Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Family Values

Family Valies

by Mara

Summary: Working for the Justice League can lead you to some pretty strange
places. Chloe should know better than to get complacent.

Author’s Chapter Notes:

Fine, it’s a series. Happy now? ::glares at everyone:: This one is
totally Reanne’s fault. ::glares specifically at her:: I didn’t originally
intend…well, you’ll see. Let’s just say she gave the characters some ideas and
then they insisted. Hmmph. Big thanks to Ozchick for helping the story flow,
forcing Batman to make more sense, and giving Alfred a chance to speak. Thanks
to Amarin Rose for the line edit and clearing up some muddy prose.

CONTINUITY: This is a sequel to “Family Life” and “Family Ties”, alternate reality futurefics which ignore all Smallville canon later than the middle ofseason 4 and borrow some older bits of comic canon.

Chloe noticed she was tapping her fingers on the conference table. Again. She
tried to stop, but decided that it was a definite improvement over what she
*wanted* to do: leap across the table and strangle Batman.

Not that she’d have any success, but the temptation to try was fairly strong.

(The Flash was tapping his fingers too, but he *always* did. The man just
couldn’t stay still.)

“Batman,” Chloe said with exaggerated patience, “I appreciate your concerns, but
the reason I’m *here* is to promote the League. And nail Lionel Luthor to the
wall, of course, but if you want to make certain that the world media doesn’t
create the image of the League, a certain amount of publicity is necessary.”

He scowled in a way that she was sure made criminals quake in their boots. “I do
not speak in public.”

“Fine,” she said, slapping her notebook on the table and leaning back. “That’s
fine. There are plenty of Leaguers who give a good interview.” She waved her
hand at Wonder Woman and Superman. “If you’d *listen* to me, you’d realize that
wasn’t what I was asking. In any case, I’d be insane if I put you, Mr. Tall,
Dark, and Gloomy, on television to promote this organization!”

Superman and the Flash had sudden coughing fits and Chloe realized what she’d
said. Wonder Woman, obviously tired of listening to them bicker, broke in.
“Perhaps we could move on.”

“No,” Chloe said, fed up. “I think we need to deal with this now.”

Superman looked at Wonder Woman. “I wish J’onn were here,” he whispered.

“I heard that!” Chloe said, glaring at them.

Batman matched her glare, causing Superman to subside and Wonder Woman to shake
her head as if to say she wasn’t responsible for either of them. The Flash
stared up at the ceiling with a look that said ‘I’m not here, teacher, so don’t
call on me.’

“If you don’t want me here, why don’t you say so?” Chloe asked, turning to
Batman.

His expression didn’t change. “I didn’t say that,” he replied.

“You’re certainly acting that way, arguing with every decision I make,
questioning my judgement.”

“If I thought you didn’t belong here, the Watchtower transporters wouldn’t work
for you.” Batman stood up from the table. “I don’t believe you need me at this
meeting. Send me a summary.”

With a swirl of the cape, he strode out the door, leaving Chloe, hand raised to
berate him, mouth hanging open. She snapped her mouth closed, dropped her hand,
and glared at the closed door. “Damn it,” she said fervently, “I *hate* when he
does that.”

Chloe turned and found the three heroes smiling broadly. “What?”

“Congratulations,” Wonder Woman said.

Superman nodded. “Good for you.”

Chloe took a step backward. “Okay…scaring me now.”

The Flash patted her back and returned to his seat in an instant. “What they
mean,” he said, “is that when Batman tells you to send a summary, it means he
trusts you to get it right.”

“Oh.” Chloe blinked. “Okay. Let’s get on with the meeting, then.”

“Of course,” Superman added, “that doesn’t mean he won’t return your summary
with a dozen amendments.”

“Great,” Chloe said as she sat down. “Something to look forward to.”

* * * * *

Chloe whistled under her breath as she sorted through the gigantic pile of
newspaper clippings on her desk in the Watchtower. She’d faced down the scariest
thing to come out of Gotham (at least since the last Gotham Knights away game)
and survived. Okay, it wasn’t a decisive victory, but it felt like a victory
nonetheless.

Hearing footsteps, she looked up, grinning at Kon as he came through the door to
the small office she’d taken over. “Hey,” she said. “This is so cool! If I need
a specific newspaper or magazine anywhere in the world, I just call up the Flash
or Kid Flash and send them off to get it. A few minutes later, I’m clipping
articles from Bild-Zeitung or Le Figaro.”

