I Grew Up From A Seed Tough As A Weed

An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works I'm nobody. I'm just an instrument, here to unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city.Riddler to Batman Edward Nashton, known publicly as the Riddler, is a former forensic accountant turned serial killer, terrorist, and hacker who seeks to entrap Gotham's elite and to publicly unmask…

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Edward stirs in his sleep before jolting up against the thick comforter. He was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, that being a thin t-shirt with the Carseat Headrest Twin Fantacies album art drawn on it and baggy faded jeans, which both stank of sleep and sweat. The room he had found himself in smelt strongly of wealth, each piece of ornate furniture around him costing more than the entire sum of money he will ever make. The only familiar items were his shoes, carefully placed on a dark oak table. Leaping up, Edward is immediatly hit with a headache festering in his head, causing him to stumble his way to the en suite, because of course this room had an en suite. The marble flooring shone like the stars Edward would never see from his polluted apartment, and the shower was the size of his entire bathroom. Edward held himself up at the sink, trying to stabilize his irratic breaths. The long framed mirror showed him how tired he was, the deep bags under his eyes making him look hollow. Edward began smoothing out his hair with his nimble fingers before spotting a small emblem on the top of the mirror. he squinted to see it, noticing it all around the house like some easter egg hidden for him. It was carved into every gothic pillar and antique wardrobe, and was undeniably a W, the very same W used as the emblem for the Wayne family.

Trying to scream, Edward could only produce a desperate, breathless dry gasp. He wanted to itch all of his skin off, rip out all of his hair in disgust, his skin somehow became paler and his legs buckled under his weight, letting him loudly fall to the cold floor. A man instantly rushed in, kneeling at Edward and asking him questions he had become too numb to hear. Despite his thick eyeliner, stained onto his skin, and Joy division t-shirt contrasting from his usual formal attire, it was Bruce Wayne. Edward weakly pushed himself out of Bruce’s warm grip and turned away from him. Bruce held him again, his calloused hands clutching Edward’s pale skin, still inspecting him for for injuries. ‘ Are you ok? I heard you fall from outside.’ Bruce murmured, lifting Edward to stop him from slipping back onto the floor. Edward simply flared his nostrils and turned away from the man. Bruce reached his hand out softly, and clasped Edward’s soft cheek, turning him to make eye contact. Bruce’s eyes were a deep, unflinching blue that matched his other perfect features perfectly. It was unfair he was born handsome and rich, Edward thought, shamelessly checking him out. ‘If you aren’t in the mood to talk, can you at least say something so I know you’re ok’ Bruce whispered, bringing a sense of intimacy into his small request. Edward refused to let himself be charmed by the man. It would be foolish to give him another opportunity to deceit him, and hurt him even more personally. Edward was not worthy of love, in his own opinion, and he was deffiently not worth the love of someone so desireable as Bruce Wayne. It was all some kind of trick.

‘Ok fine, I’ll say one thing, Why Am I Here ?’ Edward demanded, his hoarse voice causing his demand to lack the edge he wanted. Bruce seemed unscathed by Edward’s sudden hostile nature by his steely expression, but was internally unsure of how to explain what had happened in a way that seemed normal. ‘Oh yeah so I got you really drunk at a bar and bought you home to keep you safe. I also took off your shoes el oh el.’ Bruce thought. He shouldn’t of taken Edward home really. He should of left him in a nice hotel with a note explaining everything, saving them both the awkwardness and confusion, yet, even now he had the overwhelming urge to care for Edward, that only he could be trusted with him, like some fragile item. ‘ I- You got drunk. With me. You asked me for a ride home but were too drunk to give me your address so I took you here.. We didn’t do anything, obviously. I’m not that kind of person.’ Bruce explained slowly. Edward sighed and rubbed his forehead, watching Bruce fetch some painkillers from the cabinet above them. ‘ Well, thank you for the bare minimum.’ Edward spits coursely ‘ I’m sure we had fun last night but I would prefer if we keep this second meeting our last meeting. Please just order me a cab home.’ Bruce knelt back down to make eye contact with him, his eyes looking wet and disappointed. Bruce gulped down the frog in his throat and ran his hand through his hair, reminding himself to wash it.

