A/N: This is a sequel of the one chapter long Odi, Amo et Excrutior: Not Tonight. It is also a one chapter vignette, from Wonder Woman's point of view. This is from the Cartoon's universe, so Diana is not the Official Ambassador of Themyscira, but the Princess instead. Further Note: Dr. Destiny was the enemy on the Justice League season 2 episode Only A Dream, where Dr. Destiny trapped the Justice League members in their worst nightmares. Enjoy!
I hate it when he does this. Always appearing and dissapearing like a skulking shadow, especially when I'm not finished our conversation. I shake my head and take off, hoping to get to Boston by sunrise. Bruce bought me a flat in Boston so I could have a place not too far away other than the Watchtower. Hindsight amazes me when I think how much in the past 11 months I have known Batman I have grown to depend on what he can provide. If I was on Themyscira I would have thrown him to the lions for presuming I needed anything from a man. I cannot agree whether it is a blessing I am in the Patriarch's World or not. I cannot even agree to how much I care for Bruce. Yes, Bruce. Not Batman, not Mr. Wayne, Bruce. Who other than Alfred and Nightwing knows him better than I? Perhaps J'onn, I asked him once after the League's encounter with Dr. Destiny about what J'onn's worst nightmare was: I've never seen J'onn shiver before; one would expect a seven foot martian warrior to be fearless. His answer to my question was being trapped in Batman's mind, as his worst nightmare: the destruction of his family and world, had already occurred. J'onn shocked me into realising how dangerously unstable Batman actually is. I needed to remember that.

I can see how he is destroying himself. He is only one man, but unlike any other human in history, he has done everything in his power to not only spite all comforts, but healing as well. There were similar men at the time of the Trojan War: Hector, Achilles and Odyseus. Like Hector, he is the strongest of all the protectors of his city, Gotham's most powerful knight who knows his time has come to battle and protect even if failure is assured. Like Achilles he uses his incredible giftings for his own agendas, even if it means turning away from his fellow warriors during crucial battles. Like Oddyseus he is on a fantastic journey, limping from a long battle to more trials than humanity has yet endured to get ever closer to home, but be constantly broken. Although like the warriors of old, he still refuses the comfort they had. For Oddyseus it was the promise of home, his family, his wife and his kingdom. For Achilles it was Patroclus, and Briseius and the promise that his name would last forever. For Hector it was the hope that Troy would live on, whether leveled to the ground or left alone, Troy would not fall so long as a Trojan carried the mantle on. Hector also had another hope to cling to: his wife.

"I hated and I love, you may ask why I do it. I do not know but I feel it and am tortured"

Speaking the carmen poem to the wind, I wish I could return to Themyscira. Mother would know what to do, after all, she was alive when Catallus wrote it. Praying a silent prayer to Athena, I land in my Bostonian appartment and turn an open book on my coffee table: Catullus.

I brace myself for the inevitable opening word from the Batman, but it doesn't arrive as I smirk and read the message on the open page:

"Now spring brings back unchilled warmth,
now the ecquinoctical rage of the sky
grows silent with the pleasant breezes of the west wind.
The Phrygian fields should be quitted, Catullus,
& the fertile territory of sweltering Iznik:
let us fly to the bright cities of Asia.
Now the mind trembling in anticipation yearns to roam,
now the happy feet grow strong in their pastime.
Be well, o sweet company of friends,
who having wandered far from home together
return in different ways to a route headed in a different direction.
- Carmen 46"

Few tears have fallen from my eyes for other reasons than this man. Since I met Batman, my life has never been so wrong, my heart so broken, my hope so tattered and my belief so futile. He has degraded my soul to its lowest, but he has given me the means to rebuild myself and become a stronger woman, a more holy woman, a more worshiped woman, a more hopeful woman. One glare from Batman shatters all preconceptions and challenges all resolve on one single note: somewhere in life, you will fail. I see how all of the villians that plague him are either desperate or mad. Moreso mad. He is the result. He is the equation barreling towards atomic destruction to balance the hurt and pain of one little child who lost the ability to hope for better and feel security again. Like the Emperor of China he has built a great wall to keep the Monguls out, but for every brick someone dies. Someone breaks forever, someone is destroyed and the Monguls simply go around. He cannot make the wall large enough or foreboding enough or protective enough to keep out the evil so he lashes out in darkness and weaponry to beat the Monguls back!

