The darkness below spanned through the city, reaching out its greedy claws and lingering along streets, sidewalks and alleys. The ancient lights barely strong enough to keep the inky blackness at bay. People walked quickly and avoided the shadows, just another night in Gotham city. A stale breeze, once fresh and sweet, twisted and swirled through the narrows pressing against the backs of those who turned up their collars in rebellion.
In the center of the abyss stood Wayne Enterprises, a beacon of light. The only light bright enough to push back against the captive darkness and fill the city with a soft glow and the potential for hope. Atop the mighty sentinel stood a figure, as dark as the night but never consumed by it. This man, a protector of the people stood guard, watching the few citizens below as they scurried like fearful animals through the labyrinth of buildings. The dark knight was waiting for Superman, an alli and friend, to meet him here. Looking out over the city, Batman scanned through all relevant data in his mind in an attempt to predict what could be so important as to postpone his nightly patrol. Something so important that Superman could not wait the 30 minutes it took for Batman ascend to the watchtower. Nor did the man of steel wish to communicate via com-link.
It was now past midnight, which had been the agreed upon time to meet, needless to say Batman was getting a tad bit irritated.
Finally, as the moon started to descend for it's nightly rest, he heard a whistle resonate in the distance and felt a singular tremor move across the roof to the pads of his feet as Superman landed lightly behind him. Superman was one of the few people who might be able to sneak up on him, but tonight he was in no mood for games.
"You're late." came Batman's curt reply.
"It couldn't be helped, J'onn and I had to verify some information that had recently come across our table."
"None we can't handle, it's actually what I needed to speak to you about." Superman admitted as he approached the darkly clad man and gave a soft smile.
"What's the emergency?" his voice was low and rumbled in his chest, the annoyance evident.
"There's a problem with one of the near by star systems… apparently Earth's government has been getting threats about a non-hostile but invasive take over."
"This concerns me, why?" Batman asked as his eyes continued to scan the city below and seek out any trouble makers.
"Drop the sarcasm Bruce, I'm not Wallie, I can tell when you're doing it." Superman said as he crossed his arms over his chest and gave a very dry look.
Silence greeted him so Superman sighed and continued, attempting to keep as much irritation out of his voice as possible, "This concerns you because you live on the planet that is being threatened. I want you to lead the negotiations on behalf of Earth. You'll have a full team to coordinate with to start the peace talks with the aliens."
"How long would it take?"
Superman hesitated then, not responding immediately meant he had saved the "best" part for last.
"How long Clark." Batman pushed, emphasizing his words to show his loss of patients.
"There is no exact time frame, but the best guess we have would be between two and four months, if things go well."
"Can't do it." Batman informed as he tossed back his cape and reached for the grappling hook in his belt.
"Bruce…" Superman started sounding almost desperate.
The dark Knight stopped and turned, eyeing him with what almost could be acknowledged as regret, "Look Clark, it isn't that I don't want to. It's that I can't. Leaving this city for four months, it would be inviting chaos. No one can protect Gotham as well as me, and this city is to dangerous for some of the newbies."
"What about the boy wonder?" Superman chanced not one to easily give up.
That seemed to catch Batman off guard, as the silence seemed to stretch on for a moment. Superman, no stranger to pressing his luck, kept talking, "Robin grew up here, I know he knows this city just as well as you do. He would be more then capable."
Ice slid into Batman's voice but his eyes remained neutral, no hint of his own derision, "Robin is with the Titans now, his life is in Jump. Trust me, he won't leave them for anything."
Superman placed his large hand on Bruce's shoulder his voice soft and kind, "He won't if I ask him… but if you ask him, as a favor-"
"He doesn't owe me any favors, and even if he did- he is kept much to busy by the Jump City criminals to ever consider leaving. Especially if it meant four months, or more, away from his team."
"Honestly I don't think you give him enough credit."
"That's what he said right before he left." Batman said glancing away from his friend. Finally looking back to make his point, "Batman can't just leave, even if we brought Robin back, the main reason there is less crime is because the figure of Batman roams the streets at night. The fear Clark, I don't doubt Dick's abilities, but the bigger villains like Joker and Two-face- if they even thought for one moment that Robin was on his own, they would try to draw him out, in the Joker's mind they have unfinished business."
Superman knew all to well about the history between the Joker and Robin, if this was Superman's city and he was being asked to leave Super-boy or Super-girl in charge he wouldn't have a second thought, but this was not Metropolis, this was Gotham. This city had it's own brand of villains and they were all beyond the normal level of insane, if insanity had a normal level of insane.
"That's why I was thinking of having another person here to help him…" Superman trailed off.
"Who did you have in mind?" Batman asked allowing his eyes to narrow as he glanced at his friend.
"J'onn J'onzz and I put together a list of all known allies and semi-allies who would not be going on the mission as well as who were not currently busy with world disasters. We used a computer algorithm to take in to account mental capacity, physical appearance and knowledge of Gotham and their fighting skills."
"Who is it?" Batman asked again very quickly loosing his patients.
"The computer took all the relevant data given and extrapolated using-"
"Who Clark!" Batman barked, his patience finally gone, "No one, but you, me and a select few members of the League who would remain behind would know."
The look on Superman's face told Batman, that this was going to take a lot of convincing.