This is a sequel to Allure of Chaos :) It's set ten years later. Enjoy.
Her hand lashed out, slapping him across the face, hitting the three scratch marks on his cheek. They split, little drops of blood started trickling down his face. Dick stared at Zatanna in shock. This was the first time she had ever lashed out at him. Sure, she had hit him before, but that was during training. Never before had his wife hit him in anger. Dick was 26, living in a penthouse apartment in Gotham with his wife of four years, Zatanna. Both of them were members of the Justice League, and Dick, as Nightwing, was still a member of the 'Bat Family'. He still patrolled Gotham, helped Batman, Robin and Batgirl, as often as he could. He knew what was coming, and it ate away at him inside. The slap was all the proof he needed. Zatanna knew he cheated on her.
"Everything we've been through! Ten years Dick! We've been together for ten years, married for four of those years. Do you even REMEMBER your vow to be faithful to me?" Tears were streaming down Zatanna's face as she flung his clothes through the bedroom door using her magic. Some managed to make it out the open balcony door. Dick didn't even move to gather them, instead he went straight to where he hid his Nightwing suits. He looked at down at his current one which was scratched, ripped, covered in blood. His mask was torn too.
"Of all the people to cheat on me with, why her Dick?" She was standing in the centre of the room staring at him. Her make-up was streaked down her face from tears.
"Zee, I don't know... I don't know what came over me," He averted his gaze, he couldn't bare to look at his wife like this. The last time he had seen her cry this much was when they were teenagers. It's true that he didn't know what came over him. He was on a mission out of town with Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, following up leads on an arms dealing. "We nearly died... there was just... so much adrenaline...and...then Babs just kissed me...and"
"Stop! I do NOT need to hear this! TEG TUO!" she screamed, sending Dick flying through the air to the balcony. "kcol srood." The balcony doors slammed shut locking themselves, the curtains flew shut. The last view he had of his wife was seeing her fall to her knees, hands over her face, sobbing uncontrollably.
"Batman to Zatanna, a magical disturbance is taking place in Star city, you're needed immediately." No reply. Bruce double checked the communication line was opening, and tried again. He took his cell phone out, pressing speed-dial 4, 'Grayson home' appearing on the screen as the call connected. The phone rang out, reaching the voice mail.
'You've reached the Grayson home! We're either busy or don't want to talk to you,'
'Dick that's mean!'
'Anyway, leave a message, we might call back.' Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
Bruce sighed and hung up the phone. He opened a com line to Captain Marvel, sending him to the disturbance in Star city. He dialled Dick's cell phone next.
"What?" Bruce narrowed his eyes at the aggressive tone of his adopted son. "I can feel you glaring, spit it out already I'm busy."
"Are you in Gotham," Bruce was already suiting up. Clearly this was a conversation that needed to happen face to face. The call disconnected, or rather, Dick hung up. Something was off, Zatanna wasn't answer her radio and Dick was snapping. Yet again, there were problems with the Bat-family.
Nightwing was perched on the edge of the roof staring over Gotham towards his home. The curtains were still drawn since Zatanna kicked him out two nights ago. He had spent most of his time patrolling Gotham, while staying near to his home. She had to come out eventually, and once she was in public, she wouldn't use her magic on him. He needed to speak to her. His hair was tossed more so than usual, his face scruffy with stubble. Even though Batman approached him without making the faintest noise, Dick knew he was there.
"What is it Bruce..."
"That's what I'm here to find out," He stepped over to the edge of the roof, standing beside Dick. "I can't reach Zatanna."
"Well that makes two of us!" Dick snapped, averting his gaze from his apartment to glare at Bruce, as if they could really tell beneath the masks. "Sorry, I didn't mean to snap..." He sat down on the ledge of the roof and sighed as Bruce placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Alfred prepared your room, come home, clean yourself up. We can talk about this tomorrow." Bruce stared up at Dick's apartment, and with the touch of a few buttons, the lenses in his mask zoomed for a better look. The curtains were drawn, but from the slight gap at the bottom of them, it was clearly dark inside. There was a brief flash of light which faded almost instantly.
