Title: The Age Of Heroes (3/4) (Lemon Tea And Raspberry Sugar Cookies)
Pairings/Characters: Superman/Batman/Robin (See Notes)
Warnings: Character deaths
Summary: What happens to heroes, like the Old Gods and Goddesses, when they begin to
Date Of Completion: December 13, 2006
Date Of Posting: January 13, 2007
Word Count: 1192
Disclaimer: DC owns ‘em, I just play with ‘em.
Notes: The ménage a trois in the pairings is not necessarily so. The love spoken of in this story is ambiguous, and the slash pairings (if any), can be Superman/Batman, Batman/Robin, Superman/Robin, or all three. I had originally intended some specific pairing info but the characters, perhaps still protecting their secrets, insisted on doing it this way. J
All chapters can be found here.
THE AGE OF HEROES
Note: there are two versions of this manuscript. This first version contains secret identities and other details that are not in the second version. This first version will be encased in a special vault deep in (whited out) which may or may not be revealed a thousand years in the future, when everyone who might be affected by these revelations are long gone, and their descendents hundreds of generations removed. The second version will be opened in a century, to pay tribute to the brave heroes who were here for such little time on this Earth .
LEMON TEA AND RASPBERRY SUGAR COOKIES
She saw my eyes widen. I had never thought of that reason for his death. Her smile was a mix of sadness and wisdom. She crossed her legs and sat back in her chair.
“You see, we all thought it was something physically-related. A man of Clark’s strength and invulnerability could not be hurt or killed, at least not without some particular weapon. It was only after all our tests that I began to think of what some would scoff at: that he had died of a broken heart.
“Clark needed love, as we all do, but was not like Bruce, or at least who Bruce was before Dick came into his life. Bruce could happily be alone for hours and miss no one before that time. Clark didn’t mind being alone in his Fortress or in the barn at the Kent farm, if need be. But he wanted close relationships. The first he’d had were his parents, Martha and Jonathan. They had found him as a baby and had loved him from the first second they’d laid eyes upon him. They raised him and protected his secret, and taught him that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Clark took that to heart.
“He enjoyed independence but loved being part of the JLA team. He always reached out to people, and of course it helped that he’d been raised human. He understood people, perhaps better than Bruce did. But Dick had come into Bruce’s life, and he began to learn about close relationships again. And that left him open to Clark’s love.”
Thoughts whirled around in my brain, and Diana’s face glowed as she spoke of love, of all its different forms and how it strengthens us…but there is a price.
“Clark paid that price without a thought. So did Bruce, and so did Dick. None of them would have wanted to go through life without love. It took Bruce awhile to admit, but even the Batman couldn’t stand against the combined might of Superman and Robin.”
We exchanged smiles.
“Robin was the conduit.” My mother’s voice was quiet and surprised us. Her fiery personality had immed somewhat since the day Robin died, according to her friends, former Teen Titans. Diana nodded and I asked eagerly, “How?”
My mother’s hair was still a rich red and shimmered in the morning sunlight as we sat in the breakfast nook. There was a shadow over us even on this sunniest of days. I wondered if the shadow of the Bat still stretched out over the ones he touched.
“Dick kept Bruce sane. He had been on the edge of darkness for years. Dick reeled him back in to the rest of us, grieving over his own loss but showing Bruce that you could still be part of the human race. I think Alfred had been able to do that to some degree, but perhaps was too much a part of the past and what had happened that fateful night that Thomas and Martha Wayne died. Dick was genuinely a happy and optimistic boy who stayed that way as he grew up. He still hurt over his parents, as anyone would, and he could be just as serious as Bruce when the situation called for it, but he preferred joy and laughter.” Mom took a sip of her tea, setting the cup down by her plate with the raspberry sugar cookies. One of Alfred’s best recipes. “He and Clark were a nice fit. They both preferred that outlook. And since Dick understood Bruce very well with their shared griefs and partnership, he was the perfect interpreter between him and Clark.”
Diana nodded in agreement. “Clark and Bruce had begun a friendship before Dick came along, but he certainly helped them when their different outlooks caused friction. He understood both of them and was a mediator of sorts at times.” Sudden laughter. “He was, as the saying goes, such a fanboy when it came to Clark! Oh, he worshipped Bruce when he was a child and still pretty much as he grew up, but conflict between a teenage boy and his mentor was inevitable. But when Clark swooped in to meet him for the first time, Bruce said he had saucer eyes and was practically somersaulting in joy. I think Bruce was a little jealous.”
We exchanged smiles again, then Diana’s face shadowed. “I suppose their deaths shouldn’t have been the beginning of the end, but perhaps it was fitting. Superman was the first hero, and then Batman came on the scene less than a year later. Robin arrived a year after that, and then I came along.” Her voice grew softer. “Many heroes were inspired after that, but it was as if the heart was cut out of us when the World’s Finest trio died.” She looked down at her hands. “I think Bruce always feared losing his mind at some point. He lived on the edge of darkness, though that darkness was held at bay by Dick and then Clark. Without the two of them, I fear what the Bat might have become.” She looked up at me. “After their deaths, more injuries and other deaths seemed to come at a faster pace. Some of us tried to continue, but as I said, our hearts weren’t in it. I have talked to my mother about this, and she says it is the tide of History, that all of a sudden heroes emerged and remained so for over twenty years, and then one day they simply began to fade away after various losses. She said the pattern had been similar on Earth-Two, except that there had been no cataclysmic losses to begin it, just a gradual aging and drifting away.
“It’s very similar to the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece. Once they reigned supreme on Earth, but gradually faded away and became heroes of old, told in tales and written in books. Eventually future generations will have the videos, the books, the articles, and the oral histories. That will be all that will be left, and of course, this narrative.”
Diana glanced at her watch and said, “Steve is expecting me for lunch.” She rose, still graceful though slightly stiff. That final injury. “Thank you for inviting me to speak.”
“It was my pleasure, Princess.” Mom stood also, ready to escort her out.
Diana acknowledged my courtesy, then said, “The Age of Heroes has ended, but their deeds will live on.”
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