6 / 28
Day 2 - “I can’t take this anymore”
Day 3 - imprisonment
Day 4 - impaling
Day 5 - “take me instead”
Day 6 - insomnia
Day 22 - burned + ALT 4 identity reveal
With the exception of a few mandated counselling sessions, Oswald comfortably spends his days in Ed’s room. He lies around in the improved heating reading the books Tony brought in for him. (Ed warned they might be confiscated depending on the guard, but that’s simply another reason to stay in the locked safety of Ed’s cell.)
Oswald’s enjoying the room service, getting food delivered on a tray when he doesn’t want to join the group activities. Vegetables that actually have a taste and can be identified beyond some type of green mush. Sure, he has to wait for a guard to escort him to the bathroom, but he’s also been able to have a hot bath for the first time in years.
Ed, unfortunately, doesn’t seem as relaxed with Oswald’s makeshift vacation. He’s spent the morning sitting on his own bed, reading one of Oswald’s books at frightening speed, but he’s getting twitchy. Glancing away from his book to look up at Oswald, looking away whenever Oswald looks up. He keeps shifting on the bed, long fingers tapping on his knee or drifting across the numbers sewn into his shirt. From the tense line of Ed’s shoulders, there’s only so much longer Ed can last before an outburst.
Oswald marks his page and closes his book. “I never asked. What are the numbers for?” Beneath Ed’s inmate number, D-171, there’s a 2, 3 and 4 sewn in a painfully straight line below.
“Counting New Year’s.” Ed looks up and meets Oswald’s gaze, but his closed mouth smile is nervous and he drops his gaze to the floor quickly. “Keeping a tally of days is impractical but I wanted to know how long I’ve been here.”
“It can’t have been that long,” Oswald says but when he thinks about it, Ed’s right. Martin would be fourteen now. Oswald wonders if he’d recognise the boy. His lawyer gets reports from Martin’s school but he hasn’t seen any photos. It would be too dangerous to have any direct correspondence between them. It’s a practical consideration given the risks, but it still chafes.
“What is it?” Ed asks, and Oswald looks over. “You looked… sad.”
Oswald almost laughs at how uncomfortable Ed looks at the word. Baby steps, he tells himself. “I miss Martin. I miss being able to visit him. You know what they say, they grow up so fast.”
“Ah!” Ed bounds to his feet, climbing up on the frame of his bed to slide fingers into the edge of the air vent.
“What are you doing?” Oswald asks, sitting up. “Don’t fall.”
Ed leans precariously backwards, and then pulls out a stack of postcards. He jumps off the bed, holding his little bundle out with pride. “Postcards.”
“Yes, I can see that.”
“What? Why is he sending you postcards?” Oswald can hear the outraged offense in his tone; from Ed’s pitying look, it sounds a lot like jealousy. Oswald snatches the pile of postcards from his hand.
“He doesn’t sign them with his name. He gives them to the other children to post when they’re home for the holidays. The guards you bribed let me keep them but you never know when there’s going to be a new guard with an overeager approach to clearing out a cell.”
Ed’s right. They’re signed “Chester” with no return address. They’re addressed to Uncle Ed – and Oswald doesn’t know if he’s charmed or annoyed by that – and all very benign. Mostly it’s talk of what he’s learning at school and test results. Sometimes he mentions his dog. “He got a dog?”
Ed looms into Oswald’s personal space, and pulls out a postcard from the pile. It’s dogeared on the edges, clearly older, and says that he’s enjoying school but he misses his dog so can Ed “give Oz a hug from me”.
Oswald presses a hand over his mouth before he says something sentimental. He hoped Martin would remember him but given the violence at Gotham, he would have understood if Martin wanted a fresh start at his new school. With no visits and no presents for years, no communication at all, it was most likely Martin had forgotten him.
And yet he’s holding proof, the most recent one dated two months ago, that Martin still cares, still sends his love. “Clever boy,” Oswald manages, blinking watery eyes.
“It’s a simple code,” Ed says, missing the point entirely, “but none of the guards here would look twice at these. Give them back to me when you finish reading them.”
Test fit for my custom made filigree inspired armor build. There are five separate parts, and this design can be worn all together or individually. I hand painted, sealed, and embellished each piece of filigree. I hand sewed felt backing onto parts of each piece for a more comfortable fit. I’ve been slowly working on this design since May. Getting the articulation, aesthetic, and fit have been the most challenging. I still need to add some embellishments, the back detail, and chains and clasps.
