Apocalypse is looming while Batman is incapacitated. But Bruce Wayne is a man of many skills and secrets - what if the Bat is just another mask? Right after Doomsday sanction. First two chapters.

Standard disclaimers apply. Made for practice, not profit.



Bruce stared out the window and passed the time Earth-gazing. The terminus crossed over the east coast of North America. Hundreds of miles below, the Sun was setting on Gotham. He sighed with regret, wishing he could be down there, watching over his home.

He turned the TV on to take his mind off homesickness. Flipping through the channels, Bruce stumbled onto Luthor's presidential campaign add. The hairs on his nape stood on end at the sight of that suave smile.

The commercial must have been set up by a psychology major. Every detail of it was designed to trigger primal responses, completely bypassing reason. Only because he knew of these was Bruce able to see through them. But he knew Joe Average would buy it.

Lex being president didn't irk him one bit, he'd seen worst men hold office. It's what would follow that did: the death of Flash, the fall of the League, a „safe" Gotham. God, it terrified him. The only thing worst than Joker's maniacal laugh was his unnatural sanity. The thought of it scared Bruce senseless.

A little paranoid voice inside him whispered through the paralyzing fear. Bruce swiveled the keyboard over and typed a few commands. Accessing Watchtower's Earth-surveillance system, he checked today's recording. He needed to know how Clark defeated Doomsday. Needed reassurance of a standard fight.

Bruce watched the recording in fast forward until a flash of light grabbed his attention. He rewound and played the segment again, this time in slow motion and in infrared mode also. His eyes snapped wide and jaw dropped as he watched Clark attempt a lobotomy. Shock gave way to anger.

Sitting up in a flash, Bruce flung the keyboard at the screen with a roaring shout. The IV tube ripped from his vein and life-sign probes peeled off his skin. The heartbeat monitor flat-lined and blared an alarm in response.

With the rush of rage over, Bruce was blindsided with pain. He propped up on one arm and grabbed at the cracked ribs. His face contorted and his whole body shook. Forcing the breathing to steady, he stilled the ache.

Doors swooshed open and the other core leaguers rushed in his quarters.

„What happened? " Clark was befuddled by the wreckage.

„Nothing. " Bruce muttered, pulling a wheelchair over.

„Where do you think you're going? " John stepped up.

„Home. " Bruce drove across the room and opened his closet.

„Not on our watch. " The marine crossed his arms.

After a short rummage through the closet, Bruce pulled out a T shirt and dressed, ignoring the protests of his body. He turned around and faced John again. „Out of my way." He ordered in full Bat voice.

John stood like a statue. „Sorry, Bat. "

Bruce gave him a glare but John didn't budge. In a split second, Bruce jabbed two fingers in the other man's solar plexus. John dropped on his knees and doubled over, heaving for breath. Bruce drove around him and ran into his next obstacle, Clark.

„That won't work on me. " The man of steel reminded.

„This will. " Bruce opened the palm of his hand, revealing a kryptonite shard he covertly took from the closet.

Clark backed off as Bruce kept wheeling forward. The others stepped out of their way until all seven were out on the hall. Bruce called the elevator, the others on his heels.

„When will you be back?" Diana was concirned.

Bruce paused, missing her already. „I won't." He entered the elevator.

„Why? " She watched him leave, looking hurt.

„Why don't you tell her? " He looked back at Clark, who stood at a safe distance.

Wally quirked an eyebrow. „Supes?"

Four leaguers stared at Clark, waiting for an explanation.

The elevator doors closed and Bruce descended to transport deck. Once there, he selected his home among the pre-programmed locations and set the timer. Just than the leaguers entered.

„Your fears are understandable, but I believe you are overreacting. " J'onn tried to dissuade him.

Bruce ignored his colleague. Correction, former colleague. He rose from the wheelchair and stood on the good leg, the other one stiff in its cast. Leaning against the terminal, he hopped onto the platform. „You can keep the Watchtower, but have the UN arrange you a new supplier for the Tower. Wayne Enterprise is cutting all ties with the League."

The timer reached zero and Bruce vanished.