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Wonderbat Anthology

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Caught

Diana finished making her favorite iced mocha, the corners of her lips curling slightly in anticipation of the moment she could savor the chocolatey goodness of her drink. An endless string of missions had left her frazzled and more than ready for a break.

She swore if she had to deal with one more ungrateful person she was going to start banging heads together and make them realize just how grateful they should be. Sometimes dealing with the general public had its downside, testing her patience to its very limits.

An unexpected breeze caused the ends of her raven hair to flutter in response. “Wondy!” Flash greeted her with his typical exuberance. “How’s my favorite Amazon?”

“I’m the only Amazon you know,” she pointed out as she took her drink to sit at the table in the kitchen on the floating satellite.

“Minor detail,” he replied with a dismissive wave of his hand as he opened the refrigerator door. “You’re still my favorite. That’s all that matters.”

“What did you do today?” she asked before taking a drink of her mocha.

“You know…the ushe,” he muttered, sticking his head in the fridge as he searched for something.

Diana frowned slightly with his chosen word for usual. Even though she’d been in Man’s World for nearly two years, she was still trying to learn all the slang words and what they meant. Thankfully, Flash provided her ample learning experience.

Straightening up, Flash held up a can of whipped cream, removing the cap and promptly spraying a copious amount of whipped cream into his mouth all while keeping the nozzle from touching his lips. She watched in stunned disbelief as he recapped the can and shoved it back into the fridge.

“Well, gotta run,” he mumbled, his mouth full of whipped cream. “Got monitor duty in one minute. Better not be late to relieve Batman or he’ll have my head on a pike. See ya, Wondy.”

“Bye, Flash,” Diana softly murmured, her brow furrowed in thought as she considered what she had just seen happen.

It seemed rather odd to her see someone take a can of whipped cream and spray it into his mouth like that. It just seemed so…bad. Not to mention, it was unsanitary…wasn’t it? Actually, Flash held it far enough away from his mouth to keep the nozzle from touching his lips so what was so wrong with it?

While she was considered innocent and naïve by her teammates, she wasn’t beyond breaking the rules now and then. She definitely wasn’t a prude like Shayera thought and she wasn’t a rookie like John liked to call her at times.

Diana glanced down at her drink, biting at her bottom lip as she considered the options. Whipped cream would definitely hit the spot…especially in combination with her iced mocha. And, it had been a really bad day, one that she’d sooner forget about if at all possible. The best way to do that was with a sweet treat.

Slowly sliding her tongue over her bottom lip, she stood to her feet, the legs of her chair scraping softly against the steel floor. She took a long drink of her iced mocha before setting it down on the table and making her way to the refrigerator.

Her fingers wrapped around the handle of the refrigerator door as she contemplated her next move, her back straight with determination and her shoulders back with every single ounce of royal grace that she possessed. She deserved this moment of misbehavior, to break a perceived rule or two. It was rather exhilarating in a way.

She quickly looked towards the open door of the kitchen to make sure no one was there before opening the refrigerator. She leaned over as she reached inside, retrieving the can of whipped cream. With a playful grin on her lips, she removed the cap and tilted her head back before spraying a large amount of the white cream into her mouth.

The unexpected sound of a throat being cleared caused her head to whip to the side, her eyes wide at the thought of having been caught especially by him of all people. His expression was completely emotionless, his lips thinned into a grim line of disapproval.

“Hi, Ba-ma,” she mumbled, mouth full of whipped cream.

Diana could feel a small amount of the sweet, white substance on the corner of her lip, the tip of her tongue sneaking out to remove it. She could also feel warmth suffusing her cheeks as they stared at one another. She could have sworn that she saw the corner of his mouth tick upwards as he studied her.

“Hello, princess,” he rasped darkly.

She swallowed her tasty treat, nervously wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand before carefully replacing the cap on the can of whipped cream. For some reason, she found herself clutching the can almost to the point of nearly crushing it, butterfly wings suddenly erupting in the pit of her stomach at the sight of him.

Her lips curled into a smirk as her free hand came to rest on her hip, mischief dancing in her bright blue eyes as she met his intense stare. “Would you like some?” she playfully asked, holding up the can of whipped cream.

Without a single word, Batman slowly closed the distance between them, coming to a stop directly in front of her. Diana forgot how to breathe as he lifted his hand to her, using his gauntleted thumb to erase some whipped cream from her lip that she had missed.

She felt as if her heart was going to hammer right out of her chest as he tilted his head slightly to lick the cream from his thumb. She released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding as he abruptly turned and walked towards the kitchen door without saying a word.

She sagged in relief against the edge of the kitchen counter only to immediately straighten back up when Batman turned to look at her. “My quarters in fifteen minutes,” he evenly told her.

Diana face instantly brightened with his invitation, her heart nearly stopping altogether when he uttered his next words. “And don’t forget the whipped cream, princess.”

Chapter Text

Rules

Rules.

Rules are made to keep order and create structure. They are well thought-out guidelines meant to be followed, governing conduct and creating a unified front among a group of people.

Rules are directives mean to be followed.

Rules are made for a reason even if we don’t always understand the need for said reasons or fully agree with them.

An entire binder filled with rules exists on the Watchtower, officially labeled by Batman as “Protocols”. It must make the rules seem more important and imperative to be labeled as protocols, more perilous to oppose if not followed to the exact letter of the law.

Rules are meant to keep people safe and to hopefully avoid a disastrous outcome.

Some rules are completely idiotic like no fraternizing between teammates.

Some rules, though, are just meant to be broken.

Savoring the sweetness of my iced mocha, I tilt my chair back as my gaze falls on the monitor screens before me. I have no idea why they call this the graveyard shift. It’s a morbid sounding designation to a shift that is hardly if ever truly dead or boring.

Just because it’s almost five in the morning on the east coast doesn’t mean that there’s nothing gong on or that it’s not daytime some other place in the world.

Disasters and evil deeds do not stop just because the sun has gone down and the moon presides over the dark sky. In fact, darkness seems to give birth to evil, breeding deception and all sorts of wicked deeds.

Momentarily closing my eyes, I savor another sip of my caffeinated dependence. I can’t help wondering where these have been all my life or how I ever survived living on Themyscira for the last thousand years without them. It’s an addiction I never want to be cured of.

“What exactly do you think you’re doing?”

The deep, grating rasp of the fearsome Dark Knight pierces the euphoric haze the chocolate and caffeine has created in my brain, forcing my eyes to pop open. I quickly hide my surprise at his unexpected presence, tucking it away and giving him my best smile in hopes that it will blind him enough not to notice my numerous infractions.

“I believe you have aptly named it monitor duty,” I politely respond, the heels of my boots sliding across the top of the desk as I lower my feet to the floor.

His piercing glare only diminishes ever so slightly as I sit up straighter in my chair, my boots now firmly on the floor. There is no rule in the protocol book about having feet propped up on the desk. I know…I checked. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, there will be by tomorrow along with a detailed memo to all staff and Leaguers.

“I know you’re doing monitor duty, princess,” he growls, a scowl etched firmly into his face that I would’ve sworn was permanent if I hadn’t caught glimpses of what might be categorized as a faint smile by some. “What are you doing with that iced mocha?”

I look at the cup in my hand as if it’s completely obvious before meeting his glare again. “I planned on drinking it, but if you have other ideas, I’m all ears.”

I know I’m getting under his cowl and testing his patience, but I can’t help myself and besides that the man deserves it. He’s infuriating on a good day and positively unbearable on a bad one. Still, I can’t help being in love with him just the same. Now, if I can only get him to admit he feels the same way about me. Damn obstinate mortal mule.

I also know that I’m playing with fire and quite frankly I didn’t care at this moment. It was almost five in the morning. I’d been out on a mission for hours on end, only just returning before my monitor duty shift. I haven’t had any sleep in over thirty-six hours and I was really beginning to feel it.

“Protocol book section eight specifically states no beverages in the Monitor Womb,” he evenly states, picking upon the empty ice cream container and spoon sitting on the desk beside one of the computer screens. “Or food.”

I roll my eyes at him, growing annoyed with his lecturing tone. I’m a Founder for Hera’s sake, not a child. “I just returned from a thirty-six-hour mission,” I counter. “Forgive me for being a little hungry and in need of caffeine, Bruce.”

I watch as the lenses of his cowl constrict into barely perceptible lines, his jaw clenching tightly. “Section three, paragraph fourteen,” he responds. “Use of real names on the Watchtower is strictly prohibited.”

My fatigue immediately catches up with me, surpassing my patience or what little of it still exists. I leap to my feet in a burst of anger, my forefinger finding the center of the Bat emblem on his chest. “I don’t need to be lectured on the rules, Bruce,” I hiss as I continue poking him in the chest, pushing him backwards until his back collides with the wall. “I am a Founding member of this League and I know the damn rules.”

Bruce stares at me for a long moment, his lips thinning into a grim line. “Section six, paragraph nine states physical abuse of any kind will not be tolerated and is grounds for expulsion from the League.”

My vision begins to tunnel with his reminder, everything taking on a red hue as my fury completely takes over. “Why you arrogant pig!”

A flurry of Greek curses escapes before I can stop them, earning myself a smirk from the very source of my ire. “Section ten paragraph one,” he replies. “Swearing will not be tolerated no matter what language it may be presented in.”

They always say there’s a fine line between love and hate. That line was completely abolished as I suddenly grab his face, my mouth crashing against his as I kiss him senseless. He responds to my kiss, returning it fully as his gauntleted fingers tangle in my hair. Several moments later, I finally break the intimate contact after the need for air becomes too demanding to ignore any longer.

Retreating, I find I’m quite pleased with myself to find him as affected as I am, breathing heavily in an effort to regain control once more. I can hardly believe that I have managed to stun him into silence…that is until he opens his mouth.

“Section six, paragraph one,” he quotes. “Sexual assault will not be permitted in any form.”

With a cry of rage, I slam my fist into the steel wall right beside his head, leaving a decent sized dent behind him. Bruce doesn’t even flinch as he calmly stares me down. “That’s damage of Watchtower property, princess—section thirteen, paragraph twelve. I’ll be sure the repair team sends the bill to you.”

I call him something quite unacceptable and very disrespectful in Greek before turning on my heel and storming towards the door of the Monitor Womb just as Superman enters for his shift. He looks at Batman and then me, confusion clearly written on his face.

“What’s going on here?” he asks.

“I’ve got an Amazon princess to seduce,” Batman growls as he begins to follow me.

“Isn’t that against the rules?” Superman yells as the door slides closed behind me.

Chapter Text

Door

I want her.

It’s something that I’ve tried so hard not to. God knows that I’ve tried, but it’s something that I’ve failed mightily in doing though I’m loathe to admit it. I’ve worked and trained so hard over the years to hone my body, my mind, my spirit…bending them to my will and refusing to give into needless desires and temptations.

Everyone thinks I’m nothing more than a cold-hearted, emotionless bastard, but I actually do feel things much to Flash’s belief. I feel rage, bitterness, resentment, loneliness. They are what drive my mission, fills my soul and consumes my nights.

I feel other things too, though.

I feel flickers of happiness, sparks of attraction, and moments of lust. Because of her, though, I’ve felt them even more so than ever before. Because of her, I’ve also discovered a sense of peace that I’d long thought dead, a lightness that makes the load that I willingly carry on my shoulders a little less burdensome. There’s a certain brightness to the future that has never been there before, and I know that she’s the reason for it.

She’s the reason I’m lying here in my bed staring up at the ceiling, watching the shifting shadows dance across my bedroom. Patrol did nothing to settle my building desire for her, nothing has been able to clear the thoughts about her that linger in my mind or the way she haunts my dreams like an angelic specter.

It’s raw, demanding, all-consuming, overwhelming desire that has me fighting against the urge to go to her door now. I glance over at the wall on my right that separates us. Knowing she’s sleeping in the bed on the other side of it does little to help quell this desire that grows hotter and stronger with every beat of my heart.

Her living here for the last six months has only made it that much harder to ignore these feelings, seeing her every morning and coming home to her every night. It has given me a glimpse of the way things could be if I’d only allow it to be, knowing I could have even more with her if I’d only let her in.

With a growl of frustration, I throw the covers off me, moving to sit on the edge of my disheveled bed. I lean forward, my elbows coming to rest on my thighs as I hold my head in my hands. She has to feel the sexual tension that charges the air like an electrical firestorm every time we’re anywhere near each other. It’s difficult not to feel it crackle against your skin, next to impossible breathe.

Getting up, I march towards the door, opening it and walking the short distance to her bedroom. I stand outside her door like I have off and on for the past several weeks, posed on the threshold of charging through that doorway and changing my future forever, but uncertainty runs rampant through my mind and keeps my feet planted firmly in place.

It’s thrilling and terrifying and I once again find it next to impossible to walk away from her. The thought of her not being in my life is nearly as painful as losing my parents. She’s somehow managed to work her way into the cracks and crevices of a broken heart, making me believe that she deserves so much more than what I could ever offer her and yet I can’t help wanting her just the same.

I raise my fist to knock on her door only to hold it there for a moment, contemplating what I’m about to do. Would she even want me? What could I actually offer a goddess like her? A broken heart, a damaged spirit…a frightened little boy filled with so much loneliness who only wants to be loved. That’s nothing to offer a princess like her.

With a shuddering breath, my chin falls to my chest as the turmoil continues to rage inside of me, my hand falling to my side once more and clenching into fists of frustration, overcome with a desire for things to be different…that I was different for her…my beautiful princess.

What was I even thinking by coming to her door?

Just as I begin to turn away to return to my room, her door suddenly opens revealing the woman of my dreams. Her expression is one of knowing understanding and gentleness. Her lips curl at the corners, her sapphire eyes filled with such emotion that it stuns me into silence.

“Bruce,” she softly says my name, a beseeching prayer and a welcoming solace all at once.

My entire body feels frozen where I stand as she reaches out to me, her hand coming to rest against my face. Her thumb gently caresses my cheekbone as if trying to calm a scared animal that might bolt at any second. It’s as if she can read my mind, knowing my every thought and the fierce battle that is being waged somewhere deep inside of me.

“Princess,” I murmur as my eyes fall closed, drawing a deep breath in order to calm my hammering heart. The sound of my voice as I say her name is more like a plea than a confident answer to her touch.

Without another word, she draws closer to me, her arms slipping around my neck as her lips find mine. I’m acutely aware of the fact that nothing is separating us from one another save for my boxers and the thin black negligee that barely covers her body. My heart begins to pound harder as I respond to her kiss, deepening it as my arms keep her locked against my body.

She begins to draw back, leading me through her doorway and into her room before kicking the door closed. Any pretense there might have been is completely abolished as her hands begin to roam over my chest, my mouth moving to feast on her slender throat that has been tempting me for far too long.

She tastes like I imagined—sweet like honey, warm like sunshine, and addicting like a drug I can’t get enough of. She moans softly as she tilts her head to the side, offering more of herself to me. No words are necessary, no explanations or beating around the bush about why I’m here or what we want. It’s obvious that we both have wanted this…wanted each other if the way that she’s responding to me is any indication.

Her fingers rake up the back of my head, gripping at my hair as she breathlessly calls my name. It only serves to arouse me even more, my hips grinding against hers as I show her how desperately I want her. She does this to me by doing so very little, but this time I actually get to follow through with my desire, my fantasy becoming a sweet reality.

My hands roam over her deadly curves that have taunted me for the last two and a half years, my body demanding to feel her skin pressed against mine. I kiss her sweet lips again, my fingers moving to the thin straps of her negligee as hers trace the edge of my boxers.

“Diana…” I huskily murmur, fighting to grab hold of the last thread of my control that is on the verge of completely snapping altogether. “Are you sure about this…about me?”

Her smile returns with patient gentleness that is just so her as she gazes deeply into my eyes. “I’ve waited for you for two and a half years, Bruce Wayne,” she replies, pausing to brush her lips against mine before pushing her negligee off her shoulders herself. “I’m not about to wait any longer.”

A ragged breath of relief escapes my throat as I ravenously drink in her breathtaking form, my lips suddenly crashing into hers as I give into my need for her. I kiss her hard. It’s rough, demanding and hungry. I’m unable to hold in what I feel for her any longer as I pick her up and carry her to the bed waiting for us behind her.

She wraps her arms around me, pulling me down with her. I pin her to the mattress, briefly worrying that I’m going to crush her with my weight. That worry is quickly erased as her hands roam over my back, pulling me even more firmly against her.

I don’t have to be afraid about hurting her, worry about holding anything back. She’s definitely not like any other woman that I’ve slept with. Diana can fully take everything that I’m about to give her and I plan on giving her all that I have, showing her every bit of love and desire that I feel for her.

My boxers don’t stand a chance of surviving this encounter as she rips them off my body and tosses the material aside. Her hands find my backside, squeezing and kneading me and urging me on with a mutual hunger that I feel bone-deep.

She moans appreciatively as I kiss her pulse point, pausing to suck hard and earning a cry from my princess. She spreads her knees wide for me, fully welcoming me as she cradles me between her long, toned legs. Her fingernails lightly rake over my back, causing me to buck my hips and tilt my head back to gasp with pleasure.

Everywhere she touches me seems to set me on fire, a thick fog of ecstasy consuming my mind and making it difficult to connect my thoughts. There’s only her and me and nothing else in this world matters as she rolls me onto my back, her curls tumbling down around us like an ebony waterfall as she kisses me senseless.

I reach up, my fingers threading through her hair as I keep her right where I want her. My lips refuse to let her leave until my lungs are burning for air. Panting heavily, I suddenly sit up, my hands falling to grasp hold of her hips. I help her shift her position over me, allowing her to take me inside of her at her own pace.

Knowing I’m her first, Diana takes me by surprise as she envelopes every single hard inch of me in one downward motion, a strangled cry of pleasure being torn from her lips as her head falls back. She takes a moment to catch her breath before meeting my worried gaze, afraid that I hurt her.

Her hands gently cradle my face, her lust-filled gaze piercing my very soul. “I love you, Bruce.”

Her voice is soft and tender like a warm summer breeze, brushing against my face like a feather. I kiss her sweetly, desperate for her to know that I love her too though the words are so hard for me to find at that moment. There’s a part of me that’s still afraid, but it’s growing smaller with every passing moment that I’m with her.

Our kiss swiftly grows heated once more, passion flaring like a blazing inferno as she begins to rock her hips against mine. I lay her back as I take over, thrusting and touching and fondling. I can’t get enough of this amazing woman that I’m making love to, imprinting every single moment of this with her into my mind.

She wraps her legs around my waist, her one hand squeezing my backside and her other clutching the sheet beneath her. She arches her back, pressing her breasts against my chest. Our bodies rub against each other as I penetrate deeper and deeper inside of her, our mingled breaths growing more erratic by the moment.

The room is filled with the scent and sounds of our love making, the shifting shadows that had been my only companion in my bedroom a little while ago now paying witness to the desire and passion that has exploded like fireworks all around us. Being with her…touching her, kissing her, being inside of her is better than any dream or fantasy could ever hope to be.

I bury my face in the crook of her neck, placing nipping kisses along her throat as I lose myself in the timeless, intimate dance between lovers. I feel her begin to come undone, climaxing around me and propelling me over that sweet precipice along with her.

Together we fall, catching each other as we ride out our release. I attempt to roll off her only for her to tighten her hold on me, keeping me on top of her with our limbs tangled. I can hardly say that I mind this new experience. In fact, it’s something that I find highly erotic being locked in this embrace with her, every single inch of her pressed against every inch of me…not knowing where she ends and I begin with me still fully sheathed inside of her.

Her fingers lightly trace the curve of my face as she looks up at me with eyes hazy with pleasure and still burning with desire. “I thought you’d never come in,” she softly admits to me.

I roll onto my side, bringing her with me and keeping us locked as one in every way imaginable. “You have no idea how many nights I’ve stood outside your bedroom door…wanting so badly to come in,” I find myself confessing to her.

Instead of being angry with me for my lack of action, she smiles warmly at me. “You have no idea how many nights I’ve stood on the other side of my door wishing that you would.”

I can’t help the smile that surfaces on my face with the revelation, nor do I even want to as I lose myself in her sapphire eyes. I’m filled with such inexplicable happiness and love that it threatens to overwhelm me, my throat constricting with emotions so raw and so powerful that it takes me by surprise.

My eyes momentarily fall closed as realization of what I could have had for the last several months if I hadn’t been such a coward washes over me. “I’m sorry, princess,” I apologize.

“What took you so long?” she asks with a curious tilt of her head, her lips finding my jaw as she rolls me onto my back.

“I was afraid,” I confess with a strangled growl as she clenches her inner walls around me.

“You have no need to be afraid of me, Bruce,” she gently tells me as she gazes down at me. “I’ll never hurt you.”

I take her hand from my face and kiss the tips of her fingers before pressing my lips against her palm as I stare up at her. “I never said it was rationale,” I reply.

She leans down with an understanding smile and kisses me again, her lips ghosting along my jaw and over my chin, down my neck to my chest. I gasp sharply as her teeth and tongue begin to do amazing things to me, my fingers tunneling through her hair once more as she sucks hard on my nipple.

I pull her up to gaze into her eyes, needing to see her face. “I love you, princess,” I confess, needing her to know despite my fears.

Her eyes glisten brightly as she caresses my face, appearing even more breathtaking if that is even possible. I pull her into a heated kiss, love and desire taking over once more as we lose ourselves in one another all over again.

As she begins to make love to me, I readily decide that I’m so relieved she opened the door and even happier that I decided to walk through it.

Chapter Text

Favor

Diana came to stand before the door of Batman’s private lab in the floating satellite, pausing to draw a deep breath before lifting her hand to punch in the code to enter. The door slid open, bidding her entrance to his domain. She immediately spotted the object of her search hunched over a microscope.

“Batman,” Diana brightly greeted him as she made her way to him, trying to decide on the best approach.

“Princess,” he gruffly replied without looking up from his work.

“I was wondering—”

“No,” he firmly and swiftly stated as he placed another slide under his microscope.

“Excuse me?”

“The answer is no,” he muttered.

“But I didn’t even—”

“It’s still no,” he told her.

Diana’s sapphire eyes narrowed into a frustrated glare as she studied him. “You don’t even know—”

“The answer is still no, princess,” he flatly stated, his voice broking no room for argument.

Diana cursed under her breath, her hands clenching into fists at her sides as she nearly shook with anger. “Would you at least let me get out what I wanted to ask you?”

“Fine, but whatever favor it is that you want I’m not going to do,” he told her, increasing the magnification on his microscope before jotting down a couple of notes.

“I haven’t been able to even say anything yet and you’re already telling me no,” she ground out. Hera, this man aroused her anger like no one else ever could.

“You want to ask me for a favor,” he replied. “That’s all I need to know to give my answer.”

Batman smiled to himself as he heard her curse again in Greek. He had a feeling he knew why she was here and what exactly she wanted. He wanted to find out just how badly she wanted him to do it before he even considered saying yes…if he ever did agree to it.

Diana drew a deep, calming breath, relaxing her stance as well as her fists. She needed to take a different approach with him. “Bruce, I—”

“It’s Batman when we’re on the Watchtower.”

“Hera, Bruce!” Diana yelled in utter exasperation. “We’re the ones in your lab which by the way is sound proof and has no security cameras in it!”

“You can never be too careful, Diana,” he reminded her. “Hand me that other slide.”

Diana looked around on the counter, spotting the slide he was looking for and handing it to him. “I just wanted to ask you if you—”

“Pass me that bottle of reagent,” he requested, staring into his microscope as his left hand shot out at her without a glance.

Huffing in annoyance with his constant interruptions, she grabbed the bottle of reagent, her arm extending to give it to him only to abruptly pull it back at the last second. Her blue eyes revealed the angry storm brewing inside as Bruce finally looked over at her.

“I will give this to you once you let me ask you my favor,” she stated, lifting her chin in regal defiance.

Frowning, Batman turned to face her, his right hip coming to rest against the edge of his work desk. He folded his arms against his chest as he studied her. “Fine,” he finally bit out. “What is it that you want me to deny you?”

“That’s not fair and you know it!” she exclaimed, holding the bottle of reagent protectively against her chest. “You could be a little less…well, yourself…and a little nicer to me you know.”

Bruce released a sigh as he reached up and pulled his cowl and gauntlets off, tossing them onto his desk. He turned to give the Amazon princess his full, uninterrupted attention. “What can I do for you, Diana?” he politely asked.

Her lips curved into a dazzling smile, eyes sparkling as she hooked a raven lock behind her ear. “That’s much better,” she readily decided. “I was going to ask you for a favor.”

“And the answer is still—”

It was Diana’s turn to interrupt as she growled in fury, slamming the plastic bottle of reagent down on the desk before swiftly closing the distance between them. Her forefinger pressed against his lips, silencing anymore responses from him.

“You will listen, and you will listen good, Bruce Wayne,” she stated with steely determination. “Kal has been really down lately. He’s struggling over what to do about Lois and needs a good friend to talk to. I think you could really help him.”

Bruce reached up and gently pulled her forefinger from his lips, his hand continuing to hold hers as he stared into her eyes. “Why me?”

“Because you’re his best friend,” she told him, trying not to notice the way that he was still holding her hand, his thumb gently caressing the back of it and causing pleasant tingles to shoot up her arm.

“I thought you were his best friend,” he countered.

“But I’m a woman,” she shot back, her voice losing a measure of the anger it had just held as she gazed into in his piercing blue eyes that were intently studying her.

“And?” he pressed, knowing he was having an effect on her as her cheeks flushed pink.

“And he needs a man to talk to,” she replied.

Bruce leaned in a little closer, allowing his close proximity to have its desired effect on her as he tilted his head slightly. “Why me, princess?”

“Because you’ve dated…so many women…and you know how to romance…a…a woman,” Diana managed to get out, her breath catching in her throat as their mouths nearly grazed one another’s. She could feel the warm brush of his breath against her face, causing a shiver to race up her spine.

“The answer is…no,” he huskily responded before abruptly pulling away from her and turning his attention back to his microscope.

Diana slammed the palm of her hand on top of the desk, making everything on top of it rattle with the force of the blow. Bruce ignored it as he continued to work, more than accustomed to her temper and her angry outbursts. He’d either been on the receiving end of it or the cause of it more times that he could count. He considered it a gift to be able to rile the princess.

“Bruce, Clark needs a friend right now,” Diana told him, crossing her arms against her chest as she glared at him. “You know more about women than anyone else. Hera knows you’ve had years of experience with the thousands of women who’ve paraded through your bedroom.”

Bruce noted the flare of jealousy that flashed across her face and laced her voice, clearly not appreciating the fact that he’d been with many women over the years. There was one, though, that he wanted more than anything.

“For the record, it’s not been thousands,” he told her.

“Fine,” she spat out. “Hundreds of women.”

“I wouldn’t go quite that far,” he said, a smirk playing on his lips. “How much is it worth to you?”

Diana’s face brightened with his willingness to at least hear her out. “What did you have in mind?” she asked. “I’ll happily do anything you want if you’ll help Kal.”

Bruce’s gaze darkened with a lusty haze as it lazily traversed down the length of her body to the toe of her red dominatrix boots and returning just as slowly to the tiara that adorned her raven head. By the time he reached her face again, she was raking her teeth over her bottom lip, a look of nervous anticipation revealing the thoughts racing through her mind.

He closed the distance between them, his eyes falling to her lips. He leaned in close, his lips brushing against hers. “Be at the manor tonight…seven o’clock,” he murmured.

Diana shuddered as he kissed her with a sudden heated passion, burying his hands in her raven hair. She fully returned his passion; a fire being lit deep within as she parted her lips for him. Their tongues warred for control, neither willing to concede. They parted several long moments later, both breathing heavily.

“I…I’ll see you at seven,” she told him, a smile adorning her face. She quickly turned and headed towards the door, thrilled with the unexpected turn of events.

“Princess,” he called to her, causing her to stop at the doorway. “Do me a favor?”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t forget to bring your lasso,” he replied with a sexy smirk as he turned his attention back to his microscope.

Chapter Text

Forgiveness

I crouch morosely on top of a large gargoyle, glowering at the streets below as images I can’t begin to erase continue to parade through my mind in a taunting display that makes me ill to my very core. My hands are clenched so tightly that my fingers ache, but I can’t straighten them. My gaze desperately searches for someone…anyone to mete out my rage and heartache on.

My eyes momentarily fall closed, my breath sticking in my throat. The jagged pieces of my broken heart have created wounds so deep that they’ll never heal…I’ll never heal. The broken man that I had been before her is nothing compared to what I am right now.

My world has been turned upside down and inside out and I no longer know which end is up or how I’ll begin to climb my way back out of the dark abyss I find myself in. I don’t even know if I want to. The crushing weight of what I witnessed and what it signifies makes it next to impossible to breathe or to even think straight. I haven’t felt pain of this magnitude since that fateful day my world was taken away from me.

I believed in her, trusted her with every fiber of my being. I had been so stupid for allowing her in, for actually believing that things would be different this time. I should’ve known better, shouldn’t have allowed my broken heart so in need of healing to overrule my usual logic and self-control.

“Get out of my city.”

The demand is torn from some deep, dark place in my soul with a fierce acidic burn, my entire body trembling from the gut-wrenching pain that consumes me. I never want to see her again…never want to see her beautiful face or hear her melodic laughter that always stirs something inside of me.

“We need to talk,” she evenly states.

“I have nothing to say to you,” I spit out the words like venom as I straighten to my full height. “Get out of my city and never come back here.”

“Please, can’t you let me explain?”

“There’s nothing to explain,” I seethe as I finally turn to face her, finding it more than difficult to even look at her.

Her eyes blaze like blue infernos as she stalks towards me, obviously refusing to take any orders from me. “I’m not leaving until you allow me to explain.”

“I never want to see you again,” I grind out the words that feel like broken glass in my throat.

Without a second thought, she hurtles myself at me, plowing directly into me. She pins me to the roof, her face so very close to mine. “You are going to listen to me whether you like it or not.”

My chest heaves with the blinding fury that has erased all logic and reasoning as I glower up at her. “I don’t want to hear anything you have to say!” I yell at her.

She gazes down at me with a such a look of hurt that it catches me off guard. I immediately take advantage of my momentary lapse, flipping her over onto her back. I glare down at her, noticing the look of unadulterated resolve adorning her face despite the position that we’re currently in.

“It’s not what you—” she begins to say, but I don’t want to hear it anymore. I know what I saw.

She swiftly leans up, slamming her forehead against mine. It stuns me for a split second, but it’s enough to allow her to gain her freedom from my hold on her. She scrambles to her feet as I put some much-needed distance between us. I pull out my grappling gun as I glance back at her.

“Leave and never come back,” I growl.

I fire my grappling gun, allowing it to take me away from her before she has time to utter a response. I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I don’t care anymore. I gave her my heart and she crushed it, making one of my worst fears a living breathing reality. I have nothing else to give her, nothing more that can be said or done to repair what has happened.

She chose him over him me.

Before I can land on the next rooftop, she slams directly into me like a missile, knocking the air from my lungs as her arms wraps around my waist like a steel band. I immediately reach for my utility belt, determined to get away from her. I hate her for what she did to me…to us.

“You will listen to me whether you like it or not,” she yells at me, the fire in her voice momentarily cutting through the anguished fog that encompasses my mind, but only for a fleeting moment.

I trusted her more than I have ever trusted another, and she spit in the face of that trust. I finally opened myself up to loving her only for her to turn her back on that love…on me. I’m crushed beyond words, fury threatening to eat away at the very fabric of my sanity. I’m too consumed by the bleak emotions that are coursing through me to attempt to think logically. All I want is to unleash the frightening darkness that is consuming me, the wrath and pain that is nearly suffocating.

I slam my modified tazer into her neck, sending thousands of jolts of electricity through her body. She cries out in pain and it pierces what’s left of my shattered heart with a sharp jab of guilt. I swiftly tamp down on it as she releases me, finding myself in a freefall towards the city below.

I fire my grappling gun again, needing to get away from her and the pain that feels like a gaping wound in my chest. I glance down to see her falling lifelessly towards Gotham Bay and panic lances through me. I swing towards her, my arm wrapping around her as I fly us towards another rooftop.

I instantly release my hold on her and put some distance between us. Just the feel of her in my arms is too painful to bear, awakening too many memories and emotions. She gets up on her hands and knees, raising her head to look at me. The intensity of the hurt that permeates her typically bright blue eyes causes me to look away, my jaw set like steel and filled with overt stubbornness.

I’d rather face the Joker a hundred times over than deal with this situation that is glaring directly back at me.

“Are you going to listen to me now?” she asks as she shakily gets up onto her feet.

“There’s nothing to talk about, princess,” I bite out, folding my arms against my chest and averting my eyes. I refuse to appear vulnerable or hurt in front of her.

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice how she looks down at the engagement ring that adorns her left hand…the ring that I personally designed for her, the diamonds that I’d hand-picked for her ring. The ring that I had given her last night. It suddenly feels like a lifetime ago.

“There’s so much to talk about, Bruce,” she softly says. “At the very least, don’t I deserve a chance to explain?”

“I know what I saw,” I state with every ounce of the pain that I feel inside of me. “You made your choice and it wasn’t me.”

She begins to close the distance between us and I automatically take two steps back away from her, unable to be near her. She draws a shuddering breath as tears fill her eyes. “No, Bruce,” she softly replies. “It’s not what you think you saw.”

I try to draw a calming breath, but my heart is hammering hard against my chest wall and my throat is constricting so tightly I can hardly breathe. It feels as though my life has been taken away from me all over again and there’s nothing I can do to stop it this time. “Fine,” I finally relent. “What really happened?”

She tentatively takes a step closer to me. This time I keep my boots firmly planted, refusing to cower away from her. Her jasmine scent instantly assaults me and I feel myself falling all over again against my will. Damn her for having this affect on me and damn myself for being so weak when it comes to her.

“Yes, he kissed me,” she begins, pausing to wipe a stray tear that has escaped, and I ache to erase her tears for her. Unfortunately, the image that fills my head refuses to release me from its painful grip.

“Diana, I can’t…I can’t talk about this,” I quietly shudder as I seethe with a rage so blinding.

A gentle hand against my cheek causes me to become even more rigid as she forces me to look her in the eye. “He kissed me,” she repeats.

“I know that,” I growl darkly as I try to draw away from her, but she stops me with her strength.

“Do you know that I pushed him away when he kissed me?” she calmly continues. “Do you know that I told him to never touch me again because I’m in love you…that I’m going to marry you?”

I can feel my anger slowly beginning to seep from my body, my jaw relaxing minutely. I didn’t know those things because as soon as I saw him grab her and kiss her I had stormed away, assuming my greatest fear was becoming a reality as I had escaped the Watchtower for the dark, dismal sanctuary of Gotham.

“He tried to talk me out of marrying you…to give him a chance, but I told him no,” she explains. “I told Kal that we could only ever be friends because my heart has always belonged to you. It’s always been you, Bruce…always you.”

I draw a deep, shuddering breath as my arms fall to my sides, guilt rising like a tidal wave crashing over me. She had gone to the Watchtower to tell Clark that I had proposed last night only for him to kiss her, summarily stealing my happiness and my future in that solitary moment.

But she chose me…still does even though I acted like a complete fool.

“I…I’m so sorry,” I whisper, the words getting clogged in my throat with the relief that washes through me.

Her hands move to cradle my face, her eyes softening as she gently pulls my cowl off to rest against my back. My eyes fall closed, too ashamed to look her in the eyes as I swallow back a thick knot of hot tears I can feel building in my throat. I know that what she finds beneath the cowl is probably as dreadful looking as I feel on the inside.

She gently traces the contours of my face with her fingertips as if discovering me all over again for the first time, the grace and forgiveness that she is showering upon me more than anything that I could ever deserve. She kisses my eyelids, my cheeks, my chin before finding my lips in a loving caress as if to confirm what she has just confessed to me.

Unable to bear it a moment longer, I swiftly wrap my arms around her and crush her to me, holding onto her with every ounce of strength I possess in my body as I fully return her kiss. The intimate exchange is slow and reassuring, repentant and forgiving at the same time. It’s not heated or frenzied, but it’s no less passionate or loving. I tilt my head and intently deepen the kiss, my tongue finding hers in a gentle caress that seems to slowly soothe the wounds that nearly tore us apart.

“I’m sorry, princess,” I murmur as my forehead comes to rest against hers. “I guess I’m having a hard time believing that all of this is real…that someone as amazing as you would really love me and want to marry me.”

“You’re not going to get out of this,” she tells me, her hands cupping my face in an effort to reassure me this isn’t just some wonderful dream. “I love you and only you. I am going to marry you whether you like it or not, no matter how much you try to fight me or push me away. You are stuck with me, Bruce Wayne.”

“I love you too,” I reply, releasing a shuddering breath of relief. “And I’m shoving Kryptonite down Clark’s throat next time I see him.”

“You won’t have to,” she reassures me. “I already took care of him. He’s going to need a little time, but he’ll be all right with everything. I think Lois breaking up with him has left him feeling lost.”

“So, he tries to steal my fiancé?”

“Once I talked to him, he realized that things could never work out between us,” she reveals. “He’s actually talking about taking some time away from the League to get his head on straight again.”

“If that doesn’t work, I’m more than prepared to spell it out for him with green glowing rocks,” I nearly growl, still angry with him. “And he just lost his chance for being my best man.”

“I’m sorry you were hurt,” she tells me, her eyes falling closed as her lips caress mine. “If I had known you were there, I—”

I silence her with a kiss, knowing the real culpability lies with me. “It’s my fault,” I concede. “I let my fears and insecurities take over and it pushed me over the edge. I assumed the worst instead of trusting you like I should have.”

Her lips slowly curve into a beautiful smile as her arms wrap around my neck. “Hey, we just survived our first fight as an engaged couple,” she points out. “I’m kind of proud of us.”

“Princess, I shocked you into unconsciousness and almost let you plunge into Gotham Bay,” I reluctantly remind her, ashamed of my actions and the fact that I had taken my rage out on her. I’m going to have to do a lot better about talking through things instead of just reacting or trying to run away.

“It’s my fault too,” she replies. “I should’ve known better than to try to push you into talking to me when you were that hurt and upset. I should’ve given you some time to calm down before approaching you.”

“I still probably wouldn’t have listened to you.”

“So, I can anticipate all of our arguments turning physical?” she asks.

The corner of my mouth ticks up into a playboy smirk as salacious thoughts begin to fill my mind, my longing for her becoming next to unbearable. “Depends on how you define physical,” I tease her. “You know the best part of any fight is the hot make-up sex afterwards.”

She grins at me as she tightens her hold on me. “I didn’t know about that part, but I fully agree with those rules. Can we make it part of our wedding vows?”

I chuckle softly with her proposal, silently agreeing with her. “Watchtower,” I hail as I transmit the coordinates to J’onn. “Two for transport to the following location.”

“Transporting now, Batman,” J’onn responds, amusement lacing his voice.

We appear in the bedroom that we share at the manor, our lips meeting again in a fiery exchange that rapidly becomes more passionate. As we quickly begin to undress we each other, I thank every single one of her gods and goddesses for this amazing woman who seemingly fell from the heavens and into my life to save me.

What she ever saw in someone like me is something I’ll never begin to understand, but she’s all mine now and I’m never letting her go.

Chapter Text

Watch

It felt like he was surrounded in a thick, black fog, one that refused to release its hold on him. It swirled and pulled, attempting to draw him in deeper, but he railed against it, refusing to give in to its grip on him. There was something more, some flickering light that was attempting to lure him away.

He reached out towards that light, to the melodic hum that accompanied it. It was soothing and comforting, and he wanted more of it. He wanted to find the source of it and hold on to it with all that he had inside of him. He wanted its warmth and compassion, its love and tranquility.

Slowly over time, the thick blanket began to dissipate, separating and finally releasing him. It felt as if he was being drawn up out of a murky, black quagmire, sitting at the bottom of the sea and finally being pulled up to the surface to breathe again.

As realization gradually began to chip away at the murkiness, he became acutely aware of two things. First, there was a pleasant weight on his side and, secondly, a heavenly scent accompanied that presence that seemed to be pressing against him.

Bruce attempted to lift his eyelids but found them far too heavy to raise. The task was exhausting, but his iron will refused to surrender. He forced his eyes to open, thin slits trying to make sense of the blurry shapes and colors that greeted him.

He opened his mouth to speak, but discovered he had no voice. His throat was parched, his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth. He closed his eyes for a moment, resting before deciding to try again to find out what had happened and where he was now.

His eyelids fluttered open again, but this time his vision was a little clearer as everything around him abruptly came into focus. He was in his bedroom in Wayne Manor, a small lamp on his bedside table providing the only light that cast a dim glow about the darkened room.

Tilting his head slightly, he noticed long raven hair splayed on his chest, but was unable to see her face. Grimacing, he frowned as he tried to make his brain work, struggling to connect the dots only to find that there were several dots were missing.

The last thing he remembered was being out on patrol and feeling a warm rush of blood from the wound in his side, one that he had received a few days before. The stitches that Alfred had used to sew him up must have broken loose, causing him to lose consciousness.

So many questions swirled in his brain with no answers to be found. Had he bled out from his wound? If he had, then how did he end up here in his bedroom? And who had found him?

He attempted to lift his left arm but discovered that he couldn’t due to the body laying on top of it. Trying to move his right arm proved to be almost as difficult, but he finally found the strength to raise it up off the bed only for it to fall back down.

He silently cursed to himself, angered by his weakness and more so by the fact that she was here to witness it. He never wanted her to see him like this—vulnerable, weak, frail. It was all the things that he despised in himself, loathed even more when witnessed by another…especially her.

Bruce felt her begin to stir against him, her even breathing falling out rhythm as if she had just been wakened from a terrible nightmare. He closed his eyes, pretending to still be asleep as she sat up. He immediately noticed the sense of loss from her laying against him, wishing that she hadn’t moved.

He felt fingertips gently brushing aside hair from his forehead before caressing the side of his face. Her touch sent tingles through his body, awakening something deep inside of him. There was such a gentle caring to her touch, an affection that he felt he didn’t deserve.

He didn’t know why she was here, but he unexpectedly discovered that he kind of enjoyed this attention from her despite the fact hating her seeing him like this. It was a weird combination of wild excitement and overt irritation, a war between both parts that made him who he was.

The billionaire versus the Bat, the human versus the hero, his heart against his mind, the lost little boy who only wanted to be loved warring with the broken man whose heart refused to be healed. It was a constant battle that typically ended with logic overruling emotions.

This time, though, he felt too weak to even fight anymore….didn’t want to fight his feelings for her anymore.

He felt a cool, wet cloth softly caressing his face, taking care to bring him even a small measure of comfort in his pitiful state. “I hope you wake up soon, Bruce,” her voice spoke to him. “I miss you.”

His insides tensed with the sound of her voice that was like a soothing balm to even the deepest wounds. He wanted to open his eyes, to let her know that he was awake, but not yet. He wanted to hear what she would say, what she might confess to ears that supposedly couldn’t hear.

“It’s been four days since I brought you home,” she told him.

Four days? He’d been unconscious for Four days?

“Nightwing and Robin have been doing a great job of protecting Gotham for you,” she continued, the washcloth disappearing for a moment only to reappear against his neck once more. “You should be really proud of them. You’ve raised and trained them well, Bruce.”

He felt a swell of pride in his chest as she continued to wash him, the washcloth moving across his shoulder where her head had been just a few moments ago. “They captured Scarecrow,” she revealed. “He’s back in Arkham where he belongs.”

Scarecrow. That’s who he’d been after before he blacked out. He had been tracking Scarecrow, trying to stop him before he could release his fear toxin on the public. He’d been gaining on him when he’d collapsed in an alley. He’d tried to get back up, but his body had betrayed him.

Diana sighed heavily, her voice nearly cracking as she spoke again. “Please, Bruce…wake up,” she softly pleaded. “I need you to be okay again. I need you with me. I lo—”

A soft knock at the door interrupted what she was about to say. “Any change yet, Miss Diana?”

Alfred. He was checking in on them. Bruce felt a sense of comfort with the sound of his surrogate father’s voice. “No, not yet,” she replied, sorrow lacing her voice.

“Master Bruce is strong,” Alfred reassured her. “He will recover from this.”

“I know…I just…I hate seeing him like this,” she confessed, her voice cracking again. “He means so much to me.”

“Miss Diana, might I suggest you take a break,” Alfred said. “You’ve been here ever since you brought him home, barely leaving his side or sleeping.”

Diana found him and brought him home. The thought stunned him senseless, but even more so that she hadn’t left his side since that moment. She’d stayed right here by his side taking care of him and watching over him like his personal guardian angel.

“No, I’m all right, Alfred,” she insisted, her hand caressing the growth of hair on his face. “I want to be here when he wakes up.”

“As you wish, Miss,” Alfred reluctantly agreed. “Please, do try to get some real sleep and not just the little naps you’ve been taking. You’re going to exhaust yourself at this rate.”

“I will,” she promised, the weariness in her voice unmistakable. “Thank you, Alfred.”

“Call me if you need me,” he instructed her.

“I will…good night, Alfred.”

“Good night, Miss Diana.”

Bruce didn’t know what to think at that moment with the revelation that Diana had been keeping vigil at his bedside, taking care of him and waiting for him to wake. It warmed his heart unlike anything else that he’d ever experienced in his life, her compassion knowing no bounds.

He felt the bed dip as she shifted her position next to time. She took her time, running the wet washcloth over his chest and arms, his neck and face. Her care was touching a place deep inside of him that no one had been able to reach since the night he’d lost his parents.

He didn’t think anyone would be able to do that for him, but he should have known that if anyone could it would be her. She’d always had a way about her that affected him far deeper and more intensely than any other woman, her light reaching into the cracks and crevices and deep crevasses that marred what was left of his heart.

Bruce was just about to open his eyes to let her know that he was awake when he felt her warm lips against his forehead. “I love you, Bruce,” she finally confessed.

Her confession of love hit him far harder than he could have imagined. He had never realized how much he had needed to hear those words from her until this very moment. It was as if something inside of him had been unlocked…set free of invisible chains that had weighed him down for so long.

Bruce opened his eyes to find Diana leaning over him, her lips so very close to his. “I love you too, princess,” he hoarsely whispered.

Diana stared at him in shock, stunned by his admission and more than thrilled that he was finally awake. “Bruce,” she murmured, her hands cradling his face. “You…you heard that?”

He nodded his head, the corner of his lips quirking slightly. “I heard a few things.”

“You gave us all quite a scare,” she confessed, averting her eyes as she brushed away a tear that had escaped. “I thought we were going to lose you.”

“Never, princess,” he rasped, his voice weak. “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

“You certainly try your best, though,” she said with a frown.

“What happened?”

“The wound in your side became infected,” she replied. “I found you passed out in an alley with a very high fever. You’ve been unconscious for four days.”

He raised his hand, his fingers brushing away another tear. “I’m sorry I scared you.”

She leaned forward, pressing her forehead against his cheekbone as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him. Diana went willingly, moving to lie beside him as they held each other close. She hooked her leg over his as her head came to rest on his chest.

“Sleep, princess,” he told her. “I heard that you haven’t gotten very much lately.”

“You’re still recovering, Bruce,” she said. “I need to watch over you.”

Bruce gently stroked her silky hair as he held her against him, savoring the amazing feeling of having her in his arms. “No, it’s my turn to watch over you now, princess.”

Chapter Text

Mornings

I hate mornings.

In that brief flickering moment as wakefulness begins, life almost seems normal for me…almost. I’m actually happy and whole for that one blissful moment before realization fully sinks in and I remember what my life is actually like.

In that handful of seconds where the lines between conscious awareness and slumbering oblivion are still pleasantly blurred, I temporarily forget that my parents are dead, that my life is empty, and my heart fragmented…that I’m nothing more than a distant echo of the person that I used to be.

Then it hits me as sure and as painful as Darkseid’s fist, stealing the breath from my lungs just like the countless nightmares and dreams that always invade my sleep. My sole companion in life is loneliness and the well of anger that consumes me. Happiness and love are things that remains beyond my grasp. Some of it is my own doing, my own decision.

I draw in a breath as I once again feel awareness slowly creep up on me along with the warmth of the morning’s rays spilling across my bed. Laying on my stomach, I burrow my head deeper into my pillow that I’m hugging, not ready to move let alone be awake. My body is tired and sore but in the best imaginable way possible. It’s the most amazing way to wake in the morning.

I slowly open my eyes, my sleepy gaze falling on the woman sleeping next to me. I’ve woken to the face of many women in my bed, but not one of them could ever come close to comparing to the one sleeping next to me now. The women that litter my past are like flickering candle flames in the wind while she is like the most blinding sunrise.

I breathe deeply again, savoring her intoxicating scent that permeates my bedroom, mingling with the scent of the passionate intimacy that we shared last night. It’s a thrilling scent that causes my heart to race again. I never would have dreamed that someone like her would even find me worth her time or notice and yet she sees something in me that I never knew existed.

This amazing woman has given me far more in the last three years of knowing her than I could ever hope to give her in a whole lifetime. She’ll never know how she has touched my life, gathering up all the broken parts of me and gradually putting them back together again one by one.

She shifts subtly in her sleep making my fingers itch to leave the warmth of their current state hidden beneath my pillow to brush aside the raven lock of hair that has fallen across her brow, but I don’t want to wake her just yet. I love the peaceful expression that lights her beautiful face as she sleeps, the even rhythm of her breathing.

Being near her always creates a sense of tranquility in me that has evaded me since I was an eight-year-old boy. No one has ever been able to do that for me. Not any of the women I’ve been with, none of my sidekicks or the countless people who have passed through my life. No one. Not even Alfred.

While Alfred has always been the ship keeping me afloat all these years, Diana has become my anchor.

She softly murmurs my name in her sleep and it causes the corners of my lips to curl in response. I love the sound of my name on her lips whether it’s yelled in anger in the middle of a fight or a throaty gasp uttered in the midst of a heated release.

She snuggles closer to me as if suddenly missing the warmth of my body. She presses her nude form against me, releasing a contented sigh as she finds me. She makes me want her all over again, to wake her up and cover her with my body, pinning her to the mattress and making her mine once more.

The urge to touch her becomes too strong to fight any longer. I can’t wait to run my fingers through her hair and explore her body all over again. I reach out to pull the offending lock of hair out of her face. She burrows further into my side with another murmur of my name and suddenly find myself growing aroused.

I lean over and press my lips against her forehead, her eyelids, her nose before finding her mouth. She slowly begins to respond to me, her lips returning the love that I’m expressing to her. I shift my position, moving over her as I deepen the kiss.

Her arms slip around my neck as I allow my weight to settle over her, our legs tangling as passion takes hold of us once more. I feel a burning need deep inside of me, one that is so intense that I can’t begin to fight against it. I’ve wanted this with her for so very long, dreamed of having her in my bed and in my life. Now that she’s finally here, I’m going to take full advantage of every moment spent with her, making her mine and keeping her in my life until my last breath.

She readily welcomes me inside, wrapping her long legs around my waist in an unspoken plea for more of me. I willingly give her all that I have, feeling as though it could never be enough. This woman deserves far more than I could ever hope to give her.

Despite my immense wealth and notoriety, I feel as though I’m nothing more than a pauper in the presence of a princess. She has no need for anything that I could ever begin to offer her, no need for my wealth or anything that I could buy her.

She only asks for my heart despite the sorry state that it is in as well as a portion of my time, never demanding more than I can offer her. She is never jealous of my mistress, the other love of my life—my beloved city. No one but her truly understands my commitment and my need to protect Gotham. Despite the fact that it took my parents from me, it is still my home and I will protect it with my life.

Diana rolls me over onto my back as we make love, her ebony hair like a silky waterfall all around me as I moan her name. I thread my fingers through her hair, my tongue in a fierce battle with hers for ultimate control that I’ll happily surrender to her at this moment. Pleasure shoots like lightning through my veins as she grinds her hips against mine. I squeeze my eyes closed, my chest rising with the intense crescendo inside of me.

I abruptly flip her onto her back, taking control once more. I find the perfect rhythm that has her moaning my name like a prayerful chant, a breathless lyric that makes my head spin and my heart race and I know that I will never love another woman.

“I love you…Bruce…” she gasps the profession that strikes a cord deep inside of him that resonates with hers as I confess my love for my princess as well.

Her skin is soft as velvet, her eyes the bluest that I’ve ever seen. She seeks to draw me and drown me in them as we build towards our mutual climax together. I have been so lost since my parents were taken from me, but with her I’m found…I’m home and I’m alive and the world is full of color and I can finally breathe again. I readily decide that I love mornings and I never want this to ever end.

I open my eyes with a sharp gasp, lunging forward in my bed. I rapidly look about, chest heaving and body throbbing with overwhelming need. I angrily growl in frustration, slamming my fist into my pillow. Breathing heavily, I scrub my face with trembling hands in an effort to diffuse the arousal pumping through my veins. My heart is hammering, my body in a painful state and in need of the release that has been denied me.

I flop back against my pillows as I glance over at the other side of my bed, staring despondently at the cold emptiness…the rumpled sheets and pillows. She should be right here with me, not in her quarters on the Watchtower, but this is all my doing…my choice. I’m the one who refuses to allow us to have what we both so desperately want.

But I can’t have that dream no matter how badly I want it…how desperately I want her.

