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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been scared by his mere presence five years ago (which he remembered like it was yesterday by now) had vanished and had been replaced by this delicate, pretty teenage girl.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.

 

Chapter Text

Arkham was boring. Nothing had changed since his first round, there. They had fixed his face and it had taken a while for it to heal but apart from that, the endless boredom and the fact of being trapped inside an ancient broken building which lacked decent heating and dry ceilings together with loonies who spend their time drawing paintings and talking to their imaginary friends made Jerome feel as though his brain was festering away inside his head. He had to thank Jimbo for that. The good old wanna-be-hero had caught him some time after his late night visit to Wayne Manor. In the end, Jerome knew that he had himself to blame. Because, of course, the rich girl had called him after that. Bryce Wayne surely had Jimbo's number on speed dialing. Jim Gordon, war hero, good cop, man of the day. Perhaps the girl fancied him, with her daddy issues and dignified honesty and all that bullshit. Jerome had tried not to think about the two of them too often and exactly how he was going to take revenge on them but there was little to nothing else to do, except for planning his escape.

One day, it finally worked. He had escaped during visiting hours with the guards distracted enough to fake a panic attack, make them carry him outside and easily beating them down once they had been in the corridors. Then, he had discarded his inmate uniform for the guard's clothes (same old trick) and walked out through the front door. It had almost been too easy.

Now, he was back in Gotham city, back with his followers who had been busy running a fight club and some drug parties but apart from that they hadn't been up to much, it seemed. To be fair, they were out of money to do much more than that. Therefore, the first thing Jerome wanted to do was a nice robbery but not some boring thing like a bank. No, he wanted it to be a big public event to let everyone in Gotham know that he was back. In the end, he had decided to rob a night club, one of the biggest there was, where the rich kids and Gotham's elite was getting wasted on champagne with little gold droplets in it to drown their golden insides in.

So, when he crashed into that upper class party in the middle of the city, he didn't know why he was surprised to see Bryce Wayne there. She was busy leaning on the bar, having her face sucked off by some suit-and-tie-asshole who probably did it for attention. His hands were groping her rather clumsily and it was obvious that he was too drunk to know what he was doing. Ignoring his followers, Jerome lifted his gun in the air and fired it once, not taking his eyes off the couple. Everyone inside the club startled and some women screamed. The music was turned off by one of his minions and he was able to see her glassy eyes find him before he turned to their audience.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! We're here to rob the place!“ He extended his arms and laughed his signature maniac laugh, in case not everybody had understood the situation yet.

“So, where's the gentleman who owns this shithole?“ His followers laughed in union.

“Right here.“ Jerome spun around so quickly it must have looked comically. No one else but Bryce had answered his question. He furrowed his brows for a moment. The princess had not struck him as a party girl and now she owned a fucking night club? Lowering his gun, he stepped towards her, taking her in for the first time tonight. She was wearing a black glittering party dress which was just long enough to not look slutty, a silver necklace and black pumps. Her hair was in waves, probably fixed with more hairspray than he needed for his do. She was trying her best to seem calm and controlled but it was clear that she was pretty drunk. When he stepped closer, the groping butthead stumbled away by himself, good for him. Otherwise Jerome might have shot him in the face.

“Well, princess. Then we should take this somewhere more private, don't ya think?“ Before Bryce could answer, he had grabbed her arm and pulled her with him. She stumbled over her own feet once and he couldn't contain a laughter. The great Bryce Wayne was out of it. He led her into the next room, a launch it seemed. He shooed out the few people who'd been making out on the couches and closed the door behind him.

“Well, well, Bryce Wayne the billionaire bitch. I guess it's official now.“

She turned around and let her gaze wander over him before she carelessly let herself drop onto one of the black leather couches. Her hair reflected the purple lights of the room and only then he could see how tired she really looked. As if she hadn't slept for days.

“Whatever, Jerome.“ She answered and it seemed as though she really didn't give a flying fuck about his presence. It made him want to cut off at least two of her fingers.

