Spoilers: Justice League episodes Maid of Honor, Starcrossed, and This Little Piggy
Comments: This story takes place over a period of around half a year.
Disclaimer: If they were mine Oh, if only they were mine.
Zatanna snaked her way through the tables in the common room in order to find a seat. Finally, she espied Diana sitting by herself and quickly made her way over to the Amazon. She pulled out a chair and sat beside Diana.
“Boy am I glad to see you. I was afraid I was going to have to share a table with the Flash again.” Zatanna shuddered. “It makes me sick watching him wolf down all that food.”
When she received no response from the ebon-haired woman, she looked at Diana and saw that she was clearly deep in thought.
Not even a twitch was given.
Zatanna looked in the apparent direction upon which Diana seemed to be concentrating. When her eyes alit upon Batman, Zatanna smirked and leaned over to speak clearly into Diana’s ear.
“Batman is so sexy.”
Diana nodded her head. “Mmm hmm.” She shook her head slightly and looked with surprise at Zatanna. “I mean umm .” Diana sighed and hid her rapidly blushing face into her hands. “Hello, Zatanna.”
“So how is tall, dark, and broody doing?” Zatanna joked, taking a bite of her food.
Sighing again, Diana raised her face to look at the Dark Knight as he got up from his table. “I think he’s avoiding me.” As if sensing her eyes upon him, Batman’s own eyes searched the room until meeting hers. Diana raised her eyebrow, but all the greeting she received was a small nod of his head before he turned away and left.
“Hmmm.” Zatanna shrugged and said before taking a bite of her food, “Maybe he’s still embarrassed?”
Diana turned her attention from the black cape fluttering out the door to her dinner companion. “What are you talking about?”
Zatanna looked in surprise at Diana while chewing her food. After swallowing, she asked, “Didn’t you try to find out what happened when you were a pig?”
“Yes. Batman told me I escaped, so he had to recruit B’wana Beast and a couple of the others to find me, while you and he found Circe to break the spell.”
Zatanna nodded her head slowly. “Okaaay Did he tell you how we broke the spell?”
Diana let out a frustrated sigh. “I tried. But whenever I would bring up the subject, there was always something in Gotham that required his attention.” She tilted her head in thought. “Do you think ”
Zatanna nodded in agreement with the Amazon’s conclusion. “He did it on purpose.”
The warrior stabbed her fork into her food. “Why that wretched MAN!” Diana’s eyes blazed in anger.
“Did you ever hum that melody I told you about?”
“I did that same day.”
When it was apparent Diana was not going to elaborate, Zatanna asked, “And ?
Confused, Diana asked, “And ?”
“And what did he do?”
Zatanna was shocked. “He did nothing?”
Diana shrugged. “We were walking down a hallway together when I did it. He stopped walking, but I kept going without looking behind me.” At Zatanna’s exasperated look, Diana continued. “I thought it would have more of an impact that way.” Zatanna pursed her lips in frustration.
Her face became thoughtful as Zatanna said, “You trust my crystal ball, right?”
Diana furrowed her brow in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“If I show you some images, you will trust that they actually happened, correct?”
“Of course I will. Why ”
Zatanna got out of her chair as she interrupted Diana. “I want to show you what Batman was unwilling to tell you.”
Diana picked up her tray and followed the magician. “Can you just tell me instead?”
Zatanna smirked at the woman walking beside her. “Trust me. You wanna see this.”
The lights were dimmed very low in Zatanna’s room. Diana and Zatanna were seated on cushions on opposite sides of a low table upon which the crystal ball resided.
“Are you ready?” Zatanna asked with her hands poised on either side of the globe.
“Yes, but I still do not understand why you will not just tell me what happened.”
Zatanna smirked. “You wouldn’t believe me otherwise.”
Diana looked skeptically at Zatanna and then focused on the clear sphere as Zatanna began to chant. A fog expanded and swirled inside the ball until there was a clear picture of Zatanna and Batman in her dressing room. Diana opened her mouth to comment, but Zatanna instantly hushed her and said, “Just watch and listen.”
Diana paid close attention to the scene as it unfolded: Batman’s care of her as a pig; Zatanna’s idea to get more help; his instant and abrupt refusal; her intuitive leap about their relationship; and his reluctant admittance.
Zatanna could hear Diana’s breathing become harsher as the events played out. When the picture faded from the globe and turned back into fog, Diana let out a cry.
“Maybe there was?!? MAYBE!!” She shot up from the cushion and began pacing around the room. “Not two hours before that worshipper of Ate was listing reasons we could never be together.” Diana’s arms were waving wildly as she ranted. “I knew the reasons were stupid at the time, but I had no clue ” She stopped suddenly with her hands clenched into fists at her side and her face turning a bright red. “I’m going to send that man straight to Tartarus.”
Before she reached the door, Zatanna blocked her way. “Diana wait. Stop!” The Amazon paused in front of the magician. “I understand how you feel after that, but there is one more thing you need to see before you attack Batman. Just one more scene. If you still want to punish him after that, I won’t get in your way.”
Diana closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. After holding it in for a few seconds, she exhaled, allowing the scarlet tint to drain out of her face. Zatanna led her back to the cushion and helped Diana to sit while she regained her control. Zatanna waited until Diana opened her eyes and gave a nod before beginning the chant again.
As before, a fog swirled within the sphere eventually revealing Batman and Zatanna looking up at Circe floating above them. This time, Diana sat and watched, keeping very quiet.
Until he sang.
Zatanna heard the catch in Diana’s breathing at the first notes that came out of the Batman’s mouth. She looked up to see the look of utter shock that came over Diana’s face. The soft eyes, the jaw agape. Zatanna almost thought the other woman had stopped breathing, but saw the rise and fall of her shoulders.
At the song’s end, the fog overtook the scene and swirled into nothingness. Zatanna watched as Diana tried to comprehend what she had just witnessed.
Finally, she spoke almost in a whisper.
“He sang ”
“Yes,” Zatanna responded.
“He… He sang in public ”
“To save me.”
“Yes Well, as public as it could be on Mykonos.”
Diana closed her eyes and swallowed. “He was willing to damage his image. All for me.” Her eyes shot open and her voice became stronger. “He does have strong feelings for me. But why does he refuse to try?” She looked to Zatanna for answers. “Why does he push me away?”
Zatanna shrugged. “I have no idea. Maybe you should talk to Nightwing or Oracle. They might be able to shed some light on your situation.”
Diana began to nod her head in agreement, but then her eyes lit up and a smile overtook her face. “No. I know exactly who to talk to. I just pray to Athena that he is willing to help me understand.”
Diana walked nervously up to the large double doors. After ringing the bell, she shakily smoothed her hands down her black shirt, smoothing the imaginary wrinkles, and ran her fingers through her hair insuring her appearance was not wind-blown. She was clothed in black jeans as well to hide the fact someone had been flying overhead.
“Bad enough I am here without an invitation. Had I been seen flying here, I surely would be sent to the Elysian Fields,” she murmured to herself.
The door opened revealing an older man.
“Why, Miss Diana, what a pleasant surprise. I was not informed you were coming. Please, do come in.”
Although his features betrayed no shock, his words claimed otherwise. She was sure he probably saw her arrival through the massive windows surrounding the front door, or, knowing Bruce, had looked at the video feed from the camera focused on the front door.
She smiled with affection at the distinguished man before her and walked into the large house. “Thank you Alfred. And the reason you were not informed of my arrival is because Bruce does not know I am here.”
“Would you like me to contact him, Miss?”
“No!” Alfred raised his eyebrows at her adamant refusal. Straining to calm her voice, she quickly explained. “Please, there is no need. I am actually here to see you.”
“Me, Miss Diana?”
“Yes. I ..um… I need your help. Or at least your advice.”
Alfred nodded. “I just put a kettle on the stove. Could I interest you in a cup of tea?” He put out his elbow in order to escort her to the kitchen.
Diana smiled and took his arm. “That sounds lovely, Alfred.”
“Very good.” They began walking toward the kitchen, but when Alfred continued speaking, Diana was stopped in her tracks. “It always helps to have a cup in hand when discussing the master of the house.”
“But I ” She sighed and gave in. “How did you know?”
“Because I have eyes and ears, Miss Diana.” Alfred continued leading her forward. “And as soon as I saw you I knew you were the reason Master Bruce has been in such an exceptionally foul mood, even for the Batman.”
While Alfred served, Diana told him briefly of the events that had occurred. They were both enjoying their tea by the time Diana got to the crux of the matter.
She cradled the warm cup in her hands as she looked into the brownish liquid. “Athena has not granted me the wisdom to understand why he would tell me we cannot date and then allow himself to be humiliated on my behalf.” Diana raised her head to look Alfred in his eyes. “Why does he deny us this chance?”
Alfred took a sip of tea to collect his thoughts. “These events would have happened four days ago, did they not?”
Diana blinked in shock. She had not given him a time frame as she talked about what happened. “Yes, they did. How did you know?”
