The first time that Ed and Grundy slept together was within the starting week of their unlikely partnership.

They were staying in a little apartment that Cherry owned, given to them for their troubles in the ring. It was empty apart from the kitchen appliances, a set of blankets and pillows for the pair of them and a single, ratty couch the previous owners had left behind. There hadn't been any time to go out and buy furniture, or really a need yet. They had two woven blankets between them for warmth, and Grundy took to the floor while Ed claimed the couch.

Not that Grundy minded, he didn't sleep much anyway and he didn't care about the cold floor on his back. He just laid there, listening to Ed's breathing and staring at the broken ceiling fan.

He stayed like that for a time, doing nothing but staring and listening, waiting patiently for the night to be over, until he heard Edward's breath start to speed up and the blanket around him start to shift. Grundy cocked his head to look at him, but Ed was facing the back of the couch and away from Grundy. His arm was moving in an odd, repetitive pattern.

He sat up, looking on with curiosity. Ed's movements got a little faster, breath a little more of a pant, and Grundy really wanted to know what was going on.

"What friend doing?" he asked innocently.

Ed squeaked, halting all of his movements at once with a frustrated shiver, "Big guy, I thought you'd be asleep." he said in lieu of a proper answer, and didn't turn around.

"Grundy not sleep." he replied simply.

"Ah... well then."

"What friend doing?" he repeated, and scooted a little closer to try and peek over him. Maybe he was holding something out of sight.

Edward jerked, startled by Grundy's looming presence, and curled in a little more on himself, "I was just... uhh... getting rid of some tension."

Grundy frowned, "Ten son?"

"Tension." Ed corrected, "Just... unwinding. It's painful otherwise."

"Friend, hurt?" Grundy asked with a startled voice, sitting up a little straighter and ready to get help if he needed to.

"No, big guy... Jesus... I'm- I'm horny."

Grundy pouted his lip again, frustrated with all these new words, "Horny?"

"Of course you don't understand." Ed sighed, and turned his upper half to finally look over his shoulder at Grundy.

His cheeks were pinker than Grundy remembered, hair slightly askew from sleep and a little damp from sweat. His eyes were lidded, but he didn't seem tired exactly. Grundy had more questions.

"I want to have sex. I'm relieving that frustration because otherwise it hurts." he bit, cheeks getting even pinker.

Sex was a word Grundy recognized.

"Sex... two people." he said, like Ed was being stupid if he thought he could do that kind of thing alone.

Edward snorted and brought a hand up to run down his face, "I... you can masturbate."


"Don't even try it." Ed said, and raised a hand up to shush him.

With the movement of his arm, the blanket around him shifted and fell away, revealing Ed's other hand, wrapped around a hard length of flesh that Grundy recognized. He stared at it until Ed realized his mistake and hastily went to cover himself with the other hand.

But Grundy wanted to get another look at it, it was different from his own, and forcibly moved Ed's hand away by the wrist.

"Grundy..." Ed said, words a little drawn out, "This is... kind of inappropriate."

"Grundy have that too," he said, and reached down to draw himself out of his trousers, showing Ed, "but different. Bigger."

Edward gasped, shutting his eyes and shaking his head, "Oh my god, this is not happening."

Grundy just continued to stare, Ed's fingers still curled around his cock with shame. He wanted to know what he'd been doing, a simply curiosity if nothing more. "Grundy... watch." he suggested, hoping to convey his point, that he wanted to see.

Edward's breath hitched, and a silence stretched between them. Grundy was too scared to break it, instead choosing to keep eye contact with Edward, content to sit silently and stare until he made the next move. Grundy was good and silent brooding. He could be there all night.

Ed watched him with cautious, lidded eyes, monitoring the way he was watching Ed. Then slowly, as if Edward was afraid to scare him off, his hand slowly and shakily began to move.

Grundy was mesmerized by the movement, following the path of his hand with interest. Up and down, a little twist now and then. Grundy wanted to try it himself, and moved the hand around himself in a way that mirrored what Ed anything was doing.

