WITH JUST ONE LOOK
The meeting of the JLA, Titans and Young Justice was just a formality, really. After collectively saving the world yet again, Superman had decided to call everyone together to praise them for their teamwork and to encourage more cooperation amongst the groups. Everyone was here except for one certain vigilante.
Nightwing crept in so silently that no one noticed, so intent were they in listening to the Man of Steel. All except one other certain vigilante. Without visibly turning his head, Batman sent him a Look from across the room. ‘You’re late.’
Settling himself behind his Titan teammates, he subtly lifted a shoulder. ‘Sorry, unavoidable.’ He tipped his chin towards Superman, who was still talking. ‘I miss much?’
Batman imperceptibly shook his head. ‘Nothing important.’ A corner of his mouth turned down slightly. ‘This is taking too long. It’s not necessary.’ Another Look. ‘And you’re still not off the hook.’
This time Nightwing frowned. ‘Hey, I couldn’t help it, okay? Don’t get your tights in a twist.’
Batman’s jaw tightened. ‘Don’t use that tone with me.’ At Nighwing’s glare, his mouth relaxed. ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean –‘
Nightwing’s face also relaxed a bit. ‘It’s alright. I’m sorry, really.’
Batman’s shoulders sagged a fraction. ‘No, I’m just a little tired. I shouldn’t have jumped on you.’
Nightwing’s face showed concern, eyebrows furrowing. ‘Are you all right? Are you hurt?’
Batman’s shoulders and back straightened minutely. ‘Now is not the time for that. There are people around.’
Nightwing frowned again and sent his own Look across the room. ‘I don’t care. Are. You. All. Right?’
Batman sent another look, but this time, there was a trace of amusement. ‘I’m fine, Alfred.‘
Nightwing stopped frowning and raised a corner of his mouth. ‘You’d better be, old man, or I’m going to tell Alfred.’ He allowed himself a smirk. ‘And, boy, are you gonna get it!’
The ends of his lips curved up a few degrees. Batman shook his head, a quarter of an inch to left, then exactly the same distance to the right. ‘Kids.’
He knew Batman was probably rolling eyes even though he couldn’t see through the cowl. Nightwing looked smug. ‘Yup. Gotta love us.’
Batman’s mouth softened. ‘Yeah, I do.’
Nightwing lost his smug look, and his mouth also softened. ‘Ditto.’
Off to the side, Robin shifted from one foot to another. ‘I AM SO BORED!!’
The Looks he received from his two mentors were so intense that he froze immediately. ‘You’re too loud! Keep it down!’
Robin’s shoulders slumped, and he blushed. ‘Sorry. Geeze.’ One Look was bad enough, but c’mon, in stereo?
Batman looked at Nightwing, his mouth a straight line. ‘I thought you took care of that.’
Nightwing looked a little surprised. ‘Me? He’s your partner.’ He glanced at Robin, whose arms were now crossed. Looking back to Batman, he shook his head and sighed. ‘Great, the kid’s sulking now.’
Batman also glanced at the boy, his mouth a little less stern. ‘All right, I’ll talk to him.’
Nightwing raised both eyebrows at that. ‘You? Mr. Sensitivity? ‘Shyeah right.’
Batman sent him a challenging look. ‘You can do better?’
Nightwing almost beamed. ‘You bet I can! What’re big brothers for?’
Batman bit back a triumphant smile. He hadn’t wanted to ask Dick, but well, since he offered . . . Instead he settled for a very short nod. ‘Fine.’
Nightwing’s brows furrowed once again, and he lost his smile. Too easy. Had he just been snookered? ‘Hey, wait a minute . . .’
Before he could send Batman another look, the entire room burst into applause. Looking at both his boys while applauding at the same time, Batman smirked. ‘They’re all clapping because the speech is finally over.’
Robin clapped his hand over his mouth before he could burst out laughing. Nightwing grinned and shook his head. ‘You’d better be glad Supes didn’t hear that.’
Batman shrugged one shoulder and gave a slightly cocky half-smile. ‘So what if he did?’ He tipped his head towards the exit. ‘See you boys back at the Cave.’ As Robin and Nightwing both nodded their farewells and mingled with the rest of the heroes, Batman disappeared into the crowd.
While he circulated among his colleagues, Superman had a moment of doubt. Had his speech been too long? He had noticed some members of the audience fidgeting, especially the younger ones. Sighing, he wished more people could maintain the intense concentration of Batman’s people.