Chapter 1: can we just be honest?
Oswald had thought he was over stupid crushes that never lead anywhere. As a gay guy living in a shit-hole such a Gotham, one didn’t get too lucky with love. He was done getting his heart broken. Yes, that had been the case until Oswald met one James Gordon. Gordon had transferred to Gotham High on his junior year, hand in hand with a pretty blonde girl named Barbara, and immediately stolen Oswald’s heart. How could anyone resist those ocean eyes, that perfectly messy, dirty blonde hair drooping over his forehead?
Things had gotten weird after the first month of junior year when Barbara had ended up in bed with two different women within a month of attending the school. To everybody’s surprise, James had taken it well, and that was when Oswald had gotten into the picture. Never had he thought that he’d end up sucking a taken guy’s cock in the school bathrooms during recess, but it had happened. More than once.
And that brought them to today. Oswald stood up and brushed the grime off his black jeans while Jim zipped up his pants and started fixing his hair. “As much as I love this, Jim dear, I’m startin’ to feel like this relationship of ours is a little one-sided,” Oswald commented as he watched Jim’s hands run through the blond locks.
“Is that so?”
“Mm-hmm,” Oswald nodded and sat on the countertop. “Is this just your way of getting over Babs?”
Jim’s hands fell on his sides and he glared at Oswald. Yes, he and Barbara had broken up after all. For some reason, Oswald had been a little disappointed by the news over the summer holiday. Perhaps he found it more thrilling when Jim was taken. Now there was technically nothing wrong with their activities.
“You’re the one to talk. Haven’t you been pinin’ over Nashton for what, nine months?” Jim shot back and smiled dryly at the annoyed look on Oswald’s face.
“Um, that is completely different,” Oswald said and crossed his arms.
“How so?” Jim asked, grinning properly now. Oswald kicked him on the thigh and jumped off the counter.
“I’m late for class,” Oswald said and whipped around to give a quick look at his reflection. The sight wasn’t any different than he’d expected; the same pale, sharp, freckled face as always. He swiped his mouth on his sleeve to make sure there was no cum on his face before he glanced at Jim sharply and rushed out of the bathroom.
He barely got a few feet off the bathroom door before someone latched onto his hoodie and almost caused his to fall on the ground. “There you are, you fucker!”
Oswald groaned loudly. “Let go of me, Tabby.”
“Busy suckin’ someone off, huh? Didn’t even check my messages, little slut,” Tabitha said and shook her phone in front of Oswald’s face as if it would get her point across better.
Oswald snatched his hood off Tabitha’s manicured hands and smoothened the dark fabric, rolling his eyes. “Say that louder. I don’t think everyone heard you yet,” he grit his teeth and pulled out his own phone. There was indeed seven messages from Tabitha and one from Barbara.
“Oswald is a slut!” Tabitha yelled across the hallway, but stopped as soon as Oswald hit her in the stomach with his fist. Her breath hitched and she glared at him. “You told me to say it louder for the people in the back…”
“We been knew,” said a girl walking past them. Oswald gave her the middle finger. Selina Kyle, sophomore year, one of Tabitha’s best friends. Oswald couldn’t stand the young lady, but Tabitha straightened her form and rushed after the curly-haired girl, not even bothering to say bye to Oswald.
Wondering why he ever became friends with Tabitha, Oswald marched to his first period classroom. Art history, arguably one of the less awful classes he had to suffer through, not only because he was actually decent at it but also because he could spend the whole class ogling at a certain someone. Edward Nashton was taking the same art history class as him, and sitting at the perfect angle for Oswald to keep staring at him while not getting caught.
Oswald dumped the contents of his backpack on the desk; a laptop, a sketchbook, a pencil case… They had to write an essay, which meant he was not going to do anything that class. He sat down and looked at the doorway just as Edward walked through the door. He scooted past a group of girls and walked up to his desk, right in front of Oswald.
“Good morning,” he said and smiled while taking a seat and dropping his bag on the floor.
“Mornin’,” Oswald muttered and busied himself with rummaging through his pencil case for no specific reason. It was the same ritual every time they met; a smile, a greeting, awkward silence. Oswald had no clue how to talk to Ed – they were like sun and moon, so incredibly different. Oswald barely knew anything about Edward, but he still couldn’t get his eyes off the brunette whenever they met.
Oswald jumped when he felt a cold breeze on his neck. He turned around and almost got a heart attack when he realized that Sofia was barely an inch off his face. She burst out laughing and sat down next to him. “You should’ve seen your face,” she snickered and took off her sunglasses.
“Shut the fuuuuck up,” Oswald said in a sing-songy voice and punched the girl on the arm. Sofia Falcone was someone Oswald had never expected to befriend, but they had much more in common than he’d realized. They had automatically drifted close after Sofia had come out as a lesbian at the start of senior year while giving her speech as the student council president.
“Tabitha was looking for you,” Sofia announced as she began neatly placing all her stationery on the desk.
“Yea, I heard,” Oswald rolled his eyes and started finally going through his messages. A million question marks from Tabitha, all of which he blatantly ignored. Barbara’s message in their conjoined group chat was ever so slightly more interesting.
babs [08:12:54] heeey ozzie, wanna grab a coffee and talk about boys today?
