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(My) Monster - A Jeremiah Valeska Story

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Chapter 1 - Muchas Gracias

"Ruby.. Come on hurry up.. We're gonna be late for class... "

My friend Delilah is such a scaredy cat sometimes. She hardly ever has fun, she never loosens up. Not even a little. I groan inwardly when I think of going back to the class. Spanish is not my cup of tea. Sometimes I wonder why I chose Spanish as an additional subject. I am sitting against a tree,my back brushing against the solid bark. I place my cigarette to my lips and take a puff,letting out the smoke into the air. Me and Delilah are completely different but are the best of friends. She has light blonde hair falling till her shoulders while mine are jet black down till my waist. She has pale skin and big blue eyes while my skin is slightly olive coloured with brown eyes. I look around,this corner where we're sitting at is unofficially and illegally the smoking zone of our university. I look around myself and find many other outlaws lurking around here,just like me , cigarettes in their hands.

Just then , Delilah grabs my hand and tugs at me,pulling me up and yanking me towards the building.
"Seriously. We need to go now. I don't wanna get screwed cuz of you again.. Ruby." I cringe internally and dump my cigarette butt , quickly stepping on it. "Fine.." I sling my bag on one side of me and run behind Delilah as she dodges her way through the crowd towards our Spanish class. All our running fails because we anyhow end up being late for class. The entire class turns to us as we timidly walks into the class late. Well , Delilah walks timidly. I honestly couldn't care less. Our Spanish teacher is a kind of an ass, a pervert. He makes girls stay after class and does stuff to them. He could have been kind of hot but damn I hate perverts.

"Look who the Gotham winds brought into class."

I cringe inwardly and roll my eyes at him. He notices me rolling my eyes at him so he points towards Delilah to go and sit in the back.

"Miss Ruby Day.. You will stay back after class. We need to discuss your behaviour. "

I sigh inaudibly .

"Yes, Mr Luciano."

Delilah is already seated at the back by the time I make my way to the back of the class. She gives me an apologetic glance . I raise a brow as I look for an empty seat. There is one behind Delilah, next to a nerdy looking guy with reddish hair, kinda cute though.

"Um hey. Is this seat taken ?"

He looks up at me nervously and nods, straightening up a little as I slide into the seat next to him. I bite my lip and pull out my notebook and start taking some notes. My sight falls to his notebook with the name Xander Wilde mentioned on it.

***

I had four more classes to attend after Spanish , and all my classes for today finally get over by 4 pm. I pull out my cellphone and smile when I read Delilah's text. We're going out for a movie tonight. Yay. I dump the books I don't require into my locker and sliding my bag on my back, making my way out of the university from the back entrance that not many people use. So it's really quiet and peaceful out there. I didn't expect anyone to be lingering around the back entrance but my ears pick up some sounds coming from behind the building. Curiously, I step over the ledge and push myself against the corner, poking my head out. I gasp at the sight. Two boys are brutally punching a guy in the face, in the ribs and I almost see him cough out blood. I strain my eyes and realize it's the red headed boy from the class. I don't know what gets into me but I dump my bag on the floor and jump off the ledge, the sound of my feet hitting the ground alerting the boys. They all look at me running but don't stop beating him. I yell and lunge at the shorter one, pulling his hair and sinking my nails into the flesh of his skin, hanging on to him. This shocks the other boy a little, buying the red headed boy some time to push himself back to his feet and punch the other boy hard on his face.

The shorter boy grabs me by my shoulders and dumps me on the ground hard. I wince slightly as I feel my back crack against the concrete. Just then, I feel a stinging pain shoot up my ribs and I cough up blood as he kicks me hard on my ribs, making me yell in anger and pain. Instinctively, I wrap my feet around my chest and curl into a foetal position in order to save myself from any more blows to my ribs. Just then, Xander pulls the shorter guy away from me by his collar, thrusting him against the wall and starts punching his face. I weakly push myself up to my feet, blood stained by the corner of my lips and my hands pressed to my lips. I look around for the other guy but it seems that he ran away. Xander glances at me while pinning the shorter guy at the wall, his face bloody now. When he realizes that I need help, he lets the shorter guy go who spits some blood on the floor angrily and runs away as fast as he could.

"Hey,are you alright ?"

He runs up to me as looks at me from top to bottom for any injuries. He gives me his arm and I find myself clinging onto it, throwing my full body weight on it. He grabs me by my waist sturdily.

"Hey Xander, Muchas Gracias"

"Mucho Gusto"

We both smile softly at each other as I limp my way slowly towards one of the benches, Xander still holding me gently by the waist. He lowers me onto the bench and I wince slightly as I twist my body forward in a sitting position due to the pressure being applied on my ribs.

"You need to get that checked. You might have an internal injury or something."

He looks at me with concern as he sits down next to me on the bench. His glasses are broken and he has a swollen eye. I pull his glasses off his eyes and he stiffens a little due to my forwardness. I don't care. I carefully trail my finger over his now bruised eye and he winces a little.

 

"You too Xander. You need to ice that eye of yours. " He nods his head slowly.

"You, uh, you never told me your name." He says.

"Oh! I'm so sorry! I'm Ruby. Ruby Day! Anyway, Xander, what was all that about ? Why would the boys want to beat you up? " I raise my eyebrow curiously.

He smiles weakly and shakes his head.

"They're just bullies. They think I am a nerd so.."

I do not let Xander complete his sentence. I have already slipped into a full defence mode.

"Fucking assholes. They deserve worse than what we gave em."

He shakes his head politely and pulls up his broken glasses over his nose. I open my mouth to say something but my eyes catch another figure walking towards us with fast steps.

"Xander? Oh my god what happened?"

She looks at me for a quick second but doesn't even acknowledge me. She kneels in front of Xander, examining his bruise on the eye.

"Ecco, I'm fine..Meet Ruby.. she saved me "

I swear I heard her huff under her breath. A fake smile plastered on her face, she turns towards me and glances at me quick for a second and then back at my face.

"Hey Ruby, thank you for assisting Xander. "

I nod softly and look down at my hands.

"You're welcome.. He saved me actually. I just helped him out a little. "

From the corner of my eye, I see a faint smile cross Xander's face for a minute as he abruptly pulls up onto his feet. Ecco holds him gently by his arm.

"Thank you for your help Ruby. I'm gonna take him now. You know,that eye needs to get checked."

I watch their silhouettes disappear into the university campus. I keep sitting and wondering if Ecco and Xander are a couple, not that I care if they are. I don't understand why I keep feeling a pang of jealousy.

Chapter Text

It's evening. Delilah is late again. As usual. I glance at the wristwatch in my hand and I realise it's fifteen minutes past the time we originally had decided to meet up. I'm dressed in a casual grey sweater with a giraffe print on it and a ripped blue jeans. I switch my phone open and drop her a text. A few seconds later, her reply pops up.

Delilah- Open D door. M outside Ur place.

I open the door and she is indeed outside, excitement plastered all over her face.

"Okay don't be mad. I met someone. "

I raise an eyebrow.

"Excuse me? Since when did you start hanging up on your best friend to 'meet' someone?

She rolls her eyes playfully at me and grabs my arm,pulling me out.

"We're still going. Come on. I didn't bail on you by the way!"

A few minutes later, we're walking along the Gotham Bridge, munching on hotdogs that we just purchased from a roadside vendor. I keep noticing that Delilah has a questioning look on her face. "Okay what ? Shoot. Delilah. I can see that you're practically dying to say something."

Delilah links our arms together during which she unintentionally touches the side of my ribs and I wince slightly. " Okay, that.. What's wrong with you since today afternoon? It looks to me like you got into a freaking fight Ruby.. You wince everytime you move or someone touches your ribs ! "

I sigh softly and inaudibly and find myself thinking about the fight at the uni this afternoon. I find myself wondering if Xander is feeling alright. I am pulled out of my thoughts as Delilah pokes me hard on my side, making me push my elbow into her side in response.

"Whatcha thinking?"

"You know that guy from our Spanish class? The quiet Red head that sits at the back?" She looks at me quizzically for a few moments and then her eyes go wide. "You have a crush ! " "You know Delilah, this is why I don't tell you stuff. You think I have a crush on everyone!! It's annoying. The last time you thought I had a crush on Professor Luciano . Jeez Delilah !"

I cannot help but frown at her. Sometimes she acts too kiddish and I get annoyed. "I don't have a crush on him. I just saw him getting punched by two fat guys at the back entrance. " She gasps dramatically and smiles. "Okay. And you being goody two shoes couldn't help but jump your ass in to save that guy. Am I right? " I throw back my head and laugh for a bit then take a bite of my hotdog. "Kind of. I mean. It was two is to one. That's kind of unfair right ?"

Delilah tosses her blonde hair over her shoulders and takes a bite of her hotdog. I grab the bottle of soda from her hand and twist the cap, taking a sip. "You're crazy, Rub. I still kind of think you have a thing for Xander though." She narrows her eyes at me and I look back at her innocently. We're now standing against the railing overlooking the river. This is our favourite spot in Gotham. The view is really beautiful. You can see the Gotham lights reflecting on the surface of the water, peeping through the crevices of the Gotham Bridge. "Hey Delilah. Who's Ecco?" She raises her eyebrow slightly and takes a sip of the soda. "I don't know but people say Xander and Ecco are a thing. Ecco behaves like that though. "

We stay there for over an hour, talking about college stuff and like that. We talk about Xander. Delilah tells me Xander is actually a year ahead of us. He just shares the Spanish class with us. She then tells me about this boy she met at the library. We laugh for a few minutes at the fact that she met a guy while studying in the library. Typical Delilah.

***

The next day at the university campus, I'm alone. Delilah is down with the stomach flu, just great. I'm bored as fuck as I meander hopelessly along the corridors as I still have an hour to go for my Criminal Psychology class. This semester consists of Social psychology, criminal psychology, society and kinship, mathematics and Spanish. I decide to go to the library and try to complete my Algebra assignment. Mathematics is so not my forte.

I step into the library, the place is quiet and peaceful. I find an empty spot at a corner and slide in, placing my books and papers on the desk in front of me. I squint my eyes as I am going through the questions in my assignment. Fuck. I don't know nothing. How the hell am I supposed to do these questions. I don't realise that I've wasted a good 15 minutes just fiddling with my pen and just staring at the questions. I have no idea how to solve them. Just then, a shadow appears on my assignment and someone clears his throat politely. I look up, biting my lip nervously.

"Oh! Hi Xander !"

I greet him a little too excitedly I think.

"May I , uh, join you? "

He asks me nervously. I just realize we are both on the same page, equally nervous and embarrassed. I can practically feel my cheeks growing hot and turning baby pink from embarrassment. I nod and sit up straight, trying to mask my nervousness in front of him. He runs his hand through his neatly combed ginger coloured hair and slides into the empty seat beside me, eyeing my assignment sheet curiously.

"I ,uh, you seem to be looking at the assignment for the past fifteen minutes so I thought you need a little help with that." He points towards my assignment. Okay, why is he noticing me since the past fifteen minutes. I can't help but blush at that thought. "Yeah, I kind of suck at Math. Never was really good at this stuff." I make a disgusted face and he laughs at me. He then takes my notebook and pen and starts helping me solve each and every question. He is a patient one for I am a kind of the girl that doesn't easily understand mathematical concepts. He'd be a great teacher. I think to myself.

"Xander. How can you do that so easily?" I look at him awestruck and he blushes, looking down at his hands and fiddling with them. He is adorable. I hope someone has told him that. He is like a sweet fluffy puppy. Okay not exactly a fluffy puppy. "I just really loved doing math since I was a kid.." He seems to be thinking about something, a memory maybe, I note. I smile at him. "What else?" He raises an eyebrow. "I mean, what else did you like to do?" He smiles softly at me, his smile reaching the corner of his eyes. He definitely should smile more. "I love art. I mean, the abstract kind of art. I love making mazes and designs." Seems legit as he is getting his degree in Architecture. "I love.. cooking." I raise an eyebrow. He doesn't seem like a cook but some boys are really surprising. "I love eating." I smirk and he throws his head back,laughing, making me laugh as well. He stops laughing and clears his throat, handing me my completed assignment. I tuck the assignment carefully in my assignment holder and bite my lip. I guess it's time to go. "Thank you Xander.. again for coming to my rescue." "Hey you for yourself kicked in the ribs for me. It's only fair." He smiles and points towards my ribs. I nod and slowly slide up from my chair, pushing it back to its place as I sling my bag over my shoulder.

He nods and I slowly start walking towards the exit of the library, my heart thumping inside my chest. I hear him call out. "Ruby.. we should go out and do what you love sometime, we should eat." I nod, my eyes twinkling in excitement. "Definitely, Wilde. I'd love to."

Chapter Text

I walk into my Spanish class and take my seat next to Delilah. She eyes me from the corner of her eye and I roll my eyes at her. I can't help but glance around me wondering where Xander is. We take Spanish together, so he should have been here. Just then the door opens and Xander walks in, flustered. His face is red as a tomato and he is panting as though he has been running or working out. Just then, my eyes fall on what looks like a shadow outside the classroom. I notice a girl with her blonde hair falling loosely over her shoulders,wearing a brown jacket and a tight leather skirt. It's Ecco. Maybe , they're dating. I can't help but feel a little disappointment at the thought but Xander's flustered face and Ecco just outside the classroom, obviously they were together. I look down at my hands and my face falls. Delilah notices and she nudges me quietly. She leans closer to me and whispers inaudibly in my ear. "What's wrong?" I just shake my head mouthing her a nothing, trying to calm my nerves. 

The lecture is uneventful. Once the lecture is over, I don't waste any time sitting back in the classroom, I stand up from my chair and toss my bag across my back and almost run out of the classroom without turning back. I keep running down the corridor, bumping and running into different people all along my way, some of them turning around and hurling abuses at me. I make my way to the back of the campus building , the spot where all the students come to smoke. I sit down on the grass and grab a cigarette, placing it to my lips and lighting it. What is wrong with me? Why am I feeling so disappointed at the thought of Xander and Ecco together. They're probably fucking.

I lift my hand, curl it into a fist and hurl it angrily against the brick wall behind me, injuring my tendons in the process. I wince and pull my hand back, blood leaking out of my injured hand and falling drop by drop onto the grass. I hear the sound of someone running towards me. I look up and realize it's Delilah. She glances at me and then down at my injured hand, her nose flaring with anger. She yanks herself down next to me and takes my hand roughly, making me wince. "Serves you right for being a baby. Why'd you do that ?" I sigh and lean back, resting my back and my head against the same brick wall I just punched a few minutes back. Delilah is wrapping a handkerchief over my hand to stop the bleeding. "I got mad over something I guess." She raises an eyebrow and drops my hand gently , placing it over my thigh. "It's kinda stupid.. I don't know what got over me Delilah.." I sigh bitterly and look down , unsaid tears threatening to spill out of my eyes. Sadly, Delilah could always see through my heart. She always knew when I had a heavy heart. She places a finger on my chin and lifts my gaze up, looking into my watery eyes. "You're crying."

I can't control it any longer. I bury my face into her shoulder and sniffle, my tears spilling out finally. Hot tears falling down my cheeks, I look up at her. She looks at me flabbergasted and upset, stroking her hand comfortingly over my back as I sob. "Hey.. Ruby.. talk to me please? Did some fucker say something to you?" I lift the cigarette to my lips and take a puff, letting it back as I tap it to remove the ashes. I then run the back of my hand over my streaked face and wipe my tears. "Xander and Ecco are probably fucking." I can't help close my eyes for a quick second. Delilah clears her throat. "You like Xander, don't you?"

"Does it matter?" Delilah throws her hands into the air and hops up, wiping the back of her jeans to remove the grass stuck to her back side. "I'm going to talk to him." "Don't you dare talk to him about this, Delilah!" I can't help but spit out each word. I hate it when she tries to become my wing woman. Besides what is the point in telling him how I feel when he already has a girlfriend ? She shakes her head but doesn't push me. "Thank you Delilah." She then gives me a hand and I thankfully take it, pulling myself up. We walk slowly to the medical room to get my bleeding hand checked. The nurse doesn't ask much questions but she tells me that I need stitches. She does the stitches and then bandages my hand.

"Come, I'll drop you home." I nod and we walk slowly towards the front gate of the school. My room is two blocks away so we walk down the street quietly. My painkillers seem to be working on me as I feel my eyes getting droopy. Once outside my door, I pull Delilah into a tight hug and ask her to stay the night with me. "I wish I could. There's this family thingy tonight and if I miss that.. you know my mom." I smile playfully and nod. That's true. Her mom doesn't like it when Delilah doesn't show up for family functions. "Okay go. I'm just gonna go to sleep.." "Please just sleep on it Ruby.." I nod, slide my keys into the keyhole and twist it, unlocking the door. I then wave Delilah goodbye and close the door, leaning against the door. I dump my bag and take off my sweater, I keep my pants on though. I fall on the bed like a dead corpse, the medicines kicking in. I don't realize when I fall asleep.

***

I am woken from my slumber by the vibration of my cellphone. I click the receive button sleepily and yawn. "Sup girl." Delilah purrs on the other side of the phone. "I was having a nice dream." I pout and rub my eyes, glancing at the time. It's almost 8 in the evening and my stomach is grumbling from hunger. I'm curled up in bed in just my bra and my pants from the afternoon. I feel like a mess. I groan inwardly thinking how my lazy ass will have to get up and prepare myself a meal. Suddenly I hear Delilah on the other side of the phone. "Just thank me later. Buh-bye!" She disconnects , leaving me confused as to what she meant by that.

I am pulled out of my thoughts by a knock on the door. Who could that be ? I quickly hop out of bed and pick up my sweater that was crumpled in the corner on the floor. I slide it over my head as fast as I could, by the time a second knock can be heard. "Coming!" I yell and run towards the door, unlocking it and opening it partially. My eyes go wide and my mouth falls open. "X..Xander?"

He is standing at my door, a bouquet of flowers in his hand , yellow lilies, my favourite flowers. He bites his lip nervously and glances at me, his posture tense as I follow his gaze down to my injured hand. I shuffle to my side and pull the door open wide towards the inside, giving him the access into my house. Delilah. I cringe internally. She can never keep her damn mouth shut. "Uh, this is for you Ruby. I heard what happened.." He nervously hands me the flowers and I gladly accept them. He then walks behind me as I make my way towards a small couch placed next to the bed. "I'm sorry .. I don't usually have any visitors.." I point my fingers around the mess in my room and he smiles softly, his cheeks turning crimson. "It's okay." He sits down. I stare at him awkwardly for a few minutes and lower myself on the couch next to him. "Why did you hurt yourself ?" This is the first time Xander has asked me a direct question.

I fiddle nervously with my hands. Suddenly, Xander takes my uninjured hand and I gasp, not due to uncomfort, but due to the sudden surge of electricity passing through my veins. "I got mad, Xander." He raises an eyebrow but doesn't let go off my hand. "Why?" I bite my lip, feeling stupid. "You entered class.. I saw your girlfriend outside.. I think something inside of me flipped." He drops my hand gently and sighs, sitting back against the couch. "Ecco you mean? ... She is not my girlfriend. I, infact, um, I have never had a girlfriend before." I slowly exhale, unknowingly holding in my breath for the longest time. "She isn't? I saw her right outside when you came in, you were red. I thought you..you." I just facepalm. This is embarrassing. I look up at Xander's face. I can see that he is more embarrassed than me right now. I just subtly accused him of having sex. So what even if he had.

"Do you want to know what happened? It's not what you think it was."

"Mhm." I nod.

"I told Ecco that there's a ...uhm, a girl that I have been thinking about.. I was nervous coming into the class that time. She asked me what the matter was. I told her that there's a girl.. " My heart will probably jump out of my body. "I was planning to ask you out. If you would go for lunch with me. But you left." "I'm so stupid, Xander.." He takes my hand and pulls me closer slightly and I can feel his body brush against mine. "No you're amazing. I.. haven't done this before. Ruby.. " I smile softly towards the nervous boy in front of me. I haven't done this before either. This, however, feels right. I slowly place my hands on either side of his neck, and pull him closer, gently placing my lips on his. He kisses me back just as softly, gently biting on my lower lip. We then reluctantly pull back. "Would you be my girlfriend?" I nod, happily. "I'd love to , Xander."

Chapter Text

My heart is fluttering inside my chest. Life suddenly feels so good. Delilah was right, I'd thank her later. Xander Wilde just asked me out for a date. Tomorrow is Saturday and we have no classes. He told me he would pick me up at 6.30 in the evening. God I'm so excited and nervous at the same time. I call Delilah and tell her everything about the evening. She chuckles and tells me that once she dropped me back home, she was walking back to the university campus to collect a book from the library when Xander nervously approached her and asked her about me. Delilah told him everything how I hurt myself and how I was feeling bad about seeing him and Ecco together.

***

The next day goes by in a blur. I wake up late around 11 ish because it's the freaking weekend. Since I am so excited about the evening , I decided to pass the time by cleaning up my apartment and preparing lunch for myself. By the time I am done with it, it is already 3 in the afternoon. I lay down on the couch in my bed and start watching a random movie trying to kill time.

Finally, it's 5 pm.

I jump out of the couch and lunge towards my closet like a madwoman. What am I going to wear? Oh my god. I never decided. I finalize three of my best dresses, a navy blue long sleeved satin dress with sequins on it, a black backless net dress and a red long dress that falls up to my knees. I click a picture of all the three and text Delilah immediately.

Me - SOS. Blue black or red?

Delilah - Blue dude

I slide into the navy blue dress. It feels like honey against my olive coloured skin. I love it. It has a zipper on the side so I quickly pull up the zipper and slide a pair of black sheer stockings over my long legs. I look at myself in the mirror for a quick second before grabbing a hairbrush and running the hairbrush through my hair only to let it get entangled. I groan with annoyance and struggle to get my hair entangled and properly combed. Once my hair are properly combed, I grab my curler tongs and place them over my hair, just wanting to give them a light curl towards the end.

I glance at the watch, it's 5.45. I still have around 45 minutes to go. I keep the make up light. I don't like heavy make up as I feel that heavy makeup will not let my skin breath. I just apply a baby pink Lipper and some eye liner. Lastly, I pull out my favourite pair of golden pencil heels and slide into them. I'm 5'9 so making these heels make me confident that I will finally be able to look directly into Xander's eyes.

Its 6.30. I'm so nervous. I walk up to my fridge and pull out a bottle of chilled water. I twist the cap and open the bottle, pressing the tip of the bottle to my lips and taking a gulp of the ice cool water. Just then, my doorbell rings. I hope I am not overdressed. I think to myself. I walk to the door, the sound of my heels clicking against the tiled floor of my apartment. I unlock the door and pull it open, almost gasping in delight.

"Hi Ruby.. You look.. Wow."

I bite my lip hard and trail my gaze over him, neck to toe. He looks dapper in a black tuxedo and a bow in his neck. His ginger hair are neatly rolled back as usual and his glasses falling over the crook of his nose.

"You clean up nice, Mr. Wilde."

I can see that he is blushing as he gives me his lopsided smile.

"Shall we ?"

"Just a minute Xander."

I make my way to the side table and grab my purse. I then make my way back to Xander and place my hand in the hand that he is throwing out towards me. His skin is soft.

His steps are slow and considerate probably because he sees that I'm wearing heels and probably understands the pain of walking in them. We walk out of my apartment with a faint smile on our lips and our cheeks tainted red. "You drive?" I raise an eyebrow curiously as he has already gone a few steps ahead of me and opened the car door for me. "You don't?" He chuckles playfully as I slide into the passenger side of the car, minding my head. "Nah, I prefer to get driven by chauffeurs." I pout playfully.

He slides into the driver side beside me and the car instantly fills with a nice fragrance. God, this guy smells nice. "Where are we going Xander?" I raise an eyebrow curiously as he slowly pulls up on the driveway and starts driving. He glances at me and bites his lip. "Curiousity killed the cat." He smiles and I roll my eyes. I look out of the car and realize that we are on the Gotham Bridge. "Xander? Why haven't you done this dating thing before? You're good looking . And kind. I think that's what the girls look for in their potential boyfriend material." He looks at me and squints his eyes. I swear I saw his cheeks burn a bright crimson. He is the cutest thing when he blushes. "You're exaggerating. I'm not that great." I can't help myself. I gently lay my palm over his thigh and squeeze it, making him stiffen. "Xander Wilde, look at you. I find myself lucky to have gotten to go on a first date with you."

Just then, I squeel in delight and he smiles softly as he brings the car to a halt. It's the spot that I love, the one that overlooks the entire Gotham City by the river bank. Oh, Xander . I love him for this. He pulls out the door for me and I take his hand, a big smile plastered on my face. "I hope you don't mind. I thought of going to a restaurant but I thought that maybe this would add a more personal touch to our date.." He points towards a beautifully decorated gazebo. The gazebo is decorated with fairy lights and what looks like a table for two is placed inside the gazebo.

"This is beautiful, Xander."

My heart is so full. I don't remember the last time when someone was this thoughtful of me. We're sitting under a beautifully lit gazebo and having a glass of champagne. I place my hand on the table as I take a sip of my champagne using my other hand. Xander is telling me a story of his first year at St. Ignatius. I feel him place his hand over mine and squeeze it. I don't want him to drop me hand. He doesn't.

"Ruby, you never told me about the things you like to do."

"I love hiking , like a lot. And travelling. Going places. Seeing new things. Exploring different cuisines. "

His eyes are twinkling as he listens to me talk. He is a great listener too. Just then a waiter walks up to us pushing a trolley. I smile.politely at the waiter when he approaches. He opens the lid and places scrumptious dishes in front of us. There's my favourite mixed sauce pasta and chicken, fried fish fillet and a giant sized lobster. I squeel in excitement like a two year old,making Xander laugh. " You cooked all this, didn't you ?" I raise an eyebrow, playfully. "Taste it." I dig my fork into the pasta and take a bite. "OH MY GOD XANDER WILDE THIS IS THE BEST PASTA I'VE HAD IN A LONG TIME " "Stop flattering me, I just tried to do something special for you. I hope you like it." I hold his hand squeezing it softly. "I love it Xander. I really do. I won't forget this night." He leans closer to me with his fork and I take a bite of the lobster from his hand. "The night is not over yet." My heart is thumping wildly against my chest. Maybe he can hear it too.

***

We have made our way to the rocks by the river bank. Xander has rolled up his pants to his knees and is holding his shoes with his free hand. His other hand is locked around my waist. I'm holding my heels with my hands as well as we walk over the wet rocks, the water splashing against our feet. We find a dry rock a little further into the water which is big enough to hold the two of us so we make our way to it , splashing each other with water playfully. Xander jumps onto the rock first and then helps me up. We then sit down next to each other, hearing the peaceful sound of the water crashing against the other rocks. He slides his arm across my shoulder and I sink deeper against his side,smiling.

"Xander?"

I am fiddling with the hem of my dress.

"What is it darling? "

"Can you tell me about Ecco? What is she to you?"

He smiles softly and nods.

"Ecco is my best friend. I don't have any family but here. And my uncle. I have known her since forever that I can remember."

"You both never hooked up?"

"Nah, I just felt anything for her. In fact, you're the first girl that makes me feel this way.."

He is looking into my eyes now. I just want to kiss him and get lost into his kisses. He gets the hint as he leans forward softly and plants a soft kiss on my lips. I do not let him pull back however. I lock my hand behind his head, curling my fingers into his soft locks and I place my lips on him, softly kissing him. He moans inaudibly against my kiss and parts his lips , providing access to my tongue into his mouth. Our tongues swish and fight against each other inside his mouth. Our kiss is soft yet full of passion. This night couldn't get any better.

Chapter Text

I've been dating Xander for over two months now. We're really happy. We are meeting up for lunch today but we won't be alone. I'm bringing Delilah with me and he is bringing Ecco. Although I am sure of it that Delilah will have a blast with Xander, I'm not so sure about meeting Ecco. She knows how I felt about her. I was jealous of her and Xander. Maybe I'm overthinking. It doesn't matter as I'm going to this little 'inter-friend-tion' for Xander.

Me and Delilah walk into our favourite cafe just opposite to our university campus. It's a small cafe but it has a very homely feel to it. We are early. We look around but do not spot Xander or Ecco anywhere. We slide into the table closest to the window and grab the menu,just going through it. Just then, the door to the cafe clinks open and the little bell rings making us look up from the menu card. Xander and Ecco walk in casually. Xander walks in first, his eyes plastered on me. Ecco follows, her stare cold and calculated. Delilah quickly leans towards me and I hear her in my ear. "He has eyes just for you. Lucky you." I smile softly and step up from my seat, slowly wrapping my arms around Xander and pulling him into a hug. He smells like himself, one of the best fragrances in the world for me. We then pull back and I clear my throat and pull Delilah closer. " Well you both have already met secretly behind my back. I don't think I need to introduce you two to each other." I can't help but roll my eyes playfully at both of them.

Ecco stiffens behind Xander and I smile softly at her. Xander takes the hint and pulls Ecco in front. "Guys,meet Ecco. Ecco, meet Ruby and Delilah."  She smiles softly then and I realize that she doesn't seem that bad, she has a nice smile and she should smile often. I take her hand and pull her next to me while Delilah and Xander take the seat on our opposite side.

"So guys, what are we having? I'M STARVING !!" Xander smiles and Delilah pokes out her tongue at me. "You're always starving. When are you not? Xander do you know your girlfriend has a food baby?" She laughs playfully and points towards my stomach,making my face red with embarrassment. Ecco comes to my rescue. "Don't we all? I do too..  So does Xander." She smiles and squeezes my hand and I sit back more relaxed. I was wrong about her. Ecco seems nice.

So we end up finally ordering four Iced Teas and garlic breads for ourselves. We all talk mostly about St. Ignatius. Xander seems to be the only one with a knack for studies. All of the three of us, me, Delilah and Ecco , we're just barely passing.  Ecco tells us a few stories of her and Xander from their childhood which is fun to hear. Our order arrives and we happily munch the garlic breads and drink our teas. About an hour later, we all decide to part ways. Ecco has to go to the university to collect her stuff from her locker so Delilah asks her if she could accompany her as she is going to the campus as well. Xander and I decide to walk back to my apartment to drop me off. He is such a gentleman.

***

"Why don't you join me for a coffee? I make really good coffee.. Even better than the cafe we went to a few minutes ago." I grin playfully as I slide the keys into the keyhole, opening my door. I grab Xander by his arm and pull him inside. I shut the door behind us and pin him to the wall, ravishing his lips. "I thought you invited me over for coffee.." He murmurs between our kisses. "Oh yeah.. that. I completely forgot about it." I giggle and let him go.

I make my way towards the corner in my one bedroom apartment that I call my kitchen. I take some milk and leave it in a pot to boil on the stove. Xander walks over to the window and looks out, his brows twisting in worry. "Sweetheart, it seems it's going to rain. I better get out right now while I can." I place my hand on my waist and stroll casually towards where Xander is standing and look out myself. "Uh,nope. I know Gotham's weather like you know your Math honey. It's not gonna rain for over an hour. Trust me. Just one coffee." He slinks his arm around my waist,resting his palm at the base of my back,pulling me tighter against him. "You play with the fact that I cannot say no to those cute little puppy dog eyes." He leans closer and pulls out my glasses, placing it on the windowsill next to us,trailing his fingers against the corner of my eyes as he gazes lovingly into them.

"The milk is boiling, Xander !!" I chuckle and pull my way out of his tight grasp and he pouts ,dumping his body lazily onto my couch. I take the milk off the stove and add some coffee powder and Hershey's syrup to it, stirring it carefully. I pull out a shaker from one of the overhead cabinets and pour the coffee into it,shaking it as much as I can. I then pour the piping hot coffee into two coffee mugs and carry them over to the couch where Xander is lounging. "Here ya go, lover boy." I sit down next to him and smile.

Just then, a loud thunder goes off outside. I scream and bury myself into Xander and he protectively latches his hand around me, pushing me deeper against his chest. "Hey. Are you scared of thunder?" "I don't like thunder and storms." I sniffle. He rubs my back soothingly and plants a kiss to my forehead. "You're alright. I'm here. You're safe. " Just then, it starts pouring heavily outside. I sit up straight and look at Xander. "I guess your weather predicting skills are not as good as my mathematics skill." He smirks in a teasing manner. He takes out his cell phone and clicks on the Uber icon. "What you doing?" I raise an eyebrow curiously."Just booking a cab for myself." "No." "No?"

I bite my lip unintentionally and scoot in closer,grabbing his phone from his hand and tossing it away. "Stay with me tonight. I'm..scared." He looks at me, as if thinking, his expressions unsure and skeptical. "Are you sure you want me to stay?" "Yeppp." I say,popping out the p. I slide out of his embrace excitedly and walk to my closet. "I might have some of my brother's spares here that should fit you." I pull out a loose fitting pyjama and a plain white v neck tee shirt for him tossing it at him. "Come on, I don't bite."

***

An hour later, we're laying on my bed. Xander is on the left side and I'm laying on my stomach near the foot of the bed, we're playing Jenga. I carefully pull out one of the pieces and clap as the pyramid doesn't fall. This is our fifth time and I'm winning by one point. 3-2. Xander narrows his eyes as he carefully looks at our pyramid and gently tries pulling out the piece but the entire pyramid crumples apart, toppling all over. I throw my head back and laugh. "YES! I'M THE JENGA QUEEN."

"Come here you little.." Xander pounces on me and pulls me to the bed,climbing on top of me. My heart skips a beat. We stay like that for a few seconds,staring at each other's lips before Xander softly clears his throat and starts to get off me. I stop him. "Xander.. don't. I want this." He looks at me , stroking the side of my face. "Listen Ruby. I don't want you to do anything you don't want to. I can wait. " I shake my head and take his hand, pulling his index finger into his mouth as I lick it teasingly. I see his eyes roll back a little and his mouth part. I can already feel him harden against my groin. "Xander. I want to do this. With you."

That is enough permission for him. The next minute, our lips are passionately pulling and tugging against each others, our hands running and violating each other at parts that we never have touched. He presses his palm against the bulge of my breast, squeezing it hard. I moan to his touch. We break our kiss and gasp for breath, I feel him take off my shirt and unclasp my bra, feeling his tongue play with my erect nipples. He licks and bites and gnaws at my nipples and I moan in ecstacy as this new kind of feeling wraps around me.

I nervously slide my hand through the waistband of his pyjamas over his already hardened cock. It feels massive. I gasp. He moans lightly and shifts his body weight so that he is laying next to me. I slide out of the bed and he follows my movement with his eyes. I then take off my clothes and let them drop in a pile. I then make my way back to the bed and right to his erect cock that is springing free now. I bite my lip nervously as I have never done this before. I place my lips against the tip of his cock and blow it, taking his entire length into my mouth and wetting it using my saliva. I crane my eyes up at him and I can see that it's having an effect on him. His fingers curl into my raven black hair as he nudges me to move. He pulls at my hair and I start pulling his cock in and out of my mouth, feeling him moan in pleasure with every thrust.

He then sits up and I reluctantly let go off his cock, wiping my saliva all over my mouth and my cheek. "Do you have a condom?" I bite my lip and grab one from my drawers. He rolls it open and puts it over his massive erection,my eyes bobbing it just by watching it. My heart is thumping wildly against my chest. He notices my expressions and softly asks. "Ruby, we can stop if you want." I shake my head in determination. Besides, my pussy is already pulsating and wet with anticipation. "Take me" I command him.

He gets on top of me and pins both my hands on top of my head. He looks at me once before positioning his head directly in front of my entrance. He then gently pushes himself into me. It stings a little but the wetness causes his upright cock to shoot right inside me. He grunts in satisfaction as he adjusts his length inside of me. "You okay there?" He smiles. I nod. "It's good " He begins to pound into me,not rough as it is our first time, but hard enough to make us both enjoy it, the sound of our skin slapping against each other echoing through the room as we move in unison . "Fuck..Ruby.. You're so tight.. and so wet for me. It's killing me.. " He purrs seductively into my ears. I arch my back and I can feel my body move along with him in the same rhythm as his movement. He is gentle but hard at the same time and I love it. I bite my lip in embarrassment as I feel this sudden urge to pee. "Um.. Xander.. I ..I think I need to pee. " I mumble breathlessly as he keeps thrusting into me. He looks at me for a moment and slowly breaks into a smile, stroking the side of my cheek. "That's not pee baby. That's your first orgasm. Just feel it. Let me show you your first orgasm." He says huskily to me. His pounding doesn't stop. He easily slides in and out of me, making me dig my nails into his back. Just then I let out a weak cry, my insides twisting at this new, painful yet extremely pleasurable feeling shooting inside of me making my toes curl as I come. His thrusts get sloppier now and he slowly lets out a lingering moan , his cock pulsating wildly inside me as he comes as well. He weakly falls over me and buries his face into my hair and I kiss the crook of his neck. "I love you, Xander." He lifts his head and looks at me lovingly, placing his lips on mine. "I love you, Ruby Day."

Chapter Text

A few weeks later, I find myself strolling down the city garden with Delilah in tow. Xander could not show up today as he had some important assignment to submit by tomorrow. It's Friday evening so we do not have any classes tomorrow. We are having our favourite ice creams, Delilah is having chocolate chip and I am having rum raisin.

"Hey look at that." I arch my eyebrows quizzically and look at where Delilah is pointing. In front of us, there's a poster which says that Haly's Circus is in town. Oh I just love circuses. I remember going to the circuses every year with my dad and brother before he got posted outside Gotham. "Yes. Let's go. Just you and me, ready to take over Gotham city. " I link our arms together as we cross the road and hail a taxi. Once we get inside the taxi, I take off my leather jacket as it is stuffy inside. "Where to,Miss?" The taxi driver glances at me shortly and I tell him that we want to go to Haly's Circus. "It'll be 25 dollars." We nod and slid back into our seat, putting our ear pods into our ears and turning on the music in full blast.

***

The driver informs us that we have reached Haly's Circus. We pay him the money and step out of the taxi instantly feeling the cold winter breeze making us shiver. I instantly slide my hands into my leather jacket and wear it. We look up at the circus. It is really beautiful. "Look, a giant wheel" I follow my gaze to where Delilah is pointing and chuckle playfully. "Come on, the show's about to start. Let's just buy tickets." I nod and we both make our way to the ticket line,giggling and pointing towards the various people dressed in funny outfits.  We buy our tickets and then look at the watch. There is still fifteen minutes for the show to start. We decide to go in and grab the best seats. Holding our popcorns and cold drinks in our hand, we make our way inside the tent and sit in the second row from the front. 

"I'm just gonna call Xander and let him know I'm here. He worries." I yell at Delilah over the background noise. She nods and I shove my way through the crowd till I am outside the tent. I slide my phone open and dial Xander's number. He picks up after two rings.

"Hey babe.."

"Xander, how's the assignment coming ?"

"Ugh don't ask. It's bad. I've done half of it. Still half of it to go."

"I know you'd crack it . You're my genius. Anyway I was just wondering if you were free, you can come hang out with me and Delilah?"

"I'm sorry love I can't right now. I'm stuffed. Lot of pending work to do."

I huff in disappointment but smile softly.

"Hey it's okay. We'll hang out some other time. Would have been fun though. There's this circus in town.. it's really amazing."

There is a weird uncomfortable silence on the phone. Xander is on call, I can hear his punctured breaths.

"Where are you, Ruby?"

"I'm at the Haly's Circus."

" Listen, I'm coming to get you. Just wait for me. Don't talk to anybody there. "

"You're scaring me Xander. What's up with you suddenly?"

"Listen please trust me when I tell you it's not safe. I'm coming to get you."

"Okay.." I croak and disconnect the call. That was weird. Anyway, I decide to go and get Delilah. Suddenly, I feel an urge to pee. I look around this part of the circus. It's quiet. I wonder where the bathrooms are. Just then my eyesight falls on what looks like a young boy in his late teens kneeling underneath a cow scrubbing the floor. It looks like he is cleaning the cow dung. Just a few steps to his left, I see a tent with the symbols ladies on it. I walk fast towards the tent and step inside.

I push open an empty stall and go inside,locking it behind me. I then pull down my leggings and sit on the toilet, peeing. I'm almost done when I hear a sound of faint whistling coming closer towards the girls toilet.

"Hello?" I call out from inside.

No one replies. I bite my lip nervously and pull my leggings up,flushing behind me hurriedly and walking out. I turn on the faucet and grab some liquid soup, washing my hands. Just then, I see a reflection on the mirror in front of me. Somebody is leaning by the bathroom door, whistling. He is quick in stepping away from my vision as he runs out.

I'm feeling a little scared now. I grab my phone and try calling Delilah. Maybe the show has started so she is unable to receive my call. I groan and slide my phone back into my pocket. Nervously, I stand by the edge of the bathroom ,poking my head out of the tent. Whoever that was, I think he has gone now. Maybe I will just run back.
I silently take a step out of the bathroom and am about to run when I feel sturdy hands grip me and push me against the side of the tent, his other hand instantly latching to my mouth .

When he realizes that I am not struggling under his grasp, he lowers his hand quizzically and keeps looking at me.

"Xander?"

I raise an eyebrow, anger coursing through my veins. "What kind of a sick , twisted joke is this? Are you fucking out of your mind?"

Only this boy doesn't look like Xander. He does but yet he doesn't. He has the same face, the same ginger coloured hair but the way his hair are kept are messy and unkempt while Xander always makes sure to keep his hair neatly gelled back and not falling over his eyes. The boy in front of me smirks smugly.

"Oooh he goes by Xander now ?"

I wiggle under his hold,his hold only tightens around my shoulders. "Who are you? Hey!! Let me go !! I'm gonna yell!! I'm ..I'm gonna call the cops." He snatches my phone from my hand and tosses it playfully in the air using one hand,his other hand holding me tight against my place. He is strong as he is easily able to hold me using his left hand. "Rookie mistake. You should never flash your phone if you're threatening to call the cops." He drops my phone to the floor and it smashes to pieces. "Oops. Sorry gorgeous. I'm Jerome by the way." He throws his head back and cackles maniacally. "LET ME GO JERK!" I kick him hard on his shin and he groans and falls down on his knees, holding his groin. I make a dash for it.

"Fuck fuck fuck. What the actual fuck." I'm gasping for air as I'm running as fast as I could through the tents only to realize that I am running in circles. I'm lost. Great. I reach a tent and the first thing I notice is a large cage with a huge snake in it. "Eeks. I hate snakes." I mutter and turn back, flabbergasted. I stop in my tracks as the red haired boy named Jerome steps angrily towards me and grabs my hand,yanking me towards the trailer just next to the snake cage. I throw myself to the ground as he drags me , dust and mud rising behind me. "Would you stop whining?? I just want to talk. About Xander." He opens the trailer door and dumps me inside, stepping inside and locking the trailer from the inside. I slide into one of the corners and curl up into a ball. "SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!! HELP PLEASE !!" Nobody comes.

I can hear Jerome's footsteps get closer. He kneels in front of me and yanks my face up by my chin. "Gorgeous, the show's on. Nobody gonna come by this way until the show's over. You're stuck with me. I'm not gonna hurt ya, if you want. " I am sniffling now, tears spilling out of my eyes. Where's Xander? God please Xander help me. He hops in front of me, crossing his legs.

"Where's Jeremiah? "

"W..Who?"

"Oops. Sorry. Xander. I keep forgetting he goes by Xander now."

"How do you know him?" I say, almost in a whisper.

Jerome throws his head back and cackles maniacally. I shiver with fear and instinctively pull back. He places his hand on my cheek and I feel an instant desire to slap him away. He caresses my cheek.

"You're so innocent. You his girl?"

"WHAT DO YOU FUCKING WANT FROM ME JEROME? Please I just want to go back." I yell through my tears.

"His name is Jeremiah Valeska. He is my twin brother. I suppose you don't know me BECAUSE HE NEVER FUCKING TELLS ANYONE ABOUT ME. HE ABANDONED ME WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. THAT SON OF A BITCH !" He yells and smashes his fist behind the wall behind me, making me curl further into a ball and sniffle into my knees. 

"JEROME!! JEROME!! OPEN UP I KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE. RUBY?? PLEASE LEAVE HER ALONE !!"

We both look towards the door and I smile in relief. Xander has come for me. Jerome smiles and claps gleefully and quickly hops up, running to the trailer door and unlocking it. Instantly, Xander lunges at him, pinning him to the trailer wall, choking him. Xander looks at my crumpled form on the floor and punches Jerome hard on his face, drawing out blood for him nose. Jerome just does what he has been doing since that past few minutes ,laugh uncontrollably. "You son of a bitch. Did you touch her??" He looks at me and I shake my head,weakly pulling myself up on my feet as I run in Xander's arms. He wraps an arm protectively around me and glares at Jerome. "Stay the fuck away from her."

We are walking slowly towards the exit of the circus as his voice echoes behind me.

"I can't promise you that Miah.."

Chapter Text

"Where's Delilah? " I croak softly. "I booked a cab for her. She's safe. Don't worry Ruby." His reply seems off.
I don't say anything to him after that.

The car ride back to my apartment is a quiet one. Xander is silent as he drives the car slowly back, I bite my inner cheek as thousand thoughts seem to be sinking into my mind. The boy I have been dating for the past few months is not the boy I think I know. He has an identity that he did not tell me about. What if he is a secret murderer or psychopath or rapist or something? Who knows. He goes by an alias. He could be anything. I shift my gaze towards Xander. He seems angry. His demeanor is different, this is not the calm and sweet Xander that I know. His knuckles are turning white by the way he has his hands curled tightly against the steering wheel. I sink back deeper into the seat and sigh, placing my head on the backrest and closing my eyes. No, Xander cannot hurt a soul or be something different that what he portrays. There must have been a reason he uses an alias. Jerome seemed dangerous and scary. Had Xander not come, I don't know what he would have done to me. I shudder thinking at the thought of Jerome.

Soon, Xander pulls up in front of my driveway. I bite my lip and look at him,hoping he would say something to me. He just clears his throat indicating that I need to get out. I quickly mask the hurt expression in my face as I nod softly and slide out of the car and run into my apartment. I sink to the floor,leaning against my door, the sound of him starting his car engine echoing in my ears. He drives away.

I sob uncontrollably then, shaking and convulsing due to my unstoppable urge to cry and let it all out. I don't bother laying in bed, I just curl up on the cold tiles floor , drool and tears falling off my face into the floor and I sniffle and fall asleep.

***

I wake up the next morning, my body hurting immensely due to sleeping on the hard , cold floor. I groan and drag myself up and into the bathroom. I flick the lights on and glance at my reflection in the mirror. I look like a mess. My hair are in a frenzy as if somebody just electrocuted me. I have tear stains on my cheeks mixed with the stains of my eyeliner due to the immense crying. My eyes are puffy and swollen. I turn the faucet on and splash some cool water over my face. Then dabbing my face and hands with a hand towel, I make my way into my bedroom to check my phone. Maybe Xander might have called. Just maybe. There is a message from Xander. I open the message and read it. I clutch my phone harder as I read the words again and again, each word piercing into my heart like a thousand knives.

Xander : We can't be together Ruby. Please take care of yourself.

He just broke up with me. How could he just fucking break up with me like that ? First of all, the man has the audacity to lie to all of us about his secret identity. He sinks into my heart, makes me fall in love with him and just breaks up with me. He also doesn't have the freaking decency to say this to my face. He just texts me saying that I have been dumped. Just freaking great.

I turn my phone off. I can't speak to anyone right now. Not even Delilah. Everything hurts. I look around the room and it hurts. Memories of Xander come back to haunt me. Our first kiss. Our first night together. Those intimate moments. How he told me he loved me. Where did that love go? Was it all a fucking lie ?

I'm not gonna mope any longer. I throw my phone onto the bed and make my way to the closet. I throw open the closet door angrily and grab my black sleeveless dress, sliding into it and zipping it up. I run my hand through my hand not bothering to use the comb and slide into my heels, grabbing my purse and my house keys. I hail a taxi outside.

"Take me Haly's Circus please."

The driver nods and I sit back in the seat, my lips pursed tightly against each other. If I don't do it, I'd end up sniffling. The driver informs me that we have reached the circus. I pay him 25 dollars and step out of the taxi.

The circus seems quiet as all the shows start after lunch hour. I am stopped by one of the men outside. He looks down at my clothes, and then back at my face. "Sorry you're not allowed to go back there. Circus is closed." I growl angrily. "I'm here to meet someone. Jerome. " "Valeska?" I nod. Honestly he never told me his full name. "Follow me" He walks off and I casually trot behind him , cursing myself as to why I decided to wear heels to freaking circus and why not something more comfortable.

"Wait here"

I nod and shuffle uncomfortably in my spot,crossing my hands over my body as I watch the man walk towards the familiar trailer, the one where Jerome had taken me last night. He knocks on the trailer door and I see a woman open the door. She looks like a woman in her 40s but is scantily dressed. I remember her face from the posters. It's Lila Valeska. Oh.

The man says something to her and she glares in my direction. I then watch as she vanishes into the trailer and yanks Jerome out by his collar. I am watching with my eyes wide. Why is she behaving like this with the boy? What has he done to her for her to behave this way? I see her yanking Jerome towards me. Jerome's eyes fall on me and he raises his eyebrow curiously.

"Is that one of your little whores Jerome? The one you keep vanishing to when I need you to clean the dishes?"

I gasp and look at them, about to protest.

"Mother, leave her out of this."

She huffs and turns around , glaring at me as if I am carrying a disease. She points at Jerome and then at me.

"Please use a fucking condom. I don't want your illegitimate children runnin around the circus. I already have enough mouths to feed." I roll my eyes sarcastically. Yeah,you have two.

She walks inside. Jerome cocks his head over to me, notably embarrassed by the sight I had to see. He then smirks slightly, his lips curving into a devious smile. "Why are you here?" I shrug and for a split second, an image of Xander pops into my head. "I just . You know I wanted to talk. About what the fuck is going on. Please don't hurt me." I raise my hands in the air defensively and he shrugs. "I won't. Let's talk. Wait. Do you wanna go on the giant wheel?" He points towards the giant wheel. I smile softly and nod. "Yes, let's."

We make our way to the giant wheel. We slide into one of the compartments and buckle up. The giant wheel starts pulling us up towards the top. I look at Jerome and a part of my heart hurts. What am I doing with Jerome here? Yes he has the face of Xander but he is not him. He is not the man I fell in love with. I curl my fists together in anger. That love wasn't good for me anyway. He dumped me. I can move on and who better than his own twin brother. Jerome is as cute as Xander or should I call him Jeremiah Valeska.

I am pulled out of my thoughts as Jerome snaps his fingers in front of my eyes. "So why are you here? Shouldn't you be banging broski right now? Damn that nerd ended up landing a hot chick before me. I need to fucking up my game. I do have one night stands though. Jeremiah can't beat me in that." I shake my head. "He broke up with me." He looks at me and smiles wide,his eyes twinkling. "Why? Couldn't handle the pressures of being in a relationship?"
"Quit talking about Xander.. I mean Jeremiah. He doesn't deserve even this. Me talking and thinking about him." He nods and leans closer deliberately,his hand snaking across my shoulder. "You're right. You need to have a little fun. To forget about him for a while." I can feel his hot breath on me and I know his intentions. "It's funny Jerome.. how I wanna forget about him but here I am sitting with a boy who looks just like him.."

Jerome dramatically places his hand over his heart. "You're breaking my heart. I might look like Miah but I am nothing like that nerd. Maybe if you'd hang out with me more, you'll see."  "Shut up Jerome and just kiss me already." I hiss towards him angrily. "Gladly" He smirks and presses his lips against mine, sucking on my lower lip as hard as he could.

Chapter Text

"Do you seriously want to rip me apart on a damn giant wheel?" I ask.

I gasp slightly for my lost breath after breaking my kiss with Jerome. He smirks, panting as well. "We'll just pick a nice corner. " I roll my eyes and we hop off the giant wheel. Jerome takes my hand in his and we run towards what looks like a shed. Probably where Jerome keeps his  cows. He throws open the old battered wooden door with a creak and steps in. There are two horses and a cow inside. We slide into one corner where a lot of hay has been spread on the floor.

The next minute, we are latched on to each other,pulling and yanking on each others clothes hungrily. Rebound sex is better than moping around and crying all day and night, I keep saying to myself. I manage to take off Jerome's shirt and he almost tears apart my dress, tossing it away, our clothes landing in a pile next to where we are laying.

"Turn around" He barks. I comply. I turn around so that my back is facing his. His lips latch on to the sweet spot on my neck as he grabs me by my waist and pulls me onto his lap, over his massive erection. I can feel his erection pressing into my ass. "You like that? Does that muck of my brother take you this way?" He hissed into my ear, nibbling at the lobe of my ear. "Bend, let me see that ass. " He commands authoritatively. I comply and push myself on all fours in front of him.

He lunges at me from behind, his massive erection brushing against my bottom causing shivers down my spine. He grabs my breasts , squeezing them aggressively, his thumbs circling my erect nipples, making me moan. I feel him curl his palm into my hair and yanking my head back in an animalistic sort of way. "Oh God." I can't help but moan, it feels so damn good. I cannot think of anything else right now. This is like a drug. I just want to get lost in it.

I feel his index finger slide into my underwear stroking over my folds for a second before pushing his digit right inside me. "Fuck.." I curl my wrists tighter. "Oh look how wet you are for me." He slides out his finger and slides it into his mouth, slurping and tasting me. Just then I wince as a stinging pain shoots through my bottom as he smacks my ass hard. That growl like whisper of his just makes me even more wet. "You like that huh?" "Yes." I hiss through the stinging pain. "Fuck me Valeska." He moves forward, his hands placed on my bottom. He yanks my head back so that his mouth is once again in line with my ear. "Well, someone's getting restless. As you wish. " I hear the sound of wrapper which I assume Jerome has pulled out a condom from somewhere. I cry out as his brutal length pushes into my throbbing hole. He throws his head back and let's out a seductive moan as he adjusts himself inside me. Jerome immediately starts slamming his cock into me with violent and fast paced thrusts, grunting in pleasure . 

His thrusts become more rougher than before, our bodies are shaking violently as he moves in and out of me, his hand gripping my waist tightly. God,it feels so good. His cock slides in and out of me in a circular motion, making my hole grow excessively soaked , a wet slapping noise filling the room as he fucks me hard. "Fuck.." I hear his grunt followed by his cuss. Just then, I feel my orgasm hit me as let out a shrill cry in agony and in relief altogether, my insides throbbing and pulsating wildly. I can feel him slowing down meaning that he is also close. He lets out a cry of pleasure as he comes, pulling abruptly out of me and falling tiredly onto the hay.

***

I walk towards my apartment, wearing Jerome's old hoodie and a pair of his old pyjamas that fit me because he ripped my dress in half. Do I feel guilty ? Definitely. I feel really guilty and stupid. But somehow I manage to convince myself that this was not a wrong thing to do. It was way better than locking myself in my apartment and crying. I slide the key into the apartment and step in, squinting my eyes as the lights are on. I remember having not having turned the lights on in the morning. Weird.

"Ruby Day, where have you been?"

"Delilah?" I bite my lip nervously and avoid an eye contact with her. I make my way to the make shift kitchen and yank the fridge door open, pulling out a bottle of cranberry juice and and pouring some into a glass. She huffs angrily and walks after me, grabbing me by my arm and yanking me towards her so that she can glare at me all she wants. "I WAS OUT OKAY? I JUST DIDN'T FEEL LIKE BEING IN MY ROOM. "

"You're a nut case. You know that? Xander has been worried sick. He called me ten times just to ask if I have heard from you." Xander's name makes my heart skip a beat. It also makes me lower my gaze shamefully. What did I do? Shit. Shit. I fucked his brother. "Why did he call?" I shrug,not wanting to hear about him but still curious. "What do you mean why did he call? He even came to your apartment and realized that you are not at home!"

I groan and fall back on my bed,thoughts rushing through my mind. "He dumped me Delilah. He fucking texted me this morning that he wants to end things between us. Here. READ THIS!" I toss her my now switched on phone and she reads the message that Xander sent me in the morning. "I don't understand.." She looks at me,blinking. "You guys had a fight or something? You guys were so happy? Why did he just randomly break up with you?" 

"Stop Delilah.. You're supposed to fucking make me feel better. Don't you see how hurt I am? I just want to forget Xander Wilde. What does he want from me now that he has ended the relationship?" I sniffle and bury my face into my hands. I feel Delilah wrap her arms gently around me and lay her head on my shoulder. "I'm sorry I got mad at you. Maybe he wants to get back together ?" I sigh. "No I don't want to. I'm not a fucking toy you can just leave and come back to."

"You know what? Why don't I call mom and let her know I'm staying over with you tonight? I don't wanna leave you alone." I nod and smile,thankful to her for having thought of me. If only Xander had thought of me before breaking up with me. He didn't even tell me what my fault was.

Delilah disconnects the phone and looks at me. I'm just laying on my bed, curled up in a foetal position. She grabs a night gown from my closet and puts in on. She then rummages into the fridge and pulls out a bucket of run raisin ice cream and two spoons. She then makes her way into bed . "You know what's gonna make you feel better?" "What?" I whisper. "RUM RAISIN ICE CREAM !" I shake my head but can't help and let my lips curl into a soft smile. I love Delilah so much. And she loves me. I nod and sit up, grabbing a spoon from her,throwing in a little fake excitement for her sake. She smiles and we dig our spoons into the bucket and stuff a mouthful of ice cream into our mouths.

"You never told me, where did you go today?" I bite my lip hard and look at her. "I did a mistake. Delilah." She shakes her head in denial at first and suddenly her eyes pop out."No you didnt. Did you have sex with a random guy?" I glance at my hands, nervously fiddling with them as I try my best to meet Delilah's gaze but I fail. "Worse. I fucked Xander's twin brother, Jerome Valeska." Delilah glares at me for a few seconds, numb and then just facepalms. Okay, I pretty much messed up today.

Chapter Text

*Jeremiah's POV*

There is that one image that is stuck to me from today at Jerome's trailer. The way she was huddled in a corner, helpless and afraid, relieved to see me there. If I had been minutes late, God knows what that monster of my brother would have done to her. I am the cause of it all. She got in danger because of me. He treated her that way just to get even with me.

I'm sitting in my room on the floor,my back resting against the bed, my face buried into my palms. I remember the last words that Jerome spoke when I asked him to stay away from Ruby. "I can't promise you that Miah." Now that he knows I'm in Gotham and somewhere really close , he is going to keep coming for me and also for Ruby since she is linked to me. No! I can't let her be in danger because of me! I can't let her risk her life just to be with me. What if I am not able to protect her and something happens to her ? No, I can't imagine that. I can't let anything happen to Her. I love her with all my heart. I'm ready to sacrifice for her.

I am quick in my actions as I get up from the floor and grab my cell phone. My half done assignment sheets lay spread on the bed but I couldn't care less right now. I pull out my phone and am about to call her. I stop myself. She would break down if I tell her on phone or face to face and that would break me. I know she needs to know the truth about everything . Maybe one day. I can't involve her. It's too risky.

I decide to send her an SMS. I scroll through my contact list and click on the message icon next to her name and type - We can't be together Ruby. Please take care of yourself.

Fuck I wanted to write so much more. Tell her how much I love her and how much breaking up with her is hurting me but I can't. What will be the point of breaking up with her then? I must not weaken in my resolve right now. I got to be stronger than this.

I drop my phone on the bed and sit on the edge of it. Has she read it by now? Is she okay? How is she? "FUCK". I yell at the top of my voice. I grab a glass vase and toss it into the wall,watching it crumple into pieces. Disturbed and stressed beyond my capacity, I fall back on the bed, having decided to get some sleep. I keep tossing and turning all through the night, unable to sleep. I finally manage to fall into a slumber somewhere around 4:00 AM in the morning.

***

I wake up after three hours or so. I sit up in bed, feeling groggy and tired after having had a sleepless night. I can't stop thinking about Ruby. I just decide to go check on her. I hope she is okay. Maybe just seeing her safe would make me feel better. I grab whatever clothes I can lay my hands upon and toss them onto the bed. I run into the shower and practically end up having the shortest bath I have ever had. I don't even bother to style my hair, that is something I have never stepped out of the house without doing. I grab my car keys and lock my house, making my way to where I parked my car last night. I sink into my car and turn the ignition on,pulling up on the driveway. Ruby's apartment is a fifteen minute ride from here.

I pull up into her driveway and turn off the engine,stepping out of the farm I squint my eyes and place a hand over my eyes to shield me from the sun. I walk over to her door only to realize that she is not all home. I sigh in frustration and walk back to my car,sliding into it and just lean back into the seat. Maybe she would be back soon. She might have gone someplace nearby.

I wake up with a jerk only to realize that I had fallen asleep in my car. I quickly take a look at my wristwatch, it's been two hours since I came here. I glance at Ruby's front door only to realize that it is still locked meaning that she hasn't come back home yet. Worry starts clouding into my mind. What if Jerome has her? What if she did something stupid in denial? I grab my phone instantly and call her, yelling in frustration when I find her number switched off.

I quickly dial Delilah's number and she picks in two rings.

"Xander what's up?"

"Is Ruby with you?"

I hear Delilah's breathing hitch slightly over the phone.

"No she isn't. Is Ruby okay?"

"Yeah I just. Her phone's off and she ain't at home either. I have been waiting since the past two hours. She didn't show up.."

"Xander , maybe she forgot to charge her phone or something. Don't worry. She is probably fine. I'm gonna go check out at the campus once. And let you know okay?"

I nod and look down at my hands nervously.

"Yeah thanks Delilah.."

She hangs up. I groan and decide to go and meet Ecco. It will help pass a little time. I pull my car abruptly into the driveway and start driving towards Ecco's place. Ecco lives a few blocks away from my temporary apartment. I have two places to stay. I had a bunker made for myself just in case I have to go into hiding from Jerome. This bunker is located at the outskirts of the city in a dense forest. It is an underground bunker. I don't use it much though since it gets really time consuming commuting from the bunker to the university and vice versa.

Ecco is standing outside her apartment, watering her plants. She watches my car pull up on the driveway and dumps the watering can on the ground and jogs towards my car door. She can probably sense that something is off. "Xander? What's wrong?" I step out of the car and push the door closed behind me. I then find myself leaning against the side of the car looking at Ecco. "I can't find Ruby anywhere. I'm worried about her Ecco. What if she's in trouble?"

Ecco grabs me by my hand and pulls me inside her apartment. She makes me sit down on her couch and brings me a glass of ice cold water. I thankfully drink all of it and sit back on the couch, laying my head against the backrest. "I don't know what to do, Ecco. I think I did the right thing breaking up with her for her own safety. But now that I am out of her life, I'm still worried about her."

Ecco smiles softly and takes my hand in hers , squeezing it gently. "Honey, honestly, I don't think you should end things with her just because you think she would be safe without you. She is already a part of your life now. I think that you should tell her the truth about everything and involve her.." I shrug, listening to her,confused. "You want me to dig my own girlfriend's grave?" "No silly. You will protect her. You can only protect her if you're close to her. You know she is vulnerable right now. Jerome can have her anytime he wants. You're not there to protect her." I nod. "You're right, Ecco. Maybe it was a mistake breaking up with her. I'm going to get her back."

Chapter Text

I take a few days off from the university. I need to get my head straight. I decide to go to Minnesota and visit my family. I stay with my father and my brother for a week or so before returning back to Gotham. I cannot miss my classes for a longer time. Delilah calls me everyday and she tells me that Xander keeps asking about me. In all my honesty, I really miss Xander. I want to just jump into his arms and cry and ask him to take me back but I can't. The guilt is eating at me. Although I wouldn't call it cheating, he had broken up with me, out of all the people left in the entire city of Gotham, I went and had sex with his twin brother, the one who caused this rift between us probably. God I'm so fucking stupid.

I step into the campus and squint my eyes immediately to shield myself from the sunlight falling over my eyes. The university garden is crowded, there are students lounging over the grass, on the benches and lurking near the walls. I lower my gaze and make my way through the crowds towards my locker. Once at my locker, I grab the books I need and fish through the hallway towards my classroom for my psychology class. Delilah is surprised when she sees me enter the class. I hadn't bothered informing her that I would be back today. I slide into my seat next to her and smile softly. She leans closer towards my ear and whispers into my ear. "You look like shit." I shrug casually and slide open my notepad,scribbling and jotting down my notes.

Once the class gets over, we look at our timetable and realize that we have got an hour free. "Let's do something fun! Let's go play badminton outside." I shake my head and snatch my arm away from Delilah. "Not in the mood. I'm just gonna go sit in the garden for a while. I want to be alone." Delilah pouts like a baby but doesn't push me. I hope she understands that I'm still not over Xander and I need time to go back to normal again. Maybe, I'll never go back to normal again. I haven't seen him in ages and my eyes are dying to take in his appearance but if I do, it will break my heart all over again. It's better that he isn't around right now.

Pushing these depressing thoughts aside for a minute , I sink into a corner over the grass and spread my legs out in front of me, pulling out a book that I had been reading from my bag. Just then, a shadow falls on my book in front of me, making me look up from my reading. I bite the insides of my cheeks nervously, my heart throbbing wildly against my chest. Why is he here?

"Can I sit Ruby?" He asks me nervously. There is a little sadness in his eyes and a pain behind his voice. Maybe he is suffering as much as I am. Just maybe we are in this together.

I nod and scoot over slightly to make a little space for him to sit under the shade of the tree above. He obliges and carefully sits down next to me, cross legged.

"I'm sorry Ruby.. I feel like a jerk."

My nostrils flare in anger and I cannot control myself when my hand come in contact with his shoulder, slapping him. He is slightly thrown back due to the impact of my hit but doesn't react or move away. On the other hand, he just shifts closer. He then takes my hand with which I attacked him and places it to his lips soothingly.

"Ruby. I know what it feels like. I abandoned you."

"Yes. You did. You didn't even tell me what I did wrong. I had the right. "

"Ruby.."

He places his hand over the side of my face, stroking my wet cheek. I didn't realize I had started crying. He uses his thumb to wipe off the tear falling out of my eye.

"Why did you break up with me? Was I not good enough for you?" I cannot hide the hurt in my voice.

"No. You are perfect. It's just that...that day at the circus when I saw you like that , in that trailer, with Jerome, I couldn't take it.. It was my fault you got into that danger. I thought I was protecting you by not telling you about all of this but it backfired and got you in danger Ruby.."

"What do you mean?" My words come out in a whisper. I find myself scooting closer to Xander.

"When Jerome said he won't stay away from you.. I thought pushing you away from me will keep him away from you."

I bite my lip nervously, trying to wrestle with my own thoughts. I did a big mistake and Xander will be destroyed when he finds out.

"You could have told me Xander. Or should I call you Jeremiah ? I would rather have been with you despite all the so called danger that you say than be alone and fucking heartbroken and pathetic." I look at him bitterly.

"Call me whatever you like Ruby. I'm still me. Your man. Please.. I don't deserve your forgiveness I know.. I can only hope." He looks down at his hands, I can see that he is wrestling with himself not to cry in front of me.

My heart skips a beat. I feel his hands rake over my sides until they are latched onto my shoulders. I find him pulling me into his embrace. His signature fragrance of musk invades through my nostrils and making me sigh as relief courses through my veins, finally able to be in his arms again after what felt like ages. I bury my face deeper into his chest, snuggling deeper into his embrace, not caring for the fact that we are sitting in a garden.

We stay like this a few minutes after which I weakly push myself away from him and nervously look down at my hands.

"I was hurting Jeremiah.. I just wanted to stop feeling what I felt when you just abandoned me. It was like somebody had ripped out my heart and dumped it away from me. I was feeling restless and I couldn't breathe.." I look into his green eyes and see the tears starting to form in them. "There's something you need to know." I bite my lip and look into his eyes. He raises an eyebrow confused. I can't keep him in darkness. The guilt is eating at me.

"When I woke up, I felt horrible. God knows what I would have done.."

"Ruby.. Baby.."

I raise a hand slightly indicating him that I am not done. He quietens and sits back, his back leaning against the bark of the tree.

"I decided I won't mope around and cry. I thought I'd do something to forget it all. The pain."

I feel him tense around me and I grab his hand pleadingly. "Please Jeremiah. I'm suffering as it is. You might as well hear what I have to say since I cannot keep it inside anymore."

"What did you do?" His growl is animalistic and low, almost full of hatred. He pulls his hand away from me.

"I went to Haly's. I wanted to talk to Jerome.. I thought he is your twin.. he must be knowing things.."

He gives me a look of pure betrayal. I want to cry out and tell him that I'm sorry and it didn't mean anything.

"We kissed on the giant wheel and.."

"DID YOU GUYS FUCK?" I look around nervously and I see many of the students glancing towards us. I'm shaking with nervousness and fear. Jeremiah is looking at me with an anger I last saw when we were in Jerome's trailer.

"Yes Jeremiah.." His hand comes flying at my face and I feel the sting burning against my cheek. I look up at him,tears flowing from my eyes. He is already gone. And maybe he is gone for ever now.

***

Xander never called me again after that day at the university. I got what I deserved. I lost the man I love just because of one damn stupid mistake of mine. I never met Jerome again and I didn't want to either. I made my peace with what happened to me. It was my fault. I couldn't go to St. Ignatius any more. Although, Xander made it clear by avoiding me in class, not glancing at me or ever making eye contact, the moment my eyes used to fall on him again, I started aching all over again . I couldn't keep going through this over and over again. Although, Delilah was still there with me, our relationship also became strained over time as I also started ignoring her and shunning her away.

One morning, around two three weeks after me and Xander had finally ended our relationship, I decided to drop out of the university. I packed a few of my plainer looking clothes in a gym bag and left all my fancy outfits in the closet. I grabbed my wallet and my gym bag and left my apartment, not even bothering to lock it behind me. I had no place to go, so holding my tiny bag in my hand, I wandered around aimlessly across the streets of Gotham, feeling numb.

I reach my favourite spot of Gotham city. It doesn't seem so comforting anymore. I lean across the railing and look out at the rocks where I kissed Xander on our first date. It was a beautiful night and Xander was such a sweetheart.

