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#my baby
dysfunctionalghost5 minutes ago
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I had a little conversation with @htonl and ended up drawing this when sleep deprived on a plane :D
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obnoxiouslyzukka16 minutes ago
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Guys. Guyssssss.
I felt baby pumpkin-bee moving around for the first time today and I'm... I... 馃槶馃槶馃槶.
....Of course they decided to do that and then be all active while my fiance and I were out at breakfast with our best friends.
And this pregnancy has made me so god-damn emotional, I don't even know why but fuck it's been a challenge trying to keep my shit together, I've cried more in the past couple months than like ever before in my life I swear, and this???? Feeling baby bee move???? I didn't stand a chance.
So... Yeah. I think our friends are starting to get suspicious considering I just started to randomly cry while eating waffles for seemingly no damn reason.
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seraphdreams16 minutes ago
hey princess, how did you sleep? i dreamt of you -jean
hi jeanbae鈾 i dreamt of you too, i slept pretty well! how bout you?
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alecmagnuslwb18 minutes ago
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Time Doesn鈥檛 Love You Anymore
Read on AO3
Day One
鈥淚 got the magic in me, every time I touch that track it turns into gold!鈥 his phone rings out from the makeshift nightstand that鈥檚 actually just a stack of old yellow pages. 聽
Zatanna groans reaching out in an attempt to silence the damn thing, not even lifting her head from under the covers. She pushes out a little too hard dislodging one of the yellow pages from its Tetris style stack nearly knocking them all to the floor. Sometimes she really hates staying in one of John鈥檚 so-called safehouses.
Above her she hears a deep sleep addled chuckle and feels the warm press of skin against her back as John stretches for the phone. The motion moves the covers down past her shoulders and she grumbles as the sunlight rudely hits her eyes.
鈥淲hat?鈥 John says answering the phone, she grumbles again moving her pillow from under her head to over her ears. The conversation goes muffled after that until she hears the distinct snap of John closing his ridiculous drug dealer flip phone.
鈥淶ee?鈥 he says rubbing a warm hand up slowly up the back of her oversized Star City tourist t-shirt. With his other hand he slowly pulls the pillow from her grasp she only yields when his fingers start trailing up and down her spine slowly, a touch she always just melts right into.
She flips over and John鈥檚 hand stays put on her skin resting on her stomach. 鈥淲hat?鈥 she says finally opening her eyes to look up at him.
鈥淭hat was Chas, a friend of a friend gave him a tip on that cup Midnite鈥檚 been after,鈥 he says slowly moving his thumb back and forth against the delicate skin of her abs. Zatanna hums in response. 鈥淚t seems it鈥檚 right here in New Orleans and in a mausoleum not far from here.鈥
鈥淕ood for it,鈥 she says and pulls the blankets up over her head again. John chuckles again tugging at the covers a bit just enough to uncover her eyes again.
鈥淲e should go check it out, last thing anyone needs is for Midnite to get his hands on yet another magical artifact to hold over everyone else,鈥 he says. Zatanna sighs cracking open her eyes once again and lifting herself up to lean on her elbow mirroring John鈥檚 position.
She concedes his point, any chance to have something over Midnite and actually be able to bargain with is a good thing. Especially for her boyfriend, he鈥檚 always getting himself into tangled deals with the man.
That being said she has no intentions of leaving this bed just yet, they were out far too late last night dealing with some League business that had been floated her way by Diana. She was happy to do it, she鈥檚 has to keep that Justice League membership card up somehow, but that doesn鈥檛 mean she鈥檚 not going to catch up on her sleep in the aftermath of it.
She trails her fingers along his collarbone and starts traveling down, down, down until her fingers trail through the dusting of hair on his chest.
鈥淥kay, but five more minutes here,鈥 she says trailing her finger and eyes lower and lower.
John鈥檚 breath catches when her fingers move the cover even further down and she reaches his belly button.
鈥淵our hand gets much lower and it鈥檚 gonna be a hell of a lot more than five minutes,鈥 he says not trying to stop her in any way.
Zatanna shrugs lifting her eyes up to his and showing him an innocent little smile. 鈥淎nd that鈥檚 a bad thing?鈥
John lets out another stuttering breath as her fingers stop their path downwards bypassing the spot he wants them most. She trails to the side lingering back and forth at the top of one of his thighs.
鈥淎nd everyone thinks I鈥檓 the devil in this relationship,鈥 he says with a smile shifting so that her back is pressed into the mattress. He situates himself so that he鈥檚 comfortable between her legs and she smiles lifting a hand to run through his hair.
鈥淣ot my fault you鈥檙e such a sucker for me,鈥 she says cupping his cheek with her hand and running her thumb along his lower lip. John moves just a bit taking the digit into his mouth and swirling his tongue around it slowly once, twice. Zatanna鈥檚 breath hitches this time.
Slowly he releases her finger and her hand drops as John leans down placing slow open-mouthed kisses on her neck trailing a line down, down, down.
He doesn鈥檛 mention going to a mausoleum for a long, long while.
It鈥檚 the latter half of sunset by the time they reach the mausoleum, the bright summer sun low in the sky minutes away from welcoming night. The outside of the crypt is warded, but not too heavily at all; John places one sigil on the weather worn stone and it all drops.
Inside there鈥檚 not a single protection, Zatanna steps in first and waves a hand across the air forming a trail of glowing lights along the ceiling to illuminate the space. The place is largely barren, no caskets empty or filled, nothing but some broken down old gates and a few hundred cobwebs.
And there in the center sits the cup nothing special or seemingly magical about it. It looks like a normal silver chalice, worn and aged by however many years it鈥檚 been sitting in the same exact spot for. There鈥檚 not a whiff of magic in the air, unusual for any corner of the entire city.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 it?鈥 Zatanna says scrutinizing the thing, her arms crossed.
John shrugs stepping closer to the stand where it rests, 鈥淐has says it is.鈥
Zatanna hums, Chas is usually right and despite its outward appearance and its lack of any sort of energy signature this wouldn鈥檛 mark the first time Zatanna has seen great power come from something so mundane.
鈥淲hat鈥檚 it supposed to do?鈥 she asks.
鈥淪upposedly drinking from it will grant one powers unknown,鈥 he says continuing towards it. 鈥淪ounds like a bunch of shite to me, but Midnite doesn鈥檛 think it is and I鈥檓 always happy to have one up on Mr. chose no sides himself.鈥
He tilts his head and smirks over his shoulder at her before he takes the final step right up to the stand.
John doesn鈥檛 even touch the cup, just hovers in its space his foot still a full inch from the base of the stand but before he so much as lifts a hand fully over it, before Zatanna can even say a single backward word John goes up in flames. The sick crackling of skin and the unnatural falling into ash happens in an instant, he doesn鈥檛 even have the chance to scream.
Zatanna rushes to his side but it鈥檚 far too late not even a full second has passed and as soon as her fingers reach him she brushes through ash drifting in the air, his bones shattering to the ground with a loud crack in the quiet echo of the empty mausoleum.
Zatanna falls on her knees to the floor alongside what鈥檚 left of him eyes wide, breath heavy, she鈥檚 fairly certain she feels the track of wet tears from her eyes, but mostly she just feels nothing. She feels vacant, like she鈥檚 not even here like this isn鈥檛 even real, like this is some horrible nightmare she鈥檒l wake up from at any moment. She digs her hands hard into the cobbled stone beneath her the ash of the man she loves, loved, seeping underneath her fingernails.
She鈥檚 not sure how long she stays there, she鈥檚 not sure how much time passes, but eventually she鈥檚 not alone. Doctor Fate settles by her side taking off his helmet and then it鈥檚 just her friend Khalid settling a heavy sorrowful hand on her shoulder. She鈥檚 so out of body she鈥檚 not certain if he asks her what happened or just figures it out for himself, she vaguely hears him say something about feeling a surge of magical energy and tracing it to her, but none of it truly registers.
