Edward was eternally grateful to Oswald, the newly elected mayor of Gotham city, for saving him from the freak show that Arkham had become. It was overstuffed with patients who were insane and staff who were incompetent idiots.
Oswald didn't just stop at simply giving him his freedom he took him in and gave him a job and a purpose again. He gave Edward attention beyond any hopes he had ever had and was making his wildest dreams come true. Edward had craved attention. affection, and approval his whole life. He had to fight for it and often ended up pushing it out of his grasp the harder he tried to obtain it. When Oswald found him again in Arkham and visited him and sent him gift after gift Ed began to turn towards him like a sunflower in the sun soaking up all that Oswald had to offer. He ignored the doubts and the voices in his head telling him that Oswald’s family was dead and he didn't have anyone else to lavish with his attention and just enjoyed the fact that Oswald had become his dream personified: someone who appreciated, respected, and needed him.
Oswald wasn't just his best friend turned employer Edward was starting to realize that he was the man of his dreams. He wouldn't dare act on this realization though. He told himself it was because of the way that the press had been hounding Oswald since the election but it probably had more to do with a lifetime spent wanting more and ruining any chance at having more when he tried to act on it. In any event he was content in his role as Oswald’s advisor best friend and confidant. He got to see Oswald as no one else did and that was enough for Edward.
Yet another perk that came with Oswald’s new position as mayor is that he got to show Edward the city. Ed had lived in Gotham for all his adult life and yet with Oswald was the first time he got to truly see it. Edward got to see the grand openings of museums and schools, he got to tour parks and zoos, and libraries. He went to charity balls and galas while they were still in full swing, before they became somber and gruesome crime scenes. No matter where they were or how tedious their business was in that place Oswald always managed to show Ed a good time, to give him some moment to make it memorable even if just by his mere presence sharing in the moment.
Edward had never had someone do that for him. His parents weren't exactly the loving attentive kind unlikely to take their annoyingly curious little kid into the big city where he would no doubt just ask more questions. After leaving his parents house throughout his schooling and at the GCPD the nature of Edward’s studies and work prevented him from seeing anything but the worst of Gotham. Being exposed to the ugly and a lack of a booming social life is what drove Edward to be smarter to dive further into books and facts and studying. Through that knowledge he could see the wonder and fascination that he knew must be out there and fill his mind with that instead of the taunts of the bullies both within his mind and outside of it. That is what he missed most all those months in Arkham and now that Oswald had freed him and showed him some of the good in the city he was beginning to fall in love with Oswald just as he had his pursuit of knowledge.
He realized that time they spent together was like being buried in a new fascinating book or a particularly challenging ever changing riddle. Oswald had so many different sides to figure out. He had a thousand lighting fast little gears that Edward had wanted to see at work in his brain from the first moment he laid eyes on him. Edward had always been fascinated by Oswald. He was clever, creative, resilient, and yet so filled with a delicious mixture of emotions. The man could flip from uncompromising to soft and from enraged to enthralled within a matter of seconds and Edward had access to it all. He grew to love every quirk about this man every single mask he wore and on the rare occasions when they were alone he got to see him without a mask at all he loved him all the better for it.
It was perhaps these quiet familiar moments that were the most exhilarating moments in his life, to know someone so completely and effortlessly and yet to know that tomorrow Oswald would no doubt still find a way to surprise him again by revealing another new unseen part of himself. Edward's first love was to study things but no matter how much he knew about Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot there always seemed to be more to know, some little detail Ed had overlooked or perhaps hadn’t been there at all.
One day Edward got the most thrilling surprise of all when their little adventure within the city happened to be to a midway. The large fairgrounds outside of Gotham had reopened for business and Oswald was to give a speech there about the strong culture that Gotham had to offer and the many things that made the city unique. Edward had stepped in to help him write the speech which as usual the crowd lapped it up out of the palm of Oswald’s hand and then he and Ed were free to enjoy the midway themselves.
They walked around for a time aimlessly. Oswald asked Ed if he wanted him to buy him some fair food or perhaps partake in one of the games. Ed replied that it was way overpriced and all the games were rigged anyhow. At first Oswald had been disappointed at the snub but Ed assured him he just wanted to take it all in. So Oswald happily agreed and as they walked he told Ed the story of how he and his mother went to a small popup fair as a child. They didn't have much but she had allowed Oswald to pick a single ride and he chose the Ferris wheel which they ended up being stuck on for nearly an hour due to some equipment failure. When he and his mother were finally let down she’d only smiled and told Oswald that at least they had gotten their money’s worth and she bought a cotton candy with her 'brave little man'. Edward smiled fondly at the memory although it wasn't his own. He wished he had met Gertrud as she seemed like she had always made life better for Oswald.