I look around and my eyes fall at a older man around his 40s or so leaning by the railing a few steps to the right of me. I just realize I don't remember the last time I had something to eat. My stomach is grumbling due to hunger. The man has a lit cigarette in his hand and a box of cigarettes and probably what looks like a wallet in his back pocket. I crane my neck towards my other side as sneakily as possible just to make sure if no one is watching me. There are not many people in this part of the town anyway. I look at the man again and down at his clothes. He looks like someone belonging to a well if not rich then well cared for family. I sneakily walk in the direction the man is standing, pretending to leave. Once I am close enough, I sneakily slide my hand into his back pocket and pull out his wallet.

Just then, the man turns around and grabs my wrist. "What do you think you're doing kid?" He glares at me angrily. I look directly behind the man and scream at the top of my voice. "HEY!! HE'S GONNA SHOOT US. WATCH OUT!!" The man ducks instinctively and pulls out a gun from his holster. Fuck he has a real gun. I take my chance, still holding his wallet in my hand as I find myself running as fast as my legs would carry me away from the that man. I can hear him yell behind me. "Stop!! I'm gonna shoot ya." I turn back reflexively only to realize that the man is on my tail now, his gun pointed towards me although he is a little far. I need to lose him now.

Just then a girl grabs my arm and pulls me into what looks like a warehouse by the edge of the river, just before the Gotham Bridge. "Just follow me.. I know a way out." I look at the girl. She looks young, atleast a few years younger than me, and has dark brown curls. She seems pretty experienced by the way she jumps over the crates and on top on different shelves while I struggle to catch up, often making a lot of noise. The man's yelling seems distant now and I sigh in relief. We emerge from the back exit of the warehouse that directly opens at the bridge. From the bridge I can see the man at a distance. He is still standing the the other end of the warehouse, panting and kicking a crate in frustration.

"That was the stupidest thing to do."

I look up at this girl and she seems kind of pissed. "You know who you steal from? That's Harvey Bullock. He's a GCPD officer." She looks at my confused face and sighs. "I'm Selina Kyle..And you are?" "Ruby Day." I bite my lip nervously and look at the brown haired girl in front of me. She pulls up a crate and hops carelessly on top of it, crossing her legs beneath her.

"I've never seen ya around here."

"I just ran away from my home. I had no place to go."

"Great, I got another one to take care of now." She groans in frustration.

"Sorry?"

"Listen Ruby. We are the street rats around here. Now you are too if you decide to stay on the street and continue doing what you just did back there." She points towards where Harvey was making me follow her action with my eyes.

"I didn't mean trouble. I just wanted some money so that I can buy myself something to eat and probably a cigarette."

"I know. We all do the same around here. Listen Ruby. You're welcome to stay with me. There are a few of us just around the corner if you want to join us. Let me be honest, you're gonna last longer around here if you're in groups. We see many new faces around here everyday but they just vanish suddenly. No one knows what happened to em."

"Thanks Selina.."

The curly haired girl in front of me just shrugs faintly and slides open Harvey's purse pulling out a 100 dollar note. "I'm gonna keep that for saving your ass." I smile and nod, taking the wallet back from her as she disappears back into the warehouse. I wait by the bridge for a few more minutes and then slowly make my way as far as I could from this wretched place. I spot a hamburger vendor and buy myself a burger along with a can of cola. I also buy a box of cigarettes and a lighter. A realization suddenly hits me that I left my bag back there only. "Fuck it." I think to myself.

***

It's almost midnight now. I'm sitting in one of the alleys in a random street in Gotham. This is the time for all the heinous crimes to take place in Gotham. A few minutes back, I witnessed a girl almost get raped by three four homeless guys which made me escape from that alley as fast as possible. I place my unlit cigarette in between my lips and light it. I hop up suddenly from the corner I was sitting at and lower the hoodie of my jacket , finding myself walking towards the place Selina told me to find her incase I required her help. I've made up my mind. If I wanna survive out on the street like this, I will need all the allies I could get.

I walk into what looks like an open parking shed. I can see a bunch of homeless people huddled across a fire a few yards away. I bite my lip nervously and walk towards them. From the corner of my eye, I catch Selina huddled in one corner next to the fire, munching on an apple. Her eyes fall on me and a faint smile appears on her lips. She jumps up instantly and makes her way to me, the other homeless guys turning towards me and looking at us curiously.

"I knew you'd come Ruby. Welcome." She takes my hand and pulls me towards where the fire is lit. I look around at the other homeless people. There are all sorts of people here, people younger than me and people of almost same age as me, boys and girls. Selina introduces me to each one of them but I forget their names the instant the introduction session is over.

Chapter Text

I've been with Selina for over two months now. I find myself thinking of Jeremiah from time to time. It doesn't hurt that much now. Although I miss him with all my heart.

I started my career in stealing from smaller things such as wallets and chains but now being with Selina and her group of other street rats, we are aiming big, we often sneak into the bases of powerful drug dealers and steal their money, and sometimes if luck is with us, their pouches of cocaine , hash and weed.

We had found a small abandoned apartment in one of the buildings. It was a single bedroom apartment and there were 5 of us so we divided the room into five parts by placing a cloth acting as a barrier or a curtain dividing each one's quarter.

"Where you going ?" Selina looks at me, her left eyebrow shooting upwards when I slide out of my quarter and pull out a gun from the small closet we keep all our weapons at. "I'm getting antsy.. " I shrug and look back at her.  She nods in understanding and snuggles into her blanket, yawning.

"Get us a Japanese takeout" One of our roommates, Brandy, an African American boy, just a year younger to me calls out. "Alright. I'll be back soon." I walk out of our apartment though the fire escape exit. It's a long way down since we're on the third floor.

Once securely off the fire escape ladder, I slide my gun into the pocket of my hoodie sweatshirt and pull up the hoodie. It's a chilly winter night at Gotham and not many people are out on the street thanks to the cold. I make my way to one of the stores by the corner of the street. Once inside, I look around and fixate my gaze on a pack of cigarettes. I walk up to where it's kept and look left then right, quickly stuffing it into my hoodie and walking out of the door. I don't get caught.

Shivering and rubbing my hands together, I look around for a secluded spot where I can peacefully sit down and relax. I decide to sit by the Arkham bridge, no one visits that part of the place at this hour anyway.

The Arkham bridge is quiet,only the sound of crickets and other insects can be heard. There is not much light, only a small , flickering light at the gate of the Arkham Asylum that makes the unpaved way to the bridge visible. I climb onto the bridge and walk deeper inside. Just then, I spot a large rock which looks like the exact place I wanna be right now. I hop onto the rock and slide my hand into the pocket of my jeans,pulling out a small packet. I take a paper and put the hash on it, ripping a cigarette apart and dumping the tobacco over it. I then quickly make a roll and push the substance into it, making a makeshift hash cigarette.

I place it to my lips and light it, taking a puff and letting out the smoke. Just then, I hear a faint sound of leaves rustling. I hop off the rock and slide behind it, jumping down on my knees. Although it is dark, I can see the silhouette of two people walking towards where I am, pulling what looks like a dead body. What? I gasp,placing both my hands on my mouth, my heart pounding against my chest. Why am I always at the wrong place at the wrong time?

I hear them dump the body on the floor with a thud. Just then, a familiar voice echoes through my ears , making my eyes bob out due to shock.
"What do you want me to do now, Mr. Cicero? We gotta dump the whore somewhere around here." This shrill familiar voice. Oh my god. Jerome. The other voice, the unfamiliar one, speaks up. "You know what I think. I have a plan Jerome. We need to hide the body at the circus. Let them think one of the lovers did that." Oh my god. Fucking murderers. He continues. "I'm gonna pull the body back to the circus. You carve a satanic symbol to this hatchet and dump it over here boy." "Okay." I then hear the sound of the second person dragging the corpse away.

I quietly poke my head through the edge of the rock, I can see Jerome sitting on his fours on the ground, scratching something into the weapon. A million thoughts are running into my mind planning my escape. I need to escape without letting Jerome know that I saw him. I need to wait. I cannot take any chances because if I run and get caught, he will kill me just like the other victim. I don't want to die. Just then, Jerome dumps the carved hatchet on the rocky ground with a thud and I can hear his footsteps retreating further and further away until I can hear him no more. Thank god. I slide my hand into my hoodie to grab my gun but to my horror, it must have fallen out somewhere.

After contemplating for a few more seconds whether I should run or not , I sneak out without making any noise from behind the boulder and tiptoe towards the way I came in. I'm so freaking lucky. I think to myself.
I'm finally at the Arkham gate, relief coursing through my veins.

The relief, however, is temporary. I feel strong hands press against my mouth from behind me and drag me back towards the Arkham bridge. I struggle against the person holding me but his grip is strong. "Oh Ruby Ruby Ruby.. you shouldn't have seen or heard that doll." Fuck. I'm gonna fucking die.  I thrash and kick as much as I can to free myself from this monster but he keeps dragging me further and further back from where I just escaped. He dumps me onto the ground and jumps on top of me so that he is straddling my waist, his hand holding my throat in a choke hold. I feel my oxygen cut off as I gasp for air like a fish out of water, my feet thrashing and flailing for air.

"I'm sorry gorgeous. I really had a nice time with you that day. The fucking and all. You were such a good girl. It's a pity I gotta kill you. You're too beautiful.."

"P...P..Please. I ...I didn't ...see.. anything."

Jerome throws his head back and cackles wildly into the air. Then he slaps himself dramatically on the head for being too loud. "I can't take any chances doll face." Blackness is swimming in front of my eyes. I can hear Jerome pull out something metallic from his pocket. I brace myself as any minute now I'm gonna die. Just then, an intense pain shoots through my intestines as I feel him stab me in my stomach. Jerome has thrusted his knife into my abdomen. He twists it and pulls it out, sliding it back into his pocket. I can feel my hand get wet with my own blood and I press hard against the stab wound. It's hard to stay awake now, I am finding it really difficult to keep my eyes open.

"You know, you really had great potential. Had you chosen the right Valeska brother.. just maybe.. " I can feel my body grow colder with each passing second. Maybe this is what death feels like. Jerome takes a step away from me suddenly as we can feel somebody approaching us. Jerome leaves me dying on the cold, concrete ground in the middle of nowhere and escapes from there.

With what little is left inside me, I hear somebody talking. It's a few people.

"Lift her up and take her inside. Professor Strange would love to have her."

"Yes, Ms. Peabody".

Strong hands grab my arms and my feet and lift me up . In that moment, my last breath escapes from my body and my hand falls lifelessly over my side.

***

Jeremiah looks at his eyes in the mirror. His eyes are bloodshot and red as though he has been crying. He splashes some cold water on his face and grabs a tissue, wiping the water particles off. He steps out of the boys washroom at St. Ignatius and finds himself walking towards a bench in the garden. Placing his bag aside, he lowers himself onto the bench and takes off his glasses to wipe his teary eyes.

"Xander?" He looks up and smiles softly.

"Delilah.."

"I'm sorry about what happened." She bites her lip and sits down next to Jeremiah, placing her hand over his and squeezing it.

Jeremiah opens his mouth to speak but no words come out. His lips are quivering. "Delilah, he killed my mother. MY MOTHER."

Jeremiah throws himself into Delilah's arms as she comfortingly strokes his back, letting him cry on her shoulders. It takes him a few minutes to compose himself. He clears his throat and shuffles nervously.

"He confessed, Xander."

He nods , looking down at his hands. I should have known. That's how Jerome was. I should have known he would kill the people I love someday.

"There's more."

"What can be worse than this,  Delilah?"

Jeremiah notices a change in her demeanor. Now that he looks closely, she has been crying too. Weakly, she lifts her hand and takes his hand in hers.

"He also confessed to killing Ruby. He stabbed her to death.." Tears fall off her blue eyes as she struggles to stay calm.

"You're..lying. That can't be true. Ruby's dead?" He croaks weakly.

"Mhm. Jerome Valeska killed my best friend." She is sobbing now, her face buried in her hands. He lets himself cry as well. He will never see her ever again.

Chapter Text

*One Year Later*

The lights are too bright. Why are the lights so bright? My head hurts. I weakly open my eyes. My eyelids feel heavy as stone. It's taking one hell of an effort to just flick them open. There are all sorts of weird looking people surround me. They are all dressed in white .. white clothes. Am I dead? Am I in heaven?

"Sit up, my dear."

I feel hands grab me by my shoulders and help me sit up. I am in a hospital room. I look around weakly. The walls are a dull white, white plain white curtains and white tiles. Why is everything white ? It's annoying me now. I look down at my clothes weakly. I'm dressed in a white and blue hospital gown that covers me up till my knees.

"What is this place?"

I raise an eyebrow curiously. A funny looking man with a bald head and round glasses on his eyes walks closer to my bed and sits by the edge of it.

"You're safe. You don't need to be scared. Do you ..remember your name?" He pushes his face closer to mine and watches me like a test subject.

My hands immediately fly to my temples, running my fingers around them in a circular motion. "My name? My name is.. I don't know. I can't remember. WHY CAN'T I REMEMBER MY NAME? WHO AM I?"

The weird looking man gets up and rushes close to me, placing his hands on my shoulders and stroking them to calm me down. "You were involved in an accident. You are okay now. You lost your memory in the process. Your name is Carmen. "

"Carmen..Carmen." I can't stop saying my name again and again. What if I forget it again. No. I don't want to forget my name again.

"I'm Dr. Hugo Strange. I'll be here to help you. You are not alone Miss Carmen. Do not be afraid."

A woman in white medical uniform walks in. Dr. Strange moves away from me and walks over to her. He addresses her by the name Ms. Peabody. I bite my lip , trying to listen to their conversation. They are talking about me most probably. I can see them glancing towards me every minute.

"Okay, bring him in." Bring who in? What are they talking about?

"Dr. Strange, where am I ?" I ask weakly .

Dr. Strange looks back at me and smiles softly. "Why? A hospital off course."

He walks back to me and sits down on a stool opposite to me, taking my hand in his. "You're special. Carmen. There is something I wanna tell you."

"W..what?"

"You died. Ms. Carmen. We found you and we brought you back to life."

"That is not possible."

"Everything is possible if you believe. Anyway, while bringing you back,your blood came into contact with certain chemicals and they changed you."

I place my hand to my throbbing temples, confusion piping in. Are they crazy? Or am I crazy ? What is happening ?

"Your touch can heal burns and acid wounds. Do you wanna see?" I nod, unable to comprehend anything that is happening to me. It's all a strange world to me right now. The door opens just then and I have an instant urge to close my eyes. I grab my pillow and place it over my eyes.

"Carmen you need to see this my dear." I slowly place the pillow back and look at the horrendous sight in front of me. The man in front of me is burnt from head to toe, he is laying on a gurney. Although he is breathing, how can he even survive with those kind of burn wounds to him? He is burnt to a crisp. Almost. "What..what happened to him?" I croak.

"Hydrochloric Acid" I gasp, not able to look at the dying man in front of me.

"Please take him away. I can't see him."

I feel Dr. Strange take my palm. "Open your eyes and see what you can do."

I flutter my eyes open and watch in horror as Dr. Strange takes my palm and places it on the burnt man's flesh. Suddenly, a strange and inexplicable thing happens, shocking me and all the others in the room. The minute my palm touches the burnt man, a light green light is emitted from my palm and his burns start to fade away. "Beautiful.. Carmen." I hear Dr. Strange whisper into my ears bit I am too shocked to decipher his words.

I feel my energy drained out the minute the green light goes away. Blackness clouds my vision and I fall back into one of the nurse's arms,convulsing, my eye balls rolled back to the back of my head. I feel the nurse inject me with something and I feel my eyes close.

"Her capability comes at a cost. Although I am still studying this aspect of her, one thing is clear. The minute she heals somebody,she loses a high number of pheromones from her body which causes her body to convulse and her eyes to roll back in her head."

A few hours later, I wake up from a deep slumber to find myself hooked to a chair with a dozen machines around me and many needles inserted into me. I weakly open my eyes as glance around at the machine filled room, panic filling into my brown pupils.

"That's just glucose."

One of the nurse's informs me and that makes me relax a little as I sink deeper into my chair.

I wanna get out of this place. I feel suffocated in here.

***

Jerome Valeska is dead. Theo Galavan killed him by stabbing a knife to the side of his neck. Jeremiah Valeska has started breathing a sigh of relief. He steps out of his bunker these days as the threat that was on his life is now gone. Jeremiah has started hanging out more and more with Delilah, much to Ecco's dismay, the truth being that Ecco has been in love with Jeremiah for a long time now. Jeremiah has graduated from St. Ignatius by now. He has also started working as a lead architect for Mercer and Hayes, one of the highest paid and highest running companies of Gotham, after Wayne Enterprises off course.

Jeremiah walks into his study and takes off his blazer, adjusting his tie and loosening it, placing the blazer over the coat hanger in a corner. He then walks up to his liquor cabinet and pulls out a glass, pouring some scotch into it. He then lifts the glass and walks up to a large table placed in the center of the study , placing the glass down at the corner of the table. He grabs some blue prints of his latest designs that he need to submit at his office, the deadline being the end of this month.

He walks casually to where he placed his drink, curls his fingers against the glass and lifts it up to his lips, downing the drink in one go. He then walks back to the liquor cabinet, pulling out the bottle of scotch once again , refilling his drink. Just then, the automatic door of his study shoots open and the sound of the automatically programmed machine fills the air. "Welcome, Miss Ecco. 52345."

Ecco walks in dazed and glances at the drink in Jeremiah's hand. She then snakes her way to Jeremiah and leans by the desk, watching him curiously.

"Yes, Ecco?" Jeremiah keeps his voice as professional as possible. Somewhere down the line, he lost the boy he used to be. Xander Wilde almost died with Ruby Day.

"Seriously? Come on Jeremiah. You're always scooped up in here. You're becoming a grumpy old man."

Jeremiah curves his lips into a small smile and shakes his head lightly , taking a sip of his scotch.

"I gotta get this done by the end of this month. You know that." He points towards the blueprint.

"There's a lot of time left for that, Miah." Ecco purrs seductively. She bites her lip intentionally and lets her hand slide into her bun, taking off the pin and letting her hair fall loosely over her shoulders. Jeremiah looks at her carefully now. She is wearing an extremely tight dress that is hugging her figure perfectly. She has a nice figure no doubt but Jeremiah never looked at her like that before.

"Jeremiah..." She whispers and takes baby steps towards him. She takes the glass from his hand and places it on the table behind him, pinning him to it as well.

"Ecco. What are you doing?" He stiffens and raises an eyebrow.

"I should have done this a long time ago but I thought you needed time to recover."

Jeremiah shakes his head and tries to move away. Ecco blocks him by placing herself in front of him.

"Miah come on. She's dead. You cannot keep grieving all your life."

"I love her, Ecco."

"I love you , Jeremiah. I always have. And it's killing me watching you lock yourself away and fade into nothingness every minute of your life. You need to start living again. The only way you can do that is if you give in to your bodily needs.."

Ecco snakes her hand across Jeremiah's chest and plants it on his shoulder, brushing her nose against it. He stiffens at the touch and sighs.

"I don't love you like that Ecco. I don't think I can love anyone else like that."

"Don't love me back now. I'm not asking you to love me. I'm asking you to give yourself to me. At least live. God knows you will come around one day."

She pushes him back, throwing him against the table and climbs on top on him, straddling his waist. He doesn't resist. She then snakes her hands to the collar of his shirt and unbuttons it. Jeremiah throws his head back and moans softly, almost inaudibly. He doesn't remember the last time he had sex with a girl other than Ruby Day.

***
Their clothes lie in a pile next to the table. Ecco is latched onto Jeremiah, riding his massive cock.

Her eyes are fixated on him as she easily rides him, slow at first but quickening her pace . She is sweating. Jeremiah can feel the beads of her sweat trinkle down on him as she moves her pelvis in slow, rhythmic movements. He has his hands placed on either side of her waist as he is assisting her by making her jump up and down on his slick cock. When he feels that she is tiring, he is fast as he grabs her by the waist and pins her to the desk, taking her leg and hoisting it over his shoulder, thrusting himself hard into her throbbing cunt. He pounds into her like a hungry animal who has not fed in days, their combined cries of pleasure echoing through the bunker.

Jeremiah throws his head back and grunts as he feels his climax approach. Ecco digs her fingernails into Jeremiah's arms as she gnaws and scratches at him in an animalistic way as her own orgasm hits her with a flush. She whimpers and throws her head back, her body convulsing as pleasure shoots through her insides, making her curl her toes inwardly. Jeremiah grunts in satisfaction and he pulls out his throbbing cock from inside of her and grabs his cock with his hand yanking at it hard as he comes , his hot liquid splurting out of him and landing on her bare stomach. "Fuck...Ruby.. fuck." He is panting as he comes.

She pushes herself up and runs a hand through her hair, straightening them a little as she runs to pick up her clothes from the pile next to them. She slides into her clothes as Jeremiah yanks his feet into his pants and zips himself up.

"It's Ecco, not Ruby." She hisses bitterly as she hurries away out of the study, tiny cogs of tears forming in the corner of her eyes. Jeremiah just stares at her blankly and then sighs, looking down at his shivering hands.

***

I am awoken by the sound of a loud crash from outside my room. I flutter my eyes open and instantly groan at the bright lights blaring above me. Ever since I have woken up at this wretched place, I have been feeling insensitive to bright lights. I look around nervously only to find the room empty. I nervously slide out of my bed, pulling and tugging at the wires and tubes that have been attached to me, wincing slightly as the needles come off my skin. Outside the door to my room, I can hear commotion.

I weakly make my way to the door, tripping twice on my way from my bed till the door. I feel so weak. I place my hand on the doorknob and squeeze it , gently opening the door. Outside, people are rushing up and down,yelling wildly and crying . Confused, I step out of my room and start following the direction of the crowd towards the end of the hallway. I press myself against the wall and place my eye against the corner,peeping through the other hallway.

I see a few familiar faces in front of me. I have seen these people before. Here only that's for sure. There's that creepy doctor, Hugo Strange, standing in the center. He is surrounded by the freeze guy, the guy who can freeze people. There is Bridget, one of my new found friends here at this place. I also see a girl with black curls. She looks familiar but I cannot really remember her.

"Mr. Freeze, kill the prisoners." I hear the doctor say.

"NO! DON'T!" The black curled girl protests in anger.

"Mr. Freeze, kill her then." Strange points towards the black curled girl.

Just then, I see Bridget leap on the freeze guy, trying to protect the black curled girl. I'm so confused as to what is happening. The black curled girl runs in the direction where I am standing. I freeze on the spot and she glances at me, her eyes bobbing out.

"OH MY GOD. RUBY? YOU'RE ALIVE."

" Huh? Who's Ruby?" I look at her, dazed. "My name is Carmen."

"Oh my god. They messed with you too.."

I look at her blankly.

"Listen Ruby.. I mean Carmen. I'm going to get you out of here. This place is really dangerous. Will you come with me?"

I nod. Something tells me that I need to trust this girl. Maybe I know her from somewhere. I just can't remember from where though. "Let's go." I bite the insides of my cheek and start running after her.

We find ourselves running through the hallways, one after another. The black haired girl is running ahead of me. I'm following her. She reaches a big door made of metal. She tries to push it open but it is an automatic door that only opens with a passcode.

"Try 4141" I croak. She looks at me quizzically .

"The doctor has the same code for all the rooms he accesses. I've heard him use it a number of times. It always works. " I really wish it works now.

I can hear her violently pressing the keypad of the lock. 4141.

"Access Granted. Welcome. "

A green light blinks and the door opens with a whoosh.

I let go of the breath I did not know I was holding in.

"What's your name?" I yell at her as we find ourselves speeding through that door.

"Selina." She yells back.

I stand by the wall as I watch her run to a young boy, a few years younger to me maybe. I can see from the look in her eyes that there is something going on between them. He is probably her lover. There are two other guys with them though. Slightly older in age. I nervously approach them.

"She's with me."

I hear Selina call out. I nod.

"What are we waiting for? Let's get the fuck out of here." She says making me nod. I definitely agree with her.

***

I have escaped from the wretched place they used to call Indian Hill. I heard that the creepy doctor escaped too. I'm staying at the Wayne mansion. Bruce Wayne was kind enough to let me stay with him for a few days until I recover from the trauma. I'm sitting huddled on the massive bed in one of the guest rooms at the Wayne Mansion.

Selina walks up to me with a cup of piping hot coffee in her hands. I thankfully take it from her and place it to my lips, blowing on it for a few seconds and then cautiously taking a sip. I feel the weight of the mattress sink with the weight pressed to it. I glance towards my right and smile at Selina. She smiles back at me.

"Don't you remember anything ?"

I shake my head softly and look down at the cup of coffee in my hand.

"I don't know. I have these flashbacks. I remember bits and pieces . I remember your face. I remember another face. It keeps flashing in front of my eyes. A boy. He has red hair and he wears glasses."

Selina takes my hand in hers and squeezes it.

"It'll come back to you. I can tell you about us though."

She then tells me of the day she met me at the Gotham bridge, the day I stole from Harvey Bullock. We share a laugh thinking about it . She tells me that I lived with Selina for a while and one night I just vanished. Later, a boy named Jerome Valeska confessed to stabbing me to death at the Arkham bridge.

"Maybe it's Jerome Valeska that you remember , Ruby. He had red hair. Not that he wore glasses."

"My name is Ruby?"

"Yeah. Your name is Ruby Day."

I smile softly. Ruby Day is a nice name.

"I'm really tired Selina. Maybe I'll just sleep for a while." I yawn wide and get up, stretching my hands in the air above me. She nods in an understanding way and gets up. "You need it. Rest up. I'll see you in the morning. " I watch Selina's silhouette disappear into the darkness. I turn off the lights and pull the warm blanket over me, my eyes instantly shutting due to the tiredness of my body.

***

"Ruby?"

I feel the mattress of the bed sink beside me and warm hands wrap across my stomach,pulling me closer in his embrace. He pushes the covers over us and I turn towards him,our bodies brushing against each others. His breath is hot against my face and he places his lips to my forehead and kisses me softly.

"I love you, Ruby.." He whispers softly into my ears and pulls me closer into his embrace, his arm holding me protectively by my waist.

"I love you too, Xander Wilde." I whisper back almost inaudibly. I can feel him smile as he leans his face closer to mine. His lips press gently against mine, kissing me softly as I slide my hand into his locks, curling my fingers around them.

I suddenly feel cold. He is slipping from my embrace.

"XANDER?!" I can't help call out into the darkness.

The next minute, I am alone in my bed. I push the covers away and sit up on my bed. A boy is standing by the door of my bedroom,watching me. He has fiery red hair and a crazy smirk plastered on his face.

"Hello gorgeous. Remember me?"

I can feel anger coursing through my veins as I throw the covers away and jump out of bed, keeping my glare on him.

"Why are you here? Where's Xander?"

He chuckles and pouts playfully.

"He dumped you. And then you fucked me. Remember?" He throws his hand back and makes a lewd jerking motion with his pelvis and winks at me. I wanna throw up. Suddenly, I feel myself being pulled away from that place.

I am shivering now . I look around. I am standing in the dark in the middle of nowhere. I am rubbing my hands violently against my arms trying to keep myself warm. I watch on in shock as I see another me being carried into the proximity. Jerome is holding her captive. He looks at me and smiles suddenly thrusting a knife into my look alike's abdomen. I watch in horror as my other form lays there, life oozing out of her with every breath she takes.

"Wake up Ruby!" I am calling out to her, yelling at her even. She doesn't respond.

I gasp for breath and sit up in bed, shaking violently. I am covered in sweat. I look around myself and place my hand on my cheeks, feeling hot tears run down my eyes dampening my cheeks. "Oh my god.." I whisper to myself as my memories come flying back at me. I grab a pillow and thrust my face into the pillow, screaming my heart out. My name is Ruby Day. I am 20 years old now. I used to study at St. Ignatius. That's where I met the love of  my life, Xander Wilde. Jeremiah Valeska. We ended things and I commited a big mistake, I slept with the man who ruined my life. I made Jeremiah hate me. I also remember dying. Jerome killed me. He plunged the knife right into my intestine,puncturing my insides and leaving me bleeding to death.

I slide out of bed and make my way to the door, yanking it open. The corridor is quiet but I can hear the voices of Bruce and his butler Alfred in the sitting room by the end of the hallway. I fling myself into the siting room. Alfred immediately rushes to my side in concern, followed by Bruce.

"Ruby. Are you alright?" Bruce asks nervously.

"I have to go Bruce."

"Miss Day. I don't think it's a great idea going out at this hour."

"Alfred please. I really need to go. I remember everything. I need to find him."

"Who?" Bruce and Alfred ask me together.

"Xander Wilde."

Chapter Text

I wrap the shawl given by Alfred tighter against myself as I step out of my taxi at Xander's old apartment. My face falls a little when I see a huge lock on the door. Dejected, I sit down on the front step of his apartment and let out a weak sigh. Where are you, Xander ?

Just then, an idea hits me.

"Taxi!" I call out the taxi guy from whose taxi I had just stepped out from five minutes earlier. I open the door and push myself inside.

"Sir, I need you to take me five blocks ahead from here."

"That'll be 20 dollars."

I nod in acceptance and he pulls over and starts driving to my destination.

I'm coming, Xander. I think to myself as I gaze out of the window. The driver pulls up in front of the address I wanted him to take me to. I pay him the fare and step out, squinting my eyes as I see the familiar apartment in front of my eyes. I rub my hands together and pull my shawl closer against my shoulders,quickly climbing up the flight of stairs and ringing the doorbell.

I watch from the corner of my eye as a figure approaches from the other side of the door. I can see her shadow. The shadow opens the door and instantly gasps, her mouth falling wide open.

"It can't be.."

"Delilah , it's me.. Ruby."

I feel hands engulf me and pull me into a tight hug. I slowly wrap my hands around her tiny body and hug her back. Delilah is whimpering softly so I place my palm comfortingly over her back and stroke her gently. We stay a few minutes like this before reluctantly letting go off each other. She instantly grabs my hand and pulls me inside, locking the door behind me.

"RUBY DAY THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE HANDS DOWN" Her enthusiasm and happiness makes me smile wide.

She looks still the same. Her blonde curls are falling loosely over her shoulders and she still sleeps with her make up on. Psycho. I smile softly at myself.

"What?" She raises an eyebrow curiously and huddles next to me.

"I missed you. I'm sorry Delilah.." I grab her hand and curl my fingers against her. I can hear her sigh softly as she curls her fingers back against mine.

"No Ruby. Life has been kind of unfair to you. I don't blame you for anything. I'm just glad to have you back. But how ? I thought you died." She looks up at me and I can see her eyes have started to water.

I then start telling her about everything. I start by telling her how I ran away and found myself living on the streets with a girl named Selina Kyle. I get to hear a full fledged speech by her on how stupid I was to drop out of St. Ignatius.

"I needed that change Delilah.." I croak.

"No you were just a coward. You just left when you should have tried to make things right, apologize and fight for what's yours!! You ran!!" Delilah has placed her palm on my arms and grabbed me hard, almost shaking me. "Xander would have come around. He was definitely hurt. But he loved you! You betrayed him! You left!"

She is right. I almost choke on my sob, my eyes feeling watery.

We then move on to talking about the night I was murdered by Jerome. She gasps when I tell her about what happened at the Indian Hill. "Are you serious? They actually bring people back to life at that facility? Oh my god." Her eyes are thrown wide and she has her mouth shaped into an O.

"You actually have magical powers?" She raises an eyebrow in disbelief. I smile softly and start playing with the hem of my shawl nervously. "It's all difficult to believe Delilah but trust me. I saw that burnt man heal with my own eyes. It couldn't have been mere coincidence."

Suddenly, I feel Delilah grab my hand and yank me into the kitchen. Confused, I follow her.

"What are you doing Del ?"

Delilah is too fast. She has already taken a lighter and flicked it open, pressing it to the palm of her hand and wincing in pain as the lighter sticks to her skin after burning her palm.

"Are you fucking out of your mind Delilah Sanders?" I growl and smack her hard , pulling the lighter away from her hand taking her palm into my hand. Her palm is red and burnt. I sigh and close my eyes, gently placing my fingers over her burnt flesh earning a small wince from her. I concentrate on her wound and suddenly, a pale green light erupts from my hand, slowly healing Delilah's burn. Her mouth flies open in shock

"Holy shit.." She gasps.

Weakness clouds me and I almost fall back, my eyes rolling back slightly . Delilah grabs me with her hands and makes me sit on a chair. "Ruby you alright?" It takes me a few seconds to finally open my brown eye and look at her. "Yeah.. that doctor told me that whenever I will use my powers, there will be a side effect. Your burn did not take much toll on me since it wasn't that severe.."

"YOU'RE AMAZING. YOU'RE A FUCKING SUPERHERO. YOU CAN HEAL PEOPLE." Delilah jumping up and down like a two year old makes me laugh. Suddenly, my expressions change , making her quieten and look at me with worry in her eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"Delilah, I went to Xander's place. It was locked. Are you in touch with him?"

I can see her expressions soften as she crosses her hands over her chest and lean against the kitchen counter next to me.

"He's at the bunker. I can take you there if you want. We're good friends now. I hope you don't mind."

"Shut up Delilah, I'm glad you were with him when I wasn't."

She smiles and takes my hand, squeezing it before getting up to grab some decent clothes to wear. She vanishes into her bedroom with me following  her like a a forlorn puppy.

I watch her as she shuffles through her closet and pulls out a jogger. She dumps the clothes on the bed and takes off her nightgown, sliding into her joggers.
"Girl you've definitely been working out." I joke, trying to reduce the awkward silence in the bedroom. She just laughs and shakes her head.

Once ready, she grabs her car keys and motions to me to follow her.

"Oh my god Delilah. When did you buy a car?"

"When you were dead. Dad's gift for my 20th birthday." She giggles as she walks up to her mini truck and pats on it happily. I get into the passenger side and put on my seatbelt, waiting for her to start the truck. She hits the ignition and pulls up on the driveway, tapping her fingers against the steering wheel.

"Tell me all that happened while I was gone?" I raise an eyebrow, turning to face her as she drives. She gives me a quick glance and turns her attention back to the road.

"Jerome Valeska died. Well at first he escaped Arkham asylum. With the help of Theo Galavan. Who stabbed him in the end just to get popular with the people."

"Serves him right." I whisper under my breath. "What else?"

"Xander graduated from St. Ignatius almost half a year back . Our batch will graduate in a few months ." She smiles apologetically when she realizes only she will be getting graduated and not me.

"Did he, uh , find someone?" I try to act casual but my heart is thumping wildly inside me.

"Not that I know of. I got to warn you though. He is a man and he has needs."

"What are you implying?"

"You are technically dead Ruby."

"Cut to the chase Del.."

"He's probably screwing Ecco for real." She falls quiet for a moment before proceeding again. "Come on I don't blame him. The guy must have physical needs."

I can't help but feel a little disappointment and a little jealousy. I bite my lip to mask what I am feeling and close my eyes, imagining Ecco and Jeremiah together and the thought makes me feel slightly upset.

"Does he love her? Are they more than fuck buddies? Are they together now?"

"Ruby.." Delilah sighs softly, glancing at me as we stop at a traffic signal. "Give him a break.. he thought you were dead. Even if they are together.."

"Are they?"

"I guess not. I can't promise you though. He didn't tell me much. I know for sure though that they are sleeping together. Ecco made sure I know."

I roll my eyes. I was right about Ecco, she did have a thing for Jeremiah when we had started dating. I sigh and lie back on the back rest, fiddling with my hands. I hope I am not too late.

Although I knew when we were together that Xander had built himself another place to stay just on the outskirts of the city, I am surprised that it is this far from the Main town. We have been driving for over an hour now when Delilah slowly starts slowing down in the middle of nowhere. I squint my eyes confused as I don't see any house or building nearby.

"We have to walk a little.." She informs me.

God, he really was scared of Jerome to have made all these efforts to protect himself.

Delilah and I hop out of the mini truck, tossing the doors shut behind us as she slides the keys into her pocket. I pull my shawl closer over my arms and follow her through what looks like a jungle. Gives me the creeps. There is not a person or civilization in sight around here.

"Are you sure we're at the right place , Del?" I can't keep the doubt out of my tone as I ask.

"I've been here a lot of times don't worry. We're at the right place. " I raise an eyebrow as Delilah takes the lead and starts walking towards what looks like a cube placed right in the middle of nowhere. That cube is too small to be someone's house. I can see that there is a camera just outside the cube on the wall. She looks at me.

"Just stay out of the camera's focus. In case Ecco opens the door, I don't want her to not open the damn door due to any jealousy." I chuckle along with her. Delilah is right. If Ecco is in there, there is a good probability of that happening. Wait. Why does Ecco live with Jeremiah? I position myself just a few steps away from the cube , far from the focus of the camera. Delilah presses a button and after a few minutes , a voice breaks out of nowhere.

"Delilah. It's pretty late at night. Can I help you?"

Ecco. I grit my teeth.

Delilah looks up at the camera and plasters a sweet smile onto her face.

"My car broke down. I thought it would be too late to find a tow this point of the hour. I just walked to this place."

"Who's that, Ecco?"

My heart skips a beat when I hear his voice. My Jeremiah.

"It's Delilah. Her car broke down."

"Let her in."

Just then the doors open up automatically and Delilah gives me a thumbs up, motioning me to follow her inside. I nod my head and with slow steps, start following her.

We walk down a flight of stairs and come into what looks like a maze of some sort. I can hear Xander's voice in my head when he told me once at the library that he loves to make mazes. I am definitely at the right place.

Just then, I hear footsteps approach us from the other side of the hallway and Ecco emerges, her eyes suddenly flying wide open.

"It's impossible. Weren't you dead?"

"It's nice to meet you too, Ecco." I try but I am finding it extremely difficult to keep the anger and jealousy off my tone.

"You lied, Delilah?" Ecco glares at Delilah.

Delilah shrugs casually and walks up to Ecco,smiling.

"You wouldn't have opened the goddamn door otherwise. Isn't it?"

I can see Ecco boil in rage. I quickly walk up to Ecco and take her arm,pulling her out of Delilah's face so that she is standing directly in front of me.

"It's not her fault Ecco. I was desperate to see him. I begged her to bring me here. Please take me to him."

"I don't have much choice than to take you to him. There are cameras here. He probably already saw you. Follow me."

She nods and glares once at Delilah, then turns around haphazardly and starts walking down the maze like hallway. We follow her quietly . She takes so many turns in the maze that I forget the way I came in from. That's the whole point of the maze I guess. Jerome would have definitely gotten lost in here.

We finally reach a large metal door. Ecco presses a button and punches a code into the keypad.

"Welcome, Miss Ecco. 52345."

The doors open automatically.

"Go on in." Ecco shrugs casually. "We'll let you have your privacy." I look up at Delilah and she nods at me.

I bite my lip hard, almost drawing out blood and step into the room that looks like a study. I can feel the thumping of my heart and I am sure he can probably hear it too. He is standing with his back turned to me and his hands placed on his desk holding him for support. Was it a mistake coming here like this? Maybe I'm having second thoughts. He probably hates me. Fuck I would hate me too.

"Jer..Jeremiah?" I whisper almost inaudibly, my lips quivering with fear and anticipation. I see him stiffen at the sound of my voice as he slowly turns towards me.

"Ruby.."

I see him walk towards me. His hunched shoulders and ginger coloured hair remind me of the times we once shared that are now a distant memory. As he gets closer, I get a clear view of his eyes. His green eyes are swollen as if he just cried. He looks at me up and down, as if fighting with himself to believe that I am real and not a figment of his imagination.

"Jeremiah.." I can feel my lower lip quiver slightly and I hold back a sniffle, feeling unshed tears cloud my eyes. We keep walking towards each other until we are just inches away from each other, not leaving each other's gaze for a minute. I can't keep my hand to myself anymore. I slowly lift my palm and let it linger over his chest, my hand moving up and down with the rhythm of his heavy breathing. I slowly let my hand trail upwards and gently latch itself to the back of his neck, pulling him close. Tears are freely falling down my eyes now.

Suddenly, I feel his arms wrap around my waist and lift me up, pulling me closer to him. I wrap my hands around him and bury my face into his neck as I weep into his shoulder.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry baby." I can't stop my tears from flowing. Weakly, I lift up my head from his soggy shoulder, and gaze into his ocean green eyes. He gently places me back on the ground, not taking his hands off my waist.

"I thought I lost you Ruby."

I shake my head, wiping my tears with the sleeve of my shirt.

"Please forgive me, Jeremiah."

"I forgave you a long time back baby.."

He gently lowers himself on one of the chairs and pulls me with him onto his lap, me facing him. He places his hands softly on my cheek, stroking them.

"You died Ruby.. I thought I'd never see you again."

"I would rather die right here in your arms. " I shake my head, throwing my head gently towards him only to be met by his forehead as we stay like that for a few seconds. He is quick to grab me by my chin and yank it up so that my eyes are parallel to his.

"I would never let you . I am not ready to lose you again."

I smile softly in his embrace and let him kiss me softly. As my lips meet his, I feel my anguish melt away. His lips are intoxicating like drinking in the aroma of freshly baked cookies and a taste of warm honey. I clench my eyes shut and lose myself to his delicious lips.

Chapter Text

I flutter my eyes open and glance around me only to realize that I'm in Jeremiah's warm bed. The incidents of last night creep into my mind, making me blush a bright crimson. I glance to my right, only to realise that Jeremiah has already woken up. I'm not surprised as Jeremiah has always been an early riser and I'm the exact opposite.

I slide out of the bed and glance at the condition of it, feeling embarrassed by the sight of dried stains and imprints of our last night's lovemaking. I quickly pull off the bedsheets from the bed and dump them on the floor. I make my way to Jeremiah's closet and throw it open, glancing at the various apparels hanging inside. I finally manage to find the column where Jeremiah keeps his bedsheets.

I pull out a coffee coloured bed sheet with matching pillow covers and push the closet door shut behind me, holding the linen in my hand. It takes me good fifteen minutes to neatly change the linen of the bed. Huffing in appreciation, I look down at my hard work and smile, grabbing the dirty sheets and rolling them into a lump as I step into the bathroom and dump the dirty linen into the laundry bag inside.

I shut the bathroom door behind me and step in line of the full body size mirror positioned just a few steps away from me. I look at my naked form in the mirror, that's just how I remember falling asleep last night. Me and Jeremiah didn't even bother dressing up as we were so exhausted by the end of our intimate session. There are bite marks and love bites all over my body, especially on my inner thighs, inner arms and valley between my breasts. I place my finger over one of the love bites given by him just beneath my tattoo on my cleavage, trailing over it gently with my index finger. It's so beautiful. Jeremiah marking my body with his teeth is the sexiest thing ever.

I step into the shower and turn the faucet on, letting the warm water drape over me, washing all the dirt and our now hardened fluids off my body.  I grab the shampoo bottle, squeezing a large amount of it onto my palm and letting it lather over my hair. It feels so good, especially the tingling session of the warm water coming in contact with the bruises now formed on my body due to Jeremiah's violent lips on me.

It takes me a good twenty minutes to step out of the shower, dripping wet from head to toe. I grab a towel and wrap it over my frame, using another towel to wrap around my wet hair before stepping out of the bathroom. The soft matted floor of his bedroom feels soft against the bottom of my feet as I walk into the bedroom, straight towards his closet. I grab one of his loose fitting pyjamas and a set of printed t shirt. Once dressed in Jeremiah's clothes, I dry my wet hair using a towel as much as I can.

I punch the code that Jeremiah told me last night, squeeling in delight as I get in right in one go. I wonder where Jeremiah is. He is probably working in his study. I casually stroll along the hallway of his bedroom only to pass by the kitchen room and come back a few seconds later as a tempting aroma of something tasty cooking engulfs me.

I find myself poking my head into the kitchen only to be met by the silhouette of my lover hunched over the slab of the kitchen, chopping potatoes. A faint smile tugs at the corner of my lips and I tiptoe into the kitchen, mindful not to disturb him or make him aware of my presence. I sneak my way up to him and snake my arms around his waist, nuzzling my cheek against his sturdy back as he smiles softly, grabbing a napkin from the napkin holder and wiping his hands.

"Morning, baby." He coos at the touch of me.

He loosens my grip over him and then turns around so that he is facing me. I can't help but snake my arms around his waist again.

"Morning,love."

I whisper softly and pull myself up on my toes, taking my hands off his waist and placing them over his shoulders, trailing them upwards until they are latched to the back of his head,my fingers curling into his ginger locks as I lean in to kiss him softly. He leans down and kisses me back just as softly, his thumb stroking over my cheek.

"What you cooking? I'm famished."  I pull back playfully and place both my hands over my hips, walking up to the oven and inspecting what's cooking with interest.

"Bacon, eggs and mashed potatoes." He grins.

"OH MY GOD DID I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU?"

My smile reaches my eyes as I close my eyes and inhale the aroma of the food, drool almost falling off the corner of my lips. God I am starving.

"Sit down. It's almost ready.." He smiles softly and points towards the already set dining table.

I nod and slide into the corner most chair at the dining table,watching him with amused eyes as he walks up to me carrying a large tray of piping hot breakfast in his hands, placing it on the table in front of me. I curl my fingers against the handle of the jug and lift it up, pouring fresh orange juice in two glasses, one for us each. He slides into the chair next to me and takes a sip of the juice, his eyes plastered on my face.

"What?" I raise an eyebrow as I see him studying me. I grab a knife and a fork, cutting myself a small piece of steak and sticking the fork into it, lifting the fork up and taking a bite, licking my lips in appreciation at the amazing taste.

"Just looking. Haven't seen you around in a while. A long while. It feels good to be able to see you again, Ruby."

"Me too baby. I'm glad to be back."

I place my palm over his and squeeze it. He curls his fingers around mine, trapping my hand in his. I clear my throat slightly and he lets go off my hand.

"What's wrong Ruby?" He looks on, concerned.

I sigh and look down at my hands, fiddling nervously with my fingers. I can feel his eyes burning a hole into me with his gaze.

"Jeremiah. Listen I know I died. Kind of. And obviously you moved on.."

"Ruby..I didn't.."

"Jeremiah , please let me speak. It's bothering me."

He nods and falls quiet.

"I kind of feel weird coming back into your life like this. Unannounced. Obviously you might have someone else.. Ecco.."

I swallow the lump forming in my throat. Jeremiah gets up from the chair and walks up to me, sliding into his knees next to me, taking both my hands in his.

"Ruby. I'm not going to lie to you. I had sex with Ecco a few times after you were gone."

"I know. Delilah told me." I sniffle slightly, almost choking on my own sob. "It's not your fault Miah.. you couldn't have waited all your life..Besides, I was the one that cheated on you in the first place.."

"It was just sex Ruby. I couldn't bring myself to look at her the way I look at you or feel for her the way I feel for you."

I flutter my eyes slightly, letting a few tears fall out of them. He is quick to capture my tear on his index finger and kiss it.

"And about what you did with Jerome , it killed me Ruby, I won't lie. I never wanted to see your face again. But I thought about it a lot. And put myself in your shoes and thought about it. You really must have been too hurt to have done such an ugly thing."

"I'm sorry Miah.." I look down at my hands, unable to meet his gaze. He smiles softly at me and shakes his head indicating that it's all good now. "Besides.." He starts saying something but stops.

"What? Jeremiah?" I ask,nervously.

"Fuck it Ruby Day." He pushes himself up  from his knees and he drops my hand abruptly, walking out of the room. Did I say something that hurt him? Fuck, did I mess up again? I weakly push myself up and run after him. He is fast as he meanders through the hallway and reaches his bedroom, frantically pressing the keypad in front of him. The automatical door opens and he disappears inside. I bite my lip , thinking back on the conversation we had a few minutes back. Did I say something wrong ? I step into the room nervously and squint my eyes watching Jeremiah huddled over his closet, looking for something.

"What you looking for, Miah?" I ask, my eyebrows shooting upwards with curiousity.

He doesn't reply as he pushes himself up back to his feet, walking back in my direction. I can see that he is hiding something, his mind seems to be preoccupied with something. He takes my hand and intertwines our fingers, a faint smile playing on his lips. 

Our moment is interrupted suddenly when Ecco's voice barges in from the hallways outside. I groan and pull my hand back from Jeremiah. Why is she throwing a tantrum?

"Why does she live here Jeremiah?"

He shrugs.

"No reason."

I can't help but frown as I make my way toward the hallway. Ecco is leaning by the wall, her hands plastered to her hips. She raises her eyebrows as she sees me approach her.

"I thought you would have left by now."

Not this bitch again. I can't help but let out a low throaty growl.

"Nope. I'm still here. Jeremiah wants me here."

I open my mouth to yell at her but stop when I see Jeremiah walk out of the room from the corner of my eye. He shakes his head at Ecco and takes me by my hand.

"Ruby.. baby. You've made a mess in bed. Please go and change the pillow covers."

"Jeremiah..I did clean.."

"Stop. I said go and change the damn pillow covers."

I bite the inside of my cheeks as I feel my cheeks get hot. I feel tears starting to cloud in my eyes. Why did he speak to me like this? That too in front of Ecco? Sniffling inaudibly, I twirl around and find myself running into the room and throwing myself on the bed, burying my face into the pillow as hot tears start flowing out of my eyes.

Having had a few seconds of crying, I practically drag myself up and grab the pillow angrily , yanking it towards me. A box falls out from beneath the pillow covers when I do this making me throw my eyes wide open. No. It cant be. My hand starts to shiver uncontrollably as I move my hand towards the tiny box. Once clutched between my fingers , I lift it up and yank it open with my fingers, a loud gasp escaping my lips.

I blink in disbelief and fling my gaze to Jeremiah. He is standing by the door , leaning against the doorframe watching me, a tiny smile playing on his lips.

"M..Miah?" My lips are quivering. "Is this ..?"

He nods,smiling sheepishly and looking down at his hands, his cheeks turning pink. With soft steps, he walks up to me and takes the box from my hand, looking down at the ring for a few seconds before looking back up at me.

"I wanted to do it before you left.. Hell I wanted you to be the one even before our first break up.. before you went to Haly's Circus."

"Why?" I croak, my voice barely audible.

"You remember that time at St. Ignatius. I was getting my ass kicked by two guys and you jumped in without even thinking about yourself just to save me. You got yourself kicked in the ribs for me. It stayed with me. Ruby.. Whenever I felt alone, I reminded myself that you will always be there by my side, and you won't think twice before jumping in to fight for me if need ever arises."

I gulp, happy tears forming in my eyes.

I see him pull out the ring and hold it between his fingers. Oh my god. It's a ruby. This cute little idiot.

"A ruby for Ruby?" I chuckle softly, almost choking back on a soft as an unshed tear escapes my eye, falling over my cheek, dampening it. 

Just then , the world around me stops. Jeremiah gets down on one knee in front of me and looks up into my eyes, my heart throbbing wildly with happiness inside my chest.

"Ruby Day, would you do me the honour of being my wife, for now and for ever?"

"Yes. Yes! Jeremiah Valeska, I would gladly be your wife , for now and forever."

I feel him slide the ring into my left finger and kiss the knuckle of my hand before getting back up on his knees. Unable to hold myself back, I run into his arms, sliding my hand to his face and pulling out his glasses, feeling myself get lost in his ocean green irises. He gently wraps his hands around my waist and pulls me closer.

"I love you Jeremiah.."

Just then, Ecco barges in to the bedroom, her expression that of horror. Jeremiah pulls out of my embrace and walks up to Ecco, his face contorting with worry. I follow him, my eyebrow shooting upwards due to curiousity.

"What's wrong, Ecco?" 

Ecco makes her way to the TV set and turns it on, flicking violently through the channels until she stops at the news channel, turning on the volume. A camera recording seems to be playing on the screen. It takes me a few seconds to recognise that stapled face, my body stiffening as I watch him bring his face closer to the camera.

"Hi. Some of you may know that I died, uh huh..But take it from me. Death is dull but coming back to life that is something. I just got a got a new perspective of life. I promised some of you some destruction and chaos. I will finally give it to you. My eyes are open as will yours be soon. The light must diminish for the brighter knowledge to rise ahead. You are all blind with what you have. The rich take it from the poor, the poor try to take it back . It's a cycle that I'd like to break. This darkness will show you the true colours of Gotham city . So Gotham, do what you want, kill who you want.. there are no rules. And when morning comes, you too..shall be reborn..."

The video keeps playing but I find myself not being able to pay any attention to it anymore. No this can't be. He can't be back. Weakly, I flick my gaze towards Jeremiah, he is clenching his hands tight against his sides , his expression a mix of anger and pure terror. Weakly, I stumble up to him and lay my head on his shoulder, burying my face into it, dread and nervousness coursing through my insides. He tenses up the minute he feels me approach him but slides his arm across my waist holding me for support continuing to watch the camera recording where Jerome blows up the power plant with Dwight inside. I cannot make myself watch it anymore.

The only thought running through my mind is that the fucked up twin is back from the dead, just like me.

Chapter Text

The next few days are very hectic. Me , Jeremiah and Ecco are locked up in our bunker as a security measure since Jerome Valeska is back and is out somewhere, waiting to pounce on us like dead meat.

I'm curled up in Jeremiah's study, a Jane Austen novel clutched in my hand, wearing a night suit given to me by Ecco. Ecco is perfectly dressed in a crisp off white professional looking suit and trousers, her hair even set perfectly into a high ponytail and I can't help but feel a little envious of her. How can she look so perfect all the time? And yet, Jeremiah is in love with you. An inner voice calls out to me.

"It's not me I'm worried about." My thoughts are interrupted when Jeremiah walks up to my couch and stands behind me, placing both his hands over my shoulders,stroking them as he keeps his eyes on Ecco.

"It's her I'm worried about. He stabbed her to death. Off course he will come for her again if he knows that she is also alive. You know my brother is crazy like that."

"Guys, don't talk about me like I am not in this room." I pull out of Jeremiah's grip and push myself up on my feet, my hands plastered on my hips.

"Aren't we safe here at the bunker?" I raise an eyebrow, curiously, receiving a faint head nod from Ecco and Jeremiah. "Yeah.. This bunker is safe. Jerome can never find us here."

"Still, I want Ruby to learn some self defense skills. And I want you to train her, Ecco." He looks at Ecco and then back at me, ignoring my annoyed whiny face when I hear it.

"You heard the man." Ecco chuckles and places her hand on the top of my head, patting me slightly like I am a two year old. "We start early morning tomorrow. And I'm the boss." I can't help but scowl at her as she walks out of the study, leaving me and Jeremiah alone. 

"I still don't understand why she lives her Miah.." I sigh and throw myself back on the couch, only to feel the couch dip slightly with weight pressed to it as Jeremiah also sits down next to me. "She has just helped me through a lot Ruby. When you were not here.."

"Yeah. She probably sucked your dick and made you cum." I snarl at him, my eyes blazing with fury.

"You're cute when you're jealous ." He leans forward and boops me on my nose, then places his fingers over the side of my face, removing a loose strand of raven coloured hair and sliding it behind my ear. "Are you ever going to forgive me for that?" I know he means that jokingly but I feel bad instantly and let out a sigh. "I'm sorry Miah.. it's just.. It hurts imagining you with someone else that's not me .."

He smiles softly and slides an arm through my waist , pulling me closer to him. "I just don't want to send her out of the bunker until Jerome's caught and safely locked up. Besides, she is my proxy. With Jerome's constant threat , I work from home and she works as my proxy and represents me at Mercer and Hayes. And with her around, it is easier.. But if you're uncomfortable, I promise you Ruby, I will ask Ecco to go back to her place once this Jerome problem is sorted." I let my lips tug into a soft smile and nod towards him. He is right. I can't put Ecco in danger for my selfish feelings. What if Jerome gets to her. He will then definitely get to us.

I slide back more comfortably into the back of the couch and throw my arms in the air, stretching and a opening my mouth wide yawning. "You look like a cute little baby hippo with your mouth open like that." I can't help but punch him in the stomach, making him throw his head back and laugh. I'm glad to see him laughing though. He has been really stressed due to Jerome.

"Come on baby, let's just go to bed. You look exhausted. Besides you have your training starting tomorrow." He smirks as he steps up from the couch and throws out his arm towards me. Oh he is teasing me now. Asshole. But mine. I place my hand in his and instantly he pulls me up with force, making me push into his embrace. He smiles and slides his hand through my waist and takes me back to our bedroom.

***

I groan and pull the blanket over my face as the sound of the alarm echoes through my ears. I don't want to wake up. I hear Jeremiah's stiffled yawn and then the alarm goes off. Thank goodness. My happiness is short-lived. I feel hands creep around my waist and pull me closer, my bottom pressing against his morning erection as he nuzzles the side of my neck.

"What time..is it?" I mumble sleepily.

"5:00 AM."

"What the fuck. Let me sleep..Miah.." I groan and slide deeper into the blankets only to be pulled back into his embrace.

"Wake up, baby.." He coos in my ears seductively and I sigh in frustration, turning over to face him and fluttering my sleepy eyes open.

"You want sex? Right now? Seriously Miah?" Obviously he does. I can feel his boner almost impale me though his boxer shorts. He nods, his cheeks slightly red and his eyes sleepy but full of lust.

"First that. Then practice." He leans in and places his lips over mine, giving them a quick peck. I can't help but smile an I melt into his kiss. Mornings like these, although I am mad at him for waking me up so early, I love mornings like these when I wake up next to him and our life is normal.

***

Jeremiah made Ecco go out and purchase some clothes for me. She got me a few t shirts, a few leggings, some nice underwear and a sweatshirt. I'm thankful to her for that since I am tired of wearing Jeremiah's oversized clothes although they are comfortable and smell like him.

Dressed in a black tights and a black tank top, I find myself waiting for Ecco at the indoor gym of the bunker. Ecco walks in, and much to my embarrassment, Jeremiah also follows. I don't want to make a fool of myself in front of him. I know nothing about fighting.

"Shall we start? Let's just see how well you fight first. It'll give me a hang of exactly how much time it would take to teach you how to fight." Ecco looks at me, a faint smirk playing on her lips. Nervously, I nod through gritted teeth and follow her as she gets into a fighting stance. From the corner of my eye, I can see that Jeremiah has sat himself on one of the benches and is looking at us with curiousity making me even more conscious.

I lower myself into a fighting stance and stare at my opponent, tingles of nervousness coursing through me. I have fought many times before. I just used to jump and join random street fights for fun. I always came back bruised and injured however. I throw the weight of my body onto my lower leg and let out a shrill yell, lunging at Ecco. Her reflexes are good as she ducks at the right time and my blow lands mid air. She grabs my thrown out arm and twists it behind me, locking me in front of her, a smile playing on her lips. Jeremiah is watching us with amusement .

"Okay. Definitely amateur. But we can work with it." Ecco huffs and pushes me forward, letting me go from her grip. I purse my lips together, visibly shaking with fury. She wants to take this personal, fine I am going to give her personal. With swift movement of my feet, I am at her face again, delivering blows after blows towards her face that she easily blocks with her arms in front of her face. "Nice one. But will definitely drain all your energy." She shrugs nonchalantly and smiles at Jeremiah. Who the hell does she think she is?

"Jeremiah, seriously you know what ? This is a waste of my time.." I throw my hands out in the air and turn to face him. Just then Ecco punches me in the face and I stumble back , my mouth wide open.

"What the hell? I was talking to him."

"You never let yourself get distracted and give the opponent an easy aim." She crosses her arms over her chest and I look at Jeremiah protestingly.

"WHY DO I NEED TO DO THIS BULLSHIT MIAH? ESPECIALLY WITH HER?"

Jeremiah sighs and stands up from where he was sitting, making his way to me and placing his hands comfortingly on my shoulders.

"Listen Ruby. I don't want to take any chances. If it would make me a little happier and worry free to know that incase you ever come into contact with my brother and I'm not there to protect you, you would be able to protect yourself , won't you even do that for me? Won't you even give me that satisfaction?"

I let my shoulders droop and sigh softly. The side of my face where I took Ecco's punch is still throbbing with pain. "Okay. Just for you. Let's do this." I smile weakly and steal a quick glance at Ecco.

Ecco grins and walks up to Jeremiah, placing a hand over his shoulder and patting it. "If it makes you feel better Ruby, Jeremiah was worse than you when we started training at first. He couldn't even get a fighting stance right. At least you know how to throw your punches." I can't help but smile when Jeremiah gives Ecco an eye roll and a side elbow right in her gut.

"Why don't you teach me how to do this, Miah?" I tilt my head to one side, and give him a lopsided smirk.

"Sure." He grins and winks at me playfully, taking the gloves for Ecco and sliding them into his hands. He then lowers his body into a fighting stance.

Me and Jeremiah practice the stances for over an hour, each of the trial mostly ending with me on the floor. Not that he didn't take a single hit. I managed to land him two hard punches to his gut.

The three of us then make our way back to Jeremiah's study, chatting and talking about random stuff. I plop down on the couch , feeling slightly sore after taking more than fair amounts of hits in our practice session.

My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of Jeremiah's ringtone. I see him from the corner of my eye, pulling out his cell phone and his expression changing. Who could be calling ? I think to myself. Jeremiah takes the call and walks off to the farther side of the study but I can still hear him talk.

"That's great. Thanks for letting me know."

I hear him on the call. He then disconnects the call and makes his way towards the questioning glance of both me and Ecco.

"What was that about?" I raise an eyebrow inquisitively.

He smiles and I realize this is a carefree one.

"Jerome has been caught and is on his way to Arkham. He pulled a stunt last night at the Circus, tried to kill Bruce Wayne. Failed and got caught by the GCPD."

I bite my lip and look at Ecco, it is indeed a good news but my pessimistic mind can't help but shake the feeling away. Probably Ecco feels the same since what she says is the same as what I find myself thinking.

"Well it is definitely good news Jeremiah but I don't think we should drop our guard. He escaped Arkham once. He can do it again easily. Arkham cannot contain sick criminals like him." She is right. Jerome is mentally ill.

"No we don't drop our guard. We just use this time to prepare ourselves." Jeremiah chimes in, making me nod. I agree. Jeremiah notices my quiet demeanor and flicks a gaze at me, concerned.

"You okay baby? You're quiet."

I shake my head and plaster a fake smile on my lips.

"Just thinking."

"What?"

"He's your brother Miah..but I gotta say it. Jerome was better off dead. Than alive."

He shrugs and sighs.

"I know but he is alive now. But since he is at Arkham, we need to come up with a plan." He says earning a raised eyebrow from me.

"You have one in mind ?"

"Not yet. But I would. Soon."

I nod and fall back into the couch, losing myself in the vast abyss of my own lingering thoughts , not paying attention to them anymore.

Chapter Text

Jerome Valeska was caught by the GCPD and sent to Arkham Asylum. We breathed a sigh of relief for a while.

Finally , it's the day I have been dreaming of since the past few days. Jeremiah decided to have a small wedding at a chapel in Gotham, with just a few close friends and my family. My brother Asher is the groom's best man while Delilah, Ecco and Selina are my maid of honour and brides maids.

I couldn't sleep last night, much to my and Delilah's dismay. She probably just told me for the tenth time that I have dark circles under my eyes just because I didn't get my beauty sleep. How could I sleep? Today will change my life forever. I will finally become Mrs. Jeremiah Valeska. We will be one, in body and soul.

I am pulled out of my thoughts when a familiar voice clears her throat from outside my bedroom. I look up to see Delilah walk in. She is looking gorgeous in her satin lavender maid of honour gown. She beams at me and yanks me back on the stool placed in front of the dressing table at Delilah's apartment.

"Beautiful.. Jeremiah will go crazy when he lays his eyes on you." She coos, making me laugh.

I look up into the mirror, reveling and slightly astonished at the fact that I can look this beautiful. My wedding dress is beautiful, long and flowy, not too heavily embroidered, not too plain, just the right amount of net and sequins on it. I give myself a little twirl and smile to myself , a faint blush creeping into my already reddened cheeks. Delilah and Ecco already assisted me with my make up which I wanted to keep minimal. Just a bit of foundation to hide my under eye bags and a few puberty aged zits which never faded, my olive coloured skin is now glowing. Ecco pulled up my waist length black hair into a tight and neat ponytail just above my head.

Delilah turns around as the sound of the door creaking open echoes through my ears, making me turn as well, just a tad minute later. My dad and my brother Asher walk in, a huge smile plastered on my dad's face.

"I'm gonna give you guys some privacy. But please do not cry. All our efforts will go to vain." She chuckles and I watch her silhouette disappear .

"You look okay-ish." Asher chimes in and walks up to me, staring into the mirror behind me.

"I know it's your pathetic way of telling me how nice I look." I smile and pull my younger brother closer, placing my hand over his bow as I work on it to fix it correctly. "Thanks Ash. You look okay-ish too." He chuckles and looks at my dad who is ready to tear up any moment.

"Come on dad. Don't be all emotional right now. You'll ruin her make up and she will definitely kill you." Asher grins and plomps down on a couch, looking at all the unused make up products laying randomly all around and makes a face. My dad walks up to me and motions me to sit down on the stool facing the mirror. I gently lower myself onto the stool and look at the reflection of me and my dad.

He slides his hand into his pocket and pulls out a butterfly hair clip. He clears his throat and whispers close enough for me to hear.

"This was your mother's. I always kept it with me with hope of giving it to you on your wedding day. Today is that day. May I?"

I nod through cloudy eyes,my eyes already brimming with tears as I think about my mother for a few seconds before drawing a smile on my face.

"Off course, daddy."

He smiles and places the hair clip into my hair, and sniffles slightly. Asher is quick to hop up before he starts crying, just to save the day. I brace myself for what insult is going to come my way now.

"I feel bad for Jeremiah."

"Why?" I roll my eyes and raise my eyebrows.

"Once that make up washes off, and when he is gonna see your real scary face.." He leans forward and slaps himself in the knee,laughing dramatically.

"Dumbass. Don't you have to be at the chapel with Miah?" I scowl and bite my lip, the nervous pre wedding jitters starting to creep in.

"Oh damn. No no no. Shit. yeah. I'm late. I'm leaving you guys. BYEEE."  I laugh and shake my head,watching Asher followed by my dad disappear.

***

I step out of Delilah's beautifully decorated mini truck and squint my eyes watching the picturesque tiny little chapel's exterior design.

"You ready?" I hear Selina whisper in my ear. I look at her and smile softly , nodding. I'm ready.

"Let's do this." I whisper back.

Selina assists me with my wedding dress as we walk up the flight of stairs leading to the entrance of the chapel where my father is waiting for me, beaming proudly. Once on the top most stair , I glance at Delilah and we quickly take our places. Ecco in the immediate front followed by Selina and Delilah in the end. I take my father's arm lovingly and wait from the wedding procession to begin.

Just then, the chapel doors are pulled open and the sound of the bridal music, Here Comes The Sun, by the Beatles, starts to play making my heart pound against my chest due to excitement and nervousness, making me hold on tighter to my father's arm. This is it. I think to myself. The last thing I hear him whisper before we start walking is "It's okay baby girl."

The chapel in empty since we decided to marry only in the presence of our closest friends. The guests include Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, Jeremiah's uncle Zach, Delilah's mom and a few of Xander's friends from St. Ignatius,all seated in the pew at the front. They all stand up and look our way when Ecco starts gracefully walking down the aisle followed by Selina and Delilah. With graceful steps, I glance at my father for a few seconds before turning my head back towards my front as we softly walk down the aisle, tears of happiness threatening to spill out of my eyes.

My eyes find its way to meet Jeremiah's loving gaze as I continue to walk down the aisle. Needless to say, his look tells me that I am the most beautiful girl alive, making my cheeks turn bright red. He clears his throat softly and I can see a soft smile playing on his lips as he finds his spot next to me as we stand in front of the altar. He is beautiful in his black tuxedo and a red rose pinned to his collar. I'm a lucky woman. I find him shifting slightly closer and whisper.

"You're the most beautiful thing I've ever laid eyes on."

The priest walks up to the altar and clears his throat softly, asking all of us to move our attention to him. I pull my gaze away from my going to be husband and look at the priest.

"We are all gathered here today to witness the unity of these beautiful souls, Jeremiah Valeska and Ruby Day, into one, soul and body."

I can't help but let my lips tug into a tiny smile at the thought of that.

"Do you both pledge to share your lives openly with one another, and to speak the truth in love? Do you promise to honor and tenderly care for one another, cherish and encourage each other, stand together, through sorrows and joys, hardships and triumphs for all the days of your lives?" The priest addresses us. I feel Jeremiah take my hand in his and squeeze it gently before we both say "We do" in unison.

"Please exchange the rings in presence of the house of God as your solemn promise to commit yourself to one another."

From the corner of my eye, I see Delilah step up from behind me with Jeremiah's wedding band on it. She hands me the band and I lift it delicately in my fingers. Asher does the same and hands the band to Jeremiah. I gently lift my left hand and lay it over Jeremiah's as he uses his other hand to slide my wedding band into my finger. I follow and place his wedding band on his finger. From the corner of my eye, I see Delilah with a wide smile on her face.

"May these rings be blessed as a symbol of your union." The priest continues.

"Do you, Jeremiah Valeska, take Ruby Day as your lawfully wedded wife to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?"

I bite my lip and watch Jeremiah as he lights up like the star on a Christmas tree top as he parts his lips to say his wedding vows.

"I, Jeremiah Valeska, promise you, Ruby Day, to always be your friend, your lover, and, most importantly, your family, from this day until our very last days. Always and forever."

I let my eyes close that instant and let the unshed tear threatening to escape from a long time. I feel it trickle down my cheek, my heart exploding with happiness. I love this man so much and nothing can ever happen to stop me from loving him.

The priest turns to me and clears his throat.

"Do you, Ruby Day, take Jeremiah Valeska, as your lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?"

I smile and look down at my hands for a bit before turning back to face Jeremiah as I say I do.

"I do. Miah, you are my first, and I want you to be my last, my everything. You are mine until the end of time, and I am yours for as long as you'll have me."

