Innocence cannot last forever. But true friends and true friendship often does and will. Without the anchor of true friends and friendship, we're like boats without anchors-we drift aimlessly, with nowhere to rest and be still, even for a short time.

I got the idea for this story partly inspired by WW 139-140-"Trinity" by Eric Luke; partly from two pages of DC's Legends of the DC Universe #32 and also from staying up WAY too late on a Sunday night and reflecting back on the nature of friendship and also what it felt like to love someone from afar who had no clue at the time that I liked them as something more than friends-even though we'd been friends many years.

When Superman, Wonder Woman & Batman are referred to as the Trinity, it's always seemed to revolve around the relationship between Clark and Diana; scant attention is given to how Bruce feels about the two of them and that triangled relationship.

Here's MY spin on it...

As usual-I don't own them, I'm just playing with DC's toys in a not-for-profit way and will put them back neatly when I'm done.

Part one is general and not time specific. Part two takes place right after WW 139-140-"Trinity" by Eric Luke (I miss his work already!); and Part three takes place on the heels of Legends of the DC Universe #32, which for my purposes takes place after JLA #46 (which I'm STILL a bit upset about :-( )

On with the show...

By Tracey Claybon

Sunlight. The moon surrounded by stars. Shadows.
The eagle, the lioness, the bat.
The Boy Scout, The Peacemaker, The Dark Knight.

Clark, Diana, and Bru...-Batm...-...*Bruce.*

I so rarely think of myself as `Bruce`-the Batman is almost all that I am now... If it weren't for Alfred, Leslie, Dick, Barbara, Tim, Jean-Paul and Cassandra-I'd have succumbed to my darker side or died long ago. And, yet, they reached my humanity and help me keep what there is of it, after a fashion.

But, none of my Gotham family has shared with me what these two have. Diana and Clark complete something in me, and in turn I complete something in them.

Our companionship has endured through his and her deaths and my breaking; through the destruction and dissolution of the cities we have chosen-or been chosen-to protect; through the losses of those close to us, and through the creation and dissolution of many teams and incarnations of groups. The JLA. The Outsiders. The Justice League. We've endured through crisises, strangenesses that would have broken a lesser relationship and come out of it stronger for the testing.

Clark-the wholesome farm boy-represents the ultimate idealism. He is the embodiment of hope and of a belief in tomorrow-something I respect and at times envy. I can't stop looking at the past. In some ways, he is MY hope for the future, hope that it's possible to go on and continue despite anything. I'll never admit it to him but often his goading and sheer optimism-and caring for me that's so obvious even a blind man can see it-has kept me from completely giving in to the dark that always threatens to consume me. He's like the brother I should have had, or a me that should have been.

He has a dark side too, but it is so overshadowed by the light shining through around and out of him that it's a pale shadow, practically insignificant and almost invisible because of that light.

We are so alike but so very different in every way, and I look at him and see myself in a bright mirror. It almost frightens me.

And, then, there's Diana.

She is the ultimate warrior as well as a princess royal. The JLA knows to look to her first and foremost for battle wisdom that is unerringly true and keen; often her voice is the calm voice of reason when Clark and I are about to come to blows. She is the center around which we revolve and the anchor that keeps me in the light and Clark from having his light dimmed by the events that overtake him.

Despite the ageless wisdom she has, she is innocent to a point that frightens me at times-it frightens me and I envy it as much as or more than I envy Clark his normalcy and stability in his life and especially with Lois.

She is one of the most beautiful people on the planet or beyond. She is the kind of woman every other woman on the planet wishes she was and every man wishes he could have by his side.

Even I wish that, occasionally...

Talia, Shondra, Selina. All exceptional women. All exquisitely beautiful. All beloved-and loved-by me in myriad ways and for many reasons.

And yet not one of them holds a candle to her.

I trust her with my life. As I trust Clark, and maybe even more. The Batman, who wrote the book on elusiveness and mistrust...

I trust her with my life and also my secrets.

It's ironic, they're the two strongest individuals in our world. I know their greatest weaknesses, I have both means and the know-how to defeat them if ever the situation were to arise to make it necessary; they are not only aware of them, but, I think, would expect me to do so. Neither of them is truly human-yet they hold more humanity than anyone I've ever known.

And yet I trust them with my deepest secrets as they have trusted me with theirs.

After the incident with her Wonder Dome in Gateway City, I knew she wouldn't listen when I said to jettison it to the heart of the Sun. I didn't expect her to.

But I wanted to try to reassure her in some way that all that was revealed in the shared dream we had was our secret to keep. And, also to let her know that SOME things don't change.

and, frankly, if I showed the care and concern for her and how she is hurt by all of this right now the way I WANT to, I'd surprise and maybe even alarm her in the process. I don't want to do that.

At least, I let her know that we will always be there to ensure she's never alone when she truly needs us. And I *will* be there.

I admit that watching Clark and Diana share a relationship was somewhat difficult for me-not just because of how Clark feels about her versus how he feels about his wife Lois, but also because in my way I've come to care about Diana too. The difference is that with the life I lead, the enemies I have and the darkness inside, I don't feel I have a right to act on my feelings. I find myself wishing, occasionally, in the deepest recesses of my soul, that she would look at me the way that she looks at Clark. Once would be enough.

It probably will never happen.

There's a running unspoken bet among the younger and newer members of the JLA as to when-or if-they'll ever give in to the obvious attraction that exists there. There are two others among us who don't or will not participate in the betting-J'onn, who knows each of us intimately and often better than we know ourselves; and Orin, who has known and respected Clark and Diana almost as long as I have, and who I know is nurturing a secret desire for Diana also-but like me, will not act because she seems to only see Clark...

The bet would never center on me because they think I'm a cold-hearted, logical-minded bastard. They are right. They are also wrong. I'm human and capable of loving like anyone else... Those I love seem to get hurt, though, so I don't let many get close. I don't wish to see a woman I love killed or irreversibly hurt because I loved them.

And because of that, I will not tell her how I feel.

But how I feel about her and about Clark is even more complicated than that.

If Clark is the light guardian of Justice and I am the dark guardian of Justice, she is the anchor that keeps us grounded and solid. Our relationship is like a three-stranded braid-put together we are stronger than any force that can divide us, and she-and how we both feel about her-is the center.

She's my anchor too.

Maybe, one day, I'll be able to return the favor.

Today, she came to me for help.

I believe that today, she lost a bit of that shining innocence and in the process, came to understand me better even than Clark. I didn't agree with the choice she made about Actaeon any more than Clark did, but I had faith in her. Even though we have recently... not agreed... due to that confrontation with Ra's Al Ghul not all that long ago, she came to me and asked for my help-where the JLA wouldn't-or couldn't go.

Clark, for whatever reasons, failed to have that faith in her choices. I truly don't know why.

Maybe, because the Batman was forged in the fires of hard decisions and difficult choices, I understand. Clark, with all of his stability, has not yet gone through that particular fire. Now, for better or worse, Diana has.

I still wonder why she asked for my help when she was so angry before and said she didn't trust me... but I will give it-and anything else she might ask me for BECAUSE I believe in her.

I have a feeling I gave her that unquestioned faith when she needed it. I told her, that we now have the smallest piece of each other, and now we must live with it.

What will this mean for the three of us now?

I'm not sure, but I will be their anchor when they need me.

Even through all that has happened between us, that faith is still there, and I pray-as much as I pray or believe, to whatever benevolent Gods that may be listening-that it remains as long as we all live, and beyond.


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