With a slight grin on his lips, Oswald typed up a quick reply.
ozzie [08:57:13] sure. your treat tho, im broke
babs [08:57:46] tell me something new, babe
tabby [08:58:02] hol up u suck cock for free???? unbelievable.
Oswald chuckled to himself and put his phone away. Sofia was talking to him about some fashion show she was going to attend next weekend, but Oswald couldn’t focus on anything the girl was saying. His eyes were glued to Edward’s black computer screen, on which his reflection was perfectly visible. Sofia quickly caught on to the fact that she was being ignored, and shut her mouth with an annoyed huff.
After fifteen minutes of Sofia writing their essay and Oswald daydreaming, she finally had enough and she punched Oswald on the arm. “Why do you not just ask him out?” she whispered after catching Oswald’s attention.
“Are you nuts?” Oswald hushed back, eyes wide. “He ain’t gay!”
“How do you know that?” Sofia asked and squinted her eyes. “My gaydar is saying that Edward Nashton is anything but straight.”
“Keep your voice down,” Oswald whispered and glanced at Edward who was obliviously writing his essay with earbuds on. “I wonder what he’s listening…”
“There, a good conversation started!” Sofia muttered with a smile. “Ask him!”
“You want me to fuckin’ die, huh?” Oswald asked. To his absolute horror, Sofia leaned forward and tapped Ed on the shoulder. Oswald sunk further down on his chair when Edward turned over and took one of his earbuds out.
“Yes?” he asked. Sofia smiled sweetly, but Oswald knew his well enough to know it was a fake smile.
“We were just thinking… What’re you listening?” she asked innocently and fluttered her eyelashes. Ed looked confused for a second, but took his phone out of his pocket and showed the screen to Sofia and Oswald. 10 hours of absolute silence, said the YouTube video title. Ed giggled at their dumbfounded faces.
“These are noise-cancelling earphones. I can’t focus unless it’s quiet,” he explained. He presented them with the earphone cord, which wasn’t even attached to the phone. “And no one usually bothers me when they think I can’t hear. There’s a little life hack for ya.” He smiled widely and turned back towards his computer.
“Well then,” Sofia said quietly and looked at Oswald who suddenly regained the ability to speak.
“So smart,” he sighed. Sofia nearly had to stick her entire fist in her mouth in order to not burst out laughing at the lovestruck expression on Oswald’s face.
Oswald met up with Barbara at the nearby coffee shop after school. It was a fairly small cafe, ratchet-looking and very cheap – perfect for Oswald’s aesthetic and wallet. Barbara was waiting for him in the corner booth, holding a notepad in her hands.
“I listed everything I need to talk about so I don’t forget,” she explained when Oswald asked about the notebook.
“So am I your therapist now?” Oswald laughed and took a sip of his coffee.
“Cheaper than a real one, that’s for fuckin’ sure,” Barbara said. “My parents still refuse to pay, by the way.”
“Your parents are assholes,” Oswald said and Barbara nodded with a sigh. Her parents were filthy rich, but didn’t give a shit about their daughter or her well-being. Whenever she talked about then, Barbara had the same disgusted expression on her face; like she’d stepped on dog shit.
“Anyway,” Barbara said and smiled, “first things first. What’s Jim doing?”
“You guys are friends!”
“I really wouldn’t call it friendship,” Oswald said and stirred the coffee in his cup. “I suck his dick once a week, at 8:30 on Mondays. That’s it. I don’t know about his personal life and frankly I don’t give a shit. Next.”
“Oh come on,” Barbara said and pouted.
“Why do you not ask your friend? What’s her name… Montoya? She’s got the same part-time job as Gordon,” Oswald insisted.
Barbara’s face fell. “We’re not friends anymore,” she said and crossed her arms.
“Yeah,” she said bitterly. “She said I’m a bad influence on her. All I do is smoke weed, for fuck’s sakes.”
“Oof,” Oswald said. “Okay, that’s over. Next thing on your list of complaints, Ms. Kean?”
Barbara went through her entire list, everything from the quarrel with Montoya to the rocky relationship she was having with Tabitha, to the annoying zit she had on the side of her nose. Oswald frankly cared about none of it, but what kind of friend would he have been if he didn’t help a girl in need?
“Alright,” Barbara said and closed the notepad. “Let’s talk about your issues next.”
“My issues? I don’t have any issues! How dare you,” Oswald said and pretended to be offended, though his grin was failing him.
“Just a little issue called… Edward Nashton,” Barbara leaned over the table and smiled like a shark.
“Why does every lesbian in this school want us to be a thing?” Oswald groaned. “First Sofia, now you… It’s not gonna happen!”
“Well duh, if you never talk to him! You guys would be so cute.”
“I object,” Oswald said. “He’s not gay. He’s not into boys. End of story.”
The bell above the door jingled as someone walked into the coffee shop. Oswald sipped on his coffee and looked lazily over his shoulder, only to nearly spit the coffee on his hoodie when he recognized the young man walking through the door. Edward was with someone else, a dark-skinned man around his age, though Oswald wasn’t familiar with him. Instantly he felt a hint of jealousy wash through him as he stared at Ed’s arm brush against the other man’s.
