Disclaimer: Characters property of DC comics. I've borrowed them, made sure they were ok, and returned them. I'm not making money off of this. Unless you send me some. Are you going to send me some? Didn't think so.

Author's notes: This came about for a couple reasons. Firstly, from Darklady, who answered "Whispers in the Dark" with the question, "Do you do backstory to your backstory?" Here is backstory. :) Don't have to read Whispers to read this one, but if you want it, you can email me for it.

Secondly, this is a coda to JSA #18. In it, Sand faces down a villain from his past--one he accidentally sent to a nightmare dimension and who returned as a madman with a deadly power and a deep hatred for the teenage boy who "killed" him. The thing that disturbed me was that in flashback, the villain, Johnny Sorrow, kidnapped Sand from his bed in New York and took him to Chicago, changing him into his uniform on the way. I firmly believe that no teenage boy needs to be changed by anyone other than himself. So I wrote this to make myself feel better. And lastly, thanks to 'rith for listening to me whine. :)

Rating: PG-13 for uncomfortable subject matter.


Just to be Safe
by Smitty


"Wesley, Sandy, please come in," Dr. Charles McNider greeted his guests, gesturing them inside. "Sandy, you get a little banged up?"

"No," Sandy told him cheerily. "I'm just fine. Wes just wants proof."

"Nothing wrong with that," Charles agreed, glancing at Wesley, who looked grim. "Why don't you run back to the examining room and get undressed? I'll be along in a minute."

"Sure thing," Sandy agreed, heading to the back of the house. Dr. McNider gave all the JSA members their yearly physical in his home office. No sense in having them all troop into the clinic, he liked to say. It would be like an electric sign saying Superheroes Here!

"What seems to be the problem, Wes?" Charles asked, sticking his hands into his pockets. "Sandy seems reasonably chipper. And I know you wouldn't bring him to me without good reason."

"You remember the affair with Johnny Sorrow, no doubt?"

"The recent one? Of course. I remember the first one, too. You said Sandy was having nightmares for months afterward."

McNider was tactful enough not to mention that he'd offered to counsel Sandy or prescribe some sleeping pills, but Wesley had turned down his generosity. I'm familiar with bad dreams, was all the explanation he had given.

"I'm more concerned about the recent one."

"You had mentioned inter-dimensional teleportation. I don't know what I'd be looking for, but a complete physical shouldó-"

"I mentioned it, but that wasn't my main concern," Wesley admitted. "Sorrow abducted Sandy from his room in the middle of the night. In his pajamas. When he came to, he was wearing his Golden Boy suit." Wesley put his own hands in his pockets and fidgeted. "Perhaps it's my own exposure to the unseemly underside of society, but I'm worried. Dian and I have talked it over and agreed that this was the best solution. Sandy was unconscious when he was transportedó-doesn't remember a thingó-but we wanted to make sure there was no... damage... done."

Charles nodded, suddenly much more concerned than he had been before. It was unlikely of course And had something happened, it would either be immediately obvious or impossible to detect. But he understood Wesley's fear and felt an uncharacteristic flash of anger for the young teenager who waited for him in the other room.

"No worries, Wes," he said lightly, laying his hand on the other man's shoulder. "I'll go speak with him. Give him a once-over if need be. You can wait here. I'll send Myra out to get you something to drink, maybe a snack."

Wesley nodded, still too anxious to speak of it anymore, and found himself a seat on the receiving sofa. Chuck McNider watched him carefully, then turned to go attend to his patient.


Doc stepped into his examining room and hid a smile to see that Sandy had stripped down to his undershirt, pants, socks and shoes--the boy had taken off only his shirt. It was to be expected at this age, anyway. All boys got self conscious.

Charles walked across the room and hopped up on the examining table next to Sandy, dangling his feet off the edge. He made sure he was far enough away for Sandy to not feel threatened, but close enough to be intimate. Sandy looked surprised but pleased.

"You seem to be doing pretty well," Doc commented.

"Yep," Sandy assured him. "I'm always fine with Wesley around! He and the JSA came and got me, no problem."

"I'm glad," Doc grinned. "I'd hate to have you in here for anything more than a quick check."

"Yeah, me too," Sandy agreed. "Are you really going to give me a checkup?"

"Probably not," Doc shrugged. "Maybe just talk for a few minutes, if that's ok with you."

"If it means no needles, it's swell," Sandy replied gamely.

"I have to tell you," Doc continued, sliding back into his usual serious countenance, "you're certainly growing up and I think we should discuss what Wesley's really concerned about."

Sandy frowned a little. "What do you mean?" he asked.

Doc heaved a sigh, not entirely for show.

"Johnny Sorrow certainly seemed to have a fixation on you," he began carefully. "Even dressed you up in your costume when he came to get you."

"He was a real creep," Sandy agreed.

"Yes, he was." Doc nodded slowly. "Sandy. Wes and I are concerned about that time when you were knocked out and he was changing you."

Sandy frowned and Doc sighed at the thought that maybe he had caught on already.

"If he touched you in a way that was inappropriate during that time, we think it would be best to know," Doc explained gently.

"Oh." Sandy looked confused and maybe a little angry. "But I was knocked out. I don't remember anything."

"I know," Charles assured him. "And we're glad of that."

"So what are you going to do?" Sandy asked tremulously. "I can't remember and you said you weren't going to... look."

"I'm not," Doc said carefully. "Unless you want me to. There probably wouldn't be anything for me to find. I just wanted to ask you a few questions. They're uncomfortable questions, but it's very important that you be honest when answering them. I don't like asking them any more than you will like answering them.

Doc watched Sandy draw himself up and steel himself for whatever was to come. "All right," he agreed. "I'll try."

"That's all I ask," Doc assured him. "Have you noticed any soreness when you walk or sit?"

Sandy shook his head.

"Good. Have you found any bruises in odd places when you take your shower?"

Sandy thought for a moment, then shook his head again. "I had some rope burns from where he tied me, but they were all in places there was rope."

Doc nodded again, relieved. "Good. Do you feel any pain when you urinate?"

"Nope." Sandy shook his head in the negative, his face twitching reflexively.

"Good. That's all the proof we would know about," Doc explained. "Are you still having the nightmares?"

"Sometimes," Sandy admitted. "Not every night anymore."

"Well, that's an improvement. How do you feel in these dreams? Sad? Guilty? Frightened?"

"Um. All three I guess. But mostly guilty. I mean, I really did... kill him..."

Doc restrained himself from running a hand over the rumpled blond head. Comfort was Wesley's place. Instead, he nodded sympathetically.

"I'm sure Wesley has explained about how things happen and you didn't know what would happen when you shot that device he was wearing."

"I know," Sandy said reluctantly.

"Do you want to talk about it for a bit?"

Sandy shook his head. "I don't really want to think about it," he admitted.

"Ok," Doc nodded. "But Sandy? If you ever DO want to talk--about anything, even just schoolwork or what's going on at home, please feel free to come see me."

"Ok," Sandy agreed. "I'd like that.

"So would I," Doc told him with a smile. This time he really did reach out and ruffle Sandy's hair. "Now get out there and fight some more crime, ok?"

"Yes, sir!"

Sandy hopped off the table and shrugged into his shirt. Doc smiled as he raced through the buttons and shoved it hastily into his pants, shrugging up the suspenders.

He paused at the door to look back at the older man, still sitting on the table.

"Thanks, Doc," he said shyly. "For... you know. Treating me like a grown-up."

Doc smiled at him and nodded. "My pleasure, Sanderson."

Sandy's cheek twitched at the hated full name, then he grinned and ran into the waiting room.

Doc just shook his head and followed.


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