I’ve allowed my fear of hurting her and losing her to have a strangle-hold on my heart, locking me in a lonely prison of my own making. If I let her in, then I will extinguish her radiance. I cannot afford to let her light disperse my darkness or Batman will forever be lost. I cannot allow that to happen despite how painful keeping my distance from her has been.

I love her…I want her more than anything, but how can I knowingly drag her into my gruesome world, smothering her light and crushing her spirit? How can I subject her to the psychotic machinations of someone like the Joker or risk her being infected by Scarecrow’s fear toxin?

The thought alone causes me to shudder uncontrollably, knots of panic rising up my throat. I throw my tangled covers off me before moving to sit on the edge of the bed. I lean forward to hold my head in my hands, my elbows coming to rest on my knees.

I stay in this position for a long time, struggling to regain some sort of control over my raging heart and the overwhelming desire to go up to her quarters and finally make her mine. I rake my fingers through my sweaty hair, tightly gripping the strands in overt frustration. I can’t keep going on like this, caught in a struggle between what I want and what I know I have to do. Something has got to give before I lose my mind.

Unfortunately, my decision to avoid her is not the answer that either of us truly wants, but it has to be this way. I will not lose her because of my selfish desire to have her in my bed, to make a life and a family with her.

Allowing my arms to fall to my sides once more, I release a ragged breath as I use my hands to push myself up off my bed. I stand to my feet and slowly make my way to my bathroom to start my day and I remember all over again why I hate mornings.

Chapter Text

Bond

I fly through Gotham’s night sky with a certain person firmly in my mind. I can’t help the overwhelming guilt that it has taken me so long to make this visit, but I’ve had my own personal drama to contend with for the past couple of months.

It’s one that I had not seen coming but now that it has I feel a startling sense of freedom and relief. It’s as if a newfound seed of truth has suddenly worked itself up out of a dark cavern to take root and firmly sprout in my heart. It creates a shiver of excitement that races through me before settling into a nervous bundle in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it.

A thousand thoughts flit through my mind like humming birds, all of them trying desperately to be heard above the others. One seems to be calling out loud and clear above the din. I just pray that I’m doing the right thing in coming here and talking to him about it.

I spot his black cape snapping in the wind as I draw near, his large muscular frame standing like a silent sentinel watching over his city like the noble man with a courageous heart that I know that he is. I also know that same heart is broken and hurting, and I hope that I can provide at least a small measure of comfort for my friend.

I silently land behind him, my boots touching down on the roof several yards behind him. His head tilts slightly to the side and I know that he has likely been aware of my presence in his city long before I even made my presence fully known to him.

His profile doesn’t change as he greets me. “Princess, what are you doing here?” he rasps, and I can’t help but notice the undercurrent of warmth in his tone.

“I came to see you,” I truthfully reply because I know its past time for full honesty between us no matter how difficult this will be…no matter how painful the outcome could be.

He turns his attention back to the street below as I slowly approach. I’m a little taken aback by the fact that he hasn’t ordered me out of his city by now or fled my presence in order to escape, but after everything that we have endured together, I guess I’ve earned a little leeway. It’s not something that I take lightly. In fact, I feel it’s a privilege that very few have been granted and I won’t abuse it.

I come to stand beside him, folding my arms against my chest as we both gaze out over the city in a mirror image of the forbidding man beside me. A comfortable silence settles between us, one that I appreciate as I attempt to organize my thoughts and feelings.

“How are you?” he softly asks after several long moments.

It both startles me and warms my heart that he is the first one to break the silence between. It’s very unlike him and yet neither of us are who we once were…who we were when we first met. We’ve both been through tragic ordeals separate and together. It definitely changes a person, though, when you face what we did together for those thirty-seven years it forges an inexplicable bond.

I shake my head, a slight tug of amusement on my lips. “I should be the one asking you that,” I point out.

He doesn’t answer at first. It’s as if he’s weighing his words or trying to decide how open or closed off he wants to be about things, but he knows with me nothing is ever truly closed off. I won’t let it be. “I could say I don’t know what you’re talking about, but we both know that’s a lie and I’m talking with the goddess of truth so I guess I’ll go with I’m fine.”

I almost snort in response, but it comes out as a girlish giggle instead, one that I’m certain he’s never heard from me if the expression on his face is any indication. “Hera, did you just crack a joke?”

“I’ve been known to indulge from time to time,” he replies with an ease that stuns me.

He’s certainly full of surprises tonight. Hopefully, he’ll continue to surprise me before I leave here. “I’m truly sorry it has taken me so long to come see you, Bruce,” I apologize, feeling my throat constrict with guilt.

My friend has been hurting greatly for the last three months and I have made no effort to see him, to provide him comfort or a shoulder to lean on. Of course, this is Bruce we’re talking about. He never has asked for comfort or a shoulder and likely never would even if he were on the verge of death.

Still, not seeing him very much the last three months outside of an occasional mission has hurt me deeply even though I did have my own reasons for not rushing to him weeks ago. We share a deep bond that can’t be explained or broken since our time together spent fighting the Hoard and if I were honest with myself, a bond that was there long before there. He needed me even if he would never admit it, and I wasn’t here. Some friend I am.

“Actually, I should be the one apologizing to you,” he tells me, his gaze locked on the city street below.

“What for?” I ask, feeling my brow knitting in confusion.

“Clark told me what happened a couple of months ago,” he confesses. “I never made any effort to check on you.”

I shake my head. I should have known that he knew. “It’s all right, Bruce,” I reassure him. “It was difficult at first, but I’ve come to realize that I’ve been living a lie.”

His head snaps to the side, his piercing gaze boring into me as if attempting to burn away the layers to look into my soul in order to capture even a sliver of what I’m thinking and feeling at this moment. “What do you mean?” he questions me with an urgency that I hadn’t anticipated.

“Steve and I…it’s complicated,” I settle on as I try to decide how best to describe it. “I loved him…a part of me still does and always will, but I’ve come to realize that he’s not the one that has held my heart all these years.”

“What?” he whispers as if almost afraid of what I’m about to say.

I continue to stare out over the city as I decide it’s finally time to bear my heart and soul to him. How can I be the Champion of Truth when I haven’t even been able to admit the truth to myself…haven’t been able to accept what my heart has been telling me for so very long?

“After we returned from fighting the Hoard, Steve had a very hard time accepting that nothing had happened between us while we were gone…especially when he found out it was thirty-seven years for us,” I reveal, my chest tight as I remember the heated fights that we had after I returned.

“Selina was the same way,” he reveals, apprehension and a hint of sorrow evident in his words. A rueful smile touches his lips, holding all the hallmarks of regret as well as something more that I can’t put my finger on just yet. “She wouldn’t believe me that nothing happened between us. I even told her that you were the strong one. You made sure that neither of us became that person, but she never really believed me.”

“Bruce, something did happen between us during that time…at least it did for me,” I confess, releasing a nervous little sigh. “Steve didn’t believe me no matter what I told him, but he noticed a change in me, one that I’ve been struggling to understand myself and now I finally have.”

“What are you saying, Diana?” he asks as he fully turns to face me.

“Do you remember that day when we decided to remain friends instead of pursuing a relationship?”

He is quiet for a long moment and I begin to wonder if he’s even going to respond. “Yes…I do,” he replies with a haunting tone. “I take it what you saw of our future together was pretty horrible.”

I turn to face him, my face filling with regret. “No…no, it wasn’t,” I reveal. “In fact, it was amazing…more so than I had ever believed was possible.”

I can tell that I’ve stunned him senseless with my revelation despite the cowl that hides a good portion of his face. “What? Why then did you…why?” he manages to utter.

“I guess I was scared,” I admit.

“Of what? Of me?”

I shake my head with a wistful smile. “No, Bruce…never you,” I tell him. “I’ve never been afraid of you. I guess I was afraid because it was different from what I’d been raised and trained to believe. My heritage taught me that happiness with a man can never truly happen. There was also a part of me that did fear you would eventually decide you didn’t want to be with me.

“You’ve been against the notion of us for so long that I feared finding happiness with me would end up scaring you…driving you away from me in the end. I couldn’t live with that. I couldn’t live with loving you only to lose you so I walked away, knowing that I would always have your friendship if I couldn’t have your love.”

“But you—”

I finally turn to face him, not wanting to hide anything from him anymore. “Fighting the Hoard gave me a small glimpse into what our life together could be like if only I’d give it a chance. That’s when I began to change…started listening to my heart instead of ignoring it like I’ve been doing ever since then. I realized I was a coward that day and because of it I lost out on something truly amazing with you.”

“Diana…what are you saying?” he softly asks and I don’t know if it’s out of fear of what I’m about to tell him or because he feels the same way, but I’m about to find out.

“I love you, Bruce,” I declare, wishing I could look into his eyes instead of the cowl. “It’s always been you. I guess deep down Steve knew that. It’s why he broke things off with me and…to be honest, I feel like a weight has been lifted now that I’m finally being honest with myself and with you.”

“Diana…”

I take a step closer, holding my hand up to silence him. “I don’t expect you to reciprocate or to make a similar declaration,” I continue with a shake of my head. “That was not my intent in coming here. I wanted to see how you were doing and to tell you the truth of my feelings. If in time, you find that you feel the same way and—”

Before I can finish, Bruce’s gauntleted hands are gripping my upper arms, his mouth crashing into mine and effectively silencing any more words. In fact, he has managed to erase any and all thoughts as I readily return his passion with my own, my arms slipping around his neck and drawing us closer to one another.

My lips part and he takes full advantage, his tongue slipping inside to explore my mouth. Our tongues create a sensual duel that only seems to fuel the fire that I feel burning deep inside of me. It shoots pleasure like lighting through my veins, a warm arousal that quickly settles low in my pelvis.

He retreats after several long moments, his forehead pressing against mine. “I’ve missed you…so much,” he breathlessly confesses. “Selina somehow knew that my heart was already spoken for even though I refused to admit it to her or myself. When you and I decided that day to remain friends, I tried to bury my feelings for you…to lock away my heart, but it never really stayed that way. It’s only seemed to grow stronger no matter how hard I tried to fight it.”

“I had no idea,” I murmur, stunned by his confession.

“I love you, Diana…I’ve always loved you,” he tells me with a sincerity that feels like it’s reaching right inside of me and touching my very soul.

I try to keep the tears I can feel rising to my eyes at bay, but I can already tell I’m losing the battle as he wipes a stray teardrop from my cheek. “I was afraid that you weren’t ready to hear it from me after what happened with Selina. I was worried I was pushing you too soon…that you wouldn’t want me.”

“I realized the same thing about you since coming back from fighting the Hoard and Selina leaving me. I’ve been waiting for you after what happened with Steve…trying to give you time,” he reveals, his fingers brushing my hair back behind my ear. “I’ve been dying to kiss you ever since that night when we almost gave in.”

I tilt my head and find his lips, my heart singing now that things are finally the way that they should’ve been all along. I pull back to cradle his face in my hands much the same way I had that same day we had decided to remain friends. “Now, you can kiss me any time you’d like,” I lightly tease.

“Good…because I fully plan on making up for lost time, princess,” he responds with a growling rasp that sends a shiver up my spine, his lips hungrily descending on my mine.

Chapter Text

Shattered

Diana flopped back in her bed against the pillows piled behind her with a huff of abject frustration and agitation. Four days until she’d finally be free to get around like a regular person instead of being restricted to her quarters like some common criminal.

Four…whole…days.

She had to admit being confined to her quarters was far better than being in the infirmary. She wrinkled up her nose with the thought of such a horrible punishment. She’d already spent a day there, being paroled to her quarters this morning only because she’d begged J’onn to let her out. The Martian Manhunter ultimately agreed as long as she promised to behave herself and follow the restrictions that he had outlined for her.

She silently cursed Mongul as she looked down at her right leg fully encased in a white cast from mid-foot to mid-thigh, her bright red toenails staring back at her. She didn’t know who she was more furious with—Mongul for returning to Earth to get revenge on them or herself for allowing him to get a hold of her leg.

Now, her right leg was shattered, requiring a cast for the next four days until her superior healing had time to knit the bones back together again. She huffed a raven curl out of her line of sight as she looked around her bed, ignoring the throbbing pain in her leg and her equally wounded pride.

Flash had brought a pile of DVD’s to keep her entertained, Shayera a stack of magazines, John a book on military strategies, and Kal a basket of her favorite snacks. Batman was the only one of the founders who hadn’t been by to visit her yet.

The Dark Knight had been the one who had carried her to the infirmary right after the battle, basically dumping her off on one of the medical beds with a growl of some sort before abruptly turning on his heel and storming out just as quickly as they had arrived.

Diana folded her arms against her chest with a huff and a scowl as she glared at the television screen on the opposite wall, ignoring the newsfeed that showed the Justice League’s fight against Mongul. It had been a brutal fight for all involved, causing a lot of destruction.

It made no sense to her why Bruce was so furious with her. She wasn’t the only one who had sustained injuries in that fight. Flash had a fractured clavicle that required him to wear a sling on his arm. Kal had taken quite a beating, one that had left him walking with a limp. She knew that Bruce had received a chest contusion from being thrown into a wall, but he wouldn’t accept any treatment let alone acknowledge the fact that he’d even been injured.

Tilting her head back, she glared at the ceiling, thinking that maybe she would try to take a shower. The hard part was trying to figure out how to be in the shower without her casted leg getting all wet. She really wanted to try to sneak down to the training room and pummel some training droids in order to burn off some of her anger and frustration.

With a muttered curse, she flipped the covers off her and scooted to the edge of her bed. She paused to catch her breath, ignoring the pain that pulsated through her broken leg with the sudden change in position. Standing up on one foot, she began to hobble towards the door of her quarters when it suddenly slid open.

“What in hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Nothing,” she insolently claimed, lifting her chin in utter defiance as she folded her arms against her chest with all the haughty dignity she could possibly muster in her current pitiful state.

“You are supposed to be in bed, princess,” he heatedly growled as he stalked towards her.

Without a word or barely a pause in step, he swiftly bent over and swept her up into his arms before carrying her back towards her bed. “Put me down, Bruce!” Diana angrily spat out, glaring daggers at him in the most threatening look he’d received from her in quite some time.

He gently placed her back in her bed and pulled the covers over her, ignoring how sexy she looked in her little tank top and shorts. He carefully lifted her casted leg up with both hands, placing it on pillows while the while ignoring how the Amazon princess was still trying to incinerate him with her eyes alone.

He knew that she was angry with him for dumping her off in the infirmary like he had, and she had every right. What she didn’t know was that he’d been outside of his mind when Mongul had slammed her into the ground, taking her leg and breaking it like he had. Bruce swore he’d never forget the sound of her leg shattering or how Mongul had picked her up by her broken leg and tossed her aside like a rag doll into the side of the brick building.

Bruce knew that he had taken his fury out on Diana and he needed to make it up to her. He had called J’onn an hour after taking her to the infirmary to check up on her and then just about every single hour after that much to J’onn’s growing annoyance. Regaining some semblance of control over his emotions once more, he had finally decided it was time to come see her.

He sat down on the edge of her bed, pushing his cowl off his head and removing his gauntlets. He looked down at her casted leg, grinding his teeth with the sight of it broken. He never wanted to see her hurt or injured like that ever again. It caused a copious well of feelings that he didn’t know how to deal with nor did he want to, but somehow, she always seemed to push him into it.

“How’s your leg?”

“It itches,” she replied with a petulant frown, clearly angry with him.

“That’s not unusual,” he told her. “Just don’t stick a butter knife down your cast to try to scratch it.”

Diana’s expression softened somewhat with the curiosity that abruptly replaced her annoyance. “Why not?”

“First of all, it doesn’t really help and secondly, it can cause a sore beneath your cast.”

The corner of Diana’s lips quirked with the unexpected revelation. “You sound as if you speak from experience,” she insightfully replied. “So, just how many broken bones have you suffered through, Mister Wayne?”

“As Bruce or as Batman?”

“You’re the same person so both.”

He tilted his head slightly, amused and intrigued at the same time with how she viewed him. “Far too many to recount,” he revealed, his own curiosity piqued. “So, you don’t see me as just Batman—cold and dark…a vortex that sucks all the light and life out of the world?”

Her forehead creased as she thought about her response. “You are not like that, Bruce,” she insisted, sitting forward and taking his hand in hers. “Bruce is who you are, but Batman is what you do…the avenue you chose to use to keep your promise to your parents.”

“And what about the playboy?” he asked, glancing down at their laced fingers.

She smiled softly, shaking her head and causing a couple of raven strands to fall free from her messy ponytail. “He’s not real…not the real you anyway,” she insisted. “He’s just a means to an end…another avenue you use to protect yourself and those you care most about…a way to further your mission.

“You know I have seen glimpses of the real you at times though I know you try not to let him out. The real you is buried in here, hidden beneath your scars. I think that you’re just so used to having to hide it that you don’t know how to let the real you out.”

Diana placed her hand over his heart, feeling it’s steady beat beneath her palm. Bruce found himself leaning towards her, more than interested in what she saw in him. He had never cared what people had thought of him, always focused on more important things and never worrying about something so insignificant as everyone’s perception of him or whether they liked him or not. The only thing that ever mattered to him was the mission and everything related to it.

With her, though, everything took on a whole new significance, one that was most important to him.

“Interesting assessment, princess,” he huskily replied as his gaze fell to her lips that he was desperate to kiss. It was both unnerving and a relief that someone actually knew him so well and yet she still seemed to care for him despite what she saw inside of him.

Her lips curled as her eyes fell to his mouth. “Not wrong either,” she pointed out.

“I plead the fifth,” he murmured, his piercing gaze falling to her lips as well.

“I know you were injured too in the battle with Mongul and don’t try to deny it,” she told him. “You just didn’t get the privilege of being treated in the infirmary.”

“I know how to escape without capture,” he teased, his hand coming to rest on the bed on other side of her outstretched legs.

“I have a first aid kit if you’d like me to take a look for you,” she offered with a flirty lilt to her voice.

“That could be pretty dangerous, princess.”

Diana’s raven eyebrow quirked with amusement mingled with inquisitiveness. “How so?”

“If I take my uniform top off, I don’t think you’ll be able to control yourself,” he replied, his blue eyes darkening. “You might try to assault me. We can’t have that, now can we?”

Diana’s lilting laughter rang through the air like beautiful music as she inclined her head towards him. “You sure are quite full of yourself, aren’t you?”

“Just giving you fair warning, princess,” he innocently maintained. “I’m trying to protect you from yourself. I wouldn’t want you regretting anything later if you can’t control yourself.”

“I don’t need protection, Bruce,” she told him, her lips hovering so dangerously close to his. “Besides, maybe I want to lose control.”

Bruce swallowed hard, trying to banish the lustful image that just popped into his head. “What if I want you to lose control too?”

“Well, then I guess—”

Bruce closed the distance between them, his lips swiftly finding hers and effectively silencing her. She sighed contentedly as she kissed him back, her arms slipping around his neck and drawing him closer. She happily decided that it was well worth having her leg shattered if this was the end result.

Careful of her leg, Bruce pushed her back, pinning her against her pile of pillows as he devoured her. He could hardly believe that he was kissing her…showing her what he felt for her, but he couldn’t help himself any longer. Mongul’s attack on her had reminded him how easily he could lose her. It had finally opened his eyes as well as his heart.

His hand moved to cup the side of her face as he pressed his forehead against hers, his nose brushing against hers. “You scared me half to death yesterday,” he breathlessly confessed. “I thought Mongul was going to try to kill you again.”

“I’m a lot stronger than I look,” she lightly teased.

He smiled softly at her, moving to press his forehead against her bruised cheekbone and releasing a shuddering breath. Diana stroked his hair as they held on to one another, her fingers repetitively caressing the nape of his neck.

She felt a tremble roll through his body, breaking her heart. “It’s okay, Bruce…I’m okay.”

He tightened his hold on her, his embrace nearly crushing her, but she wasn’t just some ordinary woman. She was Wonder Woman and she had managed to accomplish the impossible. She had found a way to put a shattered heart back together again.

“I think I better stay here to make sure that you behave yourself,” he told her as he pulled back. “There’s no telling what trouble you’ll get yourself into.”

“You might as well get comfortable then because I’m afraid I’m stuck here for another four days.”

Bruce stood to his feet, removing his boots and uniform top, but he decided to leave his pants on. While he would’ve loved to strip down to his boxer briefs, he knew that he couldn’t let things go too far with Diana still recovering from her injuries.

He made his way to the other side of the bed, crawling in beside her. Settling back against the pillows, he pulled her into his arms, Diana shifting to rest against his side. “Is there anything you need?” he asked.

“I have all I need right here,” she replied, her hand stroking his chest.

Chapter Text

Bruises

Bruises. I hate them. There is rarely a week that goes by that I don’t collect at least a couple of them. I hate them because they remind me that I’m human, an ordinary man living an extraordinary life dressed as a Bat and leaping from rooftop to rooftop by a thin cable.

Maybe I am a little crazy for doing this every night, but who wouldn’t be after watching their parents being gunned down in an alley.

I swing my fist and he blocks it, swinging his fist like a massive club that connects with my side. Another bruise…another reminder of the frailty of my life, the fact that one day I’ll be a step too slow to do this and I’ll finally be dead.

I push the morose thought from my mind as I deliver a series of punches and a roundhouse kick that would’ve shattered anyone else’s jaw. Bane merely staggers a couple of steps backwards, rubbing his still intact jaw with a smirk that is nothing but pure evil.

I know I need to get that hose disconnected before he tries to snap my spine in two again. I can’t afford another injury like that or the months of recovery involved in it. When the weather changes, I still get an ache deep in my spine…just another reminder.

I run straight at Bane, dropping and sliding between his legs at the last second. I rapidly come up behind him, yanking the tube free and cutting off the source of his strength. He roars in rage, a violent sound that vibrates deep in my chest as I kick him in the back.

His size shrinks right before my eyes and I smirk at his smaller stature. I stalk straight towards him. He arrogantly attempts to fight back, but it’s only a matter of a minute before I have him cuffed face down on the asphalt.

I plant my boot in his back, digging my heel into his spine as I lean down. “Maybe you’ll think twice about trying to escape.”

He curses at me in Spanish. I grab him by the back of his head and slam it down into the asphalt to silence him. It’s already been a long night and I’m anxious to return home. Bane trying to escape from prison got in the way of those plans. I’m still pissed about it. I also have a new bruise to show for it.

I contact Oracle to have the police pick him up as I climb into the Batmobile, speeding off into the night. I grimace as I shift in my seat, my side reminding me of the blow I’d received. It was not only going to bruise but it was going to be sore and tender for a few days.

Great.

My frown begins to lessen as I being to think of the other bruises that I carry. These discolorations that mar my skin aren’t nearly as unpleasant. Thoughts of them swim through my brain, keeping me company and occupying me as I finally pull into the Batcave and park on the platform.

Exiting, my hand immediately goes to my side, but I refuse to give it any more attention. I have much better things to preoccupy myself with. I head straight for the changing area, stripping off my uniform before stepping into the shower.

Hot water cascades over me as white clouds of steam billow around me. I place my hands on the shower wall, dipping my head and allowing the hot water to beat against my muscles. I know I should hurry, but the shower feels so good right now. Besides, we’ll have more than enough time to fully explore all that has been ignored for the last week.

A week…and yet it feels like an eternity.

I change my mind, quickly shutting off the water and begin drying myself off with the towel. I wrap it around my waist as I shuffle out of the shower to the changing area again. I stop before the sink and mirror, pausing to look at my reflection.

The first thing that I notice is the large bruise already forming on my side courtesy of Bane. It’s purple and garish and will likely be there for at least a week if I’m lucky. I sigh to myself knowing it’ll probably be closer to two weeks seeing how the bruise extends towards my abdomen.

The next thing that catches my eye is the bruise that sits where my neck and shoulder meet. It’s now more bluish-green than purple and definitely a lot less noticeable than it was a week ago when it happened. I lightly run my fingertips over it, a crooked smirk rising to my lips as I recall that particular event.

She always manages to mark me in some sensual way, shape or form, but it’s almost always a bruise. Although, I’m pretty positive I have a couple of rows of healing Amazonian scratch marks down my back. They’re marks that I proudly wear because they’re from her and I love her.

My gaze falls to the equally fading bruises on both my biceps. It was where she was gripping my arms the last time we were together. That was a climax that had definitely rocked both of our worlds and I find myself more than anxious to do it all over again.

If I look closely, I can just barely make out the shape of her hand on my arm, each place her fingers had dug deeply into my flesh. If I close my eyes, I can still hear her crying out my name in that breathless sultry tone that swiftly sends me plummeting over the edge.

I swear that I can still see her beautiful face flushed with passion and her sapphire eyes bright with love, her chest heaving as she pulls me in for a heated kiss that quickly steals what little breath I have in my lungs. It’s erotic and amazing and I want her all over again.

The unexpected feeling of fingers dancing up my spine and over my shoulders breaks me free of my reverie, my eyes flying open to find the chink in my otherwise flawless armor. Her chin comes to rest on my shoulder, her raven hair falling around her face and tickling my skin.

“I thought you were going to stand me up,” she tells me as she tips her head to plant a warm kiss on my shoulder.

“Bane tried to interfere,” I reply.

I shiver despite my absolute refusal, my body betraying me once again. My body always bends to my will except when it comes to her. She kisses along my shoulder before raising her head, her deep blue eyes meeting mine in the mirror as she smiles seductively at me.

Her expression is purely predatory as her arms circle my waist, her fingernails lightly raking over my abdomen only to pause long enough to tease me along the top of the towel wrapped around my waist. I am quickly responding to her and she knows it.

Her eyes are dancing with mischief as her fingers dip below the edge of the towel, and I hold my breath in anticipation only for her to suddenly stop. My eyes open to find her gaze full of hurt, her right hand moving to the bruise on my neck that she had blessed me with a week ago.

“Bruce,” she softly utters my name with contrition as she brushes over it with the tips of her fingers.

“Diana, it’s nothing…I promise,” I attempt to reassure her.

“Yes, it is something,” she insists.

“If you’re worried about that, you should see my arms,” I lightly tease.

I immediately regret my lame attempt at humor the second it leaves my mouth, realizing I have just made things worse. She gasps as her fingers trail over my bicep, creating a trail of fire that courses through me and further turning me on. Tears well in her eyes as she turns away from me, dipping her head.

“I’m so sorry,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper.

I quickly turn to her, grabbing hold of her arms and keeping her from walking away from me. “You don’t have anything to be sorry about, princess,” I adamantly maintain.

“I hurt you…I gave you bruises, Bruce,” she exclaims as a tear slips down her cheek. “I never meant to hurt you. I just love you…and…maybe it would be best if we didn’t see each other any—”

I immediately silence her with my mouth, pulling her hard against me. The thought of her leaving me terrifies me, but I tamp down on that fear. We’ve only been together for two weeks and I already can’t imagine having to live without her.

Diana kisses me back and I can taste the saltiness of her tears on my tongue. She melts against me as I press her against the wall, lifting and wrapping her legs around my waist. She fully gives herself over to her feelings for me and it creates an amazing heat low in my belly knowing how much she truly loves me. It still makes my head spin that she would want me.

She abruptly breaks the kiss with a gasp as realization seems to hit her. “We can’t…I can’t…” she chokes out, her chin falling to her chest. “I don’t want to hurt you again.”

“You didn’t hurt me, Diana,” I swear to her.

“I left bruises on you,” she replies.

“I love the bruises you leave on my body, princess,” I huskily respond, my lips and nose nuzzling her ear, pausing to nip and suck on her earlobe. “It’s a badge of honor. It reminds me just how passionately you love me…how you chose me and no one else…how I can make the powerful Wonder Woman completely lose control.”

“Bruce…” she breathlessly gasps, tilting her head and offering more of herself to me as she loops her arms around my neck.

I kiss along her jaw to her lips that curl slightly at the corners, telling me that I’m getting through to her. “I love the way that you show your love for me,” I continue between kisses. “I love that you don’t hold anything back…that you show me everything…share every part of yourself with me. I love that I get to see the real you…completely uninhibited and wanting me.”

“I…I just don’t ever want to hurt you,” she softly says and the hurt that laces her words pierce my heart as sure as a sword’s blade. “I love you, Bruce. I want to make you happy.”

“You could never hurt me, princess,” I assure her, caressing her cheek as I gaze deeply into her eyes. “You only make everything in my life so much better.”

She smiles at me, her blue eyes bright once more. She kisses me as she pushes the towel from my waist, her hands roaming over my back. She abruptly stops in the midst of her exploration, forcing me to pull back to look at her again.

“What is on your back?” she asks, her forehead creasing with concern.

“Nothing,” I adamantly maintain, knowing that I’ve just lied to the embodiment of truth.

“Bruce,” she growls, her eyes narrowing.

“Scratches,” I tentatively reveal.

“Bruce…” she groans with embarrassment, tilting her head back against the wall.

I grin wolfishly at her, refusing to let go of her as I tighten my hold on her thighs still wrapped around my waist. I crush my lips against hers as I thrust up into her, already determined to make sure that she adds to the collection of bruises that I already have.

Those are my absolute favorite because I got them from her.

Chapter Text

Bat-Aids

Diana kept her expression pleasant and interested despite the fact that her arm hurt like Hades. There was no way in Tartarus she was going to the infirmary. She was going back to her quarters to hide and nurse her wounded pride as soon as the debriefing was over.

She kept her gaze locked straight ahead of her, her focus on Superman who was babbling on and on about the alien race they had just managed to drive away and praising them for their teamwork. She visualized actually taping her friend’s mouth shut, wishing that he would hurry it up so she could just escape to her room.

She could feel Batman’s white lenses boring straight into her, trying to ascertain the extension of her injury. It wasn’t a huge wound, but it was deep and had chunks of gravel imbedded in it. She didn’t know what kind of weapon they had hit her with, but it had packed a punch.

She knew that she wasn’t the only one who had thoughts so. Kal kept rubbing his sternum as he continued to talk, wincing with the unconscious movement. He had taken more than a few direct hits, but his skin had been impenetrable even against their weapons.

Too bad hers wasn’t.

The second Kal adjourned the meeting, Diana was up and out of her chair as well as the conference room like she’d just been shot right out of a cannon. She barely acknowledged staff and fellow leaguers alike as she made a beeline for her quarters, quickening her pace.

Reaching her destination, she released a sigh of relief as she quickly punched in her code and entered only to suddenly stop short. The door slid closed behind her as she stared in stunned disbelief at the Dark Knight of Gotham standing right there in the middle of her quarters. His arms were crossed against his chest, his expression clearly annoyed despite the cowl that adorned his head.

“How in the name of Hades did you get here before me?” she demanded to know, knowing that she had been caught like an innocent little rabbit in a deadly trap sprung by an infuriating bat.

“Sit,” he ordered, his gauntleted hand pointing at her bed.

“But, I…”

“Sit, princess,” he growled with all the foreboding menace he could possibly muster at that moment.

She glared back at him, folding her arms in defiance, her chin raised with the regal authority that swam through her veins. They glared at one another, neither backing down in the supreme battle of wills. It was as if heaven and hell had just collided, neither about to back down.

After several long moments of tense silence, Diana finally relented, but only because her arm burned like fire. Bruce smirked smugly in triumph, receiving a rather nasty Greek curse as she stalked past him to sit imperiously on the edge of the bed.

He turned on his heel and went into the bathroom, digging through a drawer filled with hair ties and hair clips in order to find the first aid kit he knew that she kept hidden in here. He came out of the bathroom with a white metal case much to Diana’s surprise.

“How did you know—”

“I’m Batman,” he simply stated as he sat down on the bed beside her, removing his gauntlets and cowl.

“You know that’s not a sufficient answer,” she shot back with a scowl.

“Yes, it is,” he maintained as he opened the case and pulled out tweezers, gauze, and antiseptic.

“This isn’t necessary,” she ground out.

“You were hit with an alien weapon,” he reminded her. “We don’t know what kind of effect this weapon could have on you or the extent of your injury. We both know you won’t go to the infirmary so I’m here to check it out. Besides, I want to collect evidence to run tests on.”

“You care…how sweet,” she seductively said as she leaned towards him, batting her eyelashes at him.

“Why wouldn’t I care about me teammate?” he countered, appearing unfazed.

Diana scowled at him, leveling him with a glare that rivaled the Bat’s. “You are so full of sh—”

“Watch it, princess,” he told her. “Can’t have you corrupting me with your foul language.”

Diana snorted in amusement, her anger abruptly forgotten. “Corrupt you?” she exclaimed. “I believe you’re the one who is good at corrupting.”

“Now, you wouldn’t want to taunt the man holding the tweezers,” he warned her, waving them in front of her. “No more procrastinating, princess. We can either do this the easy way or the hard way. It’s your choice.”

She released a huff of utter annoyance, turning a little more towards him so he could clean the wound on her upper arm. “You’re such a pain in the ass.”

“I’ve been called far worse,” he muttered. “Besides, it’s part of my undeniable charm.”

“Your charm?” she uttered with a laugh, her body shaking with her amusement.

“Hold still, princess,” he scolded her. “Tim sits still better than you do.”

“Hey, I’m not that bad,” she maintained, tilting her head to watch him as he worked pieces of gravel free from the deep wound in her arm.

“It would also be far easier to do this is your hair wasn’t in the way,” he added, becoming distracted with the curly locks that fell over her shoulder and into his line of sight as she inclined her head to watch him work.

“Oh…sorry,” she murmured, straightening up a little and pulling her hair back with her free hand, pulling it over her other shoulder.

He pursed his lips to keep the smile he could feel attempting to form at bay. She always had such a profound affect on him, one that he had yet to be able to understand or defend himself against. It drove him crazy not being able to shield himself against her.

He carefully pulled out pieces of gravel, placing them in an evidence bag he’d pulled out of his utility belt. He wanted to take the pieces of rock back to the cave to run tests on. He needed to find out if there were any particles left behind that he could analyze so he could create a weapon to counteract it in case they were attacked again.

Diana bit at her bottom lip, stifling the gasp that she could feel rising up in her throat. She wasn’t about to show the least bit of weakness especially in front of him. “Did you get any injuries during the fight?” she asked, trying to get her mind off what he was doing.

“No…not that I know of,” he simply stated, picking up the gauze to stop the bleeding his tweezers had created.

“Maybe we should take that uniform off and check just to be sure,” she seductively suggested as her eyes traversed the expanse of gray and black Kevlar that covered his perfectly sculpted body, wishing she could remove it.

Grabbing the antiseptic, Bruce began cleaning the wound before searching for the bandages, doing his best to ignore her tantalizingly tempting proposal. He frowned as he searched through the white metal box, not finding what he was looking for. “Where are your Band-Aids?” he asked, looking up at the suddenly shy princess.

Diana averted her gaze, refusing to make eye contact with him as a very warm blush crept up her neck to her face. “I…ran out,” she told him.

Bruce stared at her, a grunt of disbelief escaping. “You are the worst liar I have ever known, Diana. Where are the Band-Aids?”

“I don’t need one, Bruce,” she maintained, straightening her shoulders and holding her head high. “It’ll be healed by tomorrow anyway so don’t bother.”

“Diana,” he growled in a low, threatening tone.

She abruptly hung her head like a petulant child, one who had just been caught. “Fine,” she bit out. “They’re in the drawer of my bedside table.”

He frowned at her as he stood to his feet, going to her nightstand and pulling the drawer open. He pushed aside a book as well as various other personal items to find a box towards the back of the drawer. He pulled it out, knowing that he had found what he was looking for.

Returning to the bed, he sat down, bending his leg to rest on top of the bed next to her as he faced her. He looked up at her, finding that her pink blush had turned into a full-fledged expression of glowing embarrassment. Her cheeks were red, her head dipping in an effort to hide her discomfiture.

He opened the box on his lap, staring for several moments in stunned disbelief at what he found. He slowly reached in to pull out a Batman symbol shaped Band-Aid from the box. All of them were black, coming in various sizes, but all with the same Batman symbol.

Holding one up, Bruce’s lips quirked into an amused smirk, an eyebrow arching with curiosity. “Care to explain this, princess?”

Diana found it more than difficult to make eye contact with him, her throat suddenly dry. “I…uh…I can explain…really,” she stuttered as she finally lifted her head to look at him. “It’s just that…um, well, you see, I—”

Her explanation was never heard as his mouth effectively and thoroughly silenced her, his lips and tongue occupying her with something far better.

XXX

Batman returned to the cave, heading straight for the changing room. He wanted to get a quick shower and a clean uniform before preparing to head out for patrol. His thoughts were running rampant, none of them having anything to do with Gotham or a particular case.

He tore off his gauntlets and cowl, removing his uniform top and tossing it into the bin for Alfred to clean later. Removing his utility belt, he leaned over to slip off his boots and uniform pants, leaving him in nothing but his boxer briefs.

“Your supper is…good heavens!”

Frowning, Bruce turned around to face Alfred, finding the British butler standing there staring at him in utter shock. “What is it?” he asked, frowning.

“Did you get tattooed?”

“What?” Bruce asked in confusion, looking down to find Batman Band-Aids on his chest. He looked up with a faint blush and a smirk on his lips, somewhat irritated with himself for having forgotten about them. “Oh, um…Diana got a little carried away with the Band-Aids.”

Alfred’s shock turned into mirth as he watched his surrogate son begin to remove one Batman symbol shaped Band-Aid after another in an effort to remove the evidence of his afternoon activities. They seemed to be arranged in a very particular path, one that led down towards a very specific destination on Master Bruce’s body.

Alfred bit at his bottom lip to stifle the laughter that begged for release as he clasped his hands in front of him, pausing to gather himself once more. “I guess I’ll leave you to your task then,” he managed to utter.

“Not a word, Alfred,” Bruce ground out with a menacing growl.

“Of course not, Master Bruce,” Alfred evenly replied, managing a stoic expression. “Although, you might want to keep one of those Bat Band-Aids to cover the discolored mark on your neck the princess seems to have left behind.”

Bruce immediately turned towards the mirror, his fingers reaching up to touch the very pronounced bruise that Diana had left on his skin. He could hear Alfred chuckling as the butler began to walk away. “Not funny, Alfred!” Bruce yelled from the changing area.

Alfred couldn’t keep the grin from his face as he made his way up the stairs back into the manor, more than happy that he had given the Amazon Princess that box of Bat-Aids.

Chapter Text

Treat

Batman clenched his jaw like a steel trap suddenly being sprung, his gauntleted fingers curling into his palms. He swore the entire Watchtower was vibrating to the beat of the music that was playing. He couldn’t hear the music, but he could feel the base pounding in his chest. He swore the entire Watchtower was going to start fracturing at the seams at any moment.

He was doing his best to update and file his mission reports despite the annoying interference. Between Gotham and the League, he’d been too busy to file them lately. Unfortunately, the only spare time that he had was during Flash’s Halloween bash. He had refused to attend the scarlet speedster’s costume party despite the fact he knew that a certain Amazon was attending.

She had been tormenting him for the last two weeks about the costume she had chosen to wear, teasing hm and dropping hints but never actually telling him what it was. He’d been trying not to think about it, but it had been more than difficult.

It was becoming harder and harder to ignore her or the way that she made him feel, but he had to stay strong in the face of the Amazon warrior. He couldn’t give in to temptation…even if she was gorgeous with deadly curves, flowing raven hair and killer legs that seemed to go on for miles.

He cursed under his breath as he shook his head to snap himself out of his salacious thoughts. He had work to do, a city to protect, a promise to keep his parents, an Amazon to ravage senseless…

With another growl, Batman grabbed his cup of coffee, downing the last of it to find it stone cold. This was just not his night. He needed to finish his reports so he could get out of here and return to Gotham. The villains would be out in full force tonight and he needed to get an early jump on it.

He glanced at the time at the bottom right of the computer screen. Five forty-six. Great. Definitely too early to start patrol. He’d just end up terrifying all the trick-or-treaters. Having crying children walking from door to door with wet pants would only lead to furious parents and even more hatred for the Dark Knight of Gotham.

Batman’s head snapped up when he heard a subtle chuckle coming from the Martian Manhunter who was on monitor duty. “Something I can help you with, J’onn?” he rasped.

“No, but it seems you could use some help, my friend,” J’onn replied with turning around.

“I’m fine,” he stated, turning his attention to his next mission report to find it was one that he and Diana had taken care of together. Just great.

“I would have to disagree,” he evenly said. “It would seem you are struggling with what to do about a certain female colleague.”

“There’s nothing to do, J’onn,” Batman bit out.

“If you say so,” the Martian Manhunter responded with a hint of amusement in his voice.

Batman let the comment go. He just wanted to get his work done so he could get out of here. He knew Clark had scheduled the Founders’ meeting for this afternoon in an effort to get him to stay for the party, but it wasn’t going to work. No one could force him to go to this stupid party.

He huffed in annoyance as he reviewed Diana’s portion of the mission report, noting a couple discrepancies between his and her report. He knew he couldn’t sign off on hers or his own until they cleared up the details. He was going to have to review the mission with her to see why they were differing in their account of events.

Unfortunately, that meant going to Flash’s party in the commissary to see her.

With a sneer on his lips, Batman stood up from his chair and exited the Monitor Womb with his cape snapping behind him like a black sail, ignoring the faint chuckle coming from the other occupant in the room. He stalked through the empty halls of the Watchtower, his annoyance mounting with every step he took as he drew closer to his intended destination.

Passing through the doors of the commissary, he was instantly assaulted with loud music and absolute chaos. Leaguers were dressed up in every costume imaginable, laughing and drinking and dancing. Flash was wearing a cave man costume over his red uniform, carrying a club and hitting on every breathing female Leaguer. Teammates danced with one another, the flowing alcohol loosening in and all inhibitions as some got cozy in darker corners.

He spotted Superman dressed as a cowboy talking to Vigilante who was wearing a horse costume. John Stewart was dressed in his Marine uniform as he talked intimately with Mari who was dressed as Leia from Star Wars Return of the Jedi.

Shaking his head in utter irritation, Batman glanced to his left, immediately spotting the very woman that he’d been looking for. He felt his knees weaken with the image of her in a sexy version of a Batwoman costume, a version that he’d never seen before.

She was wearing a black leather mini-skirt with thigh high spike-heeled black boots, her cape flowing down her back. She had her raven hair pulled back in a high ponytail, a headband that had Bat ears on it to complete her look…and complete her look it did...in a very erotic way that had his head spinning.

Seeing her ignited his already simmering desire for her, but the way Long Shadow was looking at her ignited a jealous fire in his belly. He stalked straight towards them, his white lenses dangerous slits as he leveled a fierce Batglare on the former Ultimen.

Diana looked up as Batman approached, her face instantly brightening at the sight of him. “Batman, you came,” she excitedly greeted him.

Long Shadow’s smile wilted under the forbidding scowl of Gotham’s vigilante. “Uh…hi, Batman,” he said, growing nervous with his appearance.

“Princess,” Batman rasped darkly, ignoring Long Shadow. “May I speak with you?”

Diana frowned, handing Long Shadow her cup of punch. “Excuse me, Long Shadow,” she said. “I’ll be right back.”

Batman turned on his heel, Diana following close behind as he led her to a somewhat quiet corner of the commissary. “What’s wrong with you?” she demanded to know, her hands finding her hips and causing her cape to flare out in a dramatic fashion. It was the perfect impression of himself. “You were very rude to Long Shadow. You should go apologize to him.”

“I need to talk to you,” he bluntly stated, standing toe to toe with her in order to be heard over the music and laughter.

Diana’s brow furrowed as she studied him closely, growing worried. “What is it?”

“There are some discrepancies in one of your mission reports,” he told her, his voice all business. “We need to get it straightened out before I can sign off on it.”

She stared at him in stunned disbelief, trying to decide if she’d heard him correctly. “You’re joking, right?”

“No, I never joke,” he flatly stated, crossing his arms over his chest. “I want you to come with me to review the report.”

“You picked now of all times to come talk to me about a stupid mission report?” she nearly yelled, incredulous. It was at that moment that realization dawned on her, her lips curving into a wicked smile. “Unless you’re using it as an excuse to come here and see me in my costume.”

Batman stiffened with her supposition, quickly dismissing it as nothing but ludicrous. “I couldn’t care less what you’re wearing, princess.”

Her smile only seemed to grow even more mischievous as she leaned in a little closer, allowing her proximity to hopefully influence him and sway him towards her. “Really, Bruce?” she purred in a sultry tone that sent a shiver up his spine. “You seem a little more tense than usual. Could it be that you might actually like my costume?”

“I’m tense because Flash is having a party on my Watchtower,” he growled. “The music is too loud and there wasn’t supposed to be any alcohol here.”

“Maybe this would be a good chance for you to loosen up a little and have some fun…with me,” she suggested, her fingers lightly trailing down the length of his exposed jaw and chin.

“Is this a trick?” he flirted, immediately regretting his words.

“Oh, I promise it will be a real treat,” she promised him, her mouth dangerously close to his.

He could feel her warm breath fanning his face, his own breathing growing a little more exerted as his gaze fell to her red lips. He ached so badly to kiss those lips, to remove that racy costume piece…by sexy piece…and then…

“Bats!” Flash cried, abruptly appearing right between the two and forcing them apart. “I didn’t think you were going to come to my party. Your costume isn’t very creative you know.”

“I was just leaving,” Batman stated, glancing at Diana, noticing her disappointed expression before turning and leaving. “Later, princess.”

“He’s the most anti-social person I have ever met,” Flash told her, giving Diana a devilish grin. “Makes me that much more determined to crack that little Bat shell of his.”

Diana shook her head with a frustrated sigh, doing her best to tuck away her disappointment. She wasn’t going to let Batman’s dismissal of her ruin her fun tonight. She came here to have fun and that’s exactly what she was going to do.

“Hey, Diana, do you want to dance?” Long Shadow asked.

“I’d love to,” she decided.

XXX

Entering her code, Diana entered her quarters, pulling her hair out of the ponytail she’d had it in and allowing her hair to tumble free down her back. It had been a fun party despite Batman’s obnoxious appearance. She wasn’t about to let him ruin her good mood despite the fact she still wanted to beat his face in.

She reached for the Bat headband, a familiar baritone voice filling her quarters.

“Leave it on, princess.”

The corners of her lips twitched in amusement, a shiver lancing through her as he stepped out of the dark shadows of her quarters. “What are you doing here, Bruce?” she asked.

Pulling his cowl off, Batman closed the distance between them, determination in his every step as he stared her down like a predator would its prey. He stopped right in front of her, his arms snaking around her and pulling her hard against his body. His lips lightly grazed hers, teasing her with what they both wanted so desperately.

He pulled back slightly, a smirk gracing his face. “I came for my treat.”

Chapter Text

Him

Him.

He was the very first man that I had ever laid eyes on, the first man that I had ever spoken to. He had fascinated me from the moment I rescued him. He was quite handsome with sandy hair and a smile that caused butterflies to unexpectedly fill my stomach. At the time, I didn’t understand these strange feelings and sensations until later…until it was too late.

Love. I was in love with him.

There are so many things about him that I loved—his bravery, his sense of humor, his purity of heart, his selflessness…the way that he looked at me as if I was the only woman in the whole world. Thinking of it even now creates a sense of warm affection that coalesces inside of me.

Unfortunately, we had so very little time together.

“I can save today, but you can save the world…I love you.”

His words roll through my mind as if he had just said them to me. I can still see his handsome face, the love and honesty shining in his eyes…the fearlessness despite knowing he’d never survive what he was about to do. I was so proud of him despite the painful loss, despite my initial anger with him for leaving me like he had.

Thinking of him even now causes a pang of anguish and a sense of loss, but I find that it’s no longer the sharp, piercing pain in my chest that used to steal my breath and create a river of anguish that flowed through my veins. Now, it’s more of a dull aching reminder that I carry with me, a sweet remembrance.

And it’s all because of him…the other man that I have fallen in love with.

I can feel a flutter in my chest just thinking about him. He is so very different from my first love. While he had been open and warm and full of such light, this man is the complete opposite in so many ways. He’s closed off, dark and mysterious, intriguing and captivating me ever since our very first meeting.

I haven’t felt this same pull of attraction for anyone for a century now, living my life locked in a mournful cocoon of my own making in order to protect myself from ever getting hurt again. I stayed more in the shadows, surreptitiously saving people and standing in the way of injustice when I could, but never really getting involved in the affairs of the world. I had been too afraid of putting myself out there again like I had when I had first left Themyscira.

For a hundred years I had mourned the loss of the man who had taught me so much about the world around him, who had found a way into my heart. I begged the gods for answers as to why they would take him away from only to receive silence for my demands.

Was this their punishment for leaving my home to come to Man’s World? Was this a game or a joke to them…allowing me to discover love only to have it ripped right out of my life and leaving a gaping wound that could never and would never heal.

Whatever their reasons for taking my first love from me, my gods and goddesses seemed to have seen fit to bring a second love into my life. He seemingly appeared out of nowhere, turning my world upside down and drawing me out of the comfortable shell that I’d wrapped myself up in for so long that I had forgotten what life could be like if I only let it.

Bruce opened my eyes and my heart to love again in the most unexpected ways. His chivalry and willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of the entire world reminded me of Steve, awakening a need inside of me to know this man beyond the distant and sometimes flippant air.

Despite his sometimes brusque exterior, I see a gentleness and warmth in his brown eyes when he looks at me that I know that most people miss. It drew me in, mesmerizing me and piquing my curiosity about this enigma that dresses like a flying rodent and prefers to work alone in the dark.

To my surprise, I found a man filled with such pain, wounds on his heart that were similar to my own. I discovered a kindred spirit, a man possessing such passion and determination and strength that rivaled, my own at times despite being a mortal man.

We both have loved deeply and lost greatly in traumatic ways that have stayed with us for far too long, clinging to us like a death shroud that we can’t seem to rid ourselves of. We are both closed off in so many ways starting with our hearts, afraid of reaching out to others.

After defeating Steppenwolf, we found ourselves opening up to each other, finally making the effort to allow the other in. In doing so, we found redemption and forgiveness, faith and hope. We saved each other and found love along the way.

I smile to myself as I watch him sleep, the dawning rays of sunlight filtering through the wall of windows behind him and casting a soft orange glow. It’s a breathtaking view of the lake, steam fog rising up as warm water meets cool morning air and creating a magical aura over the landscape.

I fight the urge to reach out and touch him, not wanting to wake him just yet. I love just lying here next to him sometimes, thinking of all the ways that he has managed to change my life for the better. He has pushed me out of the protective cocoon that I had built up around myself, pushed me to embrace my role as Wonder Woman and to be a leader…to be what the gods had ordained me to be.

For that alone I’ll be eternally grateful to him, but even far more than that, he has allowed me past his defenses and into his heart. We’re sharing in a love that has slowly begun to knit my own heart back together again and hopefully his as well.

Despite his darkness, he has brought me back out into the light.

Unable to fight it any longer, I lightly trace the curve of his jaw, the stubble I find there prickly against my fingertips. “I know you’ve been watching me sleep,” he murmurs without opening his eyes.

I allow my fingers to trail down his neck and along his collarbone. “You can’t know that, Bruce.”

“I know everything, princess,” he tries to tell me, his eyes still closed. His breath hitches as I lightly trace circles around his nipple.

I try to stifle the chuckle that I feel rising up in my throat. “I don’t believe you. You’re good, but you’re not that good.”

“I could feel your eyes on me,” he tells me, his lips curling at the corners in smug amusement. “You were thinking about how incredibly sexy I am…how you can hardly keep your hands off my body…how badly you want to take me.”

I can’t stop from laughing this time, his arrogance knowing no bounds, but he carries it so well. “Maybe I was thinking it’s time to get up…leave you here all by yourself.”

Before I can draw my next breath, Bruce pounces on me, pinning my back to the bed. I find him hovering over me like a panther about to devour his prey and it causes a shiver to race through me. “You are not leaving me here all by myself, princess,” he threatens me with a low growl to his voice.

I gaze up at him with a playful smirk on my lips. “Oh, really?” I tease. “I think I need to get a shower. I’m sure Alfred will be arriving soon.”

“Alfred knows better than to show up this early,” he reminds me, his lips and nose nuzzling along my jaw and throat. “He learned his lesson the last time.”

Laughter erupts as my hands settle on his back, my desire for this man intensifying. “That was all your fault and you know it.”

“I am not the one who decided to make breakfast dressed in nothing but my dress shirt,” he points out. “I was completely defenseless against you. I had no other choice but to take you right there on the kitchen counter.”

“Right…the great Batman completely defenseless,” I drawl, amusement lacing my voice.

“Besides, Alfred didn’t really see anything,” he attempts to reassure me.

“No, but I’m sure he got an earful, though.”

“He’s seen far more long before I met you,” he reveals.

I place my hands on his chest, my expression growing fierce as I push him an arms’ length away. “The woman you are about to make love with does not want to hear about your past sexual conquests.”

Contrition veils his face as he dips his head. “You know you’re the one that I love, Diana,” he tells me with a sincerity that warms my heart. “I was just trying to make you feel better about Alfred, not make you feel worse.”

“I know,” I relent with a sigh, my hands moving to his back as I pull him down to me once more. “Just don’t bring up your past love interests and especially not in our bed.”

“They weren’t love interests, Diana,” he clarifies, his eyes gentle. “They were only passing interests. They could never come close to comparing to you.”

I gently brush a lock of hair from his forehead as I stare up into his warm chestnut brown eyes. “I love you, Bruce.”

