title: J'onnverse: Take Me Out to the Ballgame
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: J'onn/Bruce, Dick
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Ficlet on Demand! for Chicago.
notes: J'onnverse is Chicago's baby, and this was written as a gift for her.

"Bruce, you gotta be kidding me, you aren't going?"

Dick stood behind the Bat, hunched over the computer with his cowl still on, and waited for him to give an answer.

"You two go on without me."

Dick tossed his hands in the air. "The Cubs are in the World Series... just about never! You're telling me you can't take a few hours off to enjoy the game?"

Batman pulled up some schematics on screen two, and positioned himself in between the two computer interfaces.

Dick sighed. "The city isn't going to fall apart if you have fun for four hours."

Batman glared over his shoulder. "The Joker is going to move tonight. Just go already."

It was clear that there was no dragging Bruce away now. Dick just gave up.

J'onn was in Alana form, wearing a Cubs sweatshirt and jeans. She gamely tried to wave her blue foam oversized hand cheerfully. "Well, we shouldn't let the tickets go to waste..."

Dick nodded, and started to say something.

"Make sure that Wally is alone in the Tower."

Dick rolled his eyes and made a face at Bruce's back.

"I saw that."

"Whatever, good luck hunting." Dick walked past Alana to the transporter tube. He started to key in the signal to Wally that he was ready to beam up, but J'onn could feel him wrestling with something in his head.

Raising one eyebrow with a smile, J'onn asked quietly, "Are you sure you still want to go? If you are having second thoughts, that's all right..."

"No, no!" Dick shook his head, laughing just a little. "Hell, if he wants to work through this historic event, that's his deal. It's just..." Dick almost didn't continue, but then he barreled on ahead. "You don't have to go dressed like that, if you don't want to. I mean, it's fine by me if you do, but if you wanted to wear something more... casual... that would be fine, too."

J'onn looked down at his jeans and sweatshirt. "I don't know how much more 'casual' I can be. It is only 55 degrees in Chicago tonight...."

"No," Dick blushed, "I meant... you don't have to be Alana tonight. It's... it's not a date anymore." Dick turned away, shrugging. "I mean, if you wanted to be someone else..."

J'onn considered. "You think it is strange to go out with your 'father's' 'girlfriend,' yet you would find it more comfortable to go out with me in another form?"

Dick was clearly regretting saying anything. "Forget it. Never mind. I was just thinking..."

J'onn shrugged. He shimmered, and reemerged as a more generic male form. "How is this?"

"Great!" Dick beamed. "I mean, you don't have to... I dunno, I guess I was looking forward to a guy's night out."

J'onn wasn't sure how changing form would succeed in producing that result, but as long as Dick was happy, he certainly didn't mind.

They teleported down to an alley just a block south of Wrigley. There was a chill in the air, and a nip to the wind, but there were so many people around that it didn't seem cold. They walked side by side through the crowd, weaving through the masses, just wandering in the direction of the park, getting a feel for the city and the crowds.

Chicago wasn't like New York or Gotham. The area surrounding Wrigley had retained a sense of smallness as it had aged, giving it a neighborhood feeling. In fact, with all the people and cars and tailgating and people spilling out of bars, it felt almost exactly like the very best block party in the world.

J'onn and Dick didn't talk much, but J'onn just enjoyed walking down the street with the young man. He was as different from Bruce as night to day, but he was still cut from the same material, just the other side of the cloth. There was a whole aura around Dick that J'onn could see telepathically that was innately attractive, whereas Bruce tended to automatically repel people as best he could. Despite this, Dick did not have the swagger or demeanor of a man who was sure that everyone wanted to be with him.

It made being around him fun.

They passed a father with his three small boys calling out for tickets. The dad had the smallest boy on his shoulders, and the other two boys were holding his hands. Each boy had eyes as big as the moon, and their faces were lit up like the lights over the stadium. J'onn smiled at them, feeling a kinship of fatherhood that only served to refresh happy memories.

Dick turned around, and went back to the father. "You want tickets?"

The father brightened, but remained cautious. "Yeah, I need four, obviously."

"'Scool. I have tickets for a box, all set up. I'll let you have 'em for $100."

The two boys holding onto his hands were jumping and laughing with excitement, and the one on his shoulders was squeezing his head with glee. The father looked like fish just pulled out of the water. "Are... are you serious?"

"Sure!" Dick smiled, and pulled the tickets out of his pocket. "My dad's loaded, but he couldn't make it tonight, so I figure another dad should have a chance to make some memories for his sons."

The father rearranged his boys so that he could get to his wallet. He was very nearly bouncing with excitement. "Wow, this is incredible! Thanks! I don't know what to say... I mean, this is gonna be something we're all gonna remember for the rest of our lives..."

Dick grinned, and patted the guy on the shoulder. "Go Cubbies, that's all I gotta say..."

They parted, leaving one small family infinitely happier than when they had first crossed their path.

J'onn was terribly confused.

"Dick... I think that was a really nice thing to do, but..."

"Relax," Dick cajoled, "I haven't changed my mind or anything. But... Bruce isn't like most rich people."

J'onn was no less confused, but he was sure that Dick was leading somewhere.

"He doesn't think that money makes the world go 'round, or that he's better than anyone, but that doesn't mean that he isn't spoiled. I don't think Bruce would ever consider going to a game or concert in civvies in anything less than the best seat in the house. But sometimes..." Dick shrugged. "You don't get the best seat by separating yourself from everyone, ya know? You gotta sit with the fans here."

J'onn nodded, although he wasn't sure that he understood. Still, he followed Dick as Dick sought out the scalpers, and watched as Dick negotiated to pay four times as much for bleacher seats as the father had paid for a box.

J'onn was not sure that he was impressed with Dick's negotiating skills.

Wrigley Field was like a living being that night. The crowd packed into the seats until there wasn't any room to stand or walk. Everyone cheered together, and laughed together, and threatened the blind and moronic ump together. The regulars in the bleachers all knew each other, though it didn't require telepathy to see that their only contact with one another was inside the park. The man next to them shared his peanuts, and when Dick got cotton candy, everyone in their section ended up with pink fingertips.

Baseball wasn't the fastest of sports, but half the action was in the stands. The food, the drinking, the debates, the cheers, the conversations...

It was a maelstrom. And J'onn had to admit, it was better than being in a plush box seat watching from behind glass.

During the seventh inning stretch, the exuberant woman next to him threw her arms around his neck, swinging their bodies together with the song. Afterward, she explained her theory on the evolution of human interaction as it related to why the Cubs had finally gotten decent pitching.

When the game winning homer sailed over the ivy-covered wall, it didn't matter who knew each other and who didn't, everyone was hugging and cheering together.

They got dragged along with the crowd into the Cubbie Bear across the street, where every strata of Chicagoan was busy celebrating and trying to get on TV with one of the various news crews that were covering the aftergame. J'onn stood crammed against the bar with a mug of weak, foamy beer, laughing while Dick reenacted the critical double play from the fourth inning.

It was well after midnight when they transported back, and the Batmobile was still out. J'onn did a quick mental touch just to make sure that Bruce was all right, but he didn't let himself get too worried. The Bat was rarely back before midnight.

"I had a great time tonight." Words were woefully inadequate for expression, but J'onn knew that Dick would understand.

"Me, too." Dick grinned. "We should do it again." He paused before turning to where his bike was parked. "We shouldn't always have to have him around, anyway. It's good to... relax, just the two of us. Right?"

J'onn was sometimes amazed at how well humans were able to express themselves. "Absolutely."

Dick beamed, and then took off.