Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Ollie Queen, Diana, Clark/Bruce, Linda/Barbara, Dick/Roy, Lex Luthor (implied past Clex) (Also, see Author’s Notes below)
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings: There will be character deaths in various chapters.
Continuity: Comicsverse (mix of pre-COIE with current canon) and a dash of Smallville.
General Summary: Can a new world rise from the ashes of the old?
Chapter Summary: Clark gets several visitors and when the sun comes out, it’s a wonderful thing.
Date Of Completion: February 26, 2008
Date Of Posting: March 6, 2008
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1689
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: While this was written from Diana’ POV, this story is structured like Strange Brew and The Family Series with multiple characters and pairings. The prominent pairings are Clark/Bruce, Dick/Roy, Ollie/Dinah, and Steve/Diana, and there are other pairings and characters included as well. Each chapter will list those who appear in that particular segment.
All chapters can be found here.
This is a story of loss, grace under fire, and hope.
(WITH A TOUCH OF RAINBOW)
Five Months Ago
“I don’t like it.”
“I’m sorry, Diana. You forget that I was at Excelsior, too. I know Lex as well as Bruce does.” He sipped his tea. “Though probably not as well as Clark does.”
Diana looked at the Emerald Archer sitting across the table from her in the meeting room. The Hall of Justice was quiet, most of the League trying to get some much-needed rest before the next wave of attacks. She and Ollie were on monitor duty, and he had complained about leaving Clark in Lex’s ‘tender care’, as he put it.
“Clark has to rest, and Lex is working on new armor.”
“Bruce is letting him work on it alone?”
“Pretty much, though Lex has labs at Rosewood.”
“Hmph.” Ollie picked up a chocolate chip cookie. An Alfred special. “I suppose he would be right there in the labs if he wasn’t hovering over Clark.”
Diana knew that Ollie was teasing about the ‘hovering’ and smiled. “Lex can try to pull something, but he’s testing the new armor on Linda. Barbara’s with her. You can bet that nothing will get past those two.”
Ollie snorted. “One’s a Super and one’s a Bat. Guess not.”
“Arrows are pretty clever, too.”
He grinned. “’Course! They get it from the founder.”
This time Diana genuinely laughed. “I’ll tell Roy, Mia, and Connor that.”
“Go ahead.” White teeth gleamed. His boots were up on the conference table and his posture slouched, but Diana wasn’t fooled. A man who ran his own company and made millions, had invented all the trick arrows and weaponry he used, and who could charm the birds out of the trees to run for Mayor was no fool. “Why do you think that Clark is taking so long to recover from the green stuff? All he ever needed before was a good sunbathing.”
“I don’t know. That worries Bruce, too, and Lex is trying to find an answer. In the meantime, he’s testing the armor.”
Ollie took another cookie. “Selina called in a little while ago. She and her protégé, Catgirl, are keeping an eye on Gotham.”
“Ah, yes, Cassandra Cain? »
« She’s the one.”
“An unusual girl.” Diana picked up her own cookie. “She reads body language and is an exceptional martial arts artist.”
“Selina took her in and decided it was time for a protégé like Bruce and I have had.” Ollie sighed. “Star City has been lucky so far, but Gotham was hit in a part of town pretty bad. Shows how much Bruce is in love to be at Clark’s side instead of patrolling that city of his.”
“He shouldn’t waste time. He should be with Clark,” Diana said softly.
Ollie looked at her with sympathy but she pretended to ignore it. Sometimes the sympathy…or was it pity?…was the worst of all.
“Well, as long as the Pretty Bird puts up with me, I’m good.”
“She’s a saint, Ollie.”
& & & & & &
Diana heard the voices before she reached Clark’s room. Linda was sitting on the bed and Barbara and Dick were insisting that Bruce eat the soup, sandwich and fruit that Dick had brought him.
“Hello, all! Dick, where’s Roy?”
“He’s down in the labs talking to Lex, and I might join him…after I get this stubborn Bat to eat.”
Clark snorted. “Dick, you should know better.”
Dick grinned and Bruce looked put-upon, but he ate the soup to start.
“It’s from your mom, Clark.”
“Mmm.” Clark had his own food on a tray set in his bed. “Mom’s food is great for what ails you.”
Bruce raised an eyebrow and Linda and Dick laughed. Barbara turned back from the window and joined in.
“Hello, Diana!” Clark’s eyes sparkled at her presence. “I assume everything’s okay at the moment?”
She nodded, wanting to put his mind at ease right away. “You seem better, my friend.”
“I’m feeling much better. I know it’s still raining out, but the forecast projects sun for tomorrow. I intend to go out in the garden and soak it up.”
“Good. That bodes well.” Diana looked at Linda. “How go the experiments?”
“Very well, actually. This armor is even more reinforced but still light enough to keep flexibility at a premium.”
“Good.” Diana noticed Barbara’s expression and turned to Dick. “How’s Roy and Lian?”
“Enjoying every minute of the farm, and Clark’s parents. You really hit the jackpot with them, Clark.”