“That’s great,” he said, his voice flat and tired.

Chloe leaned back in her chair and looked at him. “Come on in and close the
door,” she said. “Tell your Aunty Chloe what’s wrong.”

He blinked. “Aunt Martha is enough. Do I need an Aunt Chloe too?”

“Never mind,” she said. “What’s wrong?”

Kon sat down in the other chair in the room and fidgeted. “It’s nothing wrong,
exactly. It’s just that I need a break.”

“Mmm.” She nodded. “I’ve been pushing you pretty hard, I know.”

“And I know why, but I feel like if one more reporter asks what it’s like to be
a clone… Anyway, Rob knows a place I can hide out from the media for a while.”

Chloe smirked at him. “And with you in the spotlight so much, you two haven’t
had any time together, have you?”

Kon went white. “Uh…there’s nothing…I mean we…”

“Whoa!” She waved a hand. “Relax! What’s wrong? Batman getting on your case for
dating his sidekick?”

Kon just stared at her, jaw hanging slightly open.

“Oh geez, don’t tell me he doesn’t know.” She shook her head. “Some great
detective *he* is. Puh-leaze.”

“We didn’t think anybody knew.”

“How could I *not* know?” She sniffed in disdain for lesser intellects. “I’ve
seen the way he looks at you and you look at him. Robin has shown actual
*emotions*.”

“Oh.” Kon blinked and looked flattered.

“Well,” she said with a shrug, “if you don’t want them to know, I’m certainly
not going to talk. Although…that’d be useful. Think of it: We’d have HRC
working with us in an instant. I’ve heard they’re not that great at advocacy,
though.” She took a look at his pale face. “I’m kidding, Kon. I’d never use you
guys that way. Well, not unless you wanted me to.”

“No!”

“Okay, I got the message.” She grinned at him and he sat back in the chair,
looking less like he was about to have a heart attack. “So, you need a break,
huh?”

“Yeah.” He was more relaxed, but still vibrating enough to look like Kid Flash.

She studied him for a moment, noting the twitch in his fingers and bloodshot
eyes and nodded. “Yeah, I think you do. Okay, you and Robin take off. Just tell
me that you’ve at least told Clark and the Kents that you’re disappearing.
‘Cause if I get Jonathan Kent threatening me for letting you get kidnapped,
you’re gonna hear about it.” She leaned forward and gave him a hard look.

He held up a hand. “I’m going to tell them right now. Promise.” He stood.

His hand was on the door when she had to ask. “They really don’t know?”

“Hmm?”

“Batman and Superman really don’t know that you and Robin are–”

“Dating!” Kon said hastily.

“Dating,” she agreed. “They have no idea?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Huh.” She thought about it for a second and waved him away. “Go take a
vacation. Clark and I will go to the reception in Gotham tonight without you.”

“Reception?”

“Some Wayne Foundation thing. Lot of movers and shakers. Lot of money. It’s not
all about you anymore, remember?”

* * * * *

The room was warm and a little stuffy, but Chloe barely noticed through her glee
at the evening’s successes.

It was 11:30 and she’d made arrangements to speak to several philanthropists–
fundraising was a sort of unofficial part of her job these days–and had found
public opinion in these circles to be *very* favorable toward her charges and
*very* unfavorable toward Lionel Luthor. The latter was due more to his status
as embarrassment to the highest social stratum than any great moral outrage at
his actions, but she’d take what she could get.

As always, she’d been asked a hundred idiotic questions about the Justice League
which were almost balanced by a few dozen insightful ones. Although Chloe
decided she had some sympathy for Kon, because if one more giggling socialite
asked her if Superman was married…well, she wouldn’t be responsible for her
actions.

Chloe hid a grin in a glass of champagne as she remembered the last time someone
had asked that question of Lois. Fortunately, her impetuous cousin had gained
some maturity over the years, or else that particular idiot would have found
herself dangling off the balcony by an oh-so-fashionable stiletto heel.

Okay, who else did she need to speak to?

“Ms. Sullivan?” a tenor voice said behind her.

She turned, professional smile already in place and hand outstretched. “Ye–”
Her eyes widened.

“Ms. Sullivan, it’s nice to meet you at last,” Bruce Wayne said, kissing her
hand. “So you’re the woman who’s been shaking up high finance.”

