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man_of_steel ([info]man_of_steel) wrote in [info]dc_heroes,
@ 2010-11-15 15:00:00

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Entry tags:bruce wayne, clark kent

When Perry had pulled Clark last week and said "Alright Kent, your stuff on the Entertainment Section has been dynamite lately, so I'm giving you the feature interview for 'Planet'." Clark had had 3 immediate emotional responses.

1- Guilt
Guilt over the fact that he had not actually written the work for the entertainment section. Instead, the artificial intelligence systems at the Fortress had analyzed wire feeds and the internet to produce manageable stories. Hence the reason he had switched to the entertainment column- where regurgitating old information over and over again was called writing, rather than plagiarism. It had also allowed for Clark to send in his stories while he was "on the road" supposedly following the entertainment circuit.
2- Elation
Planet was a new monthly magazine that featured work from Daily Planet contributors, and had quickly become considered on par with Time and Newsweek. The centerpiece interview gave Clark the opportunity to interview leaders in politics and industry the world over.
3- Apprehension
It took Clark a moment before he started to get a sinking feeling, when he remembered who this months interview subject was. Bruce. Wayne.

So now Clark found himself in Los Angeles staring at his watch, then back up at the empty restaurant. Bruce had rented out the entire place, of course. In fact, he had likely just bought the place. The fact that it was Ivy one of the most prestigious infamous celebrity hotspots in LA wouldn't matter to Bruce Wayne in the least. He loves acting the idiot playboy Clark thought, smiling. The smile disappeared when he saw Bruce enter the room.

Clark had deliberately chosen to do the interview when Bruce was scheduled to be out of Gotham, on business. He wasn't going to violate Bruce's "Stay out of my town" ultimatum- but only out of respect for his friend. If Clark decided he was needed in Gotham, Superman would be there. Whether Bruce liked it or not.

Clark stood as Bruce approached, holding out a hand. "Mr. Wayne, its a pleasure to see you again."

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2010-11-16 01:44 am UTC (link)
Bruce Wayne strides into the room like he owns the place (because he just bought it, so he does) and /smiles/ at Clark like the cat that ate the canary.

Inside, he is greatly irritated that Clark ambushed him while he was out of Gotham, but this interview (and meeting) had to happen sometime.

"Clark Kent, right?" Bruce asks, genuinely looking as if he hasn't seen Clark Kent a million times before. Why would Bruce Wayne keep track of a Metropolis reporter from Smallville, after all?

He takes Clark's hand and shakes it vigorously, keeping the vapid, dim-witted smile the whole time. Clark gets off on that mild-mannered, non-assertive act, Bruce thought.

"So, Mr. Kent, I hear you have some questions for me? Just don't ask who I'm dating this month, or if I've given to charity. Oh, and /please/ don't ask what I do when with my money. If I told you, I'd have to kill you." Bruce says, raising his eyebrows.

Then he lightly, melodiously, laughs for the benefit of the few people working in the immediate area. The foreman calls a break and Clark and Bruce are left alone.

"So, what can I do for you?" he asks, keeping up the act, for the moment.

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2010-11-16 05:39 am UTC (link)
Clark glanced around the room, noting anyone in the vicinity. He expected the room to clear in the next few minutes, and had already scanned radio and infra red frequencies for monitoring devices.

"Well, to start with I guess I'd like to hear about how you see yourself? There's obviously a gamut of opinions, some admiring your personality and fun loving nature, others harshly criticizing-" Clark cut himself mid sentence, as the final worker headed down the stairs.

"-aaand we're alone." He said, dropping his note pad on the table unceremoniously, as his demeanor instantly changed from meek reporter to pissed-off friend. Clark loosened his tie, walking a few steps away. He was tense, like a caged animal. "We can do the actual interview by phone, I'll call you in a few days and we can hammer it out in 20 minutes or so." He said, keeping his back to Bruce. "How've you been" he asked, unsure of where else to start.

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2010-11-16 02:28 pm UTC (link)
"I don't like being ambushed." Bruce says, his own tone of voice dropping into that of Batman, glad to be done with the pretense as well.

"I'm headed to Coast City to take a look at a few things and I have a meeting with the head of Ferris Air to discuss a business deal." Bruce says, looking out of the nearest window. He'd probably never eat at this restaurant, but it did have a nice view.

