Lost and Found
by nw's chick
Disclaimers: they belong to DC. i am not DC. therefore...
Continuity notes: Follows "Mindstorm" in year 2 of the JV.
Numbness, to be exact. To be comfortably numb, to feel nothing, to think nothing, to have nothing attacking any of his senses... to detach from the universe and just exist, an empty, useless shell. These times never felt terribly far away; the burden of memory was a heavy load to bear. Meditation often helped, giving him some solace and comfort, but it was the times when meditation eluded him that he needed to go numb.
He was not able to drink away his memories, as many humans did, and he did not even want to contemplate the use of narcotics to gain his desired goal. Temptation could be a fanged beast that hid its teeth in plain sight, distracting with its silky coat of fur. J'onn was too aware of himself and what he was supposed to be doing to be fooled.
His alternatives were few. But he found that drifting in space wasn't the worst option available. The Watchtower had small escape pods with minimal propulsion controls. He had, in the past, taken one out and just drifted between the worlds, staring into the blackness until he saw nothing. It wasn't the easiest of options, but it worked, and that was what mattered.
He had hoped that since he had begun his relationship with Bruce, there would be no need for this sort of... escapism, but the past week had put him through the grinder - mentally, physically, and spiritually. If he *didn't* get away, he was liable to say something permanent that he would regret later.
In the past, he had always been careful to time his excursions so as to avoid attention. He would carefully 'trick' the Watchtower's computers into letting go of the pod without recording an emergency escape, he always made sure that the other pods were fully functional, and that the team would not miss him.
Now, he had the extra added attraction of evading the Bat.
He threw himself into work, going steadily from South America to Japan to Africa to the Netherlands in one continuous jag. This gave him the opportunity to close off the lines of communication with Bruce, for his own safety. After all, distractions when you were tired lead to mistakes; Bruce knew that better than anyone.
He timed his trip for a weekend when Dick was going to be in Gotham. This wouldn't ensure that Bruce would be busy, but it made it likely that someone would give him an outlet for all of his... *energy* while J'onn was unavailable.
The hardest part was accounting for the time that he was gone, but he was so anxious to just get out of there, he didn't bother to make up an excuse. He just stood ready to take advantage of the first lapse in concentration on Bruce's part; he could come up with the excuse while he was back, or simply evade, if necessary. It was often possible to use sex to distract Bruce.
J'onn had planned for everything, and when he slipped into the pod, and keyed the sequence to disengage from the Watchtower, he was sure he had covered himself well enough to have a few days to just drift.
He had not planned for finding the stockpile of Chocos in the pod's storage compartment, with a simple note reminding him to drift back home when he was done.
He stared at the note, at the neat, precise handwriting. Bruce had used his personal stationary for a note he had intended to leave in the Watchtower. That said more than the words on the page. He had used his fountain pen. J'onn could tell because of the occasional deposits of ink that gathered where the pen had stopped for more than a moment's brush. He had, presumably, sat at his desk in his study in the Manor, Gotham city behind him in all its debauched glory, and written with careful precision a simple note - Don't forget to drift back home when you are done. Simple. There was no emotion that could be read off the page; Bruce had been too careful for that. But the three boxes of Chocos spoke volumes.
Bruce knew. He knew all along, even before their current relationship. He had known what J'onn had planned, and he had no intention of interfering.
In fact, he was facilitating.
J'onn pondered as made the minimal course directions necessary to put the pod in a safe orbit. Bruce had *known*, and more than that, he had clearly *understood*. That was the astonishing thing. He had understood what it was that J'onn needed now, and he was doing what he could to help.
Holding the box of Chocos in his hands, staring out into the void of space, J'onn did not feel any numbness overtaking him, nor did he feel burdened. He felt *blest*, and for a while, he thought he was going to take the pod right back to the Watchtower so that he could get back to his lover. But Bruce had specifically said 'when you are done.' Bruce was not reckless with words. It was that Bruce understood this need that made it all so astonishing.
He could do what he needed to do, and not have to hide it, or pretend that he was always in complete control, because Bruce understood that even he needed a chance to decompress.
J'onn settled into a comfortable meditative stance, something that had eluded him for nearly a month now. He held the box of Chocos to his chest, and focused his attention on counting all his blessings. It became something of a catalog of Bruce's positive attributes, but it was the jumping off point that he needed to slip off into mindlessness, knowing full well all the time that there was finally a safety net ready to catch him.