Disclaimer: Young justice is awesome, but I own only my imagination, not DC's
Red Tornado's call to the league watch tower required every mentor to return to Mount Justice. The machine wouldn't explain why but his insistence even brought Superman to the cave. What they saw nearly floored them.
Each member of the young team was ten years younger than they should be.
"You've got to be kidding me," Green Arrow started, watching Red Tornado trying to bring the kids under control. Kaldur was playing with his weapons, trying to imitate Star Wars scenes and doing a bad job of it. Wally ran around and around pressing buttons at random, asking what they all did within the same breath. Conner was crying on the floor loudly, a wet mess underneath him. M'gann floated gleefully above all their heads, chatting incessantly about her future wedding. Artemis was trying to, unsuccessfully, run out of the cave, yelling for her mommy. Robin though was no where in sight. His constant giggling was the only proof he was still in the cave.
"Mywifeisgonnakillme." Flash was several shades paler than normal as he watched his nephew in horror. Wally continued to run in his oversized suit, then tripped, skidding dangerously across the floor. Barry was at his side in an instant. "Whoa there cowboy! Take it easy for a moment!"
Once stopped, Kid Flash looked up at his uncle and started to cry. Flash went straight into a panic trying to figure out what made him cry now. Very few of the others knew what to do either. Aquaman knelt next to Kaldur, trying to see if there was anything wrong with him besides being small in overgrown clothes. Green Arrow grabbed the back of Artemis's shirt and pulled her back into the room, only to get glares from Black Canary who took over from there. She checked over Artemis while trying to talk gently to her. Martian Manhunter floated up to M'gann and tried to bring her feet back to the ground. Superman just stayed where he was, watching dumbfounded at Conner and the others, not knowing what to do at all.
Batman looked up into the rafters as he approached Red Tornado. "What happened?" he asked, his eyes not leaving the ceiling. Robin was still giggling.
"Unknown. When the team returned from their mission, they emerged from the ship like this. The children only started behaving like children shortly after I summoned everyone. I had to shut down the hangars and doors to keep them from running away."
"How do you turn this kid off?" Superman asked desperately, staring scared at Superboy. His wailing must have been painful for the kryptonian.
Batman sighed slightly and walked over to Conner as Black Canary glared at Superman. "They're kids! You can't turn them on or off whenever feel like it. They're people! They have feelings and—"
Everyone stopped as Batman, having picked up Conner and started carrying him, shoved him into Superman's arms. "Figure it out yourself Kent. Remember what it was like when you were his age and what your parents did for you when you wet the bed." The annoyed tone in Batman's voice told them Superman was on dangerous grounds, and he better do exactly that or else.
Superman gulped and took Conner, who was crying a little less loudly. He still looked at the kid like he was a foreign object, but he really just didn't know what to do.
With a huff, Batman turned to the others. "Try to gather as much information from them as you can. We'll compare notes here in an hour. Robin get down from there."
Everyone stopped and looked up, wondering just where Robin's voice came from. The kid was still giggling. "Robin…" Batman's annoyed tone was again returned with giggles. He huffed again. "Fine. Stay up there all night alone if you want. Everyone, let's leave him be."
At first they all stared at Batman as he started to walk away, then inquiringly got up to leave for other rooms. Before Batman could even exit the room, they heard Robin shout, "NOOO! DON'T LEAVE ME!"
They heard someone jumping from beam to beam above them, then jerked in surprise as Robin leapt down nearly on top of them. Batman instantly turned around and caught his boy wonder, who giggled madly. Robin gave Batman a huge hug, clinging to his cape and grinning as if it was the best day of his life. Every leaguer stared at the two, partially because Batman was hugging (or holding) the little Robin back.
And partly because Robin was running around in his underwear.
"How did you—" "When did he—" "What in the world?" Every other league member stared amazed by Batman's strange tactic and how well it worked. The rest were still in shock over their own protégés.
Batman managed to make Robin let go for a moment, looking at the mask that somehow hung on Robin's face. "Robin, where are your clothes?"
