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 R.
We Belong Together
(Post-ep to WW Trinity two-parter [issue 140/141])
It's all gone. All the happiness, the safety. There is no baby, no marriage. No best friend keeping it all on track.
Diana is alone. Again. Alone in her own fortress of solitude. Kal is on his way back to Lois. Bruce will go back to his own solitary life.
Bruce told her they belong together. But when? When do they belong together? When will any of them be together the way they were in the dream world she created for them all?
Bruce was right. He is the past. Safe and homey and replete with memories. Kal is the future, something to reach for. Something always just out of reach.
And she? She is the here and now. The moment that is, never the moment that will be. She can only exist, can only breathe from one second to the next. There is no escape for her--how can you escape the present?
Bruce was happy with them. Kal will be happy with Lois. And Diana is alone. The endless trinity. Timeless. Or deluged with so much time they're trapped in their roles.
She stares out of what was her plane. It is cold inside, and she is shivering. She told Kal that it was a reflection of her, that it would teach her about herself. But she doesn't need a pretty new floating dome to tell her that her life is frigid and spare. That she is isolated in a temple of glass.
She doesn't need her new home to know that there is no one to love her. It angers her that it suddenly matters so much that there is no one to love her. Her destiny is to fight, to protect. To nurture and guard and love and keep on striving no matter what. There was nothing in the bargain about her being loved--about this ache deep inside her being eased.
She is alone. Nothing has changed. She never loved Kal, never married him, never carried his child inside her. It was a dream. Just a dream.
Bruce knew. Bruce always knows. The past sees all.
Kal could not see. The future is, after all, informed by the present. And she held the power. She held the dreams. She held him captive.
Only he told her he wanted it. He wanted her. He loved her.
She still loves him. Goddess help her, she still loves him. The man she never had.
She feels the dome pushing at her. Tired...she is so damned tired. All she's been doing is dreaming, and still she feels as if she could sleep for days.
She takes off her uniform and lies down on a bed that appears out of the fabric of her trusted former plane. It molds itself into soft covers, into pillows that cradle her gently. She feels the dome moving, floating somewhere. The air is warmer now as if the plane knows she needs more. A cover floats down over her, made up of more of the magical non-material.
She closes her eyes. Sleep stays just out of reach, but she feels her limbs turn to lead, perhaps back into the muddy clay that formed her so long ago. If she let go, would she return to that primal state? Can she be the here and now and not have to be aware? Is there any way to forget?
She can feel the tears escaping from her closed eyes, fights them. But they squeeze out between lids grown heavy and hot. She would dash them from her face if she weren't so tired.
"Diana." The word eases around her, two voices murmuring her name.
"Diana, it's all right." It sounds like Kal.
She tries to open her eyes, but a hand falls over her face. "Don't." This time it is Bruce who soothes her.
The plane. The plane is doing this. Giving her what she needs just as it gave her the bed. This isn't real.
This isn't real, but she wants it. Goddess help her, she wants it.
"Don't cry," the non-Kal says.
But another sob escapes.
"We belong together." The unreal Bruce's voice is that of the true Bruce: soft, low, rumbling down to her bones.
"You're the past," she whispers.
"If you wish me to be." His voice is sad, so sad. When he kisses her, she doesn't push him away.
"What am I then, Diana?" Kal's voice is calm. He strokes her skin, his hands working lower. His touch is so familiar; years of dream-loving arise again in her mind. Unreal? How can something unreal feel so good?
"The future," she murmurs.
"Yes. Our future. We have time, love." He is kissing her neck.
"I'm alone," she says. "It is not the past and not the future. It is only now, and I'm alone, and you're not real."
"We're real if you believe in us." Kal's lips touch on hers. Cooler than Bruce's, harder too.
She smiles. She can tell them apart even though Bruce's hand still keeps her eyes closed. Even though he has never kissed her the way he is kissing her now. "You're not real."
"Then we're not real." Bruce lets go of her and begins to pull the sheet down.
She opens her eyes, expecting to see nothing. Or worse, to see invisible men, made like the bed or the pillows for her comfort.
But they are not invisible. And they are not nothing.
They are here. The past and the future collide in her invisible bed, and they are touching her and kissing her, and she is suddenly confused and afraid. Are they still trapped? Have they accomplished nothing?
She struggles, reaches for her lasso.
Kal stops her. "It's all right. We're not in the dream."
Bruce smiles. "Do you want me to go?" He is nuzzling her neck. "You never gave me this role in the dream. But you gave us such sympathy. Such understanding."
Kal shoots her a look as if asking her why she did that. Then he smiles gently, as if it doesn't really matter. "We only have tonight, Diana. Only now."
Bruce nods. "We can freeze it. It can be outside of time. Not the present, not the past, not the future. Dreamtime."
