1. The Crock Apartment, Gotham 02:06 A.M.
Paula Crock was a night person before she was Huntress, and that did not change when she stopped. So waking up at two a.m. is not unusual for her, especially when her daughter was on a mission. She usually heaves herself into her wheelchair and crosses the apartment to Artemis' room. If her daughter is there, Paula finds her one of four ways.
The first is peacefully under the covers, a little half smile on her face as she dreams. The second is in a exhausted heap from a late-night study-session, surrounded by books and papers. When this happens, she wheels over, piles everything carefully on the nightstand, and pulls a blanket over her daughter. The third is when Wally, her boyfriend, has come from Central and they're snuggled together. Most parents would be horrified, but she knows that he only comes when one of them has a particularly bad nightmare, so she lets it slide. Before they were dating, Artemis would often cry out in her sleep, and Paula couldn't help. The fact that Wally can makes up for the random visits. The fourth is after a grueling mission, when Artemis would be passed out on top of the covers, still in uniform (usually a little torn), sometimes with a bandage on her arm or leg. Paula would cover her up and make sure to call the school in the morning to let her out for the day, and make a big breakfast after letting her sleep late.
Now, she was seeing a fifth. It was very much like the fourth way, but a little more involved. She couldn't wheel over to cover her daughter because there were people sleeping on the floor. She and Wally were cuddled up on the bed, unharmed but obviously exhausted. Jade's old bed has been taken by another cuddling couple; Robin and Zatanna, who she's met a few times. Over by the closet Miss Marian (who she's also met when she and Zatanna kidnap Artemis for girls night, usually with Rocket) who is in Superboy's arms. His shirt is half torn off, and her hair is a rat's nest. Between the two beds are the final members of the team; Aqualad and Rocket. They're the only ones not cuddling, but their hands are clasped together in the space between them. Deciding that the speedster's natural heat will keep her daughter warm, she takes the extra blankets and uses the little space in the room to maneuver so she can cover those on the floor (Robins cape is covering him and Zatanna), she leaves, after taking a few pictures (flash off). Her chair squeaks as she leaves, but all that happens is Superboy twitches in his sleep.
There's a twenty-four hour grocery a few streets over, and they don't question when she calls and orders enough food for seven teenagers and a speedster. The delivery boy brings it all over, and she gives him a nice tip because it is two thirty in the morning. As she finishes putting it away, she gets a call from Green Arrow.
"Hey, Paula. I've got bad news, the kids haven't reported in for a while, so we don't know if they're okay and..." he trails off.
"Its fine," she tells him, "They're here."
"They are?" After that she's getting a barrage of questions on speakerphone from the cave, she eventually gets her point across; the kids are fine, just exhausted, and she'll send them back after letting them sleep and feeding them up. Batman wants her to wake them and send them to for a mission debrief at the cave but she puts her foot down.
"No. Tomorrow is Saturday, so missing school is not a problem. They are exhausted and if I wake them up, they will most likely give you a bad report out of tiredness. I'll send them as soon as I'm sure they're ready." Batman relents, which earns him some concerned looks at the Cave after they hang up, but he tells them "when she's right, she's right" and goes to tell Alfred that Dick will be home tomorrow. The other mentors leave to assure parents or get their own shuteye.
Superboy is the first one up, even worn out he still needs less sleep than humans or Martians, and nearly panics until he remembers what happened. He gently walks out of the room (after wrapping M'Gann in the blanket he found on them) to the kitchen, where Mrs. Crock is making pancakes while several stacks are staying warm in the oven, along with eggs and sausage.
"Uh, good morning," he says, unsure of how the ex-assassin will feel about eight teens crashing in her apartment.
"Oh, good morning, Connor. Would you hand me the cinnamon? I can't reach." he hands it to her, slightly off put by her manor.
"If you go into my room, there are some shirts that might fit you in my top right drawer." He does so, and when he comes out in an old "Gotham U: Lowest crime rates in the City!" T-shirt, the others are awake. Artemis looks at his shirt and raises an eyebrow at her mom, but doesn't say anything. All the food is now on the table, and after he sits down, they all dig in unceremoniously. After all the food is gone, Wally is the first to say something.
