So in the comics, Sionis's skull mask is actually NOT a mask and the result of him cutting off his face. What about a story where Roman entrusts with Zsaz with disfiguring him?
Perfection | Roman Sionis x Victor Zsasz | ZsaszMask
1) Anon, please, you need to tell me what comic you saw/read this in, because I've read pretty much all of the ones Roman is in and it's always a mask (he's called Black Mask for a reason after all). It's usually just fused with his face because it was burned to it.
So, I'm genuinely just curious in which comic book version he cut his face off, because I'm not aware of it, fjdhfjkskfsl. And I need to read it. Please, dhjgsdjfhsf.
2) This turned more into a character study, whoops. I hope it's still to your liking anyway. Thank you so much for the request, it was super interesting and it totally got out of hand again... (cue no one being surprised).
I hope you enjoy! :)
summary; see above.
notes; TW / CW // Dissociation; Delusion; Psychosis; Visual Hallucination; Murder; Violence; Blood; Cutting; Disfiguration; Scars; Identity Death. That should be everything important.
A/N: Also, Roman suffers from BPD, like always in my Fics, so that's where this is all coming from, as I headcanon that it started out as the general symptom of having a distorted sense of self, and developed into a delusion, and then he suffered a psychotic break with hallucinations and such, resulting in his disfiguration.
[And remember that psychosis is a very serious thing and that I'm not using it lightly here. Psychotic people suffer. They're not bad people for having psychosis. They deserve love and respect. Don't use it against people, don't disrespect them with it and do not under any circumstances use it as a synonym for evil. Thanks.]
Everybody knew just how much Sionis cared about his perfect looks. Always, at any time, he had to look and be presentable, and he had to be perfect doing it. His parents had drilled it into him from an early age on, not caring much about anything about him, other than his appearance. He was one of the faces of Janus Corp after all. He had to be perfect in order to make the cosmetics sell better.
Still, when Roman looked in the mirror he couldn’t recognise himself. It was as though he was staring at a stranger. He painted his face and took great care of it; always making sure it looked immaculate. It didn’t help the disconnection he felt from it, though.
Sometimes it only made it worse, because really – he was just putting on a mask, wasn’t he? He made himself look absolutely perfect, so that others couldn’t possibly see what was underneath the surface.
He was a cruel and sadistic man, one with many issues, and a crime boss behind his businessman persona. That was all him, but it also wasn’t.
No, this cruel man was Black Mask.
The persona he’s made up to make a name of himself in Gotham’s underbelly. That was who he really was. Not Roman Beauvais Sionis. No, that man was just a mask that his parents had constructed and that he’s kept up all his life in a desperate attempt to gain approval and respect.
But every single day, one more crack appeared on this mask, and another piece broke off on worse days. Soon, none of this ‘Roman Sionis’ would be left.
He could feel it.
He could see it.
When he looked in the mirror, all he could see then was this broken mask, an empty shell, waiting to fully break apart and let the inside rear its ugly head to its fullest.
Some days even, he would sit in front of his vanity and look at himself for a while, seeing the way he cracked and broke apart slowly, but surely, how his skin was crawling with the feeling of it. It made him itch. He desperately needed to get it off.
So far he hasn’t dared to do it, though. He couldn’t make himself take a knife and just carve into this fleshy mask.
He hated the way he hesitated every time.
This mask didn’t mean anything.
It was just an unnecessary hurdle he had to overcome to be who he really was, to the fullest.
He’s already made a good progress of realising himself with the Black Mask, but it was just there to hide his perfect exterior, to seem more malicious, to protect his precious skin.
That particular night, he’s worn his Black Mask and had gotten into a nasty fight with some other criminals. While Zsasz and his other goons were usually so good at keeping him out of it, this time wasn’t so.
