Jingle Bells is my attempt to write 24 200-word ficlets--one per day until Christmas, sort of like an Advent calendar--with characters from around the DCU.
Disclaimer: I have received none of the DC characters used in the following stories for Christmas. They are property of DC/Time Warner and I don't see that changing any time soon. I am making no profit from this venture. Bring on the holiday spirit!
There's a picture.
Wally's in it.
With three boys and a girl.
He's not really sure who any of them are.
But looking at the girl breaks his heart.
And he doesn't know why.
He's run--now that he knows he can--to the ends of the earth looking for the woman who was once this girl in the blue and red costume. He's found the boys in the picture, but he's not ready to talk to them, yet. Not ready to admit that he's forgotten them.
For some reason it seems very important to be able to remember her.
As if his life depends on it.
Or maybe hers.
The weather's turned cold and he gave thanks last week for Linda and for his job and for their health. But now Christmas looms ahead and his shopping list seems much too short, although his memory has yet to tell him why.
He wonders if she's out there and if she has the same picture. He wonders if she remembers. He wonders if she'll appear on his doorstep on Christmas morning, or if she's forgotten him as surely as he's forgotten her.
Her name, he thinks, is Donna.
Jingle Bells: Comfort and Joy
"I've finished my holiday shopping."
Jonah groaned, letting his head drop over the back of his chair.
"How on earth did you get your shopping done already?" he asked faintly. "We've been to seventeen cities in three days, not counting the whole Thanksgiving tour thing, and you've been at the Watch--" He jerked upright. "You're giving your book as gifts."
"No." Diana smiled and shook her head. "I'm just finished."
"I'll be finished too, provided my credit card doesn't buckle under the weight of half the stock of Nile.com," Jonah commented, turning in his chair to face the Amazonian ambassador.
She sat on his desk, denim-clad legs tucked under her and her reindeer-bedecked red sweater pushed up above her bracelets.
"Hanukkah comes late this year, doesn't it?" she asked.
"A bit. It was early last year," Jonah said. "Getting in the holiday spirit already, Ambassador?"
"Ferdinand has cookies in the kitchen." Diana's smile turned mischievous. "They're non-denominational…and if we hurry, they'll still be hot."
"Sweet." Jonah closed his laptop and stood up. "Let's go."
Diana grabbed his hand like a little girl and dragged him off to the kitchen.
And Jonah never asked what had happened at the Watchtower.
SPOILERS: JLA #190
In JLA #190, Batman and Wonder Woman decide not to risk starting a relationship. Jonah is the staff lawyer at the Themysciran embassy. I don't know, actually, that he's Jewish, but it works for him.
Jingle Bells: Present Tense
"I don't know what to get her."
Carter Hall had done countless things in his many, varied, lives. Countless, extraordinary things.
Fighting his way through a shopping mall in the midst of the Christmas holiday to find the perfect gift for Kendra was not one of those things.
In fact, he was fairly certain that he'd never even been inside a shopping mall.
"You could get her a new mace," Ray Palmer suggested helpfully, picking up a pair of slippers formed as dog heads and looking them over. "She'd like that."
"Do you think?" Carter asked with enough hope and desperation to tear Ray's attention away from the barking footwear.
"Um. Don't ask me. Kendra's not exactly my area of expertise. Women aren't exactly my area of expertise," he sighed.
He joined Carter in the main concourse and ambled by the chain stores, harried shoppers thronging around them.
"There!" Carter called, looking over the heads of people, eyes fixed on his prize. He shouldered through the crowd to get to the window display that had caught his eye.
Ray followed him and eyed the exhibit skeptically.
Carter was already on his way inside the store.
"I owe her."
Author's Note: Hawkman recently was at the losing end of a fight inside Kendra's apartment. Besides bloodying her couch and getting an axe embedded in her wall, most of her pictures ended up on the floor, the glass in the frames broken.
Also, thanks to Chicago for help with the end.
Jingle Bells: Recipe for Disaster
"How did we get this job?" Roy Harper looked around the kitchen suspiciously.
