Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Secrets, Societies, and Truths

Secrets, Societies, and Truths

by Mara

Summary: A series of vignettes dealing with the aftermath of Season 2’s “Secret Society.”

NOTES: As usual, it’s Medie’s fault. Isn’t it always? But she asked so
evilly…I mean, nicely. I’ve been reading the JLA comics recently, so pardon me
if I accidentally mix comic and cartoon canon.

Batman and Green Lantern:

As far as John could tell, Batman never trusted anything or anyone, so it was
hard to tell if Grodd had even been working on him. If he was entirely honest
with himself, that was part of what drove him insane about Batman. One of many
things, really, but this was neither the time nor the place.

“Part of teamwork is trust,” he said, cornering Batman in the control room. “For
instance, trusting me that training as a team is necessary and useful.”

What he could see of Batman’s face didn’t change at all. “Leaving aside the
circular logic…trust must be earned.”

“How?”

“Time.” He turned back to the computer.

John stared at the pointed ears of the costume, grasping for the right words.
“What if we don’t *have* time?”

“Then we fall.”

* * * * *

Martian Manhunter and Superman:

Superman was just flying–no emergency, no damsels or universes in distress,
just the wind whipping past him, as refreshing as a shower. He felt J’onn’s
presence before he saw him, the telltale tickle in the back of his mind that was
a telepath’s greeting. The Martian drifted beside him, not quite tangible.

“I wish to apologize,” J’onn said.

“Didn’t we do that already?”

“Perhaps, but I believe my statements may have specifically hurt you.”

Banking left, Superman headed for his favorite view of the Grand Canyon, light
at just the right oblique angle to make every single fold of rock glow with
warmth and color.

“I am sorry,” J’onn said.

“Hmm.” He slowed down to enjoy the view.

“I am sorry that, in my pain, I forgot I was not the only one to suffer loss.”

“It’s all right.”

“No, it is not. That is how Grodd was able to divide the League, because we do
not deal with our fears and anxieties.”

Superman tilted his head to examine the green figure flying beside him. “If
you’re suggesting that the Justice League needs to be in therapy, I dare you to
find someone to take us on.”

“I am suggesting that being superhuman, metahuman, or alien does not exempt us
from psychological ills. We have feelings.”

“‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’ Except that some of us don’t. And some do.”
Superman settled onto a peak in the center of the canyon. “I’m not sure I’ve
changed my mind about what I said. I’m invulnerable. Other members of the team
are not. Maybe I really *would* do better on my own.”

“It is unusual to see Superman afraid.”

He opened his mouth to deny it, but realized the futility of arguing with a
telepath over what he was thinking. “Yes, afraid of watching someone get hurt.”

“And what if the rest of us take this chance willingly, even eagerly? You do us
an injustice.”

Superman stared across the canyon, automatically noting the children running
along the north rim, making sure their parents were watching them. The sun
inched a bit lower in the sky and J’onn floated, apparently content to wait.

“I feel selfish,” Superman said.

“In what way?”

“I’m afraid that I stay in the League so that I’m not alone. I don’t want to
endanger anyone because I’m lonely.”

“Have you considered that we might feel the same way? None of us walks an easy
path, but perhaps we can walk it together.” J’onn looked at him for a long
moment, then flew away into the setting sun.

A stray wind blew up a dust cloud, then died, leaving Superman blinking away the
dirt in his eyes.

* * * * *

Wonder Woman and Flash:

Diana thanked the goddess that Flash didn’t number super-hearing among his
skills, because then he might have heard the five previous times she started to
approach him.

This time, she’d gathered her–not courage, she never lacked that–pride, and
knocked on his door.

“Come in.” The room was cleaner than she’d thought it would be, another reminder
not to make assumptions. Flash looked up, then jumped out of the faded chair.
“Whoa! Hi. Welcome. Did you need something?”

“I…” She was lost in this world so different than her home. “May I sit down?”

“Sure!” Before she could blink, he’d retrieved a padded folding chair from
behind the door and put it next to her. “I don’t have guests here often.”

She sat carefully on the chair, still groping for the words. “I wanted to speak
with you. It seems to me that the lesson we learned from Grodd is that we don’t
truly know each other. I thought it was time to change that.”

Flash sat down, jaw open a bit. “Right. I think that’s a very nice idea.”

They stared at each other for a moment. “What do you think we should talk
about?”

