TITLE: Just Another Day
CHARACTERS: Batman / Wonder Woman
WARNINGS: Author Chooses Not to Use Warnings
DISCLAIMER: I love Justice League, but especially Batman and Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, I do not own the characters and if I did things would be much different for them.
SUMMARY: To Bruce, it was just another day, but Diana manages to help him see that it can be so much more if he lets it. BM/WW
Just Another Day
"Don't even say it," Bruce growled with a quiet ferocity that spoke louder than a lion's roar in only four little words.
Tim instantly froze like a statue, his mouth hanging wide open as he stood behind Bruce's chair trying to weigh his options. He could continue down this path with what he had been on the verge of saying before Bruce had so rudely cut him off or he could just value his young life, close his mouth, and keep right on going.
He had always liked living a little on the dangerous side, but today he decided differently. "Alright then…I guess I'll see you out on patrol. I'm heading off to see Barbara first. She added some sweet upgrades to my IPad."
Bruce grunted in response, something between a snort and a growl that caused Tim to shake his head in disbelief. He knew that was the only reaction he was going to receive from his mentor-father. He couldn't believe he could be so ill-tempered especially on a day like today. Tim had always been so excited about his own so he couldn't imagine being so gruff and apathetic about it.
Hearing Tim's retreating footsteps, Bruce paused in his typing to rub his face with his hands, inhaling deeply. He had managed to avoid it all day—sleeping in late, going to the Watchtower to do some security upgrades for a few hours, returning home for an intense workout before cleaning up and preparing to head out on patrol.
Everything had gone perfectly up until this point. He'd even avoided going into the office knowing that his secretary had probably gotten him a cake or something. Now, if he could just survive the next four hours, he would be home free.
The beeping on his cell phone pulled him from his thoughts, alerting him that he had an incoming message. It made his chest clench in sudden apprehension. "Maybe not so home free," he silently grumbled to himself.
Picking it up, he saw that it was his eldest son Dick. Reading the first word of the text message, Bruce abruptly punched the delete button, completely erasing it. He tossed his phone aside with a fierce growl as he returned to his pre-patrol research.
He knew everyone meant well, but he didn't want to be reminded of what today truly meant. He had an endless stream of nightmares that visited him every single night that told him that his life would never again be the same. It was easier to just tell himself today was an ordinary day without remembering what it used to be like before his world had fallen apart.
Standing from his chair, Bruce made his way to his endless cache of gadgets and supplies. Laying out his utility belt, he began to meticulously check each compartment, restocking and thinking through the patrol that awaited him tonight. Lifting his hand towards the container of Batbombs, he paused for a split second, sensing the presence of his next, and hopefully his last, obstacle for the evening.
A fierce scowl quickly formed as he continued with the task at hand. "No, Alfred," Bruce adamantly stated. "I've told you before I don't want anything so don't even try."
Alfred had allowed him to spend his day acting like a petulant child, refusing to acknowledge what today was just like he had done every other year in the past, but he wasn't going to let him get away with it any longer. "You know what today is whether you like it or not."
"Friday," Bruce retorted as he wrapped his utility belt around his waist.
"It's not just Friday and you know it whether you choose to accept it or not, Master Bruce."
His jaw was set with that familiar stubborn determination, a physical indication that he didn't want to talk about any of this and wasn't about to. "I chose not to."
"So you're just going to go out on patrol early to avoid the fact that today is—"
"Yes, I am," he interrupted him before the British butler could finish his sentence. He didn't want to think about it let alone hear it being uttered out loud. "It's just another day, Alfred. Same as yesterday and just like tomorrow will be so why don't we just forget about it?"
"It may be to you, but it is not to me and definitely not to your parents. To those of us who care about you, it is far more than that and you know it," he sternly reminded him. "I'll have you know it was the happiest day of your parents' lives. That alone should be sufficient enough to make you a little more receptive to everyone's well-wishes. Without this day thirty-seven years ago, you wouldn't be here, young man."
Bruce drew a weary breath of mounting irritation with his surrogate father's logic. He just wanted to get out of here, to disappear into the city that he loved and protected with his life instead of here arguing with Alfred about something that seemed to matter to everyone but him.
This was the exact same argument that they had every year at this time, always ending the same way with him going out on patrol in a surly mood and Alfred exasperated beyond measure. He had managed to avoid this dispute this morning, but hadn't managed to escape it tonight.
"Good night, Alfred," Bruce curtly responded, making sure the butler knew the argument was over.
