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In Preparation

Chapter Text


It was all so disappointing. The city was in ruins. She had hoped to wash her hands clean of this place. Her work in The Narrows done, she had redeemed herself. But now?

She felt a responsibility, an obligation to these people still. Who else could help them in their time of crisis? Lee sighed and took a drink, watching the destruction from the window.

The city of Gotham wasn’t the only thing that was destroyed. Some fanciful optimistic part of herself had been delusional enough to think she and Ed could escape together – make a life for themselves away from this place now that her work was over.

But that dream was gone too. Now that she could sit and think and not be caught up in the euphoria of having accomplished her goals, she realized who Ed truly was. A killer.

He had been planning to crush Jim to death, of that she had no doubt. And why? Because he was a part of her past? Because he was holding her back? Because he was someone she might still have feelings for? It was obvious that Ed had no qualms about ending Jim’s life and she realized he likely had no qualms about ending hers either.

Yes, nothing escaped her notice in The Narrows. She had eventually found out about his plot to kill her - having employed the Toymaker to assassinate her back when she had first taken control of The Narrows – back when he had been her greatest supporter. He just couldn’t help himself. She knew he loved her, but she also knew without a doubt that it was in his nature to kill the ones he loved.

Was it in hers?

Her hand caressed the knife she had placed by her side, ready and waiting for Ed. She knew she had to end it before he did. A pre-emptive strike.

Yet she was sad, weary. She had thought he had understood her, what she had become. He seemed to be the only one who had. And now she knew that no one did. Like Jim, he only wanted to change her.

She was so incredibly disappointed.

She took another drink and waited, knowing he would eventually find his way to her now that everything was falling apart.


Chapter Text

The Riddler

"She lied to me," he growls lowly, staring out the window. Through its grime he can clearly see her lips on his. Jim's.

Betrayed. Again. Lied to again. He just shakes his head at the irony, wanting to cry. Ed would cry. But he can't.

"Oh Ed, you weren't the fool. I was."

Love was his most crippling weakness. He had known it all along. Knew he could only be free if he was unencumbered by love . . . unable to be controlled, betrayed, answering to no one but himself. It's why he had wanted her dead – craved it from the start – even before he had taken over from Ed. It was his destiny to kill her and become who he was meant to be. Fully. Unencumbered.

Yet somewhere along the way he had found himself helping her to explore who she was becoming - just as she had tried to help him become some amalgamation of himself and Ed. The guy she liked. He knew that if only she could find her true self – the one he loved - they could be together. Unencumbered. And he wouldn't have to kill her.

But that had all gone to hell so rapidly since Jim Gordon had found the two of them in The Narrows.

Before turning away from the window, he notices Lee's body language. Wait. That's a goodbye. She's telling Jim goodbye. Could that mean there's still a chance for them?

As the city falls to ruin, he twirls the knife in his hand. It is the same knife that he had held to her neck that heady evening at the Riddle Factory . . . when they had played a dangerous game. When he had wanted to slit her throat so he couldn't be used . . . or betrayed. To end it before it even started. But he had found couldn't.

Love was his crippling weakness.

This time he was going to kill her. He had to be free of this.

But what if . . . ?

He thinks of her letting go of Jim and decides to give her one more chance.

She's not going to leave The Narrows. Not with him. Probably not ever.

"So, what does that mean for us?" he asks her.

She turns away from the window, her eyes sunken, as dark as the raging destruction outside.

"It is the end of the road for us."


He unfolds the knife in his hands as his heart shatters, raining brittle shards within him, and stiffening his resolve.

It is.

He steps forward towards their destiny.