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Giving Away Knowledge by faithdaria


Title: Giving Away Knowledge
Rating: Teen
Fandom: Justice League Unlimited
Summary: A missing scene from Once and Future Thing, part 2.

“We should take notes,” Diana said, her gaze taking in all four members of the future Justice League. A part of her was still reeling from the idea that this was all that was left, that the most powerful warriors on earth had been destroyed by a timid inventor.

The older version of Bruce (and that was another one of the things that she was actively not thinking about) made a familiar wait-a-moment gesture and pushed a utilitarian-looking set of drawers out into the room. “Line up.” The future League did so without comment or hesitation, and John and Diana followed suit. Their Batman, of course, went his own way, coming over to the side of his counterpart, opening one of the drawers and nodding as if the contents were exactly what he expected.

“What are we doing,” she heard John ask quietly, to no one in particular.

Static was the one that replied as he took off his mask and stripped out of his shirt, revealing some impressive bruises. “Injury check. Bruce had to make it a rule because those two,” he gestured to Warhawk and the young Batman, “went out hurt and nearly got themselves killed a few months ago.”

Diana glanced at Bruce’s latest protégé as he took off his mask and felt her eyes widen before she looked away. The young man had the same coloring as the other male members of the Bat-family and strongly resembled Bruce himself, but those handsome features were marred by a whiplash burn scar that began over his right eye and ended by his left ear. She turned back as he removed the top half of his costume to display a lean torso and a collection of similar scars across his upper body, along with some fresh burns that were relatively mild.

Her Bruce gave away nothing, but she could feel his anger across the room as he silently treated the burns. The young superhero sat quietly for a time, but either the silence started to bother him or he noticed the tightly-reined emotions and decided to do something about it. He turned his head to look at Diana with a half-smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “The Deeds have a thing for me. I tried to explain that I had a girlfriend, but they don’t quite take no for an answer.”

Diana smiled back and was careful to meet his eyes. “Villains can often be inconsiderate about such things.” The boy laughed, and the tension abruptly lessened. She could learn to like working with this one.

***

Batman waited until all the minor injuries had been taken care of before dragging his older self away from the others. He doubted he was truly out of Diana’s hearing range, but you couldn’t have everything. “How could you let it happen?” His voice was quiet, honest. There was no point in trying to intimidate himself.

“I didn’t let it happen,” the old man replied, his own voice a mix of resignation and anger. “You did. Chronos came to this time with one important piece to taking over Gotham: he’d seen Batman’s face.” Bruce felt an instant of horror before he ruthlessly suppressed it. The older man nodded at the realization. “He destroyed the Batcave and the house trying to kill me and sent his pet henchgirls after the boy.”

“And they tortured him.”

“He let himself be held while his girlfriend got away. She was supposed to warn me and then go into hiding, but she ended up saving my life instead.” The older voice sounded a little disgruntled at this turn of events. “What none of us knew at the time was that he was also taking down the Watchtower. It took him less than three hours to take down the League.” Faded blue eyes looked into younger, brighter ones intently, and Bruce saw the pain that had been masked. “We have to stop this from ever happening. No matter what.” With that parting shot, the old man limped back to the group.