This will be the last chapter.
Sorry for the long wait. As I have said, the electricity was out because of the storm and I was forced to write this in a notebook. When the electricity came back, I finished the rest with my smartphone. I'm not sure if I did good job on this story... I don't really feel that this was the best chapter. It was hard to get the exact characterization for the Martian Manhunter; I only knew him in the JL and JLU cartoons. Also, this turned out longer than expected... and a little different from the other chapters. Nevertheless, I still hope you guys will be entertained.
Thanks for the reviews. I'll be writing some more in my spare time. :)
p.s. I slapped myself when I found out that 'martians' was supposed to be 'Martians'. LOL.
Watchtower, Monday, 10:30 am
As expected from a Martian telepath, J'onn J'onzz knew a lot of secrets, especially within the boundaries of the Justice League.
For instance, he knew that Flash has eighteen secret stashes of snacks in the Watchtower, each in different places. He knew exactly where those stashes were and occasionally helped himself with a few of them without the speedster's knowledge. He often picked the ones that stored the marshmallows. Those soft, white snacks of sweet tooth bliss were his favorite
After arriving from a long mission, J'onn craved for the mallows. Merrily, he phased through walls and floors before reaching the corridor near the watchtower's laboratory. Inside the lab were the snacks, hidden behind empty Petri dishes and bottles. It seemed to be just a simple snatch and munch until he reached he door. He realized that he wasn't going to get his snack anytime soon when he saw Flash and Hawkgirl crouching at the lab's door. Their ears pressed on its surface.
The Martian Manhunter was confused.
"What are you doing?" he asked both.
Instead of a clear answer, both shushed him quietly with their index fingers on their lips. He tilted his head out of curiosity.
Seconds later, John Stewart, the Green Lantern, arrived at J'onn's side. He probably noticed the peculiar actions of the two from afar.
"They're at it again" John muttered.
In the same manner, the two told GL to shut up.
Out of preference, and because he sorely lacked conversation nowadays, J'onn didn't read their minds to get answers. He did what humans do where they're clueless: He asked.
"I don't understand. What are they doing?" he whispered
"They're listening to Bruce and Diana" John replied in the same fashion.
When the Martian heard the names, he knew exactly why. He once saw Batman and Wonder Woman getting comfortable in the cafeteria. He had let them believe that they were alone by staying invisible. He was also present during the New Year's Eve 'conversation'. Again, he avoided detection. Lastly, he had heard about the "make-out session" from Hawkgirl. Like Superman, J'onn didn't know what to think of it. Having polar opposites together sounded strange to him, but that didn't stop Flash and Hawkgirl from thinking it was "interesting".
Now. It's the same story.
J'onn was about to leave it alone to get a pack of marshmallows somewhere else when Wonder Woman's voice penetrated through the thick door. It wasn't a shout; it was just louder but muffled. The Amazonian sounded angry.
That's new, he thought. Curious, he decided to check it out. Stealthily.
"J'onn, where are you going?" GL whispered.
"I'm going to listen", he said hushly as he turned invisible.
He phased through the door and reached the inside in just seconds. The first thing he saw was Batman looking through the microscope. The dark knight's back was facing the Amazonian princess who was nearest to the door. Diana looked like her anger was in the verged of spilling. Batman's broad shoulders didn't really convey anything. He was silent and stoic as usual. Thanks to his alien gifts, J'onn's presence is oblivious to them.
Then, the princess began.
"So you're just going to end this. Just like that."
Batman remained silent. Only after a long minute, he replied. His back was still facing her.
"This" he emphasized, "was bound to fade away. You know that"
"I think we should give it a chance."
"I think we should end it while there's still a chance."
Wonder woman paused for a while. And then, she said it.
"You're a coward, Bruce."
The silence from Batman was unrelenting. He might shut up for good if he has to. Surpringly, after that long and uneventful moment, he broke the silence. The dark knight placed the Petri dish aside and turned to her.
"It was just attraction. Nothing more."
"Funny..." she muttered, "I felt there was more... and I think you did too.
Batman just stared. Then, he turned around and went back to whatever he was doing. To normal people, his actions were often beyond rude and selfish. To J'onn and others, he was just being Batman.
Today, he was just that. He was just being Batman.
Diana looked down. Her eyes remained dry and her fists balled.
"Fine! Have it your way. If you don't want to pursue it..."
Her face finally softened.
"... neither will I."
