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To Make Most of Time

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Prologue

He had had the watch as long as he could remember. He knew it was a watch—it ticked—but he’d never felt the compulsion to open it. At the end of a long day, after fruitful (or not) training, he would fall asleep, tracing the comforting circular symbols on it’s back. It was always warm, but it never had a metallic scent. Sometimes, he could have sworn it whispered strange and fantastical stories to him as he slept, but as soon as he woke up, the whispering was gone, and so was his memory of the stories.

When he was five, or maybe six, his trainers noticed the watch and his dependence upon it. Since the perfect warrior could hardly have such attachments, they tried to take it from him.

He defeated them handily—the first time he had ever fought for anything. They decided he could keep it.

At his eighth birthday party, while he waited for his mother, he found himself tracing those circular patterns. When Talia finally appeared, she observed him holding the watch and silently asked for it. He had given it to her, but the moment her fingers touched it, the watch sparked and she pulled her hand back, a slight frown marring her brow. He took it back, slipping it into a pocket. After the watch disappeared from sight, his mother never requested it or discussed it again.

It was strange—as long as the watch was out of sight, no one seemed to know about it’s existence, but as long as they didn’t know, it could not be used against him, and for that, Damian felt a sense of gratitude. When he was left with his father, his watch had been tucked away in his suit, and even when his mother had blown up the submarine, he had felt the ticking of the clock in time with his own heartbeats. It kept him from panicking until they reached the shore.

He didn’t know what exactly it was, but he loved it all the same, as much as he could love anything.

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