“I’ve been trying, Mr. Wayne.” She took her hand back when he looked like he was
going to hold onto it.

Wayne gestured to the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, standing a few feet away.
“Lucius tells me that you’ve been very successful. Something about Luthorcorp’s
shareholders?”

“They’ve ousted Lionel Luthor,” she said with satisfaction. “We’re working on
criminal charges next.”

“How fascinating.”

He didn’t sound fascinated, Chloe thought, he sounded slightly bored, but
something about him made her nervous. Weird. She bared her teeth at him. “It is
fascinating. And important. What Lionel Luthor has done *cannot* be accepted in
a civilized world.”

Raising an eyebrow, he grinned at her. “I didn’t say it should.”

Chloe flushed slightly when she realized how vehement she’d sounded. “My
apologies. I take my work seriously.”

“No harm done.” He paused, glancing at the band, which had just started a waltz.
“In fact, would you care to dance?”

“Ah…” Damn, why did this man make her so flustered? “I’d love to, Mr. Wayne.”

“Please, call me Bruce.” He tilted his head toward her.

“Then I’m Chloe.”

When he put one arm around her, leading her onto the floor, Chloe noticed that
he was incredibly muscular. And he was an equally impressive dancer, making her
feel clumsy by comparison. Thank goodness Martha had suggested ballroom dancing
lessons as soon as everyone realized the social circles the League would expose
her to, or else she’d be giving an even poorer showing.

“How did you get a job working for the Justice League?” Bruce asked, as he
nodded at Gotham’s mayor in passing.

She’d been asked that question a hundred times recently. “I met Superman and
Superboy while they were running from Lionel Luthor and I couldn’t resist the
challenge,” she said with a grin.

“That’s exactly what you told the Daily Planet and the Washington Post.” He
looked down at her and she became overly conscious of where their bodies were
touching.

“It’s what I tell everyone. It has the benefit of being true,” she said with
more candor than she’d intended.

“But it’s not the whole story.” Bruce’s tone was much less lighthearted than his
expression as he smiled in passing at two movie stars she vaguely recognized.

“Why do you care, Mr. Wayne?”

“It’s Bruce, remember?”

“I’ll call you Bruce when you stop frightening me.” She stared up at him, not
even bothering to watch where they were going.

His misstep was almost imperceptible, and he looked at her. “I don’t think
there’s much that frightens you, Ms. Sullivan.”

Something about the way he said her name… “Oh fuck. Fuckity fuck.” She sounded
like an idiot, but didn’t care. “You…you…”

“Not here, please.” His smile hadn’t changed, but in his voice there was an
echo, a hint of rustling wings.

“Why now? I mean, why let me figure it out right now? Because I can tell you I
wouldn’t have guessed in a million years.” A bubble of hysteria floated through
her stomach as she imagined him saying something like ‘And now I’ll have to kill
you.’

“I hadn’t decided until a few moments ago. And once I’d made up my mind, there
seemed little reason to wait.”

She concentrated on a particularly difficult turn. “You bastard. You just wanted
to watch me freak out in the middle of an important party.”

“That was an interesting side benefit, naturally.” His lips twitched in a
nearly-Batman smile. “You do ‘freak out’ in a most attractive fashion.”

“That was a joke. B-Bruce Wayne makes jokes.” Eyes wide, she wondered if this
was some kind of pizza-induced nightmare.

“Oh, I’m very funny,” he said. “Just ask anyone here.”

The song came to an end and they drifted to a halt. Chloe found herself in an
unaccustomed situation: totally speechless.

Bruce, Batman, whoever the hell he was, seemed to find this very amusing. “It
was lovely to dance with you, Chloe,” he said, as everyone nearby tried to
listen in. “And I would like very much to discuss…your work…again sometime.
Perhaps dinner tomorrow night if you’ll be in Gotham?”

“That would be very nice,” she croaked out.

“I’ll have someone pick you up, then. Is 6:00 too early?” He held her hand to
his lips for a long moment.

“That’s fine.”

“I’m sorry we can’t dance again, but I really must mingle with some of my other
guests.” He kissed her hand again and walked away.

Chloe was trying to decide if fainting was too dramatic an option when a strong
hand she recognized grabbed her shoulder. She whirled around. “You! You knew!
I’m going to kill you!” she hissed, trying to keep a pleasant expression on her
face.

But Clark wasn’t really listening. “You’re having dinner with Bruce Wayne?” His
eyes looked like they might fall out of his head.