A dark gloved hand that belongs to some bat settles on her shoulder in passing and she replays the morning when everything had been okay. A red cape flits past the corner of her eyes and she thinks about how she should have not let him step inside this place without checking it more thoroughly. A ghostly energy with a flash of red hovers around her tentative and frantic at the same time and she finds herself replaying the last milliseconds of John鈥檚 life and hollowing out a little more when she realizes just how similar it is to when her father burnt to a crisp in her arms as well.
Another pair of fishnets kneel down beside her before leaning in and placing strong arms around her shoulders, blonde hair brushes against her cheek and that鈥檚 what breaks her from her semi-catatonic state, the proverbial dam breaks and she just sobs and wails and she鈥檚 certain it鈥檚 a horrible sounding affair.
Eventually between the trauma, crying and dehydration she tires herself out passing out between one last hiccupping sob and the next.
聽Day Two
鈥淚 got the magic in me, every time I touch that track it turns into gold!鈥 his phone rings out and Zatanna twists and bolts upright. She looks at her hands first, clean and not marred with the ashes of the man she loves. To her left the covers rustle and John curves an arm around her gripping the phone with is fingertips and flipping it open.
鈥淲hat?鈥 he says his voice muffled by his face still buried half in her pillow. Zatanna just looks at him as he talks to whoever鈥檚 on the other end of the line waves of shock and relief washing over her. He slowly sits up as he talks noticing the way she鈥檚 staring at him; he raises an eyebrow moving the conversation along before shutting the phone and dropping it somewhere in the tangled sheets around them.
鈥淟ove?鈥 he starts and she doesn鈥檛 even give him a chance to breathe before she鈥檚 on him, the kiss is a little desperate and John hesitates to return it at first, no doubt a little worried about her sudden reaction but between one press and the next he gets with the program responding to every movement.
She pulls back after a few more beats and touches her forehead to his.
鈥淲hew,鈥 he says and she feels the puff of his breath against her lips still so close, warm and real and alive. 鈥淲hat was that for?鈥
Zatanna just shakes her head. 鈥淏ad dream,鈥 she says raising one had to rest over his heart, happy to feel the steady beat underneath her fingertips. 鈥淰ery bad dream.鈥
Because that鈥檚 what it was, no matter how real it felt, she鈥檚 had some doozy dreams like it before so she鈥檚 not unfamiliar with the feeling. She lingers close for a few moments coming down from the shock of the nightmare before pulling back.
鈥淵ou gonna be okay?鈥 John asks quietly reaching out to brush the hair that鈥檚 fallen into her face away. She nods feeling the tension that the nightmare left behind exit her body, her shoulders loosen. 鈥淲ant to talk about it?鈥
She shakes her head and gives him a small reassuring smile. Maybe later, right now she just needs the distraction of seeing him right in front of her.
John smiles one of those rare bright smiles he lets out and kisses her on the cheek.
鈥淪o, what was that phone call about it?鈥 she asks.
鈥淐has has a lead on that artifact Midnite has been after, right here in the city,鈥 he says and starts going on about it. Zatanna listens carefully and a little worried, it鈥檚 exactly the same thing that led to that horrible nightmare.
It鈥檚 a coincidence though, definitely. He鈥檚 been talking about this cup a lot lately so of course it was on her mind, of course her dream latched on to a thing that鈥檚 been near the top of their to do list for weeks now. It鈥檚 purely coincidental.
But just to ease her mind Zatanna plays things out differently, she doesn鈥檛 talk him into lingering in bed. John makes them a late breakfast; she puts on a completely different outfit than the one that ended up covered in ash and convinces him to walk through the city to the mausoleum instead of portaling over.
There鈥檚 a weird air of deja-vu around it all, a weird lingering of the nightmare at the edges of her mind. Everything is playing out differently than the dream, but only because she made it that way and when the mausoleum comes into view her uneasiness grows. It looks exactly like it did in her nightmare and she鈥檚 certain she鈥檚 never seen it before.
They get in just as easily, there鈥檚 still barely any sort of magical signature around it. John puts one sigil on the stone and it falls away like there was never a thing in the way in the first place. It鈥檚 the same as it was in her dream she just doesn鈥檛 brush it off this time.
鈥淲ait,鈥 she says tugging John鈥檚 coat before he can step inside of the crypt. John raises an eyebrow in question. 鈥淚鈥檝e got a bad feeling, my bad dream it was just like this and it didn鈥檛 end pretty.鈥
鈥淗ow not pretty?鈥
鈥淟ike you dead not pretty,鈥 she says eyes lingering over his shoulder looking into the mausoleum, it鈥檚 just as dark but she鈥檇 bet money that cup is sitting in the exact same spot on the exact same pedestal. 聽
鈥淵ou think it was a prophetic kind of dream?鈥 he asks turning fully towards her his hands on her shoulders.
鈥淚 mean that鈥檚 not usually my thing, but it鈥檚 way too similar,鈥 she says reaching up and holding his forearms a sense of urgency in her voice. She does not want him going inside of there.
鈥淥kay, then I won鈥檛 go in,鈥 he says easily. Occasionally stubborn as he can be sometimes he just listens to her and she鈥檚 never been more grateful for those moments until now.
She breathes out a sigh of relief tugging him further back from the entrance.
鈥淟et鈥檚 run a few more spells over it, make sure nothing鈥檚 off,鈥 she says hand already outstretched to start a few more scans.
John nods his head. 鈥淎lright, I鈥檒l take the back you take the front,鈥 he says with a wink as he turns back to shut the mausoleum gate he鈥檇 easily broken into. He shuts the gate fully and winces.
鈥淛ohn?鈥 she says turning back to him and he pulls his hand away and looks down.
Flames crackles at his skin and not the bright orange ones she鈥檚 familiar with him carrying.
鈥淪hit,鈥 he says and just like in her nightmare they take him over completely.
This time she screams his name when his body succumbs to the flames to the ashes, she screams because this time there鈥檚 no way it鈥檚 not real; this time she won鈥檛 wake up and it鈥檚 a nightmare, maybe it never was in the first place.
When Khalid shows up this time she鈥檚 sitting with her back to the mausoleum her fingers gripping into the grass tightly. She鈥檚 crying still when he leans down and reaches an arm out to comfort her, crying because she could have stopped this, she saw this coming. Something out there gave her the foresight and she brushed it off as a dream. She knows better than to ignore something like that, goddammit she knows better.
She knows better and now John鈥檚 dead because she didn鈥檛 listen to it.
When Khalid takes off his helmet Zatanna can鈥檛 bear the look of sorrow, of pity on his face so she shuts her eyes tightly and curls her fingers even tighter into the grass.
聽Day Three
鈥淚 got the magic in me, every time I touch that track it turns into gold!鈥
Zatanna sits upright in an instant watching as John stretches out behind her for his phone clumsily.
鈥淲hat?鈥 he answers it and Zatanna snatches it from his hand.
鈥淐has?鈥 she says confirming it for herself.
鈥淗ey, Zee,鈥 he starts and she cuts him off hanging up the phone immediately. She moves to throw it to the end of the bed, but changes her mind flipping the phone over and taking the battery out for good measure. Her phone is somewhere around here and she vaults from the bed to give it the same treatment for when Chas inevitably tries her next.
She can鈥檛 blame him if he does after that display of panic she just provided, but she has good reason to be in a panic.
She finds her phone in a pile of last night鈥檚 clothes and dismantles it as well. She lets out a breath as she tosses the battery to the other side of the room.
鈥淯m, Zee?鈥 John says voice filled with concern and confusion. She turns standing to a full height to look at him, him alive and well at least for now.
鈥淚 think I鈥檓 stuck in a time loop, and that cup you鈥檝e been trying to find, well Chas found it and it started this whole thing,鈥 she says running a frustrated hand through her hair.
John runs a hand across the stubble on his jaw and nods as he works to get out of bed himself.
