Sorry for the delay, sorry it's so short!
"We need to pick up the pace," Dick said while scouting around a corner. It had taken them nearly twenty minutes to get only a few blocks away from Klarions now destroyed home. It was becoming increasingly difficult to dodge the concerned and angry citizen rushing towards the now silent house.
"That's easy for you to say," Klarion snarled, "I mean I could drop my focus and let her loose again if that's what you really want." He was staring at the once again conscious Zatanna who was pounding against the inside of her magical prison. "She may not be able to use her magic in there, but it doesn't mean I can sustain it with ease." Beads of sweat were clearly visible on his brow.
"Okay, I get it, but we need to move faster. There's only forty minutes left," Dick signaled it was clear and moved around the corner, not realizing he had given away yet another important piece of information to Klarion. The portal would close in forty minutes. For just a moment, as the chaos subsided inside her, Zatanna stared at Klarion as the malicious grin spread across his face and remembered that somewhere deep down, she feared him.
"Twenty minutes left, and then I must close the portal." Doctor Fate kept his back to Bruce, who was beginning to pace. He knew Bruce would try to persuade him to keep the portal open just a little longer. Ten minutes, then perhaps another five. It was difficult enough battling with Giovanni internally, he didn't need to argue with Bruce too. Bruce took a deep breath.
"I understand the dangers," Bruce stared at the portal entrance considering ways to convince Doctor Fate to keep the portal open longer. He sighed and gave up. Dick knew he had a time limit, and he also knew he now had responsibility to his sons. He would make it back through the portal if he was still alive, with or without Zatanna, as heartbreaking as that would be. "And so does Dick. He'll make it back. He has to."
"If he doesn't return with Zatanna, there are… other magic users who will be able to help your grandchildren," Giovanni's softer tones touched Doctor Fate's speech.
"I appreciate the thought, but right now, I have to believe Dick will bring Zatanna back to us all," Bruce glanced at his watch. There was only fifteen minutes left. Dick was cutting it very close, too close for comfort
"Klarion move it! We only have five minutes," Dick was practically screaming. He wanted to grab Zatanna and run for the portal. He was able to see it from here. Klarion was, however, the only one who could transport her given her current chaotic rage. Hopefully Doctor Fate would be able to control her once he crossed through the portal. He stopped and stared at the portal. How was he going to get Zatanna through without Klarion.
"Did anyone ever tell you how annoying an angry little bird chirping in your ear for forty minutes is?" Klarion growled. He was struggling with every step now. He could tap into the energy he reserved for after the crossing and upcoming battle, or release Zatanna, hoping they could just drag her through the portal. He was able to see the portal clearly now, as well as Fate waiting on the other side. "You know Dickie bird, Fate won't let me cross, meaning I will have to release Zatanna."
"I know, I've been trying to find a way around that," Dick walked over to the portal and stared through. "If you can hear me, we're here, we just have a slight problem." He glanced back at Zatanna. She was too strong right now for him to physically over power and Klarion was certainly looking like he was struggling. Dick turned back to the portal and spoke quick and quietly. "Klarion is with me. He infected Zatanna and the chaos is taking over her, its destroying her body, eating her alive." He saw Doctor Fate turn his head to stare at Klarion and Zatanna, then back to Dick. He took it as a sign he could be heard. "Klarion is weak, he fought with Zatanna. I need his help to get her through the portal. You could easily beat him in this state, heck I'd love to get a few more punches in myself, but we can't abandon Zatanna. "
Dick could see Bruce, now suited up as Batman, move towards the portal.
"Doctor Fate," Batman spoke quietly, but Dick could still hear him, "It's dangerous but a danger I believe we must be willing to risk."
"Klarion is not the reason I am hesitant Batman," Doctor Fate spoke and glanced again at Zatanna, "I can sense very little of Zatanna left in her mind. The chaos may have damaged more than just her body, or it may be that she has been suppressed, but I fear what may happen if we bring her back to our world."
Dick took a step closer to the portal, a sense of panic spreading through him. It made sense, the things she was saying and how she attacked him, but he refused to believe his wife could potentially be gone from her own mind.
"No, she's in there Fate," He took after glance over his shoulder, "She is, I can feel it. You can save her."
"I will take this risk and allow her to travel through the portal," Doctor Fate spoke more to Batman than to Dick, "But I will not be held responsible for anything that occurs once she has returned. I cannot guarantee my ability to repair the damage inflicted upon her. I cannot, however, willing let a Lord of Chaos loose in our realm."