Her smile felt even more fake. “Is that a problem?” she asked, adding in a
whisper only Superman could hear: “Afraid he might take me to his *cave*?”

Chloe had always wanted to see someone ‘poleaxed’. Which was nice, because
that’s exactly what Clark looked like. She dragged him to sit in a couple of
chairs off in a corner, ignoring the curious looks from crowd. Fortunately,
she’d found that being the PR person for the Justice League left a lot of room
for eccentricity.

“Clark, come back.” She waved a hand in front of his face.

Clark focused on her. “He…he…”

“He let me figure it out.”

“He *never* does that. I accidentally looked,” Clark coughed (which she assumed
meant he’d used x-ray vision), “and I thought he was going to kill me. He
threatened to, in fact.”

“Huh.” Chloe sat back and considered this piece of information. “Is there anyone
he’s told voluntarily?”

Clark thought about it for a moment. “Not that I know of. Well, Dick, but that
doesn’t count because he was his ward. And also he was the first, uh,” Clark
looked around, “kid. You know.”

“Dick?” Chloe now knew what it felt like to *be* poleaxed. “You don’t mean that
devastatingly good-looking young man I met earlier, he’s, he was…”

Clark stood up, pulling her with him. “Let’s go. We’ve got a *lot* to talk
about.”

* * * * *

In the hustle and bustle of Clark telling her all about Robin and Nightwing and
Batman, and typing up her notes from the evening (the not-deeply-classified
bits), Chloe didn’t get to bed until almost 3:30 am. She didn’t wake until the
sunlight moved all the way across her bed and stabbed her in the eyes.

“Urk,” she said, pulling the covers over her head. Taking a few deep breaths,
she pulled the covers down again slowly. Then she remembered: “I’m having dinner
with Batman tonight. Holy shit.”

Closing her eyes, Chloe let the memories from the evening wash over her. Clark
had managed to answer quite a few questions, but there were some big ones
outstanding. Why had Bruce let her figure out he was Batman? And why the hell
had he asked her to come for dinner?

Was he planning to work? If so, he could have easily met her on the Watchtower.

Chloe wasn’t particularly vain, but she spared a moment to wonder what in the
world one wore to dinner with Batman. Or Bruce Wayne. Damn it, of all the times
to have allowed Robin and Superboy to vanish, this had to be the most
inconvenient.

After allowing herself to dither for a while, Chloe buckled down and made
herself get some work done. Her home office wasn’t even as well equipped as the
large closet she’d taken over on the Watchtower, but somehow she felt more
comfortable on her own territory.

Time moved along so slowly, Chloe began to wonder if she’d been caught in some
hithertofore unknown time dilation effect. The Batman Effect. Maybe
supervillains had the same feeling before going into battle?

Maybe she’d lost her mind.

Chloe made herself another cup of coffee, then poured it down the drain,
deciding she was jittery enough.

Eventually she gave up on work and went to stare at her closet. The red
strapless was much too fancy. Black, tea length, of course not. Pink was
too…demure. She needed something that told him she wasn’t going to let him
steamroller her. She needed to look professional. Sexy, not frumpy. But not like
she’d dressed up too much for him.

Chloe sighed and started flipping past outfits.

After half an hour, she’d eliminated all her dresses and was down to the suits.
And another twenty minutes later, she settled on a khaki and white Tahari suit
with a cutaway jacket that hugged her curves. It was the first nice suit she’d
bought after the Justice League hired her full-time, and wearing it made her
feel powerful.

She was just running a brush through her hair when her doorbell rang. One deep
breath and she opened the door to find an older man in a suit. “Ms. Sullivan?”
he asked, inclining his head slightly.

“Yes. That’s me. And you are?”

“Alfred Pennyworth,” he said, gesturing politely for her to follow him. “If
you’re ready…”

She wondered how much this man knew about his employer. “I’m ready.”

As they walked down the steps out of the apartment building, Chloe gave into the
curiosity she’d never been able to tame. “You’re Mr. Wayne’s chauffeur?”

“Chauffeur and butler. Among other things.” His smile invited her to join in,
and she did.

Chloe took another deep breath. Okay. She could do this.

She faltered a bit at the sight of the fancy car, but Alfred chivvied her into
it with ease and she settled back in the luxurious leather seat and decided to
enjoy the ride.

