Author'sNote

Hey there!

I'm not dead, just occupied. The next chapter for Roads of Yesterday is coming. I promise. The story will have a finally. And a big one at that. You will all love it, I think...
In the mean time, enjoy this little piece. It will make you cry a bit, I hope.
It's a two shot FlashSpell piece. I like it a lot.
Hope you do too.

Luffles to all! Creative ;D


Zatanna stood at the window, one hand cupping her elbow and a sheet of paper while she chewed her nails. Tears threatened to teeter over the edge of her eyes. She kept her blurry gaze on the night-lit city. Grey clouds were gathering over the horizon and coming towards the stone jungle. The promise of rain followed the clouds, just like it always did, and with that rain would always follow thunder and, her least favorite thing in the world, lightning. A shuddering breath seeped from frozen shoulders as Zatanna bowed her head, eyes closed. It all had seemed hilarious less than a year ago when she had told the Team, or in her memories been forced to tell them, especially when she was dating Wally. A vague smile began to pull at her lips as she thought of the red lightning bolt that she had come to love. Tears fell from their perch and onto the wooden floor and the smile vanished as she looked from the city skyline to the paper in her hand.

She dropped the hand from her mouth and unfolded the paper again. With one hand gripping her forearm, she reread the letter.

24th March 2018

Dear Zatanna,

The League has considered your talents and growth as a hero from your beginning with the Team in 2010 to your present day achievements; amongst which are the capture of Lord Malignus, the defense of Quraki ambassadors when attending the Assimilation Treaty with Bialya, safe-guarding the Tomb of Isis from Wotan, Black Adam and Klarion, albeit with extraneous help.

She crumpled the paper in her fist once more before slamming it against the wall. Her shoulders began to shake and shudder. Quiet sobs freed themselves from her throat.

Her body turned, back pressing against the wall, before she slid down and sat on the hard ground with her knees pulled tightly to her chest. With her arms wrapped in a coil-like fashion around her legs, Zatanna buried her face in her knees. Her closed fist tightened even more as she raised her eyes from dark to glare at the crinkled page. She waited for a letter like the one in her fist after she had lost her father. She had wanted it more than anything. Back then, when she was still consumed with grief, she had been hoping that maybe spending enough time with him and maybe allow him the push, and the conviction, he needed to get Nabu to let him go. She had dreamed of being able to free her father of Nabu. However, as the years passed and she fought off everything life threw at her, Zatanna began to let go. She thought that the League was never going to ask her to join; and as time continued on and she began dating Wally, planning a life she came to want… she found herself okay without her father. Now her wish was coming true, but the dream had turned into a nightmare. The thoughts she had managed to push away and finally had buried were surfacing with a vengeance. She had a chance, dangling at her fingertips, at having a chance to do what she had fantasized, only dreamed she could do.

A growl of frustration tore from her throat as she recalled the words so neatly printed on the page. They taunted her.

Please keep in mind that the Team and League are separate for reasons of great importance, and as such, the only ties between them allowed are mentor-protege. If you have any links with members of the Team, be they social or romantic, they will need to cease prior to your acceptance of this invitation. We understand that this clause is harsh and that you may feel too attached to the Team to accept these rules, thus we would comprehend your choice to decline the invitation. But know that the opportunity to join the League will not present itself again until the next complete meeting and should you draw the League's attention again. Your declination of this invitation will be taken into account in future presentations of membership.

Thank you for your service to the world. May you stay safe and well in capacity of performing your duties,

The Justice League of America.

She crumpled the paper in her fist once more before slamming it against the wall. Her shoulders began to shake and shudder. Quiet sobs began to free themselves from her throat.

She understood the words, knew what each one was and that they formed a whole. She could understand that the letter told her she was invited to join the League. That made her stomach flip in excitement. However, to join the League she had to quit the Team, entirely.

If she to choose to step up and join the League, she would need to keep the Team, and all it's members, at arms length. The League and Team were separate, excluding mentor-protege relations. She would have to sever all her personal ties with the Team. A chill her veins turned her blood to ice and her world seemed to collapse around her, again. She knew that she would have to, that if she ever had been picked that everyone would be left behind. Then, she had understood that and accepted it as a fact with the whole of her being. Now, though, it was more painful than she ever thought anything ever could be.