"Bride and groom, through your words today, you have joined together in holy matrimony. I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss your bride."

Through the peotic chaos of the people clapping and the thumping our hearts, I find myself getting lost in the abyss of my husband's ocean green eyes. In that moment, there is nobody in the chapel anymore, just me and my Jeremiah. He smiles softly, the corner of smile reaching just beneath the frame of his specs. I take a step closer and feel his hands place themselves on my hips, pulling me even more closer than I already am. I close my eyes then and drown into the touch of his lips to mine as he kisses me softly.

I can't believe I'm Mrs. Jeremiah Valeska.

Chapter Text

I'm finally married to Jeremiah. I cannot believe it. Still on a happy daze and a little exhausted as we had thrown a small reception party after the wedding, I finally slide into Jeremiah's car in the back and fall back into the back rest. Jeremiah gets in after me, waving our guests good bye as Selina and Ecco slide in the front, with Ecco driving.

Jeremiah finds my thigh and places his hand on it, squeezing my knee and burying his face into my shoulder, sighing happily.

"Are you alright, Mrs Valeska?"

My smile just goes two times wider when he says that. I brush my nose through his ginger locks and murmur softly, loud enough for him to hear.

"Can't wait to take you home tonight, Mr. Valeska."

We drop Selena to her place on our way and then Ecco drives us back home. I want to ask her if she would be moving out of Jeremiah's place now since I am officially his wife now but I don't want to sound snobbish. It's just that I want us to start our new life together free from our past 'mistakes', Jerome being mine and Ecco being Jeremiah's.

We pull up outside our bunker. Ecco turns off the ignition and Jeremiah steps out of the car, throwing his hand towards me. I smile and slide my hand into his, making him instantly hook his fingers around me and pull me out. Ecco walks ahead of us as we follow, me being a little slower in walking thanks to my heels and my wedding dress. Once at the bunker, Ecco punches the code into the keypad and the doors open.

"Let's go home." I hear Jeremiah whisper as I feel his hands rake over me , lifting me up bridal style as he carries me inside, my arm locked around around his neck, playing with his hair.

"Okay, lovebirds. I'm gonna put on some earpods and go sleep off for the night. Don't break the bed." Ecco chuckles and pouts at us before walking off. We keep standing by the hallway until the sound of Ecco's heels fade away. Jeremiah glances at me with hungry eyes and I throw back my head and laugh. Still holding me in his arms, he then makes his way to our nicely decorated bedroom, making me smile wide. The bedsheets have been neatly made and there are roses sprinkled all over our bed. Definitely Delilah. He lowers me gently on to the bed and starts taking off his tux.

I bite my lip hard and step up from the bed, placing myself in front of him as I slide my hands over his chest, placing them on his tux and taking it off. I then hang the tux neatly on a hanger in his closet and unzip my dress, feeling his hungry eyes on me.

"Hey no fair. I wanted to be the one to undress you from that dress." He pouts so cute it makes my heart hurt.

I let the dress fall to the floor as I gracefully step out of it, wearing nothing but my off white lace lingerie. I bend to pick up the fallen dress but gasp as I feel Jeremiah suddenly press against my bottom, his hands creeping up and placing themselves over my waist as he grinds into my ass, groaning. "Someone's getting restless." I giggle and turn around in his arms, his growing erection now pressing into my front, making me feel hot between my legs.

"Yeah. I've been having hot and dirty dreams about making love to you in your wedding dress." He whispers against my ears, letting sparks fly all through my insides.

"That's gonna have to wait because I really need a hot shower. Unless, you wanna sneak into the shower with me for a quickie." I tilt my head to one side, grinning lopsidedly as I pull away from him swaying my hips as I walk into the bathroom. I close the bathroom door only partially as I see Jeremiah smirk while taking off his shirt outside.

I step into the shower cubicle and take off my lingerie. I can hear the sound of Jeremiah taking off his belt outside making heat pool down my core. I turn on the shower and gasp as the warm water rains down on me, soaking my bare body wet from head to toe. I hear the bathroom door creak open and a hazy silhouette walks towards the shower cubicle. I can see that he is naked.

He opens the cubicle and slides inside, water droplets falling over his perfectly chiseled body. I watch his hand press against the shower handle as he turns it off and pins me against the glass, my back pressing against the surface as he closes the distance between us. His hands grab my waist and mine find solace by wrapping them around his neck as I lean in to kiss him hungrily. Our lips collide against each other, fighting and thrusting violently against each other to slide into each other's mouths. Jeremiah wins and slides his tongue hungrily into my mouth,our tongues dancing together in symphony.

He lets go off my mouth and I feel his lips move down against my neck,peppering my neck and collarbone with wet kisses while his hands place themselves on my breasts,cupping them in his palms and pulling and tugging and squeezing them.

I jump onto him and lock my legs behind him as he presses me against the glass,lifting me up and gently placing me against the slab I keep the soaps and shampoos on , our lips not leaving each other while his hands grab me by my ass, his erect cock pressing over my core, waiting to penetrate me any minute.

He wastes no time in filling me up with his mountain. I feel his erect cock push into me making me yelp as pleasure rocks my core, filling every inch of me. He throws his head back and cusses. Everything about this man makes me aroused, even the way he is breathing , his chest heaving up and down with every breath.

His fingers are gripping me tight by my waist , his nails almost digging into my flesh, making me even more aroused. I can't help but close my eyes as he easily fucks me right there in the shower, my body gyrating against his cock in a perfect rhythm. I feel him quicken his pace and his thrusts get harder as our bodies hit against each other . I can feel my climax approach making my eyes roll back in my head. Fucking hell. His cock feels so good inside of me.

His palms soon find the way back to grab my bouncing breasts as he continues to pound mercilessly into me, the voices of our moans and our bodies slapping against each other filling the bathroom.

I let out a shrill cry as I finally feel my walls clench around his pulsating member inside me and my orgasm hits me like tsunami. He lets out a loud moan just when I cum,  cussing obscenities as his cock pulsates violently inside of me one last time and he falls prey to his own climax just seconds later, his hot seed spraying inside of me.

"Fuck, that was hot, Mrs. Valeska." He leans into my ear and coos, making me shiver due to cold and my high. The effect he has on me.

***

Today marks three months since me and Jeremiah got married. Life has been beautiful ever since. Jeremiah has been happy and relaxed. Ecco finally moved out of our bunker and went to her own place. It's just me and Jeremiah around the house now. We have gotten intimate in almost all of the places in the bunker now, the couch in the study, the desk, the kitchen ( he was very whiny about how unhygienic it is ) and many other places.

I sit up in bed and groan due to grogginess, rubbing my eyes involuntarily. Jeremiah is already awake as his bed has already been neatly made. He has a few habits, this is one of them. I slide out of the bed and wrap around a robe around my almost bare body before lazily making my side of bed.

Once that is done, I walk out of the bedroom and meander into the kitchen just to check if Jeremiah is there.

"Miah? Honey you here?" I poke my head into the quiet kitchen, frowning as he is not there. He is usually up before me and prepares us a nice breakfast while I prepare us a nice lunch. I find it very weird when the kitchen is empty.

He must definitely be in his study if not in the kitchen. I turn back around and walk with slow steps in the direction of the kitchen only to stop directly outside the door when I hear Ecco's voice from inside.

"What do we do now?"

I squint my eyes and clear my throat, announcing my arrival as I press the code of the study. The door opens and I am greeted by Jeremiah's cold glare.

"I'm sorry. Were you busy?" I can't help but bite the insides of my cheeks nervously as I step into the study. Ecco and Jeremiah seem like they were in the middle of a serious discussion. What is bothering me is that Jeremiah never hides anything from me . Whether it is work talk or something else, he is very comfortable talking about it in front of me. However, it does not seem like it today.

"No. We uh, we were just talking about a new project for work. That is all. Come here baby." He smiles softly ,pointing towards a half completed generator like machine lying over the table, throwing out his arms towards me and I sulkily walk into his embrace as he kisses me good morning. I kiss him back softly and step away, throwing a weak smile towards Ecco's direction.

"You guys can continue whatever you guys were talking about. I just want my book." I whisper softly. I then move up to the couch that I am usually perched on,trying to look for my Jane Austen novel which I cannot seem to find. Having checked under the couch cushions but having had no luck, I walk up to his desk and scan my eyes through the contents of it, hoping to find my book there. Jeremiah moves over to the large table in the center of the study, throwing open the blueprint of his latest design as he starts discussing it with Ecco.

Feeling frustrated which I often do in the morning without my mug of coffee, I walk up to the place in the room where there are a number of TV sets. This is where he checks all the surveillance of the bunker. I lean back against the machine where many buttons are unintentionally. Jeremiah glances at me at the right time and starts yelling out.

"DON'T TOUCH..THAT.."

It's too late however and my elbow presses against one of the buttons and one of the TV sets behind me turns on,making me look back towards it. My mouth flings open in disbelief when I see the silhouette in front of my TV screen. The camera is showing me a surveillance footage of Jerome Valeska doing yoga somewhere inside this bunker.

"Ruby I can explain.." I shoot a menacing glare towards Jeremiah and he raises his hands defensively in the air.

"WHAT THE HELL, MIAH? WHAT IS JEROME DOING HERE ?" Fury is gnawing at me from the insides.

I find myself looking back at the screen carefully. Jerome is now taking steps towards the camera, an evil smirk on his face. That's when he laughs, the same laugh that he had on his face the night he killed me. Instinctively, I pull myself away from the camera, still looking at it and brush hard against Jeremiah who wraps an arm over my waist soothingly. Me however, I'm too scared and angry to be soothed right now.

We see Jerome walk around the place, banging his palms against the concrete walls, trying to find an escape when suddenly he turns around and starts walking closer and closer to the camera.

"Oh, you're incorrigible. But then again, you always were." He croaks in his throaty voice,pointing at the camera. I look at Jeremiah and then back at the screen.

"Oh wait. Or was that me? Sometimes I get so confused . I can't remember." He continues talking and inching closer towards the camera.

"You should never have run away like that. You see, I would've never hurt you."

I bite my lip nervously, still watching as he keeps coming closer and closer to the screen.

Until he eerily whispers.

"Xander, I love you." And falls back into a maniacal laughter before making a heart imprint with his fingers at the camera.

Chapter Text

"What the hell, Jeremiah? When were you going to tell me about this ?!" I can't help glare angrily at him for a few seconds before shifting my scornful gaze towards Ecco. "Oh wait. Let me guess. NEVER!" Ecco shrugs and I just cross my arms over my chest, throwing daggers at them both with my eyes. I can't believe they would hide this from me.

Jeremiah places his hands on his hips as he takes a few steps towards me."We were going to tell you.."

"When? A few years from now? What were you going to tell me then? Oh Ruby, guess what ? We kidnapped Jerome and kept him captive at our house and you had no clue about it." I hiss.

"Uhm guys, I'm gonna leave you guys to it, just gonna go and check up on Jerome." Ecco bites the insides of her cheeks and scoots away from us as she senses it better to get out of here before things escalate between us.

"Ruby you're overreacting. It isn't a big deal.."Jeremiah croaks, in almost a whisper like tone.

"I'm overreacting? Seriously Valeska?" I throw my hands dramatically into the air. "This is my house too. We're married Jeremiah." I whisper, weakly.

"Listen Ruby.. I'm sorry I kept this hidden from you. I wanted to protect you. Besides, he is my brother.. I know what's best when it comes to him." He walks up to me,trying to sooth me by placing his hands on my shoulders. I am quick to dodge his grip and move away, feeling hurt. Just a few months into our marriage he is already keeping secrets from me. Nice. And he involves her in his decisions. But not me. I can't help but feel that familiar bitterness course through my veins again.

"I thought we were supposed to share all our secrets with each other.." I whisper with bitterness coated words.

"Ruby? Why are you so moody and hormonal? What is wrong with you? Why are you making this so difficult?"

I cannot listen to his shit anymore. Angrily, I glare one last time at him before storming my way out of the study towards the bedroom. I'm curled up in our bed, my face buried in my pillow.

I've been crying for over fifteen minutes now but my tears won't end. I don't understand why am I such a cry baby. I lift myself up weakly from the bed as I hear a slight commotion outside. Probably Jeremiah has guests over? No, can't be. He never has guests over. I decide to go check it out myself.

With baby steps , I step out of the bedroom and walk towards Jeremiah's study. That's where the voices are coming from. My eyes fall on Ecco, she is standing outside the study with her hands behind her back. What's going on? I think to myself.

Confused, I walk into the study and I see the silhouette of two men standing in front of me. Jeremiah looks at me me from the corner of his eyes and smiles softly, throwing out his hand at me that I take, gratefully.

"You can call me Jeremiah..And this is Ruby, my wife." He slides a hand through my waist, holding me by the small of my back. I bite my lip and give the two men a weak smile until I hear the older of the two men gasp suddenly.

"YOU! You stole my wallet ! And you were dead. Jerome confessed to kill you the night he confessed to Lila Valeska's murder. What the hell is happening?" Fuck. I sigh and instinctively step behind Jeremiah. Okay he is Harvey Bullock, I definitely remember him now. The other one must be Jim Gordon then, his partner.

"I didn't...die. I escaped." I bite my lower lip unintentionally,poking my head from behind Jeremiah who looks on, confused that me and Harvey already know each other. "And about your, ahem, wallet. I'm sorry about that. It didn't have much cash in it anyway." I slip back behind Jeremiah as I see Harvey grit his teeth and take a step towards me but is stopped by Jim who motions him to stay quiet as he looks back at Jeremiah again.

"Jerome never mentioned you before." I hear Jim say.

"Off course. You wouldn't. He never spoke about me after I left." Jeremiah takes a step closer towards them only to be interrupted by Harvey. "Left where?" "The Circus." Jeremiah replies, his hand placed over the collar of his brown tanned coat as he makes a quick motion of taking it off but doesn't.

"They hid me away to protect me from him." I keep staring at the side of Jeremiah's head,listening to his words. "See.. we were always different. Jerome and I. From an early age, I showed a proficiency for math and design and Jerome for uh.." He clears his throat.".. for the mutilation of alley cats." I cringe internally when he says that.

What Jeremiah says next, it makes me instinctively place my palm over my mouth as it shocks me to the core, making my mouth fall wide open.

"On my 7th birthday, he held a cake knife to my throat. Later,he lit my bed on fire. It was like living in a nightmare." Jeremiah notices a change in my demeanor so he places a hand on my shoulder, patting me slightly. "My mother knew that Jerome would end up succeeding someday. So one night, while Jerome slept, they told me that they were taking me away. I had no idea where. But I kissed my mother goodbye, told her I loved her and never saw her again."

I cant help but stare down at my shivering hands. My thoughts fly to my own mother whom I lost at a tender age. Jeremiah never told me all this before. No wonder he hates Jerome. He loved his mother so much and Jerome killed her.

"They took you to St. Ignatius." Jim steps towards us,his eyes plastered on Jeremiah.

"I got a new name, a new life.." For a split second, he glances back at me and I see a soft smile playing on his lips before turning back towards Jim again. "..I could finally live without fear." I lean back against the desk. "But, deep down in my heart I knew that someday Jerome would come for me. And maybe, my wife, since she ended up escaping him if he knew she was alive."

"Well that day is today , pops." Harvey mutters and Jim clears his throat, informing us that Jerome Valeska has escaped Arkham for the second time. He also tells us that he wants to move us to a safe location till Jerome could be captured back again.

Nervously, I glance at Jeremiah. I don't want to leave the bunker. For some reason, I feel safer out here than being out there, with Jeremiah to protect me. Jeremiah seems to understand my feelings.

"That won't be necessary gentlemen. You see, I have prepared for this almost all my life now and I feel that we are the safest here, at our bunker." I nod in understanding and agreement at Jeremiah's words. Jim informs us that Jerome visited his proxy and he also visited his work place in search of Xander Wilde. Why didn't Jeremiah tell me all that? I glance at him. I will ask him about all of this later.

"I'm sorry about Ellen Hayes. It was tragic. But..the proxy's name I gave to Ellen was a fake."

For some reason, Jim Gordon does not look convinced. Neither do I.

"You're lying." He finally says.

"I beg your pardon?" Jeremiah raises an eyebrow but Jim does not reply. He turns to look at his partner who exchange a glance and Harvey then exclaims that he finds all of this fishy. Okay, I do too.

Jim raises an eyebrow and points towards the TV sets behind us. Oh No. No. I let down a gulp and look at Jeremiah who looks back at me.

"The surveillance cameras outside were turned on then why are those TV sets turned off?" God, these detectives. I think to myself. Why do they have to be so nosey all the time?

"I don't see how.that is any of your concern." Jim doesn't even let Miah complete his sentence, he is already walking up the the TV set in full force, ready to plug it on earning a protest from Jeremiah. "PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THAT. That's very sensitive equipment." However, it's too late. Jim has already turned the TV on and is carefully watching Jerome do yoga, yet again. 

I bite the insides of my cheeks and walk up to Jeremiah as we glance at each other before glancing back towards the cops. We've been caught.

Chapter Text

Jim and Harvey glare at us, while we look at each other, thinking of a rational explanation to give to them. Just then my eyes fall on the TV set in front of us.

"MIAH? JEROME..HE.. HE'S NOT THERE ANYMORE.."

Weakly, and with shivering fingers , I point my finger towards the screen and the heads of all the three men in the room turn in the direction of the screen. The door of the cell Jerome was kept in is wide open and Jerome seems to have escaped through it. It's impossible. How is this possible? Who could have helped him?

"Oh my God. He's going to come for me.."

Jeremiah is having a panic attack. His hand is clutched to his throat as if there is something latched to his throat, making him difficult to breathe. I run up to him, worry etched all over my face as I rub soothing circles over his back, trying to call him down. "Miah? Baby look at me. It's fine. He won't touch us. Jim will protect us. " I find myself looking at Jim miserably who shakes his head and runs up to Jeremiah.

"Jeremiah, don't worry. We're gonna go out and check out the commotion. We'll be back for you." Jim says to us before he and Harvey run out of the study , with their guns blazing in their hands.

Jeremiah seems to have regained his composure although he is still grabbing me for support.

"It's okay, you're okay.." I whisper softly against his ear and he glances at me, his expressions changing to anger. He is quick to grab me by my hand as he swiftly walks out of the study.

"I'm going to get you out of here. I'm gonna drop you to the exit. Just run away from here." He tells me as we run along the maze, left and right.

"What do you mean Miah? I'm going no where without you. You're coming with me! I'm not leaving you here!"

Jeremiah glances at me while we are still running, his nostrils flaring slightly.

"For once please listen to me and stop being stubborn. I am not leaving Ecco behind. I'm going to go back and get her. Please get out of here and wait for me to come get you Ruby."

I shake my head in frustration but find myself get distracted as I see the large neon lighted EXIT mentioned just above Jeremiah's head.

"GO NOW!" He yells at me and turns back around only to stop dead in his tracks. So do I.

"Hello, brother." Jerome's shrill, throaty voice reaches our ears making me look up. There he is, standing in front of me with his gun pointed at me. I look back at Jeremiah only to realize he is trapped too by two weird looking guys, one wearing a hat and the other wearing a bag on his face.

"You.. You're alive." He leans closer to me, his face just parallel to the side of my face as he sniffs me slightly. "Ah, you smell nice."

"Leave her alone, Jerome!" Jeremiah calls out. Jerome grabs the side of my arm and yanks me along with him as we both walk towards Jeremiah till they are standing face to face.

 

I keep wiggling and struggling and trying to yank my arm away from him so he thrusts me into the guy with the hat. The guy with the hat firmly grabs me by my shoulder and places me next to him and the man with the bag on his face.

"Ah, you look nice.." Jerome croaks at Jeremiah. "To think I was the better looking twin."

"How'd you find the way through the maze?" Jeremiah asks him, I can see that Jeremiah is frightened , his face is white as snow due to fear and he is shaking.

"Oh, we may not look the same anymore but we still think the same." Jerome hits Jeremiah on his forehead with his index finger. "Plus you used to draw those stupid things as a kid. I used to pay attention." He throws his head back and laughs maniacally. He suddenly stops laughing and his gaze falls on me slowly trailing his gaze lower and lower as he finally fixated it on my left hand.

"Oh... Did you two get married? I never got any invite. I am after all your husband's brother. Oh I am offended." He places a heart dramatically to his heart and he fakes shedding a tear. "I thought you were intelligent Ruby. But you still chose the wrong brother. What do I do with you now?" He makes a toot sound with his mouth as he steps closer to me, looking down hungrily at my lips.

"JEROME STAY AWAY FROM HER. YOU'VE DONE ENOUGH TO HER. LEAVE HER OUT OF THIS."

"Oh, so you know." He smiles wide and curves his lips into a menacing smirk looking back at me. "She was such a filthy little whore, this one. But I swear she had one of the warmest and tightest cunts I've ever experienced. You'd know that definitely." He winks at me and I give him a glare in disgust.

"DONT YOU DARE TALK ABOUT MY WIFE LIKE THAT. YOU'RE PATHETIC, JEROME. AND JUST JEALOUS OF ME. I LANDED A NICE AND BEAUTIFUL GIRL AND YOU COULDN'T."

"Awh you're right. You did land a beautiful one.."Jerome smiles wide, his scarred lips almost reaching his ears. He walks up to me and grabs me by my arm and looks at the other two, looking directly at the Hat guy. "Take scarecrow with you and go and find Jimbo."

He then pushes me hard into Jeremiah,who catches me in his strong arms and pushes me behind him, shielding me from Jerome. I give him a death glare as he continues speaking, Jeremiah still standing in front of me, sheilding me.

"I've been waiting for this moment for fifteen years. And ever since you ran away in the middle of the night.. like a coward." He coos. Just then Jeremiah speaks up.

"You blame me for everything that's gone wrong in your life but the truth is, Jerome.." Jeremiah pauses, and lets out a shaky breath. ".. that you're born bad."

"Born bad, huh.." Jerome hisses under his breath.

"So that's why you made her think that I tried to kill ya.." Jerome's eyes meet mine and for a minute I think I see pain hidden behind those ocean green eyes, or maybe not. "WHAT WAS IT AGAIN? I put a blade to your throat, lit your bed on fire.."

"We both know you wanted to.." Jeremiah points out.

"Yeah that.." Jerome slaps Jeremiah on the shoulder, making him fall back towards me due to the impact. "..was a funny story." Slowly, Jerome lifts the gun and points it towards Jeremiah and he stutters. "O..Okay. Maybe it didn't happen like that.." I look at Jeremiah in disbelief, my mouth falling a little. I always thought Jerome did that to Jeremiah. What if Jerome was..actually the victim? I step back instinctively, my back pressing against the concrete wall.

"But I was right. You killed our mother!"

Jerome's mouth slowly curves into a sadistic smile as he starts laughing evilly.

"But she did deserve it though.. After that whore hid you away, she gave up on me, poisoned by your stories.." Jerome pushes Jeremiah again. "YOU TURNED EVERYONE I LOVED AGAINST ME."

I inhale sharply and press myself tighter against the wall, my heart thumping wildly against my chest. Jerome means nothing to me but right now after hearing Jeremiah's confession, the fact that Jeremiah actually framed Jerome , I can't help shake the feeling that maybe somewhere down the line, Jeremiah is responsible for Jerome's madness. He ruined Jerome to what he is today. I shake my head violently trying to remove this thought from my mind but it keeps circulating in my mind, making my head pound.

I can't help but sniffle quietly , which comes out quite loud, almost as if choking on my own sob which makes both Jerome and Jeremiah glance towards me. I look from Jeremiah to Jerome as they are both standing in opposite directions of me. Jerome takes a step towards me and I instinctively step back against the wall, almost shrinking in fear.

"Don't be afraid.. of me. I'm not gonna hurt ya..Not in your condition." He smirks and flicks his gaze slightly lower, as if glancing at my body, undressing me with his eyes. "I'm not the monster ya'all, especially this one makes me.." He points his gun towards Jeremiah who takes a step away, throwing his arms out in front of him.

Just then, Jervis and Crane run out from the other side of the maze chanting " Must go, must go, they are after me and Scarecrow." And we look at them pass us by, followed by Jim and Harvey who don't even bother looking at us. Like hello? Aren't you supposed to save us from the maniac ?

"Okay so what was I saying? Ah, yes. I'm not a monster. I care for my family. Not you off course, you abandoned me.." He glares at Jeremiah who rolls his eyes lightly but stiffens when Jerome steps closer to me, stroking the side of my cheek. "..but her. Well she is my sister in law after all. And, honestly, guess what." He leans closer to my ear, pretending to just whisper into my ear but is loud enough for Jeremiah to hear him as well. "We shared everything once. We were twins after all. You know what I mean? Whether it was Jeremiah's pet cat, that I killed, oh well. Or Jeremiah's favourite book, that I had to take it for myself just because he loved it. We shared almost everything. So why would I want to hurt you gorgeous and my nephew resting in here , huh?" He trails his palm over my belly and pats it softly, and Jeremiah curls his hands into fists, his eyes plastered to me questioningly.

I bite my lip, my cheeks turning red with embarrassment. Nobody knew. Not even Jeremiah. I haven't told anybody yet.

"Jerome, shut up.." He takes a step dangerously towards Jerome.

"Oh broski.. Don't you see it ? The way her breasts look fuller. Just look at them. Got a lot of milk in em." He makes a slurping sound with his mouth vulgarly and it makes me cringe in disgust, instinctively covering my breasts with my arms. Jeremiah cannot take it anymore then. He punches Jerome hard in his face and Jerome is thrown back with the blow but still on his feet. Jerome doesn't stop cackling.

"Don't.. Miah..he has a gun.." I whisper inaudibly and grab Jeremiah's hand,pulling him towards me, away from Jerome.

"Oh and the way her ass looks rounder than before. Her stomach slightly swollen. Off course you wouldn't know Miah, you don't have any experience in girls."

"How would you know Jerome?" He hisses at him.

"I've had my shares of girls running up to me wanting an abortion after a night gone crazy. I definitely know." He croaks.

"You're pregnant ?!" Miah looks at me and whispers. I turn my gaze to my husband and he gives me a questioning look. I unknowingly bite my lip, tasting the metallic taste of blood in my mouth. I look down at my hands and nod softly, my eyes getting cloudy.

Chapter Text

"LET GO OFF ME. YOU'RE HURTING ME.. "

I am protesting wildly, thrashing my hands and feet in the air,trying to escape. I'm plastered on the shoulder of Jonathan Crane. Jerome is whistling casually and walking just two steps ahead of me with Jervis.

"Put her down. You're hurting her." I hear him say in his croaky frog like voice.

I feel myself being hoisted back to the ground, making me feel dizzy since I was upside down for a long time. I look around and realize that we all are outside the bunker on our way to the main road. The last thing I remember is that a hypnotized Ecco had started fighting with Jeremiah and that was when Jerome grabbed me and yanked me away with him.

My nostrils flare up in anger and with big steps, I reach where Jerome is, grabbing a hold of his arm and yanking him roughly towards me.

"Jerome? Where are you taking me?"

Jerome smiles evilly, his scarred face flexing and stretching till almost his ears.

"To a music festival. I hope you like music." He throws his head back and starts cackling.

A van from Genovese Meats is parked by the edge of the forest. Jerome pulls open the door of the back and dumps me in, shutting the door behind me. Weakly, I slide myself into a corner and put my head over my knees. Jeremiah must be worried. Just then, the back door opens again and I see Jerome walk in, his eyes fixated on me for a few seconds before sliding himself just opposite to me on the floor.

"Listen Ruby. I'm not the monster everyone makes me to be. Don't be afraid. I'm not gonna hurt ya." His voice is soft. Soothing even. I can't believe it. It's all a lie.

"Really? Weren't you the one who stabbed me to death?YOU LIAR!" I throw my head up and throw daggers at him with my stare. He just shrugs nonchalantly and scoots closer to me,placing his hands on my knees.

"That was different. I was a teenager. So many new emotions flowing through ya. You want to kill everybody..Ya know? But now.. I don't really want to kill ya." He croaks.

Nervously, I take a gulp of my saliva and rub my hands over my shoulders and arms, trying to calm my fear induced sudden shivering.

"What will you do to me?" I whisper weakly.

"Now that's a nice question." I feel Jerome's weight over my knees and he shifts his entire body forward ,placing his elbows over my knees and his chin resting in his palms. "I haven't really thought about it. See I act on impulse, much different that your, ahm, husband, he is rational and calculates each and every step. Me, not so much." He skews his head to one side and shakes his head. "I saw you and I liked you, I wanted you to be my trophy."

"Jerome this is madness." I find myself inching my face closer towards Jerome with anger in my eyes. "We're all a little mad in here. Aren't we?" He laughs the laugh he does which sounds so cynical and scary, pointing his finger on my temple and poking it.

Just then, our conversation is interrupted by the rough brakes applied by whoever is driving, which I assume is the Hat guy, Jervis, making my body fly instinctively towards my right and then press hard against the surface on my left. Wincing, I place my palm over my shoulder and rub it to sooth the slight pain over the sore skin. Jerome's face twitches for a second and he angrily gets up from the place he was crouched at and yells with frustration.

"COULD YOU PLEASE DRIVE A LITTLE CAREFULLY?! WE HAVE GUESTS IN HERE!!!"

Jerome kneels in front of me again and places his palm over my aching shoulder, rubbing it. "Sorry about that. Mad Hatter could be really mad at times." He grins.

"Now daddy's got some business to take of, would ya stay here and be a nice girl for daddy?" He places his thumb over my cheek and trails it along lower until his thumb is directly on my neck, when he suddenly grabs my throat with his arm, squeezing it shut and making my eyes bob out and gagging sounds to come out of my mouth. "Now that is not a request. It's a demand." He then pulls his hand away, yanking me away from him. I can't help but let my tears slide down my cheeks as I weakly gasp for air, burying my face deeper into my knees. Jeremiah where are you ?

The door of the van opens then and a familiar looking man waddles in. The Penguin. I bite my lip hard and shift my gaze to the person walking in after him. It's Bridget.

"Carmen?!" Bridget's eyes fly open and she runs up to me,kneeling next to me and she takes my hand.

"I'm fine.." I mouth to her weakly.

Angrily, she gets up and glares at Jerome. "WHY'S SHE HERE? NO HARM SHOULD COME TO HER IN THIS PROCESS."

Jerome shrugs and places a hand on Bridget's shoulder. "You really shouldn't use that mouth in such a way with me. Anyway, we've got work to do now people. Firefly, you and Oswald, stay here and wait for us. And make space for our special guests ...who will arrive any time now." Jerome throws his head back and starts laughing maniacally. I can't stop thinking about who these special guests would be.

I flick a glance at Oswald as Jerome shuts the door of the van, walking away. I can hear the sound of his footsteps fading. I then grab Bridget by the hand and yank her knee level with me.

"What's happening? Bridget? Why are you here?"

She shakes her head as she notices from the corner of her eye that Oswald is watching us carefully.

"You might be my friend Carmen but I am on a mission here. I can't jeopardize that and let you in on all our secrets. Besides, soon you'll get to know everything." She pushes herself away from me and steps back up on her feet, dusting the mud off her knees and making her way to Oswald.

I sigh weakly and sit back, trying to get more comfortable. My legs feel cramped up and my back hurts like anything. All I want to do is stretch out a little. Involuntarily , I place my palm over my almost invisible baby bump and let out a pained whine. I can't help but wonder if Jeremiah is looking for me or not. Almost inaudibly, I close my eyes and whisper softly to myself, stroking my belly with gentle strokes."Don't worry little peanut. Daddy will get us out of here. He will come for us."

Just then, the van door is thrown open and Jerome steps in, whistling. He glances at me for one swift moment and throws out a hand towards me. Confused, I retreat further against the back of the van. Groaning, he walks up to me, forcefully taking my hand in his hand and yanks me up to my feet. My feet feel so sore after being perched in the same position for hours now. Part of me is thankful to Jerome. The other part, not so thankful. Jerome is the person who kidnapped me in the first place.

Jervis walks with a few people in tow, I gasp and realize it's the Mayor of Gotham and other very important dignitaries of Gotham city. Instinctively, I place my palm over my mouth and scoot towards Jerome as Jervis literally pushes the Mayor inside. Bridget and Crane grab the Mayor by his arms and yank them up over his head, tying his hands up with a chain. Jerome just laughs as though it is a very amusing scene.

A few minutes later, Jerome and his so called assistants have placed all the important dignitaries with their hands over their heads tied to chains with the Mayor in the front. I'm standing next to Bridget, my arms crossed over my chest as I watch the Mayor beg and try to manipulate his captors to let him go free. He first tells Jerome that he has access to the police pension fund and he can get him all the money he wants. But Jerome being Jerome obviously, he declines. He then slides himself to where me and Bridget are and starts pleading and trying to do business with her. He promises her to provide her with a safe passage home, money and a new home but she obviously declines. He then moves on to Jervis. It's interesting to watch really.

"I can get you an apartment son. All could be forgiven. Just stop these lunatics!!" He pleads. Jervis just narrows his eyes at him. "Lunatics? A little harsh, don't you think? I would prefer..visionaries." Yeah,like hell. I think to myself. I just want to get the hell out of this godforsaken place. He then moves on to bargain with Oswald but Oswald refuses, he tells him that he is 100 % with Jerome in this mission. I am stuck in a van full of A-Grade lunatics.

 

"Why is everyone so serious in this van?" Jerome shakes his head and gives an annoyed expression. He continues. "Nobody knows how to have any fun any more. But you see my friend Baghead right there? He has found a way to solve it." He grins and all of us, including the hostages, we shift our gaze uneasily towards Crane.

Jerome walks up to Crane and slides an arm though his neck, he then whispers something into his ears, an evil smirk creeping over his lips as he does that. I bite my lip hard, unconsciously drawing out blood, the metallic taste of blood now lingering in my mouth. That's when Crane starts walking towards me with slow steps.

"What..Jerome?" Panic stricken, I look over at Jerome and he just keeps smiling.

"Don't worry gorgeous. You're gonna love this. And you're gonna feel brand new."

Crane keeps coming closer and closer to me. I see Bridget from the corner of my eye, she looks apologetically at me but doesn't help. I keep backing up until my back presses against the surface of the side of the van. I'm trapped.

From the corner of my eye, I see the silhouette of Jerome walk up to me. My mind is numb, fear coursing through my veins. Instantly, I let my hand fly to my stomach, protectively. Jerome reaches me and drops his gaze to my hand, a faint smile playing on his lips.

"Oh don't worry. You'll be fine. We're not killing ya. Just..embrace it." He throws his head back and starts cackling maniacally. I feel him grab my arms and pull me towards him, then he twists me around,locking my hands behind me and walks with me to where Crane is standing. He is quick to tie my hands over my head and lock them just like the other hostages.

"JEROME PLEASE STOP. DON'T DO ANYTHING IRRATIONAL PLEASE . STOP!!" I cry and plead as he finally steps away after locking me there. He leans across my ear and whispers, his voice shrill and creepy. "Irrational is my second name. I thought you would know that by now Hahahahahahahaha.."

Just then, Crane sprays me with a purple looking gas. My eyes bob out and I yell as the bitterness courses through me. I can feel the gas mix with my blood, making my entire body itch and convulse. I yell as the pains becomes uncontrollable. Then, the pain just stops. I feel my skin almost melt, my cheeks drooping slightly and my mouth convulsing into a deadly laughter and I throw my head back and start laughing, uncontrollably, my mouth opening eerily wider than it usually does, making my face appear like rubber.

Chapter Text

Jerome walks up to me and yanks my arms free from the chains.

"OH MAYOR YOUR FACE IS SO FUNNY OH MY GOD I CANT STOP LAUGHING." I curl my palm into a fist and bang it hard against the metallic surface of the van. The hostages are now looking at me with a scared expression.

Instantly, I wrap my arms around Jerome's neck and he pulls me close. "Oh you're so beautiful like this. "He grins lopsidedly and nuzzles his nose into my pale white skin. "Wanna see? HEY BAGGY, PASS ME THE MIRROR WILL YA?" Crane tosses Jerome a small face mirror which he catches midair. He then places the mirror just in front of me and I instinctively gasp, the corners of my now red lips curving into a delicious smirk. "Gorgeous." I whisper to myself as I take in my appearance. My once raven black hair have turned almost a pale shade of golden white. My olive coloured skin is pale as snow and my lips a natural shade of ruby red.

"You look like my kind of woman now." He smirks and wraps an arm over my waist, pulling me close to him.

"Oh Jerome. Could you make Jeremiah like me too?"I purr, biting my ruby red lip hard as seductively as I can. "All in good time." He whispers just as seductively back in my ear. "And that time will come sooner than expected." He then does the unexpected. He leans closer to my face and presses his scarred lips against mine,kissing me hungrily. What is even more unexpected is that I find myself kissing him back. His lips are soft like jelly, even more so due to the way his skin has become accumulated and saggy due to his scars.

I slide out of his embrace and throw my arms in the air dramatically and take a bow, pretending to be on stage. We are interrupted when Bridget announces that we are at Paisley Square. I poke my head through a tiny window and glance at the massive stage set in front of us.

"YAY! A CONCERT. CAN I SING TOO?" I start jumping up and down with enthusiasm.

"I'm sorry doll but I have some other task for you." Jerome coos , smiling as he sees my excited form. "Oh fish. I'm sure it's not as fun as that ." I look down, frowning. "It involves theatre and acting. You would love it, dove." I nod, smiling wide.

***

It's half an hour since Jerome and the other guys are already out and having their bit of fun. I can hear the sound of music through my ears. Oswald is here inside the van with me. He is painting my face with an olive coloured nude skin toner to make me look my older self. "My hair?" I pout, sliding my fingers through my newly turned blonde-white hair. "On it." He nods and I watch him pull out a raven black colour wig from inside a bag. He then fastens the wig to my hair and I glance at the mirror,looking my normal self. From the inside, I am far from being normal. I wonder if the gas affected my baby as well.

I look up at Oswald as the sound of Jerome's voice booms through the microphone outside. "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE ARE THE ARKHAM ASYLUM LUNATICS.. WE CAME HERE TO BLOOOW SOME MINDS." There goes his favourite maniacal cackle.

Just then,the van door is thrown open and Freeze, Crane and Jervis walk in, taking out the hostages one by one. At the end, they come for me. Jervis grabs me by my arm and yanks me outside. I pretend to pull my arm away and try to break free from his clutches as he pushes me down into one of the chairs in the end, fastening what looks like an explosive around my neck. I seriously crave laughing right now but I can't. Strict orders.

Jerome, holding the microphone in his hand, walks up one by one to each of the hostage, patting each of them on their shoulders as he introduces them.

"Please give a round of applause for Mayor Pritchard here, moving on to Commissioner Reynolds, oh and Archbishop McGregor, not to forget Mrs. Haverstock, she is the chairperson of the Gotham Moral authority society, if that is a thing.." He then moves on to me, placing his hand along my shoulder, massaging me. I put on a fearful expression on my face and shrug my shoulders in an act, trying to get his hands off me . "..and last but not the least, my sister in law, Ruby Valeska."

Jerome moves away from me when his sight falls on a scared cameraman. He runs up to him,almost sliding across the floor until he is positioned directly in front of the camera. "Calling Gordon. Calling Captain James Gordon. Don't make me wait Jimbo." As if on queue, our eyes fall on a GCPD car pull up a few yards away from us. Jim Gordon steps out along with Harvey Bullock and a few other GCPD officers. He gets into the crowd,pushing his way through to reach us in the front. Jerome sees him too and his eyes light up. He pushes the mic closer to his face, yelling throatily. "Ladies and Gentlemen, as I live and breathe, James Gordon is in the house!!!!"

"I'm not gonna talk to you until I get up there and check on the well being of the hostages." I hear Jim call. Oh why is he such a goody two shoes, it's so boring. I think to myself. Jerome's mouth curves into a smirk which is soon transported into a laugh. I'm sure he just read my mind. "First of all, Jimbo, you're late. And second of all, we are the ones making the demands, don't you think ?" He grins, holding the microphone tight against his fingers. From the other hand, I see him pull up the trigger that he is holding into the air so that it comes directly into view of Jim.

"What you're doing Jerome is an act of terror. Ask our Mayor what the policy of this city is for negotiating with terrorists." Rawr, I feel the urge to just bite Jim on his face. Just a little. But I control myself. Jerome's eyes meet mine for a quick second before flicking on to Mayor Pritchard on my left. "Terrorists? Frankly I'm offended." He chuckles.

Just then, Jim takes another step closer to the stage and Jerome yells at him. "Stop! That's close enough Gordon. You see, dead man's trigger." He raises up the trigger perched between his fingers and shows it around. "This falls out of my hand for any reason and then bang!" Jim shake his head in disbelief and I just smirk, inwardly, my outer expressions being that of horror.

"Okay Jimbo, I've got one empty chair here in front of me." He points to the chair beside me. "You haven't even asked who its for."

"For your brother, Jeremiah Valeska." Jim replies.

I bite my lip hard at the mention of Jeremiah, his image flashing through my mind. I glare at Jerome but this time, the feeling is from the heart. He cannot hurt Jeremiah. I will not let him hurt my husband. I love him too much.

"You're close Jimbo. Well you see.." Jerome walks up to me and places his hand over my shoulder and I angrily yank myself so that his hands fall off me. " Fiesty one huh? Well I am ready to trade her for Jeremiah. I'm sure Jeremiah will gladly switch places. It's his wife after all. Still you didn't answer. Who's that chair for Jimbo?" Jerome places his hand dramatically over his waist and pretends to watch Jim with interest. "Come on, you're a detective, do some detecting.." He waits for a few seconds but Jim doesn't answer. "No? Okay. I'll tell ya. It's BRUCE WAYNE!"

Jim, however,shakes his head defiantly. "No!" Jerome
is glaring at him now. "NO?""You can take me. I'll sit up there wearing that.." Jim speaks up, bravely only to be met by Jerome's dramatic sigh. "I don't want you, Jim. I want my brother and I want Bruce. NOW!!" I look carefully at Jim. He's thinking, contemplating the next step as he softly coos. "Okay let me get these people to safety, I'll come up there.." "YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME" Jerome's voice is loud and croaky as he yells in frustration.

That's it. You've gotten him mad, Jim. I think to myself, bracing myself for what's going to come next though I am already prepared. Jerome suddenly looks into the camera and taps on of the buttons, the clock echoing as it's pressed into the mic. The explosive placed around Commissioner Reynolds's neck suddenly explodes, bits of blood, gore and other flesh and bone matter flying all around us, most of it splashing on our face and clothes. Luckily, I just get a few drops on myself since I am the farthest.

Jerome just shrugs nonchalantly and purrs into the bloody microphone. "Bring me my brother. Bring me Bruce Wayne. Bring em now."

***

Almost half an hour has passed and Jim still hasn't shown up. Part of me is happy since I don't want Jeremiah to be caught in this mess, the other part, this insanity gnawing at me from the inside, trying to take control of me completely, not so much, it just wants to watch further destruction, death and feed on it.

I glance at Jerome from the corner of my eye, realising that he is also getting impatient. There is no sign of Jim. I see him press a random button and I close my eyes. BOOM! The explosive around Archbishop McGregor's neck explodes and bits and pieces of his flesh and tissue material go flying everywhere. All the hostages are screaming and yelling now due to fear so I also decide to join in, screaming my lungs out.

Ten more minutes pass by and Jim still hasn't come. What's taking so long? My insane side beckons me. I see Jerome walk up to the guitar and lift it in his hands. He starts singing and dancing.

Suddenly he stops singing and a vicious smile erupts on his face. I follow my gaze to where Jerome is looking at and my eyes widen as I see Jim emerge from between the crowd, followed by an African American cute guy I do not know. Then I see him.

Jeremiah is slowly walking towards us, with Bruce following him. Lines of worry and stress are etched to his face, making my heart hurt. My inner demons are clawing inside of me, trying to gain complete consciousness of my mind but the minute my eyes fall on Jeremiah, I instinctively shout at him.

"MIAH? NO. GO BACK. GO BACK."

Chapter Text

My heart is pounding wildly against my chest. I see Jeremiah as he walks up the stage with Bruce.

"Let her go Jerome. I am here." I see Jeremiah grit his teeth and clench his fists, his eyes fixated on me.

"Love is so beautiful. Oh." Jerome fake sniffles and pretends to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. I feel him walk up to me and take off the explosives from my neck. "Jerome please..." My good side whispers softly. "Don't hurt him.." He shrugs almost invisibly and takes off my binds, tossing me towards Jeremiah.

"Now you both. No funny business. I need you here in this chair." He points towards Jeremiah and I shake my head.

I am thrown into Jeremiah's arms. He catches me in his wide arms and I see worry etched in every corner of his face. His hands fly to my face as he cups my face in his hands. "Are you okay? Did he hurt you?" My breathing hitches and I feel tears cloud my eyes as I nod. "Miah.. I'm alright..Please don't go there. Please .." He shakes his head softly and grabs my palm, taking me towards Jim. Alarmed, I yank at his arm,trying to pull out from his hold. "MIAH NO. IM NOT GOING ANYWHERE. IM NOT LEAVING YOU HERE. PLEASE ." I hear him sigh inaudibly and he stops walking,looking down at the floor. He looks at me and slowly places his hand on my cheek, stroking the side of my face with my thumb. "Our baby? Is it okay?" I follow his gaze to my stomach and then back up,nodding. "Yes, J. Our baby is fine. Please come back to me.." I whisper softly. "I will be back." He calls back, before turning around and making his way to the stage.

Jim walks up to me and places his hand gently over my back,guiding me towards a corner. I shake my head and turn back. "I'm not going anywhere detective. I wanna stay.." He sighs and bites his lip, glancing at Jeremiah as he has finally taken his seat next to Bruce and has put on the explosive around his neck.

 

"Harv, take her to the car please."

"I TOLD YOU I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE. DONT ANY OF YOU DARE LAY A FREAKING FINGER ON ME.." I yell, my chest heaving up and down due to my intense breathing. Harvey raises his hands in the air as if admitting defeat and surrender. Me and Harvey are interrupted by the sound of a few gun shots going off. Haphazardly,we turn around and realize that the GCPD SWAT guys have been shot by Jerome's men. I flick a glance at Jeremiah and I can see that he is worried.

"I had my guys take up the best vantage points last night. So they've been watching your little SWAT team all day.." I hear Jerome explain. He then walks back to the microphone and starts his little speech.

"All parents have got their favourites. The ones who cleans their rooms, do all their homework, doesn't try to kill anybody. Little Mr. Perfect here, yeah!" He points his finger towards Jeremiah and smiles wide. "He was that guy. He got adopted by the rich folks. Went to top college. Got himself a really hot wife." He shoots a glance at me. "Meanwhile, I got dragged through the circus by my depressed alcoholic mother, forced to clean up elephant dung everyday. Do you know how huge those things are, huh folks? But I know something that mommy and daddy never knew. You're as crazy as I am. It's in your DNA. We being twins and all. We got the same blood running through our veins. We are identical. You are a killer. Stop trying to fight it." With that, Jerome cuts off Jeremiah's binds with a knife and thrusts the knife into his hand. "Take your best shot."

I keep looking nervously. Jeremiah has raised his knife held hand and is running in Jerome's direction to stab him. Jerome, however, punches him on the face and he falls down, resulting in a scream from me.

"MIAH!!!" Jerome glances at me and smirks in amusement, suddenly bringing his foot to Jeremiah's rib and kicking him hard, again and again while laughing in amusement.  Anger surges through my veins like never before. I look around and my eyes fall on Harvey's gun held securely in the holster in his waist. With one swift motion, I find myself sliding smoothly over the ground just to grab Harvey's gun from his holster, shocking him to the core. I hear him yell behind me but that's it , I have had enough bullshit for today. Once again, I curl my fingers tighter against the gun and place my finger on the trigger, shooting the gun, hitting Jerome right on his shoulder. He raises his eyebrows, shocked, immediately placing his fingers to his wound and looking at his blood caked fingers, as his shoulder starts turning red with the blood soaking the fabric around it.

 

"Not cool..Ruby.." He staggers,his face almost contorting in pain.

He then looks at the Mayor and smiles, instantly pressing the trigger in his hand. The trigger , however, doesn't work and nothing happens.

Frowning, Jerome turns around and starts scampering away from the stage. Pushing through the now wild going crowd, tugging and tossing various people away, I tread my way through the crowd,my eyes plastered to Jerome's back as I keep following him. I see him disappear into an old looking building. I follow.

The stairs are old and creaky. I have to be very careful in my condition with every step I take, afraid that the old stairs will crash. I can hear Jerome a floor above me as he is groaning in pain and climbing the stairs as fast as he can with a bleeding shoulder.

After almost five floored flight of stairs later, I step out into the roof and am immediately greeting by Jerome's shilhoette standing by the other side of the roof,almost near the railing. Weakly, I walk up to him, my hand still clutching the gun in my hand. "Why'd you..shoot me gorgeous ?" He turns his head to one side, glancing at me from the corner of his eyes. "I liberated you... Freed you...from your shackles of sanity ...and you shot me."

"WHY'D YOU HURT HIM JEROME?  HE MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. WHY DID YOU HURT HIM?"

He then turns fully into my direction and I see that his left shoulder is limping and the fabric is red with his blood caked on it.

"Why does everybody care for Jeremiah? Does Jerome not exist?" He shivers weakly, which I attribute to his blood loss. Cautiously, I slide my gun down on the floor and raise my hands in the air. "Jerome.." I take a step closer to him but he doesn't move. In four more steps,I'm standing directly in front of him. "I'm sorry, Jerome.. but I can't see anyone hurt him.." "No.." He shakes his head and continues. "Maybe Jeremiah is right. I've got bad blood. That's why no one ever loved me. My mother loved him. Uncle Zach loved him. You loved him. Nobody loves poor crazy Jerome."

"You're wrong Jerome.. you just didnt give any of us a chance to love you.. I wish you had." I close my eyes for a second. I can't help but feel sad.

A tear escapes my eye and Jerome shoots his finger out catching the tear on his gloved index finger. "Oh gorgeous. Don't waste these tears on me. My time is numbered now. Maybe if I had been discreet enough, we could have been something, probably together or something. I can only hope and imagine how it would have been, if you were mine. We'd be like the Bonnie and Clyde Gotham never got to see. But anyway, I'm not worth it. Go! Shoo! Broski must be waiting."

I grab Jerome's uninjured hand. "SHUT UP JEROME. YOU CANT GIVE UP YET. "

"Ah, I can see that you're still fighting it Ruby. Don't fight the gas, gorgeous. Embrace it. Let it take over you completely. It's going to, anyway. You'll see.."

Just then I feel Jerome place both his hands weakly over my cheeks. Tears are falling freely out my eyes now. Probably he wants to kiss me. However, he doesn't. The moment is purer than I ever imagined it could be.

"I'll end what you started Jerome. Don't worry." I let my lips curl into a forceful smirk, tears still brimming down my cheek. He nods and smiles, coughing slightly. "That's why I chose you.Youre a strong woman. A dangerous one even. You can carry on my legacy. Listen now. Take this.." He slides his hand into his pocket and pulls out something wrapped in a white handkerchief.  "A little gift for my lovely brother." I nod and slide it into my pocket.

"Now smile. Because nothing.. is more contagious than laughter." He steps away from me, his face turned towards me as he takes a few steps closer to the ledge. Just then, I look up into the sky and notice a blimp approaching Paisley Square.

"HANDS UP!"

I turn around and watch as Jim runs into the roof, his gun pointed towards Jerome. He then looks at me and whispers. "You just stole an officer's gun and shot a man. That's a crime, Mrs. Valeska. But I'm gonna let you go. I know your intentions were your husband's safety. Now go." He then moves away from me and runs towards Jerome. I just press myself against the wall of the roof and watch.

I keep watching as Jerome takes out his phone only to be shot in the arm by Jim. I close my eyes, wincing slightly. I have barely opened my eyes when Jim fires another bullet which pierces Jerome right in his stomach, and the impact throws him over the ledge.

"NOOOO!" Instinctively, I call out,my arm thrown towards Jerome as I run towards the ledge. Jim grabs me just at the right time by my waist. "What the hell you doing Ruby?"

"Listen Jim. I know he's a psychopath, he is deranged even. But I saw that side of him just a few minutes back which makes him human. Which makes him curable.. Please save him. He is after all , my family. He is my brother in law. Please Jim."

Jim nods and we both make our way to ledge, only to be met by a dangling Jerome. "Quite the dilemma, Jim. You gonna let me fall and die ? Or you gonna pull me up and arrest me ? What's it gonna be? Lawman or murderer?" Jim angrily spits to his side and throws his arm towards Jerome. "Shut up and take the damn hand Jerome Valeska.." I hiss. "AHH, good ol' Gordon ,always playing by the rules. That's why I'll outlive you. That's why I am loved..." His eyes fall on me and I look away, instantly. "Cause I don't give a damn about these rules."

"Jerome shut your damn mouth and take Jim's hand." I yell at him but he just laughs at me, shaking his head. "It's a long way down, you sure you'll outlive me?" Jim asks,trying to be sassy, earning a scornful gaze from me.

"Oh I'm sure. I'm more than a man. I'm an idea, a philosophy. And I will live on in the shadows within Gotham's discontent." He looks at me again but I smile back at him. Yes, he is right. He will live on. Through me. Because I have finally decided to embrace my insanity. And become who Jerome wants me to be.

Jerome suddenly let's go off the rod he was holding. And I see him fall down, down and down. He still has his laugh on his face. I do too now. I'm smiling too, although I can feel my cheeks getting wet by my own salty tears, I'm smiling because that is the moment I finally feel reborn.

I slide into the ground and curl up into a ball, hugging my knees tighter together. I can feel my makeup almost come off but it doesn't matter anymore. Besides ,all the blood and dirt on my face, no one will even notice. Jim walks up to me and sighs. I think I heard him say sorry. I don't care. I feel Jim wrap his coat around my shoulders. I let him. I feel numb, but liberated at the same time. It's like something just slipped into me. Jerome's soul probably? I don't know. Maybe. Probably. Definitely not. But Jerome left a part of him with me in the form of his insanity gas.

Chapter Text

My mind is numb as I feel hands on my back, walking me out of the building. There are sounds of siren and crowds talking loud everywhere. I pull Jim's blazer closer over my arms as I'm starting to feel cold now. Walking with slow and dragged steps, I finally make my way to the car where Jerome crashed. I lift my eyes weakly and place it on Jerome's smiling face. The shit is still smiling I can't believe it. From the corner of my eye, I see Jeremiah walking towards the car. He takes a quick look at his dead brother and I can see a kind of pain in his eyes that he cannot show openly or accept. His eyes then fall on me and his expressions change. I see him running up to me and I pull out of Jim's hold and run towards him, meeting him halfway.

Jeremiah places his hands protectively over my waist for a second as he checks me top to bottom for any injuries. He then pulls me into a warm hug that I desperately need right now. I snuggle into his embrace, burying my face into the crisp fabric of his overcoat. I let myself sob softly. He doesn't say anything, he just lovingly strokes his palm over the low of my back , running circles with his finger over the fabric of my clothes to soothe me. I pull back hesitantly, his arm still wrapped around my waist.

"I tried to save him Miah.." I whisper. He just shakes his head. "He was beyond saving , Ruby. We both know that." NO. HE WASN'T. HE WAS A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES. HE WASNT UNSAVEABLE. My inner demon is clawing at me. I would have said more to him that instance but we are distracted by Bruce's voice.

 

Bruce walks up to us and he smiles weakly towards me for a second before opening his mouth. "Mr. Valeska. I meant what I said earlier. Please let Wayne Enterprises fund your work with a grant." Work talks. I roll my eyes inwardly and glance at Jeremiah who just nods weakly. "Thank you.." is all he is able to say.

Jeremiah is quiet during the car ride back home. I don't bother him given the situation he has gone through. Once we reach the bunker, Jeremiah steps out first and waits for me to get out. I slide myself out of the passenger side of the car and walk up to him, giving him a sad smile. He nods and we walk back into our home.

"I need to be alone.." Jeremiah whispers softly and I nod. He sure does. So do I.

"I'll be in the bedroom." I bite the insides of my cheeks and watch Jeremiah step into his study and close the study door behind him. I tread my way to the bedroom lazily and lock the door behind me. I then slide my hand into my pocket and pull out the white handkerchief that
Jerome had given me just before dying. I pull out the tiny bottle and a small voice recording chip and curl my fingers around the bottle. Insanity Gas. Off course he wants Jeremiah to embrace the insanity he was born with. They share a DNA after all.

I place the tiny bottle back in the white handkerchief and place it securely in a drawer in the closet. I then make my way into the bathroom and turn the wash basin faucet on, splashing cool water all over my face. All the dried blood and make up comes sliding off my face, revealing my new appearance. I step away from the wash basin and strip until I have nothing on. I then trudge my way to the full body mirror and stand in front it, eyeing my deathly pale skin tone and my blonde white hair. I look like a clown straight out of horror movies. My eyes fall on my slightly swollen stomach. I let my palm slide over it, cupping my bump protectively. I might be insane but I am still a mother and I would do anything for my baby. I would even wipe out the entire city if I have to.

"That's it!!" I jerk my head back. My lips curve into a sadistic smile and my eyes are shining bright. "My baby cannot live in such a shitty town. Definitely. What kind of a mother am I if I let my baby be born in a Gotham such as this?" I throw my head back and start laughing maniacally only to stop laughing when Jeremiah pounds on the bathroom door. "HONEY YOU OKAY?BABY OPEN THE DOOR."

"Miah, I'm fine. Don't worry about me." I call back. Great, he will definitely see the new me without make up. Quickly, I pull out my bath robe and wrap it around my body. I take a towel and wrap my blonde white hair in it.

"Miah? Would you please dim the lights? My migraine won't stop bugging me.." I place myself against the bathroom door from the inside and yell. I hear him yell an okay and he probably flicks the lights off.

I unlock the bathroom door and step out into the dimly light room. Jeremiah is lounged on the bed , staring at the ceiling. He flicks a glance at me but due to the dim lights of the room, he doesn't notice the physical changes of my skin. I walk up to the closet and grab a loose fitting t-shirt and a pair of underwear, sliding into them. I then pull out the white handkerchief from the drawer and curl it tighter in my palms. I then slide my rubber slippers on and make my way towards the door.

"Gonna fix myself a sandwich. Want some?"

"Yep. Thank you." I hear him say.

"Alright. Lighten up baby." He looks at me and smiles sadly, nodding.

I walk down the hallway towards the kitchen but step into the study, locking it behind me. With quick movements, I pull out an old Jack in a box toy stuffed away in one of the junk drawers of the study. I quickly clean the dust on it and attach the insanity gas bottle and the voice recording chip inside, closing it shut behind me. The minute someone will open the box,he will be sprayed by the insanity gas. I then move on to the gift wrapping of the box, neatly packing it in a glittery golden coloured wrapping paper and a nice silk ribbon on it. Now I just have to wait for Jeremiah to open the present.

***

Almost 45 minutes later, Jeremiah steps out of the bedroom. He must be thinking why I am taking so much time to make a simple sandwich which doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes. I can hear the sound of him dragging his feet lazily in the corridor as he calls out to me. "Ruby? Where are you?" I hear the sound of his feet get farther away which I assume he went to the kitchen to check on me. Then the sound of his feet is back,getting closer and closer until I hear the sound of him pressing the numbers on the keypad outside.

I slide myself into his chair on the desk and place my feet above me on the desk when the door suddenly swings open.

"Ruby?" He walks in, dazed, confused as he takes in the sight of me.

"You're pale as death. Are you feeling okay? Are you not well?" He places his palm on my forehead, squinting, checking if I have a fever. I just shrug.

"I'm fine, Miah. I've never felt better." I bat my lashes at him, my ruby red lips stretching as I throw him a smile.

"What's with the makeup?" He raises an eyebrow at me, suspiciously.

"Can I ask you a question, honey?" I glance at him and he nods nervously, still eyeing me with suspicion. "Do you really want to bring our child into the world with this mad city outside? Huh?" I step up from the chair, my palm pressed against my tiny bump.

"What you talking about? Ruby, you're freaking me out."

"Miah. Look at Gotham. Look at what it's become. It's stinking of filth and all sorts of crimes. The rich just think about the rich and the poor just keep getting poorer. Gotham is becoming an ugly nightmare."

Jeremiah takes a step away from me as if he has seen a ghost.

"What happened when you were with Jerome? WHAT DID HE DO TO YOU??"

Instinctively, I lower my eyes and my expressions change to innocence. I look around me and slide onto the floor, rocking my body forward and back. Jeremiah instantly leans over me, sliding into the floor beside me. I feel his warm hand take my palm in his and his worry etched voice slide through my ears.
"You're worrying me, Ruby... You're scaring me."

"Miah, I am sorry. I just ..I'm still shaken up by everything. I'm fine, really. I just have a flu or something. And a really bad migraine."

"What's with all the makeup?" He raises an eyebrow.

"Just something Jerome did.. he just body painted me...it's long lasting paint probably. Couldn't get it off me.." I sigh, looking down at my hands.

"That son of a bitch..." I hear him mutter under his breath.

"Miah. Leave all that. I know you're upset. I just thought a little something would brighten up your day.." I scamper to my feet and rush towards the present kept on the table,lifting it up in my hands as I walk back to him. He looks surprised as he pushes himself up from the floor.

"You got me a gift?" He smiles softly and I nod.

I throw out my hands holding the present between my plans towards him and he gladly accepts. He takes off the ribbon and starts tearing the gift wrapping paper. I can't help but smile wide in anticipation. A few more minutes, then Jeremiah will be just like me. Me and my love will rule over Gotham.

He pulls out the Jack in a box and eyes me curiously.
"Why'd you get me this huh?" "Go on. Open it baby. You'll love what's inside the box." I smile softly and coax him to open the box. My plan is working. I see him place his hands on the lid of the box and slowly unlatch it. A Joker springs up from the inside. "What the fuck?" He looks up at me, annoyed. Just then, a purple gas shoots out from the mouth of the Joker and sprays on Jeremiah's face. He immediately drops the box, coughing wildly. "WHAT...DID..YOU..DO..TO...ME?"

"I freed you Miah.. I showed you the path to liberation. Just like Jerome did to me... Oh honey it feels amazing. Jerome was right. We were just tiny cogs in a giant absurd machine. But now, we can be something. We can write ourselves in the history of Gotham, people will remember us, they will fear us and we will leave behind a legacy, just like Jerome did.." I step back away from him gracefully and pull off the towel from my hair,letting my blonde white hair fall freely onto my shoulders. While coughing violently, he looks at my hair and then back at my face,confused. Just then, the chip in the Jack in the box starts playing and I smile when Jerome's throaty voice lingers through my ears.

"Ha ha..Hello brother. Didn't think you could get rid of me so easily, did you ? See, my days were numbered but you..." I watch in amusement and a happy daze as Jeremiah's face contorts into a quick smile and changes back to its normal self. The insanity gas is slowly mixing into his blood. "Oh you can continue on for me. Be my ultimate revenge. So calm yourself, breathe it in . This gas is a special mixture that I made just for you. Something to finally set you free.. " I gasp in delight as Jeremiah's hair change suddenly into pitch black with a greenish hue to it, just like my original hair colour and his skin starts turning a pale white. He places his hands over his head and throws himself back, thrusting and breaking the stuff in the study and his face contorts into the loose , stretchy laugh. "SO BURN IT DOWN BROTHER. BURN IT ALL DOWN."

Jerome then starts addressing me and I smile wide. "Ruby, I knew you had that spark in you ever since I laid my eyes on you. You are the key to bringing my brother into this light. Help him embrace his true identity. Help him show Gotham what being a Valeska really means. Since you too are a Valeska now. Be the Bonnie to Jeremiah's Clyde and burn it down. Burn entire Gotham to a crisp."

Jeremiah falls down on his knees and I cannot see his face anymore. Suddenly, with a jerk in his body, he sits upright and starts laughing distortedly. I cannot contain my laughter anymore. I walk up to him and stand directly in front of him, placing my hand on my stomach, I throw my head back and laugh with him, cackling maniacally.

Chapter Text

I slide into the tightest leather one piece I can get my hands on. With much difficulty, much thanks to my growing bump, I finally pull it up my rounder waist and zip it from the sides. I pick up a hair brush and run it through my frizzy blonde white hair. Jeremiah has locked himself in his study since the past two hours since I have sprayed him with the insanity gas. I slide my feet into my black knee length heeled boots and pull my hair into a high ponytail. 

Just then, I feel Jeremiah step into my bedroom. His skin is ashen and his lips are as ruby coloured as mine. He walks up to me and grabs me by my arm,yanking me roughly and throwing me against the wall. I place both my elbows in front of me, blocking myself from hitting the concrete of the wall. I curve my lips and let out a smirk followed by a vicious snarl. I turn back around and lunge at Jeremiah with all my might. He has more physical strength than me so he easily dodges me and grabs me by my shoulders , giving a smack to my face with the back of his hand. I place my finger over the side of my lip and feel my finger get soaked with my own blood as I have a bleeding gash on my lower lip. Seductively, I slide my bloody finger into my mouth and suck off the blood, my throat erupting into a sadistic laughter. I'm so enjoying this.

He slides his palm into his pocket and I see him retrieve something shiny. Oooo, a knife. I think to myself. "Bring it on baby..." I purr,batting my lashes at him. He lunges at me with the knife in hand and I dodge to my left easily and then to my right.

I curl my lips into a lopsided smirk as I know that somewhere he is deliberately going easy on me. In his sick and twisted way, he still loves me the most. Maybe my thinking is my weakness. He grabs me by my arm and yanks me close to him, our bodies colliding against each other with a thud. He twists my arm behind me and places the knife just below my throat, right over my bird tattoo inked on my cleavage. His ruby lips twist into a wicked smirk as I feel the tip of the knife prick into my skin, drawing out a little blood. I hiss at him like a snake as I feel the knife trail deeper below, slicing into my skin. The knife latches itself to my dress and tear into it as he keeps going down. He stops just directly above my belly and I feel the knife pull out of my skin, leaving me with a stinging and tingling sensation. He then drops the knife into the floor and places both his hands over the tear of my dress, yanking it way so that it tears off completely.

The dress and my torn bra falls down on the ground and I step out of it playfully. Jeremiah is back at me again. He grabs me again with my hair and yank me towards him, blood spurting out of the slight gash on my chest every time I put little pressure on it. His lips latch on to my gash as he starts sucking on it violently, his lips and cheeks staining as it comes in contact with my blood.

I am standing in nothing but my blood stained panties and a trail of blood down from my gash in the valley of my breasts down till my now bloody panties. He smirks in approval and grabs me violently by my arms, pushing me against the bed. With one swift movement of his hands, my panties are off and thrown away.

My eyes roll in pleasure as I feel him slide a digit into my slick entrance, rolling it around and tapping me in the inside. He then pushes out and pushes in the finger again teasingly and I can't help but throw my head backwards, letting out a broken whine of pleasure.

"SAY WHAT YOU WANT." He hisses angrily towards me. "I WANT YOU." I hiss back.

His fingers are out of my entrance now. He slides his slick coated finger into his mouth and sucks it off. "Mhm that sweet filthy cunt of yours." He growls, the bulge in his pants getting more imminent, making his pants look tighter.

Just then I throw out my leg and kick him hard on his thigh and he staggers backwards due to my surprise attack. I am quick to step up to my feet as I grab him by the collar of his shirt and push him down on the bed. "Sit." I growl at him. He curls his lips into an amused smirk and lowers himself on the bed. I am quick to place my feet on either side of him, bent at my knees which I use to support myself on as I straddle his waist.

"I like this version of you." I coo seductively into his ear and he growls at me hungrily. "Why so angry though?" I smile and bury both my hands into his now blackish hair and yank his head back with a jerk, revealing his neck and his Adam's apple, making me place my lips and my teeth to the side of his neck and sucking on the soft spot just underneath his earlobe. I feel his erection twitch underneath my core making heat pool between my legs and the familiar throbbing pain ignite fire to my loins.

My nails dig into the flesh of his face as I intentionally scratch his cheeks and make three scars on either of his cheek with my nails, blood now oozing out of his deathly white skin. I start swaying my hips, grinding my bare entrance against the mountain in Jeremiah's pants, moaning as his fabric covered erection slides up and down my throbbing core. I watch him bite his lip hard and draw out a little blood, his palms placing themselves on my breasts and squeezing them hard, another trickle of blood oozing out of the gash on my chest.

I lean close enough to Jeremiah's ear as I keep grinding against his hardening member whispering into his ear. "Imagine that the Gotham city is ours. We could mold it and make it the way we want right from the scratch. You and me. Together, baby." He groans in response and I feel his nails dig into my sides, slicing into my bare skin, making me all hot and needy. Fuck.

"OFF." I hop up from him and push myself away. "Pants off, Valeska." I hiss and smile as the sounds of the buckle of his belt. He yanks his pants off and it falls to the floor. He then gets up on his feet and I watch him hungrily as he takes off his shirt until he is standing only in his underpants. "KNEEL. NOW!!" He growls at me and pounces at me, grabbing hold of my hand and yanking me down on my knees roughly. "SUCK!" He commands.

With one swift movement of my hand, his underpants is down and his hard cock springs out like a fountain. I curl my palm around his cock and start pumping it with my hand. "I SAID SUCK." He leans down and entangles his hand into my hair, pulling my face back slightly as he thrusts himself into my mouth roughly, taking me by surprise, making me gag and cough in reflex as his erect cock goes deep into my throat.

I start bobbing my head front and back, taking him and letting him out of my mouth, the salty taste of his precum lingering all over my taste buds making me yearn for more. I quicken my pace as much as I can, moaning and slurping my saliva back with every move. "IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?" He mocks me and without a warning, starts thrusting hard into my mouth, his hand latched to my blonde white hair, fucking my mouth brutally.

