Batman had just spent his seventeenth hour working non-stop in the engineering section when two sets of footfalls alerted him of the intruder's presence.
Ensconced in a Jefferies Tube that housed most of the wiring for the computer and data systems on the Watchtower, he was methodically re-routing the wires and cables which led from the teleporter control housing three stories above his head to the memory boards two decks below.
He'd originally undertaken the task to locate Diana and Longshadow's transporter coordinates by removing the memory boards and replacing them with new ones. J'onn had been one step ahead of him however, having re-routed the coordinates through a secondary by-pass channel directly into the primary mainframe. Batman had wasted over 11 hours scanning through the memory boards when he finally realized that J'onn had played him for a fool. Realizing what the Martian had done, Batman had next attempted to gain entry into the mainframe space, only to find out that J'onn had changed the access code. Batman debated whether to invoke a trapdoor program he'd built into the system in case of emergency but decided against it, realizing that this didn't constitute the emergency it was designed for. Nodding his head in resignation, he'd spent the last six hours shunting and splicing the alternate by-pass channels so that he could trace the route the data took into the mainframe and then retrieve it with his mini-computer.
He'd almost finished the entire re-wiring project when Lantern's voice boomed through the tube. "Are you about finished?"
"Nearly." Batman replied dryly. "What is it? I'm busy."
"Arrow here tells me he might be able to help you in your little quest."
Batman's ears perked up immediately. He debated whether to immediately rappel down the Jefferies Tube to interrogate Oliver Queen or finish splicing his new data lines when the decision was made for him.
"I know where Diana is." Arrow's voice taunted him through the Tube.
A second later Batman appeared at the opening on the Engineering Deck.
"Where is she, Queen?" he demanded immediately.
"Nice to see you too, Bats!" the Arrow responded derisively. "Hot-wiring the Watchtower?"
"There are two ways to accomplish this." Batman glared, then leaned into him. "The first is the easy way where you tell me the coordinates before I ask twice. The second way is the hard way where I start feeding arrows down your throat piece by piece…"
Green Arrow grinned in delight at the Dark Knight's obvious discomfort then paled when he realized the cowled figure was serious about the threat. "Corfu," he gulped. "They're on Corfu."
"Why would Diana take Longshadow to Corfu?" Batman thundered.
"Longshadow went to New Mexico to work with a tribe of underprivileged Apache children," Lantern interrupted, stepping between the billionaires. "Diana went to Corfu with Dinah."
"But I heard her telling Longshadow in the Lounge that she was looking forward to their weekend." Batman protested.
"I don't know what you heard in there but on Wednesday night, Dinah asked me if the girls could use my place for a quick getaway weekend." Green Arrow responded with a smirk. "Seems Diana was kinda pissed at you for turning her down so they decided to go have some fun instead."
Batman's eyes squinted behind the cowl. He continued to eyeball the two emerald warriors, searching for clues if this was another elaborate hoax to throw him off the trail. After seventeen hours sweating in a Jefferies Tube, he'd grown even more paranoid (if that was possible).
"Why did J'onn hide the data?" he growled.
"Because Diana knew you'd check up on her anyway and she probably wanted to make you suffer." Lantern interjected. "J'onn was just doing what she asked. Don't blame him."
Batman scowled at the two men but didn't reply. He let out a deep breath, disgusted with his behavior and the fact that Diana had read him like an open book, then threw up his hands in resignation. "Corfu?"
"We can beam down and drop in on the girls if you'd like." Green Arrow replied then held up a key-chain in triumph. "I have an extra key to the villa."
"Good idea." Batman nodded approvingly. They were just about to make strides for the corridor leading to the transporter when a screech emitted from the Jefferies Tube. Batman winced, then hurried back to the Tube entrance. "Give me a minute. There's a few loose wires I need to patch before I step into that thing. I don't want to end up materializing in a mountain."TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen materialized in a lightly visited forest overlooking the town of Dassia, a town on the eastern edge of Corfu's coast. Both men were attired in the light cotton pants and shirts favored by both tourists and locals. The loose fitting cotton provided a reprieve from the heat of the day, though Bruce wore longsleeves. The sun had passed its zenith an hour before and had started dipping to the horizon. There were a few high clouds hanging out to the west but by all appearances there were a few more hours of daylight left before sunset.
Oliver took notice of the hills around them then started marching south. "This way," he announced confidently. "The villa sits up on a hillside just south of the town."