She understood why Dick was staying on the Team, despite the ever growing number of heroes who felt that he could do more good on the League. She knew, from experience, that he would never leave Barbara, not for some higher up position on the totem pole. Because that was really all there was to it, the difference between League and Team. One was more known and higher up on the radar. Dick had no reason to want to climb higher. He was Batman's first protege, leader of the Team, one of the original Team members and one of the most loyal people Zatanna knew.

Her lids slid open as she looked up at the ceiling. They easily found the many-times-patched hole and painted-over foot-marks where Dick had hidden to surprise her or put a small camera to watch her when they were trying on-again-off-again routine. A barely there chuckle slipped her lips as she recalled the fights that had ensued from that one small camera. It was an innocent little thing, something that allowed them to keep an eye on the apartment, and him to keep an eye on her to make sure nothing happened when he was not around.

Her heart clenched as the spiteful words that flew between them echoed again in her ears. Neither of them had meant what they said, but her heart still hurt. She would wager that his did too. They spoke after the words, but barely, and the only reason that she had begun to forgive Dick was because Wally needed his best friend and his girlfriend to get along. Neither of them liked what they had to do, but they did it for that redheaded speedster that they both cared for. They were loyal to him.

Loyal.

Loyalty.

Dick was one of the most loyal, persevering people she had ever known. More so even than Wally. He would rather cut off a limb than leave a teammate behind. There was a good reason the League was after Dick. They wanted his skills in reconnaissance, in fighting, in management, and the trust people put in his orders. The League needed Nightwing to follow orders, or make his own, and was preparing him to be the head of the Justice League, someday. Zatanna knew, everyone knew that he did not want that. He would never want to be the leader of the entire Justice League. He did not want power. He wanted a strong and loving family, loyal and understanding friends, and worthwhile life. The acrobat craved a closeness with people to ease the gaping hole in his heart, and joining the League would destroy that. He had a reason to stay that he would never abandon and not a single thought towards leaving.

Zatanna had reasons for leaving and for staying. Her motives were more than moving up the food chain. They were to save a life that she so desperately wanted to save, needed to save. As she hoped that she would save her father, any chance of a life beyond that were impossible. Wally had shown her that there was more in life than just the Cave. He had pulled her back to the world, made her enjoy fun again. She gave up on saving her father, understanding that she was likely to never get through to him, even if she was on the League. She had given up the dream of hearing her father's warm laugh; resigned the idea that she would feel his soothing presence was no longer possible. Her father was gone in Fate and she would never get the chance to save him. She had wanted more than anything to save him then. She would have given anything to have him again. Now that she was facing the possibility… She saw it may not be as worth the pain as she had thought.

Her pale hands turned paler as they reached for her raven locks. Her knuckles faded to a snowy white. Her lips parted in a soundless scream as conflict raged in her brain. Step up and maybe have a shot in a million of saving her dad, but loose herself as she left Wally (and herself) heartbroken forever? Stay behind and keep the pain of not having her dad, but have her heart intact and a good steady relationship? Leave and break one of the sweetest, most amazing guys out there or stay and keep him (and herself) happy and whole? Stay and live her life the way she would if her dad was not Doctor Fate or leave and sacrifice her future to maybe save her father?

Tears were now starting to trail down their old paths in torrent along Zatanna's cheek.

In one fluid movement, though filled with anger, the magician stood up. Her eyes remained shut as she lashed out at the air, pretending something was there; anything to let out some of that building pressure of emotion to process logically. This was not something she could ever go back and fix. Whatever choice the teen would make, her life, and Wally's, would change tonight.

Her furious fit carried the raven-haired girl throughout her flat, making her lash out at anything and almost everything. Her voice raised as she shouted anger at everything while her arms and feet lunged at it, though hardly anything ever fell or broke. Tear tracks trailed behind the girl, leaving a trail on the floor, as well as down her front. The make-up she had so carefully applied that morning was smeared and dribbling down her cheeks.

It took until the clouds had gathered and almost halted over the great stone city for Zatanna's anger and frustration to ease. Energy gone, flushed out with the anger, she crumpled to the floor in a tangled heap beside her kitchen counter. Over the course of her rampage the young girl had grabbed a small toy, her childhood favorite. It happened to be a small red and yellow teddy bear with green bead eyes that she had drawn a Flash insignia on. Her father had bought it for her when she was very young, but Zatanna had never seen fit to toss aside a toy that still did its job perfectly. It always was there to catch her tears, give her a warm hug and (with a little magic) make her a cup of hot chocolate. Zatanna had taken to using the name Wally had called it when the name was unbeknown to him, mostly because she had forgotten the toy's original name. A light smile played on her lips as she mouthed the name. Zatanna had refused to use the name in front of the speedster, for fear of making his ego swell larger. The young magician would call the Flash-themed toy Flashy in private.