“Aren't you supposed to be in prison or Arkham or something?“ He drew closer, straightening his suit jacket in the process.

“Boring. What have ya been up to, huh? You look pretty fucked up.“ That got her attention. Her jaw hardened for a moment and she dragged one hand through her dark hair.

“None o' your business.“ She huffed before she got up and went for the bottle of champagne which was standing on the small table in front of her. She didn't bother with a glass and took a gulp directly from the bottle. It looked odd to Jerome. That was not the girl he remembered. She wasn't the type for mindless drug consumation and dirty half-hearted making out sessions. Something had changed. He decided not to dwell on it. The money also wasn't on his mind anymore.

“Ya really wanted that idiot out there to fuck ya?“ Her brows furrowed. Then she leant forward, supporting her upper body on her knees, giving him a wonderful view of her cleavage. She had grown since the last time. The sight made his mouth water.

“What if I did?“

“Only if you're looking for bad sex, baby. That bloke wouldn't even make it to ya panties.“

“What, you think you could do better?“ The question surprised him. She normally wasn't that bold but then again, she was drunk. Maybe he should use that to his advantage. He placed the gun on the table and stood over her, his hands on either side of her legs on the cushions. She leant back, trying to regain her personal space. He followed until he could feel her breath on his face.

“I could make you come by simply kissing ya, princess.“ Even though he had made some effort in letting his voice drop low, she seemed pretty unaffected by his words. Then she let out a laugh before shaking her head.

“You couldn't make me come if you stuck your tongue right to my clit and stood on a cement mixer.“ Jerome made a show of licking his lips while trying to control himself. He wanted to eat her, right then and there.

“Wanna bet?“ He asked, ignoring the way how breathless the words had sounded. She surprised him again by surging forward and kissing him. He didn't waste any time and took hold of the back of her neck as he devoured her mouth with his. He had dreamt about this for so long and now that the opportunity was finally here, he was going to take full advantage of it. He ended up on top of her, her smaller form spread out beneath him on the couch, writhing deliciously, one of her legs between his slowly rubbing up and down. He couldn't hold back a moan. The girl had learnt a few things since their last meeting, it seemed. He stopped kissing her to bite her neck while he roughly pulled up the hem of her dress with one hand. The thought that somebody else but him had had the pleasure of being the one to pop her cherry was making him angry, he didn't know why but he didn't care either. She seemed to like the pain he was inflicting upon her if her needy moans were any indicator.

At some point, it all happened in a rush. One minute he was laying on top her, kissing and biting anywhere his mouth could reach, the next he found himself much lower at her body, his face buried between her legs. He heard her moan and cry out his name while he was eating her like a starving man. Being gentle had never been an option for him, not even, no, especially not in the bedroom. He liked it rough, too rough some would say. But Bryce kept on crying out his name so beautifully, as if she worshipped him and she tasted so exquisite that it was enough for him to only briefly touch himself through his pants and then he was coming with a deep throated moan. It hadn't felt that good in years. Only a moment later, he could feel her shudder from head to toe, her voice gone silent. His vision was swimming when he lifted himself up onto his forearms to look at her. Her hair was fanned across the cushions, her face and cleavage were flushed and she was panting like she had just run a marathon. He smiled. He had won. His knees and shoulders were aching but he ignored it. It had been absolutely worth it.

“Told ya, princess. Just kissing ya.“

She looked up at him as he settled himself back on top her, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. She smiled back at him before she chuckled quietly. He was confused.

“What?“

“Your face still intact?“ She asked and smiled more broadly, showing her perfect pearly white teeth.

For some reason, he decided to play along and touched his face in fake concern.

“Oh, wait, lemme check.“ Her laughter vibrated against his chest. It sounded sincere and relaxed.

