AN: Happy Halloween!
They were all too old for trick-or-treating.
It was a simple fact of life, one that none of them had disputed. Not only were they teens, but they were teens in high school. Although Halloween was still something deserving of a celebration, it would not be through donning a costume and begging for candy.
That was before Billy got to them.
The eleven-year-old had grown increasingly close to the Team in the past year, insisting that the young heroes were much more fun than their adult counterparts. Thus, when the League, once again, refused to have a Halloween party (Batman's insistence, of course), Billy turned to them. He went after Megan first, smiling brightly and claiming that she had to take part in this earthly custom. Once she had happily agreed, he pursued the other girls, employing his best puppy-dog eyes and pleading voice. One by one, they succumbed to his cuteness. The boys didn't even have to be asked; their girlfriends, more than willingly, made the decision for them.
The weekend before, after training, Megan was musing about what to go as. Wally, jokingly, proposed that they just go as their hero-selves. The Martian had never really picked up on sarcasm.
That was how they all ended up at the Cave on Halloween night in their superhero uniforms.
"This is dumb," Conner grunted, staring contemptuously at the pillow case in his hand.
Nudging him, Megan protested, "It'll be fun! Besides, Billy really wants to do this."
"And it's a chance for free candy," Wally added. "That in and of itself is worth it."
"I don't even like candy that much," he huffed.
"Sour puss," Robin mocked.
"I am not a—"
"Hey, guys!" Billy, dressed in a child-version of Captain Marvel, bounded toward them. "Are you ready?"
"Of course," Kaldur said, shooting a quick look in Conner's direction. "Let us go."
When they arrived in the closest neighborhood, Billy piped up, "Okay, here's the deal: we hit all the houses on one side, then swap over to the other. Don't be cutting across the street, because then we'll forget which houses we went to, so we might miss some or hit them twice and get yelled at. Okay?"
"You have this whole thing planned, don't you?" Zatanna, who had only stopped trick-or-treating last year, couldn't recall ever being this organized.
"'Course. We have to maximize candy uptake."
With that, he raced for the first house, waving for them to follow.
"This kid is taking no chances," Raquel mumbled.
Cackling, Robin offered, "When I used to do this, I had a map of all the best houses and the routes to get me there fastest."
The Team stared at him for a moment before Artemis returned, "You know, that really doesn't surprise me."
"Come on, guys!"
They picked up the pace, reaching the door right as it opened. A withered woman, clearly older than God, smiled at them. Hugging the bowl of fun-sized packets of M&Ms, she adjusted her glasses. "My, what wonderful costumes." Dropping the food into their bags, she mumbled what they were. When she landed on Wally, she said, "A mustard bottle. How original! Have a nice night, now. Happy Halloween!"
"A mustard bottle," Wally repeated to the closed door. "A mustard bottle?!"
"Come on, Kid Dork." Artemis grabbed his arm and tugged him away, the rest of the Team trailing behind, trying not to laugh.
"You know, this whole thing might not be so bad," Conner mused.
As if on cue, a young boy in a bright orange shirt ran toward them, skidding to a stop in front of Kaldur. "You're supposed to be Aqualad, right?"
The leader dropped to his height. "Yes, I am."
"Well, I am Percy Jackson, and I say I'm better than you!"
"You are who?"
"Guy from a book," Billy jumped in. "Demigod, son of Poseidon, controls water."
"Yup! And I know that I could beat you in a duel!"
"I admire your courage," Kaldur said to him. "But I dare say that you could not."
"Could too! My dad's the god of the sea!"
"I was trained by Aquaman, king of Atlantis."
Snorting, the child protested, "Atlantis is just a myth! And Aquaman is the lamest one in the Justice League."
Kaldur's jaw set tightly, and Wally murmured to Robin, "Bet you half my night's haul that he uses those water-bearers."
"Atlantis is not a myth—it is the most advanced civilization on this earth. And my king is not lame."
"Is too! And so's Aqualad! Percy Jackson is a thousand bazillion times better!"
"Well, will you look at the time!" Billy interjected, grabbing Kaldur by the upper-arm. "We have a lot of houses and only a little light left!"
With that, he tugged the Atlantian along, the Team going with them.
"I cannot believe he said that," Kaldur growled, glancing over his shoulder to glare at the rival, skipping back to his mom. "It is he who is lame. He's not even real!"
"Let it go, baby," Raquel insisted, patting his cheek gently. "He ain't worth it."
"Seriously, he was, like, five," Wally pointed out. "You can't take anything they say to heart."
That seemed to sooth him, and the next seven houses passed in peace. At the eighth, which was completely decked out in decorations, a woman in a vampire outfit opened the door. Grinning with fake fangs, she started giving out the Skittle but stopped at Conner. "Someone didn't try very hard this year, did he?"
Conner blinked in confusion before replying, "This is exactly what Superboy wears."
"But it didn't take that much effort to put on jeans and a t-shirt. Really, dear, you should have gone as Superman." With a slight shrug, she continued, "But you were on the right track, at least." Plopping in the candy, she waved and retreated into her home.
"What. Just. Happened," he growled, staring at the door as though he was waiting for heat vision to kick in.
Robin, snickering behind his hand, managed to say, "She thought your costume sucked."
"Oh, don't worry about it," Megan insisted. "It's not a big deal. Right?"
