I don't own 'em.

Cookies n' Cream:

Monitor Duty for Minors.


"What if I just touch the button once?" the little boy asked, bouncing on his father's knee.

"You're not pressing it," Kyle Rayner said with good humor. "And you're not gonna press it the next sixty-four times you ask."

The three year old's mint-green hands shyly covered his eyes. Kyle could see the hint of smile threatening to break out into laughter on the boy's lips, and he shook his head. He and Jenny had been so worried about having a kid in the midst of all this mess. She'd found out she was pregnant, and they both promptly lost their minds. After getting over the initial 'oh my god' factor, they'd realized that they'd be damned fine parents. They might have had the most dangerous job in the world, but gosh darn it, they were a lot less dysfunctional than some of the people they knew with kids. AND so far—except for the time Jordy'd been kidnapped and experimented on—it had been great.

The boy was certainly an immense alleviator of the traditional boredom that accompanied monitor duty.

"Can I have a cookie?" the doe-eyed young man asked suddenly.

A green beam shot out of the ring, and the boy was hoisted into the air. His round cheeks lit up with a smile between them, and he began laughing voraciously. "A cookie. He wants a cookie. I'm gonna tell J'onn that you want to eat his cookies. And then you know what he's going to do?"

"Turn into monkey?" the boy asked, clapping his hands. Kids and monkeys and shapeshifters…

"Noooo. He's not going to turn into a monkey, little man. He's going to turn into a monster that eats people who eat cookies, and then he's going to gobble you up." Kyle gave a brief demonstration with the ring. A large, flat-toothed monster with shaggy fur and big, padded palms appeared and grabbed the boy.

The child continued laughing and screaming. "Make it put me down, daddy! Don't let the monster eat me!"

"No no no. You wanted the cookie. You know what happens to people who eat the cookie!" Kyle could do this all day. Sometimes, when they were at home, Jordy would scream so loud that the neighbors would call to make sure they weren't killing him.

"I still want the cookie!" the little boy cried happily as the monster licked his head. "Gimme the cookie daddy!"

"Kyle, give the boy what he wants, and stop making him scream," a dark voice said behind him.

The monster disappeared and Jordy was lowered to the floor as Kyle, earth's Green Lantern, spun around to face Batman, the World's Greatest Detective. "I was just PLAYING with him. You know, play, fun?"

"NOT in the monitor womb. Not when you're on duty, and NOTHING that involves child-eating monsters."

Kyle turned a little red. He remembered last weekend when the Titans had had to cut their little mascot (who wasn't that much older than Jordy) out of a sea monster. So dark and creepy almost had a soul after all… he got touchy over monsters eating little kids. "We'll play quietly," Kyle promised.

He figured then that the Dark Knight would vanish, but he didn't. He continued to stand in the doorway, inspecting the child, who'd found a toy in his pocket, and was playing with it on the floor, the former excitement suddenly forgotten.

"He is… well?" Batman asked.

Jordy put the action figure on his head and started humming.

"He's a little gooblepot. Come on, Bats, there isn't a damned thing to do up here on the weekends. You're not going to start about me bringing him up here, are you?" The first few times, he'd used the 'no babysitter' excuse, now he just brought his little tag-along.

"Make sure he stays out of trouble," Batman ordered. "And no touching the button," he said with absolutely no humor in his voice.

"Jordy!" Kyle called, grabbing the child with the ring and pulling the boy to him. "Say hi to Batman."

The boy pressed his face against the Lantern symbol on his father's uniform. "Batman scary. Roy says Batman eat me."

Kyle rolled his eyes, but when he looked up from the child, Batman was not in sight. Turning around, he saw Batman inspecting a blinking light on one of the massive control displays. "You need to pay more attention," Batman ordered.

"Mr. Perfect, lemme tell you…" Kyle muttered into the boy's hair.

"Go ahead," Batman said, some measure of discomfort in his voice.

"Sir, Miss Martha got into the evidence locker again. I'm afraid she found Mr. Freeze's ray gun…"

Batman began shaking his head. "I'm on my way home, Alfred. DON'T tell her parents…" he cut the connection, not bothering to explain himself. He turned back to Kyle Rayner, earth's Green Lantern and father of a toddler. "I'll be late for monitor duty," he informed the younger man.

