It was nightfall in Gotham City, within the wee morning hours. The Batman had done his work and done it well, just like always. It was time to head back to the Batcave to try to recuperate enough as to face his normal life for a while. With no major villains terrorizing the city, it was rather quiet. And even though the Bat did not prefer it that way, thinking that it was impossible for his city to ever be quiet, he accepted and decided it was time to lick his wounds. Wounds that has been open for years, wounds he wouldn't allow to close.
He had decided to leave the Batmobile in tonight, wanting to exercise himself so he would be ready in case anything major did happen. He could never allow himself to be unprepared. He had to be on top of the game at all times, or he might as well quit. Even as the years had passes he had been able to stay a step ahead of his evil competition, and that's why he believes he's been able to be so successful. He could never relent, for relenting made people weak. And weak was one thing he wasn't.
As he reached his destination, he made sure that no ones eyes would catch a man-sized Bat disappearing into a strange locale. He knew no one would possibly be able to detect him; he had been trained too well. But it was always good to check. He entered the Batcave to find it like it always was: empty. Nothing except the soft hum of his electronics was present. The Batman took off his cowl and started in the direction of his costume chambers, knowing he would pass the glass display cases.
The dinosaur was the first thing anyone saw when they headed in this direction, its eyes and teeth quite menacing for a fake. The shine of a giant-size penny lay just behind the reptilian model, followed by the first display case. A costume of a Robin of the past, long dead, murdered at the hands of his worst enemy. The next case held a more familiar costume, this one of another Robin, except this costume sported a gold and black cape and pant legs. He smirked at that one. The next two cases were grim reminders however, and he could not bring himself to look at them. They both held a blue and black costume, except one held the insignia of a bat, the other just a blue V across the chest area. He continued to walk, head held high, not allowing himself to succumb to the thoughts the costumes reminded him of. Thoughts of his failures.
Finally he entered his chamber and changed from his costume into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. He then made his way to his computer, where he would most likely sit at least until dawn broke in a few hours. He pulled out his seat and sat, spinning the chair deftly so that it stopped right in front of the screen. He went to flip on the monitor but not before he took a look at his face. A tired, wore face. A face that showed years beyond his true age. The face of Tim Drake...
Tim woke up with a start. He was in a cold sweat, his sheets soaked. He rubbed his eyes sleepily and looked about, letting his eyes fall upon the clock that read 4:20 am. What in the world was that? he wondered as he climbed out of bed and went to his window. He saw nothing much due to the new moon, but he wasn't looking for anything in particular. Of all days to have that dream...on the day of my mother's death. I hope you're not trying to tell me anything, Mom, cause that's the last thing I want to happen. In fact, I don't even know how much longer I want to be Robin to tell the truth. He walked over to desk and picked up the phone. "Steph? You awake?"
Name: Tim Drake
Powers: None, trained in most of the world's known fighting techniques. What's going on: Recently returned to Brentwood Academy after a week back in Gotham City. While there, the Shaolin Clan, who were hired to kill him by a still unknown adversary, attacked him. Also came to terms with his girlfriend, Spoiler a.k.a. Stephanie Brown, about her knowing his secret identity. Took down the leader of the Shaolin, Lotus, who was not shy about telling Robin how she felt about him. Whether he does or does not know her is unconfirmed.
Group Affiliation: Teen Titans
ID Known by teammates: Yes
Arkham Asylum. One and a half years ago.
"Oooo! What are you gonna do about it Nigma? Send a bunch of puny question mark men after me?" Slash erupted with laughter. "Oh, look boys, the Riddler's gonna get me, maybe I should run!" The room was practically filled with laughter. And he hated it. Good thing Joker wasn't in right now. "Now like I said, Eddie," Slash began again. "Give me your dinner and I'm not taking no for an answer. Edward looked hard at the man who had killed 14 of Gotham's richest within 15 minutes at a party he was "catering". He had to be firm.
"No." Slash's smile faded now and without hesitation he had Edward by the neck pinned to wall.
"Wrong answer, bitch!" His fist drove into Edward's chest, nearly causing him to puke up what food he had digested before Slash showed. Edward slumped to the floor sucking wind. "When I tell you to do something, you listen, ho!" He kicked Nigma sharply in his ribs, sending the villain completely to the floor. Slash raised his fist for another blow when he felt the electricity charge through his body.
