Sweet Sixteen, kids! And the beautiful part is--I don't own the DC characters. Not one iota.

Score! (NOT The Musical!)


We were standing in the back of the gym where the pulsing lights from the dance area couldn't touch us. My arms were resting comfortably around his neck, his were latched behind my waste, and for a few minutes, we were a normal girl and guy at the Senior Goodbye Dance. In the back of the gym, no one could see that my date's skin was the color of mint ice cream, or that I was wired for sound (Just incase, I'd told my mom--you never knew what threat would come the second you started relaxing).

"I can't believe you took a night off," Jordy muttered in my non-wired ear.

"Shut up," I whispered back, then pressed my lips to his. He'd finally caught up with me, height wise, so it wasn't a huge task any more.

When we took a break to breathe, we both grinned stupidly. Oh God, we were so horribly idiotic together.

"So. This is it. Tomorrow's graduation."

"Tomorrow's graduation," I confirmed.

"And then you're done."

"Praise God."

We both grinned again, and kissed like we were never going to see each other again.

"We survived," I told him.

"YOU survived."

"Finish in correspondence," I begged.

"One more year."

"I'm going to die," I told him.

We both laughed a little. We sounded like an after-school special.

"Why don't you move to Gotham?"

"Firstly, dad wouldn't let me. Secondly, it'd be an awful long commute to school. And thirdly..." He kissed me again. "Your Bat would kill me."

"He's warming up to you."

"I'm not going to push my luck."

I laughed. "He's not scary. What's wrong with you people?" He must have been talking to Uncle Roy again. That guy could feed a line...

"Look, I just don't want to spend quality time with him." He kissed my neck. "Not the way I like spending it with you."

"He just doesn't have a personality."

His hands wandered up my back as his lips slipped towards my collar bone. "You can say that again," he murmured against my skin.

"A little space here, ladies and gentlemen." Mrs. Weitz.

I frowned as Jordy pulled away. I'd quite LIKED what he'd been doing, thank you very much, hosebeast. Well, 24 more hours and she won't be your problem any more, I consoled myself.

"A little MORE space, Ms. Grayson." I groaned and took a step back.

"Look. Cut me a break, lady. Just this once," I said. "Consider it your graduation present to me." Unfortunately, Robin's mouth had slipped in to place before I could stop it, and out had come a Robinism.

"Ms. Grayson, do I need to have a talk with your parents before the ceremony?"

Aw, bite me, bitch.

"No, Ma'am. No graduation present necessary on your part. My mistake."

Still keeping space between our bodies, Jordy raised his lips to my ear. "I may need to take the ring off, to prevent extraneous ill thoughts from having her eaten to death by sumo-sized teddy bears."

"Alright, Mr. Strong Will..."

Our lips met again. Screw it.

"Maybe we should make this a private party?"

"Oh, like I didn't see that one coming, geek-boy." But I let him take my hand and lead me out of the gym.

"It's MY early graduation present to you."

I rolled my eyes.

We tended to suffer from the most prolonged kissing sessions that were habitually thwarted at our every attempt to turn them into more. World crises revolved around our attempts to consummate our relationship.

Now, we're good for one a year--a crisis so big all of the world's cape and tights jobs get together and stop it.. Last summer it was the Naarbians and their desire to enslave the earth. WE weren't quite that progressed in our relationship then, but it had interrupted our first attempt to really make out.

Other times, he'd be called on by Young Justice, or his father in New York, or I'd be dragged out by Batman, or worse, the Titans.

On prom night, I'd made sure the entire heroing community knew that it was my SENIOR PROM and my ONLY SENIOR PROM and I was not to be disturbed. Of course, and you can't fault Mr. Rayner for this, he gets captured by strange purple aliens who I secretly believe were working for Ra's al Ghul. So, I had the car with the bench seats, and I was stuck alone on the dance floor.

"You got your car?" he turned around and asked as we approached the doors to the school.


He grabbed both of my hands "Good, where did you park--"

Still facing me, he stopped in the door way. His eyes were wide, and I knew exactly what that look meant. `Mara, I think I have a gun in my back.'

