Batcave; September 29th, 04:07 EST
Artemis and Jason entered the Batcave more discouraged and frustrated then when they’d first left. The van had proven to be a dead end despite the receipt that Artemis had found. The receipt had ended up being for a purchase over six months ago and the van had come back stolen.
Oracle was still tracking down information on the van. The prints from inside the stolen vehicle had belonged to two known members of Joker’s gang which hadn’t gotten them any further ahead in finding the Joker or whatever hole he had slithered back into this time.
They knew he was obsessed with getting his hands on Batwoman. They were going to have to be hyperaware of any traps that Joker might set to get his get a hold of her. While Jason was convinced that Joker wouldn’t try to figure out their secret identities, Artemis wasn’t quite so sure. She made periodic sweeps of the manor as well as the grounds to ensure there wasn’t any trouble lurking in the shadows. She wasn’t going to be taken by surprised by any attacks on the manor.
The red-headed Amazon dropped into a chair with a huff of anger as Jason sat down in Bruce’s command chair before the massive computer system his father-figure had built. He was in no better mood than his lover at that point, more than fed up with the constant dead ends.
He tilted the chair back to glare up into the inky darkness of the cave ceiling above him as if it somehow held all the answers that they couldn’t find but refused to divulge. “He has to be around here someplace,” he grumbled.
“The problem is no one is talking or no one we talked to knows anything,” she replied, her gaze wandering to the medical bay where Tim was recovering with Cassie by his side.
Even though she couldn’t see them, she knew that Cassie was there with him. She’d barely left his side since Joker had returned him to them. She was as relieved as everyone else that he seemed to be doing better and would make a full recovery. She had to admit, though, that she still had her suspicions about his mental state. While he seemed like himself, she wasn’t as convinced that the Joker hadn’t tampered with his mind.
All of the blood tests had come back normal for the most past so far, but the doubts continued to linger and swirl around in her mind. She was going to have to keep an eye on him until she was convinced that he wasn’t a threat to Diana or the rest of the family.
Sitting up, Jason turned his chair to find Artemis staring at the med bay, piquing his curiosity about what could be running through that red head of hers. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
Artemis pursed her lips as she finally met his gaze. “What do you think about Tim?”
A frown momentarily passed over Jason’s face as he considered his brother. “I think that he’s doing better than I had expected,” he thoughtfully replied. “I’m surprised that he hasn’t had nightmares yet.”
“Do you think Joker has him under his control?”
“It doesn’t seem like it,” Jason responded with a shrug as he glanced back at the bed bay even though he couldn’t actually see him. “The blood tests came back okay and he’s acting like himself so far.”
“That’s it, though,” she continued, leaning forward in her chair with an air of urgency. “Is it all just an act?”
Jason scowled with her assertion, becoming almost defensive. He hated the thought that Tim had been brainwashed by Joker. “He’s fine, Red,” he insisted. “It’s going to take time to overcome the trauma of being subjected to whatever the Joker did to him, but it’s still Tim at heart.”
“Are you sure?”
“Look, I think we’d know it if Joker had control of his mind,” he stated with a trace of resentment in his voice. “He wouldn’t be acting the same. He’d be different…more aggressive.”
Artemis sat back in her chair, her mind still working through it all. She could feel Jason’s eyes on her, studying her as if trying to peal back every layer to see what exactly she was thinking. She didn’t know if Jason was beginning to second guess himself or was angry with her for not fully believing him. Either way, she was going to hold onto her suspicions until proven wrong.
“Tim!” Cassie cried out, causing Artemis and Jason to leap to their feet.
The pair took off running in the direction of the med bay, a loud crash echoing throughout the cave. Rounding the corner, they found Cassie holding Tim down, keeping him pinned to the bed despite his best efforts to break free from her super-strength. His face was red, his teeth clenched tightly, and his hands fisted as he struggled to get away. There was a wild look in his eyes that was unnerving.
“What happened?” Jason demanded as he ran to the other side of the bed.
“I don’t know,” Cassie said, fear swimming in her eyes as she held Tim down. “One minute he was sleeping and the next he was fighting. He sent the bedside stand flying and yanked out his IV before I could get hold of him.”