His nose brushes against mine as he braces himself above me. “I love you too.”

My hands begin to roam over his back as we kiss, losing ourselves in greeting each other good morning. I can’t help but think of how my first love had introduced me to the world around me as well as the notion of love. He taught me what love could be…but him…my Bruce…showed me it was okay to love again.

And for that alone I love him.

Chapter Text

Reasons

Reason one: dating within the team always leads to disaster.
Because I can’t have my heart broken…not again and especially not by you.

Reason two: you’re a princess from a society of immortal warriors and I’m a rich kid with issues…lots of issues.
Because you’re a beautiful goddess and I’m just a mere mortal man who lives in the dark.

Reason three: if my enemies knew I had someone special, they wouldn’t rest until they’d gotten to me through her.
Because I fear what I will become of me if Joker or any of my rogues ever get their hands on you.

I begin to give her my reasons just like I’d rehearsed the last couple of weeks, silently hoping that it didn’t sound too recited. Diana just stares at me for a long moment before crushing the head of a gargoyle to prove a point…which she has if she were facing our regular list of bad guys.

Unfortunately, Gotham is home to the most sadistic, most criminally insane personalities the world has to offer. Meta strength isn’t going to protect her against Scarecrow’s fear toxin or Poison Ivy’s pheromones and it definitely won’t keep her safe against Joker’s psychotic devices meant to break your mind like his is.

Before I can give the rest of my reasons for not getting involved, the security alarm is triggered and we’re off and running only to find Circe. Definitely not Intergang, but still very dangerous to deal with in her own right. She proves that as I slowly pick myself up off the ground to find Diana had been turned into a pig.

My heart is in my boots seeing her like this, knowing how furious not to mention mortified she would be if she knew what Circe has done to her. I slowly kneel down before her, careful not to scare her off. I cautiously hold out my hand to her, hoping that there is a part of her still in there that remembers me.

She warily approaches me, her little pink snout wiggling up and down as she sniffs at me, taking a couple of trusting steps closer. I move my gauntleted hand to scratch behind her ears which she surprisingly enjoys. I can’t help the fleeting thought that fills my mind, wondering how much of this response is animal instinct and how much is actually the Amazon princess inside the chubby little piglet.

Diana seems to sense that she can trust me as she abruptly climbs up into my lap, her head coming to rest against my chest as if seeking my comfort. Her little, curly tail wiggles as I place my hand on her back. I swallow hard as I hold her close to me, wondering if she can even understand me.

“Don’t worry, princess. I won’t let anything happen to you,” I gently tell her. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get you back.”

Her little curled tail begins to move back and forth again as I cradle her against my chest and get to my feet. She snuggles deeper into my embrace, her head coming to rest in the crook of my neck and I feel my heart warming against my will. It’s unbelievably endearing, holding her…protecting her like this.

Reason four: I can’t let anyone get too close to me or Batman will cease to exist.
You’ve already punched too many holes in my walls. I can’t afford any more or my walls will crumble.

Despite the fact that she’s been turned into a little pig, my feelings for her only seem to be growing stronger. She’s always been so strong and in complete control, the heart of the trinity and the glue of the Justice League. Whenever there is a shadow of doubt or a wavering in my faith, I always look to her and she gives me hope and confidence.

Right now, though, she is so small and vulnerable and scared, so unlike my beautiful princess and it nearly breaks my heart.

I’ve always felt this inexplicable need to protect her and keep her safe no matter the situation. I have a deep-seated need to always watch her back despite being the most powerful woman in the whole world, ignoring the fact that she doesn’t need a mortal man keeping watch over her. Now, she does need me more than ever and I won’t let her down.

I just wish I could’ve pushed her out of the way before being hit by Circe’s spell, done something to keep this from happening to her. I’ve always been willing to give my all for everyone else, but I loathe the idea of someone giving of themselves for me. I never want her to sacrifice herself in order to save me.

Reason five: If I let you in, I’ll become dependent on you.
I know if I let you in you’ll become my drug…my addiction…and I’ll never want to be cured.

“Well, I’ve given it my best shots,” Zatanna said with a frown. “I guess my powers run a distance second to those of a goddess.”

I crouch down beside her, trying my best to hide my anger and disappointment. I had hoped that Zatanna would have been able to reverse this damned spell and give me Diana back. I begin to rub her back in an effort to comfort her, scratching behind her ears again just as I discovered that she loves.

“We could call in one of the other League magicians,” Zatanna suggested. “Doctor Fate maybe?”

“No,” I adamantly state a little harsher than I had meant to. I look back down at Diana, struggling to lock away the surge of emotions that assault me. “I mean…let’s keep this between us.”

“Why?” Zatanna asked, confused. “If there’s any chance to help Diana, shouldn’t we tell everyone in the Ju…wait…wait. You and her? Are you two…?”

I refuse to make eye contact with her, doing my best to school my features. I can’t allow my feelings for Diana to find its way to my face. “No, just good friends,” I reply.

“No,” Zatanna says, her voice gentle. “You and I are…just good friends. There’s something more between you and Diana.”

“Well…maybe there was,” I confess, releasing a sigh as I finally give voice to what had been brewing in my heart for some time now.

Reason six: I can never appear weak or show vulnerability. I have to stay strong and in complete control at all times.
I get weak in the knees when I’m around you. You make me want to lose control. The sound of your voice and your laughter…your smile is nearly my undoing every damn time.

My heart is in my throat, my anger searing through my veins as we search for Diana. She’s nowhere to be found. Every moment that ticks by without finding her causing my desperation to skyrocket. Horrible thoughts of what could be happening to her run rampant through my mind and causing my worry to intensify.

I snap at Zatanna, immediately feeling guilty about it, but I do nothing to rectify it. I’m too furious with Circe and too afraid for Diana to think about anything else. I try to clear my mind, knowing that I need to focus if I’m ever going to find her.

She is somewhere out there all alone, defenseless and probably scared. fear claws at my throat and makes my chest tight. If something happened to her, I’d never forgive myself. I have to find her and get Circe to reverse the spell before it’s too late. I can’t imagine going through this life without her being a part of it.

Reason seven: If I get involved with someone, it could jeopardize my mission.
I fear the kind of monster that I would become if I ever lost you. What depths would I sink to…what would become of my mission?

I don’t even have to think twice about Circe’s offer. I’ll do whatever it takes to save her. Sacrificing my pride is a small price to pay in order to get her safely back where she belongs. I wish it could be with me, but I can’t allow it. She’s already far too close…closer than anyone else has ever been able to get.

The song “Am I Blue” reverberates throughout the amphitheater as I begin to sing, the words of the song taking on a whole new meaning as I think of Diana, wondering where she is at and if she’s okay. I hope she knows that I’m doing what I need to do in order to save her.

She’s not alone, never will be as long as there is breath in my lungs. Even if we can’t be together like we both would like to be, I’ll always be there as her as a teammate and a friend. It will have to be enough because that’s all I can give her. It’s too dangerous otherwise and I care about her too much.

I’ve always worried about my rogues coming after her if anyone found out about us. I’d never considered the fact that Diana has a long list of enemies of her own who could possibly come after me. It’s not something that I fear, and it doesn’t add to my list of reasons not to get involved with her, but it does strengthen my resolve to keep her safe should any of them come after her.

Reason eight: Love is one thing that I can’t allow in my life.
I’m already falling in love with you and I can’t stop it no matter how hard I try.

Walking side by side down the corridor of the Watchtower, my cowled gaze glancing at the beautiful Amazon princess beside me. Relief washes through me all over again knowing that she’s safe with us once again. My pride was a very small price to pay in order to get her back.

"And truthfully, it's all pretty much just a blur to me," Diana says. “Did I miss anything?"

"Not really," I evenly reply, looking away from her. I can’t let her know what I did for her. She might realize that I have feelings for her and I can’t allow that to happen. "The important thing is you're safe."

"Yah…of course, that's not the only important thing," she says with a warm smile.

I glance at her out of the corner of my eye as she begins to hum the tune to "Am I Blue?". I stop dead in my tracks as my heart begins to beat a little harder. I can feel the corner of my mouth quirking in stunned amusement. I can’t help wondering how she found out, but I suspect a certain female magician had a hand in it.

Then again, maybe she already knows how I feel regardless of my reasons.

Chapter Text

Tease

The newly married Diana Prince-Wayne lay in her lounge chair on the beach of the private tropical island that her new husband, and now she, owned. The last several weeks had been a whirlwind of finalizing details and harried preparations for the wedding, but now they were finally on their honeymoon and could just enjoy being together as husband and wife.

She sighed contentedly as her thumb absentmindedly brushed back and forth against the platinum of her engagement ring and new wedding band. They had been married for a total of three days and it had been amazing so far, spending their honeymoon all alone in their very own tropical paradise.

She pulled a stray curl out of her face as she drew a deep breath. The feel of the sun warm against her skin, the sound of the waves lapping at the beach just past her toes and the continual breeze coming off the ocean all served to remind her of her island home.

In a word, it was perfect.

She shifted in her seat, allowing her raven ponytail to hang over the back of her lounge chair. She knew that her husband was roaming around here somewhere, exploring the island and no doubt getting himself into trouble of all sorts.

He seemed to always find trouble…or trouble seemed to find him as he so adamantly claimed on multiple occasions. She only agreed with him to an extent because she knew all too well her husband’s penchant for throwing himself headlong into the waiting arms of utter and complete disaster.

The corners of her lips tilted upward as her thoughts took her to the many other things that she loved about her very handsome and charming husband. He was finally all hers for as long as the fates allowed, and she was determined to make the most of every single moment of their lives together.

Diana adjusted her sunglasses, suddenly feeling as though she was being watched. She furtively peered this way and that in hopes of spotting her predator before he actually snuck up on her but knew it would be a difficult task. Her husband was highly skilled and was not about to be discovered so easily.

Pretending to be oblivious to his presence, she reached over and took a sip of her iced tea, disappointed to find the ice had melted long ago leaving her with warm tea. She didn’t exactly feel like going into the house for a refill, far too content where she was at that particular moment especially with her husband nearby.

Knowing that Bruce was out there somewhere watching her, Diana decided to give him a little tease. She sat forward, languidly stretching her arms above her head before grasping hold of her ponytail. Pulling the band free, she shook her hair out, her raven mane spilling down her back like an inky waterfall. She repeatedly ran her fingers through her locks, knowing how much he loved her hair.

Somewhere off in the distance, an almost imperceptible growl drifted on the breeze that caressed her body, alerting to the fact that he was closer than she had first anticipated. He was somewhere off in the jungle to her left, probably near the edge of the tree line watching her from the safety of the shadows.

She bit back a smirk as she pulled her hair up into a messy bun, keeping up off her neck. She had actually considered cutting her hair once several months ago and had been met with an overt objection that bordered on sheer panic by her lover. It was a topic that was never to be broached again.

Opting to torment him a little further, she reached up behind her, untying the thin navy-blue string of her bikini that was tied behind her neck. She let the strings fall down past her shoulders, earning a sharp intake of breath from her concealed predator. Unfortunately for him, she stopped there, leaving her top on.

Deciding that she had tormented him enough for now, she sat back in her lounge chair to wait for his arrival. There was no harm in leaving him wanting more…denying him what he wanted until he finally made his presence known to her. It added even more excitement to the game.

She tamped down on the shiver she felt racing through her. The thought of him out there somewhere watching her…stalking her in such a primal manner created a warm pool of excitement to settle low in her belly. She swore she could feel the heat of his gaze raking across her skin much like his teeth had done this morning in their bed, his lips and tongue following the path he had created along the length of her body.

She still bore the love marks that he’d left behind on her body this morning though they had already begun to fade considerably since the sun had first risen. There was no doubt in her mind that he would be creating new ones and very soon.

Diana decided to hasten his approach along a little bit, her desire for her husband intensifying. She lifted a long, toned leg, moving it to the side of her lounge chair to toe the wet sand beneath her. A small wave crashed against the legs of her lounge chair, pooling around her ankle before disappearing just as quickly as it had appeared.

She pulled her leg back up onto the chair, leaving her knee bent so he could get a full view of them. The only thing that Bruce Wayne loved more than her hair was her legs. She lightly trailed her fingers down her thigh to her knee, slowly tracing her way back up to her hip bone where she began to play with the knot that held the bottom of her bikini to her body.

She continually ran her fingers over the knotted strings as if trying to decide whether to pull them free or not. Toying with him was just far too fun. She swore she heard a strangled noise coming from somewhere on her left, but she wasn’t absolutely certain. The sound had almost immediately been swallowed up by a bird’s call to her mate.

She felt her body grow tense with sweet anticipation, knowing he was so close, but not certain where exactly he was at. It seemed to intensify everything around her—the heat of the sun, the continual brush of the ocean breeze against her skin, the rise and fall of her chest as her breathing deepened, the steady hammer of her heart beneath her breastbone.

It was thrilling and exhilarating and if he didn’t show himself soon, she swore she was going to…

Before she could finish that thought, a sudden shift in the water alerted her to his presence. It was her only warning before her husband suddenly appeared out of the water only to pounce on top of her. He held himself up by his forearms, hovering above her and keeping her pinned to her lounge chair.

Diana squealed loudly as water dripped from every muscular curve of his body onto her, getting her all wet. “Bruce!” she cried, looking up into her husband’s face as drops of water splashed onto her. “You’re all wet!”

“And you are such a wicked tease,” he huskily answered her just before his lips crashed into hers.

He settled the full weight of his wet body on top of hers, savoring the feel of her against his skin and the way they perfectly lined up with one another. His tongue sensually grazed over hers as his fingers tugged on the strings of her bikini bottoms, more than anxious to divulge her of what little clothing adorned her gorgeous body.

He brushed his nose against hers, tilting his head to ghost his lips over hers. She ran her fingers through his wet hair, smirking up at him. “Looking for something, husband?”

“I believe I’ve found it, wife,” he murmured something determined and possessive and filled with lust.

“You got me all wet,” she pointed out, her hands roaming over his back.

“You don’t seem to mind,” he commented as his mouth searched hers out once more. “Besides, I think you wanted me to find you.”

“Do you now?”

He hummed his response as he nodded his head, his lips descending on her jaw. “You were intentionally teasing me, and you know it, princess.”

“What were doing spying on me?” she murmured with a gasp as he removed her bikini top, her bottoms abruptly landing on the beach next to the matching top.

“I wasn’t spying,” he claimed as he kissed along her throat, pausing to suck hard on her pulse point and causing her to squirm beneath him as she raked her fingers through his hair. “I was merely exploring the area when I stumbled across the most breathtaking sight.”

“You were definitely up to something, Mr. Wayne,” she noted, removing his bathing suit in eager expectation of what they were about to do. There was something so provocative about making love on the beach.

“I’m completely innocent,” he stoically maintained.

“Oh, there is nothing innocent about you and I have three days of personal evidence to vouch for that fact.”

Bruce chuckled against her throat with her response. “I’m innocent until proven guilty,” he huskily told her as he began to kiss his way down her abdomen.

His hands and mouth began another thorough exploration of his wife’s body, one that he had performed countless times before and yet was more than anxious to begin all over again. He may not be innocent, but his wife wasn’t exactly innocent either.

She was such a sexy tease.

Chapter Text

Pickup

Bruce predatory gaze immediately began scoping out the crowded club, the bass of the music pulsating in his chest and matching every step he took. It looked as though the turn out for the new club’s opening night had been a complete success. It made him glad he’d decided to be part owner.

He slipped his hands into his pants pockets, his playboy image in full swing as he gave a dazzling smile to a waitress who offered him a glass of champagne. “Thank you,” he suavely replied, taking the offered beverage.

The waitress smiled shyly, her cheeks tinged pink as she bit at her bottom lip. “You’re welcome, Mister Wayne.”

“Mister Wayne was my father,” he told her. “Please…call me Bruce.”

“Okay, Bruce,” she said with a girly giggle.

“Bruce!”

The familiar squeal of his name alerted him to the fact that Veronica Vreeland was here tonight. Turning, he spotted her running towards him…or running as much as a woman could in spike heels while drinking alcohol. “Ronnie, good to see you,” he greeted her with his signature charm, kissing her on the cheek. “You look lovely as always tonight.”

“Bruce, you old charmer,” Veronica replied with a laugh, swatting his shoulder with the back of her hand. “It’s been too long. Where have you been hiding out lately? Probably too busy partying and bedding some actress or an up and coming model.”

Bruce dipped his head bashfully, knowing that nothing could be further from the truth. “You know me so well, Ronnie.”

Veronica pursed her lips, her hands coming to rest on her hips in a motherly pose. “Bruce, when are you going to find a nice woman to settle down with and build a family?” she asked. “I’m sure Alfred would love nothing more than for you to fill the manor with kids.”

“Ronnie…” Bruce groaned as he rubbed the back of his neck, her words creating an unexpected warmth to settle in his chest. It had been nothing more than a fanciful dream years ago when life hadn’t become so very complicated and dangerous.

“No, Bruce,” she sternly interrupted him, her expression serious. “I worry about you. It’s time for you to move on from the swinging bachelor life to becoming a family man with a good woman who will take care of you. No one deserves that more than you.”

“I don’t know if there’s woman out there that could handle me,” he teased her with a grin, doing his best to lighten the subject and the mood.

“There has to be a woman out there capable of taming the seemingly untamable Bruce Wayne,” she insisted with a roll of her eyes. “You probably just haven’t met her yet. You never know, Bruce. She might be here tonight just waiting to meet a handsome, kindhearted man like you.”

“Ronnie, you’re making me sound like I’m some sort of a saint,” he said with a laugh, chancing a glance towards the bar. “We both know that’s not true.”

“I know the real you whether you like it or not,” she told him, causing him to stiffen slightly with her response. “You like to have a good time and you do love the beautiful ladies, but beneath all that superficiality beats a soft heart that is just waiting for someone to love and to be loved in return.”

“You certainly make me sound like the poster boy for the most eligible bachelor,” he replied with a sigh.

Veronica placed her hand against his cheek, gently caressing his face. “You’re a good man despite what you lead others to believe about you,” she continued. “I know your parents would have wanted that for you. I want that for you too, Bruce. You’re one of my oldest and dearest friends. I want you to be happy.”

“Thank you, Ronnie,” he softly said. “It’s nice to know there’s someone in my corner.”

“Always, Bruce,” she reassured him, leaning in and kissing him on the cheek. Retreating, she straightened his tie for him, patting his chest affectionately. “Now, go get ‘em, tiger. She’s got to be in here somewhere just waiting for you to find her.”

Bruce couldn’t help but chuckle in response to her encouragement. “Behave yourself tonight,” he told her. “I don’t want to have to bail you out of jail again.”

“Hey!” she yelled as he began to walk away. “That was a one-time incident fifteen years ago and it wasn’t even my fault!”

“Says you,” he smoothly shot back.

Bruce continued to make his way through the club, stopping to make superficial conversation with various people and friends to promote his image. He was anxious to get this appearance over with so he could move on to what he really wanted to do. He drew a deep breath, releasing it slowly through his nose in an effort to keep his mounting anticipation at bay.

“Bruce Wayne…is that you?”

Bruce internally groaned as he recognized the voice, wishing that the floor of the club would just split open and swallow him up or maybe it was a good time for the Joker to make an unexpected appearance. Turning, he plastered on his grin. “Ashley!” he greeted her, automatically opening his arms as she threw herself into him.

Pulling back, she pressed her lips against his in a passionate kiss that he only reluctantly returned. “You know I still haven’t forgiven you for not returning my calls last year,” she told him, using the pad of her thumb to wipe off the remnants of her lipstick from his mouth. “We had such a fabulous time that weekend. I thought for sure you felt the same way, but then you never called me.”

“I’m so sorry…truly,” he told her, his hands still gripping her hips. “It was my mistake never calling you. I got tied up with emergency business for Wayne Enterprises and well…you know.”

She cocked an eyebrow at him, clearly not pleased with his insinuation. “You met someone else, didn’t you?” she stated. “What was her name?”

“I…uh…don’t rightly recall,” he lamely replied.

“You know I should be furious with you, but you’re just so sexy,” Ashley said. “Call me and don’t let me down this time. I’m not giving you another chance.”

Bruce shook his head as he watched her walk away, needing to get a drink. He was beginning to think that he wasn’t going to survive this evening if he stayed too much longer. He made his way past the dance floor, spotting a beautiful woman sitting at the bar.

Her raven hair was pulled into a low ponytail that trailed down her back like a waterfall, concealing a portion of her backless red dress. He couldn’t take his eyes off her as he made his way towards her, his piercing azure eyes narrowing as he approached her.

He casually made his way to the bar, sliding into the seat right next to her. He cast a fleeting glance to his right, drinking in the beauty that was sitting next to him. Her profile was stunning to say the least, stealing his breath as he forced himself to look away.

“What will you have?” the bartender asked Bruce with a smile on his face and a dishcloth thrown over his left shoulder.

“Whatever she’s having,” Bruce replied, tipping his head towards the stunning creature beside him.

“Are you sure you can handle it?” she asked without making eye contact.

He chuckled softly with her brash response, masking his response with her question as he took the glass of alcohol from the bartender. “I’m sure I can handle it, miss,” he told her, pausing to take a sip and grimacing internally as the liquid slid down his throat.

He really didn’t drink as much as his playboy image purported and he was just reminded of that fact as he attempted to swallow past the burning sensation that consumed his throat. Her alcohol of choice packed a punch and he had a feeling that she did too.

“Would you like a glass of water?” she asked, an undercurrent of amusement in her voice.

“No…I’m good,” he managed to croak out, pausing to clear his throat.

“I promise you that your throat won’t be permanently damaged,” she lightly teased him.

“If you say so,” he muttered crossly as he turned to face her. “My name is—”

“Bruce Wayne, billionaire entrepreneur and all-around bed-hopping party boy,” she replied with a slight upturn of the corner of her lips as she lifted her glass.

Bruce chuckled as he studied her, his eyebrows rising in surprise. “Okay…I guess you do know me then,” he decided, clearly impressed. “Did you also know that I own a vacation home in Fiji, a private jet, and have enough cars to fill a dealership?”

“Hmmm…” she reflectively responded as she finally turned to look at him, her lips pursed in thought. “It seems to me that you might be trying to compensate for some insecurity with your bragging.”

He was right—she was breathtaking and smart and clearly standing in a class all her own. He just had to find a way to get her to see that he was so much more than his playboy image and the money that he possessed. She was definitely unlike any other woman that he’d ever met or known before and in more ways than one.

“Ouch,” he said, his hand coming to rest against his chest as if she’d just wounded him. “You don’t pull any punches, do you?”

“Tell me,” she began. “Is this the point where you ask me if my father is a terrorist because I’m the bomb? Or maybe did it hurt when I fell from heaven?”

“Actually, I was going to say that I’m lost,” he told her with a charming smirk, his piercing blue eyes intently studying her. “Can you give me directions to your heart?”

Melodic laughter spilled from her red lips as she shook her head, pulling a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “That’s just terrible,” she said. “Do you men come up with these silly lines on your own or do you search the internet for them?”

“What?” he said, his elbow coming to rest on top of the bar. “’Do you believe in love at first sight or should I pass by again’ doesn’t do it for you?”

“That’s even worse,” she ultimately decided, her blue eyes sparkling with amusement.

“Since you find me so charming, maybe you would care to dance with me?” he asked, relieved that they were playing a slower song…a love song no less.

“You’re pretty confident, aren’t you?” she questioned him with a blinding smile, pausing to slowly rake her teeth over her bottom lip as she pretended to consider his request.

“Attractive, isn’t it?” he said, wiggling his eyebrows.

“I guess if I was into cocky, self-assured men,” she teased.

“And I’m guessing you are because you’re still talking to me,” he ventured, standing to his feet and offering her his hand.

She looked down at his offered hand before looking up into his eyes. Her lips quirked with delight, taking his hand as she stood to her feet. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to share one dance with you.”

“It depends,” he told her as he laced his fingers with hers, leading her to the dance floor. “Did I also mention that I’m a thief and I’m here to steal your heart?”

“Next thing I know you’re going to tell me that you secretly dress up in tights like those superheroes who save the world,” she said with a laugh at his cheesy pickup lines.

Bruce pulled her to him as they began to dance, his arm slipping around her waist. “I can’t give away all my secrets on our first date.”

“Oh…so this is our first date?” she questioned him. “You don’t even know my name.”

“Well, I may not be a genie, but I can make your dreams come true,” he told her as he held her close, gazing deeply into her beautiful eyes.

She smiled despite herself, enjoying the feel of being in his arms like this. “What do you think my name is?”

“Angel…because you came from heaven,” he told her, holding her hand in his against his chest as they swayed to the music. “Am I close?”

She shook her head, unable to control the smile that was determined to stay plastered on her lips despite her best efforts. “Not even in the ballpark.”

“Do I get a hint?”

“Diana,” she replied. “Diana Prince.”

“Diana Prince,” he slowly repeated, allowing her name to dance on his tongue before spilling from his lips. “It’s a very beautiful name for a very beautiful woman.”

“I bet you say that to all the women you’ve seduced,” she countered.

“Is it working?”

“I don’t think so,” she said, lifting her chin in haughty defiance. “You haven’t even tried to kiss me yet.”

Staring into her eyes, he brought their joined hands to his lips, brushing a kiss across her knuckles. “I’m really not as bad as all those reports say that I am.”

“I have a feeling you’re still quite a handful,” she replied.

“And I have a feeling you’re more than up to the task,” he flirted with her, moving his hand so he could press his lips against the palm of her hand. He took great satisfaction in the fact that she visible shivered with his kiss.

“Maybe I am…maybe I secretly wear tights and fight injustice in my off hours,” she softly said as she leaned in towards him, whispering against his lips. “Maybe I’m far more dangerous than you can possibly begin to imagine.”

Her lips were a breath away from his, his eyes falling to her mouth. “And maybe I love to live dangerously.”

“I guess we’ll just have to see—”

Bruce silenced her with his lips as they continued to sway, the music and the people in the club all becoming nothing more than white static as they lost themselves in the slow, sensual kiss. He nipped at her bottom lip before finally retreating, his eyes never leaving hers.

“Want to get out of here?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” she replied, allowing him to lead her off the dance floor.

He led her down a back hallway, pausing to kiss her again as he backed her up against the wall. His hands fell to her hips, gripping them firmly as he thoroughly devoured her until they were both struggling to catch their breath.

“Bed-hopping party boy…compensate for some insecurity?” he asked her, breathing heavily as he leveled her with a dangerous glare. “That was a very low blow, princess.”

Diana laughed something throaty and completely devious as her hands came to settle on his backside, pulling his pelvis firmly against hers. “I thought it was rather clever,” she said with a wicked grin.

“Have men really tried those cheesy pickup lines on you?”

“I heard the one about my father being a terrorist just tonight before you finally came to rescue me,” she told him. “What took you so long?”

“I got cornered by Ronnie tonight,” he replied, leaning in to kiss the sensitive spot behind her ear. “She seems to think that I need to find a good woman and settle down…maybe start a family of my own someday.”

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing we decided to establish our relationship and make it public.”

“Ronnie told me that my future wife could be in this club tonight,” he revealed, pausing to nibble on her earlobe. “Maybe she was right…maybe I do need to settle down…maybe I should find myself a good woman. You know I did run into an ex-girlfriend here tonight.”

Diana’s hands moved to cradle his face, pulling him in for a heated kiss that stole his breath. “You are stuck with me, Mister Wayne, and don’t you ever forget it,” she growled.

“Never, princess,” he told her as he leaned in to kiss her again. “Let’s get out of here.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” she replied, allowing him to take her hand and lead her out a back door to Alfred and his waiting limo.

“Miss Diana,” Alfred greeted her. “Did you have a good time?”

“It was more fun than I had imagined,” she told him as she climbed into the back of the limo, thoroughly enjoying getting under Bruce’s skin.

Bruce climbed in behind her, the limo door closing and giving them all of the privacy that they needed to continue where they had left off. Diana quickly moved to straddle Bruce’s lap, her hands framing his face as her lips claimed his once more.

His hands came to rest on her thighs, pushing her skirt up towards her waist as they heatedly kissed. Her fingers quickly went to work on his belt and zipper, anxious to continue what they had started. She kissed a heated path along his jaw towards his ear.

“If you ever allow that girl to kiss you again, I will break her and then I will break you…got it?” she growled low in his ear.

Bruce trembled with her threat, his desire for her suddenly blazing out of control. “You are the only one I love, princess,” he swore to her.

“Is that another pickup line?” she asked as she sat back on his thighs.

Bruce instantly missed the feel of her, pulling her against him once more. “No,” he promised her. “No more pickup lines for me. I have the only woman that I want.”

“Good answer, Mister Wayne,” she murmured with a grin, her lips ghosting over his. “And I love you too.”

Bruce smiled against her lips as they kissed, Diana settling over him and taking him inside of her. He was so relieved that he didn’t have to keep up his playboy image anymore, didn’t have to use all those ridiculous pickup lines to charm women into dating him.

He’d finally found the one that he wanted…the one that he needed. Ronnie was right. It was time to get married and settle down…to start a family. His hand slipped from her hip to his pants pocket as they began to make love, his fingers brushing over the box and the engagement ring hidden inside.

Chapter Text

Moments

Diana left her quarters and headed down the hall of the Watchtower with a singular destination firmly set in mind. Her determination was reflected in her eyes which also showed a measure of the fatigue that weighed her down. The last few weeks had been draining and she was most definitely feeling it in more ways than one.

She was mostly feeling it in the fact that she hadn’t gotten to spend any alone time with Bruce in well over three weeks. She missed him fiercely and was anxious to get her hands on him. They’d hardly seen each other outside of Founders meetings and missions for more than a handful of minutes.

She was growing more than impatient to get him out of that black Kevlar uniform of his and inside of her. They’d barely seen one another let alone touched or kissed…hadn’t made love in weeks. She was growing desperate for some steamy Bat action.

She’d been banned from the training rooms for the next two weeks while they repaired the damage that she had done. Plus, she had destroyed too many training droids in an effort to burn off the sexual tension teeming inside of her. She’d decided it wasn’t really helping anyways.

Despite being exhausted from the increased missions and training sessions with rookies the last three weeks, there was still a part of her that was keyed up. She needed to find Bruce soon. She didn’t care what he was doing or who he was with. She was going to attack and ravage that man until neither of them could move.

She knew he wanted to keep their relationship a secret for as long as possible, but she was far beyond caring now. It was partly his fault for not being around. Between an emergency at Wayne Enterprises that had taken almost two weeks to resolve and a rampage in Gotham by Clayface, he’d been absent for the majority of that last three plus weeks.

Now, he was going to make it up to her whether he had time or not.

Diana swept into the Monitor Womb to find it strangely quiet, limited civilian staff watching over things. She spotted Batman sitting all alone at a computer station that was thankfully partially secluded. She quietly made her way towards him, coming to a stop behind him.

She placed her hands on his shoulders as she leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Hi there, handsome,” she purred with a sultry lilt to her voice.

She felt Batman instantly stiffen beneath her touch as he paused in his typing. “Diana,” he warned with a stern tone.

“Relax,” she replied. “There’s hardly anyone in here. Most of the civilian staff are in training sessions with Mister Terrific.”

He tapped a few keys, turning off the security cameras in that section of the Monitor Womb before turning to face her. “There are still staff members in here,” he reminded her, his voice losing its reprimanding tone.

“I know,” she murmured, her hands coming to rest on the armrests of his chair as she leaned in close. “Makes it even more exciting doesn’t it?”

His cowled gaze fell to her red lips that were so enticingly close, practically begging to be kissed. It had been far too long since he’d been able to touch her or have her. He’d been forced to use memories of their last encounter to hold him over until he could be with her again.

“This is dangerous, princess,” he softly reminded her, a final plea to her to be the logical one in this situation because he was rapidly losing the fight in the lust-filled battle being waged inside of him.

“I love to live dangerously,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper as her lips grazed his.

That was the proverbial straw that broke the Bat’s control as his lips connected firmly with hers. His gauntleted fingers slid up into her hair as he slanted his mouth over hers. Unfortunately, the sound of an alarm going off forced them apart.

Breathing mildly exerted, Batman turned his attention to the computer screen to find that his update had finished installing. He typed in a couple more commands, finishing that particular update. He turned his attention back to his lover, wishing that he could just take her into another room where he could ravish her senseless.

“I have a lot of work that I have to catch up on here on the Watchtower, but I should be able to get free this weekend,” he told her. “Can you come over Friday evening? We can spend the entire weekend together.”

“I have monitor duty Friday night, but I can trade it,” she replied with a smile that grew brighter by the second. “Flash owes me.”

Bruce’s lips curled into a smirk as his hands settled on her hips. “If he doesn’t take it, let me know,” he replied. “I’ll make sure he does.”

Diana leaned down, her mouth close to his ear. “Good…because you have no idea how close I am to ripping that uniform off your body and taking you right here.”

A sound emanated from Batman’s throat, something that was a cross between a growl and a groan with a curse thrown in there. “Two more days, princess,” he reminded her. “Just hang on for two more days.”

“You better be there, or I swear to Hera herself I will hunt you down wherever you are and break you into little Bat pieces,” she threatened him, poking him firmly in the chest a couple of times for emphasis.

He grabbed hold of her finger, kissing the tip of it before just as quickly releasing it. “I won’t,” he promised her. “Now, you better go before someone sees us.”

Diana straightened up, her hands finding her hips. “Fine,” she relented, “but you better not stand me up. I’ve already destroyed two training rooms and twenty-one training droids. It’s a very poor substitute to having you in my bed.”

“You’re making it very hard not to take you now,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “And you better not destroy another training room. The rookies have sessions the rest of this week and we’re down to only two training rooms now because of you.”

“Well, you better take care of me, Bruce,” she flirted. “I can’t guarantee what could happen next if you don’t.”

With that, she turned on her heel and waltzed out of the Monitor Womb, Batman releasing a ragged breath. He could feel sweat breaking out across his brow as he watched the seductive sway of her hips, his desire for her growing more demanding.

It was going to be a very long two days.

XXX

Diana sighed to herself as she watched some of the rookies work through their training session. Seeing Bruce this morning in the Monitor Womb had done little to settle her hunger for him. The kiss they’d shared had been nice, but not nearly enough for her liking. It had left her wanting so much more.

She forced herself to focus on the task ahead, knowing that she needed to get her head in the game otherwise it was going to be a very long two days. “Let’s run it again,” she told them. “This time I want Hawk and Dove to begin. Fire and Ice come in for back up.”

The program started again, the Injustice Gang appearing right before their eyes. Diana looked at the clipboard in her hand, jotting down notes on where they could improve. She was completely oblivious to the fact a certain Gotham vigilante was watching her from the shadows.

Batman had been unable to get her off his mind since seeing her this morning. The last few weeks had been tortuous, but he’d been able to compartmentalize himself to some extent. While he’d missed her, he’d forced himself to focus on his work so he could eventually spend time with her again once things had settled down.

Now, he just had two more days to go.

These last few weeks had been exhausting to say the least, sleep a luxury that he hadn’t been able to indulge in very much. Clayface was safely behind bars now and the threat of a hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises had been averted. All that was left was finishing his League duties then he would be free to love his princess all weekend.

His heart rate picked up as he stared at her, his cowled gaze starting at her red boots and slowly working his way up her long, toned legs…over her shapely hips…along her flat abdomen to the swell of her perfect breasts. It was suddenly getting very warm in here.

“Okay, that’s good for today,” Diana announced. “We’ll see you all tomorrow. Go hit the showers.”

She wrote down a few more notes on her clipboard, becoming acutely aware that someone was in the training room sneaking up behind her. She dropped her clipboard, grabbing his arm and flipping him over her shoulder in less than a blink of an eye.

Batman found himself on his back staring up into the beautiful face of his princess who had him pinned to the mat with her body. “Princess,” he greeted her with a smirk.

“Bruce,” she chided him. “What are you doing sneaking up on me?”

“Just wanted to see you,” he confessed as his hands settled on her hips.

Her lips curled into a grin, relieved that he was missing her as much as she had been missing him. She had been a little worried that maybe he hadn’t missed her at all these last few weeks, too consumed with Gotham and Wayne Enterprises to even think of her.

She crushed her lips to his, her body pressing into his as she began to devour him. She wanted him to know how much she wanted him, how much she missed and loved him. She didn’t feel whole when they were apart. It was a feeling that she detested.

Drawing back, Diana looked down at him, running the tip of her finger along his bottom lip and causing him to shiver in response. “I have to go,” she softly said, regret swimming in her blue eyes.

“Where do you have to go?”

“Kal wanted some help reviewing protocols,” she replied.

Bruce reached up to cradle her face in his hands. “You look really tired, princess,” he told her. “Try to get some sleep these next two days because sleeping with me is the only kind of sleep you’ll be getting this weekend.”

“I could say the same for you,” she pointed out. “Alfred told me that you haven’t gotten much sleep the last few weeks. You’re going to run yourself into an early grave.”

“No way,” he insisted. “I have far too much to live for now.”

She leaned down and kissed him once more before getting to her feet and offering him her hand. Taking it, Batman got up, immediately pulling her in for another kiss. “I better go, or I’ll be late,” she told him, reluctantly pulling her free from him. “Love you.”

“Love you too,” he murmured as the doors began to slide closed behind her.

XXX

“And that is why we need to make sure that we are always aware of what’s going on around us,” Superman sternly stated, his gaze falling on Flash. “We never know who is watching us…or what reporters are recording our actions.”

“It was an honest mistake…I swear!” Flash exclaimed. “How was I supposed to know there was a reporter standing behind me recording the whole thing?”

“That’s why you have to be on your best behavior at all times,” Batman growled as he leaned towards the scarlet speedster.

Sitting back in his seat, Batman did his best to ignore the gentle swing of the Amazonian leg next to him. She was making it next to impossible to focus on the Founders meeting instead of her gods given curves that he loved to run his hands and mouth over.

Tonight. He just needed to hold out until tonight. Then he could have her all to himself.

“Does anyone have anything that we need to discuss?” Superman asked.

“I’m going to be unavailable all weekend working on an important case in Gotham,” Batman flatly stated. “Do not contact me unless it’s a Code Red emergency.”

“That’s an apocalyptic event,” Flash said.

“Exactly,” Batman growled.

“Anything else?”

“I’m going away this evening and won’t be back until Monday morning,” Diana announced.

“Oh, tell Queen Audrey I said hello,” Wally said, assuming what her plans consisted of.

“Sure,” Diana murmured, hating to lie.

“If that’s it then meeting dismissed,” Superman said.

Everyone gathered up their things and left the conference room, Batman heading towards the commissary to grab a cup of coffee before heading to the Javelin Bay to work on the Javelins. He’d hoped that Diana would join him in the commissary, but she’d stopped to talk to Flash.

Turning down the hall, he pulled out his cell phone to check his messages, a hand abruptly coming out of nowhere and wrapping around his arm. The next thing he knew found himself being pulled into a closet, an aroused Amazon pressing him up against the wall.

Her lips claimed his in a heated rush, her hands roaming over his Kevlar covered chest. Her tongue slid sensually against his, his fingers digging into her hips as he held her against him. He decided this was far better than the coffee he’d had in mind this morning.

Retreating, Diana brushed her lips against his once more before resting her forehead against his. “These stolen moments with you are barely holding me over,” she told him.

“I know, but just a few more hours,” he told her, pushing his cowl back off his head so he could look at her without his lenses.

“Bruce, you look exhausted,” she told him, concern lacing her voice. “Didn’t you get any sleep last night?”

“I was too busy chasing the Riddler,” he replied. “You don’t look like you got very much sleep either.”

She sighed as she pulled away, folding her arms against her chest with a frown. “I got called out on a mission to Japan all night,” she revealed. “I just got back an hour before the Founders meeting this morning.”

“Just hang on a little longer,” he told her, caressing her cheek. “Alfred is planning to make your favorite meal tonight and then we can spend the entire weekend in my bed.”

Her lips curved slightly, her eyes briefly closing with the pleasure-filled thought. “I can hardly wait.”

He kissed the tip of her nose before releasing his hold on her. “I’ve got to go,” he said. “John and I are doing upgrades on the Javelins.”

“See you tonight,” she replied.

“Go get some sleep,” he suggested.

Opening the door, Batman looked both ways before exiting, quickening his pace towards the commissary. Diana followed a few moments later, her commlink going off. “Mister Terrific to Wonder Woman. You’re needed in Mexico. Meet your team in transport room three.”

Diana sighed in exhaustion, tapping her commlink. “I’m on my way.”

XXX

Bruce glanced over at Diana for what felt like the hundredth time during their meal. She looked so beautiful in her simple white button-down shirt and jeans. She could be wearing anything, and he’d find her breathtaking. She seemed to make everything better.

“So, how does watching a movie by the fire sound?” he asked as he finished his dessert.

“That sounds wonderful,” Diana readily decided. “I can’t wait to just feel your arms around me.”

“That does sound nice,” he agreed.

Her hand slid over to cover his resting on the table, squeezing it. “As much as I love making love with you, I also love these quiet moments of just being with you.”

Bruce smiled softly at her. “I do too,” he agreed, “but I have to say the stolen moments I got to share with you the last couple of days have been pretty sexy too.”

She grinned as she leaned over and kissed him soundly. “Let’s go see what movie we can start.”

“Start?” he questioned her as he stood to his feet.

“Yes, start,” she confirmed. “I’m pretty sure we’ll have to finish it later…after I’ve had my way with you.”

“Or maybe I’ll have my way with you instead,” he said as he led her to the entertainment room.

Settling on the couch, Bruce turned on the television, pulling up a movie for them to watch. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her down to lay with him on the couch. They both sighed contentedly, happy to just be alone with one another again with no League duties or other responsibilities to interrupt them.

Diana hummed with pure pleasure as she snuggled against him, kissing his cheek. “What movie did you pick?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care,” he replied, his fingers stroking her raven hair as she rested against his chest. “This is all I really care about right now.”

“Me too,” she murmured.

Alfred walked into the entertainment room a few minutes later with a tray of tea and a plate of cookies only to find the superhero couple on the couch fast asleep in each other’s arms. With an affectionate smile on his lips, he quietly sat the tray of tea and cookies down on the coffee table before reaching for a blanket.

He shook the blanket out before gently laying it over the sleeping couple, picking up the remote and shutting the television off. He turned off the lights just before he exited the room, thankful they were able to enjoy quiet moments like this together.

Chapter Text

Dreams

Diana ran her fingers through her hair before rushing out of her quarters. She was running late for an early morning Founders meeting, but it really wasn’t her fault. Well…technically it was her fault, but she refused to completely shoulder all the blame for it.

It was her dreams.

She’d been having such vivid dreams the last few weeks, intensely sensual dreams involving the tall, dark, and always brooding vigilante from Gotham. She felt warmth begin to creep up her neck to her face as images from those dreams surfaced in her mind all over again.

She’d had feelings for Bruce for some time now, but he seemed more than determined to continue to tango their way through life when it came to their intense mutual attraction, both knowing it was there. It was growing tiresome being drawn into his web only to suddenly find herself on the outside of his life looking in.

She thought that was perhaps the reason for her dreams these last few weeks. Her sexual frustration and tension needed a source of release and this was the only way right now to deal with these growing feelings that refused to be ignored.

The problem was she woke up feeling more aroused than ever before despite the fact she’d thoroughly ravaged Bruce in every way imaginable in her dreams. She felt herself flushing warmly as this morning’s dream reminded her what she had actually done to the object of her affections.

She couldn’t help wondering how Bruce would react if he found out about her erotic dreams that left her practically panting for him. The thought was horrifying to her not to mention embarrassing. She could barely look at him now, remembering where her mouth and hands had been. How much worse would it be if he knew?

Diana swept into the conference room, absentmindedly appreciating the faint breeze the sliding of the door provided. She hoped that it would help to cool the warmth she could still feel suffusing her cheeks. With her luck, her face was still flaming red.

She quickly made her way to her seat next to the very object of her deepest desires. She quietly slid into her seat, feeling the glances of all her teammates as Kal continued to talk. None scorched her more than Batman’s as she brushed a raven curl behind her ear in an effort to calm herself.

She did her best to keep her focus locked solely on Kal as he once again droned on about the merits of teamwork, tucking away egos so that they could work together seamlessly. The problem was she could feel Bruce’s cowled gaze raking over her skin, attempting to probe deeper as he peeled back all the layers to see into her soul.

He knew. He knew something was going on with her. She knew she hadn’t been acting herself around him the last few weeks, but she could hardly help it. She feared that he’d figure it all out just by looking at her. It was unnerving to say the least.

Diana turned her chair slightly, making it more difficult for him to see her face. She sent silent, pleading prayers to her goddesses that Bruce wouldn’t try to talk to her after the meeting. While was he was the World’s Greatest Detective, she was the World’s Worst Liar.

Besides, Diana didn’t want to lie to him. She just wanted him to admit that he actually felt something for her that didn’t fit within the boundaries of friendship and actually act on those feelings. She didn’t know how much more of this tug-o-war she could take.

She drummed her fingers on the armrest of her chair in time to the tune that she kept repeating in her head in order to keep J’onn from being able to pick up on her internal struggle. She was going to have to find some sort of resolution before she went mad or her teammates figured out her dilemma.

The was a pause in the meeting as Kal turned his chair to play a video on the screen. “Please…please…please,” Diana silently chanted in her head.

The feel of his breath against her bare shoulder sent an electrical current straight through her, nearly causing her to fly up out of her chair. “I need to talk to you in private after this meeting is over,” he softly stated against her ear.

Sweet Aphrodite no.

Diana tilted her head slightly, silently acknowledging him and yet not committing to anything. Panic began to swell in her chest, positive that he knew what was going on with her. She felt like she was wearing a sign that practically advertised the fact she was lusting after Batman.

She had no doubt that he would plunge headlong into a lengthy lecture about how teammates should not date and that he would not now or ever allow himself to become involved with her. She felt her shoulders sink along with her heart. She knew that they could have something so unbelievably amazing together if he’d just give them a chance…give her a chance to show him. The problem was that he’d never allow them that chance. There was the mission and nothing else.

The longer she thought about it the more dejected she felt not to mention very angry with him for denying them both what they obviously wanted. There was no way in Tartarus that she was going to give him the chance to stomp on her heart or to rattle off that ridiculous list of reasons again.

“Okay, gang,” Kal said. “We’ll meet again next week.”

Diana was up and out of her chair in less than a heartbeat, practically flying towards the exit. She caught a growl from her teammate amongst the idle chatter of her friends. She had to avoid him at all cost until she could figure out what she was going to do about her feelings for the Dark Knight.

She quickened her pace, doing her best to escape to her quarters or the training room…a bathroom…anywhere that he wasn’t. “Diana!” Batman called with a dangerous edge to his voice that demanded to be recognized.

Drawing a deep breath, Diana slowly turned to find Batman stalking straight towards her, his gauntleted hands balled into fists at his sides and a scowl set on his face. “Yes, Batman?” she evenly replied.

“We need to talk…now,” he snapped.

“Uh, I’m afraid I can’t,” she told him. “I have something very important that I have to take care of.”

“What is going on with you?” he demanded to know as he came to stand directly before her, the lens of his cowl narrowing dangerously in that scrutinizing way that caused involuntary urination in everyone but her.

“What do you mean?” she coyly asked, looking everywhere but at his face.

“Something is going on with you and I want to know what it is,” he stated.

“Nothing…I swear…I’m perfectly fine…really…it’s nothing at all…I promise,” she found herself rambling nervously. “Thank you for your concern, but I really need to go now.”

Batman grabbed her arm as she turned to walk away, gripping it tightly. “You’re lying to me and I want to know why,” he said with a steely calm. It was more than obvious that he was worried about her and angry that she wasn’t talking to him about it.

She released a sigh, appearing completely defeated as she finally looked into his cowled face. “Really, Bruce,” she softly said. “I appreciate your concern, but I’m fine. It…it’s just something…that I have to figure out for myself.”

Bruce studied her intently, not the least bit happy with her answer. She’d been acting very distant the last weeks, avoiding him and refusing to make eye contact with him. It was obvious that something was going on concerning him and he didn’t like it one bit. If truth be told…it scared him. She was pulling away from him and it terrified him.

“Diana, I…”

“Yes, Mister Terrific, I’m on my way now,” Diana answered, her hand going to her commlink. “Sorry, I have to go to Egypt.”

“This conversation isn’t over, Diana,” he heatedly stated, finally releasing his hold on her arm.

His fingers slowly slid down her arm, reaching her hand and taking it into his own. He briefly squeezed it before releasing it. He turned and stormed away, leaving Diana standing there all alone. She released a ragged breath as she turned and pressed her back against the wall, her eyes falling closed.

She was going to have to do something about these dreams and she was going to have to do it fast before Bruce found out what was going on. He was tenacious at best and just as stubborn as she was, making for a very big problem for her. She knew that he wouldn’t rest until he’d discovered what was going on.

She was in very big trouble.

XXX

Diana bit at her bottom lip as she exited the transporter room, her gaze constantly shifting all around her in hopes of spotting Batman before he spotted her. She needed to try to stay at least five steps ahead of him if not more.

There was no way she could lie to him again and there was no way she was going to tell him that she’d been having lascivious dreams about him. That was a conversation that she definitely wanted to avoid at all cost. The challenge was finding a place to hide.

She had momentarily considered turning her commlink off so he couldn’t track her, but she was on standby for missions for another two hours. She decided it would be safest to lock herself inside one of the training rooms and burn off some of the desire she could still feel pulsating through her.

She knew that Bruce was still on the Watchtower. After the Founders meeting this morning, he was spending the day on the ‘Tower doing repairs and upgrades. Normally, she would’ve looked forward to having him around all day, even helping him out with some of the repairs, but that was out of the question now.

Diana quickened her pace as she made a beeline for the training rooms, hoping to avoid running into J’onn as well. The look he’d given her during the meeting this morning led her to believe that he had a good idea about what she was struggling with.

Hera, help her.

She didn’t know why was so embarrassed by her lustful dreams about Bruce. She normally wasn’t priggish when it came to things like this. Then again, this wasn’t just some ordinary man that had been lurking in her dreams, waiting to ravish her and be ravished in return.

This was a man that she deeply respected and wanted his respect in return. His opinion of her mattered greatly to her when not many others did. She didn’t want him to look at her as just another one of the frivolous, brainless women that are usually seen on his arm, after his body or his money. She truly cared about him and wanted him to be happy.

She wasn’t looking for a one-night stand or some meaningless fling. For her, it was far more than a fleeting, girlish crush. She truly wanted to love him and be loved by him in return. The trouble was he would never let himself love her or accept her love for him.

“Diana!”

The Amazon princess froze dead in her tracks, her heart leaping into her throat. “Um, hi Shay,” she nervously replied, worried the Thanagarian would question her mercilessly. She was a detective like Bruce and wouldn’t stop until she had the answers she was looking for.

“Okay, spill it,” Shayera demanded. “What’s been going on with you lately?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Diana claimed as she resumed her journey to the training room.

“Oh, don’t pull that on me,” Shayera said with a roll of her eyes. “Remember who you’re talking to? I know something is going on and I know when you’re lying.”

A Greek curse escaped as Diana scowled at her friend. “Is it that obvious?”

“Something is definitely going on with you,” she confirmed. “You’ve been acting strange for a few weeks now. What’s going on? Is it Batman?”

“Shhh!” Diana urgently shushed her as she looked around her. “Don’t say his name. He might appear out of thin air.”

Shayera chuckled as she walked with her. “You know he really can’t do that, right?”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Diana replied with a scowl. “He has a knack for doing things like that.”

“What is wrong with you?”

Diana looked around her again before grabbing Shayera by the arm and dragging her into one of the training rooms. “I guess I do need someone to talk to,” she ultimately decided.

“Talk to about what?” Shayera questioned her with a frown. “Are you pregnant?”

“What? No!” Diana yelled.

“Then, what’s going on with you?”

Diana sighed in resignation as she leaned against the wall of the training room. She slowly slid down the wall to sit on the floor, leaning forward to hold her head in her hands. Shayera’s expression turned into one of concern as she sat down on the floor next to her friend.

“You’re starting to scare me, Di,” she told her. “What’s wrong?”

“I’ve been having…these…dreams,” Diana reluctantly began.

“Dreams? What kind of dreams?”

“Sex dreams,” Diana confessed, groaning in embarrassment as she tilted her head back to lean against the wall. Hearing it spoken out loud only seemed to make it that much worse.

“Sex dreams?” Shayera repeated. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Well, nothing really,” she admitted.

“Who are dreaming about?”

“Bruce,” Diana revealed.

“Those have gotta be some pretty steamy dreams then.”

“Shayera!”

“Hey, Bruce is sexy and the whole brooding, ‘I am the night’ thing he has going on only adds to it,” she maintained.

“I didn’t know you had a thing for Bruce,” Diana responded with a sharp pang of jealousy.

“I don’t,” Shayera told her with a frown. “He’s too much of a pain in the ass, but he’s still nice to look at.”

“I’m sure John would love to hear you say that,” she muttered.

“I’m not telling him anything. We just got back together,” she replied. “So, does Bruce know you’re having sex dreams about him?”

“Hera, no!” Diana exclaimed. “And I’m not telling him.”

“Why not?” Shayera asked. “You two have been dancing around your feelings for each other for far too long. It’s time for you to make the first move.”

