Don't own Justice League. Never will. WB and DC got dibs that I don't. Takes place around the first season of JLU. Written to kind of expand on just how Flash felt lost in the shuffle of things in the Justice League, and get J'onn out of the Watchtower for Pete's sake.
Onions and Cakes
by Alba Aulbath
Keeping the organization of the Justice League nowadays was a difficult task, one that most wouldn't want to even consider doing. Continuously throughout the day, the Earth was in peril and in need of heroes, and in turn the heroes were in need of organization, and in that retrospect someone needed to stay in the Watchtower at all times to watch over these hundreds of people, and be sure that they were well kept.
J'onn J'onzz was that man - or Martian, rather. All in the eye of the beholder, regardless.
Since the reorganization post-Thanagarian invasion, it had been weary to watch over and keep tabs on all of these heroes. Never much of a break, honestly, but one would have be crazy to hear the Martian Manhunter give complaint. If he did, it was well hidden, and he could hardly even express a smile much less a frown.
So it had been around 3:32 PM EST - being in space constantly, it was difficult to take heed of which time frame to use - that a particular Amazon princess had approached the psychic.
"You're tired," was her comment, which he knew before she had to say. It didn't take a mindreader to know that.
J'onn merely nodded as he glanced over the monitors wearily.
That was true. But there were many things to be concerned about. Diana was going to have to pick a concern.
"It's about Flash."
The Martian almost scowled. "Yes?"
"Ever since we rebuilt, he's been away from the Justice League."
"That is his personal right."
Wonder Woman couldn't argue with that. "But you're still concerned about him, J'onn."
"Yes." J'onn finally looked at her from his former focus on the screens. "As are you. As all of us are."
Shaking her head, she gestured towards the blue planet outside the window. "Don't you at least want to check on him?"
Diana smiled wryly. "Not like that."
He wasn't liking what she was suggesting. "I cannot possibly leave my position."
"That is different," J'onn sighed.
The princess scowled, folding her arms. "How is it different? He has a right to take leave temporarily, and so should you. You work harder than any of us, and that's without ever leaving the tower. J'onn, don't you want to see him?"
"Why do you insist that I, in particular, go see him?"
Explaining herself, apparently, had not been her plan. Her eyebrows rose, than she closed her eyes briefly to gather herself mentally. "Everyone has their own way of checking on him. Batman has his contacts, Superman flies over Central City to listen for him and spot him, Lantern checks with his aunt..."
"I've spoken with him over his communicator."
"You have yet to answer my question. I don't see why you haven't checked on him yourself, personally." J'onn could certainly read her mind to find out, but he had his morals.
"J'onn, there's a reason that we're not aware of that explains why he's been staying away from us for so long. I'll admit, I think all of us are a little afraid to find out why. But if there's anyone who should contact him, I think it's you right now. John can't make time for him; he hasn't been exactly the same since Hawkgirl." Diana didn't hide her frown of disapproval of the Thanagarian. "Batman isn't personal with anyone, understandably. Look, what I mean is... it'd do both of you some good. Flash will listen to you and talk to you." Who wouldn't, really, in the Amazon's opinion; J'onn was by far the oldest of any of them, and difficult to deny. "And honestly, you should leave the Watchtower for just a day."
"I cannot accept that." J'onn shook his head at her. While he honestly had been worried from Flash's train of thoughts, he couldn't even consider leaving the Justice League for even a day.
"You overwork yourself, and you need a day without worrying about us. J'onn, we'll be fine. Superman and I can take over for now. It'll only be for a day," Diana assured. "Go to Earth or I'll throw you down there." She smiled at him extra sweetly, and with some humor.
Just one day. J'onn considered this; true, he could use a day to gather himself, and simply be able to not have to worry about keeping the League together and who to teleport where at what time and place and who was going with who to wear to take care of what. And maybe Wally could use a friendly face.
"One day," J'onn told her calmly. "In twenty-four hours, I will return."