“Yep, all there.“ Jerome answered before kissing her once more. It was slower this time, they were both exhausted and breathless. He could feel her fingers caressing his face as they kissed and he pulled away after a moment. He didn't want her to touch him like this, it was too familiar and too...nice. It made him feel as though the control was slipping from his grip.

So, he stood, rightening his clothes before taking the gun back in hand. His trousers were ruined of course but he didn't give a damn. It was even better that way, everyone would see what they had just done. He smiled but for some reason the thought wasn't as satisfying as he had imagined it would be. Bryce got up as well, slightly shaky on her legs as she pulled her dress down to her knees. Her hair was a mess and the hickeys he had left were decorating her neck and cleavage.

“So, back to business.“ He said, placing the gun over his shoulder. She looked briefly at him, before smoothing down her dress once more. Her gaze was empty. She was already regretting it.

“You may take whatever you want, I don't care.“ She answered tiredly and made a move to walk past him. In a sudden impulsive and angry reflex he pointed his gun at her, trying to scare her into standing still. She did but her posture remained careless.

“Really Jerome, this is getting old.“ She stepped around the gun, petting his shoulder while walking on. He grabbed her once more on her arm, pulling her flush against him.

“Ya think I wouldn't kill ya? Just because I just licked you?“ All she did was shrug. What the hell had happened to the girl?

“Go on, then. I'm not afraid of death. We're friends now, him and I.“

She winked at him before freeing her arm with a twist of her body and pushing him away. Her reaction had left him dumbstruck enough that he let her walk out of the room before he broke into laughter, understanding her cryptic message. Bryce Wayne had killed someone. And now she was numbing herself with alcohol and sex to escape the truth. Because, knowing her, he was certain that whoever it was, he or she had deserved it and the princess had been waiting for guilt to kick in and it hadn't. She was transforming. She was growing dark. Oh, what a wonderful occurence! He dashed after her only to find his followers and some hostages. One of his men told him that Bryce Wayne hadn't even looked at them when she had left her own club and gotten into a taxi. Beforehand, she had told them that they were free to take whatever they wanted. Well, the princess was officially off the rails, then. Jerome made his guys search the place in the messiest way possible until he heard sirens wail in the distance. When they left the night club, Jerome could still taste her inside his mouth.

 

Chapter Text

It all happened in a flash. One minute, he was having a nice family catch up with old Zack, the next he found himself underneath that bugger, stronger than he looked, holding his body down with the weight of his own on top of the diner's counter. Perhaps it was his fault for taking down a trip on nostaliga lane but he felt as though he was seven years old again and Zack was about to cook his hand once more. He remembered the strong grip around his throat just as it was now and for the first time in years he felt true and raw fear crawling up his chest at the sight of boiling soup. He would do it again. For some stupid reason he froze. He was much older and much stronger by now, hell, he had come back from the dead! But he couldn't move. He couldn't even make a fucking sound.

It changed the moment Zack began to pour the hot liquor into him. Jerome screamed. His mouth was burning up, just like his throat and the way further down. It was like Zack had lit him on fire. He refused to swallow anymore but it did no good, it only ended with his neck and chest covered in lava, or so it felt. The pain brought tears to his eyes as memories flashed through his brain. His hand, cooked, utterly numb for hours, then in furious pain whenever he moved it. Jeremiah, finding him, gently bandaging it, the dodgy fag! His mother, the whore, hitting it only a few days later, making him swallow a scream only to spite her. He was alone again and the world was the same dark hellish place it always had been. They all knew but nobody cared. He was nothing but a piece of shit everyone stepped on.

Suddenly, the weight on top of him was gone. Jerome spat out soup for what seemed like hours, his vision blurry. He blinked and ignored the tears that escaped, oddly cool against his skin. He saw a figure, dressed in all black giving Zack a proper beating. The bowl of soup lay on the floor, next to his gun. He looked up again and recognised his billionaire princess, with her left foot on his uncle's chest on the floor. She had beaten him. The rich girl, delicate as a fucking flower had beaten the abusive asshole on her own.

