(Thank you to all of the amazing reviews I have received on this story. Enjoy the final chapter)
Klarion couldn't think of a more fitting place to have his final show down with Robin. He was either going to crush Robin or Zatanna, either way he would have his fun. He moved Zatanna into the middle of the ring, his control over her movements improved greatly on the journey here. It hadn't taken much convincing to get everyone away and keep them away, after all, he was a lord of chaos.
"Let the fun begin," He closed his eyes, sending his message through Zatanna, using her magical energy. "Hurry up boy wonder."
Dick nearly crashed to the ground from his position on the ring trainer, but fortunately caught himself on time to ease to the ground. It hit him suddenly, rather like a punch. He closed his eyes against the uncomfortable pain.
'Save me Dick!' It was Zatanna's voice! An image flew into his mind of Zatanna, standing center ring in an empty circus tent. She looked as though she had been crying for a long time.
'Come alone, or she dies.' This time it was Klarion's voice, and an image Dick would never forget. It was a sign for Haly's Circus, the show date marked as tomorrow in New York. As suddenly as it came, the pain vanished from his head, along with their voices and the images. He grabbed his uniform, mask and gadgets and headed directly for his motorbike.
'Zeta to cave, grab new bike, zeta to New York. 25 minutes.. Just hang on 25 minutes Zee,' His mind was buzzing. He knew he should tell Batman, but Klarion had made things personal, too personal. This was his mission and his alone.
Zatanna tried desperately to scream in pain as Klarion pinned her to the ground with his magic. Red enchanted restraints held her in place to keep her still. Klarion couldn't be sure he wouldn't loss control of his mental domination over her body. She screamed in her mind again, tears rolling heavily from the sides of her eyes. She tried ignoring the taste of blood rolling down her throat and tried to focus her magic, receiving a small shock in her mind from Klarion.
"If you don't stop that, I will have to take control of your mind too!" He laughed as he pulled the needle through her bottom lip. He was stitching her mouth shut! He didn't need too, with mental domination he was in full control of her body once he maintained a constant connection with her. This unnecessary cruelty was mainly a display of power to Robin.
"and I do want you to enjoy the show too my sweet," He finished stitching her mouth shut, binding the end of his work magically. "After all, you're going to kill him for me." He stood over her and started levitating her into the air towards the trapeze, positioning her so she was sitting on the bar, holding the cables on either side.
"He's almost here!" Klarion chuckled to himself. He could have easily stitched her mouth with magic, but that however would be pain free to Zatanna. He wanted her to suffer. If she couldn't love him and him alone, she would experience constant pain. Perhaps she would start to realize she had to love him. Before summoning Robin, he had mentally conversed with her briefly. She begged him to stop, saying how she cared for them both, she couldn't bare to see either of them hurt.
'Don't hurt him, hurt me, do what you must to me, but don't hurt him!' That had only served to anger him further. It was after that statement he decided to stitch her mouth shut. He disappeared up to a platform at the top of the circus tent, Teekl by his side. He flexed his fingers and loosened his shoulders. He was ready for this fight. He grinned as Robin walked through the main entrance and faded back into shadows.
It took him several minutes to work up the courage to step inside the tent. He had avoided this circus as much as he could since his parents died, refusing to even take calls from his friends there when they were in Gotham. Anywhere else he could speak with them, but not in Gotham. Tonight, remembering Zatanna saying how she had seen his parents here when she was a child, he got the same sensation as if it were Gotham.
'Come on Dick, she needs you,' He stepped inside, eskrima sticks gripped in his hands, ready to fight.
"GREETINGS ONE AND ALL, AND WELCOME TO HALY'S CIRCUS!" Klarion's voice boomed around the tent as lights flickered to life, all focusing on one spot. He shielded his eyes against the sudden light, terror hitting his heart when he saw her.
"TONIGHT WE HAVE A SPECIAL ACT FOR YOU!" His laugh cut through Dick's heart like a knife, "THE RE-ENACTMENT OF THE DEATH OF THE FLYING GRAYSONS!" His breathing was rapid, the blood was pounding in his ears. Okay, so Klarion knew who he was, no big deal, but Zatanna was sitting on the trapeze at the top of the tent, barely moving, blood visible on her face.
"Klarion, show yourself you coward!" He yelled into the shadows of the tent, readying a grapple to catch Zatanna if she fell.
"Oh tsk tsk Dickie boy! I'm not your opponent today! BEHOLD!" Zatanna's body suddenly lurched forward, her eyes were wide in horror as she started falling through the air. Dick shot a grapple to the top of the center pole of the tent, swinging up quickly and catching Zatanna. His anger boiled when he saw the stitching on her mouth. He set her down gentle, shielding his eyes as yet more lights turned on, illuminating the tent.
"You sick sadistic son of a-" Dick stumbled forward, nearly hitting the ground from the kick from behind him. He turned back, dumb founded as Klarion's laugh echoed the tent. Zatanna stood posed in a fighting stance, tears streaming down her face. She was in a blue dress, stained from dirt and blood. Her hand shot forward, Klarion's red chaos magic flowing from her fingers. He dodged the attack, righting himself and staring once again at Zatanna. Her movements were odd, the way she held herself up was wrong. They reminded Dick of a puppet.