She鈥檚 not sure if it鈥檚 the worry in her voice, the no doubt look of fear on her face or just his unstoppable faith in her, but he doesn鈥檛 question it, doesn鈥檛 second guess it or think she鈥檚 crazy for a beat. He just simply says, 鈥淭ell me about it.鈥
So she does, she settles down at the kitchen island a cup of coffee in her hand grounding her to the now and not to the what could be and tells him everything about her past two Wednesdays.
鈥淪o we don鈥檛 go to the mausoleum,鈥 he says easily when she鈥檚 done. He curls a hand around her wrist stroking the skin lightly.
鈥淛ohn I don鈥檛 think that鈥檒l work, it鈥檚 all connected to there, so there is where answers might be,鈥 she says moving her hand to link their fingers together.
鈥淚t is, but the only way to know if breaking it is just not going is to not go,鈥 he says. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 die maybe it鈥檚 over.鈥
Zatanna shakes her head. 鈥淵ou know it鈥檚 not that easy, it鈥檚 never that easy.鈥
John shrugs, 鈥淢aybe just this once it will be.鈥 It sounds borderline optimistic which means it must be really bad, she鈥檚 the optimist not him.
鈥淏ut the day doesn鈥檛 reset when you die, trust me I have to live with it for a while,鈥 her voice cracks a little when she says the last part. John shakes his head and rounds the counter pulling her into his arms.
鈥淚 know this is gonna be hard, but it鈥檚 the only way to know for sure that it鈥檚 not this easy,鈥 John says. He presses a kiss into her hair. 鈥淚f the day starts over again whether I make it through today or not then you tell me all about it again and we figure it out together.鈥
She pulls her arms around his middle tightly and takes a deep breath.
鈥淲e need to look up more about that cup, I need to know everything I can about it no matter what,鈥 she says pulling back and looking up into those deep blue eyes she鈥檚 seen burn up right before her twice now. She can鈥檛 stomach seeing it again.
They spend the day buried in a few hundred books she conjures up from every library she has access to and a few she doesn鈥檛 but can鈥檛 be bothered to ask permission for right now. This is a time sensitive situation she can deal with the fallout if the day doesn鈥檛 restart.
The cup has barely made a peep in its years of existence, most of what they find correlates with the vague knowledge that John had given her on the first day.
It鈥檚 surrounded by myth more than fact. No one鈥檚 ever had it in their presence for longer than a few minutes. It鈥檚 powers, if any are largely unknown. Most of the accounts even the ones from some of the greatest magical minds in history have chalked it up to nothing more than a totem of luck at best. She disagrees, she鈥檚 had the opposite of luck since they came into contact with it.
She hovers over him a bit more than she should brushing her fingers across his skin or through his hair every time he passes by. They make it all the way to 11:50 without incident and for a bright hopeful moment she thinks that maybe he was right, maybe this will be easy to get through.
So of course, just as she thinks that it all goes to shit. They鈥檙e sitting on the couch surrounded by books and Chinese takeout boxes John has a cigarette hanging from his lips his focus on an old weathered book when the window rattles. Zatanna notices it not eager to brush it off as something as simple as the wind. She stretches out her hands magic already brewing at her fingertips.
The weather picks up lightning strikes and thunder rolls, the window shatters and Zatanna ducks. The last thing she hears is John shout.
聽Day Four
鈥淚 got the magic in me, every time I touch that track it turns into gold!鈥
Zatanna groans into her pillow and reaches out an arm shoving over the entire makeshift nightstand. She doesn鈥檛 know what the fuck happened last night, or this night last night, whatever the hell it is, but she鈥檚 pretty sure John wasn鈥檛 going to survive or if he had midnight was going to trigger a restart one way or another.
鈥淒amn luv,鈥 John groans leaning over to look at the tossed about stack of yellow pages and his phone. She lifts herself up and flips over rubbing a frustrated hand over face as she looks at the ceiling staring angrily at the crack that鈥檚 streaking along the discolored white paint.
She turns her head looking him in the eyes with a sigh. 鈥淲e need to talk,鈥 she says praying to someone that this will be the last go around.
This time they decide they have to go to the mausoleum, staying at home didn鈥檛 achieve much. They scan and spell and do a million little ward checks and safety sigils on John before they even get within a hundred yards of the place.
This time he makes it all the way in, even picks up the cup, only to end in ashes and flames.
***
Ten days pass much in the same way. She wakes up, screams bloody murder at John鈥檚 phone, tells him everything and then they get to work. For ten days they call friends for leads, friends of friends, even a few friends of friends of friends much to no avail. Very little new information comes their way about the cup itself and as for time loop well every time loop spell is different every time loop spell has its own eccentricities and lessons to be learned.
Every day she watches him die, sometimes it鈥檚 just like the first time, sometimes like the second, every now and then they don鈥檛 even get inside and he still bursts into flames. Once they spend the whole day going through the entire graveyard, checking for anything that might have a connection to their mausoleum and somehow a zombie pack rises from a corner of graves tearing into John鈥檚 flesh and hers before midnight even hits.
Every day that passes she feels a little more broken, a little less hopeful.
聽Day Fifteen 聽
She doesn鈥檛 even stand a chance this time, John鈥檚 dead before breakfast. She ignores the phone ringing; she just stays in bed and lets John kiss her and slip out the door by himself this time. She doesn鈥檛 feel like explaining the time loop, she doesn鈥檛 have it in her to watch him burn today.
Just one day, she needs just one day to try the one thing she hasn鈥檛, to reach out to the one person she hasn鈥檛 yet.
Tracking down Doctor Fate is never an easy thing to do and he never appreciates when people just summon him up without warning, but she鈥檚 beyond caring about that now. She gets dressed quickly and pulls her hair into a ponytail and moves the couch and coffee table out of the way to draw the sigil to summon him on the living room floor all while trying not to think about John dying alone.
She says the words and the sigil lights up gold and blue with an angry Doctor Fate floating in the center, or she assumes he鈥檚 angry it鈥檚 not like he has facial expressions.
鈥淵ou know I don鈥檛 like to be summoned this way Miss Zatara,鈥 the voice inside the golden helmet booms. 鈥淚 have no-鈥
Zatanna raises a hand, her eyes cold and hard cutting him off.
鈥淟isten, you can give me the whole respecting the laws of my magic and interference speech later,鈥 she says knowing there won鈥檛 be a later. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 need the all-knowing Doctor Fate to tell me he can鈥檛 tell me things right now; I need my friend Khalid. So, if you could drop the helmet and let me talk to him that鈥檇 be great.鈥
Fate tilts his head in consideration. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 quite demanding of you,鈥 he says his feet finally settling to the ground.
鈥淵eah well I tend to feel pretty demanding when Constantine keeps dying,鈥 she says frustrated, she doesn鈥檛 have time to argue or listen to his philosophy.
The glow around him settles and finally the helmet comes off at that. Khalid looks at her concern overtaking his young features. She鈥檚 seen that look on a lot of faces lately and suddenly she鈥檚 missing the unfeeling glow of a golden helmet instead.
鈥淜eeps dying?鈥 he asks stepping outside of the sigil and placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.
鈥淭ime loop,鈥 she says and tells him everything, well not everything, there鈥檚 a lot of useless information she鈥檚 learned over the last few days. He listens to it all and she鈥檚 pretty sure the helmet does too.
鈥淵ou鈥檝e learned a lot,鈥 he says when she鈥檚 done. 鈥淎nd you鈥檙e certain no one has specifically placed this curse on you, it鈥檚 the cup?鈥
She nods. She鈥檚 already gone through the list of usual suspects; Midnite stays neutral so it can鈥檛 be him even if he wants to get his hands on the cup, Nick is locked away tight, Faust isn鈥檛 clever enough for something like this and anyone she鈥檚 fought with the League is preoccupied with trying to destroy other League members or the world at large not just fucking with her.
Khalid is thoughtful for a moment his arms crossed, the helmet glows from where he鈥檚 sat it on the coffee table.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 have any answers that you haven鈥檛 already found, but he might,鈥 he says gesturing to the helmet. Zatanna sighs, Fate tends to be more ominous than helpful, but she relents.