“When Master Bruce arrived home that day, he instantly began his Tai Chi routine. He does this when a particularly difficult case has come his way in order to find his center. Normally, after one hour, he is back under control and continues on with his evening. That night, I found him still repeating the movements three hours later. How long he continued, I am unable to say. I did not stay around long enough to know.” Alfred rose to fill his cup, and then offered the pot to Diana, but she shook her head in refusal. “For Master Bruce, control is everything. If he is not in control, then people get hurt or killed.”
“But I have witnessed the Batman when he has lost control.”
Alfred raised an eyebrow. “Have you?”
Diana frowned at his disbelief. “Of course I have. I have fought with the Batman many times. Hermes, I believe, enjoys involving himself in our battles, so they end up more chaotic than they should. He would have had to be enormously blessed by Athena to be able to anticipate every move our adversaries have made.”
“You are correct, Miss Diana.” She gave a slight smile at the butler’s address. During the months she and J’onn were housed at the Manor, she tried to convince Alfred to call her Diana, to no avail. “But that was physical danger. Have you ever been present when he has faced danger of another kind?”
Diana furrowed her brow. “In danger mentally?”
“No, Miss. I am referring to the heart. Which is why he shields himself from relationships.”
Diana propped her head in the palm of her hand. “You have watched over Bruce for a long time.”
Alfred nodded. “All his life.”
“You have kept his secret that he is Batman and have helped him perpetuate the guise of the playboy.”
He pursed his lips at the second item and nodded again
Diana slowly shook her head which was still propped in her hand. “I don’t understand ”
Although she had stopped speaking, Alfred took a sip of tea while waiting on her to elaborate.
“Why are you sharing all of this with me?”
The butler smiled and gently placed his teacup on its saucer. “Because you have the power to leave him flustered, yet are trustworthy enough to be considered a friend. Because he is attracted to you, even if he will not admit it. Most importantly, I am an old man and will not live forever. Although he has Dick and Tim and Barbara and Cassandra, they will not always be around. He needs someone who will be here for him. To support him, when his life becomes more difficult.”
He paused, taking a sip of tea while allowing his words to sink in to the Amazon. “Unless I am mistaken, which I highly doubt, you love him and would be willing to stay with him.”
Diana blushed and ducked her head, hiding her face with her hair. “It’s possible.” Sighing, she lifted her head to meet Alfred’s eyes. “But, sweet Aphrodite, how will I know if he refuses to give us a chance in Hades?”
“The problem, up to this point, has been that the women he has allowed into his heart have not been able to handle both aspects of his life, or have been unscrupulous. He can trust you, so that item is not an issue. With what you have had to handle with the Justice League, the Batman aspect of his life would not be an issue either. That leaves Bruce Wayne. You will have to show him that you can fit into that world as well.”
Eyebrows raised, she sighs in frustration. “How am I supposed to accomplish that?”
Alfred picked up his cup to hide a smug smile. “I may have an idea or two that could work.”
Diana’s smile was brilliant.
Bruce Wayne looked around the room. Once again, the Wayne Charity Ball for the Gotham Clinic was a resounding success. All of the who’s who of Gotham were present, in essence for charity, but in actuality, as a way to show off their status through their clothing, jewelry, or, in some cases, their dates.
Although he never brought a date to his own functions, women were not in short supply.
Currently, within the group he was talking, there were two women flanking him. Not wanting to show favor to either, one was the wife of a senator the other the barely underage daughter of a rich widow, who from time to time tried to corner the illusive Wayne into a date, Bruce kept his hands in the pockets of his tuxedo pants. Being the host of the evening, he needed to be able to float around the room with ease.
He laughed at a joke from one of the men in his circle, and was thinking of moving to another area of the room, when he noticed one of the biggest twits in Gotham heading his way. Internally he groaned, but knew he could not extricate himself from the circle before the buffoon joined in the conversation.
In order to gain control of the situation, he decided to greet the man before any comments could be made. “Peter,” he shook the younger man’s hand. “I believe you know everyone, especially Brittany.” Bruce motioned to the younger of the two women surrounding him.
“Yes,” he responded. “We are well acquainted.” Peter smiled at the girl while she blushed at his comment, and then turned his attention back to Bruce. “I actually came over to find out why you are being such a poor host.”
Bruce’s eyes flashed momentarily at the audacity of the younger man before he was able to paste a confused look upon his face. “Whatever do you mean?”
Peter grinned. “If you took care of your duties, you would not leave others to answer the questions concerning yourself asked by such a gorgeous woman. Claims to be a princess. She has the attitude, but I don’t know if I believe her. Says you two met in Paris.”
At the mention of the foreign city, something clicked in Bruce’s mind. In shock, he voiced his thought. “Diana?”
His eyes scanned the room while Peter answered. “I believe that’s what she said her name was.”
When Bruce finally saw her, he sighed her name softly. His eyes took in the entirety of her appearance. Her ebony hair falling softly in waves over her shoulders. The scarlet dress she wore covered her from the base of her neck to the floor, but was sleeveless, with a revealing gap strategically located at the bust line. It was sleek and hugged her curves nicely. There appeared to be a shiny necklace lying at the top of the dress.
His eyes were slowly traveling back up her body when he heard a throat clearing beside him. Inwardly he cringed. Usually, Bruce knew when he would be in her presence, or had a feeling she might appear. Tonight, he had no clue she would be able to get into this invitation only ball, and so he had no chance to prepare himself before seeing her. As a result of his being caught off-guard, this group of people were able to see just how much Diana affected him.
Pasting his playboy smirk upon his face, Bruce turned back to the group. “If you will excuse me, there appears to be a guest in need of my personal attention.” The group laughed as he walked away.
Wanting to surprise the Amazon as much as she surprised him, the billionaire took the long way around, giving him a view of the back of the dress. Or where the back of the dress should have been. What he initially thought was a necklace, must have been the straps of the dress, because that same beadwork was the only thing covering her back. Although covering was definitely not what those thin straps did as they crossed once between her shoulder blades and formed a loop just below her waist. Bruce stopped in his tracks at the sight of all that perfect, alabaster skin on display where he had been expecting scarlet material. For the second time, Bruce had to collect himself at the sight Diana presented. He forced his feet forward, because, although he could not see them, he was sure the group he left was watching him very closely.
When Bruce was within earshot, he heard Diana gasp and saw her stiffen. Then an older lady beside her said, “I am quite surprised you did not know this. It is common knowledge.”
Curious as to what the woman had told Diana, he made his presence known. “I’m afraid to hear what that common knowledge is.” At his voice, Diana gasped and quickly turned to face him. He smiled at her reaction. “Hello, Princess.” Bruce noticed her trying to smile, and although her lips turned up, her eyes were sad. He wondered what the older lady told Diana.
“Bruce Wayne. Good to see you again.”
She offered her hand for a shake. Bruce took the proffered hand and brought it to his lips as he bowed to her. At the brush of his mouth over her knuckles, Diana breathed in sharply. “Believe me, the pleasure is all mine.” He raised his head and saw a blush spreading over her cheeks.
“I hear you have questions.” He turned and smiled gently to the older woman next to Diana. “And I’m almost afraid to ask what answers you have been given. Hello, Leslie.”
Leslie smirked. “The day you are afraid of an old lady is the day I retire. You know I only speak the truth when it comes to you.”
“Truth is relative.” Bruce noticed Diana looking with surprise from Leslie to himself, as if she had never seen anything like them before. “There is one truth I know.” He turned to fully face the Amazon. “I believe I owe you a dance. Maybe I can give you the answers you require on the dance floor.”
Diana smiled and gently squeezed the fingers he still held in his. Bruce led her to the middle of the floor and twirled her into his arms, taking her by surprise.
He continued to hold her hand while his other captured her around the waist. “What did she say?”
Diana moved her gaze from his chin to his eyes that were staring at her intently. “What do you mean?”
His eyes narrowed but he quickly hid his frustration by giving her a smirk. “When I interrupted, she was telling you something that you did not know. You’re smiling, but your eyes are sad. What did she tell you?”
Diana’s face instantly became sad. “Bruce ” She closed her eyes and bowed her head. He stayed quiet until she finally raised her head and looked into his eyes. “She told me about your parents.”
His brow furrowed. “I told you they were dead.”
“Yes, but not how they died. And that you witnessed their death”
His eyes widened and he quickly looked away. Diana pulled him closer, placing her head on his shoulder and running her thumb on the back of his neck just above the collar to comfort him. When he was a little more in control of his emotions, he lowered his head to rub his cheek over hers.
“I thought you knew.” Bruce blew out a breath. “I thought you would have researched Bruce Wayne after Paris.”
In order to look him in the eye, Diana raised her head, but kept him close. “I did not feel it was my place to intrude. I wanted you to trust me enough to tell me about your life.”
“Then why have you been asking about me today?”
Diana looked sheepish. “When Alfred gave me an invitation ”
“Ah,” Bruce interrupted. At her questioning look, he explained. “I wondered how you were able to gain entrance.”
