The Last Herald of Galactus #6

Written by Dannell Lites, Edited by Marvelite
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of Marvel Comics and DC Comics
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The Last Herald of Galactus

Continues from The Last Herald of Galactus
issue #1
, issue #2
, issue #3, issue #4, and issue #5.


Six Months Later:

The great panoply of stars spread itself above him like a glittering cloak, twinkling and bright with allure. They seemed so close. It was as if he could reach out his hand and touch their brilliance. For a moment he lifted his hand to try and seize them. But no.

They were out of his reach, now.

Like so many, many other things.

His body tingled with the memory of the Power Cosmic surging and burning its way through him, spilling out his eyes and his hands, shaped by his will. But like the stars shining so far above him, unreachable now, it was only a memory. And with time, like any memory (even so unique a one as that) it would fade.

He hoped.

"You miss it, don't you?"

Calling from out of the looming darkness, the voice startled him and Kal-El spun to face it. When the stygian figure stepped out of the gathering shadows, he relaxed. "How does he *do* that?" the newly christened Superman wondered. "To *me*"

"Space, I mean," said The Batman. "You must feel trapped here, now."

The other man returned to watching the twinkling stars overhead. Eyes that could see atoms collide if he willed it, ears that could hear a cell divide, watched and listened to the birth of a new star. The light of it would not reach Earth for centuries. Once, the man in the colorful costume would have journeyed faster than the speed of those hurtling rays of light to be mid-wife at that birth.

But no longer.

He closed his eyes and looked away from the splendors denied him, now.

"Sometimes," he admitted. "Sometimes I miss it."

"The top of the Daily Bugle building here in Metropolis is probably as close as you're going to get, I'm afraid." A brief half smile flickered about the corners of those thin lips for an instant, no more. "I doubt that J. Jonah Jameson would approve." The wry thought seemed to please The Batman.

"Of either of us," Superman chuckled in agreement. Laughter threatened and the Dark Knight stanched it, as if putting his booted foot on the neck of a supine criminal.

"I can live with that," he said with no small amount of sarcasm staining his deep voice. The young alien at his side frowned slightly.

"Sometimes I wonder if there's anything you *can't* live with, Bruce," he said softly. The Batman folded his cape closer about his broad shoulders and it was only Superman's keen eyes that allowed him to notice that the other hero also used the simple, unassuming act to step back slightly, to distance himself a bit from his companion in the night.

"You'll know it when you find it, Clark," The Batman said. Superman smiled.

"Oh, I think I already have," he announced. When silence was the only answer to his foray, he wasn't surprised. But he didn't let it deter him, either.

"We have more in common than you think," continued the bright figure gleaming in the starlight. "It takes a singular man to do what you do -- what *we* do. More than dedication ... more than a sense of justice and what's right. It takes ... obsession almost." He paused and watched the other man as something dark and lonely flickered through those chill blue eyes.

"Something bad happened to you, didn't it?" asked Superman. "Someone died, I think. And you were all alone in a world that didn't make sense. I know all about ... being alone. I understand you better than you know. Because when it's all said and done ... when you tear all the outer trapping away from the heart of The Batman, the cape, the cowl, the shadows and the night ... what you're left with is a man. A man who, more than anything thing, doesn't want to see anyone else die. When my Mast - when Galactus was dying ... *you* were the only one who spoke for saving him." The man beside him remained still as a statue. Superman closed haunted eyes.

"I watched worlds perish. And I finally leaned the truth about the death of my own world and everything I *should* have become. I don't want to see it happen again, either. I *won't* see it happen again. I won't." For long moments neither spoke. When the silence was finally shattered, Superman was surprised that it was his companion who wielded the hammer. Staring off into the vast night sky, The Batman drew a deep breath.

"You have a lot to atone for," he said. "This is a good place for that. This world could certainly *use* your help." Superman nodded.

"You'll help me?" he ventured, unsure. The Batman seemed startled.

"Me?" Again, Superman nodded in affirmation. The Batman frowned. "*You're* the one with powers and abilities far beyond us mere mortals," he pointed out, his voice gone acerbic with irony. "What can *I* do to help *you*?" Superman stared down into the heart of the bustling city of Metropolis from high above it's still crowded streets.

"This is your world," he told The Batman. "Your place. I may never understand it, totally. But if I'm going to try ... I'll need someone to help me. Someone to talk to and advise me. You think I'm too trusting, don't you? To eager to please and find a place to belong. That's why I stayed with Galactus for so long, right?" The Batman said nothing, but his silence was confirmation enough.

"Would it surprise you to know that I agree with you? More than most," Superman continued, "I'm going to need someone to help me fit into this world. A man. A *good* man. Someone who'll keep me centered; someone who'll think of all the things I may not see. Someone I can trust." Scarcely daring to breath, Superman waited. The answer, when it came, made him smile for all that it was only a simple nod and a tiny smile that lingered far too briefly on those sharp, angular features. It was several moments before The Batman spoke.

"I can't imagine what it was like out there," he mused softly. "The things you must have seen ... I suppose I can't really blame you for wanting to return. This world must seem a poor place to you."

"Only to a native who takes it for granted," Superman assured him with a laugh and, this time, The Batman's responding smile reached and warmed his blue eyes.

"But, then," Superman remarked, "I have something here that I never had ... out there ... " He looked up into the sparkling night sky and then back at the grim man at his side. Underneath the cowl, he could see an eyebrow raise itself in silent, eloquent inquiry. His answering smile rivaled the night stars in its radiance.

"Friends," he said.

The End

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