Diana's voice was strained. She has had it with his 'issues'. Deciding to stop this conversation, she headed for the door.
"Tell them that they can stop eavesdropping on us." said the Batman, just before Diana had reached the door.
Diana didn't say anything. It was her turn to ignore him. Her anger was melding with sadness. J'onn didn't have to read her mind to know it. Finally, Wonder Woman pushed the button for the door. It slid open and she walked out a little less confident in her stride.
Flash and Hawkgirl stood straight as quickly as they can, trying not to make eye contact.
"Um... you OK, Diana?" Flash asked as he scratched the back of his head. Diana ignored the speedster too. She walked straight with her boots tapping on the cold floor. Fading and never wanting to come back.
J'onn remained in the lab. He waited for Batman to convey a feeling, to convey anything, but he saw none. Bruce's broad shoulders didn't move, his eyes concentrated on what the microscope tells him. It was probably for a case he's working on. A case he seemed to find more important than dealing with Diana. Unsatisfied, the Martian tried to read his mind, even though it was more difficult than it looked.
Many times, he tried to read the Batman but he'd always get vague images before getting nothing. At first, the images seemed random and unrelated to the present situation. Always a two-second montage of a past that he never quite understood. Through time, and because he had seen the same images a thousand times, J'onn figured out what each image showed:
Gunshot, pearls, blood, gravestones and a bat.
Now, he was seeing the same thing. No change.
Gunshot, pearls, blood, gravestones and a bat.
He never asked Bruce about the images. He just didn't want to know. The only times that J'onn could hear his thoughts was when the bat himself allowed it. And that's only for exreme occasions. He was the only human he knew that possess such mental strength.
Suddenly, the subject of his observation moved. His head swiveled to J'onn's direction. The dark knight glared.
Even though it's impossible for Bruce to know for sure that an invisible Martian was there, somehow, J'onn knew that the bat noticed something.
Creeped out by this darkly costumed hero, he decided to get out of there as quickly as he can before Batman found a way to derect him.
Lunch came and J'onn sat on a table with a bowl of marshmallows.
"Where did you get that?" asked Flash who sat across from him.
Hawkgirl was eating beef steak at the same table. Green Lantern joined them and was only drinking soda.
"I'd rather not divulge that information" replied the green alien, not caring at all if Flash knew that he got them from a stash in the docking area.
Wally attempted a glare. A bat-glare. Unfortunately, it came out as a silly squint that made Hawkgirl laugh like a hyena. It was distinctly pathetic and entertaining at the same time. The real bat-glare would make the Martian Manhunter spill the beans in seconds. Batman almost did that to him earlier.
Hawkgirl elbowed the speedster.
"Stop bothering J'onn and finish your peas" she ordered like a humored big sister.
Flash dropped the glare and started a topic.
"Did I really hear it right? Did Batman really dump Wonder Woman?"
"Judging by Diana's don't-talk-to-me face, I'd say he did" Green Lantern commented casually before taking a sip.
Hawkgirl bit on a large portion of meat.
"Choo bad. Jay look good togeder" she said with a very full mouth.
"Nah. Diana's too pretty for the Bats. I mean... he's creepy and... broody... Why would anyone date that?" Flash retored.
They all turned to a direction and saw Superman carrying a tray of typical looking food. Supergirl was just behind him. There was room for two so some of them scooted back to give them enough space. Superman sat beside Green Lantern. Supergirl squeezed in between Flash and Hawkgirl.
"Batman" answered Green Lantern.
"Who's dating Batman?"
"Wonder Woman". J'onn answered instead.
"Oh" said Clark. He doesn't seem to be all interested in hearing about it.
However, Supergirl's mood was the opposite.
"Nice! It's official then?"
Flash broke the news.
"They broke up. Just this morning."
An exaggerated expressions was in her face. She stood up.
Supergirl shouted loud enough for everybody in the cafeteria to notice. When people started to mind their own business again, she sat down and lowered her voice.
"Batman just ended it out of the blue"
"Sounds like Batman alright" Clark commented.
"That's just too bad! They're perfect for each other!.. I mean, I know I've been saying that Kal was perfect for her..."
Clark choked on his food. He wasn't really comfortable with in the topic. It's awkward enough as it is.
"What? I'm just saying that Batman is compatible with Diana as well... the moment I saw them together alone."
"Couldn't agree more" Shayera said.