It took them a few minutes to negotiate their way through the forest. There were a few game trails but nothing that indicated humans regularly walked through the area. They finally came upon a small shepherd's trail that wound along the hillside until it reached a semi-paved roadway. The two men were already starting to generate a decent sweat from their hike when the last remnants of the forest died away, leaving them exposed to the sun. There was precious little shade and the breeze offered little respite from the heat, instead blowing hot, muggy air their way.
Twenty minutes later they saw the first signs of civilization as a mini-bus loaded with drunken German tourists careened around a bend, narrowly missing them. Oliver shouted at the driver, who replied with his middle finger raised in the rear view mirror. Bruce impatiently waited for him to resume their hike. Oliver finally set off again in a huff. Immediately bored, he tried to make small talk, pointing out various landmarks along the way. Bruce paid him no heed and even quickened his pace to get away from his companion. Oliver finally gave up in frustration, muttering to himself about "being a goddamned escort service for the blind and the stupid" when they rounded another bend. Four villas stood out on the hillside. Three were reachable by small driveways from the road. The fourth, (at least twice the size of the other two) required hiking up a series of switchbacks. Oliver pointed to it with obvious pride however Bruce didn't stop to appreciate the view, opting to start the long walk up the hill.
Oliver shook his head then trudged after the larger man, cursing with increasing volume as the pitch of the climb increased. "Great idea, Ollie. 'Hey Bruce, let's drop in on the girls'… what the hell was I thinking?"TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Oliver Queen was starting to sweat more than he'd ever thought possible. In reality, there'd been plenty of times in the past where he was hotter and sweatier, but during those times he hadn't been so damned bored. They'd finally reached the villa after an uncomfortable climb but instead of knocking on the door, Bruce insisted they reconnoiter the villa. Oliver glared at him but knew by the set of the man's jaw, Bruce wasn't going to take no for an answer.
Instead, they'd silently climbed further up the hill, angling further south to get a better view of the villa. Bruce picked out a spot that offered some cover from the villa's residents then squatted down on his haunches. He produced a pair of binoculars from a small backpack he was carrying then motioned Oliver to get out from view. Oliver reluctantly agreed then plopped down on a rock next to Bruce.
"Aren't you hot?" he asked the dark haired man.
"It's warm," Came the clipped response.
"Why didn't you wear a short-sleeve shirt?"
"Scars." Bruce replied. "It's best to cover them up. That and well, skin cancer."
"I didn't think Batman ever saw the light of day," Oliver chuckled, then nodded in appreciation. A thought flashed through his mind that besides the obvious physical scars, his companion had a whole series of scars to work through before he gave up wearing the cape and cowl.
Their vantage point fifty yards from the villa offered a commanding view of the town below but the walls around the courtyard were high enough to block their sightlines. They couldn't see any part of the villa, save the front patio, which was devoid of activity. After twenty minutes in the hot sun Oliver started grumbling about "cold beer being a two minute walk away" but as before, his traveling companion offered no relief. Oliver started deriving clever means of escape from his current predicament when a limousine roared around the bend below, chugging uphill.
They watched with interest as the big car worked its way up the hill, then perked up when it stopped at the villa's entrance. The driver laid on the horn for a few seconds then the large gate swung open. Diana and Dinah Lance emerged a second later. Both of them were wearing white Grecian sundresses and high heels as well as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses to provide a measure of anonymity from curious townspeople and tourists. The women jumped into the back of the limo, which immediately wound back down the hillside towards the town below. Bruce waited for the car to disappear behind a bend then produced a miniature bat-tracer from a compartment in his backpack. He reared back and threw it at the limo below them then nodded in satisfaction when it securely landed on the roof.
Oliver looked at him in admiration then nodded hopefully towards the villa. "Now can we get a beer?"
Oliver produced a key from his pocket to open the door to the courtyard then ushered the other man in ahead of them.
"Staff?" Bruce asked as they made their way through the courtyard towards the residence.
"Maids in the morning then a cook drops by around six or so to make dinner if anyone's here." Oliver replied. "Should be empty right about now."
Bruce stealthily walked around the villa, searching for signs of activity, but found none. There were two large bedrooms on either side of the great room formed by the kitchen, dining room and living area. He strode into the right-hand bedroom. By the trace of her scent, he knew Diana had slept in that room. He allowed himself a moment of luxury to inhale a second time, realizing that she was wearing the same intoxicating perfume she'd been wearing two years before in Paris.
Oliver knocked on the door behind him. "As promised, nobody's here. Do you want to wait for them to come back or should we go after them?"
