And All For the Want
A Batman Beyond / Justice League Unlimited - R 'Verse Story
by BillA1 and Merlin Missy
Copyright November 2007
Disclaimer: The characters and situations are owned by DC Comics / Warner Brothers, and are used here without permission but with good intent. This story is intended for our own enjoyment and is not for profit. Spoilers up through Destroyer and The Call. Set during the Batman Beyond time period. Part of the R 'Verse; while familiarity with that series is recommended, it is not required to enjoy this story. (Whew!)
Summary: Strange dreams are plaguing Aquagirl's nights, and Terry intends to find out why.
A soft snore beside her stirred Merina from her sleep. She blinked her eyes against the dim lights in the bedroom and tried to remember her dream.
She'd been with him again. Her own fingers against her mouth recalled the sense-memory of kisses, and her heart still raced. The night before, she'd had a long dream about fighting Inque by his side, and woken with the taste of cheap takeout on her tongue.
Her lover snored again and then his breath jumped as he woke. "What time is it?"
"Four. Go back to sleep." They had an hour left, and they were both too tired to make any better use of the time.
"You too. And keep it down."
She sighed. "Sorry."
"Don't be." Terry scooted over and gave her a space to settle into as he wrapped his arms around her. Merina rested against him as warm and safe as she would ever be in his embrace.
When she was almost asleep, she heard him ask, "So, who is 'Warhawk'?"
The face from her dreams teased her again. "I have no idea."
She hated watching Terry put on the suit. When they were alone together, nothing between them but sweat, he was hers. The suit, though, slithered around him, transforming Terry into something darker and more alien. Even his voice changed when he was Batman, and the part of him that was hers suffocated inside the dark suit every night. The mask was the worst, and for her sake it was the last to go on and the first to be removed before he reached for her in the night to kiss her.
Both relief and trepidation jolted her when their earbuds buzzed at the same time, and he paused in his costuming to answer.
"Go ahead," Terry said, and Merina counted to five before she touched her own ear and said the same.
"It's Green Arrow," came Metamorpho's worried voice from the other end. "He and Lantern have bitten off more than they can chew in Seattle. Can you two give them backup?"
"On my way," said Terry.
"Pick me up," Merina said, and then the line went dead. They shared a look, which he broke first to put on his mask.
"Come on," he said, and they hurried down to the Cave together.
Bruce wasn't awake yet and wouldn't be for hours, but that didn't stop her from looking over her shoulder into the shadows, wondering if he was there.
Bruce knew about the two of them; they were in his house, for Neptune's sake, and he wasn't deaf. The League probably knew. But she hated giving any of them the satisfaction.
"Where are you?" Terry radioed as soon as they were in-range.
GL responded: "Pier Twelve. To the north."
Arrow added: "We found a hive of Jennians at the docks but they found us, too." Seattle had been a major hub for alien infestations ten years back, and the dumber species still tried to land there. This was the third time in two months that Arrow had tracked down a hive in his town. "Duck!" A blast sizzled over the speakers and Merina tensed.
"Drop me out over the sound." Terry nodded and flew the 'wing out past where the battle raged below. He could see bright green flashes, which meant that Lantern was still fighting at least. Merina popped open the door and dived out. She'd be back.
Terry looped around to where the Jennians were attacking his friends. Now he could see the docks swarming with purplish-grey aliens, their tentacles holding nasty-looking (and illegal) laser rifles. The one good thing about hundred-to-two odds was that the aliens were as likely to shoot each other as their targets. The bad thing was that those targets were still vastly outnumbered.
He flicked open the controls to the laser cannon, aimed, and set down cover fire just outside of where Lantern had ringed up a bubble. Arrow had found a hole in the bubble – or more likely, Lantern had left him one – and was firing gas arrows into the crowd. A higher concentration of gas and they'd all be burning now, but as it was several of the uglier ones nearest the bubble were already reconsidering their career plans.
Some of the brighter aliens began backing away and running for it. The less bright ones ran for the water.
Merina rose from the sea atop a crested wave. A half-dozen killer whales followed her. Normally they dined on fish, and seals and porpoises when they had a chance, but the Jennians would make a tasty snack. No sharks this time, Terry noticed. Normally she went for sharks.
Arrow mouthed something Terry couldn't hear, and Lantern lifted them both into the air. With the distraction Terry had provided, GL could focus on getting the critters rounded up in a large ring construct. Terry shot at the heels of the slower ones, while Arrow picked off the remainders.
