They're horribly out of place in their street clothes among the well-pressed suits and beaded evening gowns. Dick shoves her arm when Artemis makes a playful grab for his darkened, aviator glasses.
They're making the most of it. Screw what Gotham's Finest had to stay about them tonight. They're not here for them.
The jug of water poured into Zatanna's top hat doesn't cascade onto the floor— Artemis' eyes catch her mouth twitching apart; a spell, no doubt— and the young woman tosses her hat up into the air. The enraptured audience cheers and whistles and the skeptics politely clap along when Zatanna's hat vanishes with a comical, violet-colored POOF!, leaving a flock of glossy black crows to fly towards rafters.
Dick elbows Artemis sank down in the plush theater seat next to his, grinning splendidly wide and jabbing a thumb towards the spectacle as Artemis laughs at his unabashed but silent enthusiasm. (It's exciting, it's really, really exciting in a way, and Artemis's heart drums against her throat when she spreads out her arms and bows on stage, smiling professionally and winking a bright blue eye— to them).
All of what the people in the building see is the cheap tricks.
It's not like the real world could see Zatanna's true potential, on the battlefield, in front of the Justice League, her true magic at work. But they can.
A couple blank seconds passes before Artemis recognizes something bad's happened. What looks like a wood-carved arrow shoots from the ceiling at a precise angle, aiming itself for Zatanna's throat.
Blood splatters under the hot white stage lights, onto Zatanna's undershirt, dripping between Zatanna's white, puckered gloved fingers clenching at the wound as her face screws up and her knees wobble.
They're halfway to the stage already, pushing back against the swarm of frightened and violently shoving civilians. Dick vaults over another theater chair, breathing hard and yanking out his utility belt from inside of his cobalt gray zip-up, and Artemis didn't expect him to come out in public tonight without being prepared—she's already fishing out her collapsible crossbow from a hidden strap around her waist.
One of her arrows sticks into the outstretched arm of a man hooded in the same blood red, toting a machine gun and a crossbow, lunging towards the center of the stage. He's down when Dick grabs onto one of the velvet theater curtains and swings himself in his direction, landing a solid hit against the side of the man's skull. He tucks in and then rolls with his momentum as Dick lands smoothly, standing and blocking Zatanna's right side when more hooded and armed figures charge. Artemis leaps onto the stage, Zatanna's left side, and faces opposite her teammates when four or five head from her direction.
Without being aware of it, Dick and Artemis sync a pair of grim looks at the bleeding, woozy girl who continues keeping pressure to her throat with one hand and nods to them, going on her knees.
Accepting their nonverbal cue, they split up the takedown of mercenaries.
The smear of Zatanna's written blood spell—"laeH em"—glimmers dully and drying on the floor panels. Artemis reluctantly cradles her dislocated shoulder, giving the other girl a calculating glance.
"…Witch hunters, you said?"
"Ancient order, they said," Zatanna answers with a solemn whisper. With her larynx no longer ripped open, she palms her red-stained gloves over her fishnet hips and walks out into the background.
"That's unfortunate," the archer groans out, and Dick hops over a stage table to clasp his hands onto her injured shoulder. His hairline damp with perspiration and his bangs cling to his forehead.
"On three, Arty?" he offers.
Artemis reveals a sour face. "You're just gonna do it by one—." She groans louder when Dick jams the dislocation right back into place, her vision turning into flashing, colorful stars. "—sonvobitch."
"To tell you the truth, it's actually better when the other person is distracted from stiffening up the area," Dick quips, sending her a more sympathetic grin.
"I hate you," Artemis whines, pulling her arm to herself and gasping through the lessening jolts of pain. "A lot."
"You're welcome by the way." He absently rubs the gash on his cheek, calling out for Zatanna.
She calls back, purposely stepping on the hand of a female mercenary who hissed at her in what sounded like Latin, her gloves and form-fitting undershirt pristine as it had been during Zatanna's performance, "Sorry, cleaning up. Do you have any idea how tempting it is to just send them via magic to a real witch hunt? Saaay…" A dangerously mischievous glint in her eye. "…circa 1692?"
Dick cackles softly, shaking his head, and Artemis smirks, leaning in for a quick, fierce kiss with the darker-haired girl.
"Have I told you lately how amazing you are?" she rasps, drinking in Zatanna's appreciative stare. "…I really did like the show, Zee."
"Or maybe it was just the costume."
Dick shrugs with mock-innocence at his own observation when the magician leers between the three of them and Artemis's arm winds around her jacket-waist. "Or maybe you just like it," Zatanna counters.
"It's a nice costume," he admits, leaning his own forearm on Zatanna's shoulder and sharing a pleasant, mutually smiling gaze. The kiss to follow seems lighter, tender as Dick's features begin to relax.
To actually relax.
Watching both of her teammates kiss— and, fine, despite getting crap all the time about her girlfriend macking on someone else— Zatanna's not a label. Artemis doesn't stake some property claim on her.
And the jealousy factor was… long and brutal for about two years… but unavoidable.
Now watching them just becomes an activity that feels comfortable and familiar after trust-building.
And kinda… sexy.
But Dick's never gonna know this. Or she's never gonna hear an end to any amount of teasing.
"You want a kiss too, Arty?"
A sarcastic laugh of "Ha-ha," and Artemis claps him on the back as he examines the tied-up and some-starting-to-wake-and-get-angry mercenaries.
"… We should probably call this one in," Dick says, and she nods.
I own nothing. Completely inspired by the events of issue #15 of Zatanna comics. Hope you enjoyed reading. Happy late birthday, my darling, darling missmelon12!