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) 2005 by Djinn. This story is Rated R.
Seeing Beyond Tomorrow
Warning: SPOILERS for Adventures of Superman 636 and for WW issue 212.
Bruce watched Diana walk through his study. She reached out, her fingers touching chairs as she went, counting steps, memorizing the map of his furniture. She came up on a low table; he tensed, expecting her to hit it, but she slowed and her leg only bumped it softly. She didn't lose her balance, just reached down, getting to know the table.
"This used to be by the window. I recognize the carvings on the leg." She turned to where he was standing. "You moved this recently?"
He had moved it minutes before she'd arrived. And he'd known she'd recognize it, had chosen it because she would.
She just smiled when he didn't answer. "Another of your damn tests?"
"You object to my testing you?"
"You know I do. But I know objecting is futile. You'll test me until you're sure." She turned, walking back to him quickly. She didn't reach out, didn't bump into anything. It was like she was the bat, echolocating as she went. She stopped before she got to him. "You offered me a drink?"
"I have it here." He pressed it into her hand.
She sipped at it, made a face. "What is this?"
"Twelve-year old scotch." He smiled as she tried it again, the same grimace taking over her face--or what he could see of it. Between the red blindfold she'd taken to wearing and her tiara, half of her face was covered.
"Another test?" She handed the glass back to him, then turned, walking toward the fireplace. "It's cold. Why no fire?"
He moved closer to her. "I didn't think you'd be here that long." He touched her shoulder--bare because she was wearing her uniform. She hadn't done that before: worn the uniform during off hours. Was she trying to prove a point? And to which one of them? "Besides, you don't get cold."
"I get cold." She turned her head, so she was looking back at him--he sighed, was it a slip of the tongue to say looking when she couldn't look anymore? Did he need to excise words like that from his vocabulary with her? See. Look. Sight.
He turned away, afraid that even if she couldn't see, she'd be able to tell how angry he was over what she'd done. Why the hell hadn't she made a sturdier blindfold on the battlefield? One that Medusa couldn't just yank off? Why did she have to blind herself?
"Bruce?" For the first time that night she sounded uncertain.
"Why did you come here?" he asked. "When you called, you didn't say why you wanted to come over."
"I felt uncomfortable after we talked to Kal. You were so quiet on the way back." She was lying. And she never lied.
"So you came to check on me? I'm fine. You can go now. I'll walk you to your plane." He made his voice harsher than normal, terse and final so she'd get the message that it was time to go. So she'd leave before he said something they'd both regret because she was getting in, getting farther than she ever had before. And this time, she didn't appear to be trying.
"All right, I didn't come for you. I came for me." She took a deep breath--he'd never known her to have to gather courage just for a talk. "I understand it's in your nature to test people. And I don't expect to be exempt. But the League? Why do I have to be reevaluated by the League?"
He didn't say anything.
"Is it because I make you nervous?" She moved, found him where he'd stopped and touched his arm. "Does Oracle?"
He pulled away from her. "We're not going to talk about Barbara."
"Being paralyzed is something that was done to her. But I did this to myself. I had a choice; she didn't."
"This isn't about Oracle. Barbara moved on; she left Batgirl behind and found a new way to make a difference."
"And that's what you think I should do? Leave Wonder Woman behind? I can't. I am Wonder Woman; she's not some alter ego I can put in a box." She turned, sighing so loud it came out as a huff.
He pulled her back to face him. "The test isn't for me. I've seen you in action. You saved my life the other day, and we both know it."
He'd never heard her sound so betrayed. Not even when she'd discovered he'd created the means to kill her. Not even when she'd voted to kick him out of the League.
When he didn't answer, she turned away from him, toward the door. "You and your damn secrets." She moved fast, faster than he expected.
He had to run to catch her. "Diana, wait."
She stopped, turning toward him. "Why the test, Bruce?"
"It's not for you, and it's not for me. It's for them. The rest of them. I know you can still fight. But they don't. And they'll be looking out for you. Making mistakes trying to protect you. We can't afford that." He pulled her close, as close as he had on that battlefield when he'd kissed her. That damned kiss that had started them down this road.
That wonderful, amazing kiss.
She smiled at his choice of words. He traced her smile with his fingers, then realized what he was doing and dropped his hand.
"You're not going to protect me?" she asked.
"No. I'm not," he said. "You want to fight by my side, then fight by my side. And frankly, it'll be me fighting by your side. You're stronger."
"You only say that because you think you're smarter."
"I am smarter."
"I guess we'll find out, won't we?" She moved closer, her body just shy of being pressed against him. "They'll hold back. When they fight me. Your test won't be worth anything."