Standard work, once they were organized.
There was a movement inside the gathered crowd of Jennians, and suddenly they began disappearing from the center. Terry just had time to process that before he realized the pier was collapsing. The aliens had probably booby-trapped it before they'd been spotted.
The large ship headed their way wasn't going to help matters, either.
Terry jammed his comm. "Aquagirl! The Titanic's coming!" From his ship, he watched as she nodded to the whales, trying to get them out of the way of the collapsing pier and the approaching ship, which blew a long, low note of warning.
"Micron!" she shouted. "Instant transport, our coordinates!"
Terry swore and gunned the BatWing under what was left of the pier. Jennians struggled in the water below him, but he didn't have time to worry. If the cracking wood gave way completely, the ship would crash into it. He reset the thrusters to vertical rise and as gently as he could, lifted the pier back into place so GL could ring a stabilizer into place.
How many different constructs could a Lantern ring keep going, anyway?
The ship shuddered into view right beside him and creaked to a stop. The Jennians in the water sputtered and tried to tread, though several were failing. Cursing more, he parked the BatWing and used it as a platform to help him drag aliens out of the water. Moments later, Green Arrow poked his head over the edge of the pier. "Need help?"
"Depends," said Terry, huffing. "What's your take on sushi?"
Once the ship was tugged to another pier, Merina forced water gently away from the pierside. That made removal of the survivors, and the rest, a little easier. Everyone went into GL's bubble, no muss, no fuss, fewer than a dozen dead squids. Still not a bad day, even with the smell.
"'Micron?'" Arrow asked when Merina had helped him throw in the last body.
Terry saw the panic in her eyes. "It's a maneuver we've been practicing," he said.
"Ooookay," said Arrow.
Lantern, coming up beside him, said, "Next time, let the rest of us in on your training exercises, okay?"
"Next time," Merina said.
"Where are we shipping these guys?" Arrow asked, making faces at the prisoners.
"Stop that," Lantern said, but she was smiling.
Terry said, "Jennia's a hole. Sending them back would be a death warrant."
Arrow said, "Waiting to hear objections. And that's a silence. GL, you want to fly them out or go try to grab Barda's motherbox?"
"I'll take the trip. If you're bored, you can come with me."
"What guy could resist an offer to take a load of purple tentacley guys to a barren rock? Count me in."
"Thanks for the help," Lantern said, and she waved to Terry and Merina as she formed a bubble around herself and GA.
Merina smiled and waved at them as they took off. Terry waited until they were out of sight.
She let out a disgusted breath. "I screwed up, all right? For a second, I thought we had someone on the team who could grow to an enormous size. He could've held up the pier."
"Can we drop it?"
And because he could clearly remember the impressive calisthenics from last night, and the weeks before that, and because he was certain that if he pressed her on this that there would be none tonight, Terry said, "Sure." Anyway, there were days when Lantern and Arrow both talked like Shock was still around, and Superman was always saying So-and-So from back in the day could have done a particular job with no problem, so Merina wasn't cornering the market on invisible friends.
But he wondered.
The coffee is terrible but the company is just right. She makes a face and adds more sugar while Rex hides behind his own cup. He's shy around her sometimes, and it makes her laugh because they've been friends since they were four, since that birthday party where he and she and Jay-Jay had swiped all the cookies from the mess and his parents and her father and Jay-Jay's granddaddy all yelled at them for making them worry and they were too full of giggles and chocolate chips to care. Part of her always sees him as that little boy, mouth covered in crumbs.
"What is it?" she asks, finally. "Nothing." "You're a terrible liar." He looks hurt. "I'm a fantastic liar, thank you very much." She laughs. The mess is empty but for the two of them, and she's glad. She reaches a hand out and touches his arm. "Talk to me." "I just … That was a close call you had today. Manta doesn't like you much." "It's mutual. I'm fine and Manta's put away again. It's a good day." She raises her mug, and after a moment, he clicks his against it. She takes another drink of the terrible coffee and tries not to think about how her heart stopped when she saw Rex go under the waves earlier. "Hey," she says as if she hasn't been thinking about it most of the day, "after your watch is over, do you want to go see that new … "
"What is it?" she asks, finally.
"You're a terrible liar."
He looks hurt. "I'm a fantastic liar, thank you very much."
She laughs. The mess is empty but for the two of them, and she's glad. She reaches a hand out and touches his arm. "Talk to me."
"I just … That was a close call you had today. Manta doesn't like you much."
