I do not OWN Young Justice, just making sure I'm legal around here.
It was almost midnight when the black car took a turn into the deserted street and stopped in front of a door. It was an ordinary metal door, two steps up from the street, a single, almost burnt light shining over it.
The backseat door opened, revealing one extraordinary man. One could argue it was because of his fame and intelect. Others, because of his fashion sense. His unique attire consisted in the bright green suit he wore, with a question mark pattern all over it, including his purple tie. He wore a a bowl hat with a purple stripe, and a small green mask.
He stood up, and in his hands was a cane, also in the shape of a question mark.
Who he was, was no mistery. He wore a mask, even though his face and name was known all over town, specially from the "wanted" posters.
He was an enigma.
Or so he called himself. Of course, that was not his real name.
(Or was it?)
Nobody was sure, and he was not a man of answering. Only questioning.
He prefered another name, especially when he wore the business suit.
He was The Riddler, the man who made the questions and had all the answers.
The smartest man alive.
(At least he acted like that.)
Tonight, the Riddler had come to this particular address for no particular reason, except the reason that made him who he was.
Last night, someone left an envelope at his hideout.
Nobody knew he was there, he was certain of it.
That is, until he got the envelope.
No sender, only a question mark in green ink.
Inside of it, a small piece of paper, with a number on it, and one old key.
Someone was sending him a challenge and an invitation.
(NOBODY challenged the Riddler. He was the one who tested others. Never the one to be tested.)
Intrigued, he looked at the number. '86.400'. He sighed, disappointed.
Then he proceeded to the key. Flat, brass, not distinguishable marks, except two small letters, "Y" and "L".
'It's a date, then', he half-smiled, throwing away the envelope and putting the contents in his pocket.
Now, at this undiclosed location, the Riddler used the key at the door and it opened, as he already knew it would.
The man walked down a narrow staircase into the basement of the building, rather bored.
"I see you got my message", said a male voice from below. "Was it hard to find this place?"
The Riddler pondered for a second, but did not recognize immediately the owner of the voice. It was familiar though - arrogant and grave, full of sarcasm.
"Of course not. You gave me too many clues", Nygma replied to the yet unknown man.
It was well-lit for a basement. It looked just like one of his many hideouts. 'Probably a storeroom', he concluded, like the hundreds more owned by the many criminals of Gotham City.
"My fault", the man said. "I underestimated your intelect". There was a deliberate pause before the last word.
Now he could see the man, and he immediately knew exactly who he was.
The only man that considered himself smarter than the Riddler himself.
Edward replied in disdain: "A common and unforgivable mistake for many. But you are known yourself for making crucial mistakes, isn't that right, Mr. Luthor?"
The Riddler rumaged through his suit's pocket, playing around with his golden cane in his other hand.
He produced the small paper. "A number and a key. '86.400' was obvious. The exact number of seconds in a full twenty four hours cycle, a solar day on planet Earth. But that was too easy, of course, anyone could just 'google' it. Now, the key..."
He gave a little smile.
"This is a 'Yale Locks' key, from an old company that closed down decades ago. This is were their old address used to be, when this was still known as 24th Street, 400. Today, this is the 86th street. 86th, 400."
Riddler smiled, an honest and sincere smile. "I cannot help but admire this invitation of yours, although the simplicity of it was really frustrating. At least, it has been quite a good use of fifteen minutes of my free time, last night. The real riddle, however is... what do YOU really want from me, Luthor?"
"Me? Nothing", he said with smug.
Luthor had one of those expressions, calculating every move around him.
To Nygma, Luthor appeared as a perpetual chess player, always looking and thinking ten steps ahead of those around him.
(The Riddler played at thirteen steps ahead, without breaking a sweat, as he would gladly gloat about it in any other occasion.)
"I come as a representative of a... let's say, a certain group of interests. We have had a little problem of late that requires a man with your talents. In any other occasion, we would handle it ourselves, however, we find ourselves... 'caught' in other projects, so we opted for... an 'outsource'."
The Riddler rose his hands.
"Please, Lex, don't bother. I know there are some subjects that cannot come... to 'Light'..."- Luthor narrowed his eyes at the mention of this name. - "... but I don't want to have anything with any group right now, whatever side of the law it is... or pretends to be."
The Riddler gave a nod with his hat, turned around and was about to leave, until...
The Riddler stop, looking back just slightly interested.
"What about him?"
"Was he not the one that caught you last time? Oh, I heard about that. You... ALMOST got away from Batman, didn't you? You would have got away from the country in the nick of time, leaving behind a clueless Batman and proving your intelect as the smartest mind in Gotham City. If only his sidekick had not managed to hack into your firewall, right under your nose, and found out your escape plans, you would have won."
The Riddler said nothing, but Luthor knew he was just holding back the obvious outburst. 'One more insult, then': "If a child like him could do something so complicated so easily, then what must that say about someone like you, Edward? The Batman besting you, sure, even you recognize his intellect. But, a little boy...?"
"That little brat...", Riddler mumbled, then suddenly shouted "HE CHEATED! There's no way he could have... not without HELP!"
Luthor smiled. He got Nygma exactly where he wanted him. The man was so smart, but he let his ego get the best of him sometimes.
Not like him, of course.
"Well... what if I told you that, nowadays, the 'Boy-Wonder' hangs around with a different kind of group? Not his boss's gang, no. Others, just like him".
He got closer to the Riddler: "Can you tell me what is young, gullible, inexperienced, too full of themselves, too proud of their accomplishments and have yet to feel the weight of reality?"
The Riddler turned back to Luthor.
He was serious now.
"Kids", Edward Nygma answered.
"Got you interested now, Edward?"
The Riddler looked straight to Luthor, no, beyond him.
"What does Life give us all, but you could never give to yourself?"
With that, the Riddler left.
Inside the car, Edward Nygma - no, the Riddler was already deep in thoughts.
He knew Lex knew he would react like that.
He did not care.
'Let Luthor think he's in control. Let he think he can toy with me! I have something much more IMPORTANT to do now. After that, then... then I'll deal with Luthor.'
Back in the former office of Yale's Locks, Lex Luthor smiled.
"A lesson", he answered - to no one.