswald Cobblepot didn't have much experience with romance. He felt he didn't have the time to date and even if he did, he was surrounded by morons anyway.
Then Jim Gordon came along, looking like the knight in shining armour he was, and Oswald thought that must have been it. He confused devotion with love and let himself be taken advantage of with little to nothing in return.
Ed Nygma kind of sneaked up on him. They were friends one day and the next Oswald realised he was the love of his life. It was like being hit in the head with a brick. After that, Oswald's life had flipped upside down and Ed became priority number one.
Martin also sneaked up on him and joined Ed on the priority number one seat so fast, it almost gave Oswald whiplash.
Oswald's heart always seemed to trick him, so that's why when he received a giant penguin plushie on his doorstep, his first guess was that it had to be a joke.
Martin convinced him not to throw it away and put it in the child's room instead, but that didn't take away the sting of why someone would do that without even leaving a note.
The mysterious gifts didn't end there though.
In the next two weeks Oswald found a strange collection of objects which he had examined by experts to be on the safe side: a top hat, a monocle, a cigarette holder and an umbrella that could spray knockout gas, acid and even worked as a gun.
Oswald had no idea of who sent them, but he had to admit they had style. He decided he wouldn't use them until he knew who was behind it, but he found it harder and harder to walk past the trick umbrella every day without being able to try it.
Martin, on the other hand, didn't seem concerned about the mysterious gifts at all and walked around the Mansion wearing the top hat with an aristocratic air about him, although it was far too big for him and kept falling on his eyes.
Oswald had promised him he could come along at the Sirens that weekend, but when Saturday came along he regretted his decision.
Martin forced him to try on all of his suits, which took a considerable amount of time, and Oswald couldn't understand for the life of him why a child would be so interested in making him look good.
'Martin, I love you but if you make me try on that purple suit one more time I'm going there on my own!'
Martin dropped the suit in question and a large smile spread on his face.
Oswald realised it was the first time he said 'I love you' to Martin aloud. He smiled back and opened his arms to receive Martin's hug, suddenly feeling warm and fuzzy all over.
When they let go of each other, Oswald looked at him and sighed. 'I appreciate your help but it's getting late and we need to go. Decide which one I should wear and I will wear it.'
Martin brought his hand up to his chin and thought for a second, then pointed to the black fur-neck coat with a purple tie.
Later that evening Oswald kept Martin close while exchanging pleasantries at the Sirens. He was not even sure why the boy had insisted on coming, it must have been boring for a child, but Oswald found it difficult to deny him anything.
Jim had come along, too, so they could keep up their act. 'I think I saw Lee in the crowd, what should I do?'
Oswald sighed. 'I have no idea, Jim. I must admit I expected her to at least call you during these last two weeks. Aside from their initial shock, they didn't seem that bothered by us dating. Maybe we should call it off.'
Jim looked weary. 'Yeah, I think it has gone far enough. We've been seeing each other almost every day now and not a word from Lee. I should have known I hurt her too much for her to still care.'
Oswald put a consoling hand on his shoulder. 'I'm sure she'll come around, eventually. I didn't have much hope for Ed, that glitter leprechaun is the poster boy for compulsive heterosexuality, but I had to try. I'm glad we at least gained a friendship out of all this mess.'
Jim gave him a small smile. 'Thank you, Oswald.'
Oswald puffed out his chest and smiled. 'Thank you, Jim.'
In that moment, someone walked on stage and tapped on the microphone to test it. 'Hello, people of Gotham.' The music stopped abruptly.
Everybody turned to the stage and Oswald did a double take. It was Ed Nygma.
'As I'm sure you all know by now, I'm the Riddler. Sorry to interrupt your lovely evening but I have an announcement to make. Can Oswald Cobblepot step forward, please?'
Some people were confused, some were frightened, but everybody started searching for Oswald. Martin was quicker, though, and pushed a flabbergasted Oswald in front of the stage.
Ed smiled. 'Perfect. Thank you, Martin.'