Flash made an uncomfortable expression.
"Since when did you guys turn into hardcore Wonder-Bat shippers?"
"We're what?" both women asked.
"Wonder-bat...I like the sound of that."
"Wally, you're on Tumblr way too much" said Shayera plainly.
Wally crossed his arms on his chest.
"Seeing both of them together is interesting but I won't give it the 'forever' stamp. I don't even think they'd be back together."
Supergirl furrowed her eyebrows and glared at Flash. She was taking this too seriously.
"Who says they won't?"
Flash was proud and was so sure than the rest of them. Then Supergirl got an idea.
"Hundred bucks says they get back together by the end of the week."
Of course, Wally was quick to say it.
Green Lantern and Superman seemed pretty neutral about the proposition. In truth, Clark just don't want to be counted in and John just wanted to see what happens. Hawkgirl has obviously sided with Supergirl. She saw them kiss, after all. As for J'onn, he doesn't know his place in this.
"Wait. How are you guys going know if they got back together or not? I mean, that's Batman and Wonder Woman we're talking about. He's good at keeping things private and she's dangerously hot headed... especially that they know you spy on them. Constantly. You guys need good watcher."
Green Lantern made an excellent point. The instances they saw the 'Wonder-Bat' in action were just them being at the right place and at the right time. Surely, they won't get lucky the next time.
"Well... Stealth isn't my strong suit" Shayera admitted, "Flash isn't good at it either."
Flash was about to object but stopped and admitted it instead.
"Well don't look at us. We're Kryptonians, we're not Mar-"
Suddenly, as if she had another personality, Kara looked at J'onn funny.
Everyone at the table, with the exception of Clark, did the same.
He read all of their minds. He didn't like what they were thinking.
"Would twenty packs of marshmallows do it?"
A week later, 7:00 pm
The stars shined brightly as the Watchtower floated in space. Earth was still the subject of their scenery and its purpose. Things had been pretty busy for the passed week. The usual supervillains popped up out of nowhere like flies and there were more damsels to that needed attention. Fortunately, with a lot of meta-humans at humanity's side, everything was under control. The night was still young but most had already hit the sack. The ones that stayed behind have unfinished business.
"None so far"
Hawkgirl and the Martian Manhunter were at the monitor womb. He was assigned for monitor duty and she was reserved for help if ever Flash and GL needed back up if Giganta ever got stronger and smarter.
Bored, Hawkgirl watched the screen where the speedster outran the giant woman. Green Lantern formed green boxing gloves for the offensive.
"Really? No dates and kisses whatsoever?"
J'onn was tired of it all. He was constantly pestered by the Flash this week. But, he answered anyway.
"Batman didn't contact her. Wonder Woman hasn't visited where he was near."
He knew this because he had read Wonder Woman's mind before she slept, every night for seven days. It wasn't taxing especially that Diana's mental guard wasn't as difficult to break as Batman's. Her memories were the strongest evidence. She hasn't seen Batman since they broke up. And she hadn't left the Watchtower for personal reasons. Batman, on the other hand, hadn't attempted any reconciliation. Every time he arrived at the Watchtower, J'onn watched him with the security cameras and he followed him stealthily whenever the world didn't need saving. He tried to read his mind again so he could see if anything changed.
Nope. No changes.
Following Batman was a chore he hated. It was like spying on the best spy in the world. Obviously, his observations weren't complete. It was too risky to go in Gotham and follow the vigilante everywhere he went.
Good thing Diana's memories confirmed it strongly
Hawkgirl slumped on one of the monitor's keyboard and yawned.
"It looks like we're gonna lose the bet"
"There's still about five hours before it ends" J'onn encouraged.
"Just tell me if it's all over"
Hawkgirl leaned back on her chair and started to nap. Meanwhile, Flash and Green Lantern have subdued Giganta as seen on the screen. They radioed J'onn that it's done. Work was finished for tonight. Unlike humans, Martians don't need sleep; he could really wait for the night to be over and watch the sun come up again. J'onn would love it. The sunrise was one of his favorite things to watch in the Watchtower.
While J'onn was thinking to himself, the door opened and Wonder Woman came in. J'onn greeted her kindly.
"Good Evening, Diana."
"Good Evening, J'onn"
She smiled the sad kind of smile. She wore civilian clothes - long sleeved shirt and jeans. Her scarf hanged loosely around her neck.
"Yes… I just need to drink some tea".
