Worst Case Scenario

Chaos Theory

Robin backed up instinctively. Every one of his senses were screaming ‘danger.’

"What happened to you?" he stammered.

"What?" said the girl with just a hint of an accent, brushing imaginary dirt off her blouse. "You don't like the skirt?"

Robin blinked once before lunging at her. Zatanna reacted with a flick of her wrist and an invisible wall of force slammed into Robin, knocking him down the corridor.

"A bit rude, aren't you?" she said, putting one hand on her hip. Her other hand glowed red and Robin felt his body go limp. A red aura began to appear around him and he slowly levitated off the ground. He couldn't move anything except his eyes and his mouth.

Not good.

Robin was well aware that Zatanna was the most powerful member of the Team, outclassing even Superboy and Miss M. Their powers had physical limits, but Zatanna was only limited by her own energy and her imagination. And normally having to say words out loud, but she seemed to have gotten over that right now.


"You aren't the real Zatanna, are you?" he asked.

"Well..." said the girl, tilting her head to one side as if in thought. "Yes and no. This is the same physical body you know as Zatanna, but no, she isn't home. Normally, when I possess a human host, I merely suppress their consciousness, but your friend put up such a fight that I was forced to destroy her soul completely. She's gone. No resistance, no resurrection, not even an afterlife. Zatanna Zatara no longer exists on any spiritual plane."

Robin allowed himself a little gasp. He could feel despair rushing in, and he wasn't sure if he had the heart to stop it. He was weaponless and completely immobilized by an opponent who could kill him with a wave of her finger. Two of his teammates were unconscious or possibly worse at the end of the hallway, he had no idea what had happened to Kaldur, M'gann was (supposedly) dead, Wally had been poisoned with Joker Toxin and then frozen solid and he'd just learned it was all his fault, having been manipulated by Psimon. Then there was the thing with Artemis and he'd had to relive watching his parents die and then 'seen' his mentor get shot while using more willpower than he'd even known he'd possessed in a psychic battle. All of that before an evil possessed version of one of his best friends had shown up.

So you can cut him a little slack.

The girl-who-was-not-Zatanna seemed to sense his despair and gave another predatory smile

"Cheer up. Did you know that you and her father were the last things she thought about before she died? It's so sweet. And at least you can take heart in the fact that she won't have to see me do this."

The girl snapped her fingers and Robin exploded in pain. He dropped to the ground as the red aura faded, but any relief in the ability to move again was quickly lost as he fell to his knees in agony. The pain wasn't coming from any particular place, it was coming from everywhere! It felt as though all of his nerves were on fire.

The girl kneeled down beside him, not two inches away, taunting him to reach over and grab her, but he couldn't. The pain was too much.

"You know, when Klarion told me his plan to bring me onto this plane without a familiar, I didn't think it would work. 'She's too young' I said. But now that I'm here, I can tell that your little girlfriend really did have more magical potential than any other witch I've ever encountered. And her being the daughter of the newest Dr. Fate only makes this sweeter. Nabu won't stand a chance."

Robin poured all his will into one last, desperate attempt to grab at her, but not-Zatanna easily dodged, laughing.

"You know, little birdy, your mentor, Batman once defeated a student of mine. Old Felix was humiliated, and I can't really blame him. I've often wondered how those who are merely humans can hope to do battle with those superior to them. So far, I'm not too impressed."

Then she kicked him in the face for good measure.

Second time that day, too.

"Well, I've got to get going now, you know, things to do, people to kill, so forth. I'll probably need to get that idiot Psimon to some sort of medic or something, if I feel like it and then I'll need to find Klarion and smack him upside the head for abandoning me in Salem, and..."

She glanced at Robin, who had collapsed completely in his attempts to avoid screaming. "Oh, well, I guess I'm probably boring you now, so I'll be on my way."

"Who... are... you?" Robin was able to gasp through his clenched teeth.

"Oh, little old me?" said not-Zatanna. "You can just call me Tala, Lord of Chaos."

And then everything went black.


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