30/30 - Empty Orchestra
by StarStorm (w/help from nw's chick)
Disclaimers and other information in "Opening Credits"
Flash saw Superboy nudge Impulse as they walked past the Monitor Womb, but Bart shook his head and moved to the other side of the group. The Teen of Steel started pestering the little ghost girl... Secret?... Wally couldn't remember... but whatever it was he wanted, she wouldn't do it either.
They were almost passed the big room, Superboy was bothering Lobo now, when the team's newly returned archer snatched the paper Kon was holding and, growling; "scared of your own shadow. He's JLA for Pete's sake, he won't hurt anyone," marched through the door.
Flash stopped the group and waited for the girl to come out, glancing at Robin with a silent question. The Teen Wonder shrugged, "No idea."
Head held high, studiously ignoring everyone's stares, Arrowette exited the Monitor Womb a moment later, and rejoined her team. As they started walking again, Flash could hear Young Justice muttering to themselves, excluding Robin and the blonde.
The Junior Justice League started teleporting down to Earth, until, by Wally's design, Impulse was the only one left. As the younger speedster stepped onto the pad, Flash asked casually, "What was Superboy bugging you about?"
"Date things?" Flash stalled, "for J'onn and who?"
Impulse rolled his eyes behind his goggles, bouncing from foot to foot. "BATMAN," he half-yelled. "CanIgonow?"
Wally forced a laugh, "Batman dating. That's funny."
"Youdon'thavetokeepitsecret," Bart answered consolingly. "Arsenaltoldme. CanIgonow?"
The Scarlet Speedster made a note to kill Roy Harper then and there. Either that, or cut out the man's tongue. Trying to preserve some of Batman's rep - J'onn wasn't worried about intimidating the kids - Wally growled, "Don't believe everything Roy says Imp. I told you before you joined the Titans that that man lies like a rug."
Impulse shrugged. Clearly, truth or not, he wasn't interested. Flash hit the teleport button and sent his erstwhile protégé planetside, then went to find a place to hide until the end of the shift.
"Anything to get out of this paperwork," the Man of Steel answered. "What's up?"
"I haven't told Bruce yet," J'onn stated, "but it appears word of the bet, and our relationship, has gotten out to Young Justice."
"Oh good God," Kal groaned. "How'd that happen?"
"I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count."
"Obviously Robin didn't say anything. I doubt that Nightwing or Oracle would. That leaves..." He thought for a moment. "Diana, Wally... or someone from the Titans. Kyle, Eel and Orin don't have anything to do with the kids."
"According to Wallace, Roy told Impulse."
"And it got around to the rest of the team." Another groan, "I do not want to be in Tim's boots. It might not be his fault, but Bruce'll take it out on him anyway, for not putting a stop to the rumors."
Red eyes flashed. "I'll deal with the Bat. I thought I should give you a head's up, though, just in case." Then J'onn grinned mischievously, reaching into his cape. "On the bright side, here's another chapter for the book; `Dating Tips from the Mouths of Babes.'"
Kal raised an eyebrow, "Oh really? Anything interesting?"
"Someone has a very strange idea of what two people should do on a date." J'onn handed over a few sheets of paper.
Scanning one, the Kryptonian answered, "Judging from the handwriting, I'd say it's Lobo." He winced, "I don't even want to know if that's anatomically possible."
"For myself or Plasticman perhaps," J'onn replied, knowing exactly what the other man was referring to.
A withering look. "I said I didn't want to know."
Another look, this time mixed with suspicion, then Kal turned the page. "Hmm, drive in movie. Hard to find one of those around anymore."
"There are a few, if you know where to look."
"I'll take your word for it. I was never into public sex." Superman continued reading. He didn't need to see the mock outraged expression on Manhunter's face to enjoy it. "Go to a rock concert...share fries and ice cream sodas at the mall...push each other on the swings at a playground."
Another page, and sadness crept into the younger man's voice. "Dinner and dancing on the beach, watching the sun go down. Lie on the sand and make up new stories for the constellations, or retell old ones."
Puzzled by what he was sensing, J'onn reached out, "Kal?"
Superman sighed. "It's Kon's suggestion. He and Tana must have..."
With the soft words, understanding blossomed. "Oh."
Shaking it off, Kal continued, "A carnival. Go-cart racing...I can see Bruce getting leg cramps. Crafts fair - never thought of that one. Wine tasting weekend... that'll never happen."
Morphing into a ravishing redhead, J'onn smiled sexily. "Oh, I don't know, I can be very persuasive."
"That's too much info J'onn. Waay too much info."
Something danced across the edge of J'onn consciousness, but he didn't pursue it.
"Ah-ha! That's definitely one I can't see you getting Bruce to do, no matter how much you pout at him!"
"And just what would that be?"
Kal turned to J'onn with a purely evil look. "Karaoke."
The Martian Manhunter entered the room a few minutes and settled heavily into a seat above the ambassador. "J'onn, what's the matter?" she asked.
"I'm beginning to wonder if this bet is worth winning," he answered with a sigh, rubbing his temples.
"Did something go wrong?"
"You could say that."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Diana's voice grew more concerned as she walked up the stairs towards him.
"The first part of the evening was fine," J'onn shifted to look at her. "We had dinner at a new steakhouse in Keystone, and then we went to a bar."
"A bar?" A slender, black eyebrow rose in surprise. "I thought Bruce was a teetotaler?"
J'onn shook his head. "He only drank club soda. But that's not the half of it."
The eyebrow arched a little higher, but Diana waited until J'onn was ready.
"I would never have chosen the date if I'd've known," the Last Son of Mars said finally. "Someone should have warned me."
"About what J'onn?"
"Have you ever heard Batman sing?"
She blinked, "No."
"It's not something I'd inflict on my worst enemy," he shuddered.
Understanding dawned on the Amazon Princess and her jaw dropped. "You sang karaoke?"
"I didn't. We were thrown out before I had a chance."
J'onn slowly shook his head again. "Bruce got up onto the stage, and let's just say, he did not Survive."