"I volunteered us," Connor Hawke said calmly, studying an open cookbook that was roughly the size of a suitcase.
"Good move on that one." Roy poked curiously through the pile of ingredients on the counter. "I hope you know what you're doing. I can make chili and I can barbeque. No flame, no blame, that's what I say."
"It shouldn't be difficult to follow a recipe." Connor pushed the book away and joined Roy at the pile of flour, sugar, eggs and chocolate chips.
"Y'know," Roy said, not particularly paying attention to what Connor said, "when I was like, thirteen or fourteen, Dinah used to make these great cookies with oatmeal and chocolate-covered raisins. We should make those."
"Do you have a recipe?"
"Nah, but I think I remember how to make them."
"Maybe we should call her."
"It'll be fine," Roy insisted.
"They--aren't really Christmasy," Connor offered in one last, doomed protest.
"Dude. *You* aren't Christmasy." Roy paused. "Though I 'preciate you doing Christmas stuff for Lian."
"It's my pleasure," Connor replied, flushing faintly.
"So we can make my cookies?"
"Who needs a recipe?"
Author's Note: Connor Hawke spent his formative years living among monks in an ashram. He practices Buddhism.
Jingle Bells: Snow Angels
An inconvenience at best. Lethal, at worst.
Cold was manageable. Fleece and silk lined the winter suit, and heavy pads buffered the winds. Snow, though, hardened into ice. Slicked the jumplines. Made navigating Gotham by rooftop nigh impossible.
The city loomed, bleak and frozen, its perpetual grime trapped under the slick of dirty ice. The buildings were predominantly darkened, the streets empty as the wind chased away stragglers.
Movement caught in his peripheral vision prompted him to turn his face into the easterly wind.
She was an inkier black than the night, swirling toward him like a particularly deadly force of nature. She balanced her slight weight, perfectly, naturally, with every shift. The jumpline she held was identical to his own, yet she held it confidently, certain of its reliability. She moved like poetry, each sweep and dive and shift of weight chosen to complement the others, to get herself to the rooftop rendezvous without injury.
He lost her behind the cathedral and before he could turn, he felt a splash of wet snow against the back of his head. He spun on one heel to see Batgirl standing behind him, smirk firmly affixed to her face.
Author's Note: There is no Author's Note. I lacked any sort of continuity to add in.
Jingle Bells: Checking It Twice
Superboy was making a list.
He made one every year, about this time, typing it into an email.
The only problem was, the recipient field was empty.
Every year he dutifully studied the store flyers, browsed the internet, and wandered the mall, deciding which items he would request from a family he didn't have. Then, he went home and made his list, and checked it twice and waited for someone to ask if they could see it.
But no one ever did.
Lois always bought him something from her favorite department store, from her and Clark. Usually a sweater, but it was a nice sweater and expensive.
His friends always gave him nice stuff, too. Well, except for Bart.
Bart always got him something, too. Never anything useful, but Bart would hand it over with shining eyes and a jittering foot, so he couldn't complain.
But no one ever asked for his list.
So Superboy's mouse was moving to save the message as a draft, just like all the others, when Ma Kent poked her head into his room.
"Connor," she said. "When you get a chance, can you give me a Christmas list?"
"Sure," he said, and hit print.
Author's Note: Superboy lives in Smallville with the Kents as of the end of the Superboy series. Superthanks to Chicago for fic help and Noel for knowing about Superboy in the eleventh hour.
Jingle Bells: Come Christmas
Bart Allen couldn't sleep.
Christmas was coming.
The goose was getting fat. (Well, he assumed it was, as he didn't know which goose or what it was eating.)
And he'd put enough pennies in Jay's hat for ten Christmases to hurry up and get here and still…nothing yet.
All his shopping was done, all his presents were wrapped, and Robin had gently explained that it was so early that opening the presents now would take the fun out of Christmas.
As if anything could take the fun out of Christmas.