Kyle did his best to bite back a grin. "No problem."

Batman quickly headed for the teleporter.

"Hey, Bats! Bring the little goober up here! Seems like she'd be safer here, than at home…" and the girl might be Trouble incarnate, but it'd be cute for the kids to play together. He'd have to see if Wally could talk to Nightwing about that.

Batman didn't respond. He continued through the towards the device.

"Ok, ok…" Kyle muttered, hauling his tyke over to the monitor. "He's not scary," Kyle told Jordy. "He's a big mush ball. Somewhere under the armor and stuff."

* * *

Kyle bounced his little bundle on his lap again. He and his tyke had been at the Watch Tower for nine hours now, and it was getting boring. Weekend monitoring always ran 8 hours, but it meant you didn't have to do it as often. He'd been one of the idiots voting to do it that way, and he was fine with the arrangement, except for when he was actually doing the monitor duty.

Jenny had called, barring the LEGION being called out, they were having spaghetti with meatballs for dinner.

"You'll like that, buddy. We'll take pictures…" they always kept the camera handy when he was eating spaghetti. Jordy used to dump the spaghetti in his hair, now he just somehow always managed to get it all over him in the cutest ways. And a little green boy with red tomato sauce all over his face was too adorable to pass up.

"I like skeddy. With meatballs." He twisted his cookie apart, licked out the innards, put the two halves together and shoved them in his mouth.

"Mommy makes good meatballs, huh?"

The grinning boy nodded his head. Drool spilled out of his mouth, and he chewed on it fitfully for a few moments before swallowing. "Who's dat?" the boy asked, wiping his mouth on his wrist.

Kyle spun around in the chair. He saw Batman standing there, holding a small child by the suspenders of her overalls. Her hair was wet, but she was smiling. "You put me down now," she ordered.

The beginnings of a smile froze on Kyle's lips. He couldn't laugh, no matter how tempting it was. She was ordering Batman around.

Batman hoisted the child level with his eyes. "Are we going to create problems?"

The four year old shook her head NO.

"Are we going to touch anything we're not supposed to touch? Are we going to make me sorry I brought you up here?"

She grinned and clapped her hands. "I'm good!" she promised. "I'm the best!" Boy did she sound like she had consumed a large dose of Roy Harper this morning for breakfast.

He put her down on the ground. "That's what I'm afraid of." The Dark Knight looked up at Green Lantern. "You wanted them to play—fine. They're your responsibility." He looked back down at the child. "Martha Ann," he said with authority. "We're not going to have a repeat of Play Group, are we?"

The little girl blushed. "I'm good!" She went over to the green little boy on the other side of the room, completely abandoning Batman. The girl inspected Jordy closely, investigating his pigmentation, and his toy.

"What happened at play group?" Kyle asked cautiously.

Batman handed the child a backpack that looked like a large stuffed monkey. "It doesn't matter. Because she's not going to have a repeat, ARE WE?"

Mara giggled. "They washed me in the laundry tub."

Kyle shook his head. All Jordy had wanted to do was push 'the button.' That, compared to needing washed in the laundry tub, made his kid look like an angel. "I'm sure they'll have fun together," Kyle said calmly. "We'll go in the req room. It'll be… fun."

Batman was paying no attention. He had walked past Kyle and was now sitting at the computer, checking monitors and running updates.

* * *

"Then," Jordy explained carefully, "he flies you." He held up the little blue teddy bear, making it zoom through the air with sound effects and everything. "He gived me the teddy."

Mara took her thumb out of her mouth. "He gived me teddy too." She reached into the bag Batman had given her, taking out a little red bear. "Superman's the best," she announced.

Kyle watched them playing on the floor. It was hard to think right now that this could be the child that he heard rumors about—the Batclan's demon spawn, and the Titan's evil little mascot.

And a big ol' pat on the back for dad. Jordy was playing nice, he was sharing, and being a perfect little gentleman. That meant that Kyle ruled as a parent. Of all the things he'd screwed up in his life, this hadn't been one of them. His kid was not spoiled, nor was he a bully.

