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The Death of The Riddler

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Nothing was going to be okay, and it was all Ed’s fault. He had spent his entire life desperate for someone to love him, to understand him, to want him, to need him. He had finally found all of this in Oswald, but he let him go. He killed him.

Now here he was, standing at the grave of the only man he had ever loved. Sure he had had some sort of interest in Kristen, in Lee, in Isabelle….Isabella?….Even he couldn’t remember at this point. To be completely honest, even he wasn’t exactly sure what he felt for them? Obsession? Sure. Lust? Perhaps. But love? Not a chance.

Deep down he had always felt different, made even worse by the people around him. Kids at school, teachers…hell even his own father seemed to think Ed was a freakshow worthy of Gotham’s worst. Perhaps he was, but he tried to fit in. Tried to speak small, act small, go out on dates with girls, try to seem interested in whatever meaningless small talk they offered up. And then came Oswald….his Oswald. Can you truly claim ownership of someone whose blood is on your hands? Can you profess to love someone who you never allowed yourself to fall for until their skin had grown cold to the touch? Until they were six feet underground and suddenly you feel like your heart has been ripped out of your chest and you can no longer find meaning in the world?

He used to have riddles. He used to have words to help him cope with the cruelness of the world that constantly turned its back on him and shamed him for who he truly was on the inside, but any words he may have spoken before had been violently ripped from his tongue. He tried to speak, he tried to say something to this newly covered hole in the ground where the other half to his whole now resided, but all that came out was a strangled sob that took the air out of his lungs and replaced it with every emotion he had ever felt for Oswald.

Admiration. Affection. Anger. Frustration. Love. Guilt.

Though he didn’t remember how, Ed found himself on the ground, his long arms clutching the newly planted tombstone, his tears cascading down the cold hard emotionless slab of rock that was now the closest thing to Oswald he would ever hold again. He would never be able to tell Oswald he loved him. Never wrap his arms around him again. Never kiss him breathless under the stars. Never be the reason for that smile that lit up Ed’s world every time it made a rare appearance upon Oswald’s face. He would never be able to wipe away his tears and tell him everything was going to be okay.

 

“I- I’m so sorry Oswald. I took things too far. You- you have to understand, I was so afraid Oswald. I was afraid…of loving you. I thought….everyone I have ever cared about grew to despise me. When I learned of how you felt- I was terrified of losing you too. I thought that if I could just convince myself that I didn’t love you, that everything would be okay. That we could be happy…”

A shuddering breath escaped him as he mindlessly ran his fingers across the engraving on the headstone. He wanted more than anything to hear Oswald’s voice again, to argue with him, to watch his chest rise and fall as he yelled. Maybe if he had just aimed a little lower…maybe Oswald would be alive, maybe he would have forgiven him. Or maybe he would hate Ed, regardless of his previous feelings for him. Maybe being shot and betrayed by Ed would make him realize that Ed wasn’t worth the trouble. He certainly wouldn’t be the first to hold that opinion.

“I did this to you Oswald. I killed you. I killed the only man I’ve ever loved, the only person who has ever loved me truly. I could never ask you for your forgiveness because…I don’t want you to forgive me. I don’t deserve that. What I did to you…I- I wish it would’ve been me. I wish more than anything that you would have torn the gun from my hands and killed me. I’m the one who deserves this. I deserve to be here, not you.”

He wiped his tears with his sleeve and leant forward, gently placing a kiss upon Oswald’s name. Maybe in a different life, a different time, things could’ve ended up okay. Maybe in another world Ed had realized how he felt before it was too late and they fell in love. Maybe they grew old together. But this was not that world.