The Garricks' house was covered with lights of every color, electric candles at every window, and best of all, a brightly shining Santa Claus, complete with miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. (Not too tiny, Bart could sit on one and pretend to ride it after all.) Jay had muttered about the electric bill but he hadn't told Bart to take down a single light.
Why wouldn't Christmas just hurry up?
"Bart? Are you awake?"
"Um." Bart thought about this. He was supposed to be asleep. "Kinda."
Bart opened his mouth to complain about the fact that Christmas had yet to arrive. But what came out was,
"I miss Max."
Author's Note: ARGH. What's up with the angsty former-YJ boys? Impulse lived with and was trained by Max Mercury for nearly the entirety of his own series before being handed over to Jay and Joan Garrick for reasons I'm not entirely clear on.
Also, the title comes from...I hate to say it...a New Kids on the Block song called "I'll Be Missing You Come Christmas." Just...don't ask. Trust me when I say that you don't want to know.
Jingle Bells: Down in History
"I brought the champagne."
"I brought the Chocos." Dinah waved them.
"Excellent." J'onn pulled four glasses from his bag and arranged them on the broken conference table.
"Is there room for one more?"
"Arthur! There you are!" Dinah hopped down from her perch on the table to run over to her old friend and hug him. "We were hoping you'd come."
"I--wasn't sure if I was welcome."
"Of course you are welcome," J'onn scolded him, holding out a fifth glass, yet empty. "You will have a place at this meeting until&."
Almost as one, their eyes strayed to the picture still prominent on the wall.
"You're here," Dinah insisted, linking her arm through his. "And that's all that matters."
"Yes." J'onn popped the cork and set it aside. He tilted the bottle toward Arthur's glass, spilling champagne into the flute. He filled the other four glasses and handed one to Dinah, keeping another for himself. Then, he tilted the last of the bottle into the last two flutes.
"To us," J'onn started.
"To them," Dinah added, voice catching.
Arthur cleared his throat, holding his glass out to the two glasses alone on the conference table.
"To the Justice League."
Author's Note: Hal Jordon, Barry Allen, Arthur Curry, J'onn J'onnz and Dinah Lance were the founding members of the original Post-Crisis JLA. This isn't specifically holiday-themed, but I figured they'd make this toast around the holidays. They're in Happy Harbor, the first League headquarters, though I'm fairly sure that Young Justice blew it up a couple of times. I'm just hoping the picture of the First Five and some semblance of the conference table are still intact, somehow.
Jingle Bells: Yet to Come
Jay had said 'office manager' when he asked Jesse to work with the JSA but with Sand's disappearance and Alex's defection, her job pretty much consisted of...everything.
The mountains of paperwork made her wish for the return of her superspeed, as if she didn't miss it every second of every day.
The ledgers were kept in books, filled with row upon row of Sand's neat, cramped handwriting. Jesse computerized the whole thing.
The Despero disaster had required a new collection of museum exhibits and the update was only half-done. Jesse finished it.
The membership records were spotty from the time Black Adam had taken off with Atom-Smasher to the recent losses. Jesse updated them.
No one had planned for the Christmas season. So Jesse assigned everyone tasks and supervised the entire operation herself.
"Rick!" Jesse turned around, letting her clipboard fall to her side. "Aren't you supposed to be in the kitchen?"
"I had a flash," Rick Tyler told her, leaning against the doorframe.
"Oh, no." Jesse closed her eyes and collapsed against the doorframe next to him. "What did you see?"
"About an hour ago," he said, looking down at her fondly. "I saw you. Under the mistletoe."
Author's Note: Jesse Quick lost her powers lending her speed to Wally at the end of...I think it was the Ignition storyline in Flash. Jay Garrick brought her in to be the office manager for the JSA. The Despero incident is in JLA/JSA Virtue and Vice. Black Adam and Atom-Smasher took off at the beginning of the Princes of Darkness arc (I think). Eclipso (Alex Montez) went off to join them at the end of the arc and Sand, whose inheritence was funding the JSA, sacrificed himself to save the earth in JSA #50, but there's no reason to think he won't be back. (Especially as Geoff Johns told me he would.) Rick Tyler is Hourman, son of the original Hourman, with the power to amp up his strength, speed, and invulnerability for an hour a day and the power to see random "flashes" of things that will happen an hour in the future. Jesse had a crush on Rick in a previous JSA series and he finally seems to have caught on.
