A/N: Supes and GA team up in this chapter :D yay! And this is officially the longest chapter I've ever written!

XXX,

Eve


Roy walked out to the courtyard with adrenaline pumping through his veins. He smirked a little and his confidence soared as he pushed past all of the football players to where Roy stood, looking defeated and scared. The second the ginger caught eyes with Oliver, he sighed in relief.

"Hey, Queen." Whitmore grinned, approaching the archer. "Want the first shot?"

Oliver looked down at Roy as if measuring out his options. This was just pathetic. Roy could only stand as tall as Oliver's waist; he was a tiny kid. Why Whitmore thought it was supposedly 'tough' to beat up such a puny kid was beyond him. "Sure. I'll take the first one." He cracked his elbow, watching Whitmore grin. With a smirk, he backed up slightly. Then he sent a punch straight into Whitmore's jaw with a loud crack.

Oh, god, he wanted a camera. Whitmore's face was priceless.

Of course, the rest of the football players didn't hesitate to gang up. The circled around Oliver, ignoring Roy as the kid ran to the school. Whitmore was behind the row of lackeys, clutching his jaw as a little blood dribbled from his mouth down his chin.

"Queen, you are so dead." One of the other players, Jaxx, growled before launching forward. Oliver dodged the oncoming punch and jumped to avoid the foot trying to knock him off balance. He heard a shout and looked over to see Clark less than two feet away, breaking through the pack of football players until they were side-by-side.

"Please tell me you have a plan?" He muttered as they moved back to back, glaring down the football players and daring another one to move as Jaxx stumbled back into line.

"Yeah. I got Roy out of here." Oliver replied. "That was the plan." Clark groaned, and they both ducked in unison as one of the football players bowled towards them. He tripped over the two crouching teens, and Clark used the momentum of the trip to push him into another football player.

"I hope you know I'm against this completely." Clark said. "We shouldn't use violence to solve all of our problems." He was holding back his true strength, Oliver could tell.

"Yeah, well. You could always," Oliver caught a foot before it could kick his stomach, "leave." He gritted as he was overpowered, and felt the foot dig into one of his bruised ribs. He hissed before hitting the leg hard and smiled bitterly as he was released.

"And let you get pummeled?" Clark asked, redirecting a punch away from his face. "I like your face the way it is, thank you very much." He frowned. "You could have handled this better. Talk to me before you try something like this again."

"Yeah, yeah." Oliver felt an arm grab him and pull him away from Clark, and felt a punch connect with his back. He hit the ground on all fours, groaning and wishing he'd let himself get patched up sooner. He looked up through the football players, hoping there was some sort of teacher walking around to get them to break up. He saw a couple students walking nearby, pausing to stare at the fight.

A kick landed on his stomach, vicious and quick. Oliver coughed up a little blood, staring at it in shock a sit splattered against the ground. In the corner of his eye, he saw another kick coming his way. He dropped to the ground and flipped over onto his back, watching the foot soar above it's intended target before grabbing it and flipping it's owner onto the ground. He flinched as a smacking noise nearby filled the air and quickly stood up to see what it was.

Said noise came from one Tommy Shepherd, who now stood over several groaning football players. He pushed his way through the fight to Oliver, staring at him meaningfully for a minute before nodding and taking on another bully. Clark caught Oliver's eyes, looking shocked and horrified at the blood, before growling. He looked ready to kill something when they heard a shout.

Oliver could only gape as Phil made his way over to the fight, sporting an expensive black suit and dark, mirror-lense sunglasses. The vein in his forehead was bulging, revealing how angry he was. He pushed Clark and a football player apart and pointed to the school doors. "You will go inside and wait for a teacher to call your parents and escort you home." His words were petty, but the tone in his voice was deadly. The group nodded, save Tommy and Oliver, who stood there stubbornly. Clark stayed glued to the archer's side as the football team walked away. Phil gave the remainders a once-over, eyes stopping on Tommy, who glared back.

"What?" He snapped finally, when Phil refused to look away. "Like what you see?"

Oliver's lips twitched into a smirk. Leave it to Tommy to back-talk the one guy who could probably knock him into next week.

