Your every fictitious product and thought involving me.
The time I was killed aside…
On my first day in Arkham, I was given a cell beside Jonathan Crane. At the time, the staff wasn’t aware of Jonathan’s tendency for maliciousness, and I wasn’t much aware of anything, being as drugged as I was.
So, when he spoke to me, I was easily coerced into doing whatever he said.
There was little pain when I tore away the flesh on my wrist. It was a lot like gently pulling off an old bandaid.
After that, the staff started placing me in a straitjacket.
It should record the things you say and play them back to you. It would change your life.
Because the one person I loathe beyond all others decided to make an effort to make me loathe him even more.
In seconds, the purple gloved hands that were resting on the Riddler’s shoulders re-positioned themselves to where one cradled the back of his head, and the other, the one with the switchblade, went to grip the side of his face in a bruising grip. The blade of the knife just barely making contact with the skin on the base of his ear.
”Noww,” he drawled, voice raising higher in pitch as he did. The clown paused to dart his tongue out of the corner of his mouth, eyes rolling up towards the ceiling before returning back to the man’s own.
“About that little tidbit of words. Y’see. The uh, thing about that is,” his head bent so that he stared at the man from under his brows. “I’ve been a teeensy tiiiny bit busy, Eddy-kins. So busy, that in fact, I had to reschedule a certain ex-pah-losion today just so I could pop in to say hi.”
The blade had the slightest tinge of pressure applied to it, just enough to indicate that he could and would have no second thoughts about flicking his wrist juuuust a little more to create a nifty little hole in the side of his head. Because surely, from the Joker’s experiences with Riddler, he knew that he had a penchant for talking rather than listening.
Because surely, it’s not like he’ll miss what he never used!
The Joker worked his mouth as he contemplated this.
“Oh, and uh, per-son-al hygiene isn’t exactly at the top of my list. No no no, look, with a busy schedule like mine, you have to figure out your priorities, y’see? What’s necessary, and what’s just expected of you as a human being in todays time. I am the embodiment of humanity in its truest form. Everyone else? They’re just lying.”
The Joker paused, lost in his own thoughts, before releasing the man from his grip, but not before he patted (or lightly smacked is a better way to describe it) his cheek condescendingly, as if he genuinely pitied him.
“I’m famished, Eddy-kins,” the seriousness of the situation disappearing with the wind. The switchblade, now clicked shut, was placed into a hidden pocket in his coat. “Got-uh anything good to eat?”
Edward held very still. His focus was more so on the knife than on what Joker was saying, but he doubted the clown would ask him to reiterate.
He wasn’t unarmed. Though he preferred to use his enhanced cane, Edward was in possession of several firearms and currently wielded a pistol. But pulling a gun on Joker could potentially end in the loss of an ear, and he wasn’t quite willing to risk that, so he did little more than point its nozzle to the ground.
“The missing link, perhaps,” Riddler murmured, before sealing his lips shut once more. He didn’t dare part them again until the switch-blade had been withdrawn and tucked away in Joker’s coat. Once he was able to put a few feet of distance between them, he touched his cheek, where Joker had patted it, and grimaced, before delving down and brushing invisible (or maybe visible) dirt off his pristine blazer jacket.
“Why don’t you head off to McDonald’s if you’re famished? I’m sure they’d love your patronage,” he replied wryly, but still wandered to his attached kitchen to retrieve the requested food. Upon opening the cupboard, there were rows upon rows of canned corn as far as you could see, and many of them had question marks drawn on the label.
Offering no explanation, Edward selected one of the highter quality cans of corn and took it off the shelf, placing it on his kitchen counter top in front of Joker.
“I haven’t been shopping in a while.” He dug out a can opener to accompany the corn. “You’re welcome to have all the corn you like, so long as you don’t eat it near me. I can’t stand the smell. Or sight.”
God, he hated corn. He hated corn so much.
The figure dressed in purple paused until the man was finished, and then approached him with slow, long steps. The switchblade absent-mindedly being toyed with in his hand as he pursed his lips; probing the backs of his scars along his cheeks with his tongue.
“Are you finished-ah?” The Joker drawled in a flat tone, rolling his eyes upwards while his tongue poked at the irritated skin at the side of his mouth. His face twitched. “Ya knoww,” his voice now alight with amusement, “I’m gonna forget that you just said all of that, so that we can move onto more,” he cleared his throat, “important matters. Buuut,” he left the word hanging, tilting his head to the side while he said it, “we’ll come back to it laterr.”
“Now,” the Joker, now an arm’s length away from the other man, set his hands on the tops of his shoulders; squeezing them and shaking the man slightly more forcefully than the friendly gesture usually was. “How ya been, Eddy? Ya been ok?”
The Riddler looked positively puzzled, which wasn’t an expression befitting of the puzzle prince. He was silent for a beat, before it registered that this was Joker, and not one of his many colourfully dressed, ignoramus goons. He was by no means a slow man, but he was accustomed to Joker having pasty white skin, and not pasty skin smothered in cheap cosmetics.
“I’d much rather we didn’t come back to that,” he said with an expression that suggested he was just a little bit concerned for his continuing health. “It’s gone, in the past, might as well leave it to fester in your memory as that one time I had the opportunity to use the word ‘corpse’ in reference to you rather than your surroundings.”