She knows that it is wrong to let them touch her. She knows that there is no dreamtime for people such as they. There is only reality. They fight the unreal; they don't give in to illusions. This is not right.
"Just tonight," Kal says.
She is not surprised Bruce is with her. But Kal--Kal being here throws her. "You love Lois."
He swallows hard, and she can see by his face that her words have hit hard. "I did. I do. I will. But this is dreamtime. Here...here, I love you."
It is twisted logic. Bruce has made it, and Kal is following it, and she is letting them touch her in ways that she should not.
But she was so lonely and now she isn't. "This is wrong."
"Why does it have to be?" Bruce peels off his gloves, then his cowl. "Should I stop?"
Kal is losing his uniform just as easily. "Should I?"
She is already naked, is so far ahead of them. "There is no dreamtime," she says, and her heart breaks.
She can hear her heartbeat, can hear theirs too, especially Bruce's as it drums in rising excitement. Their pulse drives the present forward, like a metronome that is saying, "Don't. Don't. Don't."
Kal pulls her to him, kissing her fiercely. She hears Bruce murmuring something to her about believing, then he is touching her places he never has before. He is touching her, and Kal is refusing to let her go, holding her so she cannot pull away and make this stop--not that she is trying very hard.
She can feel the plane around them. It seems to pulse along with their heartbeats. And then something shifts...pulls. And the world goes quiet. The only sound is their heartbeats.
Kal pulls away. "What?"
Bruce smiles, points out the transparent walls. A bat flies frozen, his wings lifting to catch a breeze that no longer blows. "Dreamtime, Diana. Just one non-night."
The clouds hang, not moving in the moonlit sky. Down below them the world lies silent and unmoving. She sits up and then pushes herself off the bed, realizing only as the moon lights her body that she is walking naked in front of them. And it feels right. Tonight it feels right.
"No time." She sees people frozen in buildings below. "There is no time."
It means so many things. She knows there will be no other here and now for them. They are out of time.
Bruce smiles at her. "The plane called us back. Both of us." He glances at Kal. "I was going to let him take the call. But it seemed to want us both."
She smiles. "Both of you." She moves back to them slowly, lets them pull her down.
"Your fantasy?" Kal is kissing her again. He's had her, so many times in their dream world.
She is not sure he is happy to share her. But he will. If he thinks it is what she wants, he will.
She looks over at Bruce.
"Do you want me to go, Diana?" There is no judgment in his eyes.
She knows he understands the nature of fantasies--both harmless and the darker ones. He will leave Kal and her alone. If she wishes it.
She finds she does not. "No. Don't go. We are three." She looks over at Kal. "Three out of time."
He nods. And while she thinks he is disappointed, she also suspects that some part of him is relieved. It is not such a betrayal of Lois if he is not alone in this. It was not him; it was them.
And it never happened. If Lois ever asks him when, he can say there was no time that he did this.
"I love you," she tells him. Then she turns to Bruce and says it to him too. She sees his eyes become uncharacteristically soft. He can be gentler with the two of them than with anyone else--she remembers the times in their dream world when he was the only thing that kept Kal and her talking, kept them reaching out to each other. Bruce was the glue. Bruce was the peacemaker, and the wise man, and their best friend.
"I love you, Diana," Kal says so softly that she wonders if Bruce can hear it. Kal will always love her. Kal will always be her love.
And she is theirs. She is the body they move over, the lips they kiss. She is the one who makes Bruce laugh as she hits a ticklish spot, who makes Kal moan in pleasure as she licks an equally sensitive spot.
Night lasts a long time. But even dreamtime has to snap away. The plane lets them sleep a bit, wrapped up in each other. Arms holding and legs bent around each other, lips gently touching. She is surrounded by them, held safely between them. They warm her better than the plane ever could.
The plane seems to know this. It lets them rouse and kiss gently and put their uniforms back on before it pulses into sync with the rest of the world.
Before it takes dreamtime away forever.
Diana walks over to Bruce as he finishes putting his belt on. "Thank you."
"I told you. We will always be here for you."
Kal smiles. "Well, perhaps not right here." He glances back to the bed, but the plane has swallowed it back up. He looks sad for a moment, then the hero takes over.
He is already leaving her. She glances at Bruce--he does not have to leave her. And something in his eyes tells her he knows that. Something in Kal's tells her that he has thought the same thing. He doesn't look angry so much as sad and resigned.
She looks away from Bruce. Cannot make a decision now. Knows she will need to let time pass before she thinks about it again. This is too close. This will need to wear off. Or she will lie next to Bruce and always wonder where the other part of them is.
"The dream's over. Time to wake up." She pulls them close, squeezing gently.
They squeeze back. Then they are gone.
She does not watch them go, stares out instead at the bursting sunrise.
Strong--she feels strong. Alone and still stuck in the relentless here and now. But strong again.
Strong because she is one of three.