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[personal profile] seiberwing
Title: Dancing at all Angles
Fandom: Batman (1960s TV Show)
Characters: Riddler/Jane Doe
Warnings: Consensual BDSM, severe egg puns.
Summary: The Gotham nightlife is everything Gotham City isn’t. They like it that way.
Author’s Note: So next time I need to prove to my mom that I’m only writing for myself rather than a mainstream audience, I’ve got something I can point to.



The night after Riddler’s escape they went dancing.

There were some clubs in Gotham where one could avoid the city’s general wholesomeness and devotion to justice. They had no sign over the door, and if you had to ask where it was you had no right to be there. It had seemingly sprung up from the city full-formed, with its front door in the back and its back door in the floor of the storage room. In the twenties it had been a speakeasy, and the aura of dirty dealings and free-flowing liquor remained. People indulged their vices—drink, drugs, gambling, more drinking, barfights, make-up drinking, and other unmentionable activities in the back alley. She’d even seen the Joker there once, out of his clownface makeup but laughing the night away (hi, I’m Queenie, big fan of your work, don’t suppose you could do with an out of work waitress looking to move on up?). The club had no name but Riddler called it Pandora’s Box, for it irked him when a thing went unquantified. The evils of Gotham were held in it, waiting to be unleashed upon the world.

Or just to find some like-minded company for the night.

Riddler had no particular skill at dancing but one did have to give him credit for enthusiasm. He didn’t simply shuffle his body like a half-broken marionette and look for a dateless girl he could conveniently lean against—if anything the girls had to get out of the way of his wildly jerking limbs. His whole body threw itself into the music, hips, feet, arms, neck, as if there was nothing else in the world to do. Riddler danced for himself alone, kelly-green tennis shoes and enough energy to power the entire Eastern seaboard.

A girl just couldn’t keep up. “I need to…you keep going, I’ll be right back.” Danielle stumbled off, leaving Riddler to fend for himself. Little snippets of conversation caught her ears as she made her way down the length of the bar.

“--I got this stuff, it’ll make you feel so good--”

“—down at the docks, just need a place to put it for a while—“

“—da, comrade, but should the Americans suspect—”

“—don’t mind a bit of rough trade, it’s just the price what—“

The usual chatter.

Danielle found a clean-looking spot on the floor of the women’s room and collapsed. She removed her heels (Danielle wore size eight shoes, she’d had to stuff the toe to compensate) and carefully massaged the balls of her feet. Riddler would fall over eventually; his body never could keep up with his brain. She just hoped it happened before her ankles gave out.

A soft gasp came from one of the bathroom stalls. From the floor Danielle could see a pair of red kitten heels standing toe-to-toe with polished loafers. The gap in the stall door gave her access to a small slice of what was occurring—dark fingers threaded into blonde hair, lips the color of rich soil pressed to a peach-pink cheek. Danielle smiled.

When she came back Riddler was sitting backwards against the bar with a margarita in one hand, lanky legs folded and foot twitching in time with the music. The man next to him was bald with a large, high forehead and a pencil mustache. He was wearing a yellow and white suit that made him vaguely reminiscent of a fried…

“Ah, my dear Danielle!” Riddler leapt to his feet as she approached and caught her around the waist. “May I introduce my esteemed colleague Egghead? I’m sure you’ve heard of his work.” He saluted the man with his glass.

Danielle stumbled against Riddler and tried to smile. “I think so. The Faberge job?” Of course she’d heard of him. She was there.

“One of my finer crimes. Eggsquisite to meet you, my dear.” Egghead took her hand and kissed it. He wasn’t a handsome man, but he was egotistical enough to think that his wit and charm were enough to make up for his appearance. Which might be a worthy theory if he had either.

Riddler jerked his thumb at the ovular gentleman. “Eggy here’s thinking of pulling a new job. I seem to remember your friend Miss Bacon was looking for work?” He was wearing his finest ‘up to something but not gonna tell you what’ smile

Danielle’s mental rolodex shuffled. Who had she found, what face would do, what mind could she take—

Click. “Yes, she was a secretary,” she said with a bright smile. “Until her last employer went up the river.” Body image issues. Hopeless romantic beaten into a cynic by a string of bad relationships. No family in town. Favored coffee over tea.

Egghead looked intrigued. “I’d need someone with an eggacting hand. I’m thinking of writing an autobiography.”

