Warnings: You should probably re-watch A Better World (/the Justice Lords episode) to get the most out of this
World: Justice League (Unlimited)
Summary: A drabble about Flash talking with Lord Batman before leaving to go back to his own dimension.
“So, without your Flash, the Justice Lords went rogue?” Flash, the one from the other dimension, asked him with an inquiring little smile. Slightly mischievous. He was about to make some silly point that probably highlighted his own importance, in an effort to make everyone smile in the middle of the grim situation.
It had been two whole years, yet Batman could still read Flash like he hadn't been gone for one second.
“It wasn't quite that simple”, he said. Not playing along, but also doing nothing to drop the topic or make Flash stop talking. In fact, that was the very last thing he wanted to do. He wanted to listen to anything and everything Flash might want to say, no matter how insignificant. He had wanted that for two years.
“Hey, he was the conscience of your group! And that means I must be”, Flash said, a wide smile on his face. He had missed that smile so damn much that seeing it now hurt. In an almost good way. He wished he could take a picture. He wanted to have a hundred copies of that picture and put it in every room in his mansion, his every Wayne Enterprises office, his quarters in the watchtower, the Batcave, the Batmobile, every Batvehicle he owned, and in his wallet.
“Come on, Jiminy!” Green Lantern said, shattering the moment and making Flash look away from him. It took every inch of his willpower to not react. To prepare to let go. Any second now and he wouldn't see this Flash again.
“You guys go ahead, I'll be there in just a sec”, Flash said, to the surprise of everyone.
The other Batman looked at the two of them contemplatively, but in the end signalled for the others to go, and lingered only long enough to give him one last glance. They didn't need words; he understood the combined good luck wish and warning directed at him. Good luck dealing with the aftermath of all of this. Warning to not do anything to Flash. Anything like tying him up and locking him in the basement forever, just to keep him around.
He felt he needed that warning.
Flash cleared his throat, and he looked away from the portal and the lingering after image of his counterpart.
“I'm not your Flash, so I'm not sure how much this'll mean to you, but...”
Flash stepped way from the monitor and closed the distance between them. Red-clad arms wrapped around his shoulders and pressed his cheek against the wide, lightning bolt emblazoned chest. Hands clutched the back of his cape, fingers digging lightly into his shoulder blades. So gentle and so warm and so real. Such a firm and unwavering grip. Such strength and determination he had forgotten Flash even possessed.
“This world needs fixing, and I'm sure you'll attempt to do it now that you realize it. It'll be hard work, perhaps even impossible, and no doubt you'll feel like giving up at some point or another. Well, I want you to know that I believe in you. I trust you to stay on the right path and do your best. I'll root for you, Bats”, Flash said, his tone trying to mimic his usual cheerfulness but sounding too solemn and too emotional to fool him.
He didn't dare reciprocate the embrace, fearing that he would never let go if he allowed himself to take a hold in the first place. Turns out it wasn't expected anyway, as Flash let go of him before he could even begin to reconsider his decision.
“Gotta go now. Good luck!”
And Flash was gone in the blink of an eye, like he always was.
Batman stared at the portal until it closed, then turned back to his monitors. He had work to do, lots of it. But he knew he could pull through, because somewhere across the time-space continuum, there was a man who believed in him.