“Eddie!” Barbara shouted and Oswald wanted to sink through the floor to the center of the Earth. Ed looked around until he spotted Barbara, and waved happily. Barbara and Ed shared quite a few classes, much to Oswald’s demise. Oswald watched as Edward said something to his friend and left him to order their drinks while Ed joined Barbara and Oswald.
“Hi, darling,” Barbara greeted him and stood up, giving Ed a hug. Oswald glared at them and hid his face behind the coffee cup. As soon as they stepped apart, Barbara pushed Ed into the booth next to Oswald.
“Who was that friend of yours?” Barbara asked eagerly, nodding towards the black man ordering drinks.
“Oh. That’s Lucius. He helps me with college classes sometimes,” Ed explained and situated himself better on the seat. “He’s nice. Really smart.”
“We were just talkin’ about you, believe it or not,” Barbara changed the subject and glanced at Oswald who pinned his gaze firmly on the table.
“Why is that?” Edward raised his eyebrows and looked at Oswald. His eyes lingered on Oswald for too long to his liking.
Barbara looked at Oswald too, an expectant expression on her face, and Oswald couldn’t continue playing mute anymore. “Uhh,” he put down his cup, “just… We thought you could help us with some school shit. ‘Cause you’re smart.”
“Yeah,” Barbara said, flashing a huge smile. “And by ‘us’, Ozzie means himself. I already got a mentor.”
Oswald bit his cheek so hard it almost drew blood. Ed looked surprised, but got distracted by Lucius walking up to their booth and placing their drinks on the table. “Are these… your friends?” he asked, eyes lingering on Oswald’s lined eyes and Barbara’s low neckline.
“Yes, Barbara and Oswald. I mean. We’re classmates,” Ed said and took his latte from the table. Lucius sat down next to Barbara and took a sip of his drink too.
“I guess we can go through the material some other time, then,” he said with a shrug.
“Oswald said he could use some help, too, so you can always mentor us both!” Ed suggested and smiled brightly. Oswald’s eye twitched and he shook his head with a pretentious smile.
“There’s really no need…”
“It’s fifty bucks per lesson,” Lucius interrupted and eyed Oswald. “You don’t look like someone to take college level courses. No offense.”
“None taken,” Oswald gave a shit-eating grin. “I’m not. Shit, I can barely keep up with high school.”
Lucius’s phone rang at that moment and he excused himself off the table to talk. A slightly awkward silence fell between the remaining three of them, and Oswald would’ve probably left the scene too, but he was promptly stuck between the wall and Edward.
“Fifty bucks per lesson, was it?” Barbara broke the silence, stirring the spoon in her cup. “Kinda steep, ain’t it?”
“I don’t really have anything else to spend my money on,” Ed said and laughed awkwardly. “And Lucius is a great teacher, so I’m fine paying him.”
“Do you wanna do my art history essay for twenty?” Oswald asked, half-joking. He knew Sofia would scold him for the rest of the school year if all her work went to waste.
“No,” Ed said and smiled, “but I can help you with it for free. Are you free this week?”
Oswald suddenly lost the ability to speak when he looked at the sincere smile on Edward’s face. “Um. Uhh… yeah. Sure. I don’t got anything. Whatever works for you…?” He glanced at Barbara who was observing them through her bangs, grinning.
“Hey, Ed,” Lucius interrupted their conversation again as he walked back to the booth. “Harvey called. He really needs help with a project or something, so I have to bounce.”
“Yeah, no problem! Did you pay for our drinks already?” Ed asked. Lucius shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll cover,” Edward promised, causing Oswald to wonder how much fucking money Ed had to throw around. Seemingly an infinite amount.
Lucius thanked him and rushed out of the café. Barbara stretched like a cat and also stood up. “Well, boys, it’s been lovely,” she said and grabbed her poofy jacket off the seat. “Oswald, bathroom. Now.” Oswald looked at her, flabbergasted, but ended up awkwardly scooting past Ed and hurrying after Barbara. She walked behind the corner and practically pushed Oswald against a wall.
“You just got yourself a date,” she announced. Oswald pushed her away and looked around as if the walls could hear them.
“It’s not a date,” he said quietly and frowned. “He thinks I’m a fuckin’ weirdo. He thinks you’re a weirdo. So just walk away, Babs.”
Barbara rummaged through her bag and managed to locate a small pouch full of makeup. Without even asking for permission, she powdered Oswald’s face and then smooched him on the cheek. “Don’t mess it up,” she commanded and fixed Oswald’s hair a little bit.
“Mess what up? It’s. Not. A. Date!” he whined as Barbara started dragging him back to the booth. Ed was obediently waiting for them, occupied with some papers he’d pulled out of his bag. Oswald lingered before sitting down on the spot previously Barbara’s while the blonde stood.
“Have fun, you two,” she said with a grin resembling one of a shark’s. Ed smiled back obliviously, and so did Oswald, though it was very clear there was murder behind his eyes. Barbara ruffled Ed’s curly locks before taking a sip of his drink and saying goodbye. Oswald watched her stride through the cafe in her short skirt and disappear out the door.
