"You know, Diana; you're a remarkable piece of craftsmanship." He stalked mincingly around her. She was chained to a cold steel bed. She was cold and exposed. The bastard had managed to find some sort of alloy that was able to hold her in place. She had always been able to break anything mortal man used as restraints, but this man had done it. She surged against her bonds as he positioned himself at her side and began to stroke her hair. She surged against her chains again, hoping that if she tried enough they would weaken, but they didn't. "You know," he began again; "He would take it especially hard if any harm were to come to you." This evil man moved around to her feet and looked at her exposed body lustfully. "…his pain is, well, my gain." He hoisted himself on top of her and moved to kiss her. She jerked her head away and felt his weight press against her. She shut her eyes tight as her powerlessness dawned on her. She was the most powerful woman on the planet and still she was bested, still she was thrown down and made a toy of.

However, his designs on her were dashed as a large chunk of the wall exploded into rubble. Kal, like usual, was always there when she needed him. Though, as glad as she was to see him, her eyes filled with humiliation. Why couldn't it have been hawk girl, Super-girl, she'd have even taken Black Canary. She did not want to be saved by a man. She did not want to be seen weak; she should have not even been in this situation. She was Wonder Woman, DAMN IT! Before she knew it, Superman had made short work of her attacker and was quickly freeing her. However, it seemed that even Superman couldn't break the chains that bound her and had resorted to unlocking the locks.

Diana was free, she wanted to bite, punch, kill; she wanted to maim the person who had attacked her, but all she could do was bury her head into Kal's chest and wrap her arms around him. Diana didn't cry, she refused to cry, but she just stayed there clinging to Superman as he wrapped his cape around the both of them and carried her out of the room. As if sensing her wishes he flew gently into the air and got as high as he possibly could. They were alone now, but he still said nothing. She felt Kal rest his head on the top of hers. He was there for her, as always and knew she would not be ready to talk, so she let him be there for her, and there they stayed for the night, resting in the empty night sky. It was hours before Diana got any words in her mouth, and only mustered a quiet "Take me home."

Kal silently compiled as he swiftly went from a gentle float to a coasting soar. Diana unconsciously fastened herself tighter to her friend. It was mere moments before she was at her humble apartment. Kal flew into the open window of the high rise apartment unfastened his cape and set Diana down. Wordlessly she moved to her bedroom and unwrapped herself from his cape. For a moment, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror holding Kal's cape in front of her naked body that seemed very much like a cover girl pose. Diana raged as she remembered what the bastard had said, "You're a remarkable piece of craftsmanship." The words echoed through her mind causing her rage to surface again. When she came back to her senses, she realized that she had put her hand through the mirror and the wall behind it. Kal barged in, quickly pulled her hand from the wall, and examined it as if that little amount of rage could have seriously hurt her. He was really very sweet when he needed to be. Superman was a kind, caring, compassionate man who never failed a friend when they needed him. "I'm fine, Kal."

"I'm still going to stay with you for a little bit." He responded.

"Then, you should know that the couch folds out." She got up and walked into the bathroom and shut the door, leaving a worried Superman in her wake. She turned on the water to the hottest she could get it. Steam that would have scalded anyone lesser rose from the bath tub and billowed out from under the door. She got in and jerked slightly as the burning water hit her skin. She grabbed the soap, and began to casually clean herself, starting with her hair. Soon she moved to her body, but could not casually clean there. Diana began to scrub harder and harder as she remembered the bastard's hands and how she had been touched while she was bound and gagged. She scrubbed harder, she remembered how he had talked to her and how her body reacted despite her unwillingness, and she scrubbed harder. Diana scrubbed and scrubbed but the dirt was not on her skin; it seemed to be under it. No matter how hard or fast she scrubbed the feeling would not go away. In frustration, she tossed the soap to the ground and collapsed. She sat there just letting the water run over her until it ran cold.

Diana woke up the next morning right were she had collapsed in the bath tub, only the water was no longer running and a light blanket had been placed over her. Getting up from the tub, she walked out into her room and too the dresser. She put on a pair of casual jeans and a button down dress shirt when she caught a whiff of bacon from the kitchen. When she went to investigate, she found that Superman had changed into plain clothes and was now wearing his mother's favorite apron. "Hi," he flashed a boyish smile, "I hope you don't mind, I made breakfast. Though, I'm not as good as my mother."