Tabitha looked ready to storm the stage but Barbara held her back, grinning. 'Let's hear what he has to say, I have a feeling it'll be entertaining.'
Jim frowned at Ed, unsure of what to do, while Lee, who sat at the bar, chuckled and rolled her eyes.
Oswald was simply staring at Ed, looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Ed cleared his throat and gathered all of his courage.
'Before I became the Riddler, I was Ed. I was only half a man, you could say, with two very conflicting personalities. Oswald was the only one who could see both and accepted me for who I was. He made me who I am and I think I also made him who he is today. We were a formidable team, but then I went and ruined everything for a woman I'm not even sure I ever loved. I wasn't ready to face my feelings.'
Ed addressed the crowd but kept his eyes on Oswald, who had placed both hands in front of his mouth in an expression of the most genuine stupor, trembling slightly while Martin affectionately patted his elbow.
'As you all know, this place used to to be called the Iceberg Lounge, with me as the iceberg. It doesn't hold happy memories for us and that's why I picked it to do this today, in the hope that good memories will one day overshadow the bad.' Ed took a deep breath and hid his shaking hands behind his back. 'Oswald, I love you. I think I've loved you all along. I'm sorry that I couldn't realise it sooner but I am here now and if it's too late, I'll accept it. But I want you to know that it would be an honour for me to stand by your side and be a father to Martin.'
Silence fell on the club and people had very different expressions on their faces. Some were surprised, some were still confused, and some were ready to exchange money for the ongoing bet on when the Penguin and the Riddler would finally become an item.
Oswald was a trembling mess and didn't really respond until Martin gave him another light push towards the stage.
Ed walked off the stage and took Oswald's hands in his, letting him feel how much he himself was shaking. 'What do you say?' The last sentence was barely a whisper, obviously meant for Oswald alone.
Oswald had a storm in his heart and tears in his eyes, but somehow managed to speak. 'Of course I still love you, you green idiot!'
Ed chuckled and kissed him with such enthusiasm that Oswald stumbled a bit backwards. It was nothing like any kiss either of them had ever had before. It felt electrically charged, like lightning, and made them lightheaded, as if their feet were not touching the ground.
The crowd applauded, seemingly forgetting they were wanted criminals in that moment of shared happiness, but Ed and Oswald didn't hear it.
Martin was also clapping his hands and Jim joined him, happy for Oswald even if he still didn't like Nygma.
Looking around, Jim noticed Lee sat at the bar and walked towards her. He counted it as a victory that she didn't walk away when she saw him coming over.
There was an awkward moment of silence.
'It seems like Ed is interested in someone else now.'
Lee laughed. 'It seems like Oswald has his tongue down someone else's throat, too.'
Jim looked over to where Oswald and Ed were still kissing, with Martin on the side looking proud as if to say 'I did this, this is all thanks to me'.
Jim looked back at Lee and sighed. 'Oswald and I were never dating, we just wanted to make you jealous.'
Lee raised her eyebrows. 'I was suspicious but I must say I'm impressed, Jim. You got better at lying.'
Jim made a grimace and sat down next to her. 'Lee, I know I'm an idiot. I should have fought harder for us when I was sent to prison. I got scared when you needed me the most. This city chews you up and spits you out a different person, and I am no longer that man. I'm not asking you to come back to your old life, I know that you can't... but I hope that one day, you'll be able to forgive me. And maybe, if I'm very lucky, you'll consider giving me a second chance.'
Lee searched Jim's eyes. What the hell, it was a night of miracles.
She downed her drink and got up from the bar stool. Jim also stood and looked at her expectantly.
She smiled. 'Who knows, that day might come sooner than you think.'
Jim stared as she walked away, feeling hope blossom in his chest.
I have at least one more chapter planned for this story, don't worry, it's not a Disney movie that ends with them kissing. ;D
In case anyone is uncomfortable with sexually explicit content, I'll change the rating and write a note at the beginning of the next chapter.
Chapter 7: Sure, Now You're Awake.
