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Devils' Due (Conclusion of Personalities)

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"It's okay, Edward," Oswald says as Edward slumps down onto the coffee table in front of the sofa. He places a small hand on his back. "It's okay."

"No," Edward replies. "It is decidedly NOT okay. Not at all. This shouldn't have happened."

"Can you leave us?" Oswald asks William.

"Sure," he answers and motions for two of his men to come over and remove the body from the white wicker sofa.

"Wait. What are you doing?" Edward asks, alarmed.

"She's gone, now, Edward," William says. "I just laid her out so that you could see her before we bury her. So that you would understand."

Edwards eyes narrow. "Understand what?"

William doesn't answer him directly. Instead he says, "I've changed my mind. I'll leave her here until you've had time to say a proper goodbye."

William gives Oswald a look, which is returned with a nod.

"Excellent idea. Thank you," Oswald says.

After William and his men have vacated the pool house, Edward turns to Oswald and demands, "What the hell is going on here?"


Jeremiah Valeska had thrown down the gauntlet. In the form of a dead body.

Query's.

It's all so senseless.

William had already started assembling his troops and laying out his strategy with Oswald. The top men in his Scarab Army are currently standing by, awaiting his orders.

The Pharaoh and The Joker are going to war. Imminently.

And that's why Edward had been called - not to say goodbye to Query - but to help William and Oswald plan their strategy.

Grrr.

William should have been less cryptic. Edward had responsibilities down in The South. Now he'd have to get in touch with Lee or Leslie and see if they wouldn't mind handling rehearsals in his absence - even though he really didn't want to engage with them right now.

Sighing, he decides to put off the call he needs to make and instead walks to the window in his bedroom and stares out at the pool house. He had told Oswald he needed a minute before joining them - and it's true. He needs time to think about what to do next.

Query shouldn't be dead. Well . . . at least not again. Something about all of this business is unnatural and he shivers, despite the warmth of the house.


Edward finds himself effectively "wall creeping" down the hallway like Little Eddie used to do with Leslie and spies Oswald and William. They are having a heated debate over how to handle a particular strategic maneuver in the dining room turned war room, complete with a huge map of Gotham spread over the table.

Watching them, Edward notices that something is very different about his friend - and even William. It's subtle and he can't quite put a name to it, but their passionate argument definitely has undertones of something else . . . something stilted and not necessarily pretty.

It's obvious they're going to be occupied for a while so Edward continues on his mission. He heads to the kitchen to grab the buttermilk he knew would be there now that William has moved in. He also grabs a bowl and puts both into his oversized backpack.

He sneaks back down the hallway to William's room - which is easy to spot - he has two Anubis guards standing watch on either side of the door.

"Hey, uh . . . guys?" His query is met with silence. "Uh . . . yeah. The Pharaoh wanted me to to get something from his room."

No response.

"Uh. . . for a ceremony."

They don't even move. Hmm.

Tentatively, Edward reaches forward and places a hand on the doorknob.

Not a peep.

Okay then.

He lets himself in without incident.

After he shuts the door to William's bedroom behind him, he leans against it for a moment and shivers again. But why? Is it because those guards out there are the embodiment of Anubis, the ancient god of embalming? Or is it the fact that they live very close to death themselves?

And what exactly does that say about William that he chooses to be guarded by those who straddle the living and the dead?

Or him? Ironically, Edward's in here looking for embalming materials himself - to raise the dead.

Which he easily spots. There's a huge chest adorned with bodies in various stages of mummification - it's almost as if it's decorated with a step by step how-to guide. He finds the gauze in there.

But his backpack is only so large - how much gauze will he actually need? Hmm.

Edward does a quick calculation based upon what he remembers of Query's size and the fact that she likely won't need to be wrapped in more than one layer of gauze. Except for a small leftover patch to maintain thrall, the gauze is only meant to be temporary. A way to connect the dead body with its living soul and bind it in with buttermilk.

Now, where is that magical flute?

Edward searches a dark corner of William's room that is adorned with many hieroglyphs of -

"Aaagh!" Something fierce jumps out at him.

"That's not a cat!" he screeches.

The Anubis guards finally break their silence as Edward flees from the room.

They chuckle.