Khalid puts his hand on her shoulder one more time giving a comforting squeeze before he puts the helmet back on. A burst of light and Fate is once again floating before her.
鈥淵ou know as well as anyone, that sometimes you cannot fight magic. Sometimes you must let it take its course,鈥 he says and with another burst of light he鈥檚 gone. She shields her eyes as he goes, dropping her arm when the bright white light fades.
She huffs angrily at the space where he鈥檇 been.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 all he鈥檚 got, let it take its course,鈥 she says flopping down onto the couch. 鈥淔uck that.鈥
Letting it takes its course will get John killed and she鈥檚 not about to let that stick anytime soon.
***
The days start bleeding into one another from there. She can鈥檛 remember what number day things happen on, but she remembers every excruciating detail. She tries to act like she doesn鈥檛 know just how many days it鈥檚 been on the ones where she decides to tell John what鈥檚 been happening, but she can tell he sees right through her.
She knows exactly how many days it鈥檚 been; she knows exactly how many times she鈥檚 watched John die. She remembers when the hellhound showed up and tore him to shreds, she remembers every flame that鈥檚 burned him away, she remembers the day he slipped in the shower and cracked his head open bleeding out and she didn鈥檛 even know it and for as long as she lives she won鈥檛 ever be able to forget the sight of him taking a magical lance to the heart to save her from another Faust scheme.
Every day she鈥檚 given some new horrific memory that if she ever does manage to get out of this will haunt her for years to come.
聽Day Twenty-Five
She feels stuck, he always dies and it鈥檚 not always the cup anymore. Today she lets it happen doesn鈥檛 even fight him to stay in bed a moment longer he picks up the cup and he鈥檚 gone just like that. She doesn鈥檛 scream or cry this time; she just freezes and clenches her fists so hard that she feels the skin break and blood drip down through her fingertips.
She turns her phone off and covers herself in enough glamours that no one will be able to find her unless she wants to be found.
She wanders through the city, aimless and uncertain for hours, blood drying on her hands. She just walks and walks until her legs are as tired as the rest of her. She falls heavily onto a bench and watches the people pass by. Couples hand in hand pass her and she wishes so desperately that could be her and John. Today, the first today, should have been an easy day off in a city with good food and instead it鈥檚 become all this. 聽
A girl in all black and a boy in a trench coat pass by her and it鈥檚 too much, she opens up a portal, not even caring if anyone sees and rushes through. She doesn鈥檛 realize where she鈥檚 sending herself until her feet land on cobbled sidewalk and she literally walks right into a familiar yellow cab.
Chas must hear the thump of her running into it from the driver鈥檚 seat because he鈥檚 out of his seat in an instant, already standing before her.
鈥淶atanna!鈥 he says happily, that big smile of his she鈥檚 always glad to see. He wraps her up in his arms in a big bear hug that she easily returns lifting her off the ground a little. She smiles a little sadly wishing she could be just as happy to see him. He鈥檚 always been, and always will be, her favorite of John鈥檚 seedy friends. He鈥檚 a good man, maybe the best man she knows choosing to help and stay good even if he鈥檚 not really superpowered in any way.
Any other day she鈥檇 smile right back, she鈥檇 ask him about Renee and Geraldine and they鈥檇 laugh about whatever new stupid thing John鈥檚 gotten himself into. But today something about his warmth about his joy makes her break immediately.
It鈥檚 been quite a few days since she let herself have a good cry she guesses it was inevitable the dam would break again. She sobs into his chest as he settles her back down on the ground, his arms go around her a little tighter.
鈥淲oah, Zatanna, you鈥檙e okay,鈥 he says reaching his hand up to brush against her hair soothingly. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e okay.鈥
She鈥檚 not sure how long she stands there crying into Chas鈥 flannel shirt making it a mess of tears, fading makeup and snot. She calms down eventually pulling back a little but he keeps her close his hands rubbing up and down her arms comfortingly.
His face isn鈥檛 pitying, she鈥檚 gotten a lot of that over the days, it鈥檚 just kindness and care.
鈥淚鈥檓 fine,鈥 she says hastily wiping the tears from her face.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e not,鈥 he says lifting her head up with a gentle knock under her chin and a smile. 鈥淎nd that鈥檚 okay.鈥
鈥淚 should tell you,鈥 she starts sounding the most tired she thinks she鈥檚 ever sounded.
Chas shakes his head. 鈥淥nly if you want to, you sound tired darlin鈥 and you sound like you don鈥檛 want to have to say it all right now and that鈥檚 fine.鈥
Zatanna smiles gratefully brushing a hand uselessly across the damp spots on his shirt.
鈥淪orry I ruined your nice shirt.鈥
Chas snorts looking down at it for a moment, 鈥淚 think being with John all these years has made you forget what a nice shirt on a man looks like.鈥
Zatanna starts to laugh, but it comes out with a small sob. Just the mention of John gets to her now, especially from someone who loves him as much as she does. She鈥檚 glad he鈥檚 okay with her not talking, she doesn鈥檛 have it in her to break his heart too.
He notices the slip and reaches out again taking one of her hands between his own.
鈥淗ey, so what do you need? Need to cry some more or would punching me in the face relieve some of that heaviness you鈥檙e carrying even, I鈥檒l let you have three good hits for free,鈥 he says and Zatanna smiles a little. 鈥淥r maybe we can take a drive and just be, I鈥檒l only charge you for half on the meter even.鈥
Zatanna laughs at that a real genuine one.
鈥淎 drive sounds good,鈥 she says and he squeezes her hand once before walking her over to the passenger seat. He opens the door for her and she soaks in the familiar comfort of his cab while he gets in. He turns on the radio, some oldies station that he鈥檚 obsessed with and they just drive.
He doesn鈥檛 push her for answers about her behavior he just hums along with every song that鈥檚 on and drives.
鈥淚鈥檓 totally not paying the meter,鈥 she says long into their drive, the sun has gone down and she鈥檚 starting to nod off. Being comfortable like this she鈥檚 staring to wonder how much sleep she鈥檚 actually gotten through all this, if she鈥檚 gotten any.
Chas chuckles warmly and that鈥檚 the last thing she hears before drifting off with her head against window. When midnight comes she doesn鈥檛 know not until she wakes to the loud ringing of John鈥檚 damn phone the next morning.
聽Day Thirty-One
She beats him to the phone; it鈥檚 been a month, a full month and she鈥檚 so tired. She鈥檚 tired of losing him, tired of fighting to stop it for it to only happen no matter what she does. She鈥檚 tired of going to everyone she knows for help and coming up empty on answers. She feels powerless, like her magic is a waste of time and space right now, like she鈥檚 just a waste of time and space. What good is magic and being a supposedly all-powerful witch if she can鈥檛 even save the person she loves most in the world.
She talks to Chas longing for the day she had with him where she didn鈥檛 have to go through explaining all this to someone; she nods and agrees with what he says at the right spots leaning far enough away that John can鈥檛 hear a single thing he says on the other line. She parts with a cheery goodbye and lies straight to John鈥檚 face making up some story about his cab that won鈥檛 get John moving to go anywhere.
She wants to make the most of this day, it鈥檚 a depressing time loop anniversary for her and she wants to forget for a little while, forget with him.
They waste away the morning in bed, if the sex feels a little more desperate than usual, a little more intense John doesn鈥檛 say a thing. They have breakfast in bed, feeding each other in the sappiest ways. She glamours a book that has some stories about the cup into the latest novel in a mystery series she鈥檚 been into and sits on the couch all afternoon. John lingers reading something of his own and giving up eventually choosing instead to rest his head in her lap with a cigarette in his mouth. She runs a free hand through his hair tickles of sparkling blue magic playing across her fingertips. They walk down the street to a little bar that makes a damn good veggie burger for dinner and she pulls him back into the bedroom as soon as they鈥檙e in the door.
