When You're Letting Go by Djinn
I let Diana go today. I don't think she realized it, certainly the rest of the League didn't--well, except for Arthur. He knew, I think, that I was giving in when I didn't step forward, didn't try to claim to be some prince of Krypton so that I could kiss Diana and bring her back to life.
He guessed that I had figured out that they're together. I could see it in his eyes as he looked at me. In his small, triumphant grin. We've been friends forever, Arthur and I, but he liked winning. And he liked seeing me tip my king over.
I wonder if Bruce would have backed away? If he were still part of us, and not on the outside jumping in only when he thinks we need him? Would he have given up so easily? He doesn't have to give up though. He's not married. He's not in love with another woman.
He's not in love with two women. Not that it's a contest. My wife comes first. She always will.
Diana knows that. She knows Lois means the world to me. She doesn't push, just lets me be her friend, and lets me figure out what that means. But if we're friends, why hasn't she told me about Arthur? Will she tell me in a few minutes when she comes into the kitchen for a new bottle of water and finds me lying in wait for her?
That's such a Bruce thing to do. Lie in wait. But here I am doing it, circling the kitchen and trying to look as if I have some reason for being here other than accosting the woman I can't have with the truth. Maybe accost is the wrong word. Confront? Bludgeon?
How does she feel about Arthur anyway? I've always taken for granted that if she picked anyone else, it would be Bruce. I never saw this coming. Never saw her choosing to be Arthur's lover.
Not that he's not worthy of her. He may, in fact, be more worthy of her than any of us. But it doesn't sit right. It hurts more than her being with Bruce would--or how I imagine her being with Bruce would feel.
Not that I have the right to feel any hurt. I can't be with her; I won't be with her. Not now, not while there's Lois.
I love Lois. She's my life, my world...part of my world? How can Lois be my whole world when so much of my life is spent next to Diana?
But that's normal. Diana's a business associate, and we spend much of our lives on the job. It's a nice idea. If that's all she was, it would even be a true one. But she's not just someone I work with, someone I fight next to. She's my lov--
She's my friend.
I love her as a friend. Care for her...only as a friend. I don't want her, don't imagine what it would be like to be with her. I've never come up with elaborate fantasies of she and I alone somewhere, free to touch, to kis--
I've never fantasized about her.
God. Such a lie...and I don't lie. I'm Superman. Man of Steel, Man of Tomorrow--enough tomorrows and Diana will be mine. God help me, but I've thought that.
I wonder how long Arthur will live?
I didn't mean to catch them. I just wanted to use the lounge, to think, to be alone. It was locked; I was annoyed. I used my super-vision. I shouldn't have. Ma used to tell me, "Clark, you go around spying on people and you'll see what you least want."
She wasn't wrong. I saw them...together. Kissing. More than kissing.
God, Diana looked beautiful. She touched Arthur with a familiarity that told me they'd been making love for a while. She surrendered to him in a way I've only dreamed about her doing to me. Her head thrown back, her legs wrapped around him.
To think of how they looked together is torture. To put myself in his place, to build a fantasy around a sight I never should have seen, is masochistic.
I do it anyway.
"Kal?" Diana walks by me, sweating slightly. She reaches into the fridge, grabs a bottle of water. Normally, she'd stand close to me, taking whatever private time we get. Normally, she'd want to talk to me.
Tonight, she just walks out.
"Good workout?" I ask and she turns around.
She nods. "J'onn is a tough opponent."
She shoots me a look that is wary and a little bit troubled. "Well, I better go."
"Don't." My hand is up and out to her before I can think better of it.
In the past, she would have come back. Her eyes would have sparkled and her smile would have lit up the watchtower as she walked to me and took my hand.
Back before Arthur. In the face of her new lover, I don't rate a smile, apparently.
"I have to go," she says, and there is a hint of desperation in her voice.
There is more than a hint of it in mine. "Why? Is he waiting?"
She does not play coy, does not ask who "he" is. She just takes a deep breath, as if fighting for some kind of control. Finally, she says, "Yes. He is."
"Well, then. Best go." I sound petulant. Like a little boy who's been told he can't play with his favorite toy. I feel like a little boy.
"I'm not doing anything, Diana. Go on. Have fun." I wave her away as if I don't care.
She closes her eyes. "Why are you being like this?"
"Like what?" I move closer. Much too close.
She takes a step away.
Her eyes open quickly. "Of you?"
"No. I've never been afraid of you. Although, I don't think I like you very much right at this moment."
I ignore the last part, mostly because I don't like me very much at this moment either. "Then who are you afraid of?"
"Who says I'm afraid?" Her voice is low, trembles slightly.
I can't stand it. I can never stand it when she stands this close--even if it's my fault we're in such tight proximity--and when her voice trembles. Diana crying breaks me into little pieces. Diana smiling can do the same thing. I pull her into my arms, feel her resist for a moment, then she lets go, lets me hold her.
"Kal. I have to live my life. I can't hold on to a dream."
"So I'm a dream?"
"Maybe you're a nightmare."
