A/N: Written for buddykinnzmailcom under the prompt of a Rob/Z fic. This is my first attempt at writing Chalant so I hope I kept everyone in character. Also, Wally snuck in there, don't ask me how. I took several creative liberties with Robin's home life so please don't think that anything I said about Alfred is canon. I made it up.
Disclaimer: Young Justice? Own it? Pssh, no.
She hasn't left her room in two days when the team decides that something needs to be done.
M'gann has been bringing her meals, leaving them outside the door after knocking elicits no response. She finds empty trays left in the hallway. The trays are always clean but that doesn't mean Zatanna is eating.
When the team congregates in the living room to discuss what is to do about Zatanna's apparent depression the first one to speak up is Wally, who springs from the couch and says, "Well, let's just break in to her room. We're superheroes, I'm sure we can-"
"Moron," Artemis says, cutting him off.
Wally looks down at her incredulously.
"Don't you want to help her, Artemis? How else are we going to get her to leave her room?"
Artemis sighs and drops her head to a hand. When he seems adamant upon waiting for an answer she looks up and says, "Zatanna asked for some alone time."
"That was two days ago!" Wally bellows.
"This is not helping," Kaldur says, standing from his spot on the couch. "Artemis is right, Wally. We must respect Zatanna's wishes."
"But, we need to do something," Wally says.
"Not 'we'," Kaldur says, "One person. One of us will go talk to her. Who wants to-"
"I'll go!" Robin shouts as he drops from the rafters.
Wally shrieks and jumps away from him, "Dude!"
"I volunteer!" Robin reiterates.
Kaldur simply nods, "Alright," he says, "the rest of you, training starts in 10 minutes. Go get ready."
"Aw, no fair," Wally says, "If I go with Robin do I have to go to training?"
"C'mon Kid Malingerer," Artemis says, grabbing Wally by the ear and dragging him down the hall, "time to whip your lazy ass in to shape."
M'gann giggles, gliding down the hall after them, with Superboy trailing behind her.
Kaldur turns around once, gives Robin a curt nod and follows after the others.
Robin, who had been so sure about visiting Zatanna a moment ago, is suddenly numb. He glances down the hall to the training room, wondering if it's too late to back out of this entire endeavor. What if Zatanna doesn't let him inside? He considers warily. He could always break in but he doesn't want to invade her privacy. And if she does let him in, what will even say?
He takes a deep breath as he makes his way to Zatanna's room. Standing outside of her door with one hand raised to knock he whispers to himself, "time to get traught," but before he can rap his knuckles against the hard metal surface the door slides open.
"Zatanna!" Robin says, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck, "I was just going to- just gonna-"
He trails off, staring at her face. She seems years older and it's only been days since- since everything went so wrong.
He's never seen her look anything other than immaculate. Her magic usually helps her keep her clothes neat and her hair straight. But today there are bags under her azure eyes and her hair is swept in to a messy bun, strands of it falling in to her face. She's wearing sweatpants and a college t-shirt far too large for her as if she can't even muster the strength to whisper a few backwards words and change in to nicer clothes.
She's still pretty, Robin thinks before he can stop himself and he shakes his head vaguely as she begins to speak.
"I- um-" she says, her voice raspy and tired from misuse.
Robin's eyes soften.
"C'mon," he says, "let's get you something to eat."
A moment later Zatanna is sitting on a barstool in the kitchen with her feet folded beneath her as Robin tosses just about every ingredient of food in the cabinets on to the counter.
"Robin- are you sure this is- what are you making, exactly?" Zatanna asks hesitantly.
"Don't worry about it," Robin says, "I was practically raised by a British butler. I know what I'm doing."
"Okay…" she says.
Robin, merely placated by the fact that he got her to leave her room, begins to whip together something Alfred likes to call a 'bat-meal'. It's basically a mixture of everything that can be readily baked with the ingredients in the cabinets. Alfred makes it on nights when Batman and Robin come home exhausted and starving after a particularly grueling sweep of Gotham City.
Sometimes there is enough food to fill up a speedster. Sometimes there is only enough to fill the stomach's of Batman and Robin, but Robin always has fond memories of these feasts and he knows that food and company is all Zatanna really needs right now. Not false words. Anyone could say 'are you okay?' 'about your dad-'and Robin wants to do something to let her know that he truly cares, that he understands what she's feeling.
"Robin," Zatanna says just as Rob is tossing an entire box of ziti in to a pot on the stove.
"Yeah?" he asks, without turning, but when she doesn't answer he cranes his neck around to see her sitting on the barstool with her hands over her eyes.
"Robin," she says again, "I d-don't know how to- how to say-"
She hiccups and Rob smiles a little. There are tears spilling between her fingers but he knows that for the first time in two days she's finally opening up a little. She's going to be okay.
"It's alright," Robin says, suddenly standing beside her. He places a hand on her shoulder, "be as chalant as you like."
Zatanna gasps and her hands fall from her face but her head is still bent and he can't tell if she's still crying until she reaches forward and grabs his shirt. She sits like that, her head bent towards him, her hands fisted in his green t-shirt, her shoulder's wracking with quiet sobs. Robin, who is momentarily startled by their proximity to each other, reaches out and slowly wraps his arms around her until her face is buried in green fabric and she has stopped crying.
After a minute she pulls away from him, quickly wiping her eyes on the back of her hand.
"Yeah?" Robin says, he still hasn't moved and he's still watching her even though her eyes never stray from the food laden countertop.
"How am I supposed to live with myself after everything that's happened?" she says softly. She seems almost ashamed to ask this and Robin places a hand on her shoulder.
Her eyes meet his as he says, "Just live. Your dad- he'd want you to. He did what he did for you. So now you should live, for him."
She smiles a little, the corners of her lips curling upward.
"Thanks Robin. I would-"
"Is that food I smell?" Wally crows down the hallway.
Robin instinctively stiffens and steps away from Zatanna, holding his hands behind his back as the speedster dashes in to the kitchen.
"Food," Wally says, his mouth salivating at the sight of the several dishes Robin had begun to prepare, "Oh, hey, Zatanna! You're feeling better I see! That's great!"
"Wally, cut that out-" Robin says, marching over and slapping Wally's hand away from pot of ziti which has yet to boil, "this is for Zatanna."
"Aw~" Wally begins to whine before looking at Robin's narrowed eyes, "I mean, of course it is. I'll just go get a pizza," he announces before speeding off down the hall yelling, "hey blondie, give me money for pizza~"
Robin rolls his eyes and glances over at Zatanna. For the first time since she's left her room she has cracked a true smile. It's gone in an instant but Robin knows it'll be back. She just needs time and patience and the largest 'bat-meal' he can muster.
"Your ziti is boiling."
"What?" Robin asks, distracted by her amused expression.
"Your ziti is boiling over."
Robin spins around, grabbing a spoon in the process, and begins to frantically stir the white foamy bubbles out of the pot.
Behind him Zatanna smiles again. She still misses her dad. She still blames herself. But she thinks that this new life in Mount Justice might just grow on her.
"Robin?" she says, watching him swipe an arm across his forehead.
"Yeah?" he says, turning to see her leaning across the counter.