"Tommy Shepherd." Phil walked up to the teen, who took a few steps back. "We've been looking for-"

He was interrupted by the two people who'd been walking with the albino boy before the fight. Billy stood in front of his sibling with a hesitant grin while Teddy pulled the teen away. "Sorry, sorry," Billy apologized. "Don't take it personally, he's rude to everyone." With that, he and the rest of their trio scampered away, leaving Clark standing protectively near Oliver.

"Who are you?" He asked in an authoritative voice. He didn't back down when Phil approached him.

"My name is Phil. " Came the cool reply. "I take care of Mr. Queen." At the mention of his name, Oliver snorted.

"You don't 'take care' of me, so stop trying." He said. Clark looked between the two uncertainly. "I told you before, you don't control me. I don't know what you and Hill are trying to do, but I don't want to be involved in it. I'm not some chess piece you can just move around the board."

"This is for your own safety." Phil replied, but before he could grab Oliver and drag him away, Clark grabbed his outstretched hand.

"If Oliver doesn't want to go with you, he shouldn't have to." Clark said carefully, annunciating every word clearly and tightening his grip just a tad in warning. Phil stared at the two, and Oliver swore he saw a faint outline of a smile before he retreated.

"Be back by ten." Phil warned as he walked away, giving the archer a pointed look. Oliver nodded a little, knowing he could just sneak out for patrol later. He instead focused on the throbbing in his stomach from where he'd been kicked.

"Oliver, I'm taking you to my place." Clark pulled the archer out of the courtyard, past the football stadium and underneath the bleachers. In the blink of an eye, he was changed into his Superman costume. He picked the archer up bridal-style and walked out from under the bleachers, cape rippling in the wind. "I'll patch you up there." With that, they flew into the air.

They were completely unaware of the pair of wide, young green eyes watching them from around the corner.


Oliver felt safe in Clark's strong, muscled arms. He sighed as they touched the ground, and felt Clark flit into the barn, setting the blond down on the bed. He disappeared, returning with an armful of bandages and a bottle rubbing alcohol. Oliver sat up, swinging his legs over the edge and pulling off his shirt. He smirked a little as he saw Clark's face redden.

"Where does it hurt?" The blue-eyed meta asked quietly, fumbling with the bandages.

"Everywhere." Oliver answered seriously. Upon seeing Clark's face, he laughed a little and pointed to a nasty cut running down his side. Clark went to work, dabbing the rubbing alcohol against the cut and holding Oliver's hand protectively.

"Does it hurt?" He asked in concern, watching his crush carefully. Oliver gritted his teeth, clenching Clark's hand tightly.

"Of course it hurts, dammit!" He hissed, though it was more directed toward the pain than at the brunet, who paused in his ministrations. "Jesus, I didn't tell you to stop! Get it over with!" His abs clenched as Clark continued, swabbing the rubbing alcohol over the wound.

"Are you still going out tonight?" Clark asked, trying to distract the blond.

"Yeah." Oliver unclenched his jaw slightly. "I've had worse than this." He stifled a shout when Clark accidentally jabbed the swab into the cut in shock.

"Sorry!" The painful fingers jumped away from his skin, moving to cup his jaw and force him to look down at Clark. "It's just...I don't like hearing you say stuff like that." He sighed before moving back to cleaning the laceration. His dark brown hair covered his eyes, his expression sad.

"Look." Oliver tried to find the right words, pausing to clench his hand around Clark's as the cut reopened slightly. "What's already happened is out of your control. Just...just focus on what's happening now." He sighed as the bloody cotton swab was removed, and lifted his arms out of the way as he let Clark wrap it up.

"I know." The brunet replied. He finished tying the knot on the bandages and sighed. "All done. What else hurts?"

"Clark," Oliver sighed. "If we go over every little cut and scrape we'll be here all night. You got the worst of it, let's leave it at that."

Clark looked ready to argue, but then sighed and nodded, putting the first aid kit away. He sat next to Oliver on the bed. "So...we have a few hours before we meet Catwoman..." He leaned in a little. Oliver raised his eyebrows in a little surprise, before accepting the fact that kissing Clark felt good and he wanted to. He felt full lips gently press against his own, as if asking for permission. It was nothing more than lips-to-lips, extremely chaste, and an unimpressed archer pushed back with his lips harder before opening his mouth.

