DISCLAIMER: The Justice League of America characters are the property of DC Comics. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2004 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.
Dead and Buried
(Kingdom Come Missing Scenes and Coda)
Kal closes his eyes when he touches her. He's pretending to make love to her, but he isn't really. They're just having sex. Diana knows it, just like she knows he can't lie to her with his eyes open, so he does it with them closed.
He doesn't lie any other time. When they fight together, it's the same as ever. Comrades in battle, looking out for each other--looking at each other. That has never changed. And when they sit sentry for a world that barely trusts them anymore, she doesn't feel as if something is missing. As if something is wrong. They talk. They laugh. They argue. It feels good. It feels great.
Until they start to kiss.
When they were fighting for their future, when it was she and Kal leading the other old ones against the metas who were running amok, she didn't feel this way--as if every breath hurts, every moment that passes is wrong. But they weren't lovers then. They were close to becoming lovers, both so angry that it would have been easy to have sex in a rough and heated way. But they didn't.
Maybe they should have? Maybe it would have made this feel more real?
He rolls off her and pulls her with him; she ends up nestled in his arms, her head tucked under his chin. Cozy. Protected.
And unable to see his face.
It shouldn't hurt this much. She tells herself that.
He'll get over it. Over her--over Lois. It's been years since Lois died.
She tells herself that too.
But she wonders if he's seeing Lois now. Diana can't tell what he sees. She just knows he isn't seeing her.
"Is it what you thought?" Bruce stares up at her.
She has climbed one of the ledges in the bat cave. She's not sure why she did it, except that he can't, not easily, not anymore, and she needs to get away from him.
He does not seem surprised that she has fled from him, just waits for her to look down. She does and sees that he looks even older from this vantage point. Bruce is old. She is too; she just doesn't look old. But she feels it. Lately, she feels it.
"Diana?" His voice is the Bruce of the past. The Bruce who pressed and prodded and generally pissed her off.
"No." She gives him the truth. Let him make of it what he will, if he has such a need to know.
"That's the best you can do? 'Hmmm'?" She jumps down and sees him flinch as she lands hard. The impact doesn't hurt her. She is strong. Her body is lithe still, even if it has fleshed out more than when she was new at this superhero business.
She's given up figuring out what Bruce is working on. It will be wonderful, whatever it is. A shiny new toy for a not-so-shiny crime fighter. She is about to walk away when he hands it to her, and she can feel her face freeze.
"We all have defining moments, Diana. Mine was in an alley, when I was a boy. I'll never leave it."
"And this is
his?" She looks down at the
"It may be." Bruce takes it back from her and gently lays it down on the table.
"You knew." She walks over and picks the picture up again, wanting to fling it out at the bats that hang so peacefully in this quiet cave. She does not. She puts it back down. "Why else would you have this?"
"I can see you're unhappy." His eyes search her face. Once, long ago, his frank gaze would have unnerved her. But they've been through too much lately. Almost died together--almost killed each other.
"So what's my defining moment?" she asks.
He shrugs and walks away, back to the computer program he was working on when she tried to sneak up on him.
"Bruce. What's my moment?"
He turns; his eyes hold no pity. "The day you leave him."
"We need to talk." They are words she does not want to say. They are words she has practiced for days but still does not want to say. They are the words that will make her moment come true. She is leaving Kal. This has to end.
He looks over at her, over the dishes of the meal she has barely touched. She is too nervous to eat. She, Wonder Woman, an Amazon, is nervous enough to have an upset stomach.
"Kal, we need to--"
She runs for the bathroom. The words are lost in the need to throw up. She runs faster and makes it before she starts to vomit. Over and over and over.
Kal follows her, alarmed. The door has shut behind her, but she knows he can see through it. "Diana? Are you ill?"
She is never ill. Never.
She thinks of the meal he cooked for them earlier, the one she barely touched. She can smell it, throughout the Fortress. She vomits again.
She is not ill. Goddess help her, she is not ill. She touches her stomach.
Kal's voice is filled with wonder. "Diana?"
"We need to talk," she whispers.
He hears her, of course. "I guess we do."
He sounds happy. She touches her stomach again. Feels a strange numbness. She should leave him. He doesn't love her.
But they are going to have a child. And he is happy about that.
She gets up slowly, hears the door open. He touches her, turning her. Pulling her close.