As they kept walking Ed confessed that he had never really been to any sort of fair. Oswald smiled and told Edward that he was jealous that his first experience would be non traumatic.
They shared a laugh and Oswald regarded Ed thinking of how lucky he was to get to have this man with him. He had always been aware that to see the world through Edward Nygma’s eyes was a rare treat only he got. Oswald stopped walking before a particular attraction and was struck with an idea of how to repay Ed for all he has given him and how to show him exactly what he means to him.
“Let's go on this one Ed.” he said lightheartedly pointing at the sign with a twinkle in his eyes.
Ed looked up and paused for a moment reading the sign and thinking of the implications.
‘The Tunnel of Love’ was proclaimed in bold red letters arching over the opening of a pitch black tunnel, a small boat with a plush love seat in it stuck out of the shallow water at the entrance. Ed was familiar with the concept of these rides. They originated in the 19th century, meant to be a relaxing romantic ride encouraging couples to cuddle. The darkness within the ride provided a degree of privacy and a socially acceptable excuse for the physical contact. However none of that explained why Oswald had just nonchalantly asked Ed to join him for a ride. He must have been joking there was no other explanation and yet when he turned to face him Oswald only looked expectantly, waiting for his answer, face serious and searching.
“Come on Ed this ride doesn’t cost anything. It will be quiet and relaxing just the two of us. I will take our minds off work for a bit.”
Edward felt as though he was swimming in Oswald’s gaze at this point. He didn’t want to embarrass himself but Oswald was offering him a real world trip into his daydreams. Ed fought to keep his face neutral and breathing steady while the words 'just the two of us' circled around in his head.
“What will the press say?” Edward questioned throwing out his last feeble excuse he had before he knew he would give in or never forgive himself.
Oswald huffed out a small fond laugh. “My dear Edward this is Gotham you should know by now that the rules are a bit different. Please just, come along for the ride.”
Ed really wants to and so he heard himself saying “I’ll come along.” just as Oswald grabbed his hand and pulled him forward not letting go until they were both seated in the boat. He felt himself untying the boat and letting the current take them.
It didn't take long for complete darkness to take over. It felt as if night had suddenly fallen on stage during the scene of an epic play. The boat rocked with an easy motion artificial waves lapping at the sides giving off only the slightest sound in the tunnel and Ed had to admit Oswald was right. It was relaxing. They both listened to the boat with the easy silence one feels when you are with someone who you know and trust, content with their presence, and knowing that you don't need words to hide behind.
Without all the lights and people around them Edward felt at peace. He didn't have all the extra sensations in his head to fuel his anxiety. The tunnel was serene and quiet and he knew he had been worried for nothing. He was so glad Oswald had given him this and he was about to break the silence and tell him just that when he felt a hand, Oswald's hand, in the dark as it was placed rather slowly and deliberately on Edward’s knee. Ed’s breath caught in his throat the hand didn't move up or down but rather it stayed there not pushing just being.
Edward knew that in any other situation he may have felt Oswald's hand like this before. Sitting on the couch in the mansion it was a comforting assuring hand between two friends, Sitting next to each other at a gala this hand had been Oswald's way of getting his attention to lean over and whisper something in his ear, sitting next to Oswald at a meeting at city hall it was a subtle way to get Ed’s attention and convey a message. At any other time if Ed had felt his hand in this exact place he would have ignored the shivers sent up his spine and tried to push down that deep yearning feeling he was filled with.
Now it was like he was on the edge ready to dive headfirst into those neglected fantasies that were closer than ever to being realized. Down here he was surrounded by nothing but water and darkness and Oswald, alone in his own mind and at last free from prying eyes and insecurities. A simple hand on his knee down here was not what it would have been outside.
With a deep realization that there would be no going back Edward allowed himself to unlock the part of himself that hoped and dreamed and believed in this. He let all the feelings he had been repressing ever since the first time he laid eyes on Oswald wash over him like an intoxicating tidal wave and at last he gave in. Although Edward and Oswald could not see each other for the first time there wasn't a place they could hide. All their intentions were revealed in a thrilling twist to this cheap carnival ride.
Edward after only a handful of eternal moments at last reached out. He covered Oswald’s hand with his own first rubbing over the knuckles softly and then pressing it up his leg. Oswald breathed in shakily relieved that his unspoken question finally had an answer and took Ed’s hand as an invitation to continue. He reached forward with his free hand running up and down rediscovering Ed’s features in the dark. He stroked gently over his ear and jawline and settled his fingers at last in the shorter hairs at the nape of Ed’s neck. He pulled him forward and they met somewhere in the middle with a kiss. It was all exploratory, both men going with what felt was right, mouths parting for one another and gently tugging push and pull between them with only a few stolen breaths in between the fervor. What one lacked in experience the other would make up for and lord knows that they had fantasized enough about this moment between the two of them.
