Sorry for such the long wait on this story. College is in full swing again. Sophomore year, YIPPEE!

Disclaimer: I own NOTHING of Batman/Superman Adventures. They belong to Bruce Timm, WB, and all the other creators.

Chapter 6

Lois Lane walked out of the Daily Planet Break room holding a warm cup of coffee. She smiled to herself, thinking about Bruce and how he 'randomly' came back into her life two days before. But when she reached her desk, her smile faded upon seeing Clark's empty desk. Clark, where in the blazes are you? She whirled her chair around to sit and almost dropped her coffee in surprise.

"Tim?" Lois said, placing her cup on her desk. "What are you doing here?"

"Bruce. He told me he had some business to do so he's having me stay here with you for the day."

"What business does he have? Is he working on a project with Luthor?"

"'Dunno." Tim shrugged. "You know Bruce: always has to be a secret."

"Yeah, you don't have to tell me twice," Lois scoffed. "Well, kiddo, since you're going to be here for a while, pull up Clark's chair and relax."

As Tim walked through the room, Perry White rushed over.

"Lois, what do you think this place is? Day Care??" Perry demanded.

"No, chief, of course not. He's…a …friend of mine's...son and I'm just watching him until his father gets back." Lois said.

"Well, you better get all of your assignments done, including the extras that were supposed to be Kent's." Perry White mumbled and walked off. "AND STOP CALLING ME CHIEF!"

"Ok, kid. Since Bruce isn't here, let's have a little talk."

"Uhuh, ok." Tim said nervously. "'Bout what?"

"Let's pick on Bruce, since he isn't here." Lois smiled. "How'd you guys meet?"

"You're not writing a story on this, are you?" Tim asked, raising an eyebrow.

"As if... I already have Smallville's extra load to work on. You really think I want to write another one?"

"Fair enough." Tim smiled. "Batman saved me from Two-Face when the bum was looking for my old man. I was living alone so Bats took me in. I wandered out of the cave and discovered his identity. Batman and I stopped ol' Puke-face and Bruce took me in as his ward. That's it, really. My life isn't that interesting. "

"Uhuh, sure." Lois said, unconvinced. "You have one of the weirdest night jobs and you think your life isn't interesting?"

"OK, fine." Tim sighed.

"So what's Bruce been up to?"

"Same old: work, patrol, work, patrol, the cycle continues."

"Doesn't he have a life?"

"Two, actually."

"No, kiddo, I mean a social life. He doesn't have any friends?" She asked. "…without capes?"

"There's Veronica; she's a big socialite. Bruce is always invited to her parties every holiday season."

"Veronica, huh? Any other ladies in his life?"

"Not that I know of…" Tim said, fidgeting in Clark's chair. Bruce, hurry up!


Harley pulled her long blonde hair into a bun as she walked into the small kitchen of their hideout. Passing Corbin reading the newspaper, she made her way to the stove and lit the flame.

"What are you doing?" Corbin asked, putting the paper on the table.

"It's me and Mista J's eighth anniversary together so I'm, fixing him something nice." Harley piped.

"How'd someone like you get mixed in with a clown like him?" Corbin asked.

"One word Robo-boy: love." Harley smiled as she started mixing eggs.

"Love?" Corbin asked. "You love him?"

"'Course I do, and Puddin' loves me. We have…a special bond." Harley smiled. "Even while we're separated in the darkest of cells in Arkham, we can still feel the sparks between our padded walls." She sighed.

"I'll believe THAT when I see it." Corbin rolled his eyes.

"Its true. No one comes between this gal and her loving sweetheart." Harley said, flipping her omelet. "Not you, not the police, and especially not Batman. You want to know a secret? Puddin told me last night before we went to sleep how he said we should start a family."

"A family?" Corbin asked, growing less interest in the new conversation.

"Yup. Mista J didn't give all the details, but he said as soon as we get back to Gotham, he's going to put his plans into motion." (1) Harley said. "After all, this should be our last confrontation with Batman, so we won't have to worry about him spoiling our fun."

"Keep dreaming, kid." Corbin said, getting up as Joker walked into the room wearing a dark purple robe over his purple pajamas.

"Good morning, Johnny Boy." Joker smiled. "Sleep well? I know I did, hehe"

"I don't sleep, Joker."

"Too bad," Joker said as he sniffed the air. "What's that smell?"

"PUDDIN'!!!!" Harley jumped. "You're up! Happy Anniversary, Mista J!," She ran up and hugged Joker tightly.

"Thanks Harley-girl. Glad to see you didn't make yourself into a pie again." He shuddered at the memory.

"So what's the game plan for today, Puddin'?"

"Well, Poo, we have to wait for the goon loons to return from their night patrol…unless they've been arrested. So hard to find good help these days."

Just then, the back door opened and Corbin's two goons walked in holding a big bag.

"Its about time." Corbin frowned. "Where have you been?"

"We had to make a trip to Gotham, boss."

