title: Checkmate
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Tim/J'onn (ish)
rating: G
warnings: stream-of-consciousness
summary: Tim is afraid he's going insane.
notes: for the fantabulous Chicago, her rare pairings ficlet. she inspired me to insanity. ^_~ forgive me for the affectations of the fic, and the suckiness of it... ever notice that when you get it into your head to be 'clever' in storytelling, it's impossible to get it out of your head?

The shield is down in Katzakstan, the rebels will get loose, but it's not a major thing, can't get involved in things that are political, risk playing God, alert the Red Cross, humanitarian aide will be needed, flush funds into the area to help, yes, can do that, that's good, and the Hubble is downloading data, it's still raw, but it looks like another black hole, hard to tell, the raw data is hard to read, the alarm at Arkham just went off in the northwest wing, no response, they don't respond to that because it could be rats, but the inmates know, the inmates are the real rats, text message to Cass, clear that up, and the archer is down to fifty percent, should switch him out, make a substitution, or pick up some defense points, maybe, don't know, can't play now, because the streets of Keystone are flooding, Flash is on it, may need support, can reroute the sewer lines, open up all the gates, not natural flooding, have to think of the environmental damage, can't just dump raw sewage into the surrounding rivers, but if I open the reserve tanks, the treatment plants can double their capacity, and if I reroute this junction here, and open these valves, they can flood the lower subways, doesn't matter, not running anyway, they have grates, that will increase the capacity as well, at least until the situation is in hand, and what's going on here in Metropolis, not good, no lines to Metropolis, better, better alert FEMA, though, there shouldn't be shrubbery in the streets like that, data from satellite four is slow, better run a diagnostic, make sure the feed hasn't been corrupted, better look into getting new carpeting, that might be mildew, hate that buzzing, what's that buzzing, wait, shadow, where's that from, there's been no alarm, wait, think, think, need to think, no alarm, no proximity detector, buzzing, it's the transport tube, JLA, wait, what, think, need to turn around, who could it be...

"I'm sorry for interrupting you, Timothy."

...Martian, there was no life on Mars anymore, relics from an ancient Martian civilization were being transported to Arizona for analysis, wonder if J'onn knows about that, what's he doing here, anyway, he looks cool when he's in JLA mode, with the cape, capes are cool, wish I could still wear a cape without knocking stuff off the tables when I walk by, I have too much clutter, that's the problem, capes and clutter don't mix...

"I wanted to thank you for your assistance last week with the crisis in Venezuela. Your data was invaluable."

"It's the database, connected to everything in the world," that's my voice, I'm talking, I sound horrible, "every system, it uses a neural net-styled operating system to basically incorporate everything into its own expanding system of files, it's got everything, all the answers, you just need to know how to ask the question, except there are mechanical stressors on the system, and power requirements, of course, but in theory it's all in there, in theory, it can't be tested, of course, but the processing time is diminished to practically zero because the system combines the capacity of all the host systems, so it's really fast." I'm babbling, I can't stop, and I just realized he can hear me babbling inside my head, too, and what is he going to think, and he is really a he or should I think of him as an entity or an it but that doesn't sound right...

"I have to admit, I also came to see how you were. People... are worried."

"They think I'm insane." I managed to say it without going on and on, but what else can I say? "I don't sleep, I can't, I can't stand that moment when you wake up and you don't know what is real and what is dream, it's just bad, I can't tell reality from fantasy anyway, I don't need unconsciousness to undermine my grip on what is, I mean, this could be a dream, couldn't it, and maybe I'm only crazy in my dreams, maybe I'm still Robin, maybe I never quit to go to school, maybe I didn't become Oracle after making my first billion with my innovative search engine technology, who knows, it's all perception anyway, and I can't run the risk of losing this perception because there's too much going on, and I have to help, I can't just sit back and do nothing, another leech on the backs of the people carrying the world, complaining while I drink the beast's blood, I have to do something, but last week, I was playing this game, and I wasn't looking, and the bombs went the wrong way, and they killed 50,000 people in a major metropolitan area, and it was my fault, but it was only a game, but I couldn't tell at first, they look real now, and I didn't know what to do, it was my fault, and I cut myself, I bled all over, see, the scar's still there, and I keep picking at it because the blood is real, but it was a game, at least, I think it was a game, I hope it was a game, it was my fault, there were so many people..." Oh, I guess I could say that...

