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She was leaning over him, her dark hair wild, her clown make-up ruined, teeth bared. Her small hand was holding a gleaming shard, her arm raised up, ready to plunge the sharp obejct into him. Oh, how delicious this was. What a sight she was.

The child who had been scared by his mere presence five years ago (which he remembered like it was yesterday by now) had vanished and had been replaced by this delicate, pretty teenage girl. And what a girl she had turned into. There was no fear inside her anymore, at least not for her own wellbeing. Bryce Wayne, princess of Gotham had turned into a tigress. Jerome had to admit that she had surprised him. Never would he have thought that she would stand a chance against him in a fist fight. He was stronger than her, of course. But the princess had obviously been training while he had been dead. She had defeated him by technique, using the strength he had put into each blow for her advantage and practically turned his own body against him.

And now she was ready. The pretty rich girl fascade was destroyed, torn like the pearl necklace she had been wearing. That false dignity she must have adapted from her parents was gone and made room for the animal Jerome was staring up at right now. She was raging so wonderfully. And he loved it. It made him tingle in the best possible way. In the same way he felt whenever he killed someone.

“Do it!“, he hissed. He couldn't have looked away from her even if he had wanted to. She was like a painting. A piece of art created by him, brought to life. Small black dots were dancing through his vision but he ignored them. His whole face burnt with the intensity of hot iron but he didn't care.

He actually stopped breathing when she lifted the shard higher above her head, aiming at his chest. She was going to do it. She would kill him. Bryce Wayne would get her manicured hands dirty on him.

But then she froze. She had caught a glimpse of her own reflection in one of the mirrors that surrounded them. And it seemed that she was scared of what she saw. Before he could say another word, his vision was going fuzzy around the edges. The last thing he heard was her feral scream, not as high pitched as he remembered it, yet it was like music in his ears, sending him to sleep.

 

When he came to, she was gone. The shard lay next to him on the floor. He checked himself for further damage but found he was unharmed, well apart from his face which she had nearly managed to punch off again. He let out a disappointed huff before he got up and made a run for it.

 

It was foolish. Foolish and dangerous but that was exactly the reason he was going to do it. Jerome licked his lips in excitement as he climed the wall of Wayne Manor. What was it with rich people and their big historical houses, anyways? Were they trying to advertise their wealth and get robbed?

Logically, he should have lain low for a while now, the whole GCPD was looking for him, after all. And still, dear Jimbo wouldn't be smart enough to come looking for him here. Right where the target of his dreams lived and slept. Bryce Wayne, blue blooded billionaire bitch. He chuckled. Jerome wasn't sure yet, which role she was going to play in his game but he knew for certain that he would love it. He opened the window easily with his knife and carefully slipped inside. Looking around, he found that he had not ended up in the girl's bedroom, yet. It was a study, rather old school, if the packed large bookshelves were anything to go by. Normally, he would have messed them up but he had different things to do. He made his way to the door and stepped out into the hallway. Jerome had learnt to creep around silently at an early age. Stealing cookies and playing pranks had been his first regular activities. He had checked three rooms already before he finally found what he was looking for. The girl's bedroom was huge! It was bigger than his mother's entire trailer and much cleaner at that. And it only held a desk, a closet, an armchair, a nightstand and a bed. A bed which was big enough for five at least and was at the moment occupied by only one tiny form. Jerome softly closed the door behind him and walked closer. He stood right next to the bed and craned his head, looking down on his sleeping beauty. The covers had been thrown off, exposing the upper half of her body. She was wearing a black pyjama tank top, the straps slightly coming off her shoulders. Her collarbones were standing out a bit but Jerome only had to let his gaze wander a little lower to see that she was growing into a woman. Her breasts were not too big, yet but she already looked delicious. A girl on the cusp of womanhood. Jerome licked his lips. The girl must be 17 by now, so surely her body wasn't finished yet. Her arms seemed toned, though and she was stronger than she looked, Jerome had gotten a first hand experience of that today. So, she had been working out but not too much. He smiled at the clichée of a privileged girl, training some sort of martial art just because she hadn't been touched with velvet gloves for once. One bad evening to make her question her ability to defend herself.

One bad evening with him and she had started to transform. The fear he had managed to inflict upon her back on that stage was gone. She wasn't afraid of him anymore. She had faced him, had been looking into his eyes the entire time. He wondered what she would turn into after this night was over. Bryce Wayne was holding some great potential.

When he was about to sink down onto the bed next to her, she suddenly stirred.

She blinked her eyes open and looked at him. In a flash she sat up but before she could even utter a sound, Jerome had covered her mouth with his hand. He held a finger against his own lips, shushing her with a grin. It stung. Her brows furrowed. She had seen his smile falter. Damn it! He had stapled his face back into place again for the third time this day.