“I know.” Clark’s smile was like the sun itself, and Bruce was mesmerized by it. Diana smiled serenely.
Roy poked his head in. “Is it safe, Robbie?”
Dick laughed. “Bruce hasn’t taken my head off yet, so, yeah, it’s safe.”
Roy grinned and came into the room, the two young men kissing in greeting.
“Get a room, you two!” Linda said with a smile.
“Oh, sure,” Dick answered. “And I suppose your Red doesn’t kiss you in public?”
Linda stuck her tongue out and laughter rippled around the room. Diana noticed that Clark was smiling and even Bruce couldn’t help but grin, the couples in the room radiating happiness.
She thought she saw a flash of blond hair beside her but when she turned, there was nothing.
“Barbara, I feel chatty,” Diana said. “Would you accompany me to the cafeteria to get some coffee?”
The two women walked to the cafeteria, boot heels clicking in the quiet corridors. The civilian personnel who worked here forced the heroes to stay costumed, but Barbara had snapped her lenses back and her eyes were visible.
“What’s wrong?” Diana asked softly.
Barbara’s jaw set. “I know that Lex is helping us in this war. I’m just not sure if I trust him completely.”
“I don’t trust him completely myself, but he’s a smart man. He knows he must work with us to save Earth.”
Barbara sighed. “I know. I just…Clark trusts him a little too much.”
“Ah.” Carefully Diana said, “Then you know…?”
Barbara nodded. “Not everyone does. I mean, Dick guessed it about the same time that Bruce did, and Ollie knows. He told Dinah, who agreed. Linda knows, and I think she may lean a little toward trusting Lex because of it.” Barbara’s expression was stubborn, and Diana knew that Lex would have a Bat-shadow during his testing with Linda.
“Clark’s feelings for Lex were a long time ago.”
“But not gone completely.”
Diana sighed. “No.”
Barbara looked at her. “Diana, Lex is obsessed with Clark. Not just Superman, but Clark. Lex is very complex. Hell, I should know! I’ve worked with Bruce for years, and even though he dislikes the thought, he and Lex are very much alike. Both men are dangerous, and Lex even more so because he doesn’t consider staying on the right side of the law at all times.” Her green eyes were intense. “They’re also men who never give up when they want something. And Lex has never given up on Clark.”
Diana shivered. Bruce would fight Lex to the death for Clark.
“Well, perhaps the Davons will solve things all around.” Diana’s eyes were cold. “They take away loved ones all the time. This triangle may never become a problem.”
Barbara looked shocked for a moment, then resigned. She remained silent as they entered the cafeteria.
They got their coffee and sat by the window, Barbara stirring the sugar in her mug. She looked up and said, “As for loved ones being lost in this war, you’d better hope that neither Clark or Dick are lost.”
Curious, Diana asked, “Why them specifically?”
“Bruce would never survive the loss of either of them.”
Diana lifted an eyebrow. “That’s a pretty strong statement.”
Barbara sipped her coffee. “It is, and I stand by it.” She put the mug down. “Bruce desperately needs the light those two bring to him. Alfred kept him sane after his parents’ deaths, but he needed more. When he took in Dick after Dick’s parents were killed, that boy kept him connected to the world, otherwise he would have sunk into the darkness. Look what happened to him after the Joker killed Jason. He pushed away Dick and was falling into the abyss before our eyes. Finally, Dick was able to bring him back, but he had considerable help. Clark.”
Diana considered. “You could be right.”
Barbara’s eyes were shadowed. “Bruce has incredible willpower, but he’s the most fragile of all the Bats.”
Diana felt a little chill go down her spine.
& & & & & &
The sun shone brightly, glittering like diamonds on the sea and in the garden, leaves and grass heavy with past rain now sparkling with rainbows as dawn spread out rosy-pink, lemon-yellow, and lush-orange across the sky.
Clark stood in his costume, Bruce beside him, the dark Bat-costume incongruous in all the shining light.
Further back were Linda, Barbara, Dick, Roy, and Diana.
“It’s always a treat to see the re-charging,” Dick said with a twinkle in his eye. Roy grinned and slipped an arm around his lover’s waist.
Bruce was beside Clark to help prop him up. Clark smiled at him, then lifted his arms and closed his eyes, the sun bathing him in sparkling light.
Diana sensed a new presence behind her. Lex.
Clark’s semi-pale color was starting to improve, his shaky balance growing more confident as the sun’s rays caressed him with golden fingers, his smile beautific as diamonds glittered in his hair.
Bruce was watching closely, as awed as any of them. Linda was nodding slightly, understanding the process, and she lifted her own face to the sun, Barbara’s arm sliding around her back under her cape.
The piercing cry of a seagull wheeling out over the ocean echoed around the garden, a bright candy-striped sailboat bobbing on its journey as it sailed by.
It’s like being in the presence of the Gods, Diana thought.
After several minutes, Clark opened his eyes. He flexed his muscles, then leaped into the air.
Diana heard Lex’s intake of breath behind her.
They had their Greatest Hero back.