A sudden spark of pleasure curled up inside of his lower belly, and Grundy was in awe.

It was amazing.

"Oh my god, you're really..." Edward said with a gasp, his own hand moving slightly faster. "Let go of my other hand."

Grundy frowned and shook his head, not wanting Ed to cover up again. Grundy needed to see what he was doing so that he could do it too.

Ed whined, "I won't cover myself again, there's just something.." he sighed, eyes falling shut for a moment, and this time Grundy understood that it was in pleasure, "something else I want to do."

Grundy hesitantly let go, and watched as Edward immediately moved his free hand down, behind where he was stroking to somewhere lower.

Grundy made a distressed noise, "Can't see."

Edward sounded strangled, quickly shifting around to lower his pants, using one foot to move them out of the way until they were pooled around an ankle, and spread his legs in a way that would give Grundy an excellent view.

"What-" Grundy tried to ask, but a pleasurable jolt shocked through his body from where his hand moved, "What doing?"

Edward sighed, breathy and lustful, "I like... to have things here too. It makes it feel even better."

Grundy watched with interest, and after seeing Edward press two fingers inside of the little hole between his legs, curiously tried to put one in himself. He yelped, and tore his hand away as if it burned before frowning at Edward, "Friend lie. Not feel good."

Edward laughed, high and breathless, as he added a third for himself. Grundy couldn't understand why he would do that. How he could do that. He had more questions.

"It's not... not everyone's cup of tea."

Grundy nodded, and continued to watch his friend move his hips around, thrusting down onto his fingers. He didn't like the feeling himself, but he enjoyed seeing Edward do it. He wasn't sure why. Ed made a high-pitched noise, eyes shutting and head tossing back before he gasped, "Ah, fuck, I want more."

"Mine bigger." Grundy offered helpfully, and Edward's eyes snapped open with shock before he held up a hand to show him, "Friend use mine?"

"Oh, Jesus, you meant your fingers."

Grundy frowned, "Yes?"

Edward made another noise and pulled his hand away before sitting up and kicking his pants the rest of the way off. Grundy was ready, hand reaching out to touch the place Edward had been touching, but was stopped by Ed, scooting off the couch and right into Grundy's lap.

"I actually want this." he said, leaning his head on Grundy's shoulder after batting Grundy's hand away so that he could take a hold of him himself.

Grundy groaned. Ed's warm, slender fingers a stark contrast to his own, and he made a surprised sound when he felt a warm heat radiate against his tip. He glanced down as best he could, unable to quite see what Edward was doing, but then he was suddenly being enveloped by a tight, velvety warmth as Edward sunk down, and Grundy thought he was going to pass out from the shocking pleasure.

"Well that was a sound." Ed laughed, grinning against Grundy's shoulder, "I didn't know I was into hearing things so guttural, but you learn something new every day."

Grundy was almost shaking, this new feeling taking the forefront of his brain and short circuiting all other thoughts. Being inside of Edward like this felt even better than what they'd been doing before.

"Ah, fuck, big guy..." he groaned, head tilted back and a hand back around himself as he lifted up onto his knees, "Oh my god, you're huge..."

Grundy frowned, slightly dismayed by Ed seemingly moving to get off of him, and grabbed at his hips to keep him down, "Yes? Grundy larger-" he cut himself off, with a gasp.

In his haste to get Edward to stay where he was, he'd unintentionally slammed him back down to the hilt. Edward cried out, fingers digging into Grundy's chest through his thin shirt. Grundy lifted him again experimentally, and brought him back down with an even quicker jab.

Ed laughed breathlessly, and although Grundy didn't get what was so funny, he liked the way his laugh vibrated through him, bringing a little spark of warmth into his chest. He held onto Edward's waist a fraction tighter, continuing to move him up and down on his cock with a slew of pleased grunts. He liked this, it was a good feeling, but he wanted more and he wanted it even faster. He wanted to hear Edward make more of those... interesting noises too.