Robin pointed to a dark corner behind one of the main computer screens. Sighing slightly, Batman carried him over to there and picked up the shirt. Since everyone else had shrunk nearly out of their clothes and Robin was the youngest and smallest built, Batman guessed the kid would practically be naked earlier. He set Robin down and started pulling the shirt onto his bird. He then took a cord out of his utility belt and tied the shirt around Robin's waist. "At least try keeping this on. You'll catch cold otherwise."
"Okiday!" Robin giggled again and grabbed Batman around the neck, going back into a hug.
"Whoa," Green Arrow gaped. "Someone really loves his daddybats."
Batman gave him a quick glare of death and everyone in the room took it as a cue to go. Batman took his Robin to the central computer room, taking everything of his with them despite having a toddler hanging around his neck.
Superman still awkwardly held Conner, unsure of what to do, when it hit him to talk to J'zohn. Martian Manhunter was a dad, and M'gann was his niece. He knew what to do. He caught up with the Martians and tried to start a conversation.
J'zohn though had other things to worry about. M'gann's thoughts were spilling out everywhere and she hardly spoke any English. He was constantly trying to make his niece stop flying around and daydreaming. Trying to get any real information out of her was going to take all his efforts. Superman stopped following him after a few minutes and was helplessly looking at the crying super kid in his arms.
Then he thought of Barry. An uncle. He probably knew what to do! He darted over to the Flash and saw another problem. Flash was chasing his nephew down again, and this time KF was turning into a streakier.
"HoldstillWal! Andputyourclothesbackon! Ohman, yourparentsaregonnakillme!"
Superman looked back down to Conner, who looked back up to him, his cries dieing down. At least the kid wasn't stripping and causing havoc. Still, taking care of this kid…
Aquaman! A king! He must know—then he remembered Aquaman wasn't a dad yet and Kaldur actually had no relation to him. And, taking a quick x-ray look around, it seemed his answer to Kaldur's predicament was putting him in a full salty bath.
Then he remembered, Green Arrow raised Speedy didn't he? As quick as he could, Superman ran to Green Arrow, only to see Black Canary was the one helping Artemis calm down. GA stood back awkwardly.
"Now do you understand why you can't go home yet?" Black Canary's voice was calm and even. Artemis didn't look happy, but she wasn't crying, yelling or fighting them anymore. The little girl nodded pouting silently, then was given a quick hug by the older woman. "That's a good girl. Do you want to talk to your mom? I'm sure we can explain things to her easily enough."
"Still having trouble with the kid blue?" GA looked over to the two supers, a smirk playing on his face.
"Yeah…" Superman looked back down to the obviously miserable superkid in his arms. "Got any ideas?"
Green Arrow shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. Roy was a lot older when I took him in. Maybe you should just let the kid cry in a room for a while and wait for him to pass out."
"Ollie…" Black Canary glared over her shoulder at the men, both fidgeting uncomfortably. Artemis watched, intrigued. "That isn't helping."
"Right. I'm no father of the year, I know that. Bat's is way closer than I am and he's not the type to do little league."
Conner started to cry a little again and Superman's panic rose. Black Canary sighed heavily as she started adjusting Artemis's costume to fit her better. "He's uncomfortable. Help him change into some dryer clothes and he should calm down."
"Do I have to raise my voice?" she asked them coolly. Both men shook their heads vehemently and she smiled. "Good. Now get to work. It's time for girl chat."
Artemis giggled as the boys left. They decided to find Conner's room and see if he had anything that could possibly fit him now. Once they stepped inside, Superman froze at how the room was kept. It looked almost like a military barrack. Nothing was on the walls, everything was kept in perfect order, and the only signs that anyone lived there were the textbooks and homework on the desk. As GA raided the drawers for something the kid could wear, Supes looked around more to try to find something this kid actually owned.
After a minute, he found a few printed photos lying between homework papers. Mostly of Conner's team and friends, but there was also one of Superman laughing. He recognized it instantly and knew Robin must have given it to him. The second time he met the boy wonder he took a few shots excitedly. At ten, the kid could brighten a room faster than Batman could cast it into shadow. They really balanced each other well.