"She's been casting spells non-stop," Dick stood, stretching out his cramped muscles. He needed to sleep. "I'm hoping it's just practise."
"I'll investigate tomorrow, let's go."
Zatanna's league communicator lay beside the muted telephone and her powered down cell phone. She sat in the middle of the living room, her legs crossed, magic books scattered in a circle around her. She was exhausted, but she knew if she stopped practising her emotions would overcome her. She closed her eyes and focused. She was getting better at casting minor spells without incantations. Her books floated from the floor, circling her slowly, pages flickering randomly. She sped up the rotation of the books, counted to ten, and released the spell. She looked at the book that fell in front of her, whatever page it was on had the next spell she would practise.
Fire: control and manipulate.
The list of fire related spells was three pages long. She knew most of them, fire was the first element of magic she worked with as a child.
"Fire burn and cauldron bubble? Isn't that a little clichéd?" Dick always showed an interest in her spells, always trying to catch what the spell was. When he finally worked out her favourite spell he had laughed so hard, bringing up some story about witches and a cauldron. She threw the book across the room and fought back a sob.
"ekam ti pots gnitruh" Her words were little more than a whisper, but a soothing sensation filled her body. She relaxed so much she failed to question the presence of magic that was not her own. She pulled herself up onto the sofa, curled into a defensive position and closed her eyes. Everything felt blissfully numb and she was soon drifting to sleep.
Klarion placed the blanket over her carefully, still focusing his magic on stopping her emotional pain. The previous night he sensed her magic being used sporadically. Not many magic users were able to carry their emotion into their work, but Klarion could sense Zatanna was hurting from the intensity of her magic. She had found out quicker than he thought. At first he watched her through a small portal, undetectable beneath the level of magic she was using. When she finally passed out from exhaustion, Klarion read her memories, finding out about the fight she had with her husband, gritting his teeth at the level of pain she was feeling. He decided to watch over her to make sure she didn't lose control of her magic.
"You deserve better than that my sweet..." He stepped back through his portal with a smirk, leaving her in a peaceful sleep.
Dick practically shovelled his breakfast into his mouth to avoid answering any of Tim's questions. Bruce sat at the head of the table, watching his sons who sat across from each other.
"So how are things with Zatanna? Thought about having kids yet? Is she coming over later?" Tim swallowed another mouthful of food, "Why did you stay here last night anyway?" Dick scowled at his younger adopted brother, using his spoon to flick a piece of bread at his forehead.
"Do you ever stop with the questions? Shouldn't you be in school or something?"
Tim smirked, slyly flinging his toast like a frisbee at Dick, who blocked the incoming projectile with his knife, using it like one of his eskrima sticks.
"Master Tim, Master Richard, I would greatly appreciate if you would refrain from throwing food on the floor," Alfred sighed, removing plates from the table. "Also, your car will be leaving in five minutes Master Tim." Bruce couldn't help but smile. It was nice seeing Dick and Tim tormenting Alfred again. Tim ran out the door mumbling something about revenge later.
"You and Barbara were missing for almost four days with no communications," Bruce drummed his fingers in a rhythm on the table, "We were unable to locate you on any league systems, and a locator spell performed by Zatanna, and another by doctor Fate both failed." He noticed Dick's gaze drop, staring absent mindedly at the table.
"You realise Zatanna was terrified at this stage Dick, she is your wife." Dick nodded, propping his elbows on the table and resting his head in his hands.
"I know Bruce..." Dick's guilt was eating away at his heart. The more Bruce explained about the searches they tried that day the worse the sinking pit in his stomach became.
