Tell Me Lies
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction that infringes upon copyrights and characters owned by DC Comics and Warner Bros. This author (nor anyone else) is making no money, nor receiving any type of compensation for this work.
This fanfic is based in the Justice League animated universe. All bastardization of characterizations is mine.
Diana sipped her iced mocha, and decided to spend her last few dollars on the entrance fee to the Gotham Art Museum. Superman had lent her some cash when he found out that she wanted to do some exploring, and she had enjoyed visiting various cities on the Eastern seaboard. Gotham was her last stop; her stomach was full from all the new foods she had eaten – New York cheesecake was a new favorite – and she was almost out of money. She would have stayed in the city a little longer and done some sightseeing without money, but she had monitor duty in a couple of hours, and she wanted to make sure that she had time to go through the entire museum before making the trip to the Watchtower.
She'd had a wonderful day. Although she hadn't exactly fit in all the places she had visited – even wearing jeans and a t-shirt she was too tall and too strikingly beautiful to go without notice – she had felt comfortable, at ease for the first time in Man's World since leaving Themyscira.
Since she had been exiled from Themyscira.
Diana frowned and tossed the now-empty drink container into a recycling bin before entering the museum. She wouldn't let those painful thoughts intrude on her day, she told herself. Today was to discover more about Man's World, not dwell on the past.
She was a dollar short for the entrance fee, but the man behind her smiled and offered her the money, flirting a little. She decided not to get upset over his forwardness, but thanked him instead, accepting the dollar but not returning the flirtatious smile.
"Thank you," she said graciously. At his expectant look, she added, "I hope you won't feel offended if, despite my acceptance of your currency, I tour the museum on my own."
The man looked a little disappointed, but replied easily, "Not at all, I'm just happy to help."
"Thank you," she said again, and looked at the museum map, deciding to visit the ancient Greek section first. As she wound her way through the halls, she thought about the man, and how her upbringing on Themyscira had not prepared her for his, or any other man's, kindness. Yes, she had met men as evil as she had been warned of, but she had also met very many good men: Superman, J'onn, Batman, Green Lantern, the Flash. Thinking of Batman now, her mouth quirked into a smile. What would he think, she wondered, if he knew that she was in his city? She imagined his reaction: he would tell her, in as few words as possible, that she should leave.
"Get out," he would simply say, his voice rough. Or, "Go back to the Watchtower, Diana." No, that would be too many words, she thought, and chuckled under her breath. She knew that he used his harsh tone to intimidate the rest of the league, but it never intimidated her. She'd seen him care about too many people, save too many people, including her; underneath that forbidding exterior, Diana was convinced that Batman was a softie. A softie with a lot of secrets, and some very dangerous martial arts skills, but a softie nonetheless.
She looked down and consulted her map, turned a corner, and ran into a very hard chest. She didn't stumble, but the man whom she ran into was knocked backwards a foot, barely catching himself from falling by grabbing her arm for balance.
Diana didn't even think: she took his hand off her arm, turned and threw him to the ground. He landed on his back with a thud and a whoosh of breath; her eyes widened and she went down on her knees beside him, immediately apologizing.
"Oh, Great Hera, I am so very sorry. It was an automatic reaction—are you hurt?" She didn't think she had used very much strength, but when a move was instinctual like that, it was hard to tell. She began running her hands over him, remembering all of the healing skills that she had been taught on Themyscira.
"Do you hurt anywhere?" she asked as she prodded at his ribs, his wrist. "Here?" The man shook his head and tried to sit up, but she held him down easily, her voice gentle but brooking no argument. "No, don't try to move until I make sure that you don't have any injuries. What I wouldn't give for x-ray vision right now." She muttered the last, but the man heard her.
"I'm glad you don't," he said. "You're getting far too good an idea of what my body is like as it is."
She jerked her hands back, a slight blush staining her cheeks. She had been feeling him all over, without even asking. She wondered briefly if she would be arrested for that; Man's World was so different from Themyscira – what had been an innocent medical examination might be mistaken for sexual harassment or assault. "I'm sorry," she said again, and helped him sit up. She surreptitiously examined his face and eyes for any sign of head trauma, but his color was good, and his pupils dilated normally. She thought she detected a hint of exasperated humor flashing in his eyes before he blinked, and their expression became slightly confused, and a full of male interest.
"I'm fine," he said. "Just--"
He was interrupted by the sound of a woman yelling, "Mr. Wayne!" The slap of high heels against tile echoed in the hall; Diana turned to see a woman running toward them, a worried expression on her face. "Mr. Wayne!" The woman skidded to a halt, gave Diana a once over, then gripped one of the man's hands to pull him up. "Are you all right?"