Her head is, of course, tucked under his chin.
"Our child," he murmurs.
She wishes her first impulse wasn't to ask him to define "our."
His hands are gentle on her, his voice sweet, as he asks, "Are you all right?"
She laughs. She is an Amazon. She has fought gods. Does he think one baby will undo her?
She pushes her head deeper under his chin and cries. Tears? She does not cry.
She can, fortunately, blame the tears on hormones.
She cannot leave him. Not now.
Her defining moment will have to wait.
Bruce hangs back as they leave the restaurant. "Are you happy, Diana?"
She looks ahead, to where Kal has stopped. She knows he can hear her. "Of course, Bruce." She lets serenity shine from her eyes.
He is not fooled. His eyes narrow, and he takes her hand. "I'm honored you want me to be the godfather."
"Who else?" She leans in, kissing his cheek.
"I hope it turns out the way you want," he says into her ear.
She knows Kal can hear that too. She decides she doesn't care. "Me too," she whispers.
With a last squeeze, Bruce walks away from her, to the cab Kal has hailed for him. When the taxi is little more than a spot of yellow far down the street, Kal turns to her.
She smiles, touching her stomach.
"You're my best friend, Diana."
It isn't enough.
It will have to be enough. She takes his hand, lets him pull her gently after him.
"You're my best friend, too, Kal."
It is true. They are best friends. And one of them loves the other. She thinks they both love the baby. That will be enough.
He looks over at her, and she realizes she is squeezing too hard.
"Hormones," she says, smiling in a way designed to throw him off. She uses the hormone excuse often. And often, it is true. She did not expect being pregnant to play such havoc with her body.
His eyes are gentle as he pulls her closer. "A baby. I'm still in shock." He touches her hair. "Bruce didn't seem to be."
"Well, he guessed before we could tell him. A master of observation." The man misses nothing; she knows that from experience.
"You and he still..." He looks away, as if he is unsure where he was going with his words.
She decides not to help him.
"Diana. I know that I'm not the easiest man to live with." He sounds sincere. As if he means it. But it's wrong. It's not true. He is the easiest man to live with. As long as she doesn't mind sharing him with a dead woman who won't let go. Who might never let go.
"Kal. Please." She is not sure she can talk about this without breaking down. Not sure she wants to.
"I want this child," he says. It may be the only truth he can give her that won't hurt. But it is a big one. They both want this child. They will both love their son or daughter.
It will have to be enough.
Lying exhausted, she holds their daughter and nurses her. Kal watches her, his face gentle, his eyes so soft. He sighs, and she cannot decide if it is a happy or a sad sound. Her eyes are closing, and he moves so that she can lean back against his chest.
"You have never looked more beautiful, Diana," he says, surprising her.
He touches Lasandra on the head, where dark hair is already curling. She has their coloring, their eyes, their strength.
Diana does not think Lois could have managed the child. There are days she is not sure she will be able to.
"She will need to be weaned soon. I cannot protect this planet if I am worrying about how she will be fed." But her breasts ache at the thought. And so does her heart. This sense of connection with her child--and strangely with Kal--is so intense; she cannot imagine losing it.
"Soon. But not yet." He strokes her hair, kissing her. He is so affectionate right now.
She closes her eyes again but forces them open, afraid she will fall asleep and drop Lasandra.
He eases her back even more, so that the child will not fall. "I'll watch over you. Go to sleep."
She is too tired to argue. Giving birth was more exhausting than fighting off Darkseid. Giving birth hurt more than anything she'd imagined. She is not sure she wants to ever do it again, has taken steps to make sure she will not have to unless she chooses. Not that Kal and she have...but he will want to eventually.
She was careless before. She doesn't regret that, would never give up Lasandra, now that she has her. But she should have taken some precautions, not just been lost in Kal's passion. A passion that may never have been for her.
She lets go, stops fighting sleep. Oblivion is better than the dark road her thoughts will go down if she's not careful.
"Sleep," Kal urges her.
She watches her child move, restless in slumber. Her child. Kal is gone, on patrol again. He has been gone more and more lately. The Fortress is lonely without him.
The Fortress is even lonelier with him. Even when he is home, he sleeps less and less in the bed they used to share. He says he does not want to disturb her, not when he is called away so often. There are many rooms in the Fortress for him to grab a few hours of sleep.
