dedication: to Mr. Morrison. I hope someone punches you in the face the same way you punched me in the soul. :)
notes: don't look at me I don't know what I'm doing
title: bad medicine
summary: When did he get so tall? — Damian/Steph.
The phone rang on a Tuesday evening. She'd just gotten through the door, laden down with books and takeout kebabs for a quick supper, and then her blasted phone started ringing.
That was how it started.
"Brown, we need to talk."
Stephanie sighed. "Damian, we've been over this. You can call me by my name. I've known you since you were ten years old. I think we can drop the formalities, now, okay?"
"Irrelevant to the conversations. We must speak."
"We're speaking right now," she reminded him, the phone cradled in the crook of her neck as she puttered around the kitchen, pulling out a plate and utensils, left-over rice from the night before—paused to stare longingly at the maple syrup—and then set it down in a rather haphazard way on the table. She hadn't recognized the phone number when she'd picked it up, and now she vowed to never do so again.
"Face to face," said Damian. "I am outside your apartment complex. Let me in."
"Could you be any creepier, Damian," Steph sighed. "Fine, I'm buzzing you up. Don't spook the neighbours!"
"You say that as though they will even see me, Brown," he said, tone clipped.
He hung up, and Steph dropped into a chair, already exhausted. What was she going to do with him, he was such a little brat. Of course, she hadn't seen him in—god, it had been ages, he'd been off saving the world while she'd been here at home, at school and keeping Gotham from falling to pieces while Dick played at being Batman.
God, her extended family was so weird.
She really needed a boyfriend.
Three hard knocks, a pause, then three more. It was always the same, with Damian. Like, what, nearly a decade and he still wouldn't call her by her first name?
It was getting a little old.
She opened the door, anyway.
"Hey! Are you hungry? I bought kebabs—"
"No waffles?" he asked.
"I am not averse to hurting you, child," Stephanie said, and stuck her nose into the air.
"I'm not a child," Damian muttered, and brushed past her. She closed the door behind him, and followed him inside (and that was weird enough on its own—Damian hated having people at his back. It was a trust thing that Stephanie had long accepted as one of his more eccentric quirks).
There was definitely some weird shit going down.
Stehanie was going to find it out. She was going to find all the shit out.
And then she was going to rub it in his face and it was going to be great.
Damian was pacing, like there was too much nervous energy in him. He shot glances at her, looked terribly pained, glanced at her again and flushed the colour of a fire engine, coughed nervously, snapped all his knuckles. Rinse and repeat.
There was definitely some weird shit going down.
"Damian, are you… okay? You looked sort of flushed," Steph said. She raised a hand to his forehead just as he flinched backwards. "Hey, don't do that, rat, I think you've got a fever!"
"I do not have a fever," he said, still bright red. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, and it was a funny thing, because Stephanie hadn't seen him do that in years, not he showed up at her mother's house at three o'clock in the—
"Wait," she said "Wait, no. This is not. You don't. No."
"Damian Wayne, don't you dare tell me you have a crush on me."
"I do not have a crush on you," he repeatedly obediently.
Steph breathed out a heavy sigh of relief. She tucked flyaway blonde hair behind her ears, and tried to find her composure. "Okay, thank every deity ever—"
"What I feel for you, Brown, is exponentially more embarrassing than a crush."
"…What," Steph said flatly.
"I am rather fond of you."
"What," she said again. One day, Stephanie thought vaguely, she was going to teach him how to use contractions properly. He sounded ridiculous without them. "Just. You. No. What. No."
Damian stared at her.
They stared at each other.
This was not helping anyone.
"Okay, look, Damian. You're eighteen—"
"What does age have to do with anything?"
"If you're saying what I think you're saying—" and here she paused to eye him suspiciously "—age has everything to do with it. I'm a decade older than you, for god's sake!"
"Age is just a number, Brown," Damian said, and he took a step towards her. There was an awful gleam in his eye that set off all sorts of alarm bells in Stephanie's hands, but she didn't move. She just looked up at him, deeply unimpressed.
He took another step towards her.
"What are you doing," said Stephanie.
When did he get so tall? And… and… big? He loomed over her, eyes very blue and horrifyingly earnest (which should have been illegal, Damian Wayne should not ever do earnest), and wow, he was everywhere and he smelled wonderful and—
WOAH, THERE, CRADLE ROBBER, SLOW DOWN.
"Damian," Steph said.
"Yes, Brown?" Damian replied, and managed to get even more in her space than he had been a moment previous. He was looming.
"Damian, stop that," Steph said.
"Stop what," he said.
"You know what."
"No, Brown. What?"
"That—that! You are looming! Stop it!" she flapped her hands at him. This was very unbecoming of Lady Nightwing, but at the moment, Steph really did not have a single fuck to give because there was a very attractive eighteen year old all up in her personal space.
"Ah. My apologies," he said.
He didn't stop it, though.
In fact, he bent a little closer. They stood there for a minute, nose-to-nose. Steph tried the frowning thing, but found that her muscles weren't working right—all they seemed to want to do was smile at him. He was such a dork.
"This is so illegal," Steph said.
"I'm not a child anymore, Brown."
"Weak on the delivery," replied Damian.
"I AM TRYING TO REASON, HERE."
Damian sighed. On anyone else, it would have theatrical and over-the-top, but on Damian it somehow worked.
What even was that.
"Brown," he said patiently, "I have had eight years to think about this."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"It never went away," Damian continued.
Stephanie blinked at him. "What do you mean, it never went away?!"
Damian blinked at her. "What do you think it means."
"Very eloquent, Brown."
"You—you are—! It had to have gone away, crushed don't last ten years!"
"I am aware," Damian said.
She grabbed the sides of his face. She pulled him down to her level, eyes gone narrow, and gave him a very thorough once-over. This could either go badly or… very badly, she thought. But this was Damian, dumb-ass Damian who had… who had… really pretty eyes, wow.
And there went her resolve.
"Your father is going to kill me," she informed him. "And when Tim finds out, I am blaming you, understand?"
"Of course," Damian snickered. He wound his arms around her waist. He was really big. Really big. Stephanie definitely did not remember him being this big. "Drake only wishes."
"You're horrible," Steph grinned.
She didn't mean it at all.
And Damian just stared down at her, face intense. Steph ran her fingers across his face, gentle and sweet, and when she stood on her toes to press her lips against his, it startled the highest-pitched noise out of him that she'd ever heard.
Stephanie laughed into him mouth, rollicking, happy, a thick slat of golden sunlight through blinds in the middle of the afternoon. She curled her fingers into her hair, and then
She proceeded to kiss him until there wasn't air left in his lungs, and Damian was nothing if not relieved.