This is the last chapter and, as promised, there'll be sexy times. ;) It's not that explicit, but if it's not your cup of tea, feel free to skip it.
I hope you'll enjoy the end of my story, it was fun writing it and your support was amazing! <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That night, Oswald and Ed had so much to catch up on, yet everybody seemed to want their attention. Barbara insisted on congratulating them in person on their way out of the Sirens. She claimed to have played a part in their coming together. Roger, the limousine driver, kept glancing in the rearview mirror while driving them home. Martin also kept staring and smiling, as if a miracle was happening right in front of him. And maybe it was.
When they arrived at the Mansion, Olga insisted that they had to eat something since they had skipped dinner to go to the Sirens. Oswald opened his mouth to say that they had to leave without dinner only because Martin made him try on an unnecessary amount of outfits, but no sound came out because in that moment he realised the kid had been in cahoots with Ed the whole time and that all those presents were from Ed. They sat down quietly to eat, at first having a tentative conversation that later bloomed into cheerful banter, as the night sky grew darker. It came surprisingly easy to Oswald, being with his adoptive son and his... Ed. He was not sure what Ed was to him now. Friend, partner in crime, love of his life, blessing and curse of his days. Father of his child? Oswald knew he was staring but he couldn't help it, he had never thought he could have a family of his own. Martin really seemed to like Ed and they had a lot in common.
Ed didn't notice him staring, though, because his mind kept going back to the moments before his speech. He almost gave up when he saw Oswald and Jim enjoying their evening together. He had to muster up a lot of courage to walk on stage. He hadn't been expecting a positive response from Oswald, let alone full reciprocation of his feelings. He had hoped for forgiveness and friendship, but Oswald kissed him back and invited him back to the Mansion. Ed had missed the Mansion almost as much as he had missed Oswald, that house held his most treasured memories and it represented the loving family life he had never known. It was as welcome as it was unexpected and Ed couldn't believe his luck.
Martin made them watch The Wizard of Oz on tv, sitting in between Oswald and Ed on the sofa. Ed kept his face neutral while slowly moving his hand behind Martin's back, looking for Oswald's fingers. Martin was sitting on the edge of the seat, so when Oswald felt fingertips brushing his wrist, he could turn his head without Martin noticing. Ed held his stare in the dark and intertwined his fingers with Oswald's, trying to convey the endless depth of his affection through his eyes alone.
Oswald felt overwhelmed by that look, like waves of electricity were crashing into his chest, and turned his attention back to the tv just in time to catch Martin pointing at the Wizard on screen and then at Oswald. The boy grinned and waited for Oswald to get it. Ed was quicker to understand the joke, though, and burst out laughing. 'From now on, I'll call you Oz.'
Oswald bristled. 'Don't you dare.'
Ed grinned and went back to watching the film. He knew Oswald secretly liked the diminutive, because when he said it, Oswald's hand held on tighter.
By the time the end credits rolled, both Oswald and Martin had fallen asleep. They had curled up together on the side of the sofa, although Oswald's hand was still touching Ed's.
Ed was so entranced by their sleeping forms, underlined by the blue light still emanating from the tv, that only when the screen got dark he realised he had to get them all to bed. He scooped up Martin in his arms and carried him to his bedroom. Ed led a half-awake Martin to the bathroom to brush his teeth and helped him change into his pyjamas. After tucking him under the heavy blanket, Ed made to leave but Martin held onto his sleeve, with his eyes still closed.
Martin gave him a thumbs-up and then promptly fall asleep. Ed couldn't help but chuckle.
He made his way back downstairs to find Oswald hadn't moved an inch on the sofa, he was still sound asleep. Parenthood really took its toll, Oswald used to stay up so late.
Ed sighed and scooped him up in his arms as well, noticing there was not that much of a difference in weight. He was going to make it his mission to make Oswald drink less and eat more.
Ed carried him upstairs to the master bedroom and let him down gently on the blanket.
Oswald stirred and rolled over like a cat. 'S'Martin 'sleep?'