He listened to them "Play Superman" with their bears and talking about their mutual hero for a few minutes more, before creeping over to the communications consol. Dialing home, he turned back to watch them, grinning stupidly.

"So, hotshot," Jen crooned as she answered the phone. "What crisis came up?"

"Aww, nothing. I just found Jordy a little playmate. They're up here jabbering away about Superman. It's THE cutest thing in the entire world." He turned the camera so she could see. "Isn't that adorable?" Did he just say adorable?

"Is that the Grayson kid?" Jenny asked cautiously.

Kyle turned the camera back towards him. "Maybe it is, maybe it isn't."

"Are you sure we want him playing with her?"

"Jennnnn… Come on. Batman said its ok." Did he just say Batman said it was OK? "They've both been good for the last like… hour and fifteen minutes. Jordy hasn't asked to push 'the button' ONCE in all that time."

Jenny Lynn Hayden Scott gave the father of her child her best supermodel smile. "Ok, they can play. But if he gets into any trouble, it's entirely on your head."

"Fine, fine fine," Kyle answered, by way of promise. What kind of trouble could two cute little kids get into up here? "I'm going to let them play till dinner time, ok?"

"Sure. I'm getting ready to start the meatballs. Barring catastrophe, dinner'll be ready in about an hour. And Kyle… keep an eye on them, ok?"

"I WILLLL," he promised. It was like she didn't trust him or something. They were just two little kids. He closed the connection, and turned back to the children. Who weren't there. "Jordy!" This was so not cool. "Jordan, boy, get back here…" They couldn't have gotten far, RIGHT?

Jen was SO not going to marry him if this kept up.

* * *

The taller of the two children pushed against several cargo crates, looking for an empty one. Finding an oversized grey container with nothing in it, she began picking the locks with her hair barrette.

"Is opened," Mara announced, pulling the side lid off of a storage crate. "Empty." She crawled inside and sat down. "This'll be our hideout."

Jordy followed her, flopping down beside her. "Fortress of Solidude," Jordy affirmed, proud of his big words.

"Batcave," Mara replied. "Dark. Uncle Clark has too much lights on at home."

"Superman not leave the lights on," Jordy protested. Dad said Superman always turned the lights out. And dad would know, right? Right.

"Kinda glows," Mara said. "But I don't know that," she amended. She kept forgetting. She wasn't allowed to tell Daddy about her and Uncle Roy meeting Lian's mommy, and she wasn't allowed to tell Grandpa about visiting Uncle Clark's clubhouse when they went out for ice cream. He said Grandpa would 'have a bird', but she told him he already had a Robin. Then he laughed at her, and she didn't like that very much.

"Glows like daddy?" Jordy asked. "Daddy has a ring. An' it glows in the dark." He wondered what it'd be like to have a house that glowed in the dark.

"Dunno. How's your daddy's ring glow?"

"Real bright. And green. Like me. I'm green." He was mommy's little Kermit. That's what she called him. None of the other kids were green, and daddy wasn't green, so it was confusing, but he guessed it was ok if daddy was a Green Lantern and wasn't really green. Mommy was green enough for both of them. "You think Superman take me there? So I see his glowing house?"

"I'll say he hasta," Mara promised. "Ask him to take you fer ice cream. Then he'll take you to his clubhouse." The green boy was good. He was way better than the dumb kids in play group. He listened when she said stuff.

"Is THAT what took you two so long?" a rumbling voice said on the outside of the container.

Jordy hid behind her as the lid swung opened and a long shadow fell across the opening. "Don't eat me!"

Mara began laughing. "He won't eat," she promised, trying to get him to stop hiding behind her. "Grandpa's good!" she looked up at Batman and saw his scowl. She forgot. He's not Grandpa with the mask on. "I mean, Batman's good. He doesn't eat anybody. C'mon…" she finally pulled him up. "Quit being a sissy."

Jordy sat up straight. "I'm not a sissy," he said earnestly.

"Sissy," she confirmed.