Bruce's eyes narrowed again. "I didn't come all this way to wait for them." He replied with a smirk.TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Oliver gunned the 500 cc BMW motorcycle through an intersection in town, then made a hard left at his passenger's command. Bruce was riding behind him with one arm holding onto a bracket and the other holding a tracking screen cleverly disguised as a cell-phone.
They sped down an alley then slowed as Oliver spied the limousine parked in a valet area next to a private beach club favored by wealthy part-time residents including himself. Oliver parked the motorcycle with the valet then the two of them hopped off. Oliver strode past the concierge with a familiar wave then turned into a corridor heading to the beach.
"They're either at the bar or down at the private beach." He informed Bruce. "Let's check it out."
There was no sign of either woman at the bar. They made their way to the railing overlooking the beach and immediately spied the two beauties sunbathing in beach chairs below. Both women wore bikinis that revealed their stunning hourglass figures. The women faced the water, apparently oblivious to the attention they commanded from every red-blooded male on the beach, as well as to the two billionaires who'd quietly taken up an observation post at the bar above them.
"What's your poison?" Oliver asked, eyebrows raised in curiosity.
"I don't drink." Bruce replied.
"Ah, the famous control rearing its ugly head as usual." Oliver mocked. He raised his hand to the bartender. "Two gin and tonics with limes, please."
"I told you I don't drink." Bruce growled then longingly returned his gaze to the beach.
Oliver motioned in Diana's direction below them. "Bruce, for the past two years you've denied yourself the opportunity to wake up next to THAT! My conclusion from that is that sobriety has ill-served you. Let me offer a piece of advice: Start drinking heavily…now!"TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
It was almost six o'clock Corfu time when the two hero billionaires finished their second round of drinks. Oliver raised his hand to signal for another round when they noticed a group of men approach the women. While Dinah had slipped on a mini-skirt as the sun started dropping lower in the sky, Diana was still wearing nothing but the tiny red bikini which revealed every stunning curve of her figure. On a table between them, the beach waiter was taking away the remnants of some fruity-looking drinks that were either pina coladas or margaritas. The five locals clustered around the two beach chairs and immediately started to flirt with the women. By the look of their olive complexions and dark hair, they were full time residents of the island.
Diana and Dinah seemed to delight in the attention. Within a minute, Diana swung her legs out of her beach chair, leaning teasingly close to the leader of the pack, a larger man at least two inches taller than Bruce's 6 foot, three-inch frame. Using halting English, the man was using his hands expressively to point out local attractions along the beach. Bruce could tell the group was astonished when Diana started speaking to them in their native tongue. With her knowledge of Greek, Diana quickly bridged the cultural divide between them, translating the men's commentary to Dinah in a running aside. By now, both women were out of their chairs, facing away from the ocean for the first time since they'd starting stalking them. Bruce and Oliver leaned back from the bar railing so they couldn't be seen. Every few seconds one of them would peek their heads up to see what was happening. A few minutes later Oliver signaled trouble.
"They're on the move." He reported.
Bruce's eyes flashed with anger, his eyes somewhat clouded by the gin pumping through his system. "Let's roll."TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
The stroll down the boardwalk towards the town didn't take long. A hundred meters south of Oliver's private beach club, the group stopped at an outdoor bar that featured a band, complete with a small dance area in the sand occupied by a group of sunburned tourists who'd been drinking since breakfast. A three-piece band was working through a tormented set of Jimmy Buffet songs but nobody seemed to complain the lead singer was butchering the lyrics into some indecipherable European hodgepodge of language.
The group of locals crammed Diana and Dinah between them near a table close to the dance floor then shouted for a round of drinks. When they'd left the beach, the women had pulled on their sundresses but it was hard not to notice the buttons were undone on the front of the dresses. Each woman revealed a generous amount of cleavage for the onlookers to admire. Spying their quarry by the dance floor, Bruce and Oliver slunk into a corner booth which offered a prime vantage point. Oliver got a waitress' attention, who returned a minute later with two bottles of local beer. She set them hard on the table, sloshing the beer onto their clothes. She waved a quick apology then disappeared into the crowd. Bruce waited for the foam to dissipate, staring at Diana from afar. Morosely, he finally took a pull on his beer. She seemed to be having a great time with the locals while Dinah chattered away at the locals, laughing at every turn.
