Batman stood stoically beside a gargoyle on the top of building housing a life insurance company in the business section of Gotham. It was one in the morning on a moonless night with a navy blue sky and only a few pin pricks of light representing stars. Exhaling a stream of steam from his mouth, he had finished his patrol of the streets in his Batmobile, which was part Lamborghini and part tank, and now he had taken to the buildings looking for trouble. Now he stood in the cold, a sentential looking for trouble.
"Hey, Bruce," came a familiar voice.
Bruce turned and saw Superman hovering just above the roof. His distinctive red cape moved gracefully in the wind as a strong wind blew. For the last nine months the two men had been working together off and on developing an alliance and a friendship. They had exchanged identities when Bruce guessed who Superman really was. Clark used his x-ray vision, something else Batman was surprised to find out he possessed, and checked out the face under the cowl.
"How's Kara doing?" Bruce asked.
"Still adjusting to a different world and different circumstances," he said. "She has a lot to get used to."
"She learn English yet?"
"Of course," smiled Clark. "It took her five days to master English. She also speaks Italian, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and French. She is from the House of El."
Bruce chuckled without humor. He was used to Clark being a polyglot. Besides having an eidetic memory, he was blessed with a Kryptonian intellect, maybe even the equal of his father, Jor-El.
"Where is she staying?" asked Bruce.
"My Fortress of Solitude," answered Clark. "She hasn't really got used to her increase in strength yet or her heat vision or flight or hearing and sense of smell."
"I'd love to see that Fortress of yours someday," said Bruce.
"And I'd love to see your Batcave," countered Clark.
"In time," said Bruce. "Why are you here, Kent?"
"I need to set up and identity for Kara. I was hoping you could help me since you have experience setting up airtight false identities," explained Clark.
"Will Kara Kent do?" he asked.
"I heard that Morgan Edge has bought the Daily Planet and added it to his media holdings. How do you like working for him?" asked Bruce.
"I don't. I handed in my resignation. Cat Grant and I are starting a news blog."
"Tough way to earn money without an angel backing you," said Bruce.
"I know, but I refuse to work for Edge. He's actually starting a cable news channel out of the Daily Planet building," said Clark. "Lois is going to be his VP of New Media in charge of the cable channel. She's a good journalist wasted running a news channel."
"You still have feelings for her," observed Bruce.
"No," replied Clark. "She's seeing a hot shot correspondent that Edge hired for the news channel. Lois is just a friend."
"You don't date much, do you, Kent?" Bruce grimly smiled.
Clark landed on the roof finally.
"When can you have the documents for me for Kara?" he asked.
"A week. You'll have everything from birth certificate to passport and license. How old is she?" he asked.
"Eighteen," he answered.
"She should go to college," said Bruce.
"Kara would be bored by college. She has a Kryptonian high school education which is equivalent to a master's degree here," said Clark.
"I was thinking of the opportunities for her to fit in and even date," said Bruce.
"She needs more control before she can date," sighed Clark.
Bruce nodded then asked, "Aren't you cold?"
Clark grinned, "No. It seems I'm immune to weather."
Bruce made a mental note. Slowly, he was putting a dossier together on Superman. Even though he trusted the man, Batman didn't completely trust anyone, except those he considered family.
"I have your number, Kent. I'll call you when the papers are ready," said Bruce.
"Thank you, Bruce."
Clark rocketed off. With a sonic boom he was gone. Batman took a communicator/recording device.
"Add immune to weather to his power," he spoke into it then put it away and returned to his duty.
Bruce was late for a meeting in the New Hall of Justice, the land based headquarters for the Justice League. The Hall of Justice was located in DC. In his Batman garb, Bruce entered the Hall, past security, and made his way to the main conference room where a meeting of board members was taking place. Putting in his personal code, the conference door opened and he entered to hear John Stewart speaking.
"It appears that Metropolis' mayor has embraced Superman after Darkseid's invasion, ignoring his standing as a fugitive. He's become that city's protector and hero," John pointed out.