"It's mutual. I'm fine and Manta's put away again. It's a good day." She raises her mug, and after a moment, he clicks his against it. She takes another drink of the terrible coffee and tries not to think about how her heart stopped when she saw Rex go under the waves earlier.
"Hey," she says as if she hasn't been thinking about it most of the day, "after your watch is over, do you want to go see that new … "
Merina startled from sleep, then settled back again. Ace was downstairs barking at something, probably that same stray cat that had been hanging around the grounds these past two weeks. From another room, Bruce shouted at the dog, who quieted.
Terry's eyes had drifted open with the noise. Before he could close them again, she pressed against him, her mouth seeking his, her hands roaming elsewhere. Sleep, she needed sleep and he needed sleep, but the loss of the face in her dream had left her empty, and Terry was warm and could fill her.
He growled in her ear as she rolled him onto his back, and she answered him with a soft nip of teeth on his shoulder, making him gasp. No grace between them then, no delicacy or pattern, just bodies and surrounding them, the scent that had lingered at the edge of notice all night, a perfume she thought might have been Dana's, still fresh on the sheets, and it didn't matter, it didn't, because Terry wasn't going to be hers, and she was never going to be his, not even now, not even here.
His eyes were shut tight against her, and she closed her own and remembered the bitter flavor of bad coffee and she swallowed the name she wanted to say as they consumed one another again.
Flat on his back and everything hurt.
"You're too slow."
Terry bit back his retort. Bruce didn't take excuses during sparring, and he didn't offer Terry a hand to stand up again. The old man had been practicing lately, and even with his body falling apart around him, Bruce could be vicious when he got an edge.
Terry got back to his feet, and just managed to dodge the swipe at his legs. "Right. No more taking it easy on you, old man." Before he could ready his attack, Bruce's blows rained down on him, and then a blow from behind stunned him. The attack 'droid's stun made his teeth ache. Holding in the muscle spasms, Terry curled down and kicked out, sending the 'droid into the far wall, then grabbing Bruce's legs and knocking him off-balance to the mat.
Just don't let him break anything, Terry thought.
Bruce coughed, something deep in his chest, then said, "Better. Keep an eye behind yourself."
"I hate the rear camera. Makes me nauseous."
"It could save your life. Deal with it."
"Whatever. Are we done?"
"For now. What's your hurry?" But Terry knew from the way Bruce looked at him that he already knew. So he lied.
"I was going to get some sleep."
"Get it later. I've got an executive board meeting this afternoon, and I want you there."
Terry groaned. "You're kidding, right?"
"The board is expecting me to retire again soon. I want to remind them you're going to be there when I do."
He'd only been half-lying about the sleep, which sounded better every minute, certainly better than sitting in a stuffy room in a suit. He trudged towards the Cave's shower, wondering if he could beg off halfway through. She wouldn't mind if he was late, not as much as she'd mind if he cancelled altogether.
Bruce said, "Unless you have other plans, of course?"
Terry paused, shirt over his head. There was his out, in the hook at the end of that question, but he wasn't sure he wanted another round of lectures on why we don't date our coworkers. Privately, he thought Bruce could at least add, "Because they may turn out to be crazy," to the list.
"No. I'll come to the meeting." Terry started the water, and while he waited for it to heat up, he shouted out through the door something that had itched at his mind lately. "Have you ever heard of a guy named Warhawk?"
A long silence passed, while Terry's hand grew warmer under the water. Finally, when Terry had thought Bruce had left without hearing him, the old man said, "No."
Usually, the old man would have asked more. A "Why?" maybe, or "Should I?" Terry shook his head and stepped into the shower. It'd been a stupid question anyway.
"The trick," Fred said, "is to place the vegetables at the bottom of the pan and then set the veal brisket on top. Then you put enough water in the pan to cover the vegetables, but not the brisket."
The trip to Jennia had been uneventful and reasonably pleasant. Well, maybe not so pleasant for the purple guys with tentacles once they realized where they were being stranded. Still, Fred enjoyed the journey if just for the company. Donna never seemed to mind hearing his jokes, and she was a great tour guide as they traveled through various star systems along the way.
Now as they headed down the hallway of the Metrotower to the computer room to fill out an after action report, Donna seemed strangely quiet. It was as if she was disinterested and yet somewhat amused. "I'm boring you, aren't I, GL?" he finally asked.
She snickered. "Oh, so we're back to 'GL,' huh? Well, yes you are, Arrow, but it's okay. Go on."