Smiling widely, Diana approved.
"He's looking fine these days we talk longer, but you know, I still miss him... and I'm sure you do, too." There was a pause. "Wally?"
The red-headed speedster eyed at the calender, tapping his fingers on the table. Adjusting the phone to his ear, he smiled faintly. "Sorry, Aunt Iris," he apologized for the lack of response. "Just kind of... you know, daydreamining."
In Central City, was the Flash; and in turn, there was also Wally West, who had been resting in his apartment. Mind and body both weary, and it hadn't changed much since Hawkgirl left the Justice League and the Thanagarians left Earth. There were a lot of considerations he was taking, and to an extent, he felt a little forgotten about in the mix of things. Not surprising.
She sighed. "Wally, I've been worried. I know you're upset - the date's coming up and all - but you've never seemed this depressed before."
"Not depressed," Wally denied. "And it's not just about that, Aunt Iris, really. Well... you know, part of it, but really, I guess I kinda feel lost in the whole mess of things. I look at the League, and wonder if they really need me, you know? They seem to be doing just fine. Maybe I should just worried about Central City, or be a part-timer like Batman."
"Wally, you're too worried. You do a wonderful job, and people really do look up to you."
"Not as much as they do Supes or Diana. Guess it's kinda hard to beat being invulnerable, super strong, laser vision, and whatever else." He shook his head. "Nah, I'm not saying I'm quitting. Just wondering about my place of things in the League right now. You'd have to cut off my legs before I'd stop running."
"Your uncle would be happy to hear that," Iris assured. "Oh, I have to go! Wally, please don't worry about things. It'll fall into place. The League and the world really needs the Flash. It doesn't need you saving a million people all the time, but sometimes they just need you in other ways, I think. Take care, sweetie."
"You too, Aunt Iris." Wally hung up his phone, then let out a heavy sigh. He looked at his watch, frowning. It was about the time, his regular stop in the city. He knew he shouldn't go, but... he had to. It was a personal need.
He then stood up to grab his jacket before walking out of his apartment.
Ten hours into J'onn having gone to Earth, and Wonder Woman didn't find herself with any option but to officially Freak Out, as one might have put it.
While she had been keeping an eye on the others of the League with the psychic being gone, Diana had been sure to keep track of the Martian; the comlink provided with a tracking device on each of the League. After having sent out Plastic Man to Edge City, she had noticed the signal on J'onn was completely gone.
And so, she was completely prepared to do the Freaking Out at the moment.
Quickly, she called up someone she knew who could find him. The moment she saw the dark cowl on the screen, Diana let out a relieved sigh she could contact him. "Batman!"
"This isn't a good time."
Wonder Woman frowned faintly. "When is it ever a good time?" Shaking her head, she continued with, "No, I need you to find J'onn."
"...Where did he go?"
"I had him leave the Tower so he could go and see Flash. I was worried about both of them - but his signal just vanished. Batman, you can-"
"No, I can't," the Dark Knight responded sharply. "You have plenty of help up there, Diana. Right now, I have Gotham to take care of."
While the motto was typically "for the greater good," this was not something that Wonder Woman was capable of understanding. She scowled and stood up to place a warrior's glare onto the Batman, her fingers clenching into a tight fist. "J'onn needs you right now! I can't believe you-"
"I'm not the only person in the League who's capable of tracking down a Martian who's been potentially captured. Just how many detectives do we have in the Watchtower?" Batman rose a brow behind his mask, though it was quite visible to the Amazon. "Believe it or not, they're capable as I am, Diana. Use your teammates."
In spite of the fact that it was Batman, of all people, telling Wonder Woman to remember she had others she could count on, she did reluctantly sigh. "What's got you so busy, anyway?"
"Arkham breakout. Firefly. Go find someone, Diana. Batman, out." Without another word, Batman closed the connection.
Wonder Woman paused to herself, then sighed.
She went to see who was available.
