A/N: This fic can be read on its own or can be read as a companion piece to my other fic; 'Hey, diddle, diddle, time for a Riddle–er'. For those who've read my other fic, this is a prequel (of sorts).
Thanks so much for the reviews on my last Riddler fic – they inspired me to write another piece with Riddler and Annie (as well as the other one which I'd already written but I'm trying to flesh it out a bit more ;))… Anyway, thank you!
This fic is also from Riddler's point of view, just for a change ;)
The Riddler was bored.
Batman had foiled his latest scheme just last week, saving the wealthy but utterly idiotic brat whom Riddler had chosen for his deathtrap. Of course, the caped wearing buffoon had cheated. Riddler couldn't quite work out exactly how he'd cheated… But he knew that he had. It was the only logical explanation.
So now he was lying low, waiting for his ingenious mind to come up with another plan that Batman wouldn't be able to spoil…
Only problem was, until his brain came up with a truly brilliant design of unsurpassed genius (which it most certainly would – it was only a matter of time), Riddler had to wait… And waiting made him bored.
Then inspiration strikes. He smiles: He's just thought of a pastime to alleviate said boredom…
He eventually tracks her down to a secluded park bench on the west side. Odd, how she seemed to have taken to finding obscure places to be when she wasn't at work. It was almost like she was trying to hide from him…. But he hadn't fatally threatened her in ages so he can't imagine why she would. Still, finding her did provide him with something to do, and it never took long for his deductive skills solve the mystery.
He strolls over, dressed in a dapper grey suit, sadly not his usual green one since he was having the blood dry-cleaned out. And there was also the fact that it was rather conspicuous...
He finds it highly amusing that even though he didn't wear a mask like some of the other Rogues, if he was out of his customary green, people just didn't recognise him. What morons Gotham City held within its borders…
She doesn't look up as he approaches, her eyes remaining fixed on the… crossword puzzle that she was doing. That's my girl, he thinks.
He takes a seat beside her but she still doesn't acknowledge him.
"Lovely day," he remarks jovially into the silence, just to see if that garnered a reaction of any sort.
"Hmmm," she agrees in reply, though her tone was obviously designed to dissuade further conversation. Poor thing. She probably thought it was just some regular cretin who'd taken a seat next to her, rather than who it actually was: Him. Gotham's most brilliant mind.
His eyes peer over at her crossword. It was the Gotham Times cryptic crossword. Interesting. A fair challenge for someone like her. No challenge at all for someone like him, of course. She'd completed every clue except for one. She was absentmindedly twirling her pen as she thought.
"The answer is 'candle'," he says self-assuredly.
The twirling stops.
"'A wicked thing', a wick-ed thing, you see?" he expounds, in order to prove it wasn't just a lucky guess on his part.
He sees the grip tighten on the pen ever so slightly,
"Oh, yeah… Thanks," she replies ungraciously, still without looking at him. He knew how she felt. Though it was extremely rare, there had been occasions when the same thing had happened to him from 'well-meaning' individuals... He'd been sure to show his displeasure in a far more tactile sense than just words though.
"I would have got it eventually, you know," she adds peevishly as she dutifully writes the word in its designated box.
"Oh, I'm sure you would have… Annie."
Her head whips to the side and he only just manages to clamp his hand over her mouth before the scream escapes,
He leans his head down towards her, saying softly but firmly,
"Now, Annie, you really must get out of this habit of screaming every time you see me, particularly when we're in public. You don't want to go drawing attention to us now, do you? …You know how displeased it makes me when other people take it upon themselves to barge into my business uninvited," he looks at her pointedly and, sure enough, she hastily quietens. He smirks. He doesn't mind that she fears him. Fear was just a more primitive form of admiration after all.
He removes his hand from her mouth, slowly, and waits to see if she'll do anything stupid…
She doesn't. She's a clever girl… for the most part.
He moves back from her slightly and takes up a relaxed position on the bench, arms rising to rest along the back of it as she stares at him. When it became obvious he wasn't about to speak, she did,
"What the hell are you doing here?" she demands in a high-pitched voice.
"I came to see you," he replies. Though he really thinks she should have worked that out for herself.
"How did you find me?"
"It was a simple process of elimination."
"Well… why are you here? What do you want?"
"Well… what am I supposed to do about it?" she asks with anxious bewilderedness.
"I don't know," he replies. In all honesty, he hadn't actually thought that far ahead. But she was looking on with those wide, expectant eyes…
"Tell me a riddle," he proposes, though it comes out as more of an order.
"Tell me riddle. You know a riddle, don't you?" the slightest edge creeps into his voice.
"I… Er," he can practically see the cogs in her mind scrambling, but sure enough she comes through: "W-what goes up, but never comes down?"
"Er – Feed me and I live, give me drink and I die. What am I?"
"How many letters are in your name?"
"W-what's at the end of everything?"
He huffs, "The letter 'g'." It was blindingly obvious. He looks at her, eyes narrowing, "I must say you are disappointing me, Annie," he says reproachfully. He sees her eyes widen even more and she gives an audible gulp. He was getting bored again… and he didn't like being bored. "Perhaps," he begins musingly, but she doesn't allow him to finish,
"No wait!" she exclaims hurriedly, holding out her hands in a surrendering type of gesture. "I've got another riddle – one that you won't have heard before."
He eyes her condescendingly, "I sincerely doubt that, Annie," he says with a low voice, a sure sign that he was getting annoyed.
"No, you won't, I made it up myself."
That piqued his interest. His voice rises back to a lighter timbre, "Really? What is it?"
She looks at him in undisguised apprehension for a moment before swallowing and taking a deep breath,
"I was before Eve and Adam,
I am before you each day;
I can be cruel or kind, good or bad
But only death will take me away."
Ah, this was what he liked. Something different. "Hmmm," he murmurs as his brain ponders. Then he realises;
"Choice," he answers smugly.
"Correct," she whispers. Of course it was, he thinks.
"That was good. Rather simple though... Tell me another one," he directs.
He sees her gape at him,
"I don't know another one," she protests.
"B-because," she flounders, "I… I didn't know I'd be called on to give riddles."
He eyes her disappointedly and she seems to shrink further in on herself, her eyes looking as though he was about to start beating her with his cane… Except he hadn't brought his cane…
He lets out a sigh.
"Oh, well," he finally says, deciding to let her off the hook just this once. She was one of the few people whom he didn't mind tolerating after all, and she did cook rather well... He turns his attention away from her and out of the corner of his eye he sees her body sag in something like relief. She really was a nervous little thing. He couldn't think why.
He turns his head back to her,
"I want you to think up more riddles," he tells her and she gazes at him with that expression which seemed to suggest he was being completely unreasonable.
"Why?" she asks hesitantly, bewilderedly.
"So that you can tell them to me the next time I get bored," he says exasperatedly. Really, the answer was obvious.
"But – but I…" she stammers.
"Yes?" he prompts with exaggerated patience, leaning his head down slightly and bringing his face closer to hers since her voice seemed to be getting quieter with each word she said.
"I'll do it," she suddenly agrees, whilst hurriedly attempting to lean away from him.
He smirks. "Good," he proclaims with satisfaction.
He leans away once more to rest back against the seat.
He gazes round idly before realising that he was, once again, getting bored… not to mention hungry. He glances at his elegant swiss watch and notices that it was, in fact, getting quite late,
"Hmm," he turns his head to the side once more, "So, Annie… what's for dinner?"
A/N: Riddle: "How many letters are in your name?" Answer is eight because 'your name' has eight letters. Just in case anyone was confused :)
And because Riddler wears tinted glasses in Arkham City, I decided to use that instead of him wearing his mask.