Dude, the notes are longer than the fic.
Jingle Bells: Nutcracker Suite
Bruce Wayne had a standing date for the Nutcracker.
She generally had better sense, and better things to do with her time, than appear on the arm of the reputed playboy, but this one night she allowed him to spoil her.
He did these things as a matter of course--the cost of doing business--but rarely did he enjoy himself.
Bruce held the velvet wrap, concerned for her protection against Gotham's December winds. She had needed to make a stop, to see someone bedridden, and he knew she'd never tolerate the same from him.
But her mission was more holy than his, better, in a way he recognized, but could not conform with. His mission was important too, and he was better equipped to take the abuse it doled out. It struck him, standing in the doorway of a dank, stinking one-room apartment, that maybe, just maybe, it was she who had chosen the more difficult route.
There was no time to dwell, however, because she was back, resplendent in the dress she wore every year, stepping into the wrap of velvet and his arms.
"Ready?" he asked, offering his arm.
"Of course, Bruce," Leslie Thompkins replied, accepting it.
Author's Note: Again with no author's notes. No real continuity there.
Jingle Bells: For Man Nor Beast
"'Tis not a night fit for man nor beast," he quoted, frowning at the frosted-over window and blowing smoke from his Duke out the side of his mouth. He heaved a deliberately audible sigh when he received no answer and took another puff, finally removing the cigarette from his mouth.
The growl of a zipper was his companion's eloquent response. Boots, treaded as heavily as possible and still be light enough for exquisite gymnastic moves. Leather, lined in rabbit's fur, over close-fitting garments of raw silk. The gloves and the inside of the knees had rubber patches dotted for traction. The light magnification lenses had already been dialed down in anticipation of the snow.
The wind howled outside, speaking another warning to the people planning on braving its best in hopes of delivering innocents from the beastly weather.
He knew his presence was expected, and he had better protections against the horrid night--heavier clothes, cigarettes, and whiskey. Not nearly enough.
"Any chance we could make like smart people and take a pass on tonight?" Slam Bradley asked, putting out his cigarette.
"There are kids out there," Selina said, pulling her mask down. "No one takes a pass on tonight."
Author's Note "'Tis not a night fit for man nor beast" comes from, I believe, the Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special. This ficlet is actually made up of the scrapped lines from some of the earlier Christmas ficlets. Smorgasbord! I believe I stold Slam smoking Dukes from Alexis Muirhead.
Jingle Bells: Only in My Dreams
Fork on the left, dessert fork on the inside. Spoon on the right, with the knife lined perfectly next to the plate. Napkin crisply folded beside the fork, and place card perfectly centered. It was important for this setting to be perfect. It was the only one that wouldn't be disturbed.
"Done?" Ted Grant asked, coming out from the kitchen.
"Yeah, how's it look?" Courtney Whitmore spread her arms wide, inclusive of every place setting and decoration.
"Not bad, kid, not--" Ted paused as he saw the name on the place card. He frowned and placed a large hand on her shoulder. "Look, punkin'," he said, squeezing her shoulder. "I know Cave Carson and all that mumbo jumbo he's hearing is getting your hopes up but--" He sighed. "Sand ain't gonna just pop out of the ground, dust himself off and sit down for some grub. I'm all for seeing him again, too, but I think maybe we're looking a little far ahead."
"I read about it," she said stubbornly, shrugging off Ted's hand. "It's called a missing man setting. Don't tell me he doesn't deserve it."
"I'll be the first to raise the toast," Ted promised gruffly.