"I'm hurt," he said with a hand against his chest, and got an annoyed look in return. Good old Donna, not letting him get away with anything. Well, not with much. Well, not with something that would get him in trouble later. "Anyway, I'm going to make stuffed veal when it's my turn to cook on Tuesday."
She coughed. "You know, of course, that no one around here will appreciate your culinary masterpiece, right? This is pretty much a peanut butter and jelly sandwich crowd, not a filet mignon one."
Fred smiled. "I know I'm among barbarians, sure. The important thing is that I get some practice in. Besides, everyone seems to like what I fix." He sighed. "And when things calm down around here, I can start up that restaurant."
He'd learned to cook at a young age. Ten years old and scared of the whole world after his parents were killed by Constantine Drakon of the Society of Assassins, Fred Queen had buried himself in food, and Uncle Roy's demanding, if loving, training on the bow had been the only thing to keep him from puffing up like a balloon. Cooking had become a passion with him and he knew he was very good at it. Uncle Roy had managed his sizeable trust fund until his own untimely death, and sadly added to it afterwards. When things settled down with the League, Fred would take the money and show the rest of the world how to eat.
Donna flashed a smile. "When things calm down," she agreed like she always did, because they both knew things never would. "And I'll come by your restaurant every day and you can make me that salmon dish I like."
"It's a plan."
They'd walked silently past the rec room when she stopped, looked back and said, "I left a video disc in there that I need for my lesson plan next week. Wait here. I'll only be a moment."
Fred sighed. Donna had talked about giving up her day job teaching at an elementary school (West Lincoln Elementary in Lincoln, Nebraska, though she didn't know he knew) but she loved the work too much. How she managed to juggle both jobs was beyond him. He'd been doing League work full-time for almost as long as he could remember.
"Arrow! Help!" It was Donna. A chill ran down his spine as he heard her scream.
He pulled a net arrow out of his quiver and raced back to the rec room. The automatic doors opened, but he didn't enter.
He stood outside the darkened room. "Lantern! Where are you?" he called. There was silence and then a faint weak whisper, "Over here."
Visions of the worst possible scenarios filled his head as he stepped into the room. Ambush. Trap. Uncle Roy had died quickly. Justin and Gear hadn't. "Please be okay," he said to himself, praying Donna was all right. The doors snapped closed behind and the lights came on.
"What the –" Fred stared into a sea of smiling and laughing faces. Donna was standing next to Superman and her laugh was the loudest. A banner over their heads read: "30 Years of Justice."
Supes stepped forward. "Happy anniversary, Arrow."
Anniversary? He slapped his hand to his forehead, then put his net arrow away. He'd completely forgotten. He shook Superman's hand and then shook his head at Donna. She continued to giggle as she hugged him and then whispered, "Sorry, Fred. Happy anniversary."
Fred whispered back, "Thank you ... and you are so dead for this." As he broke the hug, he smiled at her.
Batman and Aquagirl shook his hand next and offered their congratulations. Fred acknowledged them but his eyes locked on Static. God, if this was thirty, that made it five years already. A distress call had been sent from deep space, and Gear and Shock had gone to answer it, five years ago this week. Static had lost his best friend and his only son, and he'd retired right afterward to take care of his seriously ill wife. She'd died six months later. There'd been no question of having a silver anniversary party for Fred, not then; he'd lost his own best friend when they'd buried Justin. Even now it was enough to make him wish they'd skipped the party.
Static offered his hand and a faint smile. "Congratulations, old man."
"Thanks," Fred said shaking the hand vigorously. "I'm honored that you made time to attend."
Static's smile dimmed. "I can't stay, but maybe I can hang around longer at your fiftieth anniversary." The grin Fred remembered Static being so free with in the old days returned for just for a second, then disappeared.
"I understand. I'll be looking forward to it." He watched Static shake hands with Superman and then Donna, though his face was pained as he greeted her. She and Justin had been pretty close right before the end, and seeing her here wasn't making things easier on him. As Static left the room, Fred thought to himself that life certainly hadn't been fair to that man at all.
Fred snapped out of his thoughts and looked up to see Big Barda.
If Superman had been considered the patriarch of the League, no one questioned that Barda was the mom. Fred grinned at her. "I'm sure this was your idea. Thank you," he said. Mr. Miracle stood next to her and offered his hand. Fred shook it. "Did you put GL up to scaring the crap out of me?"
