Disclaimer: DC owns the Bruce and J'onn. Chicago owns Zo'ok. I would own the plot - but there isn't one. So?
Location: Chicago's J'onn-verse.
Warning: Smaryist thing Darklady has ever written. Sweeter then a box of chocos.
Archive: Why would you want to?
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Bruce sat back in the high-backed leather chair, contemplating the elaborate pine and tinsel display that filled the fireplace.
How many years had they celebrated this way? Bruce thought back. Back to that first Christmas when J'onn was still recovering. No longer staying in the Manor, but coming by for chocos and tea and.... Bruce.
He hadn't expected J'onn to notice the holiday. Back then Bruce hadn't been much for celebrations, and J'onn - it wasn't his custom. But Dick had come by for dinner, and Alfred had cooked, and J'onn had joined them, and...
"Woof!" The big black animal rubbed his head against Brucešs leg - the way he always did when he sensed his master was off in the past . Brooding, as Dick would call it.
"That's a good boy." Bruce rubbed his pet behind the ears, enjoying the feel of bone and sable-sleek fur under his fingers. A feel that triggered still more memories.
After dinner. They had moved into the library. Dick and Bruce had exchanged their usual presents. J'onn and Dick had wanted to watch some silly movie about a haunted Santa. Dick because it was silly. J'onn because it was human. Then afterwards? Dick had gone off to work and J'onn had reached into his belt and pulled out this little square - like a thick credit card - and said "Merry Christmas, Bruce."
"What is it?" Bruce remembered asking as he touched the shiny red surface with a tentative finger.... only to have it puff up suddenly into a bunny-soft marble.
"A furry?" He had stroked the tan-and white fur gently, drawing forth a deep purr.
"If you wish." John answered, "Was that not the name of the creature from that green boy's television show?"
Bruce had nodded, his eyes still fixed on the little creature. "Space Trek yes, but... fiction?"
"This is a slightly less imaginary friend." J'onn had tapped the creature, causing it to flow back into it's red form. "This is a ... descendent of...of Zo'ok." He had fingered the matching red of his own belt. "An infant Zo'ok, of course. Not trained to much yet."
"How?" Bruce recalled asking, pulling back the little creature and rubbing it as it shifted into a blue puddle in his hand.
"When my costume was shredded," J'onn had answered, "Most of the extra pieces just ... died. But this one scrap? Well, they are much like your earthly flat worms. It regenerated. Became a new being."
Bruce had been listening to J'onn, but he had been watching the tiny animal as it wrapped itself around his fingers. But when J'onn had finished he had smiled up at his then-new lover and said "J'onn. Thank you. It's beautiful."
"And soon - I hope - useful." J'onn had tapped the baby again, sending it scurrying back into Bruce's palm. "As I said, it's still growing. And it's not yet trained. But once it has... bonded to you.. it will morph to please you." J'onnšs smile had grown as he had watched the little creature shiver itself back into a furry ball. "Just as it did now. It can become a jumpline, or a batarang, or..."
"Whatever I need." Bruce had smiled. It had been the Bat smile. Which tended to frighten people even more then his scowl. But not J'onn. J'onn understood both.
"Exactly what I need. Whenever I need it." He had touched the infant creature lightly, and thought hard, until it assumed the shape of a key. Complete with BMW logo. "It's perfect." Bruce had whispered, opening his thoughts to share his pleasure with J'onn. "My own little ace in the hole."
"Thank you, J'onn." Bruce whispered.
"Bruce?" A familiar green face looked in from the hall door.
Bruce pushed himself up from the chair. "Just thinking."
"As always." J'onn answered, sliding though to lean into Bruce's offered embrace. Bending himself into Bruce's warmth. "Well, dinner smells ready - so we should be eating." He morphed away his cape, giving Bruce's hands better access. "Donna sent me with a pan of chocolate baklava for desert, and Victor said he'd cover my monitor duty tomorrow, but Toni and Grant want us to beam over for drinks..." J'onn kissed Bruce's raised lips. "And I want some time with you."
Bruce pressed forward, breathing the sweet dry air that had come to mean comfort. "I hope you told her we'd come by late."
"And leave early." J'onn finished, resting his smooth cheek against the Terran's slight roughness for a moment before stepping back.
"You know me too well." Bruce reached down to pat the huge black animal that stood ever-attentive at his side. "Come along, Ace."
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