‘ I know this must be confusing for you, but I really believe we had a great time last night. I’d really like to get to know you, even just as friends. I can’t,, isolate myself forever’ Bruce was only met with cold silence and thought through what Edward had said more clearly. ‘Second meeting?’ Edward’s head shot back to face him , his expression bitter. ‘ Yes second meeting. We had met at the opening for the renewal project. You and I were only 8, but we caught eyes for a moment and-‘ Edward sighed softly, pushing his glasses back up to meet his soft eyes and shaggy hair.’ I was so certain you would fix everything for us. You carried so much hope.. I guess we can see how well that went, for me and the rest of the orphans.’ Bruce’s stomach panged with guilt and recognision. The renewal project and, more specifically, funding for Gotham Orphanage, had been forgotten about after the passing of his parents, as well as most projects and responsibilities given the the 9 year old Bruce. They both sat in awkward silence, Bruce regretting not hiring them the ride home they had asked for.

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‘I’m..sorry. I was a kid, I forgot the-‘

‘ Not every Kid has the luxury of being able to forget responsibilities. Not every kid can flit from interest to interest due to their hoards of wealth’

Bruce bit his lip thoughtfully, a bad habit, and let the pair step back into silence.

‘ I wasn’t there for you then, but I want to be here for you now. I know I could never make up for what I let happen to you, but I want to try. I really like you, Please.’

Edward stirred and wrung his hands. he was right, Bruce was only a child. He would have had no idea how to help, or really remember the orphanage at all. He had no control over how much the media pitied him. ‘Fine.’ Edward muttered, still nursing his hangover. ‘ Please take me home.’

Edward clutched the piece of paper with Bruce’s discord and number in his clammy hands. He was sitting in the back of the driver Bruce had sent to deliver him home, an old man who kept sneaking curious glances at him through the rearview mirror. Arriving back at the door of his apartment, he turned to thank the driver, before seeing he had already sped off. Logging onto his computer, Edward sent the friend request to Bruce, for it to be instantly accepted. He rocked back and forth while thinking off what to say before just sending a short message and closing the laptop.


Edward Nashton, known publicly as the Riddler, is a former forensic accountant turned serial killer, terrorist, and hacker who seeks to entrap Gotham’s elite and to publicly unmask the city’s darkest truths with a series of puzzles and tortuous devices. [1] His vendetta against Gotham put himself in conflict with Bruce Wayne, because of his ties to the Wayne Family. [2]


Biography [ ]

Early Life [ ]

Childhood and Teenage Years [ ]

“You know, I was there that day. The day the great Thomas Wayne announced that he was running for mayor, made all those promises. A week later, he was dead, and everybody just forgot about us. All they could talk about was poor Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne the orphan. Orphan. Living in some tower over the park isn’t being an orphan. Looking down on everyone with all that money, don’t you tell me. Do you know what being an orphan is? It’s thirty kids to a room, twelve years old and already a drophead, you wake up screaming with rats chewing your fingers, and every winter one of the babies die because it’s so cold.” ―Riddler to Batman [src]

A young Edward Nashton

Edward Nashton grew up in the Gotham Orphanage, neglected and shunned by his peers for his love of riddles and puzzles. Combined with a bitter interaction with Bruce Wayne at a young age, in which Wayne smiled at Nashton, which he took as his way of saying he was better than them because of his money, Nashton grew up quiet and bitter at those around him, especially the elite of Gotham City, feeling himself superior to everyone else who thought him invisible.

Following Thomas Wayne’s death along with his wife, Martha at the hands of an unidentified mugger, the city’s corrupt police and city officials, alongside Carmine Falcone took over the Gotham Renewal Fund and turned it into a front for money laundering, thus cutting off funding for the orphanage and forcing its orphans, Edward among them to live in poverty for the rest of their childhoods.

At seventeen, Nashton held a job as a delivery boy at an Italian restaurant known as Fumento’s, which he got so he could pay for his education. One day, Nashton noticed an illegal race with a group of rich teenagers being set up through Gotham. Still angry at the city’s socialites, Nashton decided to finally get back at them by placing an explosive in the car of Dex Starling. A few days later, he put his plan into action, hoping to cause a pileup and seriously hurt the racers, but another racer helped out Starling and a pileup was avoided. [3]

Birth of the Riddler [ ]

Eleven years later, Nashton secured a job in forensics, and, after driving past it, decided to destroy his old home of Gotham Orphanage, due to all his bitter memories there. A few nights later, he snuck in and pulled the fire alarm, alerting everyone in the place to go outside, allowing him to douse the building in gasoline and burn it to the ground.

