*SPIFFY DISCLAIMER THINGIE*

Don't own these guys: DC Comics does! No copyright infringement! No sue! Yadda, yadda! Jason "Jays" Todd and The Corner belong to KJ! Beware!

Rated PG-13 for implied m/m sexual content:):) Don't like; don't read!

This is another KJ birthday present:):) Late but heartfelt! Many dipsmootchies KJ, darlin':):)

Heavenly Babysitter

A Dracoverse Tale by Dannell Lites

Heavenly Babysitter

A Dracoverse Tale by Dannell Lites

Garth waited until we were almost at the elevator before speaking up.

"Dick," he began, "I'm really not comfortable with this." No lead in, no hemming or hawing, just tell it bang. At the last moment, of course. That's Garth for you. I had to smile. I knew exactly what he was talking about, naturally.

"Relax," I tried really hard to be reassuring, "you worry too much. Everything'll be just fine."

He blinked wide violet eyes at me and I knew that I was a goner. Damn! I *hate* it when he does that. It's highly embarrassing for Nightwing, The Scourge of the Bludhaven Underworld to melt into a puddle of chocolate goo on the floor like that. Not to mention messy. Fortunately no one was looking so I was safe. Okay. So maybe I'm not a scourge. I leave that to Bruce. I'll settle for being a pain in the butt. Just as long as Garth keeps looking at me with those eyes.

"Alright?" Garth's soft Atlantean accent turned even the astonishment dwelling in his voice into music. God, I hope he never loses that accent. I'm a sucker for an accent. His eyebrows lifted toward the sky in silent puzzlement. "Dick, we just left our six year old adopted daughter in the care of Azrael, for Pallais' sake! And I'm not to worry?"

"No," I reminded him gently, "We left her with *Jean-Paul*." The eyebrow arched even higher. "He doesn't have the suit with him, Garth. The Angel is nowhere to be seen." The other eyebrow joined the first one, crawling toward the other like mating caterpillars. "I mean ... not even Azrael would ... "

He just looked at me.

"Jesus, Garth!" I said. "It's not like we're abandoning her or something! We're just going out to dinner with Jays is all. We'll only be gone for a few hours." Garth looked somewhat abashed.

"I know," he began, " but - "

The rest of what Garth had to say was lost in the wake of a piercing scream that seemed to echo forever in that spacious hallway before it finally began to fade. God, what a racket! was my first thought. And it was coming from our warehouse loft, too ...

"Oh Christ!" I re-swallowed my heart Honest to God, it had never occurred to me until that moment that Garth and I had been arguing for some time. And that was when it really hit me. We had left Mary in our loft. Alone. With Azrael ...

"Mary!" we both shouted.

By the time Garth could move I had already wrenched the door open and cannon balled into our living room. He scrambled after me, many prayers on his lips that we were not about to stumble upon some scene of vast carnage. Garth seemed to be frozen in place, staring at something I couldn't see. Sometimes, though, God does listen. Peering into huge living room of our warehouse, heart in my throat again, I was forced to stare dumfounded at the tableau before me. For there on the floor in the center of my living room sat Mary Tula Grayson and Azrael.

"How was that? Mary asked him. "Garth-Dad says I have the loudest scream in the known Universe. You can hear me for at least six fathoms when I really get going," she said almost proudly. A small half smile curled itself around Azrael's lips and he glanced up at the two of us.

"She's a great little screamer, mes amis," he said. "Truly awesome." Mary took a dainty sip of Sugar Bubble Cola from out of an open can and passed it back to Azrael, making a face. "What is this stuff?" she demanded to know. "Ick." she opined. "Too sweet." Jean-Paul must have brought the stuff in. We don't allow Mary to have too many sweets. Ignoring her criticism, Azrael drained the can, crushed it, and tossed it over his shoulder into a nearby trash can. Mary lifted a slowly melting fudge sickle in the direction of her waiting mouth and took a bite.

"Hey!" I blurted, "those are mine!"

"It's not nice to hide things, Dad," accused my six year old daughter. "Fair is fair."

"You're supposed to be upstairs, doing your homework, young lady!" said Garth.

"Well," she defended herself vigorously, "you guys were gone a long time and I finished so I came down stairs but you two were gone." She pointed at Azrael. "He was the only one here." She smiled at her doting fathers. "He's kewl!" she pronounced. I could see Garth's long elegant fingers trembling when he held out his hand to her.

"Mary, child," he said weakly, "Come over here."

At Garth's back and out of his sight, I waved a clenched fist at Azrael. He did his best to look innocent of all charges, not an easy thing to do holding a five foot broadsword in your lap.

"No more fudge sickles for *you*!" I told him. He managed to look crushed by this monstrous threat and his voice trembled piteously.