"Do you wish for me to beam you down from the teleporter?"
"No. It's OK. I'll just use my jet."
"See you later J'onn"
J'onn had to follow her. This time, it wasn't entirely for the Marshmallows. It was also for his curiosity. He read her mind and saw an image of a restaurant. It's the first time he saw it. Without her knowledge, Diana's invisible jet was being tracked. J'onn had seen from his monitor that she had landed somewhere in a city… near an Indian restaurant. J'onn logged in the coordinates and beamed himself down.
In an instant, he was behind the restaurant. There were no people. Just a cat eating from a dumpster. When the cat hissed at him, he made himself invisible. Quickly, he phased through walls and landed on the street at the front.
And there she was. her scarf flapped as the wind blew in front of her. She entered the restaurant and an Indian woman greeted her. J'onn went in as well.
"Nice to see you again Ms. Theia"
"It's nice to see you again, Abhaya."
Abhaya looked behind Diana.
"You're not with Mr. Kane this evening?"
Diana made a nervous laugh.
"Not tonight. He's… off somewhere"
Abhaya made an 'oh' expressed and escorted Diana to her table. She ordered tea and the waitress was off to get it. Diana leaned on the table with her left palm on her chin. J'onn began to read her mind again.
Her memories revealed that this restaurant was their temporary refuge during the Thanagarian invasion. When an enemy patrol entered, they kissed to hide their faces. Later, they came back to this restaurant a few times more. Everytime, Bruce paid the owner to keep their visits private. Making sure that people won't intrude, they used fake names.
This tiny little restaurant was still their secret refuge... a place where they can be themselves.
When J'onn went back to reality, he found that the Amazonian's posture hasn't changed. Still alone. Still sad. She stayed like that for an hour, occasionally sipping from the colder Darjeeling tea.
Rain fell and made the mood even melancholic. The green alien felt sad for her. He wanted to come out of invisibility and comfort her as a friend but that could get things a bit complicated. The only thing he could do was to respect her privacy by leaving her alone. And he was about to do just that. Beating J'onn to it, Diana got up and paid for the tea. The waitress lent her an umbrella. Diana thanked her and promised to bring it back. The rain still poured heavily, but the princess went out anyway.
Outside, her silhouette on the window stopped abruptly. J'onn knew that she saw something. He didn't wanted to read her mind, he wanted to see it for himself.
Then, he saw the two of them.
Bruce, who also wore civilian clothes, stood in the rain. Either, he forgot an umbrella or purposely let himself get wet, J'onn didn't care. He was amazed at the sight. Only a few feet away was Diana, clutching tightly onto the handle of the umbrella. Her face was shocked and, more importantly, less downcast.
Neither said anything.
Diana approached the brooding man and covered him with her umbrella. Partly dry and partly drenched, they looked at each other like they have never seen each other for a long time... which in J'onn's opinion, was mostly true.
"And you said it was bound to fade" Diana commented. She smiled the happy kind of smile.
Bruce wore an expression that seemed to mean 'sorry' for humans.
"I just... I couldn't let it fade away."
J'onn, knowing that he'd see random images again, read Bruce's mind for the last time.
Gunshot, pearls, blood, gravestones and a bat... and a dance in Paris... and a kiss.
The Martian Manhunter smiled even though no one saw him.
No time to talk, no time to discuss, Bruce and Diana shared a gentle kiss under the umbrella. Suddenly, it became warmer under the rain. They smiled at each other knowing their moment was back. And just like that, she forgave him and he accepted her. A wordless communication and the past was forgotten. J'onn didn't have to read minds to know it. It was such a beautiful sight, even for an alien.
And all it took was one rainy night.
"You know... I was a little disappointed that no one came to spy on us" Diana said jokingly.
"Someone got that covered" Bruce muttered.
He looked around trying to find the spy.
"I heard Flash gave you twenty packs of marshmallows." Bruce started, "I'll give you a year's supply if you don't tell them what happened."
J'onn agreed to that. The Batman knew that he would.
"C'mon! Why are you so secretive all of a sudden?" Wally said in frustration.
"Yeah! you have to tell us!" Kara pleaded
Flash and Supergirl stood in front of J'onn Jonzz. They were begging. He enjoyed seeing them like that.
"I'd rather not divulge that information" the Martian finally said.
The superheroes in front of him groaned. Hawkgirl knew that none of them will ever know what happened.