Victor had been busy fighting off three men at once – and really, Roman admired the way he’s overpowered them after all, soaked in their blood, three new tallies on his skin. It was magnificent. Zsasz was so gorgeous to him. He knew who he was; he had no qualms about whether or not he looked perfect. He wore each tally as though it was a medal – and in a way, Roman guessed it was. Sionis envied him – this freedom Zsasz had that he so desperately wanted.
Black Mask had been attacked by two men of his rival. He had tried shooting them, but one of them managed to knock his revolver out of his hand. It was okay, he wasn’t entirely incompetent when it came to hand-to-hand combat after all. Still, that didn’t mean he liked it.
During the fight, he’s taken some punches to the face, which was fine; the mask saved him of some of the damage. But then one of the muscles took it off his head, leaving him vulnerable. He hated it. It enraged him. His rage caught on fire, bursting into roaring flames. He went to beat them up with more fervour. He didn’t care anymore. He just wanted them dead.
And he did kill them, after one of them had swung a knife at him, slashing his left cheek. He wrestled it out of the guy’s hand and stabbed them both in the neck, watching with cold eyes as they bled out right in front of him.
The turmoil around him and Victor had started dying down by then. Eventually, they were able to go back home, death and victory hanging fresh in the air, excitement buzzing under their skin. And for that one night, Roman hadn’t even cared that there was a cut on his otherwise immaculate face, or that it would most likely heal into a nasty scar.
Of course, that hadn’t lasted very long.
The next morning, he had started crying because of it, too upset over his ruined skin, the evidence that his mask was slowly but surely breaking apart. He couldn’t stand it.
When the cut had healed, though, and it was merely a pink scar, and not as ugly as he had expected, it was easy to cover it up with make-up. He did that for a while, until he seemed to have reached his breaking point.
Roman has just gone through his usual nightly routine, which always took way too fucking long anyway for the fact that he’d never look as perfect as he wanted – no, not wanted – felt like he had to. And like so often, he just sat there in front of his vanity and looked at himself, staring at his face.
Was it really his face? He just couldn’t tell.
Was that really what he looked like? He didn’t feel like it.
It was just all wrong, so far away, not him.
No, that was underneath.
Everything important was only skin deep.
Or was it?
What if everything important was under the skin?
What if skin was nothing but a fucking hindrance?
What if perfection was nothing but an illusion? He was sure that it was.
Perfection didn’t exist.
Nothing and no one was perfect. He should know. While his parents tried to appear as though they were above everyone else, they really weren’t. They struggled with the fact that the Wayne’s were above them financially, but also as humans. Roman’s parents haven’t ever felt human to him at all. All affection was nothing but a lie, all ‘perfect and happy family’ was nothing but a show.
So no, perfection didn’t exist.
Then why did he even bother conforming to something that was only a construct anyway?
No more, though.
As he looked at himself in the mirror, it had become distorted. That wasn’t unusual for him. It happened a lot, especially as of late. He saw the crumbling mask that was his supposed face. Pieces broke off, starting by the scar on his left cheek. Those pieces were falling away, revealing only darkness. It was as though one was breaking a porcelain doll’s face in. Hollow inside. But that wasn’t what he was. He wasn’t hollow. His true self just needed a little help to come out.
“Zsasz!” he shouted for his partner.
It felt far away, as though someone else had shouted it, someone that wasn’t him. But then again, this wasn’t who he really was anyway.
“Boss?” Zsasz came into his dressing room.
He didn’t take his eyes off the mirror, looking at Victor through that.
“I need you to help me with something. You’re the only one I trust to do it right,” he stated, holding up the carving knife Zsasz usually used to peel off faces and slit throats on his command.
Victor looked at the knife and then back at him, looking confused. “D’you need me to kill someone?” he asked, unsurprisingly.
“No- well, technically yes, but not really,” he answered cryptically.
“Uh, sure, alright. Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it, boss.” Zsasz was always so fucking loyal and obedient. It was truly lovely. That was exactly why he trusted him with it – and because Victor’s knife skills were definitely superior to his own.