Zatanna hugged Flashy close, letting the bear gather up her tears as it had done for so many years. Then she held it in front of her, arms length away. Her crystal eyes scanned over the bear, scrutinizing the fluffy toy as if it held the answers to her future. So many memories the noirette had were connected to that single toy. She could easily recall how she had begged her father to get it for her in the toy shop; with painful tears the teen could replay the first time Wally and Robin had ever laid eyes on the rather personal stuffed companion; every single trip that Zatanna ever took was made possible because of that bear and so every trip that he was not there made Zatanna remember them. But most importantly to her was the time when she and Wally had gone on a week-end camping trip with the Team and she had forgotten the stuffy at the Cave. The entire Team was camping out and they were a good few miles from any civilization or technology, bioship included, and Zatanna was freaking out because she had not slept without the toy in years. She had been pacing around the campfire and planning on not sleeping when Wally groggily fell out of his tent. The two had started talking about things and by the end of a few hours broached the subject of "why are you up so late?". When Zatanna confessed the reason to Wally, instead of laughing and barking out playful threats of blackmail, Wally offered to run back and grab the bear for her. That night with that act of kindness beyond recognition and repayment was what had started their close friendship, what made her see him as more than a goofy friend. His willingness to do something so personal was what had opened Zatanna's eyes to something more in him. They were first very good friends and then, slowly, they grew closer.

A sniffle echoed in the air as she curled around Flashy. He was a dear little toy to her, almost as dear to her as the heart she was about to break. She buried her nose into the soft head of the bear, letting the odd cinnamon-strawberry scent fill her mind. Begrudgingly, at first, she had let Wally take Flashy with him every once in a while, when they were switching between each others houses. Nightwing had joked a couple times that the bear was like their first child. A soft laugh burst from her throat, though it was quickly followed by a short broken sound.

Her head hurt from the battling thoughts. They were restless, fighting a bloody battle and using her emotions and loyalty as a battlefield. Her heart was tearing itself to pieces. Her memories were handing out free ammunition. She lifted her head away from the softness and shook it hard, trying to shake the raging torrent quiet. A rattling buzz made her freeze. Her eyes snapped down to her phone. The overly familiar, and now painful, ringtone was blasting from it. "Bill Gates, Captain of the chess team; Jack Black, the clown; Brad Pitt, the Quarterback. I've seen it all before. I want my money back!" Automatically, her hand reached out and snatched the phone. Her fingers slid over the smooth screen in a practiced motion, and before she could tell her hands no the phone was by her ear.

"Hey there, Zee. I just got your message, told me to call you right back. So, hey your favorite Wall-man here."

She could not make her voice work for a few seconds, her eyes welling up with fat tears as her heart raced. The bloody battle that was going off in her head turned to a deadly race. Which side could get to her mouth faster? Which could be said first? As suddenly as her phone had gone off, her lips parted and words tumbled from them.

"Hey Wally," her head tipped forward, bowing to the emotions and letting her relax at the sound of his voice.

Zatanna did not notice the silence where his response should have been until his voice flooded the phone, "You okay, Zee? You don't sound good. You need me to grab you something from the store? I'll run it over before you can say 'Justice League'. What'd you need? I'm up fo-"

"Walls, I'm fine." A sniffle slipped out before she could catch it.

"You don't sound fine." Sometimes Zatanna hated how well he knew her.

Her teeth began to knead her lower lip, biting into it as she fought down the howling sounds her throat yearned to make. Her mind raced with things to tell him, everything she could tell him… things she could tell him that would make him hate her, make him leave her. She could deal with that. She could live with having broken his heart if left her and could move on because he never wanted her back again.

Her lips parted to let the wrecking-ball fly, but her throat caught around the words. Her breath stopped. A choking sound fled her mouth. She lurched forward almost gaging. The phone dropped from her hands and the call on the line was thrown from her mind as she launched to her feet and was tearing to the bathroom.

"Zee? You okay? Zee? Zatanna, answer!"