“I don’t know, Shay,” Diana said with another groan of frustration. “You know Bruce won’t let himself be happy. Besides, I don’t even know for sure if he has any feelings for me past attraction.”

“Are you kidding me?” Shayera nearly shouted. “The man is head over heels over you.”

“Shayera…”

“I’m serious, Di,” she insisted. “You have no idea how many times I’ve caught him staring at you and who does he always partner with on missions? It’s sure not Flash he’s crushing on.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Diana softly said, sadness filling her voice as she looked down at her hands in her lap. “He may be attracted to me, but I don’t think he wants me.”

“Do you love him?”

Diana lifted her eyes to answer the Thanagarian’s pointed question. “Yes, I do,” she confessed. “I love Bruce. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before, Shay. The problem is he doesn’t feel the same way.”

“You don’t know that.”

“If he really cared about me, why hasn’t he approached me about going out on a date?”

“You know how Bruce is, Di,” Shayera said with a shake of her head. “He’s probably written a list a mile long outlining all the reasons why he shouldn’t get involved with you, but that still doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want you. Maybe he doesn’t think you feel anything for him either.”

“I don’t know what to do,” Diana told her. “I should probably just try to forget all about him, but these dreams are definitely not making it very easy.”

“I think you should talk to him about it…see how he feels,” she encouraged her as she stood to her feet.

Diana stood up as well, her lips curved into a frown. “Maybe…I don’t know,” she said with a shake of her head.

“Come on,” Shayera replied as she headed towards the door. “Let’s go to the comm. Ice cream is definitely in order.”

“Why ice cream?” she asked as they exited.

“Ice cream is a girl’s best friend when it comes to problems with love.”

Neither of them noticed the shadow that moved on the far side of the room or the fact that an access door was open. The dark shadow exited the mechanical room with tools in his gauntleted hands and a slight curl at the corner of his mouth.

XXX

Diana frowned as she typed in the new list of codes that J’onn had given her as she worked on the security system in the lower decks of the Watchtower. J’onn had cornered her in the comm as she’d finished her ice cream with a repair job that he needed completed.

She had almost gotten the feeling that he was up to something as she had studied him, but had quickly dismissed it, knowing that J’onn was far from a deceitful person. He had given her the tablet with all the necessary information on it to complete the task, leading her to believe that he had been honest with her.

So far, the repair was going rather smoothly. It seemed that several of the access codes had somehow been deleted or lost in the system somehow. It only required a new list of codes to be entered and then the system could be restarted without difficulty.

Thoughts of Bruce invaded her mind, causing a frown to form on her face. While the ice cream and conversation with Shayera had been good, she was still no closer to figuring out what to do about Bruce or these dreams she kept having about him.

Lost in her thoughts, Diana missed the sound of the door sliding open and closed and then locking. It wasn’t until she smelled his aftershave that she froze in shock, her heart almost hammering out of her chest as she stood unmoving like a statue.

“Princess,” he formally greeted her. “You’ve been avoiding me.”

Diana forced herself to draw in a deep breath, releasing it slowly as she chose her words. “No, I haven’t,” she maintained, keeping her back to him. “I’ve just been busy lately.”

“That’s not what I’ve observed.”

“Really?” she breathlessly responded, sensing his close proximity to her.

“Yes,” he confirmed. “In fact, you won’t look at me and you’ve done everything in your power to not be alone with me.”

“I…I think your paranoia is running rampant, Bruce,” she replied despite the fierce flutter that had settled in her stomach. Curse the man for having such a profound effect on her.

“Then, why won’t you turn around and look at me?” he questioned her.

“I can’t right now,” Diana claimed. “J’onn wanted me to get the security codes fixed for this section of the Watchtower.”

Diana held her breath with the feel of his cape brushing against the backs of her legs. She felt him reach around and take the tablet from her hands, setting it down on a nearby ledge. “I think it can wait since I’m the one who disabled the codes,” he huskily rasped against her ear.

“You did?” she murmured, trying to keep the tremor she was feeling out of her voice.

“I did,” he confirmed, his hand settling against her right hip as he leaned in and breathed deeply.

“Why would you do that?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

“To finally get you all to myself,” he revealed, pausing to brush her raven hair aside in order to expose her shoulder to him. “I told you that I wanted to talk to you, but you seem intent on avoiding me. I had to take drastic measures to make sure I had you all alone.”

Diana swallowed hard, trying to force her voice to work. “Wha…what do you want to talk about?”

“You…and me…and these dreams that you’ve been having,” he replied, his lips caressing her bare shoulder.

“You know about them?” she managed to utter, her eyes falling closed with the feel of his mouth against her skin. It was far better than her dreams.

Bruce hummed his response, his other hand coming to rest on her left hip as he held her right where he wanted her. “I was in the mechanical room when you and Shayera entered the training room.”

A breathless curse left her lips as she silently willed him to never stop what he was doing. She feared that he was about to dive into a lecture about why they could never be together or how she needed to be more careful about conversations with friends aboard the Watchtower.

“You weren’t…supposed to find out…about that,” she uttered with a breathless quality as his lips found her pulse point, latching on to it and sucking hard. “Sweet Aphrodite…”

“What would you say if I told you I’ve had dreams about you too?”

“You have?” she whispered, tilting her head to the side to give him more room.

“Most definitely,” he confirmed, his lips teasing her earlobe. “They were very erotic to say the least, princess. Definitely not suitable for children of any age or even some adults…like Wally.”

“So…so have mine,” she softly confessed, her desire for this man so intense it had her body strung so tight.

“I would love to know every single thing that you dreamed about doing with me…or to me,” he revealed.

“Bruce…” she murmured, squeezing her eyes closed against the pain of what she was about to say to him. “I can’t…I don’t want some meaningless fling. I want more with you…but you don’t—”

“I don’t what?” Bruce demanded to know, his forehead coming to rest against the back of her head as he struggled to rein in his hunger for this woman. “I don’t love you?”

“I know you don’t love me, or you don’t want to have feelings for me,” she said. “Your mission is too important.”

“Yes, it is…but so are you.”

“What?”

“I love you, Diana,” he simply said. “I’ve tried telling myself for so long that I could just lock away these feelings for you…ignore the fact that they were there, but I haven’t been able to. I’m not strong enough to fight them and I’m not strong enough to stay away from you.”

“You love me?” she whispered.

“I have loved you for so long,” he confessed. “I was too scared to admit it until I heard you tell Shayera that you love me. I never realized how much I needed to hear you say it until you finally did.”

Diana turned around in his arms to face him, her eyes shining brightly as she found herself staring into the piercing blue eyes that she loved. “I love you, Bruce,” she told him, her hand coming to rest against his cheek. “You deserve to be loved and happy…even…even if it’s not with me.”

“No, I want you and no one else,” he insisted.

Bruce claimed her lips with a slow sensual kiss that she swore she felt clear down to her toes. Her arms slipped around him, drawing him unbelievably closer to her and cursing the fact that they were separated by their uniforms. She was anxious to feel every inch of him against every inch of her.

Bruce pushed a button on his gauntlet, the couple disappearing from sight only to reappear in his quarters. Diana drew back with a smirk on her lips. “That’s an abuse of power,” she teased.

“Yes, it is,” he confirmed as he ripped his gauntlets off and tossed them on a nearby chair. “Good thing I own the Watchtower.”

Diana chuckled softly as his fingers found the clasp of her breastplate. “It’s a good thing I find your arrogance so sexy.”

Bruce smirk as he tossed her breastplate onto the chair with his gauntlets. “That’s good because I’m about to make sure your every dream becomes a reality.”

Diana’s cheeks grew pink as her teeth grazed over her bottom lip. “There were pretty racy, Bruce,” she warned him as he began to remove the rest of her uniform. “You might be shocked if I told you.”

“You remember who I am, right?” he asked her as his utility belt and cape hit the floor along with his uniform top. “I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it all.”

“I don’t know, Bruce,” she breathily replied as he began to kiss along her collarbone as he firmly gripped her hips. “My dreams about you might even make Sappho blush.”

Bruce’s lips stilled against the generous swell of her breasts as he lifted his head to look her in the eye. “Show me then,” he replied with a wicked grin.

“Only if you show me your dreams.”

“Oh, I definitely plan on making both of our dreams come true, princess,” he promised her as he lifted her up and carried her over to his waiting bed.

Chapter Text

Bedtime

“It’s time for bed, Alex,” Diana called, standing in the doorway with her arms folded against her chest and an affectionate smile gracing her face.

Alex ignored her mother’s prodding, the tip of her tongue slipping out as she concentrated on the task at hand. Her bright blue eyes narrowed as she studied her opponent, the intelligence permeating the five-year-old’s eyes taking him by surprise once again and astounding him. She was a force to be reckoned with.

It never ceased to amaze him how smart she was, proving to be harder and harder to get anything past these days when she was in the same room as the adults. She was highly perceptive of what was going on around her, making connections that he never believed her capable of doing.

Of course, look who her parents were.

Glancing down at his hand, Bruce’s eyes lifted to meet those of his daughter’s in an effort to determine what she had in her hand and just how close she was to winning again. His daughter was as fearsome as her mother when it came to competition.

“Daddy,” Alex groaned with a huff of annoyance. “You know it’s your turn.”

“I’m thinking…I’m thinking,” he told her with a frown. “Do you have any nines?”

A huge grin spread across her face as she gave him a triumphant look. “Go fish!”

Bruce’s frown deepened as he looked down at his cards again. He thought for sure that he finally had her that time. Unfortunately, his daughter was the queen of Go Fish. He was going to have to teach her a different game to play, maybe one that he actually stood somewhat of a chance of winning.

“Do you have any kings?” she politely asked, but the telltale smirk on her face told him she already knew the answer.

“Alexa Martha Wayne,” Diana called again with a little more authority despite how heartwarming the scene before her always was. “It’s past your bedtime.”

“But, mommy,” she whined despite the fact her mother had not only used her full name, but her middle name as well. “I’m beating daddy again.”

“You already beat me twice tonight and Alfred three times,” he pointed out with a mock scowl that only caused his daughter to giggle in response, lifting her handful of cards to hide behind as she peered over the tops of them at him.

“I already gave you an extra half hour,” Diana reminded her, walking over to the table where they sat. “Besides, you have a big day tomorrow. Uncle Arthur is coming over to give you another swimming lesson.”

“Yay!” Alex squealed in delight as she suddenly threw her cards onto the table, the game forgotten as she stood up on her chair and threw herself into her mother’s arms. “I can’t wait to see Uncle Arthur!”

“Kiss your father goodnight,” Diana told her, kissing her temple before setting her on the ground.

Alexa ran to her father who swept her up into his arms and into a bear hug. “I love you, Ally-bug,” he told her, blowing a raspberry on her cheek.

Each member of the family and extended family had a favorite name for the byproduct of Bruce and Diana’s love for one another. To Diana, she was Alex. To Bruce, she was Ally or Ally-bug. To Alfred, she was always Alexa though princess was a very close second. To Uncle Arthur, she was fishy-face which always made her laugh when he actually made a fishy face at her.

To Uncle Barry, she was Bon-Bon mostly because she was his partner in crime like Bonnie and Clyde, always getting into some sort of trouble together. To Uncle Victor, she was dimples because of the small dimples that appeared every time she grinned like a Cheshire cat. To Uncle Clark and Aunt Lois, she would forever be Hugabug for really no reason at all except that Uncle Clark had called her that one day and it had stuck.

Alex giggled and squirmed in her father’s hold, trying to escape his tickling fingers. “Da…dad…daddy!” she chided him between fits of laughter as she struggled to catch her breath.

“All right, you two,” Diana finally intervened, scooping her daughter up into her arms once more.

“I’ll be up to tuck you in,” Bruce promised her.

“Promise?” she asked him, extending her pinkie.

“Promise,” he swore, wrapping his pinkie around hers.

Diana shook her head at the pair that was practically joined at the hip, a patient smile, on her face as she carried their daughter out of the entertainment room and past Alfred. “Grandpa Alfred, you forgot to kiss me goodnight,” Alex scolded him.

“I could never forget such a thing, my darling Alexa,” he reassured her, leaning in and kissing her cheek before ruffling her curly blonde locks. “Sleep well, princess.”

“Night!” she called over her mother’s shoulder as she continued towards the staircase of Wayne Manor.

Diana had worked extensively with Bruce and Alfred to restore the dilapidated home, turning half of it into the home base for the Justice League. The other half had become their home not long after they were married, and Diana discovered that she was pregnant.

While Bruce had been hesitant about moving back into Wayne Manor, she had been insistent, wanting to raise their daughter in the home that his parents had raised him in while they had been alive. Bruce had reluctantly agreed, but under the condition that they picked a different room as the master bedroom instead of the one his parents had used. It had been an acceptable compromise to her, one that she had been more than willing to make in order to make him feel more comfortable about the transition.

“So, what bedtime story would you like tonight, my sun and stars?” Diana asked her daughter as they entered her room that had been painted a very cheery color of purple that Alex had insisted on.

“I want you to tell me the story of how you met daddy,” Alex readily decided as Diana laid her down in her bed.

“You don’t want to continue the book that we’ve been reading?” she questioned her, somewhat surprised though she knew she really shouldn’t be. Alexa was a romantic at heart and she loved nothing more than to hear how her parents had met and fallen in love.

“Tomorrow night,” Alex readily decided. “I want to hear about how you and daddy met.”

“Didn’t I just tell you that story last week?”

“Yes, but I love it,” Alex told her with a pleading whine that couldn’t be ignored.

“Fine,” Diana surrendered with a knowing grin. “Crawl under the covers.”

Alex quickly climbed under her covers, waiting until her mother had laid down on the bed next to her, her back pressed against the headboard. Alex snuggled up against her mom, her arm wrapped around her favorite stuffed teddy bear whose name was Bobo. Bobo had seen better days since being given to her by Uncle Clark and Aunt Lois on her first birthday, but Alex refused to ever give it up for any reason.

“Where do you want me to start?” Diana asked as if she didn’t already to know the answer.

“The beginning of course, mommy,” Alex insisted with an exasperated tone that made her sound more like an adult than a five-year-old.

“Well, I saw your father for the first time when I went to a party to get some information that I desperately needed,” she began.

“Because you’re Wonder Woman and daddy’s Batman and the bad guys can’t hide from you,” Alex interjected with great excitement.

Diana chuckled softly as she stroked her daughter’s blond hair that was just like her grandmother’s. “That’s right, my sun and stars,” she confirmed.

“And daddy looked so handsome,” Alex added.

“Yes, he did,” she confirmed. “He looked very handsome in his deep blue suit. Our eyes met across the crowded room and—”

“It was love at first sight!” Alex squealed in delight.

“Well, not exactly, but I did think he looked vey dashing,” Diana told her. “I had something very important that I had to do that night so I really couldn’t think about anything else…even your father. I needed to find some information.”

“And you stole it from daddy,” she said with a giggle, her small hand moving to cover her mouth in a conspiratorial manner. “He tried to chase after you, but you got away.”

“Hey, who is telling this story, little one?” Diana teased her, tickling her side.

“Mommy! Stop!” Alex told her as she laughed and squirmed. “Then what happened next?”

“I went to a museum gala a few nights later,” she continued, remembering the events as if they’d just happened yesterday. She swore she could still feel the press of Bruce’s fingers against her skin as he’d gripped her arm, the way his masculine scent had invaded her senses. It caused a fierce flutter in her stomach. “Your father found me and told me I was a thief, but I had given him back the drive that I’d taken from him.”

“See? You weren’t being naughty,” Alex said with genuine sincerity in her voice. “You just had to borrow it and you returned it, so you didn’t do anything wrong.”

Diana chuckled with her daughter’s logic. She was most definitely her father’s daughter with her analytical mind. “Yes, I gave it back to him, but then I had to save him because he got himself into big trouble.”

Alex squirmed with excitement against Diana, shifting to lay her head in her mother’s lap. “I love this part,” she told her, trying to stifle a yawn as her eyelids began to grow heavy.

Diana continued to stroke her daughter’s blond curls, an affectionate smile curling her lips. “I saw that there was trouble and I had to go help. I couldn’t just sit back and not try to stop it.”

“Because you and daddy are superheroes and you don’t get scared,” Alex commented.

“Doomsday tried to hurt your father, but I showed up just in time,” she continued the tale. “I used my bracers to block the fire.”

“And you saved him,” Alex said.

Hearing a mild snort, Diana looked up to find her husband standing in the doorway leaning against the doorframe with a mildly annoyed look on his handsome face, but unmistakable amusement and love danced in his eyes. She stared at him as she continued the story, her heart growing warm with the love she felt for him.

“I certainly did, and I’ve had to save him several times since then,” Diana teased as she flashed Bruce a mischievous grin.

“Not that many times,” Bruce grumbled under his breath.

Alex lifted her head and shushed her father with a very passable Batglare. “Go on, mommy.”

“Then, Steppenwolf and his Parademons showed up,” she relayed. “That’s when we created the Justice League to try to stop them.”

“And that’s when you fell in love with daddy because he’s handsome and he’s a hero,” their daughter decided.

Bruce gave Diana a smug look as she shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Yes, something like that,” she agreed. “We were working very hard to form the Justice League, working many long nights together. Sometimes, he’d make me mad and annoy me, but somehow, he managed to capture my heart. It’s been his ever since then.”

Alex sighed as her eyelids grew heavier, a dreamy smile forming on her face. She completely missed the intense look that her father was giving her mother as he fully entered her bedroom. “And it was after we defeated Steppenwolf that I finally kissed your mother.”

“Then, you got married…and had me…and we all lived happily-ever-after,” Alex sleepily murmured, clutching her teddy bear to her chest.

“Yes, we did,” Bruce confirmed as Diana shifted out from beneath her daughter and off the bed.

Bruce adjusted Alex in her bed before pulling the covers over her and tucking her in. He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “Goodnight, Ally-bug,” he whispered.

“Nigh-nigh, daddy,” she muttered softly.

Diana turned the light off, taking Bruce’s hand in hers as they exited their daughter’s bedroom, softly closing the door behind them. “She wanted to hear our story again?” he questioned her as he backed her up against the wall, his gaze hungrily falling to her lips.

“For some reason it’s her favorite,” she confirmed as her arms slipped around his neck, her fingers playing with the dark strands that laid on the nape of his neck.

“I have to admit…it’s my favorite story too,” he softly replied as he tilted his head, his lips beginning to seek out hers, their warm breath mingling as one. “Although, I have had to save you too a few times.”

“Maybe once or twice,” she agreed with humming approval and ending with a groan of disappointment as his lips found hers only to retreat a few moments later. “I’m just happy our story is true and not fiction.”

“Me too,” he decided, his mouth caressing hers as his hands firmly gripped her waist.

His hands slid down to her thighs, lifting her legs to wrap around his waist as their kisses grew more insistent and demanding, deepening and conveying the love they shared with one another. As he carried her to their master bedroom, he readily decided that it was the best bedtime story that ever could’ve been written.

Chapter Text

Pledge (DCAU)

Batman pushed his Batplane to its very limits, knowing that he was risking a system failure, but he had no choice. Things had spiraled so far out of control. It never should’ve come to this...how had it come to this? He knew how it had come to this…the things that he had said and the things that he should have said, but never did.

Peering around him, there was nothing but blue water as far as the eye could see, making him feel very small and insignificant. It only added to the cloak of loneliness that had securely wrapped itself around him like a straitjacket that refused to release him any time soon.

He could feel his desperation rising within him with every minute that ticked by, reminding him of the chaos that he alone had caused. He knew that he had no one to blame but himself and the foolish demons that he hadn’t learned how to control as of yet.

His vaunted control had also been one of his strongest qualities, one that he was most proud of and yet there was one thing he couldn’t control. He’d never been able to tame the demons that dwelled inside of his soul, rising up like a deadly brood of vipers intent on destroying him.

He was also powerless when it came to the Amazon princess and the hold that she seemed to have on him. Much to his shame and anger, his demons had won out this time, Diana the loser in the battle for his soul.

Batman glanced down to check his coordinates for the hundredth time. He knew he was getting close, but would it be in time?

Bruce,

I find great difficulty in writing this letter to you especially knowing it will be the last time I will be communicating with you. I am leaving Man’s World and returning to my home, Bruce. I feel that it would be the best for the both of us.

I know how difficult it is for you to allow others to get close to you after all the horror you’ve endured in your life. Please know that I don’t blame you that things didn’t work out between us. I’m just wish that I could’ve been the one to give you the love and happiness that you are so worthy of.

I fear that my presence would be a distraction and a hinderance to you in your mission to save Gotham. That is something that I cannot allow. I also need a fresh start and I can’t do that being near you. That is why I’m returning to Themyscira to fully pledge myself to the goddess Artemis, binding myself to Themyscira forever. I just pray that you find the peace and love that you deserve in your life even if it’s not with me.

You will always own my heart, my Dark Knight. Maybe someday we will be reunited in Elysium should you choose to find me there.

Love eternally yours,
Diana

Bruce felt the fierce burn of tears building behind his eyes and in his throat as his jaw locked like a steel trap. He’d read and reread that letter at least a dozen times, every single word imprinting itself in his heart and mind. In his mind’s eye, he could see the elegant flow of her handwriting, her tearstains that marred the paper she had written those heartfelt words on.

She had left because of him…because he had been a complete fool. She had left so that he wouldn’t have to see her on League missions or on the Watchtower, knowing that he would end up questioning everything in his life or locking himself away in his gloomy sanctuary in an effort to avoid seeing her.

She loved him so much that she was willing to sacrifice her own happiness and desires all for him, and, in doing so, showed more strength and courage than he could ever hope to muster. She truly was a goddess, proving all over to him in bright, dazzling colors how much he didn’t deserve her.

Diana was everything that was pure and selfless and good in this world, displaying immeasurable compassion and love like nothing he’d ever seen before. She gave him back the faith that had been stripped from him the day his parents had died in that alley, providing him hope that he thought he’d never have again.

He needed to get to her before it was too late…before he lost her forever. He swore on his life that he wasn’t leaving Themyscira without her. Living in this world without her being a part of it was imaginable, something that he refused to even consider.

It felt as if his heart had been lodged in his throat from the moment that he’d found the letter that she’d left for him. He never meant to hurt her or push her away. He’d allowed his fears and paranoia to dig their claws into him, doubts running rampant through his mind and refusal pouring past his lips.

The look of anguish that he had seen in her eyes when he’d turned her away had nearly been his undoing right then and there. Instead of falling on his knees and begging for her forgiveness, he had stood there tightlipped with a stony glare as she had proudly tucked away her hurt before turning and leaving him standing there in his self-imposed prison of isolation.

The beeping on his monitor alerted him to the fact that he had finally reached his destination. He released a ragged breath as he made the necessary adjustments to land on the island that he knew was there but couldn’t visualize just yet.

He quickened his descent at a faster rate than was safe as his heart quickened in his chest. The island suddenly appeared in a burst of color and glorious wonder. It was truly breathtaking, paradise not even coming close to truly describing what he lay ahead of him.

Bruce didn’t have to time to admire the scenery. He had a princess to find before it was too late. If he didn’t get to her in time, his life would truly be over for the second time since he was eight years old. He refused to allow that to happen.

Batman landed the Batplane on the sandy beach, the water lapping at the landing gear as he quickly escaped its confines. He was off and running the second his boots hit the sand, racing straight towards the majestic palace in the distance. He knew it was only a matter of time before he’d have hordes of Amazon warriors ready to tear him limb from limb, but no one was going to get in the way of what he wanted.

Warrior cries pierced the air as spears attempted to pierce his body. He dodged to the left, ducked and rolled to his right before coming up into a crouching position with a Batarang gripped tightly in his hand. He didn’t want to fight the entire Amazon nation, but he was not going to be deterred from his goal as he let several Batarangs fly.

“Batman!”

Bruce looked to his right to find Donna racing towards him, panic etched in her face. “Where is Diana?” he demanded without preamble.

“What are you doing here?” she questioned him with barely restrained anger. “You’re going to get yourself killed.”

“I came for Diana and I’m not leaving without her,” he spat out.

“You’re the reason she left Man’s World in the first place,” she stubbornly pointed out.

Batman warily straightened to his full, imposing height as his guarded gaze eyed the approaching Amazons, knowing that they could kill him at any moment. “I was wrong, Donna,” he impatiently replied. “I’m here to make it right and to bring her home with me.”

Donna’s angry gaze softened, her hand coming to rest on his shoulder. “Are you really?” she asked.

“Yes, I made a mistake, but I can’t fix it if I don’t find her before she pledges herself to Artemis,” he told her, his annoyance getting the better of him.

“She’s in the Temple of Artemis,” Donna informed him. “She’s performing the cleansing ceremony right now. You have to hurry. If she completely submerges herself in the water, it can’t be reversed. She’ll never be able to leave Themyscira again.”

“Where is the temple?” he urgently questioned her, grabbing hold of her upper arms. “Please, Donna…I love her.”

“I know you do,” she softly said. “It’s—”

“Batman!”

The furious roar of the Queen of the Amazons sliced through the air like a deadly dagger causing Bruce to grow rigid in response. He released his hold on Donna, turning to face Hippolyta and the full extent of a mother’s ire. He knew that he deserved everything that he was about to receive and then some, but no one hated him more than himself at that moment.

“Queen Hippolyta,” he stoically replied, bowing his head slightly.

“How dare you show your face here,” she seethed as she stalked towards him, heavily flanked by Amazon warriors carrying weapons intended to shred him to pieces. “First you defile my daughter and then you have the insolence to reject her? Now, you have the outright arrogance to appear where you are neither wanted nor allowed to tread?”

“I know I don’t deserve to ask anything of you, my Queen, but I ask for your mercy and permission to speak with Diana,” he responded, steeling himself and preparing for the worse. “I made a horrible mistake that I will regret for the rest of my life. All that I ask is for a chance to make it right.”

“Because of Diana’s feelings for you, I will show you mercy,” Hippolyta spat out, hands clenched tightly at her sides. “I will spare your life if you leave right now and never come back here. That is the only mercy that you will receive from me.”

“Please…I have to see Diana,” he pleaded with her much to Donna’s surprise. She’d never known Batman to plead for anything. “I know that I deeply hurt her and that I don’t deserve a second chance with her, but I am humbly asking for you to allow me to talk to her just for a few minutes.”

“Guards!” Hippolyta yelled. “Escort this mortal man to his plane so that he may return to his home.”

Artemis and Phillipus led the charge to escort Batman back to his plane, but he was not in a very agreeable mood at that particular moment. Diana had given up her life among her friends for him. He was ready to give up his life just to see her one last time.

“I’m sorry,” he softly said before throwing an array of gas bombs that quickly clouded the entire area.

“Batman!” Donna yelled. “The temple is down the path past the palace on the left side!”

“Donna!” Hippolyta screeched, enraged. “Find Batman and stop him! He is not to see Diana!”

Batman didn’t wait around for the Amazons to follow their queen’s orders, racing through the clouds of smoke towards the palace. He could hear the pounding beat of the Amazon’s boots following him. They yelled to each other in Greek, reveling in the sweet thrill of the hunt.

He gritted his teeth as he pushed himself harder, refusing to stop now that he was so close to finding her. The royal palace came into view, telling him that he was getting closer. Spears sailed past his head, causing him to run closer to the tree line to avoid being impaled. It would do no good to finally find Diana only to have a spear sticking through his chest.

Batman spotted two Amazons standing guard outside of a temple on his left. That had to be where Diana was performing the ceremony. Reaching into his utility belt, he pulled out his electrified brass knuckles, putting them on his right hand as he raced towards the temple.

Without a single pause in his step, he ran straight towards the first guard, hitting her square in the jaw and taking her down. He instantly whirled on his heel as he threw an electrified bola at the second guard, the cords wrapping securely around her and dropping her in less than heartbeat.

Racing inside the temple, Bruce stopped dead in tracks at the view that greeted him. Diana was dressed in a ceremonial chiton, her raven curls pulled up into an intricate updo that accentuated her graceful neck. She was walking in the ceremonial pool with head bowed and eyes closed in supplication and meditation. The blue water lapped at her body just below her breasts as she waded towards the statue of Artemis that awaited her arrival at the end of the pool.

“Diana!” Batman yelled, panic lancing straight through him as Amazon guards abruptly grabbed him from behind.

Diana looked to her left to find Batman standing there in the Temple of Artemis. “Bruce?” she murmured, stunned by his appearance, fearing it was nothing more than a wishful dream taunting her in the midst of her heartache.

She watched in disbelief as her sisters forced him to his knees, three guards on either side of him holding him down. “Diana…please,” he cried, gritting his teeth as he struggled against their hold on him. “Don’t do this!”

Diana shook her head in confusion as she took another step towards the goddess of the hunt. The water nearly covered her breasts now causing Bruce’s fear to explode inside of him. “Wha…what are you doing here?”

“I came here for you!” he confessed, tears beginning to blur his vision.

“Let him go,” Diana ordered as she turned towards them.

“But the queen ordered us to—” Artemis countered.

“Release him…now!” Diana yelled as Hippolyta and Donna raced into the temple.

“Diana, continue the bonding ceremony,” Hippolyta commanded her. “We will deal with this vile excuse of a man.”

“He loves you, Diana!” Donna yelled. “He wants to make it right.”

“Continue your pledge, Diana,” Hippolyta stated. “Bind yourself to Artemis.”

“Give him a chance!” Donna told her.

Diana looked from the enraged face of her mother to the pleading expression on her sister to the desperation she could practically feel rolling off the Dark Knight of Gotham. At that moment, she knew exactly what she needed to do. She needed this closure if she was ever going to be able to let him go.

“Leave us,” Diana commanded from her position in the pool. She wasn’t proceeding any further, but she wasn’t leaving the water either. “I will hear what Batman has to say and then I will make my final decision.”

“Are you sure, my sun and stars?” the queen questioned her, reluctant acceptance swimming in her eyes. She already knew what her daughter would decide even though Diana did not know as of yet.

“I’m fine, mother,” she reassured her with a reassuring smile that never reached her sapphire eyes.

Hippolyta grudgingly nodded her head in response, the guards releasing their hold on Batman. Bruce stood to his feet, turning to find the Amazons leaving them. Turning his attention to the princess, he was mesmerized all over again by how positively radiant she looked in her white ceremonial chiton.

He was finally all alone with his princess and he didn’t know what to say to make her understand how much he loved her…how he couldn’t go on without her. All the things that he had rehearsed in his head during the flight here suddenly vanished, his throat constricting so tightly he could barely draw a breath.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again,” she softly said from the pool.

Batman tilted his head down to remove his cowl, tossing it on the temple floor before removing his gauntlets and dropping them to the ground as well. He wanted…no, he needed…to do this as Bruce Wayne, not the fearsome vigilante that lived in the darkness and worked in the secret places that no one dared to speak about.

“I’m sorry, Diana,” he replied, his head slightly lowered. “There is no excuse for how I acted…how I treated you. You deserved far better from me and I failed you.”

“Why are you here, Bruce?” she questioned him. “If your only here to apologize, then apology accepted. You can return home and go on with your life with a clear conscious.”

Bruce adamantly shook his head, his piercing azure eyes boring straight into her. “That’s not the only reason I came here, Diana.”

She released a weary sigh, wanting him to just leave so she could get this ceremony over with once and for all. “Bruce, what do you want from me?”

“I want you…I only want you…with me,” he revealed.

“You had that, and you pushed me away,” she reminded him, bitterness and anger seeping into her voice as she looked down at the water that lapped at her breasts. “I’m not what you want, Bruce. You made that very clear. What made you suddenly change your mind?”

Bruce slowly walked to the edge of the pool, the toes of his black boots coming to a stop at the edge. “I have always wanted you, Diana,” he stated with a steely resoluteness that forced her to look up at him. “That never changed, not even for a second has that ever wavered.”

“Then what was it?” she softly asked, afraid to test her voice.

He drew a deep breath, slowly releasing it through parted lips. “I was afraid,” he confessed.

“Afraid of what?”

“Of you…of us…of the future,” he explained as he averted his eyes, his gaze settling on the pool that could take her away from him forever. “Everything was so perfect that it terrified me. Nothing good ever stays that way in my life, Diana. I was terrified that it would all be taken away from me and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing you.”

“But by pushing me away, you did lose me.”

“I know and it hurt more than you can possibly imagine,” he admitted as his eyes briefly fell closed, remembering how much his heart ached. He crouched down at the edge of the pool, wanting her to see the truth of his words reflected in his eyes. “I don’t feel like I’ve been able to fully draw a breath since you left the cave that day, princess. Your leaving me…your letter…it opened my eyes and forced me to realize just how much I love you. I’d rather have you with me than to try to live without you because if you’re not with me then I’m not truly alive.”

His words were like a balm to her wounded heart, but they were just words right now. “And what about six weeks from now? Six months from now?” she asked him, shaking her head. “What about the next time you get scared or something happens to me on a mission or you have a bad night on patrol? How do I know that you won’t push me away again?”

Bruce lowered his head for a long moment, making her wonder if he was going to answer her or not. When he finally raised his head, the fierce determination permeating his eyes stole her breath. “I know that I don’t deserve for you to give me a second chance, but I pledge myself to you for as long as there is breath in my body. I promise that if you come home with me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy and to prove to you how much I love you.”

Diana swallowed hard as tears stung her eyes. She floated up out of the water to stand beside him on the temple floor by the pool. Bruce slowly stood to his feet, hungrily drinking her in like a man lost in the desert. The wet diaphanous material clung to her breasts and hugged her every curve, hinting at the breathtaking beauty he knew that lay beneath.

Her hand came to rest against the curve of his face, her thumb caressing his cheekbone. “I love you, Bruce,” she confessed with a heartfelt sincerity that he felt deep in his bones. “I want to pledge myself to you too and no one else.”

His hand came to rest against the slight swell of her abdomen where their child grew, relief washing over him like a spring rain. He released a ragged breath as he slowly leaned in, his nose brushing against hers. “I thought…I thought I’d lost you both,” he managed to utter, his voice choked with such raw emotion as an unwanted tear broke free to slip down his cheek. “I’m so sorry, Diana. I never meant to hurt—”

Diana pressed her lips to his, effectively silencing him as her arms slipped around him and drew him close to her. Bruce readily returned her kiss, passion flaring fiercely as they lost themselves in each other. His kiss was desperate and frantic, needing her to feel how deeply his love for her ran.

The sound of a loud cheer coming from Donna outside of the temple caused them to break part, both looking to find Hippolyta, Donna, and two dozen Amazons watching them. Hippolyta did not look happy in the least, but there was an air of hesitant acceptance about her.

“I take you’re not staying, my sun and stars?” Hippolyta asked, her lips pursing as a single eyebrow arched in question.

“Just long enough to gather my things,” she admitted, biting at her bottom lip.

Hippolyta released a sigh of resignation as her shoulders slumped slightly. “It’s getting late,” she stated. “You two might as well as stay the night and leave in the morning.”

“Are you serious, mother?” Diana questioned her in stunned disbelief. “You’re going to let Bruce stay for the night?”

“I guess I am,” she replied with a frown as she approached them. “He is the father of my grandchild whether I like it or not. I guess it would be a good time to get to know one another. Artemis, go tell the kitchen to prepare a feast for our guest.”

“Yes, my queen,” Artemis responded, bowing her head before leaving.

“Thank you, mother,” Diana softly said with tears in her eyes.

Hippolyta embraced her daughter, squeezing her eyes closed against the surge of emotion. She was losing her daughter to Man’s World all over again, but she was gaining a grandchild, one that she was more than anxious to meet.

“Thank you, my queen,” Bruce stated, stunned by the unexpected turn of events.

“Anyone who defies the orders of a queen and tries to take on the Amazon nation in order to get to my daughter must be madly in love or absolutely crazy,” she told him.

“I swear to you it’s the former, my queen,” he reassured her.

“Just don’t hurt her ever again or you’ll have me to deal with you,” Hippolyta threatened him with a deadly glare. “I will show you no mercy regardless of my daughter’s feelings for you.”

“I assure you that no one is angrier at myself than I am.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that, young man,” Hippolyta muttered under her breath as she turned on her heel and walked away.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Bruce decided as he watched the queen walk away.

“I’m so happy for you two!” Donna squealed, wrapping the pair up into a tight embrace. “When is the wedding? Can I come and babysit? I’m going to be an aunt! I’m so excited!”

“Wedding?” Diana questioned her, glancing warily at Bruce. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Donna.”

“Can we just get used to the idea of being parents first?” Bruce asked.

“Oh, fine,” Donna replied with a pout, “but I call dibs on being maid of honor when you finally get married.”

“Go get ready to eat,” Diana shooed her away, turning her attention back to her lover.

“I’m sorry, Bruce,” she apologized. “I hope Donna talking about weddings didn’t upset you.”

“No,” he responded with a shake of his head. “When I said that I pledge my life to you, I meant it in every single way. I just want to take things slow and make sure we do it right. I’ve already screwed everything up once. I don’t want to do it again.”

“You won’t,” she reassured him, kissing him softly. “I’ll just have to make sure you stay in line.”

“I’m sure Alfred would appreciate the help,” he admitted with sigh.

Taking his hand, Diana began to lead him away, pausing to retrieve his cowl and gauntlets. She laced her fingers with his as she began to lead him towards the palace. “I still can’t believe mother is letting you stay here tonight.”

A smirk played on Bruce’s lips. “I just hope she lets me sleep with you in your room,” he told her.

“Well, seeing how I’m already pregnant, I doubt it will be an issue,” she pointed out. “If she does make you sleep in a different room, I’ll just have to come find you.”

“You better,” he told her. “If you don’t, I’ll be finding you.”

“I’m counting on it,” she replied with a grin.

“I’ve missed you so much, princess.”

“I’ve only been gone for two days, Bruce,” she reminded him.

“It was the worst two days of my life since losing my parents,” he stoically confessed.

He abruptly pulled her to a stop as he claimed her lips once more in a heated kiss, more than relieved he’d gotten his princess back with him where she always belonged. While he was still anxious to marry her someday, they had pledged themselves to each other and that was more than enough for him right now.

Chapter Text

Impression (AU)

“What else is going on?” Bruce asked in mid-pushup, sweat trickling down the side of his face.

“You also have the Gotham museum ball tonight,” Alfred informed him, standing with his hands clasped behind his back. He was already anticipating his young master’s reaction to the reminder.

Bruce grimaced as he held his pushup for far longer than necessary, his muscles starting to quiver under the stress he was putting them under. “Didn’t I just go to a museum ball last week?”

“No, sir, that was a hospital charity ball,” he reminded him.

“They all begin to run together after a while,” he grumbled, finally finishing the move. He stood to his feet, grabbing a nearby hand towel to wipe the sweat from his eyes. “Do I really have to go to this one?”

“I’m afraid so, sir,” Alfred confirmed. “You helped provide the extra funding necessary so that the Gotham Museum could hire that new, young curator from Greece that several high-profile museums have been headhunting in hopes of getting their hands on.”

“I did?” he questioned him with a suspicious look.

“I’m afraid so,” he replied. “Maybe if you spent a little less time going to parties and more time paying attention to work and various Wayne charities that you support you just might recall things like this.”

Bruce sighed heavily as he tossed the towel into a nearby laundry bin. “I don’t want to spend an evening around a bunch of stuffed-shirt men who have nothing better to talk about then some rare artifact that’s two thousand years old.”

Alfred smiled to himself with his surrogate son’s assumptions about the evening. “Actually, the new curator from Greece is a female.”

Bruce’s scowl only deepened as he stared Alfred down, his muscular arms folded against his equally muscular chest. “She’s probably mousy with thick glasses and her hair pulled into a tight bun. I’ll bet you a hundred dollars she’ll be so timid that she won’t even be able to make eye contact with anyone.”

“Well, I guess you’ll just have to go to the gala to find out,” he informed him, knowing that his description of the Greek curator couldn’t be further from the truth. He decided to let the obstinate twenty-eight-year-old find out for himself. “I’ll have your tuxedo pressed and ready for you by six.”

“You’re going to make me go, aren’t you?” Bruce questioned with a sullen frown.

“Yes, I am,” Alfred firmly stated with a stern look that could only be described as fatherly bordering on thoroughly irritated. “The Gotham Museum was your mother’s favorite Gotham institution and their finest patron. It wouldn’t be what it is today without her contributions and donations. Besides, it is your responsibility to make Miss Prince feel welcomed in Gotham.”

Bruce’s shoulders slumped in defeat, clearly deflated and resigned to his fated evening of rubbing elbows with the dullest people he’d ever known as well as an uninteresting curator from Greece. “Fine,” he bit out, averting his eyes under Alfred’s penetrating glare. “I’ll go, but I’m telling you right now that I’m not spending one more minute with the new Greek curator than I absolutely have to. I’ll go…take a few pictures, shake a few hands, drink their alcohol and greet the new curator, but after that I’m gone.”

“If you say so, Master Bruce,” Alfred agreed with a nod and a barely subdued smirk as he turned to leave.

He made a mental note to bring a large thermos of hot tea and a good book to keep him occupied tonight while he waited in the limo. He had a strong feeling that once Master Bruce saw the stunning Miss Diana Prince that he wouldn’t be leaving the museum any time soon if ever.

“You know it’s a pretty low blow to bring my mother into it,” Bruce yelled after him as Alfred left the training room.

“I have no idea what you’re referring to,” Alfred called over his shoulder, mentally patting himself on the back for another successful parenting mission. Martha would be so proud.

XXX

Bruce sat in the back of the limo dressed in his tux glaring daggers at the cell phone in his hand. He’d already made up his mind that was going to have a horrible time tonight and no one was going to convince him otherwise. Not even Alfred bringing up how much this meant to his mother could lighten his mood at this point.

Glancing at him in the rearview mirror, Alfred smiled to himself. He really couldn’t blame Master Bruce for not looking forward to tonight’s event. It was one far more suited for his parents, but with them gone, it fell on young Bruce’s shoulders to carry the Wayne name.

It was a terribly heavy weight to carry as his age especially with the horrifying way that he had lost his parents right in front of his eyes. He did hope that maybe Miss Prince would somehow manage to bring a glimmer of happiness back to his life even if just for one evening.

Alfred pulled the limo to a stop in front of the stairs that led to the museum’s grand entrance. A red carpet awaited the guests’ arrival along with several reporters from various newspapers and magazines. “I do wish you would’ve allowed me to find you a date for tonight,” Alfred told him.

“I can find my own dates and I won’t be here long enough for it to matter, Alfred,” Bruce assured him. “In fact, you can keep the motor running if you’d like. I won’t be that long.”

“Master Bruce! I will do no such thing,” Alfred scolded him. “You’re going to march in there and make your parents proud, young man. I expect nothing less from you.”

“Yes, sir,” Bruce grumbled, having the decency to look chagrined as he slipped his cell phone into his jacket pocket.

“I should’ve put that boy over my knee more often when he was growing up,” Alfred murmured to himself as he exited the limo to open the back door.

As if flipping a light switch, Bruce’s demeanor completely changed as Alfred opened the back door and Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy and most eligible bachelor, stepped out. He had his patented grin firmly in place, his azure blue eyes sparkling with mischief of every imaginable kind. He immediately charmed and captivated the gathered crowd as he waved to them, flashing them that dashing smile that melted more than a few hearts.

If Alfred could’ve, he would’ve rolled his eyes at that moment, but proper breeding and decorum caused him to refrain…but just barely. He was almost done getting the young man through his twenties. He could only imagine how much more trying his thirties and forties were going to be. Entering the limo to park the car, Alfred was more than certain it would garner him more than a few gray hairs on his poor head.

Bruce paused and turned at regular intervals, smiling and waving for the cameras. If there was one thing in his life that he refused to do, it was to disappoint his parents or tarnish their name. He adored them far too much to give anything less than his best for them despite how trying the event might be.

He smiled suavely as he headed inside the museum, sighing in resignation. The vast majority of people that attended the museum galas were his parents’ age with a small group of attenders around his own age. With any luck, his friend Clark from Metropolis would be here tonight. It would be the only thing that would make this night a little more bearable.

He immediately grabbed a glass of champagne from a passing waiter’s tray the second he entered the main hall of the museum. He quickly began to scan the room as he downed the glass of bubbly, trying to keep the boredom he felt from reaching his face.

He saw all the usual attenders, none of them of any particular interest to him. It actually caused his heart to clench in his chest, reminding him of his parents and how deeply he missed them. It was a constant ache that he carried within him, one that he feared would never heal.

Spotting another waiter, Bruce exchanged his empty glass for a full one, tipping his head back slightly to down the fortifying liquid that would hopefully begin to numb a measure of the pain he felt. With any luck, he’d get drunk enough that the entire evening would be nothing more than a forgettable blur of oblivion.

“You might want to slow down a little there, friend.”

Bruce rolled his eyes as he gulped down the last of the champagne in his glass before turning to face his friend. “Thank you, mother, but I think I know how to handle my alcohol.”

Clark Kent chuckled with his friend’s words. “Heaven knows you’ve had a lot of practice,” he pointed out.

“Actually, I’m relieved you’re here,” Bruce replied as he searched for another waiter to replenish his supply.

“Really?” Clark responded with a frown. “Why? This is more your thing than mine.”

“This…this is not my thing,” he bit out with a bitter tone. “This is my parents’ thing, but they’re not here so it has to be my thing by default…which I don’t want…at all.”

Clark’s blue eyes softened, knowing how difficult it was for his friend even twenty years after the fact. It was still a fresh wound that seemed ready to bleed at any given moment. He placed a reassuring hand on Bruce’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze before just as quickly retracting it. He knew he didn’t appreciate sympathy or attempts at comfort in any form.

“I know this is hard for you, Bruce, but—” Clark began.

“So, what are you doing here tonight?” Bruce asked, interrupting his attempt to console him. He didn’t need nor want it. What he needed was his parents back with him where they belonged.

Clark sighed as Bruce threw another wall up in his face. He’d run into more of them than he could begin to count over the years that they’d known each other. “Perry felt this was big enough of a story that he sent me to cover it,” he explained. “Have you met her yet?”

“Miss Prince?” Bruce uttered her name with an air of disdain. “Not yet, but I can tell you right now it’s one that I’m dreading.”

“Alfred made you come, didn’t he?”

“You’re going to march in there and make your parents proud, young man. I expect nothing less from you,” Bruce mimicked in his best Alfred impression as he sullenly grabbed another glass of champagne.

Clark couldn’t help but chuckle in response as he too reached for a glass. “You know without Alfred you would’ve been dead long ago,” he reminded him.

“Maybe it would’ve been for the best,” Bruce grumbled, more to himself than to his friend.

“You know that’s not true, Bruce,” Clark sternly retorted.

“Have you met the new curator?” Bruce asked, changing the subject.

“Not yet,” Clark revealed. “Perry sent me a bio on her with a picture, but I haven’t even had a chance to look at any of it yet.”

“Lois?”

Clark gave him a sheepish grin as he brought the champagne flute to his lips. “You know me so well,” he responded before taking a drink.

Bruce gave him a sardonic look as his gaze drifted over the crowded room, wondering which corner the new curator was hiding in…or under which artifact. “Too well sometimes,” he murmured. “I’m sure our newest curator is probably a boring bookworm who couldn’t make the time to pull her nose out of a dusty old tome to give anyone the time of day.”

“Wow…you have a real good impression of her already, and you haven’t even met her yet,” he decided. “You never know, Bruce. She just might surprise you.”

“I doubt it, Clark,” he stated. “I’ve attended too many of things. I know what curators are like. Boring with a capital B.”

Something out of the corner of his eye suddenly caught his attention, causing Bruce’s head to snap to the left. A flash of red material captured his interest, causing his brow to furrow in thought. No one ever wore red to these galas.

It was always earth-tones or black…dreadfully boring colors for boring people, nothing as racy as red with all the old money flowing through these halls. He knew that it couldn’t have been Veronica Vreeland. She was out of the country, traveling the plains of Africa on some sort of safari.

Clark’s forehead creased as he studied his friend, noticing the abrupt change in his demeanor. “What’s the matter?”

“I…thought I saw something,” Bruce muttered as he continued to scan the crowds for the source of the dress, catching another glimpse but not nearly enough for his liking.

“Like what?”

“I don’t know yet,” Bruce murmured, handing his empty glass to Clark. “I’ll see you later.”

Bruce walked away from his friend, lost in his thoughts as he searched for the mysterious woman who had arrested his attention. He muttered excuses and apologies as he worked his way through the throngs of people, his searching gaze locked on the last spot he had seen her.

“Bruce! It’s so good to see you here tonight,” Missus Henry greeted him, grasping hold of his forearm. “I know your mother would’ve loved this. It’s such a shame she’s not here.”

Bruce forced a smile to his face, one that didn’t reach his blue eyes as he bit back the biting retort that danced on his tongue. “Yes, she would’ve, Missus Henry,” he politely replied instead.

“I do miss her something fierce,” she tisked with a shake of her head. “Of course, I’m sure you do too, my dear boy.”

“I do,” he admitted. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to see someone.”

He didn’t wait for a response as he pulled his arm free to continue his pursuit. The crowd seemed to part at that moment, his eyes falling on the object of his hunt. It was only the back of her, but what an amazing view that he beheld.

The red material hugged her tall, feminine frame, the backless dress revealing nearly the entire length of her spine. Raven hair was pulled into an intricate updo that exposed the slender column of her graceful neck, leaving him more than anxious to see the rest of her…to meet her and know her name.

A familiar voice stopped him dead in his tracks, keeping him from meeting her. “There you are, Bruce.”

He turned to find the director of the Gotham Museum walking towards him. “Good evening, Mister Clements,” he greeted him.

“I’m so happy you could make it this evening, Bruce,” Mister Clements said, immediately grasping his hand and shaking it appreciatively. “I know how much this important event would’ve meant to your mother.”

Bruce swallowed hard, trying to keep the heartache from reaching his voice as he spoke. “I know she would’ve loved it,” he softly agreed.

Mister Clements grasped Bruce’s shoulder, giving him an understanding look. “We wouldn’t have been able to hire such a prestigious curator as Miss Prince without your help and your generous donation,” he continued. “I’m anxious for you to meet her.”

Bruce tried to hide his disappointment, glancing at the woman in the red gown to find her walking away from them. He was desperate to meet her, but Mister Clements was intent on him meeting this Prince woman that he was hoping to avoid at all cost.

“I’d love to, but—” he began.

“It’ll only take a minute…I promise,” Mister Clements assured him, taking hold of Bruce’s upper arm as he guided him.

Bruce was relieved that Clements was leading him in the same direction as the mysterious woman, wondering which dark corner Miss Prince was hiding in with her nose in a book. “Diana!” Clements called as they approached.

Bruce was stunned when the woman in the sexy red dress paused and turned towards them only to be struck dumb when he came face to face with none other than the new curator Diana Prince. Her lips spread into a dazzling smile that seemed to light up the entire room, her sapphire eyes sparkling like the rarest of diamonds.

“Mister Clements,” she said. “This gala was not necessary, but I appreciate the warm welcome to Gotham.”

“Nonsense,” he replied. “It’s our pleasure to honor your arrival in our city. It’s the perfect way to meet the great people of Gotham and get to know some of our finest patrons.”

“Still, this is far more than I had ever anticipated,” she graciously responded.

Bruce stood there as they talked, rendered speechless by the beautiful woman standing before him. The sound of her voice was hypnotizing, her think Greek accent only adding to her mysterious allure and charm. He felt ridiculous standing there, not uttering a single word. It was so unlike his typical playboy image that he was so notorious for.

He couldn’t help it, though. He found all of his confidence slipping through his fingers as Mister Clements introduced them, Bruce unconsciously extending his hand as he lost himself in the sheer blueness of her eyes. “Hi,” he murmured. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Prince.”

He silently berated himself for sounding so positively lame, wondering where all his debonair and charm had disappeared to. He’d wooed and bedded plenty of women with far less effort and yet he found himself at a complete loss in front of this vision before him.

“Please call me Diana, Mister Wayne,” she responded, shaking his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.”

“Bruce’s mother was one of our greatest patrons,” Mister Clements informed her.

“Was?” Diana questioned with a confused glance at Bruce only to notice his face growing pale.

“My parents were murdered twenty-years ago,” Bruce revealed, the muscles of his jaw tensing.

“My deepest apologies, Mister Wayne,” Diana softly expressed her sorrow, her eyes glistening with sudden, unshed tears that took Bruce completely by surprise. “I’m very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you.”

“Thank you,” he murmured, stunned by her reaction. She was truly hurt by his loss and yet she didn’t even know him, making him even more curious about this enigmatic woman that seemed so unlike any other he’d ever known or met.

She didn’t try to comfort him with clichés or platitudes meant to bring comfort that he had no hope of ever fully grasping hold of. There was nothing that could ever happen that would take away the pain or ease the bitter anger that dwelt inside of him. She’d simply expressed her sympathy for his loss, her compassion taking him off guard.

“Well, I’m going to leave you two to get acquainted,” Mister Clements interjected, spotting another patron that he needed to greet.

Recovering some of his faculties, Bruce managed to get some control of himself once more. “Can I interest you in a drink, Diana?” he asked.

“That would be lovely, Mister Wayne,” she agreed.

“Please, call me Bruce,” he told her.