"What would you have me do with all the cards that have arrived for you today?" Alfred asked. "Leslie, Barbara, Veronica Vreeland—they've all sent you well-wishes along with almost a hundred others."
"Put them with last year's," Bruce replied with a frown as he adjusted his gauntlets.
"You do realize the pile has grown over the years to quite a massive collection of unopened cards. I'm going to have to move them to another wing of the manor to store them all."
Bruce shrugged in indifference as he turned towards the Batmobile. "Then throw them away."
"You know one of these days, someone special is going to come along and force you to see that today is worth celebrating. You might not think you are worthy of all this attention, but—" Alfred yelled after him, his brow furrowed with annoyance as well as frustration as Bruce climbed into the Batmobile and slammed the car door closed, abruptly cutting him off. "Damn obstinate arse."
Despite how much his surrogate son pushed him to the very limits of his gentlemanly patience, Alfred couldn't help but love him. He worried about him constantly, fretted over him every night he left to fulfill a promise made at his parents' grave so many years ago. He was like his own son though born not of his flesh and blood. He couldn't possibly love him any less.
Slowly shaking his head in defeat as the Batmobile's engine roared to life, Alfred finally turned to leave the cave to return upstairs to the manor and a soothing cup of Earl Grey tea. He sincerely hoped for Bruce's sake that someone would be able to break through that man's formidable walls, be able to look past the brusque icy exterior to reach the terrified little boy that had been hiding inside of him all these years.
A smile caused his lips to curve slightly as he ascended the stairs, thoughts of a certain tenacious Amazon princess drifting through his mind. There was not a single doubt in his mind that she would be the one who would be able to get through to the equally willful Batman.
If anyone could make that obstinate man finally see he was deserving of happiness in his life, it would be her.
Batman soared through the Gotham night, enjoying the rush of wind against his face. Supported by nothing more than a thin cable as he swung from one rooftop to the next, his mood was prickly and menacing at best, even more so than was usual for him on any given night.
Tonight, though, was different because of the day that it was.
He knew that Alfred meant well in trying to push him into accepting what today represented. He even appreciated it to some extent, everyone's attempts to wish him well and show him that they cared, but it was inconsequential. It was a day that Bruce would sooner just forget than ever consider commemorating.
It wasn't that he didn't appreciate his life or even wished that he had never been born. Despite losing his parents, he enjoyed his life for the most part. Although he would rather that some things were different, he was happy…or as happy he could be with what life had dealt him.
When he had been a little boy, today had always been his favorite day next to Christmas, always looking forward to it with wide-eyed anticipation and barely contained excitement. His parents had made it so special from the moment he woke to the moment he went to sleep that night. Each year was never celebrated in the same way, always making him wonder what they would do the next year.
Since losing them, though, it had become just another day that he wanted more than anything to forget, tossing it aside with all of the holidays that had once meant something to him. Now, every day was ordinary, unimportant and average in every sense of the word.
Today only meant that another year had gone by—another year older…another year alone and another year closer to being that old cantankerous man he had met in the future. It was signified with a couple more fine lines around his eyes, a few more aches in his joints to go with another series of hideous scars that he'd accumulated since this same day last year.
He was slightly slower than the year before, his reflexes probably not as quick, making him that much easier of a target for the criminal underworld that thrived in the darkness of Gotham to eliminate. He would definitely do everything in his power to make it that much harder for them despite how old he was. Nothing was going to change that. His steel will wouldn't allow it.
Landing on top of a large building, Batman retracted his grappling line, pausing to peer over the edge of the roof. He propped his black boot up on the ornate ledge that decorated it, watching the hustle and bustle of an active Friday night life in Gotham.
Couples walked together, hand in hand, a man with an arm around a woman's shoulder. Their heads were close together, sharing secrets and murmuring words of love. He felt an unexpected tug on his heart, one that he chose to ignore just like he chose to ignore what this day signified as memories of that gruff older version of himself lingered in his mind.
All alone, no one to share his life with. He had grown into a recluse, colder and harder around the edges than even Bruce had thought was possible for him to become, but he had seen a small crack in that icy façade. He hadn't missed the look in that older Bruce's eyes when he had seen Diana standing there before him. Even he had felt his longing, shared it with him.
Bruce quickly filed away the intense feelings that the memory evoked in him, pushed it aside into the dark recesses of his heart and mind along with today's date. Happiness and love was meant for others, not him. He was too dark, too broken to fall in love or share his life with someone like Diana.
