Disclaimer: I do not own the characters and no monetary profit is being derived from this.
Happy New Year
A grin appeared on her beautiful face at the sight of a small speck, a piece of ticker tape that Wally missed while tidying up. The young man was probably in a hurry, no pun intended, to celebrate the holidays with his other family...the normal ones, she thought as she picked up the shimmery material, the last remnant, evidence, that this now strangely quiet space was filled with laughter and cheer a few hours back. Well, most of them had people to celebrate with...people who belonged to the other side of their lives, the other half grounded to the reality that, at the end of the day, it was comforting to know there was a place, and there was someone special waiting. Somewhere where it was nice to breathe in and exhale, once in a while, like the fate of the world did not rely on your shoulders.
She returned to J'onn's side as the Martian surveyed the numerous images in front of him and sipped on her wine, glad that things were going smoothly, that it seemed even their adversaries were taking time off from wreaking havoc. It was her mind's cue to imagine Lex opening a present from...well, himself, and Grodd eating all the banana split he could have.
"I would love a pint of cookies and cream myself," the Martian mused, after hearing her thoughts.
"You know what, hold that thought...I seem to remember..." She flew off to the almost empty cafeteria save for a handful of leaguers and interns. In a speed that would make Wally proud, she was able to prepare a large serving of sundae with the remaining vanilla ice cream and crushed Oreo cookies before placing a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top. Grabbing a dessert spoon, she flew back to the monitor womb.
"What do they say? Merry...Christmas and a Happy New Year, J'onn."
The green face smiled warmly, "Thank you, Diana. This is definitely a great way to start the year. Why don't we share this? This is good enough for two, even three..."
She held up her wine glass. "I have to decline. I made that mistake once, when Kal bought me a peace offering, a huge serving, as in the largest, tallest glass of milkshake ever just after..."
"You had wine."
She sighed at the remembrance and tried to keep a straight face under her friend's all-too-knowing gaze. The wine...the impromptu Christmas dinner where Kal and Lois unexpectedly and conveniently were absent from...the awkward moments, as if getting to know Bruce again stage. Hera...it had been so long since they talked to each other, since they were that close together. How long has it been? It had been so long that she missed even his rudeness, the way he would sometimes bark at her through the communicator, or his indifference.
Not that she had no hand in driving the wedge to widen the space, after all she had to go back to Themyscira for a while to attend to her duties a few years ago, then she asked for assignments that were not at all within communicator distance. She needed to do that partly because...she needed to free herself from the confusion, of what she really meant to him. Because just when she thought she was just over-imagining things, he would do something that would say otherwise...something he would never admit to.
But the years between served only to form a gap she did not knew would exist between them.
And then there was that night, the night that was the precursor of the new year's eve dinner invitation that she was still debating with herself whether to attend or not.
"Are you free new year's eve?" were his words.
She remembered thinking hard about it. "Monitor duty."
"J'onn can handle it." He seemed too sure. "I really would like for you to join me for dinner."
"I don't think it's a good idea-"
"We really need to talk, Diana..."
"Yes." She let that moment pass and smiled. "And for the love of Zeus, I never thought a bad case of tummy problems...would affect me that way. I mean, I could hold my alcohol...but just not before any dairy product."
"You know..." J'onn started, before staring at the globe that spun perfectly along an invisible axis. "Since it has a different time zone, it's a good few minutes away before the fireworks happen down there in Gotham. You can make it with time to spare if you leave now."
She was trying to consider...biting her lip in indecision, and at the implication of her acceptance.
"Diana...wasn't this what you have been waiting for?"
She sighed once more. "J'onn...I have waited for this for so long that suddenly..."
"You are scared."
"No..." she faced the inquiring orange eyes and admitted. "I am terrified."
"Maybe..." A green hand reached out and held hers for assurance, as J'onn's face smiled at her. "...he feels the same."
Five minutes later...
A soft gust of the cold night air breezed past her as the delicate fabric of her dress danced with the wind. Her hands felt the cold stone balustrade while she stared at the star studded expanse of dark sky, trying to appease a certain amount of apprehension that was brought about by the moment. A nervous smile played at the corners of her lips as she thought about the absurdity of her feelings at the moment, for Hera's sake she was a warrior after all. And the fact that J'onn's words might have some truth...since he could read minds.
The faint sound of footsteps and the slight squeak of the old hinges of the French doors made her compose her emotions and reel in her thoughts to the present.
"It's a beautiful evening..." Bruce started while handing her a glass of wine and she had to smile. "What?"
"I...just remembered that I have been drinking a lot tonight..."
"Are you feeling alright?" he sounded concerned.
"Yes," she answered abruptly. "I have a high tolerance for alcohol..."
"You sound disappointed."
He smiled. "Just kidding. Of course, I know that."
She studied his handsome face as he stood an arm's length away. He was not Batman tonight, he was Bruce Wayne. But not the Bruce Wayne the world knew but the Bruce Wayne only a few people knew, the proud and all-knowing, sensitive/insensitive jerk...her colleague, her friend...the selfless mortal whom she had fallen in love with a long time ago.
"I still know a lot of things that I thought I had forgotten..."
