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Batman gave a slight tilt of his head, just enough for Zatanna to notice. She pulled away from the conversation, and followed as he lead her into a side hall.

"Isn't she great?" Zatanna asked before he could say anything, before frowning toward the ceiling. "Why is it so dark over here?" She turned in a slow circle, looking upward, brow furrowed. "Be honest, did you ask them to put uneven lighting in the Watchtower on purpose?"


"What if I did some kind of darkness charm, so it was always dark around you?"

"How likely is it that it would render me ironically blind."

"I'd give it about a four out of nine."

"I'll pass."

"You used to be fun."

"You don't really believe that."

"I don't," she agreed, "I'm kind of just opening my mouth and letting words come out."

"You are the literal last person who should ever do that."

"Haha, yeah." She turned her whole body to let momentum swing her arm into his. It was somehow even less effective than a playful punch to his shoulder would have been. "So what's up? What did you want to talk about? Is it about Black Canary? Is it about how she's great? Is it about how she should definitely be in the League? Is it about how you shouldn't even get a say in it because you won't admit you're a member of the League?"

Rather than respond, he reached out and rested his hand on top of her head. He waited. When she looked appropriately chagrined, he removed it.

"So what's up?" she tried again.

"It's about Black Canary," he confirmed.

"Why don't you like her?" Zatanna demanded, stomping one foot.

"I never said I didn't like her."

"She's been so excited to meet you!"

"Has she."

"Yes! She never had a chance to thank you for helping out in Star City while she was gone."


Zatanna squinted at him suspiciously. "What is it? What's wrong?"

He gestured with his fingers for her to move a little closer. She did. He leaned down. He kept his voice even lower than usual. "Is that Laurel Lance."

Her eyes widened. "How did you know?"

He sighed the sigh of a man who'd been hoping he was wrong, while knowing that he wasn't. "She has a beauty mark on her left collarbone shaped like a ruby-crowned kinglet."

"I thought it was a canary."

"Canaries aren't that round."

"You recognized her beauty mark?" Zatanna asked.

Slowly, realization dawned on her face.

"You didn't."

He sighed again.


"Don't call me that here."


"That is. Not. Better."

"You didn't know it was her until now?" Zatanna pressed.

"I had a hunch," he admitted. "The city. The connection to Green Arrow." He paused. "The week I spent deaf."

"A whole week?"

"Only a week," he corrected. "I got lucky. It was muffled."

"Muffled by—don't tell me what it was muffled by." He didn't. "Why didn't you warn me?" she demanded.

"I had a vague hope that it was actually her dead sister."

"No, her dead sister's White Canary."

"There's two Canaries now?"

"There's been two Canaries for a while, how did you not know that?" she asked.

"Now I'm supposed to keep track of who's dead in someone else's city?" he asked instead of answering.

She threw up her hands. "I just can't believe that you of all people didn't see this coming."

"I saw, and heard, and then I was deaf for a week."

Zatanna gasped, scandalized.

"If I'd known about the voice thing beforehand, I wouldn't have done it," he added.

"Black Canary's not an it." Zatanna put her fists on her hips. "Well, now what? Do we tell her?"


"Doesn't she have a right to know?"

"I had a right to know she could shatter my eardrums."


"When she calls the house to let me know she's a superhero now, I'll consider reciprocating."

"No you won't."

"Probably not."

"This is so awkward," Zatanna complained, covering her cheeks with her hands. "Secret identities are so dumb! How could you do this to me?"

"I didn't do it to you. I did it to her."

"Dammit, Spoops!"

"You can just call me Batman."

"I'm not doing that." She crossed her arms. "Okay, fine. We won't tell her unless it becomes somehow relevant for ethical reasons, and until then we'll pretend you know nothing about her. Except the stuff that you could have learned in the normal way, with your clothes on."

When they returned, Black Canary was showing Wonder Woman something on her phone. "Is everything okay?" Black Canary asked Zatanna.