“Tim!” Jason yelled at him, taking hold of his face and forcing him to look at him. “Tim! Stop fighting! It’s Jason…you’re safe at home now. The Joker isn’t here.”
“No!” Tim screamed. “He wants mom! We have to stop him!”
“Joker isn’t here, Tim,” Cassie reassured him. “Diana is safe…you’re safe.”
Alfred came running into the medical bay at that moment. Without a second thought, he grabbed a needle and syringe, drawing up the medicine that would help him before injecting it into Tim’s arm. Everyone seemed to release a relieved breath as Tim began to settle down, drifting back to sleep again.
“What happened?” Alfred asked as Cassie finally released her hold on Tim.
“I think he had a nightmare,” Cassie replied.
“Maybe it would be better if Master Timothy recovered in more comfortable and familiar surroundings like his own bedroom,” Alfred suggested. “He’s out of danger now. It might do him some good to be out of the cave.”
“I say let’s do it,” Jason readily agreed.
“Might as well start a medical ward upstairs since Master Damian is also still recovering upstairs,” Alfred commented.
Jason carefully picked his brother up in his arms to take him upstairs while the others gathered up necessary medical supplies that he might need. Artemis felt a nagging tug in the back of her mind telling her things were far from over as far as the Joker was concerned.
Wayne Manor; September 29th, 04:58 EST
Diana tossed and turned in bed, unable to fall asleep despite the fact that she was back in her own bed with Bruce at her side. Her mind was restless with so many things but nothing more than Tim. She was angry with herself that she hadn’t been able to protect her own son, keeping him safe from the clutches of someone as psychotic as the Joker.
Seeing him so beaten and hurt had broken her heart. She should have tried harder, found him sooner, kept the Joker from taking him away from them. It was her that the Joker wanted, not Tim. She was going to have to offer herself up to the Joker if this nightmare was ever going to end.
With a weary sigh, Diana rolled onto her right side. A gentle hand coming to rest on her face caused her to open her eyes to find her husband staring at her. “Hey,” he murmured, his brow furrowed with worry. “Are you okay?”
“Yes…I’m sorry,” she apologized. “Did I wake you?”
The corner of his lips quirked slightly. “I don’t mind as long as it’s you in my bed doing all the tossing and turning,” he teased her. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m worried about Tim,” she confessed. “I’m afraid of what Joker did to him. I don’t want him to become bitter and resentful like Jason.”
“We’ll do our best to not let that happen,” he reassured her. “And don’t worry about Jason. I’m going to see what I can do about mending that fence.”
“What if Tim is really under Joker’s mind control?”
“Then, we’ll find a way to save him,” he promised her. “I might not have all my memories, but I’ve learned a lot from you, and nothing is more important than keeping this family together.”
She smiled softly at him, turning her head to kiss the palm of his hand. “I think we need to keep Nicholas and Kaia away from Tim until we know for sure if he’s our Tim or not.”
“Or they can see him as long as we’re with them,” he suggested.
“I think that would be okay as long as it’s only for short periods of time,” she decided.
“We’ll get through this, princess,” he swore to her. “We’ve made it to the Underworld and back. We can handle this too. We just need to stay strong and stick together.”
“I’m afraid you can’t get rid of me, Bruce,” she replied. “You’re stuck with me whether you like it or not.”
“Hmmm…well then, it’s a good thing that I kind of like you,” he flirted, leaning in and kissing her softly. “I also find you very sexy.”
“You do?” she said, pausing to rake her teeth over her bottom lip.
“Definitely,” he confirmed as he kissed her again.
Bruce’s hand slipped from her face to the back of her neck, holding her close as the kiss grew more heated. She immediately responded to him, her lips parting in an invitation that he eagerly accepted. He moaned softly as their tongues met, passion flaring as a love that could never be completely forgotten or erased roared to the surface demanding to be acknowledged.
Bruce swiftly rolled her onto her back before shifting on top of her, effectively pinning her to the bed with his body. He kissed her with a passion that refused to be denied, hungry and demanding everything that she could give him. His hands began a slow, intimate exploration as if learning her body for the first time, wanting to memorize every single detail about her so as not to ever forget her again.
Diana’s mind raced with the overwhelming desire that coursed hotly through her veins, lust and longing warring with logic that told her to stop this. He wasn’t ready for this…was he? The feel of his warm lips against her throat and the swell of his member pressing against her center was causing her brain to shut down, his wandering hands making her want to cry out for so much more of him.
