[identity profile] empressearwig.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] earwigficmirror
Title: all the blood that I would bleed
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empressearwig
Pairing/Fandom: Young Justice, Dick/Zatanna
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~2600
Disclaimer: I own nothing, this is all for fun. This hasn't happened. Yet. Etc.
Summary: Five things that happened on the way to Dick and Zatanna having a history.
Author's Notes: This is entirely [livejournal.com profile] dudski's fault. Written for [livejournal.com profile] nothing_hip's Ho Hey challenge.


i.

The first time she tells Dick that she loves him is when she is sixteen and they are breaking up for the first time.

They sit together on her bed, their thighs pressed tightly against each other. She takes his hand in hers and meets his eyes. "I love you," she says. She doesn't dare smile at him to soften what she says next. "But I think we should break up."

Dick stares at her for a long moment and then nods, his face an inscrutable mask, despite the fact that he's not wearing one. "I love you, too." He squeezes her hand. "And you're right."

Zatanna lets out the breath she'd been holding. "Really?"

He nods again and brings his other hand up to her cheek. "Really."

She smiles then and leans forward to press her mouth gently to his. "I do love you," she says, breathing the words against his lips. "I always will."

When she kisses him again, she doesn't know how true those words will be.

ii.

They do not lose their virginities to each other.

Zatanna's first time is at a party after the Homecoming Dance, with a friend of Conner's from the football team. His name is Steve. Steve is a nice, normal boy who doesn't know her better than she knows herself and doesn't analyze the fact that she's offering him sex on the anniversary of the day she lost her father to Dr. Fate. In fact, Steve doesn't say anything at all, just kisses her harder and slides his hand up under her skirt.

The sex isn't terrible, but it isn't good either. And maybe she would have liked for it to have been better, but it's what she wanted and she doesn't regret the decision.

"Thanks," she tells Steve, as she slides off the bed and pulls her dress back on over her head.

Steve sits up at that, a baffled look on his face. "Thanks?" he repeats.

Zatanna shrugs, unable to muster the energy to give him anything more. "I'll see you later," she says, and bends enough to let herself kiss his cheek. "I'm going to go get cleaned up."

She lets herself out of the room and leaves the party without even telling M'gann and Conner where she's gone. When she gets back to the cave, she showers, running the hot water heater until it's empty.

She climbs between her sheets and does not cry. In the morning, Dick's there too, wrapped around her like an extra blanket.

He pushes her messy bed hair back and kisses her forehead. He asks, "Are you okay?"

Zatanna doesn't know what question she's answering when she says, "Yes."

*

Dick doesn't tell her when he loses his virginity, but she knows because of the wolf whistle from Wally's spot on the couch and the swift grunt from Artemis's elbow connecting with Wally's abdomen that follows. He doesn't tell her who he loses it to either, so she makes Artemis bring her a Gotham Academy yearbook so that she can look for likely suspects.

Artemis watches with worried eyes as she pages through it at the kitchen counter. "Zatanna," she says finally, speaking the word cautiously, as if Artemis is afraid how she will react. "Why do you want to know so badly? You broke up with him."

"That doesn't mean I stopped loving him," Zatanna says. She closes the yearbook with a snap. "She's not in here, is she?"

Artemis shakes her head. "I don't know. I don't think so."

"Okay." Zatanna nods, and says the word again. "I'm just going to, I'm just going to--"

"What?" Artemis asks.

"Seduce Dick Grayson," Zatanna says, and leaves the kitchen running, though she can hear Artemis calling her name after her.

*

She finds him in the gym, lifting weights as he seems to be doing all the time now. His chest is bare and she is struck by the sudden, and frankly urgent need to lick it. When he sees her, he grins and says, "Hey, Zee. Want to spar? I promise I'll go easy on you."

"Do you want to have sex?" she blurts out. She can feel her cheeks go hot, but she's oddly relieved to have it out there in the open. If they're honest with each other, if they know where they both stand, there's less chance of anyone getting hurt whether they have sex or they don't. "With me, I mean."

Dick just stares at her, a rare moment of expressed shock on his face. When he finally manages to speak, his voice is strangled. "Now?"

She bites her lip so that she doesn't grin and lifts a shoulder in a shrug. "I mean, if you're not doing anything else, now's good for me."

"No," he says. He rises up off the weight bench and closes the space between them so that he's looming over her. She knew, intellectually, that he'd grown, that he was much taller than her now. But until this minute, she had no idea how much. She tips her face back to look up at him and his hand comes up to cup her cheek. "Now's good."