The superhuman beside him didn't miss a beat, immediately opening his own mouth and slowly pressing Oliver into the mattress, careful not to upset any old wounds. They kissed for a minute or so before the archer realized that yes, he wanted more than this and no, Clark was definitely not going to be the one to initiate it. So taking the lead, he brushed his arms between their bodies and began to tug at the brunet's shirt impatiently.

He grinned as Clark chuckled and helped him pull it off, before steady hands moved to take away his own. He wedged his knee between Clark's thighs and moved it slightly before hearing a ripping noise.

Oh well. He didn't really like that shirt anyway. He pushed away the fabric still clinging to his skin and moaned as Clark moved from kissing him to kissing his neck. He felt warm hands travel down his sides, memorizing every detail on his skin, and didn't hesitate to return the offer. He kept the friction between their legs continuous and moaned loudly as the brunet above him left a large hickey on his collar bone. Heat coursed through their bodies as they tried to gain as much access to each other as possible.

He felt hands travel down his chest and side, trailing lower and lower until-

Beep.

No. No. This was not happening.

Beep.

He felt Clark pull away to get Oliver's phone, which lay on his desk within arms reach, but he quickly latched onto the meta and kissed him fiercely. Smiling as he felt himself getting pressed deeper into the mattress, he tried to continue with what they'd been doing.

Beep.

Fuck.

He groaned in irritation as Clark peeled their bodies apart, cheeks red, and reached over to hand him the phone. He flipped it open without looking at the caller i.d.

"Who the hell is it?" He asked aggressively, gripping the arm on his waist that threatened to pull away.

"Busy?" He froze. Selina sounded more amused than angry, but he wouldn't blame her for giving him the cold shoulder after what he'd said to her.

"I, uh...yeah." He finished lamely. "But not if you need me."

"I want to meet your friend." She replied.

"My what?" Who was she talking about?

"Your friend. You said someone wanted to tag along tonight." He could practically hear her roll her eyes. "I don't work with people I haven't met."

"Oh."

"Is that a problem?"

"N-" He paused the conversation to glare at Clark, who had tried to move away and froze when he was caught. "No."

"Good. Mel's Diner at six." She hung up. Oliver snapped the phone shut, catching Clark's eyes and realizing that maybe he'd underestimated how he felt about the teen. Normally, he would pass it off due to the fact that his identity had been revealed, but he knew that that had nothing to do with it.

"I'm guessing you heard everything?" He asked. Clark shrugged.

"More or less." He grinned a little. "So...I get to see who Catwoman is? Why is she showing me her identity?"

"Because she knows that you found out mine." Clark looked impressed, and Oliver hastily elaborated. "She just knows that kind of stuff. Infers it, I guess."

"And she's not even a little freaked out?" Clark was hesitant. "I mean, you pretty much ran away from me when I found out, so..."

"She trusts me." Oliver said, lying back on the sheets with a huff. He felt the blood begin to flow through his brain again, and bit his lip at the tempting thought of ignoring the call and continuing where they'd left off. "I don't know what I'm going to do about my shirt..."

"Sorry about that." Clark blushed. "I wasn't expecting you to-um. Yeah." He sat up and untangled their legs, grabbing his own shirt and pulling it back on. "Lemme see if I have anything that might fit you."

"Nothing neon." Oliver called, wondering if he needed a cold shower.

"Wouldn't even think of it." Clark called back over his shoulder.


Jamie woke up in a living room. He was lying face up on a plush green couch, a cream carpet spread over the floor. A small t.v sat across the seating arrangement, and to the left was a tiny kitchen. He assumed he was in some kind of apartment, and was about to get up when he heard footsteps. Thinking quickly, he faked sleep.

A woman's voice-the redhead who'd knocked him out-rang out. "We found Loki's signature heat imprint."

"That's good." A man's voice, sarcastic in nature, replied, before feet padded over close to where Jamie was. "You can open your eyes, kid. We know you're awake."

Fighting not to blush, Jamie sat up and opened his eyes. A man in a black vest and pants with a purple stripe across his chest was kneeling next to him. He had short light brown hair and sea green eyes, and had a bow and arrows strapped to his back.