Ed pretended not to understand. 'Sorry, what?'
Oswald still didn't open his eyes but made an effort to speak clearly. 'Is Martin asleep?'
Ed sat on the bed next to him. 'Yes, I tucked him in.'
Oswald smiled. 'M'so tired.'
Ed took it as his cue to leave but when he made to stand up, Oswald spoke up again. 'Where you going?'
Ed blinked, sitting back down. He couldn't be that lucky.
'To my old room?'
Oswald rolled on his back. 'Stay.'
Ed gaped at him.
Oswald was somewhere between sleep and consciousness and quite content to be there but Ed was having none of that. Oswald couldn't just invite him to his bed and expect him to go to sleep like nothing had happened.
Ed put his bowler hat on the nightstand and crawled onto the bed, on top of Oswald, and tried kissing him again, half-expecting to be pushed off the bed.
Oswald didn't seem to be pushing him anywhere, though. On the contrary, he seemed to be pulling him in unconsciously.
Ed interrupted the kiss. 'Oswald?'
He still had his eyes closed.
Ed started kissing his neck, going down to his chest. He peppered featherlight kisses on Oswald's skin while slowly removing his clothes, testing how far he could get before Oswald properly woke up.
When Ed reached his hips, Oswald started moaning softly, but still didn't open his eyes.
Ed grinned and kissed even lower, taking Oswald's length into his mouth in one swift movement.
Oswald's eyes were suddenly wide open and he sucked in a gasp. 'Ok, ok, I'm awake!'
Ed licked the tip and drew back. 'Sure, now you're awake.'
Oswald looked down at him. The sight of Ed sucking on his erection alone was enough to make him come, so he looked at the ceiling to make it last longer than seconds. It was his first time, after all.
Oswald bit his lip to prevent an embarrassing yelp to escape him.
It was quite obvious he was enjoying it, so Ed took it a step further and started using his hand, too.
Oswald nearly sat up and pulled at the sheets, whimpering. 'E-Ed?'
Ed drew back and propped up his head on his hand, while stroking Oswald with the other. He used his most innocent tone. 'Yes?'
Oswald shuddered and held onto the headboard for dear life. 'I'm coming.'
Ed grinned and halted his movements, squeezing Oswald's length. 'You can't come yet, I didn't give you permission.'
'Permiss-' Oswald tried to sound threatening but had to clam his mouth shut. He was coming apart at the seams. 'Permission?'
Ed resumed his movements slowly. 'Don't worry, I'll give you permission soon. But I want to hear you say something first.'
Oswald cursed loudly and let go of any inhibition. 'Anything, please, just let me come!'
Ed smiled and crawled back up to be level with Oswald's face, keeping his hand busy. His eyes bore into Oswald's. 'Say you are mine.'
Oswald opened his mouth and a moan escaped his lips. 'Of course I am yours. I've always been yours.'
Ed stilled his movements and Oswald whined.
Oswald put his arms around him and whispered into his ear, 'It was all pretend.'
Ed's heart leaped. 'It was?'
'I wanted to make you jealous. It worked, didn't it?'
Ed growled and pinned him down to the mattress. 'All too well.'
Oswald squeezed his eyes shut. 'Please, please, let me come now. Ed, please, let me come.'
Ed grinned and flicked his wrist. 'Come for me, Oz.'
Oswald came violently, with a shudder, panting like he had just run a marathon.
His scream was muffled by Ed's kiss, who remembered at the last second that Martin was sleeping in the next room.
They laid back on the bed with clothes and sheets scattered everywhere, too spent to even change into their pyjamas.
Edward cuddled close to Oswald and covered them both up with the blanket.
Oswald enjoyed the warmth and intimacy of the embrace while trying to get his mind to come down from the world-shattering orgasm.
When he was sure Ed was asleep, he took his phone and wrote a text message to Jim. Thank you, my friend. Thank you so much.
Only moments later, Jim replied. I don't want to know.
In case you want to read more, I wrote another (longer) nygmobblepot story here on ao3. ;)