"Kcol eht srood," she manages to get out before his mouth covers hers.

His tongue sweeps possessively past her lips and is insistent against her own. She runs her hands up his sweaty chest, clutching at his broad shoulders. None of this feels like anything she remembers. His hands run down her sides and cup her ass and lift and okay, he definitely couldn't do that before.

She tears her mouth away. "Are we really doing this here?" she asks, breathless.

Dick touches his mouth to the spot on her neck that is guaranteed to make her crazy, and him knowing that means that some things haven't changed. "You did say now," he points out.

One of his hands shifts from her ass to her breast. He cups it gently and runs his thumb across her still covered nipple once, and then twice. His eyes never leave hers and she can't stop the moan that falls from her lips.

"You make an excellent point," she says, and pulls his head back down to hers.

They stumble to the floor together, tangled in a knot of limbs and lost clothes. When she sinks down onto him, taking him within in her, a single thought runs through her mind: this is what I was waiting for.

*

After, when her head is resting on his chest and his arm is curled around her waist, she tilts her face up to his and asks, "So next time, how would you feel about a bed?"

Dick laughs.

iii.

They get back together, because it seems like the right thing to do. They try to imitate the things that their friends do, the things that they're told are normal in relationships. Dick buys her flowers and she tries baking him cookies with M'gann, and they go on dates to the movies and to school dances, and none of it feels like them.

There is sex in her room, on the kitchen counters, up against the tile of the shower wall. This is when it feels most like who they are.

And yet, Zatanna knows that she loves him. She knows that something about them makes a kind of sense that she can't explain to herself, let alone anyone else, and so she keeps trying to make them fit into what she sees in her friends, what she remembers of her parents.

But it doesn't work. She knows, even as she's trying, that it never could.

It's a Tuesday night when they break up again, and they're in her bedroom, same as before.

Dick is flat on his back on her bed and she kneels over him, her arms twisted up behind her to unfasten her bra. His hands are cold against the skin of her stomach and her hair hangs down in her face. It's nothing that they haven't done more times than she can already remember, but somehow, it suddenly seems very wrong. She freezes, her hands going still.

"Zee?" Dick asks. He reaches up to push her hair back behind her ear so that he can see her face. "Are you okay?"

She shakes her head and her hands drop to her sides. "What are we doing?"

"Ah," Dick says, and just the way he says it is enough for her to know that he knows exactly what she's asking. He sits up and draws her down onto his lap. "I was hoping you knew."

She laughs at that, just a quick snort that lightens the tension in the room considerably. She strokes her hand down his forearm. "It's not you," she says.

"It's me?" he finishes for her. "Please. That's supposed to be my line."

She studies his face carefully, looking for any signs of a lie. She doesn't find them. "So it's us then?"

"Must be," he says. "Because Zee, nothing makes more sense to me than you."

He sounds terribly earnest, and earnest is not something that Dick Grayson excels at. She reaches up to touch his face. "Same."

They smile at each other then, and she rests her head against his bare chest. She means it to be something more innocent than it is, and the expanse of bare skin is too tempting. Just because they didn't work, doesn't mean they didn't work after all. She presses her lips to his chest once, testing, and when he makes no effort to stop her, works her way up until they're face to face.

Dick's hands knot in her hair, forcing her head back so that he can look her in the eye. "What are we doing?"

She appreciates his sense of symmetry. Her arms wind around his neck and her fingers tangle in his hair. "Being us."

From the way he has her flat on her back in less than five seconds, Zatanna figures that he likes the sound of that.

iv.

Jason dies and it's not Dick's fault.

He claims the blame, though, and nothing any of them tell him can make him stop. She tries, Wally tries, Barbara tries, Batman tries. They try and he doesn't hear.

Zatanna understands that, though. Only Dick knows how long she blamed herself for her father becoming Dr. Fate.

So she waits and she watches, and she does her best to be there for him without seeming like she's being there for him. The day that he finally calls her on it is the day that she knows that he's going to make it through.

She's sitting in the den, flipping through a magazine while watching him in the kitchen. He opens all the cupboards without actually looking in any of them and buries his head in the refrigerator in a move that's very Wally. "Stop," he says from within its depths.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she says, setting the magazine down and coming over to lean against the counter. "I was just sitting there reading Cosmo. Do you know what the five secrets to pleasing your man are?"

The refrigerator closes and he straightens. When he turns to face her, there's the faintest hint of a smile on his face. "I think that's more your area than mine."

