"A Cosmic Fairy Tale'
We like to believe in destiny.
That life makes sense if we know the key.
But keys are made for locks
And locks keep out the teaming flocks
Of humanity. A heart must be open and free
For love to ever be.
To do otherwise is tragic
For love is always magic.
Most people assume that to travel is to learn about others, but the most interesting surprise is what you learn about yourself.
To all outward appearances he was the very definition of quite confidence. A tall handsome man, powerful in both mind and body. Yet below that calm exterior doubts and questions swirled. Clark Kent was not in a good mood. When he'd been approached to go on this mission, he accepted hoping he could figure some things out. Maybe some time away from the day-to-day life of Clark Kent would give him a new perspective and clear up all the issues he felt his was facing. At least that was the plan.
Failed relationships are difficult for the best of us, even heroes. To finally realize that while you love someone, you're not in love. You invested all this time and energy into the relationship, yet it's never made that last final jump. You both feel it and over time begin to pull away. Lois and Clark, it sounded so good together, almost natural. Then again so had Lana and Clark and that had ended too.
Clark had believed that when he finally told Lois who he really was everything would be okay. It turned out to only make things worse. In the end to protect and save her, he had to take all of that away. He couldn't risk anything happening to her so he stepped back and let her go. Perhaps it was love that made him do it.
Since then, they had never been as close as before. Part of him still longed for what might have been. It broke his heart to see her start dating another, but that was the cost of keeping her safe. They would just be friends. He wished Lois would find all the happiness in life she deserved; it just unfortunately couldn't be with him.
So here he sat, miserable and alone. Maybe some time in the endless quiet of space would do him some good. The fact that the mission was to a wedding was an unfortunate reminder of his situation.
Since there was the possibility of magic being involved, he was waiting for Dr. Fate, who was always the first choice on this sort of thing. Clark would prefer Diana as a companion, as they worked so well together, but she had been called to Themyscira. It would be all business with Dr. Fate, but at least that would take his mind of his current personal problems.
The sound of someone struggling just outside the ship caught his attention. As he turned, Clark saw Zatanna poke her head in the doorway.
"Little help, Clark," she gasped, struggling with what looked like several large suitcases. He immediately went over and took them off her hands.
"What are you doing here, Zatanna?"
"I'm going with you," she brightly said.
"I'm the other half of this delegation. Could you bring those back to the sleeping quarters for me? Thanks," she said as she pushed her way by him.
"I thought Dr. Fate was going?" Clark had a confused look on his face as he followed her.
"Na, he couldn't make it, so I volunteered. It's just you and me on this one."
"Just the two of us," Clark repeated. Something about that thought made him uncomfortable. Why he wasn't quite sure, but it did.
"Yep, just you and me all the way."
Maybe it was his current situation, but the phrase 'all the way' sent disturbing thoughts through his mind. Get your mind out of the gutter Clark, he thought. He gestured to the suitcases. "What are all these?"
"Clothes, Clark," Zee replied. "You don't expect me to go on a trip with just my costume, do you?"
"Um, yeah, it is a League mission," Clark fumbled to say.
"What if there's a party, Clark? I have to have something to wear. Or what if there's a beach, huh?'
"You realize this is a diplomatic mission, not a weekend at Club Med, right?"
"Ha-ha, very funny," Zee replied. "Just put them in the big bedroom, would you? You don't mind if I take it, right?'
"Ah, no, no, go ahead."
Clark set her suitcases down in the largest of the sleeping quarters, but he was still rather flustered and confused.
"Um, ah, Zee, what is this all about? I mean you never go on space missions?"
She turned looked into his eyes and gave him a big smile.
"Yeah, that's true, but I figured if I'm going to do this hero stuff, I might as well get some experience. My magic tour's over so when Dr. Fate and the others couldn't make it, I thought why not? It's just a wedding or something, isn't it?"
"That's most of it, although there is a treaty still to be signed," Clark replied.
'Okay, whatever, but we're not talking life and death here. I figured this would be the perfect time for me to go. Plus, you'll be there, so what could happen, right?'
"Well, you never know on these missions," Clark offered.
"Oh, come on, Clark, it will be fun," Zee said. "I mean what's the worst that can happen? I'm sure it will all work out, trust me.'