His cock is pulsating and throbbing hard against my mouth. Suddenly, he pulls away, holding his cock with his hand. "Up. On the bed. On your fours." He hisses, every word of his coated with lust and anger. "I need that filthy cunt." This time, my inner demon wins. My eyes flashing fury, I step up and grab him by his shoulder, throwing him backwards with such force, he falls down on his back, his face turned towards the ceiling. Before he can get up, I find myself already on top of him, straddling his waist, my legs holding him hostage as I place them on either side of me. Without a warning, I grab his cock and place it right at my entrance, sliding into it with an ease till I feel him completely inside me. His eyes roll back and he lets out an animalistic growl.

Jeremiah moans as I gyrate myself against his cock, feeling it slide in and out of me with every movement of me, my pussy clenching around his cock inside me. "You do not control me." I hiss seductively into his ear and he digs his nails deeper into my waist, our bodies moving together in harmony as I ride him. All of a sudden, I stop my movement and fall completely still,his hard member twitching inside me. His eyes meet mine and he growls in frustration, slapping me hard on my thigh, making me laugh a throaty ,evil laugh. "FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED." He growls again.

"Say what I want to hear." I coo in his ears, my movements slow as I start grinding against his cock again.

"SAY IT." I smack him hard on the face. He looks at me with an anger I've never seen before. "Say it, darling." He grips me by my waist and turns us around, dumping me roughly onto the mattress as he throws my leg over his shoulder. "SAY IT JEREMIAH. I WANT YOU TO SAY IT." He thrusts hard into me , my eyes bobbing out at the feeling of my climax approach. He throws his head back and grunts in satisfaction as he is in control now, pounding into me like an animal.

"I WANT TO BURN DOWN THE CITY.." He pulls out his cock and thrusts it back inside with brutal force. "AND BUILD GOTHAM LIKE I WANT." Another thrust comes my way and I throw my head back, moaning as he rocks my insides with such intensity. "AND I WANT YOU TO BE BY MY SIDE WHEN I DO IT. JEREMIAH VALESKA IS NOTHING WITHOUT HIS QUEEN."

"FUUUUCCCCK DADDY.." I cry out as the pleasure rocks through my core, my pussy throbbing wildly his against his now pulsating core as my orgasm finally hits me, making my toes curl and my body convulse in pleasure. His eyes squint slightly and I can feel his movement get sloppier as he is approaching his own climax. His hot , sticky cum suddenly shoots up my canal and he collapses next to me with a thud, his cock now softening and twitching as it slides out of my now soaked entrance.

I deliberately trail my finger over the gash in my chest and turn my head to glance at Jeremiah. He is facing me and watching me curiously. I watch him from the corner of my eye as he lifts his hand and places his palm over my stomach, stroking it softly. "Our child will rule Gotham one day." I smile softly and place my palm over his, and let out a weak sigh. "I love you, Mistah J."

Chapter Text

I'm standing in between Jeremiah's legs, my back resting against the wash basin sink and Jeremiah is sitting on a stool in front of me, his hands holding my waist. I take a cotton ball and dip some concealer onto it, I then place the cotton ball over Jeremiah's pale skin and start concealing his deathly ashen tone.

"I hate that we have to hide ourselves like this." I shrug, while still doing the skin above his eyebrows. He tightens his grip over my waist and pulls me to him, burying his face into my stomach. "Not for long my dear. Not for long." I can't help but giggle as he makes me feel ticklish as he buries himself into my stomach. "Stop Miah. You're making me ticklish." I grin and push him back, he only groans and grabs me by my waist again, pulling me back into his embrace and placing his face on my stomach. "Is it a boy or a girl?" His voice is low.

"I don't know. Do you want to find out? I thought it would be better a surprise?" I raise an eyebrow, running my hair through his black hair. I lift up the ginger coloured wig from a box and nudge him to sit straight. I then attach the wig to his head,making him look like his earlier self. "I want a son. Someone I can pass my legacy to. He could carry on our work." I can't help but bite the insides of my cheeks as I look at him. "Do you think I am less capable than you are? Huh Jeremiah?" He looks up at me, his eyes piercing mine with a sinister, dangerous glare. "If I didn't love you, I would punish you for even considering yourself that important. You are a strong woman Ruby. But your job is to stay at home, give birth to our kids and raise our children. Oh, and please me in bed. Definitely."

My nostrils flare in anger, I pull back away, scoffing at him and kicking the edge of the washbasin angrily. "No Jeremiah. I'm not all that. I'm an equal. You don't get to treat me like I am your subordinate." "You're my wife. Isn't it your duty to make your husband happy?" He just shrugs nonchalantly and steps away. "I gotta go. Bruce will be here anytime.We need to finalize the generator."

He leaves me standing there by the washbasin, fuming. How dare he? I made him what he is now. It takes me another half an hour to get myself to look like my pre gas self. I then step out of the washroom and slide on a black leather jacket and a comfortable leggings. Humming a soft tune, I make my way into the kitchen only to realize that there's no breakfast, making me miss the old Jeremiah.

I open the fridge grudgingly and pull out some bread and milk. Quickly, I fix myself an ugly looking sandwich and a glass of milk. It's atleast better than dying of hunger. Besides, I have to eat for two. I seat myself on the lonely dining table and finish up my sandwich first, followed by the glass of milk.

Dumping the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, I tread my way into the study, still a little mad at Jeremiah. He glances at me for a quick minute from the corner of his glasses and then fixes his gaze back at the blue print in front of him.

"Have you sent out the invitations for Jerome's followers to take over the GCPD? That should keeps the cops busy while I get some alone time with Bruce." His voice is calm and casual.

"Yep." I reply, not wanting to indulge in a conversation with him. He's being so snobbish I can't even.

"Good girl. I want you to stay here while I.."

My nostrils flare up in anger and I grab a pen case off the desk, thrashing it towards Jeremiah who ducks at the right time. The pen case hits the wall behind him and crashes, all the pens falling out messily on the floor.

"I'M NOT FUCKING STAYING LOCKED UP IN HERE WHILE YOU GO OUT AND HAVE ALL THE FUN JEREMIAH VALESKA."

I see him walking up to me and place his palm to my throat, grabbing me. Before I could even react, he shoves me into the wall.

"I hate this stubbornness in you Ruby. You never listen to me." He is back to his calm self again.

Cocking my head to one side, my back still sore from the hit it took when he threw me to the wall, I step towards him, spitefully throwing every word of mine in his face. "You can't tell me what to do. You cannot control me like your pet Ecco."

"Ah, Ecco. She's too loyal to me. Which reminds me of the task she needs to do. When Jim Gordon shows up at the bunker to save Bruce, Ecco would lock him inside. With the bomb. And then BANG!"

I bite the insides of my cheek and mask the hurt expression on my face a little too late. Jeremiah keeps watching me as I weakly walk to the couch and lower myself on it, burying my face in my palms, tears threatening to spill out of my eyes. I cannot give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I shudder involuntarily when I feel his cold palm on my shoulder.

"Ruby? Aren't you happy? Isn't this what you wanted? You wanted us to destroy Gotham..to burn it down so that our child can be born into an entirely new one.." I pull up my face from my palms only to see Jeremiah crouched in front of me on his knees.

"I want all that Miah.. but I wanted us to take it down together. Now you want me to stay out of it. And watch you wreak havoc on Gotham while I sit at home and do what ?" I can't help but sniffle. I feel him tighten his palms on my knees and I look at him again.

"Ruby.. you don't get it. It's not safe for you to be out there. I just want to protect you. I don't want to lose our baby.." He looks down at my stomach for a second and then back at my face, I swear I saw a little bit of my old Jeremiah in him. "My heir... Fine if you want. You can accompany to the less dangerous tasks. Alright ? Are you happy now? You're such a stubborn one what should I do with you?" I then let my droopy lips curve into a happy smile and I hop onto my feet, flinging myself in Jeremiah's arms. "Oh thank you Miah. I love you." He wraps his arm around my waist and holds me close, his signature fragrance of musk soothing the restlessness inside me. "I love you too darling." He whispers into my ears, almost darkly.

Our thoughts are interrupted as Ecco walks into the study and clears her throat. She informs us that Bruce is here. I smile and nod towards her, motioning for her to bring in Bruce. A few seconds later, Bruce walks in and he instantly smiles wide when he sees me.
"Ruby.. you're glowing. Congratulations." I nod politely and flick a glance at a reddening Jeremiah and fixate my glance back at Bruce. "Thanks Bruce. You're getting taller." He grins and nods and then walks away from me to shake his hand with Jeremiah.

The three of us then walk to the generator placed on the table in the center. I pull off the covers and Jeremiah smiles proudly. Bruce raises his eyebrows in amazement. "Jeremiah, I didn't think you would get the generator ready so quickly." Jeremiah smiles and points his pencil towards Bruce and flicks a glance at me. "You ready for a demonstration?" Bruce nods.

Jeremiah is quick to reach his desk where he dumps the files he was holding and flicks on a regulator. He then points towards me. "Okay, Ruby. You hit that switch there." I nod toward Jeremiah and walk up to the power switch. Jeremiah turns back to Bruce. "Then the facility will be disconnected from the power grid." I grab the lever and flick it downwards and darkness engulfs the bunker. A few seconds later, the generator starts glowing a bright blue and one by one , all the lights of the bunker turn on by itself. I glance at Bruce who is looking on, awestruck.

"It runs on energy..no cables or wires of any kind, it's clean and stable.."I hear Jeremiah say as walks up to me and slinks an arm around my waist, smiling. I add to it. "It's virtually without costs." I watch on as Bruce excitedly walks towards us. "We can power all of Gotham through this?" I nod.

"You kept this project a secret yes?" Jeremiah's tone suddenly changes and so does Bruce's expressions. "No one outside Wayne Enterprises knows about it." I feel Jeremiah let go off my waist and he walks up to Bruce, looking him in the eye. "It's the ones that are closest to you that you need to keep your eye on." I hear him say. "I know better than anyone. Arkham asylum send me Jerome's personal diary.. baby could you get me that ? It's in the first drawer on my desk." I nod, wondering why Jeremiah didn't mention any journal to me, and walk up to a drawer and pull a small journal out, handing it over to Jeremiah.

He grabs the journal and hunches down over his desk, going through the journal's pages one by one. "It's a catalogue of his fantasies and goals. Every twisted visions he ever had.." Bruce looks at me , worry clouding his eyes. "Maybe you shouldn't spend so much time reading it."

Jeremiah bites the insides of his cheeks, obviously ignoring Bruce's requests. "He was obsessed with torturing and murdering me, James Gordon and you.." I see him flick a glance at me. Now this is new to me. Jeremiah never mentioned Jerome's journal before. "..and he mentioned my wife." I look at him questioningly and he just shrugs. I wonder what Jerome wrote about me in his journal. "If he was a little bit sane, he would've destroyed us all..And Gotham would be in ruin." Bruce places his palm over the journal, forbidding Jeremiah from turning the page.

"Your brother is dead Jeremiah. It's time for you to come out of this bunker and join the world." Jeremiah just glances at Bruce blankly.

"Yes.. he's dead...but I still have trouble believing it." Oh he is such a good actor. My star. I think to myself, almost holding in a laugh. Just then, Bruce's mobile rings in his pocket and he informs us that it's Alfred and he turns away. I can't help but let a smirk creep over my lips as I flick a glance at my husband only to realize that he has the same cocky smirk plastered on his face. Our plan is definitely working.

Bruce ends the call and he informs us that Jerome's followers have been creating little trouble. Jeremiah starts acting all scared again. He starts looking around, dazed and afraid. "Oh my god.." He starts taking backwards steps and I run towards him instantly. "He's not dead Bruce. He is alive and is coming after me.." I run to him and hold him in my arms. He looks at me and grabs me protectively, still looking at Bruce.

Chapter Text

"Bruce. I need to tell you something." Jeremiah says.

I freeze in my spot and start playing with the hem of my jacket.

"Before Jerome died, he set up a last final trap for me. He sprayed me with the insanity gas." Bruce looks at Jeremiah in disbelief. He then turns away, turning his back to us.

"I can't stop seeing him, Bruce. Clawing his way out of his grave just for me, I can't seem to get it out of my head. It seems real." Jeremiah nervously looks down and bites his lip, I glance at Bruce and he looks back at me apologetically.

"What if I can show you that he is dead and buried?" Bruce asks. "How?" Jeremiah asks back.

"Jeremiah, Jerome is dead. He is dead. I can show it to you." He glances at me and I nod supportively. "I'm taking you to the cemetery. I want you to see for ourselves that Jerome is dead. He has taken from you your greatest strength , your mind and turned it into a trap. The only way you can get it back is by overcoming this fear." I nod at Bruce and place a hand over Jeremiah's chest, stroking it softly. "Bruce is right Miah.. Jerome's dead baby. You need to get out of this bunker. It's driving you crazy.. Please? Go with Bruce. Can you do that for me?" He looks at me weakly and nods. I continue. "You guys go on without me. I'll join you in a while."

Once Bruce starts walking out of the study, Jeremiah quickly hurries over to me and grabs my arm roughly, pulling me close enough to whisper in my ear. "What are you doing? You know we're going to have to blow up the bunker. Why aren't you coming?" I shrug and yank out of his rough hold over my arm. "Jeremiah, I'll follow you. I just have a little work to do. I'll be there. Don't worry."

"You better be.." He gives me a warning glare and walks out of the study, leaving me there with Jerome's diary.

I lean by the front door and watch as Jeremiah and Bruce drive away. Biting my lip, I make my way inside. I don't have much time before Jim will be here. And Ecco. I quickly make my way into the study and pull out Jerome's journal. I have to find out what Jerome mentioned about me in his diary.

Holding the journal in my hand, I slide down onto the floor next to the study and place the journal on the floor, sitting cross legged. I then start flipping the pages, my expressions changing with each page that I flip. His diary has horrendous images of torture and mentions of names, mostly Jeremiah, Bruce and Jim Gordon.

I turn the page and am immediately greeting by a rough sketch of what looks like my face. Luckily, I don't see any blood on the picture. I turn the page and frown as Jerome has written a lot of paragraphs in an ugly handwriting which is almost undecipherable. I gasp as I read through the paragraphs, with a lot of difficulty. Jerome has mentioned about wanting to wreak havoc in Gotham with me by his side. He mentioned wanting to eliminate Jeremiah and have me to himself, so he could torture me and rape the fuck out of me and keep me as a living trophy.

Angrily , I close the journal and dump it back in its place but then I come back to it, and pull it out again, sliding it into the waist of my leggings. I grab my cell phone and a set of car keys which belongs to Jeremiah's old car that he doesn't use anymore. He calls it outdated. I get into the car and turn the ignition on , pressing on the gas as I pull up on the driveway and start speeding up. I have to reach cemetery as fast as I can. I pull out my phone while parking my car outside the cemetery, dialling a number.

"Yes. What's the status? Did you break in to the GCPD yet? Okay. Good job. Get Jim to the bunker." I smirk as I disconnect the call and step out of the car. I frown as I look down at my feet and then back at the muddy terrain of the cemetery in front of me. Why did I chose to wear freaking heels to a cemetery? I slide out of my heels and lift them up in my hands as I start climbing the muddy terrain. I can already see a few silhouettes standing by Jerome's grave a little distance away.

I decide to slide behind one of the gravestones and watch. I see Jeremiah crouch down next to Jerome's corpse, a gun in his hand and Bruce standing a few feet away from him. Jeremiah suddenly slides his palm into one of Jerome's pockets and pulls out a razor. I gasp inaudibly, letting my lips curve into a smirk. Jeremiah then lunges at Bruce with the razor in his clutches but Bruce manages to dodge the attack. Just then, Jeremiah misses another attack and ends up being grabbed by Bruce, unarming him and holding him by the neck. That's my cue. I chuckle to myself and slide gracefully from one gravestone to another, careful not to be seen by Bruce until I am finally behind Bruce.

"Let him go Bruce." I purr and Bruce immediately freezes as I am now holding a gun to his temple. "You're fickle as a lamb, boy." I throw my head back and laugh. "You're insane too." I hear him mutter slow enough but audible enough for me to hear. I just shrug and nod. "Yeah ya know I was the one to spray the gas on him. Not Jerome. He just gave it to me." Just then, a few of Jerome's followers start walking towards us. I smile and watch them grab Bruce and run up to Jeremiah, immediately kissing him on his lips. "I told ya it'll be better if I come in a little later." He grins and I pull back,making my way to Jerome's corpse and kneeling next to him, watching his lifeless smiling face.

"Long live Jerome! Long live Jerome!" I shoot my glare angrily towards the followers and find my way back to them, my nose flaring in fury. "Jerome is victorious at last." A man standing next to me says. I glance at Jeremiah in frustration and mouth him "Finish this jackass" inaudibly. Jeremiah's grin vanishes as he places his revolver under this man's chin and shoots him without any hesitation. Blood and other matter splatters all over us, our faces and our clothes. Jerome's followers have stopped laughing and are all quietly looking at us both.

I curl my blood caked lips into an evil smirk and slide my arms through Jeremiah's waist, placing my chin lazily over his shoulder from behind. His eye twitches slightly as blood trails down the right side of his face. He glances at me and quizzically raises an eyebrow, questioning me. "Jerome victorious. Are they serious?" I nod and roll my eyes, throwing my glare towards Jerome's followers, hissing through gritted teeth, "Jerome is dead. Aren't you all paying attention?"

Suddenly, Jeremiah's hand flies to his face and he fixates his fingers on his bloody glasses, taking them off. I smile and slide my hand into his pocket, pulling out a white handkerchief and wiping the right side of his face, letting the make up peel off and his extremely pale skin become visible. Giving me a small smile, he pulls away and walks up to Jerome's corpse, looking down at him. "I am victorious. Me and Ruby." He flicks a glance towards me.

"Look Bruce. Like everything Jerome set his mind to, the insanity gas failed." I raise an eyebrow as he says that. Really? Did it now? He continues. "Other than some mild cosmetic effects, he might as well have sprayed me with water." Unable to control my giggle, I end up chuckling and Jeremiah gives me a warning glare, making me shut up as he continues. "You all need to see Jerome for the utter dud he was, so I donned the mask of madness to show you how feeble that is compared to actual greatness. Behold, the true face of sanity." He says , motioning to his face with his hand.

"Oh. Too bad I did not bring Jerome's journal with me." He frowns and squints his eyes to one side. My eyes brighten up as I am reminded that I did bring Jerome's journal with me. I quickly slide my hand into the waistband of my leggings and pull out the journal. "I did, though." His smile brightens up as he takes the journal from me and pulls it open,flicking through the pages. "Jerome wanted to turn Gotham into a madhouse. But to truly build something , you must tear down what's actually there. A little something my beautiful wife taught me." He smiles at me.

Bruce suddenly speaks up, good because I really thought that cat got his tongue. "Jeremiah, the gas worked. Think about it. You want to carry out Jerome's crazy plan sanely? What could be madder than that?"

"Madder? Let's see." Jeremiah keeps flicking through the journal's pages. "Ah. Here. For example. Jerome wanted to slather you in honey and have you eaten alive by corpse beetles. Me? I'd I want to kill you , I'd just shoot you in the head. Simply and sanely."

"Look at this woman.." I raise an eyebrow when Bruce points his finger towards me. "Can't you see how she manipulated you? How she turned you into a monster?" Jeremiah opens his mouth to reply but I have already gathered everyone's attention by clapping my hands. "Guys, 3...2..1.. BOOM!" A wide smile creeps over my face as a loud noise erupts into the air, birds flying around the sky wildly.

"That's one down. Jim Gordon is dead." Jeremiah smiles, throwing out his hand towards me. I place my palm in his and he pulls me to him, our faces inches apart from each other as we eye each other adoringly.

***

A few mornings later, I flutter my eyes open and unintentionally lay my arm over the right side of the bed to feel for my husband but he isn't there. Groaning, I sit up in bed and rub my eyes. I grab the alarm clock and check the time, frowning as it's already 12 pm at noon. I definitely overslept. Just then, I hear someone punch the keypad to our bedroom from the outside and the door slides open, revealing an already dressed Jeremiah. He is dressed in a funny looking overcoat and a hat on his head. Still makes him look charming though.

"Morning my love." His tone is low and casual as he strolls inside and fixates himself just in front of me. "I got you some early lunch in bed. I thought my son must be starving." I roll my eyes as I slide my feet out of the bed and lift myself up on my feet and watch as one of Jerome's, now our follower scoots in with a covered tray of food and places it on the table in our room. He then glances at Jeremiah and Jeremiah casually motions him to leave. "That will be all."

"Thank you Jeremiah.. your son..is grateful.. he is really hungry." I can't help but roll my eyes dramatically. "So is his mother." Jeremiah chuckles and steps closer to me, placing his gloved palm on my now visible baby bump and stroking it softly. "So what did I miss while I was asleep?" I raise an eyebrow as I slide a robe over my body and fasten it around my waist, making my way to the table and taking off the cover from the tray. "Buffalo Wings ?" I raise my eyes and he nods. I squint my eyes and immediately place my palm to my nose, gagging slightly as the smell of the food is too much to take in. I used to love this dish before my pregnancy but now I just can't seem to stand the smell of it.

Instantly, I find myself running over to the bathroom and hunching over the toilet seat, wrenching out the insides of my last night's dinner. Jeremiah's cold fingers find my back as he grabs my hair from behind and pulls them away from my face,his other hand stroking my lower back trying to soothe me. "My son definitely doesn't like Buffalo Wings. What would you like to have? I'll have those removed." He shrugs casually. "Just some fruit please." I groan weakly as I lift myself up and grab a tissue,wiping my mouth with it.

Jeremiah slinks an arm over my waist holding the side of my hip as he walks out with me from the bathroom. "You didn't tell me. What did I miss?" I raise an eyebrow curiously. He lets go off my waist and I slide down on the side of my bed watching him intently. "Me and Ecco, we sneaked in to the Wayne Enterprises last night after you had gone to sleep. We got hold of all the generators lying there." I almost yell at him for not taking me with them but I don't, Jeremiah has been obsessing lately with having an heir, and he would not let me do anything which endangers me or our baby in any way. Probably Jeremiah notices my frustrated expression. What he says next makes me little excited.

"Get ready. We're going to pay a visit to the GCPD." He smiles, his ruby lips stretching up to his dimple. He then slides an arm around my waist, pulling me closer to him and places his lips on mine, pecking on them softly, nibbling on the lower lip for a bit. I smile into the peck but feel immediately disappointed as the kiss doesn't last long.

***

A few hours later, having changed and gotten dressed in a long coffee coloured overcoat with matching black slacks and black stilettos, me and Jeremiah find ourselves walking towards the GCPD precinct, our followers following us in a neatly formed row with their guns in hand. A few of the cops notice us coming towards them and they yell at us to drop our weapons. I step in front of Jeremiah and all of our followers stop on our steps. I place my left hand on my hip an point towards one of the guards with my other finger. "Bring me Detective Harvey Bullock. Tell him an old friend wants to meet him. Also tell him,she wants to give his wallet back." Jeremiah places a hand on my lower back and I glance at him,I can see that he is grinning, making me grin as well. "Love your sense of humour, darling." He whispers. We watch him scamper away into the precinct.

A few minutes later, he emerges again with Harvey in tow. Harvey is glaring angrily towards me and Jeremiah. "What the hell?" Harvey looks from me to Jeremiah, frowning in confusion.

"You might not recognize Jerome's followers as I've given them a makeover." Jeremiah breaks his silence, getting a snort out of Harvey's mouth. Oh the sassy ass. Jeremiah continues speaking and I just fix my sunglasses neatly over my face, shading my eyes. "But I assure you, they're as loyal to me as they ever were to him." He says. I chime in suddenly, Harvey turning his head away from Jeremiah and plastering his gaze on me. "Even more so now cause ya know we accomplished something his brother never could: killing James Gordon." I throw back my head and let out a small laugh, only to straighten up again when our followers start chanting "Jeremiah! Jeremiah! Ruby! Ruby! " making Harvey pull out his gun.

"Liar! You two are fucking liars!" Harvey points his shivering finger towards me and then Jeremiah. "What made you so cynical and twisted as fuck?" He points towards me. "Oh wait. Jerome Valeska happened." He says dryly and I just shrug nonchalantly.

Harvey suddenly steps towards us and Jeremiah grabs me by my arm, yanking me behind him. His protectiveness is so erotic, I can't stop thinking about the things I want to do to him in bed. Plus, the iconic hat just makes him look ten times sexier. "Not so fast." Jeremiah warns Harvey holding up a detonator in his hand. "I have planted bombs all around the city, just like the one that killed James Gordon. If I hit this detonator, Gotham will be blown back to the Stone Age." Jeremiah's lips curve into a tiny smirk as he says that. "Like Tabula Rasa. My blank slate to work on." I chuckle and peep from behind Jeremiah.

"And if I pull this trigger, your brains will be blown out through the back of your skull!" Harvey barks angrily. "Let's see you come back to life for the second time after I shoot your head off." He points deliberately towards me and I growl in an almost animalistic way at him. "You would have been so funny had you not been standing in the victim's shoes right now. You should not be the one to make any threat while my hubby is holding that detonator right under your nose." I smile, batting my lashes at him which he cannot see due to my dark sunglasses.

"She's right." Jeremiah smiles. "Dead man's switch. You're familiar. It's another little something I took from my brother, except mine is a bit more advanced. You shoot me, my hand loosens and then boom, boom , boom. You touch her, I deliberately let go off the switch and then again boom, boom, boom." I smile proudly and step closer to Jeremiah, his back brushing against my side as I take in his signature musk fragrance.

"Now you will do what we say." I coo casually, looking down at my manicured nails.

"You both are sicker than your brother." Harvey almost spits at us.

Jeremiah glances at me and then chuckles. "Oh please. Don't compare me to that short sighted psychopath. He just wanted to destroy things. Me? I'm a builder." I feel Jeremiah take my hand and curl his fingers tighter against mine. "We're gonna create a new Gotham in our image. Something I want to gift my son when he is born. But every artist needs a blank canvas, like my beautiful wife just said, Tabula Rasa, so all of this has to go."

Harvey rolls his eyes dramatically and mutters, "I really hope you two don't ever reproduce. I don't want any more Valeskas running around Gotham." Jeremiah smiles and clears his throat, placing a gloved hand over my belly. "You wished that too late. We've already got a bun in the oven. Anyway, we detonate the explosives in six hours. We want the city empty when we do."

I glare at Jeremiah angrily. "What are you doing?" I hiss. He takes off his glasses and shakes his head. "Can we take this back home my dear? I'm in a middle of a discussion here."

"Jeremiah. We are not giving them any time to evacuate! I wanna watch them all get crushed like bugs Miah! Don't you get it?" I huff angrily and glare at my husband. He just shakes his head. "That won't make me any better than my twisted psychopath of a brother now, would it?"

"YOU NEED US TO EVACUATE GOTHAM IN SIX HOURS?! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE" Harvey yells.

"Then everyone who dies screaming, who watches their loved ones crushed before them will have you to thank for, Detective Bullock. Maybe your dream will get fulfilled, my dear." Jeremiah places his hand to the side of my cheek and strokes it.

"Look, nobody has to die.." Jeremiah slides his hand into the pocket of his overcoat and pulls out another detonator. Harvey looks on like a confused dud. "Well, except for these people. I know seeing is believing. And I do want you to believe us. So.."

No more warning is given. I cannot contain my glee as Jeremiah flicks the other detonator that he just pulled out. A loud explosion occurs over the other side of the street , the clock tower building collapsing to the ground and ashes and dust erupting from it.

"OH MY GOD !" Harvey cries out in horror.

"Six hours, detective." I feel Jeremiah tighten his grip on my hand and I blow a kiss towards Harvey. We then turn around and start walking away.

Chapter Text

Jeremiah is unusually quiet as we walk down the dimly lit street, his hand holding mine tightly.

"Now that the bunker is destroyed, where are we going to stay?" I raise an eyebrow, haven't having thought about this before. "There's a backup bunker, don't worry..." Jeremiah says calmly. Ever since he has been sprayed with the gas, he is a man of even lesser words and more actions than before.

Soon, we're standing at the entrance of what looks like an abandoned church. Jeremiah keeps holding my hand as we go inside the building. "Why do we have the bazookas?" I raise an eyebrow curiously as I see a few of our followers holding bazookas in their hands. "Just a back up plan B in case we ever need it." Jeremiah replies back. We turn around a corner and walk down a narrow set of staircase towards the back entrance of the church. Jeremiah then informs me about how he will be using Alfred to lure Bruce to us. He then pulls out Alfred's phone and I watch him as he speaks to Bruce, coaxing him to come and save his manservant Alfred if he can. It's not the real Alfred, obviously, he would just be using Scarecrow's fear toxin on him, trying to drive him insane.

We are busy in our talks as we enter one of the rooms, only to quieten and glance in surprise in front of us. Oswald, Barbara Kean, Tabitha and Butch Gilzean are standing in front of us with a few other unknown women along with a man holding our core relay in his hand , a grenade taped to his mouth. My nostrils flare in anger but Jeremiah grabs me by my arm, yanking me behind him. "Oswald Cobblepot. Barbara Kean? In my stronghold." Jeremiah says calmly. How can he be so calm all the time? It's annoying the fuck out of me. Jeremiah and me, we slowly take a few steps towards them only to earn a protest from Oswald. "Not one step closer."

Jeremiah's gaze falls on the helpless man holding our core relay in his hand, shivering due to fear.

"Is that my dear Jongleur with my core relay in his hand and a grenade taped to his mouth?" It seems that he has been extremely tortured. His fingers are bloody as if nails have been pulled out. Probably to get our location out of him.
"Indeed, it is." Oswald nods with a sheepish smirk on his face.

Jeremiah slides his hand to his hat and takes it off,handing it over to me. He glances at me and whispers, "It seems they have the upper hand." Jeremiah walks to a corner in the room and grabs two chairs in either of his hand. He then places the chairs in the center of the room and motions for me to sit down on the one a little to the back. I comply and lower myself onto the chair, Jeremiah doing the same for his chair.

"What are your demands?" Jeremiah asks calmly. I point my finger towards the jongleur guy and motion for him to walk up to us and stand beside us. Limping all the way, he manages to reach and stand quietly by my side.

"Fifty million dollars." Oswald smirks.

He is such a jerk. Fifty million freaking dollars? Is he out of his mind?

Jeremiah speaks up emotionlessly, pulling me out of my daze. "I don't quite have that on me right now."

"You gave the Mayor six hours to evacuate Gotham. An impossible task. Let him buy another hour. He will save thousands of lives. Fifty million will seem cheap." Oswald mutters matter of factly.

"I see. I play the villain. You get away scratch free and rich. You get your money and you hand me my core relay." Jeremiah says calmly.

"That is usually how a standoff works. Yeah." I see Barbara roll her eyes as she sassily answers.

Blondie bitch. I am quick to stand up where I am sitting, my eyes contorting in anger as I shoot her a menacing glare. "Talk to him like that again Blondie, I'm gonna wipe that toothy grin off your puny face." I spit angrily.

Barbara's smile falters and she glances at Tabitha who steps closer, purring huskily at me. "Ooh. She's got claws."

Jeremiah grabs my hand calmly and sighs. "My dear. I love it that you just stood up for me. But they're the ones who got an upper hand right now. Let's not get them mad now. Shall we? Sit."

Grudgingly, I slide back into my chair, glaring at Barbara who is smiling again now. "You drive a hard bargain but I'll see what I can do."

"Just like that?" Barbara raises an eyebrow. "After knowing your brother, I expected something more -"

"Insane?" Jeremiah says. "I'm nothing if not sane. And reasonable. Two things my brother never valued. Which is why I'll be successful while he failed. Well, that and being vastly more intelligent. Now, to see about your money." I see Jeremiah pull out Alfred's phone and place it to his ear.

"This is Jeremiah Valeska. I'd like to speak to the Mayor. I have additional demands."

Jeremiah suddenly gets up from his chair and I follow him, earning cautious and questioning glance from the group. I feel Jeremiah place his palm over the small of my back as he guides me towards a stack of boxes. That's where one of our bazookas is hidden. I smirk internally and walk with him as he places the phone dramatically over one of the boxes.

"Would you believe it? They put me on hold." He looks at me then and I know what to do. I quickly cover my bump with both my hands as I jump to the floor behind the wooden boxes as Jeremiah's voice reaches my ears. "Well, there's always a plan B."

He pulls out a Bazooka and the group screams and yells frantically, rushing around to take cover. I see Jeremiah shoot the man holding the core relay. On my fours, I crawl towards one of the walls until I am protected by the wall and then get back up on my feet. By that time, Jeremiah has also made his way behind the wall, I feel Jeremiah's hand hold me from my stomach protectively as he holds me from behind. He leans in to my ear and whispers, "Are you okay?" I smile softly and nod in response.

Jeremiah pokes his head from behind the wall and then steps out dusting his overcoat. "Why do you all keep insisting that I'm insane? What's insane about having a backup plan ? Something Jongleur never knew about?" Jeremiah shrugs, much to Oswald's chagrin and disappointment at the failure of his plan. Jeremiah continues. "Just so you know, this building is within the blast radius. And because of your interference, I'm gonna detonate the bombs as soon as we're far enough away to observe the destruction in peace."

Barbara protests then. "No! You promised the city six hours."

"And whose fault is that that I changed my mind?" Jeremiah shrugs, making me smile wide. He then turns towards one of the followers, addressing him directly."Tell our men to rewire the bombs to work in a direct sequence. And, the rest of you, kill these idiots."

Jeremiah takes my hand then, lacing our fingers tightly together as he manoeuvers me out of the door and towards a staircase. We start running up the staircase as the gunfire starts to go off.

We reach one of the quieter rooms in the back just directly behind the back entrance of the old church. "Jeremiah.." I bite my lip hard, stopping in my tracks. He stops to and glances at me quizzically. "Is something wrong? Are you alright?" I see worry clouding his eyes as he steps closer to me, placing his hand on my bump.

"Fuck me right now." I bite my lip, arousal coursing through my veins like never before. Jeremiah gasps slightly and looks at me as if I made a joke. "Are you serious Ruby? There's a gun battle going on in this place." I smile and take a step closer towards Jeremiah, sliding my hand down and placing it over the button of my overcoat, pulling it off me in one swift motion. "That's what makes it all the more fun. The adrenaline. The way you handled that inside, everything about it was so... erotic." I purr , seductively , biting my lip deliberately.

"When have I ever said no to you, Mrs Valeska?" Jeremiah mutters casually as if there is nothing abnormal or insane about this entire situation and his lips curve into a smirk. I lunge onto him hungrily, clumsily taking off his overcoat and brushing my palm over his manhood, cupping the bulge in my palm. He throws his head back and let's out a low animalistic growl. Restlessly, Jeremiah's hands move down to the buckle of his belt as he struggles to unfasten it and drop his pants to the floor and step out of it. Then the shirt goes off. There he is, standing right in front of me in nothing but his extremely tight underwear, the bulge of his hard cock poking out and giving me a sneakpeak of what's to come, the sound of the gun battle echoing in my ears in the background. He grabs me tight by my hips, lifting me up in the air, making me lock my feet behind him while our mouths are latched on to each other, hungrily devouring each other in a violent attack of tongue and teeth, biting and gnawing at each other's lips .

He places me on one of the wooden crates as he hungrily tugs at his underwear, his erect cock blooming out from it. He quickly grabs my leggings and practically yanks it off me, while we are sucking each other's mouths violently. His hands find my breasts and he squeezes hard, making me wince due to the soreness of my nipples.Just then, another explosion like sound erupts from somewhere in the building, making me and Jeremiah glance towards the door for a second. I just shrug and grab his chin , yanking it back to face me as I latch myself back to biting his lips. His hands slide into the waistband of my panties and he takes it off, tossing it away.

He looks into my eyes and grabs me by my golden white hair, yanking my head backwards to reveal my neck and tattoo. Hungrily, his tongue trails over my skin, sucking right on top of my tattoo as he enters into me from beneath. We both grunt in satisfaction as his erect cock easily slides into my slick entrance, completely without any difficulty. He slides his dick out until I can feel just the head pressed against my entrance before he thrusts it back in roughly. I throw my head back and let out a shrill moan, my insides igniting as pleasure courses through each and every blood vessel in my body.

I feel him lean slightly so that his lips are directly in line with my ears, making me shudder as the sound of his hitched breathing reaches me everytime he pulls out and slides back in with such brutal force,making me yell out his name.

"Oh Mista J! Fuck."

"YES. SAY MY NAME! SAY IT." He yells into my ears as he pounds mercilessly into me, the sound of our skin slapping against each other audible over the sound of the ruckus outside. "Fuck! Jeremiah!!" I cry out as pleasure shoots through me inside out, making my toes curl and shivers and beads of sweat trickle down my body. "Your breasts are bigger. Fuck, you're so tight and wet for me right now. I don't think I am gonna last long this time." He hisses through gritted teeth in between his obnoxious thrusts into me.

"I won't either!! Oh you're gonna make me come." I hiss and let out a stiffled moan as his following hit makes me go over the top, a sweet pleasurable pain bursting inside of me making me cry out his name as my orgasm hits me hard and fast. Jeremiah is quick to follow as his movement gets sloppier and I feel his breathing hitch, a sure shot sign that he is cuming too. "Fuck..Ruby Valeska.." He cries out and with one last thrust of his, I feel his cock spasm violently inside of me as he empties his warm seed into my canal.

We quickly slide back into our clothes and grin at each other, escaping unscathed and completely satisfied from the back entrance of the building.

****

We finally make our way back to the bunker and instantly I kick my stilettos away, my feet sore and swollen.

"Why do you have to wear those? They're hideous. Besides, is it safe and okay for you to wear such high heels in your condition?" I hear Jeremiah say, making me roll my eyes. "I'm gonna wear them as long as I am able to . Besides, they're better than that monstrous coat of yours. Those colours are so tacky. Ew." I scowl towards Jeremiah and he shrugs casually shaking his head. He knows that it isn't productive to argue with me over things like these since I will anyhow do what I feel like doing and not listen to anyone else.

We step into a room where Ecco has gathered all our followers in one place. As we walk inside, all the followers step aside, making way for us to pass.

"All my life , I spent by myself. Hidden away. I am so glad to be sharing this happy moment with all of you. Today marks the dawning of a new Gotham city, one where we will all be free." We directly step in front of a TV set and glance briefly at the news report of havoc in the city being broadcasted by the Gotham Gazette. Jeremiah lifts up the detonator in his hand and throw out his other hand towards me. "Shall we do the honours?" I nod and slide my palm into his cold one and stand by his side, glancing at our followers as he continues.

Our thoughts our interrupted when suddenly a woman follower points towards the TV screen and gasps, her expression that of shock as she cries out, "That's Jim Gordon. He's not dead."

Jim suddenly appears on the TV set and I frown, squinting my eyes. Impossible.
"This is a message to the followers of Jeremiah Valeska and Ruby Valeska. They claim to have killed me. Well, bad news, I'm alive." I slowly turn my head towards Jeremiah and notice him glare at the TV with anger in his eyes. Suddenly, the cult members behind us start murmuring amongst themselves and I shoot a menacing glare towards them. "SHUT UP!! IT'S A DAMN TRICK YOU FOOLS, JIM'S DEAD. WE KILLED HIM." I yell angrily at them.

Suddenly, Jim's voice reaches back in my ears, making me curl my fists in fury. "So just so you know you're worshipping a fraud. Jeremiah is nothing but a pale imitation of Jerome. You did your worst and I'm still here."

Suddenly, one of the followers jumps Infront of us, yelling at the top of his voice. " You lied to us!! Gordon's alive!!" Frustratedly, Jeremiah places a hand to his chin as he replies. "What does it matter if Jim is alive? When we hit this switch.." I instantly raise up the detonator in my palm for everyone to see as Jeremiah says that. "we will hear the sounds of a new Gotham being born. Our Gotham." Jeremiah looks at me for support and I nod, taking his palm and squeezing it softly. "Now listen" Jeremiah suddenly presses the button of the detonator.

To my surprise, nothing happens. There's an eerie silence, no sounds of any bombs going off anywhere. Jeremiah suddenly starts pressing the buttons multiple times and the bombs don't go off. Jim must have deactivated the bombs, I think to myself. Suddenly, the cult members start murmuring again. "They're liars!" One of the woman screams.

"STOP!" Fuming, Jeremiah steps two steps in front of us with his finger pointed warningly towards them all. He's really mad. Suddenly, everyone is quiet.

"I want you to know, I find your fickle mindedness quite hurtful." He throws out his hand towards me and I take it, stepping close behind him. "And so very predictable." Suddenly, I find myself turning around and being pulled out of the room by Jeremiah. The room has a large metal door with a small glass window to it. Jeremiah locks the door behind me and I can see the people inside watching us confused as to why we left so suddenly. Some of them even started screaming and pounding on the door to be let out. Suddenly, I gasp in surprise and delight as I realize what Jeremiah will do now. I hear him smile a bit at my reaction and he tightens his hold over my hand. Jeremiah opened up a small box with a lid cover on it on one side.

"Would you do the honours?" He asks me coolly and my smile goes wider as I nod my head. I place my manicured finger on the red button inside the box which says purge. Suddenly, I see the room inside erupt in flames, fire engulfing all of the cult members inside which we look on, amused. I hear Jeremiah sigh behind me. "Well that is disappointing."

***

Angrily, I grab a flower vase and fling it across the floor, shards of glass erupting from the broken vase as it hits the floor with a loud crashing sound. Furiously, I look around the room , trying to find something else to break. "Calm down Ruby.." I hear Jeremiah say behind me, his voice calm. He walks up to me and places his hand on the back of my neck, massaging me gently. I sigh and slide down to one of the stools as I let Jeremiah's hands work magic on me.

"I don't understand how Jimbo escaped and how did he manage to disarm our bombs in such a less amount of time. We underestimated him, Miah." I shoot a glare at Jeremiah and he lets go off my shoulder, walking in line of my eye sight and standing directly in front of me with his hands on his waist. "Gordon must have stolen the blueprints to the maze, found one of the bombs and sabotaged the sequence. We'll have to start again." He says, staring at the floor.

I push myself up to my feet with my almost six months old baby bump getting in the way. I make my way to Jeremiah and place my hands on either side of his neck, playing with the back of his hair. "It's fine honey. We can do it again." He looks into my brown eyes and a little smile breaks out on his lips. He locks his arms behind me,his palms holding me from the small of my back as he pulls me as close as my swollen belly would permit.

"You two are so adorable." An unknown voice suddenly echoes around. Jeremiah slides his hand to his gun and pulls it out, me doing the same with my gun. We are standing facing the opposite direction with our guns blazing in the air. "Who's there? Show yourself!" I call out.

"Who are you? What do you want?" Jeremiah asks the voice, cautiously.

"I had a vision." The voice replies and suddenly we are able to see the entity. It's a man. He is standing calmly on the first floor of the church. "..of Gotham in flames. Together, we could make that happen."

Jeremiah keeps his gun pointed towards this man as he replies. "Well, I appreciate the offer but recent events have convinced us of the benefits of working alone." Suddenly, Jeremiah presses his finger to the trigger and shoots the man, he doesn't stop shooting, four or five shots later, I gasp as I realize that the man is not there anymore.

"Don't be so rash.." I practically jump at the sound of his voice again and turn around haphazardly with my gun in my hand . He is standing near the entrance of the church. "Your dream of a new Gotham will come to be. With my help." This time I don't waste any time and fire a shot from my gun only to realize that the man has escaped yet again. How's that humanly possible?

"You're behind us, aren't you?" Jeremiah whispers alarmed.

We slowly turn around and lower our guns. The man is dressed in a black and gold robe and looks like he is from another century all together. "Who are you?" I take a step closer to the strange looking man, feeling Jeremiah place his hand on my wrist, yanking me backwards.

"I'm Ra's Al Ghul.." His lips curve into a smile as he introduces himself to us. Jeremiah protectively pushes me behind him , tensing slightly only to earn a wide mouthed smile from Ra's. "Don't worry. I'm not gonna hurt either of you."

"Why would you help us? Why do you want to destroy Gotham?" I hiss at him.

"Because only after we turn this city into a dark island will my heir finally rise up. And so will yours." I can feel his piercing gaze directly on my bump and instinctively I crouch behind Jeremiah, holding my baby bump protectively with my hand. "My heir, the Dark Knight of Gotham. "

"Who?" Jeremiah asks curiously.

"Bruce Wayne." Ra's replies casually.

"And what would we have to do to make that happen?" Jeremiah asks, cautiously.

"Bring Bruce Wayne to me." It's all that Ra's says before he finally disappearing into the darkness.

***

Despite getting into a massive fight with Jeremiah for not wanting to stay locked up in the bunker and rest, I find myself accompanying Jeremiah to the Wayne mansion. Bruce cannot hurt a fly. He would definitely not hurt me. We manage to somehow get into the Wayne Mansion. It's funny how Bruce is the richest person in Gotham, one of the last remaining heirs of the Wayne families yet he lives so alone, so abandoned , without any protection.

We push ourselves to the wall and thanks to the dimly lit room, we are not visible lurking through the hallways. Alfred's voice can be heard through the hallways. He suddenly emerges from one of the rooms and we see his silhouette walk up the stair case. Once we have made sure that the sound of Alfred's footsteps have retreated far away, we pull out our guns and slowly slide out of our hiding place and make way into the living room.

For a quick moment, as we are walking closer and closer towards the living room, I swear I heard Selina's voice from inside. I glance at Jeremiah and frown internally, Selina is my friend. I really hope she gets out of this, unscathed. Once we reach the living room, Jeremiah nudges my side informing me to stay behind him as we find ourselves sneaking into the living room. Selina and Bruce are so engrossed in their discussion, they don't notice us.

"To be fair, the day's not over." Jeremiah finally says, pulling Bruce out of his daze and making Selina gasp in shock as her eyes fall on me. Immediately, she gets up to her feet but Jeremiah suddenly points the gun towards Selina, aiming it right at her stomach.

"Jeremiah! No!" I quickly lower my gun, shaking my head frantically. "Selina is my friend. We're here for Bruce, not for her." I try to remind him, my eyes clouding with tears suddenly. Jeremiah looks at me emotionlessly and I blink, tears running down my cheeks, my head shaking weakly in denial. "Please don't.." I weakly whisper.

All of a sudden, Jeremiah places his finger to the trigger. I yell and lunge at Jeremiah and we start fighting with each other, me trying to get the gun off Selina but the bullet suddenly gets fired. Everyone falls silent, with a look of horror on their face as to what just happened. Jeremiah's expressions finally change, suddenly changing to that of agony. He falls on his knees and catches me mid air as I weakly fall against the cold tiles floor, his hand pressing against my bleeding thigh.

I look around, dazed. I can feel an intense pain shooting through my thigh and running like an electric current all through my body but what is the most annoying is the weird ringing sound in my ears, which won't stop. Why won't the ringing stop? I glance at Jeremiah, who has laid me down on the ground now and is pressing his palm against my bullet wound, trying to stop the bleeding. Although my vision is hazy, I can see Selina crawl up to me, I can see that she is crying, she has taken my head and placed it in her lap. I can also hear a voice. It's really faint, as if someone is whispering. Who's that? What's the voice saying? It takes me a lot of concentration to identify the words. It's Bruce. He is saying that the bullet has probably hit an artery. I'll probably bleed to death. This is it. I am thinking to myself.

Alfred has tackled Jeremiah and is punching him as hard as he could. I wanna call out to him to ask him to stop but I can't find the words. Jeremiah is bleeding from his nose and his mouth and is barely able to open his eye. Alfred grabs some rope and ties Jeremiah's hands together. Jeremiah is still looking at me. "Get her an ambulance!" He yells angrily. "Somebody get her a damn ambulance!"

Bruce flicks out his phone and calls the ambulance while Selina hunches over me, pressing her palm against my wound to stop the blood flow. "M..Miah? I'm cold." I manage to whisper softly, my teeth chattering as I say that. "Don't let go. Hold on, Ruby." I feel Selina stroke my hair, nudging me to stay awake.

Chapter Text

Weakly, I flutter my eyes open. I move just my eyes and glance around me, my memory of me getting shot in the thigh coming back to me. I can see two GCPD officers standing by the door, talking to themselves. A nurse is standing next to me with her back facing towards me. They seem unaware about me waking up so I decide to play along and find out if they have anything interesting to talk about. I see her check my IV and study my vitals. The door suddenly flings open making me instantly shut my eyes.

"Is she awake?" I hear Harvey's voice. The nurse then informs him that the bullet shot had ruptured my artery and it is a very high likely possibility that I have slipped into a coma, or even if I wake up, it might take a long time. They just have to wait for me to wake up. I hear Harvey scoff. That shit is amused as fuck. News flash Harvey, I can hear you, I think to myself. I hear another familiar voice, a voice that is enough to make anger surge through my veins like never before. "What about the baby?" Jim asks the nurse. My heart skips a beat. How is my baby? I hear Harvey's voice again. "I don't care what happens to that spawn of Satan. Aren't it's lunatic parents too much to deal with?" Hey Pig face, that's my child you're talking about. You better shut the hell up before I grab a nearby scissors and shove it straight down your throat. "It's a child, Harv. An innocent one." Jim mutters. "Yeah, who probably got hit by the insanity gas when his mother was sprayed with it. How do you know he is not worse than his father and mother?" Harvey asks. The nurse interrupts them then by informing them that the baby is doing okay as of now apart from a few minor complications making me almost sigh in relief.

Jim and Harvey are finally sent out of my  ward by the nurse, much to my relief. The two guards stationed by the door start talking about how Jeremiah Valeska is currently in the GCPD lockup.

***

Jeremiah is sitting calmly in one of the cells at the GCPD precinct with a few of the officers either standing in front of his cell and gawking at him or trying to irritate him by running and clinking their batons all over the bars of his cell but he doesn't seem to be affected.

A few moments later, Jim and Harvey walk into the precinct and Jeremiah notices them have a word with Alfred. Alfred then leaves the precinct.

 

"Pardon me , Jim." He calls out calmly. Jim's eyes fall on Jeremiah and he narrows his eyes at the officers surrounding his cell. "Don't you guys have any work to do?" He sends the officers away. He sighs and looks at Jeremiah. "What is it?"

"I have two concerns." Jeremiah speaks.

"What are they? If they are related to the comfort level of your cell then please don't bother.." Jim stops speaking as Jeremiah raises a hand to stop him.

"How's Ruby?"

Jim sighs and places his hands on the bars, curling his fingers tight against it.
"It seems she lost a lot of blood. The shot ruptured her artery. She is in a coma."

"My son?"

"They say that the baby is doing fine."

Jim's answer visibly calms Jeremiah and he sits back more comfortably. "Thank you, Jim. Now the other thing. I'd like to press charges against Bruce Wayne's butler ." Jim raises an eyebrow. "I mean, just look at my face." Jeremiah coos.

"I think you look great." Jim smiles his fake smile.

"I would like to speak to Bruce again." Jeremiah says emotionlessly. "We couldn't really talk before, what with my wife bleeding out all over."

Jim let's go off the bars and instinctively places his hands on his waist as he opens his mouth to speak. "You tried to prove you're better than your brother. But I am still here. The city is still here. Your wife is fighting for her life and so is your kid. You're a failure, Jeremiah. Enjoy Arkham. Your brother did." Jim then narrows his eyes towards one of the cops passing by. "Put him in a box and get him ready for transportation."

Jeremiah sits back more comfortably and just smiles. "Bring me Bruce Wayne and I'll tell you where the other bombs are." He says. Harvey has walked up to Jim by the time Jeremiah reveals about the other bombs, he looks at Jim in confusion. "We have all your bombs."

"The maze bombs, yes. I mean the other ones. As an engineer, you expect systems to fail, so you prepare a backup." He says calmly and gets up on his feet and takes a few steps closer to the two.

"You're bluffing." Jim says, contemplating whether what Jeremiah is saying is true or just another trap.

***

I had probably fallen asleep again. My eyelids feel extremely heavy as I flutter my eyes open again only to frown as there are no lights in the room, making me difficult to look around me. Weakly, I manage to sit up in bed , groaning due to the throbbing pain on the wound on my thigh and rub my eyes, squinting my eyes to look around me in the dark. I can see the two GCPD officers still sitting by the door to my ward, probably asleep.

Suddenly, the lights flick open and instantly, I place my palms to my eyes, sheilding my eyes from the sudden outburst of light in the ward. A few seconds later, my eyes have accustomed to the brightness of the room. I open my eyes wide and gasp immediately, my mouth flying to my face in astonishment as my eyesight falls on the two GCPD officers in front of me. Their throats have been slit, their uniforms bright red and bloody, their eyes wide open, looking right at me.

Instantly, I slide my feet to the side of my bed with much effort due to my thigh injury and place my feet to the ground, suddenly stepping on something. I look down and much to my horror, the nurse is lying upside down, her face buried against the ground, blood all around her body. Frantically, I jump to my feet and weakly rush to one of the corners of the room, wincing slightly as my IV comes off. My eyes fall on a man sitting casually on a chair by the window, watching me and a familiar looking woman standing by the window and staring out of it.

 

"Ra's Al Ghul.. Ecco.??" I whisper weakly. "You killed them?" I raise an eyebrow. He just nods. Ecco then turns towards me and I see her run towards me and embrace me. "Oh puddin'. You poor thing. Jeremiah is waiting." I nod and smile.

"Don't you want to go back to your husband again? We just wanted to help. Come." He throws out his black gloved palm towards me. Slowly, I take a few steps closer towards him, the medicines given to me making me tired and drowsy still, I place my palm in his.

***

The door to the interrogation room opens and Bruce walks in.

"Hello Bruce. It's great to see you." Jeremiah's lips tug into a small smirk and he places his cuffed hands on the table.

"Where are the bombs?" Bruce glares at him.

"Straight to the business. Anyway, closer please." Jeremiah motions to Bruce and he takes two steps towards him. "Closer."

He presses his lips in a thin line and glares at Jeremiah. "How does it feel now to be responsible for almost killing your loved ones?" Jeremiah doesn't reply. When he does open his mouth, he says something entirely out of context. "Bruce, do you know why we're destined to be best friends? Because we are very much alike. You are just like I used to be, at war with your true nature. You must truly embrace it if you ever want to be free. I'm just trying to help you."

Bruce frowns and takes a step closer towards Jeremiah,his fists clenching in anger. "Trying to help me? By destroying Gotham? By torturing Alfred? Shooting your own wife? You wanted to shoot Selina! You think we are alike because there is a darkness inside both of us. But the difference is, I know how to control mine."

Jeremiah almost shrugs nonchalantly.

"I think you could be so strong, so powerful. I see it. He sees it, too." He chimes in, making Bruce look on in confusion. "What do you mean by he?" Jeremiah doesn't reply, he just winks at Bruce.

 

"Where are the other bombs Jeremiah?" Bruce steps towards Jeremiah and yanks his fist angrily against the interrogation table.

"What bombs?" Jeremiah shrugs casually.

"The bombs you've planted around the city." Bruce explains, annoyed.

"Ah, those bombs." Jeremiah nods.

Suddenly Bruce is leaning against the table, his elbows resting against the surface making him eye level with Jeremiah's face. "You said he. Who do you mean?"

The corner of Jeremiah's lips turn into a crooked smile. "The one who opened my eyes. Who showed me that everything I was doing was not just to create a Gotham of my own, but yours as well. The Gotham you need. Your dark island. And it will come to be, Bruce. Tonight." Jeremiah replies as calmly as a sea wave.

"Tell me his name." Bruce hisses, anger coursing through him. When he realises that Jeremiah is not replying, he lunges at him and grabs him by his collar, shaking him. "I SAID TELL ME HIS NAME!!"

Jeremiah shrugs nonchalantly, least bit affected by Bruce's act of impulse. "But you already know his name. You're his heir."

"Ra's Al Ghul. No, it can't be." Bruce's eyes fly wide open and his mouth almost falls.

Suddenly the lights start going on and off, indicating that Ra's Al Ghul's men have finally arrived. Four men dressed in all black walk in, a fight erupting within the GCPD precinct in the darkness.
The black figures then enter the interrogation room and grab Bruce, placing a sack over his face while Jeremiah escapes the precinct from the back entrance.

***

I find myself standing on the top floor of a warehouse by the Gotham river with Ecco by my side. I asked her where Jeremiah is and she informed me that Jeremiah will be here any time now . This is the same warehouse Selina sneaked me into the day I had tried to steal from Harvey Bullock. I am standing in a long black robe, given to me by Ra's Al Ghul as the hospital gown was an ugly one and the least bit comfortable. I am looking at the vast horizon ahead of me,watching how the city of Gotham is ready to tumble at our feet, begging and pleading for mercy. My eyes fall over the bridge and I can't help but smile , it is so chaotic. People are trying hard to escape their fate and leave Gotham.

I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn my head and smile at Ra's. "It's beautiful, isn't it? Admiring your handiwork?" He stands next to me, peeping into the horizon just like me. "It is. It's all that I ever wanted." I whisper, barely inaudible, my fingers playing with the fabric of my long, flowy dress. "Ra's?" I raise an eyebrow, stepping towards him. "Why did you save me? What could have been the motive behind you taking so much of an effort as to rescue me from a hospital full of the GCPD? Obviously Ecco would. But why you!?" I raise an eyebrow suspiciously, glancing from Ecco to Ra's.

I feel his palm brush against the side of my arm. "I like how you think of each and every probable reason to each and every action. No one does anything without reason. " I see him step away from me and walk closer to the edge, his robe flowing around due to the wind blowing right through him. "I saved you because of a bigger reason that what you're already doing. Let me be honest with you, it is Jeremiah who has taken most of the credit for all that is happening to Gotham right now."

My nostrils flare slightly and I open my mouth wide to protest, only to feel Ra's cold hands press against my lips, shutting my mouth. "But what is going to happen, it will all be on you. You remember how I said that the Dark Knight will rise from the ashes of a burning Gotham?"

I nod. "Mhm, Bruce Wayne you mean."

"Precisely." He says calmly. "Another one shall rise from those ashes." I feel his cold fingers stroke my stomach as he says that and I bite the insides of my cheeks hard.

"Did you have a vision of my child?" I asked, confused.

"You'll see it all in good time Ruby. Right now, you have to protect that baby growing inside of you. And that's why I rescued you from the hospital. Now you know things will get worse in Gotham, tonight."  I nod, trying to comprehend what Ra's is saying.

"You're going to have to go." He says simply.

"What?" I raise an eyebrow.

"You have to leave Gotham tonight."

"I'm not leaving Jeremiah. I'm not leaving him. Ecco, tell him!" I shoot a pleading glance at Ecco and much to my shock, she shakes her head.

"Puddin'. Jeremiah wants you to leave too. You see, you are interfering with his big "plans" for Gotham."

I bite my lip hard, my eyes filling with tears. That's not possible. Jeremiah will never consider me and my baby a burden.

"Jeremiah will be your downfall, Ruby. He is not the man you fell in love with. He will push you under a running bus just to protect himself." He points out.

"You're wrong, Ra's." I shake my head violently. "Jeremiah cares for me. He cares for our family. That is the only thing that still matters for him."

Ecco snorts.

"You really think that? You think Jeremiah cares for you? He didn't even bother coming for you at the hospital.
He left you there to rot. It wasn't him that asked me to come and rescue you. Infact, he was relieved. He thought you were better out there than be with him so that he doesn't have another head to worry about. Oh puddin'."

"No." I can feel betrayal shred my heart into pieces. Jeremiah would never.

I take a step away instinctively and find myself running away from Ra's Al Ghul and Ecco. Suddenly, two men of the League of Shadows emerge from somewhere and grab me by my arms. I scream, pulling and tugging at my arms to free myself.
"You saved me Ra's and I thank you for that. I can take care of myself from here. Please ask your men to unhand me right now."

Ra's doesn't respond to me. He looks at one of the men holding me. "Get her out of Gotham safely."

"NO!! IM NOT GOING ANYWHERE. RA'S STOP THEM!!" All my screams fall on deaf ears. The men do not stop. They grab me and place a sack over my face and I feel one of them lift me up bridal style as they take me somewhere.

After making sure that I have left the proximity, Ecco makes her way to Ra's and smiles wide. "You can have that kid Ra's. I just want that woman out of Gotham. And never to return."

***

"I trust things went smoothly?" Ra's asks calmly to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah steps closer to Ra's,looking over his shoulder. "Did your men retrieve my bombs?"

"They are en route to their positions as we speak." Ra's nods.

Jeremiah then walks up to the edge overlooking the city of Gotham . His eyes fall on the chaotic people scampering about the Gotham bridge trying to escape from Gotham. Ra's walks up to him. "From here, we can take in the full majesty of Gotham's destruction."

"You're all insane!!" Bruce yells and Ra's just shrugs nonchalantly. "I know it's difficult to fathom, Bruce, but we are doing this for your benefit." Jeremiah makes his way back to the edge and looks out into the horizon while Bruce just grits his teeth. "How is destroying Gotham going to help me?"

"Because I had a vision. That out of this crucible of blood and fire will rise the dark Knight that your city needs. That I need." Ra's explains. Jeremiah suddenly turns around and eyes Bruce with a piercing gaze. "To be honest, Bruce.." He shrugs. ".. prophesies, visions, not really my cup of tea. But our friend revealed something to me. That my twin obsessions, rebuilding Gotham and rebuilding you, are one and the same. You're the brother I never had , the one Jerome never could be. We will create a legacy in this city. Gotham falls, we rise. Together." Bruce just stares at Jeremiah, his expressions stone cold and emotionless.

"Civilization is so fragile, Bruce." Ra's chimes in. "Gotham is soon to be a more savage place."

"A no man's land." Jeremiah adds.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

A fight has broken out at the warehouse since Barbara Kean decided to show up along with Tabitha, Alfred, Oswald and few of her combat women. Oswald is holding a big machine gun, which almost looks twice his own size.

I decide to not let go of Bruce's shoulder. As long as I stay close to Bruce, there are less chances of myself being hurt. From the corner of my eye, I see Alfred approach us but I grab my gun and point it towards him,using Bruce's shoulder for leverage, making Alfred immediately stop. One of the men from the League of Shadows suddenly jumps in between and starts fighting with Alfred.

My eyes suddenly fall towards the exit. This is the time to escape, I think to myself. With small and discreet steps, I find myself getting closer and closer to the exit. Out of nowhere, something curls around my throat, tightening around it and almost choke me. I look around and realize it's Tabitha Galavan and her whip. I can feel my oxygen supply almost cut off due to her whip. I frantically look around for something to help me fight until my eyes fall on a holster. I pull out a knife with all my strength and lunge it into Tabitha's leg, making her cry out in pain and release her hold from the whip that's holding me in a choke hold. With all my might, I push her against the floor and raise the knife to her eye. "It must be very disappointing for you, dying like this." However, before I can stab her in the eye, a gunshot is fired somewhere in the room and I am hit on the shoulder, thrown backwards with the impact.

Clutching my bleeding shoulder in hand, I crawl to one of the walls and sit down against the concrete wall, watching the fight in front of my eyes. Barbara, along with Bruce, suddenly lunges the dagger into Ra's Al Ghul's stomach, his skin suddenly turning blackish and dark black veins erupt all over his face and skin.

 

Suddenly, a loud explosion is heard from outside. Pressing my palm against my bleeding shoulder, I pull up from the ground and make my way to one of the windows of the warehouse watching the beautiful scene unfurl in front of my eyes. Only, I don't have my Queen to share it with. One of the bridges just exploded and collapsed into the middle of the river. The explosion sounds again as the second bridge also meets the same fate. Gotham is now cut off from the rest of the world.

This is my queue. Everyone is too busy watching the horror outside unfurl. I just drag myself out of the door and nobody notices, managing to get out to the street safely. I cautiously make my way through the dark alleys, avoiding the main road and my heart is swelling with happiness at the sight around me. The streets are dark and there is fire everywhere.

I find my thoughts going out to Ruby. I clutch my wrists tight as anger courses suddenly through my veins. I'm definitely not pleased by the way she put herself and my heir in danger for Bruce's girlfriend. I'm gonna have to definitely punish her for doing that once she is safely back with me. But I still do wish I could share this happiness with her. She would have been so happy watching all of this. This is what she ever wanted and I gave it to her. Only, she is not here to see this beautiful picture today.

"Boss.."

I turn back around and raise my eyebrows.

"Ecco." I nod.

Her eyes fall to my shoulder wound and I see her rush up to me.

"You've been shot." I hear her say .

"It's just a scratch." I whisper, my mind still thinking of Ruby.

I see her pull a barrell and climb on top of it as she examines my wound. I wince slightly as I feel her fingers brush unintentionally against it.  She pulls out some alcohol from her waist bag and empties it onto my wound, my wound burning and stinging the minute it touches the inflamed part. She then uses the cotton around the bullet wound to clean it. I just close my eyes.

"Jeremiah. There's a news." Her voice is off. I glance at her questioningly. "There was a massacre at the hospital." "WHAT?!?" I have pulled out of Ecco's grasp and I am glaring down at her as she keeps sitting nervously on the barrel.  "WHERE IS RUBY?"

Ecco nervously looks at me and then back at her bloody fingers. "Someone took her. I went to the hospital. So many officers and staff had been murdered. When I reached the ward, the window was open and Ruby wasn't there." I throw out my injured hand towards Ecco and roughly grab her throat, squeezing it, watching her eyes bob out everytime I apply a little pressure to my grip. I can feel my heart thump wildly against my chest. I look at Ecco, fury burning through my eyes. "Find her, Ecco. I want Ruby back. Find the person who did this."

***

*Ruby's POV*

I have been locked in what feels like a box or probably the back of a car. There's not much oxygen in here, just a little. I cannot see anything as I still have a cloth bag placed over my face, hampering my vision. I have been like this for hours now. I'm probably even out of Gotham by now. I wonder if Jeremiah is looking for me.

I'm pulled out of my thoughts as I feel someone pull me out of whatever it is that I had been placed in. Arms lock around my waist and lift me up bridal style. All my energy having been drained out of me, I do not bother fighting or protesting. Do what you want to do with me.

I feel myself being lowered back to the floor, my bottom hitting something concrete which turns out to be a chair. Hands latch themselves to the cloth on my head as someone pulls it off me. It takes me a few minutes to adjust my eyes since I have been in the dark for hours now. I am at a strange looking place, it's a strange medieval looking parlour, the candlesticks and the candelabra all making me feel as if I have been pulled in to another era. The ceramic and glass utensils look expensive and the cushions lining the settee are beautifully embroidered with gold and silver. Definitely expensive.

I crane my neck to see my captor then. He is clad in black from head to toe, an Arabian head gear adorning his face so that only his eyes, nose and mouth is visible. Just then, he lowers his head as a beautiful woman walks in, her delicate jewelry adorned hand curled around a goblet of what looks like red wine. What captures my attention are the beautiful tattoos all over her chest and shoulders.

"Mistress. The Head of the Demon sends his regards."

I see the woman bow her head, her beautiful black curls falling over her eyes as she does that. She is eyeing me curiously, as if studying every single detail about me. The man who brought me here clears his throat and excuses himself. I watch him as he leaves the room and then flick my gaze back at the attractive woman in front of me.

"Ruby.. Don't be afraid." She lowers herself gracefully on a rich violet colored  couch and spreads her arms over the backrest, laying back comfortably. "You've been on a long journey. I suppose you're tired and famished. I shall retire you to your chamber. We will talk tomorrow."

"I'm confused. What's going on?" I look at her, my face contorting into a thin line. "Where am I? Why am I here?" With a quick reflex, I pull up abruptly on my feet, immediately being greeted by a sudden dizziness, blackness closing over me. Instantly, my hand flies to my head and I grab the chair for support, steadying myself.

"Relax Ruby. You're safe here."

I see the exotic beauty pull herself up to her feet and gracefully make her way to me, placing her cold palms on my shoulders and making me sit back down. Once she is assured that I have comfortably sat again, she pulls her arms back and crosses them over her chest.

"I'm Talia. Talia Al Ghul. I'm Ra's Al Ghul's daughter.."

Chapter Text

*Time Skip to 3 months later*

*Jeremiah's POV*

More than three months have passed since I blew up the Gotham bridges. More than three months since I've heard or seen my wife. I have practically almost done everything I could have to locate her. I even tortured Oswald to get whatever information he has on her but it's obvious that they are not involved. They have no idea about her location. Often at night, I think whether she is alive or not. What could have happened to her? I just find myself getting more and more reclusive and paranoid with each passing day. Who knew not being with Ruby would have this effect on me. I feel incomplete. Her lust for destruction ignited a fire within me. And off course, I could treat her body in any which way I wanted. I could bruise her skin, cut her wrists and hit her, she would love it .The warmth of her ivory skin. It felt like velvet against my fingers. I could touch her all day. And fuck her all day. The way her warm pussy felt when I entered her. Oh God . She definitely made me angry. I know how angry she made me. She was a stubborn bitch mostly but she used to be my inspiration. I was doing all of this just to make her happy, not that I didn't feel any happiness myself in doing it and also to build a home for our boy. Our boy. I cannot forgive her though for risking the life of my son to protect Selina Kyle. Why did she have to play a hero while she is nothing but a villain like me? She would have probably had him by now if she is alive somewhere. I wonder how my son looks like. Does he have his dad's face or his mum's features? What about his hair? What would she have named him? Shit. We never discussed names. I never bothered.

Anyway, Gotham is now divided into different zones, each one controlled by different sections of people and different gangs. The Green Zone, also known a the Haven is controlled by Jim Gordon.

Ecco, my walking and talking pet, is still around and faithful as ever. Thanks to her, I have finally gained back a few followers, our previous batch ending up in a not so happy termination. Ecco makes all the candidates wanting to be my follower pass through a test. She calls it the test of faith. Probably out of the all the people who appeared, only a few survived it. Lucky for them, they are my followers now.

I'm standing watching the slaves dig a secret tunnel that will open directly into Bruce Wayne's house. The underground is humid and I can feel beads of sweat trickle down my temple, making me itchy around my neck. One of the guys known as Sykes, who used to be the former leader of the Soothsayers, approaches me. Probably to complain again.