The Sapes. APES was more like it. Every once in a while, Robin would take down a group of them, but more would always rush in to take their place. Unfortunately the world was overly full of bigots.

"No Metas allowed here, buddy boy." Mickey Simms. I recognized the voice. The boy was short and had a serious attitude problem.

Now how to handle this and keep both of our identities in tact.

"Mickey, give it up, ok." I said. "We'll forget about all this."

"Step outside, Meta-lover."

Now, like, you'd think... the whole Meta population has grown in the last thirty or forty years or so, who'd care, right? I mean... if a green guy like Jordy could walk around without being noticed too much, you were in good shape. Not with groups like the Sapes who were not only white supremacist but also wanted to eliminate the Meta gene from the population... by force. I couldn't believe Mickey and his boys had fallen in with this crowd.

We both came out the door. Fifteen of the little buggers, four guns among them, assorted cutlery in the total of seventeen blades, a baseball bat and a crow bar.

Between the two of us, we could have had them all down in fifteen seconds.

"First of all," Jordy said calmly. "I'm not a Meta. Not that there isn't anything WRONG with being a Meta... but it just so happens I'm not from around here. I'm 25% alien."

Great Jordy. Get them to rush us. Are you dumb or something?

"Gentleman!" Ms. Weitz. She was actually saving MY butt? This was sad.

All the guys turned and gasped. How had she gotten behind them? "No weapons on school property."

Are you stupid, lady? No wonder I needed to save your ass once already. Leave it to the professionals.

Suddenly, she vanished, and reappeared even closer to them. "Now, I'd get out of here NOW, Before I get REALLY ANGRY!" Suddenly her head morphed into a large alien head from that movie.

"Holy fuck!" one of them said as they began scrambling away.

"Good show," Ms. Weitz' voice came from behind us. The `fake' Ms. Weitz disappeared.

"Yeah, damned good," I whispered. "I thought only your dad could do 256 colors."

We both turned. The real Ms. Weitz was NOT happy. "Mr. Lantern."

"Congratulations. You got another one. You collecting secret identities or something?" Whoops. I thought we left Robin and her mouth at home tonight?

Jordy tensed beside me. Yeah, she knows my ID.

"Unfortunately you've only affected a temporary solution in scaring them off."

My eyes narrowed. "Since there's a galactic conspiracy against me having a night off, ROBIN will take care of it. IF that's ok with YOU?" God. Like, I wore that suit for a REASON?

Jordy's hand went around my waste. That was his way of saying PLEASE don't start something.

"There's a reason the Sapes aren't a problem at this school, usually," I said coolly. "It isn't because of your administrative policies, though."

"Mara, can we just go?" he asked me. "Look, we can wrap things up with them... and still have the rest of the night..." He started pulling me away. He was right. This had gone on too long already. "Nice meeting you, ma'am..." Ugg... you could tell his dad was a Justice Leaguer. He was too damned polite.

"Fine." I let him drag me to my car.

When we were finally there, he pressed me up against the glass of the driver's side door. "That chick knows? Man." He kissed me, hard. "Can we get this over with? I still gotta graduation present to give."

I smiled, letting my hand drift along his jaw line. "Brat." My hand found the alarm on my key chain, and I unlocked the car doors. "Now get in."

"What're you gonna do if I don't?"

"If you don't get in," I said suggestively. "Then I can't spank you."

"Wench," he moaned, then hurried around the front end of the car to get in.

"That being said, lets get this thing on the road. We both have better things to do, methinkst." I pulled out in a rush. When I drove by the outside of the school, Ms. Weitz was still standing there.

* * *

"You know, there is some force out there that is against us. I think his name is Hal Jordan."

Jordy shifted in his seat. "HEY!"

"My powers of deduction tell me that only someone working for the guy upstairs could possibly put as many road blocks as we've faced."

"We bust the baddies, then we get jiggy. Nothing's going to screw this up."

"I bust the baddies. No Green-boy to be seen with Robin."

"Fine you bust the baddies, then I show you how much I appreciate yer left hook."

