When Zari was placed in her own time loop simulator by Gideon, she would frequently consult the simulator's version of Nate in order to help her investigate the rest of the team and exit the loop. In the process, she would form a bond with Nate to the point of calling him a good friend after suggesting that she take a break and have fun.
- Zari – “As long as we don't have to do that thing where we act like we're dating”
- Nate – “You and I dating would be totally weird”
- Zari – “Totally weird. Yeah”
Nate is mostly away from the team for a while, as he decides to work at the Time Bureau with his father to get some distance from Amaya leaving, while Zari goes on missions with the Legends. She does help prevent Nate from seeing Charlie when Hank Heywood decides to do an impromptu inspection of the Waverider, and witnesses Nate coming to terms with having someone who looks like Amaya aboard the ship. Zari is also present when Nate and his father fight and Nate finally stands up to his father over how to do his job as a Legend. Suspecting a conspiracy in the Time Bureau, Zari sneaks into the bureau's building to uncover the non-doctored footage of Konane's escape. Nate catches Zari after she discovers that the footage was altered with a phone, the phone number of which Nate recognizes as his father Hank's. Zari notes that she needs access to the phone in order to uncover the real footage, so Nate invites her to his Dad's gala as his plus-one. Nate introduces Zari to his mother as his "girlfriend," to which his mother responds by complimenting Zari's "excellent child-bearing hips", making Zari choke on her food and blush, the latter of which she denies when confronted by Nate. Later, Zari takes a photo with Nate's family in order to swipe Hank's phone. As Hank delivers his speech, Nate and Zari watch the real footage of two men in black capturing Konane, with Mona following right behind them. After confronting his father about the footage, Nate asks Zari if she cloned Hank's phone, which she confirms.
Zari goes undercover as an agent at the Time Bureau, still under the guise of dating Nate, and together they work on getting intel from Hank Heywood's computer, through an assist from Gary, while trying to keep Hank from imprisoning the Legends. When Zari and Nate take Zari's first briefing from Hank, Nate calls her a sweet nothing to keep up the ruse and Zari awkwardly remarks on it, but Nate doesn't notice anything. Later on, they're on the Waverider and Zari shuts the system down to prevent Hank from using Gideon to find the Legends, Nate and Zari secretly fist bumping and Nate complimenting Zari's work. The Time Bureau finds the Legends and Hank asks Nick to come along to catch them. Before they leave, Zari grabs Nate's hand gently and places an earpiece she's rigged so Nate can contact her, undetected by the Bureau. Zari seems a bit nervous as she grabs Nate's hand and he seems a bit taken aback, gazing at her before he turns to leave. When they reach the Legends, Nate ingests the magical fugitive - a truth bug, which, apart from finally clearing the air between Hank and the Legends, also has Nate reveal that he's open to dating Zari when Hank asks if she's actually his girlfriend. Mick laughs and says 'fat chance'. Back on the Waverider, Zari shows Nate that Gary got the info which shows that Nate's dad is experimenting on magical fugitives. Nate is heartbroken and Zari feels for him, taking his hand to comfort him. Nate is now fully aware of feeling something for Zari and gets awkward at her touch. She tells him she's sorry, but Nate is dazed by the news, turns around opening a portal to the bureau and leaves without another word as Zari looks after him.
After having found his father dead in his office, Zari, still pretending to be Nate's girlfriend, stays at the house with him. A week after Hank's death, Zari helps Nate fix his tie in his childhood bedroom as he gets ready for the wake. Nate thanks Zari for being there and she makes a quip about it being the gig. Nate mentions his Mom will be sad when they "break up" and Zari tells him he shouldn't. This stops Nate in his tracks as he looks at her and Zari realises her slip, then explains because Nate's mom going through a lot with her husband passing. They move closer and almost kiss, but then Zari moves away and awkwardly breaks the tension by saying they should go. As soon as they enter the wake, Nate's mom asks him to deliver a eulogy on the virtues of his father, but he tries to refuse and she thanks Zari for being there for Nate. Zari responds by awkwardly linking arms with Nate and the tension between her and Nate in the middle of this crisis as well as pretending to be dating seems to be getting to Zari, as she overhears there might be a new fugitive and is eager to leave.
