TITLE: Lazaretto


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: After being exposed to an experimental bioterrorism agent during a mission, Batman and Wonder Woman are forced into isolation together on the Watchtower, but will they be able to find an antidote before it's too late? Pre-BMWW.

Chapter 1

Nubian Desert, June 16th, 22:37 EET

A sudden gust of wind invaded the scorched desert of Sudan, creating tiny cyclones of the sand that swirled and danced about them. Even though the sun had set hours go, there was still heat rising up from the ground despite the coolness of the air that surrounded them.

The desert was very still, almost eerily so; the only sound that of some vultures in the distance feeding on something as the trio waited in tense silence. Some, however, were waiting far more patiently than others at that moment.

"How much longer?" Flash whined.

"As long as it takes," Batman hissed something low and threatening. "We need to wait until Wonder Woman is back from her recon before we can go in."

"Man, I have got to go," Flash grumbled under his breath, dancing from one foot to the other like a restless child.

"You should have gone before we left the Watchtower," Batman rasped, casting a dark glower back over his shoulder at the speedster though he knew he could barely see it in the dark.

"I did go before we left, but we've been here for two hours already," Flash argued.

Green Lantern snorted in amusement as he stood next to Flash, his arms folded across his muscular chest. "Run back to the Javelin and take care of it. Just make it quick. As soon as Diana gets back, we're moving in with or without you."

"Great!" Wally exclaimed in relief. "I'll be back in two seconds."

"You better be or I will personally remove your—" Batman began to threaten only to be interrupted by Lantern.

"Don't bother," John interjected. "He's long gone."

Batman growled low in his throat, his lips twisting into a sneer as he held up his binoculars once more to study the large structure spreading out before him almost a mile away. He had gotten some solid information that something illegal was going on in this compound in the Nubian Desert in Sudan, possibly terrorist in nature. He wanted to gather more information before they ended up encountering more than they had bargained for.

"You sure about this information you received?" John asked from his position directly behind him.

"It's solid," Batman flatly stated without further explanation as he continued to survey the compound.

"It had better be," John muttered with a sigh. "If we go in there and find nothing but a bakery, this is going to have international incident written all over it."

"Trust me," Batman said as he put his binoculars away, turning to face Green Lantern. "They aren't making pastries in there."

"Alright," John sighed with a nod of his head. "I'm all in."

"Whew!" Flash exclaimed as he came to a sudden stop beside John. "You guys forgot to remind me we parked the Javelin like twenty miles from here."

"That distance shouldn't have been a problem for you," Lantern pointed out with a frown.

"It is when your bladder is about it explode," Flash groused.

Batman's scowl darkened even further as he glared at Flash in abject disapproval, his gaze never once leaving the speedster's face. "You might want to remove the piece of toilet paper from the bottom of your boot before we enter the compound."

Flash quickly looked down to find a string of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his boot, Green Lantern shaking his head in utter amazement. "Clean yourself up before someone sees you," John reprimanded him. "We can't take you out anywhere in public."

Flash lifted his boot, pulling the offending paper free and wadding it up into a ball. He looked first at Green Lantern then at Batman whose sneer only managed to grow more terrifying if that was even a possibility. "Don't even think about it," Batman threatened with a deadly grating voice as he turned his back to him.

"But I don't have any pockets," Flash complained. "What am I supposed to do with it?"

"I'll tell you where you can stick it," Green Lantern told him with a frown.

Batman turned his head slightly as if picking up on something. "Diana's back."

As if on cue, Wonder Woman landed on the sandy ground with her three teammates a couple of moments later as Flash turned to Lantern in complete shock. "How does he do that?"

"Creepy, isn't it?" John snorted in agreement.

Batman immediately noticed the grim expression veiling Diana's face. "What is it?"

"It's very odd," she replied with a disconcerted shake of her head, her hands coming to rest on her hips. "There are no signs of any guards and it doesn't appear to be armed with any weapons or high-tech security that I could see. Either this place isn't what you were told it was or someone went to great lengths to make it look unassuming."

