World: Justice League (Unlimited)
Summary: A drabble where Flash sometimes can't stay still and focused, no matter how hard he tries, and Batman decides to come up with a solution.
It was a widely known fact that Flash wasn't good at sitting still, or being quiet, or even taking the resulting fidgeting elsewhere – away from people trying to get work done. He was eager to help and didn't want to be left out, so he tried to be wherever important matters were happening when he was able. He was a Founding Member, so nobody could contest his right to do this, or purposefully leave him out of the loop to avoid his distracting presence.
But damnit, sometimes Flash couldn't be more vexing if he tried.
It wasn't every day. Usually he could be serious and pay attention when the situation truly required it, and his fast thinking could be an asset. On good days he could even pretend to listen during the meetings and not fidget too much when Superman was talking. Just... not always. There were days when the speedster was absurdly restless and was literally unable to stay still and pay proper attention to anything at all.
Batman had tried looking into it a couple of times to see if there was something honestly bothering Flash, if something was wrong. He hadn't found anything either time; it had was plain and simply just Flash being restless without being able to help it. It was quite possibly a side-effect of his superpower, the way it altered his perception of time. Flash was aware of it – even slightly embarrassed by it – but still didn't think it was a good enough reason to not attend the scheduled meetings, or participate in monitor duty. He was too responsible to do that, which should be an admirable trait. However, in this case it was honestly painful for everyone involved.
So Batman came up with a solution.
During the next meeting, when it became obvious it was one of the more restless days, Batman stood up in the middle of Wonder Woman's report. Everyone went absolutely quiet, and he walked to the other end of the room to open a cabinet and pulled out a box. He calmly made his way over to Flash and deposited the box in front of him, then went back to his own seat without a comment.
“Carry on, Princess”, he said, and folded his arms.
For a moment, nobody knew what to do, despite him being very clear about it. That is, except for Flash. He curiously opened up the box and pulled out a Transformer toy. He looked at it in bewilderment, then he looked at the others, then at Batman, and opened his mouth--
“Diana”, Batman said, cutting Flash off. He gave an all-inclusive glare that dared them to bring up the elephant in the room. Nobody did. Wonder Woman stammered for a second, but quickly managed to get her train of thought back on track. The others kept sending each other questioning glances for a while, but then settled down to carry on with the meeting.
In the meanwhile, Flash was turning the transformer in his hands, twisting it into a car and back into a robot repeatedly, but otherwise being still. He wasn't fidgeting, he wasn't tapping his fingers on the table or feet on the floor, he wasn't humming, he wasn't pacing around the room... he was only playing with the toy in his hands, while occasionally glancing up at Wonder Woman, obviously listening with newfound concentration.
The meeting was extraordinarily peaceful. Nobody commented on it, but everyone knew what the cause of it was, and gave Batman appreciative looks. Flash was beside himself with gratitude, and got to keep the toy for the rest of the day.
Not that Batman ever checked if it was returned afterwards or not.
The next time Flash was restless, Batman left him a piece of string and instructions for the first step of cat's cradle. After that, for his upcoming monitor duty, it was a multi-coloured stress ball. Then a toy pony and a brush. Then fiddlelinks.
Then, after all of it had already became a routine that everyone took for granted, Batman brought in play-doh. Only this time it had an unintended side-effect of distracting, not just Flash, but Batman himself.
He had, of course, always been keeping an eye on Flash when he was playing with the fiddling toys, just to make sure they were doing their job and Flash wasn't too distracted by them. But little by little it had been morphing into something other than monitoring the speedster, other than one duty among the others. Now, after increasing amounts of stealthy looks and occasional momentary staring, it culminated in Batman almost completely ignoring what Green Lantern was reporting, and instead watching the crafty fingers mold the colourful dough, a fond smile on his lips. A smile he was utterly unaware of.
The dough turned into a bunch of flowers, then into a dinosaur, then into Flash's own logo, then into some kind of a car... then the fingers stopped abruptly and stayed that way, prompting Batman to look up. Flash was staring right back at him, looking mildly confused for a second, then smiling back at him sheepishly.
Batman looked away first, turning pointedly to look at Green Lantern instead – damnit, he had actually missed something important – but the moment had happened and he would have to face it after the meeting. Both the fact that he had gotten distracted and would have to berate himself for it, and the fact that Flash had caught him watching. While smiling, no less.
Although, just maybe, the latter would not be too bad. At least, judging from the way his eyes strayed back to tracking the movements of fast fingers again, and another smile found a way to his lips without his consent