Barda shook her head. "Not at all. She did that on her own." She glanced down at her feet. "You remember my daughter, Avia?" Fred looked down to see a little girl hiding under her mother's cape. The child couldn't have been more than three or four. Barda prodded her forward. "Say hello, dear."
The girl moved further behind Barda's cape, clutching her mother's armored leg.
Fred knelt down on one knee and said to Avia, "Hello there. How are you?" Avia, who was dressed in armor and a cape just like her mother said nothing. Fred offered his hand to the little girl, then froze in horror as he realized he was on his knees with his hand between Barda's legs. He heard Mr. Miracle clear his throat and Fred quickly stood. He looked at Mr. Miracle sheepishly. "I guess I have that effect on women. They see me and run away."
He laughed nervously as Barda smiled at him and said, "Just those women that can't beat you up."
The nervous laugher got a little louder and he was grateful when GL grabbed his hand and led him away. "Come see your cake and gifts, Arrow," she said.
"Yes, my cake," Fred answered quickly as he waved to Avia who finally waved back. Mr. Miracle continued to frown. When they'd taken a couple of steps away, Fred whispered to Donna, "Thanks for the rescue. I thought for a moment Barda might destroy me back there."
"Nah, Mr. Miracle was the one holding the motherbox. If you had stayed around Barda's legs any longer, he might have transported you into a sun." She snorted. "I'm sure that would have ruined your weekend."
"But think of how I could have worked on my tan."
Donna led him to a table where there was a pile of gifts, two large bowls brimming with fruit punch and a large sheet cake decorated in an arrow motif with mint frosting. The other Leaguers gathered around the table and Flash started chanting, "Speech! Speech!"
He looked at the gifts. He could tell despite the obvious attempts to hide the contents, most of the presents were quivers for his arrows. He made a mental note to himself to rotate in the gift quivers over the next couple of weeks before he went back to his standard one, the one his father had used.
Fred put his hands up asking for silence. He was determined he wouldn't emotionally choke up and strangely enough by focusing on Donna, he didn't. "I want to thank you all for this," he said softly. "It certainly was a surprise. Lantern over here should get an acting award for that scream."
There was laughter as she bowed, and Fred took a deep breath before continuing. "On a serious note for a moment, as you know, the League has been my family almost from the moment I was conceived. I've had my membership card since I was fifteen and there hasn't been a day that's gone by without you guys being there for me. I can't tell you how much all this means to me. But I want you to know that you all mean more than I can ever tell you ... more than I can ever say. You guys are the best."
He swallowed hard, turned, looked at the cake and picked up the knife next to the stack of small plates. "Guess I'd better get busy cutting this before we're here all night."
Merina watched Metamorpho cross the room and head towards Terry. No. Not him, towards her as she stood next to him. Metamorpho wasn't smiling and generally that was bad news for anyone in the way. She nudged Terry who looked up as Mason approached.
"We just got a call," he said, looking at her. "Down at Metropolis pier, a forklift driver suffered a heart attack while he was unloading a ship containing explosives. The forklift drove over the side of the pier and the forks punctured the hull below the water line." Mason paused and looked around the room as if he had a secret that he wasn't sure he could share. "They need to keep the ship afloat long enough to get it unloaded ... about twenty minutes."
Merina nodded. "I understand." She put her glass down and looked at Terry. "I'll be right back."
"I'll go with you," Terry said as he set his glass down next to hers.
Mason stepped between them. "No you won't, Batman. I make the assignments around here. You stay and enjoy the party. I'll be her backup. We'll be back before you guys even miss us."
Merina secretly smiled. Next to Superman, Metamorpho had been in the League the longest. He'd been the Operations Officer for over ten years, ever since Mister Terrific had retired. It was a necessary job and one that no one else wanted. It was a difficult job to run the business end of the League and work with massively over-inflated egos, but no one did it better than the old former Marine.
She nodded at Terry signaling it would be okay and Terry grunted an acknowledgment before he left to join Fred by the cake.
"Transporters?" she asked as they hurried down the corridor.
"Negative. That glitch is back. I'll carry you." They reached an outer door. She wrapped her arms around his neck and Mason picked her up, changed the lower half of his body to helium, and propelled them quickly toward the harbor.
"So why'd you really decide to come along?" she asked as they traveled.
"Thought you might need some help."
She raised an eyebrow. "You know I don't, if it's as simple as you described."
