A/N: I've been neglecting my writing so much lately. NaNoWriMo has been taking over my life and with my iTouch being taken away at night, I'm having serious problems finding time to write. This alone took nearly three days to compile in what little spare time I could manage.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
A Touch of Magic
"Still grounded?" he asked, voice through the phone sounding echoey as it reached her ears.
"Forever, remember?" Zatanna looked out the window of her room, out into the star-filled night sky. "I wish I could go hang out with you guys, but my dad would kill me. If there's a way to cut off my magic, he'd do it." She loosed a short, heavy sigh. "Which would be a serious problem."
On the other end, Richard gave a signature snicker. "It'd be like taking away my training." He was sitting in Bruce's library, a book spread out on a side table as he pretended to read. All he was really understanding was that quantum theory allowed data to be transmitted through quantum foam... "But I'm sure you could always find a way out of the house." He flipped another page nonchalantly, a smile upon his features. "You're a smart girl."
"And I'll bet you'd call it kidnapping." Her blue eyes strayed back inside the room to her boring bed and her boring posters and the rest of her little box of a world. Everything had begun to seem so drab since she'd come back from being with the team.
"Well, yeah, I would." He flipped another page. Quantum foam. Such fun stuff. "If it got you out of the house."
"Even if it got you in trouble with the Big Bad Bat?" she asked, gaze out the window again as the stars of Orion's belt began to twinkle into existence until the golden dawn shattered the horizon again.
"Do you want to get out?"
She paused, noting the seriousness of his voice and the way he sounded so genuine, so eager. Saying no just seemed like a crime. Zatanna felt the flare of rebellion light up inside of her. "Let's call it kidnapping."
There were some mornings when she could wake up, see the popcorned ceiling above her head, look at the glowing screen of her laptop, watch the golden rays of the sun break through her window as another day dawned.
And some days, there was a shadow across that horizon's glow. A faint one, a simple circle atop narrow shoulders. It only took a few seconds for it to fade as she roused out of the deepest slumber, dream already long forgotten. She could make out the shape of someone watching through her window and then vanishing. There was no sound of footsteps on the rooftop, no engine revving up by the street, no leaves rustling on a nearby tree as the viewer went his own way.
Zatanna was a bright girl. She knew a little bird when she saw one.
She also knew how to check the zeta-beam teleporter records when she wanted to get information. Turns out, the designation Robin had, B-01, kept on showing up in her hometown. Huh. How strange was that...
Whenever she saw that shadow stretching across the window, she'd quietly roll over and allow herself a smile. Someone was watching over her. A little weird, but she wasn't about to complain.
"Zatanna, I understand you want to be able to join the team, but they need to have their chain of command under control there before I can even think about letting you leave to fight such dangerous battles." Zatara's voice was weak and tired. This was the third time this week he'd lectured outside of her door without a response from within. There was only so much a man could take. With a daughter, oh, she was just so high maintenance sometimes...
Silence from the other side of the door. Not even the tapping of a keyboard or the sound of music.
"Zatanna, please listen to me. I want you to be safe, that's all."
That wasn't exactly all. Some parts of their meeting with the team had stood out in his mind. The way Robin had seemed to jump all over her. Zatara knew the young boy well, had helped raise him as most of the Justice League had. Never before had the magician seen him so... enthusiastic about meeting someone new. Except for Kid Flash. But of course, speedsters just had that sort of effect on people...
"Zatanna." Now he just needed a response. The silence was deafening. The house was still. Not even the wind whispered outside. Zatara rapped his knuckles upon her door. "Zatanna."
If she wasn't in there...
The door swung open, hinges creaking slightly and the whole frame shuddering as it hit the wall.
An empty room laid waiting for him to search, eyes desperate for the magician to find his daughter.
In Gotham, the girl's black hair was streaming out behind her as she rode behind a certain bird on his R-Cycle.
Freedom had never tasted so sweet.
The poor man at the doorstep was embarrassed to be walking up to Wayne Manor with two dozen red roses clutched against his body. He pressed the doorbell and heard the heavy chimes ringing within like heavy church bells.
Alfred got to the door before the little bird. Richard could only stand off to one side and curse to the wind while Alfred began to explain to the man that his Master Bruce did not have a date with a lady friend tonight and that no one had ordered roses.
"But I was called and two dozen roses were ordered." His nametag read Nick. Poor Nick.
"I am terribly sorry, but there's been a mistake." Alfred gave the man a curt nod and began to politely close the door as the deliveryman slipped into submission and began to retreat back towards his car.
His ninja skills were just as good for Grayson as they were for Robin. He had managed to sneak out a window without the butler noticing. Catching up to Nick was only a tad bit harder. He was practically on the hood of the car by the time the man behind the wheel slammed on the brakes.
"What the-" The roses were still safe in the passenger seat. "Kid, what are you doing?"