Edward writhed, lifting up and dropping down like it was an easy task, like he did this every day. He groaned and pumped his hand faster, keeping in time with Grundy's quickening pace. Gaspy moans were punched out of him again and again, but Ed rolled with every thrust, took it like a champ and even gave a little back with a few bites to his shoulder now and then.

Grundy didn't understand why Ed was hurting him when they were having such a good time, but everytime he leaned in to bite a new patch of skin, Ed would cling tightly onto him and lean just that much more into his thrusts. He liked that. So Grundy put up with the little nips.

The second time was because Ed had a nightmare.

Edward was shaking in the night, twitching fairly often and every now and then would jerk his limbs about. Grundy thought maybe he was cold, slipping the ratty blanket off of his own shoulders to add to the one Ed already had, just in case. When that did nothing for the jitters, he sat closer, thinking maybe body heat would help.

Eventually Grundy gave up and shook him awake.

He was startled by Ed's violent reaction, swinging his fists at Grundy a couple times and yelling out a war cry before he realized where he was. Grundy was confused, "Ed, not cold?'

Edward blinked, breath still slightly heavy from his outburst, "Wh- what?"

Grundy pointed at him with a large finger, "Cold." he said, "Shaking."

Understanding came over Ed's face before he shut his eyes and shook his head. He scooted just a little closer to Grundy, enough so that their legs touched, "No, big guy. I wasn't cold." he looked down at his lap, "Did you give me your blanket?"

"Grundy not get cold." he said simply, and Edward huffed before returning it.

"Well thanks, but I'm fine."

He frowned, trying to figure out how to properly articulate what he wanted to say, "If... not cold... what?"

Ed sighed, rubbing a hand over the back of his neck, "Bad dreams."


"Oh, right. You don't sleep." he clicked his tongue, "Uhm, bad visions. I see bad things. They... scare me."

"Grundy kill what scares friend." Grundy urgently replied, lifting his chin and looking around for the danger Ed was describing. He didn't see anything dangerous around?

Ed almost wanted to laugh, "No, uhm... in here." he pointed to his head, "It's just in my head. You can't kill it for me," he smirked, "but thanks for the thought."

Grundy spent a good few minutes glaring at Ed's forehead, like he could just scowl all the bad things into submission if he willed it enough. Edward did laugh then, and touched a hand to his arm, "Please don't try to squash my head in. That'll kill me big guy, you can't smash these things."

He grunted, disappointed, "Grundy... want to help."

Ed smiled lightly, gratefully, up at him, "I don't think you can." he paused, seemed to think, "Well... maybe there is one thing that might make me feel better, get my mind off of it."

Grundy perked up, puppy dog eyes eagerly awaiting Edward's solution, "What?"

Ed sat up on his knees, shifting himself around until he was seated in Grundy's lap, long legs stretched out on either side, "Remember the other night?"

If Grundy could blush, he would be the brightest shades of red, remembering that. "Pretty Ed." he said in way of a reply.

Ed snorted, let the blanket fall from around his shoulders and pushed the other off of Grundy's before teasingly tugging at his suspenders. "You say the nicest things... even if you don't know that many words with which to say them. I find your crude compliments surprisingly refreshing."

Grundy huffed, let one meaty paw rest on Edward's hip and brought the other to the front of his pants to pull insistently, "Clothes, gone."

"Yeah big guy, give me just a second and I'll-"

Grundy didn't wait. Instead he pulled harder until the fabric ripped, stripping apart at the seams and leaving Ed in his shirt and the shredded remains of his pants and underwear.

Ed gasped, "Whoa, okay, that is something we'll have to work on. I needed those."

Grundy cocked his head, and Edward just chuckled before stripping off his shirt as well.

The third time was after Grundy beat a man in the ring, and this time, Grundy was the one who asked.

"Way to go big guy!" Ed cheered as Grundy jumped down from the sweaty, bloody confines of the ring, having beaten his latest opponent, "With all this cash, we're definitely going to find a way to fix me!" he looked Grundy up and down, "You too, of course. We'll figure out what happened to you."