She brushed passed him again, heading for the door. Clark wasn't sure what to do. While they were teammates, he really didn't know Zatanna that well. He'd always thought she was very attractive, but never let his thoughts go further. Now he was going to be spending considerable time with her, alone. He may be one of the most powerful people on the planet, but that prospect was a little unnerving.
"Did-Did Batman agree to this," he finally asked.
"Not at first, but you know Bruce, Mr. Paranoid," Zatanna replied. "But eventually I was able to convince him. Now I've just got a couple more bags and then we'll be good to go."
"Well, I couldn't carrying them all myself, Clark," she laughed. "It's not like there's any bellhops on the station. Don't worry; I'll be back in a jiffy, promise. This is going to be so much fun, I can't wait!"
She was out the door, and Clark stood scratching his head in confusion. Some how he got the feeling this wasn't going to be an ordinary mission.
The Watchtower – Habitat ring
Shayera was just rounding the corner when she saw her friend Zatanna struggling to pull two suitcases from her quarters.
"Hey, Zee, need some help?'
"Yeah, thanks, Shayera, this damn door is malfunctioning or something," Zee replied. Shayera grabbed the suitcases and easily pulled them out into the hallway.
"No problem, so what's with the suitcases? Going on a trip?"
"Um, ah, yeah, something like that," Zee nervously replied.
"Hum? What's that," Zee innocently asked.
"I said where are you going," Shayera repeated. "Bahamas? Cozumel? Fiji?"
"No, none of those places." Zee shook her head. "Um, a little more off the map than that. Thanks again, got to go."
Zee grabbed the cases and started moving, hoping to avoid any further questions.
"You seem in kind of a hurry, Zee, what's the rush," Shayera asked. She was walking right along with Zatanna. "You must be pretty eager to get going on this trip, huh?"
"Well, reservations, schedules, you know, don't want to be late," explained Zee. She picked up her pace, dragging the suitcases, but Shayera stayed right with her.
"What are you flying commercial? I thought you hated flying commercial?' Shayera didn't seem to be taking the hint and continued walking with her.
"I do, but this is sort of a private ship, I mean plane.'
"Think you'll see any interesting sights while you're there?'
"I hope so."
"I'll just bet you do," Shayera laughed. Zatanna was just about to ask what she meant by that, but as they turned the corner, Dinah was leaning against the wall smiling.
"Well someone sure is eager, aren't they," Dinah teased. "Afraid he'll leave without you, Zee?"
Zatanna stopped and blushed furiously as she looked back and forth at her two friends. They knew about her going on the mission.
"It's not like that," she lamely offered. "I'm just helping out."
"Really," Shayera smiled. "That's really dedicated of you, Zee, to put yourself out there for the team.'
"Or is it just a teammate you want to put out for," Dinah continued. "One in particular, say Superman?"
"No," Zee gasped, mortified that they knew about this and what they were implying. "I'm just-just trying to-to do my part and-and it-its strictly professional."
"Uh-huh, right," replied Dinah.
"I am," Zee protested.
"Oh, come on, Zee, you never go on outer space missions,' Shayera said. "Just admit it, you only want to go because Superman's going."
"Just the two of you, alone," Dinah whispered, as she moved closer. "Who knows what might happen?"
"It's not like that, okay," Zee explained. "Yeah, I like Clark, but if I'm-I'm going to get any experience, I need to go on some missions. This-This one seems, well, easy, so it's a good place to start.'
"And Superman will be there," Shayera added.
"Right, no, that's not what I mean," Zee gasped, flustered by all of this.
"Just what kind of experience are you hoping to get on this trip, Zee," Dinah teased.
"Yeah, I always figured you already had plenty of that kind of experience," Shayera added. Her two friends chuckled as they saw her expression.
"Shut up! I do not!' Zatanna shouted in shock.
"Well, than I guess you're hoping Superman helps you out with that, huh," Shayera smiled.
"Elohssa!" Zee muttered under her breath.
"What? You know I hate it when you do that, I can never understand you," Shayera replied.
"Good, now stop spreading rumors about me, both of you," Zee fired back. "This is strictly a business trip. I'm a League delegate to the conference, that's all. Superman is a friend and he has the most experience on these kinds of things. Okay?"
Her friends seemed dubious, but they let it go.
"Okay, but is it all right if I wish you a good trip," Shayera asked.
"How about a really good trip," Dinah teased.