Author's Notes: Sand *sigh* mergedwiththeearth in JSA #50. In #51 or #52, Cave Carson (a Golden Age archeologist/adventurer) tells Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific that he's derived a pattern emanating from the ground near where Sand vanished. It's Morse Code, spelling out J-S-A. Doc and T look surprised, and then go eat Thanksgiving dinner. I remain unimpressed. The Missing Man table is usually set at military banquets. Six seats are set, one to represent POWs in each branch of the military--and civilians. The moderator of the event explains why they're there as the Honor Guard places service or civilian caps on each seat.
Jingle Bells: Flu Season
It started with a sneeze.
A delicate, ladylike whimper of a sneeze that made Wildcat and Hourman chortle until she threatened them with broken features.
The next day, she woke up with a throbbing headache and an itchy throat. She skipped breakfast and lunch.
The same afternoon, chills wracked her body. She had curled up on the couch and was watching soap operas when Kendra and Courtney staged an intervention and dragged her down to the medical lab.
"I can't be sick," she croaked as Pieter held her tongue down with a wooden stick and shone his little flashlight down her throat. "I have bad guys to beat up." "Not today," Pieter decided, switching off the light and tossing the wooden stick in the trash. "You've got the flu."
"I can't have the flu," Karen Starr protested. "I'm Power Girl. I can't get the flu."
"Looks like you can. And you'll be doing your shopping and your crimefighting online this week," Pieter told her, taking decongestants and cough drops from his dispensary. "I'm sure Courtney has a game that will allow you to take out your aggressions on pixilated opponents.
"She does," Karen sighed. "But it's just not the same."
Author's Notes: No notes, really.
Jingle Bells: Oh, Tannenbaum
"Over the river and through the woods," Roy Harper sang in a surprisingly pleasant baritone. His daughter Lian rode on his shoulders and a small axe hung at his side.
"Daddy," she interrupted, tapping him on the shoulder.
"What is it, punkin'?" he asked, tilting his head up.
"I see one!"
'There!" Lian pointed ahead, and Roy tried to follow her directions to approach The Perfect Tree. "No, that way." Her little hands clutched at Roy's ears, directing his head toward her goal.
Roy good-naturedly allowed himself to be steered through the forest.
Roy stared at Lian's choice. It was indeed The Perfect Tree. It was dark green and full, with many branches clustered in its lower strata. The top tapered into a perfect point, well-formed for playing the large, bright star. The only problem?
It stood at least twenty feet high.
"You know," he said, swinging Lian down to the ground, "that's an awfully big tree. It's been here an awfully long time. How about we find another tree? One that doesn't live in the forest."
"Ok," Lian decided, slipping her mittened hand into Roy's. "Daddy? Can we visit the tree on Christmas?"
Author's Notes: Not really in continuity, only because Roy was just shot in the chest and really should be resting up instead of carting kids and trees around. In continuity for the sole point that Donna could solve all his problems if she were still around. Thanks, Carmen!
Jingle Bells: Santa's Little Helpers
"I really appreciate you coming with me," Zatanna Zatarra said sweetly as she tramped over the powdery North Pole snow.
"Bleedin' elves can't get their toys made on time," John Constantine muttered, cupping his hands around the tiny flame he was trying to use to light his Silk Cut. "No reason to put ME out just 'cause they can't meet a deadline."
"Don't be like that," Zatanna scolded, her hands buried deep in the white muff that matched the trim on her winter cloak. "You know it's been a tough year, with all the kids wanting their parents back home for Christmas."
John stopped short.
"You're tellin' me Santa Claus is responsible for that?"
"Live and learn, John," Zatanna said serenely, heading toward the little house puffing smoke merrily from its chimney. "Bloody cold up here," John grumbled, hunching his shoulders against the wind as he followed Zatanna. "Couldn't have gotten us any closer?"
"You know it spooks the reindeer, John."
"They're bloody magic reindeer! If they can't deal with a little magical transport now and again--"
Zatanna turned as John cut himself off and watched him lift his foot and examine his shoe.
"John? What's wrong?"