The others nodded helpfully, wanting to move on before the lady realized that hadn't left. With a grunt of frustration, Conner finally moved from the doorstep, and they continued on their mission. They managed to get to the other side of the street before the next snafu.
"Who are you?" a little girl, dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, asked, pointing to Raquel.
"I'm Rocket," she announced proudly, planting her hands on her hips.
"Uh, only the heroine of Dakota City." When that didn't seem to help, she added, "Partner of Icon?"
"Don't know him, either," she insisted, tilting her head like she was trying to get a better look.
"He's in the Justice League."
"I know the Justice League," she said. "Batman and Wonder Woman and Flash and Superman—hey, you coulda been Superman! He's so cool!"
Conner cracked a small smile at that while Billy groaned, not liking where this was going.
"Well, if Superman gets hit by Kryptonite, he dies!"
The Team stared at her, mouths agape. The little girl's eyes filled with tears.
"I…I…I didn't mean that," Raquel protested. "Oh, Lordy, I didn't mean that."
It was too late. "I d-don't w-want him t-to die!" she wailed, starting to cry.
"He, he's not! No, no, no. Nothing's going to happen to him. Don't you worry. Oh, Lord, I am a horrible human being."
"Uh, Raquel, let's go," Artemis said, watching a man coming towards them. "Unless you would like to explain to this girl's father what just happened."
With that, they took off, speed-walking away. "I cannot believe you said that!" Zatanna hissed.
"I didn't mean it!"
"Tell that to the kid you just traumatized!"
"Guys, focus!" Billy interrupted. "We're at the next house!"
Plastering on happy faces, they waited for the owner to open up. As she scanned the group, she gestured to Artemis and exclaimed, "What a wonderful choice of costume. And what a lovely message, too."
"Message?" she repeated.
"Named for the virgin goddess. In this day and age, it's good to know not every young person is off gallivanting and…well, you know." With that, she gave them the Hershey bars and shut the door.
There was an awkward moment of silence, shattered by Artemis mumbling, "We never speak of this."
"Really? This is a memory I think we should keep alive forever," Robin insisted, dancing away when Artemis tried to grab him. "Keep her name in mind whenever you're near her, Wally. We don't want any gallivanting, now would we?"
"Zatanna, shut your boyfriend up, will you?"
"My pleasure," she replied, pulling him in for a kiss.
Two girls, around twelve, were watching. The one, a witch, said, "My boyfriend won't let me do that when other people are around."
"Same!" the other, a mermaid, added. "He's says it's corny."
"You have boyfriends?" Zatanna questions, not believing their parents would let them do that so young.
"Yeah. Hey, you all did a group theme! That's so cool!" Pointing to the magician, the witch continued, "But you should have been Artemis."
"Ah, because she and Robin are so meant to be together."
Wally, who had already begun digging into his candy, started choking. Robin and Artemis shared a look while Zatanna, bristling, pressed, "What?"
"They are so cute together!"
"But they aren't dating," the magician huffed.
"No one knows that," the mermaid protested.
"Oh, I hope they are!"
"So do I!"
"Well, maybe him and Zatanna are dating," Zatanna muttered, scowling.
"Please. That'd be like Superboy dating Miss Martian," the witch objected.
"Yeah. So not going to happen. Well, we better keep going—we have to be home by eight. Bye guys!"
"Demon children," Zatanna growled, watching them run away.
"Zee, don't worry about them." Robin slipped his arm around her waist. "They're kids. What do they know?"
"What's wrong with me dating Conner?" Megan asked, voice shaky.
"Nothing, nothing," the acrobat insisted. "Come on. Don't let this get to you. We still have plenty of houses."
"Trick-or-treating sucks," Conner grumbled, hugging Megan.
"No, it doesn't. And don't say that around Billy." Upon saying his name, Robin realized he wasn't there. "Wait, where's Billy?"
After a few frantic seconds, they spotted him, walking back, empty-handed.
"Billy, where had you gone?" Kaldur asked. "And where is your bag of candy."
"I want to the next house; I got tired of waiting. And these two jerks grabbed my stuff." He pointed to two tall boys sitting on the sidewalk, digging through the bag.
"Oh, that is not going to happen." Stalking toward them, Artemis shouted, "Hey, Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Stupid! Who are you to be stealing candy from kids?"
Standing up, they turned, sneers on their faces. "Ooh, superheroes!" one jeered. "They're gonna stop us!"
"Uh, yeah, we are," Robin stated, crossing his arms over his chest.
The boys, in their late teens, burst out laughing. "Oh, how lame! Look how all-out he went with that Robin costume."
"He even has stuff in that belt!" The second one reached forward and grabbed a small container. Robin made no move to stop him. "What a loser!"
"Whatever you do, don't push the button on the top," he drawled, watching, from the corner of his eye, as Billy hurried to retrieve his stolen goods.
"Oh, yeah?" With an exaggerated motion, he disobeyed. Smoke exploded from the tube, covering him and his friend. Gasping, they ran away, stumbling and shrieking about a psycho-weirdo.
"You brought your real utility belt?" Wally asked.
"Never leave home without it."
"Thanks, Robin!" Billy slammed him with a hug. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Other children who had witnessed the interaction raced forward. "That was so cool!"
"Your costume is epic!"
"Robin's my favorite hero!"
"I'm gonna be him next year!"
"I wanna, too!"
The Team watched as their youngest member because a celebrity. Scowling, Artemis mumbled, "Sometimes I really hate him."