Killing two birds with one stone: a drabble for nw chick's Batslash Christmas song challenge, and because between the JLA/JSA SF&O and "Virtue and Vice," Johns, Goyer, et. al. WANT me to write Batman/Mr. Terrific slash. Though this barely qualifies.

Set after "Virtue and Vice."


Stay

by 'rith



The voice, a deep baritone, resonated through JSA brownstone. "Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we've no place to go..."

Mr. Terrific broke off as he reentered the computer room and handed Batman a steaming cup. "Here. Thought you could use this."

Hot chocolate, rather than the expected coffee. Batman sniffed at the rising vapor with guarded pleasure, then raised the cup to his lips and drank. The real stuff, not powdered, and he should have expected as much. Terrific didn't skimp on the important details. Despite what Batman had said to him while under the effects of the Anger spirit, the man did good work.

Belatedly, he realized he should say so. "With the new modifications, your security system's as secure as it can be."

Terrific's dark face shone with honest pride--not the dangerous hubris that had possessed him on their last joint case, but sincere satisfaction in the acknowledgment of his work. "Thank you. I appreciate your taking the time to go over it."

Batman nodded, automatically getting to his feet and setting the cup carefully to one side of the monitors. "I should be getting back to Gotham."

The other man reached out, his hand gripping Batman's shoulder, not afraid to touch him as so many others were. "You don't have to rush off. You offered to listen to me, before, when I needed to talk about Paula. Least I can do is offer the same. About anything."

"Terrific..."

"Michael. My name's Michael."

"...Michael. I told you before, I prefer to keep work and...socializing...separate."

"But you don't 'socialize' at all." Michael's hand hadn't relaxed its hold. "At least not that I've seen. Now, granted, I know precisely nothing about your personal life...but as *I* told you before, I think there's a lot we have in common."

Ironically, it would have been easier to brush him aside if Batman had known him longer. It was simple to be rude to people who expected it from him. But Terrific had proven he wasn't so easily dissuaded.

And Batman really *didn't* have any pressing need to leave. "I suppose we could...work on the synchronization with the JLA database."

Michael squeezed his shoulder once, then dropped his hand. "That's a start."



{This is an exorcism. I wash my hands of it hereafter. *tosses the bunny to DarkLady*}






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