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That's The Last Time…
Chapter 6 – Never Again

Before I start, I wanted to show you the current ages and positions of the people in this fic: Nightwing – 26/ Zatanna – 26, they are a couple; Artemis – 27/ Kid Flash – 28, they are married; Rocket – 26/ Aqualad – 27, thay are married; Superboy – 27/ Miss Martian – 26 (human years), they are engaged (they got together after Megan broke up with Lagoon Boy 5 years ago).

Artemis was running as fast as she can through the thick forest. She was almost out of arrows, which were useless against her opponent who was quickly getting away with his victim.
"There's no time Artemis! He's almost to the ship! You have to take the shot and stop him from getting away at any cost!"
Nightwing was screaming his lungs out from the transmitter from the watchtower.
"I'm trying, but I don't think I can make it. There are too many trees."
"Take the shot, Artemis! Take the fuckin' shot!"
He screamed again, slamming his fists on the computer. As she pointed her last arrow at the kidnapper, whom she has been pursuing for 10 minutes, she got distracted by aiming so carefully at him and not looking at where she was running, that she tripped on a stump and twisted her ankle. Before she fell she shot the arrow and hit the kidnapper in his right arm. As the arrow hit him he almost dropped his victim and at that moment something fell from her. The object landed near the drops of blood.

Artemis screamed in pain as she hit the ground.
"Artemis! What happened?"
The worried voice of Kid Flash sounded in the transmitter in her right ear. He had just finished his battle with Mammoth.
"I twisted my ankle and… Nightwing… I … lost her. I'm sorry…"
Artemis closed her eyes and tugged her right leg up and placed her both hands on it placing her head in and covering her tearful eyes. Everything was silent for a moment. Until KF broke the silence.
"It's going to be alright, babe. I'm coming to pick you up."
Nightwing was silent for a few seconds. Afterwards, he slowly stepped away from the computer, then turned around and ran through the Zeta-Tube like a hurricane. Batgirl, Aqualad and Miss Martian just stood there, still staring at the blank computer.
"Call Batman."
Said Aqualad, while walking towards the Zeta-Tube, not even turning to look at the still shocked girls.

Their mission was a simple covert mission. How could have this happened? Why? She wasn't even there when they started fighting.

The Team's mission was to retrieve information from The Light's new plan. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Arizona, New Mexico. The Team had no idea why all of the villains led them there. From the short investigation, which they were able to do, before the brutal fight began, they found out that in a secret underground laboratory, some kidnapped scientists had to improve the Venom, and they had been testing it on people, then selling it to villains. Turns out, that this scheme was a plan of the Light. Artemis, Kid Flash, Superboy and Rocket had to go undercover. Nightwing and Aqualad had to guide them from the Watchtower and disable security from the main computer, while Miss Martian and Batgirl had to receive information from the Team and analyze it. Zatanna was not even in the mission. But as soon as Nightwing found out that his friends were in trouble and they were outnumbered, he sent out a message to all the available heroes to go help in this messy situation that Superboy had caused. One of the guards, who were supposed to watch over the scientists, saw him, and set the alarm. In a few seconds the whole place was crowded with guards and villain scum, including Mammoth, Bane, Kobra, Shimmer and Sportsmaster.

Zatanna had received the message and without hesitation she went to the rescue. Little did she know that the bad guys were waiting especially for her. She arrived at the hideout and saw all of the guards unconscious. She went inside the laboratory and saw KF struggling with Mammoth, Artemis vs Shimmer, Superboy vs Kobra and Rocket vs Sportsmaster. Zatanna was just about to join the fight, when suddenly she felt strong pain in the back of her head and quickly fell to the floor unconscious. Bane had hit her with a crowbar. He picked her up with one hand and threw her over his shoulder. Artemis had finished Shimmer off and was about to go help KF, but when she saw Bane holding Zatanna she rushed angrily at him. She tried to hit his back with her leg, but he turned around and caught it with his free hand, throwing Artemis to the wall. KF tried to help her but Mammoth wouldn't let him go. Bane ran outside and headed towards the forest to the spot where he had landed his plane. Even after the hard hit, Artemis was able to pull herself together and stood up, shaking a little. She grabbed her aching head, picked up her bow and ran after Bane, letting the others know she was going after him.

When the Team arrived at the Watchtower they saw only Batgirl and Miss Martian. KF was holding Artemis in his arms, Rocket was carrying Artemis' bow and Superboy was not with them because he had to stay at the hideout and wait for the League to take the bad guys to Belle Reve Penitentiary.
"Where are Nightwing and Aqualad?"
Asked Rocket, with a worried look, as she walked over to the table and placed the bow on it. Miss M looked at Artemis, the sadness in her eyes could be seen from afar.
"Nightwing ran off when you said that you lost Bane. As for Aqualad…well, he told us to call Batman, and then he just left."
"Oh man…I hope Dick doesn't do anything stupid. Too bad I can't go after them. Right now, it's more important to help Artemis. Zatanna will have to wait."
Wally headed towards the infirmary, still holding Arty.

Aqualad had followed Nightwing to the hideout and afterwards, he lost him. Some of the members of the JLA were still examining the place. He saw Superboy talking to Wonder Woman and Superman and went to him, giving up on pursuing Nightwing.