"It's the latter," Batman swore. "My information is sound. There is something definitely terroristic in nature going on behind those walls."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Flash asked, rubbing his hands together after stuffing the toilet paper into his boot. "Let's bust some heads together."

"Diana and I will go in from the south while you two enter from the north," Batman instructed them.

Flash leaned over towards Lantern, placing the side of his hand at the corner of his mouth as he whispered to John. "And who here is surprised that neither of us are partnered with the princess?"

John just rolled his eyes, predicting the same thing but not stupid enough to say it out loud. Everyone knew about the growing attraction between Batman and Wonder Woman except for the Dark Knight himself who was either too callous to notice it or was choosing to ignore it completely. John knew Bruce was just trying to ignore it, but it was rapidly becoming next to impossible even for the Dark Knight to disregard.

Even though he had heard every word Flash had said, Batman continued on, refusing to acknowledge him. "Gather as much information as you can and be careful. Whatever is being manufactured here is deadly."

Flash abruptly stood ramrod straight, giving Batman his best military salute before relaxing and turning his attention to his partner in crime. "Last one to the compound is a rotten egg."

"Hey, this isn't a race," John growled as he took off after the speedster leaving Diana and Batman all alone in the darkness of night.

Batman could sense something was still bothering Diana, her expression as well as her posture tense with apprehension. "What is it, Princess?"

She slowly shook her head, her brow furrowed in thought as she struggled to find the right words to explain. "I'm not sure," she murmured. "I just have a bad feeling about this for some reason."

"Don't worry, Diana," he attempted to reassure her as they began to head towards the south entrance though he felt little confidence in his own words at that moment. "We'll be in and out of there in no time. You'll be back on the Watchtower and getting ready for bed before you know it."

"You still have to patrol Gotham tonight, don't you?"

"Robin and Nightwing are there now," he revealed, casting a glance at her. "I'll join them as soon as I'm done here. I have information that Poison Ivy is planning something big. I need to follow up on some more leads."

"You could have stayed in Gotham," she replied. "We could have handled this ourselves."

"No," he responded sharply and a little too quickly. It caused her to look over at him in confusion. He could feel the question in her gaze. "If this is as huge as I think it is, I need to be here with you."

Diana noticed the way he had said "you" instead of "the team", but didn't press it. She already knew his absolute refusal to pursue any sort of relationship with her beyond friendship despite the fact that they continued to skirt around the sexual attraction that sparked like fireworks every time they were together.

She also knew that he kept very close tabs on her whenever she went out no matter what kind of mission it was. It irked her to no end that Bruce always felt the needed to keep track of everything she did as if she was some child who couldn't take care of herself. He didn't track Kal's every movement or stick close to him during missions.

It wasn't until J'onn had informed her that it wasn't her ability to take care of herself that was in question, but Batman's fear for her safety. It was at that moment that she had begun to appreciate the fact that Bruce did seem to care about her in his own way even though he refused to give voice to it or act on those feelings that he chose to keep locked away.

"So where did you get your intel on this facility?" she asked.

Batman gave her an almost sheepish look that was more than obvious despite the fact that half of his face was covered by his cowl. "Question."

Diana nearly tripped over her own red boots with his unexpected response, her eyes widening in shock. "Bruce! Really?" she softly scolded him.

He kept his gaze focused straight ahead, but could feel her incredulous stare practically burning a hole straight through the side of his head. "I know what you're thinking, Princess, and I was skeptical at first too until I did some digging myself. I found evidence of suspicious shipments being sent from all over the world to a phony company in Cairo before being transported here to this site."

Diana thought for a long moment before responding. "It does sound rather strange. Do you have any ideas about what they're developing here?"

"None," he admitted with a disgruntled sigh, "but like you I have a gut feeling this could turn out to be one of our worst nightmares yet. That's why we need to gather as much information as possible and get out of there."