“I dunno. Read any good books lately?”

* * * * *

Green Lantern and Hawkgirl:

It took a long while to find her–without the Justice League’s resources and the
ability to fly, he never would have. Hawkgirl was perched on top of a building
in Metropolis, looking very much like her namesake. If hawks carried very large
weapons, of course.

Hawkgirl wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine at the best of times, but this
behavior was unusual. Her typical MO was to find whatever was bothering her and
hit it. Hard. Until it stopped being annoying.

On the other hand, since it was him that had annoyed her, perhaps he should be
glad she wasn’t taking that tack. Hawkgirl had a pretty good punch.

When he landed next to her, she tilted her head slightly. “There you are.”

“Did I miss an appointment?”

“I figured you’d come looking for me eventually.”

“I guess sometimes it’s nice to be predictable.”

She was silent and John sank down next to her, looking out over the city and the
crashing symphony of urban life. Sirens mixed with voices, overlying the
electrical buzz of streetlights and the low rumble of air conditioners and
idling car engines.

“This is all so different than my home,” she said. “I don’t understand all of
you sometimes. Most of the time. Except Diana, in a weird way, but don’t tell
her I said that.”

“You said that I didn’t care.” Even repeating it now, knowing that she’d been
under Grodd’s influence, it hurt.

“I don’t know why I said that.” She tapped her fingers on her mace, almost
absent-mindedly. “I was confused, hurt, irrational. I wish it was only Grodd,
but I’m afraid it wasn’t.”

“I understand. Really, I do. But the teamwork, you know it’s important.”

“Yes. It’s just that it was easier for me at home.”

“A few hours ago, Batman told me that trust takes time. I think it’s true for
understanding, too.”

“Maybe.” They sat together on the rooftop for a long time, watching the city
move below them, a mass of boisterous and cantankerous humanity.

* * * * *

Superman and Batman:

“Bruce, do you have a moment?” Clark stepped into the control room after
checking they were alone.

“Only if you’re not here to tell me that I need to be a team player.” He didn’t
even look up, just continued flipping the monitors through various views.

“Ah. No, I’m not. You should know me better than that.”

That got Bruce’s attention and he turned halfway in the chair, an image of a
fire in Borneo flaring dramatically behind him. “Who? Clark Kent, farmboy, or
Superman, the world’s greatest superhero? Or maybe Kal-El, last scion of a dead
race?”

“I’m not going to argue secret identities with *you*. But whoever you think I am
at the moment, I thought we were friends.”

A cold stare through the mask. “Perhaps.”

Clark sighed, recognizing his friend’s prodigious talent for distracting and
annoying someone when he didn’t want to talk to them. Removing his cape, he
folded it and placed it on the edge of the console, sitting down next to Bruce.
Or Batman, as the case may be.

“Why do you stay with the League?” he finally asked Bruce, earning himself a
sidelong glance.

“I’m not much for introspection.”

“But brooding is okay?”

“Brooding is entirely different. Can’t you tell?”

“It’s difficult for the outside observer to see the subtle differences,
actually.”

Bruce turned in his seat. “Sarcasm ill becomes you.”

“Don’t want me taking your place, hmm?”

“What do you want, Clark?”

“I want to know why you joined the League and why you stay.” Clark crossed his
arms and refused to be intimidated by the glare that turned criminals and
supervillains to jelly.

Bruce sighed. “I know that recent events have caused everyone to encroach on my
brooding territory, but I’m not going to answer your question.”

“Fine. Don’t answer. But don’t leave, either.”

“I thought you said you weren’t going to lecture me about teamwork.”

“I’m not. I’m talking about friendship.”

“What does that have to do with it?”

“Everything, Bruce, everything.” Clark got up to leave, picking up his cape.
“For what it’s worth, we’re your friends whether you want us or not.”

Walking toward the door, Clark could hear Bruce swivel in his chair. The
confusion with a hint of alarm was practically audible, especially to *his*
hearing. He grinned, resisting the urge to whistle a happy tune.

* * * * *

Wonder Woman and Flash:

“…and that was when my mother declared me the winner,” Diana said.

Flash’s eyes were huge behind the mask. “Wow. You really…sharks? Ow, that’s
gotta hurt.”

She smiled gently. “A little bit.”

“And that’s what brought you here.”

“Yes.”

Flash grinned. “Cool.”

–end–

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