Chapter 5

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Oswald was exhausted. Ed had been causing chaos in every aspect of his life, both legitimate and criminal, and he had spent the last couple of weeks preventing coups, managing financial losses and repairing relationships, and it was starting to get on his last nerve.


The latest dramatic turn of events orchestrated by the Riddler had him and the Victors running all over Gotham answering ridiculous riddles in an attempt to track him down. The trail of riddles eventually lead them all to the Gotham docks and suddenly the intent of Ed's game became crystal clear. As with all the previous locations Ed was nowhere to be seen, however this time in his place he had left a bouquet of delphinium and forget-me-not flowers with a riddle. Oswald only had to glance at the riddle to know the answer.


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"I can bring tears to your eyes and resurrect the dead. I form in an instant and can last a lifetime. What am I?"

_____________________


Oswald snarled in anger before he ordered Victor to freeze the bouquet. If the Riddler wanted to make a bold symbolic statement then he would as well.


In hindsight Oswald realised each location Ed had picked had held some kind of significance for them, and choosing to conclude the damn chase at the docks made it clear to Oswald it was all a mind game to punish him for their last interaction. An elaborate series of humiliations followed by a reminder of his lowest moment, standing on the dock beaten, broken and begging for Ed's love.


Oswald left the frozen bouquet on the dock with an Iceberg Lounge business card as his answer to the damn riddle before heading back to the lounge, taking pleasure in the fact that this location held a memory just as humiliating for the Riddler as it did him.


Oswald spent next several hours trying to block the barrage of fond, humiliating and painful memories overwhelming him with copious amounts of vodka, however deep down he knew it wasn't going to help. He didn't have the luxury of getting blackout drunk with the Riddler using his empire as his personal playground and nothing but a complete blackout was going to stop the intrusive thoughts and feelings. At this point it was just an act of self pity and served only to fuel his pain and anger.


Oswald eventually decided to head home, hoping that tonight he might be able to enjoy the comfort of Jay's arms without the guilt and fear that has been eating away at him ruining it. Ever since the incident with Ed he has been barely able to touch Jay without guilt and anxiety making him physically ill. It was made all the worse by the fact he knew he would do it again if given the opportunity.


Despite his desire to see Jay, Oswald spent several minutes standing anxiously outside their bedroom door talking himself into entering, not wanting to face the inevitable guilt that accompanied seeing him. As soon as Oswald did open door however he knew something was wrong. The lights were all on and Jay was sitting on the bed anxiously watching the door.


Before Oswald could ask if he was okay, Jay hurriedly asked "Why didn't you want me to know it was the Riddler causing you problems?"


Oswald tried not to let his surprise show at Jay's question "How did you know it was the Riddler?" Oswald had done everything in his power to ensure that Jay remained unaware of Ed's involvement, well aware that it was due to his guilt and his fear of Jay finding out about what happened between them.

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