She nodded her head. “He told me to seek out Leslie Thompkins. I did not know she was such a part of your life. She told me about founding the clinic, and that she was friends with your father. She told stories that naturally brought up questions about you.” Diana looked over to the older woman who was watching them dance. “She mentioned something about you hating guns, and began explaining herself when she saw I did not understand.” Blue sympathetic eyes met blue astonished ones. “Great Hera, Bruce, you were such a young boy. How did you ever survive?”
His eyes hardened at her words. After a few seconds of silence, Diana sighed because she knew he would not answer. She pulled away from him just enough to place them in the same positions as the beginning of the dance.
They continued dancing, but Bruce could not look into her eyes. Instead he focused his attention just beyond her shoulder. “So, what brings Wonder Woman to Gotham? Why did you accept the invitation?”
“To help the clinic of course.”
He chanced looking into her eyes to make a greater impact with his words. “Is that the only reason?”
As the music stopped, Diana lifted her chin and smiled. “I believe this is the end of our dance.” The princess released him. “Thank you for allowing me to come. It was good to see you again, Bruce.”
As she walked away, Bruce captured her hand in his. “Will I see you again? For dinner perhaps?” He gave her his best playboy leer.
Diana turned to him and smirked. “Perhaps.” Then she walked off the floor and into the crowd that enveloped her as soon as she was free.
He watched her walk away, and then made his way over to Leslie, who was still watching him, making sure to grab a glass from a passing waiter. “What are you and Alfred up to this time?” he questioned suspiciously.
Leslie laughed. “Excuse me? Whatever could you think I would be doing with your butler?”
His eyes narrowed as he sipped his beverage. Movement out of the corner of his eye made him realize how easily their conversation could be overheard. He set the glass down on the nearest table and pulled Leslie onto the dance floor to continue talking.
“Alfred has hinted for some time ever since Diana stayed at the manor that she could become a permanent fixture there.”
Her eyebrow rose in surprise. “And you think that Alfred and I have been meeting in secret in order to what? Get you a roommate? A wife?” Leslie laughed again. “Bruce, you are over twenty-one and your own man. Do you really believe we could make you do anything that you did not want to do?” She shook her head. “And of course we have all the free time in the world to meet.”
Sheepishly he looked away. Bruce swore, apart from herself, Alfred was the only one who could make him feel like a naughty little boy. He met her laughing eyes. “Sorry, Leslie, but paranoia is my stock in trade.”
Leslie’s mouth tightened. “No, it’s the Batman’s stock in trade. Not yours.”
Bruce sighed. “Leslie, don’t start that again.”
He looked outside at the blackness that meant night had fallen. Leslie noticed where his attention was drawn. “Are things taken care of?”
Knowing instantly what she meant, he responded, “Dick said he would come by and help Tim and Barbara with everything. After the guests have left, I will join them and get their input.” He released her. “I suppose it’s back to playing the room.”
“Don’t you mean talking to the guests?”
Bruce shrugged and smirked. “You mean that’s not the same thing?”
“Bruce.” He turned back to face Leslie at her call. “Would it really be that bad to allow her in?”
His posture became stiff and his eyes narrowed. Leslie just raised an eyebrow in question, so he turned and stomped off the dance floor.
Bruce groaned at the sunlight that suddenly fell across his face. “Alfred,” he growled.
“Good morning, master Bruce.” The butler walked over to the bed with a glass of orange juice. “You have a board meeting you need to get dressed for.”
He stretched and then took the glass, gulping the contents down in seconds. Alfred left the room to allow his charge the time and space to get ready.
Bruce quickly showered and dressed, ate his breakfast, and walked out to the car with his briefcase and newspaper in tow. He was reading through the financial section when Alfred decided to speak up.
“There is a very interesting article with accompanying pictures in the entertainment section. Page two, I believe, sir.”
The sound of paper rustling came from the backseat of the limo.
“Will Wonders Never Cease?”
“Catchy title.” Bruce commented.
“Yes, puns were always my favorite. I’m sure it took them hours to think it up.”
“The Wayne Foundation Annual Ball took place with all the usual suspects, but with an added surprise. Wonder Woman was in attendance. According to sources, even Bruce Wayne himself was apparently unaware she would attend. After renewing their acquaintance, first made in Paris, the couple took a turn out on the dance floor, where they stayed quite close. The princess seemed pleased at the end of their dance, while Mr. Wayne appeared a bit ruffled. Apparently the Wayne charm does not work on Amazons. Better luck next time, Brucie.”
Below the article was a series of pictures. The first was from their dance in Paris, when he had turned them so his chest was against her back, her arms crossed in front of her, and their eyes locked. The second picture was of them the night before. It was just after she told him she knew how his parents died. They were dancing close together, with her head on his shoulder and his cheek against hers. The third and final picture showed Diana exiting the dance floor while he watched her go.
How they were able to find that picture of them from Paris so quickly was beyond him. Then again, the papers had people constantly digging through the archives. Wonder Woman and Bruce Wayne sharing a dance made great headlines years ago, so apparently things had not changed. At least his reputation would get a large boost from the article.
He smiled fondly over the memories of that dance in Paris. Bruce always wondered how she was able to figure out the connection between himself and the Dark Knight so easily, but he never took the time to ask. Making a mental note to ask the next time he saw her, Bruce folded the paper and laid it beside him on the seat, casually taking some papers out of his briefcase.
As they approached the tower, he heard Alfred exclaim, “Oh my!”, and he looked up.
Bruce Wayne was used to garnering attention from various gossip periodicals, because of his persona, but there had never been quite so many reporters in front of Wayne Enterprises before. In fact, after taking a second glance, he saw news vans from every station in Gotham, along with a few from New York and even Metropolis.
Scanning the crowd, he could see the suit and glasses that signified Clark Kent. His eyes narrowed. “Why would the ‘Daily Planet’ be interested in the love life of Bruce Wayne?”
“If I may, sir, I believe they are more interested in the love life of Wonder Woman and why she would lower herself to spend time with such a man as Bruce Wayne.”
Bruce caught the disdain in Alfred’s tone, but ignored it. “True. But Paris did not cause this kind of an uproar.”
“Your dance was cut short because of terrorists.”
Bruce snorted in agreement, for once grateful of the fact that the reporters would not be able to get passed his security. But then he began thinking.
“Alfred, stop the car.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I am going in the front doors. Stop the car.”
Alfred sighed. “Your funeral, sir.”
He pulled perfectly in line with the front doors of the large skyscraper. Bruce grabbed his briefcase and waited until Alfred had come around to open the limo door. As soon as the reporters realized who was exiting, they swooped in and began shouting questions at Bruce.
“Have you called Wonder Woman?”
“How did you feel when you saw her again?”
“What exactly did you do in Paris?”
“Is Bruce Wayne finally off the market?”
“What’s an Amazon really like?”
“Is Wonder Woman staying at Wayne Manor?”
The questions melded together so Bruce could not understand one word that was said. He raised his voice to be heard above the din. “You are going to have to stop speaking all at once if you expect me to answer anything.”
One reporter instantly chimed in. “How did you and Wonder Woman meet?”
Bruce started walking slowly toward the doors with the mob keeping pace. “We met at a party in Paris to which we were both invited. She was the most beautiful woman in the room, so, obviously, I asked her to dance. We were interrupted when terrorists crashed the party in an attempt to kidnap then Princess Audrey, who happened to be attending the same party.”
“A source said you called her Diana. How did you get to be on first name basis with Wonder Woman?”
“During that same dance. I requested she call me Bruce, so she insisted I call her Diana.”
“Why haven’t you renewed your acquaintance before now?”
Bruce laughed. “Apparently we do not run in the same social circles, since I have not noticed her at any of the parties I have attended since that night.” There were some chuckles from the reporters at this observation. He put his hand on the door to open it.
“Will you be seeing each other again?”
“That is completely up to her. I asked Diana to dinner and she did not say yes or no.” Bruce smiled innocently and shrugged. Opening the door fully, he continued, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a business to run.”
There were still shouts coming from the reporters, but the security service he used kept them out of the building. Bruce whistled as he walked to the elevators. With that last answer he had insured Diana would be questioned the next time she made an appearance. “Especially if that appearance is in Gotham.” Bruce hoped that would keep her away from his city.
He exited the elevators and walked to his office. As he was passing, he called out a greeting to his secretary. “Morning, Sandra.”
“Good morning, Mr. Wayne.” She walked around her desk with papers in hand. “Here are your messages, and you have a visitor, who says she does not need an appointment.”
Bruce started glancing through the messages. “And just who would that be?”
He smirked at the voice behind him and allowed it to turn into one of his smiles. He should have known when he saw Clark down with the other members of the press. “Lois.” Bruce walked over and took her hand, giving her a kiss on the cheek in the process. “Now, why on earth would you decide to come into my office, today of all days?”
“To get an exclusive from my old friend Bruce Wayne about his date with Wonder Woman last night.” She grinned.