"Why?" Joker asked. The man held up the bag.
"Oh, thanks for picking up my dry cleaning, boys." Joker laughed as he took the bag from the goons. Opening it, he pulled out a clean purple suit. "Ah, it feels good to see you again." He smiled and went into the back room.

Harley watched him go. "Ah, isn't he dreamy?" she asked as if in a trance.

"Spare me…" Corbin groaned.


HOURS LATER

Lois lane walked out of the staff break room with another steaming coffee and proceeded to her desk. While on her way, she looked around for Tim Drake. Great… Where'd he get to now? She then found Tim sitting in her chair playing games on the computer.

"OK, kiddo. What're you doing?" She asked, sitting her coffee on the desk.

"Playing a game." He replied. "There's nothing to do here."

"Like the chief said, this isn't day care. Go play games on Clark's computer." She said.

"I tried. His computer is locked."

"Figures. Well, hopefully Bruce'll be back soon to relieve your boredom." She sat down and continued typing one of her stories. "So, what was that vegetable comment about?"

"Eh, you don't want to know." Tim said.

"Sure I do," Lois countered, turning to the youth. "Spill the beans."

"But I don't think Bruce wants you to know…" Tim stammered.

"Bruce isn't here, Tim. Besides, I know how to keep a secret." She smiled at him. "There's no one around. Spill."

"Alright, alright." Tim sighed. "It was about a year ago. Veronica invited me and Bruce to her wedding to this guy called Michael. It was like the smallest courtship ever. Anyway, Bruce met this woman named Susan and fell in love. Like, 2 weeks later, he got married too! But then Veronica calls Bruce and says Michael is acting like a fruit loop, so me and Batgirl investigate."

"There's a batgirl too? How many of you are there??" Lois asked.

"Uh, 4." Tim said. "Anyway, me and Batgirl go to investigate and we find Michael but he's really a plant person created by Poison Ivy. She created all these walking plant/ veggie people to marry a bunch of rich people and steal their fortunes. The plant people were destroyed and Ivy went back to Arkham."

"So you thought I was a vegetable?"

"Hey, these days, you never know." Tim shrugged.


Bruce Wayne, again "disguised" in his long trench coat and sunglasses, proceeded into the offices of LexCorp and walked up to the front desk.

Mercy Graves, who had been reading the Daily Planet Newspaper, looked up when Bruce reached the desk. "Can I help you?" she asked in a bored tone.

"I need to talk to Luthor." Bruce said.

"Mr. Luthor is busy and doesn't want to be disturbed." She said, turning back to her paper.

Taking off his glasses, he leaned inward and gave Mercy an icy stare. "Well, you tell Luthor to make some time and fast. I don't have all day."

Mercy shot the CEO a look before pressing her intercom. "Lex?"

"What is it now? I'm busy!"

"Someone's here to see you." She said. "… says its important."

"Tell him he'll have to make an appointment." Luthor said, hanging up.

"That's your cue-"Mercy said to Bruce, although Bruce was gone. Looking around, she saw Wayne about to enter Luthor's office. "HEY! You can't go in!"

"Just try and stop me." Bruce said, throwing the door open and storming inside with Mercy on his heels.

Lex Luthor looked up from his work. "What the?!" He saw Bruce Wayne's angry face and calmed down slightly.

"Lex, I'm sorry for the interruption. I told him he wasn't allowed entry."

"It's alright, Mercy. You may leave."

Mercy shut the office door, leaving the two men.

"Bruce, how nice to see you," Luthor smiled, walking to his former business partner. "What brings you back all the way to Metropolis?"

"You did, after harassing my secretary one too many times." Bruce answered.

"Well, you know Bruce, it's nearly impossible to get in contact with you. You're secretary says you're busy at night, and busy during the day!"

"Unlike some, my work isn't centered on trying to destroy one man. I have a life."

Lex Luthor disregarded the comment. "Regardless, it's good to see you."

"Let's get down to business, Luthor. I know you didn't pester my office for a simple social call."

"Alright, Bruce. I'll get to the point." Lex said. "I was hoping we could regain the great partnership that we had."

Bruce raised a brow. "You put that partnership once you breached the contract."

"Surely you understand my reasons. The government wanted models!"

"Fine. But teaming up with the Joker?! Were you mad?!"

"Bruce, you and I both know there was no proof-"

"There was and you know it. I'm not stupid, Lex. Between your destroyed labs to that giant robot attacking Metropolis, I'd say Joker's rampage lead right to you."

"He forced me into it! I swear it!"

"I don't care who started it. What I do know is, I don't see us partnering up again in the near future." Bruce said as he turned to leave. As he approached the door, he stopped and paused, staring at the floor. Then, he turned back to Luthor. "By the way, you might want to get rid of this purple stain on your floor. Its months old." With that he turned to leave.

Luthor ran to the spot on the floor. Sure enough, there was a shape of a footprint outlined in faded purple on the carpet. Of course that footprint wasn't months old as Bruce described. It was fresh from the Joker's return.


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(1) That bit is a reference to the flashback sequence in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker film.