Grundy grinned, a man of few words, and wrapped his giant arms around Ed to squeeze him.

"Whoa, alright. We've really gotta work on not squeezing the life outta Ed when we hug," he gasped, a little pained, "Okay?"

Grundy nodded, and set him back down gently onto his feet. "Grundy, do good?"

"Yeah, you did great." Ed said, giving him a small pat to the arm (that felt more like a fly landing on him than a real smack) and started to head for the matron.

Grundy caught him by the arm before he could go, and looked slightly hopeful, "We do more tonight? Of that?" he asked, completely unaware of how publicly he'd just announced himself.

A few people looked at them in a curious manner, and Ed actually dipped his head to the side, cheeks a little red. Grundy liked it.

"Yeah big guy. We can do... more of that."

He grinned, wide and childlike before finally letting go of Ed's arm. Edward ducked away in a blur of green suit and a pink face.

Grundy held him down on the floor that night, staring at Edward's blush-stained face with fascination and wondering if he could make him go pink like that whenever he liked. It had taken a lot of convincing (and maybe just a bit of insistent force) to get Edward on his back instead of riding him, but Grundy wanted to watch his face. Like this, the outer city lights of Gotham shone through the window, illuminating his expressions and colors.

Grundy liked the way Ed flushed when he was beneath him, panting and whining against his own naked shoulder as he writhed. He liked watching his mouth fall open to gasp, sometimes Grundy's name, other times a variation of "big guy". It was over quicker than he wanted, but Grundy was too excited, listening, watching and feeling Edward come apart for him.

The fourth time was after firefly attacked the club in the narrows.

After waking up from his state of unconsciousness, it was seeing Edward, staring at some unknown threat with fear that spurred him into action, not whatever confusing memories he was having over Tabitha. He jumped up, roared his mighty roar, and then...

curled up into a ball on the floor.

Fire was scary, and the only thing he wasn't yet prepared to fight for Ed.

The pretty doctor shot the woman weilding fire in the back and she went crashing to the floor. Barbara Kean shot Cherry in the head, and the other people surrounding Ed finally started to disperse. Tabitha went with them, but Grundy hardly noticed, too focus on Edward, kneeling down in front of him and telling him everything would be alright; the fire lady couldn't hurt him anymore. He had Lee check him out, just in case there really had been any serious damage done to his head during the fight, and Grundy watched Ed smile as the pretty doctor became the new queen of the narrows with the help of his gentle nudging.

He liked Ed's smile.

Later in the night, Ed confessed that even if firefly had set him on fire, Ed would have put him out. Like their first meeting in that alley, when he'd put out Grundy's arm, Ed would always help him out because he would always be there to help Edward.

But for Grundy, at least, his relationship with Ed was more than just symbiotic.

Ed... meant something to him.

Grundy pointed at Ed's lips, thinking of the action with Tabitha that he'd called to memory during their fight, how their lips had touched, how nice that must have felt if he kept remembering it so fondly...

Ed didn't seem to get it right away, so Grundy dragged him closer by the arm, pulling him back into the position that was steadily becoming rather familiar between them; Ed seated snugly on his lap with his hands splayed over Grundy's broad chest. Ed smirked, but when he went to take his clothes off Grundy stopped him. He wanted to try this first, and moved his face closer to Edward's.

It was awkward initially, Grundy wasn't really sure what he was supposed to do so he just stared at Ed, lips pressed firmly against his in a sad mockery of a real kiss. Edward's eyes were wide, shocked, and it took a moment before he really understood what was happening and was able to kickstart the movement involved in a kiss. He smiled against Grundy's mouth, lifted his hands to either side of his face and guided Grundy's head into a slight tilt. Grundy watched with fascination as Ed's eyes fluttered shut, and felt his lips slowly begin to move against his own.