Soon enough he falls asleep. She watches him sleep for a while, his sandy hair tousled, the eyeliner he fell asleep in from the night before still smudged under his eyes and only half his nails painted black. She wants to sear this into her memories, not the horrific visual of him burning to a crisp in her arms.
He shuffles in his sleep a bit, instinctually rolling just a little bit closer to her. She reaches out running her fingers through his hair slowly before she glances at the phone that has become her greatest enemy seeing that the time still gives her an hour till midnight. She slips from bed quietly and waves her hand over John letting some sparkles of peaceful sleep fall all over him to make certain he doesn鈥檛 wake.
She gives him one last lingering look as she slips out of the room, he may not remember each day but if there鈥檚 any lingering pain when all is said and done at least this time she hopes he won鈥檛 even wake up to feel whatever takes him from her this time.
She goes to the mausoleum alone, she shouts backwards words and walks in without a single check, she steps up to the cup and just stares at it.
Nothing happens. No fire, no brimstone. At least not to her, maybe she unknowingly just lit her boyfriend on fire in bed which feels and sounds terrible even if she鈥檒l get another day to stop it.
鈥淲hat do you want from me?鈥 she shouts at it the sound echoing into the empty mausoleum. Nothing, it just sits there like a boring old cup.
She picks it up from its stand curling the stem hard in her hand.
鈥淭lem yawa dna ekat lla ruoy cigam htiw uoy,鈥 she snarls at it and nothing happens her magic just fizzles out around the cup. It鈥檚 not the first time she鈥檚 tried something of this nature, but it鈥檚 the first time she鈥檚 been here alone.
She lets out a frustrated shout and tosses the cup into the nearest wall hard, it doesn鈥檛 even crumple. That鈥檚 not new to her either, she鈥檚 tossed it into walls, sidewalks and everything in between. It doesn鈥檛 even seem to care if she takes it out of this mausoleum the same thing always happens and it never even bends. She picks it up tossing it again and again until her arms are tired, until she feels her phone vibrate in her pocket the five-minute warning till midnight she鈥檚 started setting each morning letting her know her time is up.
She uses it wisely taking her frustrations out on the cup again and again and again.
***
She tries to save him every day and fails.
So one day she just leaves. The phone rings and she鈥檚 up out of the bed in an instant, tossing on the first pair of pants she can find. John chases after her ignoring the phone that keeps on playing that same damn song.
鈥淟ove, where are you going?鈥 John asks hastily following her. She鈥檚 barely dressed and she鈥檚 already halfway out the door, she just has to get out of here.
She sighs pressing her forehead to the half-opened door before turning back to him.
鈥淚 just need to get out of here,鈥 she says and it comes out a little more desperate than she intended.
鈥淎lright, well just give me a minute and we鈥檒l leave town if you want,鈥 he says already turning to get ready and get the hell out of dodge with her. She appreciates his unwavering loyalty to follow along with her no matter what more than he鈥檒l ever know, but she just can鈥檛 be with him today.
鈥淣o, John, I just need to go alone,鈥 she says grabbing his hands that are reaching for his own discarded pants from the night before. He looks at her his face a mask of worry.
She steps closer and cups his face in both of her hands.
鈥淚 swear I鈥檒l explain everything when I get back,鈥 she says knowing that she won鈥檛 be coming back and even if she did he won鈥檛 be here when she does. She leans in kissing him soft and slow, she savors them all a little more these days, fearful that one will become the last.
鈥淛ust trust me, okay?鈥 she says when she pulls back from his lips. He lifts his arms up holding her wrists and rubbing his thumbs into her skin.
鈥淎lright,鈥 he says letting her go. She slowly runs her hand down from his cheek and along his chest before she turns away.
鈥淚 love you,鈥 John says. He doesn鈥檛 say it a lot, but when he does he pours everything into it and it breaks her heart and pieces it back together at the same time.
She turns quickly to meet his eyes, making sure he knows she means it just as much. 鈥淚 love you too. I evol uoy oot.鈥
She catches sight of a small raised smile at the corner of his lips before she shuts the door behind her. She portals to San Francisco, smashes her phone into a hundred tiny little pieces, puts up a glamour spell to protect her from being found and spends the whole day in her old bed. She doesn鈥檛 know if it鈥檚 the cup or something else that kills him that day, she doesn鈥檛 want to know.
She stares at the bright red numbers on the clock beside the bed until it turns to midnight and the day starts all over again.
聽Day Fifty
鈥淲hat if it鈥檚 me?鈥 she asks studying the ash underneath her fingertips. It was the cup again this time, just far earlier in the day than usual. She ran before any Justice Leaguer could show up not needing to once again see and feel their sadness and pity alongside her own.
She still had four hours till midnight so she鈥檇 wandered and wandered until she ended up here in the House of Mystery leaning back against the bed that鈥檚 sometimes theirs, a bed she hasn鈥檛 gotten to wake up in in fifty days.
Boston found her there about two hours ago and settled down beside her the best he can. He hasn鈥檛 said a word, he鈥檚 just listened as she鈥檚 spilled out the condensed version of the past fifty days to him.
鈥淲hat if what鈥檚 you?鈥 he asks.
She sighs dropping her hands between her knees. 鈥淲hat if it鈥檚 me, what if I鈥檓 the one who鈥檚 supposed to die?鈥 she wonders, it鈥檚 not the first time it鈥檚 crossed her mind. Aside from the zombie incident she鈥檚 never even been physically scathed on any of the days so maybe it鈥檚 her. 鈥淢aybe if I die, he doesn鈥檛. Maybe this finally fucking stops.鈥
She鈥檚 so tired, so fucking tired.
鈥淭anna,鈥 Boston says with so much pain in his voice. John鈥檚 his friend and he鈥檚 dead and here she is talking about her own death so casually. Just because everyone else gets to start over every single day with no memory of this doesn鈥檛 mean they don鈥檛 still hurt in the moment.
鈥淗e鈥檇 never want that, he鈥檇 never want you to die for him,鈥 he says. He reaches out hovering his hand over one of hers, the closest to a touch he can muster in this form.
鈥淗e鈥檇 die for me,鈥 she says and she feels the tears coming, she keeps thinking she鈥檒l run out, but she never does.
鈥淵eah, well the bastard is a hypocrite that way,鈥 he says with a chuckle and for a moment Zatanna smiles. 鈥淧lus on a selfish note, I鈥檇 miss you.鈥 She turns her head to look at him, his white eyes look serious and caring.
It鈥檚 a good reminder that she has friends in all this, even if she feels completely alone.
鈥淣o dying okay,鈥 he says holding her eyes. 鈥淵ou鈥檒l sort this, or the universe will or something, you鈥檝e never been beat and you never will be.鈥
Zatanna smiles a sad smile his way and lifts up her hand her palm hovering under his, very nearly holding hands.
鈥淣o dying,鈥 she says as she leans her head back onto the bed keeping her hand steady beneath her friends. She stays put like that till midnight feeling a little bit lighter just for having him there.
聽Day Fifty-Six
She鈥檚 decided that this is hell. Knowing the fate that awaits someone you love and not being able to do a damn thing to stop it. Despite the pickup of Boston鈥檚 optimism days ago, she still feels too defeated. She鈥檚 done a few thousand spells, played the day out fifty-six different ways and she鈥檚 still got all that鈥檚 left of John under her fingernails.
She鈥檚 sitting in a bar on the far side of New Orleans well on her way to finishing a bottle of whiskey the bartender has kindly left for her.
She doesn鈥檛 even flinch anymore at the bit of ash at her fingertips she catches sight of as she tosses back her latest glass, she鈥檚 becoming more and more numb to it all which is more than concerning. Problem is there鈥檚 no one to be concerned about her anymore, anyone who is will just forget to be when the clock strikes midnight.
鈥淗ey, gorgeous,鈥 a voice beside her says sliding into the stool next to her like he belongs there. Zatanna eyes him, he looks like his name is Chad and she鈥檚 instantly annoyed by his presence.
