He never understood why her father went through such great lengths to keep them apart. It was futile. They were going to find their way back to one another no matter the circumstance.
"You do not *need* people." Ghul had said to her time and time again.
And it was true.
She did not need his strength, his ferocity, his eternal loyalty, but he gave it anyway. It was unending, unconditional, like dog to master. If she required his mask, his hands would not hesitate to remove it. She would be the smoke to fill his lungs to drive out the pain that he would gladly sustain for her again and again. Were she a vulture, he would chain himself to a rock to feed her without a second thought.
Just as he did not need her cunning, her grace, her quiet rage that consumed her soul from the moment she was born, but she would bless him with it all the same. He was her terrible black angel with a wingspan to block out the sun. He had delivered her from hell unto purgatory to punish the waiting, and she would bring him souls in divine offering.
No, they did not need one another, but the pull was inescapable.
Perhaps her father saw how beautiful she would become, and how beauty can cloud a man's mind.
Perhaps he had felt the passion that would seize his heart and how women can be swayed by passion.
Her father was only half correct.
There would be nights she would come to him. Lie beside him to sleep, inexplicably lulled by the sound of his breathing. He would wake to find her pressed to his chest with a look of serenity seldom seen otherwise.
There would be moments when he would reach out to touch her, just to assure himself she was not the fever dream of a dying prisoner. A caress along her neck, fingers in her hair, a hand on the small of her back, she would never deny him a touch. Some days it was all they had to know they were alive.
But he was no Quixote, and she was no Dulcinea. They were grit and blood, and things darker than shadows. They were not fables told to disobedient children, because then society would have to admit things like them existed.
Her father was foolish to think they would temper one another. He was the hellfire to rise and make a pyre of Gotham so she could emerge like burning steel.
Where Famine and War had failed, Death and Conquest would reign. When the city and it's people smoldered into ash *then* they would move on. Side by side, or he would die for her trying.