Quinn is Booboo the fool, almost done with the sketch and moving onto the linework
guess what’s coming soon?
Plotting! Some writers love it, some would literally rather cut off their own thumbs then try to make a cohesive plot. I was recently struggling with my own plot and these tips helped me figure it out!
1. Have your character be Active instead of Reactive
Instead of having the characters only reacting to things that are happening to them, have your characters make decisions that impact the plot or other characters.
2. Develop your characters core beliefs
Figure out what the most important thing is for each of your main characters. This could range from finding love, staying alive, being a hero or fitting in. Your characters beliefs will impact their actions throughout the story.
3. Develp your antagonists motivations
Your antagonist is what causes the main conflict in your story. Developing your antagonists reasons for causing conflict will help you create events in your story.
4. Give you characters actions, consequences
Have your characters make mistakes that have consequences. If your character makes a decision that has negative impact, let the other characters express their frustration. Have your character feel guilty. Let your characters mess up a big moment that impacts the rest of the plot.
Current commission for a friend.
I swear the best time for writing dialogue is late at night. Some actual dialogue I wrote:
Kai: You live in a cave. An actual cave, I though you would have some secret mansion or castle somewhere.
Atropa: Don’t insult my cave. We can’t all live in palaces like you. Besides my cave is mysterious like me.
Kai: It’s cold and dark.
Atropa: It’s literally carved into the side of a mountain. Your just jealous you don’t have a secret mountain cave.
Kai: You don’t even have a door.
Atropa: I don’t usually have visitors.
Kai: Because you live in a cave
Atropa: No it’s because I am the continents most feared mercenary.
It feels like old times. Sprawled across his metal-framed bed, bad leg propped up on a pillow, talking Ed through the details of Sokolov’s gang, his old smuggling operations, the specifics of how Oswald cut his throat… Oswald could close his eyes and see the neon green of Ed’s old apartment. He remembers lying in Ed’s double bed, telling him about Falcone and Maroni and every devious plan Oswald put into motion. Ed had memorised his file in the GCPD, the suspected crimes and missing pieces of his rise to infamy, and had an endless supply of questions – why was he presumed dead? How did he meet Falcone? When did he start working for Maroni? How many people had he killed?
“I don’t keep count,” Oswald remembers saying. He remembers thinking that there was something so earnest about Ed, an absolute amatuer, but it was hard not to be charmed by someone so impressed by Oswald’s achievements.
And Ed had said, “Tell me who you remember killing,” and Oswald had told him. Kill by kill, everyone who had died from a weapon in Oswald’s hands. And then he’d asked if he should include the people he’d set up to die and Ed had started a second tally.
It’s something of a habit, Oswald supposes. He confessed crimes to Ed while they waited hours for the dental surgeon. Over candlelight dinners in No Man’s Land, he told Ed about Jerome, about flying a blimp over Gotham River, about everything he’d done to secure Town Hall against chaos. Knowing Ed’s memory, he probably knows the exact number of deaths that should be on Oswald’s conscience.
“You know,” Oswald says, looking across at Ed in the striped Arkham uniform, sitting with his knees crossed on his own bed, “you are the only person who knows every crime I’ve committed.”
Ed snorts. “No, I don’t.”
“I’ve never confessed to anyone else. Not everything.”
Ed shakes his head and Oswald makes another promise to himself to force Ed to brush his hair before he leaves. “I was on ice for five months. I have no idea what crimes you committed then.”
“Oh, not much.” Oswald thinks about those months, sitting at his desk and being able to see the outline of ice from his window. Honestly, with the crime licenses in place, those months hadn’t been particularly hands-on. “Well, there were a few but not anyone who was terribly missed.”
“Who?” Ed says, leaning his elbows on his knees and resting his chin on his palms. “How?”
“Mr Penn had the names,” Oswald says, “but the first were three burglars, gunshot to the head. One by me, two on my orders.” He goes through the rest of them, everyone he can remember and how they died. He can usually remember that based on whether he had to replace shoes or gloves or silk ties, or gunshots when he didn’t get his hands dirty. At the end of it, he asks, “Could you tell me how many people I’ve killed?”
“I could,” Ed says, grin wide and eyes dangerously sharp, “but I don’t think you want to know.”
