Once everyone had been seated and order reigned in the JLA meeting room, J'onn outlined the plan the JLA had come up with while Young Justice had been sequestered in their examination room answering pointless questionnaires for three hours.
Complete silence was the first reply.
"No freaking way!" Was the second, supplied by Superboy.
"I think it's a wonderful idea." Mary's smiling opinion caused another round of silence. She shrank down in her seat, disheartened.
J'onn cleared his throat. "No matter what you think of it, the decision stands. Young Justice needs mentoring, preferably from those they normally do not associate with." Here, Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash all nodded. Batman didn't move. "The Titans have other young superheroes they are helping develop their powers and the JSA and JLA are too far widespread and have less time to devote to extra attention. Most of your group have had experience in the Justice League and, considering the domestic nature of your enterprise, would be ideally suited for such a task."
Maxwell Lord stood up after J'onn had explained himself, trying not to look furious, but failing to stop his eye twitching. "This is quite an important decision to be making without my, or any of the Superbuddies', consent."
"And ours!" Superboy piped up indignantly. Wonder Girl looked just as disgruntled, while Impulse was glancing around distractedly, already bored, and tugging at the restraints holding him to the chair.
"You're minors," Superman said. "And in regards to situations like this, the JLA must be the ones to take control of the situation."
"It wasn't that bad," Wonder Girl protested.
"Would you like me to read out the damage report or the bill for the damages?" Batman asked. Wonder Girl shook her head and shrank back in her seat.
"This is for your own good," Wonder Woman assured them. "We've contacted your guardians and they've agreed that measures must be taken."
"My mother agreed?" Wonder Girl asked.
"She did, so long she was assured I would be looking out for you. I will check up on you if necessary and I'm sure Troia would love to visit you also."
"Excuse me princess," Max cut in with a scowl, "but I haven't exactly agreed to anything here. You're all just assuming that because we work on a domestic scale that the Superbuddies aren't just as busy as the rest of you."
"But we aren't," Booster argued. "The last 'crisis' we faced involved a puppy, three hot dogs and a disgruntled security officer."
"That's not the point."
"Oh, let 'em stay Max," Sue said. "Who knows, it might be fun having some children around."
"Are you working with the same superhero team I am, because from where I'm sitting, I see nothing but children."
"You really want your limo melted into scrap, don't you?" Beatriz asked cheerfully.
"Fire excluded, of course," Max remedied.
"I'd protest too if I thought anyone'd listen," Ted grumbled.
"Yes, because you're so mature these days," Booster sniped back.
"Regardless," — despite how loudly everyone was arguing, Batman never had to raise his voice and all sound ceased immediately — "the decision has been made and agreed upon. Besides, it might improve publicity for both teams." This was obviously directed at Max, though a quick glare was sent at the younger team as well.
"Why not," Ralph shrugged. "Not like we've actually got anything better to do."
"I thought it was a wonderful idea from the start," Mary said, still pouting. "It will be nice to have other people my own age around. Oh!" She smiled brightly. "We'll have so much fun together, we'll save the world, and bake cookies——"
"Don't get too excited," Beatriz cut her off. "Not everyone's as happy with this as you are."
"Oh, Bea," Mary pouted, crestfallen.
"Not the pout," Beatriz muttered, averting her eyes heavenwards. "All right, fine, I don't care, do what you want." Mary squealed right in her ear and squeezed the air from her lungs. "Breathing! Breathing!"
"Oh! I'm so sorry." Mary let her go with a horrified look.
"That makes four," Sue counted. "So, even if you three say no, majority rules."
"When did the decision making around here become a democratic process?" Max scowled, ignoring L-Ron's muttering of, "What am I? Spare parts?"
"The minute you invited someone other than yourself to join," Sue retorted
Superboy was sick of being completely ignored by everyone and finally shouted, "Do we seriously not get a say in this whatsoever?"
"No!" Every single one of the adults shouted back.
"I was just saying." He shrunk back in his seat.
"Look," Booster filled the void after that outburst, "I don't care, Ted probably doesn't care——"
"You're a mind-reader now?" Ted muttered. Quite a few people shuddered at the thought.
"Well do you care?" Booster asked.
"Not really, but that doesn't mean that I necessarily think it's a good idea."