He used today's date to rekindle his commitment to his mission, hardening his resolve to continue the fight no matter the cost to him instead of dwelling on what was missing from his life.
Her name drifted through his mind like a swirling vapor refusing to disperse, wafting through him and finding its way into his heart. She was never far from his thoughts despite how hard he tried to fight it, always lingering there in the corners of his mind and assaulting him when he least expected it which turned out to be quite frequently. Sometimes several times an hour depending on the day and usually meeting him every night in his dreams.
She always managed to invade his thoughts at any given moment like a thief threatening to rob him of everything he had. She had been stealing from him ever since he'd first met her – stealing his attention, his thoughts, every single defense that he'd ever created to protect his heart and keep everyone out. She'd stolen his breath more times than he could possibly begin to count.
And then she had managed to do the one thing that he'd never expected – she'd stolen his heart.
When she was near him, he felt alive…whole and at total peace, but when she wasn't with him, he felt so hollow and cold inside, empty and alone. She knew all of his flaws, his dark secrets and she still seemed to want to be with him, flirting with him and continuing the dance that had begun almost from their very first meeting.
He felt a sense of loneliness unexpectedly creep over him, one that he didn't want to feel right now or dwell on. On this day of all days, the day that he most wanted to avoid, he found himself missing her. He wanted to see her. It had been part of the reason he had gone to the Watchtower this afternoon, though he was loathe to admit it to anyone. He had gone only to find she had been called away on a mission.
Batman softly cursed to himself as he shook his head. He was acting like a love-sick schoolboy. She couldn't possibly feel the same way about him that he felt for her, sharing the intense emotions that seemed bent on rending him in two sometimes. He didn't deserve a happily-ever-after, especially with someone as innocent and amazing as she was. He fought every night so everyone else could have the life that he couldn't or wouldn't allow himself to have.
Batman suddenly bristled with the knowledge that he was no longer alone, immediately knowing who had arrived. He released an annoyed sigh though he actually wasn't for the first time that day. "What are you doing in my city, Princess?"
The familiar deep grating rumble that greeted her created a surge of attraction towards him instead of the typical fear everyone else experienced. She ducked her head slightly, mostly out of sudden nervousness then true remorse for being here.
"I was actually hoping to catch you earlier today when you were on the 'Tower, but I ended up in Indonesia up until an hour ago," Diana confessed.
There was an uncertain tension in her voice that made Batman turn away from the busy streets of Gotham to finally face the Amazon princess. He was somewhat startled to find that she appeared almost nervous and unsure of herself. It was so unlike the confident warrior that he had come to care so deeply for though he refused to give voice to it.
She was standing before him in that uniform that had led to many nights filled with fevered fantasies and painful arousal being left unfulfilled and leaving him wanting. She stood with her hands behind her back. A look of pure innocence graced her beautiful face, but it was the brightness that lit her brilliant sapphire eyes despite the dark veil of night that had captured his attention.
There was something swimming in those striking blue eyes that instantly set his heart to pounding against his formidable will. She seemed as though she was trying to keep something hidden from him, but was managing to break through her defenses as well.
Was it affection? Attraction? Love? It intrigued him, causing him to take an involuntary step closer to her as they stared at one another. "Something I can do for you, Princess?"
His deep baritone seemed to softly echo off the gargoyles positioned along the perimeter of the building's roof, silent witnesses of something that had been simmering and escalating for a long time now. The air practically crackled around them with the sexual tension they generated, becoming hotter than the sun itself any time they were near one another.
Diana brought her right arm out from behind her back to shyly tuck a raven lock behind her ear as she averted her eyes under his intense scrutinizing gaze, her mind racing with all the possible things that he could definitely do for her.
"Well, I know you don't celebrate it, but I know what today is and I really didn't know if you would accept a gift from me or not," she explained, pausing to draw a deep fortifying breath before continuing as if heading into battle. She couldn't help but wonder where these butterflies had come from that were flying fast and furious in the pit of her stomach.
"What is today, Diana?" he asked, amused by her anxious rambling.
"I know today is special and I didn't mean that you wouldn't accept a gift from me. You just might not accept it because of what day it really is and I know how painful it must be for you…"
Batman couldn't help the smirk that tugged at the corners of her lips as Diana rambled on and on. It was so unlike her to be so nervous around him. It was adorable as hell and incredibly endearing in an unexpected way. He was so attracted to her that all his ludicrous reasons for not being with her were swiftly forgotten along with the bitter annoyance he'd been harboring all day.