Bruce offered her his arm with a charming smile, Diana slipping her arm around his and allowing him to escort her. He could hardly take his eyes off her as they approached the bar, the hundreds of museum guests fading away into nothingness as they made small talk.

Miss Diana Prince had made a significant impression on him, leaving a mark that would never fade. He found himself wanting to know everything about her—where she came from her, her childhood, her favorite color and what song put a smile on her face, what movie made her cry and what food she couldn’t get enough of. There was nothing that he didn’t want to know, and he was more than determined to find out one way or another.

To Be Continued…

Chapter Text

Decision (DCAU)

After wandering aimlessly around the manor, I find myself where I always find myself when I’m in a pensive, brooding mood such as this. Deep down beneath all the layers of self-loathing and bitterness…the simmering rage and lingering doubts, I know that I have no reason to be feeling this way.

Unfortunately, the demons that consume my soul have seen otherwise. They rise up like a brood of deadly vipers, hissing and slithering along the edges of my guilt and paranoia with lethal intent. They love nothing more than to seek out my happiness and the newfound peace that she has created within me, intent to wrap around this little nucleus of emotions that I’m so unaccustomed to having and squeeze the life out of them.

I find myself standing before the large portrait of my parents that hangs above the fireplace. I unconsciously lift my hand towards them as if I can really reach out and touch them again like I could before a punk with a gun took them away from me in that alley.

Realizing what I’m doing, I instantly pull my hand back as if I’d been scorched, my fingers coming to rest on top of the fireplace mantle instead. I release a strangled breath as my chin falls to my chest, the weight of my worry and doubts pressing in on me from every side.

I find myself at an inevitable crossroads that I had always known was coming, but I’d hoped to avoid at all cost. I guess a part of me had never truly believed that we would last this long or that I wouldn’t completely mess everything up with her long before now…driving her away with my dark brooding and paranoid tendencies.

The fact that she has stayed with me over these last six months is a true testament to her love for me or her unbelievable patience that had to have been given to her by her gods. There is no other reasonable explanation for why she is still here.

What I feel for her is far different from all the others, but I just can’t take that leap of faith yet…can I? It’s all too terrifying. Nothing good ever lasts in my life, always slipping through my fingers and disappearing in a puff a smoke. I just can’t stand the thought of losing her presence in my life.

Other women I’ve been with have only been able to experience a very small part of me, the shards that I would allow them to have. I only permitted them to see what I wanted them to see while fulfilling some carnal need, companionship that I knew would never last and therefore never had to worry about being forced to deal with for weeks or months later. No strings…no attachments…no worries about the future.

This, however, this is so very different—far more intimate and intense, far more tender and passionate in ways that I had never known or could’ve ever anticipated. It’s like a connection that goes beyond just the physical or the emotional. It’s something that is felt bone-deep, binding myself to her.

Still there are things that I’ve kept from her especially the pieces of me that concern my parents. She’s never been in this room or seen this portrait of my parents. I’m never taken her to their grave sight or spoken to her about that day so long ago. I guess I’m afraid if I let her into that part of me…that world of pain and anguish…it’ll suck her in just like me and I can’t do that to her.

I can feel the pensive expression that graces my face as my mind swirls with every possible ‘what if’ scenario that my obsessed mind can possibly conjure up. I hate it when my demons try to take control of me like this. It force me work harder to protect that core of happy emotions that had once been so foreign to me, but now has become so precious.

Despite my promise to my parents, there is a part of me that longs deeply for a simpler life, one that is halfway normal…one that includs a wife and children, love and happiness instead of the brokenness and heartache that has punctuated my life. It would be a welcome change of pace to a weary soul that has grown so tired of being alone.

My shoulders droop as I draw a ragged breath. That is the true crux of the problem…the heart of the dilemma that faces me. Can I allow myself to be happy while still being who I know that I need to be in order to continue my mission?

The two seems so diametrically opposed to one another, neither able to coexist with the other. They are polar opposites to one another. Don’t I need to cling to the darkness, stay in the shadows and revel in my rage and bitterness in order to continue to be Batman?

I lower my head, unable to bear the look of happiness on my parents’ faces. My heart is heavy with the questions and doubts that weigh it down like chains attached to an anchor. It’s a bitter battle between the man and the vigilante, one that I’ve grown weary of fighting. One of them is going to win and one is going to lose, and I have no idea which one it is.

My fingers tighten around my glass of Scotch in my other hand as my warring emotions cause my throat to tighten. A decision has to be made tonight. This can’t be allowed to proceed any longer. Prolonging the inevitable isn’t fair to her. I’ve led her on for far too long, making her believable a fairytale lie.

The thought of letting her go nearly steals the breath from my lungs, but the risks are just far too great, the dangers far too deadly to continue down this path. Tonight, I’ll have to do what I need to in order to ensure her safety and the future of Gotham.

I try to tell myself that I should be used to sacrificing my heart and my own desires over the years for the good of Gotham and the world. It doesn’t seem to make any of this easier. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse in my entire life save for losing my parents.

“Master Bruce.”

The familiar voice of my British butler filters through my tormented thoughts, forcing me to raise my head and acknowledge his presence. “Yes, Alfred,” I murmur without turning around to face him.

“May I ask what you are doing?” Alfred inquires.

“Just trying to accept a decision I should’ve made a long time ago, but I’ve been too selfish to make.”

“I see,” he evenly replies, and I can already tell by the tone of his voice that I’m in for a fatherly lecture. “I take it that it involves Miss Diana.”

“Yes,” I admit, downing the last of the Scotch in my glass before finally turning to face him. “I should’ve ended it a long time ago.”

I expect outright shock and indignation…an angry outburst accompanied by a scathing lecture about what an idiotic mistake I’m making. What I do receive from my father figure is not at all what I could’ve ever anticipated.

He silently walks over to one of the endless bookcases, pulling out a book that I don’t recall ever seeing before. A sentimental smile tugs at the corners of his mouth, faintly tightening the wrinkles that line his lips as he approaches me.

“Come with me, Master Bruce,” he tells me.

My curiosity becomes my undoing as I follow him to the large couch situated before the fireplace, the logs crackling softly as orange flames dance. I settle down next to him as I glance at the large book in his hands. To my surprise, I find it’s a photo album, one that I’ve never seen before.

“Where did this come from?” I ask.

I find the words tumbling past my lips before I can stop myself. I have made my decision and I’m more than determined to not waver from that path no matter what Alfred has to say or what my heart tries to tell me. I know it’s for the best—for both her and me.

“Of course you’ve never seen it because I’ve never showed it to you before,” Alfred replies with a bit of smug amusement at having gotten one up on me. It’s not something that many save for the elder British man beside me has ever been able to accomplish. I only let him revel in his triumph for a brief moment.

“Why haven’t you shown me this before?”

“I’ve never had the need to until now,” he cryptically responds as he opens the album, the dark brown leather creaking softly from the movement. It’s obvious it hasn’t seen the light day in many years, the leather showing its age.

“Alfred, what’s this about?” I ask with growing irritation. I really don’t have time to sit here and reminisce nor do I want to. It’ll only bring up painful memories that I’d sooner not relive.

Alfred turns his head to look at me, his blue orbs carrying a gleam that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. “This is a photo album that your mother had been putting together for you since the moment she found out she was pregnant with you.”

“Alfred…” I chide him with a frown and a warning glare. He’d treading on very dangerous ground right now. “I really don’t—”

His expression grows admonishing and I immediately close my mouth. “You will sit here, and you will listen to what I have to say, young man,” he sternly reprimands me. “It’s the least you can do before you make the biggest mistake of your life.”

“Yes, sir,” I sullenly mumble with a scowl of frustration.

If anything, this man sitting next to me is the closest thing that I have to a real father. He has taught me manners and respect for as long as I can remember. Regardless of my age, it’s something that I can’t shy away from even when I want nothing more than to run away and lock myself in my cave at this moment.

“Your mother wanted to give this to you herself when you finally found the woman you wanted to spend your life with,” Alfred continued, his irritation disappearing as nostalgia took over.

He slides the album over to my lap, the musty smell of the aged leather and yellowed pages assaulting me. I lightly run the tips of my fingers over the golden calligraphy, the words “The Story of Us” causing a thick knot to suddenly lodge in my throat.

Little did my mother know that their story would be cut so very short and in such a violent way. I try to draw in a breath only to find my lungs rebelling against me. My chest is tight as I flip to the next page to find a black and white picture of my mother as a teenager and I’m struck once again by her beauty and grace. She reminds me of Diana in many ways, both possessing such nobility and elegance that is completely effortless.

On the page opposite of her, I find a black and white picture of my father. I can’t help but notice how much I resemble him. There is no doubt that I carry the strong, striking features of a Wayne and yet I can still see some of my mother in me.

I find myself running my fingers over his face, wishing I could touch them just one more time. It feels as though the walls of my study are closing in all around me, threatening to crush me. I want to throw the album aside and race down into the cave. I want to avoid all of this at all cost…my sense of flight taking over, but I know that I need to do this if I’m ever going to try to free myself of this chain that I feel tightening around my neck and my heart.

I can feel Alfred’s eyes on me as he sits next to me, silently giving me his support without the meaningless platitudes. He’s never tried them on me, knowing that they’d never work. He’s one of the few who know how best to handle me…he and Diana and maybe Dick.

I turn the page to find their engagement picture looking back at me. They look so unbelievably happy together as my dad holds my mom in his arms. I can practically feel the intensity of their love leaping off the page at me. It overwhelms me in a way I hadn’t anticipated, stunning me senseless.

I’d always known that my parents were in love. I’d caught my dad kissing my mom more times than I could count, my mother always doing everything she could to support him. I’d almost forgotten how seamless they were together, true partners in every way imaginable.

I continue to flip through the album, finding one picture after another of my mother and father at various times of their life together. They look so unbelievably happy together, their immense love for one another shining through in every single scene that had been captured on film.

My breath catches in my throat as I see a picture of my parents at Gotham Hospital’s annual ball wearing the pearl necklace that she had been wearing the night I lost them. I’d recognize that strand anywhere. It’s been scorched into my memory, the pinging sound of them landing on the ground echoing in my head.

I can barely pull my gaze away from that picture, but I’m anxious to see what else my mother has put in this album. Turning the page, I find a picture of my mother pregnant with me. The joy that lights up her face is unmistakable, her hand caressing her swollen abdomen.

The next picture shows my father hugging her from behind, his hands on her belly. The smiles on their faces fill me with a sense of warmth and love that I hadn’t felt in a very long time…the type of love a child feels from their parents. I always knew that they loved me. That was never in question, but I think I’d forgotten the true depths of that love. The memories had become blurry around the edges, the intensity fading.

Apart from the portrait of them above the fireplace in my study, it’s been a very long time since I’ve allowed myself to actually look at pictures of them, to allow myself to remember how much they loved not only each other but also me.

“Finding out they were having you was the happiest day of their lives,” Alfred softly says, not wanting to break the magical hold that this moment has on me. “Besides each other, you were their greatest joy.”

My heart swells until it feels like it could burst right out of my chest. I draw a shuddering breath as I flip through page after page of memories, the pictures of my parents painting a scene of their life together. The pictures of my mom and dad holding me after my birth nearly brings tears to my eyes, but I push them back.

My mother made countless notes in the margins and beside pictures, explaining various events and charity functions that they had attended. Her thoughts and feelings pour forth from the pages as if she’s sitting right here with me, sharing every single part of herself with me.

“You know your father almost didn’t marry your mother,” Alfred reveals, stunning me.

I look up sharply, my eyes narrowing in disbelief. “What are you talking about?” I question him. “They look so incredibly happy. I can’t imagine any two people being more in love.”

“Oh, he was definitely head over heels for your mother, but he had his doubts too.”

“What?” I ask, shaking my head in confusion. “My father had doubts about my mother? How can that be?”

“I’m afraid so,” Alfred confessed. “Although he loved your mother very much, he had concerns about what a life spent with her would mean to his medical practice as well as his countless plans for making Gotham a better place. He feared that she would become a distraction because he loved her so much.”

“What made him decide to marry her then?” I ask, my voice almost tremulous with anticipation of his answer.

“Miss Martha did,” Alfred states. “She told him that they could accomplish more and were far stronger together than they were apart. It also didn’t hurt that I cornered him and told him that Miss Martha had brought more happiness to his life than any philanthropic endeavor could ever hope to. I reminded him that life is so much richer and far more enjoyable when you have someone special to enjoy the journey with.”

“He obviously agreed with you,” I reply, my voice barely above a whisper.

A huge smile spreads across Alfred’s face as he studies me. “Your father said it was the best piece of advice that anyone had ever given him,” he confesses. “Marrying your mother was the happiest day of his life next to your birth.”

I feel the tears well in my eyes as I turn my gaze back to the photo album in my lap. I see the love in my mother’s eyes as she holds me in her lap, reading a book to me. The picture next to it is of my father and me laying on the floor playing with building blocks. I couldn’t have been more than two at the time, but the pride shining in my father’s eyes is more than obvious.

The doorbell suddenly rings, signaling Diana’s arrival. A fierce flutter invades the pit of my stomach, my grip tightening on the album. The time has finally come. I’m standing at a fork in the road, my head telling me to go to the left…my heart to the right.

A weathered hand on my forearm causes me to look up. “Your parents wanted nothing more for you than to be happy and to know the kind of love that they shared,” he tells me, squeezing my arm. “I’ll go see to Miss Diana. Would you like her taken to the living room as usual?”

I look up at him for a long moment, knowing I’ve already made my decision. “No, bring her in here, Alfred.”

A smile tugs at the corners of his mouth, his eyes shining with pride. “I’d be more than happy to,” he replies as he stands to his feet. “Dinner will be ready whenever you are, sir.”

I nod my head as he makes his way to the doorway. “Alfred?” I call to him.

“Yes, sir?” he asks, turning to look at me.

“Thank you,” I softly say.

“You are more than welcome, Master Bruce.”

Alfred leaves me to fetch Diana, allowing me a chance to finish the album alone. I reach the last finished page, the lump returning to my throat with a vengeance at the countless empty pages that follow it…pages that my mother was never given the chance to finish for me.

The last picture is of me with my parents at my school’s science fair the year that I lost them. They each have a hand on my shoulder and proud smiles on their faces. I remember that day as if it was just yesterday. I had won first place in the science fair with my invention, one that I had created all by myself.

“I love you, mom and dad,” I whisper as the tears I’ve been trying to contain begin to slip down my face.

“Bruce?”

Her voice is angelic, melodious. The confusion and concern in her tone is clear as I set the album aside and stand to my feet. She’s right there before me in four quick strides, her strong hands suddenly cradling my face, her thumbs erasing my tears.

“What’s wrong?” she asks, her voice choked with emotion. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” I attempt to reassure her, knowing that she’s never seen me cry before. In fact, I haven’t cried since the day they were taken from me. “I want you to meet my parents.”

“What?”

I take her by the hand and lead her to the portrait of my parents that hangs above the fireplace. “Mom…dad…this is my princess…my Diana,” I tell them as I look up at them before turning to look at her. “This is my mom and dad.”

Diana smiles softly, tears reflecting in her bright blue eyes as she stares up at them. “It’s truly an honor,” she sincerely says.

I know I’m probably being foolish, but I’ve never let her into this part of my life before and I can tell by the expression on her face that she understands the true significance of the moment. She knows how monumental this is for me, how truly difficult this is to fully let her in. She’s the first to have ever gotten this far.

“I want to show you something,” I tell her, leading her to the couch.

She readily follows me to the leather couch before the fireplace, squeezing my hand in silent support and appreciation. She sits down next to me, my arm instantly slipping around her and pulling her against me. I pick up the album with my other hand, setting it on my lap so she can see it.

“This is the story of my parents,” I reveal. “I want to show it to you.”

“Thank you, Bruce,” she manages to utter, her eyes still sparkling with unshed tears. “You have no idea how much this means to me.”

“I think I’m beginning to,” I confess as I gaze into her eyes.

I lean in and press my lips to hers, savoring every single aspect of the intimate moment—the sweetness, her honied taste, the feel of her soft lips against mine, the way her breath subtly hitches as I deepen it, the overwhelming love that I feel for this woman welling in my chest.

And I know with every fiber of my being that I’m making the right decision.

Chapter Text

Rumors (DCAU)

“I think it would best if we put Green Lantern in charge of team two and J’onn in charge of team three,” Batman decided as he studied the papers spread out before him on the table. He absentmindedly reached for his cup of coffee, downing the last of it before glancing up at his lunch companion. “I think you should take team four and I’ll take team five.”

“Agreed,” Diana murmured, a distant look in her blue eyes.

“I think we should limit each training team to no more than three or four Leaguers,” he continued, his gaze narrowing as he tightened his grip on his pencil. “I believe that will give each of them plenty of time to—”

Batman looked up at her again, noticing that she wasn’t really paying attention to him. The corners of her lips were curved in amusement, her bright blue eyes gleaming with mischief. She was clearly listening in on other people’s conversations in the commissary, ignoring him and the work they were supposed to be doing.

“I thought that maybe once we we’re done with the annual team training sessions, you and I could join Joker’s gang and go on a looting spree,” Batman told her, his voice taking on a decidedly lighter tone. “We could be just like a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.”

“Sure,” Diana muttered, her smile broadening.

Batman sat back in his chair, folding his arms against the Bat emblem on his chest. “Diana, will you marry me?”

“Sounds good,” she replied, laughter escaping at the same moment as something clicked in her brain. She sat up straight in her chair as if she’d just been struck. “Wait…what?”

“Glad to see I’ve finally gotten your attention, princess,” he deadpanned. “Who were you listening to?”

“Supergirl, Zatanna, and Stargirl,” she revealed with a chuckle as she played with the straw of her iced mocha.

“What are they talking about?” he asked, his brow knitting beneath his cowl.

“Us,” she told him. “They think we’re in love with each other.”

“Is that rumor circulating again?” he questioned with a huff of annoyance. “It’s positively ludicrous.”

“I know,” she agreed with a laugh. “They must not have anything better to gossip about so they make up rumors that couldn’t possibly true.”

“Haven’t they learned that we’re just good friends?”

Diana shook her head in amusement. “I don’t know,” she uttered with a roll of her blue eyes. “I guess they think they notice something between us that we don’t see.”

“Just because we’re close friends doesn’t mean that we’re romantically involved,” he grumbled. “Men and women can be close without sex involved.”

“It’s just meaningless gossip, Bruce,” she reminded him. “You don’t take it seriously…do you?”

“No, I don’t take it seriously,” he stated a little too quickly as he studied her. “You don’t…do you?”

“Of course not,” she maintained with a frown. “There’s nothing remotely romantic about us.”

“Agreed,” he said.

“Agreed,” she said.

A long bout of silence filled the awkward gap that suddenly settled over them until Diana’s eyes widened only to narrow into sheer deviousness. “Want to have a little fun?” she asked, wiggling her eyebrows at the Dark Knight.

The white lenses of Batman’s cowl narrowed suspiciously as he scrutinized the Amazon princess sitting across the table from him. “What do you have in mind?”

“What do you say about adding a little ammunition to the rumors?” she suggested. “Let’s give them something to talk about even though we both know it’s not real.”

“It would serve them right,” he surmised as he considered her cunning plan. “Flash already has a running bet on the Watchtower about when we’ll finally hook up.”

“Still?” she questioned him, a look of annoyance passing over her face. “When will they get it through their thick heads that there’s nothing going on between us?”

“I don’t know, but it would definitely be worth it to see the looks on their faces when they realize that they were so wrong about us,” he decided.

“You’d think they’d find people far more interesting to spread rumors about then a non-existent love life between us,” she replied as she hooked a raven lock behind her ear.

“Probably because we’re Founders,” he conjectured. “Everyone watches our every move.”

“Can’t they spread rumors about John and Flash instead?”

“Because John’s with Vixen,” Bruce deadpanned. “Vixen would get jealous if she overheard rumors about John and Flash being together.”

Diana stared at her lunch companion in stunned disbelief. “Did the anal Batman just make a joke?” she challenged him.

A slight smirk pulled at the corner of his mouth. “I’ve been known to at times, princess. I just try not to make a habit of it.”

Diana stood to her feet as she shook her head in amusement, her expression growing warm and inviting as she leaned in close to Bruce. “Can I get you more coffee, Batman?” she asked with a sultry lilt to her voice.

Batman momentarily froze, taken aback by the sudden change in her demeanor. He swallowed hard as she lightly caressed his exposed jaw line. “Yes…black…please,” he stated like a robot.

“Coming right up, handsome,” she said with a smile, taking his empty coffee cup.

Batman watched as Diana sauntered away with a sultry sway of her hips as she cast a sexy leer over her shoulder at him. She walked past the table that held the three gossipers, giving them a wink. All three superheroes sat with their mouths hanging open in utter shock, their eyes wide as they tried to process what they had just witnessed.

A low whistle escaped the Batman’s lips as he watched her every move. He told himself that it was purely for show, adding to the performance in order to stir up the rumors even more. He was quickly rewarded when all three superheroines immediately huddled close, their heads close together as they whispered excitedly and shared high-fives with each other.

Diana could barely suppress the laughter that threatened to erupt as she passed by them, returning to her table with a full cup of coffee for “her man”. Setting it on the table before him, she lingered a moment longer, the tips of her fingers trailing down the length of his arm and over his gauntlet before finally slipping into her seat.

“I think we got the reaction we were going for,” Diana murmured, her lips curling wickedly with barely contained pleasure. “This is more fun than I had anticipated.”

“Just don’t overdo it, princess,” Bruce warned her. “We want them to think that we’re dating not getting married.”

A raven eyebrow quirked as her smile instantly fell away. “And that would be so bad?” she pointedly asked him.

“Yes…I mean, no…I mean I don’t know,” he responded with a scowl. “You know how I feel about marriage. I think it would be a complete and utter disaster.”

“Wow, Bruce, how do you really feel about it?” she snapped as anger blazed in her piercing blue eyes.

Bruce’s scowl deepened with his ever-growing frustration. “You know what I mean, princess,” he ground out.

“No, please explain how being married to me would be a complete disaster,” she growled. “I’d love to hear how you think I would totally ruin your life.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” he angrily rasped in a low, gravelly voice. He couldn’t for the life of him figure out how this little charade had turned into a rapidly heating argument between them.

“Do I really?” she spat out as she leaned closer to him, trying her best to keep their argument from reaching the ears of the superpowered Metas in the commissary. “You seem to be pretty clear about avoiding any romantic entanglement with anyone that isn’t a criminal lest you be forced into making a real commitment.”

“That’s not true,” he bit out as he closed the distance between them, each word punctuated with his fuming anger. “You know my mission and Gotham always comes first.”

“Oh, Hera, please spare me the mission and Gotham comes first lecture,” she shot back, his breath hot against her face, their noses almost touching. “You know you would make time for someone if you truly loved them. I’m sure you made time for Catwoman. Just admit you’re too scared to let anyone get close to you, Bruce.”

Without a second thought, Batman’s lips engaged hers in a bruising kiss in an effort to silence her. After several long moments, Batman finally remembered where they were. He quickly pulled back; his breathing slightly exerted as he averted his eyes.

He crossed his arms against his chest, taking up what he hoped was an intimidating pose as Diana tried to regain a measure of composure once more. She couldn’t figure out what had made him kiss her like that until she heard Zatanna’s voice.

“Hey, Bats…Wondy,” Zatanna greeted them with a knowing grin as she passed by their table with Supergirl and Stargirl.

“Hi, Zee,” Diana responded with a forced smile, doing her best to calm her racing heart.

She understood now why he’d kissed her. He was keeping up the pretense that they were together in order to fuel the fire of rumors about them that were blazing through the Watchtower like a wildfire. She stood to her feet, indignation still simmering in her sapphire eyes.

“If you’re done, I’ve got things that I need to do,” she evenly stated.

Unfortunately, she didn’t get too far before Batman’s vice-like grip clamped down on her upper arm just above her elbow. He inclined his head towards her, his lips brushing against her ear. “Have you already forgotten you promised to help me fix a couple of the Javelins before sparring this afternoon?”

Diana ground her teeth, her anger with him still running in waves beneath her skin, but she wasn’t about to appear as though his words mattered to her in the least. “No, I haven’t forgotten,” her clipped response came with a defiantly raised chin. “I was going to get started without you.”

He didn’t release his hold on her arm as they exited the commissary, appearing very cozy with one another. They didn’t pause in their step as they noticed Green Arrow and Black Canary coming towards them, both of their faces adorned with grins.

“What?” Batman snapped as he leveled them with a glare.

“Oh, nothing,” Arrow replied with a smirk, tightening his hold on Canary’s hand. “Nothing at all.”

“See? I told you,” Diana heard Black Canary whisper to Green Arrow after they had passed by them causing Diana to snicker in response.

“Sold it again, didn’t we?” Batman knowingly responded with a devilish smirk of his own.

“They’re planning our wedding,” Diana revealed. “Ollie’s already calling dibs on being your best man.”

Realizing he was still holding onto Diana’s arm, Batman quickly released his hold on her, putting a little distance between them. “I wish I could see each and every one of their faces when they find out they were all wrong about us,” he groused.

“I have a feeling money is already changing hands on all the bets that have been placed on us,” she replied. “Too bad they’ll have to give all that money back when they find it out it was a hoax.”

“Serves them right for betting money on our so-called love life,” Batman growled. “They should spend more time worrying about their own lives then wasting their time on a love that doesn’t even exist.”

“Well, I do love you, Bruce, but it’s just as friends,” she corrected.

“Yah…of course,” he muttered with an undercurrent of awkward uneasiness.

“I mean could you really imagine us together as a couple?” she questioned him as they headed towards the Javelin bay.

“We’d be at each other’s throats all the time.”

“It’s only because we’re both very passionate people,” she clarified.

Batman looked at her in disbelief. “Me? Passionate?” he inquired. “I don’t think I’ve ever been described as passionate, princess.”

Entering the Javelin bay, Diana thoughtfully considered his incredulity as she came to a stop before a Javelin. “Really? I think you’re a very passionate person,” she decided. “You’re wholly committed in every way imaginable to your city and the people that you care about. You’re the bravest, most selfless man that I’ve ever known. I believe that all of those admirable qualities stem from a very passionate heart that you try so hard to hide from everybody.”

She looked up to find him staring at her with an expression that she couldn’t quite put a name to despite the fact that his cowl covered the majority of his face. “What?” she asked with a frown. “Don’t you believe me?”

“I…I don’t think that I’ve ever been described that way before,” he stoically confessed, his posture growing rigid as if visibly steeling himself against some unwanted emotion he was trying to tamp down on.

Diana’s frown deepened as she closed the distance between them. “That’s because people don’t take the time to look beyond the Kevlar and the icy exterior,” she surmised. “It’s a shame. You’re truly an amazing man, Bruce. I consider it a great honor to call you one my closest friends.”

Bruce didn’t know how to respond to such praise, a humbling sense of awe and amazement vying with an overwhelming desire to flee. He silently nodded his appreciation as he set aside the pile of paperwork that he’d brought along from the commissary to pick up a toolbox sitting on the floor.

Diana smiled to herself, knowing that was the extent of his acknowledgement of her praise. Batman wasn’t someone who relished the limelight or basked in the praise and adoration of others. He preferred to be hidden in the shadows, a baffling mystery that could never truly be solved or unraveled.

“If you could hold these new panels in place, I’ll weld them onto the Javelin,” he instructed her.

“Let me guess,” she ventured. “Flash tried his piloting skills again.”

“Bingo,” he revealed as he set to work, Diana’s words playing over and over again in his mind.

He knew that she believed every single word that she had said to him. Diana was the embodiment of truth, pure and without guile. If she didn’t truly believe what she had said about him, she wouldn’t have said anything at all. It was just the way that she was. It was something that he greatly appreciated about her.

A muttered Greek curse invaded his thoughts, forcing him to look at his partner in crime. “What?”

“We didn’t think this through very well,” she informed him. “We should have made some secret bets of our own on us getting together. We could’ve made a killing with our fake relationship.”

Bruce couldn’t help but chuckle with her deviousness. She always appeared so compassionate and sweet, naïve and innocent in every way. He was quickly learning that the Amazon princess had a sneaky, devious streak that was as long as it was wide, and he was enjoying every single second of it.

“Have you already forgotten that I’m a billionaire, princess?” he asked. “I don’t exactly need the money.”

“No, but still it would have been hilarious to see the looks on their faces when we won the money,” she pointed out.

“Yah, but we’d still have to give it back because it’s not real,” he reminded her. “We’re not in love with each other.”

“I know, but still…it would’ve been fun to mess with everyone,” she replied with a sullen air.

“You really are mischievous, aren’t you?” he questioned her. “It’s a wonder you didn’t give your mother gray hair growing up.”

Diana frowned as she studied him, her eyebrows knitting in confusion. “My mother has blond hair.”

Bruce shook his head as he finished welding the panel. “Never mind, princess.”

Her lips curved into a smile as she thought about her childhood. “I was rather…how do you put it? Impish as child?”

A deep chuckle escaped as Bruce shook his head in amazement. “I have a feeling that’s putting it mildly where you’re concerned,” he corrected her. “I have a strong belief that you never outgrew it.”

“I’m sure Alfred has plenty of stories from your childhood that would make me look like a saint.”

Bruce snorted in response as he thought back on his childhood. It was something that he rarely allowed himself to do. It typically stirred up too much pain and rage to dwell on, but Diana somehow managed to temper those darker emotions in him.

“I may have slid down the banister in the manor a time or too,” he found himself confessing.

“Hera, Bruce,” Diana uttered with a chuckle and a roll of her eyes. “It’s a wonder you weren’t court-martialed for such a heinous offense.”

“Very funny,” he retorted as they moved on to the next Javelin. “That was just the tip of the iceberg. If I told you half the things that I’ve done, you’d never want to be seen with me ever again. I’d tarnish your bright, shiny image.”

“Oh, I highly doubt that,” she countered with utter disbelief. “I’m pretty sure I could make the formidable Batman blush with the things that I’ve done.”

“Please, do tell, princess,” he flirted.

Diana opened her mouth to respond only to be interrupted by the opening of the Javelin bay doors. Bruce and Diana looked up to find Superman walking towards them with a sheepish expression on his face. Diana swore she caught a faint blush suffusing his cheeks.

“Hi, Kal,” she said. “What are you doing up here?”

“Oh, uh, I had to write up some reports and you see I thought I’d just…uh, thought I’d see how the repairs on the Javelins were coming because I know how important they are…to us…on missions,” he stammered and stuttered his way through an explanation that was rapidly becoming lamer by the moment.

Bruce and Diana looked at each other, both realizing what was going on. An unspoken agreement instantly passed between them, one that both of them were eager to continue with especially since it was Superman who had come to check up on them.

“Well, Kal, we were hoping for a little alone time while we worked on the repairs,” Diana said with an air of disappointment. “I mean we get so little of it.”

Clark’s eyes immediately widened in shock, his mouth hanging open. “Oh…I’m sorry,” he quickly apologized as he rubbed the back of his neck with an unexpected awkwardness. “I…I didn’t realize…I didn’t mean to intrude if you two…I mean not that you two would be doing anything inappropriate in here. I mean…that’s not what I meant.”

“What did you mean, Clark?” Bruce pointedly questioned him as he leaned his shoulder against Diana’s, both standing with their arms crossed against their chests as they stared down the other one third of the trinity.

A fierce blush rapidly rose from his chest, peeking past the collar of his uniform as it travelled up his neck to his face. “I didn’t mean anything…honest,” he claimed with a growing wave of nervousness. “I just wanted to see—”

“What were you hoping to see, Kal?” Diana innocently asked him, trying to keep the smirk from rising to her lips.

His eyes widened once more as he adamantly shook his head. “Nothing…I swear!” he maintained. “I wasn’t hoping to see anything. In fact, I don’t think I even need to be in here. You guys are doing a great job. I gotta go.”

Superman was nothing but a blue and red streak as he flew out of the Javelin bay at a Mach speed that would have made the Flash jealous. Bruce and Diana stood there a moment longer before Diana dissolved into a fit of laughter, Bruce’s baritone chuckle mingling with hers.

“That was priceless,” Diana exclaimed as she wiped a tear from her cheek.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the boy scout so mortified in my entire life,” he decided as he turned back to his work.

“His face matched his cape,” Diana said, trying to stop laughing. “Please tell me you recorded it on the camera in your cowl.”

“I’ll send you a copy when I get back to the cave,” he promised her.

“This has turned out to be the best day,” she replied as she held up another panel, her entire aura bubbling with unbridled excitement.

“Any time spent with me is always a good day, princess,” he quipped.

“Sweet Aphrodite,” she muttered in exasperation. “What am I going to do with you?”

“Well, since we’re supposedly dating, I can think of several things just off the top of my head,” he flirted.

“You, Mister Wayne, are incorrigible,” she readily decided.

Batman began to put away his welding equipment, a slight smirk playing on his lips. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you for years and yet you still keep coming back for more. You’re a glutton for punishment.”

“Maybe I’ll need to rethink my decision about categorizing you as my best friend then.”

Bruce looked up at her in surprise. “Best friend? I thought that coveted role belonged solely to Superman.”

“I can have two best friends, can’t I?”

“I don’t know, princess,” he replied with a crooked smile that oozed arrogance. “Clark will be jealous if he finds out I’m your favorite.”

“You know I think I need to take you down a few pegs…teach you a little humility,” she told him.

“You can try if you want, but you won’t succeed,” he taunted her as they exited the Javelin bay, making their way towards the training room.

“We’ll just see about that, Batman,” she throatily responded as she pressed herself against his side, her lips ghosting over his jaw.

“I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!”

Diana pulled away from Bruce just as Flash inserted himself between them, one arm looped around Batman and the other around Wonder Woman. Wally pulled the pair in close to him, their heads pushed against each other’s as he wrapped them up in a bear hug.

“It’s about time!” Wally exuberantly exclaimed. “You have made me the happiest man on the planet and yet my heart is broken, Wondy. You choose dark and gloomy over me. What does he have that I don’t? No…wait…I don’t want to know. Might crush my self-esteem. You know how fragile it is.”

“Let me go or I’ll put you in a full body cast,” Batman growled as he pushed himself out of Wally’s embrace.

“Bats! Lighten up, bud!” Wally told him, cautiously giving him a congratulatory pat on the back. “You managed to snag the hottest chick in the galaxy. That alone should be enough to be dancing about and if it’s not, I’m sure she’ll have you singing a different tune later tonight if you know what I mean. I hope your quarters are sound proof. I don’t need a play-by-play of the Wonderbat action.”

“Wally…” Batman spat out through clenched teeth, his gauntleted hands balling into fists ready to do some damage.

“You two are so perfect for each other,” Wally continued on, completely oblivious. “Everyone knows you two are in love. You can practically feel it in the air anytime you’re anywhere near each other. It’s electric…like little bolts of lightning and when you two look at each other, it’s like you’re having eye sex or something. It’s actually a little uncomfortable, but I’m happy for you.”

Batman growled low in his throat; his teeth clenched with anger as Wally elbowed him in the ribs. The more Wally talked the angrier he got. “Don’t you have anything better to do than annoy us?”

“Not that I can think of,” Flash said as he tilted his head to the side in thought.

“You could clean up the mess you made in Javelin Two,” Batman pointedly stated, leveling the speediest with a deadly glare. “There are chips and cookie crumbs all over, not to mention the super-sized Slurpee cup you left in there.”

“Oh…yah,” Flash nervously replied. “Well, you see my blood sugar started to plummet after a very dangerous mission and I had to make sure I kept my strength up.”

“Go,” Batman growled. “Now!”

Wally swallowed hard, visibly trembling as he squeaked out, “bye!”

Diana chuckled as she watched Flash disappear around the corner, leaving them alone once more. “You didn’t have to scare him like that,” she commented, her hands on her hips.

“Yes, I did,” he stated. “He was talking out of his head.”

“Does everyone really think that we’re in love?” she asked as they entered the training room to spar. “I mean it’s crazy, right?”

Batman removed his utility, watching Diana as she began stretching. “Absolutely,” he muttered, tossing his belt to the ground.

Diana slipped off her tiara and lasso, setting them aside before turning to face her opponent only to find him staring at her. It caused a heated shiver to race up her spine. “I mean we’re just good friends…right?” she asked, her voice taking on a breathy tone as she watched him remove his cape, cowl, and gauntlets.

“Of course,” he agreed as she removed her breastplate and silver bracers.

“No powers, no gadgets.”

“Two out of three pins.”

“Winner takes all.”

“Always.”

They stood there staring at each other, the events of the last few hours playing through both their minds and stirring up things that both had refused to admit was truly there. Blood began to heat as stomachs fluttered, and hearts started to beat a little harder…a little faster.

They slowly approached each other, circling one another as blue eyes dared blue eyes to make the first move…whatever that move may be. Diana shifted into a crouching stance as if ready to pounce on him like a sleek panther, Batman raising his arms and shifting his weight to the balls of his feet as if to defend himself.

Diana finally lunged at Bruce who caught her full force, twisting and pinning her to the ground with his body. She didn’t make any move as she stared up into his handsome face, his piercing azure eyes peeling back all the layers as if to gaze directly into her soul in an effort to find the truth.

Her breathing grew ragged despite the fact that they hadn’t even truly sparred yet, the feel of his weight shifting over her thrilling her to her core and taking her by surprise. His lips were suddenly on hers in the next heartbeat, a low moan escaping both throats and mingling with their shared breath.

All fears and doubts, all refusals to believe were thrown out the window as Bruce allowed the full weight of his body to press into her feminine curves. Her arms slipped around him, pulling him unbelievably closer as wanton passion took full control of them.

No more hiding behind pretenses, no more ignoring what was so obviously there between them though both had refused to admit it for far too long as his hands began a thorough exploration of her. No more pretending that friendship was all that there was between them as they lay their feeling bare before one another.

Diana quickly began to remove his uniform top as he kissed along her throat towards the tops of her breasts, each already losing themselves in one another. Both of them wondered what the rumor mill would say now as they began to remove each other’s clothes, both readily deciding that they really didn’t care at that moment as they began to make love.

Chapter Text

Texting 101 (DCAU)

BM: Talk to me.

BM: Princess.

BM: Answer me.

BM: Diana!

Bruce glared at his cell phone as if silently willing a response to appear on the black screen. This was the twenty-third text message that he’d sent her and still no response. He could feel his anger running hot and heavy with every second that passed by.

Two weeks. It had been two whole weeks. Two freaking weeks since Diana had last spoken to him, the last time that she had actually made eye contact with him. Her refusal to speak to him or even acknowledge his presence was baffling and frustrating as hell.

She had even been avoiding being alone in the same room with him save for Founders meetings and missions and it was driving him absolutely crazy. He had no idea what he’d done to deserve the wrath of the Amazon princess, but he had a faint inkling that he was loathe to even acknowledge.

BM: DAMN IT, DIANA! TALK TO ME!

WW: Cursing and yelling at me in a text message is not a smart move, Bruce.

BM: It got you to respond to me, didn’t it?

WW: I don’t have time for this.

BM: Wait! Why aren’t you talking to me?

WW: If the World’s Greatest Detective can’t figure it out, then I’m not telling you.

Bruce growled under his breath with a sneer on his lips, cursing as he angrily punched in his response to her.

BM: Wedding is in one week. We still have things to discuss.

Several moments slipped by without any reply from her, causing the headache that was building behind his eyes to suddenly intensify. He silently pleaded with her to respond to him, knowing deep down that duty would ultimately outweigh whatever it was that had caused her to be so angry with him.

WW: Fine. We’ll talk to tomorrow after the meeting.

BM: See you then, princess.

Bruce waited with bated breath, not receiving any more response from her. He slammed his cell phone down with a curse. Leaning forward, he buried his face in his hands as his elbows came to rest on his knees. He would have to be a complete idiot if he couldn’t admit to himself that he knew what was wrong with Diana. He just didn’t know if he was ready to accept the consequences if he was right.

After several long minutes of brooding, he scrubbed his face with his hands before finally sitting back in his command chair in the Batcave. He picked up his cell phone and began texting again, hoping that he was wrong, but deep down he knew he wasn’t.

BM: Why is Diana angry with me?

GL: LOL! You mean you really don’t know, Great Detective?

BM: I was hoping I was wrong.

GL: Sorry, buddy, but your goose is cooked. It’s time to put up or shut up.

BM: Funny.

SM: He’s right. She’s not going to wait around for you forever.

BM: You guys don’t know that.

GL: Are you sure about that?

SM: Really?

BM: What did she say to you?

SM: I can’t tell you. Talk to her!

BM: SHE WON’T TALK TO ME! I HAD TO YELL AT HER IN A TEXT MESSAGE TO GET HER TO RESPOND TO ME!

SM: That’s not a very smart move.

GL: Do you have a death wish, dude?

BM: No, but I had to do something. I was desperate.

GL: Let’s just say that you’re taking too long.

BM: You just had to ask Shayera to marry you, didn’t you? You know you’ve ruined my life.

GL: LOL! You did that yourself, buddy. She’s given you so many chances.

Several moments past by before Bruce finally answered, sighing audibly as he typed in his response.

BM: I know.

SM: That’s all you have to say? I know!?!

BM: YES, I KNOW!

SM: I should’ve kicked your ass long ago for stringing her along these last five years!

BM: As if you could, boy scout.

SM: Bring it, Wayne!

BM: Have Kryptonite. Will use.

SM: That threat is so old.

BM: IS IT REALLY?

GL: Gentlemen! Getting married in a week. Don’t need my best man and the host of my reception to show up all beaten up.

SM: No worries. Lo and I have the reception all covered. It’s going to be amazing.

GL: Thanks, Supes. Oh, and thanks Bats for letting us have the wedding and reception at the Manor.

BM: Yah…whatever. Just remember that you guys destroyed my life.

SM: How in the world could Diana possibly destroy your life?!? She’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

GL: Agree w/Supes. Di is a goddess not a curse.

BM: Couldn’t you have just left Diana and me out of it?

GL: It’s not my fault. Shay wanted Diana as her maid of honor.

BM: And you just had to drag me into it as your best man. I smell a conspiracy.

GL: No conspiracy. Just want our friends with us on our special day.

BM: I’ll pay you to elope.

GL: No way! Shay wants a wedding with all the Founders there.

SM: Face it, Bruce. YOU LOVE HER. Love is a wonderful thing that doesn’t come along very often. The sooner you admit it to yourself and Di the happier you will be.

BM: Thanks, Ma Kent. That’s easier said than done.

GL: Not really. Look how well it worked out for Shay and me?

BM: Diana and I are NOT you and Shay…not even close!

GL: I don’t know who’s more relieved about that. Me or Shay. Ok…definitely me.

SM: Just think about it, Bruce. Can you really handle seeing Di with a man that’s not you?

Bruce felt a knot fill his throat, making it difficult to breathe. He knew the answer, but all the fears and what if’s that had been barraging him for the last five years refused to leave him alone. Could he be so selfish to drag her into his bleak world and put her life at risk like that?

GL: Stop! You’re thinking too hard about it!

BM: I’ve got to get ready for patrol.

SM: And there he goes.

GL: Do you think he’ll ever tell her he loves her?

SM: He better or it’ll be the worst mistake of his life.

XXX

Batman repeatedly tapped the end of his pen against the top of the conference room table, his thoughts on anything but the agenda of the weekly Founders’ meeting. Actually, his thoughts were focused one thing and one thing only—the Amazon princess sitting to his right.

She refused to make eye contact with him let alone acknowledge his presence in the room. Her chin was lifted in that stubborn way that bespoke of her royal upbringing, reminding him of the obstinacy that ran through her like a mighty current.

He wasn’t about to back down in the wake of her temper tantrum, refusing to give in to her petulance. Just because there were feelings right there beneath the surface begging to be recognized didn’t make it right or something that they should act on. There was too much that needed to be taken into account before jumping headlong into a relationship.

“All right, gang,” Superman said. “See you all at the wedding rehearsal dinner.”

Everyone gathered their things before leaving the conference room, talking about the upcoming nuptials and leaving Batman and Diana all alone. Diana remained in her chair with her arms crossed. Her posture was rigid, the heat of her anger warming the very air around her. She was silently warning Bruce to tread very carefully.

Batman got up and turned to lean against the edge of the conference table, his arms crossing against his emblem covered chest as he glared down at the haughty Princess of the Amazons. Diana looked up at, a single raven eyebrow arching in an unspoken challenge.

“Are we going to talk or are we just going to glare at one another?” Batman growled.

“It depends,” she said with a clipped tone.

“Depends on what?”

“What you want to talk about.”

“We need to finalize plans for John and Shayera’s wedding,” he reminded her.

“I thought we had everything covered.”

“What about the bachelor and bachelorette parties?”

“I have Shayera’s party all set,” she told him. “Don’t you have John’s party planned?”

“Well…yah…I guess so,” he replied, realizing how lame he suddenly sounded. He knew that they really didn’t have any last-minute wedding plans to discuss, but he’d needed something to get her to talk to him. This was all that he could think of. Now, he felt ridiculous.

“Then, I guess we have nothing else to discuss,” she told him as she abruptly stood to her feet.

Batman’s hand immediately shot out, grabbing hold of her upper arm just above her elbow as she turned to leave. “Wait, don’t leave,” he ordered, clearing his throat in an effort to dispel the commanding tone that had accompanied his words. “Please, Diana.”

Diana released a sigh as she stood stone still, finding the conference table far more interesting to look at than the Dark Knight of Gotham. “What is it, Bruce?”

“Why won’t you talk to me?” He found the words spilling out of his mouth without realizing it, but he couldn’t take them back now that they were out there in the open. “You’ve been ignoring me for the last two weeks.”

“Because I have nothing more to say until you get your head out of your ass,” she stated, yanking her arm free as she glared darkly at him. “I’ve decided I have far too much self-respect to continue participating in this insane dance of yours anymore, Bruce.”

The hurt that pervaded her voice was unmistakable, giving Bruce pause. He had put that hurt there and he needed to make it right. The problem was that he didn’t think that he could. Nothing ever seemed to work out for him…or it worked out just long enough to give him a false sense of peace and happiness only for it to shatter into a million pieces right before his eyes.

He couldn’t go through that with her. Not Diana.

“No one was forcing you to participate in my so-called dance in the first place,” he shot back, leveling her with his very best Batglare. He found it far easier making her angry than to tell her how he felt about her.

Diana leaned in close to him, their noses nearly touching. “You vile piece of Cerberus dung,” she seethed, her chest beginning to heave. “I ought to—”

“You ought to what?” he smugly countered, an arrogant smirk on his lips as she drew back.

Batman caught her fist just before it connected with his jaw and dislodged the majority of his teeth. He tightened his grip on her wrist, knowing very well that she could break free, but of course it didn’t stop him from yanking her in close to him once more.

“You ought to what, princess?” he rasped darkly.

Tilting her head, Diana suddenly crushed her lips against his in a bruising kiss. Without a second thought, he immediately buried his gauntleted hand in her thick raven hair, his other arm wrapping around her waist and pulling her flush against his Kevlar covered body. His head kept telling him to run, but his heart told him nothing had ever felt so right in his entire life.

He quickly lost himself in the passionate kiss that was growing more frantic and heated by the moment. Diana pushed him backwards into his chair, Bruce pulling her down to straddle his lap. Ripping his gauntlets off, he ran his hands up her back and into her hair, fisting the long strands as they kissed.

Diana ran her hands over his Kevlar covered chest, searching for the releases on his uniform. A lustful growl rose up from deep in his chest as he guided her hands to the fasteners of his uniform top before working to remove her breastplate.

As he worked to remove her uniform, he decided that maybe Clark was right. This was making him very happy and, if Diana’s moans were any indication, she seemed just as happy as he was.

XXX

GL: What do you think they’re doing in there right now?

SM: Trying not to think about it.

GL: LOL! Come on, farm boy. You have to be curious.

SM: NOT. AT. ALL.

FL: What did I miss?

SM: You don’t want to know.

GL: We think Bats and Wondy are knocking boots.

FL: *FIST PUMP* I win the betting pool!

SM: I am never going into that conference room ever again.

GL: We can order a new table…and chairs…and flooring. We’ll just have it sterilized.

SM: UGH!

FL: Deep breaths, Supes. No passing out. Maybe I’ll get to walk Wondy down the aisle someday.

GL: You just focus on walking Shay down the aisle next week.

FL: I got my job covered. Did J’onn get his online license yet to marry you two?

GL: Got it last week.

FL: This wedding is going to be the bomb especially since Bats and Wondy are hooking up.

SM: I need to leave.

FL: What’s with him?

GL: Bashful.

FL: So, do I get to kiss Shay on the cheek or on the lips when I give her over to you.

GL: ONLY ON THE CHEEK.

FL: You’re no fun, man.

GL: Gotta go. Shay’s waiting on me. See you at my bachelor’s party.

FL: WHOOT! PAR-TAY!

XXX

HG: So?!? What happened after we left? I want all the deets!

WW: I sort of…kissed him.

HG: What? I thought you were going to stand your ground?!?

WW: I did until he grabbed my arm and pulled me against him.

HG: He did?? Then what?

WW: I couldn’t help myself. I tried to kiss that smug smirk off his face and then we…well…

HG: YOU DIDN’T?!? IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM?

WW: I’ll never look at his chair the same ever again…or the conference table.

HG: How was it?

WW: Once you’ve had the Bat, you never go back.

HG: LOL! That good, huh?

WW: Let’s just say I’m so glad that Bruce had the forethought to soundproof the conference room.

HG: AHAHAHAHA!!! I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING!

WW: I’ll tell you everything at your bachelorette party.

HG: That’s still two days away!

WW: Gotta run. Bruce is waiting for me in his quarters.

HG: You wicked little Amazon.

WW: If I had known giving him the silent treatment would light a fire, I would’ve done it years ago!

HG: You certainly lit his fire!

WW: And it’s still burning. Bye!

XXX

GL: Will it turn out to be a double wedding next week?

BM: Hell no.

GL: So, is it safe to say that the famous billionaire bachelor is officially off the market?

BM: I was never on the market.

GL: Yah, ever since you first laid eyes on a certain Amazon princess.

BM: Do you have a point?

GL: Just that I’m happy for you, man.

BM: What makes you think that anything has changed between us?

GL: Because I just saw Diana and I’ve never seen that big of a smile on her face. I think she was floating above the ground.

BM: *smirk*

GL: Is that all you have to say?

BM: A true gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.

GL: That’s confirmation enough for me.

BM: You tell anyone about this and I’ll make it so your body is never found.

GL: It’s not me you have to worry about. Flash knows.

BM: I’ll make him a permanent fixture on the hull of the Watchtower if he breathes a word of this to anyone.

GL: I’ll warn him, but it might be too late.

BM: Just do it. Have to go. My date has arrived.

Green Lantern looked over at Shayera on his right. “Oh yah, we totally rocked it,” he told her.

Shayera tried to stifle her giggle with her hand over her mouth but failed miserably. “What’s best is that they never suspected a thing.”

“You are so wicked,” he told her with a growling undercurrent as he reached for her, wrapping his arms around her.

“Well, they needed something to finally push them in the right direction,” she attempted to defend herself. “What better way than making them maid of honor and best man for our wedding? It was bound to cause some sparks.”

John kissed her deeply, his nose brushing against hers before retreating. “Have I ever told you how much I love your devious side?”

“Maybe once or twice,” she thoughtfully replied.

“I think there’s a good chance for a Wayne wedding in the near future.”

“Let’s just worry about our own for now,” she suggested, pulling him in for another kiss.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

Chapter Text

Stalking (DCAU)

I stay close to the shadows that surround me, allowing them to swallow me up in hopes that they’ll conceal my presence, but I have a niggling feeling it is a futile endeavor as I turn another corner that takes me deeper into the murky heart of Gotham. I tuck a couple of locks of hair inside the hood of my cloak before pulling the dark material a little further over my face in hopes of concealing my identity as I take a right down a side street.

It is a well-known fact that has been drilled into all of us that the Justice League is not welcome in Gotham…well, more specifically Metas are not allowed in Batman’s city which basically means all of us. It’s something that has been clearly stated in no uncertain terms, growled between clenched teeth, and more often than not accompanied with swear words and yet I still find myself here consequences be damned.

The overwhelming stench coming from an alley that I pass on my right assaults me as hard as a blow from Superman, an intense wave of nausea threatening to take hold of me. I immediately tamp down on it, refusing to allow it to deter me in my mission as I pause to cautiously peer around the corner of a building.

I immediately spot my prey across the street as he talks to someone, the flickering light from a nearby street pole creating an eerie glow. The man that Batman is talking to appears as though he has lived a hard life on the streets of this grisly city.

They talk about someone named the Riddler. I learned from Flash the other day that Batman has several “rogues in his gallery” as I believe he called them. The Riddler must be one of these people that he told me about. I can only imagine what this rogue looks like.

So much of Man’s World continues to be a complex mystery to me, but I’m slowly learning with the help of my teammates. There are so many things that I’m still trying to understand, but none more so than the enigma dressed in black Kevlar with a cape and cowl standing several yards down the street from me.

Since the first moment I laid eyes on the elusive Batman, I found myself intrigued by him. He is the polar opposite of my other teammates, not just in the way that he dresses but also in the way that he carries himself. His bearing is fearsome and ferocious though he has yet been able to intimidate me. It certainly hasn’t been for lack of trying, though.