Author's Notes: Zatanna alluded to a relationship (or at least a shared Tantric Sex Seminar) with John Constantine in one of the Alan Moore issues of Swamp Thing. The Kingdom Come Zatara was intended to be their child. Thank you, Mark Waid.
Jingle Bells: Christmas Shopping Blues
Ralph Dibney was starting to feel like a very small man.
Throngs of shoppers pressed around him, their shopping bags and purses, and tethered children battering him as he trailed his wife through the enclosed shopping mall. His arms were laden with bags and boxes and a wreath was even looped around his neck. He glanced around at the rushing crowds and chewed on his lip for a moment before carefully stretching his neck over their heads to look for his wife. He swiveled back and forth, spotting her at a rack of neckties.
Ralph returned his neck to normal height and hurried over to find Sue.
"Honey," he called, dodging a crazy woman brandishing fine Italian leather purses at 60-percent-off, "there you are!" "Ralph!" she replied, smiling. "Which one do you think for Booster?" She held up two ties with an expectant look on her face.
"Either one," Ralph said, ignoring both. "Why are we doing this Sue? Let's just go home and have a small Christmas, me and you."
Sue took Ralph's face between her palms and kissed him sweetly on the mouth.
"Oh, honey," she said with a smile. "I haven't even begun shopping for you, yet."
Author's Notes: Ralph Dibney is, of course, the Elongated Man, and Sue is his beloved wife. They were based in Opal City and have most recently appeared in "Formerly Known As...JLA".
Jingle Bells: Midnight Mass
"You didn't have to come with me tonight," Helena Bertinelli said, turning up the collar on her coat.
"I know." Vic Sage smiled at her, serene as ever with snow swirling around his coat and hat.
"I didn't think you'd want to see me again," she said quietly.
"Funny. I thought the same thing at one time."
"What changed your mind?"
"Heard you were working with Oracle and Black Canary. It was something new for you. Thought I'd drop by and see how you were doing."
Helena nodded slowly.
"Black Canary's not a bad sort. Oracle was obviously abused as a child but--"
Vic's deep laughter cut off her musing. She closed her eyes and let his rich voice spill over her, calming her.
"Helena." His hand pulled hers from her pocket.
She opened her eyes to find him gazing down at her.
"I've missed you."
"I've missed you, too." It was a relief to say and she was surprised by the sentiment.
"Let's go inside," he suggested, squeezing her hand. "Light a candle for this Oracle person."
She shook her head and let him hold the church door open for her.
"Vic," she said, "you have no idea."
Author's Notes: Helena and Vic had a short-lived near-relationship in the Batman/Huntress mini-series "Cry for Blood" by Greg Rucka. He walked away after she committed a damning act in the end. She also threw her Huntress costume in the harbor, but since she's back on the streets, maybe there's room for Vic in her life. Maybe not. She recently began working with Oracle and Black Canary in Birds of Prety, but that doesn't make her a fan of Oracle.
Jingle Bells: Good Intentions
"Close your eyes."
Barbara Gordon shut her eyes obediently and listened as Ted Kord rustled around in his things.
Barbara blinked her eyes open and zoomed in immediately on the…thing…Ted was propping up. It was black and matte, a little longer than her torso, and had rubber tracks, like a tank, running down each side.
"Wow! A tank-board…thing. Thanks, Ted!"
"Funny," Ted shot back. "Watch this." He set the board flat on the ground and pulled out a small remote control. With the press of a red button, the top of the board flipped up into a chair back and the tracks expanded upward.
Barbara found herself looking at a true all-terrain wheelchair.
"Wow," she said, sincerely this time.
"I was fiddling around in the lab," Ted said modestly, setting the remote on the table. "I know you don't do much fieldwork, but it might help when you do."
"Gosh, I don't know what to say," Babs admitted. "It's a great Christmas present, Ted. There's just one thing…."
Ted sat in the chair curiously. Barbara reached out and hit the red button. The chair snapped shut, spilling Ted to the floor.
"No remote," she suggested.