It was strange, certainly, but Grundy started to see the appeal when Ed scooted closer, wrapped his arms around Grundy's neck and really started to move, little pants coming out between their connected lips. Grundy let his hands wander up, holding onto Edward's sides as his hips started moving too.

Everything was moving.

It was a lot to process, but Grundy liked it all.

This time when Ed started to undress, Grundy didn't stop him, just tightened his grip around Ed's waist and shifted his hips in a way that mirrored Edward's soft grinds.

The fifth time... halfway through... Ed realized that Grundy was no longer Grundy, and the beautifully simple reality they had built together came crashing down.

"You're... " Edward gasped, sitting atop Grundy-Butch's lap with his cock buried all the way to the hilt, "...weird tonight." he settled on, and lifted up onto his knees before sinking back down again.

Butch groaned, deep and from the back of his throat. He'd come back to himself earlier that day, still a little fuzzy on some of the more important details, but he knew he wasn't Grundy anymore. He was Butch Gilzean, mobster, muscle, one time even briefly the ruler of Gotham's underworld. He'd played dumb while the rest of the pieces fell into place, careful not to show all of his cards just quite yet...

But Edward had thrown a bit of a wrench in his plans when he'd climbed up onto Butch after supper, wrapped his arms around his neck and quietly confessed how worried he'd been when he disappeared, hands tracing over the green bruises on his face with care.

Butch had told him about Tabitha beating him over the head, but he'd said it in Grundy's tone of speech, forgone the fact that it had brought memories swimming back to the surface, and definitely hadn't mentioned that when Tabby kissed him, he'd only been thinking of Ed. He'd been remembering kissing Ed instead of Tabby.

Now here he was, dragged along with the flow of things as Edward bounced up and down in his lap, taking his cock like a pro and moaning like a porn star.

He was too mesmerized to tell him.

It wasn't his fault, really... the man's lithe but toned frame glistened with sweat, hair curled just a little where it had dampened, and his cock bobbed in the space between them, dribbling with precum. All in all, a sight enough to distract even the most aware and calculating of men. Ed could turn them all into stupid little puddles at his feet if he wanted. It was the sexiest, most pornographic scene Butch had ever witnessed... and there was a time he'd accidently walked in on Tabitha and Barbara sixty-nineing with Tabby's whip coiled around Barbara's wrists.

Ed's hands slipped up his back, over his shoulders and down his chest, mouth open as Butch ran his tongue along the line of his pale neck, a move Grundy probably never would have thought of.

He'd slipped up a couple times while they fucked, doing things Grundy probably wouldn't have realized were possible, but he'd just been overcome with the knowledge that he could make sex with Edward even better, that he knew what to do to make it that much more of a religious experience. Butch was kind of amazed he hadn't been caught yet, hands a little more graceful in their placement, eyes a little more focused as they watched Edward rise and fall onto his cock, the way his head tipped back and Butch stared at the little bead of sweat that rolled from his jaw down to his clavicle. Butch was far more aware of everything he did.

He blamed Edward's lack of notice on a sex addled brain, otherwise he'd have been caught ages ago, he was sure. Butch could see the way Ed's eyes lidded, pupils deep and blown, glassy and wet like he was out of it, might even cry. He was enchanted by it.

Butch wanted more. He wanted to see that. Watch Ed come completely undone, teary, wondering if he would beg and-

Butch shifted his hips up, aiming his thrusts with more intent and hitting Edward square in the prostate. He gasped, eyes wide and shocked before he put two hands on Butch's shoulders to stop his movements, a slew of, "Grundy wait "s falling from his mouth.

Butch paused, looked up at him, and admittedly didn't like seeing the cogs turn in his head.

"You... you're not Grundy anymore... are you?" Edward asked, staring at his face with wide eyes and his adam's apple bobbing like a fishing lure.

Butch frowned, upset to be caught this close to what promised to be an amazing orgasm, and tried to get Edward to move again.

"Oh my god!" Edward cried, and anxiously tried to clamber off of him, but Butch was having none of it.