Without another thought, he grabbed his gun, took a few steps in their direction and shot Zack in the head. Bryce startled and jumped backwards, looking at him in horror. Jerome barely had the time to take in her appearance when it all went blurry for a second. He reached out to catch himself but his arm failed him and he stumbled against the counter, his legs weak. What was wrong with him?

Shaking his head to clear it, he remembered to put on an act. He raised his arms sluggishly and clapped mockingly at her. He even managed a smile.

“Billionaire princess Bryce Wayne, my saviour! Wow, I did not see that one comin'.“

He withstood the urge to clear his throat, and went for wiping his mouth with the back of his gloved hand. His eyes lost their focus again and he leant against the counter a little heavier. The pain was pulsating through the lower half of his face, neck and chest. It was numbing, really. He gagged a few times, refusing to let himself puke in front of her. He focused on one of the tables, trying not to lose his balance.

“You know, with uncle Zack, the beating just never stopped.“ He murmured, not sure if he was speaking to her or to himself.

“It went on and on and...nobody ever helped me. Ever.“

The world around him seemed to start spinning and he managed to somehow push himself onto one of the chairs, his hand still gripping the counter before he would fall over. He didn't notice that she had moved until she was standing right in front of him, looking at him with a surprisingly mild expression.

Without a word, she jumped over the counter with the swift elegance of a cat. It was then, when he noticed that the girl was all dressed in leather. Her dark hair was up in a ponytail and she was wearing eyeliner. She looked ready for a gothic-dominatrix-party. Jerome felt something stir inside of him and he was pretty sure it was not the second-degree burn of his gullet. When she made her way back, (on foot, around the counter) she held a bottle of milk and some frozen chips. She sat down on the chair next to him, pushing the milk to him. He grabbed it without hesitation and drank but as soon as the milk hit his throat, it felt like he was going to throw up. He turned and spat it out onto the floor again, coughing so hard he thought parts of his organs might come with it. Bryce placed her hand on his shoulder and he was too caught up in pain to shake her off.

“Easy.“ She said, her tone almost kind.

He sat up again, giving her what he hoped was a rather resentful glare before he grabbed the pack of frozen chips and pressed it against his burning mouth. She reached out to touch his chest and he rose the gun at her without a word. Bryce didn't even flinch.

“Let me see.“ She asked. He shook his head, not in the mood for talking (which was new).

She took off her black gloves and placed them on the counter with a sigh.

“I'll be careful.“

When she made a move into his direction, he suddenly found himself flinching. How pathetic! He must look like a scared little kid to her. She stilled instantly, her eyes finding his. Jerome wondered briefly why she was doing what she was doing. He found no answer except that the girl must be out of her mind (nothing new there).

“I won't hurt you. I promise.“

That almost made him laugh. It was not that he minded the pain. But he was shaking. And he didn't want her to see him like this. The years where he had no control were over. He was in charge these days. And now she of all people had seen him out of it. Although, he had to admit after their last encounter it somehow seemed fair. The girl he had wanted to kill slowly and painfully a few years back had just saved him from his greatest childhood fear. Such a thing did not happen every day, if it ever happened at all and certainly not in his life.

He let his arms sink and placed the gun on the counter with a roll of his eyes. The girl obviously suffered from some saviour complex and why not let her indulge it while he was here?

He couldn't help but watch her, as she opened his shirt. She looked more like herself again, yet so very different. He thought it must be the perks of being a teenager. Time flew like a brick during those years of your life.

“So, no partying anymore, then?“ He asked.

She shook her head, as her fingers carefully peeled away the fabric of his shirt and merely brushed over the hot red skin. They felt cool and soft. He wanted to bite them off.

“Shame“, he clicked his tongue even though it hurt.