“You might be right,” Oswald agrees happily. He trusts Ed to keep the tally for him.
progress update, fifty-first century relationship negotiations, 1.5k
She looked up at Ianto, eyebrow raised.
“Look at the others first.” He pulled out a file. “Then this.”
Suzie flipped through the next three photos: one, with Jack in old fashioned army uniform, labeled 1908; another, labeled 1914; and another in civilian dress - she presumed - from 1918. In that one, he wasn’t looking at the camera, but as his companion, a pretty, young looking girl in a nurses uniform. He looked - well. If she had to put a name to it, she would call it besotted. Jack and Jackie was written in bold print on the back.
“Everything under the Jack Harkness file is the highest clearance only, passwords even I don’t know,” Ianto began. “These were unlabeled in a box I found a few months ago. I…forgot about them,” he said delicately, and she remembered vividly the horror of the first week of October. “This.” He held up the file. “Is the accessible file of our captain.”
He flipped it open with a dramatic flourish. Most of it was redacted; only Jack’s name, rank, and commendations were left unblotted.
new wip! despite my best efforts, twenty-first century sensitivity training is getting a sequel.
Not me starting a dnd campaign project after one of the characters is dead. Couldn’t be me.
Oswald never anticipated being back in the Arkham stripes, but it is the easiest way to keep himself out of the Russians’ reach for a few days. Give them some time to consider their options while Oswald attends a few mandatory psychiatric appointments. Tony’s already reached out to the head psychologist – they know there will be consequences if Oswald is kept here against his will.
After the transfer paperwork is checked, he’s walked to the common area. As the guard carefully unlocks the barred doors, Oswald takes a good look around. There are vacant stares and twitchy hands, badly fitted uniforms and unkempt clothes. The whole thing makes Oswald wary; he hates being surrounded by the unpredictable.
The door clangs shut behind him. Alarmed gazes turn to Oswald but he ignores them, striding past the table covered in paints and crayons. No matter how uncomfortable, this is still safer than waiting for the Russians to respond. He makes his way to the window at the far corner of the room, a thankfully empty spot. Outside, the sunshine casts dark shadows from the ornate front gates, the word asylum stretching along the gravel.
“This is my window.”
Oswald would know that possessive growl anywhere. Grinning, he turns around. “Edward!”
“Oswald?” Edward frowns, his glasses threatening to fall off his nose. His hair is long and messy, past his shoulders, swaying as he rushes closer. He stops an arms length away and then reaches out, his hand hovering above Oswald’s shoulder.
Oswald blinks but doesn’t say anything. Ed takes a breath and then carefully pats Oswald’s shoulder. His confusion melts into a grin. “Oswald, what are you doing here?”
Oswald glances away, shrugging. “Psychiatric assessment. Temporary, I assure you.”
“Why now?” Ed wonders aloud, and then nods to himself. “Sokolov made a move. You’re hiding from retribution.”
“How did you–” Oswald stops himself. He gives a shake of his head, waving away that thought. “It’s been too long since we’ve spoken, my friend. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be understood without explaining every detail.”
“You should tell me the details,” Ed says gleefully. His smile dims. “Later.”
Oswald glances at the guard. Given that Oswald pays him monthly, he shouldn’t be a threat but Ed clearly has a reason for changing the topic. “Later?”
Ed points to a nondescript brunette painting blue all over her page. “Linda,” he says, then points to a balding, heavyset man rocking back and forth by the bars, “and Ross. They don’t like violence. Well, they don’t like hearing about it. Sets them off. Ironically, guess how they express their displeasure?”
Ed gives him an exhaustive rundown of all the inmates. Known triggers, background where he knows it, easiest way to manage them. Oswald nods along but he doubts he’ll remember all of it. “Which one’s Jefferson?”
Ed points to a table where a grown man with a very intent expression is cutting triangles out of orange paper with safety scissors. “Why?”
“Cellmate.” It’s yet another reason to be thankful for Blackgate. His cell might be small but at least it’s his. “Pity they don’t have private rooms.”
Ed flicks his head, messy hair moving with the sharp movement. “Apart from me.”
“They stopped trying to make me share.” Ed’s grin is sharp and dangerous. “All of my cellmates begged to move.”