Before she knew it, the car was pulling past enormous metal gates and driving up
a winding driveway toward the house. And what a house it *was*. She’d almost
describe it as a castle.

Before she could stop gawking at the mansion, Alfred was opening the car door
for her. He escorted her to the front door and opened it. “Please, follow me,”
he said. “Master Bruce will be along in a few moments. May I get you something
to drink?”

“Ah, a glass of wine. White, if you have it. Thank you.” Chloe nearly smacked
her forehead. She didn’t really like wine that much, but somehow it seemed the
thing to ask for.

Alfred smiled and led her a short way down the hall to what she supposed people
called a sitting room. Or something like that. It looked, well, it looked
exactly the way she’d expected a wealthy man’s sitting room to look, even to the
painting on the wall of some illustrious ancestors.

Although, she supposed that if you were going to hide the fact you were a
superhero, it might be best if your house looked the way people expected it to.

Chloe took a deep breath and strolled around the room casually, looking at the
artwork. She had a suspicion that just the pair of candlesticks on the mantel
were worth more than the sum total of her possessions.

“Chloe, thank you for coming,” Bruce said from the doorway.

This time, she didn’t jump, even though she hadn’t heard him until that moment.
“Good evening, Mr. Wayne,” she said as she turned. “You didn’t exactly leave me
an opening to refuse.”

His lips twisted a bit ruefully. “Mmm, I suppose I didn’t. But I did wish to
speak to you. And not on the clock, so to speak.”

She smiled politely. “There’s this newfangled invention called a telephone.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it?”

Strolling into the room, he shook his head. “You’re determined to make this
difficult, aren’t you? And you can call me Bruce, you know.”

“No, I really don’t think I can.”

Alfred entered the room with her wine and a glass of something sparkling for
Bruce. He shot Bruce a look she couldn’t translate.

“Why *did* you want to speak to me?” she asked as she took her wine.

Bruce looked at Alfred for a second. “It has been…impressed upon me that
perhaps I wasn’t entirely fair to you. Or fair in my initial assessment of you
and your worth to this enterprise.”

Chloe covered her shock with a sip of wine. “Really?”

Alfred handed the glass to Bruce. “Master Timothy was *most* insistent before he
left,” he said over his shoulder on his way out the door.

“Mast–oh. Robin.” Chloe looked at Bruce, who was massaging one temple, his
expression pained. She felt a moment of sympathy for him, as she tried to
imagine dealing with Robin (who was apparently named Timothy) and Clark and
Alfred and…

She sat down on the leather couch and crossed her legs. “I’m here. So talk.”

Bruce sat down and took a sip of his drink. “You are a most unusual woman.”

Chloe nodded. “I’m not impressed or intimidated by money. One nice side effect
of early exposure to the Luthors.”

“That’s right, you knew the Luthors from Smallville.”

“Yes.” She stopped before she said anything else.

His look said that he knew all the things she hadn’t said and didn’t blame her.
Chloe looked down into her glass and swirled the wine around.

“I wanted to apologize,” Bruce said. He sounded like it wasn’t something he said
very often. And like there was something else he wasn’t saying.

“Really?” she said politely. He wasn’t getting off that easily.

Bruce looked at her for a long moment, and she waited. “I…am in a difficult
position in the League,” he said, looking her in the eye. “I’m not, as you might
have guessed by now, a meta. Sometimes this causes me to…overcompensate.”

“Act like an asshole, you mean,” she said helpfully, recrossing her legs.

Bruce blinked. “Yes, I suppose so.”

She smiled brightly at him.

“And that,” he shook his head, “is why I have found your presence helpful.
Because you, unlike everyone except Robin, tell the complete truth. You don’t
hesitate to point out my flaws.”

“And you’ve intimidated the rest of the League into submission.” Chloe took a
sip of her wine.

His lips twitched. “I wouldn’t say that I intimidate Diana, but yes, I have
found that debate is rather stifled. And on the whole I prefer it that way. If
they had their way, we’d debate everything.”

“Now you know how *I* feel,” Chloe said.

Bruce stopped and thought about it, expression serious. “I take your point.
Perhaps we can call a truce. I…don’t want you to leave.”

She looked at him, sitting quietly a few feet away, waiting for her to make up
her mind. She took her time, looking him over, trying to judge his sincerity,
trying to see both Batman and Bruce Wayne in one body.