Despite his best efforts to frighten and intimidate me into cowering around him like Flash has been known to do at times, I simply meet his dark glare with one of my own, my chin raised in refusal to back down in the face of his foolish tactics. It has led to more than a few tense moments of pure obstinacy between us, a fierce clash of stubbornness that is only rivaled by the other’s.

While his countless devices to instill fear in others may work on our teammates and those who pollute the streets of Gotham, they do not have the same effect on me. I can tell that it annoys him endlessly to find that there is someone in this world that he can’t coerce into doing what he wants.

Little does he know I’m not like any other woman that he’s ever crossed paths with.

Batman suddenly turns to look in my direction, causing me to quickly pull back. My heart beats a little harder as I firmly press my back against the brick wall behind me, silently praying that he didn’t see me. This is my third night in a row following him and, instead of learning more about him, I find myself even more mystified than before. He’s a conundrum that has arrested my attention, making me wonder if I’ll be able to unravel this intriguing mystery of a man.

I kept my distance that first night, worried that he would discover that I was there. I watched in fascination as he stopped one criminal act after another with skill that was both amazing and yet so ruthless. I witnessed firsthand how he trussed up a would-be rapist like an animal, leaving him dangling from a light pole.

As a warrior, I can appreciate his methods even if they are rather shocking to behold, leaving me a little rattled if I were truly honest with myself. A warrior needs to be able to execute his mission with extreme control and precision, not allowing emotions to cloud his thoughts or distract his movements. It was somewhat startling to see it on display like this especially in a mortal man possessing absolutely no Meta abilities.

Just when I was beginning to believe that Batman lacked any empathy whatsoever or even possessed a heart, he proves me completely wrong. My eyes were opened last night as I watched him take care of a small boy that he’d rescued from a kidnapper.

He had been so compassionate with the frightened little boy, taking extra care not to scare him more than he already was as he’d picked him and held him against his chest. It had been such a contradiction to the way that Batman had dealt with the kidnapper. It’ll be a miracle if the criminal ever walks again. I have to admit it took everything inside of me to keep from joining Batman and beating that kidnapper myself.

This man was a living, breathing dichotomy. Just when I think that I’ve finally figured out who he is and what makes him do the things that he does, he completely throws me a…what did Flash call it? A curve ball? It’s like a light switch being flipped, darkness becoming a light that I never even realized existed in him.

He has proven to me that he is far more than what he appears to be, more than what he allows any of us to see. There is a deep, dark abyss that lives inside of this mortal man, far more than just an icy exterior and a growling response meant to keep anyone from getting close to him.

The brutal tactics that he has chosen to use in an effort to gain the upper hand in his city is beyond anything that I’ve ever witnessed before in Man’s World, so different from the strategies that my other teammates typically employ. It makes me wonder what happened to him. What in his life had been so tragic, so ghastly that he would choose a life bathed in darkness and brutality?

Despite everything that I’ve witnessed so far, I’m discovering an unexpected level of admiration blossoming inside of me.

It had taken root in my heart during the first mission we’d ever shared together when he had been so willing to sacrifice himself in order to save us and the world. My interest in him had only expanded from there, transforming into a growing sense of respect and trust.

Peering around the corner again, I find my prey gone along with the man that he was talking to, a Greek curse of irritation escaping as I try to track his position once more. I race down the dimly lit street in search of him, my cloak billowing behind me like my very own cape. I know that he couldn’t have gotten far. He was right here just a handful of seconds ago.

I swear I can feel his presence all around me…that penetrating gaze of his piercing straight through me at this very moment. It’s as if ghostly fingernails are raking up my spine and creating a thrilling chill inside of me. It’s like tiptoeing into a pool of darkness and depravity without letting it touch or change you, praying that when you finally lay your head on your pillow tonight that your soul will still be your own and wholly intact.

But I can already feel Man’s World as well as Gotham beginning to change me in unexpected ways…Batman’s unseen fingerprints already on my psyche. Instead of being rattled by it, I find that I want to immerse myself even more into his shadowy world, to learn everything that I can about this man and his city that is obviously so beloved to him.

The transformation that I’m noticing in myself is more of a keener awareness of the reality of the world around me. The glasses of prejudice against men…the lenses that had been rather rose-colored since coming to Man’s World somehow vanishing over the last three nights as I watch Batman patrol and care for his city.

I am seeing the world in a new light, one that has been emitted by the seemingly very heart of darkness himself—the Dark Knight of Gotham.

I curse under my breath as I surreptiously wander down the vacant street, hoping that he hasn’t noticed me. I’ve learned that Batman is far more than he has led us all to believe and I want to know so much more than he has led us all to believe. I want to know what drives this man to do the things that he does every night, what the motivation of his heart could possibly be.

While I’d love to learn his secret identity…to be able to look into his eyes and see his real face, I refuse to try to unmask him. I think it would be a great betrayal of the trust that we have already begun to establish between us. I feel when he is ready that he will reveal his true self to me.

I turn in small circles as I continue to search for him, suddenly catching a glimpse of an edge of a black cape at the top of a nearby building. I can feel my lips begin to curl as I take to the air. The Amazon warrior in me refuses to let him escape, my blood singing with the hunt. I’m not going home tonight until I’ve learned everything that I can about the Dark Knight.

Landing on the roof of a nearby apartment building, I begin my pursuit of Batman all over again, keeping my distance and yet keeping him in my sights. I don’t want to miss a single thing that he does, my every sense on high alert as I track his movements while still remaining in the shadows.

I frown to myself as I follow him into the depths of Gotham, the scenery becoming more dilapidated and run down with every block we pass. I catch sight of him walking into a two-story house that I fear could collapse should a strong wind come along.

My frown turns into a scowl as I watch a couple of women walk out of the house dressed scantily. It’s obvious they are prostitutes by the way they are dressed. I grow more sickened by the moment, stunned that that Batman would visit a brothel like this. It’s not something that I would’ve ever guessed that he would do.

I wait outside in the darkness for nearly thirty minutes before I decide that I cannot do this any longer. I find my respect for him diminishing by the second as I try to reconcile the hero that I’ve been following the last three nights with the man that he could be beneath the cowl.

While I’m not against a man’s need for sexual release, I cannot excuse this sort of behavior. He’s condoning a lifestyle that is so degrading to these women, one that involves so much abuse and fear and disease. He should be helping them find another way to make a living, not encouraging their choices.

I begin to walk away with my head lowered, more disheartened than I had ever felt before as I try to process it all. I unexpectedly walk into something, causing my head to snap up in surprise as I stumble backwards. The hood of my cloak slips off to rest against my back as I find myself looking into the fearsome glare of the Batman himself.

If I weren’t an Amazon warrior…the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the Champion of the Gods, trained and honed for leadership and battle, I would almost be afraid of him. It’s easy to see why people are so terrified of him. Fortunately, I remember my upbringing, remember who I am.

“What are you doing in my city, princess?” he growls with a grating rasp that is wraithlike, raking up my spine like razor blades.

“I…I’m sorry,” I murmur, stunned by his appearance. I could’ve sworn he was still inside the brothel, my mind trying to discover how he got out without me knowing or seeing him. “I was just leaving.”

I try to walk past him, but his vice-like grip on my upper arm stops me dead in my tracks and inflames my ire as I jerk my arm free in indignation. “You’ve been following me the last three nights,” he reveals. “I want to know why.”

“You…you knew?” I sputter in shocked disbelief.

“I knew the moment you landed on Brighton Street the first night when I began patrol,” he informs me. “You kept your distance the first night, but not the second night and not tonight.

“How could you have known?” I question him with honest curiosity. He’s not a Meta. He couldn’t have known I was here until possibly tonight when I lost him on that side street.

“I know everything that goes on in my city, princess,” he snaps, leaning towards me in an effort to intimidate me.

It doesn’t work as I lift my chin to look into his cowled faced. “You have to tell me how you knew I was here,” I demand in absolute refusal to back down. “I have been trained for a thousand years and possess the skills of the goddess Artemis. Did you slip some sort of tracker on me?”

“No, I have no need to,” he smugly retorts with a smirk that I want so badly to slap off his face. “I knew every single time you started following me and when you finally left to return to the Watchtower.”

“That’s not possible,” I mutter with a scowl.

Batman leans in further, his expression hard. “Are you stalking me?”

I suddenly find it difficult to meet his penetrating glare for the first time in my life. I’m not sure if it’s because I knowingly broke his rule and therefore violated his trust or the fact that I had caught him visiting a brothel. Either way, my Amazonian upbringing finally kicks in and I defiantly raise my chin again as I respond.

“No, I’m not stalking you,” I bite out the words as if it were completely ludicrous to even suggest it.

“Then what are you doing here?” he demands to know, folding his arms against his chest as his glare intensifies. It’s obvious he’s not going to let me go without an explanation.

“I just wanted to learn more about you,” I confess. “You’re different from our other teammates. I want to know why…what makes you do the things you do every night…what happened to you that brought you into this life.”

I watch as the white lenses of his cowl narrow as he studies me. I feel so exposed under his scrutinizing gaze. It was as if he was slowly peeling back layers of muscle and ligament to see the very depths of my soul. It causes a shiver to roll through me.

“Don’t come back,” he finally states after several long moments, turning his back to leave.

“Wait,” I suddenly yell, grabbing hold of his wrist and stopping him from leaving. “What were you doing in that brothel?”

I find the words spilling from my lips without even realizing it, knowing it really wasn’t any of my business, but I had to know that he was a good man…the man that I had come to believe that he was. I watch as he slowly looks down at my hand still gripping his wrist as if contemplating his answer or trying to break free from my hold on him.

I release him, wanting him to stay here and talk to me of his own volition, not under duress. “Please…I just need to know,” I try again, my tone gentler.

Just when I think he’s going to run away and disappear into the night; he turns back to face me. “This is one of the most dangerous parts of Gotham, the men who visit these girls are the scum of the earth,” he admits, and I can easily detect the fury that flows through his veins just talking about it. “I try to check on these girls every couple of nights to make sure they’re safe and get the medical care they need.”

I’m stunned by his confession, my respect for this man growing by leaps and bounds. “That’s very admirable of you, Batman,” I softly say. “I’m sorry I thought ill of you.”

“I don’t need your praise or approval, princess,” he angrily states.

“I apologize,” I try again. “Man’s World is still a mystery I’m trying to figure out…and you’re proving to be the biggest mystery of all to me. I’m just trying to understand.”

He visibly relaxes minutely as if realizing my struggle. He releases a subtle sigh, one that I almost miss if not for my Meta abilities. “This world is a perplexing puzzle that still makes no sense at times even after growing up here.”

“I have to admit I’ve enjoyed ‘stalking’ you as you so eloquently put it,” I lightly say, my lips quirking. “You have amazing skills, Batman. You’d make a very good Amazon…if you weren’t a man that is.”

I swear the corner of his lips curl slightly with my praise, but it’s gone as quickly as it appeared. “I think I’ll pass,” he replies. “I’ll stick with the psychopaths in Gotham than your Greek deities.”

I stare at him in stunned disbelief, realizing he had just made a joke. I don’t get a chance to respond to the rarity of the moment as he walks away. “Wait!” I yell as a thought occurs to me.

“Go home, princess,” he tells me, his back still to me.

“Stop calling me princess,” I utter with a frown. “You were there when I lost my title.”

“You’re still the Princess of the Amazons no matter what your mother says,” he icily states.

“If you knew that I was following you that first night, why did you wait until tonight to confront me about it?” I ask, my brow furrowing with curiosity. “You made it quite clear you don’t want us in your city and yet you let me follow you for three nights in a row.”

His head turns to the side to look over his shoulder at me, but he doesn’t turn around to face me. “Good night, princess.”

He fires his grappling gun and disappears into the night without explanation, leaving me standing there all alone and yet I swear I can feel him watching my every move as I begin to walk down the alley. That pesky shiver returns with a vengeance, one that I’m finding only he can create within me.

This man is still an enigma to me, but my interest and respect for him has only intensified. My lips curl as I consider the Dark Knight of Gotham, deciding that Batman is definitely going to be the most enjoyable mystery to solve in Man’s World.

Chapter Text

Questions (DCEU)

Bruce ground his teeth, a fierce scowl on his face as he tried to keep his focus on flying himself and his teammates back to Gotham. He tried to ignore the laughter and the excited chatter that was taking place behind him despite the fact they had a very good reason for it. He tried not to notice the way his body ached, and his bruised ribs screamed at him with every breathe he drew.

He tried to ignore the way that Barry’s voice seemed to rise above the rest as he talked animatedly as he retold his first ever rescue mission. He tried to disregard the overwhelming relief he felt hearing Clark bantering with his new teammates like they were all old friends instead of the Kryptonian being dead and buried in the cold, hard ground.

No, Bruce had far too much on his mind at that moment like how Diana hadn’t followed the plan that he’d laid out before they’d even left the cave…how Steppenwolf was more than likely not the last alien attack they were going to have to face in the coming months and years. He had too many questions bombarding his brain that demanded answers that only Diana could provide and he wanted those answers now.

Casting a sidelong glance at his beautiful Amazon teammate, Bruce noticed that she was not participating in their teammates’ celebration. Her distinct lilting laughter that always seemed to stand out above all the others and created a knot of warm desire to form in the pit of his stomach was glaringly absent on the trip home.

Instead of celebrating, her posture was rigid, anger more than evident in the tight set of her jaw. She appeared to be completely lost in her thoughts as she fiddled with the end of her lasso with her left hand. It was as if there was no one else around her as she stared straight ahead, her gaze locked on the horizon.

He knew his team had every right to be happy and relieved at that moment. They’d managed to defeat Steppenwolf and his Parademons. They’d accomplished the seemingly impossible together as a team…a team that now included the newly resurrected Superman. For some reason, Diana didn’t seem to share in that relief or excitement.

While he was more than thankful that they had been able to take down a global threat bent on destruction, he couldn’t shake the anger that had settled over him. He had carefully laid out the plan to them, each of them knowing their duties and yet they had not followed the plan. Diana was supposed to lead the team on the mission he’d set out for them only for her to completely change the plan and rescue him instead.

Why hadn’t Diana stayed the course and followed the plan?

Alfred had told him that it wasn’t the plan…it was the team. He wasn’t really used to working with a team. It had been too long since he’d had a partner…since Dick. Thinking of him now caused a sick sense of anguish to fill his chest as he tightened his grip on the controls, forcing him to swallow back the acrid bile that burned the back of his throat.

He’d accepted his fate long before they’d even left the Batcave. He knew the risks…knew what was coming and he’d been resolved to sacrifice himself for the good of the team and the world. He was the most expendable of them all, the least valuable player on the team.

Then why had Diana deviated from the plan in order to save him?

His anger continued to fester and brew as he lost himself in the questions that refused to leave his mind. He wasn’t supposed to be alive right now. While he wasn’t unhappy to be alive, he’d long accepted that he wouldn’t outlive his father by very many years, not with the dangerous life that he had chosen to live and definitely not with the vile psychopaths that plagued Gotham’s streets.

He’d planned this out in the days leading up to them leaving for this mission. He’s made certain that his estate was in order and had been taken care of, some new additions being added before departing on the mission he hadn’t believed that he would return from.

Even though dilapidated, he had willed Wayne Manor to Diana to use to build the Justice League along with a sizeable amount of money to help restore it and sustain the League for years to come. She and Clark would need a place as their home base in order to lead the League and he couldn’t imagine any more qualified leaders than those two.

While he knew that Diana had a damaged heart similar to his own, she was a born leader with the necessary training and warrior spirit to lead the team, a guiding light that would shine the way. Superman was a beloved symbol, a beacon of hope to all of those around him. Together, they would be the leadership the Justice League would need.

Batman? Batman was a myth…an urban legend…a demon of the night. He was cold and heartless, a monster that sank to the level of the criminals around him. He needed to; it was necessary in order to hold the disparaged city together singlehandedly. It was like trying to stop the countless cracks and splinters in a massive dam that was about to burst.

He couldn’t keep doing this forever and he knew it…felt it deep in his bones and the way his muscles stiffened and ached after a long night of patrol. He was expendable. Why couldn’t Diana see that? Why had she risked everything in order to save him?

Bruce watched as the water parted and the platform appeared out of the bottom of the lake. He landed the plane with expert skill, relieved to be home again. He could practically feel Barry bouncing in his seat behind him, more than likely anxious to get out of the plane so he could get his hands on something to eat.

Shutting down the engine, he turned in time to see Diana leap out of her seat and storm off the plane. He had no idea what she was so upset about, but he was bound and determined to find out. He was going to get the answers that he wanted whether she was ready to talk to him or not.

“I’m famished!” Barry exclaimed, pulling his mask off with an exhausted sigh.

“When aren’t you famished, speedy?” Arthur uttered with a frown, turning his attention to the Man of Steel. He wrapped a muscular arm around the red caped superhero. “So, I have to say I’m really glad we were able to bring you back to life. I have to admit I was a little iffy about the whole thing at first. You know it was kinda like playing with Frankenstein’s monster and all…not sure if we should be doing that, but it all worked out in the end…even if you did kick our collective asses after you first woke up.”

Clark gave him a sidelong look, not quite sure what to make of the Aquaman just yet. “Thanks…I think,” he muttered with a half-hearted smile.

“I’m starved…blood sugar dropping here,” Barry loudly announced, rubbing his hands together enthusiastically as he looked around the cave. “I hope Alf did us a solid and has a buffet hidden around here somewhere.”

“I can’t stay,” Cyborg replied. “I need to see my dad…make sure he’s all right. I’m sure he’s frantic with worry by now.”

“And I need to see Lois,” Clark told them, a lopsided smile forming on his face.

“You two have some catching up to do, don’t you,” Barry knowingly said, elbowing Clark in the ribs and giving him a devilish grin.

“Uh, right,” Clark murmured, glancing at the others. “Thank you all again for taking such a dangerous risk by giving me my life back. I know it couldn’t have been an easy decision to make.”

“Bruce was your biggest champion on that,” Arthur revealed. “The rest of us were pretty skeptical about playing God…especially Diana, but it turned out to be the right decision in the end.”

Clark looked at Bruce who happened to be conveniently occupied with checking the compartments of his utility belt, doing his best to ignore the conversation taking place around him. Diana stood silently beside him, her arms folded against her chest and a steely expression on her face. The tension between them was palpable even to Clark who had been absent for so much of the formation of the Justice League.

“Thank you, Bruce,” Clark sincerely replied, his voice thick with emotion. “I’ll never be able to repay you.”

“It was nothing,” Bruce attempted to brush it off, clearly uncomfortable as everyone stared at him. “It was the least I could do.”

Clark’s lips twitched with amusement, knowing that Bruce didn’t like all the attention being focused on him. “I better not keep Lois waiting.”

“We’ll all meet up in a few days,” Bruce announced to the group. “We have a lot of work to do to formally get the League up and running.”

“So, you don’t think this is an isolated incident?” Cyborg keenly inquired.

“No, I don’t,” Bruce stated. “I think this is only the beginning. We’re going to have to be prepared for more attacks like this. Besides, I think together we can do a lot a good in this world…be a force for justice.”

“Sounds good to me,” Barry eagerly agreed. “I don’t really have friends so I’m definitely in.”

“Really?” Arthur muttered with a roll of his eyes. “I wonder why that is.”

“Just be sure that Alf keeps the cupboard stocked for our meetings,” Barry told Bruce.

Arthur glanced between Bruce and Diana, noticing the strain as well and knowing what it truly stemmed from even if they weren’t willing to admit it yet. “I’ll be around,” he said. “Just holler when you want me. I can’t say that I’ll always be there, but I’ll try.”

Bruce nodded in response as everyone wished each other well before departing, leaving Diana all alone with Bruce in the cave. The silence was near deafening, the tension thick and heavy like a wool blanket that had been thrown up on them.

Bruce tossed his cowl and gauntlets on a nearby table, his utility belt following. He placed the palms of his hands on top of the table, his back to Diana as he attempted to gather his thoughts and emotions, but it was difficult. So many things were vying control, so many things that wanted to be given voice first.

“What were you thinking?”

The sharp edge of her voice cut through the fury and friction like a sword’s blade, obliterating any uncertainty or hesitation that Bruce might have been feeling about delving into this conversation. His own fury roared to the surface, causing him to whip around to glare at her.

“Me?” he snapped. “What were you thinking?”

“I was obviously thinking of you because you clearly weren’t thinking about yourself,” she just as angrily stated.

“I laid out the best plan that gave us the greatest chance of success against Steppenwolf and his Parademons,” he claimed, his chest tightening with every word that spilled from his lips.

“Best plan?” she spat out, stalking straight towards him. The angrier she became the thicker her accent was, her brown eyes blazing and revealing the furious storm within. “It was a suicide mission. Admit it, Bruce. You had no intention of returning home tonight, did you? You were planning on dying out there if I hadn’t stepped in.”

His glare wavered minutely, his breath catching ever so slightly despite holding her stare. To most, it was unnoticeable. To Diana, it was a glaring confirmation. “I was willing to make the sacrifice,” he ground out, attempting to storm past her only to be brought to a stop by a death grip on his upper arm.

“Your life for Superman’s? Is that it?” she countered. “Clark lost his life, so you have to lose yours to make up for it? You have got to let go of the guilt, Bruce. Forfeiting your life won’t atone for Clark’s death. It was his choice, his sacrifice to make in order to stop Doomsday, but he’s back now…he’s alive. He’s back with Lois where he belongs.”

“I am the least valuable member of this team, Diana, and you know it,” he bit out, yanking his arm free as his anger boiled and roiled just beneath the surface. “I have no special abilities, no special girts. I’m not a cyborg or an alien with super strength. I’m just a mortal man, Diana. That is all.”

“That’s all?” she repeated, incredulous. “I have known mortal men who have been able to accomplish more with no special abilities, fighting with nothing more than sheer will and determination. This team would be nothing without you, Bruce.”

“It was a logical, tactical decision that I made, and I would make it all over again if I had to,” he shot back. “It made the most sense for me to sacrifice myself than for any other member of the team to do it.”

Diana slowly shook her head as she gave him a sad look, anguish replacing the anger that had been swimming in her eyes just moments before. “Do you honestly believe that your life does not matter…that you are not valuable? That you don’t matter to anyone or that no one would miss you if you were gone?”

“The world needs you, Diana,” he told her with resolute belief. “It needs Clark and the others. It doesn’t need Batman.”

Diana’s hands swiftly moved to cradle his face as she gazed into his eyes clouded with such guilt and shame. It effectively shielded her from seeing the demons that she knew consumed his soul, the things that he was far too afraid to show her, the scars he felt were too ugly to be seen in the light of day.

“You sell yourself so short,” she softly replied, her thumb caressing his cheekbone. “You deserve far more than you allow yourself to have, Bruce Wayne.”

“I…I don’t deserve…” he began, his voice barely above a whisper before trailing off as he lost himself in the purity of the heart and soul he could see reflected in her eyes. What he saw there both terrified and thrilled him, his own heart hammering against his chest wall with where this was leading.

“You might not think that you are valuable or would be missed if you were gone, but you mean everything to me,” she confessed.

Closing the distance, she gently pressed her lips to his, wanting him to know how she felt about him, but not wanting to push him into something that he didn’t want. It didn’t take long for Bruce to respond, though, his hands finding her hair and holding her close as he returned her kiss with growing passion.

He tilted his head, his tongue exploring her mouth and savoring the intimacy of the moment. He had wanted to kiss her for far too long, but he’d feared that she would never or could never return his feelings, especially after mourning the death of Steve Trevor for so long.

Retreating for air, Diana nuzzled her nose against his. “I need you with me, Bruce,” she breathlessly confessed.

“But—”

Diana silenced him with the tip of her finger against his lips. “No more excuses, no more questions.”

Pulling her flush against him, Bruce crushed his lips to hers, passion born months ago finally free to be expressed. He couldn’t help wondering what he could’ve possibly done to deserve someone as amazing as Diana but was smart enough to know that now was not the time to question it.

Picking her up in his arms, Bruce began to carry her up to his bedroom, prepared to give her everything that he had, to show her everything that he felt for her. He’d come so very close to losing everything tonight only to come home and unexpectedly gain everything.

Chapter Text

Hide (DCAU)

Clark Kent straightened his tie before his glasses as he entered the five-star restaurant, determination alight in his blue eyes. It wasn’t typically in his nature to do something quite like this, but desperate times called for desperate measures and it was the direst that things had ever been.

He attempted to swallow back the emotions that had suddenly lodged in his throat as he scanned the restaurant, sticking fast and refusing to budge. It was almost painful but it was heavily outweighed by the fierce ache that had settled in his chest well over a week ago.

His gaze fell on the object of his search sitting in a booth with his arm around a blonde who appeared on the verge of spilling out of her tight red dress that revealed a very ample bosom. He stalked straight towards the couple; his ire prickling as Bruce nibbled on his date’s ear.

His fingers reflexively curled into his palms, his nostrils flaring as he approached. He did his best to remind himself that he wasn’t Superman at this moment. He was Clark Kent. He repeated that over and over in his head to keep from pummeling the man in the expensive navy-blue suit.

“Bruce, we need to talk,” Clark stated without preamble as he came to stand at the end of the couple’s booth, interrupting their romantic moment.

Bruce casually whispered something into his date’s ear before slowly turning to look at his friend. “Kent!” he exclaimed. “Haven’t seen you around in a while. How have things been?”

Clark gritted his teeth as he struggled against the urge to grab Bruce by the front of his suit and drag him out of the booth. He knew damn well how things had been. “You haven’t been returning my calls,” he stated with a definite edge to his voice. “It’s very important that I speak with you in private.”

“I’m sorry,” Bruce casually replied with a lecherous grin, his arm still slung around the shoulders of his date. “As you can see, I’ve been…busy.”

Bruce turned to his date, kissing her before reaching for his glass of alcohol. He took a long drink before setting the empty glass down, snapping his fingers for the waiter to bring him more. It was obvious to Clark that he had been drinking which was very abnormal for the man who demanded to always be in full control of himself. It spoke volumes.

“Can I talk to you in private?” Kent bit out, doing his best to keep his cool which was rapidly fading at an alarming rate especially for the man who was known for his copious amounts of patience.

Bruce flashed him a lazy grin, one that was part playboy and part alcohol. “Anything you have to say to me you can say in front of Carol,” he told him.

“Carla,” his date corrected him with a frown.

“Carla,” Bruce repeated, turning a leering look on his date that fully settled on her breasts before finally meeting her eyes. “Sorry, dear, but you’re just so gorgeous it’s hard to think straight when I’m around you.”

Carla giggled, clearly appeased by his flirtatious charm. “It’s okay, Brucie.”

Clark winced with the woman’s high-pitched laughter, grimacing with the way she called him Brucie. He was really scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one. “I need to speak with you now, Bruce,” he stated in no uncertain terms.

Bruce stared at him for a long moment, the lazy smile on his face incongruent with the piercing glare that Clark was receiving. “I don’t believe there’s anything to talk about,” he countered. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to my date.”

Refusing to take no for an answer, Clark leaned forward, placing the palms of his hands on top of the table. “I believe there is, and you know it,” he hissed with deadly intent. “Now, you can either do this the easy way or the hard way.”

Bruce drew a deep breath, releasing it slowly through his nose as he studied his friend. It was obvious that Clark wasn’t going to leave until they’d talked. While he knew that Clark wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize either of their secret identities, he knew that he couldn’t risk it especially with the emotional state the Kryptonian was in.

“Fine,” Bruce finally relented after weighing his options, taking the cloth napkin from his lap and tossing it on top of the table. “If you’ll please excuse me, Carla. This won’t take long. I’ll be back in a minute.”

He leaned in and kissed her hard, stealing her breath before scooting out of the booth to follow Clark outside of the restaurant and around the corner to an alley. He came to a stop in the dimly lit backstreet, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his dress pants.

Clark turned around to find him glowering at him, the expression on his friend’s face one that caused an icy shiver of dread to race up his spine. He’d rarely seen a look like that on another human being’s face and he hoped to never see it again. It was terrifying and chilling to the bone.

“What do you want?” Bruce growled.

“You know what I want, Bruce,” he responded with a calmness that he didn’t feel, but he knew that he needed to handle this situation and Bruce with kid-gloves. It was like holding an explosive that could detonate if he even breathed wrong.

“I thought I made it perfectly clear a week ago,” Bruce stated, the muscles in his jaw beginning to twitch with how tightly drawn they were.

“Quitting the League to hide in your cave is not the answer and you know it,” Clark shot back.

“Do I look like I’m hiding?” Bruce demanded to know, a razor-sharp edge to his voice that easily sliced through the thick tension that blanketed the alley.

“You walked away from her,” Clark angrily reminded him. “You walked away from the League…your friends. Bruce, you have to—”

“I don’t have to do a damn thing,” he hissed. “You don’t need me and neither does she. I’ll continue to fund the League, but I resigned my part-time membership.”

“So, that’s it?” Clark questioned him, his heart beginning to hammer in his chest as memories flooded his mind of the horrifying events that he’d sooner forget. “She needs you, Bruce.”

Bruce’s entire stance grew rigid, his appearance like stone except for the flicker of pure anguish that flashed in his eyes. “She doesn’t need me…she doesn’t need any of us now.”

Clark averted his eyes, unable to look at his friend as the knot in his throat expanded, making it difficult to breathe. “Don’t say that,” he ground out in a dangerous voice that Bruce had rarely heard. “You’re not giving her a chance.”

“She’s as good as gone, Clark,” he callously spat out with a raw fury that burned through the alley like a flamethrower. “It’s time to let her go and move on.”

“Is that what you’re doing by quitting the League, refusing to take any of our calls…dating bimbos and getting drunk,” Clark retorted. “That doesn’t look like moving on, Bruce. It looks like someone who isn’t coping.”

“You have no right to judge me,” Bruce icily stated, his chest beginning to heave with the blinding rage that he’d kept bottled up inside for the last eight days.

“I get it, Bruce…I really do,” Clark replied, his voice taking on a gentler tone, his eyes softening. “Dealing with this as brought up a lot of bad memories for you but running away from her isn’t making it better for either of you.”

Bruce was in Clark’s face in less than a heartbeat, moving with an almost immortal speed and carried on the tidal wave of fury that had been teeming inside of him for so long now. “Don’t pretend that you know what I’m going through because you don’t,” he seethed. “Just leave it alone, Clark…leave me alone.”

Bruce turned on his heel, Clark’s voice reaching his ears as he began to walk away. “J’onn doesn’t know how much longer she’ll last,” he softly said, just loud enough for Bruce to hear him. “She’s been on life support for the last four days. Decisions needs to be made, Bruce. We need you there.”

He stopped dead in his tracks, his hands balling into fists at his sides. He stayed that way for several long moments, his chin finally falling to his chest. “I don’t need to be there, Clark,” he replied, his voice choked with emotion that he’d kept locked away for over a week.

“There’s still a chance, Bruce,” Clark revealed.

The billionaire playboy’s head turned to his left, but he still didn’t turn around. “You just said she’s on life support. You all know she never would’ve wanted that and yet you’re doing it. You’re prolonging a life that is no longer there.”

“J’onn probed her mind today,” he informed him. “He feels there’s still some minimal brain activity despite what the scans have showed.”

He stood there for a long time, making Clark wonder if he was ever going to move or respond. He looked like a frightened rabbit, skittish and ready to bolt if you closed your eyes too long. “I can’t, Clark. Don’t ask me to.”

“It’s not about you, Bruce,” he told him. “This is about her and what she needs.”

Bruce finally turned around to face him. There was such fierce emotion swarming in his eyes that it caused Clark’s breath to catch in his throat. “It has always been about her,” he rasped with such conviction that there was no question about his devotion to her. “That’s why I can’t be there.”

“I know you have feelings for her, but you can’t leave her laying in that hospital bed in the infirmary without letting her know that you’re there or how you feel about her,” he reminded her. “We’ve been taking turns sitting with her…talking to her and begging her to fight. She’s heard all of our voices except for yours, Bruce. She needs to hear your voice. She hasn’t heard it all since the mission. It might make all the difference in the world. It might give her a reason to come back to us.”

“You don’t understand,” Bruce bit out. “I can’t do it. It was hard enough seeing her in that bed after the surgery, but then J’onn told us that she would likely never recover. Something died…in here.”

Clark watched as Bruce poked his chest over his heart but didn’t say anything in response. This was the most that he’d ever been able to get Bruce to talk. He wasn’t going to stop him or interrupt him now. Bruce hadn’t spoken to any of them since the moment Diana had been moved into that bed in the infirmary after emergency surgery.

J’onn had given his prognosis to the Founders, Batman completely shutting down from that moment on. He’d walked over to the side of her bed, watching her for a few moments before turning and walking out. He never returned to the Watchtower after that, his resignation coming through in an email the next day.

“I love her like I’ve never loved another,” Bruce found himself confessing, slowly shaking his head. “I…I can’t watch her waste away to nothing, losing her like I lost my parents…like I lost Jason. I won’t go through that again…not with her…not with Diana.”

Clark closed the distance between them, his hand coming to rest on his friend’s shoulder. “If she dies, you will still be going through it whether you’re there with her or not, Bruce,” he told him. “Avoiding her won’t stop the grief but being there for her…telling her how you feel…just might help you cope. It might help her, give her the strength and a reason to fight again.”

Bruce turned his head to look to his right, unable to look Clark in the eye. He knew in his mind that he was right, but he couldn’t reconcile it with what was left of his breaking heart. “Fine,” he murmured. “I’ll come see her, but I’m not promising anything more.”

“That’s all I ask,” he reassured him.

Bruce blew out a breath as he rolled his eyes. “Yah, right,” he growled. “I’m sure I’ll find papers to rescind my resignation sitting at Diana’s bedside.”

Clark smiled for the first time in more than a few days. “They’ve been there since Wednesday waiting for you,” he teased.

“Don’t push it, boy scout,” Bruce growled as he turned on his heel, heading towards his car.

“Hey, what about your date?” Clark called after him.

“I’ll call her a taxi,” he said over his shoulder. “She was too annoying anyway…and she’s not Diana.”

Clark smiled to himself as he tucked his glasses into his suit jacket pocket, relieved tonight had gone as well as it had. He’d anticipated a full-fledged fight before all was said and done, but Bruce had thankfully come to his senses and made the right decision.

He just prayed she survived this because he knew if she didn’t Bruce wouldn’t either.

XXX

The doors to the infirmary swooshed open, Batman entering with his black cape billowing behind him. He appeared completely in control and emotionless as he stalked towards the back of the infirmary to the special quarters designated for the Founders, no one aware of how hard his heart was actually pounding at that moment.

Stopping before the door, he entered the special code that allowed him entrance. The door silently slid open to reveal Diana lying so very still in a hospital bed just the same as when he had last seen her nine days ago. A nurse was changing an IV bag before checking the countless monitors that she was hooked up to, her expression somber.

The sound of the machine breathing life into her body sent an icy chill through him that seemed to cut to the very marrow of his bones. He stood there for several minutes just watching her from the door, his leg refusing to cooperate or obey his commands.

Finally, Batman’s legs seemed to remember how to work, forcing him towards her one step at a time until he found himself standing beside her bed. He released a shaky breath as he unconsciously sank into the chair positioned at her bedside, his legs feeling boneless and giving out on him.

The nurse quickly finished her tasks before leaving the room as if knowing this was too personal for prying eyes to bear witness to. As soon as she left, Batman entered a code on his gauntlet that locked down the room and shut off the security cameras, allowing him the privacy he needed.

With trembling hands, he removed his cowl and gauntlets, tossing them onto the bed beside her. Seeing her like this, being near her and witnessing firsthand just how truly broken she was…it was unbearable. Somehow, though, she still managed to take his breath away.

Panic seized his heart as anguish flooded his chest to the point that he thought it might actually burst. She looked like an empty shell of the woman that she once was, so fragile as if she could shatter if he even touched her.

Doubts and fears assailed him like unseen fists to his conscious mind, threatening to make him run away and hide from the world. He shouldn’t be here. He wasn’t any good at this. She needed far more than him, more than what he could possibly give her. He knew he would give her the world, but she needed more than that right now.

Batman suddenly stood to his feet, prepared to leave. This was crazy. There was no way that hearing his voice or feeling his touch would ever make a difference. They had lost her that day…he had lost her that day on that damned mission that she wasn’t even supposed to be on, but she had decided to tag along to help him out at the last minute.

He stared at her face as his heart and mind wrestled. Dark shadows had taken up residence beneath her eyes, her cheekbones more pronounced with the weight she had lost. Bruises and gashes still lingered, hinting at the extent of the brutal injuries she had received that day that she had saved the world like the fearless heroine that she always was.

And he loved her. He would always love her.

He sat down in the chair once more, reminding himself that this was about her not him. He tentatively reached for her, his large hand engulfing her smaller one. He clasped it firmly, silently pleading with her to respond to him, but receiving none. He needed her to be all right again.

Diana was his beacon…his hope and his faith when he had none and right now, he had absolutely nothing…nothing but this moment with her. He wanted so much more. He wanted to go back in time to all those foolish, selfish moments that he had so callously brushed her off or pushed her away. He wanted to seize hold of her, tell her what a fool he’d been and how much he loved her.

He swallowed hard, finding his throat drier than the Sahara, his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth. He cleared his throat as he attempted to order his thoughts. He may have failed her all those times in the past, but he’d be damned if he failed her now.

Steeling himself, Bruce leaned in close to her, squeezing her hand. “Diana…it…it’s me,” he began, his voice the dangerous rasp of the Batman. He cleared his throat again, cursing under his breath. He tried again, gentling his tone. “It’s Bruce. I’m here, princess. Please, let me know that you can hear me.”

Nothing but the continual beeping of the heart monitor and the steady pulse of the life support machine was heard. Coupled with the steady drip, drip of the IV fluids, it created an eerie chorus that he wanted to abolish with every fiber of his being.

Her fingers remained straight and unmoving in his grasp, her skin cool to the touch. She should open her eyes, sit up in this bed and threaten to pummel him for being so worried about her. She should be talking to him with that fiery spirit of hers that seemed to shine through every single part of her, illuminating her eyes like blue diamonds that always sparkled so brightly.

She shouldn’t be like this…not ever like this. It should’ve been him, but she had shoved him aside, taking the full brunt of the attack with a courage that never ceased to amaze him.

“I have to apologize,” he began again. “I should have been here with you the moment you got out of emergency surgery. I should’ve been by your side every single moment since then instead of running away and hiding like some coward.”

The words seemed to come a little easier now as he held her hand, the fingers of his other hand brushing the hair from her forehead. He continued his gentle ministrations, stroking her raven locks as he spoke to her. “I’m so sorry, princess,” he told her, his voice cracking with emotion. “I was terrified. When I saw you like this…when J’onn told us you wouldn’t survive, I shut down. I felt my heart break for the second time in my life. That hasn’t happened since I was eight years old.

“It’s all because I love you, Diana,” he confessed as tears began to brim in his eyes for the first time in over twenty-five years. “I should have said it a long time ago, but I was afraid that you would distract me from my mission. I was scared to let you in, but you managed to find your way into my heart anyway without even trying.”

Bruce could feel the tears beginning to trickle down his cheeks as he pressed his lips to her temple. “Please, princess, come back to me,” he choked out. “I know I don’t deserve you or for you to give me a chance, but I promise you that I’ll give you everything that I have. You already have my heart, Diana. I just pray I’m not too late to give you the rest of me.”

His forehead came to rest against her temple, his tears escaping and dampening the pillow beneath her head. He found himself pleading with her gods and goddesses, begging them to save her or to allow him to take her place.

“I love you, Diana…more than I have ever loved another,” he told her, caressing her cheek. “Please come back to me and let me show you just how much.”

Bruce didn’t know what else to say in that moment, exhaustion from lack of sleep the last week and a half beginning to overwhelm him. He continued to hold her hand, stroking her hair when the heart monitor began to beep a little faster. He quickly sat up, his gaze falling on the monitor. Fear clawed at his throat, terrified that he was losing her.

That was when he felt it.

Diana moved her fingers in his hand. He told himself that he was just imagining it as he sat back, glancing down at her hand resting in his. That’s when he noticed her fingers slowly curling around his hand. “Diana? Can you hear me?”

Her heart rate began to settle into a steady rhythm once more as she returned his embrace, her fingers still wrapped around his hand. Bruce couldn’t contain his relief as he leaned in and kissed her forehead. “That’s it, princess,” he told her. “Fight for your life…fight to come back to me…fight for us.”

He watched her for several long moments, waiting for her to open her eyes. She didn’t show any more response after that, but this was more than enough for Bruce. She was going to be all right. She was going to survive this and come back to him.

“Just rest now, princess,” he gently said, stroking the side of her face. “Just know that I’m not going anywhere. I love you and I’ll be here waiting for you when you finally wake up.”

Bruce settled back in his chair; her hand still clutched firmly in his. He was ready to wait for as long as it took, his princess restoring his hope once more and giving him a reason not to hide.

Chapter Text

Scrub (DCAU)

Diana appeared in a burst of light on the transport pad in the Batcave, her arms held out away from her body…of course, not that it made much of a difference at that point. It was way past the point of trying not to get anything more on her. She didn’t think that she could possibly be more covered than she already was.

She gingerly stepped off the pad and walked down the steps to find the Batcave completely devoid of anyone much to her relief. After the day that she’d just had, she didn’t think that she could take the humiliation of being seen by anyone now.

She tentatively floated her way across the cave floor and up the steps into the manor, afraid to touch anything more than she had to. As the grandfather clock swung open, Diana poked her head out, bright blue eyes scanning the room to make sure no one was around. Finding it empty, she quickly escaped the cave and flew out of the library, intent on making her way up to Bruce’s bedroom and the luxurious bathtub that awaited her arrival.

She soundlessly floated through the foyer, fearful eyes constantly searching for anyone who might be home. She knew she had to be leaving a trail from the Batcave despite her best efforts, but it really couldn’t be helped. She just had to make a quick break for the bathroom before being spotted.

Reaching the grand staircase that would lead her to her ultimate destination, she suddenly froze as an all too familiar voice caught her attention. “Miss Diana?” Alfred called. “Is that you?”

“Ah…yes, Alfred,” she called back, her eyes closing tightly shut as she sent silent, pleading prayers to her gods that he wouldn’t make an appearance in the foyer.

“Is everything all right, miss?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” she replied. “I’m just going to get cleaned up before dinner.”

“Let me know if you require anything,” he told her.

“I will,” she promised. “Thank you, Alfred.”

Diana didn’t wait for a response from the British butler as she flew up the winding staircase to Bruce’s bedroom. She entered his bathroom and closed the door, finally allowing her boots to touch the floor with a relieved sigh. She looked at herself in the mirror, groaning audibly at her appearance. It was much worse than she had first believed.

She was beyond thankful no one had seen her especially Bruce. She’d never be able to live it down if he saw the sorry state that she was currently in. She glanced down at the floor to see the mess that she was already making. She could only imagine the transport pad and the cave floor, not to mention Alfred’s pristine marble floors in the manor that seemed to glisten even on a dark, dreary day.

She was an Amazon warrior, a demigoddess that was renowned for her skill and fierce abilities. Her gifts put her far above everyone else, standing in a class all her own. To look at her now, though, one would think she was a rookie in the Justice League…a rookie who had made a rookie mistake.

It honestly wasn’t her fault and she would stand by that statement no matter who questioned her on it.

She laid her lasso aside, gingerly removing her tiara heavily coated hair. She carefully set them down on the bathroom counter to be cleaned later…a task that she was already dreading. With a weary sigh, she moved to sit on the edge of the bathtub, slipping off her boots and setting them aside as well.

She reached over, starting the hot water before adding some jasmine scented bath oils and bubble bath. Standing to her feet, she began to remove her armor, allowing it to call to the floor with a loud clank before moving on to her uniform. She eagerly stepped into the tub of hot water, a pleasure-filled moan escaping her lips as she sank back.

She had made it unseen by anyone. It was victory that she was reveling in, a luxurious celebratory bath her reward for what she’d endured today. She drew her knees up, pleased to see that some of the mud was already coming off, but she knew it was going to be a lengthy process especially when it came to her hair.

Diana never knew that mud could be so difficult to get off. The rockslide in Chile that had turned into a massive mudslide had been a horrendous one that had taken hours to stop. After that had come the cleanup process. Fortunately, or unfortunately, she had received the full brunt of the mud that never seemed to end, the people of the village kept safely tucked away from disaster thanks to Wonder Woman.

“What in the world happened to you?”

“Bruce! What are you doing here?” Diana exclaimed as she instantly sat up to find her lover standing beside the tub still dressed in his work clothes.

“My business meeting ended earlier than expected,” he said with a lop-sided smirk on his face, his piercing blue eyes roaming over every visible inch of his Amazon princess. “Mission gone bad?”

Diana wanted nothing more than to wipe that infuriating smirk off his face especially after the horrible day that she’d had, but he looked so handsome standing there. Why did he have to be so sexy especially in that steel blue dress shirt and tie?

“Obviously,” she bit out as she reached for the loofah sponge, more than annoyed that Bruce had seen her at her absolute worst. It was humiliating to say the least. “What are you doing in here?”

“I was following the trail of mud I found on the floor downstairs and it led me up here to you,” he told her, clearly amused by the situation he found her in.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” she growled with a deadly glare, pulling a muddy curl out of her mud-coated face.

“Oh, very much so,” he told her as he sat down on the edge of the bathtub, being careful to avoid the mud she’d left behind. “Are you all right?”

“I battled a massive rockslide and I have mud in places that it shouldn’t be so no…I’m not all right,” she ground out.

Bruce rolled up his sleeves before leaning over to gently erase some of the mud from her face with his thumb. “I’m sorry, princess.”

Diana’s fiery blue eyes narrowed in disbelief. “For some reason, I’m having a very hard time believing you.”

He took the loofah sponge out of her hand, dipping it into the hot water. “Here…let me scrub your back.”

With a flash, she grabbed hold of his tie, pulling him in for a searing kiss that quickly stole his breath. She finally released him several moments later, a wicked smile on her face. “Looks like I need to scrub you too.”

Bruce frowned as he grabbed her washcloth lying on the edge of the bathtub, running it across his face to remove the remnants of mud that she’d left behind. “Cute, princess,” he grumbled.

She smiled sweetly at him as she lightly traced the curve of his handsome face with the tip of her finger. “Are you sure I can’t persuade you into joining me in here?”

The seductive lilt of her voice coupled with the sight of her sitting nude in his bathtub was almost too much to bear. The fact that she was covered in mud was a bit of a deterrent, however. “As tempting as that would be, you’re still pretty muddy. I think I’ll wait.”

Diana huffed at him in annoyance, glaring daggers at him. “Fine; go play with her your bat gadgets,” she snapped as she snatched the loofah sponge out of his hand. She took the bottle of jasmine oil and poured some on her loofah.

Bruce turned from her, removing his socks and shoes before turning his attention back to his muddy princess. He leaned in, gently kissing her forehead in the one place that didn’t have mud on it as took the sponge out of her hands. “I’d much rather take care of you.”

Diana smiled softly at him, her eyelids fluttering closed as he began to scrub her back and arms. She loved how he wanted to take care of her. It was a foreign feeling to her, one that she had initially loathed, but it was different when it came to the man that she loved. It made her feel special…loved and comforted. It was so unexpected coming from the typically aloof and fearsome Batman, but this wasn’t Batman here with her now. It was Bruce…her Bruce…the real Bruce that very few every truly got to see, but she did.

“Lean forward,” he softly said as he grabbed a cup and filled it with water.

He began pouring the water over her head, using his hand to protect her eyes the best that he could. He was amazed at the amount of mud and dirt that she’d manage to collect but he was determined to rid her of all of it. He found he loved moments like this when he got to take care of her. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it turned out to be surprisingly intimate, bringing them that much closer together.

Taking her bottle of shampoo, he poured some into his hand before applying it to her hair. A soft moan filled the bathroom as he massaged her head, working the shampoo through her thick raven hair before finally beginning the process of rinsing it clean.

Reaching for a towel, he wrapped her long hair up in the towel for her. “Bruce, you really don’t have to do this,” she tried to tell him as she finished wrapping the towel around her hair for him.

“Shush,” he told her. “Let me take care of you for once. Heaven knows you’ve taken care of enough of my injuries.”

She watched as Bruce released the dirty water before refilling the bathtub with clean water, adding more scented oils. He loved the smell of it. It was so Diana in every way, intoxicating to him and creating a fierce flutter of longing inside of him, especially now.

Deciding that she wanted more of him, Diana slowly wound her hand around his tie with a devious grin, pulling him in for another kiss…one that caused him to lose his balance and fall into the bathtub with her. He growled as he found himself on top of her, pinning her to the bathtub, his hands bracing himself on either side of her shoulders.

“Diana!” he growled only to be abruptly silenced by her lips and tongue.

He moaned deeply as she tilted her head, her tongue sensually caressing his as her hands worked to remove his tie and unbutton his dress shirt. The wet material was sent flying, landing on the muddy bathroom floor along with her uniform. His undershirt quickly followed his dress shirt’s fate.

Her hands began a sensual journey over his muscular chest and abdomen, pausing to tease his nipples and earning a throaty growl in response. His belt was pretty much ripped off, his pants and boxer briefs not lasting much longer as the torn material was removed and tossed aside.

“Now, you are free to take care of me in every way,” she purred against his throat, her teeth repeatedly raking over his jaw before pulling back to gaze up at him. She paused to remove the towel from her hair, tossing it aside. “I’m all yours to do with as you please.”

“You’re still dirty, princess,” he huskily pointed out with a patented Batglare as he glanced down at her nude body.

“Then you better get started scrubbing the rest of the dirt away,” she teased him, slowly drawing her leg up along his, allowing her toes to caress his calf and behind his knee.

She could feel him readily responding to her, growing harder by the moment as she drew her other leg up to cradle his nude body between her thighs. She groaned with the feel of him brushing against her center, making her more than anxious for the moment his entire length was fully immersed deep inside of her.

The annoyance he felt when he had first been pulled into the bathtub in his dress clothes was rapidly replaced with overwhelming desire as she arched her back, her wet breasts pressing against his chest as he kissed along her throat. He nipped and sucked on her collarbone, intent on leaving his mark on her.

Her fingernails raked over his back, wanting to take her time with him and at the same time, the need for him was becoming too strong to ignore. She gently pushed him back, forcing him to sit back on his heels. With a grin on her face, she sat up as well, taking the bottle of oil and pouring some into her hand.

A lustful gleam filled Bruce’s piercing blue eyes as she began to run her hands all over his chest, gasping softly with the sensual feel of her caressing him. Taking the washcloth in his hand, he gently ran it all over her body, taking his time to scrub away the remaining mud and dirt from the day.

She shifted her position so she could straddle his thighs, her arms snaking around his neck as she pressed her body against his. She slowly rubbed herself up and down against him, the oil making their skin slick and adding to the simmering heat that was set to explode between them.

Diana tipped her head to nibble on his earlobe, pausing to suck on it before blowing softly against it. “You know I’m really glad you have a bathtub built for two,” she throatily murmured against his ear.

“It does come in handy, doesn’t it?” he said with a gasp.

“You had better not have had other women in this bathtub, Bruce Wayne,” she growled as her hands wrapped firmly around his member.

“No, princess,” he swore, his breath catching in his throat with the feel of her stroking him. “You are the first.”

“And the last,” she murmured against his lips.

“Definitely,” he agreed as he captured her lips in a sensual kiss.

Diana rose up on her knees as she shifted her hips, allowing him to slip inside of her. She slowly sank down on his member, taking him fully inside of her. Her forehead came to rest against his as they just savored the feeling of being so intimately connected like this once again.

Bruce’s chest began to heave, his breathing already becoming ragged as his hands tightly gripped her hips. “I love being with you like this,” he softly confessed, unexpectedly opening himself up to her.

She pulled back enough to gaze into his eyes, brushing his hair from his forehead as she smiled at him. “There’s no other place I’d rather be than with you.”

He dipped his head, his mouth searching out hers as she began to move her hips. Her hands moved to grasp his jaw as she kissed him senseless, relishing the feel of him so hard inside of her as he readily met her every downward thrust. He grunted as she increased her rhythm, bath water splashing around them.

He couldn’t have cared less at that moment as he broke the passionate kiss with a sharp intake of breath, his lungs burning for air and his body for her. His head fell back as she kissed along his throat, nipping at his skin and kissing away the sting.

She wrapped him up in her loving embrace, burying his face in the crook of his neck as her hips repeatedly slammed and rocked against his. The frantic feel of their bodies rubbing against each other was making it that much harder to hold on. She could tell that neither of them was going to last much longer.

He bent his head down, his nose nuzzling hers as they shared another kiss. Hot breath mingled as Diana’s orgasm hit her hard, causing her to tighten her grip on her lover. Bruce followed her over that sweet abyss, repeatedly pumping into her as he emptied himself deep inside of her. His forehead came to rest on her shoulder as they just held onto one another, both breathing hard and trembling from the intimate dance they’d just shared in.

Bruce turned his head, his lips creating a sensual path along her collarbone and up her throat. He ran his fingers through her wet strands, gripping it tightly as he captured her lips in a heated kiss. He could still feel himself somewhat hard inside of her, more than anxious for another round of love making with her.

“What do you say we continue this in my bed?” he huskily murmured in her ear.

“I don’t know,” she teased with a grin. “You really haven’t scrubbed me clean yet. I think there are places you missed.”