If Edward had been drowning in Oswald’s eyes before now he was drowning in his touch. His hands and his lips took him over until all he could think about was the sensation. The peace in his mind continued with only the occasional word or phrase breaking the storm of pure emotion. He kept thinking ‘He’s got me. He’s finally got me and I hope he never lets me go.’
It is just as Ed was thinking this that Oswald withdraws from their kiss. Before Edward can mourn the loss of contact the lips are back on him peppering kisses along his neck and jawline. Ed doesn’t know when his breathing became so labored but he knew he had never fell apart at someone so quickly before. Though to be fair no one had given him much reason to. Here Oswald was lavishing him with kisses sucking and licking and worshiping him in ways he didn’t know would drive him so crazy.
When he trails up and lightly nips at Ed’s earlobe Ed lets out a small slightly effeminate yelp. He feels Oswald smirk against his jaw at this but can’t bring himself to feel any embarrassment through the haze of arousal.
‘I’m his and I always have been’ Edward thinks.
‘I’ve always wanted him’ thinks Oswald.
From there things happen quickly. Oswald’s hands which had been aimlessly drifting, stroking Edward’s sides now suddenly find urgent purpose. They head around and down his back towards his ass. Oswald with his surprising strength turns Ed pulling him up and over into his lap. The boat tips perilously for a second before Oswald shifts and rights them but that is not why Edward has a low swooping feeling in his stomach. It has everything to do with the thrill that he takes at his new position straddling Oswald. Their two clothed members are now pressed together and Edward was able to feel for the first time how hard they both were.
They both continue kissing from this new position and grinding their erections into each other. The kisses cease after a while as their breathing goes ragged breaths caught in their throat at the overwhelming feeling of friction. Suddenly Oswald stops his motion and Ed lets out a low whine at the loss until Oswald shushes him. He then reaches between them urging Ed to lift slightly. It was awkward but he made surprisingly short work of undoing his fly and Edward’s too with shaking hands. He freed both of their members at last from their confines and began stroking them together.
It doesn’t take long from both of them to reach their end. Afterward Ed slides off Oswald's lap and onto the seat beside him once more. They rest for a minute panting and listening to the lapping of the fake waves on the side of the boat. After a few more minutes Ed spots a dim light in the darkness that means they are approaching the end of the tunnel.
As the light grows closer the two of them try their best to look presentable. The spell of the darkness is broken and they realize they have to go back to the real world. Shirts are tucked in and smoothed out as best as they can be. Edward suggests, speaking for the first time since they’ve got on the boat, that perhaps they can take their suit jackets off and carry them in front of themselves so no one will see the sticky evidence of what they had just done.
At last the daylight returns and they regard one another. The light of day is jarring to their senses after having shared so intimate moment in the dark. The dark had forced them to be hyper aware of every sensation of each other to learn each other as though they were in a practiced dance within the dreams of one shared mind. The outside world and their insecurities hadn’t mattered but now that they were exposed Edward thought he could feel them creeping back in little by little.
“I’m sorry Ed.” Oswald said with a sheepish look on his face as the boat came to a stop. “I couldn't control myself back there.”
“I didn’t want you to” Ed said simply drawing his gaze back up and meeting it with a smile.
Edward helps him out of the boat and they make a swift exit from the Midway. By some miracle they make it back to their car without too many raised eyebrows at their suspicious appearances with arms folded identically suit jackets draped over them. In the car they at last are able to relax and share a knowing laugh as their journey home begins.
Ed reaches over and grabs Oswald’s hand. He knew the tunnel of love had been Oswald’s way of showing Ed his intentions and now it was his turn.
He cleared his throat and then started looking back at Oswald with the same searching eyes he had been fixed with earlier that day. “Oswald. I don't want this to just be a one time thing you know. I have wanted this, wanted you, for a long time. I just found my dream in that tunnel and I want it to continue outside.”
Oswald nodded and smiled at Ed beaming his agreement.
“Good.” Ed said satisfied “And now that we’re out of the tunnel,” he leaned in and finished whispering in Oswald’s ear “I want to get it right this time.”
Once they arrive home at the mansion they go straight to the bedroom pausing only to kiss or to rid each other of those pesky soiled articles of clothing. They arrive and immediately Ed pulls the door closed kissing Oswald against it fervently. Oswald breaks the kiss to ask him a small question.
“Ed should I turn the lights off?”
“Keep em on.”