Author Notes: A birthday gift for sockich... if she thinks it meets her request.
The ropes snap. Everybody in the circus tent either gasps or stares in horrified silence.
Only a kid in the front row has the presence of mind to yell "Superman!" while Dick Grayson falls to the ground.
The blue blur arrives half a second too late.
* * *
Drake's inspection of the superficial burns caused by his latest energy weapon was direct, almost shameless. Of course, it wasn't as if he has made a secret of his intention to kill Superman. It was just that most people wouldn't have been so obviously planning the next iteration in their murdering schemes while their victim was carrying them a mile and a half over the ground.
His absolute trust in Superman delivering him to the authorities unharmed was... Superman couldn't figure out how he feelt about that.
"Drake... Tim. Why do you keep doing this? How long will you blame me for failing to save Dick Grayson?"
Drake shifted in Superman's arms, looking down to the speeding ground. "I don't blame you for that. There is only so much a single man -or alien- can do."
"Then what is it? What drives you like this? Luthor resents me, but you... I don't know why you hate me so much. Do you see me as some sort of menace? Do you think at some point I will try to take over the world?"
"I think that if you had taken over the world, Dick Grayson would be alive now. And everybody there would be alive tomorrow," Drake said, gesturing in the general direction of Africa. "And those hidden silos we are flying over wouldn't be necessary. Was cancer out of the reach of Kryptonian science? Heart disease?" Drake's voice was becoming colder, as his self-control slipped minutely. This was the longest conversation they had ever had in the two years Drake had been actively trying to kill him. "Aging? Hunger? Injuries derived from high-altitude falls?"
Superman didn't allow himself to wince. "I cannot interfere in humankind's path, Tim. That'd make me part of what I fight against."
Drake's face assumed the blandly focused expression that he used as a mask. "Whatever you say, Clark."
He didn't drop him, but he couldn't avoid frowning. Drake smiled.
They didn't say anything for the rest of the flight.