She wanted to smile, seeing Kal in his mother's favorite apron (it had a lacey frill and bright red hearts embroidered into it) was just a sight to behold as it was way too small to accomplish any type of food catching, but she could not. She wanted to with everything she had. He was trying so hard, but she could not smile. "Thanks." She managed a half hearted smile, "Kal, I'm fine. You don't need to stay."

"Don't worry about me, what's important is that you realize that you're not ok, and get through it. Now sit." It was amazing how much Kal's mannerisms where like that of his mother. Diana had almost thought she was looking at a clone. She did as she was told and Kal placed a plate down in front of her. "It's actually, something I wanted to talk to you about. I want you to take some time off from the league."

"What? Why?" The very thought was insulting; "You don't think I can perform my duties?"

"Uh uh, I know you'll do your duty. You'll show up like every other day as if nothing happened. People will look at you with pity, and you'll bury your feelings. People will offer their sympathy, and you will bury your feelings deeper. You will be the best anyone has ever seen, but you'll slowly die inside until you are nothing more than effort rather than substance."

Since when did Kal become a Psychologist, "Nothing happened!" Diana protested.

"Bull," Kal responded as if he was insulted, "I was there, remember, the guy was on top of you! He's a serial rapist, Diana. Even if he hadn't had the time to…" Kal didn't finish his sentence. Diana was sure her face was wrinkling into the precursors of a long hard cry, but she refused too. She was the Amazonian princess, damn it, she would not cry! Regardless, Diana felt a solitary tear roll down her right cheek. Kal, in the way that made him different from every other man on the planet, walked around to and wrapped his massive arms around her. "I can't imagine what you're going though, but I'm here. I always will be." His arms were powerful and large, but they were also gentle and warm. Diana grabbed his arm, at first, in acknowledgment, but, finally, to pull him off of her. She was going back to the league, and he could not stop her.

"I appreciate what you mean to do, but I need to be back. I need to show the others that nothing can stop me, that nothing can stop the league."

"Our image does not supersede our member's health, but you need to do this your way. I'm not going to stop you."

"Thanks Kal." Diana said as she scooped up some of the eggs on her plate, and ate.

It was several hours later that Diana and Clark, as their alter egos, had made their way to the watchtower. Superman checked Wonder Woman, before the air lock opened, for any sign of emotion, and was relieved when he found that she had quite a bit of apprehension on her face. Silently, He reaffirmed his position next to her, both physically and any other sense of the word. The airlocks split and squealed with glee at Diana's return. She and Superman were met by the founding members of the Justice League, all of which had helped Superman find her, she was told. Likewise, all also had looks of sympathy on their faces, except Bruce. Stoically, Bruce strode up to Diana and handed her a folder. "This is a list of new recruits that just signed on. Introductory combat training. They need to be taught how we handle things here." He said. Diana knew what he was trying to do. The last thing that she wanted right now was sympathy. She wanted to put the experience behind her.

"Thanks, Bruce." She said in a nonchalant way that hid just how thankful she really was.

"They're waiting for you in the combat simulator." Batman responded with a grunt as he stepped out of her way.

Diana stepped passed her to find her way to the combat simulator but stopped, and looked over her shoulder, "I'm going to need a sparring partner." The comment was directed Superman. Diana doubted that he would not be keeping an eye on her and she did need a sparring partner that could keep up, so she decided to 'keep her friends close' as the saying goes. Besides when Kal was around she just felt more powerful. It took minutes for Wonder Woman and Superman to reach the combat simulator. Superman had taken a queue from Batman and acted as if he would have weeks ago, before this. He could not keep himself from glancing sideways at her, which lessened his effort to treat her the way she wanted to be treated, but the intention was there.

Diana paused in front of the small group of heroes and looked them over, they were young, all of them. They were too young; it was good that the justice league got them. Diana scanned the files; none of them had possessed her powers for more than a few years let alone seen real combat. The combat simulator was a relatively large place and encompassed the entire bottom floor of the watchtower. "Today, I will give you a basic sampling of the way we fight here. We do not use lethal force if at all possible and we never kill someone who can not defend themselves." She waved at Superman to join her in the front of the room; Most of the newbies turned and instantly became slack jawed. Ignoring most of the gawking, the iconic figure moved to the front, Diana decided to continue, "Superman will be helping me demonstrate proper disabling techniques and escape tactics. Computer, Amazonia contingency!"

