Summary: after episode "The Legends". Green Lantern is confused by the death of Justice Guild, and the other Leaguer decided to help him. One-shot.
A/N: the events Batman described are from BTAS episode "Beware the Gray Ghost" (one of my favorites!)
Shayera looked at Green Lantern who stood on the terrace, ignoring everybody and everything. Hawkgirl could almost feel the pain and anger swirling inside John Stewart since the last fight and the ultimate sacrifice of Justice Guild.
Shayera decided to go and talk to John whether he wants her around or not when she heard a deep voice behind her back.
"Let ME talk to him."
Green Lantern was lost in thoughts; he didn't acknowledge the presence of another Leaguer until Batman placed gloved hand on his shoulder.
"I understand how you feel. Seeing the death of your heroes is always hard."
"They couldn't die. For starters they weren't even real."
"They WERE real. Justice Guild of America really existed on the Earth you've been to. Streak, Tom Turbine and Green Guardsman are not just the comic book characters."
"Damn it, you know what I'm talking about!" John glared at Batman, who met the fiery gaze stoically. "Justice Guild died in World War III! The ones I saw were just an illusions created by Ray! Just like this "perfect" Seaboard City! In reality there was nothing left but death and ruins!"
Batman was silent during Green Lantern's angry tirade. Then he asked, "Are you finished?"
"YES! And you'd better leave me alone!"
"Let me tell you a story."
"I think I'm a bit old for stories," The Lantern replied sarcastically.
Batman nodded, then he stated, "But you need to hear this one."
"When I was a kid, I used to watch "The Gray Ghost" TV series with my father. I admired everything Gray Ghost stood for, and dreamed to become a masked hero. When so-called "Mad Bomber" threatened to destroy Gotham, I remembered an episode of the show, saw the connection and decided to investigate."
And then Batman told John how he looked for the copies of "Gray Ghost" to understand the logic behind the Bomber's actions. He found out that Simon Trent, an actor who played Gray Ghost part, was still alive. But the life was hard for him. The old actor was unable to get roles since his glory days of costumed avenger. Trent lived in poverty and had to sell his Gray Ghost memorabilia to pay the bills.
John Stewart, who was listening without much interest, replied, "Typecast. Typical."
Now it was the Dark Knight who glared at his companion, "Let me finish."
He told the Lantern how disappointed he was to see a disillusioned old man instead of hero of his childhood. How Simon Trent simply ran away while Batman was distracted by the explosion. And how reluctant was Trent when Batman finally cornered him and asked for help.
"But at least I got what I wanted, a copy of episode "The Mad Bomber". And after seeing it I knew how the explosives were delivered to the crime scene. That was a start."
Batman continued the story. He told John how he stopped the remote-controlled toy cars from destroying the library, but Mad Bomber set a trap for him. But he was saved…
"Wait, you mean Simon Trent saved you? The same man who asked you to leave him in peace before?"
"I guess he had a change of heart."
Batman finished the story – the rigged toy cars in pursuit of Batman and his newfound partner, Batcave, Trent's remark "So it wasn't all for nothing…", the fingerprints, and finally, how Mad Bomber was defeated by Gray Ghost.
"Nice story. So, why did you decide to tell me about it? What's your point?"
Batman was good in physiognomy. He saw that Stewart wasn't as indifferent to Gray Ghost's story as he wanted to show.
"What's my point? Just because somebody isn't real doesn't mean he isn't a hero. Think about it, John."
That's it. Right now there was nothing more he could do. It takes a lot of time for the seeds he planted in the soul of another man to blossom.
Batman looked at Shayera and nodded towards John. She was a woman; she saw the heroes from Justice Guild; she could help Green Lantern in different ways.
Yes, he always was against Leaguers becoming that close, but today is an exception to the rule.