Truth from the Edge of Armageddon

by 'rith

Archive: Ask first, please.
Fandom/Warnings: This is just a quick reaction-fic to JLA 41...because, wow. Spoilers for that issue. (Written in a handful of minutes, so... ;-) )
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.

"Shut up, Clark! We *ALWAYS* win!"

His voice saved me.

I had been drowning in Mageddon, chained to the guts of the primordial Warbringer. My energy, my life becoming its will to destroy. Drowning in that utter despair. **Too late to save the ones we most needed to save. Better to die. Can't win against oblivion.**

That thing's name becoming a chant from my own lips. "Mah-geh-dun. Mah-geh-dun. Mah-geh--"


I *heard* him. From Earth and through Mageddon's mindfield, via J'onn's telepathy. Though the hopelessness and anger and loss. "We can't win. Mag-geh-dun!"

"It's never faced *us* before!"

*Us.* Not "us" the JLA, but he and I. Though the link I felt his unshakeable faith....

It shook me.

Faith. From the Batman. Not in God, or fate, or power.

In us.

"...we've faced terror and loss before. We were *forged* in those fires! We *didn't* go under! We *didn't* fall!

"Don't you dare fall now, Clark!"

His voice held me up.

"Last chance...and I can't believe *I'm* trying to convince *you*... Fight it, Clark! We can do this together! Reject Mageddon!"

On the edge of death and armageddon, Bruce reached to me with such passion and conviction, it was impossible to deny him anything.

*Thousands* are dying right now! Billions *more* will die in minutes!

"Save them, Superman, or God help me, I'll hound you through the afterlife until you beg for mercy!"

Talk about a fate *worse* than death. I didn't dare disobey.


"...really hate that lecturing tone, Bruce...

"But it's always when I need to hear it most."

He was with me when I absorbed Mageddon's anti-energy heart.

He's been with me since the moment we met. It took the edge of armageddon to realize he always will be.

I heard you, Bruce.

And I love you, too.


There just wasn't time to dissemble anymore.

He heard me. J'onn heard me, too, but J'onn already knows my secrets; more, ‘til now, than Clark himself knew.

Such irony. *He* is the one who's supposed to symbolize hope. "Supposed to"? He *does.* But it fell to me to pull him out of Mageddon's despair.

As if despair and I...were such old friends that I could walk freely through the valley of its shadow, and feel nothing.

But reaching Clark took everything I had. I wasn't going to let the Earth die because I couldn't bring myself to say what he needed to hear.

And he heard me.

He pulled himself free of Mageddon and absorbed its energy heart into himself. *That* scared me--yes, scared--worse than anything that had gone before. I even tried to urge him to back off. "This is the essence of Mageddon. You can't handle that alone!"

His voice came back to me, all unshakeable faith. "I'm not alone, I have you and J'onn with me."

I'm always with you, Clark.

We lost him for a moment of utter terror, and then his voice came back through the link: "The Mageddon warhead has been disarmed."

As I knew it would be, because he was there.

One week later, relative peace had settled. I wanted nothing more than to return to Gotham. It only figured that one of our ever-persistent foes chose that moment to reappear. When I tried to leave anyway, he turned to me with a grin and said, "Well, Batman? Come on. We're the Justice League. You know you love it."

"You know you love it." I didn't need detective skills to hear what he was really saying.

Yes, Clark.

I do.


Thanks to Carmen for letting me spam her incessantly 'til I got it right, or at least postable. ;-)

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