I dug through the glove compartment for a brush. Robin couldn't be seen with ringlets tonight, kids. Usually I wore enough of my costume under my street-clothes when I went out at night that this wasn't a problem. But I'd gotten dressed up for this thing. Hell, I'd BEGGED mom to take me for a dress. A SHORT one that showed off my legs! "Ug... I can't find it while I'm driving... reach under your seat and get my costume." Changing while driving was always interesting, but I wasn't letting another soul drive my car. It wasn't the Bat's car, but it was mine.

And the last time an `unfriendly' touched my car, I'd twisted his wrist behind his head and left him duct taped to the ceiling in the dining room. I told Jimmy if he keyed my car, he'd get it. The twip didn't believe me or something.

When I was looking respectable, and the car was looking like a proper Robin-mobile, I punched a key on the dash. "Hey Oracle, wanna help me out?"

"Oracle and Nightwing're getting ice-cream. But I'll help ya. Or pretend to."

"Put mom on, twip, or die."

"Mom's with dad, I swear. I'm monitoring for half an hour."

"She left the wrong cretin in charge. Fine. Robin out." I scowled at the speaker, as if electrons could carry my distain for my brother to him and smack him upside the head with it.

"So now what do we do?" Jordy asked.

"We do this the old fashioned way. You know, detective work?"

He shifted in his chair. "Aww... every time I try to do that, I end up in trouble. Either with yer Bat, or with the baddies."

"I'll do the detective work. You just concentrate on how good I look while I'm doing it."

"Can do!"

I was glad Nightwing wasn't as anal as the Bat was about people coming into his city. I knew why he was anal... but I was glad my dad wasn't like that. Especially when Robin just had to get involved and go busting heads in his town.

"Where're we going?" Jordy asked, suddenly in his Lantern uniform. I always thought that was such a cool little trick. And more than a little sexy too.

"Mickey's house. Ten bucks says they regroup, then they go down town and try to hassle people. We wait till they're in the act, nail `em, come back to the car...make passionate love... tell my father about it..."

"Woh. Back up on that last part."

"Just kidding." I wound through a back road until we came to Micky's place. His parents were never here, and so his little suburban gang of thugs hung out in daddy's req room, drinking daddy's beer and planning trouble. Mostly it had been petty, non-violent stuff until now, and I was hoping my brother could nail `em. Recently the idiots had taken their supremacist views to a new level by officially becoming Sapes, hence the sudden turn towards violence.

"So. We just sit here."

"Yeah," I said. Yup. This sucked. Couldn't even make out cause I was working. "Wanna hear something funny?" He didn't answer. "Bats made a bet with Roy that I couldn't stay out of the costume till tomorrow night at nightfall."



"What the heck's he doing hanging with Mr. Harper?"

"Actually, Roy's been hanging around him. Roy started whining about never getting to see Dinah, so Bat's stuck it to him. Said if he wanted to see her, he'd have to come to the Manor to do it."

Jordy choked down a laugh. "What's he doing, kidnapping her and holding her hostage?"

"No. They finally admitted she keeps clothes in his closet."

"That's like... what? Walking down the aisle for normal people? Public profession of love type stuff."

"TOTALLY." I couldn't resist, I turned in my seat and grabbed his cheek, pulling him towards me. Our lips met, I tasted him just a little bit, the pulled back. "You're such a distraction, you know that?"

"I try to be." He looked out his window. "Our boys are moving. Let's get this show on the road... so we can get our other show on the road."

"Hey, Bubbles," came an all-too chipper voice from my dash. "Ya screwed with my bet."

"Nice to see you two getting along," I grumbled. "Duty calls and all that."

"Yer brother told me you gave Oracle a holler. Honest to petes, kid, you gotta take a night off."

"Ok. I'll make you a deal. You come bust my bad-guys, I'll resume my evening where I left off." I winked to Jordy then put my eyes back on the road. No more car accidents for THIS Robin.

"Ug. I don't want to know. I can be there in an hour, though."

"Naw. We can get it done quicker." And these guy were pissed they hadn't gotten Jordy's blood... they'd likely be looking for trouble. "But after this... I SWEAR I'm taking the rest of the night off."

"Right, whatever, Bubbles."

"Roy, stop calling me that."

He hung up.

I groaned and fixed my concentration more firmly on the road.