He found himself closing the distance between them, suddenly wondering who was the spider and who was the fly now as he his gauntleted hand came to rest against her cheek in an effort to calm her. She just looked so damn sexy standing there in the moonlight, her silken hair so lustrous and her red lips begging to be ravaged.
"…and I didn't want to bring up painful memories for you, but I really wanted to give you something special," she anxiously continued to explain, trying to keep the small tremors inside at bay with the feel of his glove resting so intimately against her cheek. This was the closest he had come to showing any sort of true affection towards her in a long time. "I know it's not much, but I still hope you like it."
"What is it?" he asked with that smug smirk of his playing on his face, his hand falling away from her face.
Diana's brow furrowed in confusion as she tried to figure out how the night had unexpectedly grown so very warm. "What?"
"My gift, Princess," he clarified, leaning in slightly and noticing her flustered reaction to his close proximity.
It turned him on even more being able to see what he did to her by hardly doing anything at all. In fact, it was very vindicating for all the times that her smile had made his heart leap into his throat, her voice or her laughter caused tingles to race up his spine or how even her fleeting touch could cause him to nearly forget his own name.
"Oh…right," she murmured in embarrassment, pulling her left arm out from behind her back to reveal a neatly wrapped box. "It's really nothing big, but I thought you might like it."
Batman took the box from her, his stomach doing flips and making him wonder why he was the one who was nervous now. All of the anger and bitterness he'd carried with him all day had vanished in the wake of her warm presence. In its place, he felt nothing but contentment and an overwhelming desire for her that refused to be silenced or extinguished. It was only growing stronger with every passing moment.
He pulled the brightly colored ribbon and wrapping paper away, periodically glancing up at the woman standing before him. He watched behind the concealed safety of his cowled lenses as she slowly raked her teeth over her bottom lip in anticipation of his reaction, her gaze focused on the box in his hand. It was all he could do not to kiss her senseless right there.
Lifting the lid of the box, Bruce was stunned to find a very impressive looking dagger. He carefully picked it up, allowing the box and wrapping paper to fall to the ground forgotten as he studied the gift. It was obviously very old…ancient more than likely and finely handcrafted. It had to have come from Themyscira, maybe even Hephaestus himself, making it a priceless artifact.
"Diana…I…I don't know what to say," he murmured, trying to make his brain work. It was difficult, though, with the amount of love he was feeling for this beautiful woman. "I can't accept this."
He finally looked up into her face to find her eyes filled with hurt, the excitement of a moment ago completely gone. "Why not?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper as she tried to hide her disappointment. "Don't you like it?"
"No, I love it, but this is too much, Princess," he quickly explained as he held the dagger in his hand by the hilt, testing its weight and balance. It was truly an exquisite weapon. "It's just far too valuable for you to give up."
Her face brightened slightly with his explanation. "Nonsense, I want you to have it. It's a ceremonial battle dagger that is possessed by only the best warriors on Themyscira. There aren't very many of them. I won this one by defeating Artemis about two hundred years ago."
"But this belongs to you, Diana. You won it," he countered as the last impenetrable wall that still protected his heart came crumbling down. "I can't take something so special from you."
Diana tentatively lifted her hand, her slender fingers slowly wrapping around his hand that held the hilt of the dagger. "It is very special to me, but so are you. You are the most gifted warrior that I have ever met since coming to Man's World. You have a true warrior's heart though you are a mortal man. I want you to have it, Bruce. I care deeply for you and it would mean a lot to me if you accepted this gift."
The confession had slipped past her lips before she had been able to stop it. She felt her cheeks instantly grow rather warm with the accidental admission, but every word of it had been true. He was very special to her, more than he could possibly begin to know. She loved him, every part of him, but she wasn't certain how he truly felt about her. He always managed to hide his feeling so well, making him the most difficult man to read.
Bruce slowly shook his head in disbelief as he weighed her words. No one had ever given him such an extraordinary gift like this before, one that had carried so much value not just monetarily but in so many other ways as well. She had managed to touch his heart in a way that he hadn't expected, not just with the gift but with her words as well.
"I'm very honored, Princess," he softly replied as he stared at her hand still covering his on the hilt of the dagger. "I'll always treasure it."
Looking up into her face, he was rewarded with the most dazzling smile, one that seemed to obliterate the very darkness that encompassed them. Before he knew what he was doing, his free hand was tangling in her hair, his mouth moving to cover hers in a kiss. It took only a handful of seconds for it to grow more passionate as his arms snaked around her, her arms coming to rest around his neck.
