Ohmygoodness. THANK YOU, Annica. Now I can TL;DR all day about my fabulous Batman OTP.
- when or if I started shipping it:
Umm, yes, I ship Damian/Stephanie. Majorly. Probably more than is normal.
There were two distinct moments where I realized this couple was practically perfect in their imperfection. One was when I read the moonbounce comic for the first time. Steph taking Dami on a moonbounce, where he was trying desperately not to smile, was just so ASDFJKGLD.
The second time I realized how much I loved this couple was when I finished Kitty’s NDND. I owe so many things to that fic; I’m not even exaggerating. It’s sooo good, kids. Sooo good. (Do I sound like a drug dealer or what? But seriously. NDND may as well be a drug. It’s a fandom drug. A brilliant fandom drug that spurs ridiculously complex art, stories, and discussions about fictional characters and headcanons.)
Oh, goodness, what thoughts do I NOT have?
The thing is that, all along, Damian was looking for someone to help him. Of course he would never admit that, like, EVER. But, plain and simply, he just wanted love and acceptance. It’s why he spent years and years training to BE his father, to impress his mother, to replace his grandfather, to be the best Robin yet. He was a selfish brat who wasn’t selfish in the least, because he was trying to do everything for everyone else. All he knew was murder and pain, so he was going to do the best he could at murdering and causing pain, hoping it just might please Dear Old Dad. But it didn’t—it never did, and that crushed him. He never let it show, but it crushed him.
Dick, on the other hand, respected him. It took a long time, but Dick was the kind of man who didn’t give up easily. He pulled back the dirty covers and exposed who Damian really was—a little kid with an unhealthy attraction to dangerous objects and bloody situations. A little kid who needed something in his life, but had no idea WHAT.
And then, like a fantastic burst of rainbow sunshine lollipop goodness, Stephanie Brown comes into the picture. And Damian CANNOT STAND the woman. I mean, really. You can guarantee that Stephanie had the first page in Damian’s personal Burn Book (which, in my headcanon, he TOTALLY has.)
But she gets to him. Her HAPPINESS gets to him. The way that she accepts him baffles him, and almost bothers him, seeing as he’s so used to being the outcast—the scarlet letter of the family. She doesn’t put up with his bullcrap, which also strikes some strange and unknown match. He hates it and he loves it.
asldhfaljk she just confuses him so much and it’s PRECIOUS
So she slowly shows him a different path. A path of Oreos and Disney movies, as Kitty covers so fabulously in NDND and as I touch on in Grey Sky Morning. And he learns that he doesn’t have to work so desperately to be THE BAT or THE HEIR or THE LITTLE KICKASS BRAT ROBIN. He can just be Damian Wayne, and Stephanie’s okay with that.
- what makes me happy about them:
They are so imperfect. They go to dinner and Damian wants a $5,000 bottle of wine while Stephanie wants a Shirley Temple. And they are perfectly happy with that, because it works for them. People stare and people talk, and they just kiss and make up because that’s the way they like it.
- what makes me sad about them:
They’re so unstable. Damian’s a barely controlled bottle of raging wildfire and Daddy issues. Stephanie is a reckless, clumsy gazelle trying to prove herself to the lions of the world. They adore one another, but neither one of them is very good at showing that, because both of them are guarded, afraid, hurt and a little bit angry. Sometimes this pushes them through really hard times. Other times, it causes huge issues and they almost leave one another. But I like to think they’d stay together, because they realize that, heck, it’s hard to live with you, but it’s downright impossible to live without you.
- Things done in fanfic that annoys me:
When all they ever do is argue, and when Damian calls her “Fatgirl” over and over and OVER again. Yes, the joke is funny. Yes, it’s offensive. Yes, it is SO Damian. But that is NOT the only thing he calls her, people.
- Things I look for in fanfic:
Nah, I’m kinda kidding. But I do love seeing how people interpret Damian’s reactions to Stephanie, his thoughts of her and her beached whale-ness. I also adore good dialogue between the two of them. If you can write good DamiSteph dialogue, chances are, I love you. I’m working on it myself, but the people I know who write good DamiSteph dialogue are pretty much my heroes.
Huh. I’ll be honest, I haven’t given this one a ton of thought. I think that’s because I don’t see Damian as being a super kinky guy. Stephanie might want to try a few things here and there, but Damian’s just kinda like, “This is sex and this is how it’s done.” He’s very practical, and while I’m sure he’d be romantic, he isn’t gonna go all “OOOOH LET’S TRY THIS OUT BABE!”
- who I’d be comfortable them ending up with, if not each other:
I like Stephanie and Dick together, as their playful natures match up well. I also don’t mind her with Tim, but I don’t love it nearly as much. As for Dami, I suppose I could see him with Rose or Cass, but I couldn’t see either of those relationships lasting very long. He needs someone with less anger, with more positive reinforcement. Maybe Mar’i Grayson, but I don’t know a whole lot about her.
- My happily ever after for them:
They have Laila, get married, have the twins, live their lives together, have lots of pointless arguments, raise the kids, watch Laila and the twins get married, have grandbabies, watch lots of Disney movies over and over, crash a lot of JLA baby showers, and Bat-it-up every other night. They die in their sleep while watching stars on the hill where the moonbounce was, because that’s where it all began.
(Oh, God. That’s soooo terrifically cheesy that it’s adorable.)