Diana only nodded in response as she considered his words, knowing they needed to maintain silence as they drew closer to the compound. She couldn't suppress the icy chill of dread that caused her to internally shudder despite herself. There were times when she actually thought that she had seen just about the worst that Man's World could possibly offer. It was usually at those moments when she was proven very wrong and she had a feeling tonight wasn't going to be any different.

Batman could feel the tension rising in her, but he knew that she would handle this mission and whatever they were about to find with the utmost proficiency and intelligence. It was one of the main reasons that he had chosen her to come on the mission with him.

He knew the tension she carried was deeply rooted in anger with the levels of depravity man could sink to, but instead of allowing it to make her bitter and cynical like him, she managed to use it to her advantage. Like him, however, she used it to sharpen her focus on her mission, to drive her to fight that much harder. He admired her greatly for that.

They carefully approached the compound, keeping to the shadows in an effort to conceal their presence even though Batman wasn't so foolish to think someone in there wasn't already aware of their presence here. Whoever was behind this would no doubt have fully equipped it with the best security system in the world even though Diana hadn't spotted any during her recon.

He caught a glimpse of Diana silently signaling him as he automatically reached for his grappling gun, pointing up at the high wall that kept them from going any farther. He nodded his head in agreement, lifting his arms out away from his body.

Her lips curved up as she reached under his arms and effortlessly lifted him up into the air and over the wall. She gently set him down on the ground on the other side, reluctantly releasing him. Diana immediately began to make her way towards one of the exits, coincidentally the one that Batman would have chosen.

It was also one of the reasons that he had chosen Diana for this mission—their ability to work so well together. They instinctively seemed to know what the other was thinking; working so cohesively that it was almost scary at times. It was as if their bodies were in tune to each other's their movements like a perfectly choreographed dance in battle.

Diana reached out to test the door, not surprised to find it locked. She flexed her fingers almost imperceptibly, the steel handle instantly crumbling to dust in her hand. That was the other reason that he had brought her along. She was far quieter than being forced to use a Batbomb.

She pushed the door open, her other hand swiftly coming up to rest against Batman's Kevlar chest as she poked her head inside to make sure it was all clear before allowing him to enter with her. The corner of Batman's mouth twitched in amusement as he followed her inside.

Had she so quickly forgotten what city he came from? Even though this was a very dangerous mission, this was a walk in the park compared to a regular Tuesday night in Gotham.

Allowing her to take the lead, Batman kept a close eye on her as he promptly assessed the area. While it was somewhat disturbing that they hadn't run into any guards yet, he knew it was only a matter of time before someone came to see who had infiltrated their facility.

His intense gaze roamed over the smooth, steel walls, noticing that the compound appeared to be newly constructed most likely within the last year or so at most. He didn't spot any security cameras, but they stayed close to the walls of the dimly lit corridor just in case.

They made their way further down the long winding corridor, keeping a careful eye out for any trouble. The lack of guards was disconcerting, causing the fine hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end. Something was very wrong here.

Batman momentarily considered abandoning the mission, turning back before someone got hurt, but he knew that they needed to keep going. This was going to be their best and only chance at getting to the bottom of what was going on here. Whoever was behind this had to know that they were here now. If they left, the operation would no doubt be shut down and moved to some other desolate location. They'd be back to square one again.

Diana stopped as she approached a cross hallway, her hands coming to rest on her hips as she tried to decide which way to go. She turned to look at Batman, tilting her head to the left. He silently shook his head "no", pointing to the right.

She smiled in acknowledgment before going in the indicated direction only to have Batman abruptly grab her arm, pulling her back around the corner she'd just turned down. Diana suddenly found herself pinned up against the wall by Batman, his cowled face temptingly close to hers. His breath was warm as it pulsated against her cheekbone, his gaze practically scorching her as she tried to figure out what he was doing.

