Disclaimer: DC owns the characters within, not I.
"So... what now?" Barry asked as he removed his mask and placed it on a table in the center of the Justice League's main hall. He glanced around at Victor who was staring intently at the screen of the large computer in the corner and then over to Arthur who was pulling up a chair at the table.
"We wait," Victor responded coolly.
"For?" Barry asked.
"The Bat," Arthur chimed in as he laid his trident down on the table in front of him, the sound echoing through the room.
"Okay..." Barry said as he pulled out a chair and plopped down. He crossed his arms and began to shake his knee. After a few seconds of Arthur eyeing him, his ceased his nervous knee movement and straightened up in the seat. "So what exactly is he doing?"
"Checking on Clark," Victor said as he took a step closer to the computer and began to type.
"We think he's gonna make it right?" Barry questioned, looking back and forth between the two other men in the room.
"Most likely," Victor responded.
"Good... that's good..." Barry stated with a nod and then turned his attention fully to Arthur who seemed to be staring off into the distance.
"So you didn't see a sign of him anywhere under the water?"
"Nope," Arthur replied.
"I don't see how he could get away like that," Barry said. "We were there almost immediately."
"Yep," Arthur responded. Barry placed his elbows on the table.
"So not even a little sign or trace?" Barry questioned, this finally garnering Arthur's gaze.
"No... not a sign or trace," Arthur responded. "And no... it doesn't make sense."
"It would make sense... with the technology we are dealing with here," Victor added as he continued to type away. Arthur shrugged, leaned back in his seat and folded his arms. Barry glanced around the large room.
"So... have you guys done much studying on him?" Barry questioned.
"Him?" Arthur asked for clarification.
"The Batman... Bruce," Barry said with a gesture to the spacious room.
"Not much," Arthur answered.
"Hmm," Barry responded before turning to look at Victor. "What about you?"
"I have done some research," Victor responded before turning to look at Barry. "Why?"
"I... no... I was just wondering... he's a fascinating guy," Barry answered.
"Did you know he didn't always work alone... I mean... before us."
"I did," Victor responded, while Arthur shook his head.
"He um... he's lost people," Barry stated, his voice quieter as if he wasn't sure he should say anything.
"Dangerous line of work," Arthur said before sitting up straighter in his seat. "As long as he has been at it... not surprising."
"Yeah... you're right," Barry agreed. "It's just..."
"What's bothering you, Barry?" Victor asked, turning fully to face him. Barry glanced at him before turning back to look down at the table.
"Nothing really..." Barry fibbed.
"Nope... not buying it," Arthur reacted. Barry looked up at him and turned to see Victor was still looking at him.
"What is it?" Victor questioned. Barry took a deep breath.
"I guess... I mean... today..." Barry began but paused.
"What happened with Superman... could have been any of us man..." Arthur suggested.
"Right..." Barry responded.
"That's not Batman's fault," Victor added.
"I'm not... no... that's not what I'm saying," Barry replied. "It's just got me thinking is all..."
"About?" Arthur asked, intrigued.
"If the most powerful guy on the planet nearly gets himself killed doing this... twice now..." Barry began. "Maybe... maybe I'm not..."
"You getting cold feet?" Arthur questioned.
"No..." Barry answered quickly. "Not that..."
"You are worried you are going to end up like Robin," Victor suggested. This caused Barry to turn to him. "Die young."
"I mean... am I the only one who has considered this?" Barry asked looking back and forth between the group.
"No," Victor answered and then turned to Arthur.
"I don't think about it... I just... exist... until someday I won't," Arthur answered as he taped on the table and shrugged his shoulders. He felt both men were looking at him and glanced up to confirm it. He focused his attention on Barry. "Listen... I get it, Barry... you are young, you hope to have a lot of years ahead of you and what you are doing is not exactly going a long way towards securing your future."
Arthur leaned forward and considered Barry further. He could see the uncertainty in his expression.
"The thing is... what you are doing here... it's gonna leave a legacy that will live on far past you or any of us," Arthur continued. "It's natural to second guess throwing yourself in harm's way, especially when you see gods dropping out of the sky."
"I just... I'm not going to stop doing this... I'm all in... but I guess maybe I just hadn't really considered the risks," Barry explained.
"Well..." Victor approached the table and placed a hand on Barry's shoulder. He then pulled out the chair next to him and sat down. "I don't think any of us really did."
"Nah... we are just doing what we gotta do... that's it," Arthur said. "It's crazy... but... hey... I can breathe underwater, you can run faster than light and you have abilities that I'm not sure I even understand... it kind of comes with the territory."
"I guess..." Barry said with a small smile, grateful for the company and the comradery he was feeling.
"And... we've been taking some hits, that's true," Victor started. "But that's only because they have the element of surprise... eventually we'll get the upper hand and I like our chances."
"No doubt," Arthur agreed. "We'll fish them out eventually..."
"Fish..." Barry chuckled. Arthur rolled his eyes and smirked.
"I can make fish puns if I want," Arthur added to laughter in the room.
Diana had a pretty good idea whose silhouette she had glimpsed outside the window. She moved quietly across the darkened room and pushed back the curtain and softly smiled. She opened the window to climb out onto the fire escape crossing her arms as the cool night air hit her skin.
"How is he?" Bruce asked as he stepped out of the shadows to confirm his presence.
"He's good... sleeping," Diana answered. Bruce glanced at the window behind her and then back at Diana. She followed his eyes as behind his cowl and read his mind. "He asked me to stay the night."
