Batman stood in front of the Watchtower's large bay windows. He leaned against the window sill with his usual permanent scowl. He stared out at Earth below. It looked so distant and far away from here. It made all problems feel insignificant, even their latest.
Superman had been sent to the future by Toyman, but as far as everyone else knew, he had been vaporized. Everyone mourned his "death", but Batman refused to accept that he had died at all. He investigated every possibility. In the end, he was right, but little did the rest of the League know how he had felt during that time.
"What are you looking at?" a voice said behind him.
Batman turned to look at the muscled man on the upper deck. He had his arm crossed over the large "S" insignia on his chest. He looked very confused at Batman, not used to seeing him look out into the distance like that.
"Nothing," Batman replied in his deep baritone.
Superman flew down, his red cape flowing behind him. He landed gracefully next to Batman.
"You never look at nothing."
There was an unnatural pause between them. Batman did not even look at the man of steel. He kept his emotionally neutral gaze looking out into the stars. Superman mimicked the dark knight's position, leaning on the large window sill with his arm over one another. He looked out into the endless black as well.
"You shaved the beard," Batman muttered.
Superman rubbed his chin, remembering the lumberjack-esque beard he'd grown in only a few months. "Yeah, didn't really suit me. I like to keep up the clean cut image."
Their silence continued. Superman had no idea what to say. What do you say to your friend after coming back from the dead? Diana had said that Batman had refused to accept that he was dead in the first place. Maybe that was his only way of dealing with death, refusing to accept that it even happened.
Batman looked at him, keeping his neural expression. "Where did you end up?"
"Where did Toyman send you? How far in the future?"
"Thousands and thousands of years. The yellow sun of this solar system had turned red, making me powerless. Everything was a wasteland. I'd never thought Earth could look so desolate. It really makes you think about things doesn't it?
"Why would it?"
"Well, I just mean, seeing how our world could change so much. Doesn't that freak you out, even a little?"
"Little 'freaks me out', as you put so eloquently."
Superman paused. He turned to look at the tall, brooding man clad in black next to him. "Did my death 'freak you out'?"
"That's a moot point. I never thought you were dead."
"Bruce," Superman said Batman's name with a very serious, yet sympathetic, tone. Batman flinched ever so slightly. Superman only ever used his real name when they were alone, and he only said it like this when he was being serious, but caring as well.
"You don't need to be like that around me. You've never had."
Batman looked at the ground, avoiding Superman's gaze. He did not want to break his serious composure, and he felt like looking at him would cause that.
"I don't know, Clark. I didn't believe that you were gone. I wouldn't let myself believe it, because..." Batman's deep voice trailed off.
Batman sighed in defeat. He couldn't hide from Clark, he never could. This strangely cheerful and upbeat man, who was everything he was not and never would be, had this odd way of getting under Bruce's skin. It angered him to his boiling point, but at the same time, maybe having one person like that was good for someone, even for the Batman.
"Because I didn't want to admit that the only real friend I'd ever had was gone."
Batman continued looking out into the stars. He would not look at Superman, because if he did, he'd have to see Superman's wide smile. Behind that black cowl and permanent look of disdain, he really did care, Superman thought to himself. Despite all their differences, from the way they dress to the way they view justice, they were each others best friend.
Superman wasn't going to try and hug him. That wasn't something they did. But he did put his large arm over Batman's shoulder. Batman turned to Superman in confusion. He saw the man's genuine smile as looked out the bay window.
"I'd miss you too, Bruce," he said quietly.
Batman gave a half smile, the closest thing he would ever get to a real one. He looked back towards the emptiness of space.
"Glad we've settled that, Clark," he muttered in reply.