Chapter 3

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Several hours after Ed had stormed out Oswald sat, drinking vodka straight from the bottle, surveying what was left of his trashed office. His rage and frustration had needed an outlet and his decor seemed a good enough target at the time.

Oswald was disgusted with himself. He had allowed Ed to get under his skin, and in the process has possibly done irreparable damage to the one pure and good thing in his life.

Oswald has always hungered for and took more than he had any right to, and it was this trait which propelled him to his status as the King of Gotham. His inability to be satisfied with what he had had always been a driving force for his success. However this had backfired on him when he wanted more than friendship from Ed, and Oswald had become cautious, some would even say fearful, when it came to relationships since.

Jay was the first and only one to ever get past the walls Oswald had built around his heart after that incident. Oswald had met Jay when taking down a minor competitor who was running a human trafficking ring, a practice which had been banned in Gotham since Oswald took power.

Oswald had found Jay locked in a holding cell while Bridget was having her fun burning the competitor and his thugs to a crisp. Jay had fell into Oswald's arms, like some heroin from a romance novel, praising Oswald and naming him his saviour. Oswald had been uncomfortable with the praise, he had been merely eliminating a competitor, but the boy was adamant that he owed him his life and refuse to be convinced otherwise.

Oswald gave him a job at the lounge, he had nothing and no one, and that would have been it if the boy hadn't been intent on looking after him.

Jay would routinely show up at his office with food, noting that he noticed Oswald hadn't eaten. He would fuss about Oswald's work hours, and constantly remind him that he needed to sleep. And when Oswald would begin to sink into a melancholy mood or start building into a rage he would take his wine, scolding him for trying to drink away his problems, and would sit and talk to him until he felt better. The boy was constant in his care and while it sometime annoyed him it also reminded Oswald of his mother and he couldn't help but crave the attention.

It wasn't long before he realised he cared for the boy, more so than he had for anyone in quite some time, and this shook Oswald to his core.

Oswald had always been aware of the physical similarities between Jay and Ed,the body frame, the height, their eyes and hair, however it was the dynamics of their relationship, the awe Jay felt, constant care and worry, the co-dependency, which caused Oswald to panic. Flashbacks to his time with Ed was all he saw, and worse he began to experience phantom pain, in his stomach where the bullet scar was, whenever he saw Jay. Oswald was terrified it would be Ed all over again and he did not think he could survive the experience twice.

Oswald became paranoid and withdrawn, refusing to see Jay and hiding in his office, dissecting every action and conversation they ever had searching for the ulterior motive. His business had also suffered as his paranoia bleed into his business dealings, watching allies for signs they were working against him and using Jay to bring him down.

In the end it was Jay who brought an end to the craziness. He refused to let Oswald continue to harm himself and his business because of him. He confronted Oswald in his office, after procuring truth serum, and dosing himself in front of Oswald. He then began to tell Oswald how much he loved him, asked not for Oswald to love him back but merely allow him to love and care for him in whatever form he could accept. It was in that moment Oswald knew he was lost.

All Jay had wanted was to care for him and Oswald realised he wanted to be able to do the exact same thing.

It was a whirlwind romance and he proposed to Jay after a month. Oswald was glowing with happiness, as Jay had just accepted his proposal hours earlier, when it came time for The Joker's meeting. Either Jerome was more perceptive than people gave him credit for or he knew Oswald far too well after close to 10 years of friendship.

The Joker pounced on Oswald as soon as he saw him, firing out all kinds of ridiculous theories about the reason for The Penguin's good mood. Oswald couldn't help but laughed at his antics, and was honestly more than happy in that moment share his good news. The Joker thought it a marvelous development and waxed poetically about love before joking about Oswald retiring and leaving his empire in his hands.

The Joker's decision to announce it to all the major villains in Gotham had not been something Oswald was prepared for, but he really should have expected it. The Joker was never one to keep a secret. Despite the shock of the surprise announcement it was nice to hear to the honest congratulations from his colleagues.

Ivy very much approved of his choice and was happy that Oswald had finally allowed himself to be happy. She had never be fond of his declaration to never let love be a weakness again and had always been pushing him to find someone and settle down. She said she hated seeing him lonely but Oswald firmly believed she just wanted an excuse to plan a wedding.

Victor and Bridgit were as taciturn with their congratulation as they were with everything else but it was clear they were happy for him. They had been with him after the whole Ed situation and saw what it did to him. The war between them, the obsession with the frozen centerpiece, the panic after his escape and the eventual truce. The fact they supported the relationship eased the remaining fears he hadn't realised he had had.

Oswald went to take another mouthful when he realised he had finished the bottle. He knew he should go home, the rings would have arrived at the house by now and Jay would confused by why his goons had delivered them and not him, but instead Oswald reached for the intercom buzzer and called for another bottle to be brought up.

Oswald was in no way ready to face his fiance, with his heart and mind so torn, and with fear and guilt weighing heavily on him.

Oswald hated that he was tempted by Ed's offer. The idea of having Ed was something he craved more than anything else. He had imagined so many ways, some of which many may consider monstrous, he could have Ed but knew the mere existence of Ed in his life made him weak.

Ed was something that Oswald craved in the very depth of his soul. He had frozen him not only as a reminder but as a way to keep him by his side forever. If he couldn't have his love he would still own him. Oswald looks back on that period of time with shame, not at his behaviour or intent but how he let it affect him.

Today was a perfect example of the length Oswald would go to for a slither of affection from Ed. He betrayed himself, in his weakness, and his fiance, in his disloyalty. He allowed base urges and sentiment to dictate his actions and Oswald was disgusted with himself.

Worse Oswald didn't believe Ed declaration of love, couldn't trust it, but he still wanted to. Everything was a game to Ed, a competition, and one which he always needed assure all involved he was not only the winner but the superior competitor.

It was only now he had a competitor for the title of the one who made The Penguin fall in love that he was doing this. Ed need to prove to Gotham he still had a hold over Oswald. He didn't really want him, he just needed everyone to know he could still break him.

As his employee came in, with the bottle of vodka he requested, Oswald resigned himself to a night of self-loathing and drink. He knew if he went home to his fiance that Jay would calm the rage and misery rising in him but his guilt wouldn't allow him to seek the comfort. 

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