"Timothy." J'onn's got his hand on me, they're cold, but warm, he's touching me, I like it, can he hear that I like it? "It's not your fault. You aren't responsible for everything that happens on the planet. Look at me. It's all right."

...His eyes are red, very bright red, and his skin is soft-looking, well, I suppose he can make his skin any texture he chose, why wouldn't it be soft, well, if he were in the desert, he could have tough skin, like scales, that would be awesome, J'onn has the best powers, I hope he doesn't let go right away... "They asked you to come, right? Bruce? God, I must be badly off if Bruce is worried about my sanity..."

"They trust you, Timothy."

...J'onn has a cool voice, very comforting, I like it, I like him, he's powerful... "Can you check?"

...He just blinked, I wonder if he needs to moisturize his eyes or if that's an adaptive behavior he picked up to blend into the crowds, and now it's instinctive... "Check for what?"

"Can you look inside me and see if I'm put together right? If I'm... if I'm still all together? Can you tell, or are all people just nuts anyway?" It must suck to be a Martian on Earth, their civilization was so much more advanced than ours, but I bet it's because they are telepaths, because language is such a barrier to comprehension, it's so hard to actually communicate when all you have are words...

"Timothy..." He's pulling away from me, did I say something? "What you are asking for..."

...I reach out to touch him, hold on, my hands are shaking, I need more coffee, but the filter needs to be changed, well, doesn't matter, really, my fingers are covered in calluses and I can't feel his skin from under them... "Please. I don't care. I need to know. I'm... I'm losing it..."

...I can't see him behind his eyes, he's so red, and green, and he put his hand on my face, it feels good, it feels solid, and I want him to hold it there, he's so powerful, he's so wise, I wish I could have his strength or wisdom, there's so much to be done and...

...and I felt that, something, he's coming inside of me, and, and, oh...

...felt that. Oh, like flying! He's opening me up. I don't mind. I'll relax. I need him to be in me, see me, feel me...

...felt that. Wash of emotion. This isn't mine. This is his. He's scared. But it's ok. Oh, I soothed him...

...felt that. His emotion. Fear. Isolation. Loneliness. Wait, is that him or me? Doesn't matter now, gods above, one...

...feel like one.




I'm shaking. He's holding me. I realize this slowly. Everything seems so damn slow. Like we are wading through time, rather than being swept away by it. He's... kissing away my tears. I know things about him. He knows everything about me.

And I'm ok. Not crazy. Just tired. And lonely.

So damn lonely.

I'm ok.

He's still holding me.

"Did I hurt you?"

I don't know why I asked that. I know how he feels. It's so intimate, so perfectly sensual, never want it to stop... I love him. Not romantically. Not sexually. But passionately, rascible passions, right? He was a part of me. I understand him.

He smiles at me. He's a Martian now, for real. I don't mind. He doesn't seem any more alien to me than I feel to myself. I kiss him, just to be sure he knows. I wish I didn't have to rely on words or actions. Maybe he knows, too.

He touches my face again, running his thumb over my cheek. "Let me make you lunch, Tim, and we can talk."

I look over my shoulder. Forty-two screens, each with various windows open, each beeping with data and information that needs to be compiled and acted upon, stare down at me.

He puts his hand in mine, even though his hand his much bigger. "It will be all right."

I get up to follow him. The world won't end if I have lunch. I figured the odds once, and it was 1:456,987,362. That's pretty slim.

And maybe he's worth the risk, anyway.