Title: Ipso Psycho Author: pronker Timeframe: Middle of the run of Justice League Dark The New 52 in issues 14 through 21 where dimensions, space and time conflate into a delightful mélange of mystery. Summary: John and Zee sitting in a tree, Kay Eye Ess Ess Eye En Gee. Eventually. A/N: Rom Com In Space! includes other dimensions, right? Prompts #1 "exes" and also #1 "dare" from the generator, which made me think I'd done it wrong but it doesn't seem like it. Whew. This fic is loosely affiliated with May You Have Gnocchi From Your Children and That We Be Made Worthy. IOIOIOIOIO "I don't want us to be exes any more, Zee, and I dare you to --- naff off, ugly! --- tell me why not." "John, we're uncountable dimensions away from our Earth on a world called Epoch. We're fighting against demons forged by the Network to --- ouch that stung --- demoralize us before smashing us into paste. Why bring up the dysfunction that defines you and me? Watch out, it's got a shank!" Of course, he dove on that menace like ugly on an ape. She slid up against his back to form a defensive circle. Why couldn't he let things be? Because, Zatanna Zatara, you can't, either, and he knows you so well that he sniffs lingering interest on you like that puppy could, the one that you both sponsored at the adoption fest. "Timmad," she whispered and a hellspawn demon at the edge of the attacking horde turned its six heads to her, licked all its lips and smiled. It squeezed between its fellows to make its way through the crowd of screaming atrocities straight for her. She crouched to gather her magicks and crushed it to purple purée with a yell. "Livna tih remmah!" Oh that felt marvelous, above and beyond her usual abilities and she had to work hard to maintain a cool efficiency in battle. Really, this power-enhancing dimension would prove addicting if she owned an addictive personality like John's, but she didn't. She didn't. It was the one thing in her life she was sure of. "I never said I love you enough," John said over his shoulder. She felt him crouch as he Reached for a conflagration spell. The giant whatever-it-was charging the pair of them flared into a burst yellow red white that she caught out of the corner of her eye. It was pretty in an abstract sense. She straightened because when he crouched, his butt bumped hers and that was just too much distraction. "John, you said those words before, after and during each time we --- ahhhhh one slipped by me, can you get it?" "Always." And he did. So this dimension changed their very natures as John claimed? If he were right (and he had an uncanny sense for these things), her basic nature changed from unassuming acceptance of her abilities? John teased her about it often. She caught herself immodestly flourishing her cape after she sent two demons back to perdition with only one spell. Well. Chalk one up to John's immodest flaunting of his magical sensibilities. Drunk, she felt drunk or at least tipsy. And there he rambled on about feelings again, since this dimension eclipsed his basic conning nature with one that could not lie. Oh, the fun she could have here when this battle ended! She only half listened to him as the perfect spell bubbled up to incinerate a wraith who looked like a mean Batman. The real Batman was stern, but never mean. A few dates with him had told her that. "Strewth, yeah, I did say it then, didn't I? So you remember the good times, too." John resorted to a solid punch to the slavering jaw of a demon who resembled Nergal, John's old nemesis. That must have felt marvelous to him, even though he massaged his knuckles afterwards. She did him a favor and punted not-Nergal one hundred yards distant. "Ta, luv." "Don't hic mention it." "Back to what I was --- " "It's been ages since we were together, so give it a break, please." They would be overwhelmed in a minute because whatever portal of hell the demons issued from just cranked out more. Zatanna Zatara, you're in for the fight of your life. Is there anybody you would rather have at your side? Think fast. "I said it heaps but not once in a paradise like this, with your magic strong and unbridled and me a fair churcher. This place is pitch perfect for saying I never stopped loving you." "Retal ti tuoba klat lliw ew!" John smacked down another attacker that was a doppelganger for one of Darkseid's parademons. "Not this time," he said. "You've got to!" In a burst of enhanced magic, Zatanna interlaced her fingers and then pulled them apart to display the Ring of Fire she'd only rehearsed back on the Earth she shared with John. She seemed to reach the giggly stage of intoxication because when she threw it like a frisbee, the Ring expanded to take out all the remaining howling demon hordes. The sudden quiet made her slap her thighs as she tried to contain her laughter to preserve some dignity. Of course, he had taken their victory for granted because that was what he did, the pillock. "Pillock," she said out loud and guffawed at the funny word, nearly weeping with hilarity. John remained sober and ignored the blotches of demon gore mingling with the burned greenery. He even mumbled a spell as he waved a dirty hand towards a blackened circle of grass and a sprout struggled upwards to new life. Two baby leaves wobbled into maturity as she watched. "No, Zee, I refuse to talk about it later. This space is perfect for saying those words again because your magic is strong and unbridled here and I can't lie now. I love you." She had never felt like this because the ideal stall sprang to her lips and if it grew from magic or not, who cared? "You're repeating yourself, mage." "It's worth it." So now the ball was in her court. She waved at the sprout and a yellow bud blossomed into a dainty flower the color of butter. She squatted to study the plant as the analytical part of her brain kicked in: purslane, full of omega-3 fatty acids, nice in a salad, the ancients used it for many sorts of ills. Could it cure the ailments of a long time couple that separated again and again only to cleave to each other repeatedly at the drop of a magician's top hat? She stole a glance at John's spattered trouser legs and then upwards. From this angle the trenchcoat didn't seem quite as tatty and his face in foreshortening accented his stubbled chin. She looked back at the purslane flower as one more fact about the plant surfaced. You couldn't easily kill this plant that some called a weed because even if uprooted, its corpse survived on the trash heap to send out rootlets to bloom again. In one swift, sure stroke, Zee conjured a knife to slice through the part that showed above ground and then cut into it again. She rose to take for herself the half that was plain and thrust the flowered half into John's hand. He looked dumbfounded, the doofus. "I accept your dare, John Constantine. Why should we get together again? Because it would be crazy not to. Now eat this." IOIOIOIOIO The End. IOIOIOIOIO Spoiler It felt good to secure a better turn for the characters because a further development in the series requires one of them to undergo a memory wipe of their up and down history; they each doubted they could endure that without breaking. One could, at a price.