“Coffee for two, please, in my office, if you would, Sandra.” At her nod, Bruce put his arm around Lois’s waist to lead her into his office. “Don’t you mean old flame?” He felt her stiffen at the words said within hearing range of his secretary. He closed the doors behind them once they were inside and continued to lead her to his desk. He turned, sitting on the edge of his desk and took her hand.
“Bruce, I would rather you didn’t.”
“Didn’t what?” Bruce asked as he brought her hand to his lips. Just as his lips touched her knuckles, Sandra came in bearing the coffee. He lifted his head to address his secretary. “Just set that on my desk, Sandra.”
As soon as the other woman was out of the room, Lois snatched her hand away. “Wouldn’t use me to extend your reputation.” She walked away from him and sat in one of the visitor chairs. “I am married and very devoted to my husband, and you know it.”
Bruce poured the coffee and handed her a cup before pouring one for himself. “Fine. I will not use our old relationship for my playboy reputation, so long as you stop using our relationship to gain access to me.” Bruce crossed his left arm in front of his chest, rested his right elbow on his left hand in order to drink his coffee and crossed his feet while leaning against the desk.
“Fine.” Lois sat the cup on a table beside her and took out a pad and pen from her purse. “Now, Bruce, why don’t you tell me about your date last night with Wonder Woman.”
“It was not a date. We happened to meet up last night at the ball. But you’re not the gossip columnist at the Daily Planet. Which begs the question, why are you really here, Lois?”
“I may not be the gossip columnist, but Perry likes to exploit relationships. When he remembered that we had dated, he sent me here.”
Bruce raised his eyebrow. “And exactly how did he remember?”
Lois looked contrite. “Clark might have mentioned ”
“Your husband, who you are so devoted to, mentioned something to your boss that would send you to a former lover?” He interrupted setting his cup on his desk. “I repeat, what do you want?”
“I don’t want ”
“Fine. What does the Boy Scout want?”
“Clark is just worried about his two best friends. He wants to know why you went on a date in a very public place.”
Bruce growled and shoved himself off his desk to walk around it and face the windows. “It was NOT a date!” He sighed, put his right hand on his hip, and rubbed his eyes in frustration with the fingers of his left hand. “I don’t know why she was there.” He said softly putting his hand over his mouth.
“You didn’t invite?” Her comment trailed off at the negative shake of his head. “But it was your ball.”
He turned to sit in his chair and face her. “This is off the record.” He waited until she nodded in agreement. “Apparently Alfred gave her an invitation.”
Lois began laughing, bringing a scowl to the handsome features of the man in front of her. “Is he trying to set you up?”
His mouth hardened into a thin line. “Probably,” he growled.
The intercom crackled to life. “Mr. Wayne.”
“What is it, Sandra?” Lois frowned at the higher pitched tenor he adopted as Bruce Wayne.
“The board meeting is starting.”
“Thank you.” He replied as he stood. “Sorry to cut this short, but business is business, Lois. Sandra will show you out.” Bruce turned at the doors. “Tell your husband not to worry. I’m not pursuing Diana.”
“He’s not worried about you.” She said to his retreating back. As the doors closed, she whispered, “But I have to wonder if Diana isn’t pursuing you?”
Diana alit on a street a few blocks from her destination that evening, smiling as she fingered the invitation in her hand. Alfred’s insight had been invaluable. One appearance and a scene with Bruce was all that was needed to flood her with invitations to various parties and balls throughout Gotham.
She had no plans to attend every party held by the Gotham elite, as that would be too much for Bruce to handle. Luckily for Diana, not a month went by where someone would throw a party for some charity or another. There appeared to be no end to the help Gotham needed.
Tonight they were raising money for the animal shelters. Not her usual thing, but she wanted her appearances in Gotham to be frequent enough for Bruce to notice. Diana knew that every time someone from the League entered his city, he would know.
She rounded the corner and came in view of the front doors, where she got the shock of her life.
“Great Hera.” She whispered.
There were reporters gathered around the entrance. Enough reporters that her first impression told her it was of a press conference, but Diana was wrong.
As soon as someone noticed her, the entire group relocated and surrounded her, shouting questions at her. It reminded her of Paris, and how Bruce had to save her. This time, however, she knew she needed to show him that she could handle this.
That she could handle him.
After all, she was an Amazon.
So, she quietly stood there and tried to take in all the questions. She then put up her hand and the group went silent.
“Ok, hopefully I will be able to answer everything you have asked. Bruce and I met in Paris, where we attended the same party. We became acquainted after he asked me to dance, which was cut short when I had to stop terrorists from kidnapping Audrey. A friend gave me the invitation to the ball I attended last month. Yes, I had a wonderful time. It was very nice to see Bruce again.”
“Wayne was the person who sponsored the ball. You must have known you would run into him there.”
“By Athena, I did not read the invitation at all. My friend told me where and when the ball would take place, and that it was for a very good cause. Now that I have had the opportunity to research the clinic, I can see how much good they do for the city of Gotham. Speaking of doing good, I should go now and lend my assistance to the animals.”
Waving, she turned and walked to the building where the party had already started. Before she could reach the doors, Diana heard someone speak up.
“Why won’t you go out with Bruce Wayne?”
She paused and turned to respond. “I never said I would not go out with Bruce. We have only shared two dances, and I have read about his reputation. I have difficulty believing everything I read about him, but I plan to be cautious, like Batman who patrols this city, has taught me. Only Apollo knows if a shared dinner is in our future.”
Satisfied with her answer and that there were no more questions forthcoming, Diana again turned and entered the building.
They were in Java, Indonesia trying to divert the lava flow from the Merapi volcano and keep it from destroying the nearby city of Yogyakarta, not to mention the smaller villages that were located alongside Merapi. Since Java was not a very wide island, they were attempting to find a short route to the ocean that did not go through the villages. Most of the people had been moved away from the volcano, but there were still a few stubborn people who refused to leave their homes. Batman kept a mental note of where those people were in case the lava did not cooperate with the direction in which the League tried to corral the molten rock.
Ice was doing a fairly passable job of hardening the hot material into a bridge of sorts that would allow the lava to travel over the villages and not through them. Other Leaguers were positioned at different points beside the bridge to ensure the lava did not boil over the sides or melt the frozen bridge and seep through. Batman supervised, calling Ice to different places where problems arose. Not a perfect solution, but better than allowing the villages to burn.
As he viewed the bridge from the cone to the sea, he allowed his eyes to linger on Wonder Woman and the enigma that she was. It was the first time Batman saw Diana after her latest journey into his city. He knew he would have to reprimand her in public in order to keep up appearances.
No one was allowed in his city. Everyone in the League knew that.
Once all the villages were safe, and the lava was flowing harmlessly into the ocean, Batman walked up to Diana, who was watching the progress of the hot substance.
“I need to talk to you,” he said in his best Batman growl.
She turned her head slightly toward him and then put her attention back on the fiery goo. “What about?”
Batman stood silent until she turned fully to face him. He noticed her eyebrows raised in question. Luckily, Ice was within earshot, which is just what he had been waiting on. “You need to stay out of my city.”
Diana rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation. “Hera! I have done nothing in your city except help out a few charities.”
“A meta seen in my city will allow the criminals to believe I cannot handle them without help.” Batman could see Ice’s eyes widen at the sight of the two of them arguing. Apparently, she decided to watch the lava in a different area. Far away from the two founders. This did not bother him for he had achieved his objective.
“I am not even allowed inside your city to enjoy myself?”
Batman’s eyes narrowed. “I thought you were helping charities, not partying.”
“I happened to be having a little fun dancing while helping out the charities. It is possible to do both. You should try it sometime.”
His answer was a glare that would have left any other Leaguer shaking in their boots, Superman included.
Diana was not affected in that way. Instead, she seemed more annoyed than anything else. She sighed and shook her head. “I promise to leave the crime fighting in Gotham to you, unless asked, all right?”
“As long as you understand, Princess, you are not welcome there.”
As he turned to walk away, Diana spoke up. “Bruce Wayne appears to want me there. In fact, he asked me on a date.”
Batman stopped, but did not turn around. “Bruce Wayne is a fool who has too much money and doesn’t know what he wants.”
Diana walked up to Batman and then around him as she replied to his statement. “He has been a gentleman to me both of the times I have seen him. And he seems to enjoy my company. So until Bruce decides what he really wants, be prepared to see me in Gotham again.”
Bruce Wayne allowed his eyes to roam around the room, looking at the large number of people attending the gala to raise money for the city’s orphanages. A very worthy cause indeed, but not why the Gotham elite were there, along with anyone who could finagle an invitation.
Wonder Woman had been appearing at most of the charitable events in Gotham and everyone wanted to be able to say they had met or conversed with her. Diana was the most fashionable thing to be talking about these days.