"You're pushing my men way too hard." Sykes exclaims, exhausted. I can see how his shoulders are drooping and beads of sweat and dirt is trickling down his body. I find myself ignoring him as something else captures my mind. It's the sound of heels clicking against the concrete. I find myself reminiscing of the day I told Ruby how ugly her heels were. Now I just want to watch her walk up to me wearing nothing but those heels.

"Uh, Mr. Valeska." Sykes interrupts and I turn my head towards him, eyeing him curiously. So does Ecco. "We're not gonna break through for atleast a couple more days. There is absolutely no way to make it on schedule."

One thing I cannot stand is this notion of complaining about not being able to do what has been assigned to you in a particular amount of time. I'm quick to pull out a straight razor from my coat and even quicker to slit Sykes's throat, his throat erupting into practically a water fall of blood . "Not with that attitude, you're not." I exclaim calmly to the once complaining man now lying in a pool of his own blood. I then turn to face the other workers, their faces white as though they've just seen a ghost. "Now everyone, let's reach inside and dig a little deeper, shall we?" What I say next ,however, is only for my own ears.
"Cause that's the only way you're a making out of this hole." I say, placing the bloody blade to my mouth and trailing my tongue over it.

***

*Ruby's POV*

Three months of staying with Talia Al Ghul and later, her half sister Nyssa Al Ghul made us the best of friends, especially Talia and me. We kind of feel like we're more siblings than Talia and Nyssa are. Talia has a more calm and composed nature while Nyssa is more aggressive and mostly angry all the time. She has been even worse than what she used to be before she met me, as Talia tells me, because of the way his father was killed. At first, I tried hard to escape and go back to Gotham to be with Jeremiah. But soon enough, I made peace with my destiny. Maybe Ecco is right. Jeremiah doesn't want us anymore. We are nothing but a hindrance to his plans for Gotham.

I do miss Jeremiah a lot and often find myself awake at night wondering if he ever thinks about what happened to us. My child will be with me anytime now. I've had him inside of me for 9 months now. I squint my eyes tiredly and rub my swollen balloon of a sore stomach with my fingers in a soothing manner, I've been having this dull kind of ache since almost two hours now. It's not unbearable, but it is certainly noticeable. Having just had a light dinner consisting of some broth and dumplings , I lazily waddle into the bathroom of the room I've been staying in for the past three months. The room is large and spacious and Talia has been kind enough to get me all the baby supplies that I will need once the baby comes. She even got me a beautiful engraved cradle made from the best of wood. I love it.

I'm hunched over the washbasin, my hands placed under the faucet running cold water as I wash my hands before preparing myself for bed when I feel a sharp pain in my stomach. I groan as loudly as I can , hoping to get the attention of either of the Al Ghul sisters as I manage to turn the tap off.

"Talia? Nyssa!?" I call out weakly, sliding on to my knees, using my arms pressed against the washbasin for support. I hear the sound of feet and suddenly the bathroom door flings open and Talia walks in.

She probably just walked in straight from her sword fighting session. I think to myself. "Ruby??!" She rushes to me and I feel her slide onto the ground next to me, her palm pressing against my swollen belly to feel for any complication. I then feel her push her hands away and grab my oversized nighty ,lifting it up and analyzing what is going in. Although in pain, I can't help but curl my lips into a playful smirk and joke about it. "Like what you see?" Rolling her eyes dramatically, she slaps me on my ass. "You're definitely going into labour."

I can't help but snort a little , only to wince in pain as I feel a contraction hit me. "Yeah I already knew that since my water broke. That's why I called you sisters. Now help me up." Talia takes my hand and throws it over her shoulder. She then helps me pull myself up to my feet. "Goddamnit you're fat." Holding my stomach, I waddle out of the bathroom as Talia scampers about the room, grabbing a few towels and a washbasin and all those things she might require.

Another contraction comes my way and I clutch my stomach hard, whimpering and lowering myself on to the soft plushy bed with towels spread on it. I'm just sitting up when my belly tenses again and I quiver in pain. I feel Talia place her hand on my back and assist me turning on my fours as I'm feeling extremely uncomfortable on my back. "The back please, Talia.." I whisper softly, my lips almost quivering. Almost immediately, I feel her warm palm latch itself to the small of my back, rubbing soothing circles on it.

"When was the last contraction?"

"I don't know. Probably fifteen minutes back. I don't know Talia!!" I say, my breathing hitched.

"It's ok, just...stay calm. We've still got a long way to go." I hear her voice , making me groan.

Just then, my bedroom door opens and Nyssa walks in.

"Oops. Bad timing?" She gives me a one sided smile and rushes to my side. "I have news Talia. Our plan is working." My contraction seems to have subsided for a little while so I make use of the little time I have and lay back down on my back, watching Nyssa. Talia glances at Nyssa and nods, walking up to my where my feet are and abruptly pulling open my nighty and taking a look at my private part.

"4 cms." She informs me. She then looks at Nyssa as Nyssa continues. "Haven is destroyed. Edward Nygma thinks that he blew up the Haven killing the 351 people. Come in, Eduardo Dorrance." She smiles and glances at me. "Ruby, this is just the beginning. I've only started. Gotham, especially Bruce Wayne and Barbara Kean, would soon don't know what hit em and from where."

"Uh guys. Can we please discuss that later?" I feel another contraction coming making me turn to my side and rub my lower belly with a low groan. I press the heel of my palm into my belly but it's useless, the pain peaks and I can't help but grip the sheets below me. Just then, I feel Nyssa place her hands to my back and massage me. Finally the pain ends and I feel able to breathe again. "Nyssa? Talia!?" I whisper. They both look at me at the same time and raise an eyebrow.
"Remind me to use a condom the next time I decide to have a baby again." Talia snorts and Nyssa throws her head back, laughing wildly. "You're so cute." She coos.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

I watch Ecco as she walks in with the new recruits. Just four recruits.

"Puddin'!" She takes off her mask and wraps her arm around my waist. I place a hand lightly on her back and then step away as she continues talking. "I brought you your pilgrims." I raise an eyebrow and part my lips . "Are these all the recruits?" Ecco shifts her gaze to the recruits and then back to me. "Well I thought you would want quality over quantity. Not everybody can pass a .38 caliber test of faith." I hear her grin.

I suddenly grab her from her waist and pull her close to me, placing my hand on the side of her hair and pulling them out of view so that I get a view of behind her ear. She too passed the test of faith for me. Out of the blue, I place my hands on Ecco's waist and pull her closer, before starting to dance with her without any music.

"Bruce and his sidekick Curls tried to infiltrate our little operation here." I smile widely and twirl her around, raising an eyebrow curiously. "Ah and she wants to kill you. A lot, FYI." Ecco added as I lower her into a horizontal position. "When I see her, I'll give a shout. And oh, I'll kill her." I smile wide and let her go, after giving her one last spin. Before she walks off to the new recruits, I call out to her. "Ecco!" She turns around and bites her lip. "Ruby?" She sighs and shakes her head, almost looking away.

"Boss, do you think there's a probability that she left by her own will ?"

Immediately, my hand flies to her throat, grabbing her by her neck and almost choking her in desperation. "She would never!!" I yell angrily and let go off her throat.

My eyes suddenly shift to a few of the workers looking at me. I place both my hands together and clap in the air. "Don't you have work to do?" I patronise them and they turn back around and start doing their work.

"Everyone, what have you learned today?"

"Dig a little deeper." They all answer tiredly.

***

*Ruby's POV*

I am weakly walking now. At least in between the contractions . I make my way to my cupboard and pull out a few baby blankets, a few diapers and a cute little onesie that Talia gifted to me. I lay them all in a heap by the chair next to my bed before sitting down again when I feel a contraction building. My belly physically pushes out my nighty as it contracts and I find myself leaning over Talia, gripping her hand tightly, riding out the pain and I take deep breaths.

"Shhhh, doing great love." I hear Nyssa whisper. "Try doing some meditation." Weakly, I nod.

I try doing some meditation first. It's fine until I am hit by another contraction, this one worse than last time. I close my eyes and hum a soft tune trying to keep myself calm but the pain only intensifies. I flutter my eyes open and gasp. " They're getting closer now Talia.." She nods and pulls my nighty up again.
"7 cms. Getting there." She strokes my hair, removing strands of my blonde white hair sticking to my face.

Around two hours later, I'm still groaning and crying and screaming in pain as my contractions won't stop. They're so intense now, I can't help but blink away tears forming in the crevices of eyes. Suddenly, I feel my heart getting heavy as I find myself aching for my husband. He should have been here with me, holding my hand, rubbing my back , stroking my face and telling me that it's going to be okay.

"JEREMIAH!!!" I yell at the top of my voice, my hands pressed against my stomach as it tenses yet again violently.
"Breathe honey. Breathe!" I hear Talia's voice coo in my ears as she strokes my sweaty forehead while Nyssa is rubbing circles over the bottom of my stomach to release the knots. Throwing my head back, I push as my belly bears down. "Hurts .. Oh my god.." I let out a exhausted moan.

"10 CMS. That's it. You're close now. Little Valeska will be here anytime now! All you need to do is PUSH!!" I hear Talia yell. Gathering all my strength, I push as hard as I can, biting my lips and clenching Nyssa's arm tight against the pain. "Push, Ruby,come on. Please. Please." Talia encourages me.

Just then I hear Nyssa squeel in excitement and I weakly lift my eyes and fixate it on her. "W..what!?" I manage to almost spit out the word between my heavy panting.

"I see it. I see the head. I see beautiful curly black hair. The baby's almost here." Nyssa claps, hopping up and down in excitement. Talia takes my arm and nudges me to push again. Honestly, I feel completely drained out now, I don't think I can push any longer but probably the description of my baby's head was just what I needed to get a magically induced burst of energy inside me. I weakly let out another push and cry out in pain as I feel my baby slide a little out of my entrance, with Nyssa supporting his head, the shoulders also out now. I give one final push with all my might and the baby pushes out from inside of me and tosses right into Nyssa's arms.

"Aww, it's a girl.." Nyssa exclaims.

From the corner of my eye, I see Talia cut the umbilical cord but I can't stop groaning as I still feel the pain rocking my insides. Why won't the freaking pain go away? I think, clutching my stomach.

"WAIT!!! OH MY GOD THERE'S ANOTHER ONE."

"WHAAAT?" I scream.

Talia runs up to where Nyssa is and sits between my feet. She nods and she looks up right at me. She then informs me that there is another head poking out from my inside, and this baby has beautiful ginger coloured hair, unlike my daughter. Like my old Jeremiah. I had no idea I was having twins. We never could actually get check ups and scans done anyway.

Once again, I push. I almost feel like giving up, but I can't , not when I am this close to holding my other baby in my arms. Just then, a wailing of a baby breaks out in the room and a beautiful red headed baby boy falls into Talia's arms, wailing and flailing his arms. Talia is quick to cut off his umbilical cord as well before wrapping him in one of the blankets. I finally have two beautiful babies. I have twins. However, something doesn't feel right.

"Wait.." I sit up weakly, propping myself up on my elbows. "Why ..Why's my girl...not crying? TALIA WHY IS SHE NOT CRYING?!!"

"Shit.." I hear Talia curse as she hands my son to Nyssa and lifts my daughter to her arms. I can see that my girl's skin is almost pale blue. No. No it can't be. No god please. Please. I see Talia struggle in giving her a CPR. Weakly, tears falling out of my eyes, I slide back into the bed and let out a shrill scream full of pain.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

"So what do we do when we feel like giving up?" I ask my workers, shrugging nonchalantly. All the workers repeat "Dig a little deeper" after me.

"And what do we do when we possibly can't go on any longer?" I hear my workers repeat the same words again and I smile proudly.

"And what do we-"

I gasp suddenly, my eyes bobbing out of my sockets and my smile falters. I don't understand how or why but I look down at my stomach and realize that I have been stabbed by Ecco. I falter backwards and Ecco suddenly takes off her mask, only to be revealed as Selina Kyle. "Deep enough?" She almost spits I to my face. "That's for shooting my best friend. And trying to shoot me."

"Well, Selina, I must say - " I open my mouth again only to be stabbed by Selina again.

"Don't say anything." I hear her snarl at me. She takes out the pocket knife again and thrusts it back again, pain shooting through my insides. Bruce suddenly jumps out of nowhere and wraps both his arms around Selina before she could stab me again. My legs finally give up and weakly, I fall to the hard concrete ground, blood spurting out of my wounds.

"It's done. It's over." Selina exclaims and makes her way along with Bruce through the crowd of my workers.

***

*Ruby's POV*

I sent Talia and Nyssa out of the room. I want to be alone with my babies. I place both my babies, now wrapped in the baby blankets that I had purchased, in front of me on the bed. My eyes fall on my boy and I can see that he is distraught, he is wailing, he can probably feel the loss of his sister too. They were together inside for a long time. I can't help but sniffle as I run a hand over my dead daughter's forehead. I lean and place a kiss on her forehead, doing the same with my boy, only to smile through tears as he grabs my index finger with his tiny palm. I watch his tiny eyes get drowsy as he curls into a warm nap.

I turn my attention to my baby girl. "Renee Ruby Valeska.." I sigh softly, my heart aching as I slide my fingers delicately through her raven curls. "You were with me for such a short period of time. I couldn't even get to know you. I wish I had." I blink my eyes shut, tears rolling down my cheek.

My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of someone knocking my door. I look up and see Talia look at me sadly, she then walks inside and looks down at her hands. "The car is ready.." She informs me and I just nod, numbly. I'll never be ready to bury my baby girl. "I'll just get ready Talia.. Could you please take Jason?" She looks at me and a faint smile erupts on her face. "What did you name him?" I look down at my son, who's fast asleep now.

"Jason Jeremiah Valeska.." I whisper softly.

I watch Talia leave the room with Jason in her arms. I then tiredly make my way to the closet, having given birth just a few hours ago. I pull out a comfortable black dress, actually the first one I could lay my hand on and matching black flat boots with laces and slide into them as fast as my sore body permits me to. I roughly pull my frizzy hair into a loose bun not even bothering to run a comb through them.

I then pull out a white hand knitted woollen blanket that I had myself knitted the first month I had been brought here. I wrap Renee's lifeless tiny frame into the blanket and bundle her up, my eyes not finding a moment to dry themselves. Lifting her up and pulling her tightly to my chest, with weak steps , I make my way outside to where a black car is waiting. Talia and Nyssa are already inside and watching me through the dark tainted windows along with Jason who is bundled up in Talia's arms. Pulling the gate open, I slide in next to her and stroke my son's tiny forehead with my fingers for a few seconds before Nyssa pulls me out of my thoughts.

"Why do you have to go back to Gotham? We have a nice cemetery here?" She raises an eyebrow.

"Nyssa, Gotham is my home. Jeremiah's home. Now my babies home too. That's where they were conceived. That's where I want Renee to be laid to rest. Not in some strange faraway land which we can never call our home." I look down at her bluish face and sigh. Nyssa nods but doesn't say anything more.

After about an hour or two's drive later, I have already fallen fast asleep in the car. I feel someone nudge my shoulder trying to wake me up. I wake up groggily and look around only to realize that our car is parked at what looks like a sea port . I squint my eyes and glance at the person who woke me up, realising it's Talia. She informs me then that there is no way we can travel to Gotham by road since the bridges are no more there, the only way to reach is by the Gotham river. I can't help but smile softly. Jeremiah did it, finally. I nod and step out weakly, holding my dead baby in my hands. Her skin is already turning grey from blue and swelling up slightly but I still keep her clutched to my chest not wanting to part with her.

Stepping out of the car, I follow Talia and Nyssa who are walking with two if the League of Shadows men. I see them walk towards a small boat parked by one of the walking bridges. It's not very big but there is a closed compartment and a large spacious deck. Carefully, we tread our way into the boat securely and the boat starts moving.

Gotham, I'm coming home.

Chapter Text

*Jeremiah's POV*

Ecco is hunched over me , shaking my shoulders and nudging me to awaken. She has already stitched me up. My eyes slowly flutter open and I look around, dazed for a moment.

"Boss, wake up! Wake up!" I hear her say in her shrill voice.

"Ouch."

"Stitches still sore huh? Never would have happened if you wore the armour I prepared for you." I glance at Ecco, wiggling her eyebrows in a funny manner. I shake my head with a little bit of amusement and annoyance.

"That bullet is making you sentimental. Give yourself a shake, will you?" Ecco's giggle echoes through my ears and she does what I asked her to do, shaking herself in a funny manner. "Better?" I ask and she nods, grinning.

"I had to let Selina thrust the knife into my flesh atleast once. Verisimilitude trumps precaution, you see."

"Ooh I get it." Ecco nods. "Selina and Bruce had to think that you are dead , boss." I roll my eyes in response and nod. "Yeah, right."

Ecco's expressions somewhat change and so does her tone for a quick second. "But then again, something could have happened to you, Puddin'."

"Ecco." I raise my hand face level in front of me. "Don't get over emotional. You know how I feel about emotions. Emotions ruin a man." Ecco nods and looks down at her hands nervously. Suddenly, I lunge at Ecco and take a hold of her arm, asking her a question. "I take it you have news?" She nods. "All systems go."

"Anything else?" I raise an eyebrow. What I want to know is whether she found Ruby or not.

"Nothing else, boss." She whispers.

"Well then lead the way." I hiss and order her, pushing her roughly towards the exit end of the tunnel.

I keep following Ecco until we step into what looks like a part of the Wayne Manor. There is a staircase going upwards in front of me and I watch Ecco casually hop up the stairs which probably lead to the living room.

Just as we enter the living room of the Wayne Manor, my eyes fall on the doctor and two people seated on chairs in the front.

"Doctor, I'm hearing good things." I keep my eyes on the doctor who just keeps working like a mechanical robot.

"The bandages are ready to come off. Your assistant thought you'd like to see the results." He informs me and makes his way to the couple, starting to take off the bandages covering their faces as I watch on in excitement. "Indeed, I would."

I gasp in amazement and shock as the bandages come off . They look just like Thomas and Marta Wayne. The resemblance is uncanny. I cannot contain my happiness and I step forward, close enough to their faces as I personally examine them. A tiny laugh escapes my mouth. "Oh, you two look beautiful!" I exclaim. I then lift the lantern closer to my face , making my face light up under its light. "I love family reunions."

***

*Ruby's POV*

Gotham is worse than a nightmare. I should be happy. This is what I wanted. This is what Jeremiah wanted. And we got it. However, only that I am not happy. I lost my baby, there is nothing that can lessen the anguish that I feel. Once we reached Gotham by the river, we found a black car waiting for us by the docks. We boarded the car and the car dropped us to the Gotham Cemetery.

The last time I was here, things were different and everything looked promising. Now, everything looks dark and desolate. While treading down the familiar green path of the cemetery, I can't help but feel myself go back to the time Jeremiah and I were here last. Now here I am again, standing at the exact same place where I was just a few months ago. I look up and place my eyes on the familiar looking tombstone which reads ' HERE LIES JEROME VALESKA - SECOND TIME IS THE CHARM '.

Talia and Nyssa are standing a few steps away from me, Talia holding Jason is her arms. The caretaker of the cemetery is standing next to her.

"Dig this one." I glance at the man and he nods. He picks up the shovel and makes his way to Jerome's grave, digging the mud.

It takes him almost an hour to dig up the entire grave. He informs me and I nod, making my way to the open grave. My eyes start watering again as I walk to Jerome's grave and look down into the gaping hole. I hear Talia clear her throat behind me. "We would give you some privacy Ruby." Thankful, I nod and watch the sisters walk away, towards the exit of the cemetery.

I then walk back with slow steps towards the hole and glance inside, immediately greeted by Jerome's grey decomposing corpse, most of his clothes already eaten up. Only , much to my shock, somebody has carved out his face. Probably somebody wanted to pull a Dwight again. I think to myself and then shake my head.

"Hi Jerome." I whisper, barely audible.

I open my mouth to speak up again, only to fall quiet again as I feel a sob in my throat. Taking a deep breath and trying to blink the tears away, I continue, kneeling down in front of the grave, still hiding Renee in my arms.

"Meet your niece. Her name is Renee. You'd have loved her probably. I don't know." I gasp, almost choking on my own sob. "I need your help Jerome. My baby would be too alone up there in a strange strange world, without her mom and dad. Would you please take care of her till I can be up there? You would right? In your own twisted way, you once told me you loved me. Would you love Renee too like she is your own? I know you would Jerome." I sniffle, tears running freely from my eyes now. "I'm scared Jerome. Scared of leaving her alone there in the dark. She is so tiny.. so fragile. She won't survive it." I look down at Renee and then back to Jerome. "Would you keep her for me while I am away? I know you would." I speak, as much as my words make sense due to my intense sobbing.

I look down lovingly at my girl. "My dearest Renee, mommy loves you very much. I'm sorry we couldn't spend any time together. You were taken so early from me." I kiss her forehead softly. "But don't be afraid, your uncle Jerome is waiting for you on the other side. I promise you. He is."

I do something unexpected then. I find myself jumping into the grave, landing on my knees just next to where Jerome is curled up. It really stinks horrible down here. But I don't mind. I kneel down next to Jerome and take his rotting palm in mine, lifting it slightly and placing Renee's body underneath. I then place Jerome's hand on top of her, latched on to her securely and protectively.

It takes me a lot of effort to climb back up but I do. With slow steps, I grab some mud and toss it into the grave. I then walk back to the cemetery care taker and pay him some cash, watching him scamper away with his shovel to fill up the grave again. I make my way to where my friends are. Nyssa sighs and wraps an arm around me. "Hey you okay?" I nod. "Yeah, I'm as okay as a mother who lost her baby could be." I whisper, bitterly.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

I am crouched behind a large trash can, watching Alfred emerge from a random apartment with a large black bag in his hand. Cautiously, he looks to his left and then to his right. I , however, make the stupidest of mistakes. I step on a tin can, the sound of which alerts Alfred and he pulls out his gun, aiming it directly in front of him, cautiously checking each side.

I slowly and sneakily step out from behind the trash can the minute he turns the opposite way and stab him with an injection containing a knock out drug right into his shoulder from behind, letting him collapse right in the middle of a street.

"Wanted. One butler. Military background a plus. References required." I hum. I then crouch down next to him and brush my fingers against his face. "Yes. Mr. Pennyworth. I have a job for you." I lift him up and push him over my shoulder. "Oh you're heavy." And take him back to the Wayne Manor from the tunnel route, which is unoccupied at the moment because Bruce decided to get some repairs done to the manor at the last moment and they both moved to a hotel nearby. Once securely inside the Wayne Manor, I place Alfred on a chair with a black cloth bag over his face until he gains consciousness.

A few minutes later, I see Alfred waking up and start fluttering like a bird to get free. Haphazardly, I place my palm on the cloth bag and yank it off his face. He gasps in shock when he see me.

"You. You're supposed to be dead, mate." He murmurs, slurring on his words due to the after effects of the knock out drugs.

"Sorry to disappoint." I say as I let the black cloth bag drop to the floor.

Alfred's nostrils flare up in anger. "You hurt my boy and I will bite your face off." He threatens. Amused, I let out a chuckle. "Uhh, Bruce will be along shortly. In the meanwhile - " I place my finger on the coffee table and trail it across the surface, lifting up my gloved finger and glancing at the dust accumulated on it. "- this place is in desperate need of some good , old fashioned butlering. ." I see Alfred open his mouth to say something but doesn't seem to find the right words before he speaks again.
"How did you find your way off the bloody island anyway?"

My voice suddenly turns dark as I glance emotionlessly at Alfred. "One if by land, two if by sea, three if by digging a tunnel under the river." I place my palm on Alfred's chin and he struggles to push my hand off. "But enough questions. Today is a big day." I smile wide.

***

*Ruby's POV*

I'm curled up on the leather couch in the living room of one of the poshest penthouse suites in Gotham, thanks to Theresa Walker aka Nyssa.

"Who's my cute little darling hun?" I lean closer to my two weeks old boy. He just looks around with his big irises almost grabbing my index finger into his tight grasp, coaxing me to gush over him further. I love how he smells of baby oil and lavender, he is such a darling I want to eat him. I lift him up in my arms and pull open my loose printed t shirt over my head, not bothering to wear a bra these days. I then place my baby against my breast and watch in amazement as he latches his tiny lips to my nipple and starts suckling on it. I sit back more comfortably and sigh.

Things have been difficult lately. The two weeks have been a train wreck for me. I have had trouble sleeping, not because of my new born but because of the nightmares that haunt me almost every night. I barely eat any more, only a little now and then and Talia is concerned, me having a new born child to breastfeed. I feel myself sinking into an endless state of melancholy day after day. The only thing that keeps me going is Jason.

I look down at how easily this little life can fall asleep and likewise. I pull down my t shirt as gently as I can because I don't want to wake him up. I had already changed his diaper an hour back. Gently, I step up to my feet and place him softly back inside his crib. His tiny little mouth opens wide into what looks like a yawn and my heart just melts a little at the sight. He's just so precious. I see little Jeremiah in him. I look down and sigh, realising that it's been almost four months I haven't seen or heard from him.

Maybe I should try to contact him. I think to myself. I shake my head adamantly. No. I can't. Ecco's words come spiraling into my mind - You think Jeremiah cares about you? He left you at the hospital to rot. He doesn't want anyone to interrupt with his big 'plan'. I close my eyes as all the old memories are playing in front of my mind like a black and white movie, making me feel even worse. No. I decide not to look for Jeremiah.

Just then, the door opens and Nyssa walks in, saving me from my murderous thoughts. Instantly, I pull my index finger to my lips, indicating her to stay quiet as Jason is asleep. She looks at Jason and nods, then signals me to meet her outside. I follow her to the parlour in the next room.

Once I step into the parlour, I am immediately greeted by Talia. My glance, however, falls to a man lying lifelessly on a gurney behind her. His skin is turning grey and his eyes are wide open. He has been inpaled by what looks like an iron rod right through his ribs and out from the front.

"Eduardo Dorrance?" I raise an eyebrow towards Nyssa and she nods. She then informs me that she will take him to Hugo Strange and have him brought back to life. I just shudder internally at the mention of that man.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

I watch amused as the lookalikes of Thomas and Martha Wayne are sitting and laughing over at a couch. I curl my fingers around my glass of scotch and lift it to my lips, taking a sip, waiting for Bruce to show up at the manor.

A few minutes later, I see Bruce step in to the Wayne Manor living room from inside the tunnel, probably having followed my lookalikes through the tunnel. Bruce, however, doesn't look at me. He is completely engrossed in staring at the Wayne lookalikes. I just find myself smirking a little.

"Who are you?" I hear Bruce ask them, confused.

Martha and Thomas then turn suddenly , their eyes fixating on Bruce. "Look who decided to join us." Martha chimes happily, almost as if she really is Martha Wayne. "Hello, champ." Thomas greets Bruce as he takes a sip of his drink. Just then, Alfred walks into the living room and his eyes fall on Bruce. "Master Bruce!" He exclaims.

It's extremely funny, watching Bruce's face contort in confusion as he looks from Alfred to the lookalikes of his parents and then back at Alfred. "Alfred, how did you -" Alfred practically ignores Bruce's words and he walks up to him, straightening his collar with his hand. "Look at the state of you. What have I told you about rolling around in the muck?" I watch amused as Alfred shakes his head in disapproval.

"Alfred, what's going on? Who are these people?"

Thomas clears his throat. "Whatever you mean, son?"

"We're your parents!" Martha says.

Alfred looks at Bruce and shrugs. "Right. Well, let's get you spruced up. After all, we have guests." Just then, Alfred turns to face me and he points his index finger towards me and Bruce follows him with his eyes, his eyes bobbing out at the sight of me.

"Welcome home, Bruce. I'm so happy you decided to show up." I say as I reach for my glass and take a sip of my scotch. Bruce, however, doesnt seem surprised. "Jeremiah. I heard you were alive." I can't help but chuckle in amusement to that. "You really didn't think that Selina could kill me so easily, right?" I raise my index finger and fixate it towards the lookalikes of Thomas and Martha Wayne. "I had to put you off my scent. Buy myself some time until I could finalize my project."

Bruce lets out an animalistic growl then and raises his arms in the air to charge at me but Alfred stops him. "Manners, Master Bruce." I hear him say. "Let's not be rude to our guest." I step up from where I had been sitting and make my way towards something kept in black sheet in the middle of the living room. "Especially when I come bearing gifts." I say, calmly. I place my fingers against the fabric of the cloth and yank it away, revealing an inactivated bomb underneath, which would be activated soon.

 

"Oh. Mr. Jeremiah. A cake. How exceedingly kind of you." I hear Alfred's excited voice, making me let out an amused chuckle. "I cooked it up myself with the help of my assistant off course . This cake will leave an explosion of flavours in your tongue." I part my lips and let my tongue graze over my lips , moistening them in the process.

"How exceedingly kind of you. Is it Italian Meringue?" Alfred nods kindly and asks me with excitement. Bruce just looks at me like he is going to start crying any moment. I nod.

"Sure." I coo with a hint of a smile playing on my lips. Just then, I see Bruce start coming closer towards me making me raise my voice again. "Now, Bruce. If you come any closer, I blow up the Wayne Manor, with all of us inside. We have a dozen more of these, uh, Italian Meringues - " I wink deliberately at Bruce. "- sprinkled throughout the house."

Bruce suddenly turns and starts glaring at Alfred, then back to me. I just shrug nonchalantly.

"What did you do to Alfred? And who are these people?" He asks.

"Ah, Glad you asked." I curl my fingers against the glass of my drink and lift it up, placing it to my lips and taking a sip while beckoning the lookalikes to come closer to me. "Come, Come .." I see Thomas throw out his hand towards Martha who gladly takes the hand.

"Mommy and daddy dearest were just an innocent couple I kidnapped based on bone structure and built. Just a touch of plastic surgery, and voilà, The Wayne's." I say, nodding to myself in pride. I continue then. "Alfred I nabbed in the Green Zone."

"They're hypnotized." I hear Bruce's almost whisper like voice. I just nod and clear my throat. "Well I'm afraid there was no room for 'improv' in our script. Anyway,moving on. There are so many important things happening today Bruce. There will be fireworks and everything. You'll see." I inform him.

"Today is a very important day , Bruce. Just look at the way they're dressed." I place each of my hand on Thomas and Martha's look alike's shoulder and look down at their clothes before looking back at Bruce. Martha is wearing a long cream coloured knee length coat, her hair perfectly pulled up in a neat bun. Thomas is wearing a black suit and a long black coat on top of it. Bruce goes quiet suddenly as realization finally hits him and when he replies, it's in a low and sad whisper. "It's the night my parents were killed."

"And I am giving you a chance to experience it all once again." I look at him with a grin. Bruce takes a step closer and asks me why. I find myself taking a step close to Bruce as well, standing in between the Wayne couple as I speak. " Bruce this..this was the most important day of your life. And I didn't get to be a part of it. We need to rectify that. Alfred, it's time for dinner. Chop - chop. We're on a very tight schedule."

*Ruby's POV*

I find myself standing on the roof overlooking a dark and forlorn Gotham city, with a cigarette in my hand. I place the butt of the cigarette to my lips and pull in a mouthful of smoke inside of me only to exhale it a few seconds later as I keep watching, my other arm hugging my upper body tightly to keep myself from feeling the chills from the winds blowing. Nyssa and Talia have been busy lately, Nyssa with Hugo Strange trying to bring Eduardo Dorrance back to life and Talia, I'm not sure where. She is just not at home usually. I rarely see her once in a week. Having completely smoked the cigarette, I use the ashtray to dump the cigarette butt into it and make my way back into the apartment. The place is quiet since Jason is asleep in the bedroom. I decide to check on him. I place my palm on the door and push it open as quietly as possible and make my way to the crib where my sleeping son is laying. He is curled up, bundled up in his blankets as he had been fed just over an hour ago. He's not even a month old yet so all he does is drink my milk and sleep all day.

My thoughts are interrupted when I hear the sound of glass breaking somewhere outside my bedroom within the apartment. I gasp slightly. There is no one in the house apart from me and my son. What was the noise?

I glance at my baby boy sleeping peacefully in his cot and instinctively pull out my gun from the top drawer of the shelf in front of me. Curling it tight against my fingers, I place my other hand against the doorknob and pull it open towards the inside , instinctively stepping back and sheilding the cot with the gun raised in front of me. Nothing happens.

"Who's there?!" I yell and step out of the bedroom, making sure to close the door behind me as I take cautious steps down the hallway, my eyes scanning for something unusual. Having checked all the rooms in the hallway, I step into the living room and look around, my eyes suddenly fixating themselves over the glass balcony door that has been shattered to pieces. There are bits and shreds of glass all over the living room floor.

Suddenly I hear the weak cry of my child, pulling me out of my daze. "Jason.." I whisper under my breath and clutch the gun tighter in my palm, my eyes suddenly falling on one of Talia's knife holders. Instantly, I grab one of the sharper looking knives and start running towards my bedroom. When I reach the hallway, I am shocked to see my bedroom door open. I'm sure I had closed it when I came out. I can also hear the faint crying of my child coming from the inside of the room.

"DON'T YOU DARE HURT MY BABY!!" I scream as I dash into the bedroom only to stop in my tracks, instantly lowering my gun. I see Ecco standing by the crib, holding a wailing Jason in her arms, trying to pacify him. Although, my gun is lowered, my guard isn't. Bitterly, I walk up to her and take my baby roughly away from her, making her gasp in surprise.

"That's rude, puddin'. We were just gettin to know each other, a lot." She smiles crazily, with her usual paint caked face. Holding Jason in my arms, while trying to soothe his crying by walking up and down the room, I keep my eyes plastered at Ecco.

"Yeah right."

Jason visibly relaxes and he closes his eyes again, letting out a tiny little yawn before going back to sleep.

"He's a mini boss." I hear Ecco say, making me roll my eyes.

"Why are you here Ecco?" I look at her with suspicious eyes and she just shrugs.

"I heard you're back and you've had a baby. Just wanted to see for myself." She puts on a fake smile and I roll my eyes.

"Does Jeremiah know?" I ask, biting my lip.

"Probably. Probably not. He's too busy with Bruce these days. The tunnel is completed by the way. So are the Wayne lookalikes. The plan is almost ready to be executed." She bats her lashes and glances back at me. "Why are you so mad at me Ruby?"

"I'm mad at Jeremiah." I can't help but say those words with a little bitterness in them.

"You were the one that risked the life of his heir by getting in the way of his bullet though." She says, making me narrow my eyes at her.

"You'd take a bullet for him,won't you?" I ask. She nods. "You do that for people whom you love. And I would do it for Selina again if I have to because she is my friend."

She frowns at me and turns away, staring at the wall next to me.

"By the way, Ecco. Please use the doorbell next time. It's right outside the front door. Please spare the balconies." I say sassily and walk up to Jason's crib, bending over it and tucking his blanket around him carefully.

Chapter Text

*Jeremiah's POV*

We are almost done with dinner. I grab the cloth and wipe my mouth, slowly stepping up from my chair, clearing my throat. "Your parents, you and I now have an important date - "

"Jeremiah!!" Bruce calls out angrily at the same time as he stands up.

"With destiny." I start walking out of the kitchen, only to stop walking suddenly and turn around.

"Oh and you might want to find your faithful butler and leave. Quickly." I then move on to activate all the bombs in the manor.

A few minutes later, having managed to get out scratch free from the Manor, I lean against a brick wall, watching the Manor erupt into flames and smoke rise into the air. "What a shame. It was such a nice property." I whisper amused to myself. Suddenly, the static of my walkie talkie goes off and irritatedly I pull it out pressing the talk button. Only it's Jervis, and not Ecco.

"Why do you have Ecco's walkie talkie on you?" I raise an eyebrow.

"She said she had something to do." I hear Jervis say. What could possibly be more important than what we are doing right now. As fury surges through me, I find myself clutching the walkie talkie hard, my knuckles almost turning white.

"Oh, you won't believe who just showed up here at ACE chemicals." I hear Jervis say. "Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins themselves." I can't help but gasp in surprise. It's good. Really good. He continues. "I have tied them up. I wanted to hypnotize them and have them slit each other's throats, but I thought I would check with you first, since Ecco is not here." Where the hell is Ecco? I'm gonna have to punish her too later.

"No." I glance at the fake Thomas and Martha Wayne before talking to Jervis again. "I have other ideas for those two."

***

*Ruby's POV*

"By the way, Ecco. Please use the doorbell next time. It's right outside the front door. Please spare the balconies." I say sassily and walk up to Jason's crib, bending over it and tucking his blanket around him carefully.

"That won't be necessary. I won't have to visit another time." Ecco says in a evil tone. I look up at her and see her smirking at me. Instinctively I pull out the gun I had slid earlier into the waist of my sweatpants and aim it right towards her.

"Not so fast." She smirks and with one swift motion, she grabs Jason and holds him close to her chest.

"Let go of my baby you bitch." I glare at her, not dropping the gun. She just shakes her head, casually. "Nah, he is my ticket to not getting shot by you."

"Okay, Ecco. Relax. I'm not going to shoot you. Please give Jason to me." I raise the hand with which I am holding my gun in the air, as if admitting defeat. She smiles, still holding Jason.

"Everything I tried to do to throw you out of Jeremiah's life. The things I have to do. Oh!" She starts walking towards the wall and then back to the crib. "But you're so clingy!! You always come back." She cries.

"Ecco listen. Can you give me back my baby?" I throw out my arms but she just smiles.

"I tried to send ya away so that I can be alone with my Jeremiah. You could have kept the baby ya know. I had no need for him. But why did you have to come back to Gotham? I was finally alone with Jeremiah!! But then you came back again!! Oh puddin' don't you understand? I don't want you here!"

"Ecco..Please." I plead, my eyes not leaving Jason.

She shakes her head and suddenly , her mouth breaks into a dangerous grin.

"Oh wait. What if I toss him out of the window ? Huh?" She blinks, looking down at the bundle in her arms.

"NO! JEREMIAH WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU IF YOU DO THAT." I yell as loud as I can.

"Who's gonna tell Jeremiah that I did it huh? I would kill you too. Slit that pretty pink throat of yours. Watch you bleed out to death.." She coos, her eyes twinkling.

"Why are you doing this?" My eyes almost plead with her.

"Oh ya know. I want to have Jeremiah all to myself. As long as you're alive, he would never embrace me like I want." I see her smile, licking her lips.

"You can have him Ecco!! Please keep Jeremiah. Just give me back my baby." I almost sniffle.

"Okay! Here ya go, puddin'."

She tosses my baby into the air, my eyes widening in shock as I watch my wailing child tossed into the air like a basketball and he starts descending downwards, almost about to hit the floor.

"NOOO!" I scream and jump towards him with my arms stretched out in front of me as far as I can go, letting my gun drop unintentionally just in front of the bedroom door in the process. I manage to grab the wailing baby in my arms just at the right time before he hits the hard concrete floor. Ecco suddenly lunges towards the door when she sees that I am distracted just to grab the fallen gun.

I, however, jut out my left leg just when she reaches close to me. She gets disoriented and slips due to my leg in between, falling face first to the floor just in front of the door. Quickly, I push my baby underneath his crib to protect him and jump back up to my feet, fury burning my insides. That's when she picks up my gun.

"I will kill you, bitch." I spit angrily, watching her groan on the floor, her nose now bleeding from the face hit she took.
It does not take her time,however, to step up and spit the blood and saliva in her mouth. She then turns around to face me, cackling maniacally.

***

Somehow, Bruce managed to convince his very heavily hypnotized butler to escape from the Wayne Manor just at the right time. The manor erupted into flames as the building exploded. Millions of memories just gone down in ashes. The only good thing the explosion brought was Alfred out of the hypnosis.

He hurriedly steps inside the Monarch Theatre. The condition of the theatre has deteriorated drastically. It's dust clad walls and torn and tattered seats are a sharp contrast of what it used to be back here when his parents were alive.
He looks around, only to realize that there is no one around here except for the lookalikes of Thomas and Martha Wayne sitting in the foremost row. Only, he doesn't know that Jeremiah is hiding in the projection booth with a little smirk on his face, ready to play a small piece of theatrical play that he and Ecco had recorded a few days back just for this occasion.

Suddenly, the projector turns on and Bruce flings his gaze towards the projection screen. The wordings 'Monarch Theatre presents.." flashes on screen, followed by 'Douglas Fairbanks in 'The Mark of Zorro'. Copyright 1920. Douglas Fairbanks Pictures Corporation.'
Suddenly Jeremiah appears on the screen, wearing a long black cape and a sword in his hand.

"Olé! Hola Bruce!" Rotating the sword in his hand, he starts walking closer towards the camera. "Well, here we are. The theatre where your mommy and daddy took you to see the 'Mark of Zorro'."

He spins his cape around suddenly and the projection changes, him appearing with a black mask , a hat and mustache now. "I had heard you were obsessed with this man as a child. I wonder what it was that intrigued you so? Was it the fact that he struck fear into the hearts of his enemies?" The background music plays suddenly as Jeremiah comes as close to the camera as he can with his sword yeilding hand thrown out towards the camera.

In the next scene, Ecco walks in wheeling four gurneys one by one with men dressed in white shirts and black pants. Jeremiah walks up to each men, fighting them with his sword, carving a 'Z'onto their chests with Ecco standing and clapping behind.

Jeremiah suddenly turns towards the camera, his hand on top of his hat. "Perhaps the movie was a bit too effective. Isn't this the part where you became frightened? When you asked your parents to leave? I wonder what would have happened if you hadn't done that. If you had conquered your fear. Perhaps your parents would still be alive."

Suddenly, the fake Wayne's get up from their seats and start walking towards the exit of the theatre. "Well, onto the last and final stop of our memory lane." The projector turns off. Bruce turns away angrily and and runs towards the exit as well. He knows too well where he is going now. The exact same place where his parents were killed.

***

*Ruby's POV*

Ecco suddenly takes a step closer to me. She seductively runs her hand along her neck, placing it right where she took the test of faith. I just roll my eyes. My eyes fall at the my gun that she is now holding in her hand. Slowly, I see her as she places the gun to her own temple.

"You know Puddin', I would gladly take a bullet for Jeremiah if he asks me to. Only - " Slowly, she pulls her hand away and raises it towards me. "I feel like blowing out your brains." I, however, don't give her enough time. I am quick to leap into the air and kick my leg out, hitting her arm with my foot and making her drop the gun back to the floor.

"Not so fast." I hiss at her. "I'm a wolf and you messed with my pack. I'm not gonna let you go so easily."

Suddenly, she lunges at me, grabbing me by my shoulders and headbutting me. Wincing slightly, I fall back but do not fall, only lose my balance a little but steady myself just as quickly. Yelling as loud as I could, I jump into the air and spin around, kicking her hard on the side of her back,making her fall on her knees. She uses her elbows to prevent herself from falling completely though. She grabs my foot and pulls me hard, making me tumble backwards so that my body comes crumbling down, the back of my head hitting against the solid floor. I feel her climb on top of me then, straddling my waist. She then begins punching me on my face. Hard. Left cheek. Right cheek. Then again the left cheek. My face is bloody now, my left eye bruised and swollen and blood oozing out of my broken nose. I also have a broken tooth.

I can hear the sound of my baby crying. Another blow comes my way but this time I grab both her fists with my palms, blocking her attack. Having gripped onto her fists securely , I yank her forward and she falls on top of me, her face inches from me now. I can't believe it , she is still cackling. I open my mouth wide and latch my teeth onto her ear and bite hard into it, sinking my teeth as deep as I can until I can feel her blood's metallic flavour burst in my mouth. She screams in agony, trying to free herself from my grip but my hold on her fists is hard. Mustering all the energy I can, I shove her off me and get back up to my feet, spitting her bitten ear off onto the floor. She is laying on the floor, clutching what used to be her ear until I bit it off, groaning and crying in agony.

I make my way to the crib and kneel next to it, lifting up my crying baby in my arms and hugging him tight to my chest. Much to my annoyance, I see from the corner of my eye that Ecco is already up on her feet, still holding her bleeding hole where her ear used to be. I quickly place Jason back underneath the crib and stand up, grabbing a nearby vase, throwing it hard at her. She dodges it this time and runs towards me, screaming like a raging bull.

Just at the right time, however, I slam my knee right into her rib cage. She flies back from the impact, her mouth open. I then start kicking her , rage taking control of me now.

Back and forth.
Right leg.
Left leg.

I keep kicking her then until her ribs finally snap and she lets out a cry of pain, her legs finally giving away as she crashes face first onto the floor, whimpering.

I jump over her broken body and make my way to the drawer cabinet behind him and grab the knife I had placed there earlier. Clutching my fingers tight against it, I make my way up to an almost incapacitated Ecco. Her eyes are open though, watching me approach. I grab her then by her blond hair and yank her head back, revealing her throat.

"Any last wishes, Puddin'?" I say, imitating her voice and accent. "Nah, I don't care." I then place my knife to her throat and slash it open, watching her choke and bleed out on my carpeted floor.

"What a mess." I throw my head back and laugh, my face still bloody with the now coagulated blood caked on it. I gently pick up my baby boy and lovingly press him to my breasts, stroking the back of his head as I try to pacify his crying until he stops crying and looks around with his big green eyes.

I look down at Ecco's dead body. What? She asked for it. I then place him back into his crib and walk to the closet, oblivious to the dead body lying in my room. I pull out a sultry looking black sequined halter top and a faded ripped blue pencil jeans. I finally feel the urge to put my stilettos on because why not. I get into the shower and strip, not bothering to lock the door behind me. I want to keep my eye on Ecco's body. God knows if she miraculously ends up waking up again. The warm water feels reviving and gives my sore body a healing touch, all the dried blood falling off and draining away.

Once out of the shower, I slide into the clothes I had laid out and admire myself in the mirror. Time for some make up. I pull open my make up drawer and give myself the best smokey eyes I have ever given . At least they will hide my black eye. I pick bright crimson lip shade to apply to my lips and use the curler tongs to make soft curls on my golden white hair.

"Wanna come with mommy and get some fresh air?" I coo at Jason although I know he cannot understand a thing. I lift him up and his him steadily as I take Talia's car keys and make my way to the car.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

"Sadly, I don't have any more job for you." I sigh dramatically as I put a bullet into the Thomas Wayne's lookalike's head with feeling any emotion. "Oh well. You splattered my suit." I remove a stain of blood from my suit and move on to watch the chaos as the sound of Bruce's screaming can be heard out in the alley. Perhaps he has met my alternatives for the choice of Thomas and Martha Wayne. I step out and watch as Bruce is getting closer to the two who are standing with their back turned towards us.

"That's far enough, Bruce." I call out.

"Jeremiah, you don't have to do this." Bruce calls out to me.

"But I do.." I reply, stepping forward. "You see, I came to this realization. I realized that no matter what I do to bond us, some random gunman in an alley would be the man who you were tied to the most. The man you will always see when you close your eyes. I want to be the star of the show." I dramatically throw my arms open wide.

I then continue. "So, if I cannot have you as a brother bonded by love , then we'll just have to be bonded by hatred."

Bruce suddenly narrows his eyes at me. "And you think killing two people who exactly look like my parents would do it? It won't."

"Well then it's a good thing that I already put a bullet to his fraudulent skulls."

Bruce looks at me like a confused lamb. "Oh, you're confused. You're thinking that if I have already shot them, then who's this lovely couple? Thomas, Martha, dear why don't you both turn around?" I ask calmly, turning on the lights I had specially had put in the alley just for tonight's special effects.

It is none other than Jim Gordon and Lee  Thompkins. Bruce gasps in shock. I walk up to Jim and Lee and stand in the middle of them, watching Bruce. "See, over the course of our little adventure, fate brought to us James Gordon and Leslie Thompkins."

I then pat Jim on his shoulder and chuckle. "So friendly. Normal Gordon would have already tried to arrest me. Lee would probably try to slap me or punch me in the face. And then I thought to myself, why not? Why not kill the man who you think of as your second father figure? And your dear friend Lee Thompkins. And when I do, we would finally be bonded together. Because you see.."  I point towards the alley in front of me and there's a pickup truck parked in front of it. "Reunification with the mainland hangs on by a thread. Those fireworks go off and  toxic chemicals rain down onto the city and the government cuts us adrift for good."

Bruce suddenly looks at the the pickup truck and so do I ,frowning slightly as Ecco does not step out of it, Jervis does, with a remote control in his hand which would set off the fireworks.

Bruce suddenly steps towards me, still glancing at Jervis. "Jeremiah . Don't."

***

*Ruby's POV*

I have parked the car on one of the random streets. I am walking casually through one of  the dark streets, smiling and humming to myself. I don't know why I feel so elated. I feel so light. As if a burden has been lifted from my heart. I glance down at Jason and smile. Honestly speaking, I just needed to clear out my head. And with the body laying in the apartment, I didn't really wanna stay there.

The streets are quiet mostly except for all the bad guys who come out like nocturnal animals in the dark. I carried my gun just in case. Suddenly, my eyes fall on a homeless guy who has a joint in his hand. Probably hash. I know the smell of it. He is sitting facing the opposite side on top of a barrell or crate, his back leaning against the lamppost. My heels clicking against the concrete of the road, I take steps as close as I can towards the unsuspecting man and grab his wrist with my free hand when I am close enough to him, snatching the joint away from him and taking a puff. "Thank you!!" I yell at him, not bothering to look back at him.

"HEY THAT'S MINE. GIVE THAT BACK." I feel him drowsily get up from the crate he was sitting on but still don't bother turning back. I use the same hand with which I am holding the joint and pull out the gun from my waist, pulling it backwards and taking an easy shot. It hits right through his stomach and he collapses to the ground, groaning in pain.

Smoking the joint in my hand and whistling faintly, I decide to roam here and there randomly for a few minutes until I find myself getting bored. It's not very fun. Perhaps I should just sit down in a corner and get some sleep while Jason is asleep. I step onto a random alley but find myself immediately stopping.

I can hear some sounds coming from the farther end of it and I can also see some really bright lights and what looks like a pickup truck. I place my joint to my lips and take a last drag of it, exhaling the smoke into the air above me. I can already feel my senses begin to heighten. I really missed this. I decide to look closer. So I slide myself against the brick wall on one of the sides of the alley and sneak as close I can is possible, mindful to stay under the shadow of the fire escape latches above.

Just then, a familiar voice reaches my ears, making me stop in my tracks in shock.

"I had Jervis hypnotize them so that they wake up the moment these beautiful pearls hit the ground. We want you to see them realize what I have done to them as the life drains out of their bodies. Never forget, this is all for you, Bruce." The voice says.

Jeremiah.

I think I felt my heart just beat again after what feels like a lifetime of being a breathing corpse. I shudder at the sound of his voice, feeling goosebumps all over my arms. There he is, not more than a few inches away from me, looking dapper and handsome as ever in all black.

I look down at Jason and place my lips to his forehead making him stir in his sleep. "That's your daddy, Jason." I say soft enough as I nuzzle my nose against his soft baby skin, sniffing his baby oil and lavender fragrance.

Without thinking any longer, I step forward out of the shadows of the corners until I'm standing directly behind Jeremiah who hasn't seen me yet, intentionally clearing my throat.

"You weren't really going to have all the fun without me, were you?" I smirk, tapping my heels against the concrete ground letting a tap tap tap sound echo through the air. The back of his head turns slightly as he turns back in slow motion, his eyes wide. He looks at me for a minute in disbelief and then trails his gaze from my head to my toe. His expression looks funny, as if he cannot believe what he is just seeing.

"Am I dreaming or is it really you darling?" He takes a step towards me, his left eyebrow shot up questioningly towards me. Suddenly, he narrows his eyes as if he is displeased. "You've been gone a long time. What happened?" His tone is cold and emotionless. "Ra's Al Ghul and Ecco came up with a plan to kidnap me from the hospital and send me away." I blurt out, biting the insides of my cheek nervously.

"Ecco kidnapped you?" He raises an eyebrow, his eyes reflecting his surprise. "I killed her." I whisper, barely inaudible.

"Good." He replies, his lips curving into a faint smirk. His gaze suddenly falls towards our bundled up baby boy in my arms. He is looking at him with a curiousity I have never seen in his eyes before.

"Is that..?" He opens his mouth to speak but probably his words don't come out.
With slow steps, he makes his way to where we are standing and leans down so that his face is close to his son, inhaling the same baby oil and lavender fragrance that I did a few seconds ago. He nudges his nose over his ginger coloured hair and I hear him sigh in satisfaction.

"Miah. Meet your boy, Jason Jeremiah Valeska.." I whisper, almost choking on my own sob. I can feel a tear of happiness trickle down my cheek that instant.

"Uh, guys?" Someone calls out.

Both me and Jeremiah turn our heads together and glare at Jervis.

"What?" Jeremiah barks at him.

"What do I do now?" He ask, bored.

"This really did turn out to be a family reunion after all. I'll be a minute Jervis. Watch Bruce for me till then would you?" He says calmly. "Shhhh till then." He places a finger to his lips indicating Jervis to stop disturbing him.

Jeremiah is back to admire his son. I watch him as he takes his hand and places a gloved finger on his cheek, trailing it across his facial features and then placing it on his tiny palm, almost studying him. He almost gasps as Jason grabs his index finger in his sleep, something he often does unconsciously, making me smile. Probably he is also thinking the same question I find myself thinking often, but don't say it out aloud. How did we end up making something so pure and innocent?

"Oh my." I hear him whisper.

"Here. Hold him." I whisper back and he nods. I can't believe it. The man standing in front of me is not the Jeremiah Valeska the entire Gotham city fears. He is just a dad who is seeing his child for the first time in that moment. Gently, I place Jason in his arms, instructing him how to support the head. It is funny watching him struggle to hold a tiny little baby. "So fragile.." He coos, still staring at him. I smile to myself as he turns around with his son in his hand and looks at Bruce. "Bruce, this day just got better you see.. Just look at him. Isn't he beautiful?" Jeremiah cradles Jason with pride which is the cutest thing I have ever seen. I make my way to my husband and my son and lean against Jeremiah's shoulder, staring at Jason. I feel him turn his head towards me while still cradling Jason and I look up into his irises. He just leans in and I feel his lips on mine after what feels like ages. His lips feel like velvet and I find myself leaning into him as I kiss back just as softly.

Jeremiah clears his throat suddenly and pulls back, making me break the kiss haphazardly. From the corner of my eye, I see Jason wake up, looking around with his green little eyes until he probably fixates it on his dad's red tie. I can see him pucker his mouth as he is about to start crying. Great. He's hungry now. Jeremiah also notices that and quickly hands him back to me.

"I hate it when babies cry." He shakes his head. "Anyway, I was in the middle of something. We have a lot to catch up on, my dear. But later. I'm preoccupied at the moment as you can see." He says, snapping out of his previous self back into the cold , emotionless personality that he is.

"It's okay." I say chirpily, looking at Bruce who looks pale and sickly suddenly. "I've to feed him anyway. You guys continue." I grin and make my way casually to one of the crates just to Jeremiah's left and sit down on it. Jason has already started flailing his tiny hands in the air and grab the corners of my hair in his fingers. "No peeking, boys." I grin and wink towards Bruce who is looking at me shocked. I casually zip my halter top from the side and pull out one of my breasts, aware of Jeremiah's piercing eyes on me. I place Jason's face close to it and he immediately starts suckling on it. I look up and smile at Jeremiah and I see him smile back at me with adoration and awe.

Chapter Text

I watch Jeremiah pull out his gun and aim it right towards the lookalike of Martha Wayne while I'm perched comfortably on one of the crates watching the action unfurl with Jason suckling at my breast. All of a sudden, however, a sound of a whiplash echoes through the air and I see Jeremiah's gun fly out of his hand and fall to the ground with a sound. "JEREMIAH!" I protest and instinctively pull up my top covering my upper body. I look around frantically to find a safe place where I could hide Jason and my eyes fall on an empty cardboard box. With quick paced steps , I make my way to the box and slide Jason into it, sliding the box under the space between two walls to keep him safe and out of vision.

From the corner of my eye, I see Bruce suddenly jump on Jeremiah, pounding him with his punches. I can hear the sound of Jeremiah's groans. Anger surges through me making me get up to my feet and run as fast as I can towards where a confused Jervis is standing at the pickup truck, holding the remote control. I practically snatch the remote from his hand , struggling to activate the fireworks as rage takes over me completely. A minute later, all the lights in the remote turn red, indicating that the firework timer has been activated. The fireworks will shoot up in the next 2 minutes 30 seconds.

"SELINA !! THE PEARLS!!" I hear Bruce yell as loud as he can while still landing hard punches to Jeremiah. I'm still at the pickup truck when I see Selina jump up to Lee and grab her pearl necklace in her palm, yanking it off her so that the pearls all fall to the ground, hence freeing both Jim and Lee from the hypnosis.

Bruce takes a few seconds to get distracted which gives Jeremiah the time to punch Bruce and get out of his hold. He glances at me for a quick second before making his way up to where I am. "Where's Jason??" His voice almost comes out like a snarl. Immediately, I point towards the corner where I hid the box in which I hid my baby. He nods and takes my hand in his, lacing our fingers together as he pulls me to where Jason is. The minute we reach the box, I pull out my baby and hold him close to my chest. In two minutes and some seconds, acid will rain down in Gotham.

"We need to go to ACE Chemicals!" Jeremiah yells at me over the background noise.

It does not take much time for us to reach ACE Chemicals. It is a dark and dinghy building and once inside, we are immediately greeted by a strong smell of chemicals. I'm about to run deeper inside but Jeremiah stops me. He pulls me into a corner and places both his palms on either side of my face, pulling me close so that our face is just inches from each other.

"Find a safe place for yourself and Jason. And do not come out until I come and get you." Our breathing is still heavy from having run from the alley till here. I feel a shiver run down my spine when Jeremiah's hand finds the small of my back, holding me firmly against himself and pulling me even closer to him. I close my eyes and let his lips devour me then. He leans forward and kisses me. A brief bittersweet kiss. An inaudible sigh escapes my mouth and I shake the feeling of an unknown fear pumping through my heart as I kiss him. No! This is definitely not our last kiss. I try to calm myself while kissing him back, thousands of worrying thoughts creeping through my mind. He pulls away abruptly and instantly leans down to kiss Jason on his forehead.

"Let me come with you.." I whisper weakly but he shakes his head. "Don't be an emotional fool. I'll be fine. Just take care of yourself and our boy." His glare is angry but I can't help but notice how fidgety he is, he keeps glancing towards the railing.

"Jeremiah." I whisper, my voice barely leaving my throat. "I love you." I mumble, not sure if he heard it or not. He most probably did not since I watch him turn away from me and start running towards a bunch of stairs going upwards. He stops for a bit but doesn't look back. "I love you darling.." I hear him say, in a hushed tone.

He leaves then. Not looking back again. I curl into a ball in a corner, pressing myself between the small space between two large tanks, Jeremiah directly in view of my eyes, not leaving his silhouette for a second as I watch him climb those stairs until he is leaning by the railing. All around him below are large tanks filled with boiling hot green coloured chemicals. I can hear the sound of the sizzling of the chemicals. My eyes fall on Bruce suddenly. He has followed Jeremiah to where he is and they are both giving each other a stare down.

"Jeremiah! This ends tonight!" I hear Bruce yell. I see Jeremiah nod faintly while raising his knife yeilding hand in the air and dramatically flipping his hands in front of him. "No, no Bruce. Now it begins."

Bruce suddenly charges towards Jeremiah and Jeremiah ducks, grabbing Bruce by his waist and shoving him against the railing. Groaning, Bruce is back up again as he lunges at Jeremiah but this time manages to grab Jeremiah's arm and hit it hard against the railing, causing his fingers to loosen and the knife fall out of his grip straight into the chemical container. Jeremiah gets distracted and I see him turn his head slightly and look down at the chemical vat. Bruce uses this moment to attack Jeremiah. He curls his fingers into a fist and punches Jeremiah hard in the stomach before pushing him down the floor on his back and pinning him with his own body weight to the ground as he keeps landing a punch one after the other. I feel my protective instincts kick in as I find myself thinking of the first time I met Jeremiah Valeska at St. Ignatius. He was getting beaten up that day. Having made up my mind to go and handle Bruce myself, I am about to step up and come out of my hiding spot until my gaze falls on Jason, reminding me of the promise I made to my husband to protect our son, his heir.

"Yes! You feel it? The connection between us." I hear Jeremiah's chuckling as Bruce grabs him by the collar of his shirt and punches him again, making me close my eyes instantly and wince. "Don't you? Bruce tell me you feel it." Jeremiah goes on, his face a bloody mess now. I see Bruce lean closer towards Jeremiah's face and say, "You mean nothing to me!"

Jeremiah suddenly headbutts Bruce , the impact of which causes Bruce to loosen his grip on Jeremiah, giving him a few seconds to get back up on his feet again. Next, I see him start limping closer towards Bruce. "Why don't you understand??? You need me!! I'm the answer to your life's question . Without me... You're just a joke. Without a punchline." He says psychotically, jutting out his fist and throwing a punch at Bruce who takes a hard blow on the side of his face. I see them as Jeremiah grabs Bruce by his collar and puts him against the railing, his head dangling over the chemical container.

The next second as I watch, my eyes wide open, Jeremiah curls his fist and aims towards Bruce's face for another strike, throwing out a punch in his direction but to my horror, Bruce ducks at the right time, causing Jeremiah to spin around and fall across the railing. Right into the container containing the boiling green chemical with a splash.

"JEREMIAH!!! NOOOO!! OH GOD!! FUCK!!" I cry out in shock as I watch him fall and hurl obscenities, finally sliding out of my hiding spot with Jason still in my arms. I run up the stairs as fast as I my legs allow me to. I grab the broken railing at the exact same spot where Jeremiah fell into the chemical vat a few seconds ago, screaming my lungs out and lunging forward to jump after him, only to be grabbed by the waist by Bruce at the right time. His grip on my waist is hard which causes him to pull me away from the railing and we both land on the floor, Jason wailing and falling out of my arms right next to me.

"LET GO OF ME BRUCE. JEREMIAH??! JEREMIAH!!!" I struggle against Bruce who is straddling my waist now, his arms holding me down as I try to push him away, tears flowing out of my eyes.
"RUBY STOP!! JUMPING AFTER HIM IS SUICIDE!!" Bruce yells at me as we fight against each other's arms, him trying to hold me down while I struggle to escape his grasp. "Think of your baby.." He whispers to me, while glancing at the poor crying child next to him. The mention of my son makes me stop struggling against him. I feel my body slowly being engulfed by a strange numbness as I lay there on the cold iron grill listening to sizzling sound of Jeremiah's flesh burning in the chemical vat below me. Bruce looks at me apologetically for a split second before lifting Jason is his arms, trying to shush him.

***

*Time Skip to 8 months later*

I lean further against the wall, my arms crossed across my chest watching Dr. Hugo Strange fix the dead man laying on a gurney in front of him. I see him press some red buttons on a machine to his left. Suddenly, the body on the gurney twitches and the body jerks forward, electric current surging through its veins which are visible to me from here. My eyes fly wide in amazement, making me step a little closer to the gurney and watch. The body starts to breathe suddenly, his chest heaving up and down due to the sudden inflow of oxygen into them. His hand twitches and he flexes his fingers. Suddenly, he clenches his hand tight into a fist, a crisp sound of cracking bones echoing through the air as I watch on in amazement.

I glance at Nyssa then, who has been standing next to me since a long time now. I see her lips curve into an evil smirk. She pats my shoulders and moves past me, making her way to the man laying on the gurney, placing herself just above her head.

"Easy, Eduardo." She places her hand on his shoulder and squeezes it slightly, before looking up at me as she opens her mouth to speak and then back at him. "I made you a promise when you were in Pena Dura. And I intend to keep it." I watch as her hand trails over his forehead, her fingers curling around his hair. "..to give you a true purpose. And strength to see it through."

Nyssa steps away and Dr. Hugo Strange approaches the gurney, almost leaning into his face. "I'm afraid this process is going to be agonizing and unfortunately.." Hugo's lips twitch slightly, a tiny smirk breaking out on his lips. ".. quite lengthy. Apologies in advance." I shift a little closer to Eduardo and place my hand on his bare shoulder, squeezing it slightly in encouragement. His eyes fall on me, I can see how scared and confused his eyes are. "You'll be okay.." I whisper, barely audible. He nods, his eyes fixed on me.

Dr. Hugo Strange finally presses a lever of a strange looking machine, with tiny pipes connected to it from one end, the other ends of the pipe attached to Eduardo's arm using IV. A purple chemical rises up from those pipes and I watch curiously as the pipes pull the chemicals and push them right into Eduardo's body. His body starts convulsing , his eyes turning a bright shade of yellow, the colour of sunlight. The purple liquid mixes with his blood, his veins swelling up inside his body and darkening under the surface of his skin. His grip suddenly tightens over my hand and I can't help but shriek in pain, trying to pull my hand away from his grip but he doesn't let go.

"You're going to be reborn..." Nyssa smiles, watching Eduardo's face contort in pain. "..and then you'll be the Bane of the unjust ..the Bane of the corrupt, the Bane of anyone.." She looks up at me then and her eyes twinkle, throwing out her hand towards me. My eyes watery and my face almost twisted in agony due to Eduardo's tight grip on my arm, almost blocking my blood supply, I still slide my other free hand into Nyssa's hand and she lifts it up, raising it in the air, just directly above Eduardo's face. "..who opposes us."

He lets go of my hand and I immediately fall back due to the sudden impact, the back of my head pressing hard against the tiled floor as Nyssa's laughter rises in the air.

***

I grab an apple from the counter and rub it across the leather on my thigh, grinning. I then dig my teeth into it and take a bite. I'm dressed in a black biker jacket and a black leather pants with matching ankle length combat boots. I lift my son hurriedly and place him on the counter next to Eduardo. I watch in amusement as Jason tries to reach out to touch Eduardo's bulky biceps, not even a little bit scared or intimidated by him. Eduardo, however , doesn't bother looking at Jason, he just leans across the counter and looks at Nyssa, waiting for further instructions.

I grab two bananas from the counter and mash them up in a bowl. Jason loves to eat mashed bananas. Immediately, he starts giggling and trying to grab the plates lying around. "No! Honey.." I coo and pull him off the counter immediately and put him in his baby seat, pulling down the movable table in front of him, strapping him so that he cannot run out. I then walk up to Eduardo and grab his palm. He looks at me in surprise, his red coloured irises expanding questioningly. I dump the bowl into his hands and quickly wipe my hands with a hand towel.

"OH HELL NO!" His voice is loud and scary, booming through his face mask but I just shake my head and grin.

"You almost broke my arm. This is payback." I let my lips curve into a smirk and pat him on his arm. I place the bowl on the kitchen slab and make my way into the bedroom, pulling open the topmost drawer and grabbing my gun, placing it in the holster at my waist. I squint my eyebrows as I hear Nyssa calling my name from the living room.

I step out of the bedroom and step into the kitchen, chuckling at the sight.

"Eat it kid. Yeah." Bane growls at Jason, holding the spoon in his hand while Nyssa leans against the counter, watching the two. Jason shakes his head almost playfully and looks the other side, not bothering to take a bite.
OH KID YOU'RE IN BIG TROUBLE IF YOU DONT FINISH YOUR MASHED BANANAS IN FIVE MINUTES." Somehow, he manages to get Jason to take a small bite.

"Oh how the mighty have fallen!" I pat Bane playfully on his bicep and he growls angrily, making me chuckle even more. "You two should have kids." I pout to Nyssa and then towards Bane, smiling wide.

"No thank you. I'd rather babysit your kids than have to deal with my own." She groans in response to me and tosses me an AK-47 that I catch mid air. She then hands Bane a few weapons of his own, including a bag full of grenades and a rifle of his own.

"Are you guys ready ?" She looks at us, taking over the bowl from his hand. I look at Bane, only to realize that he is already looking at me. I nod. "Yes, we're ready."

***

I'm driving a truck loaded with weapons and Bane's men in the back while Bane is seated at the passenger side. We're headed to the GCPD precinct. We both are relatively quiet, our eyes fixed on the road, making a few small talks in between. Suddenly, he clears his throat and speaks up, his voice booming through the face mask he wears.

"Why did you agree to be a part of Nyssa's plan?" His eyebrow is shooting upwards as he asks me through his mask. I keep my eyes on the road, my hands gripping the steering wheel so tight, my knuckles seem to be turning white. I flick a glance at him and I can see his bloodshot eyes boring into me.

"For revenge." I mutter softly, almost under my breath. "I want to kill Bruce Wayne. He killed my husband." I bite my lip hard, almost drawing out a little blood.

"I'm sorry." His voice echoes through his face mask.

"What about you?" I raise an eyebrow, taking a sharp turn left.

"I owe Nyssa. When I was at Pena Dura prison, Jim, the guards played a game. They'd choose one of us... and they buried us alive. They'd take bets on whether you could dig your way out.." I flick a glance at him and notice his eyebrows tense as he speaks. "..but then they'd bury you deeper. And play again. I was the champion. To survive that... I had to stop being human." I can't help but frown at his words. Poor guy.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that.." I look at him for a brief moment before pulling my attention back to driving the truck as he continues speaking. "I had to become... something else. I became Bane. Only I didn't know it yet. But she knew and she showed me the way. If the world is full of monsters, the only way to defeat them... is to become one yourself." He clears his throat, staring out of the window.

"We're here." I inform him and he straightens up. We can see the GCPD precinct a block away. I pull the truck into an alley and come to a halt. I glance at him, he leans closer to me, placing a black face mask in my hand.

"You take the back entrance. I'm gonna take my men and go from the front."

I nod and slide on the face mask that covers my entire face, including my hair.

"Be safe, Ruby." He whispers which actually does not sound like a whisper due to his face apparatus and steps out of the truck. I can't help but grip harder on the steering wheel. I hear the back door of the truck open and footsteps of his men can be heard exiting the truck. I stay a few more seconds in the truck, trying to control my erratic breathing until my eyesight falls on a half lit joint. I immediately pick it up and nip it between my lips, using Talia's lighter and lighting its end.

