TOGETHER

DISCLAIMER: I do not own DC Comics, or any of the characters in this story. I am not making money from this, it is just for fun.

SYNOPSIS: This is a fan fiction set in the continuity of the Justice League cartoon. It will mainly focus on Batman and Wonder Woman, but will also include other relationships as well.

PART ONE

December 20th. Five days until Christmas.

Everywhere there was anticipation. Eagerness for the coming festivities. Hearts were high, feelings were warm. Everyone had the holiday spirit.

Except for one man.

He looked down on the alleyway, eyes darting, covering every inch. He saw nothing out of the ordinary.

No, that was not right. There WAS something out of the ordinary.

All was peaceful.

He lifted his head to look at the sky above, and breathed in. He should have been happy, glad that there was nothing that needed his attention that night. And truly he was. He was happy that, at least one week in the year, people were good to each other, and the city full of goodwill.

But part of him was disappointed. Disappointed that he did not have the chance to pound some perp's head into a wall. To deflect some punk's gun from his hand and twist his wrist to near-breaking point.

Because this was Christmas. And he needed something at that time of year to release his frustration, his loneliness, his pain.

The month of Christmas was the most painful for him. Not because people were happy - far from it. He dedicated his entire life to making sure no one would be as lonely as him. He found it painful because of exactly that: loneliness.

He longed to have a family he could call his own. Someone to spend the holiday - his life - with. His adoptive "family" had deserted him. Well, not deserted. He'd pushed them away - but the fact that they had still left.

A ringing of bells caught his attention. He turned his head to look at the street below. Outside a café, a man dressed as Santa Clause was collecting for charity. He saw a few people drop some coins, even notes into his little tin. Just the previous month he had watched as a man dressed in a smart suit stood in the rain collecting for charity. The poor man had not got a second glance from anyone. It was amazing what the Christmas season could do.

He continued watching as the man in the fake white beard rang his bell and continually went "Ho ho ho." He must have received at least $100 in just over five minutes.

He stood there on the roof, and almost smiled. He almost hoped that the Santa was a con man, so he could swoop down and break his nose.

Yes, he hated this time of year. The laughter and joy of the people made his heart ache. If he had not cried all his tears before he was in his teens, he would do so.

He turned his head away from the street, and looked up at the stars. Such a beautiful night. Clear, flawless, perfect. Almost regal.

Like a princess.

He cursed himself for thinking of her again. Seemed that everything reminded him of her. He tried to forget about her. But he could not. She had dominated his thoughts for the longest time. The truth was.

He was in love with her.

With all his heart.

But he could never tell her.

Never.

Batman removed a grapple out from his utility belt and fired it at a nearby flag pole. He then swung away from the roof, into the night.

*****

Diana held her tiara in her hands, and stroked the golden surface. She stared at it for what seemed like an eternity, thoughts running through her head.

In a way, the tiara symbolised all that she had lost, in such a short amount of time.

She had first worn the headdress, as well as the rest of her red, blue and gold costume, to help mankind against an alien invasion. She had gone against her mother's wishes, and travelled to Man's World, to fight alongside them.

And her mother was not happy when Diana had decided to stay.

She had, for her freedom, her independence, sacrificed her home, and her mother.

She had been banished from Themyscira. The reason her mother, Hippolyta, gave, was for bringing men - her fellow Justice League team-mates - onto the island. But Diana knew part of the reason was the abandonment, the shunning her mother had felt when she had left.

Diana looked at her tiara, and thought. Had this what she had given up her home for? To join with a group of men, and fight man's problems? Perhaps it was the excitement, the thrill of battle, that kept her away from Themyscira.

Or maybe it was her team-mates - her friends - that made her stay. The people she had formed a bond with, in her short time away from home. Each one different from mankind, set apart, just as she was. Perhaps that was why she felt belonging with those people, that Justice League.