"Hey, he's being affectionate."

"Yuck." Now talking to Roy. THAT was a real mood-killer. Roy Harper: Anti-aphrodisiac. "Can we just get this over with?

"You're preaching to the choir, sweetheart."

They parked in the parking garage nearest the tourist traps. I kissed Jordy's cheek. "Ok. I'm on."

Little Mickey and bigot gangstah wanna-be's took up residence outside the National Record Company's mega-store. Oh, this was going to be so easy. From the roof I watched. Weapons position, Skippy there was hopped up on drugs and was probably in possession there of... yeah, this was going to be a short evening. No reason to drag Uncle Roy all the way out here.

"Hey, Oracle-wanna-be. Wanna hail our friends in the Bludhaven PD to my position?"

"Wanna bite me?"

"I swear to God, I'll duct tape you to the ceiling again."

There was silence on the other end, and I wondered if he hung up on me. I was going to kill that kid. "Fine, it's done. They'll be there in two minutes."

"Thank you, twip."

"No problem, bitch-face."

"I know where you live."

"Dad'll stop you. Whatever you're thinking of."

"Dad wont be able to stop me. There will only be carnage in my wake. And your mutilated corpse all over his--" So much for this being easy. "Hold on, my guys're moving." I could finish verbally tormenting him later.

One of them had broken off from the group and was following a girl younger than me. They must have been after the CD's she'd just purchased...

I came down in a fashion that woulda made my Bat proud. I made sure not to look him directly in the eye to protect my identity. "Leave the lady alone and we'll call this an early night."

"Cops're a block away," my mother's voice said. "And be nice to your little brother."

That boy was going to wake up duct taped to the ceiling again, I swore to myself.

I waited until he had actually produced the knife, then I kicked it out of the little shit's hand. If I was really lucky, I'd broken something.

The girl let out a little yelp, and I saw for the first time that they weren't after her CD's, but her bright green eyes. Not jade like my mother's... bright glowing green.

"Hey, kid." I said politely. "It's awfully late to be out by yourself. I'd get home."

She nodded, and I took myself up and away from the action. My friends with the BHPD had arrived, and my job was done. Sure enough they'd come to see about a disturbance and were rewarded with weapons and drugs. I wished they could add another charge for ruining my night and messing with the Senior dance.

"You know, I just lost twenty bucks to Bruce because of you."

I turned around, and there was my father. "Yeah, well, these mooks ruined my dance by trying to turn my date into Swiss cheese. It wasn't going to go unanswered."

"You could have called, and I'd have taken care of it."

I shrugged. "I was hoping I could punch out every last one of them."

"Going back to the dance?"

"That's the plan," I said with a nod. "My hair's ruined but my hand's still stamped."

He folded his arms over his chest. "Remember what I said?"

I rolled my eyes. "God. Yes. Home an hour after the dance ends. You have serious trust issues."

"No. YOU have training with the Titans starting at nine tomorrow."

I winced. "You planned that specifically to thwart any attempts on my part to socialize after this thing. There's this thing. It's called all-night bowling. Try it some time."

"ONE hour after the dance ends."

I rolled my eyes. "Whatever, dad." This encounter had just strengthened my resolve more. I went to the far end of the roof and leapt off, and onto the roof of my car.

"Mom!" I called out as I jumped into the car. "A little WARNING when Nightwing's about to make an appearance?"

"I'm not his keeper."

I looked at Jordy and rolled my eyes. "She says she's not dad's keeper."

Jordy started howling.

"Are you two going back to the dance?"

Starting up the car and pulling away, I looked at Jordy. "Yeah, mom. We're going back to the dance."

Jordy held a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

"Dad re-read me the riot act. I'll be home an hour after the dance ends, bla bla bla."

"Ok, kid. I got real work to do. Keep yourself out of trouble."

The ear piece went dead, and I grinned. "ALONE AT LAST!"

Jordy looked like his face was going to crack open, he was grinning so hard. I sped off, away from Bludhaven cause I had a feeling if we stayed in city limits, we'd get no peace. Far too easy for my dad to find me, and the twip would probably be out in full force just to annoy me and screw this up.