"You and Captain Marvel dealt with that volcano in Indonesia. I saw the reports." Bruce says. It was mostly true. Brother I spent a great deal of time tracking Superman's movements across the planet and sometimes it had trouble keeping up.

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2010-11-17 08:08 pm UTC (link)

"Batman begins every conversation by just appearing out of the shadows, scaring the hell out of everyone. But you don't like being ambushed. Just give me a second to try and work that one out." Clark's tone had become too sarcastic for his own liking, and he took a breath to calm himself. He turned to face Bruce's back, and for a moment he noticed the growing distance between them- and thought it emblematic of their current relationship.

"I was trying to respect your wishes.Well, we're not in Gotham, we're not in uniform. " Clark said, gesturing with a hand. "You remember? The ultimatum you gave when you stormed out? I thought my friend would appreciate the gesture. Because I was under the impression we were friends."

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2010-11-17 09:53 pm UTC (link)
Bruce shakes his head at Clark. "Would you like to say that a little louder, Clark? I don't think they heard you across the street." he says.

"/Friends/ support each other, even when one of them thinks the other is being naive or foolish. Like that time Lex Luthor ran for President, remember that? I told you then that, if you didn't stop him, he'd use his power to come after you like never before." Bruce says.

"And Luthor did, because you refused to say something. When he had the world ready to hang you, /I/ stood by you. /That/ is friendship." Bruce says, finally turning to face him.

"Two weeks ago, you restarted the League and let in a known murderer and a woman who would have reprogrammed a man's mind if I hadn't stepped in. All you had to do was speak up, Clark, but you didn't. Everyone just opened their arms and forgot what he.did.

Well, I won't. I /can't/." Bruce says, looking Clark in the eyes.

"If that makes me the bad guy, so be it. All of you have forgotten that humanity needs the Justice League to be above reproach.

You all have powers that could make you kings and queens if you wanted. No one can challenge you if they don't know what they're doing, but none of you know what it is to be human and know that the people who swear they'll protect you are going in the wrong direction." Bruce says.

"So, you're doing things the best way you know how and so am I."

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2010-11-18 02:00 am UTC (link)
"I don't know how long you were listening before you decided to jump in, but I spent the first half of the meeting playing the skeptic. And after weighing all the evidence I came to what I felt to be the logical course of action. The difference is, had the League voted against me, I wouldn't have stormed out like a child. I wouldn't have insulted the people who- whether I wanted to admit it or not- are some of the closest friends I have in this world. I wouldn't have done that."

"You're the closest thing to an ordinary human the League has- had. I understand that Bruce. That gives you insight the rest of us often lack. It doesn't make you the mouthpiece for human opinion. And don't pretend that your experiences, your huge fortune, and your training don't change your perspective either. Because they do.

There are plenty of others out there who represent mankind, and manage to give a much broader view than you. Because Green Arrow and Wildcat don't lock themselves away in isolation 20 hours a day. So don't tell me you're the 'everyman' here, alright?"

Clark sighed. "Look, just like you've haven't held Diana responsible for actions done under the influence of the Psycho Pirate or me when someone uses some variant of Kryptonite that alters my behavior- I can't call Hal a murderer for the things Parallax did while it possessed him. You don't believe his story? Don't think he's fit for duty? Send a request to Oa- we've worked with the Corps enough that they'll give you an answer- probably a very long an detailed one." Clark narrowed his eyes. "But if this is about your jealousy over Jordan's power- that of all the regular humans the ring could have chosen, it wasn't you- then that's something you need to get over."

He raised his hands. "And Zatanna... I don't know what to do with her. Frankly, when I first heard the story, my first thought was that she was acting on your orders. I honestly can't tell where you'll stand on anything, anymore. You draw the line so definitively in some cases, but in others you bend to suit you."

Clark continued, pointing an accusatory finger at his friend, as his tone hardened. "You've had no qualms about taking teenagers into combat alongside you, or about dishing out injuries that can cripple men for life on a nightly basis. You break into government databases and top secret servers without a moment's hesitation. And if anyone ever confronts you, you give the same answer you always do 'My way works. The end justifies the means'. But when Zatanna makes a terrible choice, but does it for the right reasons- do you even consider that its exactly your kind of paranoia that may have led her to do what she did? Do you at least have some empathy for her? Some forgiveness, for an old friend whose proved herself time and again? No. All you have is righteous indignation."