鈥淵ou look lonely, maybe I can help,鈥 he goes on and yeah she may have infinite time these days, but she doesn鈥檛 have time for this. Her patience is thin at best fifty-six days into the same day.
She gives the man a fake joyful smile and for a moment she can see he thinks he has a chance.
鈥淭he love of my life has died in front of me fifty-four times and this bottle here,鈥 she pauses pouring herself another glass. 鈥淚sn鈥檛 for sharing.鈥
He looks like a deer in the headlights and opens his mouth surely about to say something that will just make her more annoyed.
鈥淥g yawa,鈥 she says flicking her fingers in his direction. A blasting magical wind takes hold of him flinging him across the bar and out the door. Everyone in the bar freezes and stares, she ignores them turning back to her bottle and sliding an extra twenty towards the bartender for his troubles. He just shrugs pocketing the money and moving along.
Slowly the other people in the bar decide she鈥檚 not a threat to them and go back to their own business. She slowly sips on her refill until someone else slips into the stool she just flung Chad from.
鈥淲ell that was quite the show,鈥 Papa Midnite says tapping the bar once signaling the bartender. He slides a drink in front of him without hesitation.
She hums in agreement, she鈥檚 not surprised to see him, this is his bar after all.
It's the second time she鈥檚 seen Midnite since all this started, the first time had been confrontational Zatanna still holding on to some little bit of hope around day twenty. She鈥檇 confronted him fast and violent with John鈥檚 blood still drying on her hands from where he鈥檇 been mugged of all things. She鈥檇 held magic flames close to his face, a thing she usually wouldn鈥檛 do, and forced answers out of him about why he wanted this cup so bad.
鈥淏ecause I like the illusion of power, even if it鈥檚 just an illusion,鈥 he鈥檇 said. He knew less about it than she did at that point. Whatever that damn thing is it鈥檚 not an illusion of power at all she knows that all too well now.
This time though she鈥檚 not here to fight him she鈥檚 just here to drink.
鈥淒on鈥檛 worry I won鈥檛 throw you out a door too,鈥 she says taking another sip and looking at him from the corner of her eye. He raises his glass to her in appreciation.
They sit side by side quietly for a few beats before he puts down his drink and turns to her.
鈥淪o, where is your lesser half?鈥 he asks.
Zatanna swallows the last of her drink hard. 鈥淒ead,鈥 she says feeling her heart lurch at the word.
Midnite鈥檚 head drops a little and he hums. 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry to hear that,鈥 he says running his hand over his goatee. His tone is surprisingly genuine, so much so that she has to turn and look him in the eyes. He looks genuinely sorry, maybe even a little sad with the glow of the bar lights in his eyes.
鈥淗e was a right bastard,鈥 he continues on raising his glass and tipping it to her empty one still tight in her grip on the bar. 鈥淏ut he always kept things interesting for me.鈥
He takes a sip of his drink before turning back to face forward.
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 want to know what happened?鈥 she says refilling her glass.
Midnite shakes his head and waves a hand dismissingly in her direction. 鈥淲hy bother, you鈥檒l find a way to fix it.鈥
Zatanna snorts. She wishes she had the same belief in herself that Midnite seems to have.
鈥淣ot this time I don鈥檛 think,鈥 she sighs running her fingers along her glass, a bit of the ash slips into her drink and she feels bile rise in her throat pushing the glass away from her fast.
Midnite laughs a deep, smooth thing that sounds like how French press coffee would if it could chuckle.
鈥淏ullshit,鈥 he says. He twists a ring on his finger and hovers his hand over Zatanna鈥檚 glass. It disappears in a cloudy whisp replaced with another fresh clean one already filled for her.
鈥淪tubbornness is the thing you two have always shared in common,鈥 he says tilting his head thoughtfully. 鈥淵ou show it in different ways, different reactions, but when it comes to each other it鈥檚 the same. He鈥檚 slipped through hell for you and you鈥檝e put a beat back in his heart against the better wishes of the universes magic, he鈥檒l be back annoying me soon enough.鈥
Zatanna shakes her head gulping down the new drink in one go. He will be back, that鈥檚 true, but it won鈥檛 matter because it鈥檒l just end the same way it always does again and again. She doesn鈥檛 have to tell him all that though, she doesn鈥檛 have the energy too, so she just deflects.
鈥淚s the neutral party encouraging necromancy?鈥 she says trying to make it sound teasing, but it falls flat. This time loop has beat all the humor from her.
Midnite lets out another low chuckle. 鈥淣ot encouraging, just being smart enough to know to stay out of your way if you choose it.鈥
He downs the last of his drink and pushes up and away from the bar leaving her to it. She鈥檚 drunk enough this time to not even realize when midnight comes.
***
For a brief unexpected run of days, she鈥檚 given some new fight. Somehow encouraging though without context words from someone who鈥檚 not a friend gives her new drive to fight.
But that drive turns into anger eventually.
One day she just snaps and the only person around to take it out on is the person she鈥檚 trying to save. The phone rings and she tosses it against the wall immediately shattering it into a hundred pieces.
John looks at her like she鈥檚 gone crazy and before he can even so much as question her she鈥檚 railing into him.
She doesn鈥檛 know why, it鈥檚 not like he planned this, it鈥檚 not like she blames him, but she鈥檚 just so angry.
Angry at the world, angry at this curse she can鈥檛 seem to break, angry at Midnite and Chas and everyone who鈥檚 ever mentioned this cup. Angry at John for dying. Angry at herself for not solving this yet. So she picks a fight, yelling at the cup isn鈥檛 cutting it anymore evidently, she doesn鈥檛 even know what she says first to provoke it, but it鈥檚 something harsh enough it stuns John silent. She shouts and says things she doesn鈥檛 mean and walks out eventually with a loud slam of the door.
It hurts her to hurt him, but she鈥檚 just so damn angry.
The upside is tomorrow she鈥檒l get another shot. She鈥檚 not worried about running out of chances to redo this anymore, she can say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, act as out of character as she wants because tomorrow she鈥檒l be the only one who remembers it, the only one who has to live with it.
She鈥檚 out of fight, she鈥檚 out of answers, she鈥檚 just out. So when the phone rings the next morning she鈥檚 determined to just make the most of every second even if it means she鈥檒l lose him again before midnight strikes no matter how hard she tries not to.
聽Day Seventy-Eight
Seventy-eight days, seventy-eight deaths most of which she鈥檚 seen and she鈥檚 finally decided to listen to what Doctor Fate said to her what feels like a lifetime ago.
She lets the magic takes it course. She鈥檚 done everything she could think of, she鈥檚 altered every course she could and the result is always the same. So this time she just lets the magic dictate the day.
She just accepts fate, destiny whatever the fuck it wants to call itself, she accepts she can鈥檛 save him even if it breaks her heart.
The day goes much like the first had just with a few different bumps and changes here and there. She doesn鈥檛 fight anything, she doesn鈥檛 argue. She just takes it all in in ways that she hasn鈥檛 allowed herself to on any of these repeats.
She doesn鈥檛 bother checking the time on her phone, she slips it in her pocket out of sight and out of mind. She just keeps her fingers twined with his and listens to him rattle on about finally having an upper-hand against Midnite the next time they have to see him.
She soaks in every word, every bit of his accent, the way he says her name and the way his chuckle sounds when a cigarette is dangling from his lips.
She just soaks it in, accepts whatever this day brings. She鈥檚 done being reckless, she鈥檚 done fighting. This day has been the closest to the original one yet and she鈥檚 letting it go.
It鈥檚 a little closer to midnight than usual since they decided to shower together after breakfast when they finally walk into the mausoleum, easy breezy just like it always is.
She lights the place up and feels her minutes to midnight reminder vibrate in her pocket. She ignores it, silencing it quickly as John investigates the space. He steps up to the cup and Zatanna closes her eyes, just because she鈥檚 accepted what鈥檚 inevitable doesn鈥檛 mean she has to watch it.