“Ya didn't think I'd let you escape like that, now did ya?“, he hissed, trying to distract her from the crack in his fascade. He was about to take his hand from her mouth when she bit his finger.

He pulled away instintively but laughed at her reaction.

“Didn't take ya for a biting type, baby. Wanna do it again?“ He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, ignoring the pain it caused. He was used to it, after all. And he wasn't going to let his injuries stop him from being his known mimical self. Bryce pulled up her knees in front of her, trying to get at least some distance between them, it seemed. For a moment, it looked as though she was considering several things, logical things form her point of view, probably like screaming for help or attacking him or making a run for it. But she did neither. She remained where she was and so did he. He kept smiling as he let his eyes examine her once more. The way her chest was heaving with breath. The texture of her dark hair which looked so soft he wanted nothing more than to mess it up. The princess didn't even have a bed head. How much more perfect could she be? Just as he considered that it had perhaps not been the best of ideas to come here, he noticed her eyes on him. She was examining him as well. Oh, that little rich girl was learning fast. Jerome couldn't help but clench his jaw when her blue eyes wandered over the wounds on his face. He didn't mind them. He had been a pretty boy, he knew that much. It was obvious by the way girls his age had been looking at him, back at the circus. Now, he looked a tad more like himself, he found. A monstrous face for a monstrous soul.

“Did you even disinfect that?“, she asked, her voice surprisingly soft. He was caught off guard for a second, before he threw his head back in a laugh, if only to escape her too observant eyes for a moment.

“Sorry, baby, was busy taking over the city, playing with ya and escaping the cops“, he explained matter of factly. It occured to him now that he had even taken the time to dress up, instead of taking care of his wounds. Wasn't that hilarious? He felt like he wanted to laugh but it got stuck in his throat when she pushed back the covers and got up, standing next to him.

“Come on, then“, she said and starting walking towards the door, seeming completely at ease. For a moment, Jerome wondered if the girl was feeling well but then he shrugged and stashed after her; it was not in his nature to look a gifted horse in the mouth, and whatever she wanted to do, he was too curious to stay behind. He couldn't help but taking in her body once more when she stepped into a different room which was attached to hers. She turned on the lights and Jerome got himself to care enough to take in the room for a second. It was a bathroom. A bloody palace, to be honest. It was as large as his childhood bedroom had been, in white and beige colours, a huge bathtub, a sink and a mirror cupboard. For a second, Jerome thought of a toilet or rather the obvious lack of one but of course, rich people owned several bathrooms, at least in a house such as this. Oh, what fun it must have been to play hide and seek in here as a child. Before he could ponder on whether Bryce Wayne had done such mundane things as a child (probably not, more like piano lessons and horse riding) she got his attention by sitting down on the edge of the bathtub, a first aid kit which she had taken from the cupboard balanced on her naked legs and looking at him expectantly. He hesitated. Was she really going to play doctor for him?

“You serious, princess?“, he asked before he could stop himself. “Where's the nurse costume?“

Instead of answering him, she held up her wrist where he had stapled her only hours ago. The wounds were small and had already begun to heal. Jerome didn't think he would ever forget that moment when she had just stared back at him, doing her best not to flinch at the pain. She had astonished him for a second, there.

“I know a few things“, she said and he didn't know why, perhaps to take a better look at his work, he sat down on the edge, facing her. It was the first time with the aid of light that he could see how bruised her knees were. Her hands as well, from punching him. He wanted her to do it again.

She poured a strange smelling liquor onto a cloth and carefully went for his face. When she touched his wounds, it burned like hell and he couldn't stop the sharp intake of breath even though he willed himself not to move.

“Sorry“, she mumbled, completely focused on her task. Jerome on the other hand wasn't able to take his wide eyes off her anymore. What was the girl on about?

“Why're being nice to me?“ He asked, unable to stop himself.

She didn't stop her work on his face, slowly making her way down the right side of his jaw, careful not too apply too much pressure on the sore skin.

“You're in pain. And as much as your fans celebrated your resurrection, none of them seemed to notice, so...“

His eyes fell to the pair of scissors inside the first aid kit and he considered holding it to her throat for a moment. As if reading his thoughts, she looked into his eyes.

“Why did you want to kill me?“ He snorted and tried to turn away his face but found that she didn't let him. Her fingers were closed around the uninjured skin of his chin, gently holding him in place. Her touch was firm but also warm and tender. Like a mother's touch. Jerome swallowed. He couldn't say where this association had come from. His mother had never treated his injuries, only added to them. At some point, he had stopped counting the bruises, the black eyes, the hits of her belt. His mother hadn't loved him, not for one day. But the bitch had gotten what she deserved.