Once he could, but now in his prime he realises the battle is too great, there are too many and no one can build a wall so big to save one soul. Changing into a sweater and yoga pants, I sit on my couch with the book in my hands and am startled when I turn the page to a pressed pink rose and a note.

"Diana,

Tonight.

Bruce"

Smiling, I hear the wind billow my drapes as I turn to see Batman standing behind me.

"Took you long enough"

"Timing is everything, Diana"

"Come here" he walks towards me like a cautious animal waiting for a reason to trust.

"I can't promise.."

"Shh, Bruce. I know. I know you can't promise anything, but I can promise you whatever help I can give, whatever joy I have, warrior to warrior, I will not fail you. I know you will always be reserved, that's alright. I don't want to own you I want help you"

"I need my pain"

"Maybe you need something to replace it"

He is thinking and the room fills with an old pregnant silence waiting to break into labour pains.

"I have been thinking of the Prayer of Saint Francis constantly, Diana. It plagues me that a poor man with tragedy embedded within him could find peace. What am I supposed to do!? Go up to the Joker and say thank you? How am I supposed to have faith in a God that lets so much pain enter his world!? Every comfort I have ever had has been ripped away. You've seen my body, you know the scars I hold! I give myself every night, I try to understand everything, what else do I have to do!? What else is there!?"

His breath is a series of pants, he is trying to regain his control, but we both learned long ago that I can go a lot farther into his shell than most. Taking steps until his breath coats my face, I place my hands on his mask and pull, revealing the pained and hurt man beneath and I almost cry. He would be so beautiful. I let the mask drop to the floor with a flutter as I raise one hand and caress his cheek and face with my fingers, as his eyes shut.

"The world has been evil to us, mortal man. It is a cruel and foreboding place but for the few powers that fight against it. Life is wrong and was never supposed to be this way, but what I do know is that if there had been no evil, there would be no hope, for what would we need hope for if life could get no better?"

A tear falls from his eye, one of many he constrains and I let it crawl down his face to his lips, where it wells in his expressionless gaze. Bringing my lips to his, I press our mouths together, a gentle kiss to start thousands. His lips don't move. Leaning away, I see his eyes staring at me in pain.

"Come let us live, and let us love,
and let us judge all the rumors of the old men
to be worth just one penny!
The suns are able to fall and rise:
When that brief light has fallen for us,
we must sleep a never ending night.
Give me a thousand kisses, then another hundred,
then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet another thousand more, then another hundred.
Then, when we have made many thousands,
we will mix them all up so that we don't know,
and so that no one can be jealous of us when he finds out
how many kisses we have shared."

"I am a vampire"

"That would explain things" I try to bring some levity into the situation, he's not buying it.

"I will suck you dry"

"I'm stronger than you think"

"Diana.."

"Come"

He has been so broken that no one would hate him for giving up, but like those ancient Greek and Trojan warriors he fights on. He knows a secret, it is the secret that keeps him going, that drives him, that saves his last morsel of hope. The same secret that Hector and Priam whispered day after day: the Trojans won the war. Yes the Greeks led by Oddyseus' ingenuity crafted the Trojan Horse and beat the battle after twenty long years, but the sword of Troy remained and carried by the boy Aeneas founded the Roman Empire. Eventually, as the future told, the Trojans under a new name: the Romans beat the Greeks back and made them submit to their will forever more. Even if he fails, Batman knows that someone will pick up the mask and win whether now, or in the future, they will win. It is that singular shred of hope that keeps his sanity in check, his purpose intact and his rage held down. Beyond that, he can do nothing.

His touch is heated and passionate as he devours my mouth, tasting and diving at the hurried pace of the doomed or the dying. If he was any other man . . . Breaking off, he rends off the top half of his costume and cape before attacking my lips with animalistic ferocity to which I equal slower, calmer. Allowing the wave of emotions to consume us, we tumble towards the bed, as I kick off his boots and he finally breaks into my grasp, tears ripping down his face as he breathes. Lifting us onto my bed, I hold him as wave over wave of panic, pain, fear and frustration tumble past him, through me and down to the depths of Tartarus. I have been holding him now for two hours, his breathing has regulated and I think he's asleep... then again, this is Batman. Stretching, I pull the hem of my sweater more firmly around me to feel Bruce shift and feel his fingers around my waist.