"Oh, you two are impossible," Zee grumbled and pushed away from them and stormed down the hallway, dragging her bags behind her. She could hear them laughing and making kissing noises as she hurried away.
The Watchtower – Monitoring Station
Jonn didn't need to be a psychic to know Batman was unhappy. Ever since he'd agreed to allow Zatanna to go with Superman on the mission, his mood had been decidedly darker. They were going over the assignments one more time before Batman left for Gotham. When Jonn mentioned Zatanna going with Superman, he could see Batman visibly bristle at this.
"Excuse me, Batman, if you have such strong doubts about Zatanna going, then why did you agree, if I may ask?"
Bruce seemed to consider it for a moment, but then finally gave in. Bruce glanced around to make sure no one else was listening, before turning back to Jonn.
"Because she blackmailed me into it, Jonn, that's why," he whispered.
"The singing," Jonn asked. Batman grew visibly pale.
"How did you know about? Did she tell you?"
'It was accidental, but I just happened to catch a flash of it from Zatanna and your minds."
"Well, keep it to yourself, understood?"
"Of course," Jonn immediately replied. "Although, I don't see why it troubles you? From the brief glimpse I got, you seem to have a lovely singing voice."
Batman turned and glared at Jonn.
"I'm going to forget you just said that, Jonn. We are never, ever going to talk about this again, clear?"
They were silent for a moment.
"I also have a passable singing voice, Batman, so if you ever want to do a duet, please, don't hesitate to call me."
Bruce just stared at him.
"Good bye, Jonn."
The Watchtower - Launch Bay
Clark was just finishing the last minute check of the outer ship when Zee walked back in.
"Everything ready to go,' she asked. She could hardly contain her excitement and there was a big smile on her face.
"I think so, it looks good."
"Great! Let's shove off or whatever you do with a space ship!"
Before Clark could answer the hanger door opened and Wally came dashing in. He stopped in front of them, a huge grin on his face and a duffle bag over his shoulder.
"You come to see us off, Wally," Clark asked.
"Not quite, I'm going with you two, big guy!" The enthusiasm was plain in his voice.
"What," Clark asked
"What?!" Zee nearly shouted.
"I'm going with you two! Isn't that the coolest?"
"Why," Clark said.
"YES, WHY," Zee pointedly asked.
"It was a last minute thing, really," Wally explained. "Bats suggested it and I thought what the hell, you know? It's been slow around here, so why not go on an adventure with you two? I packed my bag and I'm all set!"
"Will you excuse me a moment, I want to have a word with Bruce," Zee practically growled. She stormed into the ship and flicked on the communicator.
"Boy this is going to be great!" Wally's enthusiasm was overflowing. He leaned close to Clark and whispered. "Just wanted to give you the heads up, but I have a feeling there's going to be a love connection on this trip."
"Come on, Big Blue, use your imagination! Traveling with a smoking hot babe like Zatanna alone on a space ship! It's kismet, buddy!"
"I really don't think that's what this mission is about, Wally," Clark offered. He could hear Zatanna screaming at Bruce over the intercom. He was frankly a little surprised she knew and used that sort of language.
"Look, Big Guy, trust me on this, I've got instincts," Wally said, patting Clark on the shoulder. "Don't hate the player, hate the game. Besides, I'm sure there will be plenty of hot ladies for you where ever we're going."
"I think you've got the wrong idea, Wally, I mean.." Clark started to say, but Wally cut him off.
"Shhh, here's she comes," Wally replied. "Remember, instincts, brother, instincts."
Zatanna was no happy and it clearly showed on her face.
"Everything all right, Zee," Clark asked.
"What? Oh, yeah, fine, Clark, just remind me to have a long talk with Bruce when we get back," she said.
"Well, enough talking, let's get this show on the road," Wally said with excitement. "Stick with me, guys, this trip is going to be so great! A good rule of thumb is just think what would Wally do and you'll be sure to have a good time!"
"I'm not sure I'd want to do anything you'd do, Wally," Zatanna fired back. Wally just laughed and headed inside the space ship.
"We should probably get going," Superman said. "Don't let him bother you, he does that to everyone on missions."
"I'll remember that," Zee replied. "Well, I guess this is it, huh? I still think this is going to be a great trip, Clark. Trust me!"
She flashed him a dazzling smile and went into the ship. Clark wondered what that meant, and then shook his head and followed her. Wally and Zatanna, Clark pondered, there was no telling how this would end.