Disclaimer: Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, I don't own the Batverse or the characters therein blah, blah, blah!
CATverse A/N: This story is part of the CATverse, the timeline for which can be found at www. freewebs. com/ catverse. (For ease, I would suggest looking at the Story Arc Listing rather than the muddled timeline table, I'm just sayin'), and follows Bright Nova's currently unposted story only known as 'Untitled Smut and Whump'. Mmm...smut and whump.
Edward Nygma was notoriously bad at finding good places to hide while on the run.
Techie was ever so marginally worse at it.
Granted, she had never climbed inside a washing machine (at least, not after she was ten years old), but she still had a knack for making the tight spots she found herself in into claustrophobic spots without really trying too much.
She and her cohorts had gotten separated in Gotham--with good reason, since the Batman was on their tails--in one of the worst rainstorms recorded in the last decade. The usual attack and scatter pattern that they used so often in the past wasn't as effective when the whole world felt like it was going to be shattered in twain with every boom of thunder that rippled through the air, and finding one's way when one's eyes are full of water is a near impossible endeavor.
As she ran, Techie reflected on the inevitable conclusion to her current predicament. When she was on her own, Techie noticed an astronomical increase in bad decisions on her part. If she were with her friends, she tried to be the voice of reason, but alone, she just managed to get into trouble of the Kirk Degree.
Today, she was certain, would be no different.
In this instance, it was a moment of extraordinarily bad judgment that led her to scamper through a door into the most deserted looking building on the street without checking to see what that building was. After all, what difference did it make where she was, so long as she was out of sight of the Bat?
At least, that's what she told herself as she caught her breath and leaned her forehead against the overlarge wooden door, grateful to be out of the wind and wet at last.
Once she had dashed the water from her eyes, wiped her glasses off and took an actual look at her surroundings, the feeling of hope that had been blossoming inside her dropped like a stone.
The life-sized image of Christ hanging from a crucifix that was staring down at her, looking far more menacing than any savior of humankind had a right to was her first clue that this was bound to end badly.
Among all her ridiculous, completely illogical phobias, her aversion to all things that fell into the category of 'religious icons' was probably the silliest.
But it was also one of the strongest.
The second her eyes locked with those of the eerily lifelike Christ, she immediately turned and yanked the door open again, intent on dashing back out into the rain and finding another more suitable hiding place. Maybe a crack house, or a brothel…something.
However, once she stuck her head back out into the rain and caught sight of something very Batman-shaped in the distance, she decided that maybe churches weren't so bad after all…
With panic starting to make itself known in her chest in the form of an asthma attack, she slammed the door shut once more and sprinted down the aisle between the pews towards the nearest visible hiding place.
She tripped over the lip of the door to the confessional as she crashed into the small, confining space, noisily shutting the door behind her. She was half tempted to start saying a silent prayer that Batman hadn't glimpsed her head when she popped back out into the rain a few moments earlier, but this thought was cut short by a more pressing problem.
"Yes, my child?"
The priest's side of the confessional wasn't empty.
Taking a few shallow breaths and wiping her hair out of her eyes, Techie tried to regain control of her rising dread.
Okay. She was trapped in a confessional with a priest aware of her presence. No big deal. She could act. She could fake this…
"Um...forgive me, Father, for I have sinned..." She wracked her brain for something beyond that and came up empty.
What was it they always said in the movies?
"It's been…uh…a long time since my last confession."
She tried not to look at the oak walls that were way too close for comfort and instead focused on the little grate that separated her from the priest. "Um…wanna help me out here, Father?"
"Are you sure you're Catholic?"
"Actually I'm--was...I was an agnostic. Yeah. Was."
Lying. In a church. Oh, she hoped there wasn't a hell and the Catholics weren't in charge of it.
Techie glanced around at the little wooden box, trying not to draw a parallel between it and a coffin and wondered idly why she didn't just let the Batman arrest her. "You could say that. I'm new at the whole confessional thing."
"Me too. I haven't been in the priesthood all that...long."
Techie blinked. "What is this, like a teaching church or something?"
"You know, like a teaching hospital?" She grew thoughtful. "What's your name?"
"My child," he sounded somewhat uncomfortable addressing her as such, but she let the awkwardness pass. "The very nature of the confessional is anonymity. But you may call me...Father Dawder."
"You can't be serious."
"It's a perfectly good name."
"I wasn't implying that it isn't. It's just...punny." She nervously chewed her bottom lip. "You know, you don't sound like a priest."
