[identity profile] empressearwig.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] earwigficmirror
Title: rather hurt than feel nothing at all
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empressearwig
Pairing/Fandom: Young Justice; Dick/Zatanna
Spoilers: Through Darkest, just to be on the safe side.
Rating: R
Word Count: ~1500
Disclaimer: I own nothing, this is all for fun. This hasn't happened. Yet. Etc.
Summary: Grief and sex are not a good combination.
Author's Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] torigates for the suggestions and enthusiasm.

When Zatanna gets home from Raquel's bridal shower-turned-crime fighting expedition, she finds Dick waiting outside her door. It's a surprise and it isn't; in the two days since Artemis's death, they've ended up in each other's arms both nights. She went to him first, and he came to her second; she supposed tonight had only been a question of which of them would admit to needing someone more.

She never expected it would be him.

"Hi," she says, striving to keep her tone light. It doesn't work, but Dick looks up at her from his spot on the tiled floor and he looks wrecked. It tears at something inside her. Dick's supposed to be the stoic one, the one that learned how not to feel at Batman's feet. But she knows better, doesn't she? Or she did, once. Artemis is dead and she doesn't know anything at all.

Zatanna shakes her head. Dick is waiting, and she has to say something else. "I wasn't sure I'd see you tonight," she tries. "I thought, maybe, Wally --"

Dick shakes his head sharply. "He doesn't want to see me." He lets out a bitter laugh, and it is painful to her ears. "Can you blame him?"

"Hey," she says, crouching down by his side. She takes his chin in her hand and forces his eyes to meet hers. "Don't say that."

His hand comes up to cover hers, shifts it so that she's touching his cheek instead. "But it's true," he says. "He knows it, I know it."

"I don't know it," she says, willing him to believe her. Her words don't make a dent in his armor, though, and she presses harder. "Artemis wouldn't know it either."

The reaction is instantaneous; he's on his feet and pacing the length of her hallway before she can even figure out how she ended up on her ass. She watches him from her spot on the floor, sees him muttering silently to himself. He looks worse than he did when she found him, and she wonders if she pushed too far, too fast.

"I wish you'd talk to me," she says finally, sick of watching him wear out the floorboards. She rises to her feet and steps in front of him before he can make another pass, taking his hands in hers. "Let me help you."

Dick looks at her for a long moment, and it's only because Zatanna knows him that she can see the war that he's fighting with himself. Something flashes in his eyes, and for just a second Zatanna thinks she's won. But then his mouth covers hers, and she knows she hasn't won anything at all.

She can't help the noise of surprise she makes, and he takes it greedily as his own. His hands clutch at her hips, her ass, his fingers pressing so hard against her skin that she's sure to have bruises tomorrow. She doesn't mind. If he won't let her give him anything else, she can give him this. She can give them both this. She won't pretend she doesn't need it too.

Her hands grasp at his shoulders, dig into the tight cords of muscle that she finds. She tears her mouth away, gasping for air. His lips find her throat instead, first biting, then soothing. It's pain and pleasure mixed together in the way that he knows will make her lose her mind and it works faster than it has any right to. It's unfair the way he knows her. She loves the way he knows her.

"Inside," she somehow has the presence of mind to say, and then the spell to open the door, "Nepo emases."

The door falls open behind them, and they stumble inside still twined together. Dick kicks it closed, presses her back against it, his body pinning her in place. She expects him to kiss her, she wants him to, but his eyes bore into hers instead and the intensity in them holds her more securely than his hands ever could. It's gratitude and it's grief, and all the other things that Dick feels and can never bring himself to say. It's everything, and knowing that he trusts her with this much of himself, well, it's enough to make her forget what he won't.

"Zee," he says then, and she won't give him the chance to say something that he'll regret later.

She kisses him and there's such palpable relief in the way he kisses her back, that it almost makes her want to cry. She doesn't -- she won't -- but she pushes him back and takes his hand in hers, leading him down the hall to her bedroom.

His hands go to the hem of her shirt, but she bats them away, nudging him away from her until his knees hit the edge of the bed and he falls back. Her mouth curves up into a smile, not fooled by his lack of grace but willing to let him have the illusion. She's a magician, after all; she believes strongly in the power of illusions. He reaches for her again, but she steps just out of reach, wagging her finger at him.

"No touching," she says.

He groans, and it's one of the best things she's ever heard.

She could tease him more, but she's not cruel. She steps out of her heels and strips her sweater over her head. His eyes never leave her, but she sees his hands twist knots into the sheets beneath him. She unzips her jeans and pushes them down her hips. He makes a noise that is dangerously close to a whimper. She steps just a little closer, close enough that he could touch her if he wanted. It's a test of them both.

"Please," he says, and that's all she needs to hear.

He passes. She fails. They both win.

She practically dives into his lap, straddling his hips. She's pressed against him everywhere, skin against wool and why didn't she make him take his clothes off too when she was handing out orders?

"Clothes off," she gasps between kisses, her hands sliding up under his sweater and against his bare skin. "Now."

Her breathy command makes him smile against her mouth in a way that she knows immediately can't be anything but dangerous for her.

"If you say so," he says, and just like that, she's flat on her back, staring up at him. It goes against every bit of feminist theory that she's ever read, but that he can do that is so damn hot. He rips his sweater over his head and holy god, his abs should be illegal is the only thing she can think. He smirks, like he can see every prurient thought that's running through her mind and leans down, pinning her wrists next to her head. "You were saying?"

Her throat is completely dry, but she manages to say, "Pants. You're still wearing pants."

Dick laughs, really laughs, and it's like the air around them lightens. He bends his head to kiss her again, and this time it's a kiss, not mortal combat. She's laughing herself when they break for air, and she didn't know how much she needed that relief. From the look on his face, he didn't know how much he needed it either.

He lets go of her hands. One of his drops to cup her breast, his fingers stroking her nipple through the lace of her bra, and the other falls to toy with the edge of her panties. "You know," he says, almost conversationally, as if he's not on a mission to make her lose whatever of her self-control she still possesses, "I'm not the only one still wearing clothes here."

His fingers dip below the edges, and Zatanna's eyes cross.

"I'll trade you for them," she says desperately, her last grasping attempt at rationality.

I can have them off in two point five seconds, is what she thinks, and when he rolls off her and says, "Deal," she manages to do just that.

It takes him longer, he has more fabric and there's also the fact that her naked body is pressed against his back, her hands wandering up and down his abs, mapping each ridge and contour, for no other reason than she can. He's breathing much harder by the time he finally manages to lose the rest of his clothes and she chooses to take credit for it. She's sparred with him too many times not to. She knows just how hard it is to make him lose his breath.

"You're evil, you know that?" he asks, as he turns in her arms and pins her to the bed once more.

She nods, lifting her head to bite at his jaw. "What are you going to do about it?"

He grins evilly, and slides down her body. "Oh, I have some ideas."

He pushes her legs further apart and settles between them, and proceeds to show her exactly what they are.

He's wrong; he's the evil one.


He's gone when she wakes, but then she hadn't expected him to stay. It doesn't stop the ache in her chest or the worry that he's using -- that they're using -- sex as a band-aid for a wound that there isn't a band-aid in the world big enough to fix.

There's a note on the bedside table. She picks it up, reads it. It's just two words.

Thank you.

Zatanna crumples the note up into a ball and cries.
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