A/N: I'm back! Who missed me? I'm returning to my first love. Trashing Edward Nigma's good name! Welcome to "Boss?" Where Edward Nigma and his arguably long-suffering lackey Dead Switch get into stupid situations and bitch at each other. A lot. There's also romance in there if you squint really hard. Nah, it's basically everywhere and everyone knows it but those two idiots. For those just tuning in: Dead Switch/Deborah Scott is Edward's insane, bumbling, anger-prone, coulrophobic second in command and my personal OC. The "lucky" half-wit that gets to organise the bonkers ideas and plans Edward comes up with and keep the meatheads from lowering the IQ of the whole room. She also takes a vested interest in ensuring Edward looks after himself. It's not as easy as it looks.
Chapter 1: Scars.
Water dripped in the distance. The lower floors of the abandoned tower had been stripped bare of anything of value. The higher floors weren't in much better shape - but they would do for the moment. Rain lashed against the cracked and broken windows in one of Gotham's famous unforgiving nights.
Wet footsteps slapped against the concrete. The swish of damp coats.
Dead Switch did not have much in the way of standards. As long as the building was standing was good enough for her. Her employer certainly did have standards, but with the current need to lay low and not attract attention to themselves, Riddler did not have many choices.
Wanted for escape from Arkham will do that.
A broken mirror flashed as it caught the lightning that rumbled across Gotham and lit up a pale, angular face and thin body. Blonde hair that looked in the darkness to be almost grey and two frowning blue eyes. Looking at herself now, Dead Switch looked completely different to the person she used to be. Deborah Scott - sane, productive member of society Deborah Scott - had left the building a long time ago. Dead Switch watched the half-dozen reflections of herself in the over-large Arkham Security coat she'd stolen. It made her look tiny. The gorillas Arkham employed generally towered over her pretty average frame. Blood was seeping into the collar, making it stiff as it dried. She couldn't tell if it was from her or the man she'd taken the coat from.
She moved on and caught up to Riddler. Edward Nigma was more of a match for Security. All six foot one of wiry muscle topped with a genius level IQ. The coat looked stylishly shabby on him.
The two of them made short work of scouting out the building, determining the fourth floor to be the most solid and insulating. The wind still nipped through the empty doorways and broken windows as they finished the sweep and returned to the safest of the floors they'd scoured.
It had been one hell of an escape. They were both tired, cold, wet - hunted. The important thing was to lay low and take stock. They had done this dance often.
Dead Switch glanced up and reluctantly sat on the rickety stool that Riddler had gone searching for as he slammed the first aid kit they'd taken from the car onto a bloated table and slipped on a pair of latex gloves.
Edward Nigma - genius, thinker, super-villain and her boss glared at her as though she were a particularly troublesome amoeba. 'What happened?'
'Guard tried to stop me taking his car.' She replied morosely. 'He didn't hit me that hard.' She muttered petulantly as the lid of the kit was flipped open. The Riddler tutted to himself and shone a penlight across her left cheek. The half-grin scar she'd been given as a memento from Joker started at mid-cheek and terminated in the corner of her lip. It was healing, but it would scar horrendously. Blood ran down her skin and into the collar of the jacket.
'He burst the stitches.' Edward noted. This new development would not help it's progress.
Dead Switch sighed heavily.
'This wouldn't have happened if you hadn't been moonlighting for Joker.' He admonished heavily. 'You know that man is a psychopath. What possessed you to even -'
'Harley.' She replied.
Edward tutted again. 'I thought you were smarter than that. It's what I hired you for.'
'She was offering a lot of cash. I didn't know Joker was involved until I'd taken the money. You know what happens to people who don't do exactly what Joker asks them to do.'
'Which is why you should have come to me!' Edward snarled and snatched up a pair of tweezers. He carefully picked dirt and debris out of the raw wound and muttered to himself. 'If you had, perhaps this wouldn't have even happened.' The tweezers were dropped and he picked out a small pack of disinfectant wipes. They stung horrendously across her skin. 'Joker will always be unpredictable. Especially when he thinks he's been slighted!'
'I did what he asked.' Dead Switch replied but straightened up as the tweezers were waved in her face again.
'Stop talking. Now.' Edward snapped. 'You're unravelling the stitches.'
She fell silent and listened to the sound of sirens muffled by the rain as he literally stitched her face back together. Occasionally, she heard an anagram mumbled angrily under Edward's breath.
Why did Joker do it? She wondered. She did exactly what Harley - he - wanted. He didn't care about the money, she knew that. It was like hurting her was an afterthought. A bonus.
It was funny, really. A few years ago, when The Riddler had "interviewed" her for a position working with him, he'd professed that he really didn't care about other people. Lackeys especially. They were there to do as they were told and provide a barrier between him and the outside world. Her job, if she sufficiently impressed him enough, was to provide an extra layer between him and his paid employees. His very, very stupid employees. Dead Switch was meant to be the middleman. Middlewoman. She was supposed to be smarter than the neanderthals he was paying to do his dirty work and he'd made it contemptuously clear to her that he considered her barely a smidge brighter than his muscle when compared to him.
Now he was scolding her for taking a night-stick to her face to bust them out of Arkham weeks after getting her face stitched back together.
Riddler worked steadily to repair what the night-stick had undone. Right now it was just the two of them, fresh out of Arkham. They needed better real-estate, more lackeys. Nigma would want high performance computers and access to his overseas accounts and he most definitely wanted a new suit but until he threw a tantrum over it, Dead Switch wasn't about to play psychic and guess what he wanted, either. Nigma was known for changing his suit more often than his riddles. Just as long as it wasn't that hideous lycra number he'd worn, once. She could have thanked Bats for trashing that one.
There weren't even any beds left up here. Just a mouldering couch, the table, stool, and the floor. Deborah Scott knew where she was likely to end up. It had been a long, painful night and now that the adrenaline of escape was wearing off, her face was starting to hurt. She doubted she would get much sleep.
Finally Edward finished his ministrations and snarled 'Don't talk until the bleeding has stopped, imbecile.'
She glowered at him and ignored the way he fell heavily onto the musty old couch. 'Tomorrow, we start.' Riddler yawned. 'Tonight has been ignighters ten.'
Interesting. To say the least, Dead Switch mused. She glanced over to the boss and watched as he swung his legs up and over the couch, getting comfy. Riddler shifted and then shed himself of the coat he purloined while escaping. It hit Dead Switch in the chest and almost knocked her off the stool.
'Get some sleep. I need you and your useless brain working on our problems. I shall suffer no complaints of tiredness.' He chided.
Unbidden, Dead Switch smiled. It hurt like Hell, but it was involuntary. She wadded up Riddler's coat and used it as a pillow, her own coat as a blanket. Tomorrow was a new day.