The man's teeth flashed -- Mr. Wayne's teeth, Diana told herself -- into a reassuring smile. "I'm fine, Valerie." He shook off the woman's hand, then used it to brush off his immaculate suit. "I trust that if you find any cracks in the floor from the impact of my body, the check I've just written the museum will cover it." He grinned as he said it, and Valerie laughed softly, her posture changing into something Diana recognized as seductive.
Diana bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud. Women here were, she thought, ridiculous sometimes. Instead of just saying what they wanted directly, they often played games, posing and preening for attention. Not all women, of course, but a lot of them. She turned to look at Mr. Wayne, trying to figure out what the woman was attracted to, and met his eyes with her own.
"And you are alright?" he asked.
"Yes." Diana nodded. She thought the man must be handsome by Man's World's standards, but she wasn't sure. He didn't look like any of the movie stars she'd seen on the videos the Flash often played in the Watchtower, but his features were regular, and pleasing. Not boyish like Adonis, but sharper, more masculine. His eyes were a beautiful blue, she decided; not unlike the Arctic sea. "I really must apologize again; I'm afraid I wasn't watching where I was going."
"Usually, when walking in the museum, visitors tend to walk along the right side of the hall, not the left," Valerie said, not unkindly.
"Oh," Diana said. The unfamiliarity of Man's World, the strangeness of the little details swept over her, and she suddenly felt very alone, and homesick.
Valerie was tapping a fingernail against her teeth, ignoring Wayne for the moment, closely examining Diana's features. "Don't I know you? You look so familiar…Wonder Woman!" She snapped her fingers in triumph.
Diana gave a half smile, not exactly pleased that she had been recognized so easily.
Mr. Wayne gave a visible start, then his expression changed into something Diana didn't recognize, something that seemed almost…predatory.
"Wonder Woman?" he repeated. "This beautiful woman who is both my attacker and my healer is Wonder Woman? I am Bruce Wayne, and I am pleased to meet your acquaintance." He had a slick, flirtatious smile pasted on his face as he leaned forward and raised Diana's hand for a brief kiss on her fingers. She resisted the urge to pull it away, kept smiling frozenly as more people gathered around, calling her name.
She looked at Wayne. So men played games here, too, she realized, and wished that she was far, far away.
Diana was in his city.
He'd known it was her the second she had thrown him to the floor -- there weren't many people who could catch him off-guard like that, and once he had realized what was happening he had let her toss him, or else raise her suspicions that a normal man could defend himself against an Amazonian martial artist.
But what was she doing in his city?
Bruce calculated the chances that her presence in the museum would deter the thieves that he knew planned to steal the Picasso on loan from the Louvre that very night, and realized that an entire month's work trying to crack an art theft ring might be wasted if they got spooked by the appearance of a powered hero. So he decided to turn on the Bruce Wayne charm, and get her out of there, one way or another. Knowing Diana, rather than falling for his seductive attempts, she would hit him and leave in anger.
He'd take either option. A date or a punch, it made no difference to him -- just as long as she left the museum, as long as she got out of Gotham.
Until, of course, Valerie made him rush things along.
He noticed Diana's frozen expression upon being recognized, said the trite lines that he said to nearly every beautiful female celebrity that crossed his path, kissed her hand…then swayed.
"Oh," he said, putting his hand to his head. "Maybe I hit the ground harder than I thought."
She reacted as he thought she would, scooping him up and declaring, "I'm flying you to the hospital."
"The closest exit is that way," Valerie said, and pointed. Bruce moaned theatrically and Diana took off, gliding smoothly through the halls and out into the open. Once outside, she paused for a minute, and he realized that she didn't know where the hospital was. He was about to speak up when she said, "Wonder Woman to the Watchtower. Transport me immediately to the med lab."
Diana frowned, making sure that she understood him correctly. "You weren't really hurt or dizzy?" She looked at J'onn--who had performed the examination--for confirmation, and he nodded, then glanced away. She thought for a second that J'onn was trying to contain laughter, but then dismissed the notion. She turned back to Bruce Wayne. "Why?"
He at least had the grace to look abashed, she thought, until he said, "I just wanted some time alone with you," he grinned, "to get to know you better." He raised an eyebrow as he stressed the 'know you better'. "And now that I'm here and we have a beautiful view of Earth, do you want to show me around the Watchtower? I'd like to see everything: the recreation room, the Javelin…your bedroom," he said.
Diana shook her head. "I don't think so." This man was ridiculous, she thought, but she had to admire his way of saying what he wanted from her. It would have been flattering, if she thought he didn't say these things to every woman he met.