The way his hard body was pressed so protectively against hers caused her to flush warmly, an unexpected flutter erupting in her stomach. Before she could ask what he thought he was doing, Batman placed his forefinger on her lips to silence her as if anticipating her question. His body was warm against hers despite his uniform, his black cape surrounding them both like a cloak, further concealing their presence.

The steady sound of clicking swiftly grew louder…faster, until a violent volley of bullets fired down the hallway Diana had just started to turn down. The rapid fire of ammunition was nearly deafening, inflaming Diana's anger even more. If Bruce hadn't picked up on it, they both would've been ripped to shreds by those bullets.

Bruce stayed frozen with Diana trapped between his body and the wall, his heart hammering wildly in that tense moment. Part of it had to do with the fact that Diana had very nearly been gunned down, but he knew that wasn't the whole reason.

He could feel Diana's heart racing despite his Kevlar uniform, the fullness of her breasts despite her breastplate. He silently cursed himself for allowing these sensual thoughts to even form in his mind. They were on a very risky mission, one that required his full attention. He couldn't allow there to be any distractions here.

She was becoming the greatest distraction he'd ever faced in his life, but he refused to give any credence to what he felt for her. If he did, it would only make it that much more real, that much more tangible than it already was and he couldn't afford that. Her friendship was all that he could have in his life. Nothing more.

As silence finally blanketed the area again, Batman waited, refusing to move. He told himself it was only to make sure that it was safe before proceeding. His cowled gaze fell to her lips once more, his desire for her simmering right there on the surface and begging to be set free, but he forced himself to remember that he had locked away that part of himself that craved to love and be loved. There wasn't room for anything more despite what his heart and body wanted.

"I think it's safe now," Diana whispered, fearing he could sense how much his proximity was affecting her. The man seemed to be able to read her like a book.

"I know," he softly hissed as he quickly backed away from her, releasing his hold on her. "I just wanted to make sure there weren't any more traps. You're welcome by the way."

Diana ignored his abrasive manner, knowing it was just Batman being Batman. "Thank you for saving my life," she sweetly said, batting her eyelashes at him. "Maybe I should give my hero a kiss when we get out of here."

Batman snorted as he moved past her to proceed down the next corridor. "You have to catch me first, Princess."

Diana followed him with a smirk on her lips. Getting under his cowl was the highlight of her week. "Oh, I'm very tenacious when it comes to getting what I want."

"Don't I know it," he groused, cursing under his breath about damn stubborn Amazon princesses and gray hair.

Diana chuckled softly, shaking her head in amusement as she followed him down the next hallway. She wasn't certain what she had to do with him getting gray hair, but now wasn't the time to ask about it. She'd have to ask Shayera about what it meant later.

"How did you know that was going to happen?" she whispered.

"First, you don't need to whisper anymore," he told her. "I'm fairly certain they already know we're here now. Second, I noticed you tripped a silent alarm when you started to turn down that corner."

"Well, I'm glad that you did," she replied, sincerity lacing her voice. "You saved my life again. I owe you one."

"You owe me more than one, Princess," he rasped darkly.

"Are you keeping track?" she asked with a pleased grin, refusing to give up on trying to break through that seemingly impenetrable wall of his.

Batman silently swore to himself. He was digging himself a hole and needed to get out of it quick. "No, you just somehow manage to always get yourself into a lot of trouble that I have to bail you out of."

"Well then, I guess I better start paying you back," she responded as she fell into step beside him. "I think I know exactly where I can start."

Her sultry tone had its desired affect causing him to nearly stumble with the next step he took. It wasn't overtly obvious, but enough that he knew Diana had noticed it. He too could think of countless ways that she could repay him, but he never needed compensation from her. Just knowing that she was alive and safe was more than enough for him.

Knowing she wasn't going to get a response out of him with her flirty comment, she decided to let him off the hook by changing the subject. "I wonder how Flash and Lantern are doing."

"Hopefully, better than us," he muttered with a frown as he paused before a door.