"Klarion, stop this! Fight me like a man, leave her out of this!" Dick dodged yet another attack, narrowly avoiding the backlash of the magical whip Zatanna now held. She ran towards him, the whip shrinking and shaping itself as a sword. Dick dodged as quickly as he could, restraining his automatic response to counter each attack.
"FIGHT HER! Or else," Klarion's voice was angry as Zatanna stopped attacking him, the sword in her hand shrinking further, becoming a dagger. She raised her arm, her eyes widening as she stabbed herself right through her other arm. The pain that shot through her body broke the connection with Klarion momentarily, the dagger disappearing as she fell to her knees, a muffled cry escaping her sealed lips. Dick didn't even have time to reach her before her body suddenly jerked upright. Her eyes closed, the tears continued flowing down her cheeks as blood dripped down her arm, falling in tiny droplets on the sawdust covered circus floor.
Dick dropped his eskrima sticks to the ground, unclipped his utility belt and pulled off his gloves and cape. He dropped to his knees, head lowered.
"You win... I won't fight her Klarion. Kill me if it makes you happy," He didn't see Zatanna's eyes open in horror, "just...just don't hurt her anymore." He looked up at Zatanna and stared into her eyes, a sorrowful smile playing on his lips, "don't give me that look Zee, it's killing me seeing you hurt like this."
"Just like that?" Klarion's voice sulked, "Just like that you're giving up? FOR HER?" Dick ignored him and just kept smiling at Zatanna, an unspoken conversation passing between them through their eyes. Her hand moved out in front of her, a red sword taking shape in her grip. She started moving towards him, her body clearly shaking with her emotion, despite Klarion's hold over her.
"I have the worst timing telling you things Zee," He swallowed back his emotions, but tears started running down his cheeks too, he was still smiling at her. "I love you, never forget that."
Zatanna's body stopped moving. Klarion's growls of anger started ringing out around the tent. Zatanna's hand seemed to fight against an invisible force as it turned the sword towards herself, its tip reaching her lips, which moved open slightly.
"NO YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" Klarion yelled appearing suddenly at the top of the tent. Zatanna slowly moved the blade, still struggling against Klarion's control. One stitch broke, and another, her lips pulling further apart every second. Air started rushing around Zatanna as her build up magical energy started to force Klarion's magic away from her. Dick quickly pulled his equipment back on, throwing two exploding tags at Klarion.
The explosion was the last thing she needed to break Klarion's concentration and pull herself free from his control. His blade disappeared from her hand, and her magic swelled around her, launching her into the air.
"laeH em!" She screamed through the pain of the last stitches ripping open, only to have her lips mend instantly, the blood flowing from her arm stopped as her wound began to close.
Dick jumped to his feet, grappling up to the same level as Klarion. He flung one of his red batarangs at him, catching Klarion's shoulder as he recovered from the rebound of his control on Zatanna. A golden disk appeared under Zatanna and an odd glow was coming from her eyes. Klarion was staring in horror at his former hostage.
"No, no , you can't have that much power, that's not right!" He yelled as Zatanna smirked.
"hctac eht tac!" A golden cage formed around Teekl, causing the familiar to hiss violently, and Klarion to scream in pure rage, launching himself towards the magician. Dick leapt forward, landing on Zatanna's magical platform, blocking the witch-boy with his eskrima stick's, smashing him across the face and punching him in the gut simultaneously. Klarion fell momentarily before flying back up to face them.
"Zatanna, don't do this!" He yelled at her. He could feel his magic was weakened after controlling her for so long, and now with Teekl caged, he was weakened even further. His only hope was playing off Zatanna's emotions. "You said you cared for me, how could you do this?"
Her laugh felt like a stab in his chest. "How could I do this to YOU? You tortured me, broke my bones, cut me, manipulated me, forced your way inside my head and tricked me into being with you!" Her hand closed into a tight fist, the cage around Teekl shrinking as she did.
"And worst of all, you tried to make me kill the person I love!" Dick couldn't help his cocky smile from spreading across his face as Klarion's own face warped into a demonic monster.
"Emit ot nruter ot ruoy nwo noisnemid!" Teekl's cage distorted, shaping into a spinning golden vortex, pulling Klarion back towards it. His screams and curses were drowned out as he was sucked back through the open portal. Zatanna moved the platform down towards the ground as soon as she closed the portal, taking a moment to stare at the mess in the circus tent. It finally felt like things were over.
Dick took her hand, his fingers locking with hers. He pulled her close, brushing stray strands of her hair back from her face and smiled. He ran his thumb along her lower lip, his index finger tilted her chin up.
"You were amazing," He smiled again as she took off his mask and studied his eyes. It was his eyes that truly saved her, never leaving her mind. Her lip quivered as tears of joy ran down her face.
"Do you really love me?" She needed to know, her memories were so conflicting in her mind, she needed to hear him say it again, she had to see it in his eyes. His smile lit his entire face, his eyes shined. She knew it was from a buildup of tears, and let a small squeak like giggle out knowing he would say it was just something in his eye.
"Yes Zee, I really do love you," He held her tightly, one arm around her waist, the other around her shoulders. He was not letting her go again. He kissed her sweetly, holding her as her emotion tipped over, her body shaking and tears flowing freely. She mumbled into his shoulder, her own arms wrapped around him holding on tight.
"I love you too Dick."