The muscles, the build, definitely Batman. The classic good looks, the blue
eyes, the chiseled cheekbones, definitely Bruce Wayne, playboy. The attitude? It
was hard to tell. He could be an utter ass or perfectly charming.

“So…Robin and Alfred are really in charge around here, huh?” she said finally.

One corner of his mouth turned up in a smile she thought was neither Bruce Wayne
nor Batman. “Absolutely.”

“Okay.” She nodded. “Apology accepted. You said something about dinner, Bruce?”

His smile widened when she used his first name, and he held out a hand as they
stood up. “Of course. Alfred has made a marvelous rosemary chicken with potatoes
and asparagus.”

She took his hand, shaking her head. “My favorites. You *are* quite the stalker,
aren’t you?”

Bruce tucked her arm into his. “Occasionally it’s a useful skill.”

“I’m sure it is.” Chloe grinned up at him, feeling oddly at ease. “Do you
practice it on women often?”

“Ah…”

* * * * *

A week later, Kon flung open the door to Chloe’s office and bounded in. “Dude,
it was gr–” He stopped in his tracks, jaw dropping.

Chloe sighed. Bruce scowled.

“Uh, look, I didn’t mean to interrupt anything.” Kon tripped over his own feet
as he hopped backward. “I’ll just, uh, go away and next time I promise I’ll
knock and talk to you later!”

The door slammed shut behind him.

Chloe looked at Bruce. Bruce looked at her.

“What’s so disturbing about drinking coffee together?” she asked plaintively,
picking up her ‘World’s Finest’ mug. “He does it all the time with Robin!”

Bruce stared at her for a second. “I think that’s the point.”

“Hmm?” She took a sip, then executed a perfect spit-take back into the mug.
“Oh!” she said, dabbing her chin with a tissue.

“Indeed.”

“You knew they…he thinks we…”

“Aren’t we?”

“Oh.” Chloe looked at the man in the kevlar suit and shrugged. “I suppose we
are. When were you going to tell me?”

His eyebrows shot up over the rim of his own mug. “I rather thought you’d
noticed.”

“I’ve been busy.” She put her cup carefully down on the desk, making sure she
wouldn’t accidentally spill it later. “Hey!” She glared at him. “How long have
you known that Kon and Tim were dating?”

Bruce slowly shook his head. “Have I mentioned that you’re an unusual woman?”

* * * * *

That night, Alfred picked her up for an early dinner before Bruce went on
patrol.

“I could have driven myself, Alfred,” she said. “You didn’t need to take the
time.”

“I wished to have a word with you,” he said, glancing at her in the rear view
mirror.

“Oh.” Her heart sped up. It was the talk with Dad and she wasn’t even prepared.
“Um, about what?”

Alfred took his time, steering the elegant car through a construction zone at
precisely the speed limit. “Master Bruce,” he said finally, “is a…difficult
man.”

“You can say that again,” she muttered. She could see his eyebrows rise. “Sorry,
it’s just–”

“No need to apologize, Miss Chloe. I understand.” He visibly paused, considering
his words. “He has troubled relationships with the few people that he allows in
his life. Master Richard, Master Timothy, Miss Barbara, none is wholly
uncomplicated.”

Chloe stared out the window, watching the city disappear. “I’m not surprised to
hear that nothing is easy where Bruce is concerned. And I won’t lie, I’m not
sure I’m doing the right thing by getting involved with him. It was, well, it
was a bit of a surprise.”

She saw Alfred smile at that.

“Can this work?” Chloe asked. “I’m a blue collar troublemaker from Smallville,
Kansas. He’s Bruce Wayne. He’s Batman. We’re both argumentative and stubborn.
Are we crazy to even try?”

“I do not know,” he said. “But I believe that you are a good influence on him.
He has spoken of you rather often. In fact, he has done so quite frequently
since the day he met you. In promoting the cause of Conner Kent and the Justice
League, I believe you also promoted Chloe Sullivan quite successfully.”

She leaned back in her seat and considered this fact. It did make certain things
clearer. “I see.”

“Yes, I rather think you do.” Alfred was quiet for a few minutes. “I have long
since determined that nothing can steer Master Bruce from the path he has
chosen. All that I can do is clear that path as best I can. But for the first
time in many years, I have hope that he might have a reason to make it down that
path alive.”

Chloe’s breath caught in her throat. “Oh. I’ll do my best.”

Alfred smiled at her. “I don’t believe you could do anything else.”

–end–

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