Hera, she missed this man.
“Bruce,” she breathlessly uttered his name as she arched beneath him, the last syllable of his name becoming a drawn-out moan as he began to knead her breast through her lingerie. “We…we should stop.”
He retreated just enough to look in her beautiful face, finding her blue eyes clouded with love and desire for him and him alone. “Do you really want me to stop?” he asked, his piercing azure eyes burning with the same intense emotions as her own.
“No…but…” she murmured, her hands gripping his upper arms.
Diana found it more than difficult to deny this man anything. She didn’t want him to stop—not now, not ever. She ached deeply for him…ached for his touch and the feel of him so hard and hot and demanding as he moved inside of her, taking her with utter abandon.
“I want you, Diana,” he told her, his hand moving to cup her jaw.
“But you don’t remember me,” she said, her tone filled with sorrow.
His lips brushed against hers before kissing her forehead. “No, I don’t remember everything about you, but I remember that I love you,” he replied.
“You do?” she whispered, tears shining in her eyes.
He leaned in and kissed her gently, his mouth finding her ear. “I love you,” he huskily repeated, turning his head to nuzzle her cheek with his nose. “It’s the one thing I know with every fiber of my being.”
Diana tilted her head, capturing his lips in a heated kiss as she tore his shorts from his body and tossed them onto the floor. She wrapped her legs around his waist before suddenly rolling him onto his back. His hands swiftly moved to grip her thighs as he gazed up at her in absolute wonder. He watched in anxious anticipation as Diana slowly lifted her black lingerie over her head before tossing it aside and leaving herself bare for him.
His breath hitched as he stared at the utter perfection that was his Diana…his wife. He tried to wrap his mind around the notion that she was truly all his, but it seemed far too good to be true. Her hands came to rest on his bare chest, connecting them and proving to him that this was no dream. This was his life…his reality and he was never letting her go.
Diana bent over him, her breasts pressing against his chest as she laced their hands together. Pinning his hands on either side of his head, her lips found his with a slow, sensual kiss that had him moaning and hungry for more of her. Close wasn’t close enough, the feel of her skin against his only intensifying his raw desire for her.
She kissed along his jaw and down his throat, over his collarbone and across his chest. She sucked hard on his pulse point, nipping at his skin until he was squirming beneath her. “Diana…” he gasped sharply as sweat broke out across his brow. He needed her…needed to touch her and make her his all over again. “Please…I want you…now.”
She kissed him hard, sucking gently on his lower lip and giving it a final nip before releasing her hold on him. His hands were on her in a blink of an eye, finding her breasts as she took him into her hand. She stroked him gently a couple of times before slowly taking him inside of her, pausing every few millimeters to prolong his torture as well as his pleasure.
Bruce hissed as he arched his back, desperate to be fully buried deep inside of her. His breathing became ragged as he suddenly lifted his hips sharply, finally…completely filling her with every bit of himself. He gasped with the sensual gratification that nearly made his head spin, the feel of her surrounding him nearly overloading his senses. It was better than anything he’d ever imagined.
He forced his eyes open in time to see Diana throw her head back in ecstasy, her body glistening with a thin sheen of sweat. Her chest was heaving, her breasts rising and falling with every gulp of air that she drew in. It was only serving to make him unbelievably harder.
Unable to hold back any longer, she began to rock her hips, causing his entire body to shudder in response to the amazing sensations beginning to wrack his body. She lifted her hips, setting a leisurely pace that had Bruce groaning and begging for more.
She twisted her hips, causing him to call her name. She reached for his hand again, locking her fingers with his and placing their joined hands on his chest. Bruce lifted his hips to meet her every down stroke, doing his best to get her to increase her rhythm. His release was rapidly approaching, becoming harder and harder to rein in with the things she was doing to him.
Diana ground her hips against his groin before lifting herself up again only to repeat the erotic motion that had Bruce gripping at the sheet beneath him with his free hand, twisting the fabric in his fist as he struggled to hang on. “Please…Diana…” he growled, hissing as he arched his neck.