“Good boy,” he purred and let Zsasz take the knife from him. “I need you to ruin this,” he continued, gesturing his hand around his face in circles to let Victor know exactly what he was talking about.
“Your face?” He nodded. “Are you sure, Roman?”
“Don’t call me that,” he hissed angrily, “And fucking do as I say! Ruin my face. I trust you to do it right and not have this body end up dead. ‘Kay?”
He didn’t know if Zsasz understood what he was on about, although it was so very clear to him, he couldn’t fathom the possibility of someone like Victor Zsasz not getting it.
“Alright, sure. Whatever you want,” Victor murmured then, “I need you to turn around, though. I can’t reach you well like this.”
Nodding, he turned around in his seat, facing Victor, who stood beside him on his right. “Go on then.” He twirled his hand, index finger up, for emphasis, like he always would.
In a way, he felt giddy with excitement, although some underlying anxiety lingered beneath it all. It would be okay, though. He was certain of it.
This was right.
This was what was supposed to happen.
Zsasz took a deep, steadying breath. Then he pressed the blade’s point against his right cheek. For a moment he didn’t do anything else, looking him over, giving him an exit to all of this. But he was so absolutely certain of himself in that moment; he wasn’t going to back out.
Not this time.
“Do it, Victor,” he ordered with a steady voice, conviction clear in it.
Nodding, Zsasz put pressure on the knife and pressed the tip into his skin, drawing a three inch line down his cheek with it. He didn’t react to the pain. He couldn’t feel it. He was so disconnected from it all.
Zsasz continued to slice into his face’s skin, making bigger and smaller cuts, all deep enough to scar, just like he did for his tallies. Blood was oozing out of them, running down his face, his chin, falling on his precious pyjamas – those with his face on it. It was alright, though. He wouldn’t need them after this anymore, anyway.
Eventually, Victor stopped cutting. “Is that enough, boss?” he asked.
He turned around and looked at himself in the mirror. He’d have to wear bandages over his face for a good while, that was for sure. It was worth it, though, because now it was perfectly ruined – disfigured.
Roman Beauvais Sionis was no more.
Due to the blood all over his face and running over his lips, he could only nod a little. He didn’t dare talk just yet.
Then Zsasz cleaned up all the cuts and bandaged them, making sure it was all safe and secure for the night.
While his face was slowly healing, Zsasz had inquired why he’d asked him to do it in the first place. He explained it to him and Victor understood – just like he knew he would. That was exactly why they were so strong together; why they had been meant for each other; why there was never a question about whether or not their relationship had been a good idea.
No one but Victor Zsasz could understand him. And no one but him could understand Victor.
When he was able to leave the bandages behind, Victor ran his fingers over the would-be scars. His eyes reflected the admiration and wonder he must have felt. It delighted him. He knew it had been right.
“Thanks for trusting me with it, by the way,” Victor had murmured that night as they lay in bed.
“Of course. No one else could have ever done what you have,” he replied, kissing his partner, “Thank you for not refusing to do it,” he added, his lips brushing against Zsasz’s as he talked.
“Anything for you, boss. Told you so.”
“I know. Still, saying something doesn’t always have to mean anything. Only actions truly say what words can’t.”
“Yeah, I s’ppose you’re right.”
It was just so easy to be with Zsasz. He couldn’t have possibly asked for someone better at his side.
The next morning, he looked in the mirror without any kind of bandaging and for the very first time in his life, he felt a connection to his mirrored image. He could finally see himself.
Now when he wore his Black Mask it wasn’t to hide, or to protect – no, it was only to symbolise his true self, put emphasis on it. He had nothing to hide anymore.
Perhaps perfection existed after all. Just not in the ways that society believed in.
He realised that, when he stared at himself in the mirror, in awe.
“Perfect,” Black Mask whispered, stroking his fingers over the scabs on his face.
And he truly was perfect.