I then grab my AK-47 and sling it over my back, hopping out of the truck and kicking the door closed. I press myself against the red brick wall as I slide closer and closer towards the back entrance of the GCPD. The door is wide open much to my surprise. An officer is standing by the door, smoking a cigarette, his back faced to me. I creep up behind him as quietly I can and place both my hands on either side of his head and twist his head, breaking his neck in one swift movement. His body falls lifelessly to the floor with a thud. I bend down and grab his corpse by the feet and drag it behind the large trash can. I take off his uniform, including his hat, before taking off my own clothes including the black mask which I realize I won't be needing and dumping them into the trash can. I slide onto the loose police shirt and the pants, tucking them up nicely and trying to straighten it with my hands. I then pull my brown hair into a messy bun and slide the police hat on. I grab my weapon and slide it on my back as I step into the GCPD precinct.

Busy officers and other officers just hurrying here and there pass me by, without even taking a second glance at me. Suddenly, I pull out my AK-47 and start firing, instantly shooting the officers who try to approach me. Soon, the GCPD precinct turns into a battleground, blood caked bodies falling here and there, twitching and convulsing as the injured officers take their last breaths. Just then, the front door opens and Bane's men run in, covering me as they start shooting wildly into the air.

My eyes suddenly fall towards the Commissioner's office, my mouth flashing a toothy grin as I see three silhouettes step out cautiously, my very favourite ones. Jim, Bruce and the General. Oh, this is going to be fun. Jim is walking ahead of them with his gun held in his hands in front of him, shooting Bane's men, whichever tries to stop them. I quickly grab my walkie talkie.

"Bane. They're coming from the front. Stay ready." I slide the walkie talkie back into my pocket, ducking just at the right time as a bullet flies past me and impales one of the officers by mistake. Oops.

I jump on all my fours and crawl as fast as I can from one desk to another. When I reach the corner most desk, I stand up in my feet and look around. There are bodies littered everywhere. History repeats himself for the GCPD today. I think to myself. Just then however, my eyesight falls on a file kept on the desk in front of me. It's Jeremiah's. Quickly, I grab the file and shove it into the waistband of my pants and start running until I've reached the corner from where the back entrance is close. I then make a dash for it, shooting any officer that comes in my way, a bullet right through the head.

I stop running when I reach the truck. Bane and Jim Gordon are standing face to face with each other, a gun in Jim's hand. "Eduardo!" I hear Jim call out to which Bane replies in his loud voice, "Not anymore." He shoots Jim in the neck with a needle gun containing knockout drugs. Just then, Bruce approaches, stopping in his tracks as he comes directly face to face with me. "Ruby." He mutters before falling to the ground , his hand gripped to his neck. Two of Bane's men approach and lift Jim, Bruce and the General up by their legs and shove them into the back of the truck. I walk up to Bane and I see him give me what looks like a smile from inside the mask. I raise an eyebrow curiously.

"Why do you need that mask?"

He looks at me, then takes his hand to his face, his fingers trailing over the surface of the mask. "For a continuous supply of pain killers for my spinal injury. It keeps the pain at bay." I nod and look away.

***

I let Bane drive as I sit back comfortably on the passenger side of the truck. We have already made a stopover to Nyssa's penthouse and dropped off Jim, Bruce and the General there. Our next stop is Barbara Kean. We cannot let her escape Gotham.

I keep Jeremiah's file clutched tightly in my hand, almost bending the cover with my hard grip.

"You gonna read that?" Bane asks.

"Yep." I look down, a familiar melancholy gripping my heart. I then place my hand on the cover and turn it, revealing a photo of my husband from the night he was captured at the GCPD when I was shot. I shut my eyes and a trickle of salty water escapes my eye, falling directly on Jeremiah's photo.

"You ever got married?" I ask him watching him shrug his shoulders.

"Nah. Army life doesn't really give you to the time to start a family. I never really got the time." I nod and look down at Jeremiah's photo one last time before turning to the next page. The photo on the next page immediately makes me wince. It's a photo of Jeremiah laying in a hospital bed with bandages all over his body. Wait.

I gasp and I read through the page. Jeremiah didn't die. He was taken out of the chemical vat and taken to the hospital. He was then shifted to Arkham. He has been in a vegetative state of comatose ever since.

Chapter Text

We're at the hospital chasing Barbara. "Let's go." Bane motions to me and I nod as he kicks open the large wooden door as easy as a pie. I eye him carefully as he pulls out a hand grenade and tosses it into the first ward we pass, shrieks erupting from the inside as the ward bursts into flames. He hands me a grenade that I take enthusiastically and take off the pin, tossing it into the trauma center, watching it erupt into flames, screams filling my ears. Just then a nurse runs up to us, yelling. "HEY! YOU STAY OUT OF HERE, THIS IS A HOSPIT..." Before she could even complete her sentence, Bane has snapped her neck and pushed her body away, making me jump over her corpse to catch up with him.

We walk ahead and reach what looks like a communication table, with a microphone attached to it. I grab the microphone and press the speak button, giggling like a maniac over the phone, the sound of my giggling echoing through each hallway from the speakers in every room. "Give that to me!" He yells and snatches the mic away, making me frown and roll my eyes.

 

"Barbara..your time is up... There is no place for you to hide.." I watch Bane as he holds the microphone , his voice booming into it.

A few nurses look down at us from the stairs directly above us, I just look at them and wink playfully, pulling my AK-47 in my hand and aiming it towards them . I hear them shriek as they scamper away with fear making me chuckle internally. Oh the fear I still manage to instill in people.

"Oh look. CCTV cameras." I smile as my gaze falls on a room just next to the reception. The door is wide open and I can see a few TV sets lined up inside playing what looks like live surveillance footages of different areas within the hospital. I am quick to make my way into the footage room with Bane following me. I glance from TV set to TV set, my sight looking for the familiar silhouette of Barbara Kean.

"Ah, there goes mama." I chuckle as I watch the CCTV footage of the parking lot where both Lee and Barbara run out, the latter's hand holding her swollen belly and her face contorting in pain. Probably the baby's coming. I keep watching as I notice that they're not alone. Three of Bane's men emerge out from the other side and start running towards the two with their rifles in their hand. Suddenly, as much shocking as it seems, Barbara, who seemingly looks like she is already in labour, just grabs her gun and shoots the three men one by one, making it look amazingly easy. Okay, maybe I underestimated her. She definitely is badass.

A growl erupts from my side and I feel his arm grab my arm and yank me out of the CCTV footage room, almost pulling me towards the fire exit that leads directly to the parking lot. "Hey! Cool it Eduardo! I can walk on my own!" I growl at him, frowning at his impatience and pull my arm away. "Eduardo's no more. I'm Bane." He snarls, not lowering down his pace. We reach the metal door which says fire exit but I frown when the door doesn't budge, only to realize that it is locked from the inside. I feel him place his hands on my back and shove me roughly to my right as I watch him kick the metal door of the fire exit with his foot, causing a dent to the metal. Another kick and the door splinters into two , leaving a small gap in the middle big enough for me to squeeze through but not him. "Oops, I guess I touched a soft spot there. Sorry." I grin and slink though the gap in the metal door, unlocking the metal door from the inside and moving away as Bane shoots in. We both start running down the stairs towards the parking lot.

We enter the parking lot and the thing that comes to my immediate notice is how eerily quiet it is. I glance at Bane, confused. He just walks off ahead of me right in the direction that the CCTV footage showed us the direction in which Barbara had fled. Suddenly, a wailing of a baby echoes through the parking lot indicating that the blondie has finally given birth. The cry reminds me of my baby and I can't help but wonder if he is safe right now. He's definitely safe at the penthouse. Right?

We see them suddenly. Lee and Barbara are crouched behind one of the cars, a tiny wailing baby in Lee's arms. For a quick second, I feel my maternal instincts kick in. Maybe we should come back some other time. I don't want the little one to get hurt. Even before I can stop Bane, however, I realize that he is already making his way towards the duo, his feet clinking loudly against the concrete making both Lee and Barbara aware of his presence.

Instinctively, I throw my hands in the air and start running towards him, mostly, to stop him, until we hear a loud, blaring horn and bright headlights shine directly into my eyes. Reflexively, I feel Bane press against me, his back facing the truck speeding towards us, trying to sheild me from the impact that's about to come any minute now. I look into his blood shot red eyes and I see a glimmer of concern in them. We hardly have any second before the truck hits us hard, throwing us into the wall behind with a loud crash and the continuous sound of horn blaring into our ears.

A few seconds pass, groaning I throw open my eyes only to realize that I'm practically latched into a wall with Bane on top of me.Thats when I realize that his face mask is almost off from one side. He took the hit for me, trying to protect me. My head is throbbing and my whole body hurts even if I try to move a little. Painfully, I manage to pull my hand out of the rubble and much to my amazement, it's not broken. I place both my hands on Bane's unconscious body and push him slightly which causes him to stir a little. As my eyes adjust to the scene around me, I am horrified to see that the truck that hit us has almost been destroyed from the front, the impact of the hit being that bad. Only , I did not feel much with Bane protecting me with his body as a sheild.

"Eduardo?" I whisper into his ear and shake him slightly, trying to nudge him awake. He stirs and groans in pain , shifting slightly so that his body weight is not pressing against me with much force now, giving me room to breathe. He opens his eyes slowly and our gaze meets. Instinctively, I find myself placing my hand on his mask and struggling to put it back on again. He grabs my hand with his and pushes it away, making me drop my hand to my side. "You hurt?" He whispers, his voice almost sounding normal without the mask completely on.

"I.." I cough. "dont..think so. Just a little sore. You?" I croak, my voice barely coming out. "Pain's too much.." He whispers back, his hot breath falling over the side of my cheek. "Let me put your mask on.." I whisper softly but I see him twitch his face, almost in an action of shaking his head which I assume was what he wanted to do but couldn't because we are practically buried in the wall. Suddenly, he presses his lips to mine, kissing me with a tenderness I've never felt in him before. His lips taste bitter and course, probably due to the mask that he keeps wearing all day long. I let him kiss me, he saved my life, he owes this much. He pulls back after what feels like ages although it would have been mere seconds. "I'm sorry. I just.." He whispers, licking his lips to moisten them. I nod, looking away. "It's fine.. thank you for saving me life.." He nods again before squeezing his eyes shut as I feel him groan making me assume he is probably in pain. Instinctively, I grab the loose end of his mask and stick it across his face, attaching it in his proper place.

I see him regain his previous composure, probably due to the kicking in of the medicine his mask supplies him with. He places both his arms on either of my side which causes more rubble to crash around us as he pushes himself out of the hole in the wall, throwing his hand out towards me. We are shielded from prying eyes due to the truck in front of us. I grab his arm weakly and he pulls me out, me coughing and gagging due to the dust and rubble all around.

Just then, a familiar voice shoots out from the other side of the truck. I can hear them talking about us, pondering and bickering about whether they have killed us or not making me roll my eyes and cringe internally. Such babies. "That's Alfred Pennyworth.. Bruce Wayne's butler. And the other one his girlfriend, Selina Kyle. Don't hurt her . She's kind of my good friend. Feel free to kill Alfred if you want." I smile and watch as Bane walks out from behind the battered truck, giving a shock to Alfred and Selina.

I decide to not show myself right now since I'm practically sore at every joint in my body. I won't be of much help anyway. I limp my way as fast as I can to the edge of the truck and peek out from behind it, making sure to keep my silhouette hidden from their eyes. I watch on , focusing my attention towards Selina Kyle who runs up to Lee and Barbara, practically pushing them into a black sedan. Limping, and slinking through the shadows, I find my way without getting spotted to the back of the car. I lift the trunk in the back and slide myself in, wincing and cursing mentally due to the pain in my joints, especially the hit my back took against the wall.

 

***

The ride to wherever on Earth Barbara and Lee are going now takes forever and not to mention, it is an extremely bumpy ride, with me riding in the trunk in the back, cursing and wincing everytime the car hits a bump. It seems like hours when I feel the car slow down and finally come to a halt. I stay in the trunk a few more seconds until I am 100 % sure that there is no one around. Slowly, I place my hand on the trunk and throw it outwards, stepping out of it cautiously and sliding behind the silhouette of the car. I recognize this place immediately, it's Barbara's club, the Sirens.

I slide my palm into the back pocket of the GCPD uniform that I'm still wearing. I lost the hat somewhere by the way. Probably stuck inside the hole Alfred's truck made in the wall. I pull out my walkie talkie and press it on, Nyssa immediately answering on the other end.

"Nyssa. Status?" A little static later, Nyssa's voice booms clearly through the walkie talkie.

"Jim and Bruce escaped somehow. But don't worry. I'm sure Bane will handle him again." She says, tad slower. I clench my teeth in anger. Bruce is the entire point I decided to get into this mess anyway. I wanted him dead.

"How's Jason?"

Nyssa falls quiet suddenly for a few seconds before speaking up again.
"He's...uh.. he's great. He's playing with his toy cars right now with the servant.What about you?" She asks, curiously.

"Barbara and Lee are at the Sirens. I'm going in."

"No. I wanna do this on my own. Wait for me to come there. Do not do anything. Just keep a watch on them." I nod and slide the walkie talkie back into my back pocket, making my way to the wall of the club and pressing myself to it as I slide closer and closer to the entrance.

I wait a few moments until I see a black sedan pull up outside the club,making me smile. I watch Nyssa step out with a friendly smile plastered on her lips. "Shall we?" I whisper and take my place next to her. She nods and we make our way into the club, Nyssa's men following us.

Lee gasps suddenly and instinctively, she pushes Barbara and the baby behind her, shielding them. I roll my eyes and pull my gun out, aiming it towards Lee with Nyssa's men following suit. "Back away, Lee. If you love your life." I hiss, through gritted teeth, making my way to Lee and yanking her away from Barbara using her arm. She protests but I place my gun to her head quietening her. I watch Nyssa smile and walk up to Barbara, snatching the baby from her arms and stroking her forehead.

"Hey! Don't touch my baby!" Barbara cries out as one of Nyssa's men grabs her and ties her arms in front of her.
Next, Nyssa walks to the big grey leather couch and lowers herself on it, placing the baby next to her, pulling out a dagger from the scabbard in her waist.

 

"You recognize this knife?" She asks, holding the dagger in her hands and pretending to examine it.

"You touch my baby and I will turn you into a pile of ash. Just like I did your father." Barbara threatens, her expressions bitter and angry.

Nyssa just smiles. Lee struggles slightly against my grip, making me dig the gun deeper into her temple, a wince escaping her throat.

"Bit cruel don't you think? To let this little one get too attached.." Her eyes fall on the baby. "..when you won't be around much longer ?" I watch on as she places her palm against the baby's cheek and strokes her slightly before getting up and making her way to Barbara. "Soon, you and Bruce Wayne will see Gotham, and Jim Gordon's Green Zone destroyed.. then I'll allow you to die." She continues. "My father made his name destroying empires. Now.. it's my turn." I watch her as she turns back and walks towards the couch, her eyes falling on the little child. A faint laugh escapes her lips as she sits down next to the baby.

"Listen to me.." Barbara exclaims in panic. "..there is a submarine in Gotham's docks, full of gold. It's yours. Just leave the city. Let me and my baby go." She pleads, almost on deaf ears as Nyssa just lifts the baby in her arms, watching her in awe. Barbara decides to plead with me instead. "Ruby? Please. Stop her. Why are you doing this?"

With one quick push, I throw Lee into one of the men's arms who grabs her and ties her to the wall. I then make my way to Barbara and smile. "I'm doing this because One, I hate Bruce Wayne. And also, Gotham. Two, Nyssa is my friend. Three, oh there's no three." I chuckle and take Barbara's daughter in my arms, rocking her gently before I say, "See, if you die.. which you surely will. Right Nyssa?" She nods before letting me continue. "..I'm gonna keep this little one. And raise her as my own."

Just then, we hear the sound of GCPD police cars outside the club and in the next few seconds, bullets rain down into the club from the windows, piercing right into Nyssa's men. I gasp in shock watching their bodies fall lifelessly to the floor and instinctively jump down on my fours, incase they shoot further, shielding Barbara's daughter with my body. My glance fixates on Barbara then and I let my lips curve into a smile, winking at Barbara who just looks at me confused as to why would I protect the baby.

Just then, Jim Gordon runs in, followed by Penguin, Edward Nygma and Selina Kyle , all loaded with their guns. "Drop your weapons." Jim yells and makes his way to Nyssa, grabbing her by the arm and placing the gun to her temple, snatching the dagger away from her as he cuffs her hands. When I'm sure that Nyssa is under Jim's grasp, I push myself up on my feet and run to Barbara, Penguin having already freed her from her shackles by now, and place the baby in her arms, while Penguin moves on to free Lee. Confused, she pulls me into a hug and awkwardly I pat her on her back. Lee looks on confused, so does Nyssa.

"RUBY? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Nyssa snarls at me, making Jim hold her even harder. I just shrug nonchalantly and make my way to Jim. "You told me you'll get me Jason back safely if I do this for you." Nyssa gasps and her eyes bare into me, furious. "You're a traitor!" She yells, trying to pull out of Jim's hold.

"Oh hey guys. Sorry I'm late. This guy shit his pants and I wasn't exactly sure how to change a diaper." Harvey walks in, holding Jason who is busy pulling Harvey's hair. He stops in his tracks as he notices everybody staring at him. "What? Do I have something on my face?" Quickly, I run towards Harvey and take my child back from him who gladly jumps into my embrace, kissing his forehead and pressing him hard against my chest. "Okay what the hell is happening?" Penguin frowns and points his index finger towards me as he continues. "Isn't she supposed to be a fucking villain here? Isn't she and the dud of her husband responsible for the mess we're in? She is in our team now?"  Jim shakes his head and looks down at his feet. "He's right Ruby. You helped us. But I gotta take you in. You're a wanted criminal."

"So are they all. Right Mr. Riddler? Mr. Penguin?" I shrug, letting my lips curve into a tiny smirk as I keep rocking Jason on my waist, his legs on either side of me. Lee walks up to Jim and throws her hands in the air, exasperated. "What the hell is happening Jim? She was involved the entire time?" Jim only nods sheepishly, running his free hand through the back of his hair.

"Okay guys I'll explain." Jim says. And all of us turn towards him curious. "A few days back, she approached me at the GCPD headquarters." He looks at me and then back towards the others. "She told me about Nyssa's plan to destroy Gotham." Nyssa gasps, her nostrils flaring in fury. "You bitch.." She mutters. Jim ignores her and continues. "She told me what Nyssa did to Eduardo, injecting him with the Venom and turning him into Bane. I didn't believe her at first. Until, I saw Bane at the precinct right with my own eyes." Suddenly, his face contorts and he looks at me angrily. "You killed so many of my men at the GCPD. They were loyal, hard working police officers!! That was not in the plan. You weren't supposed to do that Ruby." I roll my eyes and say, "Hey don't blame me. It had to look convincing . Besides, Bane would have figured out that I was a traitor had I not done that."

Penguin just snorts whispering, "that's what you get for dealing with the devil."

"How did you do it?" Lee asks, raising an eyebrow.

"Well it was very easy. I replaced Bane's knock out needle gun with water. Bruce and Jim are really good actors. They pretended to faint and we carried them  to Nyssa's penthouse. He managed to escape with Bruce and also, got Jason along for me. I knew Jim will send Alfred and Selina to crash the truck into us. I had planned to move out of the way but sadly, Bane grabbed me and forced me to be a part of it. Though it was very thoughtful of him to protect me using his body as a shield."

I smile as I see Selina's eyes fly wide open."Too bad Alfred got hurt in the process." I say, looking at Selina apologetically as she clenches her fists at the mention of Alfred.

"I slid into the trunk of the car Barbara and Lee fled in and it brought me here to the club. I called Nyssa, knowing very well she would want to do this on her own so I lured her here." I pucker my lips into a pout and walk over to her. "The way you stuttered when I asked you where Jason is, I knew it the moment that Jim has escaped and taken Jason with him, driving his end of our bargain. Such crappy acting though. You won't fool anyone." I smile before continuing. "Anyway, after I disconnected, I informed Gordon and viola, he was here with you guys. And you were able to catch Nyssa red handed."

Harvey grins and walks up to me, his gun aimed at me. "Gotta admit, that was smart. Coming from you."

Before Jim opens her mouth to speak, however, Selina quickly intercepts. "Guys. I like this little group reunion. But I'm worried we have a greater problem to solve. Bane is still out there. And he will kill us all if we delay."

"Selina's right. We have to stop Bane. Question answers can wait." Jim speaks up, walking up to me.

"How're we supposed to do that? That man is unstoppable." Barbara huffs, holding the baby in her arms.

"Jeremiah's bomb.." Bruce walks in suddenly, making me clench my fists tight against my sides as I still hate Bruce Wayne with all my heart for what happened to Jeremiah. I will take my vengeance, but later. I have bigger plans at the moment. I think to myself. "Lucius modified the bomb into a battery that had been powering the GCPD. We have to turn it back into a bomb in order to trap Bane and his men, like rats in a maze."

Suddenly, Ed Nygma chimes in. "Okay wait. I have a question."

"I hope it's not one of your riddles Ed." Harvey groans to which Ed just shrugs.

"Don't make fun of my riddles. Anyway, I'm being pulled away from an important discussion." He straightens up, boring his eyes into me. "I get it about Jim taking your help to take down Nyssa. But what's in it for you? I'm sure you won't do it for free?"

Jim frowns and speaks up for me, saving me the effort. "Her baby was kidnapped by Nyssa. She wanted us to safely get him back since she couldn't. Nyssa was using Jason as a blackmail to keep her involved." Before Jim can even complete the sentence, Nyssa throws her head back and start cackling, due to which I can't help but let my lips curve into a smile as I watch all the confused men and women in front of me gazing at Nyssa.

"Oh Jim. She played you too. Just like she played me. I never kidnapped her baby. We were friends. At least that's what she made me think we were. And she voluntarily chose to be a part of my quest." She looks at me smugly, all heads turning in my direction. Including Jim Gordon.

Chapter Text

I grin then. It starts as a grin and then my lips curve into the same maniacal cackle like Jerome once did at the GCPD, the day he was interrogated for killing Lila Valeska. I place my hand over my hip, using my other hand to hold Jason in place before I speak.

"The day Jeremiah almost died, at ACE chemicals, Selina informed me that Mistah J is alive. His body has been moved to the hospital. I kept tabs, I had sources. I was watching his movement  from the hospital to Arkham." I smile slightly, wiping the drool off Jason's cheek. "What's this got to do with any of the situation?" Jim asks dryly.

"Well. It does. Gotham belongs to me and Jeremiah. We forged it from our very own hands and made it what it is today. We watched Gotham bleed and pull itself back up slowly. It's our names that's now etched in the history of Gotham City. Not you, Nyssa. You want to follow in the footsteps of your father, breaking empires. Newsflash. Gotham is not yours to break. We decide the fate of Gotham." I hiss at her. "You really think I would give you the satisfaction to destroy Gotham at your own will? I get a say in that. Not you. Gotham is mine! It's mine!" I yell psychotically at her before shifting my gaze to Harvey who is still holding a gun to my head and then back to Jim.

"I alone couldn't have stopped Nyssa. Or Bane. So I decided to get a little help from Jimbo. He agreed. Obviously. What I wanted was to eliminate these two threats. One of which, I did. With the help of you. And I'm sure you all are going to figure out a way to stop Bane a well."

"I'm sorry to say Ruby, you're going to end up with your husband. At Arkham. We're gonna save Gotham. And you were a great help in catching Nyssa. Now Harvey will take you in.."

Suddenly, the front doors kick open and around 10 men, dressed as clowns, holding guns in their hands run in, aiming their guns towards everyone in the room, except for me.

"I'm sorry Jim. Harvey. But Arkham is going to have to wait a little while longer.  Now take that damn gun off my face, will ya Bullock? If you don't, my clowns will kill all of you. " I growl at Harvey and he nervously looks at Jim.

"You couldn't have done all that alone. With Jeremiah in comatose. At Arkham since the past nine months." Jim glares.

"Oh you question my skills Jimbo. You underestimate me. But you're kind of right. I wasn't alone. I always have backups. I took a little Intel and a few ideas from a very dear friend of mine.." My smile grows wider and evil and instantly I shift my gaze to the door behind Jim to where the clowns are standing. This makes Jim and the others turn their heads towards the door as well.

Just then, the clowns move a few steps away, their guns still pointed towards everyone but me, leaving a little way for someone to walk in from behind them and he does.

"Hello, Jimbo! Dear old friend. Surprised? How do you like the new threads?"

 

I lean against the railing of the staircase and look at Jerome smugly. He trails his eyes over everyone in the room who are watching Jerome with their mouths wide open and eyes bobbing out as though they've seen a ghost , his scarred lips curving into a smirk at the sight of me before he winks at me. "Jimbo asked me a question on the roof that day. You remember it, don't you dove?" I shake my head, confused. Jim said a lot of things up on the roof that day, I'm not really sure which one Jerome is talking about. He continues. "Well, he asked me if I am sure that I will outlive him. Well what do you think Jimbo? I think I would."

"Impossible.." Bruce mutters, his eyes wide with shock. "I saw your body at the cemetery. The day I found out that Jeremiah has been sprayed by the gas."
I walk up to Jerome then and he slides his hand across my waist, pulling me against him as I chuckle. "That was the plan.." I start speaking and find myself slipping through time as I move on to recount these memories.

*Flashback: The Day with Jeremiah/Ruby and Bruce at the Cemetery*

I pressed my front against the cold concrete wall and aligned my head by the edge, poking one eye out, glancing at the empty alley in front of me. I took a glance at my wrist watch , it was five minutes past midnight. I had been following a man for the past ten minutes. I saw him at the 24x7 grocery store and the minute I laid my eyes on him, the first thing that came to my mind was how him and Jerome had almost the same built and height. I watched him as he stood at the cashier's queue to get his items billed and once he was done with the billing, I slid myself behind one of the shelves and watched him curiously as he lifted his shopping bags and made his way out of the store. I followed him then, making sure to keep under the shadows of the street walls to avoid myself from being spotted.

I watched as the man made his way to his car and pulled open the trunk at the back, bending over it and placing his shopping bags in the trunk. With one swift movement, I was running towards him with a handkerchief in my hand that has been sprayed with a strong knock out drug. I placed the handkerchief on his mouth and nose from behind, letting him struggle against my hold for a few seconds before he ended up collapsing unconscious next to the car. Groaning, I grabbed his foot and dragged him across to the cemetery which is not very far away, just probably a five minute walk. Good thing this part of town was deserted.

I made my way to Jerome's grave which still hadn't been covered with mud yet. I looked down into the empty grave and let my lips curve into a smug smile as one of my followers who were originally one of Jerome's followers, stepped out of a mausoleum and walked up to me. "I have secured the body, boss." I nodded in his direction and craned my neck towards the mausoleum a few yards away before flicking my gaze back at the follower. "Hand me a knife!" I croaked, throwing out my palm and the follower placed a knife on it. Next, I curled my fingers against the knife and with adept and natural hand movements, I managed to cut out the man's face. I slid the face into a plastic bag and slid it into my pocket. Need to dump it into the dumpster later. Or probably feed it to the dogs.

"I want you to change him into Jerome's clothes." He nodded and I stood up, wiping the blood off my knife as I darted  towards the mausoleum. Once I stepped inside, I was greeted by the sight of the container that is temperatature controlled to keep bodies intact for a long time. This was the second time Jerome had been placed in this box. I leaned over the box and placed my hand directly over the glass window over Jerome's face, stroking the glass. "Hello, brother in law. Too cold? Don't worry, you'll be out of there soon."

 

The follower walked up to me and cleared his throat to capture my attention. Placing my hands on my waist, I turned around and raised an eyebrow. He informed me that he has dressed the man in Jerome's clothes.

"Push him into the grave and bury him inside. Now."

I watched him nod and scamper away, his shovel in his hand.

*Present Day*

Nyssa steps towards me until she is yanked back by Jim next to her. Her eyes narrow and I can see her glaring at me, her words flowing out of her mouth. "I saw you bury Renee in Jerome's grave.."

"Oh that.. It was an act. I love my dead daughter. I really do. God bless her soul.." I sigh inaudibly. "But I knew you were watching. What better way to mask how I stole Jerome's corpse by leading you both to the fake one? The body you saw inside, it was the man I had killed. Not Jerome. I did kind of bury my daughter with a complete stranger. You both fell for it."

I feel Jerome's green orbs fixate on me.

"Oh it was emotional and dramatic! There was not a single dry eye!" I continue, grinning.

"So you took Jerome's body.." Jim gasps, his expression reflecting alarm.

"Well I'm thankful to her. She gave me a new life." Jerome chimes into the conversation between me and Jim, chuckling like a two year old.

"I waited until the right time to pull out my trump card." I glance at Jerome and then back at Jim. "When I found out that Mistah J is alive.. In comatose. At Arkham, I decided to bring back Jerome... Well, me and Dr. Strange had some old matters to settle. He was pleased to help me."

*Flashback - Almost Seven Months Back*

I watched on, sitting gracefully on a stool, my left leg placed over my right and my gloved hand placed on my knee as Jerome's lifeless corpse was wheeled in by two men dressed in white on a gurney and placed in front of me. The door opened again and Dr. Strange walked in, a calm and smiling expression plastered over his face. He walked up to his side table and slid on operational gloves onto his hands. I slid my hand into the pocket of my black leather jacket and pulled out a pistol, just in case and stepped up from the stool, gracefully walking closer to the doctor and aiming my gun towards him.

"Oh my." He exclaimed at the sight of the gun and raised his hands almost in surrender.

 

"You know what to do doc." I said chirpily, glancing toward Jerome's corpse for a split second and then back. I kept my gun aimed towards the doctor as I watched him walk up and examine Jerome's bodily condition.

"It's going be a lengthy and painful process. My apologies, Mrs. Valeska." His smile reached the crook of his glasses and I just waved my hand off in front of him, letting him know that I have all the time in the world. "Let's begin then, shall we?" He continued, making his way to the machine to his left, grabbing the tong attached to it with a long insulated wire. I watched on as he made his way to Jerome's corpse and hooked the tong against the large metal helmet attached to his head.

I watched him place a finger on the power button of the machine and press it, the machine growling suddenly and getting activated. "Okay, let's see.." The doctor leaned against the regulator and twisted it to a particular degree of current. I watched on as a few sparks rose and the current flew through the wire, right into Jerome's body, his body twisting and convulsing the minute the current entered his body. The doctor kept shooting currents like these in an interval of two minutes for an hour more.

He then stopped, shaking his head and turning off the power button.

"What?!" I hissed, my eyebrows shooting upwards in a questioning manner.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Valeska. It's not working." He looked at me apologetically and I just walked up to him, placing the tip of my gun right into his chest.

"Is it not?"

"I'm sorry. I tried."

"Well you didn't try hard enough!" I shrieked in annoyance and he flinched backwards.

Just then, I heard a slight movement behind me on the gurney and I turned slightly to watch Jerome now in a sitting position on the gurney, cracking his knuckles as he stretched his arms in the air.

"That was another long sleep. What did I miss?"

My mouth curved into a wide grin and I turned around, running right into Jerome's arm and hugging him tight, the gurney almost moving backwards due to my and Jerome's weight pressing combined on it.

"Welcome back Valeska." I grinned, pulling back.

"My little dove. How's my brother? And my nephew? I see you're flat as bread now." He raised an eyebrow and I watched him slide his feet to his side and hop off, taking off the weird looking metallic helmet from his head.

"Yeah. About that.." I bit my lip hard, almost drawing a little blood, looking down at my feet.

*Current Day*

"So that's how I brought Mr. Jerome Valeska back." I smile and squeeze Jerome's palm who in turns tightens his grip over it.

"I told ya Jimbo that I'm more than a man. I'm an idea, a philosophy. And I will live on in the shadows within Gotham's discontent. As long as Gotham stands, Jerome would stand too."

Bruce steps toward us , his hands clenched to his sides. "I won't do that if I were you Bruce. Our men are very loyal. The ones that survived Jeremiah's wrath that is.." I grin and Bruce instinctively takes a step back, not taking his angry glare of me. "Why Ruby?"

"Why?" I place my finger on my chin and scratch it dramatically as if I'm confused before parting my lips again and letting my words flow out. "I loved what Jeremiah did to Gotham. My lust for destruction wasn't satisfied, though. And I figured with Jeremiah being at Arkham in a vegetative state, he can't do much damage now, can he?"

"You unleashed hell on Gotham." Selina bites her lip, her nostrils flaring in anger.

"Oh no. I did Gotham a favour. You know what Gotham needs? It needs an active Valeska running the town. If Jeremiah can't do that, I figured why not Jerome?" I throw my head back and laugh maniacally. 

"You're insane." Lee quivers, slinking closer to Jim.

"Nah, I'm just too intelligent for your liking. You're just jealous." I grin and watch Jerome amused as he makes a funny face at Jason who starts giggling and throwing out his hands trying to reach out to his uncle. Jerome throws out his hands and I let him take Jason who is more than happy to go to him.

"Don't worry Ruby. I'm going to throw your entire family into Arkham. You're husband's enjoying it. You will too. And Jerome has a history at Arkham. He'll definitely love it back there." Jim snarls.

"Oh sure! I'd love to see you try. But first, you have Mr. Bane to catch. Adiós." I grin one last time and lower my body dramatically into a bowing stance, before three clowns step in front of us, acting as a barrier between us and the others. We take a few steps away till we are directly at the gate of the club. Jerome turns back, his scarred lips curved into a malevolent smile. "Kill them." He orders and we run out. I'm sure Jim would figure out a way to defeat the clowns without letting a single person take a hit but it will sure buy us the time to escape.

We make our way towards an old looking Cadillac which I suppose is Jerome's ride. I squint my eyes in annoyance and flick a glance at him.

"Really Jerome?"

"Oooo it's a classic. And she runs really fast and smooth. Just try it once." He grins and hops into the drivers side, waiting a few moments till I get into the passengers and then he hands me Jason. I fix Jason on my lap, holding him tight by his waist and giving him a toy car to get him busy. Jerome hits the gas and abruptly pulls into the driveway, instantly speeding up the moment we hit the road, screaming maniacally. I flick a glance at the rearview mirror, watching Jim, Bruce, Barbara Kean and the others tumble out scratch free.

"You told your men not to kill them?" I raise an eyebrow and he nods, flicking a glance at me and smiling wide.

"What's the fun if we don't get to kill them? I just asked my followers to buy us some time. Which we did."

I nod and open my mouth wide into a yawn, lifting my feet up and placing it on the dashboard in front of me.

"You did good, kid." He mutters, driving.

"Kid? I'm as old as you are." I chuckle and curve my hand into a fist, playfully hitting Jerome on his arm.

"No. Seriously. I knew you had it in ya, the minute I laid my eyes on ya at the bunker. You were the one. You were the one that would bring a revolution to Gotham. And you did. Without my help." He taps the steering wheel for a bit, before taking a rough left turn, running over an old woman crossing the road yelling a loud "sorry".

"Don't look at me like that. I didn't take a driver's test ever. I don't even have a license." He shrugs dramatically and I let out a laugh.

"We don't have a secure hideout yet." I whisper, placing my hands on Jason's ginger locks, brushing it off his eyes gently as he throws the toy car playfully at Jerome.

"Hey! Don't distract me kid. I'm drivin." He grins, handing over the toy car back to Jason.

I watch him pull up outside what used to be Haly's Circus but now lays abandoned like a set from a horror TV show.

"Welcome Home." He grins, taking the car right inside and coming to halt once we have reached the abandoned trailers.

"Is this where you've been hiding all this while?" I raise an eyebrow, bending slightly to take in a view of the circus. It's dinghy and dusty, most of the tents already torn and worn off. The trailers are not in a good shape either.

"No one would suspect. Besides, I and your husband have fond memories of this place." He grins and hops out of the van, making his way to my side and pulling out the door for me. I give Jason to him and jump off the truck, placing my hands on my waist and inhaling.

"Glad to be home." I whisper as I make my way to an old abandoned truck, reading the graffiti that has been done on it. "You are art.." I mutter, inaudibly. Jerome leans over to my ear and whispers eerily, "Yes, you are."

 

We walk past a few old trailers until I stop in front of a familiar one, the first time I met Jerome, it was here. He smiles as he notices me looking at it.

"Ugly right? You must be wondering why I stayed here for such a long time." He shrugs, placing Jason on his waist, his legs dangling on either side of him.

"I'm just revisiting old memories..who knew we'd be here today." I bite my lip. "This place is aesthetically beautiful.. " We walk a few more steps until we are standing opposite the distorted barn, it's door is practically falling off and the wood almost coming off at most places.
A few of Jerome's followers step out and glance at us, immediately moving out of our way as Jerome ducks through the door and steps in, followed by me.

The interior looks far better than the exterior. Although there is a single bulb to light up the entire place, the interior is particularly striking, thanks to the various graffitis that have been drawn to the wall, a particular one capturing my attention.

"I cried for you, I bled for you, I drank to you, but even my blood, sweat and tears didn't bring you back.." I whisper softly, looking down at my hands.

 

"Jerome.." I watch him slide onto a make shift bed that is made from piles of hay and a plain white bedsheet on top of it. He glances at me as he lays my now drowsy son over the bed as I call out his name. He stands up and walks up to me, stopping a few inches away. ".. I realized something.."

"What?" He asks.

"It's the little things that make this world less shitty." I keep watching him, chewing on the insides of my cheeks.
"Like the feeling you get when you accomplish even a small task.." I watch him nod, listening to me with a curiousity. "..like laying on the middle of the road watching the stars above you.." He nods, shrugging. "..the feeling of having what you can call a family.. people who will watch over you and who you will watch over. Together, you'll be unstoppable.."

"Like us. The Valeskas." He whispers, his voice throaty. I nod.

"And off course, the feeling of being together with the one you love.." I feel hands creep up my waist from behind, pulling me closer so that my back is brushing against his, his face burying itself into the side of my neck, inhaling the scent of my hair. I just close my eyes and let the feeling wash over me completely, taking over me and filling me up.

Chapter Text

I close my eyes and let his hands rake over my body , feeling him rub himself against my back. It has been a long time since I have been touched like that. His hands trail over my stomach, upwards as I feel him go higher and higher, brushing his hands against the bulge of my breasts. I throw my head back, letting it rest against his shoulders as he keeps using his hands on me, parting my lips a little and letting a low , lustful moan erupt from the corner of my lips.

"I've missed you darling.." He whispers darkly against my earlobe, his tongue sliding out and grazing over my ear, his teeth nipping at my earlobe. "I've waited months.." He whispers, his words dripping with lust as I feel him place his gloved fingers over the back of my head, brushing my hair to my side and planting a wet kiss to the back of my neck.

"Well this is kind of awkward and seductive, in a weird way."

Jerome clears his throat to remind us of his presence, making heat pool into my cheeks making me realize that we're not alone.

"Sorry Jerome. We got, uh, carried away." I grin and glance at the man behind me, smiling wide as his arms wrap around my waist again, pulling me closer.

Our talk is interrupted as someone clears his throat at the door. The three of us turn around at the same time, fixating our gaze at one of our follower.

"I get it you have news?" Jeremiah calmly raises an eyebrow, running his hand through his green hair. We see the follower flinch for a bit before nodding.
"What is it ?" I step up to the follower and tap my fingers against each other impatiently.

"I've been keeping tabs like you said." He informs.

"And?" I raise an eyebrow.

"Bane has been caught. His men refused to shoot at innocent children and civilians at the last moment. He was caught and has been sent to Arkham. Nyssa Al Ghul is still at the GCPD but she will be moved to Blackgate in a few hours today." He looks down at his feet while Jeremiah and Jerome watch on, intrigued. The follower lifts his hand up and places it in front of me. I can see that he is holding what looks like a flier.

I turn the flier and I am immediately greeted by a full face photo of me and a small sized mugshot of Jerome Valeska with the words - WANTED FUGITIVES / TERRORISTS / MURDERERS - mentioned on it in big bold letters.

"Well this is interesting. But really inspiring. Look." I place the flier in my hand in front of the Valeska brothers, smirking slightly. "That's my picture. The bigger one. I've only dreamt of this moment. I'm finally recognized. And I'm not a shadow of you and you anymore. I'm Ruby. Not Jeremiah Valeska's wife or Jerome Valeska's sister in law."

"Well you've earned it my dear."Jeremiah coos darkly against my ear, stroking the small of my back with his gloved fingers.
I let my lips curve into a tiny smile and turn back towards the follower, parting my lips and letting my words tumble out.
"Tell me, did anyone suspect that we swapped Jeremiah's body?"

I watch the follower shake his head. He slides his hand into the pocket of his pants and pulls out a phone, flicking through its contents until he clicks on a video. The video has been shot at the Arkham recreation gallery and the received date shows today.

The video shows an almost burnt man, his skin chapped and his head bald, except for a few loose strands of hair falling down his sides, well Jeremiah Valeska for the rest of Gotham, in a vegetative state, drool dripping off the side of his burnt lips.
Jeremiah suddenly leans closer against my ear and darkly whispers, "Well you really made him gorgeous. Didn't you?"
The video suddenly changes and the lens suddenly focuses on the guard. I see the guard look around himself before speaking into the phone's camera.

"Jeremiah Valeska is safely locked up at Arkham.." His lips twitch slightly, as if trying to contain a smirk as he continues. "Well security has been beefed up at Arkham. Jim Gordon's orders." He leans closer to the camera, almost whispering. "He thinks Jeremiah's lunatic family members are going to try to get Jeremiah out of Arkham." 

I let my lips curl into a vicious smirk as I throw my arms happily around my husband's shoulders. He places his arms around my waist and inks me closer so that our noses are brushing against each others. "We did it. No one knows Jeremiah Valeska is not in Arkham anymore -"

"Well, technically he is." I hear Jeremiah say. "It's time I change my name to something more in character. Jeremiah died the day he fell into that chemical vat. What do you think Jerome?" Jeremiah lets go off my back and walks up to Jerome who slides his arm across Jeremiah's shoulder pulling him close.

"How about the Joker?" Jerome whispers eerily against Jeremiah's ear.

"Perfect.. Mistah J. The Joker. Oooo it's so sexy." I smile and and grab Jeremiah's tie, pulling him against me and hungrily placing my lips to his, which he retaliates with equal fervour.

"Oh you two! Get a room. I'm gonna go out for a bit. Rob some banks apparently.." Jerome chuckles and slides his hands into the pocket of his cream coloured overcoat.We watch from the corner of our eyes as he starts whistling and walks out of the barn.
"Hey! You! No touching that!" I hear him probably yelling at someone outside the barn , making me grin.

"I'm sorry you have to stay cooped up in here all day.." I whisper, nuzzling my nose against his cold cheek, letting my tongue slide out and trail over the edge of his mouth. "I don't want to blow my cover. I'm fine with it." He murmurs, his voice husky and full of lust against my ear. I can already feel his erection poking into my front, causing me to lose a bit of my senses.

"Jason will wake up any minute darlin. If you want me now, you gotta hurry." I flick my glance towards my sleeping child and then back towards the man in front of me. The next minute, I find myself pinned against the old wooden wall of the barn, his hands plastered on the wall on either side of me, our noses touching and his eyes fixed on mine, his gaze piercing into mine. I finally spend a night in intimacy with my husband after long months of waiting.

***

*Flashback*

Jerome managed to sneak into ACE Chemicals and steal a barrel of the green boiling chemical in which Jeremiah had fallen into while I was waiting outside and kept watch. I then helped him load the barrel into the trunk of Nyssa's car that I managed to sneak out. I slid into the drivers, much to Jerome's protest.

"So where are we going to find this uncle of yours?" I said, tapping my well manicured fingers against the steering wheel as I pull up on the road.

"Zach's Diner." He informed me casually. He then instructed me as to how we are supposed to reach the diner and I followed his directions until we pulled up outside a small diner with a bright neon board outside which read "Zach's Diner". I parked the car and Jerome stepped out of the car, grabbing his gun from the backseat. I did the same, tucking it into the holster on my waist.

"We could have picked anyone Jerome. We just needed a goddamn body." I whined and stomp my feet like a baby as I followed him with slow steps towards the diner.

"No! This is where you and broski both lacked. No style! No charisma! No innovation! You're no fun. You both were boring as hell. No wonder you're married to him now. He was an utter bore, just like you." He snapped at me.

I groaned and fell quiet, rolling my eyes at him as he reached the diner and threw open the door, the bell jingling. The diner was brightly lit, a few people were already seated inside, probably having dinner. I couldn't help roll my eyes and cringe wondering how these people are either too brave or too dumb to bother coming out to eat when Gotham is crumpling into ashes outside.

I raised my hands together above my head and positioned myself in the center of the room, clapping to get the people's attention. They all started looking at me.
"Guys! Dinner's over! You get to the count of 20 and I want you all out of here. Otherwise.." I slid my hand into my holster and pulled out a gun, shooting right at someone's bowl of soup, watching the ceramic burst and soup fall all over. The people started screaming and running out of the diner. Just then, probably due to the chaos outside, I saw a man step out from the kitchen area with a confused look on his face.

He just froze the minute he laid his eyes on Jerome. "You.. I thought you were dead.." He whispered. "What do you want now? You brothers.. you brothers. You're insane . Both of you." I watched him, amused, a faint smile playing on my lips and he spit his saliva on the floor near Jerome's feet.

"Oh Unc. I loved the soup you gave me last time. Only, it was a little too hot." I heard Jerome say , making me growl at Uncle Zach and grab him by his arm, yanking him down on one of the couches. I watched Jerome slide into the couch opposite to him and place both his hands on the table . I kept my gun aimed towards him, incase he decided to be a little oversmart. "Oh Dove! I wish you could taste a little of my uncle's chicken noodle soup. I always loved it. Mama Mia!" Jerome kissed his fingers dramatically, making me chuckle in amusement.

"Why are you here, you lunatic?!"

"Hey! Watch your tongue you filthy cunt!" I smacked the back of his head with my gun and he groaned in pain, his hand immediately flying to the back of his head. Jerome just gave me a wide smile.

"Don't anger this woman. She can do things to you , you cannot even imagine." Jerome croaked in a dramatic way, licking his lips. "Anyway, I completely forgot. I came here to give you a little..present Unc. Ruby, would you be a darlin and get it for me from the car?" I nodded, shooting his uncle an annoyed look and turned away from them, walking out to the car and lifting up the trunk. The barrell was extremely heavy so with great difficulty, I managed to lift it and carry it back into the diner.

"What the hell is that?" I walked in with slow steps, holding the barrell in my hands and Jerome's uncle started panicking.

"Don't worry. It will only hurt a little." I chuckled and watched Jerome hop up to his feet and make his way towards me and his uncle. He then pulled out a handcuff from his pocket and with quick movement, cuffed his uncle's left hand to the table leg. He cried out as loudly as he could, only to have his mouth stuffed by the salt shaker.

Jerome came to my side, assisting me by holding the heavy barrell over his uncle's head as he saw me struggle with it. "On the count of two, just push in this opening here." I nodded in response.

"One..Two.."

At the sound of two, I pressed my finger against a small lever which caused the opening to widen and the green boiling chemical flew out, falling all over Uncle Zach.

***

"I don't know Jerome. I don't know if it will work." I flicked a glance towards him and gave him an unsure expression before opening my mouth again to speak. "..but we've got to try. I think I can bring Jeremiah back." I looked down at myself, I was dressed in a white nurse outfit. Only it wasn't for roleplay.

Jerome shook his head annoyed but kept following me none the less as he lowered his hood over his face. We stuck to the shadows of the hospital's building under the solace of the dark of a moonless night. We had to be extra slow because Jerome was dragging his uncle's burnt body using a chain. We had planned to kill him but he ended up his body being alive but his brain dead. I was kind of glad he didn't die. We reached the edge and I pushed my head against the corner, peeping out towards the entrance.

"What do ya see?" Jerome nudged me making me shush him immediately. "Quiet." I whispered. "I see two GCPD officers at the entrance. I don't know how many are inside."

"Well we have to find out, don't we?" Jerome bended and I watched him pick up a stone from the corner of my eye and hurl it towards a bush on the opposite side of the guards. The stone hit the bush, causing them to rustle slightly. We heard the guards point their guns towards the bush and one of them said, "Come on, let's check that out." I watched Jerome as he pulled out a pocket knife and stealthily made his way towards where the two officers were standing, looking in the direction of the bushes, one officer was a few steps farther from the second one. Jerome placed the knife against the one closer to him first and with a quick movement , slit his throat, letting his body fall silently to the ground. He then slid in deeper into the bushes and I heard the sound of the second officer going down as well. Jerome grabbed the first officer's foot and pulled him into the bushes along with the other one before making his way back to me.

"Wow. You're charming." I grinned towards him as he jogged back to me casually and slid the pocket knife back into his pocket. He just rolled his eyes in a playful manner and gave me a slight bow of his head in response.

"Wait here." I whispered against Jerome's ear and he nodded. Stealthily, I made my way into the hospital from the front placing a mask on my mouth to hide my identity. I then grabbed a gurney with two decks on it and walked back casually towards where Jerome was waiting, not wanting to gather any attention.

"Quickly!"

Jerome lifted his uncle's brain dead body and placed it in the lower part of the gurney, spreading a large white sheet over it to cover him up so that he isn't visible any longer. He himself slid in along with the burnt corpse, careful of not burning himself by coming into much physical contact with him although most of the chemicals on him was worn off by then.
Straightening my shoulder, I started wheeling the gurney down the hallway of the hospital, a few people glancing at me nervously but none out of suspicion. I kept walking until I was two rooms away from a ward where I could see two GCPD guards stationed at the door.

Taking a deep breath, I started walking towards the ward. The GCPD officers saw me approach with the gurney and immediately jumped up to their feet examining me.

"What do you want?" One of the officers asked me.

I'm here to change the bed covers. The condition of his burns, it requires a weekly change of fresh linen so that he doesn't get any bed sores along with the burns on him." I bit my lip, wondering if my acting was sufficient enough. I watched as the other officer lazily sat back down on the chair he was sitting on earlier. The other officer however followed me into the ward.

He glanced at Jeremiah for a quick second and then placed himself at the door, watching me curiously. Biting the insides of my cheeks, I motioned to the officer, pointing my finger towards Jeremiah. "Could you help me shift him onto this gurney?" I asked.

"I would if you agree to meet up with me after your shift gets over." He walked over to me, a cocky expression playing over his lips as he deliberately slapped my ass and made his way to where Jeremiah's feet are. I placed my gloved hands on his biceps while he grabbed his feet and lifted him up roughly and placed him on the gurney.

"Well I'm out." Making a disgusted expression, he rubbed his hands against the fabric of his uniform and I watched him step out of the ward, closing the door behind me. Immediately, Jerome's foot shot out from below the gurney and then he pulled himself out completely, frowning.

"I couldn't fucking breathe!" He mouthed while I quickly changed the bed sheet. Jerome pulled out Uncle Zach from the lower part of the gurney and I realized that while Jerome was stuck inside with the body, he had already placed bandages over his face just like Jeremiah had. He quickly laid the body over the freshly changed linen just like Jeremiah was laying there a few moments back. With quick adept movement, I grabbed Jeremiah with his arms while Jerome grabbed his feet, lifting him up and hiding him where we had hid uncle Zach a few minutes ago. Jerome got in along with him, making me giggle slightly and quieten up.

"Well, cutie. Are you done?" The door flew wide open and the officer walked in. He looked at me and then at the comatose body in bed, shrugging slightly. Instinctively, I pushed the gurney out of the room, ignoring his eyes checking me out from top to bottom as I stepped out. "Well, when do you get free?" I heard him call out as I kept my pace fast, pushing the heavy gurney as fast as I could, not bothering to reply.

It was not as difficult to get out of the hospital as difficult as it had been to get in. Once securely out of the building from the back entrance, I whistled indicating Jerome that he could come out. Groaning, he stepped out of the gurney. He then lifted Jeremiah and tossed him roughly over his shoulder.

"In any other circumstances Jerome, I wouldn't have forgiven you for that." I pointed my boney finger and poked into his abs, narrowing my eyes at him.

"Well, I don't think he can feel any pain or something."

"The difficult part is going to be trying to revive him now.." I whispered, barely audible as I pulled open the car door of the backseat and Jerome stuffed Jeremiah inside.

Chapter Text

*Still in Flashback*

I parked the car outside an old and abandoned factory on the outskirts of the city. Turning off the engine, both me and Jerome, we slid out of the car and I assisted Jerome in pulling Jeremiah out and fixing him on his shoulder again, him groaning due to Jeremiah's weight pressing him down.

With much effort, we entered the factory and found ourselves in one of the middle parts of it, surrounded by abandoned water plants and other machines. We placed Jeremiah on a makeshift bed made by joining empty sacks of wheat together.

"Well, that was the best work out till date." I heard Jerome chuckle as he laid Jeremiah down and fell back on his back next to Jeremiah.

I pulled out my gloves and stared at my hands, my thoughts pulling me back into the sands of time to the day I had watched the burnt man heal by my hands at Indian Hill. We had come a long way from then, I wasn't ever sure if this would work or not.

"What ya thinkin?" Jerome turned on his front and placed his chin on his hands, his body resting on his elbows.

"Failure.. What if ..we fail? What if I can't bring him back? What if this is all for nothing? I'm not ready to come this close and get my heart broken all over again. I can't do this.. Jerome." I looked down at my hands that were shaking now. Suddenly, I felt Jerome's hands take my hands and pull me slightly towards him. Lacing our fingers together, he used his thumb to stroke over the side of my palm. " If you don't see yourself as a winner, then you can never perform as a winner." He said to me, his gaze meeting mine as he continued. "I've seen you survive worse. You're a survivor. You've always been. Even if.. Jeremiah doesn't make it, I know you will." I looked away from his gaze, placing it on Jeremiah.

"I love him so much it hurts. I wish, it was me that fell into that chemical vat that night. And not Jeremiah." I bit my lip hard, almost drawing out blood.

"You'll never know if it works unless you try.. What are you afraid of? Ruby, be brave enough to pick yourself up everytime you fall.." He squeezed my hand one last time and I watched him pull away, leaning over Jeremiah now. Suddenly, he smacked him hard on his cheek.

"What the hell Jerome?" I snapped at him, using both my hands to push him away from Jeremiah.

"I hate him. I hate how he made my life a living hell. He turned everyone I loved against me. He was always a piece of shit. You know he lied to everybody how I tried to kill him by placing a knife to his throat? By lighting his freaking bed on fire?" He looks at me angrily and I just sigh. "I wanted to chop his pretty little head off. I fantasized about how I'm going to kill him sadly, but it's true. I did."

"What changed?" I raised an eyebrow.

"Well he did well. Carrying on my legacy. Also, he is my brother. Always has been. Always will be. Now watching him like this, fucked up and useless, it just pisses me off." He shrugged nonchalantly.

With one swift movement, I took my gloves off and took a glance at Jerome. I bit the insides of my cheeks hard, nervously. What I was gonna do now, it could cost me my life probably. I couldn't have told Jerome that. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, taking my palms and placing them on Jeremiah's skin.

Suddenly, a warmth engulfed me and it felt like I was weightless , floating in the air. I opened my eyes and watched a familiar light erupt from my palms, slowly healing the burns on Jeremiah's skin. His burns were worse than I had anticipated. I felt my body get weaker and weaker, my body started convulsing and a white foam started forming in my mouth, flowing out from the side of my lips. The pain kept getting worse, it was like a thousand knives were being pierced through my body. From the corner of my eye, I could see Jerome's hazy body move towards me, probably to stop me from pushing myself to the verge of suicide. But I couldn't stop now. Not when I was this close.

I let out a bloodcurdling scream as gashes formed on my arms, my chest and my stomach, blood oozing out of the gashes as I continued to work on him. Suddenly, the pain was too much to bear. My body was completely weightless now, the last thing I felt before I went unconscious was hands grabbing me as I slipped back, blackness taking over me completely.

***

I let my eyes flutter open tiredly as I craned my neck to get a better view of my surroundings. I was laying in what looked like the interior of a factory, a fire burning next to me, probably to keep me warm. Memories suddenly hit me like a truck and I haphazardly pushed myself up in a sitting position, all the blood flowing into my head suddenly making me dizzy. I looked down at my body. My clothes had been removed and I was laying in nothing but a flimsy slip, bandages all over my body. What happened? Did it work?

Jerome suddenly leaned over me , giving me a mini heart attack. "Look who's back. Rise and shine warrior! Someone's been really worried about ya!" He grinned and my eyes flew open. "Where is he!?" Instinctively, I tried to pull myself up but the injuries on my body started stinging making me wince and fall back down. Suddenly, a silhouette emerged from the door towards me from my right.

There he was. He leaned over me from the other side and my mouth curved into a tiny smile. My old Jeremiah was back, his pale ivory skin intact and his ruby red lips shining due to moistness, except, he had parrot green hair now.

***

*Current Day*

I grab a bottle of scotch and fill up my glass to a brim, watching Jerome and a blonde bar dancer he brought back with him step out of the trailer opposite to the barn. The blonde was about to leave so she locked her arms around Jerome's neck and kissed him teasingly on his scarred lips , purring seductively. "When are we meeting again? I can't wait.."

Jeremiah is sitting on a chair , drinking some whiskey in a glass, a toothy grin on his face. I can't help but snort as I make my way to Jeremiah and slide over his thigh, placing one leg over my other and locking my left arm around his neck for support.

"Do you wanna bet on whether Jerome's gonna kill her or let her go?" I smile, taking a sip of my scotch.

"He can't keep a girl. He's definitely going to kill her. Slit her throat." I watch him sit back, an amused smug look on his face , taking a sip of his drink while I brush my fingers through his soft green coloured locks. I love how his hair have grown back.

Jerome locks his arm behind the blonde girl's back, pulling her closer into his embrace, their noses nuzzling together. "We're going to meet...Hm, let me think.." He twists her around and grinds against her for a quick second before opening his mouth again. "Never! I don't fuck a same girl twice." He then places a knife over her neck, slitting her throat and pushing the body to the ground.

"Oh well. You win." I grin and lean against Jeremiah, placing my lips over his and giving him a quick peck. His hand falls over my thigh, stroking it softly which he doesn't bother pulling away as Jerome walks in.

"The way you're going, you're gonna end up fucking and killing all the girls in Gotham.." I grin playfully and let Jeremiah nuzzle his nose against the side of my face, sniffing my hair.

"I don't get this concept of monogamy. Being with one girl. What's the fun in that? Monogamy is so boring." He shrugs and grabs a glass, pouring himself some whiskey and making his way to another chair next to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah suddenly speaks up, his fingers still brushing teasingly over my thigh, causing heat to pool up in my core. "We have to move to a more secure location. Besides, I don't like living like this. Look at this place. No style. It's filthy. Unhygienic." Jeremiah shrugs and slaps my thigh, indicating me to get up. He points towards the makeshift bed, making me realize that Jason is awake and it's almost time to feed him.

"Oh right! You wanna live in castle!" Jerome gasps dramatically, making me roll my eyes. These two look the same but are so different in personality. I lift my sobbing son up and place him over my waist, locking an arm around his waist as I grab a bowl and start preparing some cerelac for him on an old wooden table that creaks everytime I place something on it.

"Would someone be kind enough to knock some sense into him?" I hear Jeremiah exclaim emotionlessly as he takes another sip of his drink. "What are you going to do if the GCPD bombards our hideout? Where are we going to go then?" He hisses, watching Jerome.

"Alright smartass. What's your plan? Where do we go? Oh wait. You'll say a bunker. Which is gonna take years to build." Jerome says, pulling his chair closer to Jeremiah.

"Uh guys? I have a plan.. but you're not gonna like that." I bite my lip and slowly walk towards them, placing Jason on the ground and sitting down in front of him, locking him using my legs so that he doesn't escape while I place the cerelac bowl on the ground. I then lift him using my hands and place him on my thigh, using one hand to support him while I use my other to feed him. "The catacombs in the sewers. No one would think of going down there."

"SEWERS?!" Jeremiah and Jerome yell together, Jeremiah even spitting out his drink.

"Okay hear me out. That part of the sewers is cleaner. Also, it's like a labyrinth. Even if someone manages to catch us, we can easily escape." I place a mouthful using a spoon into Jason's mouth. "Besides, even if we start building an empire down there, nobody is going to find out." I shrug, almost slapping Jason lightly across his fluffy cheek as he intentionally spits the cerelac out of his mouth onto the floor.

"As much as it appears that my wife probably hit her head somewhere and it had a significant effect on her mind.." Jeremiah says , a grin flashing over his lips as he places the empty glass on the floor and makes his way to where I am sitting, bending and lifting Jason in his arms and nuzzling his cheek with his nose. He continues. "It is not an entirely bad idea.. We can probably make it work. The second part is really tempting. The part where she said that we can build an empire."

"Boring!" Jerome yawns and falls back against the chair dramatically.

"Guys seriously.." I frown, pushing myself up on my feet and picking up the empty bowl. "Why can't we simply come to an agreement? Jerome? I don't see anything wrong with my idea.. You can always come out and do the things you do.. "

"Fine! Okay! You wanna become sewer rats become sewer rats! I don't care!" He shrugs and downs his drink in one quick motion before getting up and making his way towards the Cadillac. "I hope I atleast get to keep this baby!" He intentionally yells towards us and we just roll our eyes. Jerome is such a baby.

The next morning, I find myself waking up earlier than the usual time I wake up. I glance at the window only to realize that the sun hasn't risen yet. Groaning slightly, I sit up and rub my shoulders as they are sore from sleeping in the same position for a long time. I flick a glance to my left and let a tiny smile curve around the corner of my lips as I watch Mistah J sleeping on the extreme end with a hand protectively wrapped around Jason who is sleeping in the middle on our makeshift hay bed, his face buried into his dad's side.

 

Jerome decided to use his old bunker and sleep a little more comfortable so he isn't here. Sliding on my jacket, I decide to go walk around the circus for a bit.

I step out of the barn and look around, most of the trailers have been occupied by our followers and the one directly in front of us by Jerome. I can see that the lights of his trailer is on. I slink in closer and instantly groan, rolling my eyes at the sound of grunting, humping and the shrill moans of a woman coming from the inside. I decide to walk towards the other side of the circus which I hardly had the time to explore. I walk to the other side of the barn and look around myself, hugging myself tight as the early mornings in Gotham are very chilly. The Sun has not come up yet but I can see faint lights begin to appear up in the sky.

Suddenly, hands creep up behind me and hold me from my waist, closing the distance between us. I look back and smile at my husband, his green hair all messy having just woken up.

"You're up early, Mrs. Valeska." His lips contort into a small grin and I raise my eyebrows playfully, staring at the palely lit sky above me. "Oh no, it's Mrs. Joker now, kind of has a nice ring to it. Don't you think?" I say, barely audible. He nods in response.

"What you thinking?" He asks, his hands still around me. I shake my head slightly, parting my lips to reply. "Just contemplating. What their next move could be. Now that they know that I've allied myself with Jerome. They're going to do something to lure us out of hiding."

***

*Bruce Wayne's POV*

It's really annoying, how we end up eliminating one bad blood from the streets of Gotham only for two others to be born out of it.

"Bruce. Come on. Tell me what's going on in your mind?" Selina leans closer to me, her brown curls falling over her forehead.

I look down at my hands and sigh, looking back up at her before placing my hand on top of hers, taking it in mine.
"Selina, I feel like a complete and utter failure. I don't think we will ever be able to cleanse Gotham of its impurities." 

She sighs and squeezes my hand, not breaking eye contact. "You're not a failure Bruce. You've done more for this city than most of its citizens have. Look, Bane has been captured. Nyssa is going to Blackgate. We'll figure something out about the Valeskas. Though seriously, that family is like dog ticks and flees, we feel like we've crushed em. They just freaking get back up."

I throw my head back and laugh slightly, Selina's comparison is just so funny. I then lean forward and place my hand on her cheek, stroking her cheek with my thumb. I see her part her lips slightly and let her tongue graze over her lower lip.
"Uh, Bruce? Maybe now is the part where you're supposed to kiss me."

Embarrassed, my cheeks turning red, I just look away for a bit. "Yeah. I ..sorry."

"Shut up and kiss me." She whispers and presses her lips to mine. Her lips taste like honey, sweet and moist. I kiss her gently, but it is not gentleness that she wants as she knots her palms against the fabric of my shirt and yanks me against her. A low, throaty growl erupts from deep down my throat, as I find myself grabbing the back of her head as we roll over the couch, tangled together, still kissing.

I, suddenly, and unwantingly break the kiss, looking down at her flushed face. "That was really nice." She coos softly, biting her lower lip.

"Selina! Oh my god. I think I have an idea!" I instantly pull myself away from her and make my way towards the fireplace of the new apartment that me and Selina have gotten for a while, with Alfred at the hospital recovering after Bane's attack and Jeremiah having destroyed the mansion. Selina gets up and makes her way to me, placing a hand on my shoulder. I look back at her, smiling. "Do you think you can get Ivy to help us?"

"Ivy? What are you planning Bruce?" Selina raises her eyebrows curiously and I just smile smugly at her before speaking. "Well I kind of have a way to lure Ruby out of hiding. Jerome won't be much difficult to lure but Ruby.. We need to hit them both with their own weapon."

"Well I'm gonna try to contact Ivy. She won't want to help us though. She probably feels that we are against her." Selina whispers through gritted teeth. "But I'm gonna see what I can do..I can appeal to her as a friend.."

***

I look down at my feet in disgust. Maybe it was not the best idea to get into the sewers.

"My shoes. Oh my god." I hear Mistah J exclaim in horror, making me skewer my head towards him and sigh. Jerome is casually walking in front of us, splashing against the sewer water without even feeling disgusted. It is funny how he was the one protesting the most when I had laid down this idea.

We keep walking through the ankle length water, my jeans rolled up to my knee. I'm holding a map of the sewer system that I managed to steal from the public library. Pretty accurate till now. Just a few more lefts then we will be at the catacombs. Jason is perched on a baby carrier at my front, looking around with his big daddy like eyes. He is a true copy of his dad, the more I watch him grow everyday.

We finally reach an abandoned tunnel which connects one part of Gotham to the other but had been long cordoned off from public use because of the horrendous crimes that used to take place right here along time back. Good thing we're out of the water.

 

We look around and glance at the various wall paintings and graffitis made by homeless people who probably come here for shelter when they have nowhere to go. We finally reach the exact middle of the tunnel and I see a tiny opening in the wall. The wall is broad enough for just a single person to walk in and it's dark inside. Our followers start getting in, one after the other. We wait a few moments until one of the followers call out from the inside that everything is safe. I step in, placing my hand protectively over my son's head just in case he decides to move about and hurt his head over the stones. Jeremiah gets in after me and places his hand over the low of my back making me breath a sigh of relief as I'm starting to feel a little claustrophobic. Jerome gets into the tunnel in the end and his voice echoes all over since he is practically cackling his ass off. Finally, I step out directly at the entrance of the catacombs. We enter the catacombs and are greeted by a labyrinth, three different directions in which we can go. I glance at the map in front of me which indicates that I need to pick the path on the extreme right. We take a few more paths and finally step out at the place I was talking about. It is a large empty space, it's walls ancient looking with carvings engraved on it . We choose a spot and our followers light a fire for a better visibility around the area.

 

There are small cubicles all around us which look like little cabins separated by stone walls on each side.

"Great. At least we get to pick our own rooms." Jerome chuckles and hurries past me, immediately stepping into one of the cubicles and laying down his bag.

"What do you have in that bag anyway?" I raise an eyebrow, eyeing his bag. Instinctively, he crouches on his knee and pulls a few bags of chips, some cold drink cans, coffee brewer (thank you Jerome!) and Jason's milk bottle(Aww!).

I make my way to the cubicle next to him and take off my jacket, dropping it by the side before I grab the blankets that our followers had brought in, spreading one on the floor and placing Jason on it. Jason immediately crawls off, into Jerome's cubicle, making me grin.

"Well he seems to be quite taken with his uncle.." Jeremiah mumbled emotionlessly and I watch him take off his black blazer and neatly fold it in a corner, unlike my jacket just laying there on the floor. "Jerome and Jason get along quite well.." I whisper back, almost smiling to myself. It's true. Jason and Jerome seem to have taken to a kind of attachment to each other. Jason is always mostly where Jerome is.

Jeremiah sits down next to me on the blanket I just laid and lies down, his hand under his head.

"Jeremiah?" I whisper, biting the inside of my cheeks.

"I thought I was the Joker?" He says emotionlessly and I just shrug.

"We had twins. I lost her when she was born.. she had black hair like me." I look down at my hands and then back up again.

Jeremiah is quiet, probably contemplating something. He then takes his hand and rubs my back soothingly. "Our life is made by the death of others. Besides, she's gone. What's the point in thinking of her and spoiling your mood?" I look at him, trying to mask the hurt and anguish on my face but am unable to do so with my words.

"Oh what's with the rotten face Ruby?" He points out and turns to look at me. I just bite my lip hard ,trying to control my tears from falling. "Do you even love me? Do you even love Jason?" He shakes his head. "I love you. You know that. You both are probably the only people I'm ever going to love. But this is how I love. If you expect me to give you flowers, tell you how pretty you look today. I can't do that." He says, almost emotionlessly.

"Hey I told ya you're marrying the wrong brother. Had you married me I would have brought you anybody you hate's head on a platter and laid it on your feet!!" Jerome calls out from the other cubicle making me and Jeremiah roll our eyes together.

"Well brother, I would appreciate if you would stop listening in on our conversation and do something more productive." Jeremiah coos.

Chapter Text

I wake up the next morning and shift my gaze to my side, only to realize that Jeremiah has already woken up. So has Jason. I sit up in bed groggily and yawn wide, stretching my arms in the air above me. I just look around realising how hungry I am. Pulling myself up on my feet and pulling up my uncombed hair into a loose ponytail, I step out of my cubicle and make my way to the group gathered near the fire. I can see the Joker sitting in the middle on a chair, Jason perched on his lap playing with his dad's tie. The followers are gathered around him and I can see that he is giving them the instructions to go out and raid the stores today for supplies, without leading anyone back here. I shake my head and make my way to Jerome's cubicle, only to realize that he is not here. Probably fucking in a corner somewhere. I grab a packet of chips from his bag and tear it open, grabbing some chips and stuffing them into my mouth.