As the Joker approached, he considered taking a step back to avoid a breach of his personal space. But experience told him that wasn’t the smartest thing to do with someone as unpredictable as the Joker. He jolted beneath Joker’s hands as his shoulders were squeezed and shook. His eyes were wide and startled behind his mask, and he clearly wasn’t accustomed to people having the audacity to touch him without his explicit permission.
“Just…” Edward attempted to brush Joker’s hands away, but he wasn’t forceful enough to get them anywhere. “Fine, thank you for asking. And how have you been? Poorly? I would assume so, because it doesn’t look as if you’ve cleaned yourself up in quite some time. It can’t be that hard for you to locate a shower and purchase some toiletries.”
Did Joker even wipe himself after—
Oh God don’t even think about that. He closed his eyes briefly, exasperated with himself, before pulling them open again.
“At this point, I’d even be willing to share my own. I notice you haven’t any stubble, so at least you’re keeping up something.”
Jonathan was a scrawny young teenager. He was tall for his age, something that the kids ridiculed him about. Ichabod Crane, how original. He kept his head low and for the most part people left him alone. He hid in the library a lot, burying his face in a few books. He had actually joined the book club. Gotham was completely different from Georgia…and he had no idea why his Great Grandmother wanted to move to such a crowded place. He thought it would make things different…but people were just as cruel here as they were in Georgia. The only upside was that he didn’t have to work in the fields anymore.
He pushed his glasses up, engrossed in one of his textbooks. He would end up hiding in the library after school, not wanting to go home to the hell that was his life. At least school wasn’t nearly as bad as home. Eventually though…he would get angry texts from his granny telling him to get home before she called the cops. It wasn’t an empty threat; she had done so before and had been dragged back to her loving arms.
Loving meant tossing him into the attic to let the wild crows attack him until he was a quivering, bleeding mess. He had no idea how she had managed to train the crows. All he knew was that no one questioned the odd marks on his neck and the few that managed to hit his face. All the other marks that granny gave him he hid underneath long sleeve shirts and baggy clothes that hardly fit his thin frame.
It was lunch time and the library was fairly empty. There were just a few people wandering around, using the computers that were set up off to the side of the books. He sat near the back where he wouldn’t be seen or disturbed. At least most of the jocks were outside eating…at least he didn’t have to deal with them around lunch time.
There was an itch in the back of his head that said they would all pay for the ridicule. It was just some dark thoughts that drifted into his head every so often, but he just ignored it. There was no use for such emotions when they wouldn’t do anything.
Edward was no stranger to the aftermaths of physical abuse. Any type of physical abuse, really; his father wasn’t above throwing whatever was on hand at his small, weakly, and often cowering son, and he’d taken off his belt more times than Eddie could count. So whenever he saw Jonathan Crane in the library, he couldn’t help but stare knowingly at the few marks visible on his wiry body. Sometimes Jonathan’s shirt sleeve would slip up just far enough for Eddie to spy scratches running up his forearm. From what, he wasn’t sure, but quantity of them made it clear they weren’t self-inflicted.
Quite shamefully, he felt…relieved. He’d always assumed he was the only one who went home at the end of the day anticipating abuse, and knowing there was someone else in the world who received the same treatment was almost like not being alone, in a way. Even if they hadn’t interacted, he liked to imagine the other boy would nod knowingly if he blathered on about how terrible his dad was rather than regard him with pity— or ignore him altogether, which was the far more popular option.
He sat behind a bookshelf, as he always did, and glanced at the other boy between each chapter of the Houdini Biography he read. One of these days, he might actually have the courage to approach Jonathan. But until then, the occasional, curious glance would suffice. Friends were overrated, anyway.
“Dear me, I know I have the tendency to go overboard in the costume department—” A pause. “With the appearance of my employees, that is, but Joker is taking it a little far with this… travesty.”
Edward scrutinised his visitor from a safe distance, circling slowly.
“What are you supposed to be, then? Mr. Happy the corpse clown?” There was little evident muscle on this man. How utterly useless; Joker had likely employed him purely for show. “Well, never mind, it isn’t important.” He flapped a hand dismissively, before continuing, “Do us both a favour and don’t tell Joker where I am. He always takes the opportunity to visit, and I’m sure you’re at least mildly aware of how bad a house guest he is. And take a shower, for gods sake; you smell absolutely terrible.”
Scarecrow scoffed, rolling his eyes. If he thought about it, Jonathan was older than him…which would make him the younger brother if he referred to himself as such. Which he didn’t…not in the slightest. Humming softly, he rocked on the balls of his feet.
“How rude of you~” he pouted, black eyes wide and failing to look innocent.
“And here I was offering to buy you dinner and everything.”
“Were you?” Perhaps he would accept this offer, just to see what efforts Scarecrow would go to to please him. For all he knew, Scarecrow was planning to present him an empty table and laugh in his face, so he would prepare a very long, exasperated sigh for such an outcome.
“Alright,” he said simply, shrugging his shoulders. Unlike Scarecrow, he could manage to look mildly innocent when he wanted to. Having an actual eye colour helped. “Since you’re so very eager, you can buy me dinner. I’m in the mood for something exotic, fyi.”
Everyone has brief flashes of brilliance. Even five year olds have the capacity to come up with one good idea, given the right resources.
Ha. Yeah right, you are such a show off when it comes to me.