Author's Notes: Babs did have some sort of all-terrain wheelchair in the Terry Moore arc of Birds of Prey but...I like my idea better.
Jingle Bells: All I Want For Christmas
Jennie-Lynn Hayden glanced at the door of her father's house one more time.
No knocks. No bursting off its hinges. It just sat there.
She turned back to her family, sitting around with non-alcoholic eggnog, chatting warmly. Her brother sat by her side, home for Christmas for the first time in years. He looked relaxed and happy and she was glad for him. He'd had a rough time of it, always had, and for once he seemed positive and intent on not making things harder for himself.
Her father had taken more than one beating since their last Christmas together and a fair amount of it had been at Todd's hands. He'd taken back the name Green Lantern, though, and with Todd's sanity reinstated, he also seemed happier than he had in a long time.
Molly was beaming over them all like a proud mother hen. She'd accepted Jennie-Lynn and Todd more easily than any normal person would have, and Jennie-Lynn loved her for that and for the thousand other kindnesses Molly had shown her over the years.
But there was still one person missing and despite herself, Jennie-Lynn couldn't help but glance back at the door one more time.
Author's Notes: Jennie-Lynn Hayden is Jade, currently of the Outsiders. Her brother, Obsidian, aka Todd Rice, was Evil in JSA until earlier this year, during the Princes of Darkness storyline. Their father, the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, bore the brunt of Todd's Evil!Anger but came out on top (of course) in the same storyline and is back to being Green Lantern instead of "Sentinel". I don't have the faintest clue what Molly thought of Jennie-Lynn and Todd, so I may be way off on that. Jade's boyfriend, Kyle Raynor, is currently bumming around space, being written badly by Ben Raab. Or so I hear.
Jingle Bells: The Old Man
"What are you doing here?" Angel McDunnagh crossed her arms across her chest blocking the stunningly un-subtle stare of Eel O'Brian.
"I um, I uh--" Eel pulled his eyes back into his head with a snap and made an embarrassed clearing sound in his throat. "I just wanted to, y'know, drop off--it's a Christmas present, ok? For the mini-Me." He waved toward a shiny red bicycle propped against the opposite wall.
Angel stared past Eel at the bike, and then glanced at the floor before meeting his eyes.
"Why would he need a bike? It's not like he can't just turn into one himself." She raised her eyebrow.
"Oh, well, so he can get a paper route? Or be a bike messenger? Isn't that what ten-year olds do these days if they're not shooting people?" Eel sighed and visibly deflated. "I just wanted to get him something, ok?"
"And who am I supposed to say it's from?"
"Um." Eel popped Bat-ears out of his head. "Batman?"
Angel closed her eyes and shook her head.
"Ok, whatever," she said. "Bring it in, but be quiet."
"You're an angel, Angel!"
"Drop dead, O'Brian."
But she said it with a smile.
Author's Notes: In JLA #65, Eel O'Brian, aka Plastic Man, reveals to Batman that a past affair with stripper Angel McDunnagh resulted in a bouncing baby boy named Luke.
Jingle Bells: Family Matters
Renee Montoya started at the knock on her door. She wasn't expecting anyone and unannounced visits in Gotham tended to be bad for one's health. She got her gun from the breadbox and padded over to the door, checking the peephole before swinging the door wide open.
"Commissioner!" she blurted out, stepping aside to let Jim Gordon amble into her apartment. "I wasn't expecting you."
"Jim," he reminded her, lifting his scarf from around his neck. "Sorry 'bout that. I would have called first but I was in the neighborhood and thought--well." He coughed and handed over a bottle of wine--good wine, Renee noted, reading the label.
"Thank you," she said, touched. "Let me take you coat. Come in and sit down."
He thanked her and let her hang up his coat as he moved to the couch and sat down with a sigh.
"I actually came to invite you and your girlfriend to dinner," he said, fiddling with his cane. "Figured maybe things at your folks place might be awkward or something but…" He looked up at Renee and smiled. "You always have a place in my family. Both of you."
