AN: A short little story of self-reflection, all from the Riddler's point of view. Reviews would be greatly appreciated.


He stands and waits, contemplating his life, the lives of others and the world as a whole. The game is in session and the current round is set to take place as soon as his favorite hero shows up. His only opponent, the grim spectre that haunts criminals in the middle of the night, the living nightmare that can bring hardened criminals to the verge of a psychological breakdown, the thing that goes bump in the night. Bruce Wayne. He always chuckles when he thinks of it. It's ingenious, it really is. But he never thinks of his adversary as Bruce. There simply is no such man. Like there really is no man named Edward Nigma. He keeps the name and often uses it, like his hostile friend does, but that's not who he is anymore.

They are very different. He doesn't entertain any foolish notions of bettering the world, of sparking hope in the hearts of the hopeless or any similar ideas. Eddie sees the world as it really is. Unlike Batman, he is aware of the fact that this is not a fairy tale world, not some battle between good and evil. The world isn't quite that simple. But despite this simplistic worldview the Batman is smart. Almost as smart as he himself is. The only advantage Batman has is his physical prowess. But this perfectly fits their roles. The Detective and the Mystery. They perform their roles endlessly, never aspiring for anything else, no hunger for power, no ambitious plans to become some sort of macho top dog. No, they are above such things. They need each other (although Batman does have other partners to dance with, losing Riddler would leave a hole that couldn't be filled) because they give each other purpose. Without anyone to fight, Batman would shrivel up and die, and without anyone to compete with, Eddie would do the same.

He does not want to be some petty tyrant, unlike the droves of super-powered nitwits that inhabit the world. He doesn't want to change the world, for better or worse. This is what he wants to do for as long as he lives. Nothing can replace this. He's the best at what he does and what he does is pretty.

He is considered the least threatening, the least powerful of his colleagues in Gotham. They don't appreciate how much effort it takes to pull off his masterpieces with so few casualties. How much more challenging it is to leave all the pawns alive. Any idiot can plan a little heist, come in with guns blazing and blast their way through everyone and everything. Doing the same job cleanly and perfectly, making a show out of it and retaining control through the whole affair, that takes skill.

He doesn't try to make people's lives better, but he doesn't try to make their lives miserable either. He's fluent in a dozen languages, dabbles in a few dozen more, is an expert engineer, he can solve complex mathematical problems in his sleep and has on occasion been called a walking encyclopedia. But he doesn't claim to be better than others. He occasionally mocks their simplicity, but not in a mean way. If you meet a child in the street you do not spit in its face. They don't have to actively recognize him, as long as they notice his work he's content.

He can hear the sound of his pawns fighting the Batman below. He smirks and steps closer to the ledge, gazing over the city. His jacket flaps in the breeze, far above the streets. He loves the wind. How it makes his clothes shake around him, how it howls and makes everything seem to be completely out of control. He loves the wind almost as much as he loves the rain. The smell of it, the sound of it, the feel of it. How it can obscure sight yet make everything seem crystal clear at the same time. He loves fire even more than rain. Its destructive qualities, its entrancing movements, its ability to express the passion that consumes him. In short, Eddie loves life.

But above all else, Eddie loves himself. No-one can match his speed of thought, no-one can solve his schemes, riddles or traps. No-one can compare to his razor-sharp wit, his enlightened philosophy, his overall greatness.

Except Batman. His greatest friend and his best enemy. Despite all the pain and suffering that always comes with their meetings, Eddie needs him. After all, if he lived with reckless abandon and unleashed his intricate schemes and puzzles and got no response, received no challenge, had no boundaries to break, life would be fairly empty wouldn't it?

He'd live gloriously, true, but it would be short-lived. He'd unleash a maelstrom of energy, show the world the blazing inferno that is his mind, show them that there are no limits to the power of the mind, and then he'd die out. Because if no-one except him appreciated his genius, if no-one countered his power it just wouldn't work. You can't play chess if your opponent never makes a move.

Eddie often thinks that, in their own ways, they are all like this. The Rogues all need Batman. And even if he will never admit it, he needs them.