After about twenty minutes, I pulled over at one of those scenic overlooks on the highway and turned off the car lights.

"My word. You've taken me to a `make out spot'. I demand you drive me home this instant to preserve my virtue..." Jordy trailed off.

"Aww, shut up," I told him. "You know what you're here for."

Our lips found each other and he began unclipping my cape. "I don't mean... to rush..."

"Rush!" I told him. God, I didn't care. We had to get the first one in before something else happened... then all subsequent fucks we could take our time on.

He tugged the cape to the spot on the seat between us. This was why Uncle Roy had suggested a car with bench seats. Oh man. Maybe he didn't completely suck after all.

"Do... you know..." he gasped as he kissed me. Frantically his arms tore at my costume. "I... can think of... at least... three people. Who'll kill me. If we're caught."

He seemed to know what he was doing. Somehow I had the suspicion he'd been studying my armor for a while. My hands dug into the green cloth of his costume. As I tugged on it, it vanished from beneath my fingers... all the way to the waist. "Jordan!" I whispered as my lips searched for his throat. "Your tux was a construct?"

"Sorry! I got held up on my way..."

I grinned. "Construct. That's hot," I told him.

"Oh God, I love you," he told me as he pulled me down onto the seat. I couldn't do anything but moan because of what he was doing. So much of his one-time protest of not knowing what he was doing. Somehow he seemed to have a clue, when it came down to it.

That was Little Lantern for you... I thought to myself. He complains because he doesn't know how, and then turns out to be brilliant in the field. And I had a feeling he was enjoying this field... especially from the pressure against my leg.

He stared at my breasts a moment before continuing on. I bit my lip. We'd never gotten this far before, and suddenly I grew uncertain that he'd want to go on. "Don't punch me..." he whispered. "But you're the most beautiful person I've ever known."

I couldn't help it, I blushed. "Shut up, already," I ordered him.

Fortunately, he listened. I didn't think I could take it if he said anything more. He went back to kissing me, and declothing me, and generally making short work of this. Which was good. I felt like we'd been going on with the foreplay since Christmas.

* * *

I woke to a slight twittering sound. Slowly, I came back to my senses, and I had to force myself to do that. I only did that much because the last time I'd been in Jordy's arms and had been roused by a strange noise, it had been Superboy at the window, and we all remember how that turned out.

As consciousness came back, I had to smile. We were covered in my cape, and our bodies were twisted in each other. Even though the sound of music in the distance made me curious and annoyed me just a bit, I held on to my grin of contentment. We'd done it and the world hadn't come to an end. We'd done it and both of us were still living. And yes, kids... Mara Grayson, AKA Robin, AKA Ice Queen was a virgin no longer.

Took us long enough, damn it.

Jordy was partially on top of me and completely unconscious still. It felt good to have his weight there. I felt... contented and complete. I kissed his cheek, and then groped around on the floor board for my ear piece. It sounded like that's where whatever noise it was happened to be coming from.

Slowly, bringing it to my ear, I frowned. I knew what was playing through my ear piece. It was a Nineteen-seventies porn anthem. I pulled the ear piece out of my ear and tossed it back on the floor.

By morning, I would be an only child.

"Jordy..." I whispered, kissing his ear. "Jordy... we haveta get up."

He inhaled deeply and squeezed me tighter to him.

I pressed the button for the radio on the dash and looked at the time. "Jordy... I have to get home."

He yawned and sniffed, then opened his eyes. Lord, he was too adorable. I didn't deserve him. "Guess I gotta get you home, huh?" he muttered. "Before my screwing privileges are revoked."

"Yeah, you won't be doing much in that department if my parents castrate you." My hands trailed down to his cold behind.

"One more before we hit the road?" He kissed my neck, and hell yes, I wanted him again.

I wrapped my arms around his neck. "If you can go easy." I was... sore if the truth be told. I didn't regret any of it. I just knew I'd be feeling that in the morning.

His black eyes stared very seriously into mine. "Are you sure? You're ok... I didn't think..."

I slapped his arm. "Will you stop it? You're talking about the girl who yanked a knife out of her own back side and kept fighting. I just mean... keep it leisurely."