She's probably right. Maybe I am. I don't answer, don't do anything more than hold her, my arms running up and down her back, the way she likes.
"Diana?" Arthur is standing at the door, his voice is soft but full of emotion that I don't like. Possession. Affection. And judgment.
I have a feeling that he and I will be discussing my relationship with his lover before too long.
She pulls away slowly, doesn't jerk--although I wish she would. It would show she feels guilty. That there is still something between us.
"Ready to go?" His eyes as they look at her are gentle. When he turns to me, they are as cold as the sea in winter.
"Good night, Kal," she murmurs, moving to join him.
He reaches out, and she takes his hand. There is an ease in the way his hand closes around hers. An ease and a territoriality. The ocean has just extended its reach to our little piece of real estate on the moon. The sea has just claimed the woman I love.
And there's not a damn thing I can do about it.
Arthur's expression doesn't warm as he says, "I'll see you later."
I can feel my own face becoming stone. "You bet."
I get the feeling we are at war now. Arthur is one of my oldest friends, and now we are at war over this woman.
She sighs, as if she knows it too. "Let's go," she says to him.
He gives in to her gracefully, his mouth turning up as he pulls her in close. He is ready to show me and anyone else who sees them as they walk to the teleporter that they are together. That she is his.
I don't like it. And the watchtower is suddenly stifling. I don't let them get to the teleporter first. I won't give them the satisfaction of leaving me behind.
I fly, brushing past them. Can hear Arthur's angry, "Hey!" as I go by. Then I am in the teleporter, beaming into Gotham airspace. I head for the batcave by instinct. Bruce is the last person I should come to and the first person I think to tell.
He looks up as I fly in. "Don't remember issuing any invites to my lair, Clark."
"You didn't." I pace, up and down the platform.
"Only one thing ever gets you this riled up." He hasn't put down whatever he's working on. "What's Diana done now?"
"Not what. Who."
Bruce turns to look at me. Then he laughs softly, a little bit meanly. "You have a sense of humor at the oddest times."
"That was truth not humor. She's Arthur's lover."
"Yes, I figured that out."
"And when were you going to tell me?"
Bruce shrugs. "Not in the League anymore, remember? Besides, I figured if Diana wanted you to know, she'd tell you herself." He takes a deep breath, seems to be fighting something. Finally he lets the breath back out. "You know, Diana's not one of my favorite people right now. She didn't back me, was a voice against me. She and Arthur both."
"I know. You should have waited. I'm not sure I would have voted against you, but you just assumed I would."
"I'm a master at reading the tides."
I wonder if he's using sea metaphors on purpose. It wouldn't be out of character for him to want to needle me. "I've never asked you how you feel about her."
"I just told you. Not my favorite person."
"Not what I mean, Bruce. Do you love her?"
He gets up--I've finally kicked through his emotional armor. "I wouldn't call it love." He turns a hard look on me. "Although it's probably closer to love than what you feel for her is."
I have the urge to knock him away. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're not in any position to have her, yet you keep tugging her back every time she gets out of range. Let her go, Clark. For God's sake, let her go."
"I'm glad I came here. You always make me feel so good about myself, Bruce." I move over to look at what he's been working on. "What does she see in him?"
Bruce's hand clamps down on my shoulder. A friendly pat that turns into a not-so-friendly warning. "That's none of your business, my friend." Sitting down, he goes back to work. "None of mine either. Don't let the bat-door hit you on the way out."
"I'm busy here, Clark. Amscray."
"I do love her."
He waves me away with a gesture that clearly means "you just keep telling yourself that."
"Go home to your wife, Clark."
Sighing, I turn and take off, flying low and not very fast out of the batcave. Bruce is wrong. I do love Diana. I do know what it means to love her.
Even if I shouldn't. Even if the part of me that only loves Lois wishes I didn't.
As Metropolis comes into sight, I force myself to quit thinking of Diana. Lois and I could go out tonight. I'm in the mood for seafood. Maybe I'll eat one of Arthur's favorite subjects.
The thought feels terrible and good at the same time.
He has my woman.
I hate him. I envy him. I'd like to pummel him into a quivering, waterlogged mass and take her back.
Lois looks up as I fly onto the balcony. "Hey. I wasn't sure if you'd be back in time for dinner."
I drink her in. My wife is beautiful; she is all that I need.
She should be all that I need.
I wish to hell she was all I needed.
"Let's go out," I say. "How does seafood sound?"
Lois makes a face. "I had that for lunch. Chinese?"
"Chinese is fine." I go into the bedroom, change quickly.
She follows me in, moving closer, and I can smell the light scent she wears. It is comforting in its familiarity. Diana never smells of scent, but her skin has a spicy aroma all its own.
"Is something wrong, Clark?"
"I'm home, with you." I take her hand and walk with her out of the apartment. "What could be wrong?"
My tone is light, but it is a weightier question than Lois will ever know. And one I should consider carefully. Or perhaps one I should do everything but consider if I'm truly letting go of Diana.
And I am letting go of her.
I wish I could let go of her.
I will let go of her...someday.