"No fudge sickles?" he whined, grinning widely.

"Dad, it's ok," Mary sprang to her feet. "I mean, I know I'm not supposed to talk to strangers, but he was showing me all about swords and stuff. Did you know you can cut a guys head right off with one of these things? Neato!" In demonstration she clutched an imaginary sword fiercely and struck ruthlessly. Imaginary blood splattered the room and Jean-Paul Valley's severed head rolled merrily across the carpet.

"Whack! Whack!" cried Mary, swinging her sword.

I stared at the tiny bloodthirsty amazon before me. Garth made muffled noises that sounded suspiciously like choking and strangling. It was gonna be a race to see which one of could kill him first.

Mary glared at Azrael pointedly, now fingering the multi-colored jacks and bright rubber ball in her hand. I resisted the urge to ask her what happened to the sword. "He cheats, though!" she said. "You have to watch him." Garth and I both blinked at our daughter.

"I do not cheat!" Azrael growled.

"Do too!" Mary stuck out her tongue at the Avenging Angel. "Cheater! Cheater!" she accused merrily. "I told you, you have to do your twozies before you can do threezies."

"It's a stupid game," muttered Azrael.

"You're just mad 'cause you lost!" said Mary with smug certainty.

"Merde!" declared Jean-Paul Valley with a snarl. Under his breath, of course.

Jean-Paul cursing? Surely the Apocalypse was just around the corner if not actually upon us.

Apparently Garth had had enough. Turning to me he said, "I think it's time for Jean-Paul to go," he said firmly. Mary looked disappointed, but Azrael looked positively relieved. My smile was absolutely wicked as I shook my head in denial.

"Oh, I don't know," I observed mildly, my eyes dancing with demonic glee, "they look like they're having tons of fun to me. I think they'll be just fine." Mary brightened considerably and Azrael's lower lips began to tremble. Garth's mouth fell open in protest but I cut him short.

"Trust me," I urged, remembering the old joke about how a used car salesman says "up yours!"

Throwing her arms about Azrael's thick neck, she hugged him. Startled, the killer Angel drew back for an instant almost as if he'd been attacked by something completely unexpected and had no idea what to do. "We'll play lots of games," Mary enthused with a smile. "It'll be fun!" She delivered several light blows to Azrael's midsection. "You are evil!" she hissed menacingly. "And St. Dumas has sent me to punish you by cutting your head off! Stand still!" Appalled, Garth looked at me for confirmation of his suspicions. I turned to Azrael.

"I see you've been busy ... " I observed with no small amount of sarcasm, tapping my foot in annoyance.

"Help!" was Jean-Paul Valley's sincere whispered plea as Mary climbed upon his broad shoulders and buried her hands in his long blond hair, tugging as if on the bridle of a horse.

"Once more into the breach, dear friends!" she yelled, kicking her faithful steed in the ribs to urge him forward. Garth does have wonderful taste in literature, even if I'm almost certain that Mary never heard of William Shakespeare or Henry V. Delicately I sidestepped as Jean-Paul's wire framed professorial glasses went flying and landed practically at my feet.

"You - you're going to leave me with her?" he stammered. "A- alone?"

"'As ye sow, so shall ye reap," I quoted Biblically.

Quickly, before I could weaken in my resolve and rescue him, I grabbed Garth's hand and made for the door. "Remember," I told him firmly, "her bed time is 9 o'clock. Have fun!"

I heard him whimper softly as I closed the door behind us.

"Let me see if I understand this," Garth frowned as we waited for the elevator. "That was what is usually refered to as a 'dirty trick', yes?" I crossed my arms over my chest in triumph.

"Oh yeah!" I agreed.

"And Mary, being an average six year old, will drive him insane for the rest of the evening?" I nodded happily.

"Oh yeah!"

"All in retribution for his mistake in teaching her about decapitation, St. Dumas, and 'punishment'?"

"Oh yeah!" Snickering and gloating is really juvenile but I couldn't seem to help myself.

Garth shook his head in awe. "You are truly *evil*, Richard Grayson," he said.

"Oh yeah!"

Garth was the one who found Azrael, untied him, and let him out of the closet when we got home.

"Hell ..." murmured a dazed and confused but grateful Jean-Paul. "I was in Hell ... She said an Angel must rescue people in trouble. She saw it on 'Touched By An Angel' ... the closet was the entrance to Hell, you see ..."

That was just before he fled into the hallway shouting imprecations in French at the slow elevator.

We found Mary sleeping snugly in her own bed. Sleeping ... like an Angel.

"I think," said Garth dryly, "that we're going to have to find another baby-sitter the next time we dine out."

We glanced at one another and broke into simultaneously evil grins.

"Jays!" we chorused together.

The End!