"Good morning." He remarked with a smirk, standing up and walking over to the redheaded woman. He passed her and grabbed a mug of coffee from the kitchen counter.

"Why am I here?" Jamie asked, figuring that if they wanted to hurt him they would've already done it. "Who are you guys?"

"My name's Natasha." The woman said. "His name is Clint. We're SHIELD agents."

"So you work for like...the government?"

Clint smirked. "Something like that." He paused thoughtfully. "But more...badass. And smarter."

"We're looking for Bart too, Jamie. We're on your side." Natasha said. "But we need to know what you know."

"But I don't know anything." Jamie protested. "That's why I was asking around. I'm just trying to find my friend."

"We know. We want you to find him too." Natasha said. "But if you remember anything that could be important, come to us first. And we'll share anything we find with you. Deal?"

"Deal." Jamie smiled a little, still embarrassed about being caught awake. "So...who's Loki?"

"Man, kid." Clint coughed a little into his fist. "You've got a lot of catching up to do."


"I hate you." Oliver grumbled under his breath as Clark held him bridal-style, flying down to the diner.

"Oh, come on." Clark was fighting a smile. "It's not that bad."

"But it's so cheesy." Oliver grimaced, tugging at the shirt uncomfortably. "And I do not believe you when you say this was the only shirt that would fit me." He sighed and stopped fidgeting as they dropped to the ground. His feet touched the ground softly and Clark lingered on letting go.

"I like it." The brunet replied. Oliver could see why. Having Superman's logo printed across the dark blue shirt his crush was wearing was probably a big 'he's mine' to Clark, even if no one else could see it.

"Yeah, well, soak it in. 'Cause this is the first and last time I'll be wearing it." Oliver quipped, walking into the diner and sitting down in an empty booth. Clark slid in next to him and checked his watch.

"We're early." He commented.

"Yeah," Oliver replied. "She'll be here soon." A waiter skated by and winked at Oliver before rolling up to the table.

"I finally got the hang of this." Dinah said, before sticking out her hand to Clark. "I'm Dinah. It's nice to meet you."

"Likewise." Clark said. "How do you know Oliver?"

"Oh, don't worry." She smiled knowingly. "I'm not going to steal him from you or anything. He frequents here." Both Clark and Oliver blushed at the blatant inference.

"What gave it away?" Oliver asked. Dinah just smiled wider, before laughing a little and handing them both menus.

"Is anyone else coming?" She asked, wondering if she should put out another menu. She rocked back and forth on her skates slightly as she spoke. "Or am I interrupting something."

"Selina's coming at six." Oliver replied. Dinah set out another menu on the other side of the booth and skated away. "So...anyone you're worried about in Smallville?"

"Lionel Luthor's causing some trouble." Clark said. "But I don't think it's anything to worry about."

"That's good." Oliver commented, and the conversation waned to awkward silence. It was painfully obvious that neither of them were good at making small talk, or discussing things that they could talk about in public. So far the only conversations they'd ever held were intense or serious, conversation topics that weren't suitable for places like diners.

Clark opened his mouth to say something about the weather when a woman slid into the other side of the booth. He gaped openly at her-she was gorgeous. Burgundy lips edged into a pearly complexion. Her long, thick eyelashes batted against her cheeks, and her long dark brown hair was pulled into a slick pony tail. The way she held herself was calm and confident, but there was obviously a playful side to her personality. She picked up the menu and rested her head on her hand, elbow pressed against the table. She didn't look up at either of them as she spoke.

"Hello, Clark." She scanned the menu with a bored expression. Clark tried to pretend that her knowing his name didn't creep him out. "What's on your mind?"

Clark had the feeling that she already knew exactly what he was thinking, but decided to say it anyway. "I'm surprised you and Oliver don't argue more often." He blurted out. Oliver turned and gave him a half horrified, half what-the-hell-are-you-dong stare and Selina's expression refused to change.

"Hm." She said, waiting for him to elaborate.

"I just mean...when Oliver talked about you it seemed like you two are really close. But you're both so different, it's hard to see how that's possible."

Silence. Clark silently prayed that he hadn't pissed her off. Trying to calm down, he focused more on Oliver's heartbeat. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. Ba-bump.