- Kamadeva – “You sound like a woman who has never let herself fall in love”
- Zari – “Where I'm from love is a liability”
Nate tells them it's okay if they go and everyone says goodbye to him but when he and Zari say goodbye it's very intense and awkward. They hug and Zari doesn't know what to do with herself while Nate closes his eyes before the break apart and looks after Zari as she swiftly goes. Back on the ship, Charlie, Mona and Sara tease Zari about Nate after Mona's wolf-senses detects Zari's lust for him. Zari denies it and the girls travel to Jane Austen times to fix the aberration, where Zari has a meet-cute with a handsome coachman, who turns out to be the Hindu God of Love, Kamadeva. While his powers initially leads Zari to kiss him and she has an attraction to him, she doesn't act on it, revealing that she's holding back on her feelings for Nate because of the trauma she experienced in her life in dystopian 2042. Kamadeva reveals he's actually a human who has been using the power of Kamadeva. He goads Zari into trying the magic and they almost marry until Mona reminds her that she deserves something real and breaks the spell. Zari comes away from the experience having opened herself up to the possibility of love.
Nate spends time trying to untangle the web of his father's secrets, notably the magical creatures theme park, "Heyworld", he was having built in Nate's honour. Nate finds some closure with Ray's help and decides to have the theme park built after all. When he remembers that he asked the contractor to tear it down, Nate rushes to the site. Meanwhile, Charlie, Mick and Mona help Zari write a text to Nate to tell him that she likes him. Charlie encourages her to just be herself in the end and Zari asks him out, fretting as soon as she hits send. At the site, Nate sees he's got a text from Zari and is so distracted it stops him in his tracks as he's about to be hit with the wrecking ball. Fortunately, he reflexively turns to Steel. At the bureau, Zari comes by to talk about the text and when she learns Nate didn't see it, she backtracks and just mentions that everyone's safe, which Nate is happy about. He asks if she wanted to talk about anything else and she awkwardly exits walking backwards and turns the wrong way, all flustered by Nate. As she leaves, he turns around, smiling to himself, as if he knows that she likes him.
Zari and Nate start being very awkward around each other, so much so that Sara points it out and Zari unconvincingly says they are just platonic, but then admits that she thinks she does like him. Sara decides to send only the two of them on a mission together to foster some resolution, which shocks them both. On the Waverider, they talk about how it's not awkward, then both Zari and Nate try to recruit other team members to avoid the awkwardness. Sara even picks a dress and alter ego for Zari as they head to the Adventurer's Club in 1933 New York and Nate is stunned when he sees Zari in her dress. Zari mentions her pseudonym is Marion Ravenwood and Nate realises that Sara set them up for an Indiana Jones special of sorts. Zari then says that it was Sara's way of setting up the perfect date for them, to Nate's surprise. Zari nervously says they can just leave, but Nate is open to it and they are on a mission date. The aberration is a golden egg, which they later try to obtain, at one point hiding in a cupboard where there's unmistakable tension between them. Zari knocks out a passerby that Nate tries to distract and they enter the room where the egg is kept, only Nate realises it's guarded by trip wires, which he then volunteers to slither around. As he writhes around, Zari checks him out, enjoying the view. Nate gets to the egg and throws it to Zari, but it breaks.
- Zari – “You know how I... never let anyone know what I'm really feeling?”
