Kyoko: (blinks) Man… 'Doomsday Sanction' was such a powerful episode. I just had to follow up on it. I'm still afraid of the beginning scene with Amanda Waller in the shower but aaanyway, moving on…
Aruma: Kyoko Kasshu Minamino does not own Justice League Unlimited. She is one broke mo'fo.
Kyoko: Vv; Er, thank you, Aru-chan. Hope you likey. Bai.
Alfred Pennyworth came forth from the large stove with a steaming kettle and made his way over the Amazon princess seated at the island on a stool with a melancholy look on her face. She wore a simple light blue turtleneck, blue jeans, and black boots. The kind butler of Wayne Manor carefully poured the hot water into two mugs and replaced the pot on the stove.
"Thank you, Alfred." Diana said quietly, dipping the teabag a few times. He offered her sugar cubes and she took a few, thanking him once more. Alfred prepared his own tea, cleared his throat, and spoke.
"Well, Miss Diana, what exactly graces your mind this evening? You seemed very troubled when you called. Is everything alright?"
Diana sighed heavily. "No, everything is not alright, Alfred. It's…its Bruce."
The butler nodded wisely in agreement.
"Ever since that incident with Doomsday, he hasn't spoken to a member of the League in three weeks."
"Master Bruce has been using this time to recuperate."
"I understand that but he wouldn't completely shut out every one in the Watchtower if it was only that. He…He won't even speak to me."
Her eyes filled with pain and tears threatened to gather in them. Alfred touched her hand gently.
"I am sorry, Miss Diana, but you must understand that Master Bruce has tried his hardest to avoid the path that the Justice Lords took. It troubles him deeply at how this may affect the well being of our world. His mind is battling with fear and doubt and it will take time to resolve the matter."
"I understand that as well, but why can't realize how much it affects everyone else?"
"That, Miss Diana, I even do not know."
The disheartened Princess drained her mug and Alfred spoke again.
"Perhaps you should ask him."
Her eyes widened. "Alfred…I don't think that I should-"
"Miss Diana, if I may be so bold, you have affected Master Bruce in a way unlike any other woman he has ever cared for. You know his strengths, you know his weaknesses, and you alone are one of the few who can bring him back to the light."
Diana stared at the countertop with worried eyes. She took a deep breath and met the kind butler's compassionate eyes.
"Are you certain?"
Alfred nodded and offered a gentle smile of encouragement.
Diana kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Alfred."
"It was nothing at all, Miss Diana. You will find him in the master bedroom upstairs to your right."
She nodded and bravely ascended the stairs.
Bruce Wayne sat on the edge of his king-sized bed, carefully bandaging his wounded left forearm after a brief shower. He had been mostly inactive for the past three weeks while his body healed. Tonight was his first night back. Four armed robberies and three muggings were a healthy welcome back.
He didn't bother to rise or answer when a knock came upon the door. Internally, he flinched as Diana walked into the room. She entered to the middle of the room and stood there uncomfortably for a moment. He made no move to greet her.
"What are you doing here, Princess?"
A flash of anger and pain flickered across the Amazonian's face before it settled into disbelief.
"You haven't spoken to anyone in the League for almost three weeks."
His voice was cold and without emotion.
"I've been busy."
A flicker of pain touched his features as he rose, heading for the door. Diana hesitated as she picked up on his slight limp.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." Came the gruff reply.
"You most certainly are not."
Batman froze at the sound of her voice, nearly as cold as his own and holding an angry challenge in it.
"What?" he growled, turning his face so he could glare at her.
"You heard me. What's wrong with you, Bruce? You haven't been yourself ever since that incident on the island with Doomsday."
"Maybe it's because I've spent the past three weeks on my back in casts taking a bullet for someone else's mess."
Diana narrowed her eyes. "It wasn't Superman's fault."