The Green Lanterns rotated their board membership according to who was active on earth at the moment. Bruce had it on good authority that all of earth's Green Lanterns were currently on earth. Hal Jordan was recuperating from injuries; Kyle Rayner was on vacation; and Guy Gardner was on a leave of absence.
"We should keep him on our Watch List," said Hawkman.
"I agree," add Hawkwoman.
Bruce sat down. He nodded to Diana, who gave him a smile. Arthur and Mera sat side by side. The Flash sat there at this semi-round table that was large enough for fifteen or better eating power bar after power bar, as he metabolized calories so quickly. Next was the Green Arrow and sat beside the Black Canary, mainly because she was elected chairwoman and he wanted to date with her, and finally Shazam, who looked bored.
"Shall we take a vote on that?" asked Black Canary.
"I'm willing to give the boy in blue a break," said the Arrow. "He showed some serious skills when Darkseid attack and he fought for the right side."
"If we have a vote then I abstain," Bruce spoke up.
"Why would you abstain, Batman?" asked Diana.
"Because over the several months I have developed a working relationship with Superman," stated Bruce. "I consider him… a friend."
"Batman has a friend," chuckled Green Arrow. "There is hope for Bats yet. He actually may have a heart."
"How can you be friends with him?" asked Shazam.
"Because the government overstepped their authority in taking him in and doing what they did to him," said Bruce. "We all know that A.R.G.U.S. is capable of it."
"We shouldn't make any accusations, Batman, unless you have proof. Steve has been good to us," argued Diana.
"I'll bring my files the next time," smirked Bruce.
"I don't trust A.R.G.U.S.," said the Green Arrow. "I'd like to see those files."
"You don't trust anything that is government run or sanctioned," pointed out John Stewart.
"No, I don't," grinned the Arrow.
"Well, I had Hal check with the Guardians about Krypton and Kryptonians before he came home and it's kind of fascinating," said John.
"What did they have to say?" asked Diana.
"Krypton was destroyed twenty-three years ago. Kryptonians were an ancient race, one of the most advanced races. Two thousand ago they were a space faring race. The Daxam are descended from Kryptonian colonists. It seems about 1500 years ago they became isolationist and stopped their space program," John told them.
"Why did they become isolationists?" asked Bruce.
"It seems one of their colonies was wiped out and they aftereffect was for the ruling Houses to vote to stop colonizing and exploration of space," answered John.
Suddenly, J'onn J'onzz phased through the door and re-solidified. Everyone turned and stared at him. The green skinned alien bowed to the board.
"I hate to interrupt but through my telepathy I picked up that you were discussing Kryptonians. I have had experience with them," he said.
"No offense, Lantern, but I'd like to hear what J'onn has to say rather than the Guardians," said the Arrow.
"I'd like to hear J'onn, too," said Bruce.
"I have no problem with that," said John.
"What do you know about the Kryptonians?" asked Diana.
"They lived under a red sun. As a race they were strong, three times or more stronger than a human, and long lived, and they culture was highly advanced. Under a yellow or orange sun, their bodies metabolized the solar radiation giving them increased powers. Many races were jealous of their advancements and their abilities under a yellow or orange sun. As a race they were broken up into four classes: The Science Class, The Artists class, The Warrior Class, and The Worker Class," explained J'onn.
"How was it decided that you belonged in a class?" asked Bruce.
"The birthing matrix. Parents would have the egg fertilized in vitro and the child would be grown through the matrix. When the fetus reached six months the matrix would check its DNA. According to its DNA, it would be adjusted and then born into a class," J'onn told them.
"That doesn't sound like fun," remarked the Arrow.
Bruce glared at him.
"It was efficient. Kryptonians were efficient. They were also an aloof race and preferred logic over emotion," J'onn replied.
"How do you know so much about them?" asked Diana.
"Before I came to earth, I spent some time on Krypton. I was given sanctuary by the House of El. Jor-El, who was Krypton's greatest scientist and one of their greatest of all time, was the head of the house. He showed me great kindness," stated J'onn.