- Nate – “It's kind of your thing”
Nazis then barge in demanding the real egg from them, but they assume there is none and that the mission was fake too. After learning it's a real mission while tied up at gun point, Zari uses her Air Totem to propel Nate towards the gun fire and he steels up, breaking them lose as Zari uses her totem to fight them off. They are relieved and glad at how well they worked together and have another moment. Nate leans in to kiss Zari, but they're interrupted by Sara and Ava arriving. Realising something's up with Ray, Zari tells Nate he should go and she will finish them mission with the ladies. Nate tells her he's sorry their date was ruined, but Zari tells him it wasn't, the two of them finally acknowledging their feelings to each other for the first time. After they get the egg, they portal back to the Waverider, where they find Nate all beaten up, limping onto the bridge. Zari quickly gives Sara the egg and rushes to Nate's side, holding him up. Nate is tended to in the med bay and Zari comes in, telling him he needs to rest. She finally lets herself be vulnerable with him and they share their first kiss. Zari tells him that's what she feels for him and Nate reciprocates. They start kissing again as the egg suddenly cracks. Nate asks Gideon what the egg is and she scans it, revealing it to be a dragon egg.
Nate is incredibly worried about what Neron might do to/as Ray, while in his body. He tries to distract himself by taking care of the dragon egg. Zari goes to check on him, knowing how close he and Ray are, and tries to comfort Nate. She learns that Nate has named the dragon Wixtable after his childhood drawing and Zari says that she likes the name. After the Waverider gets snowed in during the Ice Age, Nate and Zari run to check on the egg. Since the power's out, Zari takes the egg under her shirt to give it skin to skin contact. Nate strokes the egg on her belly and Zari jokes about the implications of the situation. Nate takes the hint and says they can still have fun and they start making out. Zari stops them momentarily, and Nate responds with really lame innuendo; despite this, Zari jumps him anyway and they sleep together for the first time. Later on, the Legends have consigned to their fates, as it were, and are using the ship's power to have fun. As they're playing games, Mick accuses Zari of favouritism and Charlie supports it saying it's obvious that they're sleeping together. Nate weakly tries to deny it, then confirms it and Zari gives him a stern look. Sara expresses her joy at this, to which Nate and Zari share a look and smile.
To save Ray and Constantine, the team gears up for battle. Nate carries around the egg and he and Zari coo over it, much to Sara's annoyance. Gary interferes with the help of the Fairy Godmother, and Zari comes up with a new plan to do recon at Palmerx2019. She brings the egg with her, carrying it in a backpack. Neray brings out Mona and forces her to transform to prove magical beings exist. The team are about to help her when Gary wishes the guys onboard the ship and Mick disappears, along with Nate right before Zari who says his name as he vanishes. Once Zari and Charlie have rescued all the magical creatures from Neray, Zari feels guilty for not being able to save Charlie too. Nate asks if she's okay and she tearily concedes that she's not. She goes in for a hug and Nate holds her, saying he's just thankful she and Wixty are okay, at which Zari remembers that she forgot her egg in her old house in 2019.
- Nate – “You're not a horrible mother, you just have a lot on your mind”
- Zari – “I left our dragon egg in the care of 9-year-old me!”
Zari is freaking out that she left the egg, while Nate tries to calm her down. They go to 2019 D.C. to retrieve the egg and look for little Zari at a playground. Nate says he doesn't see her and Zari finds it odd given he doesn't know what she looked like as a kid. Nate tries to be cute and says he's looking for 'the coolest kid on the playground'. Zari informs Nate that she was bullied a lot as a kid, and Nate makes an annoying boyfriend comment. They approach the gaggle of kids and see that the dragon has hatched. Little Zari enjoys getting along with the other kids, but a lady interrupts and alerts the Eyes app, at which point Time Bureau agents portal in and grab the dragon, while little Zari yells and is left alone on the playground in the chaos. Zari looks horrorstruck, saying she lost the dragon again and Nate looks sad on her behalf, not wanting her to feel guilty. Back on the Waverider, the team talk and try to come up with a way to combat fear. Zari remembers the moment little Zari had with the kids, which spawned a viral video of the dragon and Nate is reminded of Heyworld. As they brainstorm how to get the theme park going, Zari comes up with using Brigid's diary to write Heyworld into existence. As Nate sits down to work on it with Zari by his side, Gideon detects a change in Zari's future, where her parents and brother live and are never persecuted. Zari's overwhelmed that her family can finally be safe, but realises that she will never have met or joined the Legends, and she and Nate will never have fallen in love. Sara comes in and tells Zari to be their hacker on the ship so as to be unaffected by the change to the timeline. Zari leaves to prepare and Nate solemnly thanks Sara for a solution to let this Zari stay with them.