“…So. Do you want help with the essay?” Ed broke the silence and made Oswald turn his attention back to the brunette.
“Right. I guess. If you really wanna help,” Oswald stumbled through the sentence and blushed, praying his foundation covered it up.
“I’d love to help.”
There it was, that damned smile again. Oswald busied himself with getting his laptop out of his backpack in order to not die over how cute Edward looked.
Chapter 2: these are the requirements
the optional chapter title; nora fries is a sweetheart
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Oswald’s brain felt like it was about to fry with all the thoughts running in his head. He pulled out his laptop and booted it, hiding behind the screen in order to avoid looking at Ed in the eyes. He had no idea why his body kept acting this way upon being anywhere near Edward. Hell, just this morning he proudly sucked a dick in a public bathroom, and now he couldn’t handle when another boy smiled at him? He was more pathetic than he made it seem.
“What’s the subject matter?” Edward asked and caught Oswald completely off guard.
“Sorry. What is the essay about?” Ed looked at him with a small grin, like Oswald was a moron.
“Oh,” Oswald uttered, truly surprised how difficult it was to form a sentence with more than one sound. “History of art in Japan. Sofia’s a weeb and wanted to do it.”
Ed hummed with a smile. “Alright. Show me what you have.”
Oswald found the file Sofia had shared and turned his laptop around for Ed to access it. He read it through in silence, and Oswald didn’t know why he felt like he was being judged – hell, he hadn’t even written anything on the document. If anything, Ed was judging Sofia. After a minute or two, Ed lifted his head and opened his mouth.
“It’s… not terrible?” he suggested.
Oswald snorted and threw his hands in the air. “I’m innocent in that equation!”
“How so?” Ed asked, a cheeky smile on his lips. “Are you telling me poor Sofia has done all this by herself?”
“…Maybe. Irrelevant question. Just help me fix it so Sofia doesn’t beat the shit out of me,” Oswald said and leaned against the table. Ed’s smile vanished for a moment, but he returned it soon after and nodded.
“I doubt Sofia would hurt a fly,” he said as he started opening tabs on the browser.
“Uh, have you seen her on a horse? She could maul over a village if she wanted to,” Oswald said. He followed Ed’s finger movements. His hands were beautiful, at least compared to Oswald’s calloused, veiny ones. Ed definitely played an instrument of some kind judged by the smooth typing. Or maybe he was just a huge nerd.
Ed laughed softly and fixed his hair. Oswald’s eyes couldn’t get themselves off Ed’s hands, the fingers brushing through the soft curls. He wanted to touch that hair too. “These should get you started out,” Ed said and flipped the laptop over again. He had opened half a dozen of tabs full of sources for their essay. Oswald stared at the screen.
“How did you do that?”
“Find this shit in like two minutes,” Oswald said and laughed in disbelief. He truly had expected their little play date to last a bit longer.
“Google isn’t that hard to use,” Ed said with a soft smirk. “Of course, if you want to, I can teach you?”
“Hey. You really think I’m an idiot, don’t you?” Oswald asked, scrolling through one of the websites Ed had found. “Actually, don’t answer that.” He was sure his ego would shatter into a million pieces if Ed insulted him.
“I don’t think so at all. You’re really smart, actually,” Ed said. “I think sometimes you just don’t want to be as smart as you really are.”
“The fuck does that mean?” Oswald asked and lifted his eyes from the laptop screen.
Ed shrugged. “I think that if you put your heart into it, you could get near straight As. But you don’t want to. Why is that?”
Oswald furrowed his brows a little. He had fallen off Ed’s train of thought a long while ago, and cracked his neck before answering. “I don’t have time to be a genius. And it’s not like I could ever get into college even with the best grades at school.”
“Surely you could!”
“Ed,” Oswald said and slammed the laptop screen shut. He sighed and felt the vein in his forehead twitch. “That takes money. I’m a sad little orphan boy who lives off of instant noodles. So no, I can’t go to college even if I fuckin’ wanted to.”
Ed stared at him, mouth frozen partly open. “I-“ he tried to find something to say, but it was fruitless. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“It’s gonna take a lot more than that to offend me,” Oswald said and slipped his laptop into his backpack. He zipped it shut and started gathering his other things, clearly about to leave. He reached for his phone on the table, but Edward interrupted him by putting his hand on top of Oswald’s.
“For real,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry.”
Oswald stared at the hand on top of his own for a bit too long to be considered normal, at least with his standards. Edward caught on the oddness of the situation, too, and pulled his hand away in such a hurry that he almost knocked his pile of papers on the ground. “Um,” Ed said and scratched his head. “Do you have somewhere to be?”
“Not exactly,” Oswald said, hating how defensive he sounded all of sudden. He was shutting down internally, and he didn’t want to come off as an asshole, but at the same time it was already awkward enough between the two of them. “Just… didn’t wanna keep you here for nothin’.”
Ed frowned, though it was obvious he was trying to hide his disappointment from Oswald. Thankfully, before the situation could get any more stiff, Oswald’s phone vibrated on the table still underneath his hand.
victor [03:48:33pm] buy me gummy worms from 7/11 @ozzie
the cooler victor [03:49:01pm] And a slushie for me
Huffing, he typed back.
ozzie [03:49:27pm] the 711 is like a 100 feet away from our apt you human equivalents of wet socks
He slammed the phone back on the table and rolled his eyes. This didn’t go unnoticed by Edward.