She knew the meaning behind his words because she felt that too, about how lines appear on his forehead when he raises his brow, about how the left corner of his lip turns up when he smirks, how silver specks light up the blue of his eyes when he smiles...and how her heart jumped so when he did.
And as his eyes smiled at her, there was a part of her that wished for the black cowl to hide half of his face and the lens to hide his blue eyes...because his stare was unnerving.
Though he was the first to look away. "I...there was a moment I thought you will not arrive."
"And miss the fireworks?" She sipped on her wine.
"So it was just about the fireworks then," he feigned hurt.
"And the food," she held up her long stemmed glass. "Don't forget the booze."
He laughed. And she had to take it back. She would not trade the genuine look of laughter on his face for anything.
His face sobered but there was still something in his gaze that tempted her from looking away. "How about the company?" he asked in his deep voice.
She wanted to say something funny, or vague, or out of context. "And the company, of course." But she had to say that. And the way she said it made all the difference. Maybe all that alcohol was finally getting to her...
Little by little, she felt him lean towards her, his face ever so slowly coming close that she could feel his breath fanning her skin. But before their lips could meet, there was a flickering light above that was followed by a distant exploding boom. She abruptly turned away to her right and stepped a few feet from him to marvel at the dancing lights that decorated the sky.
How she loved fireworks.
In that moment, she allowed herself the luxury to enjoy the spectacle, temporary erasing all the cruelty, evilness, temporary blocking out the tears, the pain and suffering on people's faces, on children's countenances, that were forever etched in her memory...if only to make her stronger for the next fight.
Right now, she was just an ordinary woman...smiling silly at the sight of fireworks, with the man she loved by her side.
At that thought, she stole a glance his way and saw him looking at her. Before raising her gaze to the colourful play of lights above again.
"You are missing the beauty of it all."
"No...I am not," she heard him whisper, in a voice he very well knew she would hear. "I'm looking at it."
She laughed nervously as she turned to him. "Bruce...you are cheesier than..."
He stepped closer. "Than Wally?"
He was studying her face so close that she could see the reflection of the fireworks in his eyes.
"Than...a cheese plate."
He was fighting off a grin to which he lost. And the gentle smile on his face, the sincerity of it all...it was breathtaking than a thousand fireworks.
"You are missing the beauty of it all," he echoed her words.
She smiled and gave in to the moment. "No...I am not. I'm looking at it."
He lifted a hand tucked wayward strands of hair behind her ear. "There are things I thought I had forgotten...but I haven't." He was touching her face gently before tilting her chin. "And I probably never will."
"Neither will I," she breathed against him.
When his lips touched hers, the rush of emotions made almost everything fade into the distant background, and the tiniest bit of doubt inside her mind about the way he truly felt for her was erased. Almost all was forgotten, except the feeling of being kissed by him, of having his arms around her, the feeling of his heart beating fast...but in tune with hers, creating a sound only love could put together.
And when they stilled to look at each other's faces, it was only then that she noticed the fireworks had finished.
It echoed something that she was terrified of...of having him as fleetingly, and losing him just like how the fireworks illuminated then disappeared from the sky...leaving nothing but smoke. And grief.
But it was better than not having him at all. And J'onn was right, it was something she had waited for...for a very long time.
"I thought I was fine...with you, from afar..."
"I thought that too," she replied.
"I told myself...I'd give it a few years. Then I'd forget."
It was a forlorn thought, of him forgetting about her, of not allowing himself the chance to feel strongly.
"But I never did. I'm sorry, Diana..."
"You do not have to be sorry for anything."
"Yes, I do," he admitted. "I pushed you away."
"You were...being logical."
"I was being a coward."
"I was scared too," she whispered as a soft gust of wind touched her face.
"No, not scared..." his deep voice admitted. "I was terrified."
She moved away so that she could look straight into his eyes, the very blue orbs...and his face, an image that had been long burned into her heart. She did not need to be reminded why he felt that way for she understood. With the lives they lived, he was terrified for all the same reasons as she was.
He reached out for her hand. "I know I'm too old for this..."
"We..." she stressed the pronoun. "We are too old for this."
He moved so that they were facing each other. "So I'm going to be blunt."
She pouted, "That's not necessarily new coming from-"
"I love you."
The words came out all of a sudden that it was hard to take it all in. It felt as if her heart jumped from her chest to her throat.
"Diana..." He looked amused.
And she was trying hard not to grin from ear to ear.
"I have loved you for a very long time. And I know it is too much to ask but I'll ask anyway...will you still give me the chance?"
It was one of the few moments that she saw him unsure of the situation, of himself.
"But before you answer..." He grinned before pressing something on his watch. Then suddenly, the night was lit up once more with colourful fireworks. "I need a back up, just in case."
She laughed, but this time her eyes stayed on his face and not at the sky. His face was all that she needed to see. Then she linked her hands behind his neck and kissed him, with a kiss that told him all he needed to know.
"That had to be a yes," he breathed.
"Yes." She rested her face on her shoulders as they watched the sky above them. "And I love you too."
She was not looking at his face, but she could feel him smile.
"Happy new year, Diana."
She felt him kiss her forehead. A new year, a new beginning.
"Happy new year," she smiled.
And happy new year again, J'onn...
Happy new year.