With a wicked grin, she bent over him, kissing him and stealing what little breath he had left. “Need something?” she teased, doing her best to hide the fact that she wasn’t doing much better than he was at that moment. Her entire body was coiled tight, her body nearly bowing with the unbelievable tension that had built up deep within her to near unbearable levels.
“You…I…I need…you,” he managed to utter between gasps.
Diana finally increased her pace, providing them with what they both so desperately needed and wanted more than anything at that moment. They readily found that sweet release within one another, coming undone with a cry of their lover’s name as she collapsed on top of him.
His hand found the back of her neck, pulling her into a bruising kiss that nearly curled her toes. “Hera…I missed you so much,” she said as she struggled to catch her breath, her fingers tracing the curve of his handsome face.
He captured her hand, kissing the tips of her fingers as he gazed deeply into her eyes. It felt as though her gaze was caressing his very soul as he pulled her in for another kiss, this one gentle and yet filled with the heated passion that still lingered just beneath the surface.
“I love you,” he whispered against her cheek, finding that he was nowhere near done showing her just how much.
“I love you too,” she softly confessed, tears stinging her eyes.
Bruce brushed a raven curl out of her face, kissing the tear that had escaped. “Don’t cry, princess. I’m right here.”
“I was so afraid I was never going to get you back.”
“You’re not getting rid of me that easily,” he lightly teased, turning her words on her.
She pressed her forehead against his cheekbone, never wanting this to end but knowing that so much more still awaited them. She didn’t want to think about all that waited for them outside their door and beyond these walls…the horrors that Joker was creating just for them. She just wanted to lay here with him, skin against skin with legs tangled and nothing between them anymore.
They held each other close for several moments before Diana suddenly found herself on her back with a very aroused Bruce hovering above her. “I’m not anywhere near done with you, Missus Wayne,” he uttered with a predatory growl and a ravenous gleam in his eyes that sent a shiver racing straight through her to her very core.
“That’s good because I’m not letting you out of this bed any time soon,” she told him, raising her hips to grind against him.
Bruce’s eyes rolled back in his head with the spike of pleasure that shot like fireworks through his veins. “Remember,” he reminded her once he’d been able to recover somewhat. “We have to be on the Watchtower by eleven o’clock to meet with J’onn.”
Diana glanced at the bedside table at the red numbers looking back at her. “Plenty of time,” she practically purred, her arms slipping around him and pulling him firmly on top of her.
Bruce’s lips crashed into hers, kissing her with all the pent-up longing that had been teeming inside of him. He could feel another headache building behind his eyes, but he ignored it, choosing rather to focus on the beautiful Amazon in his bed. He was more than determined to make sure that she had no doubts about how much he loved her.
Watchtower; September 29th, 10:56 EST
“Diana, stop fidgeting,” Superman told her. “He’ll be just fine.”
“I know…I know,” she replied, releasing a nervous breath. “It’s just that it’s his first time on the Watchtower. I don’t want him to be overwhelmed by it all. He still doesn’t have all of his memories and I—”
“Diana…it’s Batman,” he reminded her as he took hold of her arms to keep her still. “He’ll be fine, and we’ll be here to help him.”
Batman appeared on the transport pad at that moment, a frown on his face at the sight of the man he assumed was Superman touching his wife. Last night had been nothing short of perfection, making love for hours until they had finally given into the demand for sleep. Seeing another man with her caused an unexpected jab of jealousy.
Bruce didn’t get a chance to say anything as the man in the red cape was suddenly embracing him in a bear hug that nearly crushed his ribs and cut off his air supply. “Bruce, it’s so good to see you,” Clark said. “We’ve all missed you. It’s not been the same around here without you.”
Bruce tentatively lifted his arms to loosely return Superman’s embrace as he gave his wife a look that begged to be rescued. Diana bit her bottom lip to keep her laughter at bay but failed miserably, earning a patented Batglare from her husband.
“Can’t…breathe…” Bruce managed to growl, Clark immediately releasing him.
“Sorry,” the Man of Steel sheepishly apologized as he took a couple of steps back. “I’m so glad you’re back. Do you remember me?”
“You ask me that after nearly crushing me to death?”
“Same old Bruce,” Clark replied with a large grin as he glanced back at Diana. Clark clapped Bruce on the back. “It’s so good to see you’re still you.”
“Thanks…I think,” Bruce grumbled.