Compound, North Entrance, 23:26 EET

"Watch out!" Lantern growled, using his ring to create a large shield in order to block another hail of bullets.

"This place is a freaking death trap!" Flash yelled in frustration as he ducked and rolled away a split second before losing his head. "I've had enough of this!"

"Flash, no!" Lantern hollered, but it was too late.

The speedster was off and running, nothing but a red streak letting his friend know where he had just been a split second ago. One by one the automatic weapons that had lowered from the ceiling with the pair's appearance were taken out, silence filling the air once more.

Flash came to a stop beside Lantern again, a grim expression on his face. "I don't like this mission one bit."

"Come on, we've got work to do," John muttered as he started walking down the corridor. "Batman was right. There's definitely something strange going on here."

"Yah, we've not seen one guard yet," Flash remarked as he followed Green Lantern. "That's just insane. We should've taken out dozens by now if this place is manufacturing weapons."

"We don't know for sure what they're making here," Lantern reminded him. "We can't make any assumptions until we know for sure."

"Do you think Bats knows more about what's going on here than he's letting on?"

"I think Bats always knows more about what's going on than he lets on, but, in this case, I think he's in the dark as much as we are," John decided.

Flash's lips tightened into a thin line before the corner quirked into a crooked smile. "Do you think he's in the dark about Wondy?"

John snorted in response, turning down another passageway. "No way," he adamantly replied. "He knows exactly what's going on between them. He just doesn't want to admit it or deal with it."

"Do you think he ever will?" Flash asked as he tried opening a door to find it locked.

"He better soon," John stated, annoyed. "I've got a hundred bucks riding on it happening by the Fourth of July."

Flash chuckled as he checked another room only to find it empty. "Shay is going to kill you if she finds out you lost a hundred bucks gambling on Wondy and Bat's love life."

"That's why she won't find out," John threatened him, casting a dark glare at his friend.

"Speaking of Shay," Flash continued without missing a beat. "When are you two going to get hitched?"

John paused to stare at him, bewilderment etched on his face. "We aren't even engaged yet and you're wondering when we're getting married? We just got back together less than a month ago."

Flash shrugged a shoulder as they entered a large room filled with high-tech equipment. "So, it's not like you two weren't knockin' boots before she turned on us."

John growled at him, his anger rising as he clenched his fists. "Shayera didn't turn on us and you know it. She ended up helping us save the world in the end."

Flash threw his hands up in front of him in defense. "Hey, man, I'm on your side," he claimed. "I'm just saying that I think it's time you put a ring on her finger."

John scowled at him as he sat down before a massive computer system. "You need some serious help, you know that?"

"I've been told," Flash responded with a cocky grin as he made his way to a stack of metal containers. "I'm hoping this girl I just asked out will be the one to set me straight."

"What's the name of this bimbo of the week?"

"It's Linda Park and she's not a bimbo," Flash maintained. "She's a hot reporter in Central City. We've got a date Friday night. Hey, what do you think could be in these containers?"

"Do I have a large red "S" on my chest?" John grumbled as he attempted to hack into the computer system. "I don't have x-ray vision. Open it and find out for yourself."

Flash frowned as he stared at the steel container in front of him, scratching his head as he tried to figure out a way inside of it. "Hey, GL!" he finally called to him. "Can you make me a huge crowbar?"

"How about you come help me hack into this computer instead?"

Flash was standing behind his chair before John could draw his next breath, his head leaning over the Lantern's right shoulder to study the computer screen. "I'm not a computer geek," he reminded him. "I wouldn't have the first clue how to break into the system."

"Yah, but you have to try to help me come up with some way of getting into this thing. There has to be a logical password we can try."

"How about 'terrorists suck'," Flash said with a grin.

"I'm pretty sure that's not it," John shot back. "We need to hurry up and get the information that Bats wants before we're mowed down by more bullets."