And there was one in particular. One that she felt a link, a commonness, a bond with. Though he had not factored much in her initial decision to stay in Man's World, her continual stay was down almost entirely to him.

He covered himself in darkness, but Diana could sense an inner light within him. A light which burst forth and warmed every one of their colleagues. Whether respect from Superman, humorous intimidation from Flash, or friendship from J'onn, the team had learnt that there was more to the Batman than his cold demeanour.

And what did he bring out in her? She tried to ignore it, but she could not.

Love.

She loved him. As her time with her new friends went on, she quickly realised that she was in love with the Dark Knight.

Diana wondered what the others, and Batman himself, would think if they knew that. For all she knew, J'onn already did. Heck, maybe it was so obvious the general public knew.

Her thoughts were broken by a sudden burst of noise from down the hallway. Diana stood up off her bed, and after a quick look out of her window, at the stars and the planet Earth, she put her tiara on her head, and headed towards the source of the noise.

*****

Diana walked into the main observation room of the Watchtower, where the loud noise was coming from. What she saw surprised her.

Superman was standing by one of the huge windows, wrapping some sparkly stuff around what looked like a small tree. J'onn J'onzz was standing beside him, watching him intently. Green Lantern was using his wring to form a big tray, and picked up a bunch of colourfully wrapped boxes. He then placed them underneath Superman's tree.

Turning her head to see the source of the noise, Diana found the Flash dancing at super-speed. She quickly realised the noise must be "popular music", or as Flash called it, "groove tunes." Hawkgirl then walked into view and forcefully turned the ghetto blaster off. Diana walked towards her friends.

"Oh come on, doll!" said Flash, "I was movin' to that!"

Hawkgirl was visibly angry. "You call that moving? It looked like you were having a seizure!"

Green Lantern looked at the pair. "How would you notice?"

Superman placed a metal star on the top of the small tree. "Now people," he began, "let's get along shall we? It's Christmas, a time for goodwill among friends."

"Maybe it's time for the fasted lunkhead alive to have a meeting with my mace!" threatened Hawkgirl, holding her weapon menacingly. Flash looked worried, and backed up a step.

Diana walked over to Superman and J'onn. "So this is that Christmas thing you told me about."

"It would appear so," said the Martian.

Superman looked at Flash as Hawkgirl walked away from him. The speedster's face was frozen with fear; eventually, Flash looked around and then saw Green Lantern, and shrugged his shoulders and grinned. Lantern just rolled his eyes. "Christmas is a time for family," said Superman, "for people to get together with their loved ones and have fun."

J'onn watched as Hawkgirl sat back down on a sofa and returned to her book. "You sound like you have experienced that first-hand," he said.

Superman smiled. "Yeah, my parents and I would always go all out for Christmas. We didn't have much, but we loved each other. My pa would go out into town and buy some logs. We'd then have a warm fire and just sit and talk. I." Superman drifted, then fell silent. His face fell, and his eyes looked pained.

"What's wrong?" asked J'onn.

"N-nothing," replied Superman. "Just. nothing." He then went back to the tree, and tried to cover the awkward silence he had made. "Come on, John, help me with this tinsel."

Green Lantern put down Flash's CD collection - which he had looked less than impressed with - and went over to Superman, J'onn and Diana. Diana decided to leave them to it and turned to walk out.

She wasn't in the celebrating mood.

*****

Lex Luthor put down his empty glass after taking a last sip of wine. He had been told by the prison doctors that alcohol was not good for him after being diagnosed with radiation poisoning. But he did not care. He did not care about anything anymore. Except for the death of Superman, and the destruction of the Justice League.

Luthor stood up and looked through the window to the adjoining room. There, sitting around a large table, were five costumed criminals, dubbed by the media as supervillains.

Copperhead was leering at Star Sapphire. The Prankster was mystifying Solomon Grundy with a crooked card trick. And the Shade was just sitting there, looking at his companions with an incredulous look.