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Upon realizing how oddly unsatisfying the crime was, Nashton decided to leave clues and riddles at his crimes to let the people of Gotham City know who had wronged them, gaining himself a notoriety. Thus, he reinvented himself into the psychopathic serial killer and terrorist known as the “Riddler”, donning a baggy green suit and mask in his murders and other various crimes, and continuing to commit crimes unhindered for two years straight. [3]

Exposing Gotham [ ]

Targeting the Gotham Elite [ ]

Riddler tapes up Don Mitchell, Jr.’s corpse

“NO MORE LIES!” ―Riddler [src]

In his two years as a serial killer, Riddler discovered deep seeded corruption in Gotham, tying Gotham’s elite to crime lord Carmine Falcone. He then decided to use his knowledge and skills to reveal the truth of Gotham’s corruption to the people of the city by way of targeting those connected to this corruption and killing them to create mass panic. Over the course of his reign of terror, the Riddler amassed a following who believed in his cause and joined him in his schemes. [2]

Assassination of Don Mitchell, Jr. [ ]

After some careful planning and creating a list of targets, Riddler began his crusade against the corruption and stalks Mayor Don Mitchell, Jr. and his son, before bludgeoning him with a carpet tucker. Batman was called upon the crime scene, learning of what the Riddler did. Riddler left a message for Batman to read but was scowled by Commissioner Pete Savage upon letting a vigilante tamper with a crime scene. [2]

Assassination of Pete Savage [ ]

Riddler then kidnapped the commissioner and killed him by rigging a sophisticated rat cage to his head, forcing several rats inside to eat away at his face. He broadcasts this crime on the evening news. He left another clue for Batman, and then left a print on the car which is revealed to be from the Iceberg Lounge along with a girl named Annika Kosolov, who works there. Batman arrives there and questions the Penguin, the lieutenant of the Falcone crime syndicate, on his involvement, but gets no leads. [2]

Riddles for the DA [ ]

Riddler speaking with Batman on the phone

“I’ve been trying to reach you. You’re part of this too.”
“How am I part of this?”
“You’ll see.”
―Riddler and Batman [src]

At the Iceberg Lounge, the Riddler kidnapped district attorney Gil Colson and attached a collar bomb to his neck. He commandeered Colson into plowing his SUV into the crowd at Don Mitchell, Jr.’s funeral at Gotham City Hall with tape around his mouth reading “NO MORE LIES”, a phone taped to his hand and a letter taped to his chest reading “TO THE BATMAN”. Riddler watched this event from the balcony, looking down at Bruce Wayne before escaping.

Sure enough, Batman approached Colman, allowing him and Riddler to meet face to face for the first time. Riddler activated a two-minute timer to the bomb, and forced Colson to answer three riddles relating to his corrupt dealings with the mob. Batman assisted with answering two of them, but Colson refused to answer the third; naming Carmine Falcone as the informant who tipped the GCPD about the Salvatore Maroni bust. Colson opted to die, believing himself to be a dead man either way, and the Riddler subsequently blew up his head. [2]

Rata Alada Riddle [ ]

As Riddler left behind a riddle taped to Gil Colson’s chest, Batman incorrectly deduced the informant to be Penguin. Riddler was disappointed when the Batman captured Penguin, and instead urged Batman to realize the bigger picture. Through his riddle, Riddler led Batman and Jim Gordon to the ruins of the Gotham Orphanage, where Riddler explained the rationale behind his politically-motivated crusade. Riddler sent a letter bomb to his next target, Thomas Wayne’s son, Bruce Wayne, but his butler Alfred Pennyworth intercepted it first just before it exploded, unwittingly blowing up Pennyworth instead, although he survived. [2]

Assassination of Carmine Falcone [ ]

Riddler handing himself over to the GCPD

As Batman began to realize the true context behind the botched Carmine Falcone-Thomas Wayne arrangement, Riddler releases and exploits the evidence of the Waynes’ connection with Falcone, including Martha Wayne’s history of mental illness, towards the public. Riddler watched from the sidelines as Batman confronted Falcone, leading to his arrest. As things get heated between Falcone and Penguin, Riddler took up a sniper rifle and assassinated Falcone, fulfilling his ominous riddle to “bring the rat into the light”; Falcone was the informant in question who tipped the GCPD about the Salvatore Maroni bust.