"Oh yeah," Zatanna assured her, waving two dismissive hands. "We were just, you know. Stuff."

"Black Canary was showing me a picture of her dog," Wonder Woman said. "Would you like to see?" she asked Batman.


"It's very cute," Diana pressed, waggling her eyebrows unnecessarily.

"I don't like pugs."


Black Canary looked cautiously wary. "Did... Green Arrow? Mention my pug?"

Zatanna turned her face slow and wide-eyed to Batman.

"Overwatch said something about it," Batman lied.

"Oh," Black Canary said. She did not sound convinced. "That's—okay."

The Flash leaned toward Black Canary, holding up his hand for a stage whisper. "He's psychic."

"Batman," Zatanna said, taking him by the elbow, "I forgot a thing about the stuff. Can I talk to you?"

She dragged him back to the hall.

"She totally thinks you've been creeping on her," Zatanna told him.

"I am aware."

"The girl I like totally thinks my BFFsie broke into her house to scope out her pug."

"Since when am I..."

"Since just now, when I said the word 'BFFsie' out loud."

"That was a mistake."

"Yes it was, but no takebacks, because I'm a ride-or-die bitch and there's no brakes on the Z-train." She threw her arms ahead of herself as a visual aid.

"You should consider installing brakes on the Z-train."

"Never going to happen, this train don't stop." She moved her fists in circles, possibly to represent wheels.

"I'm not clear on the intended function of this train."

"It goes." She flung her arms out again. "Anyway, now that you're my best friend—"

"I thought the B stood for bat."

"Not everything has to start with bat," she snapped. "It's Zatanna, not Batanna."

"That would be a much better name."

"Not everything is improved by the addition of a bat! In fact, most things!"

"Name one thing."


"What if it was a bumblebee bat, drinking the soup out of a thimble."

"We're not having this argument again!" she hissed at him. "We are having another, completely different argument about why you couldn't just look at the stupid pug."

"It depresses me."

"Only you could get depressed by a dog."

"It's not a dog. It's an ambulatory carne asada burrito."


"It's deaf, it's asthmatic, it walks like it lost its ankles in a boating accident, and one of its teeth is always sticking out of its mouth like a stogie." Zatanna pressed her lips into a thin line. "Its name is Harold, Zee. Harold. That is not a dog's name."

"Okay, fine," she said in a whoosh of breath. "Just stop, you're even depressing me now. And I'm a ray of sunshine!"

"You are," he agreed.

"Couldn't you just say you don't like dogs? Generally?"

"I'm not a monster."

"You pretend to be!"

"Not every abyss is worth staring into."

She sighed, slouching as she did so like her whole body was deflating. Then she straightened. "You know what? No. This is salvageable. I'll just tell her you were covering for me. Because I didn't want her to know that I told you about the pug, because I talk about her all the time, because I am basically obsessed with her."

"How is that better."

"Because when I do it, it's cute."

"That's not how stalking works."

"It won't be like that! Unlike with you, she knows that she's been hanging out with me. She tells me stories about her dog, that I'm starting to think weren't totally accurate because she made him sound very cute. This is fine. I'll just make you sound like my cool bat-F-F, acting like my batwingman—"

"The bat thing is starting to feel patronizing."

"I'm trying to be supportive!"

"Thank you."

"I'll just tell her that I talk about her a lot and you're not creepy—"

"Yes I am."

"—not that kind of creepy, and it will be fine and she doesn't have to upgrade her home security."

"Don't tell her that."


"The last time I was in her apartment, the security wasn't very good. I didn't say anything at the time."

"Because that would be a really unsettling thing for a one-night stand to say?"


"Any other bombshells you want to drop before we go back in there?"

"I'm not going back in there."

"That's probably for the best," she said, reaching up to pat him on the shoulder.

"Try the inside of her elbow," he suggested.

"For what?"

"Just generally."

"Got it." She gave him a double thumbs-up. "Anything else?"

"Wear earplugs."