"Where's Jerome?" I ask one of the followers curiously, pushing another piece of potato chip into my mouth.

"Bruce Wayne is throwing a party in celebration of getting a go ahead for the reunification for Gotham. Jerome decided to have a little fun and crash the party."

I nod and watch him scoot away. I lean against the stone wall and sulk, Jerome is out there having fun and I'm practically stuck here with no work to do.

A few hours fly by. I pass my time mostly with Jason as Jeremiah is busy making a plan of how he wants his underground catacombic empire to be. I didn't bother disturbing him while he is busy. I changed Jason's diaper, fed him some milk and his favourite mashed bananas and played with his toy cars for a bit until he dozed off and curled in my lap.

*Jerome's POV*

"Yeah well, okay. I'm here."

I finally turn the ignition off and step out of the car, stretching my arms dramatically in the air. I grab my gun from the back seat and squint my eyes, eyeing the building in front of me. It's probably one of the only good looking buildings that is left in Gotham now.

I step into the well lit building and let my smile get wider as I notice the people start whispering about me, pointing their fingers at me. Casually, I skip to the reception and place both my hands on the desk in front of me, leaning against it and eyeing the doe eyed receptionist. Instantly, she freezes the minute her eyes fall on my gun.

"H..How can..I ..help you?" She asks me, her lips quivering in fear.

"Well, my best friend Bruce Wayne is throwing a party in this building. Which floor is it?" I give her one of my signature grins and she slinks back away from my towering form.

"I'm..I'm sorry sir. The party is invite only.." She flicks a gaze at my gun for a bit before plastering it back on my face. Instantly, I grab the gun and aim it towards her. "Sir please don't hurt me. It's on the third floor. Just take the stairs." She spits the words as fast as an aeroplane.

"Thank you gorgeous." I whisper huskily and flash her one of my toothy smiles before pressing the trigger and blowing her brains off. I then skip my way to the stairs, past the frozen silhouettes of scared citizens of Gotham who just witnessed a heinous murder.

Once I step up the third floor, I'm instantly greeted by loud booming music. I can see two bouncers standing in front of the door, and two lines already formed there for entry. "Aw man." I frown and place my head on my forehead, scratching it and trying to think of a way of crashing into the party without garnering much attention. My gaze suddenly falls onto an AC duct in a corner and my smirk grows wider. Sneakily, I make my way to one of the vents that is on the other side of the corridor where I am not visible to the party goers. I kneel in front of it and take off the nuts, placing it in a corner before pushing myself in.

I crawl through the dark and stale smelling vent, peeping through various openings to check which room I have reached. I finally find myself directly above a study like room which is in the same complex as the party. I place my eyes to the opening and I can see a familiar silhouette standing below me. Selina Kyle. I see her throw open the fridge and grab an ice cold wine cooler from inside before making her way back to where the party is. Once the room is empty again, I push open the duct opening and jump out of the duct, with a thud.

"One hell of a party you're having Brucey.." I croak and make my way to the fridge to grab myself something to drink before I get into hiding and wait for Bruce Wayne to show up. I look through the contents of the fridge. I end up pulling out a wine cooler myself because it kind of looked tempting when Selina had picked it. I also pull out a turkey sandwich. Just then, I hear footsteps approach from behind my back.

"Are you a guest?" A feline feminine voice calls out behind me, making me shrug casually and take a step away from the fridge, turning around and looking at her.

"Oh yeah. I'm Bruce's old friend.." I grin, using my teeth as bottle opener while I curiously watch the woman in front of me, examining her from her head to toe.

"Friend?" She ask, her lips curling into a faint smile. My eyes fall down to a flower she is holding.

"Who are you?" I shrug nonchalantly and take a sip of my wine cooler, hopping up on the counter and sitting on the edge of it, my feet dangling above the floor. I watch her sensually droop her hand to her side and take a step close to me making my grin grow wider.

"Ivy Pepper." I see her nibble on her lower lip.

"Well Ivy..it's a pity.." My smirk grows wider as I lift my gun and fixate it directly in front of her. She, however, does not flinch.

"Oh well aren't you scared?" I raise an eyebrow, not taking the gun off her face.

I watch her shake her head and step closer and closer towards the gun until the tip of the gun is buried into the valley of her breasts. Oops. Suddenly, she lowers her eyes and fixates it on the flower she is holding and blows on it making me sneeze.

All I can think about it is her beauty.

Wow. She is so beautiful. Her eyes. Those doe eyed orbs. Her beautiful, luscious hair. I think I'm in love.

***

From the corner of my eye, I see Jerome walk in to the catacombs. He was probably outside. I cross my arms over my chest and make my way to him almost squinting my nose as he reeks of female perfume.

"You've got a hell of a libido.." I chuckle dryly but straighten up as I see no response from him. He just shrugs nonchalantly and makes his way to Jeremiah, lifting Jason in his hands and walking into his cubicle. Well I guess he is mad probably he didn't last that long. Funny. The sexual humour. Frustrated as I don't have much to do in here, I make my way back to where Jeremiah is, completely forgetting about Jerome for a while.

An hour later, I walk into Jerome's cubicle since it's time to feed Jason only to realise that the cubicle is empty. Hurriedly, I make my way towards Jeremiah, bumping into one of the followers on my way. Jeremiah shifts his gaze to me as he notices the commotion. "Have you seen Jerome anywhere?" I practically snarl at the timid follower who just cowers and shakes his head.

Annoyed, I grab his throat and push him against the stone wall, choking him harder and harder with every squeeze. Jeremiah approaches me with a hint of worry in his eyes and he places a hand on my shoulder, soothingly. "What is it?"
I shake my head and let go of the follower's throat who immediately scampers as far away as he can from me.

"I can't find Jason anywhere. Jerome is not there either. I checked the area. They're...not here Miah. Where's my baby??" I cross my arms over my chest, my breathing hitched. "Well they must be somewhere around here.. You must have not looked well enough.." I hear him say dryly, making my anger worsen and my fists clench tighter together. Before I can open my mouth and give Jeremiah a reply, I hear the sound of someone panting and running towards us. Both me and Jeremiah look up, fixating our gaze to a sweat drenched, panting follower.

"There's a news on TV, boss.." He whispers nervously looking at Jeremiah. "Someone turn the TV on." Jeremiah says emotionlessly and makes his way towards the small TV set that the followers had looted a few days ago. He sits down on a chair in front of the TV while I take my place behind him, leaning into his chair for support. One of the followers flicks the TV on. After Jeremiah successfully managed to turn Gotham into a No Man's Land, Gotham was engulfed in a blackness. Even in literal sort of way. There were no channels anymore on TV accept for the news channel.

My hand immediately flies to my wide open mouth as my gaze falls on the news report playing on the screen. Jeremiah stiffens next to me, his arm clutching his knee hard. We can see Bruce Wayne standing in the middle of a dimly lit room, but that is not all. In the background, Jerome is tied to a pole with a chain. That is not what concerns me though. What concerns me is that Jerome has a smile plastered over his face. What the hell is he thinking?

Suddenly, Bruce Wayne speaks up. Instinctively, I turn on the volume of the TV set and toss the remote away.

"My message is for Ruby Valeska.. I know that somewhere, in some shitty corner of Gotham city, you are watching this. So if you are watching this.." Bruce shuffles his weight from one feet to another and slides his hands into the pockets of his black trousers. Suddenly, a brown haired woman steps into the camera background and walks towards where Jerome is bound. She leans across Jerome and whispers something into his ear and he nods like a lovesick puppy.

Suddenly, the camera zooms towards Jerome's face. I watch him, perplexed as his mouth curves into a tiny smirk and he parts his lips to speak.

"Dove, I know you're watching this. And you're confused. You're probably thinking what the hell is Jerome doing? Don't worry. I'm going to tell ya. But before I do that. I just wanna say one thing, Ivy is so damn gorgeous. Just look at her. Isn't she just beautiful?"

I press my lips into a thin line and curl my fingers tight into fists against the fabric of my side. "He's under Ivy's stupid plant effect. She does this thing. Mind manipulation. Oh my god ugh." I kick the stone wall next to me, my body shaking with fury. Jerome's voice sounds again, making me crane my neck towards the TV set.

"Well, you probably know by now that I've practically kidnapped my nephew. Camera? Here..." Jerome claps his hands in front of the camera, probably to draw the cameraman's attention towards him. He then points his finger towards his left and the camera suddenly wheels towards the left until it finally fixates itself on Ivy Pepper who's holding a wailing Jason is her hands.

Fury stricken, I throw my hands into the air and my gaze falls on a knife that's laying on a stone case a few yards away. I lunge towards the knife instinctively and curl my fingers around it, lifting it, and throw it into the air with a loud scream, bellowing it right into one of our follower's gut who groans painfully and falls face first on the floor. "I'm fucking going to kill that bitch! I'm going to choke her with my bare hands and pierce her fucking eyes out!" I scream, walking left and right as fast as my legs would. "QUIET!" Jeremiah yells, banging his fist hard against the arm rest of the chair and every whispering follower falls silent immediately, including me.

"Hi Ruby.." I watch Ivy give a smile to the camera as she places her finger over Jason's cheek, and trails it along down his neck, almost grabbing him in a choke hold, making him cry even more. "My grip isn't that hard..yet. But it will be. If you're not here in the next.." She lifts her wrist and looks at her wristwatch. "Thirty minutes. I'll be waiting. Gotham City Hall. Thirty Minutes. Come alone." Suddenly, the camera goes off.

Jeremiah emotionlessly steps up from the chair, his expressions betraying nothing. He makes his way to the TV set and kicks it hard, the glass breaking and his leg slipping into the broken glass. I can see his hands curled tight against his side in a fist. He is angry, very angry.

"I'm going!" I yell, running into my cubicle and grabbing my gun.

"Without a plan?" His voice is eerily calm.

"They have my son. And they have Jerome. I don't care if I don't have a freaking plan." I bite my lip, tears threatening to spill out of my eyes.

"Don't be ridiculous. Don't be an emotional fool." He replies.

"Well aren't you going to get your son back? Your brother back?" My voice finally starts raising against him. I cannot control it anymore.

"I would. But with a plan. I will not blow my cover." He says, calmly.

"TO HELL WITH YOUR PLAN JEREMIAH! I'm going and you can't stop me!" I hiss, almost spitting in his face.

"Don't suggest that again." He say, turning towards me and taking a step closer, with a dangerous glint in his eyes.

"OR WHAT? YOU WOULD HURT ME?"

Suddenly , I fly back with the impact as he lands a slap on my cheek, my back hitting against the concrete stone wall behind me. He walks up to me, towering over me, looking down at me. I slide down, tears brimming off my eyes. He grabs me by my hair and yanks me up in a standing position, pinning me against him using both his hands on either of my side.

"Your mouth is out of control these days. I'm going to teach you how to control it when you're talking to me." He keeps his hand on my throat making me part my lips and make choking sounds as he presses hard against it. With the other hand, he pulls out a razor from his pocket and I see a glimmer of madness in his eyes as he flicks the razor open and places it against the side of my mouth. "I keep you like my Queen. Fulfil your needs. This is how you repay me?"

"S..S..Stop Jeremiah.." I try to speak but fail as his grip tightens around my throat. With one swift moment, his razor pierces into my skin, stinging into my flesh as I feel it cut the sides of my mouth and stop at my earlobe. The pain is unbearable. He then takes the razor and repeats the same process with the other side of my face giving me a Glasgow smile before letting me drop unceremoniously to the cold ground.
Emotionlessly, he moves away and stuffs the razor into his pocket and calmly sits down on the chair. "Now to come up with a plan.."

***

I can still feel my bitter stinging of my cheeks as I drive through the almost empty roads of Gotham. My face is permanently disfigured now. I looked into the mirror before stepping out and I saw that Jeremiah had carved out a hideous smile on my face. It hurts to even move my face. I could have just curled up into a fetal position in my cubicle and cried but that is not me. That is not me when my baby and brother in law is out there in the clutches of the enemy. Family for me is everything, the topmost priority. And I'm going to get them back. Let Jeremiah make a plan.

I bring Jerome's Cadillac to a halt outside the Gotham City Hall. Incredible how it looks peacefully quiet around here. I'm here to change that. I grab my gun and curl my fingers against it, instantly stepping out of the car and raising it in front of me before calling out, "Bruce! Ivy! Selina! I'm here!" I reach the shut front door and with trembling hands, place my hand on the doorknob, turning it to the right to let the door creak open. Instantly, I'm greeted by Selina's gun aimed right towards me.

"What the hell happened to your face?" She raises an eyebrow, her eyes trailing over the bloody wounds on my face. "Hand me the gun Ruby.. If you want Jason's safety." I see her flinch slightly, turning her gaze to Bruce.

"You won't hurt my baby Selina.. " I whisper, barely audible.

"You're right that I won't. But Ivy would." She smiles weakly ,pointing toward a chair in the middle of the room, just next to the pole where Jerome is tied. Ivy is sitting on the chair with Jason perched on her lap, a knife to his throat.

"Here! Take my gun.." Helplessly, with slow movements, I slide down till I am sitting with my knee placed against the floor and place the gun on the floor, tossing it towards Selina who with quick movement, grabs the gun and slides it into her waist. "Good..Now come." Bruce says.

Selina grabs my arm roughly and I am pulled towards another pole that is directly adjacent to the pole next to Jerome's. I narrow my eyes at him while Selina is chaining me to the pole, frowning as Jerome is still watching Ivy like a lovesick puppy. I try yanking at the chains but fail.

"Why are you doing this?" My question is aimed towards Ivy. She smiles and strokes the side of Jason's face and I see her get up from the chair she was sitting on and make her way to Selina, handing her Jason before retreating towards me.

"For my good friends. Especially Selina.. And myself. You and your psychotic husband ruined this city. There is no greenery left around anymore. Just look. Look around this town. It's ugly." She shakes her head, staring at me as though I'm a pest. She opens her mouth to speak again. "I want to create a Green Gotham. Plants all around. Wouldn't it be beautiful hah? But you and my lover boy..." Her smirk widens as she walks up to Jerome and presses her body against him, nuzzling his cheek with her nose for a bit before pulling away. "You've gotta go."

"You're going to Arkham!" Bruce steps towards us, his hands crossed over his chest, with Selina lingering behind him.

"Listen Ivy.." I whisper, my voice quivering slightly. Ivy raises an eyebrow but looks at me, making me continue. "You really think helping them would make you a little less monstrous than you already are? We are monsters. You. Me. Jerome. We are all monsters but we are proud ones." I fall quiet for a bit, watching Ivy shrug nonchalantly before talking again. "You really think they are your friends? No Ivy! They are going to send us to Arkham. Then they're going to come for you too. Because you're a threat to the kind of a city Bruce is planning to turn Gotham into! He's gonna come for you next.."

Ivy raises an eyebrow and then shoots a glance towards Bruce, letting a smile drape over her mouth. "Is that right, Bruce?" She then flicks her gaze back towards me. "Sorry Ruby. It's not working. The thing you're trying to do. Play with my mind. It's not working. Nothing can stop you from going to Arkham. You and this little love sick puppy. I gotta say, he is a fine one though.." She says, her eyes hungrily taking over Jerome's form.

Suddenly, the sound of shoes flapping against the tiled floor starts echoing through the room from the top of the stairs. Instinctively, all of us turn our heads towards the stairs. A man dressed in a red suit with clown make up caked all over his face casually walks towards the staircase from the other side of it, holding Alfred Pennyworth's wheelchair, whistling. Alfred's mouth has been gagged and he still looks beat up after the whole Bane fiasco. I let my lips curve into a smile but wince immediately due to the stinging of my wounds, making me put on a straight face. Off course it's Mistah J.

"Hello, ladies and gentlemen. You must be thinking why do I have Alfred Pennyworth here with me? Well, it's how this handoff is going to work. But three people for one. Take it or leave it." He says, calmly. "Alfred!! Leave him out of this!! Who are you???" Bruce yells, stepping a little closer towards the stairs but the Joker just places his palm in front indicating him to stop. "Call me the Joker..Well I would leave him out of this if you leave them out of this." He points his finger towards me.

Bruce flicks a glance at Selina and I can see the worry and the look of failure in his eyes. Maybe Jeremiah was right, it is always better to come up with a plan. Selina walks up to me then and she takes off my chains, and instinctively, I jump out of them, making my way to Ivy and grabbing Jason from her clutches.

"You have Ruby. Now give us Alfred. " Bruce whispers, helplessly.

"We will if you free Jerome." I glance at the Joker and he nods towards me. Bruce helplessly points to Ivy and she walks up to Jerome and frees him off the love spell, taking the chains off him. Jerome immediately looks around, dazed before wickedly glancing at Bruce, ready to pounce on him.

"Not now! Jerome. We will. Just not right now." I call out before he can hurt Bruce. Jerome then casually makes his way to where me and the Joker are standing and places himself next to us. "Now your end of the bargain.." the Joker gives them a malicious smile then, and I know, things are not going to fare well for the poor butler who has still not recovered from the previous injuries. Suddenly, Bruce's scream echoes through the room as Jerome pushes the wheelchair off the stairs and Alfred rolls over the stairs, his wheelchair tumbling after him.

"Now run." The Joker exclaims calmly and turns back the way he came in from, Jerome and me following him further into the hall to the window. We reach the window and Jerome jumps out first , followed by the Joker. Once he is out, he throws his hand out to help me but I toss Jason into his hands, grabbing the Joker's gun from his holster and running back inside, oblivious to his screaming behind me. Yeah, he will definitely be mad.

I make my way back to the hall and my eyes fall on Selina and Bruce who are hunched over Alfred who is still breathing, much to my amazement. I look around, flabbergasted, for Ivy but she is nowhere to be found. Suddenly, Ivy lunges at me from behind, throwing me to the floor. My gun falls off my hand. Weakly, I lift myself up from me feet, only to be tackled by Ivy again as she blows a punch to my face. Just then, I roll over  my left and this disbalances her, making her topple over. With one swift motion, I switch our positions, pinning her to the ground. From the corner of my eye, I see Selina start running towards me, screaming. I jump up and grab a gun, at the last moment , aiming it towards Selina which makes her stop. She raises her hands and immediately moves away, retreating backwards with slow steps back towards Bruce who is still trying to revive Alfred.

I then flick my gaze towards Ivy one last time and let a slow evil grin curl over my lips.

"Ivy. I would forgive anything. Just not what you did back there. Prepare to die." I press the trigger and the bullet pierces right through her stomach with a bang.

Chapter Text

*Six Years Later*

Time flew by in a jiffy after that. Although my facial scars never really disappeared completely, they faded with time to subtlety. I decided to dye my hair beetroot red. Our empire grew, slowly and steadily, and within three years, the Joker had created a full fledged town of vagabonds down in the catacombs. Our followers increased, more and more people were fascinated by this new villain called 'the Joker'. They used to call him the 'New Era' or the 'clown prince of crime' for Gotham City. Jerome was still pretty much the same, wreaking havoc over town, robbing banks, killing people for fun, visiting brothels, the list continues. Jason grew up even naughtier, having more personality traits of Jerome rather than his father. He was more or less a Jerome mini me. He has the same hair as Jeremiah had before he was sprayed with insanity gas, except Jason has beautiful curls and lot of freckles on him. Recently, he mutilated his first alley cat with his uncle Jerome and he hasn't been prouder. He ran up to me and his dad and informed us how confidently he used his axe.

 

Bruce Wayne left Gotham and no one knows why. Oswald Cobblepot was captured and sent to Blackgate Penitentiary by the GCPD whereas Edward Nygma, who was captured at the same time, was put in Arkham. Alfred Pennyworth, well,he recovered but he was stuck with a permanent limp while walking.

It is almost midnight but Jason wouldn't sleep. Annoyed, I grab his toy car with which he is playing and slide it behind me, earning a tantrum from him. Angrily, I throw the toy car away with all my might and it hits the wall, breaking into two. Jason sees the car break and he starts screaming and crying as loudly as he can, much to my frustration.

"What's all the commotion? Why are you crying?" Jeremiah pokes his head into the cubicle and make as his way to his crying son, lifting him up in his arms. Brat. Now he will just tell on me. Sniffling, Jason buries his face into his father's shoulder while Jeremiah places his hand on his back, stroking him, raising an eyebrow towards me.

"Now darling, what did you say to my boy?" His tone is demanding, his voice emotionless.

"Well your boy doesn't want to sleep. It's way past his bedtime." I shake my head, yawning wide, trying to justify my own act of acting on impulse. I watch Jeremiah carefully. His shoulders relax slightly and he parts his lips, an exhausted sigh escapes his throat. Poor Mistah J, he works so hard.

"Now honey.. When your mother tells you to go to bed, you have to go to bed. Is that understood?" He looks into Jason's eyes. Jason nods and looks away sheepishly, rubbing his eyes with his palms, his sobbing now turned into sniffling.

I can't help but frown. "When I tell him the same thing, he throws a fit. When you do, he just listens. Did you just put a spell on him?" I ask, demandingly , making my way to the father and son. His lips twitch slightly and curve into what looks like a lopsided smirk before he chuckles and places Jason on his bed, leaning over and kissing him on his forehead. I roll my eyes inwardly as he whispers to him, "Goodnight my love. Go to bed." Instantly, Jason curls up on his side in a fetal position and closes his eyes.

Jeremiah walks up to me, slinking an arm around my waist as we walk out from Jason's cubicle to our own. "He loves you.." I whisper, taking his arm and resting my head over his shoulder. He hums but doesn't reply. By that time, we reach our own cubicle. We step inside and pull the curtains over the door, blocking the view from the outside. I then make my way towards Jeremiah and place my hand on his blazer, assisting him out of it. Gladly, he lets me.

"What are you thinking about?" He raises an eyebrow as I neatly fold his blazer and place it aside. "I don't know I guess. I was wondering I should get off the pill. It makes me depressed." I bite the insides of my cheeks, waiting for reply. Truth is,it is time to have another baby. He stiffens slightly but his back is turned towards me so I cannot read his expressions, if he has any. "You want me to use a condom then. Oh well, it's not as fun though." He groans annoyed and I just shake my head, wondering how to put this in front of him. I finally decide to blurt it out. "But why do we have to use protection? I think we should give Jason a sibling.. Besides, he is old enough to have one."

"Another child?" His voice is cold and emotionless, making me swallow hard. "Aren't you happy with one? Why do we need another one?"

"W..Why not? I love children. I wanna have more babies with you.." I whisper, crossing my arms defiantly over my chest. He turns to face me and his eyes have a pointed gaze in it. I can, however, see that he is not happy with what I just said. "I don't. I wanted an heir, I have one."He says, dryly. I look away, clutching the hem of my dress, disappointment coursing through me.

"I thought .. I mean.." I keep looking away, unable to form any words or muster any courage to make eye contact, it's embarrassing as it is. He walks up to me and slinks an arm around me, pulling me closer before speaking. "Listen Ruby, having many kids is not for us. We're not a happy normal family. We have big plans, big endeavours. Having a kid is not what I want."

Maybe I do. I feel like crying out. But Jeremiah's decision seems final, he is the Joker after all. His decision is the final decision. I nod and instantly look away, a sour expression forming on my face. "There you go. There's that expression again." He says calmly, sitting across the edge of the bed.

"What expression?" I roll my eyes sarcastically, moving away from his direct gaze and sliding into my side of the bed, grabbing the covers and hurriedly pushing myself inside. "I'm sleepy.." I lie.

"I hate lies. And besides, I don't want you to sleep. "  I feel the weight of the bed press slightly as he probably lies down on his back. His hands creep up my waist and he tugs at me slightly.

"You're going to go to the bathroom and you're going to change into the red lingerie that I love. Oh and hurry. Daddy's not in the mood to wait tonight."

There he is again. The emotionless bastard that takes over him which makes him vile and evil. I nod immediately and sit up in bed, flicking a sidewards glance towards him before sliding out of bed. With slow and dragged steps, I throw open the closet and fish through my belongings, my palm clutching the red lingerie that Jeremiah asked me to wear. I step into the bathroom and make my way to the mirror, positioning myself directly in front of it as I slide out of my clothes, one by one until I am standing in my old pair of underpants and bra. I let my palm graze over my slightly swollen stomach and sigh weakly, parting my lips to let out an exhale. I have to do something about this and soon.

"What's taking so long?" Jeremiah calls out and I can hear the frustration in his voice. Hurriedly, I take off my undergarments and put on the red one piece lingerie. Timidly, I unlock the bathroom door and step out of the bathroom , instantly feeling naked under his piercing gaze as he takes me in top to bottom, hungrily licking his lips.

"You're gaining weight." He calls out, making my eyebrows contort into a frown.

"Gee, thanks." I roll my eyes at him and mutter sarcastically.

I walk up to him and lower myself next to him on his side of the bed. I feel his hands rake across my bare arms and latch themselves on my shoulder, throwing me back with a push on the mattress of our bed. The next minute, he is laying on top of me, pinning me against the bed as he finds the sweet spot on my collarbone. I close my eyes and wince slightly, a mixture of pain and pleasure surging through my body as I feel him suck my skin, leaving a hickey.

"You're mine to do anything. You'll do as I say. Don't you ever -" He says, between his hitched breaths as he moves his lips to my lips, licking my lower lip slightly. "- forget that .." His tone is possessive and I don't know why I feel turned on by it. "I'm yours, Mistah J. Do as you like with me.." I say, instantly regretting it as I feel him smirk against my lips as he kisses me.

"Good.." He whispers lustfully against my ear, sending shivers along my spine. Suddenly, he goes cold again. "Grab the headboard of the bed and get on your fours. Keep that ass up high so I can see it." He says demandingly and quickly, I sit up in bed, turning around and scuttering to the top end of the bed like a rabbit, doing as he says. I can't help but feel my heart thumping inside of me as my thoughts wander. The chemical vat changed Jeremiah, something inside of him changed. He doesn't flinch at physically hurting me now , just to prove to himself that I belong to him.

"Good girl.." He hums and I hear him fiddle with the buckle of his belt, taking off his belt and making his way to me. Suddenly, before I can protest or pull my hands away, he locks my hands on the headboard using his belt, locking me in the position, helpless.

"I'm very disappointed in you Ruby-"

"B..But why J..? I do everything you-"

SMACK!  His palm comes flying towards me, smacking me hard on my bare ass, stinging pain wringing through my insides as I immediately shut up.

"I'm talking! Don't you cut me when I'm talking to you. Now where was I?  Ah, yes. Yesterday's deal. I asked you to go and sit in the car but you refused me. Why?" He taps his fingers against my stinging flesh, stroking it slightly in circles. What should I say that would make him a little less mad at me? He is mad at me about some menial thing that happened yesterday at a cocaine deal where he had asked me to go sit in the car but I was fearful of leaving him alone so I defied him. "I'm..sorry. Mistah J. I thought..I thought.." Almost choking on a sob, I try to answer him but my words betray me. His hand is fast as it collides again with my bare skin, sending another brutal stinging shock all over my body making me wince in pain.

"You made a fool of me in front of our men. What do you think they think about me now? This man cannot control his own wife?!? You knew there are rules you have to follow if you want to live like my queen." He is really mad right now. His tone is loud and he is looking at me with a sinister glare.

"Jeremiah? Please..it hurts. I'm sorry. I really am.." I plead, tears clouding my vision now. I feel so stupid, so weak and helpless. "No! The last time you defied me, you remember how I punished you? You were well behaved for a long time. Now again you're up to the same behaviour." He walks up to me this time, yanking my head upwards using his hand and analyzing the scars on my face.

"What will you.. do to me?" I nervously ask, tears falling freely down my cheeks.

"You'll see.. Don't worry, I won't do anything that extreme. You're my wife, the mother of my child and you don't deserve a punishment that extreme. But nonetheless, I will punish you." Even before he completes his sentence, I hear him shuffle out of his pants, making me crane my head toward him and take a sneak. His massive cock is springing up and down as he climbs onto the bed and angles himself behind me, grabbing me by my waist, his nails digging into my flesh. I don't want this. My instinct is to kick him but I don't, as it will only anger him worse. I close my eyes and suddenly, let out a sharp scream as he thrusts himself hard into my ass, without any lubrication, tearing through the opening.

***

The next morning, I'm relieved when I wake up that Jeremiah is not here. I don't want him to see how he broke me last night and feel satisfied with it. It hurts to even sit up straight. The minute I stand up and take a step, I wince. I literally have a pain in the ass.

After washing my face and brushing my teeth, with small, weak steps, I make my way out of the bedroom to get myself a mug of coffee, wincing everytime I take a step.

"Hey mom! Watch out!" Jason suddenly calls out.

Jason screams a little too late and his skateboard collides with me, making me almost tumble over, my side hitting the wall hard. "Oops, sorry mom.." He whispers, sheepishly.

"You know Jason how your father hates you doing that in this part of the catacombs." I glare at my son who just looks down at his hands, embarrassed, shuffling the weight of his tiny body from one feet to another. This part of the catacombs is only for the family, the followers stay on the other side. Jeremiah has an obsession of collecting the most valuable items of Gotham and placing them in this area for display. He doesn't have many items though yet but he will.

While I am talking to Jason, from the corner of my eye, I see the familiar silhouettes of the Valeska brothers standing in one of the cubicles a few yards away. From their body language, it seems that they are talking about something important. I glance at my son and lean towards him. "Go and play on the other side.. And don't break things.." I plant a kiss on his cheek and watch him leave. I then make my way towards the cubicle, walking funny as every step I take just shoots a pain through my insides, leaning against the wall and watching them.

Jerome and Jeremiah are looking at a blueprint. "What's that?" I ask, curiousity peaking through me. "A map.." Jerome mumbles, bent against the blueprints scrubbing something on a notepad. "We're planning a heist.." The Joker suddenly speaks up , staring at me through his emerald green orbs in a calm demeanor. He then walks up to me, placing his finger over the scars on my cheeks and using his finger to trail over them. "There's a painting at the Gallery and it's worth millions.. and there are other things as well there." He informs.

I raise an eyebrow with suspicion.

"What's so special about the painting?"

"It has a five digit code somewhere on it." Jerome almost whispers, walking up to us before he continues. "That code belongs to the Gotham City Bank safe."

"Oh.." My lips curve into a playful smile. "You mean all of Gotham's money can be ours?"

"Mhmmm.." He slurs lustfully, burying his nose into my hair and nuzzling his nose along my ear. I find it funny how Jeremiah's personality keeps switching from hot to cold so easily. Last night he was seeking pleasure in physically abusing me. Look at him now. "Also, there's a beautiful necklace at the gallery. Legends say that it's the same necklace that the beautiful Cleopatra wore on her wedding day with Marc Antony.."

"Nerd.." I hear Jerome whisper under his breath, making me snort , liking how Jerome is taking a dig at Jeremiah. At least someone has the balls to say something to him without feeling afraid of what he might do to him. The Joker practically ignores Jerome's insult and grabs me by my waist, pulling me closer and making me forget all my thoughts. "And as a peace offering to you, for disfiguring your beautiful face, and you know.." Sneakily, he slides his palm against my ass, grabbing my ass cheek making me wince slightly and try to wiggle away from his embrace. " I want to put that necklace right here .." He places his cold fingers over my neck and traces the design of a necklace.

"When are we going?" I try to keep a straight face and pull out of his embrace, immediately making my way to where the blueprints are laying.

"You're not going ." Jeremiah says, flipping instantly into his emotionless side.

"Why? Why can't I go?" I ask, disappointed and angry.

"Did my punishment not work enough?" Jeremiah raises an eyebrow, making me frown and look away.

"Ooo what did he do to you? Tell me, I'm curious. Did he place you on his knee and spank the shit out of you? Kinky  bastard, copying all my style." Jerome chimes in, walking up to me excitedly.

"Shut up Jerome. It's not funny. Your brother is a monster." I hiss, through gritted teeth. I move away from them both, crossing my arms over my chest, my face heating up due to anger.

"Ruby, you never learn, do you? You always question me. Even after I punished you.." I hear Jeremiah say, making me take a step away from him reflexively. "You will have your own job to do. Don't worry."

***

Tears threatening to spill out of my eyes, I run into the my cubicle and instinctively push my back against the cold stone wall, sliding against the floor and burying my face into my knees as the tears finally spill out. I can hear the sound of footsteps approaching my cubicle so I hurriedly wipe off the tears only to realize that it's Jerome. He doesn't say anything but I feel him slide himself next to me on the floor, the sound of his breathing audible to me as he is directly next to me.

"He cares for you more than you give him credit for.." I croaks in his throaty voice.

"Don't vouch for him Jerome.. I chose to marry him. I knew how distant and cold he was." I sigh and let my head rest against the wall. I feel Jerome place his hand on my knee and squeeze it.

"That heist is a suicide mission. You're only doing yourself a favour by not being a direct part of it." He says. I know he is just trying to manipulate my mind, make me feel a little less useless. I know what I am now, I am a trophy. I am the Joker's wife.

"Then why are you doing it?" I ask him spitefully, almost spitting on his face.

"The adrenaline. The rush. The thrill. Just think about the GCPD's faces once they realize that we're back after six years of hiding.. and that too in such a big heist.." I watch Jerome speak before he slides his hand into his pocket, shuffling through it before he pulls something out, my face turning the colour of ash. "This yours.." he whispers, sliding the positive pregnancy test into my palm. "Don't worry I haven't told him yet. You should do it yourself."

"Jerome I.." I open my mouth but my words don't come out. Somehow, I've come to see Jerome as my only friend in here. "He doesn't want it."

"I can't speak for my brother but I think you should know that he is an ass if he doesn't want it. He is lucky to have someone to devote herself to him like you have. I'm not into commitments but I wish I had someone like you.." I raise an eyebrow and he immediately drops speaking, his scarred lips curving into a smile. "Listen I.. " He stiffens slightly and he looks at the door, just to make sure Jeremiah is not listening. Or anyone else for that matter. "If you wanna leave, run away or something. I'll be there for you. For you and the kid, if you need." I can see how hard it was for him to say this, his face has turned a tomato red and embarrassed, he runs his hand through his ginger spiked hair.

Hurriedly, he steps up and I hear the sound of his footsteps retreat farther and farther away form the cubicle. Embarrassment engulfs me and I bury my face into my palms. He must have seen the test in the trash. What am I going to do now? I'm screwed.

Chapter Text

I slide my long legs into one of my comfier leggings and pull out an oversized hoodie belonging to Jeremiah. I place my gun holster around my waist and fasten my gun to it, pulling my beetroot red hair into messy bun. I grab my cell phone and slide it into the hoodie pocket and make my way out. I am supposed to meet Jerome and the Joker outside in the secret parking area.

It takes me five to ten minutes to get out of the catacombs and make my way towards our black SUV parked inside one of the abandoned godowns nearby. The windows are tainted so I cannot see inside the SUV. Two of the followers are with me and they walk ahead at my signal, pulling open the back seat. Exactly as I have expected, Joker is seated in the drivers seat while Jerome is on the passenger side in the front. I lower myself onto the back seat and scoot to the extreme right, the two followers getting in after me.

I slide my hand into the pocket of my hoodie and pull out my cell phone, immediately dialling a number. The person on the other end picks up immediately.

"I'm on way to you. I need you to get me inside." I say on the phone, staring at the Joker from the rearview mirror as he places his eyes on me for a brief minute. I nod on the phone. "Alright. Bye."

"I'm all set.." I inform and sit back, resting my throbbing back against the backrest of the car seat staring out of the window.

Almost another half an hour ride later, the SUV pulls outside a familiar street, slowly coming to a halt. The Joker turns to face me, throwing out his hand in my direction. Apprehensively, I place my palm in his and he squeezes it softly. "Well all the best. You know what to do. Stay in touch." I hear him say making me respond almost immediately. "You be safe, Jeremiah... And you too, Jerome.." I bite the insides of my cheeks nervously and I see the Joker nod faintly from the corner of my eyes.

I step out of the SUV, along with my two female followers. Squinting my eyes, we three step away and step onto the concrete pavement, watching the car drive away. Clicking my heels against the concrete pavement, I walk down the familiar street that leads to the Arkham Asylum.

I can see the old , rustic gate of Arkham a few yards ahead of me. However, I turn my right, over the bridge right to the exact same path where Jerome had killed me a few years back. I look around the place, dazed. Nothing changed, only I did. Instead of standing there and pondering, I decide to carry on my mission. I place my hoodie over my head and signal my followers to walk ahead. They nod and step in front of me. We start walking, slinking through the bushes until we reach an old looking back gate that isn't used anymore. It has a sturdy looking, although coated with rust, iron chain over it which is held together with a heavy padlock.

Just then, we hear footsteps approaching. We cautiously jump to the sides, crouching against the grey boundary walls of Arkham. I hear the sound of clinking of a lock and the chains come off.

"Boss, all clear." I hear the sound of my inside man at Arkham, the same man who used to update us on our fake Jeremiah's progress, the one who works as a guard here. "Good." I whisper back and slide in through the small opening he created by pulling the iron door towards the inside. Instantly, I draw my hand into my pocket and pull out my Walkie-talkie, pressing the talk button on it. "Come in, J. Can you hear me?" I speak into the static. He replies instantly. "What's your location?" I bite my lip and cautiously place my head against the building wall as we just reach the turn and look out, relieved as it's all clear. "I've entered through the back gate. Trying to get into the building." I then slide the walkie talkie back into the pocket.

"This is it, boss. You have to find your way yourself from in here." The guard informs me and I nod. I watch his silhouette cautiously disappear through a staff only entrance, looking left and right. "Now I need one of you to stay here." I whisper to one of my followers, and to the other one I make an action of follow me.

Cautiously we make our way to the staff entrance and I place my palm on the lever, pressing it just a tiny bit with my right hand whereas I pull out my gun in the left, just in case. I open the door just a tiny bit and glance inside, lucky for me there's nobody in there. We slink in through the door and immediately, my follower makes her way to the camera, breaking it using her gun.

"Now I am going to the core area. I need you to make a distraction in the West wing when I ask you to. Wait for my signal." I whisper and she nods, taking the stairs that lead to the west wing.

*Jerome's POV*

Jeremiah brings the SUV to a halt in a discreet spot near the gallery. Good thing the gallery is closed off for visitors. This is where I get off while Jeremiah moves on to our next location and wait for me to retrieve the code. We all take our guns and slide them into our holsters. I then step out of the SUV along with a few of our followers. The back alley that leads to the entrance of the gallery is quiet. We watch as the SUV drives away. Ruby is already at Arkham, ready to start our plan into action while Jeremiah will soon reach the Gotham City Bank. This will be the sneakiest heist ever done in the history of Gotham and we will be etched in the pages of the history ot Gotham forever.

The Gallery stands by the end of the street, quiet and forlorn, closed from public due to the events happened at Gotham after No Man's Land. Me and my followers, we slink through the shadows, keeping hidden by the boundary wall running adjacent to the building from prying eyes, until we reach the back entrance. My follower places a toolbox on the floor and steps in front of me, pulling out a screw driver and a sharp object from the toolbox as he gets to work on opening the back door. I would have happily blown off the back gate with the grenades but, Joker's orders. Be 'sneaky'.

I lean against the red brick wall and intentionally contort my mouth into a massive yawn glance at the time. We've been here for fifteen minutes now and this guy hasn't had any luck with the door. Much to my relief, however, we hear a small sound of a click and the door clicks open with a shallow creak. We all pull out our guns just in case and slide through the opening in the door, finally stepping into one of the quieter hallways inside.

I order the other follower to quickly destroy the cameras to buy us some more time. He nods and pulls out thick black cloths from his bag, making his way to the CCTV camera and placing the black cloth over it, blocking it. We move from room to room stealthily, blocking most of the cameras we could lay our hands on. We reach the fire escape staircase and enter it, making our way up to the third floor.

The third floor is the trickiest floor. This is the floor where the oil painting is kept. I look at my follower through beady eyes and ask him to wait here at the fire exit for me and keep watch. I'll be doing this alone as I don't need any distraction. I grab my Walkie-talkie and through the static, I speak. "Ruby. Come in."

"Yes, Jerome? Are you in position?" I can hear her voice through the static.

"Yes. I'm in position."

"Good. Wait for my signal Jerome.." I hear her say before the static goes off. I lean back against the wall and wait.

***

*Ruby's POV*

I'm hiding in a sweeper's closet at one of the file rooms at Arkham, waiting. Just then, the door to the file room swings open, and a nurse walks in, humming a slight tune. She plasters herself on the desk in front of me so that her back is facing me, scrolling through the files looking for something. Sneakily, I step out of the closet door, without making any noise and tiptoe towards her. Once I am directly standing behind her, I place my hands on either side of her head and with a quick motion, I twist her neck, breaking it and letting her corpse drop into my arms which I pull and dump into the closet.

"What's taking so much time ?" Jeremiah's irritated voice reaches me through the static of the walkie talkie, making me frown. Quickly, I grab the walkie talkie, trying to quieten my beating heart. "I'm stuck in a closet, it will take time. You have to be patient." I bite my lip, hard enough to draw out blood. I know he will be mad. "Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to make you do this."

"Can I work now? We can have this discussion back at home." I snap at him, turning off the walkie talkie even before he can speak. That's it. I'm done taking shit from him. Whatever the chemical vat did to him, I can't take it anymore. Everything makes him angry, nothing pleases him anymore. I shift my attention back to the dead nurse. Placing my hands on her chest, I start taking the buttons on her tunic off, instantly pulling the tunic off her. I take off my clothes and dump them next to the body, sliding into the nurse tunic and taking off her white stockings and shoes as well. I pull my hair into a messy bun and grab her face mask, placing it on my face, covering my scar. Good thing they carry this.

Much more confident, I step out of the closet, shutting it behind me as I step out into the Arkham hall, making my way towards the core area. I keep my head plastered in the front, holding a file in my hand as I keep walking. This part of the asylum is very noisy. I can hear screams and cries of lunatics all around me. I look from cell to cell, trying to look for a particular patient. I don't have enough time. I keep glancing at my wristwatch as I make my way from cell to cell. This is what my inside man had told me, they keep them in Wing D.

The Wing D is comparatively dark from the other cells. And quieter. Maybe, all the less insane inmates are kept here. I walk from cell to cell, placing my eyes through the small opening on the cell door until I see a familiar person in the cell in front of me. He has his back faced towards me, I can see that his hair have grown till the back of his neck.

"Mr. Riddler."

I watch him stiffen slightly and crane his neck towards his side, not glancing at me directly but acknowledging me that he heard me. He stands up erect and his arms fly up over his head as he stretches them in the air for a bit before lowering them down and turning completely towards me.

"Your voice is familiar. As if I have heard it before. " He calls out, taking steps towards the cell door.

"A cougar, nettled by a noise , emerged from the shrub "You must save me!" My name is written in the sentence. Who am I?" My smirk widens against my cheeks, which is hidden under the face mask as I watch Mr. Riddler's eyes shine as though he is a five year old who has been given a candy to eat.

"Okay wait. Cougar? No! Shrub? No! Wait..Wait. Shrub..you. Shrubyou? Oh my god. Ruby. You're Ruby Valeska."

"I'm impressed, Mr. Riddler. Seems that months in Arkham didn't ruin your mental capacity." I smile wide, placing my fingers on my mask and taking it off, revealing my scarred face.

"Oh dear. Who did that to you?"

"It doesn't matter -" I shrug nonchalantly, and place both my hands on the grill bars in front of me. "- I have a proposition for you." I keep my gaze confident, staring right into Ed's eyes.
"Why should I consider any proposition with you? And besides, why would you want to give me a proposition? I'm stuck at Arkham." He raises an eyebrow.

"If you consider my proposition, I'll get you out of Arkham. Right now. I have a car waiting outside. Think about it, Mr. Riddler. Your mind is coming to a waste at Arkham. Were you free.. the things you could do.." I intentionally lay emphasis on my last words, slurring on them slightly as I speak to him. I can see his face begin to show a hint of curiousity, which is good. At least he is considering my proposition. "I need more than this." He pushes his glasses further over the bridge of my nose.

"I need allies. Powerful allies. Against the Joker."

"The Joker? Is there a new villain I didn't know about?" He raises an eyebrow, making me suddenly lean closer to him and whisper. "Joker is Jeremiah Valeska. And the guy that's in here at Arkham is just a dud."

"Okay. No, wait. You're telling me you want me to be your ally against your own husband. Do I look like a joke to you?" He looked at me with almost a poker face, making me have an urge to chuckle but I don't. Time restrictions, you see.

"No. You're not a joke. At least I don't think you are. Anyway, we've fallen out. Me and Jeremiah. Trust me when I say that I don't want to associate with him anymore. I want to make my own allegiances and I want to climb the ladder to the top, beating the Joker and making myself a part of Gotham's history. And I don't think there is anyone better than you, with your mind and your thinking, who can help me do this."

Suddenly, I see his mouth fly open and he lets out part laugh and part scream, in a happy kind of way before straightening up again.

 

"Ruby Valeska, who wanted to rule Gotham city, with her crazy Valeska twins by her side, wants to disassociate herself with them. Oh my god this is funny."

"Mr. Riddler. I am serious. And I don't have time. I have many other options here." I glare at him sternly, and his chuckle suddenly falls off .

"I see. And if I agree to ally myself with you? What can you offer me?" He asks.

"I can offer you an escape from Arkham. Right now. You walk out free. That is the only thing I can offer you right now. But, once we have made a mark on this city, free from the shadows of the Joker, I will make sure that it is us, together, that makes the city tremble, not just me alone." I day, confidently, crossing my chest over my breasts, eyeing him. I see him nod faintly, scanning my face.

"You know we'll need more allies right?" He asks.

"Yes. I have a few in mind."

"I'm in." He whispers, taking off his glasses, making me nod back professionally. "Once the gate unlocks, I need you to find your way out, to the back entrance, you'll find a car waiting for you there. Just get in the car and wait. Is that clear?" I whisper, watching him nod in understanding. "Yes." He confirms.

Now to the second recruit. Placing my mask back on my face, I make my way towards the next cell. His cell is at the end of the hallway. I push my eyes through the opening, looking around the dark interior of the cell until my gaze fixates on someone laying on the best his hand below his head, his chest heaving up and down due to his static breathing.

"Eduardo?" I whisper, trying to sound as soft as I can. I was the one that betrayed him.

"What do you want?" He hisses, venomous, not bothering to step up and acknowledge me.

"Can we talk?"

I watch him sit up on bed, placing his feet on either side of his bed and lifting himself up, his mask still on his face as he walks towards the metal door.

"About what??! About how you betrayed me?!!" He snarls. I swear if they didn't have this metal door acting as a barrier between us, he would have broken my neck by now.

"I had to do what I had to do to ensure my survival, Bane. You'd do the same. Isn't this what you did to survive being buried alive at Pena Dura?" I raise an eyebrow, placing my palms against the iron grills at the opening.

"Don't talk about survival. You manipulated me." He steps close to me from the other side, suddenly placing his hands on my palms that I had placed on the grill and squeezing them hard with animal like strength, making me wince.

"I had to eliminate Nyssa. She had to go. Her visions for Gotham contradicted with mine. And I would still do what I did without any regret. You can hate me all you want." The skin on my fingers is throbbing under Bane's fierce grip.

"What do you want now?" He snarls.

"I need your help."

"So now you need my help." He smirks, his grip loosening for a few seconds on my hands until tightening it again, making me wince.

"I need allies to protect me. I can't do it alone. I've decided to finally disassociate myself from my husband."

"Oh I heard how you're wreaking havoc with that husband of yours, the Joker, right? That was hell of a plan, placing a dud at Arkham-" He raises an eyebrow, curiousity dripping through his words. Maybe I have him trapped. Just maybe." - so why the fallout?"

"I feel unsafe with him. He's temperamental. And well.." I look away for a bit, trying to pull my fingers away from his grasp but he doesn't let me. "- I'm pregnant. I'm afraid he would hurt me and my child." His grip suddenly softens on my fingers and instinctively, I pull away from his grasp, wincing slightly as I stretch my fingers on my side.

"Did he hurt you? Your husband?" His question takes me off guard. After everything I did to him, he is still concerned about me. Then there's Jeremiah, my husband, the man that I love. Who hurts me just to prove to himself that he owns me. I place my hand on my face mask, taking it off and showing him my scarred face.

"HE DID THAT TO YOU??!!!" He screams and instantly, I cower back in fear, shivers running down my spine as I look around. Just then, the sound of footsteps echoes through the hallway making me drop to the ground and crawl behind an old gurney placed there. They guard walks up to Bane's cell and bangs his gun against the iron cell door. "Hey! Who are you talking to?"

"No one. Myself." He hisses through gritted teeth. "Now get the fuck of my face." With his inhuman strength, he bangs hard on the cell door from the inside, making the guard push back and hurriedly make himself retreat. Having ensured, that he has left, I push myself out from behind the gurney and walk back up to the cell. "Help me, Bane. I need all the help I can get to survive."

"Call me Eduardo.." He says. I swear I heard him let out a weak sigh. He won't let anyone call him Eduardo. Now he is specifically asking me to call him that. He's still in love with me.

"Okay. Get me out of here. I'll protect you."

***

Having already recruited Riddler and Bane as my allies, I make my way to the electrical room at Arkham. I pull out my cell phone and immediately dial my follower.

"I'm at position. I want you to make a distraction now."

"Alright."I hear her acknowledge and then she disconnects. Suddenly, a loud explosion erupts in the south part of Arkham, making all the alarms blare noisily over head, their red lights making me blind. Instinctively, I crouch down on the floor for a bit watching the guards and other members of Arkham staff run down the hallway. Commotion and chaos ensues , people running here and there haphazardly outside the electrical room. Suddenly the hallway goes quiet.

That's when I make my way to the main switch of the cell doors and press the lever. This causes all the cell doors of the inmates to open up and I can hear the scrambling of feet outside, the inmates escaping their cells, some of them screaming while others laughing in a maniacal way. Instantly, I slide my walkie talkie out and inform Jerome that the distraction has been created and he can move on to his next move.

*Jerome's POV*

I really got bored while waiting for Ruby's information. Finally, after what seems like an hour of waiting, she finally informs me that the distraction has been created. The Arkham commotion will make the GCPD get busy trying to contain the inmates. This is when me and Jeremiah will carry on our plan to completion.

I'm dressed in a black skin suit which is uncomfortable as hell. And damn, it makes me feel like a girl. The hallway is safe as to enter so I quickly make my way towards the hall which would be the tricky part. The hall is huge and spacious, various artifacts placed inside, in glass boxes. In the center of the room is the painting that I need. However, the painting is protected by Lazer lights. In order to reach the painting, I have to cross through the laser lights, without letting any light touch my skin as that will trigger the alarm.

"Let's do this. It's now or never." I let out an exhale before leaning my body forward so that my upper body is directly parallel to the floor, bending my knees slightly and slinking from underneath the first lazer. I take a tumble carefully over the second one, landing on my knee. I lie on my stomach as the next Lazer requires me to crawl from underneath as it is very low which I manage to do without much difficulty. After doing a set of jumping, crawling, bending and rolling, I finally reach the glass box in the center.

I slide out my walkie talkie and through the static, I can hear Jeremiah's voice. "Where are you?" He asks me through the static.

"Okay I'm at the painting now."

"Okay. Now. You need to carefully cut through the glass. And ensure that the minute a single piece of glass falls to the floor, the alarm will be triggered. So you have to be careful." I hear Jeremiah say.

"Alright."

I push the walkie talkie into my waist bag and grab a small glass cutter from the same. Very carefully, and with extreme precision, I manage to cut a big circle in the glass which I carefully remove and place it on top of the box. I slide my arms through the glass opening and very delicately, pull out the painting, examining it with my hand.

I don't need the painting, I just need to look for the code. I look at the painting carefully, it's abstract but I don't seem to be able to find any code written on it. Immediately, I grab the walkie talkie.

"I don't see any code on this brother."

Chapter Text

*Jeremiah's POV*

Jerome successfully managed to get the code to the Gotham City Bank. I was trying to reach Ruby earlier but I couldn't connect to her walkie talkie which is weird because these gadgets are really expensive and long lasting. Neither would she pick up my call. I wonder if she got out safely. I couldn't help but claw out this feeling from the back of my mind. Is it worry? I just want to see her again. I was the one who had given her such a dangerous task. I sent her into a madhouse full of dangerous criminals and now I regret it. What if something happens? As much as I want to ponder over what could possibly go wrong at Arkham with my wife, I cannot show any weakness whatsoever, atleast not right now when hundreds of my followers are standing in front of me, with high expectations. They aren't some polite crowd but rather are hungry for some action and excitement, doing something raw and fresh.

"I thank you all, my followers, for sticking with me, and supporting me, having faith in me and letting me guide you all into a world of true fervour. Tonight, let this be a test of faith. We all go in there and lay down our lives if need requires. But we emerge out victorious." The crowd erupts into a cheer and everybody cocks their weapons in the hands, making a run towards the vans that are parked a few steps away. I jump off the podium, grabbing my own semi automatic and making my way to the van parked right in the front.

Clutching the overhead grills as hard as I can, I instruct the man driving the van to start. Our van pulls up onto the road first, and all the other vans, which are probably four or five, pull up after us. I bend slightly, a faint smirk creeping on my lips as the silhouette of the Bank comes into view. This is it.

Our van slams into the entrance of the Bank, crushing a few officers on our way and it comes to a halt with a jerk. The back door flies open and a commotion ensues. My followers start jumping out of the vans and all I can hear around me is the sound of guns, sirens and screams of people getting hit with bullets.

I slide my hand into the pocket of my blazer and pull out my semi automatic, adjusting the trigger on my way as I hop out of the van at the end. I let my eyes trail around the premises of the bank for a brief amount of time before cocking my gun upwards and starting a merciless bloodbath, shooting anyone who approaches me on my way as I make my way towards the safe with a few of my followers covering me.

Soon, our men have overpowered the GCPD officers, there are hardly any left to stop us, making it even easier for us to make our way to the safe. The safe is a tall silver door with a keypad lock on it. With fast movement of my finger, I punch the code given to me by Jerome and instantly, the door swings open. I'm deafened by the noise of my followers applause. I watch them,an amused grin playing on my lips, as they all run into the safe, playing with the cash and the gold, some of them stuffing how much the can into their pockets first. The other lot walks in with the bags, stuffing as much as they can in those bags.

***

I can hear them screaming with joy and their dancing and hopping around like maniacs disturbing the ground beneath me. Good thing that the Catacombs is hidden underground, cut off from the city. No one would even know that the underground abandoned tunnels could hold a full fledged empire within it. I flick a glance at my wristwatch, my eyebrows curving into a slight frown as I realize it's almost midnight and Ruby is still not back. I had sent Jerome and a few of my trusted men to go look for her but they haven't returned either.

My eyes suddenly fix on my son walking towards me with a confused expression on his face. I bend towards him and scoop him up in my arms, a faint smile playing on my lips.

"Where's mom?!" He rubs his eyes in a sleepy way, looking around for his mum, making me bite my lip.

"Your mom is out for work. She'll be back. Why don't you go back and try to sleep? It's way past your bedtime."

"No one tucked me in today. Usually, it was mom or Uncle Jerome. I can't sleep without either of the two." He informs me in his child like voice and I can't help but feel a little tingle of jealousy inside of me. My son considers Jerome more of a father to him than he considers me. Am I really that distant? 

"Would you like it if I tucked you in today?" I raise an eyebrow, letting my ruby coloured lips curl into a happy looking smile. His excited nod makes me a little happy so holding him against me, I squeeze through the hordes of people drinking and dancing in the follower area back to the side of the catacombs that is family only. I enter Jason's cubicle and make my way to his bed, gently placing him on the bed and pulling his covers on him. I'm so bad at this.

"Goodnight daddy.." Jason smiles and bats his lashes at me, instantly curling into a fetal position and disappearing inside of his covers. I can't help but smile to myself. Jason is probably the best thing that has happened to me and I will claw anyone's eyes out who lays a finger on my boy.

"Brother."

My thoughts are interrupted by the voice of Jerome. As a reflex, I crane my neck towards him and place my finger on my lips indicating him to stay quiet. As silently as possible, I tiptoe out of Jason's cubicle and along with Jerome, I make my way to my study.

"Did you find her?"

"No. I checked at Arkham. It has been cordoned off. It's not possible that she is still trapped inside of the building. She has definitely escaped."

I make my way to my desk and lower myself on the chair, placing my elbows on the desk and resting my face in my palms. Dryly, I let out an exhale and suddenly hit my palm hard against the wooden desk with a bang, fury coursing through me. How could I have been such a fool? I let her into the lion's den for my selfish motives.

"Well Jerome -" I lift my head up and give him a dangerous glare. " - she would have reached here by now if she had escaped. Did you check the GCPD? The precinct? What happened to that woman that we assigned to keep an eye on her, just in case things went awry?" I ask Jerome, exasperated. Goddamnit, atleast someone has to know. She cannot just disappear like that.

Jerome shrugs almost nonchalantly and shakes his head ,making my anger worsen. "How can you be so calm about this?" I ask him, emotionlessly, with a dangerous glint in my eye.

"C'mon broski. It's Ruby we're talking about. That woman can take care of herself. I'm sure she is -"

"You know something, don't you? Jerome? Look at me." My voice is calm, dangerously calm as I cut him off mid sentence.

"Oh well. Damnit. I really need to brush up my acting skills. Well we kind of found her but you won't like the information." Jerome informs and immediately he claps his hand and one of the two followers who had been sent with Ruby, walks in, her eyes nervous and full of fear. Her face is bruised and she has a few gashes over her face and her arms.

"Come closer. What's your name?" I sit back, letting my back brush against the leather of the chair. The next minute, however, I have placed a glass in front of me and lifted up the bottle of scotch from the counter placed directly behind of me. I pour myself some scotch into the glass, my gaze not moving from the follower.

"S..Stacy." She almost mumbles the words, probably out of fear.

"Now Stacy? I need you to tell me what exactly happened at Arkham after we dropped you there. That's what your job was, wasn't it?" I place my fingers on my glass and lift it , placing it to my lips and taking a sip. I watch the poor woman almost tremble like a leaf. She parts her lips as if to speak but instantly, shuts her mouth again. Impatiently, I tap my fingers against the desk and take another sip of my drink.

"I.. I .. She asked me stay outside at the ..b..back entrance and keep watch -" I watch her like a hawk, her breathing flicking from rapid to shallow as she narrates the incidents at Arkham. "- but since you had..already asked me to follow her, I decided to sneak in after her once she went inside the .. building."  I raise my hand slightly, placing it face level with her, instructing her to quieten for a bit. I take another sip of my drink and cock my head towards Jerome. "That wasn't the part of the plan, was it? Asking the follower to wait outside? Why would she do that?" I then use my finger to motion towards Stacy to continue.

"Well she.. I watched her scout through the cells in Wing D. She was looking for..s.somebody -" She looks around, flicking her gaze from me to Jerome and then back towards me, her lower lip trembling slightly. "I saw her talking .. to someone in the cell. I don't know who it was.. I couldn't hear.." That was definitely not the part of a plan. What was Ruby doing ? My knuckles turn white from clenching my fist too hard and I realize how hard I have kept my teeth gritted, barring myself from yelling out in aggression. My face is red with suppressed rage, making me haphazardly push up to my feet and walk up to Stacy, grabbing her hard by her throat.

"Did you see where she went?" I ask her, emotionlessly and let go off her throat for a bit, only to let her throw out the words.

"She.. Boss, I -"

"I don't have all day!" I tighten my grip hard against her throat, my eyes dripping with fury.

"I saw her leave with.. someone. I saw her in a car at the back entrance. I couldn't see the faces of them..all but.. I think I saw.. them wearing the inmates uniform."

Every word of hers only acts as a fuel to brighten up the fire burning inside of me. My fists begin to clench and my jaw roots. With much force, I push the follower into the wall, the back of her head colliding with the stone with such a brutal impact that she falls unconscious.  I finally explode on the inside, with no control on myself whatsoever. I grab the glass in which I was drinking and hurl it towards the wall angrily. She betrayed me.

"JEREMIAH.."

"SHUT UP JEROME."

"Listen to me -"

Jerome is suddenly thrown back with the impact of my balled fist colliding with his cheekbone. I watch him stumble, a throaty, maniacal laughter erupting from his mouth as he nearly falls over the desk, rubbing his cheek with his palm.

"Oh broski. Why waste your precious aggression on me - " Jerome cocks his head to one side, an evite smile spreading on his lips. " - when we have her? The things I'm feeling like doing to her." His malicious grin only widens, his cheek is slightly swollen due to the blow he took on his face but he doesn't seem to be bothered.

"Do what you want to with her, I don't care. I don't understand why Ruby would betray me. Did I not do enough for her??!"

I sit back on my chair, placing both my feet on the desk in front of me. I watch Jerome as he makes his way to Stacy, who is slowly starting to gain consciousness now. My mind, however, is already beginning to plot against her. Yes, she was my wife, the mother of my child but she lost all the privileges the minute she decided to betray me. I'm going to wage war against her and watch her crumple to pieces until she slides onto her knees and begs me for forgiveness.

I watch Jerome squat next to her and grab her by her hair and yank her up, her screams filling the room around us. I can feel my anger dissipating slightly but not completely . Somehow, the scene unfurling in front of my eyes is kind of amusing so I just sit back and try to relax, watching Jerome toy with the semi unconscious woman like a tiger does before hunting down its prey. "W..What's going ...on? Please, boss, let me go.." She pleads with Jerome first and then instantly switches her glance towards me, hoping to sway my attention towards her and make me save her from what's going to be her fate a few minutes from now.

"Jerome, do what you do the best, would you? And mind the carpet, it's really expensive." I shrug, my emotionless side suddenly kicking in.

"Sure, Broski. I'm just gonna have a little fun with her for a while." Jerome grins, looking down at the panic stricken woman who looks left and then right , trying to find a way to escape. Jerome suddenly stands up on his feet, towering over the damsel in distress, suddenly kicking her in the ribs. Her scream starts echoing through the room but Jerome doesn't stop kicking her.

"Enough! Jerome - " I call out and he stops, cackling like a maniac. " - send her to me. Hurry up now. I don't have all day." I sit back, letting one of my feet down against the floor while the other one is still one top of the desk. I watch as Jerome grabs her by her hair again and pulls her up on her feet which is funny to watch because she is almost unable to stand erect on her feet. He then pulls her roughly , shoving her on the floor right in front of me.

"Jerome -" My glare is penetrative as I address my brother. "You can have this one after I'm done with her. Till then, try to find out what you can about who those inmates were with whom Ruby escaped." I watch as Jerome practically scowls at me and walks off.

 

"Now listen to me if you want to live." I place my cold fingers over her sweat and drool covered face, removing the strands of her hair that are sticking to it, suddenly cupping her chin with my fingers. Instinctively, she lets out a weak whimper. "You'll do as I say. If you don't, Jerome won't mind slitting off that beautiful throat of yours. It's a pity." The nod of her head is enough to make me satisfied that she will do whatever I say.

I place my fingers over the button of my trousers, undoing it and pulling the zipper down. I then lift my lower body up and lower my pants, and my underwear, my erect cock springing out. Immediately, her fingers are hooked to my cock, curling them against the length and pumping it slightly. I throw my head back and let out a growl. She's teasing me. "Come up here and ride me." I purr, spreading my legs slightly as she scampers up and sits on my thighs, straddling me. I can feel heat radiate from her. I can't help but close my eyes and let out a punctured moan when she slides onto my cock.

***

Jerome walks out of the study finally, his hands a bloody mess and he reeks of sex, a bloody knife in his fingers.

"Disgusting." I squint my eyes and narrow them towards him. "I'm gonna have to get the entire room sprayed with germ killers again. I hope you didn't -" I make an action with my index finger of making imaginary circles in the air. " - leave your fluids on my desk. You know I hate it."

"You! Clear that body and clean the study. Remember. Not a stain should be left." I shake my head as I watch Jerome instruct one of our followers who immediately scampers off to find a mop and a bucket.

Jerome walks up to me and I watch him slide his palm into his pants pocket, pulling out a box of cigarettes and flicking out one, pressing it between his lips. He tosses the box towards me and I grab it from him, taking out a cigarette of my own and using a lighter to light it.

"You know I'm going to punish her, right? The minute I lay my hands on her, she is going to regret leaving me -" I trail off but am suddenly slapped on my arm, making me shut up.

"You know what brother? This is your problem." Jerome narrows his eyes towards me and I watch, annoyed , as he takes a drag of his cigarette and exhales. "You're so narcissistic. The only thing that is playing in this pathetic mind of yours is how to plot a revenge or how to prove to others how you're better than the others. "

"Jerome, get to the point. What are you implying?"

"Well, I'm implying that maybe this is why she decided to leave you."

"She knew what the power yeilding hierarchy was. Is it my fault she would always go against my wishes and do just the opposite of what I asked her to say? -" I hiss, almost in a bitter way. I can't believe that my brother is defending her with me. "- And you think your loyalty lies with her? For bringing you back from the dead? Isn't that so, Jerome?" I ask him as emotionlessly as possible to which he just shakes his head.

"I'm not taking sides. Or giving away my loyalty to anyone. Now you're just sounding hilarious brother." He says, saying the word brother in a more throaty and lingering kind of way.

"Then why are you still favouring her?" I place my cigarette on my lips and take a drag, letting out the smoke in the air.

"You don't wanna know. She had no choice." Jerome mutters under his breath as softly.

"Oh, so you knew this would happen
You chose to not let me know. Were you the one planning all of this with her behind my back all this while?" I finally spit out, making me snap at him. Obviously, I should have known. The growing proximity between my brother and her. And not to forget, the history they shared. His eyebrows shoot up in alarm, a realization setting into him of what I mean. He raises his arms almost in his defense but I have pulled out my switchblade from my pocket by now and flicked it open.

"YOU'VE BEEN FUCKING MY WIFE, HAVEN'T YOU? YOU FILTHY PIECE OF SHIT."

I lunge at him my razor in my hand but his reflexes are fast, he grabs my hand midair and twists it slightly, making me drop the razor blade with a clatter against the ground.

"No! My feelings for her are purely like a friend. Now you're exagerrating. You're a fucking cunt, you know that?" Jerome hisses, shoving me hard into the wall. I'm as quick as him since we practically have the same blood running through our veins so I place both my arms in front of me at the right time, breaking my fall. It doesn't take me more than a second to turn around and land a hard punch on his face, splintering his nose into two. A sudden gush of pain jolts through Jerome's body. I watch him part his lips and let his tongue linger over his bloody upper lip, soaking the taste of blood. I'm at his face again, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and kicking him right in his gut with my knee, making him drop to the ground.

"Thou shalt not covet your brother's wife." I say casually , but not before kicking him hard in the ribs.

Kick.

I can see Jerome struggle under my kicks, his hand clutching his gut hard and his legs began to weaken. Bruised and winded, he however grabs my foot and pulls me to the ground next to him. That's when he curls his fist into a ball and slams it hard into my face, snapping my nose in unnaturalness.

"This is why she left you, Jeremiah. Because you're nothin but a crazy fool that likes to go by the books. You're so insecure -" He slaps me hard, slamming the back of my head against the floor. "- maybe that's why you think that your wife is fucking me. I honestly wish she did. Because I am and will always be the better brother out of us two."

His palms fixate on my throat and he squeezes hard, making me struggle hard against his hold, trying to free myself. "Who's got the bad blood now? It's you, brother.." He spits on me and pushes himself off me, glaring at me with a dangerous glint in his eyes which I retaliate back, while struggling to get back up on my feet.

"Oh and you really wanna know why Ruby left you?"

I finally manage to get back on my feet and as a reflex, I start limping towards him, glaring at him with hatred in my eyes.

"Because she is pregnant. With your child. And she was afraid that you would hurt her and her child-" I can't believe it. Words seem to have left me and all my anger seems to have dissipated into the thin air. I stare into the replica of my emerald green eyes, or more of how they used to be before Ruby sprayed me with the insanity gas. "- you were so obsessed with your fucked up rules and regulations that you ended up choking her with the pressures of trying to please you." He says.

"Do you have nothing to say, brother?!"

My mind, however, is blank and my eyes wide as I stare at him in horror. His mouth suddenly curves and he erupts into a laughter. "It's a pity she trusts me more than she trusts you." He says, in between his laughter.

"I wouldn't have hurt her if she had just told me.." I finally blurt out, looking away, placing my arm over my bloody nose and wiping the blood off with the sleeve of my blazer.

"You would have. You can't control the person you've become. She is better off without you."

Chapter Text

"Ruby?"

"Eduardo-" I nod, watching him stand on my door. "-Where's Mr. Riddler?" I ask, curiously, raising an eyebrow, when I hear a knock on my door. I look up to see Eduardo standing there, his booming voice echoing through the room. I place my book away, crossing my legs beneath me to sit more comfortably as he makes his way in. "Trying to get Penguin out of Blackgate. I wonder how he is going to do that." Eduardo says, calmly.

Just then, my eyes fall on something that he is holding. He has a rolled up sheet of paper or chart paper rolled up and tucked under his arm.

"What's that?"

I point towards the roll in his hand with my finger, my curiousity piking up. He makes his way to the table and unfolds the roll. I slide my feet against the side of the couch and put my slippers on before making my way to him. Once I reach the table, I gasp slightly as the map of the current Gotham city lays in front of my eyes.

"If you want to take the control away from the Joker, you have to attack his heart-" That's when he fixes his index finger on the building that is directly above the tunnels, the tunnel where Jeremiah's underground empire is located. "-We have to destroy his underground empire."

"Are you out of your mind? My son is there. I can't just blow the empire up trying to get back at my psychotic husband." I glare at him, my nostrils almost flaring in anger. He just raises his hands defensively in the air.

"Your brother in law. He told you he would help you. Maybe now is the time you take his help."

"In what? Destroying his brother?"