The two men's eyes bugged out a minute later when Dinah and Diana accepted an invitation onto the dance floor. All five men surrounded the two beauties. Dinah was so petite Oliver could barely see her through the cluster of men. His face went red when he realized that one of the men had just groped her butt. She gently removed the hand then winked at the man, foregoing any retribution for the offense. A few feet away, Diana was actively "dirty-dancing" with the largest man in the group, straddling his knee with her legs whenever she danced close to him. Each time she leaned into him, Diana gave the poor man a look sultry enough to boil water.
As he watched her, Bruce tightened his grip on his beer. After Diana brought her leg up alongside her dancing partner's waist, Bruce squeezed it so tightly that it finally shattered. The crowd around them turned to stare as Oliver examined a small cut on Bruce's hand. Oliver applied some pressure with a napkin then consoled his tormented companion. "Don't feel bad, Bruce," he muttered, then looked at Dinah again with disdain. "We both got taken for a ride today."
Bruce quietly seethed as the waitress cleared off the broken glassed. He pounded down the replacement she'd brought in one pull then stood away from the table. "Let's go."
They'd almost made their way out the front entrance when Bruce felt a tap on his shoulder. "Checking up on me again?" a hauntingly feminine voice teased him.
Diana stood in front of them while Dinah was trailing right behind her. Both of them acted surprised that Bruce and Oliver were there but neither seemed to express much guilt that they'd been caught brazenly flirting with the local men.
"We were just leaving," Bruce barked at her, then looked at Oliver. "It was a mistake to come here. Let's go."
Diana instantly blocked their path. "I think if you came all this way, the least you could is dance with me."
Bruce looked at her intently, trying to read her expression. On one hand she was defiant, standing with her hands on her hips. On the other hand, he could see a small expression of regret in the corner of her mouth.
Bruce debated as to how much longer she wanted to play the game, then decided to call her bluff. "Fine, one dance before we go."
He grabbed her hand then roughly pulled her back towards the dance floor. By their aggressive posture, the five locals immediately showed their hostility. They strode in a huff off to the side of the dance floor but never sat down, instead glaring at the two men. Bruce quickly appraised the group of them then deciding they weren't a threat, pulled Diana close to him, sliding his hand down her back until it rested on top of her butt. The gesture immediately inflamed the locals but Bruce kept pressing his hand downward until he was cupping her butt in his hand.
"Is that what you had in mind?" he growled into her ear.
Her reaction was a dichotomy. She pushed away from him with her arms to get a better look into his eyes while at the same time grinding her pelvis against his, searching for his reaction. "It will do for a start." She whispered defiantly, daring him with her eyes to go even further.
Bruce glanced at Oliver and Dinah, who seemed to be having a similar tete-a-tete of their own. He weighed the outcomes of the alternatives in front of him then, fueled by the foreign alcohol in his bloodstream, decided to take the plunge. He roughly pinned her hands to her sides then leaned into her, grazing her neck, jaw and ear with his mouth before plunging his mouth onto hers. She instantly returned his passion with her own, fiercely attacking his mouth, nipping at him with her tongue and teeth. As strong as she was, he was surprised she didn't resist, then realized that she was a willing participant in this public spectacle.
For the first time since he'd donned the cape and cowl, Bruce lost control, losing himself in her embrace. Later, he realized that he'd ignored the warning signs that the locals were growing angrier by the minute, but at the time he just didn't give a damn.
Preoccupied exploring Diana's mouth with his tongue, Bruce didn't have time to react when the leader of the group sucker punched the back of his head. The force of the impact caused her to bite his tongue, bringing the taste of blood into his mouth and hers. Bruce staggered into her then angrily spun to face his attacker.
Oliver released Dinah from their own embrace and strode over to assist, but two of the locals jumped him before he could help. The men fell to the ground in a tangled heap. Dinah and Diana looked at each other in horror, each trying to determine the easiest way to extricate themselves from this mess, but before either could act the trained instincts of the Bat took over. Bouncing on the balls of his feet, he circled to the left, feinted a left hook at his opponent then threw an overhand right so quickly that it caught the bigger man flush on the jaw. The man went down in a crumpled heap, unconscious from the blow. Bruce turned to face the two men not yet in the fight. Their faces paled. Trading glances, they backed away, holding their hands up to show they meant no harm.