Bruce smirked at her as he wrapped his arms possessively around her, picking her up out of the bathtub and carrying her to his bed. “I’ll just have to do a very thorough exploration to find all the spots I missed.”

A lilting laugh escaped her lips as he laid her down on his bed, keeping her pinned there with his body. “You know we’ll probably need a shower after we’re done,” she reminded him.

“We do tend to get pretty dirty when we make love,” he flirted with her, kissing his way down her throat to her chest.

“Sweaty…sticky…” she responded with a gasp of pleasure as his mouth latched onto her right breast and sucked hard.

She arched her back, pushing more of herself into him and wordlessly begging him for so much more. He finally released her breast when she began to writhe and squirm beneath him. “I’ll scrub your back if you scrub mine.”

“Deal, Mister Wayne.”

“Just no more jasmine oil,” he told her with a threatening glare. “I smell like you, princess.”

“That’s not necessarily…a bad thing,” she breathlessly pointed out as she arched her back, his fingers finding her hot center and teasing her mercilessly.

“It will be if Tim finds out,” he growled as he pulled her left leg up over his shoulder, pausing to kiss the inside of her thigh where he knew it drove her absolutely wild.

“It’ll be our little secret,” she promised him with a predatory gleam in her bright blue eyes as she pulled him in for another toe-curling kiss.

Chapter Text

Freefall (DCAU)

The crunch of the leaves beneath my boots is my sole companion as I walk the narrow path alone, large bouquets of flowers carefully cradled in my arms. My eyes are locked straight ahead of me, my destination in the distance my only concern. Shafts of moonlight cast an eerie glow, peeking through the cloudy cover overhead and adding to the solemnity of the moment.

Countless tombstones extend like silent sentinels on either side of me, spreading out in a well laid out network made of stone and marble. A somber silence envelops the entire cemetery, one that causes a chill to settle over me that is felt bone deep as I continue my journey.

My white cloak gently flaps in the sudden breeze that seems to appear out of nowhere. The hood slips free from my head to rest against my back, my hair tumbling free to cascade down over my shoulders. I don’t bother to pull it back up to hide my appearance. I’m the only one here.

I nearly falter in my steps as the tombstones I’m seeking come into view, but I force myself to put one foot in front of the other. My shame nearly overwhelms me knowing that it has taken me far too long to be able to come here, but I owe it to them as well as myself.

I swallow hard, straightening my shoulders and holding my chin high as I had been raised to do. It was something that had been ingrained in me since I had taken my first steps. I am Diana, Princess of the Amazons and Champion of the Gods. The reminder does little to settle the churning storm inside of me, one that had been set in motion over well over three months ago.

Approaching the large monuments, I find my legs threatening to give out on me, my limbs suddenly boneless with apprehension. The way my heart begins to thump a little harder…a little faster does little to settle the tumultuous cyclone of emotions building inside of me.

I draw a deep, shuddering breath as I come to a stop before the headstones of Thomas and Martha Wayne. It is the first time I’ve visited them here, preferring rather to address them in the portrait that hangs above the fireplace in their son’s study. There’s something warm and inviting in the way that they appear to gaze back at me as if they appreciate and approve of my presence in the manor.

This…this is far more dismal and colder…final. The portrait reminds of happier times and a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. It shows a family that cared for each other and the warmth that used to permeate the home they had made. The headstones are a cold reminder of just how brutal and cruel life can truly be at times.

I’m reminded of this fact once again as I stand here in silent contemplation, lost in my thoughts.

Bruce wouldn’t be very happy with me if he knew that I was here. I didn’t tell him I was coming. I know that I should have, but I knew that I needed to do this myself without him. It’s not that I don’t want him here, but I just…I need this time here alone for reasons that I can’t begin to explain.

I fall to my knees before his parents, my chin falling to my chest as I send up silent prayers for their blessing in Elysium. I wish that I could have met them, but I know in my heart that I have met the very best of Martha and Thomas Wayne in their son.

“I’m sorry it has taken me so long to pay my respects to you.”

I find the words softly tumbling free from my lips without even realizing it. Now that they have, I find it much easier to speak. “I’m ashamed to say that I have no excuse,” I confess with a sigh, glancing down at the flowers still cradled in my arms.

“I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what a truly amazing man your son grown into,” I continue on as I feel the tears begin to gather in my eyes. “Tales of his heroics would have had to reach Elysium by now. I can verify that every single one of them is true.

“Bruce is the bravest, most noble man I have ever known. He captured my attention from the moment I met him and my feelings for him have only grown since then. It started with respect, grew into a close friendship, and blossomed into a deep abiding love that overwhelms me at times. He thinks that he doesn’t deserve me, but it is I who doesn’t deserve him.”

I pause to wipe away the tears that are escaping, trailing down my cheeks as I pour out my heart to these two people that I love even though I’ve never had the privilege of meeting them. “I swear to you that I will protect him with my life and love him for eternity,” I promise them.

I carefully lay a bouquet before each headstone, pausing to lay a hand on each ornately decorated piece of marble. Deep down, I know I can’t avoid my real reason for coming here. I’ve avoided it long enough…far longer than I should have, but the knifelike pain in my chest has kept me away. I’m here now to save myself as well as my relationship with Bruce.

I draw a shaky breath, the feel of my heart hammering wildly now against my breastbone causing the tears to fall faster as I finally force my attention to the smaller headstone to the right of Bruce’s parents. My bottom lip trembles as my gaze falls on the name that is etched into the light pink marble.

“Madeline Martha Wayne”

A sob sticks in my throat causing it to constrict painfully as I turn my full attention to the place where my daughter rests. A shudder ripples through me as I lay the last bouquet of flowers at her grace, my entire body trembling as I hang my head in shame. I haven’t been here since we lost her three months ago. It was too difficult to bear, too much to handle after losing the most precious thing in this world to me next to Bruce.

The overwhelming weight of guilt and shame assaults me all over again just as intense and crushing as the day that my baby girl stopped breathing, stopped moving in my womb. It was the most horrifying day of my life, one that has forever been imprinted in my mind and on my heart. It’s a pain that I know I’ll carry with me until my final breath.

My Maddy was a healthy baby girl growing within me on a Tuesday and gone on Wednesday morning, lost to us forever at five months old. She will never grace us with her presence in our home, a blessing now to all who get the privilege of meeting her in the Elysium Fields.

Shuddering sobs escape beyond my control now, heartrending and all-consuming. My head drops, my tears falling and wetting the leaves that cover the ground. I frantically brush away the fallen leaves, upset that they would desecrate my daughter’s grave like this.

That’s when I see it…a single pink rose the very color of her nursery lying at the base of her headstone. With trembling fingers, I reach out to caress the delicate blush pink petals and knowing immediately who had brought it to her. Shame swells like a thunderhead in my chest, threatening to rend me in two. He had been here for his little girl while I had been unable to.

It’s my fault she’s gone. It’s my fault she’s been alone out here without her mother the last three months. It’s my fault that I won’t get to hold her in my arms or that Bruce will never get to rock her to sleep. It’s my fault that I’ll never get to teach her the ways of the Amazon or that Bruce will never get to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.

“It’s all…it’s all…my fault,” I choke out my heartbreak, my fingers scrapping against the ground as I clutch at the grass. “I’m so sorry, Maddy.”

The unexpected feel of strong arms wrapping around me from behind momentarily stuns me, but I don’t fight it though everything inside of me tells me to. I don’t deserve this comfort. I don’t deserve this compassion or forgiveness. It’s my fault…all my fault.

I feel myself being pulled into his lap, his arms holding me so tightly against him I can barely draw a breath. He pulls his cape around me like a cocoon, protecting me from the emotional storm that batters and beats against me like a ship lost at sea.

He presses his forehead against my temple, his breathing erratic as well. That’s when I realize that he is crying too, his own pain bleeding through his efforts to console me. It’s solace that we’ve both failed to give each other so many times over the last three months, but we somehow managed to find each other tonight.

I swiftly wrap my arms around him, pulling him unbelievably closer as I bury my face in the crook of his neck. The press of his Kevlar bites against the thin material of my dress and cape, but I couldn’t care less. It helps me to know that I’m alive for the first time in three months, a life that I swore had been snuffed out along with our daughter.

I know that I’ve been selfish, only thinking of myself and my own pain despite the fact that Bruce was hurting just as deeply. Both of us tried to pretend that we were all right, going about our daily lives as if we could handle Madeline being so cruelly taken away from us.

Rationalizing the devastating loss as something fated by my gods and goddesses for some unknown purpose had done little to ease the pain that consumed me. I had thrown myself into my duties, trying to ignore the anguish that was eating away inside of me. I somehow knew that I would never begin to heal until I began to deal with losing my baby girl, would never be able to move on with Bruce until I finally faced the reality of this horrible tragedy.

I’d begun to shut down and shut myself off, becoming some sort of automaton with no feelings. Instead of making things better, it had only served to push everyone I cared about and loved away from me including the very man I had given my heart and body to. I knew that to live again I had to face the reality of death once more by coming here.

It was the only way to stop the freefall that I found myself in.

“I’m so sorry,” I sob, my tears trailing down the front of his uniform. My fingers curl into his cape, gripping him with all of my strength for fear he will just disappear or leave me forever.

“Shhh…it’s all right,” Bruce softly says, tenderly stroking my hair with a compassion I don’t deserve.

“No…it’s not,” I choke out, squeezing my eyes tightly closed. “I’m so sorry I hurt you. It’s all my fault.”

“None of this is your fault,” Bruce adamantly states as he pulls back to cradle my face in his hands. “Madeline died, but it wasn’t your fault, princess.”

“No, it’s…all my fault,” I insist through hiccoughing breaths. “I…I was supposed to protect…her. I was supposed…to protect our baby…and I failed.”

“Is this what you’ve believed for the last three months?” he demands to know, tears trickling out from beneath his cowl to wet his jaw and lips. “Diana, the umbilical cord became wrapped around her neck. It wasn’t your fault.”

“But…I was her mother…I needed to protect her…and I…I didn’t,” I stutter, the full weight of my anguish finally crashing through the walls that I’d meticulously built up around it. “I failed her.”

“Stop…please, Diana,” he tearfully begs me, pressing his forehead against mine. “It’s not your fault. It happens sometimes during pregnancies. It’s a horrible thing to have happen, but it does happen. It’s not something that can be predicted or controlled.

“You are the strongest woman I have ever known and the woman that I love more than anything in this world…the woman I want to try to have another baby with when you’re ready.”

“You…you do?” I whisper, stunned.

Bruce nods his head as he carefully erases the drops from my face, but the tears refuse to subside. “I do…more than anything,” he swears to me.

My hand comes to rest against his check, my thumb caressing the part of his face that his cowl doesn’t cover. “I’m so sorry, Bruce,” I softly apologize. “You needed me…and I wasn’t there for you. I was in a freefall and I couldn’t catch myself.”

“It’s all right, princess. I’ll always be here to catch you when you fall,” he reassures me, his lips ghosting over mine. “I didn’t know how to help you either, so I stayed away from you, hoping you’d come to me when you were ready.”

“I never meant to hurt you,” I confess, my forehead coming to rest against his cheekbone. “I love you more than my own life, Bruce,”

“I love you too,” he replies, lifting my face to his so he can kiss me again.

The kiss we share is incredibly tender and reassuring…reaffirming in our love for one another. Retreating, I gaze into his cowled face, wishing I could see the man that I love. “Come home with me, Bruce,” I whisper against his lips, hoping he won’t continue his patrol tonight. “Love me…make love to me tonight.”

“Always, Diana,” he promises me, and I know that he will for as long as there is breath in his body.

I stand to my feet feeling better than I have since we lost our daughter. The grief still lingers deep inside of me, but I know that we will get through this together. Bruce gets to his feet as well, taking my hand in his as we stand before our daughter’s grave. Side by side as her parents.

“Do you know what helps me to get up every morning?” I softly say, breaking the sorrow-filled silence that permeates the air.

“What?” he asks, looking at me.

“I picture your parents taking care of Madeline for us in Elysium,” I confess with a sad smile as I squeeze his hand, the tears threatening to overwhelm me all over again.

Glancing at him, I see a smile lighting his face that is so incongruous with the fearsome mask and uniform he wears. It’s the first smile I’ve seen from him since that horrifying day. “Now that you mention it, I can picture Madeline running around with your raven curls and bright blue eyes…my parents chasing after her.”

“I picture her with your nose and mouth,” I tell him, laying my head on his shoulder as we stand before the light pink marble.

“I bet she has your laugh,” he says, tilting his head to rest against mine still on his shoulder as we share in our grief for the first time since we lost her.

“And your stubborn streak…don’t forget that,” I reply with a sigh. “You know your parents are going to have their hands full with her.”

Bruce chuckles softly as he lifts his head from mine, turning to kiss my hair. “Let’s go make Madeline a sister,” he huskily tells me.

The desire in his voice stirs something inside of me. It feels as though we can’t get home quick enough. “It might be a boy this time,” I point out, releasing my hold on him long enough to press a kiss to the tips of my fingers before pressing my fingers to the top of Madeline’s headstone. “I love you always, my little sun and stars.”

He quickly wraps his arm around me as we begin to walk away. “Maybe we’ll go for twins this time.”

“Hera, Bruce,” I murmur with a roll of my eyes as I snuggle into his warm embrace. I wrap my arm around him as I lift up into the sky, wanting to return to the manor as quickly as possible.

Chapter Text

Reactions (DCAU)

Selina stretched her arms over her head with a contented groan, her lithe body arching as she attempted to wake up. Sighing contentedly, she reached over to run her fingers along the length of her cat’s back, pausing to gently scratch behind her ears.

“Morning, love,” she murmured with a sleepy smile, leaning over to kiss the top of her Isis’s head. “Should we get some breakfast and see what’s happening in the world that might interest us?”

Throwing the covers off, Selina grabbed her bathrobe before heading into the kitchen to start the coffee. Hitting the button on the coffee maker, she put a bagel into the toaster before getting a bowl of milk for her beloved cat.

Cooing, she called for Isis, setting the bowl down on the kitchen floor. Isis wasted no time in coming, immediately lapping up the milk. Selina stroked her feline friend as she drank the milk. “Let’s go see if we can find anything that might pique our interest.”

She slathered a generous amount of cream cheese on her bagel, pouring herself a cup of coffee before sitting down at the kitchen table where her laptop waited for her. Flipping it open, she quickly brought up the Gotham Gazette as she took a sip of her coffee.

Selina choked on her morning brew as a picture that she had never anticipated seeing appeared on her computer screen. She set her coffee cup down, grabbing a napkin to wipe the drops of coffee from her mouth and chin as she glared daggers at the full colored picture staring back at her.

There on her computer screen was a picture of Bruce Wayne looking handsome as ever in a tuxedo dancing with none other than Wonder Woman of all people. The Amazon warrior was dressed in a form-fitting black dress that did nothing to hide her dangerous curves that defied reality.

Selina sat forward, carefully scrutinizing the front-page picture for some sort of clue as to what had led to this catastrophic event. “What the…” she angrily grumbled, her voice trailing off as she noticed the dazzling smile on the Amazon’s face. She appeared completely smitten with the Gotham billionaire.

Unfortunately, Wonder Woman’s smile was nothing compared to the smile that Bruce displayed. She couldn’t recall a time that she’d ever seen such a heartfelt smile like that on his face in all the years that she’d known him. It caused a sick gnawing in the pit of her stomach, her breakfast abruptly forgotten.

She barely even registered her cat leaping onto her lap, purring softly as she rubbed against Selina’s abdomen. Her attention was locked on the photograph that had just turned her world upside down. “No…no…no,” she repeated with a swelling sense of panic as she quickly scrolled down to read the article, worried about what it might reveal about the couple.

Couple. The word made her want to vomit. There was no way in hell that they were a couple. It had to be some sort of undercover mission or a gimmick…a coordinated event to garner more donations. IT couldn’t possibly be what it appeared to be.

Maybe Bruce had won a dance with the Amazon princess or someone had arranged for her to meet the billionaire playboy in order to make some unfortunate charity more money. With any luck, the Amazon princess from a female-dominated, male-hating society would be completely turned off by his scandalous reputation, refusing to ever be seen again in the company of a known womanizer.

Maybe he would be repulsed by her royal upbringing, turned off by her pretentiousness. Wonder Woman always came across to her as better than everyone else, stubborn and aristocratic. There was no way Bruce would be drawn to that haughty attitude.

Selina drew a calming breath, reminding herself that she had nothing to worry about. Bruce would never give up his mission to protect Gotham for a relationship even if it was with Wonder Woman. The Amazon princess would never be satisfied sharing Bruce with Gotham. This was never going to happen…never going to last.

Yes, that had to be it. It was nothing at all…nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, the looks of pleasure that adorned their faces told a very different story. There was an obvious spark there between them, one that was noticed even through a simple picture on a laptop screen. It caused a pang of regret to pierce her heart as she slowly stroked her cat, her mind racing with ways to get him back.

XXX

The elevator dinged as it stopped at the requested floor, the doors sliding open to reveal a smiling Clark Kent with a cup of coffee in one hand and a briefcase in the other. He stepped out of the elevator, nodding and greeting his coworkers good morning as he made his way to his desk.

He immediately spotted the one who had captured his heart long ago, a Cheshire smile on her face as she stared at the newspaper on her desk. It reminded him of the proverbial cat that ate the canary, making him more than curious and a tad bit worried about the reason behind her happiness.

“What’s going on, Lois?” he asked

“Have you seen this morning’s paper?” she asked.

His forehead creased as he set his cup and briefcase on his desk. He adjusted his glasses as he sat down at his desk across from hers. “No, I had some things to take care of this morning before coming in to work,” he cryptically replied. “What is it? Is something wrong?”

“No!” she exclaimed. “Everything is finally right.”

“What do mean?” he questioned her.

Lois wasted no time in snatching the newspaper off her desk before running around to his desk. She laid her copy of the Daily Planet on top of his desk with a flourish, her smile getting even bigger if it was even possible. “Look at this,” she proudly told him as if she had been the one to break the story.

Clark looked down at the front page of the newspaper finding a picture of Bruce Wayne dancing with Wonder Woman. The tiniest of frowns curved his lips as he studied the picture wondering what Bruce was up to now. He hadn’t shown the slightest romantic interest in Diana since her arrival in their world so why would he suddenly be dancing with her now?

“It’s Bruce Wayne dancing with Wonder Woman,” Clark said as he continued to study the picture.

“I didn’t ask you to identify who it was,” she snapped as she repeatedly poked at the picture with her forefinger. “I’m telling you this is the best news in the world.”

This time Clark’s frown was full-blown as he rubbed the back of his neck. Was there an undercover mission that he hadn’t known about? He’d have go back and check the logs on the Watchtower or talk to Bruce about it. The whole thing was surreal to say the least. They argued all the time. Why would they like each other now?

“Why is this the best news?” he asked.

“Clark, sometimes you can be so dense,” Lois huffed in annoyance. “Don’t you see what this means? It means people will stop pairing Wonder Woman romantically with Superman all the time.”

The corner of Clark’s lips quirked in amusement as he adjusted his glasses again. “Jealous much, Lois?”

“What? No!” she adamantly declared. “I’m just sick of hearing how Wonder Woman should date Superman on every single tabloid and talk show. You can’t walk past a newsstand without there being some rumor about them whether it’s their upcoming nuptials on the moon or their alien baby they’re secretly raising in the Fortress of Solitude.”

“Sounds like your jealous, Lois,” he told her, sitting back in his chair as he gazed at her with a goofy grin. She was so beautiful when she was worked up. He loved how her violet eyes practically glowed when she was riled.

“I’m not jealous so stop raining on my parade, Smallville,” she ground out between clenched teeth.

“I hate to break it to you, but it’s just a dance,” he pointed out to her, sitting up to look at the picture again as he tilted his head. They actually looked really good together now that he thought about it that way.

Lois folded her arms against her chest, her eyes narrowing in frustration. “I know it’s just a dance, but look at them, Clark. They are clearly enjoying each other’s company. Have you ever seen a smile like that on Bruce Wayne’s face? I sure haven’t. He always has that cheesy playboy grin that he gives everyone. This one is genuine.”

Clark studied the picture, noticing the way that the couple was looking at each. Diana looked so happy. He didn’t think he’d seen her that happy since being exiled from Themyscira. He was glad that she was getting out more and exploring the world around her. He just didn’t know how he felt about her doing it with Bruce Wayne.

Bruce was his best friend, but Clark still had his reservations about him spending time with Diana. She was just so innocent and naïve about the world around her. He wasn’t certain that he wanted her education to come from the playboy Prince of Gotham and known womanizer.

He didn’t know how he felt about this development, but he didn’t want to think about it right now. He wanted to talk to Bruce about it, maybe warn Diana about pursuing anything with him if this dance turned into anything more. At this point, he felt that waiting to see how things played out was for the best.

Clark picked up the newspaper and handed it back to Lois, knowing that Bruce would never let anything come between him and his precious mission. “I still think it’s nothing, Lois.”

“Well, I don’t care what you think,” she said with a sniff of disapproval, her chin lifted in defiance as she clutched the newspaper to her chest. “It takes the focus off Wonder Legs and Superman for a while, so I’m thrilled about it.”

Wonder Legs? Clark chuckled as he watched her stalk away, wondering at what point he should reveal that he was Superman and that she had nothing to worry about when it came to Wonder Woman. Diana was like his sister. A relationship with her would be borderline incestuous at best.

XXX

Wally West whistled cheerfully as he walked into the crime lab at the Central City Police Department with a super-sized Slurpee in his hand. “Heya, Hank,” he greeted his coworker, clapping him on the back as he walked past. “How was your date last night?”

“It was a bust,” Hank crankily replied with a scowl. “She stood me up.”

“That’s rough, dude,” Wally said with a sympathetic shake of his head. “Better luck next time, right?”

“Yah, right,” Hank woefully muttered as he turned his attention back to his computer.

Taking a gulp of his drink, Wally bebopped his way to his desk only to find a couple of coworkers huddled together as they gawked at a newspaper. “What’s up, guys?”

“Haven’t you seen the newspaper yet this morning?” Billy asked.

“No, why?”

“Dude!” Weston, the youngest of the crime lab team, crowed with unrestrained excitement. “Bruce Wayne is dating Wonder Woman!”

“Yah, I bet they’re shacking up already,” Billy added, elbowing his friend. “Can you imagine sharing a bed with Wonder Woman?”

“What?!” Wally cried, snatching the newspaper away from them.

His frantic gaze fell on the picture of Wonder Woman dancing in the arms of none other than Bruce Wayne. He read the entire front-page article in two seconds flat, his heart racing just as fast as his eyes. This couldn’t be happening. It had to have been some sort of mission that Diana had been on, one where Bruce Wayne just happened to be…forcing her to look drop-dead gorgeous and dance in the arms of that womanizer.

“It’s just a coincidence…it has to be…it’s not real,” Wally murmured to himself, rereading the article over again. He finally heard the snickers coming from his two coworkers, forcing him to look up at them. “What?”

“You!” Weston declared. “You’re acting all weird.”

“You didn’t actually think that you had a chance with Wonder Woman, did you?” Billy questioned him, unable to keep his laughter at bay.

“Yah, man,” Weston added. “You don’t stand a chance with her. She doesn’t even know that you exist.”

“Hey, keep on dreaming, Wal,” Billy sympathetically told him, squeezing his shoulder as they walked past him. Another bout of laughter escaped as he said, “And maybe someday pigs will sprout wings and begin to levitate.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” Wally grumbled with a scowl as he tightly gripped the newspaper in his hands.

He couldn’t believe this was happening. What did Bruce Wayne have that he…never mind. He felt his heart sink in his chest, knowing that it was just a pipe dream, but still he couldn’t help being smitten with the Amazon princess. What was there not to love about her? She was every red-blooded American man’s dream wrapped up in red, white, and blue.

“How could you do this to me, Wondy?” he whispered to himself, his good morning evaporating in the blink of an eye. “We could have been so awesome together.”

XXX

Alfred Pennyworth retrieved the mail and newspaper from the front gate of Wayne Manor, tucking the newspaper under his arm as he proceeded up the drive to the stately manor. He flipped through the countless envelopes—bill, bill, invitation, advertisement, request for money, bill, fan letter hoping to get a date with the notorious Gotham billionaire, fan letter, fan letter, fan letter, another invitation.

It never seemed to end, the countless string of women lining up for just a chance to date Bruce Wayne with hopes of being the one to finally catch the playboy’s heart and becoming Missus Wayne. Little did they know that that would never happen. Master Bruce hadn’t been out on a real date in years and likely wouldn’t be anytime soon.

No, no dating for the Batman. The mission and Gotham always came first, his heart not even a consideration and never something to be factored into his life for any reason. His heart had been safely locked away years ago, never to see the light of day again.

Many had tried and some had come close, but not even Talia or Selina could penetrate that Kevlar protected heart of Bruce Wayne. Andrea Beaumont had come the closest of all, but even that had eventually ended in pain and heartache, making it next to impossible for the next woman who entered his life to get anywhere close to him or his heart.

Entering the manor, Alfred closed the door behind him before heading to the kitchen. He deposited the mail on the breakfast table at the spot Master Bruce always sat at along with the newspaper. Turning, he began the task of making himself a cup of tea before making his breakfast. Batman had returned from Kasnia only a scant few hours ago, leading Alfred to believe that he wouldn’t be seeing his surrogate son at least until sometime after lunch at the earliest.

Sitting down with a plate of poached eggs and toast along with his cup of tea, Alfred’s gaze fell on the front page of the Gotham Gazette. “Well, well, well…what do we have here,” he murmured to himself with an amused expression gracing his face.

Alfred took his time reading the article, learning all about Wonder Woman’s heroic efforts to save the Princess Audrey from certain calamity. The most interesting part of the in-depth article, however, was the emphasis on Bruce Wayne being seen with Wonder Woman in his arms.

The princess’s life-saving efforts were almost a side note, something of great insignificance in the wake of the unexpected development between the two famous people. The greatest interest laid in the potential romantic inklings between the Princess of the Amazons and the Prince of Gotham. It seemed to have created quite the media firestorm if the frontpage article was any indication.

“It’s about bloody time,” Alfred muttered as his gaze fell on the picture once more.

They made a very handsome couple, perfectly paired in every way conceivable. He’d always had a feeling that there was something there with the way that Master Bruce would always talk about Wonder Woman after a particular mission, the other team members completely missing from the story. Of course, that was the times when Master Bruce actually spoke about his missions with the League.

It was a rare occurrence, indeed, but one that was marked with various comments about the Amazon princess’s skill, her spirit and her instincts, her abilities as a warrior as well as her obstinacy. This picture before him only confirmed what had been lurking in the back of his mind about the elusive Dark Knight.

Master Bruce was quite taken with the Amazon princess.

“It would have to take a very special woman to reach through to that impenetrable heart,” Alfred said. “And there is definitely no one more special than her.”

“Who are you talking to?” Bruce asked with a frown as he entered the kitchen dressed in workout shorts and a t-shirt.

“Good morning, Master Bruce,” Alfred replied as he stood to his feet, taking his dishes with him. “I didn’t expect to see you until much later today.”

“I couldn’t sleep,” he muttered as he went over to the coffee pot to pour himself a cup.

“And why is that?” Alfred asked, keeping his smile to himself as he began preparations for breakfast.

“Too much on my mind I guess,” Bruce said with a shrug as he made his way towards his place at the breakfast table.

“About anything in particular?” Alfred coyly probed, trying to get more information. “Or perhaps it could be someone?”

Bruce’s eyebrows furrowed as he turned to stare at the British butler for a moment before sitting down in his seat. “What are you getting at?”

“Oh, nothing in particular,” Alfred innocently said. “I just thought maybe it had something to do with the attempted abduction of Princess Audrey.”

Bruce flipped through the mail, his frown deepening at the invitations and a full-blown scowl forming with the fan letters requesting dates. Those letters were always easily recognizable with their perfume scent attached for good measure. He tossed them aside in annoyance before turning his attention to the newspaper laying on the table.

His gaze immediately fell on the large picture of him dancing with Diana, his breath catching in his throat all over again. He found himself completely mesmerized by what he saw before him, the sight of her so breathtaking in that black dress slamming into him all over again.

She had stirred a wealth of emotions inside of him as he had watched her enter the gala, the look of utter of confusion and bewilderment on her face completely endearing herself to him. It was the reason that he had come to her rescue, offering her his hand and pulling her onto the dance floor.

Before he’d realized what was happening, he was pulling her close to him, dancing with her pressed against him. It had been almost magical if he actually believed in that sort of thing…which he didn’t, but if he did, it could only be with her and no one else. Good thing he didn’t believe in it.

He was going to have to do some intensive research into her powers and gifts, searching to see if she possibly possessed the ability to cast a spell over men. Gazing at the picture of them, though, he knew that this was no magical spell. The bright smiles on their faces, the enjoyment that permeated their eyes told him this was something else…something significant that he didn’t know if he wanted to even think about.

If he thought about it, he’d only give his ideas and get his hopes up, knowing that nothing could ever truly come from such a union. There would only be pain and anguish and bitterness, a dead-end path that shouldn’t be navigated. It was the only possible ending for him when it came to relationships.

Still, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Was that a genuine smile on his face? How had he let that slip? He didn’t think that he’d ever seen such a smile on his face in more years than he could begin to count. Had Diana actually brought that out in him?

He swore he could still smell her intoxicating jasmine scent that always had an affect on him no matter how much he tried to rail against it. He remembered how amazing it felt to have his arms around her, how her feminine curves fit so perfectly against his muscular frame.

A subtle throat clearing broke him out of his reverie, his head shooting up to find Alfred standing there with his breakfast and a smug, knowing smile on his face. “Don’t even think about it,” Bruce growled, snatching his plate out of the butler’s hands with a glower.

“Why, Master Bruce, whatever do you mean?”

XXX

Diana stepped out of the shower, drying off before wrapping her long raven hair up in her towel. She hummed softly to herself, the melody of the song that she and Bruce had danced to in Paris before being interrupted by those terrorists. A flash of anger pervaded her eyes as she put her uniform on, furious with their timing as well as their audacity to crash the first event that she’d ever ventured to.

It had been a wonderful evening despite the attack, one that she wouldn’t forget anytime soon. Not only had she gotten off the Watchtower to experience the world, but she had learned Batman’s true identity even though he had told her that he didn’t know what she was talking about.

She smiled to herself as she removed the towel from her hair, running her fingers through the wet strands. Batman could deny it all he wanted, but she had no doubt that he was Bruce Wayne. There was denying that chin and jaw line or that perfect muscular build that she could feel through his tuxedo.

Slipping on her boots and tiara, Diana grabbed her Lasso of Truth before exiting her quarters, in dire need of an iced mocha. The evening in Paris…the fight with Vandal Savage in Kasnia…it had been exciting to say the least, but a somewhat exhausting turn of events.

She’d made a new friend in Princess Audrey, encountered Colonel Vox and captured Savage, and discovered who the handsome man was behind the cowl and Kevlar. Not bad for a mission that she hadn’t planned on. Now, it was time to learn a little more about the infamous Bruce Wayne. She had a strong feeling there was far more to him than met the eye and she was more than determined to find out everything.

“Spill it, girl,” Shayera demanded as she ran to catch up with Diana as she made her way to the kitchen.

“Spill what?” Diana asked as she looked down at her uniform. She couldn’t have gotten it dirty already. She hadn’t even eaten yet.

“Details!” she exclaimed, waving a newspaper in her face. “I want details and leave absolutely nothing out.”

“Details about what?” Diana questioned her with a confused look on her face as she tried to catch a glimpse of the newspaper being waved in her face. “About Princess Audrey and Vandal Savage?”

“I don’t give a rat’s…never mind,” Shayera groused in exasperation. “I want to know everything about your date with Bruce Wayne.”

“I didn’t have a date with Bruce Wayne,” Diana insisted as she finally snatched the newspaper out of the Thanagarian’s hand, looking at the front page to find a picture of herself smiling at Bruce as they danced.

Shayera rolled her eyes with a huff. “If that’s the story you’re sticking to.”

“I’m telling you the truth, Shay,” Diana told her. “I didn’t know that Bruce was going to be at that event. He rescued me from a bunch of people hammering me with questions. We didn’t even get to finish our dance before we were interrupted by the terrorists.”

Shayera frowned as she studied her friend, deciding that she was probably telling the truth. The princess didn’t know how to lie. “That’s it…that’s all that happened?”

Diana hooked a raven curl behind her ear, her lips curling with the picture of them. She couldn’t tell Shayera that she discovered that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same. It was his secret and she wouldn’t betray that secret even if her life depended on it.

“I’m afraid so,” she replied, handing Shayera her newspaper. “It was just half a dance…nothing more. I never saw Bruce Wayne again after that.”

Diana hated to lie. It wasn’t in her nature, but it was the truth. She never did see Bruce Wayne again after the attempted abduction of Princess Audrey. She’d only seen Batman. Shayera also didn’t need to know that she had requested another dance with the Dark Knight of Gotham or that he’d left her even more intrigued with him than she’d already been.

Shayera sized her up for a moment, contemplating whether or not she should give her the fifth degree and try to get more information out of her. She ultimately decided there was nothing more to be gained at this point, but she would definitely be keeping an eye out for more clues as to a possible romance brewing between the two.

“Okay…for now,” Shayera grumbled, “but if Bruce Wayne asks you out on a date, I want to be the first to know about it.”

Diana chuckled as they continued to the kitchen, amused by her friends excitement about something that didn’t even exist…well, at least not yet. “You’ll be the very first to know, Shay.”

Chapter Text

Impression: Part Two (AU Continuation)

Bruce growled under his breath as he ripped another tie off, tossing it over his shoulder before removing another suit. He absentmindedly threw his clothes into the pile that he’d accumulated on his bedroom floor as he walked back over to his closet.

With hands on his hips, his frantic gaze wandered over one expensive suit after another in hopes of finding just the right own. Pulling a dark charcoal grey suit from its hanger, he quickly donned his newest choice in hopes that this was the right one for tonight.

He huffed in frustration as he buttoned up the dress shirt, wondering what had happened to him. He’d never been like this about a date before, never going to all this trouble just to find the right clothes to wear. Of course, he’d never met a woman like Diana Prince before.

She’d intrigued him from the very first moment he saw her, his enchantment with her only expanding from there when he’d talked to her. He was anxious to find out everything about her especially since he’d thought of little else since he’d met her last weekend.

His lips twitched into a frown as he perused his selection of ties, trying to decide which one would best go with his suit. “Alfred!” he yelled, grabbing a couple of ties from the closet before making his way to the full-length mirror. “Alfred! I need help, Alfred!”

Several moments passed before Alfred appeared in the doorway of his bedroom. “Might I inquire as to what all the bellowing is about, Master Bruce?”

“Which tie goes best with this suit?” he asked, his eyebrows knitted as he held first one tie against his shirt and pants before trying the second one.

“Actually, I much prefer this one,” Alfred replied, retrieving a tie from the closet.

“Thanks,” Bruce grumbled as he snatched it out of the British butler’s hands.

Alfred clasped his hands before him, a knowing smile gracing his lips. “May I ask why the panic over a suit?” he asked, glancing at the pile on the floor with an exasperated sigh.

“I have a date tonight,” he snapped as if it was painfully obvious.

“I assumed as much, but I have never seen you quite so…shall we say…obsessed about finding the appropriate attire for a date.”

Bruce slipped on his suit jacket, adjusting the sleeves and his tie as he took another look in the mirror. “I just want to make a good impression. What’s wrong with that?”

“Oh, nothing…nothing at all,” he reassured him. “It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that your date is with Miss Diana Prince, would it?”

“What? No,” Bruce insisted with a scowl as he put on his cufflinks. “Like I said I just want to make a good impression.”

“I’m sure you shall, Master Bruce,” he assured him. “Where are you taking, Miss Prince?”

“Pierre’s,” he informed him as he ran his fingers through his hair in an effort to tame his ebony locks.

“Good choice,” he agreed. “This must be a very important date if you made the reservations yourself instead of having me take care of it.”

“It’s just a date…nothing more,” he tried to tell him as he turned to face his surrogate father. “Don’t be getting any ideas in your head. I’m not anywhere near settling down and getting married…and don’t even mention children. Not going to happen.”

“Why, Master Bruce, I wouldn’t dare dream of it,” Alfred told him with feigned innocence, but the mischievous twinkle in his eye told him otherwise.

“Right,” Bruce muttered with a roll of his eyes.

“Which car are you taking tonight?”

“The Bugatti,” he answered him as exited his bedroom. “Don’t wait up.”

“Behave yourself,” Alfred called after him as he knelt down and began picking up the discarded suits.

XXX

Diana appraised her appearance in her mirror, turning from one side to the other and back again. She ran her hands over the deep blue material of her dress, hoping that it looked all right on her. An afternoon of shopping had resulted in three new dresses, all of them taking a turn at being paraded before the mirror in hopes of being the chosen one.

She’d finally settled on the deep blue, single shoulder knee-length dress mostly because she didn’t have the time to try the other two dresses on again. The decision had been made for her whether she liked it or not. Grabbing her strappy silver high-heeled sandals, she quickly slipped one on, hopping on one foot to put the other one on as she made her way towards her bathroom.

She finished with the strap of her sandal, spraying her hair one last time. “I’m afraid this is as good as it’s going to get, Diana,” she murmured to herself, checking to make sure her dress hid the scar below her collarbone. A cold chill trembled through her as a distant memory attempted to invade her mind, but she quickly banished it. She refused to allow it to gain a foothold in her life again.

She didn’t know why she felt a flutter of nervousness. It was just a date—nothing more. She’d been warned by just about everyone that Bruce Wayne was a bad bay with a notorious reputation for being a player, but she had seen something different in the man that she had met at the museum gala last weekend.

She didn’t know if it was his irresistible charm or her curiosity that had caused her to agree to a date with him. Heaven knew that she hadn’t been out on a date in more years than she could begin to count. It wasn’t that she wasn’t interested in finding someone to build a life with or that she hadn’t had more than her fair share of requests. It was just very difficult for her to let someone into her life.

All she knew was that Bruce Wayne had intrigued her when she’d first met him. She found she wanted to get to know him better despite her fears. She’d told herself that there was absolutely nothing wrong with that or with wanting to have a little companionship. She had to admit that she was quite lonely at times especially being in a new city where she knew absolutely no one.

Besides, it couldn’t work even if she wanted it to. She couldn’t have the love life that others got to experience.

“Don’t be so fatalistic, Diana,” she chided herself with a frown as she flipped the light switch off on her way out of the bathroom.

There was a knock at her door, one that caused her to momentarily freeze. The pesky flutter invaded her chest all over again, forcing her to draw a deep breath as she headed towards her door. Releasing a slow, calming breath, she opened it to find her new neighbor at her door.

“What’s up, gorgeous?”

Diana’s lips pursed into a thin line as she tried to keep the smile from fully forming on her face. “Hi, Wally,” she greeted him. “What are you up to this evening?”

“Just checking on my beautiful new neighbor,” he told her, wiggling his eyebrows at her as he leaned a forearm against her doorframe. “Wanna get pizza and watch a movie with me tonight?”

“Thank you, but I can’t,” she revealed, biting at her bottom lip with what she was about to say next. “I…have a date tonight.”

“What?” Wally nearly shrieked. “I’ve asked you out like a million times since you moved in two weeks ago and you’ve turned me down every time since. Who is it? Wait…I don’t want to know. Let me just die a little inside with some dignity.”

“I’m sorry, Wally,” she apologized with a chuckle. “It wasn’t planned. It just sort of…happened.”

“I’m sorry,” a deep baritone voice interjected. “Am I interrupting something?”

Wally West turned to fine none other than Bruce Wayne standing next to him with a bouquet of flowers in his hand. “Bruce freaking Wayne?” Wally cried. “Di, you’re killing me! I can’t compete with that.”

“Good night, Wally,” she politely said, giving him an apologetic smile.

“Have a good time,” Wally said as he slunk away, looking over his shoulder to glare at the famous billionaire.

“Good evening, Bruce,” Diana greeted him as she stepped aside to allow him entrance into her loft.

“Good evening, Diana. You look absolutely beautiful tonight,” he replied as he offered her the bouquet of flowers. “These are for you.”

“Thank you…they’re lovely,” she said, closing her eyes as she inhaled the scents of the various flowers in the bouquet. “Just let me put these in some water and we can leave.”

“I hope you like French food,” Bruce said, stuffing his hands into his pants’ pockets as he began to wander around her living room.

It was an impressive loft, expansive and yet cozy…warm and inviting while being tastefully decorated. It seemed to draw him in and wrap him up with a warm feeling, welcoming him in as if he should always be here. It was decorated with antiques that were a nod to her heritage, framed paintings of Greece’s picturesque landscape adorning the walls.

“I love French food,” she replied. “Unfortunately, with my busy schedule, I don’t get to enjoy it very often.”

“You can enjoy it to your heart’s content tonight,” he reassured her.

Diana reentered the living room, her eyes sparkling like the rarest of diamonds as she paused to pick up her silver wrap and purse from the top of an antique bureau. “I’m ready when you are,” she said, feeling the nervous flutter evaporate as their eyes met.

Bruce offered her his arm, a warm smile on his handsome face. “My car awaits us, princess.”

Diana chuckled softly as they left her loft, her hand settling in the crook of his arm. “Princess?”

“Prince…princess,” he pointed out. “It’s not that far of a leap. Besides, you’re beautiful enough to be a princess.”

A soft blush suffused her cheeks as she dipped her head in embarrassment. “Such flattery so soon?” she teased. “Should I be concerned?”

“I take it you’ve been warned about me by a great many people,” he ventured a guess, doing his best to keep his annoyance from reaching his face.

“You could say that,” she coyly replied.

“Should I be concerned?”

“No, not unless the rumors are true,” she told him with a smirk as he opened her car door for her. “Then, you might have cause for concern.”

“From you or your father?”

A dark shadow passed over Diana’s face with the mention of her father. She quickly tucked it away but not before being noticed by Bruce. “Only me,” she stated in a clipped tone as she got into the car.

Bruce filed that information away for a later conversation as he closed her car door, making his way around to the driver’s side. Starting up his Bugatti, he took off through Gotham, intent on making this an evening that she wouldn’t soon forget.

With any luck, he would be able to garner a kiss from her tonight as well as a second date.

“I’m so amazed by how beautiful this city is,” Diana murmured as she gazed out the window at the bustling experience of Gotham’s nightlife.

Bruce hid his surprise with her comment as he turned to gaze at her to find a look of wonderment on her face. “I don’t think I’ve heard Gotham described as beautiful before.”

She cast a glance at him, curiosity alight in her eyes. “Really? You don’t see it yourself?”

He shrugged a shoulder as he considered her question. “I guess I’ve never really thought about it,” he confessed. “The crime and corruption that has infiltrated the city on a daily basis seems to overshadow it at times.”

“Sometimes you have to look beyond the harsh exterior to find the beauty lying beneath…like a diamond in the rough,” she thoughtfully replied.

“I guess you’re right,” he agreed with a contemplative nod. “I’ve lived here my whole life, so I suppose I’ve become somewhat cynical about my birthplace. It’s easy to get so swept up in daily life and responsibilities that you don’t take the time to see what’s around you.”

A soft smile touched her lips as she laid a hand on his forearm. “Maybe we can help each other then,” she suggested. “You can show me your city and I’ll show you the beauty in it.”

Bruce returned her smile with one of his one, an expression that caused his piercing blue eyes to light up in a way that caused her breath to catch in her throat. “I’d like that,” he softly said, feeling as though he’d already been granted a guarantee for a second date.

Now, he couldn’t wait for that kiss.

She had left him wanting more of her by the time he’d left the museum gala a week ago, occupying his thoughts ever since then. No other woman had been able to captivate him quite like she had. Seeing her again tonight had only intensified his desire to kiss her.

Pulling up in front of the restaurant, Bruce got out, making his way around to other side of the car and opening Diana’s door for her. She took his offered arm, allowing him to lead her into the restaurant as the young man got into his Bugatti to park his car for him.

Diana was stunned as they entered the restaurant to find it completely empty save for the maître-d and an orchestra. “Bruce, what is this?” she asked, confused.

“I rented the whole restaurant for the evening,” he sheepishly told her, watching her face for her reaction. He hoped she’d liked the surprise but had to admit he was a little nervous she would be turned off by the notion.

“You went to all that trouble and expense for me?” she softly asked, her eyes drinking in the romantic scene that surrounded her—the single table set for two, the dim lighting and the lit candles.

“It was no trouble…and expense is never an issue, Diana,” he reassured her, lowering his arm to take her hand in his.

“Right this way, sir and madame,” the maître-d politely requested, leading them to their waiting table.

Bruce pulled Diana’s chair out for her, pushing it in as she sat down. The maître-d handed them their menus as Bruce took his seat. “Your waitress will be with you shortly.”

“Thank you, Phillip,” Bruce said, glancing at Diana who still seemed a bit stunned by the revelation. “I hope you don’t mind. As you know, I have quite a reputation…a good portion of it untrue, but not all of it. I didn’t want you to be subjugated to all the attention that would’ve been focused on you in a crowded restaurant. I’m not saying that it still might not happen if the press gets wind of this, but—”

Her hand covering his halted his rambling. “It’s very sweet of you, Bruce,” she reassured him. “It’s just that no one has ever done anything like this for me before. It’s just a little overwhelming, but I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

He seemed to visibly relax as he smiled at her, relieved that she wasn’t upset with him. “I like you, Diana,” he confessed. “I want to get to know you, but if you are afraid of being associated with me, I’ll understand. I just wanted at least one evening alone with you.”

“I’m not worried about your reputation or mine for that matter,” she replied. “I prefer to find out the truth of a person for myself, not in a tabloid or rumors.”

Bruce released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding as he glanced down at his menu. “I’m glad to hear that.”

“And for the record, I like you too,” she confessed, pulling a lock of hair behind her ear, her focus on her menu.

The waitress appeared to take their orders before Bruce could respond, bringing the bottle of wine that he had ordered when he’d made the reservation. “How did you know I liked this wine?” Diana asked, taking a drink.

“I did my homework,” he told her.

“Really?”

“Well, I noticed you tended to request it over champagne at the museum gala last week,” he revealed. “I tend to be a very observant person.”

“I’ll have to remember that,” she said. “So, what else have you observed about me so far?”

Bruce leaned towards her, more than happy that the maître-d had remembered to place their chairs close together as he’d requested. “You’re beautiful…confident with an underlying air of timidity that has me curious. You’re brilliant at what you do, and you miss your home, so you decorate your loft with reminders of it to make you feel better.”

Diana was stunned by his observations of her but couldn’t deny that he was right about most of it. She wasn’t so certain about the beauty or brilliance, but she was quite pleased that he found her to be beautiful. She leaned towards him as well, cupping her chin as her elbow came to rest on top of the table.

“Anything else I should know about?” she softly inquired.

“There is far more to you than meets the eye…and I’m anxious to find out what it is,” he informed her.

She fought back the sense of trepidation that swirled like a cyclone in her stomach, doing her best to keep her expression open as she felt the walls around her heart begin to turn to steel. “Well, I guess we’ll just have to see if you can find out,” she flirted.

“I can’t wait,” he murmured, his gaze falling to her lips.

The waitress appeared at that moment with their dinners, interrupting the romantic moment. They quickly settled back into their seats and into their meals. Conversation was light, revolving mostly around Wayne Enterprises and the various ventures they were involved in. It eventually turned to Diana’s job at the museum and the countless artifacts that had recently been uncovered in Greece and procured by the Gotham Museum.

Bruce reached for the second bottle of wine that was half full, but Diana held up her hand. “No more for me tonight,” she told him.

“Can’t hold your liquor, princess?” he teased her.

“Let’s just say I know my limits.”

He pushed his seat back, standing to his feet and offering her his hand. “Would you care to dance, Miss Prince?”

She took his hand with a smile, setting aside her cloth napkin as she stood to her feet. “I’d love to.”

He led her to the dance floor as the orchestra played, taking her into his arms. Her hand rested on his shoulder as he held her other hand in his, holding her at a respectable distance. Gazing into her eyes, he found himself being plunged far beneath the deep ocean blueness he found there, so much guarded emotion and maybe a hint of apprehension.

It pricked his curiosity, hoping against hope she meant what she had said about wanting to get to know the real him. He didn’t want her to feel trepidation or unease around him, worrying about being taken advantage of or having to be on guard with him.

She was already special to him in a way that took him by surprise. He wasn’t that man that the tabloids reported about, the brute who conquered women left and right just to put another notch on his bedpost. While he’d been with his fair share of women, he wasn’t the cad that the press had made him out to be.

He was no longer the partier or the playboy, putting that aspect of his life behind him a couple of years ago. While he still enjoyed the occasional party, he was trying hard to create a legacy that his parents would be proud of, living the kind of life that they would approve of.

Diana took him by surprise as she drew closer to him, her hand shifting from his shoulder to the back of his neck as her cheek came to rest against his. He leaned into her as well, thoroughly enjoying the feel of her in his arms and anxiously anticipating the next time that he could do it again.

They ended up dancing for almost two hours, holding each other close as they just moved to the orchestral music. Diana attempted to stifle a yawn as she pulled back, Bruce gazing into her eyes once more. “I think I better get you back home before you fall asleep on me,” he lightly teased her.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized as she ducked her head, a pink blush spreading across her cheeks. “It’s been a wonderful evening, Bruce. I can’t thank you enough.”

“Promise me I can take you out again,” he told her.

“We’ll see,” she replied with an impish grin as he walked her back to the table to retrieve her silver wrap and her purse.

“We’ll see?” he said with a chuckle as he took her hand in his. “I thought we already established that I would show you Gotham and you’d point out the beauty of it to me.”

“That’s what a friend would do,” she clarified as they walked outside, the valet driver pulling up in his car.

He tipped the driver before opening Diana’s car door for her, his mind spinning with what she’d just said. Did she only consider him a friend with no possibility of something more? It couldn’t be. They’d just had the most amazing date that he’d ever been on in his life. Didn’t she feel the intense spark between them too?

“A friend?” he asked as he drove off, glancing at her in disbelief to find her trying not to laugh. “I’d like to think I could be more than just a friend, princess.”

“Well, just have to see,” she told him. “It’s too early to tell yet.”

“Too early to tell?” he questioned her. “I rented a whole restaurant and an orchestra for you.”

“And it was wonderful,” she insisted. “I loved every minute of it.”

“And I’m still only friend material,” he muttered, astonished as he stared at the road ahead of him. This woman never ceased to amaze him. She kept him guessing and completely off balance. It wasn’t something that he was used to when it came to the women that he’d dated in the past.

“Time will tell, Bruce,” she teased him. “You know these things can’t be rushed.”

“You don’t believe in love at first sight or the notion of soulmates?”

“No, not particularly,” she revealed. “There can be an instantaneous connection or spark, but not real love at first sight. That’s just wishful dreaming made for fairy tales.”

“Wow…I can’t say I saw that coming,” he admitted, trying to process it all.

Diana’s lilting laughter filled the car like a melodious song as they drove back to her apartment building. “Not so observant?” she asked.

“I guess I sort of took you for a hopeless romantic,” he admitted.

“Is it because I’m Greek and you’ve heard all of those mythological stories of gods and goddesses being in love?” she questioned him.

“It must be,” he said with a frown.

“It’s okay, Bruce,” she reassured him. “There’s nothing wrong if you believe in it. It’s just not something that I feel is possible.”

Pulling up in front of her apartment, Bruce turned his car off before getting out. Walking around to the other side, he opened her car door for her, trying to figure out his next move. He was just hoping for that kiss that he’d been aching for all evening long.

They walked up the steps to the front of her apartment building, stopping before the door. She pulled out her key, turning to face him. “Thank you, Bruce,” she said with a warm smile that seemed to light up the night brighter than the stars above. “I had a wonderful evening with you.”

Bruce’s eyes fell to her lips again as he began to lean in only to be stopped short by her forefinger coming to rest against his mouth. He immediately jerked back in surprise. “Sorry, that’s for the second date,” she informed him.

“Then, when can I take you out again?” he asked her, clearly disappointed.

“Call me and you’ll find out,” she flirted as she inserted her key and opened the door.

“You’re an intriguing woman, Diana,” he said with a low growl of frustration in his throat.

Diana chuckled softly as she leaned in and kissed him chastely on the cheek, gently patting his chest. “Good evening, Mister Wayne,” she bid him goodnight.

Bruce turned and walked down the steps, pausing when he reached his car. He turned around to find her still standing in the open doorway watching him, a playful smile on her face. “I can already tell that you’re going to be the death of me, Miss Diana Prince.”

“No, I’m just going to make you work for you what you want,” she replied.

He shook his head in absolute amazement, laughter spilling from his lips. “And you think you know what I want?”

“Call me for a second date and we’ll see.”

“I am going to get my kiss, Miss Prince,” he warned her.

“We’ll see,” she said as she turned and entered her building.

Bruce let out a low whistle, knowing that he’d more than met his match in this formidable woman. She was keeping him on his toes and leaving him wanting so much more of her. He just hoped he could wait until their second date. The week between the gala and their date tonight had been torture.