Renee's eyes swelled with tears.
Author's Notes: Renee Montoya was recently outed in issues of Gotham Central. Her parents, being very traditional, were very upset. Also, I know I never said what she did with her gun after opening the door--I ran out of room. :)
Jingle Bells: Tradition
It was dark when Al Rothstein slipped away. The tiny brownstone housing Black Adam's band was possibly a quarter of the size of the JSA headquarters and crowded with those who shared their ideology. It was a place of passion and intensity and it was not infrequent that tempers flared. As one of the first recruits, Al was afforded a modicum of privacy and more respect than he probably deserved, but Black Adam rarely slept, pacing the halls at night and appearing at odd hours with a bit of advice or an observation.
It wasn't that what he was doing was prohibited or even frowned upon, but it was something to be shared with family and they were not. It was private, not in ceremony, but because it brought upon him doubt and a sense of ignominy. He thought of Courtney and wondered what she would say to him if he ever saw her again. Then he would remind himself of her youth and naivety and pity her innocent ideals.
Innocent those ideals might be, but his heart ached for them, just a little, as he pulled his tiny menorah from its hiding place and began lighting the blue candles.
Author's Notes Al Rothstein, aka Atom-Smasher, joined his former rival Black Adam in forming a harsher, more Machiavellen splinter of JSA. They believe in execution of criminals and have demonstrated this belief more than once. Presumably the showdown between teams will happen in next month's "Black Reign" crossover.
Jingle Bells: Christmas Wrapping
"The first thing you do," Jack Knight informed his son, "is tape the paper to the box. See, here, where it folds over."
Three-year-old Teddy nodded soberly, as if Jack were imparting great secrets of the universe.
"And then you, wrap this around and--more tape."
Teddy obediently handed over the roll.
"Thanks. So now you fold this like so and, see, you want to tape this so it doesn't move. And then you fold this overtop and--where's the tape? Ok, so see, now you have corners. And you want to take them and tape to the top, and--I'm stuck."
Teddy watched, alarmed, as Jack tried to free his index finger from the jumble of tape and wrapping paper in which he'd managed to trap himself.
"Teddy," Sadie Knight's voice came from the hallway. "Time for bed!"
Teddy scampered away and Sadie appeared in the doorframe, surveying the mess of tape, wrapping paper, and bows, and her sticky husband, climbing to his feet.
"Y'know…." Jack started, scratching his head.
"I know you miss it sometimes," Sadie said, slipping her arms around Jack's waist. "But I promise you, honey. The cosmic rod would not making wrapping packages any easier.
Author's Note: When we last saw Jack Knight, he had handed the cosmic rod over to Courtney Whitmore and was headed to San Francisco, Teddy in tow, to reunite with his pregnant girlfriend, Jayne Sadie Payton (Falk). Or whatever her name was.
Jingle Bells: A Very Merry Christmas After All
At 6:00, Superman placed the star atop the massive Christmas tree in the middle of Metropolitan Square. The story was a puff piece, but it was Lois Lane's puff piece. She had covered it every year since Superman had appeared and she wasn't about to give it up now.
At 6:05, Clark Kent skidded into his wife's favorite department store and bought a bottle of her signature perfume, a pair of earrings, two bracelets, and an assortment of sweaters and silk blouses in her size. He got them gift-wrapped.
At 6:15, Lois Lane turned in her article. She'd written it the night before and edited in a few of the actual details.
At 6:20, Superman saved a woman from a knife-wielding mugger. His shopping bags waited on a nearby roof.
At 6:25, Lois Lane waited on the roof of the Daily Planet, wondering where on earth her ride had gone.
At 6:30, he arrived, scooping her up in his arms, kissing her, and zipping them both back to their apartment.
"Clark?" Lois asked as they curled together on the couch after a light dinner.
"Why do people get so stressed out during the holiday season?"
Author's Notes: Thank you to everyone who commented on these ficlets along the way. I appreciated every remark--they kept me going all month!