“Oh, she’s got that in spades. Takes extremely good dictation, I’m sure she could get you references.”

“Eggceptional.” Egghead handed her a business card. It had a lightbulb printed on it, with an egg floating inside the glass. “Do have her drop me a line. But we must part for now, I am eggspecting a very important call. Ta-ta.”

“He’s planning to take over Gotham City,” Riddler said with disdain, watching the abhorrent suit disappear into the throng of dancers. “As if that wasn’t as played out as sliced toast. Apparently he’ll steal the original city charter, find some nitpicky little loophole in it, and thus legally make off with the entirety of the government and establish himself as mayor.” It wasn’t a plan with flair and Riddler felt a plan without flair was nothing but common crime.

“Why’s he going to steal the charter? You can get it anywhere. They even have rolled up copies of it at the museum’s gift shop.” Danielle sat down on the now-vacant barstool. The music turned slow and melancholy, and the dancers took it as opportunity to move closer to each other. ‘Criminal’ covered a lot of ground in this city, and one of the main crimes at the club seemed to be public indecency.

“You want sensibility from a man who goes out of his way to make cackleberry puns? I give him two days.” Riddler sipped his drink and swirled the glass to make the lime dance about. “But Miss Bacon could see a lot of interesting things in two days,” he mused, looking sidelong at his companion.

Yes, she could. There would be plans made for Miss Bacon. Brunette, tended towards longer dresses rather than skirts. Had a notebook on her at all times. “You’re not gonna mind me being gone for a while?” she asked, nails rapping thoughtfully on the bar.

“I know your preferences and I haven’t quite worked out my next project yet. Go have your fun.” Riddler ran his knuckles over her cheek. “How am I in any position to deny you another shot at our mystery man in the mask?”

He moved to kiss her. No one stared. She could taste salt and tequila on his tongue, and his fingers rested on the back of her neck—not on her head, as another man’s would. He’d thought to avoid disturbing her wig.

A lot of smart guys tended to be all up in their own brains. Egghead, for instance. Riddler had an odd sensuality to him and it made him far more interesting to watch. Danielle set her nails on the back of his wrist, slicing four little red lines down the gap between sleeve and glove, and Riddler nearly fell off his barstool. No one else heard his light, shuddering, near-desperate gasp.

Deviant. She’d heard him speak with relish about the prison psychologist and his own continuing quest to drive the man completely around the bend with lurid descriptions of his own mind.

The human body isn’t designed to enjoy pain or imprisonment. There is a fundamental, inherent urge to protect oneself. If you are lacking that urge something has gone wrong.

Are you saying I’m not human? I’ve always known I was a breed apart.

You’re a smart man. You must know this isn’t healthy.

Neither is gluttony, and I can see you’ve been indulging that particular urge for a while now.

I’m just trying to help you, Mister--

Riddler.I am the Riddler. I won’t have you bringing other people’s names into my therapy sessions.

His personal best was seven minutes, eighteen seconds before he was thrown out and returned to his cell.

Danielle parted their lips with a cigarette. “Can I bum a light?” she asked, offering a flirty smile in trade.

“Light it off my heart, my dear. I’m all aflame.” He drew a gun from his pocket, and suddenly half the bar went for their pockets and purses. The cigarette bent in Danielle’s tense hands. For all the smiles you saw here, it was foolish to forget you were in a nest of vipers.

Riddler rolled his eyes. “Lighter.” He pulled the trigger beneath Danielle’s cigarette and the crowd relaxed.

The bartender took the switchblade away from the back of Riddler’s neck. “Pull that again and you’ll be lighter yourself,” he snarled. “A few pints lighter.”

“Everyone’s a critic.” The dance recommenced but the crowd seemed to be keeping a wary eye on Riddler, who had once again splayed himself out across two barstools. He was staring at his twitching feet with distaste, probably realizing that their allegiances were straying more towards gravity than his own will. Below the music he was humming “Danny Boy”. Danielle waved her cigarette in a soft curl, making the shape of a question mark, which Riddler watched with interest.

“What did one knee bone say to the other?” he asked, passing his fingers through the smoke.

“Stop your chattering?”

“Wrong.” He kissed the corner of her lips, one hand on her thigh, and whispered, “Let’s get out of this joint.”