He chooses to sleep in the only one that is decorated with furniture from his apartment with Lois. He thinks Diana does not know, but she knows. She remembers it, even after all these years.
She is not sure when Kal started to pull away. Maybe when she weaned Lasandra? Or even a bit earlier. He began to wear a sad look that she'd given him no cause for, stopped watching as she nursed their daughter.
It does not matter when he did. Just that he did. There was so little of him for her anyway. Now there is nothing. It should make it easier. It doesn't.
It only makes her feel like a failure. Only how can she be a failure when she has this lovely child?
Lasandra smiles up at her, some sweet dream making her infant lips curl happily.
Her child has never seen Diana's island. Her child has never met her aunts. So many aunts.
Diana picks up the recording device. Kal will find it. She will leave it on Lois's pillow on Lois's bed in Lois's room. The museum Kal has made to his lost love.
Diana sighs. This is her moment. Finally, it has arrived.
"I'm taking Lasandra to Themyscira, Kal." She pauses, seeks control. This is harder than she thought it would be. She thought she was resigned to it. But she is not. "I think that you wish Lasandra was Lois's child. I know you wish I was Lois. I think...I feel that--"
The baby stirs, looking up at her with eyes that seem to understand. She gurgles. The sound will be on the recording.
"I love you, Kal. But I think that
When she goes back into her bedroom, the baby is smiling, her arms reaching up as if she knows they are leaving for a warmer place.
Diana picks her child up and, taking nothing with her except a bag of Lasandra's things, flies away from the home she thought she was making with Kal-El. Back to her real home.
She manages not to cry until she is far away from the Fortress.
"Princess, watch," Mara calls to her, holding up Lasandra, who is laughing as Mara sets her in front of her on the horse.
Diana dozes on the grass. With so many aunts to look after her daughter, she can finally rest.
She has been on Themyscira a month.
Kal has not come for her. She expected him to. For a few days. Then she gave up. She can be pragmatic.
And she supposes it would not be a defining moment if Superman rushed in and swept her off her feet and back to the Fortress.
Bria rushes out of the villa Diana and Lasandra are staying in. "Princess. There is a crisis."
"Where?" Diana is already moving.
Diana frowns--an old enemy of
Who else would go there? The last
time she was in
No, that was the second-to-last time. The last time was the next day. When she went back. And their passion finally escaped. Their first time together was in a blighted field.
She looks back at Mara, who smiles and says, "Go on. Lasandra is fine with me."
Diana knows she is right. She takes off, flying quickly.
When she gets to the coordinates, no one else is there. There is wheat growing though. Long strands waving high.
Kal did it. He made the desert bloom. Or restored the breadbox anyway. She runs her hands over the wheat fronds.
"I wasn't sure it would work," Kal says softly, giving Bruce a run for his money on stealthy entrances.
"You always were a
farmer." She doesn't turn
around. "I had no doubt you'd bring
He moves to stand in front of her. "I don't mean the wheat."
"Getting you out here." He is staring at her. Intensely. She cannot remember the last time he looked at her this way.
Which is not true. It was when she was nursing Lasandra. Before he turned away, went back to his dead wife.
"There's no crisis?"
"Well, there is. We're the crisis." He smiles.
She does not.
His smile dies. "I got lost, Diana."
"No. That implies an accident. You chose to be lost."
He looks down. "You're right. I did." Then he looks up, and she is startled to see that there are tears in his eyes--tears he blinks away. "I drove you away."
She wonders if leaving him can be her defining moment if it was what he wanted her to do the whole time. "I can't be Lois."
"I know." He moves closer to her.
She steps back. "I won't be."
"I know." He does not move toward her this time. "I didn't fall in love with you because you were Lois."
She laughs. The sound rips through the air, much louder than she intended. It is sharp, and bitter, and angry--she is angry. "You never fell in love with me at all."
"You're wrong." He sighs and turns away. Pointing out to the middle of the field, he says, "That's the place. Right there. Where we first made love."
She starts to say something and he holds up a hand.
"I know. Diana, I know." He reaches back, his hand opening, waiting for her. "I never made love to you. Not really. I never let myself." He does not drop his hand, and she knows he is strong enough to hold it there forever. "I felt guilty. Do you understand that? I felt guilty even touching you."