"Eventually Zatanna resorted to magic she was only experimenting with. She put herself into a deep meditative state, and with Fate's guidance, she performed what I can only describe as an astral projective search. She called it Etheric travel." Dick shot up straight, staring at Bruce. He knew Zatanna was studying the more spiritual side of her magic recently, and he had heard her speak about astral projection and etheric travel before.
"An out of body experience, searching with her spirit while her body remained in one location," it was barely audible, but as Dick said the words something clicked in his brain. He had smelt her perfume that day, or at least he thought he did. He liked to think that was what snapped him out of whatever came over him.
"When she came back, she told us you were both fine. Then she left and we haven't been able to contact her since." Bruce's gaze was intense, all the compassion of a father gone. "What happened on that mission Dick?"
"She saw it... that's how she knew," Dick buried his face in his hands again, his fingers gripping tightly, nails putting pressure on his skin.
"I need to know Dick, you were away on official league business. Not only that, but Zatanna is my daughter-in-law, and I'm worried."
"I... me and Babs," Dick's sighed, if he said it, it was real. It was out there for everyone to know. He was nearly ripping his hair from his head, fighting back all the emotion which was absent when facing his wife. "We slept together..."
There were some times in his life that Conner really hated his super hearing. Now was one of them. He was walking with Mal towards some café where they were meeting Barbara and Cassie for a 'catch up lunch' as the girls called it. They were half a block away when Conner heard Cassie shriek, focusing his hearing on her in case she was in danger.
"YOU DID WHAT?" Cassie shrieked again.
"Keep it down Cas," Conner relaxed, it was just Cassie over reacting to something Barbara said. Nothing bad there.
"I know he's married! I don't know what came over me... I've always been attracted to Nightwing but..." Conner stopped suddenly, Mal not noticing for a few seconds. He knew he should stop listening, but after Barbara's last statement, he couldn't help but listen. He held a hand up to silence Mal as he turned to ask what was wrong.
"But but... Zatanna, how could you do that to her Barb, how could you sleep with her husband?" Cassie sounded really upset.
"Cas... Cassie! Come back, please!"
He didn't need to hear any more. He told Mal he had an emergency and turned, heading the other direction. He pulled his cell out of his pocket and dialled Wally's number.
"Where are you? We have to talk. No, no don't bring Artemis, she'd probably set out on a murder spree..."
Conner was pacing under the bridge he agreed to meet Wally at. Sphere was rolling around, chasing wolf. A cloud of dust passed between the two as Wally skidded to a halt beside Conner.
"Long time no see buddy! So what's all this hush hush secret meeting about?" Wally pulled his goggles off, shoving them into his jacket pocket.
"I overheard Cassie and Barbara talking..." Conner fidgeted a little, knowing what he had to say wasn't going to go down well. "And I'm pretty sure Dick slept with Barbara..." The smile was instantly wiped from Wally's face, his eyes widened. He was Dick's best friend, and since her abduction years ago, he had grown close to Zatanna.
"Dude... are you serious? Artemis hasn't heard anything from Tanna lately," Wally ran his hand through his hair. His fiancée and Zatanna were best friends, and very protective of each other. He didn't know how many time's he had a glass of water magically dumped over his head whenever he upset Artemis. "Oh man she'll kill Dick... Does Tanna even know?"
"I don't know if she knows, I only overheard the girls talking," Conner sighed, "I think it was last week, when they were M.I.A."
"Well... time to go see Dick," He was already dialling his best friend's phone number. They had to find out the truth, see who knew and if Zatanna was okay, and more importantly, they had to make sure Artemis did NOT find out. Conner rounded up Sphere and wolf, sphere transforming into the super cycle, wolf jumping into his usual seat.
'Keep calm Dick, there is no way they know...' He was sitting in the over grown roof top garden of an old abandoned hotel in Old Gotham. Conner had suggested the location, they were arriving by super cycle and less people would notice it there. Wally didn't say much on the phone, just that they had to speak in person, immediately. He was still shaken after the realisation that Zatanna would have actually seen him cheat on her when she searched for him. Bruce's reaction to finding out was unusual. He was prepared for a beating, but Bruce just stood and walked from the room. The disappointment in his eyes just caused Dick's guilt to double. What would he do if his friends found out? Oh god... Artemis would kill him!
