This is my first foray into the world of Static Shock. I saw a few episodes over the weekend, and the muse struck hard. Heads up - this will be slash (Virgil/Richie)! If this makes you uncomfortable, don't read. There are some excellent gen fics on the page, so go back and try again.

I'm making this AU (obviously, since it's slash), because I am unclear on some of the back story and timelines, but I'll plow ahead anyway. I am also putting both Richie and Virgil at a young sixteen. For hard core Static and Justice League fans, feel free to drop me a line if I get too far out of character. Constructive criticism is welcome.

Justice League and Static Shock are the property of others. This work is for my (and hopefully your) personal enjoyment.

Batman's face was his usual indifferent mask as he viewed and reviewed the tape he had received that morning. It was from Static and Gear, wishing him and the other members of the Justice League a Happy New Year. The others had viewed the tape once and sent their own holiday greetings to the super duo from Dakota, but Batman had felt something was a little off.

Tapping quickly on the computer, he was able to center on the helmet-clad hero, Gear. The boy, whose real name Richie Foley, seemed the picture of adolescent high spirits as he and Virgil Hawkins, a.k.a. Static Shock, waved for the camera. He could see one of Backpack's antennae over Gear's left shoulder; it was waving as well.

What was wrong with this picture? The question had been eating away at the Dark Knight for hours. He had contacted Static shortly after receiving the tape, and he was convinced that all was well in Dakota. So far. But he was also convinced that something was wrong. Something with Gear.

Batman paused the tape as Static and Gear threw their arms across one another's shoulders and, with glasses of root beer raised high, began to perform a rap version of Auld Lang Syne. His lips twitched as he recalled the Flash's childlike joy in the boy's rendition and his attempt to recreate the amateur video with the much more stoic Green Lantern. His attempt failed miserably and nearly resulted in his abrupt spacing from the Watchtower.

Batman turned away as the door alert for his laboratory sounded.


"My friend. I have sensed something troubling you. I offer my assistance."

The Martian Manhunter, J'onn J'onzz, glided into the room. Though physically intimidating to most of the criminals and invaders faced by the Justice League, Batman always found J'onn to be a serene presence in a sometimes-insane universe.

" I appreciate it." replied the Bat. "You saw the video from the kids?"

J'onn hid the smile that threatened. He was pleased the his friend had allowed Dakota's youngsters behind his formidable shields. Young Robin had been the only one allowed for such a long time, but Robin was preoccupied with the Titans lately. It was a full time job, and he was unable to work with Batman as frequently as he had in the past. Often, it would be days, sometimes weeks between the little bird's visits, and he knew that Batman sorely missed his protégé. Not that he would ever admit it.

Yes, it was a good thing that had happened. He knew the Batman held a paternal pride in Static and Gear. He had made it a habit to check on the boys at least once a week although they did not know of the surveillance. And Batman did not know that the other JL members were aware of his concern. Except for emergencies, meetings were never convened on those days, and Batman was never scheduled for routine patrol during his Dakota viewing times.

These thoughts flashed through J'onn's mind as he approached the still computer screen. As he drew nearer to Batman, he could sense true concern for the teenagers flaring within his friend's heart. It was not the usual mother-hen instinct that generally accompanied communiqués from the boys. This almost-fear forced J'onn to focus on the image he had already seen once that day.

"What do you see?" asked Batman.

"Obviously not what you see. What am I looking for?"

Batman scowled, stood, placed his hands on either side of the console, and said, "I don't know." His frustration was beginning to bleed through into his voice. "Something is wrong with Gear, and I don't know what it is. I've been looking at this tape for hours. I know it's staring me right in the face, but I just can't see it."

Sparing a glance for his friend, J'onn reinforced his shields to block out Batman's ever-increasing aggravation. As he looked once more upon the face of the teen in question, whose mask shielded piercing blue eyes, the "wrongness" that Batman had been searching for suddenly became clear.