“I really liked that dress.“

Her eyes shot up to meet his and he could not hold back a grin, no matter the pain. He watched in fascination as the right corner of her mouth lifted the slightest bit. She took hold of his wrist, gently guiding his hand with the frozen chips away from his face. He could have prevented her from doing so but he found himself once again too curious at what she was going to do. She took some paper towels from the counter and started cleaning his chin and throat off partly dried soup. He tried to fight it but the memory from two years ago ran through his mind unbidden. The night she had taken care of his stapled face.

“What the hell is wrong with ya, huh?“ He was surprised by his own mild tone.

She stopped at his question and before she had any chance to answer, he had gotten to his feet, his arms bracketing her against the counter. Jerome leant in closer, closer until he was practically standing between her legs. Even though the diner was heated, he could still feel the cold from outside clinging to her clothes. He wanted her. His body was burning up as usual, his blood as hot as the burn in his throat. She was different. She was radiating a cool breeze, able to refresh him in a way he could get addicted to. He wanted it. Even after all these years, he never seemed to get tired of her.

“Jerome-“

He caught her off by burying his pulsating face in her neck, inhaling her scent like a dying man. She smelled like rain and coiling dust and fresh sweat and some expensive perfume. It was sharp and biting, he hissed in anticipation. Over the years, he had fantasized about a lot of things he was going to do to Bryce Wayne. But now he just wanted to have his way with her, right here, in his damned uncle's diner, right next to his rotting corpse.

He didn't move his face from her neck as he let his hands wander over her body, exploring new curves and valleys through her tight costume. She didn't stop him. He chuckled and he felt her shiver against him. She was breathing heavily already, positively excited herself.

“Oh, ya missed me, haven't ya?“ He growled as he freed them both of their pants without seeing what he was doing. He was too distracted by her hands which moved over his upper body, mapping out his burning muscles. It was soothing and arousing at the same time.

He let his fingers disappear between her legs feeling her soft wet heat around his skin. The noises she made were almost kittenish though he could tell she was trying to stay quiet as he prepared her. That wouldn't do.

“Come on, baby, be nice. Lemme hear ya.“

He started sucking and licking her skin, cursing Zack even more for the fact that he couldn't taste her with his burned tongue and mouth. But her smell and the feeling of her clining to him were enough. His eyes fell closed when he finally entered her and he felt her hands in his hair. She gasped and moaned softly against him as he moved, originally going for a punishing and hard pace but it was different with her. Until now, sex had been a simple task for him where he took what he wanted, getting himself some relief, no matter the other person. This wasn't one of those times. He felt high but not on power or control. He felt free which made it so much better than all the times before. He felt is throat as it burned with every sharp breath he drew.

“Jerome, please.“ She whispered and he forgot himself.

He kissed her hard, hurting his lips even more. But it felt good. The pain was comforting. The fact that he was using her for this, that he was hurting himself on her was enough to let out a groan of pleasure. He moved faster now. It felt like she was disappearing in front of him even though he had his arms around her back and her left leg, even though he had one hand buried in her hair, even though he could feel her kissing him back, but softly, carefully, afraid to hurt him. Somehow they found a sync. In whatever way they moved together, breathed as one. The noises she made was all he could hear and not even properly. She sounded so far away and he tried to chase after her, never stopping his assault on her body. It was likely that she was in pain, too. Which made it so much more arousing than it already was. He grabbed one of her breats, squeezing too hard to be comfortable and she moaned. She liked to be hurt by him.

“Fuck, you're tight, baby!“ He had expected nothing else, really.

Before he lost himself, he pulled himself from her, not knowing why. He buried his face in her neck, his left eye hiding in her hair which had lost its style by now. He held her to him as they both calmed down, their breathing slowing and their bodies cooling. Jerome felt her fingers still stroking his hair, her cheek against his ear. He wanted to stay like this. His mind was calm, his body was relaxed. The voices were quiet for now. It was almost peaceful.

