Lounge music was playing somewhere in the Watchtower, but you could hardly hear it over the puzzled mumbles of the fifty something caped heroes gathered in the meeting room. Most were female, some were male. All had been invited by someone they considered a friend, even a mentor; a man who was now standing at the front of the throng of colorful costumes with an unusually unsteady look about him.

Nightwing.

Just tell them, Donna Troy had insisted earlier in the day, it's your responsibility! You have to, for everyone else's good if not your own.

Sure, easy for her to say. She was one of the few who'd never-

"Dick, why are we here?" Oracle sat beside her friend Black Canary at the side of the room, arms crossed and an eyebrow raised. A few feet off, Starfire of Tamaran appeared to be making small talk with Huntress. There was an obvious tension between them.

"Well…I have an announcement to make," the room quieted suddenly, and Nightwing wondered if it was all a huge mistake. "I…uh…"

"Can't find the words?" Donna Troy came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder, a small comfort.

"Yeah, see, I…"

"Can't keep the snake in your spandex?"

"Donna," he shot an uncomfortable look at her. "Not helping. At all."

"Just tell them."

"I'm trying." All eyes were on the bickering friends. Nightwing turned back to face his silent, waiting audience. He'd often been called the one who tied all these superheroes together. He was the main link upon which all other caped crusaders connected. They just had no idea how true it was. Or even in what sense.

"See…I have…"

"Spit it out," Black Canary spat, her arm resting on Oracle's wheelchair.

"I…"

"C'mon, Dick," Donna smiled softly at him.

"I have genital herpes," he finally yelled so that everyone could hear.

Any sound that had remained in the room before his announcement was gone. Every superhero stood stalk still, letting the information sink in. Nightwing's reputation 

for…less than significant sex wasn't exactly a secret. This, however, put everything else in an entirely different perspective.

And in a single breath, nearly forty of the fifty superheroes gathered in the JLA watchtower let out a tense, "Oh shit."

--

A few points I felt the need to add, due to a few scathing reviews that seem slightly…skewed.

Not they don't have their valid points. There are some things I agree with, and other things I don't. I just thought I'd clear a few things up before I get more "you immature author" reviews.

-I understand that this is not sophisticated humor. It was never meant to be. Think of it as a Nightwing version of Napoleon Dynamite (I hated the movie, but it's a good metaphor). Some people will find it amusing. Others will think it's extremely stupid. It all depends on the eye of the beholder.

-I'm not used to writing stupid humor. I've written smart stuff, (supposedly) profound stuff, romantic stuff, and quite a bit of sophisticated humor. If you don't like this, you'd probably prefer something like Collide or Eye of the Beholder, both of which have a lot more substance than this.

-I know this is not my best work. Believe me, stupid humor isn't anyone's best work. If it is, they obviously can't write. This was just a tiny little plot bunny that spilled out onto a word document one morning while hanging out with a friend of mine.

-I really do love Nightwing. I wouldn't write this thing if I didn't. So no, this is not a hate fic.

-I tend to state where I got my ideas for fanfictions at the end of the story. So no, I did not think that my fanfiction needed a huge explanation for people to find it funny, I've just always posted the origin of my inspiration for whatever I write at the end. Please do not assume things that you don't know.

-Just for RhamnousiaI'll include that I'm a rather eloquent person and most people on this site won't tell you otherwise. The fact that one of my friends likes to use chat speak and was passing on information about a Christmas party I plan on attending has nothing to do with "why I posted this shit," in your immortal words. Again, please do not assume things you don't know.

-I had no intention of copying the title of this fanfiction from one of the first Nightwing publications. "The Ties That Bind" isn't exactly an unusual phrase, and just because I used it as the title for this fanfiction didn't mean I was copying. It was the first thing that came to mind at 7AM with five minutes left to post before I had to go to class.



-I have no intention of deleting this fic. I know you're disappointed, my anonymous reviewer, but I'm not the immature writer you seem to think I am. Yet again, please do not assume things you don't know. It only makes you look stupid. Besides, you have to write a million words of crap to become a truly good author. The way I see it, this fanfiction is just adding to the pile.

Now that that's taken care of, I thought I should add one last thing: If you're going to leave me a critical review of any kind, grow some balls and sign it with an account that I can respond to you on. I know it's scary, admitting that the author in question might actually have a valid point to make against your critique, but I assure you it's not so bad. I'm not a person who's bad with accepting criticism. Just ask CidGregor. He's probably given me the best critique I could ever ask for and kept me from making a huge mistake a couple years ago. He was honest but didn't sugar coat, and I appreciated that. The catch was that he wasn't assuming anything when he gave the critique. He called on what he knew and made no judgments. You want me to be reasonable? Then open yourself to response, and don't assume things you don't know.

Please and thank you,
SushiChica