Submitted: April 2021
Summary: In the aftermath of a long-fought battle on Apokolips, the heroes of the Justice League find themselves in quarantine at S.T.A.R. Labs, where emotions among the league’s members are running high.
Story Size: 1,361 words (8Kb as text)
Clark blinked, staring awkwardly across the long table to where Hal Jordan and Barry Allen were seated. The lights behind Barry flickered light blue, reminding him that it wasn’t another Justice League meeting between members but rather a quarantine of the world’s most powerful individuals. He understood the reasoning, but he couldn’t help but be nervous over the fact that the world was vulnerable as long as they remained in this steel bubble.
A sharp rattle caught his attention, and Clark looked over to the left where Barry Allen was now moving at lightning speed around the compound, knocking into the equipment on the lab counter Dr. Klein had left out from the last check-in. He rolled his eyes as he spotted Barry’s smiling face through the blur of pigments.
Dianna let out a shallow yawn, “Don’t you get bored with the constant running and not going anywhere?”
“Constantly, but I can’t just sit still,” Barry explained, coming to a stop as he walked over with a giant sub in hand.
“That’s the fifth one in the last hour,” Hal smirked.
“Blood sugar,” Barry sniffed, claiming the seat next to Clark, looking at him for support. “Right? You get it. Right, Clark?”
“I eat because I like to. It’s not really out of necessity.” Clark explained with a shrug.
“Well, I eat because I like not to pass out while running,” Barry grinned back, shaking his head.
“I’m part machine, so I don’t have to eat at all, nor can I,” Victor Stone spoke up, turning the page of the book in front of him, not looking up.
“Everyone’s a critic,” Barry complained, taking a big bite of his sandwich.
“Well, it’s not like we haven’t gotten to know one another on an excruciating level lately,” Hal commented, holding up a glowing green paddleboard, bouncing it in the air with a yawn. Hal glanced toward the clock, “How many more days till we’re done with observation?”
“Sixteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds.” Bruce Wayne responded from the corner of the room with his cowl laid out across the table as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “The next person to ask that is getting a bat-a-rang in a very uncomfortable place.”
Clark held in a chuckle at that remark, noting the uncharacteristic smirk that had slipped across Bruce’s face.
Victor pointed at the calendar and added with a smile, “April first.”
“Just in time for April Fools.” Barry chuckled.
“Who is April Fools?” Dianna asked, looking between Barry and Victor with a curious gaze, not following.
“No, it’s a day,” Victor explained. “Like Christmas or Thanksgiving.”
“A holiday for April or Fools?” Dianna asked.
“A little of both,” Clark cracked a smile, unable to help himself as he noted the sharp narrowing of her eyes as she looked back at him expectantly.
“It’s the first day in April where you play pranks on one another,” Barry explained calmly, taking a large bite of his hoagie.
“You have a holiday for playing jokes on one another?” Dianna’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Why? It sounds terribly mean.”
“No, it’s…fun.” Barry pointed to Dianna. “What’s that on your shoulder?”
“There’s nothing on my shoulder,” Dianna responded coolly.
“No, just look,” Barry pleaded.
“Why? There’s nothing…”
Barry let out a heavy sigh, “This is hopeless. Never mind.”
“What’s hopeless is your sense of humor, Flash. You think a made you look joke is funny and don’t want to admit to anyone you’re eating your feelings as you ponder how you’re going to explain your missed date with Iris.” Dianna crossed her arms over her chest, shaking her head.
“Well, that’s certainly a dark twist. It’s a little prank, Dianna, lighten up.” Barry frowned.
“Well, I think it’s stupid.” She pointed to the room they were sitting in, “Just like sitting here for hours on end to make sure we don’t carry some disease from Apokolips is like throwing a cup of water on a dirty floor and expecting it to do something. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Clark bit his lower lip, noting the glowing gold chord from behind Dianna’s shoulder, wondering for a moment if he should speak up but then again, this was the first time Dianna had opened up about anything since returning to Earth. Perhaps letting out how she really felt would alleviate some of the tension that had been hanging over all of them for the last several hours.
“We did just return from an unknown planet,” Hal shrugged his shoulders, pointing to the cut across his arm. “And lived to tell about it.” He held up a bouquet of glowing green flowers for her to take, and she stared blankly at him. “Not a fan of roses?”
“I think flowers are stupid, and naming yourself after a ring is ridiculous.” Dianna frowned as Victor caught on that she was seated on her lasso of truth, pulling it out from behind her with a chuckle.
“Well, I suppose this is where one would say, ‘April Fools’?” Victor teased, handing the lasso back to Dianna with an earnest grin.
Dianna blushed, taking her lasso from him and smiling. “Sorry. I …don’t know what came over me. I suppose sitting idle has gotten to me more than I was willing to admit.”
Barry pointed to the clock, “Well, you can finally say you’ve celebrated April Fools.” A good-natured smile crossed Dianna’s lips as she nodded to him.
The doors opened, and the room felt ten times bigger as Dr. Klein entered, with his digital thermometer and notepad in hand. “Well, everyone, it looks as if no one’s suffered any adverse side effects…”
“Nope. Let’s get out of here.” Barry cheered, sprinting to the door.
Dr. Klein held up the digital monitor, checking him once more before waving him on, allowing him to leave. Barry disappeared in the blink of an eye to meet up with Iris for the long-awaited date they’d heard in excruciating detail for the last several hours, and Clark turned to Hal, who was seated next to him.
“Think he’ll make it in time?”
“No way,” Hal shook his head with a chuckle. “Restaurant closes in two minutes. There’s no way.”
Clark reached his hands up over his head, standing up. “Well, as exhilarating as it is to sit around and stare at these four walls for hours on end with you all, I hope I don’t see you all for at least another forty-eight hours.”
“Aw, you don’t want to have one last cold one with us?” Hal asked with a frown. “I’m hurt.”
“You’ll get over it, Hal.” Clark patted him on the shoulder as Hal pointed to the box by his feet. “Is that yours, Clark?”
Clark looked toward the box, noting the glow coming from it, and immediately cringed on instinct, recognizing the contents as Kryptonite. Just as he was about to fly out the back, he recalled the vaccine for the poisonous rock he’d been given years ago just before S.T.A.R. Labs had developed a flame hot enough to eradicate the meteorite from the Earth’s atmosphere completely. He took a few steps closer and waved his hand toward the rock, only for it to go right through it.
A frown crossed Clark’s face as he looked back at Hal who was falling over himself, laughing with Bruce in the background.
“Don’t ever say I don’t have a sense of humor,” Hal chuckled good-naturedly.
“Since you’re in such a jovial mood, I suppose Lois and Serena can go ahead and order that clown for Damian’s birthday?” Clark’s eyebrow raised as he smirked at Bruce.
“No clowns,” Bruce wagged his finger at Clark. “Touché.”
“Something tells me this is the beginning of a beautiful partnership,” Hal grinned between the three of them.
“Yes, well, you do know after that prank that this means war.” Clark grinned back at Hal.
“Let the games begin.”