Clark had closed the distance between them, his voice rising as he did. "I'm sorry we can't all live up to your impossible standards. But that's your fault, not mine. You say we've lost touch? Well look in a mirror, because whoever the hell you're supposed to represent, it sure isn't humanity!" Clark exhaled heavily, turning to let his back hit the glass as he leaned on the window, crossing his arms.

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2010-11-18 02:39 am UTC (link)
Bruce claps as Clark finishes talking. He applauds as though he and Clark are two actors running lines for some Hollywood production. In an odd way, it's not far from the truth.

"It must be nice being the world's only perfect person, Clark. The world according Clark Kent has enough forgiveness for people who try to kill you on a regular basis and people who wouldn't hesitate to screw you over the moment in benefited them. And, of course, anyone who didn't end up with powers like yours or Jordan's is simply 'jealous' of their poor fortune." Bruce says, shaking his head at Clark as though he's talking to a slow child. Clark is like that, sometimes; so full of Midwestern morality and value that he can't believe the horrid things people do to each other, simply because they can.

"Unfortunately, Clark, some of us have to live in the real world with people like the Joker, Two-Face, Scarecrow and others. You never had to deal with people like them; if you did, it would break your faith in people a million times over. Lex Luthor rarely faces you on the one level you could completely outclass him in and it stymies you because, for all your power, you won't go after him for real. He knows, just like I do, that you'll never do what you have to to put him behind bars for good.

By the way, you want to know what /jealousy/ over being denied power you think you deserve is? /That/ man is the definition of the term." Bruce tells tells him, his voice growing colder and quieter in opposition of Clark's angry tone.

The comment about taking teenagers into combat is a barb he should have expected from Superman, but didn't. He mourns Jason's loss every day and wishes he'd had the foresight to push that young man away when he had the chance, rather than latching onto him to replace Dick, who'd also left him.

It only now dawned on him that many of the things that Clark was saying echoed the things that Dick said when he decided to end their partnership. Impossible standards, isolation, inflexibility...Dick had named all of Bruce's faults.

"Jordan's your mess to deal with now. He's a glory-hog, a showboat and he has issues with authority. I hope he's worth the trouble you purchased by taking him on." Bruce says.

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2010-11-18 05:08 am UTC (link)
A stony silence fell over the room. Clark found himself with nothing to say, so instead he simply digested Bruce's words. He rubbed the heels of his palms against his eyes, finally breaking the silence. "I haven't felt this bad since my last break-up" Clark said, glumly.

"You know I always used to think that no matter how bad things got between us, that somehow, you and I could figure things out. I thought our -respect- our friendship, was stronger than any of our differences." He paused, then continued.

"I remember the first time we met, I thought were a bit nuts at first, truth be told," he said, smiling at the memory. "But then I saw it, in your eyes. That look. And I though 'He gets it. He knows what its like'" Clark smiled nostalgically. "But I guess I can just add to the list of bad calls I made..."

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2010-11-18 05:32 am UTC (link)
"I guess we both misjudged each other, then. You're the best of us, Clark, but you spend so much time trying to do anything /but/ lead that you're just following the current wherever it takes you. The Justice League and the world deserve better than from Superman." Bruce says.

Despite the stoic look on his face, this hurts Bruce as well, but there's no use in dwelling upon it. Everyone he trusts lets him down eventually. Dick, Clark, Hal Jordan and a thousand other people he can name, but won't.

The only thing he can do is soldier on and get back to his mission; it's the only thing that hasn't failed him yet.

"It was a good run while it lasted, Clark, but everything ends, eventually." Bruce says, knowing all too well how true that is.

"Trust is essential in any partnership, and I find myself with a profound /lack/ of trust in our community, Clark. I can't work with people I can't trust or who don't trust me. That's just how it is." Bruce says, turning to go.

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2010-11-18 07:15 am UTC (link)
Clark pulled out his glasses, unfolding them slowly. He called after his friend as he left. "You can trust one thing Bruce. I'll always have your back."

After his friend was out of earshot, Clark slipped on his glasses quietly,. "Whether you want me to or not..."

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2010-11-20 03:16 am UTC (link)
Bruce left Clark in the room, steeling himself for his meeting with Carol Ferris. Hal Jordan could be there and Bruce needed to play the game as well or better than he did today, all without tipping off Carol.

He wished didn't have to have this conversation with Clark right now, but it had to happen. Now, he had work to do.

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2010-11-21 10:56 pm UTC (link)

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