Nodding at the wisdom of their decision, Bruce turned to help Oliver. The blonde haired man had managed to get back onto his feet but was having a difficult time gaining the upper hand, pinned down by the two men. Bruce brought an elbow down onto the nearest man's right clavicle, breaking it cleanly with a sickening crunch. The man screamed in pain and dropped to the ground. Oliver delivered a right uppercut into the solar plexus of his last opponent. The blow sent a shock through the man's nervous system and he crumpled onto the dance floor next to his companion. Bruce and Oliver looked at each other with a mutual shrug then grabbed Diana and Dinah's hands, leading them out the back door before the authorities could arrive.TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
The limousine was winding its way back up to the villa. Seated across from each other, the men and women stared at each other in angry silence.
Dinah finally broke the tension, glaring at Bruce.
"You didn't have to hurt them."
Bruce looked at her coldly then settled his gaze on Diana. "Didn't I?"
"You're the one human being on the planet that I'd give better than even odds in a cage match with Wildcat," Dinah replied. "It wasn't necessary."
"Hey, its not like Bruce took the first swing at the guy," Oliver protested, then his eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Besides, you gals seemed to being doing a great job at getting their hopes up before we arrived."
"We wanted to make you jealous," Dinah replied angrily, "Not start a bar brawl."
Bruce's face piqued with interest. He looked at Diana, his face a mixture of contrition and jealousy. "You knew we were there?"
"J'onn told us when you transported down." Diana replied smugly. "But even if he didn't, it would have been pretty easy to guess you would have shown up here at some point."
"Am I that easy to read?" he asked in a whisper.
"Only when you're not in control." Diana fired back. "The only time you express yourself is when you're either jealous or angry. I'm sorry it took that whole charade to get you to dance with me, but to be honest, it was kind of refreshing to see you that you care."
Bruce nodded in understanding, then Diana turned to Oliver in the back of the limo. "Oliver, please don't blame Dinah for playing her part in this whole thing. I needed some backup to make sure I could carry it off."
Dinah reached out and grabbed Oliver's hand soothingly. "I was just playing the role of the 'Wingman', honest."
The limousine pulled up in front of the villa a moment later. The four of them got out and strode through the courtyard. Bruce's paranoia got the better of him one last time before they reached the living quarters. "I don't see how J'onn knew we left the Watchtower. We transported from the back of a Javelin in the hangar. I think you're still playing us."
Diana's eyes narrowed in frustration. She opened the door to the dining room. Marko, Oliver's personal chef, was preparing paella in the kitchen. Diana pointed to the table. "If you'll notice, there are four place settings. We knew you were coming, whether you want to admit it or not."
Bruce took a quick measure of her words and tone and realized he'd pushed her too far. A quick apology wasn't in his nature, but he could tell by the set of her jaw that some gesture on his part might preserve him from her wrath.
"You're right." He whispered, turning to face her. "I screwed up."
"I guess there is a first time for everything." She replied sweetly, then sniffed the air. Wrinkling her nose in distaste, she observed, "You two smell like a brewery."
Dinah agreed, then called out, "Marko, how much longer before dinner is ready?"
"Maybe fifteen minutes, Miss Dinah." The chef called back, bemused at the scene of two billionaires trying to extricate themselves from a difficult situation.
"Take your time." Dinah nodded back, then guided Oliver to his bedroom. "Why don't you two take a shower and get cleaned up before dinner?" Then she leaned in and winked, "If you're lucky, maybe I'll help wash your back."TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Bruce stood under the showerhead, rinsing the shampoo out of his hair. His mind was racing at full speed, reviewing the events of the last two days. He shook his head in disgust at his behavior then his body shuddered when Diana's voice teasingly floated into the bathroom. "Do you need somebody to wash your back?"
The question startled him. He didn't immediately answer, then cracked the door open to see if he could locate her. Diana stood before him, wrapped in a bathrobe that stopped mid-thigh. Her expression was warm and inviting, but he could tell that she wouldn't go any farther without some expression of interest on his part. He paused, realizing as he looked at her that she wasn't wearing anything under the robe. He weighed his alternatives again then managed to crack a smile as he opened the door for her to join him.
"It would be shame to waste all of the hot water," He grinned. "I've heard that there's been a drought on Corfu for the past few months."
Diana shrugged out of the bathrobe, then joined him in the shower.TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
Marko sat forlornly at the kitchen. His paella had gone cold for more than an hour. Even worse, he was hearing certain sounds of carnal delight from both bedrooms that led him to believe that his efforts were going to be wasted that evening.
He left a note on the oven that the paella could be re-heated, then strode out the door.
"I guess billionaires can afford to waste a good meal," he muttered, then jealously looked at the bedroom doors. "They seem to get everything else they want."THE END