Li'l Bat needs his Nap
Author's note/disclaimer: This one needs a lot of explaining. First of all, if you haven't read the Superman/Batman comic books #51 and #52, you need to. Buy them off the internet if you have to. They're only a couple of dollars. And I promise you won't be disappointed. The cuteness is really beyond amazing. Don't judge by the covers.
That said, this story is intended to be read by A) people who've read Superman/Batman #51 and #52, and B) people who haven't read those books but don't mind having the story spoiled for them. If you fit into one of those categories, proceed.
This is your final warning. Here there be spoilers! ! !
Now then. This three-part fanfic is a partial rewrite of the events in S/B #52. Some of the dialogue in part one is taken straight out of that issue. And here is our story thus far: In an effort to amuse Superman, Mxyzptlk has transported an adorable chibi-fied Justice League to Earth. Unfortunately, all the miniature versions of the villains have shown up as well. Batman gets stuck at the Hall of Justice babysitting the "Li'l Leaguers" while the rest of the Justice League rounds up the mini-villains…
Act I: no time for naps
Watching the animated caricatures of his sidekicks run around on the screen, the two-and-a-half-foot tall Batman understood perfectly. He was a joke. They were a joke.
They were a joke in this brutal, oversized world. That's why they were being held captive in the Hall of Justice, out of the way, while their larger and more serious counterparts dealt with the outbreak of villains in Metropolis. They were being treated like babies.
His eyes swept the room, where all of his Justice League companions were scattered about on the floor and on the furniture, curled up and sleeping. His mouth twitched. Maybe the larger Leaguers were right to treat them like babies. In this world, they were babies.
He glanced to his left and saw Superman's eyelids droop, his head nod.
Batman clenched his teeth. He'd had enough. He hopped down from the table he'd been sitting on, startling Superman in the process.
"Batman?" Superman's voice followed him. "Where're you going?"
Batman marched out into the passageway. "I can't just sit here," he grumbled. "Not when I know people are in danger."
Superman swooped through the air beside him. "But Batman, you need your nap!" he exclaimed, worried. "You know you'll run out of energy without it!"
Batman's expression didn't change. It was nap time back on their world. And he was feeling tired. But he'd already made up his mind.
"Open your eyes, Blue. In this world, there's no time for naps. You can sleep all you want if we ever get home."
Superman balled up one of his little fists. "When we get home!" he corrected cheerfully. "Have faith, Batman!"
Ignoring him, and grumbling under his breath, Batman stalked away into the dark.
Superman's mouth squiggled into a shape halfway between a frown and a pout, and then he yawned. Pivoting in the air like a fat little toy plane, he flew back to the room where all his other comrades were already sleeping.
He circled the room once, low and slow, looking for someone to snuggle up with. He was sleepy and lonely. He missed Lois. And none of his fellow Justice Leaguers seemed to need his company at the moment, except of course for Batman, who always needed his company even if he wouldn't admit it.
Unfortunately, Batman was unavailable…or was he? A tiny floating light bulb materialized above Superman's head, lighting up with an audible "bing!" as an idea occurred to him. Putting both his fists in front of him in classic Superman style, he zipped out of the room, leaving the light bulb to fade mysteriously into nonexistence.
The big Batman was all alone right now too, and the little Superman had heard him grumbling about how he wished he hadn't been left behind to baby-sit them all. He was hunched over the control console when Superman found him, keeping a close eye on all the slumbering little Leaguers, emanating frustration and discontent.
"Hello," Superman said, touching down at the doorway.
Big Batman spun to face him. "I thought I told you to stay in the rec room," he growled.
Little Superman bit his bottom lip and defensively resorted to super-puppy-eyes.
Bruce was thoroughly unnerved, and for a second he thought that the little Superman might burst into tears—which was a scenario he was determined to prevent at all costs, since it was likely to bring the fury of the entire miniaturized Justice League down upon him. "What is it?" he asked immediately. "Do you need anything? More cookies? Glass of milk?"
"No," Superman replied, rubbing his eyes. "I'm just really tired."
"Well, I'm not surprised. You've had a busy day."
Encouraged by his less-than-infuriated tone, Superman floated into the air, drifted over to the big Batman, and settled onto his lap. His little shoulders heaved up, then down under their red cape, and before Bruce could think of anything to say, the little Superman leaned sideways, falling towards him. Bruce leaned back in surprise, until he ran into the back of his chair, which then partially reclined. The little Superman's head thunked heavily against his chest.
Batman looked down, stunned. There was the round head of black hair, the comically perfect S-curl, the inky-dark eyelashes, the button-like nose.
"Uh—are you alright?" Bruce asked abruptly.
The little Superman nodded, rubbing his cheek against Bruce's chest.
"Then…what are you doing?"
