And, as always, when it comes to my heroes I think about the icons - Superman and Batman, the yin and yang of DC. Clark Kent is daylight and optimism, who gathers friends around him just because he likes people, who had four parents who loved him, who has a fulfilling career and a good marriage, and who also happens to have major superpowers. Clark Kent takes off his suit to dress up as Superman.
Batman is, of course, darkness and pessimism. He gathers family because he *needs* them, even though he'll never admit it. His parents also loved him, but they were torn away. The man who raised him loves him, too, but it's not the same. Batman is stuck on eight in some ways - always the little boy who saw his parents killed. I suspect he has nightmares. And Batman takes off his mask and dresses up as Bruce Wayne. And, of course, he has no powers. And he's hiding a secret from himself.
Batman watched the young man fly across the sky on a beam of emerald light.
"He's learning, Bruce." Clark stood next to him, impervious to the cold and the night. "He's doing fine."
"You think I'm hard on him." Batman turned to look at his best friend the alien. Don't ever forget that this kind and gentle man is an alien. And when you look at his dark blue eyes and raven hair, remember he's also married. "He holds the most powerful weapon in the galaxy on his hand. That means he has great responsibility. He has to know how to be a hero. A super hero."
"He knows. And if he didn't - he's an adult. It's up to him to learn how. He's not like those children of yours."
Batman froze at hearing those words. He turned back to the night sky. There was no trace of green left. "He's not...I don't..." He thought. "He is Dick's age."
"Dick is someone to be proud of. He's young, but he's a true hero."
"Dick has been a hero his entire life, and Dick doesn't have a ring. And he knows how to be cautious. But Kyle...he's...he's cocky. He'll go the way of Hal. And Ollie. And Barry. We've lost too many friends."
"And none of them as beautiful as Kyle."
"What are you surprised at? I'm a reporter. I see things. And I'm not entirely innocent. A lot more goes on in small towns than you would expect, city boy. And Kyle is beautiful, just speaking objectively. And he doesn't have the same...strings as..."
"You mean...he's my *son*. I can't, won't...no matter how he..." Batman shook his head to clear it of confusion. "Whatever I am, whatever I feel, and I don't say it's true, Kyle is...not interested, any more than...than you would be."
Clark smiled, and there was something in that smile that made Batman wonder what would have happened if there hadn't been a Lois. Or what happened before there was a Lois in that small town. "You might find out. He's very beautiful, and he thinks you hate him. The worst thing would be that you'll show him you don't hate him." Clark clapped him gently on the shoulder and flew off.