"It will be for
She frowned. "What are you planning?"
He only smiled. She frowned again, then lifted her fingers to his face, tracing the smile.
"That's the one I don't like," she said. "The smile that means only bad things." She kept moving, her fingers sliding over his cheek, then across his brow, down his nose, back to his lips.
"I never mean bad things for you."
The idiocy of that comment hung between them, and she laughed softly.
He tried again. "Okay, other than planning how to kill you, I never mean bad things." He smiled.
"That's a real one." Her own smile grew.
"What do you feel when you do that?"
She reached down, pulled his hand up slowly. "Close your eyes."
Smiling under her hand, he did what she said. He felt her lay his fingers on her cheek, let his hand slip down, learning the curve of her jaw, then he moved back up, felt her cheekbones, then the soft material of the blindfold. He skimmed over it, up to the tiara, then to her hair--it was always coarser than he expected. He heard her sigh, then she began to explore his face again.
Keeping his eyes closed, he ran his fingers around to the back of her head and pulled her closer. She dropped her hand, and he could tell she'd lifted her chin, that her lips were right under his.
The kiss on the battlefield had been frantic and rushed and full of the desperate certainty that he would never see her again. This kiss was slow and unhurried despite the fact that she would never see anything again.
When he finally pulled away, she said, "Are you doing this now because you feel sorry for me?"
"No." He took her hand, pulling her out of the room.
They walked slowly, her hand clasped tightly in his, and he let her get her bearings. "Stairs," he said, uncertain if she would welcome that much help.
"I know," she said quickly. Then she sighed.
"If we were somewhere that I didn't know very well, that kind of information would be a good thing."
He could tell it had cost her something to say that. She was so like him. She'd rather do everything on her own, didn't like to admit that she needed help.
"We might be able to work up something, some kind of sensory feed." Maybe something that really did use echolocation?
She just nodded.
"We can talk about that later."
"Okay." She was clasping his hand even more tightly.
He could tell she was hesitating, and he turned. "We're going up to my bedroom, Diana. Is that what you want to do?"
"Not an overwhelming endorsement."
He saw her swallow; her lips seemed to be pressed together very tightly. Taking the last step, he resisted telling her they were there. She didn't stumble. But again she seemed to hesitate.
Stopping, he pulled her close. "What is it?"
She pressed against him, but her body was tense, as if she was holding herself in check for some reason.
"Diana? If you don't want to do this, we'll go back downstairs."
He started to say something but she lifted her hand, her fingers falling on his mouth.
"I'm not afraid of you. Or of sex. I'm afraid that if I let you in..." She swallowed again.
"That if you let me in, you'll break?"
"If you break, it'll be our secret." He kissed her cheek. "If you break, I'll catch you."
"I thought you said you wouldn't protect me."
"I lied," he whispered, his lips pressed against her hair, over her ear.
She shuddered, and he felt
her relax. Pulling him this time, she
got them started down the hall, then let him lead her to his bedroom. He closed the door and drew her over to his
bed, pulling her uniform down, letting her show him the best way to undo
it. She took the tiara off and handed it
to him. He stared down at her, finally
"I'm admiring you," he said softly.
He reached for the blindfold, but her hands flew up, grabbing at the fabric.
"I want to see you."
"My eyes...they look strange. Or so I've been told." She took a deep breath. "Artemis, with her normal lack of tact, told me that while she doesn't care what I look like, she thought other people would find them creepy."
"That's perfect, Diana. People find me creepy too."
Smiling slightly, she dropped her hands. "I guess you have a point."
He untied the blindfold, let it drop and said, "Open your eyes."
She did, and he was startled at first by the semi-opaque film that seemed to cover both eyes.
"I had pretty eyes."
"Yes, you did." He decided not to coddle her. They weren't pretty anymore. But they didn't put him off. It was just...new. "The film covering them...it looks odd."
"Magic." She shrugged. "The healers can't fix it."
"I hate magic."
"I'm not terribly fond of it right now either, Bruce." She smiled, a brave smile, but her lips trembled and he had to kiss her, his hands running up and down her bare back.
She pulled away from him, whispering, "You're overdressed, Mister Wayne."
"Yes, I am."
He wasn't sure if she would remedy that for him, was pleased when she pulled off his clothes with rather sure hands. She obviously wasn't new at this. He found himself both disappointed and relieved, but kept that to himself, busying himself with easing the bedcovers back.
He pulled her to him, startled by how right it felt to stand with her skin to skin. Nestling against him perfectly, her body fit his as if they were made for each other.
