A/N: Quick shoutout to my followers. I know that at the time I'm posting this most my followers are probably here for Maximum Ride. For you, lol sorry to disappoint. However there is a distinct possibility of my writing more MR fanfics in the future so if you'd like to, stick around :)
A/N: This is set around the beginning of the JLU.
Diana stood in the middle of the Watchtower cafeteria, holding her tray and feeling like a lost schoolgirl.
Having just got back from a mission, she'd been hungry and was ready to grab a bite to eat from the brand-new cafeteria. But now... with her tray in hand... she just didn't know where to sit. This was new to her.
She squared her shoulders, feeling stupid. She was an Amazon, for the gods' sake. Cafeterias shouldn't intimidate her.
Diana marched down the aisles with purpose, feeling heads turn to watch her go. She spotted Black Canary sitting at a table with Green Arrow and almost made to go that way... until she spotted someone else that caught her eye.
In the very corner of the cafeteria, in the shadows, Batman lounged- how was it possible to look that intimidating, that confident, in a plastic chair?- at a lone table. The absence of other people didn't seem to bother him. Diana knew that, in fact, he welcomed it. He wanted his demeanor to make people stay away.
It was working, Diana mused. Ever since their expansion of the league, the new members had almost immediately realized that Batman was not a people-person. Some, after witnessing his rage for the first time, hysterically speculated on whether he was a person at all.
Diana knew better.
She plopped her tray down.
Next to her, Batman finally looked up. He had been fiddling with some gadget in his hands, his tray untouched on the table.
"Hello, Batman," Diana said warmly. "Did you also just get back from a mission?"
He returned his gaze to the gadget in his hands, leaving Diana to watch the strong profile of his jaw. "Monitor Duty, actually."
They sat in silence for a few moments.
"Aren't you going to eat that?" Diana asked, noting his cold plate as she poked her own fork into her plate of spaghetti.
Batman smirked. "Let's just say I'm used to a higher standard of cooking."
"You didn't even try it, Bruce," Diana accused.
His mouth tightened slightly at being called his other persona, but otherwise gave no indication of a reaction. "I don't need to try it to know. Alfred's the best cook around."
"And you don't need a lasso to know that's the truth," said a new voice jokingly. Diana turned to see who it was. Batman didn't move a muscle. "Superman," he acknowledged.
Diana echoed him with a warm smile to her other best friend. Superman sat down across from them. His appearance in the cafeteria had caused a stir among the others there, many people watching him sit and Diana, who had sharp ears, heard muttered comments such as "Why do they hang out with Batman, of all people?" Diana shook her head and sighed. If only they knew the kind of person he truly was.
"Batman," Superman said. "I'm surprised you graced us common folk with your presence in the Watchtower, while you weren't working. One would think you were beginning to enjoy our company."
"On the contrary," Batman replied, as usual with no hint of emotion on his face, yet his two friends could detect the slightest undercurrent of humor underneath his tone, "I am working." He held up the gadget he'd been fiddling with.
Superman recognized it. "A motherbox?" he asked, confused.
"A broken, abandoned motherbox," Batman corrected. "I'm taking the opportunity to get a look at it's inner workings."
"If only we could do the same to you," Superman jabbed. Batman's only response was a bland, emotionless look at the other superhero, one which Diana took to mean Really?.
"We should have known better than to think you would ever stop working," Diana teased.
His head was bent back to the device and he didn't verbally acknowledge the comment. His two friends expected that, though. That was just how the Batman was, especially when there were other people around.
"So where have you been, Superman?" Diana asked, finishing off her pasta just as Superman tucked in to his.
"Civil unrest in Eastern Europe," He replied after he'd swallowed. "You wouldn't believe the stuff that's going on there. I witnessed at least five explosions in the half-hour I was there."
"Was anyone hurt?" Diana asked, concerned.
"Not badly," Superman replied. "But still..."
They settled into comfortable conversation. Just the three of them: Superman shoveling his pasta, Diana sipping her juice, and Batman pretending not to listen closely to everything they said. And while none of them ever really addressed it, they all enjoyed this the most- time spent between the three of them.
Suddenly J'onn called Diana through the comm-link. From the inclined heads of her two table-mates she knew they were getting this too.
"I'm sorry to interrupt," the Martian apologized.
"Not at all, J'onn," said Superman dismissively. "What's going on?"
"There's a situation in New York. Copperhead and a few others. If you can come to the Monitor womb as soon as possible I'll dispatch you three there."
"We're on our way J'onn," Diana said. "Thanks." She turned to Superman and Batman. "And afterward, we need to go out for icecream or a snack or something," she suggested. "With all the things going on with the new Watchtower and everything else, we've hardly spent any time together."
"That's a great idea, Diana," Superman said as the three of them walked briskly out of the cafeteria.
"I can't. I have work in Gotham," Batman said.
Superman and Diana sighed. Bruce's favourite excuse not to socialize was well known to both. "Oh, come on, Bruce, just this once?" Superman said.
Batman's mouth flattened out, but he glanced at Diana- a mistake- and the pleading look in her eye. "Please?" she asked with a gorgeous smile.
After a few moments of internal struggle, Batman let out an almost imperceptible sigh. "If this wraps up quickly," he stated flatly, "I know a good bakery in a small village in France."