Stepping down from the Central City police station was a blonde man; tall and wore glasses, perfectly calm and friendly. He was going to step away from the station, but someone cleared their throat.
"Ah." Wally West held up a wallet. "Y'dropped this."
"Oh... oh!" The man with the glasses laughed sheepishly. "Thank you. ...You look familiar. Have we met?" He accepted his wallet back.
Wally's grin suggested something not quite pleasant. "Yeah, maybe. But hopefully not in the station, you know?"
"Of course." The blonde smiled brightly. "Thank you for finding this, son. Take care now." He turned and started down the street.
The red-head watched after him, then sighed, irritated, and planting his hand to his face. "Man, shouldn't have done that..."
The speedster whirled around, looking a bit alarmed, then scowled. A man, taller by an inch or so than himself, stood before him, wearing a blue trenchcoat, suit, and hat... and he had no face. Called from time to time 'the Question', though really, he never provided a traditional superhero name. Still, that was pretty much what this detective was - one big question.
Wally peered at him. "Hey, what are you doing here?"
"I should be asking the questions right now." Nothing rude in his voice, but obviously needed to get to the point. "Which is exactly why I'm here - asking you questions." Question motioned Wally near, suggesting that he needed to speak with him a bit more privately. "Where's J'onn?"
"What?" He raised a brow.
"He went to see you eleven hours ago, Flash. When did you last see him?"
Wally waved his hand at him. "Whoawhoawhoa - no 'F' word right now and HOW THE HELL did you know who I was and I have no idea where J'onn is!"
"Wasn't very hard to figure out," the Question told him. If he had a face, Wally was sure that he would be smirking. "I do my research. So you haven't seen the Martian at all?"
"No. Why did he come down?"
"I already said: to see you. Though he didn't make his destination suggests that he was taken. Kidnapped." The Question motioned Wally towards the alleyway so they could speak a bit more freely. The fastest man alive followed, frowning at the detective. "Someone in Central City, no less. Know anybody who wants to pick on aliens?"
"No." Wally rethought that. "Well... maybe Grodd, but he's not in Central City. Solovar's got him locked up in Gorilla City with Giganta. Heat Wave broke out pretty recently, but he hasn't really done anything yet and he's kind of more commonly robbin' banks instead of kidnapping Martians. And, uh... really, no idea. They're kind of your basic wackos, y'know?"
"Then it was possibly someone out of the ordinary, or someone not typically in the city. At any rate..." Question gestured down the street. "Get suited up; we should go Martian hunting."
The initial reaction was to say that he was still on leave, but Wally was hardly that heartless. J'onn came down to see him, and was now missing; he could certainly suit up and look for his friend. He owed him that much.
"Be back in a sec!" Wally zipped down the street.
"Take your time," the Question mused after the speedster was long gone.
He awoke blearily. Blinking, he could hardly see or sense anything around him with a mind; he knew that his body had, sometime ago due to mental and physical stress, reverted to his natural born Martian body.
Wherever he was, it was far too hot, and there were handcuffs on his wrists that were heated to the point of keeping him far too weak. There were blisters on his body, spots where he wasn't bothering to check, feeling incapable of moving much or checking around him.
"J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter?"
Turning his head faintly, he squinted faintly. A tall man in a labcoat, long dark hair tied back, wearing his glasses low on the bridge of his nose.
"How nice to meet you," he spoke softly, approaching to look down over him. "Though under unfortunate circumstances..."
The Martian took in a tired breath, looking up at the man, unable to reach into his mind for any information. Wincing, he spoke, "You are...?"
"Pierce Tan. And sorry so say, but you won't be escaping anytime soon."
Predictably to be continued.
Next Chapter: The Question and the Flash investigate the disappearance of J'onn; Question begins to find interesting connections. Flash is not amused. The government is awfully tricky, and so are Lanterns.
The blonde man is the same blonde cop with the glasses in 'The Brave and the Bold' from the first season of Justice League.
Pierce Tan is an original character.
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