He shook his head, then reached one arm over to press the dial on the dash. "See, this is all part of some plot to get me killed. If I play it leisurely, I won't get you home before your dad turns into a green monster with a throbbing forehead. I don't think either of us want that."

"Ok. Quick and dirty, I'm ok with that."

He kissed me passionately. "How's about tomorrow?"

"Are YOU ok with that?" I asked, my hand had found the evidence of his sudden assertiveness.

"Hey, I'm the master at will power--"

I cut him off with another kiss. No point in waiting till tomorrow. My Bat had always chastised me for being a procrastinator...

His lips slid down my neck and to my breasts. Damnit. He knew what I liked already. Before I could stop myself, a moan had escaped my lips.


The car shook and the suspension creaked as something came to land on my hood.

I clutched on to Jordy for dear life. We were going to die. "I--I love you," I whispered, clutching my eyes shut and pressing my cheek to his.

It was quiet for a moment, and I dared to look out the windshield. It was dark as the stars had been obliterated by whatever figure now stood on the hood of my car.

A foot came crashing down on the hood, and there was the sound of rubber boot connecting with metal. The car shook again, and I let out a yelp. I was in the freaking Robin-mobile, I hadn't changed the car back. Was it an enemy? Great time to issue a challenge--when your opponent is buck naked!

Jordy's unform wrapped around his body in a burst from the ring and the boot hit the hood again.

"Did I scare ya?"


Sitting up, I wrapped my cape around me and glared at the figure as it leapt from the hood of the car to the ground, and leaned against my driver's side window. "Hey, Bubbles! Just thought I'd stop you kids before you do something that you--" he peered through the window. "Well, I see I'm too late for that. I just hope you two took the `is my potential lover an assassin' quiz before you started."

"Yeah," I answered tauntingly. "THAT'S what we were doing. If you tell my father about this, I'm going to kill you."

"Where's the love? Is there no love in the world any more? Not even for your old God-father?"

"ROY, I mean it!"

He grinned through the glass. "Secret's safe with me, Bubbles." He crossed his heart and kissed his fingers.

"But... I have a feeling he's going to put two and two together..."

I opened the door just a little bit then rammed it into his body. "Look. Everything's fine. I'm fine, he's fine, everything's fine, and things're going to continue BEING fine as long as you don't say anything."

"Till yer dad wails off and kills you."

"I am twelve hours away from graduation, he can't do anything."

"Like that's ever stopped a dad."

I was going to die. Roy was right. "Guess I better get it over with."


* * *

And then, after all that hype, my dad wasn't even home when I came back. He'd got called out on some Titans thing that I wasn't privy to since I had the night off. Good, maybe they'd still be wherever they were tomorrow morning and I could skip out on training and just not wake up until the graduation ceremony. Who'da guess THAT could be so exhausting? Blissfully exhausting, but exhausting none the less.

"Did you have a good time?" my mother asked, not looking up from the computer.

"Yeah," I said. I hated this part of coming home from anywhere--checking in with mom and being grilled.

"Your father told me about what happened at the dance. Identities are still in tact?"

"Yeah, they didn't get a chance to see my gorgeous visage. Stinky called the cops for me, and they rounded up the little creeps."

"Be nice to your brother. He gave me the first break I've had all week."

"Speaking of the little puke, where is he?"

"He's in bed. What did I tell you, Mara? Be nice." It was amazing, she could lecture me and just keep right along typing.

"I just wanted to `thank' him for his help. Professionalism, and all that."

"I'll bet. Do me a favor. Go take a shower before your father comes home. It'll save us all a hard time if you get rid of the evidence."

Staring at the back of her head, I turned beat-red.

"Well, what're you waiting for? Unless you want to have `that discussion' with your father?" her fingers actually stopped clicking away for a moment as she waited to depart.

I was getting away with this? "Umm... going. Right away, ma'am."

"And meet me in your room when you're done. We're going to have a talk."

* * *

"Can you please tell me what the hell you thought you were doing?"

Sitting on my bed in flannels, I stared at her, sitting across from me. I hated when she put her hands on her hips like that. "Well, prom got screwed up by the whole pink alien thing, so we were picking up where we left off."