It was easy to tell the moment she entered the room by the way the crowd shifted, almost as if she was the sun and everyone was pulled in to orbit around her. Diana certainly brought a kind of lightness wherever she went. The analogy was very apt with the dress she was wearing tonight. The gown was strapless with sparking beads over her bust, but it was the color that made her shine. The dress appeared to be pink, but as she moved, a fiery orange seemed to ripple across her body.
Bruce turned his attention back to his date and the conversation their group was having. Tonight, he was escorting Toni, a relatively new model to the fashion scene in New York. He had sent his plane to pick her up, and, although she was not aware of it yet, that same jet was standing by to fly her back home after they left.
Of course, as soon as the princess arrived, their conversation turned from New York and modeling to Diana. The others in the group were retelling stories about the times they had met and talked to Wonder Woman. Every person had ended up being impressed by the kindness and honesty with which Diana treated each of them. Bruce stayed silent, trying to look attentive. Hoping no one would notice his absence from the conversation.
“Bruce,” one of the ladies, Jennifer, spoke up. “You met Wonder Woman a couple of times, right?”
Internally he cringed. Curses. Foiled again! “Yes, I did. Once in Paris and once in Gotham. Both times we danced more than talked.” He continued in a suggestive voice. “And who could blame me. Any opportunity to get near a body like that, I’d take.” He winked at the lady, and felt Toni stiffen beside him.
Jennifer spoke up again. “I read that you asked her out.
“Yes I did.” He confirmed quickly hoping someone would take their turn telling their story about the Amazon.
“But no dinner?”
Did that woman ever give up? “Alas, Diana did not give me an answer. Poor me. Forced to escort this gorgeous creature instead.” Bruce picked up Toni’s hand as he spoke and placed a kiss on the back of it. The group laughed at his obvious joke, and Toni colored at his kiss. “Now, if you will excuse me. My date has an empty glass, and that simply will not do.”
He left the laughing group to stroll across the room to the bar. Bruce was almost there, when he saw an opportunity he could not pass up. Diana was attempting to end a conversation with a person by walking backward away from him. Bruce placed himself directly behind her, standing completely still with his hands in his pockets, and allowed Diana to run right into him.
Diana started apologizing as she turned around to face him. “Oh, Hera, I am so sorry. I-Bruce!”
“Diana.” He grinned. “Now is that any way to greet a friend?”
“Sorry, but you surprised me.” Her smile turned into a sly grin. “A proper greeting?”
“Well, there is this greeting I learned from the French.”
“French?” Bruce questioned while thoughts of kissing her flew through his head at the word.
Diana took a step forward and put her hand on his chest while she leaned into him. Bruce could feel his heart rate become faster and he had to suppress the urge to swallow. She continued to slowly lean in, their noses almost touching, with her mouth slightly parted. Bruce tried to keep completely still, but her actions were challenging his self-control. Just as their lips were about to touch, she skimmed past to place a kiss on his right cheek and then moved her head to the opposite side to kiss his left cheek.
Involuntarily, Bruce had closed his eyes and had to fight not to quickly and audibly release the breath he had been holding.
Diana took a step back. “Better?”
Bruce opened his eyes and cleared his throat. “Yes. Much better.”
“If you enjoyed that so much, I could greet you that way every time I see you.” Diana winked.
“No! Umm, that’s alright.”
She grinned and he realized that he let slip just how much she could affect the Batman.
Taking a breath to calm himself, he took her hand in his right and swept his left toward the floor. “Care to dance?”
Returning his smile, she answered, “Absolutely.”
Bruce spun her onto the dance floor. Once in the middle, he stopped spinning and began moving slowly.
“Speaking of France, I am still very curious to know how you figured out my secret.”
Diana laughed. “Do you always think back on that time whenever you dance?”
Bruce chuckled in disbelief. “If I thought about you every time I danced, you would always be on my mind.”
“Am I not? I thought you were trying to get me to agree to a date, Bruce. This is not a good way to have me say yes.”
Bruce shook his head at her as they waltzed their way around the dance floor. “You are trying to distract me from your answer. How did you know?”
“How could I not know? Bruce, I saw you twice that evening. Once at the party, and once in my bedroom. Bruce Wayne and Batman. Two men from Gotham who just happened to be in Paris the same evening? By Athena, do you think I am that oblivious? Same height. Same build.” Diana ran her fingers over his shoulder and up his neck, and then trailed her fingers from just below his ear to his chin. “Same jawline. I may not have noticed had you not asked me to dance.” She shrugged. “It was not the first time I was close to you, Bruce.”
“I was not the one who decided to get close today.”
“What do you mean?” She asked, confused.
“You ran into Me.”
Diana’s lips twitched as she tried to hold in her laughter. “You did that on purpose.”
An innocent expression fell over his face. “Did what on purpose?”
Laughing, she shook her head at his audacity to believe she would not know. “You made sure I ran into you.”
Bruce dropped his jaw open in fake surprise and outrage. “I did not.”
Diana raised her eyebrows and just looked at him until he finally gave in.
He shrugged. “Alright I did.” Bruce spun her out of his grasp and returned her to his arms. “Does that change your opinion of me?”
“Which opinion is that?”
“You still believe I am a gentleman?”
“I know you are a gentleman, Bruce.”
“Really.” He drawled.
Wanting to affect her as much as she affected him earlier, Bruce pulled her against him, lowered his voice to a tone he knew most women thought of as sexy, and spoke slowly into her ear. “What would you say to me if I told you as soon as I saw you tonight I wanted to push you against a wall, pull your dress up to your waist, and take you in front of everyone until you were screaming my name?”
He could literally feel her breathing quicken with every word he spoke as her breath flowed against his neck and her chest pushed against his with every breath. “I would ask,” she said just as softly, “what was stopping you.”
Bruce stepped back in shock, but continued dancing, wondering if he had heard Diana correctly. From the sly smile that was currently on her face, he knew he had. Suddenly, the vision he had created on the spot to shock her was playing through his head, causing his eyes to darken and his heart rate to increase with his arousal.
It took a minute for the couple to realize the music had stopped, and that the band was preparing to begin another number. Diana took a step back to distance herself further.
“Thank you again, Bruce, for a lovely dance.”
The scene played out the same as their previous dance. She began to pull away, but he held onto her hand. Bruce Wayne knew the role he had to play.
“Going to say no to dinner again, Princess?”
“I did not say no the last time. I will think about it.” She smiled as she pulled her hand more forcefully, and it slipped out of Bruce’s grasp.
“Breakfast, then.” He said loud enough for those around them to clearly hear.
He grinned at her, unknowingly communicating his assured triumph through the smirk on his face. Diana smiled seductively back at him. “It takes more than three dances and one kiss to have earned that privilege, Mr. Wayne.” With that parting shot, she walked off the floor and away from him.
Bruce watched her as she melted into the crowd and then turned away from her departing back, only to run straight into his date for the evening. A date who looked more than a little furious.
He grinned at her. “Sorry, I got a little tied up. Ready for that drink?”
He did not see the slap coming at all. Apparently, she followed the fashion trend of kickboxing, because she packed one hell of a punch. His head whipped around to look at her in shock.
“I believe we’re done for the night.” She walked away from him as well.
Once again, Bruce stood in place while watching a woman walk away from him. Hand against his jaw, he moved it side to side trying to get the tingling to abate. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the looks and whispers of those around him.
Making up his mind, Bruce slid his hands into his pockets and began walking toward the door. There was a sudden rise in the discussion around him. He turned his head to face the disturbance and noticed the yellow of the Batsignal shining in the sky. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Diana notice the light and then move slightly away from the people around her while closing her eyes.
Bruce kept his eyes on her in order to figure out what she was doing. His eyes widened in shock as he was able to read her lips. She was praying to her Gods and Goddesses to protect him. He was about to go to her, when he remembered the signal.
Although he had not planned things to end up that way, Bruce headed quickly for the exit. Two beautiful women walking away from him, one after delivering a slap that would sting for a while, should allow Mr. Wayne to retire for the evening.
While on patrol, Batman mused over Diana. He admired how easily she was able to navigate the world of the rich and famous. “She is a princess.” For some reason he knew being a princess on an island of women was far different from being a princess in a patriarch’s world.
“What IS she up to?” was the thought that stayed with him into the morning.
Batman was in trouble. He knew he was in trouble, so he took it out on everyone around him.
And it was all because of her.
He spent most of the patrol the evening before wondering why she was taking such an interest in Gotham. At first, Batman thought she was pursuing him. There was even that comment made in Indonesia about appearing in Gotham until he knew what he wanted. But she had not tried to corner him as Batman or Bruce Wayne. He was always the one to ask her to dance. He confronted her in the Watchtower, or on missions.
She did her job on missions, and clearly enjoyed herself at the functions in Gotham. Just as she had promised him, she did not begin fighting crime in his city. She always left things to him, exactly as she said she would. Last night was the perfect opportunity for Diana to offer her services, but instead she prayed to her deities.
She was not even the one who flirted with him first.