It took only a few seconds to transport back to Gotham, back in front of the museum. Bruce took the opportunity to outrage her further, hopefully guaranteeing that she would think twice before coming back to Gotham.
So he kissed her.
She didn't push him away, or hit him as he had anticipated; but neither did she respond. She was surprised, he could tell, but more curious than offended.
He pulled away and gave his best playboy smile. "I'll be anticipating your return to Gotham, Wonder Woman."
"Don't hold your breath, Mr. Wayne," she said, but without anger. As she flew off, he heard her add, "I'll never understand Man's World…"
Bruce turned, pleased with himself, and realized that a news camera across the street had caught the entire exchange on tape. The reporter rushed over to him.
"Mr. Wayne, Mr. Wayne! Was that Wonder Woman we just saw?"
Bruce did his best to keep his playboy face on. "Yes," he said, and grinned wolfishly.
"Would you like to comment on the nature of your relationship with her?" The reporter pressed.
And because he was being Bruce Wayne, the playboy, and he had an image to maintain, there was only one thing he could say: "Diana and I are sleeping toge--I mean, dating."
"You were in my city today," Batman growled.
Diana looked up from the book she was reading -- The Iliad, Batman noted -- and arched an eyebrow. "So?"
"Your presence at the museum nearly jeopardized an investigation. Next time, inform me of your movements in Gotham."
Diana put the book down. "Was your investigation compromised?"
Batman could see that she was angry with him. Good. Better she was angry at him than letting her get too close. "No, but it might have been."
"Then go stick a pole up your--" She said something that she must have picked up from Hawkgirl, and Batman's eyes widened in surprise underneath his mask, and he had to keep himself from laughing. Hearing the beautiful, regal princess swearing at him was something he had never expected, and he had to admire her guts on saying it to HIM. "And," she added, "I'll come to Gotham whenever it pleases me, and I won't inform you."
He opened his mouth to reply, to let her know in no uncertain terms that her behavior was unacceptable, but she held up her hand, looking past him. She hit a button on the console, and a reporters voice filled the room.
Batman turned to the television screen that they used to monitor Earth's news, and saw footage of him--Bruce Wayne--kissing Diana.
"In other news, a romance is brewing between the CEO of Wayne Enterprises and Wonder Woman. A Gotham news station caught this exchange between the two lovebirds, and when asked for details, Bruce Wayne admitted that the two were intimate." The screen filled with his face, his voice saying, "Diana and I are sleeping toge--I mean, dating."
The news changed then, and Batman turned to look at Diana, and felt swamped with guilt. She had her head buried in her hands, her shoulders shaking. He wondered if the pressure of her exile, her unfamiliarity with Man's World was suddenly too much, especially now with Bruce Wayne destroying her reputation. He felt a pang in his chest at the thought that it had been him to cause her that much pain. He had never seen her cry.
"Diana, I--" he began, his voice gentler than it had been. But he stopped when she lifted her head and he saw that she wasn't sobbing, but laughing.
"Besides, Batman," she said, pointing at the screen, "It looks as though I'll be visiting Gotham often, since I've apparently got a boyfriend there." Her laughter slowly subsided, and Batman clenched his jaw, unsure of what to do or say -- what could he do without giving away his identity? -- and stalked over to one of the machines in the room, inserting a sample for chemical analysis. He had expected her to rage, to get angry when she found out what Bruce Wayne had said, but humor? It seemed there was more to the beautiful princess than his careful observations had made him aware.
Hawkgirl burst into the room, saw Diana, and screeched, "Bruce Wayne?! Diana, what were you thinking?"
Batman watched out of the corner of his eye as Diana put her book down once again, and said with real innocence, "Why? Is he a villain? Someone I should have been fighting? J'onn didn't seem to find him evil when I brought him here to the med lab."
Hawkgirl shook her head. "No, silly, he's just the richest man in the world, and a womanizer to boot. He goes through girls like he does his ties, a different one every day."
Not quite that many, Batman thought.
Hawkgirl continued, "I can see why he's interested in you, Diana, but you are not in his league at all. He'll use you, then toss you away."
But at least he tosses them away gently, Batman mused. And with a nice bauble or two.
Making a disgusted noise, Hawkgirl said, "Sure, he's rich, but he's not in it for a relationship, Diana. He just wants to get in your panties -- uh, uniform."
You'd be surprised at how many women Bruce Wayne never makes it to first base with, Batman added silently.
"And," Hawkgirl's voice dropped to a near whisper, "he's been cleared of all charges, but he was a fugitive for most of last year for the murder of his girlfriend. He may be crazy. Unstable."
