a/n: I can't believe I forgot to post this here. Silly me.
Title: Second Meeting
Characters: Superman, Green Lantern, J'onn J'onzz, Wonder Woman, the Flash
Universe: DC Justice League, AU-ish
Description: Superman tries again; Batman is less than amused.
Disclaimer: I don't own Superman or Batman or any other characters that appear in this fic. I'm just borrowing them for my twisted amusement. (I own a Batman toy, lots of them, but I don't think that counts.)
"What do you think would appeal to him?" Superman asks, completely stumped over the issue that has taken up all of his free time.
Namely Batman and how to encourage the Dark Knight to join the Justice League. Superman is convinced he'd be a valuable addition to their crew. They need someone like Batman to help balance out the pool of abilities. And Superman can't help but admire someone like Batman, who is arguably one of the first superheroes to have ever existed.
On the other side of the table, Green Lantern looks up from his sandwich, head tilted with confusion. "Who?"
He watches as Green Lantern exchanges glances with the Flash, J'onn, and Wonder Woman. Silent communication passes between them, and Superman knows that he's the rookie here, the last to join the league of heroes. He hasn't managed that connection just yet, but he's working on it. They all work well together after all.
Wonder Woman's lips twitch with her own confusion. "Appeal to him... how?"
The Flash snorts, fingers curling around a glass of lemonade. "You're still trying to get dark and gloomy to join?"
"He'd be a great asset," Superman insists. It's a discussion they've had so many times before. No one has actively rejected the idea of Batman joining them. More, they've all been convinced it would never happen, so accepting or rejecting him is a moot point. In their opinion.
Superman, however, thinks quite differently.
"Or the rain on our parade," the Flash retorts, deadpan. The grin that pulls at his lips proves the joke.
Green Lantern shoots Flash a quieting look, returning his attention to Superman, always with that military focus. "Batman has always been a loner, Superman. I don't think there's anything you could offer him."
"Why not?" Superman asks.
Green Lantern blinks. "I don't know."
"Have you asked him?" Superman presses.
He's answered by an array of blank looks around the table. As though talking to Batman is completely anathema to them. Like the thought has never even crossed their minds. Even Wonder Woman looks surprised at the mere suggestion of it.
"Asked?" Wonder Woman repeats as though seeking clarification.
Superman can't decide if he's appalled, baffled, or amused. "As in talked to him," he says, as though he hadn't been obvious before.
Flash bursts into laughter. "Definitely a rookie," he comments, with a head tilt toward Superman before he swings his gaze toward the newest hero to grace Earth. "You don't talk to Bats. You can talk at him, but it's like banging into a brick wall at 200 miles per hour. Gets you nothing but a headache."
Spoken as though from personal experience, but in his limited interaction with Batman, Superman gets the feeling he wouldn't tolerate even spending five minutes in the same room with Flash.
"He is a bit... grumpy," Superman concedes.
"Grumpy?" Green Lantern repeats, shaking his head. "That's a kind way of putting it." He gets up from the table, taking his empty cup with him, no doubt to rinse it off in the small sink placed in their equally small kitchen as part of their even smaller base.
Someday, Superman hopes to have a real base of operations, other than this makeshift rented out – under an alias, of course – warehouse in the middle of Metropolis. They'd chosen Metropolis as a central location for the simple reason that recent experience had proven all the really super-powered villains tended to come after Superman first.
Smart planning on their part? Perhaps.
Of them all, J'onn is the only one who actually lives in their pathetic excuse for a headquarters. But then, Superman supposes none of them are, in their real identities, a billionaire with nothing better to spend their money on. Such is the way of things.
Anyway, back to the conversation at hand, which is his insistence that Batman be included in the ranks of the Justice League.
"I'm still of the opinion that his addition is necessary," Superman says, with an argumentative note.
Wonder Woman taps a perfectly shaped fingernail against the table top. "What makes you think you can convince him?"
This gives Superman pause. He actually has to consider it. What makes him certain? After all, he has no idea what would intrigue Batman. He doesn't know why Batman isn't interested in the first place. He doesn't know anything about Batman, which really is the problem now that he thinks about it.
"I'm determined," Superman finally answers. If there's one thing he has in bundles, it's his stubbornness. And a bit of patience, as well.
Flash cackles, shoving back his chair and leaping to his feet with a red-blur of movement. "You'll annoy him into joining us?" he says, with another laugh, and claps Superman on the shoulder, only to wince and shake his hand. "Good luck, brave soldier."
"No man is an island," Superman insists, with that aforementioned stubbornness. "There's got to be something that'll interest him."
J'onn nods, ever supportive. "Of course, Superman," he says. "I hope you succeed."