His last attempt to shock her backfired, leaving him struggling with the implications. That scenario was still running through his head as he lay in bed trying to get in a few hours of sleep, making him frustrated and short on sleep when he teleported to the Watchtower for the morning meeting.
Batman stormed through the passageways on his way to the founders meeting, glaring at everyone who dared to cross his path.
The problem was not that she left him frustrated last night, and quite a few nights since, but that she had slowly been invading his thoughts in every aspect of his life. He would find himself thinking about her during patrol while on surveillance, and during board meetings when some of the members would drone on and on. Once he had been caught daydreaming, leaving the rest of the board members with smug looks upon their faces as they correctly guessed what had him distracted.
Batman walked into the empty meeting room, the first one as usual, and sat down in his designated chair. He pulled out some papers hidden in his cape describing a string of robberies. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for them, but he knew they were connected somehow.
The doors whooshed open and then closed. From the sound of the heels clicking on the decking, Batman instantly knew who it was: Diana, the very person who had been on his mind all night. He kept his eyes on the papers, but his concentration shifted to the woman who just entered.
At his given name, he looked up to glare at her, showing his discomfort at being addressed as anything other than Batman on the Watchtower.
Diana acted as if this did not faze her, and took her usual seat beside the Dark Knight. She placed a mug of coffee in front of him, and took a sip of the mocha she held in her hand.
“What is this?”
“It is called coffee, Batman. Black. Just as you like it. I ran into a few people on my way to the room, and they seemed a little shaken after meeting you in the halls.” Diana shrugged. “I figured you had a long night, and would appreciate some caffeine.”
Batman snorted and turned his eyes back to his papers, but picked up the mug for a drink. The aroma alone woke him a little. As he felt the heated liquid ambrosia travel down his throat, he could feel himself becoming completely alert. He cleared his throat.
“You’re welcome.” Diana said in response.
He lowered his head to continue studying the case file, but could still feel her eyes upon him. The back of his neck began to tingle with the knowledge that her eyes were not going to leave his face. Slowly Batman raised his head to meet those piercing blue orbs.
“Something you need, Princess?”
Diana put her cup on the table in front of her. “I was wondering ”
At that moment, the doors opened and Superman entered the room. “Hello Diana. Batman.”
She smiled at the man of steel. “Hello Kal. How have you been?”
Batman tuned out their small talk in order to center himself. At her greeting, he felt an irrational stab of jealousy pierce his heart. It was, after all, Clark’s real name, but for some reason, Diana addressing him as such always rubbed him the wrong way. Irrational, he knew. Superman was deeply involved with a woman on planet. Although a relationship never ruled out infidelity, Clark still seemed smitten by the woman, which was a pretty sure indicator that he would not be looking for more elsewhere. Besides, Diana would never treat a fellow woman so harshly.
“Where have you been going?”
Lost in his own thoughts, Bruce did not hear the interaction that led to Superman’s question. Keeping his eyes on his papers, he turned his attention to their conversation.
“It came to my attention that there was a place trying to give people a chance at a better life in a very rough neighborhood. A beacon of light in the darkness. The problem being, of course, because this place is located in the depths of Hades, they are unable to find good help.”
“So you’re volunteering?” This question came from the doorway where Green Lantern was entering the room with J’onn following close behind. “Is that where you’ve been disappearing lately?”
“Yes.” Diana smiled. “I did not realize my absences had been that noticeable. The work is not the most glamorous, but it is needed. I am not qualified to do most of the work there.”
“Sounds like a hospital.” A slow smirk developed on John’s face. “So, you’re a candy striper.”
John and Clark laughed, while Diana looked lost. Batman was cursing his imagination, as it was now picturing her in the distinctive red and white uniform.
“It is actually a clinic, and Leslie has never given me candy to stripe.”
Her comment made the two men laugh harder, but caused Batman to whip his head up to look at the Amazon. With all the time she had spent in Gotham, “Leslie” and “clinic” could only mean one place. Before he could open his mouth to ask where exactly this clinic was located, the Flash entered the room, and Superman started the meeting.
Diana was in trouble, and there was no one around to help.
Five minutes ago, a woman with blood on her clothing stumbled into the clinic clutching her baby against her chest. She was softly chanting, “Help me. Help me, please” over and over again. The receptionist quickly ran over to her just in time to catch the baby as the mother fainted to the floor.
After that there was a flurry of activity as the receptionist’s yells for help were answered. The mother was whisked off to an operating room, while Diana was pulled by Leslie into a room with the sleeping baby. Protesting that she did not know how to care for a child, Leslie gave Diana a list of five things to do to help take care of the child, and left to help the mother.
Two minutes later, Diana heard a soft sound coming from the crib the baby was placed in. The baby was moving slightly while soft whimpers came out of her mouth. Then the movement turned into squirming and the whimpers became louder. The next thing Diana knew, the child was wide awake and crying.
Diana rubbed her hand up and down the baby’s spine. “Shhh, little one. Everything will be fine. It’s okay.” Unfortunately, the actions which were supposed to be calming did nothing to settle the child.
She took a deep breath. “Alright, what did Leslie tell me First, sometimes all a child wants is to be held. Okay.” Diana reached into the crib and pulled the child into her arms. Although the child calmed slightly, she was still crying and squirming.
“Not helping. Food was next.” Diana looked around the room and saw a bag full of stuff. Holding the baby against her with one arm, she used her other hand to rummage through the bag until she found a bottle of milk. She settled the child in the crook of her arm and put the bottle up to the baby’s mouth, like she had observed countless people do on Earth. The baby kept crying and pushing the bottle away.
“Not hungry. Alright, burping.” Once again going with what she had observed, she lay the baby against herself with the head facing over her shoulder, and began patting the baby on her back. All Diana’s efforts did was cause the baby to wail louder.
Diana was beginning to become desperate when she noticed the vile odor that appeared to be coming from the baby. “Gaia, what could that be?”
Just as she began to think back on the last thing Leslie told her to try, she heard a voice behind her. “Diana. What are you doing here?”
She turned quickly around. “Praise Hera! Bruce, I need your help. I do not know what to do.”
Bruce took a whiff of the room as he closed the door. “From the smell, I would say she needs her diaper changed.”
Diana smiled. “Yes. I remember now. That was the last thing on the list Leslie gave me to try.” She walked over to the diaper bag and pulled out a new diaper. Then she walked over to the counter and laid the baby down while she examined the diaper. After noticing the fastenings, she took the messy, odorous diaper off the baby, and was in the middle of figuring out how to put the new one on, when Bruce spoke again.
She frowned at the strange tenor of his voice. “Yes?” she asked as she turned to face him, and saw a sight she had never seen before.
Bruce was smiling, a real smile, not one of those he gave in public. It transformed his entire face and even put a twinkle in his eyes.
As he continued speaking, she understood why his voice sounded strange. Bruce was trying to hold in his laughter, and it was causing his voice to waver slightly. “Have you ever changed a diaper on a child before?”
“No. Is it that obvious?”
“It’s okay.” Bruce took off his jacket and hung it up and then began rolling up his sleeves. “Allow me.” He walked over to the diaper bag and began taking a couple of things out of the pockets.
Diana watched him, curious as to what he was pulling out of the bag. “Bruce, I couldn’t ”
He walked over to the woman and the child and put the additional items on the counter. “I will change the baby, if you answer one question.”
She moved away from the baby. “What is your question?”
“What are you doing here?”
The Amazon watched as he deftly began cleaning and changing the baby while she gave her answer. “Remember how you found Leslie and I talking at your ball?” At his nod, she continued. “Well, before she told me about your parents, we were actually discussing this Clinic she runs, and how they were always looking for more people to help. I decided that I wanted to help such a strong woman continue to do good for this community. I offered to come and help out once a week. I believe Leslie thought I was joking, but I have never missed a week.” Bruce waded up the used wipes in the old diaper, threw it away, and picked up the cleaned and redressed child. Snuggling into his neck, the baby was soon asleep. “You are a man blessed with many talents.”
Bruce cleared his throat softly. “Practice. And you didn’t understand my question.” Diana frowned in confusion. “What are you doing volunteering, coming to balls and galas, and continuing to venture into my city?”
“Helping. Just like I have ”
“You could help anywhere.” He interrupted. “Why Are You Here.” He emphasized each word strongly, but kept his voice gentle enough to keep the sleeping baby from waking.
Their eyes were locked, blue on blue. Diana was not sure what to do. She did not want him to completely understand her motives, but there was no way she would lie to him. Pursing her lips, she finally gave in. “Waiting.”
She saw the surprise flash in his eyes before his face became impassive. “For?”
Diana closed her eyes and swallowed.
“Princess?” The gentle tone of his voice surprised her into meeting his eyes. He had moved closer to her without her hearing his shoes on the tile floor.
At his comforting look, she just said, “You.” The surprise that took over his face was not fleeting this time, but instead of morphing into impassivity, his eyes narrowed and he clearly was suspicious. Sighing, she continued. “I have never hidden the fact that I am interested in an intimate relationship with you.” She held a hand out to Bruce as if reaching for his understanding. “I wanted ”
A knock on the door stopped her explanation. The door opened slightly and Leslie peeked inside. “Diana. How is the baby?”