Zatanna was staring intently at Klarion. The markings on her neck, which had returned to black while in her prison, were starting to pulse red again. There was barely any blue visible in her eyes anymore, and the whites of her eyes were completely bloodshot. Klarion narrowed his eye's and stared at his prize. To him, that's what she truly was. A smirk spread across his face as a sly smile spread on hers as Dick continued his hushed discussion through to the portal trying to find a way to 'save' her. Teekl crept up behind Klarion, leaping onto his shoulder. He was preparing to cross dimensions.
'Zatanna my dear, stop that,' Klarion spoke directly into Zatanna's mind, feeling her trying to resist his magic again. He regained some control when the idiot bird boy touched her marks. Somehow he had cause the chaos's influence over Zatanna to lessen, but Klarion had no intention of sharing this information. 'We're going to play a little game my beloved. We're going to cross dimensions, and you can have your sweet revenge, but you must promise me something.'
'I know how you love playing game my sweet,' The smirk on Zatanna's face spread as she glanced around at her husband. She could now see the portal which was becoming clearer and the figure of Doctor Fate standing on the other side. 'What promise do you want me to make you Witch boy.' Her eyes were narrowed now. The chaos inside her was confusing her memories. Doctor Fate, Nabu, he was her father, yet he stole her father. He was order, and she was becoming chaos. Her natural magic was crying out for his help but the chaos was screaming to kill.
'They all gave you up for those brats my beloved, I need you to promise you will remember that and play along with my game.'
Dick stood with his back to the portal facing Klarion and his imprisoned wife. He had to come up with a plan.
"Klarion, move her near the portal." Dick still wasn't sure how he would get Zatanna through the portal, he just needed her closer, and Klarion further away. "Now move back, then release her."
"No please, no thank you," Klarion's smirk spread revealed pointed teeth. He moved Zatanna so she was inches in front of Dick. "Alas with this level of fatigue," Klarion stepped back about two meters, "This will have to be far enough for you." He smirked, watching the back of Dick's legs from Teekl's eyes, poised and ready to strike.
Zatanna turned to face Dick, one fist slamming up against her magical prison. Her grin verged on maniacal. He took a deep breath and stepped towards his wife. She looked savage, barely recognisable.
"My pleasure," Klarion laughed, releasing his hold on Zatanna's prison. As the bubble around her vanished, Zatanna crashed to the ground, catching herself on one knee. Dick leapt forward , grabbing her arms and pulling her into a standing position. He took a deep breath, noticing the pulsing red marks on her skin and pulled her close to him, holding her tight. Her scream drowned out his yell of pain as the marks burned their way through his clothes, searing into his skin. He took a step backwards, pulling the struggling screaming Zatanna with him. The portal was only a few more step away now.
"Hold on Zee," He whispered, more to himself than to her.
"BEHIND YOU!" He could barely make out Batman's warning shout. Teekl had mutated into his beast form and stepped between Dick and the portal, snarling.
"You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?" Klarion's laughter was suddenly the only thing Dick could hear. He looked over at the Lord of Chaos, no longer looking fatigued or weak. He tricked him again. "It's very typical of you Dickie bird, to overlook the obvious when Zatanna is involved." Teekl bit the back of Dick's leg, causing him to release Zatanna. He couldn't cope with the burning pain any longer. He pulled an escrima from a hidden pocket quickly, knocking the familiar away with easy. Suddenly everything felt distant, as if Dick had slowed down compared to the rest of the world. He could see Batman grab Doctor Fate's arm through the portal.
"No Fate! Don't close it!" Batman's voice was barely audible.
"It is too dangerous!"
"Oh Dick my love," Zatanna's hands grabbed Dick by the ragged cloth around his chest, her nailed scratching against the blistering burning flesh, causing him to cry out in pain. "Let's go see our babies!" With a shocking amount of strength, she launched herself and Dick back through the portal, closely followed by Teekl and Klarion to Doctor Fate's dismay.
Klarion phased the moment he got through the portal, appearing behind Doctor Fate and Batman. His familiar launched himself at Batman while Klarion shot multiple eldritch bolts at Doctor Fate. A blinding flash of golden light filled Dick's eye's as Fate countered the attack. He pulled himself to his feet, struggling through his pain.
"Nightwing," Batman was suddenly at his side, helping him stand, "Klarion had it planned the whole time, where are they going?" He shook Dick slightly in panic, "Dick, where would he take her here? Doctor Fate is gone for help, you have to think."
Dick's mind was racing. Everything had happened so suddenly he didn't even have time to think.
Let's go see our babies