Danielle hailed the cab (“What do you take home that must be constantly checked?”) while Riddler stood in the shadow of the eaves. Law abiding citizens could be hiding anywhere, you had to take precautions. He feigned drunkenness when they got into the backseat as a way to avoid showing his face to the cabbie, and his hands wandered over Danielle’s chest. The driver would give the lovers their privacy.

“Your place? You have the—”

“Yeah.”

He giggled into her shoulder. “You are my favorite.”

She kept an apartment in the darker area of Gotham City, though admittedly in such a squeaky clean metropolis that meant very little. It was necessary that she avoid well-meaning old ladies wanting to know why the rent was never paid in person and why a string of unfamiliar men and women came and went from the apartment at will. The décor changed constantly as her preferences altered—china cats discarded for stag mags, doilies thrown out and then recovered again, the wardrobe constantly bulging and shrinking with clothes for every face.

But she had retained Tsaifere’s handcuffs.

The bedroom door was barely closed before Riddler had his coat off and started wriggling out of his shirt. His hat was tossed like a discus across the room. Hands above the waist, above the dress, his kisses above the mask, his body trembling with restrained energy. Even if his feet had gone nearly dead from dancing, the rest of him had trouble standing still.

“Hands off.”

His arms immediately snapped behind his back, fingers locked to prevent one or the other from turning traitor and creeping back up. But she’d said nothing about his lips.

“What binds with passion, strikes for pleasure, and commands in adorations?” he asked, teeth on her ear.

“Time for you to shut up now, Riddler.”

“Yes’m.”

The gag was her idea. He came up with such bizarre nonsense when his mind was in whatever dizzying place it went to, and it made it hard to focus. She preferred to know him by the expressions he made when her nails raked down his chest and the way he jerked upward in aching, silent ecstasy. He did not beg, but he did not demand. He laid back and let himself be adored.

He has a deranged need for attention. Who knows how much of what he says is even the truth? In a better life he might have been a comedian or an actor, but he turns his needs towards twisted and criminal methods. It all has to be about the Riddler. If his latest babbling isn’t some attempt to shock me, he can’t even properly reciprocate when he’s…with a woman, if you get my meaning.

Where, Riddler had commented, reciprocation probably meant shunning what the partner might prefer in favor of the approved methods of lovemaking. It was hardly uneven. Like everything they did together it was a mutually beneficial business relationship. Danielle hated to remove the mask on any part of her body. So much time devoted to it, being so careful not to let someone discover what she wasn’t, you couldn’t make stage makeup go all the way down. When everything shifted so constantly it felt good to be the one in power.

As to Riddler, he adored having her (or his) full attention devoted entirely to making him squirm, and contort, and scream against the strip of rough fabric tied around his hyperactive mouth. Her hands played him like a violin streaked in blood.

Riddler had such a lovely face but she could never manage the energy to steal it.

They shared another cigarette when they were finished. Riddler’s wrists were still bound above his head but Danielle removed the gag off to let him draw in a few haggard breaths of smoke and tar. He rolled the cylinder around with his tongue and blew a smoke ring when she took it away again. There was a soft, dreamy smile on his face.

Flesh is cheap. Everyone’s got it. How much variation can the human form have below the neck, little enough to matter. Novelty, sensation, that’s what’s one in a million. To find passion in flesh alone…you might as well make love to a Greek statue, they’re just as nude and just as lifeless. But I wouldn’t expect a boring little man like you to understand the higher pleasures.

“We are not normal,” Danielle laughed. One stockinged toe toyed with his bare ankle.

“Normal?” Riddler twisted against the cuffs to give her a proper sneer. “What’s normal, in a city defended by a man who dresses up as a bat and runs with a young assistant who scorns pants? Isn’t Batman also regularly dominated and bound by a woman with a whip, or by sinister men intent on his destruction?” There was disdain in his voice. “Does the healthiness of pain aversion extend to getting regularly punched in the face by unending hordes of mooks or hung in increasingly complicated death traps? Send him to the therapist’s couch, leave me alone! At least I enjoy myself.”

Danielle bit his nose, coaxing a small squeak of joy. “Enough monologues, Riddler.”

Riddler rolled onto his back again, brain tearing itself away from the prison psychologist and falling back into her bed. “You’re my favorite,” he said, such fondness in his voice and most of it for himself.

“I know.”

“Again?”

“Let me finish the cigarette.”

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May 2013

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