Philosophical musings. Possibly OOC. Still, enjoy!

Why?

'Why!' J'onn did not roar, but the emphasis he placed on that single word made it clear to all how important the answer was to him. 'Why do we do this? Why do we fight and fight again to save people who only die uselessly the minute our backs are turned! Why must we fight a war that cannot end! Why!'

They looked uneasily at each other. How could they answer that? How to explain something that at times all of them had doubts in?

'We ...' Superman began. 'We have to. It is our duty. We can help, if only a little, and so we must. They need us. They have faith in us. We are their hope. How can we fail them? We fight for them because we're all they have.'

'Then they have nothing!' J'onn responded harshly. 'If they but looked at us, at all the times we have failed, they would not believe. How can they look at us and see hope, when we cannot stop the death that goes on all around them? We don't have to fail them. We never stood a chance to help them.'

'That's not true!' Diana exclaimed. 'We cannot prevent every death or hurt, but we can stop the destruction of all! We can keep the darkness from overwhelming them!'

J'onn laughed bitterly. 'How can we keep the darkness from overwhelming them, when we can't keep it from overwhelming ourselves?'

'Hey man, don't talk like that!' Flash cajoled. 'I mean, come on. Do I look dark to you? Do I look depressed? Dead? It's not hopeless. We all get a little down sometimes. Things just seem bad 'cause you're having a bad day. Lighten up, and it'll all seem better!'

'What childish advice,' J'onn said scathingly. 'A bad day? A bad day was the day my planet died, the day I lost everything. I've been 'down'. This does not compare. Even then I at least had a purpose. This is simply hopeless! We cannot make a difference.'

They certainly felt helpless now. Hesitantly, Diana moved to console, but he shrugged her off. They didn't know what to do.

Well, most of them didn't.

'Pathetic,' drawled a voice as deeply scathing as J'onn's. Stepping out of the shadows, the Dark Knight stalked forwards to stand nose-to-nose with the despairing martian. Mouth twisted into a cruel smirk, Batman glared at his target. 'Absolutely pathetic. It took you this long to reach these conclusions? Even Tim managed faster than that, despite his ever-present cheer. With your abilities to touch the emotions of others, I was expecting this crisis of faith months ago.'

J'onn blinked, confusion then anger flitting across his features. 'You ... expected this? You knew this pain was coming? And you did nothing to stop it?'

Batman laughed coldly. 'And what would you have had me do? Counsel you? Console you? What possible use would that have been? The only way to deal with this is to live through it. You thought a world ending was rough? At least it was sudden. This is how it feels to watch a world die slowly, killing itself that little bit more each day. At least you had an outside force to blame. What have these people? It's their own fault. They're killing themselves, slowly and painfully. How can we fight that?'

'Exactly,' J'onn whispered, desolate.

Batman smiled. 'But the answer is simple. With hope. Every life we save, every disaster we halt, we give them hope. It doesn't matter that it's a false hope. It doesn't matter that we can never be all they want us to be, never do all they need us to. That is why we must fight an endless war. Because the moment the war ends, a world dies. You know that. You saw it. That's what an ending is. No more hope, no more struggle, no more chances. That's why we have to keep fighting, because as long as the war continues we will have those chances, and so will they. It is a simple choice. Do we fight to save what we can, to give hope to those who are left, or do we let them fall without a struggle? What do you choose, J'onn? What path will you walk?'

'It ... it can't be so simple ...' J'onn wondered.

'It is. Do you choose life, with all its struggle, or death with its endings? Do you fight or do you die? Choose.'

The others stared between them, nervous and haltingly eager for his answer. They had not heard Batman say these things before. It was so like him though, an uncompromising belief, a line drawn in the sand to challenge the fates. His challenge to all who would take it. The question was: would J'onn?

The martian stood pensive for a long moment, deep in agonised thought. Then he glanced sideways at his challenger. 'What did Tim decide?' he asked, a faint smile in evidence. Batman laughed. 'He told me to bugger off while he prepared for the night's patrol. He's a tough kid. Of course, he apologised for his rudeness later, when the emotion had run down a touch. He's very respectful.'

J'onn smiled back. 'I chose life when my planet died. I choose it now. Now go away until I prepare for tomorrow's probable mission.'

Batman's typical smirk returned. 'Touche. Good night, J'onn.'

'Well ...' Flash said into the hushed silence once the two ... combatants ... had left. 'That was interesting.'

Well? R&R? I know it's just me having a bit of a rant at the universe, but still. Tell me what you think. Please?