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Underneath it All

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"What am I to you?"

"This troubled man."

". . . Blinded by the most obvious truths."

"All you care about is her."

"Soon there will be no telling where you end and I begin."

The thoughts and feelings that have plagued him since he visited Oswald and Butch that afternoon continue to circle in his head. He had let them in on Lee's plan to rob Gotham Savings and Loan that evening in exchange for their help in dealing with her. He knows she's using him, yet he finds that he's helpless to her whims. He's ashamed of himself for loving her, for letting Ed's feelings dominate his actions.

"Ed." Lee stops him in front of his place before he can enter.


"I just wanted to check in with you about final preparations for tonight. Can I come in?"

"Sure," he says, thinking about how meager his accommodations in The Narrows are. Especially for one who just scored millions of dollars in a five-bank heist the previous night. But Lee had convinced him to give it all away . . .

As he leads her up the stairs he recalls snippets of their earlier conversation that day.

"Are you always this amorous with your friends? . . . "

"You're not just stringing me along are you, Lee?"

"Don't you want to find out? . . ."

"The answer to the riddle?"

She takes his hand when they reach the top and guides him over to his single bed.

"Lee -"

"Shh. . ." she says and places a finger on his lips. Her nail is painted black and her metallic, glittery fingerless glove makes a little tinkling noise with the movement. It's the same one she had worn the first and only time they had coupled. She pushes him down onto the bed. "I just want to clear something up."

He starts to undo his tie.

"I'll get that," she says, sitting on his lap and pulling open his suit jacket before fiddling with his tie. She chokes him with it playfully. "Ed, I don't want you to feel –"

He removes her hand from the tie instinctively, quickly, and rolls her underneath him. "I don't."

He doesn't want to feel. He doesn't want to talk about it. He just presses his lips into hers. No more talking.

But the passion they share is gentle, loving … almost as if they are playing at something that isn't really there. Two dark, damaged souls coming together in the light.

He holds her head gently as she cries out softly, buried deep inside of her as she quivers around him. And her shaky hand caresses his cheek lovingly as his eyes bore into hers . . . right before he explodes.

For a while they just lie in each other's arms, not quite naked – they didn't get that far – but fully spent.

"Ed?" Lee asks, lying on his bare chest.


"I noticed something when we were kissing … that I, uh, didn't notice the first time we - "


"You're missing some molars."

He grunts in assent.

"Fairly recently?" she asks, propping her head up.

He sighs and strokes her hair.

"Yes. Courtesy of our recently deceased mafia princess." He kisses her softly on the nose. "Thank you for that by the way."

"I did the city a favor."

"That you did," he says and chuckles, beyond glad that Lee had taken out Sofia Falcone.

"How badly did it hurt?"

"Ah, ever the doctor. I can tell you this much, it was not pleasant. But I'm guessing that you want me to rate that particular torture method on a pain scale of one to ten?" Before Lee can even reply, he says flamboyantly, "It was definitely an off the chart, can't even really be measured, Eleven!"

"I wasn't asking as your doctor, I was asking as your –"

"As your what, Lee?"

"As . . ." She just trails off.

Before it gets too awkward, he hugs her head to his chest, effectively averting her eyes. Then he kisses the top of her head gently, savoring the musky scent that her glossy hair carries after their coupling. For having been so eager to know where he stood with her earlier in the day, he now finds himself very reluctant to actually hear the truth from her lips. He knows he's a pawn in her little game . . . albeit a valued pawn, he's still a pawn nonetheless.

"She hurt me badly, too, Ed," Lee says after a very long silence, holding up her left hand for him to see, still gloved.

He realizes that he hadn't seen her hand since he was Ed – since before he, The Riddler, had taken over. She hadn't taken off her glove that first time . . .

"Can I see?" he asks and she sits up. They both do.

She has her hand on the clasp at the base of her wrist but hesitates.

"I don't have to see, Lee . . . if you're not comfortable showing me," he says gently, putting a hand on her shoulder.

"No, it's not that . . ."

Silence hangs between them.

"Okay, yes, it's that. I'm not comfortable showing you what she did to me."

"That's okay."

"But I want . . . I want to talk about it, Ed. With someone who may understand. I want to talk with you . . ."

He wraps her up in his arms and kisses her softly on the forehead. "Then do . . ."

They find mutual healing in discussing the pain that they have both endured at the hands of Sofia. The permanent alteration to their bodies. The scars.

From extraction forceps.

From a hammer.

From a deranged dentist.

From a troubled mafia princess.

To his teeth.

To her hand.

He is still holding Lee in the crook of his body, his forehead pressed to her temple, when the fingers of her other hand silently find their way down to the clasp of the metallic glove again and undo it.

He places his hand on hers and they slowly peel it off together, his fingers running gently over the scar tissue that has formed on the top of her hand.

Lee shivers. "Sorry."

"No, it's okay."

"Touch me there again," she asks, looking up into his eyes.

He takes her hand in his and lifts it to his lips. Meeting her gaze, he kisses the top of it gently and says, "There. All better?"

"Not quite," she says with a wry frown. "But much better."

She runs her hand over her scars herself, as if not really having examined them for a while.

"You don't need to wear the glove anymore, Lee," he says. "Sofia's dead. You killed her."

"But –"

"She's gone," he says firmly. "And your scars have healed. You have no reason to hide anymore."

"Neither do you," she says, touching his cheek.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he says, uncomfortably extracting himself from their embrace.

She cocks her head to the side. "Ed."

"Don't call me that. I'm not –"

"Would you really be here with me like this, Riddler? By your own accord? Without Ed's influence?"

YES. But she doesn't need to know that. He turns away.


"Please stop calling me that," he says firmly and stands up. Turning back to her he says, "I think you should leave. We'll meet up again later when it's time to head out to the bank."

After she lets herself out, he takes a shower and spies the other one in his shaving mirror. Of course. He sighs deeply.

Ed says to him, "She's wrong you know."

He just glares at his reflection.

"You don't need to be me at all to connect with her. You're in love with her all by yourself."

"Shut up!"

"Admit it."


"You'll see," Ed says and laughs as he fades away with a parting shot. "You won't be able to betray her to Oswald and Butch . . . not even you, Riddler."

He's right. Whether he's Ed, or The Riddler, or some twisted amalgamation of the two, at his core he loves her. He just does.