The computer beeped and whizzed as the scenery changed around them, from a surgically clean room of tile to an entwining tapestry of foliage and grass. Superman tuned to the 'children' and addressed them, "I will be acting as the aggressor, what Wonder Woman does and how she resolves the situation." He turned to his friend, "Are you ready?"

"A true aggressor would not ask if I'm ready."

Superman rushed in with his super speed and knocked Diana back. He was fast but she managed to get her guard up. The ensuing blocked blow sent her tumbling backwards into a holographic tree. Diana wasted no time jumping to her feet only to find that she was pinned by a bear hug. Diana resisted only to find that she was being restrained by Superman's full strength from behind. She managed to put a might elbow into Superman's gut which caused him to release her. She quickly gained some distance and examined her friend. What was he doing? Superman quickly caught up with her knocked her to the ground. This was supposed to be a sparring match, Kal's blows felt as if he really were trying to harm her. Before Diana could move away, Superman was on top of her. He was on top of her! Diana pushed against him, but could not budge him from on top of her. Diana's heart began to race as an anxiety she had never felt before welled up in her belly. This wasn't happening, he wasn't doing this to her! She couldn't move, he wouldn't let her move. It was as if she was chained all over again. Diana was frantic and began to act on instinct; she pulled her head back and put her tiara into the bridge of Superman's nose in a mighty head butt that resounded through the level and possibly the whole watchtower.

Superman released her and recoiled covering his nose, Diana reacted on instinct and followed up with several blows to Superman's chest and midsection at high speed. He was sent flying back into another tree splitting as a logger would. The tree lurched forward with a sickening cracking. Diana caught the tree and held it over Kal as if she meant to plant it into his chest, and, for a moment, she did mean to, but she looked at him. She saw what he was trying to do; he was trying to show her that she was not powerless. Diana dropped the tree harmlessly to the ground, she had lost control and she had used deadly force. Not knowing what else to do, Dian made for the exit and left Kal to clean up.

It wasn't until later that she saw Kal again; it was in his quarters in the residential section of the Watchtower. She had come for one reason and one reason only, but Kal probably knew what it was already. She had gone over the fight in her mind over and over again. Kal never threw a punch she couldn't block, he never made a move that meant to truly hurt her, which made the realization she had gotten all the more disconcerting. She was not ok, and Kal had to show it to her the hard way. Diana, at this point, had changed from her Wonder Woman costume into a sensible pair of jeans and light blue T-shirt that Wally had gotten her for some holiday. She rang the door bell, and waited silently.

After a moment or two, Kal opened the door looked her in the eye. Diana was surprised to find that he looked as if he had just gotten out of the shower, and was clothed only in a towel covering his lower half. She examined his face and found that the injuries that she given him had already healed. He opened his mouth to say to say something but Diana stopped her, "I know what you were doing. You proved your point."

"Have I?"

"You were trying to show me that I was not Ok, and I get that. I don't want to hurt people, and I can't guarantee that I won't lose it like I did."

"Diana, come inside." He stepped aside. Diana was unsure about doing so with Kal in his relative state of undress, but decided that they needed to get things settled. Diana moved inside the small room that was common in the residential area and sat on the small bed. Kal stepped toward her, sat on the bed next to her and looked deeply at her, "Diana, I wasn't trying to tell you that you weren't ok. I was trying to show you that you weren't as powerless as you felt." Diana's eye widened but she quickly hid her surprise. It was all she could do to hide it. She had no idea that Kal was so perceptive; she had felt powerless since it had happened. It was as if someone had something on her that they could against her any time, but she could not tell anyone. Diana had even tried to hide it from her best friend (though he had found out anyway).

"Kal, I'm going to take you up on that leave of absence…"

"Good." Kal responded with a pleased smile; he only wanted the best for her. Kal really was her best friend.

"On one condition." This surprised him but he stayed quiet waiting for the condition, "You have to come with me." She stated it as a fact and she meant it that way. After a paused moment Kal responded.

"Where are we going?"