It can't be that hard, Superman thinks. He'll just have to do some research. Find out everything he can about Batman, perhaps even figure out the Dark Knight's secret identity. Seems only fair, after all, since Batman knows his. And research is one thing Clark Kent is quite used to.
Defeat, on the other hand, is something neither Superman nor Clark Kent can stomach. Operation: Recruit Batman is still a go.
A week later, Clark Kent adds the final words to an article, zips it off to Mr. White via the Internet, and quickly changes into Superman. He leaps out a window and is a red-blue blur in the sky before his keyboard has managed to cool. In a matter of minutes, Superman is flying over Gotham, scanning the dusk-streaked streets and rooftops for Batman.
Which is something much easier said than done. Part of Batman's signature is to keep to the shadows, to use the darkness to hide and skulk about. He is a creature of subtlety. Superman, however, is nothing if not tenacious.
He performs several sweeps over Gotham, using his x-ray vision when necessary, super-hearing tuned to the sound of possible altercations or that familiar gravelly and obviously disguised voice.
An hour later, he finally locates Batman near the docks, and Superman banks around for a closer look. He finds Batman and one of the local thugs, and it would appear that Batman is interrogating the man. Only, he's using a less than traditional approach.
Somehow, Superman doesn't think that dangling the hapless man by one foot at a twenty story drop is particularly ethical. In fact, it seems downright dangerous and cruel. Superman knows that Batman employs unconventional methods but this... isn't quite what he imagined.
Without thinking of the consequences, Superman decides to intervene. Squaring his jaw, he swoops in and snatches the hapless thug from thin air, rescuing him from an untimely demise. The poor criminal quickly becomes a babbling, weeping mess of fear that clings to Superman's chest, gibbering on about monsters and bats and how afraid he is of heights.
He also reeks of booze and smoke, but Superman pretends his enhanced senses aren't being offended right now.
With the thug now attached to his chest like a quivering octopus, Superman lands on the roof near to Batman, ready to ask the caped crusader just what on Earth he's thinking, pulling that kind of dangerous, unethical interrogation.
However, in a strange show of initiative, Batman is for once the first to speak. And he has nothing kind to say.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Batman demands, voice pitched low and nothing less than a growl, his hands moving jerkily as he reels in the line he'd been using to suspend his victim twenty stories up.
For a moment, with a criminal gibbering in his arms like he's been attacked by the devil himself and Batman approaching with a malevolent aura, eyes thin slits in his mask, Superman is a bit intimidated. He always thought himself fully capable of taking down Batman but suddenly... he's not so sure.
There are too many unknown factors for him to be absolutely certain.
Superman's careful script of convincing recruitment flies out the window and off his tongue. "I-"
He suddenly has a face full of dark black mask – lined with lead damn it – and narrowed brown eyes. Were they brown before?
"That's my informant," Batman snarls in that gravelly voice of his, sounding two steps from a physical altercation. "I don't care how things work in Metropolis, but here in Gotham, you don't interfere in my business!"
Superman gapes before managing to collect himself. "You were torturing him," he argues, before realizing that perhaps arguing with the man he's trying to convince is not the best course of action.
"I wasn't going to kill him," Batman huffs, dismissively.
Yet, Superman careful notes that he doesn't deny torturing.
The smelly thug sniffles pathetically. "You weren't?"
Batman's gaze swings back to the criminal. "Yes, I was," he growls warningly before reverting his attention to Superman, his eyes hot and bright. "What. Do. You. Want?"
Superman works his jaw. "I-"
"If this is about your happy band of superheroes," Batman interrupts with a thinly disguised sneer of disgust, "I'm not interested."
He turns away with a sharp huff, a clomp of his reinforced boots, and a sweep of his dark cape, anger in every rigid motion.
Any protest Superman might have made is whisked away by the wind as Batman jerks out his grapple gun, fires it, and leaps from the building, swinging away on the end of a thin line. Not an inch of fear in him for the heights.
Superman is left alone. He has nothing but a whimpering thug to show for his efforts. No more insight into Batman and how he works. No clue how to proceed from here. Nothing.
This hadn't gone well at all. The Flash is going to laugh himself sick, if Superman decides to share the whole bungled up encounter. The only bright side is that he managed to get Batman to talk to him. Kind of.
Superman sighs, glancing at the thug in his arms, who is more than likely a criminal. Batman doesn't terrorize the innocent after all. Might as well drop him off at Gotham PD on his way back to Metropolis, Superman supposes.
He'll just have to try again. Another time, but not today because Batman is already rather torqued at him, and Superman doesn't think making him angrier will lead to an agreement.
With that in mind, Superman once more takes to the sky, mind already spinning with possibilities. Batman both deserves and needs to be a member of the Justice League. He just doesn't know it yet.
a/n: I'm sure there will be a sequel to this, I just don't know what it's going to be about yet. Suggestions?
Feedback on new fandoms is always welcome!