“Who was that?” he asked curiously.
“My roommates,” Oswald said and laughed joylessly. “Bastards.”
“Are you needed somewhere, then?”
“Nah. Those fuckers can take care of themselves. They just think that whoever gets home last has to buy groceries,” Oswald explained and slid the phone into his pocket. “But in general I wanna get out of here. Hanging around the campus gives me a headache.”
They left the coffee shop in unison, both of them still unsure of where exactly they were headed. Ed checked the time on his phone and cursed under his breath. “It’s four already?” he muttered, eyebrows a solid line on his forehead.
“You got a curfew or somethin’?” Oswald asked with a smirk.
“Technically, yes,” Edward frowned and sighed. “Father wants me home by four ‘cause I need to make food.”
“You can cook?” Oswald’s eyebrows disappeared in his bangs out of surprise.
“I love cooking,” Edward revealed and smiled triumphantly. “I can cook you sometime if you’d like that.”
Oswald couldn’t help the blush on his face once again. He felt the burn on his cheeks but prayed that Ed ignored it. “Yeah, sure. Bake me a cake or some shit,” he grinned nonchalantly as if Ed hadn’t just basically asked him on a date. Of course, surely it didn’t sound like that to Edward.
“What are the requirements?” Ed asked, smiling.
“Anything with chocolate. No dark chocolate though, that’s like the Satan of sweets.”
They laughed in unison, and Oswald almost felt like there was a friendship of sorts forming between them. It wasn’t as bad as he’d thought, at least. Now he just had to get past his ridiculous crush.
Edward left after repeated apologies – sorry seemed to be his favourite word – and Oswald also made his way home. He didn’t live too far off from the campus, in a shitty neighbourhood in the Narrows. It wasn’t the dreamlife he’d thought of having at age 18 when he was still a kid, but shit had happened and it was all he had to go with. The two Victors had been kind enough to give him a spot from their apartment after his mother’s sudden death had left him basically homeless and alone.
Just to spite the duo, Oswald did indeed go to the 7-Eleven right next to their apartment, but bought everything except the things he’d been told to buy. As soon as he walked through the door to his apartment on the fifth floor, Victor – the one with less hair – hurled into the hallway and began inspecting the bag of groceries.
“Hey!” he whined. “Where’re my worms?”
“In your ass,” Oswald said and threw the other bag on the floor. He kicked off his shoes and walked into their living room, if one could even call it that. It definitely wasn’t a room to live in. The floor was barely walkable, everything covered by their shared crap from tech magazines to airsoft-guns to makeup. Now it was even more unmanageable, because both of the Victors’ girlfriends were crashing over.
“’Sup,” Oswald said and crashed onto the beat-up couch.
“So no slushie?” Victor Fries asked and looked at Oswald in the way a disappointed father would. Or at least Oswald assumed that’s what it looked like – it wasn’t like he’d ever had a father to be disappointed.
“Those things are unhealthy for you,” Nora, Victor’s girlfriend, said softly and leaned on his shoulder. The two of them were snuggled on the loveseat, practically on each other’s laps.
Oswald gestured at Nora, not opening his eyes. “Listen to the voice of reason.”
The other Victor entered the living room, clutching Ivy’s waist like a koala. “Scootch over!” Ivy ordered Oswald, blissfully smiling with a plate of salad in her hands. Groaning, Oswald moved a couple inches to the left so Ivy could take a seat on the couch, too. Zsasz let go of her and latched onto Oswald’s shoulders instead.
“Is it true that you were on a date with Nashton?” he asked and ogled at Oswald unblinkingly.
“What?” Oswald shrieked. “No! Obviously not?”
“Well what the fuck is this, then?” Victor asked and presented a photo from his phone to Oswald. It was a shaken-up snap of Oswald and Ed sitting next to each other in the café, shoulder to shoulder on the seat. It was clearly taken by Barbara.
“Does that look like a fuckin’ date, you imbecile?” Oswald asked and slapped Victor’s phone away. “God, I wish!”
“You two would be so a-dor-ab-le,” Ivy said and booped Oswald’s nose, giggling.
“He’s straight! S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T,” Oswald spelt out the word for them and pulled his legs up on the sofa, hugging his knees in annoyance.
“Has he said that, though?” Fries asked and quirked his eyebrow. “’Cause it sounds like you’re just assuming.”
“Have you seen him? He’s the preppiest straight boy ever,” Oswald said.
“I think you should still give it a chance, Oswald. You never know what might happen,” Nora tuned in, her voice sleepy as always. “At the very least it’d be a valuable friendship, right?”
“Take it from the only straighty in the room, Ozzie,” Zsasz said and put his legs over the backrest of the sofa, dropping in-between Ivy and Oswald into the tiny space there was left.
“You all are straight, Vic.”
“Not true!” Victor said defensively. “I’m pan, Ivy’s bi and Victor is… straightn’t.”
“It’s the skinny jeans,” Ivy nodded.