By killing Falcone, Riddler robbed both Penguin and Selina Kyle, Falcone’s illegitimate daughter, of their vengeance against him. A witness saw Riddler escaping to a cafe, where he ordered a coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie, but was immediately surrounded by SWAT, led by Jim Gordon, and Nashton remained undeterred and continued watching the television across the counter. The SWAT team pointed their rifles at his head, and he eventually surrendered with a smug smile on his face, as he looked at Batman from outside the window. Martinez then slammed his head into the counter, and Nashton is arrested for the murders of Don Mitchell, Jr., Pete Savage, Gil Colson and Carmine Falcone. [2]

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Visitation in Arkham [ ]

In Arkham State Hospital, Riddler requested a meeting with Batman, hoping the vigilante had learned of his plans and wanted to join him in safety. In the Visitor Center, Riddler bemoaned the fact he’d failed to kill Bruce Wayne, his comments make Batman suspect he had deduced they were the same person. During the conversation, Riddler revealed he was actually inspired by Batman and expressed his belief that they worked together to take down Falcone. Batman, however, rejected the notion, causing Riddler to have a mental breakdown. As the interrogation continued, Riddler realized that Batman did not know about his upcoming plans, causing him to realize he had outsmarted the vigilante. As Batman attempted to get him to confess to his plans, Riddler joyously celebrated, singing “Ave Maria” as Batman struck the window in anger. [2]

Befriending Joker [ ]

After Batman left, Riddler was returned to his cell in the Maximum Security Ward to watch the car bombs go off around Gotham. He witnessed the bombs destroy Gotham’s reservoir and flood the city, gleefully predicting the explosions. However, his followers’ attack was foiled by Batman, Selina Kyle and the GCPD. After learning of their failure to kill Bella Reál and Batman’s interference, Riddler’s sanity finally reached a breaking point, leading him to have a breakdown in his cell, with the Joker initiating talk with him from the next cell stating “one day you’re on top and the next you’re a clown”, during this Riddler begins to cry. Then Joker calms him, reassuring him of his success stating that Gotham City loved a comeback story, then he gives up a riddle “the less of them you have the more one is worth”, to which Riddler answered a friend, as the two began to laugh maniacally together. [2]

Personality [ ]

“You showed me what was possible. You showed me all it takes is fear and a little focused violence. You inspired me.”
“You’re out of your goddamn mind.”
―Riddler and Batman [src]

The Riddler is a ruthless, egomaniacal serial killer who greatly abhorred the establishment within Gotham, specifically the corrupt elite. Growing up in an orphanage owned by Bruce Wayne’s parents, he was always shunned by his peers, particularly Bruce himself, which made Nashton bitter and envious towards the Wayne family (whom he originally idolized, particularly Thomas), thus setting up his deep-seated hatred for the city’s rich and powerful, particularly those who are corrupt. Despite his vain demeanor, he is sufficiently intelligent, as shown with how he planned his crusade to take down Gotham’s corruption, as well as with the elaborate riddles and clues he leaves behind at the scenes of his murders.

Being a sadist, he believes that it is necessary to express his victim’s demise in the most horrifying and creative ways done, while also showing it on Gotham Television. Additionally, he is very well-intentioned in trying to expose the secret immoral truths surrounding Gotham to its civilian populace. He has an inspired obsession for Batman, seeing the cape crusader as an aggressive ruthless influence on his motives to clean Gotham as he sees fit. His view on Batman’s mask is how he sees himself wearing the Riddler mask; a means to feel free of any boundaries to be the real him.

He is deluded to the point that he believed Batman was an ally to his cause, expecting him to enjoy the scenery of Gotham being flooded and the assassination attempt on the newly-elected mayor. When Batman rejected him by calling him a delusional psychopath, he freaked out and screamed in immense disappointment, and when Batman demanded to know what Riddler had done, the latter merely gave a clue by tauntingly singing Ave Maria. On the plus side for Riddler’s case, he has some compatibly with others who are fond of and follow his anarchy, as his private social media allies worked with him to set his plan in motion believing themselves, alongside with him, to be vengeance, and a certain jail inmate took thrill-seeking interest with him on what they were going to do in committing more of their crimes in Gotham.

Riddler also often behaves in a manner that can be easily seen as strange: often moaning and grunting in uncommon or weird ways, his pitch and volume constantly in flux, often behaving somewhat childlike and sometimes in a manner that can be read as perverse, and occasionally seeming to throw small fits.

Despite these negative traits, the Riddler did still possess a few morals. When he was planning to burn down his old orphanage, Riddler made sure to pull the fire alarm and waited until everyone was safe outside before setting the place on fire. Riddler also has a friendly manner when interacting with his subordinates. This is shown during Riddler’s private video when he refers to his followers as “guys” and thanks them for their support.