Genre: hurt/comfort, angst, little bit of romance.
Prompt: forced soulbonding from hc_bingo
Warnings: Some hinted at non-con in the middle.
Summary: Damian will do anything to bring her back. Future!Fic.
Damian is well aware of his father's disapproval of the magical arts. To be entirely truthful, Damian tends to scorn them as well, viewing them as cheating. He is capable enough through his own physical and mental ability to defend himself and his own from nearly any type of attack.
But sometimes – sometimes you can't prepare for everything.
And sometimes you lose someone close to you.
When Lian crumbles to the ground, he races over to her. Blood spreads from her gaping chest wound, but she still manages to smile at him. “Thank you,” she whispers, “you're the best friend ever.” And then her heart stops and her grip on his hands goes slack and he desperately tries to do CPR, but it doesn't work and Colin is pulling him back from her body and he's covered in her blood and the Outlaws show up and Roy Harper screams and if it weren't so tragic, Damian would comment on how much he sounds like a girl, except he can't, because honestly, for once in his life, Damian knows how the annoying archer feels.
He disbands the team the next day, and tells his family he's going on a training mission the day after.
His father accepts his declaration with ease, suggests a few potential trainers, and offers him fake papers and credit cards. Drake awkwardly pats him on the back and backs off. Grayson pleads to go with him, and Damian agrees and tells him to be ready to depart in eight hours. Six hours later, Damian departs, in the middle of the night, planning on taking the night train to Washington D.C., where he can take a flight to Europe and move on from there.
At the train station, a random stranger bumps into him, and Damian frowns when he gets on the train and pulls out a nearly illegible note containing seemingly random numbers Damian recognizes as coordinates. Todd, he mouths to himself, before settling back and closing his eyes, preparing himself for the journey.
Six months later, Damian takes his vows, performs his rituals, and bids his mentors good-bye.
Three weeks later, Damian enters a Star City cemetery, digs up a grave, and disappears into the night.
A month later, after careful preparations, he is ready. She is ready.
Just because Damian has never liked magic does not mean he is not aware of its power. With a grandfather who is centuries old, coming from a line of Arabian mystics, Damian was raised with a respect of the other-worldly arts. In most people's hands, magic is a crutch, giving power to those who are unprepared to make other sacrifices, seeking the easy way out. But Damian is a weapon in mind and body, and he knows that magic should never be completely relied upon, but in the right hands, it can enhance natural abilities.
He does it for her.
The ritual he performs is an ancient one. He is well aware of the folly of the Lazarus pits, and refuses to even contemplate their use. This ritual, well – he knows what he is giving up, and he is prepared to give it up.
Except...the problem with magic is that it is unpredictable.
Lian smiles at him. Her eyes are bright and full of life and she bears no scar from the blow that killed her, and he takes her hand and leads her home and somehow, everything seems right.
They can't leave each other's side.
The effects vary. Sometimes they have to be in the same room. Sometimes they have to be in touching distance. On good days, when their bond is the strongest, they can be across the city from each other. Harper tries to take her with him to the Outlaws' base, and she falls into a coma the moment the plane is in the air. It takes the JLA's emergency zeta-tube system to transport Damian from his Calculus class to the plane, and a kiss to wake her up.
It becomes increasingly hard to wake her up.
They argue. They fight. She says she hates him. He flings insults right back. One day she yells after being forced to be in arm's distance of each other for a week that she wishes he hadn't brought her back. He closes his eyes and turns away and won't talk to her for a week, until she crawls on top of him one night and kisses him deeply and they shed their clothes and make love for the first time.
The next day, she is able to go to New York to visit her father without any dread or tingling signaling the end of her tether.
They never know what the next day will bring. They experiment, testing their limits. One day they go too far, and she falls into a coma that their normal methods – proximity, touching, terms of endearment, kissing – won't help. He closes his eyes and tells everyone to leave them alone and loves her.
He feels awful after she awakes for taking advantage of her, but she kisses him and tells him it's okay and gives him permission to wake her up using whatever means necessary, because she does love him. She can't do anything but.
They try to date other people once. He brings home a girl from school, one who has been hanging off of him for months and who he has no feelings for, except the fact that she's very attractive and smart and rich and well, she's a bit of a bitch, he thinks, but doesn't care, because this isn't supposed to go anywhere; it's just an experiment. She brings home a friend, someone she actually does think she has a crush on, someone that, if things were different, she might really like.
It's a disaster.
Each touch makes their skin crawl; each whispered endearment grates on their ears. By the end of the night, the mere proximity of another person is enough to make them nauseated. They return to each other after sending prospective partners away.
"So...I guess we're stuck with each other," she finally says. They hold each other close, tangling limbs, breathing in the scent of each other. They start to feel human again.
"Is this --" He fumbles for a moment, "is this a problem?" He says, his voice husky. "I did not mean -- that is, it was never my attention to...force us together as we are. I...enjoyed your company, and did not wish to lose you, and --"
She cuts him off with a kiss, lazily deepening the kiss before breaking it and kissing the skin right underneath his ear. "I'm not angry. I am thankful, because being dead kind of sucked and you gave me the opportunity to live again and I really can't deny that I love you, and yes, we're stuck together but this -- it'll be okay."
He sucks in a gasp as she hits that one perfect spot and moves his hands to stroke her sensitive spots and they fall into silence because she's right. They'll get through this. If anything, they are both survivors, and maybe this isn't how they had thought the future will go, but they have long ago learned that surprises are what make life interesting.