"You don't sound much like a parishioner," he replied without missing a beat.
"Point taken." She cleared her throat. "So um...Father...uh. Sorry, like I said, I'm new at this…"
"You could begin by confessing your sins…"
"What, all of them? We'll be here all week."
"How about just the most pressing ones?"
"Um. I lie. A lot. Oh, and steal."
"Lying and stealing…you don't cheat?"
Insulted, Techie glared at the grate. "What do you think I am? I never cheat."
She got the distinct impression from his voice that he was amused. "Not even at cards?"
She got insulted. "Especially not at cards. I do have some standards, you know."
"Alright, lying and stealing…anything else?"
"Coveting counts as a sin, right? Should I confess that?"
"What have you coveted?"
"I have to tell you? I'm not going to confess that one then. I take it back."
"It can't be that bad."
"Oh, yes it can. You know the commandment about not coveting your neighbor's wife, right? Wait, duh, of course you do, you're a priest...anyways. I've done something almost as bad."
"And that is?"
"Coveted my best friend's OTP."
"Your best friend's what?"
Techie sighed. Slang and the use thereof always made things more complicated. "One True Pairing. You know, the person she's destined to wind up with."
The priest cleared his throat. "And how do you know that she's 'destined' to end up with this fellow?"
"Just do. Ca--Callie...she's like a plate glass window, she is. She and Ed--Edwin. Yeah. Edwin. They've got OTP written all over them. They just don't know it yet."
"But you're attracted to…Edwin?"
Boy this was getting awkward…she wondered if Batman was gone yet…surely getting arrested would be less embarrassing than talking about her non-existent relationship with the Riddler with a priest…
Techie shifted uncomfortably, fidgeting. "Yes and no...and yes. The whole thing is complicated beyond measure. And when did this turn into an interrogation?"
"I don't mean to make you feel like you're being interrogated."
"Well you're doing a lousy job of it, Father." Techie shook herself, forcing away the urge to change the subject. "But none of that really matters…me liking him, I mean. I'm perfectly content to be his friend, anything else would be a bonus."
He cleared his throat again and Techie brushed her damp hair out of her eyes, noticing that it was quite a bit dryer than it had been a few minutes earlier. Maybe it was safe to leave?
But how to get out of the confessional without raising suspicions?
Wing it! a Captain-esque voice piped up in her head…
"I don't think I like this confessional thing very much. It's...ooky."
"So...you don't mind if I just...cut out of here without a load of assigned Hail Marys or whatever?"
"Boy, do I feel sorry for the immortal souls in your keep. How did you manage to get this job?"
"That truly is a riddle."
"I'll say it is." Standing up, Techie opened the door to her side of the confessional and slipped out.
It took five steps away from the little wooden box for the gears in her head to grind to a complete halt.
A riddle? A riddle. Who on earth actually used the word 'riddle' in everyday conversation? That is, other than…
And then something inside her head clicked into place. Something that would have jumped out at her immediately under less…weird circumstances…
"Dawder. Dawder. D-A-W-D-E-R, six letters," she spun on her heel and stalked back up to the confessional, not giving a damn about whether or not her instincts were correct. "D-A-W-D-E-R is an anagram of E-D-W-A-R-D!"
She flung open the priest's side of the confessional.
Edward Nygma, in the slightly disheveled trappings of a priest, stared up at her.
He blinked back.
She blinked again, not sure if her eyes had gone insane or not. "Eddums?"
He stood, awkward and aware of his strange attire.
Well, strange for him, at least.
"You forgot to take off your mask."
"Ah. Yes. Ahem. Thank you." Edward removed his mask and smoothed his hair before looking back at her.
Techie shifted from foot to foot, mortification at revisiting her own topics of discussion while in the confessional warring with her need to make sure what'd been said stayed confidential. "Um...Eddums...could we keep this whole thing...you know, between us?"
He tugged at the collar of his borrowed clothes. "I won't say anything if you don't."
Her shoulders sagged in relief. "Good. Let's just forget this ever happ--"
Techie turned and saw made out the form of a drenched woman, standing in the doorway of the church, backlit by a bolt of lightning.
Before Edward had time to register what was going on, Techie had turned to face him and shoved him unnecessarily hard, effectively stuffing him back in the confessional.
"I'm sorry, Eddums, but she has this thing about corrupting the innocent. Priest fetish, you know? Trust me." She slammed the doors shut noisily. "You'll thank me for this later."