He smiled. It was a charming grin that radiated warmth. "Humor me. I get tired of being in the Watchtower all the time. Today, I just wanted to get out of the office." She reflected he might be thinking about the past today, too. Way back when she'd looked through everyone's records right after she first came to the surface, she'd read that his wife had died around the time Arrow had joined up. Another alien raid. They'd had no children. His life was the League as much as Arrow's was, as much as all their lives were.
The harbor was below them now and Mason carried her out far enough and low enough so that she could safety dive into the water.
"Considered yourself humored," she said as she loosened herself from his grip and let herself fall. It was such an exhilarating feeling to be in the water. The way it surrounded her, the way she became one with it, was something she could never adequately describe to Warhawk no matter how many time she tried.
Warhawk? Why did she think that name when she clearly meant Terry.
Back to business. She issued a mental call to a pod of sperm whales traveling outside Metropolis on their way to the Arctic. The whales responded quickly. As they approached, she directed a whale to get on each side of the ship and lift it above the waterline and push it against the pier. She raised a wave of water that carried her to the landing. Turning to the dock leader, she said, "You have fifteen minutes. Not one second longer."
"You heard her," he shouted out to his people. "Fifteen minutes. Now move it."
There was a scurry of activity on the dock as crews manned cranes and forklifts to get the explosive cargo unloaded. Merina stepped off the wave onto the slick wood and joined Mason near the ship.
He smiled. "Very much like your father."
She returned his smile, but it faded quickly. "Except he would have probably given them ten minutes."
Mason chuckled and nodded. "Yup, that sounds like him."
She frowned. "The longer the whales are in this shallow water, the greater the chances are they will be injured ... or catch an infection." She paused and gritted her teeth. "I should have said ten minutes."
Mason was silent for a moment then he shouted at the dock leader. "Hey you, hurry up. You got five minutes left." Then he turned to Merina, "Believe me when I say I know what it is to operate out of someone's shadow." She grinned weakly at him. Then she heard a loud noise that sounded like a million glass bottles breaking all at once.
Someone yelled, "Look out!"
In an instant Merina caught a glimpse of the cable from the crane that was offloading the explosives whipping toward her and then her world went black. She heard what sounded like a clang of metal and Mason grunting in pain and then just as suddenly the light came back to her world.
Mason lay on the ground at her feet as the dock leader came running up to her. She knelt down next to him, "Metamorpho! Metamorpho, are you okay?"
"It was the most amazing thing I ever saw," the dock leader said. "One of the cables on the crane snapped and dropped that box of explosives. Metamorpho here turned into a slide and caught the box and at the same time he turned into lead or something and wrapped himself around you." The man took a deep breath. "Lady, if he hadn't done that the cable would have cut you clean in half."
"Actually it was iron," Mason said as he stood up. "I was afraid the cable would cut through lead."
The dock leader snorted, "Mister, I don't care if it was silly putty. You saved us all. Thank you." Then he turned to Merina, "And lady, if I was you, I'd find a special way to thank this man because he saved your behind big time." He made a waving gesture. "We're done here. Thank you both."
Merina looked at Mason. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Don't you have some whales you need to get back on the road?"
She grinned. "I do. Thank you for saving my life, Metamorpho."
"Don't give it another thought. And you can call me Rex."
What was it that Terry said all the time? Oh yes. A goose stepped on her grave.
Terry checked the time. He needed to head back home soon. Gotham's streets wouldn't stay quiet because he was at a party, not when it was for a Wayne-Powers function, and not when it was for a friend.
Flash was telling the end of a joke: "And she said, 'Fifty bucks, same as in town!'" Fred roared with laughter while Anissa rolled her eyes and walked away.
Five minutes. He'd give Merina five more minutes to get back to the Watchtower. He'd make a reasonably casual mention of going back home, and an even more casual reminder of the smuggling case she was helping him with back in Gotham. Bruce had called earlier with a lead, though he'd said to wait until nightfall to follow it up. The breed of mutants used as muscle in this gang couldn't come out in sunlight.
Dark had fallen half an hour ago.
Bruce would glare at him for stalling, especially because Bruce would know why Terry was stalling, although he'd only know half of it. Bruce hadn't yet figured out Terry's competition with Merina's imaginary boyfriend, who Terry somehow knew would wait for her to get back from her mission with Metamorpho.
"Jerk," Terry said to himself.
"It wasn't that bad of a joke," said Superman, smiling around his glass of punch.
"Not Flash. Warhawk."
Superman set his glass down. "You know her?"