Disclaimer: Never in a thousand years.
Author's Note: Something in between my "Law and Order" fictions. I guess New Year's is inspiring me and frankly, someone should do a fic on General Immortus, if not already. Admittedly, I didn't insert any French words in Rouge's dialogue as I'm not knowledgeable (I had help with my beta last time). So should that change, I'll re-edit, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying the piece.
Beta: Yep, busy.
Timeline: Post "Trust".
"Where is General Immortus?" the Brain imperatively inquired as he eyed the other assembled members of his Brotherhood of Evil: the intellectual gorilla, Monsieur Mallah, and the Machiavellian shapeshifter, Madame Rouge. He swiveled away from his lackeys and gawped at the worldwide map in his command center.
"I do not know," Mallah acknowledged.
"I'm not his keeper," Rouge sneered in her haughty French accent.
"I can't seem to contact him. An annoyance as I have a new plan against the Titans, thanks to the Communicator you absconded, Madame Rouge. I need Immortus," the Brain declared dramatically in his mechanical monotone.
"I'll go find him, Master." Mallah volunteered. Rouge elongated her hand and clasped around Mallah's shoulder.
"I'll find him. I'm sure you can appreciate the fact that a gorilla would be rather conspicuous, no matter how agile you are," she barbed.
Mallah's only retort was a primeval growl.
"Find him, I need his historical knowledge." The Brain ordered.
Rouge rolled her eyes on the way out.
The twinkling stars above mesmerized the hardened General Immortus. To him, the Eiffel Tower's observation deck was the utmost peak on Earth (and he was at Everest). The tower was just as majestic now as it was in its construction. A profound sigh later and he heard the clicking of high heels. It was cause for alarm since the deck was deserted.
He craned his head in the direction of the reverb: it was Madame Rouge, decked out in her incognito trench coat ensemble. He resumed his original position of gaping into the night's sky.
"I knew you'd be here. You always go here to brood," she jabbed whilst she approached him. He offered no rejoinder. She accompanied him at his side, observing his craggy profile and his traditional Nazi-styled sapphire uniform.
"I can play the silent treatment as well, but the Brain has use of you. He has a mission that needs your services. Although, why is beyond me, when I'm fully capable of —" She brimmed in her renowned self-assurance.
"Spare me your French pomposity, Madame. Every time I hear it, I am reminded of Napoleon," he at last verbalized.
"Fine. If only you spare me the history lessons."
"Agreed. You can inform the Brain that I shall return to base within the hour. Now, leave me, wench. I want to be alone," he brusquely barked.
"Fine, act like Garbo for all I care. But I will say that you don't have the face for it," she quipped.
The General devised an unusual sort of tactic as he faced her. "Madame, there are a thousand ways to deal with this type of situation. I shall try an unforeseen strategy: sentiment. I just want to be alone to think. This is the only place in the world that allows me that particular pleasure anymore, so, please, leave."
His unexpected beseeching bemused her. "As you wish. If you're going to jump, I'd wait until dawn if I were you. Give the peasants a good wake-up call," she sardonically snorted.
"If I had such thoughts, they would have been acted upon already," he morbidly chuckled.
"Indeed." She was ready to turn on her heel and depart when curiosity panged her.
"So, why are you here?" she quizzed.
"It is of no consequence."
"That may be, but I'm bored, and I'm mildly curious, frankly."
"You would not understand."
"Try me. Of course, I could torture you for it, if you want it to be amusing for me." She had a sinister grin on her countenance.
"I'm sure it would be for you," he scoffed while he focused on the firmament again. "If you desire to know, I suppose I am simply 'feeling my age' for once."
"I never would have thought it possible," Rouge lightheartedly teased. She inclined against the guardrail.
"If you are done being the jester, I would say it was our recent clash with the Teen Titans that has raised an exacting issue within me."
"Why would it affect you? You don't have any emotional investments or ties to them, last I checked."
"And that response would imply that you, on the other hand, have." The gears within Immortus' military mind rotated onward.
"Playing mind games won't work on me, General."
"One can only work with what he has, Madame," he deadpanned.
A minor scowl curled on the femme fatale's lips. "You're improving on your wit."
"A Pyrrhic victory."
"Yes, and you're digressing. Get to the point before I fling you over this rail myself."
The wizened man chortled. "I am." He arduously sucked in a breath. "It is not the same as it was even fifty years ago. This new generation is nothing more than infants who discovered their rattle — reckless, flash over substance, and they are not even worthy opponents.
"Despite all such odds, they still win. They should not win, yet by divine intervention or their own stupidity — Gods forbid they utilize a modicum of competence — they win. It makes the games we are engaged in rather fleeting and have me yearn for the past. It is because of that that I am here to mull and to perhaps question myself and my motivations for the first time, Laura."
She elevated an eyebrow over his use of her given name. "Hm. If it would comfort you, General, I do not care for the brats, either."
"I would give you quite the rant, but you rather beat me to it," she dimly beamed. "I wish the Brain wasn't obsessed with them. I don't know what he's trying to prove." Her recent run-in with Robin still permeated in her brain.
"I question his rationale anymore as well. Of course, I am confident you are simply eliciting for such reactions as a proper second-in-command should." He eyeballed her charily.
"Spare me. If I wanted to turn you in or eliminate you, I already would have. I am personally finding the Brain most one-dimensional and rather irritating. I could use the commiseration. Besides, you know it's the gorilla that would have that position, anyway." She returned the skeptical gaze.
"In the jungles of Africa, I believe there used to be a term for that," he jibed.
Rouge failed to contain herself in the ensuing sniggering. "I almost feel guilty."
"Ignoring you. I'm usually so busy focusing on the Brain, the gorilla, or the Doom Patrol, I never think twice of you."
"I would not be concerned for I am no better off with you — you remind me too much of Josephine and her lust for power."
"Again with you and Napoleon," she ribbed.
"He was a fool who deserved to be on Elba. Perhaps that is where…" He trailed off.
"General, I wouldn't worry. I think you'll have some battles left in you," she avowed in a rare sanguine cadence.
"As a soldier, I put my career above all matters, but would you care to resume this at one of the cafes down there tomorrow, Madame? I do not care to be arrested for merely staying my time in this glorious spire," Immortus put chivalrously.
The woman had a sly expression. "I hope it isn't a date, for your sake. However, I think I can attend. We can talk about how much we don't care for the Brain or why this generation is so flawed."
"Yes. That would be acceptable. I am also curious of your interactions with the Batman's young protégé. How was he in battle?"
She was momentarily silent. "Nothing at all like I've read about him."
"Then I was correct about your being 'emotionally invested'," the senior cackled.
"Quiet, old man,"
He savored the resulting comfortable silence between the two. "This is the closest I shall say for a personal comment, but I hope you will have no fears of being seen with a man twice your age."
That educed a titter from her. "In my days as an actress, I dated my share of younger men, so the irony won't bother me much."
He ignored her remark and the couple stared at the beauty that is the "City of Lights" together.
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