Crazy and unstable? Batman thought that over, then decided that most people would agree with her -- but not in the way that they thought. The real Bruce Wayne didn't kill women, but he did dress in tights and beat up criminals. And keep away from nearly all human interaction.
"He didn't seem crazy to me," Diana replied. "I found him charming, in a lecherous sort of way."
Batman scowled, even though her response had been exactly what he had intended when he'd first tricked her into believing he was hurt, and then kissing her.
"In any case," Diana said, picking up her book once again, "you don't have to worry. The news blew the entire incident out of proportion. We aren't dating. I think that Mr. Wayne was just trying to be funny."
"Or trying to convince everyone that he has a huge penis by claiming to sleep with Wonder Woman," Hawkgirl muttered.
Diana frowned. "How would claiming to be intimate with me change the size of a body organ?"
"It's symbolic, Diana." Hawkgirl laughed, and said, "You wouldn't believe how many things make a man think he has a huge penis: fast cars, power tools, lots of toys, pretty girls with big breasts." She arched an eyebrow Batman's way, and said, "Hey, Batman, you have a fast car with a big engine and a lot of other toys. Are you making up for anything?"
"A lack of professionalism and confidence in my teammates," Batman said, voice harsh.
Diana and Hawkgirl grinned at each other; Batman left as quickly as possible, before he became the target of a female male-bashing contest. He passed the Flash in the hall.
"Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman could use your help in the monitor room," Batman said.
Their discussion of men like Bruce Wayne would continue, probably with Flash as a victim, and Hawkgirl would remind Diana why the Amazons didn't want relationships with men; it was what Batman wanted, but he didn't know why the idea bothered him so much.
The park was nearly empty, except for a few couples strolling here and there. Diana watched them; she didn't have any illusions about relationships between men and women -- she knew that they were as varied as the relationships between any two people, regardless of gender -- and the couples in the park reflected that: some were obviously happy together, some looked angry at each other, and some looked as if they didn't care if they stayed with the person or left them.
What they all had, though, and what Diana missed most, was a connection with another person. The connection might be good or bad, but it was a connection, nonetheless.
She thought of her friends on Themyscira, her mother. She missed them horribly. The Justice League had become her new family, Superman and Hawkgirl very good friends, but she was aware that the basis of their friendship was their job.
And, she wondered about Man's World. She didn't have any friends who lived on Man's World -- she spent most of her time in the Watchtower, and it felt like the only time she came to Earth was when it was in danger. And when she did come to Earth, most of the people she met wanted to talk about what she did in the Watchtower -- they were interested in Wonder Woman the heroine, not Diana the Amazon, the woman.
Except for Bruce Wayne, and his interest in the woman part of her had been shallow, at best.
But still, it had been interest -- it was a place to start.
An idea formed in her head, and she turned the JL communicator on, cued Hawkgirl. "Hawkgirl, are you there?"
"I'm here, Diana. What's up?"
Diana looked up before realizing what Hawkgirl meant -- she still wasn't used to American slang. "How would you like to undertake a secret mission with me?"
Diana took a deep breath. "I want to go…shopping."
Bruce pasted a bored look on his face even though he was acutely interested in the outcome of the meeting between Wayne Enterprises and the foreign financial firm. He winked at a secretary, and pretended confusion when business terms were thrown about the table. In the back of his mind, he ran through his plan for the night's patrol, and compiled the evidence in a murder investigation.
The meeting was running late, so he looked at his watched to give the board members the impression that he was impatient. He didn't have a date lined up for the evening, but they probably assumed he did.
When the conference room doors burst open, he leapt out of his chair like everyone else; but unlike everyone else, his movement was to make sure that he had room to fight, or escape, depending upon what had knocked the doors open, and immediately tried to list all of the possible criminals who would try to break into a Wayne Enterprises board meeting.
He didn't expect it to be Diana.
And he'd never expected Diana to look like she did, standing in the doorway. She was wearing a red silk dress, cut modestly but clinging to every curve on her body. Bruce saw each of the men's faces go slack and dopey because of her outrageous beauty.
Her eyes focused on Bruce. She smiled. "Mr. Wayne," she said. "You've announced to the world that we are dating--" She flew forward as she spoke, landing directly in front of him. He could smell her perfume, sensual, heady. "--and so I would like to go on a date. Right now."
He didn't like to rearrange his schedule, but he was surprised at the pleasure the idea of spending the evening with her evoked. He weighed his options.
"Let's go then," he said finally, put his hand on the small of her back, and ushered her from the room.
To Be Continued