Diana attempted to compose herself before answering, but she could see the older woman quickly take in the situation, and the shock when she saw who shared the room with Diana.
“Bruce. What are you doing here?”
“Looking for answers.” He said, keeping his eyes on Diana, but then turned to Leslie. “And helping someone who was a little out of her depth.” He walked over and handed the baby to Leslie.
“Bruce ” There was a clear warning in the way she said his name. Bruce whispered something to Leslie while gently pushing her out the door. Once it was firmly shut, he turned back to Diana and crossed his arms in front of himself. “You were saying?”
Diana swallowed and continued. “I wanted to know if this attraction we both feel could last. To see if there is something more between us than just being good friends. I want you, Bruce, to give us a chance. Not Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy who could buy anything he wants. Not Batman, the crime fighter who will not accept nor ask for meta help. And before you remind me those are part of who you are,” she said over the top of any objections he might have made, “I know and understand that, and I have been able to maintain a relationship with Bruce Wayne and Batman. However, friendship is not all I seek. What if there is more to you and I? What if Aphrodite has blessed our pairing or what if she does not think we match? I cannot know the will of the Gods, but I would like to find out. All I ask is that you try.”
Their eyes locked. Hers pleading. His slightly softer, but still suspicious. They stayed that way for a full minute, before Bruce turned, lifted his jacket off the hook, and left the room, shutting the door lightly behind him.
Diana walked out of the shower, a towel wrapped around her form. As she began to get ready for the auction that would be starting in an hour, she allowed her thoughts to wander back four days prior.
She stood in the room at the clinic in shock. Expecting anger or what he believed were logical reasons for keeping them apart, his leaving the room without a word had her reeling.
Eyes narrowing after standing there for a couple of seconds, anger had her throwing open the door only to find the hallway completely deserted. Diana felt the rage beginning to build within her, but she was able to stop herself before she did any damage to the clinic, which was always short on money and resources. Instead, she transported to the Watchtower, and instantly took over one of the training rooms.
Diana took a deep breath as she brushed her hair. If she was not careful, she would have to return to the training room and then she would be late for the gala. After four days of spending every free moment in the training rooms, she finally felt she was ready to face Bruce Wayne again, without wanting to pummel him.
She slipped her dress on, strapped on her shoes, and straightened up looking into the mirror in front of her. Blue eyes meeting blue eyes helped to strengthen her resolve. Lifting her chin, she stepped out into the hallway to make her way to the transporter room. As she entered the room and waited for the machine to start, all she thought about was how much help and money would be given with her presence and participation in the auction. Then her surroundings changed.
And Diana, once again, set foot in Gotham.
Like the times before, she teleported as close to the hotel as possible and walked to the doors. She smiled and waved at a few of the reporters who laid in wait outside the doors, but did not answer any of the questions that were shouted at her as she passed.
Handing her invitation to the doorman, Diana walked into the large ballroom, and was instantly surrounded. She had become used to this treatment, and was now adept at acknowledging each person around her and making her way around the ballroom. Tonight, she did not have to go far before she was pulled away from the crowd.
“There you are, darling.” Her arm was wrapped within another which began slightly pulling her away from the group. “Sorry, but I simply must steal her away for a bit.”
“Hello, Noelle. Is there a problem?” Diana asked as they walked away.
“No problem. Not at all. I just wanted to let you know the details, honey.” Noelle brought them to a stop and ran her eyes over Diana. “And let me tell you, that dress is perfect and will bring in lots of money for the shelters.”
Diana looked down at the silver Grecian style dress she was wearing. The wide straps were lined with rhinestones where they met the bust with those same stones forming a wide belt around her waist. The skirt gently flowed from her waist to the floor allowing small glimpses of her feet and the silver stiletto sandals that she wore.
“Which is why the auction will end with the bidding for a dinner with you. People will be willing to bid the most, so we save the best for last, darling. I will call you up to the stage when it is time. You will be following season tickets to the Vauxhall Opera, so be close to the stage when the bidding for those begins. For right now, mingle and have fun.” Noelle patted the Amazon on the arm before releasing her and calling to someone else. “Julia!”
Diana was very confused. The dinner was over, the auction was almost complete, and yet she had not seen Bruce Wayne at all. She presumed that he would avoid her, especially after what happened in the clinic. But not seeing him at all at a major gala in Gotham made her begin to worry. She made a promise to herself to call Alfred to make sure Bruce was fine and just out on patrol, instead of schmoozing with the rich and famous.
Almost before she was ready, she was waved and called up to the stage by Noelle. Diana had been worried that she would have to say something as an introduction, but Noelle waved her back, told her to stand in the background, and allow her to handle everything.
So Diana stood to the side of Noelle, while the other woman gave an introduction. She took the opportunity to scan the crowd to see any familiar faces in attendence. Finally, at the back of the room, leaning against a pillar with his hands in his pockets, she espied Bruce, acting the casual billionaire. Diana gave a sigh of relief, but made sure to keep it unnoticed by the crowd.
But apparently not unnoticed by Bruce, he gave a small nod to her in recognition.
Now that Diana knew he was fine, the anger at his reaction a couple of days ago took over, and her eyes hardened into ice, giving her an unconscious regal air.
An air which was instantly broken when Noelle announced the opening bid for her company; ten thousand dollars.
Diana believed that Noelle was clearly beginning too high, but apparently the rest of the crowd disagreed. The bidding was rapidly climbing by the second while Diana stood there in shock. The numbers were continuing to escalate when a strong voice from the back called out, “Fifty Thousand!”
The crowd gasped and as one, they turned to face the voice that had spoken. Although Diana did not need to look for him, she none the less stood on the stage gaping at the man who spoke up; Bruce Wayne.
Noelle, clearly used to dealing with disruptions, brought the attention of the bidders back to Diana and began asking if anyone wanted to give fifty-five. Once again, the amount quickly climbed; sixty, sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five; only to be stopped again by that same strong, smooth voice.
“Five Hundred Thousand Dollars!”
At the first interruption, Diana was shocked. The second interruption made her boil with rage. How dare that insolent man! Going against my express wishes to buy me!
However, the sheer amount of money Bruce was offering, caused even Noelle to falter. After a moment of silence, Noelle cleared her throat and asked if there were higher bids. With none forthcoming, she declared Bruce the winner.
Diana could see him making his way through the crowd toward the stage. Knowing her anger was too close to the surface, she slipped off the back of the stage and into the hallway in an attempt to calm herself.
After a few minutes, Diana reentered the ballroom and accepted an offer to dance from the first person she saw. She tried to pay attention to her dancing partner, but Bruce’s extravagance was still bothering her. She was attempting to respond to something her partner said, when just beyond his shoulder, she noticed Bruce making his way onto the dance floor alone. Before she could glean what he was doing, her dance partner turned her causing her to lose sight of Bruce. After about a minute, her partner gave a slight start. They both turned to find Bruce standing beside them.
“May I cut in?” The gentlemen, clearly a little flustered at having Bruce Wayne speak to him, quickly gave way, and she found herself once again dancing in Bruce’s arms.
The nearness of Bruce distracted her, but with the thought of the bidding still fresh in her mind, Diana quickly countered. “If you keep spending money like that, Bruce, you will have to give up being known as a billionaire.”
He blinked, but the heat behind her tone did not seem to faze him from his goal. “It’s good to see you again. I’ve been doing some thinking ever since the other night ”
“Oh, is that what you have been doing?” Diana interrupted harshly. “Thinking? You could not have been bothered to mention that before you walked out on me at the clinic?”
Bruce raised an eyebrow in question. “Walked out on you? You were finished talking.”
“You gave me no answer.”
“You didn’t ask a question.”
“So you decided it would be better just to leave?”
Bruce’s eyes narrowed. “Since when have I ever had to defend my actions to you?”
“Since you left me alone in that room.”
“This is getting us nowhere.”
“You are the one who brought up the subject.”
“Yes, but ” He snapped back, but stopped himself. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath just as the music ended.
Diana started to pull away, but Bruce hung on tightly.
“Bruce, the music is over. Our dance is done.”
“Just one more song. We’re not done here.”
Diana opened her mouth to refuse, but before she said a word, Bruce uttered something that froze her in her tracks.
“All right,” she answered, as she put her hands back into the dancing position, and Bruce gave a nod. The action confused her, but she dismissed it as the introduction to the song began. She expected him to talk as soon as she agreed, but Bruce said nothing. Diana continued to dance, wondering what he hoped to accomplish, when she recognized the melody of the song.
She gasped and her eyes widened. “Bruce?” She questioned as her eyes searched his trying to find an answer.
He met her eyes as he finally began speaking. “I had a conversation with the conductor, and luckily ‘Am I Blue’ was part of their repertoire. As much of an impact that it would have had, there was no way I was singing that in public again.”