Neither heard a side door sliding open or noticed the four men dressed in black from head to toe and wearing ninja masks enter the room with semi-automatic rifles pointed directly at them. The leader silently motioned for the other three to circle around to surround them before moving in on their prey.

Flash looked up just in time to catch a glimpse of something moving in the dimly lit room. He casually leaned his forearm on the back of Lantern's chair, his focus on the computer screen. "I believe we finally have company," he whispered to Green Lantern.

John immediately ignited his ring to create a green bubble around the two of them just as shots rang out. The green shield easily deflected the attack, keeping them both safe, but no closer to getting the information they needed.

"I've had just about enough of being shot at," John growled as he stood to his feet, careful to keep them safely enclosed in his shield.

"Let me handle this," Flash offered. "I need the practice."

"Just don't get shot," John told him. "I'm not too keen on the idea of hauling your hide outta here and I don't want you bleeding all over the Javelin. I just cleaned it the other day."

"They won't even be able to catch me," Flash reassured him before bolting from the glowing green bubble.

A red blur streaked around the room amidst the rapid fire of semi-automatics, a fist flying at the same time the men were disarmed. John lowered his shield to help, but found it unnecessary as Flash suddenly handed him four rifles.

"You're bleeding," John pointed out as he set the rifles down on the desk.

Flash lifted his left arm to look at his uniform to find a small tear at the elbow, blood trickling from a minor flesh wound. "That's nothing," he reassured him. "A bullet just grazed me. Let's see if we can get some information out of one of these goons."

Lantern made his way to one of the men lying on the ground, Flash following closely behind. Crouching down, John picked up the man by the scruff of the neck, pulling the black ninja mask off his head. "Doesn't look like any of our regulars," he muttered.

The man groaned as he began to come to, his eyes darkening as realization sunk in. He immediately sneered at them, gritting his teeth and swearing. "Definitely a friendly fellow, isn't he?" Flash commented, leaning forward with his hands on his thighs as he stared down at him . "Maybe he needs to be taught some manners."

"What are you doing here?" John demanded to know, tightening his hold on the back of the man's shirt as he hauled him up onto his feet.

The man tried to take a swing at John, his glower full of pure hate. "I will tell you nothing, you swine."

"Now is that the proper way to greet your guests?" Flash asked him, folding his arms across his chest.

"You are not our guests," the man spat out. "You are trespassing on private property. You will answer for your crime."

"Us?" Flash gasped in shock, his hand coming to rest against his chest in mock surprise. "You tried to kill us. I think that more than makes us even."

"What are you manufacturing here," John questioned him.

The man laughed mockingly. "If you think I am going to tell you anything, you are crazy."

"Hey, where did you hear that rumor?" Flash demanded to know. "Is Captain Cold running his mouth about me again? I think I need to pay him a visit."

"Flash—focus," John snarled, momentarily turning his attention away from the man to his teammate. "Let's just get what we came for and get out of here."

Turning back to the man in his hand, John caught him putting something in his mouth. "What is that? What did you just do?"

The man only smiled smugly at them before he began foaming at the mouth, his eyes rolling back in his head. John immediately laid him down, starting CPR, but it was no use. The man was dead within seconds.

"Damn," John swore under his breath, his hands on his hips as he stared down at the man lying dead at his feet.

"So did not see that coming," Flash softly said in stunned disbelief.

"Come on," John stated. "Let's get these other three rounded up before—"

Green Lantern was interrupted by the sound of a massive explosion, one that caused the entire area to shudder in response to the unexpected blast. Equipment all around the room shook, computer screens falling off desks and crashing to the ground.

"What the hell was that?" Flash murmured as he quickly looked around.

"Green Lantern to Batman," John immediately called their teammates. "Wonder Woman, come in! Batman, are you there?"

Receiving no response from either of their teammates, Lantern grabbed Flash by the arms before taking to the air. "Hey, I can get to them faster if you let me run," Wally groused.

"Yah, but we don't know just what you'll be running in to," John ominously stated as they took off in the direction of the explosion.