Superman blinked a few times, deciding that he really liked the slow, powerful sound of the big Batman's heartbeat. "I'm taking a nap," he said sleepily, and paused to yawn again. "You can stay awake if you want to." His voice wavered a bit, fading to a whispery mumble. "But since you have to stay here and watch all of us… by yourself… I figured I would… keep you company…"
Bruce wasn't sure what to do. He felt completely trapped by the red-caped bundle cuddled against him. And before he could reach any sort of conclusion about a course of action, the little Superman sank against him just a bit further, and began to emit tiny snoring sounds.
"zzzz… zzzz… zzzz…"
It was bewildering. And more than that, annoying. The real Superman, the big one, had said that these little guys came from a simpler, happier world, but a world where the entire Justice League curled up for a nap wherever and with whomever they pleased?? It seemed beyond ludicrous, and yet, from the evidence all around him on the monitor screens, that was exactly the case.
Just as Bruce had made up his mind to remove the sleeping Superman and put him down for his nap somewhere else, he realized two things: firstly, the super-powered sugar-buzz wouldn't be getting into any trouble as long as he was happily unconscious. And secondly, the little Superman was generating the same inexplicable warmth that the big one did.
That phenomenon, combined with the little Superman's toddler-like size, evoked some hither-to untapped parental instinct within Bruce's heart, and without even thinking about it he wrapped an arm around the warm little body. It was like cradling a warm sandbag, only a living, breathing, snoring one. He was even shaped kind of like a sandbag or a sack of flour, round and solid, and comfortingly heavy.
And it wasn't exactly like he was hurting anything by being there.
Bruce decided to change his mind. It would be alright if the little guy stayed.
"A-hem." Bruce turned, looked up to see his Superman standing in the doorway, not even trying to keep the grin off his face. Bruce was still protectively holding the fast-asleep little Superman against his chest.
"What?" Bruce frowned.
The big Superman managed to confine his laughter to a warm, rumbling cough. "Somehow, I get the feeling that this wasn't your idea."
"I'd rather have him asleep than running amuck," Bruce declared. Superman stepped forward.
"Want me to take him?"
Clark reached down and picked up his miniaturized double, and Bruce tried not to feel the cold that immediately invaded the spot where the little body had been.
The little Superman stirred a bit but quickly relaxed and went back to snoring, his head resting against Clark's shoulder and one arm curled around Clark's neck.
Unsurprisingly, Clark looked completely comfortable holding the little guy. "So," he said, eyes scanning the monitors. "Where's little Bats?"
"I've been trying to find him," Bruce growled. "I know how he's thwarting the cameras. It's the same way that I would do it. But I can't figure out how to counter it. As long as he's playing cat-and-mouse with me, though, he can't be getting into too much trouble. Wait—there he is."
Bruce tapped a few keys and brought up the image. The little Batman was crouching over something on the floor in one of the hallways, studying it. He went to pick it up.
"What's he got there?" Clark asked.
Bruce's eyes narrowed. The item appeared to be a limp yellow flower.
"…Evidence," Bruce said darkly.
They intercepted him a minute later. "All right, you," Batman growled. "Time to go back to your room."
Superman looked down at the little Batman, his expression completely serious. "The League has the situation in Metropolis under control. But Luthor's little double is on the loose. It's not safe for you out here," he clarified, hoping the little Bat would understand that the big Bat wasn't just bossing him around for no reason.
But the little Bat just scowled at him. "Impressive. You're almost as dense as my Superman."
'His' Superman stopped snoring and woke up on Clark's shoulder, looking around in contented confusion. The little Bat continued: "Of course it's not safe." He held up the flower he'd found. "This belongs to the Joker. It's loaded with--"
"Be careful!" Bruce practically shouted at him. "That's acid!"
Little Batman wasn't perturbed. "Acid?" he growled. "What's 'acid'?" He squeezed the flower, and some neon green liquid squirted from it onto the floor. "It's the Joker's trademark soapy water," the little Bat explained grimly. "It really stings when it gets in your eyes."
The so-called 'soapy water' began to sizzle its way through the floor, hissing. "Whoa," little Batman remarked, though he sounded less than impressed. "It's never done that before."
Clark looked down worriedly at the little Bat. "It looks like your Joker is beginning to adapt to our world."
By this time, the little Superman had managed to catch up on what he'd missed, and understood what it probably meant. He launched himself away from Clark, dive-bombing towards little Batman. "If that's true, then we have even less time than we thought!" he exclaimed.
Little Batman was way ahead of him, sprinting down the hall. "Look alive, big boys," he called out. "The bad guys are here! If you don't want to help... feel free to take a nap."
Bruce and Clark watched him scamper away, his Superman zooming along over his shoulder like a little red kite. Once the miniature copies of themselves had rounded the corner, the 'big boys' looked at each other.
Batman had never looked so completely irritated. Clark grinned at him. "…So," he said, knowing it was no time to be joking around but unable to resist the opportunity. "About this 'nap' thing…"
"Maybe later," Bruce growled at him. "If you promise you don't snore as much as the little one."
Clark shook his head, chuckling, and Batman took off down the hall in pursuit of his pint-sized doppelganger. Stepping off the ground and gliding through the air, Clark followed at his heels.
...to be continued...