First Justice League Fic, hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own no part of the Justice League cartoon, though the comics are pretty cool.
Clark marched through the halls of the Watchtower, a determined quality in his gait. No one got in his way. After all, here was a living legend. He stood in front of the doors to Bruce's infirmary room, took a deep breath, and entered.
"Bruce, we need to talk."
"Damn right we do, Clark." Bruce's tone of voice had a quality to it that Superman had never before heard directed at him: a mix of disappointment and disgust. It was apparent that Bruce was waiting for Clark to show. He turned to Clark, shifting in his hospital bed. "Why? Why did you send him to the Phantom Zone?" Bruce's accusing eyes fell upon Clark, and he wondered if this was the way criminals felt when the Batman stared at them.
"I wish I didn't have to, Bruce, but you should have heard him. He said that he would kill me." Superman's eyes narrowed, in rememberance of his interogation of Doomsday. Doomsday, the Cadmus project. Doomsday, made from Superman's own cells. Doomsday, who's final words before his exile were of a grim portent to Superman.
"So what? You've heard that before. Hell, you've heard that more than any of us. Why was today any different?" Bruce was staring Clark in the eye, and even without the mask, Clark could literally feel the glare that Batman had cultivated so well over the years. It burned worse than any heat vision ever could.
Clark cleared his throat. "Today, when he said he'd kill me...I believed him. I believed that he would try, and that he would succeed, and that once he was done killing me, he'd kill you all." Clark's eyes took on a haunted look. "You don't understand, Bruce. He is beyond any kind of redemption. J'onn can't get into his mind to try to conduct some kind of mental therapy, and Doctor Fate said he was shielded from magic, though no one is quite certain by who." Superman took a deep breath, and said, "I can deal with my own death, Bruce. But if you all died because I failed to stop this monster...I don't know what I'd do..."
Bruce filed that magic bit away for furthur investigation into Cadmus, even as he muttered, "Its a slippery slope, Clark. First its things like this, then bigger and bigger things, until we finally lose ourselves."
The look on Superman's face could only be described as shame. "I know...and believe me Bruce, I didn't relish having to do it..." Superman choked, "...but it had to be done. I'm sorry." With that, Clark started to the door.
"Clark, wait." At that, Clark stopped. "Clark, do you know what I'm most afraid of? More than anyhing else in the world?" Superman stopped, and thought.
Finally he answered. "Another boy's parents being murdered before his eyes." Clark waited for a response.
Bruce grimaced, and said, "Almost, and three years ago you would have been right. However, that fear flew out the window when we went to the Justice Lords' Earth. I saw that they had virtually eliminated crime, murder, all of the things we crusade against. At first, I was almost happy...no one else would have to cry themselves to sleep at night because they would never see their father or mother again." Batman stopped here, fighting back the emotions surging to the surface. It wasn't easy, but he was Batman, damn it, and this kind of thing wouldn't affect him. He composed himself, and continued. "Then I realized that wasn't true. The Lords became the monsters, the murderers." Bruce wheezed, the broken ribs clearly affecting him, but continued on. "That is what I'm afraid of : that we might become the reason for the cries of the innocent." Bruce fell silent.
Clark sat down in the chair next to Bruce, his face unreadable, and let out a half-hearted laugh. Bruce lurched himself upright, grimacing with the effort, and asked why he laughed.
"Because Bruce, its too funny. All we have ever done, we have done to avert the suffering of those who don't deserve it, and now we are doubting ourselves because we've become too good at it." Bruce cringed, and said, "That's an awfully dark sense of humor you got there hayseed." Bruce let out a small smile, a rare and genuine one that only a few had the privalige to see.
Clark saw the smile, and returned, "Hey, you aren't allowed to call me hayseed. Only Lois is." Clark said, with an expression of mock anger.
"Get over it, Clark. Everyone in the League calls you it, even the ones who don't know who you are," Batman smirked. "You are just too country for words."
Clark and Bruce both chuckled at that. Clark looked at the time, and swore softly to himself, though not softly enough for Bruce's sharp ears to miss.
"Didn't know you knew that word, Clark." Again with the smirk. Superman smiled, and said, "Well, I've kept you up for long enough. You need your beauty rest. Bruce."
Superman walked over to the door, opened it, stepped through, and said, "Thanks, Bruce. I'm glad we talked." He was just about to walk through the door when he stopped and said, "You know, I just realized that everyone in the League has a sense of humor. Even you, Bruce, even if it is twisted and atrophied-" Bruce glared, but his heart wasn't in it "-and nobody in the Justice Lords had one." Superman smiled, and said "I think we'll be all right. Night, friend." He walked through the door and was gone.
Bruce was left alone to his thoughts.
He slept his first contented sleep in a long time.
Thanks for reading, please review if you want. I'll accept anything, even flames.