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Magic Is As Magic Does

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You know, you'd think that being a magician would make some things easy. After all, your principle tool is magic, but magic isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes it has a mind of its own.

For example, my father once tried to magic his way out of a water-filled box once but 'magic' didn't understand the words. Good thing his trusty assistant was keeping an eye on the stop watch that night. His funeral might have been much sooner than it truly was.

Another example is my current situation, hanging upside down over a pit of lava, waiting for some guy in a ski mask to drop my, how did he put, "perky brunette bod". Yes, that was it.

I hate being called "perky." I'm energetic, not perky. It's part of the stage persona and I'm tired of yoyos like this schmuck trying to enhance my act. Maybe he should go work for David Copperfield. The Statue of Liberty's still there.

Back to my rant.

So here I am, hanging upside down over a pit of lava, wondering how I get myself into these things. Martian Manhunter is nowhere in sight and I'm beginning to actually get worried.

Magic isn't working, ladies and gentlemen, and my act getting stale. Too bad the audience isn't leaving.

"So, honey, how are you going to get outta this one?"


I merely smile and begin muttering desperately under my breath. ".dnuorg eht ot em taolf dna sepor eht eitnU" Nada, zip, zero, dang it. Where's that green skinned companion of mine?! "!yrf em tel t'noD"

~It is taken care of,~ a voice whispers in my head. I'd sag with relief but well, it's kinda hard hanging upside down. ~Create a distraction.~

~About time!~ I reply in exasperation. I can sense J'onn's amusement but now I'm concentrating on other things.

"Hey, Magic Girl, I don't see no levitation happening!" snickers my rather bad punning captor.

To his immediate right stands this huge statue of some God-awful ugly beast that some ancient people thought would save them from destruction. Next to it are several smaller statues of minor deities and it's those I'm thinking might prove the distraction J'onn needs.

"!snup dab eht htiw yug eht tuo kconk ot, eno yb eno, seutats esoht elppoT" Sure as I command, magic works for me. One by one the smaller statues begins teetering.

"What did you say?" my captor says in outrage. He slowly puts the words together and then looks behind him. "Oh no," he whimpers and then dodges as the first one falls right where he was standing.

"Timber!" I yell gleefully.

J'onn suddenly materializes in front of my kidnapper and hauls him up by his ankles. I'd cackle but the ropes have started lowering my "perky brunette bod" toward the bubbling lava.

"Uh, J'onn, I have a slight problem," I call down. "My magic isn't working against the ropes."

"That because the ropes are anti-magic," J'onn's prisoner says, his voice muffled from his upside-down position.

"Interesting," J'onn says and tosses his prisoner aside as if clearing an alleyway. The guy hits the side of the cave with an 'oof!'

My green-skinned companion floats to my eye level, adjusting himself as I lower slowly towards doom.

"You know, some help would be nice," I comment pleasantly.

"I want to study this rope first," J'onn says placatingly. I roll my eyes. Scientists. Go figure.

"I'd like to continue breathing," I inform him after a long moment of him 'studying the rope'.

J'onn smiles at me in his peculiar fashion and begins working on the extremely complicated knot. So complicated in fact, I couldn't slip my way out and J'onn kept getting his fingers stuck. He had to phaze through the bonds several times.

Finally I was free and J'onn brought me gently to the floor. I looked down to check out my costume.

"My stockings are ruined!" I scream in outrage. I turn to my former captor, who is now backing up slowly. "You'll pay for that," I tell him and begin chanting again. "!sgniht ycal dna esoh htiw etelpmoc ,sserd a ni dal worra diputS"

"Ah man!" he cried and I smugly admired my handiwork.

"You look good in cream," I inform him cheerfully.

Laughter echoes from the balconies and the three of us bow graciously. "Hey, Roy!" snickers some of my 'captors' associates. "You look good in fishnets!"

"Do the Time Warp, Harper," hooted another.

He merely scowled at them all and then turned on me. "Fish nets were not part of the deal," he muttered at me as we took another bow.

"Neither were the magic-resistant ropes," I counter and he has the grace to look sheepish.

"That was Wingster's idea, blame him."

"No," I say in a low tone, "it wasn't Nightwing's idea. I'll bet my new top hat that the Bat had something to do with this one."

I stare up at the individual in question and he's staring down at me, as if waiting for me to challenge the little twist he had a hand in making for my "show".

"Not your best performance, Zatanna," says Superman as he approaches our trio, "but definitely the most entertaining. You invited us here for a reason, so I'm going to assume that this was just the opening act?" His blue eyes are twinkling with amusement and I can't help but grin back.

I shrug. "You people take life too seriously, Big Boy Blue," I tell him airily. "I goaded J'onn into helping me and Arsenal's like his mentor, a sucker for a pretty face and a well turned leg." Arsenal flushes a bright red to clash with his copper orange hair. "You people need to lighten up."

"And you need to be ready for anything," rumbles the pointy eared menace from behind me. I swear, I know he doesn't use magic but he does things that only magic can be used to explain.

I level a glare at him. "So I perceive. Where'd you get the rope?"

He smiles at me, an honest-to-God smile! "That's my little stage secret," he says and then walks away.

"Some day," I mutter. "Some day, I'm going to turn him into a horny toad."

"He's got a point, though, Zatanna, you weren't ready for an enemy to attack here, were you?" Superman levels his own strong gaze on me and I flush.

"No, I suppose not, but I didn't expect one of our own to..."

"No." J'onn interrupts with a shake of his head. "You never do."

I sigh. It seems some things not even magic can get me out of, like the well meaning pranks of friends with good intentions.