"Right," Bruce replied. "I surmised."
"It's not..." Diana began to speak.
"It is... you don't have to make up a story for me," Bruce said.
"I'm not... it's new," Diana replied.
"It's none of my business," Bruce said.
"I just want you to know... we are a team..." Diana said.
"Yeah... but we have our own lives to live too," Bruce countered. "You'll be good for each other."
"I think so," Diana agreed as a smile came across her features. There was a silence.
"So he's healed fully?" Bruce questioned.
"Mostly... he's not full strength yet I don't believe," Diana answered. "Is the team still out?"
"Just me... the rest of them are back at base," Bruce answered. "We didn't find anything... not a trace."
Diana could see the turmoil behind his words.
"We will... they'll slip up," Diana assured him.
"I keep telling myself that... but then things like what happened today," Bruce said he turned to face away from Diana."I've got to work harder."
"We do," Diana corrected him. "We are a team."
"Diana..." Bruce spoke.
"Yes?" She responded. He turned back to her, she could see he was struggling with the decision to continue.
"Nevermind," Bruce replied and he started to leave.
"Tell me, Bruce," Diana said as she reached out to place her hand on his arm. He stopped and turned.
"I don't know what else to do and..." Bruce hesitated.
"We'll find them," Diana assured him. "I'll go with you."
"No... stay... keep an eye on him," Bruce replied. "We need him at full strength and even if he is feeling better... that much Kryptonite... it could deceive him."
"What about you... we need you at full strength too," Diana countered.
"I am," Bruce replied before he fired his grappling hook up and disappeared into the darkness.
"Do you two not need to sleep?" Arthur asked as he stifled a yawn and glanced at the big clock the wall to note the time.
"I don't," Victor answered from his position back in front of the main computer.
"I'm... sleeping is hard for me... I'm a bit wired," Barry answered from the chair across from Arthur.
"Listen I don't wanna say it..." Arthur began.
"You all should go... get some rest," Bruce's voice startled the group as he was suddenly at the end of the long table. "Clark is resting... he's not back at full strength but he is healed from his wounds according to Diana."
"That's good..." Barry said with a smile.
"So go... get some rest, we'll report back tomorrow evening," Bruce said.
"Don't you think maybe we should keep looking if we stop that will give them more time to get farther away," Barry replied. Bruce shook his head.
"They won't go far... they aren't running," Bruce answered.
"Just doing a bang up job of hiding," Arthur said. Bruce glanced around the room.
"Yeah..." Bruce began. "Next time we get something... we go together... all of us," Bruce said.
"Strength in numbers," Barry spoke up. Bruce turned to him.
"Exactly," Bruce said. "What happened to Clark today... it's not going to happen to any of us again."
"Sounds good to me," Arthur agreed before standing up. He retrieved his trident from the table. "You guys know where to find me."
"Going back under?" Barry asked.
"Yeah... need a little fresh 'air'," Arthur answered with a smirk.
"Arthur... seriously... if you find anything, contact us, don't act alone," Bruce said.
"You got it," Arthur said before exiting the room. Bruce walked over to the Victor.
"You should get home too... I know you don't need rest, but sometimes rest is more than physical," Bruce said. Victor looked up at him and nodded. He stood up and headed towards the door before stopping.
"Sound advice..." Victor said with a nod before leaving the room. Bruce nodded in understanding as he reached up and removed his cape. He turned to Barry who was still sitting in his seat, seemingly deep in thought.
"Hey, Barry... we are going to call it a night..." Bruce reiterated. "Rest... you know..."
"Oh... yeah..." Barry responded, but still made no move. Bruce studied him and then approached him.
"What is it?" Bruce asked.
"What you said about not going it alone..." Barry began and turned to Bruce. "You mean that?"
"I did," Bruce answered. "Why?"
"I just... it's nothing," Barry stood up and retrieved his mask from the table. He started to walk away.
"Barry," Bruce's voice stopped him. He turned back around.
"Yeah?" Barry asked.
"No one is dying... it won't happen like it did before," Bruce said. Barry cocked his head curiously.
"How... we were talking... how did you know?" Barry questioned.
"You activated your com," Bruce answered with a point to Barry's mask.
"You heard everything?" Barry asked.
"I did," Bruce replied.
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to suggest..." Barry began.
"It's fine, Barry," Bruce cut him off gently. "I understand... but if you have any faith in me... trust me that it won't happen like that again."
"I do... I do trust you," Barry said. Bruce nodded and then turned to make his way through a doorway. Barry smiled and then turned to exit as well.
Diana opened her eyes and took a deep breath. She stretched and then focused on the ceiling. It was unfamiliar at first and then it all came back to her. She smiled and got up. She made her way to the living room and stepped inside. It was there she saw him facing away from her and out the window. She noticed he had his eyes closed and seem to be basking in the yellowish orange glow of the sun that that covering him.
"Clark..." Diana spoke and she saw his eyes open. She approached him just as he turned her and offered her a smile which she returned.
"Thank you for staying," Clark said as he found himself lost in the beauty of her face in the soft glow of the sunlight. He reached up and brushed her cheek with his hand and she leaned into his touch.
"Of course," Diana responded as she took his hand in hers.
"I don't know what..." Clark began and then he paused, unsure of his words.
"Kal... we don't have to define anything," Diana replied, reading his mind. His confusion turned into a hopeful smile.
"I just want you to know how I feel," Clark stated. Diana ran a hand down his chest and stopped at his heart.
"I know," Diana responded. "I don't need words."