Instead, he surged up, knocking Ed onto his back with Butch still balls deep inside of him, and planted his hands on either side of Ed's head. He began thrusting away, gobbling up every loud cry Edward let fall from his lips in reply. The gaspy, desperate Ed was back, panting and writhing beneath him with his head tipped to the side and neck exposed. If it wasn't an invitation, Butch didn't know what was. He bit the pale line that stretched down from his jaw, loving the vibration of Ed's moan against his mouth, fingers digging into his forearm like it was a lifeline.

He went harder, faster, one hand clawing at Edward's leg until it lifted to Butch's hip, tugging him closer and making the angle that much better.

When he finished, groaning and spilling inside Ed with a sigh, Ed pulled the lamp off the bedside table and smashed it over his head.

Butch woke up dazed, still naked, head a little sore, and Edward long since gone.

Butch spent the better part of a week looking for him, tried some of his old haunts, checked the places Ed had showed him while he was still Grundy, even got in touch with Cobblepot just to be sure. He tried not to let the little flare of jealousy flare up in his chest when Oswald told him he had, in fact, seen Ed. Ed had been to his club, even asked for a place to hide, surprising enough. Butch tried not to think about why he went to Oswald, and tried even less to think about what Oswald might have asked for in return.

He knew the little bird still had a big crush on Ed, even if he tried to lie and hide it, and worried maybe Ed might go crawling back to him without having Grundy as an ally anymore.

"Where is he?" he asked Oswald, having come up to the in person club in an angry storm.

"And why would I tell you that?" He snuffed, leaning on his cane and grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

Butch lost his temper, taking Oswald up off his feet by his jacket and snarling into his face, "Because if you don't I'll smash your skull in."

Oswald flubbered, but recovered just enough to jab back, a little gaspy from being lifted to his toes, "It's not my fault if he doesn't want to see you, Butch."

He growled, that name less of an identity now, and more of a cruel reminder, "Tell me where he is, Oswald. I'll break your fingers just to prove a point."

Oswald shut his eyes, "I am done betraying Edward."

"Jesus, I'm not going to hurt him! I just need to see him!"

"Why?" Oswald barked, "What do you want with him if you're not planning to hurt him?"

Butch narrowed his eyes, "He didn't say anything to you?"

"He asked me for a place to hide and I gave him one. He wouldn't tell me what he was running from, so I stopped asking. Though now, I'm assuming it was you, seeking for revenge for Tabitha's hand, I'm sure."

"I'm not." he grunted, and slowly set Oswald down again, "Just tell me where he is."

Oswald leaned in again, a familiar, cocky scowl curling his bottom lip, "No."

Butch raised a fist and Oswald braced for the impact but Ed's voice startled him out of it, "Butch, that's enough!"

Oswald opened his mouth, "Edward-"

"It's alright Oswald," Edward assured, and stepped out from the shadows, "I'd hate to thank you for your hospitality with a broken skull."

Butch dropped his hand, shoulders too after he got a good look at him, satisfied with the knowledge that Edward was fine, and he sighed with relief, "Ed-"

"Save it." he snapped, and headed for the door.

"Wait, Ed!"

He caught him outside the doors, just about to step onto the street, "Ed, stop!"

"If you want to kill me you're going to have to do much better than that." Ed glared, and smacked him upside the head with a large wood beam, right where Ed knew he was weakest.

Butch regained consciousness a short time later, pissed that he'd been caught by the same trick again. His head hurt too, damn it.

It took another two days, but Butch finally caught him.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Edward huffed, denial written all over his face even as Butch glared at him, "Grundy and I did not have a... a thing."

"Oh come on," Butch growled, "what else would you call that?"

Butch had come back to what was once their shared apartment in the narrows, just to get some rest in a familiar place, and had been pleasantly surprised to find Ed quickly collecting some of the things he'd left behind, clearly not expecting Butch to return. Butch wanted to talk things through with Ed, maybe even apologize for not telling him right away about remembering... Definitely for not stopping after Ed realized he wasn't Grundy anymore. He locked the door and broke off the handle before Ed had the chance to run. He'd also learned his lesson and was ready for an attempted hit to the head this time, he'd be watching for it.

