I was recently linked to this story, with the warning that it contains potentially triggering subject matter and a concept that I would normally be quite skeptical of, but was nonetheless wonderful. All three of those evaluations are true.
[tw: spoiler-free review of a story that involves elements of incest under the cut]
Synospis, taken from author lily8007 (Tumblr’s quote function isn’t working for me today for some reason):
Ever notice how Ra’s and Talia in the comics are far too connected to each other? She speaks of her love for him in exactly the same words she uses to describe her love for Bruce. And he will never let her go, far more involved in her life and love and choices than is healthy. This fic was born out of a challenge to explain why their relationship is the way it is.
Additional warnings: This is basically a love story between father and daughter. Talia is 16 turning 17 here, so she is underage. There is a scene of coerced sex. But there is no graphic sex - everything fades to black. There is some violence, and the death of an original character, but not very graphic. This story is more about emotional trauma and tragedy.
While I’ve always thought the al Ghuls do seem a bit questionably close at times, I’ve never really seen them as outright having engaged in incest. The premise of this story, then, was a hard sell for me before I actually read it. However, the author approaches this topic with great sensitivity. Rather than reading as cheap “my hot stepdaddy” porn (which, trust me, I know all about due to my side job as a writer of, let’s say, ‘erotic literature’), this story creates a situation in which incest occurs as the result of third-party manipulation and misinformation. The ensuing drama sees Talia, who has been raised as something of a princess, made unsure of herself for the first time, and worse.
The story won’t be to everyone’s tastes due to its frequent mentions of uninformed sexuality and incest. As the author states, however, there is no graphic sex. What is far more disturbing than actual sex is the extreme to which the characters are manipulated into this sordid situation. The ease with which Talia loses her agency would be uncharacteristic if she were the age she currently is in the comics, but at her age in this story, it reminds us that, underneath all her trappings of superiority, Talia is human, and was once a young girl in need of guidance. It’s refreshing to see her so humanized, even if that humanization occurs in a story in which Talia is a victim. None of her victimization, however, is done for titillation, but rather, as the author states, to explore a trauma within this powerful family.
Talia fans aren’t to worry, though. Our girl gets her own back in a way before the end.
If you’ve got the constitution for the kind of content this story involves, I recommend this one. And if you like it, remember to leave the author a comment!
Link to story: http://archiveofourown.org/works/474167