Tuesday, September 21, 2004

82. Batman

Perhaps, in retrospect, I should have told Robin more about my relationship with Nygma sooner. But I did not believe he would understand, and -- I admit -- I feared the consequences on all fronts.

As it turns out, I was right to be concerned. Despite my best efforts to cover my tracks, Robin found me -- either he's turning into a good detective, or I'm slipping -- and found me in quite a compromising position at that. Bearing in mind the gag over my mouth, I tried to shake my head in such a way that I could discourage him from coming any farther into the room, but it was no use.

Nygma was waiting for him, bat in hand (pun intended, I'm sure). I was afraid for a moment that my captor would simply blungeon him to death before my very eyes, but I know that such an action would not fit Riddler's meticulous m.o.

It is an odd thing: in our earliest days together, Nygma/Riddler was not a "real" criminal, merely a man playing a role. As was I. But all that has changed now. The games we used to play together have taken on a deadly layer of realism, and the man I once knew as my secret accomplice is truly a dangerous villain on the loose.

Nygma dragged Robin's limp body across the floor and left him at my feet. "So, you've got a new playmate, is that it?" he asked, looking me in the eye. The gag prevented me from answering, but it did not supress the grunt I uttered when Riddler punched me in the gut.

"I'll leave you two lovebirds to rescue each other," he said, heading toward the door. "Just know this: I will be back, and next time I won't be so forgiving, Batman. Jealousy makes a man do crazy things, you know."

After he left, it took me two minutes to free myself and another fifteen to wake Robin. Truth be told, I was in no hurry to begin the conversation which followed.