Batman tilted the crate towards him, and the tiny forms inside tumbled out onto the floor. "Go back with Kyle. I don't want to have to come looking for you again," he ordered, taking Mara's barrette out of her hair, and pushed it into his belt. "What did we say about picking locks?"

Mara rolled her eyes. "No picking locks less it's real important. But it was real important."

Batman pushed them both towards the door. "GO. Don't TOUCH anything."

Slamming one thumb back into her mouth, she grabbed Jordy's hand and dragged him off with her. Most of the fun was in getting around Batman. Cause he was REAL hard to get around. But when you did, you got in soooo much trouble—which was the best part of all.

* * *

Kyle had gone through the medical ward, individual sleeping quarters, and the kitchen. He'd torn apart all the cupboards containing cleaning devices, but he'd seen neither hide nor hair of his kid. That girl was obviously a bad influence. He couldn't believe Batman would let a kid be so… bad.

Batman was going to kill him.

The door behind him opened, and two little people came trundling through the door way, looking tired and disappointed.

"Batman says we hasta be good," the girl informed him. She flopped down on the floor in the kitchen, and Jordy followed suit.

"Jordy, what did I say about wandering around the watch tower alone?" Kyle scolded.

"Wasn't alone," he said proudly. "Was wif her." He looked at her adoringly. "She's a girl, but she's not yucky. She's good. She's the best." She wasn't scared of Batman, or anything. Roy was scared of Batman. Uncle Wally was scared of Batman. And she wasn't. That meant she was the best, AND that girls weren't all yucky inside, like squishy bugs.

"SHE is not allowed to wander around either." GREAT. Batman had found them. Kyle knew he was NEVER going to live this down, first of all. Second of all, there would be some memo issued at the next meeting about no 'guests' during monitor shifts, and then not only would Kyle never see his kid, but he'd be bored out of his gourd. And why, you ask? Because Batman just HAD to listen to Kyle (for the first time in… EVER) and bring his monster spawn up here. The universe was a cruel place.

"Ok. Everyone has to behave now. If you're going to play here, then you have to play nice, and you can't escape." Jenny was going to laugh at him for this.

"Can Superman take us for ice cream?" Jordy asked.

Kyle smiled. "I think he'd like to do that." Superman had a soft spot for little kids and puppies.

"Good!" Jordy said happily. He looked both ways before speaking further. "An' don't ask Batman what happens when you get ice cream."

Maybe Kyle SHOULDN'T let the Man of Steel take round little children for ice cream on hot days any more. "WHAT happens when you get ice cream?"

The girl's hand slapped over Jordy's mouth before he could draw breath to blurt it out.

Rolling his eyes, Kyle sat down in a kitchen chair. "You guys have half an hour, then we have to go home, ok, Jordy?"

"NOOOO," the boy moaned. "I stay here. I stay wif her. She's not a yucky girl or anything."

Kyle decided to just not bring it up again until it was time to go. Kids got really ancy when you tried to make them do something they didn't want to do. He folded his arms on the table and rested his head upon them, yawning. Watching them talk about secret hideouts, he tried to construct some plausible explanation as to why he'd lost the children. Not seeing one, he began thinking of ways to drop off the Grayson kid with the Bat and make a hasty retreat back to New York. Nothing was coming to him in that regard, either.

Life'd be so much better if he could take a nap…

* * *

Obviously Kyle had accidentally, and without full consent of the will, achieved that nirvana-like state known as nap. He knew this to be true when he snapped wide-awake after the blaring of an alert siren.

As quickly as Lanternly possible, he hauled himself to the monitor womb. As he entered, the teleporter was blaring to life as Wonder Woman, and then Superman stepped through. It was lighting up again when Kyle turned to the main control panel. Batman was angrily holding Kyle's young charges in front of him, one by her over-alls, the other by his shirt.

So much for sneaking out of here before Batman made some snide comment.

Seeing Plastic Man step from the teleporter, he knew he'd be lucky to escape with his life.

He scratched his neck and let out a little laugh. "Uh… false alarm… I think." The two children in Batman's clutches were practically drooling, they were grinning so hard.

"Do we need to talk about the visitor's policy?" Superman asked, trying to bite back a smile.