“I think it’s the bleached hair,” Zsasz argued. Fries rolled his eyes, ever so piercing due to the bright blue contact lenses he insisted on wearing. It was an aesthetic, and one had to suffer for it, he said.
“I wouldn’t want you any other way,” Nora said and pecked Victor on the cheek.
“Aaalright. This is getting too heteronormative for me,” Oswald decided and stood up. “I’ll be crying in my room if you need me. See ya.”
“Ciao,” Zsasz waved and immediately stole the empty space that had vacated from Oswald.
Oswald didn’t know when, but at some point he’d fallen asleep while laying in his bed and scrolling endlessly through his phone. He came to a rude awakening when he felt his phone vibrating, still in his hand. Without thinking, he rubbed his eyes upon waking up, having forgotten the fact that he was still wearing makeup. Now he was cranky, tired, and his eyes were watering because they were full of mascara. He was already more than ready to chew out whoever was blowing up his phone.
Unknown Sender [07:18:11pm] *1 photo attachment*
Unknown Sender [07:18:19pm] I finished it!
Unknown Sender [07:18:33pm] I’ll bring it to you tomorrow if you’d like.
Unknown Sender [07:19:02pm] I just realized I never introduced myself.
Unknown Sender [07:19:25pm] This is Ed. Sorry if I creeped you out. Barbara gave me your number! :)
All of Oswald’s fury vanished the moment his eyes scanned through the last message. He was ever so slightly pissed at Barbara for giving out his number to whoever wanted it, but it was Edward, so it was okay. Ed had wanted to text him. Oswald opened the photo attached to the messages and it was a photo of a delicious-looking chocolate cake. Ed had done all of this in like three hours? Didn’t he have a dinner to cook? Homework to do? Still a little sleepy, Oswald saved Ed’s number and replied.
ozzie [07:22:22pm] oh shit hi. sorry. was asleep. that looks so good???
ed [07:22:34pm] I’m so sorry!! Did I wake you up? DDD:
ozzie [07:23:09pm] nononoono it’s okay it’s actually good u woke me. i haven’t done any of my homework etc so thanks
ed [07:23:18pm] Oh! That’s good, then <3
Every single one of Oswald’s brain circuits fried the moment he laid his eyes on the heart emoji. He stared at it for probably a minute straight before realizing what he was doing. Or, more like how pathetic he was being. He nearly had a stroke right then and there when above all else someone knocked on his door.
“Yes?” Oswald yelled and threw his phone on the mattress like he’d need caught watching porn or something. The door opened and, to his surprise, Nora peeked into the dark room.
“I’m sorry, were you asleep?” she asked quietly.
“Nope,” Oswald said and flicked on the nightlight. “You need something?”
“Me and Ivy are leaving. Just wanted to say good luck with that Edward guy,” Nora explained and gave him a gentle smile.
“Well, he just texted me so maybe things aren’t as bad as I thought they were,” Oswald said and couldn’t hide the grin on his face.
“See? Good things happen to good people,” Nora said wisely. The sentence seemed ironic to Oswald, as he definitely wasn’t a good person, but he decided against ruining the nice moment and instead just nodded appreciatively. Nora gave a little wave and closed the door softly, leaving Oswald to his lonesome once more.
i swear things are gonna happen soon
Chapter 3: step one: you must accept that i'm a little out my mind
gaaaahh i'm finally back with this fic! i got my inspo back after procrastinating for weeks. i hope you enjoy!
content warning for this chapter: physical fight, blood, homophobia
Oswald had never woken up as cheerfully as he did that particular morning. The promise of a delicious chocolate cake and seeing Edward’s smile as soon as he got to school was all the motivation he needed to jump out of bed at 7am sharp and rush into the kitchen to chug down a cup of coffee. He actually startled his roommates by skipping into the room with a loud “morning”.
“Someone’s cheery,” Zsasz said, lips half-sealed on a coffee mug. “Never seen you out of bed before eight.”
“Got a reason now,” Oswald grinned and poured himself a cup. “Ed texted me last night. He baked me a fucking cake.”
“I can’t believe Nashton cured your chronic depression,” Victor said, not raising his eyes from the science magazine he was flipping through. Oswald glared at him and sat down, spilling a couple drops of coffee on the table.
After his quick breakfast, consisting of coffee as well as a peanut butter sandwich he stole from Zsasz’s plate, he practically flew into the bathroom and threw on some light makeup to cover his freckles and the dark bags beneath his eyes. He decided his hair was looking decent without gel and just infiltrated the bathroom with hairspray. Zsasz almost choked when he stepped into the tiny space after Oswald.
“This is why I’m bald,” he coughed in the cloud of settling hairspray.
“I’ve told you to stop using my spray, asshole,” Victor tuned in, seeing the bottle in Oswald’s hand. Oswald completely ignored the blonde man and just tossed the hairspray at his hands, hurrying to pick up some clothes.
“All this because of a cake?” Fries said in an amused tone, watching Oswald run around the apartment looking for his studded belt.
“Can’t imagine what’ll happen once he gets laid,” Zsasz smirked and began to brush his teeth.