He looked up and managed a half-hearted smile as Wally and Conner both jumped out of the super cycle, getting to his feet to greet them. Before he even managed to open his mouth to speak, Wally had dashed over, punching him in the face. He'd managed to catch him off guard, sending Dick tumbling back into an over grown grass patch. He was glad Wally punched him and not Conner.
"I take it you know..." He sat up, rubbing the side of his face. That was definitely going to bruise. "How did you find out?" He could see the anger on Wally's face, his fists were clenched tight.
"Barbara told Cassie," Conner stepped forward, tapping his ear to indicate the super hearing.
"You better have a good explanation for this one Grayson," Wally nearly spat the words out. He had been the best man at his wedding, Artemis was the head bridesmaid for Zatanna. Dick and Zatanna were going to be the same at their wedding. The couples had double dated so often and been through so much in their line of work that they were like family. It was hurting Wally to think that might be over.
"I don't. Nothing I can say will fix this or make it any less of a betrayal than it already is," Dick buried his face in his hands again. He was so ashamed of himself that he couldn't look at his friends. "I don't even know what happened... one minute we were trying to get somewhere safe to radio for help... We got caught in the explosion and were in a bad way..." he shook his head, something Bruce said about the radios was bugging him, "next thing I know, Barbara was all over me... and I wasn't stopping her. I don't know what came over me..."
"You're right, nothing can fix this. Does Tanna know? Where is she?" Wally had turned his back on Dick. He couldn't stomach to look at him. He had seen the tears even though Dick covered his face. He really did regret it that much was obvious.
"The etheric travel..." Conner mumbled. After a questioning look from Wally, he explained about the search and Zatanna's odd reaction. "We assumed her behaviour was just from using an unfamiliar type of magic..." Wally narrowed his eyes. He was even more worried, knowing Zatanna knew, but hadn't sought to talk to her best friend. They spoke about everything. They were worse than him and Dick!
"Wait... you said that you were going to Radio for help?" Wally turned, staring at Dick. He was a mess. He walked over and sat beside him, Conner doing the same. Dick messed up, but he was still their friend. "But when Batman tried to search for you, he said your radio communication lines were down?"
"Yeah, there must have been some interference, they were still working on our end..." Dick's hands fell away from his face as things started to click in his brain. "But we weren't receiving any transmission from the league..." Dick looked at Wally whose eyes were narrowed. Conner looked at the two, he was clearly slightly behind on their train of thought, he'd always found it difficult to keep up with their brains.
"And Con, you said that Nabu and Tanna couldn't find them with a normal locator spell?" Wally mused, "You know, the locator spell that can find ANYTHING!"
"Including the wedding rings when my best man can't find them?" Dick smirked a little, twisting his wedding ring around his finger. Conner caught up at last.
"And you and Barbara both said you don't know what came over you...Something was stopping the league from finding you right?" Conner jumped to his feet, Wally also stood up, hauling Dick to his feet.
"Come on Detective, we have some investigating to do. This doesn't change what happened though, but at least you won't be anywhere Artemis can murder you..." They got into the super cycle and Wally called Artemis. Dick's eyes were wide as he sank down into the seat; Artemis was the one person he was actually terrified of in this situation. Wally had the phone at arm's length after he told her, her yells audible to all three of them.
"WHEN DID, WHAT THE? WALLY WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME EARLIER! I'LL BLOODY KILL DICK! AND BARBARA TOO! WHO DOES SHE THINK S-"
"Babe, calm down please, just go to Tanna, and look after her. We'll talk more tonight." Wally ended the call quickly and looked at Dick wide eyed. "If she tries to kill you, you're on your own mate…"