That just made Batman angrier. "If KYLE would have been WATCHING them, this wouldn't be a problem."

The red-headed child twisted her legs around happily and howled with laughter. "He was SLEEEEEEPING! So we pushed the button!"

Jordan looked a little unhappy, kind of like he'd cry if anyone even glared at him. "I pushed the button, daddy. I sorry."

Kyle knew his face was turning red. "So… uh… nothing to see here, folks. Sorry. Wont happen again…" Not daring to approach the Dark Knight, a hand reached out of the ring and retrieved his child.

Wonder Woman's arms were folded across her chest, her expression unreadable. Superman was also putting on his best poker face. Plastic Man was not being nearly so kind. He bent around the two parental type figures with their respective charges, looking over his sunglasses at them. "Nobody ever lets ME push the button."

"I didn't LET them push it," Batman answered stonily.

"You're not a toddler," Kyle snipped at the same time.

"Well, I'm just glad it was nothing serious," Superman announced. Deep down, Kyle suspected the Man of Steel was enjoying this immensely.

Kyle could see the two children having some sort of conversation without words. There seemed to be some sort of argument going on in their big round eyes. Finally, the girl stopped twisting around in Batman's grasp, and Jordy reached out for Superman. "You take us for ice-cream!" The boy said suddenly. "Chocolate ice cream."

Martha Grayson nodded vigorously. "Chocolate! With a sugar cone!"

"Then we go see your secret clubhouse! That glows in the dark!"

Batman scowled at the girl in his grasp. "We do not push 'THE BUTTON' so we can have ice cream." His attention turned back to Kyle. "And YOU."

"WHAT?" Kyle said, loosing a tad of his self-consciousness. It was quickly replaced with indignation. "You've never fallen asleep before?"

"NO. No I haven't."

"Hey, /I/ wasn't the one who let them push the button, Creepy."

Wonder Woman decided it was time to be the diplomat. "I think we should all just cut our losses," she said, looking Batman squarely in the eye, letting him know that she was doing her job as ambassador, and not to even THINK of pulling anything with her. Next her gaze went to Kyle, who had never required much inspiration to experience a certain fear and awe every time she was in the room.

These were the World's Finest… and two toddlers had just thrown them into mayham.

"If it's ok, I'm going to take the tyke home. We'll uh… be talking about this." Asking your kid to NOT call up the entire Justice League because he wanted ice cream seemed like a weird talk to be having with a three year old.

Never let it be said that his life had been normal since he'd met the little blue man with the big head who'd given him this crazy green ring.

"And we'll talk about ice cream later," Superman chimed in. "After both of you have had a long talk with your parents." Superman leaned in toward Batman. "Bruce… don't be too hard on her."

"Yeah, ain't too often you find a Bat-person with a little personality. Don't go devouring her just yet," Plastic Man chimed in. Batman's scowl silenced him.

The kid was still alive—that was proof enough for Kyle that Grim and Creepy had a soft spot. He lowered the child to the ground, but never let go of her suspenders.

"And you, young man," Kyle said as he began walking towards the teleporter. "What did I tell you about pushing the button?"

Biting his little lip, Jordy looked back at the grown-ups gathered in the monitor womb. So THAT'S what happened when you pushed the button. "She said it be fun. Superman come. She's not a yucky girl or anything."

Kyle resisted the urge to look back at Batman. See? He had a good kid. He knew that OTHER kid had to have instigated it. No wonder the little creature had been evicted from playgroup. The kid was an obvious troublemaker and should be kept away from other children. And in a cage. Till she was thirty.

They were just lucky everyone still had their eyebrows. Who KNOWS what would have happened if they had pushed the "other" button, and launched the tower's auto-defenses. Lost eyebrows would be the least of their problems.

"No ice cream?" Jordy asked tentatively.

"No, Jordan. No ice cream. The kid was cute, but he wasn't THAT cute. There were some things even KYLE wouldn't let him get away with.

"Whadabout cookies?"

"Do you look like you NEED cookies?" he asked, stepping into the teleporter ring. "You're mother's going to kill both of us…"

They vanished in a haze of pink particles. If the Bat didn't get him… he was sure Jenny would.