Oswald arrived at Gotham High before eight o’clock, which was a completely new experience for him. Usually his earliest classes started at nine and he skipped the vast majority of the morning lectures anyway. It was strange to walk around the near-deserved halls of the school, not having Barbara or anyone else shouting next to him.
He had texted Ed as he left home and had gotten a confirmation that his classes did indeed start at eight. Apparently he’d have chemistry on the fourth floor, and Oswald’s motivation for the cake quickly dissolved as he dragged his legs up the stairs. Before he turned the corner to the hallway, he made sure to check his hair and put on a decently convincing smile as if he hadn’t just wanted to die at the third staircase.
It wasn’t difficult to spot Ed in the small group of students gathered around the chemistry classroom’s locked door. He stuck out like a sore thumb thanks to his outdated fashion style and tall form. He was standing slightly further away from the others, leaning against a wall and reading a thick book. As Oswald got closer, he noticed a plastic bag on the floor next to Edward’s backpack.
“Hey,” he said and gave a small wave. Ed lifted his nose from the book and his face lit up immediately.
“Good morning!” he said with a wide grin and dropped the book into his backpack. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in school this early. I didn’t know you’re taking morning classes.”
“I ain’t,” Oswald shook his head, quickly realizing how pathetic it was if he admitted he’d come all the way here an hour early just for Ed. “Just… couldn’t sleep.”
“Well, in case you need some energy…” Ed said and reached into the plastic bag. From there, he pulled out a neatly packaged box which he handed to Oswald. “As promised. No dark chocolate.”
Oswald’s eyes widened. “I get the whole cake?”
“I’m allergic to chocolate and dad hates sweets,” Ed shrugged with a smile. “Go ham.”
Oswald stuck out his bottom lip like one would upon seeing an adorable baby animal. “Fuck, man. This is officially the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me,” he said and lifted the box cover to reveal the gorgeous chocolate cake. “Wait, did you go out your way to buy these ingredients for me?”
“Yes,” Ed said, his smile going from excited to a little embarrassed. “You.. don’t have to pay me back or anything, of course. It’s a gift.”
“I’ll take it as an early birthday present,” Oswald decided.
“Your birthday’s near Halloween, right?” Ed asked, surprising Oswald. “That’s still a month away.”
“How the hell do you know that?” Oswald asked, ogling at Ed.
Edward’s cheeks flushed a little and he looked at his feet. “I… have good memory. You talked about it. A year ago, with… with your friends.”
“Damn,” Oswald said, more impressed than annoyed. “That’s kinda cute that you memorized it, though.”
“It’s not creepy?” Ed lifted his gaze once more and tilted his head. Oswald wanted to cry; he looked like a confused puppy.
Oswald shook his head with a small grin. “Nah.”
Their chat was cut short by Edward’s chemistry teacher arriving and letting the students into the classroom. Oswald didn’t plan on boring himself to death by going to the lecture and so he and Edward parted ways, leaving Oswald alone in the hallway still holding the cake in his hands.
- ~ -
Edward couldn’t focus on his chemistry assignment. He was sitting at the back of the classroom mindlessly doodling into his notebook instead of doing research for the project they were supposed to be working on. His left hand was tingling from where his and Oswald’s hands had brushed against one another when Oswald had accepted the cake. It was strange. Why did his brain latch onto that half a second of touch? Ed focused his eyes on the notebook page and noticed he’d subconsciously started writing Oswald’s name over and over again. It was intertwining with his chemistry notes, permanently covering the page in green marker. Blushing furiously, he shut the notebook before anyone around him would notice it.
After class, he rushed on the second floor; Oswald had sent him a photo of his timetable during the previous lecture “in case Ed wanted to see him between classes”. And obviously Edward did. Oswald was the closest thing he’d ever had to a friend, as strange as it sounded since they’d only been talking for a couple days.
He was about to turn in a corner but stopped when he heard a familiar voice talking in the other hallway.
“Oh my god, he’s a keeper!” Barbara Kean’s voice trailed into his ears, piercing as ever. Edward stopped on his tracks and leaned against the wall to listen the conversation.
“I know,” Oswald replied, voice slightly muffled as if there was something in his mouth. “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
“Gimme another piece.” It was a female voice Ed didn’t quite recognize.
“You’re so fuckin’ gluttonous, Cat.” He could hear the grin from Oswald’s voice. Now that he got a name to the voice, Ed realized it was sophomore Selina Kyle.
“What? It’s good!”
“Didn’t you say he also cooks for his fam?” Tabitha Galavan asked. There was a tiny silence, during which Oswald probably nodded. “Imagine if Theo cooked for us, Babs. Fuckin’ lazy dick.”
“He’d poison the food,” Barbara cackled.
It was becoming blatantly clear to Edward that they were talking about him. It wasn’t the first time he’d heart people talk about him behind his back, but this time it was different. Oswald and the girls weren’t making fun of him. The opposite, actually.
“He’ll cook for you every day if you guys become a thing,” Barbara said.
“Yeah, Ozzie’ll get real fat,” Tabitha continued. “Remember middle school? You were such a plump lil’ thing.”
