A pot of coffee bubbled on the stove. The morning light shone through the window, warmth over your bare legs that hung over the counter you were sitting on as you waited. Neither you nor Jeremiah were breakfast people, but you always started the day with coffee together. It was a little ritual of yours – no matter what either of you was doing, you would sit down and wake up with each other. Jeremiah indulged you, even if it made him late for a meeting or put him behind in his work. You heard his footsteps just as the coffee finished, prompting you to hop down onto the cold kitchen tile and pull out two mugs. Facing away from the door as you do so, Jeremiah greets you with his arms around your hips and his lips pressed against the back of your neck in a gentle kiss.
“Morning,” You smile, leaning back into his touch.
“Good morning,” He murmurs, letting you kiss him, tasting of toothpaste and sleep. Pulling back, you run a hand through his hair, admiring the dishevelled appearance that only you are ever allowed to see. Dark hair still mussed from sleeping, eyes dull and tired, dressed only in trousers and a dark shirt with the sleeves rolled up. A different Jeremiah from the one that the rest of the world got to see. Your Jeremiah. Soft, caring, affectionate. Of course, you know who he is to everyone else: dangerous, unstable, violent. But when he’s with you, he’s different. You know he would never hurt you. And he would do anything to protect you.
“Coffee?” You already know the answer, the question only a courtesy, but it would feel wrong not to ask. He mumbles a “Yes, please” even as you turn to fill up the mugs and he sits down at the dining table. You join him quickly, coffee in front of the two of you. He picks it up eagerly, taking heavy gulps of the hot liquid. “That eager to get away from me?” You tease, poking at his arm. He puts the mug down and immediately takes hold of your hand in is, the residual heat of the coffee quickly being replaced by his cold skin.
“Absolutely not,” He shakes his head, gazing at you earnestly and squeezing your hand, “It’s just that I have an important job that I need to get done quickly…” You chuckle, making him pause.
“It’s okay, J. I understand.” He smiles in relief, and you gently nudge his shoulder with yours. “But don’t make yourself sick.” He nods, slowing down slightly as he continues to drink.
As soon as he had finished his coffee Jeremiah had left, giving you a quick kiss on the cheek as he pulled his suit jacket on, telling you that he would be back in a few hours. With him gone the base was silent. You strolled around it like a ghost in the halls. Alone and perfectly at peace. While you may miss him when he’s gone, you do appreciate having a little time to yourself.
Or at least, you enjoy it until you hear a door slam in the distance. You know it’s too soon for Jeremiah to be back and no one else should be here. As silently as possible you hurry to your bedroom. You pull open the bottom drawer of your bedside table and pick up the gun Jeremiah gave you for emergencies. Checking to see if it’s loaded you rise to your feet, slowing your breathing to try and slow the racing of your heart. Maybe you’ve just imagined it. Maybe it’s nothing. But of course, it’s not. It never is.
Shaking slightly you leave the room, unable to stay still. The once comforting silence now sets your teeth on edge as every creak of the building makes you look over your shoulder, every clank of pipes making you jump. You patrol for a few minutes and see no one and nothing. You start to relax – if someone was here, they would have shown themselves by now.
Luck was never on your side. Turning a corner, you barely even process the person standing there before you’re being slammed up against the wall and there’s a prick in the side of your neck. Immediately your vision goes blurry as the drugs flood your system. All you can make out is a masked and hooded figure, who lets you fall to the ground limp before your vision goes dark.
“It’s about sending a message!”
The angry shouting is muffled to your ears. You don’t know where you are. What happened? Your brain struggles to remember your last moments of consciousness. Someone in the base. You had been kidnapped. Taken. Other than that you had no information. Jeremiah had told you what to do if this ever happened. As the only person he cared about, you were always in danger of something like this. Of being used against him. His instructions were simple. Stay calm, stay quiet, don’t take any risks. Wait for him to come and get you. And he would always come.
As the fog clouding your mind starts to clear, you try to take note of the details of the room you’re in. You don’t want anything taking you by surprise. You’re on a table, strapped down tight. It’s small, compact, lit by a bright strip light. Out of the corner of your eye, you can see one door. At the other side of the room, there’s some kind of machine plugged into the wall, with dials and buttons and lights blinking. Tilting your head back you see a man in a green suit who you easily recognise.
“Nygma.” You grumble. He turns around at the sound of your voice, immediately hanging up on whoever he was speaking to on the phone. He huffs slightly at the use of his actual name, but you refuse to call him ‘The Riddler’. Of all the stupid names the criminals in Gotham take on, it has to be one of the most stupid. “What do you want?” Rule one, stay quiet: broken.