She shrugs one shoulder and tries to look modest. "I do what I can."

"I know," he says, and is that a leer on his face?

She raises her hand to her chest in mock shock. "Dick Grayson, are you flirting with me?"

"Maybe," he says. He comes around the counter to lean next to her, bumping his hip against hers. "Is it working?"

"Maybe," she echoes. She sets her hand on his arm, and looks up at his frankly too handsome face. Under all of it, he still looks sad. "Hey."

He looks down at her and the smile is gone.

"I miss him, too," she says simply, and squeezes his arm. "I miss you."

She doesn't elaborate on what she means, but then she doesn't have to. Dick nods and turns his arm to link their hands. She leans her head against his shoulder and they stand there like that until M'gann comes in and bullies them into eating dinner.

They eat soup.

v.

Captain Atom tells her that the Justice League has voted to admit her and Zatanna's life changes.

Joining the League had never really been her dream. Being a hero had never been one of her ambitions. But her father became Dr. Fate and then suddenly, it was her life.

And it wasn't that she didn't grow to love it, to love her place among the team, but somehow she'd never thought of it being her life forever. If she said yes to Captain Atom's offer, it would be.

Even though she doesn't live there anymore, she goes back to the cave. It's where this journey began, and she thinks that maybe she can find her answers there among its ghosts. When Dick finds her, she's in her old room. She's sitting on the bed where she's cried and slept and had toe-curling sex and he settles on the bed next to her, his arm close behind her back.

"Want to have sex?" he asks.

That he led with the question is the only thing surprising about it and she laughs. "Maybe later," she says.

"It's an open offer," he says.

"Duly noted," she says dryly. She turns her head to the side to study his profile and finds his face carefully blank. "You know, then."

"Zee," he says simply, and it is enough.

"Should I do it?" she asks.

"Do you want to?" he counters.

She shakes her head. "I don't know."

"You do," he says. He takes her hand and squeezes it tight. "We both know that you do."

She looks away and lets herself give voice to the thing that she's been trying not to think because she didn't want her choice to be about that. About him. "What will you do if I leave?"

Dick takes her chin roughly and turns it to face him. He looks shocked and it's one of a handful of times that she's ever seen it in all the years that they've known each other. "Me?"

She meets his eyes so that he will see how serious she is. "You."

This is what Dick Grayson looks like when he's flabbergasted, she thinks. It's sort of endearing.

The way he's still looking at her, she knows he won't ask, so she explains. "You're alone, Dick. Wally and Artemis are at college, Kaldur is gone. Meg and Conner are still here, but we both know that you don't share with them the way that you do with the rest of us. Barbara is still here, but..."

"But," he echoes. He shakes his head. "I'm actually speechless."

"Should I take a picture?" she asks, only half joking. "No one will believe me."

He makes a face at her and bends his head to bite at her neck. "Funny, Zee."

She winds her hands through his hair and tips his head back. "You didn't answer my question."

"And I won't," he says. He kisses her jaw, then her cheek. "Whatever you decide, it can't be about me."

"I love you," she says.

"And I love you," he answers. He kisses her then, lingering over it until her head starts to spin. "Now about my earlier offer..."

She kisses him and presses him back onto the bed.

*

In the morning, she accepts Captain Atom's offer.

Date: 2013-02-18 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dudski.livejournal.com
YOU'RE A MONSTER! EVERYONE I KNOW IS A MONSTER! THIS IS GREAT! I am SUPER SUPER SUPER into how open and direct they are with each other, and I absolutely lost my mind over their conversation when she was considering joining the League. WHAT WILL YOU DO IF I LEAVE, YOU'RE ALONE, HOLY SHIT.

Date: 2013-02-24 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] torigates.livejournal.com
I love these fucked up idiots, and you write them so beautifully!!!

Date: 2013-02-25 01:03 am (UTC)
ext_82418: (actress; clemence)
From: [identity profile] magisterequitum.livejournal.com
I just realized that I never actually left a comment over here on this, which is horrible of me. I'M SORRY!!

But oh I really love them and how he's such a human disaster, but one who cares so much and tries. Bless his heart. And then Zatanna, I LOVE HER SO.

I just love so much how you write them.

Date: 2013-03-10 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jesterlady.livejournal.com
The two of them are the biggest mistake and the most complete couple I ever saw and you write them that way so very well. I really really love this. The two of them make my heart ache in all the right ways and I just want them to be happy together but the angst, the angst is so divine.

Well done.

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