“Told you, princess. Last thing I remembered I wanted to do before dying.“ She didn't blink.

“Yes, you said that. But why kill me in the first place? Back then?“

She looked into his eyes again, as if searching for something there. She was the first to do this ever since he'd gone to Arkham, he realised. Everyone else, even Galavan had seemed to shy away from direct eye contact with him. As if they were afraid the darkness inside him would trap and consume them. Jerome liked the thought of that, it made him feel powerful and giddy. But she was refusing him this satisfaction. She was aware of his darkness but she was the first one to actually look at it without fear. He felt the need to sigh but held it in. He thought for a moment. Ever since his first kill, he had taken lifes because it felt good. They'd been random people, he couldn't remember their names, he didn't care for that. But he had known Bryce Wayne from the newspapers. He had heard her name before Galavan had mentioned it in his plan and it was linked to a little cute rich kid whose parents had been killed in front of her. Jerome remembered the headlines. He remembered the pictures of that little girl and he recalled himself thinking that it served the privileged bitch right. While everybody seemed to feel sorry for the kid he couldn't help but laugh about it. Yes, poor little kiddo, all by herself in her big house, with her butler and her piles of money.

That night, the night he had died, he'd seen her in person for the first time. He had sawed her in half on that stage and even though he could tell she hadn't been comfortable with it at the beginning, she had laughed. She had the most precious little girlie smile. With dimples forming on her rosy cheeks, and glimmering eyes, simply adorable. As soon as she had left the stage, he had found that he wanted her back there. And then, he had had his arm around her, holding a knife to her sweet pink throat. She had trembled and shivered and even cried. The whole room had held its breath at the thought of him doing harm to the princess of Gotham. The little girl hadn't even been aware of her role, yet. Such innocence and grace and perfection and upper class double standarts all together in one room, meeting his raw, demanding bloodlust. Jerome had never felt so powerful in his life before. Even now, some five years later as he sat on her tub while she was caring for his wounds after he'd kidnapped her and broke into her house late at night, the memory of that moment was enough to cause a delicious shiver to crawl up his spine. But that was all it was, a memory. The little girl had grown up, she didn't believe in monsters anymore. At least not in those, he tried to represent.

She had made her way with the disinfectant to the corner of his mouth by now, where it hurt the most. One disatvantage of stapling your face back into place was that the skin was being pulled back. It stung with every breath he drew. In a sudden motion, he grabbed her wrist, stopping her movement. Bryce looked at him, confused but not scared. She had defeated him today. Whatever he was going to do, she would be prepared. The surprise element was gone and therefore a huge part of the fun. He wouldn't have that.

“Felt like it“, he growled out, staring her down. It was difficult to leave a good old routine behind.

“And now?“, she asked, not trying to free her arm from his grip.

“Now I feel like something else.“ He added before he grabbed the back of her head and pulled her forward into a kiss. She froze for only about two seconds, giving him enough time to memorize the softness of her lips before she pushed him back with such a force that he tumbled backwards off the bathtub, landing on the floor, right on his ass. She stood over him, her hands in fists. She was clearly upset. How delightful! He laughed again.

“You are unbelievable.“

“So, you enjoyed it?“ He asked, giving her a wink. Boyishly charming, that's what Galavan had called him. So, why not try for that?

Bryce seemed to take a moment to calm herself before she threw the cloth behind herself into the sink and crossed her arms.

“I think you should leave now. Get out.“ Jerome pouted but got up anyways. He had caught her by surprise and that was what he'd wanted, after all.

She walked him all the way down towards the front door, like a real lady. She kept her arms crossed the whole time and her face stoic. Still, it was a strange feeling walking side by side with her with none of them armed or with the immanent intention to hurt the other. She opened the door for him and leant against it, finally looking at him again.

“You should let a real doctor take a look at your injuries. Otherwise the skin will die off, which would not make a pretty picture.“ She smiled thinly.

“So, you do think me pretty, aw, baby, you're so sweet!“

“I did not-“

“No need to be ashamed, princess. Lots of girls fancy me.“ She shook her head with an annoyed huff, her dark hair tumbling over her shoulders.

“You have exactly two minutes before I call the police.“ With that she shoved him out the door and closed it right into his face. Jerome pondered for a moment whether she'd actually call the cops or not but he decided not to push his luck anymore tonight. The whole walk back into the city, he smiled even though it hurt. He had seen the way her nipples had stood out after he'd kissed her. Oh, yes, he had definitely left an impact there.