He drew her close against his armored body, feeling the heat of her even through his uniform. He never wanted this kiss to end as he poured every bit of his heart into that connection with her, savoring the taste of her on his tongue and the feel of her powerful yet feminine frame in his arms.
Their lips tangled until the need for air became far too demanding to ignore, forcing them apart. Bruce rested his forehead against hers as he struggled to catch the breath that she had just stolen. His desire for much more was consuming him, but he wasn't sure if she was truly ready for more with him or if she even wanted it though her gift was a fairly decent indication of how she felt about him.
"If I would've known I'd get a reaction from you like that, I would've given you my sword and battle ax too," she lightly teased, fearing he would pull away from her now; regret the heated kiss they had just shared. She's couldn't bear that, not now after tasting him like this.
Bruce couldn't help but chuckle softly with her flirtatious teasing. "No, this is absolutely perfect," he reassured her, pulling back to gaze into her eyes. "Thank you, Princess. It's the best gift that I've ever received."
Diana reluctantly began to pull away from him, not wanting to push him too far too soon. Tonight, she'd received far more than she could have ever dreamed of, confessing more than she had planned on, but that toe-curling kiss had made it more than worth it.
"I guess I should be going," she told him, already missing the warmth of his touch and the feel of his lips against hers. "You have patrol and besides, I'm technically not allowed to set foot in Gotham. Bruce Wayne would be absolutely furious with me if he knew I was here right now."
He could see the mischief in the playful smile that had formed on her lips, warming him clear to his toes even more so than that kiss already had. Her eyes burned with warm desire and an expectant hope that was impossible to miss, causing his own desire for her to smolder even hotter. He found he missed her already and she hadn't even left him yet. He ached to kiss her again, more than eager to fully taste every inch of her.
"You know I might be able to talk Wayne into making an exception to his rule, Princess," he found himself saying as she turned away from him, not wanting her to leave him yet.
Diana stopped, pausing to look back over her shoulder with a curious quirk of a raven eyebrow and tilt of her head before turning back towards him. "Really? Do you know him?"
"Better than you might think," he teased, his hand coming to rest at the nape of her neck to keep her where he wanted her. "He can be a real hard ass sometimes despite his alleged playboy ways."
"And here I thought the hard ass in Gotham was you," she coyly replied with a grin, trying to fight the way that he was making her weak in the knees just with his close proximity alone or the way she feel his cowled gaze practically boring straight through her.
Batman chuckled softly in response, wondering how she always managed to make him feel such happiness and hope and desire all at once. She was like the calm eye in the middle of the firestorm that lived in his soul. No one else in his life had ever been able to do that for him. It confounded and astonished him to no end.
"Well, I don't like to brag," he replied with a cocky smirk that was so incongruous to the terror-inducing uniform he wore.
It was Diana's turn to laugh, wondering where this lighthearted side was coming from. She had expected to give him the gift, receive a grunted thank-you and a somewhat frosty dismissal from his city, returning to the Watchtower to a lonely bed. This was totally unexpected, but most definitely not unwelcomed.
"I guess I should let you get back to your patrol," she tried again, hoping that he would ask her to…
"Stay," he told her, not wanting her to leave.
"Are you sure?"
"I want you to keep me company on patrol tonight," he insisted. "If that's not enough to tempt you then maybe Alfred's Saturday morning blackberry crepes will convince you."
Her lips curled into a delighted smile, her blue practically sparkling. "You had me with 'stay', but you pretty much sealed the deal with the mention of Alfred's crepes."
"Good," he said with a satisfied grin, more than pleased with the unexpected turn of events.
This day had turned out so much better than he had anticipated or could have ever dreamed. He couldn't help but wonder where all his steel resolve to keep her out had suddenly vanished to, but glancing down at the dagger still clutched in his left hand, he had a pretty good idea. She had given him something that was a part of herself and in doing so had unlocked a part of him that he had locked away.
"So, tell me all about this battle with Artemis and spare no details," he told her.
Diana laughed with his request, her hands coming to rest on either side of his jaw, wishing she could pull back his cowl and look into those piercing blue eyes that she loved, but she would take what she could get right now.
"First things first," she murmured. "Happy birthday, Bruce."
She didn't give him a chance to reply as her lips met his in a sweet kiss, one that was slow and teasing and hinted at so much more to come if he played his cards right tonight. He couldn't help but moan softly as he melted into her kiss, returning it with equal desire.
"Yes, it is a very happy birthday indeed," he decided, the best that he'd had a very long time.
THE END (?)