Where Oswald Makes the Colour Purple his Own
The first time Oswald wears purple again after coming back from
the dead it isn’t his choice. He’s sitting upright in a hospital bed, the
bandages wrapped round his abdomen tight and restrictive to the point where he can
barely move. He’s been left a pile of clothes on the visitors chair; jumpers, shirts, slacks. All off
the rack and nothing at all like the tailored suits and dramatic coats hanging in his
wardrobe back at the Van Dahl estate. Cold in the thin hospital gown, he
reaches out to grab the nearest jumper, breath coming out in short huffs as his
stitches pull and scream out in protest. It’s only once he’s successfully got
it on, sweaty and red-faced with exhaustion, that he realises the colour: mauve. It’s
nothing like the deep, rich purples he used to wear yet he still hears the soft ‘I’m
partial to the purple’ and before he knows it he’s muffling sobs into the slightly too-long sleeves. He’s alone. He’s totally alone.
The second time is when he finally has access to his old clothes. What with his power and influence having fizzled away into almost nothing the second his back hit that icy cold water, he’s had a lot of work to do. Planting seeds, encouraging whispers. Penguin’s back, they say. Awed and nervous and baffled. A steady stream of old but loyal informants and allies have been trickling back to him and he’s thankful that even after everything he still has Gabe, still has Zsasz. And now he has his battle armour, too. Going through the clothes, he takes out a pinstripe suit followed by a purple tie. He lets the silk glide through his fingers in consideration before eventually slipping it round his neck. Its weight is a comfort. As if Ed’s there with him, murmuring encouragements ‘you can do it, Oswald, I believe in you’. He goes down stairs, by-passing his portrait with the obnoxious question mark now blazoned across it and into the lounge to join the gathered crowd all eager to hear what his next plans are. He touches the knot of the tie gently with the tips of his fingers and straightens his back.
The third time he’s standing in front of the newly opened Iceberg Lounge, press from every paper and news station in the city gathered around him. Journalists call out questions to him; how he feels about his success being dubbed the comeback story of the century, does he have anything to say to those who said he couldn’t do it, what’s it like being more influential than ever before. He rearranges the purple pocket square so the small flash of colour will show up clearly in every photo taken that night. Deliberate. Mocking. He smirks into the cameras, chin cocked up in defiance. Look what I’ve done, Eddie. And all without you.
The fourth time he has a gun pressed into the small of The Riddler’s back. He forcefully walks Ed to a nearby chair and orders him to sit down. He drops down into it, long legs awkwardly drawn towards him as Oswald crowds in close. Now facing him, Ed’s eyes flick down and away from Oswald’s face to take in the colour of his waistcoat. Purple. Elegant and dark. They widen slightly in realisation and he opens his mouth to say something when Oswald roughly grabs him by the jaw, effectively interrupting him before he even can even begin. He presses his fingers into Ed’s skin, his nails leaving little crescent moon indents, and rakes his gaze from the tips of Ed’s polished brogues up to the curve of his hat.
“Never did like green,” he sneers with distaste.