"That was great Paula. Thank you so much." Everyone agrees, and after everyone has helped with the dishes, Paula makes sure no one is hurt and sends them off to debrief at the Cave. Turns out the bioship was on the roof. Paula sends the pictures to Green Arrow as soon as the thrum of the organic engine is gone.
2. The Allen House, Central City 11:46 P.M. (two months later)
Iris Allen is used to coming out of her bedroom late to find her husband, Barry (A.K.A Flash) passed out on the couch after a hard day (night?) of superheroing. Sometimes Wally is there too, but never before has she come in to find eight teens passed out all over the room. Her nephew is on the floor with his girlfriend partially on top of him, while the couch is filled by the youngest members of the team, Zatanna's head on Robin's chest. The love seat is occupied by the team's two aliens, Connor's head leaning on M'Gann's, which is on his shoulder, one arm slung around her waist. Kaldur and Raquel are both on their sides, one of his hands reaching over to drape across her stomach. Barry chooses that minute to come in. Seeing the kids, he pulls Iris into the kitchen.
"When did they get here?" he whispers. She doesn't know. They have a quick discussion, ending with Barry going out to get enough food for breakfast when they wake up and to inform parents/mentors. She makes sure that everyone is nicely covered, and closes the blinds to the east facing window. Looking at them so peaceful and-dare she say it?- cute helps her make a decision. She gets her camera and takes some photos in the light streaming from the hall, turns out that light, and retreats to the kitchen to wait for Barry. He comes back with everything on her list, and she manages to keep him out of the food as she puts it away.
The next morning, everyone wakes to the smell of french toast, fruit and sausage. Wally's stomach wakes everyone up, including Barry down the hall. When they enter the kitchen, still half asleep, they see not only Iris, but Mary, Wally's mother, as well. Because cooking for two speedsters was hard enough with out seven teens as well. They nod in thanks and dig in. Wally beats his all-time speed eating record, and Barry's too. They all say their various good-byes before heading to the cave for debriefing and some more rest- in beds this time.
"You got pictures, right?" Mary asks.
"Of course," They came out great for being half in the dark, and the way everyone is together is so sweet (Mary's words-not hers). Barry grins, sends them to the watch tower, then dashes off to work, late as usual.
3. The Kent Farm, 08:55 P.M. (Just a month later)
When they get back from the county fair, the last thing the aging Johnathan and Martha Kent expect to find are several teenagers passed out on the floor. They are ready to call the police until they notice that their son, Connor, is among them, and then they realize that the rest are his team, all sleeping soundly on the floor of the living room. So Johnathan gets out the blankets while Martha calls Clark.
"Yeah Ma?" He answers.
"Mind explaining why your brother is here with all his team, passed out on our floor?" she asks, stepping outside so Connor won't wake with his super-hearing, poor dear.
"Oh. They do that sometimes, Ma. They'll have a tough job and run outta juice on the way home, so they figure out who's house is closest, go there and sleep until they can muster up the energy to fly home. Are they all right?" he sounds a little concerned.
"They're just fine dear. I assume we should feed them before sending them off?"
"They'd love that Ma. Do you need me to bring supplies? Or someone to help with the cooking?"
"If you'd bring those apples that he loves so much and a couple packs of bacon, we'll be all set. And there's no problem cooking for them by myself. Don't you remember the time the food truck crashed and I made lunch for the whole school. I can handle seven kids and a flash." She tells him. He does, in fact, remember. It was the only day in the history of Smallville High that all the plates were cleaned, seconds were asked for, and all 357 students ate their vegetables. She was just that good.
After he hangs up with Ma, Clark sends out a text to the mentors and Black Canary: I.S. Ma and Pa Kent. It is something all of them know by now. Impromptu Sleepover. They all breathe a sigh of relief, because the kids have been on that mission for two days and they were starting to worry.
The usual breakfast ritual from an I.S. commences in the Kent household around 9 the next morning, and when they fly off in the bioship (with a few pies she sends with them), Martha asks her husband, "You got the pictures, right?" John smiles and shows her them on the digital camera Clark got them last Christmas.
"Already sent them to Clark."
