I've been in a Batman mood as of late, more specifically for the The Riddler. He needs more love.
Batman belongs to DC and Bob Kane. Lilli belongs to me.
Constructive criticism and reviews are appreciated, flames are not.
As of 1/19/2014 this chapter has been edited.
It was very strange and almost terrifying to have been hired to work at Arkham Asylum. Though Lilli Collins was no psychiatrist (Internal Medicine, actually) Arkham had actually contacted her offering a job. The pay was much better than the job she had at Gotham General and she couldn't help but be a little curious and decided that maybe it was time to broaden her horizons. So she took the job.
Even though she had her Master's and was more than qualified as a medical doctor, she was considered an intern until the head doctor, Dr. Gretchen Whistler, decided she had enough experience to take on patients by herself. So, she had to shadow several doctors in order to get a feel for what psychiatry was all about in order to learn more about the inmates.
"Even though you'll be a doctor to some patients here," Dr. Whistler had said, "you'll mostly be working in the Medical Facility in Arkham West."
And she was fine with that. Dr. Whistler already had her review notes and listen to tapes from some of the inmates and most of them made her shudder with horror.
"Dr. Collins, Dr. Whistler is ready for you now." One of the guards poked his head into her office.
"Thank you." Lilli said appreciatively. She stood up, gathering some of her notes, and walked out the door and down the hallway to meet with the elder doctor. Dr. Whistler was already waiting for her, looking prim and proper in her coat with her gray streaked hair up in a professional bun (the popular hairstyle for most of the female doctors on the island).
Lilli preferred wearing her white doctor's coat, left open, (something to keep her apart from the psychiatry trained doctors) over the gray closed coats of others. Her long ebony hair—usually a thick cascade of curls—was straightened and pulled back into a ponytail. "Hello Dr. Whistler." She greeted.
"Hello Lilli." The elder woman said back, she always referred to the younger staff by their names.
"Who is it today?" Lilli asked, praying it wasn't someone like Victor Zsasz (she read his file and didn't like it one bit).
"Edward Nygma." Dr. Whistler responded.
Lilli let out a small sigh of relief, even though Edward Nygma (AKA The Riddler) wasn't as dangerous as someone like Zsasz or the Joker, he was still considerably dangerous. Many of his riddles forewarned people of danger, but many of them couldn't even figure out the answer until it was too late. It was because of his deranged idea that only smart people (like him) should only live while the stupid (those who couldn't solve the riddles) should die. Though, only Batman had been the only one who could solve any of his riddles so far, which was why he frequently ended up at Arkham.
The interview room was simple, a tape recorder on the desk and chairs on either side. Though one chair was specifically for the inmate so they could be chained down and couldn't hurt the doctor talking with them. Dr. Whistler sat down, and arranged her notes neatly, waiting for the guards to bring Edward in. Lilli sat in a chair that was set away from the table in the corner. She was only observing. There was no need for her to participate. Not that she really wanted to, she wasn't keen on being a psychiatrist.
The door buzzed and a guard opened it, pushing a man through the door. He was dressed in the orange jumpsuit that all Arkham inmates wore with short brown hair but he had moss green eyes that were currently trained on Dr. Whistler.
"Dr. Whistler," he greeted. "How nice to see you again." He sat down at the table and allowed the guards to chain him to his chair.
"Hello Edward." Dr. Whistler replied back. "I heard you threatened Dr. Jackson with a riddle?"
The man scoffed. "Dr. Jackson, he's a buffoon. Anyone of intelligence could have figured out that riddle."
"And how was he supposed to know that his car would be bombed? He, and you, were lucky that he wasn't in it."
Edward scoffed again. "What a shame, the world would have been rid of another idiot."
Lilli couldn't help but feel mortified at his words. How could he so callously talk about another human being's life like that? She had become a doctor so she could help others and it was her job to save lives. And here this man was, talking about taking another's life like it was nothing. Pushing her feelings aside, she made some notes in her folder. Unfortunately, Edward picked up the sound of pencil scratching on paper and turned his eyes to the corner, locking onto Lilli's form.
"Why, hello there." The woman froze and looked up, her hazel eyes locking with his green eyes. "I didn't see you." Edward smiled. She was beautiful. A stunning creature, how could he have not noticed her? "And what is your name?"
"Leave her alone, Edward," Dr. Whistler said. "She's just an intern observing."
"But still," Edward implored, his eyes still locked onto her form. She was now avoiding his gaze; instead she was hastily going over her notes before looking back up. "A name would satisfy my curiosity about this new doctor in Arkham, for now."
At those words, Lilli felt a shiver go down her spine. "Dr. Collins." She answered him.
The Riddler grinned, showing off a gleaming set of teeth. "How about a first name?"