There鈥檚 no sound. No shouts or screams, no sick burning flesh, no ash floating in the air. Just the sound of John making the start of a humming sound.
She opens her eyes as John touches the cup and nothing happens, just nothing. He picks it up and passes it around between his hands back and forth, back and forth like he doesn鈥檛 have a care in the world. He鈥檚 breathing, he鈥檚 whole and he鈥檚 humming a fucking Metallica song under his breath tossing an ancient magical artifact around like it鈥檚 a tennis ball.
She pulls her phone from her pocket and there in bold letters across a picture of her and John from that day they borrowed the Wayne mansion pool for themselves is the time.
12:01 A.M.
It鈥檚 a new day, it鈥檚 Thursday.
She doesn鈥檛 know if she should scream or cry or laugh, but evidently her body chooses for her, chooses the thing it thinks will be the most cathartic for her. She laughs, hard and loud and frankly maniacal. She feels like the final girl at the end of a horror movie, like she鈥檚 riding off in a stranger鈥檚 truck as a man with a chainsaw can鈥檛 quite catch up, like a girl who just watched the rich bastards who spent all night trying to kill her explode one by one. She won, she fucking won and she doesn鈥檛 have a clue how and it feels impossible, but she did and all she can do is laugh.
She probably looks and sounds crazy, cackling like the witch she is, tears of joy? Relief? She鈥檚 not sure which, streaming down her face. John freezes with the cup in hand staring at her a look of worry on his face. Something about the look on his face makes her double over in laughter even more, she crouches closer to the ground head down and hands on her knees.
John comes over to her side a gentle hand on her back.
鈥淟uv, you alright?鈥 he says sitting the cup down on the ground. She catches sight of it and falls further to the ground flat on her butt, her legs kicked out on the ground purposefully kicking the cup away from them.
鈥淚鈥檓 fine,鈥 she says through hiccupping laughs as she finally starts to calm down. John settles down beside her a hand on her thigh. 鈥淏est I鈥檝e been in seventy-eight days.鈥 She giggles a little lifting her head to the ceiling. She wipes under her eyes clearing her face of the tears that fell during her unexpected laughter.
She curls a leg under herself and turns to him lifting her hands to his shoulders.
鈥淚 need to tell you something,鈥 she says shaking her head in disbelief.
And tell him she does, everything. She tells him all the little details from day one to day seventy-eight. She tells him the good, the bad and every bit in between. She tells him about the days she didn鈥檛 handle it well and the days she made the most of.
She tells him the things she regrets, even if he doesn鈥檛 remember them. She even tells him about the day Boston talked her out of letting herself die to save him and he holds her hands a little tighter. She lets it all pour out, seventy-eight days of heartache, frustration and anger and he takes in every word.
It鈥檚 well after midnight by the time she runs out of steam, runs out of things to tell him and he pulls her in close. He presses a soft gentle kiss to her forehead.
鈥淵ou are the strongest woman I know, strongest person I know,鈥 he says his eyes looking a little glassy. 鈥淚 never could have survived all that, I never could have handled losing you so many times.鈥
He鈥檚 said that before, he doesn鈥檛 remember of course, but it鈥檚 more comforting and fulfilling today than it was before. Because today he鈥檚 alive and she won鈥檛 have to go through this same damned day again.
鈥淟et鈥檚 go home,鈥 he says rising from the floor. He holds out his hands that she accepts immediately and pulls her up alongside him. 鈥淔orget this cup ever existed.鈥
The cup. Yeah she鈥檚 not leaving without dealing with it first.
She drops his hands and raises one of her own putting a protective wall around John. He opens his mouth to argue about it and she silences him.
鈥淣ope, this thing has killed you, so bubble boy it for a minute for my peace of mind,鈥 she says turning and picking up the cup from the ground. She doesn鈥檛 bother with trying to destroy it, it鈥檚 never worked before and she has an inkling it won鈥檛 today either.
She sits it back where it started and closes her eyes. She twists her hands in a complex movement and speaks loudly echoing across the mausoleum.
鈥淒nes siht raf yawa dna reven tel enoemos eb deppart nihtiw s鈥檛i sehctulc niaga!鈥
A swirl of her magic, a kaleidoscope of colors swirl around the cup and lift it into the air and in the next second it鈥檚 gone puffed out of existence, or at least her existence, in an instance.
She breathes out a sigh of relief waving a hand to drop the protective bubble from around John. She walks over to him and wraps her arms around his waist.
鈥淗ome now?鈥 he says rubbing his hands up and down her back. 鈥淵ou need some rest.鈥
She nods her head into his chest, her nods matching up with the beat of his heart.
聽Day Seventy-Nine (aka Thursday)
鈥淚 got the magic in me, every time I touch that track it turns into gold!鈥
Zatanna shoots up immediately from where she鈥檇 been curled comfortably in bed her head against John鈥檚 chest. No, this can鈥檛 be happening.
No, no, no, no, no.
She saw the time, it passed midnight, John鈥檚 alive. It鈥檚 a new day and this can鈥檛 be happening.
John grabs his phone from his own nightstand, not hers where it usually sits, and silences it quickly.
鈥淪orry, luv, I should have changed it, I didn鈥檛 think,鈥 he says reaching out and putting a tentative hand on her shoulder. She deflates with his words and his touch, reaching up to curl her fingers around his.
鈥淣ever use that ringtone again,鈥 she says turning towards him. 鈥淚 never want to hear that song for the rest of my life.鈥
鈥淐onsider it done,鈥 he says moving their joined hands to his lips and kissing the back of hers softly.
聽Day Eighty (aka Friday)
She spends more of Thursday, Thursday god isn鈥檛 that a nice thing to be able to say, than necessary trying to work out what exactly it is that broke the time loop.
John never leaves her side as she pours over her memory and over the books she鈥檚 already memorized but nothing quite adds up. All she can chalk it up to is the cup protecting itself, why it cursed her instead of John who got closest first she鈥檚 not certain, but it鈥檚 the best she鈥檚 got. Hopefully the spell she cast on it will keep it from ever putting someone else through what she went through.
She eventually decides to settle on what Doctor Fate said all along, sometimes you can鈥檛 fight magic. And maybe when she finally stopped fighting the fight stopped for her.
She wakes on Friday to a normal alarm and John鈥檚 arms around her. He presses kisses across her shoulders, he indulges her need to be a little more cautious and her occasionally overprotective moments as they come one by one.
He definitely doesn鈥檛 complain when they shower together and only snorts a little every time she bubble boys him. He even doesn鈥檛 bat an eye when she won鈥檛 let him use the toaster. She already saw that electrocute him once and she鈥檚 good without witnessing that again.
John鈥檚 in the kitchen now flipping some stir fry in a pan over the oven鈥檚 open flame. Zatanna had only flinched a little when he lit it and the protection spell she sent his way when he did, well it was a small one.
She uncurls herself from the couch and joins him slipping her hands up under his barely buttoned shirt. She warms her hands rubbing them slowly across the light trail of hair on his chest. His skin is always borderline fiery and it鈥檚 soothing against her cold hands. She鈥檚 so glad she won鈥檛 have to go without this anytime soon. So glad he鈥檚 breathing and still just as hot blooded as he鈥檚 always been.
She drags her nails just above his waistband and his breath hitches a bit.
鈥淪o handsy,鈥 he says with a wink over his shoulder to her his focus still on the food in front of him. She shrugs, she鈥檚 going to be very tactile for the foreseeable future just to remind herself this is real.
She鈥檚 also going to need to make a few of those therapy sessions she鈥檚 been skipping up, but that鈥檚 a job for Monday. Because there actually will be a Monday, and every day of the week after that. It just feels refreshing to think about. 聽
A few minutes later their food is done and she backs away from him slowly still trailing her hands across his back. They curl up comfortably on the couch with their plates in hand and some cheesy Godzilla movie on tv, Zatanna鈥檚 legs thrown across John鈥檚 lap.