Bruce knew that Clark's real name was Kal-El. He was the last member of the House of El. Diana also remembered that Superman introduced himself as Kal-El.
"This Superman is named Kal-El," she spoke up.
"When I stayed with Jor-El, he explained to me that he thought that the birthing matrix was holding back the natural evolutionary instincts of the Kryptonian genome. He theorized that a natural birth might produce an even stronger more adaptable Kryptonian. I believe this Kal-El is Jor-El and his wife Lara's son," he stated.
"And this Supergirl?" asked John.
"The younger female is also from the House of El. Her appearance makes me believe that she is related to Jor-El's brother Zor-El," J'onn explained.
"Well the Guardians would like to know what Kryptonian databases and technology that he and his cousin have," said John. "They believe Kryptonian technology should be under their protection so that no one can use it for evil purposes."
"Yeah, Lantern, why don't you ask him for his property," chuckled the Green Arrow. "I want to see that."
"Hal, Simon Baz, Kyle, Guy, and I have been tasked to speak to him," said John.
"That explains the real reason why you are all on earth," said Bruce.
"Let me talk to him," rasped Bruce.
"You are not part of the Corp, Batman. The Guardians gave us orders," said John.
"I'm trying to save you from embarrassment, John," said Bruce.
"Really," smiled John.
The thought of five Green Lanterns not being able to handle one being amused John.
"He has been raised on this planet since he was a child. His body is suffused with yellow sun solar radiation. If he was a Daxamite, I'd say you could handle him, but he's Kryptonian," said Bruce.
"I recommend you let Batman talk to him. We don't want violence, John. Think about the collateral damage a fight between you five and Superman could cause," said the Black Canary.
"She's right," said Arthur, who had remained silent for most of the meeting as usual. "Violence should be avoided."
"I have to agree with that," said Flash. "Metropolis is still dealing with the destruction done by the Darkseid invasion. We didn't get the blame for that because it was an alien invasion, but this will be blamed for."
"I don't like Batman seeing him alone," said John.
"I will go with him," said Diana.
"I would like to be part of the meeting, also," said J'onn.
Batman was scowling under his cowl. He would have preferred to deal with Clark alone, but this had become a league matter, so he had to play by league rules.
"I agree. I'll make arrangements for a meeting," said Bruce.
"Satisfied?" the Black Canary asked John Stewart.
He nodded yes.
"Well, I should go and let you continue your meeting," said J'onn, who then phased through the door leaving the room.
"Okay, what's next because I'm getting hungry?" said the Flash.
Bruce called Clark and arranged for them to meet at Wayne Manor since Diana knew his secret identity and he was sure that J'onn J'onzz knew his identity since he was such a powerful telepath. In a pair of charcoal grey pants, white linen dress shirt, and black cashmere cardigan, Bruce waited for his guests in his library. As he sat at the desk reviewing information on his tablet, Alfred came into the library.
"Master Timothy is in bed and Master Richard called to say he would be patrolling tonight for you," said Alfred.
"Thank you, Alfred."
"Shall I get some refreshments ready for your guests?" he asked.
"I know Diana likes green tea with honey. J'onn is addicted to Oreos and milk and I haven't a clue what Clark likes," said Bruce.
"I shall get some snacks together," said Alfred, who then left.
Bruce continued to look over his intel. It appeared that the Penguin was using his restaurant/night club as a front for a very profitable fencing of stolen items business. He'd have Tim gather more intel on it, while he concentrated on the whereabouts of Dr. Jonathan Crane. Suddenly, there was a whoosh of wind in his library and then Superman in full armor was standing in front of his desk.
"I have a doorbell," Bruce said.
"I don't like to wait outside of front doors dressed in my armor," said Clark. "People tend to notice me."
"I own the grounds around the mansion for ten square miles. No one would see you," replied Bruce.
The doorbell rang and Clark turned and used his x-ray vision to see who was at the door.