"What now?"

It never occured to me that Bruce wouldn't know what to do. Batman has a contingency plan for everything, and not this? Only for a moment.

"I can make a pot of tea"

I feel his head against my stomach nodding and rise, I glide off the bed, into the soft cloth of my slippers before walking to my kitchen to put the kettle on. One thing I found like home: tea. A small store on Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada makes a blend of dried herbs exactly the same as my sisters on Themyscira. I keep a good supply. Granville Island is one of the few places on Earth I can escape to for peace. Tibet, a carribbean island, a small village in France, most other places recognise me or take on my status of Wonder Woman, but Granville Island is a refuge for artists and the entire area is a place where even celebrities can go undisturbed. As my mind wanders, I realise Bruce is leaning in the doorway, his head propped against the frame; quite a new, yet not so disturbing idea. Smiling I turn to grab two mugs as he steps forward and takes them from my hands, brushing our fingers together purposefully. Everything about him is purposefully, even this. I am wondering where and when he got and changed into Bruce Wayne street clothes, but with Batman it is best to let a magician keep his secrets. Sitting, I nod to have him take the seat across from me as I drain the loose leaves out of the tea into a bowl I purchased my last time in Lhasa, Tibet. Again drifting off, I notice his deep, entrancing cerulean eyes encompassing me in his vision. Not one to back down or away, I match his gaze, taking in his entire being with enough love in my eyes as an amazon can feel for a man.

"How is Dick?"

Bruce's lips tugged into a brief frown before he shrugged,

"We don't talk much"

"Much or at all?"

"What do you think?"

"Call him"

"Excuse me?"

"I have a phone, use it"

"Someone could trace a connection between Wonder Woman, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson."

"That's an excuse"

"It's not an excuse if it's a possibility"

"Ah, there it is. So what is this pot of tea a possibility of?"

"632-555-2478"

I dial the number and place the speaker phone part in the middle of the table as it rings three times before the answering machine clicks on,

"Hey, you've reached Dick, leave a message and I'll call you back. . . beep!"

"Dick, I know we..."

"I'm here! What's wrong?" Dick's voice crackled into the space, Bruce breathed uneasily, perhaps there are more things he doesn't know how to handle. I coax him on with my eyes. He stares.

"I'm sitting in Diana's appartment. . . I hope you will visit Gotham. . I would .. dammit Dick! What did I do wrong!?"

"We spent too much time as Batman and Robin and not enough time as Bruce and Dick. You and Alfred are all the family I've got Bruce. An English Butler and a Reclusive millionaire aren't the greatest company for a healthy emotional adolescence. I didn't want to turn out to be a bitter, reclusive man like you."

Bruce's eyes wade shut as I reach out and grab his hand, fingers between fingers.

"What can I do to fix it?"

"You're doing fine right now"

"There's got to be som..."

"Talk, Bruce. Just. . . Talk. Diana, I know you're listening... you don't grow up with the Bat and not pick up a few skills so whatever you and Bruce are doing, don't stop. Listen, come by and visit sometime, Bruce. And I do mean Bruce, not Batman. Not yet. Just.. come. I'm gonna hang up, Titans are waiting. I gotta go. Bye, Bruce... Diana"

As I hear the click and dial tone of a hung up phone, I turn off the speakerphone button and watch Bruce's eyes open as he licks his lips and sighs.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been"

"Hyppolyta?"

"George Elliot"

"Ah" Bruce nods and steeples his hands, leaning back in the kitchen chair to eye me and say,

"Alea jacta est" [the die has been cast]

I see the man before me and what he can become, I think of all the possibilities and tragedies and joys that could happen and all of it makes me either content or terrified. I realise that I can do nothing but help him react to the future events in his life more favourably, nothing more. Maybe I can love him, maybe we can bring comfort to the lives of two warriors who have seen many battles and are in the midst of a new Troy's War. Whether we will come out Greeks or Trojans makes little difference, whether we will come out whole or tarnished makes little mind, but whether we will come out at all? That is hope.

"Amen" I answer, as both of us finish our tea, pour another cup and answer another call for another battle in another place.

Fini.