Still confused, the Amazon tried to ask for the meaning behind his actions. “Bruce, why ”
He interrupted. “Now, the billionaire was able to buy a dinner with you, which will have to be public to satisfy the press and the people of Gotham.” Moving his hand from her waist up to her neck, Bruce continued. “What I am offering is a private meal, just the two of us, with food made by the best chef in all of Gotham.” He brushed his knuckles lightly along her jaw. “Would that satisfy ” His words stopped when Diana placed her fingers over his mouth. His eyes searched her face as they continued dancing. At her continued silence, Bruce became worried. “Diana?”
She closed her eyes, bowed her head slightly, and took a couple of deep breaths in order to get her emotions under control. Diana then lifted her head, pulled Bruce closer to herself, and, cheek to cheek, whispered into his ear a single word. “Yes.”
As soon as the word left her lips, she felt his muscles relax slightly and he pulled her closer for a short hug.
Bruce smiled and chuckled as they settled back into dancing. “Patience, Princess. We’ll need to take this slowly.” Diana slid her fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck, massaging lightly. His eyes slid closed as he groaned involuntarily. “That’s not helping.”
“Would this be better?” She used the fingers at the back of his neck to pull him in for a heated kiss.
He pulled away, after allowing her to end the kiss. “That just makes me want to drag you out of here.”
Her eyes smoldered. “So, let’s go.”
Sighing, he said, “We can’t just walk out of here together.”
“Because you are dancing with Bruce Wayne, the playboy. I’m trying to preserve your reputation, Diana.”
“Since when does reputation matter to me, Bruce?”
“Since every woman in the world looks to you as a role model.” He raised his eyebrows for emphasis. “You can’t just leave a party with a man who is thought to treat women as if they are playthings.”
“A good point, but not the real reason. Gotham is calling, and you need to go on patrol.”
Bruce smirked. “Tim is handling things, but I do need to join him.”
“Well, lucky for you, the music is over.” She observed as their song ended. Now that she had gotten her wish, she became worried, and her eyes showed that emotion. “I would tell you to be careful tonight, but that would not be proper. Instead, I pray your mind is sharper and your reflexes are quicker than your adversaries.” Diana smiled and continued in a louder voice. “I look forward to our next meeting, Bruce Wayne.”
“As do I, Princess.” He brought her hand up and bent his head to kiss it. “As do I.”
Gotham Globe, Society Page, The Prince and the Princess: Bruce Wayne, the Prince of Gotham, and Diana, Princess of Themyscira, are the newest power couple in Gotham. After a few non-committals given by the Princess, Wayne took matters into his own hands by winning a date with Diana at the Woman’s Shelter Annual Auction last night. Although the Princess disappeared before Bruce arrived at the stage, Diana seemed plenty happy at the outcome when she gave him her own congratulations in the form of a kiss, while they danced. They parted ways with another kiss on her hand and a smile on both of their faces. The real question to ask is where will Bruce be taking his Princess? Will it be one of Gotham’s exclusive restaurants, or will he choose to show off his home instead? I am sure Bruce would be more than willing to give her an extensive tour of the rooms. All of the rooms.
Shayera and John
Shayera grinned as she read the end of the article while walking to the bed. She was very glad she had trusted her instincts about getting the Gotham City newspaper when she heard Diana was going there again. She reread the part about the public kiss Diana bestowed on Bruce. “Atta girl.”
At the sound of her voice, the lump in her bed rolled over and John’s face appeared from beneath the sheet. Groggily, he asked, “What’s going on? Where did you go?”
She sat beside him on the bed. “I had to check up on a couple people.” Shayera folded the paper and showed the article to John as he lifted himself up on one arm. “Looks like a certain Amazon we know will be getting a personal tour of a certain cave.”
John lifted an eyebrow in interest, then turned his attention to the paper in front of him, skimming the article. As he read, he began to smile and then chuckled. “Valued friend my ass.”
Shayera ripped the paper out of his hand. “What are you talking about, soldier?”
“Oh, just something he said on the Watchtower one day. About how he and Diana were friends.”
She leaned closer. “Aren’t we friends?”
“No.” At his response, she backed away and narrowed her eyes. John lifted his hand to slide it along her cheek and into her hair. “We’re partners.”
Smiling, she leaned down and passionately kissed him.
Clark and Lois
Lois Lane, successful businesswoman and wife, was just applying her mascara carefully when a bellow of “LOIS!” caused her hand to slip, making a black line below her eyebrow. Closing her eyes in frustration, she wiped the mark away before finding out what was wrong with her husband.
“What is it, Clark?” She asked as she exited their bedroom and found him at the breakfast bar.
“This!” He held out a paper to her, folded and creased to highlight an article. “I thought you said things would be fine. I should just leave things alone. This is not fine!”
Quickly glancing at the title gave Lois enough information to understand what he was talking about. “I thought you didn’t like to read news from Gotham.”
“She doesn’t know what she’s getting into,” he mumbled as he reread the paper.
“What exactly do you mean by that?”
Clark looked up to see Lois glaring at him. His eyes narrowed in reaction. “She’s going on a date with Bruce Wayne. Diana has no idea how he treats women.”
“Oh yes.” She shot back. “She has no idea what she is getting into.
“You don’t understand ” He began.
“Because between the two of us you are the expert on how he treats the women he dates.”
Clark opened his mouth to retort, but closed it slowly as he took in her words, and a rueful expression came over his face.
Lois stepped up to him and put a kind hand to his face, bringing his eyes to hers. “I know you worry about her. But you have to remember. She is not that naive person who came to ‘man’s world’ so long ago. Diana has immersed herself in our society and has tried to learn everything she can about the world beyond Themyscira. Besides, they have been doing this dance for almost a year now. Bruce would not date her lightly, especially since they have to work together. If Diana did not see this as worthwhile, she would have stopped it months ago. But she obviously sees something in him. Something she likes.” She smiled at him. “Just allow them the room to prove you wrong, Smallville. You might just be surprised.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time a woman has surprised and delighted me.” Clark kissed the smirk that appeared on Lois’ face.
Diana and Bruce
With a smile on her face, Diana folded the newspaper in a way that allowed the article to take precedence while she reached for her phone. She started rereading while waiting for the line to pick up. After three rings, there was a click and then a voice with a British accent answered. “Wayne residence.”
“Miss Diana.” She could hear the happiness in his voice clearly through the line. “How are you this morning?”
“Wonderful, Alfred, thank you. I hope your morning has been pleasant, as well.”
She lightly cleared her throat and looked down at the paper. “Read anything interesting lately?”
“Why yes. Just this morning I was able to find an article that captured my interest quite completely.”
“Has the master seen the paper yet?”
“Not as yet. I was just about to bring his breakfast to him.”
“Are you willing to allow me the pleasure instead?”
“Of course, Miss. If you could hold for one moment while I pick up the call in his room?”
“Thank you, Alfred,” she said with affection.
Diana walked to the window and closed her eyes, enjoying the warmth of the sun’s rays. She grinned as she heard a click and a tinny voice. “Phone for you, Sir.”
A throat clearing noise and then, “Hello,” in a sleepy voice.
“Morning. We made the paper again.”
She heard the rustle of paper. “I see that.” A short pause. “Hmm.”
“That was a congratulatory kiss?”
“Are you saying you could do better? Bruce, we were in public.”
“That didn’t seem to bother you last night.”
“Yes, well ” She trailed off. Bruce could always leave her flustered. An idea came to mind, so she continued with a smile on her face. “Perhaps you need further proof? Teleportation takes seconds.” Diana licked her lips. “And you are still in bed ”
He chuckled. “I thought we needed to take this slow.”
“You said we needed to take it slow. I’m all for learning and exploration.”
His groan came clearly through the connection. “Diana.” He admonished. “Did you just call to torture me, or was there another reason?”
She laughed softly. “Well, actually, I thought the article posed a very good question.”
There was complete silence from the other end while Bruce read. “I said I would let you know where and when.”
“Yes, but Bruce Wayne has been asking me out for almost a year. Would he not want to make the date immediately?”
Bruce sighed loudly, still trying to wake up. Verbal sparring with Diana, this early in the morning, was not his strong suit. “I was thinking of asking you to be my date at the Wayne Ball. It’s only three weeks away.”
“No. That will never do. We need to have a real date first. Then you may ask me to the Ball.” Diana decided.
“Oh? May I?” Bruce retorted sarcastically.
“Of course,” Diana answered honestly. His tone completely lost on her.
Bruce sighed again. “All right, dinner Friday, at a restaurant of my choosing, and lunch Saturday, here at the manor.”
Diana closed her eyes and smiled. “Thank you, Bruce. That sounds wonderful. Do you need to discuss it with Alfred?”
“No need. He has been eavesdropping during the whole conversation.” Bruce said while glaring at the butler.
Diana chuckled at the instant retort she heard through the phone. “I never eavesdrop, Master Bruce. I was merely waiting.”