"Wonder Woman in civilian clothes and a man in a trench coat and wearing a fedora are at your door," Clark informed him.
"Alfred will let them in," Bruce told him.
Bruce turned off his tablet and placed it on top of the desk. He noticed Clark was still looking in the direction of the front door. Of course, it was through several walls. Bruce smiled.
"She's beautiful, isn't she?" remarked Bruce.
Clark turned his head and looked at Bruce. He was smiling. She was beautiful, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
"The man with her is an alien," said Clark.
"How do you know?" asked Bruce.
"He has two hearts and organs that humans don't have," Clark told him.
Bruce grinned. He respected Clark's remarkable gifts. The door to the library opened and in walked Diana and J'onn in disguise.
"You can shape shift, J'onn. He knows that you are an alien," said Bruce, as he stood up.
J'onn shifted into the form is usually took, which was a refined version of his real form. He nodded towards Clark. Diana found herself looking from Clark to Bruce. They were both handsome men with Bruce being more rugged and this Superman being more classically handsome, almost pretty. Both of them had black hair, blue eyes, and perfect physiques. Bruce was six foot two with thicker muscles, though not so thick that he lost his agility. Hal Jordan once remarked that he was built like a linebacker. This Superman was an inch or two taller than Bruce and his muscles were defined more yet lithe. He was like an ancient Greek statue of Apollo come to life. What she found most fascinating were the differences in their eyes. Bruce's blue eyes were dark, the color of blueberries, and gave nothing away, while Superman's were cerulean, open, and expressive.
"Diana, you're staring at my guest," Bruce said with a hint of amusement.
She almost blushed as she turned her head away.
"I have been looking forward to meeting you, Kal-El," said J'onn. "I knew your father Jor-El."
"My Kryptonian father," Clark said in surprise. "How?"
"He offered me sanctuary for a time while I search for a new planet I could call a new home. You see my world, my people, are all dead. I am the last of my kind, also," J'onn told him.
"I'd like to talk to you," said Clark.
"It would be a pleasure," said J'onn. "May I ask you a question?"
"Were you brought to life in the birthing matrix or a free birth?" he asked.
"Free birth," answered Clark, surprised by the question.
"Was your father's theory right?" he asked.
"Yes, it was. In my Fortress of Solitude there is a representation of my father, an AI with his knowledge and personality. The AI explained to me how I am different from other Kryptonians," explained Clark.
"What are some of the differences?" Bruce asked instead of J'onn. It was an opportunity to get more intel on Clark.
"I absorb solar radiation more efficiently," said Clark. "Kara will never be as strong as me. First, I've been here since I was a child and two, my body process the solar radiation more efficiently."
"Anything else?" asked Bruce.
Clark smiled and looked at him then said, "You are keeping a file on me, aren't you?"
"I'd be a fool not to, Cl… Superman," said Bruce. "If you ever go rogue then I need to know how to stop you."
Clark grinned then said, "I'll tell you when we are alone. You know I trust you."
"The Green Lanterns were tasked by the Guardians on OA to speak to you about Kryptonian databases and technology," said Diana.
"What do they want to know?" asked Clark.
"They want you to hand over all Kryptonian databases and technology," Bruce said with a smirk.
"When the Guardians become Kryptonians then I'll be glad to share Kryptonian databases and technology with them," said Clark.
"They believe that the technology is too advanced to be hands of one person. They want to keep it safe on OA," said Diana.
"It belongs to the House of El and I am the House of El. It goes nowhere," Clark stated coldly.
Diana felt her anger start to rise. She was an Amazon princess and deserved more respect than he was giving her. They stared at each other. Both J'onn and Bruce could read the situation.
"Do you intend on sharing Kryptonian tech with earth?" asked Bruce.
"When I think they are ready and can handle it then I'll share the technology," answered Clark.
Alfred entered pushing a tray with tea, milk, Oreos, and some finger sandwiches on it. The four heroes stopped and looked at him.
"Refreshments are served," he said.
"Oreos," smiled J'onn.