by Chicago

Disclaimers: Characters belong to DC Comics, borrowed for fun, not for profit.

Canon note:. We have made an executive decision in the JV that the Zoom storyline in Flash did not occur in the JV. We got Jossed anyway - our version of Linda's pregnancy predated canon's. So Linda is still pregnant, but not with twins. Continuity note: Sometime after "Ashes of Roses" in year 2 of the J'onnverse.

Rating: PG

I allow myself a split second scowl when the teleporter alert goes off and the monitor shows Diana arriving. I know the cameras do not catch the expression; my face is at an angle where the shadow will hide the twitch of a cheek. That one split second of annoyance is all I can afford before I begin rearranging my mental map of what might be needed to support the Watchtower during the shift after mine.

My focus on the planet below is complete when Diana finally arrives in the monitor womb. I do not bother to acknowledge her; she would be surprised if I did. Nor do I question her, anticipating she will offer an explanation of her presence.

She doesn't fail to meet my expectations.

"Wally and Linda had a scare earlier today with the baby."

I keep myself steady and focused, but something inside me twists and does not ease right away when she continues.

"Everything's fine, but Wally thought it would be good to stay with Linda. He was going to ask J'onn but he said he got the impression you had plans."

I answer with a single word, not entirely trusting myself to do more: "Understood." She says nothing more, offers no details, and I do not ask. She might assume that I am either unconcerned or will find the information some other way. Or, more likely, she is curious, more interested in an explanation of what Wally might know about my plans.

She should know better.

She is watching me, and I am almost surprised when she asks, "Are you okay?"

I stand up and press the palm of my gauntlet to the security transfer panel, letting embedded circuits communicate and register the end of my shift. I will not answer, which she knows. I am tired - my last sleep was 39 hours ago - and her news about Linda has stirred unwelcome emotion.

"Good night, Diana."

She is leaning casually against one of the consoles, still watching me. "Good night, Batman. Go home. Curl up with a warm Martian and get some sleep."

Only Diana would dare. The others might think it - or something cruder - but only Diana would say it. I do not fool myself that it is a gender question. She will say such things because she is a princess, and because she is undisturbed by the idea of angering me.

I gaze at her levelly. There is no challenge in her face. "Martians are not warm."

I do not take pleasure in the flare of anger? irritation? disdain? in her eyes. I barely have time to register it before I turn on heel and depart.

It is true, of course, but I find myself mulling over why I said it. J'onn only expends energy as heat when he feels it is needed. He is literally not warm. But Diana heard me speak figuratively.

I cannot control how she hears me, of course, and it should not bother me. And it doesn't. I question why I felt compelled to contradict her. Perhaps I am hurt that she did not consider my worry for the Wests' unborn child. Or surprised that she did not see through Wally's excuse for not calling on J'onn.

We have both lost children.

I have to imagine J'onn already knows of the scare Wally and Linda suffered. He is undoubtedly at the Manor waiting for me, although he had not planned to be there today.

My hunch proves correct when I make my way up the stairs almost an hour later, freshly showered and ready for sleep. He is in my bed, curled on his side in his true form. Not sleeping, although his eyes are slitted almost closed. He has been lying still for a long while, though, thinking, I suspect.

I don't say anything as I shed my bathrobe and pajama bottoms and slip naked between the sheets. I settled on my side and shift backward until my skin rests against his and he lets one slender arm snake around my waist to claim me.

He is dry and cool, as always, his touch present but feather light. He nuzzles his face against the back of my neck. "They're all okay," he promises me. "Even the little one."

I nod and twine my fingers into his, my eyes falling closed as I relax under his assurance.

His skin is still cool, but the presence of him settling in my mind?

It is warm.