Disclaimer: I do not Batman. I do not own Superman. I do not own Bruce Wayne. I do not own Kal-L. However, I do own hope, which hopefully will never be lost.

Summary: He tells him of an earth where things were happier. He tells him of an earth where he has a family. Only what he doesn't tell him is what he will lose. Spoilers for IC #4.

Author's Note: The words written in italics are directly from IC #4.

I'm from Earth-Prime, I believe. Isn't that what our Earth is called? Isn't this the Earth where the old heroes of lore are just comic myths? There once was a placed called Earth-2. There was also an Earth known as Earth-1. But they are gone now. There stands a new Earth in their place. This Earth is a colder Earth, a darker Earth. It's an Earth where the heroes have given up. It's an Earth where the heroes aren't trusted. It's an Earth that is now caught up in a war, one that may decide the fate of the Two lost Earths.

What was Lost

Earth-2 was a wonderful place, Bruce. It was full of hope and love. And the heroes acted like heroes. We made mistakes, but it was nothing like what's happening here. Things have gotten out of hand. You have.

Batman thinks about the words that Superman – no – Kal-L, tells him. They are a bitter reminder of the world he is currently living. Wonder Woman is a murderer. Jason is taking out Gotham criminals the easy way. Blue Beetle is dead. The Superman of this earth was taken over by Max Lord. And then there is him…

Batman knows he has gotten out of hand. He knows that he shouldn't have created Brother Eye after Ra's Al Ghul stole his protocols all of those years ago. It was a mistake and he is now paying for it.

Our Gotham City wasn't covered in grime and dirt. Things were rough, but the days the sun still managed.

The Gotham City Kal-L is describing is a different one than the one Batman knows. His Gotham is cesspool of crime. After all he has put into working for his city, it hasn't gotten any better. The citizens are still afraid, even if Gotham has a hero. Gotham is still cold, even with the hottest summer winds. Gotham is still dark, even on the brightest of days.

The Gotham Kal-L is describing sounds like a paradise compared to this. There is still crime, but people smile. There is still cold, but the heat surrounds it, blowing it away. There is still darkness, but the sun engulfs it. There was peace, even with crime.

As the commissioner, the Bruce Wayne I knew learned to live past the death of his parents. He opened up his heart. He married. They even had a daughter. Helena Wayne. We called her The Huntress.

Alfred's words ring in Batman's ears as Kal-L tells him of a family he had once had. His father had faced trials and tribulations, but no matter how hard the path was to follow, Thomas Wayne always had always had someone with him. Someone was there to back him up. He had his wife. But could Bruce Wayne or better yet Batman live like that?

Selina…He realizes it when he stares into the rock. Him and her…married. Out of all of his past lovers, Selina was the one that completes him most. She is most like him. They both strive to complete their missions. He protects Gotham and she the East End. But truth of the mind wipes plays in his mind like a never-ending song, breaking him. He cannot trust her, not anymore. He doesn't know f her change is true. He doesn't know if their love is true. He loves her, but he cannot trust her.

Kal-L speaks of their daughter, Helena Wayne. She was known as The Huntress. Batman sees this, how fate had played her hand. The Huntress of his time is a Helena, but a Bertenelli, not a Wayne. Even now, Batman wonders if he could be a father. He thinks back to his relationship with his son, Dick Grayson, the hero known as Nightwing. Things are not well and he wonders if they ever will be.

Everything you've done, everything you set in motion, is because you felt you couldn't trust the people around you. And you know what? You can't. But on my Earth, it's different.

After the mind wipes, betrayals, deaths, it isn't any surprise to Batman that he cannot trust anyone on his Earth. But, he doesn't trust Kal-L either. His paranoia has taught him that much. Batman senses that Kal-L has the power to do as he wishes, and bring back Earth-2. But Batman must wonder what would happen to the people of his Earth. The one he has come to know.

They'll be folded into its historical fabric. They'll be replaced, just as everyone on my earth was. But they'll be better. I never lie, Bruce.

And Batman does not allow innocents to suffer. No matter how cold and cruel the world is. No matter how much one man wants to save his wife. But his mind wanders to a better world. Where others will not have to suffer. Others will not have to feel pain.

Batman turns to Superman. He asks about the Dick Grayson of Earth-2. He wants to know if he is better. He needs to know this. For both Earth's sake.

No…

Batman has his answer.

FIN.