“I’ve got to run,” Clark said. “We’ll definitely have to catch up later. Maybe you two can go out for dinner with Lois and me sometime soon.”
“Yah, we’ll see about that,” Batman stated.
Clark waved at Diana as he left, leaving Bruce and Diana alone in the transporter room. A leering smile formed on Bruce’s face as he approached her. Diana couldn’t help smiling back with the way that he was staring at her. Memories of this morning spent in his arms resurfaced with a fierce vengeance. They still needed to make up for lost time.
“You shouldn’t smile like that,” she told him as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “Doesn’t fit with the fearsome Batman persona you’ve worked so hard to create.”
“It’s all your fault,” he huskily pointed out as his lips began to descend on hers. “You put it there…many, many times and I can’t wait for you to put it there again.”
Bruce kissed her with a love that was felt bone-deep, making sure she knew it was genuine. Diana couldn’t but respond despite her worry that someone might catch them. She knew Kal had disabled the security feed for the transporter room, but for how long she had no idea.
Breaking apart with a breathless gasp, Diana had to take a moment to recover from the intensity of the kiss. “We have to be careful,” she reminded him. “Up here, I’m not married to you. I’m married to Bruce Wayne.”
“I know, but you make it difficult not to want to take you right here,” he told her, forcing himself to release his hold on her.
Diana ran her fingers back through her hair in an effort to regain her composure. “You’re not helping when you say that,” she replied. “We better hurry or we’ll be late to meet with J’onn.”
“Fine,” he reluctantly agreed. “For now.”
Diana quickly led him from the transporter room before things became anymore heated. “After we meet with J’onn, we can have lunch in the commissary. Hopefully being around familiar surroundings and teammates will help.”
“What if I don’t remember people and they start hugging me like Superman?”
“You don’t have to worry about that,” she told him with a wry smile. “Everyone’s too terrified of you to approach you except for the Founders and we already reviewed who they are.”
“I wish I felt as confident as you sound,” he muttered, feeling his headache growing worse. “After lunch, maybe you can show me our quarters.”
“That’s a definite possibility,” she said with a mischievous grin.
“Coming up here is starting to look better and better.”
Batman couldn’t help noticing all the stares he was receiving as they walked through the Watchtower. It was almost as if they were seeing a ghost. He could tell that some of them wanted to say something to him but thought better of it which was fine with him. He didn’t know any of these people and yet there was vague recognition that niggled at the back of his mind making his head hurt worse.
Entering what appeared to be the infirmary, Bruce found his apprehension rising with every step he took. He couldn’t pinpoint the reason for it. All he knew was that he was beginning to dread the idea of getting his memories back. The idea of reliving the death of his parents wasn’t something he was looking forward to experiencing.
A reassuring hand slipping into his brought him out of his troubled thoughts. He turned to look into the bluest eyes that he was certain he’d ever seen, eyes filled with love for him and no one else. “Hey, it’ll be okay,” she assured him. “I’ll be here with you every step of the way.”
“Do you think this is a good idea…I mean getting my memories back?” he asked, pausing to draw a deep breath. “From what I’ve learned so far, my life has been filled with more than a few tragedies. I mean I know I need them back, but maybe it would be better if I didn’t remember.”
Diana squeezed his gauntleted hand, gracing him with a gentle smile that warmed him clear down to his toes. “Yes, there have been some very painful moments that have punctuated your life, but all of them, along with the good times, have made you into who you are…the man that I love more than anything.”
“Batman,” J’onn stoically greeted him as he phased through the door. “It is so good to see you well, my friend. You’ve been greatly missed.”
“I’m glad Diana warned me you can do that, or I’d be worried I was really losing my mind,” Batman stated, shaking the Martian Manhunter’s outstretched hand.
J’onn smiled as he stepped aside to allow them entrance into his office. “I’m sure this has been very difficult for you.”
“Yes, in some respects, but Diana and our family has been helping me through it,” he replied as he took the chair J’onn indicated.
“He’s been having headaches, J’onn,” Diana added.
“It’s not that bad,” Bruce amended. “I’m sure they’re nothing to worry about.”
“Well, I’m worried about them and I think J’onn should know in case there’s something really wrong,” Diana insisted.