Edward jumped physically in the air when he heard his voice called from the end of the hallway. He barely had time to turn to look around his shoulder when a heavy arm already made its way to his shoulder and squeezed hard. His fight or flight -response came into full effect as soon as he felt the touch, and he ripped himself away from the grip, stumbling into the hallway in which Oswald and his friends were.
Now that Edward was fully facing the cause of the scene, he recognized it as Tom Dougherty. Subconsciously, the sound of the young man’s voice was burned into his brain, but perhaps it hadn’t wanted to register because of the element of the surprise. Dougherty had graduated the year before, but often came to the school grounds to watch his girlfriend’s cheerleading practice.
Dougherty took a few steps closer to him and Edward instinctively walked backwards into the lockers. He gave a quick look in Oswald’s direction, who was following the situation with his sharp eyes.
“Who you spyin’ on nowadays, creep?” Dougherty asked loudly, way louder than was necessary to get his point across. Everyone in the hallway was already staring at them.
Edward felt his face burning as he tried to come up with a sentence. “I… I- I wasn’t-“
“Let’s see here,” Tom interrupted him and ogled at the group closest to the wall – Oswald, Barbara, Tabitha and Selina who was already looking for a way out, only to be stopped by Tabitha grabbing her by the hood.
“Barbara Kean,” Dougherty purred, looking at the blonde up and down. Barbara looked right back with a shit-eating smile. After a moment of contemplation, the man shook his head. “Nah. I don’t think she’s your type, Nashton.”
His eyes moved to Tabitha instead. She looked at him with a face that screamed ‘say a word and I’ll rip your throat out.’ “No, definitely not. And then we have… whoever the hell that is,” Tom said, gesturing at Selina. She stuck out her tongue with a scrunched up nose.
“You got spice, girl,” Dougherty grinned and walked closer to Selina. “A little young, though, ain’t she?” He looked at Ed who was thoroughly wishing he could disappear off the surface of the Earth.
“I’m not spying on anybody!” Ed got his voice back, desperately looking at Oswald for support. The young man had stayed quiet throughout the entire commotion, completely out of his style.
Dougherty seemed thoughtful as he scanned through the trio of girls until his eyes finally settled down on Oswald. “Oh god. Nashton, really?” he vocalized his thoughts with a howling laugh. “You got the hots for that?” He pointed at Oswald like he was an exotic bird before walking closer to Edward again. With nowhere to go, Ed could do nothing was lean into the lockers.
“I knew you were fuckin’ pathetic and gross but now you’re gay too?” Dougherty asked, leaning on the lockers. Edward smelled his cologne and felt like puking on Dougherty’s ugly face. “You didn’t get pussy and thought, ‘let’s get pegged instead’?”
All Ed managed to see from the corner of his eye was a dark shadow swooping in before there was already a loud thump and Dougherty was laying on the ground with Oswald’s leather-covered thighs framing his face. Ed stumbled back as Oswald reached for Edward’s fallen backpack, pulled out the 500-page hard-cover chemistry book and whacked it to Dougherty’s face all within a couple seconds.
Dougherty sputtered on the ground as Oswald lifted the book from his bloodied face and hit him again. “I’m TIRED of you FUCKIN’ HOMOPHOBES shitting on INNOCENT people!” Oswald screamed, smashing Tom for the third time before throwing the book to the side and putting his bony fingers around the man’s thick neck.
It felt like Ed was watching a movie in 4D. He was not a violent person, and Oswald was going too far, but… he just couldn’t stop looking. His eyes were glassy, and he felt himself dissociating. Dougherty was starting to look awfully purple in Oswald’s grip, too disoriented from the blasts to his face to fight back his much smaller opponent.
“Ozzie, that’s enough!” Barbara’s sharp shout finally brought both Ed and Oswald back on Earth. Barbara stepped forward and ripped Oswald away from Tom’s limp body. Oswald fought back, biting the air like an angry animal, growling obscenities at the man on the ground.
“Look at me. Look at me!” Barbara ordered and flipped Oswald around, grasping his shoulders. “You won. He’s fucking unconscious.”
Oswald blinked hard and turned to look at Dougherty. Ed followed lead, and came to the realization that he was, in fact, passed out on the floor with blood pooling out of his nose. Edward also realized he had missed some of the things Oswald had done. There were bite marks on Dougherty’s neck and his lip was completely busted open. The claw-like marks on his face actually had some black nail polish chips left.
People started quickly moving away from the situation, and soon the six of them were separated from the rest of the students by a good few meters. Oswald turned back to Barbara and got immediately chewed out by a different source.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” Selina hissed and stared at Oswald like he’d gone crazy. “Oh yeah, that’s right. You weren’t!”
Oswald ignored the girls and brushed Barbara’s hands off him. He turned, stepped over Dougherty’s body and grabbed Ed by the arm.
“Wha-“ Edward didn’t have time to finish the question before Oswald already started dragging him out of the hallway. It wasn’t difficult with zero resistance from Ed and everyone repulsing away from them as they made their way out.
Edward’s ears were ringing. His eyes were blurred even though he had his glasses on, and he didn’t even pay attention to where they were going. Oswald’s grip of his hand was so strong it’d probably leave a bruise, and he was breathing heavily like a wild animal, glaring at anybody who dared even look at them.