"I wouldn't, if I were you."

Superman arched an eyebrow in silent question.

"He's... a little out of sorts," Kyle explained, belatedly embarrassed that he'd warned Superman not to do something.

"Out of sorts?" Superman repeated slowly, testing out the words to see if they fit. They didn't. "J'onn?"

"I asked him if he wanted me to take over monitor duty a half-hour early, since I was up here..." Kyle trailed off, making a sour face. "He did this sort of... growly thing. In my head. Made me itch all over." He shuddered involuntarily at the memory.

"That's why you're hiding in here?" Superman asked, a faint smile playing on his lips.

The JLA meeting would be starting in an hour; Kyle, as the member on duty, would be teleconferencing from the monitor room. So Kal had been surprised to find him at the conference table, head bent over a construct sketchpad.

"Most powerful weapon in the universe," Kyle said meaningfully, holding up his hand to show off the ring. Then he gestured with his head toward the monitor womb. "Most intimidating Martian in the universe. Martian wins."

"I'm sure J'onn would never do anything out of irritation," Superman replied easily. "At least nothing lasting."

"Yeah, well, it's the dubious quality of your assurance about lasting damage that's keeping me here." Kyle smiled, amused at his own 'cowardice'.

"Weenie," Superman accused cheerfully, then turned to go find J'onn. Not before he saw the drop-jawed expression on Kyle's face, however.

The Martian Manhunter was sitting in the monitor womb, chin resting on steepled fingers. He had reverted to his trueform and the taller, thinner frame left him looking almost lost in the oversized chair.

"You're scaring the kids, you know," Superman began conversationally.

"That... was not my intention," J'onn replied after a long pause. He did not turn around, speaking instead to the screens.

"It'd be all right if it was," Superman replied with an easy shrug. "Kyle can take it."

"If he knew what he was 'taking', perhaps," J'onn agreed. "He is generous of spirit in that way. But I have been sharp with him and must apologize."

"How long has it been?" Superman asked, nodding.

"Eleven days, four hours, and twenty minutes," was the mournful reply.

"I don't know why you're doing this to yourself. You're a shapeshifter; it's not a matter of gaining mass."

"It is the principle of the thing, to quote one of your Earth expressions," J'onn replied almost pragmatically. "It is not that I must, it is that I can... or, in this case, that I cannot without unpleasant side effects."

"Choco withdrawal," Superman agreed sagely. "It's brought many a man to his knees."

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