"Diana, when you used J'onn's machine, you said we ended badly."
"Does it matter? It was only my idea of how it would go. My subconscious...not some kind of oracle."
"It matters. Did you lie?"
"And here I thought you never did that."
"I'm not a paragon, even if people make me into one. I'm just a woman."
He decided not to tell her that she would never, ever be just a woman. "If you'd told me the truth...or if I'd gone under and seen what I really thought, we might have--"
"--Well, I didn't and you didn't." She kissed him. "I've always had to believe you pulled away from me for a reason."
"Maybe so I'd be here now? When you really need me?" He kissed her again, and there was something different about this kiss.
She was letting him in--or maybe, he was letting her in. He pulled her closer, then fell back with her onto the bed. Neither of them let go, kissing slowly, deliberately. There was great purpose and passion and more tenderness than he usually allowed himself to feel. He moved over her until he could join with her fully, and closed his eyes at the sensation.
"God, Diana." He started to move, but she made a sound, and he couldn't tell if it was from pleasure or protest, so he stopped. "Are you all right?"
She nodded, staring up at him with those strange, sightless eyes that he knew would soon become beautiful to him because they were hers. Then she pulled him back down to kiss her, and they found a rhythm together, soft and hard mixing in a way that left them both breathless.
When they finally lay quietly, she cuddled against him, and he felt her shudder again.
"Are you cold?"
She nodded. "I've been cold since I killed Medusa."
He pulled the covers up around them. She continued to shake, and he realized she was crying. He didn't say anything, just pulled her closer, wiping her tears away.
"I just want to be strong." Her voice was muffled, lost in his chest.
"You are strong. You're the strongest person I've ever known."
"No, I'm not. It was easy before. Now..."
"So, it's not easy anymore." He kissed her. "So, you try a little harder."
She shook her head.
"Do you think I don't understand that? Do you think I don't come home from some of our missions wondering if I've gone crazy? There are days I can barely get out of bed I hurt so bad."
She raised her head, staring at him. "I didn't think--"
He stroked her cheek. "I know. But now...now you understand."
"Is that why you're letting me in?"
"Maybe." He touched the soft skin around her eyes gently. "Or maybe it's that I had to just sit by and watch as you were nearly killed by that monster. And when you got back up, when you killed her and rode out of that arena, I got another chance--we got another chance. A chance I want to take."
She smiled and lay her head back down on his chest. "I've been lonely. For so long..."
"I know." He found her hand, clasped it. "Don't be lonely now. I'm here. We're together."
"And tomorrow. If the reevaluation doesn't go well?"
"Tomorrow isn't here yet. Don't borrow trouble."
"What? No protestations that you'll quit the League too?"
"The thought has crossed my mind." He tightened his hold on her. "We have to think of what's best for them. Ultimately, that's what matters."
She nodded, but there was a sadness in her face that he wished he wasn't responsible for.
He touched her face. "You know I'll make the hard calls."
"I know you will."
"And you know, don't you, how much I love you?"
She shook her head.
"I do. I love you and I have for a long time. It's why I kissed you that day. It's probably why I didn't kiss you again after that day. And it's why we're here now."
"I love you too." She kissed him, and he pulled her half on top of him, so he could reach her mouth better.
Then he let her go. "You have a test tomorrow. You should rest."
"I'm not tired," she said as she crawled the rest of the way onto him.
She didn't take it slow this time, didn't take it easy on him. He kept up with her...barely. And he thought he might die from pleasure. She enjoyed herself too, if her dreamy smile was any indication. Or her loud cries.
He hoped Alfred was safely occupied in the kitchen. Or better yet the batcave.
She sighed, and it sounded like she was letting go of a lot more than just breath.
Then she yawned, and he pulled her close and whispered, "Go to sleep. I'll wake you when it's time to get up."
She didn't argue, just moved closer, her arm warm over his stomach, her legs wrapped around his.
She was with him. Finally, she was with him. And it felt...right. He closed his eyes, reveling in the feeling of having her pressed against him.
She fell asleep quickly, and she made little noises as she slept, moved a bit more than he expected, her hands gripping and her feet pushing at him as she fought what must be dream foes.
When he murmured to her, she quieted down.
"I love you," he whispered.
She smiled. Even in sleep, that made her smile.
Then she went back to fighting whatever terrible thing populated her dreams--he wondered if she could see the monsters in her dreams or if they'd gone dark too.
As she thrashed a little, finally quieting under his repeated assurances, he realized that sharing his bed with her might not be the restful proposition he'd fantasized about.
Hugging the real woman close, he found he didn't care.