- 〉Nate, I'm not going anywhere〈
Constantine is appalled by the Heyworld plan and informs Nate that they can save all the souls, including Ray's, if Neron kills Nate, thereby breaking his word to Hank. Sara shoots it down completely, but Nate feels the weight of the responsibility on his shoulders. He and Zari go the site to build Heyworld and he lets her in on how much he feels is riding on his ability to do so, implying he's worried that he will lose Zari, but also his life, which he doesn't tell her. They kiss and Zari assures him he can do it. Nate starts drawing and writing and Zari steps away to watch the park come to life before their eyes. At the park, Nate welcomes guests and Zari talks to him on the coms, telling him he looks good and that the livestream is ready. After Neray opens the portal to hell with people's fear, Constantine fights him and Neray kills him. Only, it turns out that Constantine and Nate made a plan together and Constantine game them both the glamour of each other's appearances. Seeing Nate dead on the floor, Zari's crushed and asks Gideon to fly to Heyworld. Gideon tells Zari she might lose her memories if they do. As Constantine returns Ray's soul after killing Neron, he sees that Nate is dead and at that moment Zari comes running in, dropping to the floor and holding Nate's face in her hands. Sara tells her she can't be outside the temporal zone as Zari tells Nate to come back and cries over his body. Hank communicates through Mick that song can bring Nate back and with the energy of the audience they use Tabitha's wand to bring Nate back to life. Nate gasps and gets up, sees Zari and kisses her as if his life depended on it while everyone applauds. Nate stops suddenly, realising what Zari's done and tells her she can't be there, to which Zari says she couldn't let him die. Nate exclaims a breathy 'No!' as he envelopes Zari in a hug, not wanting to lose her, and she holds Nate tightly. Suddenly, Nate releases Behrad, who says Nate just came back to life. Nate says something's wrong, that something is missing, but then takes Behrad on his word that it's good.
- Zari – “Alright, stream's up. You look great, by the way”
- Nate – “Ah, thank you for noticing, I showered”
The ship became popular after it was set up in canon in "Lucha De Apuestas", thus shippers were overjoyed when Nate and Zari became an official couple in "Egg MacGuffin". Parts of the fandom see the relationship as having happened suddenly, with little build-up, while others concur but like this ship better than Nate's previous romance, which the fandom felt was especially out of the blue. This ship is also much more popular in fandom than Namaya was Both Zari and Nate have bigger femslash and slash ships, respectively.
- Their Season 5 reunion made the EW top ship moments of 2020 list
Notes and references
|SHIPS||slash||Atomwave • ColdAtom • ColdRay • Coldwave • Constandes|
Constangreen • Hellwave • Naterad • Nate x Dion • Starblazer
SteelAtom • Steelwave • TimeHex
|het||Atomic Hawk • Canarrow • Captain Canary • Darhkblazer • Hawkmates|
Hellcanary • HellHacker • HellStar • Hexari • Mixen • Namaya • Snowatom
SteelHacker • Superatom • Time Canary • Timehawk
Timeship • Zaray
|poly||DarhkSteelAtom • DarhkWuSharpe|
|femslash||Agent Canary • Avalance • Esperastra • Nyssara • Zamaya • Zava • Zelen|
|non-binary||Marlie • Zarlie|
|CHARACTERS||female||Sara Lance • Zari Tomaz|
|male||Ray Palmer • Mick Rory • John Constantine • Nate Heywood|