"Then why did you keep doing it?" She takes a step back, too distracted by his outstretched hand. Too tempted by it. "I mean even before you knew I was pregnant."
"Because I wanted to touch you." He looks back at her, his hand moving closer as he turns. "I've wanted to for so long. Even when I was with Lois, I wanted you." He reaches her, pulling her fingers into communion with his own.
She sighs as their skin touches.
"It's odd, Diana. Wanting you when Lois was alive, that was easy, and it was okay somehow. I always knew I couldn't have you. But having you once she was gone? That was so damn hard. I felt...I felt as if I was forgetting her. Betraying her." He pulls her closer.
She doesn't resist.
"Watching you with Lasandra. It was perfect. Our life was perfect. After everything, all the darkness, all the death. We had her. I forgot Lois. I forgot her for whole chunks of an hour, a day. Even a week. And I forgot what I was responsible for."
He looks out over the wheat field, and she knows he is seeing the blasted ground. That somehow he sees his dead wife lying in that blasted ground. He outlived her, and he outlived so many others. He survived the blast. For a while, he thought he was the only meta left who did.
And that's when he finally snapped. She remembers going after him, talking him down. He was ready to destroy, ready to finally kill.
"Kal, you weren't responsible for all of this." She goes to wave at the blighted earth, but the wheat has covered it up. There is nothing to be sorry for anymore.
Except the tombstones that lay beyond the wheat field. The metas who died during that terrible battle. The wheat cannot cover that up. Nothing can ever cover that up.
She suddenly understands that
Bruce was wrong. The wedding might have
"I love you," she says softly.
"Despite it all?"
"Maybe because of it." She walks through the wheat, pulls him with her. "We have a daughter you haven't seen in a month, Kal."
"I've seen her. I've seen her every day. And you. I've watched over you. You just didn't see me."
She smiles. "How high up were you flying?"
"High enough not to set off your sensors."
He watched them. Somehow, that is comforting. He did not forget them.
"Come home, Diana."
"The Fortress isn't home, Kal. It's cold. You've made it a prison."
"I know." He smiles, the brightness of the expression unexpected. "I turned that room into a nursery."
She looks over at him.
"It's completely different. Everything's gone." He sighs. "I listened to that recording over and over as I fixed it up."
"Never let it be said you don't know how to wallow." She shakes her head. "I'm not sure. I was unhappy there, Kal. Truly unhappy."
"We can have two homes. There. And the island. We'll be able to come and go as we please. But together. Can we try again, Diana?" He pushes her down; they are hidden by the wheat. "Can we start here? On new ground? On ground that isn't ruined and stark?"
She is not sure. He must be able to see the uncertainty in her face because he kisses her. It is a good kiss.
When he pulls away, his eyes are open. "Diana," he says. "Our family--we can be together. If you want it?"
"I want it." She supposes she should make him wait, or make him work for it. But the answer is truth, and she was the goddess of that once. "Yes, Kal. I want it."
They make love then. His eyes are open and when they finally lie still she ends up curled against him in a way that lets her see his face.
He is smiling. And he looks over at her, and kisses her, and murmurs, "My Diana." Then he falls asleep in her arms.
She lies there for a long time, dozing, holding the man she loves. It is a tentative peace she feels, but it is peace. She is...content.
She hears a whisper on the wind. Realizes the wheat is moving strangely.
"I was wrong." Bruce's voice is everywhere and nowhere. She is not even sure he is there. It might be some toy of his, delivering his wisdom to her from far away.
"Wrong how?" she asks as Kal snuggles closer to her.
"Your defining moment isn't leaving him, it's forgiving him."
"Do you believe that?"
She hears him sigh, the sound is closer. "I do. And I'm sure my goddaughter will agree when she's old enough to talk."
"Thank you, Bruce."
"Thank me by being happy." The last word swells and echoes.
Kal stirs. "Did I hear Bruce?" He is too sleepy to worry about being naked with her in the middle of a wheat field with Batman creeping around somewhere.
"Mmmm," she says, pulling him closer. "Sleep, Kal. I love you."
"I love you, Diana." He cuddles against her, is out almost instantly.
She smiles. Happy. It has been a long time since any of them were that. Maybe this time they can find their way together?
At least she knows that this time they'll try.
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