"I like you." She put down the menu and looked at them both. "You're truthful. So tell me why you think you should go with us tonight."

God, it felt like he was in a job interview. Nerve-wracked, Clark just said the first thing that came to mind. "I'm Superman."

She raised an eyebrow. "So I assumed." She stared openly at Oliver's shirt, and said archer blushed before staring determinedly out the window. "Is that the only reason?"

"Because I...I want to make Smallville safe. I want to make the world safe, if that's possible. I want to help people, and I can, that's what I'm good at. So I'd be really grateful if you let me help tonight." Wow. The words sounded a lot less cheesy in his mind.

"Okay." Selina shrugged. "We'll leave at ten. Meanwhile," She leaned back a little with a serious expression and faced Oliver. "I want to know exactly when you two started going out and why I did not know about it."


Bart could barely open his eyes. His head rang, and he felt like someone had ran into him with a monster truck. He wondered if he was dead, then realized that dead people couldn't feel pain.

He felt almost like he was back in the future again, and he couldn't quite figure out why. Something about the way he felt was the same, and it irritated him and made him blink away the fuzziness from his vision.

He was in a lab. A pristine, white-tiled lab with computers and liquid concoctions taking up the counters and various needles cluttering gray tubs on the floor. Across from him was a strange treadmill with various wires and tubes sticking out.

He blinked. Was he...was he in the future again? Did they somehow drag him back? He felt panic made him flighty, and tears welled up in his eyes. No. Jamie promised he would never let me go back... He gulped. How could Jamie have helped him, when they didn't even know where he was?

He suddenly realized why he'd felt like he was in the future again. His hands flew to the collar around his neck, ignoring the scarring pain that rushed through him as he tried to rip it off. He'd never vibrated his molecules before but almost wanted to try, before remembering what happened to Wally when he first tried to.

He felt humiliated. He was collared like a dog. And now that he looked around, he was caged like a dog, too. The cell was a rough four foot by four foot cube, with a metal lock keeping him inside it.

He pushed himself into the corner of it and willed himself not to shake.

"Come now, Bartholomew." A silky, devious voice filled his ears. Loki. "Don't be afraid...I am simply acquiring your help."

Another man with short, dark brown hair and sun-spotted skin came into view. "I will never understand you gods." He sighed, staring down at Bart like he was the scum of the earth. "He's a lab animal, plain and simple. No point in dolling it up."

"W-what do you w-want me for?" Bart whimpered as Loki stepped closer and kneeled near the cage, a look of pity in his eyes.

"Do not fear, young one. I do not intend for this to kill you." He pointed beyond Bart's view of the lab. "I simply need energy, something I understand you are quite apt to provide. In return, I will not harm this world. It is not of my own; I, not unlike you, was pulled into this unfortunate universe. I intend to return to the kingdom that is rightfully mine, and I cannot do so without your cooperation."

"T-the c-collar." Bart was ready to hyperventilate. "Why is it on m-me?"

"It is not of my choice." Loki replied softly. "And if you must know, if it were you would not be wearing it."

So it really had started with Lionel, and not Lex. Bart nodded a little.

"You'll need to leave while we test him." Lionel said.

"Of course." Loki replied, leaving the room swiftly. The blood left Bart's face as Lionel grinned at him.

"We'll be doing this." The man said. "Whether we have your cooperation or not."


"Why are you here?" They'd found Green Lantern and Batman waiting silently outside of the Luthor residence. Green Lantern was not pleased at their appearance.

"Lionel's been up to something. He took someone from us, kidnapped a kid. We're getting him back." Clark whispered, GA crouching behind a giant potted tree to his left, and Catwoman balancing easily on a tree to his right. Clark himself was hiding behind a tree, the same one as Green Lantern, which didn't do much to boost the mood.

"Fine. Just don't get in our way." GL warned. He peered around the tree trunk and saw Batman and Catwoman getting closer and closer to the alarm systems and security cameras. "Jesus, it's like he spent all his money on security."

Batman gave a signal and GL sighed. "We're good to go. Let's move in." Quietly, him, Clark, and Oliver ran down the dark green lawn and pressed themselves against the side of the house lines with bushes. Catwoman slid down from her perch by the security camera between Clark and GL, pointing to a window hidden by the plants. Oliver nodded, crouching down and deftly unlocking it, carefully unhinging the window before popping out the framing. He ducked his head in and checked to make sure no one was inside the room before slipping inside.