"Wow, this kid really likes you doesn't he." Superman looked up and to GA when he spoke, and little Conner looked at him too, curious. Green Arrow picked out a shirt grinning, revealing the red S shield on the black background. Conner stiffened and leapt out of superman's arms to try and get his shirt back. GA just kept picking out the shirts, grinning.
"And this one, and this one, and this one too! Ha! Does he have any shirts without you Blue?"
"STOP IT!" Conner shouted but GA's teasing didn't end there. The wanna-be Robin Hood kept grinning as he searched the drawers while Superboy desperately tried to grab his clothes again and again.
"I don't know who has the bigger daddy complex, this kid or Bat's! And I thought no one could be as bad as those two."
"Hey! Leave them alone Ollie!" Superman grabbed one of the shirts and tugged out some fresh underwear before he got too caught up in GA's commentary. "Those two really depend on each other and I won't have you making fun of them."
"Oh sure, be the good uncle now why don't cha." GA leaned against the drawers as he watched Superman try to get Superboy to dress himself. The kid did try, but everything was slippery and he got frustrated quickly. In the end, Superman embarrassingly helped Conner change clothes, giving him a look similar to what Robin was running around in now.
"You only like that kid because he's not yours and he's got your sense of humor."
Superman glared over his shoulder to Green Arrow. "Tell me, do you know anyone in the league who hates Robin? Sure I think of him as a nephew, but that's because of Batman. Despite our differences, he's pretty much my brother. Robin's the only other person I've seen him lighten up around. Do you remember how he was before Robin came into his life?"
"A little, but I try not to think about it." Green Arrow smirked. "But have you seen how much darker you've gotten since knowing Bats? Maybe you need a Robin of your own."
That was a smack in the face if Superman ever heard one. He glared at GA again, then straightened to face him. "I don't need a sidekick. It's better if I work alone."
"Then why the league?"
"It's better if I work alone in Metropolis," he corrected. "Outside of it—"
"Outside of it, you could give the kid a little love." GA looked a little towards Conner who watched them calmly. "You give it to Robin, so why not Superboy?"
"Because—" Superman stopped, then looked down to Conner. He felt like his own expectant face as a kid was staring right back at him. One reason Clark liked Dick was because they had very similar eyes, similar looks and stares. They could talk easily about almost anything. What made looking at this kid harder than looking at Dick?
'Maybe because we're too much a like.' He looked around the room again. 'So much alike, and yet so different. Why can't I...'
"You said yourself once that you can't have kids because your genetics are too different from ours. This kid's here," GA pressed, "and he likes you already. So give him a chance.
"Besides," Green Arrow chipperly danced out the door, "no one else is equipped to handle a superbaby. Enjoy!"
"Oliver!" Superman tried to stop him only for the door to close in his face. He sighed heavily, then slowly turned to face the kid behind him. He sighed again, squat to his knees to see at the kid's eye level, and forced a smile. "So… I hear you've got a normal name now. What is it?"
"Conner. Conner Kent."
Superman froze for a moment, then asked in an annoyed tone, "Who helped you pick it?"
"M'gann and her uncle."
"From what I've gathered from M'gann's mind, the team was hit by some sort of beam, then gradually started shrinking," Martian Manhunter reported in hushed tones. The kids were asleep, most of them in a near by room so they could keep an eye on them. Robin was curled up on Batman's lap, never letting go of his cape.
Several of them smothered chuckles seeing them like this, but a quick glare from Batman silenced them easily. Barry had seen Batman try to put Robin with the others, but the kid started having nightmares the instant Batman went away. To make sure the others slept peacefully, their youngest member had to stay with his greatest security blanket.
He wasn't the only one clutching a leaguer though. Superboy somehow got a fist full of Superman's cape and wouldn't let go either. He still held the sleeping kid as he reported what he managed to glean from his clone. "This one said a strange man in a purple had was there. You think it's—"
"Mxyzptik." Batman unconsciously put a hand on Robin's head as he spoke. "He's the only one who'd enjoy this."
"Ah come on Bruce. Tell me you aren't enjoying your little Robin, even a bit." Batman glared at GA, then to the rest of the league members who were trying to hide their smirks. They all knew, they knew, Batman had to be enjoying a three year old Robin. He said nothing but he didn't take his hand off Robin's head either.
