The battle was over.
Darkseid and his forces had won the war, assuming control of all the earth.
The Justice League had fallen before his might.
Their final moment was upon them.
But the Man of Steel, the leader of the Justice League, and his best friend, the Dark Knight, had developed a failsafe plan.
However, it would require the ultimate sacrifice. With the members of the Justice League laying on the still smoking ground around him along with the decimated remnant of his own army, the victorious yet battle weary Darkseid slowly began to stand to his feet. On one knee, a few feet away, Superman nodded to Batman. Batman passed the signal to Cyborg. Cyborg hesitated for a moment, then he ordered his system to begin to run a series of calculations.
Beside Superman, Wonder Woman slowly began to slide herself to her knees, staring up at the look in Kal’s eyes.
It was the look of a hero.
It was the look of a king.
It was the look of a saviour.
He was about to do something.
Kal looked down at Diana.
“I love you, Diana. I always have. I always will,” he said to her.
Suddenly, a massive thunderclap resounded all around them as a boom tube opened directly behind Darkseid. A rushing burst of wind blew over everyone as the Man of Steel soared through the air with all his might and crashed into Darkseid, taking them both into oblivion. Darkseid grabbed at Superman, fighting with incredible power against him.
Despite himself, Batman hesitated. For just a moment, there almost appeared a wetness in his eyes for his friend.
“Close it,” he said sternly to Cyborg.
Cyborg hesitated once again.
“Nooo!” screamed Diana.
The realization of their plan tore her heart apart with the worst pain she had ever felt in her entire life.
She couldn’t let this happen.
She wouldn’t allow it.
She couldn’t bear it.
Drawing upon reserves of strength that she didn’t know existed, Diana burst into flight, rushing after Superman. At the moment that her body passed through the boom tube, the very atmosphere seemed as if it were going to tear her body apart. It was as if she were on fire from the inside as well as the outside, and the pain was very nearly unbearable, even for her. It was difficult to think of any soul enduring this torment for all eternity.
For a moment, Diana couldn’t see them through all of the smoke and fire, and her heart sank in terror that she might not be able to find Kal in time. Then, a cloud of flaming smoke cleared, and there they were, so far up ahead of her that there seemed to be an endless gulf between them. Diana flew as fast and hard as she possibly could, but the distance between them only seemed to be increasing.
The Man of Steel had resigned himself to his fate. Deep down inside, he felt as if he had always been alone. Even after joining The League, he’d still had to fight most of his battles by himself. Over ninety-seven percent of the world’s super powered beings were still not in a power class like his own, and he generally had to finish his battles one on one. Now, here, at his end, there would be no one with him.
Just as this thought distracted his mind, Darkseid lashed out, connecting with a vicious backward head bud intended to loosen Superman’s grip. The harsh impact dazed Superman for a moment, and Darkseid tried to rend himself free, but Superman was able to swing his powerful forearm around Darkseid’s throat as he turned to head back to the portal, and Superman held him in a steel grip.
Just then, Superman looked up and saw… Diana… already inside the boom tube… reaching desperately for him.
Kal’s body still continued on in the struggle to hold Darkseid, but his eyes held the compassion of a true warrior at the sight of her. Kal stared into Diana’s eyes. They were filled with passion, anguish and sadness for him.
‘Go,’ Kal silently mouth the words to her. ‘Diana. Go. Please.’
Her heart broke. He was right, and she knew it. There was no way she could reach him. Yet, she wouldn’t, she couldn’t, allow herself to give up.
Using Superman’s momentary distraction to his advantage, Darkseid swung a hard forearm into Kal’s neck, stunning him once again. However, Kal now had a renewed spirit from the sight of Diana, and he countered quickly. Kal swung Darkseid around by his neck and began pounding his face with punch after punch, the raw power of the impacts thundering in the air around them.
Diana closed her eyes, and everything strangely seemed to become still and quiet all around her. She said a prayer to Christ Jesus, the God whom Kal’s parents had taught him to worship.
Then, something touched her hand. She recognized the feel of it immediately. It was the nape of Kal’s cape, right near his shoulder.
Diana opened her eyes, and the torrential atmosphere was suddenly all around her once again, but her mind was focused.
She was touching Kal.
With all her might, Diana lunged forward, wrapped both her arms around Kal’s neck, and threw her body backward, pulling him with her. Kal was stunned, shocked that Diana had somehow miraculously made her way to him. Still, he reacted immediately, giving Darkseid a hard kick to his face and pushing off of him. Kal then quickly spun around in Diana’s arms and wrapped his forearms around her waist, adding his speed to her own. Holding each other tightly, the two of them barreled through space and time at breakneck speed, racing back toward the portal which was rapidly closing. The atmosphere around them tore at their bodies and souls from the inside out, and Kal and Diana laid their heads against each other and pushed harder, wondering if the excruciating strain might tear them apart before they reached the portal.
Just a few feet behind them, Darkseid hollered in his desperate exertion to catch them.
The edge of the portal rushed toward them…
The entire Justice League and all those around them were knocked off their feet by a massive discharge of energy as Darkseid slammed into the closed loop of the tube. His howl of anguish seemed to echo from all around them at once.
Then, it was over.
Where the boom tube had been now sat a large, deep crater of smoking earth.
In its epicenter lay Kal and Diana, wrapped tightly in one another’s arms, still and motionless.
Everyone around them stood still and motionless with them, fearing that although the tide had been turned and the day seemed a victory, earth’s champions may have been lost.
Then, they stirred, slowly, both of them leaning back to gaze into one another’s eyes.
“Diana, you shouldn’t…” Kal began.
“I… I couldn’t let you go, Kal,” Diana interrupted him. “I couldn’t.”
Kal stared into the depths of her eyes and relented, his feelings a mirror of her own, and he tried levity to ease her.
“I’ve heard it said that the world doesn’t need a saviour.”
“I need you,” she said firmly. “The world does too. I’ll never let you go, Kal.”
“Nor I you, Diana.”
As the survivors rejoiced around them, the power couple of the universe stood to their feet, victorious and forever united.