He walked slowly around the room, fingers groping the wall for any sort of alarm system as he avoided bumping into anything. When his search found nothing, he found the light switch and flipped it twice. Getting the signal from outside, Selina ushered everyone into the room.

It was full of empty storage boxes, and GL pushed ahead to the door. Oliver turned of the lights again as the man opened it, wary of making their arrival known. Apparently, the hallway was empty as well. They pulled back into the storage room and turned the lights back on.

"Okay," GL said, "There's six doors each side, not counting this one. I figure we split into two pairs and one person goes alone. That'd be the fastest."

"I'll go alone." Clark volunteered. "My skin's invulnerable. I'm physically the strongest."

"Which is why you should go in a pair." GL replied. "If two people get caught, it'll be a lot harder to get them out than one person, who'll be stealthier alone. Whoever goes solo should look around past this hallway while everybody else scopes out the rooms."

"I'll go." Oliver said. "Between the three of us," He gestured to himself, Batman, and Catwoman, "I'm the quietest and probably the fastest. I use arrows, so even if I do get caught I won't make a lot of noise taking people down; it wouldn't attract more attention."

"Okay. That sounds good." GL said. Clark looked ready to protest but was glared down by Oliver. "Lets go." He nodded to Selina, who sighed before nodding back and following him out the door. Oliver went next, disappearing into the dark hall and moving past the doors.

"Don't mess up." Batman growled, turning off the light as they walked into the hallway, closing the door behind them. They walked up to the closest door and slowly opened it. Nothing but boxes, and a few nuts and bolts.

Clark paused before realizing how stupid he was being. Exasperated, he pulled Batman into the empty room and closed the door. He tensed up, watching Clark through a glassy black mask.

"I can use my superhearing."

"You." Batman pointed at him, voice deadly. "Have superhearing."

Clark nodded. "Yeah. Just...just give me a second to focus. I think I'll be able to hear Bar-the kid's heartbeat." He closed his eyes and let his mind go, letting his physical instincts pull him in. It felt like he was everywhere-in the hallway, in the rooms, with Oliver, outside by the security cameras...he struggled to make sense of what he was hearing and where it was coming from, and winced. He felt surprise wash over him as a hand clamped onto his shoulder in what he could only assume was comfort.

"Just focus on the heartbeats." Batman advised, and Clark nodded.

First, Batman's. It was the closest, and therefore the loudest and the easiest to track. He then found Selina's, listening to it's light pitter patter, and GL's, the heavy thump almost overpowering the other two. He used those three points to orient himself, to figure out where he was in relation to the rest of the residence.

From there, he found Oliver's comforting heartbeat, traveling farther down the hallway away from him. And then he felt it.

It was weak-faint-but there. A quiet fluttering noise, like a bird trapped in a cage. He identified it immediately as Bart's, after familiarizing it in Gotham when the kid was dressed as Impulse. Several feet away from that heartbeat was another, a heavy beating like a drum, pushed on by adrenaline. Lionel. "He's...he's nearby. I think they drugged him. Lionel's close to him. There's..." He sensed it, a low thrum. "There's someone else there too. Their heartbeat is strange. It could be another victim?" He opened his eyes. "I don't think there's anyone else here. I can sense where Lex is, but he's asleep."

"Good." Batman replied shortly, retracting his hand from Clark's shoulder.

"Yeah. You go back and-" He blinked. The hand was back, squeezing his shoulder enough to make a normal human's pop out of it's socket. "I-I mean, I'll tell them and you can go meet with Green Arrow. I'll-I'll catch up with you." Batman nodded and let go, and damn if that wasn't the single most intimidating moment in Clark's life. He flew quickly out of the room and to where Selina and GL were, and quickly informed them of what was happening before flying towards Oliver. He froze as he heard his archer's heartbeat pick up and shudder.

He stopped focusing on the heartbeats and tried to figure out what was happening. A smash, and the shatter of glass made him pick up his pace. He whipped around the corner and found himself facing a single door. It had the words 'Testing Lab 13' printed on frosted glass. He hesitated, but a loud shout from who he identified to be Oliver made him smash through the doorway.