"Just like that, It's alright?"

"Why wouldn't it be?"

"You haven't taken a day off from the league since it started."

"Diana," Kal paused to consider his words, "you are my friend, and as much as the world thinks it needs me. Someone else can do the job, I've got the biggest crisis I have ever had, you." He smiled playfully.

Diana punched him in the shoulder with a smile, "Seriously," Kal continued, "I would drop everything for you." Diana reeled at those words but did not let Kal know; surely he meant to do the same for any of his friends. "So," he drawled, "Where too, Paradise Island?" he asked.

"I was thinking someplace where we aren't as well known."

"And that would be?"

Elsewhere, a man was waiting in his office to listen to the report he had been so eagerly awaiting. So time ago he had ordered the refining of an extra strong, extra flexible material that had been found on the dark side of the moon. What he had gotten was more than he ever hoped. It proved, thus far, to be indestructible and not even the heaviest weight break it or the sharpest blade cut it. However, it turned out that someone had been using his facilities to make and sell this material without his sanction. The monitor clicked on as he sipped his whine. The scientist-looking man on the monitor found that someone had indeed been using his facilities without sanction. Among the items crafted and sold were a bed, several chains, shackles, a suit of thin body armor and several other pieces of the metal. "Want the names of every one of his buyers. That's all."

"Yes, Mister Luthor." The screen clicked off. Alexander Luthor, called Lex by both friend and foe alike, got up from his chair and set his whine down. He walked to the back of the blackened room and flipped a switch. The lights powered on as the cold motif of the room became vividly clear. Lex Luthor walked to the end of it and loomed over a man latched to a rather uncomfortable looking device.

"Now, tell who you sold the chains and shackles too."

The wind was strong and the sun was powerful, she loved this place even though it was the first time she had been there. It was a small tropical island off the coast of the Bahamas, and it was owned by Oliver Queen. Who knew that Ollie had his own island? Unlike batman would have made it, Ollie had made it a resort, his own personal resort. Diana was walking into the small villa at this point and looking around. The villa itself came equipped with a pool, sauna, gourmet dining room (with its own personal chef), a waterway slide-walk, but it was something else that got Diana's attention first. Diana walked slowly through the villa taking it all in, it was a beautiful place; she had put on a conservative, blue, two piece bikini with a silk wrap tied around her waist. Kal was behind her in short red board shorts and Hawaiian shirt with various amounts and verities of fruit on it (he had been made to carry all of the bags because of his choice of clothes). They walked into the solitary bedroom in the Villa and found that it, while being very spacious, possessed only one king sized bed. This presented a problem, but thankfully Kal really didn't need to sleep so he had decided to let Diana have the room.

The first day had been good, Diana had decided to let things go and started to have fun. She talked Kal into riding the sides, biking across island, exploring some of the hidden waterfalls of the island, and, for a time, Diana forgot the pain that lingered. However, that night, Diana had settled into a rough sleep and images of her capture came back to her.

She was there hung on the wall like meat just waiting for the butcher. She had been stripped, tied, gagged and hung on the wall by her chains. It was a dark room with only a single light in the middle over a bed. The bastard had stripped her of any method for the League to find her. She was alone, suddenly, she heard a door open but her head was fastened in place, and she could not move to see who had come in. The footsteps where labored and heavy as if they where not only supporting their master's weight, but also something else. The evil man was indeed carrying someone, it looked like a young woman, and dropped her on the bed. The young woman looked as if she had been drugged; she was delirious and mumbling incoherently. The evil man looked up at Diana… and… and smiled an evil smile as he climbed on top of the delirious girl. Diana screamed against her gag, she surged against her bonds, but could not get free. She could not help the girl, but she kept trying. If she could slip one hand free she would tear the evil man limb from limb!

Diana exploded from her resting position, and screamed at the top of her lungs. With in a fraction of a second, Kal was there holding her as she beat on his chest and arms, half still in the dream, half frustrated. When she realized where she was she calmed and began sobbing into her best friend's chest. She felt so powerless. For hours they sat there, her in his arms, until she was calm enough to go back to sleep (or try at least). Kal moved to release her so that she could get to a more comfortable position, but she stopped him and tightened her hug around his midsection. "Don't" she said simply in a momentary state of weakness.

End Chapter 1