Ed glared at Butch, "I was without my usual intellectual prowess at the time and you were... well, we'll say even stupider than usual. It seems the most appropriate term anyway."

Butch scoffed, "You always lash out at the people you care about, don't you?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Kringle? The librarian? Oswald? Though being called stupid is a lot better than a shot to the gut. I guess I should be grateful."

"I don't care about you, Butch." he huffed, but his eyes strayed towards the floorboards and Butch recognized the lie immediately.

He decided to call his bluff, stepping forward with a wide berth. Edward took two steps back to count for every one of Butch's, cleverly staying just out of arm's reach. Butch only paused the first time, gauging his face just in case he'd misread, but finding that familiar little spark in Ed's eye. Ed did still want him, even if he wasn't ready to admit it. "I don't get it." he scowled, and took another thundering foot forward, "You could actually have a damn conversation with me now, I can help you. I'm a lot more useful to you like this. Yeah, I remember a lot of the shit you did, but that doesn't matter. This should be-"

"It doesn't matter to you?" Ed asked, "You really expect me to believe that?" he scowled, nervously tilting his chin up, brow furrowed and lips downturned.

And damn it, those lips. Butch remembered what they tasted like.

He frowned. Their history did matter, of course it did, Ed had chopped Tabby's hand off... tortured him and then partnered up with Barbara fucking Kean to treat them both like mud under their boots. That mattered. But... Tabby's hand had been sewed back on. Butch was still here, alive and well- well, not well, but still alive at any rate. He had swamp water instead of blood flowing through his veins, but that wasn't Ed's fault and Barbara was well out of Butch's life now. Ed had probably been tortured more times than he ever had, and probably most important of all, Ed was different now. Their time together had shown him that at least, that he'd changed. He was a different man than he'd been when he'd hurt him and Tabby.

He was still an ass, yeah (more often than not, in fact), but now Butch knew him well enough to recognize that the cruelty was merely Edward's finely crafted defense mechanism. He kept himself an arm's length apart from everyone intentionally. He was rude and stuck up because he didn't want anyone pushing past the thick walls he'd put up after Oswald killed Isabella. Betrayal did things to one's character. That entire affair with Oswald had changed him, from Isabella's death to being frozen in a block of ice, and Butch wondered if they played their cards right now, maybe he could change him again.

Butch very much wanted to take those walls down one more time, but they weren't the kind of walls he could just smash through with his Grundy-sized fists.

"It matters." he finally said, "but... I really got to know you after I became Grundy... and that matters more."

Ed's eyes were wide, eyebrows upturned in desperation, mouth falling open and Butch finally had him backed up against the wall, nowhere left to run from Butch's looming presence. "You... remember that much of being Grundy?"

"I remember every second."

A tiny, startled gasp was sucked in through Ed's parted lips, looking up at Butch with something like nervousness, maybe even embarrassment, "Every second?"

He snorted, palming the wall beside Ed's head with a smug grin, "I remember you ride cock like you were fucking made for it, if that's what you mean."

Ed's eyes were as wide as saucers and his cheeks pinkened. Butch smirked with the satisfaction of it-the rush of swamp water that it sent right to his dick.

"Still as crude as ever."

He shrugged, "Do you still think it's 'refreshing'?"

Ed groaned frustratedly, "Okay, you can't hold anything I said to Grundy against me. I didn't think-"

"So don't think now, either."

Edward frowned, "Thinking is my speciality. It's my whole gimmick. I can't just stop thinking."

Butch grinned, leaning his head in until he could feel the warmth of Ed's blush against his cheek, muttering into his ear, as sultry as he could manage, "I bet I could make you."

