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Blood is Thickest

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John received the phone call during a Justice League debrief. J’onn frowned at him, which was nothing new, J’onn frowned at everybody unless they bargained with cookies. Bruce, on the other hand, did not frown like John had expected. He had been studying John for a long time and he knew that the speed with which the man exited the room meant something was wrong.

Cheryl. Gods, it was Cheryl. John almost wanted to press ignore just to save himself the lecture. But what if she wasn’t calling to remind him about Gemma’s birthday party which he was going to be late for (again)? Hell, she never called him unless something was wrong. He answered just before it transferred to message bank.

“Are you alright, Chez?”

“No, I’m fucking— I don’t know what I am, John. Tony’s gone absolutely bloody off his head.”

Fear gripped John’s chest and he gasped loud enough for Cheryl to hear.

“S’okay, I got Gemma and me out, but I need some place to stay while I figure things out. Can you come pick me up, John? Please?”

John was silent for a long time as he picked anxiously at his middle fingernail with his thumb, “Yeah. Yeah, I will. You need anythin’, luv?”

Cheryl’s voice flooded with relief, “Thank you, Our John. An’, no, just need to see you. I’ll text you the address.”

“Okay.” John hung up as quick as he could. Quite honestly, he couldn’t stand the exchange of ‘I love you’s between them. It had never been their thing .

John leaned against the outside wall of the meeting room at the Watchtower and let out a long sigh. Justice League members began to file out of the room and John started to leave with them, but a firm hand on his shoulder kept him in place.

“I know, I should’a had it on silent. M’sorry, alright?” He began.

“It’s not that,” Bruce said, and at the strange tone of voice that came from the other, John turned around to face him, “Something’s wrong.”

There really was no point in lying to the world’s greatest detective, “It’s me sister. She’s in some kinda trouble. I gotta go pick ‘er up. Guess she’ll be livin’ with Jace an’ I for a bit.”

John’s phone buzzed and the address displayed on his lock screen - a picture of Astra mid grand jete.

Bruce nodded solemnly in understanding, “A Wayne Enterprises' London car will have you there in five minutes. I assume you’ll simply materialise your House of Mystery anywhere you want. I’ll set the teleporter for—“

John held up a hand in objection, “I can teleport myself. Magic, remember?”

Bruce glared at him as usual.

“And John? If you need any money…”

“I know, you’re a walking charity. Don’t you worry about it, squire,” John quipped before disappearing in a flash of smoke and flame. It set the area’s sprinklers off.

“Hmm,” Bruce grunted in response. He ground his back teeth together in frustration despite Alfred repeatedly warning him against it, citing the risks of aggravating his Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction from being punched in the jaw so many times. Hence the new addition of jaw support to the cowl.