Before I knew what hit me, my mother had... well, hit me. Slapped me right across my face. Usually I got whacked upside the head. This was a new one. "I don't know who's got a worse mouth, you or your brother. Mara, you're not out of this house yet. And until then, you know what the rules are."

"Fine. I can be moved out by tomorrow night."

"Mara! That's not what I meant! Look. I'm your mom here. And be thankful you're having this conversation with me instead of your dad."

Why? So you can tell dad and dad can just kill me at a later date?

Suddenly she grew very calm and serious. "I don't want you screwing this up."

"And us moving on and up with our relationship is screwing it up HOW?"

She put one hand on my leg. Why was she trying to be my friend now? "Don't confuse sex with love."

"What's that supposed to mean? No. Never mind. I know what it means. You think I'm stupid enough to not know what the score is between us." I pulled my leg away so her hand fell away.

"Martha Ann Grayson!" Congratulations: you're in trouble. I wasn't REALLY in trouble till she said that. "I want you to listen to me. This isn't about intelligence. There's enough of that going around in this house. This is about emotional stupidity. There's a lot of THAT in this house too. You're both INCREDIBLY young. He won't be out of high school for another year. You two moving too soon... Look. I know about this. You're going to college, and he's going to be in high school. You're going to be meeting college guys, and doing college things, and he's going to be stuck in high school, doing things you thought were lame at best--"

I had to cut her off. "Is this YOUR life or MINE we're talking about here?"

She sighed. "This isn't about me."

"Isn't it?"

"Mara, look. Your father and I screwed up in a lot of ways. If I can prevent you from making those mistakes, I will."

"Why are you SO convinced we're going to screw this up?"

"Mara, you're a Grayson. You also hang out with an obvious emotional retard. The odds are stacked against you."

"Ok. So I just take everything Grandpa Bruce does, and then DON'T DO IT. Problem solved."

She took off her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose. "See, if I could trust you to do that, this would be a short conversation. Mara, you might not see it this way, but you've just seriously complicated things."

"Look. If we were on the same team, I could see that. But we're not any more. Other than him still being in high school and me about to not be, I don't see what the big deal is."

"Mara, what happens during the first off-world crisis that he sees as a Lantern?"

I stared at her. I had NO idea what she was talking about.

"And he gets captured."

"You're making this up."

"Just go with me on this. And he gets captured. You hear about it from me. What do you do?"

This was a trick question. "I assess the situation--"

"You rush off head-long to save him, because that's ALWAYS what you do."

"He's gotten into trouble without me before."

"Mara... emotionally, you've just opened up Pandora's Box."

I leaned forward, rolling my eyes. "Mo-om. We're going to be fine. If anything, this makes us better."

"Of course you actually believe that. You're so young." She seemed sad, somehow. "Mara, he's only sixteen."

"SO? I was only thirteen when I took charge of YJ. I was sixteen when I started with the Titans. He was fourteen when he got the ring. Mom, we've both lived a whole life-time already."

An alarm could be heard in mom's room.

"That's you father." WHY mom had the roof top set up like spy-central, I'll never know. "I know you've done a lot. But this is a whole new place. Promise me you'll take it slow." She started heading for the door.

"No rushing off to Vegas. Check."

"And promise me something else."

"Huh?" I asked, crawling into bed.

"That you won't screw it up with this boy? I know he's the one. You know he's the one. Your father is grudgingly willing to admit that the condition for the possibility exists. Bruce lets him in city limits. DON'T SCREW IT UP."

"I'll try," I reassured her, pulling the covers up to my chin.

She shut off the light and closed the door. I waited until I heard her in the elevator, then slid a hand under my bed, grabbing my belt. Slowly, I pulled it on. Readjusting the covers, I listened to the sounds of the house, and waited.

Dad came home, he and mom talked. About what, I didn't know, and I just prayed it wasn't me. He took a shower, and then they both went to bed. When all movement in the house ceased, I crawled out of bed.