A voice from behind caught Luthor's attention. "I must say, Lexy boy, when you told me you were bringing the band back together, I thought you were kidding. But I guess the joke's on me! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!"

Luthor turned to face the man behind him. "Don't you ever shut up?" he asked, annoyed.

The Joker jumped up off his chair and put his hand to his heart. "Lexy baby, you wound me! And here I thought you loved my endless optimism."

"I thought you'd been diagnosed with endless insanity," Luthor said.

The Joker grinned. "Well, yes, but the chicks prefer the former. Isn't that right, pooh?"

Harley Quinn turned her attention from her painting she was creating, and looked at the two men. "Yes way, Mr. J!" she answered.

"Say, what's that you're doing, baby?" asked the Joker, walking over to Harley and her canvas.

Harley seemed nervous. "Er, nothing pum'kin, just a little thing I was doing." She tried to quickly remove the canvas from it's stand and put it on the floor, but Joker yanked it away and looked at it. The painting was of a delicately portrayed woman, with flowing red hair and wrapped in green vines.

"Hmmmmmm," pondered Joker, "this pretty little poppy reminds me of someone. but I can't put my finger on it." Suddenly he clicked his fingers and cried out "Ah, I've got it! It's Luthor's old bodyguard, isn't it??"

Harley's eyes darted around. "Er. yeah, Mr. J," she stammered. "It's a. er, present for Mr. Luthor."

Luthor growled. Joker spun on his heels. "Well, have mercy! 'Tis the season of giving, and I will give Harley the pleasure of me giving this gift to ol' Lexy baby! Two gives with one action - and the Bat says I've no clue!" Joker went over to Luthor and handed out the painting, waiting for Luthor to accept it.

Luthor rolled his eyes. "Can we stop clowning around and get on with business?"

Joker pouted. "Well, I guess we know who's Scrooge this year. Oh what the heck, if it's work you want to do first, Lex, who am I to argue? Let the meeting begin!"

Joker danced out the room to the other villains, throwing the painting on the floor. Luthor nearly stepped on it as he followed him out. However, Harley quickly whisked the canvas in her arms before it could be ruined. She placed it carefully back on it's stand, sighed, and followed Joker and Luthor.

Luthor and Joker took their seats at the table with the other criminals, and Harley hovered over the clown. "Now," began Luthor, "I think you all know why I've called you all here today."

Star Sapphire cocked an eyebrow. "Desperate to spend the holiday with someone before you croak, baldy?"

Luthor's eye twitched, but he kept his rage in check. "I risked a lot to get us all out of prison. You COULD show me a little gratitude!"

The Prankster yawned.

Suddenly everyone was rocked by a small explosion in the middle of the table. When the smoke cleared, all heads turned to see the reason for the shock.

"Now, now children," sneered the Joker, a smoking high-tech gun in his hand, "Lexy baby is talking, and as his right hand man, I'd appreciate it if you could all listen to him. Unless of course, you want to 'learn to smile', ha ha ha ha"

There was silence.

"Thank you," said Luthor, "now then, to business. As you know, the last time we faced the Justice League, we failed because we fought them as a team, where they were all watching each other's backs."

"I think I know where this is going," said Shade.

"Good, Shade," replied Luthor, smiling. "My plan is simple. Divide and conquer. We all face one Justice Leaguer individually."

"Grundy not understand," grunted the huge monster.

"Yeah, how is that supposed to work, Luthor?" Copperhead said. "We all have had. unsuccess. at facing the Leaguers alone."

"You misunderstand," Luthor said. "The Leaguers will be alone. but WE will be together."

Sapphire smiled. "I see. seven on one. interesting."

Luthor continued. "And you will all be paid, as you WOULD have been before, most handsomely. I guarantee that."

Joker rubbed his hands. "Ooooh I can hardly wait. it's going to be some hecks of parties! Ha ha ha ha ha - HA HA HA HA HA HA!!"

TO BE CONTINUED