Oliver was groaning from against the wall as he slid down it to the ground, head bleeding slightly. His bow was across the room under Lionel's foot. Glass had shattered from where Oliver had been pushed into a box of syringes. Batman was across the lab, standing protectively in front of Bart with a few throwing knives in his hands. He threw several at Lionel, one of them catching the man in the leg, before launching forward. They both rolled across the ground, before Batman kicked his feet like a kangaroo and lunched Lionel into the wall, shattering a few white tiles.

Clark heard GL and Selina rounding the corner, but barely registered it. He stared openly at Oliver, who rolled away from Lionel to his bow and then to Bart. There were multiple scratches from the syringes, on his arms.

Oliver was hurt. And Lionel had been the one to inflict that pain.

He growled, seeing red, before launching himself at the villain. "You." He punched Lionel's arrogant, smirking face. "Will. Not. Touch. Him!" He felt a hand on his shoulder pulling him back to reality.

"Calm. Down." Batman growled. "He's down." They both looked down at Lionel, knocked unconscious by Clark's punches to his face.

"We're getting you out of here." Oliver muttered as he gathered Bart into his arms. The kid looked small and fragile in the archer's arms, curling into the hold like a child and whimpering. His pale fingers scratched at the collar around his neck.

"Man, you really did a number on him." GL commented, openly impressed. "Remind me not to get on your bad side."

"Let's just get out of here." Selina said. "The longer we linger the faster he'll wake up." Clark didn't quite understand how that would happen, but no one argued it. They were about to leave the room when a man stepped in the doorway.

The man with the faulty heartbeat. He smiled sinisterly at the speedster in Oliver's arms. "I see you have acquired my energy source."

"He's not an energy source." Selina remarked. "He's a person."

"All the same," The man shrugged. "Normally, I would not intervene. But...you have proved to be most interesting. I do hope we can battle in the future. And so I let you leave with a warning." He stepped to the side, leaving the doorway empty. His voice echoed into the tiled room. "Without me, your young friend, and many others, will never return home. And while you may have taken him, I always have back ups."

Silence. Then,

"What is that supposed to mean?" Batman grunted. Clark stared at the spot where the man had been.

"There's...there's no heartbeat. He's gone."

"Let's just get out of here before Luthor wakes up." Oliver said gruffly, Bart shivering in his arms. The rest of them nodded.

"Okay," GL said. "Let's move out."


Dick walked impatiently around the flat, biting his lip and drumming his fingers against his arms. Bart had disappeared at the beginning of the day; anything could have happened to him by now. It made Dick nervous.

He was worried. And that was saying something.

Bruce hadn't let him come along on patrol, which Dick found frustrating since he'd spent years convincing his own Batman to let him out alone. It felt like a giant step backward. He also knew that, as long as Luthor had control of the reality machine they would never make it home.

He'd already guessed that Luthor planned on using a speedster to power the machine, and that in itself was a worrying thought. What was worse was that he was one hundred percent positive there was no way for Luthor to already know about Bart. Which meant that there was a Bart in this universe, and he was also in danger.

He chewed his lip raw and sat down on the couch. He hated waiting, and this was why. It was too much to leave him alone with his thoughts. He could already feel his stress levels rising.

Well, he thought. No need to sit here worrying. He walked into John's bedroom, sifting through the closet before finding a jacket that would fit him and slipping it on before leaving the apartment. The cool night air brushed against his pale skin, and he sighed and closed his eyes.

He missed Wally. So, so much. Artemis, being the speedster's best friend, had been broken up about it. But Dick had been Wally's boyfriend for five years. If Artemis was broken up, Dick was shattered. His world had turned upside down.

He wondered if there was a Wally in this world. His heart ached as it warred with his mind between finding out and leaving it be. It wasn't as if he could stay here and be with him if he did exist. Or that Wally would even like him like that here. But...he had to know. Had to see him, even if it was only a parallel version of him. Dick had to wrap things up with him, finally tell him everything that he'd hesitated to say.

He gulped as he walked into a Starbucks for coffee. He was definitely going to regret this.