Diana watched from the window as he got into his car and took off, her lips curling into a grin. She hummed softly to herself as she walked up the stairs to her loft apartment, the magical evening replaying all over again in her mind. It had been absolutely perfect in every way.

“Diana! You’re finally back!” Wally greeted her from the doorway of his apartment next to hers. “How was it? Did he try anything? Do I need to hit him for you? I’ll defend your honor for you.”

“Good night, Wally,” Diana merely told him with a grin as she unlocked her door and entered her apartment.

Her cell phone began ringing as she took her heels off. Pulling her phone out of her purse, she found it was Bruce calling her. “Bruce? Is everything all right?”

“I’m calling to ask you out for a second date,” Bruce formally requested, “and of course my kiss.”

Chapter Text

Stowaway (DCAU)

Wonder Woman peeked around the corner of the transporter doors, making certain that no one was in the hallway of the Watchtower. She knew she was going to have to be stealthy and cunning about this if she was going to be able to pull this off. Guile, however, was not her strongest trait.

Exiting the transporter room, she silently prayed to every single goddess she could think of that she wouldn’t run into anyone on her way to her quarters, but especially a certain pointy-eared hero adorned in black Kevlar. He was the last person she wanted to see at that moment despite her feelings for him.

Coming to the end of the corridor, Diana peered around the corner to find Flash walking in her direction with Fire. She immediately pulled back, pressing her back against the wall. She considered taking the long way around to her quarters, but she knew that she ran an even bigger risk of running into Batman and being discovered. She couldn’t let that happen. There was too much at stake right now.

If she was lucky, Wally would be too consumed with Fire to stop to talk to her or even notice her, but when she had ever been that lucky? Drawing a deep breath, she released it slowly before deciding to make her move. Straightening her shoulders, she confidently walked around the corner, trying to appear as natural as possible.

Her hand rested lightly on the strap of her cloth bag; her gaze locked straight ahead of her as she attempted to pass by the couple unnoticed. Flash, however, was on a major sugar rush from the seven super-sized Slurpee’s that he’d downed before returning to the Watchtower after a mission. He was practically vibrating with energy.

“Wondy!” he called. “What’s in the bag?”

Diana bit at her bottom lip, doing her best to keep the panic she felt rising inside from reaching her face. “Oh, hey, Flash,” she replied, changing the subject to avoid answering the question. “What are you two up to?”

“Flash and I are going to the training room to—”

“Train!” Flash abruptly interjected, grabbing Fire’s hand. “Train…we’re going to train together. Nothing else…all purely innocent.”

“But Flash, I thought we were going to…” Fire began, confused.

“We better get going,” Flash said, rushing Fire along. “We don’t want to be late for our time slot.”

Diana chuckled in relief as she continued on, glancing down at the cloth bag over her shoulder. She was thankful that no one else seemed to be in the vicinity at that moment as she made a beeline for her quarters. She would be there in just a few more minutes. Then, she’d be home free.

“Hey, Wonder Woman!” a voice came from the other end of the corridor. “Wait up!”

Diana groaned to herself, her eyes falling closed. She was never going to get to her quarters if this kept up. Turning, she saw Booster Gold coming towards her. “I’m kind of in a hurry, Booster,” she said. “What do you need?”

“I was hoping that you’d be able to take my monitor duty shift for me tonight,” he said, his breathing somewhat exerted from trying to catch up to her.

“Sorry…can’t,” she flatly stated, turning on her heel to walk away.

“Oh, come on, Wonder Woman,” he pleaded as he fell in step beside her. “I’m in desperate need of someone to cover my shift for me. I have tickets tonight to a concert that I’m dying to go to.”

“No, I’ve got plans tonight,” she insisted, feeling slightly guilty that those plans were pretty lame. Still, she wasn’t about to tell him that.

“You can be my date,” he offered. “I’ll find someone else to cover my shift and I’ll take you to the concert. What do you say? Wanna be my date?”

“Don’t you have some place you need to be?”

The grating rasp of the Dark Knight of Gotham caused Booster Gold to insistently stiffen with fear. “Gotta go!” Booster said, taking off down the hall in a self-preserving sprint.

Diana cursed under her breath, doing her best to sneak away. It was the one time in her life when she regretted seeing Bruce on the Watchtower. Normally, it was something that she looked forward to, but this was definitely not one of those times as she drew near to the end of the corridor.

“Diana!” he called.

Diana froze in her tracks, silently wishing for some sort of an alarm or emergency to keep her from having to talk to him at that moment. “What can I do for you, Batman?” she asked as she slowly turned around, careful of her cargo inside her bag.

“Have you done your mission reports yet from yesterday?” he asked as he came to stand in front of her.

“No, I haven’t had a chance to get to them yet,” she quickly replied, a broad smile plastered on her face. “I’ve been very busy…one mission right after another. Always on a mission. In fact, I’ve gotta go now.”

Diana spun on her heel, desperate to make a quick escape before he busted her. “Wait!” he called after her, jogging to catch up with her.

“Where were you?” he asked, the white lenses of his cowl narrowing suspiciously.

“On a mission,” she informed him, not slowing her pace any. “I’m sorry. I can’t talk right now. I really have to go.”

Batman reached out with lightning speed, his hand wrapping around her upper arm and halting her progress. “Where was your mission?”

“San Francisco,” she told him with growing exasperation, careful to keep her bag tucked safely behind her where he couldn’t see it. “There was a massive fire in an industrial park. It devastated several buildings…took hours to get under control. Well, it was nice seeing you. I’ll see you later.”

Just as she was about to take off again, she was stopped by his hand on her forearm. “You should get those burns on her shoulder and arm checked out,” he stated, an undercurrent of concern in his voice. “They could become infected if not treated.”

She glanced down at her arm, noticing the burns for the first time. “I’m sure they’ll be gone by tomorrow,” she insisted as she took off down the hall. “It was nice talking to you. I’ll see you later!”

Flying around the corner, Diana didn’t stop until she’d finally reached her quarters. She punched in her code, impatiently waiting for the doors to slide open to grant her refuge from her friends and some much-needed privacy. It had been a harrowing experience to say the least just trying to get here from the transporter room, but she was finally safe now and so was her precious cargo.

Locking her door, she quickly went to her bed, slipping the cloth bag off her shoulder before opening it up to inspect the little stowaway inside. A soft meow greeted her as she lifted the frightened little kitten up out of the darkness of the bag to set her down on her bed.

“Hi there, little one,” she gently cooed as she stroked the kitten’s back. “You’re safe now.”

Moving to sit on the edge of her bed, she lifted it up to hold against her chest, the kitten snuggling against her. “I know you’ve been through so much,” she softly said. “It’s a good thing I found you before the fire got to you.”

The kitten lifted his head, his little pink tongue darting out to lick at Diana’s face. She chuckled softly as she held the kitten up in front of her. “I think you need a name,” she decided as she studied her little friend.

His black fur made him look stealthy and sleek, the patch of gray hair on his chest reminding her of someone in particular. “I know,” she said with a grin. “I’ll call you Bruce.”

She kissed her kitten’s nose, knowing that she needed to try to find some food for her newest roommate. The problem was that pets were strictly forbidden on the Watchtower. If Batman found out about her little stowaway, he’d be furious and order her to remove the kitten from the premises.

A look of haughty indignation passed over her face as she held her kitten against her chest. “Nothing is going to happen to you, Bruce,” she said. “I’ll protect you from her namesake.

XXX

Diana glanced down at the coffee cup filled with milk as she made her way across the commissary, hoping she didn’t look too conspicuous. Milk wasn’t really something that she drank much of, always preferring a large iced mocha. She knew, though, that her kitten needed something to eat and this was the best that she could do right now.

He had to be absolutely starving after everything that he’d been through, losing his brothers and sisters in that fire and being left alone in the world. It broke her heart that she hadn’t been able to save the others, but she had at least been able to save him.

She suddenly realized she was also going to have to try to sneak a bag of kitty litter up here at some point. She let out an exasperated sigh, wishing Bruce would just let her have a pet on the Watchtower. A kitten required so little care, practically taking care of itself. They never really made a mess or created a lot of noise like a dog could.

She released a relieved breath as she exited the commissary only to nearly run straight into very man she’d been trying to avoid. She righted her cup at the last second, barely avoiding spilling the milk all over Batman’s Kevlar uniform. That would definitely not have gone over well.

Why was it when she wanted to see him, she couldn’t find him and when she was trying to avoid him, he seemed to be everywhere. Damn him to Tartarus.

Batman glared at the Amazon princess, glancing down at the cup in her hand. “What is that?”

“I believe most people call it milk,” she replied with a frown.

“I realize it’s milk,” he stated. “Where are you going with it?”

“I was just going back to my quarters,” she uttered in complete annoyance. “Why?”

“You don’t drink milk.”

“I’ve been known to from time to time,” she adamantly declared, taking a drink from the cup. “See?”

If the white lenses of his cowl narrowed even further, it wasn’t easily seen. They were already barely perceptible slits now. “What’s going on, princess?” he demanded to know. “Are you feeling all right?”

“I’m fine,” she insisted. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to return to my quarters.”

“Come with me to the infirmary,” he told her, turning away from her and heading down the hallway.

“Why?” she questioned him. “I told you I feel fine.”

“You still haven’t gotten those burns taken care of yet,” he reminded her.

“I’m fine,” she ground out. “I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon at the Founders’ meeting.”

Bruce turned to see Diana walking away from him at a very fast pace. He growled low in his throat, his hands balling into fists. Diana wasn’t acting like herself at all. It was almost like she was trying to avoid him. It made him wonder what she was up to. He decided it was time to find out.

He quickly headed to the Monitor Womb, settling down at one of the computer stations. He began pulling up the security feeds on the Watchtower, catching sight of Diana as she came to a stop in front of the door to her quarters. He watched her as she looked both ways before punching in her code and entering her quarters.

Deciding to see what she was really up to, he typed in the secret code to pull up the security feed in Diana’s quarters. He told himself that he was only doing it out of concern for a teammate, but deep down, he knew that it was more than that.

The Amazon princess was up to something and he was going to find out what it was.

Bruce scowled to himself as he brought up nothing but static when he hacked into Diana’s quarters. She had somehow managed to disable the security feed to her room. The question now was why would she do that…unless of course she was doing something she didn’t want anyone to find out about.

And he had a pretty good idea what that something could be.

XXX

Diana made her way through the halls of the Watchtower, a bag of kitty litter hidden in a large bag along with some cat toys and food. Hopefully, everyone would think that she had gone on a shopping spree, buying clothes for a charity event of some kind. Her only nemesis would be Kal. He’d be able to look through her bag to see the litter hiding inside. He was the worst at keeping a secret.

At least she didn’t have to worry about Batman. He would still be asleep after a long night of patrol, making her mission that much easier this morning. She loved having a kitten in her room. Little Bruce had slept on her bed, curled up against her abdomen. It was something that she had missed from her childhood on Themyscira. She was always bringing one animal or another home to keep in her room in the palace.

She hummed softly to herself as she drew closer to her quarters. Coming around the corner, she stopped dead in her tracks, spotting Batman standing right outside of her quarters. He was leaning against the wall opposite of her quarters, his long legs stretched out before him and crossed at the ankles.

She was so dead. The World’s Greatest Detective was on to her.

Batman turned his head, noticing Diana standing there like a deer caught in headlights at the end of the hallway. He suppressed the smirk that threatened to form on his lips, knowing that he had her dead to rights. “Morning, princess,” he greeted her.

“What are you doing up here?” she demanded to know as she slowly closed the distance between them, tightening her grip on her bag.

“Is that how you greet someone good morning?” he asked as he straightened up to his full imposing height.

“Sorry…good morning,” she sheepishly murmured as she ducked her head, tucking a raven curl behind her ear as she made a beeline for her quarters.

“It’s pretty early to go shopping, isn’t it?”

“I had a lot of things that I needed to get,” she tried to tell him, keeping her back to him as she entered her code. “I’ll see you at the Founders’ Meeting this afternoon.”

Batman watched as she quickly entered her quarters, intent on leaving him behind. He wasn’t about to let that happen. His gauntleted hand swiftly reached out, coming between the sliding door and the doorframe, keeping the door from fully closing. She wasn’t going to get away so easily this time.

Diana gasped as she turned to find Batman filling her doorway in that ominous way of his that was meant to intimidate and frighten. Unfortunately, it didn’t work on her. “What in Hera do you think you’re doing?” she yelled at him, setting her bag down. She quickly glanced around the room, praying that little Bruce stayed hidden until the real Bruce had left.

“I know what you’re up to, princess,” he bluntly stated, stepping inside and allowing the door to slide closed behind him.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she retorted, her chin lifted in utter defiance. “I merely went shopping—nothing more.”

“Shopping for your cat,” he informed her.

Diana began to chuckle, scoffing at his insinuation, but knowing that she couldn’t lie to him. He was so unbelievably infuriating. How did this man always know everything that was going on? “I don’t have a cat,” she firmly stated, avoiding making eye contact with him.

At that moment, little Bruce stuck his head out from under her bed, meowing at the visitor standing in Diana’s quarters. “Correction—a kitten,” he grumbled, folding his arms against his chest as he glared at the intruder.

Diana’s eyes fell closed as she released a frustrated sigh, knowing she was in trouble now. She was never going to hear the end of this. She slowly turned towards her bed, crouching down to retrieve her kitten. “Come here…it’s okay,” she cooed to the kitty. “Batman won’t hurt you.”

The corner of Bruce’s lips twitched in barely suppressed amusement as Diana picked up the kitten, holding it against her shoulder. The kitten cuddled against Diana’s neck, its little pink tongue licking at her skin and causing Diana to laugh in response.

“He’s quite affectionate,” Batman noted.

“That he is,” she agreed with a bemused grin. “Do you want to hold him?”

“No, I’m good,” he told her, holding up his hand in front of him. “You know you can’t keep that cat, Diana.”

He watched as the pure happiness that lit Diana’s blue eyes completely vanished, replaced with despair. “But no one has to know about him,” she softly said, her gaze falling to the kitten in her hands. “I’ll keep him here in my quarters. I won’t let him out.”

Bruce felt his chest tighten, knowing how much she loved animals. He didn’t want to hurt her, but there were rules that had to be followed. “That’s what you said about the snake you snuck up onto the Watchtower last year,” he reminded her. “It ended up getting out. Screams could be heard from all over the Watchtower. Some of the civilian staff have yet to fully recover from that one.”

“But that was a snake,” she responded as she shook her head in disagreement. “This is just a little kitten. He’ll be no trouble at all…I promise.”

“That’s what you said about the parakeet that you found,” he said, pulling his cowl off his head to rest against his back as he gazed at her. “It took Green Lantern nearly two hours to trap it and take it back to Earth.”

“Okay, that was a bad idea. Birds can make such a mess,” she agreed as she closed the distance between them. “See how cute he is?”

Bruce’s blue-eyed gaze fell on the little black kitten that Diana held up before him. He had to admit that the kitten was kind of cute, but that was beside the point. Pets of any kind were forbidden on the Watchtower and that had to include kittens.

“And what about the rabbit you rescued six months ago?” he asked. “It ended up escaping and eating through several of the computer wires and nearly taking down the entire security system. Took us hours to replace it all.”

“That was just an accident,” she tried to tell him.

“That’s what you said about the squirrel,” he pointed out.

“It had a broken leg, Bruce!” she exclaimed. “I couldn’t just let him fend for himself.”

“Where did he come from, princess?”

“I rescued him from one of the supply buildings in the industrial park fire in San Francisco,” she confessed. “I wasn’t in time to save his brothers and sisters, but I was able to save him.”

“You need to take him to an animal shelter,” he gently told her, feeling bad for her. “They’ll find him a good home. I’m sure there’s a little boy or girl who would love to take care of him for you.”

Diana tilted her head, rubbing her cheek against the kitten’s head. “I guess you’re right,” she reluctantly agreed, holding the kitten up to look him in the eyes. “I’m sorry, Bruce. I guess you can’t stay here. I’ll have to take you—.”

“Bruce?” he questioned her, stunned.

“Yes, I named him Bruce…after you,” she confirmed.

“Why did you do that?” he asked.

Diana shrugged a shoulder as she studied the kitten again. “He has black fur and a gray patch on his chest like Batman,” she told him. “He’s sweet and skittish. He also likes to run and hide from me under my bed. He reminds me of you.”

Her words stuck a cord deep inside of him, one that he’d been grappling with for some time now. He slowly closed the distance between them, reaching out to take the kitten from her. “I know I’m going to regret this,” he told her, giving her an annoyed look that was far from irritated. “You can keep Bruce at the manor if you’d like. That way you can come visit him whenever you’d like.”

“Really?”

“It would be a shame to let him go now that you’re so attached to him,” he decided. “Besides, who in their right mind who adopt a kitten named Bruce?”

Diana snatched her kitten out of Bruce’s hands, a triumphant smirk playing on her lips. “I would,” she insisted.

“Of course, you would,” he replied with a crooked grin, finding her completely captivating once more. She always managed to charm him even with the littlest things.

“Thank you, Bruce,” she told him, setting the kitten down on the bed.

“Just don’t try to adopt any more animals,” he gruffly stated.

“I promise…I won’t,” she swore. “I swear this is the last one.”

“Right,” he dryly said with a frown. “Next thing you know, there’s going to be a horse on the Watchtower.”

Diana tapped her bottom lip as she considered it. “You know you do have horse stables on the grounds of Wayne Manor.”

“Don’t even think about it,” he growled. “The cat is the last—”

Diana abruptly silenced him with a toe-curling kiss as she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him firmly against her. Bruce eagerly returned her kiss, deepening it as his arms snaked possessively around her waist. While it was an unexpected turn of events for him, it was definitely not unwelcomed.

As Diana parted her lips for him, she readily decided that her little stowaway had turned out to be the best matchmaker she could have ever asked for.

Chapter Text

Bewitching

Diana adjusted her hat as she studied her appearance in the mirror, wanting to make sure that she looked perfect for tonight. She could hardly believe that Bruce had actually allowed her to have a Halloween party let alone having a party at Wayne Manor of all places.

She must have caught him at a weak moment…a very weak moment…although Bruce didn’t have any weak moments which made it even more strange that he had even agreed to her request. Shayera tried to tell her that he’d only agreed to it because Diana was still wearing her yoga pants and tank top from their workout in the training room.

It also hadn’t hurt her cause any when she had placed her hands on top of Batman’s table and leaned over to talk to him. Diana didn’t see how that had made any difference, but Shay felt the perfect view down her tank top hadn’t hurt her campaign either. She guessed that explained why Bruce had nearly choked on his sandwich before she’d even made her request.

Whatever.

She had gotten what she wanted along with the chance to decorate the ball room to boot so in her eyes it had been a major victory. He’d even agreed to let her get ready for the party at his house. Shayera told she should’ve asked for a lot more, but Diana hadn’t wanted to push her luck.

Diana frowned as she thought about it. She’d felt a growing irritation over the last two weeks with the notion that Bruce had only agreed to this party because he’d gotten a good view of her chest. It bothered her deeply to think that he only appreciated her for her looks. She had to mean more to him than that…right? I mean they were very close friends.

She’d somehow managed to coax Bruce into attending her costume party, but he’d already forewarned her that he couldn’t be there the whole evening. Halloween night was notorious for being a headache and patrol would undoubtedly take him away. She had readily agreed, more than willing to take whatever he was willing to give her. She just appreciated the effort he was willing to make.

“It’s now or never, Diana,” she murmured to herself, drawing a deep breath before heading towards the door of the guest bedroom.

She couldn’t help wondering if Bruce was actually going to take the extra step and dress up in an actual Halloween costume tonight. She definitely wasn’t going to hold her breath for that to happen. She knew Bruce far too well. Getting him to let her have a Halloween party at his house had been more than she’d hoped for. Getting him to attend for more than a handful of seconds would be considered a miracle of the gods. She’d faint if he actually participated in the event past growling at them as he stalked through the ballroom.

Diana was immediately assaulted by delicious aromas as she descended the stairs, her stomach rumbling in anticipation of Alfred’s cooking. She had been more than thankful that Alfred had enthusiastically volunteered to plan and prepare the entire menu. He had turned out to be a true partner and co-conspirator in crime in planning the event.

Maybe with a little luck, the British butler had been able to persuade Bruce into wearing a costume tonight. She had a pretty strong feeling if anyone could do it, it would definitely be Alfred.

“Miss Diana, you look magnificent,” Alfred greeted her as he came around the corner with a tray loaded with cookies.

Diana glanced down at herself, looking up with a proud smile. “Thank you, Alfred,” she replied. “I hope I look the part.”

“You look absolutely perfect,” he reassured her.

“Do you think Bruce will dress up?” she tentatively asked.

Alfred sighed with a reluctant air that told her she wasn’t going to like his answer. “I’m afraid that remains to be seen,” he confessed with an apologetic look. “I would have to say it’s highly unlikely.”

“That’s what I thought,” she replied, clearly disheartened. “I’m not going to let that ruin my party, though. I’ve always wanted to have a costume party like this and now I finally get to. I couldn’t have done it without you, Alfred.”

“It’s my pleasure, Miss Diana,” he told her. “It’s nice to have a party around here. It’s a refreshing change to the gloom and doom that usually permeates this house. I’d much rather be helping to throw a party than patching up Master Bruce after his latest kerfuffle.”

“Is Bruce home from work yet?”

“He just arrived home a few minutes ago,” he informed her. “I’ll make sure that he makes an appearance at the party.”

“Thank you, Alfred,” she said.

The ring of the doorbell alerted them that their first party guest had just arrived. “I’ll get it!” she excitedly volunteered, racing towards the front door in her black stiletto heels.

Alfred chuckled to himself as he carried the tray to the ballroom. Normally, he would have insisted that he answer the door, but the princess’s elation was undeniable and quite contagious. He just hoped that Master Bruce didn’t do anything to screw this up and steal her happiness tonight.

XXX

“Fabulous costume, Wondy!” Wally told her, looking her up and down as he entered the manor. “I never knew you had it in you.”

“I’m not a real witch, Wally,” she reassured him.

“But I’m sure you could perform a little witchcraft, Di!” Wally quipped, laughing at his own joke.

“Hilarious,” Shayera uttered with a roll of her eyes as she pushed past the speedster to enter the manor.

“Shay! You look awesome!” Diana told her, impressed with her sexy angel costume. “Love the halo.”

“Are you an angel fallen from heaven?” Wally asked, falling on his knees before the Thanagarian.

“Don’t even think about it,” John stated as he followed Shayera inside, dressed in his Marine uniform. “You really didn’t dress like that?”

“Why?” Wally exclaimed. “Joker is super popular this year.”

“Bruce is so going to kill you and use you as a speed bump in the Batcave tunnel,” John warned him.

“Oh, come on,” Wally said with a laugh. “Bruce will get a kick out of it.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”

The rough, grating rasp of the infamous Dark Knight filled the foyer, causing all four superheroes to whirl around in surprise at the unexpected appearance. They found Bruce standing there dressed in his Batman uniform as if ready to start patrol, his cape draped around him like a death shroud.

“That’s your costume?” Wally cried. “Not very original, Batsy.”

“Says the fool who decided to dress as my most hated enemy,” Batman countered with a terrifying sneer.

“You know I think I better check out the food Alfred made,” Wally readily decided, taking off in a streak of red.

“Glad you could join us,” John said.

“For a while,” Batman clarified. “First sign of trouble in Gotham and I’m gone.”

“It’s okay, Bruce,” Diana reassured him. “I’m just so happy you came…even if it’s just for a little while.”

“A witch, princess?” he questioned as he studied her, the corner of his lips quirking in amusement.

She looked positively deadly in black stiletto heels; fishnet stockings that made her legs look like they were a mile long. Her black dress fit like a second skin, low cut in the front. The skirt had a jagged hem that ended at mid-thigh, allowing a glimpse of the garters holding up her stockings. Her black pointed hat completed her look.

In a word, she looked…bewitching.

Diana’s hands came to rest on her hips, her lips twitching with a beguiling smile. “What’s the matter, Bruce? Don’t you like it?”

Before Bruce could answer her, the doorbell rang again. “Saved by the bell again,” she lightly teased with a grin before going to answer the door.

Opening the door, she found Lois and Clark dressed like Han Solo and Princess Leia. “Princess Leia coming through,” Lois said without preamble, pushing past Diana. “Where’s the food?”

“Lois, honey…” Clark gently chided her.

“What?” Lois snapped. “I’m stressed and I’m starving.”

“You have nothing to worry about,” Clark reminded her. “The wedding is still a month away.”

“Follow the decorations towards the ballroom,” Diana told Lois. “Alfred has all the food set up.”

“Great costume, Diana,” Lois replied, her scrutinizing gaze falling on the Gotham vigilante. “What’s up with tall, dark, and menacing?”

“Always a pleasure, Lois,” Bruce groused.

“For a man with a genius IQ, you are severely lacking in the creativity department,” she informed him in no uncertain terms.

Bruce glared at her, wishing Kryptonite affected her like it did her fiancé. “Don’t you have a story to chase…like in Bolivia?”

“Good thing you’re handsome, Wayne,” Lois said, patting him on the chest as she walked past him on her way towards the ballroom. “You really need to work on your people skills.”

“I’m sorry,” Clark apologized for his fiancé.

“It’s okay, Kal,” Diana reassured him.

“Nice costume, Clark,” Bruce said with a smirk.

“It wasn’t my idea,” Clark revealed. “I was hoping for something simple, but well…Lois…”

“I get it,” Diana said. “Go help yourself to the food.”

“I also have to make sure Lois doesn’t drink all of Bruce’s liquor,” he said with a sigh.

“I’ll be sure to send you the bill if she does,” Bruce called as Clark made his way down the hall.

Diana turned towards Bruce again, intent on asking him the question that had been bugging her ever since that day in the commissary. “Bruce, I have to ask you something,” she began.

“Whoop! Who is ready for a par-tay?” Dick yelled as he and Barbara came from the library, holding hands and dressed like zombies.

“Sorry, we’re late,” Barbara apologized. “Dick couldn’t stop adding more zombie makeup.”

“Hey! I have to look the part,” he claimed. “This is a costume party after all.”

“Yah, that’ll look great on patrol,” Batman grumbled.

“I’m sorry…do I know you?” Dick asked, narrowing his eyes as he studied Bruce. “You look and sound like the Bruce we all know and love, but you can’t be him because you were supposed to dress up for Diana’s costume party.”

“This is my costume for the party,” he ground out.

“Man, your fun factor is in the toilet,” Dick told him.

“Bruce is very fun,” Diana defended him. “You just have to look really hard and a little deeper to find it sometimes.”

“Thanks…I think,” Bruce stated with a frown. “Just be ready to roll if we get a call.”

“I’m always ready,” Dick countered as he led Barbara towards the ballroom.

Music began blaring from the ballroom, the entire manor seeming to pulsate with the pounding bass. “Wally found the sound system,” Bruce groused, his jaw clenching in annoyance.

“Come on, Bruce,” Diana insisted, looping her arm through his. “It’ll be fun.”

“Not without me!” Tim hollered as he bounded down the winding staircase, jumping onto the banister before leaping the rest of the way to the floor below.

“No jumping from the banister,” Bruce growled at him. “This isn’t the circus and my name isn’t P. T. Barnum.”

“Yes, sir!” Tim said with a stiff salute.

“Who are you supposed to be, Tim?” Diana asked.

“I’m Deadpool,” Tim proudly announced, puffing his chest out as he placed his fists on his hips.

“I don’t know who that is,” she replied.

“Never heard of him,” Bruce stated.

“You two really need to get out more,” Tim muttered as he walked past them.

Diana led a reluctant Bruce towards the ballroom. “Come,” she insisted. “You still owe me a dance.”

“I don’t think this is the kind of dancing that I had in mind when you forced me to make a promise to make it up to you.”

“I didn’t force you into making a promise and I’m sure there’s a slow song in there somewhere,” she maintained. “You’re not leaving here tonight until I’ve gotten my dance.”

Entering the ballroom, Bruce had to admit that Diana had done a really great job with the costume party. The decorations were amazing, creating a haunting air that seemed to only add to the fun and excitement of the evening. It had been many years since this ballroom had seen a party…not since his parents were alive. He felt that his parents would’ve enjoyed it very much.

“Coming through,” Zatanna announced as she shoved past Bruce and Diana in a Cinderella costume. “Girl’s gotta get her party on!”

“Who all did you invite?” he asked Diana.

“Only friends that know your secret identity,” she reassured him.

“I’m glad you had some restraint,” he quipped.

Diana pulled him to a stop, her hand sliding down his arm to take his hand in hers. “Bruce, there’s something that has really been bothering me and I need to know the truth.”

“What is it, princess?” he asked, noticing the tension that creased her brow.

“Yeeha! Giddy up, boys and girls!” Oliver Queen hollered as he entered with Dinah on his arm, dressed like a cowboy and cowgirl.

“Giddy up?” Dinah questioned him with an annoyed look. “Just…don’t, Ollie. It’s definitely not you.”

“Fine,” he grumbled, “but I’m saving this lasso for you and me later tonight.”

“In your dreams, Wyatt Earp,” she said with a laugh.

Diana cursed with a growl of frustration. “You know what?” she ground out. “Never mind. It doesn’t matter.”

Turning on her heel, she ran right into Etrigen, stumbling a couple of steps backwards. “Hera! Who invited you?” she yelled, her anger bubbling over.

“I never miss a great party,” he growled, his beady red eyes narrowing as he studied her. “Why would you want to dress like a witch? You remind me of the repulsive Morgaine le Fey. If she makes an appearance here, I’ll—”

“She’s not invited, and neither were you!” Diana growled at him.

“Hey, there’s Zatanna,” Etrigen said with a grin as he made a beeline for her.

Diana began to storm away only to be brought to a stop when Bruce’s fingers securely wrapped around her arm. “Diana, what is it?” he pressed, forcing her to face him.

“I just…” she began, voice trailing off as she averted her eyes. How was she going to ask him what she wanted to know?

“Come with me,” he told her, taking her by the hand and leading her out of the ballroom and into the hallway. “Talk to me, princess.”

Diana began wringing her hands in nervous anticipation. She wasn’t sure if it was voicing the question or his answer that concerned her the most. “Why did you agree to me having a Halloween costume party at your house?”

“What do you mean?”

She released a sigh as she struggled for the right words. “Shayera said that you agreed to it because I was wearing yoga pants,” she explained. “Is that why you agreed? Because of my looks?”

“Is that what you think?”

“I just need to know, Bruce,” she replied, her chin falling slightly. “Do you only value me for the way that I look?”

His fingers beneath her chin forced her to meet his handsome face, his piercing blue eyes revealing so much more than she had hoped for. “Diana, you are the most beautiful woman that I have ever met in my life both inside and out,” he confessed. “I value you for who are…and for everything that you represent and fight for. I value you for your strength, your purity of heart and fiery spirit, your immense capacity to love.”

“So, why did you let me have this party then?” she asked, confused. “This isn’t like you at all, Bruce.”

The corner of his lips quirked as his hand came to rest against her check. “Haven’t you figured it out by now, princess?”

“Figured out what?”

“That I’m hopelessly in love with you,” he admitted, his thumb caressing her cheekbone.

“I thought that you…you didn’t want me,” she murmured, stunned by his confession.

“Wanting and allowing myself to have are too very different things, princess,” he revealed as he leaned in closer to her. “I’m finally ready to try to have what I want most.”

“Why now?”

“Are you going to keep questioning this?” he asked with a chuckle, his lips ghosting over hers. “Or would you rather just accept that I love you and I want to be with you.”

Diana’s arms slipped around his neck, pulling him closer as he kissed her senseless. Finally retreating with a breathless gasp, her forehead came to rest against his, savoring the moment of being in his arms. She lightly ran the tip of her tongue along her lower lip, loving the taste of him lingering in her mouth.

“I love you too,” she softly confessed. “But why now, Bruce? Please…I just need to know.”

“It was the look of excitement on your face when you asked me about having your costume party. I just couldn’t say no,” he admitted to her. “I realized in that moment that making you happy brought me more joy than I had ever known. I decided that I wanted that happiness in my life all the time…I wanted you in my life.”

“So, it wasn’t the view down my tank top or my sexy witch costume?”

“Princess, you’ve been bewitching me since the first moment I met you,” he replied, brushing his lips against hers. “It’s like you cast a spell over me long ago, one that I don’t want to be free from. I realized that day that I couldn’t say no to you any longer. I didn’t want to say no any longer.”

“It’s about time,” she murmured, her lips crashing into his with a fierce passion as she threaded her fingers through his jet-black hair.

He returned her passion, pulling her flush against him. “Will you wait here at the manor for me to return from patrol tonight?” he huskily requested.

“Depends,” she decided as she began to kiss along his jaw.

“Depends on what?” he asked suspiciously, tilting his head as she found his ear.

“Can I have a Christmas party here for our friends?”

“If you promise to keep your witch costume on until I get home from patrol tonight.”

“Deal,” she readily agreed.

“Deal,” he replied, claiming her lips once more.

Kissing her breathless, Bruce decided she was definitely the most bewitching woman that he’d ever met and now she was finally his. He could hardly wait to return home to find out just how naughty or nice his witch actually was.

Chapter Text

Bet (DCAU)

Batman sized up his opponent, his arms crossed defiantly against his chest. A fierce scowl adorned his face as he weighed his options. His mind was racing with every possible outcome, considering the chances that this could go south for him at a very rapid rate. He knew there had to be some hidden motive and he had a feeling he knew exactly what that motivation was.

“What kind of bet, princess?”

Diana smiled inwardly as the lenses of his cowl narrowed to barely perceptible white slits of pure suspicion. She knew that she was going to have to be careful. If she didn’t play her cards right, this could very well blow up in her face, leaving her no further ahead with him then she already was.

“If I win two out of three of our sparring matches, I get to go on patrol with you in Gotham,” she replied.

The lenses of his cowl seemed to practically disappear altogether if that was even possible. It appeared as though he’d fallen asleep on his feet…or her request had caused him to have a silent heart attack. Maybe his heart had finally given out on him?

“Bruce?” Diana urged, worry suddenly spiking as she took a step forward.

“Patrol?”

“Yes,” she confirmed with a confident nod.

“In Gotham?”

“Yes,” she stated, her smile beginning to falter slightly.

“With me?”

“Yes,” she ground out through clenched teeth.

“The whole night?”

A flurry of Greek curses filled the air, her brow furrowing with the anger that he was stirring up inside of her. “Yes, Bruce!” she yelled. “You and me…on patrol…in Gotham…the whole night.”

“What do I get if I win?” he finally responded with a growling rasp that oozed every bit of the overt paranoia that was swarming in his Bat brain.

Diana gave him a charming smile, her blue eyes dancing with amusement. It did little to settle the growing sense of suspicion that had settled over him like a tarp. “Whatever you want,” she sweetly told him, hands coming to rest on the dangerous curve of her hips. She took a couple of steps closer, coming to stand right in front of him. “And what is it that you want, Bruce?”

She swore she saw the minutest of twitches at the corner of his mouth that she was aching to attack with her own, but she couldn’t be absolutely certain. Her hopes were swiftly dashed with his response. “One month of monitor duty shifts,” he evenly stated, pretending not to be the least bit affected by her close proximity.

“Excuse me?” she said, a single raven eyebrow cocking in surprise. “You want me to cover your monitor duty shifts for a whole month?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I want,” he stated in no uncertain terms, secretly relishing the fact that he’d completely taken her off guard. It was vindicating to see the tables turned for once.

“Hera, Bruce!” Diana exclaimed as she threw her hands up in the air, turning on her heel. “You could have anything your heart desires…anything in this entire world and that is the best that your genius little mind could come up with? What’s wrong with you? Are you more Bat than man? Do you feel nothing?”

Bruce fought back a smirk as he watched her pace back and forth before him, ranting and raving about his choice of victory spoils. She was so damn sexy when she was all riled up. “Monitor duty shifts, princess,” he repeated. “Take it or leave it. It’s your choice.”

“Fine,” she bit out, her ego bruised by his choice.

He could’ve picked anything, and she would have happily obliged him. She should’ve known that he’d pick something work related. Damn him to the Pits of Tartarus. She was going to have to make sure that she won this bet or the closest she was going to get to him was covering his shifts in the Monitor Womb while he was out galivanting around Gotham doing only Hera knew what with only Hera knew who…probably the Bruce Wayne flavor of the week as the tabloids called his girlfriends.

“Ready?” he asked as he moved into a defensive stance, her shift in mood from seductive and fun-loving to fuming and annoyed unmistakable.

He began to rethink his decision, realizing that making an Amazon furious before sparring with her was probably not the smartest thing that he’d ever done in his lifetime. He was going to be lucky if he was able to walk out of the training room with his limbs still attached to his body.

He avoided the overwhelming urge to swallow hard as she turned and graced him with a wicked smile that sent a chill racing up his spine. “Oh, I’m more than ready, Batman,” she sweetly replied as she removed her lasso.

XXX

Robin stood on the roof of a building, his eyes constantly sweeping over the streets of Gotham below. Glancing to his left, he once again noticed the gargoyle with the smashed head, wondering all over again how it had been destroyed and by who. He kept meaning to ask Batman, but it seemed as if something always came up, keeping him from finding out the answer.

He couldn’t help wondering what was keeping Batman so long. He was supposed to have met him here by now. It was unlike him to be late…unless of course, something unexpected had come up. He couldn’t wait to hear what it could be this time.

“Sit-rep.”

Robin nearly leapt out of his skin with the sound of Batman’s rasping voice. He’d been paying close attention and still Batman managed to sneak up on him. “Nothing big so far, but it’s early and whoa!” Tim replied as he turned around, his jaw falling open with the startling sight that greeted him. “What is she doing here?”

“Never mind,” Batman ground out. “I want you to start patrol around Robinson Park.”

“But what is Wonder Woman doing here?”

“Nothing,” Batman said.

Robin looked from Batman to Wonder Woman and back again. “Okay, well…can I at least ask how that gargoyle lost its head?” he asked. “I’ve been meaning to ask for the last year, but—”

“Just get started on patrol,” Batman interrupted him, ignoring the smirk he could practically feel forming on Diana’s face.

“Sheesh,” Robin groused with a scowl as he pulled out his grappling gun. “Just wondered what happened to it.”

The pair watched as Robin disappeared off the side of the building leaving them all alone. “You know you don’t have to be so harsh with him,” Diana commented. “He’s just a boy.”

“A boy who asks far too many questions about things that don’t concern him,” Bruce grumbled.

“So, what do we do now?” she asked as she looked around the rooftop they were standing on. “Start smashing heads together? Terrify some criminals into going straight? Save some cats from trees?”

“I leave saving cats from trees for Superman,” Batman bit out. “Gotham is no picnic, princess. If you’re not ready for what you’re about to—”

“Oh no you don’t,” she interrupted him as she held a hand up before her. “You’re not getting out of me accompanying you on patrol. I’m here for the whole night so let’s do this.”

Bruce cursed to himself, his gauntleted hands curling into fists. “Fine,” he snapped. “Just don’t interfere and don’t use your powers.”

“I know!” she exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air in exasperation. “You’ve only told me a hundred times already.”

Bruce smirked as he turned his back to her. Seeing her dressed in skintight black Nomex had been his most brilliant idea as well as his absolute worst. She was going to be a constant distraction to him tonight if he wasn’t careful.

“Just wanted to make sure you haven’t forgotten the rules already,” he told her. “You sure you remember how to use the grappling gun?”

“Want me to shoot it at you and find out?”

“Just keep up, princess,” he stated as he glanced at her over his shoulder from the ledge of the building. “I’m not going to slow down for you.”

An Ancient Greek curse met his ears, causing the corners of his lips to curl slightly as he disappeared over the edge. He knew he was antagonizing her, but he enjoyed it far too much. It could prove to be painful if she turned her anger on him, but he was positive he could handle her.

Grabbing the edge of his cape, Batman slowed his descent, landing on the roof of a bank. A set of high-heeled black boots landed several seconds later, impressing him…of course, not that he would ever tell her that. He walked to the edge of the roof, peering over the edge.

“Bank robbery?” she asked.

“There’s a rumor that this bank will be hit tonight,” he informed her, lifting his boot to rest on the ornate concrete decoration. His forearm rested on his drawn-up knee as he studied the street below.

“Any idea who?”

“I have an idea.”

Diana turned to look at him, a disagreeable frown forming on her face. “Are you planning on telling me?”

“No,” he bluntly stated.

“Why not?”

“Because you’re going to leave them to me to handle,” he told her.

“I want to help you on patrol,” she ground out.

“I don’t remember you specifying that in the bet we made,” he pointed out. “You only said you wanted to go out on patrol with me.”

“I believe going out on patrol with you implies helping you on patrol as well,” she angrily bit out.

“You didn’t specifically say you wanted to be an active participant on patrol.”

“And I didn’t say that I wouldn’t break every bone in your hand, but I just might do that if you keep acting like a jackass,” she spat out.

Batman decided that he’d just found the line that he wasn’t supposed to cross with her…and he didn’t just cross that line, but he’d pretty much hurled himself over it. He’d just pushed her a little too far. “Fine,” he stated. “You can help, but you follow my lead. Do not engage without my approval.”

“And what if you’re lying unconscious on the ground?” she sweetly asked. “Should I wait for you to come to or apprehend the criminal before he gets away?”

Batman’s lips curled into a sneer. “Don’t get cute, princess,” he growled. “This is Gotham. Things get really messy really quick here. Just be on guard at all times.”

“You’re exhausting…do you know that?” she told him.

“Then why are you here?” he asked. There was more curiosity in his voice than admonition.

“I wanted to see what you do every night…what it’s like for you to be Batman in Gotham,” she softly confessed as she averted her eyes.

They were interrupted by the sound of the bank alarm going off, forcing them into action. “Stay behind me and keep your head down,” he ordered her as he fired his grappling gun before swinging down onto the scene.

She held her tongue as she gritted her teeth, following him down to the street below with a stinging retort stuck in her throat. She’d be lucky—or better yet he would be lucky—if she didn’t pummel him before the night was over. She was beginning to doubt her decision to accompany him on patrol, but she knew she had to see this through to the end.

Landing on the street, Diana ran through the open bank doors, intent on keeping up with Batman. She wasn’t about to let him out of her sight for long. Rushing inside, she spotted Batman just as he slipped back into the shadows, undoubtedly waiting for the criminal to come out of the bank vault. She quickly copied him, moving into the shadows to avoid being detected.

They didn’t have to wait long before a shadowy figure emerged from the bank vault with bags of money in both hands. He didn’t get far before Batman’s fear-inducing growl filled the bank. “Stop right there, Vertigo,” he stated.

Vertigo looked around him, doing his best to pinpoint where Batman was located. “Come out of the shadows and we can discuss it, Batman.”

The sound of something metallic skittering across the marble floor captured Vertigo’s attention, causing him to look down at the shiny metallic ball that rolled to a stop in front of his boots. “No!” Vertigo yelled as a flash-bang grenade went off, momentarily blinding him.

Diana shielded her eyes at that moment, opening them to find Vertigo had dropped the bags of money. He staggered backwards, his hands over his eyes as he angrily cursed at Batman. The Dark Knight flew into action before the criminal could recover, appearing like a wraith with his black cape whipping behind him.

He didn’t stand a chance as Batman delivered one punishing blow after another. Vertigo attempted to fight back, sending out a sonic impulse with his eyepatch, but Batman had already slipped behind him to keep from being affected.

Diana immediately felt a wave of dizziness wash over, causing her to slam her eyes shut. She swallowed back the nausea she felt rising up in the back of her throat, realizing now why Batman had told her to keep her head down. He hadn’t been kidding when he’d warned her. She just wished he’d been a little more forthcoming about who they were going to encounter before they’d entered the bank.

She could hear Batman and Vertigo tangling, knowing she should help him, but the dizziness that had gripped her made it next to impossible to move. Everything felt as though it was whirling and churning just like her stomach. She had no idea how she was going to be able to walk out of here.

The unexpected feel of a hand on her shoulder as she knelt on the floor startled her. “It’s okay, princess,” Batman softly said. “Open your eyes and focus on me.”

“I don’t know that I can,” she managed to utter with a shuddering gasp.

Gauntleted hands gently cradled her face, his thumb caressing her cheekbone. “Trust me,” he told her. “Focus on me.”

Diana drew a breath before slowly opening her eyes. She fought against the overwhelming urge to squeeze her eyes closed again. Everything was in a tailspin as she tried to focus her vision on Batman’s cowled face. She immediately reached out to him, her hands gripping his upper arms as she tried to concentrate on him.

“What happened…to Vertigo?” she managed to ask as she fought the urge to vomit.

“Out like a light,” he reassured her, the corner of his mouth twitching into a smirk. “I thought I told you to keep your head down.”

“I didn’t know I was supposed to keep my eyes closed too,” she quipped, knowing he was teasing her.

“Are you feeling better?”

“I think so,” she replied. “There’s only one of you now and you’re no longer spinning.”

“Good,” he said with a nod, not quite ready to let go of her, but knowing they needed to get out of here. “Oracle contacted the police. They’re on their way now.”

“Let’s go,” she agreed, standing to her feet.

Batman quickly grasped hold of her elbow to steady her, keeping her from toppling over. She dug down deep, willing herself to walk out of here without making a fool of herself. She’d already embarrassed herself enough without falling or running into walls.

“I’m good,” she said, trying to decide who she was trying to convince more—herself or Bruce.

Batman didn’t look the least bit convinced as they exited the bank, his hand still gripping her elbow. He suddenly slipped his arm around her waist before firing his grappling gun. They landed on the roof of the building across the street, his arm still securely circling her waist as he held her close.

“Bruce, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten up here on my own,” she told him.

“I’m not so sure about that, princess,” he stated, clearly unconvinced. “You were pretty unsteady walking out of the bank.”

Diana’s hands moved to rest against his Kevlar covered chest, heat rising to her face as she realized just how intimately he was holding her. “So, where to next?” she asked.

Bruce’s lips thinned into a disgruntled frown. “I think you’ve had more than enough for one night,” he replied, still holding her close against his body. “You need to head back to the Watchtower.”

She scowled darkly at him, refusing to give up. “I’m fine and you worry too much.”

“And you’re so blasted stubborn,” he ground out.

“That’s funny coming from you,” she said with that smile that made him weak in the knees. “There has to be something else sinister going on around this city that you need to tend to.”

Batman seemed to weigh her words carefully, suddenly noticing that he had yet to let go of her. His arms abruptly dropped away much to her dismay before taking a couple of steps back to put some much-needed distance between them. “I need to swing by the Iceberg Lounge,” he reluctantly revealed.

“Now, see?” she said. “That wasn’t so hard. What’s going on there?”

“Penguin is supposed to be holding a secret meeting with a couple of investors about a new illegal gambling ring,” he told her.

“Great,” she replied. “Let’s go.”

XXX

Batman and Wonder Woman looked down on the Iceberg Lounge for what felt like forever to Diana. She was growing antsy for some action. She huffed in annoyance as her hands came to rest on the curve of her hips, receiving a look from Batman that spoke volumes.

“What?” she asked.

He just smirked at her as he shook his head, turning his attention back to the establishment below. “Some things never change,” he murmured, memories of a stakeout on a rooftop and a conversation that had led to a rehearsed list of reasons that had sounded lame even to his ears.

“It’s not like that,” she insisted with a smile as the memory invaded her mind as well.

“Just as impatient as you are stubborn,” he replied.

“I’m not impatient,” she told him, rolling her eyes. “I’m just anxious to take this Penguin down.”

“You are not taking the Penguin down,” he pointed out. “I am breaking up a meeting between criminals to remind them that I’m watching their every move.”

Diana folded her arms against her chest, turning her back to the scene below to sit on the roof’s edge. “I get to tag along though.”

“Just stay back and don’t say a word,” he instructed her.

“What am I? A plant?” she demanded to know, a scowl on her lips. “I’m not one of your sidekicks you know.”

“You are tonight,” he reminded her. “You can be seen, but not heard.”

“Okay, you know this whole condescending attitude might work on your Robins, but they don’t work on me,” she snapped as she leveled him with a threatening glare. “Keep it up and you’ll find your precious car at the bottom of Gotham Bay in a nice little ball.”

“You wouldn’t,” he growled.

“Try me.”

“This is blackmail.”

“You lost the bet.”

“Don’t remind me.”

“Every chance I get.”

“Why am I not surprised?” he grumbled. “Just don’t be a distraction.”

“Have I ever been a distraction?” she sweetly asked.

“All the damn time,” he muttered more to himself than to her. “Just stay behind me.”

Diana smiled to herself as she followed him to the street below. They circled around to the back of the Iceberg Lounge to a side door. There were three, very expensive looking cars parked in the back alley along with several bodyguards left behind to protect them.

One very large, very angry looking man moved to block Batman’s path, his muscular arms crossing against his chest as if daring the Dark Knight to try something. Batman merely smirked, looking to his right at Diana who was itching for some action.

“Oh, please, Batman,” she practically begged.

“Fine…just this once,” he found himself relenting.

Diana’s fist lashed out in less than a blink of an eye, hitting him right between the eyes and dropping the bodyguard like a bag of wet sand. Blood poured from his broken nose as he laid unconscious on the ground. The other bodyguards all took several steps back, suddenly finding interest in their cell phones or the details of the cars that had brought them here.

Batman stepped over the fallen bodyguard, kicking the back door of the establishment in. Penguin immediately leapt to his feet at the sight of the Caped Crusader standing in his private office with an unknown female figure dressed all in black.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Penguin cried out, his two cohorts wishing they could just disappear at that moment.

“Just stopping by to let you know that I know what you three are planning,” Batman stated as he stalked towards the table. He placed the palms of his gauntleted hands on top of it, leaning over to eye each man. “If you’re smart, you two will get out of town now and never come back because if I see your faces again, I’ll rearrange them…permanently.”

“How dare you!” Penguin exclaimed, practically shaking with anger. “Take your floozie here and get out of my office!”

“Floozie?” Diana repeated as she stormed towards him, fury suddenly blazing in her blue eyes.

Batman’s arm immediately shot out, his hand snaking around Diana’s forearm like a vice. “Don’t,” he warned her, turning his attention to the man on the right. “You might want to get your bodyguard some medical attention.”

The man visibly swallowed in fear, nodding his head vigorously. “I will.”

“I’m watching you, Penguin,” Batman growled. “Step out of line and I’ll know it.”

Batman turned on his heel, his hand still grasping Diana’s arm to make sure she followed him. “You can release me now,” she hissed at him as they exited the building, yanking her arm free.

The Dark Knight stepped over the still fallen bodyguard, Diana’s boot “accidently” colliding with his ribs as she too stepped over him. The other bodyguards watched as the pair disappeared into the night, the duo retreating back to the rooftop they’d just left.

“Did you really have to kick him?”

“What?” she asked with a little grin. “It was an accident.”

“I’m sure,” he said with a frown.

“Now what?” she questioned him, her stomach growling loudly.

“Hungry?”

“Yah, a little,” she admitted, somewhat embarrassed. “I haven’t eaten since lunch.”

“Let’s go get something,” he offered.

“Don’t we have more of Gotham to patrol?”

“Don’t worried about it,” he assured her. “It’s being covered.”

Thirty minutes later, Bruce and Diana were sitting side-by-side, perched on the rooftop of Wayne Enterprises eating hamburgers and French fries. “So, do you bring all your dates up here?” she teased him before biting off a French fry.

“Date?” he questioned her with a lop-sided smirk. “Is that what this is?”

Diana immediately blushed as realization of what she’d just said washed over her. “No…I mean yes, I know it’s not a date,” she quickly tried to amend. “It’s just patrol…nothing more.”

“Is that why you made the bet?” he demanded to know as he stared her down, wanting a real answer this time. “You wanted to turn patrol into a date?”

“No!” she emphatically insisted. “I know how important patrol is to you, Bruce. I’d never try to turn it into something as frivolous as a date.”

“Why did you make that bet then, Diana?”

His voice was gentler than she’d anticipated it would be, taking her off guard. “I just wanted to see what Gotham was like at night when you patrolled…what it was about this city that made you who you are,” she admitted. “I also wanted to spend time with you.”

“Why is that so important?”

“Because…you’re very important to me,” she softly replied, taking a drink of her cola.

Several moments went by without a response, forcing her to finally lift her eyes to look at him only to find that he was suddenly very close to her. “You’re important to me too,” he admitted.

“Is that why you intentionally lost our sparring match?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

“I didn’t lose on purpose,” he claimed as his mouth inched closer to hers.

“Yes, you did,” she whispered. “You—”

Bruce silenced her, her lips warm and soft and so very inviting against his own. He kissed her slowly, savoring the moment that had been far too long in coming. His hand moved to cup her cheek as slow and sensual started to become hot and demanding.

Her lips parted, beckoning him to fully taste and ravish her. He wasted no time in exploring every inch of her mouth, groaning as her tongue began to tangle with his for control. She pulled back slightly, pausing to nip and nibble at his bottom lip, sucking gently before finally releasing him.

“Wow,” he huskily murmured, running his tongue along his lower lip that tingled with pleasure. “I should’ve done that a long time ago.”

“Yes, you should have,” she agreed, her nose nuzzling his before placing another kiss on his lips.

“Do you want to make another bet?”

“What kind?” she asked, brow furrowing with suspicion.

“Want to bet how quickly we can finish patrol so we can continue this at the manor?”