“I can block the pain for you if you wish,” J’onn offered.
“To be honest, I’m not exactly comfortable with the thought of someone poking around in my head,” Bruce confessed with a frown.
Diana and J’onn shared a knowing smile that didn’t go unnoticed by the Dark Knight. “What?” he asked, looking at his wife for an answer.
“Nothing,” she assured him. “It’s just good to see that you haven’t changed despite not having your memories.”
“I promise I’ll try to make this as painless as possible,” J’onn told him.
“Just do whatever you need to do,” Batman replied. “I have to stop the Joker before he can hurt Diana.”
“Bruce, don’t worry about me,” she said. “All that matters right now is you.”
Batman glared at her, clearly not agreeing with her, but J’onn didn’t give him a chance to retort. “I need you to close your eyes, Batman,” J’onn told him. “I’m going to gently probe your mind. I’m going to start superficially so to speak with your more recent memories before trying to delve a little deeper.”
Batman nodded his head in agreement, apprehension still clinging to him like a second skin he couldn’t shed. He didn’t like the idea of someone poking around inside his head even if this Martian was a friend. While he was somewhat anxious about getting his memories back, he knew that he needed them if he was going to be able to stop the Joker and protect his family.
Bruce felt warm tendrils drifting over him, unseen fingers lightly coaxing the recesses of his mind. It was actually a soothing sensation, one that helped to relax a little bit. He could feel the tight grip he had on the armrests of his chair begin to loosen, his headache starting to diminish somewhat. Whatever J’onn was doing was helping. He had a feeling, though, that it wasn’t going to be this pleasant to resurrect what he had lost.
“What was the first memory you had that felt real to you…that made you feel secure?” J’onn asked.
The memory of seeing Diana for the first time in the Underworld took shape in his mind. It caused the barest of smiles to form on his face, a warm sensation of love flooding through him and threatening to drown him in the intensity of it. He may not have his memories, but he was fairly certain that no woman had ever made him feel the way he felt about Diana.
“Hold on to that memory of Diana,” J’onn told him. “I’m going to probe deeper to pull out older memories that have been locked away.”
Bruce’s fingers instantly tightened their hold on the armrests in anticipation. He wasn’t sure what kind or from where J’onn was going to pull these memories from. Was he going to start with his childhood and work his way towards the present?
He shuddered with the thought of remembering his childhood. From what Diana had told him, it hadn’t been very pleasant especially losing his parents. The idea of reliving it caused a knot of dread to form in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t want to watch his parents being taken from him all over again and yet he knew he had to do this, not only for his family but for Diana.
A hand prying his fingers loose from the armrest wrapped securely around his. “I’m right here with you,” she whispered like a spring breeze. “I love you and I’m not leaving you.”
“You’re doing well, Batman,” J’onn reassured him.
Memories began to resurface from his childhood like a slow trickle…one here, a couple more there. It started slow and manageable—memories of building a treehouse with his father, helping his mother in her beloved rose garden, family vacations in the mountains, learning to ski, discovering a very real fear of bats.
The three of them along with Alfred were so happy together. Life was idyllic in every way possible. His parents were alive and so in love with each other, the way they looked at each other revealing the depths of those feelings. It reminded him of what he and Diana shared with one another.
“I’m going to dig a little deeper,” J’onn warned him, his eyes glowing brightly as he sought to uncover more memories.
Bruce tightened his hold on Diana’s hand as images of a dark alley behind a movie theater began to emerge in his mind. He felt his heart starting to hammer against his chest wall as he watched a man with a gun appear out of the shadows— a string of pearls being torn apart, shots being fired, his parents falling to the ground, a little boy kneeling by their bodies as he sobbed.
His eyes flew open in sheer panic as he gasped sharply, sucking in air in an effort to calm himself down. Sweat broke out beneath his cowl as he leaned forward to hold his head in hands that trembled uncontrollably. He couldn’t stop shaking as he swallowed back the bile that burned the back of his throat.
“Bruce,” Diana softly said as she knelt beside him, her hand coming to rest on his back. “Are you okay?”
Several moments passed before Bruce straightened up, a dark expression forming on his cowled face as the muscles of his jaw tightened. “We’re done here,” he darkly rasped as he leapt to his feet and stalked from the room, leaving Diana behind.