Slowly, he remembered where they were and who they were. His uncle's diner who's dead body was only a few feet away from them (not that he minded). Jerome Valeska, certified insane inmate of Arkham, currently on the run and searching for his pathetic excuse of a brother. And Bryce Wayne, princess of Gotham, goodie-goodie of the city's high society and obviously hobby vigilante. He wanted to laugh but somehow he couldn't manage it. The warm feeling was quickly leaving his chest and got replaced by an empty dark void. He breathed in her scent one last time before he broke the silence.

“Gotta move, princess. Ya don't want anyone to find us like this, do ya?“ She froze in his arms. He closed his eyes and licked his lips, still tasting nothing.

“Jerome-“

“It's okay, I understand.“ He sighed and slowly let go of her.

He could feel the shake of her head and suddenly, her hands were on his face and she was kissing him again. Jerome, being an opportunist, took what he got. At some point, he lost his focus, though. He was aware of the fact that he kissed her like it was the last time. Like he wanted to climb into her through her mouth but it didn't matter. There was no going back. They both knew that.

He stepped backwards, pulling his hands away from her and turning his back, fixing his pants. He could hear her doing the same. As he pulled up his suspenders, she spoke again.

“You realise I'm here to escort you back to Arkham.“ He chuckled but didn't turn around.

“Is that so? Well, sorry to disappoint, Brycie.“

He turned in one sudden motion, slapping her across the face so hard, she fell over, tumbling to the floor. Not sparing her another glance, he grabbed his gun and exited the diner as fast as he could.

 

 

Chapter Text

When the sound of the shot rang through the house that had finally killed the whimpering guy in front of him, Jerome expected to feel better, relieved at least. But his anger would not weaken and the itching feeling underneath his skin stayed as annoying as it was.

“Well, that hasn't made me feel no better at all“, he said to himself, confused. Usually, killing was his most favorite part of the day. However, this day had not gone as planned, he had to admit. Little J had been quicker than him, having his hot assistant capture and cage him like an animal. With a camera to watch him. If anything, Jerome had been amused how much Jeremiah must fear him after all. And he had every right to do so. Seeing him again had been harder to take than the ex-Arkham inmate would ever admit to himself. His twin had grown up well, had made a name for himself, was respected by society even though he was still hiding away like the coward he always had been.

But the truth is, Jerome, you were born bad.“

Even after all these years, Jeremiah did not respect him enough to admit the truth when it was just the two of them. The only way Jerome had gotten it out of him was by pointing a gun to his head. Yes, he was insane. What was the point in denying it? But he would show his brother exactly what it felt like. He knew little J held the same great potential as he did. And this time, he would not be able to run and hide. And no matter which lie he told about him, he could not make it worse for Jerome already represented everything the citizens of Gotham feared, hated, despised. And his family was dead, so, no problems there.

His attention was caught when Pengi walked in, a white scary looking fella by his side.

“Bit big for a test subject, don't ya think?“

Ossi explained that zombie guy would be part of the team from now on which suited Jerome fine. At least, the guy had muscle.

When the real test subject finally entered the room with Crane following close behind, Jerome's spirits lifted a little bit. When he saw that Crane's gas had its desired effect, he let himself laugh again, ordering Crane to produce much more of his creation.

Afterwards, he left for his momentary bedroom, knowing he should not be out on the streets unless he wanted the cops to find him. The whole of the GCPD was probably looking for them. He sat down on his bed and smiled at the memory of seeing old Jimbo again. In a way, Jerome had missed him. The detective, now captain, never disappointed him. Always on his trail, always so close to catch him. That's what made it fun. He tried to laugh but it would not come out. He couldn't forget the look on his brother's face. The little rat was not even sorry. Didn't he know that it was his fault, Jerome had ended up like this? And still, killing him right then and there, no matter how much he had wanted to wouldn't have been right. First, he would bring out Jeremiah's true colors. He was the only one who knew that beneath his fancy suits and waistcoats, his twin's mind was identical to his own. It had been from the day they were born but Miah had always been better at hiding his true self from the world. He felt the anger bubble to the surface once more. In a swift motion, he held up his gun and shot the wall four times. Only that his revolver was empty and no bullets came out. Playing Russian roulette with someone always held the disadvantage of being out of bullets.