"You only asked for my name and I gave you the one that patients here will refer to me by." Lilli replied, sounding braver than she felt.
Her answer only delighted him further, she had spunk but did she have wit? "Would you care for a riddle?" He asked.
"Edward!" Dr. Whistler snapped. Her control of the session was spiraling out of control. Her finger was already hovering over the button that would summon the guards outside the door.
"It's alright Dr. Whistler." Lilli reassured her. After all, what's the harm in one riddle? "What is it?"
Edward was positively delighted. "I'll give you an easy one:
"From the beginning of eternity
"To the end of time and space
"To the beginning of every end
"And at the end of every place
"What am I?"
She repeated it a few times in her head. "The letter E." She replied.
He smiled widely. "Very good!" At last, someone in this Godforsaken hellhole who could match him in intellect. "How about another one: What belongs to you and is most important but others use it more than you?"
That riddle was easy, she'd heard it before. "My name."
"Excellent! Which I have yet to hear your first name, might I have it now?"
"Edward, that's enough!" Dr. Whistler burst out angrily.
"Oh, but Dr. Whistler, it's been so long since I've met anyone who was smart enough to even solve my riddles." The only other person had been Batman, but Edward would never, ever, call Batman his equal. He was just… continuously lucky. "One more, please?" He begged. This time… he would stump her, unless she could actually solve it. If she could… Happiness swelled inside of him at the thought.
Lilli almost felt frozen to the spot, she wasn't expecting this for the first interview that she'd be shadowing (she'd been at Arkham for almost two months but she worked in the Medical Facility, getting herself acquainted there). She gulped nervously. While she wasn't stupid, she wasn't extremely smart that would put her on a genius level (she worked her butt off through med school) and riddles were something she never bothered with. The first one was obvious and someone else had already asked her the second riddle once before.
Dr. Whistler glanced at the younger doctor, who looked back at her helplessly. "I think we're done for the day." Dr. Whistler pressed the buzzer. "Guards!"
"But we're not done yet!" Edward protested as the guards filed in and worked on releasing him from the chair and escort him back to his cell. "When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing." The guards pulled him from the chair and he looked expectantly at Dr. Collins who had a look of confusion on her face.
But surely, surely, she would get it. She had to. Otherwise…
Lilli felt panicky as she repeated the riddle over and over in her head, she tried to break it down and look at it, but that didn't work. If she didn't solve it, what would happen? She heard nasty things would happen to the people who never solved The Riddler's riddles.
Think Lilli! When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing. Now, why does that sound like something we went over in psychology at Gotham University? As she thought back to that class and repeated the riddle again, she had it. By a brilliant stroke of luck, she had it.
The guards had pulled Edward out of the room and the door had almost shut but the answer tore from her throat, "A riddle!" She shouted. The door closed with a click and Lilli let out a sigh of relief.
"Lilli!" Dr. Whistler turned on her. "Why did you encourage him in his delusions?"
"I'm sorry, Dr. Whistler." Lilli replied. "It's just that… wouldn't it have been better to play along? After all, the only reason why Dr. Jackson's car blew up is because he couldn't solve one of his riddles."
Dr. Whistler sighed. "Though in some cases, yes, but he's extremely fickle. He might try and slip you more riddles." The elder doctor looked sternly at Lilli. "And if that happens, you come straight to me. Is that clear?"
"Crystal." Lilli replied and she stood up, putting her notes away.
"And do be careful from now on, there's a reason why these people are criminally insane."
Edward could barely contain his glee as the guards escorted him back to his cell, she had gotten it. She actually solved the riddle. There was someone on this island (besides him) who was actually smart! And was beautiful to boot… What a bonus.
"Will you shut up?" One of the guards escorting him hissed.
Ever since Dr. Collins shouted the answer just as the door ("A riddle!") he had not stopped giggling and smiling like a child who had just received his favorite piece of candy.
Whoever this Dr. Collins was (and he was determined to find out her name), she now had his full and undivided attention. And he had dibs on her.
So now he had to make sure everyone else knew it. Including her.
"I heard you had a lovely session with Edward Nygma today." Sarah Cassidy commented to Lilli in the cafeteria when she joined the dark haired doctor at the lunch table.
"More like harrowing." Lilli replied. "He asked me riddles and Dr. Whistler wasn't happy that I played along with him."
"With good reason," Sarah replied. "You get them wrong or even can't answer, he gets angry and then he comes up with some scheme to kill you or inflict bodily harm. The bright side is, he sends you a riddle first, so you know it's coming. No one else does that."
"Still, I don't think he's as dangerous as some of the other criminals here…" Lilli trailed off at the thought, next week the Joker was scheduled to come in for a medical exam in order to ensure that his body was healing after the Titan fiasco nearly ten months ago.