"No-" I keep watching Eduardo as he shakes his head and crosses his arms over his sturdy chest. "Getting Jason out of the catacombs so that we can take over the empire."

I sigh softly , my eyebrows creasing into a thin line as I place both my palms on the table over the map and let my mind think. Do I want to do this? He would have done the same thing. Who knows what he would have done to me if he had found out about our baby. Destroying the Joker is what I want now. But it's too risky.

"We can't let Jerome know that we are planning to take down Jeremiah. He would never agree to help us." I inform him, keeping my expressions calm and composed although my heart is fluttering on the inside. "Also, I have one condition. We do not kill the Joker, we can capture him and bait the GCPD into putting him into Arkham but not a hair on my husband's head should be harmed."

"You're still in love with him."

"It doesn't matter. I'm done with him. It's just that -" I look away for a bit and I swear that an image of my old Jeremiah, the time we met at St. Ignatius comes into my mind, making me smile softly, a bittersweet smile. I will never get that Jeremiah back again, and now I think, it's all my fault. " - Just don't hurt him."

"Listen Ruby. In war, there are no attachments. Only then can you fight without your hands tied-" He walks up to where I am standing, fixating himself in front of me, his towering form looking down at me as he speaks through his mask. "- you see, just a little ounce of pressure, that's all that separates the living from the dead." Suddenly, I gasp, my eyes widening as I feel Bane's palm latch itself to my throat, almost squeezing the life out to me. I try to scream but end up letting out a muffled sound from my throat.

"W..What are you ..d..doing?"

"I'm sorry Ruby. But you think that you are too smart and that will be your downfall." His lips curve into an evil smirk as he takes a step closer to me, pinning me against the wall and closing the distance between us. Just then, something hard hits me at the back of my head and my eyes roll back in the back of my head, blackness clouding through me.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

"Boss."

One of my followers pokes his head through my study. I look up, my cigarette curled in my left hand, I motion him with my other hand to come in.

"Did you find out the inmate's name who was in cell number D-171?" I raise an eyebrow, looking at the follower with a cold and icy glare. He gives me a tiny nod which gives me a little hope of finding her.

"Edward Nygma."

My eyes widen slightly. So Ruby has allied herself with the Riddler.

"Hmm." I cock my head to one side, placing my finger under my chin and scratching it slightly. "Well then I guess we will pay Mr. Riddler a visit. Go and find out whatever you can about the Riddler's current location." I motion towards my follower who nods and immediately makes his way towards the exit of my cubicle. Just as the follower is making an exit from the cubicle, Jerome enters the cubicle from the other side with Jason in his arms, and an ice-cream in Jason's hand.

"What was that about?" Jerome raises an eyebrow, croaking in his throaty voice.

"Well I found the inmate Ruby was seen talking to at Arkham. It was the Riddler. Edward Nygma."

"Why would she do that? Align herself with him?" Jerome asks.

"Don't ask me. You were the one giving me a lecture the last time about how she left because of me." I shrug, emotionlessly.

"Daddy? Who left?" Jason suddenly mumbles in his child like voice, letting his tongue out and licking the ice cream.

"No one, my love. Finish your ice cream. And be careful, I don't want you staining my carpets." I tell him, pointing my index finger towards the carpet.

*Jerome's POV*

About an hour after the Joker informed me that the inmate at Arkham with whom Ruby was last seen talking to, I decided to give her a call. The last I had spoken to her a few days back, she had told me that she is fine and safe, however, she never told me who were the inmates she left with. Now I know. I pull out my phone and instantly dial her number, placing the phone to my ear.

"The number you are trying to reach is currently switched off. Please try again later." Weird. Her phone is switched off. I lower the phone and slide it back into my pocket.

***

*Ruby's POV*

My eyelids feel extremely heavy as I struggle to flutter them open until I finally manage to open my eyes. I look around the unfamiliar room , it's dark and tainted walls a stark contrast to the plain old warehouse I had been staying at eversince I was back from my Arkham mission. That's when the memory hits me back like a heavy stone hit at me right in my chest, hampering my breathing. I recollect the last conversation I had with Bane when something hit me on the back of my head. I move my hand to place it on the back of my head but suddenly realize that I am unable to move my hands. That's when I notice that I have been chained to a chair, my arms and my feet tied to it.

I strain my vocals but no voice comes out, still, I try to scream, hoping that someone would hear me. Suddenly, my body is filled with raw sobs of my own, making me shake like a leaf detaching itself from a tree branch. How did I get myself into this mess? Fear is consuming every cell of my body, making them enlarged due to terror. I look around frantically, hoping to find a way out of this mess.

Just then, the door in front of me opens up and Bane walks in, his looming figure moving stealthily like a ghost in the middle of nowhere holding a tray of what looks like cut fruits but I'm in no mood to eat. I just need goddamn answers.

"WHY?!" I practically snarl at him, my voice raised as high as I can bring it to be, throwing out my body forward as much as my restrictions would allow me.

"Don't get so antsy now Ruby. You'll find out in good time. Right now-" He walks up to me and lowers the tray in front of me on a stool placed next to me. He then bends over me and I instinctively push back, suddenly feeling nauseated by the proximity of this man. He only frees one of my hands and motions for me to eat. "In your condition, you need all the energy you can get."

"I'm not hungry-" My tone is low, cold and defiant. "I need fucking answers."

"Okay. What do you want to know?"

"Why am I here? What did you do?"

"Well I carried you into this room in my arms while you were unconscious. I then sat you in a chair and chained you up-" Bane is interrupted by my angry growl. "I said why am I here!?"

"I stared at you for a moment and then smiled to myself. Guess why? Well, the dim lights-" He cranes his neck and fixates it on the single lightbulb that illuminates the room. "The dim lighting of this room made your skin sparkle and glow. You were beautiful. I'm glad I have you forever now."

"You obsessed creep.." I hiss, with bitterness coated words.

"I wouldn't call myself obsessed, I would call it destiny.

"The Joker is going to come for you. Don't think he wouldn't-" Before I could complete my sentence, his strong hand cracks across my face, snapping it back with inhumane force, causing my eyes to roll back in my head. Just below my eye, a small gash has opened up, bleeding slightly, due to the impact of his slap.

"I've never seen a more fickle minded woman than you , Ruby. One moment , you're cursing your husband, telling me how you are better off without that clown. The next moment, you are hoping that he would come and rescue you-" He sighs almost nonexistently. "I wish he lets you rot for eternity. You kicked him right in ego. And that's where it hurts the most."

"Let me go Bane. This is madness. I didn't think you were capable of this." I whisper, almost pleading, trying to yank my other arm free from the heavy chains.

"Capable!? You thought that I was a dumb brute. You thought that I would follow you even to the ends of the earth if you asked me to, just because I'm in love with you." His voice booms. "You were using me, manipulating me and now you're caught in your own web of scam."

"You will never succeed. Whatever you want, Bane, you're going to fail."

"Oh darling-" He takes a step closer towards me and instantly I cower back out of fear, my hand latching itself protectively over my stomach. That's when he bends down over me and buries his stubby fingers into my hair, yanking my head hard and closer towards his face. "- I have you now. It's all the success I can ever achieve."

"You're a monster. And I would never love you." I whisper, cynically. I watch as he lowers himself onto the floor in front of me in a squatting position, placing his hands on my knees, looking up at me. "Isn't the Joker a monster? You still love him. I'm sure you'll learn to love me the same way someday. I'm waiting."

"Never." I pull my saliva deeper into my throat and suddenly, spit hard at him, my saliva landing directly on his face and his mask. His eyebrows crease suddenly and his face contorts in fury. He wipes his face with the back of his hand and lets his hand rake though his hair. Haphazardly, he yanks himself up in a standing position in front of me, anger reflecting through his orbs. That's when I start feeling frightened than ever. I watch him bend over slightly as he struggles to free my other hand from the chains as well. What is he doing? He is freeing me. Oh my god he is freeing me. My heart leaps slightly, in happiness. I'm just going to go back, right into my husband's arms. He has his issues but I am safer with him.

My hand falls out of my shackles and instantly, I find myself up on my feet, ready to run out but Bane grabs me by the back of my hair and shoves me into the wall with a crack. I suddenly feel broken, the back of my head stinging mercilessly. My legs give in and I find myself sinking against the wall. I can see Bane make his way towards me but I can't seem to move my body, it's like I have been frozen between the sands of time. He grabs my foot and pulls me slightly, making me slide across the floor and lay flat against my back.

I try to struggle but weakness is making me frozen on spot, unable to move my limbs as I feel Bane's hands grab my jeans, unlatching the button and pulling it down to reveal my legs. He presses his weight down on me, pinning me to solid hard ground, almost cutting off my oxygen supply by curling his palm around my throat. That's when I felt his course whiskey tasting tongue lick the side of my neck, biting at tugging at my earlobes. I try to escape, thrashing my feet and my arms slightly but fail, due to his extremely bulky body pressed against mine. 

He lets go off my throat for a bit, giving me the chance to scream out my lungs. Noone, offcourse, comes to rescue me. I am only greeted by the voice of his devilish laughter, booming through his mask.

"Why don't you try to enjoy it? Huh Ruby? You're going to love it." I hear him say, making tears pool in my eyes, my heart beating out of control, as though it would stop beating anytime. Jeremiah, please save me. Oh God, someone please save me. I keep repeated the same lines in my mind over and over again.

***

*Jeremiah's POV*

I finally bring my black SUV to a halt outside a two storey old looking warehouse on one of the streets in the main city of Gotham. Since the SUV's glasses are tainted black, nobody can look at us from the outside but we can clearly look at everyone from the inside. I lean my body forward slightly, placing both my palms on the steering wheel in front of me and place my gaze on the warehouse.

"Boss. Should we march in now?" A very excited follower sitting in the back calls out.

"Sh-" Jerome cranes his head back and places his fingers on his lips indicating him to be quiet. "-Definitely not. We aren't even sure if we are the right place. We wait for a while until we have the proof that we are at the right location. This could very well be a trap." Jerome says in his throaty voice, his eyes fixed on the apartment.

"Sadly, and much to my amazement, I have to agree with what my brother has to say. He does make sense. We do not know for sure, that the Riddler is hiding in this building." I flick a glance from my follower back to Jerome and flash him a grin before looking back towards the apartment.

Just then, all the eyes in the car turn towards a familiar looking woman, only her hair is dyed brown instead of her natural shade of blonde. "Barbara Kean." Jerome smirks and looks right at me. Maybe he is thinking the same thing that I am thinking. Why would Barbara Kean be spotted going inside this warehouse when nothing of importance is here? Except that she is probably going to meet with the Riddler. Immediately, we all place our hands on our gun holsters and pull out our guns in our hands, pushing open the car door and jumping out of the car.

"Now boys, do not shoot at anybody, unless it is urgently required. We want to give them the impression that we are just here to talk." I let my words out emotionlessly and pull my hat tighter against my green hair. Slinking through the shadows, pressed against the dull grey outer walls of the warehouse, we reach the door, Jerome quietly places his ear to the door trying to listen in. With his eyes, he motions us to go in. He places his fingers around the door lever and very quietly, pushes the door open towards the inside, stepping in and being greeted by an almost empty zone, with a few abandoned machines laying here and there, clouded in dust.

"Well, I guess this floor looks clear from the looks of it. Still, I want you to check this floor once." I point towards one of my three followers who nods and scampers away. I glance at Jerome for a bit and then cross my arms over my chest. Soon, the follower that we had sent emerges back and informs that there is no one on this floor. We fix our gaze on an old looking stairs so hurriedly we get inside, minding our steps as we quietly make our way upstairs, holding our guns.

We reach the topmost stair and instinctively, I place my palm in the air, indicating Jerome and the followers to stop. I listen closely, I can hear faint voices coming from the inside. I try to listen hard.

"Welcome, Blondie. To what do we owe the pleasure of you gracing our humble abode?"

"Well, I just wanted to see for myself. I had heard that you two were back. I just wanted to see for myself." That voice is sure Barbara Kean.

Just then, the sound of a familiar voice reaches me.

"While I was trapped at that pathetic muck of a prison they call as Blackgate, I was atleast content with the fact that Jeremiah Valeska is a potato at Arkham. Ed tells me that Jeremiah is alive and is very much somewhere in this town. Is that true, Barbie ?"

"Well, hello to you too. It's good to see that I'm still remembered so well, Mr. Cobblepot." My emotionless voice calls out. All three heads turn towards us and they instinctively draw their guns out, aiming it in our direction. So does my men. And Jerome. I just stand casually, my hands crossed over my chest, my breathing slow and harmonic as I glance at them through my cold and icy orbs, a faint hint of a smirk playing on my lips.

"Jeremiah Valeska. The devil returns." Oswald almost spits, waddling a few steps closer with his gun still aimed at us.

"Jeremiah Valeska is dead. You can call me the Joker." I flash them a smile and let my hand up to my head, taking off my hat and holding it in my grip.

"You go by the Joker now." Nygma says.

"Indeed he does. Oh, and I wouldn't do that if I were you. We come, in peace." Jerome says and steps closer to me, although his fingers are still curled around his gun, which he slowly lowers.

"Peace! My foot!" Oswald spits out the words.

"What do you want? Why are you here?" Barbara Kean finally speaks, breaking her silence as she almost lowers her gun, but does not leave her guard.

"I'm here for some answers. And trust me, I'm not here to wage war." I respond calmly. "Mr. Riddler. I'm here for Ruby Valeska. I'd like to speak to her."

"Ruby Valeska is here?!" Both Barbara Kean and Oswald blurt out at the same time in unison, making me raise an eyebrow and bore my gaze into Edward Nygma who just looks away apologetically. "Oh dear." He whispers, almost inaudibly.

"Well-" Nygma raises his free hand slightly in the air. "-Ruby is not here. She was but isn't anymore."

"What do you mean?" Jerome points out,making a thrusting motion with his gun clad hand.

"Let's have a chat like adults, right? Let's just all lower our guns. We are just here to talk. So, on the count of three, we all will lower our guns. Is that okay?" I step closer, both my hands in the air. "One...Two....three." At the count of three, everybody puts their guns down, except offcourse, Jerome and Oswald, who keep their guns fixated on each other.

"Now brother, Oswald. Would you kindly?"

"Oh! Fine! Let him put his gun down first!" Jerome grumbles like a two year old, giving me an urge to let out a chuckle but I don't.

"No I wouldn't. I understand the trick he is trying to play on me. Ask him to keep his gun down first." Oswald snaps at me, his glare and his gun both fixed on Jerome.

"Well Mr. Riddler. Let them be children. I suggest we be the adults that we are and talk. Now I am not here to hurt any of you. I'm here looking for my wife. And the last she was seen, it was at your cell at Arkham-" I coo, carefully watching Nygma. "Now you're telling me she is not with you. Then you must have some clues as to where she is."

Both Barbara and Oswald turn to look at Nygma, who's eyebrows turn into a frown as he clears his throat. "She came to me. She promised me freedom from Arkham. She wanted me to be her ally. Why are you even bothering looking for her? She did this to get away from you. She said that she felt that you were a threat to her and her unborn child."

"Well, most married couples have differences. We had a fight, that's it-"

I'm interrupted by Jerome. "Where he disfigured her face."

"Shut up, Jerome. You're not helping."

"Oh,okay?" He croaks.

"We three were here for a few days. Then I had to leave to get Mr. Cobblepot out of Blackgate. When we returned, however, there was no sign of either of them. It's as if they had vanished into thin air." Nygma informs.

"Wait. What have you been hiding Ed?? First Ruby. Now you're saying, there was a third one here? Who?" Oswald steps closer to Edward, his gun finally tucked away into his pocket as he glares at Nygma.

"Oh dear. Well, Bane." He says sheepishly, placing his index finger on his glasses and pushing it over the bridge of his nose.

"Great. Just great." Oswald throws his hands into the air dramatically.

"So, you're telling me that both Bane and Ruby are missing ?" I raise an eyebrow towards Edward Nygma who nods in a professional manner.

"That means that we have to find them in that case." I say , flicking my gaze towards Jerome who nods.

"I'll help."

We all turn to look at Barbara, who finally takes a few steps towards her, her stature bold as she crosses her arms over my chest.

"Why would you help us?" I raise an eyebrow.

"Well she saved my daughter once. I feel like I owe her. She had the chance to ki my girl but she saved her. And with her pregnant, we need to hurry. God knows if she is in danger." Barbara says, oblivious to the glare she is receiving from Oswald. Nygma just looks on with a poker face.

"Well guys, if you decide to help me, I'm going to let you carry out your things-" I make a motion of making an imaginary circle in the air with my index finger as I continue speaking. "-peacefully. Without any interruption from me or any of my men. What do you say?"

"Alright. I guess I would help too, she got me out of Arkham. That's the least I can do for her." Nygma sighs and glances at Oswald apologetically.

"Oh! Fine!! I'm in." Oswald finally gives in with a huge scowl on his face.

Chapter Text

My eyes flutter open and I look around in confusion for a bit, my eyes widening as the memories hit my like a speeding truck. Bane had raped me last night. I felt nauseated at the thought of it, my body felt dirty, defiled even. Tears cloud my eyes and I blink , tears falling down my cheek, moistening them. I had made a mistake and I had paid for it, maybe this was my punishment. I look down at my slightly swollen stomach and let out a faint whimper. All I want now is to get out of here. I cannot sit and lament at my situation anymore, I have to be strong for my child.

Weakly, I slide my feet to the side of the bed and stand up, feeling dizzy in my head after having stood up after a long time. I make my way to the door and place my palm on the doorknob, trying to open the door but realize that it is locked. I groan in frustration and kick the door hard, wincing slightly. With a jerk of my head, I turn my head around, glancing all around the room, trying to find a way of escape, any window, anything of that sort. There are no windows. My eyes fall on a bedside table. Hurriedly, I make my way to it and squat in front of it, pulling open the drawers and going through the contents of it. Just stack of papers and pens. Wait, a pen.

I grab a pen and struggle to pull out the cartridge of it which I successfully manage to do. Holding just the cartridge of the pen in my fingers, I run to the door again, sliding the thin cartridge into the door lock in a desperate attempt to unlock the door. I keep struggling for minutes until finally, probably on my tenth try, I hear the sound of a click.

Immediately, I pull the door open and step out into the quiet hallway, my eyebrows creasing into a frown as I realize that the hallway looks like that of an underground bunker, just like Jeremiah and I used to live in until we blew Jim Gordon up, or we thought we did. The hallway is dull looking, without any window or a trickle of light from anywhere, except for two bulbs lighting the either ends of the hallway.

I tiptoe from room to room, gently opening the doors to check the premises. The first two rooms are what looks like storage room of some sorts, with old furniture and other junk items placed inside. As I tiptoe towards the third room, my ear catches the sound of snoring coming from the inside. Bane is probably asleep, good for me. I realize that the door of the room in which he is sleeping is partially open, making it easier for me to peep inside and analyze the situation.

I poke my head through the opening in the door and look at the sleeping form of Bane. He still has his mask on and his palm is fixated just underneath his head as he is sleeping on his back. I crane my neck slightly and shift my eyes across the room, my vision suddenly falling on my cell phone that is laying on a small bedside table next to his bed, along with his gun.

As softly as I can, without making any noise, I enter the bedroom and with the same stealthiness, I make my way to the bedside table, throwing out my shivering hand towards the phone to grab it. Just then, however, Bane shifts in my direction and instantly I crouch to the floor on my knees and flatten myself as much as I can being mindful of not hurting my small bump, against the floor for a few seconds until I am sure that he hasn't woken up. Once the sounds of his snores start echoing through the walls of the room again, I lift myself up slowly on my feet and grab my cell phone, sliding it into the pocket of my jacket. I grab the gun as well, curling my fingers around it and sliding the gun holding hand to my side as I tiptoe my way out of the bedroom without waking him up.

*Jeremiah's POV*

"Would you stop squirming? You're ruining my masterpiece-" Jerome squats in front of one of my men, right in front of Oswald, who is looking on with his eyes thrown wide open. "Well Mr. Cobblepot, I hope you don't mind watching this. But I don't like bad news or no news at all. And this is how I keep my men in check." I say to Oswald, while standing next to Jerome with my arms crossed over my chest. Before Oswald could reply, however, the gagged man lets out a muffled sound from his throat, pulling my attention back from the Penguin back to the man. "Oh you want my attention? How sweet." I smile, letting my ruby coloured lips curve into a sadistic smile. Immediately, I place my fingers into his messy hair and grab them hard, yanking his head backwards, revealing his pale pink throat, glistening under the lighting of my study.

Jerome slides his hand into the pocket of his blazer, pulling out a razor. The minute the man's eyesight falls on the razor, he starts whimpering and flailing his body like a fish, trying to escape from my grasp but my grip on him is strong. He places the razor on his throat, oblivious to his pleading and begging for mercy, and with one quick movement, he slashes his throat, watching the carpeted floor of my study turn a crimson red, soaking up with his blood.

"Sadly, that carpet was new. I have to get another one now." I huff in annoyance, puckering my lips a little as I let go off his hair and his lifeless corpse falls back on the floor face first. I step up to my feet and casually stroll towards where Oswald is seated on my desk and slide into my own seat while Jerome makes his way to our liquor cabinet, pulling out a bottle of whiskey and filling up his glass. "Drinks anyone, eh?"

"What did he do?" Oswald raises an eyebrow, flicking a glance back at the corpse.

"Nothing. That's what he did-" I say casually, letting a chuckle escape my throat, which is joined by one from Oswald as well. "-Mr. Cobblepot, what did you find? I hope it is something interesting."

I sit back against my leather chair and watch Oswald who is seated on the opposite chair in front of me while Jerome is carelessly lounging on the leather couch with a glass of whiskey in his hand. I had my follower bring in Oswald with a black cloth on his face, to keep the way to our catacombs hidden from him.

"I picked up some bits and pieces, Joker. Bane was last seen near a few blocks away from the GCPD precinct." He informs, sitting with his elbows placed in front of him on my desk.

"When was this ?" I raise an eyebrow, keeping my tone emotionless.

"This morning."

"Well, did anybody follow him?"

"My man did but we lost him."

My fingers curl tight into a fist and I close my eyes, trying to contain the pangs of frustration gnawing through my insides, waiting for me to erupt with rage. "How could you have lost him? Isn't there one thing that I can expect to happen with 100 percent accuracy from you?" I part my lips and let out a frustrated huff, watching as Oswald narrows his eyes at me.

"Well I am not sorry. You should be grateful that you have our help. Alone, you wouldn't even have been able to crack his whereabouts. Atleast I managed to figure out that he must be hiding somewhere near the precinct-" I raise my hand slightly and bang hard on the desk, Oswald's mouth sealing shut as a reaction.

"Just because you saw Bane near the precinct doesn't mean that he is hiding somewhere near the precinct. Besides, he could be anywhere. How do you suggest we narrow down our search?" I narrow my eyes at Oswald.

Before he can reply, however, my cell phone starts ringing, making my eyes widen at the caller ID being displayed on it. Ruby. With one quick motion, I sweep off the phone from the table and place it to my ear. "Ruby?! Where are you?!" From the corner of my eye, I watch Jerome step up from the couch and make his way towards me, his eyes curious and inquisitive.

"Jeremiah-" She whispers, almost inaudibly. Her voice sounds scared and weak. "Please save-" Just then, the call gets disconnected on its own. Immediately, I try to dial her number again but it is switched off now. Angrily, I hurl the phone into the wall, watching it break the moment it hits the floor.

"What was that about brother?" Jerome raises an eyebrow and eyes my phone for a second before glancing back at me.

"Before she could say much, the call got disconnected. She's in danger, Jerome-" I step up from my comfortable position with my hands fixed to my waist as I start walking around my study. "She said please save me and then the call got disconnected. Jerome, give me your phone." I throw out my palm towards Jerome and he places his cell phone into it. I dial a number and place it to my ear.

"Barbara. I have a job for you. Can you get Jim Gordon to do something for you?" I flick a glance towards Jerome who nods at me and crossed his eyes over his chest. "I'm texting you a phone number. I want you to get Jim to trace the location as soon as he can. Alright?"

*Ruby's POV*

I am about to disclose my location to Jeremiah but before I can do that, someone snatches my phone from behind. My eyes widen in fear and my face turns the colour of ash as I feel hands latch onto my hair and yank me towards him, me facing him now.

"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING?" His voice practically booms through this face mask. His grip tightens around my phone and the phone cracks in his palm, much to my dismay. "I.." Tears are pooling into my eyes and my fingers curl into a fist against my sides as I tug hard against the fabric of my jacket.

I feel him grab me by my arm and pull me roughly along with him until we reach the same room that he had kept me in. Using my free hand, I slide it sneakily into the back pocket of my jeans where I had placed Bane's gun earlier, pulling it out and curling my fingers around it. We have almost reached the bedroom when all of a sudden, I let out a shrill scream which disorients Bane and he lets me go for a split second. Immediately, I draw up the gun and aim it right across his chest, my chest heaving up and down due to my erratic breathing.

"Don't you dare touch me." I hiss, almost inaudibly under my breath.

"Ruby, ah, I removed the bullets to that gun." Bane slides his hand into the pocket of his cargo pants and pulls out a few bullets, making my eyes go wide in horror. Still, I curl my fingers against the gun and place my finger on the trigger, squeezing it. Nothing happens, much to my chagrin. His lips curve into a menacing smirk as he tightens his grip over my arm and throws me into the bedroom while he fixates himself against the doorframe, watching.

"Don't try to be too smart. I knew you were in my bedroom even before you stole that phone."

The door slams shut, the sound of the locking of the door reaches me next and finally, I hear his footsteps retreat further and further away. I slide down against the wall, hugging my knees tighter against my chest and letting my forehead rest on my knees.

***

Bane pushes through a metallic door and instantly steps into a room with a few TV sets on it. He moves from one TV set to another, flicking each one open and glancing at it for a brief moment. He then lowers himself onto the chair kept in front of the TV sets while watching the CCTV footage of the premises playing, carefully. That's when his eyes fall on the TV set on the extreme right which is capturing the live footage of the outside of the building. A black SUV can be seen driving up and coming to a halt right outside the building. He arches his body forward, his eyebrow shooting up in amusement as he lets his elbows rest over the table, still watching.

The doors of the SUV springs open and the Joker steps out of the drivers side while Jerome and a few of their henchmen step out from the passenger's side and from the back. The lot moves into the premises of the abandoned building and look around, frowning slightly as they realize that the mansion looks as though it has been abandoned for years, as though no one has ever lived in it for a long time, with white sheets now dust clad, still draped over the furniture. "Check the area. This is the exact location Barbara gave me." The Joker instructs one of his henchmen to go left while the other one heads right, cocking their guns tightly against their chest.

Bane sits back more comfortably against the back rest of the chair and raises his eyebrows, almost scoffing to himself in amusement. "Try as much as you can, Joker, you will never be able to find us." His voice is loud, almost booming through the tiny room, as he keeps his eyes glued to the TV screen in front of him. The Joker and his henchmen search the premises for almost an hour but in the end, they find nothing. Annoyed, they make their way back to their SUV and get in, driving off.

***

Probably an hour has passed and I still am curled up against the wall, my eyes dull and all my tears now dried up. Finally, I gather what little strength I have left inside of me to lift myself off the floor and make my way to the bathroom. With slow steps, I make my way towards the mirror and look at my reflection on it. Is Jeremiah looking for me? I can't help but wonder. Suddenly, fury in form of a current has already made its way through my body, making me lift my balled fist into the air and slam it hard against the mirror, watching it crumble into pieces, drops of my blood staining the white sink just below it. Undeterred by the pain in my newly formed wound, I place my bloody hand onto one of the shards of glass and lift it up, curling my bloody fingers around it, a fire running through my veins. If I die, I will not die a helpless woman, I will take down Bane with me.

I slide the shard carefully into the pocket of my jacket and hurriedly pick up the other fragments, piling them up by a corner behind the toilet seat. I make my way back to the sink and turn the faucet on, letting my wounded hand underneath the jet of water, watching as the blood washes off, along with the drops that had earlier stained the sink. I grab a hand towel and wrap it around my wound, making my way out . I lower myself onto the edge of the bed and wait. Wait for my destiny to play out.

I probably waited for hours until I found my eyes getting heavy. Suddenly, my eyes throw open and my eyeballs roll about, trying to take in the scenario around me; I'm still in the wretched bedroom, laying on the bed on my back, staring at the ceiling. The only thing that is different is that the door is wide open and Bane is leaning against the doorframe, watching me curiously like a hawk.

"What? Cat got your tongue?" I hiss at him, almost narrowing my eyes as I sit up straighter in bed, crossing my arms over my chest.

"Nah, just admiring you." I can't help but notice, making me cringe internally, how his gaze travels down to my body and flicks back up immediately.

"You're nasty, Bane-" I force myself up on my feet and make my way towards the closet, grabbing a change of clothes, courtesy of Bane who had stocked up my closet with weird baggy tee shirts of his. Laying my hand on whatever I could , I curl the fabric tighter against my fingers, visibly ignoring Bane and decide to head into the shower.

"Listen Ruby. Till when are you going to put on this hate face for me? I hate to have to force you -" He steps inside, and I watch him as he bolts the door behind him, my body stiffening as I realize what his intentions are. I haven't even realized that I have let the tee shirt drop from my hand and it is laying abandoned against the cold tiled floor.

"I don't hate you. If I did, I wouldn't have let you kiss me at the parking lot when we were hunting down Barbara-" I slowly raise my eyes and fixate them on him, letting my lips part and shoot out a tiny exhale. "But you were different back then. You were a sweet monster, but now, you're just vile and nasty." I let my lips curve into a smile as I watch his pupils dilated a bit as he takes another step closer.

"Yes, that kiss. I remember it."

"Good for you." I shrug, almost nonchalantly. "Now may I take a shower?"

"Let me have you first. You can have that shower later on."

My eyes almost widen when I watch him place his hands over the buckle of his belt and struggle to get off it. Immediately, I make my way to the edge of the bed and slide myself into the covers, my heart thumping wildly with dread as I slide my hand into the pocket of my jacket and pull out the shard of glass I have been hiding, sliding it underneath the pillow. I can hear the rustling of clothes, Bane's pants falling off and landing at his ankles from which he has already stepped out since he is making his way towards me. I could feel the bed sink slightly as he fixes himself on the bed next to me and I close my eyes, tears threatening to spill out as I feel him inch closer and closer towards me.

His cold fingers finally grab my thigh,pulling my legs apart as his fingers trail over the fabric of my panties, over my womanhood. I can hear his hitched breaths and occasional animalistic growls as he tosses off the covers off me and practically pulls me to him, his hands roaming every crevice of my body. "I like how you're not fighting me much today-" He whispers darkly into my ear, slowly letting his tongue graze over the spot just behind my ears. "You seem to like it now I can see. The things I do to you."

"Hm, definitely... not." I whisper back darkly, laying emphasis on the not as my hand slides underneath my pillow and I curl my fingers tight around the shard of glass, pulling it out and thrusting it into the side of his neck with all my might. He groans and gurgles as he starts bleeding out, his palm latched onto his wound that is bleeding like a waterfall, his eyes rolling back inside of his head. Time to run out.

Without wasting much time then, I wiggle out from underneath Bane's arm and slide to the edge of the bed, dangling my feet against it for a bit before jumping out of bed. Bane, however, even  in his state of near death, manages his grab a hold of my foot. He still has a little strength left him him, with which he yanks hard at my foot causing me to tumble and fall face first, hard against the floor, my nose hitting the cold concrete and splintering into a bloody mess. It's not the pain in my nose that has me worried though. I cry out in pain as a stinging pain shoots through my belly the minute I land on it hard, making my insides shrivel and curl. I try to get up, but the pain is intolerable, gnawing at my stomach like someone using a drill machine on me. I feel something sticky in between my legs so I slide my other hand, with which I'm not clutching my writhing stomach to slide it into my panties. When I pull them out, I realize that my fingers are coated with blood.

No,no. This can't be happening to me. Not when I was this close to my freedom. Oh god why?

With what little strength that I have left in my body, I weakly lift myself up on my feet, looking down at a pool of blood that has already formed on the ground and stained right through my pants.

Chapter Text

It feels like I have been roaming around the ugly hallways in circles; the menacing pain in my belly only getting worse and my bleeding getting heavier, leaving a trail behind me. If Bane, by an immense luck, survives, he will surely find me with that trail. I really need to hurry. That's when I enter the kitchen of the bunker, looking around for anything; a door, a window, nothing at all. Frustrated, I throw my free hand, with which I am not gripping my curdling stomach, into the air and stare dejectedly into the air. Something miraculous happens then; my eyes fall on a small square shape plastered on to the ceiling of the kitchen and what looks like a tiny ring attached to it. A trapdoor? Here? In a freaking kitchen?

Not wasting any time, I manage to hop onto the kitchen slab and make my way closer and closer towards the ring, now standing almost directly underneath it. I slide my index finger through that ring and pull it downwards, hopping off the slab at the right time as the ceiling collapses; well it doesn't collapse, the square in the ceiling opens up, revealing a staircase leading upwards.

Instinctively, I waddle into the staircase and make my way upwards until I reach a makeshift door, only covered by a curtain made of torn and battered cloth. I step out and finally find myself in what looks like an abandoned mansion, the furniture adorned with dusty white linen on top of them. I don't have much time to decide what to do next, as a sound of someone dragging feet towards the kitchen reaches my ears; making me mutter an inaudible cuss under my breath. That venom with which Dr. Strange injected Eduardo with, that man is almost immortal. I don't waste my time looking at the surroundings but rather make my way towards the front door.

It doesn't take much time to reach the front door and get out of the horrific mansion. Having set foot outside the bunker after what seems like days, though it has only been three days, instinctively I squeeze my eyes shut, feeling the sunlight hit into my retinas directly. That's when a menacing cramp hits me in my stomach, almost making me arch my body forward reflexively making me let out a blood curdling scream. Taking deep breaths, my feet tightly clammed against each other as I can feel blood oozing out of my entrance bit by bit, I limp across out onto the gravel road that seems isolated, frantically looking around, hoping to find anyone who could take me to a fucking hospital.

My steps are slow and dragged, but I'm moving whatsoever, worried that Bane is probably on my trail. Just then, a familiar looking building comes into my view, the minute I leave the gravel path and step onto the main road; the GCPD precinct. Maybe if it was any other day, I would have run away from that building, but right now, if I want my baby to be okay, I have to take the bullet with a smiling face.

The minute I step onto the concrete walkway just outside the precinct front door, a few officers have already surrounded me, their guns pointed directly towards me. One of them yells in my direction, "Freeze, put your hands in the air." I do as they say, reflexively throwing out my hands in the air for a bit, before pulling my left hand down abruptly and placing it over my belching stomach, letting out a whimper of pain. The officers are staring at the huge red stain in my jeans, which only seems to get bigger.

"I'm here to surrender, I just want to talk to Commissioner James Gordon. Ple-" Before I can complete my next sentence, however, I feel my head churning and a blackness clouding through me, my legs suddenly feeling like jelly as I find myself falling forward, into somebody's arms. I let my eyes close as voices echo through my ears, but all I can hear is a faint thumping sound, the sound of my own pulse, which seems to be fading.

***

Beep.
Beep.
Beep.

I groan and weakly open my eyes, immediately shutting them tight again, blinding by the blaring neon light just overhead.

Beep.
Beep.
Beep.

I flick open my eyes again, finally adjusting to the bright lights in the room. I look around, taking in the interior of the room. A hospital ward. It all comes flying back to me; getting raped by Bane, lunging a shard of glass into the side of his neck, escaping the bunker, the pains that racked through my belly. Immediately, my hand comes to rest on my belly, the pains have completely subsided now, luckily.

The door opens, my neck lifting itself up and fixating on the short, stout woman cop who makes her way inside and makes her way to me, her eyes scanning around the room for anything amiss. I crane my neck in the direction that she is looking at, and I realize that a large metal lock has been placed on the window, incase I decide to play smart and try to escape. She turns around and steps out of the ward, the door slamming shut behind her, making me sigh and let my head lay back against the pillow, staring dully at the ceiling.

Again, I hear footsteps getting closer and closer, making me lift my head again and stare intently at the door in front of me. The door creaks open gently and a nurse, dressed in all white ; a surgeon's mask fixed on her mouth, makes her way inside the ward, wheeling in a gurney with a few injections on it. I let out a huff in frustration, when I realize that it is no one of interest and let my head fall back again only to hear a muffled voice from underneath her mask.

"How are you feeling today, Mrs. Valeska?" The voice is odd sounding, as though the person is trying a little too hard to mask her original voice. I look up again, squinting my eyes on apprehension as I eye the nurse curiously and alertly. "Peachy." I whisper, almost inaudibly, placing both my hands to my side as I pull myself up in a sitting position, watching the nurse in a strange manner.

I watch her as she moves away from behind the gurney, making her way towards me, making me feel slightly odd and suspicious. Something seems strangely familiar about her. Just then, the unthinkable happens. The nurse slides her hand to her nurse hat, taking it off and tossing it over the gurney. She then fixes her palm to her hair and suddenly, she pulls off her wig, revealing parrot green hair, just like the Joker.

"Missed me, darlin?" He finally speaks in his low, seductive tone and takes off his face mask, revealing his porcelain white skin and his ruby lips.

"Jeremiah.." I whisper, happy tears clouding my eyes. He finally came for me, in the most unexpected way. Instinctively, I throw the covers away and step to the side of the bed but the drip on my hand stings and makes me wince slightly, making me yank it off in one swift motion.

"You mean, the Joker?" He furrows his well shaped eyebrows and tongues the insides of his mouth lightly before making his way to my bedside, his lips forming a mellow smile. "Didn't think I would come for you darlin, did you?" I bite my lip, a tear falling off my eye and landing on my palm that I curl instantly, letting my lips graze into the warmest smile ever. "I knew you would come for me. I'm sorry, J." I whisper, almost looking away from him. I know I will have to face his wrath later.

"Well, I have news, I've been, uh, lurking around this place for long now. Ever since I followed you from the mansion-" His words are interrupted by my squeel. "It was you? I thought it was that shithead." I murmur, smiling to myself until the Joker's next words wipe off the smile off my face. "Sweetheart, don't cut me off when I'm talking to you, basic manners. Or have you forgotten those? Daddy needs to teach you a lot of things." I immediately lower my eyes so that I'm staring idly at the tiled floor; a little something that I have gotten accustomed to while being married to the Joker. "I'm sorry, Mister J." I whisper, my voice coming out even shallow than before.

"Hm, good." He whispers, almost darkly, his lips contorting into a shrewd grin. He then steps closer and I feel a dip in the hospital bed, with his weight pressing it down as he sits down next to me, slowly snaking his arm around my shoulder. "I have a bad news, so to say. I'm sorry, Ruby. I heard the actual nurses talk about you outside to Jim Gordon-" I raise an eyebrow, worry creasing my lips into a thin line. How many of these bad news will have I have to bear? "-you miscarried." He says, almost nonchalantly, squeezing my shoulders a little.

My eyes widen and tears form into the crevices of my eyes. My biggest fear; for a past few days; has come true, much to my horror. In that moment, I realize, I had never experienced this kind of grief before, maybe I had when I had lost Renee, my little angel but this, this is something else; my heart feels broken in a way it never did before. Tears begin to spill from my now helpless eyes, my fingers clasping hard the fabric of the linen of the hospital bed.

"Oh come on, Mrs. Valeska, if it means so much to you, we can try again. It's not a big-"

"What!? It's not a big deal? WHAT DID YOU SAY AGAIN?" I can feel my body shake like a tree shedding it's dried up leaves as the wind rustles against it, my finger weakly pointing towards him in an accusing manner. His eyes are cold and impassive, his ruby lips pressed tight into a thin grimace, maybe caused by my sudden outburst. "Ruby, don't create a fucking scene in here. I'm here to take you out of this place. And I want to do it, without having to garner much attention, as you can see, I'm alone."

It is funny how I am not even allowed to grieve for my lost child, how my hands are tied in these shackles, the shackles called as being married to the Joker. I couldn't help but feel how my hatred towards him is slowly overpowering the love that I feel for this man. I have to do what he expects me to do so I nod, bottling up the aggression and the hurt that is etching to get out.

"How are we going to get out of here?" I raise an eyebrow, crossing my arms over my chest, watching the Joker skewer his head slightly and let his lips curve into a grin.

"Good question. I happened to sneak this from one of the nurses." He slides his palm into the pocket of his nurse outfit, and pulls out a key. Looking at the confusion of my face, he lifts his index finger, pointing it in the direction of the window with a lock on it.

"Now hurry up, darling. We don't want to get caught now, do we?"

***

I am finally home, if I can even call it that, perched on my bed, with my sleeping six year old next to me. I look up at the ceiling and realize how pathetic my life really is. I have a family; a son, a husband but is this what I really wanted? To be left to wallow into the patriarchy of this society? I wanted to create a name for myself, not be pushed and buried under the tagline of being a Valeska. I look down at my son and let my hand hover over his head for a bit, before burying my fingers deep into his familiar ginger curls, cursing mentally at the fact that I condemned my son to this life as well and one day he would grow up and probably hate me.

I can hear the sounds of screams and cheering coming from outside my cubicle, making me slide my feet to the edge of the bed and hop off, tiptoeing my way up to the door and peeping out. All of the Joker's henchmen are celebrating, I can see that they have their drinks in their hands. My vision, however, is blocked by a silhouette approaching me, his fiery red hair now cropped and short, almost not visible.

"I hate what you did to your hair." I mumble, fixing my eyes on him.

"Aw, dove. I thought you would say I missed you." He grins playfully, suddenly leaning towards me and whispering something into my ear. I keep my face straight when I hear what he has to say to me, my eyes flicking from him to Jason.

"Dove, broski wants you to get all glammed up tonight. That celebration you see out there, its for you."

"Yeah, I can see that." I roll my eyes and cringe visibly in front of Jerome, not bothering to mask a flash of hurt pass through my eyes. "That's why it's you who came to invite me and not him himself." I frown. "Yeah well, ya know him. He is a busy man." Jerome replies back.

Although the last thing I want to do right now is put on a brave face and face them all out there, I deep down know that if I don't, Jeremiah is going to be mad at me so I shake my head and decide to go on with it. Besides, even though it's just a title, I am the clown prince of Gotham's wife; I need to look like it. I make my way to my chest, the one in which I keep all my clothes, fishing through my fancier clothings until I pull out a silver full sleeved evening gown with sequins attached to it; a little gift Jeremiah had given to me a few years back which strangely, I had completely forgotten about, making me now wonder if I would still fit into it, two pregnancies, one healthy son and a miscarriage later.

"Jerome?"

"Yes,dove?" He looks at me, and then the dress, almost nodding at me.

"How many mistresses does your brother have?"

"What do you mean?"

"Oh you know what I mean."

"Come on Ruby, he's the Joker. Isn't he allowed to have a little fun?"

I shake my head at him, running my fingers through the fabric of my dress as I lay it on the bed, carefully as to not get a crease on it. I don't need an answer now, Jerome already answered it with subtlety for me. Who knows? He might be fucking every beautiful girl he came across.

"Well, buzz off now. I have to change." I groan frustratedly at the thought of having to change from my comfortable pyjama into this tight dress and put on some make up. Good thing that my Glasgow smile is barely visible now, Jerome's scars being much more prominent than mine.

After having a little chat with Jerome, I finally lift off my tee shirt and pull it off my head, letting it drop to the floor; repeating the same process with my pyjama until I am standing in nothing but my underwear. It would appear to be a simple task, but my mind is occupied by something else while I am physically changing into the cocktail gown. I lift the gown in my hands and slide into it, luckily it being just a size tighter than when Jeremiah had given it to me. With slow steps, I slide myself into the stool in front of the mirror and grab a hairbrush, running it through my hair and pulling my hair up neatly into a bun with a butterfly pin on it. I put on some concealer to hide the dark circles under my skin, probably from the countless sleepless nights that I have had till now and a little brown lipper that matches well with my slightly olive coloured skin tone. I mentally pat myself on the back for getting ready in mere fifteen minutes while most of the girls I know, no, I knew, like Delilah, took ages to get ready.

I finally emerge from inside of my cubicle and all the heads turn towards me, including that of my husband and I could feel his eyes burning a hole into me. Maybe I do clean up nice. A few of the henchmen start hooting but Jeremiah throws out his hand towards the lot, making them shut their mouths closed. He is standing on a makeshift stage, his hands curled against a glass of champagne.

"Come, my queen." He whispers darkly, throwing out his palm towards me that I take and manage to get on stage with him and stand next to him. One of the henchmen walks up to me with a tray of champagne glasses in his hand and I instinctively grab one, lifting it up and placing it on the palm of my other hand, until Jeremiah clears his throat and steps forward,his voice ringing out in front of me.

"Now for the toast, I'd like to say a few words, gentlemen. Tonight is a big night, folks. Ah, my wife is back, as you can see -" He turns towards me and an applause breaks out in the hall, making me smile faintly and crane my eyes through the crowds , my eyes suddenly fixing on a few familiar faces as well; the Riddler and the Penguin. Our eyes meet and he raises his glass towards me, giving me a curteous nod and a wide smile. "- and I would like to announce my new alliance with Mr. Riddler and Mr. Penguin." The applause breaks out again, Jeremiah's arm snaking through my waist and pulling me closer. I watch him as he lifts his hand with which he is holding his glass. "To my beautiful wife and my new friends." We all cheer for a bit and then I place my lips to my glass ,taking a sip of the sweet tasting liquid, savouring it's exploding flavours in my mouth.

"Before, I conclude for the night, I just have a little surprise for my darling." He nudges me slightly and I skewer my face in his direction, giving him one of my fake smiles. I then fix my gaze on Jerome, watching him intently until one of the henchmen walks up to us with a black cloth in his hands, handing it to the  Joker. "Now hush, darling. I don't want you to see the surprise yet." He says eerily, making my blood curdle. I can sense it that this surprise is not going to be a good one. Jeremiah walks to my back, grazing his hands over my shoulders for a bit, teasingly before placing the black cloth over my eyes, blocking my view.

"Now stay here for a bit, while I roll in my surprise. Boys?"

That's all I can hear, my vision now black.

Just then, a screeching noise reaches my ears; as if something heavy is being pulled onto the stage, making my heart beat harder against my chest. I can hear the crowds starting to get restless now, whispering amongst themselves in hushed murmurs. Just then, cold hands place themselves gently to my arms and walk me a little to the left, making me sit down on a chair. It all seemed fine until I feel my hands strapped to the chair with binds.

"Ready, darling?" I can feel Jeremiah's hot breath against my neck and his passive voice coo into my ear, making me believe that he is leaning over me from the back until the black cloth over my eyes comes off, making me look around in a daze. Much to my horror, I am tied to an electric chair, unable to move or get out from; and all the eyes are fixed on me; some with fear while others with anticipation as to what is going to happen.

"I never said I wasn't going to punish you, darling. For the little, ah, stunt you played -" He yanks my head hard by the bun in my hair, loosening it and letting my hair fall against my shoulders. He then lets me go and pulls himself out from behind me, making his way to the centre of the stage, looking at his henchmen.

"Let this be an example and a warning to all of you, that I don't like betrayals and people crossing me. If someone as close to me as her can suffer my fury, so will all of you, if you ever think of double crossing me. Is that clear?" All the heads nod in his direction reflexively and I look away, struggling to loosen my binds and get out of my impending fate.

"Now Jerome? Would you please." He calls out emotionlessly, making me shudder at the sight of Jerome suddenly walking closer to me, with a strange looking helmet in his hand. I fix my eyes on him, pleading with my eyes to make him stop this madness but he averts his gaze deliberately, stepping next to me as he places the helmet to my head, fastening a strap with a rubber ball attached to it right into my mouth, to muffle my screams.

"Now don't be scared, darling, I'm not going to kill you, I'm just going to discipline you a little." His ruby lips curve into a sadistic smile, making me give him a scornful glare of my own. With a quick turn of his head, the Joker looks at Jerome with a questioning look in his face as he parts his lips and speaks again, "Where is Mr. Jervis Tetch? I fancy you already escorted him and our very special guest of honour to our hideout."

"Oh! I'm here! Sorry, I was just doing a final touch up. It's a party after all!" A voice calls out from the crowd, making me lift my head up with a jerk to see Jervis push through the crowds with the doctor from Arkham, who seems hypnotized.

"Oh, great-" He says, stretching on the word great a little. "-Let's get this show on the road." Jeremiah claps his hands and immediately moves away, me cowering deeper into my chair as dread fills me up. I see the doctor finally make his way up to the chair,  and then walk to what looks like the power generator of the electric chair, the one which controls it.

That's it, I think to myself; maybe this is the last time I will look death in the face but maybe this time, I won't be able to escape it. Deep down, I wish I don't. I close my eyes then and pull on a brave face, if they try to blow my fire out, let it be but I will not weaken, I will let my fire burn out with a look on my face that people will remember. I will die like a queen, the one that I truly am; free from the shadows of my husband, I would die as me, as Ruby Day, not as Ruby Valeska.

I keep my eyes shut, my fingers gripping the arm rest of the chair hard, bracing myself for what will follow next. Just then, the doctor flicks the power button on, turning the radial around and fixating it on a figure, the machine coming to power with a loud noise. I can hear the henchmen gasp, but I keep my eyes shut. Suddenly, pain takes over a portion of my brain, and then it engulfs my entire brain, making me feel as if it would explode. Without meaning to, my body curls into something fetal, as much as my binds would allow me to, all the while the pain burns and radiates.The pain isn't sharp like a needle point or a knife, it burns around my innards better than boiling water, gnawing at me, devouring me slowly. Maybe this is what death feels like. All I can do is writhe, the occasional whimper escaping to echo off the walls. "That will be all, doctor. Thank you." I hear Jeremiah say.

*Jeremiah's POV*

"That will be all, doctor. Thank you." I say and he stops. I cannot contain my wide smile as I make my way to her and pull out the helmet and the strap from her mouth. Tonight, I'll have to do something extra special for her just to make up for this. I look at her with pride swelling in my heart, she sure handled it like a true queen. Something, however, is not right. Her eyes are wide open but her body seems lifeless, laying back against the chair, staring darkly into the air.

"Doctor. What's wrong?" My voice is dangerously low, as I flick my gaze towards the doctor and he hurries to my wife, bending over her to check her pulse first before moving on to do a check up of her while I keep staring at him, my eyes dangerously glossy. He keeps checking her vitals for a bit, shaking his head to himself. 

Just then, the doctor sighs, finally giving up and slowly turns towards me, shaking his head and looking down at his hands.

"I'm sorry, Joker. Something went wrong. It wasn't supposed to happen like that."

"What happened?" My voice comes out more like a growl.

"She is brain dead."

"The joke is on you now, isn't it brother?" Jerome whispers bitterly, his eyes throwing daggers into me as he angrily makes his way to me. "Here, have yourself a living puppet. You killed her body, brother. She is nothing now but a living corpse."

"But I, I just wanted to teach her a lesson." My words sound weaker than I expected, almost whisper like. I look at her one last time, her face hollow and her eyes staring right at me, as though questioning me why I did this to her. That's when I just start running, as fast as my feet would carry me, away. Away from her haunting eyes that are staring down at me from a distance.

**

Chapter Text

Six Years Later

*Jeremiah's POV*

Curling my fingers tight against a bottle of vodka, I find myself roaming down the streets of Gotham city. The night is irrevocably quiet, there are no sounds on the street, except for a momentary honking of car horn or the excruciatingly annoying sound of the croaking of the crickets. Although I used to love nights like these, tonight; it's devilishly haunting. In quiet moments like these, I can feel her come to me, ghost-like, like a shadow creeping on me from behind, her eyes widely thrown out, making her face look eerily calm. My arm involuntarily moves up, until the tip of the bottle is fixed hungrily to my lips, making me take in a mouthful of the bitter tasting vodka and swishing it slightly in my mouth before letting it run down my throat and settling into the pit of my stomach.

"Why Jeremiah!?" I can hear her ivory coated voice whispering eerily into my ear, making my insides shudder after what feels like a long time; I don't remember feeling like this since a long time, so lost and so hopeless, so guilty. I want these voices out of my damn head. Instinctively, I let the bottle fall from my palms and land onto the concrete with a crash, shards of glass flying around me in a slow motion and scattering everywhere.

"Get out of my head!" I yell into the air, my hands pressing themselves hard against my ears, trying to block out the accusing tone of the woman who changed my life. I look around,nervously, as if I am running from someone; a shadow in the dark but there seems to be no one there, yet I feel like I am being haunted by someone invisible. Why did I have to do something so severe to her? God, what did I do? What did I fucking do. I'm such a fucking asshole. Six years later, I still feel the guilt gnawing at me.

I step onto the ledge and turn into an alley that is not very wide, with many back doors to what seems like clubs and bars; this is not the most respectable side of the town, and definitely the least hygienic. Honestly, I couldn't care less. I keep walking where my feet would carry me until I stop on my tracks , watching a group of what looks like young girls making their way towards me, probably heading to the bar. My eyes lift themselves and fix them on the girls, as I take in their faces and immediately step back. I can see their eyes glaring at me with a hollowness in them; the same eyes, the eyes that are haunting my mind, I can see three pairs of them now looking straight at me.

"How could you do this, Jeremiah? How could you do this to me?" The voice in my head calls out to me again, making me let out an animalistic growl from the pit of my throat. "Are you alright?" One of the girls calls out to me; probably they haven't recognized me yet, due to the darkness of the night and the poorly lit alley. It's much better if they don't, I don't want to let them see me in such a vulnerable state and see how weak I am, or how weak I feel.

That's when the three girls take a step closer to me, making my eyes widen as I take in their appearance more clearly. All of them have the same face, the same doe eyed orbs that could make me happy in a glimmer and make me mad even faster. It's her. She is back. But only, she.. they look mad. I can see a fire burning through their eyes as they glare at me in an accusing manner. The first one is Ruby from the time I fell in love with her, her youthful days, her raven black hair falling lusciously over her shoulders. I can see that she is smiling at me. The one in the middle, her hair are blonde white, like the desert sand, glistening under the moonlight, her eyes are not so friendly. The last one has red hair, more burgundy, just like she had when I last saw her, that is, a few hours ago. Her eyes are like the devil herself, hollow and devoid of any emotion.

Instinctively, my fingers latch themselves to the gun in my blazer pocket. I pull it out, oblivious to the sudden scream of the girls as they seem to have noticed the gun in my hand. Emotionlessly, I raise my hand face level with the first one, shooting her blatantly in the head, the bullet hitting her right between her eyebrows and emerging out from the back. I watch as her body crumples into the floor, still convulsing and twitching as her friends look on in horror. I don't waste much time; I immediately press the trigger for the second time, right into the eye of the second one, watching her crumple next to her dead friend in a pool of her own blood.

"Please, don't..don't hurt me." The third one pleads with me for her life, as she takes small steps away from me.

"I can't do that, darling. If I don't kill you, you will keep haunting me. I'm sorry, Ruby."

"Please, I'm not Ru-" I press the trigger for the third time and before she could complete her sentence, her body lifelessly falls face first , landing right at my feet.

That's when I hear her once again in my head, laughing at me.

" You will never get rid of me baby, I am like the voice in your head, I am nothing but your shadow. I will follow you, wherever you go."

I can't seem to get her out of my head.

*Jason's POV*

Unblinking and without flinching, I block her path as she steps onto the the sidestep, her hands immediately flying to sheild her handbag; maybe because she has had many of those. My face is masked by a handkerchief, my ginger curls now straighter than they used to be a few years back. My fingers clutch a chopping knife in them, my hand shaking like a leaf.

"Wallet, now." I speak like a pro thief, someone who has been doing this all his life; but I am nothing but a 12 year old boy, living on the streets in the harshest conditions for years now. Six years, to be exact.

She doesn't hesitate to pull out her wallet the minute her eyes fall on the sharp, glistening knife held in my hand, shining under the pale moonlight. I wonder what a pretty girl like her is doing out on the streets at 10 in the night; she looks old enough to be in her twenties. Her hands trembling like tree branches, she throws out her hand and I yank the wallet off her, pulling out what little cash it carries, tossing it back to her. I look at her one last time, standing there, sweating and shaking before, like a ghost, I've vanished into thin air.

After running for over fifteen minutes, I find myself on the banks of the river; this part of the town is the most secluded one, even during the day. You can only imagine that this place is a party point for all the ghosts of the past and the present lingering in the city of Gotham. I stole a pack of cigarettes earlier from a boy twice my age, which I pull out. I'm underage, very much so, but who cares?

I pull out a stick and place it between my lips, flicking the lighter over its end and letting it catch fire. I suck it in inwardly and watch the end of the cigarette light up and fizzle as I take a drag of it and pull it off my lips, letting out an exhale. I let myself be distracted for a quick second as I see someone approach me from the corner of my eye. It's a girl, her hair blonde, with hints of brown in them; that is all I can see in the dark.

"Aren't you a little young to do that?"

"Smoke? Nah! We're never too young to do anything, it's just the restraints society put on us to keep us in check-" I glance at the stranger, taking a drag of my cigarette. By the look of her clothes, she looks like she belongs to a well put family; then why would she be out here in the most secluded part of the city, lingering about in the dark, talking to strangers? "- I don't believe in those restraints. Anyway, what is a girl like you doing out here at such an hour alone?"

"Why? What kind of a girl do I look like?" She raises an eyebrow, obviously a little flustered by my crude observation.

"Just someone who's mommy told you not to talk to strangers." I grin, tossing the cigarette butt away.

"Barbara Lee Gordon." She throws out her hand towards me. I hesitate for a bit and then finally end up taking it and shaking it as she continues. "Well my mum doesn't know I'm here. I sneaked out."

"Why?"

"No reason. Leave me. You look like you've been living on the streets for long now."

"Is it that obvious?" I look down sheepishly at my mud caked clothes, frowning slightly.

"I'm Jason."

"Well Jason, what's your story? Come on, we are probably not going to meet ever again. It's okay to share your secrets with a stranger. I'll have no reason to ever use it against you." I see her grin, playfully at me.

"Well it's a long story; you might want to sit down." I grin back.

"It's okay, tell me anything."

"Well, there is this one story, a memory really."

I woke up to an unimaginable thirst. I was six years old then. I remember having gone to sleep with my mum by my side. That night was probably the last time I ever saw her.

When I woke up, she wasn't sleeping next to me.

"Mommy?" I stepped off the bed and made my way towards the door of my bedroom, I could hear the booming voice of my father coming from the outside. I poked my head from the tiny opening in my door and saw my mum sitting on a chair; my dad bent against her from the back, whispering something into her ears.
This seems normal right? Only, it wasn't. Although I was too young to fully understand, I could see it in my mum's eyes that something was not right. The way she was sitting on that chair, the scared look on her face, made me want to scream and run to her arms. I couldn't, my legs won't move.

"What happened then?" Barbara asks me, almost in a baby like voice.

She was wearing something on her head; I didn't know it back then, but now I do; it was a helmet; and she was sitting on an electric chair; the kind you use to torture people. Something happened then, like, my mum's body started convulsing as though she was being electrocuted. Then, it went off and she went completely still. I heard the doctor tell my dad that something had gone horribly wrong, I heard him say the word brain dead; but all I heard was the word dead.

That minute I recalled a story my mum was once telling me, when a character in it died and I asked her, "Mommy, what does dead mean?" That's when she explained how being dead meant that you would never come back again, you would never see your loved ones again. So, I knew that my mum was gone. And it was because of my dad.

"I'm sorry, Jason." I feel her take my palm in hers and squeeze it, I let her; tears are already forming in my eyes, which happens everytime I try to recall that night. Maybe I thought, letting it all out to a stranger would make it heal, would make me feel better.

"Where is your dad now?"

Mum was probably dead, and there was nothing else left for me there. The tricky part was that I lived at a place where it was difficult to find my way in. Good thing was, me and my uncle, we used to play hide and seek so I had learnt the way out by the back of my hand.

So I ran away that night, and never looked back. There was nothing left for me there. Without her.

*Jerome's POV*

I step into the dimly lit club, the sound of music booming through my ears the minute I step inside. I need a drink. I make my way casually through the bunch of people dancing until I've reached the bar.

"Boss, what would you like to drink?" The pretty bartender; the one that I specially hired; much to Oswald Cobblepot's chagrin, asks me.

"My usual, gorgeous." I whisper smugly, sliding over the bar stool and resting my elbows on the counter.

I never thought that one day I would be running my own club in Gotham. I had other plans for the city, like robbing banks, killing civilians, but well, owning a club of my own was half as good too. I still got to do the other things, things that I loved doing.After the little incident at the catacombs, the joker doing something a little too extreme, we parted ways. I decided to go my own way, though the Joker supported it . Jason had left too, he just vanished into thin air, leaving the Joker all alone with his empire to run.

"Your drink, boss." The pretty blonde places my daiquiri in front of me and I nod, curling my fingers around the glass and lifting it, placing it to my scarred lips. "Uh, boss?" "What is it, gorgeous? Can a man not enjoy his drink in peace?" I snap at her rudely, well she is a bit annoying, so to say. "Sorry, but there is a guest for you. She is waiting at the back. She said her name is Barbara Kean."

"Interesting. Thanks, gorgeous. Oh, I'll go meet her. Get the drinks coming." I hop off the stool excitedly, almost bumping into a forty year old man, making me scowl; jeez who invited him here.

The club has a private parlor in the back, only for me and my, ah, women. I make my way to the back, still holding my drink in my hand, humming a tune to a song until I reach the parlor.

"Barbara?" I glance into the parlor but I don't see any blonde ready to pounce on me with her cockish words, taking a sip of my drink until my gaze falls on a woman with her back turned towards me, her long silver white hair just like fresh snow, falling over her back, down till her waist.

"Rosie Diggs. What a surprise. I see you are back in town."

*Ruby's POV*

I still think how lucky I was that Jerome already informed me beforehand what Jeremiah was planning to do to me. It made me mentally prepared and gave me a little time, well, ten minutes, to make a plan. I knew Jeremiah won't stop at anything, if he had decided to electrocute me as a punishment; he won't stop until he had finally done it. So why not? Let him do it. Maybe, this was the right time to finally escape my torturous life. I remember how Jerome promised me that he would support me and help through anything that I had planned to do; it was his unwavering loyalty to me, and not to Jeremiah that I am still alive.

*Flashback*

After I had gotten over with changing into the silver sequined dress for the Joker's so called welcome back party; more of a boasting party as to what a marvellous job he had done by rescuing me from the GCPD, I called Jerome to my cubicle. This was after he had told me that Jeremiah was planning to electrocute me in front of everyone just to prove his dominance over me.

"Jerome, I have an idea!" My eyebrows shot up and my eyes flew wide as an idea hit me. It wasn't a very good idea but it was worth a try.

"Assassinate the Joker?" He chuckled slightly; it was funny how he could laugh and enjoy in the gravest of the situations , well technically it was me that would be put under that electric chair, not him.

"Nah, nothing so extreme. The Joker asked you to call Jervis Tetch right?"

"Yep, what's going on in that pretty little head of yours?"

"Can you trust Jervis to listen to you and not to the Joker?" I bit my lip, watching Jerome who shrugged casually and nodded.

"Mad Hatter is more loyal to me than he will ever be to the Joker. Off course. What do you want me to do, dove?" He crossed his arms over my chest.

"Get that doctor hypnotized- but he needs to say exactly what I'm going to tell you right now.. I will get under that electric chair and take the shock. Let Jeremiah do what he plans to do, I'll still defeat him, with his own plan."

A few minutes later, I was tied up to that chair, my fate knocking the door to my life; but this was it, it was do or die. I failed and I would be stuck in a cycle of complete torture. Right now, I had to escape. I would come back for Jason later.

I did it; I got through those torturous seconds that felt like hours. But that's when the actual game started. I pretended to be brain dead. The doctor, who had already been hypnotized by Jervis, told Jeremiah, right in front of my eyes that I was unsalvageable now, nothing could bring me back; that I was a living corpse. Jeremiah probably couldn't bear it , maybe it was the failure of his plan or his guilt eating at him; he left. That's when Jerome carried me in a wheelchair away from the catacombs until he brought me to a safe house.

One thing that I lost, however, which took me months to recover from, was the fact that they lost Jason the night I left; no one knows what happened to my boy. He just vanished, like Jerome told me. A part of me still believes that my boy is out there somewhere; safe and sound, maybe he escaped. I wish he escaped.

The life I chose after that is more important to my story. I changed my identity, my hair and my life then. Ruby Valeska was dead, buried into the pages of the history of Gotham city as the most notorious criminal whom they call the Clown Prince of Crime's dead wife, and nothing more. But little did the Joker know, what the fate had in store for him. I will be back; with a bang.

*Current Day*

I cock the safety of my gun and curl my fingers tighter around the gun, probably for the third time today. The receptionist outside lays in a pool of her own blood; thanks to my perfect aim, right between her eyes. Well, she had it coming, she had the audacity to tell me that the mayor was in a meeting and won't be meeting anyone. I wasn't just anyone, I was Doctor Shadow; the nickname given by Gotham City to a cold blooded killer, an assassin who crept out only at nights, lurking under the shadow of the darkness, just like Batman, the hero of Gotham.

I deliberately let my silver hair loose over my back and shoulders, which were a sharp contrast with the tattoos covering my neck and my shoulders. My face is caked with make up; not much, just some Lipper, and a little mascara with some eyeshadow, to give a smokey eye effect. I'm dressed in all black; a black leather jacket, back leggings and black combat boots contrasting starkly with my silver coloured hair. No wonder they call me Doctor Shadow, it is difficult to spot me in the dark, if I'm hiding my hair under my hoodie. Also, my face is partially covered with my signature black mask, which is slightly tilted to the left, keeping my right eye hidden but letting the right corner of my lips peek out.

I kick open the door and jump in, my chest heaving up and down due to my erratic breathing; all the heads turn towards me, including that of the Mayor himself. That's when they all spot the glistening gun in my hand and their expressions change to that of panic.

"Don't worry. I'll give you all to the count of five to get your asses out of here, only if you're NOT the Mayor." I look at the eyes staring back at me with horror in their eyes. I then turn casually towards the Mayor who looks like he is dialling something into the keypad of his cellular device. I am fast; I aim my gun right at his hand and shoot, his shrill cry echoing through the office and his phone dropping with a crack to the floor.

"Don't tempt me to kill you." I hiss, lifting my other hand and glancing at my newly manicured nails.

I look around, only to realize that the room is empty; even before I started counting to five; looks like the people of Gotham are smarter than I anticipated. I throw my head back and let out a maniacal cackle, the Mayor cowering immediately, his other hand clutching his now bleeding hand.

"D..Doctor Shadow." The Mayor stammers, wincing slightly due to his bleeding palm.

"In the flesh." I grin, watching him intently for a bit.

"Why .. Why are you here?"

I choose to ignore his question. Instead, I place my hand on the desk and elegantly hop over it to the other side, landing directly where the Mayor is crouching, just between his seat and the desk. I throw out my hand and grab him by the collar of his shirt, yanking him up to his feet with all my might and walk to the center of the room.

"Please, I'll give you whatever amount you want. Just name your price." He pleads, his bleeding hand leaving a trail of blood down on his carpet as I kick him in the knee and he falls over, landing on his elbow. "Please??!"

"Okay. Let's see if you can get me what I want; and a hint, it's not cash." I smirk, letting my red tainted lips touch the surface of my gun and plant a kiss on it. "I want Batsy. I want you to tell me whatever you know about him."

"Thats ..that's absurd. And absolutely..confi-" Before he can compete his sentence, I lift my knee and hit him hard in the face, his nose splintering into a bloody mess.

"I don't care how you do it. I want Batman. And I'm going to give you twenty four hours to get me Batsy. Otherwise." I place the gun to his head and curve my lips into an evil smirk. "Next time, it won't be just your hand."

"I don't negotiate with terrorists." He spits the blood from his bleeding nose that has probably rolled into his mouth on the floor, his eyes glaring at me. "Oh, honey. This isn't a negotiation. It's a warning; I'm a good person. I'm giving you a choice; either die a merciless and painful death, or be free and get me Batman." I look at him one last time before making a dash for the window, kicking it open with my elbow. I gracefully jump out of it, grabbing the railing of the window just at the right time and dangling off the edge for a bit until I place my feet on the open window of the floor just below and slide through the empty room, confidently stepping to my feet and taking my mask off and brushing my hand through my silver hair.

Its funny how I almost killed the Mayor of Gotham City and yet no cops have arrived at the scene yet; it's kind of boring really. I really do love a good chase. Just, as though someone read my thoughts, the GCPD sirens are heard from the outside, their sound slowly getting more and more audible. I still have a lot of time so I place my face mask back on and pull out my knife from my waist holster, running into the hallway of the building towards the fire escape exit that leads right into the basement; passing people by who just look at me numbly, and scream, once I have left.

I reach the basement and make my way to my bike parked a few yards away, the sound of my combat boots hitting the concrete reaching my ears and echoing in the parking lot.

***

I bring my bike to a halt outside a gothic looking club, my mask now off and tucked into my pocket. I hop off the bike, aware of a few lustful gazes shot at me from the boys exiting the club but I just roll my eyes and walk up to the bouncer.

"I know your boss. I'm Barbara." I say to him, a bored expression on my face. I watch him with the same bored looking expression on my face as he mutters something into his walkie talkie and then slowly moved out of the way. I shoot him a sultry smile, almost batting my lashes at him as I push in through the entrance and make my way inside and head up right to the woman at the bar; the only one the owner trusts.

"Hi. Just tell Jerome that he has a visitor. My name is Barbara Kean." I wink playfully and grab a strand of my hair, curling it around my finger while she nods and points towards the way leading to the back parlour where his special guests wait.

I feel like I have been waiting for ages now and I'm practically getting bored so I sit back more comfortably, letting my feet up and rest against the wooden mahogany centre table just opposite the leather couch on which I'm seated on. That's when I hear footsteps approach me from my back and my smile turns into an evil smirk.

"Rosie Diggs. What a surprise. I see you are back in town."