Oswald takes another look around the asylum, trying to see it through Ed’s eyes. A collection of puzzles, each turning and reacting in their own specific way. Each of them a dangerous tool if wound up right and aimed. No wonder Ed hasn’t been too motivated to escape.
Ed talks him through the daily routine. Medication and breakfast in the cells, the choice to join group activities for the morning, lunch, more medications, an afternoon spent in the common area or your cell, dinner, more medications and locked into shared cells for the night.
“There will also be psychiatrist visits, but that’s a bit more ad hoc. Most of the inmates are considered lost causes, but every so often they hire a new doctor and we’ll all have appointments for the first two months. They burn out quickly here.”
“I assume bathroom breaks still have to be escorted?” Oswald never expected to miss having a metal toilet in the corner of his room, but he’d forgotten the disempowering indignity of having to knock on a cell door and ask to be taken to the bathroom. “And showers?”
“Twice a week if you’re lucky.” Ed shrugs, his grin growing wild. “Or if you have guards paid to look out for you.”
“They know the Riddler is an ally,” Oswald says because it’s not as if he’s ever given any instructions on Ed’s personal hygiene. Although at some point, he’s going to commandeer a hairbrush and force Ed to brush the knots out of his hair.
“You should talk to one of your guards. Get them to move you to my cell.” Ed leans closer, lowering his voice. “Then you could tell me about Sokolov.”
At the other end of the room, somebody shrieks for Mama and someone else cackles. Oswald’s fingers itch for a knife. “And we could talk with a little privacy.”
First painting after I finished my tarot deck. It’s taking some time and frustration to figure out what I want to do hahaha.
mammon x momo fluff? yes please 🥺🥺✌🏻
Toothless w.i.p.! I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m hoping he will be done by next Thursday!
Oswald’s been expecting the attack from Sokolov for the last week. Since Sokolov joined Blackgate three months ago, there’s been talk of the Russians trying to recover their hold over the prison’s blackmarket. It’s why Oswald’s increased the number of men who shadow him to the library and around the yard. He’s far from surprised when Sokolov and two of his men step out of the shower cubicles.
On the good side, it does mark the first occasion Oswald’s used his shank. While it lacks grace and design, slashing the blade along Sokolov’s meaty neck is effective. Messy, but effective.
Oswald ends up splattered in blood, holding a blade to one of Sokolov’s men while the other glares at them from the floor. Oswald’s grin feels as sharp as the weapon in his hand. “Tell your comrades that the Penguin has control of Blackgate. They can work for me or they can keep to themselves. Try this again, and I’ll come for each and every one of you.”
After they scamper away, Oswald eyes his reflection. He wipes the blood off his cheek and watches it smear. He’s been so comfortable in Blackgate he almost forgot the rush of this: pulse pounding in his ears, the fear and excitement at the back of his throat. That desperate, feral desire to live.
“Someone go to my cell. Get me a change of uniform,” he orders, looking down at the spray of blood across his prison shirt. He’d burn it, but that would cause too many questions. He’ll get the laundry to soak these in bleach until they’re ruined, and then they can be thrown out.
That only leaves the body. It’s a pity to sacrifice his shank, but it sets the scene. They lean Sokolov in the last stall, his slack hand next to the dropped shank, close enough to a suicide for the administration to accept it.
After a shower – while his men guard the bathroom door – and a clean uniform, Oswald returns to his cell looking the same as always. Certainly not looking like he’d just slit a man’s throat and watched the light dim from his eyes. It’s easy to keep up the pretence while he thinks about what to do next. It’s unlikely the Russians will retaliate but not impossible. They might make another attempt on his life – after all, he’s just proved that he personally is the biggest danger to them. It would be best if he was somewhere they couldn’t get to him. Ad Seg is a possibility, but Oswald doesn’t like the vulnerability of being in solitary. After all, he knows exactly how cheaply the guards here can be bought.
He decides to wait until Sokolov’s body is found and then talk to the prison counsellor.
Update: I’m 4.5K words into my George fic and I’m only just beginning the smut so I hope ya’ll are excited because I’m going to try and get it out for the weekend!
sneak peek at my next project - papa Sessh and mama Kagome with their perfect baby girl Astra (she’s my fictional sesskag baby)…because I refuse to accept that they are deadbeat, absent parents.
(i know the twins exist, and inukag baby exists, but let me bask in this perfect little sesskag family that will never be 😭)