Trinity - Reflections on Truth

By

Tracey Claybon

Usual Disclaimers - They're DC's and not my own...

Source material and references: There are isolated phrases and quotes from the Gods of Gotham Wonder Woman comic, story by Phil Jimenez. FYI, I like Jimenez's work so far, it's worth checking out!

There are also references to the Tower of Babel JLA storyline and previous "events" cited in my prior Trinity stories.

And now to this story...

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I reread the entry I'd made right after I'd found out Bruce made the JLA protocols to neutralize us that Ra's al Ghul used so successfully against us months ago, and I had to reflect back.

Once I believed I could never trust Batman again, in battle or otherwise.

I was wrong. We - the JLA, K- *Clark* and I ... *I* - ...need Batman. I should have realized he would create the protocols in the first place. I've known him too well and for too long - to have doubted him or his judgment the way that I have. I should have remembered the most important thing about him is not that he's a 'paranoid maniac' as his worst detractors have called him - but *why* he is what he is - and that he may have seen truths that I couldn't - or didn't want to - admit to myself.

He showed me that I was more like him than I'd ever realized when I had the relationship with Alcmaeon; and that he had unshakeable faith in me and my judgment. He cemented that trust when the situation we had with the gods of fear, discord and terror came to Gotham. He made all the truths between us crystal clear, and it was almost too much to cope with - but I bore it and am better for it.

I sometimes forget that no matter what philosophical differences I may have with Bruce - he has never lied to me - even when the truth is sometimes more than I can at that time bear - or don't want to hear at the time. He doesn't lie to me, or to anyone, most especially himself - *ever.*

At the heart of the Bat is a terrified little boy who didn't just want his parents back again - he didn't want anyone else to suffer the agony of watching your whole world crumble at your feet as he did. As he became a man, he determined to do what so few who have been damaged by crime, by tragedy, or by evil ever do - he took his fears and conquered them, then went a step further and became a warriorto fight against the evils that took the lives of his parents.

Perhaps, the need to create protocols to take the metahumans of the JLA out in case we went rogue was to him the ultimate truth and the ultimate defense - any power can corrupt without limits, and measures should be set in place to counter it so that the good of so many may be preserved. I learned from Clark later that Bruce had created these fail-safes not just against the JLA, but also against himself. He wanted to be sure that if even *he* abused the power and trust given to his hands, he could be neutralized for the good of all.

In the end, the only way to stand strong and tall in life is to stand up to bullies and to people who abuse power. His protocols were his way of giving the "little guy" - the common man - a way to win if we of the JLA, or Clark, or myself - ever did abuse the power and trust we were given. I have to understand that sentiment, and because I now understand *why* he did as he did, I have forgiven him and asked him to forgive me.

Clark, Bruce and I are now actually closer than we once were. Someone once said that hard times show you who your true friends are, and tests the strength of all friendships. Our friendship is stronger still because of the events that have just occurred.

Now that I know the truth and the mettle of my friends and battle-companions, I have no doubt that the three of us in particular truly can weather any storms now.

Not very long ago, Bruce said to me that he didn't need faith when he had me... I know he truly trusts very few and it is hard-won when it happens. I would like to hope that I have enough "faith" for the both of us, at least until he can find that faith in something more. I do hope that he does - but even if he doesn't, it is enough for me that he has the closest thing to belief in those he cares for that he would die to prevent all of us from coming to harm. He would lay down his life for Alfred, James Gordon, Dick, Oracle, Batgirl, Azrael and Robin, for Clark, J'onn, Orin and I, and for any other life he could save if it were asked. He'd never admit that he cares in so many words, but his actions speak volumes.

I was surprised that he said that he was worried when I'd died because of the hope he felt I brought to my teammates, friends and companions; it's been a while since he has been anything but terse since we expelled him from the JLA, then reinstated him, and prior to that he was almost overwhelmed by the earthquake and No Man's Land edict in Gotham; it was also good to see the quiet humor that was present a lot more before his previous Robin was killed. I hope that he finds a path again to that "faith" through that so-rarely seen humor.

It's really a thing of great irony - my feelings for Clark are now crystal clear after a lot of soul searching - I love Clark- but as my very best friend and like a brother, were I to ever have one. That's for the best - Lois is the true love of his heart, and I have to admit that if I were to pick the perfect mate for him, she would be the exact image I would choose.

Bruce, on the other hand, represents many things to me - but most importantly a hope and a truth that defies words. I love him as intensely as I do Clark - but it's different in ways I couldn't begin to describe. I think it's because we are much more alike than we'd like in so many ways - and so different so many others, especially approach. But for all that, I trust him with my life and honor even more than I did before the Tower Of Babel affair, and I understand what he is and represents even more than Clark does.

No matter what happens between us in the future, I know that he will give me the truth and the strength that that truth conveys to me without fail, and that his friendship is as solid as Mount Olympus.

He said during the battle with the gods in Gotham that he didn't need faith when he had me. I'd like to think that I will have enough faith for the both of us till he finds his own.

But, maybe he already has - he has faith in his proteges and allies, in the few individuals - J'onn, Clark, James Gordon, and myself - that he truly trusts, and, most importantly, he has faith in HIMSELF.

And, maybe, in the end, that's one of the most important faiths of any that have EVER existed.

-fin-