She didn't want to think about it just yet.
"Well, these people are criminally insane and it's our job to help them as best we can." The redhead said, though she sounded a little tired when she said it. She, too, had her share of what the people imprisoned on the island can do. She would never forget what Zsasz tried to do to her.
"Yeah, doctor's duty." Lilli said hollowly. "I'm just not cut out for therapy. I'd much prefer to stay in the medical wing."
"I know, but it's policy here that every doctor have their own patients. It's to help strengthen the relationships between the staff and inmates. Besides, I wouldn't want to be holed up in the Medical Facility all day. There're too many chances for an inmate to go nuts."
"They're putting more guards in there, apparently there's room for it in the budget now. I'm surprised. Didn't repairs to the island cost almost three million?"
"I heard Bruce Wayne made a generous donation, Lord knows we need all the funding we can get to house these people." Sarah said.
"Hey, I know!" Sarah exclaimed and Lilli looked to her colleague curiously, "I have a therapy session with Jervis Tetch tomorrow, would you like to sit in on that?"
"Jervis Tetch… Isn't he the Mad Hatter?"
Sarah nodded. "Mhm, he's pretty harmless most of the time. Not as bad as some of the other inmates. I'd rather you sit in on sessions with the more docile ones than someone like Joker or Killer Croc." Both women shuddered at that thought.
"Alright, I'll do it." Lilli said thoughtfully, "I'll have to tell Dr. Whistler, I think she won't care. She'll just be happy that I'm getting experience."
"Yep," Sarah agreed and the both of them went on eating their lunch and made plans for a weekend shopping trip.
Dr. Gretchen Whistler had a lot of patience. It was needed for her job when she had to deal with people who didn't want treatment like Joker, Killer Croc, or Zsasz but her fellow doctor, Stephen Kellerman, was severely trying hers. "You want Dr. Collins to sit in on a session with Jonathan Crane?" She cried out in disbelief.
Jonathan Crane, AKA The Scarecrow, had escaped during the incident (along with Killer Croc and Bane) but was brought in by Batman three months ago (Killer Croc had been brought back two weeks ago but Bane was still on the loose.)
Kellerman nodded. "It'll be good experience for her—"
"She's only been here two months!" Whistler interrupted him. "She's a main part of the medical team! She only needs some of the low class patients!" Quite honestly, Edward Nygma was the highest level patient she wanted to do with Lilli. She wasn't trained to handle any patients who were higher than that. She would meet them in the medical facility anyway and that was enough for the girl. She would be meeting Joker next week…
"And Dr. Crane won't have any toxin on him! There'll be a full body search!" Dr. Kellerman argued. "You can't protect her forever and the sooner she meets most of these crazed lunatics, the better off she'll be. She'll know what she's up against!"
Dr. Whistler knew he was right. The last intern she had taken under her wing was Harleen Quinzel and she had made the grievous mistake of letting the girl sit in on sessions with the Joker. And she eventually let her try and treat him on her own. And now look at her… Every time she laid eyes on Harley Quinn, she felt a pang of guilt wrack through her body.
"Alright," Whistler relented. "She may observe but you keep her away from him. We all know what Dr. Crane is capable of and I don't want to lose another esteemed doctor to these people."
After lunch, Lilli had gone back to the medical facility and continued where she left off yesterday. She went over paperwork for the inmates who had medical conditions and scheduled procedures for them in the future. A few patients were brought in with minor injuries but other than that, it was a slow afternoon.
So she was happy to finally go home at the end of the day. She clocked out and climbed into her car and drove back to the mainland. Her apartment was in one of the better parts of town. It was close to the where most of Gotham's elite lived. And Lilli was fine with that. It meant it was safer than most places.
She unlocked her front door and heard little feet patter towards her. "Hello Ludwig." She greeted as a small tabby cat meowed at her.
Ludwig, (yes, named after Ludwig van Beethoven) was an extremely vocal cat, especially when he was hungry or wanted to be petted. Lilli knelt down and scratched him behind the ear. Almost immediately a loud purr began to sound from his throat. "Thought so, you were just lonely." She chuckled as she dropped her purse, kicked off her shoes, and scooped the cat into her arms. Lilli settled onto the couch in the living room, Ludwig curled comfortably on Lilli's lap, and turned on the TV just in time to catch the seven o'clock news.
But while she was safe and warm in the comfort of her home; back in Arkham, a certain villain giggled maniacally as he plotted out his next course of action: finding out Dr. Collins first name.
"Oh, we are going to have so much fun together, you and I." Edward giggled quietly. "There's no running from The Riddler, my dear."