“Fuck it!“

He threw the gun carelessly across the room and pulled out one of his knives. He watched his own reflection appear across the blade and wondered what his little billionaire princess was doing right now.

 

It was early in the morning, when Jerome made his way to Wayne Manor. All of his allies were asleep and knowing the girl's newfound passion for vigilantism he assumed she had spent the night outside, hunting Gotham's criminals.

The windows were locked this time, so he went over the veranda and used his elbow to break the glass. He pushed down the handle from outside and the door opened quietly. He was in – bueno! He took out his knife and held it close to his chest, preparing. The salon was dark but he remembered a few things from his last visit here. So, he rounded the couches carefully. He could barely make out the fire place in the dark when he suddenly froze. There had been a noise. Of course, an old house like this one would make sounds but he was sure there was another presence close to him. Living and waiting. He smiled, his knife on display.

“I know you're here.” He drawled and ducked in anticipation.

“Come out, little princess.”

 

The sudden on turned light burned his eyes and he closed them in surprise. He had expected an attack of any kind but certainly not that. Opening his eyes, he found Bryce Wayne leaning against the door in a dark blue morning gown, her arms crossed. She didn't look scared except for the fire poker that was dangling from one of her hands.

“Of course I'm here, I live here.” She answered tiredly as if she was bored by his presence. He couldn't let that be.

“How's my favorite toy?” Her face hardened at that. Good.

“I'm not your toy.” Her voice remained calm.

“Oh, come on, baby, you are. Just a few hours ago I had you moaning like a whore for me.”

She stepped away from the door and got closer. Just as he wanted.

“And what about you? You didn't make a sound?”

Jerome smiled. She was being bitchy tonight. He liked her that way.

“Not the point, princess as I'm not the one tryina pretend I don't like fuckin' a criminal.”

“It was twice, plus I was drunk the first time and drunk people can't give consent, so -”

He didn't give her the chance to finish her sentence. They found themselves on the carpeted floor, kicking and punching, the fire poker somewhere next to them. She tried to get him off of her, she tried kicking his balls but he didn't let her. In the end, she stopped struggling when he placed the knife at her throat with a sly smile. Oh, how he had missed that sight. Bryce stilled and just looked at him as he used the tip of the blade to caress her throat. He wasn't even cutting her, more so he was barely moving. There was no need.

He felt an unusual sort of peace settling in his bones. It was almost comfortable. It felt like -

“Jerome?”

At the sound of his name, his eyes sprang up to meet hers. They were the bluest of blue. Odd, that he had never noticed before. Probably, he had been too distracted by the rest of her.

“Are you -”

With the speed of a snake he rammed the knife into the floor right next to head. He surely had cut a few hairs there.

“Ask me if I'm okay, I'm gonna cut ya tongue out.” He growled lowly. His action had made her shut up but he suddenly realized that she hadn't flinched. She hadn't even blinked. Her expression didn't reveal any fear or insecurity. But her pupils were dilated and he could feel her picked up heartbeat against his chest. She was aroused. Aroused by danger. Aroused by him.

Kissing her was almost familiar by now. It came to him easily as well as untying her robe blindly. When he felt her fingers tugging on his tie, he grabbed them, pinning them to the floor but she had other ideas. In a sudden movement, she had switched their positions and came to sit astride him, her robe hanging open, revealing her nightie. Jerome chuckled at her behavior and licked his lips.

“Look at ya, taking whatcha want. Little tigress, you.”