Ed held up a finger, "You are also definitely not allowed to be smooth. Grundy was-"

"Stop talking about Grundy like he's a completely different person, Ed. That's still me. I'm a little smarter now, but that was still me, the whole time. I was there when you had your nightmares. I held you when you were freaking out and we were partners." he sighed sharply, sick of this stupid denial, "The only thing that's changed is my brain."

he paused, "Well, also my hygiene... and my clothes- but I can talk with you about the shit you're going through instead of just grunting like an oaf. You have someone on your team that's actually capable of more now, someone that knows-"

"That also makes you less reliable." Ed bristled, "You could turn on me whenever you wanted. As soon as what I have to give isn't enough then you'll know just how to stab me in the back."

"I won't stab you in the back."

Ed scoffed, "You can't expect me to just take your word for it."

"What do you want me to do then, Ed? Cus' I'll do it." he said, trying to convey just how much he really wanted this, how serious he was, with a stare of utter determination, "Anything."

Ed blinked, breath coming out a little quicker and a hand raised to Butch's chest. Maybe it was to push him away, maybe it was to grab him by his jacket and pull him closer, he wasn't sure. Ed didn't even look all that sure. He looked... somewhat scared, in fact.

"I kill the people I care about..." he mumbled, head downturned and voice a fraction quieter than it had been a moment ago, "In the end I always do."

"You can't choke me to death. Neck's too thick. I'm not sure a bullet would do much to me either." he smiled, "You'd have to try pretty damn hard."

"God, you're really serious about this, aren't you?"

"I am."

Ed shook his head in bewilderment, "Why? "

Butch sighed. He didn't want to jump right into all the emotional BS. He'd honestly been hoping to dazzle Ed into bed again before they got to all of that, just in case it proved to be too much for Ed to handle, Butch could say he got one last night with him.

"I was happy," he finally admitted, and Edward's open look of surprise was enough to encourage the rest out of him, "I was happy not having to worry about all this... Gotham hierarchy bullshit. I actually liked not knowing any better. It was easier. I had you on my side and I didn't need anything else."

Ed's chest heaved and he had to clear his throat, "And now that you're... you again... you, what? Wish you were still Grundy?"

Butch offered him a half-hearted shrug.

"Oh..." Ed said, surprised yet again, "That's... well that's very unexpected."

"I didn't think I'd miss it either."

"I... " he huffed, shaking his head once before a nervous swallow, "I'm not certain that I know what to say."

Butch smirked, "That's a first. You usually don't know when to shut up."

Edward's lip upturned slightly, and he gave one of Butch's suspenders a light tug until it snapped back into place, "You know, it might actually be fun to go back and forth with you. Not that Grundy wasn't fun. Just thinking maybe you'll be fun in more than just the carnal sense."

"Now that I'm smarter," Butch mused, pushing just another inch closer to be coy, "I can think of a few good ways to shut you up too."

"Yeah?" Edward smiled, tongue darting out to lick his lips, "Tell me."

"Nah." Butch smirked, and bent over to sweep Ed up and off of his feet, lifting him over his shoulder like the first time he'd carried Ed as Grundy. Edward squawked, thrashed around a little, but Butch gave him a light swat on the ass and it seemed to be enough to get him to calm, "Showing ya's more fun."

"Butch, put me down! I can walk on my own."

"Yeah, but you like my strength." he grinned, heading for the bed, "I remember that too."

"These were all things I told Grundy in confidence."

"It's still between us, won't tell another soul, but it doesn't mean I'm not gonna use all of your dirty kinks against you, Nygma."

Edward groaned, and gave out a little yelp of surprise when he was unceremoniously dropped down onto the bed, the wind almost knocked right out of him, "You're a brute."

"You like it."

"Shut up." Edward said, but it held no real threat, and wrapped his arms around Butch's neck, "Kiss me. I bet that'll be so much better now that you know what you're doing."

He snorted.

"A lotta things are gonna be better, babe. Just you wait." Butch replied, and lifted his large hands to encircle either wrist as he kissed him down into the mattress, pinning them beside his head, "I'm gonna take all damn night showing ya."