“What do you think I want? Jeremiah’s followers stole from me.” He rounds the table, letting you rest your head to the side. “This is revenge.”
“Then steal something from him. Don’t involve me in this.” You know that Nygma is logical, if insane. And if you can convince him that hurting you is illogical, maybe you can get out of this with minimal damage. “You’ll only piss him off.”
“That’s the point.” He states it as though I’m an idiot, as though what he’s trying to do is obvious. “Material possessions don’t matter to him. But you,” He points a gloved finger at you, “He cares about you. You’re the only thing that can be used against him.” True.
“He’ll destroy you if you hurt me.” You intend for the threat to scare him, but it only makes him chuckle.
“I’d like to see him try.” You open your mouth to try again and he takes the opportunity to shove a belt between your teeth, stopping you from speaking. “I am sorry about this, (Y/N). But, like I said, I need to send Jeremiah a message. He is not all-powerful.” He crosses to the machine, pulling out a pair of electrodes and attaching them to your temples. You try to protest but the belt muffles you. You struggle against the straps holding you down, doing anything to try and escape. But there’s nothing you can do. His eyes stay on you as he turns a dial on the machine, watching as tears of fear begin to spill out of the corners of your eyes, remorseless. He pulls a handle and fire burns through your veins. And you can’t even scream.
Your chest heaves as he turns off the machine for the third time. You can’t struggle anymore. You can’t do anything but struggle not to throw up from the pain.
“You know what, let’s take a breather.” Nygma steps away from the machine. Silence takes over for a moment before you both hear an alarm going off. His head snaps to the door and he quickly rounds the table to look outside it. He ducks swearing at the sound of a gunshot, barely sparing you a glance before he sprints away. You whine in protest, terrified of who it could be. The optimist in you prays for Jeremiah, but you know it could be any of countless villains in Gotham.
For once luck wins.
First through the door is Ecco, gun still in hand. The moment she sees you it’s slipped into her waistband and she’s unbuckling the straps.
“It’s alright, puddin’. We’ve got ya’.” Jeremiah follows close behind her, the rage on his face quickly replaced with concern. He rushes to help Ecco, pulling the belt out of your mouth, letting you release a shaky breath. Once you’re free he picks you up in his arms. Your limbs feel like jelly – you’re a dead weight, but he doesn’t struggle to support you.
“Let’s get you home.”
Jeremiah lays you down softly onto your bed, drawing the covers over you and kissing your forehead gently. He steps away and you reach out and grab his wrist.
“Don’t go.” You can’t be alone right now. You can still feel the pain of being electrocuted, the fear that you would die there, that you would never see him again. He sighs in sympathy and lifts your hand, pressing a kiss to the back of it.
“I’ll be back in a minute. Ecco will stay with you.” You let go reluctantly and he leaves. Ecco sits down on the edge of the bed next to you and brushes your hair back affectionately. She might be a bit strange, but she was like a sister to you.
“You’ll be okay,” She murmurs, eyes locked on yours, and you nod, “And Riddles will pay for what he did.” At some point in your life, the idea of someone suffering for your sake would have horrified you. But not anymore. Being with Jeremiah had changed the way you saw the world. And you were glad. Because now the idea of Nygma suffering for what he did puts a small smile on your face. “See?” She taps your cheek teasingly, making the smile grow. “You’ll be back to normal in no time.”
“Thank you, Ecco.”
“How are my girls?” Jeremiah’s back.
“Getting better,” Ecco answers, standing up and walking past him. “I’ll let you two have some alone time.” She winks before leaving, the door closing behind her. Jeremiah’s eyes are fixed on you and he climbs onto the bed beside you, letting you rest onto his shoulder, his arms wrapped around you.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get there sooner.” You shake your head at him.
“You got there. That’s what matters.” You kiss the side of his neck. “I’ll be okay.”
“I know you will. You’re strong, even stronger than you think.” Tiredness suddenly overwhelms your body, and a yawn forces its way out of you. But you don’t want to sleep. Jeremiah senses the fear in you without even saying anything, and he kisses the top of your head comfortingly. “Sleep, darling. I won’t leave your side. Never again.” You nod sleepily, quickly dozing off into empty dreams in Jeremiah’s arms.
As soon as he knows you’re asleep, Jeremiah untangles himself from your sleeping form. Locking the door behind him he strides down the corridor, all softness gone, replaced by steel and determination. Reaching his office he immediately pulls out a stack of blueprints, ready to start planning his revenge. The Riddler would die, slowly and painfully, for what he did to you. No one gets away with hurting the woman he loves.