She shut him up by kissing him, freeing him off his tie and working the buttons of his shirt while he was busy tearing the robe off her shoulders. When he felt her tugging at his jacket he sat up without breaking their kiss. For some reason they weren't fighting anymore. Her arms came up around his neck and Jerome didn't pull her hair or pinched her waist, he simply held her there. And it was enough. It was the first time that they were really getting skin on skin while they were doing this. When they had both lost their tops he finally felt her, really felt her. The warmth and the smoothness of her skin. She was so different from him, yet they met again and again and it always seemed to lead into this, the inevitable. Jerome took his time to let his hands roam her naked upper half, letting his mouth follow as far as he could reach. This time he wanted all of her, completely. When she pushed him back to the floor rather roughly he let out a huff of surprise. That girl was getting stronger by the week, it seemed. Still, he was not complaining. The sight of her sitting on top of him was alluring. It reminded him so much of their first dance that he got hard almost instantly. He raised his hips and pushed against her from underneath, making her gasp softly before he helped her to get off his pants. His body was burning up already and he hadn't even entered her yet. Oh, yeah, this was gonna be one hell of a ride! When he was finally inside her, she went crazy. And he loved it. He grabbed her hips, meeting her and urging her.

“Come on, fuck me, baby! Fuck me, fuck me!”

And she did just that. Jerome felt drunk on the sight of her, bouncing on him, her eyes shut tightly and her mouth open, revealing gasps and moans. Her hands were blindly mapping out his chest and suddenly it felt hard to breathe. What was happening?Was he going to be sick? For a lack of a better idea he sat up, coming face to face with her just as she opened her eyes. Her pupils were wide as fuck, almost black and he could see his own reflection in them. And it somehow did a funny thing to him. He felt something crawl along his skin and settle in his chest. This was new, it was exciting. But for some reason he didn't laugh. He didn't even smile. Instead he grabbed the back of her head, his fingers sinking into her soft dark waves and pulled her forward to slam his lips against hers. She put her arms around his neck in return and he tightened his grip. He wanted her to stay like this. All he could see, hear, feel and taste was her while the world seemed to fade into the background. It was amazing.

His orgasm hit him harder than ever, his vision whitening out. When he slowly came back to himself, they were laying on the posh (and weirdly comfortable) carpet, on their sides, their limbs still entangled. He felt her breath against his shoulder, her hands on his back. It was like holding a bundle of energy, hot and searing, not unlike his own, yet not nearly so destructive even though he had just seen it could be. Bryce Wayne rarely let go but when she did, oh mamma mia, it was an experience of a lifetime. And suddenly he thought, why not take her with him? She wouldn't be convinced easily but it was clear that there was a side in her that wanted to break loose and forget all about morals and logic. A part of her wanted to be with him, otherwise she would never have let it go this far between them. Oh, he wanted that. Jerome wanted to take her under his wing, to trigger her often enough so she would stop pretending to be the good little rich girl and let her wild side go free. It would be the spectacle of the century! This girl was a fire cracker and he wanted to watch her explode. But how to trigger her? It should be public, for everyone to see.

He looked down on her only to find her asleep in his arms. He blinked. When had that happened? And what the hell was wrong with her, thinking- Oh!

That feeling inside his chest was back. It was as if his whole rip cage was expanding, like there was a sponge inside him, filled with warm water (or maybe his own blood) that got bigger and bigger. The weight upon his lungs was back as well and when he felt her tighten her hold on him in her sleep he felt that sponge drop into the pit of his stomach. He didn't know what to do with that feeling and even though he would never admit it out loud, it scared the shit out of him. He had to get away from here, pronto! He moved to get his arms and legs free and she opened her eyes to look at him. And he, idiot that he was froze like a fucking deer in the headlights. She searched his face, and he knew that she could see something was up. Of fucking course!

 

But she says nothing. Instead, she reaches out and traces the scars on his face with her fingers. On instinct, he briefly shows his teeth like an animal but it doesn't hurt. Somehow it feels more risky than everything they've done so far. Finally, he brings himself at laugh. And she...smiles.

When he leaves about half an hour later, the sun has begun rising over the city. The city he's going to paint crazy very soon. And he will paint them crazy, too. The only two people on this planet that make him feel something. His brother and Bryce Wayne.