Most of the natives in the small town of Montsoreau, France, were used to occasional tourists coming through the village. And so, no one batted an eye when two men and a woman walked down the main road.
If anyone had thought to look closely at the man wearing large Ray-Bans, they perhaps may have recognized him as a certain billionaire, Bruce Wayne; and if a villager had felt the curiosity to take a second glance at the woman whose black hair was tucked into a floppy white hat, maybe they would have realized Wonder Woman was in their midst. The glasses-wearing man with them looked ordinary enough, so ordinary that it was just the general assumption that his two companions must also be so.
Hence, when the three strangers entered the small bakery, the owner took them to be three regular customers, and he greeted them with enthusiasm and served them as he might serve anyone else who entered his shop: like a king.
If anyone had bothered to listen in, they might have heard a rather peculiar conversation.
After the sunglasses-wearing man- Bruce- ordered for them in flawless French, he turned to his companions and said: "Told you, Kent, this place is divine."
"You can say that again," groaned the bespectacled man- Clark- as his mouth watered at the tantalizing aromas of the shop.
The hat wearing woman- Diana- stepped forward to pay for her order. Bruce stopped her, pulling out his own wallet.
"Bruce, I'm not broke, I can pay for a croissant," Diana said, slightly cross.
"Well, I'm so rich I could buy a hundred croissants with the change in my pocket," he replied teasingly. "So why don't you just let me pay for once? It's not because I don't think you can pay," he added. His ice-blue eyes softened behind the sunglasses, and Diana read the expression there: It's because I want to.
"Aren't you going to pay for mine, too?" Clark demanded.
Bruce looked at him. "Well, considering your witty comment back at the cafeteria about the motherbox, I think you can afford to pay for yourself."
"But Bruce," Clark groaned lightly. "Reporter's salary, remember?"
"I'm sure your Lois gets along just fine with that salary," Diana laughed.
Clark, blushing slightly at the mention of his long-time crush, grumbled as he paid for his pastry. "I'm getting you back for this, Bruce."
"I'm sure you will."
Diana laughed at his sarcasm.
They settled at a table just outside, where they could speak without being heard. Or at least that's what Diana and Clark assumed, while Bruce scanned the area at least three times to be sure. The sun beat down on them; Clark pulled off his baseball cap and fanned his face with it, Bruce rolled up his impeccable white shirt sleeves, and Diana took off her jacket, much to the glee of some male passerby. Bruce glared at them (the affect only somewhat diminished by his sunglasses) until they hurried away.
"How is Lois, Kal?" Diana asked.
"Well," Clark said formally.
"Has she figured out you're Superman yet?" Bruce smirked. He then adopted a slightly shrill tone. "'Oh Superman,'" he mocked. "'You coincidentally have the exact build, height, voice and features as my coworker. By the way, I wonder who you are.'"
Clark got over his laughter enough to be indignant, but only slightly, since he knew Bruce was joking. "You know she's not stupid."
"I didn't say she was."
"She figured out who you were," Clark bantered.
"After my cowl got ripped off. Is that your best argument?"
Diana opened her mouth to defend Lois in this joke-argument, because as all three of them knew, Lois was extremely intelligent, and soon the conversation went to other places.
"So Bruce, why were you working on that motherbox in the cafeteria of all places?" asked Diana.
Bruce smirked. "I was multitasking."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Clark asked as he polished off his pastry.
Bruce shifted in his chair, his own food as usual untouched on the table in front of him. "I've been investigating the newer members of the league. Today I was getting intel on Black Canary and Green Arrow."
"Bruce!" gasped Diana. "You weren't eavesdropping?"
Bruce sent her a look that meant, Obviously.
"I thought we investigated all of them before we asked them to join the league," Clark said, puzzled.
Bruce looked insulted. "That was just a background check. What kind of detective do you think I am?" he added only slightly ironically.
Clark and Diana laughed. Bruce caught Diana's eye and grinned, albeit a little uncomfortably. She didn't mind. She loved him like this.
Clark opened his mouth to say something when suddenly Bruce's face changed. He was listening to a com-link in his ear.
Clark and Diana watched their friend's face transform quite suddenly, a subtle shift that said it all. His brooding face betrayed that even though there wasn't a cowl in sight, he had changed. There was no lightness in his eyes now- Bruce wasn't there anymore.
He had become the Bat.
He stood abruptly. "I have to go. Emergency in Gotham."
They watched him leave, disappear over the hills to request transport from J'onn.
"I miss him like this," Clark said suddenly. Diana knew exactly what he was talking about.
"I know," she said. "It almost gives me hope... That some day..." She trailed off. No more words needed to be said.
They both knew he was always knotted up inside, drowning in his own guilt for things he couldn't possibly change. But there were some times- times like this- when they caught a glimpse of the man between the tortured Dark Knight and Gotham's rich playboy prince. A man who had the potential to be happy.
And sometimes he showed himself, when he was with his best friends. That was all they could really ask for.
A/N: This is my first fic written in this universe. Please leave a review, I want to know your thoughts and especially what you thought of my characterizations. I don't feel satisfied I did them justice. (Haha unintended pun) Even a really quick like one word review is really appreciated! Thanks!