Dick went to the place where Artemis fell after she shot Bane. He followed the path of blood drops, which Bane had left and as he was following it he reached the place where Zatanna's object had fallen. Dick picked it up and saw that it was a small golden compass with a short chainlet. He opened it and a holographic map with a red dot showed up. The map showed an island, and in the middle of the island was the red dot. Dick wondered what the dot was at first, but after a little while he remembered that this compass was a gift to Zatanna from her father. He had given it to her before he became Dr. Fate. When Dick had asked her what it was, she had told him that this was a magical compass, which had a dot showing where her location is, so that when she couldn't find a way home she would just use it. Zatara had made this watch after Dick and the other members of their first YJ team had "kidnapped" Zatanna on a mission, so that he could always know where his daughter is. Dick looked carefully at the map and soon he realized where he had seen this island before. That island was Santa Prisca itself. He got on his ship and headed towards Santa Prisca to rescue Zee. He was so worried, so angry, and yet, so sad. His head was full of memories from his times with Zee. The pressure inside him was building up and as he was flying towards his destination the seconds, which past, felt like hours. Suddenly a wild thought popped up in his head: "What if that sick piece of shit tries to hurt her in some way, what if he already has? What if she's already … d-de…" He stopped himself from thinking and shook his head, slamming his right fist at the dashboard. His frustration grew even more and he clenched his teeth tighter, narrowing his eyebrows and gripping the levers harder, steering the ship at full speed. His thoughts were focused only on one thing now – destroy Bane. What did that bastard want from her, anyway?

It's been 2 hours since Bane had arrived at his lair. He had put Zatanna in some sort of glassed pod connected to a computer. Zatanna was still unconscious. Bane was setting some programmes on the computer, when suddenly he heard an explosion. He looked at the cameras and saw Nightwing destroying everything that got in his way, beating up the guards heavily. He was running and fighting like crazy. He wasn't even thinking straight. He locked away all the good manners he had and forgot about everything Batman had told him about slyness and secrecy. Bane watched with a small grin as the young man destroyed everything in his path. That's just what he wanted – to make him forget about everything and focus on destruction and revenge. All of these feelings would lead him to his death. Bane had been wanting to end the life of the little bird boy, since Dick began his training with Batman. He despised the Batman "family". He hated everything about them – the way they dressed, the way they talked, the way they fought with such ease and most of all…the way they always won. He had been wanting a face to face fight with Nightwing for a very long time, and now he was going to get it.

Nightwing burst in through the door and the first thing he laid eyes on was Zatanna. His jaw dropped and his eyes filled with torture and sadness as he saw her barely breathing in that tiny pod. Her body was bruised and her clothes were torn at places. He rushed to her not paying any attention to the smiling Bane, who was giggling to himself in the corner. As he was looking at Zee, Dick's eyes darkened with irritation and anger.
"What's the matter, bird boy? Haven't you ever seen a woman before?"
Bane's evil and mocking laugh echoed through the lair. Nightwing couldn't stand the sight in front of him and he ran towards his target shouting like a madman.
"What the hell have you done to her, you worthless piece of shit?!"
Dick tried to kick him but Bane just threw him as far as possible.
"Now, now, birdie boy. Is that a way to talk to the elderly. I just had a little fun with her. Is that so bad?! Besides, she was being very feisty and tried to fight me. I couldn't let her do such a thing. But don't worry love bird, I didn't rape her if that's what you're asking."
Bane laughed even louder. Dick ran at him again this time managed to hit him and Bane got a little angry. The fight continued for over 30 minutes. They were both tired and bruised. Bane was out of Venom and Nightwing used this opportunity to strike one last time. He threw four batarangs with explosives attached to them at the villain and as they exploded in his face and chest he fell backwards and Dick used the chance to strike one last time. Bane was out. Dick stood leaning over his unconscious body, breathing heavily, with sweat drops running down his face and back. Looking at the defeated bastard, a thought of a "dead Bane" went through Nightwing's mind. He wanted to finish him so bad. His thoughts were interrupted by a soft shivering voice.
"Dick…where am I? Why am I in a pod?"
It was Zatanna's voice. Dick's eyes widened. He slowly turned his head to the pod where she was locked and then rushed to her. He opened the door with such force and speed that Zatanna almost fell on the floor in her weakened state. Luckily, Dick grabbed her and fell on his knees holding her as close as he could with hot tears falling down his bruised cheeks and on his cleft mouth. Zatanna felt his tears as they landed on her pale, but still gorgeous, face. She slowly and gently placed her left hand on his cheeks and carefully wiped his tears, trying hard not to touch any of his wounds, smiling and whispering to him with her trembling voice.
"Don't cry my love. Everything is over now. I'm fine."
Dick was looking at her lovely face, mesmerized by her soft voice, thinking how beautiful she is at this moment. He slowly leaned to her lips, brushing a strand of her messy dark raven hair, and kissed her as passionate as he could, not even a sign of forcefulness in his actions.

After the kiss, Dick helped Zee to get up. He looked at her deep blue eyes, seeing she was actually fine, but with small wounds here and there, thinking about their moment a few seconds ago, he realized something. He was truly and madly in love with this woman. He remembered seeing her unconscious and helpless in that pod and a serious thought came up to him, he never wanted to see her like this again. He never wanted to see her hurt again! He wanted to be by her side, and protect her no matter what. He wanted her to be all his, and if he ever saw her with another man he would kill him and go crazy. At that moment he fell on one knee, not taking his gaze away from her eyes. And as he took her hands in his, he said something that left the magician speechless…
"Will you marry me, Zatanna?"
She just stood there, looking at him with an open mouth.
"Dick….Oh My God!... I …Oh MY GOD!"
Dick smiled with his charming shiny smile.
"If you refuse, I'll have to kidnap you and put you in a pod."
She laughed, and started crying and laughing at the same time.
"Well, in that case I have no other choice but to say…YES, YES, OH MY GOD, YES I WILL MARRY YOU, RICHARD GRAYSON, I WILL MARRY YOU!!!!!"
As he stood up, she threw herself at him and hugged him tightly on his neck. He hugged her waist and kissed her deeply.
Well, that's the end. I hope you liked it. :)
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December 9, 2012
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