"So we'll count you as half a vote then. So that's what, five and a half votes to one and a half. Sue wins, we take the kids. Problem solved. Everyone's happy."
"We're not," Superboy and Wonder Girl muttered, but everyone ignored them.
"Fine," Max growled. "But when we get back we're having a discussion about respecting your leaders."
"Max, seriously, it's us," Booster said. "Have you ever known us to cooperate effectively with our leaders?"
Max floundered, searching for a reply. "I give up. Do what you want, but you," he pointed at Booster, "stop being so freakingly intuitive!"
"What, so Beetle's allowed to be mature and I'm not?"
"That's so not fair! J'onn, tell Max he's being mean!"
Once again, as it always happened with this lot, the Martian's patience had worn thin enough that he'd started to develop a headache. "Just … go. Take the children and leave. We've got a world to keep turning."
"Wait," Ted frowned as he glanced over at the sulking teenagers. "Shouldn't we organise this a little better? I'm sure that not all the others have this problem, but I do have a company to run as well as all this."
"You're the only one who has the problem Beetle," Batman said. "And I've already taken that into consideration. I would like it then, instead of working with your team and Young Justice as a whole, if you would just take Robin under your wing."
This comment resulted in the silence to end all silences. There had been many shocking and strange things said that day, but this …
"Are you serious?" Surprisingly, this outburst didn't come from Ted (who was still too flabbergasted to speak) but from the young Robin himself, who was as inscrutable as his mentor. It didn't escape the attention of the rest of Young Justice that this was the first time he'd talked in hours.
"I am," Batman confirmed (as if it needed confirmation).
"A-Are you sure?" Ted asked, his gaze darting from Batman to Robin and back again.
"Completely." There wasn't a hint of a smile on his face, but for some reason Batman almost looked amused. But of course that couldn't be true. It was Batman.
"Well then." Max coughed, trying to bring something resembling normality back to the meeting room. "Now that everything has been decided," he glared at Sue, "we should be on our way."
"Yes," J'onn agreed, wanting them to get out as fast as possible. "We will contact you again should something come up."
"I'll be looking forward to it," Max drawled.
"Superboy, Wonder Girl, Impulse, Secret, Robin, if you will follow the Superbuddies."
Superboy and Wonder Girl rolled their eyes at each other and rose from their seats to trudge over to the superheroes. Marvel Girl beamed at them, waving frantically while the rest gave smiles of varying enthusiasm. Impulse bounded over as soon as he was released and Secret followed curiously, though she kept glancing back at Robin, who was making his way over to Batman instead of the others.
Superman and Wonder Woman went over to have a quick word with their namesakes while Flash tried to talk with Impulse. No one was paying much attention to the Dark Knight and his protégé.
"So, Blue Beetle," Robin said.
"Yes, I think he'll be an adequate mentor for you. He is intelligent, despite the stories you may have heard."
"I … I just …" Batman waited patiently for Robin to say what he really wanted to say. Instead of using words, Robin threw his arms around Batman in a quick hug before whispering, "Thank you Bruce," and dashing over to the astonished Young Justice with something very close to a grin on his face. Sure, no one had been paying that much attention to their conversation, but hugging Batman? That'd be enough to stop even the Joker in his tracks.
"I forgot his birthday," Batman muttered when Superman and Wonder Woman shot him looks. "It happened when Gotham was No Man's Land."
"Of course," Superman and Wonder Woman agreed placidly.
Ted glanced at the enthusiastic Robin by his side. "Hi," he said warily.
"Blue Beetle, it is such an honour, I've wanted to work with you for so long." The boy almost looked like he was bouncing — as much as anyone trained by Batman could look like that. It was hard to stay aloof in the face of such zeal. Plus, flattery always worked.
"Really? I'm a little surprised at that actually — with you being trained by Batman and all."
"You shouldn't be surprised, you're great. I've read so much about you. I just … I'm really looking forward to being partners." He looked down at this, bashful at admitting such a thing. Ted couldn't help smiling at the endearing sight.
"I'm really looking forward to it too."
While Young Justice looked on in shock (and debated among themselves whether some sort of alien parasite was living inside Robin's head to make him act so out of character), Booster Gold focused intently on something almost inconsequential within the conversation.