"I'll give you fifty dollars for the roses and for you to forget I was ever here." His blue eyes were wide with the thought of losing those flowers. "Cool?" Dick began to fish around in his back pocket for his wallet. He was bound to have a fifty in there...
Nick didn't complain. And the kid seemed happy enough to get his flowers. His job was done. Plus he had fifty bucks.
"So," he said as he flashed two cards at her, both black suits of seven and eight before shoving them back info the middle of the deck, "I will make the cards move through the deck."
Zatanna laughed and let him have his little moment of glory. She watched as he fixed the cards before putting them back in one hand and snapping almost the entire deck out of his hand and right in her face, her personal favorite part of that particular trick. A bit more laughter found it's way into her, turning to quiet giggles.
Robin blinked in surprise as he came up with two cards, both black suits, both seven and eight. "It actually worked..." Awe had settled on his features like the dawning sun.
"You really just pinched the two cards under the ones you pulled off away from the top and bottom of the deck." She had lived under these sorts of tricks for almost her entire life; she was completely aware of every secret in the book. "The throwing the cards is just an extra way to distract your audience."
His face fell slightly, but she could still tell he was in shock over getting the whole thing right and pulling it off so flawlessly.
"But you're not bad for an amateur." Some part of her wanted to reach over and give him a little smack on the nose with one of the fifty cards he'd flung her way.
A smirk lit up his still childish face. "So you think I could be your assistant?" The boy's words were laced with a cocky sort of confidence even though he already knew the answer she would give.
"Stick with your day job."
Zatanna was there just as the rest of the Justice League was, everyone huddled around Batman trying to nurture his fallen son. She managed to push past the bulky frame of Captain Marvel and squeeze her way through Wally and Artemis as they clung to each other, desperate for human contact.
She caught sight of him sprawled out on the floor, bloodied and battered. Bruises made black rings around his closed eyes. Long scratches tore through his uniform and into his pale flesh, everything stained vermilion from the strike. She saw his broken form and her first instinct was to jump in and help.
She was not stupid enough to get in the way of the Dark Knight.
A hand closed on her shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze. She turned slightly, blue eyes filled with tears, to find Kaldur there with open arms. Zatanna wasted no time in getting close to him; she just needed to know someone was there. That was all.
Robin was conscious again a few hours later.
She cried the rest of the night.
"No, snap your wrist." He flicked his wrist, throwing the playing card with surprising speed to hit a foam target, watching it slice into the red bullseye. "Like that."
She smiled and mimicked his motion only to watch the card spiral out of control like a helicopter going down in a fiery explosion. "This is stupid," she said with a laugh as it crash-landed over by his motorcycle. "Why are we doing this again?"
"It's how you throw a birdarang." He smirked before flicking off another one. "We've been over this, like, twice." Another whipped off of his fingers as rapid-fire began to set in. "Just keep trying it."
"Why don't you give me an actual birdarang?" she asked, hand on one hip as her weight all transferred to one leg.
The sass in her stance was enough to make him pause and reconsider working with these cards rather than the actual weapons themselves. He shook his head. "I'd like to see my sixteenth birthday, thank you very much." A laugh rattled from his lips and another card was whipped off his fingers.
"You don't trust me?" she questioned, a look of faux shock on her face.
"I don't trust you with my weapons." He held out a card to the girl and let the corners of his mouth quirk upward in a smile. "Cards are much more your speed."
"Is that supposed to be some sort of racist joke against magicians?"
"Welcome to the team."
It was music to her ears. Kaldur's voice, like a stream in the forest, had given her permission to finally make herself a part of this team. She was finally part of something.
"Time to throw a party or something!" Wally pumped a fist in the air and gave the girl a quick high-five. "I'll go find some Mountain Dew!" He shot off towards the kitchen, a mere blur of yellow and red.
"I'll stop him," sighed Artemis, heading off in the same direction as the ginger, a soft smile directed at her new friend. "We don't want him getting his paws on that stuff or we'll be dealing with Psycho Wally all week."
M'gann and Conner were both at school yet, the girl at cheerleading and her boyfriend watching. (Only to keep her safe, of course.)
Robin shuffled his feet and watched Kaldur leave after a moment to pull the archer off the speedster after yet another fight had broken out in the kitchen. Then he looked up at his new teammate. "You're in," he said with a satisfied smirk, thumbs hooked in his jacket pockets. "Welcome."
Her arms were thrown around his neck in a heartbeat, a gesture he would never refuse. She held onto him nice and tight, a smile spread wide across her perfect features. Zatanna did not let go of Robin for the longest moment; she held onto him and let him hold onto her for a minute or so.
Before she relinquished her hold, she breathed in his ear, "Finally."
A/N: Wow, the editing on that took like ten seconds. Okay, so review? Thanks.