When she鈥檚 done she leans over to sit her empty plate on the table alongside John鈥檚 just as a flame appears on the coffee table. She pulls her hand back quickly and John鈥檚 grip on her thigh tightens as the flame dies out a piece of crisp burnt at the edges paper appearing in its place.
Zatanna grabs it slowly and brings it up so that she and John can both read it.
The note is written in delicate, old style cursive that she doesn鈥檛 recognize.
鈥楾hanks for getting that cup for me, New Orleans and its superstitions happen to be all too true for me. Too much hallowed ground and all that, especially with an artifact so shrouded in mystery. Sorry, the process had to be so daunting, they do say that cup can be unpredictable, but hey acceptance is important, right? 鈥 your favorite enemy, Circe.鈥
A second piece of the flaming paper appears on the table as they finish reading the first and she snatches it up.
鈥楶.S. I鈥檒l let you know if I figure out what it does, or if it鈥檚 really good you鈥檒l just hear about it ;)鈥 聽
Zatanna turns from the notes in her hand and meets John鈥檚 eyes.
鈥淢idnite never did say where he heard about the cup from did he?鈥 John says. He takes the notes from her hand where she鈥檚 started to grip them a little too tight. He crumples them up and tosses them into his half-filled glass of water.
鈥淪he whispered in his ear and he didn鈥檛 even know it, she knew you鈥檇 find out and want to beat him to it and she knew that I鈥檇 help, she knew we would make it safer for her,鈥 Zatanna says gritting her teeth. This whole time she鈥檇 been so angry at so many things and it never crossed her mind that Circe would want something so inconsequential. A cup that for all intents and purposes is nothing more than a trap.
鈥淚鈥檓 gonna kill her next time she makes her way to this dimension for putting you through that,鈥 John snarls.
鈥淚mprisonment seems more fitting,鈥 she says in response drifting her hand up and into his hair. She moves her fingers along his scalp and feels his anger simmer down just a bit.
John turns from where he鈥檇 been staring at the soaked notes in the glass and looks into her eyes. He leans in and kisses her hard.
鈥淚鈥檒l hunt her down,鈥 he says fiercely pressing another quick kiss to her lips.
Zatanna smiles resting her hand at the base of his neck. 鈥淥kay, but can you do that tomorrow?鈥 she says because the word tomorrow won鈥檛 lose its novelty any time soon. 鈥淚 just want to keep basking in your aliveness for now.鈥
鈥淭omorrow,鈥 he whispers into the space between their lips. Tomorrow. Isn鈥檛 that a beautiful thing?
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bubbyslilhoneycomb26 minutes ago
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M havin baby time!! M watchin a movie n playin a game on my switch n havin snackies!! I've got mango coconut jelly n some fruit gummies shaped like buggies^.^ N m makin a birthday wishlist!
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imkyunies26 minutes ago
I miss mom :(
i miss her too , love :(
she'll be back soon , dw !
meanwhile i'm here love , what can i do for you?
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no-mercy-bby28 minutes ago
2. 7. and 15
2: What is your full name?
Abby Marie Wyatt
7: Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
My ears are pierced for earrings but I never wear them...
15: What is your favorite word?
This is a tough question but I'm gonna have to say sunshine because it gives me such a happy and warm feeling.
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give-grian-rights35 minutes ago
(Baby goat au) Doc is told in old tales, ones that are told to many, either as a warning, or, on occasion as an inspiration, or even, rarely to scare people.Tommy had noticed before that Tubbo didn't seem to be at all intimidated by the story, but had thought nothing of it. Now he knows why, because the man told of is his father.
Suffice it to say, Tommy was surprised.
:)
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kittenkapowan hour ago
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It wouldn't be a My Favorites Friday without my ride or die.
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painisbeautyxoan hour ago
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When you surprise visit your girlfriend and she looks at you like this... Keep her. 馃槏馃槏
She's so fucking cute doe.
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the-ginger-hedge-witchan hour ago
Ren, can you please share your Marcus Moment with us? 鉂わ笍鉂わ笍
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This. This look. Right here.
Look at this body language. This is really the first time you get a glance at a different Marcus than we have seen up until this point. This is when Patrick Jane has caught Marcus leaving Teresa a note, and Marcus just gives him this look. The evaluating gaze, the clenched jaw, the way he draws himself up...this is assertive, challenging. This is an alpha male sizing up a competitor and thinking, "Hmph, really?"
And it made me go, "Oh, Marcus, nice to meet you finally."
Up until now, we've just seen Marcus in one mode, which typically involves him going out of his way to make others comfortable, even if that means suppressing his own needs. He even tries that here with Jane:
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He makes a really solid attempt at his charming, everything-is-great smile, but he just can't sustain it. And honestly, it breaks my heart that he tries. Patrick Jane waited until Teresa was on a plane to Marcus and Marcus's fiance before he decided to tell her that he loved her. That means Marcus found out about all this in a phone call while alone in DC.
Drags hands down face.
And we see how much this situation has hurt him when his face slips, and he says, "So...you and her."
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But then he does this. He steps forward into Patrick's space, full height, and he asks him, "So do you have a plan?"
Do. You. Have. A. Plan?
This is the real Marcus in one line.
First, he's asking this because, despite everything, he is still looking out for Teresa. This woman shattered his heart, and he is essentially giving the talk to her new guy, who just offered him the whole, "Sorry, we never intended to hurt you" bullshit. The protective instincts of this man are just...off the charts.
THEN Marcus says, "Well I was offering her a life, a home, a family if she wanted it."
Again, it's all about Teresa. I was offering her these things if she wanted them. What he wanted never even comes into it, and make no mistake, that this is a man who wants and needs a home and a family. This is a man who plans. Everything. And he just cannot figure out why he can't get this right.
Second, notice that even as he makes an aggressive movement forward towards Jane, he defensively crosses his arms. And that is because he has another reason for asking this question that is deeply personal. Marcus wants to know where he fell short. "What are you offering her besides Patrick Jane?"
What didn't I offer her that I could have?
Because he tried everything. Every time he sensed Teresa waiver he tried even harder to reassure her that he was there for her.
I'm going to DC but I will give it up for you. You don't want me to do that but you don't want me to go? Okay, how about you come with me?
You want time to think about it? No pressure.
You need a job? Let me call in some favors.
I took you to something I'm interested in and you fell asleep? No problem.
You are having feelings for someone else? You want to talk about it? Just let me know when you make a decision.
You have to work? Okay, I'll bring you food. I'll wait for you in the lobby. You didn't even bother to tell me that you weren't going to make it? That's alright. Hey, have you tried this with your case?
You're coming but you still seem nervous about it? What if we got married? Would that show you that I'm here for you?
Screams.
And again, it never even enters his mind that maybe she was unworthy of him. All he's thinking is I fell short somewhere, and I want to know how so I can fix it in the future. This man...
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Oof, and then he sees her. The naked emotion on this man's face. It just about kills me. The sadness, the desire. This could've been an opportunity for him to get some closure. but instead, he basically tells her he forgives her and tries to make her feel better.
"It was good to see you, Teresa."
Again, this woman was not good to him, but he still comes to see her when he's in town. He still wants to check on her to see if she's doing okay. He even manages to give Jane one last look of, "You better treat her right" before he leaves.
Caring, assertive, protective, selfless. That's Marcus Pike.
All of that to say, this is the scene that my Marcus is born from. This is my moment, and RYLAB is me trying to give him happiness. Because damn does he deserve it.
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stories-in-the-windan hour ago
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3 local idiots attempt to raise the child who appeared on their doorstep one day.
Would anyone be interested if I expanded upon Soap and his adoptive family? I have a bunch of ideas where I might do more goofy little meme comics, and some more serious ones about him growing up. His story is all about found family and I don鈥檛 have much concrete stuff written out but might be interested in pursuing something if people want to see more of Soap.
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