"Look at the bright side. He's potty trained." Superman looked back at Conner and was almost certain he was going to have another accident. The others started to giggle.
"Look at the down side. My in-laws don't want to be raising a speedster all over again!" Flash gripped his head, having to endure already the disapproval of his wife and brother-in-law. Needless to say, they wanted Wally back to his proper age at the very least.
"Exactly. We need to reverse this immediately or their whole lives will change forever." Batman typed on a keyboard for a bit explaining. "I've contacted Zatara and a few other contacts. They're working on a… technique… to return them to their proper ages within the next 48 hours. We either find Mxyzptik and make him reverse this himself or the others will find another way to save them."
"So they will be back to normal within two days?" Flash started to look desperate for some light at the end of the tunnel.
"In theory, yes."
"So until then we've got to keep them here where it's safe," Aquaman concluded.
"You can keep them here." Batman stood up, carrying Robin. "I'm taking him home. I'll send proper sized clothes for the others in the morning."
He looked over to Superman and continued. "You should stay with Conner until he's back to normal. None of us are quite capable enough to watch him."
"Captain Marvel might—"
"No, you." The definite glare and voice cinched it for everyone, but Bats gave a different reason than they expected. "Marvel isn't yet mentally able to watch them responsibly. I'll report back to everyone when a solution is found."
With that Batman and Robin left the cave and everyone else there to make their own decisions.
Once Bruce made it back to the manor, he carried his sleeping Robin to his bedroom. Hopefully the kid would recognize his room and let go of him so they could both rest comfortably. He tried to set Robin on his bed but he wouldn't let go of his cape. He needed to let go. Bruce promised Alfred no capes in the house.
Still carrying Robin, Bruce sighed and remembered their early days. Dick didn't want to let go of him back then either. Thinking quickly, Bruce remembered what helped his ward sleep on his own and started searching the drawers silently. Last time he used it, Dick was ten, nearly eleven. He put it away himself, but never had the courage to toss it.
Finally Bruce found the nightlight and plugged it into the wall. Within a few minutes Robin's grip loosened and he slid easily into his bed.
'Finally.' Bruce rubbed his neck, thinking. He loved the kid, he really did, but it was tiring how he would hold on to him for dear life whenever he got scared. It happened less and less now, since he was growing up, but Dick was a hugger. Reverting to a child only proved it more. But maybe it was a good thing.
Bruce used to think of his parents every time he was held, but these says he remembered Dick. Carefully Bruce took off Dick's mask and set it on the table by his bed. His sleeping face mesmerized Bruce for a little while, then he smiled to himself slowly.
Okay, he was going to enjoy watching a three year old Dick Grayson running around Wayne Manor for the next two days, but that didn't mean he wanted to raise him from the beginning. He had his parents memories to honor and a past all his own. Bruce empathized with Wally's parents to a point, mostly because Wally still had his powers. Going through everything again, especially when someone else dearer already taught them all they knew, would never be acceptable.
All too soon Dick would have to grow up. A little Robin was precious, but nothing stayed that way forever.
A smile gently on his lips, Bruce quietly left the room to the cave to change. He did promise Alfred after all. In the morning there would be a surprise for his butler. It'd be fun to watch his face and what he would do next.
A/N: okay, how many of you have younger siblings or kids? The trick Batman used to get Robin down from the rafters was one we pulled on my little brother all the time when we wanted him to leave some place. I use it on my nieces and nephews, plus the kids I babysit and it works every time. Great trick really. I'm sure it worked on me too.
It's about time Clark at least tried to be a parent (or at least a responcible adult) to Conner! Making him a kid with super powers would be awesome because really, only Supes or Wonder Woman could possibly handle him. Captain Marvel after all is 10. Way too young to babysit. Batman forcing Supes to realize this at the least is AWESOME!
And GA pointing out what everyone is really thinking is so like him. Specially since he's hardly a good father figure.=P
EDIT: whoa, didn't expect people to like this so much. If I get more ideas along the lines of this story, I'll write a second part, but no guarantees. it was just for my amusement after all.