by Darklady

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. DC does. I donıt own the situation. Chicago does. This story is mine - but who cares?

Location: Chicago's J'onn-verse.

Rated: G

Follows : Chicago's Only Human

Archive: Why would you want to?

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Alfred returned with the tray of coca and frosted choco's, only to find his patient upright and staring at the empty fireplace. It was still warm in Gotham, so none of the hearths had been list, but late enough in autumn that they had been properly laid with clean oak logs. Plus, of course, the contract florist's tasteful arrangement of corn ears and russet leaves.

"Oh, Master J'onn, I am sorry." Alfred set down the tray and hurried to his patients side. "I should not have moved you in here with the fireplace."

"No. Please, Mr. Pennyworth." J'onn permitted himself to be eased back onto the well-stuffed sofa. "The fireplace does not disturb me. It is... right. Comforting." He held up this arms as the elderly butler carefully tucked the soft quilts back around his bandaged chest. ³There was... such a place... in every Martian home."

"Well, sir, if you say so." Alfred looked from his patient to the orange and gold display. "It's a bit early in the year, but I suppose I could light...."

"No!" J'onn levitated slightly, then settled again under the force of a gentle hand. " I'm sorry, Mr. Pennyworth, but..."

"Please. sir." Alfred reclaimed the silver tray and settled it on the small table near the sofa. ³It is I who should be sorry. After all you have been through..." He poured a cup of warm coca, added exactly three miniature marshmallows, and passed the fragrant brew to the appreciative Martian.

J'onn sipped a moment in silence, regaining his composure before he spoke.

"Flame is... good." He assured the solicitous Terran. "I'm just ... not quite ready for... that much."

"Understood, sir." Alfred moved the plate of choco's nearer. "Tell me whenever you are, sir."

"Perhaps." J'onn extended one emerald finger to the grinning table side gargoyle with it's hidden votive. "Mr. Pennyworth...if you could?"

"Certainly, sir." Carefully shielding the spark from his patients view, Alfred Pennyworth bent over and lit the tiny candle, then slid it back into it's sheltered alcove. When he was finished, only the faintest flicker danced behind the openings in the whimsical creature's sculpted face. To see it, one would have to know first it was there.

J'onn looked over at the carved stone figure and sighed. Not just in voice, but in body. That was right. Flame, yes. But flame confined. Controlled. Flame subjected to will. "Thank you, Mr. Pennyworth."

"Any time, sir." Alfred smiled as he made his careful way from the room.

J'onn smiled back, allowing his body to sink into the gentle comfort of the piled pillows. Just a little, tame flame. That he could have. That was right. That was the way of Hıronmeer.


İKKR 2002

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