4. Jones (J'onzz) Residence, Middletown, U.S.A. 12:08 A.M. (Three months later)
When his subconscious detects his niece and her bioship in Middletown, John Jones (J'onn J'onzz or Martian Manhunter) he merely dismisses it as part of his dream about Mars. When he wakes a little later to get water, all the mental, physical and emotional weariness of the Team hits him at once, staggering him for a moment. It was times like these he did not feel sorry for Earthlings, when everything bad comes in to the mental spectrum. So he checks his living room, and sure enough, there were the teen superheros in various stages of what humans called "cuddling" Raquel and Kaldur were facing each other, her head on his arm and her nose slightly nuzzled into his chest. Robin and Zatanna were spooning on the couch, Artemis and Wally were half leaned on the wall, her head on his shoulder. His niece was tightly wrapped in Connor's arms, snoring ever so slightly. He could not help but smile. Sending out the code, he also requested a delivery of Bisquick to make waffles with and syrup. There wasn't enough to feed all of them currently in his house.
When Clark shows up with the supplies, he also gives the kids a quick look-over with X-ray vision. All clear. John, who is not good with cameras, points to one on the table while he puts the things away.
Quickly snapping a few photos, Clark wishes him luck for the morning and heads back to explain to Lois why he had flown out in the middle of the night.
In the morning, they wake to waffles with fruit. The others are confused when J'onn puts a bowl of something they don't recognize in front of M'Gann, but she looks at it happily.
"I didn't know they had it here!" she exclaims, much more awake than the others.
"They do not. I brought it from my last trip to Mars. I find it helpful when I am particularly tired or homesick." He smiles at her. They explain that it is basically the Martian equivalent of oatmeal, and it's amazing. To them any way. Apparently it was poisonous to humans.
Later, after they leave, J'onn sends the photos to the Watchtower. And all is well.
5. Wayne Manor, Gotham 11:50 P.M. (A month later)
Alfred has lost count of the times that Bruce or Dick have come in, half asleep, waking him by stumbling to their rooms. But tonight was quiet with Bruce still on patrol and Dick on a mission, he does not know what that sound was. His question is answered when he walks into the family room. The entire team was asleep on the several couches in the room, the various couples cuddled together. He cannot suppress a smile. Ever since Dick was allowed to reveal his secret identity to the team, he has been expecting a "I.S." the next time they were near Gotham and tired. Knowing they had enough food, he sent the message out, covered them in blankets, left the extra civvies all the mentors are now keeping for the team out with a note saying "Rules, Master Richard. No costumes in the house. No civilian clothes on, no breakfast." He captures a few more hours of sleep before starting on breakfast.
All of the teens come to breakfast in their civilian clothes, and dig in to the excellent array of food laid out, debriefing Bruce in between bites. After that, seeing as it is Sunday, he ushers them to guest rooms to sleep more.
"Perhaps you push them too hard, Master Bruce"
"They do this to themselves. I've told them not to overexert themselves before."
"They do their mentors proud with their drive."
"Yes, Alfred. They do. Especially me."
The Watchtower, 03:18 A.M.
The entire League was needed on earth for an important mission, so the team was left to monitor from the watchtower and deal with any small level crimes they could.
The Zeta Tubes whirred, announcing the entire League's return. All of them were passed out, out like the Joker of Arckum. Conner, who had recently developed x-ray vision, checked them over.
"Black Canary has a minor fracture in her arm, just below the elbow, but everyone else is fine, just out."
They bandaged up Canary's arm, then began the process of moving people to their rooms. Once everyone was settled, they knew just what to do. They sent out a text to all the families of the heroes, who all knew what this meant: I.S. W.T.
Of course they called Martha Kent. In no time at all, they were in the kitchen, methodically making all the heroes favorite breakfasts, everything from Lucky Charms (Captain Marvel) to a full English breakfast (Guess). Using hot and cold plates, all the leaguers woke to hot/cold breakfast on the small shelf beside the door to their rooms.
And Pictures were not forgotten.
Epilogue (December 12)
While waiting for the League to return, Robin got bored (duh.) and started hacking. That's when he found it. A heavily encrypted file called "YJ's virtual scrapbook"
He hacked it.
"Guys!" He yelled. Everyone came to the screen.
"Look." They did. There were pictures of everything that happened with the team. There was even a picture of the Four original members at the ruins of Cadmus, then meeting Miss Martian, even pictures of their missions that they had no idea how they got. When they got to the New year's Kiss, there was some blushing. But what really got them were five pictures in particular. The impromptu sleepovers. Each one had a picture, a label, and what they ate the next morning.
That was all that was needed to be said. Whoa indeed.