Since I'd taped him to the ceiling, my brother had had his entire room wired with security. The door knob was a little too intelligent for my taste--it was engineered against my specific heat signature. The door itself was also capable of releasing a hundred and fifty volts of electricity, again geared entirely towards me. And my parents somehow had no problem with the fact that his door shot potentially lethal bolts of electricity at their eldest child. When I'd complained to my Bat about it, all he'd said was that if I couldn't find a way around it by NOW, then I'd have to spend more time studying electronics.

I'd tried for months to get plans for his security, or at least do sufficient surveillance to give me half a clue, but like going all the way with Jordy, something else always interrupted. So, we'd do this the old fashioned way.

His room was right next to the bathroom, so I was careful and quiet when I went inside and waited in the bath tub on top of mom's bench, hiding in the shadow the shower curtain created. He had to pee some time.

It was almost two hours later before he groggily emerged from his bedroom. Rubbing his eyes, he stumbled into the bathroom and shut the door. As he did so, I slipped out from the curtain.

"Aww, man, this isn't about the porn music, is it?"

"Nope. This is because you're a creep."

"I'll scream, I'll tell mom, I'll..."

My right hand reached to my belt. "Go ahead. You'll be dead before you can draw breath." His eyes concentrated on me pulling decel cable meticulously from the belt. While he watched that, my left hand shot out and pinched the nerves on his neck. The Vulcans don't have anything on me.

He collapsed to the floor. I was also rewarded to see a puddle form beneath him. Yup, I'd successfully nailed ALL the voluntary muscles with that move.

With a grin, I silently dragged him out of the bathroom.

* * *

At seven-thirty in the morning, I woke to my father screaming my name. "Mara Grayson! Get down here!"

I grinned and rolled over. Taking the opportunity for a leisurely stretch, I did so, then sat on the edge of the bed, sliding on my fuzzy green slippers. I was slowly giving up the Superman thing in favor of Green Lantern. Lets face it, I was the number-one fan club. After last night... I was damned-near a groupie.

"MARA!" Oh boy. Now mom knew what I'd done.

"Coming," I said cheerfully.

I bounded down the steps. "What can I do for you peeps..."

My dad was pointing at the dining room ceiling.

"Is something amiss?" I looked up and acted as if I didn't see anything.

"WHY is your brother duct-taped to the ceiling? AGAIN?"

"He knows why," I told my mother. "Dontcha, Squirt?"


"Well, MOM. He was using the Oracle line to listen in on private moments last night."

Mom scowled at him. "James!" Dad was carrying the ladder over to my brother's spot. "Don't untie him yet, Dick!"

Dad looked at mom, he looked at me, he looked at Jimmy. "Ummm... If we don't take him down soon, the paint's going to rip off the ceiling, and then we'll be scraping him up."

"Alright. Fine. James Thomas Grayson, you're about to get it!"

Dad climbed the ladder and ripped the tape off of his mouth. "Dad, leave me up here!"

"And you, Martha Ann Grayson! I can't believe you did this after our talk last night!"

"Take me down! I wanna see Mara get it!"

"You're BOTH in no end of trouble!" Mom shouted. We were about to be killed, but it had been worth it.

"Ok, something's going on here that I missed."

With narrow eyes, my brother grinned at me. "Bow chicka bow bow..."

Wide-eyed, dad looked from Jimmy to me. "Mara! You didn't! I said straight home..." he turned back to Jimmy. "YOU didn't! I'm going to kill you BOTH!"

"He can't prove anything!" I called out as dad cut him off the ceiling.

"I have audio records!"

"They're probably faked!"

"Why would I need to fake anything?" my brother asked from under dad's arm. I'd also taped his legs and arms together, so it'd be a while before he could move independently. "Not when the truth is so much better than anything I could think up."

"Both of you, shut up!" Dad put Jimmy on the ground. He seemed to be thinking really hard about something. My dad took a few deep breaths, then handed me the knife.

"Cut your brother loose, then I want both of you to go to your rooms."

I arched an eyebrow.

He tore the knife out of my hand. "I will cut your brother loose. You go to your room."

I dashed up the steps before he could change his mind and ran to my room and closed the door. We'd be having a fun time sorting this one out. Throwing myself on the bed, I picked up the phone and hit number three on my speed dial.


"Hey, grandpa... remember how you said I could have your apartment on Wells?"


"How soon could I move in?"