"Wasn't it? Every day, more and more incidents keep happening to incriminate the Justice League. Out trust with the World Leaders has disintegrated ever since J'onn used the Watchtower's secret weapon. I'm not willing to make that sacrifice, Princess. I won't let the Justice Lord's reality become our reality."
Diana balled her fists angrily. "How can you say that? You know us all better than we know ourselves! We would gladly give up our lives for theirs at any time if they were in danger!"
Batman sank into a pool of stillness, staring back at the infuriated Amazon princess coldly.
"If that's true, how much would you sacrifice?"
"If necessary, everything."
"Then we've already begun to think like them."
Diana realized her words with a jolt and shook her head.
"No…Bruce…please don't say that…"
"How long will it take, Diana? How long until one of us snaps? How long until someone realizes how much power we have compared to the government? Do you know, Diana? Does anyone know?"
Pain lanced through her chest, choking her and making her voice thick with emotion.
"This isn't about the League any more, is it? You're afraid of becoming that which you hate, aren't you? You're afraid of failing them."
Anger leaked back into his voice as it slid through his gritted teeth, grating against her like sharp edged knives.
"Don't you dare bring my parents into this."
"But you know it's the truth. How can we trust you if you refuse to trust us? How can we work together if one of us is convinced that we're all becoming corrupted?"
"Are you suggesting that I withdraw from the Justice League?"
"Of course not. The League needs your expertise, your experience, and…"
Diana dropped her eyes, her hands loosening from curled fists, voice softening.
"I…care about you."
Batman tensed uneasily, his anger sliding away to be replaced with discomfort.
"Diana, we've been through this…"
"I know, I know. Regardless of circumstance, there is…something between us."
Where there had been angry silence, there was now an awkward silence. They both began to reflect over the incidents between them; the kiss at Gorilla City, their make out session during the Thanagarian invasion, even their rooftop relationship conversation. There could be no denying their attraction to one another. Diana spoke quietly, staring at his boots, afraid to meet his eyes.
"Can you honestly say that I would allow the Justice Lord's reality to become our own?"
She looked up as a long sigh escaped him, barely audible, that somehow relieved her in the revealing of the fact that he was still human. He removed his cowl and ran a hand through his short, mussed black hair.
"I'm sorry, Diana."
She stood alone.
Diana lay asleep in a rented hotel room on Earth. She'd had a mission that had run late into the night and wasn't up for flying all the way back up to Watchtower II. She couldn't bear the thought of staying at the Manor, however beautiful and luxurious it was, so she'd picked a nearby hotel in Gotham. Even in her sleep, Bruce's words rang through her mind.
"How long will it take, Diana? How long until one of us snaps? How long until someone realizes how much power we have compared to the government?"
A gust of wind rattled the balcony doors of her hotel on the ninth floor. She stirred from her shallow, dreamless state and opened her eyes to find the silhouette of Batman just inside the glass doors. She drew the pooling covers up over her body unconsciously and watched him approach with wary, cautious eyes.
"Come to kick me out of Gotham?" She asked bitterly and got a reply she would never have expected.
He pressed his lips against hers wordlessly and she opened her in shock, inviting the kiss to deepen. For a moment, she remained frozen against him, his lips feeding on hers. When he finally pulled, she had just enough breath left to ask, "What was that for?"
He smiled gently. "I didn't think you believed me when I said I was sorry."
Something similar to a giggle rose up in her throat as she rose and eyebrow at the statement. "Apology accepted."
He turned to go but her words made him pause. "You know this doesn't solve anything."
A rare smile crossed his lips. "I know. Goodnight, Diana."
Her heart followed him out of the balcony as he left.
Kyoko: Yeah, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. So sue me. But you have to review first. (crafty grin) I'm pretty sure this one will stay a one-shot, but who knows. You do, as a matter of fact. Let me know what you think. Also, if anyone wants to appear in a WIP (Work In Progress) called "The Official Fanfiction University of Justice League Unlimited" that Corisu Li, Andy Quinn, and I are writing, contact me by review of email. Thanks a bunch!