"That's enough, Myers!" the security guard screamed as he continued to hit Slash with his taser. The crowd quickly backed away from him and Riddler and ran back to their tables. The rest of the security team arrived and picked up both prone men. "Take Myers to the hole; get Nigma to the doctor."
Later that evening, Edward Nigma finally regained his senses. He was in the medical unit, where he was the only patient. It was his third time here this week.
Dammit! he thought as he pounded his fist into the bed. I am so sick of being everyone's doormat! Every other one of these ignorant oxes thinks I'm their 'bitch' and I'll bend right over. The Riddler cowers before no man! His eyes fell upon a computer magazine nearby. He picked it up and quickly leafed through it, but soon became bored. He knew everything that magazine said and more. But of course, it's Bill Gates with all the money and I'm the one who continues my endless waltz with the Batman. Why? I could have just as much money if not more if I really applied myself. But knowing my luck, Batman would still hunt me down and beat my ass again. He laid back and tried to relax, his ribs and chest still throbbing. I've got to learn how to fight. A minute later a smile crossed his face.
One week later.
"Back for more I see huh, Eddie?" Slash asked as Edward entered the gym. "Because I know you definitely aren't here to work out." The laughing started again, but Riddler ignored it now.
"I want you to teach me how to fight." Slash's eyes grew wide and he doubled over laughing at that remark. Tears were streaming down his face.
"YOU?! You want me to teach you how to fight?!" he began when he was able to breathe again. "The only thing I'll be doing for you is bending you over and making you my little Arkham slut!" Edward didn't react. He simply pulled out the taser and shocked the hell out of Slash. After twitching violently for several minutes, Slash finally spoke: "Where the hell did you get that?" Riddler showed his other arm, which was soaked in blood.
"It's called a shiv. It was rather easy to stick one in the guard at the door. After all, this is Arkham." He started up the cattle prod again and let Slash watch the electricity run. "So...when do we start those lessons?"
Name: Edward Nigma
Age: 30 something
Alias: The Riddler
Powers: None, but has learned many fighting skills over the past year and a half ranging from common street thugs to martial arts experts. What's going on: Has spent most of his time in his training, which he feels he recently completed after he handed the King Snake broken ankles. Has also been trained by some of the Batman's most dangerous villains, whose identities are yet to be exposed. After escaping from Arkham, Nigma went to the Orient and was able to make a fortune with his genius alone. He used that money to pay most of his teachers, and now uses it in his return back to crime. Recently began a personal vendetta against Robin by hiring the Shaolin Clan to kill him, for reasons that are still unclear.
Group Affiliation: None
"And Even The Heroes Plot"
Stephanie Brown strained her sore, battered body as she slowly pulled off her Spoiler costume. It had been another hour of training with Batgirl, even though she had gained the upper hand a few times. Of course, Batman had only pointed out her mistakes, but at least she knew she was improving.
"Ahh, young Stephanie," Alfred said as she exited the dressing room. "Another hard day I see."
"And it's not over yet, Bruce wants to me to be back this evening for another session." She complained as rubbed her shoulder. "Why is he training me so hard, Alfred?"
"I believe he simply wants you to be prepared for what you could face young one. You must remember you've just come under his tutelage. He can't allow anyone of you to be hurt due to his assuming." Steph nodded and began rubbing her neck when that too started to hurt.
"It's almost as if he has a purpose in mind for me though, like he feels he has to get me to a certain level for a reason. I mean he had years to train Dick, I don't know that much about Jason..." her words trailed off as both of their eyes fell upon the glass display case. "...and Tim told me that he brought him along slowly. So why is he pushing me so hard if he doesn't have plans for me." Alfred shook his head and began to rub her shoulders.
"I wish I knew Miss Brown, but as we all know, Master Bruce keeps to himself, more so these days."
"How do you put up with that, that never knowing?" she asked. Alfred shrugged and started to walk away.
"We humans tend to learn to accept and adapt. Let's just say I've grown very good at doing that." Stephanie smiled a bit as she watched Alfred disappear into the Cave's void. And that's when the pain started again.
"I need to a nice scalding bath, especially if I have to come back." She sighed and took a glance upward after having the feeling she was being watched. Finally she ignored it and headed for the door.
And in the same area where Steph's eyes had searched, the Batman watched from high above. Watching, knowing, plotting.